Thumbnail Thursday: Armstrong – Ulrich


Welcome! Today I have two very different inspirational books for you to check out. Brett Armstrong‘s Day Moon is a futuristic fantasy, while my bookFinding Hope, deals with tough family issues, including adoption, trust, and love. I hope you’ll check out both.

Blurb: In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found.

Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather.

Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose.

Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.



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Blurb: Nearly sixteen years after relinquishing the rights to his unborn child, Noah Cooper is stunned to discover his daughter, Hope, wants to meet him. With the love and support of his family, Noah sets off from Elk Flats, Montana to Albany, New York, having no idea what changes are in store for him.

Cancer survivor and widow, Beth Peterson, is more than a little nervous to meet her daughter’s birth father. Their initial meeting goes well, but things decline in a hurry when Noah invites Hope to spend time at the ranch without speaking to Beth about it first.

Determined to meet her new family, a battle of wills ensues between Hope and her mother. While Hope longs for a connection, Beth fears losing her daughter to virtual strangers—strangers who live two thousand miles away.

Struggles and misunderstandings abound between Noah and Beth, despite their growing attraction for one another. Noah is ready to commit, while Beth can’t let go of the memory of her husband and the imperfections cancer has forced her to live with.

Will hope, patience, and prayer be enough to pull this family together?

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Thumbnail Thursday: Maddrey, Padilla, Rogers

This week I’m spotlighting three book for you to check out. Muffins and Moonbeams by Elizabeth Maddrey is a contemporary, inspirational romance sure to capture your heart. Cathy Padilla‘s new release, A Taste for Love, is a clean, contemporary romance with strong family ties. This week’s third book is One of Forty, a contemporary Inspirational Romance, by Felicia Rogers.

 I want to read all three of these books. Don’t you?


Blurb: They met online. Can being offline bring them love?

Malachi Baxter is happy to hide in the background and manage the business-end of the family bakery. He’d much rather live in the online world of computer games where he can explore the galaxy and no one has to know he’s deaf.

Ursula Franks designs websites during the day and spends her evenings battling alien races online where relationships are easy and uncomplicated. When she agrees to design a website for the local Community Supported Bakery, she has no idea that Malachi is the real man behind her online persona’s best friend and her own secret crush.

As the two work together on the website, they uncover an attraction, but will they be able to put aside past hurt and insecurity to find love?



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Sarah Texmara runs The Club, an upscale country club at the Jersey Shore, with the same planned determination she guards her wounded heart. Having made the decision to avoid love at all cost, she finds herself blackmailed into an engagement to save her father and the very thing he has valued more than her mother’s love – the family land that houses the country club. At the moment she finally resigns herself to her fate Sarah is caught off guard by the dashingly handsome Luke Patterson. Sarah needs to choose between her own desires or protecting a long covered family scandal, all while learning that love is sometimes worth the risk.

Luke Patterson is a skilled investigator with his own secret to protect. What started as a favor for a family-friend turns into a race against the clock to save the woman he loves from sacrificing her existence to a man seeking to destroy her family’s legacy and possess her inheritance. He can keep her from danger, he has captured her desire, but will he be able to help her overcome her fear of true love?

Can Sarah and Luke find the answers to their needs together?



Social Media:

Twitter: @Cathpadilla

Website: 4Love.Club


Blurb: When a missionary visits Joshua Lowe’s church and makes a plea for one more to join the forty-person mission team, Joshua takes notice. He is no longer satisfied with his mundane life. Maybe a deeper commitment is what he’s been searching for. But then something—or someone, that is—pulls him back.

Melody Watkins is damaged. Past sins have paved a difficult road for her and her young daughter. Now she finally has a job and things are starting to look up. At least until her car breaks down. But then again that could be a blessing as well, because it has brought someone new into her life.
Melody’s secret past and Joshua’s potential future holds them back from growing closer. Many prayers will be offered to determine if their roads intersect or if Joshua will be the last of the forty.

Buy link:  Amazon

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Thumbnail Thursday: Wendy May Andrews – Elizabeth Celata

Welcome! Take a peek at two completely different book styles today.

Sweet Surrender by Wendy May Andrews is a sweet regency romance, while Grimm Remains by Elizabeth Celata is a young adult paranormal tale.


Blurb: When Lady Julianna ended her engagement to Lord Ackerley, Viscount Beaumont, during her first Season, she left London vowing never to return.

Seven years later she returns as chaperone to her niece and unfortunately Lord Ackerley is also in Town for the Season. Moving around the small circle of the ton stirs up feelings she has kept hidden. Embarrassed and ashamed that she made a mistake in ending their previous relationship, she tries to avoid further contact. Ackerley, stunned by her second rejection, pursues her to discover the truth.

Is it ever too late for a second chance at love?


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Twitter:  @WendyMayAndrews

Instagram:  WendyMayAndrews

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Blurb: Mammon’s summoning turned Rochester into a beacon for the denizens of Hell. As demon activity increases, Jon settles in for a new academic year, and Jordan moves in as the city’s protector. Unfortunately, the young warlock of Rochester might not be around long if the Devil’s marine legion has a say. Havfine, demonic mermaids, don’t often leave deep lakes and ocean waters. They’re better known for drowning mortal sailors than hunting magic users, but something has sent them upstream from Lake Ontario. When three orphans vanish from a magical sanctuary in Toronto, their caretaker – the Wizard Monday – dredges up a part of Jordan’s and Jon’s father’s history that Jordan would have rather forgotten. In this race against the Bane of Hamelin, more than three souls may be on the line.
Social Media:

Twitter: @Celata_E



Buy links: Check your local online store. 




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Thumbnail Thursday: Heather Gray and Kadee Carder

I’m starting a new feature that will give you a peek at some new or recently released books. This week it’s Heather Gray with a re-release (and great new cover) of her romantic comedy “Nowhere for Christmas,” and Kadee Carder with “Incomplete” book two her young adult, science fiction series Insurrection.


Two virtual strangers, one teen, and the worst rental car in the history of mankind…

Let the road trip begin.

Avery Weston is a journalist and mom to teenager Eli. Gavin Eastly is an enigmatic photographer.

A botched schedule lands them all in a rental car for Christmas. With everything that goes wrong, it’ll take a miracle to get them anywhere. But miracles come in surprising packages – like a bait shop owner moonlighting as a mechanic and a deputy whose family can’t agree on how to remove a skunk’s stink.

It’s the perfect recipe for romance.

Join Avery, Eli, and Gavin as they learn that reaching the destination doesn’t mean the journey’s over. God has so much more in store for them.

After all—anything can happen on the road to Nowhere.

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Book Blurb:

Saylor started out on one adventure and ended up on another.

After finding herself on a Caribbean island filled with strange noises, dazzling beaches, and a secret military base, Saylor must clutch the missing pieces of her fate.

While harnessing her ability to communicate with deadly weapons of mass destruction, attending the annual gala, and fighting her growing feelings for the hunky Australian soldier, Saylor’s instincts become increasingly distressed.

Tempted by greed and independence, she must determine what she stands for and on whose side she belongs. Power within in her. War without.

They wanted a warrior. They got one.



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Adventures in retirement: When you’re a traveling family

When my husband and I retired, the idea was to travel as often as possible. A few years ago, we made an epic road trip so we could visit the final three states on our quest to see all fifty.

Our first major road trip. We drove up the east coast and ended up in Maine. Amazing Trip!

The following year, we planned to drive down the coast from Oregon to California. Things got in the way, including my father’s illness and subsequent passing, so that never happened. We did, however, manage a few short trips to the mountains of North Carolina, and as well as trekking to Houston several times. We haven’t given up on our quest to drive US 101, we’re simply not sure when that will happen.

Rick and I aren’t the only ones in our family

Jamie and Josh on the way to Milan–before the plane took a three hour delay.

who enjoy traveling, though we are the only ones who enjoy road trips. My daughter would do nothing but travel—if she could. Well, that and dance. She has been on numerous mission trips around the world, and I don’t see an end to that. One of the many things I love about her is that she always seeks a word from the Lord before the beginning of each year. This year, she felt the Lord telling her this would be a year of adventure—like she hasn’t already been on numerous adventures! This time, however, it’s not just mission trips. She’s an aspiring photographer, and has already done one photo shoot. She has signed up for a mission trip—not knowing where the money will come from, and she just checked something major off her bucket list.

The Colosseum at night.

My adventurous daughter just got back from a trip to Rome. She and her brother—who hasn’t been on a lot of trips—flew standby from New York to Milan, took a train from Milan to Rome, saw everything they could in Rome, and took a side trip to Pompeii. I was so proud of her for doing the research, checking the flights, and booking the hotels.

I’m not discounting my son’s sense of adventure. Though less experienced, he took the lead when it was needed, and made sure his sister was safe. Together, they figured out the money, transportation systems, and mapped out their days. They took care of each other, which made this mama proud.

The best part of their trip was that it mimicked my husband’s and my first big


adventure.We spent our honeymoon in Rome, with a side trip to Capri, and a few unexpected days in Paris—flying standby is an adventure in itself! Needless to say, when we went, there were no cell phones or Internet. We said “goodbye” to our folks, and “hello” nine days later.

The world is a different place than it was forty-one years ago, and I’m grateful we were able to speak to our kids daily. Yes, we prayed, and trusted God to keep them safe, which He did. Still, our daily Face Time was more than appreciated.

I don’t know what other adventures our kids have in store for them in the coming year—or for us, for that matter. All I know that retirement is a daily adventure. Whether it’s a trip to California or a trip to the grocery store, there’s only one guy I want by my side.

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Adventures in retirement: Fashion forward or fashion backward?

The other day, I heard a guest preacher speaking about how he loved being 52. In essence, he commented on how liberating it was to grow older; how one tends to care less about appearance and more about the important things in life. I realize not everyone will agree with him, but I do.  When I was young, I loved to wear trendy clothes and shoes. These days, I prefer comfort to style, and exchanged my heels for flip-flops, sandals and tennis shoes—with the occasional pair of boots thrown in.

I seldom wear makeup anymore—not that I ever wore much to begin with. Since I carry a little more “bulk” than I used to, my face isn’t filled with wrinkles. There have to be some advantages, right? I figure as long as I liberally apply moisturizer, I’m ahead of the game.

The preacher’s mention of getting older got me to thinking about my parents and in-laws.

One of the last pictures of both sets of parents.

One of the last pictures of both sets of parents.

When my folks first retired, Mom spent hours in a bathing suit, tanning by the pool. She and Dad played shuffleboard, delivered meals on wheels, and enjoyed the casual Florida lifestyle. About four or five years before Mom died, she quit wearing shorts and pants (for the most part). She loved her skirts and dresses, and wore a glass bead necklace most days. Mom did her best to look stylish, despite having to wear orthopedic shoes, and wearing some of the ugliest sweaters I’d ever seen. They made her happy and feel good about herself, and that was all that mattered.


Mom’s beads. I may never wear them, but I’ll always cherish them.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, seldom wore dresses or skirts. She would dress for church in slacks (an occasional skirt), a blouse or knit top, and a jacket—always a jacket. When not dressed for church, she wore lightweight slacks and a plaid short-sleeved blouse. I know for a fact she wore several of the blouses for a good ten years or so. Her shoe selection was a bit more stylish than my mother’s, but not by much. Mary Ann wore flats or sandals when she dressed up, otherwise it was white or tan tennis shoes—in one particular style. I can still see the glue marks around the rubber lips, as she tried to get as much wear as possible.

My mother allowed her hair to go gray, while my mother-in-law refused to have a single gray strand show. I followed my mother’s example, while my daughter will follow her other grandmother’s lead.

Can you see the glue on the pair on the left?

Can you see the glue on the pair on the left?

I appreciate style and those who always look like a million bucks. I also appreciate those of us who like to look nice, but aren’t concerned whether or not our clothes are the latest fashion trend. I wouldn’t be caught out in public in my pajamas, but have no problem wearing them all day in the privacy of my home. Gives me a good excuse not to answer the door.

In truth, this post is less about fashion and more about originality. We’re all created in God’s image, yet no two are alike. Our clothes don’t define us, our hearts do.  Think about that the next time you’re ready to judge a person by what’s on the outside. Maybe you could take a minute to find out what’s on the inside.



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Adventures in retirement: catching up

tetonsIt’s been a while since I’ve written about our retirement adventures. When I first thought of this as a blog idea, I figured there would be lots of excitement to write about, and loads of travels to document. Turns out there hasn’t been nearly as much traveling as I assumed, but I’m not complaining. Our original thought was that we’d be on the road every three or four months, with at least one major trip each year. In the two plus years since Rick called it quits, we’ve managed one epic drive, allowing us to enjoy the final three states we had never visited, and a few shorter ones, but nothing on the scale we’d envisioned.

Part of the problem has been my father’s health issues. There have been atdad in hospital least a half dozen ER visits, a two week stay in the hospital and another two weeks in rehab. While doctor visits have increased, Dad has become less independent and more reliant on me (and Rick). It’s been a tough and sometimes stressful transition. You hear it often, how the parent becomes the child, and the child takes over the parenting duties. It hasn’t become a full transition, and I hope it never does. Dad still lives in the independent section of a senior living center, and my prayer is that he can remain there until the Lord calls him home.

310008_4938558835548_1858850451_nSince our travel situation has changed, Rick and I have discovered a new form of enjoyment—estate sales! Some people think of estate sales as a way to ravage a dead person’s home. I look at it as a way to keep a person’s memory alive—whether I knew them or not. I have a number of incredible items in my home that might have otherwise been destroyed: pottery pieces from a local artist, mid-century modern chairs that fit with the style of my home, a watercolor from a well-known British artist (never mind that I had to pay $100 to frame my $1.75 find), and a drawer with type-setting letters in it. The author in me had to have that one. I have eclectic tastes, and love finding unexpected treasures along the way.bird on plate

I think I’ve said this before, but I sort of dreaded the day Rick would retire. I had all these vision of him being underfoot, but we’ve managed a healthy balance of time together and time apart. My writing has suffered some, but that has more to do with Dad than Rick. Now that Rick and I have found a balance, I need to find the same with my father.

What will the future bring? I have no idea. I do know that God is in control, and that he’s doing a work in me. I’m not the most patient person, and God knows that. So does my husband. I’m grateful for a man who loves me, a God who loves me, and a family who puts up with me.

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Here’s to whatever the future holds!

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Christmas time is here!

P1020383 (620x465)It always amazes me how quickly the year goes by. When I worked as a teacher, I always felt the year was close to an end as soon as the school year started. Since I taught drama, I had to get an early start on the Christmas production. There were often outreaches to be considered as well. Now that I’m no longer in the field of education, I still think of the year as coming to a close when school starts. I guess old habits die hard.

Speaking of old habits, I’m one of those people who, though she dearly itches to, refuses to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving has passed. I have no problem with those who want to decorate early, but since Thanksgiving is squeezed so tightly between Halloween and Christmas, I like to honor the day.

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, it’s ready…. set… go!

I love Christmas. I love time with family. Though my sisters and I are separated by distance, and can’t be together during this time, we’re able to communicate by telephone or through social media. I miss my mother and my in-laws, but remember and cherish the wonderful times we spent enjoying each other while unwrapping presents, laughing, eating, and praying together. We’re a small group now, but that doesn’t lessen our joy.P1020396 (620x465)

Putting out the Christmas trees and reindeer I’ve collected over the years makes me happy, and decorating the trees (I have two) with lights, ornaments and special reminders of my children when they were young blesses me. My nativity sets (two again) help remind me not only of the birth of the Christ Child, but that He came willingly, knowing His ultimate fate.

P1020391 (620x465)So, with all the hustle and bustle of the season, I urge you to stop and remember what Christmas really means. Enjoy your family, food, and gifts, but take time to be thankful for the greatest gift of all.

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Remembering Mom

P1000809 (640x480)The other day I got a notice from Facebook that I had memories to look back on. This was nothing new, as I receive them daily. This one, however, brought tears to my eyes. It was from October 31, 2012.

After completing a “Month of Thanksgiving” during November, 2011, I decided to do a “Year of Thanks” the following year. Each day I posted something I was thankful for. It was tough, but I’m glad I did it. My mother was in a nursing home suffering from dementia, so many of my posts were about our time together.

My father moved into the independent living section of the retirement complex so he could be close to Mom. In the beginning, Mom had lots of lucid moments, but she was confused as to why she and Dad no longer lived together. She used to ask him if he had divorced her, or no longer love her. It was really hard on him, but every day, he visited her twice a day. He wheeled her to his apartment after breakfast, then sat with her while she had dinner.

By the time October rolled around, Mom was in a decline. She wasn’t eating much, which we were told was the beginning of the end, and that it would probably be three to six months at the most. Mom seldom spoke anymore. Most of her communication came in the form of groans and moans. On this day, however, she was a bit more alert. I asked her if she was thirsty, and she said, “Yes.” After giving her some water, she said, “Much better.” To most people those words wouldn’t mean much, but to me they were a gift from God. Little did I know Mom would pass away twenty days later.

390225_2539119711582_304029215_nMy first book, “Broken Vessels” was dedicated to my mother. Sadly, by the time it came out, she wasn’t able to understand what that meant. She had read an earlier version, and commented that she hoped the mother in the book wasn’t based on her. Yeah, the mom in BV isn’t exactly a loving person much of the time. I assured her that she and Louise weren’t the same person. But in truth, there were parts of my mother I incorporated in Louise, but she didn’t need to know that.

Reading that memory nearly three years later reminded me of how fragile and unpredictable life is. Parents aren’t perfect. Children aren’t perfect, Spouses aren’t perfect. Cherish every moment—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Love hard and forgive quickly.

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Friday Featured Artist: Mya O’Malley

Today’s spotlight is on Mya O’Malley and her contemporary romance, At First Sight.

Rating: G — a sweet, clean romance.

At First SightBlurb:

Modern love can be a headache.  Just ask Annie Morgan, who, recently divorced, finds herself in the middle of the proverbial online dating jungle.  Making a deal with her best friend, Annie agrees to go out on exactly five online dates out of seventy-six potential suitors.

Shane Nicholls was jaded, he had his heart broken and never got over the hurt. Now, convinced that all women are trouble, he avoids drama at any cost.  Funny thing is, drama seems to find Shane around every corner.

Can Annie, a romantic at heart, find love online or will she find love at first sight the old-fashioned way, by awkward, chance meetings with Shane Nicholls? Through a number of obstacles and heartache, Annie and Shane find that love at first sight really does exist if you truly believe.


Johnny’s was packed. Standing on line to place her order, Annie took in her surroundings. Just as the owner, Johnny, was coming over to take her order, something caught Annie’s eye. The guy near the window, he seemed familiar somehow. Where had she seen him before? He was eating dinner with a pretty brunette. He lifted his head to look at Annie as their eyes locked. On no! It was the guy from the mall, the one she bumped into. She quickly spun around, knocking right into the waitress who was carrying a tray of soft drinks.

Soda soaked her shirt and dripped onto the floor. The waitress was clearly annoyed and appeared like she would have loved to tell Annie off. Instead she rolled her eyes and ran to get a towel. If Annie thought she was embarrassed before, it was nothing compared to how she felt now. Every eye in the place was on her, including the guy from the mall. Helpless to do anything else, she grabbed some napkins and bent down to sop up some of the mess.

“It seems you have a knack for causing a scene everywhere you go.” It was his voice. The voice that filled her head with inappropriate thoughts, with longing. What was she thinking? Did she dare look up? His gaze was a magnet, forcing her to meet his eyes.

His eyes were a warmer brown than she had remembered, drawing her in.


“I’m joking. Here, let me help you with that.” He grabbed the napkins from her hand. The heat between them jolted her back. She moved quickly, surprised he could evoke such a reaction from her. Nobody had ever made her feel so exposed before. What was going on here? Annie felt foolish.

“I’m Shane. Shane Nicholls.” He extended his hand to her. They must have appeared to be quite the sight, bending over to clean up the mess while shaking hands.

“Annie.” Annie remembered her new rules of safety in the dating world. One of them was she would not reveal her last name or any other personal information until she was sure the guy wasn’t a stalker or anything.

“Annie. It suits you, I like it.” Annie had almost forgot about the woman waiting for Shane at the table near the window. She glanced over and took in a tight-lipped woman. It hit Annie that this woman was not the same stunning woman from the mall. Hmm, she had met his type before. This guy had “player” written all over him. She quickly brushed herself off and excused herself.

“Hey, Annie. Wait.” He reached for her hand. Annie forgot all about placing her order and made a beeline for the door. She didn’t look back. Well, Annie figured, it looked like it would be Chinese food tonight.

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Meet the author: Mya O'Malley

 Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters.  The family also consists of two boxers; Destiny and Dolce and a  ragdoll cat named Colby.  Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy.   She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child.   Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on.  She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters.   Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica.   Mya is currently working on her fifth novel.

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