Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter Z

We've come to the end of another year in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. I hope you'll let me know if you enjoyed these posts. The history refresher sure did me some good.

Freedom of the press has its origins in the Bill of Rights, but decades before the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ever drafted, the trial of publisher John Peter Zenger, would prove a milestone in the struggle for freedom of the press.

Born in Germany in 1697, Zenger emigrated to New York City at the age of 13 to work as an indentured apprentice to printer William Bradford. Financially backed by chief justice Lewis Morris and others who opposed William Cosby, the corrupt royal governor of New York, Zenger started the New-York Weekly Journal in 1733. The publication accused Cosby of rigging elections and a list of other crimes.

Even though Zenger never wrote the articles, as publisher, he was legally responsible for the paper's content. This led to his arrest for seditious libel in 1734. He spent ten months in jail and his wife, Anna, kept the paper going. It was Anna's reports that led to the replacement of the first jury in Zenger's trial, which was stacked with people on Cosby's payroll.

Andrew Hamilton, a famous lawyer from Philadelphia, defended Zenger. Hamilton argued Zenger had not committed seditious libel because the printed material was true. Though the court refused to accept evidence submitted to prove the truth of the articles, the jury acquitted Zenger, which paved the way for other publishers to feel free sharing their honest views.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Alexander Drake by Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows Book Blast Giveaway

Alexander Drake new coverAlexander Drake's Extraordinary Pursuit

Meet Alexander Drake, a curious young man living in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father. He spent his days playing alone. In the back of his mind he wondered what happened to his mother, and why his father was tight-lipped about the past; but secrets have a way of getting out.

It all started with a stay at his grandmother’s cottage. Alexander found strange clues tucked away in his father’s old bedroom. With a mysterious key and several maps in his pack he set off on an innocent search for answers about his family.

When he discovered a secret passageway the search took a dramatic turn. He suddenly worried about what was searching for him. Alexander was being hunted by a sorcerer from his father’s past. Answers lead to more questions and the journey of his life.

Join Alexander for a thrilling adventure in Azra’s Pith, a place of beauty and magic… but beware—something evil lurks in the shadows.


General drake new coverThe Return of General Drake

When Alexander arrived in Verhonia, something went terribly wrong. A dark spell delivered from the mountains of Acadia sent him on a dangerous journey in the middle of the night. As he marched into the mountains, the great city of Verhonia was ambushed and burned to the ground by Roman's army of vicious giant murks.

With the safety of the realm in jeopardy, General John William Drake was asked to come back to Azra's Pith. He swore he would never return. But after discovering his son was under a spell and in the grips of a dark sorcerer, he had no choice.

Things take a wild turn in the mountains, with runaways, a hungry wolf and a mysterious, young empyrean wizard thrown into the adventure. A tight race against time and evil is in full swing. With faith and a little magic, they just might come out on top.


alexander tour

Tour Schedule

lizzieAuthor Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat.

Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/15/13

You've Got Mail Monday

We'll it sure was an exciting week as far as mail and packages goes. In addition to my May 24th issue of All You magazine, a Summer 2013 Gardener's Supply Company catalog arrived. I've been planning the vegetable garden and the potato tubers are due to be shipped to us this week. I'm not sure if I'm going to use my potato growing bag or just sow them into my raised beds. The last time I sowed them directly into the garden, the critters ate them. The winter rye has been turned over and the raised beds are in good shape for planting. I think we're finally done with frost (hope I didn't just jinx it) so the early spring crops will be going in this week.

The new plants arrived for the flower bed I am putting in to the right of the entryway. When we moved here, I had little gardening knowledge. I don't have much more now, but I can follow a garden plan and put in purchased plants where it tells me. This is the one I'm using: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/seasonal/summer-garden-plan/. All except four of the plants arrived this week. Cold weather delayed some of the shipment. I'll share before and after photos once I get all the plants in.

As far as books go, Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias arrived. I'll be reviewing it at my Christian book blog: http://cherylschristianbookconnection.blogspot.com/ on May 8th. I also received God's Special Forces: A Manual for Becoming a Young Woman of Quality by Darlene Laney. That review is for Christian Children's Authors, where I blog the first and third Fridays of each month.

That's it for this week's edition of You've Got Mail Monday. Hope you have a great week.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter Y

These are the last two days of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. It's been another fun year, even if it did cut into my writing time. Today I'm hoping to finish writing my fourth picture book of the year, so keep your fingers crossed. That's another challenge I put myself up to--participating in 12 x 12: writing one picture book a month for twelve months.

The Yalta Conference to plan the defeat and occupation of Germany took place in February 1945 between the three chief Allied leaders: British prime minister Winston Churchill, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The conferees had already decided on Germany's unconditional surrender and planned to set up four zones of occupation to be run by their three countries and France. In addition, Germany's military would be abolished and major war criminals would be tried before an international court.

Stalin agreed to free elections in Eastern Europe and was secretly promised if they entered the war against Japan that lands they lost to Japan in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) would be returned. They scheduled another meeting in April to create the United Nations.

Yalta proved to be controversial once the details were made public in 1946. As the Soviet Union and the United States headed into cold war, Stalin broke his promise of free elections and installed governments dominated by the Soviet Union. Critics charged that Roosevelt, who had died in office two months after Yalta, had sold out to the Soviets.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Free for Kindle: Secret Sisters: Volume One by Sandra Byrd

Book 1, Heart to Heart: After a lonely time in the fifth grade, Tess Thomas dreads the beginning of the next school year. Then the exclusive Coronado Club invites her to join. She thinks she'll do anything to belong--until she finds out just what "anything" means. How far is too far to keep a friend? When does belonging cost more than you should pay?

Book 2, Twenty-One Ponies: Tess Thomas is an expert at getting into trouble. First, she secretly “borrows” her mother’s diamond wedding earrings to wear to a party with Erin and Erin's cute brother, Tom. But when the earrings get lost, Tess has to confess to her mom what she’s done.

Determined to make things right, Tess decides to do one nice thing every day to get back on her mom’s good side. Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse when Tess makes another big mistake! How will she ever get her mom to forgive her now?

Each volume includes: fun, friends, family, gentle Christian faith, and a fast-paced read.

File Size: 361 KB
Print Length: 135 pages
Publisher: Quaystrokes (October 3, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English


Blogging From A to Z April Challenge - Letter X

The last three days of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge are upon us. That went by fast.

The letter X is so underutilized. There is only one listing in my reference book for this letter. The XYZ Affair nearly brought the United States to war with France in 1798. Since it's in my favorite time period--Colonial America through the Civil War Era--one would think I recalled the details. Nope. Forgot all about I read up on it. Then it came back to mind.

America's relationship with France was rocky. Though the United States had signed the Treaty of Alliance with France in 1778, promising military support in case of attack by the British, America offered little assistance during the French revolutionary wars. In 1793, the careless involvement of France's minister to the U.S., Edmond Charles Genet, made matters worse. So by the conclusion of the Jay Treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain in 1795, which undid some of the agreements America made with France, tensions were at a new high.

French privateers began seizing American ships. The French foreign minister, Charles Maurice Talleyrand, refused to receive the new U.S. minister to France, Charles Pinckney. So, President John Adams appointed John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry to join Pinckney and negotiate a new treaty with France. Three of Talleyrand's agents told the commissioners that before a new treaty could be discussed, the United States had to loan France $12 million (approximately $159,520,326.24 today). The commissioners refused and reported to President Adams that the mission had failed. The agents were designated as X,Y, and Z in the commissioners' correspondence.

When news of the failed mission was released to the public, it led to calls for immediate war against France. Though the countries engaged in naval conflicts for the next two years, no war was ever declared. In 1800, Adams negotiated the Treaty of Morfontaine, which restored peace between America and France.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter W

We're in the home stretch of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. I hope you've enjoyed traipsing through history with me.

As an annual visitor to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the Wright Brothers. Orville and Wilbur Wright were the sons of a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Educated in Ohio, Iowa, and Indiana, neither attended college.

In 1889, the brothers launched a print shop. Though they continued with the printing shop, the brothers entered the bicycle trade in 1892 and were manufacturing bicycles by 1896. The Wrights became interested in flight after the death of German aeronautical experimenter Otto Lilienthal in a glider crash. 

Wilbur and Orville constructed seven aircraft between  1899 and 1905. Their failures led them to perform a series of experiments which would propel them toward success. On December 17, 1903, the brothers made the world's first powered, sustained, and controlled flights with a heavier-than-air flying machine in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Returning to Ohio, they continued their experiments. By 1905, they had transformed their 1903 flying machine into the first practical airplane. 

On November 22, 1909, the brothers founded the Wright Company to build and sell aircraft in the United States and licensed manufacturers to produce their machines in Europe. 

As you can see by the above picture, the sand dunes of North Carolina would be a perfect place for test flights. This shot is taken across from Jockey's Ridge State Park, which is a few miles away from the Wright Brothers Memorial that is administered by the National Park Service. The museum located near the memorial is filled with tons of interesting artifacts and photos. When I checked out their website, I learned that the Wright Monument is the largest monument in this country built to a living person. 

Hang gliding, kiteboarding, and parasailing are popular activities on the Outer Banks.

Book Blast and Giveaway: Meg the Egg by Rita Antoinette Borg

Little Meg finds the outside world a bit too loud and far too scary! So, she’s going to stay inside her safe white shell, thank you very much. But then the Howl breaks into the barn and steals Mother Hen! What is she supposed to do, still holed up in that egg of hers? She can’t run and she certainly can’t fly. Well, never get between a chick and her momma, cause this little bird’s got a can-do spirit and a whole lot of courage that she didn’t know she had before!

A tale of self discovery that speaks to all children’s fears of the unknown, Ms. Borg delivers a great read-aloud resource for parents and teachers alike. With an onomatopoeic construction that gives life to the story and encourages children to participate through repetition of words, noises, and actions, MEG THE EGG is the perfect story for beginning readers.

Rita Borg photo new

Rita Antoinette Borg was educated in New York and now resides on the Mediterranean island of Malta. She performs storytelling and creative writing workshops in schools across the country and works as a freelance writer for local magazines and newspapers. Ms. Borg has published four picture books aimed at early readers as well as an anthology of short stories for older children. Her books have been recognized by the Malta National Annual Literary Awards. Her book “Don’t Cross the Road, Holly!” was chosen as the year’s best Children’s Book in English. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators.

Pump Up Your Book and Rita Antoinette Borg are teaming up to give you a chance to win fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from April 22 - May 17, 2013. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on May 20, 2013. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t load, you can visit the Meg the Egg tour page at

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/04/01/pump-up-your-book-presents-rita-antoinette-borgs%E2%80%99s-meg-the-egg-book-blast-%E2%80%93-win-25-amazon-gift-card-and-free-books/ for your chance to enter and win!

Monday, April 22nd
Tuesday, April 23
Wednesday, April 24th
Thursday, April 25th
Friday, April 26th
Monday, April 29th
Tuesday, April 30th
Wednesday, May 1st
Thursday, May 2nd
Friday, May 3rd
Saturday, May 4th
Monday, May 6th
Tuesday, May 7th
Wednesday, May 8th
Thursday, May 9th
Friday, May 10th
Monday, May 13th
Tuesday, May 14th
Wednesday, May 15th
Thursday, May 16th
Friday, May 17th

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day

Can you imagine taking these characters to work with you? Well, that's what my husband did today to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work®. This program is meant to show boys and girls what a parent or mentor does during the work day. It also shows the value of education, helps them "discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life," and provides them a forum to share how they envision the future.

To learn more, you can visit www.daughtersandsonstowork.org

Free for Kindle: Valeria's Cross by Kathi Macias and Susan Wales

In the 3rd century, pampered Roman princess Valeria falls in love with Mauritius, captain of the Theban Legion. She sends him off to battle, where he suffers under the schemes of a notorious pagan general with an ambition for power and a lust for Valeria. In a scene based on true events, the evil Galerius kills Mauritius and his entire legion for their Christian faith. And in a shocking turn of events, the grieving Valeria is forced to become Galerius’ wife against her will. Never has a marriage been set up for such failure. Valeria loathes her new husband, but he seems to undergo a change of heart, adopting a child for her and giving her power and authority, and even love. She struggles with the commitment she knows she must keep, and the love she knows she will never find again.

File Size: 561 KB
Print Length: 386 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1426702159
Publisher: Abingdon Press (March 1, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English


Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Bella Saves the Beach by Nancy Stewart

About the book:

Bella and Britt are worried about all the trash appearing on their beautiful beach.  But what can they do?  Britt is leaving on vacation, and Bella can’t solve the problem alone.  Without  adults to lend a hand, can they possibly save their beach?


Bella, Britt and all their friends built sand castles and filled moats with salty sea. But this summer, the girls were worried.

“Look at all this trash, Britt,” said Bella.
She nodded. “Yeah, and I leave on vacation tomorrow. I can’t help pick it up!”
Next morning, Bella walked along the beach alone. “Hello.” Bella said to the old crooked beak pelican, perched on his piling. “Somebody has to help, and I guess it’s me.”
Purchase from:

Nancy Stewart Bio:

Nancy is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children:  One Pelican at a Time (eighteen weeks on Amazon Bestselling List), Sea Turtle Summer, (which won the Children’s Literary Classic Gold Award), Bella Saves the  Beach (which won the Gold)  and Mystery at Manatee Key.  The authorized biography, Katrina and Winter:  Partners in Courage, is the story of Katrina Simpkins and Winter, the dolphin. One Pelican at a Time and Nancy were featured in the PBS Tampa special, GulfWatch.   All are published by Guardian Angel Publishing. 

Nancy is a frequent speaker and presenter at writer’s conferences throughout the United States.  She conducts workshops and seminars and speaks to school children on writing and helping save their planet.  A blogger with a worldwide audience, she writes of all things pertaining to children’s literature.

Nancy’s travels take her extensively throughout the world, most particularly Africa. She is US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education.   She and her husband live in Tampa and St. Louis.

Bella Saves the Beach Tour Schedule

Monday, April 22nd
Tuesday, April 23rd
Book trailer feature at If Books Could Talk
Wednesday, April 24th
Thursday, April 25th
Book spotlight and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily
Monday, April 29th
Book review at Hook Kids on Reading
Guest post at The Pen and Ink
Tuesday, April 30th
Wednesday, May 1st
Book review at LadyD Books
Thursday, May 2nd
Book review at Kid Lit Reviews
Friday, May 3rd
Monday, May 6th
Tuesday, May 7th
Book reviewed at The Picture Book Review
Wednesday, May 8th
Book reviewed at My Devotional Thoughts
Thursday, May 9th
Friday, May 10th
Monday, May 13th
Book review at 4 the Love of Books
Tuesday, May 14th
Book spotlight at Review from Here
Book review at The Jenny Revolution
Wednesday, May 15th
Guest post at Literarily Speaking
Thursday, May 16th
Friday, May 17th

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for your chance to win a free paperback copy of Bella Saves the Beach by Nancy Stewart. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter V

We're fast approaching the end of the final full week of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

The Volstead Act is often referred to as the National Prohibition Enforcement Act of 1919. This act provided for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment, which stated, "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited." This act, which classified as alcoholic all beverages containing more than one-half to one percent alcohol by volume, passed over President Woodrow Wilson's veto.

Viewed by many Americans to be the solution to the nation's poverty, crime, violence, and other problems, the act specified the provisions of the Eighteenth Amendment, delineated fines and prison terms for violators of the law, and empowered the Bureau of Internal Revenue to administer Prohibition.

Shortly after the Eighteenth Amendment went into affect, portable stills went on sale around the country. Smuggling quickly developed. Prohibition also led to the widespread corruption of law enforcement agencies and politicians and fostered the growth of organized crime.

Calls to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment began in 1923. Though President Herbert Hoover and others believed it an "experiment noble in purpose," an investigation ordered by Hoover in 1929 confirmed that the Eighteenth Amendment remained largely unenforceable. Repeal organizations formed and grew in membership as people realized that not only had Prohibition failed to live up to its promises, but had actually created disturbing social issues.

The overwhelming victory of Democrats in 1932, who had come out in favor of repealing Prohibition, encouraged Congress to pass the Twenty-first Amendment on February 20, 1933, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment. It is the only Constitutional Amendment that has been repealed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter U

Trucking along to the letter U during this week's Blogging from A to Z April Challenge posts.

There were more items of interest under the letter U than I thought: Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Underground Railroad, United States Women's Bureau, and urban renewal to name a few. I finally settled on something I knew very little about. My hubby would be so disappointed, since this hails back to one of his favorite interests: the Cold War.

The U-2 Affair took place on May 1, 1960 during the Eisenhower administration. A United States reconnaissance plane flying at high altitudes was downed over the Soviet Union. U. S. officials denied the plane's mission, stating it was a weather plane that strayed off course. When the Soviets produced the pilot and the mostly intact plane, the United States admitted it had been engaged in intelligence activities.

A summit conference scheduled between President Eisenhower, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and France's Charles de Gaulle, collapsed because Eisenhower, though accepting full responsibility for the intelligence gathering program, refused to apologize for the incident. The pilot, Gary Powers, pleaded guilty and was convicted of espionage. He served almost two years of a ten-year prison sentence before being exchanged for Rudolf Abel, a Soviet intelligence officer, in February 1962.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CFBA: When The Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When The Morning Glory Blooms
Abingdon Press (April 1, 2013)
Cynthia Ruchti


Cynthia writes stories of hope that glows in the dark, merging her love for storytelling with inextinguishable hope for inexpressible hurts.

Cynthia spends her days diving into words, worship, and wonder and celebrating 40 years of marriage, three grown children, and five outrageously adorable grandchildren. One of her greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she served as the assistant director and a faculty member of the Quad Cities Christian Writers Conference, has served as worship and devotions staff for the Write-to-Publish conference, and teaches at other conferences as opportunities arise. She speaks to women’s groups, at mother-daughter banquets, and for women’s refresher days and retreats. It is her delight to serve on her church’s worship team. Rather than “busy,” she likes the term “active.”

For 33 years, Cynthia wrote and produced the radio broadcast The Heartbeat of the Home. The scripted radio drama/devotional broadcast aired on as many as 50 radio stations and two cable/digital television stations over the years. Cynthia was the editor of the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine, a twenty-page, twice annual publication that reached 5,000 homes, churches, and parachurch outreaches.


Becky rocks a baby that rocked her world. Sixty years earlier, with her fiancé Drew in the middle of the Korean Conflict, Ivy throws herself into her work at a nursing home to keep her sanity and provide for the child Drew doesn't know is coming. Ivy cares for Anna, an elderly patient who taxes Ivy's listening ear until the day she suspects Anna's tall tales are not the ramblings of dementia. They're fragments of Anna's disjointed memories of a remarkable life. Finding a faint thread of hope she can't resist tugging, Ivy records Anna's memoir, scribbling furiously after hours to keep up with the woman's emotion-packed, grace-hemmed stories. Is Ivy's answer buried in Anna's past? Becky, Ivy, Anna--three women fight a tangled vine of deception in search of the blossoming simplicity of truth.

If you would like to read the first chapter of When The Morning Glory Blooms, go HERE.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter T

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is now up to the letter T.

The Trail of Tears refers to the route followed by 16,000 Cherokee Indians when they were forcibly removed by the United States Government from their homelands in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia in 1838, and sent to Indian Territory (known today as Oklahoma).

Relations between the Cherokee Nation and the U.S. government had been tense for some time. In 1791, a U.S. treaty recognized the Cherokee territory in Georgia as independent. The Cherokee people created a thriving republic and wrote a constitution. But over the years, the state of Georgia sought to exert its authority over the Cherokee Nation without little effect.

President Andrew Jackson was a supporter of Indian removal. Continued pressure from national and state governments led to the rounding up of the Cherokee by troops in 1838. Forced to abandon everything, the Cherokee were marched to camps in Tennessee. Then during the winter, they were moved another 800 miles into Indian Territory. Hundreds died during the trip west, and thousands more died as a result of being relocated.

The path the Cherokee followed because a national monument in 1987. You can find out more about the Trail of Tears at http://www.nps.gov/trte/index.htm

Monday, April 22, 2013

CFBA: A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Healing Heart
Abingdon Press (April 1, 2013)
Angela Breidenbach


Angela Breidenbach is a speaker/coach in mental and physical health, author of A Healing Heart April 2013 from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life, Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance, and Creative Cooking for Colitis. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach. Angela serves as an assisting minister (worship/prayer leader) for her congregation in Missoula, MT. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom’s brain for the study of schizophrenia, but she’s also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital.


Mara Keegan is an uber-successful mother and a widow of three years. She's been chasing success and all the "good things in life" for her family to make up for the cruel whim God played on them by taking her husband. In an effort to be the perfect mom, she decides to make a photo memory quilt, a graduation present for her daughter, Cadence.

She’s not yet finished when she experiences a heart attack. While Mara recuperates, she revisits the choices she's made that led to this physically and spiritually broken heart. The memory quilt must be finished in time for Cadence's big day, but Mara struggles with her burgeoning feelings for the man who must keep Mara's business going during her recovery, Joel Ryan. Can Joel find his way into Mara's heart and onto Cadence's quilt?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Healing Heart, go HERE

Book Review: The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias is a moving story that blends past and present into a carefully woven tale of one woman's journey to happiness.

Mazie Hartford doesn't know why she can't commit to her boyfriend, Edward Clayton. He has agreed to patiently await the answer to his marriage proposal, but it isn't easy. When Mazie's great-grandmother, Mimi, decides to share her story of the Moses Quilt and the life of Harriet Tubman, Mazie's life will change forever.

There is so much to love about The Moses Quilt. The amazing story of Harriet Tubman's life is shared in a new and unique way. Macias does a fine job of blending the past and the present that allows both stories to co-exist nicely throughout the novel. As I mentioned in my first chapter review, the author drops you right into the middle of Mazie's conflict, which compels the reader to continue.

I did, however, have some challenges with this novel. Though this book is told with Macias's award-winning style, the situations of the main characters lead to some monotony. Mazie is between the end of school and the start of her new job, so her two main activities are taking care of Mimi and spending time with Edward. She doesn't seem to have any other friends. Lilly, Mazie's mom, is busy as a hairdresser and alternate caregiver for Mimi. Again, this woman has no life outside of these duties. Most times, she comes home, eats, and collapses into bed. Not that this is surprising for either character, but it makes the story drag a bit. And when you combine that with Mimi's character, who at ninety-three is pretty much bedridden, the majority of the novel is eating, sleeping, and storytelling.

My other challenge is there was so much build up to the reason Mimi felt the need to share Harriet Tubman's story and the story of the Moses Quilt before she died, that the resolution for Mazie and Edward comes too quickly. Twenty-eight chapters build up the suspense as to what could be causing Mazie's hesitation to marry Edward and the motivation behind Mimi sharing the story of Tubman and the quilt. Then in the next chapter, everything is revealed and wrapped up. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. There was little time to explore how Mazie and Edward felt about what they learned.

The Moses Quilt is the first book in a planned series. Though this wasn't my favorite book, I'm looking forward to the next two installments of the series because I know Macias is a consistent deliverer of books that touch the heartstrings. A lover of history, I enjoy books that connect past and present. All three of these books feature modern-day women and the stories of groundbreaking women of the past. I'm eager to see how the series evolves.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: New Hope Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596693584
ISBN-13: 978-1596693586

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter S

Today starts the final full week of the Blogging from A to Z April ChallengeThis is the last day I will share the linky code. Hope you get a chance to visit some of the other participants. I learn a lot about a variety of subjects, since I make a point to check out different blogs throughout the month.

I have to admit to being fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials. I've never been to Salem before, which is a shame since we live in Massachusetts. Part of that is because the hubby and I enjoy the history of different time periods. I'm early American history through the Civil War and he's World War II through the end of the Cold War.

In February of 1692, a group of girls in Salem Village began experiencing fits where they thrashed about and shrieked. After repeated questioning by adults, the girls began claiming local residents were witches and wizards. As the circle of people accused of being witches and wizards increased, so did the number of fits. By the end of the summer, hundreds had been accused, twenty-seven put on trial, and nineteen executed.

Growing discomfort over the trials within Salem Village, the wider community, and for some religious and civic leaders, led the governor, William Phips, to forbade further trials. Phips formed a new court in January 1863, that worked under stricter guidelines for evidence of witchcraft. The rest of the residents imprisoned for witchcraft were either acquitted or discharged.

Some historians link the witch trials to the changes that Puritan society was experiencing at the time. This type of mass hysteria has also been used as a cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism and religious extremism.

You've Got Mail Monday

After a crazy week with the events in Boston and the girls on vacation, I'm hoping to get back to a regular schedule. Today is grocery shopping day--ugh! If I could pay someone to do my grocery shopping, I would. But, the budget doesn't allow for that, so off to WalMart I'll go. The earlier I get there the better.

The mailbox has been filled with a lot of junk mail lately. Thankfully, Killer in Crinolines by Duffy Brown arrived over the last couple of weeks. In addition, tiger tales publishing sent me their Spring 2013 picture book titles for me to review over at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection.

Several fun catalogs have arrived lately, too: The Gardener's Idea Book from Proven Winners, Summer Favorites from Ballard Designs, the Special 10th Anniversary Issue from Grandinroad, the recent L.L. Bean Home catalog, and the latest from Gardener's Supply Company. Now, if I just had more money in  my wallet, I could buy some goodies from these places. The May 2013 issue of Traditional Home magazine also arrived. I love browsing through the pages for ideas.

That's it for this edition of You've Got Mail Monday. Hope you have a great week.

David's Song by A. R. Talley Book Blast & Giveaway

davids tour

David's Song

Taken from the book cover: Annie only ever really loved two men in her life. One broke her heart, the other married her. Four children and fifteen years later, Annie’s marriage is in jeopardy. Money is tight and her husband questions the very foundation of their relationship. When Annie is unexpectedly given the opportunity to see the young man who broke her heart — a man who is now a megastar in the music industry — Annie is faced with choices. Choices that will determine what is of more value — a second chance at lost love and unfulfilled dreams or commitment, trust, and love built on years of experience.

A psychologically subtle, yet compelling tale about how the instinct and need for love overcomes self-doubt and personal inadequacy.

Author A.R. Talley

April R Talley was born and raised in the Rubber City, Akron, Ohio in 1959. She is the youngest of six children. She attended Brigham Young University for a time, but withdrew to work fulltime for Osmond Productions in Orem, Utah as a member of The Osmond production staff. After a brief stint working in television, she returned to Akron to finish her education. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Mass Media Communications in 1981. April later worked as vice president and part owner of a dance and sportswear boutique. Married in 1982, she is the proud mother of seven children and is deeply involved in volunteer work for her church. April spends her time working on future projects, caring for home and family, and traveling. David’s Song is her debut novel and the first of a trilogy.

Praise from reviews on Goodreads.com

"Not just your typical romance novel" - Tracy Williams

"David's Song is great read that leaves you thinking about the story and pondering your own relationships". - Anna Pavkov

"Sucked me in from the 1st page" - Jill Walker

"Loved this book . . . could not put it down!" - Dana Vieira

Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/12/13

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter R

Today closes out the third week of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. I hope you're enjoying these posts.

Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States. Born in Illinois in 1911, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in economics and sociology from Eureka College. After a brief career in radio broadcasting, Reagan moved to Los Angeles and became an actor. A staunch Democrat, he changed political parties in 1962 and delivered a powerful speech for Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964.

Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966. In 1968, shortly after beginning his term as governor, Reagan sought the Republican presidential nomination, running unsuccessfully against Richard M. Nixon. Reagan was re-elected as governor in 1970, but declined to run for a third term.

Reagan ran unsuccessfully against Gerald Ford for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination, but Ford went on to lose to Democrat Jimmy Carter for president. Embroiled with domestic problems and the Iran hostage crisis, Jimmy Carter lost his bid for reelection to Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Not even 100 days into his first term, an attempt was made on Reagan's life. He became the first president to survive an assassination attempt. Believing big government to be a problem, Reagan attempted to stimulate the economy with large, across-the-board tax cuts and the slashing of government programs. Reagan's policy of trickle-down economics was criticized as helping the wealthy more than those suffering in poverty, and the 80s soon became known as "The Decade of Greed." His "peace through strength" policy supported a large military build up. Reagan denounced the Soviet Union as an evil empire and during a moving address in Berlin in the summer of 1987, he called for General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." A series of summits with Gorbachev would lead to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at the White House. By 1989, the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union collapsed.

The invasion of Grenada, the firing of more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers, and the Iran-Contra affair tested public support of Reagan, but he would leave office as the most popular president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ronald Reagan died in 2004, after battling Alzheimer's Disease for 10 years.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Free for All Friday Giveaway: This Is How Your Get Your Next Job by Andrea Kay

I was going to hold off on announcing a new giveaway this week. Honestly, my heart's been heavy since Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon. I had planned to share photos of our weekend trip to New York City, but I've been glued to the TV set watching the latest news unfold. I finally had to turn off the television and think of something else, even though I continue to pray for everyone impacted by the terrorist acts of these two men.

Job hunting has been very much on my mind this year. I ended up finding a job; had even accepted an offer. Then when it came right down to it, discovered the rate of pay would mean I would be losing money each week over the summer by sending my kids to camp or paying for childcare.

The reality appears to be that while cost of living has increased, pay rates haven't in the past 10 years. A depressing reality for someone who has been working in some capacity for the better part of 25 years and whose experience in several areas should command a higher rate of pay than when she was 20 years old.

So, I'm renewing the job search and hoping I find what I need.

This is How To Get Your Next Job by Andrea Kay was sent to me by AMACOM, publishers of business books. I've reviewed other titles by them, and when they contacted me about this one, I felt it would be helpful for me in my job search. I haven't dug into it yet, but I keep hearing about so many people out of work and looking for a new job, that I didn't want to wait until my review to offer this as a giveaway.

Looking through the Table of Contents, I see topics that capture my attention right away:

  • 15 Things You Should Never Do
  • 15 Things Your Should Never Talk About or Say
  • 10 Things You Should Never Wear
  • 15 Things You Should Never Do Once You Get a Job or in Your Career-Ever
This isn't all of them, but the reason they immediately caught my eye is because I wonder how many snafus I've made while looking for a job or in my career in general. My mouth is usually my worst enemy. And now that I've seen these topics, I want to read this book right away. 

Here are two endorsements:

"Every word out of Andrea Kay's mouth is gold! No matter who they are, or what their dreams may be, Andrea can find a way for people to navigate this crazy working world of ours."
--Ellen McGirt, Money magazine

"She is bubbly, fun and a good talker."
--CBS News

Andrea Kay helps people get excited about jumping out of bed and raring to go to work. For the past 20 years she has been creating and recreating Andrea Kay/The Art of Self Direction, a career consulting firm whose clients range from rocket scientists and cowboys who want to change careers to accountants and engineers who have trouble relating to people.

Andrea specializes in “Career Therapy.” She is incessantly curious and quickly gets to the heart of an issue, then creates strategies to help people get what they want. She does this for CEOs, millionaires, corporate warriors, writers, real estate moguls, entrepreneurs and people who take their careers seriously. She writes books and the syndicated newspaper column, “At Work” and gives speeches to Fortune 50 companies, professional associations, schools and at special events.

She has worked with people who ended up being CFOs of major companies, sales and marketing executives, artists and successful entrepreneurs and has helped CEOs, financial managers, Hollywood producers and teachers discover new, satisfying careers. She has developed a reputation as a workplace observer and outspoken supporter of taking personal responsibility for your career and is widely quoted and interviewed.

Her books

This Is How To Get Your Next Job: An Inside Look at What Employers Really Want
Work’s a Bitch and Then You Make It Work: 6 Steps to Go from Pissed off to Powerful
 Life’s a Bitch and then You Change Careers: 9 Steps to Get Out of Your Funk and On to Your Future
Interview Strategies That Will Get You the Job You Want
Resumes That Will Get You the Job You Want
Greener Pastures: How To Find a Job In Another Place

Visit Andrea online at http://andreakay.com/ to learn more about her and her work.

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

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Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter Q

We're closing in on the end of the third week of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. I haven't been as good about commenting on other blogs this week because the girls are on vacation. I spent a lot of today running around bringing girls here and there. Hopefully things will settle down this weekend.

The Quebec Act was passed by Parliament in 1774, annexing the Ohio region to Canada. Considered by the Colonists to be one of the Intolerable Acts, this helped spur the colonies into revolution. The Proclamation of 1763 had banned the colonists from the Ohio territory, but they hoped they would eventually be allowed to move there. To defy the proclamation would now make them Canadians. The Continental Congress complained of the Quebec Act in several petitions, calling it "the worst grievance."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: A Step in the Write Direction (Student Edition) by Donna Clark Goodrich

Volunteering in our local schools, I'm amazed by the ability of many of the students to create meaningful stories and articles. Some express a desire to write professionally in the future. Thankfully, for budding Christian writers, multi-published author Donna Clark Goodrich has created an excellent resource.

In A Step in the Write Direction, Goodrich has compiled helpful information on many aspects of publishing:
  • How to get started,
  • Where to get ideas,
  • Manuscript formats,
  • Fiction writing, nonfiction, poetry, and more
  • Editing tips,
  • How to sell what you write,
  • How to tackle obstacles,
and helpful resources all writers need. I've been writing almost ten years and I found information within this book's pages I could put to good use. A variety of "Assignments" help the reader learn more about her motivation to write, compile a list of important resources, spark inspiration, and more.

What I loved most about this book is Goodrich's encouraging style. Her passion for writing and helping others become successful writers shines through on every page. If you're serious about a writing career, pick up a copy of this book to help you get started. If you're already writing with the goal of being published, A Step in the Write Direction can help guide you along the way.

Highly recommended.

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Upwrite Press (June 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414119992
ISBN-13: 978-1414119991

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I was not compensated in any way.

Blogging from A To Z April Challenge - Letter P

Only two more days left in the third week of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. I spared you the linky list this week considering the somber feelings in my home state on Monday after the Boston Marathon bombings. The third victim has been identified and officials continue their investigation into locating those responsible for this heinous attack.

Last night, hockey returned to Boston as the Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres. The night started out with a moving tribute shown on the big screen, followed by the singing of our National Anthem by all those in attendance. You can watch it in the video below. I watched it last night on TV and I still can't get through it without crying.

At the end of the game, the teams met at center ice and saluted the fans by raising their sticks together.

It seems fitting to discuss another attack on our soil that caught us off guard. On December 7, 1941, Japanese plans attacked Pearl Harbor at 7:55 AM. Another wave hit an hour later. Most of the American planes on Oahu were wrecked. Eight battleships, three cruisers, and three destroyers were put out of action, and the battleships Oklahoma and Arizona were destroyed. We lost 2,323 U.S. servicemen.

A day that President Roosevelt called a "date which will live in infamy," signaled the entry of the United States into World War II. Men signed up to serve this country in droves. I knew two of those men later in life. Uncle Phil told me how he and his brothers rushed to sign up. His older brother, Stanley, was interrogated as a spy during the war. Seems when he signed up, the recruiting officer misspelled his last name, substituting an "i" for an "a". When Stanley was cleared, he legally changed his name to the incorrect spelling.

The emotions have run raw this week as Americans come to terms with the hatred of our way of life. But we, like those in Boston, remain strong. Whether it be at Pearl Harbor, or in New York City, or in Boston, we remain strong. We will not allow terrorists to take that from us. God bless the U.S.A.!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blogging from A to Z Challenge - Letter O

Today we are tackling the letter O for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

As a child of the 70s and 80s, I remember the OPEC Oil Crisis. The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) declared an embargo on the shipment of oil to those countries who supported Israel in its conflict with Egypt. The effects were felt immediately, as gas prices rose and U.S. imports of oil from Arab countries dropped. A national speed limit of 55 miles per hour was imposed to help reduce consumption. A move towards more efficient automobiles and alternate sources of energy ensued.

A second oil crisis occurred in 1979, during the Carter administration. Remembering the 1973 OPEC Oil Crisis, consumers panicked, causing long lines at gas stations around the country. Carter encouraged Americans to do what they could to reduce their consumption of energy. In 1980, the federal government established the Synthetic Fuels Corporation to produce an alternative to imported fossil fuels.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CFBA: Josiah's Treasure by Nancy Herriman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Josiah's Treasure
Worthy Publishing (April 16, 2013)
Nancy Herriman


Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in Engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She has been writing for longer than she would like to admit. Her work has been a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests and she won the 2006 RWA Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense. In 2009, she was an ACFW Genesis finalist. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When she is not writing, or gabbing over lattes about writing, she is either watching history shows on cable TV or singing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and sons, and wishes there were more hours in the day.


In 1882, Sarah Whittier dreams of opening an art studio run by immigrant women. She plans to use the house left to her by family friend Josiah Cady as collateral for her studio. But will all be lost when the inheritance is challenged by an angry man claiming to be Josiah's son and legal heir? Rumor of gold nuggets hidden in the house, place Sarah's life in danger. Her future uncertain and her safety threatened, Sarah has nowhere to turn. That is, unless she can soften a vengeful man's heart-and they both learn that love is finer than any gold.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Josiah's Treasure, go HERE.

Teaser Tuesdays - April 16th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I think I understand what you've been driving at. Are you trying to say that your father might disinherit you? I mean, could something like that happen these days?"

~ page 123, The Passing Bells by Philip Rock

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - Letter N

We're up to the letter N during the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Hope you're enjoying our trip through history.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other women founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in May 1869. In addition to suffrage, the NWSA dealt with issues important to women, such as the unionization of women workers. They also supported Victoria Woodhull, the first woman candidate for president of the United States. The American Woman Suffrage Association, however, concentrated solely on securing the right to vote. The AWSA was opposed to Anthony and Stanton's policies that they felt diverted attention from the suffrage issue. Eventually, the two groups would put aside their differences and formed the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890. In 1919, the NAWSA would succeed in getting the Nineteenth Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote.

I read a wonderful book about a contemporary of Stanton and Anthony--Martha Coffin Wright, whose neighbors called her "A Very Dangerous Woman." The book is not only a biography of Wright, it provides excellent insight into the times in which these women lived. You can find it here.