Friday, December 15, 2017

New novel by GE Kretchmer


36440898
Bear Medicine
G Elizabeth Kretchmer
Women’s Fiction

Ebook $5.99
Print $18.93
ISBN 978-0-9961038-6-2
October 2017, Dancing Seeds Press

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book
Alternating between contemporary and historical times, Bear Medicine is a story about women helping women in a complicated, male-dominated world.

When Brooke sets off on a trail in Yellowstone National Park to train for an upcoming marathon, she is savagely attacked by a grizzly bear. One hundred forty years earlier, Anne accompanies her husband on a camping trip in the nation’s first national park and awakens one morning to find he’s been captured by Nez Perce warriors.

Both women encounter a sacred but savage landscape. Both fall under the care of American Indian women. Ultimately, Brooke and Anne will need to overcome multiple obstacles, with the help of their new friends and native lore, to find what she seeks.

My Review
Seeking and Finding are complicated…discovering what you need and what you want, and how you are needed can result in very different journeys from your starting point. In Kretchmer’s new novel, a simple camping trip, and a week away from distractions turn into life-altering challenges for two women separated by centuries.

The author maintains her story is about women helping women in a male-dominated world. That was certainly true for Anne, the nineteenth century wife who was forced to accompany her husband on an adventure in the wild west. Brooke, the twenty-first century wife, chose her destination, as well as her destiny. In this lengthy novel, Kretchmer weaves a story of how sacrifices in the past provided a haven in the present. Both main characters of different times were enslaved by societal ideals and customs; both discovered they were capable people in their own ways.

While the journeys of both historical and contemporary women parallel the other, the author takes time to flesh out events that lead them on the route to self-discovery. Historically, a widowed Nez Pierce woman and Anne team up to create a new settlement; Brooke finds a place of healing and communal healing as a result of that teamwork. I found Brooke hard to take on many levels. She was a compliant wife to an endlessly clueless and snarky overbearing man who, once on her own, became attractive to several different men in her new environment, even while whiny and needy. Her kids were disasters, but her journey to self-discovery was worth following. I wasn’t always sure where the author was going to take me, and at times, it seems she wasn’t, either.

The setting of the story was lush and rich and the characters nicely developed. Readers who appreciate historical struggles for women’s independence and modern day struggles for women’s assertion will love Bear Medicine. I found myself wishing to spend a couple of weeks at Maggie’s Place, the haven Kretchmer created as the Wyoming settlement strictly for women.

From the Author
G.ElizabethKretchmerBear Medicine is my third full-length work. Originally from Chicago, I’ve also published The G.ElizabethKretchmerG.ElizabethKretchmerG.ElizabethKretchmerDamnable Legacy, a novel set in Alaska about how far we’ll go to achieve our goals and at what cost, and Women on the Brink, a collection of short stories about women facing life’s unwelcome realities. My short work has appeared in The New York Times as well as various anthologies and other publications. I hold an MFA in Writing from Pacific University and a BS in Accounting from Indiana University. When I'm not writing, I'm facilitating wellness-writing workshops, advocating for the environment, or working on my organic farm in the Pacific Northwest.
Media links:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

debut historical fiction from Jennifer Trethewey

Product Details

Tying the Scot
Jennifer Trethewey

Historical Romance
Series
c. November 2017
Entangled Amara

Ebook $3.99
Print – coming soon
Audible

Buy on Amazon

About the Book:
At age eleven, Alex Sinclair pledges an oath to the Duke of Chatham promising to serve and protect his illegitimate daughter, Lucy FitzHarris. Nine years later, the duke unexpectedly takes Alex up on his vow, offering the future Laird of Balforss his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Now a man, hotheaded Alex has difficulty convincing Lucy—who would rather starve to death than marry a vulgar Scot—to go through with the arranged marriage. Once Lucy arrives in Scotland, she cannot resist the magic of Balforss or the allure of her handsome Highland warrior. But when Alex seemingly betrays Lucy right before their wedding, she is tricked into running away. Alex must rein in his temper to rescue his lady from unforeseen danger and Lucy must swallow her pride if she hopes to wed the Highlander she has come to love.

My review:
Charming and delightful debut novel, wonderfully done. As described, it’s a marriage meant to be in the best interest of all parties—the illegitimate daughter of a Duke will never be accepted in London society, so is given to her father’s good friend and business partner’s son. Unfortunately, Lucy must travel north, away from everything she’s loved and known. Fortunately, Alex has grown up into a fine man. Lucy learns quickly there is much to love about Balforss, Alex’s home, and Alex, too—temper, playfulness, loyalty. Never having had a mother, she quickly takes to Alex’s family and their ways, and just when she’s decided that marriage better come fast before she and Alex get carried away, her past catches up to her.

I must say, with all the hype anticipating this book I was prepared for a bedroom romp, but the story is far from it. Sure, there’s sensual tension, but nothing out of the ordinary, and leads up to a highly anticipated wedding night. Well done, well crafted story to avoid being another cliché romance.

Told in multiple viewpoints from several characters, the author’s first book in the series shows adept, organic handling of customs, language and historical events without banging the reader over the head with brogue or unusual, unexplained practices or words. Some language. Tender and tough in all the right places. Recommended for those who enjoy Scottish or otherwise early nineteenth century historical romance and intrigue.

About the Author
Jennifer Trethewey
Hi, I’m Jennifer Trethewey and I write about men in kilts because, hey, what’s not to love about a man in a kilt? I was lucky enough to travel to Scotland twice. I have fallen in love with the Highlands and all things Scottish: the people, their language, cuisine, customs, idioms, humor, history, intense sense of pride, and, most of all, the land—the perfect setting for sweeping romantic tales of love, strife, and glory. As they say, Scotland is pure dead brilliant!


I’m an actress, former co-artistic director of a professional theater company, and my husband and I operate an improv comedy club. I live with my comedian husband in the Midwest where I’ve been ever since college.

I write both contemporary and historical fiction full time. I like to read romance, mystery, fantasy, and paranormal, as well as literary fiction and non-fiction. I love movies and music and dogs and good wine and I love to enjoy them all with my friends.












Friday, December 8, 2017

Seventh Dimension - The Prescience: A Young Adult Fantasy (Seventh Dimension, #5).

FREE OFFER! - read the interview below to see terms.
The Prescience 
By Lorilyn Roberts
Inspirational Young Adult Fantasy

Print: $14.95
EBook: $.99
November, 2017

Buy on Amazon

About the book:
Seventh Dimension – The Prescience, A Young Adult Fantasy, is the fifth book in the Seventh Dimension Series that combines contemporary, historical, and fantasy elements into a Christian “coming-of-age” story. When bombs fall on Jerusalem, Shale and Daniel rescue an orphan and return to the first century. Amid supernatural tribulation, they hope to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Daniel’s father and the goal of the New World Order. When multiple realities collide, God reveals once again time is an illusion until the appointed times.

Lisa Lickel's review:
This is so far my favorite of the series. Although you do want to know what went before, it’s not necessary in order to immerse yourself in this story’s possibly real near future—the big one, where no one survives. The series takes a contemporary young lady, Shale, on journeys back in time, mostly to the biblical time of Christ where she experiences life in the first century AD. She meets and falls in love with a young man whose family is involved in the time portals responsible for these adventures. Shale and Daniel are on an ever-increasingly amazing rush toward the biblical end times.

Daniel knows he’s one of the special chosen, the 144,000 Jews of the book of Revelation, who will make the final stand against evil. He’s in love and wants to marry Shale. Problem, besides needing to find his father who may or may not be part of the events, is that the chosen are men who have not been with a woman—unmarried, or virgins. He needs to respect his calling, as well as Shale. This leads to a new phase in their relationship as they travel back to biblical times and other traumatic eras to unravel family secrets.

Temptation, more chariot racing, supernatural powers, good guys, bad guys, scary guys, and time dancing all make this thrilling next-to-last edition of The Seventh Dimension series a great inspirational read.

Told through multiple viewpoints, The Seventh Dimension series is geared for Young Adult readers, but anyone will enjoy the books. The Prescience is part of a series.



An interview with Lorilyn Roberts:
Question:  You’re near the end of the Seventh Dimension Series. Share with us some of the challenges and joys of writing a series.

Lorilyn:  The joys far outweigh the challenges. I’ve enjoyed spending the last five years with these characters talking to me in my head. The overarching story compelled me to search for answers to questions that arose as the series progressed. I wanted everything to be as historically accurate as possible. Many afternoons and evenings were spent reading the Bible and Christian nonfiction books, and I’ve watched dozens of YouTube videos about hard-to-understand topics like the Book of Revelation. Young people who read a lot have probably read scores of books about vampires, dragon slayers, and witches. I wanted to raise the bar. I wanted realism in my series, but I also wanted a taste of fantasy because that opens possibilities.

Writing the Seventh Dimension Series has allowed me to explore far more than could be covered in just one book. With only The Howling left to complete the six-book series, I’m looking especially forward to finishing it. I believe the ending will capture the reader’s heart, mind, and imagination. I never thought when I wrote the first book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, that I would end up writing six in the series. God kept showing me insights and great plotlines, so I just kept writing.

Probably the biggest challenge has been keeping track of what the two protagonists knew and when they learned it. Three books have been written from Shale’s POV and three will have been written from Daniel’s POV when the sixth book is finished. So they learned different things at different times and interpreted things differently from each other. So I’ve had to go back and re-read chapters along the way to make sure my memory was accurate. When I do that, I’ll find something that I think could have been written better. So I never quit editing my own work, even after the book is published, and that drives me crazy. I want my writing to be perfect, but there probably has never been a perfect book written except the Bible.

Question: Do you have a favorite scene in The Prescience?

Lorilyn:  I have one scene that’s particularly special to me. It’s a garden scene where Shale and Daniel are waiting in the train. The scene comes from something in my own life. When I was seven, my adoptive father wanted to take me on a train trip to see the fall colors in the North Georgia Mountains, but the train never left the station because of a broken coupler. Through the years, from time to time, I would think about that train trip that we never finished, wistfully longing that someday we would. Then, when I was thirty-seven, Gene was diagnosed with a brain tumor that we knew he wouldn’t survive. Through a series of events God orchestrated, we had the opportunity to make that train trip shortly before he went to heaven.

While the scene in the book has no direct correlation to that, the broken coupler happens in the story, and what Shale learns through waiting is something God has been trying to teach me my whole life. I’m just a slow learner. Because it’s such an unusual scene, I think readers will remember it long after they read the book. At least I hope so.

Question:  You’ve been through a life challenge while working on this story. Has your experience changed your writing style?

Lorilyn:  Absolutely. I wrote the first couple of chapters at the end of December 2016 and was diagnosed with breast cancer the first week in January. I wrote like crazy through January and February to get the first draft completed before my surgery on February 22. All I could think about was if I didn’t survive the surgery, I wanted the story to “live on.” I was still consumed with it after my surgery because I didn’t quite get the first draft completed, and then when I got to ninety thousand words, I realized I couldn’t complete the story in one book. It would have to be stretched into two. So I slowed down and began editing, editing, and editing—and finally relaxed. I began to realize God wasn’t in a hurry for me to complete it. He wanted me to make the most of each day, rest in His arms, so to speak, through my treatment, and give Him the glory for every trial I encountered along the way.

I remember many, many years ago, when I was about ten, I read a book that I’ve never forgotten. I can’t remember the title or the author, but the plotline was about a young girl who was in a hurry to grow up. She got her wish and grew up really, really fast, but she regretted it in the end because she missed out on so many things.

As I’ve gone through this last year, I found I couldn’t rush the treatments. I had to take each day as it came, and make the most of it. If I wasn’t up to writing, I didn’t feel guilty. If I couldn’t blog as much, which I definitely couldn’t, it was okay. So I’ve learned, I think, to be more patient, to take my time, not work as much, get more sleep, and spend more time with friends and family. I love to write, and it draws me near to God when I do, but God wants me to find my joy in Him completely. I can’t do that if I’m in a hurry all the time. That means taking the time and not living under compulsion to accomplish something every single minute of the day. Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still and know that I am God.” God made me slow down, and to be honest, I think it’s made me a better person. I have more defined boundaries.

Instead of captioning seven days a week, I now caption only five and a half. I’m on a daily reading schedule to read through the Bible in a year. I went to see a movie with my prayer group, the first one I’ve been to in at least five years. My daughters and I have gone to three theme parks in the last couple of months. I’m learning how to live again and not work all the time. How does that translate into writing? I think it makes me more productive when I do write. I’m not so tired and not so drained. It’s hard to be creative when you’re working night and day, seven days a week.

Question:  Can you share a hint about what we might expect for the next book in the Seventh Dimension Series?

Lorilyn:  The final book, Seventh Dimension – The Howling, is written from Daniel’s POV and takes place in the future. All the characters that have been introduced in the previous books will make an appearance, including the animals. The fate of all the main players will be revealed, and the reader will be left with much to ponder as he contemplates his own future. I also promise this:  The ending will be glorious!

Question:  What are you reading now?

Lorilyn:  Currently I’m reading Gone Missing from Emma Right’s Dead Dreams Series, and when I finish that, I want to read The Landlord by Cheryl Colwell. I’ve read books by both Indy authors and like their style of writing. If readers have authors they love who write suspense, mystery, or fantasy, I hope they will leave their recommendations in the comments section below. If I see one I decide to pick up on Amazon, I’ll send him or her a free coupon for a Kindle copy of Seventh Dimension - The Prescience as a thank you. 


About the author:
Lorilyn Roberts graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama in 1993 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities/Social Sciences. She won an award for "Outstanding Senior Project" upon graduation for her coursework that was done at the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem. Ms. Roberts received her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College and is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature. Follow her Facebook Fan Page, https://www.facebook.com/LorilynFanPage/, and visit her website, http://www.lorilynroberts.com


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Great gift book for your nature nut


Walking Home Ground book review
By Robert Root
Hardcover: $22.95
Paperback: $22.95
224 pages
ISBN: 978-0-87020-786-0
E-book: $9.99

Buy on Amazon


About the book
A lyrical mix of memoir, travel writing, and environmental history When longtime author Robert Root moves to a small town in southeast Wisconsin, he gets to know his new home by walking the same terrain traveled by three Wisconsin luminaries who were deeply rooted in place—John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and August Derleth. Root walks with Muir at John Muir State Natural Area, with Leopold at the Shack, and with Derleth in Sac Prairie; closer to home, he traverses the Ice Age Trail, often guided by such figures as pioneering scientist Increase Lapham. Along the way, Root investigates the changes to the natural landscape over nearly two centuries, and he chronicles his own transition from someone on unfamiliar terrain to someone secure on his home ground.

In prose that is at turns introspective and haunting, Walking Home Ground inspires us to see history’s echo all around us: the parking lot that once was forest; the city that once was glacier.” Perhaps this book is an invitation to walk home ground,” Root tells us. “Perhaps, too, it’s a time capsule, a message in a bottle from someone given to looking over his shoulder even as he tries to examine the ground beneath his feet.”

My review
Root begins his story by admitting he’s a non-native Wisconsinite, though claims home territory along the Great Lakes. A naturalist, an observer, teacher, and one endowed with curiosity, Root endeavored to discover and begin to learn all he could about his final home in a way few even bother to consider. Having just relocated from one side of the state to another to settle on a farm we’ve owned for over twenty years, I was enamored by Root’s introspection and tenacity to uncover secrets of the land, and perhaps, portend the future. He kept a detailed journal of his hikes, research, and thoughts for several years.

As mentioned in the blurb, Root follows three of our more known historical naturalist homeboys on his tour after becoming familiar with his immediate new neighborhood west of Milwaukee. He visits John Muir’s boyhood territory in Marquette County, as well as August Derleth’s Prairie du Sac/Wisconsin River, and Aldo Leopold’s sand country. These three lived and wrote about south central Wisconsin. Root spent hours with maps and literature from Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and the Ice Age Trail Alliance, as well as dozens of resources about the authors, nature, topography, geography, history, and so forth about the area. The book is filled with generous details of the types of land, the differences between fen, bog, and marsh, the type of flora during the different seasons, underground, soil, native and invasive species. His knowledge of bird and animal life leaves me envious.

A somewhat saddened note sounds toward the end of the book in the section “The Land Itself.” “Settlement eliminated a great deal of Wisconsin life,” Root writes. Early pioneers describe a wondrous mix of topography and its supporting flora and fauna. “The last bison was killed in 1832,” he says, with a litany of now missing creatures. In his epilogue, Root invites us to “see the land as a community to which” we belong, and urges us to consider our lifestyle’s impact on the environment. He’s encouraged me to get to know my little piece of Wisconsin better.

Detailed and thought-provoking, Walking Home Ground is for those who love Wisconsin and enjoy nature and environmental reading. It’s a subtle call to action, and a request to remember where and who we are.

Any quibbles I had are the lack of maps, though I understand the reader is encouraged to get out his own map, or better yet, go. The book is detailed as mentioned above; once or twice I almost expected a test at the end of the segment. Included is an Index and a Resource list.

About the author

Bob Root (Robert L. Root Jr.) believes he has been a writer since he was around eight years old, when he came home with a friend from a showing of Superman and the Mole Men, pried open the lock on his mother’s typewriter, and created a series of very short adventures about Tiger Boy. 

A frequent presenter on creative nonfiction and composition at national, international, and regional conferences, his scholarship and teaching led to many articles and books. 

From 2008 until 2017 Bob was a visiting faculty member in creative nonfiction in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Ashland University in Ohio. He is currently a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and a freelance editor of essays, memoirs, and literary nonfiction. He lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Kind of Perfect with Christine Schimpf



Here's a peek into Christine Schimpf'’s new release, A Christmas Kind of Perfect
.99 cent eBook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads Giveaway during the month of December - sign up!

About the Book:
Conrad Hamilton thought his life would be easy. A great job running his own construction business, living in his hometown in Door County, Wisconsin, with Lila Clark by his side. He planned on marrying her as soon as she returned from her Chicago internship but it never happened.

Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor did she plan on spending the last decade in New York. But she did.

Can the magic of Christmas turn two hearts back to one another again or is it too late to capture that special kind of perfect?

Enjoy this excerpt:
Chapter 1

Lower Manhattan, New York 

Lila almost tripped over her suitcase as she swept into her apartment. Hand to chest, she willed the panic to subside. It seemed that everywhere she went lately, she saw a tall, broad-shouldered man who reminded her of…him. Her first love. He was even showing up in her dreams.

Taking a deep breath, she locked the door and kicked off her high heels. She dragged the suitcase to her bedroom and quickly unpacked as if by doing so she could set memories from ten years ago back in the closet of her mind where they belonged.

It hadn’t mattered where her book signing was or that she’d been out on the west coast working on the movie versions of her books, Conrad haunted her.

Ah, the mind of an author was a terrifying place at times. She’d been working too hard. At least that’s the excuse she gave herself. Settling into more comfortable clothes she headed to the kitchen.

Lila walked to the window of her apartment cradling a cup of chamomile tea sweetened with honey. She watched the street traffic below, which reminded her of a busy ant colony. How she wished the city would sleep, if only for one night. Oh, the blessed silence. She’d walk for miles. Better yet, she’d run. Although Lila feared the attempt wouldn’t be easy. Like so many other activities she used to enjoy doing, she’d abandoned running since moving to the Big Apple years ago.

She padded over to her favorite chair, a chaise lounge in dire need of new fabric, and snuggled in like a fat cat finding its spot. The chair stuck out compared to the eclectic-themed room, but Lila refused to reupholster the piece despite the persuasive arguments from her friends. In an odd sort of way, Lila drew comfort from the inanimate object. They shared the same flaw—an inability to fit in with their surroundings.

Lila’s bones ached. Now that she was back in the city, her life would return to normal. She’d hibernate for the next few weeks and start outlining her next book. Ugh. At this point, she’d much rather clean her uncle’s morning catch of fish.

Goodness, what had made her think of her uncle? He’d died years ago.

Reaching for the remote, she flicked on the receiver. Sounds from an acoustic guitar filled the room. Ooh, much better. She placed her emptied cup near her phone on the end table, leaned her head back on the cushion, and stared up at the ceiling. 

Her smartphone buzzed. Ahh. The phone always seemed to ring at the worst of times, scaring her half to death. The clock had barely moved five minutes, and she’d bet her last chocolate donut that her agent Andrea was calling with another idea for a book tour. Lila swiped the call through. With tired eyes and a worn-out spirit, she forced a pleasant tone. Sounding irritated was not how Lila wanted to present herself. “Hello.”

“Hi, I’m calling for Lila Clark.”

Lila’s heart stopped as if she’d skidded on ice and slammed her vehicle into a fire hydrant. This wasn’t Andrea. She recognized the sing-song melody in the caller’s voice, so reminiscent of someone from the past. Was her memory going as well as her stamina? 

A brief interview with the author:

Christine, what is the most challenging aspect of writing for you?
Absolutely killing my darlings! And they always seem to be scenes that you love the most but that’s the tough work of editing. Having a critique group is essential for me so I can weed out what doesn’t work and hone in on what does.

Are your characters created from people in your life?
I’d have to say they are more likely a combination of all the people I’ve met along the way of life. A writer draws from their real life experiences…the great times in our lives and the times that hurt us the most. I believe that’s our voice.

Where do you get your ideas for your books? Would you consider yourself a creative?
It’s pretty simple really. I wait on God’s timing. I find the outdoors very inspiration for my writing and spend as much time as I can outside. Of course, living in Wisconsin, that time becomes more limited during the cold winter months but if the temperature is above 20 degrees – I make sure to get outside. It’s there that I have the most relaxed conversations with God – where I look for His guidance in my work. Once I’m sure of his direction, I proceed to the next story. When I finish one book, I’m never quite sure there’ll be another so I place my trust in The One who does know and let the rest go.  I wouldn’t consider that a creative practice but one steered by faith.

Anything on the horizon for you?
Actually yes. In September, I finished a romantic novella entitled, A Perfect Fit, a spin-off romance from A Christmas Kind of Perfect. The story steps into the life of a young woman who typically chooses the wrong kind of man until she turns the decision over to God. But it’s not always easy letting go, even of behaviors that hurt us.

Presently, I’m working on A Perfect Ending another spin-off romance from A Christmas Kind of Perfect with intentions on finishing that work by summer 2018.  This story peeks in on a woman with a professional career. Her intentions are to keep moving forward and achieving more and more success until God places her in an unexpected situation and turns her world upside down.

Connect with Christine:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nonfiction Book Review your fitness questions answered

Product Details

Get the Skinny
Answers to 45 Frequently Asked Health & Fitness Questions
Kimberley Payne
copyright 2017

nonfiction
Health and Fitness
63 pp

$2.99 eBook
$5.99 Print


About the Book
Get The Skinny debunks the myths and promotes the practices that contribute to healthy living.

Kimberley tackles frequently asked questions such as:
* Does muscle change into fat when I stop exercising?
* Will lifting weights make women bulk up?
* Should I take vitamin supplements?
* Is a flat stomach a realistic goal?
* Can I still exercise after an injury?
* Should I take vitamin supplements?
* Is it possible to spot reduce fat?
* Can ankle weights help burn more calories?
* Are fresh fruits more nutritious than frozen?
* Is fruit juice good for me?

And many more

Lisa Lickel's Review
Wow, this is a great little book! I rarely get excited about non-fiction, but Kimberley Payne’s fitness books are packed with great advice and practical tips. Get the Skinny is an excellent addition. Filled with common-sense information and personal observation, Payne truly does answer, realistically, questions many of us feel too stupid to ask, or didn’t realize there was even an option.

Some of my favorites are about how muscle turns to fat when we age and stop working out (it doesn’t), and whether walking with weights makes a difference (it does but probably not in the way you think). Why can’t I spot-reduce, and how to buy a sports bra—just great advice, backed not just by the most reputable medical research results, but experience. Personally, I’m more likely to follow tips by someone who’s walking the walk; not just telling me how, but explaining why. Get the Skinny is a practical guide for today’s practical lifestyle choices.

About the Author
Kimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and writer. Her writing relates raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Kimberley offers practical, guilt-free tips on improving spiritual and physical health. Visit her website www.kimberleypayne.com

Friday, November 24, 2017

Book review Amish fiction by Linda Maran

The Stranger
The Stranger 
Linda Maran

c. 2017 Pelican Book Group

Inspirational Fiction
Contemporary
Amish

$4.99 EBook
$16.99 Print

Buy on Amazon

About the Book
When Kristen Esh loses her mom in a tragic accident months before her 18th birthday, she suddenly finds herself among Amish relatives she never knew she had. The dramatic change from the Jersey Shore to remote upstate New York is difficult enough, but abiding by the Amish rules and lifestyle is a challenge unlike any other. As she discovers secrets that unravel her true identity, she finds an unlikely ally in John Wagler, the step-son of her aunt. He lessens Kristen's fears and encourages her faith. Interwoven with gradual revelations is the growing love between Kristen and John. One that encourages forgiveness and helps seal Kristen's fate.

My review
Maran’s debut book length fiction is well done, with coming of age elements. A young lady recently orphaned discovers the truth behind her identity and must come to terms with life-changing, life-challenging decisions on the cusp of adulthood.

Little about life for Kristen was anything like her friend’s lives—those with two parents, siblings, and a home of their own. Kristen lived with her mom and her mom’s boss in his large, empty home. She was usually alone and had learned to fend for herself and traverse high school, doing well enough with the help of her best friend’s stable family life and a boyfriend.

The news of her mother’s death, along with that of her boss in a tragic accident left her numb. What left her reeling was her mother’s instructions—after high school, she was to live with her aunt and family until her eighteenth birthday. Her aunt’s Amish family. Kristen’s mother had been raised Amish, but Kristen went as a stranger to her hopefully temporary life. When Kristen’s boyfriend disappeared, Kristen had to decide whether to stay or leave and be truly alone. Her new shirt-tale relative who lives with the family, John, makes that decision easier. More complications arise when Kristen’s mysterious father’s identity is uncovered.

The Stranger is contemporary new adult fiction, set in an Amish environment. Recommended for those who enjoy Amish fiction and romance with post-high-school-age characters. Told from multiple viewpoints, both male and female main characters, The Stranger is a story of finding home and family no matter who you are or how far removed you’ve been.

About the Author

I am the author of: Confronting the Bully of OCD. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) A beneficial step-by-step self-help book with techniques taught to me by a leading NYC OCD specialist. I enjoy reading, writing, praying, nature, NYC jaunts, walking to keep fit, cooking, playing drums, and good phone conversations. I don't eat animals.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review of a personal memoir Bringing Hope by Debbie McKinney


Bringing Hope: A Disaster Relief Journey

c. August 2017, eLectio Publishing
$4.99 EBook
$14.99 Print
Buy on Amazon
ISBN 978-1632134066

Memoir

About the Book
Sometimes the UNTHINKABLE happens!
When terrorists attack, tornadoes make homes disappear, or hurricanes have communities tumbling like building blocks, our hearts weep for those in need. With insight into a world most people are unaware of, Debbie McKinney brings us along on the true story of her volunteer adventures. Travel with her through both uplifting and emotionally challenging experiences. An engaging, honest, and heartfelt account of bringing hope to people after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, northern New Jersey flooding, and Hurricane Sandy. Her daily journals provide a unique view behind-the-scenes of what a volunteer does, experiences, and feels.

My Review
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like for those who drop everything and purposefully run into trouble, McKinney’s book is for you. The author was a long-time Red Cross volunteer with understanding bosses in her field of college administration who allowed her leave time to go and help. Although no one could respond to every disaster when called, and McKinney didn’t, she was part of the recovery efforts of some of the worst natural and man-made disasters in modern American history. Bringing Hope chronicles her time rendering aid.

McKinney shares how she became a Red Cross volunteer, a little history of the organization, and the typical responses in both her large urban community of Milwaukee, and the smaller, rural community in northern Washington County. Then she shares her personal journals and recollections from heart-wrenching major disasters such as the terrorist attacks on New York in 2001, and two of the formerly worst storms to strike American coasts.

The book is personal as well as matter-of-fact, a tell-it-like-it-was account of her role in the aftermath of tragedy. Not an immediate responder for the biggest disasters, McKinney was part of the team to go in a week or more after the event and help people mitigate their losses. Some were easy to take care of; most involved hours on the phone, deliberate decisions of how much money to give, where to find the basic necessities, or counselors, all while living away from family sometimes for weeks in situations little better than the victims.

McKinney’s story doesn’t end with her personal account, it’s a call for action, encouraging readers to respond by finding ways to help others where they are. Bringing Hope is a great story that will touch your heart, make you see red, cry, and laugh even when it feels as though things will never be the same.

About the Author
Debbie McKinney is an accidental author, convinced to share the journals of her volunteer experiences after 9/11 in Washington, D.C., Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, and Hurricane Sandy in New York. She grew up and began her twenty years of volunteering in Milwaukee. A former Financial Aid Director with a BA in Interpersonal Communication from Marquette University, McKinney currently lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband. She enjoys gardening, model trains, and traveling.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Little Girl Inside with Tonya Barbee


This is one of my stops during the two month tour for The Little Girl Inside: Owning My Role in My Own Pain by Tonya Barbee. This virtual book tour is organized by Write Now Literary Book Tours. This tour runs October & November. Follow the tour here.  Book your own tour here WNL

ASIN: B00VJFVN5Q
ISBN-10: 0692564802
ISBN-13: 978-0692564806
Genre: Non-Fiction

The Little Girl Inside is a prolific story of triumph and discovery of inner peace. With each page, the reader will be captivated while the author uses the writing pen as a sowing tool-seaming a garment of praise, banner of victory and fabric of joy. With imaginative color, the book is a perfectly designed combination of patterns expressing the maturation of a woman.

A uniquely designed transparent jewel every woman should own in her jewelry box. The Little Girl Inside is a ministry resource tool for women in search for transparency in the human heart. The author shows us how to overcome the inner battle of doing the right thing the wrong way, going from finding love in the wrong places to allowing love to be revealed in the right time and in the right place.

I made room for Sir Intellectual to bring what I thought were the remainder of hi things. I also made room on my health insurance policy just in case he didn't have any. Too bad it didn't occur to me to ask him. My ability to confront was non-existent. I decided not to wait until I returned to work to handle it. I contacted my carrier and updated my policy to include my new husband. 
The whole time I felt sad that he wasn't contacting his carrier to include me. I had a husband, though what caliber of husband, I wasn't sure. Sometimes I wanted to slap myself for being so needy that I overlooked important things and ignored flags, bells, and whistles.

TONYA BARBEE is a novelist and aspiring playwright. Her most recent published work is titled, The Little Girl Inside Owning My Role in My Own Pain. She is currently working on another project that complements this book. Tonya grew up in Durham, NC, a family of four daughters and one son. Her father, Woodrow served his country for twenty years as an Army officer, retired then taught ROTC for another twenty years and her mother, Doris, a college administrator. She is a proud 1980 graduate of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. She worked in operations and management for Department of Agriculture for twenty years. For the past ten years, she’s worked as a project manager for Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She studied at National-Louis University where she earned her Masters in Business Administration in 2009.

Although she’s worked her way up the ladder in the federal government, she had no idea she would end up writing professionally however she has always enjoyed sharing her personal life through story telling with those she thought she could help. Then something clicked. As she writes, she is in hopes that her work reaches her readers that have been through something and have contemplated giving up. Her goal is to enable her readers to become empowered to keep moving forward to accomplish their dreams no matter what challenges they have been faced with.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandkids.

Website| Facebook| Twitter

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Literary Search for Truth book review Ilago Villroth

Ilago Villroth’s The Inconsistencies: A Comical Tragedy in Two Parts
Review
 The Inconsistencies: A Comical Tragedy In Two Parts by [Villoth, Ilango]
August, 2017
3.99 eBook
11.99 Print

I confess to reading this tale during a strange time in my life—newly set in a strange land in a home freshly built, so my review is strongly biased in this light.

Inconsistencies is surely that: if Kafka and Voltaire wrote together and had their essay edited by John Bunyan, perhaps part one, Confessions, would result. Augustine may not have been present much past Paris and the strange loss of a first love. It is a decades-long revision of a life of regret and experiment and more regret, and conclusion that something denied, God, is missing. Philosophical Confessions, then, becomes somewhat of a Pilgrim’s journey. Villroth’s principal narrator sets forth his reason in the opening: “This insignificant work of mine recounts my life’s Confession: all my terrible sins and failures are here told, as is my eventual journey toward Providence…my searching for and discovering Truth.”

Part two feels a bit like Ahab’s crew taking the Time Machine forward to a Brave New World with Robinson Crusoe, a land and culture well out of date and coherence, filled with characters all guiding the Pilgrim.

The Pilgrim’s last confession at journey’s end is that of repentance—“I destroy my altars! …let me repent, and so be converted, that I may be razed!”—before leaping into the watery depths to rejoin his long-lost true love.


This book is for readers who enjoy finding cues of theorists and philosophers, deists, visionaries in literature. Villroth explains his story is not necessarily “consistent”: both parts make up the whole, a cyclic story of realizing life is full of holes, many of which are self-inflicted, and the search for fulfillment. Highly literary, told in early nineteenth-century-enlightenment style.

Late Evaluate Your Life Day message from Suzette Webb

5 Keys to Trusting God’s Plan for You Even When Your Path Seems Unclear

from Lisa:
I'm so sorry this is posted late - but since pretty much every day should be "evaluate your life" day, the book and message definitely fits!
Thanks, Suzette.

CHICAGO, IL – October 16, 2017 – October 19 is Evaluate Your Life Day and Chicago entrepreneur and author of a witty and inspiring spiritual book says that trusting God is imperative at every turn in the road, especially at those that seem foggy or uncertain.  In fact, it is especially important that at those times when the path forward seems to be lost, we renew our faith in the Lord and in His ultimate guidance.

“When we find ourselves in an uncharted situation,” says Webb, author of Blues to Blessings: Moving from Fearful to Faithful, “it can be difficult to trust that God is still by our side, guiding our footsteps. However, it is precisely in those moments of uncertainty and doubt that we need to find the strength to rely on God’s wisdom. He is the one who will guide us to success and to happiness every time.”

Webb offers the following tips for putting your faith in God:

·         Be honest with yourself – Are you feeling uncertain? Are you beginning to doubt the path that God has set before you? Instead of ignoring your feelings, face them for what they are. Every faithful person has doubts at one time or another, but the key is that you need to confront them. Only then will you be able to move past them and into a space of complete and total trust in the Lord and His ways.
 
·         Get quiet – When you feel as though the walls are closing in and there is no easy way to move forward, you may begin to panic. However, allow your doubt and unfaithful thoughts to fester, you will not be able to see the path that the Lord has created for you. So, instead of allowing these feelings to overcome you, take a step back after you have articulated your feelings. Simply go on a walk or jog without music, or choose to ride in the car without the radio. However you choose to do it, take the time to get quiet and simply be in the moment.
 
·         Take Inventory – Examine your life both personally and professionally and recall all the blessings that God has given you. All that you have achieved at work and in your home is thanks to God’s infinite power, generosity, and guidance. Despite all the uncertain situations, hurdles, and setbacks that you have experienced in your past, you have arrived at this moment because of God’s expert guidance. Take a moment to give thanks for the myriad blessings He has brought your way so far and trust that more are on their way.
 
·         Set goals – Set 1 to 2 attainable goals that will allow you to have more faith in the Lord’s unfailing direction. Perhaps make it a goal to let go of a situation once you pray about it, or decide to wait for God’s sign before you act. In whatever way you decide to demonstrate your faith in the Lord, make it a goal to do so. That way, if your uncertainty begins to creep in, you can focus on your decision to trust God and the path He has laid for you rather than falling victim to any doubting thoughts.
 
·         Take action – Finally, make sure to be ready to take that first step as soon as the Lord shows you the way. Even though the road may not look like the one you envisioned, or may be more frightening or challenging than the one that you are currently on, have confidence in the Lord’s wisdom and take that leap of faith toward your miraculous future. If you remain faithful and go where God leads you, there is no doubt that you will find your miracle.

Blues to Blessings: Moving from Fearful to Faithful by [Webb, Suzette]
 
Blues to Blessings: Moving from Fearful to Faithful inspires people to leap from their comfort to their miracle by renewing their faith and trust in the Lord. With fitting Bible verses and engaging, powerful stories, it guides the reader to a place of deeper connection with God and with themselves to ensure they are living the fulfilling, purposeful life they were meant to live. For more information, visit www.bluestoblessings.com.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Life's Seasons

Charlotte’s Garden
By Shirley Johnson

Charlotte loved to work in her garden in the morning. She could hear the morning birds greet the day with a song. The refreshing dewdrops found rest upon the garden. The flowers seemed to smile back at the sun.

Charlotte worked hard at maintaining the presentation and growth of the garden. She knew with the proper care it would not only look beautiful, but create a peaceful atmosphere for those viewing it. From childhood, she knew which of the elements and garden intruders can interfere with the presentation and growth of the garden and which are harmless.

The garden often ministered to Charlotte. She embraced the seasons of the garden. It often shared reflections of life and whispers of hope.

While working in the garden a ladybug crawled on her sleeve. There was a time many years ago if this happened she would have panicked. She smiled and laughed to herself. She thought back to when she was a very small child. She was with her mom visiting at their friend’s home. The porch provided a favorite play area. Somehow a ladybug crawled right where she sat. She cried out to her mom for help.

Charlotte’s mom came running in response to her cries. While Charlotte saw a big intruder, her mother saw a simple little ladybug. “Oh, Charlotte.” “It’s okay,” said her mom. Her mom had gardened a long time and knew the difference between a harmless bug and dangerous ones. “This is just an innocent little bug that somehow landed in the wrong place.” She calmly scooped up the ladybug with her gentle hands, opened the screen door, and let it go.

Life’s seasons have a way of presenting itself with different problems. There are times when we have real problems, big problems that we need to face, address and solve. Sometimes though, we have little irritations that invade our space. They land right where we sit in life. They have us talking, repeating, agonizing and spinning our wheels. They interfere and distract us from the purpose and plan in our lives. They “bug” us.

When those little irritations land in our space,
look at them and determine how big they are.
Perhaps there are times when we too must open the screen door and let them go.

ABOUT
Shirley Johnson shares inspiration and encouragement through her writing. She is a member of SCBWI and ACFW. She loves to read and has volunteered at her local Public Library as an Adult Literacy Tutor. She shares her writing on her blog. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
http://busylifepause.com/
https://www.facebook.com/shrlyjohnson


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Say Yes to your Passion, Purpose, Power

Walking in Your Own Shoes
By Kolleen Lucariello

Here in my home state of New York, October ushers in the fun of pumpkins, apple picking and salmon fishing season. There’s also the beauty of leaves peaking, apple cider and cozy sweaters. Among the many things October has to offer, it has also been designated as Women Walking in Their Own Shoes month: a global call for women to say yes to their purpose, passion and power.

If you’re like me, fall also means it’s time to shed the flip-flops, put away the sandals, and slip your feet back into a pair of shoes. Preferably comfortable ones—it’s never enjoyable to spend a day in shoes that don’t fit.

Once, while visiting my parents, I slipped my feet into a pair of my mother’s shoes so I could retrieve something from the car. Immediately, I noticed we walk completely differently; she walks on the inside of her sole—I don’t. My feet in her shoes didn’t work well. Come to think of it, I’ve stood in the clearance section trying to squeeze my feet into the wrong size shoe all for the sake of cuteness. I’ve also clomped around in shoes too big out of convenience. Neither were comfortable. Did you know it’s possible to cause serious harm to yourself by wearing shoes that don’t fit properly?

Serious harm can also happen when insecurities keep you from walking in your own shoes. Just as there’s comfort when we slip our feet into our own shoes, comfort can be found when we slip ourselves into the purpose, passion and power God has given us.

Paul wrote, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (Ephesians 1:11-12, MSG).

When we say yes to Christ, we say yes to purpose because we discover what we are living for. We say yes to passion because we recognize who we are, and we say yes to power because we understand the kingdom of God is not based on talk but on power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

Cinderella was the only one who could wear the glass slipper.

You’re the only one who can walk in your shoes.

ABOUT


Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, the author of the devotional book, The ABC's of Who God Says I Am, resides in Central New York with her husband, Pat. You can connect with Kolleen at as she pursues God’s heartbeat to change our identity—one letter at a time. 
www.speakkolleen.com

Friday, September 29, 2017

Improve Marriage with Reading

One Proposal for An Improved Marriage
by Lori Lipsky

For the first time in our marriage, we decided to read a book at the same time so we could discuss it together. Credit for the idea goes to my husband, but I was excited about the plan and in total agreement with our book choice.

The Brothers KaramazovMy husband had once asked a well-read acquaintance we both respect to recommend several books that had been most influential in his life. One of the authors this man mentioned was Dostoevsky. We decided to choose Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. I’m a bit ashamed to admit what happened next.

I could make excuses, but the quick truth is my husband read the book right away and then patiently waited for years for me to complete it. I started in several times but got bogged down in the early pages by the long Russian names. Prior to this I had read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and some Chekhov stories so I’m not sure why I struggled. I guess I allowed myself to be distracted by life and by other books, and I put off the Dostoevsky. As I look back, I regret not making The Brothers Karamazov more of a priority. I eventually purchased an audio copy of the book and completed the novel.
After I finished listening to the book, we shared our impressions with one another. Remarkably, my husband remembered details of the book quite well. Since then, we’ve read or listened to dozens of books and discussed them. We have different tastes, but our interests intersect with authors like David McCullough, Louise Penny, and David Baldacci. When it’s time to order another Audible book, we’ll sometimes collaborate to choose a selection we agree on so we can both listen on our own, but then have the book in our shared reading history.

Our book talk is informal and brief, but it’s a treat to talk books with my husband. We’ve found discussing books often sparks interesting conversation. Good books teach me more about who I am, but each new book we share helps me learn more about my spouse, too. We’re learning together as a couple. We discuss dreams and ideas. Books get us talking, and in marriage, communication is a good thing.

About the Author:
Lori Lipsky is a writer and teacher. Her poetry and short fiction pieces have appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines. She lives in Waunakee, Wisconsin with her husband, where she teaches piano at a private music school. You can find her at on Twitter @LoriSLipsky