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DOG BONE SOUP: Remembering Thanksgiving 1963

JFK by Norman RockwellNovember 1963

It was a time in history when most American families held high hopes for their future and looked forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  A few days before the holiday, an unforeseen tragedy struck the nation—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd. Although families from all walks of life were in mourning, most held that year’s Thanksgiving holiday in their hearts as they enjoyed a bountiful feast together and prayed for the healing of a stunned nation. Others were not so fortunate—the ones who did not know where their next meal was coming from. They were the poor, the indigent, the invisible people. They were praying, and they were hungry.

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is a story about those invisible people.

DOG BONE SOUP (An excerpt from Chapter 22)

DOG BONE SOUP collage #1“BOYS, GET IN HERE. Hurry up!”

We set the groceries on the table and ran in to see what Mum was so worked up about.

“President Kennedy’s body’s back in Washington. Look, they’re switching from the Washington to that Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. The world’s at a standstill and no wonder. I can’t believe that someone’s gone and killed the President…Sit down. Watch.”

“What’s for dinner?” I asked when I handed her the change.

“Good. We have more than a dollar left for the week.”

“What about dinner, Mum?”

“I’ll fix us some supper, later. We had plenty of hotcakes to tide us over this morning,” Mum sat there, captivated by the news.

Coverage went on all day and long into the night. Willie and I went out to cut and split fire wood for the week. Then we grabbed our fishing poles and ran down to the brook. I figured if we caught something, we could have a nice fry for supper, even if I had to fix it myself.

Willie peeled and cut potatoes while I figured out how to mix flour and cornmeal and get the fish going. I set the fish on the stove to keep warm while I fried up the potatoes.

We never did get Mum away from the darned TV.

I wondered if it was like that for other families that night. I wasn’t up to watching TV non-stop. I’d pop in every now and then to keep track of what was happening though. I kept thinking about President Lincoln. Far as I could see nothing good came from fighting, killing and wars. Why couldn’t people just treat everyone the way they wanted to be treated.

I got the washtub heated up before bed. The girls got their baths first, like always. Then Willie and I took turns. There’d be no hair cuttin’ this Saturday. There was only one good thing about this day—Dad didn’t show up. I didn’t want to think about that shotgun, but I couldn’t shake that Saturday out of my head.


By the time I got up Sunday morning, the news was already runnin’ non-stop. President Kennedy had big dreams for America. He hoped we would land on the moon; wanted Americans to be healthy; wanted Negros and poor folks to have rights like everybody else and he wanted to make peace with people in other countries. I wondered what would happen to those dreams now that he was gone.

Mum had the volume turned way up, but she wasn’t watchin’. She had the wood stove blazin’, fresh biscuits warming on the stove top and scrambled eggs cookin’ on the griddle.

“I’ve been praying for the President’s family,” she looked up and whispered. “Call the kids and sit yourself down. Thanks for fixin’ supper last night, Shawn. I’ve been walking around in a fog with all that’s been going on. I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to kill the President.”

After breakfast, Willie and I ran out to milk the cows.

“Now you boys, bundle up real good. It’s mighty cold out there.”

Two heifers started mooing real low the second they spotted us. The wind was blowing so darned hard, the pails were swingin’ all on their own, even with the weight of milk jars in them. By the time we got back to the house the sky was spittin’ out snowflakes big as quarters.

“Let’s fix us a cup a hot coffee, Willie.”

“Mum’ll have a fit if she finds me drinking coffee.”

I threw in a few small chunks of kindling and set the coffee pot on top of the stove.

“You might like it. I mix it up with lots of milk. We’ll fix Mum a cup, too.”

“Boys, get in here quick,” Mum hollered. “Some night club owner named Jack Ruby just shot and killed that Oswald guy who shot President Kennedy!”

Bad news just kept coming. Cameras jumped from Washington to Dallas and back again every few minutes. We watched the casket being carried from the White House to the Capital’s Rotunda. In between, they showed pictures of the President’s family before all this terrible stuff happened. Caroline and John-John were just little kids and the family looked real happy doing things together.

Then, reporters started talking to the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I poured up coffee and went in to watch the mess. My head pounded. I closed my eyes and tried to figure out how I was gonna get out of school next week. I had to talk to that recruiter.

Just as I downed the last of my coffee, I heard a knock at the door. “Please don’t be Dad,” I prayed.

I lifted the latch, opened the door and there stood two snow crusted ladies that I recognized from church. They were holding baskets chock-full of all the things us kids had been dreamin’ about. One had a turkey, a ham and all kinds of canned goods. The other held a plate mounded high with cookies and two pumpkin pies. I even spotted a can of cocoa.

“Come on in and sit down. I’ll go get Mum.”

“We’ll just set these baskets on the table. We have three more deliveries and we want to get home before the roads get any worse.”

“Mum, it’s ladies from church. They brought us baskets chock-full of food,” I hollered.

Mum and the kids must have flown out to the kitchen.

“What on earth are you doing here?” I thought Mum’s eyes would pop out when she spotted those baskets.

“Thanksgiving’s only a few days away and we’re out making deliveries this afternoon. I think you’ll find enough for a nice holiday feast, Mrs. Daniels. If there’s anything else you need, just let us know.”

“You have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” The ladies smiled before they turned to leave.

“You take your damned charity baskets and leave ’em somewhere they’re needed!”

The ladies spun around, looked at one another, then at Mum, then at us, then at the baskets. One of them held her hands up clutching at her coat like someone might steal it. The shortest one looked like she was ready to bawl. When they picked up the baskets and turned to leave, my stomach clenched up tighter than a double fisherman’s knot.

Annie and Molly stood there crying. Willie stared at Mum with eyes as round as donuts, shakin’ his head.

“I can’t believe you did that, Mum. You were rude and here we are starvin’ to death,” I scowled.

“I don’t want to hear any sass from you. And you girls stop your whining. We’re proud folks. We’ve never taken charity and we’re never gonna take it.” Mum shook her head and shuffled back in to watch TV.

I sat down at the kitchen table and didn’t know what to make of it. Mum couldn’t believe somebody’d killed the President. Well, I couldn’t believe Mum just killed our only chance of having a decent meal.


Today, more than 45 million Americans are living below the poverty line http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/16/poverty-household-income_n_5828974.html Most of them aren’t looking for a hand-out. They’re looking for a hand up—decent jobs that pay a living wage.

—Ready to read more?—

  • DBS A remarkable taleDOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
    Paperback ($9.89)  Kindle ($3.99)
    OR Purchase paperback and download
    Kindle version for FREE—”Kindle Matchbook”
  • Paperbacks of DOG BONE SOUP make GREAT GIFTS for all the Boomers on your list
  • Available at YOUR AMAZON

About the author

BAS Author logo stamp 2015Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming of age novel published in January 2015. You can find out more about the author and her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

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Announcing new #fictional #thriller: HIS REVENGE by John W. Howell

“If you’re looking for a captivating new thriller, you sure won’t want to miss this one.” ~ Bette A. Stevens

His Revenge  by John W. Howell is now available in paper and e-book on Amazon.

His Revenge front finalThe sequel to My GRL titled His Revenge is available and a new story continues where My GRL left off.

His Revenge is now available

Book Blurb

America loves John Cannon—its newest hero—and the President wants to present him with the highest civilian medal for bravery for saving the Annapolis midshipman from a terrorist plot to destroy them. While in Washington for the award ceremony, John unwillingly becomes an accomplice in another plan by the same group to attack the credibility of the US President and the stability of the worldwide oil market. There is no way out as John either becomes a traitor to America or causes thousands of innocent people to die if he refuses.

The second John J Cannon Thriller moves from a barrier Island off the coast of Texas to Washington DC, then to Northern California, and finally to Ecuador. John is on the receiving end of an offer he cannot, refuse. His avowed enemy Matt Jacobs now wants John to help him shake the reputation of the US in the world political arena and disrupt confidence in the government at home. If John refuses, Matt plans to murder innocent Americans including John’s latest relationship. John’s only way out is to pretend to go along with the plan and hope for a miracle.

Excerpt from Chapter one

The water rushes over my head. I’m sinking and don’t know why. With my breath held, I have trouble stopping the air from escaping since the pressure drives the air up and out. I try to keep my mouth closed, but the water pressure pushes the air out more and more. Will I pass out? In the distance, the light is dim. To rise to the surface in time might not be possible─I need to breathe right now. Toward ending the pain in my chest, my rambling mind rationalizes taking a deep breath—even knowing it will end my life. In conflict with the irrational thought of ending it, my body won’t let me suck in the water, as it fights to retain the little bit of oxygen left to fuel my brain.

The despair is nearly overwhelming, and my mind considers other ways to battle the feeling. What more could I have done with my life? The pressure becomes more intense, and I’m about to lose it all, and I decide I’ve lived the way I wanted and have no regrets. I close my eyes and hear only the roar of the sea. I’m so tired. Exhausted. Sleep will fix everything, and I want to give in.

About the Author

Photo by Tim BurdickJohn W. Howell’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes fictional short stories and novels as well as a blog at http://www.johnwhowell.com. Howell lives on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and spoiled rescue pets. The author can be reached at his e-mail johnhowell.wave@gmail.com, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241 or Twitter at @HowellWave

My GRL_johnwhowell

John W. Howell’s  first novel, My GRL is available on Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.


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Celebrate Autumn with a Monarch Butterfly Adventure! AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens Only 99¢ October 21-25

AM Celebrate Autumn DROP SHADOW 2015 bas

To celebrate the season’s great Monarch Butterfly Migration, AMAZING MATILDA by Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens is on sale for only 99¢ from October 21—25. Find out more about our amazing monarch pollinators and download your copy of Bette’s award-winning picture book today!

Monarch butterflies are a near-threatened species. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition requesting Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch and its habitat.

Eighth-generation (2015) monarch butterflies in the US and Canada are migrating south right now—destination: Mexico and California’s coast where they will over-winter before mating to create the first generation of monarchs for the northern migration that begins during the spring of 2016.

 Celebrate the Great Migration with AMAZING MATILDA

Kindle version only 99¢
October 21—25, 2015
at Your Amazon

About the book

AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens (Ages 4-11 + grownups love it too) Friendship, patience and persistence are among the lessons learned in this gem of a tale featuring an amazing monarch butterfly. This award-winning picture book adventure follows the monarch’s life cycle as Matilda embarks on a quest to make her dream of flying come true. Matilda emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf—she stretches and yawns and knows she wants to fly. Sparrow tells her to follow her dreams. Toad and Rabbit laugh at a creature without wings who wants to fly. You’ll be as amazed as Toad and Rabbit are as you follow Matilda from egg to imago. Science, art and wise lessons for children—all wrapped up in a tale the kids will want to read/hear again and again!

Latest 5✰ Book Review

AM cover with Monarchby T. Sanders (October 18, 2015)

As an early educator for nearly fifteen years, I am always seeking new books to share with my children. I stumbled upon this book and because I adore butterflies, I just had to give it a try. What I discovered is that this is not just another children’s book with pretty pictures and an engaging story line. It has a subtle, yet powerful underlining theme of perseverance, patience, and believing in oneself. The language isn’t too sophisticated for the targeted age group, yet it’s written in a way which would also cause parents to not be annoyed in having to read it ‘just one more time’ at the pleas of their little ones.

I own the Kindle and paperback version of this book now and I display it proudly in my classroom with my other favorites such as ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and Dr. Seuss classics. With all the ridiculous contemporary children’s books being released, which have no positive message or valuable information in them, it’s refreshing to find a gem like this one to add to my library.

Download your copy of “AMAZING MATILDA”

ONLY 99¢  OCTOBER 21—25
(OR: Purchase paperback and download the eBook for FREE
any time) at YOUR AMAZON

About the author

BAS Author logo stamp 2015Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming of age novel published in January 2015.

Please share this post… Monarch butterflies are a near-threatened species. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition requesting Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch and its habitat.

FIND OUT MORE: Monarch butterflies could get endangered species status

  • Download Bette’s FREE pdf for amazing links to:
    ★Monarch Facts
    ★Coloring Pages
    ★Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
    ★Butterfly Teacher Guide and more…
    ★Find out how you can help protect our Amazing Monarchs
  • Bette’s Books

4Books BW Border BAS

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Author Sherri Rabinowitz: Finding My Path to Memoir

Author Sherri Rabinowitz has just released her first non-fiction book entitled Entering My Second Half. Today, you’ll get to meet my multi-talented friend, find out how she stepped out of her fiction-writing-comfort-zone to write a memoir, and then you’ll read a humorous excerpt from her latest book. I couldn’t keep from smiling at Sherri’s charming retelling of an unexpected meeting with Mr. Garner (that’s right—Hollywood celebrity James Garner) at Universal Studios, where employees got around the lot via golf carts, when Sherri was 16 years old. I clicked over to Amazon and downloaded a copy of Sherri’s new book to my kindle. I know you’ll enjoy today’s excerpt. ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Finding My Path to Memoir

Guest post by Sherri Rabinowitz

10409783_803245753049352_3893712058043773424_nWhen I was about to hit 50 years old it seemed like I was heading straight for a brick wall. I could feel so many things changing in my life. It felt like the end of the world. So I did what I usually do when I have issues, I wrote in my journal and tried to figure out what was going on in my pointed little head.

The first thing I did was write two columns on a piece of paper, the good things I have done in my life and the bad. The first piece of good news was that my good column was far longer than my bad. Whew! But then as I read all I had done, the places I have been, the people I have met, what I had accomplished I thought, this might make a good book.

At first I was thinking of fictional and I did use some bits of it in one or two of my books; but as I continued writing in my diary, I thought it would be good therapy to write a memoir. I had never written non-fiction and I was (I still am, really) scared out of my wits to tackle non-fiction. I am a fiction writer after all, what on Earth did I know about non-fiction?

But it is my life and who is an expert on my life? Just me. I also thought about the fact that I have tackled other things that I was scared of—acting, writing, hosting a radio show…. none of these things came easily to me. I am, believe it or not, a shy person who continues to do what I do because of a weird drive that is within me. So I thought this would be another challenge, another adventure.

Well this little adventure took four years to write and it was not easy. Whole chunks were put in and taken out. I had to worry about things I never really worried about when writing fiction so it was not an easy transition but it was ultimately satisfying, I am proud of my life and my story. My biggest hope is that some of the lessons I learned will help others, and inspired them to try new and scary things too.

Read an excerpt


from ENTERING MY SECOND HALF by Sherri Rabinowitz

Over the hill came my hero in a golf cart. To my astonishment it was none other than James Garner. “What are you doing here all alone?”

I quietly explained it to him. He told me to get in the golf cart. I was 16 years old, but I looked like I was 13. I was often asked on the tour if I was old enough to be working there and where are my parents?  I think Mr. Garner thought I was younger than I actually was, but he insisted that I get into the golf cart so he could take me back to civilization. To me, he was Rockford and Maverick, so I did what I was told.

We chatted amicably about school, my ambitions, the little theater and how excited I was to meet him. He was sweet, friendly and to be frank—quite fatherly. I think he had children my age and probably felt protective of anyone my age.  He really reminded me of my Dad so I trusted him. We got to the toll booth, which was my base, and he said I should stay in the cart.

Then he went into the tollbooth and really gave it to my boss: How dare he leave a child out in the middle of nowhere? How could you leave her there without a car or walkie-talkie? Anything could have happened to her. It was quite loud because I could clearly hear him in his cart.

My boss said they didn’t have walkie-talkies and that I was just sixteen and didn’t have a car yet. But Mr. Garner was not accepting that. He said that it was dangerous; he said he didn’t want anyone up there without a car or a means of communication.

Then he came out to me and said I wasn’t in trouble. That I would only be assigned to jobs in the parking lot or in the studio. I thanked him and then I meekly came into the toll booth.

Ross, my boss, smiled and told me, “It’s not your fault.”  And from that day on I was assigned crowd control inside the tour. Thank you Mr. Garner.

Years later, James Garner was at the Universal Sheraton. I worked and lived near there so I went to the gym at the Sheraton. He was promoting the new Rockford Files. (A young Renee O’Connor co- starred in one of them) I went up to him and asked for an autograph. And I asked if he remembered me. He said that I looked familiar. I told him about the story and he smiled replying, “That sounds like me. Well you grew up to be a lovely young woman.” I blushed, and said thank you. Then I was on cloud nine for about a week.

full cover of my bookTake a “Look Inside” ENTERING MY SECOND HALF at http://www.amazon.com/Entering-Second-Half-Sherri-Rabinowitz-ebook/dp/B015T985JO/

Other books by Sherri Rabinowitz

  • Murder Inc. —Alex Bennett led a double life. She was known the world over as the highly successful founder of a toy software company. But she was also the head of the infamous Murder, Inc. A situation she didn’t want but felt an obligation to fulfill.
  • Fantasy Time Inc.—Readers follow Anne on a trip to the pre-Civil War South with her client, Heather, who wants to be Scarlett O’Hara, the belle of the ball. But Anne warns her, she cannot alter the past, or it will alter the time line, and that is against the rules. But when Anne meets Morgan, will she break those rules herself? Or is the dashing man, her destiny?
  • Different Is Beautiful—Sherri Rabinowitz and Anja Gruber have found a unique way to encourage self-esteem in little ones while helping them develop a sense of appreciation and respect for everyone and everything in the world around them. A portion of the profits from this book will go to Anti-Bullying Charities.

Find Sherri Rabinowitz

Dear Readers,

Thank you for stopping by for a visit today. Sherri and I look forward to reading your comments on today’s post.

Happy reading and writing,

Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Lyon Book Promotions Presents Our Hot Book Picks for August 2015

Lyon Book Promotions Presents Our Hot Book Picks for August 2015.

Click the link above to FIND OUT ALL ABOUT THEM…
DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is on the list!


It’s #IndieBooksBeSeen Day!

Bette A. Stevens is an indie author and DYI-er (mostly) who has written and self-published four books—The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, Amazing Matilda, Pure Trash and Dog Bone Soup—since 2012. You can out more about the author and take a ‘Look Inside’ her books on YOUR AMAZON.

FBAS & Books INDIE 2rom the author

I’m an author whose first book was published in 1997 by Windswept House, a small regional press in Mt. Desert, Maine. When the company went out of business and the original rights to the first edition of The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! were returned to this author, I decided to check out local publishing houses and self-publishing as well. In the process I discovered CreateSpace—a self-publishing affiliate of Amazon—and decided to give it a whirl. I had been an editor and desktop publisher for several years before embarking on a teaching career. Self-publishing doesn’t have to be a ‘go it alone’ experience. There are abundant resources available locally and online (excerpt and article link below) to help you get your own book(s) in print and on the way to readers.  ~ Bette A. Stevens

What exactly is an Indie author anyway?

“Indie authorship and self-publishing are not quite synonymous but an independent author will have self-published at least one book.”

Read more about Indie Authorship from New York Times + USA Today bestselling author Steena Holmes at http://www.steenaholmes.com/whats-an-indie-author/

 [Bette’s Blog]


MEET THE AUTHOR: Sharon K. Connell (Christian Fiction)

Sharon K. Connell is the author of Christian/romance/drama fiction and it’s a pleasure to have her with us today at 4writersandreaders.

What readers are saying

SHARON K Connell BOOKS cropped

Christian/romance (fiction) novels by Sharon K. Connell

A Very Present Help by Sharon K. Connell

This book is artfully written and creatively weaves the plot from beginning to end. It is a great reminder that God is still involved in our lives. This is a must read and leaves the reader filled with hope! ~ Jennifer

It’s wonderful to have you with us today, Sharon. I can’t wait to find out more about you and your books. First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

Meet Author Sharon K. Connell

Meet Author Sharon K. Connell

I was born in Wisconsin, grew up and went to school through College in Illinois.  In 1988, I moved to Florida and graduated from Bible School in 1995.  For most of my adult life, I have worked full-time in the clerical field.  In December 2012, I decided to retire, and in March of 2013 moved to Houston, Texas.  Since then I have been enjoying every minute of retirement from the clerical/business world and I have been writing full-time.

Today, I spend my time doing many things, which I never had the time to do before retiring.  This includes at least one or two hours daily writing stories about people who discover (as I have) that God will only allow those things into your life that will help you grow and/or increase your faith.

At the age of twelve years old, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.  There has not been a day that has gone by where I have been disappointed in that decision.  Many trials have crossed my path, most of which I brought on myself.  Nonetheless, God has been with me every step of the way.  I have never once felt that He deserted me or does not love me. 

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?  

The genre in which I write is Christian/Romance/Drama.  I could possibly add Mystery to the end of that list with the publishing of my fourth novel sometime this year.

While still working full-time, I began my first book around the year 2000—A Very Present Help.

In my stories, I try to bring out some promises in the Bible.  Humor always is added for entertainment, along with a good love story.  Then there is the villain who adds drama and sometimes mystery to the lives of my hero and heroine.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book? 

My latest book published in December of 2014—There Abideth Hope deals with the life of a former Navy nurse, Lieutenant JG Lynne Temple and the man she meets in Florida, a youth pastor by the name of Nick Livingston.  They run into a treacherous villain who recognizes Miss Temple from a murder trial during her college days, one in which she was the prime witness.  While the couple is trying to get to know each other, they wind up dealing with kidnaped teens from a local Rave gone bad, drugs and human trafficking, not to mention attempted murder.  The story goes from Chicago, Illinois to the war in Afghanistan to Pensacola, Florida.

What prompted you to write your novels, Sharon?

This is an easy one to answer.  My dear friend, Alan J. O’Reilly, author of Sound of Battle and Desired Haven, talked me into it.  I call him my adopted brother.  We have known each other since shortly after 1990.  Through the years, we have corresponded, although never met.  When I would relay a story about something that had happened, he would always tell me, “You need to write a story about that.”  After Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola, Florida and I went through it all alone, I told him every detail.  Again, he told me that I should write about it.  This time I took him seriously.  However, I did not write about the hurricane.  A story about a girl being lonely came to mind and I was off and running.  That story actually became my second book, Paths of Righteousness, but stemmed the writing of the first, A Very Present Help.

Do you have a favorite line from one of your books? 

“You came within a gnat’s eyebrow of going for a swim with those dolphins, and you’re worried about your heel?” from There Abideth Hope.
(The heel is a high heel and the line is spoken by the hero to the heroine, after she almost fell into the water trying to get a better look at her first live Florida dolphins).  

Who is your favorite character and why? 

I guess my favorite character from my books is Kathryn Kendall from Paths of Righteousness.  She is the heroine I first thought up and started writing about.  She is honest, faithful, gentle, beautiful, and sensitive; yet with an air of pride that gets the better of her at times.

What was the hardest part about writing your books?

Keeping all the events in the lives of my characters in order and consistent.

Do you do anything besides write?  

Yes, besides all my normal house duties, I paint, sketch, blog, take pictures of nature, am a spectator at RC racetracks, I am an active birder (amateur), exercise (mostly by walking the Houston Bayous viewing the many birds that live there) and do some moon and star gazing.

How can readers get copies of your books? 

My books are sold on Amazon and Kindle.  If you look up my Author Page on Amazon, you will find all three novels.

What’s next for author Sharon K. Connell?   

Currently, I am working on my fourth novel—His Perfect Love— about a young woman who has lived a self-centered life, to the point that her family has all but given up on her.  God starts dealing with her by allowing things from her past to catch up with her causing fear and doubt.  She bounces from Illinois to Minnesota, back to Illinois and winds up in Houston, Texas.  You will have to read the book to find out the rest.

After I finish this story and it is ready for all of you readers, I will be begin my next book about a young woman trying to keep her family’s farm in Nebraska from winding up in the wrong hands after her parents pass away.

Where to find author Sharon K. Connell

Sharon also has a Group she’s created on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/

Video Trailers for each book

Sharon, it has been wonderful having you with us today. I’ve already checked out your books and videos. I’ve purchased and downloaded “A Very Present Help” to my kindle and can’t wait to read it. I’m a fan of Christian fiction and your books all sound great. Happy writing!

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Sharon and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to join the conversation (comments below) and be sure to take a look inside Sharon’s great books on Amazon. I think you’ll want to grab a novel or two.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

“The Heart of Teaching Tour” with author John Fioravanti

I’m grateful to Bette A. Stevens, my host of this fifth post of THE HEART OF TEACHING TOUR, and to Nonnie Jules of 4WillsPublishing who arranged it all! The full lineup for this tour can be found @ 4WillsPublishing Events Page

Book Cover-2“Their success and their well-being became important to me personally. It had become less about me and my struggles, and more about them and theirs.”

Excerpt from John Fioravanti: A Personal Journey To The Heart of Teaching.

At the very beginning of my career, my fear of failure set the priorities for my day-to-day work in the classroom. As my hard work began to reap dividends, it became easier to control the fear and the anxiety. That made it easier for me to focus more of my attention on my students—as individuals with unique personalities, gifts, and needs.

I had always been focused on their academic success. I realized that their success, or lack of it, was at least partially attributable to my teaching. As I became a father myself, I was able to see these students as something other than just students. They were sons and daughters and I began to look at them differently—in a more caring way.

Rightly or wrongly, I was not the kind of teacher who dealt with academic or behavioural issues in a confrontational way. I had tried that on more than one occasion, and found it to end in a lose-lose scenario. It was really a bad scene if I tried it in front of the class. At some point, it twigged on me to deal with the more serious issues privately with a student.

Since it is next to impossible to discuss something privately with a student inside the classroom, I would give the class some seatwork, take the student into the hallway, and close the door. I would smile, motion the student to the middle of the corridor, while I leaned my back against the wall. I arranged us this way so the student wouldn’t feel boxed in or threatened. I would then ask, in a kindly tone, what was causing the issue? I could tell by the surprised look I often got, that they were expecting a tongue-lashing. I discovered that my approach worked for me. Even if the student didn’t want to disclose the problem, they knew that I cared enough to ask, and that I was expecting an improved performance from them.

To me, confrontation between a teacher and student is all about power. A power struggle of this nature always ends badly. I’ve seen it too many times. I don’t think we should teach young people to solve issues of conflict by way of confrontation. Conflict is inevitable, and I believe that people can keep cool heads so that solutions can be found that turn a conflict situation into a “win-win” for everyone. This is what we need to teach young people.

Author Bio:

Author John Fioravanti

Author John Fioravanti

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

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

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

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


Book Purchase Links:

banner 4WillsPublishingToday’s host: Bette A. Stevens at 4writersandreaders

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”



Emerson’s Attic Series

Bette A. Stevens:

Delighted to find author Kathleen Andrews Davis on BOOK CHAT. I’ve interviewed her here on my blog and read THE BLUE VELVET—thoroughly enjoyed it. I know you will too! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on BOOK CHAT:

Books One and Two

By Kathleen Andrews Davis

The Blue Velvet Book One – THE BLUE VELVET

In Book One we meet Emerson Mcbride, a typical American teenager who does the same things any other teen would do. That is, until she is sent up to clean the attic. What happens there will surprise you.

Emerson finds herself on her back in a large room, not her attic.  A strange voice keeps telling her to wake up and is calling her Emma. Lizzy is a housemaid in Harrington Hall.. Though Emerson is confused about everything, Lizzy helps direct her through her household chores and daily life in this huge manor..

Emerson is living in another time and has no idea how she got there, or how to get back home.  What’s more, she is becoming suspicious of the eldest son of the owner of the Manor.

Book Two – SMOKE AND MIRRORSSmoke and Mirrors


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Micki Peluso and book signing


Mick Peluso is the author of …And the Whippoorwill Sang—an outstanding memoir:

“Micki Peluso takes readers along on her journey through life as she deals with the tragedy of the imminent death of one of her six children in a story that will bring tears—not only of immeasurable sadness—but also those wonderful tears of the joys and hilarity of a family’s life. As I traveled with Micki along life’s highway and byways, I not only met her wonderful family and friends, I felt like I was one of them. That’s what I call great writing! From antics to dilemmas, you won’t want to miss out on the laughter, the love, the sorrows, the courage or the tears as Peluso poignantly weaves a well-written memoir that will not be forgotten in AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG.” ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

Let’s get ready to meet Micki

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to an outstanding author; and once you’ve met her, I invite you to grab a copy of her book and get reading. You’ll be glad you did!

Hi, Micki. I’m delighted to have you with us on 4writersandreaders today. I absolutely loved …And the Whippoorwill Sang. I can hardly wait to learn more about you and your memoir and to find out what you’re up to now. To start, tell us a little about yourself.

I almost wanted to be a ‘Super Hero’ as a child, save the world and help people; perhaps as a missionary or Peace Corps worker in Third World countries. Plans for that and college collapsed along with my parents’ divorce. Instead my ‘Marilyn Monroe’ type mother talked my boyfriend and me into eloping in our teens with her and her new boyfriend. Get lemons, make lemonade. We went on to have six children and 10 grandchildren and now three great grandkids and I have become a ‘Soupy Hero,’ according to one small grandson referring to my medicinal chicken soup.

How about your family?

My husband and I (mostly me) raised six children, each a year or two apart. He came from a large family which I loved. Our kids were our life and because I kept journals off and on, it gave me lots of fodder for a writing career. It was in the late 1950s through to the mid-eighties before most of them were grown . . . Except for one, our 14-year-old daughter Noelle, the lively, comical beauty that wove the fabric of our family together, who was killed by a drunk (DWI) driver in 1981.

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

Like many writers I started with poems and did a lot of creative writing throughout school. With so many kids, I put away most writing until Noelle was killed. As a family of eight we were so shocked and devastated that none of us could speak of her. I turned to writing as a way of expressing my grief. I wrote a short story of the incident which was published by Victimology; an International Journal, along with several poems. That led to slice of life, usually humorous stories about my family, which were published in my daily newspaper. I then became a staff writer and journalist for our biweekly newspaper, writing news items, analysis, interviews and commentary.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of “…And the Whippoorwill Sang”?

Whippoorwill Cover & BUY BUTTONThis lively story opens with eloping teenagers, Micki and Butch, in a bizarre double ceremony with Micki’s mother. The couple share wonderfully comical escapades spanning decades, until tragedy strikes. There has been a terrible accident in the placid valley nestled in the Susquehanna Mountains in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It occurs just blocks away from the family’s 100 year old farmhouse, complete with ghosts and visiting varmints of all varieties. Micki narrates happier days, using their delightful past to confront an uncertain future—as the family copes with fear and apprehension. One of their children is fighting for life in the hospital; in a semi-coma, hovering between this world and the next. The family embarks upon an unbearable journey to the other side of grief and grasps the poignant gift of life as they begin . . .

To weep . . .

   To Laugh . . .

       To Grieve . . .

           To Dance . . .

. . . And the Whippoorwill Sang

What prompted you to write your memoir?

It was five years after the tragedy when I began the first half of my book, a funny, bittersweet family story, celebrating Noelle’s life and keeping my deathbed promise to her as she lay dying. I was mentored by Bonnie Golightly, a Writer’s Digest teacher who had been part of the ‘Truman Capote crowd’ in her younger days. She wrote a famous best-selling novel plus scripts for several films and other novels. Life dealt another blow and I nearly died from two heart attacks leaving me with half a heart, while Bonnie contracted lung cancer which quickly took her life. The book was on hold until 2006 when I was able to break through the PTSD memory blocks of the times right before Noelle’s death.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

I have two favorite lines from the book, one funny yet an omen of what was to come, and one which ties into the book’s title.

Noelle and her sister Kelly had just spent all their babysitting money on clothing and planned to go for a bike ride. Noelle had put all the clothes that she purchased on at the same time. Kelly was shocked and asked her what in the world she was doing. Noelle replied that she couldn’t make up her mind. Kelly told her she should be saving her them for a special day. “I think every day is special,” Noelle replied.

The other favorite line was written shortly after Noelle’s death:

“The Whippoorwill swooped down the mountains into the trees singing its mournful dirge of summer’s loss, even as I cried mine.’”

Who is your favorite character and why?

My favorite characters were my children and while I could not love one more than the other each is a different type of love. A firstborn child’s holds a special place in a mother’s heart and the last child, the baby of the family also holds a special place. Different personalities among the children also cause different types of bonding, yet the love for each of them is love for all of them. It’s common and normal to idolize a lost family member and I tried hard not to do that in this book.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

I began the story from the ICU waiting room and flashed back to when I eloped at age 17. I placed short pieces in the ICU in first person, exposing my fears and heartache up until the past merged into the present. These chapters in ICU were the hardest to write along with the ending — both of which I kept as short as possible. Actually the book ends on a good note as something special happens—something sent as a gift from Noelle.

Do you do anything besides write?

Well, I do a fairly good Elvis imitation :). Seriously, I work part time as a law assistant for Kelly, who became the attorney that Noelle had dreams of becoming when she grew up. I helped raise most of my 10 grandkids and I’m still with my husband after 50 years—a herculean feat. For the past three decades I’ve been writing and publishing short fiction, hoping to stretch one into a novel. I do professional book reviews for NYJB (New York Journal of Books) and freelance reviews. My book has won the Nesta Silver Award for Character building, 3rd place on Predator’s and Editors and 1st place in the monthly People’s Choice Awards. Many of my short stories have been published in several book collections and anthologies, including The Speed of Dark which won an International Award for fine writing.

How can our readers get a copy of your book?

My book . . . And the Whippoorwill sang is available at Amazon for Kindle and tablets for $2.99 and in print at a newly reduced rate of $12.25; it is also available for purchase or order from your favorite book store. Signed copies can be purchased directly from me or I can mail a signed bookplate to readers ordering from Amazon or other venues.

What’s next on the writing agenda for Micki Peluso?

My current WIP (Work in Progress) is a collection of humorous slice-of-life, short fiction and non-fiction essays and scattered poems, in a book called Don’t Pluck the Duck, to be released in 2015. My publisher has also accepted a children’s book called The Cat Who Wanted a Dog, also due by the end of this year. Tales@Inspire has accepted four short stories, plus several more by Creature Features and one by Women’s Memoirs. And then there’s that novel beckoning . . . sigh.

Micki, it’s been a delight having you here for an author chat at 4writersandreaders. I would love to get a signed bookplate for my copy of “…And the Whippoorwill Sang”; and, I can’t wait to get my hands on your next book!

  • Readers: Micki and I would love to have you stop by the comment section below for a chat.  I hope you’ll ‘run out’ or ‘click away’ and order you copy of …And the Whippoorwill Sang. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy reading and writing, friends! ~Bette A. Stevens


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