Archive for January, 2019




There’s just something about a gathering of more than five hundred people worshipping God together, breaking bread together, and seeking to help each other grow as writers and as children of God.”


Deborah Raney dreamed of writing a book since the summer she read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books and discovered that a Kansas farm girl could, indeed, grow up to be a writer.”




Congratulations to


Deborah will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!





Deborah Raney’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Since then, her 35+ books have won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, National Readers’ Choice Award, and three times have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to Deb’s award-winning Chicory Inn Novels, the first book in her new Chandler Sisters Novels series just released. Many of her older titles have been reissued by Raney Day Press. Deb and husband, Ken, have four children and a growing brood of grandchildren, who all live much too far away.










As a true extrovert with a very solitary occupation as a writer, I truly enjoy social media. Sometimes I tell people I’m not sure I could have survived my 24-year writing career without it!”



In honor of the return of Chat Thursday, I am doing a giveaway, and Deborah has generously offered to donate a mug from her wonderful collection.





#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Deborah Raney, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER


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“Swoony heroes and heartfelt romance”


“It is my goal to enrich the life of my reader. To reach into their eternity, grab them by the hand, and give them something to hold onto that is solid and sure.”

I am pleased to welcome Kari Trumbo to my little nest.



Call or Text  – Text

Facebook or Twitter – Facebook

Paperback or Kindle – Paperback


rem:  Hullo, Kari. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

KARI:  I was raised roughly 80 yards from where I live now. I live in my grandparents old farmhouse that we renovated. It’s in central Minnesota.

rem:  Talk about family heritage and history! How wonderful! Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

KARI:  It’s hard after being an author for a few years and getting asked this question to think of things no one knows, but I’ll try. I took French for six years (and most of it has slipped away). I love people once I know them and have a heart for helping people, but I am painfully shy. Lastly, I really don’t like cooking anymore.

rem:  I’m pretty transparent, so that’s a tough one for me, too. (I still enjoy cooking, but it’s just me, so meh… ) What is your favourite quotation and why?

KARI:  I don’t know that I have a favorite, but this is one of the quotes I love: You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson

rem:  Or when a person just needs a “random act of kindness.” Kindness is never lost.  What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

KARI:  I keep an ultra-bright flashlight in my purse. You never know when you might need it.

rem:  That’s just plain smart. If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

KARI:  Most likely sometime between 1880 and 1910, it’s the time I feel most comfortable in (besides my own).

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

KARI:  Romans 8:38-39 It reminds me that no matter what, the Lord is always bigger.

rem:  Yes, He surely is—I see it in my life every day. If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

KARI:  Hmm, tough question. I don’t know that any fictional character has ever gotten to me enough to make me want to meet them. It’s rare that I meet a character that sticks with me long after I close the book.


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

KARI:  I think it is important to offer readers a place where they can read and not worry about the content. It’s important also to meet challenges while reading and let the Holy Spirit work. I firmly believe the Lord can work through fiction to meet the needs of both believers and non-believers.

Writing has impacted me in that I now dig deeper into my studies. If I’m going to put a concept in my book, it had better not come from me. If it does, then it isn’t spirit led.

rem:  So true, anything that urges us to study His Word is going to lead us to growth. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

KARI:  I can’t stand it when fictional characters are too saccharine. I want to feel like they are relatable.

rem:  And saccharine people just aren’t real. What are you reading right now?

KARI:  I’m doing a reading challenge of 100 books this year, so by the time this is posted, I’ll probably have moved on, but I’m currently reading Moby Dick and Writing from the Trenches.

rem:  Holy OY! That’s a lotta books! Good on you, Kari! On your website, you mention Black Hills. What caught your attention, and what do you love most about the area?

KARI:  I’m not sure how to answer that. The Black Hills was were my husband and I took our honeymoon. My husband is from SD, so it feels like home there. I love the people, the scenery, the history. Everything.

rem:  Tell us a little bit about Wild Deadwood Reads.

KARI:  WDR is a reader event held in June of every year. It is a 4-day semi-conference where readers can go to various events with authors, including a huge book signing, bus tour, and rodeo. It’s a lot of fun and a great place to connect with readers.

rem:  Sounds like a real blast! You write Historical Western Romance. Tell us what you love most about this genre.

KARI:  I write both historical and contemporary Christian romance. I love that I can make a story the way I want, I can make it a sweet, fluffy, pass-the-time story, or I can make it deep and soul-stirring.

rem:  You make a great point in (an older) blog post, I Used to Think I Could Do It All. So many people seem to feel this way. How did you learn to let go of the concept?

KARI:  That was a hard lesson learned. It took getting critiques from other authors (and allowing them to be real with me) and a few emails from readers, plus reviews. Not to mention my own time constraints. My time is money. My talent—what I’m best at—is writing. If I spend my time editing, making covers, formatting, etc then I’m taking time away from what God has called me to do. Yes, it costs money to let those things go, but the money also comes in faster when you do (allowing for other people to use their talents). At least, it did for me.

rem:  Talk about a profound truth! I think too many people try to do it all. I know I used to.

Tell us a little about your writing journey.

KARI:  I had been editing for a few years and had helped quite a few of my friends get published. I had stories in my head, but didn’t think I was good enough. I sat down at the start of one October and wrote a whole book in the span of a month, then told a friend about it. She encouraged me to keep going and to join a group call NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I figured if I could do one book in one month, there was no reason I couldn’t do two in two months. That second book became the first book I ever published. It did take almost 30 rewrites though.

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

KARI: A small corner of my bedroom is my office and I spend roughly 9 hours a day, 6 days a week sitting here either writing or working in some way. I have scheduled blocks of time throughout my day that help me boost my productivity and still spend time with my family.

rem:  I probably spend that in my “nest,” a corner of my living room, with most of what I need within reach. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

KARI:  Honestly, the only thing I struggle with is the marketing side because I am an independent author. It isn’t easy to stay on top of trends and starting and stopping ads, engaging on various social media outlets, and being available is probably the most difficult part of the job for me, but still infinitely better than any other job I’ve had.

rem:  Totally agree with ya on that! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

KARI:  I love it when one of my books touches someone. When I get an email or see a review where something I write touched someone emotionally, that just makes my world.

rem:  Same here, Kari. Especially when it’s a spiritual truth. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

KARI:  Hardest: Letting go of the preconceived notions I had about publishing. Easiest: spending money (I’m only sort of kidding).

rem:  LOL What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

KARI:  1. Find a critique partner. 2. Do not publish without a paid editor. 3. Do not underestimate the power of a good cover.

rem:  Can’t disagree with those. How do you choose your characters’ names?

KARI:  Many times they name themselves. I’m a pantser, so the characters tell their story as if I’m watching a movie in my head. I do sometimes choose and in those cases I use historical journals to pick names from the period.

rem:  We think alike, Kari! Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

KARI:  No, not at all. I know the names of the two characters and I know what they look like in my head. I know bits and pieces about them sometimes, but not always, and I know that eventually they will end up together. I love that about romance.

rem:  Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

KARI:  I just finished the first draft on Saved by Grace, book 4 in the Brothers of Belle Fourche series. That series has been so popular that I had people email and beg for more. I couldn’t just ignore that. This is the story of Anne’s brother, Cody, and introduces readers to a whole new crop of Oleson brothers.

rem:  How awesome is that!! Reader requested! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

KARI:  I love this book because it’s about redemption/restoration. Those are my favorite stories, when people get a second chance at life because they realize a mistake they made or they forge a new path.

rem:  Restoration is actually my word for 2019! Tell us about why you wrote this book.

KARI: I wrote this book because readers asked for it. I generally start with knowing I need to write “this” book for “this” series and not much else. This is the first reader-driven story I’ve ever written. I hope readers love it.

rem:  Please give us the first page of the book.


Belle Fourche, South Dakota, 1902

He’d seen her kind before. Cody Hammond balanced on his chair, an allowance the bank made just for him, as the petite woman hesitated at the large front doors. She wasn’t local, didn’t know immediately where to go, and she searched for friendly faces. Her gaze landed on him briefly, flitted along, then swung back. He leaned further over his counter, ducking his head to hide his eyes, glad of the bars that blocked him from getting too close to anyone.

“Excuse me?” A soft voice with just a hint of an accent spoke just over his head.

If he’d been standing, she wouldn’t be over him. She wouldn’t look down at him. He sighed and laid down his pen then gave her his attention. Chivalry had been ingrained in him, both from his father and from the English Army. “Yes, miss?” For she did look like a miss with her golden hair in two braids down the sides of her head and a lavender dress.

“I,” she paused and glanced quickly at the other two men down the counter, then lowered her voice, “didn’t know where to ask and we couldn’t find the post office. Can you tell me where to find the Oleson place? It’s rather urgent.” Her wide green-gold eyes searched him and he squared his shoulders, preparing to send her on her way. Most people didn’t feel comfortable right off talking to him, as if his infirmity was somehow contagious. That she would even talk to him when two other men stood at identical stations was a mystery, and he hated mysteries.


rem:  Very nice! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

KARI:  My books all have 2 threads: redemption/renewal and forgiveness. It may be subtle, but those are the things that make up who I am as a writer, so my readers connect with that.

rem:  Sometimes subtle is best. Where can we find you online?


www.KariTrumbo.com (get a free book for signing up for my newsletter)





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

KARI:  Thank you for having me!



I am an author of Christian Historical Romance novels. My first series, Western Vows is comprised of a prequel Forsaking All Others, then To Honor and Cherish, For Richer or Poorer, and To Love and Comfort. The settings are Kansas and northern Minnesota/Canadian border. If you are a lover of historical romance, especially clean historical romance, please follow my newsletter to be updated on what’s coming!

Kari Trumbo is one of four authors in the best-selling Cutter’s Creek series. She writes Christian Historical Romance and is a stay-at-home mom to four vibrant children. When she isn’t writing, or editing, she home schools her children and pretends to keep up with them. Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of almost twenty years, two daughters, two sons, three cats, and one hungry wood stove.







Kari is offering a free e-copy of the first three books in her Brothers of Belle Fourche Series.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at midnight on Thursday 30 January and end at 11:59 on Thursday 7 February. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.






For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Kari Trumbo


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Embrace your bookish side.

Does your dream day consist of staying in bed with a good book or binge watching Jane Austen movies? OURS TOO!

Have you adopted the Dr. Seuss method of home decorating (‘fill your house with stacks of books in all the crannies and all the nooks’)? WE HAVE TOO!

Cancelled plans don’t bother us because we’d #ratherbereadinganyway.




PUBLISHER & FOUNDER             Angelia L. White

ART DIRECTOR                            Kim Baker

SENIOR EDITOR                          Carrie Schmidt

ASSOCIATE EDITORS                   Beth Erin, Rachel Dixon, Annie Sturt

COPY EDITORS                           Erica Baker, Melony Teague

REVIEWERS                                 Rachel Dixon, Beth Erin, Patsy Glans, Leslie L. McKee, Carrie Schmidt, Annie Sturt, Kerry Sutherland, Andi Tubbs, Suzie Waltner, Alysha Worthen

SPECIAL GUEST                          Liz Johnson

CONTRIBUTORS                         Patti Callahan Henry, DiAnn Mills, Tiffany King

ADMIN/HR COORDINATOR        April Johnson

BUSINESS/FINANCE COORD.     Sherrell Jenkins



What a wonderful bookish publication! Filled with, quite literally, all things books! Reviews, articles, recipes—what more could a book lover hope for!



#Blogwords, Wreading Wednesday, Featured Book Magazine, Hope by the Book – Launch Edition

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Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?



One of my favorite parts of writing is creating a sense of place. It’s what I look for in my favorite books too. Do you know what I mean? That ability to ‘feel’ as if you’ve really traveled to a location you’ve only read about? I recently enjoyed that wonderful ‘place traveling’ by reading Laura Frantz’s newest novel, A Bound Heart. Wow! What a wonderful trip to Scotland!!

In my newest release, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, I invite readers to travel with Jonathan Taylor to Maple Springs, North Carolina, a small mountain community in the Blue Ridge. It was such fun to introduce readers to the Appalachian culture as Jonathan is introduced. From mountain lions to get-togethers to corn shuckins, the traditions, beauties, trials, and changes of the mountain people set the stage for discovery…and, of course, there are the magnificent views.

There’s something about these mountains, something indescribable, that calls to the hearts of those who’ve lived among them for a while. I’m not sure how to describe it except to say it’s a sense of belonging that settles around the heart like an internal hug, nudging you to slow your pace, take a deep breath, and take in the scenery.

The pace of life is different. The people talk a little differently. And there’s an unspoken understanding of community, hard work, and…always…the music.

I grew up listening to my family play bluegrass gospel together. Some of the menfolk would play on their instruments – fiddle, guitar, bass – and then women and men alike, would bring on the words. Intricate harmonies of family voices. Songs of various texture and depth, but all with the sound of the mountains.

That’s what I hope to draw readers into through my stories, and this one in particular. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge steps back into a time where the mountain people were only beginning to feel a greater impact from the outside world. Where their traditions were being questioned and their way-of-life threatened. I also hope to challenge the stereotype some people still have of Appalachian people. Were some of them lazy? Sure. Were some closeminded or thick-headed? You bet. Were they’re alcoholics, abusers, filth, uneducated, poverty-stricken people? Yes. But there was also marvelous imagination, dreamers, artists of all kinds, musicians, crafters, inventors…and, of course, storytellers.

Come take a journey with me and Jonathan Taylor into Laurel McAdams world in My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge.

And bring me your questions.

Is there anything you’d like to learn about the Appalachian culture? Any questions about the story or the people/traditions you read about in the novel?




As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.

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Opening the pages to Pepper Basham’s book is like opening the gate to a lush mountain world. This story wraps the reader like a homemade quilt on a cold foggy mountain night. Ms. Basham’s style tells the story with such grace; the reader is in the story, witnessing every turn and moment.

To paraphrase Jonathan, “Stories. Pepper really does have the makings of a writer, a storyteller. It’s in [her] blood, [her] culture, and [she has] the ability to capture it on paper.”

Of all the life lessons in this book, the deep theme is running through it is, the one that shines above all else, is that true peace and joy and happiness doesn’t come from worldly endeavors or earthly possessions. Laurel’s constant smile and positive attitude holds fast in the midst of what seems to Jonathan such a meager life. His own past of wealth and ease, has not given the joy that radiates from her.

As he embraces the quiet strength Laurel sees in him, and the dreams God has birthed in him, can Jonathan truly know the peace and joy Laurel brings? As their friendship grows and romantic notions flutter between them, will they sacrifice their dreams? Or will they sacrifice their affection for one another?






I received a complimentary 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 free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.



#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, Pepper Basham

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Eight Ways Being a Reader is Crucial for Writers


I have been invited to speak to high school and middle school language classes. When we get to the question and answer part of what is the most important thing someone can do to prepare to be a writer, I tell them, “be a reader.” Those who cannot understand are doomed to be neither.

It’s not too much to presume that people who want to play with words do so because they love them. It may be a love/hate relationship, but it must passionate, as passion undergirds story. If you have little experience with story, whether it’s someone else’s or your own, you are in no position to offer a tale to anyone else. As you can read between the lines above, being story—that is, living widely enough to be able to look back and appreciate the scenes that make up life—is the second part of an equation for authorship that has an endless answer like the square root of pi. For now we’ll focus on the first aspect—Why Read?

A person who wants to write literature but will not read it can sound like a human explaining to a guppy what it’s like to sit in a recliner and watch television. Anyone can learn the mechanics of language. People can learn to repeat a joke or assemble facts for a report, but a storyteller is an inventor. Inventors don’t generally birth a concept into an immediate, fully-functional working contraption without some apprenticeship, doodling, tweaking, and trial and error. A person with an idea who refuses to go through the work of developing that notion into a presentable product usually gives up, hires someone else, or fails.

Like inventors, authors are constantly learning. We learn from others, and from trial and error. Here are eight ways being a gluttonous reader helps writers.

  1. Osmosis. Yes, the sponge effect. By soaking up good stuff, it will seep into your membranes. You may not know initially why a sentence sounds good, or a piece of dialog has a great back-and-forth that just works, but it will stay with you and you’ll have a better chance of spitting it back out in a sensible way. However, you know what happens when you let your sponge sit in unpleasant gunk. Rinse and repeat. Do this by
  2. Reading carefully. Read from different large publishers and indies, as well as some self-published material. If you don’t have a library card, get one. Even rural communities have access to public libraries. Become such a good reader that you’ll be able to figure out if the publisher missed an error. Large publishers have several layers of editing and proofreading before they give a product to the public. Learn what sort of material is popular, and are good sellers, talked about, and why. You should also
  3. Read widely, especially outside your genre. Include nonfiction, especially poetry, and fiction. Nonfiction takes a practical approach to a topic. There are often reference and notes about research. Fiction writers can find new avenues of research, and information that will make fiction that much closer to believability. Nonfiction authors can learn to put their material together in ways that create interest and intrigue. Poetry is the ultimate distillation of language to create story. If you don’t know poets, find some! Writers will have to create marketing material for their own work, which often includes back cover copy, a synopsis, a hook sentence, and a biography. This material should be attention-grabbing and poets know how to draw the essence from experience with a perfect word.
  4. Copy. Not plagiarize. Go ahead and keep a notebook of phrases that move you from the books you read.


Why did that word or scene or sentence evoke emotion? How can you create that mood in your story? Begin to appreciate the doodling, the tweaking, the sweat that went into developing that moment. Know that quite likely, that phrase or sentence was the result of several minds mulling over the words. The author may have originated it, or perhaps the urging came from an agent or developmental editor. A copy editor may have requested a tweak. A publisher may have asked for an addition or deletion. Careful, studious readers can understand that writers will have to develop a working relationship with their editors and their readers. Careful readers will eventually come to appreciate the

  1. Rules of language. Grammar. The mere presence of the word can be as frightening as the word algebra is to those of us who think it’s ridiculous there can be an endless answer to the square root of pi. Good readers should pick up some natural grammatical dynamics, general punctuation, and the understanding that syntax will guide your vocabulary choices. As an editor, however, I say this concept is wishful thinking more than it should be. Bibliophiles will need to spend some time undoing whatever it is that made you think it was okay to put a period outside of a quotation mark, or dangle prepositions, or misplace modifiers. Readers who learn grammar will unfortunately be utterly ruined for reading after some of the mystery of untangling language is revealed.

But, wait! Now writers who are qualified to know when it’s okay to break the rules will be inducted into the secret society of those who can break them well. You may not have even noticed the number of times I begin a sentence or a paragraph with a conjunction.  What you won’t know is how many adverbs and modifiers I removed or the tenses or plurals I adjusted in my self-edit, and that’s as it should be. Don’t be one of those authors who argue with their editor about how so-and-so author broke this-and-such rule. Don’t bother to hire an editor if you know everything. If you’re smart enough to know that you don’t know everything, you’ll be admitted to the inner circle of knowing when it’s okay for YOU to break the rules. Because writers who read know general rules, they see patterns. A single paisley flower in a plaid weave sticks out. So does your attempt to change points of view or use the wrong tense. These errors make writers look bad. It can affect your

  1. Natural marketing and networking.


If you ask for endorsements or reviews from authors you respect, but are turned down or get a bad review, readers are not inclined to spend money on a product they don’t think they will enjoy. They won’t tell others to buy the book, or worse, will tell others how bad it is. Word of mouth will always be the best marketing for any product or service. Authors who read should talk about what we’re reading and something about why we like it or think others will like it. We recommend books to book clubs, our friends, and our circles of influence. Those of us who teach use your work as material in our talks and workshops.

  1. Reading also shows us how to do Market Analysis for our own work. Reading other books like ours and comparing our work helps define our readership. And finally, reading authors
  2. Help other authors with a REVIEW! Review books on as many social and publisher’s sites as you can. Use your name and website link. Reviewing is a great service networking with other authors and their readers.

Ultimately, our goal as Authors should be that we are Read. If all you want is to be published, that’s a pretty small niche. Anyone can get published these days. Any writer can write. An author shares a gift that multiplies and enlarges a reader’s spirit.


Photos within the post are licensed by Creative Commons and free to reprint for personal and commercial use. They are courtesy of Pixabay.





After being left at the altar, Ivy Amanda McTeague Preston uproots herself and her cat, an Egyptian Mau named Memnet, from her boring and lonely life to start over at the urging of Mayor Conklin, a fellow pedigreed Mau owner.
Ready to move in a fresh direction, Adam Thompson, accepts the mayor’s invitation and uproots himself and his beloved Mau, Isis, to open a branch of his trendy bookstore and coffee shop in the small town.
When Ivy takes a mysterious message while the mayor is away on business, only her criminology professor mom and Adam believe there’s something rotten in Apple Grove. Then Ivy discovers the community grant money that Adam was allotted to start the store is mysteriously being siphoned off, a dead body surfaces, and the victim’s missing Mau becomes the primary suspect. . .just another day in Ivy’s far-from-boring new life.
In love with Apple Grove and with Adam, Ivy hopes to carry on their romance while saving the town from further mayhem.



Ebook release is January 25, 2019; Print release is February 1, 2019; Hardcover Large Print release is May 8, 2019


Barnes and Noble

Pelican Ventures, LLC



Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author who loves books, collects dragons, and writes inspiring fiction. She also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa is a member of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association, the Chicago Writer’s Association, and vice president/instructor for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor.









#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lisa Lickel

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I like to cook. And I like to invent my own recipes. And I like to try other people’s recipes. And now I’m going to share them with you.

Welcome to the return of my What’s Cookin’ in You Kitchen feature!!!


In memory of my mother, whose name was Elizabeth


1 lb                  ground Italian sausage (may substitute hamburger)

1 tablespoon    olive oil

1                      onion

1                      bell pepper

8 oz                 mushrooms, sliced


1 small can      tomato paste

2 large cans     tomato sauce

2 cans              diced tomatoes

1 container      Parmesan cheese


1 box               large pasta shells

2 lbs                 mozzarella cheese, grated

Reserve ½ cup

8 oz                 Ricotta cheese

1 bag               fresh or frozen spinach



Salt and pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons     garlic powder  *I use powder not salt.

1 teaspoon       oregano

1 teaspoon       basil



Drizzle olive oil in large skillet, and add ground sausage. Brown over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dice onion and bell pepper, and add to meat. Add sliced mushrooms.


Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a Dutch oven or 4 quart pan with olive oil. Place on hot burner.

Empty tomato sauce and paste into pan, and blend using a whisk. Add tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and the oregano and basil. Add half container of Parmesan cheese. Bring to a low boil and turn burner to medium-low. Cover pan and allow to simmer, stirring frequently.


Drain meat and sautéed vegetables, and add to sauce.


Fill a large pot with lightly-salted water and bring to a rolling boil.

Place the shell pasta in the water, and return to a boil.

Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain and rinse; let cool.


Mix the mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmesan, and spinach. Season with remaining garlic powder.

Scoop ¼ cup into each cooked and drained shell.


Preheat oven to 375° F


Ladle half the sauce into greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Place stuffed shells, seam side up, into dish. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved mozzarella over top.


Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.




  • Cottage cheese can be used in place of ricotta.
  • I like this recipe with clams, but my #2 man child is allergic to shell fish, so I make it without the clams.



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


NOTE: All recipes and images must be original or used with permission.


#Blogwords, What’s Cookin’ in Your Kitchen, Pasta Bella Isabella, #RandomRecipes, #AuthorsEat #AuthorsCook

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I’m breaking a cardinal rule and writing on a hot trending topic—abortion and the “Reproductive Health Act.” I do not write this as a debate, but as my conviction as a follower of Christ.



“New York State passed a bill this week that feminists are celebrating with glee, lighting up the top of the Freedom Tower with pink lights as they claim victory for women’s health reform and women’s rights.”


I am a woman and this is NOT a “right” for me.


It is an abomination.


There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,  hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.  – Proverbs 6:16-19


I read a comment on a Facebook post a while back that blasted God for asking Abraham to sacrifice his own son, raging at the horrific notion of… sacrificing his child to God.

My immediate thought was of Molech, the Canaanite god who actually did expect infant sacrifices. And gruesomely done, too.

And—GET THIS—done willingly. By the parents.

WARNING: graphic description ahead—

Some of these sources suggest that babies were roasted to death on a heated bronze statue. According to Diodorus Siculus, “There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.” They placed their children alive in the arms of a bronze statue of the lady Tanit.

The hands of the statue extended over a brazier into which the child fell once the flames had caused the limbs to contract and its mouth to open. The child was alive and conscious when burned. Philo specified that the sacrificed child was best-loved.

According to Stager and Wolff, there is a consensus among scholars that Carthaginian children were sacrificed by their parents, who would make a vow to kill the next child if the gods would grant them a favor: for instance, their shipment of goods were to arrive safely in a foreign port.

* source: Wikipedia


I am reeling from the news of this decision in New York. Never is abortion warranted, but to poison a child who might otherwise live, but for which side of birth he or she (and yes, only two genders) resides is unfathomable.


This means that a woman has carried this child, felt its movements within her own body, has heard (potentially) the heartbeat, that she knows that a person is inside her—and still chooses to murder him or her. This means that a woman has had weeks, months to make a decision to give life outside her womb to the life she carries. This means that a woman who makes this decision, this late in her pregnancy, has a hardened heart. Cold. Stone.

This means that it is no panicked, irrational decision. It is calculated, and callous, unconscionable. Premeditated.


Facebook is glutted with reaction to the New York decision, and because of my circle, that reaction overwhelmingly is grief, sorrow, lament.


Melissa Ferguson talks about the “bystander effect,” in which we, as Christians, grouse and gripe and grumble about a thing—but actually DO nothing. She shares a time when she had an opportunity, and reached out:




Each of us, as believers, is called to step up, to speak out, to DO something, anything, to make a difference. This post is, for me, one thing I can do.


Whatever we do, we must do it in love. And boldness. Never superior-minded, never brash or aggressive. But neither timorous or reticent or diffident. Rather, we must be confident and gentle and meek, sure in the One for Whom we live, and act, and speak.


Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Not subjective, dependent neither on whim nor emotion. Truth is truth, and it is absolute.


And when the unthinkable happens, when a child is conceived and born with defect or deformity, it is not a punishment or a test. It does not mean God has forgotten us, or looked the other way.


Rather, it is our chance to look to Him IN the difficult and heartbreaking circumstance. To trust Him when He says He works all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28)


My friend, Kimberly Wyse, shares her experience:




And lest you think me a naïve commentator, who is ignorant of the issues, let me assure you I am not. All three of my own children were very much wanted and cherished, even though one was a product of rape—still, never did I wish to murder my unborn child. So yes, I knew those anguished emotions. But a wise friend told me, in those early days of that pregnancy, that God had a special purpose for the child—as He does for all of us.

I pray God’s mercy upon our land. I believe this has rocked us to our core, and that the righteous will rise up and rout out such evil. Yes, the days are dark, and yes, the enemy is growing bolder. But he is also growing careless. He is desperate, for he knows his ultimate end. Oh yes, the enemy is surely alive, but he is not well. Not at all. We, the righteous, we are alive and well, and we are strong in His might. Our God is not desperate, He is not grasping at straws, He is never careless. He is firmly seated on His throne, steady and sure as all eternity. And when we look to Him (Psalm 121:1-2) we, too, are steady and sure in the face of evil.





#Blogwords, Headline News and Current Events, Abortion and the Reproductive Health Act, Jeremiah 1:5, Proverbs 6:16-19, Bystander Effect, Romans 8:28, Psalm 121:1-2

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