Monthly Archives: November 2015

ADVENT ~ a season of expectancy

Advent 1

 

For me Advent is kind of a time of internal Oohs and Ahhs. It’s the beginning of a cheerful time of exhuberance. As a Christian, I’m enthralled, but even nonChristians are able to feel an etherial change in the atmosphere. It seems heaven descends upon us for a short, sweet time. Even many a staunchly analytical soul is forced to admit there’s something different about this time of year.

Advent 2I had meant to put a few pictures up on Facebook, Google+, and Linkedin and be done with it. That would’ve made me happy. Then I happened to go to Twitter and saw scores of adultish-teenagers going on and about their Advent calendars.  Some even faux-whining and complaining that their mums forgot to get them one. I also think most of them were joking about “sacking maw,” or “takig her to the mat.”  Also most of them were British, so for the most part, mothers in America remain safe. However, I think the calendar phemomena is bigger in the US this year than last. I recall nearly every grocery and chain drug store was selling them this year. There’s even a Frozen Advent calendar.

St. Nick Advent Calendar, crafts

St. Nick (crafts) Advent Caledar Trai

Isaiah 9: 6-7

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Advent 4


SABOTAGED CHRISTMAS, Book 1 of The Appleton, WV Romantic Mysteries by Carole Brown ~ interview

Sabataged Christmas

 

I love holiday mysteries. And the cover of this one is intriguing. So, I can’t wait to get into the interview…

 
Nike: How do you know when you’re NOT a romance writer?

Carole:   When your critique partners laugh at your attempts. It actually began as my first–and only–attempt at writing romance. I wrote three “romance” books as one effort, but always knew they were not as they should be. Lol BUT when the opportunity opened up for me to begin another mystery series, I asked my editor what she thought about a “romantic mystery” series, she loved the idea. Edits and a lot of work went into getting this first one ready for publication, but I’m happy with the results. The timing was right for this to be a Christmasy timed book (and I’ve wanted to write a Christmas book!) and the cover leans that way nicely. It’s turned into a fun, lighthearted cozy mystery that will warm the readers’ hearts on a cold evening.red bowNike:   Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Carole:   As the co-protagonist wonders, “Who is this woman?” A classy woman, business owner, casual construction worker, simple homemaker or Italian princess? Toni inherited her father’s construction business and runs it with a loyal group of workers. She loves the country side but also loves to dress up and have a night out. She loves to cook and garden, but equally loves to drag race and restore antique cars. She’s a happy-go-lucky, friendly person with an Italian temper and a longing for the right person to fall in love with. And she has a strong faith.red bowNike:   If you were going to have a particular holiday song as the theme song for your novel when it’s made into a movie, what would that song be? Who would sing it? And why?

Carole:   Maybe–“Last Christmas”. It speaks a lot of Perrin’s heartache and bitterness over his wife’s betrayal and how hard it is to trust another person to treasure the gift of his heart and love. So important in relationships! The song would be a good fit, I think.red bowNike:   If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about the series?

Carole:   Next on the list (probably spring of 2016 is KNIGHT IN SHINING APRON. Starli Cameron, the widow of an abusive husband is caught in a cruel spider web of threats against her person. The threats seem to be coming from her brother-in-law (her husband’s brother), but are they? Could it be her hot headed assistant cook, and surely not the suave and attractive new chef straight from England with all his awards and his title . . . Could it?

Third book will be UNDESCOVERED TREASURES (tentative title) featuring the third friend from Appleton, West Virginia–Caroline Gibson–and the man she definitely does not admire or want in her life. But when his best and most prized art painting goes missing, her kind and loyal heart insists she jump into the action and help Andy find the thief.  After that, I’m planning on moving on to three handsome men who need their stories told. red bowA quick peek at SABOTAGED CHRISTMAS

Toni DeLuca, the Italian owner of DeLuca Construction, finds herself confronted with doubts about her father and his possible deceptions–all because of the mysterious pink notes she’s receiving.

Relations with Perrin Douglas who has a troubled history—but the first man in years who’s interested her–is building to a peak. Yet Perrin‘s own personal problems and his doubts about women and God, keep getting in the way.

Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business all converge to play a part in ruining Christmas for Toni’s employees. Will the mysterious person behind it all succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen?

Will this culprit destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams?

Buy the book here:  Amazon red bow

Carole Brown

Carole Brown

Brown not only has her award winning (2015 Winner of the USA Best Books Award, 2015 Small Publishers Book Award, RWA International Digital Award finalist, Clash of the Titles Laurel Awards finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchas

A companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel is also available.

The first book in her Denton & Alex Davies mystery series, Hog Insane and Bat Crazy, the second book are fun, lighthearted novels that not only deal with the mysteries the Davies land in, but relationships too.

The first book in a new WWII Spies Romantic Suspense series, WITH MUSIC IN THEIR HEARTS are nostalgic, warm-hearted books that place readers firmly in that era. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

This month, Brown is releasing the first book in a new series, The Appleton, WV Romantic Mysteries: SABOTAGED CHRISTMAS.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/browncarole212
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Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=67381031
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113068871986311965415/posts
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/


Thanksgiving Day ~ what it means to me

Thanksgiving Turkey

When I came across this turkey in the oven photo, it reminded me so much of the way my grandmother roasted her turkey. Boy did that bring back fond memories.

Thanksgiving Day, here in America,  is a time to gather with family and friends to hang out and enjoy each other’s company, to give thanks,  watch a game, go to a parade or watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. Everyone has their own favorite float or balloon. I personally, always wait for Santa at the end of the parade.

Thanksgiving weekend is the most traveled weekend of the year. It’s a time when loved ones make the effort to be together. This is a grand American tradition, complete with long lines at ticket counters.

Yet, everyone I know who is celebrating this holiday has personal issues, sadness, or tragedy. Sons and daughters are in the military and are stationed in dangerous locales, or simply stationed far from home and can’t get leave. A beloved family member or friend is battling an illness. Some are in dire financial straits. Others are going through a divorce. Yet others have lost a loved one.

I am grateful for all the people in my life who lift their chins and walk-the-walk, making it one-day-at-a-time. I’m so very grateful for them and they are an inspiration to me. I’m grateful to God for the role He plays in my loved ones lives, blessing them, even when they don’t realize He’s blessing them.

I’m also grateful for the Americans who came before me, who built this great nation. I’m grateful to the founding fathers, but I’m also grateful to the men who built the railroads, the bridges and tunnels. I’m grateful to women factory workers, farm workers, teachers, nurses, doctors, police, and many more. And don’t forget the IT guy. I know without a doubt that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may you be blessed beyond measure in all ways.

 

2 Corinthians 9:11-12 Living Bible (TLB)

11 Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help.

12 So two good things happen as a result of your gifts—those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God.


Battling Negativity ~ it’s all in the mind

Woman, Burned Out

 

How is it so many people come up with images in their minds all day long that are negative? We can see our businesses going bankrupt, our car driving into a ditch, our children marrying the wrong person. Those types of negative imaginations, of course, are the lies of the devil.

We’ve been told repeatedly by many a preacher and/or teacher that the battlefield is in the mind. 2 Corinthians 10: 5 [KJV] ~ Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…

If we’re not born again, we have nothing of greater strength to combat those images. And most of the world is in exactly that position. Their minds are constantly racing with negative imaginations. There’s no need to turn on a reality TV show or a late night comedy show to prove my point, but if you did you’d hear a steady stream of negativity. Many of those horrid pronouncements would be couched as sarcasm. It’s as if those late night shows are a veritable Coliseum, where those not in favor are ridiculed and torn apart. A while back they tore apart the Duggars…and there was wrong doing there. Then they castigated the Dentist who killed Cecil the lion…also wrong doing.The political season is upon us and during the campaign it’s sure to get ugly. It always does.Talk show hosts, news pundits, and the candidates themselves will ridicule the candidate they oppose, belittle him or her in the most personal manner. I’m not saying there is no need for investigation and thoughtful discourse (emphasis on thoughtful). That is most often not the case. They seek to destroy. Many (especially those who are extreme on either side) delight in exaggeration, lies, and slander. They actually revel i it.

The Bible is clear on this. Proverbs 10:18 [KJV] ~ He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. Christians are told to cast down these devilish imaginations. To take captivity captive. We are to take captive the wicked thoughts that would enslave us. So I went to the Lord because I thought I’m a pretty nice person and I asked him, “Do I really have wicked thoughts?” His answer was YES, any time I insult or slight another, or portray them in a negative light. That after all is what slander means. I don’t mean to do it, but sometimes it just slips out. Yup, that’s a sin. Fortunately, very fallible me gets to humbly and honestly repent, and God’s incredible loving grace wipes my slate clean.

Deadly Designs 1400

In my detective novel DEADLY DESIGNS, female private eye Veronica “Ronnie” Ingles is beset by negative emotions due to the unfortunate circumstances of her childhood. She’s thrust into a situation where she and Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes, the man she’s falling for, are racing against time to rescue a kidnapped little girl. The plight of this child pulls up nightmares she once had as a child, as well as deeply negative memories. She has been wrestling with God for many years, yet she remains inquisitive as to who He is. She’s on a spiritual journey, though she doesn’t always know it.

 


Honoring My Dad, Emil Navor and my Uncle Nicky, on Veteran’s Day

Emil Navor, WWII

 

As it’s Veteran’s Day weekend, I’d like to honor my dad, Emil M. Navor, who was in the US Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps in the Pacific arena during World War II. Of course he often joked that Army intelligence, counter or otherwise, was an oxymoron. After the war, he attended college on the GI Bill and became a high school English teacher. When my brother and I were kids, he used to read bedtime stories to us, really great books…exciting ones. I attribute my love of reading and writing to him. He often spoke about how he loved the Philippines and its people.

I’d also like to honor my uncle Nicholas Novogrodsky who died after the attack on Pearl Harbor but in the waters not far from that base when his plane went down. He was my mother’s younger brother. I wasn’t exactly named for him. Nicola would’ve been the choice had that been the case, but my parents were on the eclectic side, you see. However, the letter “N” was chosen for my first name to honor and remember him. The village of Woodridge, NY, where he grew up and went to high school named a road “Novogrodsky Road” after him as a remembrance. My mother and grandmother never really got over his loss. You see, freedom has a heavy price. It’s not free.


Do Women Really Want ‘Shades’ of Bondage? ~ Or do they long for real men?

Handcuffs, high heels

 

I post my book promos and blog articles to most of the large book groups on Facebook. I think it’s good form to look at what others are posting if I expect them to look at what I’m posting. A few days ago when I did that, chill bumps ran down my back ~ not the good kind.

Book covers with women in various stages of bondage graced book covers on some of the biggest book groups. Pretty models with mascara streaked faces from tears. Immediately, in my spirit, I thought women don’t want this for themselves. This abuse of women and bondage craze in fiction titillates and may even be addictive, but does it satisfy, really satisfy? I think not. Despite all the so-called political and sociological advances its touted women have made, more and more of us are living lives of quiet desperation. I sense women’s souls are starving.

The images of women in pop-culture are horrendous. On the surface women seem to delight in it, but I wonder when they go home at night, shed their work-day power-suits, and sit on the edge of their beds in their Victoria’s Secret undies, are they deeply happy? Do they feel they’ve been respected, honored, valued, that day? Or have they had to claw and fight for place? I suspect it’s the latter. They’ve had to fight like alley cats. I further suspect women are exhausted from the battle.

Honestly, I think most men are confused and disillusioned by women who revel in drinking more straight shots at the bar than they do. Yet reality TV shows depict this every day. The women cast-members drink themselves into oblivion, become disheveled, get into physical altercations with one another, and use incredible amounts of profanity. In real everyday life, I think average Joe’s don’t know if they should take the blotto woman safely home, or just leave her, hoping she’s not going to attempt to drive. They must quake at the thought of making a life with such a lush. Is this what they want for the mother of their children?

When the woman is taken home after a night of excessive drinking, or manages to get home herself, is she happy with herself? Does she feel at peace with herself? I believe we all know the answer to that is an unqualified “no”.  So why do women keep feeding on these horrid visual images of themselves in the media?

I believe women are better than that. I believe women want to truly have a high level of self-esteem that comes from a sense of inner worth. I think they want to be valued as women, not as gladiators in a sexual arena. In the two detective novels I’ve written (HARMFUL INTENT and DEADLY DESIGNS) I’ve tried to create in the heroine, private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, a woman who deals with issues of self-worth and comes out victorious. In addition, she’s a sassy, competent law enforcement professional. Hero Deputy Dawson Hughes is a strong, capable man who’s grappled with his own pain. One reader said he gives “southern comfort” new meaning. Perhaps because of his southern upbringing, he cherishes women and treats them with deep respect.

Harmful Intent 300 P

 

 

 

 

Deadly Designs 1400

 

 

 

 

 


DEADLY ADDITIVE by Donn Taylor ~ a review

Deadly Additive

Billionaire Steve Spinner has been manipulating his daughter Jocelyn since her birth. Now he’s endangered her life by forcing her and journalist Kristin Halvorsen to embark on a dangerous  mission in Columbia. They are posing as bird watchers, in that South American country, when they stumble upon a brutal massacre in the village of Chozadolor and are captured by a group of guerrilla fighters headed by the ruthless and viscous Diego Contreras. Kristen took photos of the massacre which show most of the men massacred in the village were butchered, but some apparently died due to some sort of chemical agent. Contreras’ men smash Kristen’s cameras, but she manages to hide a memory card with photos at the gruesome site.

No amount of money can entice soldier of fortune Jeb Sledge to rescue the young women. The hyper-responsible soldier of fortune who must right the wrongs in this world was the Old Sledge. He is determine to become the more relaxed New Sledge. This idea of the Old Sledge and the New Sledge confronting each other is a theme running through DEADLY ADDITIVE.

When Spinner dangles the name Diego Contreras as bait, Sledge bites. In the not so distant past Contreras and his men killed Alita, a young Colombian woman from a notable family Sledge had fallen in love with. Her entire family was killed in the attack and Sledge was severely wounded. However, in his gut, Sledge knows Spinner, the master manipulator is keeping something from him.

Sledge is assisted by Roger Brinkman, a retired CIA operative, now running his own private ‘information service’ which doesn’t have the constraints of a US government agency. Brinkman puts Sledge onto the quirky Ramirez family who offer their special services.  The entire family speaks in malapropisms which adds a touch of humor in just the right places. Two of my favs are: “It’s time to wake up and smell the coffins” and “That I must take with a fifth of amendments.”

Few male writers can write about the internal drama going on inside a woman who has been sexually threatened or abused. Donn Taylor does this extremely well by not intensely highlighting it (as many authors are inclined to do). He simply states it. We, the reader, understand what the character is going through.

The inspirational element is authentic and organic to the story as Jeb and Kristin, having confronted abject evil,  try to figure out if anything has a greater meaning. This is an edge of your  seat, page turning story.

 


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