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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Do You Have Thoughts About What's Done?






When We Are Asked About Our Poetry (Part 1)

Sara Robinson

Recently our Suite T publisher asked me to select one of my published poems and write about what inspired me to pen that particular one. This caused me to stop and think about my poetry in a little bit of a different way. I didn’t want to create a brain cramp by struggling to decide which was my favorite poem, but I did want to choose one that affected me in several directions. So, I have picked two poems from my book, Needville, and I will include them here with my thoughts.


Cave

The morning the first hole was blasted

dust was blown into the air

& a thousand bats were hurled

awake, thrown out of the dark.


A million squeals we heard. In their

jammed radar they rushed into

trees dump trucks coal haulers

before to the ground, stunned.


Like soldiers trying to make it back

to safety, they struggled & dragged

broken arms & torn skin, never to fly.


A scooper came along, picked them up

in three moves & dumped all

into a trash bin. No one said a word.


Like no one speaks when they see lesser evil

trample over perceived great good.




This poem is one of witness to what happens when coal mining takes over. My whole book is about the effects of coal mining on SW Virginia, and by implication, anywhere else mining takes place. Poets write about nature and how we feel when it is harmed. So this poem for me spoke volumes about what mankind is doing to nature. Someday maybe we will think more strongly and actively about saving our planet. This is how poetry also helps us toward a greater understanding of living.



Another thing I witnessed was the terrible drug addiction problem in that same region. And again this problem was mightily influenced by coal mining. Life can be short and painful for coal miners.



Life and Death



My feet stay cold

in black water


like some blood’s trickling

in hard rock veins


I’ll die too young

to see my age



In Part 2, I’ll explore other thoughts about “our” poetry



Until next time…


Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, was poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and inagural poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. She has served as guest lecturer at UVA’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017), Blue Ridge Anthologies and Mizmor Anthology (2018). Journals include: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica. She is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013 Stones for Words (2014), Sometimes the Little Town (2016), a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award. In 2019, Needville, her poetry about effects of coal mining on SW Virginia was released and in 2020 debuted as play in Charlottesville. Her most recent publication is Simple River (2020, Cyberwit).

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Her Life Is A Book!




Pam Jenoff's background reads like a book itself.

Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996, she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Jenoff developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.

Having left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania. Jenoff practiced law at a large firm and in-house for several years. She now teaches law school at Rutgers.


Pam is the NYT bestselling author of The Woman With The Blue Star, The Lost Girls of Paris, The Orphan’s Tale, The Kommandant’s Girl, The Diplomat’s Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, The Winter Guest, The Things We Cherished, Almost Home, and A Hidden Affair. She also authored a short story in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband, three children, dog, cat, lizard and bird.


Coming Soon, (February 7th). Her new book, Code Name Sapphire is an historical fiction that I am sure we will not want to lay down. 

A woman must rescue her cousin's family from a train bound for Auschwitz in this riveting tale of bravery and resistance, from the bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris.

1942. Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to get out of occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.

Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Mateo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves? Inspired by incredible true stories of courage and sacrifice, Code Name Sapphire is a powerful novel about love, family and the unshakable resilience of women in even the hardest of times.


https://pamjenoff.com/



Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Trust Is A Funny Thing!



Lisa Phillips is a USA Today and top ten Publishers Weekly bestselling author of over 50 books that span Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line, independently published series romantic suspense, and thriller novels. She’s discovered a penchant for high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after.


Lisa is a British ex-pat who grew up an hour outside of London and attended Calvary Chapel Bible College, where she met her husband. He’s from California, but nobody’s perfect. It wasn’t until her Bible College graduation that she figured out she was a writer (someone told her). As a worship leader for Calvary Chapel churches in her local area, Lisa has discovered a love for mentoring new ministry members and youth worship musicians. Lisa loves high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after. Lisa leads worship with her husband at their church. They have two kids and an all-black Airedale.


A search-and-rescue mission turns into a deadly wilderness escape

When a plane carrying a federal witness crashes in the Montana backwoods, Officer Kelly Wayne and her K-9, Nico, track it down—and discover Ethan Harrigan injured with amnesia. Now with the mafia on their trail, Kelly must protect the man she thinks ruined her career. But nothing’s as it seems, and trusting the wrong person could get them all killed.





I had no idea I would love reading about a K-9. But Lisa Phillips wrote Wilderness Hunt, book seven in her K-9 Search and Rescue series and I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. Needless to say I was hooked, thank goodness there were six more in the series.

I think you will agree, it is one you don't one to put down either.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Who or What is Stealing Our Focus?




Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again


So why did the Amazon team name this book one of the best for 2022? 

Lindsay Powers, Amazon Editor says, "The book is filled with life-changing tidbits that you’ll think about every day as you stare at your phone, scroll social media, and hover over your kids. Hari’s epic journey to ditch his devices (which included a three-month tech detox that I envied) and reclaim his sanity is deeply relatable, at times funny, and truly eye-opening. There’s no shame or blame here, just ideas about how we can better prioritize what’s important and be more present in the moment against the onslaught of alerts, pings, and interruptions that are part of normal life today."

Adam Grant, author of Think Again, says, “The book the world needs in order to win the war on distraction.”

Susan Cain, author of Quiet, says, “Read this book to save your mind.”

Johann Hari's book . . .

In the United States, teenagers can focus on one task for only sixty-five seconds at a time, and office workers average only three minutes. Like so many of us, Johann Hari was finding that constantly switching from device to device and tab to tab was a diminishing and depressing way to live. He tried all sorts of self-help solutions—even abandoning his phone for three months—but nothing seemed to work. So Hari went on an epic journey across the world to interview the leading experts on human attention—and he discovered that everything we think we know about this crisis is wrong.

We think our inability to focus is a personal failure to exert enough willpower over our devices. The truth is even more disturbing: our focus has been stolen by powerful external forces that have left us uniquely vulnerable to corporations determined to raid our attention for profit. Hari found that there are twelve deep causes of this crisis, from the decline of mind-wandering to rising pollution, all of which have robbed some of our attention. In Stolen Focus, he introduces readers to Silicon Valley dissidents who learned to hack human attention, and veterinarians who diagnose dogs with ADHD. He explores a favela in Rio de Janeiro where everyone lost their attention in a particularly surreal way, and an office in New Zealand that discovered a remarkable technique to restore workers’ productivity.

Crucially, Hari learned how we can reclaim our focus—as individuals, and as a society—if we are determined to fight for it. Stolen Focus will transform the debate about attention and finally show us how to get it back.

I believe this is a book needed for just this time.



Johann Hari is the New York Times best-selling author of 'Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs', and one of the top-rated TED talkers of all time.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Laurie Polich Short on Faith, Doubt, and God's Mysterious Timing

 


Faith, Doubt, and God's Mysterious Timing: 30 Biblical Insights about the Way God Works
. A Must read!

Laurie Polich Short, trusted Bible teacher reveals 30 Biblical insights for when God's plan is unclear · Short is a rising Bible teacher with a vibrant speaking ministry · She is the co-creator of She Grows, a national women's conference.

Jim Daly, president of  Focus on the Family said, "Laurie's reflections into each of these passages of Scripture provide powerful insights and meaningful application as we walk out our faith."

In her book Short brings us to the question: What in the world is God doing? She says, "It's easy to wonder this. We are living in an unfolding story, and it's almost impossible to know the plans God has for our future. No wonder our faith can wane. It's hard to hold on when your deepest prayer hangs in the air unanswered. Or when circumstances you desperately wish would change drag on.

"Thankfully the Bible is filled with people who experienced the same thing. They had to learn to trust God's ways and timing--and their stories give us insights to live that way too."

Mining the often-overlooked passages of Scripture, Bible teacher Laurie Polich Short unearths 30 practical, encouraging gems of wisdom found in the faith and lives of biblical heroes. She helps you discover when to wait and when to move, when to hold on and when to let go, and how to have hope in circumstances that previously felt hopeless. Here is your compass to living your story well when the way forward is unclear.




Laurie Polich Short is a popular speaker, author, and part of the teaching team at Ocean Hills Covenant Church in Santa Barbara, California. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Laurie has spoken to more than 500,000 people at conferences, colleges, churches, and denominational events around the country, and she has been featured on PBS, Focus on the Family, World magazine, and more. 

Find out more at laurieshort.com.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

How to Thrive in the Unexpected!

 


Author and Disability Advocate Shows How to Thrive in the Unexpected · Author is regularly featured in media such as TODAY, Good Morning America, Yahoo! News, ABC News, The Huffington Post, Her View from Home, Scary Mommy, and more · Benfield is an active leader and member of both the National Down Syndrome Congress and National Down Syndrome Society Network. Benfield reaches over 100,000 social media followers.

When a 20-second phone call shattered Jillian Benfield's life, she never dreamed it would be her greatest gift. With raw honesty, Jillian weaves her riveting story with biblical teachings and scientific and social research to offer incredible hope for others living in their unexpected moments. She shows how God uses these moments, if we are willing, to show us who we are-- and who he dreams of us becoming. She'll help you break down the false constructs you've built around God and your identity, truly feel your pain in a healing way, and turn your internal transformation into external purpose. We were never meant to overcome the unexpected and remain the same, but instead, undergo it so we can be transformed.



Jillian Benfield is a former journalist and news anchor. She holds a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Georgia. As a freelance writer, her essays about living an unexpected life have appeared on sites such as TODAY, Good Morning America, Yahoo! News, and ABC News. Jillian regularly advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in her writings, community, and as a part of the National Down Syndrome Congress's National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition. Jillian and her husband, Andy, and their three children make their home on Florida's Space Coast. 

For more, visit jillianbenfield.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A Journey of Discovery, Healing, and Friendship




Poignant Women's Fiction from 2021 Christy Award Winner · Nelson's novel The Way It Should Be won the Christy Award for General Fiction · "Readers who are looking for faith-based women's fiction will be drawn into this powerful novel."-- Booklist starred review of More Than We Remember · Recommended for readers of Karen Kingsbury, Lauren K. Denton, and Liane Moriarty.


Popular podcaster and ex-reporter Faith Byrne has made a name for herself telling stories of greatness after tragedy--but her real life does not mirror the stories she tells. While her daughters spend the summer in Hawaii with her ex-husband and his new wife, she must manage life on her own. But all that changes when she's asked to spotlight her childhood best friend's missing person case on her podcast. Dora Crane has never accepted that her younger daughter could be dead, keeping her home looking the same as when her daughter disappeared. But when her husband leaves her, and her older daughter intervenes, she agrees to counseling and to pack up her missing daughter's belongings under one condition: Faith Byrne comes to Deep Valley and sheds light on the cold case. As the investigation moves forward, the two women uncover desperate secrets, and Faith and Dora must face the long-hidden truth before they can begin to move forward.


Christina Suzann Nelson is an inspirational speaker and the award-winning author of five books, including More Than We Remember, Shaped by the Waves, and the Christy Award-winning The Way It Should Be. She is the mother of six children, an advocate for children in foster care, a substitute teacher, a conference director, and the wife of her partner in this crazy adventure. Visit christinasuzannnelson.com to learn more.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A Highstakes Tale

 




If you love historical novels, especially those set in the gilded age of America, you will not want to miss this new book by  Elizabeth Camden, Hearts of Steel. This is book three in her series The Blackstone Legacy. 

 Camden wraps up this dramatic series in a highstakes tale with themes of corruption and injustice alongside humor, romance, and a heartfelt sense of community.

Maggie Molinaro survived a hardscrabble childhood in the downtrodden streets of Manhattan to become a successful businesswoman. After a decade of sacrifice, she now owns a celebrated ice cream company, but when she offends a corrupt banker, she unwittingly sets off a series of calamities that threaten to destroy her life's work.

Liam Blackstone is a charismatic steel magnate committed to overhauling factory conditions for the steelworkers of America. Standing in his way is the same villain determined to ruin Maggie. What begins as a practical alliance to defeat a common enemy soon evolves into a romance between two wounded people determined to beat the odds. A spiraling circle of treachery grows increasingly dangerous as Liam and Maggie risk their lives and fortune for the good of the city. It will require all their wit and ingenuity to navigate the dangerous waters ahead, but their crusade could cost them everything.

Return to New York City for another dramatic and romantic story from the enchanted pen of bestselling author Elizabeth Camden.

"A sweeping saga of a historical romance, enhanced by complex characters and riveting period detail."-- Mimi Matthews, bestselling author on Written on the Wind.


Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in gilded age America featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Experience Strenth and Beauty of Friendship!




Bestselling author Kimberley Woodhouse, invites us to experience the strength and beauty of friendship, family, and love in this grand historical tale in her new book, A Mark of Grace, book three in her Secrets of the Canyon series.

Ruth Anniston survived an injury that left her physically scarred, broken, and angry at God. Now she finds herself working behind the scenes as a kitchen supervisor at the El Tovar Hotel, hidden away from curious eyes. When money begins to disappear from the hotel, Ruth's entire livelihood is put at risk. Frank Henderson has at last succeeded in obtaining his dream job as the head chef at the El Tovar. But with the continuing thefts at the hotel, and his growing affection for Ruth, Frank's career--and his heart--are in jeopardy. As tensions run high, Ruth and Frank must work together to save the El Tovar and forge a new path for the future together.



ECPA Bestselling Author Wraps Up Her Charming Arizona-Set Series · Woodhouse has sold half a million books · Author has won the Reader's Choice Award, the Carol Award, and the HOLT Medallion.

Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 25 fiction and nonfiction books, including The Heart of Alaska series and The Treasures of Nome series. Kim and her incredible husband of 30- plus years live in the Poconos, where they play golf together, spend time with their kids and grandbaby, and research all the history around them. You can connect with Kimberley on her website, kimberleywoodhouse.com.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Feeling Weary, Wandering, and Wondering?


Hope for the one who is weary, wandering, and wondering where things went wrong.

In the wake of the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, many young evangelical Christians found themselves untethered, disillusioned, and–ultimately–orphaned as they grappled with the legalistic, politically co-opted churches of their youth. Perhaps you are one of them. Perhaps, like Sara Billups, you have felt alone, misunderstood, and maligned in the American church, longing for a more loving, more biblical expression of the faith and discipleship taught by Jesus.

Part spiritual memoir of an apocalyptic childhood and part commentary on growing up as an evangelical kid during the culture wars, Orphaned Believers follows the journey of a generation of Christian exiles reckoning with the tradition that raised them and searching for a new way to participate in the story of God. Because for all the baggage, we still belong, and a bigger, more beautiful story awaits.

Endorsements:


"As American Christianity changes, and as we change along with it, we need guides to remind us who we are and who we're not. Sara has been one such guide for me. She's brutally honest and hilarious, and her heart is wide open to the radical possibility that belonging to Jesus is identity enough for Christians. I couldn't be more grateful for her."--Jon Guerra, singer-songwriter and producer.

"Billups reminds us that no matter who we are or where we come from, God can move us from a place on the margins to a community of faith."--Foxy Davison, educator and activist.

"Sara helped me feel more 'found' than I did before--orphaned but also anchored in a much better story than the one the world's been selling me over the past decades. I needed this book more than I knew."--Chuck DeGroat, author, therapist, and professor of pastoral care and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary.


Sara Billups is a Seattle-based writer and cultural commentator whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Christianity Today, and more. Sara is completing her Doctor of Ministry in the Sacred Art of Writing at the Peterson Center for the Christian Imagination at Western Theological Seminary. She works to help wavering Christians remain steadfast through cultural storms and continues to hope for the flourishing of the Church amid deep political and cultural division in America.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

He's A Straight Shooter!




This book is the perfect gift for our lovers of sports and television. It's provocative, moving, and eye-opening.

If you like your stories delivered straight to the heart, then this is the book for you.

America’s most popular sports media figure tells it like it is in this surprisingly personal book, not only dishing out his signature, uninhibited opinions but also revealing the challenges he overcame in childhood and at ESPN, and who he really is when the cameras are off.

Obviously, I am talking about Stephen A. Smith's new book
Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes.

Here is Smith on Good Morning America.




Stephen A. Smith has never been handed anything, nor was he an overnight success. Growing up poor in Queens, the son of Caribbean immigrants and the youngest of six children, he was a sports-obsessed kid who faced a number of struggles, from undiagnosed dyslexia to getting enough cereal to fill his bowl. As a basketball player at Winston-Salem State University, he got a glimmer of his true calling when he wrote a newspaper column arguing for the retirement of his own Hall of Fame coach, Clarence Gaines.


Smith hustled and rose up from a high school reporter at Daily News (New York) to a general sports columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1990s, before getting his own show at ESPN in 2005. After he was unceremoniously fired from the network in 2009, he became even more determined to fight for success. He got himself rehired two years later and, with his razor-sharp intelligence and fearless debate style, found his role on the show he was destined to star in: First Take, the network’s flagship morning program.

In Straight Shooter, Smith writes about the greatest highs and deepest lows of his life and career. He gives his thoughts on Skip Bayless, Ray Rice, Colin Kaepernick, the New York Knicks, the Dallas Cowboys, and former President Donald Trump. But he also pulls back the curtain and talks about life beyond the set, sharing authentic stories about his negligent father, his loving mother, being a father himself, his battle with life-threatening COVID-19, and what he really thinks about politics and social issues. He does it all with the same intelligence, humor, and charm that has made him a household name.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

"Yesterday's Tides"




We are excited to let our readers know that one of our favorite authors, Roseanna M. White (a bestselling, Christy Award winning author) has a new book releasing titled Yesterday's Tides.

Roseanna "has long claimed that words are the air she breathes."

She says, "When not writing fiction, I'm homeschooling my two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending my house will clean itself."

Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years.

"Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into my books…to offset my real life, which is blessedly ordinary."

To read more information about Roseanna go to https://www.roseannamwhite.com/about-roseanna




In Yesterday's Tides Roseanna tells us how In two world wars, intelligence and counterintelligence, prejudice, and self-sacrifice collide across two generations.

In 1942, Evie Farrow is used to life on Ocracoke Island, where every day is the same--until the German U-boats haunting their waters begin to wreak havoc. And when special agent Sterling Bertrand is washed ashore at Evie's inn, her life is turned upside down. While Sterling's injuries keep him inn-bound for weeks, making him even more anxious about the SS officer he's tracking, he becomes increasingly intrigued by Evie, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own.

Decades earlier, in 1914, Englishman Remington Culbreth arrives at the Ocracoke Inn for the summer, never expecting to fall in love with Louisa Adair, the innkeeper's daughter. But when war breaks out in Europe, their relationship is put in jeopardy and may not survive what lies ahead for them.

As the ripples from the Great War rock Evie and Sterling's lives in World War II, it seems yesterday's tides may sweep them all into danger again today.


SARAH SUNDIN, bestselling and award-winning author of The Sound of Light and Until Leaves Fall in Paris says, "Yesterday's Tides has delicious romance, fascinating history, heart-pounding mystery, and wrenching family drama. . . . Please don't miss this novel."


KRISTY CAMBRON, Christy Award-winning author of The Paris Dressmaker says, "Yesterday's Tides triumphs with raw and real emotion, pulse-pounding action, and romance that pays tribute to the legacy of yesterday to anchor the path of our tomorrows."


With these two great endorsements this is one book I must read.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Meet Sarah Jio!



Have you met the author, Sarah Jio? If not in person, then perhaps you've met her while reading one of her books. If not, let me introduce you to Sarah.

Sarah is the #1 international, New York Times bestselling author of ALWAYS, in addition to THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011 and a USA Today bestseller), THE
BUNGALOW, BLACKBERRY WINTER (an instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller, as well as an international bestseller), THE LAST CAMELLIA (a Kirkus Books Most Anticipated Book of 2012), MORNING GLORY, and GOODNIGHT JUNE (to be published in June 2014).


To date, Sarah's novels are published in more than 30 countries, including Italy, France, Brazil, Turkey, Slovenia, Russia, China, Norway, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, and many others.

A magazine writer and the former founding health and fitness blogger for Glamour Magazine, Sarah has contributed to The New York Times, Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, Seventeen, BRIDES, Health, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Seattle Times, Parents, Woman's Day, Parenting, and many others. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR's Morning Edition.

Sarah lives in Seattle and is the mother of three young sons.


Now let me introduce you to Sarah's book, With Love From London.


When a woman inherits her estranged mother’s bookstore in London’s Primrose Hill, she finds herself thrust into the pages of a new story—hers—filled with long-held family secrets, the possibility of new love, and, perhaps, the single greatest challenge of her life.

When Valentina Baker was only eleven years old, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, fresh out of a failed marriage and still at odds with her mother’s abandonment, Val feels disenchanted with her life.

In a bittersweet twist of fate, she receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the Book Garden, the storied bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. Though the news is devastating, Val jumps at the chance for a new beginning and jets across the Atlantic, hoping to learn who her mother truly was while mourning the relationship they never had.

As Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the U.K., she finds herself falling in love with the pastel-colored third-floor flat and the cozy, treasure-filled bookshop, soon realizing that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined. When Val stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, she sets out to locate the book’s mysterious former owner, though her efforts are challenged from the start, as is the Book Garden’s future. In order to save the store from financial ruin and preserve her mother’s legacy, she must rally its eccentric staff and journey deep into her mother’s secrets. 
With Love from London is a story about healing and loss, revealing the emotional, relatable truths about love, family, and forgiveness.

Here is one book that we can enjoy during these cold January days!

Monday, January 16, 2023

Cozy Chair, Crackling Fireplace and a Good Book in Winter!


Who doesn't like to cozy up with a blanket in a comfy chair by a glowing, crackling fireplace in winter? Throw in a cup of hot chocolate, and a good, clean, romantic book with a little mystery and you have an afternoon of delight. I recommend you grab Jennifer Deibel's new book as soon as it releases in February, 2023. The Maid of Ballymacool. Perfect book to read next to the fire on a cold winter day. (You can pre-order on Amazon.com.)

Jennifer Deibel has first hand immersive experience abroad. She writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history and family.

After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona.

Erica Vetsch, author of the Thorndike & Swann Regency Mysteries (These are some more books you will want to put on your list) said, The Maid of Ballymacool is "A slow-building, delicious romance wrapped in a mystery!" What better endorsement can you get?


Brianna Kelly, the protagonist in the book, lives at Ballymacool House and Boarding School. She has lived here since she was a wee girl and feels she will likely die here. After all it's the only home she has ever known. Despite a sense she was made for something more, Brianna feels powerless to change her situation, so she consoles herself by exploring the Ballymacool grounds, looking for hidden treasures to add to the secret trove beneath the floorboards of her room.


When Michael Wray, the son of local gentry arrives at the school to deal with his unruly niece, he finds himself drawn to Brianna, immediately and inescapably. There is something about her that feels so familiar.

When Brianna unearths an intriguing silver platter in the woods, she commits to learning its origins. Could the handsome newcomer hold the key? If so, this discovery could change everything.

About the Author

Jennifer Deibel is the author of A Dance in Donegal (winner of the Kipp Award for Historical Romance) and The Lady of Galway Manor (a Parable Group bestseller). Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and in other publications. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.jenniferdeibel.com.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

America's Most Dangerous Female Spy. . .

Jim Popkin

Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America's Most Dangerous Female Spy—and the Sister She Betrayed.

The incredible true story of Ana Montes, the most damaging female spy in US history, drawing upon never-before-seen material and to be published upon her release from prison, for readers of Agent Sonya and A Woman of No Importance.

Just days after the 9-11 attacks, a senior Pentagon analyst eased her red Toyota Echo into traffic and headed to work. She never saw the undercover cars tracking her every turn. As she settled into her cubicle on the 6th floor of the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, FBI Agents and twitchy DIA officers were hiding in nearby offices. For this was the day that Ana Montes--the US Intelligence Community superstar who had just won a prestigious fellowship at the CIA--was to be arrested and publicly exposed as a secret agent for Cuba.

Like spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen before her, Ana Montes blindsided her colleagues with brazen acts of treason. For nearly 17 years, Montes succeeded in two high-stress jobs. By day, she was one of the government’s top Cuba experts, a buttoned-down GS-14 with shockingly easy access to classified documents. By night, she was on the clock for Fidel Castro, listening to coded messages over shortwave radio, passing US secrets to handlers in local restaurants, and slipping into Havana wearing a wig.

Montes didn’t just deceive her country. Her betrayal was intensely personal. Her mercurial father was a former US Army Colonel. Her brother and sister-in-law were FBI Special Agents. And her only sister, Lucy, also worked her entire career for the Bureau. The highlight of her distinguished 31 years as a Miami-based language specialist: Helping the FBI flush Cuban spies out of the United States. Little did Lucy or her family know that the greatest Cuban spy of all was sitting right next to them at Thanksgivings, baptisms, and weddings.

In Code Name Blue Wren, investigative journalist Jim Popkin weaves the tale of two sisters who chose two very different paths, plus the unsung heroes who had to fight to bring Ana to justice. With exclusive access to a “Secret” CIA behavioral profile of Ana, family memoirs, and Ana’s incriminating letters from prison, Popkin reveals the making of a traitor—a woman labelled “one of the most damaging spies in U.S. history” by America’s top counter-intelligence official.

After more than two decades in federal prison, Montes will be freed in January 2023. Code Name Blue Wren is a thrilling detective tale, an insider’s look at the clandestine world of espionage, and an intimate exploration of the dark side of betrayal.






Jim Popkin is an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, WIRED, Newsweek, Slate, The Guardian, Washingtonian, and on National Public Radio. He started and ran the NBC News Investigative Unit, where he was a Senior Producer as well as an on-air correspondent. Popkin reported for NBC News for nearly 14 years, and his stories have appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show, the NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, and CNBC. Popkin has won four national Emmy Awards for outstanding journalism, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, the George Polk Award, and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. The American Journalism Review profiled him as one of Washington’s “most enterprising journalists.” He received a BA from Northwestern University and a Master’s in Law from Yale Law School, and lives in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

A Man Who Made A Difference~Helping The Homeless



The powerful story of an inspiring doctor who made a difference, by helping to create a program to care for Boston’s homeless community—by the Pulitzer Prize–winning, New York Times bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains

“I couldn’t put Rough Sleepers down. I am left in awe of the human spirit and inspired to do better.”—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone



Tracy Kidder has been described by The Baltimore Sun as a “master of the nonfiction narrative.” In Rough Sleepers, Kidder shows how one person can make a difference, as he tells the story of Dr. Jim O’Connell, a gifted man who invented ways to create a community of care for a city’s unhoused population, including those who sleep on the streets—the “rough sleepers.”

When Jim O’Connell graduated from Harvard Medical School and was nearing the end of his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, the chief of medicine made a proposal: Would he defer a prestigious fellowship and spend a year helping to create an organization to bring health care to homeless citizens? Jim took the job because he felt he couldn’t refuse. But that year turned into his life’s calling. Tracy Kidder spent five years following Dr. O’Connell and his colleagues as they served their thousands of homeless patients. In this illuminating book we travel with O’Connell as he navigates the city, offering medical care, socks, soup, empathy, humor, and friendship to some of the city’s most endangered citizens. He emphasizes a style of medicine in which patients come first, joined with their providers in what he calls “a system of friends.” 
 
Much as he did with Paul Farmer in 
Mountains Beyond Mountains, Kidder explores how a small but dedicated group of people have changed countless lives by facing one of American society’s difficult problems instead of looking away.

Praise for Rough Sleepers:


“What does it mean, in our time of inequality, to care for the vulnerable in ways that strengthen the better angels of our common humanity? Tracy Kidder’s book, and the work of Dr. Jim O’Connell, connect us to unforgettable individuals, who allow us to get closer to the suffering that is only one part of what we need to see."
—Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family

“The nightmare of homelessness can seem both overwhelming and slightly abstract to the safely housed. That abstraction vanishes in the pages of Rough Sleepers. Tracy Kidder has reported the hell out of important stories before, but never more finely and relentlessly. The Sisyphean work of Dr. Jim O’Connell and his team, the embattled humanity of their patients living on the cold streets of Boston—it’s a story full of hard questions, a story with many heroes.”
—Bill Finnegan

“I couldn’t put Rough Sleepers down till the last page. Kidder's writing sidesteps labels like “homeless” to reveal the humanity of those who live on the streets. I agonized with the dedicated physician and the army of others who give their lives to a cause most of us pretend is invisible; I rejoiced in the fleeting victories. As with Mountains Beyond Mountains, I am left in awe of the human spirit and inspired to do better. That is Kidder’s genius.”
—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

“The estimable Tracy Kidder has found another unsung saint—this time not in the back country of Haiti or in genocide-ravaged Burundi, but, literally, on the streets of a major American city. And once again, as with his earlier books, this finely-crafted story sheds light on a larger landscape of injustice.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis


Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes.



Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Remember A Page In History~Long Overdue



Stacy Schiff


Schiff brings our attention back to a page of history in our nation. One perhaps we have forgotten yet is long overdue for remembrance.


 A Few Reviews:

"A glorious book that is as entertaining as it is vitally important.” —Ron Chernow

"A beautifully crafted, invaluable biography…Schiff ingeniously connects the past to our present and future, underscoring the lessons of Adams while reclaiming our nation’s self-evident truths at a moment when we seemed to have forgotten them." —Oprah Daily

A revelatory biography from a Pulitzer Prize-winner about the most essential Founding Father—the one who stood behind the change in thinking that produced the American Revolution.


Thomas Jefferson asserted that if there was any leader of the Revolution, “Samuel Adams was the man.” With high-minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American history.

Stacy Schiff returns Adams to his seat of glory, introducing us to the shrewd and eloquent man who supplied the moral backbone of the American Revolution. A singular figure at a singular moment, Adams amplified the Boston Massacre. He helped to mastermind the Boston Tea Party. He employed every tool available to rally a town, a colony, and eventually a band of colonies behind him, creating the cause that created a country. For his efforts he became the most wanted man in America: When Paul Revere rode to Lexington in 1775, it was to warn Samuel Adams that he was about to be arrested for treason.

In The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, Schiff brings her masterful skills to Adams’s improbable life, illuminating his transformation from aimless son of a well-off family to tireless, beguiling radical who mobilized the colonies. Arresting, original, and deliriously dramatic, this is a long-overdue chapter in the history of our nation.




Stacy Schiff Bio:


A Pulitzer Prize-winner, Stacy Schiff is the author of several bestselling biographies and historical works including, most recently, The Witches: Salem, 1692. Her previous book, Cleopatra: A Life, appeared on most year-end best books lists, including the New York Times’s Top Ten Books of 2010, and won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for biography. Cleopatra was translated into 30 languages. Schiff’s other work includes Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize, the Ambassador Award in American Studies, and the Gilbert Chinard Prize of the Institut Français d’Amérique. Schiff is a Guggenheim and NEH Fellow and was a Director’s Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Among other honors, the New York Public Library named her a 2011 Library Lion, a Boston Public Library Literary Light in 2016, and in 2017 received the Lifetime Achievement Award in History and Biography from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She received the 2019 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. In 2018 she was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. Awarded a 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she was inducted into the Academy in 2019. Schiff has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and The Los Angeles Times, among many other publications. She lives in New York City.



Monday, January 9, 2023

Telling Their Stories ~ Honoring our Veterans

 

K. Michael (Mike) Ware



What an honor it is for me to write the stories of American’s unsung military veterans.

For the last decade while volunteering with Diane Hight’s Forever Young Veterans Organization, I spent hundreds of hours listening to the personal war stories of the ‘average’ soldier, sailor,airmen, Marine and Coast Guardsman.

I escorted WWII, Korea and Vietnam veterans to Europe,Washington DC, New Orleans, and Pearl Harbor. I visited with them in their homes, in managed care facilities, and during honor ceremonies. 

In many cases, I listened as they reminisced about their life as they entered end of life care. In the latter, I became aware their stories were disappearing at a rapid rate and needed to be recorded for future generations.

I soon found writing their stories was a daunting task, especially with a word limit for their significant life events were many. Foremost, my words needed to tell their true story and honor their sacrifice for our great nation. I strived to tell the story through their eyes—the hardships, the glee of comradeship, the fear of battle, the taste of death be it a fellow comrade
or an enemy, and their challenges of transitioning back to civilian life. I wanted to make the veteran proud of his or her accomplishments and the world to recognize the debt we owe them for their unselfish service to the cause of freedom. 

I found myself immersed in their world and wondered if I could have served so gallantly.

A daunting task…but one worth every second spent in their presence be it 
listening to their words in person or pounding the keyboard at home. I am a far better citizen.


K. Michael Ware is a retired Air Force fighter pilot and airline pilot. He is a published author and motivational speaker. His passions include volunteering, writing, and golf. He and wife Suzanne have been married 45+ years, have three married children and 10 grandchildren. He resides in Travelers Rest, SC.

Friday, January 6, 2023

First Week of January!



The first week of January we celebrate not just the New Year but "Life".

Hope all of your week was rewarding.


Fluffy Wolf Publishing has a great book for all of us to try:

Happy New Year Coloring Book: Funny and Cute New Year Coloring Pages| New Year Eve Coloring for Women, Teen, Senior | December and New Year Coloring Pages, Anti Stress and Anxiety Coloring Book.


Feeling stressed? Bored? Needing something to pass the time? Let our coloring book pages take you back to a simpler time. Your mind will be at ease and the stress will melt away, even for a brief time.
Teen & Adults, Kids, will enjoy coloring all of these unique coloring pages.

What a great way to start the first week, releasing our stress and just enjoying our time.
Have Fun!

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Meet Donna Ball from the Northeast Georgia Mountains

                                                              
Northeast Georgia Mountains



If you don't know Donna Ball here is your chance to get to know Donna and her writing.

Donna Ball published her first book in 1982. Since that time she has written over 100 books under pseudonyms that include Rebecca Flanders, Donna Carlisle, Leigh Bristol, Taylor Brady, and Donna Boyd. 

Though she has been published virtually in every genre, she is best known for her work in women's fiction and suspense. Her novels have been translated into multiple languages and published around the world.

She is the holder of the Storytelling World award, 2001, the Georgia Author of the Year Award, 2000, Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Awards for consecutive years 1991-1996, the Georgia Romance Writer's Maggie Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times, among others.

Donna lives in the heart of the Blue Ridge Divide in a restored Victorian barn which was the inspiration for the bestselling A YEAR ON LADYBUG FARM. She spends her spare time hiking, painting, and enjoying canine sports with her three dogs.


In September of 2022, she released an Epic Installment ( her 15th book) in the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery Series titled The Judge's Daughter. All her fans of this series are excited to get this 15th book in the series.

In this pivotal fifteenth book in the ground-breaking Raine Stockton Dog Mystery Series, the death of an old friend leaves Raine Stockton with an unwanted inheritance, an old wound reopened, and the most challenging mystery of her life.

The name Stockton has always carried weight in the small Smokey Mountain community of Hanover County, North Carolina, and Judge Jonathon Stockton was one of the most respected men in the county… until a scandal was uncovered that destroyed his legacy and shook his daughter, Raine, to the very foundation of her being. Now her father’s misdeeds are once again threatening to upend Raine’s world, this time in the form of a relative she never knew she had.

Both Raine’s ex-husband, county investigator Buck Lawson, and her fiancé, Miles Young, warn Raine that Casey Macintosh is not what he appears to be. But while Raine is not as naïve as either man seems to suspect, she finds herself unwillingly charmed by this stranger who claims to be her long-lost brother, and more curious than suspicious. But the more she learns about Casey the more she realizes that he is not only deceptive, he may also be dangerous.

Raine and her search-and-rescue golden retriever, Cisco, have spent their lives rescuing others who have stumbled off the trail. She has never faced a crisis she couldn’t manage with the help of her devoted dog and her friends. But with Buck in the midst of an out-of-state move and a new county prosecutor looking to make a name for himself, Raine soon finds herself entangled in a desperate situation with no way out and no one to turn to. This time, she is not the savior, but the victim. And not even Cisco can help her now.


You will love her blog. Be sure and drop in and see the information "Writing Without A Net". 


We hope you will enjoy her new book as much as we did.

Happy Reading?