Sunday, April 30, 2017

"A Plain Widow" by Diane Craver Book Tour and Giveaway

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: A Plain Widow  

Author: Diane Craver  

Genre: Amish romance  

Release Date: March 10, 2017

Molly Ebersol’s life changes in a few minutes when an arsonist torches their barn. Her husband, Caleb, rushes inside the burning barn to save his horses. Although Amish firefighter, Jonathan Mast, tries to save Caleb, he fails. Suddenly Molly becomes a widow.

A month later, an anonymous person gives money to cover the lumber and food expenses for the barn raising. One late night more money is left for Molly on the porch. The fire investigator wonders if the arsonist feels guilt about Caleb’s death and is responsible for the money gifts.

During the continued investigation, it’s learned that Caleb had secrets he kept from Molly. She is crushed by what Caleb did before meeting her. How could the love of her life kept his English past from her?

Her new neighbor, Jonathan, helps her to make the difficult transition from wife to widow. Although Molly develops feelings for Jonathan, can she ever trust him to be truthful to her? She isn’t sure she can fall in love again. Her trust in relationships is shattered because of Caleb’s past actions.

My Review:

"A Plain Widow" by Diane Craver is a good read!  It is about an Amish family that loses a father and husband in a barn fire.  But who started the fire and why?

"A Plain Widow" by Diane Craver  is a mystery and also a book about forgiveness and a second chance at love.

"A Plain Widow" by Diane Craver is the 2nd book in (The Bishop's Daughters) series, I think this book could be read as a standalone and the reader could enjoy and not feel like you were missing part of the story line but I recommend reading the first book in the series as well because things that happened in the book1 are mentioned briefly in "A Plain Widow"

This book was kinda of sad for me to read because of the death of Caleb. ( no this isn't a spoiler alert, read the description of the book. This book shows how the Amish and the English can be friends and still be true to their own beliefs. 

I hadn't read any of this arthur's books before but now her other books are on my to be read  list.

A Plain Widow" by Diane Craver  is a 5 star read.

I was given a complimentary copy by Celebrate Lit. These opinions are my own. 

About the Author

Diane grew up on a farm outside Findlay, Ohio, and she often acted out characters from her own stories in the backyard. In high school she would read during classes and hide a novel in front of her in a propped up textbook. After Diane graduated from the Ohio State University, she became a schoolteacher and play director.

She met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married three years later. Diane says that it took her that long to convince him she was the one for him! While raising their family in southwestern Ohio, she started writing nonfiction and was published. Later, Diane decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction. They were blessed with five daughters and one son. Two daughters were born with Down syndrome and live at home. Their other children live close by. Diane has four adorable grandchildren. Her favorite vacation is going to the beach with the whole family.

Non-fiction articles of Diane’s have been published in Woman’s World Weekly, The Catholic Telegraph, Virtue, Down Syndrome Today,, and other publications. Several of Diane’s books have been a reviewer’s top pick from Night Owl Reviews as well as receiving 5 star reviews and A Joyful Break (Dreams of Plain Daughters) received the CTRR Reviewer’s Recommend Award from Coffee Time Romance and More.

Diane gives thanks daily to God for all her blessings.

Guest Post from Diane Craver

Back in 2012, when I told our adult children I had written my first Amish book, they looked surprised. In the past I had written contemporary Christian romance, but I had never mentioned anything about researching the Amish faith for my future books. My great-grandfather was a Mennonite minister, but I never knew him. My mother shared stories about his faith and his strictness in raising children. With many similarities between my great-grandfather’s faith and the Amish beliefs, I was drawn to learn more about the Plain life.

Another influence came from my father. While growing up in Findlay, Ohio, my father respected and enjoyed talking with the Amish from Kenton, Ohio. As a farmer, he used both work horses (something he had in common with his Amish acquaintances) and a tractor. In my book, A PLAIN WIDOW, my character, Jonathan Mast, is from Kenton. Unfortunately, my children never knew my father, but they learned how precious he was to me from reading my book, A GIFT FOREVER.

Now several books later, I am still writing Amish fiction. I feel blessed that God directed me on this writing path. A wonderful aspect of writing in this genre is finding Amish recipes to prepare in my kitchen. One of my favorite recipes is also my character Molly’s specialty in my new release. This Amish recipe is an easy bread to make and takes around twenty minutes to prepare.  

Delicious Amish Cinnamon Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)


1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans. (Basically pour 1/4 of the total batter into each pan.)

Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. Or until toothpick tester is clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Blog Stops

April 20: Lighthouse Academy
April 21: A Reader’s Brain
April 22: cherylbbookblog
April 25: Pause for Tales
April 25: Bigreadersite 
April 29: Just Commonly
April 30: A Greater Yes 


To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away:
GRAND PRIZE: Diane is giving away a set of the Dream of Plain Daughters Series (4 book series) and a $20 Amazon gift card. If the winner is outside of the US, ebooks will be substituted.
RUNNER-UP: A copy of AMISH BABY SNATCHED, the first book in The Bishop’s Daughters Series and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

"A Spring of Weddings": byToni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell Booktour and GiveAway

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: A Spring of Weddings: A Contemporary Spring Weddings Collection  

Authors: Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell,
Genre: Contemporary, Romance  

Release Date: March 30, 2017  

A Proxy Wedding

Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all, so when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.

Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he must take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree fa├žade, his emotions become involved.

Will love become real at A Proxy Wedding?  

Hope Beyond Savannah

Lily Allman and Nikotemo (Nik) Lagatuo were the poster children for the term “opposites attract.” He was an evangelist and CEO for a non-profit from Samoa who grew up in a large loving family. She was a blond bombshell with a funky style and no family to call her own. Two of the most unlikely people meet in the most unlikely of places, but God had a plan when He brought them together. They never let their differences deter them from the love they had for each other, but when Nik’s mother comes to the States for the wedding, the idea of wedded bliss is shaken. Can prejudices be over looked, insecurities overcome, and hope for a better future be restored so that these two can have all that was promised?

My Review:
These two stories are really nice and sweet stories. Obviously these stories are about weddings but they are as different as night and day.

In "A Proxy WeddingCarly James and Damien Nichols are complete strangers and completely opposites, and are asked to be stand-ins for their best friends at a proxy weddings.

While reading "A Proxy Wedding" I thought what a cute story and then I thought I am going to look on google and see if there is such a thing as a proxy wedding and THERE IS, BUT OF COURSE IT IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN THE STORY, it is actually done on online. See, reading helps us learn new things!

In "Hope Beyond Savannah"the mother of the groom isn't really fond of the bride to be.  Can Lilly change her mother-in -law to be mind or will she call off the wedding because she won't come between mother and son.

This story is really a story about what love is and what love does!

I am giving "A Spring of Weddings" by Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell five stars!

I was given a complimentary copy by Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.  

Melissa Wardwell was born and raised in a small mid-Michigan community living there still with her Husband and three children. She enjoys taking pictures, reading, and leisurely rides with her husband on their motorcycle. All her stories revolve around women who are mothers. Single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own.

Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

Guest posts from Toni & Melissa

A Proxy Wedding
By Toni Shiloh

Spring is here! I love it because I always think of new beginnings as the flowers bud and then bloom. The trials and tribulation of the winter season are no longer on my mind. My hope that the winter season would not linger begins to become visible as new life takes shape on the bare trees. The seeds I planted in faith of God’s faithfulness sprout up in hope and promise.

When I sat down to write A Proxy Wedding, I had to imagine spring time, because the dreary, overcast skies outside my window were a constant reminder that I was in a season of sickness. One person would get sick, then the next, and the next. By the time the last person got sick, the round would start over. Visits to the doctor were made. Miserable kids were constantly whining in their discomfort.

It. Was. Rough.

It made perfect sense for me to throw my characters into a new situation. One that would make the stretch, take them out their comfort zone, and search for God’s goodness. I wanted to give them a hint of goodness and throw in a trial or two so they could make the decision that sometimes, risk is worth it. Just as we all react differently to new situations, so did my characters.

Carly was intent on making lemonade from her lemons. She tries to get the handsome broker, Damien, to see the importance of smelling roses and lingering over new adventures. Of course, Damien wasn’t partial to the frivolity. He’s so intent on becoming a success that he had no time to slow down.

In order for them to see God’s handiwork in their lives, I had to remind them that they were not products of their past. That in God, they’re a new creation with new opportunities available to them.

I hope you enjoy A Proxy Wedding. May you think of the Father’s love as you take time to stop and smell the roses.  

Hope Beyond Savannah
By Melissa Wardwell

I hope you enjoy this story of love, acceptance and new beginnings. It was a joy to write because there is much more to it than the hope of marriage. It is about the blending of two families who are from two completely different cultures. Researching the island traditions, beliefs, and customs was not only fun, but enlightening. Being able to return to my background in bridal as well as the most beautiful city in the United States was just an added bonus.

With Nik and his family being from another country, I gave you a glossary of words and phrases used so you knew what was being said. I found the language to be rather beautiful and to not include it would take away from who these people are. I also give a small explanation as to what Rock-a- billy is. Lily is a funky chick who dresses in a fun and exciting way. When I saw this couple in my head, I knew it would be quite the uncommon match. As you will soon see, they fit together quite nicely.

My point in using a bi-racial couple for this story was based on what we have been seeing in the news lately. It is unlike anything I have ever done but after talking to friends in similar relationships, I knew I had to step out on this limb. I think it is time we begin to look at people through the eyes of God and not man, then we would see how beautiful we all are. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Blog Stops

April 25: Lighthouse Academy
April 28: Mary Hake
April 29: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
May 1: Quiet Quilter
May 4: A Greater Yes
May 5: Carpe Diem
May 7: God is Love
May 8: Autism mom


To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Witch" by Denise Weimer Book Tour and GiveAway

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Witch  

Author: Denise Weimer  

Genre: Modern romantic light suspense with a historical back story  

Release Date: April 1, 2017

The Restoration Trilogy: When Jennifer Rushmore accepts a brooding bachelor’s job offer to act as coordinator for the restoration of his family’s historic doctor’s house (WHITE), apothecary (WIDOW) and log cabin (WITCH) in a rural Georgia community, little does she know it’s her own heart that will undergo the greatest renovation. Three stories. Three centuries. Three lessons on the healing of the heart. And one buried mystery that threatens their redemption.

WITCH, Book Three: Having restored Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael’s been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary " her to rely on the faithfulness of his love?

My Review: 
When I first saw the title "Witch"  I was a little skeptical but I am glad to say the title is not what the book is about. The book is about healing and forgiveness and learning to trust God. I am going to include this quote from the book about pride because when I read it, it gave me something to ponder because I never thought of pride like this "Stella says either thinking we're too damaged for God to fix or so special He should have kept us from ever being hurt are just two different forms of pride."

I really recommend you read all three books of the "The Restoration Trilogy" in order to get the full story.  "Witch" is the third in the trilogy and I feel like if I hadn't read the other two first and in order I wouldn't have gotten the full picture.  This trilogy has history ( based on actual history but some of the story is fiction).  Some of the story describes house restoration which doesn't interest me at all but I wasn't bored at all while reading this trilogy.

I liked "Witch" the best of the three because it brought to an end the suspense and the restoration of the house and healing for the two main characters in all three novels, which is Micheal and Jennifer. The three books have the same characters except the characters in the diaries that are part of the story.
In "Witch" other characters experiences healing also.

"The Restoration Trilogy"is also a romance.

"The Restoration Trilogy" is about restoration of a historical house and town but also about the restoration of the character's lives.

This story has me thinking about issues in my own life and really has me rethinking a few deep rooted thoughts. But isn't that what a good book does rather it be fiction or nonfiction?

"Witch" by Denise Weimer is getting five stars from me.

I was given a complimentary copy by the author and Celebrate Lit.  The opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

DENISE WEIMER holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. A former magazine writer, she is the author of romantic novella REDEEMING GRACE, The Georgia Gold Series (SAUTEE SHADOWS, THE GRAY DIVIDE, THE CRIMSON BLOOM, and BRIGHT AS GOLD – winner of the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for outstanding Southern literature) and The Restoration Trilogy (WHITE, WIDOW and WITCH). Denise is a wife and swim mom of two daughters who always pauses for old houses, coffee and chocolate!

Guest post from Denise Weimer

The first thing I want to tell you about Witch is … it’s not scary! Hang with me, and I’ll share more about the title.

The Restoration Trilogy mixes a unique tonic … the budding of a romance and friendships in a humorous, small-town community, a splash of suspense, and spiritual and emotional healing. Check out the summaries above.

The restoration my parents did on a real life doctor’s house and apothecary shop inspired this series. As I watched them work and learn about the historical line of doctors associated with their property, I realized how much a physical restoration project can mirror the spiritual work God wants to do in each of us. And that’s exactly what happens with Michael and Jennifer, who both conceal areas of brokenness from their pasts. As they come together to restore his family buildings, the stories they uncover about his ancestors reveal truths they need to apply in their own lives:

  • Family connection from the 1920s story of Georgia Pearl as they restore the house (White)
  • Forgiveness from the 1860s story of Charlotte as they restore the apothecary (Widow)
  • Faithfulness from the 1780s story of Verity as they restore the log cabin (Witch)

The title of each novel – and the cover – reflects that struggle of the historical heroine. Eventually each, as well as Michael and Jennifer, learn that only God, the Master Renovator and the Great Physician, can heal their broken places.

So here’s your prescription, should you choose to accept it by entering into this grand prize giveaway!

Grand Prize Gift Basket From Durham Apothecary & Museum: Take from a homemade tea pocket one of the selection of special teas. While brewing thy favorite tea, dispense liberally from the tea cookie tin onto a china plate. Prop up thy feet and commence thy reading journey through a print copy of White, Widow AND Witch! After a goodly time of rest and reflection, take up thy quill (ahem, I mean set of decorative pens) and record pearls of wisdom in thy new journal. When they husband and children begin to grumble, rise with fresh vigor to prepare a meal from Farmer’s Almanac Colonial Cookbook.

Second place prize: an e-book copy of Witch (or any other one book of The Restoration Trilogy)

Blog Stops

April 21: A Greater Yes
April 26: Artistic Nobody
April 27: Book Love
April 28: Pause for Tales
April 29: Bigreadersite


To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away:

A Grand Prize Gift Basket From Durham Apothecary & Museum: Take from a homemade tea pocket one of the selection of special teas. While brewing thy favorite tea, dispense liberally from the tea cookie tin onto a china plate. Prop up thy feet and commence thy reading journey through a print copy of White, Widow AND Witch! After a goodly time of rest and reflection, take up thy quill (ahem, I mean set of decorative pens) and record pearls of wisdom in thy new journal. When thy husband and children begin to grumble, rise with fresh vigor to prepare a meal from Farmer’s Almanac Colonial Cookbook.

Second place prize: an e-book copy of Witch (or any other one book of The Restoration Trilogy)

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"Surrendered" by Elaine Manders Book Tour and GiveAway

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

 Book: Surrendered  
Author: Elaine Manders  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release Date: December 28, 2016  

The fight never ends until someone surrenders.

Having vanquished his political enemies, Rhyan Cason is anxious to get home to his beloved Carianne. Then he receives word an anthrax outbreak threatens his ranch. Even as he ponders how he can afford to take a wife, dark secrets from the distant past shake his beliefs to the core and convince him he’ll never be able to find forgiveness or make Carianne happy.

Carianne Barlow is stunned when Rhyan breaks their secret engagement. She leaves Sollano, the beautiful ranch house she loves almost as much as its owner, and returns home to Westerfield. While waiting for her shattered heart to heal, she shifts her attention to building the library she’s promised the town.

Even though Colt Holliman offers her a new courtship, circumstances keep drawing her back to Sollano and Rhyan. Torn between her affection for Colt and her love for Rhyan, Carianne realizes almost too late Rhyan’s troubles lie deeper than saving the ranch. He fights an evil that threatens more than his love for her—one only God can defeat.

My Review:
I loved reading "Surrendered" by Elaine Manders, but yes I have to say, it I am glad I read "Pursued" first. No, you don't have to read "Pursued" to enjoy "Surrendered  " but it does give a little more history on what is really going on and what happened before.

"Surrendered" starts where "Pursued" leaves off.   "Surrendered" is a novel filled with twists and turns and this reader was kept reading because I just had to see if Carianne  fulfilled her dream of building a culture center.  Oh and yes I had to see if she ended up with Rhyan Cason or Colt Holliman.

There is also mystery in between the pages of both "Pursued" and "Surrendered".

These books show that just because something is rumored and yes even posted in the society pages, doesn't mean it is true.

These books shows that to be completely happy you have to be completely Surrendered to God.

Of course, there is the obvious matchmaking in this book, and I say obvious because even the characters that are being set up know it.

I really love the ending and the "Miracles" that happen in these books.  I know there are some readers that are going to say "of course there are miracles in the book because Christian books are supposed to have miracles in them, but I believe miracles happen in "real life" also."

My heart was hurting for both  Carianne Barlow and Rhyan Cason in several scenes in "Surrendered".

I really hope there is a third book in the "Intrigue under Western Skies" series.

I recommend these books to readers that like Christian Historical Romance, and Westerns, though they are more romance stories.  I believe that even readers that don't normally like Christian romances would like these because of the mystery.

God is very much part of this story but the story isn't preachy but like Rhyan discovers how can you look into the heavens and not believe in the Creator.

I am giving "Surrendered" by Elaine Manders five stars.

I was given a complimentary copy by Celebrate Lit and the author. These opinions are my own.

About the Author

Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters who aren’t afraid to show their love for God and each other. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.

Guest Post from Elaine Manders

I was born with the gift of story. The make-believe of childhood never left me, but it wasn’t until my daughter left for college, and I was left with the empty nest, that I decided maybe it was time to start writing the stories crowding my mind. I joined a local writers’ group, took a fiction writing course, developed the craft, went to conventions, and started pitching to editors.

Since I wrote romance, I found the publishing industry pushing me to a place I didn’t want to go. The secular publishers wanted steamier writing, and I complied as much as I could. Then when I was offered a chance for publication, I couldn’t allow my name to go on the book. The Christian publishers had a very narrow marketing concept. Again, I tried to comply until I felt the joy of story being squeezed out of me. I took a twelve year hiatus from writing.

Then in 2012, I was sitting in church listening to the familiar parable of the talents. When my pastor asked the question, “Are you hiding your talent?” I immediately visualized that closet filled with my unpublished manuscripts. I rededicated myself to putting my talent to use, and I asked God to send me a new story, if this was what he wanted me to do.

Later that week, I was on the golf course when I laid down on a little hill waiting for my husband to chase a ball in the woods and stared into the deepest, bluest sky I’ve ever seen. The sun was high in the sky, but the shade of blue was so dark I could actually see, not only the moon, but some of the stars. Looking into that sky, I experienced a strange sensation, as if I’d lost contact with the earth and was moving into infinity. I wondered, as I had many times before, how an atheist could look into the heavens and not believe in the Creator. This led me to an investigation of scientific atheism, Darwinism, and the entire series, Intrigue under Western Skies, was born. My protagonist is a Darwinist of the 1880s. Book 1, Pursued, is his spiritual journey to belief in Christianity, and Book 2, Surrendered, takes him to acceptance. The heroine, of course, helps him on this journey, while dodging all the dangers the old west has to offer. Incidentally, Pursued will be free on Amazon Apr 18-19.

Blog Stops

April 11: 100 pages per hour
April 11: Karen Sue Hadley
April 14: Bigreadersite 
April 17: cherylbbookblog
April 17: Baker Kella
April 18: I Hope You Dance
April 21: Pause for Tales


To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Waiting for Butterflies" by Karen Sargent

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Walrus Publishing
Publication date: April 4, 2017
Number of pages: 296

A mother's love never ends--not even when her life does.

Longing for her family after her sudden death, Maggie becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family's downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing.

Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she is responsible for her mother's death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence.

Although limited by their grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and salvage her family before her second chance runs out.

A tender portrait of a mother whose love reaches beyond possible, WAITING FOR BUTTERFLIES will embrace your heart and not let go.
                                                         GOODREADS | AMAZON

Karen Sargent creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. A romantic element is woven within each story. In addition to writing inspirational novels, she blogs at The MOM Journey, where moms aren't perfect and that's perfectly okay. Her writing has also been featured in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine. When she's not writing, Karen teaches high school and college English and resides in the beautiful Arcadia Valley with her husband and two daughters.

Interview via the Publisher

1. What is your inspiration for writing the story of a family healing from the loss of their mother?
We received the dreaded midnight phone call that my mother-in-law had passed unexpectedly and too young at 61. A friend came right away to babysit our daughters, so my husband and I could stay with his dad. We returned home the next afternoon surprised to hear our five-month-old had slept through the night for the very first time, which she continued to do for the next week. While lying in bed on the eighth night, I whispered to my husband, “Ever since your mom died, the baby has slept through.” Moments later he softly said, “Mom, if you’re here, you can go.” That night, and for months after, the baby woke up. I’m still not sure what I believe about those eight nights, but a question began to stir my imagination: “What if a mother is taken from her family before she is ready to go?” The answer became Waiting for Butterflies.

2. What is your favorite part of the novel?
 THE END. Those are the two most glorious words I have ever written! Actually, the end is one of my favorite parts because surprises occur that even I didn’t expect.  My other favorite part is when Maggie is entering Heaven. I enjoyed imagining what that experience might be like for her.

3. Your complex characters are the beating heart of your novel, but which of them was the hardest for you to write? Why?
Maggie was challenging to write, not as a mother but as a spirit. I had to define her as a spirit by determining the rules that governed her existence and by justifying her abilities and limitations. Then I had to be consistent with those rules throughout the story. Sometimes I’d have an idea that Maggie should do something, but then I’d have to change the idea because it was outside the boundaries I had already established for her.

4. You also run the blog, The MOM Journey. How is writing a novel different from writing a blog post?
Writing for a blog is much harder than writing a novel. When I write a novel, I create characters and conflicts in a fictional world. And while my story may expose parts of who I am, it’s not as revealing as a blog post. In order to build relationships with my blog followers, I have to allow for some vulnerability, so my writing will be authentic and my readers will connect. And I blog about the real world not a make-believe one where I can manipulate circumstances to fit my story. I have to reflect and analyze in an entirely different way to write posts that are (hopefully) meaningful and insightful for The MOM Journey.

5. This is your debut novel, but you’ve been teaching writing and literature for 23 years. How does your teaching experience influence your writing?
I become an English teacher because I loved to read and write. But once I stepped into my own classroom, I discovered my reading time was dominated by the literature I taught and the essays I graded, and my writing was limited to lesson plans. Then two baby girls entered the story, so I tucked away my writing dream. And that was okay because I loved teaching my students and raising my daughters. But my writing dream wiggled every now and then to remind me it was still there. Now I realize my career and motherhood didn’t put my writing on hold. They both prepared me to write Waiting for Butterflies. Teaching my students great literature made me a storyteller. Teaching my students to write made me a better writer. And being a mom, loving my family, gave me          something meaningful to say.

6. How has writing this book, about the grief of a broken family, changed your relationship with your family?
Waiting for Butterflies speaks to two of my greatest fears as a mom: losing a child and dying before my children are grown. Writing this story allowed me to confront those fears on some level. Also, Rachel’s struggle reminds me to listen to my daughters, even when they don’t express their needs out loud. And I appreciate how my husband finds new ways to connect with our girls as they mature into young women because he values that closeness. And I certainly want to hug my family a little tighter when we’re all together, to keep us close, to keep us whole.

7. Obviously, butterflies are an important symbol in Waiting for Butterflies. What made you choose to weave butterflies into your story?
The butterfly symbol was actually one of those pleasant surprises that happened during the writing process. The original title for the book was Her Children Shall Rise Up from Proverbs 31:28.  But one day while in a bookstore, I saw a journal with this quote: If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. The quote instantly illuminated the theme of the story for me and butterflies became a unifying thread I wove throughout. The story would be missing a layer of meaning without the butterflies.

8. What do you ultimately want readers to take away from reading Waiting for Butterflies?
 The characters in the book, Sam and Rachel especially, fight silent battles with guilt, and that guilt becomes a dividing factor in their family. But once they let go of it, they find forgiveness and redemption and their family is whole. Too often we hold on to past mistakes, our shame, because letting go seems impossible. But we have to      let go and seek forgiveness in order to heal and move on. Maggie’s family exemplifies that.

9. Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my website at To connect with me personally, I invite readers to check out The MOM Journey at I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

​The Story Behind the Book Cover

​We all know the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But isn’t that exactly what we do? Long before I signed with my publisher, I had a vision for my book cover. I also had a former student, Kinsley, who is a graphic artist. So with my contract in hand and pen poised to sign, I asked my publisher if Kinsley could submit a book cover for consideration. The publisher reminded me an in-house designer would be assigned to my book, but then they surprised me and agreed to “consider” an outside submission.
After I shared my vision with Kinsley, I discovered graphic design is an art—not magic—that required content. I needed a little blonde girl to model, a professional photoshoot, and a budget. I didn’t know a little girl who was the right age with the right color hair with the right “look,” and my book budget was already in the red. So I convinced myself the publisher’s cover design would be fine. Fine.
But disappointment cast a shadow over me for weeks as I continued to dream about my vision. Finally told myself, “Get over it.” That same night as I crawled into bed, a name popped into my thoughts. Briar. I hadn’t seen Briar since she was a baby. I calculated. She would be about four. Was her hair blonde like her big sister’s was when she was little? Did she have curls?
The next morning I texted Briar’s mom, Ashley, who is also a former student and who now teaches in the same school district as me: “I have a strange question. Is Briar’s hair blonde and curly?” Ashley texted back a picture. Perfect! I explained what I needed and that I’d pay for the photoshoot as well as for a little white dress for Briar to wear. Ashley texted back: “No need to pay. We have family pictures scheduled for tomorrow with Heidi.”
Tomorrow! With Heidi, the same photographer I had planned to hire! I immediately contacted Heidi to describe my vision. She turned my excitement into her own and said, “I know exactly what you want.”
But she didn’t. The next afternoon when Heidi sent me the photo, it wasn’t what I had envisioned at all. It was 100 times better! I had wanted a little girl standing in a field with butterflies swarming toward her. Instead, Heidi snapped this sweet picture of Briar and then placed a butterfly graphic in her hands. Although she had taken several shots, this is the only one she sent me because she knew—and so did I—this was the one!
And as soon as Kinsley saw it, she knew it, too. She put her amazing talent to work and created the final masterpiece. I loved the cover so much…we all loved the cover…but would the publisher?
On the day the publishing team met to accept or reject our design, I checked my email every three minutes. Finally the email arrived. I held my breath as I clicked it open and read the final decision: “This cover captures the very essence of the story.”
I’m sure a cover by the in-house designer would have been fine…even fabulous. But this, this is a “work of heart” because so many people are a part of it—former students, colleagues, friends. I hope potential readers judge my book by its cover!

1. This story was inspired by the death of my mother-in-law, who died suddenly and too soon at 61. I wondered, “What if a mother is taken from her family before she is ready to go?” The answer became Waiting for Butterflies.

2. My protagonist is a “lingering spirit,” which some Christian readers might question. After all, we go to Heaven when we die. But…what if God decided to allow a person (like Maggie) to return for some reason? Does the Bible clearly state that is not possible…if God wanted to allow it? I couldn’t find a clear answer, which left just enough wiggle room for my imagination to play.

3. It took me 11 years to decide to write Waiting for Butterflies. When I finally started, writing was easy because I had been imagining the story for so long, and it was fun to finally meet the characters who had been living in my head.

4. The original title of the book was Her Children Shall Rise Up, in reference to Proverbs 31. Then I saw a quote on a journal in a bookstore that inspired the new title. Waiting for Butterflies adds a layer of symbolism and meaning, and without it, the story would not have been the same.

5. I enjoyed naming the minor characters because I borrowed a first name or a last name from people I know. However, the characters have their own identities and personalities. I can’t wait to see if my friends, family, or former students recognize my “shout out” to them!

6. Some of the best twists in the story weren’t planned. I would be busy with something other than writing, and then an idea would suddenly pop into my head. It was always such a surprise!

7. Although it’s not the usual practice, my publisher agreed to let me submit a cover for consideration. I shared my vision with a photographer friend of mine, which inspired her even-better vision. She snapped the photo of the adorable cover model, who is the daughter of a former student. Then I sent the photo to another former student who worked her graphic art magic. I call my cover “a work of heart.” (By the way, the publisher loved it!)

8. My husband hasn’t read my book and probably never will since it’s women’s fiction, unless an ESPN sportscaster recommends it on TV. However, nobody is more proud of my book than he is.

9. People often ask if the characters in my book are similar to my family. In some ways, yes. In many ways, no. Maggie’s fear of losing a child—or being taken from her family while they still need her—are my deepest fears. Sam’s occupation and the sense of responsibility he feels to protect his family are similar to my husband’s. Rachel is an eclectic mix of my daughters—Randi’s creativity, Kelli’s perfectionism—colored by my experience with teens in crisis that I’ve encountered throughout 23 years of teaching high school students. Otherwise, the characters have their own identities, virtues, and flaws.

10. I thought I’d feel like an author once I held Waiting for Butterflies in my hand. But it doesn’t feel like my book. It just feels like I’m holding a book—someone else’s book. (I still can’t believe it.)

I really loved "Waiting for Butterflies" by Karen Sargent.  It shows that love between a mother and her children never dies even if the mother dies.

This book was hard for me to read, only because I recently lost two family members right before reading it, I think the subject is a hard topic to read about anyway but with saying all that I want to say I am glad I read it. I am sure this story will be with me for a long time. I encourage every mother and father and daughter and son to read "Waiting for Butterflies" by Karen Sargent, so I guess that means I encourage everyone to read it.

This book deals with love and regrets and forgiveness.  

Maggie and her family members all struggled with guilt after Maggie's death in a car crash. On a side note, this story is also a reminder don't use cell phones while driving. 

I really felt the most sympathy toward Rachel, the teenage daughter, because of her guilt, or   what she thought was her guilt, turned toward the wrong crowd and started hurting herself to ease the pain. 

Olivia, the 5 year old, is the only one that can see and hear Maggie and try to help the other members understand that Maggie is still with them.

There is also a little danger in a couple of scenes because Sam, Maggie's husband and the girls father, is a police officer.
All that is left for me to say is Read This Wonderful Book for yourself and I bet you will  also be saying like me, I'm glad I read "Waiting for Butterflies" by Karen Sargent.

I'm giving "Waiting for Butterflies" by Karen Sargent five stars, I would give it more if I could.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Singing Librarian Books .The opinions expressed are my own. 

There was a Give Away with this review but since I had a real tragic in my family I am late reviewing this book and I do apologize to the author and Singinglibrarianbooks and you my blog readers. But I had no control over the fire and the loss of two family members.