A Heartfelt Christmas Promise: A Novel

By Nancy Naigle

Available September 29, 2020

 

Book Blurb

A perfect gift that captures the spirit of the season, USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle’s A Heartfelt Christmas Promise celebrates the holidays, small-town traditions, and the generosity of love between two lost souls who find everything they ever wanted in each other.

Vanessa Larkin was supposed to be spending Christmas in Paris, France on a business trip she hoped to enjoy as a working vacation. Instead, she’s been assigned to Fraser Hills, North Carolina—home of the Best Fruitcake in the USA—to convert her company’s property into warehouse space and shut down Porter’s, the fruitcake factory. Offering retirement packages and selling locals on new job opportunities may not spread holiday cheer, but Vanessa believes she’s helping secure the town’s future.

Mike Marshall’s family founded Porter’s. For decades, the factory served as the lifeblood of the community until his grandfather sold the business to a Chicago corporation. The sale cost the town its independence—and the Marshalls their family ties. A horse farmer, Mike was never involved with his grandfather’s company, but still felt Fraser Hills lost part of its identity. And as a widower raising a teenage daughter, he’s suffered enough losses in one lifetime. News of the factory’s closing means losing another piece of the town’s legacy.

Far from the skyscrapers and rapid pace of the city, Vanessa finds herself enjoying the easygoing rhythms of rural living. With Mike as her guide, she learns to appreciate the simple pleasures found in shared holiday festivities among friends. Fraser Hills is a town she is growing to love—and Mike is someone she is falling in love with. Now all Vanessa needs is a Christmas miracle to give her newfound friends and home a gift they’ll cherish for many New Years to come.

Book Blurb and Cover Photo from Goodreads

My Review

Christmas always brings feelings of warmth, hope, home, and togetherness. Nancy Naigle’s, A Heartfelt Christmas Promise, delivers that and more.  When Vanessa gets her next assignment, she finds instead of heading off to Paris, she is driving to Fraser Hills, North Carolina to clean up a mess left by the guy she is replacing.  And she has a deadline! Arriving just before Thanksgiving, she has until Christmas to shut down the town’s claim to fame, Porter’s Fruitcake factory, and turn the space into a warehouse. But Porter’s has been run by the same family and employed much of the townspeople decades.  To say, she was met with opposition from the townspeople, especially from Mike Marshall whose grandfather had started the company.  Vanessa starts having warm feelings for the town folk and is determined to find a solution to benefit both her company and Porters. Neither Mike nor her boss is making it easy for her.

The characters are warm and caring, but also ready to fight for their town. This is a sweet and touching holiday story to get you in the holiday spirit.

I received ARC of A Heartfelt Christmas Promise from Net Galley for my honest review.

 

About the Author

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle, writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology in the banking industry, she never let go of her dream to write. Now she works full-time writing stories that are a calming blend of community, family, and the simple things in life. She writes the kind of stories she hopes will provide an escape from the hectic day-to-day in the make-believe worlds she creates.

Look for Nancy’s titles in the Adams Grove series.
Sweet Tea and Secrets
Out of Focus
Wedding Cake and Big Mistakes
Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies
Mint Juleps and Justice
Barbecue and Bad News
~coming soon Porch Swings and Promises

Nancy also has co-written books with:
Phyllis C. Johnson ~ inkBLOT
Kelsey Browning ~ The Granny Series
Book 1- In For A Penny
Book 2 – Fit To Be Tied
Book 3 – In High Cotton
Book 4 – Under The Gun
Book 5 – Gimme Some Sugar

Boot Creek Novels
Life After Perfect
Every Yesterday
Until Tomorrow

Christmas Books
Christmas Joy
Hope at Christmas
Christmas in Evergreen
Dear Santa

Aside from writing she enjoys hunting for treasures in junk and antique shoppes, and getting crafty no matter what the medium from painting and digitizing embroidery designs, to weaving pine needle baskets. She also enjoys horseback riding on her palomino, Tooter.

A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she now calls North Carolina home.

Author Bio and Photo from Goodreads

Connect with the Author

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Buy the Book

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

The Small Dog’s Complaint…

Something to brighten your day from fabulously talented Sue Vincent and Ani.

The Small Dog

Dear writer…

*

I know you’ve only got two legs

And elephants have four,

But honestly, you sound like one

When walking ‘cross the floor.

*

It’s every night; I go to bed

And settle down to sleep,

You stumble round, make so much noise

‘T would make the Sandman weep!

*

Perhaps you ought to take more care?

Maybe you need to diet?

Or go to bed before I do…

Or maybe, just be quiet!

*

Dear Small Dog, are you being fair?

I’m quiet as a mouse!

I tiptoe through the pitch dark night

To navigate the house.

*

I open doors and close again

With care so they won’t creak,

It’s only when I find a bone

Barefooted, that I squeak.

*

If, on occasion, I might groan,

Or even, sometimes, curse,

It’s ’cause I’ve found a soggy chew,

A tennis ball, or worse!

*

You’ve left…

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Moses the Singer

By Mark W. Sasse

 

Book Blurb

A talented group of teen musicians. A stateless old man living on the margins of society. What do they have in common? Humanity and sweet music.

Will, Sanchez, Song-Yi, and Stephanie attend an American international school on the island of Penang, Malaysia. But at night, they are a talented band of musicians striving to win their school’s talent show, so they can further their dreams of becoming professional musicians.

Musa “Moses” Marbun has been without a country for forty-six years. The crippled and destitute rickshaw driver pedals tourists through the quaint streets of Penang’s capital city to meet his daily needs.

One day when downtown, Song-Yi witnesses Musa being beaten on a sidewalk for a theft he didn’t commit. As she intervenes on his behalf, an unlikely friendship ensues, which puts the band on a collision course with musical destiny while Musa hopes to end his decades long journey through the wilderness by confronting his past.

Introducing the Band:
Song-Yi, lead singer
Will, guitarist & composer
Sanchez, bass guitarist
Stephanie, percussionist
Moses the Singer

Book Blurb from Goodreads 

 

My Review

I love everything Mark Sasse writes, and Moses the Singer did not disappoint.  The story starts out in two different time periods. Musa “Moses” Marbun sought asylum in Malaysia where he is mistreated and lives in poverty, driving a rickshaw to eke out a meager living. Yet, through all, his smile never fades.

A group of teens (Song-Yi, lead singer; Will, guitarist & composer; Sanchez, bass guitarist; and Stephanie, percussionist) start a band with the hope of winning a school talent contest.  As fate has it, Musa and the teens chance to meet and the band discovers that Musa has a talent for singing. The love and compassion that develops as the band members befriend Musa is truly heartwarming.

This story is a testament to humanity. It is filled with compassion and the gifts of friendship and how they shaped the relationship between an old man and a group of youths.  It is a story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

This YA novel will appeal to everyone from teen through all adults. It is my favorite of Mark Sasse’s books to date.

My thanks to the author and to BookSirens for the ARC of Moses the Singer.
My honest review is not impacted by this gift.

 

About the Author

Photo from Goodreads

Mark is a proud Western PA native but has lived most of the last twenty years in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia. His overseas experiences have redefined everything including his palate, his outlook on life, and naturally his writing.

He has published eight novels, including his Forgotten Child Trilogy.

His interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – to culture and language – to history and religion – making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy writing injected with doses of culture, history, adventure, and delightful humor. You never know what you might get when you pick up a Sasse novel.

Besides novel-writing, Sasse is a prolific dramatist, having written and produced more than a dozen full-length dramatic productions. He especially is fond of the short play format and has twice won the Best Script award at the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival Penang. His plays and short musicals have also been produced in New York City, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney. His play “The Last Bastion” was awarded the Greywood Arts Winter Residency 2018 in Ireland. Performances of his scripts also won Gold and Bronze medals at the Southeast Asian Forensics Competition 2014.

His professional background is as diverse as his writing. He holds master’s degrees from California State University Dominquez Hills and Azusa Pacific University in Humanities and TESOL respectively. His undergraduate degree was in English, which helped him develop his passion for creative writing. He has extensive experience in teaching English, history, and drama.

On top of all of this, he loves to cook everything from gourmet pizzas, to Mexican, to various Asian dishes. Flavor is the key of both his cooking and his writing. He very much hopes you enjoy the taste.

Published Novels and Short Stories of Mark W. Sasse
2019 The Forgotten Child (Book 3)
2018 The African Connection (Forgotten Child Trilogy Book 2)
2017 A Man too Old for a Place too Far (Forgotten Child Trilogy Book 1)
2016 Which Half David: A Modern-day King David Story
2015 A Love Story for a Nation (coming in July) – Kindle & Paperback
2014 If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story – Kindle only
2014 The Reach of the Banyan Tree – Kindle & Paperback
2013 The Recluse Storyteller – Kindle & Paperback
2012 Beauty Rising – Kindle & Paperback

Author Bio from Goodreads

Author Links

Website     Facebook     Goodreads

Buy the Book

Amazon

 

Friday Night Lights

My husband, George James of the blog Thinking Things Over, wrote a touching story of football, dreams, and the journey to follow those dreams.

Thinkin' Things Over

I grew up in a small town along the Ohio River where high school football was a big event on Friday nights.  My house was four short blocks down the hill from the high school stadium.

I remember, as a young boy around five or six years old, standing on the sidewalk in front of my house on a crisp Friday night and looking up the street at the lights of the stadium. I could hear the band playing, the crowd screaming, and the comments being made on the public address system. I really did not understand what was going on, but I knew that I wanted to be there.

One night my grandfather took me up the street to the stadium. I remember my excitement as the lights got brighter and the sounds louder. We worked our way along the side of the stadium until we got to the…

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Summer Reading for Kids of All Ages!

Summer has always meant more time for reading. As a child (and teen), I’d grab a book and climb my favorite tree and read for hours. Janice Spina has written wonderful books for young people of all ages.

Jemsbooks

This is a post I previously wrote back in 2017 and wanted to share again in time for the summer.

Jemsbooks for all ages for fun summer reading for the whole family!

Pre-School – Grade 3  – Written in rhyme with life lessons – stories encourage children to behave, to respect others differences, to listen to your mother, show kindness to others, it’s okay to be different, love one another, be kind to animals, family and friends are important.

Purchase links:

Amazon Author Page for all Jemsbooks

Barnes & Noble Page for all Jemsbooks

School will be out in less than a month! Can you believe it? Have you picked out which books you want your children to read yet? Let me make some suggestions for you.

Middle-Grade/Young Adult/Preteen – Stories encourage good behavior, kindness to others, respect of elders and family values, bullying should never be accepted or tolerated, 

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Gratitude to the WordPress Book Bloggers

Author, blogger, and one I am honored to call friend, Claire Fullerton, talks about the book industry and where book bloggers fit in. I am touched to be mentioned along with such wonderful bloggers.

Claire Fullerton Author

I’d like to adequately express how much the WordPress book blogging community means to me, so suffer me while I warm up to it. I readily admit I’m the long-winded sort, even when I have an important point.

In this day and age of social media at the center of an author’s career, there is much to reconcile, and there are times I wrestle with keeping a proper perspective. On the one hand–and you’d think this to meet me in person–I  am ridiculously extroverted; I have what author, Pat Conroy, labeled the “Southern sickness” of assuming everyone I meet is my best friend, yet on the other, I am intensely private. I don’t like showcasing myself because it feels like grandstanding, and quite frankly I’m not impressed with myself to the point that I think I have anything of significance going over any other writer. We are all of us…

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POETRY in the TIME of CORONAVIRUS

Book Spotlight

POETRY in the TIME of CORONAVIRUS is an anthology of original submissions from the Poets of the World. Proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders and Partners In Health – two outstanding organizations supporting the fight against COVID-19 and countless other global health issues. Please follow @p_i_t_t_o_c on Instagram to meet many of the poets who generously committed themselves to this charitable effort with their profound creative voices. We dedicate this project to all of the healthcare professionals tasked with treating the victims of Coronavirus. As well, our community of poets extends its compassion and love to all who have been affected by this terrible pandemic. Thank you for supporting our small effort to make a positive difference during this tenuous time. Edited by G.A. Cuddy with valued assistance from Liz Kobak. Cover art by Charlotte Knauth.

Purchase on Amazon

Little Tea

By Claire Fullerton

Endorsements for Little Tea

Claire Fullerton skillfully draws us into a lost world of Southern traditions and norms where past tragedies cast long, dark shadows on present-day lives, and no one ever truly escapes.

Cassandra King, author of The Same Sweet Girls* 

“Claire Fullerton once again delivers an emotional, lyrical tale and proves she’s a writer to watch.”

–Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

Claire Fullerton’s unique, lovely story brings the reader a triple bonus — the sense of home, history, and compassion delivered in abundance. Her characters sizzle with personality.  This is the Old South butting heads with Today. Fullerton’s book Little Tea shows us there is hope for the future.

Val MacEwan: Editor of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

pre-release, here are Little Tea’s Awards

The Pulpwood Queens (780 book club chapters) August book selection

Finalist in the Faulkner Society’s William Wisdom International book competition

Finalist in the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset Awards

 

Book Blurb

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship. For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia revisits the life she’d tried to outrun. As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

 

My Review

Little Tea is a story of many layers.  The author deftly alternates this story of the South in the 1980s with the present day. While racism was outlawed, the South still bristled with hatred from a few of the privileged.

Ava, Celia, and Renny had been friends since they were thirteen years old. When Ava decides she needs to change her life and contemplates leaving her husband of 23 years, the three friends meet at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, not far from Memphis. Unbeknownst to Celia and Renny, Ava arranges to meet her high school boyfriend, Mark, at the lake house. Celia’s ex-boyfriend, Tate, is in Memphis at the same time and wants to see Celia. This stirs up a lot of memories of Tate, her brother Hayward, and her best friend Little Tea, Celia has worked hard to bury. Renny is the voice of calm and reason and having divorced her husband, has no need for another man in her life.  Will all three be able to come to terms with the issues they’ve tried to bury?

This is a story of family, friendships, love, hate, and race relations still evident in the 1980s.  It is about children growing to adulthood but never really leaving all the entanglements of their youth behind. The author keeps you guessing about some of the characters, revealing only what you need to know until she decides you need to know more.

Claire Fullerton crafts a beautiful story that is both pleasurable and heartrending at times.  Her characters are so well fleshed out, you feel you know each one personally.  She seamlessly moves from one period to the other and back throughout the book allowing us to know the South through Ava, Renny and Celia’s eyes.  For those of us who are Northerners, it gives us insight into how far-reaching the fingers of hate can go.

I loved Little Tea. It is one of those books you can’t put down and then never seems to leave you. If you enjoy

I was given an ARC copy of Little Tea by the author in exchange for my honest review.

 

About the Author

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction (Southeast). Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, A Portal in Time, and a contributor to A Southern Season with her Novella, Through an Autumn Window. Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency. She is a featured author with Novel Network and a two-time featured author of The Pulpwood Queens.

Claire Fullerton is the author of four novels and one novella. Her southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis, Mourning Dove (Firefly Southern Fiction) was a five-time book award winner and a semi-finalist in the Faulkner Society’s 2017 William Wisdom international competition.

Author Links

Author Website

Author Page – Goodreads

Little Tea will be available for purchase on May 1, 2020

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Pandemic Anxiety Busters~

Once again Cindy Knoke shares her knowledge on how to deal with the pressures of this pandemic. This is part three. (You can scroll through my latest posts for links to parts 1 and 2). Besides her advice on staying sane through the Covid-19 pandemic, Cindy’s blog contains a plethora of entertaining posts with her own photos. Please stop by her blog often.

In the last two posts we started filling our anxiety busting toolbox and we are now down to our final three tools.*

Thank you to all the bloggers who added their own personal tools that work. They are most helpful and are incorporated into our toolbox. Choose any tool(s) that might work for you, and discard any/all that are not a good fit. Add more of your own resources that work. Adapt your toolbox to suit yourself. The most important thing, regardless of the specific tools, is to have tools in your awareness, to improve your mood, and ease your anxiety, when bad things happen.

Here is our toolbox:

ANXIETY TOOLBOX:

Self Talk Reframing (Cognitive Therapy)

Guided Imagination/Visualization

Exposure Management

Progressive Relaxation

Distraction in Action

Self Soothing

Second Voice

Spiritual Meditation/Prayer

Exercise, Diet & Good Health Practices

SECOND VOICE

Carl Jung emphasized the importance of paying attention to our inward…

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