Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Secret Places Revealed by Paulette Harper


Please join author Paulette Harper as she tours the blogosphere with Write Now Literary Book Tours and her new release Secret Places Revealed, on September 27, 2016.


Publication Date: September 16, 2016

Paperback: 342 pages
Genre: Inspirational Romance


ISBN-10: 0989969150

ISBN-13: 978-0989969154

ASIN: B01M0GXCGB







A broken man, a woman on the run, a love that won’t be denied.


Single—and very content—real estate developer Aaron Blackman is determined not to become involved in another relationship. He’s experienced enough drama to last a lifetime. The only thing garnering his attention now is his growing business. And he plans to keep it that way. Then Simone Herron waltzes into his life, beautiful and confident. Fighting to keep his promise to himself—to remain single—he soon discovers that when it comes to love, some promises must be broken.


After losing her fiancé in an untimely death, Simone Herron relocates. She desperately needs to put the past behind her and start a new chapter in her life. While love is the farthest thing from her mind, she experiences an attraction to the handsome Aaron Blackman that frightens her. She's built a wall around her heart, but can she find the strength and courage she needs to welcome love again? To do so, she must conquer her fears and allow God to put all of her broken pieces back together.







In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. She has a passion to coach aspiring authors and speaks into the lives of women from every walk of life. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Paulette resides in Northern California.























In celebration of Paulette’s upcoming release, Secret Places Revealed, she’s giving away one (1) autographed copy of Secret Places Revealed.

This contest is open for US only through October, 7, 2016


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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Spotlight: Her Innocence by Michelle Sutton


Taylor Lucero was blessed with better-than-average looks. In fact, she's gorgeous. Until they know her, people don't realize she has intellectual challenges. Most ignore her, except for the guys lacking integrity. They see a young woman who will fall for their lies. Taylor is stubborn, though, and doesn't understand that men sometimes have less-than-stellar motives for wanting to date her.

Mike Johnson is a college freshman. He meets a beautiful girl while flying to Tucson to enroll in college and wonders what will become of her because she's so vulnerable. They run into each other again, and out of concern for her safety, they become friends. He hopes dating will keep the predators away. He doesn't know any other way to protect her innocence. When they fall in love, tragedy strikes. Mike's response causes his family to shun him, but his unconditional love is what she needs to heal.

Excerpt

Though I hadn't intended to cry, my throat sounded tight and my eyes stung. "I thought you would call me."

"Sorry about that. I've been busy."

I heard a voice from inside the car. "Who's the cute girl? I didn't know you knew any girls around here, cuz. How's about an introduction?"

"We met on the plane to Tucson. She lives a few blocks from here." Mike glanced back at me. "See you around. It's Taylor, right?"

He wasn't even sure of my name? I didn't think he would be like the others. I thought we were friends. "Yeah, it's Taylor. Who's the guy with you?"

"Just my cousin Doug." He leaned closer and said in a whisper, "You don't want to know him. He's too old for you and he won't treat you right. You hear what I'm saying? I'll call you when I get back, okay?"

I bent down so I could see the other guy's face. He was even cuter than Mike in a dark-good-looks sort of way. I decided to pour on the southern girl charm and added more of an accent than usual. "Hey there. Care to give a girl a ride?"

"Seriously? I'll take you on, honey. I love your accent."

Mike cringed and mouthed, "Go home, Taylor."

I ignored him and spoke to Doug. "Can I get a lift home? Or maybe I can just hang out for a bit. I have nothing better to do."

Mike said through stiff lips. "Just. Walk. Home. I promise I'll call you."

I didn't believe him. He'd said it before. So I said, "I forgot how to get there."

The passenger car door opened and Doug hopped out. He opened the back door and said, "Come inside. I'll entertain you since Mike here is playing the good boy."

Flattered by his attention, I shot Mike an annoyed look and smiled at Doug. "Thanks. Don't mind if I do. But I don't want to go home yet. How about I just tag along?"

"We're going apartment hunting. You wouldn't be interested." Mike sounded mad. Oh, well. He should've thought of that before he blew me off.

"Sounds fun to me." I flirted with Doug, who acted like he'd just made it to the highest level of a video game. I could tell he liked me. Maybe Mike would regret not calling me now.

"Hop in, baby. I'll make sure you aren't bored."

Mike shut off the engine. "We're not going anywhere now." He opened the car door and held his keys in his hand.

Doug closed in on me and grabbed my hand, but before he had a chance to pull me into the car, Mike swore and jumped between us.

"Get your hands off her." Mike pointed at his cousin and looked like he was about to jam his keys into Doug's gut.

Purchase at:




Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Sept 19



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend. It was a weekend of soccer, a birthday, and work.


Papou (Greek for grandfather) turned 86 on Friday. The family got together to celebrate. Earlier in the week my husband visited Fenway and got a tour of the stadium. He met former Boston Red Sox center fielder Fred Lynn. When he told Lynn that his father was a big fan, Lynn called Papou up and spoke to him for a bit. That's a pretty cool present.

Saturday and Sunday were both losses on the soccer field, but the Lil' Princess played well. Hope her tendinitis doesn't act up too much.

As for book arrivals, it was a great week. Three book review requests came in.



She's ghostwriting a book for a famous author--a recently deceased one. A struggling writer living in Manhattan, Jacy McMasters is the first to admit she's a terrific liar and a screw-up. Then the ghost of the famous novelist JD Balinger asks her to "channel" a follow-up to his classic coming of age book, The Watcher in the Sky. Along with her new boyfriend, a bear of a man who has no patience for mind games, the ghost in Jacy's head forces her to confront a lifetime of secrets—dark secrets. Secrets she's been keeping from herself.


This Advent book contains family devotions that focus on connecting Jesus and the symbols of Christmas. Each day includes a devotional, prayer, questions to discuss, the meaning of a Christmas symbol, and suggested activities to put the scriptures into action. Reproducibles are included to help with the symbol activities.


Emulating the format of Raising a Modern-Day Princess, authors Doreen Hanna and Karen Whiting seek to help parents and grandparents cultivate strong relationships and encourage the spiritual formation in their daughters using examples, Bible teaching on the fruit of the Spirit, and a variety of creative activities that are based on Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

By implementing the ideas in this book, mothers (as well as fathers) will be equipped to understand and guide their daughters through each step of becoming His “princess.” This will include perceiving a daughter’s unique personality and gifts, refining her character through training and discipline, and modeling the attributes of a daughter of the King.

This book is a follow-up to both Raising a Modern-Day Knight (by Robert Lewis) and Raising a Modern-Day Princess by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna. While the latter book is aimed at parents of girls ages 12 and up, this book focuses on building the Christian character of younger girls.


Don't know about you, but I am thrilled to see the Christmas books coming out. The only thing that can make my favorite genres better is to have their stories set during Christmas time.

What was in your mailbox last week? Hope you'll share.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

New Release: Monticello by Sally Cabot Gunning

This recent release from Sally Cabot Gunning caught my eye because I love reading about the early years of our country and our Founding Fathers. Historical fiction remains one of my favorite genres. Have added this to my wish list.


From the critically acclaimed author of The Widow's War comes a captivating work of literary historical fiction, set in America in the years after the Revolution, that explores the tenuous relationship between the brilliant and complex founding father Thomas Jefferson and his devoted daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

After the early death of her mother, young Martha Jefferson accompanied her father, Thomas Jefferson, on his first diplomatic mission to Paris. Five years later, father and daughter have come home to Monticello, the family’s beloved plantation set high in the lush hills of the Virginia countryside.

Though Monticello has suffered from her father’s absence, Martha finds it essentially unchanged, even as she has been transformed. The sheltered girl that sailed to Europe is now a handsome seventeen-year-old woman with a battle-scarred heart, who sees a world far more complicated than it once seemed.

Blessed with her father’s sharp mind and independent spirit, Martha has long abhorred slavery and yearned for its swift end. Yet she now discovers that the home she adores is burdened by growing debt and cannot survive long without the labor of its slaves. Her bonds with those around her are shifting, too. As the doting father she has idolized since childhood returns to government, he becomes increasingly distracted by tumultuous fights for power and troubling attachments that pull him further away. And as Martha begins to pay closer attention to Sally Hemings—the beautiful light-skinned slave long acknowledged to be her mother’s half-sister—she realizes that the slave’s position in the household has subtly changed. Eager for distraction, Martha welcomes the attentions of Thomas Randolph, her exotic distant cousin, but soon Martha uncovers burdens and desires in him that threaten to compromise her own.

As her life becomes constrained by the demands of marriage, motherhood, politics, scandal, and her family’s increasing impoverishment, Martha yearns to find her way back to her childhood home; to the gentle beauty and quiet happiness of the world she once knew at the top of her father’s “little mountain.”

An irresistible blend of emotional drama, historical detail, and vivid atmosphere, Monticello skillfully brings to life Martha Jefferson Randolph, a strong and compelling woman who influenced -- as much as she was influenced by -- one of the most intriguing figures in American history.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (September 6, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062320432
ISBN-13: 978-0062320438

Purchase at:

HarperCollins
Amazon
B&N
Books-A-Million
Indiebound

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Busy, Busy Mom

Sorry I haven't blogged yet this week. Work is really crazy right now. Check out my two new listings.


Springfield, MA


Chicopee, MA


Soccer started recently too. The Lil' Princess played her first game last Saturday. It was pouring! 


No dance photos yet, but that started on Saturday as well. 

Certainly no reason to be bored around here. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Free for Kindle: Broken Identity by Ashley Williams


Drake Pearson, a narrow-minded 18-year-old barely enduring Missouri’s heat, is tired of feeling empty. Living conditions are about as cozy as a cardboard box, on account of his alcoholic father who can find nothing better to do than argue relentlessly with him. When Drake thinks he can’t take another blow, he is reminded daily of his mom who vanished twelve years ago. And now there’s a dead body. After a terrible accident turns into a protected secret, a twisted string of events brings Drake miles away from home to an elderly man’s front door. Every promising opportunity also brings new doubts and temptations to run away—this time for good. When the secret he has kept locked away threatens to reveal itself, Drake knows he must shield it with his very life, even if the love he has been shown undeservingly is about to be destroyed.

File Size: 910 KB
Print Length: 322 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0768439213
Publisher: Destiny Image; 1 edition (September 20, 2011)
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B005M3N4EO


Order here!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Glazed Orange Coconut Cake from Relish.com


For my mother-in-law's birthday, I made this Glazed Orange Coconut Cake with a recipe I found on relish.com.

Yield: 20 servings

Ingredients

Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh orange juice (4 to 5 oranges)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind

Orange glaze and garnish:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (1 orange)
Toasted coconut chips (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

Combine flour and next five ingredients (flour through salt).




In a separate bowl, combine coconut milk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and orange juice and rind. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into prepare pan.



Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

To prepare glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice. If there are little lumps, let glaze sit 30 minutes, until they dissolve. Pour glaze over completely cooled cake. Sprinkle coconut chips on top, if using.



How did it turn out? Fabulous! It had the best texture of any cake I've ever made. I'm sure the glaze helped, but the cake was yummy to begin with. 

Would I do anything differently? I would add more unsweetened coconut to the batter or garnish the cake with toasted coconut chips because the orange flavor came through nicely, but I felt the coconut flavor wasn't strong enough. I also should have waited a bit longer to glaze it. The cake was still a bit warm, so the glaze didn't harden the way I expected. Most of it soaked into the cake. 

Do you have a great recipe for an orange coconut cake? I would love to try it out. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Spotlight: If God Wills by Kent Philpott


If God Wills is an expression familiar to the Muslim world (enshallah in Arabic, or "If Allah Wills"). It connotes the hope that God is in control of our lives and world events. Pastor Kent Philpott has been studying Islamic theology and practice for fifteen years, yet maintains his own deep Christian faith. This book is written for both the Muslim and Christian reader to consider various aspects of Islam as found in the Qur’an and other traditional texts and compare them to what Jesus brings as found in the Bible and Christian history. Philpott does not condemn Muslims or attack the tenets of Islam or the prophet Muhammad but reaches out with care and concern with an offer of the love and grace of Jesus. This book is an excellent resource for Christian evangelists and apologists, especially to give away in the Muslim community. ePub and Kindle versions also. A free chapter download of "If Allah Wills" (essentially the same book but specifically with the Muslim book buyer in mind) is available on the Home page.


Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: Earthen Vessel Publishing (August 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0996859047
ISBN-13: 978-0996859042


Purchase from:

Earthen Vessels Publishing
Amazon

Monday, September 5, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Sep 5



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Labor Day, gang! Hope you're having a great long weekend. Mine has been fabulous: I've dropped three pounds since I restarted the 21 Day Fix; I managed to get in some workout every day this weekend; we attended the Greek Festival in Marlborough, and I sold a house four days after I listed it. Talked to another person Saturday and I'll be listing her home this coming Friday. Not bad for a holiday weekend.


Dancing Yia-Yia

As far as health and fitness goes, I'm really trying to focus on getting rid of that "dough belly." That's what the girls call my very soft, round middle. Weight loss is great, but it's not my focus. I want better legs and a trimmer middle. As such, I've added some different workout routines to my 21 Day Fix program. I haven't used CIZE as much as I thought I would, but I'm going to pop the second DVD in tomorrow to see what I can do. I'm doing a fair amount of upper body work, which will help with the tennis elbow.

I'm also going to really dig into I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. I bought it last year, but didn't do much with it. I know that drinking Pepsi® twice a day is a part of the "dough belly" issue. I don't eat a ton of sweets, but I really want to focus on getting rid of all of the bad stuff. This should help.

My mail carrier brought a surprise this past week and it sounds superb.


Where is hope when there is no hope?

First-time parents Joe and Tahni Cullen were thrust into the confusing world of autism when their toddler, Josiah, suddenly lost his ability to speak, play, and socialize. The diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder. In their attempts to see Josiah recover and regain speech, the Cullens underwent overwhelming physical, emotional, and financial struggles. While other kids around him improved, Josiah only got worse.

Five years later, Josiah, who had not been formally taught to read or write, suddenly began to type on his iPad profound paragraphs about God, science, history, business, music, strangers, and heaven. Josiah’s eye-opening visions, heavenly encounters, and supernatural experiences forced his family out of their comfort zone and predictable theology, catapulting them into a mind-blowing love-encounter with Jesus.

- Find hope in hardship.
- Catch a fresh glimpse of heaven.
- Learn to hear and trust God’s voice.
- Identify the roles of Father, Son, and Spirit.
- Be aware of the workings of angels, and much more!

Follow a trail of truth into Josiah’s mysterious world, and see why his family and friends can no longer stay silent.

I also downloaded a Kindle freebie--darn free books are bad for me. I'll never whittle down my TBR pile as long as they exist.


7 Days to a Byline that Pays explains how to tell stories that audiences will read and editors will pay you to write. Delivered in a breezy and compact manner, this book will help you work fast, smart, and get paid for your work.

"I've worked with writers and editors across the country to compress the salient points in an easy-to-grasp approach that you can tackle," says author, Michael Ray Smith. "I'm convinced you can accomplish your goal of writing a salable article in seven days by using the ideas in this book."

Then I purchased this one for only 99 cents!


A wonderfully warm and witty debut novel about family secrets and sibling rivalry.
The four MacLeod sisters are no strangers to sisterly rivalry and with one of them about to be married, there are bound to be fireworks. Perfectionist Natalie wants the ‘wedding of the year’. Harassed mother, Milly, just wishes her bridesmaid’s dress wasn’t the size of a tent. Career-obsessed Avril secretly moons over a married man and world traveler, Hazel, the youngest, yearns to be taken seriously. Forced together for the first time in years, and with an unexpected guest stirring up old resentments, squabbles are inevitable. But when tragedy strikes things really fly apart - as some shocking skeletons emerge rattling from the crowded MacLeod closet…


What was in your mailbox this week? Any great plans for the holiday?


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Guardian Angel Kids - September Issue Online



This a free digital magazine that my publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing, produces once a month. Each issue has poems, short stories, and articles. There are free games and activities too. This month is dedicated to monkeys.

You can check out our current and past issues by visiting http://guardian-angel-kids.com

New Release: Josiah's Fire by Tahni Cullen with Cheryl Ricker

This book just arrived in my mailbox. I am so excited. Can't wait to read it.


Where is hope when there is no hope?

First-time parents Joe and Tahni Cullen were thrust into the confusing world of autism when their toddler, Josiah, suddenly lost his ability to speak, play, and socialize. The diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder. In their attempts to see Josiah recover and regain speech, the Cullens underwent overwhelming physical, emotional, and financial struggles. While other kids around him improved, Josiah only got worse.

Five years later, Josiah, who had not been formally taught to read or write, suddenly began to type on his iPad profound paragraphs about God, science, history, business, music, strangers, and heaven. Josiah’s eye-opening visions, heavenly encounters, and supernatural experiences forced his family out of their comfort zone and predictable theology, catapulting them into a mind-blowing love-encounter with Jesus.

- Find hope in hardship.
- Catch a fresh glimpse of heaven.
- Learn to hear and trust God’s voice.
- Identify the roles of Father, Son, and Spirit.
- Be aware of the workings of angels, and much more!

Follow a trail of truth into Josiah’s mysterious world, and see why his family and friends can no longer stay silent.

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC (September 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1424551404
ISBN-13: 978-1424551408

Order from:

CBD
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Challenge with Health and Fitness



I've come to discover I have two challenges with my health and fitness goals:

1. I keep buying new equipment.
2. My stomach doesn't enjoy junk food the way it used to.

The first challenge gets darn expense and the second one is just no fun. I guess you could say that all those years I ignored my diet and didn't exercise means I've got an untapped budget in the workout department; but it seems everything I want to do costs an arm and a leg: you remember I am an Ebeneezer Scrooge when it comes to spending money, right? 

So far I've invested in the 21 Day Fix and the CIZE programs from Beachbody. I definitely find the first one easier, but CIZE is fun on the days I feel like a different kind of workout. Recently, I purchased a set of resistance bands and new weights. 


When they released me from physical therapy this summer, they encouraged me to keep up my resistance band workouts. I had bought some loop bands last year, but I snapped one of them and figured it was time to buy something sturdier. Those things don't feel good when they snap. 

I would really like to order the 3-Day Refresh, but I am afraid I won't be able to stomach the shakes. I haven't been able to tolerate them in the past. Since the majority of the program is the shakes, I sure don't want to spend $69.95 and not get the results I'm looking for. 

It's a challenge that I am on this new healthy eating kick, but the kids still want goodies. I've always loved junk food. When I eat it these days, I just don't feel right. My stomach bloats and I'm sluggish. I guess I should be excited, but instead I miss being able to eat cookies and cake and other yummy foods without feeling yucky. Well, that's not totally true: I used to feel yucky before. I just didn't know how yucky until I started taking better care of myself.

I'm glad I'm making the right changes for my health. Too bad I didn't do it two decades ago. I can't see myself ever looking forward to exercising, but at least I am staying focused on my goals. 

What is your health and fitness plan? If you don't have a health and fitness plan, what stands in the way of you making one? What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Anything you simply can't give up?