Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Book Spotlight: The Hope Series by E.C. Jackson


The Certain Hope: Twenty-one-year-old Neka is a bit of an introvert; she also happens to be stunningly beautiful. When she discovers her friend James is about to be dumped, she sees the perfect opportunity to escape from her quiet life. Can she summon the courage to leave it all behind? James Copley comes from a ruthless family. It’s rubbed off. Years ago, he disengaged from his brother’s smear campaign, but now his father has offered him an ultimatum, “Get married or lose your seat at the table.” Plotting to stamp his design on the family business, he proposes to a woman, even though he doesn’t love her. But his carefully laid plans start to unravel when she leaves him on the day she’s due to meet his family. Could years of planning his comeback vanish with her departure? Amazon

The Confident Hope: Is there hope for this love between friends? Pamela Hayes is a smart, successful business owner with a supportive family and a thriving bakery. She should be the happiest girl in the world. But she can’t shake the melancholy that accompanies every conversation she has with her best friend, Mark. Pamela doesn’t know how much longer she can hide her true feelings. Why can’t Mark see how perfect they would be together? She would make a much better girlfriend than the one he currently has. Pamela prays he’ll come to his senses soon and realize he’s with the wrong girl. But when her dream comes true, it isn’t the fantasy she had envisioned. There is trouble in paradise from the start, and all the red flags she’s been ignoring are starting to threaten her confidence…and her relationship with Mark. She’ll have to rely on family and her faith in God to help her secure the hope she so desperately needs. Amazon

Overflow With Hope: Two men. One wrong choice. Tempia Wade’s life had jumped the rails. One fateful night, she believed a stranger’s lie rather than the assurance of a trusted friend. For her lapse in judgment, she paid an agonizing price. Her now-bankrupt life featured shattered dreams, ruined friendships, and the loss of a promising relationship. Now, two years later, the twenty-three-year-old prayed for a second chance with the man she had fallen for at first sight. Would Cory Sanders finally overlook her egregious mistake in accepting a next-day date and liaison with another man? Or would she have to truly accept life without him? Amazon 

About the Author


E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. Thirty-one years later, she adapted the play into Pajama Party: The Story, a companion book to the second book in the five-book standalone Hope series. Jackson’s favorite pastime is reading fiction. She enjoys taking the journey along with the characters in the books. That also led to her unorthodox approach to story writing. Her vision for each book she writes is to immerse readers into the storyline so they become connected with each character. “The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on her Facebook author page. She feels that if every person reading her books feels connected to the characters, her job is done. 

Author Links   Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Friday, November 24, 2023

The Inspiration Behind Catnip, Plushie Balls, and Q-Tips by M.G. Rorai



If you loved Catnip, Toilet Paper, and Lasers, this new collection of cat poems will tickle your whiskers and your funny bone.

Title: Catnip, Plushie Balls, and Q-Tips: Cat Poetry: The Art of Being Feline

Author: M.G. Rorai

Publication Date: September 30, 2023

Pages: 178

Genre: Poetry/Cats

Ever wonder why there are “mews” in “amewzing”? This collection of cat poems will tickle your whiskers and your funny bone. They’re the purr-fect way to brighten your day and celebrate the furry friends in your life. Prepare to laugh out loud as you read about cat adventures with magnets, candles, strawberry milkshakes, and plush balls—but don’t let me ruin the surprise, you’ll have to read to find out! Get ready to laugh your tail off!

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple | Scribd | Smashwords

Book Excerpt  

The magnets are so cute

that I must knock them off

but get yelled at for this,

so the new approach is soft.

I sit by the fridge

staring at those squares

and when Human isn’t looking

I lick with tongue hairs.

All was going good

until one was quite sticky

leaving a bad taste,

and I’m not so picky.

I bite at the air

to get rid of the taste

then knock down that magnet;

good riddance, post-haste.**

The Inspiration Behind Catnip, 

Plushie Balls, and Q-Tips

Kitty Elsa perches on a chair to slurp water droplets during shower time. If my husband or I don’t let her into the bathroom she cries at the door. When we do let her in, she drinks from our fingers until she gets bored, then abandons the shower to go slouch in a basket. Ah, the life of a Queen.

As you can tell, I think cats are adorable creatures, and as such I’m part of many cat groups on social media to get my daily fix of funny cat things. One day I was reading a thread of real-life funny stories, and I thought how fun it would be to turn them into silly poems. At the time I had been re-exploring my poetry, something I used to write unpublished about ten years ago, and posted in the group if anyone would be interested in reading such a book. The response was overwhelmingly positive. 

I received permission to use those stories, and that’s how the first book in the series Cat Poetry: The Art of Being Feline came about. It’s called Catnip, Toilet Paper, and Lasers. Of course, my kitties Elsa and her brother Socks contributed and became the theme of the book.

But I wasn’t done. I started on the Catnip, Plushie Balls, and Q-Tips sequel with inspired cat stories and continued on with the antics theme of my own cats, along with writing other books. But then burnout hit, plus job issues needed to be addressed (as I wasn’t writing full-time) and everything took a backseat. I didn’t get back to the feline sequel until two years later. By then the world had righted itself, I had recovered from burnout through lots of rest and pursuing other activities, and I felt it was time to complete Q-Tips, which I think is better than the first poem collection.

When I first started this series, I was exclusively on Amazon. But with Catnip, Plushie Balls, and Q-Tips I’ve decided to expand my reach and publish at other places, such as Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo, libraries, and others. I want to share my laughs with many who appreciate the love of cats. And now part I, Toilet Paper and Lasers, is wide as well.

But it’s more than cats too. These books are also about sitting down and having a good moment when good times might be hard to come by. What better way to find distraction than amewzing cat poems? A cat’s companionship can help tremendously on a bad day, and I wanted to capture some of that for anyone needing a silly moment.  

About the Author

M.G. Rorai enjoys hanging with her cats and annoying her husband. Her latest book is Catnip, Plushie Balls, and Q-Tips.

Author Links  

Website | Facebook

Monday, November 20, 2023

How I Reset My Life by Quitting Drinking by Lisa May Bennett, author of My Unfurling


Wicked hangovers. Scary blackouts. Ugly fights with friends. The results of binge drinking weigh heavily on Lisa May Bennett. She tries repeatedly to savor “just a few” glasses of wine—only to find herself passed out on the couch again.

 Lisa has a bucket list full of exciting adventures with zero check marks next to them. Her anxiety and self-doubt are crying out for real solutions, not more booze. And her dream of becoming a published writer is fading away. She worries that her love of a good buzz will keep her stuck in this rut. Can she take charge of her life, or is she headed for a disastrous rock bottom?

 This touching and funny memoir explores the childhood experiences that paved the way for Lisa’s drinking habit. She examines her complicated relationship with her mother, her experiences as a late bloomer, and her ongoing search for validation. In an engaging and relatable voice, the author shares how she began to “unfurl” without alcohol holding her back. But will she stay sober and discover how to truly thrive? Anyone wondering if they'll ever burst out and follow their dreams will find My Unfurling compelling and hopeful.

Purchase a copy of My Unfurling on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.


How I Reset My Life by Quitting Drinking

For many years, decades actually, I was an enthusiastic drinker. I couldn’t imagine a Friday night, a fancy dinner, or getting together with friends without an alcoholic beverage. It helped me relax after a stressful week, and it made the good times seem even better. You could say that drinking was my main hobby, along with watching TV and cooking (both of which could be done with a bottomless glass of wine).

Sure, I often drank way too much, which resulted in some bad nights. I was no stranger to blacking out, getting into nasty arguments, or making a fool of myself. But I always thought quitting drinking was for people whose lives were totally falling apart. We hear about those big “rock bottoms” people hit—losing your job, getting in a car accident, discovering your health is at risk, being arrested, or losing custody of your kids. These are the experiences that are supposed to send you straight into recovery.

I didn’t hit one of those rock bottoms. So, every time I pondered whether my relationship with alcohol was toxic, I concluded that it wasn’t that bad. Except for that one time. Oh, and that other time. But otherwise, I was good, right? When I hit middle age, I started wondering if there was more to life. Was my routine way too routine? I had a bucket list of fun things that I wanted to try—none of which were getting checked off. Most importantly, I had dreamed of becoming a published author since I was a kid, and that had gone nowhere.

I did a lot of thinking about what was standing in the way of these things I desired. Watching less TV would definitely open up more time, and cutting back my social media scrolling was a no-brainer. But after going alcohol-free during a 30-day food elimination program, quitting drinking started to emerge as the potential key to resetting my life. Several more years passed before I finally made the decision to part ways with alcohol. I don’t know if I had been waiting for a serious rock bottom. A different kind of sign—an online essay kind of like this one is what finally pushed me off the fence.

Once I stopped, a reinvigorated life began to unfold. I checked off many of those bucket-list items, and I’m still adding to the list. I finally returned to my writing, and I authored and self-published a memoir. (And I’m working on book two.) Maybe I never would have hit a true rock bottom. Maybe I didn’t have a “real” problem, as some people close to me have suggested. But I think it was a problem that I was more attached to drinking than I was to fulfilling my dreams. 

So, if you’re looking for a sign, take it from me—you don’t have to wait for a big, scary one. Maybe this is your notice that life can get much more interesting than you ever imagined once you give alcohol the boot.



About the Author

Lisa May Bennett is the author of the memoir My Unfurling: Emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, Self-Doubt, and Drinking. She had a flourishing career in marketing and communications for more than two decades before finally embracing sobriety and chasing her dream of becoming an author. Her upcoming book will demystify the self-publishing process, and she hopes to encourage more people to tell and publish their own stories.

You can follow the author at:





Monday, November 13, 2023

What’s a Nice Catholic Like You Writing a Paranormal Like This? by Catherine C. Hall


It’s the Golden Girls meet the Ghostbusters when four women find themselves in an unlikely career: Southeastern Paranormal Investigations. Ree Lane, a stylish widow, is more cynic than true believer, while her childhood chum Elle Harper has a knack for getting sensitive info with the help of her homemade pies. The preacher’s wife, Betsy Jones, can’t be seen with SPI unless she’s in her disguise as Nora, a psychic-in-training with a gift for Tarot. And the recently-returned-home Gillian Buchanan is a whiz at technology, especially of the supernatural sort. Their first case lands on the doorstep when neighbor Doris Tucker is sure her prized vintage dolls are haunted. But there’s hardly time for ghost-hunting when the bank director’s wife mistakes SPI for a private eye venture. Now they’re also hot on the trail of a misbehaving husband. It’s a wild ride as the sixty-something sleuths start digging into the past. But have the Ladies of SPI gone too far? And how far will Sutter go to keep its secrets dead and buried? Purchase a copy of Secrets Laid to Rest on Amazon. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.


What’s a Nice Catholic Like You Writing a Paranormal Like This? 

I suspect that most people reading Secrets Laid to Rest put me in Ree’s shoes. And yes, like Ree, I’m a bit of a merry widow. But Betsy, the preacher’s wife who dresses in a disguise as Nora, a Tarot card reader and wanna-be psychic, definitely holds a piece of my heart. She’s the character that allows me room to wander among the supernatural as well as my faith. 

Growing up in Savannah, Georgia put me square in the middle of priests and the paranormal. I attended Catholic schools, and all of my friends were Catholic, too. It would seem a somewhat insulated upbringing but because Savannah is such an old city, I was exposed to all that history, much of which included spirits and hauntings. There I was, learning my catechism, while my mother pointed out houses in downtown Savannah that had purported haunting activity. “The people who live here,” she’d say, “hear glasses clinking, voices, and laughter. And when they get up in the morning, chairs are moved around!” Wow! I was totally hooked on those real ghost stories. 

I still love a good ghost story, the kind where spirits roam old haunts; I never met a ghost tour I didn’t like. But I also love to hear the stories about loved ones who visit, the times when the supernatural intersects the everyday. And you would be surprised how often regular folks have real ghost stories to tell. Long before I wrote Secrets Laid to Rest, I wrote a young adult novel about a girl who’s psychic. It wasn’t uncommon, in talking about the book, that someone, somewhere would tell me about their own paranormal happenings. Once, sitting in my hairstylist’s chair, she said, “I grew up seeing ghosts all the time.” She was a psychic herself; the gift ran in her family, but she no longer “welcomed” spirits. Every time I got my hair cut, I’d get a spirited story! 

Of course, there are all kinds of supernatural experiences throughout the Bible and faith itself is believing that which we cannot see but know to be real. So even though the nuns would not have any nonsense, like students entertaining the class with ghost stories, we certainly loved hearing about angelic intervention and miracles! So I explore, in my stories, my lifelong interest in the paranormal. And I also pray regularly for loved ones who I hope are enjoying themselves in heaven. And if ever I wonder if my searching or beliefs are crossing a theological line, I’ll ask my cousin, the priest. He’s always happy to talk it out (or set me straight). Except Ouija boards. No good Catholic girl goes near that! 


About the Author

There’s a great song, I’ve Been Everywhere, made popular by Johnny Cash (and a couple commercials). If you put the song in Georgia, it would be about Catherine C. Hall, starting when she moved to the Peach State at eight-years-old. She grew up in Savannah, Georgia, where you can’t throw a stick without hitting a ghost. Even when she was a little girl, Savannah was known for its haunted history, and she was hooked! Broadcast Journalism hooked her as well, so she studied at Valdosta State University way down in South Georgia where it is the heat and the humidity. She worked in a few radio stations, but it was WNEX Radio in Macon that turned out to be life-changing. She met a cute deejay from Sandersville, Georgia, and married him a year later.

They moved above the Gnat Line (Oh, it’s real) to the Atlanta area, where they grew their family to two boys and a girl, and she took a turn in the teaching world. And then whoosh! She met the half-century mark wondering what to do. Maybe it was the merlot talking but after years of reading mysteries, Catherine thought it was high time she wrote one. And she did; it was awful. (And way too short. Who knew readers expected 70, 000 words?) So she learned her craft, starting with flash fiction, then moving on to short fiction, where she won a few awards. She wrote essays that ended up in books like Chicken Soup for the Soul. She penned assorted humor columns and continued to freelance. And then one day, she wrote another story that wasn’t exactly novel length but it wasn’t a short story, either. It was a children’s book.

She joined SCBWI, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and had a wonderful career in children’s writing, including publishing six books. But in the midst of her last two book contracts, life changed unexpectedly when Catherine’s favorite deejay up and died. When at last she wanted to write again, she heard four women of a certain age, each seeking purpose and joy in where they found themselves, which for them was a small town in Georgia called Sutter. For Catherine, it was at home, still in the Atlanta suburbs, revisiting the ghost stories of her youth, and finally getting that mystery written. All 70,000 words of it!

You can find Catherine online at:

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61551890907288

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathychall/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cathyhall55/

Website (Psst! Sign up for Cathy’s Spirited Newsletter and get in on secret giveaways!): https://catherine-c-hall.com/

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Book Spotlight: Once Upon a Christmas Castle by Virginia Barlow



Lady Rosalind Chatham's arranged marriage cannot withstand the wonder of a Christmas wish glistening with true love and happy ever after.

Title: Once Upon a Christmas Castle

Author: Virginia Barlow

Publication Date: November 6, 2023

Pages: 276

Genre: Holiday Romance

goodreads add to

Lady Rosalind Chatham journeys with her family to Weston Castle to wed an ancient earl on Christmas day. Yearning for true love, she falls for the duke, her stepfather’s cousin, while preparing her nuptials. Lady Rosalind entrances the Duke of Weston. Concerned for her future with the tempestuous earl, he can’t afford to get involved. The fines and scandal will be too great for a man of his wealth and power. When the truth comes to light, and he almost loses her forever, he finds he cannot afford to give less than his whole heart.

What Critics Are Saying:

“Loved this holiday romance between Lady Rosalind (Ruby) and the charismatic Duke of Weston. Facing a forced marriage to a loathsome noble, Rosalind uncovers lies and betrayal which almost cost her the life of the man she loves.

With plot twists, devious characters, attempted abduction, and touches of humor– thanks to a little boy and his unpredictable pet frog– this Christmas novel is a delightful holiday read!”

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Virginia Barlow has always loved reading romance novels. She used to sneak into her mom’s room as a young girl and read them while her mother was gone. As she grew older, her reading tastes expanded to sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal, and fantasy.

 She considered becoming an author in her late twenties but as a busy mother with toddlers, she didn’t have the time or the energy. Later, in her fifties, she decided to give it a try and has enjoyed every moment of it since. She recently signed her fourteenth contract and is over the moon with excitement. Writing is truly her happy place.

Her husband of forty-one years is her greatest support, as are all her children. Most of them are grown and carve out lives for themselves. But they are the beat of her heart and with every grandchild, the rhythm gets stronger. She enjoys every moment of her life and plans to live it to the fullest.

Author Links  

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok

Thursday, November 9, 2023

The Inspiration Behind the Nurse Florence Series by author Michael Dow


Nurse Florence teaches Jean, Condi, and Sonia about the science of emotions and uses images from the internet on her phone to teach.

Title: Nurse Florence, What Are Emotions?

Author: Michael Dow

Publication Date: September 6, 2023

Pages: 86

Genre: Children's Book

Sometimes it seems only a nurse can bring technical information down to an understanding that an ordinary person can grasp.  The Nurse Florence® book series provides high quality medical information that even a child can grasp.  By introducing young kids to correct terminology and science concepts at an early age, we can help increase our children’s health literacy level as well as help to prepare them for courses and jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  We need more scientists so I hope that many children will enjoy this book series and consider a job involving science.

Buy Link:


The Inspiration Behind the Nurse Florence Series


As to how I got published, I realized I would have very little chance to get traditionally published because I was not famous, do not have a large social media following, nor am I well connected.  Someone once said, “The only way to steer a ship is to move forward.” I don’t know where my project is going to end up, but I realized to get some place, I had to start moving forward so I self-published through Lulu. Lulu is very easy to use and relatively cheap. The ease and price have enabled me to publish a book every 10 days this year. We have over 60 titles in the series now. Nurse Florence is the first of its kind health book series for kids. We believe we will have a societal impact on the health literacy of the world. The books are being translated into multiple languages. Also, coloring books are being created for some of the titles so that kids can learn another healthy coping skill of drawing to help them find peace. The series has won best educational series for kids with the Independent Press Award and the coloring books have won best series with the NYC Big Book Award. Many of the titles have won their own book award. We have many 5-star reviews from professional reviewers as well as individuals. There are over 40 illustrators working on the project. We are helping new illustrators become published illustrators through the series so that they can catch a break and become experienced.  Writing books is a lot of fun and my kids are part of the editorial review process by suggesting changes as needed. My wife helps translate the books into Latin American Spanish. One of my cousins translates them into French. We hope to be a powerhouse in the children’s publishing world one day. Dream big dreams and do something every day to achieve them. Never give up.  

About the Author

Michael is the Founder and Manager of Dow Creative Enterprises, LLC.  His books have garnered the Silver Nautilus Book award in 2020 (Nurse Florence, Help I’m Bleeding) and an Award-Winning Finalist in the Religion category for the 2021 International Book Awards (A Prayer to Our Father in the Heavens: Possibly the Greatest Jewish Prayer of All Time).  Michael believes we will need the best of science and religion to successfully navigate ourselves, our civilization, through the future obstacles we will face. More information can be found at www.DowCreativeEnterprises.com and www.NurseFlorence.org. Nurse Florence® is a federally registered trademark by Dow Creative Enterprises. The Nurse Florence® series seeks to promote science and health among children and to help increase the health literacy levels of our society. With teamwork, inclusion, faith, and perseverance, we can bravely face our problems and help each other reach our better selves as well as our best collective good.

Author Links  

Website | Facebook 

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