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

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Jen J Danna!

Good Morning from Troy, Alabama!

Well, we're off to the Dixie Majors World Series championship game again this year and again we play Arkansas! It's been a wild ride - and a busy one. Monday, I received notification that the audio files for My Heart Weeps had been uploaded to ACX and are awaiting my approval, so I've added proofing those to my list of things to get done this week.

Love my life!

But enough about me.

Jen J Danna has been in our spotlight before, but it has been a few years so please give her a huge, warm WELCOME as she shares with us some very interesting information....

Things We Could All Learn From Hostage Negotiation

EXIT STRATEGY’s Gemma Capello is a hostage negotiator with the NYPD. Hostage Negotiators are a special breed—men and women who are not only controlled and patient, but creative, quick witted, empathetic, and flexible. Above all, they are trained that the most important thing they can do is listen. In a world where we often spend too much time talking, we could all learn something from hostage negotiators.

One of the most important tools in a negotiator’s toolbox is something called “active listening”. To connect with a hostage taker or suspect, they use a number of techniques so the person they are negotiating with understands they are heard:

Emotional labelling—a statement of the expressed emotions: “You sound…” You seem…”

Paraphrasing—a rewording of the suspect’s expressed thoughts or feelings.

Mirroring—repetition of the last few words spoken to encourage more information.

Effective pauses—pausing after important information for emphasis; alternately pause because many suspects are uncomfortable with silence and will talk to fill it.

Minimal encouragers—phrases like “Tell me more”, “Really?”, or “Okay” tell the suspects someone is listening with interest.

“I” messages—a counter to verbal attacks or counterproductive behaviour to bring the discussion back onto even footing: “I feel…”, “When you…”

Open-ended questions—questions that can’t be answered by a simple “Yes” or “No” (which could then stop the discussion) and require a more in-depth response to draw out information.
Additionally, as part of active listening, negotiators are trained to listen specifically for the emotion underlying the content because sometimes a suspect’s words may say one thing, but the emotion behind the message speaks to something entirely different.

In our own lives, we’re not going to be dealing with high-stress, life-and-death situations like a hostage standoff, but there are times when we’re negotiating for something we want or need, or are in important discussions with loved ones. In these cases, active listening skills can improve our dealings and, eventually, outcomes because sometimes, what’s really needed is for us to be quiet, to listen, and to let someone else speak. And that’s how compromises can be made so both sides can claim victory.

A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ’TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF and BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, STORM RISING, and NO MAN’S LAND. The fifth book in the series, LEAVE NO TRACE, will release in January 2020.

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020. The second book in the series, SHOT CALLER, will release in 2021, and the third book, LOCKDOWN, will release in 2022.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

Connect with Jen on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram

Exit Strategy can be found at  Amazon.comAmazon.caAmazon.co.ukBarnes and NobleBooks-A-MillionBookshop.orgHudson BooksellersIndieBoundIndigoTarget, and Walmart.

Check out Jen's previous spotlights HERE and HERE.

Thanks for sharing such intriguing information with us, Jen! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your new release.

Hope you enjoyed the post today, friends and that you'll check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on T. I. Lowe & Driftwood Dreams

Good Morning from Troy, Alabama!

Some of you may have noticed my new promo picture on some, or all, of my social media sites and/or website. I'm not a fan of cameras and not near as photogenic as my daughter and granddaughter so every ten years is enough. I know the depiction on this blog isn't very large so here is a larger one for you.....

Enough about me, let's get on with our guest!

Last year I attended the Dixie Youth World Series in Monroe, LA and our South Carolina team won undefeated. This year, we're in Alabama for the games which will take place in Ozark, AL. Neat how this works out so well with today's guest whose book being spotlighted is # 2 in her "Carolina Coast" series.

Tonya has shared Beach Haven (book 1) on Wednesday Words with Friends and in a Spotlight. We also found out quite a bit on Driftwood Dreams (book 2) last month in her WWwF post but today we're getting a peek into the novel!

Josie Slater has allowed the circumstances anchoring her in Sunset Cove to become a life sentence. Since her mother’s death years before, she’s spent most of her waking hours helping her dad run the Driftwood Diner. As her best friends, Opal and Sophia, make their dreams come true, Josie watches her own art school aspirations drift on by. But when a French-speaking Southern gentleman from her past moves back from Europe, Josie is launched into a tizzy of what-ifs and I-sure-do-hope-sos.

August Bradford left Sunset Cove six years ago to sow some life oats and conquer his ambitious career goals. Finally ready to lay down some roots, the successful artist is back in town and determined to win Josie’s heart. When he enlists Josie’s help in the preparations for a children’s art camp, Josie finds herself unleashing her artistic side in a way she hasn’t since before her mother’s death. August hopes to convince Josie to paint a life with him, but the problem is convincing her to let go of her apprehensions and give him—and her dreams—a fair chance.

 Excerpt: Standing in the midst of the ebb and flow of her daily chaos always gave Josie Slater the same feeling as standing in the surf—it was ever-changing, yet she felt trapped in the same spot with her feet slowly sinking in the sand. She absently handed an order slip to a passing waitress while ringing up the couple sitting at the counter in front of her.

“This place is amazing.” The middle-aged man handed over a couple of bills.

“Why, thank you.” Josie offered a polite smile along with his change. She didn’t even have to be present in the moment anymore to serve up generous portions of Southern hospitality to tourists.

“The candied pecan waffles were deli-cious,” the wife added as her husband helped her off the stool.
The couple had been sitting there chat-ting Josie up for the better part of the last hour about their thirtieth wedding anniver-sary trip to the Grand Strand. They were both dressed in brand-new swimwear and were pasty white, except for the fresh streaks of sunburn across their noses. Even if they hadn’t told her, they were broadcasting their tourist status. Josie often wondered why vacationers couldn’t figure out how to properly apply sunblock. Over the years she’d seen various red-and-white stripes, Rudolph noses, hairline sunburns, and handprints.

Even with their neon noses, Josie thought they were the cutest and wondered if such happiness was ever going to be in the cards for her. Seemed the only card she owned was the one that kept her rooted behind this counter, parroting courteous responses to customer accolades.

The man wrapped his arm around his wife’s shoulders. “And just think, we were about to walk on by, but the people piling in and out of this old building made us curious enough to step inside.”

“A hidden gem is what Driftwood Diner is.” The wife added a generous tip to the old-fashioned milk can that served as the tip jar for counter service. “It’s the best meal we’ve had since arriving.”

Josie couldn’t agree more. She was right proud of the establishment created at the hands of her parents. The timeworn, rusted shanty sat proudly, even with its arthritic lean to the left, on the sand of coastal South Carolina and had been a prominent fixture in the Sunset Cove community for nearly four decades. Its breakfast fare was legendary, and it usually took just one taste of the bis-cuits and gravy to have a newbie hooked for life. Josie’s father replaced the traditionally used ground sausage with chopped shrimp, taking the already-decadent dish over the top.

“Y’all have a good time at the beach, and be sure to come back for lunch.” She waved goodbye to the couple.

“Oh, we will. I have to try the shrimp burgers.” The husband waved one last time before guiding his wife out the screen door.

Josie continued on autopilot, gathering dirty dishes and wiping down the counter while her mind wandered toward happier thoughts of the upcoming weekend meeting with the Sand Queens.

Tonya “T. I.” Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in psychology but excelled in creative writing. In 2014, Tonya independently published her first novel, Lulu’s CafĂ©, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of twelve published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. She resides near Myrtle Beach with her family.

Connect with her on her Author Page,  T.I. Lowe’s Website   Instagram   Twitter (@TiLowe)   and Facebook  

Get a copy of Driftwood Dreams at TyndaleAmazon OR wherever books are sold. Don't forget to pick up book 1 in the series, Beach Haven!

Thanks for this peek into your book, Tonya, we are SO looking forward to hearing more on book 3 in the series!

Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight friends and that you'll check back each week for more Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlights.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Kathy Bailey!

Good Morning Friends!

Well, July is marching right along. The small writing retreat I attended in Nacogdoches, TX last week was a huge success. We had so much fun and, most importantly, every one of us accomplished our writing goals for the time we were there. I'm heading out tomorrow for Ozark, AL to attend the Dixie Youth World Series but never fear, Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight will still go on. Speaking of which, today's guest is not new to our blog, although it has been a while since she shared thoughts and words with us so please welcome Kathy Bailey back to visit with us!

How shall we then give?

When my husband was in Bible college, we operated on a sliver of a budget. At one of our lowest points I made fish chowder with a can of sardines my mom had sent me in a care package.  Needless to say, we did not have weight problems.
In our small town a middle-aged couple ran a small family nursing home. My husband took on the responsibility of giving them a short religious service on Sunday afternoons, and I went along. After he preached to the dozen or so residents, the owners usually invited us to supper. The wife of the pair always apologized for the meal, explaining that she “just put out a few little things.” Her “little things” included three or four varieties of cold cuts, cheese, sandwich rolls, potato salad, macaroni salad, and several varieties of gelatin salads. It was more food, cumulatively, than we had seen all week.
And the blessed woman often packed leftovers with the comment, “Maybe you can use these. I hate to throw them out.” She made us feel like we were doing her a favor for taking, again, more food than we’d seen all week.
This should have been a Christmas post, and maybe some day I’ll recycle it into one. But it’s equally timely now, as we pick up the pieces of the first worldwide pandemic most of us have ever known.
How did we give?
Did we share our toilet paper, or give up our place in line? Did we tuck a gas card into someone’s Bible, or pick up extra take-out for a friend? Did we pay anything forward, knowing that reciprocation probably wouldn’t happen in this life?
There’s an art to giving. While we shouldn’t devalue our gift, we also shouldn’t make the recipient feel devalued. It’s important to help them retain their dignity. It’s important to approach them with respect. “Can you take this off my hands? I’ve outgrown it/my kids have outgrown it/I bought too much/there was a huge sale and I couldn’t resist.” You will know.
It’s also important not to attach strings. If it’s a gift it’s gone. You can comment if you see the recipient wearing or using the gift, but it ends there. Give and move on.
There’s a fine line between “charity” and “justice,” and I’ve spent years working it out, first as a recipient, then as a giver. A friend who was down on her luck got upset one time when our church gave her a gift card. “I don’t want charity,” she snapped.  We had to lead her to the understanding that if it’s from people who know you, and love you, it’s not charity. It’s justice.
Charity is when you drop a buck in the Salvation Army kettle, or write a check to support people you’ll never see. Needed, necessary, but faceless.
Justice is when you see a need in front of you. A family member, a friend, a church associate. You see it and you take care of it, to the best of your ability. Or you get someone else to take care of it. Because it’s in your face. Because it’s the right thing to do.
And, very often, justice knows WHAT to do. If you know the person who needs your help, you can tailor your giving. The young widow whose “Santa gifts” are provided through a Giving Tree, but who still needs help with stocking stuffers. The first-time parents, just home from the hospital, who could use a heat-able meal—and paper plates.  Charity doesn’t know where its dollars go. Justice knows not only where, but why.
At its shining best, justice isn’t “just” about giving. It’s a bridge between people living out God’s plan on this earth, and someone who needs to know that God loves them.

Kathleen Bailey is a journalist and novelist with 40 years’ experience in the nonfiction, newspaper and inspirational fields. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and she’s enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.
Bailey’s work includes both historical and contemporary fiction, with an underlying thread of men and women finding their way home, to Christ and each other. Her first Pelican book, ‘Westward Hope,” was published in September 2019. This was followed by a novella, “The Logger’s Chrsitmas Bride,” in December 2019. Her second full-length novel, “Settler’s Hope,” was released July 17, 2020.
She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David. They have two grown daughters.
For more information, contact her at ampie86@comcast.net; @piechick1 on Twitter; Kathleen D. Bailey on Facebook and LinkedIn; or at www.kathleendbailey.weebly.com.

After years of wandering, Pace Williams expects to find a home in the Oregon Country. He doesn't expect is to fall in love with a fiery Irishwoman bent on returning home to avenge her people.

Oona Moriarty expects one thing: to exact revenge on the English overlords who took her home. She doesn't expect to fall in love with a man who looks like he's been carved from this Western landscape.

Together they vow to trust the unexpected and settle into a life, but when Pace's ancient enemies threaten to destroy the life they're building, Oona must choose between helping the man she loves and seeking the revenge she craves. 

Get your copy of Settler's Hope at Amazon.

Thank you so much, Kathy for sharing your thoughts on giving. I love how God provided for you and your husband! We should all be willing to meet the needs of others as we see and are able.

Friends, Kathy is giving away THREE different prizes to 3 lucky winners! 
An e-book of Settler's Hope (book 2 in the Western Dreams series). 
A paperback of Westward Hope (book 1 in her Western Dreams series), AND
A New England gift pack. 
*Paperback and gift pack, US only.

Leave a comment to enter her giveaway and for a chance to win my monthly gift card!

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care, God bless and remember....you can't out-give God!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Shirley Raye Redmond & Courageous World Changers!

Good Morning and Welcome!

Well the writing retreat in Nacogdoches, TX I talked about on Wednesday was a great time. I doubled my word count on the current WIP. One friend met her goal of 10K words added to hers and the other finished and published a short story as well as added to her overall word count also! I absolutely love getting together with writers to actually write. Of course we took regular breaks to visit and brainstorm or simply get away to rest our minds but then we were right back at it and it paid off. Alas, now we're back to our normal routines juggling life and writing. But hopefully the inspiration will carry us through to completion of our individual projects.

Enough about me though!

Our guest has visited before, both on Wednesday Words with Friends AND in our Spotlight so I'm turning the blog over to her now. Take it away Shirley.....

Faithful Christian women are salt and light in their communities. They all make a difference. But some have such a vibrant faith that—like a stone tossed into a pond— their influence ripples throughout the world. The fifty women included in this book fall into that category. Each took seriously Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18 that, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Blessed with a variety of talents from writing and preaching, to teaching and nursing, these women used their gifts to glorify God. From aviators and athletes to musicians and mathematicians, many of them forged their faith in the fires of persecution, prejudice, and pain.
Several entered the mission field. Others took their faith into the world of politics and medicine. They were (and are) strong, smart, and sometimes outspoken. They recognized Jesus as Lord of everything—from arts and sciences to education and athletics. Brief cameos include Corrie Ten Boom, Mahalia Jackson, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sabina Wurmbrand and Ni Kwei-Tseng Soong and 44 other inspiring women.

Excerpt: Brave and adventurous at an early age, Elisabeth Elliot was only twelve when she prayed, “Lord, I want you to do anything you want with me.” She attended Wheaton College, where she studied classical Greek, hoping to translate the New Testament for unreached people groups. She married Jim Elliot in 1953. They joined four other families on the mission field in Ecuador.

While living with the peaceful Quecha tribe, Jim attempted to make contact with the Waorani—a violent tribe known for their revenge killings. Neighboring tribes called them Aucas or savages. When Jim and four others were killed, Elisabeth insisted, “This is not a tragedy. God has a plan and purpose in all this.”

Together with Rachel Saint, the sister of one of the murdered missionaries, Elisabeth took her toddler Valerie to the Waorani village, where they lived for two years in a tiny rain swept hut, eating roasted monkey limbs and other local fare. She hoped by forgiving those who’d killed her husband, she might teach them about God’s mercy and grace. Her courageous faith won several in the tribe to Jesus and inspired millions of Christians around the world. When

Elisabeth returned to the United States in 1963, the Waorani were no longer a violent culture. Elisabeth married again and began her speaking ministry across the United States. She also wrote twenty-four books, many of them inspirational bestsellers. Today, the tribe she evangelized continues to grow in the Christian faith.

Amanda Berry Smith
                                      The Orphans’ Champion

Born a slave in Maryland, Amanda was one of thirteen children. Her parents were married, but lived on different plantations. Devout believers, they raised their children to love Jesus. At thirteen, Amanda performed the tasks of a housemaid. She was fifteen when her father purchased her freedom. Together they moved north to Pennsylvania.

Amanda married at seventeen. She endured poverty and hardship. Her husband enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, but never returned. Four of her five children died as babies. Her second husband died from cancer. Each tragedy drew her closer to God.
When Amanda began her preaching ministry, she joyfully distributed Bible tracts on street corners. She sang at revivals. For forty years, both black and white Christians invited her to preach at their events.

Amanda became instrumental in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and helped to establish the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Despite her popularity, Amanda felt the sting of racism, saying, “I think some people would understand the quintessence of sanctifying grace if they could be black about twenty four hours.”

As her reputation grew, Amanda evangelized in Great Britain and India. She served as a missionary in Liberia in Africa for eight years. After returning to the United States, she raised funds to build an orphanage for destitute black children in 1899 in a small town near Chicago—the first establishment of its kind. She worked tirelessly for the rest of her life to support the orphanage.

An award-winning writer, Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God and three inspirational novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED, VIPER’S NEST, and AMANDA’S BEAU.

Her children’s book, LEWIS & CLARK: A PRAIRIE DOG FOR THE PRESIDENT (Random House) was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection.

Shirley Raye holds an M.A. in literature and has been married to her husband Bill for over forty years. They live in New Mexico and are blessed with two grown children and four precious grandchildren. Touch bases at shirleyrayeredmond.com or Facebook.

Get your copy of Courageous World Changers at AmazonB&N and Christian Book.com

Wow, Shirley, these sound like some very interesting stories! Good luck and God's blessings with the book!

Hope you enjoyed the post friends and that you'll check back each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and another Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Barbara Britton!

Good Morning from Nacogdoches, TX!

A couple friends and I have been here since Sunday afternoon for a short writing retreat. Double blessing for me as I get to visit my son too. If you haven't filed your taxes, today is the day. We were given a reprieve when the IRS extended the file date until July - something I don't recall ever happening before, but many people will put off until the last moment what they had the ability to do months ago. Human nature I guess. I'm happy to admit mine are done so that's one less thing on my plate to worry about. But enough about me!

Our guest today has been in our spotlight with her book Until June and Benjamin so please welcome Barbara back to share some words with us on Encountering Invisible Wounds.....

My latest release was a bit different for me. I usually write Biblical Fiction, but “Until June” is set in Alaska in 1918 and not in Bible Times. Why a WWI Historical? Many years ago, I took an Alaskan cruise with my family. We ventured to a lodge outside of Juneau and heard a story about how a WWI veteran and a nurse stayed at the lodge year-round. In winter, when the river froze, the couple was cut off from society. A man and a woman alone in a lodge? That was the beginning of “Until June.”

What would make a veteran decide to go to a remote lodge instead of staying in Juneau? I thought of a veteran I met in a VA Hospital in Waco, TX many years ago. I remember meeting him, but he won’t remember meeting me. The veteran was living in another reality due to post-traumatic stress disorder. In WWI, soldiers experienced severe trauma that affected their lives as well. The disorder was called being shell-shocked.

In “Until June,” Geoff Chambers overcomes the hardships of war and learns to live again due to the persistence of his caregiver. PTSD is a heavy topic, but I hope I have brought it to life with respect and humor that shows the realities of war.

Until June can be purchased on AmazonB&N and other book retailers.   

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Look for Barb to venture into Christian Historical fiction with “Until June.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. You can find out about Barb’s books on her Website. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Thank you so much, Barbara for sharing your inspiration behind Until June. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your life and writing!

Hope you enjoyed the post, friends. Barbara is travelling today but she will check in and visit with you when she gets a moment so please leave her a comment.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Kristen Joy Wilks & Yellowstone Yondering!

Good Morning!

If you've followed me for long you know I absolutely LOVE to promote new-to-me authors. Our guest is a fellow Pelican Book Group author who has never had the opportunity to visit - until today! So please welcome Kristen Joy Wilks with her book, Yellowstone Yondering....

When a free-spirited wildlife photographer loses her Scottish terrier in a herd of bison, she sets out to rescue her furbaby before he is devoured. But will she succeed when Yellowstone National Park is chock full of boiling, bubbling, and rampaging hazards (both mammalian and geographical) — not to mention a rule-obsessed park ranger whose many rescues thwart her efforts to find her poor pup?  

 Excerpt: He handed her a stack of pamphlets, not only on pet regulations within the park, but also papers that listed safe camping techniques, wild animal safety, and motorcycle repair for beginners. Where did he get all of this material? Surely the park did not concern itself with what kind of leather polish she used on the seat of her vehicle.
          “I noticed that you are not wearing biking leathers.”
          “Of course not. I look terrible in black.”
          If possible, his scowl increased in intensity.
          “Also, it is incredibly hot. If I don’t crash, I’ll be fine.”
          The ranger handed her a pamphlet showing a number of grievous injuries and mangled motorbikes, some of them still in flames. “I’ve compiled a list of motorcycle accidents in the park from the last decade. Please consider the purchase of protective garments appropriate to your mode of transportation.”
          Kayla snatched the paper out of his hand and squinted at his name tag which read ALEXANDER BRANDT in precise block lettering. “I’ll take it into consideration, Ranger Brandt. Can I go?”
          Mr. Brandt shook his head and indicated her camera and the equipment tucked inside the open saddle bag. “All park animals are wild. Stay one-hundred yards from bears and wolves and at least twenty-five yards from bison, moose, elk, big horn sheep, deer, and coyotes.”
          “Of course they’re wild. Surely, everyone in this line knows that?”
          “Yes, you would think so. Yet somehow I’ve spent the entire summer discouraging park goers from sneaking up to place their children, children mind you, on the backs of rambling bison and grazing moose for photos. Yesterday, a group of twelve tourists were snapping selfies not five feet away from a Grizzly with cubs and so I say again, the animals are wild!” The ranger paused a moment to collect himself.
          “OK, then, let me assure you of my sanity. I am fully aware that these are bear-infested wilderness areas. I swear never to perch my dog upon wildlife of any kind and will personally tackle any parent who attempts to do so. Safety first … you can let me through anytime now.”
          The ranger raised one brow and lowered his sunglasses. “You might want to skip the tackling part. They would most likely sue.” Man, his eyes were blue … and intense, apparently he had no intention of shortening the lecture. “Now, do not feed any of the animals. Even a marmot can give you Bubonic Plague.”
          Bubonic Plague, really? Kayla snatched her park pass from his hand and was about to pull forward when he gave her just the hint of a smile. It transformed his stern expression, pulling her gaze to those blue eyes and bringing out a single dimple in his cheek. Annoying and cute. How charming. As Ranger Brandt stepped back and waved her forward, he managed to smash her glimpse of Mr. Dashing with some unsolicited wisdom.
          “Remember, no one will enjoy your beautiful photos if you get an antler gouged through your eye.”
          Kayla glanced back and smiled. “Actually, nothing increases sales like the tragic death of the artist.” As Ranger Brandt’s eyes hardened and he opened his mouth to reply, Kayla revved the engine and kicked Canary into gear.  
Author Bio: 
Kristen Joy Wilks lives with her camp-director husband, three fierce sons, and a slobbery Newfoundland dog. She has blow-dried a chicken, smuggled bacon into the movie theater, and fought epic Nerf battles instead of washing dishes. Kristen writes about the humor and Grace God gives amidst the detritus of life. Connect with Kristen on her Website, Facebook, Pinterest. Get a copy of Yellowstone Yondering at Amazon, B&N and PBG. Watch the Trailer HERE.
Wow, Kristen, this book sounds really wonderful! I've been to several National Parks but Yellowstone isn't one - yet. Hopefully soon!
Good luck and God's blessings.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Clarissa Rivera!

Good Morning Friends,

Clarissa Rivera, Content Marketer at Taos Footwear has visited us before with wonderful information on Getting Healthy and choosing your Footwear. Today she shares some tips on disinfecting your shoes. This information has been both relevant and disavowed by the CDC but hey, you never know what to believe or when it'll come in handy so let's welcome Clarissa back.

Take it away Clarissa.....

Removing and Disinfecting Your Shoes: The Benefits of Both During COVID-19

It’s always important to guard against germs. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, this may be more crucial than ever. You need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay safe.

That’s why you should remove your shoes before entering your home after you’ve been out. Additionally, it’s a good idea to disinfect your supportive sneakers, favorite sandals, and every pair of shoes that you wear on a regular basis. The following points will help you better understand why.

The Benefits of Removing Your Shoes Before Entering Your Home

Keeping Your Home Clean

You might not want to hear this, but odds are good your shoe soles are much dirtier than you realize. Most shoe soles are actually dirtier than toilet seats.

You don’t want to track germs into your house or apartment. Removing your shoes before stepping inside will help you avoid doing so.

It’s also important to understand that research shows 100% of shoes contain fecal matter. Regardless of how careful you think you are, or how clean you think your neighborhood is, the sad truth is your shoes are almost certainly home to fecal matter and bacteria. On top of that, because shoes rarely get a chance to shed bacteria (bacteria accumulates every time you step outside in your shoes), bacteria appears to remain present on shoes longer than on virtually any other surface.

Avoiding Covid-19 Spread

The coronavirus is new. We’re still learning about how it spreads. That said, while person-to-person transmission appears to be the most common way the virus infects others, the CDC’s research also indicates you may contract the virus by simply coming into contact with a surface that’s also been in contact with the virus.

This is another good reason to remove your shoes before entering your home. You can’t be too careful these days. There’s no reason to risk bringing the virus inside with you.

How to Disinfect Your Shoes

Removing your shoes before going inside is definitely beneficial. That said, to optimize your safety, it’s also a good idea to disinfect your shoes.

You can do this easily with some shoes by merely cleaning them in your washing machine. Use hot water to kill the germs.

However, in some instances, shoes are made of delicate materials (such as leather and suede) that won’t hold up in a washing machine. To disinfect these types of shoes, use a rag or soft bristled brushed with a mixture of warm water and soap. You can also use rubbing alcohol to disinfect them thoroughly. Just make sure you also wash your hands and forearms after doing so. Of course, when your shoes are made with very delicate materials, you want to rinse them gently and carefully.

Of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should try to limit outside excursions as much as possible. That said, you still need to go out to buy groceries and perform related tasks. Keeping your shoes clean and removing them before coming inside will help you stay safe.

Hope this information is beneficial to you ALL and that you'll do whatever necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones safe!

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

#SaturdaySpotlight is on April Jones @akejones & The Curse Breaker!

Good Morning and Welcome!

Happy Independence Day, America! Hope you've had a chance to check out the Celebrate Canada/America Bookish Event put on by N. N. Light's Book Heaven. Good luck if you've entered the rafflecopter giveaway!

If you've followed me for long you know it is always a pleasure to introduce to you a new-to-me author. Today's guest, April Jones has read, written, or edited her way through numerous fictional worlds. When she's not teaching or writing, she spends her time trying to learn other languages or keeping her mischievous cat from eating the pet fish. She received her bachelor's in English and her M.F.A. in creative writing. 

A Tennessee native, April currently lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. You can find her poems and short stories published in various literary magazines across the internet and in print. You can also check out her debut novel, The Curse Breaker. For more information visit her website thepathtostory.com

Find out more about April and connect with her on the following social media sites...

Facebook: Facebook.com/editorapril
Twitter: @akejones
Instagram: aprilkelleyjones
Website: thepathtostory.com

So nice to meet you, April! Now tells us more about your book....

Eris's sister is missing, and Magic is definitely to blame! Eris knows only Magic can bring her back, but even as a Light Magic born, is she strong enough to save her sister?

Knox is cursed to spend his days as a corpse and his nights trying to find the prophesized girl who can break the curse. If he can't find her by his 20th birthday, he'll stay dead forever.

Eris and Knox will discover there are scarier things in their path other than curses and half-truths. If the Queen of the Underworld has her way, everything and everyone will die. The only thing standing in her way is the curse breaker, and Eris will have to choose between saving herself or everyone she loves.

Excerpt: The Queen paced in front of her blood-red throne. After so many years, she was finally going to meet the thief who had stolen her amulet. And when she did, she was going to slowly sever every one of their limbs, one by one, before feeding their soul to Madame. The thought made her smile a wicked smile. That would teach them to steal from the Queen of the Underworld. Stupid humans were always trying to prolong their lives in the most feeble ways. Tonics, magic, deals. Death was something that could never be avoided entirely, but they didn’t seem to think that universal rule applied to any of them.
Three more months and her amulet would call to her like it always did when she could get free of this place, and then she would have her revenge. Whoever they were, they had been granted twenty years that did not belong to them, and she would make sure they paid for that stolen time. That was part of her job, after all, not that she was complaining.

“I apologize for being late, your Majesty.” Madame hurried in, a little out of breath.

The Queen turned and stared at a slightly disheveled Madame. Normally her long hair was braided and wrapped elaborately around her head, causing her to look like a long-lost ancient queen from the human world.

“We can discuss that in a moment. I called you here because I have a proposition for you.”

“I am but your humble servant, your Majesty.” Madame feigned humility they both knew she did not possess.

The Queen rolled her eyes and continued. “If you can find the insect that stole my amulet before three months are up, I will give you a special treat.”

“I will find the human. I will make it suffer.” Madame smiled.

“No. You will not touch a hair on its head. Bring it to me, and I will deal with it.” Madame looked disappointed but nodded.

The body of a girl suddenly appeared in the air in front of them, along with one of her servants. Madame examined the girl for a moment, but then seemed to lose interest once she realized the girl was neither alive nor dead. The Queen walked over and swept the girl’s long black hair back enough to see her face. She scrunched up her nose at the young girl’s beauty.

Snapping her fingers again brought new servants running. 

“Take her and put her with the rest of the cursed.”

The women gently plucked the girl from the air. The Queen wondered how many bodies lay waiting in the limbo between life and death. Not that she would forgive the vermin that had stolen her amulet, but she would enjoy watching the human be tortured by all the souls it had trapped prematurely in the Underworld. Eternity would not be long enough for all the lives that heartless human had taken trying to break the curse that came with stealing something born from the Underworld’s power. Since the human had not been able to break it thus far, she continued to collect bodies stuck in the in-between, their lives connected to the cursed one’s. When that insect finally died, so would all of those souls, and she would have a lovely new collection of pets.

The Queen smiled to herself as she watched one of the servants wrap her arms around the girl’s legs while the other wove her arms around the girl’s back. Slowly they carried her out, leaving the Queen to her thoughts again.

Get your copy of The Curse Breaker at Amazon.


Oh my what an excerpt! Love your cover too, April. Thanks for sharing. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your book.

Hope you enjoyed today's post friends and that you'll check back often for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight. Don't forget N. N. Light's Book Heaven's "Christmas in July Fete" with 5 gift cards up for grabs! Keri's Christmas Wish is featured along with a bunch of other Christmas books!

Guess that's all for now folks. Until next time take care, be safe & God Bless.