Palmer’s Lotion to Rejuvenate Winter Skin

It is a perfect time to review our next product Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Coconut Body Lotion. The wonderful scent of coconut will remind us of warmer weather and the soothing lotion will rehydrate our winter skin.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Coconut Body Lotion

This lotion is vegan-friendly, which means it has not been tested on animals. It does not list any animal ingredients either. It is also free of dyes, parabens, and phthalates. Another active ingredient is Vitamin E. It is a coconut lotion that is a 48-hour moisturizer according to the information. Now, it works, but I don’t know if it keeps your skin moisturized that long, but it does help keep your skin feeling amazing for a long time. This is a product designed to hydrate the skin using coconut oil as well as green coffee extract. It leaves the skin feeling wonderful. It also shows a radiant and healthy glow to your skin.

I recommend this item because it smells great and you can feel it hydrating as you apply it. The smooth and moisturizing feel does last a while, I mean it might not be days, but you’ll notice it throughout the day. It isn’t too greasy a lotion and sometimes lotions are a heavy texture, but this isn’t. The scent is just right too.

The coconut oil used is Fair Trade Certified Organic. I don’t know if that makes it better, but the lotion certainly does feel great. Palmer’s is known for providing quality ingredients that are natural and they strive for it in this product as well.

Using this is great for any time whether applying it after a bath or when you notice your skin needs it. Use it every day though for the best results. I recommend this product. It smells good and we got the desired results of rejuvenated skin no matter the season.

This lotion is available in stores and at Amazon.com. Find a value size of 33.8 oz. for less than $12 at Amazon.com as one option. It even has a pump!

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Many Anne of Green Gables Inspirations to Enjoy

This has been a busy month, which means I am just now getting to another blog. So, it also means I’ll need to work to fill these last weeks with our goal of at least four blogs a month. Yet, I have plenty of material and have had a few on the back burner for a while waiting to be finished as we have had many blog tours this past year — that’s awesome.

Anne of Green Gables is a wonderful series of books. I have enjoyed reading the books and watching the TV series for as long as I can remember. I have had many books in the last several years that have been related to this series. I have been saving them for a theme blog. I actually have enough for two blogs or more really. I thought this month would be perfect to feature some. I really wanted to publish on a special day related to the book or the author. Nevertheless, I needed a blog and since I have enough for several, I thought I want to go ahead and publish. This is perfect because I have been thinking about this world and this character lately. I have missed it.

I have been wanting to watch the 1980s TV series lately. I have watched the newest TV series and broadcasts, which all have been good. But really none can compare, for me, to the 1980 adaptation with Megan Fellows and the late Jonathan Crombie. It has been difficult to find this version though. Therefore, I have felt the void leaving me wanting to visit Anne in some way. Therefore, here is the blog.

All the books reviewed today are surrounded in some way by the classic characters and stories created by L.M. Montgomery in her Anne of Green Gables creation.

Anne Arrives

Anne Arrives: Inspired by Anne of Green Gables by Kallie George is a delightful book from beginning to end from story to illustrations. It is a book full of charm that is perfect for early readers. It is full of the Anne Shirley charm featuring when she arrives to stay with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert.

We get to know the creative and imaginative mind of Anne. We also learn about the wonderful characters in Avonlea as they interact with our redheaded Anne. The writer has done a wonderful job adapting this story for younger readers. The illustrations are divine and full of color perfect for the story. I recommend it for all readers whether you are a young reader or a fan of Anne and her world.

This is available at Amazon.com for less than $9.

Anne’s Colors

This children’s book is adorable. Anne’s Colors: Inspired by Anne of Green Gables is created by the artist Kelly Hill. This is a board book. It is ideal for anyone that likes Anne of Green Gables, but it is also a beautiful way to talk about colors. It is part of a series of concept books featuring Anne of Green Gables. Others include numbers, which I will be reviewing today. I will review other books in this series in another Anne featured blog or two. I recommend these and all the others in the series I have had a chance to read. They are beautiful and perfect for an Anne of Green Gables fan. Yet you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy this book. It is beautiful and does a wonderful job showing the concept of color.

The art is cute as well as beautiful. I love the embroidery fabric idea. It is creative. The book includes special moments — for those that have read the stories you will notice such as Gilbert pulling Anne’s red hair and Anne and Diana sharing raspberry cordial. This is a color concept book. Therefore, the scenes will focus on a color. The text is perfect for little readers.

This is available at Amazon.com for less than $8.

Anne’s Numbers

Another adorable book in the concept series features numbers. The illustrations again are delightful with beautiful colors of embroidered fabric. Anne’s Numbers: Inspired by Anne of Green Gables by artist Kelly Hill is perfect for fans or those wanting to introduce the story while also featuring numbers. This charming book going on a nature walk with number as Anne does in the books. You count trees with her and many other things along the way.

The scenes in the book you might notice from the classic book. There are many chances to count in this book to help teach numbers with Anne. I recommend this cute idea for a counting and number learning book especially for young Anne fans or future readers of Anne’s stories.

This is available at Amazon.com for less than $8.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery by Isabel Sanchez Vegara is part of the acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series. I have read others in this series where they feature the lives of important people from engineers to authors such as this important author the famous Canadian L.M. Montgomery. I am usually happy with what I read and fascinated with what I learn. It is true with this book as well.

I have read about her before, well several times. I enjoy learning about authors, especially those of favorite stories. Learning what inspired them and how they lived is interesting. It shows more about why and how their stories and books came to be created. This is a wonderful book for youth. It is a delightful series of books for youth. Youth are inspired and they learn about important people in history. It is a well-designed book with easy-to-understand information. The illustrations are charming. It also includes a timeline and extra facts, which are outstanding.

This is available from Amazon.com for around $7.

Historical Fiction Series Starts with Emma, Plus other Non-Fiction Read

Happy 2023! We are starting the blog this year with a book tour and giveaway. We actually have two books to feature, but the main book is Emma: Heritage Series Volume 1. It is a Historical Fiction book and as I mentioned before this is one of my favorite genres to read so I jumped on the chance to read it. The other book is Daniel Brown Boultinghouse & Mary Jane Russell:
which is a Collection of Civil War Letters and Family Documents with Genealogical & Historical Commentary
Compiled by Susan Diane Black Blackmon, the same author as the other book. It is a Historical Non-Fiction, which is something I also enjoy. I have reviewed both books too! I was really looking forward to reading and sharing these books with you!

Emma
Heritage Series Volume 1
by Susan Diane Black Blackmon
Genre: Historical Fiction

Emma lay very still, her eyes tightly closed. Sometimes – if she concentrated – she could make out her Momma’s face.
She was the youngest child of eighteen. She had barely been two when her beloved Momma died. Papa had managed to keep body and soul together for a little more than a year, not an easy task with four little ones underfoot. The older children had been a help to him, especially Betsy and Maggie. The bigger boys had helped with the farm’s never-ending chores, but it was never enough.
Papa was different. Losing Momma had hurt him deeply. His gentle eyes were sad. Even when he had given her horsey rides, his smile had never quite reached his eyes.
Emma supposed they shouldn’t have been surprised when Papa had come home one day and brought them a new ‘mother.’ Honestly, her memories of that day were fuzzy. She knew much of what she recalled was from what the older children had said in hushed voices behind ‘Mother’s’ back.
No one had wanted Papa to be sad, but why did she have to be their new mother?

Based on her maternal great-grandmother and some of the events in her life, much of the story is fiction. However, there are threads of reality woven throughout Emma’s story.
The real-life Emma was, in fact, the youngest in a family of eighteen children, which included three sets of twins and a set of quadruplets. Yes, the article in The Austin Weekly Statesman suggested the fair association should invite the family to attend as “honored guests” when the quadruplet girls were born.

As to the rest, it is up to the reader to decide, fact or fiction.

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I liked the design of this book. There are also some illustrations found throughout, which are fitting for the story. You can tell this book is a labor of love and is well researched. It is an interesting read. If you enjoy this genre then it is a good choice.

It is a well written story. The story of strength and survival is well done. The writer brings us into the world and we feel we are there. We are watching as we are being whispered the story as it happens. The details are what is needed to tell such a story and helps bring readers into each page.

I look forward to reading more in this Heritage series. I am sure it will continue to be great and I would not be shocked to find it to continue to improve in what it brings to readers. I like how it is written overall keeping the reader thinking. It is wonderful in a historical fiction book. What is fact? What is fiction? As the reader you are left to “decide, fact or fiction”.

Daniel Brown Boultinghouse & Mary Jane Russell:
A Collection of Civil War Letters and Family Documents with Genealogical & Historical Commentary

Compiled by Susan Diane Black Blackmon
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction

Daniel Brown “D. B.” Boultinghouse and Mary Jane (Russell), his wife, migrated from Scott County, Arkansas to Texas sometime between March 1849 and June 1850. We know that in 1850, their neighbors in Lampasas County, Texas were Mary Jane’s older brother, D. W. Russell and her father, John.
For thirteen years, the only remarkable events that were documented in their lives are the births and deaths of six small children. As if that were not enough to crush the souls of this young couple, in 1861 their lives were changed forever by the American Civil War.
Hidden away for 158 years, the letters that chronicled their daily lives quietly passed from generation to generation, until finally making their way into the hands of the author. The unrealized dream of D. B. and Mary Jane’s great-grandson, Joe Lee Mankins, was to share these family treasures with his family and the world.
Blended with family documents and stories as well as historical commentary, the reader will be caught up in the story and transported to a simpler yet more difficult era. Ninety-one pages of letters, many with images of the originals, are transcribed for ease of reading.

On Sale!

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This is a fantastic non-iction collection. I enjoyed reading it. It is a fantastic work of research put together into an interesting book. I apprrecate her dedication and attention to detail. These are both important for such a book. You can tell the author put much into the efforts of this book. It shows though in the end result.

The illustrations, photos and other graphics in this book add great depth. All of these elements create interest and add to the important information as well as explaining everything. Anyone that enjoys nonfiction will enjoy reading this book, but if you enjoy history the photos alone will interest you. Though these are just the icing on the cake to the treasures of information displayed on every page. Pictures and handwritten items are delightful drawing you back in time.

This is a great combination of real elements shown in photos for example and information shared throughout. I recommend this book. It is a well designed. The illustrations with written elements are easy to read, which are interesting to read. It is a perfect touch for a nonfiction book and is fits. Ths excerpt below shows that.

Who knew that a Junior High School History assignment would turn into a passion for genealogy which has become a love of historical fiction stories?
In 1976, the assignment was to write an autobiography and fill out a Pedigree Chart – thus began “The Tale of the Beautiful Princess or Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Me, But Were Afraid to Ask,” and 45-plus years of researching my family.
Countless hours of my ‘MamMaw’ and Great-aunt Ruth sharing the stories of my ancestors have resulted in the publication of two sets of genealogy books on my Boultinghouse and Driver lines. A third set on the John Gray Parks family is in the works.
In 2022, I was privileged to bring to life the dream of my late cousin, Joe Lee Mankins. The Daniel Brown Boultinghouse & Mary Jane Russell Civil War Letters book is a story of love and heartbreak in the written words of the main characters. The book contains images of many original letters, some more than 171 years old. Not to worry, each page has a transcript for easier reading.
After so many years of research, I have many stories and anecdotes in my mind. With a ‘nudge’ from my older sister, some of those stories wandered onto the page and became Emma.
Based on my maternal great-grandmother and some of the events in her life, much of the story is fiction. However, there are threads of reality woven throughout Emma’s story.
The real-life Emma was, in fact, the youngest in a family of eighteen children, which included three sets of twins and a set of quadruplets. Yes, the article in The Austin Weekly Statesman suggested the fair association should invite the family to attend as “honored guests” when the quadruplet girls were born.
As to the rest, it is up to the reader to decide, fact or fiction.

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The giveaway includes $50 from Amazon, Signed Hardcover of Emma, and Signed Hardcover of Daniel Brown Boultinghouse & Mary Jane Russell.

Good luck and let me know if you win!!

What inspired you to write this book?
My older sister was bugging me constantly. I did it to appease her, and as it turns out, I love it. Thanks, Becky!

What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on Volume II of this series – Celey is the story of Emma’s grandmother – Ma Marcus. This character is based on my great-great-great-grandmother. The real Celey’s husband was murdered in Arkansas in 1851. I’m having a lot of fun with the “villain” in this one.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Census records. I would browse records in my genealogy and pick the first name here and the last name there.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Remembering family stories. Often when we’ve heard a story many times, we tend to forget it. While working on Emma, I would find myself running through the stories my MamMaw told me that I hadn’t thought of in years.

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Matilda is a selfish, miserable person. Nothing is her fault, and everyone owes her.
Ben is so overcome with loss and grief that he’s drowning. He’s let life happen around him with no effort to engage.
Emma doesn’t see herself the way others do. In her mind, she is responsible for the happiness and safety of her family.

How did you come up with the title of the book?
When I started writing, Emma was what came out.

Who designed your book covers?
Me. I’m a bit of a control freak. I know what I like and want, and I make it happen.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I did change a lot. As soon as I dropped off the printed version with my sister, I started editing with a vengeance.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would love to spend the day with the real Ma Marcus. I have a million questions for her about her first husband, who was murdered in Arkansas, and her mother.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
All of the main characters are based on real people in my family. There are “filler” characters that are entirely fictional.

Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?’-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.

Stuff about Writing/ Reading:
Do you read yourself, and if so, what is your favorite genre?

Avidly. My favorite is fiction. Anything from Little House on the Prairie to Harry Potter. Agatha Christie to Nora Roberts.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
What is this silence of which you speak? With five cats, grandkids, and life in general, I’m not sure what silence is.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I’m writing Celey, but ideas about which stories to use for a third book, Willa, are rolling around in my brain.

Pen or type writer or computer?
COMPUTER!!! My hands always cramp when I use a pen. I hated having to write essays in school.

What makes a good story?
Something the author is passionate about.

What are you currently reading?
Income tax updates for the coming tax season – gotta finish my continuing education.

What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
It just spills out of my head. The closest I get to an outline is a list of characters and which stories I want to use.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Emma took two weeks. Celey is a bit more stubborn, but I haven’t had as much free time.

NOTE: This blog was written with and provided by media kit information from the SILVER DAGGER BOOK TOURS Host team. The books were provided to me to read allowing me to provide my own thoughts for reviews.

Great Trash Bag Perfect for the Holidays

Whether you are going to have tons of Holiday guests or preparing for many Holiday gatherings or perhaps you are looking for another trash bag for everyday use we have a new option to introduce to you. We have been provided one to help you get rid of your wrapping paper and any other Holiday leftovers or trash this time of year — well any time. It is a new Glad Trash Bag. We were provided with this one and I thought this month would be a wonderful time to provide it as our review blog item.

I don’t know about you. It doesn’t matter if we are going anywhere or not. We have plenty of trash bags beside us when happily opening gifts and need a trash bag for the discarded wrapping paper. We are grateful for our time together and grateful to be able to give gifts to one another. These moments are the best gifts. Even our children seem to know that, which is wonderful!

Glad’s ForceFlexPlus with Clorox Tall Kitchen Trash Bags

We were provided a perfect trash bag for any trash from wrapping paper to leftovers. It is Glad’s ForceFlexPlus with Clorox Tall Kitchen trash bags. Though it is designed to help eliminate food and bacterial odors and it does it very well we used it for everything and would recommend it. It does great for what it is designed and advertised as being geared for daily use. It is strong in fighting odors and we didn’t have trouble with holes being formed with the items we put inside either.

The scent is delightful. The eucalyptus and peppermint work well together. As you know scents can sometimes be overwhelming to me and I didn’t notice too much from the start. It has a pleasant scent overall. It also helped eliminate food odors. I would get this one again.

This trash bag is a 13-gallon kitchen bag and is dual-layered. It also has a hexagon pattern for a design to help reduce leaks and tears. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when there are yucky things in a trash bag and the trash bag rips making all of it fall on the floor or in the trash can leaving a mess to clean up.

It also has a drawstring, which I enjoy having a trashbag with these, but sometimes these are not strong enough and break. I didn’t have any trouble with this one and it made the job of taking out the trash easy, which is wonderful. I know wonderful and taking out the trash do not go together, but it makes the job a little better and easier, which makes me grateful.

If you are considering this trash bag or the other scents in the line, which there are several that are just as wonderful, they fit select trash can sizes — I recommend it.

Found in stores for less than $6 for a 20-count box and at Amazon.com.

Merry Christmas and may you have a wonderful, safe New Year!!

Read, Learn About the Secret Santa Claus Club

While we’re on the topic of holiday books, let’s feature another one in this blog — Secret Santa Claus Club by Jeff Janke. You might consider adding it to your holiday gift list or reading list because it is a good one. It is a creative story with beautiful illustrations.

SPECIAL NOTE: This is a special book for older children. It is a story about the Magic of Christmas and as we get older how the magic may change.

BOOK DETAILS

Secret Santa Claus Club is a book about a little girl looking back at each Christmas and remembering the magic of the holiday. Toward the end of the book, she starts to doubt Santa Claus, but she isn’t ready to learn the truth just yet. The next year she’s ready to know, and her parents invite her to be part of the Secret Santa Claus Club. She learns that even though Santa Claus isn’t a real person, the magic of Christmas still exists through giving and creating magic. She realizes that her parents were Santa Claus the whole time, and how much work they did to make her holiday special. The very end of the book has rules of the Club, which include keeping the secret and helping spread the magic to believers.

REVIEW

I was thrilled to get this book to read and provide a review to you. It is a special book that is a nice read for the holiday. I like a little something special for older children and families. This is a cute story wonderful for the season. If you have a child that is older and asking about Santa Claus this might be the perfect special book to read. It could be a great new tradition and next step for a child and family.

This book does a wonderful job of helping tell the story of Santa as children get older. Christmas magic may evolve through the telling of this story. I suggest reading the book first to make sure it is good for you and your family. You may find it is a perfect story or you may find your child is not ready yet for the SSCC. Save it for the right time and prepare for this special time in your family’s life. If you know another family that may be ready you can let them know about this book so they can explore their own book. Sharing the magic is a great holiday gift for that family.

This is is a wonderful time to share the special story of SSCC. Letting others know about this delightful story will bring nice memories to a family. I recommend checking out this book and tradition. It might be the right fit for you.

NOTE: This blog was written with and provided by media kit information from the Author Marketing Experts team and the author. The book was also provided to me for my review.

Reading Other Santa Books for the Holidays

Sometimes we are looking for a book or a series of books to read and finding such to read during the holidays is an added bonus. Today’s stop on the Book Tour is for The Other Santa. There are four books included with details and an excerpt from each. If you are looking for some feel-good reading and a little romance that is full of the holiday season these look like books that will fit your list — no need to check it twice — but maybe read them twice. I know I look forward to learning more about them.

A Christmas Miracle
The Other Santa Book 1
by Anna Del C Dye
Genre: Feel-Good Christmas Miracles, Light Romance

For a girl of twenty, Angieline is uncommonly wise. Perhaps losing her mother at five years old, shaped her this way. Though, the presence of her forty-three-year-old tutor and the secrets they share could be closer to the truth. She and Mario, her tutor/adopted father, have been in many towns in the USA. Though their strange deeds could make them targets for unscrupulous people, they keep going even if it leads to the end of their undertakings.

When James, the reporter, appears in their lives, right before Christmas, their secrets become hard to keep and their lies threaten to catch up with them. Torn between duty and love, she will have to make peace with her heart one way or the other. Though her choice could break not only her and his heart but, the heart of her tutor or the children’s orphanage that desperately needs a miracle for Christmas.

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A New Assignment

“I hope we will find something for our purpose here and soon,” Mario Tuzzini exclaimed. He sat across from his ward, Angieline Tuzzini, a cup of coffee in his hand.
“My eyes and ears haven’t picked up anything yet.” Angie shrugged her shoulders from the side of the table where she enjoyed scrambled eggs.
“The longer we stay, the longer people will have to recognize us. That will make it easier to find us in the future,” Mario told her.
Angie was enjoying a hot chocolate on this cold morning, in the bed and breakfast where they rented a room.  “What do you expect? Everywhere we pull one of our schemes it is bound to make people think of us. It’s not like we keep low profiles during our ‘work’.”
“I would prefer that they didn’t get so close to us,” he insisted. “We will be hunted if people get into our business, and we won’t be able to do any of this anymore.”
“I’ve been with you for twelve years and you still think of me as a little girl.” She frowned.
“I suppose that at twenty, you are a grown woman,” Mario conceded.
For a girl of twenty, she was uncommonly wise, perhaps losing her mother when she was quite young had shaped her into what she was now, a quiet, caring, intelligent young woman. But, the presence of Mario in her early life could also be a reason.
“And I would have to say that you are right. Now let me do my job and quit treating me like a baby.”
“All right…I get it. What are you planning for us today?” Mario queried with a glance into her green eyes.
“I will look into our project,” Angie answered with her hot chocolate midway to her red lips.
“Have you given thought to what it is that you would like to do this time?” he asked.
“It’s December, I’m sure something will come up,” she responded. “People are more giving at this time of year, and we’re good at helping them put it to good use.”
“It does look like it will be a bitter Christmas,” Mario looked outside the window at the big crop of snowflakes drifting down to join the pile of white snow on the ground. “Angie, we’ve been here two days, what do you think about Canopy City?”
He turned on the radio next to the green sofa where he sat and waited for her answer while the radio warmed up.
“This town is suffering from the recession like many small towns we have seen before,” Angie answered.
“Nothing new though. We have pulled through before with less. I’m confident that we’ll be successful here too.”

Peace Toward Men
The Other Santa Book 2 

Mario takes Angie, his daughter, out of Charleston to forget her beau’s sudden departure. On their way to Osage, they have an accident and meet the most interesting people in a quaint small town which is suffering from the depression’s pains and self-isolation. Will Angie be able to recuperate from her broken heart and the injuries from the accident in time to aid their new friends before they succumb to want and despair?

The Departure

“It may be that I feel more like a humbug than a merry ho, ho, ho, at this moment, but the Depression and Christ­mas don’t add up in my head, Angie.”
“Oh, James, what is the matter? I thought you liked Christ­mas.” Angie Tuzzini ran to his arms and he held her in silencefor a moment.
“Well, I guess I have to cope. After all, Christmas is only once a year.”
She didn’t understand why would he feel this way. Eve­rything had felt right the night before. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, silly.”
“We are in a depression, Angie…. How can you be so cheery on this cold December morning?”
Could it have something to do with the telegram he had received the night before? He hadn’t mentioned it to her aftershe gave it to him.
“Christmas has magic, James, or have you forgotten so soon our last year’s Christmas project?”
James let her go and walked toward the small window of the Grand Hotel where they had stayed for the past month.
“How could I? That is when we almost didn’t become a couple.”
Yes, she had almost lost him to the secrets of her and Mario’s life. The sadness of that time came back to Angie’s heart. She had to focus on James’ chocolate eyes before she could send the memory away.
“But we did. Let’s focus in all the projects we have done since then…, instead of all this dark talk.”
His soft, pale skin showed little pink spots. It was a sign that he had a plan, though he didn’t know how to approach and tell her.
“You truly are my sunshine, Angie, and it is hard for me to tell you this…”
“What is wrong, James? Is everything all right with your family?”
James had a mother and three stepbrothers with her new husband. Although she had never met them, he had men­tioned them to her.
“Yes, they are…. I just sent them the Christmas money yesterday.”
If it was not his family, then it must be his job as a report­er, but what about it had him so down?
He turned toward her, though his dark curls were all she could see, as his head bowed to the floor. Sadness emanatedfrom him and somehow her breath caught in her throat.
“There are some countries that seem to be making … changes to their policies and great numbers of men are beingcalled to action. They are restless and I need to go find out why.”
“You need to go and find out … why? And how do you know this?” Her eyes closed without permission and a cool hand touched her back. His story felt wrong.
“As reporter, I have sources in many places, Angie, you know this. However, our government has asked me to go and investigate for them.”
“The government? James, why don’t they send their experts?”
“I have the best cover to get in and ask questions as a news correspondent.”
He didn’t understand her apprehension. Why couldn’t he? Her heart contracted and she didn’t know why. No, this really spelled… what?
“Wouldn’t that be dangerous, James?”
“All my assignments could be dangerous, Angie. It comes with my profession.”
He wasn’t taking her apprehensions seriously enough, or…
“You already made the decision, didn’t you?”
“I have.”
“That is why you are talking so negatively this morning. You wanted a reason for me to let you go and approve of whatyou are going to do.”
“Angie, you aren’t fair. I have done what you and Mario wanted for a year, I believe it’s my turn to do as I want, don’t you?”
“What we wanted? I thought you wanted to do it with us?”
“I did it because I love you, not because I love what you do.”
She sat heavily on the pale blue velvet chair nearest to her.
“This past year I thought we were destined to be together, that I had found my soul mate. And all along, you did it for me, not because you believe in what we do.”
“You believe in it, that was enough for me.”
She had been played for a fool. The silence grew thick while the hands of the tower clock down the street refused to move.
“James, when will you be back?” She stood and went to him, to make the sensation of distance growing between them disappear.
“I don’t know. Angie, our country needs me and I want to do my duty. This is more important than what you do or us.”
“Really? It is more important than us?”
“As you said, this is a dangerous assignment. I won’t let you waste your time waiting for me.”
No, that wasn’t the answer she wanted or expected from his lips. He was willing to let her go for this project. Why hadn’t she seen it before?
“Just like that and it is all over?”
“I set you free, for your own good, Angie. If, when I return, you are still free, I’ll find you and we’ll talk then.”
“I see. You have it all planned out and didn’t even think to include me in your decisions.” A cold fire started in her heart and engulfed her whole body. She took her arms and wrapped them about herself in an effort to stop it.
“This is something I need to do. Your opinion wasn’t needed.”
“When you are a couple, there isn’t a mine or yours, it’s always ours, James.”
“I’m sorry, Angie. This is important to me and I will do it.”

Upon a Midnight Clear
The Other Santa Book 3 

Life has been interesting from the day Angie was conceived. Why would her twentieth year of life be different? Her fiancé left her for his career only to die in Europe just a few weeks before Christmas. Still, she and Mario manage to complete a wonderful Christmas project in the town of Jere.

Now the new year brings bad news about Mario’s father and the prospects of meeting him for the first time makes her heart turn cold. How can she refuse Mario her help, when he has never asked anything from her to repay all he has done for her since he adopted her at five years old?

She considers herself strong, though, with her grandfather as a project, the challenge may prove to be the hardest she has ever worked on. Afraid of not being ready to face her past as the daughter of a monster, she also worries that she may lose her place in Mario’s heart. Will her grandfather tear her jolly life apart, or does she still have a chance for a merry life after all?

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​“Who are you?”
Angie’s heart stopped as she turned to face the biggest fear she had ever had…, Mr. Tuzzini Sr. staring back at her.
“It’s you…. How dare you enter my house? You aren’t welcome in my home…, get out. You stole my son and I will never forgive you for that. Get out.”
Angie’s heart broke in two and her eyes swam in unshed tears. She ran out at the same time that Beth and Nadinerushed into the room.
“Mr. Tuzzini, what have you done?” Nadine’s voice sounded far away as Angie hurried to wait for her ride out­side. Then a set of arms took her in an embrace.
They felt familiar, and she thought Mario must be there. She cried so hard that she couldn’t see a thing. When she felt tucked in the safest arms she could be and knew she had been carried outside by the change of temperature, she thought Mario would take her away from there to a safe place and she calmed down.
“He is wrong, Angie. You are the most thoughtful person I have ever met and what he said is just a sick man coming back to life.” The voice, though soothing, didn’t belong to Mario. She opened her eyes to find Scott’s face inches from hers. “Please don’t cry, he didn’t mean it. He doesn’t know all you have done for him.”
“It isn’t that, Scott. He opened a wound too deep to be cared for with just a few consoling words. I need to get out of here, now!”
“Please don’t go, or at least let me come with you.”
“That is out of the question, Scott. I know you care for me, and I can’t deal with that at the moment. I need time to heal on my own, or I will never be able to come back at all.”
“Where will you be, Angie? May I write to you…, please.”
“In Greentown, but I don’t know how long I’ll stay there. I will contact Mario as soon as I’m settled…. I promise.”
“Does he know you are leaving, Angie? Did he know his father would treat you so foully?”
“There isn’t a way we could have guessed how his father would react to me, Scott. But now I know. I can’t stay. Please understand that one day I will tell you all. I just can’t right now. He broke my heart and what I have to tell you will finish the job. I can’t handle it right now.”

The Angels Sing
The Other Santa Book 4 

Will this white Christmas bring Angels singing or a Silent night?

Tragedy strikes billionaires Mario and Beth Tuzzini and the Santa projects may be the only thing that can help them overcome it.
Scott and Angie, Mario’s daughter, had a hard time when their Santa’s project couldn’t start. An innocent mistake put them on the mayor’s black list as the children pay when one of them is almost killed?
Things aren’t always joyful in The Angels Sing and many things must happen before they can share a Merry day together. The Angels Sing is the standalone book four of the depression era series the Other Santa.

Amazon * B&N

“Mario, do you remember what you did in Angie’s mother situation?” His shoulders tensed and his hands clenched tighteron the wheel. “I…” She couldn’t continue as the thought that Mario might kill their doctor made her heart split in two. She needed to know what Mario had on his mind. That possible answer was eating her from the inside out.
“No, my sweet Beth. I will never take the law in my hands again.” He reached for her hand. “If I learned anything with that experience it’s that it didn’t a change a thing. I was misera­ble without Tanya and she existed without her past to help her cope. Besides, Tom told me that we are all humans and bound to make mistakes, and that to forgive is a commandment.”
“Thank you. I’m afraid I did worry too much about it and I didn’t know what to do.”
“Please, sweetheart, never keep your questions from me. Next time, ask me at the first chance. It won’t do to have you worry without a cause. Besides, I did promise never to lie to you, remember…? I mean it.”
“Yes, you did, my love. I’m so sorry, I felt so helpless. I couldn’t tell what was wrong with me, and I was too embar­rassed to have you check me out. If I had, our baby might be alive now.” Her shoulders shook and Mario stopped the car to hold her in his arms. The morning was sunny, though her thoughts felt cold and sad.
“I don’t think so, sweetheart. Though, I understand it’s a step of the mourning process to blame oneself. I too blamed myself for not being in tune enough to have noticed your dis­comfort.”
“You did? You must be right, Mario. It would have never occurred to me to blame you.”
“Nor do I blame you, my dearest Beth.”
His lips over hers let her know that it might take time, yet they would be all right together.
After a comfortable silence, “Mario,” said Beth, “Tom told me that when we look too much at our insides, we can’t seemuch other than despair. But when we look all about us, we can always find someone who is having a worse time than us. That is what helps us go through our trials, focusing on others.”
They both sat with their thoughts for a moment.
“I know it to be true, my husband. When mother passed, helping the people of Osage is what kept me going. When thehospital in Osage wouldn’t permit me to stay, I moved to Jere after I heard they had closed the clinic there. It would havebeen too painful with too many things to remind me of mother back in Charleston.”
“Beth, would you like to take a walk in that park? I see a small pond there.”
“The sunshine would do us both good.” Though, she al­ready knew he was her sunbeam.
They got down and, hand in hand, walked up the path to the pond in silence without hurry. Not many souls were there,since at eleven in the morning most people would be otherwise occupied.
“Beth, before we left, I asked an investigator to look into your doctor.”
Beth stopped as cold blood rushed to her chest. She didn’t like what the silence did in her mind so she stated, “I thought you said…”
“I did and I promise I won’t do anything wrong, sweet­heart. I was curious if this was neglect or a human error. I’ll be all right with either, I assure you. Although, if he has caused this pain to others, I’ll ask the investigator to make a report to the medical authorities. If it was an error, I, want to see if we can help so no one else has to go through this as we did.”
“Thank you, Mario. I can live with that.”
“I didn’t want to have a secret from you.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anna was born in the extreme South along some famous beaches. She moved to the USA to marry her husband Rodney and has resided in Utah since then. Her husband, a native of Idaho, met her in her hometown. They fell in love and she came to Utah on Christmas Eve to be married two weeks later. They are the parents of three princes and a princess.

Anna lives in Taylorsville Utah.Anna is an accomplished seamstress and had the opportunity of doing costumes for the cast of four musicals, a pioneer play and for Utah’s own Fantasy Con, which she enjoyed immensely. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Anna is an award-winning author of more than thirty publications in Young Adults wholesome fantasy (7 books) and royal tales in the medieval era, (8 books and counting). Christmas stories of the depression era for older teens (4 books and 2 more to come). Middle grade fairytales for pre-teens (1 book). She also writes Halloweeny stories for tweens (6 books) and has a number of tales in different anthologies and articles (6 articles). She has even written short Medieval Romance tales (3).

And as A. C. Dye she had penned Halloweeny bilingual stories for children (6 books) and bilingual health book for toddlers (5 books).

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Fun Facts About my Other Santa Series;

–The books are all about an Italian billionaire who didn’t lose his money on Black Tuesday.
–He invested in diamonds, salt mines, train bonds and cash which he kept mostly in the vault in the basement of his mansion in Saint Louis.
–Mario loved his fiancé, Tanya, fiercely and was devastated when she couldn’t remember him after they saved her from a kidnapper.
–He devoted his life to being her neighbor and secretly gave her money for her and the baby’s care.
–She died five years later in his arms. She did remember him just before she died and asked him to care for their daughter.
–He took it to heart and Angie was the blessing that kept him going crazy in those dark days.
–He adopted Angieline who was five-years-old at that time. She became Angieline Tuzzini-Moore. (Angie)
–Mario keep a candle burning for Tanya until Angie was in her early twenties.
–Their Santa adventures started at Angie’s age twelve when she told him that Santa didn’t exist.
–They started in soup kitchens, giving gifts to the poor for the whole month of December.
—A few years later, she wanted to do it all year long, so he quit his law firm and traveled the country helping the needy, under assumed names.
–They accumulated more than ten years of these experiences by the time Black Tuesday came about.
— By then, they graduated to helping small towns when the depression hit them the worst.
–These projects have netted a close relationship between the two and their love has deepened.
–Angie gets to pick the projects and how to go about them.
–The beauty of their work is that they use very little, to none, of their own money. They believe in teaching people how to fish not in giving them a fish each day.
–They spread cheer and Christmas spirit wherever they go, and at the same time, bless their lives with pure love.
–Things get complicated when a reporter falls in love with Angie and their past could crash her chance to love.
–Later, things with Mario’s father, whom he hasn’t seen for fifteen years, get pretty bad and he almost dies before Angie comes to the rescue.
–Angie is scared of meeting he who will be her grandfather, because he wanted Tanya’s baby dead. This is what caused the rift between Mario and his parents for all those years.
–Angie, meanwhile, finds a young man who adores her, but after her beau was gone, she finds it hard to trust in love.
–Instead, she finds two projects to do on her own, helping a Mormon family and returning the engagement ring back to her ex-fiancé’s mom.
–Alone for the first time, she finds work at the Charleston Hospital as a nurse and plays cupid, a pastime she is very good at.
–Mario chooses to take his wife back to Saint Louis and Angie feels homesick for the first time.
–Angie joins her father in Saint Louis and they work together on a new project transforming a warehouse into an apartment building for twelve homeless families.
–Mario and Beth are devastated by a tragic event in their lives and find joy in helping others.
–While on that project, Mario’s father meets Aileen feel attracted to each other.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Good luck and let me know if you win!

NOTE: This blog was written with and provided by media kit information from the SILVER DAGGER BOOK TOURS Host team. Check out the tour on the website.

Perfect Time to Read A Great Christmas Tree Fable

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We are in full swing of the Holiday season and a wonderful book gets us started for our December blog today. It is our stop on The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable Book Tour by Able Barrett.

SYNOPSIS (FROM
AMAZON)

Andrew and his older brother Nicholas were separated as children.

Nicholas had been snatched away by the Prince of Darkness, and Andrew had all but given up hope, but now their mother is ill, and he’s determined to reunite them before she passes – despite her objections.

With his dog Jenny by his side, Andrew sets out on an epic and perilous crusade well beyond his wildest imagination, facing evil protectors, giant wolves, dark magic, Sorcerers, Goblins, and even the Prince of Darkness himself.

Then there’s The Great Tree.

It’s enormous, with a presence that’s nearly impossible to describe…

And it’s clearly the heart of the kingdom of the wicked Sorcerer.

This is the setting for the adventure story that changed Christmas forever!

More information that you can include:

Young people and adults of all ages will enjoy this thrilling fable in the same way we’ve enjoyed other great Christmas stories of the past.

Jenny the dog is based on a very real Jenny, the author’s vision of a true warrior – who has her own inspiring story that he’s happy to share with anyone who asks.

All proceeds from the sale of The Great Tree go to The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary to rescue unadoptable dogs, cats, and horses, an approved 501 (c)(3) Animal Public Welfare Charity that greatly appreciates the ongoing support of readers like you!

EXCERPT

The Great Tree – A Christmas Fable

The room at the inn had a window that faced the Great Tree with the castle by its side. As Andrew gazed through the window at the castle, his mind wandered back to his mother, who was at home sick with the deadly fever. Although she wanted to see her lost son one more time before she passed, she insisted that Andrew not look for him, for it was much too dangerous. She made Andrew promise that he would not venture off and search for his brother. Andrew agreed not to.

Andrew was now looking for his brother, Nicholas, in defiance of his mother’s wishes. He had made up his mind that he could not live with himself if he did not try. He understood his mother’s concern, but he felt he had to do what he thought was right. He lied to his mother out of love for her and because he did not want her worrying about him on his quest. Right or wrong, it was the way he felt about it. Nicholas had been abducted by an evil Sorcerer, an evil wizard of sorts, when they were both very young. Nicholas was his older brother. Andrew had been searching for Nicholas for weeks; he was now at a small mountain village where he had hoped to find Nicholas and bring him back to his mother before she died.

With Jenny at his side, Andrew, weary from his lengthy travels, fell soundly asleep while gazing at the castle in the distance.

REVIEW

This book is a creative Holiday fable perfect to add to your yearly reading collection routine. It is not very often you find a Holiday story that the older kids in the family can enjoy. But, this one is great for upper elementary, tweens, and older kids. It is full of adventure and interesting characters along with being a fascinating holiday fable. It isn’t a very long story either being around 40 pages it is a great reading length for this age group and for a Holiday read.

The illustrations are beautiful. They fit the story very well and each illustration is a masterpiece all on its own. They add color and depth to this delightful fable.

It is a fable that is also thoughtful as well as thought-provoking with a fantasy element. If you like it then you will find it in this book. An added bonus of this great book is purchases of this book help The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary.

AUTHOR BIO

Able Barrett is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force Prosecutor who shamelessly admits he loves animals more than most people, and he’s the manager of The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website:  www.thelastroaddog.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TLRDSANCTUARY

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blkdogr4/

Author Marketing Experts tags for social media:

Twitter: @Bookgal

Instagram: @therealbookgal

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BGK2ZNJF

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60553311-the-great-tree

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

How did you do research for your book?

I start of course with my own knowledge; from there I am pretty impatient so I go to the internet and reliable sources. Since my books are mostly fiction I can make up anything I want, although I like to be as close to the truth as possible to make it believable which is always a goal of mine.

Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?

Nicholas was the hardest; here is a guy we swept away by the Prince of Darkness as a kid and transformed into something he was not; but he remembers deep in his soul what he was like. The easiest was Andrew and Jenny; that was me and my girl Jenny, so very easy.

In your book you make a reference to….how did you come up with this idea? What made you write a book about…? Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

I was working on a project and as I sat in my office out the window I saw this huge tree sitting on a hill in the distance, shaped perfectly and it came to my mind immediately what a “Great Tree” and the rest just fell into place.

There are many books out there about….What makes yours different?

I could not find a book/story about how Santa Claus (St. Nick) came to be; also how did this Christmas tree celebration come to be. It may be the first book about how St. Nick and Christmas Tree celebration came to be; at least to my knowledge.

What advice would you give budding writers?

Just go for it! Don’t let any excuse stop you. Failure is not a good reason not to try; otherwise nothing would get done.

Your book is set in (name place). Have you ever been there?

The Great Tree is set somewhere between the 7 Kingdoms, Middle Earth, and the Shire. Great places that I love in lore and from great writers.

In your book you state….why is that?

Two young men together were the only powers on earth that had the power to defeat the evil before them. It is the key to the book and story, without it, the story fails.

If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?

That is an easy one Andrew and Jenny; that was me and my girl Jenny, so very easy.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

I am manager of The Last Road Dog Animal Rescue where we have a home for the unadoptable dogs, cats and horses that otherwise would be homeless or worse. I get to spend every day with my animal buddies which is a life all dream; while at the same time to write; nothing is better than that for me.

How long have you been writing?

The Great Tree only took 25 years to finish.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

Absolutely. Drop it for a while then just jump back into when you least expect it and boom you are at it again.

What is your next project?

Life Beneath the Surface.” It is about a man that wakes up in the sweat lodge of an Indian medicine man, who just brought him back to life, when all else failed. He has a little memory of his past except that he remembers his wife, Aurora, was killed. It goes from there…

What genre do you write and why?

Fiction; fantasy, animals and sometimes epics, but always a good yarn!

What is the last great book you’ve read?

The bible.

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

“I really like your story but really loved the pictures!”

How are you similar to or different from your lead character?

I was a young man very similar to Andrew, as his persona is that of my own at that age, at least from my perspective, in particular his love of Jenny.

If your book were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?

Andrew: Timothee Chalamet

Nicholas: Tom Holland

Aurora: Sydney Sweeney

If your book were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

A movie score by Hans Zimmer; Lead Song by Lady Gaga; and Directed by Antoine Fuqua

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

Making it as perfect as you can; proofed to perfection and getting the pictures to match your mind’s eye and then getting people to read it!. 

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

Long and winding road!

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Just go for it. You will be surprised what you have inside you, that just needs a jump start to get going, and the you will have a great fun doing it.

Which authors inspired you to write?

J. R.R. Tolkien

George R.R. Martin

Jack Kerouac

Dr. Seuss

Jack London

What is something you had to cut from your book that you wish you could have kept?

A deeper dive into the personalities of Andrew and Nicholas but it slowed the pace of the book too much.

On rituals:

Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack?

Nope! I work best on an empty stomach.

Where do you write?

In my office with my dogs all around me. The atmosphere is perfect.

Do you write every day?

It goes in spurts. Days at time and then a break, sometimes caused by life’s ever-changing  events.

What is your writing schedule?

Late nights when it is quiet.

Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time?

I like having a movie I have seen a million times but has a good soundtrack in the background.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

I have because it is actually faster and you can do an outline form much faster, at least in my case that sometimes is the only way to keep up with my brain pumping out ideas quickly and rather in random order.

If you’re a mom writer, how do you balance your time?

I am a dad to my dogs, and I find the time with them is in balance at all times.

Fun stuff:

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

431 BC – 404 BC to the Greek and Sparta era; the time of my ancestors!

Favorite travel spot?

The beach.

Favorite dessert?

Don’t like deserts; but I would like to visit the Sahara Desert.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?

Boat building book for novice; Edible native plants; and The Bible.

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

My compassion and caring for animals.

What is something you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?

That is my life; it didn’t change much during the pandemic, because I pretty much stayed at home most of my life anyway; it is typical, not atypical.

What TV series are you currently binge watching?

Kojak – he is of Greek heritage too.

What is your theme song?

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

What is your favorite thing to do in (current season)?

Playing with my kids (dogs and cats); going on hikes with them is wonderful, even better in the snow.

What is a favorite (upcoming holiday) tradition (or memory)?

I love watching It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. I first saw it when I was about 14 or 15 and I lived outside of Chicago, where I grew up. It was on the local PBS station. I started watching just when Gorge Bailey is on bridge and about to jump in to commit suicide when Clarence, his guarding angel, saves him. After the movie was over I went outside at about 1 in the morning and it was snowing big snowflakes outside and it was an absolutely beautiful night out, with the snow gently falling ever so gently. I will remember it forever.

What song is currently playing on a loop in your head?

Walking in Memphis

What is something that made you laugh recently?

When Jenny just starts to roll over on her back and scratches in the grass, always cracks me up as funny and happy because she is so happy.

What is your go-to breakfast item?

Spinach

Hard Boiled Egg

Whole Grain English Muffin

Yogurt

Non-fat Milk

What is the oldest item of clothing you own?

I have t-shirts from high school days from the 1970s.

Tell us about your longest friendship.

I have some friends that we get together every year in summer that date back to grade school days, about 60 years; Rob, Will, Jimmy, Scott, and Cookie. Rob and I are the closest. I pray for their good health and prosperity every day.

What is the strangest way you’ve become friends with someone?

I saved (adopted) a couple of dogs Pebbles and Bambam from a no kill shelter in 2004; they had been dropped off when they were just puppies on the shelter doorstep; and had been there for 5 years. Pebbles was quite famous as she one night opened the gate to the puppies’ room and they found a bag of kibble and they all feasted until morning when they were found. Pebbles and Bambam were great dogs and I loved them both. The lady that helped me adopt them; we became very good friends from then on; even today.

Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

An actress that went to my high school, before my time, but I still had quite a crush on her, even today, Ann-Margret.

GUEST POST

Andrew & The Treasured Spirit of the Northland

I enter the darkness that has been cultured for thousands of years, the legends of life gone by, ringing within its corridors with a deafening silence. I feel the presence of both good and evil, which seem to loosely pull at me. Which direction to take? A light can only slightly penetrate the thickness of the darkness. Faces begin to appear as ghost-like images; it’s a warning, which I do not heed.

The images become clearer. They are the faces of beautiful women, goddesses perhaps; they draw my very being deeper into the darkness, serenaded by their gentle voices lifting away my fear of the unknown. I am floating now, effortlessly on a bed of soft blowing air. I am totally consumed. Have I fallen under a spell? I call out for help.

Suddenly there is a flash of brilliant light and the real faces of the women are revealed to me. They are the true evil ones, the guardians of the darkness, the Temptress Sirens of the Dark Lords. They have surrounded me. I see a faint light in the distance. I begin to run towards the light, I feel Temptress Sirens clawing at me as I try to go towards the light in hopes of a safe passage. I hear a voice ever so softly… “Don’t go to the light…….Don’t go to the light…….It will deceive you. Use your faith and follow your heart.”  

I stop but I can feel the Temptress Sirens stalking me. I move through the complete darkness with my eyes closed now. There then appears a golden mist that forms a stairway leading upward through the darkness. Without hesitation, I follow the stairway climbing slowly out of the darkness. I can still feel the draw of the Temptress Sirens at my back growing stronger. I become weary as I continue to climb. The strength of the Temptress Sirens is beginning to hold me back. I fear I cannot make it to the top. A silhouetted hand appears from out of the darkness above me. I do not know whether to take it. I have no choice. I grab the hand and a gentle pull brings me away from the grasp of the Temptress Sirens. I hear their shrieks of madness slowly fade away as I am pulled forward.

A gentle light appears and an Angel appears before me. She has the youthful beauty of a thousand ages. I hear her gentle voice speaking to me yet her lips do not move. Her name is Afriel. She is a being of light charged with safeguarding young life. She is to protect that which is youthful and tenderly growing within each of us, no matter how old we actually are. Afriel grants youth, vigor, and vitality. She places her hand on my forehead and closes her eyes as she nods her head and says, “go forward and save your brother, Nicholas.”

GIVEAWAY

Enter The Great Tree blog tour giveaway. Here are the items that you can win from the author! Enter by leaving a comment here and you can visit my social media page — post a comment or leave a like. Good Luck!

  • A signed copy of the book
  • Donation of $50 to The Last Road dog Animal Sanctuary in the winner’s name or a friend or family they wish to give it as a gift
  • The short video “The Journey” download
  • TLRD Water Bottle

Nice Products Throughout The Whole Year With Light Scent

If you are looking for a new body wash that is plant-based then Yardley London might be your choice. If you have someone on your shopping list that has been asking for such a product consider this as an option. The two types I tried were EARTH SPRING MOISTURIZING BODY WASH IN ENGLISH LAVENDER AND OATMEAL & ALMOND BY YARDLEY LONDON. There are other options available as well. I enjoyed both of the products though the fragrances were not strong some might miss that I was OK with it, though I could understand it being a little stronger.

EARTH SPRING MOISTURIZING BODY WASH IN ENGLISH LAVENDER

This is a nice lathering body wash that wasn’t too strong. It has lavender oil and fresh herbs and spearmint. It is soothing and perhaps my favorite of the two body washing. Yet, I think it depends on what I want in a body at the time. I did feel it was relaxing and that’s always a bonus. The scent is not very strong, which I typically enjoy in any product. Others have said they found the scent lacking. It was fine for me, but I could understand having a little more as it is very light.

These both have plant-based ingredients with essential oils. Some ingredients you will find in these products are: Aqua/Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Stearate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium Chloride, Parfum (Fragrance), Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Nitrate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Sap Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid.

EARTH SPRING MOISTURIZING BODY WASH IN OATMEAL & ALMOND BY YARDLEY LONDON

This one is not only an almond and oatmeal fragrance but a hint of lemon and vanilla as well. It is soothing and refreshing as well as comforting. It provides a caressing lather that is cleansing and leaves your skin soft.

These products are soothing for relaxing as well as formulated for leaving you with clean moisturized skin. They are biodegradable and vegan-friendly as well as are not tested on animals. Even the packaging is recyclable!

Try these and the other product in this line, Creamy Coconut. These are available in stores such as Walmart and online at Amazon.com for less than $14 for an 11-ounce bottle. Walmart.com is selling it for less than $12. Learn more at Yardley London.

Get Cozy with a Fiona Quinn Mysteries by C.S. McDonald / Mac Faraday Mysteries by Lauren Carr

Fiona Quinn Mysteries by C.S. McDonald / Mac Faraday Mysteries by Lauren Carr

The Holidays are in full swing and here are some great books to read during this time or if you are searching for something to read when it is chilly and you are inside. Get cozy with book spotlights and a giveaway.

BOOK DETAILS

Book Title:  Merry Murder:  A Fiona Quinn Mystery #2
Author:  C.S. McDonald
​Category:  YA Fiction, 219 pages
Run Time: 4 hours, 51 minutes
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  McWriter Books
Content Rating:  G (The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are for everyone–adults love the books and they are appropriate for teens and tweens too!)


Enjoy an early Christmas gift! MERRY MURDER will be free on Amazon November 21-23
It will be offered at a reduced price of .99 cents until January 1st

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The cookies are baked. The tree is trimmed. The shopping? Well, it’s almost done, and Fiona’s parents have finally returned home for a holiday visit – along with some unexpected unruly friends. Yep, Fiona’s perfectly planned Christmas is coming together, but how could’ve she planned for her favorite uncle’s murder? Who could possibly kill a sweet old man who’s played Santa at the local mall every year without fail? Fiona’s boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry, is determined to find out – before Christmas day arrives. There’s only one problem: Nancy Quinn. Fiona’s mom is just as determined as the detective to catch the murderer, and she isn’t shy about getting the job done – even if it includes breaking a few pesky laws! Will Fiona and her mother find the killer first or will the killer find them?

BUY THE BOOK:
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B&N ~ 
Add to Goodreads

BOOK DETAILS

Book Title:  The Christmas Cameo:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery
Author:  C.S. McDonald
​Category:  YA Fiction, 32 pages
Length: 1 hr, 16 minutes
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  McWriter Books
Content Rating:  G (The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are for everyone–adults love the books and they are appropriate for teens and tweens too!)

BOOK DESCRIPTION

​A lovely cameo brooch is discovered in Fiona’s late Uncle Wilbur’s house two days before Christmas. The pin bears a romantic Christmas message from Wilbur for his new wife with the initials, D.A.S.
How very strange! To the family’s knowledge, Uncle Wilbur had never been married. So, who is this mysterious woman? Now, Fiona is on a holiday mission to locate D.A.S. and deliver the belated gift. 
Question is, what happened to the marriage? Is D.A.S. still alive after all these years? And if so, can Fiona find her before Christmas?

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~  
Audible

MEET THE AUTHOR

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries includes nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg.

Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh and the female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Nest Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy!

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

 Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook ~ Instagram



BOOK DETAILS

Book Title: Spring Thaw by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult fiction, 237 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery, Short Stories
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Content Rating: PG (mild violence and sexual suggestion)

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Gnarly, the rambunctious German shepherd, is featured in Lauren Carr’s best-selling Christmas short story, A Gnarly Christmas.

​It is Christmas day and Gnarly has been up to his old tricks again. Now he’s in the dog house–or rather the boathouse–after stealing the Christmas feast! Moments after Archie and Mac leave Spencer Manor, Gnarly hears a call for help from Rocky, the Maltese down the street. Four assassins for hire have invaded the home of Rocky’s elderly owners. While the home invaders wait for instructions from a mysterious caller, Gnarly must plot to stop them. Can Gnarly save Christmas with only the help of an 8-pound Maltese dressed in an elf suit? (Previously published as a single short story by the same name.)

This anthology also includes other treats for the mystery lovers on your Christmas list.

In today’s hectic world, many whodunit fans don’t have time to get their mystery fix diving into a whole novel. Lauren Carr’s Spring Thaw and Other Mystery Short Stories is for these fans—but that doesn’t mean whodunit fans who do have time can’t dive in as well.

A novella, Spring Thaw features retired federal agent Chris Matheson from Lauren Carr’s newest bestselling cold case series. When his late father’s former friend is indicted for the seven year old murder of a church bishop, Chris renews old broken friendships to thaw out the cold case.

Featuring Mac Faraday from Lauren Carr’s popular Mac Faraday Mysteries, an estate auction turns into a deadly affair after Gnarly’s antics cause Mac to purchase a gem of a dress, which isn’t his color in Killing Bid. (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s Beauty to Die For.)

Beauty to Die For features the Lovers in Crime, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates in a race against the Angel of Death to clear the name of a dying woman’s son, who was framed for murdering Miss Pennsylvania. (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s Beauty to Die For.)

Countdown to Murder returns to the Lovers in Crime where Cameron and Joshua try to solve the murder of a young pregnant widow before it happens. (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s Beauty to Die For.)

Mystery fans will see that every dog has his day, especially if that dog is Gnarly. In Lucky Dog, Gnarly helps Mac Faraday to solve the murder of a wealthy society girl. (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s Beauty to Die For.)

Dog Loving Mystery Fans will get a special treat when they read The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program. In this Gnarly Mystery Short, Bert and Ernie learn the hard way that crime does not pay when they dog nap Gnarly. (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s Beauty to Die For.)

BUY SPRING THAW
Amazon ~ Audible
​Add to Goodreads

BOOK DETAILS

Book Title: Three Days to Forever by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 9)
Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 366 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Content Rating: PG-13 – Lauren Carr’s mysteries are murder mysteries. Sometimes, the murder does happen on-stage. There is no graphic violence or explicit sex.There is some very mild language (hell or damn, very few and far between) No F-Bombs!


Book Description:  

In this critically acclaimed Mac Faraday Mystery from best-selling mystery author Lauren Carr, readers will embark on a rollercoaster adventure with old friends (including the Lovers in Crime team of Prosecutor Joshua Thornton and Homicide Detective Cameron Gates), but also meet new ones as Mac Faraday’s daughter Jessica Faraday and Joshua Thornton’s son Murphy Thornton join the team in the race to get the love birds to the altar!

Days after Christmas, three years before the start of a new year, Deep Creek Lake is hopping with holiday vacationers and wedding guests pouring into the Spencer Inn for Mac Faraday and Archie Monday’s huge wedding ceremony which is being touted as the social event of the year.

But droopy flowers and guests who failed to RSVP are the least of Mac’s and Archie’s problems when a professional hit squad hits Spencer Manor to send the groom, Joshua Thornton, Archie’s mother, and Gnarly running for their lives.

With time running out to the big day, Mac Faraday and Spencer’s small police force have to sort through the clues to figure out not only who has been targeted for assassination, but also who is determined to stop everything … FOREVER!

BUY THE BOOK 
  Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads

MEET THE AUTHOR

​Selling over half a million books worldwide, Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—thirty titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. 

The owner of Acorn Book Services and iRead Book Tours, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.  

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 

She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

website ~ blog ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ twitter ~ pinterest


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Click here to enter the giveaway. Good luck and let me know if you win!

NOTE: This blog was written with and provided by media kit information from the iREAD BOOK TOURS Host team. Learn more here about other stops on the tour.

Daughters of Teutobod Triumphs

Today we have a stop on an interesting book tour and a wonderful giveaway. This historical fiction book blog has it all and will leave you wanting to read the book — I am sure! Check it out.

SYNOPSIS (FROM AMAZON)

Daughters of Teutobod is a story of love triumphing over hate, of persistence in the face of domination, and of the strength of women in the face of adversity.

Gudrun is the stolen wife of Teutobod, the leader of the Teutons in Gaul in 102 BCE. Her story culminates in a historic battle with the Roman army.

Susanna is a German American farm wife in Pennsylvania whose husband, Karl, has strong affinity for the Nazi party in Germany. Susanna’s story revolves around raising her three daughters and one son as World War II unfolds.

Finally, Gretel is the infant child of Susanna, now seventy-nine years old and a professor of women’s studies, a US senator and Nobel laureate for her World Women’s Initiative. She is heading to France to represent the United States at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of southern France, at the commemoration site where her older brother, who was killed in action nearby, is buried. The site is very near the location where the Romans defeated the Teutons.

Excerpt #4

It was Saturday and the Neuenschwander women were out tending the garden. Karla leaned on her hoe and looked at the sun’s position in the early afternoon sky. “Mutti, I hate to leave you while there is so much to do, but I have to get ready for my lesson with Professor Schutte.” Karla had been nurturing a natural talent for music since she was a child. Her mother saw her giftedness early and encouraged her. Over the years Karla began to sing often for her family, especially during winter evenings or on long rainy days. Her father first disparaged the idea of lessons, calling it an extravagance; but after she learned to sing Schubert lieder and then an aria from Wagner, he stopped complaining. Once, after Sunday dinner, he even requested a song from her. That was a proud memory for Karla.

“No, no, meine Süsse, I’m glad for you to go,” Susanna responded. “Your voice is a gift to the world from God, and you must nurture it.” Karla responded to her mother’s praise with a smile and a brief embrace before heading to the house. What her mother did not know was that Karla was just as interested in nurturing her relationship with Hans Schutte as she was in nurturing her voice. It was Hans she was thinking of as she headed to the washroom to clean up. She splashed her face and arranged her hair in an attractive bun. She looked at her face in the mirror, considering her eyes, her cheeks, her lips, trying to imagine her face from his perspective, wanting to be attractive to him. This was a brand-new affectation for Karla, and it was exhilarating and not a little daunting.

Heading out to the farmyard, Karla thought about asking her father for permission to use his truck, but decided against it, opting instead to ride her bike for the two-mile trip into Shenandoah. She disliked the image of riding a bike like a girl when she wanted so badly to be regarded as a woman, but the prospect of a confrontation with her father made the bike ride somehow less repulsive.

She headed down the end drive to the road. The image issue aside, Karla truly was an outdoors person and loved every minute of the trip. All of nature seemed to her to be fairly crying out for connection. She noticed the smell of hay and fresh manure perfuming her senses. It was for Karla the smell of growing, of life. A cardinal sang out a whistling overture and its mate responded. Tree frogs were sending out their raucous signals, each to another. Crickets and grasshoppers were similarly engaged in the musical back and forth of seeking mates. And along the way into town, Karla was warming up her voice, too.

As she approached the Schutte home, the size of the place impressed her yet again. It was a very old Victorian structure with an immense front door—at least ten feet tall with a dormer window above—and an old bell pull which, amazingly, still functioned. This was the home of Hans’ mother, Hannah, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Adolf Schutte, a local Methodist pastor who had died of cancer 18 months ago. Hans’ father had been deeply loved by his congregation, and after he died, the elders voted to allow Hannah to remain in the manse for as long as she wished. Hans had just received his position as assistant professor at Albright College in Reading that same year, so he adopted the routine of coming home weekly to look after his mother; he taught a few private voice and piano students while in town.

Karla pulled up to the yard of the Schutte house and quickly discarded her bike outside the bushes that lined the fencerow. She straightened her dress and patted her cheeks on the way up the front porch stairs. She pulled the antique doorbell just as Professor Hans Schutte was opening the door.

“Come in, come in,” he said, “it’s so nice to see you again! I want to hear your lovely voice. Come in!” He stood to the side, ingratiating himself a bit and motioning her in with his left hand, ever the gentleman. His right hand found its way to the middle of her back to guide her gently to the parlor. Karla felt an electric shock shoot up her spine at his touch. She hoped she wasn’t blushing.

“So how is the voice today?” the professor asked as he sat down at the Baldwin baby grand piano. “Let me hear, gently at first. We don’t want to damage the instrument. Let’s start with a nice, round ah,” he said, as he pounded out an E major chord. The sound of the chord brought an automatic response from Karla, and she sang out a perfectly rounded “ah” to the first five notes of the scale, holding the fifth tone for two beats before descending once again. Do re mi fa soool, fa mi re do. “Good!” came the professor’s response as he moved up one half-step to F major, with Karla following. As the routine of warming up continued, higher and higher and then back down again by half-steps, Karla could feel her throat muscles beginning to relax and the vibrancy and resonance of her tone became more obvious and natural. She was glad for the music and its focus away from the professor’s strong shoulders. “Now,” the professor said, “you are all warmed up, yes?” Karla thought to herself, “If you only knew,” but she simply responded, “Yes, Professor Schutte.” He said, “Very good. Now sing the Schubert Nacht und Träume for me.” There was nothing she wanted to do more.

AUTHOR BIO

Kurt Hansen is from Racine, Wisconsin, and has lived in Kansas, Texas, and Iowa. He has experience in mental health and family systems as well as in parish ministry and administration. He holds degrees in psychology, social work and divinity. Kurt now lives in Dubuque, Iowa with his wife of 44 years, Dr. Susan Hansen, a professor emerita of international business. Kurt is the author of Gathered (2019). Daughters of Teutobod is his second novel.

Website: https://www.authorkurthansen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/revkurthansen

Author Marketing Experts tags for social media:

Twitter: @Bookgal

Instagram: @therealbookgal

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LqVS8A

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62795806-daughters-of-teutobod

INTERVIEW

On writing:

How did you do research for your book?

Online searches for everything about the Teutons to pre-war Pennsylvania and the earliest training of American Rangers, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and modern-day sites in Paris and Southern France.

Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?

Hardest? Ada.

Easiest? Gretel.

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

From reading, from people, and from the news.

What advice would you give budding writers?

Read widely. Attend a well-established writer’s conference.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Retired pastor.

How long have you been writing?

After heart disease forced early retirement, I began attending the Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival in 2014. I began writing poetry but soon began writing novels.

What is your next project?

A book entitled Chameleon, about a man in treatment for Borderline personality disorder.

What genre do you write and why?

I write character-driven stories and historical fiction because those are what interest me.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

Chances Are by Richard Russo

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

A reader wrote that my book connected with her on an emotional level, bringing her to tears at times.

If your book were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?

The only one I’ve had an instant intuition for is the elder Gretel, who would surely be portrayed nicely by Meryl Streep.

If your book were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Not sure, but during closing credits, I could suggest Respect by Aretha Franklin.

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

Greatest reward is the coming together of the various story elements. Greatest challenge is slogging through the research and persisting through the dialogues.

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

It was painful and frustrating.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Be open to criticism. Write about what you know.

Which authors inspired you to write?

Philip Roth, Harper Lee, Richard Russo, Flannery O’Connor, Charles Dickens, Michael Crighton, Dan Brown, Kurt Vonnegut, Amy Hassinger

On rituals:

Where do you write?

Either in my office at home or in a coffee shop.

Do you write every day?

No. But I’ve heard many authors say that I should.

What is your writing schedule?

It tends to be manicky. I may go weeks without writing anything, and then a sudden spurt of energy possesses me and I write furiously for days.

In today’s tech-savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

Only notes.

Fun stuff:

Favorite travel spot?

Toledo, Spain.

Favorite dessert?

Sour cream raisin pie

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?

To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tale of Two Cities, and the Bible.

Any hobbies? or Name a quirky thing you like to do.

I collect rock-n-roll memorabilia. Signed record albums and photos and so forth.

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

That I care about relationships and helping people.

What TV series are you currently binge-watching?

Silent Witness and Cheers

What is your theme song?

“You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor

What is your go-to breakfast item?

Low-carb wraps

Tell us about your longest friendship.

I’ve been going on an annual retreat with six colleagues for over thirty years.

GUEST POST

You never know where researching a book might take you! While researching the WWII portion of Daughters of Teutobod, I learned about the earliest training of the Army Rangers. After gathering at Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, the group headed off to the highlands of Scotland for intensive combat training, after which they returned to Carrickfergus to await deployment. A fascinating sidenote for me related to the treatment of Black soldiers, many of whom related how wonderfully they were treated by the Irish people. They were welcomed into homes and pubs and treated as equals among their lighter-skinned compatriots. When some of the White soldiers complained to their commanding officers, the officers addressed the “morale” problem by attempting to force local business owners to impose race restrictions on the soldiers they served. The locals would have none of it! They all stood up to the American officers and reminded them they were guests in Ireland, and that they (pub and restaurant owners, mostly) would not be told whom they could serve in their own country!

For me, the experience of the Black soldiers intersects with the experiences of women in history. Being called to serve (for women, in roles such as mother, wife, nurse, schoolteacher, etc., and for Blacks in roles of servant or even soldier) has come with a tacit exclusion from full participation in the world of those they served. The message has been, “be a good little (fill in the blank), but don’t bother the men. You don’t really belong here.”

REVIEW

This historical book is well-researched and designed. I enjoyed how the writer puts this story together and creatively tells a story through generations, which is wonderful. All the different views and aspects presented through a historical view in three storylines brings the reader into the book while also presenting history.

An emotional charged book the writer has talented written a detailed book full of quality characters. The characters are strong and well developed with stories that are told very well. The author knows how to tell a story and keep the reader interested in what will happen next. He has a wonderful way of writing that created smooth transitions between the story timelines throughout history. That is pure talent.

This book takes you on a great journey. A historical fiction book with a wonderful way of connecting the stories that helps the readers connect to the characters. It also has historical information, which is fantastic and adds to the wonderfulness of this book. If you are looking for a compelling story with historical elements then this is a wonderful choice.

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway for the Daughters of Teutobod blog tour. The author will be sending a signed print copy and a bookmark. Enter by leaving a comment here and visiting my social media page — post a comment or leave a like. Good luck!!