Archive for March, 2017

31 March 2017

Edition III


Bronchitis and Author Down





More of this quarter has seen me sick than not—and I never get sick. No really. I get mild symptoms for two or three days, maybe four, and that’s it.

But Tuesday 10 January was different.

I had a scratchy throat when I went to bed, fully expecting it to be gone when I got up. It was not. Not only was it not gone, but I had a fever and chills (only recognized when I got up the following day without fever and chills—again a rare-to-never occurrence.)

From there I developed a head cold which sank into a chest cold and graduated itself to full blown bronchitis. Two inhalers and an injection later, it’s STILL not completely gone!!

The blog has suffered, but worse, the writing has taken a crushing hit—I am two months behind schedule. The next several weeks will be dedicated to making up for lost time.



Recovery Mode

To that end, I made an executive decision (I can do that, it’s my blog! LOL.) For the month of April at least, I have suspended interviews. After writing my own posts (which I had already suspended for the duration of writing this series) interviews are the most labor and time intensive posts I do. What’s In Your Kitchen, although not nearly as labor intensive, will also be suspended simply because that’s the one feature that’s the most… expendible.



And per the previous article, the month of April is devoted to getting caught up and back on track. The four stories in Seasons release back to back (July, October, January, and April)—a tall order for me.

I have designated April as my own personal NaNoWriMo, with the goal of writing (at least) 50K words in The Tilting Leaves of Autumn.


The Languishing New Series

I’m 100% Pantzer, well okay, maybe 95-5 split. That said and guesstimating from my unsavory stories which came in between 120K and 130K words each, I figured (with no rhyme or reason) the Seasons books would be closer to 100K even. I have, however, now surpassed the 100K mark in The Long Shadows of Summer, and at this writing (Sunday the 26th) have a few more loose ends to tie up. 110K maybe??

Coming in July.

Leave a comment or email me at robinemason212@gmail.com for a sample chapter.





Robin E. Mason, Stories by Design Takes a New Direction

That tag at the bottom? That’s the core of my writing. The struggle for identity is a battle within, that I believe we all have to face in our lives. Some own the knowledge they’ve always had, while others—including this writer—have to claw our way to the surface to discover who we really are.

And thus the tales begin…



Coming in 2017

The saving grace with this series is that it’s one.giant.story, told by four main characters, each with their own contribution and perspective to the story. One set of characters, one fictional setting, one timeframe to research (1912 – 1913.) I already have a smattering of words written for each story, and have dipped my toes in Tilting Leaves, and know much of Scarlett’s story. And I know what it is that’s tilting….


Leave a comment with your email for a copy of the first chapter. If you don’t want your email public, send it to me privately at robinemason212@gmail.com.





Bonus Feature for Release Day Reviews


Inspired by the lovely Sydney Anderson over at The Sing Librarian Books – http://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/ – I created several new mini bonus features to hightlight new books on release day. In the line-up are the Blurb, and Excerpt, Mini-Interview with the Author, About the Author, Quotes, Bloopers, Top Ten, and, of course, my Review.




I duplicated them for Wreading Wednesday as well, for books I have not [yet] read but feature when I can to help celebrate the release.




Family Wise – Love is (Still) in the Air


I mentioned last time that all three of my nephews popped the question (and all three gals said yes) First wedding was two weeks ago and it was a spectacular event! One of my granddaughters was the flower girl.

Next wedding is in October of this year, the third one in October next year. And methinks there’s another wedding in the works….. (no, alas, not me)







Chatcha’ll next time.

Got questions? Email me at robinemason212@gmail.com.




Here endeth Edition III of

Thank you for subscribing!











A Little Birdie Told Me, #newsletter, Stories by Design, Bronchitis, Recovery Mode, RemApWriMo, The Long Shadows of Summer, The Battle Within, Bonus Release Feature, All the Weddings


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Reading is My SuperPower

Bookworm Mama

Singing Librarian

Faithfully Bookish

Radiant Light

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken

Fiction Aficionado

Bibliophile Reviews

Kathleen Denly

Lauraine’s Notes

With a Joyful Noise


    If you’d like to join us on your blog for First Line Fridays, shoot Carrie @ Reading is My Superpower an email and let her know!




Mistakenly Married:

Penny’s gotten herself into another one of her crazy messes. She’s broke and about to be evicted. When her online boyfriend suggests they elope, she agrees. Why not? She loves him, even though she hasn’t met him, so she blows the last of her cash on a fun Las Vegas wedding. Except, William stands her up and the limo driver picks up the wrong guy. A smokin’ hot wrong guy. Too bad she doesn’t find out who he really is until after the wedding.

Harrison Williams needs a wife to gain access to his trust fund account. He goes to Las Vegas to meet someone, but there’s a mix up and he ends up at the Chapel-O-Love exchanging vows with Penny, a spirited girl in a cheap veil. When they realize the mistake, he convinces her to go back to Bel Air with him to prove that he’s married, and he agrees to pretend to be William so her family doesn’t have to know about her big mistake. Sounds like a good plan. What could go wrong?


Blissfully Married:

Sidney’s matchmaking business is suffering. When her best friend convinces her to put on a fake engagement ring to boost customer confidence in her, she reluctantly agrees. Couldn’t hurt to try, right? And when her childhood crush comes walking in, she’s glad to have her fake engagement as an excuse not to get involved with him. He shattered her heart ten years ago, and she can’t take another painful Blake incident.

Blake can’t believe it when he sees Sidney, all grown up. She looks amazing. But she’s also off limits, or so he thinks. When he finds out she’s not really engaged, he’s confused as to why Sidney would lie to him. He makes it his goal to coax the truth out of her, even if he has to go to great lengths to do it.



Mistakenly Married: Penny wrung her hands and walked to the back of the room. She opened the chapel door to peek outside for the fifteenth time in the last few minutes.


Blissfully Married: Sidney’s fingers flew across the computer keys as she held her breath and tried not to get her hopes up.



Delightful and whimsical, Ms. Lieske has written a series of most improbable stories—and yet makes them not only come alive but seem actually plausible.

ps –  Mistakenly was my first read in this series, and remains my favourite.



Romantic Comedy



   Fun and whimsical stories with unexpected twists.


#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, Mistakenly Married, Blissfully Married, Victorine Lieske

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I’ve said it before. I’ve posted about it and blogged about it.




I really don’t.


This time though…  Bronchitis steamrolled me, and it’s still lingering. Already I have cut writing my own posts to devote that time to writing, well, my stories. Of all my features, interviews are the next most time intensive for me. I love them, enjoy getting to know other authors. Rather than going totally “dark” and for the sake of me – my health – interviews and recipes are on hiatus, through April at least. Otherwise, I’ll never get Seasons did in time!


Blogwords, Author Down, Recovery Mode, #nointerviewsinapril, The Long Shadows of Summer, Seasons Book 1, The Tilting Leaves of Autumn







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Source: Wednesday Wisdom – REST

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Determined to unearth the truth about her DEA agent brother’s reported death, Rachel York takes a position at an historic Charleston plantation, but she finds she is ill prepared to deal with the plantation’s new owner. Luke Barrett may be handsome, but he is overflowing with bitterness and distrust.

Widowed and wounded, former Marine Corps Special Forces operative Luke Barrett has enough to handle with his little girl and an historic property to upkeep. The last thing he needs is a feisty, stubborn woman with whom to contend. Yet, Rachel’s determined spirit awakens something in Luke that he thought died a long time ago.

Luke begins to capture Rachel’s heart until the night she uncovers evidence he may be keeping his plantation solvent by allowing cocaine to be smuggled along his coastline.

Devastated by the possibility, Rachel must decide whether to confront him, even while she conceals secrets of her own.

When all the deception rips asunder in a hurricane, will love survive?


Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). Her first inspirational novel, a romantic suspense, Summer of Deception, will be released by Pelican Book Group/Prism imprint March 24, 2017. An historical novel, In a Pirate’s Debt, is scheduled for a May, 2017 release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Elva is represented by Jim Hart, of Hartline Literary.

She is the author of a mini-book, Power Over Satan:How to Discern and Defeat the Enemy’s Plans Against You, available on Amazon.com. She has contributed articles to two books, Divine Moments, compiled by Yvonne Lehman, and Reasons to be Glad compiled by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have published her articles. She is a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College.

A mother and grandmother, Elva Martin lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund in upstate South Carolina, USA. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog, http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter @Elvacobbmartin and on Face book and Pinterest.


#Blogwords, Wreading Wednesday, Featured Book, Summer of Deception, Elva Cobb Martin






Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?


When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.


And Natalie never says no to her father.


Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.


But finding freedom from the past means facing it.


Catherine West is an award-winning author writing stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management.
Having previously published three popular romance and women’s fiction titles, Catherine will publish her first novel through Harper Collins Christian Publishing this summer. The Things We Knew, a family drama set on Nantucket, released July 12th, 2016.
Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com




#Blogwords, Wreading Wednesday, Featured Book, The Memory of You, Catherine West

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Aribelle is backed into the position of cleaning house for the horrible Mr. Thaddeus Walker. Not only is he rude, he’s dangerously secretive, going out at night and coming home with injuries which seem to heal mysteriously fast. She should be keeping her distance, not trying to break down his barriers. But the more she uncovers, the more attracted she becomes until the cost of exposing his secrets fades behind the risk of losing her heart.

Thaddeus knows he should have sent the girl away instead of allowing her into his home. Now she’s asking questions he can’t answer. And the more time they spend together, the more he wishes he could pull her close and kiss her. But he can’t afford to do that. Beautiful Aribelle could never love a beast.

Aribelle hadn’t seen Mr. Walker get anything to eat while she’d been there, so she timidly entered the living room. He looked like he was asleep in his recliner, the television over the fireplace droning on, but when she started to back out he stirred. She cleared her throat. “Do you want me to make you a sandwich before I leave, Mr. Walker?”

“No,” he said without turning. “You may go.” He dismissed her with a wave. It was then that she noticed a white bandage wrapped around his hand, a bright red spot forming on the back.

“You’re bleeding.” She ran and knelt to examine him. “Did you fall and cut your hand?” She picked up his bandaged fingers, only to have confusion flow through her. These were not the fingers of an old man.

She peered up into his hooded face and gasped. Thaddeus Walker was young. Maybe not even thirty. Long, dark hair hung in his face, and it looked like he hadn’t shaved in a few weeks. Just below his right eye, a large jagged scar extended down his cheek, disappearing into his growing stubble. The rest of the skin on his face was littered with smaller white scars as if he had fallen face-first into a bowl of razor blades. The sight of it made her flinch.

His bright, green eyes burned with fury. He yanked his hand away from her. “Get out!”

She fell backward and scrambled to her feet. “I’m sorry…I—”

“Go!” he yelled, picking up the remote control and throwing it at the wall. It shattered, leaving a dent.

She didn’t have to be told again. She grabbed her purse and ran to the front door. Rushing out into the evening, she didn’t bother to look back. Her heart pounded as she started her Rabbit and drove down the hill toward the highway. It didn’t matter how much she needed the money. She wasn’t ever going back there. Thaddeus Walker was a beast.

rem:   Hullo, Victorine, welcome. If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

VICTORINE:   Ah, I wouldn’t leave this time period. I love my laptop too much!! But I might go visit some other time periods. Maybe for a day. It would be fun to see the early 1900’s.

rem:   Me too! Nice to visit but there’s no place (or time) like home. Where did you find this story idea?

VICTORINE:   This story idea came in the form of a ‘what if’ question. Spoiler Alert. This kind of spoils a little of the plot, but I don’t mind if you don’t mind. Go ahead and read if you’re curious. I thought to myself, What if I wrote a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and the beast character was ugly with scars because he healed people, and each time he did, he got a new scar?” That was the beginning of the story. Then my imagination took off and it grew from there.

rem:   Those “what ifs” are a writer’s best friend, aren’t they! Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

VICTORINE:   Thaddeus was the easiest to write. He just came with all kinds of angst and past baggage. He was really fun to write as well. Love the brooding handsome kind of guy.

rem:   So much we can do (write) with all that baggage. What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

VICTORINE:   Great question. I am a big muncher. I love anything chocolate, but I have to limit that. I also eat popcorn. And Skittles. And Starburst. Yeah, I should be 300 pounds.

rem:   Ohhhh, yessss, chocolate!!!! What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

VICTORINE:   I actually start reading the whole thing right away, while the end is still fresh in my mind, because sometimes little details or things I put in the beginning don’t quite match up to where the ending sits, so I have to go fix those and make everything smooth. But after that edit, I usually go out for steak with hubby!


Victorine enjoys commercial success through her writing, thanks in part to her ability to analyze and adapt to the constantly changing trends in today’s publishing environment. She self-published her first book, Not What She Seems, in April of 2010. In March of 2011, Not What She Seems began its 6 week run on The New York Times best selling eBook list. By May 2011 she had sold over 100,000 copies. Victorine’s first romantic comedy novel, Accidentally Married, hit the USA Today Best selling books list in January 2015. Victorine is a graphic designer as well, and can be hired for book cover design.





Cleaning somebody’s house is not what Aribelle wanted to do. But there weren’t any other jobs.

Thaddeus Walker had his reasons for specifying an older woman to come and clean for him. But Aribelle was desperate.

He meant to send her away but he was intrigued by her. She wasn’t appalled at him.

Still, she mustn’t find out his secret.

Aribelle tried to mind her own business. But her tender and compassionate heart drove her to care for her new employer beyond the expectations of the job.


Ms. Lieske has taken a classic and given it a modern look. While the dark elements are there, is has an almost whimsical feel to it, and in the end, a profound moral. She begins the story innocently enough, and gradually builds the supernatural element into it.

But nothing is as it seems. Nothing is ever as it seems.



I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own volition, The opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.



#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Event, Falling for the Beast, Victorine Lieske, The Gathering, Not What She Seems, The Truth Comes Out

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 The Promise of a Lifetime

Throughout history, there are a few traditions that are common to just about every civilization. Though the ceremonies and customs may be extremely different, countless cultures around the world embrace some kind of wedding tradition.


It dates back beyond the Greek and Roman Empires, was before the ancient Eastern Asian civilizations. The deepest roots of weddings and marriage are actually found in the Garden of Eden.


The First Wedding

Very early in Scripture, in Genesis 2:18-25, we not only find the first marriage, but also God’s intended design for marriage and the very principles that instruct us on how to honor God through marriage.


I don’t know how much time transpired between Adam’s creation and Genesis 2:18, but some scholars suggest that God allowed that time for Adam to be alone so that he would recognize that he needed companionship.


That companionship is the illustration of a God honoring marriage. As Genesis 2 points out, a marriage that honors the Lord is one where the man and woman are joined together, outside of the governing rule of either set of parents. That doesn’t mean that a man can’t seek Godly counsel from his parents if they are Godly parents, but ultimately the responsibility to lead a marriage falls on the husband. Verse 24 of Genesis 2 illustrates that saying, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh.”


Backing up to verse 23 though shows us the very first wedding vows as Adam proclaims that his companion is “bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh.” It doesn’t get more intimate than that.


The Modern Wedding

There is no doubt that mankind has come up with some absolutely weird wedding day customs throughout the centuries. Here’s a few:


  1. In England, it was good luck if a bride kissed a chimney sweep on her wedding day because he had special powers that swept away evil spirits.
  2. Egyptian women pinch the newly married bride to bring good luck to themselves.
  3. Korean grooms ask a happily married friend to make 2 wooden ducks for his wedding day because ducks will mate for life.
  4. In Scotland, it’s unlucky to wear green or to eat green vegetables at a wedding because green is the color of fairies and the color of revenge.


That’s just a sample. There is no shortage of customs and traditions that would make you laugh, wonder, or scratch your head in amazement!


How about the modern wedding in the Western world? We also have some things that seem to be adding to the long list of wedding traditions.


We’ve coined phrases like bridezilla to represent a particularly difficult to satisfy bride. We not only send wedding invitations out, but now we send out pre-invitations that we call “save the date.” The focus seems to be on drawing the largest crowds to our wedding celebrations.


In modern weddings, we spend months and sometimes even years and unprecedented dollars on planning the big day. The danger in that is that we are putting far too much focus on the sprint of the wedding day, losing sight of the marathon of a lifelong marriage.


The Promise of a Lifetime

My wife and I were married young. Probably too young. She was 17 and I was 19. Statistically speaking, we should have called it quits long before now.


We celebrated our 25th Anniversary not even 90 days ago as I write this. While there’s a good level of satisfaction at having beat the odds, we also acknowledge that it wasn’t easy. [rem: Congratulations to you both!]


In my experience, my counsel to those who are going to be married are to make the promise of a lifetime. I don’t paint an unrealistic picture of a “happily ever after” wedding and marriage. Things go wrong. Sometimes they even go wrong on wedding days. But when the focus is on the promise of a lifetime, the little things don’t carry as much weight.


Sometimes, even frequently, things go wrong long after the big celebration. There will come a time when almost every married couple won’t like each other. There were times when my wife and I couldn’t stand being in the same room together. We almost walked away from it all.


Those are the seasons that quite honestly make or break a marriage. This is when the promise of a lifetime, when the rubber on the tires of “for better or worse” meet the road.


And without the design of the God honoring marriage, this is the breaking point for many couples.

The Big Picture

The celebration of the wedding day is a day to honor marriage. It’s an important part of the much larger illustration of our relationship with God that marriage provides.


The big picture is that marriage is the earthly image of the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s why we see Christ referred to as the Bridegroom and His church as the Bride.


On the wedding day, a man and his wife become one flesh, just as we become one with our Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 6:17). Just as a wife is to be led by her husband, Christ leads His church. And as a husband is called to sacrificially love his wife, Christ gave His all for the church in His love.


Marriage is hard work. It’s sacrificial in nature, and it’s absolutely rewarding while sometimes excruciatingly painful. The wedding day is an important part of the total package, but it’s the marriage that is the promise of a lifetime.




Gene Whitehead ditched his first career in order to serve people and share hope. His passion is to help people embrace Christ and apply Scripture to their life, something Gene calls Simple Theology for a Messy Life. You can read about that and download his free eBook, The Armor of God at genewhitehead.com.









#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Gene Whitehead, The Promise of a Lifetime

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It’s March still, and I’m all about the Irish. I’ve searched for me recipes this week, and found a few I’d like to try. As with most of me cooking, I’ve adapted to my taste and preference to create my own version. Hope you enjoy—and be sure to let me know when ye give ‘em a go!!




Preheat oven to 400°



1          cup      buttermilk

1          cup      bread flour

1          cup      rolled oats

*          some recipes omit the oats, using all flour instead.

1          tbsp     granulated sugar

½         teas      baking soda

½         teas      salt

* some recipes call for raisins but I don’t like raisins in my bread!





Using a whisk, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add oats and stir in.

Using a wooden spoon, make a well in center of dry ingredients and gradually stir in the buttermilk.

Turn dough onto well-floured surface.

Knead 4 or 5 times, or until dough is just tacky but not sticky.

Shape into a mound and place in greased iron skillet.

Cut an X into the top of the dough.

Drizzle melted butter into the X.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.


Serve warm with Irish butter.






2          tbsp                 olive oil

1          lbs                    lamb or mutton, cubed

1                                  chopped onion

2          cloves              fresh garlic

1          sprig                fresh parsley, chopped fine

3          cups                 stout beer

6 – 8                             new red potatoes, cubed

6 – 8                            medium carrots, peeled and sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste




Brown the meat in olive oil over low heat; add onion and season with salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley.

Coat bottom and sides of crock pot with olive oil and add meat and seasonings.

Pour in the beer.

Add carrots and potatoes.

Cover crock pot and set for high for thirty minutes, and turn heat down.

Let stew for 2 – 4 hours (or longer if desired.) My personal preference is to let it crock in the crock pot for 6 hours or longer.


Turn heat off and remove from crock pot to serving platter.


Serve with Robin’s Irish Soda Bread.



If you’ve a recipe you’d like to share leave a comment below or email me at robinemason212@gmail.com


NOTE: All recipes must be used with permission.


#Blogwords, What’s Cookin’ in Your Kitchen, #RandomRecipes, #AuthorsEat #AuthorsCook, Robin’s Soda Bread and Robin’s Irish Stew


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Reading is My SuperPower

Bookworm Mama

Singing Librarian

Faithfully Bookish

Radiant Light

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

All the Book Blog Names Are Taken

Fiction Aficionado

Bibliophile Reviews

Kathleen Denly

Lauraine’s Notes

With a Joyful Noise



 If you’d like to join us on your blog for First Line Fridays, shoot Carrie @ Reading is My Superpower an email and let her know!




Accidentally Married:

Madison Nichols, aspiring actress, is floundering. Her rent is due and she needs a job. Desperately. After getting a tip about an open position, she rushes to Jameson Technologies and meets CEO Jared Jameson. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, she is put in the awkward position of pretending to be his girlfriend. Not the job she was applying for. And when she finds out Jared lied to her to get what he wanted, she decides to get back at him. In front of his family.

Jared is stunned when Madison announces they are getting married. She pushed her revenge too far. How can he tell them it’s all a lie? And when his sick aunt asks them to be married before she dies, Madison comes up with a hair-brained plan to hire an actor and stage a fake wedding.

What they both don’t know is Jared’s father has found out about the fake wedding. And he’s got his own hair-brained plan.


Reluctantly Married:

Megan Holloway can’t stand her local morning show co-host, Adam Warner, even though he’s a total hunk. He goads her on-air until she says things she regrets. But since ratings increase each time they have an on-air fight, the producer encourages his behavior.

When a relationship specialist comes onto the show purporting that Adam has hidden feelings for her, she reluctantly agrees to go out with him—on camera. What starts out as one date turns into a viral dating show with Megan and Adam alternating between locking lips and knocking heads.

As Megan fights her growing attraction to Adam, their popularity increases and ABC takes notice, offering them their own program. Not a morning show like Megan is hoping, but a dating show in which she and Adam must marry at the end. With the promise of a hundred thousand dollars and the possibility of scoring what she really wants, her own national program, she signs on.

What she doesn’t know is that Adam has fallen in love with her, and his objective is to get her to do the same.


Accidentally Married: Madison pulled her car into the parking spot, relieved she found an empty space so close to the building.


Reluctantly Married: Megan dug her fingernails into her palms and stared at her co-host, Adam, while the camera zoomed in on her. She couldn’t believe what he’d said.



Delightful and whimsical, Ms. Lieske has written a series of most improbable stories—and yet makes them not only come alive but seem actually plausible.




Romantic Comedy



     Fun and whimsical stories with unexpected twists.


#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, Accidentally Married, Reluctantly Married, Victorine Lieske

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“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7: 37-38 NASB


“Regardless of your circumstances, your age, your health, your finances and your past, you DO have a future and something to contribute.”


rem:  Hullo Karen, and welcome to my nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

KAREN:   I have lived all my life in western Pennsylvania, near the town famous for Mr. Rogers and Arnold Palmer.

rem:  So a friendly neighborhood, eh?  😉  #gotgolf  Tell us three things about yourself.

KAREN:  I find the vast beauty of the ocean so restorative.  I am a hugger. My dream vacation is a cruise among the Hawaiian Islands.


rem:  In that case, {{{{{HUGZ}}}}} Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

KAREN:  Coffee, no sugar, flavored preferred.

rem:  Same here. What is your favourite quotation and why?

KAREN:  “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.  Les Brown

rem:  Thank you! (58 and counting!) What do you do as a hobby?

KAREN:  Read, listen to music.

rem:  What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

KAREN:  a box of blank CDs.

rem:  Hope that’s on your desk not in your purse… What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

KAREN:  My granddaughter and I watch “Elf” every year.  I also greatly enjoyed the recent movie “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone”. I don’t watch much TV but prefer mysteries like NCIS and also like Blue Bloods.

rem:  My Sis-in-Law got me hooked on “Elf” – love that movie. What’s your favorite recent discovery?

KAREN:  What a wonderful and interesting group authors are.

rem:  I know right!! If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

KAREN:  I wouldn’t because I like modern conveniences, technology advances.

rem:  Touché! Are you named after someone?

KAREN:  no

rem:  Do you use sarcasm?

KAREN:  Not much.

rem:  Is that a sarcastic reponse??? Would you bungee ?


rem:  That looks pretty definitive. What is the first thing you notice about people?

KAREN:  eyes

rem:  The window to the soul. Favorite season? Why?

KAREN:  Spring. I love to watch grass and leaves turn green and the colors of flowers burst forth.

rem:  Mine too –  it’s a (ahem) robin thing.  😉  Hugs or kisses?


rem:  * see above…  Rolling stones or Beatles?

KAREN:  Beatles.

rem:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

KAREN:  Several but Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB is the verse I try to live by

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

rem:  Sounds so easy….. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

KAREN:  Danny Gokey because his songs speak strongly to my heart


rem:  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

KAREN:  It is enjoyable yet uplifting and encouraging and includes life lessons.

rem:  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

KAREN:  Connecting with the characters.  When the plot bounces back and forth and the author knows what it means but you don’t.

rem:  I read one like that – ‘course, I came into the story world several books into the series, but still – I had a hard time keeping up. Which is more important: plot or characters?

KAREN:  Characters

rem:  ‘Cause you wanna hug ‘em all, right? What would you do if you weren’t writing?

KAREN:  Inspirational speaker or traveling

rem:  Which you do anyway, right? What are you reading right now?

KAREN:  God is Good by Bill Johnson; Resonate by Nancy Duarte; Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

KAREN:  granola bars


rem:  The healthy choice. You have a teaching ministry other than writing. Tell us about that.

KAREN:  I have led life groups at our church and speak at women’s encounter weekends. I also speak on memory loss, grief and other topics for my work.

rem:  Heavy stuff. What a blessing you must be to those in need. You are also a hospice grief counselor. In my estimation, that takes a special courage and compassion. How did you get started in this ministry and what does a typical day look like?

KAREN:  I believe God makes beauty from ashes when we use our difficult experiences to later help others. My father died when I was 21 and then my first husband when we were 35 so I wanted to share what I learned from that to help others.  I also have been an advocate for hospice and how it can help families for over 15 years. My day is partly computer and paperwork (ugh) but also phone calls and visits with bereaved, attending funeral viewings, leading support groups etc.  Every day is a little different.

rem:  Truly a light in a family’s darkest times. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

KAREN:  I have loved to read since a young child and journaled many years.  I wrote some articles but I have always wanted to write a book.  Following a difficult season in my life, I felt strongly I was to write about it to encourage other women.

rem:  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

KAREN:  My home is quiet so I write primarily in my living room and dining room.

rem:  Mine is quiet too (most of the time) and I sit on the love seat, lap top in, well, lap. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

KAREN:  My biggest problem is finding enough time, while working FT and being active at my church.  I wrote my book primarily on weekends. I hope to be writing and speaking FT instead soon.

rem:  I was already on Disability when I started writing so I can’t imagine having to juggle so many plates! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

KAREN:  Letting my thoughts flow.  Sharing with the reader.

rem:  Nothing like it, is there? What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

KAREN:  Learning the process- it is like learning a new career.  Easiest- being able to write it in Word and upload from there.

rem:  It’s a constant learning curve, too! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

KAREN:  Only write if you know you are supposed to and have the passion to persist.

Record your thoughts on your phone or a recorder when the inspiration is fresh.  Keep learning about the craft and publishing.

I would not write because someone else says to.  Be open to constructive suggestions but be careful who you share with to avoid negative input.  Don’t try to be someone else.

rem:  All excellent recommendations! Tell us a little about your book? Do you have a new project coming?

KAREN:  This book evolved from going through a dark season of struggles in my life and the journey out toward renewed hope, vision and purpose.   I felt strongly that what I went through was not just for me but could help other women during their own time of struggles.  I plan to write a version aimed at young women 15-30.  I also am in the midst of writing The Journey Back To Joy about finding joy again after loss. I have 2 or 3 other ideas started, also.

rem:  Isn’t that what our life as believers is about, sharing with others – the good, the bad, and the ugly?? What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

KAREN:  I am hoping that this book will truly encourage many women to have hope, to awaken the dreams in their heart and to know that they each are uniquely special and beautiful. I am honored to have 16 other women share their intimate stories of difficult times in their lives. We all were very transparent in the hope that every woman who reads it will identify with one or more of us and be encouraged that they, too, can not just survive their situation but thrive.

rem:  Karen, you’re speaking to my heart!

Please give us the first page of the book.

KAREN:  Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.          James 1: 2-4


  1.      Rising Up From the Dark               

            Have you ever had a circumstance in your life that caused you great despair and hope was hard to find?  Have you felt like you cried out to God but it seemed as though He didn’t hear you?  I have. I recently read a description of the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ as described by St. John of the Cross. I could immediately relate while reading his description of difficult times when it feels like our prayers are not being heard and we experience weariness, helplessness, emptiness, and a sense of defeat.  I believe I have experienced this four times in my adult life.

The first three were traumatic events: one, the shocking betrayal of my first husband who engaged in an adulterous affair.  We were high school sweethearts and both raised in devoutly religious homes.  I trusted him completely.  Many others told me that if they had to guess the one couple this would not happen to, it would have been us.  I thought so, too.  My husband was going through an early mid-life crisis of sorts and searching for why he


rem:  Ashes. And now you have beauty from it. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

KAREN:  It is never too late.  You always have worth and purpose.

rem:  Where can we find you online?







rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

KAREN:  I appreciate this opportunity to share about my book and I would love to hear feedback from those who read it.

rem:  Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!




“Put your eyes on Me! Do not look to the right or the left. Do not wonder how or why. Come to Me and ask for My wisdom and for Me to move on your behalf.”




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Karen Sweeney-Ryall, Revealing Your Treasures Hidden in Darkness, Beauty from Ashes


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