Posted in Uncategorized

Teaching our kids to “Not Take It Personally”

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m so excited! We finally have warm weather here in Michigan! I went for a walk earlier today and it felt great, the warm sun on my shoulders and a gentle breeze against my face. Ahhh….it was wonderful.

As I walked, I thought about some of the teen organizations that I’ve been involved with throughout my life. The one thing that’s been consistent with all of them is that they are teaching girls that we need to be nice. Now I agree with the concept, we do need to be nice. But what happens when they’re thrust into a situation where they’re the victim of not-so-nice behavior?  I feel that it’s important to teach young girls the coping skills that are needed in these situations.

Because let’s face it, when they get to Corporate America they’re going to run into people who don’t play by the “we need to be nice” rules.  Things become competitive and some people play dirty.

As I ponder these questions I look back on my life where I’ve been wronged by individuals, and I ask myself how could I have protected myself or changed the outcome in some way?  And the answer is that I couldn’t. There’s no way to see the deviousness of people until it’s exposed.

So, I believe that instead of focusing on protecting ourselves from that kind of behavior and raising suspicious and withdrawn children.  Maybe we should focus on not allowing it to suck our children into negative emotions. We need to teach our youngsters not to take this behavior personally.

This is much easier said than done. But it can be done. I know, you’re wondering how, right?

Well, the first thing that needs to be taught is that someone’s behavior is a reflection of them. I know, you’re laughing. Because, how are you going to teach your child that when Billie Joe punched him in the eye, it had nothing to do with him?  This is really hard, but it’s an important lesson for youngsters to learn.

We need to teach our children that they are responsible for their own actions and not anyone else’s. This is true for the child that was hit as well as the child who threw the punch.

I know what you’re thinking. How do we do that? Well, let me give you an example. Let’s say my son teased another little boy about a new haircut. Not in a malicious way, but in a “hey you got a new haircut” kind of teasing way that little boys do. Now, let’s say the boy who’s teased punches my son.

Now, the first thing parents will say is, “you shouldn’t have teased him.” And that may be true, but I’m sure my son wouldn’t have teased him if he knew how upset the other youngster would get.

Now, we’ve explained to our son that hitting is not an option when you’re in a situation like this. So, he knows the other little boy shouldn’t have hit him. So, he’s confused about what to do here. This is where we tell him to walk away and find an authority figure.

And we also explain that the other little boy’s response was inappropriate and that he shouldn’t have hit him. He should have explained that my son’s teasing hurt his feelings, giving my son the opportunity to apologize.

The message we don’t want to send to our son is “well if you wouldn’t have teased him, you wouldn’t have gotten punched.” This message makes my son responsible for the other child’s behavior and we don’t want to do that, because he will remember this message and will grow with a victim mentality. He’ll believe when bad things happen to him it’s because he caused them. This is a subtle lesson that needs to be taught but a very important one, especially with all the bullying problems in schools today.

This is the groundwork that needs to be laid to prepare our children for later in life when the stakes are higher and the inappropriate behavior much more damaging. By starting now, we’re paving the way for stronger, healthier adults. And isn’t that what parents are supposed to do?

Thanks for reading my post! I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! 🙂

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Please welcome Author Rita Monette as she shares her debut novel with us!

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Rita Monette here today and she’s sharing some of her thoughts and her debut novel with us! Take it away Rita!

Rita-studio pic cropped-cropped

The Truth Behind the Legend

By Rita Monette

I read somewhere that almost every author’s first attempt at writing is personal. Perhaps it is a story from their past that has haunted them and needs to be released. But it also said that most of those stories don’t make it into the world. Once written, they sit on a shelf, while their creator moves on to more adventurous and exciting projects. I read this after completing my middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, and thought perhaps this was my cathartic tale that would go unpublished.

The Legend of Ghost Dog Island is indeed a personal story. I wanted to tell the story of the Louisiana Cajuns. Ask a child today about Cajuns and they may tell you that it is about hot food, or about shooting alligators (Incidentally, I started my book long before Swamp People over took the History Channel.) I figured there was no better way to tell the story than to start with my own childhood.

I was raised in the Louisiana bayous. My father trapped and fished crabs for a living, and moved our family three times a year in search of better fishing spots. Being new in school was common place for me. My father was also fond of telling legends about what might be living in nearby swamps. Perfect for a children’s story, right? My historical fiction novel, set in the 1950s, is told through the eyes of my ten-year-old protagonist, Nikki Landry. But it would be rather boring if she’d stuck strictly to my routine, so Nikki (braver than me) sets out to discover the truth behind one of the legends she feels poses a threat to her dog, Snooper. She gets herself into trouble more than once, and has many spooky mishaps and adventures, but in the end, Nikki discovers the truth and solves the mystery behind the decade old legend.

However, being true to my mission, I made sure to inject some of my father’s stories about the lifestyle and treatment of the Cajun (Acadian) people of his day, and about learning a new language… something today’s immigrant children might relate to. Heads up librarians! I’ve included an author’s page, which encourages more reading about the history of the Acadian people and their exile from their homeland in Canada.

I wish to thank Musa Publishing for believing in me and my debut novel The Legend of Ghost Dog Island.

Thanks Rita! Now check out her book!

legend coverMoving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her fisherman father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crabbing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels something is watching her from a nearby island.

Nikki learns of a local legend about something sinister inhabiting those swamps, stealing the souls of dogs…which would explain the strange howling sounds. Papa reassures her there’s nothing on the island but gators and snakes. He would know. He’s spent his whole life trapping and fishing those bayous and swamps. But Nikki and her new friends uncover strange happenings from years ago that may have started the old legend, and town folks aren’t talking. Then her beloved beagle goes missing.

Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the real truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island…before it’s too late.

Behind every legend lies the truth…but what is the truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island?

But wait there’s more! Here’s an excerpt!

Mama closed the door behind her. She knew once Papa got going on one of his tales, there was no stopping him.

The last traces of daylight seemed to disappear in a hurry, as if Papa had ordered it away. The glass globe of the kerosene lamp clinked. He touched a match to the wick and adjusted the flame until it filled the room with pale light and gray shadows. He motioned me to sit next to him on the worn sofa.

I hurried to his side, not knowing what spooky legend he was going to tell this time. But as scared as I’d get, I always enjoyed hearing ’em.

Mais, there’s a legend told around these parts.” That was how they always started out. He leaned down so the light from the lamp made eerie shadows across his face.

I rolled my eyes, determined not to get spooked this time.

“Folks say there’s something living out yonder,” he went on. “Legend has it the monster lures dogs to the island using evil spells. Then at the peak of the full moon, they’re turned into hollow spirits with glowing eyes.” Papa put on his eeriest sneer. “That there’s Ghost Dog Island.”

“Ghost dogs?” I pulled my knees up against my chest and wrapped my arms around ’em tight. My mind conjured up images of a huge monster with drippy fangs and dogs with bright yellow eyes. I thought about the feeling I had of something watching us. Was there really a creature out there? Did it have its eye on my best buddy? I shuddered.

IEEEOWWWOOOO-oooooooo! The howling sound echoed again across the bayou.

Thanks Rita for being my guest today! Your book sounds wonderful and it’s on my TBR Pile!

Posted in Health, Teen

School Sports, the Positive and the Negative

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! We finally have decent weather and I was able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. As I watched my kids play in the yard, I thought about what sports they would participate in when they reached Jr. High and High school.

It made me think back to my own High school career and the sports that I participated in. I ran cross country and played softball.  I was the top runner for the girls on our cross country team. When I look back, I laugh because my biggest motivation was fear. That’s right, I was afraid of coming in last. So, I made sure I didn’t.  It never occurred to me that I would come in first, until it happened.

That’s when I felt the pressure to perform. Now, that I had achieved first place the fear of coming in last was replaced by the fear of someone else taking first place.

I wonder if all teens feel this way or it was just my particular makeup.  As I look back I remember the anxiety I felt and how I pushed myself. How I would only eat one piece of toast before an invitational so that I wouldn’t be weighed down with excess food.

I remember the second year I didn’t go out for the team. I kept asking myself; did I have fun? Was all the pressure worth it? I had answered no, until the cross country coach came knocking on my door. He wanted me to run. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to and I hadn’t trained with the team, but I was so flattered that he thought I was good enough that I joined the team again. My second year wasn’t quite as stellar as my first year to say the least. 🙂

I realize now, why it wasn’t. Aside from the fact that I missed the first two weeks of training, I wasn’t committed to it. I was doing it for the wrong reason. I didn’t want to disappoint the coach.

I should have been participating because I wanted to run. I should have been doing it just for the sheer joy of running. It shouldn’t have mattered where I placed. That’s the main reason any kid should get involved in a sport, just because they like it.

Being involved in sports does have a positive effect on kids. In fact, a Canadian Council for Social Development study showed that participating in structured recreation positively influenced young people’s physical and social development, as well as their civic behavior and skills.

A 2003 Sport Canada survey of 1005 Canadian youth, aged 12 to 21, found that their involvement in sports:

ƒ Improved their health (99 per cent);

ƒ Helped them make friends (87 per cent);

ƒ Improved their feelings about themselves (85 per cent);

ƒ Helped them succeed at school (58 per cent);

ƒ Helped them become more active with their family (54 per cent).

****I got these statistics from this site. Click here for more information.

However, I feel very strongly that it should be the child’s choice. They have to participate because they want to, or they won’t enjoy it. And they probably won’t excel in that sport. They may even feel resentful because they were pushed into it.

I’ve also found that when a coach has his/her own agenda they can pressure kids too much. An example of this is Laura Yochelson, who’s cross country coach’s obsession with empty calories led her down the road to Anorexia Nervosa. Click here to read her interview.

So when our kids get involved with sports lets make sure it’s for the right reason. Let’s make sure it’s what they really want to do and we need to stay involved. We need to make sure the coach is coaching to benefit the kids and not pursuing his own agenda. Thanks so much for stopping by today! Leave a comment and share some of your experiences! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Uncategorized

To the Boston Marathon Bombers

I wrote this as a guest post for another blog. I felt so strongly about it that I thought I’d share it with all of you as well. Please leave a comment and share your feelings also.

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m writing this blog post in a restaurant because I’m waiting to get my car fixed. Boo! Waiting for repairs can be a time waster. However, today it’s working out great because I get to write this post for all of you. I’m killing two birds with one stone. I love it when I can do that! It makes me feel so…organized and efficient.  Now, on to my topic.

Yesterday as I was cooking dinner for my family, I turned on the TV to get the horrific news that there were two explosions at the Boston Marathon. I was blown away by this! Why would anyone want to do something like that during the Boston Marathon?

According to reports they don’t have a person of interest in custody and no arrests have been made. The Boston Police Department has asked for everyone’s patience while they process the crime scene.

Is this a terrorist act? And if it is, why set off an explosion during the Boston Marathon? What possible political statement can be made from this?

These questions course through my brain as I write this post without any answers coming to the surface. I finally draw two conclusions; one, it is a terrorist act and the organization behind this is sending the message, “we can get you anytime, anywhere.” Or two, this is a form of domestic terrorism.

In either case, I am appalled by this event as I’m sure many Americans are. There are many problems that we as a nation are facing, but even so, we are a great nation. We’ve taken enormous strides to better ourselves and improve our way of life. Why else would people leave their own countries and flock here?

As I ponder this situation, I wonder why these terrorists are even here. I know some of them have come to do damage, but why waste your time?  Do they really believe their actions will change anything? If they hate this country so much why don’t they go back to where they came from? And if these malcontents were born in the US and are unhappy here… leave. These seem like very straight forward and simple solutions. I’m wondering why these terrorists can’t figure it out.

After all, we as a nation have better things to do than clean up the messes they’ve made. We’ve got problems to solve.

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment and share your feelings too. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

What do you do when your Child doesn’t want to go to School?

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back today talking about something that’s been happening in our household.

My youngest son has been having trouble staying positive about school. I was disappointed by this, since he’s only in first grade. The problem started when was sick and he had to stay home from school for a week. The poor little guy, all he wanted to do was sit on the couch and cuddle with his mom. 

I enjoy cuddling with my kiddos, but it’s counter-productive to getting anything done. Especially, when the whole family had this horrible crud and I was just getting over it myself. Here I was trying to work and take care of everyone at the same time. Sigh.

Anyway, back to my youngest. After a week, he was healthy enough to go back to school. Two days later I got a call from one of the office staff. You guessed it; my son claimed he didn’t feel good. He came home crying and carrying on like school was the worst thing in the world.

We played the “I don’t feel good” game the next morning and then after the school bus left with his brother on it, he miraculously felt better. This happened a few more times. I’m sure every parent goes through this, but it was tough because there were times when I couldn’t tell if he was faking or really sick.

Then one day after the “I don’t feel good” game, I asked him if there was something going on at school, was someone picking on him, or bullying him? He shook his head no.

“Well, honey, why don’t you like school anymore? You’re learning so much.”

“I think I’ve learned enough,” he said with a confident nod.


“Yeah, school’s boring.”

“Why is it boring?” I asked. “Is it because you’re not interested in what they’re teaching?”

He nodded, his eyes brightened when I seemed to understand.

“Well. What do you want to learn about?”

“I want to learn how to put a computer together and I want to learn about space.”

“Well. Why don’t you tell your teacher that and I’m sure she could find you books on those subjects.”

“Maybe,” he replied with a non-committal shrug.

Then he left the room. Apparently, the conversation was over.

The next morning sure enough, he started crying and carrying on again. By this time, I was extremely frustrated with the battle of trying to get him on the bus. I let him stay home, but he had to lie in bed. No TV or video games. Feeling confident that this would deter him, I was disappointed when he said, “Okay.”

I finally called his teacher and asked her if there was anything going on in the classroom.  She responded that she’s had to deal with some negative behavior and this class was a more difficult class. She claimed my son had started crying in class the other day when he didn’t know the right answer.

I finally realized what was going on. My son is smart and sensitive. He’s at the same reading level as his older brother, but he’s sensitive and doesn’t have as much confidence as his brother.

My youngest was having trouble dealing with the strong personalities in his classroom and their negative behavior. Poor little guy. I know how this is. So I had to figure out how to help him cope with these personalities.

I spoke with his teacher and got him moved around in his classroom, so he didn’t have to sit with these more boisterous students.

He told me examples of how these kids were behaving. I understood his frustration, he knew partaking in negative behavior was frowned upon but he didn’t know how to handle it when he was the recipient of this behavior. He didn’t know what to do to take care of himself.

I told him that the first thing he should do is tell his teacher so that she could support him.  If his teacher wasn’t available then he should tell the youngster that he wouldn’t play with him if he continued to act that way.

I also told him that he had every right to defend himself and if someone hits him, he has permission to hit back.

I’m working with him because I’m afraid that his sensitive nature will make him a target for bullies and even in first grade bullying behaviors are coming to the surface of some of his classmates.

Hopefully, this advice will help him. I have a feeling this is going to be something we’ll struggle with during his school career. If any of you have some advice that worked well for you, I’d love to hear it! 🙂


Posted in Uncategorized

Sweet Saturday Sample!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I have an excerpt from the second book in the Super Spies series for our Sweet Saturday Sample. 🙂 This book is titled, “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber”. Check it out and let me know what you think! 🙂

TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750“The Super Spies and the High School Bomber

 Chapter One

A whoosh of roiling hot air lifted Sarah Cole and flung her against the kitchen wall like a fumbled football. At the same time, the windows burst into millions of pieces, showering everything with tiny shards of glass. Sarah crumpled to the floor, still clutching the phone. She lay there stunned, unable to inhale or exhale.

“Sarah! Sarah!” her younger sister, Lacey, screamed from the bathroom, where she’d been drying her hair.

The ringing in her ears was so intense, Sarah could barely hear her. Groaning, she opened her eyes and saw only red through her right one. Dread rippled through her body.

“Sarah! Sarah!” Lacey cried again.

Sarah dropped the phone, and put her hand up to her eye. She fingered the area gently before pulling her hand away. Blood. “Lacey,” she croaked, unable to manage more than that.

“Sarah! Where are you?”

“The kitchen,” Sarah said, finally able to breathe. She blinked her eyes twice and her vision cleared. Relief flooded her body and she wilted against the floor.

“Holy Moley!” Lacey shrieked.

Sarah jumped at the sound of her voice. She didn’t realize Lacey had come up the stairs and into the kitchen. The ringing in her ears was almost gone.

“You’re bleeding!”

“No kidding,” Sarah said, covering her right eye with her hand and glaring at Lacey with her uncovered one. She brushed her shoulder length blonde hair away from her face and gasped at the blood running down her arm.

“We’ve got to get you to the hospital!” Lacey screamed in a voice edged with hysteria.

“Stop freaking out!” Sarah gave Lacey the old one-eyed glare again.

“Sarah, there’s blood everywhere,” her sister whimpered as she wrung her hands. She gazed around her. “What happened? Did our furnace blow up or something?”

“I don’t think so.” Sarah shook her head, dust particles and slivers of glass cascaded to the floor. She furrowed her brow and absentmindedly brushed off her clothes. “I think something exploded outside. Help me up.”

Lacey held out her hand to Sarah and pulled her into a sitting position.

Blinking, Sarah gazed around the kitchen. On most days it was a sunny room with pineapple wallpaper and pine cabinets. It was the most popular room in the house—everyone congregated there during the holidays. Sarah blinked again. Dust floated through the air and glass

littered the yellow linoleum floor. She groaned and turned her attention to her arm.

As she examined the blood running down it, another wave of panic flooded through her body. Sarah’s legs wobbled when she stood and she stumbled as she reached for a kitchen towel that lay on the counter. She used the soft cloth to blot her eye. When she pulled the towel away, she was shocked to see the amount of blood that had soaked into it. Sarah gulped, trying to swallow her fear as beads of sweat broke out on her forehead.

With unsteady feet, Sarah stumbled into the hall where a mirror hung.

She was afraid to look. Taking some deep breaths, she stared into the cracked mirror and noticed a cut in her eyebrow. The amount of blood that seeped from the cut was enormous compared to its small size.

Lacey walked past Sarah on her way to the den. The crunch of glass under her sister’s feet caught Sarah’s attention, and she sighed. Thank goodness we had our shoes on. A wave of relief washed over her body and she exhaled another deep sigh. The girls had been getting ready for school when the windows exploded and covered everything with glass.

“Sarah, come here! You’ve got to see this!” Lacey yelled.

Sarah whirled around and spotted her sister walking from the den—her eyes were round and full of shock.

“I think all the windows have been smashed. Come and look.”

Holding the towel against her cut, Sarah followed her into the den. “Holy crap!”

She gazed into the room. Shards of glass covered the furniture and the floor. The sun streamed through the window, shining on the jagged bits embedded in the carpet. It appeared as if tiny diamonds were buried within the fibers.

“What in the world happened?”

Sarah shook her head. “I have no idea.”

The shrill ring of the phone made Sarah jump. She dashed back to the kitchen and found the phone where she had dropped it earlier.




“Yeah, it’s me.” Jackie’s voice eased some of the tension in Sarah’s body. Jackie Jenkins was her best friend. They had met when Sarah and her sister moved in with their aunt and uncle three months earlier.

Sarah glanced down at her legs and for the first time saw tiny nicks where she had been hit by flying glass. She bent down and examined the cuts further. They were not deep, and were already clotting.

“All of our windows exploded! Do you know what’s going on?” Sarah asked.

“There was an explosion at the high school.”


Barnes and Noble:

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear what you think of my story! 🙂

You can find more Sweet Saturday Samples here!

Posted in Guest Author

Please welcome Author Brad Fleming!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you today! Please welcome Brad as he shares his feeling with us on becoming a published author. 🙂

Brad Fleming author picHOW IT FELT TO PUBLISH MY FIRST BOOK (Brad Fleming)

It’s a little like holding your first child. Not quite as good, but pretty close. For a start, it took a lot longer to create—and the blood, sweat and tears of its creation were nothing like so pleasurable.

The satisfaction of finally seeing it in print, however, was special. This was all my own work, a job that didn’t require a partner, although many kind people helped in finally getting it out there.

Doctors cure patients. Mechanics mend cars. Prospectors seek gold—and sometimes find it. Writers write—and the industrious (and fortunate) ones get to see their book in print. It’s a warm and special feeling, matched only on the day when someone tells you “I’ve just read your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it; couldn’t put it down. When’s the next one due?”

Readers, good news – you can pick up Role of Dishonour this week for just 99 cents at this link:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

If you would like to connect with Brad and get news on his next big release you can friend him on Facebook:

Brad’s newest release, Deadline to Danger is due out in April of this year.

Brad’s Bio:

Before becoming an author Brad Fleming was in journalism, broadcasting and public relations all of his working life. Born in the small fishing village of Kilkeel, Co Down, in the shadow of where the famous Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea, he worked in local newspapers before moving on to a national daily paper in Belfast. Later he broadcast on news and sport for the BBC. In his thirties he made a career switch to join the British Government Information Service, a job which took him to many corners of the world.

Brad ROD 3D coverBook blurb:

For generations Northern Ireland has withstood a vicious campaign of terrorist violence that has left thousands dead and countless more horribly injured. The British and Irish Governments seem powerless and to have settled for what one leading politician calls an acceptable level of violence.

There appears to be no solution to the conflict. But, when a Provisional IRA bomb kills two grandparents and a four-month-old baby on a lonely border road, four men from widely different backgrounds – a politician, a policeman, a soldier and a journalist – decide enough is enough. They embark on a daring plan to exact vengeance – and to end the Ulster Troubles once and for all.

Role of Dishonour is about violence and vengeance, treachery and treason, retribution and reward. Men die – women and children too. It’s a world where one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. For generations the troubles in Ireland have pitted Protestant against Catholic, Unionist against Nationalist and Loyalist against Republican. There seems no end to the mindless spiral of death and destruction.

Yet the book is also a poignant love story, set against the background of one of the most beautiful pieces of earth God ever made. It’s the story of a man and a woman from different backgrounds and different worlds who find one another and tentatively begin to forge a relationship amid the chaos and despair. Are they to be star-crossed lovers or will true love triumph in the end?

Thanks for stopping by! Please share your comments if you’ve read Brad’s book! 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

My thoughts on the Life of PI Movie


Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! A couple of weeks ago, I went and saw the movie “Life of PI” with my mom. I enjoyed it and the special effects were very dramatic.  It’s about a young boy who ends up in a life boat on the ocean with a tiger.

I must say their journey was amazing, but the whole time I was wondering what the point of the story was. I didn’t find out until the end. When I did find out what the movie was trying to say, I was surprised by its simplicity.

It was a movie about God. I wasn’t expecting it, because it began as the simple story of a young boy and his incredible journey. The viewer doesn’t realize until the end that it’s about God, at least I didn’t.

God was mentioned throughout the movie and I knew there were inklings of religious overtones weaved throughout it. But at the end the message was so clear and so simple, I felt at peace. There’s no other way to put it.

What I personally gleaned from the movie is that there are many different religions that have their own view of God and his teachings.  These different views have a similar thread weaved throughout their stories. And the movie explained these differences in such a way that it makes sense.

When a certain group of people are uncomfortable with a story, or find it unbelievable the storyteller changes it to make his listeners more comfortable. The movie suggests that’s what has happened with all the different religious views that we have. Maybe it’s as simple as the storyteller changing the story to make his listeners more comfortable. Doesn’t this make sense to you? It certainly did to me.

Although the movie doesn’t go into the issue of tolerance of others beliefs, I feel that’s what it’s trying to say.

In my opinion, all of the people in Iraq should watch this movie. It might change their perspective enough to end the war. What do you think? I know it sounds like an overly simplified solution, but sometimes the solution is so simple we can miss it all together.

And while we’re at it, let’s not stop at religion. We could apply this same theory of tolerance in other areas of our lives. For example, in our schools, we could teach our children tolerance of differences; differences in personality, differences in looks, and differences in opinions.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could teach our kids to be secure with their individuality so they won’t feel threatened by someone else’s? That would help with the bullying issues we have in schools right now. Don’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Leave a comment and share your ideas!


Posted in Uncategorized

Sweet Saturday Sample of “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! Today I’m participating in Sweet Saturday Samples. I haven’t participated in a while because I’ve been busy with the kiddos. So, I thought I’d share the first book in the Super Spies series, “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”.  I’ve found that tweens and teens enjoy the story. It’s been well received by girls between the ages of 8 to 16. Enjoy the excerpt and thanks for stopping by!

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750The house sat hunkered down as if it were tensed to spring like a cat stalking a mouse. Sarah shuddered at the thought of going up on the porch and she chewed on her thumbnail.

Looking behind her, Sarah studied the church facing the Cat Lady’s home. It was a strong structure built of huge stones. She could tell it was as old as the town itself and its presence made her feel safe. Motioning for Jackie and Lacey to follow her, she moved from the sidewalk to the huge oak tree growing on the church’s lawn. The girls hid behind it, peeking out at the witch’s home.

“Are you still going to do it?” Jackie teased.


“Do you think she’s inside?” Lacey asked wide-eyed.

Sarah smirked at her. “Where else would she be? I hear she never leaves her house.”

“Be nice.” Jackie smacked Sarah’s arm.

“What are you waiting for? Are you afraid of the witch?” Lacey asked as she stared at the house.

“She’s not a witch. She’s just a freak, that’s all.”

“Well, if she’s not …then what are you waiting for?” Jackie snickered.

“I just want to make sure the coast is clear.”

“Hey, you guys, look at all the cats,” Lacey whispered. She pointed at the clusters of felines lolling about on the porch and walking in the yard. “There has to be at least twenty of them.”

“Yeah, that’s why she’s called the Cat Lady.” Sarah rolled her eyes and then felt the sting from Jackie’s slap.

“Do you think she put a spell on those cats?” Lacey asked with a wide-eyed expression, twirling her hair with her finger.

“Could be,” Sarah snickered. “Or maybe she just…you know…gives them food.”

“Knock it off, Sarah,” Lacey glared at her sister.

Sarah stuck her tongue out at her. “Okay, I’m going for it. I’ll meet you back here.”

“Cool beans,” Jackie said.

“Cool beans? Is this town still in the nineties?” Sarah teased.

“Shut up.” Jackie smacked her arm again.

“This is physical abuse.” Sarah rubbed her arm, trying to appear injured.

Jackie laughed. “Be thankful I like hanging out with you.”

“All I have to do is ring her doorbell, right?” Sarah poked her head out from behind the tree. She noticed the tomato pulp still clinging to the siding and peered up and down the street for the notorious Wykowski boys.

“That’s right,” Jackie chuckled.

Sarah took a deep breath and sprinted across the street. She stopped at the porch stairs. A group of cats were sunning themselves on the steps—they meowed at her as if they were hungry. Jumping when one of them rubbed against her legs, she bent down and stroked its back, never taking her eyes off of the house.

Sarah petted the cat, while she worked up the courage to climb the stairs. She heard the loud purr of the contented feline and it eased her anxiety. All of a sudden, she felt a hand squeeze her arm. Her heart leapt in her chest and she let out a yelp.

Turning, she spied Jackie. “I almost peed my pants!”

Jackie giggled.

“What are you doing here?” Sarah muttered and gave Jackie the evil eye.

“I couldn’t stay behind the tree and miss all the action.”

Sarah glanced around her and pointed to some overgrown bushes in front of the porch. “You can hide over there.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah spied her sister running toward them and stifled a groan.

“I didn’t want to stand by myself,” Lacey whimpered, slightly out of breath. She tugged nervously on the hem of her T-shirt as she eyed the house.

Sarah groaned and her shoulders slumped as if she carried a heavy burden. She sighed and pointed at the bushes again. “You hide over there with Jackie and be quiet.”

Sarah waited until the other girls were out of sight, and then climbed the stairs. Stopping when she reached the porch, Sarah took some deep breaths before stepping onto the sagging stoop. Stepping gingerly, she hoped the porch would support her.  Her stomach clenched when it groaned. She took another step and then another, the porch complaining with every footfall. Halfway across the stoop, she heard the girls behind the bushes.

“She’s almost to the door.” Lacey said in a low voice.

Sarah bit her lip, stifling the disapproving remark dancing on the tip of her tongue. Instead, she turned and glared at the bushes, willing its occupants to shut up. She made eye contact with Jackie, who quickly ducked behind the shrubs, pulling Lacey with her.

What in the world is she doing?” Lacey asked.

“Shhh,” Jackie responded.

Sarah shook her head and continued her journey. She felt Jackie and Lacey watching her as she crept toward the door. Reaching the entryway, she was surprised to find the storm door wide open. The only barrier between the Cat Lady and the rest of the world was a flimsy screen door hanging askew on its hinges.

Alarm bells rang in Sarah’s head—this has got to be out of character for someone who never leaves their home. She turned back and whispered to the other girls. “Hey!”

Jackie poked her head out. “What?”

“The storm door’s open.”


“So…what do I do?”

“Duh…Ring the door bell.”

Sarah shrugged and pushed the doorbell. It let out an irritating buzz and she had the feeling it had been broken long ago and never fixed. She dashed down the stairs.  The cats scattered, alarmed by the sudden activity. Reaching the shrubs, Sarah hid with her sister and Jackie.

Gasping for breath, Sarah waited for a reaction from the old woman. Her heart pummeled her ribs and she pressed her hand to her chest to calm it.

After a few minutes, Sarah started to pace. “Well…nothing’s happened.” She peeked out from behind the shrub and saw the screen door hanging ajar. “I bet she’s not even home. I’m going to try again.”

Jackie shrugged. “Be careful, remember she’s a witch.”

Sarah shook her head, and then peered out from behind the shrubs. Once again, she climbed the stairs. She was braver this time and it didn’t take her as long to make it to the door.

She looked inside, her heart lurching in her chest. She tiptoed to the picture window and peered through it. Gasping, she ran back to the entryway. Pulling it open, she lunged inside.

Sarah stared, unable to tear herself away.  Shock ran through her body like an electrical current as she eyed the scene before her. The crumpled form of the Cat Lady lay on the living room floor, just inside the door. No life flickered in the old woman’s staring eyes. Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream and her hands were up around her head as if she were warding off blows. Turning away, Sarah gagged as the coppery scent of blood assaulted her. There was blood splattered everywhere, on the wall, on the carpet and under the Cat Lady’s body.

Suddenly, Sarah’s throat constricted and she gasped for breath. Fearing she would faint, she stumbled back out the door and collided with Jackie and Lacey on the porch.

Jackie grabbed Sarah’s arm and shook her. “What are you doing? Are you crazy? I never said to go inside!”

Sarah didn’t speak—she just stared blankly at the porch.

Jackie shook her again. “Are you under the Cat Lady’s spell?”

Lacey whimpered. “Hey, Sarah….can you hear me? Sarah?”

“She’s under the Cat Lady’s spell,” Jackie said waving her hand in front of Sarah’s eyes.

“Oh my—,” Sarah moaned and clutched Jackie’s arm.

“What is it?” Jackie shook her again. “Speak…say something!”

“Th-th-the C-C-Cat Lady, sh-sh-she’s,” Sarah stuttered.

“She’s what?” Jackie demanded.

“Sh-she’s dead.”

If you’d like to purchase this book for any of your teens the buy links are below and it’s also available as an audio book! 🙂


Barnes and Noble:

Thanks for stopping by and there’s more samples to check out here!

Posted in Guest Author

Please Welcome Astraea Press Author Lynn Spangler!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Lynn Spangler as a guest today and she’s sharing her new release “Whiskey Whispers of the Past”. It looks like a great story and I’ve got it on my TBR Pile. 🙂 Take it away Lynn and share your story with us!

I want to thank Lisa for having me on her blog today!

Today I’m going to tell you about the heroine of my book Whiskey Whispers of the Past. Her name is Kendra Strafford. She is a kind, understanding person who doesn’t assume a person, mainly the hero Chance, is what they appear to be. Kendra delves deeper into a person’s personality and sees what is under the surface. She doesn’t assume a person is either good or bad by what had transpired in their past.

Kendra is a candle maker by trade, a love she’s had since she was a teenager. Nothing makes her happier than turning simple, plain wax into a scented, colorful masterpiece.

I’d love to try my own hand at candle making. While researching the craft for my book, I learned a thing or two. The process seems gratifying. I like to make jewelry and decorate wreaths so stepping into the realm of candles isn’t that far of a stretch. But alas, that’s a project for another day.

Thank you, Lisa, for letting me tell you and your blog readers a little about Kendra and myself in the process.

WhiskeyWhispersofthePast200x300_zps4aafd211Kendra thought her life was her store; Chance thought his revolved around his addiction. What if they’re both wrong?

Looking for a new start, Chance Daniels moves from hectic, big city living to a small town in South Central Pennsylvania. He decides opening his own music store on Main Street will help him beat the demons of his alcoholism. He discovers the beautiful business owner from across the street may be the lift he needs to beat his addiction. But little does he know that parts of his past unbeknownst to him are about to come to light. Chance receives strange objects in the mail and the woman he falls in love with is nearly run down by a crazed driver.

Kendra Strafford, owner of Strafford’s Candle Creations, finds herself drawn to the tall, handsome man from Los Angeles after starting a standing weekday coffee date with him. She can’t help but fall in love with him, despite his addiction and the strange happenings that seem to surround him.  Her own brush with death only draws her closer to Chance.

Was her accident just an accident or was it part of a more devious scheme arising from Chance’s hidden past and will they overcome the bizarre occurrences besieging them to explore their developing love?


“I hear someone is looking at the old Donaldson’s building.”

Kendra peered out the front window of her candle shop, Strafford’s Candle Creations, toward the brick façade of the adjacent building. She saw the local real estate agent and her good friend, Nancy Lewis, walking toward the old structure. The converted row house had once contained Donaldson’s Hardware Store, which had been a fixture of Main Street, right across from Kendra’s establishment.

“Oh, yeah? I wonder what business someone would put in there,” her assistant Deanna commented.

Kendra frowned as she sipped the now lukewarm coffee then set the cup on the glass shelf beside her. “I don’t know. Rumor has it it’s someone new to the area. A guy looking to make a fresh start, from what Nancy told me. She said the buyer told her he needed a change of pace and a new locale. Why he’d end up in such a place as Jonerstown is beyond me. This area isn’t known as a hotbed of business like York or Harrisburg.”

“I don’t know. Jonerstown is a nice town. Perhaps its charm won him over.”

Kendra nibbled her lip — a habit of hers when deep in thought. “Maybe.” A quick glance at her watch indicated it was nearly time to open the shop. “How’s our merchandise looking? Do we need to restock anything?”

“No, we’re good. I took care of that chore last night while you were in the dungeon replenishing our inventory.”

Kendra stepped to the counter, which was tucked in the back corner of the sales floor. “Really? A dungeon? Where I come from it’s commonly called a basement. Hand me the duster. It’s time to open and I haven’t completed the dusting yet.”

Glancing around her shop, she surveyed the three rows of gleaming glass shelves filling two walls of the sales floor. Floor units graced the center of her shop, reflecting the brilliance of the morning sun against the ceiling of the store. The shelves were stocked with candles in a vast array of sizes, shapes, colors, and scents. She inhaled, marveling at the combination. Oh, how she loved the fruits of her labor. Every day her wares brought a feeling of warmth and pride.

She strode to the storefront, unlocked the door, flipped the Closed sign to Open, and went about dusting the shelves while rearranging a candle or two along the way.

“Wow. You’ve got to see the guy meeting up with Nancy.”

Kendra spun around, gazed out the window again, and was greeted by a pleasant surprise. The man shaking Nancy’s hand stood about six feet tall at a guess. He was dressed in well-worn blue jeans and a black t-shirt that fit snugly over his arms and chest. “Hmm. At least we’ll have some eye candy to stare at. He reminds me of a boxer with the trim, muscular build.”

“I like the spiky hair sticking out in every which direction. Too bad we couldn’t see his face.”

Yeah, too bad. The body is killer.

Buy links:


Astraea Press

Barnes and Noble

Thanks for stopping by everyone and if this story appeals to you, snatch it up! It’s $1.99! 🙂