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

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Guest Post by Stacey Gagnon

Good Morning and Welcome to our First Wednesday Words with Friends post!

I mentioned to you back on May 6th and listed in the sidebar here on the blog that beginning in June I would be changing from 3 posts a week to 2; combining Tuesday Treasures and Thursday Thoughts into one Wednesday Words with Friends entry.

I thought the first would be something personal, but then I heard about this great children's book and decided to let author Stacey Gagnon tell the story behind the story.

Welcome Stacey!

It was not our initial intention to adopt. We felt that there was a huge need in the foster -care system and we could share our love and family with other children. Our second foster placement was a medically-fragile child and, from that point on, we became known as the family that took in hard-to-place kids. After a child has lived with you for months on end and they start calling you mom and dad, it's not such a big leap to thinking they should stay forever. What we have learned over the years, is that every adoption is a special needs adoption. Kids who come into our home all come with hurts and pains that require special care. These emotional wounds can be far more disabling that any physical "special need" with which they may be labeled. We mistakenly believe that when children see or experience hard things, they just bounce back or forget. Children are not resilient, their brains are malleable. This means that they are affected by adult choices and decisions. Adoption and foster care is about giving a child a family, not getting a child for your family. It is hard work and scary, but it has been the greatest journey of our lives, filled with such beauty. For that reason, we continue to foster kids, and we didn't stop at adopting just one child. At the end of the day, we have adopted children who come with a variety of backgrounds that meld beautifully in our family. Where one child might struggle, we find a brother or sister stepping in to lend a hand...or a leg...or an ear. The differences are not so apparent when you have family. We all seem to help fill the voids in each other.

The Gagnon family never thought they would be writing a children’s book. But then again, they never thought they would foster over 30 children, adopting five with special needs in addition to their two biological kids. The family found themselves in the national spotlight after a Facebook post by Stacey Gagnon went viral about her son, Joel, who was born with Goldenhar syndrome which caused an incomplete development of his ear, soft palate, and facial bone structures. It only affects one side of his face and requires a plethora of doctor appointments and reconstructive surgeries. Stacey’s post detailed an encounter at a new church they visited where other kids just stared and pointed at Joel, causing him to run and hide. That incident sparked social media responses from around the world, and the Gagnons were featured on NBC and Fox, among other media outlets. But it was one response in particular which initially angered Gagnon that ultimately birthed the idea of the new children’s book entitled “Cowboy Joel and the Wild Wild West.”

“The reader told me that my son would be stared at and pointed at and he needed to get used to it,” recalls Gagnon. “At first, this comment made me angry, but then I started to see the kernel of truth in this statement. As hard as it is for me as his mother, this was going to be his reality. And as I thought deeper, I realized that on some level, we all have 'differences' or things about ourselves that we do not like. When we are seeking acceptance and worth from others, it would always fall short. I understand that Joel must find his worth in who he is and how he was created. There will always be bullies, there will always be stares, there will always be those who seek to make him feel less than worthy; but Joel is exactly who he is supposed to be.”

Joel is not the only real-life character that is depicted in the new book. The family’s pet dragon, Blackbeard, is also a central figure in “Cowboy Joel and the Wild Wild West.” And Blackbeard has his own back story.

“Blackbeard was adopted from the Phoenix Herpetological Society, which is like an orphanage for reptiles,” says Gagnon. “While on a field trip, the reptile keeper asked my husband if he knew of a family that would adopt a special needs bearded dragon. This bearded dragon had a limb difference and he was being bullied and injured by the other bearded dragons. He needed a family that could keep him safe and would accept him for his differences. My husband knew right away that our family would be perfect for this lizard.” 

A former teacher and now nurse, Gagnon says “Cowboy Joel and the Wild Wild West” was written to help elementary students deal with bullying. 

“My husband and I are both educators and we believe most children can relate to being bullied or picked on by someone. Our hope is that children learn that the biggest ‘El Maton’ (bully, thug) in their lives is the voice that whispers incorrectly in their head ‘you are not special, you are not worthy, you are not valuable.’” 

Gagnon says their journey of being foster and adoptive parents has taught them that every child has a “special need.” 

“Kids who come into our home all come with hurts and pains that require special care,” says Gagnon. “These emotional wounds can be far more disabling that any physical special need with which they may be labeled. At the end of the day, we have adopted children who come with a variety of backgrounds that meld beautifully in our family. Where one child might struggle, we find a brother or sister stepping in to lend a hand, or a leg, or an ear. The differences are not so apparent when you have family. We all seem to help fill the voids in each other.” 

The Gagnon family is an atypical, hodgepodge mix of humanity. The entire family enjoyed writing this book, with each one contributing their own input. Every child in the family has their own special story, and every one faces their own unique challenges. Stacey, the mom of this bunch, also has a blog called Ransom for Israel. She presents an honest assessment of the orphan crisis and the desperate need for families willing to adopt. After the adoption of their youngest daughter, the Gagnons started a non-profit called Lost Sparrowsdedicated to improving the lives of orphans and those with special needs through education, proper medical care, and adoption. Their current focus is in areas of Eastern Europe and Bulgaria. For more information on the new book, visit http://www.joelsfriends.com.  

What a lovely story, Stacey! Thank you so much for sharing with us today. We sincerely wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your beautiful family and with Cowboy Joel and the Wild, Wild West!

Hope you enjoyed today's Wednesday Words with Friends, folks and that you'll check back weekly for more great stories and of course, Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on C. Hope Clark & Dying on Edisto Beach

Good Morning from Beautiful Lake Sam Rayburn, TX!

I hope your Memorial Day weekend has begun with a blast but pray you'll take a few moments often throughout the holiday to remember what it is all about. Pray for those who've died defending and protecting our country and their loved one's.

I introduced you to today's guest in March when she shared treasures with us, but please welcome C. Hope Clark back as we get a peek into her novel, Dying on Edisto Beach.

One death. Two detectives. And unexpected backup.

A Callie Morgan and Carolina Slade crossover, standalone mystery!

When a renowned—and now dead—travel blogger washes ashore on the banks of Indigo Plantation, Edisto Beach Police Chief Callie Morgan agrees to head the investigation as a favor to the county sheriff, whose reasons are as questionable as the death itself. When death turns to murder and a watchdog from the county makes her investigation difficult, Callie reluctantly turns to Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo, vacationing agents with the Department of Agriculture.

Because poison is growing on this plantation and someone knows how to use it well.

Dying on Edisto – Book 5 in the Edisto Island Mystery Series

Visiting Indigo Plantation during its grand opening week, Edisto Beach Police Chief Callie Morgan finds herself faced with a corpse. A guest, no less, has stumbled upon the body of a nefarious travel blogger along the edge of the Edisto River. A guest who happens to do investigations with the Department of Agriculture and comes with her own federal agent beau.

Big money funded the plantation project, and Callie is discreetly asked by the Charleston Sheriff himself to lead the investigation even though it is out of her jurisdiction. . . the caveat being she’d have a Charleston detective at her side, of course. At first she suspects the sheriff’s request is due to her past as an acclaimed Boston detective, her investigative experiences surpassing anyone else’s in the South Carolina Lowcountry, but she’s soon suspicious as to the sheriff’s intentions as the detective seems to fight her at every turn. . . and the case turns into a murder. Poison, no less. Hemlock at that.

Suddenly the case takes a turn as the sheriff, most likely at the request of big money and politics, no longer wants her on the case, but Callie’s come too far. The higher-ups put the investigation into overdrive, hunting for someone to blame, like the poor waitress caught in the middle of this blogger’s ulterior motives to discredit the plantation.

Callie knows little to nothing about hemlock. Now the Agriculture couple Callie earlier discarded becomes necessary as she teams up with Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo to prove not only how the blogger was killed (by hemlock growing on the plantation) but by whom. . . and uncover an even bigger plot at play than silencing a smear blogging campaign.

NOTE: This is a crossover book. Dying on Edisto is the fifth in the Edisto series, but we are bringing in the protagonist from the Carolina Slade Mysteries to assist Chief Callie Morgan on Edisto Island. We’re excited about bringing the two flavors of investigators together and introducing the readers of Slade to Edisto, and vice versa.

Murder, corruption, and page-turning intrigue are usually the elements that shine the brightest in mysteries like Hope Clark’s latest Dying on Edisto. But it’s the characters that bring a vivid literary element to Clark’s prose and create a strong emotional response to their tangled lives. The scenic town of Edisto Beach is peopled with a modern-day pirate claiming to be a descendent of Blackbeard, a degenerate travel blogger, a yoga teacher who drives a baby blue vintage Benz convertible, a mixed race waitress and her matriarchal grandmother, and a whole slew of wealthy and crooked good ole boys. Leading the cast are two strong female protagonists—a police chief and an investigator with the Department of Agriculture. Did someone say poison? —Susan Cushman, author of Cherry Bomb and editor of Southern Writers on Writing

"In a plot as complicated as the numerous waterways that create Edisto Island in South Carolina, C. Hope Clark has combined the characters from her two series to solve the murder of a renowned travel blogger. The mystery requires all of their detective skills and blends the two mystery worlds in a page-turning standalone. The story opens with a floater and progresses with edge-of-your-seat action. Prepare to be absorbed by Clark's crisp writing and compelling storytelling. This is one you don't want to miss!"--- Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of three mystery series. She is the author of over 80 books and has received numerous writing awards.

Hope Clark converges her sleuths, Carolina and Callie Jean, on Edisto Island for the finale, Dying on Edisto, concluding her two murder mystery series. Slews of fans always awaited these highly addictive and superbly penned novels - grabbing you from the first page and not letting go until the last. A pristine, sleeper sea island, two determined masters of law who butt heads, a mystery corpse from Atlantic waters, a few idiosyncrasies along the way - the absolute best cast and plot for an intense coastal thriller. ~Karen Carter, Owner, Edisto Bookstore

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, May 18, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Game Town

Hello from Meade, OK!

I've been here all week for a writing retreat and am happy to report I've actually made progress on one of my WIPs. Hopefully I'll get it finished and have more news to report later in the year on it.

Meanwhile, please welcome Janet Elizabeth Lynn back to our blog with a new release!

 Skylar Drake and his partner are hired as bodyguards for two young starlets. They deliver the actresses home after the Oscar Awards ceremony, but stumble onto the murder of Silver Brovor-Smith, the mother of one of their charges, actress Holly Becker.  Drake wonders why the FBI is on the scene when it looks like a simple case of murder.

Drake is now embroiled in the murder investigation of Silver Brovor-Smith. Suspicion shifts between her husband Peter Smith, and Silver’s three older brothers.

At every turn Drake and Dolan are lied to or misled. Kidnapping and mysterious deaths follow them as they weave their way through the maze of Hollywood’s movie and TV backroom deals. The FBI shows up to make sure Drake and Dolan keep the high-profile people involved from becoming front page news.

 Drake meets and falls in love with Miss Anne the perfect woman to help him move on with his life. But is she a suspect? Then there is Holly’s friend, the sexy, young starlet Theresa Lee who has her own plans for him.

The letters P-E-G-O seem to appear everywhere, and Drake wonders if they have anything to do with Silver’s murder or her husband’s kidnapping.

Follow the detective to Hollywood parties where the forbidden is accepted and the games played are for keeps.

Excerpt: Two o'clock in the morning. I'd just left the Emmy Awards ceremony at the NBC Television Studio in Burbank. All of Hollywood and its finest had shown up tonight to honor the best of television for 1956. The winners and losers were either at a party celebrating or hiding somewhere licking their wounds. I'd just left the event driving south on Cahuenga toward Hancock Park. My partner, Casey Dolan was in the passenger seat. It was pouring rain when we left Burbank. It seemed to be lessening as we headed away from the valley.

We'd been hired by Epic Studios to escort a couple of their up and coming starlets to and from the event. In truth, we were their bodyguards. The motion picture and TV studios weren't taking chances with their human investments.

The two young ladies in the back seat were passed out cold. I suspected they'd had a little too much Champagne before and during the ceremony.

I drove through the Wilshire Boulevard entry gate and onto Fremont Place, one of the most exclusive and expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Ahead we spotted a lot of activity on the street. Dolan sat up and stared at the mess ahead, “What the Hell?”

Several police cruisers and what looked like government cars were lined up in front of a house with their spotlights trained on it. As we got closer, I saw the address. 859 in brass letters, attached to the beam above the front door – the address where I was to deliver the girls.

Oh boy, sounds like another great Skylar Drake Mystery! Pick up a copy at Amazon in Print or for Kindle.

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn write individually until they got together and created the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1956-57.  Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

The next Skylar Drake Mystery, GAME TOWN,  the fifth and final book in the series, will be available April 15, 2019 and yes...we are still married!

Find out  more about Janet and Will at the following locations...

Check out Janet & Will's previous Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back weekly for more Saturday Spotlights and coming soon, Wednesday Words with Friends!

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Stanley Brown and Fallen Wizard!

Good Morning!

It is always my pleasure to bring to you a brand new to me author so please welcome Stanley Brown with his YA Fantasy novel, Fallen Wizard....

Twelve-year-old Peter Michaels is accustomed to weird things happening with a regularity that seems to be a part of his life. But when an old man dressed in strange clothes falls from the sky and lands in Peter’s front yard, the weird quotient, as his dad would put it, gets ratcheted way up. Peter does the only thing he can. He helps the man into his house. That mistake leads to a second, the one that puts an end to Peter’s dream of making the all-star baseball team. As Peter soon discovers, comforting a dying wizard puts your mark on an unbreakable pact—one that will ensnare him and his two best friends, Raven Dakota and Stumpy Simpkins, in a fight for their lives.

 Excerpt: The day started like most days in Peter’s life. Before scrambling from under the covers, he peeked through his bedside window with a guarded eye. Caution was a habit Peter had no choice but to adopt. His father insisted on it because of his son’s peculiar predilection for the unusual, for strange things happening around him with a regularity too frequent to be mere chance. “Curious occurrences” is what his father called the things that seemed to follow Peter like ants to a picnic. Most of the time they were silly little things. Sometimes, though, they could be dangerous. A gift, Mr. Michaels would say, trying to downplay them as a way of safeguarding his son’s mental state. Calling his problem a gift softened it, bringing a sense of normalcy to Peter’s life.

Peter made it a point to look for signs, small indications of impending doom. He’d developed his little routines to keep trouble at bay, or so he hoped. The gift had a nasty habit of inserting itself at precisely the wrong times.

This time, though, everything looked cool so Peter jumped up and threw on his baseball uniform. It was Saturday, which meant practice after his math tutoring session. All set, he took a tentative step into the hallway, Lena’s crappy music blaring from her room two doors down. No danger here. He turned for the stairs just in time for a skateboard to zip under his feet.

Peter had two thoughts as the board sent him hurdling along the wooden floor. His father would have a fit because skateboarding in the house was one of the five cardinal sins. More importantly, his coach would be pissed, and this really scared him. He couldn’t afford to break a body part in the middle of baseball season.

Fortunately, Peter played third base, which meant he had good hands and quick feet. It took both to save him this time.

Wow, Stanley! Sounds like a great YA book! Good luck and God's blessings with it. Now please tell us a little about yourself.

Nothing fascinates me like writing, creating stories, or sub-creating as JRR Tolkien referred to it. And, of course, to write and write well, one must read widely. It started early in my life and continues to this day. But, long before I began writing stories, I was working long hours as a college professor, squeezing in time whenever I could find the time to work my hobby—which I began in earnest almost 20 years ago.

Readers can find me at the following locations....

Twitter @StanleyPBrown, Website, Amazon Black Opal Books and

Fallen Wizard can be found at B&N, Kobo and Smashwords

Thanks Stanley for sharing our spotlight today.

Until next time, friends, take care and God bless.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Pelican Book Group's Spring-tastick Ebook Bonanza & Giveaway!

Good Morning and Welcome to the first Saturday Spotlight in May 2019!

Wow...did I really just write that?! I can't believe this year is almost 1/2 over already!

Alas, what can we do but keep on keeping on?

With that in mind, I want to draw your attention to my new blogging schedule (listed in right sidebar). Beginning in June I will be posting 2 x per week instead of 3 by combining Tuesday Treasures & Thursday Thoughts into 1 post - Wednesday Words with Friends.... I look forward to bringing you great authors and books as well as other talented writers with wonderful, important and inspiring things to say.

Now on to today's spotlight....

My scheduled guest could not make it so I want to spotlight Pelican Book Group's Spring-tastic Ebook Bonanaza and Giveaway.

$300 in prizes 30 books (including Love in Season!) 

No matter what you like to read, romance, suspense, YA, general Christian Fiction, there is something in this bonanza for everyone! Some books are even FREE. 

No Purchase Necessary to enter or win!

but HURRY! this special promotion ends on 

May 11th.

Happy Reading!