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Archive for the ‘Christian and Inspirational’ Category

Daisy's Choice cover

 

Emotional and thought-provoking story. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Daisy Sugarbush starts out the story as her dad’s shadow. A true tomboy, she’d rather be fixing things with him or going places with him or hanging out with the guys. Her mother is resigned to the fact that her daughter is not likely to become a ‘lady’.

Then Daisy’s beloved dad is stolen by cancer. Daisy and her mother are driven further apart than ever. In an attempt to re-connect with her daughter, Rhoda–Daisy’s mom–takes her out for a makeover. She gets dresses and feminine clothes to replace those old work shirts and ratty jeans. She gets heels, her hair done, nails, the works, all to change her from  a tomboy to a young lady of refinement. And it works! Daisy starts to enjoy the reactions of her new look.

Tragedy soon strikes the Sugarbush household again and Daisy is horribly burned in a freak gas fire. For months she languishes in the Trauma Burn Unit and finally the rehab center. She begs everyone to please be spared the painful and endless treatments to her charred skin. Blind, crippled, and disfigured, she only wants to be allowed to die quickly in peace. No more pain!

Mom Sugarbush won’t hear of it. The treatments persist. And so does Daisy’s desire to escape her miserable life. Then she finally goes home with a plan of how to succeed in her choice.

This could easily be a work of non-fiction. The struggles that burn survivors go through is agonizing and it would be natural to want to escape it for a peaceful passing. Daisy does the victims of burn trauma a fine justice with her character behavior. Reading “Daisy’s Choice” could get one’s thoughts going on the ethics of allowing a loved one to have their wishes granted if what happened to Daisy really happened to them. Or if it happened to oneself and they were left with a bleak–at best–prognosis.

Unfortunately the story was also rift with errors and pacing issues that distracted from the emotional impact of Daisy’s story. One secondary character was Charlie or Charley–I’m not sure which as both were used. There was also frequent repeated words in the same paragraph where alternating with similar ones could have livened the writing up. And there were many situations where too much backstory interrupted the showing by breaking in and telling for several paragraphs before resuming the story again.  It dragged the story down and led to a herky-jerky feeling at times.

Through it all, despite the work being fiction, I could not help but wonder at the ethical issues being raised. Feeling Daisy’s pain and despair as I did, I had to question if it were me, what would I want? If it were a loved one, would I agree to their choices or override them? Those are some tough questions.

An unexpected twist at the end took me by surprise. All in all, style and errors aside, this is a remarkable book that I can recommend–along with some tissues.

 

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What is it about stairs that appeals to me? Not that I like climbing them, as my hips and knees complain loud and long whenever I must. It’s the old, preferably abandoned outdoor flights of overgrown steps that make me stop and stare. I also love steps leading into the water. Oh, I really love those steps!
There is a neighborhood where I walk regularly, an old, historic area, with older houses. The roads are steep and winding hills. It’s a great cardio workout to hoof around there. And the landscaping of the old homes is always interesting. One thing most of them have in common is they are accessible by steep steps on one side and up a steep hill on the other side. I guess that’s how they designed neighborhoods years ago. steps 6  One of my favorite views

steps II 12-2016    steps  Steep climbingsteps 8  steps 5

steps 3  Any here you’d love to see the top of? steps 9   Or no way?Stairs 3

Very overgrown with ivy and kudzo.

 

stairs2228(1)  N-a-r-r-o-wThe Steps pic

This was in Galway Bay in Galway, Ireland. These sorts of entrances were quite popular. I am guessing people came in on larger boats, and took small rowboats/hookers from there to the land, using these types of stairs to cross over.

I think stairs represent something in our lives: a connection from where we are emotionally or physically to where we want to be or think we should be. Perhaps we’re trying to climb the ladder of success. That is easily seen in a flight of steps. Maybe we’re thinking we should have made another choice somewhere along the line. The flight of steps indicates where we are now compared to where we could have been. Or want to be. Thus steps are narrow, steep, long and winding, short and maintained, overgrown, etc… all dependent on how we view the journey. It is just a few footsteps away or the path of a thousand miles?

I also wonder if flights of staircases are indicative of our lives. Do tidy, well maintained staircases appeal to us? Does that mean we keep our lives tidy and well maintained? What about the overgrown, unassailable steps? Does it indicate our hearts?  Some here are lined in even blocks of concrete and others are stacked from natural stone. Some are edged in moss and others are kept free. Just like people, there are staircases to fit every house and personality.

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Spring is here and I am enjoying how every few days there are flowers popping up in my flower beds. Some are returning from previous years and others are new from last fall’s planting. Either way, I smile as I see how much they grow. My yard is slowly becoming a great source of joy and pride for me.

The song birds are also busy courting, fighting, defending, and creating families. It is enjoyable to watch and listen to them. I spotted my first hummingbird this evening. It darted away before I could determine whether it was a male or female, but it was interested in the feeder I just hung two days ago.

Along some of my dog walking routes I am finding interesting flora and fauna to stop and study. This maple stump was particularly fascinating.

photo(68)Maples along walking route

Doubtlessly once upon a time this was a fine big maple tree, tall and proud. Many years ago it came down and the stump has rotted away and been consumed by moss and yearly dead-fall leaves. It’s a sad and poignant reminder of how one day we will all fall.

However, upon closer inspection, I spotted two tiny maple tree saplings sprouting up from within. Determined to not let the original tree completely die away, they are making the valiant effort to start over.

I have a maple tree in my yard that is doing the same thing. The twin saplings are almost three feet tall now and a thatch of hostas nestle in the center of the old stump. I treasure these old tree stumps and the growth coming forth.

photo(69) Flower bed in my yard

At another walking location, I discovered this fern slowly unfurling and preparing for another growing season. It seems to be preforming a delicate ballet as it steadily stretches for the sun, seemingly in no hurry to reach its goal.

photo(59) Fern in ballet dance of unfurling.

And now I shall honor spring by starting over again. Last night I gave my two-week notice at a job I’ve held for 10 years. Not all 10 years have been pleasant. Some years have been a downright challenge. I’ve learned a lot about the job, people, life, and myself. And now–finally!–it is time to start over somewhere and somehow else.  It’s scary and it’s good. There is a sense of relief and excitement in the air, just like when the first bits of green perk up through the dirt to feel the sunshine and the first flowers spread their colorful blooms to the springtime breeze.

I snapped these photos of fallen dogwood petals, because they seemed so perfect when they fell. The first one makes a lovely contrast with the pure white petal against the black of the asphalt. The second looks more natural. A white blossom  lying contently against the green grass. The third is the prettiest I think. Nestled under the still-yet-to-bloom roses, and landed on a bed of brown mulch, it makes such a natural scene.

photo(60)photo(63)photo(64)

Dogwood petals

And they all serve to remind me that we may not have a choice how or when we fall or start over, but we do have a choice how we react to it.  Our new beginnings. The dogwood blooms will wither or blow away soon, but we are capable of so much more. Our first big step is only the beginning.

 

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Enduring Trials

 

Enduring Trials God’s Way, by Scott LaPierre is a book that’s a unique blend of Old Testament prophesies and New Testament fulfillment. This book will redirect the suffering reader’s focus from a single layer prospective to a new, uplifting outlook.

Scott’s very straight-forward approach to writing and an educational–though encouraging–delivery shows his pastoral background. The book is absolutely chock-full of solid scripture and concise examples to aid the reader through their struggles and trials.

This is an excellent resource, meant to transform the reader’s view on suffering and trials to one of encouragement. It offers undeniable proof that God is 1–in control, 2– seeing our pain, 3- alongside us during our trials, and 4– planning a good end to our trials and suffering. An entire chapter is dedicated to finding the good end God has in mind for our suffering and trials of today.

This is a book that should be highlighted and underlined. There are heavy references to Job, Joseph and other heroes of pain and trials. There are fantastic insights and a particular favorite was this: if we repent and stop a sin(s), that void now must be filled by doing something else. The intention is that one now does something positive to replace the negative (sin) of before. This seems much like saying for every negative action (or sin) that we stop, there is now an equal and positive reaction.  That sort of insight causes the reader to pause and contemplate.

There are series of questions at the end of each chapter for the reader to record personal reflections or have a discussion with a small group. This book is a resource that would be fine read alone or as a group study.

Finally, I would mention the author also has another book, entitled “Marriage God’s Way.” For anyone searching for ways to strengthen their marriage and make it how God intended holy matrimony to be, it would behoove them to check this title out as well.

Links to connect with Scott LaPierre or purchase his books are:

https://scottlapierre.org/                              Twitter @PastorWCC

 

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Hello. I hope your holidays are going well. Mine is super crazy. I hope I never release a book during November and December again! I gave up on the idea of decorating this year and just stuck my 2 foot tree-in-a-burlap-sack on a bookcase by the window. I tossed six ornaments, a string of lights and a star on it and called the whole decorating thing done. But I have been super busy with other things to occupy my time instead. Read on….

First, I signed up with BookFunnel. This is a cool site where I get a bunch of free/ discounted downloads for my Kindle. I even have this grand illusion one day I will get to read them.

The first book I want to offer on BookFunnel is my romantic comedy novella, “It Happened at the Park”, now free for the taking but only until January 1, 2018. You might be prompted to sign up for my newsletter, which only comes out about 3 or 4 times a year max. You always have the option to unsubscribe to that after you get the free download of “It Happened at the Park.”

If all goes well, I plan to offer other books for free periodically. Here is the tagline:

Cassidy’s a career girl, not a dog mom. Then she inherits her sister’s two pampered pups. Hopeless, she meets Ethan, the hunky dog park ‘daddy’.

Get your FREE copy of It Happened at the Park at this link:          https://dl.bookfunnel.com/nt4dxa0w0t

It Happened At The Park - Tara200

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Okay, next up, I have two full-length novels releasing very shortly. And I’m also promoting the heck out of them on virtual blog tours.

Set against the exciting backdrop in the chase for the Triple Crown and filled with mystical surprises. Season is not a witch, but she can make a horse run and Ty’s heart race.

Season Moriarty is part fey and part druid. She can see the future and alter it. She welds control over the natural elements of earth, wind, fire and water as well as manipulating life and death. And she is an accomplished racehorse trainer, able to get any horse to run like the wind. Now Season has landed the dream job that will test all of her skills and abilities.

Ty Masters runs his horse racing business with an iron fist. No one dares to question him. He hires Season based on her reputation. Then they meet. Immediately, she questions him, challenges him, infuriates him, intrigues him, captivates him, and even intimidates him a little. Then she spellbinds him. But can she make a Triple Crown winner out of his willful colt?

Mysterious threats to Ty’s racehorses bring him and Season together in another kind of race against the clock. As the stakes for the Triple Crown rise and the identity of who wants to destroy Ty, so does the undeniable interest and the fiery sparks between them.

Wild Whispers cover

First, on Magic of Books Blog Tours, I am promoting “Wild Whispers”, a contemporary romantic suspense with mystical elements. (read: it’s a cool book with lots of good stuff). The tour is going on now, until December 12th and there is a giveaway raffle for a $10 Amazon gift certificate. Yes, you are required to sign up for my newsletter to qualify, but I promise they don’t come out that often.

The link to follow the “Wild Whispers” pre-release tour is: https://magicofbookspromo.blogspot.ca/2017/12/pre-order-tour-for-wild-whispers-by.html

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Then, January 29th- February 2nd, “Wild Whispers” will be on Reading Addiction Blog Tours, also with a neat giveaway of a signed paperback copy of my backlist Romantic suspense novel, “Chasing the Painted Skies”.  Link is: http://readingaddictionvbtreviews.blogspot.com/

“Wild Whispers” officially releases December 12th and will be available on Kindle, Nook, and all your favorite devises and paperback.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AyCG72

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wild-whispers-ryan-jo-summers/1127561125?ean=2940158952869

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/762819

Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/ryan-jo-summers/wild-whispers/paperback/product-23410521.html

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Up next is a sweet, contemporary Christian romance. “Rainbows in the Moonlight”.

A Southern romance novel about family, forgiveness, starting over, and love.

 Koda Jacobs urgently needs a nanny–right now. Fresh from prison, Dalton Clayton needs a job–and just about anything will do.

 Divine Intervention steps in and tosses Koda and Dalton together. Koda struggles with the conflicts of her impulsive decision to leave her babies with an unknown, convicted felon. That just can’t be wise, can it? But she can’t help but see how quickly the children bonded to him and trust him. Or the reassuring sense that this is just right. Meanwhile, Dalton stumbles through the spills and thrills of two young children, and his growing interest in their mother. A chance meeting brings him back to his estranged family as well.

Over time mutual attraction forms between  Koda and Dalton as the bond between Dalton and the children deepens. A sweet, southern romance full of forgiveness, second chances, and fun kids.

“Rainbows in the Moonlight” releases in e-book format December 20th.

The Magic of Books blog tour begins December 26th, and once again I have a $10 Amazon gift card up for grabs. The Reading Addiction book tour runs February 5-9, 2018 and I am giving away a free, signed paperback of my backlist Christian romance novel.

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In even more exciting news, my Christian romance to release last November, “Beside Still Waters”, will be available in paperback starting January 10th, 2018 on Amazon. You can pre-order it now at this link:  http://amzn.to/2C0aG9V

BesideStillWaters850

Top Journalist and corporate climber McKayla Buchanan is sent to a remote California mountain camp for inner-city, at-risk teens. Accustomed to political and high-society assignments, she is suddenly a fish out of water. At Camp In As Much, she meets eight hostile and distrustful teens, assorted volunteers, rescued horses—and Clay.

Clay Michaels is the man who founded Camp In As Much and made it the success it is now. His hope for the highly recommended journalist is to come and write a feature to send seeds out to form other camps like his nationwide one. He never considered the reporter would turn out to be a lovely woman, or for him to have such an attraction to her.

Between McKayla’s worldly experience and Clay’s strong faith, they form a partnership to help with the endless challenges of the kids.

While McKayla’s assignment is supposed to be temporary, it isn’t long before she and Clay are each wishing it could last longer. A serious situation will force McKayla to decide if she can give up her worldly ways and place her faith in the same higher source that Clay does.

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And lastely, (whew!) I am also promoting a holiday buy for a good cause (because I don’t have near enough stuff to juggle just yet). You might remember my collie, Ty, who I adopted March 2015 from the Collie Rescue of the Carolinas. He arrived with so much emotional baggage, we almost needed a U-Haul to bring it all with us.

It has been a rough and wonderful and never boring journey with Ty, helping him overcome his past. He’s pretty well adjusted now, almost three years in, and I am very happy with everything about him. Over the months, I journaled and blogged the steps, successes, failures, doubts, and included loads of photos. This past summer I created a self-published novel on Kindle KDP and have it available in Kindle and paperback up on Amazon.

A portion of each sale will go back to the Collie Rescue of the Carolinas. Now there is a holiday purchase you can feel doubly good about!

kindle https://www.amazon.com/Tys-Journey-Sharing-Lessons-Adopted-ebook/dp/B073MSG8SM

That’s Ty on the cover. He is such a pretty, happy boy, isn’t he?

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2AJeRHg

https://www.amazon.com/Tys-Journey-Sharing-Lessons-Adopted/dp/1521728518/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1512842610&sr=8-3&keywords=ryan+jo+summers

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Okay, that’s it. I did mention there was a lot going on, right? If you want to keep up with my comings and goings, below are my social media links. Some I am more active on than others, and a lot of it depends on my writing/editing/promoting/ and life schedules.

Oh yeah! I nearly forgot…how could I possibly forget this? Edits will begin soon for the January 2018 release of Limitless Publishing’s “Craving Country” anthology. I am one of the contributing authors to this collection with my short story called “Crazy Woman Creek”.  Follow my media sites for updates as things unfold for “Crazy Woman Creek” and the “Craving Country” anthology collection.

Website: www.ryanjosummers.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RyanJoSummersAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RyanJoSummers

Blog: https://www.summersrye.wordpress.com 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/phoenix690322/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6604705.Ryan_Jo_Summers

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Now I am off to read a download on my Kindle. Wish me luck.

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via Wednesday Writer Welcomes Ryan Jo Summer and Rainbows in the Moonlight

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Lately I’ve been thinking about perspective, and how I often need adjustments to mine. I get caught up in dwelling all about me, and my wishes and needs, and sometimes forget about others. Then something happens and I get a eye-opener. So, I’ve listed a few situations that have another side that offers a whole new perspective.

 

When one is having a bad day– running late, and nothing going right, and you see a car while doing your morning errands…then seeing that same car again later in the day on the back of a tow truck, this time with crumpled damage.

When one has to take a detour— how much of an inconvenience will this be?… and then hearing about someone who had to have their keys taken away and can’t drive any more.

When the drive-thru messes up one’s order… and then they pass a homeless, hungry person or the line at a soup kitchen or a church with a reminder of a food drive.

When one has a bad hair day– it’s frizzy, unruly, or won’t cooperate… and then crosses paths with a cancer fighter who is bald from chemotherapy.

When one doesn’t like anything — can’t find any decent clothes in the closet or the dishes are mismatched or furniture is old and ratty….and then the neighbor’s house burns and they lose everything they have.

When one has a fight with their spouse, parent or child and is justifiably angry… and then pass by a funeral.

When the newspaper is wet, damaged or not delivered at all…. and then encounters one who doesn’t know how to read.

When it hurts– one twists their knee/ankle or somehow hurts themselves….and then encounters someone missing a limb (or some other obvious limitation)

When the friend/ relative/ date stands one up…then learns of a lonely or bullied person who commits suicide ( or tries to) because they felt they were alone or un-loveable.

These scenarios are not meant to be depressing or upsetting. They were intending to remind myself, and anyone else who needs a gentle reminder, that no matter how bad things may seem right now…there is always someone else who is experiencing it worse. It’s all in our perspective.

It seems on the days when I am feeling sorry for myself over some grievance is when I am graciously handed such a reminder that it’s not all about me. The car occurrence really did happen this weekend. While out running errands, I spotted a car that for some reason stuck out to me. A couple of hours later, I spotted it again while I was going to meet a friend, this time loaded on the back of a tow truck.  Suddenly my rushed schedule paled in comparison and I scribbled most of these situations on my way to my appointment.

 

 

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