Spatzle Speaks: Christmas Extravaganza Book Reviews

I’m back! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Mom doesn’t usually want me playing on her computer. She’s afraid I’ll post something embarrassing on Facebook as if I could do better than she does with that?

Next week three fabulous Christmas novellas are releasing and they are already available for preorder so get yours now!. Well, to be honest, there are more, but these are the only three I’m personally acquainted with, and since mom is so nice, I’m even including hers on this list.

Clear As Ice by Penelope Marzec

Marzec takes Haylie, a former Olympic ice skater with a stalker and a fear of dogs and matches her up with Ethan, a paramedic with serious issues with Christmas and God. The dog, Rufus, is the real star of this story as he is the ultimate matchmaker for these two. This immediately gains it five bones in my book, because I’m pro-dog because I am a dog. Haylie is afraid of relationships but finds that the handsome paramedic keeps showing up in her life, mostly because of his dog. Can Ethan break down the barriers to her heart and can Haylie help restore his faith in God and the wonder of Christmas in his?

Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel

Leah Hane’s is without roots. She finds a job working as a cook at the Rocking J Ranch in Crazy Creek, Wyoming. This ragtag bunch of cowboys need more than good meals though. She quickly finds herself needed and helping them in a variety of ways as they strive to save the ranch from being sold.

Noel Johnsen is the legitimate heir to the property, or so he thinks. His family was lost in a horrific accident and Christmas brings up bad memories of that loss. He wants to ditch his family’s homestead but his brother-in-law who had been running the place is reluctant and the new cook they hired keeps butting her nose in where it’s not wanted. Soon more than the land is at stake…but his heart as well.

I love this ranch story. I love the outdoors and running around outside so I was for them keeping the ranch. You’ll have to read the story to find out what they do. I loved it.

Sugar Cookies and Street Lamps by Susan M. Baganz

A young woman, Noelle, hates Christmas and is paired up with an investment advisor in creating a magical gala for his company. He loves Christmas and soon finds himself attracted to the woman he’s helping out in creating his companie’s big holiday event.

Boy do I know about Wisconsin winters. I love the snow and we’ve already had plenty for me to jump around it. Mom thinks it’s funny becuase I can’t stand rain, or a bath. Regardless, this Christmas romance is sweet and mom included the family sugar cookie recipe at the end and I personally can vouch for how tasty those are.

My perspective:

All of these stories are worthy reads, so get them now and then do your dog a favor and snuggle up with them for a good Christmas reading time, hot chocolate optional. I give each story five bones, because I’m a dog and and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Thankful for Our Readers

Readers, we are so thankful for YOU! Your support and encouragement mean the world.  To show our appreciation for all you do, we are hosting a HUGE giveaway!


Don’t miss your chance to enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card and over 40+ books. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/efda/thankful-for-our-readers

The collection includes a copy of my own novel, Donuts and Detours!

Ten Years

Ten years ago, I listened to a still, small voice telling me to write a novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for more info go to http://www.nanowrimo.org).

So I did.

The first novel I ever wrote, finally released in November of 2017.

I wrote 117,000 words in 21 days. The goal was 50,000 words in 30 days. I had a blast. I was hooked.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. By the time I published my first novel in 2015, I had written my complete 5-book Gothic Regency series as well as four other novels. I had published a flash fiction and a short story. I was working as an editor for a small publishing house, Prism Book Group, which was eventually bought out by Pelican Book Group.

As of today…those totals have increased to 20 completed titles. 15 of those are published, three more are contracted and in the process of getting to publication. Two are awaiting a home. Five are available in audiobook and I’m working on recording some of my novels. I now teach workshops at writer’s conferences and at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh through their continuing education department.

I have four more stories started.

My first published novel, with a new cover!

Life has changed significantly since God first called me to write.

Writing was initially an escape. A place to go to hide from the pain of my daily life. I wrote the happily-ever-after stories I wanted to read. I wrote about the love that I hadn’t experienced but believed was possible. I poured my own personal pain into the pages of my novels.

Then it happened.

Just as God revealed Himself in amazing ways as I wrote, he finally gave me my own happily-ever-after. After a long time of loneliness, struggling to obey God in my difficult circumstances, and finding freedom from that in 2017, God brought love into my life in 2018.

It wasn’t without obstacles. What good romance goes smoothly? Matter of fact, some of those obstacles remain, but I’ve found a new life to be LIVED, not just on the pages of my novels, but to experience and enjoy. And I found someone to do it with.

I won’t go into details of my struggle here. Those who have walked with me on that path have prayed, listened, encouraged, and even challenged me. I am grateful for their love and support.

Last year I didn’t do NaNoWriMo for the first time (after winning 8 years in a row!) because I was recovering from shoulder surgery, planning a wedding, helping remodel a house, and preparing to move my family. Oh, and all at Christmas-time!

God is good, even in the darkest days when I wondered if He would be good to me, I never doubted that it was His character. I am blessed beyond measure. I look forward to how my new life will impact my writing.

My poor hubby doesn’t understand all I do but is a champion of my work anyway. He’s loved the stories he’s read/listened to. This will be his first NaNoWriMo…so here’s hoping he can cope with this crazy writer. He’s done fairly well so far…

Happy November!

Writer Wednesday: Joanie Shawhan

I met Joanie Shawhan with some mutual friends for lunch several times to talk about our writing dreams, before either of us ever got published. I instantly fell in love with her bubbly personality. She’s gone through the shadow of ovarian cancer and her passion to help others going through cancer is inspiring. I asked her about her writer’s journey.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I had journaled for years, but I had never planned to be an author. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, that I realized I had something to say that would be helpful to others going through chemotherapy. I searched for ovarian cancer survivors, but there were no ovarian cancer support groups. I wondered if there were any other survivors. So, I started writing the book I would have liked when I went through chemotherapy—a book with stories that validated my experience, concluding each chapter with a scripture and a prayer.

What’s your pet peeve?

Book series in which I have to read the next book to find out how the main conflict is resolved.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

In my first review of a friend’s piece, I gave a one-star when I meant to give 5 stars, but the program used for the review would not allow me to change my stars. 

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Since I had no experience in the writing and publishing world, I needed to learn the craft of writing and the publishing industry so I attended numerous writing conferences and joined a writing critique group.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejections are hard. How could they not like my book baby? I have to realize that the rejections are not personal, but often related to their business goals. Sometimes negative reviews or comments are just personal preferences. But the reviewer may also make a valid point which I can use to improve my writing.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My new release, In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer, which chronicles my ovarian cancer journey and the cancer stories of eleven other women.  

What is your current work in process?

Lessons I learned from my spiritual mother.

Bio: Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes articles and encouragement for women undergoing chemotherapy. Publishing credits include The Upper Room, Coping with Cancer Magazine, God Still Meets Needs and In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer. She is involved in an ovarian cancer social group, The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side up and speaks to medical students about ovarian cancer in the Survivors Teaching Students program. When not attending one of her two book clubs or her writing critique group, Joanie enjoys designing jewelry, swimming and knitting.

Find Joanie at these online locations!

Website: www.joanieshawhan.com

Newsletter:  blog on my website: https://joanieshawhan.com/blog/

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmshawhan

Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/joanieshawhan

Latest book release: March 2019: In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer

Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/2TaEiZz

Why Attend a Writer’s Conference?

My husband Ben and myself are heading out on a road trip from Wisconsin to Philadelphia. We love being together and figured it was less expensive than flying and renting a car to do any site-seeing while out there as we padded our time to be able to do that.

I am attending as a faculty member at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference: Write His Answer. At heart, I’m a homebody. I get stressed doing the prep for a conference, the packing, making sure my notes are in order and arrangements for someone to stay with my kids and dog…

Then I attend and I am blessed beyond measure by the people I connect with, the friends I’ve made over the years who I get to see again, and the new ones I’ll make. Some vacation time in advance is always welcome. I love to teach so that is always fun.

Coming to be on faculty is not necessarily a financial boon to our family. This is a labor of love. A ministry to writers who are where I once was, wondering what I was to do with this story God had given me and not even realizing just how much I needed to learn!

Now I get to be on the other side, encouraging other writers on their journey, listen to their stories (fictional and real) and pray with them. So even if I take a financial loss, it is worth it from an eternal perspective.

I will leave blessed and drained. It will take me days to recover when I get back home because at heart I am an introvert.

Why should you attend a Christian writer’s conference?

  1. You will be blessed by the worship and teaching: inspired to write!
  2. You will make new friends. I have dear friends around the country who I met at writer’s conferences and our friendship goes beyond the written page.
  3. You will learn. Every person you meet, every one-on-one appointment with an agent or editor doesn’t need to result in a contract offer – but it can be a great opportunity to learn. And maybe at some point, that contract will happen! My first writer’s conference with agents and editors led me to one book contract within two months, a flash-fiction and a short story published within five months! Now the non-fiction didn’t pan out in the long run but I have to say that I learned so much from every person I met with, faculty or conferee.
  4. You’ll be exposed to great teaching and have the opportunity to bounce ideas off others.
  5. The people at a Christian writer’s conference understand you as a writer. The joys, the fears, the ups and downs. Not everyone outside of Christian publishing will get it. If you are a Christian author, these are YOUR people.

I’m sure I could come up with many other reasons but those are the first few that come to mind. If you want to come to Philly this week – there are still spots available and I’d love to meet you! Check out the website: https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/

Blessings!

Susan

Spatzle Speaks: A Refuge for Rosanna (Book Review)

Susan Karsten loves the Regency period and it shows in her second book, A Refuge for Rosanna.

Rosanna has finagled a way to purchase a home in the country where she can live and not be forced into a marriage with anyone. She’s grieving the loss of her one true love and has no desire to ever marry. She longs to set up a sanctuary for women who want to avoid marriage but runs into a few snags in her plan. Long rambles on the property bring a neighbor to her awareness.

Lord Peter Winstead has a shameful past but it was his father’s sins that caused the loss of his beloved family home, Honor’s Point. Now in reduced circumstances, he lives a humble life on a small parcel of land that he was able to retain. Hiding his true identity for as long as possible, he is struck by the new owner but realizes that if the truth were to come out about his misdeeds, she’d never consider him an eligible suitor.

Romantic encounters, pesky neighbors, hidden treasure, along with challenging rescue all combine to tear them apart or bring them together. Will love overcome all?

If you love the Regency genre you will adore this sweet romance by Susan Karsten, book two in her Honor’s Point series! My mom has a hard time putting sweet stories of love and adventure like this down so I’m giving it five bones, because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: ‘Til Dice Do Us Part (Book Review)

Julie Cosgrove has written several dramatic romantic suspenses around the subject of human trafficking, but she’s also been the master of cozy mysteries and ‘Til Dice Do Us Part is book number 4 in her Bunco Biddies Mystery series. The final installment.

While preparing for a wedding shower, one of the Bunco Biddies falls from a ladder. in her drugged and painful state she overhears a crime being discussed behind the curtain next to her room in the ER.

Janie can’t quite get her son-in-law to investigate so the Bunco Biddies decide to do some on their own resulting in hilarity and danger and on the wedding day–a missing groom!

Everything gets crazy as the crime is uncovered and once again the intrepid older women are able to prove just how valuable they are to the local police department.

This was a fun series and the characters are a delight to read, or so my mom says. I just get to sit next to her and listen to her chuckle. Which is fine with me so I give it five bones because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.