I do not read every book/author I spotlight or book tour I host!
Readers, Please research and use wisdom before buying

Saturday, March 30, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Jolina Petersheim

Good Morning!

Whew! It's always lovely to go on vacation but it's great to get home too!

Today's guest is new to me and our blog so please welcome Tyndale author, Jolina Petersheim!

Jolina Petersheim is the bestselling author of The Alliance, The Midwife, and The Outcast, which Library Journal called “outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational” in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. That book also became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Tennessean. CBA Retailers + Resources called her second book, The Midwife, “an excellent read [that] will be hard to put down,” and Romantic Times declared, “Petersheim is an amazing new author.” Her third book, The Alliance, was selected as one of Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction titles of 2016. Jolina’s nonfiction writing has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest, and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their two young daughters. Jolina blogs regularly at www.jolinapetersheim.com.

1.    What inspired you to write How the Light Gets In? 
When my firstborn daughter, now six, was a year old, we took a walk in Wisconsin on a cold fall day. Afterward, I envisioned a young mother coming there with almost nothing and how she would survive. Two years later, my husband’s uncle shared a newspaper article with me about a Wisconsin cranberry farmer who used old-fashioned equipment; that was when I knew the twist for the modern retelling of Ruth.

2.    How do you expect the novel to resonate with your audience? What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this story?
How the Light Gets In will resonate with readers who find themselves struggling to maintain a healthy marital relationship in the wake of transition. And what life is exempt from transition? Ruth and Chandler’s journey, of choosing love even when the person they have chosen to marry has changed, will encourage readers to choose love as well.
My utmost dream for this story is to strengthen marriages by offering an intimate look at both sides of that union. Also, being in the throes of young motherhood with three girls under six, I am passionate about encouraging women to pursue their creative gifts, so they can continue pouring back into their spirits, and from this refilling, they can continue to pour out.

3.    What role does faith play in this story? 
At the story’s opening, Ruth and Chandler have spent the past five years so focused on making a temporal difference in the world, their eternal perspectives have become opaque. After Ruth receives news of Chandler’s death, her world is turned upside down, and she understands how desperately she needs faith—the faith she’s neglected—to help her and her daughters survive such loss. Ruth’s heart finds healing while working the cranberry harvest with Elam, her husband’s cousin, who has a simple, steadfast faith that encourages her own.

4.    What lessons or truths do you hope people take away from How the Light Gets In?
I want readers to see that Jesus is the only one who can offer lasting fulfillment and peace. Marital frustration often stems from the fact that husbands and wives expect their spouses to fulfill that longing. But when you both begin to pursue Jesus and understand your identity in him, it releases your spouse from that unattainable expectation, and you can both pull together toward wholeness and joy.

5.    You say this story is both cautionary and redemptive. Can you explain that a bit, without giving too much away?
How the Light Gets In is a cautionary tale because it tells the story of two people who have lost sight of each other in the day-to-day demands of parenthood and obligation. I want readers to see how they might be falling into a similar pattern—for instance, reaching for their smart phones at the end of the day rather than reconnecting with their husband or wife—and inspire them to incorporate simple ways to reconnect hearts. This story is a redemptive one as well because Ruth and Chandler are given a second chance to love each other better. As long as we have breath, I believe we can learn to love each other better. This story challenged me even as I wrote it. At this point in the publishing process, How the Light Gets In challenges me still.

6.    As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about writing this story? 
I wrote How the Light Gets In during a particularly challenging season in our marriage—we had just moved home to Tennessee from Wisconsin, leaving our farm and my husband’s homesteading dreams—and the process of understanding Ruth’s and Chandler’s martial journey helped me have a deeper appreciation for ours. Life isn’t always as linear as we would like, and we have to learn to love each other in the midst of transition, extending grace and empathy when one partner might be feeling that transition at a deeper level, because our time will come, and we will want them to extend grace to us as well.

7.    How do you hope Ruth’s story will encourage readers? 
            I hope Ruth’s story will encourage readers to make their marriages a priority, even during the challenging young parenting years when it’s so hard to have the time and energy to reconnect. Ironically, it’s 6:30 in the morning, and I’m writing this on a plane bound for Colorado for our tenth anniversary trip. It’s been a challenging season while we’re building our house, raising our daughters, and working to eliminate some health issues, and therefore it’s even more necessary for us to get away and find each other again as husband and wife, not just mom and dad.

8.    What is it about Ruth’s story that women will relate to? 

I am passionate about women taking time to pursue creative outlets that pour back into their souls. Our society places a lot of demands on women that can often leave us physically, emotionally, and spiritually parched. I would love if women would read Ruth’s story, of taking time to pursue her artistry even while juggling young motherhood, and find the courage to pursue their artistry as well. Since we are all created in the Artist’s image, is it any wonder that our hearts come most alive while we’re creating? Discover what you love—painting, singing, knitting, writing, baking—and pursue it. You have a gift.

9.    How do you hope this book brings healing and refreshment to marriages?
I hope How the Light Gets In brings healing and refreshment to marriages by helping them see they are worthy of love, just as they are. Insecurity can erect defenses in marriage, but once we’re aware that Jesus loves us where we are, it pushes us toward that love; and that understanding of love helps us love each other perfectly, the way it was meant to be since the beginning of time.

      10.  What is one thing you learned about yourself through writing this book?
Ruth, at the beginning of the story, has these defenses in place to protect her heart. Only once she steps into her identity as a beloved daughter of God can she find healing and wholeness. I didn’t know I had erected defenses around my own heart as well until this novel brought them to light. I am so grateful for the ability to understand my own heart by processing life and love through my characters.

Get your copy of How the Light Gets In at Tyndale or Amazon!

Thanks for joining us for Saturday Spotlight! Hope you'll come again soon.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

#ThursdayThoughts with Diana Rubino!

Good Morning,

Well my vacation to SC & S FL is coming to a close. Should be back home tomorrow afternoon and back to my normal routine.

Today's guest has been in our spotlight and shared thoughts with us before so please welcome Diana back!

FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET Now on Audio with the soothing voice of narrator Nina Price

Read About FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET and how Vita Found Love and Success Against All Odds

It's 1894 on New York's Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. Vita goes from sweatshop laborer to respected bank clerk to reformer, helping elect a mayor to beat the Tammany machine. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption, Vita's father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. As Vita and Tom work together against time and prejudice to clear her brother and father of a murder they didn't commit, they know their love can survive poverty, hatred, and corruption. Vita is based on my great grandmother, Josephine Calabrese, “Josie Red” who left grade school to become a self-made businesswoman and politician, wife and mother.

An Excerpt:

As Vita gathered her soap and towel, Madame Branchard tapped on her door. "You have a gentleman caller, Vita. A policeman."
"Tom?" His name lingered on her lips as she repeated it. She dropped her things and crossed the room.
"No, hon, not him. Another policeman. Theodore something, I think he said."
No. There can't be anything wrong. "Thanks," she whispered,  nudging Madame Branchard aside. She descended the steps, gripping the banister to support her wobbly legs. Stay calm! she warned herself. But of course it was no use; staying calm just wasn't her nature.
“Theodore something” stood before the closed parlor door. He’s a policeman? Tall and hefty, a bold pink shirt peeking out of a buttoned waistcoat and fitted jacket, he looked way out of place against the dainty patterned wallpaper.
He removed his hat. "Miss Caputo." He strained to keep his voice soft as he held out a piece of paper. “I’m police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.”
"Yes?" Her voice shook.
"I have a summons for you, Miss Caputo." He held it out to her. But she stood rooted to that spot.
He stepped closer and she took it from him, unfolding it with icy fingers. Why would she be served with a summons? Was someone arresting her now for something she didn't do?
A shot of anger tore through her at this system, at everything she wanted to change. She flipped it open and saw the word "Summons" in fancy script at the top. Her eyes widened with each sentence as she read. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.”
I hereby order Miss Vita Caputo to enter into holy matrimony with Mr. Thomas McGlory immediately following service of this summons.


New York City’s history always fascinated me—how it became the most powerful hub in the world from a sprawling wilderness in exchange for $24 with Native Americans by the Dutch in 1626.

Growing up in Jersey City, I could see the Statue of Liberty from our living room window if I leaned way over (luckily I didn’t lean too far over). As a child model, I spent many an afternoon on job interviews and modeling assignments in the city, and got hooked on Nedick’s, a fast food chain whose orange drinks were every kid’s dream. Even better than the vanilla egg creams. We never drove to the city—we either took the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train (‘the tube’ in those days) or the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

My great grandmother, Josephine Arnone, “Josie Red” to her friends, because of her abundant head of red hair, was way ahead of her time. Born in 1895 (but it could’ve been sooner, as she was known to lie about her age), she left grade school, became a successful businesswoman and a Jersey City committewoman, as well as a wife and mother of four. She owned apartment buildings, parking garages, a summer home, did a bit of Prohibition-era bootlegging, small-time loan-sharking, and paid cash for everything. When I began outlining From Here to Fourteenth Street, I modeled my heroine, Vita Caputo, after her. Although the story is set in New York the year before Grandma was born, I was able to bring Vita to life by calling on the family legends and stories, all word of mouth, for she never kept a journal.

Vita’s hero Tom McGlory isn’t based on any real person, but I did a lot of reading about Metropolitan Policemen and made sure he was the complete opposite! He’s trustworthy and would never take a bribe or graft. I always liked the name McGlory—then, years after the book first came out, I remembered that was the name of my first car mechanic—Ronnie McGlory.

I completed the book in 1995, and my then-publisher, Domhan Books, published it under the title I Love You Because. The Wild Rose Press picked it up after I gave it many revisions and overhauls. My editor Nan Swanson did a fabulous job making the prose sparkle.


My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. I live on Cape Cod with my husband Chris. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre. Visit me at www.dianarubino.com, www.DianaRubinoAuthor.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor, and on Twitter @DianaLRubino.


Wow, congratulations Diana on your new Audio release of From Here to Fourteenth Street! 
Thanks for joining us friends and please check back on Saturday when we have a new guest in our spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

#TuesdayTreasures with C Hope Clark!

Good Morning!

Please help me welcome C. Hope Clark as she shares some treasures with us....

Why Write Mysteries on a Beach?
By C. Hope Clark

I never realized until I wrote my own mysteries that setting is intensely important when I crack a book’s spine. Upon entering a story, I want to sink into the environment. I mean…on page one, the author needs to acclimate me.

Don’t tell me a small town. . . name it, describe it, let me smell and hear it. Don’t tell me an old house. Let me feel the ghosts of past residents and see their impact on having lived there. Give me the old dusty scent. Make me squint when the sun comes in glaring just right from that window in the corner of the dining room.

So when my publisher asked me to create a new series, and place it in one setting that I loved, it took me seconds to settle on Edisto Beach, my favorite getaway at almost the tippy end of my home state of South Carolina. However, I write mysteries, and this had to be a series. Edisto Beach only has a population of 500 people, and in 16 years, no murders, one rape, and two robberies. A few summer thefts by kids.

But to me, that sounded perfect and helped me sculpt my protagonist. Being from South Carolina, she escaped suffocating, political parents and married a Yankee only to move to Boston where he became a US Marshall and she became a homicide detective. But a criminal she finally nabbed arranged a hit on her husband, leading her to obsess over it. . . and lose her job. Limping home to South Carolina, her father, recognizing her need to be alone, deeded her the family’s vacation cottage at Edisto Beach. She moved for just what a beach is supposed to do. . . soothe and heal. Never wanting to be a law enforcement officer again.

The perfect setup for conflict. A juxtaposition of opposites in so many ways.

Dying on Edisto is the most recent release, book 5 in the Edisto Island Mysteries. In the previous books Callie Morgan evolved to become police chief of the beach, and has spotted and solved numerous crimes that nobody would’ve seen, much less solved, without her skills. They don’t believe in crime on their beach. She does, and pays a hefty price for her efforts.

Enter the Edisto River leading to the ocean, a plantation home renovated into a bed and breakfast, and a dead travel blogger who was bent on ruining the plantation’s reputation before it ever gets off the ground. Dying on Edisto oozes with setting, and one cannot navigate the mystery without drinking the humidity, smelling the restaurant, and feeling the gnats and trickling sweat.

Yeah, this is how I like my stories. Practically three dimensional. Hopefully you do, too.

C. Hope Clark is the award-winning author of the Carolina Slade Mysteries and the Edisto Island Mysteries. During her career with the US Department of Agriculture, she met and married a federal agent-now a private investigator. She plots murder mysteries at their lakeside home in South Carolina, when she isn’t strolling Edisto Beach. 

She founded FundsforWriters.com, selected by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 18 years. Her newsletter reaches 35,000 readers. www.fundsforwriters.com / 
Find our more about her at www.chopeclark.com  

Her latest release is Dying on Edisto, Book 5 of the Edisto Island Mysteries and can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Find out more about the series HERE.  

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back often.

Until next time take care and God bless.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Tom Donnan & One Door Between Us!

Good Morning from Homestead, FL!

Yep been travelling again and for now, visiting National Parks in Florida. Should be headed back toward Louisiana Monday or Tuesday, but today please welcome Tom Donnan back with a peek into his book, One Door Between Us.

Hot off the press, as it is said for new books, One Door Between Us is the Saturday Spotlight. It is more than a love story, it is what happens when Jesus enters into a family and blesses their lives. The story is written about real people in a fictional way. For this family, the supernatural side of our Christian God is displayed time and time again. Because of my experience in Revival, and person experience with God, I allow the reader to visualize what happens behind the veil and into the workings of the spiritual realm.

As an author, I would love to talk about my baby, this book. But then it would ruin it for you the reader. The twists and turns of living in the providence of God is truly an exciting story. Arielle, the main character, opens one door to love and one door to destiny.

Wow, Tom this sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing.

Tom Donnan, Author of:
Healing the Nation
Spiritual House Cleaning
Pastors and the Presence of God
7:14 Angels on Assignment
One Door Between Us


Find all of my books at Amazon

Check out Tom's Tuesday Treasures and Thursday Thoughts posts and check back often for more!

Until next time take care and God bless.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

#TuesdayTreasures with David Arp!

Good Morning!

Still in SC today but we're heading to south FL tomorrow. Never fear though, this (blog) show will go on LOL!

Last year I introduced you to David Arp when he shared some thoughts and our spotlight. Today David returns to share treasures with us and info on his new book, ORB.

Welcome back Dave!

Thanks for having me, Pamela. This is the second time you’ve been so gracious.

My dad used to ask me what I was up to. I would answer with whatever it was at the time. If it
involved money, he asked if I spent wisely. Well, of course, in my mind it was wisely. My teachers used to tell me to spend my time in class wisely. That advice went in one ear and out the other and the truth be told, one glance at my grades would have told that story about my study habits quickly enough. I thought more about how I spent my money than how I spent my time. Time goes whether it’s spent wisely or not. Money can be saved, but like time, once spent it’s gone forever.

I mentioned on my personal blog not long ago that I was going to start looking forward to my 90th birthday celebration. I don’t know how long I’m going to be here anymore than the next person does, but at least time will slow down. Looking back does nothing to the perception of time. We tend to do that as we age. Look back I mean. I don’t think I’m alone in that respect.

Time spent with God and family and friends is time well spent. My kids. My grandkids. My brothers. My cousins. My friends.

Treasures are in memories, yours and theirs.

Many a man has passed from this life leaving millions of dollars he would have gladly spent on more time.

PS: the young lady on the horse is my 10-year-old granddaughter who did a free-style reining pattern to the song Footloose. For the encore, she had her horse perform and 20’ slide then a flat spin in the middle of the arena. When she jumped up in the saddle and danced the crowd went nuts and her mother nearly passed out.

Wow, I think I would pass out too but BRAVO for her! Thanks for sharing your treasures with us Dave.

David Arp was born in Arizona, raised in Texas, and lives in Colorado with his wife of 32 years. He’s 61, but has only spent half of the past 40 years at home. The other half he traveled and worked the oilfields of the world, from the deserts of the Middle East to the vast oceans offshore. He has three children and six grandchildren. 

His new release, ORB is available from Pelican Book Group and Amazon.

Find out more by visiting his website and connecting with him on Facebook

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll join us again for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Kathleen Neely & The Street Singer!

Good Morning from Santee, SC!

We've been travelling since Wednesday and have settled here for a few days. Next week we'll head to south FL and hopefully visit the National Parks there.

Today though, please welcome Kathleen Neely back to our blog to share a peek into her novel, The Street Singer.

Trisha Mills, a student in her final semester of law school, has fond memories of listening to the music of Adaline, a once famous recording artist. She learns that Adaline, now Adda
Marsh, is a street singer in Asheville, NC. Adda’s sole means of support in her senior years comes from the donation box. Along with her meager possessions, Adda has a box labeled, “Things to Remember.” Adda agrees to show Trisha the contents. With it comes her story. Adda Mississippi, to fame in Nashville, and to poverty in her old age.

Trisha is busy cleaning out the home of her deceased grandfather, preparing to sit for the bar exam, and planning her wedding to Grant Ramsey. However, she cannot overlook the
injustices that Adda has experienced. Aided by Rusty Bergstrom, an attorney who will work pro bono, Trisha convinces Adda to seek restitution. Will her growing friendship with Rusty Bergstrom affect her engagement to Grant?


Adda sat on the mattress to catch her breath before lifting the lid off of the remembering box. It was the fullest. There was a lot more to remember than there was to eat. Some of the remembering was good. But mostly it was hard.
Adda picked up a photograph of her family. She never questioned where they got it, or how they had afforded such a fine picture. It was black and white with a white border around the whole thing. Little curvy cuts made up the white paper frame. There was her mama and daddy, standing straight in the middle, all nine of their children surrounding them, everyone smiling for the picture.
She started with the one on her left because that was the way she was told to read—left to right. Leila, Jamal, and Rosa were first, next to Mama. Then Daddy was standing with Berta, Kande, Kioni, and Luther, beside him. Adda and Minny were in front of Mama and Daddy. They were the littlest. Adda figured she must have been around four years old, and Minny just a tad younger.
Adda looked beyond the people and saw her growing-up home. There was that old house with the two windows that always stayed open, trying to get some air inside those three rooms. The front porch had big rocks pushed under the corner poles to keep it level. Adda remembered the time Luther slithered under that porch, hiding when he was a’feared that Daddy was gonna whoop him. Didn’t take Daddy no time to find him cause that dry old dust started Luther coughing. Daddy whooped him, once for disobeying and twice for hiding.
The big pole furthest from the door had the clothesline attached. Then it stretched out to a big old Elm tree. There were no clothes hanging on it, which was a strange sight. Adda never remembered the clothesline being empty.
She placed the picture face down and pulled out a frayed piece of fabric, no bigger than a hand towel. The floral pattern was faded beyond recognition, but Adda saw it clearly. She had those tiny pink roses burned in her mind, their green swirly stems all sewed with hand stitches. Mama had sewn the blanket when Berta was a little child, but when she tried to hand it on down, Berta threw a fit. Adda kept sneaking to use it, and Berta would snatch it back. That was about the finest thing inside that little old rough wood building. Adda held the scrap to her face and brushed its softness against her cheek. Mama. Why didn’t you help me?

Kathleen Neely resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer. Two other novels, Beauty for Ashes and The Least of These, will be released in 2019. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her first novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions. Kathleen's newest release, The Street Singer is available now from Pelican Book GroupAmazon & Barnes and Noble.    

Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.

Website – www.KathleenNeely.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/kathy.neely.98
Twitter - https://twitter.com/NeelyKneely3628

Check out Kathleen's previous Tuesday Treasures and Thursday Thoughts and check back regularly for more.

Until next time take care and God Bless.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

#ThursdayThoughts with Kimberly Miller!

Good Morning!

Last month I introduced to you new to me, fellow PBG author, Kimberly Miller when she shared treasures with us. Please welcome her back as she shares some thoughts....

This Thursday, my thoughts, like so many others, are on spring. As a college professor I’m stuck under a pile of papers that need to be graded, a host of meetings I need to attend, and a spring break that has recently passed. While graduation is still a little too far away to bring any hope.

But spring. Ahh, spring. Doesn’t it promise so many gifts? New life in trees budding again, sunny days that allow you to leave that thick winter coat at home, and less time (finally) every morning chiseling that car window free from a pile of snow and ice. All beautiful, amazing things.

My first novel, Picking Daisy, begins at the edge of spring and summer. Daisy is excited for the changes the weather will bring, but she has no idea what huge changes are soon coming to her door!

If you’re looking for a sweet romance about unexpected love, Picking Daisy could be the book for you and is available in Ebook and Print!

Thanks for sharing, Kimberly! I'm a Spring, Summer & Fall person myself (mostly Summer) LOL.

Hope you enjoyed today's post friends and don't forget, Kimberly's brand new release, Forgiving Tess can be purchased at Amazon also. You can find out more about Kimberly by connecting with her on Facebook and visiting her website.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Laura-Dawn Moule & Reflections of India

Good Morning!

Hope your March has started out well. It's rainy, chilly and plain nasty here in SW Louisiana. Haven't had much sunshine at all - well, a couple of days this week. Not near enough for me though. I am definitely a summer person!

Enough about me though.

Today's guest has visited before, sharing thoughts and treasures so please welcome Laura-Dawn back with an excerpt from her book, Reflections of India....

In this fascinating book, Reflections of India: The Spiritual Journey of a Beauty Queen, you will experience everything from the exhilaration of the world of beauty pageants to the emotional lows associated with the harsh realities of life for the desperately poor. May this emotionally-charged account of a young beauty queen’s experience working in the Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) slums help you discover the hope and beauty that can be found in adversity and appreciate the haunting responsibility we all share to reach out to those in distress. 

The Vision of Bombay
O barren plains! O deserted land!
Gusts of wind sweep dust into your residents’ lungs.
The faded colours of the flowers reflect their illness.
The air smells of sickness and death.
The putrid lakes of water
        harbour deadly disease.
Trees reflect the staleness of the ground.
The ocean rules the land and washes up grey mucous upon
        its shores
        while the red sun sets in full splendour.

The dogs howl in the eve.
The birds are afflicted by anger
        as they struggle to eat one another.
Dead mice bear the imprints of feet that have
        trampled upon them.
Cries from the people and laments from the animals are
Flies crawl across the children’s faces,
        and lice crown their heads.
Crusted nasal drainage graces their lips,
        and infected lesions are displayed upon their earlobes.

Babies lying face down on the diseased pavements;
        children who cannot cry.
Babies hold babies without mothers near.
Naked little boys peer around ragged drapes.
Their eyes reflect the misery they behold.
Sad women and edematous-bellied babies gaze.
A helpless mother watches her baby slowly die of starvation.
He can no longer pick up the pebbles with which he
        used to play.
His rags now lie lifeless on the sidewalk.

Lepers and the blind walk alone.
Despairing old men sit on the filthy streets,
        their eyes mirror years of sorrow.
Heat. Sweat. Blood. Tears.
Withered faces watch without emotional response.
You smile; they stare.
The arthritic hands scrub clothes on the street;
        the gnarled fingers work hard without payment.
Their chests move in and out in futile efforts to prolong
        life for another day.

Chants lack the spirit of joyful song.
No hope.
The silent bells of the soul ring,
        summoning death to come and relieve them.
I look up to the sky to request help but to no avail;
        it remains deaf and unfeeling to what it sees beneath it.
The screeching trains have a lingering echo,
        leaving their victims behind within the bowels of the stations.
The rats are abundant, fattened from devouring flesh.

But then Hope beckons me to come close.
“Listen,” she says, “Look and see!
I come from the hands of the minister,
        the care bestowed upon the poor by those willing to be used.
Bring the light of life into the spirits of those you serve,
        and bring sparkle to the eyes of the helpless.
Pity them not, however,
        for the question is better asked, What have you done?”

Lovely, Laura-Dawn, THANKS for sharing!

Having a creative streak from an early age, Laura-Dawn first began writing poetry and recording her prophetic dreams as a young teenager. Her literary skills were honed during the time she spent acquiring her bachelor of arts degree in English literature at McGill University in Montreal. As her interest in theology grew, she went on to write exegeses of scripture while she studied for her master of arts degree in biblical studies at the University of Sheffield. Her fascination with eschatology has continued to flourish over the years and is readily apparent in her first book, Reflections of India – The Spiritual Journey of a Beauty Queen.

Find out more by visiting her Website. Purchase her book from Amazon in print or for Kindle!

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back regularly for more Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight!

Until next time take care and God Bless.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

#ThursdayThoughts with M. E. Bakos!

Good Morning Friends,

Last month I introduced you to a new-to-me author, ME Bakos when she shared treasures with us. Today ME returns with something to think about.....

My cozy novels are set around home improvement projects. Many cozy mysteries are set around cooking and I am sadly lacking in that arena. I don’t care to cook. If I bake, I have to eat it. I’m not crafty. My handmade projects, look well. . . handmade.

DIY and home improvement are in my blood. My father and one grandfather, along with an uncle were in the construction trades. In my many bad day jobs, I would dream up a project and fantasize about how great the project would look completed. I would gather the necessary items for the mission and finally DIY. It’s how I kept those jobs without risking an income.

Katelyn Baxter, my heroine, is living out my fantasy life by making a living by redoing
houses. Many of the projects she does, I’ve done. Many of the obstacles in DEADLY FLIP are
ones I’ve encountered as a home owner. Now, I prefer having projects done, rather than the nitty
gritty of doing them myself. A prime example, drywall. Been there, done that. My advice: Get it

I am always searching out little tips to make home as nice as I can. My latest tip: to remove rust stains from a ceramic basin, take a piece of lemon and rub iodized salt on the stain. It may take more than one application. You’ll find more tips at the back of FATAL FLIP and DEADLY FLIP. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy FATAL FLIP and DEADLY FLIP. Please visit my website and friend me on Facebook, M. E. Bakos, Author or Email me at: mebakos@yahoo.com

Thank you so much M.E for sharing with us!
Good luck and God's blessings with your books and writing.

If you love cozy mysteries, check out these books, friends and check back with me regularly for more great books and authors on Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Carla Laureano & Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe!

Good Morning Friends,

Last month Carla Laureano returned with the 2nd book in her Supper Club series and today we'll get a sneak peek into Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe....

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country—an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

Excerpt:  Once upon a time, Melody Johansson had believed in fairy tales.

To be truthful, she still believed in them, but with her thirtieth birthday in the rearview mirror, the impossible dream had turned away from meeting a handsome prince to owning a little patisserie in Paris. Even if sometimes, toiling away in her own version of Cinderella’s attic, both fantasies seemed equally far-fetched.

Melody brushed past the ovens in the bakery’s kitchen, giving the loaves inside a cursory glance, then retrieved a rectangular tub of dough from the rack on the back wall. Customers no doubt had romantic ideals of what it meant to be a baker, picturing quaintly dressed European peasants kneading loaves by hand and shoving them into ovens on long-handled peels, but the American commercial bakery had far more in common with an assembly line than a romantic country boulangerie.

Still, there were worse places to spend the dark, still hours of the night than surrounded by loaves of bread, their deep-brown, crackling exteriors fragrant with wheat and caramel and yeast. But Melody was closing on the end of a twelve-hour shift alone, and the only drifts she wanted to be enveloped in were the fluffy plumes of the down duvet on her antique bed. Not the hard, icy snow that coated the bakery’s windows like a sprinkling of demerara sugar on a freshly baked pastry. It looked beautiful, but the peaceful surface concealed treacherous sheets of ice, courtesy of Denver’s schizophrenic warm-then-snowy March weather. Every time spring looked to be on the horizon, winter yanked it back for one last snowy hurrah.

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Melody muscled the forty-pound tub of dough back to the benchtop and overturned it in one swift movement. She’d done this enough in her career to judge two-pound portions by eye, but she still put each piece on the scale after she cut it from the mass with her steel-bladed bench knife. Unconsciously, she matched the rhythm of her movements to the music softly pouring from the speakers. Cut, weigh, set aside. Cut, weight, set aside. Then came the more complex rhythm of shaping each loaf. A dusting of flour, push away, quarter turn. Each stroke of the scraper beneath the loaf rolled the dough inward on itself, creating the surface tension that transformed the loose, wet lump of dough into a taut, perfectly formed round. Then the loaf went into the cloth-lined proofing basket to rise before she went on to the next one. Twenty times per tub, multiplied by the number of tubs on the rack. She was going to be here for a while. Baking wasn’t usually such solitary work. A second baker normally worked the weekend shifts to make up for the café’s increased traffic on Saturday and Sunday, but he lived south of the city, just past the point where they had closed the interstate. It shouldn’t have been a surprise—practically every storm closed Monument Pass. Had it been Melody, she would have driven up earlier on Friday morning to make sure she was able to make her shift on time. But then, she’d worked in restaurants and bakeries her entire adult life, where the first rule was “Always show up.” That meant her usual eight-hour shift had morphed into twelve.

She muffled a yawn with the back of her arm. “Get it together, Melody. Only two more hours.” Assuming that the morning staff got here on time to put the proofed loaves into the oven.

Maybe it was time to cut this job loose. She’d been here for six months, which, with the exception of a single fine-dining gig, was the longest she’d been in one place in her life. She needed variety. There was only so long that she could churn out someone else’s mediocre recipes and not feel like somehow she’d sold out.

She’d been wanting to go back to Europe. She’d been away from Paris for eight years, and she had been so busy as a baking apprentice that she’d never had the chance to explore France beyond the city itself. A few months to travel sounded like heaven. Unfortunately, based on the current state of her savings account, she could barely fund a trip to the airport, let alone any points beyond. Melody sighed. That was as much a fairy tale as the patisserie.

She was heading back for a fourth tub when she heard a tapping from the front of the store. She frowned, cocking her head in that direction. Probably just the snow or the wind rattling the plate-glass windows. This strip mall was old, and every storm seemed to shake something new loose.
No, there it was again. She wiped her hands on her apron and slowly poked her head out of the kitchen toward the front entrance. A man stood at the door, hand raised to knock on the glass. Melody hesitated. What on earth was anyone doing out in this storm at 4 a.m.? Even worse, what was she supposed to do? It didn’t bother her to be here alone, but she kept everything securely locked until the morning staff arrived to welcome customers.

“Hello?” His muffled voice sounded hopeful. Didn’t sound like someone who was planning on murdering her. But what did a murderer sound like anyway?

She approached the window cautiously. “Can I help you?”

He exhaled, his breath crystallizing around him in a cloud. “My car got stuck down the street. Can I use your phone? Mine’s dead and I forgot my charger in the hotel.” He pulled out a cell phone and pressed it against the wet window. Evidence, apparently.
Melody wavered. From what she could tell through the snow-crusted window, he was nicely dressed. Didn’t sound crazy. And sure enough, when she peered down the street, she could see a car cockeyed against the curb with its emergency flashers on.

“Listen,” he called, “I don’t blame you for being cautious. I’m a pilot, see?” He opened his overcoat to show a navy-blue uniform and then pulled out a badge clip holding two unreadable cards. “These are my airport credentials. Homeland Security and my employer all trust me with a thirteen-million-dollar plane. I promise, I just need a phone.”

A gust of wind hit him full force, the smattering of snow crackling against the window. He turned up his collar and hugged his arms to himself, waiting for her response.

Melody sighed and pulled a key ring from her belt loop. She couldn’t leave the poor guy outside to freeze, and she knew there wasn’t likely to be another place open for miles. She just prayed that her compassion wasn’t going to backfire on her. The lock clicked open and she pulled the door inward.

He rushed in, rubbing his hands together. “Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate this.”

“Sure. The phone’s over there by the register.” Melody pointed him in the direction of the counter.
He nodded, turned toward the phone, then hesitated and stuck out his hand. “I’m Justin Keller.”
As his cold fingers closed on her warm hand, she looked up and found herself frozen in the wake of brilliant blue eyes. “Melody Johansson.”

He smiled, giving her heart a little hiccup, and released her before moving toward the phone. She watched as he dug a roadside assistance card from his wallet and dialed.

The stranger she’d rescued was handsome. Almost un-fairly so. Medium-brown hair, cut short and a little spiky. Those arresting blue eyes. And a crooked half smile that must routinely melt women into puddles at his feet. No, not leading man . . . fairy-tale prince. Why was it that pilots seemed to dominate the good-looking end of the gene pool? Was it a prerequisite for the job?

Justin was talking in a low voice—a nice voice, she had to admit, just deep and sexy enough to balance the boyish charm—and she realized she should probably get back to work before he caught her staring. But he turned to her and cradled the handset against his shoulder. “They said it’s going to take them a while. Is it okay if I wait here?”

“Sure.” She might have been reluctant to let him in, but her answer now was just a little too enthusiastic. From the slight glimmer of a smile he threw back to her, he probably heard it too.
Well, a guy like that had to be aware of the effect he had on women. She had just never thought of herself as predictable.

He hung up the phone and turned to her. “They say two hours, but they also said that there are people stranded all over Denver right now. I have no idea how long it will be. Are you sure it’s okay? I don’t want you to get in trouble for letting me in.”

“It’s no trouble.” Especially since the opening manager was a single woman. She’d take one look at him and understand Melody’s weakness. “I’ve got to get back to work, though. Do you want some coffee?”

“I’d kill for some coffee.”

“I’m not sure I like the choice of words, but I understand the sentiment.” Melody smiled at the flash of embarrassment that crossed his face. “Have a seat and I’ll get you a cup. One of the perks of the night shift—unlimited caffeine.”

“I’d say that’s more a requirement than a perk.”

“Sometimes.” She found a ceramic mug under the counter and then went to the vacuum carafe that held the coffee she’d made a few hours earlier. She pushed the plunger to dispense a cup and set it on the counter. “Cream and sugar are over there.”

“I take mine black.” He retrieved the cup and warmed his hand around it for a moment before he took a sip. “It’s good. Thank you.”

“Sure.” She’d said she needed to get back to work, but now she found herself hovering awkwardly behind the counter. It seemed weird to leave a stranger out here by himself—even weirder that she was reluctant to walk away.

He was looking around the bakery. “So, you’re the only one here?”

Melody took an involuntary step back, red flags waving wildly in the back of her mind.

He picked up on her tension and held up one hand. “Forget I said that. That sounded less creepy in my head. I just meant, are you the one responsible for all this bread? It seems like a lot of work for one person.” He gestured to the metal bins behind the counter, still awaiting their bounty for the day’s customers.

“Usually I have an assistant on the weekend, but yeah. It’s mostly me.”

“Impressive,” he said, with a nod that made her think he meant it.

“Not really. This isn’t really baking.”

“What is it, then?”

Melody shrugged. “Assembling, maybe? But it’s a job, and working with bread all day beats sitting at a desk in an office.” He saluted her with a coffee cup. “I hear that. Exactly why I went into aviation.”

Despite herself, a little smile formed on her lips. She’d expected a guy that good-looking to be a bit full of himself, but his relaxed, comfortable attitude seemed to be the opposite. “I’m not supposed to let anyone back here, but if you want to keep me company . . .”

He straightened from his perch by the counter. “If I wouldn’t be bothering you. Normally I’d stream a video or put on a podcast, but . . .”

“Dead phone. Right.” Melody moved back to the kitchen, aware of him following. She nodded toward a stool by the door. “You can sit there if you like.”

He shrugged off his wet overcoat and hung it on the hook by the door, then perched on the chair. From the corner of her eye, she had to admit he did look rather attractive in his nicely tailored uniform. She shook herself before she could become another pilot-groupie casualty. Focus, Melody.

Starting on the next tub of dough gave her something to think about other than the man sitting a mere five feet away from her. She started cutting and weighing the dough. “So what kind of planes do you fly? 747s or something like that?”

“No. Not anymore. Light business jets.”

“Like for celebrities?”

“Celebrities, politicians, athletes, executives. I work for a fractional, so it’s different people all the time. You know, they buy a share of a particular plane so they can travel whenever they want without having to actually pay for the whole thing and the cost of having a crew on standby.”

“Do you enjoy it?” “Sure.”

Melody cast a look his direction. “That didn’t sound very convincing.”

Justin chuckled again and rubbed a hand through his hair. “Had you not asked me at the end of a seven-day, twenty-five-leg tour . . . followed by being stranded in the snow . . . I probably would have said yes, absolutely.”

“Okay, I guess I can give you that one. You said ‘not anymore.’ You used to be an airline pilot?”
“Do you always ask so many questions?”

“By my count, that’s only three.”

“Five.” He ticked off on his fingers. “What kind of planes? 747s? Celebrities? Do I enjoy it? And did I used to be an airline pilot?” Melody rolled her eyes, but she laughed. “You must be fun at parties. Answer the question.”

“I flew for a regional 121 operator out of Texas for a while . . . one of the smaller companies that code-shares with the majors.” “And you left because . . .”

He shook his head, like he realized he wasn’t going to get out of the conversation. “The pay wasn’t great and the schedule sucked. I flew twenty-four days out of the month, which meant I usually stayed in hotels twenty of those. Now I fly eighteen days a month for more money, and even though there’s a lot of waiting around for passengers, I actually get to fly instead of babysit autopilot.”

“You seem pretty young to be a pilot.”

“You seem pretty young to be a baker.”

“How old should a baker be?”

“I don’t know. But they shouldn’t be young and stunning.”

Heat rose to Melody’s cheeks before she could control it. “Are you hitting on me?”

“If I were trying to hit on you, you wouldn’t have to ask.” He caught her gaze, his expression dead serious. Just when she feared she wouldn’t be able to breathe again, his mouth widened into a grin.
The flush eased when she realized he was just teasing her. “You’re terrible.”

“I’m honest.” He hopped off the stool. “Is it okay if I get more coffee?”

“Help yourself.” She let out a long exhale when he left the room. That guy was dangerous. He was gorgeous and he knew it. He had a sexy job and he knew it . . . even if he pretended to be blasé about it.

Pretty much the sort of guy she was always attracted to and lived to regret. In fact, the more attracted to a man she was, the worse off she knew she’d be at the end when the relationship imploded like a popped soufflé.

Judging from the little quivers she felt in his presence, a mere twenty minutes after their first meeting, this one was a heartbreaker.

Tyndale Author, Carla Laureano, is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.  Find out more and connect with Carla on Social Media by visiting her website.

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe is available through Tyndale House Publishing and other online retailers as well as your local book store!

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back regularly for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God Bless.