Archive for June, 2010

Review: Everything you need to know about the security clearance process, but were afraid to ask – Diane Griffin

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010


This is a rather short, but concise guide to the procedures you need to follow to gain government security clearance. The Author writes from a very knowledgeable background. While I’ve never needed to gain this kind of access, I found it very informative to know what all was involved in obtaining it. It’s not as easy as the movies make it out to be.

Ms. Griffin goes through 3 different forms of access, and provides details on all the issues in eacvh one, as well as descriptions of a lot of the government organizations. There were a lot of acronyms involved. But not surprising, since the government loves acronyms.

I’m not sure this guide/book would be of general interest, unless your a procedfure junkie. But I think for those involved in businesses that may need a government contract at some point, possibly those writing corporate/political thrillers, that this book would be a very handy reference tool.

*Disclaimer* A thanks goes out to Brandi and Janis at DK Walker Books for an electronic copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

Author Bio:

My name is Diane Griffin, President / CEO of Security First & Associates, LLC. I am that friendly expert that WILL give you the inside scoop of what is relevant to your specific needs for obtaining and maintaining a security clearance today. And, no, this book won’t self destruct nor will I have to kill you for giving you the answers.

I began my career in the industry more than two decades ago working for various government contractors. While working for these companies, I was responsible for satisfying the requirements of security functions involving human resources, data management, and hardware and software security.

Then in 2002, I satisfied my entrepreneurial spirit by creating Security First & Associates, LLC consulting individuals and companies with all levels of security. As you can imagine, after 9/11 and with our country in the midst of two wars, the demands and dynamics of security clearances have changed drastically.

So whether you are a security professional, a student of criminal justice, someone interested in pursuing a government career, or a company pursuing government contracts that require a security clearance, you will have many questions regarding the process. And this book has many answers – even to those questions that you are afraid to ask.

Book: Everything You Need to Know about the Security Clearance Process

Here’s what you will learn from this book:

• insight into the process for obtaining and maintaining Security and Facility clearances

• awareness of the risks that you face for delays or possible rejection and what to do about them

• straight forward answers to the standard and not so standard questions people often ask about the security and facility clearance process

• clear definitions to the confusing industry terms, abbreviations and acronyms

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

See a guest blog from Dianne here

Guest Blog: Diane Griffin

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

In January, NSI Inc., stated that many users of social-networking websites inadvertently put themselves at risk by sharing too much information. Below are a few areas that could cause risk.

• Address and birth date. Disclosing your home address or your place or date of birth could make you a target of an identity thief. Your home address even could attract a burglar or stalker to your home. If you’re throwing a party and need to provide directions, do so through email.

• Year of graduation from high school or college. These can help scammers pretend to be former classmates, a common way to win victims’ trust. Also, potential employers could use your graduation date to estimate your age, then reject you if they consider you too old.

• Business contacts. Professional networking websites typically let people on your contact list see the names and IDs of everyone else on your list. An unscrupulous competitor, dissatisfied customer, or former employee could send a damaging message about you to everyone on the list.

• Mother’s maiden name. Businesses often use your mother’s maiden name to confirm your identity, so it’s prudent to keep that name as confidential as possible. (Keep in mind that pet names are another common security question.)

• Travel plans and schedules of groups you belong to. If you mention the dates of an upcoming vacation on a social-networking website, or that you’ve joined a Wednesday-night book group, you might unwittingly have told a burglar when your home will be vacant.

• Your valuables. Don’t discuss your expensive art, antiques, or jewelry. It could make you a target for a burglar.

• The name of your doctor or dentist. If a scammer learns where you receive medical treatment, he might attempt to obtain your insurance information. This could be sold to someone who lacks health insurance, who would then pose as you to obtain treatment.

This best advice I can give you, especially if you have a security clearance, is that “If you don’t want your parents to know about it”, then don’t share it on ANY social media sites.

If you need anything else please let me know.

Your Virtual Assistants Plus

See our review of Dianne’s Book: Everything You Need to Know About the Security Clearance Process, But Are Afraid to Ask here

Article – Kristl – The Budget Diet

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

by:  Kristl,

The Budget Diet is a diet for your wallet.not your waistline!  You’ll discover new money saving tips everyday to help you slim down your daily spending!  The Budget Diet girl Is not a financial planner or an accountant.just a mom that knows how to live the good life on a budget!  Follow The Budget Diet on facebook or twitter


Summer Book Swap For Children

A budget friendly & fun way to kick-off a summer of reading! Here’s how.

  • Invite friends (in the same grade) to bring 3 used paperback books that are at their current reading level.
  • After the children arrive, display the books on a large table or two.
  • Draw numbers for the order in which the children will choose a book. For example, if there are 10 children at the party, put numbers 1 – 10 into the drawing & each child picks a number.
  • Round 1 begins! The child that drew #1 picks a book, then the child that drew #2 picks a book, and so on.
  • Before beginning round 2 & round 3, draw numbers again. This turns the swap into a game, adds to the fun and prevents the same child from always
    having first pick or always having last pick!
  • So each child arrived at the party with 3 books, and they’ll leave with 3 books!
  • After the final round, make bookmarks (using scrap paper, markers & assorted stickers).
  • Have information to give the children on summer reading clubs at your local library or bookstore. Most clubs offer incentives or prizes for reading!
  • Refreshments.let the children make their own ice cream sundaes!


P.S. – When my children were in elementary school, I loved hosting a summer book swap! It became an annual tradition! The children enjoyed seeing each other after school was out, they loved getting new books and making bookmarks was a huge hit! If you host a summer book swap. Please let me know how it goes!

Spirit – Andrew Feder

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010



Paperback: 356 pages
Publisher: AuthorHouse (January 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449023142
ISBN-13: 978-1449023140
Order from here:


Randall Lender – Spiritual Icon
Sandy Petea – Public Defender
Johnny McKenzie – Murder Suspect
Rachel Lender – Teenage daughter of Randall Lender
Ali – Randall’s spiritual mentor
Dark Wizard – Evil cleric


Have you ever heard of Astral Projection?  Of course you have.  Some call it an out of body experience, and express seeing a tunnel of light.  Astral projection is the ability, some believe we possess, for our spirits to leave our bodies at will.  During this out of body phase, our spirits can go anywhere, without limits.  Past, future, or other planets.

Randall Lender has made a reputation for upsetting everyone.  Liberal, Conservative, Religious.  And now the “Church” wants to stop him.  He’s the main protaganist of the story, and knows how to astral project.  But the first time he tries it, things don’t go quite as expected.  He wakes up in the body of Johnny McKenzie, a mob hit man.  The problem is when he wakes up in Johnnie’s body, he’s covdered in blood, a disemboweled woman lies next to him, and the cops are knocking on his car door. 

Randall/Johnnie is assigned a public defender, Sandy Patea.  He must convince her he’s telling the truth, that he’s really Randall Lender, but will he be able to convince her?


First the bad (but not too bad), some of the dialogue in the beginning was a little strained, and weird.  There were also many grammatical errors, I thought, sprinkled throughout the book.  Most could have been typos.  After a while though, I didn’t pay too much attention to this.  There were some sections that I felt were unneccessary to the story, and couldn’t have been handled in a different manner.  For the good.  This was a really good story on spirituality.  I loved Randall’s views on “God”, love, and spirituality vs. organized religion.  One section goes over a previous speech of his, and reading that it was like “Hey, That’s how I feel about things”.  So it was a pretty accurate characterization for me. 

The characters were somewhat realistic, but started bordering on fantasy characters at one point.  Let’s just say some characters start recognizing their spiritual gifts and it’s manifested in unusual ways.

If you lean more towards the spiritual side of life, and don’t get offended by people speaking out against “religion” as an organization, then I think you’d enjoy this book.  It covers many concepts, such as Astral Projection, Deja’ Vu, Telekinesis, etc.  There is strong language and situations, so I’d recommend this for adults, or older teens.  But I didn’t see anything that would offend any religious group itself, just the idea of organized religion.  So check it out if you get the chance, and drop me a line and let me know what you thought.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing Group for a review copy of this book.  It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Advertisement: Shelf Digital Magazine

Friday, June 18th, 2010


Shelf Media Group announces the September 1 launch of Shelf, a digital-only monthly magazine featuring the best of small press, university press, and self-published books. Each issue of Shelf will include reviews, author interviews, excerpts, photo essays, and more. Shelf will be distributed via, the world’s largest newsstand, for download on computer, iPhone, or iPad.

“With the advent of the iPad, readers can experience and engage with magazines as never before,” says Shelf publisher Margaret Brown. “Shelf maximizes this experience with dynamic design, diverse content, and hotlinks to the authors, publishers, and distributors of the books you’ll want to read next.”

Adds Shelf editor in chief Kathy Wise: “Shelf is at its core about the joy of discovery. It is that feeling you get after spending an afternoon at an indie bookstore, reading first chapters and finding a mind-blowing new talent, as well as something new and unexpected from a writer you’ve loved for years.  It’s about taking that feeling on a plane, on your lunch break, to your best friend’s backyard. It’s about experiencing the best out-of-the-box books in a graphic, mobile, and tree-friendly way.  Shelf is not your mother’s literary magazine.”

Shelf is offering its first issue for free to the first 10,000 people who friend Shelf Mag on Facebook or email a request to

Lemons to Lemonade – Addie Johnson

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010



Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Conari Press (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1573244694
ISBN-13: 978-1573244695
Order from here:

The whole premise of this book is always look on the bright side of things. Through quotes, her own personal anecdotes, and just good common sense advice, Addie Johnson gives the reader uplifting messages. One such piece of advice is to do the things we enjoyed doing as children: Jumping Jacks, splashing in mud puddles, anything to relive that joy you felt as a child. Sometimes the things to cheer one up are simple things such as listening to the music of your parents generation. I often do that, when I miss my parents. I’ll listen to some of the old Gospel songs they used to sing, or some of the old Big Band numbers such as Benny Goodman. It somehow makes them seem close again. Other things are weekly date nights, never go to bed angry with your spouse.

While there was nothing profound in this book, I liked it. It was a good little book of celebrating and being happy. I think it might be a good spirit booster for those in hospitals, or having gone through a loss. It’s just a good little gift book, and I think that’s probably the best audience for it, are those needing some small gift to take someone. Take a look at this book, it may fit the bill.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Bonni at Red Wheel Weiser for a review copy of this book.  It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Giveaway – 9th Judgement – James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Thanks to Henry (Formerly), Brianne, and Brad at Hachette Book group I”m able to offer my readers 3 copies of this book.  To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until June 29, 2010.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

9th Judgement – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010



Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; April 26, 2010
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316036277
ISBN-13: 978-0316036276
Order from here:


Lindsay Boxer – SFPD Homicide Inspector
Claire Washburn – Medical Examiner
Cindy Thomas – Reporter
Suki Castellano – District Attorney
Detective Rich Conklin – Linday’s Partner
Sarah Wells – Cat Burglar
Casey Dowling – Wife of Marcus Dowling, She is murdered.
Marcus Dowling – Famous Hollywood Actor


A Jewel Robbery followed by a Murder. A young mother and her child are gunned down in a shopping mall. These are the two cases Detective Lindsay Boxer faces this time around, the 9th in the Women’s Murder Club series of novels. One case is that of a famouse movie star. His wife is shot and killed during a robbery at their home. Will Lindsay be able to find out the truth behind the murder? The second case, a killer believes in the motto: Women and Children First. He’s terrorizing San Francisco gunning down Women and their infant children. Will Lindsay catch the guy before he kills again, and what length will he go to, in order to stop her. Will Lindsay catch the jewel thief, who the press has dubbed “Hello Kitty”?

I liked this story. It was my first time reading one of the Women’s Murder Club series. I liked the characters. I felt the danger facing San Francisco was real. And I enjoyed the many narrow escapes of the friendly neighborhood Jewel thief. There was a lot of action going on, from Lindsay’s point of view. There are 2 or is it 3 cases to solve, the main one catching a killer before he kills again.

There were some areas of this book I wasn’t thrilled with. Some seemed rather cliche’ such as a ransom drop. The book also left me with questions, questions that should have had some answer, but if so the answers were very vague. The main thing was though, I didn’t like discovering who murdered Casey Dowling within the first few chapters. I think the prologue should have been written in a way that left the reader guessing who the murderer was. It seems like it would have been a much tighter story if it had.

There were a few surprises that I didn’t expect, which are always good in this genre of writing. If I were to rate it on a family friendly level, I’d say older teens/adults due to language, violence, and subject matter. Having not read the others, I can’t comment if this is one of the better in the series, only that I enjoyed it. I’ve currently got the 6th Target in my to be read pile, so will hopefully get to that at some point. If you are looking for a good beach or weekend book though, I think you’d probably enjoy this one.

If you like this review, and want to win a copy of 9th Judgement for yourself, go here and enter our contest.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Brad and Brianne at Hachette Book Groups for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Slideshow: How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Julie from HSB Associates provided me with this slide show that I thought my readers would like.  It summarizes 10 ways to achieve Heaven on Earth:

Be sure, if you haven’t seen it to check out our review here.

What’s Really Hood – Blog Tour

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Today, we’re hosting a blog tour for Wahida Clark.  Ms. Clark is editor and contributor for What’s Really Hood.  Be sure and drop in to see our review of the book, an interview with Ms. Clark, and a giveaway of copies of the book.

You can read the review, here, read an article by Ms. Clark here, see our interview with her here and finally, enter a giveaway for 1 of 5 copies of What’s Really Hood here.