Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween … It’s Been 5 Years

Ghosts, witches, goblins, and more..oh my! Today is the day adults get to act like kids and kids are supposed to get candy, candy and more candy.

For those of you celebrating Halloween today, I hope it’s a day of fun and great treats. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

I’ve noticed more and more adults are getting into the Halloween spirit dressing up, hosting parties and not feeling guilty for consuming yummy sweets. I enjoy seeing youngsters dressed up in all sorts of attire enjoying themselves.

This past Sunday evening our church held a fall festival and the youngsters (as well as some adults) dressed up. Since we live about a mile from the church, we agreed to be the turnaround spot for the hay ride. They also wanted to stop a few minutes for a devotion before heading back to the church. I thought what’s a hay ride without hot chocolate, so I suggested we serve it before the devotion.

This was a Sunday School project so how bad could it be? Then I learned the festival was an open event. There would be at least 50 to 75 on the hay ride. There was no way to make hot chocolate one cup at a time.

As luck would have it, I had a huge canister of Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa. I finally decided to make three separate large broilers of hot chocolate (it had to be made with milk) and poured it all into a large coffee urn we borrowed from a local fire department.

When all was said and down, we served hot chocolate and sugar cookies to over 100 youngsters (and adults) arriving on four wagons throughout the evening. We even had one cup of hot chocolate left when the evening was over. It was hectic, but great fun.

It’s Been 5 Years …..

Have you been wondering what the five years is all about? Well, five years ago on this date (Oct. 31st) I wrote my first blog post.

Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been that long and other times it seems like it’s been longer. I would have never imaged that I would have so many delightful followers and charming visitors. I am truly blessed to have y’all in my life.

I have meet so many amazing authors and fellow readers throughout the years and unfortunately a few have been taken from us. I’ve also discovered so many intriguing books that I could start my own library. Smile

The enthusiasm around blogdom may go up and down but the friendship I’ve made is something I miss when I have to be off line. In that regard, I want to say a huge thank you again to everyone for your kind words of comfort and sympathy during the recent passing of my mother-in-law. I’m still trying to get into a new ‘normal’ routine while continuing to help care for my 98-year-old father-in-law. I thought I would have more time (or at least as much time) to visit blogs and do my reviews, but I keep running into new things that have to be done. Just know I deeply appreciate each and every one of you.

I hope everyone has a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you have any suggestions and/or recommendations you’d like to see made here in the coming year, share them in the comments. Be sure to have lots of candy on hand for the trick or treaters.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Afternoon Coffee and Crêpes {+ Giveaway}

Afternoon Coffee and Crepes coverNote: The winner of the giveaway is Dezmond. Congratulations Dez and thanks to all who entered.
I’m thrilled to be participating in author Holly Sinclair’s Foodie Blog Tour and Blog hop this week. 

I had the honor of reviewing her Afternoon Coffee and Crêpes cookbook. To celebrate her tour, Holly has a special giveaway for visitors to Thoughts. 

Here’s what the cookbooks is all about:

        An afternoon with stuffed crêpes and a rich cup of coffee makes for a superb get together. This book features seasonal theme entree and dessert crêpes and a recommendation for the right coffee brew for each month. On a chilly autumn afternoon have a nice pot of Brazilian coffee served with Spicy Shrimp Crêpes and Candied Acorn Squash, or Caramel Apple Crêpes. On a hot summer day, treat yourself to an exotic menu with Kona coffee, Tropical Shrimp Crêpes, Salad Greens with Sesame-Ginger Dressing, and Lava Flow Crêpes.

Now, let me share my thoughts on this fun book ……

I am far from an expert cook, but I do enjoy trying different dishes and styles. For that reason, I’m drawn to cookbooks. Author Holly Sinclair’s Afternoon Coffee and Crêpes enticed me just by the title.

Being a coffee junkie, this cookbook had to be made for me. As I started going through it, I realized I had missed the last word - Crêpes. Just the word crêpes brought visions of hours in the kitchen and difficult techniques.

Boy was I wrong. Sinclair gives simple step-by-step instructions on not only how to make the crêpes, but the various ways to serve them. She also gives delicious pairings for wonderful menus for each month of the year. In addition, Sinclair describes the different roast types of coffee and the perfect brew to go with each meal.

Preparing the batter was quick and simple. After I let it rest in the refrigerator as recommended, I held my breath and decided to give it a try. As the crêpe began to form, I couldn’t believe it. I discovered crêpes aren’t hard to make at all, in fact, they’re fun to prepare.

Afternoon Coffee and Crêpes is a fun cookbook that will assist you in making delicious meals throughout the year.

Afternoon Coffee and Crêpes by Holly Sinclair, CreateSpace Independent Publishing, @2014, ISBN: 978-1500718541, Paperback, 66 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the author as part of her virtual blog tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Due to family matters, I haven’t had a chance to prepare a complete meal from Holly’s book. However, I have the crêpes I made in the freezer and look forward to preparing many of the yummy meals. Crêpes no longer scare me.

Afternoon Coffee and Crêpes
Cost: $10.00 print | $2.00 eBook If you buy the print version of the book from Amazon, you get the digital version free.
Where to get it: Amazon (print)
Barnes & Nobles


Holly Sinclair, who goes by Southpaw on the Interwebs, finds cooking cathartic. The recipes she's created and collected grew into cookbooks. Holly's trying her hand at fiction and food seems to creep into most of her books.

Holly Sinclair Cookbooks, the website
HR Sinclair, the blog

Join Holly on the rest of her Blog Tour, each stop features a different cookbook and a chance for a free eBook!

Holly's blog tour logo You can join in the fun by signing up for the End of Tour Foodie Blog Hop! 

Talk about a fond food memory, describe your disasters in the kitchen, post your favorite recipe or pictures of food, or do anything food related. Sign up HERE.


One commenter on this post will win a free digital copy of this cookbook. To enter, just leave a comment. If you want to leave a comment but don't want to enter, add "I hate food" to your comment. The winner will be announced on October 31st (tomorrow) on Holly's blog.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you enjoy crêpes? If so, what’s your favorite? Have you tried your hand at making crêpes before or does the thought terrify you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Author Clare Price: What’s a Nice Girl Like You …..

WebofBetrayalCoverI’m delighted to welcome debut novelist Clare Price here today to talk about her new cyber thriller, WEB OF BETRAYAL

The book takes place in 1994, at the dawn of the Internet Age, when companies from Silicon Valley to London are fighting to claim the billions to be made on the new information superhighway. Peter Ellis, an aggressive investigative reporter struggling to repair his damaged reputation, gets caught up in a quest to find a missing programmer who has mysteriously disappeared. Peter is unwittingly pitted against a brilliant hacker and deranged killer with an agenda of his own. As Peter is drawn into the deadly game of betrayal and murder, he is faced with losing everything he holds dear: his career, his one true love, even his own life. 

Please join me in giving Clare a warm welcome as she talks about ‘What’s a Nice Girl Like You….’ you know. Welcome, Clare.

I think we all know the end of that sentence. I wonder how many other women who write thrillers have heard these words? I sure have. Women write great thrillers, but not so many are known to write cyberthrillers. By that I mean a thriller whose plot hinges on cyberspace, computers or software technology.

Besides my debut novel, WEB OF BETRAYAL, I know only of one other, Helen Hanson.

When we think of cyber or techno-thrillers as they are often called, we think of names like: Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, Daniel Suarez and Dan Brown. All men. 

Even though there aren’t that many of us, I’d like to make the case that women can not only write cyberthrillers that are as good as the ones the men write, in many ways they can be better: in two important ways. Here’s what I’m talking about.

1) Stronger character development. Let’s face it, in most cyberthrillers written by men the technology (weapons, hardware, computer systems, etc.) take center stage. They are the main characters on which critical plot twists occur. The hero gets a close second billing but all too often the women are plot devices, entertainment or a dialog foil. In thrillers written by women, I believe there is much more character development, not just due to physical danger but the exploration of the psychological and emotional trauma the hero/heroine faces and must overcome to solve the mystery or catch the villain.

2) Romance. I have yet to find real romance in a cyber or techno thriller written by a man. Sex yes, definitely. But a character/story arc in which two people meet, fall in love, stay together and still solve the crime? Nope. It’s true you have to walk a fine line adding romance to a story that must offer fast paced action and suspense as well as the technical detail that makes a cyberthriller, well, “cyberish.” 

My goal in WEB OF BETRAYAL was to walk that fine line and create a romance that would add a layer of conflict and emotional context to the story. This was not because I love writing romance it was because I felt that my protagonist, Peter Ellis, could not be fully developed as a character and achieve his personal transformation without facing a true romantic choice.

With stronger character development and the layer of romance, I also believe women can write better dialog—messy, truthful dialog—that deals with the intricacies of life even while they are breaking secure computer code or developing a technology product that will change the world as we know it.

If you are a woman who has, is, or wants to write a techno or cyberthriller, I’d love to hear from you.

Clare, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing this look at cyberthrillers. I hadn’t thought about men verse women as writers for cyberthrillers, but you do have a point.

Now here’s a bit of background on Clare.

Clare Price is a former business journalist, technology reporter, Internet industry analyst and a VP of marketing for several software startups. She saw the birth of the commercial Internet firsthand as a research director with the Gartner Group, the global leader in information technology consulting. As a principal analyst in Gartner's Internet Strategies Service, Clare assisted many of the world's biggest technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle) in their bid to make the information highway a reality. 

In addition to her 5-book series, The 5 Easy Pages Essential Marketing System, Clare has written more than 700+ articles in the areas of information technology, marketing and business strategies and growth and is a frequent speaker in the areas of marketing, management, and technology. 

An Ohio native and graduate of the UC Berkeley, Clare lives in Sacramento with her two Shetland Sheepdogs, Dan and Toby. 

For more on Clare and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

You can also watch the WEB OF BETRAYAL book trailer and read an excerpt HERE.

Thanks so much for stopping by during Clare’s visit. What are your thoughts on women writing cyberthrillers?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My African Dream: Making a Difference One Book at a Time

My African Dream by Mario Saincic coverToday I want to welcome an amazing ‘new-to-me’ author who wrote his book out of a desire he had after a close friend revealed her reverence for a way of life he had begun to take for granted.

Please join me in welcoming author Mario Saincic. After he tells you how his book, MY AFRICAN DREAM, came to be, I’ll tell you a bit about him and how you can find out more about his project and even help.

Welcome Mario, tell us about your book.

In a world of writing, we are often inspired by a mood, a memory, or even a dream. And then when we least expect it, we are consumed by a need to stand up and make our voices heard. Well, a few months ago this happened to me…

A very close friend told me a story of how she would stare at an image from a webcam positioned at a watering hole in the middle of Africa, watching as the wild animals mulled around in an existence that most of us didn’t understand or weren’t aware of. She had never left her home town never mind her state, yet here she sat dreaming of walking on the hot, dry sand that was far from her reach. It made her long to be there, and made me smile that someone could feel passionate about the world outside of their borders. I’d listen as she told me of how their every move made her wonder what it would be like to see these magnificent creatures in person. This soon unleashed a feeling inside that captured my thoughts for a few months as I was inspired to write about my own desire.

Born and raised in Africa, I often take the beauty of nature for granted. I could easily climb in my car right now and drive less than an hour to go play with lion cubs, feed a giraffe, or even pat a zebra; yet she can’t…and probably never will.

This realization moved me in a way I didn’t expect. Sitting in front of my television and listening to reports of what was happening in the world around me, on my doorstep, in my back yard…I thought of her and of future generations to come. 

The harsh reality of how a magnificent animal can dwindle towards extinction, while we sit back and watch, came over me like a Tsunami of icy water. Being spoilt with the vastness of the African bush, I remembered the countless times I had been on game drives. It always amazed me even though I had seen it a hundred times before, and listening to the questions she had asked, my mind wandered to what her face would look like if she were given the chance to sit on the back of an open Land Cruiser as I had done. I would probably muse at her silent stare, gaping mouth, and even laugh when she jumped in her seat as one of the wild animals charged.
This picture reminded me of one such occasion when I sat comfortably on the back of a vehicle, panic-struck, and watched as a majestic black rhino stormed towards us. The ranger stood up straight, rifle raised and ready, but held back. Probably more curious than angry and on its way back from a bout of supremacy over territory, the raging animal didn’t stop. I could barely hear a sound over the pounding feet that twirled up a cloud of dust, and there was no way the tranquilizer could kick in before the rhino struck the side of the vehicle. 

Looking down, I couldn’t believe what I saw. The horn that was probably two feet long had pierced the side of the vehicle, and the tip was hidden from sight. The animal shook its head a few times before freeing the horn and standing still as though to inspect the gaping hole. The effects of the dart must have kicked in because the animal suddenly seemed dazed. He staggered away, and soon after the ranger radioed for back-up. The second vehicle was barely in sight before we all drove off.

I loved that day. It was one of my favourite memories of being out in the open. But right now, it makes me extremely sad. My sons have not had the opportunity to take a game drive yet, and I am not sure when they will. I just hope it is some time very soon, for that rhino I had the honour of seeing up close, and many like it, will not be around for much longer. They are being brutally slaughtered on a daily basis, and unless we as the guardians of all animals on earth do something about it, they will soon merely be a memory and admired in museums much like dinosaurs are.

It was this revelation that led me to sit down and write in the hope of creating awareness of what was happening, and four months after I started I wrote the final chapter of MY AFRICAN DREAM. It is a romantic suspense set in the heart of Kenya, and finds Millicent Cramer in a world she only ever dreamed about. Even her wildest imagination could not have prepared her for life on African soil, but what she experienced there changed her life forever. She found the harsh beauty overwhelming, the people comforting, and even found love… But the biggest thing she discovered was a purpose for her life - a calling far beyond anything she had experienced before.

MY AFRICAN DREAM was written with a need to get the message out to the world. I held it back from self-pubbing with the idea of approaching agents and publishers. To be honest, I have only queried a handful, and as much as any writer would like to see their work in print…I kind of got lost in the process. You see, it all changed from getting a message across to the pride of being published. I sat with the manuscript for months while wondering what to do with it, until my writing buddy and editor reminded me of something. They highlighted the passion I’d had while writing the chapters and creating the characters, the laughter I experienced when I threw the book at Milly only to see her come out on top every time. But most importantly, the awareness I was trying to create.

So with this, I have finally decided to publish MY AFRICAN DREAM as an eBook. Some may say ‘whoopee doo-dah,’ that’s easy to do… Well yes, they are right, and it is…but in showing my support for the organisations that are combatting rhino poaching and in an attempt to get the message across, I am making a pledge.

Seeing as I am not able to physically help track down poachers - and believe me when I say that I will take extreme pleasure in doing more than just tracking down - and I wasn’t born with a golden spoon in my mouth , I am going to help in the only way I know how.

For the life of the book, I will donate 50% of all author proceeds to various organisations that are actively part of rhino conservation. This is the least I can do to help make sure that future generations are able to see these majestic beasts like I have: roaming free and out of danger.

Over the next few weeks I will be updating my blog with regards to the cover, the organisations that I will select, and then also the release date of the book. I will post it on Amazon as a pre-order, too. I am also giving serious reviewers and book bloggers the opportunity to receive a copy of the book, and they can contact me via Facebook, Twitter, or by leaving a message on my blog.

Remember that each book sold will help fund rhino conservation and preservation.
To the animals of Africa it is not a dream…it is their life.

What started as a dream, at around Christmas time last year, has finally become a reality. The months trailed and I thought I’d never finish, even threw it in the trash a few times, but were it not for certain people…this day would never have arrived.

My African Dream
Mario Saincic
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: September 25, 2014
Available on Amazon!

My African Dream finds Millicent Cramer in the heart of Kenya, a world she only ever dreamed about. Even her wildest imagination could not have prepared her for life on African soil, but what she experienced there changed her life forever. She found the harsh beauty overwhelming; the people comforting; and even found love…but the biggest thing she discovered was a purpose for her life - a calling far beyond anything she had experienced before.

Sneak peek...

Never before have I been more excited to release a book, and never before have I been proud to stand up and make a noise in the hope that someone actually listens. My African Dream was released recently, and I am seriously looking forward to stand by my pledge of donating 50% of all author proceeds to rhino conservation.

Mario, thanks so much for visiting with us today and sharing how your book came to be. You have an amazing project with the publication to help a worthy cause.
Now let me share a bit of background on Mario.

Mario Saincic was born in 1970, and has a passion for life. Starting off in restaurant kitchens and ending up as an architectural designer, he has managed to turn his creativity into a career. Writing is one such desire, and since the release of INFIRMITY, there is hardly a day that goes by without characters sitting around discussing their lives with him. "Inspiration appears at the strangest of times, and we need to embrace it."

His desire in life is to be as perfect an example to his kids as his father is to him.
For more on Mario and his writing, visit his website and connect with him on Twitter, Amazon, Facebook and Goodreads.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Mario’s visit. Have you ever been to Africa? Have you gotten to see any of the animals Mario mentioned in their native habitat?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Call of the Highlands {+ Giveaway}

9780425265826_large_Off_KilterI’m thrilled to welcome national bestselling author Hannah Reed back to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about the Highlands where her new book (and series) is set.

In this new series a young writer finds herself swept up in a murder amidst the glens and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. The first installment in the series, OFF KILTER, was released earlier this month. Thanks to the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

First a brief synopsis followed by Hannah talking about the ‘Call of the Highlands’ and I’m share my thoughts on this new cozy.

        After the recent death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, thirty-something Eden Elliott is seriously in need of a fresh start. At the urging of her best friend, bestselling author Ami Pederson, Eden decides to embark on an open-ended trip to the picturesque village of Glenkillen in the Scottish Highlands, to do some hands-on research for a book of her own. But almost as soon as Eden arrives in the quaint town, she gets caught up in a very real drama…
        The town’s sheep shearer is found murdered—clipped with his own shears—and the locals suspect Vicki MacBride, an outsider whose father’s recent death left her the surprise heir to his lucrative sheep farm. Eden refuses to believe the affable heiress is a murderer, but can she prove that someone is out to frame her new friend before she finds herself on the receiving end of more shear terror? 

Here is some early praise for OFF KILTER:

        “Hannah Reed’s new series will please Scotophiles everywhere…” ~ Miranda James, New York Times bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries.
        “A brilliant mystery, rich in charming characters set against lush depictions of the Scottish village of Glenkillen.” ~ Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover’s Mystery.

Now please give a warm welcome to Hannah. Welcome, Hannah.

It began as ideas often do, with a small spark out of the blue. Most flashes of insight (also known as moments of insane thinking) sputter and die a quick death. As they should. But sometimes one will ignite and take off, and there’s nothing you can do but go along for the ride. That’s what happened with my new Scottish Highlands mystery series. Once those thoughts came alive and were in motion, I wouldn’t have been able to douse them even if I had an ocean of water. They had to be written. 

Mostly, I credit one of my more colorful ancestors, who managed to get thrown out of Scotland in 1685 after his capture and imprisonment in Dunnottar Castle for taking up arms against the king. These days the castle still exists as a ruin, sitting high on a windswept hill beside the sea. This character survived when many didn’t and was shipped to the new world. A real rabble-rouser, that one. Not an uncommon trait in my family line. I believe his adventure was the inspiration for this new series. It fueled my imagination.

And although the weapons have changed in the time that has elapsed between then and now, motives for murder remain the same. 

So back to the present and a wee bit about OFF KILTER.

Romance writer Eden Elliott arrives in the Highlands only to discover that the local sheep shearer has been clipped with his own shears. She better figure out the motive for his murder and the person behind the deed before she finds herself on the receiving end of more shear terror!

I hope you enjoy your romp through the ‘blades’ of the Highland’s slippery slopes. I know I did. 

For more information about the story or about my other tales, visit me at

Hannah, thanks for joining us and sharing this insight into how the story came about. It’s interesting to learn your ancestors were from Scotland and now you’re writing about characters there.

For those who aren’t familiar with Hannah. Let me share a bit of background on her.

Hannah Reed is the pen name of author Deb Baker.
As Deb (her real name) she has authored The Gertie Johnson Backwoods Adventures and The Dolls To Die For Series.

In her youth, Deb dreamed of working as a private investigator or as an undercover cop. So when Deb began writing a new series, the Queen Bee Mysteries, she did something she always wanted to do — she went undercover with an alias! 

Hannah was one of her all-time favorite names. Reed was her great-grandmother’s maiden name. So she put the two together. As it turns out, the author Hannah Reed is much younger than Deb Baker. She’s also more daring, more willing to step right into the midst of any sticky situation, and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is. 

For more information on Hannah/Deb and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

My Thoughts ……….

Taking a trip to Scotland without the hassle of packing is just one of the perks of reading author Hannah Reed’s latest release, OFF KILTER.

The author’s eye for detail and rich descriptions places the reader in the beautiful countryside of Scotland with its quaint villages and delightful residents. The characters are well-developed, likable and with personalities readers can relate to. The dialogue and customs draws you in further enhancing the story.

With twists and turns, Reed keeps readers on the edge of their seat in anticipation of the killer’s unveiling. The story flows smoothly and holds your attention. The suspense, mixed with humor and a touch of romance, results in an entertaining read you won’t be able to put down.

Scotland, murder, mystery, and a hint of romance, what’s not to love?

Off Kilter by Hannah Reed, Scottish Highlands Mystery Book #1, Berkley Prime Crime, @2014, ISBN: 978-0425265826, Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


This giveaway is for one print copy of OFF KILTER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 12 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Hannah Reed’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by during Hannah’s visit. Have you ever been to Scotland or wanted to go? Since shears are used in this story, have you ever tried your hand at sheep shearing? Have a wonderful Monday.

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Because of Love and More Mormon Origami

Because of Love cover on Thoughts in ProgressIt’s a pleasure to be participating in two blog tours today hosted by Cedar Fort Publishing and Media. Both books are designed for the entire family’s enjoyment and you could say both have a spiritual-related theme.
Keep in mind Christmas is less than two months away and these would make wonderful gifts for someone on your list (or for yourself).

BECAUSE OF LOVE by Shauna Brown

Gifts that come from the heart truly touch us the most and author Shauna Brown portrays that beautifully in her release, BECAUSE OF LOVE.

Children taunting children for the way they look and dress has been around for ages. When Josephine, the youngest of the three Brown sisters, is made fun of because of her skinny legs and large, heavy boots, her mother Phoebe decides it’s time to do something.

The girls’ father Byron had always insisted the family wear sturdy, heavy boots to protect their feet after he had to walk barefooted a great distance in his youth. Without telling her husband, Phoebe decided to surprise each of the girls with a special Christmas gift.

Meanwhile, the girls decided to try to buy their own shoes saving their money. Before Christmas they realized they didn’t have enough for shoes for themselves, but by putting their money together they could get their mother a special present with their father’s help.

Christmas morning the family discovered that they all had learned a great deal from the hardship of wearing heavy boots.

This is an enchanting story that takes readers back to a Christmas of simpler times. The story is a blend of love, caring, faith, understanding, and family. The characters are likable and the story flows quickly.

BECAUSE OF LOVE is a heart-warming story to share with the entire family at Christmas or anytime of the year. This is a delightful reminder of the joy caring for one another can bring.

Because of Love by Shauna Brown, Sweetwater Books, @2014, ISBN: 978-1462115167, Paperback, 96 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


Graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in speech and drama, communication, has provided Shauna V. Brown with many opportunities to use her talents. She has written and directed original plays and presentations for church and community. She has shared her musical talents, numerous scripts and presentations with pioneer trek groups for the past eighteen years. Shauna has equally enjoyed being a guest speaker and presenter at BYU Education Week, women’s conferences, firesides and community presentations. 

Shauna and her husband, Rick, are blessed with six children and fourteen grandchildren. For the past twenty-two years, Shauna has written an original Christmas story as a gift to neighbors and friends.

For more on this charming book, visit Shauna’s Cedar Fort Publishing Tour Page.

More Mormon Origami cover on Thoughts in ProgressFolding a piece of paper several times in different directions to create an image can be a tricky task. Author Todd Huisken has mastered the art in his latest release, MORE MORMON ORIGAMI.

In this charming book, Huisken takes readers on a step-by-step journey to create 24 amazing projects. The projects are divided into three skill levels in the order of their difficulty. 

In addition, each step of the project is accompanied by a detailed description of how to fold the paper and a sketch to demonstrate how the fold is made. To enhance the book further, Huisken has included Mormon trivia and history with each project.

This delightful book is both entertaining and enlightening. The designs, inspired by the Latter Day Saints Church history and stories from the Book of Mormon, are fun for the whole family.

MORE MORMON ORIGAMI is an enjoyable book for hours of entertainment and learning experience.

More Mormon Origami by Todd Huisken, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, @2014, ISBN: 978-1462115099, Paperback, 144 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


Todd Huisken is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the Counseling Manager at LDS Family Services in Fountain Valley, CA. He attended Brigham Young University and The University of San Diego and has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Todd has served as the Assistant Director of Disaster Mental Health Services for the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross. He has worked with victims from the San Diego Fires, Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, and spent two weeks in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. He was an early morning seminary teacher for six years. 

He is the author of The Dating Directory and the founder of Process and Content, a graduate program newsletter at the University of San Diego. The most important thing about Todd is that he has been married to his beautiful wife for 21 years and they have three daughters and a son and they try to make Disneyland their second home.

For more on this entertaining book, visit Todd’s Cedar Fort Publishing Tour Page.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out this charming books for yourself and/or for gift items this coming holiday season. Have you ever tried origami? If so, what is your favorite item to make? Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and I hope to visit with you again soon. 

*This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Joy: Unto Us A Dove Is Born

Joy coverI know Halloween isn’t even here yet and we still have Thanksgiving to look forward to, but it’s never too early to find an inspiring DVD to help teach youngsters ‘The Way of Jesus.’

Iesodo (YAY-sa-doe) is a highly acclaimed Telly Award winning series featuring a cast of animated birds who live in a Cypress Tree on the shores of Galilee. Iesodo, which means “the way of Jesus,” is a beautiful white dove that, along with a group of lovable feathered friends, tells the stories and messages of Jesus in an animated fashion youngsters can relate to.

In the latest installment in the series, JOY: Unto Us a Dove Is Born, the birds tell the story of the Nativity in their own way. All the birds gather at the Cypress Tree to celebrate Iesodo’s birthday. During their preparations, Rocky tells of Iesodo’s birth and what it meant for all the birds.

The delightful story follows the three wise owls as they travel to discover Iesodo’s birth using the ‘bright star’ as their guide. A number of songs are also included.

This is an inspiring and uplifting DVD the entire family can enjoy together. The beautiful animations enhance the story which shares the meaning of the Nativity in such a way youngsters can understand. There is also several bonus features included such as a Christmas Sing-A-Long and Pastor Tim explaining the Biblical connections.

Starring Ron Allen, Erin Bethea, Tyler Durden, T.W. Gibis, Joe Ochman, Tony Oliver, Zaya Toonz, @2014, Run Time: Approximately 50 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this DVD was sent to me by a promoter in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

For more information on this charming DVD and others in the series, visit,

Thanks so much for stopping by. I do so appreciate it. I hope to be back online more in a few more days. Just when I think I’m going to have some extra time to get back to visiting with you, something new comes up. We are slowly getting back into a ‘new normal routine’ as we’re still caring for my 98-year-old father-in-law, who is doing well considering everything. Thanks again for all your thoughts and support.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Author Carol Ann Martin: Questions I’m Most Asked {+ Giveaway}

9780451413628_large_Weave_of_AbsenceI’m delighted to welcome author Carol Ann Martin to Thoughts today to talk about the five questions she is asked the most often and to tell you about her newest release, WEAVE OF ABSENCE, the third installment in her Weaving Mystery series.

I’ll also be sharing my thoughts on this tantalizing cozy mystery. In addition, thanks to the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of WEAVE OF ABSENCE to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

First, here’s a brief synopsis of this intriguing mystery ……

        It’s a joyous time at Dream Weaver—Della Wright’s studio in small-town Briar Hollow, North Carolina—as part-time employee and full-time friend Marnie Potter is preparing for her upcoming marriage. Della has enlisted a tight-knit group of close friends to hand weave a beautiful collection of fine household linens as a wedding gift for the happy couple.
        But when Della notices Marnie’s suave fiancé engaged in a heated argument with one of her students at the engagement party, she starts to worry that there may be something wrong with Marnie’s Mr. Right. After the student turns up dead the next day, Della must weave together the clues to find the killer—before Marnie agrees to “Till death do us part.”

Now please join me in giving Carol Ann a warm welcome as she shares ‘The 5 Questions I Am Asked Most Asked’. Welcome, Carol Ann.

I’ve been a published author for about three years now, and everywhere I go, some questions keep coming up. So, just in case some of you are curious about the same things, here they are. 

1. What is the most difficult part of being an author? This, by the way, is the question I get most often.

As it turns out, writing and finishing a novel, as daunting a task as that may seem, is actually the easy part. What drives me absolutely nuts, climbing the walls crazy, is finding names for my characters. So I’ve come up with a great solution. Every now and then, I go online, sometimes on Facebook, sometimes on my website, and invite my fans to write to me and give me permission to use their names. I also need to know if they will allow me to make them a villain or if they will only allow the use of their name if the character is a good guy. 

2. Who are my favorite characters to write?

That one is easy. I love to write villains. It’s so much fun, especially for a girl who was schooled by the nuns, to let my imagination run rampant and live vicariously through some really bad people. I also love to write dogs as characters. I am a huge dog lover and have often included my dogs into the stories. For example, Winston, the French bulldog in my Weaver Mystery series, is based on my son’s French bulldog, by the same name. 

3. How has becoming an author changed my life?

I wake up every day feeling like I won the lottery of life. I actually work at something I am passionate about. I often write ten, twelve, sometimes even more, hours a day. I find it very difficult to let go of my laptop. It’s the first thing I pick up after my coffee in the morning and the last thing I put away before going to bed. I do have to take frequent short breaks to rest my eyes. I suffer from dry eyes and staring at a screen all day can be difficult.

4. Is Carol Ann Martin my real name?

No, it isn’t. My real name is Monique Domovitch. But I didn’t pull my pen name out of a hat. I chose the name for my children. I have a daughter, Carol Ann, and a son, Martin. So it felt like a good omen to put their names on my books.

5. Will Della, the main character of the Weaving Mystery series, finally get her man? 

For all of those who are rooting for this romance to take off, you’ll be happy in WEAVE OF ABSENCE. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can say that the romance does heat up. Yay!!! 

I would like to invite you to visit me on my website and leave me a quick note. If you’ve always wanted to be a character in a book, let me know, your wish just might come true.
Carol Ann, thanks so much for visiting with us today and sharing these questions (and answers). As readers we do tend to ask the same questions over and over again. Smile I especially like how you came to have your pen name.

Let me share a bit more background on this delightful author.

Monique Domovitch (aka Carol Ann Martin) was born in the small town of Hearst Ontario. She is the oldest of ten children. When she was 20 years old she moved to Montreal, where she became a successful model, winning the prestigious Modeling Association of American Contest and continuing on to an international career. During this time, she worked with many top photographers and graced many designer runways. 

At the age of thirty, Monique retired from modeling and founded Beauties Modeling Agency in Montreal. Through her tutelage, many Canadian models gained international renown. 

Following a difficult divorce and some health issues some years later, Monique sold her agency and turned her focus on the investment business. At the age of 42 Monique, by then a financial advisor with one of Canada’s largest investment firms, was picked to host her own television show, Her Money, a weekly financial-advice show aimed to a female audience. 

During all these careers, Monique’s real passion was always writing. “I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning and write until I went to work. If I’d been alone, I would probably have put my energies into writing. But as a single mother, I had to provide for my children.” 

Nowadays, Monique lives with her physician husband and their three dogs. They divide their time between their homes in Canada and La Jolla. “I got lucky. I met the love of my life at the age of fifty. The best advice I can give other women is, don’t settle for second best. I was alone for twenty years until Ed came along. If I’d decided that a mediocre marriage was better than no marriage, Ed and I would most likely have never met. I can’t imagine my life without him.” 

For more on Carol Ann/Monique, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Here are my thoughts on WEAVE OF ABSENCE

This is a suspenseful cozy murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last. The story flows smoothly at a good pace that holds your attention with the numerous twists and turns.

The characters are well-developed, realistic and quite likable. The blend of friendship and loyalty woven into the small town atmosphere adds extra charm to the story. The humor, mixed with a touch of romance, enhances the plot adding more depth to the characters.

Author Carol Ann Martin has taken the craft of weaving and created a tantalizing mystery in WEAVE OF ABSENCE. Readers don’t have to be a weaving expert to relish this charming story, though there are weaving tips included for those who enjoy the craft.

Weave of Absence by Carol Ann Martin, Weaving Mystery series Book #3, Signet, @2014, ISBN: 978-0451413628, Paperback, 336 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


This giveaway is for one print copy of WEAVE OF ABSENCE. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 12 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Carol Ann Martin’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by during Carol Ann’s visit. Are you a weaver or have you ever wanted to try your hand at the craft?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway