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

Saturday, July 31, 2021

#SaturdaySpotlight is on @AngelaRStrong & Husband Auditions!

Good Morning!

The odds were stacked against us, two games, 30 mins apart in 98 degree heat but we pulled it off! North Charleston is 2021 Dixie Majors World Champions! Bittersweet win as my guy's grandson won't play again for this particular team. We'll see what next year brings though.

Meanwhile, please welcome brand-new-to-me and our blog, Kregel author, Angela Ruth Strong with her book, Husband Auditions!

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she's handed a strange present at the latest wedding--a 1950s magazine article of "ways to get a husband"--she decides there's nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can't get any more single, can she?

Her brother's roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love--Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it's an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she's looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

Excerpt: Meri #16. Work as a waitress or nurse. Men love being taken care of.

I hated My Best Friend’s Wedding. No, I’m not talking about the ceremony I just took part in, which was absolutely beautiful despite that the bridesmaid’s dress I’m still wearing makes me look like an origami swan. I’m referring to the movie with Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz.

Okay, honestly, it was a good movie until the end. Spoiler alert: The rich, beautiful blonde gets the guy, while the heroine is left alone.

Granted, Julia’s character had been conniving and selfish at times, but since she learned a valuable lesson through the story, I can’t help thinking that both she—and I—deserve a happy ending. As for Cameron being jilted at the altar—who cares? Again, rich, beautiful, blonde.

But I’m none of those, so what hope do I have? Not only am I still wearing this ugly grass-green dress, that’s uncomfortably strapless and slipping dangerously low, but . . . I caught the bouquet! To make the situation even more embarrassing, my competition was a gang of eight-year-olds.

That’s right. I’m the last of my nursing-school friends, or any of my friends for that matter, to be single.

Hmm . . . Maybe I’m glad Julia Roberts is still single at the end of the movie because now we have something in common. Me and Jules.

I wish I could claim to also be a tall redhead with a toothpaste-commercial smile. I’m actually an ordinary thirty-one-year-old woman who still looks twelve due to an exorbitant amount of freckles. And my boring brown hair is neither as curly as Julia’s hair when it’s curly nor as straight as Julia’s hair when it’s straight. My hair is wavy. Which sounds nice, but really means it can’t be considered sleek nor bouncy. No, Julia’s character and I are only bonded by the bare ring finger.

Said finger cramps as I grip my luggage tighter, juggle it with my other belongings, and struggle up the one step in front of my younger brother’s townhome located in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon. The dum-dum can afford such a place because he’s a workaholic, which has left him single as well as successful.

Scratch successful. Having your fiancée leave you because you prioritize your career over loved ones does not make a person successful. Let’s call him prosperous. And maybe a little stingy too. Which is why he’s rented out the spare bedrooms to a couple of his classmates from film school.

Of the three of them, he’s the only one I wouldn’t consider a starving artist. Though they must all be starved for affection, judging by their singleness. Unfortunately, I’m about to join their Bermuda Triangle of relationships.

I’d usually go right in, but my hands are full. Stupid bouquet and such. I kick the door a few times in attempt to sound as if I’m knocking.

I don’t want to live here for the summer, but I currently have nowhere else to go, and three months will give me some time to figure out what I do want to do. The only thing I know for sure is that I can’t keep all my stuff in my old garage indefinitely, since Anne lives there with a husband now.

I stare at Charlie’s trendy, cranberry-colored door. So misleadingly cheerful. And still closed.

Music drifts from inside.

I kick again and add a “Hello?” for good measure.

Nothing. My brother’s Subaru Legacy is in the parking spot behind me, so I know he’s here.

I do an upright row with a tote bag to press my elbow to the doorbell.

No footsteps tap to the beat. Fine. I’ll perform a juggling act and open the door myself.

I slip the tote up to my elbow until I’m tilted sideways like the patient with back problems who came into my doctor’s office last week, but at least I’m able to grip the doorknob. I twist and release. The door swings open to reveal the far windows with a view of the city skyline underneath the snowy white peak of Mt. Hood—like a Facebook frame on an Instagram filter.

This image is not picture perfect, however, because sitting on the kind of black leather couch you’d expect to find in a bachelor pad like my brother’s is Kai Kamaka. Feet up on one of the two cube-like coffee tables, MacBook on his lap.

I’m surprised the guy is awake during the day. Five years after graduating, he still works at the same place where his school counselor got him an internship and, like a nocturnal college student, he prefers the night shift. He’s a prime example of the shortage of mature men in the world and why I haven’t been able to find one yet.

He grins at me and my charade of a pack animal. He has one of those grins that would have gotten him out of trouble for pulling the fire alarm as a kindergartner but can only be considered childish after the age of five.

“Hey, Meri,” he says in a voice much too deep for elementary school. “Why are you wearing a dinner napkin?”

Now that I think about it, the folds in my bodice do resemble the aforementioned part of the table setting during today’s reception dinner, but that’s not the issue here. “It helps soak up all my sweat when I’m left standing in the burning heat by a lazy roommate who refuses to open the door.” Okay, the heat actually feels warm and inviting. I always appreciate sunny days in Oregon. But again, not the issue.

Kai lifts his phone. “I’m not lazy. I checked my phone to see if anybody texted to say they were coming over. No texts.”

The hipster definition of hard work. Though I’d consider Kai more of a skater than a hipster. Even though I’ve never seen him on a longboard, I’m sure he has one. He’s lanky, wears baggy clothes, and his shiny, dark hair hangs almost in his eyes. If we lived in the state of his heritage, Hawaii, I’d call him a surfer. We do have some surfers here in Oregon, but due to water temperature, they must wear wet suits and be real diehards. Kai is not a diehard. So, we’ll stick with skater.

“Dude,” I speak his language. “You’re not the only person who lives here.”

“Oh, that’s right. Welcome home.” He turns his attention to his computer screen. “Why’d you even knock if you live here now?”

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong. Published by Kregel Publications.

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about.


Strong’s books have since earned Top Pick honors in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Her book Finding Love in Big Sky recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. She also writes articles for SpiritLed Woman.


To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.


Besides writing, Strong teaches exercise classes, works for an airline, and enjoys Harley rides with her husband and camping with her three kids.


Learn more about Angela Strong at www.angelaruthstrong.com, or find her on Facebook (Angela Ruth Strong Fan Page)Instagram (@ang_strong), and Twitter (@AngelaRStrong)

Oh my, Angela this sounds like a wonderfully funny book! Wishing you the best of luck and God's blessings on this new chapter in your life.

Thanks for stopping by friends. Hope to see you again next week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes Kathy Neely & In Search of True North!

Good Morning!

I scheduled today's post yesterday before the ball game. Yep, as of this writing we're still in the running for Dixie Youth World Championship game. I'll let y'all know on Saturday how we ended up!

Today's guest has been here often sharing treasures and thoughts with us and in our spotlight so please welcome Kathy Neely back with some encouragement for inadequate writers....

Words From an Inadequate Writer

Many years ago, fresh out of college with my shiny new teaching certificate, I landed my first teaching position. Fourth grade. I walked around my empty classroom, the four walls that would be my domain for shaping young lives, and had a strange feeling. Me—a teacher?  How long until they all figure out that I’m out of my element, that I’m an imposter with no idea what I’m doing? 

Many years have passed since that fearsome first day. By the end of the school year, my confidence had grown and I settled into a career that I would love and eventually miss. Years later, my principal encouraged me to go into administration. I earned my principal’s certification and worked in leadership until my retirement. 

Today, I’m a writer. That truth took some time to solidify in my mind. When I began writing, I couldn’t help feeling like I had snuck into a culture where I didn’t belong, and soon people would find out. Others around me were versed in a lexicon that was foreign to me. They had published books while I had an over-edited five chapters. I say ‘over-edited’ because I couldn’t move past those early chapters. I couldn’t get the story on paper since my focus was on every little word. Did I have enough details? Were they too drawn out? Should I add more sensory language? Will this make sense to anyone but me? 

I didn’t have confidence and didn’t believe in myself. But Jeremiah 17:7 says “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” The real truth is this—I don’t have the ability to be a writer, or a teacher, or a parent, or much of anything on my own. It’s only through the power of Christ in me that I can write. 

So often, we allow what we do to define us. That’s a feeble concept because things of this earth are so fragile. Jobs are lost. Marriages fail. Books remain unpublished. My value is not because I write. It’s not because I taught students. My value is because I’m a child of the King. 

If you’ve ever shared those feelings of inadequacy, consider the following scriptures. Post them at your writing station as a daily reminder. 

Isaiah 32.17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace, its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. 

Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.

Romans 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

In a recent interview, I was asked when I discovered that I was a writer. I think I discovered that I’m a writer when I realized that people actually liked what I wrote. 

My advice for new writers is this: Do everything in your power to hone up the skills of the trade, knowing that it will not be enough. Place your trust in the Lord and allow Him to do the rest. Don’t allow writing to define you. Yes, I’m a writer—a child of God who writes fiction for God’s glory and your enjoyment. 

Kathleen Neely is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, The Least of These, and In Search of True North.  She is a former elementary teacher. Following her years in the classroom, she moved into administration, serving as an elementary principal. Kathleen is an alumnus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Regent University in Virginia. 

Among her writing accomplishments, Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her 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. She continues to speak to students about writing. Kathleen is a member of American of Christian Fiction Writers.

She resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading. Connect with Kathy by visiting her Website and connecting with her on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram

Blurb In Search of True North: Heartbroken, Mallory Carter leaves home at graduation. She decides to never burden her family with her choices again. Twelve long years of loneliness are comforted only by the homemade telescope she uses to stargaze. Then she receives a call that her sister has died, leaving behind a son, the son Mallory gave up at the tender age of seventeen. When her family pressures her to raise Samuel, she agrees, despite the fact that he’s unaware of their true relationship.


Samuel’s uncle, handsome architect Brady Donaldson, welcomes Mallory to the family, but she doesn’t know how much she can trust him. Brady has a bond with Samuel that Mallory has only been able to dream of for the last twelve years. But Mallory holds secrets that could ruin her new life. As threats surface from Mallory’s past, the relationship she is building with her son is endangered. Will she lose Samuel a second time? She realizes she desperately needs someone to trust, and Brady seems determined to fight for Mallory and Samuel. Searching for true north has never felt so hard. Will Brady Donaldson be the one to guide Mallory home, and to the God she abandoned long ago?

Order your copy at https://www.amazon.com/Search-True-North

Love your advice Kathy, we all feel inadequate from time to time. Thanks for sharing and we wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with In Search of True North!

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


Saturday, July 24, 2021

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Kara O'Neal @KaraONealAuthor & The Inventor's Heart!

Good Morning from Sterlington, LA!

We drove up yesterday for the Dixie Youth World Series. My guy's grandson is playing on SC team for the 3rd year in a row. It'll be his last though, so we hope they win (naturally!)

Today's guest has visited many times so please welcome Kara O'Neal with her book, The Inventor's Heart....

Pike’s Run, Texas, 1885
Alex Davis has just returned to Pike's Run, Texas, from Yale with a fabulous invention that could revolutionize the use of electricity. He can't wait to show his work to his family and his dearest friend in the world, Julia Forrester. But from the first day he arrives home, Julia avoids him. He doesn't understand and tries everything he can think of to spend time with her, but he fails.

Julia Forrester has loved Alex Davis since their school days. He was her confidante and her champion whenever she struggled with her studies. She helped him with his inventions, spending as many of her free hours as possible with him. She'd thought he'd loved her, but when he went off to college without her, her heart broke. And the infrequency of his letters proved his feelings didn't match hers. Now that he has returned, she is determined to move on with her life. She has written a symphony, and she won't let past hopes and dreams overtake her again.

But Alex won't give up, and when Julia confesses the reason for her distant attitude, the "Genius of Pike's Run" realizes his stupidity. He is in love with Julia and will now move Heaven and Earth to have her. But he is battling more than her distrust. Julia has another reason to keep away from Alex, and he sets out to fix it. Will the "genius" be able to prove his theory?


“You don’t want to stay here with me? Why?” Alex tried to calm his rising anger, but hurt at her obvious want to escape him overruled his will. “You prefer to be caught under the mistletoe and kissed by every fellow in town?”

Julia reared back. “I want no such thing!” she declared, trying to tug her hand free of his.

He would not let go. “Could’ve fooled me. Fitzsimmons practically had you off your feet. And Hollister is married and lingered entirely too long when he grabbed you.”

With force, she tried to yank free, but he was having none of it.

“It’s just a game,” she argued with a scowl. “I didn’t plan it, and I can’t control how any of the men kiss me.” She lifted her chin. “Besides, it’s all in good fun.”

Fun? Every embrace had torn him inside out. “None of them should have touched you. You’re my friend.”

“What does that mean?” she asked, her voice rising. “I belong to you?”

He almost shouted the affirmative, but he controlled the overwhelming feeling of possession. Instead, he kept quiet, not knowing how to explain his statement.

“You’ve been gone for five years, and I have other friends. Am I supposed to sit on a shelf waiting for you to come home?” She glared up at him.

Was she considering stepping out with someone? Jealousy roared inside him. “You think another man is better for you than me?”

“Emmet might have swept me off my feet, but at least he paid attention to me, at least he seemed to be interested in me, at least—”

Unable to take her compliments of another man a second longer, he yanked her forward and slammed his lips on hers. As desire engulfed him, he plundered her mouth, snaking an arm around her waist and pulling her up against him.

She moaned, and the sound spurred him on. He shoved his tongue inside, demanding she open for him, needing to prove that he was the man she wanted. He turned her and shoved her up against the wall, and she let out a whimper as she ran her fingers through his hair.

A shudder went through him, and he drank from her, never wanting to let her go. How had he not understood that her arms were his safe place? Why hadn’t he ever realized his best friend could set him on fire? His heart pounded hard, echoing in his ears and making him sing with life.

Born and raised in Texas, I had to make the state the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Connect with Kara at the following locations....

Get your copy of The Inventor's Heart HERE: https://books2read.com/u/3n7oqo

Sounds like another exciting addition to your Pike's Run series, Kara. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it!

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

Until next time take care and God bless.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

#WednesdayWordswithFriends ~ A note from Yours Truly....

Good Morning Friends!

If you read my introduction to the Saturday Spotlight post on July 10th OR received my newsletter, you know that my beloved Silver Spur Guest Ranch is closed until a new owner is found. I went to Bandera and the Spur on July 9th for a "Farewell Silver Spur" party on the 10th. Bittersweet visit but good in that I was able to visit with friends I hadn't seen in years. Here is a pic of most of the people I worked with on the Spur. A few couldn't make it but we felt their spirits all around us.

I'm not sure what's going to happen to the Spur once a new owner is in charge. I can only hope and pray it once more becomes a place of healing and hope as it was for me when I worked there between 2010 and 2014. 

Friday I leave for Sterlington, LA for the Dixie Majors World Series baseball tournament and next month I'm going to Alaska but never fear, Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight will go on!

I have some good news to share with you....

I've contracted a narrator and Tempered Truth & Lori's Redemption will both be available in audio later this year. I'll keep you informed on that as production begins and moves along.

I know you're seeing a lot of "Christmas in July" specials, movies, sales, etc. I understand the marketing concept behind these things but sometimes I feel like the heroine in Keri's Christmas Wish.... Bah Humbug! Heck, as it is, Christmas decorations are up alongside Halloween costumes! Just can't get away from the hype and personally, I feel the more hype, the less we focus on the real reason for the season.

Speaking of Jesus, have you seen The Chosen?

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful portrayal of Jesus! I'm loving this series so much I've watched seasons 1 & 2 twice AND bought the novel based on season one! Click on the pic to find out more about this wonderful series portraying the life of Jesus and His disciples.

Well friends, not much else to share with you today. I THANK YOU for dropping by and wish you the best of luck and God's blessings in your life.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Audrey Wick @WickWrites & Island Charm!

Good Morning from Nacogodoches, TX!

Yes, I'm still travelling and will continue to do so until mid-August then hopefully can stay home for a while! My grandson and I drove up to Nac on Thursday to take care of my son's animals until he returned from some of his travels last night.

Enough about me though, I am so excited to bring to you another brand-new-to-me author, this one a fellow Pelican, Audrey Wick with her new book, Island Charm.

Take it away Audrey....

Hello, Pam! It’s a pleasure to be on your blog!

Are you getting ready for a summer vacation? I love being able to escape during summertime, and that is part of the reason I wrote my latest book, ISLAND CHARM. I’m excited to share this standalone novel with readers that’s a perfect beach book—so even for people who can’t physically travel, they can enjoy a getaway through this book!

ISLAND CHARM is a contemporary romance set mostly in Key West, Florida. In it, Anna Worthington takes the tropical honeymoon intended for her twin sister and her fiancé . . . because her twin has been jilted at the altar. An airport mix-up leaves Anna alone in this island paradise, and that’s where she meets handsome Gunnar Lockhart, an island local with a heart of gold. Romance is the last thing on her mind, but when she starts falling for Gunnar, she has to untangle her feelings to learn whether this romance with an expiration date is real or if, like her twin sister, she is setting herself up for heartache. 

Here’s an excerpt to give everyone a sneak peek. This scene focuses on something Key West is known for, which is Key Lime Pie! 

She was dressed Key West casual, with the chic look of a tourist but the carefree attitude of a local. Yet she was alone. No gaggle of girlfriends, no boyfriend with whom to walk hand in hand, not even a dog at the end of a leash. She had a crossbody purse slung across her torso, making her hands free to accept the offer from Gunnar, who froze in silence at this impromptu crash with a woman who took his breath away. 

“It’s got a thin crust. Homemade. And just the right amount of tart in the base.” Jack rattled off the merits of Kermit’s key lime pie like a food critic. 

Or like a man who just polished off a slice himself. At Gunnar’s expense. 

Gunnar shook his head to shake away the negative memory of why he has been called to the shop in the first place. 

“This is really kind of you.” She nodded in the direction of Jack before turning her head back to face Gunnar. “Are you sure this is okay?”

“Fine, fine.” Gunnar, who never searched for words and had been afforded his job for the Chamber of Commerce on account of his talkativeness alone, was struggling to choke out more than two words at a time. He cleared his throat to try again. “I mean, yes, the pie. Enjoy it. I don’t need this many slices.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t buy so many,” Jack ridiculed. 

At that, the woman’s laughter lifted the mood, easing Gunnar’s stress as he realized the humor of the situation. To any onlooker, he must have appeared to have an intense sweet tooth. And it looked like he was hungry to dig in, based on his speed of movement. Realizing the irony, he couldn’t help but let out a huff of his own, followed by a lighthearted chuckle in tune with the woman. Shared laughter was a beautiful gift, something simple yet striking that served in place of further conversation. Their spontaneous melody carried on the perpetual breezes that wafted to and fro in every spot on the island. 

This woman had created a song. Spellbound, Gunnar had been captured by it. But before he knew it, Jack was racing ahead, and Gunnar’s sense of responsibility willed him to follow the man who needed him. The woman waved before disappearing into the heart of the shop, leaving the melody they shared as little more than a memory.

This book was so much fun to write, especially with the island setting. I hope it whisks readers away in a similar sense and lets them be armchair travelers for a while. 

Audrey Wick is a full-time English professor at Blinn College and author of women’s fiction/romance. Her writing has also appeared in college textbooks, and she is a guest blog columnist with Writer's Digest. Wick believes the secret to happiness includes lifelong learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over twenty countries—and sipped coffee at every one. See photos on her website audreywick.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @WickWrites, BookBub, GoodReads and Amazon.

Get your copy of Island Charm at Amazon, PBG, B&N, Apple, Kobo & Google Play.

Wow, Audrey I LOVE Key Lime Pie! Thank you for sharing Island Charm with us. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it and all of your books.

Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight, friends and that you'll come back weekly for more Wednesday Words with Friends and another Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Tim Shoemaker @TimShoemaker1

Good Morning!

It's a crazy, busy time for me (what's new right? LOL!). I went to Bandera on Friday and returned on Sunday, the first of many trips away from home that will culminate in AK next month. So without much further ado, please join me in welcoming a brand-new-to-our-blog guest, Tim Shoemaker as he answers a few questions about his book, Escape from the Everglades...

Take it away Tim!

1. This is your second book this year! Can you share about your writing process and what it is like to balance multiple writing projects?
As for writing process, I don’t plan a story out in advance. I may start with a title, or an idea, or a situation. As I develop the characters and some kind of inciting incident, the story unfolds from there.  Normally I only work on one fiction project at a time, but this situation was a little different.  Sometimes writing is a bit like those circus performers who work to keep plates spinning on sticks. I may spend focused time on one project to get it to a good stage. Then I get some work done on the other.  If I leave a story for a bit, I’ll come back with fresh eyes and see ways to strengthen the writing. If I leave the story for too long, I’ll lose too much momentum. So it’s a balancing act. Fortunately I had both manuscripts in pretty good shape when I got the contract, so it was a matter of alternating back and forth to polish and strengthening each one. But I still caught myself putting the wrong character name in a story at times—which is definitely not something I want to do!

2. What sparked your idea for this story? 
I wanted to write an adventure. Something with mystery and suspense set in a really creepy place. Don’t you love reading a book like that? Well, the Everglades is one of the creepiest places on Earth, in my experience. Alligators. Snakes. I hate those beasts. Black water . . . and an area with a dark history . . . yeah, the Everglades was perfect as a setting.  When I was there doing research, I found the place gave off a vibe that felt, well, evil. The longer I was there, the more I wanted to get out—and never come back. But I knew my work wasn’t done there . . . and I took increasing risks to get the material I needed. I think that’s when the seed for “escape” were planted. And sure enough . . . as the story unfolds we’ve got a boy who is desperate to escape the Glades . . . but can’t seem to get away. Worse yet, when a friend goes missing in the Everglades, he feels compelled to join the search—to go deeper into the very place he’s trying to get away from.

3. Why are you passionate about putting clean, compelling fiction in the hands of middle grade and YA readers? 
There’s tons of fiction on the shelves that contain some really bad content—and that isn’t doing the readers any favors.  I love this age . . . and it is a fun, awkward, and often difficult time for them. There are so many “traps” readers can get caught in during their teenage years. I want help them see the traps . . . help them make better choices.  I want to help them avoid the pain of making bad decisions. And I want to do all this through a story that grabs the readers and won’t let them go.

4. What kind of reader will enjoy this book? 
Both guy and girl readers, for starts. I love writing about average kids who get in over their head somehow.  They don’t have a super-power or a magic sword to get them out of the trouble or danger they’re in.  They must make choices . . . and how they decide will determine if they become a hero . . . or lose big.  I think that type of story resonates with a ton of readers out there. 

5. In this novel, you explore an adolescent’s response to trauma. What was it like writing this perspective? 
I think I got an adrenalin rush just writing some of the scenes. It helped for me to reach back to times I’d been hurt. And I got great input by talking to paramedics, doctors, and nurses.  And then there was the really, really close call I had while doing research in the Everglades.  Only by God’s grace did I come out of one situation alive—and with both hands to write the story.  The incident haunted me at night. Believe me, after that happened, writing the scenes with trauma came easier—and felt very real.

6. Tell us about your main characters in Escape from the Everglades. 
Parker Buckman is a National Parks Ranger’s son. Stationed in the Everglades, he has a life and death encounter with a gator. Consequently, his dad puts in for a transfer, and Parker thinks he’s just going to die if the new assignment doesn’t come soon.  And he’s right. When a friend goes missing in the Glades, Parker joins the search. Parker is a decent kid who is striving to be a person of integrity . . . but sometimes he’s not even sure what that means. 

Angelica “Jelly” Malnatti is Parker’s best friend—and the daughter of a ranger herself. She fears something bad is going to happen to Parker if he goes back in the glades. She does everything in her power—both good and bad ideas—to do exactly that.  

Wilson Stillwaters is half Miccosukee and pretty much all trouble. He’s superstitious and feels maybe his good friend Parker is cursed.  His efforts to get Parker over his fears—and back in the Glades—have a way of backfiring . . . on everyone.

7. Tell us about your main characters in Escape from the Everglades. 
Parker Buckman is a National Parks Ranger’s son. Stationed in the Everglades, he has a life and death encounter with a gator. Consequently, his dad puts in for a transfer, and Parker thinks he’s just going to die if the new assignment doesn’t come soon.  And he’s right. When a friend goes missing in the Glades, Parker joins the search. Parker is a decent kid who is striving to be a person of integrity . . . but sometimes he’s not even sure what that means. 

Angelica “Jelly” Malnatti is Parker’s best friend—and the daughter of a ranger herself. She fears something bad is going to happen to Parker if he goes back in the glades. She does everything in her power—both good and bad ideas—to do exactly that.  

Wilson Stillwaters is half Miccosukee and pretty much all trouble. He’s superstitious and feels maybe his good friend Parker is cursed.  His efforts to get Parker over his fears—and back in the Glades—have a way of backfiring . . . on everyone.

8. Who was your favorite character to write and why? 
I think Parker was my favorite character to write. Maybe because I identify with him on some deeper levels. But each character had something that made writing them so much fun.  I think when I’d start a chapter from Wilson’s point of view I was probably sitting there smiling.  And I loved writing Jelly (Angelica)—both the burden of the secret she was keeping—and all the hoops she went through to keep Parker safe.

9. What lessons can be learned from your main characters? 
I think Parker’s journey is especially helpful.  He so badly wants to get away from the Everglades after being mauled by the gator. He thinks everything will be okay—if he can just get out of there. We often think a change of plans, or geography, or maybe even a different family is going to make all the difference when we’re in a spot we don’t like. But Parker helps us see how the real answer to a bad situation is often changing what is inside us.  Jelly shows us the high price of keeping secrets for others instead of talking to her dad—or somebody who could really help. We see how her double life only multiplied her trouble. Wilson learns a bit about friendship . . . and the extent a true friend like Parker will really go to help.

10. Escape from the Everglades is the first book in the High Water series. What is your hope for these books? 
I hope those who buy the books will get more than just a great read. I want readers to experience life with some characters they’ll grow to love in this series.  I hope the characters make them think . . . and inspire the readers to grow in character and integrity.  I hope the readers will make better choices, and avoid some traps and pain because they learned from the experiences of the characters in the story.

Tim Shoemaker is the award-winning author of the Code of Silence series and a popular speaker—especially for school assemblies. When he isn’t on the speaking and teaching circuit, he’s busy working with kids and writing more great stories!

He’s the author of eleven books, including Super Husband, Super Dad; Code of Silence; Back Before Dark; Below the Surface; Smashed Tomatoes, Bottle Rockets . . . and Other Outdoor Devotionals You Can Do With Your Kids; Dangerous Devotions for Guys; and more.

He speaks for schools, churches, and parachurch organizations (such as Focus on the Family, Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conferences, International Network of Children’s Ministry, and the Moody Pastors’ Conference). He also speak at men’s retreats, women’s gatherings, couples’ retreats, youth worker conventions, homeschool conventions, and writers’ conventions and conducts Family Devotion Workshops all across the country. Find out more about Tim by visiting his Website and connecting with him on Twitter @TimShoemaker1 and Facebook.

Get your copy of Escape from the Everglades from Amazon and other retailers where great Christian YA fiction is sold!

Thank you, so much, Tim for visiting with us today! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your new release.

Hope you enjoyed meeting Tim as much as I did, 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 10, 2021

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Jennifer L Wright @JennWright18 and If It Rains!

Good Morning from Bandera, TX,

I would say it's lovely to be here again, (and it is!) but my visit is bittersweet as my beloved Silver Spur Guest Ranch is shut down until sold and I came up for the Farewell Silver Spur Party. 😭 One thing we know for sure about life is it's always changing. 

Isn't it lovely knowing God never does?!

Today's guest is brand new to our blog, so please welcome Jennifer L Wright with her book, If It Rains - A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl...

It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.

Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.

Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.

Excerpt from Chapter One - Kathryn 

Helen lost her third baby on the day of my sister’s wedding.

I’d tried to tell Melissa. Told her Helen was too pregnant, the late-April sky was too ripe, and—most of all—that getting married was a stupid idea anyway. She told me to stop being hateful and help her with her dress. Her dress. All this dirt and dead crops, and what she cared about was looking pretty for Henry.

Sure enough, the sky turned black by midafternoon. But not from rain. It was never from rain anymore. The wedding party scattered before they so much as cut that ridiculous white cake. A few escaped to their cars; the luckiest were able to start them before static cut the ignition. Even then, not many would make it home. Most would pass the storm stuck in a sand drift. At least the wedding would give them something to talk about while they waited. Rubberneckers, all of ’em.

We didn’t even have it that good. We would have to walk. Pa’s truck hadn’t started for weeks. Too much dust or not enough gas. Or both. Sure, we could have stayed at the Mayfields’. Waited it out like the other sheep. But I would rather chance a duster than spend another sec-ond with the new Mr. and Mrs. Mayfield. So I left. Pa and Helen followed.

A cloud of earth swallowed me when I stepped out the front door. Melissa had tried to make her old pink dress look new for me, but the fabric was still thin. Nothing she could do about that. I pulled it up over my mouth and nose, gagging on the cheap perfume Helen had doused me in that morning. “I won’t have you smelling like a pig even if you insist on looking like one,” she’d said. “Not today.” Like it even mattered.

Jennifer L. Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a master’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering the local news for her to realize that writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. A born and bred Hoosier, she was plucked from the Heartland after being swept off her feet by an Air Force pilot and has spent the past decade traveling the world and, every few years, attempting to make old curtains fit in the windows of a new home. She currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, two children, and one rambunctious dachshund.

 Find out more about Jennifer by visiting her Website and following her on Twitter  @JennWright18 and GoodReads.

Thank you so much Jennifer for sharing your book with us today! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it.

Hope you enjoyed Jennifer's visit as much as I did friends and that you'll drop by weekly and check out Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight!

Until next time take care, God Bless and remember.... Change is inevitable, how you deal with it is optional.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes Olivia Rae!

Good Morning,

I pray your week has gotten off to a BLESSED start. I just found out that My Heart Weeps won 2nd in Central Region Oklahoma Writers "NEST" contest! Please join me in doing the Jesus Happy Dance and then, please give Olivia Rae, a brand-new-to-our-blog-guest a huge W-E-L-C-O-M-E!

When We Fail

In my book, A Life Redeemed, my hero, Gavin Armstrong failed more than once in his past. He gambled away his family home and blamed himself for his wife death. Gavin hurt many along the way. He alienated his mother and made a powerful enemy out of his neighbor. His past mistakes tortured him through his present-day decisions and experiences. Not only was he hurting others, he was on a road to self-destruction. Gavin’s actions weren’t intentional and were often done with the best intentions.  

I don’t know about you, but the same is true for me. The longer I live, the more mistakes I make, and the more people I seem to hurt. Sometimes even when trying to make amends I say or do the wrong thing. Or I think it is the wrong thing. It is hard to know if that sad voice in our head comes from guilt or repentance. You can’t change the past and guilt can eat you up. Repentance can set you free. 

So when you are feeling like Gavin or me, my advice is to first seek God in prayer. He may tell you to find that person you hurt and ask for forgiveness. If they don’t accept your apology, well then, they are the ones who need forgiveness. God always seems to have a way of showing us if we are on the right path or if we need to correct our ways. 

God is there waiting for our praise, repentance, and humility. He will always provide the right answer. 


So very true, Olivia! Please tell us a little about A Life Redeemed

Everyone has a secret, who can a queen trust?

Upon Queen Elizabeth’s order, Audrey Hayes travels to the borderlands of Scotland to learn where the fierce Laird Armstrong’s loyalties lie. Is he aligned with his mother’s English roots in support of the queen, or does he hold with the beliefs of his father, who wishes to see Mary of Scots on the English throne? The fate of Audrey’s family rests on her success in finding the answer.

After losing his lands in a wager and being betrayed by his kin, Gavin Armstrong entered a loveless marriage to obtain the funds to buy back his family home, Warring Tower. Now a widower, struggling against countless border wars, he is on the verge of losing his home and lands again. With few resources, he reluctantly makes another risky wager, one he cannot hope to win without trusting the secretive Audrey Hayes, a woman he suspects is an English spy.

As the two work together to save Warring Tower, their attraction to one another grows. But when Audrey finally gains the information she seeks for Queen Elizabeth, she realizes that the only way she can save her family is to betray the man she loves. 

About Olivia: Olivia Rae is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary inspirational romance. She spent her school days dreaming of knights, princesses and far away kingdoms; it made those long days in the classroom go by much faster. After becoming a teacher, she decided to breathe a little more life into her childhood stories. 

Olivia is the winner of the Angel Awards, Book Buyer’s Best Award, Southern Magic Award, New England Readers’ Choice Award, the Golden Quill Award, the American Fiction Award, and the Illumination Awards. 

Connect with Olivia via her Website, Twitter @oliviaraebooks, Instagram, FaceBook and BookBub

Get your copy of A Life Redeemed at Amazon.

Thank You, So Much, Olivia for sharing with us today. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your new book!

And, Thank YOU, FRIENDS for dropping by. I pray you've been blessed today as I have by Olivia's post and that you'll check back each week for more Words with Friends and another Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Joanne Guidoccio @JoanneGuidoccio & No More Secrets!

Good Morning!

Looks like it'll be another rainy day here in SWLA but we can always hope, right? Been a crazy week with two funerals and a quick trip to Toledo Bend to pick up the camper. Got in a little fishing, only caught enough for supper but hey, "our daily bread" right?

Today's guest is brand new to our blog so please welcome Joanne Guidoccio with her book, No More Secrets!

Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.

Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.

But one heartbreaking secret remains untold...


“Go,” Kelly said. “Your aunt is dying, and this could be your last opportunity to spend some quality time together.”

“Her oncologist shared good news last week,” Nora said. “Her blood counts have improved, and the cancer hadn’t spread since her last visit. He mumbled something about a miracle.”

“A miracle?” Kelly’s eyes widened. “Has your aunt been seeing a healer?”

“You could say that,” Nora said as her eyes twinkled. “Right after Christmas, she hired a companion who’s been able to transform her life. I don’t know her real name. My mother calls her Bellastrega—beautiful witch.” All recent conversations with Ma had focused on Bellastrega. Relieved not to have to share her own problems, Nora had encouraged her mother to talk about the beautiful witch who had turned all their lives upside down. Nora enjoyed the weekly updates that sounded like soap operas.

“Is she a beautiful witch?”

Nora shrugged. “My mother mentioned her dyed-blonde hair, too-skinny body, and watery eyes. She’s put Zia on a vegan diet and an exercise regimen. At Christmas, Zia needed a walker to get around, but now she’s walking freely. My mother and aunt are convinced that Bellastrega is a witch who’ll end up robbing Angelica and leaving.” Nora had tried to point out that if Bellastrega’s intention was to steal, it would make more sense to let Angelica get weaker.    

“She sounds intriguing,” Kelly said. “I’d go just to meet this woman.”

“Hmm. I guess.” Nora was curious and wouldn’t mind sitting and chatting with the woman about wellness. But from Zia Angelica’s email, it sounded like Bellastrega would leave soon after everyone arrived.

“Think of it as an adventure. How many beautiful witches have you met in this lifetime?”

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and launched a second act as a writer. Her articles and book reviews have been published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories.

A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne writes paranormal romances, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario. 

Connect with Joanne at the following locations....

Website – https://joanneguidoccio.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.ca/jguidoccio/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanneguidoccio

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio/

Get your copy of No More Secrets at Amazon: US, CA, UK, and AU. Watch the book trailer here.

Wow, Joanne I love reinvention stories and No More Secrets sounds like my kind of book! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it and all of your writings.

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

Until next time, take care and God bless.