CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Jenny LM who won Susanne Dietze's My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho Prize pack!


Congratulations to Elise Jehan who won a copy of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Meet Book Blogger Bree of Bibliophile Reviews



 

Hi Bree! Thank you for visiting the Inkwell! 

Debra asks: How long have you been reviewing and how did you decide on the theme for your blog?
Bree replies: Hi Debra, thanks for having me today. I started reviewing book back in 2015, when my blog was more family focused than book focused. I found myself feeling pulled to review the books more than adding my life and took  a break to revamp the blog in the early months of 2016.  BIBLIOPHILE REVIEWS was born a little over a year ago. My theme is all encompassing so I hope that other Bibliophiles stop by and see a book or author they just have to have in their lives.

Wow! You've done so much in such a short time, really, and I think it's because you really promote the stories you've enjoyed. What’s the best part of being a reviewer?
I love finding the piece in the book to share. I am not a blogger that summarizes the book in a review. That isn’t what authors are looking for. I am a reviewer that finds a part of the book or a character to share about. It is like a treasure hunt where I always find the treasure.

That's a great way to put it! Reviewing can be simple (and, as an author I'll say we'd love more reviews. Simple AND the 'professional' kind!) but it's a special skill to be able to write those awesome reviews that really nail what is compelling about a story! What’s the most difficult part of the ‘the job’?
For me, it is hard to say “no”. I am starting  a new AUTHOR FORM to help make it easier to see if a book would really fit the blog and my reading style. I do enjoy reading more than mysteries and Christian fiction, but sometimes a book just doesn’t jive with me and it hurts to turn an author down.

I completely understand! 
Seriously.
What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?
I have really loved reading two books lately. A Perfect Manhattan Murder by Tracy Kiely was cheeky and fun. That is what draws a reader to cozy mysteries, when the humor and characters outshine the shadows of murder.


I also really enjoyed  The Beloved Hope Chest, by Amy Clipston. If there was ever the perfect example of how to conclude a well-loved series, it would be this book. I was in tears not for it ending, but for the story alone. It was very touching to read.
 



 









I love to check in on your blog because mystery is my favorite genre! 
What do you do when you aren’t making authors happy? (Reviews. We live for Reviews.)
My life is a windy Spring day.  I have my daughter Valentina (who is turning 3 next month! look for a blog celebration of books!) and she is obviously my reason for always striving for more. If we aren’t reading, we are outside with the horses and grandma or just walking. Yoga is a habit that I try to incorporate into our lives as well, and cooking. I really enjoy cooking.  And with all of this I continue to work at the school district in town, and have just started back to school for my 2nd bachelor degree.

It sounds wonderful! I know you are treasuring the time with your daughter, but oh my! Wow. Working, being a mom and blogging is enough. SCHOOL TOO!? 
What would you like to share about yourself that few people know?
I come off as an extrovert, but honestly I am an ambivert, where I have strength of both extrovert and introvert.  

That works so well with blogging, doesn't it? 

Help Yourselves to a Croissant
Bree, what is your favorite…setting? Place and time? Genre’?
Oh, this is a tough question. I love a variety of settings for different reasons. I think it comes down to how the author approaches each setting.  If I had the perfect library filled with books (and I didn’t have an eclectic taste) they would be historical fiction, I really love to see the research done for these books. But thankfully, I read any type of time period. Genre- I really enjoy Christian fiction and Cozy mysteries.  

Oh yes! I pretty much picked up my love of history through fiction. Not through school! When I read a good historical, I end up researching the setting and background just to learn more about it.
If you had a rainy afternoon alone to watch a movie what would it be? And what meal would you have delivered if that afternoon included a quiet evening as well?
I adore You’ve Got Mail. That movie will always pick me up or give me a smile. With the movie I enjoy really good Chinese takeout, and ice cream, but don’t tell Valentina!


If you could wiggle your nose and be in a new career, what would it be?
A pastry chef and chef, trained and living in France. Not Paris. A beautiful little village with a darling school, where my bakery could be the hub. I would even have a little library inside. Can you smell the coffee and croissants? 

Yes, I can. Maybe because I watched that American Girl Doll movie GRACE. My granddaughter wanted the 1812 Doll but then Grace came out and she switched. Grace, the American Girl, is a pastry chef who goes to Paris. But I'd prefer the village myself. And I must say, you look like a beautiful French pastry chef. Does that help? OH OH and have you seen The Hundred Foot Journey?  Would that village work for your bakery?

Creative Commons Public Domain

What piece of advice would you offer authors who are just starting out?
Authors, we know that each book is a piece of you. And with that you are entrusting us, reviewers, with that piece. Take time to have it well edited. We want to enjoy reading your book and not be buggered up with issues overlooked. It is rare that a reviewer will actually review poorly based on edits, but it has happened.  And also, please remember that if we didn’t love your book, that you asked for OUR opinion, not for us to agree 100% with you.


Same for new reviewers--
Reviewers, follow the genres you love and as a dear friend reminded me “swim in your own lane”. It is great to see other blogs but don’t strive to have your blog be like theirs. It needs to fit you!

I've learned just how much one person can love a book and the next one can be 'meh' about it.  We all have things that we are going to love and not love in fiction. And ugh. Typos. Ugh. I don't want to talk about it. Even after edits they seem to crawl out and show up AFTER they go out in public. But enough about me...

 
Bree is offering a $10. Amazon Gift Card to one of you who comments here and (click) contacts her on her blog   or (click) follows her on Twitter.  Mention your interest in the comments, and on June 1, one of you will be randomly selected!  We'll post the winner here and Bree will contact you. 



You've been a delightful visitor! Thank you!

via Quozio.com/Pinterest

Follow Bree around Cyberspace at:

Facebook - Bibliophile Reviews
Twitter - BreeReviews
Instagram - Breannagolightly
Website - Bibliophile Reviews



Readers can always practice reviewing by contacting me, Debra E. Marvin, somewhere...maybe Facebook or debra (at) debraemarvin .com
Thanks for stopping in. Have another croissant!

Monday, May 22, 2017

New Boxed Set from Forget Me Not Romances ARIZONA


The ARIZONA boxed set contains two historical and two contemporary novellas from the Forget Me Not authors.   just 99cents or free on Kindle Unlimited

If you'd like to be included in the giveaway, please say so in the comments. Two copies available until June 15, 2017!  Ebook only.

WHY NOT by Debra E. Marvin
Love Puts These Two On the Edge!

Grand Canyon, 1914

Society girl Amber Wynott’s wintry escape to the Grand Canyon provides a chance to pursue her dream and prove she has what it takes to be a successful architect. It doesn’t take long to realize the incredible scenery can’t hide the simmering anger between ‘railroad money’ and the struggling locals.

Which side is master builder Stone Morrison on?

Amber has met her match in the handsome, hard-headed man. He’s been directed to keep an eye on her, but when iron meets iron—oh the sparks! As their unlikely old matchmaker tells them, pride goes before a fall, and this is a bad place to fall. Will danger finally knock some sense into the pair?


BROKEN TOGETHER  by Joi Copeland
Hope drives her back home to Flagstaff, Arizona, until Zoey learns the truth.


His peaceful world shaken, Gawain battles with letting go of the pain that once held him captive.

Will they find healing or will they remain, Broken Together?

Zoey Fuller and Cadan Moss were friends in secret during high school in Flagstaff, Arizona. Too ashamed to admit her friendship with the heavy-set boy, she’d meet him at a coffee shop outside of town where no one would see them. She couldn't risk her reputation by letting any of her cool friends know about her relationship with the heavy-set outsider. Seven years later, she returns to Flagstaff, a new creation in Christ, hoping to make amends with her long-lost friend.

Gawain Moss lost his twin and best friend seven years ago. The tragedy shaking him to the very core, Gawain battles with forgiving the woman who, he believes, took his brother away from him. Finally at peace, he teaches at the same school his brother once attended. And then one day, he runs into Zoey, and his world is turned upside down.


DESERT ROSE by Cynthia Hickey
Nothing matters but keeping her land.


Rose Willingham, oldest sister of four, is level-headed and strong. When her uncle dies, leaving a ranch in Arizona to her and her sisters, she has full confidence they can make the ranch into something to be proud of. What she didn't count on was a snake named Logan Pritchard or a handsome neighbor named Zeke McCammon to both have their eyes on Rose and her land.

One wants Rose along with her land and the other will do anything to possess one or the other.

This is the continuing story of four volumes with each volume continuing where the one before ends, and in the point of view of another sister.


HER CULINARY CATCH by Bonnie Engstrom

Marci had learned to cope with her deformed leg. As the curator of The Bridal Museum, she felt almost fulfilled … until the new chef arrived to oversee the Café Wedd. But, Conrad Thorstrom was beneath her educationally. His minor accomplishments and associate degree didn’t match up to her MBA. How could she be attracted to him?

Besides, she was a gimp, and he was a tall, handsome Swede who dubbed her his Wild Irish Rose. If she was above him intellectually, he far surpassed her in the looks department.





If you'd like to be included in the giveaway, please say so in the comments. Two copies available until June 15, 2017!  Ebook only.

BUY HERE

AND... Forget Me Not Romances offers a monthly newsletter. Sign up and you'll learn more about our authors and our new releases!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: What to Do When Machines Do Everything


by C.J. Chase

Four years ago, an Oxford University study sent shockwaves around the globe with an estimate that 47% of jobs could be lost to automation within the next 20 years. News sites picked it up with cickbait-able hysteria. Would would happen when half the planet lost their jobs? How would people support themselves? The few with jobs would get rich while the rest of us...? 

Just this spring, I saw reports that automated harvesters for tree-bearing fruits (apples, peaches, etc.) will be coming to market in the next two years. Driverless cars are already being tested. Amazon is developing the means to use drones for same-day package delivery.

Granted, machines have been making life easier since the invention of the wheel or the fulcrum, whichever one came first, and we've still survived. But the world seems poised on the brink of another earthshaking technological transformation on the scale of the Industrial Revolution of 200 years ago. Yes, I may be old enough that I'm not especially worried about where my career will be in 2035 ('ll just be happy to be here in 2035), but I have children who will be working then. Or will they? When I saw a new book, What to Do When Machines Do Everything (by Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig, and Ben Pring) had released recently, I was curious enough to pick it up. 


First, let me say that the book seemed geared more to companies than individuals. And these shifts will probably be great for forward-thinking corporations who take advantage of the opportunities that accompany any change. Second, this is a book about technology, so parts of it can be heavy reading. (Or maybe I've just been out of the Information Technology field too long.)

Computers have been around for a couple of generations now. I remember my father bringing home punch cards back in the day. (My mother even made a Christmas wreath with discarded punch cards.) What makes these "new machines" so different from early computers is that they will have the ability to "learn." Early computers were glorified adding machines. (Am I dating myself with that term? My dad had one of those too.) They performed large arithmetic computations, mostly adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and such. But we are now entering the age of artificial intelligence. 

You are probably already using AI, and haven't really thought about it. Take, for instance, a website like Amazon. Sure, put a few Inkwell author books in your cart, and Amazon can tell you with a simply click what the total cost will be. But the company's success is that they do some much more. If you buy (or even just browse) books there for a while, Amazon will begin to make other suggestions for you, based on your prior purchasing. Netflix does something similar, even going so far as to estimate the likelihood you will enjoy a given show. 

Like our phones and our TV sets, more and more of the things we use will become "smart." To quote the authors, "If it costs more than $5, and you can't eat it, instrument it!" Someday you will be wearing smart sneakers.

But what about all those coming job losses? Let me summarize the authors' message for you: relax. Yes, there will be job losses, but they will be offset by job gains. The major concern will be a "skills gap" between the jobs that go away and the new ones that are created. For the near future, machines will artificial continue to be very focused, very specialized for specific tasks. You can get a Roomba for your floors, but an all-purpose robotic maid (like the Jetson's Rosie) is still a long ways off. 

The authors' suggestion is that we should focus on doing what humans do best, that is "double down on being human." Creativity, friendliness, empathy, imagination, relationships -- these are things machines can't provide. 

Enjoy this clip from Star Trek: Next Generation, where an advanced, human-like robot offers a poetry reading of his own original work -- much to the chagrin of the humans listening.





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Love Notes Keepsake Giveaway



Another Giveaway! Yes, I've decided to celebrate the release of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection for a whole month instead of just a day because I have another prize pack to give away.

Crystal Anne Draper.
Photo Credit: Diane Smithers
For this giveaway, I asked my daughter, Vancouver creative artist Crystal Anne Draper, to design something unique to contain the Love Notes that my heroine, Janet, hides among the items in hero Adam's Emporium in my novella, Love in Store.

Since I already had a public Pinterest board for Love in Store, I created a secret one for the Love Notes Keepsake and invited Crystal to be a member. On our secret board, I pinned the lilac graphic that I had used to create the Love in Store postcard and bookmark, which I also pinned on the board. Plus, all my promotional graphics and memes. Finally, I pinned images that I'd found on other pinterest boards to give her ideas of what I had in mind for the Love Notes Keepsake.

Love Notes Keepsake Exterior,
crafted by Crystal Anne Draper
I left the crafting and materials to Crystal and then waited to see what she came up with. I was quite delighted to learn she was crafting it with leather and using vellum for the lilac image pages. The Love Notes Keepsake is on its way from Vancouver, but Crystal sent photos of what she made.

When you untie the ribbon and open it, you find the Love in Store Love Notes inside:


Love Notes Keepsake Interior, crafted by Crystal Anne Draper

The Love Notes Keepsake Giveaway opens today and closes on May 31st. This gives you plenty of time to enter, just in case you're reading this at work and can't enter until you get back home.




To enter The Love Notes Keepsake Giveaway, use the Rafflecopter form below. If you don't see it, try the one on my Contests & Giveaways webpage.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anita Mae Draper writes her historical romances under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Her Christian faith is reflected in her stories of forgiveness and redemption as her characters struggle to find their way to that place we call home. Anita loves to correspond with her readers through any of the social media links found at www.anitamaedraper.com.

Readers can enrich their reading experience by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her published stories at www.pinterest.com/anitamaedraper.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Man Plans, God Laughs




Just a few minutes ago, I turned in the first draft of a book I had written. It was number seventeen for me. Seventeen. It made me wonder how all this had happened.

When I was growing up, I thought I was going to be a teacher. When I was in high school, I realized that wasn’t for me, and I thought I would probably end up with some kind of office job. Practical. Respectable. Unremarkable.

But about that same time I also started writing. Nothing big. Certainly nothing memorable or worthy to be offered to the public. If I remember right, it was mostly “episodes” of TV shows I liked. Early fan fiction, I suppose.

I went on to get my degree in business and immediately found a job as an accountant. But still I wrote. I began writing on my lunch hour and at night and on the weekends. I didn’t plan to publish, I was just amusing myself, writing the book I wanted to read. Not books. Book. It took me eleven-and-a-half years and a lot of urging from the only friend I showed my story to, but I finally got it published. I thought that would be the only one. Forever and ever, amen.

Fast forward to a few minutes ago. I put the “The End” on Book Seventeen. How did this happen?

I’m so glad that, even when I don’t have a clue, God sees me and knows what He made me for and guides me the way He wants me to go.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

What have you looked back on, not seeing until then what God has done for you?

 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Meet Book Blogger Beth Erin of Faithfully Bookish!


Today, I'm welcoming book reviewer Beth Erin!

Hi Beth!

(Deb says...) So- how long have you been reviewing and how did you decide on the theme for your blog?
I launched Faithfully Bookish in April 2016 but I have been actively reviewing for about two years now. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I hoped to accomplish through blogging and 1 Thessalonians 5:11 is the verse that has settled in my heart so I’ve just been trying to live that out by connecting and encouraging readers and authors.


What’s the best part of being a reviewer?
Initially, it was the BOOKS (what’s not to love, right?) but now that I’ve been around the block (Faithfully Bookish just celebrated its first blogiversary), I have to say building relationships is the very best part! The bookish are my peoples :)
I love the symbiotic relationship between readers and authors (especially within the Christian genres) and it is so much fun chatting with other readers through comments and social media. In-person events like Christian Fiction Readers Retreat and book signings make me over the moon happy!
 

What’s the most difficult part of the ‘the job’?
Oh that’s definitely a tie between time management and #swoof! You’ve heard the saying, “so many books, so little time,” right? Well, my tbr is… ahem… rather large and extremely tempting. I am a book glutton. Authors just keep cranking out fabulous fiction and I want to read them ALL (but I can’t because well, life.)
So, what’s swoof, right? Swoof is an acronym/hashtag for “Squeezing Words Out Of Feelings.” I coined this lovely while chatting with some book blogger friends about the struggle we often face when we’re striving to craft a review worthy of whatever wonderful book we’ve just read, #allthefeels and #nowords just don’t cut it for reviews. ;) Ask any reviewer and they’ve probably experienced something like #swoof

I think this is the exact reason why the few reviews I've done are very simple. I wear out my brain for fiction and there's no #swoof left to explain how I feel about a great book!



What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?
It pains me to answer this question with just one book but the MOST RECENT book to fall into that category is Life After by Katie Ganshert. (but there have been and will be many more)

Yes, that definitely wasn't a fair question!  (and Katie Ganshert has a fascinating real life story too!)

What do you do when you aren’t making authors happy? (I assume you have a life outside of fiction. Maybe not!)
Trying to keep my family happy (authors are easier, lol!) My husband and I have four children ranging from kindergarten to junior high and we homeschool. Otherwise, no… I don’t have a life. ;)

What would you like to share about yourself that few people know?
If I told you, everyone would know! Umm… here are 5 bookish characters most like me, does that work?

I'm really contemplating the addition of piglet in this group! :)

What is your favorite…setting? Place and time? Genre’?
Variety is the spice of life.” I love them all! Well, all “real” places and times, I’m not into fantasy and sci-fi types. My first love is historical romance but I enjoy everything from biblical times to modern day, general fiction to suspense (no thrillers, I don’t like to be scared or have nightmares, ha!)
 
If you had a rainy afternoon alone to watch a movie what would it be? And what meal would you have delivered if that afternoon included a quiet evening as well?
We’re really dreaming here but I’ll play pretend… Okay, I’m all alone and I’m going to watch a movie (#ratherbereading)… I’ll have to choose a chick flick or rom-com because no one ever wants to watch those with me anyway and I don’t want to get in trouble with hubby or the kids for picking something they wanted to watch with me… of course, it’s going to take forever to pick because it’s been at least that long since I’ve been alone and wanted to watch a movie, so maybe we better move on to the food!
(Deb interjects-- I often spend more time looking for the perfect movie or show on Amazon, Acorn or  Netflix than I do actually watching anything!)

By the way, it’s a good thing we’re already pretending because NO ONE delivers around here and the closest take out is pizza from a gas station but since I’m in dreamland (and you suggested it), I’m ordering a country fried chicken (not a whole chicken but one of those huge butterflied, battered, and deep fried chicken breasts the size of a dinner plate) with mashed potatoes and gravy, honey-buttered rolls, and a deep fried onion blossom (nope, no veggies). Calories don’t count in dreamland so I’m having apple pie ala mode for dessert!

This sounds great and it's why I try to go south of the Mason Dixon at least once  a year!


If you could wiggle your nose and be in a new career, what would it be?
Hmmm… if I could just get paid for what I do now I think that would make hubby happy :D Once the kids are older, I’d love to look into becoming a virtual assistant for Christian authors or something similar.

Yes, wouldn't that be nice? As for a virtual assistant, you would be much in demand! You'd have to set boundaries right up front! 

What piece of advice would you offer authors who are just starting out?
Don’t give up! Get connected with other authors, bloggers, and reviewers who will encourage you along the way. I think we all need that and finding people who get you just makes facing each challenge that much easier. And, ask for help! Even when I can’t personally help a new author, I’m happy to ask around or point them in another direction.

Same for new reviewers--
NO SPOILERS! Oy! I cringe! Just keep it short and simple (especially for consumer sites), how did the story/characters make you feel? (this is the #swoof in action) Did you cry, did you hug the book, are you telling all your friends and neighbors and their pets to go buy the book?
Also, you don’t have to be a book blogger to bless authors’ socks off… just spread the book love by sharing your review on retail sites and social media. Write a review, copy and paste, easy peasy! If your swoofer is broken, “I liked this book” will work in a pinch ;)

(Preach it, sister! I 'cringe' when readers feel they have to be NYT reviewers to...review!)




Thanks so much for indulging me, Beth! 
And bringing all your awesome graphics (are these officially memes? or not?) along with you. A great sampling of what you do to help promote the books you've reviewed!

Thank you for having me, Debra!!! I’m so honored and I hope every reader becomes a reviewer!


FOLLOW BETH around cyberspace at:
Faithfully Bookish 
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram 
Pinterest



 
If you're a reader and you'd like to give reviewing a try, contact me via email: Debra (At) debraemarvin.com

Monday, May 8, 2017

What makes a mother?

I distinctly remember the cold sensation of total inadequacy as an OB nurse wheeled me down the hall of the hospital with my baby daughter in my arms.

We were being discharged. I'd changed my very first diaper less than 24 hours earlier. Technically, biologically, I was now a mother. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually ... not so much.

Days stretched into weeks, and weeks stretched into months. Every time I felt like I had a grip on this journey called motherhood that darn kid went and crossed some new developmental milestone and everything changed.

 Nineteen months after that first visit to the maternity ward, I was back. By now I felt like I knew what I was doing. At least, I thought, I could change a diaper without the nurses having to demonstrate proper technique.

And baby number two was a boy. Yep, I had to have a diapering lesson again. And we were climbing up that learning curve all over again.


My oldest is married now and has four little ones of her own. My three boys are young men out in the world on their own, and I still don't have it all together as a mother—or a grandmother.

These people are still in a constant state of flux. And they're all maddeningly individualized. Each child is like a different college course, in a different department of study.

So if it isn't biology or years of experience that transform a woman into a mother, what is it? What is the magical transcendent ingredient that creates a mother from that dual X chromosome? Oh, there are plenty of potential answers: love, compassion, tenderness, responsibility, devotion, support, approval, education, discipline, selflessness, etc.

Each one is a wedge in the circle of truth, each one an aspect of motherhood. But there's one that I believe trumps all the rest. One that isn't always mentioned, or declared, or even acknowledged, that transforms a woman into a mother—whether the child is her biological offspring, adopted, a foster child, the friend of child, a niece or nephew, a son- or daughter-in-law, a student, a coach's protege, or a youth pastor's disciple. What is it?

Unconditional acceptance.

Acceptance starts at conception. Accepting responsibility for the pregnancy, accepting the pain of labor, sleepless nights, and so forth. It continues after birth, accepting a child's individual quirks and idiosyncrasies. And so on, through the teen years, all the way into adulthood.

It's unnatural, this kind of acceptance. Baby animals born deformed or defective, or born to mothers too young or too old, are frequently rejected. Sometimes animal mothers just don't come with whatever it takes to be a mother. Humans are no different. That rules out nature.

The capacity for motherhood has to come from the heart of God, who accepts each of His children and loves us unconditionally. Motherhood has to be yielded to.

As Mother's Day sneaks up on me again, I find myself asking this question: Do I accept my adult children, each one individually, just the way they are? Or am I just waiting for them to do something different, to conform to my expectations, before I offer them that unconditional acceptance every human being craves?

Niki Turner is an author, newspaper publisher and editor. You can find her at www.nikiturner.net or visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nikiturnerauthor/. All her books are available on Amazon at amzn.to/2hWOsLV