Posted in excerpt, Inspirational, memoir on May 7, 2017

BENDING ANGELS

Living Messengers of God’s Love

By Jack H. Emmott

 

  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational / Faith

Publisher: Carpenter’s Son Publishing

Date of Publication: January 1, 2017

Number of Pages: 176

Struck by polio at age six, Jack H. Emmott began learning the difficult spiritual lessons embodied in paralysis, shivering loneliness, and dark despair. Fortunately, Jack had help― people of all ages he calls his “Bending Angels,” those who have spread their wings of love and inspiration to walk the journey of faith as the devastated little boy became one of Houston’s celebrated attorneys, a loyal husband, and a devoted dad. Each chapter of this book will relate the story of a Bending Angel―from Brownie, the pup, to Mr. Ochoa, the baseball coach who understood how much of a heart it takes to win and how much of a soul it takes to lose your most precious dream. This book will inspire and uplift you as Jack H. Emmott, a life-long Christian, shares his spiritual wisdom and lessons learned.

Amazon * Bending Angel Website

PRAISE FOR BENDING ANGELS

“The power of ‘Let go and let God’ is personified in this inspiring story. Also, that we are given guidance in the most unsuspected forms when we but look, and that a flood of grace is behind every surrender. What a joy.”  — Lindsay Wagneractress, author

“With gentle humor and no small amount of faith, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love tells the story of Jack Emmott’s life and of the angels who have appeared in his life, just when he needed them the most.  Do I believe in angels? Absolutely.  Was Jack himself an angel to me during the darkest period of my life?  Absolutely.”  — Debbie AdamsPast President, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Houston/Galveston; Chair, Advisory Council UTHealth School of NursingTrustee, St. Edward’s University

Bending Angel is a beautiful inspiring book about faith and prayer and the angels that surround us. Jack shared his life journey of trusting in God and drawing strength that was needed to help him. I learned a great deal from this book and have thought about it over and over again since I read it.” — Amazon reviewer

“If only I could get through a chapter without crying…very moving and touching stories.” — Amazon reviewer

 

CLICK TO RECEIVE A WEEKLY PRAYER EMAIL FROM JACK EMMOTT

(sign-up at bottom right of web page)

When You Need One the Most, God Always Sends You an Angel

Excerpt from Chapter 7 of Bending Angels

It was the first Tuesday after Labor Day, 1960. I was a boy of twelve. My first fearful day of sixth grade had arrived.

This first school day had started at seven o’clock in the morning in my childhood home in Emmottville. The whole house smelled of my mother’s breakfast cooking–eggs sunny-side up, honey-cured fried bacon, buttered toast–which my brother Charlie and I rapidly ate.

Charles and I quickly walked out the front door to Emmott Road. I had no time to waste—my short, struggling gait from polio took extra time and effort as we went down the oil-soaked shell road to the bus stop. I had to hurry to catch the yellow bus driven by Mr. Bubba Willbern.

To anyone on the outside of my life and struggles with polio, the destination of my daily school bus ride would be Post Elementary School. But as I learned that year, my daily bus ride was always and forever to be inexplicably headed somewhere else deeper in my heart and soul.

As Charles and I walked across the cattle guard, I saw the bus coming to a stop at the end of our road. I made it just in time. The bus door opened. I lifted my left leg up to the lower step of the bus. I stiffened my left leg and body so Charlie could push me up into the air to the left until my weakened right leg could swing under me by gravity alone. A pendulum amidst paralysis. An embarrassment of awkwardness viewed by a long line of onlookers at the windows on the bus. I felt like an ugly fish in a fish bowl. Then the leg-lifting process repeated itself up to the second and third steps until my two feet found the floor of the bus next to Mr. Willbern. There I stood, tired and very embarrassed. I felt unlike any other student on the bus. I was certain everyone on the bus saw that my left shoe was built up two inches higher than my right shoe. My legs were of different lengths. A bulky Milwaukee brace made of steel and leather was around my torso. The brace held me straight as my spine continued to curve with scoliosis. A white football helmet was worn on my head to protect the brain God had given me in the event my knees collapsed and my head crashed to the floor.

As I looked down the center aisle for an open seat, all the seats on the left were taken. Where would I sit? Fearing rejection and indifference, I asked myself, “Who would want to sit next to me, a crippled boy?” I looked with anguish to the other side of the bus for a place to sit.

Then, something unexpected occurred.  On the right on the sixth row of seats, I saw a sweet little girl smiling at me. She did not look away from me like the others did. She moved closer to the window. With her right hand, she patted the seat next to her inviting me to sit beside her. She looked about seven years old with wavy brown shoulder-length hair illumined with highlights from the summer sun. Her skin was tanned from playing outdoors; her eyes were as blue as the waters of the Cayman Islands. Her spirit was as peaceful, poised, gentle and cooling as a soft summer breeze on a warm afternoon. She wore a brown skirt with a plaid cotton short-sleeve blouse with a Peter Pan collar, brown leather shoes, and white cotton socks.

I sat right next to her. “Hi. I’m Cheryl.”

“I’m Jack,” I replied.

“I know you. You are the boy who has polio like my Aunt Margaret did,” she said.

I looked into Cheryl’s face again. I saw much more than a pretty, younger girl on her way to class. I unexpectedly felt whole again, like before I had polio. I somehow knew she saw me as a whole person, a child of God, and not as a crippled boy. That is the way I believed that God saw all children. “Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Cheryl seemed to have that way of seeing me just as I saw her.

Author Jack H. Emmott contracted polio at the age of six.  Before polio, he knelt at his bedside with his mother Lucile and said evening prayers.  With paralysis, Jack could no longer kneel.  But he could still pray to God for guidance, comfort and healing.  The grace and love of God transformed all the bad from polio and paralysis into good.  Jack is a life-long Christian and successful family lawyer in Houston, Texas.  He is married to his wife of over forty years, Dorothy, who works alongside him in his calling.  Jack is father to two children and grandfather to three grandchildren.

Jack is the author of Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love by (Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2016) a memoir of the living angels that touched his life.  He wrote Prayerful Passages:  Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation and Divorce (Outskirts Press, 2016) to help couples in struggling marriages ask God’s help through prayer for the same guidance, comfort and healing he has received from our Almighty Father for over sixty years following polio.

Website * Prayerful Passages on Facebook

Facebook Twitter * LinkedIn

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

5-May Radio Interview Missus Gonzo
6-May Review Hall Ways Blog
7-May Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
8-May Review CGB Blog Tours
9-May Author Interview My Book Fix Blog
10-May Character Interview The Page Unbound
11-May Review Reading By Moonlight
12-May Guest Post Books and Broomsticks
13-May Sneak Peek Syd Savvy
14-May Review Forgotten Winds

blog services provided by

 | 
Comments Off on Excerpt – Bending Angels by Jack H. Emmott #inspirational #BendingAngels #Memoir @jackhemmott #LSBBT #LoneStarLit @KristineTHall
Posted in Giveaway, Inspirational, romance, Spotlight on April 4, 2017

Synopsis

When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn’t upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda’s not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda’s family over the next ten years.

​As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he’s crushing on his best friend. And for the first time in his life he’s hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy Seal, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college.

​When Amanda’s summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler’s impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she’s falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she’s hiding a secret, too.

​Phoebe Garrison, Amanda’s controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda’s manager is just what she’s been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe’s obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

About the Author

I began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My first story, Season of Hope, was inspired by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with family and most anything that involves being outdoors, especially camping and hiking. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of Florida and never complain about the hot, humid summers, because that’s exactly how I like them! ​

Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook ~ Pinterest  ~  Instagram

 

Giveaway

Win a $10 Amazon gift card (5 winners total, open to USA & Canada)
Ends April 22

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Giveaway, Inspirational, Interview, nonfiction, Spotlight on October 10, 2016

banner-gathering-courage

GATHERING COURAGE

A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption, 

Adversity, and a Reading Disability

by

T.A. McMullin

Genre: Inspirational Memoir

Publisher: Gathering Courage Media

Date of Publication: January 19, 2016

Number of Pages: 222

Scroll down for Giveaway!

synopsis

gathering-courage-coverWhy do some people find success despite hardships and others sink into a pit of despair?

Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. “Terry” McMullin is the author’s incredible, award-winning memoir meant to inspire hope and encouragement to those who are going through tough times.

Terry dusted off the hurt from abandonment, rejection by her adoptive parents, dyslexia, shock of placement in a foster home, and a life-altering accident. Her faith and tenacity along with the internal desire to overcome is thought provoking as Terry worked her way through Texas A&M University. Terry’s life transformed from a broken-hearted child who could barely make out words in elementary school to a distinguished educator and writer who encourages young people to work hard and achieve their greatest aspirations.

Any reader who loves a true story with a Christian focus should definitely read this book. Learn about the special love for rescued animals and how they played a part in healing hurts and encouraging success.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Amazon * Barnes & NobleWebsite (for signed copies)

PRAISE FOR GATHERING COURAGE

*North American Book Awards, 2015 Winner

Gathering Courage is an American story filled with adversity, triumphs, heartbreaks, and great personal victory. . . I give this epic book five stars. I held my breath after every chapter and you will too! — Charmaine Carraway, writer for the HUFFINGTON POST

“Overall, this memoir is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit in the face of emotional and physical pain. The author consistently notes the need for love and encouragement when dealing with both people and animals as well as the necessity of prayer and thankfulness; it’s almost a rhythmic incantation in the text. Readers will feel as if they’re walking alongside McMullin as she tells her story and advises readers how they, too, can survive setbacks. — KIRKUS REVIEW

Gathering Courage is a truly moving read that will touch many hearts and positively inspire them to touch the lives of others.” — Faridah Nassozi, READERS’ FAVORITE

AuthorInterview

Welcome and Thank  You to T. A. McMullin for stopping by and answering a few questions for our readers!

 

How has a reading disability influenced your life?

It created struggles and challenges but it taught me that failure is just a word. Failure sinks a lot of people and dissipates dreams and accomplishments.   Failure propelled me forward out of the sinking sand of dyslexia and adversity.

How has being from Texas influenced your writing?

I was born and raised in Texas, graduated from Texas A&M University, and belong to

The American Quarter Horse Association, The Mustang Heritage Foundation, and the All Border Collie Rescue which are all located in Texas.

Texas is just part of who I am, how I talk, how I dress, and where I’ll be.

In your book, you talk about your donkeys.  Can you tell us about their personalities? 

Jubilee and Hope Rose belonged to a friend of mine who, sad to say, developed cancer.  My friend loved her two donkeys and wanted them to stay together after she could no longer care for them.  So I promised my friend that I would care for them and that they would have a forever home with me.

Jubilee has an inquisitive personality and wants to know everything about everything.  If I am in the barn feeding, he wants to be in the barn with me.  Jubilee often will snatch an empty feed sack in his mouth, run out of the barn, and through the pasture with this bag flapping up and down.  He definitely has a way of gathering the attention of Hope Rose and the horses.  This attention sets Hope Rose off brazing and the horses standing at attention as they watch this miniature Sicilian donkey with huge, dark ears, on parade all by himself.

I read that you spent three and a half years writing your book before it was self-published. What kept you going?

“I proudly put my boots on everyday,” and I am a self-starter determined to accomplish the task at hand, and rejection is simply dust under my feet.

The years of writing were long and drawn out but the focus was steady.   Early morning hours from four to six, lunch breaks at work, late evening hours after the chores were done, weekends, and days off centered around thoughts and writing.

Brewing inside was a life-changing journey to tell the world and now it is available for the world to read.

What was it like when you finally got your book in print?

Reality hit when I was a North American Book Awards winner in 2015 with a proof copy with lots of corrections to be made.  The mistakes were corrected, and five star reviews began to come in.  At that point, I knew deep within that Gathering Courage was a good book and the mission of making life better was on the launching pad.

Tell us about your hobbies.

As the reader will discover, I am connected to the land as a farmer and rancher. I provide a forever home for horses, donkeys, and a crew of rescued border collie dogs.   This is more than a hobby to me; it is a calling and a passion.

I have a small leather workshop at home and I enjoy tooling and making items out of leather. I have had the opportunity to learn under the best of the master leather crafters and saddle makers.  When time permits, I hone my skills and give away most of what I make.

How did your dog, Rocky, help students to read?

Rocky encouraged a group of first grade students who were struggling to read. In their classroom, these students would sit on the floor with a big pillow and read to Rocky. He would either lie in a student’s lap or on the pillow itself. He helped to build confidence in each one of them, as they would read to him without hesitation. Their skills may not have been perfect, but Rocky never corrected them or read for them. He simply listened and encouraged the slightest try.   The classroom teachers and I enjoyed seeing the progress that was made every time Rocky met with his young friends.

Rocky was once abandoned and left in an animal shelter with no pedigree. He won the Best Practice Award at our local Regional Educational Service Center for his efforts in helping dyslexia students learn to read. The school administration recognized Rocky as a valuable tool in motivating students with dyslexia to overcome their fear of reading. Hanging on the wall in the administration office of my school district is an eleven by seventeen picture of a first grade student reading to Rocky.

Rocky proved that even a dog can make a difference.

 

about the author

author-pic-mcmullinAward winning Gathering Courage author, T. A. “Terry” McMullin, knows as well as anyone that hard times are a part of the journey of life.

Terry was born in an orphanage, then adopted, and made a foster child by her parents.  Because Terry struggled with reading, comprehension, and spelling, she was placed in a foster home at the age of nine.  As a child in the 1960s, hardly 
anyone recognized the learning issues related to dyslexia. The struggle to learn continued through high school.

From her deep faith in the Lord, Terry developed an internal desire to excel, no matter the obstacle, no matter the situation. Pushing adversity and a reading disability aside, Terry enrolled in college. While attending college and working full-time, Terry taught herself how to read and study.  With pure grit and determination, Terry succeeded and earned  Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas A&M University.

At crucial points in her life, Terry found people who showed her unconditional love and encouragement. Terry gained gratification, emotional, and spiritual support from working with horses and dogs. The encouragement from others made Terry’s life better so she vowed to be a champion for others who needed help.

Terry lives on a small ranch in Texas, a forever home, with her horses, donkeys, and rescued border collie dogs.

Website * Gathering Courage Facebook
Katie Lynn’s Courage Facebook * Amazon Author Page

 

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
SEVEN SIGNED COPIES! 

 

(US ONLY) 

October 3 – October 17, 2016

gathering-courage-giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other blogs on the tour

10/3 Review It’s a Jenn World
10/4 Author Interview Hall Ways Blog
10/5 Review Country Girl Bookaholic
10/6 Excerpt Margie’s Must Reads
10/7 Review Forgotten Winds
10/8 Guest Post My Book Fix Blog
10/9 Promo Momma On The Rocks
10/10 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
10/11 Review Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
10/12 Excerpt Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
10/13 Guest Post Books and Broomsticks
10/14 Review Reading By Moonlight
10/15 Author Interview A Novel Reality
10/16 Promo Syd Savvy
10/17 Review The Page Unbound

lone star lit life

Blog tour services provided by

lone star book blog tours

 | 
Comments Off on Interview & #Giveaway – Gathering Courage by T. A. McMullin #LoneStarLit #adoption #dyslexia #healing #therapydogs @KristineTHall
Posted in 5 paws, Coloring Book, Giveaway, Inspirational, Review on September 21, 2016

banner-oh-how-the-years

Oh, how the years fly by!

A whimsical coloring journey. . .

&

A whimsical inspirational journey . . .
by
Annette Bridges

Genre: Inspirational Adult Coloring & Quote Books

Date of Publication: August 1, 2016

Publisher: Ranch House Press

# of pages: 72

Scroll down for Giveaway!

synopsis

oh-how-the-years-coverOh, how the years fly by! A whimsical coloring journey is an adult coloring book that features thirty vibrant original illustrations and quotes that will take you on an enchanting voyage of reflection. Be reminded of the simple pleasures that make you feel happy. Find the encouragement you need to nourish your soul and refresh your spirit. Get out your colored pencils or crayons and discover the stress relieving, calming pleasure of coloring.  

Oh, how the years fly by! A whimsical inspirational journey is a smaller hardcover full-color rendition of the coloring book featuring the same illustrations and quotes.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Amazon coloring book * Amazon quote book * Author Website

*Spiral bound coloring book only available through website

Coming soon to the Ranch House Press Etsy Store!  

Review

This is a companion book to the coloring book by the same author. And while I didn’t know this until I read a review by a fellow blogger, this illustrated book is the same as the coloring book, consider it a guide to using the coloring book if needed.

This book is filled with inspirational quotes that will lift up anyone’s day and will make a great gift for a graduate or a friend or anyone needing a little pick me up.  I have a few favorite quotes from the book – “Be the reason someone smiles” – it is a great reminder that there is so much negativity in this world that a friendly smile or gesture can make the difference in someone’s day.  I also like “Stay True to You” – this reminds me to not be someone I am not because it does no one any good especially myself!

And if you need help with the coloring book, you can draw upon the pages here to spark your imagination (or if you are like me and do not have a creative bone in your body!)

We give this 5 paws up and I can’t wait to share it with friends and family so they can be inspired as well.

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

**I was given a copy of the book and coloring book for an honest review**

about the author

annette-bridgesAnnette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy.

Before writing books, this former public school and home school educator spent a decade writing hundreds of helpful, instructive, and lighthearted columns published by Texas newspapers, parenting magazines, websites, and bloggers.

Annette lives on a Texas cattle ranch with her husband John, dachshund Lady, and lots of cows. She can drive a tractor but only if wearing a fresh coat of lipstick and it’s not her pedicure day!

Annette loves to journal in color and create word art. She especially enjoys coloring with glitter markers. She looks forward to spending hours with her daughter coloring this book and giggling together as they remember their many happy adventures.

Twitter * Facebook * Website * Instagram * Pinterest

YouTube * Amazon Author Page * Let’s Color Our World * Your Beautiful Escape

 

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

(US ONLY)

GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

*Signed copies of both books,

*$25 Michael’s gift card,

*logo tote bag & bookmark

TWO RUNNERS-UP:

Choice of signed copy of either book

logo tote bag & bookmark

oh-how-the-years-giveawaya Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other blogs on this tour

9/12 Review Hall Ways Blog
9/13 Review My Book Fix Blog
9/14 Promo The Crazy Booksellers
9/15 Review Missus Gonzo
9/16 Video Guest Post Texas Book Lover
9/17 Promo Momma On The Rocks
9/18 Review The Page Unbound
9/19 Author Interview 1 Margie’s Must Reads
9/20 Excerpt It’s a Jenn World
9/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
9/22 Free Download Forgotten Winds
9/23 Author Interview 2 A Novel Reality
9/24 Review Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
9/25 Promo Country Girl Bookaholic
9/26 Review Chapter Break Book Blog

lone star lit life

   blog tour services provided by:

lone star book blog tours

 | 
Comments Off on Review & #Giveaway – Oh How The Years Fly By #LetsColorOurWorld #Inspirational #coloring #LoneStarLit @AnnetteMBridges @KristineTHall
Posted in excerpt, Guest Post, Inspirational, nonfiction, Spotlight on August 24, 2016

Adversity is Your Greatest Ally_Cover Image

Synopsis

Without question life can be difficult and challenging. But what if all the challenges in your life were really just stepping stones to living the life of your dreams?

Join Coach Michael Taylor as he shares how he was able to overcome being a high school dropout, a divorce, depression, bankruptcy and foreclosure and is now living his dream as an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and radio & TV show host.

In this book you will learn that adversity really is your greatest ally and when you learn to accept this fact you can create the life of your dreams.

Adversity is your Greatest Ally Website

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Amazon * BMR Academy

Excerpt

Back in 1977 (I was 17 at the time) a friend and I were hanging out late one night and decided we would go check out a movie. Neither of us knew what movie we wanted to see, so we began looking at the movie posters in the theater. I then noticed a poster for a new sci-fi movie that had recently been released and based on the poster it looked pretty interesting. We decided to go and check it out, even though we knew nothing about the movie.

From the very beginning of the movie I knew it was going to be special. I was instantly transported into outer space and the story, actors, visuals, and soundtrack were all out of this world. By the time the movie was over, I had been on an amazing journey that I didn’t want to end. I loved the movie so much that I convinced my friend to go back the following night to see it again.

During that summer I ended up watching the movie more than twenty times in the theater. I couldn’t stop watching it. Each time I watched it I discovered something new, and after each viewing I couldn’t wait to see it again.

It may sound a little odd, but the movie somehow changed my life. It gave me a new perception of reality, and as a result of watching it so many times my attitude changed about the Universe and my place within it.

The movie was Star Wars and even today it is my all-time favorite movie. I still watch it once or twice a year.

The most intriguing concept of the movie was “The Force”, which was defined as a universal energy that is within all things and controls all things. The primary character of the movie was Luke Skywalker, and the movie follows him as he learns how to access The Force within him and how he ultimately uses it to save humanity from an evil character named Darth Vader, who used The Force for evil unlike Luke, who used the force for good.

What really caught my attention after the movie came out was the amount of religious leaders who were using the movie to promote their religion and were actually referring to “The Force” as a metaphor for their God. During this time I was more of an agnostic and I really didn’t believe in God; it was the non-religious message in the movie that actually attracted me. I really resonated with the idea that every human being has access to this Force and you didn’t have to be religious to connect with it. You simply had to learn how to access it and believe in it and it would become a source of amazing abilities and powers.

I had been doing some research about science and physics and there were some very interesting ideas that I had been exposed to that seemed to confirm what The Force in the movie was actually talking about. It reminded me of a famous quote from Albert Einstein (my favorite scientist) in which he stated, “Everything is energy that’s just the way that it is. Match the frequency of the reality that you want to create and there is no way that you can’t create that reality. It can be no other way. This isn’t philosophy, this is physics.”

Guest Post

I’d like to welcome Michael Taylor to StoreyBook Reviews today.  When I read his message that he wrote for us today, all I could think was “he gets it!”.  I cannot agree more with turning off the media (am I considered media with this blog?!) and making your life what you want it to be because only you have that power and it doesn’t matter if you are black, white or purple!  I’ll stop now and share Michael Taylor’s words with you.

Is There Reason For Optimism For Black America?

If you pay attention to our media you may have concluded that the future is bleak for Black America. We are constantly inundated with stories and images of police shootings, incidents of racism, black on black crime statistics and a myriad of other challenges that currently plague our communities.  With this over proliferation of negative media it’s no wonder that a large segment of this country is pessimistic about the future for black people.

But is this pessimism warranted? Should black people be worried about the future? Are things really getting worse?  Are there any reasons for optimism?

Contrary to negative media generated news reports; I personally believe that black people are positioned to experience unprecedented levels of success in America today. As a matter of fact, I fervently believe that there has never been a better time to be alive in this country than right now.

Without question my way of thinking is in the minority. Most people will say that I am in denial of the obstacles and challenges facing black people and that in some way I am selling out black people by being so optimistic. I have been attacked, vilified and condemned because of my optimism, but never the less, I am absolutely positively optimistic about the future.

But how can I be so optimistic about the future when so many people are filled with such negativity and pessimism? It’s actually pretty simple. I am optimistic because I believe in facts versus what the media would have you believe.

Facts do not lie although some people may deny them. Here are a few facts that are the reasons for my optimism.

Fact #1. Despite the unnecessary police killings of black men, violence by police and violence in general has been seeing a steady decline over the past few decades. This doesn’t excuse police brutality or other unnecessary violence. It is a verifiable fact that overall violence is actually on the decline in this country.

Fact #2.  The black male incarceration rate has decreased by 23% over the last decade and with the recent focus on overhauling our criminal justice system I believe that number will continue to decline.

Fact #3. The total number of black males and females who are receiving college degrees has been steadily increasing for the past decade or so. More and more black males are graduating high school than ever before and there has never been more black men in prison than in college despite the media reports to the contrary.

These three facts fuel my optimism but they pale in comparison to the fact that this country and the world at large is currently changing very rapidly for the better. The media would have you believe that it is black against white or us against them when the fact is it isn’t us against them. We are all in this together and more and more people are beginning to accept this idea and are beginning to work together.

After some racially motivated killings President Obama stated; “As painful as the week has been, I fully believe that America is not as divided as people have suggested.” I strongly concur with his statement. I do not deny the challenges this country still has to face in regards to race, but, as a child of the 60’s I remember the segregation, anger and hatred that I experienced simply because of the color of my skin and though there are still obvious incidents of racism, in comparison to what I experienced approximately 50 years ago, I believe we are on a trajectory to heal this country of racial issues within the next few decades.

With the advances we are making in technology, like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and flying and self-driving cars, there are lots of things to be optimistic about. When it comes to health, people are living longer, diseases are being cured and more and more people are choosing healthier lifestyles. In addition, we are making incredible strides with environmental issues like cleaning up the environment, moving to solar power and green energy and making a conscious effort to reduce pollution and heal the planet.

The truth is there are a lot more things that are right in the world than things that are wrong with it. It all depends on what you choose to focus your attention on. I choose to focus my attention on the positive things and therefore I believe there are lots of reasons for optimism regardless of your race.

The key is to turn off the media and get engaged with doing something that changes the world for the better. And remember: “No one can do everything but if everyone did something everything would get done.”

Let’s do something together!

About the Author

Michael Taylor Author PhotoCoach Michael Taylor is an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and radio show host who has dedicated his life to empowering men and women to reach their full potential. He knows firsthand how to overcome adversity and build a rewarding and fulfilling life and he is sharing his knowledge and wisdom with others to support them in creating the life of their dreams. He is the author of Adversity Is Your Greatest Ally, Black Men Rock, A New Conversation with Men, and Brothers, Are You Listening?

WebsiteTwitterFacebookYouTube * Adversity Website

 

 

 | 
Comments Off on Guest Post – Coach Michael Taylor, author of Adversity is Your Greatest Ally @coachmichaelt #turnoffthemedia #excerpt
Posted in excerpt, Inspirational, nonfiction, Spotlight on September 19, 2015

Splash-of-Kindness

Synopsis

The ripple effect is all around us. We’ve all benefited from the committed teacher, the loving parent, the caring coach, the helpful stranger…

This book celebrates the positive results of acts of kindness. You’ll read about

–the teacher who inspired a young doctor to question the status quo, and thereby save the lives of thousands of women

–the coach who motivated a young athlete to achieve victory over self, and thereby earn an enduring place in history

–the father who cared enough about his young son to take him on an unscheduled flight

and more…

A Splash of Kindness is a book for anyone who is looking for inspirational stories.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

amazon buybn buy

Excerpt

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” —Mother Teresa

You are nine years old and, as promised, you’ve been granted a two-week leave of absence—a much-anticipated break from city life, family, dreary chores and monotonous routines—to visit your grandparents and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of their rambling country farm.

It is midsummer. The days are balmy, with bright blue skies and marshmallow clouds. And the nights—dark as the heart of an immense cave—reveal innumerable stars, millions more than you can see where you live. Each night you stare in wonder at the glittering pinpoints of light. One night when your grandpa is watching the stars with you, you ask him about the glowing, misty cloud you’ve been seeing every night.

He explains that it‘s not a cloud but rather a cluster of stars called the Milky Way.

And as you continue surveying the sparkling night sky, it seems a little unfair that back where you live, the majority of stars are obscured by the hazy veil of city-glow.

In the mornings, you delight in watching the squealing pigs wallow in the mud, while their bantam-sized offspring—pink as bubble gum—wriggle and nudge each other, competing for a spot to suck nourishment from their mothers. And you enjoy spending time at the fenced-in pen where the sheep are. No young ones here. Just four adult sheep who are benevolent and serene. And you never tire of holding playful, squirming chicks in the palm of your hand.

At lunchtime you grab one of grandma’s delicious sandwiches—generous portions of tuna or cold cuts, lettuce, and dill pickles (of the family-recipe and county fair blue-ribbon variety), all nestled between thick slices of buttered homemade bread. Then, sandwich in hand, you run outside and climb into a cozy nook of an ancient willow tree just where its thick gnarled trunk divides into two main branches. And sitting snugly there, you eat and daydream the afternoon away.

One morning, your grandfather finds you at the pig pen and beckons you to follow him.

“Where are we going?” you ask.

“Oh, there’s just a little something I want to show you.”

You walk past the chickens and the sheep. You pass some Angus cows in the pasture. In the far southwest corner of your grandfather’s farm there is a pond, part of which is in the shade of an immense oak tree. The pond is smooth and offers a perfect reflection of the sky and the tree’s sprawling limbs.

Standing at the edge of the water, your grandfather picks up a small pebble and tosses it into the center of the pond. There is a plop immediately followed by a soft splash. Then the center of the pond, no longer smooth, becomes a series of ever-widening ripples. The reflected oak branches look as if they are being tousled by a playful wind.

“See those ripples? How far do you think they’ll go out?” asks Grandpa.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, watch.”

The ripples continue to expand. You look down just a little beyond your feet at the undulating, crystal clear water. The ripples, lapping the pond’s shore, end only when there is no more water.

Your grandpa looks at you studying the ripples—the ever-expanding

concentric circles—and asks, “You reckon if the pond were bigger, that

the ripples would keep on going?”

You answer yes.

Grandpa throws in a couple more pebbles, and you watch the mesmerizing ripples. Then he gets that look in his eye—the look you’ve seen before—the look that says he’s about to say something important and he’s trying to find the right words. Finally he says, “You know, the things we do, even the little things we do—things as little as this pebble . . . ,” he raises his hand, showing the small stone held between his thumb and forefinger, “well, these things we do create ripples kind of like the ones you see right now. Consequences, I suppose, is the grown-up word for it.”

He lets the pebble fly. It lands directly in the center of the pond.

You look at each other. There is nothing more for him to explain. And the look in your eyes tells him that you understand.

You watch the ripples for another minute. Then grandpa says, “What do you say we walk over to the Frosty Freeze and get an ice cream?”

The question—purely rhetorical—requires no actual response from you. But your eager grin assures your grandpa that you heartily approve of the idea. You both turn around and begin leisurely retracing your course through the field.

You look back at the pond, its surface still shimmering with ripples . . .

About the Author

John-Starley-AllenWhen John Starley Allen was in second grade he began writing stories.  His mother called them “The Road Stories,” because each one invariably began with “I was walking down a road…” followed by an encounter with a friend, animal, insect, mini natural disaster, etc., etc.

Allen is the author of the holiday novel Christmas Gifts, Christmas Voices and most recently has written a collection of true stories called A Splash of Kindness: The Ripple Effect of compassion, Courage & Character.  Allen says he hopes his latest book will “empower people with the knowledge that they can make a positive difference in the world.”

Allen is also a songwriter who has received a gold record for a song he co-wrote with Motown’s Smokey Robinson.  He has performed his music at Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Café.

He lives in Holladay, Utah.  He and his wife JoAnn are the parents of four daughters.

Goodreads * Facebook

 

 

 | 
Comments Off on Spotlight – A Splash of Kindness by John Starley Allen #inspirational #nonfiction
Posted in 4 paws, Christian, excerpt, fiction, Inspirational, women on June 2, 2015

 

Robin's Reward--Cover

 

Synopsis

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?

Robin’s Reward, a sweet romance with great characters, is as refreshing as a walk among flowers.” – Author Rebecca H. Jamison, Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

amazon buybn buy

Excerpt

I’m as hot and sticky as the center of a freshly-roasted campfire marshmallow, Miss Praise.” Perspiration trickled past Robin’s sunburned neck, under her collar, and down her back. Her blouse was plastered to her skin.

“I’m not feeling very feminine or lady-like in this condition, if you catch my drift. This brings us to my next question. What was I thinking starting up with this garden renovation project on the hottest March afternoon ever recorded in Bonita Creek? Am I nuts? Wait—don’t answer that.”

Some sympathy from Miss Praise, like purring or even winding herself around Robin’s legs, would’ve been comforting. Instead, the elderly tabby was dozing comfortably in her cozy quilt-lined basket on the shaded porch. Robin was drained from tangling with her vintage hydrangea bush for the past four hours.

She’d read gardening was great exercise, but it gave Robin’s thoughts too many chances to wander. She dreaded those dark, dreary spaces in her mind permanently occupied by unhappy memories and heart-wrenching regrets. Since she wasn’t accomplishing much anyway, she released her shovel to take a break with a refreshing glass or two of her favorite iced tea. She straightened up and stretched her aching arms over her head.

“I’m parched, how about you? Want something cold to drink?” She spoke in the direction of the faded gray cat. Apparently, Miss Praise had heard enough of Robin’s whining. The cat yawned, stretched, flicked her tail, and hopped daintily out of her basket. She lumbered down the brick path to seek refuge in the peaceful back garden. Naturally, Robin hadn’t expected Miss Praise to respond, but talking to the cat helped her feel connected to her Grandma Estelle. The older woman had passed on a few years ago and Robin still ached for her grandmother’s presence. She kneaded her fatigued lower back with her knuckles and sighed deeply.

As she untied the ribbon of her straw hat and shook out her damp curly hair, Robin sensed someone’s gaze. A prickly feeling caused her to rotate her body where she came face-to-face with an unfamiliar—but attractive—man. A hint of amusement lit up his clean-shaven face as he stood on the walkway in front of her garden gate. When the stranger chuckled, Robin’s damp cheeks flamed scarlet. She wondered how long he’d been standing there listening to her grunt and groan and, well, whine.

Since he couldn’t possibly have seen Miss Praise, he probably assumed Robin had been talking to herself. Swell. Just another example of the truckload of awkward moments in life when Robin wished she could vanish on demand. Speaking through clenched teeth, she attempted to use humor to cover up her self-consciousness.

“Instead of breaking your neck staring at me, how about making yourself useful by helping me dig up this stubborn hydrangea?” Her embarrassment grew when the stranger’s sole response was a chorus of boisterous laughter. Lord, please get me out of here—now! Robin’s humiliation took over her common sense, and her sole goal was to flee. Grabbing her garden hat, she slammed it onto the gate post as she wrenched off her work gloves and tossed them on the ground near her birdbath. The sound of the man’s hearty laughter echoing in her ears brought her lifelong dislike of being the object of teasing and taunting racing to the surface.

Like most school children, she’d suffered through her share of teasing and even some bullying. Truth be told, she was still occasionally bullied by a former classmate, Susan Stinson, almost ten years after they’d graduated. Robin had expected—and hoped—in her current stage of life, halfway between twenty-five and thirty, she would’ve overcome this affliction. The scorching feeling in her cheeks told her otherwise. I so do not want to deal with this guy.

Attempting to give the illusion of self-confidence, Robin lengthened her spine and held her chin high as she stalked toward her cottage. In the safety of her cottage’s interior she’d find the solace and peace she was seeking. Far too often in the past she’d allowed her pride and confidence to be battered by a male. Okay, one male in particular. She vowed to handle her reaction in the current situation differently. She was determined to spare herself one more millisecond of humiliation. Today I’m going to stand up to my tormentors. All right, so maybe this stranger isn’t exactly tormenting me. Still, everyone knows laughing at a lady isn’t polite.

Robin wasn’t going to stand there and let some stranger, however handsome he might be—and this guy was definitely above-average in the looks department—laugh at her in her own garden. Hot, briny tears stung her eyes. Time seemed to slow down, and she couldn’t make it to the front door fast enough. Embarrassing incidents from her not so distant past charged to the forefront of her mind as she made her way up the front porch steps.

At the front gate, Jeff froze. He’d offended her. His body felt as if he’d just finished running five miles at a training pace, as it had been since he’d first happened upon the woman. His heart thundered in his ears when he’d first seen her, his vision honed in on a lovely brunette. She was hard at work in her garden on such an oppressive afternoon. He’d never seen anyone so focused on one task. She appeared to be in a frenzy, trying to free the roots of a bush from the sun-dried, hardened soil.

He had to admit, she looked as if she were accustomed to hard work. Strong, fit arms and legs peeked out from her short-sleeved blouse and khaki shorts. She sported a wide-brimmed hat and appeared unafraid of hard work if the sweaty sheen covering her neck and face were any kind of evidence. Smudges of dirt adorned her elbows, knees, and—he couldn’t help but notice—shapely calves.

He’d been walking through the streets surrounding his rental home. Historical architecture was one of his hobbies, and he was checking out the architectural styles located on the streets in this older section of Bonita Creek, California. He’d already identified Craftsman, Victorian, Italianate, Tudor, cottage, ranch, and bungalow style homes. His mind, locked on his thoughts, was jarred when he heard a frustrated voice asking why she was trying to renovate her garden on this hot afternoon. The voice held such conviction he stopped to see if the speaker was seeking his personal opinion. When he realized the sun-kissed gardener was alone in the garden, he became enthralled by her movements and the timbre of her voice.

Unsure of how long he’d been staring, Jeff was jerked out of his trance when the woman turned around and challenged him to come into the garden to help her dig up the bush. Embarrassed he’d been caught staring, his natural reaction was to laugh. Now the woman rushed away from him toward the door of the cottage dominating the center of the property.

This scenario was not unfolding as he wanted. He blamed his complete lack of understanding of women and their mysterious ways for this latest gaffe. Now you’ve done it. You are clueless, Clarke. He needed to come up with something witty and wise to redeem himself.

Otherwise, he’d lose a chance to meet this fascinating gardener who had his curiosity.

Review

This is a clean, sweet Christian romance story. Robin and Jeff meet while he is there trying to figure out if the town needs to close the library that she runs. It causes some issues for him, and then her, but they seem to work it out. Their romance is not without problems caused by people from her past. Plus we have Robin’s insecurity in herself and being able to trust throwing a wrench into things. But true love perseveres!

I did read an ARC and found a few conflicting parts and do not know if they were fixed in the final version. But these few things aside, I enjoyed the story and hope that maybe June will write a story about Penny and Jorie and maybe even Doug!  There are even parts that made me laugh out loud.

We give this 4 paws up

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

About the Author

junemccraryjacobsAward-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

June enjoys connecting with readers, authors, aspiring writers, bloggers, designers, sewers, quilters, and crafters.

Website & Blog * Facebook * Amazon.com Author Page * Goodreads Author Page * LinkedIn * Email

 | 
Comments Off on Review – Robin’s Reward by June McCrary Jacobs #romance #Christian

 

Robin's Reward--Cover

 

Synopsis

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?

Robin’s Reward, a sweet romance with great characters, is as refreshing as a walk among flowers.”  – Author Rebecca H. Jamison, Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

amazon buybn buy

Excerpt

I’m as hot and sticky as the center of a freshly-roasted campfire marshmallow, Miss Praise.” Perspiration trickled past Robin’s sunburned neck, under her collar, and down her back. Her blouse was plastered to her skin.

“I’m not feeling very feminine or lady-like in this condition, if you catch my drift. This brings us to my next question. What was I thinking starting up with this garden renovation project on the hottest March afternoon ever recorded in Bonita Creek? Am I nuts? Wait—don’t answer that.”

Some sympathy from Miss Praise, like purring or even winding herself around Robin’s legs, would’ve been comforting. Instead, the elderly tabby was dozing comfortably in her cozy quilt-lined basket on the shaded porch. Robin was drained from tangling with her vintage hydrangea bush for the past four hours.

She’d read gardening was great exercise, but it gave Robin’s thoughts too many chances to wander. She dreaded those dark, dreary spaces in her mind permanently occupied by unhappy memories and heart-wrenching regrets. Since she wasn’t accomplishing much anyway, she released her shovel to take a break with a refreshing glass or two of her favorite iced tea. She straightened up and stretched her aching arms over her head.

“I’m parched, how about you? Want something cold to drink?” She spoke in the direction of the faded gray cat. Apparently, Miss Praise had heard enough of Robin’s whining. The cat yawned, stretched, flicked her tail, and hopped daintily out of her basket. She lumbered down the brick path to seek refuge in the peaceful back garden. Naturally, Robin hadn’t expected Miss Praise to respond, but talking to the cat helped her feel connected to her Grandma Estelle. The older woman had passed on a few years ago and Robin still ached for her grandmother’s presence. She kneaded her fatigued lower back with her knuckles and sighed deeply.

As she untied the ribbon of her straw hat and shook out her damp curly hair, Robin sensed someone’s gaze. A prickly feeling caused her to rotate her body where she came face-to-face with an unfamiliar—but attractive—man. A hint of amusement lit up his clean-shaven face as he stood on the walkway in front of her garden gate. When the stranger chuckled, Robin’s damp cheeks flamed scarlet. She wondered how long he’d been standing there listening to her grunt and groan and, well, whine.

Since he couldn’t possibly have seen Miss Praise, he probably assumed Robin had been talking to herself. Swell. Just another example of the truckload of awkward moments in life when Robin wished she could vanish on demand. Speaking through clenched teeth, she attempted to use humor to cover up her self-consciousness.

“Instead of breaking your neck staring at me, how about making yourself useful by helping me dig up this stubborn hydrangea?” Her embarrassment grew when the stranger’s sole response was a chorus of boisterous laughter. Lord, please get me out of here—now! Robin’s humiliation took over her common sense, and her sole goal was to flee. Grabbing her garden hat, she slammed it onto the gate post as she wrenched off her work gloves and tossed them on the ground near her birdbath. The sound of the man’s hearty laughter echoing in her ears brought her lifelong dislike of being the object of teasing and taunting racing to the surface.

Like most school children, she’d suffered through her share of teasing and even some bullying. Truth be told, she was still occasionally bullied by a former classmate, Susan Stinson, almost ten years after they’d graduated. Robin had expected—and hoped—in her current stage of life, halfway between twenty-five and thirty, she would’ve overcome this affliction. The scorching feeling in her cheeks told her otherwise. I so do not want to deal with this guy.

Attempting to give the illusion of self-confidence, Robin lengthened her spine and held her chin high as she stalked toward her cottage. In the safety of her cottage’s interior she’d find the solace and peace she was seeking. Far too often in the past she’d allowed her pride and confidence to be battered by a male. Okay, one male in particular. She vowed to handle her reaction in the current situation differently. She was determined to spare herself one more millisecond of humiliation. Today I’m going to stand up to my tormentors. All right, so maybe this stranger isn’t exactly tormenting me. Still, everyone knows laughing at a lady isn’t polite.

Robin wasn’t going to stand there and let some stranger, however handsome he might be—and this guy was definitely above-average in the looks department—laugh at her in her own garden. Hot, briny tears stung her eyes. Time seemed to slow down, and she couldn’t make it to the front door fast enough. Embarrassing incidents from her not so distant past charged to the forefront of her mind as she made her way up the front porch steps.

At the front gate, Jeff froze. He’d offended her. His body felt as if he’d just finished running five miles at a training pace, as it had been since he’d first happened upon the woman. His heart thundered in his ears when he’d first seen her, his vision honed in on a lovely brunette. She was hard at work in her garden on such an oppressive afternoon. He’d never seen anyone so focused on one task. She appeared to be in a frenzy, trying to free the roots of a bush from the sun-dried, hardened soil.

He had to admit, she looked as if she were accustomed to hard work. Strong, fit arms and legs peeked out from her short-sleeved blouse and khaki shorts. She sported a wide-brimmed hat and appeared unafraid of hard work if the sweaty sheen covering her neck and face were any kind of evidence. Smudges of dirt adorned her elbows, knees, and—he couldn’t help but notice—shapely calves.

He’d been walking through the streets surrounding his rental home. Historical architecture was one of his hobbies, and he was checking out the architectural styles located on the streets in this older section of Bonita Creek, California. He’d already identified Craftsman, Victorian, Italianate, Tudor, cottage, ranch, and bungalow style homes. His mind, locked on his thoughts, was jarred when he heard a frustrated voice asking why she was trying to renovate her garden on this hot afternoon. The voice held such conviction he stopped to see if the speaker was seeking his personal opinion. When he realized the sun-kissed gardener was alone in the garden, he became enthralled by her movements and the timbre of her voice.

Unsure of how long he’d been staring, Jeff was jerked out of his trance when the woman turned around and challenged him to come into the garden to help her dig up the bush. Embarrassed he’d been caught staring, his natural reaction was to laugh. Now the woman rushed away from him toward the door of the cottage dominating the center of the property.

This scenario was not unfolding as he wanted. He blamed his complete lack of understanding of women and their mysterious ways for this latest gaffe. Now you’ve done it. You are clueless, Clarke. He needed to come up with something witty and wise to redeem himself.

Otherwise, he’d lose a chance to meet this fascinating gardener who had his curiosity.

About the Author

junemccraryjacobsAward-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

June enjoys connecting with readers, authors, aspiring writers, bloggers, designers, sewers, quilters, and crafters.

Website & Blog * Facebook * Amazon.com Author PageGoodreads Author PageLinkedIn * Email

Giveaway

June is giving away two signed copies of ‘Robin’s Reward’ on her website. (United States residents only. No purchase necessary.)

The Rafflecopter contest will end on May 31st, and June would like to invite readers to enter for a chance to win one of these paperbacks.

June is also allowing me to give away 1 eBook to one of my followers! This is open internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in 5 paws, Giveaway, Inspirational, Review on April 27, 2015

Beyond Believing

 

Synopsis

When Olivia gets news of her best friend Dan’s fatal car accident, her life is shattered. Consumed with grief and struggling to find any meaning or purpose to life, she trudges along with a gaping void in her heart. Finally, when her frustration reaches its peak, Olivia decides to put her trust in the depth of friendship the two of them shared. That trust finally allows him to breakthrough to her, and Dan begins to guide Olivia through the twists and turns of her life, leading to something new and entirely unexpected.

When Olivia exposes a gigantic internal scandal at work, her career implodes. With no job and nowhere to turn, she escapes to Palm Springs for the sympathy and care of her beloved cousin, Garrett. However, with only weeks left before the opening of his newest store, “Gin and Tonic,” Garrett isn’t quite the comfort Olivia had expected. She yet again tries to find her way, and in the process meets someone who begins to fill that void in her heart. She’s never before experienced a love like this; it heals her soul and rekindles her spirit – and just may have been the design of her dearly departed friend all along.

Beyond Believing is a sweet, funny, and romantic story that touches the heart, serves up delicious twists and turns, and shows the reader that there’s no such thing as “coincidence.” Author D.D. Marx regards this book as her “love letter to friendship,” written in memory of her best friend, Dan.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Author’s Website * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Review

While the book is somewhat predictable I loved reading about Finn and Olivia’s lives and how their paths crossed through mutual friends throughout the years. It took me a little bit to get used to the viewpoint changing each (or nearly each) chapter. But once I got the swing of it I raced through the book.

I laughed and cried during parts of the book and wanted to high five Olivia for a certain work situation. (don’t want to spoil too much!).  There are a few F* bombs, but thankfully not many.  The book would have been just as good without this word.   I loved the interaction between Olivia and her family and I think that made her realize that maybe she was missing out on something by not having a family.

I thought her relationship with Dan was sweet and how he seemed to know when she needed something and a certain song would play on the radio or Olivia would ask for him to give her a sign and he did..Angels do exist!

Finn was a loveable character and he dealt with a lot before he met Olivia.  I loved that he went to Paris for culinary arts school

Definitely a good read and we give it 5 paws up.

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

 

About the Author

D.D. MarxD.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger, as well as a lover of all things social. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always has a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

Win one of 3 Swag Bags.

Each bag contains: a print copy of Beyond Believing, a necklace (like on book cover), a pen and a compact mirror (Open to USA & Canada)

Ends May 23, 2015

Swag bag for Beyond Believing
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

iRead Button small

Tour Schedule for BEYOND BELIEVING

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Inspirational, self help, Young Adult on March 11, 2015

ITGIRL4LIFE banner

 

ITGIRL4LIFE 8

Title: ITGIRL4LIFE
Author: Tamara Branch
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing
Pages: 98
Genre: YA/Self-Esteem
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

goodreads-badge-add-plus

bn buyamazon buy

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads.

Excerpt

YOU have IT. IT is the GREATNESS you were born with. IT is that unique special something that is all yours. Nothing and nobody can take IT away from you. IT is not something that you have one day and lose the next. IT is not fleeting. IT is not temporary. IT does not depend on the judgment or approval of others. IT is here to stay. Your job is to tap into IT. Your ITGIRL4LIFE adventure starts NOW. It’s about loving yourself, being authentic, taking charge and making a difference. You will need a great attitude, an open mind, the desire to grow and expand, the courage to create the life you want and the willingness to be your best self.

Are you ready? Your special something and so much more is right this way.

About the Author

Tamara Branch“I believe in the power, beauty, strength and amazing potential of girls. I believe girls deserve to feel extraordinary. I believe that when girls shine their light, they are unstoppable!”

– ITGIRL4LIFE by Tamara Branch

Tamara Branch is from New York, born and raised in the Bronx. She is thrilled to share her first book release, ITGIRL4LIFE, kicking off the ITGIRL4LIFE self-esteem movement to empower girls to stand up, stand out and shine bright in the world.

Tamara has worked as a professional model and actor for almost two decades. She strutted down the runway for designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Christian Dior, acted in a few independent films, co-hosted PBS New York’s education series, “What’s up in Technology” and appeared T.V. commercials and print ads for Levi’s, Old Navy, Hershey’s, Colgate, Kellogg’s Special K, Revlon, Hanes, Nike and many others. A Penn State alumnus and lifelong student of personal development, Tamara is deeply passionate about uplifting the human spirit.

After graduating from Institute for Integrative Nutrition, studying under Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil and some of the top health and wellness experts in the world, she was inspired to raise the bar on her own ‘self care’ and support others in living more vibrantly. She is an abstract artist and teaches a dynamic dance class, where she gets to fuse her varied background, having trained in everything from jazz, ballet and modern to Afro-Caribbean and Salsa.

Tamara was recently asked to become a Female Visionary Author guest blogger for The Brave Heart Women Global Community.  She’s a SAG/AFTRA member since 1998, a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.

Tamara currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband of seven years and offers ITGIRL4LIFE workshops to assist girls on their self empowerment journey.

Website * Twitter * Goodreads * Blog * Contact

 

Giveaway

$25 iTunes giftcard giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 | 
Comments Off on Spotlight & #Giveaway – It Girl 4 Life by Tamara Branch @itgirl4life #PUYB