Sunday, December 22, 2013


Each Christmas we have two traditions I’d started with my children. One of them is purchasing them an ornament for the tree each year. But this isn’t just any random ornament. No, it’s one specially picked out for each child for that particular year. Something that represents something they did that year, or liked.

Some years, the idea came quickly. They played a sport for the first time or started an instrument, started Brownies, like a certain famous person. Though at times it’s been challenging to find the right ornament when I knew exactly what I wanted, other times it was hard to think of something special, something that stood out for that year.

One year when my youngest daughter was very small, she copied EVERYTHING her sisters said and did. Not able to think of anything for her that year, I finally decided on the perfect ornament.

A cat! That’s right. A cat…a copy cat!

Another year I knew exactly what I wanted to get my girls but for the life of me couldn’t find it. That was the first year they were into Webkinz. I looked everywhere, including their site, willing to pay any price at that point. So after realizing it just wasn’t going to be, I decided to make them myself. That’s right, I took a picture of them, laminated them, punched a hole through the top and tied a ribbon on it and there you have it. A Webkinz ornament. And the best thing was it cost me nearly nothing, and I was able to put two of their favorites on it as well as their names and the year it was given like I always do.

Once the girls move out and establish a home of their own, their ornaments will go with them. Each year they have such fun unwrapping them, and remembering why they received that specific one before hanging it on the tree.

Here’s what I picked for 2010:

Callie, who plays drums in band and jazz band at school, and was excelling in it received a drum set ornament.

Bryanna, who adopted her very own dog, Hammie from Collie Rescue of Greater IL, received a dog ornament that looks a lot like him. I was astonished to find such a likeness.

MacKenna, who discovered the Titanic that year, and was fascinated in watching clips of it on Youtube, received a ship that looks surprisingly like the Titanic. What a find that was.

I must say God definitely had his hands in that year’s pick because they were quite the find.

So, what kind of traditions does your family have during the Christmas Season?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Title: Show Me A Sign
Author: Susan Miura
Publisher: OakTara (October 14, 2013)
Pages: 144

Several years ago, my teenage daughter got me hooked on YA (young adult fiction). Since then I've been repeatedly blown away by not only the content of the stories, but the writing, and SUSAN MIURA'S, SHOW ME A SIGH, is no exception.

Right from the start, I was drawn in. I love MS. MIURA'S voice, her humor, and her spot on accuracy to capturing a male teen character. I'm a mother of four, three girls and a boy, and it's not uncommon when reading a novel that I cringe when an authors secondary character is a child of any age. More times than not, they were not successful in capturing the true essence of a kid, whether that be a two-year old or a seventeen-year old.

Nathan Bolivan attends a high school for the hearing as well as the non-hearing. He's had his eyes on Haylie Summers, who's both beautiful and deaf. His excitement of their upcoming first date is quickly turned upside down when he discovers Haylie has gone missing ... and he's a suspect.

Haylie Summers is abducted, tie-up, and blindfolded. Frighten, and not able to hear her captors only adds to her uneasiness. As she remains imprisoned, she wrestles with the answers to the questions swarming around in her head. Why is she being kidnapped, and by whom? Would she make it out alive, or would she never see her family and friends, again?

SHOW ME A SIGN is wonderfully handled in first person between the two main characters. There's just the right amount of suspense, mystery, love, humor, and faith all wrapped up into a believable and powerful story. The flow is natural, with a captivating pace and plot. The humor is refreshing, the characters are three-dimensional, and the writing brilliant.

Though I enjoyed all of the characters, I'd have to say that aside from Nathan, his best friend Alec, is my favorite. He's fun and likeable. MS. MIURA did an incredible job incorporating a teen British boy. With the One Direction craze going on in the teen world today, her timing could not have been better. I loved the interaction between Nathan and Alec. Natural, funny, and entertaining.

Start to finish, there wasn't one thing I'd change in SHOW ME A SIGN. As an aspiring author, I tend to edit as I read. A true sign to a brilliant storyteller is the ability to incorporate all the aspect of what goes into writing a great story, and that MS. MIURA has accomplished. I may be long past my teen years, but you can bet I'll be looking for her next book.

Sunday, December 1, 2013



Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:
Personal blog:

I also am part of several other blogs:
Stitches in Time:
Barn Door Book Loft:

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

About the book: How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death? Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews! Release date was October 21, 2013 from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

The link for the book which is
on SALE NOW is:

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

Carole Brown

Chapter One


Twenty years earlier

The shadow creatures on the wall shook their wings and legs. Heads with horns nodded. Scary, dark faces watched.

The little girl clasped her floppy-eared rabbit against her chest and stared into the dark.

“Mmm …” Mommy’s murmur reached to her through the walls, and the giggles from her mother tiptoed in, shooing the fear away.

Whoosh. She blew out a breath and squeezed her rabbit tighter. “Mommy has a friend with her, Ramsey. She loves me just like I love you and will give me hugs in the morning after the man leaves.”

Ramsey said nothing. She ran her fingers over his face and could feel his black button eyes staring at her, trusting her to protect him.

“And she’ll read to us and I’ll sit on her lap and we’ll snuggle—all of us together.” She nodded and tugged on Ramsey’s left ear then rolled over.

Real live whispers and laughter floated into the room.

Opening her mouth in a wide yawn, she patted Ramsey’s tummy and whispered again, “Don’t be afraid. I’m right here.”

“Please. That hurts.”

“Mommy?” The little girl frowned but her eyes wouldn’t open. Just like they did when she and mommy put cucumbers slices on their eyes. 

“Stop it—”

             Rubbing at her eyes the little girl sat up. Mommy had never sounded like this before, and neither had any of the men—the men who brought flowers and candy and money.