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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

That Was Then This is Now with Paulette Harper

Hello. I’m Excited. This is one of my stops for the Virtual Book Tour That Was Then, This Is Now, This Broken Vessel Restored. This virtual book tour is organized by Write Now Literary Book Tours. This tour runs September 28, 2017.  

Follow the tour here.  
Book your own tour here WNL

Genre: Christian Non Fiction
Kindle ASIN: B073VCY1L5

About the Author

 In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole and Secret Places Revealed, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, The Sacramento Observer and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.
Paulette resides in Northern California.

                     About The Book



If you've recently asked yourself these questions, Paulette Harper's That Was Then, This is Now has the answers. Struggling to recover from a broken marriage and disappointed dreams, Paulette Harper gropes for meaning and understanding. And through her searching, God reveals Himself to her in ways she never before imagined possible. By sharing her struggles with transparency, she illustrates how a heart attitude of surrender allows God to use a broken vessel for His ultimate plans of glory.

That Was Then, This is Now, minsters to hurting hearts in every season in life, reminding them that God restores shattered lives, intent on using them for His sovereign purposes.

Purchase Links
Amazon paperback:
Connect Socially
Amazon author page:

Tour hosted by Write Now Literacy

Read an excerpt:

Destiny and Purpose
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, and then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. Psalms 139:13 (MG)

Destiny is the inevitable or necessary succession of events. What is necessary happens to any person or thing. Purpose is something one intends to get or do; the object in which something exits.

“You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit–by–bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something” (Psalms 139:15, MSG). Everything about you God already knows every hair on your head, the shape of your body, your personality, your character, and your habits (good and bad). He knows every detail about you. You and I are in the mind of God. “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love” (Ephesians 1:4, MSG).

Even though you might not like certain parts of your makeup, God did not make a mistake. You are not an accident, nor did your parents “slip” when it came to you. Everything that has happened to us, pleasant and unpleasant, has shaped us to be the people we are today. He will use life’s circumstances to redefine your character and bring necessary changes to your person. No matter what life has thrown our way, what blows have come, what road we have taken, the plan of God will always remain. The purpose for which you were created will stand. Destiny is within us. “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day” (Psalms 139:16, MSG).
You must find out why God created you and for what purpose. No one other than God can tell you why you were created. He knows your destiny because He is the one who designed and formed you. Some of us were called into ministry, appointed to be pastors; some were called to be presidents, owners of corporations, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and professional athletes. Whatever the vocation you are called into, you and only you can fulfill your God–given destiny. Once you realize what your purpose is, that will motivate you to continue striving in spite of the setbacks in life.

God is expecting you to finish your assignment no matter what you face, what odds are against you, what valley you are in, how high the mountain you think you can’t climb. You are required by God to rely on Him and depend and trust that everything is going to work out. Do not allow what you have experienced in life to reposition you out of the destiny in which you were created. Be determined, no matter what befalls you, to stay on course with the purposes of God. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NKJV).

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mattie's Choice book review with Gay Lewis

Mattie's Choice

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Smashwords

About the Book:
It's 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse's abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife--the vivacious Ella--Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

A brief interview with the author

Gay, tell us what you love about this book.
I love the characters of Mattie and Ella. Mattie is naïve and blossoms as the book progresses. She was reared with wealth, but she wasn’t pampered. Her mother and father expected her to learn how to manage a household. She’s a talented cook and seamstress. Her problem? Well, she’s stubborn—almost to a fault. Her pride kept her from attempting a reconciliation with her father after she eloped against his wishes. Ella is eight years older than Mattie, and she’s much more sophisticated. Her parents died when she was young, but growing up, she too had an excellent work ethic. After the death of Ella’s parents, her aunt and uncle took her into their home in Galveston. She became a nurse, married and moved to Oklahoma with her husband. Her maturity and education gave her breaks that Mattie never had. She became Mattie’s mentor. Through her friendship, Mattie grew self-confidence. This book celebrates the life-long friendship of these two women.

Share two things you learned, either about the era, events, or publication process during the writing of this book.
Oh my! I learned so many. I’d known Frank Phillips created the oil company, Phillips 66, but I didn’t know he had also owned a bank in Bartlesville, OK. Phillip’s and Conoco merged into ConocoPhillips and are one company today. I love seeing how times and events evolve. I was surprised to learn Will Rogers raised $30,000 in Tulsa for the Red Cross during the Great Depression. People were starving, and these funds bought wheat to disperse to the hungry as well as to defray medical costs in hospitals. During the Great Depression, Oklahoma also experienced the Dust Bowl. Hospitals were overcrowded with starving, asthmatic folks. This money brought relief to them.

What did I learn about the publication process? I learned more than I can shake a stick at. I suppose the hardest lesson was how to present a controversial subject in Christian literature. Most people don’t realize that each genre has a formula with certain rules. For instance: no curse words in one, but that’s not difficult for me. No sex, and that’s easy to eliminate, but subjects such as divorce? Well, that horse has a different color. Divorce is red with horns. In other words, divorce is frowned upon in Christian novels. So is domestic violence.

Introduce us to the toughest character to write.
The toughest character to write was Mattie’s husband, Jesse Colby. I wanted to show he had a good side as well as the bad one. Was he a good person acting bad, or a bad person acting good?  He provided well, but he had skewed ideas of marriage and how to conduct himself as the “head of the house.” I wanted people to dislike him, but to also find a few qualities to admire. Maybe feel sorry for him a little even though they disliked him. We are all flawed, some more than others, and Jesse was definitely flawed. I wanted to show he loved Mattie, but he didn’t know how to express it. His warped ideas kept him from being the husband she wanted him to be as well as the one he wanted to be.
Lisa: I think you did that--but it was still hard to find anything redeeming about him.

You had a lot of ups and downs during the publication of this story. Would you like to share one or two of those moments and how you’re plunging through the rapids?
Yes!  Thanks for asking. Where do I begin? This book went through major transitions. It took me twelve years to write, two publishers and several editors. Prism, my original publisher, merged with Pelican Book Group while this book was under contract. The transition took extra time. And then there’s this: Editors don’t always agree with writers. Sigh. (hangs head in despair) Editors like to delete scenes that writers deem important. That happened in my case. At one point, I became exasperated—to the point of not caring if this ever book saw the light of day. I’m happy to say it did, but not without a lot of frustration on my part. And I know I caused consternation to those who worked with me too!
Lisa: It's hard to trust others with our visions - especially when you've had it so long.

Mattie’s Choice is a departure from Sarah the Love Angel. What led you to this story?
I admired my mother-in-law and my husband’s aunt. They are the inspirations to Mattie’s Choice. My mother-in-law lived with a controlling husband. He never physically hurt her, but he did emotionally. He refused to allow her to see family and wanted her pregnant.  This strong woman had fourteen pregnancies. Two miscarriages and one stillborn. If he hadn’t died when my husband was a child, I guess she would’ve had more children. He was a difficult husband, but she reared eleven children to become successful, God-fearing adults. She stayed positive during hard times. She did what I couldn’t do. I revered her and believe God blessed her with tenacity and determination. She stayed true to her convictions when most of us would have thrown in the towel.

What’s next for you?
I have the sequel written to Mattie’s Choice. It’s going by the title Rebecca’s Family Secrets. Rebecca was one of Mattie’s children. She came by way of adoption. This story is a romance and of course the mystery is the secret.  I’m in the process of fine-tuning it. This is a Christian story with no divorce or violence in it.
Lisa: I look forward to reading it. I was curious about her.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Regency Romance right now. This is a time frame I never plan to write in.
Lisa: It's always good to read outside of our field. Enjoy!

About the author:
Gay N. Lewis

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.
For more information, please go to http ://
Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review Kimberly Miller Picking Daisy

Picking Daisy by Kimberly M.  Miller

Picking Daisy
Kimberly Miller

Christian Romance
Prism Book Group, Pelican Ventures LLC
September 2017

Print $15.99
Ebook $4.99
Buy on Amazon

About the Book
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?

My Review
A most worthy debut by Kimberly Miller. The story of a man who can’t grow up but has promise and a woman broken and abandoned by illusions of love was such an enjoyable read. I love it when I can invest in characters and want to hug them or smack them. Robby was so redeemable with the core of people who believe in him and real that I cheered for him from the start, seeing him through the eyes of his Uncle Nick, even though I wanted to dislike him and his immense ego. But contrasting him with Daisy of the title, a woman who hid behind a wheelchair while healing from life, made me realize that we should be proud and comfortable with who we are, not settle for but graciously accept the things we cannot change and come to a understanding with the aspects of ourselves that do need to be changed.

Told from both perspectives of the hero and heroine, the formula of romance, meeting head-on, and the wonderful conflict not of person but of morals makes for a refreshing twist in the standard tried and true genre. People you root for, a dilemma that could go several ways, too-good-to-be-true vicarious lifestyle of the rich and famous add up to one delightful take-me-away romantic read. While Daisy is obviously a paraplegic, there are no gruesome details about what it’s like to have to take care of a wheelchair-bound person. Daisy was strong and at ease, but there are things that have to happen that I wondered how Robby would deal with, even though he was chair-blind. He didn’t need Daisy to save him, and the author dealt naturally and organically with his faith-growth. Daisy, however, needed someone like him to force her out of her pity-party, and the two of them together were a glorious fit.

The side characters—Uncle Nick who was the instigation for the romance and remained largely out of the picture, Daisy’s friends, and Roby’s brother, and his bodyguard—were wonderful additions. I’m normally not a huge fan of companion stories, but would enjoy reading stories about any of these people. They were integral, integrated without being overbearing, and fleshed enough to hold the story together.

Wonderful job. I enjoyed the story thoroughly and recommend Picking Daisy for those who like slightly edgy but clean contemporary romance with characters who happily inhabit your heart and mind for a while.

Kimberly M. Miller
About the Author
Kimberly Miller enjoys the seasonal weather in Pennsylvania with her husband, two daughters, and one ornery cat. She teaches writing and film courses, and in her spare time loves reading, watching movies, making jewelry, drinking coffee and eating one of God’s amazing gifts—chocolate and peanut butter.

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