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Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thursday Recipe - French Toast

This is one of those easy to adapt recipes. Need it gluten-free? Use gluten-free bread. Even the really dry ones work for French toast, they may need a little longer soak time, though. Need it dairy-free? Use a nut milk, rice milk, soy milk, or even orange juice instead. Want it vegan? Um, sorry, you're out of luck. Eggs are essential to this dish.

We also like to spice it up at our house. Try adding a few drop of almond extract or orange extract or even rum flavoring. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or ground cloves for a twist. Play around with some of your favorite flavors. Or try parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme for stuffing flavored french toast. Just leave out the sugar on that one and serve it with gravy and sliced turkey.

Try different breads. White sandwich bread is the standard, but I prefer french bread or even sourdough. Cinnamon raisin bread is also very tasty. Rye bread is kind of weird. Play around. This is a great way to use up all those ends of the loaves and bread that's on the stale side. As long as it isn't growing mold, you're good.

French Toast

For 2 servings-
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk (or other liquid)
1 T. sugar, optional
pinch of salt
desired seasonings
4-6 slices of bread, depending on size
butter or oil for frying

Heat 1-2 t. of butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat.
Beat eggs with milk, sugar, salt, and seasonings until smooth. Dip bread slices one at a time, making sure to coat both sides. Place 2-3 slices in the frying pan. Don't crowd them or they are hard to flip and end up steaming instead of frying. Fry 2-3 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes, until egg coating is browned. Repeat with remaining bread and egg dip.
Serve hot with jam, yogurt, fruit, or syrup.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

This video summarizes what Christmas is for me. May you find peace and joy this season and all year long.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thursday Recipe - German Pancakes

These are sometimes called Dutch Babies, for no reason I can find on the internet. They are related to popovers and cream puffs but a little easier to make. If it poufs up, great. If it falls flat, it's like a cross between an omelet and a pancake. Either way, it tastes great with sliced fruit and yogurt on top.

German Pancake

4 T butter
3 eggs
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. flour
pinch of salt
1 t. sugar, optional

Heat oven to 400° F.
Place butter in a 2 quart casserole dish. Put it in the oven for 5 minutes, until butter melts.
While butter is melting, use your blender to mix the remaining ingredients until smooth.
Pour batter into the hot casserole dish. Bake 15-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Deeper dishes will need a longer cooking time. Flatter, wider dishes will cook faster but may not puff up as much.

Serve hot with sliced fruit, yogurt, pudding, etc on top.

Monday, December 19, 2016

More Kid Crafts - Dreamcatchers

My Cub Scout den made dreamcatchers a couple of weeks ago. We tried several different methods. This is the one that worked the best. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures and didn't save any examples. But they were easy and cheap and the kids had a lot of fun with them.

A lot of sites give instructions on making them with paper plates, but I didn't like the look of those. I found another one that used bracelets that I liked much better. This post has a lot of cool ideas, and was the inspiration for what I eventually did with my scouts.



  • plastic bracelets - the kind with the beaded-bump thingies around the outside are the best but any will do. Cheap ones are just fine for this.
  • pipe cleaners - optional but they help hold the yarn in place
  • yarn or colored string
  • ribbon - optional, but thin ribbon could be used for the inside of the dreamcatcher as well as for tying things on
  • assorted pony beads and other dangly bits like feathers, jingle bells, plastic bear claws or buttons

1- Wrap pipe cleaners in a spiral around the outside of the bracelet if desired.
2- Cut a length of yarn or string about 3 feet long. Tie one end to the bracelet. Wrap the string back and forth across the bracelet to make a spiderweb type design. You can loop it around and tie it if you want the string to stay in place better. Add beads to the string if you want them in the middle of the dreamcatcher. Tie off the yarn when finished.
3- Add beads, feathers, and whatever you want to add to the bottom of the dream catcher with additional lengths of yarn or ribbons.
4- Add a loop at the top to hang the dreamcatcher.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday Recipe - Finnish Sweet Bread aka Pülla

My sister spent two years in Finland. She shared some of the culture and cooking with us when she got back. I love this bread. It is a traditional holiday bread. Not too sweet, nice and chewy, and definitely rich, it really hits the spot when you want something fancy and showy for those holiday get-togethers.

This is the time to pull out your fancy braiding skills. This loaf is traditionally braided and the dough is so soft and easy to work with, go ahead and get all fancy. Try a four-strand braid. Or stack a couple of braids of different sizes on top of each other. Or do a braided wreath.

You really do need cardamom for this recipe. It's pricy, but I found a pinch added to most yeast breads really brings out the flavor of the bread. Plus it makes the bread smell amazing while it is baking. Cardamom also adds a great taste to pumpkin pie filling, blueberry cobbler, and baked apples. It's also great to add to curry seasoning mixes.

Finnish Sweet Bread

2 t. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. milk, warmed to room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cardamom
4 eggs, beaten
8 - 9 c. flour
1/2 c. melted butter

Dissolve yeast in water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs, and 3 c. flour. Beat until smooth, 3-5 minutes. Add 3 c. flour and beat again. Add butter. Beat until dough is glossy.
Stir in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough, 2-3 cups. Cover with a bowl and let rest 15 minutes.
Knead until smooth.
Place in bowl and let rise until double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down. Let rise again, 30 minutes.
Punch down and divide into three pieces. Divide each piece into three equal size pieces. Braid loosely.
Place on greased baking sheet and let rise for 20 minutes.
Brush with additional beaten egg if you want a shiny crust.
Bake at 400° for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. If it comes out sticky, the bread needs a few more minutes.

Cool and serve with plenty of berry jam and butter.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cheap and Easy Crafts for Kids - Cub Scout Musical Instruments

Not the prettiest instruments, but they work!
Rain stick on the left, candy cane sistrum on the right.
I've been doing Bear Cub Scouts for several months now. It's a lot of fun, even if the boys wear me out. I'm a little disappointed that the requirements don't include as many arts-n-crafts projects as they used to, but there are still some in there.

We just finished the World of Sound elective. It was easier than I expected. There are only three requirements - make three different ancient instruments. These are easy enough you could do them with kids, even really young ones. I'm planning on doing this with my grandkids over Christmas when they come visit. The materials were really cheap or even free, so no big expense.

I do suggest if you want to start doing stuff like this, you create a big craft bin. Take a large plastic tub and start collecting things like empty cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, scraps of colored paper, magazines, buttons, feathers, pine cones, beads, markers, glue, scissors, yarn, foil pie pans, etc. All sorts of random stuff comes in so handy for these types of projects and best of all, it's free since you're recycling junk you would have thrown out anyway.

Sistrum - these are ancient Egyptian rattles. You can find a few videos on YouTube about these, including some really creepy ones. Don't go there with the kids.

I wanted something easier to deal with than the suggested way of chopping wire coat hangers and bending them into a Y. I've got arthritis. Chopping thick wire isn't going to happen. I used candy canes and florist's wire and it worked great.


  • candy canes - get the larger size ones, miniature ones won't work for this
  • florist's wire - the thin green wire used to wrap flower stems, craft stores sell it cheap and a single package goes a long way
  • big buttons (the kind with 2 or 4 holes through the middle) or jingle bells or similar items
  • colored tape - masking tape or duct tape both work for this
  • pipe cleaners or yarn for decoration

1- DON'T UNWRAP THE CANDY CANE. Leave it in the plastic to keep everything from getting too sticky.
2- Cut a piece of florist's wire about eight to ten inches long. Wrap one end of it around the longer end of the candy cane near the top where it bends over into a crook.
3- Thread two or three buttons or jingle bells onto the wire. Don't crowd it, you want enough space they can slide back and forth and rattle against each other.
4- Wrap the other end of the wire around the short end of the crook. Pull it tight enough that it looks mostly straight and the buttons can slide easily.
5- Use small pieces of tape to secure the ends of the wires in place.
6- Decorate your sistrum however you want.
7- Play it by shaking it back and forth to make a clacking/rattling/jingling sound depending on what you used. Experiment with different sizes of buttons or different materials for different sounds.

Rain Stick - made in a lot of cultures, these make a gentle rattling sound kind of like rain. The trick here is to make the rice fall slowly enough that it doesn't just slosh from one end to the other. There are a lot of videos about this one, too, some of them just way too much work. This is a simple, easy way that even young kids can handle. My 9yo scouts had no trouble doing this themselves.


  • cardboard tube - toilet paper are too short so use paper towel or wrapping paper tubes
  • paper grocery bag
  • aluminum foil
  • scissors
  • tape - we used duct tape which worked really well
  • rice
  • stuff to decorate the tubes

1- Cut a square out of the grocery bag twice as big as the end of the tube. Fold over the tube, creasing the edges around the bottom of the tube. Tape in place. This needs to be fastened tight enough to seal the end of the tube.
2- Pull out a length of aluminum foil about 2.5 times as long as the tube. If you are using regular foil, cut it in half lengthwise with scissors to make two pieces. I had the heavy-duty stuff so I cut it into thirds lengthwise.
3- Scrunch the foil into a rope, it should be about twice the length of the tube when you finish. It should be too small, though. Keep it about 1/4 the diameter of the tube.
4- Coil the foil into a long spring using your finger or a pencil as a guide. It should be about the length of the tube when you are done. Do this loosely, the rice needs to be able to slide through the foil coil.
5- Slide the foil into the tube. Squeeze it a bit when necessary. You are trying to partially block the tube with it so the rice takes a minute or so to slide through to the bottom of the tube.
6- Add about 1/4 c. of dry rice to the tube.
7- Cut another square of paper from the bag. Seal the other end of the tube the same as you did in step one. Tape securely.
8- Decorate as desired.
9- Tip the tube upside down to hear the "rain" fall to the bottom. A gentle shake may be needed to keep the rice moving.

Mbira or Thumb Piano - these are weird but cool instruments from Africa. There are tons of videos about these, many of them way too complicated for younger kids to master. I wanted something they could do mostly on their own so I got creative. The instructions in the Cub book are still too complicated for most boys and take a while since you're waiting for glue to dry. Making these would take a couple of den meetings and a lot of materials I don't have ready access to. Maybe we'll do these with wood in January for the woodworking badge instead. I used cheap cookie tins from Walmart. They worked great.


  • small metal tins - Altoid tins, cookie tins, whatever you can find cheap, they do need a flat surface, either the lid or a side. I found square tins and they worked really well.
  • heavy-weight bobby pins - don't use the really small cheap ones or plastic ones. You need a  heavier metal pin for this to work.
  • duct tape

1- Cut a few bobby pins in half with heavy wire cutters. I had my son do this for me because arthritis. (Getting old is so much fun!)
2- Bend a piece of bobby pin in the middle to make about a 120° angle - enough so that when one end is flat against the tin the other sticks up about 1/2 inch or so. You can bend these with your fingers.
3- Tape the flat end of the pin on the tin near the edge of the flat surface with the other end pointing in to the middle.
4- To play, tightly hold down the flat end with one thumb. Flick the end sticking up with the other thumb. If the sound buzzes or is flat, try moving the holding thumb up and down on the flat part to get a better sound.

Enjoy playing your new instruments! Maybe next week I'll tackle comb kazoos and rubber band guitars.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thursday Recipe - Piroshky

These are interesting sandwiches. The first time I ever had them, I was teenager in California. I can't remember exactly where we were or why we bought them, I just remember that they were very tasty.

This is a good recipe for them. I think the filling is more of a traditional Russian one. Many cultures have a similar sandwich, the difference is more in the filling than anything else.

These can be baked or fried. Either way, they make a tasty lunch or dinner.


1 c. warm water
3 T. sugar
1 T. dry yeast
1 c. milk
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 t. salt
3 eggs
4 - 4 1/2 c. flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Set aside. Heat milk and butter with salt just until butter melts. Don't get it too hot.
In mixing bowl, beat eggs until fluffy. Stir in milk mixture and yeast mixture. Beat until mixed. Add 3 c. flour and stir well. Add just enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rise for 1 - 2 hours, until doubled.

1 T. butter
1 c. chopped onions
1 lb hamburger
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add onions. Cook until soft. Add meat. Cook until hamburger is browned, stirring often to break up larger chunks. You want it small. Remove from heat.

Add salt, pepper, and eggs. Toss to mix. Set aside to cool.

Roll dough out into a large rectangle. Cut into 4-5 inch squares.

Fill each square with 3-4 T of filling. Fold dough edges together to seal over the filling. Pinch tight. You don't want any of the filling showing. Set aside on floured baking sheet until you have all the piroshkies assembled.

If you have extra dough, make it into rolls or scones. Bake or fry as desired.

Deep fat fryer - Heat oil to 350°. Fry 2-3 minutes per side, until nicely browned and dough is done. Set aside to drain.

Baked - Heat oven to 400°. Bake piroshkies for 12-15 minutes, until dough is browned and done. If you brush them with a beaten egg wash (1 egg, 2 T. water beaten until foamy), they will turn a shiny brown.

Serve warm or cold with plenty of mustard for dipping. Use some gourmet mustards, don't just stick with the yellow stuff.

These make great leftovers so don't be afraid of the quantity.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Gift Ideas

These are the things I'd love to get for Christmas. Best of all, most of them are FREE.

1 - A clean house. One that I don't have to make happen. If my kids were to sweep and mop all the floors, vacuum the rugs, scrub the baseboards, scrub the bathrooms, wipe off the windowsills, clean the dog prints off the windows, dust, you get the idea; then write up a card and wrap that to put under the tree, it would be one of the best presents EVER!

2 - Laundry done and folded and put away. See the above post.

3 - Doing the dishes for me on my night. See #1 again.

4 - A backrub. Or foot massage. Or just lotion rubbed into my feet. I promise I'll even wash them first.

5 - An uninterrupted bubble bath, with chocolates and sparkling cider and candles. Okay, how about just a good book or magazine and a nice long bath?

6 - Dinner cooked for me. Where I don't have to plan out the menu or buy the ingredients or do any other kind of prep for it. It doesn't even have to be gourmet.

I'm seeing a trend here. I'd love to have a break from being mom and housewife. I want someone to pamper me for a change. Most moms would adore that.

Okay, second list. Here are some gifts you can give people who are NOT your mother or wife - 

1 - If your friend writes books or sells crafts or does anything similar, leave them a review. Share a post about it on social media. Help do some promo for them. You don't have to be obnoxious or pushy about it, just a comment or post that "Hey, this is really cool. Check it out." They appreciate it more than you know.

2 - Share a plate of cookies or a loaf of bread or some other holiday goodie with your neighbors or coworkers or even just random strangers in the park. Give them a smile whether they accept or not.

3 - Shovel someone's walk if you live where it snows. Or rake their leaves. Just do something nice for a neighbor. My husband pulls up sticker plants whenever he sees them, no matter what lawn they are growing in. Or pick up trash as you walk your neighborhood. It's a small thing, but helps make the area that much nicer.

4 - Be polite, especially to retail workers. They may be grumpy but that doesn't mean you need to be grumpy, too. Maybe they've been at work for ten hours straight. Maybe their feet are achy and sore. Maybe the last ten people have been rude and impatient and unreasonable. Maybe they are worried about their children or their parents. Whatever the reason, being patient and polite and kind won't cost you anything and you might just lift their spirits.

I could go on, but this post is already getting longer than I thought it would be. We focus so much on gifts and giving this time of year. We get bombarded with messages to buy, BUY, BUY, BUY!!!! But sometimes the absolute best gifts are small, simple, and free. Find a way to serve someone. I love the way it makes me feel so much, I try to do this all year.

And don't forget to make your mom's day - scrub the kitchen until it shines! Wash the windows! Mop a floor! Without her asking. Even if you haven't lived in her house for decades, she'd still appreciate it. Unless you went over in the middle of the night, snuck into the house, and started vacuuming. Then you might get shot or arrested.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday Recipe - James' Parker House Rolls

My husband makes these every Thanksgiving. He uses every cookie sheet in the house. Every surface in the kitchen ends up covered in flour and butter and dirty dishes. It's a huge mess, but he cleans it up and the rolls are delicious. I just stay away while he's cooking so I don't say something stupid.

James' Parker House Rolls

2 T. dry yeast or 2 pkg yeast
2 c. warm water or milk, very warm bathtub temperature
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. salt
1/2 c. shortening
6 c. flour
1/4 c. butter, melted

Dissolve yeast in water. Set aside. It should start to foam after a few minutes. If it doesn't, your yeast may be old or the water is too cold.

In a separate bowl, mix sugar, eggs, and salt. Add flour and yeast mixture. Stir until it forms a soft dough. Mix in shortening. Knead gently until everything is well mixed. Add more flour if needed to keep it from sticking.

Cover with a dish towel. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Roll it out about 1/4 inch thick. Spread melted butter over the top. Cut into circles, fold in half, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for 2 hours, until doubled in size. Brush with more butter if desired.

Pre-heat oven to 400°. Bake 10-15 minutes, just until golden brown. Watch closely! They burn easy.

Serve hot with more butter, honey, jam, or whatever you like on fresh rolls.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Gratitude Journal

It's just after Thanksgiving here in the US. For me, it's a time to gather with family, a time to reflect on my blessings. This year, we are far from most of our family. I will miss them, but I am grateful for all the ways we have to keep in touch. The internet has been a tremendous blessing for us. It's easy to keep in touch, to stay updated with family and friends, even those who move far away.

I've considered keeping a gratitude journal. My friends who have done this say it makes a huge difference in their lives. It's time for me to step up and start.

The idea is simple. Every day, write down a certain number of things you are grateful for that day. It can be small, simple things, such as, "I'm grateful for indoor plumbing" or "I'm grateful the checker at the grocery store was friendly and smiled at me today."

Amazon sells Gratitude Journals, fancy books designed for this purpose. I think I'll just use the little handy notebook I picked up in a three-pack at the dollar store.

So, from now until the end of December, I will write three things each day that I am grateful for. I will take a few minutes to reflect on how truly wonderful my life is. I live in a marvelous world filled with incredible things. It isn't all happiness and sunshine, though. Bad things happen. Life isn't always comfy and happy, but that's part of the beauty of life. Without stretching and squeezing and reaching and pain, we cannot grow. Without sorrow, we will never know joy.

Each day, I will reach out with faith and gratitude. Each day, I will look for God's hand in my life. And I know I will find it. I will fill my heart with thanksgiving. I will find joy in the gift of life. I know this because when I focus on the negative, all the bad things around me, I fill my life with fear and anger. When I focus on being grateful, and some days that comes hard, I find my heart more open, my life more filled with joy and love and peace.

I challenge you to start a gratitude journal. Pick a number, of days and items to list, find a notebook, and start today. Let's work together to make the world a better place by starting with our own hearts and attitudes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book Sale!

This weekend only - all these books are either FREE or NINETY-NINE CENTS! Lots to choose from - mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy. Enjoy!


Donna K. Weaver

Torn Canvas
(audiobook is only $1.99 if you own the Kindle ebook)

**Winner of the prestigious RONE Award for best New Adult fiction**

Modern-day pirates took more than Jori Virtanen's friends; they stole his face. Not only does the 24-year-old former model have to confront months of reconstructive surgery, he discovers his previous life was as superficial as his looks. Jori struggles to make a new life for himself as an artist while evading the press. They expect a hero, but he knows the truth. His beauty masks a beast.

Olivia Howard's given up a normal life for her job, and the sacrifices are finally paying off. The 26-year-old talk-show host's ratings are heading to the top of the charts. Her dream is to make a difference in people's lives, but the studio wants mind fluff-like interviewing hot model Jori Virtanen. When Olivia learns the guy helped rescue passengers on a cruise excursion from kidnappers, she knows this is the story she needs to make her case. The only problem is the hero was injured, and now he's disappeared.

The more Olivia learns about the man behind the scar, the more intrigued she becomes. But Jori is no girl's happily ever after. Once she finds him, Olivia has to free his heart and help heal the beast.

Wendy Knight

Cauldron Bubble

“You’ve just always been the powerful one. I’m the smart aleck.”

“We’re the same. I’m night, you’re day. You have to have both to have life.”

“You can hide in the shadows.”

“And you can shine like the sun. This prophesy is about both of us.”

Destiny doesn't think she's anything special. The daughter of an outcast witch. Her twin, Fate, is her best friend, so that's awesome. They're experts in love potions and selling them to crazy high school kids.

So they can buy more shoes.

But that all changes when their school is attacked by warlocks—warlocks who want her power for their own. The attack launches her onto the path the stars have chosen for Destiny, Fate, and their long-lost father.

Oh, and Quin.

Quin, who's the son of a witch, only tolerating Destiny's presence because she can save his mother. Except along the way, that all changes, and he realizes Destiny is everything he never knew he wanted. The only problem is she thinks if love can be made from a potion, it can't be a real thing.

If they survive this, he's going to prove her wrong.

Laura L Walker

Caitlyn's Christmas Wish

Just when former model and single mother Caitlyn Drevier Reel has finally put her life on track after a divorce and six-month stint in rehab, she is surprised to receive an invitation from her ex-in-laws to spend Christmas with them. After all, she reasons, her ex-husband Grant is constantly on the road with his band and it's only fair to allow them to get to know her young son. What Caitlyn isn't prepared for, however, is the spark of attraction she feels toward Ridge, Grant's older brother, or the sense of belonging to their wonderful family once again. Ridge, who is recovering from his own personal heartache, seems to feel the same way. As they work together to ensure the success of the Winter Festival his parents have organized for their small Wyoming town, Caitlyn begins to envision a bright future. But will Grant's unexpected arrival keep her Christmas wish from coming true?

This inspirational romance is sure to put you in the holiday mood!

Jaleta Clegg

Nexus Point

Stranded on a primitive world, facing death at the hands of the natives, hunted by drug smugglers, wanted by the Patrol, Captain Dace has one hope of escaping: Convince the Patrol agent trying to kill her that she's innocent.



Dark Dancer

Have you ever danced in a fairy ring? Sabrina has, and it opened the door to fairyland. But it's not the place of legend. The Queen is missing and the lords of the Seligh are hoarding the magic, using it to fuel their devices. With the help of a pixie warrior and a renegade elf, Sabrina must restore magic and solve the mystery of the balmorae, flying monsters that plague the Winterlands beyond the barrier.


Julie Coulter Bellon

All Fall Down
  • a romantic suspense from the Hostage Negotiation Team series
  • #1 Amazon Bestseller for Action Adventure/Romance
  • RONE Award Winner for Best Suspense

Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down . . .

That simple rhyme turns negotiator Claire Michaels' current hostage situation into an international incident. Claire just wants to help get everyone out safely, but as the crisis escalates she realizes she's dealing with an al-Qaeda operative who has the means to become another bin Laden---with the potential to attack America. Claire has her own personal reasons for wanting to stop al-Qaeda, but time is slipping away as negotiations break down. Can she overcome her scars of the past in order to get the hostage out alive and possibly stop an assault on U.S. national security?

Navy SEAL Rafe Kelly is on leave to recover from a knee injury he suffered during his tour in Afghanistan and he doesn't expect to be fighting terrorists on his home turf. But when he is taken hostage and his brother is kidnapped, Rafe teams up with a hostage negotiator in order to stay alive and get his brother back. The terrorist is always one step ahead of them, however, and the situation quickly turns from desperate to deadly. Will Rafe be able to save himself and his country without anyone he loves getting caught in the crossfire?

The Captive
  • From award-winning author, Julie Coulter Bellon, comes the first book in her new romantic suspense series, Griffin Force . . .

Former Navy SEAL Jake Williams is the newly appointed head of a task force assigned to rescue a kidnapped American diplomat. Their only hope is Mya Amari, the daughter of a notorious Algerian hostage negotiator, but she is full of secrets and complications-something Jake takes as a personal challenge. As they grow closer, the threat to the mission escalates and time runs out for the hostages. Can Jake unravel the web of deception to save them all without getting caught in the crossfire?

Mya Amari has been in hiding nearly her entire life to escape her father's enemies. But when her sister is kidnapped along with an American diplomat, she'll do anything to bring her home-including walking into the enemy's lair. She doesn't trust anyone, especially the too-handsome-for-his-own-good Commander Williams, but when all her careful plans explode out of control, he's the only one she can turn to with the truth about her family. Is it too little, too late?

Debra Erfert

Changes of the Heart

Buying the 1920s farmhouse south of Phoenix, where the rumors of John Dillinger’s gang hid out in the 30s, is supposed to be accident-prone Grace Evanheart’s way of escaping an old romance. When she finds an ancient diary with a map under the bedroom’s floorboard, the rumors solidify into fact. She doesn’t know who to trust with the news; Micah Stevens, the handsome deputy and the great grandson of the original landowners with whom she’s attracted, or Jerry, the young historian who seems too intent on learning about her new home?

Micah seems convinced their paths cross exactly at the right time and in the right place for them to fall in love. Now he just has to convince Grace of the same thing before suspicions of his real motive have her running again.

Window of Time

CIA courier Lucy James never gets used to seeing innocent people killed, but she copes with it—every day. Cursed with the ability to glimpse into the future when a death is about to happen, she has a short window of time to interfere—risking her life in order to change it. No one knows about her curse, until she saves a handsome Los Angeles firefighter trapped between her and foreign operatives hell-bent on intercepting her current assignment.

LA firefighter Johnny Cartwright’s life changes the moment he meets Lucy. His uncomplicated days flip to dangerously unpredictable after he’s drawn deeper into her secretive world of premonitions. His attraction to Lucy grows as he helps her stop a terroristic plot against the U.S., putting his life between her and certain death. 

Marsha Ward

Gone for a Soldier

·       Book 1: The Owen Family Saga. 2014 Whitney Award Finalist-Historical Fiction

Rulon Owen loves two things more than life—his country and Mary Hilbrands.

When Virginia secedes from the Union, Rulon enlists, and finds himself fighting foes both in battle and in his own camp. He struggles to stay alive against all odds, with a knife-wielding tent-mate and a Union army that seems impossible to defeat. It will take every ounce of vigilance he has to survive and, with a little luck, he might make it home to his wife and the son he's never seen.

Forced to live with her parents for the duration, Mary faces a battle for independence. With a mother whispering that her husband won't come home to her and a son who needs her to be both father and mother, Mary has to dig deep for strength to overcome her overwhelming loneliness and the unknown future ahead.

Separated by war and circumstance, Rulon and Mary discover that not all enemies wear the Union blue.

Rebecca Rode

Numbers Ignite

Treena and Vance think they’ve escaped the numbers game forever. They’re wrong.

After Treena’s disastrous attempt to unite the nation, she has the deaths of hundreds haunting her dreams. Now, with hatred and accusations following her past the border, she’s determined to leave that horrible day behind and find a peaceful, uneventful life with Vance and the settlers. But when she starts seeing mysterious figures hiding in the abandoned cities at night and uncovers a strange desert population, she realizes there’s a danger much greater than NORA to worry about—and she just abandoned her people to their fate.

Vance is a prisoner. Being rejected by the girl he loves and put on trial for betraying his clan are bad enough, but now he’s been framed for a crime he never committed. Their less-than-perfect refuge has become the political game of a madman, and Vance is the only one who can stop it—if he can keep from being executed first.

Treena and Vance are still very much in the game, and this time it will take everything they have to save those they love. 
  • NUMBERS IGNITE is book two of the Numbers Game saga. Readers who enjoy action-packed sci-fi mystery and romance will love this futuristic thriller from a #1 bestselling author.
  • PRAISE FOR THE NUMBERS GAME SAGA: “Offers new things to the world of YA and there is much to look forward to in the next books.” ~In'DTale Magazine
  • “Gripping, from beginning to end . . . a tale as action-packed as Divergent yet as introspective as The Giver. . . . Sure to be an instant classic in the genre.” –R.J. Craddock, author of The Children of Cain series
  • “Best dystopian fiction I have read since Red Queen!” -Sheri, Reader

Tifani Clark

All is Merri and Bright

Merri Wilcox has finally achieved her greatest dream and opened her own hair salon. Life is bliss until Brighton Stansbury walks through her door. Growing up, Brighton was behind every bad thing that happened to Merri. She hasn't seen him since high school graduation and could have happily continued like that forever.

When a winter storm traps Merri and Brighton together, will the pair finally learn to get along, or will the Christmas holiday become their new war zone? 


Losing Independence

Five years ago, Lauren Walker ditched everything—and everyone—she knew and headed for Nashville with her bags packed and violin case in tow, ready to conquer her dreams. With the perfect boyfriend, a great roommate, and a job she’s good at, she believes it’s only a matter of time before her talents as a musician will finally be discovered and appreciated.

But, just as quickly as they begin, all the good things in her life come crashing down.

Out of options and money, Lauren returns to the small town in Utah where she grew up. Living with her parents and working at the same job she had in high school is hard enough on her ego, but seeing the successes of people she once considered good friends is even worse. Especially when one of those friends is her former best friend, Scott McAllister.

Will Lauren completely lose her independence and her mind, or will she find a way to manage rekindled feelings and still conquer her dreams?

Connect with Tifani Clark:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter (@TifaniClark)

Liz Adair

A Kane County Christmas.

Spider Latham’s first Christmas Eve in Kane County is complicated by a fouled-up septic system. Then his foster daughter, Amy, decides to recreate the Bethlehem Star in the sky above his barn. As Spider’s holiday spirit unravels with each snag in his plumbing solution, Amy’s star works a special Christmas magic.


Carolyn Frank

(Book 3 in the Quantum Faith Effect Series)

When the Hallelujah Chorus is banned from his school's Holiday Gala, Josh doesn't want to get involved and fight the injustice like he usually does. But after book-traveling through the life of George Frideric Handel in the Literary Loom, Josh has second thoughts. Those second thoughts grow into a passion as Josh discovers the mystery behind the quirky new kid at Claremont High, and learns the value of remembering Christ as he travels through the New Testament. Everywhere he looks, Christmas seems to be about everything but Christ. He can't change the world but he can at least bring back the Hallelujah Chorus and help people remember what Christmas is all about.

Lucinda Whitney

The Secret Life of Daydreams

He planned for everything except her. She's too busy to follow her dreams. But sometimes the dream you never expected is the one you can't live without.

Six years after a painful divorce, Josh Conrad is happy traveling the world as a photographer. When he arrives in Portugal, he plans to complete the assignment as quickly as possible. What he doesn't plan for is Sofia, the girl he baptized eleven years earlier on an LDS mission, and soon he's making excuses to prolong his trip.

Sofia Monteiro leads a structured life in Braga, Portugal, teaching high school by day and caring for her mother by night. After she reconnects with Josh through mutual friends, the memory of a failed relationship and her new graduate program are enough reasons to stay away from him.

As they collaborate on a project, Josh is wary of repeating his old mistakes and Sofia hesitates to spend time with an American who's only passing through.

Can two people with wounded hearts bring themselves to trust their dreams to each other?

The Secret Life of Daydreams is a standalone full-length novel set in Braga, Portugal. It’s a clean and wholesome contemporary LDS romance in the A Love Story From Portugal series.

One Small Chance

One city of two million people and only three months to find her. What are his chances?

Isabel Antunes is content with her life as director of the British Academy in Lisbon. Then she’s hit by a man on a bike—a man her boss just hired to be her assistant. Despite Simon Ackerley’s repeated assurances to the contrary, Isabel believes he’s after her position, but she won’t hand it over without a fight. As if dealing with him all week is not enough, he shows up at church as well. Her only solace is in writing to the pen pal she knows as “Elliot”.
Simon Ackerley told his father that he was moving to Lisbon for the job. But that isn’t the only reason. Simon is looking for Amélie, the pen pal he’s written for fifteen years. A woman he knows everything about—except her real name and address.

When the biking accident reveals that Simon’s prickly co-worker Isabel is the elusive Amélie, he knows he has to win her trust before he can confess his true identity. If only he could tell her the actual reason why he’s come, he’s sure Isabel would treat him differently. But she’s not ready for the truth.

One Small Chance is a standalone novella set in Lisbon. It’s a clean and wholesome contemporary LDS romance in the A Love Story From Portugal series.

Tristi Pinkston / Amelia C. Adams

Sea of Strangers
by Amelia C. Adams

Jeanette Peterson left behind the man who loves her to go to nursing school in New York, promising to come back in six months and marry him. His love is the only thing that sees her through the trials ahead. When the time comes to make the toughest decision of all, will she choose justice or mercy out of many shades of gray?

Take My Advice
by Tristi Pinkston

What if the answers to life aren’t always black and white?

Jill Reed thinks she knows it all, and as the advice columnist for her high school newspaper, she gets to share her wisdom on a weekly basis. She handles questions about everything from dating to choosing the right nail polish, and with the exception of a few bullies, everyone respects her opinion.

But when life throws her some curves she can't handle, she realizes she knows a whole less than she thought she did, and she'll need to ask others for their advice so she can make it through. 

Lindzee Armstrong

First Love, Second Choice
(audiobook is only $1.99 if you own the Kindle ebook)

What happens when you impersonate your identical twin sister to score a date with your long-lost high school crush? Enjoy this delightfully sweet case of mistaken identity today!



Mistletoe Match

A kiss shouldn’t be this complicated. When animal rights activist Michelle kisses a mystery man underneath the mistletoe at a holiday party, she's horrified to realize he's the new marketing director of the pharmaceutical company she's trying to destroy due to their nasty habit of animal testing. Can one impulsive kiss be the foundation for a happily ever after? Curl up with this delicious holiday romance today!


Terry Deighton

Tweaks: The Beginning

Henry Johnson has a best friend, a crush, a life-long enemy, and no idea his life is a science project.

In sixth-grade, average may mean boring, but at least it also means avoiding freakdom. Henry is all kinds of average—that is before other people’s thoughts start popping into his head. He thinks he’s going crazy until he discovers he’s one of several kids with genetically modified abilities, including the school bully. How did they get tweaked? To unravel the mystery, Henry must face family betrayal, his parent’s abduction by a greedy scientist, and even becoming frenemies with the bully. Can the Tweaks use their new abilities to avoid being used as demo models for the corrupt Dr. Grey’s foreign military buyers? 

Just Say No-el

Kelly Yeager can never seem to say no.

With five children to Christmas shop for, a Sunday School class to teach, and a cub scout den to lead, she has no time to volunteer at the Seattle Crèche Festival. Reluctantly, she agrees to help her friend arrange the nativity displays for one afternoon. Somehow, she ends up working for weeks under Marilynn, a stern woman who organizes the volunteers like an invading army and relegates Kelly to the Children’s Room where she can’t break anything.

Unable to say no, Kelly stays on and on. With each new assignment, she wants to get done and get out of there, but then nativity pieces start to go missing. Before long, Kelly wants, more than anything, to solve the mystery and make sure the festival succeeds, but how will she ever get Christmas ready for her family?

Vicki Hunt Budge

Renewal: Kaylas Story

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
While loving someone deeply gives you courage.
--Lao Tzu

Kayla Morrison, an LDS young single adult, grew up in an unloving, verbally abusive home. It’s no wonder she’s skeptical when charming, successful Chris Christensen brings up love on their first date. Making things worse, her former fiancé shows up later and claims Chris doesn’t love her.

Meanwhile Kayla’s father drops the bomb that he’s not her real father. And then he dies, setting Kayla on an arduous quest to discover who she really is, and if she’s worthy of anyone’s love.

Along the way she establishes new friendships and treasures current friends. But will the drama of her friends and family strengthen her, or will it cause her to withdraw back to her destructive beginnings?

Renewal is the continuing story of love and friendship in the Hope and Healing Series. It is a story of redemption and faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Kate Palmer


A stubborn rancher struggles to save her ranch, but it’s her heart she’s most in danger of losing.

Storm’s ranch is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy after cattle rustlers strike. When her part-time ranch hand dies under suspicious circumstances, she concocts a plan to save her ranch. Now she just needs to convince her reclusive neighbor to be her business partner.

Dak Hunsaker moved home after he lost everything when his wife died from cancer. He has finally saved enough money for a down payment on a house in the city so he can raise his girls in the cultured environment he promised his wife. When Storm proposes a business partnership, he refuses. But when she ends up in the hospital and is on the verge of losing her ranch, Dak steps in to help. And so does Storm’s old cowboy flame, Taggert.

In jeopardy of losing the only place that’s ever felt like home, who can Storm trust with her heart?

Snowed Inn

A woman rancher hitches the community’s dreams to her sleigh ride business and ropes in a heap of trouble for them and her heart.

Jayne Gardner turned her family’s ranch into the successful Snowed Inn Lodge and Restaurant. After she learns the community has one month to earn funds needed for a grant, she donates her company’s sleigh rides for a community fundraiser.

When Jayne’s new volunteer sleigh driver turns out to be Forrest Hunsaker, the man who left her three years ago, Jayne sets up three rules to maintain a professional distance and protect her heart.

When vandals strike Snowed Inn, Jayne must team up with Forrest to prevent a fundraiser fail. Now Jayne must decide if breaking all her rules will break her heart. Again.

Jewel Allen

Ghost Moon Night
also available in audiobook

It was whispered years ago that when a pirate cursed a Philippine village with langbuan, or flying undead, a boy received a secret that would protect him from certain death. But even armed with a secret, can anyone survive the undead for long?

Seventeen-year-old Antonio Pulido has never known a time when the langbuan didn’t roam the streets every Ghost Moon Night, killing anyone in their path. He works hard to protect his family and the girl he loves from the deadly attacks, but he wants them stopped once and for all. Can Antonio uncover the decades-old secret and will it help him defeat the langbuan? Or will Ghost Moon Night come again and take someone he truly cares about? It falls on Antonio to save his village, but time is running out. The next Ghost Moon Night is nearly here and Antonio knows this is his last chance to destroy the undead and end their reign of terror -- or die trying. 

Nonfiction/Political Memoir

When a medical waste company tries to relocate to her county, columnist Jewel Allen never would have guessed it would be the end of one life, and the beginning of another. Wanting to protect her community, she starts a social media campaign against the giant incinerator which not only costs her her writing job, but gives birth to the activist inside. She rallies her neighbors against the company and the State Legislature bent on invading their land.

As the dust settles from that battle, she faces an even greater dilemma: The Speaker of the House and his allies, armed with a million-dollar public relations budget, want to build a new, water-hogging state prison ten minutes from her home. Equipped with only her media know-how, Jewel helps her neighbors wage a creative grassroots campaign to save their town.

In this more-than-a-memoir, Jewel Allen not only tells her David and Goliath stories, but shares effective and invaluable secrets and insights to running and winning a political / grassroots campaign. It answers the questions: What can I do? and How can I do it? A must-read for anyone looking for motivation, upliftment, and guidance.

Miranda D Nelson

Healing Hearts

Joanna Leighton has never desired a husband. She’s seen what love can do to a person and she refuses to subject herself to that pain. She’s satisfied to help her uncle, the physician of Roselund Heights, tend to his patients. When the quiet and secretive Colin Aldridge moves to town her resolve softens, and she begins to wonder if love is perhaps worth the pain it inevitably brings. Joanna’s wounds run deep and when secrets and sorrows arise, she’s tempted to close off her heart forever. Can she trust Mr. Aldridge enough to risk the pain and give him her heart? Or will she decide she's better off spending her life alone?

Charlie Pulsipher

The Crystal Bridge

A novel that spans worlds and genres, breaking rules at every turn. Imagine Lord of the Rings meets Stargate.

Kaden’s Egg, a shell of light only he can see, transports him to dangerous distant worlds, but he’s afraid to use it. It may have saved his life once or twice, but it’s also failed him just as often. Aren’s sight reaches deep into the souls and memories of others, exposing more than she ever wanted to see.

When Aren turns her gift on Kaden, his Egg responds, sending them spiraling across the space between universes to a world where dragons, mythic creatures, and peculiar gods dwell. Separated, lost, and alone, these teens must come to grips with their unique gifts if they ever want to see Earth again.

Back home, a biotechnology company tinkers with the science of reality, hoping to cure death itself, but they will awaken something shadowy and powerful, imprisoned in the void for millennia. This dark being longs to break free and devour everything. Infinite universes would be consumed, and Kaden and Aren must decide if they can save more than themselves.

Can they save us all? 

Jo Noelle


The housing market is crashing, and Sophie’s life is crashing with it. At twenty-four, her successful real estate career evaporates. She’s broke, can’t find a job, or pay her bills. At the urging of her roommate, Sophie accepts a job in her fallback career—teaching six-year-olds. She hopes it’s temporary. After all, how long can a tanking economy last anyway? The best part of the new job is Liam, another employee at Rio Grande Elementary. The worst part of the new job is, well, teaching.

Sophie has a surprise real estate closing from a contract she wrote months ago, leading her to a niche in the real estate market and to a new partner, Kevin. Sophie must choose between Liam or Kevin and between a lucrative career or recess duty. 

This new adult, chick lit novel is a sweet romance filled with humor as Sophie navigates her life as a teacher, trying to balance lesson plans and love in the workplace.

All By My Selfie

While on vacation at McLeod Castle in Scotland, Gwen Mackenzie has nightly dreams of an ancient warrior bound by a curse. During the day, she sees Niall, nicknamed #ScottishBoyfriend. Oh, and can that man rock a kilt! As she gets to know him, she realizes that Niall is the warrior from her dreams, cursed to live as a ghost for the past five hundred years, to see life around him but never see, taste, or feel any of it—except Gwen.

This is a 100 page novella in the clean & wholesome category.

Janette Rallison

Son of War - Daughter of Chao
on sale from November 25 - 30

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents have instructed her from the time she was young to look for people with the signs: greater than normal strength, eyes that sometimes glow green, and the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents' fears as quirks and unfounded paranoia. 

When Aislynn's mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can't stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she's been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, one where Horus and Set still struggle for control and people aren't who or what they seem to be. Danger will find her, whether she's prepared or not. 

This urban fantasy takes you around the world: from Arizona to Oxford, England, with stops on the snowy peaks of the Arctic and the ancient ruins of Egypt.

Monica Millard


Have you ever experienced that one moment that made you stop and take notice of a person you see every day, but never truly saw before? That’s what happened to me the day Eli Markham walked away from the school bully, instead of fighting.

It wasn’t the first time he’s done this, but it was the first time his eyes found mine in the crowd and held me captive. Now, I can’t get him out of my head and I’m seeing him everywhere.

Problem is, I’m not the only one taking notice of him. Someone, something, has got him in its sights and they want him bad. Bad enough to try to frame him for the murder of the bully he walked away from.

As his alibi for that crime and then another, I’ve stumbled into the crosshairs of the monster that’s after him and losing isn’t an option for it.

Valerie Ipson

Ideal High

People say it wasn't an accident, so what really happened that night at Ritter's Crossing when a fire at the abandoned cotton gin killed seven students? Or was it eight? Soon the writing on the bathroom wall means it's up to Taryn Young to hurtle past her grief to figure out just what's going on at Ideal High School in this page-turning mystery that confronts bullying and betrayal.

Stacy Lynn Carroll

Shattered Hearts

Sarah Dunkin’s world shatters when she walks in on her husband’s secret addiction. Thrown into the world of pornography, therapy, and support groups, Sarah must find a way to forgive before she drowns in betrayal and despair. The task before her seems impossible as she struggles to care for their five children on her own. Growing up without religion in her life, Sarah is forced to make difficult choices and finds herself being drawn to a higher power she never understood. But with the help of a mysterious friend, Sarah just might be able to piece back together the life, and the love, she and her husband once shared.

Lisa Swinton

On the Corner of Heartache and Love

Maren's stuck at the intersection of heartache and love, but happily ever after might be just around the corner.

After three years, Maren Summers is elated to finally have her dream wedding to her dream man, Kevin Bryant. In her sights is the promotion to Weddings she’s worked so hard for at the newspaper. Happily ever after is within her grasp… 

Until Kevin jilts her at the altar, elopes with another woman, and becomes her boss. Devastated by the twisted turn of events Maren moves in with her best friend and notices the not-so-homeless guy on the corner, Zane Whitfield. As his heart-wrenching tale unfolds—his vow to wait a year on the corner for his lost love—Maren sees his compassionate human-interest story as her ticket away from Kevin, weddings, and her heartache. 

But as the New Year approaches, is Maren headed for heartache again if Zane's lost love returns or has time changed more than one heart?

Susan Tietjen

Dragon Unchained

Lady Theona McArthur thinks opening The Keeper, a forbidden ancient relic, will help her find the love of her life. At least that’s what her dreams tell her. But instead of being shown where this handsome boy with violet eyes lives, she becomes possessed by evil spirits and is imprisoned for violating the laws of Kildaria.

Then rumors of war bring a foreign prince to seek an alliance with Kildaria, and Theona’s shocked that Prince Gideon Seville is the young man of her dreams, the one with the violet eyes.

When Theona is condemned to death for transgressing the law, those evil spirits—the shades of sorcerers long dead—offer her one reprieve. Just learn to use magic she never knew she had to return them, and their two ferocious dragons, to mortality, and they’ll set her free. She has no choice but to comply, but she fears that if the sorcerers don’t destroy her, the lure of magic could. Her chance friendship with Prince Gideon blossoms into the love of a lifetime, but even together, will they have what it takes to beat the odds against evil sorcerers, magical dragons, war, and death?