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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Book Review: WALTZING MATILDA

Christmas is the top holiday of the year. It's a time when families get together, parties are planned, and there are cookies--lots and lots of cookies. So here's another book from Pelican Book Group's Christmas Holiday Extravaganza that you don't want to miss. This one is set in England. It's WALTZING MATILDA, by Clare Revell. It's available for pre-order now and will be released on November 20, 2019. Check out the page at Amazon: Waltzing Matilda by Clare Revell

My rating on this book is 💖💖💖💖💖.


Waltzing Matilda caught my interest right away. Beleaguered Councillor Tilly is near her wit’s end when a fire destroys the venue for the town’s famous Christmas ball. With only four days left, she searches for a suitable replacement venue but there are no places to be had except for Addington Hall. However, Leo, who is a virtual recluse, won’t even speak to Tilly on the phone. Refusing to give up, she drives to the hall. A horrendous storm comes to town, which ruins Tilly’s apartment, her car, and the grand ballroom which could have been used for the ball. Tilly is stuck at Addington Hall with Leo, his formidable aunt, and his sister. While Tilly may not be formidable, she is practical and sensible and offers her wise advice to Leo. She also makes great biscuits—and the recipe is at the end of the book. A very enjoyable romance and well worth reading.

Check out more books from the Christmas Holiday Extravaganza at Amazon!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Book Review: SUGAR COOKIES & STREET LAMPS

Christmas is coming and plenty of holiday stories are on the way, too. It's almost time for Pelican Book Group's annual Christmas Holiday Extravaganza. I'm doing my best to keep up with this year's offerings, which is a great way to get into the spirit of the season. The first book I read was SUGAR COOKIES & STREET LAMPS by Susan M. Baganz. It's available for pre-order right now and will be released on November 20, 2019 at SUGAR COOKIES & STREET LAMPS, by Susan M. Baganz


I give this book 💖💖💖💖💖. 

This grace-filled romance about an event planner and the man who hires her was a delicious treat. The plot centered on whether Noelle, a non-believer, will accept the great gift of faith. The Christmas event she takes on is a huge job—the biggest one she’s ever tackled. She’s apprehensive, but realizes it could be the stepping stone to better things. Rudy, who hired her, is willing to help out, but he is concerned about her eternal salvation. Even more so, because he likes her. As their relationship proceeds forward, it is as sweet as the recipe for sugar cookies at the end of the story. Don’t miss this gentle reminder about the reason for the season.

Be sure to check out the other books coming out in the Christmas Holiday Extravaganza at Amazon.





Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Guest Post: Carol James with THE UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS GIFT

This year Pelican Book Group is having another Christmas Holiday Extravaganza featuring sweet, short Christmas stories that are just right for warming your holidays no matter what the weather is like outside. I'll be featuring some of the authors of those stories on this blog. Today's special guest is Carol James.


     Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in Lilburn, Georgia, a small town outside of Atlanta, with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.
      Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she'd been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.
      Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been a number one best seller on Amazon. Her second novel, The Waiting, and her Christmas novellas, Mary’s Christmas Surprise and The Unexpected Christmas Gift are currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Pelican Book Group website. Her newest novel, Season of Hope, will be available in the summer of 2020.  
     Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

What's the story about?

     Eli Walker is a fun-loving entrepreneur. His job is to advise and restructure struggling companies. Holly's mission is to save the company she works for by finding new customers at a trade show in Dusseldorf.
     But when she fulfills her promise to her boss to visit the cathedral in Cologne, her quest changes.
     Filled with twinkling lights and snowflakes, Christmas markets and a romantic Ferris wheel, Eli and Holly's time together in Germany is an unexpected gift. But when they return home, Eli must make a decision that could cost him what he wants most in life…Holly.

Here's a short excerpt:

     The Ferris wheel stopped at its apex. Holly turned back toward Eli, but he was facing the market, his back to her.
            “Holly, come see.”
            She stepped across the pod to the side that overlooked the market and slipped into the seat beside him. 
            “It looks like a…galaxy.” 
            He was right. Lights draping from the giant, central tree out to the edges of the market were woven together with masses of twinkling lights strung from the roofs of the Old Town buildings and blanketing the entire market with a golden glow. She scooted closer and rested her head on his shoulder. “Thank you.”
            “Thank you for coming.”
            “That’s not what I meant. The train. The prayer. Thank you.”
            He wrapped an arm around her and drew her closer. “I’d be honored to pray for you any place, any time.” He placed his free hand under her chin and lifted her face toward his. “About anything.”
            The butterflies from the other day returned in full force. His coffee eyes looked deep into her soul. He was going to kiss her. A part of her wanted to let him. But she hardly knew him. Yet what she knew, she loved. 
            He bent nearer. She leaned in and closed her eyes. His breath was warm on her lips. 
            She couldn’t do it. Chad. What about Chad? He’d been her first, last, her only love. Forgetting him, replacing him would be so unfair. Her eyes filled as she drew away. All she could manage was a whisper. “Eli, no. I can’t. I can’t.”

THE UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS GIFT is already available for pre-order and will be released on November 20, 2019. Click on the link below the book cover for more information. Check out Carol James's other fine books, too. 

The Unexpected Christmas Gift
Mary's Christmas Surprise

The Waiting





Rescuing Faith

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Make the World More Beautiful



One of the best homilies I ever heard at Mass was given by Father Griswold at St. Mary's church in Colts Neck, N.J. on the Sunday after the horrible shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. Instead of standing at the pulpit, Father Griswold asked all the children to come up to the front and sit around him. 

Then he read a children's picture book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. 

The children listened attentively to the beautiful story and a sense of calm fell over everyone. As an early childhood educator, I have always appreciated picture books for their simple, but focused messages. In the wake of the Columbine tragedy, the story of Miss Rumphius transcended the horror and offered a positive path. 

Since Columbine, our country has gone through too many mass shootings. Still, like Miss Rumphius in the story, all of us can do something to make the world more beautiful. We just have to give it some thought. 


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Skating and Me

That's me on the frozen lake behind the house where I grew up. I loved to ice skate. I used to go backward and twirl around until I was dizzy. However, I never jumped. I never took lessons. I just watched other people and then I would imitate their moves. Maybe if an Olympic ice skating star lived in the neighborhood, I could have been a better skater. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait for the lake to freeze over so I could tie on my skates and glide smoothly around the ice as I hummed "The Skater's Waltz."

My mother made platters of homemade doughnuts for the entire neighborhood as well as homemade hot chocolate. My father put a floodlight on the back of the house and directed the beam of light on the ice so we could skate in the long, dark winter evenings. Everyone skated. Everyone was outdoors in the cold weather. The internet had not been invented yet--nor had cable TV come about. We had time to play outdoors--after we finished our homework and our chores.

I grew up, got married and moved twelve miles away from home. I still loved skating. Whenever the lake froze over, I packed up the kids and went to my parents' house to skate. I am guessing I'm in my late thirties in the photo above. (No date on the back of the picture, but I remember the coat.) My daughters went skating, too. Hubby went with us but he never liked it. He was afraid he would fall.

I fell millions of times. I probably fell at least once every time I was out on the ice. It never bothered me--until several years ago when the doctor told me I have osteopenia, the precursor of osteoporsis. Then I also wound up with wonky knees. No fun!

So now I don't skate because I'm afraid I'll fall and break a bone, which is really sad. But I do have memories and I can still hum "The Skater's Waltz," so if I close my eyes I can pretend I'm twirling around on the ice.

It's also the reason I decided to write Clear as Ice. The heroine in the book was once an Olympic skater. The setting is that little lake back home where sometimes the ice freezes so clear you can see the turtles resting in suspended animation beneath the ice. It's rather magical--or at least, I think so.


Pre-Order it now at Amazon!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pre-order CLEAR AS ICE!


CLEAR AS ICE, which will be released on November 20, 2019, can now be pre-ordered! Warm your holiday season with this wintry tale. Go to https://www.amazon.com/Clear-Ice-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B07YSXW85Q/

Read about it below!

When Ethan's prayers for his mother's life go unanswered, he abandons his faith, tossing it out with his mother's Christmas ornaments. The loss of his hope leaves him empty and he begins to shy away from relationships, but when his dog Rufus, a rescue from a shelter, develops a fondness for a woman skating on the frozen lake behind his house, he's annoyed. Not only does he resent her using his pond, he doesn't understand her fear of dogs. 
Haylie, once an Olympic figure skater, is afraid of more than just Ethan's dog. She lives in constant fear due to threats from a stalker, but one day Ethan's dog chases the danger away, so Haylie decides to try to lose her fear of dogs...But then the stalker's plans expand to include revenge toward Ethan as well. If they are to remain safe and live to see a happily-ever-after, Haylie and Ethan must put aside differences and learn to trust each other. This Christmas season promises to be the most challenging and the most meaningful of their lives.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Playing with GIFs


My iPad decided it needed an update. It does that sort of thing on a regular basis. One of the lovely benefits that came along with the update was a simple shortcut to make a gif. This is fun and useful. I can now easily put together elaborate gifs to help in advertising my books. After all, it seems moving images are best at capturing people’s attention. But for now I decided to upload some of my short illustrated Scripture quotes. I take many photos, but every once in a while I get lucky and wind up with a photo featuring a good amount of fantastic sky or a wide expanse of wonderful water. To me, pictures like that beg for a quote. 

I have a collection of these illustrated Bible quotes at my Pinterest page. You can see all of them at https://pin.it/6cwhwyoik2xt6k — along with some I saved from other folks’ collections. Check them out!