Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: October 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013


Photo courtesy of Bing Images
Hyperacusis ...
a health condition where a person is overly sensitive to noise, possibly every day sounds, that may be loud and painful to them, but not necessarily to others.

So that's what I have? 

I've never been diagnosed by a physician with hyperacusis, but it wouldn't take a doctor visit to confirm my hypersensitivity to noises. 

No, my diagnosis comes from years of wincing at various noises, of asking my hubby to turn the tv down or off, of him telling me that I'm speaking so softly that he can't hear me. But when his voice booms, I feel like the whole restaurant can hear him, not just me. 

Can you listen to music in the car if there's a conversation going on around you? Shaking my head here. I can't even follow a GPS instruction if someone's talking in my car.

Here are some noises I find soothing:
Clomp clomp of a horse's hooves

Gurgling creek


Peaceful nature sounds around a lake

Obviously, water sounds soothe a person with this condition, but what about the opposite? What's annoying?
A bus's belch
Lots of people
More annoying noises:
Any siren
A saw blade's whir as it slices through wood
Silverware clinking
An air conditioner that rattles
Any noise my car makes
Garbage truck as it empties cans or dumpsters
And a constant drip or a person chomping gum really sets me on edge. 

It's not from aging because I've lived with it forever. I hope it's not hereditary because just recently my grandson has been asking...

"What's that noise, Meme?"


Can you relate to hyperacusis? What sounds do you find soothing? What about annoying?
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's happening?

Thought I'd take a moment and share a couple of the exciting, fun events planned for the next few days.

Kannapolis Friends of the Library Book Sale
The Kannapolis Friends of the Library is hosting a book sale this weekend with thousands of "gently" used books marked WAY down! The proceeds from this event support the purchase of materials for the Kannapolis Library and enhance special programs throughout the year. 

On Friday, 10/25, from 1-3, or on Saturday, 10/26, from 9-noon, I'll be signing/selling copies of my books. The sale is taking place in the old Cabarrus Bank building, 201 West Ave., Kannapolis, NC.

Picture compliments of Bing, not the actual event
HogHappnin BBQ and Craft Festival
I'll be participating in my first ever CRAFT show! If you live near Shelby, NC, stop by the Hog Happnin festival on Saturday, 11/2, from 9-4. There's a lot going on, including a Car & Cycle Show, Arts & Crafts and what else? BBQ! 

Hubby will be judging for the KCBS Sanctioned BBQ Competition, and you can find me under the Heart Racing, God-Gracing Romance Author banner! Come on out for fun, BBQ, and maybe find some awesome Christmas gifts! 
Shelby City Park, 850 W Sumter St, Shelby, NC.

Hope to see you at one of these events! What are your plans for the weekend?
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Have you read WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY by Myra Johnson?

When the Clouds Roll By Buy Link
About the book~
Annemarie Kendall is overjoyed when the armistice is signed and the Great War comes to an end. Her fiancé, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard, is coming home, and though he is wounded, she is excited to start their life together. But when he arrives, her dreams are dashed when she learns Gilbert is suffering from headaches, depression, and an addiction to pain killers. This is not the man she had planned to marry. After serving in the trenches, Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary is barely holding onto his faith. Putting up a brave front as he ministers to the injured soldiers at the hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he befriends Gilbert and eventually falls for Annemarie. While Annemarie tries to sort out her confused feelings about the two men in her life, she witnesses firsthand the bitterness and hurt they both hold within. Who will she choose? Will she have the courage to follow her heart and become the woman God intended her to be? As the world emerges from the shadow of war, Annemarie clings to her faith as she wonders if her future holds the hope, happiness, and love for which she so desperately longs.

Sharing my thoughts~
Ceramist Annemarie Kendall couldn't be happier when WWI comes to an end and her fiance is on his way home, but from his recent letters, she knows the war's changed him. What she doesn't know is if he'll still love her and want to marry her. After an injury that leaves him feeling dependent and less masculine, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard isn't sure he want to return home to Hot Springs. Bitter and in constant pain, the last pill he wants to swallow is pity on his fiance's face. 

Johnson sets up a robust conflict when Gilbert talks to Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary about his dilemma over Annemarie while on the ship headed home.

"He studied the girl in the portrait and realized with sudden certainty that if things were different--if he were coming home to a woman like Annemarie--he'd fight harder for her love than any doughboy ever fought on the Western Front."

After hearing Gilbert's intentions, how can Samuel help but fall a little in love with Annemarie before he ever sets eyes on her? And then when he meets her, she's more lovely and sweet than he imagined. But Samuel's suffering his own crisis, a result of the war. 

"If he could just be certain God still listened. If he dared to hope the doors of heaven hadn't been barred against him for eternity."

Gilbert tends to be a bit cranky at times, but in my book, he's still a hero because of the pain he's in and the suffering he endured. Samuel refuses to move in on Gilbert's territory, and insists that Gilbert not make any foolish, rash decisions. I won't tell you which man I was rooting for. You can make your own choice. But I will admit to being very satisfied with the ending. :)

While this story is fictional, the characterization was so life-like and the conflict so believable. I can imagine similar scenarios happening back then, even now. Men and women still return home from war, scarred emotionally and physically. 

While I'm not a huge history buff, I enjoyed how the author tucked in little nuggets of historical goodies, like how people conserved food during World War I. That, plus the tidbits about Hot Springs and the nice sub-plot that ran through the book made the story so rich and complex.

Although this book is a hefty 338 pages, I finished it in only a couple sittings. After being forced to put it down the first time (you know, sleep, work, life...), I wasn't going to put it down again until I found out who won Annemarie's heart. When the Clouds Roll By is a winner, and I'm excited that there's another two books in the series!

Disclaimer: Sending a big thanks to Myra Johnson, Abingdon Press and NetGalley for sending me an advance review copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased opinion. This review is my opinion, and I received no compensation.
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Friday, October 18, 2013

M is for...MOVING Along

A month ago, I showed you a glimpse of the jumbled pile of wood in our back yard. If you missed it, you can catch up here, but basically, the abbreviated version is...

Hubby wants the smoker on the deck permanently, 
and he designed a counter/bar to house it. 
This is what he started with:

It's just a pile of boards right now

But housing the smoker on the deck means we also need a cover, right? 
I don't think that flimsy umbrella will work. What do you think? Bare bones, right?

Well, I promised updates, and here they are. Prepare to be awed. :)

What? You're not impressed? 

Well, I am. Just looking at that hunk o' man, sweating, that look of fierce concentration on his face...

Oops! Sorry. Got a bit off track. Admittedly not much progress has been made on the counter to my hubby's chagrin. But truthfully the poor man has not had a single minute of spare time to work on this.

But, finally, we're MOVING along on our deck! Take a look at this:

Sweet, huh? I think we may be ready to host Thanksgiving dinner outside on this beautiful deck. Even if it rains... :)

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Have your read TRAPPED by Irene Hannon?

Purchase Link -
About the book~
When librarian Laura Griffith's sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned PI James "Dev" Devlin to help. But the deeper he digs, the more he begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl's disappearance. And the closer he gets to uncovering the truth, the clearer it becomes that the situation isn't just dangerous-it's deadly. 

Sharing my thoughts~Besides strong main characters, this book also has multidimensional secondary characters, and I especially enjoyed the camaraderie between the three PI's and Nikki, the office manager. I also feel like I got to know Darcy as well as Dev and Laura. After Darcy's free-spirited mother died, and then her elderly father, Darcy moved in with Laura, who didn't know anything about raising a teen. Stifled by Laura's old-fashioned rules and feeling responsible for her father's death, Darcy runs away, headed towards Chicago, but a storm grounds her in St. Louis. Little clips showing Darcy's transformation from obnoxious to grateful as the story unfolded helped me better understood her motivation. 

"Even if Laura's intentions were good, rules were for kids. If she had stayed, they'd keep clashing, just as she and her dad had. And look how that had ended."

At one point in the book (not giving away any spoilers here!), I felt Laura acted irrationally for the danger she was in, but since she was worried about her sister, I decided to cut her some slack. If I'd been faced with a similar predicament, I probably would have rushed into the same situation. How many times have I made spur-of-the-moment decisions and then regretted them later? 

What a fast-paced, chilling thriller made even more frightening because it's something that happens in real life! We inherently trust people because they look "safe" or because of their occupation. Scary! I picked up Trapped one evening while my husband was gone, and at times, my palms were sweating and my heart pounded with fear, but did that stop me from reading? Noooo. I just had to keep reading because with every page I flipped, the situation was too intense to put the book down. While the plot moved along at extreme speed, I felt the romance was a bit on the lean side, only really heating up at the end of the book, but I guess that's to be expected with the amount of action in this one. The faith thread was a gentle strand, weaved subtly through the book. 

Trapped is the second book in the Private Justice series, but can be read as a stand alone. I just don't recommend reading it alone. I'm still turning on lights and checking doors. :)

Disclosure: Sending a big thanks to NetGalley and Revell for providing me with an advance review copy. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

I'm Super Excited to Announce that ...

Pelican Book Group has contracted my Harmon Heritage Series, where three grieving siblings struggle to find healing and peace.

Rori's Healing ~ Book 1
Still stinging from the publicity surrounding her father's death, social phobic Rori Harmon prefers the solitude of her animal sanctuary, accepting that marriage isn’t in her future. Racecar Driver Graham Decker refuses to be wrangled into a relationship by another money-hungry female. On a philanthropy mission, he arrives just in time to assist Rori with a llama birthing, but his appearance thrusts her into the media spotlight again. Has Graham found a woman who doesn't care how deep his wallet extends? Has Rori finally met a man who will stick around when times get tough? Is healing for a hurting heart finally within Rori's reach?

Beck's Peace ~ Book 2
Burn survivor Savvy McCord doesn't blame her best friend for running away. She can't even look at her scars without wincing. When Beck's disappearing act spans years, she relinquishes dreams of love and marriage. Unable to face Savvy's expectations of happily-ever-after, Beck Harmon deserts her, far away from the rumors that he's just like his father. When the wanderer returns, dreams of forever blossom in Savvy's heart, but she worries he'll leave again. Can Beck convince Savvy that her true beauty comes from her inner strength and faith? Will his idea to help burn victims regain their self-confidence restore Savvy's trust in him? Will love be what the wanderer needs to find peace for his hurting soul?

Deputy City Manager Burk Harmon has always been the strong one for his family, but recently those responsibilities have dwindled. When Lacie Heatherton, Assistant Director for Parks and Recreation, ropes him into a city-sponsored trip to the mountains with fifty seniors, Burk has two things on his mind: considering a possible promotion and wooing Lacie past friendship and into a future. Lacie has emotional scars and a thirteen-year-old daughter to remind her that men can be cruel and unforgiving. Can Burk convince Lacie to relax her "no dating" policy or will he surrender his dreams of family and love?

If you click the links on the titles, you can peek into the stories by heading to my Pinterest boards. :)

I'll be sure to keep you posted with release dates and cover reveals.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

LOTS to LOVE about AMBERLY by Mary Elizabeth Hall

Purchase Link-
Deeper Shopping
Amberly, The Crestmere Series, Book 1
In a world that might have been... 
Snatched by coldblooded enemies as a declaration of war, Eleanor Williamston finds herself caught in a deadly snare-miles from home and lost in the wilderness. Her heart is drawn to the handsome palace guardsman who rescues her, but is torn when he challenges her political ideals-and then reveals something he's kept hidden that will make her choice even more difficult. Marsten longs for a God-fearing wife, but cannot marry the lady he desires. The sassy young schoolteacher he rescues catches his eye, but he fears she'll turn out to be like the beautiful women who've broken his trust in the past. Journey with them through the spectacular but treacherous Aspian Mountains while they evade enemy pursuit and wrestle through the challenges of wilderness and budding love, only to run headlong into Ellie's anti-royalist family-and a whole new onslaught of foes. 

Sharing my thoughts~

"I'm beginning to wonder if you were truly abducted," he chided again, "or just given away."

Fast-paced, flirty dialogue and wonderfully vivid descriptions will whirl you away into the world of Bretalia.

"Behind them, pale violet mountains marched toward the distant horizon, and crows cawed while they circled. Mist rose in swirling ribbons from the water. Wildflowers swayed in a gentle breeze which stirred along the rocky bank, sending forth a fresh, earthy scent."

When Marsten rescues Eleanor Williamston from an evil Norlander's clutches, Eleanor can't help but fall in love with the handsome royal guardsman. But as the daughter of Amberly's mayor, an anti-royalist and Freedom Falcon leader, she'd grown up believing Bretalia would be better off without the Crown's rule. Marsten strives to convince her that God ordained monarchy for her beloved country. She debates revealing her identity, and Marsten is keeping a few secrets of his own.

"Honor God through adversity--He'll bless you for it...Life is but a breath--preparation for the next."

Simple spiritual sentiments weaved throughout the story, not overbearing or preachy, but with gentleness and love, even as Marsten and Eleanor debate politics.

Although I felt the declaration of love occurred a bit too soon, that didn't mean the conflict ended or that the romance resolved. No, the author just ramped up the conflict, all the way to the last page!

Fast and furious, with a compelling plot to keep your turning pages, Amberly is a great read for anytime of the day or year!

Disclosure: I purchased this book. All opinions in this review are my own, and I received no compensation.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Have you read A BRIDE FOR KEEPS by Melissa Jagears?

Purchase Link
About the book~
Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He's already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn't in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn't given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she'll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she's experienced there.

Although Everett doesn't see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she's more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitant to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?

Sharing my thoughts~
Wow! A Bride for Keeps is one of those books that I wondered if the hero and heroine would actually find their happily ever after!

Poor Everett. Mail order brides never chose him, and he'd given up after four tries. So when his too-helpful neighbor persuaded her friend Julia to travel all the way from Boston to wed, Everett practically ignored her. Not only is he scared of rejection, but she's so beautiful. She'd never make it through a Kansas winter, and he doesn't want to give the town more reason for gossip.

Julia Lockwood's father and ex-fiance were only concerned about her good looks, and used her as a commodity, with no regard for love or her feelings. When she arrived in Kansas, Everett's features remind her of her ex-fiance, almost frightening her off. But she'd traveled all this way, and her friend wouldn't lead her astray. Besides, without any other living relatives, she has no other options.

He needs help on the farm. She needs protection and a roof over her head. They strike a deal, and along the way Everett decides he wants this bride for keeps. This book is so much bigger than the romance, although it's sweet, and at times, frustrating. A Bride for Keeps shows us that no matter the dark shadows of our past that continually rise up and taunt us, with God's help, we can overcome. God covers us with forgiveness and healing, and breaks the chains of fear so we can move on with our lives. It's about a loving God who never gives up on us and showers us with grace. A Bride for Keeps is a definite keeper for my kindle shelf!

Disclosure: Sending a big thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishing for providing me with an advance review copy. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.
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Friday, October 4, 2013

K is for Kannapolis

Have you ever visited your fire department to learn more about what firefighters do? Are you considering a career in firefighting? Would you like to show your appreciation to your local fire department? 

Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, is your opportunity!
Fire Prevention Week Oct 6-12, 2013
Because we're situated smack dab in the middle of NASCAR country and racing season is in full swing, the Kannapolis Fire Department will host its Open House on Saturday, 10/5 from 11-3. Each year the event expands and only gets better! 

Come check out the fire trucks and apparatus. Bid on some cool Silent Auction items. And there's plenty of crafts, photo opps, fun and games for all ages.
Did I mention there would be games for ALL ages?
The Kannapolis Firefighters Assistance Foundation will be selling food (hotdogs, hamburgers, barbeque, kid’s meals). The Kannapolis Parks & Recreation Department will provide free popcorn and lemonade slushies.

And best of all, admission is FREE! 
This Saturday, 10/5/13
11 - 3 pm
at Kannapolis Fire Station #1
300 Firehouse Drive, Kannapolis, NC

Show your appreciation to your local firefighters next week!

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

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