Patty Wiseman: Where it All Started

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patty_wiseman_authorThis month’s guest blog post is from Award Winning Patty Wiseman who writes stories of strong women overcoming insurmountable odds. From historical to contemporary these romantic and suspenseful tales carry the message of survival by extraordinary women. Find Patty on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Amazon.

WHERE IT ALL STARTED

I was that kid with the flashlight under the covers every night. The minute I learned how letters formed words and words formed sentences which turned into stories, I was hooked.

HOW ONE PERSON CAN BE AN INFLUENCE

My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Bell, really had the most impact on my love of reading. Oh my, could she tell a story! The classroom was transfixed when she read to us. Forty-odd years later and she is still the one I think of when I look back at how it all started.

Books became my escape. I always carried an armful of books home from the school library, read into the night, only to return them the next day for another stack. I devoured them.

A LACK OF CONFIDENCE HELD ME BACK

All this reading lit a flame in my heart to explore the writing world. I won poetry contests in high school, secretly wrote short stories that never saw the light of day. There wasn’t a lot of encouragement for me back then.

When I married and had children, the spark grew brighter as I read to my children. I wanted to write that book burning in my heart so badly. Again, I received little encouragement.

Fast-forward into my twenty-five-year career in a financial institution, a divorce, raising my boys as a single mom and writing fell by the wayside.

REBIRTH OF A DREAM!

A second marriage, a man who lived to fulfill my every wish, and once more, the writing bug latched on and wouldn’t let go. My husband encouraged me to retire from my job and throw myself into writing full-time.
Seven years later, I have eight books published and tons of ideas for the next seven years.

The moral of this story is…never give up on your dream. Years may pass, but the dream can ultimately come true. Keep moving forward, even if life gets in the way.

Writing is my full-time life now. Sometimes, I look back and say ‘I should have done this sooner. Look at all the time I wasted.’ The truth is, it wasn’t my time then. It’s my time now and I fully embrace it.

Follow your dream, don’t snuff out the light by getting discouraged, because just around the corner you may meet that dream head on.

Be sure to check out Patty Wiseman’s website and be inspired!

What are you goals for 2018?

There Really Are Reindeer

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We lived in Phoenix Arizona in 1968. This event really happen! I wanted to keep the proof in a baggie, in the freezer, but my momma said, “No!”  

There Really Are Reindeer

One Christmas morning, back in my youth—I remember it well
My brother told me a most wonderful tale. 

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It seems, Santa doesn’t always land his sleigh on the roof
If one of the reindeer has a sore on his hoof. 

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For outside in our yard—there in the grass, lay all the evidence.
I wouldn’t have believed it, but there were the hoof prints! 

And most amazing of all—I’m telling the truth, a pile of poop.
Seems Santa had forgotten his scoop.We rushed into the house to tell Mom–how excited we were
“There really are reindeer. Now, we know it for sure!”

me

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Self-doubt: An Authors Worst Enemy

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IMG_2009Authors are plagued with self-doubt and worry over silly things.

Harper Lee, for one, threw her whole manuscript for To Kill a Mockingbird out her NYC window while editing. Fortunately, her publisher made her retrieve and finish the book. See, Fling Manuscript From the Window.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose, stated in a diary entry the she doubted her mother’s manuscript would “come to anything.” [Smith Hill, Pamela. Introduction. “Will it Come to Anything?”: The Story of Pioneer Girl] However, in an interesting twist, Rose later used her mother’s rejected Pioneer Girl to craft new novels for herself. By 1932 she and her mother had published novels base on Laura’s original adult manuscript. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name and books are still world-famous.

Authors want praise for hard work, readers to love their words. They want to make a difference in the world. But even after a book is published, garnered accolades, and the author praised, doubt returns. Why? Simple rejection by one person.

Even if multiple people have purchased, reviewed, or praised the authors work, it’s that one person who reads the back cover and walks away, or promises a review and doesn’t, who triggers an author’s fatalistic imagination.

My dear authors, hang on to your sanity! Stay focused on your goal and start a file of all the praise, awards, and encouragement you’ve received. Self-doubt is destructive liar.

How do you overcome these times?

The Lost Puppy (A Super Emily and Buttermilk Adventure)

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Super Emily loves to make everything right!

With the help of her magical stuffed kitten, Buttermilk, Emily goes on adventures to help those in need.

When the heart on Buttermilk’s collar flashes, Emily knows her friend’s puppy is missing. But Emily hasn’t finished her green beans yet, and Momma wants her plate.

After explaining the problem to Momma, Emily may go help, but she must hurry back to finish her beans.  Momma thinks Emily is pretending.

super_emily  super_emily_buttermilk  super_emily-buttermilk wink

This heart-warming children’s book captures a young child’s desire to care for others who are in need. Imaginative play is encouraged as well as issues of respect and follow-through on tasks.

Available here

Happy Left-Handers Day

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Happy Left-Handers Day!

There are people who care about our needs.

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I found this store on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco when I visited in June. I was awed by the wonderful treasures and wanted several items. Unfortunately, the prices were beyond my vacation budget.

 

I really wanted this notebook though.

lefty's_notebookI purposely flip spiral notebooks over to write in them because of the dang metal hindrance.

So, be encouraged fellow lefty’s and have a great day!

Click here to check out Lefty’s store. Treat yourself or a left-handed  friend to a gift.

Literary Titan Gold Medal Winner!

literary_titan_gold_award

literary_titan_gold_awardThe Gold Award is bestowed on books that we found to be perfect in their delivery of original content, meticulous development of unique characters in an organic and striking setting, innovative plot that supports a fresh theme, and elegant prose that transforms words into beautifully written novels

Five-Star Review    

fleeing_the_shadowsFleeing the Shadows is a satisfying follow-up in the continuing Dangerous Loyalties series by Phyllis A. Still. Continuing only days after the events of the previous Defiance on Indian Creek, we are swept away as our brave, thirteen-year-old heroine, Mary Shirley, must flee with her family deeper into the Kentucky frontier. They seek to escape the British loyalists who dog their every step, but as they run farther from colonial territory proper, the family finds themselves in equal peril and at the mercy of Native American braves. Mary’s Papa relies on her to do what is right and help protect their family.

Having read the previous book in the series, this was a welcome return to the world of Dangerous Loyalties. Still has a great YA voice that carries the reader away with her pages. The novel has a faster pace to it, considering the family is always running from something and danger seems to lurk around every bend. For a historical YA novel, Still does not hold back on making sure that we feel the desperation of the family in every chapter. This anxiety is only enhanced as the family drives deeper into the wild unknown North American frontier.

Still keeps the reader much more on the edge of our seat with this narrative, because the stakes or that much higher. If the first could be called a ‘slow burn’, this can be called a ‘flash fire’. The story rips right off the page. The setting of the summer of 1775 keeps the historical urgency matching the urgency of this very personal story, but the overarching nationwide feelings are much more muted in this second book of the series by virtue of the very present danger. At times the narrative leans on the setup of the previous too much to be a true standalone narrative, but as a second book it works perfectly well enough.

Mary continues to carry the bulk of the family’s worries as her Papa makes increasingly difficult and sometimes questionable decisions of what they should do, while running from the loyalists, even while Indians shadow their every step. Mary is still dealing with the emotional turmoil after delivering the dispatches and her Papa only makes this worse. Overall, Fleeing the Shadows is a stirring, nail-biter of a read and will be sure to please fans of the first book of the series.

Read My Interview with Literary Titan

Click Here

 

 

Do Students Love Your History Class?

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mickey_mouse_club_poster“History is boring.” This attitude prevailed in me until my junior year in high school. The first thing I saw upon entering Mr. Eklund’s American History class—a Mickey Mouse club poster hanging above his disk.

Okay, he’s different.

He stood in front of the class wearing Mickey Mouse ears, instructing us to take out paper and copy the notes from the chalk board. The information would be on our test and we could use the notes. He had a strange accent which required concentration to understand. As the class wrote, he filled a second chalk board with additional hard-to-read writing. Before finishing the first board of notes, he erased the top half and continued writing.

What the . . .

Each day we had a pop quiz. “What is the capital of– (random countries and states)? Occasionally, adding, city, to the place would land the correct capital. He also had us learn the name of each president, and their affiliated political party.

There were times he taught deep and profound wisdom, like the day a fellow student whined, “I’m bored.”

Mr. Eklund replied, “Only boring people are bored.” *Grin

His tests were essay, requiring a paragraph with complete sentences. Yay for the notes. The last question on the test would be “What is the capital of—”. On the back of the test we wrote our president list. Bonus points were awarded for each one correct. Brain cells were depleted.

Making an A+ in Mr. Eklund’s class was ridiculously easy but excruciating at the same time. Of course, I can no longer remember all the presidents and their political parties, or the capital of those random countries, but he made history a proactive subject, and I’m thankful.

I found his obituary from 2004. In lieu of flowers his family created a Scholarship Fund to help students go to college. The family also included this tribute:

Love of his family was equaled only by his love for the students he taught with great joy for so many years. Learning of his sudden passing, one student remarked that “Mr. Eklund was one of those rare birds who did it right, did it well, and left a bit of himself in each student. I know he left his mark on me, and the older I get the more I appreciate it.” Another, writing from the naval carrier on which he serves, said that “He made each student feel important, even if he was calling us ‘cloth ears’ or giving us ‘a zero for the day, sport.’ His unique phrases and unforgettable mannerisms made an otherwise dreaded subject something to look forward to for countless thousands of teen-agers, all of whom are grown now, most with kids of their own. So to say his impact is immeasurable is an understatement. He really embodied all that Hollywood would have us believe about teachers, that theirs is a noble profession and that they truly change lives. He did.”

Among those left behind:

. . . thousands of friends and former students enriched by his gift of teaching with love and tremendous wit.

Don’t be a boring person. Make history fun and challenging for your students and change the negative perception that history is boring.

“The capital of _________________ is?”

Review of Not Bound by Blood

not_bound_by_bloodIntriguing and Inspirational

In this Historical fiction novel, two strong-willed women form a strong friendship in high school. Their lives twist and turn in different directions for several years, then their bond is tested by an unexpected event.

The point of view switches between Blanche and Miriam in separate chapters, making their stories easy to follow. Ingram’s tight writing style makes for a fast paced, enjoyable read. One slightly explicit sex scene and one suggestive, but neither were overdone.

Purchase Here

Back Cover

In a friendship forged in high school days, solemn athletic Miriam Meyer and flamboyant actress Blanche LaRue seem as different as apples and kumquats.

After winning an Olympic Gold Medal while still a teenager, a plane crash forces Miriam to give up her dream of a repeat performance. She marries and settles for small-town life as the wife of her banker husband, Brad Hammond.

Blanche disposes of anything that will come in the way of achieving her goal, even husband and child. Her career carries her into the European war scene. An enamored Count Romano Vicente comes to rescue her.

Although continents sometimes separate the friends, their strong bond of friendship remains.

Who is Gay Ingram? (From Amazon Author Page)

Gay Ingram writes from her cabin in the piney woods of East Texas. For over twenty-five years she has been entertaining and informing readers either through her novels or by way of articles published in magazines such as Writer’s Journal, BackHome and The Herb Companion. Recently introduced to blogging, she now contributes a blog to http://www.venturegalleries.com and posts twice-weekly on her own blog, Comparing Oranges and Apples, at http://www.gayingram.blogspot.com.

Contact Gay

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Review: Murder in Maggie Valley (A KEPS Cozy Mystery)

murder_in_maggie_valleyEnjoyable Cozy Mystery

Sister-in-laws, Edna and Klara Pidgeon arrive in the small cabin-rental community of Maggie Valley to work on their pastry recipe. They expect a peaceful retreat…

The writing team of Kasandra Elaine have created believable characters readers will relate to while the murder mystery unfolds and mayhem ensues. I totally sympathized with Klara at the loss of her pillow!

This is an entertaining read, and the who-done-it question kept the pace steady all the way to the exciting conclusion.

Well done Kasandra Elaine! I look forward to more KEPS Cozy Mysteries.

Purchase Here

More about Murder in Maggie Valley – Back Cover

Two sisters-in-law, a mountain cabin in North Carolina, burglaries, and the murder of one of the residents in the cabin community—can Edna and Klara Pidgeon work out their pastry recipe and return home to Texas without being arrested for murder or becoming murder victims themselves?

When Klara meets handsome Gerald Thomas, thoughts of returning to her dull, daily life become replaced by dreams of the future with the handsome Cary Grant look-alike. Edgar Farley arrives from Texas to the surprise of Edna and continues his low-key wooing, much to Edna’s chagrin.

Edna and Klara become embroiled in solving the murder and break-ins but figuring out why a young boy, David, seems to be running around the area of the cabins without his parents’ supervision.

Will Edna and Klara ever be able to perfect their KEPS recipe and return to a normal life?

Who is Kasandara Elaine? (Goodreads source)

Kasandra Elaine is the pseudonym for writing team Kassy Paris and Elaine Bonner. Friends since 1966, they formed a writing partnership in 1997.  Elaine went to sleep one night in 2015 and awoke in heaven.

kassy_parisKassy Paris plans to continue the partnership by developing the stories and ideas the two plotted together.

Connect with Kassy on:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Review of Time Sniffers by C. S. Lakin

Lakin_Time_SniffersEnjoyable Science Fiction for Teens

I enjoyed this fast-paced story and made an immediate emotional connection to Bria and her Autistic brother Dylan who are dealing with the loss of their mother.

Bria doesn’t believe her mother is dead. Acting on her gut feeling, Bria enlists friends from her science club to help her figure out what went wrong with the lab test that disintegrated their mother’s building. Recreating the experiment blows a hole in the basement wall and in comes the loveable, doglike Sniffer. The adventurous teens go through the hole and risk all to help Bria find answers.

Lakin did an amazing job capturing the chaotic mind of teens trying to solve problems while sorting through feelings and logical facts. Lakin allows Bria to be a scientific, practical-minded girl who also has the real emotions and hormones of a teenager. The romantic element is a plus in my opinion and balances the heavily detailed physics.

I’m please to recommend Time Sniffers (Shadow World Book 1), and believe teens will enjoy this novel.

There were a few errors in the free version I read, but the well-developed story and wonderful character development have garnered my 5-star rating.

Purchase on Amazon

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