Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Free for Kindle: 7 Days to a Byline That Pays by Michael Ray Smith

This book is your secret weapon to writing articles and blogs that pay.

7 Days to a Byline that Pays explains how to tell stories that audiences will read and editors will pay you to write. Delivered in a breezy and compact manner, this book will help you work fast, smart, and get paid for your work.

"I've worked with writers and editors across the country to compress the salient points in an easy-to-grasp approach that you can tackle," says author, Michael Ray Smith. "I'm convinced you can accomplish your goal of writing a salable article in seven days by using the ideas in this book."

File Size: 1113 KB
Print Length: 244 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (August 31, 2015)
Publication Date: August 31, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Order here!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mailbox Monday - August 29

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.

How is it Monday again already? I swear last week just started.

Soccer practice has started and school begins Wednesday. After Labor Day violin and dance will kick off. It's nice to be back to our regular schedule, but it's hard to leave behind the lazy days of summer.

Not that I've been lazy this summer. I've sold a ton of real estate. If you're curious about the most recent real estate news, please visit me at Busy REALTOR(R) Mom.

Only a couple of free books this week, but they sound like great ones.

Her whole life, Alexia Garcia has been told that she looks just like rock star Kari Kingsley. But being a famous person's doppelganger hasn't turned out to be the teen fantasy you'd expect. People look at Alexia like she must be as ditzy as her counterpart. One day when Alexia's photo filters through the Internet, she's offered a job as Kari's double. This would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime--or at least a way to make some fast cash--but Alexia's mother has always warned her against celebrities. They can't be trusted. They'll use her.

Alexia can't resist the siren call of fame. Who could say no to Hollywood, hot guys, and . . . um, did we mention hot guys already? She flies off to L.A. and gets immersed in a celebrity life. Not only does she have to get used to getting anything she wants, she also romances the hottest lead singer on the charts and finds out that her own father is a singing legend. Through it all, Alexia must stay true to herself, which is hard to do when you are pretending to be somebody else!

This Prince and the Pauper retelling is teen comedy at its best.

An old house + A new computer program =The travel opportunity of a lifetime...to another century.

The People

Abby Thomas is spending the summer in a run-down old house with a bratty pre-teen named Merrideth she is supposed to tutor. Not a dream job. But it does come with perks.

There's John Roberts, a devastatingly attractive neighbor who is almost too wonderful to be real.

And there's the new computer program Beautiful Houses--also too amazing to be real. No one knows how it works, but with it she can rewind and fast-forward the lives of all the people who ever lived in the house, including Charlotte Miles.

In 1858, the house is a train stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. And Charlotte is stuck there serving meals to the passengers, wondering if she'll ever get to have any fun. And then she meets two travelers who change her life forever.

There's James McGuire with whom she falls in love. And there's his boss, a young Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. His debate with political opponent Stephen Douglas catapults him onto the national stage. And it inspires Charlotte to take up the cause of abolition.

The House

A stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. A stop on the Underground Railroad.

Watching the house's history unfold, Abby and Merrideth gain a new perspective on their own lives as time and again they see God's loving hand in the lives of its inhabitants.

What was in your mailbox?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

E-book On Sale This Weekend: An Amish Market by Vannetta Chapman Et al.

Graphic from Vannetta Chapman's Facebook page

Love Birds by Amy Clipston

While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?

A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller

Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market. And every week Ezra stops by to purchase some. Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it—Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary. But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can’t stop her heart from taking over her mind. Could Ezra finally be in the market for love?

Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin

Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn’t the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas. But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn’t think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick. As she soon learns, though, Will’s heart has been broken one too many times. And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.

Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman

Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower. When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it appears as if someone wants to close the mill. Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill, and in the process they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible.

Purchase at:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mailbox Monday - August 22

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.

When you read this, I'll be spending some time with the family in NYC: a short overnight trip before school starts. I'm actually not planning on doing anything real estate related while we are away. Gasp! Can you believe it?

This past Friday, we attended my little brother's wedding. After my mother passed away, my dad remarried, so I have two baby brothers--both much taller than I. Brother Dave has served in the military and currently runs a non-profit organization to help disabled veterans. He got married at The State Room in Albany, NY.

As for reading materials, I haven't wanted to request too many things because I am so far behind. There are two authors, though, whose books I try never to miss: Charlotte Hubbard and Vannetta Chapman. Here's Vannetta's latest:

Sarah Yoder belongs to a Plain community in Oklahoma, but her days are far from simple. Life suddenly gets complicated when a series of tragic events unfold, leaving her in charge of the household.

Alone with her younger siblings, Sarah is exhausted but finally at peace. Then she nearly runs over a small Hispanic boy with her buggy...and somehow finds herself sheltering two more orphans.

Paul Byler moved to Cody's Creek to help his brother in a time of need. But now that Joseph has recovered from his heart attack, Paul's ready for a quiet place of his own. The only problem? His new property lands him next door to the orphaned Yoder family—and a calling from God he can't seem to ignore.

A story of extraordinary grace and love in the face of desperate need, Sarah's Orphans is the third standalone novel in the Plain and Simple Miracles collection by Vannetta Chapman.

What did your mailbox hold this week?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coming Soon: In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett

Excited to learn about this one. I love Carol Burnett. Will you be placing this one on your wish list?

Comedy legend Carol Burnett tells the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.

Who but Carol Burnett herself has the timing, talent, and wit to pull back the curtain on the Emmy-Award winning show that made television history for eleven glorious seasons?

In Such Good Company delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches and antics that made the show legendary, as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. Carol lays it all out for us, from the show’s original conception to its evolution into one of the most beloved primetime programs of its generation.

Written with all the charm and humor fans expect from a masterful entertainer like Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company skillfully highlights the elements that made the show so successful in a competitive period when TV variety shows ruled the air waves. Putting the spotlight on everyone from her talented costars to her amazing guest stars—the most celebrated and popular entertainers of their day—Carol crafts a lively portrait of the talent and creativity that went into every episode.

Here are all the topics readers want to know more about, including:
• how the show almost didn’t air due to the misgivings of certain CBS vice presidents;
• how she discovered and hired Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway;
• anecdotes about guest stars and her close freindships with many of them, including Lucille Ball, Roddy Mcdowell, Jim Nabors, Bernadette Peters, Betty Grable, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, and Betty White;
• the people behind the scenes from Bob Mackie, her costume designer and partner in crime, to the wickedly funny cameraman who became a fixture during the show’s opening Q&A;
• and Carol’s takes on her favorite sketches and the unpredictable moments that took both the cast and viewers by surprise.

This book is Carol’s love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show which won no less than 25 Emmy Awards! Get the best seat in the house as she reminisces about the outrageous tales that made working on the show as much fun as watching it.

In Such Good Company can be pre-ordered here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mailbox Monday - August 15

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, everyone! This is looking to be a great week. I have three closings. Yes, three. Awesome!!!

Not a ton of reading happening around here but, in all fairness, I was a bit tied up last week with work and family.

The Lil' Diva--who is not so little anymore--turned 15 last Thursday. It was a low key birthday with dinner out followed by a small cake at home with presents. A member of our church family also had a surprise birthday party, which we attended.

We are gearing up for school already. Some supplies and clothes have been bought, but I think the bulk of the shopping will occur in a couple of weeks. This coming week we have three days of vacation Bible school.

As for my mailbox, there was only one book; but it's one I was eagerly anticipating.

As the year draws to a close, the brand-new colony of Promise Lodge is thriving, a welcoming community that offers three Amish sisters a fresh start. And as Christmas approaches, gifts big and small are given with love . . .

As Promise Lodge’s first wedding arrives, the evidence of a community building a foundation for the future is a cause for celebration. But the bishop’s narrow-minded wedding sermon doesn’t sit well with the Bender sisters, the town’s courageous founders, especially widowed Mattie Schwartz. She believes marriage and family aren’t the most important of God’s gifts—even if she suspects her tender feelings for Preacher Amos Troyer run deeper than simple friendship.

Amos hasn’t given up hope that stubborn, spirited Mattie will change her mind about taking another husband, but when an accident threatens to change the course of his life forever, he wonders if the Lord has sent him a message. He’ll need faith, hope, and charity to find the right path—and a Christmas blessing to convince Mattie to walk it with him.

What was in your mailbox?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Book Review: Children's Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury with Morag Styles

If you like art history of any kind, you'll want to grab a copy of Children's Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury with Morag Styles.

In this fascinating book published by Laurence King Publishing in 2012, readers explore the history of children's picturebooks from the days of painting on cave walls through to the twenty-first century. It discusses picturebooks as an art form, citing the work of popular artists; it talks about their importance in children's literature; and even touches upon controversial topics in picturebooks.

When first asked to review this book a few years ago, I did so to learn more about my craft. Though I haven't written anything brand new in a while, my first book was a picturebook and I have two more under contract. For this reason, the sections Print and Process and The Children's Publishing Industry were especially interesting to me.

Children's Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling is a resource I'll be holding onto and referring back to as I grow in my craft.

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing (February 8, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 185669738X
ISBN-13: 978-1856697385

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

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Aug 8

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.

This will be a crazy week for me. I'm covering for another agent, have a house inspection and a closing; so I'm not expecting to blog too much.

Over the weekend, we helped a member of our church family celebrate his 60th birthday, had my son and daughter over for supper, and moved some new furniture up to the bonus room--doesn't that last one sound like fun...not.

Only one book last week, but that's good because I need to catch up. Oh, and if any of you can help me find my lost Kindle Fire cord, that would be good. I know it came back from vacation, but where it ended up as we unpacked is a mystery.

Faith, hope, and love remain forever in season in this collection of four richly absorbing novellas set amidst the wonder of an Amish autumn.

Under the Harvest Moon, by Beth Wiseman

When Naomi Dienner is suddenly widowed, she never expects to find love again . . . until she meets Brock Mulligan, an English family friend hired at harvest time. As a sinister presence begins to threaten Naomi, Brock seeks to prove himself trustworthy while struggling with growing feelings for Naomi and her children. Will God open Naomi’s heart—and give Brock his own second chance at love?

Love and Buggy Rides, by Amy Clipston

Janie Lantz is a cashier at Lancaster Souvenirs and Buggy Rides, where Jonathan Stoltfuz is a buggy driver. A frightening accident brings Janie and Jonathan together in a blossoming friendship, yet daunting obstacles stand between them and something deeper. Can love kindle into flames that burn away fear and regret—and lead them to a life together?

Mischief in the Autumn Air, by Vannetta Chapman

When items start going above market value at his auction house, Eli Wittmer is first thrilled, and then puzzled. But when the house is broken into, Eli and his new bookkeeper, Martha Beiler track down a trail of clues. Will they solve the mystery before the fall festival ends—and discover an unexpected new love?

A Quiet Love, by Kathleen Fuller

Dinah Hochstetler, quiet and bookish, longs for marriage but hides in her shyness. Amos Mullett, a simple farmer, knows he’s different but aches for a loving wife. As Dinah and Amos navigate a budding romance, will the power of love—and the blessing of God—be enough to overcome their doubters?

What was in your mailbox?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Honey Orange Chicken Recipe with Melora UMF Maunka Honey

I was contacted by ExportX, who I have purchased products on Amazon from before, to review the Melora UMF 15+ Manuka Honey they sell. One evening when I was looking for something different to make for supper, I came across a chicken recipe on Paleo Foodie Kitchen. It was very simple to make and tasted great.*


1 lb chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp chili sauce
juice from 1 orange (about ½ cup)
fish sauce to taste
green onions, chopped


  • Stir fry chicken pieces in coconut oil over high heat until it starts to brown.
  • Add ginger and garlic, saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Lower heat and add coconut aminos, honey, chili sauce, orange juice and fish sauce.
  • Stir to incorporate everything together and simmer for 8-10 minutes until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked.
I honestly had never given Paleo a try. I heard about it, but didn't know much. I've never cooked with coconut oil before either. It looks like lard but, when heated, it becomes a clear cooking oil. Coconut oil is said to be good for your heart and for weight loss. 

As far as the Maunka Honey goes, it looked nothing like what I buy in the grocery store. It comes in a small jar (8.8 oz.). It's darker and thicker than the honey you buy in a grocery store, which made it easier to measure and add to the recipe. I also tried some right out a jar. What a fabulous flavor and texture. 

According to the product page on Amazon, "Melora UMF Manuka Honey is sustainably harvested from New Zealand's remote Manuka forests. UMF Manuka Honey is renowned worldwide for its "Unique Manuka Factor" (UMF). The UMF grading system appraises natural markers found in Manuka honey and assures purity & quality."

I'll definitely be using this product again. I'll also be searching out more recipes so I have an excuse to us my Melora UMF Maunka Honey more often.

I received a free jar of Melora UMF Maunka Honey from ExportX. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

* I did not use the last two ingredients from the list because they were not on hand when I made this dish.