Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Spotlight on Board to Death by Amy Barkman, Debbie Roome, and Tracy Ruckman

I recently finished a very enjoyable cozy mystery by three authors, two of whom are very good friends. Amy Barkman and I were both included in a multi-author signing in Frankfort last November where I bought this book. Tracy Ruckman and I met at a booksigning for Virginia Smith's (Amy's daughter's) first book several years ago. We have been prayer partners ever since. I've never met Debbie Roome, since she lives in New Zealand, but because she is friends with Amy and Tracy, I'm sure she is a wonderful person, too!

If you like cozy mysteries you will LOVE this book! Each story is set at a fictional campground in the author's area--Amy's in Kentucky, Debbie's in New Zealand, and Tracy's in Georgia. And each murder mystery centers around a "board" game, hence the title Board to Death. Plus there is another connection because all the board games came from a yard sale in the first book. And all the stories contain a romance, so I don't think you can go wrong with this book! The authors are very creative with their games and the names of the campgrounds and the characters. They already have a sequel coming out this summer.

Amy Barkman has been in full time ministry since 1979. She is the Director of Voice of Joy Ministries and holds retreats and workshops in several states as well as being a prayer counselor and pastor of Mortonsville United Methodist Church. She wrote a humor column for three years, children's KY historical fiction, a musical play "Claus and the King" which debuted in 2009, and skits for radio and tv. Her non-fiction book "Everyday Spiritual Warfare" was released in September, 2011. She and her husband Gary live in Danville, KY. They have five wonderful daughters, thirteen grandchildren, and one great grandson.

contact info for Amy: http://www.amybarkman.com/

Debbie Roome was born and raised in Africa and moved to New Zealand in 2006. Writing has been her passion since she was six years old, and she now works at it full time. Her first novel, Embracing Change, was released in 2010 and she is currently working on a second book. She also has stories in a number of anthologies and over 500 articles on various websites. In the last few years, Debbie has received a number of awards for her writing as well as placing in many competitions.

Debbie's info: http://www.debbieroome.com/



Tracy Ruckman is a freelance writer, publisher, photographer, and full-time student. She has been writing since the early '80s, when a magazine publisher asked to buy a letter she sent - he wanted to publish it as an article. She now writes fiction and nonfiction, and has recently developed a love for scriptwriting.

Tracy's info: http://www.tracyruckman.com/

Links to buy:

Amazon (print and Kindle) - http://tinyurl.com/74mwlak

Barnes & Noble - print - http://tinyurl.com/7jn82af

Barnes & Noble - Nook - http://tinyurl.com/7uffd7t

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Spotlight on Theresa Franklin and Journey to Fulfillment
1. What books/short stories/articles/poems have you written, whether published or not?
Journey to Fulfillment is my personal testimony. It chronicles the painful events in my life and how they formed my principles and convictions. Don’t Forget Daddy is a children’s book about accepting a new step-parent. A Sunny Tomorrow is a collection of Christian based stories for children. Triumph Through Trial is an adult fiction about a family whose private and public life are completely different. Night of the Cossacks, The Lesson Plan is a curriculum for teachers and home-school parents. It covers all major subjects using the novel Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh.

2. Do you have an all time favorite book? My all time favorite is always the one I just finished writing. I tend to fall in love with my books and characters.

3. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? My greatest accomplishment would have to be the lives my children. They are a blessing to me and I am proud of the people they have become.

4. What was your greatest roadblock in writing Journey to Fulfillment and others, and how did you overcome it? It was extremely emotional to relive the painful events in my life. I wrote when I was alone in the house. I allowed myself to go through the experiences and laugh or cry as I needed. It was very cathartic.

5. What advice would you give to an author just beginning? Write from your heart. Don’t just write the book, live it as you are putting the words on the paper.

6. How can readers find the book and where can they find you on the Internet? I would love for the readers to check out my blog. http://theresa-lifesjourney.blogspot.com/ There is a link to all of my books on that blog. They can also be found on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com

7. Can you tell me a little bit about your newest book? My latest book is Triumph Through Trial about a family living in crisis behind closed doors.

8. When a reader gets done with your book, what do you want them to come away with? I want the readers to have a closer relationship with God because of what they read.


Theresa Franklin grew up in Houston, Texas. After graduation she attended East Texas Baptist College. There she met her husband on a blind date. They married a short time later and moved outside of Beaumont, Texas where they raised their three children.
She taught school for 12 years. Students with disabilities won her heart and she became Director of Special Education in an effort to better serve them. She retired in 2010 and began writing children’s books.
Theresa is the author of children’s books, Don’t Forget Daddy and A Sunny Tomorrow. Her adult books include non-fiction Journey to Fulfillment and fiction Triumph Through Trial. She has written one curriculum guide for the novel Night of the Cossack, a historical fiction for young adults by Tom Blubaugh, titled Night of the Cossack, Lesson Plan.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guestblog by Joy DeKok

A Time When My Life and Fiction Intersected by Joy DeKok

From the time I could read, I wanted to write my own stories. Maybe because I was a little girl when the dream was born, I was certain I was going to write children’s books. Determined to make this happen, I wrote, read books on writing, joined critique groups, and went to conferences. Editors and other writers said, “Write articles – they reach the largest reading group.” Others said, “Write articles on topics that matter most to you.” Wanting to write for children wasn’t a topic I could write potential magazine articles, so I wrote about my life. I wrote about infertility.

At another conference, a novelist told a group of dreamers like me to write a novel involving a topic very close to our hearts. I slapped my notebook shut thinking, “No way.” A few years later I was cleaning house when an idea for a novel took up residence in my mind. It came with two well-developed characters, a plot line, and a few scenes so clear I could see them playing out movie-style. I told God it was a good idea and I hoped He’d find another writer. I reminded Him about the children’s books I wanted to write. Then, I argued with Him about what I’d been taught – autobiographical novels don’t sell. Neither do issue-based books and this one was both. Really – who wants to read about a woman who can’t have children and one who chooses abortion? It was as if I felt His eyebrow rise at me. Next I told Him, “Besides, the emotions and struggles are years in the past – I won’t remember them with the kind of clarity needed to write them into a novel.”

I thought I had Him. I really did. Instead, He reminded me of the journals stored in our basement full of my real-time struggles. I sat on the cold cement, reading my words, and weeping for the young woman I had been. He didn’t want me to waste those experiences. Still, I resisted Him. I’d never had an abortion – how could I write that character’s story? I kept reading my scribbles and there they were – women in my life who I loved dearly who had chosen abortion.

So I waved the white flag at Him and started writing. Day after day, God graced the effort. The novel became a back and forth journal of two pretend women driven by women I knew – one of them me.

My surrender wasn’t a spiritual thing as much as it was a way to get God off my back. I knew I was breaking a lot of writing rules and for a first time novelist, that’s not a great idea. On hard days when the memories or the revelations were painful, I’d stomp the foot in my heart and remind Him of all the ways this book was going to fail. I felt Him massaging my heart and preparing me for something – for a gift He had for me in the process. Blessings came and each time I was sure I’d found the one I knew He had for me.

It happened at a book signing when a beautiful women walked up to me hugging Rain Dance in her arms as if it were precious to her. She whispered in my ear, “I’m a Stacie.” I asked her if she was okay and she said, “I am now.” Later, another said, “I’m a Jonica.” At the end of the day, I stood looking at an empty table realizing that while the book was in part about me, it had always been about them. That was the gift my heavenly Father wanted me to have.

The book has been in print for awhile – I self-published it first and then Sheaf House Publishers picked it up and released it in 2010. Every week this work of fiction intersects with my real life as readers send me notes after reading the book. A few have come to faith. Others to healing and some to the point where they can offer grace instead of condemnation to women they once considered the enemy. Many have found forgiveness. A few admit they read the book to understand two types of women they just couldn’t “get” but now love and accept.

I’d expected the intersecting of my real and pretend worlds to be a head-on collision. Instead I watched God weave it gently together in a pattern and with a purpose only that could only come from Him.

You can tell your real life story or you can write it as a work of fiction. Either way, your story matters.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A new book by Joy DeKok--Your Life A Legacy

Legacy – Guest blog post for Rose McCauley January 10, 2012 (please come back tomorrow for another post by Joy)

When Life and Fiction Intersect by Joy DeKok

“Nothing goes wrong for a writer – it’s all material" (Garrison Keilor).

When things go a different direction than I’d planned, I cling to memorized Bible verses and remember the above quote. I know that at some point, God will use what I’m living in the words I write.

For example, when my husband and I moved to the country, I had no idea that the experiences God gave me with the birds I fed would become a devotional titled, Under His Wings. Or, that as I poured my heart and soul onto the pages of my journal as we walked through infertility, that God would use that part of my life in Rain Dance, a novel.

We’re told that autobiographical fiction doesn’t work. We’re also told by famous authors how they’ve used people and stories from their own lives in their writing. So, what’s a fiction author to do?

Let your life and your fiction intersect, naturally. If a part of your history breathes life into your story, it belongs there. If you have to force it, your readers will know, and they will not only lose interest in your story, but they will not be able to trust you with their time or hard-earned money.

My new book, Your Life a Legacy, is a non-fiction book full of reasons and practical ideas for people who want to preserve their stories. Part of my personal legacy involves saving the stories from a few of my ancestors with a writer’s agenda.

I’ve discovered bootleggers, a madam at an upscale house of ill-repute, a great grandmother who chased Sioux braves with her broom, tended bar with a pearl-handled pistol at her waist, and tolerated a friendly ghost. There’s an uncle who drank with Hank Williams, Sr. and an aunt who read tea leaves and trusted the Ouija board with stunning accuracy. A grandmother who sang on radio, cattle rustlers, and a great-aunt who married a movie star, then became a Chicago gangster’s moll who ended up with a price on her head. Add to this list some war heroes, prayer warriors, preachers, Dutch immigrants, and a great-great-great grandfather who was the king of Iceland. I’ve met most of them and have been loved by a few.

Reviewing this roll call of relatives, I’ve started a potential cast list for my future fiction projects. I tape my favorite picture of the person on a large index card. Then I record some of their personality traits and a few intriguing details of their lives. I know enough about them that I can easily “upgrade” them into a contemporary character – that’s part of the beauty of fiction.

When I get stuck, I can turn to these cards for inspiration. I’ve lived an ordinary almost beige life, so it’s fun to record the stories of my family’s renegades. If they slip into the story I’m working on with an easy blend of energy and grace, I welcome them to the pages. Otherwise, I take what they can teach me, and wait – the time for them to be in a story hasn’t come yet.

Joy DeKok Bio

Joy started writing as a little girl. She carries a large purse so she can take her journal and an assortment of pens with her.
Joy lives on thirty-five acres of woods and field in Minnesota between Rochester and Pine Island. She’s been married to Jon for thirty-five years and they enjoy their many nieces and nephews. Their dogs, Sophie and Tucker, keep them company when they explore the land riding their John Deere Gator or while watching the many birds that visit their feeders.
She has seven books in print and is working on a novel series featuring main character, Olivia Morgan. Joy is also developing a writing group called, Write Yourself Strong, for hurting women.
Faith is a vital part of Joy’s life. When she was sixteen, Joy asked God to find her and He did.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Our First Monday Musings of 2012

I spent about half of the Mondays last year doing spotlights on other authors and plan to do that some more this year, but for today I want to share with you some wise words from Chuck Swindoll on Attitude.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes. In 2012 may we choose to have the "mind (attitude) of Christ."

Friday, January 06, 2012

Fridays with Friends--Lillian Duncan

For our first Friday with Friends post of 2012 I am happy to introduce you to Lillian Duncan and her book Deception. And if you read to the end you can hear how you can enter her contest to win a NOOK on her website.

Here's how the backcover blurb describes this exciting novel:
Twins are supposed to have an unbreakable bond, but Patti and Jamie have serious “relationship issues.” Patti hasn’t seen Jamie since her twin ruined her upcoming nuptials years before. When a niece she knows nothing about calls, Patti must unravel the yarn of Jamie’s life and her disappearance.

Detective Carter Caldwell takes his job seriously, and it's his job to keep Patti and her adorable niece safe. But Patti is determined to help find her sister. Each step brings her closer to the truth, but pulls her further into a web of danger and deception.

They must find the courage and faith to continue the search for her sister. Her journey will take her down a road of deception where they will have to fight for her life and the lives of countless Americans.

To celebrate the release of DECEPTION, Lillian has a no-strings attached contest on her website (http://www.lillianduncan.net/) until Feb. 1. Grand prize is a NOOK.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Two more great Christmas books! A Quaker Christmas and On Christmas Morning

I read one of these book the hectic week before Christmas, then started the other one but didn't get time to finish it until two days ago, as I'm sure most wives, moms and grandmothers can understand! But I still want to go on and do the reviews in hopes that some of you will buy them now to read later.

The first book I want to tell you about is A Quaker Christmas, pubbed by Barbour. Like my anthology, this book contains 4 novellas, each written by a different author. I enjoyed the varieties of stories in this collection. The first one by Lauralee Bliss is set in an inn run by a Quaker family. One of the guests doesn't seem to like being there when he first arrives, then later stays around. Could the innkeeper's daughter have something to do with that?

The second story by Ramona K. Cecil is centered around a pregnant widow and her husband's friend who comes to her aid.  But he bears a secret he thinks will drive them apart if she ever finds out. Can they both find and give the forgiveness they each need?

I've never heard of pirates and Quakers joining, but Rachael Phillips combines them in a fun story about a man from a pirate family who rescues a Quaker maiden, leading to her falling for his brother before she finally is rescued by the first man from another mistake.

The final story ups the tension with a newlywed wife of a Quaker who chooses to lead a pregnant slave to freedom on the Underground Railroad while her husband is out of town.  All of these stories take place during the Christmas season, and I found it interesting to read about the various ways and extent some Quakers joined in Christmas celebrations.

Although our Walmart no longer has these Barbour anthologies, I think you can still find them at your local Christian bookstore, Lifeway stores, and online at cbd.com and amazon.com

The final Christmas book I read this Christmas season is Love Finds You on Christmas Morning, pubbed by Summerside Press. I've enjoyed several of their Love Finds you in...collections. This one is a little different in that the title does not bear the name of a real town (although both stories take place in Cary, North Carolina), and there are two stories, one historical and one contemporary, both by a different author. I liked this format, and hope they will do more of these in the future.

The first story Deck the Halls by Debby Mayne, was set right before the depression, and the story tells of a young hardworking girl with an injured father who has to work to support her parents. A young man from one of the prosperous farms in the area seeks her out, but does she dare to hope he really is interested in her? Or are they from two different lifestyles?

The last story 'Tis the Season by Trish Perry, is set in the present day, with a great-granddaughter of the couple in the first story dreaming of buying and restoring the home her great-grandparents built, only to have it bought out from under her. Can she bear to help the buyer restore it? What will happen when he finds out her connection to the house? Both enjoyable reads!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year to all, especially to Vannetta Chapman!

Vannetta is the winner of Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees by Beverly Varnado. And anyone with a US mailing addy who leaves a comment during the month of January will be eligible to win a copy of Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes, so leave a comment on this post and the rest of the month for more chances!

Here is the review I posted for Dry as Rain in Nov. 2011:

Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes

A book review by Rose McCauley

When I first started, I wasn't sure I would like this book, but I ended up loving it! It is written in 1st person which I don't read a lot of and was written solely in the POV of the male character, but it works well! Gina Holmes is a master at getting you inside the POV character's head, and his POV was the perfect one for this story.

I don't want to give away a lot of the details because I want you to read this book for yourself, so I will share some of the back cover blurb: "When Eric and Kyra Yoshida first met, they thought their love would last forever. But like many marriages, theirs has gradually crumbled, one thoughtless comment and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal pushes them beyond reconciliation...A richly engaging story of betrayal and redemption, Dry as Rain illuminates with striking emotional intensity the surprising truth of what it means to forgive."

One additional thing I want to say is that I disagree with another review I read that said this kind of book should not be published by a Christian publisher. If that is true, they better be careful reading their Bible, because they will be exposed to a lot worse! The story of David and Bathsheba has a less satisfying ending than this story does!

So, bottom line, I hope you will give this book a try so you won't miss out on a great read from a great writer! I give the book and lovely cover both 5 stars!