Friday, September 15, 2017

Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Stuck in the Sweet in the Middle
by Robin Steinweg

Do you ever feel you’re in that awkward, in-between stage? I sure do!

I recently spent years stuck in a crushing middle. Round and round I turned from the growing needs of aging parents to those of growing sons to those of work. I’d carve hours from sleepless nights to write, compose, or read. More often to pray. My husband accepted leftovers with grace and gratitude. Not just food, but time and energy. He was stuck in his own middle, caring for his dad and doing more for my parents than can be recorded.

Image result for sandwich cookie

Now our parents are gone. I’m living in the middle of grief, rediscovering who I am if no longer a caregiver. Looking to experience—and to pass on—the rich life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10). Know what? God shows me things I can do so He can help me move forward. I’m not stuck here. I get to be here, where it can be sweet in the middle!

If you’re in the midst of circumstances or even past them, it’s never too late to rediscover who you are. Try some of the following:
  • Develop friendships with people who will build you up.
  • Find ways to build others up.
  • Journal what you’re going through as a way to release feelings.
  •  Photo journal or doodle journal.
  •  Admit if you need help.
  • Get more color in your surroundings/clothing.
  •  List your blessings.
  • Express more gratitude.
  • Find ways to expand or share your hobbies.
  • Join a book club.
  • Volunteer to help others.
  • If you have grieving to do, do it whole-heartedly. But don’t stay there.
  •  Live fully. Enjoy what God gives you to enjoy.
  • Dream again. Don’t hold back—dream big. What does God have for you next?
These ideas have helped. Yes, I still pick up the phone to call my mom or find jigsaw puzzles for my dad. I still if wonder I could have, should have done more for them. Guilt and remorse creep in.

But I realize that’s the voice of our enemy, the accuser. So I intentionally turn to words of life in God’s Word. I leave my broken heart at Jesus’ feet. I embrace the blessings He sends my way.
I affirm this truth: It is Sweet in the Middle!

About the Author:

Robin Steinweg says life is like a sandwich-cookie. Whatever circumstances close in on us, it can be Sweet in the Middle. Her writings can be found in Today’s Christian Woman, Upper Room, Secret Place and The Christian Pulse. She also writes monthly for Music Teachers Helper blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Picking Daisy by Kimberly Miller


Daisy Parker isn’t the woman that rock star Robby Grant would have imagined himself falling for. She’s soft-spoken, sweet, and lives by a strange code the struggling musician is recognizing as Biblical. And he’s helpless against it. Even if Daisy is hard-pressed to believe that a man like Robby would see her—a woman long forgotten by the rest of the world—as anything more than a step back to his career. But Robby challenges Daisy in ways she’d long avoided. With their mutual love of music, it seems nothing can separate them—not Daisy’s wheelchair or Robby’s ego. As Robby grows into the man he’s long dreamed of being, Daisy dares to trust again. But will this sweet melody last?

$4.99 eBook
$15,99 Print
Buy on Amazon

An Interview with the Author

Kimberly, what do you love about this book?
I love that Daisy and Robby are interesting and (I hope) believable characters. I also love that I’m able to use this medium to stretch people in their perceptions of beauty and the way we often treat each other.

Share two or three things you learned either personally, publishing-wise, or about your topic while writing this book.
Although I already understood that research was so important to the success of a novel, I definitely saw that in practice with this piece. I interviewed a friend numerous times regarding her experience with being in a wheelchair—in terms of relationships and just day to day frustrations. It was beyond helpful. And the greatest compliment I got so far on the novel was when she read it and said ‘that’s what it’s like’ and pointed to a passage from the book.

Introduce us to your sweetest character.
Daisy is by far the sweetest character, but she isn’t a pushover either. While she sees the best in people and wants to help others, she also sees Robby as a human being rather than a celebrity. This is important for his growth as well as hers.

What are you reading now?
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore (I am a huge fan of Wonder Woman and this book has been waiting on my stack of to-be-read books for some time.)

What’s next for you?
Right now I’m back to teaching for the year so my writing will likely have to slow down as I focus on that. But I do have a contract on my second novel, Forgiving Tess, and a novella I’ve submitted. I am working on editing another novel and have had several requests already for a sequel to Picking Daisy—so I’m thinking on that too. Even when I can’t write as much, I still find I’m writing anyway.

Short excerpt from Picking Daisy
“You’ve been in love, haven’t you?” Robby accused with a wicked grin.

Daisy willed herself not to blush. “We aren’t talking about me.”

Robby leaned back in his seat and put his feet up. “With me?”

Daisy laughed easily. “No.”

Robby grimaced. “Not even before we met? What about when I was on TV? Did you love me then? I’ll bet you thought I was hot. Probably told Nick you wanted my autograph.”

Daisy ignored him as best she could while she scanned the lyrics in his notebook, finding the word love scattered like bullet holes throughout. There was little worth saving in what he’d written.
She glanced up at him, still frustrated. “I think Nick wanted me to fall in love with you, but I wasn’t interested—your life isn’t…reality. Mine is.” She pointed to the notebook. “Now, for the real problem. You don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re forgetting the man under all those tattoos, the guy with a heart and feelings and…it’s common sense that I can’t possibly fall in love with someone I didn’t know until a few days ago.”

When Robby looked at her blankly, she continued. “Love is more than physical attraction. It’s understanding someone’s heart, it’s…” her voice drifted off and she paused. “I’m willing to help you if you want.” Daisy gestured to the notebook. “These lyrics are crap. Stop worrying whether or not I was in love with you—which I was not—and worry how to fix these.”

 Robby slowly sat up straight, placing his feet on the floor as he did. “Yes, ma’am,” he muttered. “What now?”

 Daisy had broken through. She drew a deep breath. It felt so good to be in control of something again she promised herself to stay focused and not let go. She drew a line over the entire page and smiled.

“Now we start over.”

About the Author
Kimberly M. MillerKimberly Miller is a writer of novels and screenplays. She also teaches college-level writing and film courses.

When she isn't writing, you can find Kimberly reading, making jewelry, watching movies, or spending time with her family camping.

Connect with her on

Friday, September 8, 2017

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer: A Word that Strikes Terror
by Joanie Shawhan

Are there certain words that trigger pressure in your chest or tightness in your throat?

For me, that word is cancer.

I am an ovarian cancer survivor.

My Story

During the summer of 2006, Every time I had another bout of nausea, I brushed thoughts of ovarian cancer from my mind. Surely these spells were too infrequent to be cancer.

But in September, I rolled over in bed and felt a grapefruit-size mass in my abdomen. I closed my eyes and dismissed the whispers of ovarian cancer.

Several weeks later, I almost shot off the table when my physical therapist palpated my spine to isolate the location of my back pain. It’s not in my back, it’s jabbing through my abdomen!

My gynecologist suspected a uterine fibroid and ordered an ultrasound. Even in the dark room, I saw the ultrasound tech lock her eyes on mine. Something is seriously wrong.

Gripping the ultrasound report in her hand, my doctor said, “You have ovarian cancer, the size of a cantaloupe.” She rattled off all that needed done—scheduling tests and surgery. I barely heard her words. Was she talking to me?

When I walked into the hospital on surgery day, I exchanged my scrubs and nurse shoes for tieback gowns and skid-free slipper socks. The surgeon removed a volleyball-size tumor—ovarian cancer.

Today, I am cancer-free. During my treatment, I lost myself to ovarian cancer, but in losing myself, I found a new purpose and calling. Today I have an encouragement ministry to women undergoing chemotherapy. I advocate for and educate women and healthcare professionals regarding ovarian cancer. I write articles so that other women won’t put off getting checked out if they have any signs or symptoms, like I did.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all female cancers. The symptoms women experience prior to diagnosis may be vague or similar to other diseases. This causes some doctors to rule out other causes before they discover ovarian cancer, which is why it is often not diagnosed until later stages.
 Contact your doctor if the following symptoms of ovarian cancer persist:

·         Gastrointestinal symptoms:
Bloating, indigestion, nausea, feeling full or loss of appetite
·         Pelvic or low back pressure or pain
·         Urinating more frequently
·         Changes in bowel patterns
·         Tired or low energy


Ovarian cancer used to be called the silent killer, but survival rates are high if discovered in the early stages. Learn from my story. Will you listen for the whispers of ovarian cancer?

About the Author

Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy. Her publishing credits include Coping with Cancer magazine and God Still Meets Needs. She speaks to medical practitioners in the Survivors Teaching Students program. Check out her blog at

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review Susan Karsten Regency Romance

A Match for Melissa (Honor's Point #1)

A Match for Melissa
Susan Karsten

Inspirational Historical fiction—Regency romance
Prism, a division of Pelican Book Group

July 2017

eBook $4.99
Print $15.99

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book
Melissa Southwood goes along with her ambitious father’s matchmaking schemes until one event throws all into question.

Amidst balls, carriage rides, dinner parties, and danger, Melissa must navigate an arranged courtship as well as the attentions of another nobleman.

Which aristocratic suitor will win her heart?

My review
A very sweet and highly inspirational Regency romance. Karsten’s debut shows a true enjoyment of the historical era. The story comes from the nouveau rich who desire to be part of London’s elite at any cost—marrying into it, if no other way.

Melissa visits her former companion, now serving as housekeeper to her bachelor minister brother, and comes across a wounded man. They later meet again through their mutual desire to serve others. The wounded man is none other than Lord Russell, reluctantly stepping in to take over the manor at his brother’s death. His new responsibilities and near-death experience lead him toward a change of heart and new-found faith.

While Melissa’s father is determined to use her as a stepping stone into high society, she is determined to find a faith-filled soulmate. Lord Russell would like nothing better than to marry a soulmate as well, but first he has to stay alive.

Karsten’s tale is the first of a series, and is a multiple-character story with many twists and a large cast. I look forward to reading future books.

About the Author

Susan Karsten
Susan Karsten lives in a small Wisconsin town, is the wife of a real estate broker and mother of three, mother-in-law to one, and grandma to two baby boys. Her hobbies include fitness (mostly jogging with her friend, Sandy and her friend's dog, Millie), quilting (definitely taking a back seat to writing), and reading. Her love for writing developed while in college where she earned a BS degree in Home Economics, with a minor in Speech. Having home-schooled her children, and with child-rearing days at an end, Susan now invests time in writing fiction and working at a bank. With a contracted three-book Regency historical romance series, a humorous chapter book, and a cozy mystery complete, she is working on a Regency novella. Her personal blog can be found at

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What I Gain Through His Pain with Nicole Benoit Roy

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce 

What I Gain Through His Pain 
by Nicole Benoit-Roy. 
Virtual Book Tour.  August 1-31, 2018. 
@wnlbooktours @nicoleroy52
Genre:  Christian Non-fiction

About The Author
Nicole is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Andrews University. She directs the Children Ministries Department at her church. She works as a special education teacher by day, a literature evangelist by night, and writes during the wee hours of the night. She enjoys reading and playing the piano (beginner). Nicole struggled with college writing, which lead her to eventually drop out. For this reason, one of her many goals in life is to become a best-selling author to the glory of God. Nicole and her husband, Roosevelt Roy, have been married since 1994, and are the proud parents of a handsome brown-eyed son, Nolan. They currently live in Brooklyn, New York.


    About The Book

In a society filled with easy Christianity and cheap grace, Nicole Benoit-Roy takes her relationship with Christ to a much deeper level. Since becoming a Christian, she has been learning about her newfound Savior, Jesus Christ. She is an educator who vows to be a student for as long as she lives. The more she learns about the cross of Christ, the more she realizes the importance of it in her life. As she meditates on His suffering, she concludes that His pain is the reason for every blessing in her life. In this book, "What I Gain Through His Pain," she shares her story about the benefit of the cross as she expresses gratefulness for His pain.

Something Fishy

Daddy practiced Voodoo, but even as a child I considered it foolish. During summer vacations in Haiti, the family expected my sister, my next younger brother and me to go to Lèogane. As the summer months drew to a close, my father lined up every child in the house to bathe us with a special Voodoo water made with crushed leaves.

As I got older (though not much older), I grew to detest the act and so I decided not to go on vacation anymore. I thought it ridiculous to allow myself to be bathed with stinky water. I never believed in the Voodoo stuff either. I had a good sense of who I was since early childhood. I knew God made me, and no evil could harm me (Now I know evil can’t touch me without His permission). That knowledge made me very bold and never afraid of any Voodoo stuff. My father had a special table with a white small washbasin and other Voodoo items on it. No one was supposed to touch them. However, on many occasions, I pretended to be cleaning just to touch and rearrange everything on that table. I held no fear. I just knew they lacked any authority over me. It's weird though, no one told me that Voodoo held no potency. It was always a gut feeling. I was always very bold about expressing my belief every chance I got.

My father use to hold Voodoo ceremonies where kids in the house were expected to eat out of special wooden bowls. All that I shunned eventually. Because my brother Kesnel and sister Carol were twins, the ceremony held every year honored the twins (a Voodoo ritual) even though Carol died as a baby. Those were the kinds of things that made no sense to me, leading me to refuse to take part in them as soon as I grew old enough to say no. With me so hardheaded and strong-willed, no one in my family could force me to take part once I said no. Not even my father.

On one occasion, something terrible happened in my family, causing my father to be the focus of suspicion. I felt his pain afterward. He needed so much to have someone on his side. Unfortunately, not even his favorite little girl was willing to be that someone.
In desperation, one evening in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, he pulled me aside. In a private conversation, he explained his own version of the incident after he visited my mother in the U.S. in 1982 for the first time.

He said, “Nicole, I know you’re getting older. You can understand what I’m about to tell you.”

I was 14 years old then.

“When I went to New York,” he continued, “I swear I did not take your mother’s soiled panties. It’s only after I came back to Haiti I saw them in my suitcase. I swear I did not take them.”

I listened attentively, but my eyes stared at the cement floor as we sat on the edge of my bed.

“You believe me, don’t you, my girl.” He held onto my left arm as if begging me to say yes.
I’d heard the rumor that he wanted to use her underpants to hurt my mother through witchcraft so often that I’d already made up my mind of his guilt.

My father returned to Haiti finding himself in an awkward predicament. At that age, I was naïve and awfully honest.

“Well, I can’t say whether you did it or not. I wasn’t there. You’re the only one who knows if you did it or not,” I said.

Suddenly, the look he gave me told me he wanted another answer. His eyes turned red. His pain turned into hatred.

I knew then I was not his favorite little girl anymore and I would pay.

In retrospect, I realized I could have answered differently had I known better. I still feel his pain even now as I write about it.
As soon as my mother found out her panties were missing, she demanded that my father purchase a plane ticket and return them to her.

When he did, she burned them in his presence.

My father continued to make his regular weekly visits from Lèogâne bringing us fresh produce every time. Our relationship was never the same, however. At times, I’d purposely stayed away to avoid seeing him altogether, not showing up until after he left. He was the enemy of the family. He knew it. That made him very uncomfortable and angry.

During one of his visits, he threatened to beat me because I did not greet him. Of course I put up a fight. He tried to pin me to the ground. I escaped from his grip and ran to a nearby stony hill. I picked up a stone and made the motion to throw it at him, but an invisible power stopped me. I knew Who kept me from flinging the stone, and I’m glad He did. Deep down inside I really loved my father. I believed that he gave me so much love and attention that he made it possible to never feel insecure about myself.

During my college years at Stony Brook University in New York, our father-daughter relationship remained broken. I recall lying on the bed in my dorm room reminiscing about my childhood. My entire family lived in the U.S. by then. My mom and dad separated shortly after the panties incident, although they waited to divorce until eleven years later. I finally realized the pain my father must have gone through to have his whole family against him, and the pain he continued to feel every time he and I met.

“Look at Nicole, the daughter I loved so much. Now, she can’t even talk to me,” he sometimes said.

At that time, we were on greeting terms. As I empathized with my father, I decided to put an end to our broken relationship. I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi, daddy, how are you?” It felt uncomfortable saying “daddy” but I also realized that doing the right thing was never easy.

“Who’s this?” he asked.

“This is Nicole,” I said. “I just call to tell you that I love you. Bye.”

“Ok,” he said.

I hung up the phone, feeling a burden lift from my chest.

For the first time I began to understand the power of forgiveness. I still had a long way to go.

Our relationship continued to improve after that phone call. My father is now ninety-two years old, and I love him as if nothing ever happened between us.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you.” (NLT). I desire to obey God's Word. Through this experience, I learned that making mistakes is what we (humans) specialize in the most. What’s essential is that we learn from them.

Connect Socially

Purchase Links
Amazon: ebook
Amazon paperback

Tour hosted by Write Now Literary

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PREVIEW Love and Warfare series and special release day surprise!

Product Details
Buy book 1 in the series, For Life or Until here.

Subduing the barbaric hordes came easy, until he married one of them.

Everyone in the Celtic Catuvellauni village assumed Ness would marry the man she had loved since age fifteen. Their eventual matrimony seemed preordained. His inscrutable rejection of Ness sends shock through the entire community. Heartbroken but resilient, Ness accepts a marriage proposal from a most unlikely eligible bachelor.

Battle scarred and weary of solitude, Roman Tribune Aquilus trained to do just one thing all his life—stoically serve the empire. The beautiful tribeswoman perfectly answers a long ignored call from deep within his soul. Though he adores his new bride, when Ness harms a political connection, Aquilus lays down the law.

But Celtic women aren't inclined to submit to inconvenient rules, and the only obstacle standing between Ness and a Celtic divorce is Aquilus's garrison of legionaries.

Will Roman might, Celtic stubbornness, or something else entirely prevail?

Buy book 2, When Gambling here.

She rolls the dice, but only God controls the cost of her wager.

Cara of Camulodunum dreams of traveling the world, but as the daughter of a blacksmith, the height of her exploration is the plebian carpenter’s shop of her intended. Then she meets the patrician’s son, Eric Paterculi, who regales Cara with tales of Greece and Hercules.

The sons of Roman noblemen are meant to become soldiers and politicians, and Eric’s father, the Legate of Britannia has illustrious plans for Eric. However, Eric fails rhetoric class and seems more interested in training for the Olympic Games than for statesmanship.

At the training grounds, Victor Ocelli, a member of the Viri piracy ring, befriends Eric in order to use him against his father.

The more Cara learns about Eric, the more she desires to break free from the restrictive rules of her intended. But breaking the rules lands Cara in a bondage worse than she could have imagined. Only Eric can save her, but will a patrician defy his familia to rescue a plebeian?

Watch for the September 22 post for a chance to enter and WIN a copy of For Life or Until or other cool prizes by commenting below and telling me what historical era you enjoy reading about most.


Cedric of the Catuvellauni: A “Choose Your Adventure” 

Short Story & Giveaway

Cedric of the Catuvellauni is a short story prequel to the four book Love & Warfare Series

A Catuvellauni village in the province of Britannia, the Roman Empire,

Summer 84 A.D.

On September 22, a SPECIAL TOUR will be offered in which you can CHOOSE which way the story of Cedric will go. Watch for your opportunity to play along.

About the Author:
updated profile pic 2Anne is a mental health counselor, military spouse, and mama to an opinionated preschooler named “Joe-Joe” and a very dramatic baby named “Chip.”

Reading Rosemary Sutcliff as a middle school student and taking Latin in college instilled in her a love of the Roman Empire, leading to her Love & Warfare series. Moving to the CO Rockies inspired her to write the Lawmen & Suffragette series, romantic comedies set in the Old West. Working in mental health got her interested in writing women’s fiction.

When not writing or reading, you can find Anne introducing her boys to the outdoor wonders of colorful Colorado.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Holding On (Love Blooms at Bethel, #1)

About the book:

A modern retelling of the Old Testament story of Ruth—a sweet romance about courage, loyalty, and second chances.

When Julia passes through the small town of Coldwater, driving her screeching pickup with her mother-in-law and everything she owns in the RV they’re towing, all she wants is to get Helen settled on what’s left of the family farm and hurry back to civilization.

Julia’s still mourning her husband, and so romance is the last thing on her mind. But whenever Neil Ashe shows up, the attraction between them flares—even though his divorce has left him leery of city women, and she’s not interested in muscle-bound farmers, no matter how handsome they may be.

Julia soon realizes she’s going to have to stick around to help Helen hold on to her forty-acres because someone is after them. Besides, how could she leave her mother-in-law to the tender mercies of the legalistic bullies who have taken over Bethel Church? They pick at Helen like Job’s “friends,” telling her God has cursed her. Why else would her husband and both sons die in tragic accidents?

Julia is determined to deal with everything on her own, just as she’s been doing ever since Lucas died. But Neil thinks it’s his job to make all their problems go away. Will Julia stubbornly go it alone, holding on to both her pride and the memory of her husband, or will she ask Neil to come to the rescue—and into her heart?

Lisa's review:

I was a Deborah Heal fan before I learned she was working on a series of Biblical fiction set in contemporary times. This story of Ruth and Naomi is a beautiful and timeless story perfectly fit for today. I learned a lot about the setting and fully enjoyed the characters as they played out the loyalty, despair and love that go along with making a forever commitment. I adore too-good-to-be-true heroes, even though they make me sigh into tomorrow and realize they're not perfect. That only makes them sweeter. We don't get to know Boaz's inner angst in the Bible, but the author of Holding On made an excellent and determined effort to show it.

No, it's not the time traveling adventure of her earlier series, but show Heal's versatility, and you a way, we do time travel here in this story that parallels the biblical romance of Ruth and Boaz. Recommended for teens and up. Told from multiple viewpoints.

3.99 eBook
11.99 Print

Buy on Amazon US