Monday, November 28, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Nov 28

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It's a frosty morning in Western Mass. Winter is definitely coming sooner than I would like.

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was great. We got a chance to bring my father-in-law to our place for a few hours, which was a nice treat. By the end of the evening he was definitely ready to go back to the nursing home.

The hubby is on his way to Las Vegas this week for a conference, so he was kind enough to drag the big tree up here. My goal is to have the house decorated for Christmas before he returns on Saturday. Not sure if that's possible, but I will give it a shot.

As for books....

In her fifteen years of teaching, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett has found that the biggest stumbling block for aspiring writers (especially women) is not fear of the blank page but frustration with the lack of time. What woman doesn't have too much to do and too little time? Finding an hour free of work, children, or obligations can seem impossible.

But anyone can find fifteen minutes, whether you're sitting in traffic, waiting at a child's soccer practice, or watching the coffee drip. DeMarco-Barrett has created a practical, inspirational guide for fitting serious writing into those stolen moments. She offers writing exercises and techniques for generating ideas, as well as pragmatic advice from the well-known authors who appear on her radio show. With fifteen minutes a day, she can help you to ignite your pen and become the writer you have always wanted to be.

Found this one at the library. With all the excitement of my book launch, I was reminded how much I miss writing. My goal for 2017 is to write a little something each week.

Have you set any goals for 2017 yet?

That's it from this neck of the woods. Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving VBT Starts Dec 5!


Pump Up Your Book is coordinating a virtual book tour for my new release, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving (Guardian Angel Publishing). Book reviews, guest posts, and interviews will fill this tour that runs from December 5 through 16. Check out my tour schedule below!

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 6 – Book Featured at As the Page Turns
Thursday, December 8 – Book Review at The Blended Blog
Thursday, December 8 – Interview at Literarily Speaking
Monday, December 12 – Interview at My Bookish Pleasures
Monday, December 12 – Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Tuesday, December 13 – Interview at I’m Shelf-ish
Tuesday, December 13 – Book Featured at A Title Wave
Wednesday, December 14 – Interview at The Review From Here
Wednesday, December 14 – Book Feature at Book Cover Junkie
Thursday, December 15 – Book Review at 3 Partners in Shopping
Thursday, December 15 – Interview at The Literary Nook
Friday, December 16 –Book Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Nov 21

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

We had some snow showers today, so I figured it was time to switch to a snowy mailbox photo. I really hope we don't get a lot of snow over the next two weeks because the snowblower is in the shop getting tuned up.

Things are starting to slow down in the real estate world as we get closer to the holidays. It happens every year and I can't say I am sorry for it. I've worked very hard and I'm ready for a short break. This is also the week of our annual Christmas bazaar and tag sale at church, so I need to spend some time helping with preparations.

Last week was exciting. The mailman delivered a box and inside was copies of my new book.

Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving is the story of ten-year-old Macy, who uses some quick thinking to save dinner when the dog swipes the turkey off the table. 

Also in my mailbox was the second book by Tim and Debbie Bishop, Wheels of Wisdom. The Bishops are cyclists who have discovered wisdom and truth along their journeys. I reviewed their first book, so I am glad they thought of me with this new one. 

Looking for more out of life?

After three tours totaling over 10,000 miles, Tim and Debbie Bishop have discovered wisdom and truth from the seat of a bicycle. In Wheels of Wisdom, the authors share the life lessons they learned on the open road.

When you're looking for enlightenment, you can find it almost anywhere, be it from watching two herons saunter across a Florida road, pedaling to a dead-end in a Kentucky tobacco field, or observing eagles flying overhead in Montana. In each lesson of this book, you'll find practical insights, inspiration, and encouragement--along with personal reflection questions that will help you:

- Adopt the right mind-set
- Conquer fear, worry, and inaction
- Overcome obstacles
- Relish life's journey

Certain principles are universal whether you are bicycling across America or chasing your own lifelong dream.

You may be continuing your education, connecting with new people, looking to change jobs, or simply wondering about your future. Wherever you are in life, Wheels of Wisdom will give you a fresh perspective and new motivation for your own adventure. Not only will you encounter meaningful truth as you travel vicariously to new places and meet new people, you'll also experience some genuine "God moments" and have some fun on the way.

So, pack up your dreams and passions and come along for the ride. It's time to learn on the open road!

I want to take a moment to wish all of you a blessed Thanksgiving. May you and your loved ones be safe as you travel this holiday weekend. Anyone braving Black Friday shopping? I think I'll wait for Cyber Monday.

Hope you all have a great week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Review: The Journal Project by Susan Lerner

Have you ever struggled to recall a funny family story? Have you ever lost a loved one and thought: I wish I could talk to him one last time. There is so much I would askThe Journal Project: Capturing the Magic of Family Life Through Stories by Susan Lerner might just be the encouragement you need to get started.

In this booklet, Lerner shares the benefits of writing down ordinary life events, how stories differ from photos and videos, the writing process and more. The reality is that we all probably wish we captured more memories of our children growing up, our loved ones before they passed, and even thoughts about ourselves. If you've been contemplating starting a journal or have a family member or friend wishing to start one, The Journal Project will help put things in motion.

What I really enjoy about this book is that it provides a good amount of information, but is easily read in one sitting. I've put it on the reference shelf in my office to refer to later because there are some neat resources at the end of the book.

Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: on the edge books (October 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0975285394
ISBN-13: 978-0975285398

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Nov 14

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a nice week. We're winding down to the end of my six-week coaching program. It's been a very motivating series that I plan to use to make 2017 my best year in real estate yet.

Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving should be listed for sale on the Guardian Angel Publishing website this week. I'm so excited!

As for book arrivals, I ordered four books from one of my favorite authors because I've missed the last two installments from both of her popular series Three have already shown up and one will arrive on Wednesday.

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

This is the 15th book in the series. I am waiting for the 14th one to arrive on Wednesday so I can read that first.

In the eleventh novel in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, College student Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.

In the 12th Rocky Bluff P. D. novel…. A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Officer Milligan’s teenage daughter has a problem.

Both of these series are the perfect blend of career and personal lives. I can't wait to catch up.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bargain E-Book: The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season. Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone, broken, and distrustful.

Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court. Though she recognizes the man from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks—until the evening of December 24—he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. He draws up a contract with four rules:

1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day

The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea. As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart. But just as she begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens to unravel the emerging relationship. But she might not be the only one with secrets.

File Size: 1889 KB
Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 18, 2014)
Publication Date: November 18, 2014
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English

Purchase here for only $1.99!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

So Glad That's Over

Doesn't it seem like the 2016 election cycle lasted forever? Like many national elections, it was one crazy ride. In the end, we accept the hand we are dealt...just like always. (Well, some people protest and burn things:
In the age of social media that means we are "treated" in the days following the election with tweets, snapchats, Facebook and Instagram posts expressing glee or outrage over our president-elect. That's one of the downsides to having technology that allows us to post our innermost thoughts without the benefit of anyone being present to hear your tone of voice or see your facial expressions...or without fear of repercussions.

Our country seems more divided than ever. With every passing year the chasm widens and it's sad to witness. During his victory speech, Donald Trump stated it is time for us to "come together as one united people." One of the topics I've discussed with the kids throughout these past several months is how important it is for us to support "human" rights and for us to strive to make things better for everyone. Too often nowadays there is a focus on identifying yourself. For so long our country has frowned upon stereotypes, and yet, now we are encouraging our young people to categorize themselves.


Aren't we all unique individuals? From the moment of conception, isn't it true that no one will physically or emotionally be the same as anyone else? Should whether we are gay or straight, black or white, male or female ever define us?

I want a better country and world not just for my children and grandchildren, but for every person. I want a world where we are servants to each other; where we help each other and celebrate our differences rather than get into heated online debates that accomplish nothing. I want a country where the government serves all its people.

In the weeks and months ahead, I pray for a more positive online message. I'm tired of people bashing one another over ideals. I'm tired of the vulgarity of the discussions. We are a country of free speech, but can't we be more honorable and kind in how we exercise that freedom?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Nov 7

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I just realized that before too long I'll be using the winter mailbox photo for these posts. In October we had our first snow of the season. A bit early for my taste, but the first snow is always magical.

Life has been busy. I entered into a six-week coaching program for my real estate business. There are two weeks left and it's definitely helped me get focused and prepared for 2017.

I'm also super excited that my next book, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, is off to the printer soon. The talented Marina Movshina provided the artwork for my third book. Check out ths cover spread.

Pump Up Your Book will be handling the online book tour. I'll let you know when the tour page goes live. I would be so grateful if some of you would consider reviewing this book at your blogs. 

The big news around here is that we are now blessed to be the parents of two teenage girls.

How our Lil' Princess went from this....

to this...

so quickly, is amazing.

Where has the time gone?

Lil' Diva and Lil' Princess (2004)

Lil' Diva and Lil' Princess (2016)

As far as books go, I haven't requested as many as I used to because my reading time is so limited these days. I reviewed Christmas at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard and Joshua's Mission by Vannetta Chapman in October.

Susan Lerner sent me a copy of her short non-fiction book, The Journal Project, which I am reading right now.

Everyone loves a great story and tales of family life have a special resonance. Keeping a journal of family stories will bring you joy, benefit your children, and leave an invaluable record of your unique family for future generations.

No one can keep a journal for you; it has to come from you, in your own voice. But it is not difficult to do.

This book discusses why you should keep a record of family stories, ways to incorporate journaling into your routine, and how and where to journal. It will encourage you to take the first step and the rest will follow.

We are all storytellers. Keep a record of your stories. You will be glad that you did.

Hank, a former client of mine, sent me this boxed set.

The goal of self-publishing a book is to produce a quality book package to hold your content. Despite what you read on the internet, self-publishing isn’t easy. There is a lot involved in understanding the self-publishing process and it is quite easy to self-publish a book the wrong way.

This boxed set of ebooks explains the self-publishing process and much more.

There are four ebooks in the set.

* Self-publishing a Book: describes a process to get a book published.
* Marketing Plans for Self-published Books: covers basic book marketing strategy and tactics.
* Manage Your Self-publishing Project: Uses a project management approach to graphically illustrate the dual, simultaneous processes of publishing and marketing your book.
* Business Basics for Authors: provides an understanding of the business issues facing new authors.
The boxed set provides the new author with a solid grounding in the self-publishing process and associated issues.

Yet another potential problem is this. The internet swarms with scam artists searching for new authors who may not have a complete understanding of the ins-and-outs of publishing and marketing. The scammers are after the author’s money and use slick websites to mislead the author. The more the new author knows about publishing and marketing, the less likely he is to fall prey to these scam artists.

The Complete Self-publishing Guide boxed set is much less expensive than buying the four books individually.

My oldest sister and I attended a local production of Little Women the Musical. That prompted my renewed interest in Little Women and Louisa May Alcott, so I grabbed this audio book from the library when I saw it.

Since its release nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women has been a mainstay in American literature, while passionate Jo March and her calm, beloved "Marmee" have shaped generations of young women. Biographers have consistently credited her father, Bronson Alcott, for Louisa's professional success, assuming that this outspoken idealist was the source of her progressive thinking and remarkable independence.

But in this riveting dual biography, Eve LaPlante explodes those myths, drawing on unknown and unexplored letters and journals to show that Louisa's "Marmee," Abigail May Alcott, was in fact the intellectual and emotional center of her daughter's world. It was Abigail who urged Louisa to write, who inspired many of her stories, and who gave her the support and courage she needed to pursue her unconventional path. Abigail, long dismissed as a quiet, self-effacing companion to her famous husband and daughter, is revealed here as a politically active feminist firebrand, a fascinating thinker in her own right. Examining family papers, archival documents, and diaries thought to have been destroyed, LaPlante paints an exquisitely moving and utterly convincing portrait of a woman decades ahead of her time—and the fiercely independent daughter who was both inspired and restricted by her mother's dreams of freedom.

A story guaranteed to turn all previous scholarship on its head, Marmee and Louisa is a gorgeously written and deeply felt biography of two extraordinary women as well as a key to our understanding of Louisa May Alcott's life and work.

I also downloaded some Kindle freebies over the last few weeks.

That's it for me this week. I hope the mail carrier was good to you. Enjoy your week.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Musical Playbook Review: The Real Star of Bethlehem by Dixie Phillips, Sharon Phillips, Lucy Robbins, & Leslie Trettin


Looking for a new Christmas musical to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas? Pick up a copy of The Real Star of Bethlehem by Dixie Phillips, Sharon Phillips, Lucy Robbins, and Leslie Trettin.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to be in children's ministry enjoy preparing special holiday events for our students as much as family and friends enjoy seeing the children perform. In The Real Star of Bethlehem, when the stars learn a star will be born, they begin competing for their chance in the spotlight. As they are "enlightened" they discover the real star is Jesus.

The Real Star of Bethlehem is a unique and fun way to share the Christmas story. A blend of historical and fictional characters come together in this lively musical that kids will love being a part of. With rhyming shepherds, stars with very human attributes, and a coffee-drinking owl, the authors have created a musical that will capture your heart. You can also pick up a copy of the music CD with tracks of the four songs from the play.

Churches, Christian schools, and families will want to use The Real Star of Bethlehem as a way to focus hearts and minds on the precious gift of our Savior.

A Christmas Musical
Category: Angelic Harmony
Author: Dixie Phillips, Sharon Phillips, Lucy Robbins, and Leslie Trettin
Playbook ISBN: 9781616337308 1616337303
eBook ISBN: 9781616337315 1616337311
Music CD ISBN: 9781616337322 161633732X

I received a free digital copy of this playbook and a track from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.