Tuesday, February 19, 2019

New Release and Giveaway: The Emotion Thesaurus, 2nd Edition by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

As writers, we all have our favorite writing methods. For instance, some swear by Scrivener, while others write in Word or Google docs. Some prefer to draft longhand, using colorful gel pens and notebooks.

Most of us have a favorite writing book (or ten), too. These books have helped us understand storytelling better, demystifying certain aspects of writing. Well, today I'm taking part in welcoming a new writing guide into the world: The Emotion Thesaurus (Second Edition).

You may have heard of The Emotion Thesaurus before, or even have a copy. The original's lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 unique emotions made brainstorming character expressions and reactions so much easier. It quickly became a bestseller.

Now, there's a bigger, better second edition. Angela and Becca have added 55 NEW emotions such as Euphoria, Vindicated, and Schadenfreude. (And that's not all that's new, either...the book is almost twice the size as the original.)

Anyway, if you're interested in checking it out, you can read some of the reviews on Goodreads or find information here.

One more thing to tell you about...are you ready for this?


Wish you could attend a free writing retreat, go to a conference, snag a seat at a workshop, or have your professional membership to a writing organization paid for? Of course you do!

Well, at Writers Helping Writers, one lucky winner will get one of the above, up to a $500 US value.

This is the giveaway of a lifetime, so hurry over to enter!

Monday, February 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Feb 18

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great week. It's snowing here. The white stuff started last night. I'm okay if this is the end of the snow, but I fear that's not the case.

This weekend we cleaned out one of our daughter's bedrooms and bought new furniture. Most of what she owned was hand-me-downs. It is time she had her own things.

On the reading front, I'm taking some time to read a book that isn't one of my February review titles.

The Daughters of the Mayflower is such a great series. This book is about a family moving west in the late 1700's. Tensions are high considering the tense relationship between the settlers and the Native Americans. 

Then these three are next.

I'm trying to get back to my first book of the year, which has ended up being more like my first paragraph of the year.

Then I'll probably read the next book in The Daughters of the Mayflower series.

What is on your list this week? Are you staying on track with reviews? I think that's the hardest part about blogging. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Book Review: Always Welcome by Welcome W. Wilson Sr.

Whether you're an entrepreneur, in business, or someone who likes fascinating stories, Always Welcome by Welcome W. Wilson Sr. is sure to please.

Like anyone who has lived more than 90 years, Welcome W. Wilson Sr. has stories to tell. In this lively and engaging memoir, he shares his life, his successes, and his failures with wit, charm, and sincerity. He's more down to earth than you can imagine someone who has developed 8,000 home sites, served in the Armed Forces and in key government positions, dined with celebrities and politicians from both sides of the aisle, and served on the Board of Regents for the University of Houston would be.

A masterful business man and problem solver, Wilson has led a life many of us only dream about. Through what he calls Welcome's "Rules of Order," you can also learn to succeed in business and life by avoiding his mistakes he so willingly shares. Filled with numerous photographs, Always Welcome would be a great addition to your home library, office, or as a book club title. My copy will have a special place in my home office, so that I can refer to his "Rules of Order" regularly.

With Always Welcome, Wilson inspires us to reach new heights in our personal and professional lives. He takes leading by example to a whole new level.

Highly recommended.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Bright Sky Publishing (September 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942945507
ISBN-13: 978-1942945505

I received a copy of this book from the author's publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Collums, Author of Passengers

During the Great Irish Famine the Ewing family made their way from their rural cottage to the village of Highland Way. Annie, the oldest daughter was left to care for her mother and younger sister after her father left to find work in Dublin.

A mysterious letter arrives from America forcing Annie, Lily, and Katy into a harrowing journey. The hand written note not only will expose deep secrets, it will also challenge the strength and fortitude of the Ewing women, leading each member into their own soul searching voyage.

Follow this extraordinary passage that begins in Ireland and leads each woman to uncover their own courage and truths in this new world.


What I wanted to be when I grew up was never addressed in my house. My dad was gone a lot as a truck driver trying to scratch out a living for us so my mom was my only companion. I called myself an unaccompanied minor long before that phrase was popular. Because, you see, physically she was in the house, but mentally she was in her own world. Maybe she still had an emotional hangover from The Great Depression that she often dwelled on or it could have been the dark cloud of the Vietnam War that overshadowed any thought of dreams or celebrations in our home. My mom worried for years that my brother would be drafted and then she stayed in a deep depression when he was and then she didn’t want to let him go when he came home alive and well. She was so consumed with bitterness of the past and worry of the future she didn’t make room for living her life much less mine.

So, I made every feeble attempt behind my closed bedroom door to reach for my own stars with my dog, Pete, and every stuffed or plastic creature I owned. Public speaking? No problem. I had spent countless hours practicing my very own interview with Johnny Carson in front of my dresser mirror. Sewing? No problem. I taught myself how to sew by making clothes for my dolls. Writing? Again no problem. Whatever the teachers assigned, I did double what they asked for. My room was my sanctuary. However, nothing my parents did or didn’t do could keep me from putting my best foot forward to get out and on my way.

I think so often how sad for my mom that she spent most of her life looking down and missed out on the journey. That’s what life is. One event after another. I’ve had more than my share of making stupid decisions, as well as experiencing personal triumphs. I’ve been married, had children, grandchildren, widowed and emptied nested. I’ve worked at jobs ranging from cleaning houses to postal work. And it’s been the most colorful, aggravating, heartbreaking, joyous, challenging, earth shaking, blessed life I could’ve ever imagined. And I have never been alone. God always sent the right person at the right time, as long as I was looking up.

My bucket list is long. Publish my book, travel to Ireland, United Kingdom, see penguins and pandas up close and personal, learn how to ride a horse, master a pottery wheel.....and the list goes on and on. I don’t ever want to forget to dream, learn, explore and yes, I still play make believe. Every time I look in the mirror, I still see that little girl from the reflection of this sixty-one year old, young woman.

Ann C. Purvis, chose to publish her first novel under her birth name, Elizabeth Collums; this is her true roots and where she has drawn from many of the experiences she wrote about. She lives in Denham Springs, Louisiana and enjoys DIY projects. She has two daughters, a step daughter, son-in-law, two amazing granddaughters, and her dog Daisy.

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/ann.purvis.754
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18639299.Elizabeth_Collums

Monday, February 11, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Feb 11

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome back to Monday. I hope you had a nice week. We are preparing for the next winter storm (because for some reason the media believes 4 to 7 inches of snow requires mass hysteria). This is going to sound like one of these old-timer stories, but we wouldn't even consider cancelling school when I was kid unless a blizzard was coming; and even then, they waited until the last possible moment to run the closings across the TV screen or announce them on the radio. By Tuesday evening, if snowflakes have started, schools will begin announcing closings--even though technology has made it easier to reach people than ever before.

What does my reading world look like? I'm trying not to overload myself with reviews over the next couple of months. I really want to focus on other books.

I finished this one last night.

Excellent book. Welcome W. Wilson Sr. has led an interesting life. He's made a lot of deals in his time, too, which I loved reading about. I can't say I knew much about Houston before reading this one, but I certainly do now.

I tried reading this one on my 2nd generation Kindle, but something happened with the file when it went over. Whole sections of text and many of the graphics were missing. I'm going to need to use the PDF file, so I'll get back to this one.

I'll need to read this one next.

Up for review in March are these ones.

Hopefully, I can read at least one of these in between, but not hopeful with spring market coming.

What is going on in you reading world? Any good books to share?

Book Spotlight: The Military Wife by Laura Trentham

A young widow embraces a second chance at life when she reconnects with those who understand the sacrifices made by American soldiers and their families in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s The Military Wife.

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husband, Noah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children underfoot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.
In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?


Chapter 1

Present Day

Winters in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were temperamental. The sunshine and a temperate southerly breeze that started a day could turn into biting, salt-tinged snow flurries by afternoon. But one thing Harper Lee Wilcox could count on was that winter along the Outer Banks was quiet.
The bustle and hum and weekly rotation of tourists that marked the summer months settled into a winter melancholy that Harper enjoyed. Well, perhaps not enjoyed in the traditional sense . . . more like she enjoyed surrendering to the melancholy. In fact, her mother may have accused her of wallowing in it once or twice or a hundred times.
In the winter, she didn’t have to smile and pretend her life was great. Not that it was bad. Lots of people had it worse. Much worse. In fact, parts of her life were fabulous. Almost five, her son was happy and healthy and smart. Her mother’s strength and support were unwavering and had bolstered her through the worst time of her life. Her friends were amazing.
That was the real issue. In the craziness of the summer season, she forgot to be sad. Her husband, Noah, had been gone five years; the same amount of time they’d been married. Soon the years separating them would outnumber the years they’d been together. The thought was sobering and only intensified the need to keep a sacred place in her heart waiting and empty. Her secret memorial.
She parked the sensible sedan Noah had bought her soon after they married under her childhood home. Even though they were inland, the stilts were a common architectural feature up and down the Outer Banks.
Juggling her laptop and purse, Harper pushed open the front door and stacked her things to the side. “I’m home!”
A little body careened down the steps and crashed into her legs. She returned the ferocious hug. Her pregnancy was the only thing that had kept her going those first weeks after she’d opened her front door to the Navy chaplain.
“How was preschool? Did you like the pasta salad I packed for your lunch?”
“It made me toot and everyone laughed, even the girls. Can you pack it for me again tomorrow?”
“Ben! You shouldn’t want to toot.” Laughter ruined the admonishing tone she was going for.
As Harper’s mom said time and again, the kid was a hoot and a half. He might have Harper’s brown wavy hair, but he had Noah’s spirit and mannerisms and humor. Ben approached everything with an optimism Harper had lost or perhaps had never been gifted with from the start. He was a blessing Harper sometimes wondered if she deserved.
“Where’s Yaya?” She ruffled his unruly hair.
Of course, her mom had picked an unconventional name. “Grandmother” was too old-fashioned and pedestrian. Since she’d retired from the library, she had cast off any semblance of normalcy and embraced an inner spirit that was a throwback to 1960s bra burners and Woodstock.
“Upstairs painting.” Ben slipped his hand into Harper’s and tugged her toward the kitchen. Bright red and orange and blue paint smeared the back of his hand and arm like a rainbow. At least, her mom had put him in old clothes. “Yaya gave me my own canvas and let me paint whatever I wanted.”
“And what did you paint?” Harper prayed it wasn’t a nude study, which was the homework assignment from her mom’s community college class.
“I drew Daddy in heaven. I used all the colors.” The matter-of-factness of his tone clawed at her heart.
No child should have to grow up only knowing their father through pictures and stories. Her own father had been absent because of divorce and disinterest. He’d sent his court-ordered child support payments regularly until she turned eighteen but rarely visited or shown any curiosity about her. It had hurt until teenaged resentment scarred over the wound.
Noah would have made a great dad. The best. That he never got the chance piled more regrets and what-ifs onto her winter inspired melancholy.
“I’m sure he would have loved your painting.” Luckily, Ben didn’t notice her choked-up reply.
He went to the cabinet, pulled out white bread and crunchy peanut butter, and proceeded to make two sandwiches. It was their afternoon routine. Someday he would outgrow it. Outgrow her and become a man like his daddy.
She poured him a glass of milk, and they ate their sandwiches, talking about how the rest of his day went—outside of his epic toots. His world was small and safe and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.
Her mom breezed into the kitchen, her still-thick but graying brown hair twisted into a messy bun, a thin paintbrush holding it in place. Slim and attractive, she wore paint-splattered jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt that read: I make AARP look good. Harper pinched her lips together to stifle a grin.
“How’s your assignment coming along?” Harper asked.
“I’m having a hard time with proportions. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure my man’s you-know-what shouldn’t hang down to his kneecaps.”
Harper shot a glance toward Ben, who had moved to the floor of the den to play with LEGOs. As crazy as her mom drove her, she was and would always be Harper’s rock. The irony wasn’t lost on her. As hard as she’d worked to get out of Kitty Hawk and out of her mother’s reach when she was young, she’d never regretted coming home.
“It’s been a while for me, too, but that’s not how I remember them, either.”
“A pity for us both.” Her mother pulled a jar of olives out of the fridge and proceeded to make martinis—shaken, not stirred. She raised her eyebrows, and Harper answered the unspoken question with a nod. Her mom poured and plopped an extra olive in Harper’s. “How was work?”
Harper handled bookkeeping and taxes for a number of local businesses, but a good number closed up shop in the winter. “Routine. Quiet.”
“Exactly like your life.”
Harper sputtered on her first sip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I hate seeing you mope around all winter.” Her mom poked at the olive in her drink with a toothpick and looked toward Ben, dropping her voice. “He’s been gone five years, sweetheart, and you haven’t gone on so much as a date.”
“That’s not true. I went to lunch with Whit a few weeks ago.”
“He was trying to sell you life insurance. Doesn’t count.”
Harper huffed and covered her discomfort by taking another sip. “What about you? You never date.”
“True, but your father ruined me on relationships. I have trust issues. You and Noah, on the other hand, seemed to get along fine. Or am I wrong?”
“You’re not.” Another sip of the martini grew the tingly warmth in her stomach. Their marriage hadn’t been completely without conflict, but what relationship was? As she looked back on their fights, they seemed juvenile and unimportant. It was easier to remember the good times. And there were so many to choose from.
She touched the empty finger on her left hand. The ring occupied her jewelry box and had for three years. But, occasionally, her finger would ache with phantom pains as if it were missing a vital organ.
“You’re young. Find another good man. Or forget the man, just find something you’re passionate about.”
“I’m happy right where I am.” Harper hammered up her defenses as if preparing for a hurricane.
“Don’t mistake comfort for happiness. You’re comfortable here. Too comfortable. But you’re not happy.”
“God, Mom, why are you Dr. Phil–ing me all of sudden? Are you wanting me and Ben to move out or something?” Her voice sailed high and Ben looked over at them, his eyes wide, clutching his LEGO robot so tightly its head fell off.
“You and Ben are welcome to stay and take care of me in my old age.” Her mom shifted toward the den. “You hear that, honey? I want you to stay forever.”
Ben gave them an eye-crinkling smile that reminded her so much of Noah her insides squirmed, and she killed the rest of her drink. She was so careful not to show how lonely she sometimes felt in front of Ben.
“Harper.” Her mom’s chiding tone reminded her so much of her own childhood, she glanced up instinctively. Her mom took her hand, and her hazel eyes matched the ones that stared back at Harper in the mirror. “You’re marking time in Kitty Hawk. Find something that excites you again. Don’t let Ben—or Noah— be your excuse.”
Harper looked to her son. His chubby fingers fit the small LEGO pieces together turning the robot into a house. She had built her life brick by brick adding pieces and colors, expanding, taking pride, until one horrible day she’d stopped. Maybe her mom was right. Was it time to build something new?


LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Shelf Control - Feb 6

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…
Have fun!

Hard to believe it is Wednesday again. I just finished time blocking my calendar. Usually that's a Sunday night thing, but this weekend was hectic. I'm working to stay on top of reviews, but here's a book that is one of my Kindle freebies.

BLURB: Father Ambrose found a simple, worthwhile path leading a secluded spiritual community in Northern California. He spends his days happily focused on guiding the farming and teaching meditation. Then, someone dumps a body in one of their orchards.

Now, the confusion and violence of the modern world have come crashing through the gates. Father Ambrose wants Sheriff Charlie Cormley to believe the body has nothing to do with them, but it’s not that easy.

He reluctantly takes on the sleuth’s role to find the truth and clear New Life of suspicion. He finds himself moving out into the world in ways he never imagined, and life in his community will never be the same.

DATE BOUGHT: 9/30/18

WHY I BOUGHT IT: I love mysteries and I enjoy amateur sleuths that happen to be in religious orders. Crazy, right? I really enjoyed the Father Dowling Mysteries when they were on TV. This also has the modern world invading the peaceful world of New Life, which I find interesting.

What is a book from your TBR pile? Do you think you'll get to read it soon?