“GRANDMOTHERS: A FORCE FOR GOOD” Blog Tour @HealthMN1 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA

It is my pleasure to host Harriet Hodgson and her new book on my blog site!

Homemade Granola with Apples and Cinnamon: Fresher, Healthier, Cheaper

Grocery stores carry many kinds of granola. All are tempting. When you read the ingredients label, you may discover the granola is high in fat, sugar, and salt. Some consumers find store-bought granola hard to chew because it’s not fresh. What’s a shopper to do? Making your own granola is the answer.

I came across this recipe years ago and modified it to suit my tastes and health needs. It has no salt and is lightly sweetened with honey. You make your own by adding dried fruit you like. Homemade Granola with Apples and Cinnamon tastes great on yogurt and surprisingly good on frozen yogurt.

INGREDIENTS

6 cups quick-cooking oatmeal

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons extra light olive oil

2 tablespoons apple juice

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup dried fruit of choice: chopped apples, chopped apricots, chopped cherries, currants, raisins, blueberries, or reduced sugar cranberries

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Coat two cookie sheets with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, cinnamon, and almonds.
  3. In a small bowl, combine honey, olive oil, apple juice, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add wet mixture to oatmeal mixture and mix well.
  5. Pour granola into baking pans, spreading out evenly.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring several times, until granola starts to brown.
  7. Remove from oven and add dried fruit. Cool completely. Store in tightly sealed containers. Makes about 7 cups

That sounds YUMMY to me! Thank you for sharing, Harriet!

Author Bio:  Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of print/online articles, and 37 books. Hodgson is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, and dozens of television stations, including CNN.  A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving conferences. She lives in Rochester, Minnesota with her husband, John. Please visit www.harriethodgson.com for more information about this busy wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, speaker, and author

Purchase Links: Amazon paperback   https://amzn.to/31Kklgs

                           Amazon eBook   https://amzn.to/31FoUt5

                           Barnes and Noble paperback   http://bit.ly/2N28jLY

                           Barnes and Noble eBook   http://bit.ly/31GeWaj

                           IndieBound paperback   http://bit.ly.2TBRpol

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

A New WIN!

I am super excited that my entry, “Magic,” won in this short story contest sponsored by D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Texas, Inc.!

Volume V of short stories from Texas authors is available for pre-order!

Here is a snippet from my story:

A loud whinny cut through the cold Montana air, followed by a snort and a hoof pawing on the wood.

Frank cursed and eased the front door open two inches. He peered out with one eye. A saddled brown pony with no rider stamped his foot and nickered.

“Who’s out there?” Frank yelled again.

The horse tossed his head and let out a long whinny.

Frank swung the door open wide and stepped out into the waning daylight, gun cocked and aimed.

The horse backed off the porch and continued to toss his head and nicker.

When Frank saw no one, he stepped off the porch and grabbed the horse’s trailing reins. “Whoa. Good boy.” He patted the horse’s thick neck.

“Where’s your rider?”

The horse tried to pull away and reared up on his hind legs.

“Whoa, boy. Whoa.” Frank kept a tight grip on the leather.

The horse jerked against Frank’s hold and whinnied.

“You’re trying to tell me something, aren’t you, boy?” His gut told him someone was in trouble. “All right. I’ll go with you, you stubborn horse. First I’ve got to get my coat and gloves.”

I hope that snippet intrigues you enough to want to know more about Frank and this horse that can almost talk!

Purchase Link

This collection of stories is available exclusively through the Indie Lector Store and $2.00 from each purchase goes to help put books in Title One Schools and small libraries.

For some of you who have asked, the national organization, Authors Marketing Guild is up and running! The mission of this organization is to educate authors on effective ways to market their work as well as set up events and programs to help authors find new readers!

Curious to know more? Take a look here!

AND, one more thing…(Yes, you can call me Colombo!) 🙂

Not only will my winning short story be featured in Vol V of Short Stories by Texas Authors, but will also be included in a national publication, entitled Short Stories by Indie Authors!

This book is available in ePub and Kindle formats.

Thanks for stopping by!!

#RRBC’s Spotlight Author for September – @JohnJFioravanti #RWISA

Hello, and welcome to the next stop on the RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour for the amazing author, John Fioravanti!

It is an honor to introduce you to John and his work!

The REFLECTIONS Blog Tour

I’m grateful to my host of this fifth post of the REFLECTIONS TOUR, and to Nonnie Jules and the #RRBC Team who arranged it all!

Reflection 26 – Love Yourself – You’re Worth It!

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

~ Buddha

Buddhism is based upon the teachings of Gautama Buddha who taught in eastern India over twenty-five centuries ago. His philosophy sought a middle way between unbridled sensuality and a-self discipline that denied any sensual pleasure. His teachings were handed down by oral tradition until put into writing four centuries later.

I read this quote twice to make sure I got it right the first time. My immediate reaction was, Really?  On reading his words a third time, there came a glimmer of understanding. As I began to see his meaning, I realized that it is my own life experience that allowed me not only to understand, but to admire his wisdom. I’m afraid that as a young man, this lesson would have completely escaped me.

We are social beings, and we search for love because it is one of our basic needs. Yet most, if not all of us, look outside of ourselves to find those worthy of our love. At this point, I’m not differentiating between familial, platonic, or romantic love relationships, because I don’t think this teaching is about any one of them. In my mind, this statement is about all of them. We look outside of ourselves for our best friends and our intimate romantic partners. What we don’t do is look within first.

Buddha is not only teaching us that we must love ourselves first, but he goes further by saying that no one is more worthy of our love than ourselves. That means that I am at least as worthy of my love as any other person I might choose. Embracing his meaning, my mind reeled… I wasn’t used to thinking along these lines!

I was raised in a culture that taught self-denial to make me worthy of God’s love. I equated self-love with selfishness – another negative characteristic that one would do well to eliminate. Christianity taught me to focus my love and good deeds outside of myself… do unto others… look after the needs of others first… are just a couple of lessons that come to mind from my early religious instruction.

How many of us grew to adulthood with a jaded view of ourselves? I was taught to control my urges – all of them – lest they lead me into sin. I’m sure this is why Buddha’s words seemed so alien to me at first; it was culture shock. When I take the time to digest this idea, it is enlightening… charity or caritas begins at home.

I’m sure we’ve all met people who suffer from self-loathing. They are not happy and they do not love others. How can they? It stands to reason that if I do not believe myself worthy of my own love, then how could I see myself as worthy of love from another; how could I trust another to be worthy of my love? On the other hand, if I accept myself, not as a perfect being, but as a worthy being, I can love myself. In loving myself, I can make choices that are good for me. I’m not talking about being self-indulgent, constantly seeking to satisfy every desire, with no consideration of the consequences. I mean that I must look after my own best interests by doing the hard work that is necessary to make me into the kind of person I wish to become! But I can’t do that unless I start by recognizing my own worthiness.

In recognizing my own worthiness to be loved by myself, I am not denying that I am a flawed being. This does not negate the fact that I get impatient easily, or that I lose my temper and hurt those around me. But I am sure that by being wise enough to love myself, I will find it easier to deal with my shortcomings more successfully. A friend has been trying to teach me this lesson for quite some time, and now, I think I understand.

In loving myself in this way, I am eminently qualified to take a lover and cherish that person in a way that testifies to their worthiness to be loved. In the same way, I am free to love another person as my best friend. Because I acknowledge my own worthiness to be loved, I can extend that caring to my best friend who will be inclined to reciprocate in kind. You reap what you sow. Because of this teaching, taken to heart and internalized, I am more open to the lessons of love – no matter what their origin.

Author Bio:

John Fioravanti is a retired secondary school educator who completed his thirty-five year career in the classroom in June, 2008.

Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.

John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle, Book One of The Genesis Saga, and is set within Kenneth Tam’s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life! Book Two is Treachery & Triumph.

At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-six years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books.

Connect with John via Twitter @johnjfioravanti

Thank you so much for dropping by today to support John and his work.  Please drop by the “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR forum at RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB to find out more about John’s time in the spotlight.

If you’d like to be featured in one of the many wonderful hot-seats held by RRBC members, we invite you to JOIN US!  We’d love to have you!

Introspection

As you may know, I’ve had a lot of downtime over the past three weeks and that gave me tons of time to think.

Now, that isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes it can be creative and sometimes it can be depressing. During this slow healing process, I’ve taken a good long look at myself.

Some call this “Shadow work.” I call it being honest with myself about every aspect that makes up my being.

Yes, I have gone through every one of the emotions shown. I’ve gone from telling myself that I’m stumbling through life pretending, to realizing I have a gift that is only mine and I must share it.

Introspection is not always pleasant. I’m not a fan of facing my fears, my insecurities, or my failings. It’s much easier to float through life without much thought.

But, I realized something through these bouts of self-micro inspection. All of us are complex creatures. We are multi-dimensional beings. We are connected by an invisible thread of common energy and we’re all on this crazy little whirling rock together. And, we all suffer varying degrees of pain and despair from time-to-time.

Image Via Pixabay

So, I share this with you and for you.

Countdown to the Final Showdown – Guest Post

It is with great pleasure that I turn my blog over to another wonderful Texas author, C.J. Peterson today. I hope you enjoy her post and take advantage of the awesome giveaways!!

Take it away, C.J.!

Jan,Thank you so much for the opportunity of sharing on your blog! I really appreciate you helping me out!

I have some great news! The fourth and final book in the Divine Legacy Series is coming out soon! This is an important milestone, as it is also the last book for the A.N.G.E.L.s! For those who have been following, the A.N.G.E.L.s books have been around since the first one was published in 2013.

In celebration of this milestone, I’ll be doing a countdown to the final showdown! It’s the A.N.G.E.L.s versus the other side. Who will win? Can the A.N.G.E.L.s restore the balance of power?

For this release, there will be a one-time offer. For the next three weeks, I will be giving away the first ebook in each series! Yes, you read that right! So, if you haven’t started reading them, the time is now!

Here is the schedule for the giveaways:

– 02SEP-06SEP – SEASONS OF CHANGE (Book 1, Grace Restored Series) – http://amzn.to/2e5tkU0

– 09SEP-13SEP – THE CALL TO DUTY (Book 1, The Holy Flame Trilogy) – http://amzn.to/2eXvD9l

– 16SEP-20SEP – DIVINE LEGACY (Book 1, Divine Legacy Series) – https://amzn.to/2KRrC7t

** The new release CHAINS BROKEN (Book 4, Divine Legacy Series) will be out at the end of this countdown!**

Here is the summary for CHAINS BROKEN:

            The last and final book in the Divine Legacy Series, Chains Broken, follows the A.N.G.E.L.s as they continue on their journey. There will be wedding, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations, which should bring about a fresh start…but will it?

            Kit’s battle is coming to a head. Can she overcome what is trying to lay hold, or will she succumb like her mother? Have the issues of anger been worked out within the team? Who will win the battle for the Outback? Will it be Pete and Charlie’s clan, or the other side? What about the other box? Do the A.N.G.E.L.s have a lead on it? Who will walk away the victor?

            These questions and more will be answered as this exciting series wraps up. Chains will be loosened, and hearts and lives will be connected in Chains Broken. (Book 4 of the Divine Legacy Series.)

 1 Peter 5:8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”John 8:32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

This is the time to download the start of each series to your Kindle! Don’t miss out on this one-time event! Get started on your journey with the A.N.G.E.L.s!

God bless, and Happy Reading!

And now, I want to share a little bit about this author!

C.J. Peterson grew up in a military Christian home, but it was far from tranquil. Many of life’s lessons were hard ones. Through the encouragement of her husband, C.J. was able to rekindle the creativity she thought she had lost. She is an eighteen-year veteran youth leader, a published author since 2012, and knows how to relate well to folks of all ages. Her bright spirit and personality shine through as she shares her various passions and heart.  C.J. brings to life not only her world of writing and being a youth leader, but also shares portions of her abuse-survival past, and how that has shaped her in order to help others. 
Recently, she has had a number of successes! SEASONS OF CHANGE received SECOND PLACE in the “Adult Fiction” category in 2016 for the North Texas Book Festival. Also, ARMY RISING received FIRST PLACE in the “Adult Fiction” category for 2019 at the North Texas Book Festival. In addition, HEARTS UNITED received THIRD PLACE in the “Adult Fiction” category for the North Texas Book Festival as well. Also, the DIVINE LEGACY SERIES won 2019 Texas Authors BEST CHRISTIAN SERIES for Texas Association of Authors.
“While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.”

Connect via:FB: https://www.facebook.com/writingbycjpeterson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoress_cj

Instagram: https://instagram.com/authoress_cj/

LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/authoress-cj


IndieLector: https://www.indielector.store/c-j-peterson.aspx

Books on StoryRocket:

The Holy Flame Trilogy:

– The Call to Duty: https://www.storyrocket.com/the-call-to-duty-book-1-the-holy-flame-trilogy

– Operation A.N.G.E.L.: https://www.storyrocket.com/operation-angel-book-2-the-holy-flame-trilogy

– Angels Among Us: https://www.storyrocket.com/angels-among-us-book-3-the-holy-flame-trilogy

Grace Restored Series:

– Seasons of Change: https://www.storyrocket.com/seasons-of-change-book-1-grace-restored-series

– Winter’s Verdict: https://www.storyrocket.com/winters-verdict-book-2-grace-restored-series

– Spring Shadows: https://www.storyrocket.com/spring-shadows-book-3-grace-restored-series

– Summer Secrets: https://www.storyrocket.com/summer-secrets-book-4-grace-restored-series

– Forever Fall: https://www.storyrocket.com/forever-fall-book-5-grace-restored-series

Divine Legacy Series:

– Divine Legacy: https://www.storyrocket.com/divine-legacy-book-1-divine-legacy-series

– Army Rising:  https://www.storyrocket.com/army-rising-book-2-divine-legacy-series

– Hearts United: https://www.storyrocket.com/hearts-united-book-3-divine-legacy-series

MIA

Hello, fellow bloggers and followers. I apologize that I have not visited your beautiful blog sites this week, but I had a terrible accident last Sunday night. I fell here in my apartment and fractured ribs. I had to be taken to the ER by ambulance and I am pretty much out of commission. Today is better and hopefully tomorrow will be even better. But, I am missing your stories and your musings.

I will get caught back up eventually, but this is going to be slow healing, especially at 68. I spent my birthday in pain, but still I count my blessings. At least this is a temporary setback and I’ll be good as new within six to eight weeks.

I just felt compelled to tell you that I haven’t forsaken you.

I value you! And I’ll be back! I promise!

For now, I’ve turned off comments as I can’t respond timely, but thank you for your continued support!

How do your value yourself as a writer?

I saw something the other day about how we perceive ourselves in our everyday worlds and it got me thinking about how we see ourselves as writers. How much value do you place on yourself as a writer?

And what does that even mean? It may mean something different to each one of us because we are unique individuals. But, there are some aspects of writing that are the same for all. In this world of self-publishing where anyone can upload a book to Amazon, we have all experienced running across books that are sub-par in every aspect from grammar and punctuation to dialogue and unbelievable characters. What kind of impression does that leave with you about the writer?

I do not want to be known as a writer who produces work riddled with errors. Of course, we make mistakes. We are human. But, to gain credibility in this over-crowded industry, we must strive to make every aspect of our written communication as perfect as possible.

That doesn’t mean just our books. That means our blogs, our tweets, our facebook posts and our emails as well. It all reflects on us as self-claimed professionals.

But, in order to value our writing, we must first value ourselves!

I never thought about my self-image reflecting in my writing, especially with writing fiction. After all, it’s a made-up world with made-up people. But, the part that reflects is the pride we take in our writing. For me it all starts with a clean uncluttered writing space (again, I know we are all different). If my work space is clear, my mind is more at ease and I can get into a creative flow.

Expressing the scene we see in our minds is not always the easiest thing to do. When we start to put it into words, if we don’t choose the best descriptive words possible, the scene starts to get fuzzy around the edges and can fade. I use tools. Next to my computer, I have three reference books I grab often. “Emotional Beats” by Nicholas Rossis (who is a member of RRBC) is a fantastic tool to find a more descriptive way to show an emotion, as is “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. Those gals know how to put it all together as does Nicholas! The third book I reach for is “Strong Verbs Strong Voice” by Ann Everett.

The saying comes to mind about doing things right the first time. Any extra effort is reflected in our work. So, even though it might take a few more minutes to reach for one of these tools, it’s worth it in the end product. And, our work is a product.

Another aspect of valuing ourselves comes from valuing others. I know that may sound strange, but it is true. Don’t compare yourself to other writers because there are always going to be writers better than you. And even if your best friend, who has been only writing since last spring, did get published, you can’t wallow in self-doubt that you’re not good enough. Take this negative comparing energy and move it towards positive creating energy. Your time will come. Get back into your chair and create! Oh, and create some good karma and congratulate your friend with love and sincerity.

When I was accepted as a member into the RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, I knew I had to “up” my game. It is advertised and promoted as the place where the best writers within RRBC reside. And, it has been a great motivator for me. I now proof every email, tweet, FB post and blog post before I hit the publish button. Why? Because I don’t want bad writing to reflect on the organization that so kindly accepted me as a member. AND, I don’t want to be that writer who is criticized for constant grammatical errors. I do value myself as a writer!

If you want others to value you as a writer, it all starts with YOU. Take pride in your work and value what you do. I have read some of the best books in my life written by indie authors! Slowly but surely, we are breaking the misconception that all indie writers are writing slobs. And it all goes back to valuing yourself as an author!

I loved this when I ran across it. Don’t mark your price tag down. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you see yourself as a professional in an industry that is over-saturated with sloppy work. We can continue to change that one great story at a time!

A Heartwarming Texas Love Story with a Bonus: It’s True!

Many thanks to Marcha Fox for this amazing review of ‘Til Death Do Us Part!

Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

jansikes

There is only one thing better than a good love story and that’s a love story that’s true, which is the case with this endearing tale. Clearly, the title alone is a spoiler alert, and while it is definitely a tear-jerker at the end, what leads up to it is an inspiring, heart-warming chronicle of the love and devotion between two very special people.

If you’re a music fan, more specifically a country music fan, you’ll enjoy it even more as it recounts the journey of someone who’d been a star in the past making a comeback and bringing his wife and daughters along for the ride, their talents developing and blossoming as well.

The story is pure Texas, which I particularly enjoyed because I live there as well. So much of the culture of the Lone Star State is captured, including parties were anyone who shows up is welcome…

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A Writing Exercise

When I attend workshops, I always have a notebook with me to jot down things I may not otherwise remember.

So, at a recent conference, I was thumbing through the notebook I had packed and ran across this.

It was part of a writing challenge in some other workshop several years ago. It was called impromptu writing with no theme given. The instructor told us to write about a place we could go in our minds and describe it. I went to the ocean. I thought I’d share. I hope you enjoy!

The warm healing rays of the sun caress and dance across my skin. As far as the eye can see, waves roll and crash, one behind the other, only to recede and begin again.

I stand at the water’s edge and my toes sink deeper into the sand with each repeat. Overhead, seagulls screech as they search for nibbles of muscles, clams and fish. Sprigs of graying green seaweed poke their heads through the bleached sand.

All the muscles in my body relax with each refreshing spray that hits my face. I lick the salt from my lips and join as one with the ebb and flow of the tide. Completely still in constant movement.

That was it. For those of you in the midst of winter, I hope this little trip to the beach brought warmth!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #ShortStory – Jewel by Jan Sikes

A hugs “THANK YOU” to Sally Cronin for featuring “Jewel” on her blog today and thanks to Diana Peach for the awesome review!! I am honored!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to showcase the new book by award winning author Jan Sikes released at the end of June..A short story Jewel.

About Jewel

For almost eighteen years, Jewel has known little beyond hopelessness and hunger. Barely existing in a ramshackle cabin, on the edge of a Louisiana swamp with her little sister and their mother, she sees no way to stop the downward spiral. When her mother falls gravely ill, Jewel learns that her life is about to take a drastic turn. But will it lead to joy or more devastation?

Take a heart-warming journey with Jewel as she struggles to rise from the clutches of poverty and shame.

A recent review for the book

This short story reminded me of the movie “Pretty Woman” though the setting, circumstances, and characters are quite different. Jewel…

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