Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wasll Scrawls

Literary Journal Selects Best for Wall Scrawls
Los Angeles, CA--Editors of the literary journal Solo Novo Wall Scrawls Vol 1 was just published. It will include the poetry of UCLA Extension Writers’ Program instructor Carolyn Howard-Johnson.
The journal is published by Solo Novo Press, Carpinteria, CA and North Wilkesboro, NC. Editor Paula C. Lowe says, “Wall Scrawls” is inspired by an Iowa farm house wall. Eighty years abandoned and orphaned, it is a “hive of letters, a busy kitchen of words. Every kid with a can of spray paint somehow gets here and leaves his or her native tongue on the walls.” One of those walls has become the cover art of this journal.
The selected poem by Howard-Johnson is "Inevitably Walls.” It is inspired by the poet’s extensive travels where she has come upon walls that only occasionally impart hope for the future of mankind. A quote from the poem:
[This wall] like the one we foundyears ago when we lost our way
in a dark forest somewherein Germany, cried when we
found it there—unexpected…
Howard-Johnson’s poetry has appeared in literary journals like the Mochila Review, Banyan Review, Pear Noir, Manzanita and Poetic Voices. One of her poems won a reader award at The Pedestal Magazine.
Howard-Johnson has studied at UCLA with Suzanne Lummis, editor of Speechless the Magazine ( ) which featured her chapbook Tracings, winner of Military Writers Society of America’s Award of Excellence and published by Finishing Line Press.
The poet's literary novel, This Is the Place, won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction has won three. She is developing a new Celebration Series of poetry chapbooks with Magdalena Ball. Among them are She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood ( and Cherished Pulse: Unconventional Love Poetry ( ). She also advocates with authors as the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers (
Learn more about Solo Novo and how to order a copy at: .
Learn more about Carolyn Howard-Johnson at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reflecting Him

Do you remember the last time you opened the door to your junk closet? You know, the place where you put things you don’t want left out in the open. Maybe an item is old and worn out, so you throw it in this closet. Or, possibly it’s broken, and you don’t know what to do with it.

In my Bible Study, Reflecting Him, I invite readers to take a guided tour through various rooms in our homes, and compare these areas to our spiritual lives. The first day of the tour focuses on the closet—that hidden, dark place no one enters but you. “Out of sight, out of mind” might describe those items tucked away in that small space; but couldn’t the phrase also depict the things we hide in the backs of our minds and hearts? Broken, worn out, or sinful thoughts weigh heavily on our souls, and we need to let go, so they can be replaced by God’s light of love, grace and mercy. June 23rd is National “Let It Go” Day. I encourage you to find something in your spiritual “junk closet” and let it go.

Do you harbor bitterness for past hurts against you? Does sin linger in the crevices of your heart and mind? Are you in need of God’s forgiveness? We are all sinners, but we can be free from the closet of sin if we confess and ask for His forgiveness. Let go, and let God shine His light on you.

Just like cleaning out the junk closet, once you let go of those spiritual messes in your life, you’ll be left with room for the new. God’s all about making things new. A new heart. A new life. A new you. It all starts with letting go of those things that fall short of His plan.

When you organize a junk closet, you might choose to use special organizers or aids to make it all work together better. Or perhaps you even hire a professional organizer. In your spiritual closet, don’t forget that you can find all the assistance you’ll ever need through the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.

Are you ready to let God take the tour through the various rooms of your spiritual “house”? When you open the closet, what mess falls out? Give it to Him and see what happens!


CARLA MCDOUGAL is founder of Reflective Life Ministries headquartered in the Houston, Texas area. Her true passion for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shines brightly, whether she is speaking or writing. She shares experiences from her own life to encourage women to live every day for Him. God is sending Carla around the world to speak to women from all walks of life—those living in the best of circumstances to those who have hit rock bottom. Carla’s book, Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It, pulls back the veil so you can see yourself and your Lord more clearly and reflect Him with transparency when interacting with others. This 10-week study exposes the dark corners of your life, opening your eyes and heart to what Jesus wants you to see. Carla’s refreshing authenticity and humorous style will lift you up from a heaviness you didn’t even know weighed you down. For more information on a growing number of products from Reflective Life Ministries, and to see about booking Carla for an event or interview, go to:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teenagers! Are You Wasting Your Summer?

 Is Your Teenager Wasting His Summer?

By Carol Topp, CPA

Summer is a great time for a teenager to earn some money working a temporary job, but most jobs are a waste of time. Summer jobs are usually low-skill jobs with tedious tasks like running a cash register or cleaning up bits of paper at an amusement park. These jobs pay poorly and do not usually offer any paths to advance or grow. They do nothing to help a teenager develop his gifts or prepare him for a future career. The best that can be said about a summer job is that it keeps a teenager busy and pays him a bit of money.

What if there was a way for your teenager to make some money, learn a lot and test a future career this summer? It would be a much better use of his time. What if your teenager learned time management, practiced math and writing skills, and grew in confidence and responsibility? That would be a very rewarding summer.

Instead of telling your teenager to get a job, encourage him to start a micro business. A micro business is a one-person business that can be started easily, usually without any up-front cash, using what a teenager already owns. Micro businesses are usually home-based and very flexible so a busy student can keep up with other interests, sports and a social life.

Teenagers can use their skills to develop businesses such as teaching guitar lessons, doing web design or caring for children. Some teenagers have started micro businesses by offering services such as house cleaning, pet care, and lawn mowing. One easy-to-start micro business is tutoring. Students can tutor math, Spanish, computer programs or any subject that they are good at.

The quickest way to get your teenager started is to look for a need he can fill such as teaching a subject he knows well. Edgar is bi-lingual, since his family speaks Spanish in their home. He is tutoring another student in Spanish as a micro business.

Other teenagers can turn their interests into a micro business. Kristin combined her love of reading and childcare. She assembled a small group of children one morning a week and in a two hour block of time read them a story, planned a craft, and fed them a snack. She charged $5 per child per week and conducted a six-week mini-camp one summer. It was so popular, she offered an afternoon reading camp as well.

One benefit of running a micro business during the summer over working a job is that a teenager can try out an idea and see if they want to pursue it as a career. Joel has a talent for computer web design. He is teaching himself software like InDesign and makes money by creating buttons and banners for websites. His web design micro business will help Joel determine if her wants to be a full time graphic designer. Meanwhile he is learning time management and customer service skills while getting paid.

So don't saddle your teenager with another summer of working a boring, tedious job that offers no challenges or opportunities for growth. Instead, encourage him to have his best summer yet by starting a micro business.

This article content is provided free of charge by the author through Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at All other standard copyrights apply.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Do Dads Ever Sleep?

Do Dads Ever Sleep?

By Dr. Charles Page

Considering the pace of our modern world—dads probably shouldn’t sleep. Who’s got time?

·         Unpaid bills.

·         Undone tasks.

·         Unrealistic deadlines.

·         Untimely interruptions.

Even when fathers prepare for rest there are too many thoughts racing through a dad’s mind:

·         Unkept promises.

·         Unfamiliar circumstances.

·         Unpredictable people.

·         Unforgotten failures.

Sometimes in sleepless desperation dads can feel like throwing in the towel—wondering if they will ever be good enough to meet the challenge of living in our nanosecond culture.

Instead of looking around at the challenges facing them or within at their own inadequacies, dads must learn to look up. When we look up toward our Heavenly Father, the whole equation changes:

·         Unchanging God.

·         Unsearchable wisdom.

·         Undeserving grace.

·         Unfathomable love.

Christian dads can sleep because God’s got their back. Dads who understand that God’s eyes never close can rest in calm assurance as they lie down to sleep (Psalm 121:1-6). God’s got your back, Dad and He never slumbers or sleeps. And if God’s staying up anyway there’s no reason why you should miss out on rest. As we look up to God our helper we are reminded of several truths that give our hearts calm assurance as we lay our heads on our pillows.

  1. Trust in God’s providence as we lie down to sleep.

Whatever circumstances we face—they pass through the hands of a loving, all knowing God.

  1. Trust in God’s provision as we lie down to sleep. For most dads the greatest challenge is the “to do” lists that burden our minds as we lie down for rest. As dads we must learn to trust God to finish the things left undone in His way and in His time.
  2. Trust in God’s protection as we lie down to sleep. Dad, you can rely on God to surround you and your family with a hedge of protection as you rest. Psalm 121 reminds us that God is watching or guarding our lives—day and night. The one who never slumbers or sleeps has your back while you close your eyes for rest.

Your Heavenly Father always knows best, allowing you to rest in the truth of the verse “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). As you close your eyes for sleep, you can trust in God’s providence, provision and protection. Allow God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself while awake. The One whose eyes never close in slumber created you to surrender. Fall to sleep in His arms.

Author Bio:
Dr. Charles Page is a sleep-deprived surgeon who completed medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He and his wife Joanna live in Texas with their five children. He is the author of Surrendered Sleep: A Biblical Perspective, which releases later this summer. When the project goes live, you can find more information at:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Splashdown Darkwater

"It's been four and a half years since the first words of Winter were written. I started this book as a hack wannabe, but somewhere along the road I learned enough about writing to get Splashdown to notice. And then my editors promptly reminded me that I still had a long way to go! But writing is rewriting, and being an author is a process of growing and learning. I am a better writer today than I was just two months ago. And I will be a better writer still, by the end of the summer.

Winter is the story of a broken and unlovable person being transformed by God into something amazing. It's fun, suspenseful, and heart-breaking. Please join me as we officially begin the journey into Winter's extraordinary life...a journey that will take several years as the series progresses. Writing this book changed me. And it is my hope that you'll close the cover, gently set the book on the table, and sigh...having been changed just a little, too."

--Keven Newsome

AMAZON CAMPAIGNAmazon updates its bestseller lists every hour, and we'd like to be on one! So, if you plan to order Winter with us on June 1, could you plan to do it between 5-8 pm Central time? And if possible, narrow it further and order in the 7 o'clock hour. Order as many as you want - don't forget shipping is free if you order two copies! Invite your friends and family! Order for birthdays and Christmas! Let's make this a day to remember!


You've seen the Winter trailer. Now you can see behind the scenes and even see parts that didn't make it into the final version. Meet the cast and crew, find out how to make fake blood, and hear the demon-fighting heroine extol the virtues of her favourite drink!

The Launch Party for Winter is in the usual place: (no login required, or you can use Facebook or Twitter) at 8pm Central time on Thursday June 2nd. Come along, join in the fun, talk with the author and publisher, maybe even some editors, and yes, we'll be doing some ebook giveaways right there in chat as well - starting with the person who brings the most friends!

Caprice is gearing up to begin writing Book 3 of the Ascendancy Trilogy, the long-awaited follow-on to Nor Iron Bars a Cage. Are you as curious as I am to see what Duke Vahn and Keedrina make of the kingdom? Now's your chance. Check out Caprice's blog post here and sign up to receive the chapters as she writes them! How cool is that!

Odd Little Miracles, a collection of 22 short stories by Fred Warren... You may have read a few of these online, or even quite a lot, but now we gather them together into a book for the first time! From wizards to aliens, funny to pensive, this collection is one you won't want to miss. In print: $5.98 and as an ebook: $2.99.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: Patchwork Dreams

Patchwork Dreams by Laura V. Hilton

The Amish of Seymour

c. 2011

Whitaker House

ISBN 9781603742559


When an Amish girl gets more than a taste for the outside world during her rumschpringe year, will only her family and anyone desperate for even a ruined woman accept her?

Becky Troyer had no intention of leaving her Plain world in Missouri when she used her chance to taste the larger world before committing to join the church, and finding it more than she wanted to chew. Once, she wanted to be a teacher; now she has a child of her own to care for, and no husband. Jacob Miller, a young man from Pennsylvania, also has some hard choices to make when his father sends him to Missouri for some time away from his worldly girlfriend. When Jacob meets Becky, his mission to make her smile and find a husband for her turns into a personal quest that rocks both their worlds.

I loved Hilton's portrait of the strong silent Amish men, who could also handle an infant with aplomb. Hilton mentions in her acknowledgements that she visited with an Amish family, which I appreciated. Having Amish neighbors, I read parts of the book to my husband, and was amused to pass an Amish family playing volleyball just when I got to that part in Hilton's story.

A couple of typos distracted only slightly from my reading enjoyment. Although the conclusion was foregone, I enjoyed the pacing and predicament of the young couple, from Becky's dilemma over whether to accept the hand of another man who'd already buried two wives, to Jacob's quasi-Amish girlfriend showing up at the Troyers'. Some repetition with the characters' "do I or don't I love him/her" slowed the story in some parts, but overall, but those who enjoy Amish fiction will find a fresh twist in Patchwork Dreams.

I received a copy of this book from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for tour and review purposes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Patchwork Dreams - the Tour!

I will be posting my review on Wednesday - come back to comment for another chance to enter the drawing.

Book Summary
Becky Troyer has committed the ultimate sin, and finds herself on the edge of her Amish community. Jacob Miller believes he was sent to the Old Order Community in Missouri to help out a distant cousin. Instead, he discovers he was part of an arranged swap—sending men from his Pennsylvania district to the Missouri district to bring new blood into the Amish community. Becky dreams of marriage, but doesn't dare hope that anyone would choose her—not with her history. Can God use the lies that have affected Becky and Jacob to bring them together? Or will Jacob rebel and head home to his first love?

Author Bio
Laura Hilton graduated with a business degree from Ozarka Technical College in Melbourne, Arkansas. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the Web. Prior to Patchwork Dreams, she published two novels with Treble Heart Books: Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past, as well as several devotionals. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas. To learn more about Laura, read her reviews, and find out about her upcoming releases, visit her blog at http://lighthouse–

An Interview With Laura:
How has being published changed your life?
Well there’s a lot of administrative stuff that I didn’t know about beforehand. And a lot of things that take me out of my comfort zone. I’m naturally a shy quiet and private person, and suddenly I have to be more willing to talk about what I’m doing.

What is your current work in progress?
I am starting the third book in the Amish of Seymour series, which will be Becky’s friend, Annie’s story.

What would be your dream vacation?
Oh, well, I would love to spend a month or two in Michigan (our whole family loves Michigan and we missed it when we moved away) and just poke around the lighthouses, waterfalls, etc. that make the state great. Also, if I ever have a chance to go overseas, I would love to see Big Ben and visit some of the European castles. Also, I’d love an extended stay at an Amish bed and breakfast.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Well, most Amish books are set in Ohio and Pennsylvania because that is where the largest communities are. I chose to set mine in Seymour, Missouri, because there is an Amish community there. Missouri is an untapped setting for Amish stories, and it was close enough for me to drive up there for research.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Oh, Beverly Lewis. When I grow up I want to write like her. I’d love to talk writing with her.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
My most difficult obstacle was trying to write in the living room with five children! I’ve gotten pretty good at blocking out noises though. Unless the children are fighting or crying I can work through it.

Comment on this post and be entered in the drawing for:
Amish Gift Set
$50 Value
Grand Prize Giveaway:
* 1 apple mug
* 1 apple scented candle in decorative tin
* 1 small packet of Starbucks coffee
* Amish made rose petal soap
* Beverly Lewis' Amish Cookbook
* Simple Joys of the Amish Life by Mindy Starns Clark
* $5.00 McDonald's Gift Card
* Amish Popcorn
* Autographed copy of Patchwork Dreams

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When culture and history meet

I was excited to read this book because of the Reformed theological connections, because I'd once met a missionary to the US from India, which I found odd, and because I hoped to discover something about how other cultures see the faith of US believers.

The author set up his view of the world from his experiences as a child, which were helpful for me to understand where he developed his worldview.  I was a but stunned when Mangalwadi began the book with significant reference to dead rocker Kurt Cobain and his beautiful wife, but again, understood that both Mangalwadi and his American audience needed a reference point in which to begin a discussion on culture – where we began and how the cultures merged. What made the western world ripe for the Bible. With chapters than span global history, like "The Seeds of Western Culture" to the intriguing "What Made the West the Best" with segments that discuss if and how the US culture (mostly) rose above practices, like bribery, that seem natural in other cultures, the reader can't help but be drawn to the pages of the book.

I found it intriguing that, although the Word of God originated in what our American country calls the Middle East, the Bible has had the greatest influence for the better on later modern western culture. The nature of secularism vs. humanism seems to keep the debate open in our society; something that other faith-based cultures don't allow.

I love the fact that Mangalwadi tackled the tough questions to end his philosophical study of how the Bible influenced our society. How can God allow bad things to happen to good people (allow sin); can scientific people accept resurrection; what is true life?

For those who enjoy mulit-cultural philosophical topics and in-depth study of how history affect not only today but the future, The Book That Made Your World will be a valuable resource.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.