Wednesday, October 30, 2013


'nuf said -- thanks for the motivation power of going public with a goal!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Need To Be Held Accountable

I'm feeling less than motivated today and I think I'd be happy to sit in my chair and watch the rain...ALL day! This is one of my rare days with no appointments, so I have hours to use and I don't want to waste them. SO, I'm relying on you to help keep me moving. It seemed to work on the desk in my office, so let's see how it works on my sewing room (aka Quilt Studio and corner of my bedroom).

A few weeks ago I decided to organize this room and try a different strategy for managing my fabric. As I moved stuff off the top of my fabric shelf, I noticed the ceiling was black. Over the past month or so, Lois's toilet and shower have leaked, and apparently they leaked through to my studio below. After Doug removed the drywall, we realized we needed to call in help.

Now there is good news and bad news. All the decluttering/organizing shows tell you to remove everything from a room before you start. Ok, well I have to remove everything so the contractor can come on Monday to rip the ceiling out and see what needs to be done! My sewing machine and a few tools have been moved, along with the shelf of fabric, but this remains:

Where do I even start? And where do I put all this stuff? And how will I remain somewhat organized in the meantime so I can make the seven things I want to finish by Christmas?  This is where you come in. I've decided that today is the day, and I can reward myself with a quilting video as soon as I'm done.

Ready, set, GO!

Maybe I'll eat lunch first :o)  !

How Did This Happen?

So, I worked really hard to get my desk cleaned during the month of September. Then I had two separate speaking/teaching engagements, a visit by Hurricanes Sophie (my granddaughter) and Bandit (my granddog), several migraines, and lots of people putting mail on my desk 'so I could find it'. Well, this is the result:

And to be honest, it got MUCH worse than this!

So today I had to find the results of a recent car inspection, since our license must be renewed this month (figured it was about's the 29th!). So I started going through the piles. There was the wonderful pile where piles are supposed to be -- in the pretty basket by my computer. Most items there are at least a month old. Then there was the pile on the other side of my computer, the pile at the far end of my desk, the pile in the middle of my desk...well, you get the picture.

Bottom line is that I found a bunch of expired coupons, a couple of late bills, a BUNCH of fabulous quilting magazines I have yet to read (and I'm really proud of myself for not stopping to read them), medicines that need to be renewed, and plenty of other things that need attention. But no car inspection.

Luckily the wonderful people at JC Care Care are happy to print a copy and it's on the way to the Dept of Revenue office. And now my desk is clean again! Well, at least the top and the drawers I've already cleaned.

I wonder if I'll ever make it out of my office in this cleaning/organizing fantasy of mine?

Back to neat at least! (if not quite as perfect as I want).

Monday, October 28, 2013


Dee Henderson

We have waited so long for some new Dee Henderson books, and unfortunately this one was not worth the wait.

Dee's O'Malley series was the first set of Christian novels I ever read, and I hung on every word. The way her characters struggled with real life issues in the midst of fabulous suspense helped me learn how to turn to God in all situations.

However, her newest books seem to lack any tie to reality. I didn't review Full Disclosure because I was so disappointed with it -- I even had other Dee Henderson fans read it to see if I'd missed the mark. But with Unspoken, I see the continuation of a sad trend. The story seems to drag, and the characters live such unrealistic lives that they aren't even worthy of dreaming about. This could have been a great story if the surrounding situation (insane wealth) were even somewhat realistic. Maybe this is based on truth, but it's not a truth that anyone I know can even comprehend.

I got quickly bored with the coin talk, having no comprehension of what was valuable.

I definitely appreciated the struggle Charlotte has with God's willingness to forgive her captors. It's a struggle I hadn't considered for someone in her position, and it makes great sense. I love it when an author opens up a new way of comprehending the love God has for each of us, regardless of who we are or what we do.

So disappointed, but I'll continue to check out Dee's books because she's had such a major impact on my life.

Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.
A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter...

"Dee Henderson is a master of Christian fiction... You will be hooked by her storytelling and will be anxiously awaiting her next novel." -- Fresh Fiction

"Minute details...plot twists galore, and a supporting cast whose capacity to fight evil and win is just this side of over-the-top make this stand-alone novel a rip-roaring good read. Old fans and new readers alike will be delighted." --Publishers Weekly


Dani Pettrey

I have really enjoyed Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series, and this latest volume ranks right up there with the best! This book had me on the edge of my seat from the prologue, and I couldn't put it down.

I love the McKenna family and have really enjoyed these stories. You don't have to read the first books to understand what is going on, but it would definitely help. There are so many characters involved who show up in each book that it might be a good idea to keep a log -- it's easy to forget some of the personality quirks of each!

Pettrey's descriptions of the landscape and activities that occur make you feel the cold! She has a wonderful way of setting you into the story and making you feel like you see the landscape instead of are being told about it. I can't wait for the next book.

When Her Friend Goes Missing,
Every Minute Counts

Darcy St. James returns to Alaska to join a journalist friend undercover on the trail of a big story. But when Darcy arrives, she finds her friend has disappeared. Troubled by the cruise ship's vague explanation, Darcy uses her cover as a travel reporter to investigate further.

The last person Gage McKenna expects to see during his summer aboard a cruise ship leading adventure excursions is Darcy. And in typical Darcy fashion, she's digging up more trouble.

He'd love to just forget her--but something won't let him. And he can't help but worry about her as they are heading into more remote regions of Alaska and eventually into foreign waters. Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they push, the more Gage fears they've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

"The third book in Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series ratchets up the action and suspense. It's difficult to stop yourself from peeking ahead to the end, but the ride is worth the anxiety." --RT Book Reviews
"Dani Pettrey has delivered another incredibly compelling adventure in Alaska. STRANDED is full of suspense, beautiful rugged wilderness and white-water rapids, and a heartfelt romance. I loved catching up with the McKenna family." - Dee Henderson, New York Times bestselling author

In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.
Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.
And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Learn more about Dani and her books at

Monday, October 07, 2013

Dark Justice

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dark Justice
B&H Books (October 1, 2013)
Brandilyn Collins

MY THOUGHTS:Brandilyn Collins is known for her 'seatbelt suspense' -- that is, you better buckle your seatbelt before you open one of her books! And this book definitely lives up to expectations.

Hannah Shire decides to go home the 'long' way, and her life is never the same. She stops to help the victim of a car accident, who tells her a cryptic secret. Next thing she knows people are trying to kill her and she's being sought as a 'person of interest' in three murders!

Brandilyn's book are such winners because she starts with a situation that could happen to any one of us, then she masterfully winds a web of intrigue and suspense that is so plausible the reader can see herself in the midst of unprecedented trouble.

If you are a Brandilyn Collins fan, you will once again be thrilled with her latest book. If you've never read one of her books, pick this one up and you'll be hooked!


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . ."® Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn's awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice.

Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). The Writer magazine named Getting into Character one of the best books on writing published in 2002.

When she's not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers' conferences.


If I’d had any idea what those words would mean to me, to my mother and daughter, I’d have fled California without looking back.

While driving a rural road, Hannah Shire and her aging mother, who suffers from dementia, stop to help a man at the scene of a car accident. The man whispers mysterious words in Hannah’s ear. Soon people want to kill Hannah and her mother for what they “know.” Even law enforcement may be involved.

The two women must flee for their lives. But how does Hannah hide her confused mother? Carol just wants to listen to her pop music, wear her favorite purple hat, and go home. And if they turn to Hannah’s twentyseven- year-old daughter, Emily, for help, will she fall into danger as well?

Pressed on all sides, Hannah must keep all three generations of women in her family alive. Only then does she learn the threat is not just to her loved ones, but the entire country . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Dark Justice, HERE.

Thanks to B&H Books for providing a book for this review.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A Talent For Trouble

A Talent for Trouble
Jen Turano

Wow...just wow! Jen Turano has quickly become one of my top five favorite authors! This is her third book, and I love it just as much as I enjoyed the first two! I have dubbed her the "Hysterical Historical" writer. I know that her books will include realistic details about the time period, and hilarious antics from strong characters. Plus there is a dash of downright amazing romantic relationship building -- especially where the characters don't think they are 'made' for one another.

There are wonderful characters who were in the first two books that show up again, and it is like seeing old friends! The books could definitely stand alone, but they are so fabulous you will want to read all three -- A Change of Fortune, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, and this latest one.

One of my favorite 'characters' is Thor...but you'll just have to read the book to figure out who he is!

If you like intrigue, meddling mothers, well meaning but interfering friends, cross dressers, naughty children, and the occasional run in with the police, this book is for you!

For years, Miss Felicia Murdock’s every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister’s wife. When the minister she’d set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change–and soon–before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she’s not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who’s to say nay?
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
Just as Grayson decides he’s had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia’s life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?

Jen grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.
She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she  fired up the computer and never looked back.
Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.
Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.