Thursday, December 18, 2014

Her Work is Dedicated to Fallen Soldiers

It is my pleasure to feature author Mary Ann Bernal on today's edition of In Good Company. I was introduced to her recently by author Brenda Perlin and it is my hope that we will maintain a supportive connection. History buffs will love her work, all of which is dedicated to people of our armed forces.

Mary Ann Bernal of Omaha, Nebraska and author of The Briton and the Dane novels, her most recent one titled, Timeline is an avid history buff whose area of interest focuses on Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain during the Viking Age.  While pursuing a degree in business administration, she managed to fit creative writing classes and workshops into her busy schedule, but it would take decades before her Erik the Viking novel was published.

Mary Ann is also a passionate supporter of the United States military, having been involved with letter writing campaigns and other support programs since Operation Desert Storm.  She has appeared on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS television affiliate in Omaha, and was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her volunteer work.  She has also been a featured author on Triangle Variety Radio, The Phil Naessens Show, and The Writers Showcase, and has been interviewed extensively by American and European bloggers.


The Briton and the Dane: Timeline


Mary Ann Bernal


Since I am an incurable, romantic Anglophile after having read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, choosing to set my stories in Anglo-Saxon England was a no-brainer.  However, on the other end of the spectrum is my love for Science Fiction and Gene Roddenberry’s “wagon train to the stars: series, Star Trek.

Mr. Roddenberry’s Star Trek stories brought to light common injustices, which divide nations, but these problems were taking place in the future on distant planets.  The subtle inferences were meant to educate the viewer about good and bad societal behavior.

One of the themes running through The Briton and the Dane series is the plight of the warrior and his family.  My stories shed light on the effect a warrior’s “career” has on the family, and the sacrifices made by loved ones.  In today’s society, our deployed men and women serve their country and preserve our freedom, risking their lives daily for the greater good.  Thank a service person and/or veteran for his/her service.  Freedom is not free.

All of my novels are dedicated to fallen soldiers and everyone who has died fighting the war against terror.  These brave men and women will never be forgotten.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shattered Reality

Author Brenda Perlin is not only a wonder writer but is also a diligent and enthusiastic supporter of other authors. She is a great friend to me, and I highly recommend her book:

Shattered Reality


Brenda Perlin


I started writing my life story (I know that sounds rather daunting) as I was approaching thirty and was engaged to my boyfriend of nearly two years. At the time, I was searching for something important to do with my life. Maybe because I wasnt feeling so good about myself and was looking for some inspiration? How better than to go back in time and contemplate your life? In a way, that is what I did.

This story of my life was meant to answer some questions that I was still searching for answers to. At twenty-nine, I was floundering around and yet wishing for some deeper meaning to my life. Even though self-doubt filled me, I kept on writing hoping to find some clarity.

The original novel was meant to be a coming-of-age story, which was about a confused young woman, an outcast who was finding her way in the world. This girl was getting married but she didnt feel like a blissful bride. It was as if she was on the outside looking in. None of it felt real to her, and yet she yearned to be that happy person who would be donning a white dress with all the accessories to match. Instead, she found out the the wedding business was a sham and none of it was going to make her any happier.  

Even though this story developed into something entirely different from what I had originally envisioned, the essence of the tale was about finding your own happiness.

Its been years since I started this story of mine but it has become a part of me. Through the years, this piece of writing has taken on a life of its own.

The book is entitled Shattered Reality, which delves upon the losses and disappointments Ive endured throughout my life.  Even with the negative connotation the title represents, I still see this story as one filled with hope and perhaps, even a little bit of inspiration. My life is not over, and I do believe this girl can still find her happy ending. 

Shattered Reality:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Review of Tony Markey’s new book Re-Run: My 30-Day Experiment to Fall Back in Love With Running

Just released today, is a delightful book by a new author for which I was proud do to an advanced review. I hope it inspires you to add it to your holiday shopping list. 

Just as it’s hard to live with a saint, Markey finds it impossible to live with a wife who is a “real” runner. The only choice left to him is to follow her example by setting himself a 30-day challenge to see if he can also become a runner, an activity he loved when a child but forsook upon his discovery of the easier and swifter bicycle, and finally the automobile, as modes of travel. Markey’s first book, Re-Run: My 30-Day Experiment to Fall Back in Love With Running is set up like a textbook with tables of content and photographs, but avoids the requisite dryness with self-deprecating one-liners, clever social commentary, and insightful philosophy on just about any topic a reader can imagine. This author has a non-stop brain in a body that is loathe to keep up.    

While extolling the virtues of running: improved health, weight loss, increased self-esteem, he laments its hype with commentary such as: Runner's high? This is a cruel joke they tell newbies so they'll keep running. They fool us into thinking we must just not “get it". The runner's high seems like the emperor's new clothes to me, something only the smart can see…Second wind? To me, that's like one of those political terms cooked up to make something sound better than it is, like death tax, or job creators…Let’s note here that second wind sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, like “military intelligence.” The term implies you had a first wind. That there was wind at all. I guess I’m running to try to experience the second wind before I experience my “Last gasp.”

Markey gets through his 30-day experiment, huffing and puffing, but emerges a marathon runner. This is not a marathon read. It’s quick and easy, and along the way, the scenery is good, and the company is fun. In the long haul, he has created a 210-page metaphor for the attainment of any worthwhile goal, making Re-Run: My 30-Day Experiment to Fall Back in Love With Running a worthwhile read.

-Linda Lee Greene, author Guardians and Other Angels; co-author Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams

Friday, December 12, 2014

Where the Joys Are

Bestselling Alabama author Jane Carroll, in her books Bertha-Size Your Life! and Becoming Bertha gives a face, a wardrobe, and a flare to inspirational humor. Her writing weaves a rich tapestry of humor, inspiration, insight, and Southern roots. While she enjoys all aspects of her life, writing is her passion. The third book in her Bertha series, just recently released is Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal. Jane discusses the evolution of Bertha in today’s edition of In Good Company. It is a joy to welcome you today, Jane.


Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal


Jane Carroll

I never intended to write a book about a zany character named Bertha, let alone…three. In fact, I was in my late forties before I considered putting my pen to the paper in an effort to help women who were experiencing an empty nest.

Why such a topic? Well, it was a combination of things. I had just completed training as a life coach and my youngest daughter had just gotten married. Now please don’t tell her…but I was excited. I’d been a single mom for a lot of years and I was relieved to not be solely responsible for the wellbeing of my children but I was aware that not all women felt that way. In fact, I knew women who were a little lost…didn’t have a clue who they were or what they wanted once their children had left home. So that, along with a love of writing, translated into my first book effort…a collection of personal discovery exercises…most of which started out with…get quiet and imagine.

I even had a name for it…When Little Birds Fly: Feathering Your Empty Nest. There was just one thing. The title was more exciting than the book and even I didn’t love it. One day my personal life coach, who had been encouraging me to write, left me a message that her daughter had left home and asked what she should do. I sent her a very flip email telling her to name her nest and I named mine Bertha. I went on to tell her how much more fun it would be going home to Bertha than to an empty house.

Well, I thought that would be that but was I ever wrong! Bertha decided to take over the book and all the exercises I was writing became vignettes all about her. Faster than eight tiny reindeer, she had developed a whacky wardrobe of spandex capris, bright colors and high-heeled sandals and if jumping on a soapbox was an Olympic event…she’d be a gold medal contender for sure. Bertha was almost always in a good mood. In fact, only her nemesis, Rita, and the cat could put a dent in her Pollyanna attitude.

Bertha-Size Your Life! begins the transformation of our narrator, who really doesn’t even have a name at this point. Bertha gently…oh who am I kidding…Bertha did the equivalent of snatching her up by the hair of the head and dragged her into a more balanced life.

Becoming Bertha continues the transformation of our narrator now known as, Honey. Honey is progressing nicely and learning her lessons while Bertha is busy preparing for a shoe model tour, designing fantasy shoes and sparring with the cat. Once Bertha leaves it is up to Honey to continue her transformation…can she do it with just the cat for assistance…or has Bertha’s work been in vain? I’ll let you find that out when you read the book.

Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal features all the same characters but it is truly a standalone book. While you’re reading the fun stories…you’ll learn valuable journaling techniques all designed to increase your joy. But whether you do the exercises or not…you’ll laugh at some of Bertha’s most exaggerated outfits and antics.

So…that’s how I came to have not one but three Bertha books. I hear Bertha may have some more adventures in store for her in a series of cozy mysteries along with some teenagers, plenty of shoes, and of course…the cat.

Where the Joys Are: Bertha’s Guided Journal

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On The Right Side

My friend and always an inspiration to me, author Karen Magill tells us her amazing story today on In Good Company. Her latest book On the Right Side, My Story of Survival and Success chronicles her journey through the most difficult time of her life, a circumstance that would bring a lot of people to their knees, never to get back up. But not Karen—she is a fighter and her story is a journey that became a pilgrimage, a journey of the heart. The book will be on sale for 0.99 in the US and UK from December 25 to December 31. This is one you should add to your shopping list.

In a recent email to me, Karen had this to say: …I’m working on getting my speaking career going and hopefully the workshops. My mentor at Toastmasters…wants me to represent our division of Toastmasters in competition next year. I’m going to give it a shot. Busy, busy, busy!


On The Right Side, My Story of Survival and Success


Karen Magill

On June 5, 2000 I woke partially paralyzed on one side of my body. Nine days later, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and approximately three and half months following that I had to leave the best job I’d ever had and go on disability. I thought my life was over! I had carefully planned my future and suddenly it was crumbling around me.

Fourteen years later, I am an award winning author with a blossoming career as a motivational speaker, author and life coach. I am living a life I have always dreamed of.

On The Right Side, My Story of Survival and Success tells of my journey through those dark days when I didn’t want to live any longer to now when I can’t wait to start a new day. I say, if you aren't six feet under, then you are on the right side and anything is possible.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christopher Meets Buddy

Debra Shiveley Welch, winner of a number of literary awards and also a best-selling author, is on In Good Company today to tell us about her new book Christopher Meets Buddy. Debra is also my cousin and my co-author of Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams, the first book for both of us, published in 2006. Since the day of her birth, Debra has been one of the most important people in my life, and it is a pleasure to welcome her today.

Christopher Meets Buddy is my latest book and second in the Christopher series.  The first, Christopher Bullfrog Catcher, was written by my son for a school project and was traditionally published when he was 11-years-old.  His interest has since veered toward digital photography, and he has, therefore, handed off the baton to me,and I will carry on with the series we envisioned when he was a young boy.

Christopher Meets Buddy serves a dual purpose.  When I first took a pet parrot into my home, I was appalled at how little I knew about caring for our avian brothers and sisters.  I was fortunate enough to find a group called Tielchatter, where the owner, Michael Burke, instructed all of the “newbies” in how to take proper care of our feathered friends, or as we like to say, feathered kids, or Fids.  I was a member of that group for 13 years until, tragically, we lost Michael to kidney failure.

I had been itching to write a book on the proper care of pet parrots for some years. Michael’s death spurred me on to complete it, and so Christopher Meets Buddy was born.

Going back over my notes, collected over a period of many years, I sat down, determined to do Michael justice: the main character, Christopher, wants a pet bird for his birthday.  He talks to his parents, and it is here that I have attempted to drive home the basis of what I am trying to convey: 

“Christopher,” Mom said, “calm down, honey.  We need to discuss this with our minds, not with our wants.  We have to make sure that we can take good care of any pet we bring into our family.”


Issues such as which parrot to choose, cage size, perches, toys, food, misting, vet care and bonding are discussed, accompanied by beautifully created illustrations.

Christopher Meets Buddy is also being used as a teaching guide for new parrot owners at the Black Hills Parrot Welfare and Education Center in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.


Christopher Meets Buddy is dedicated to Michael Burke, with great affection and gratitude.  He was committed to the proper care of our winged companions, and I believe that his passion has helped many a new inductee into the world of avian adoption, not only succeed, but thrive in the raising, caring, loving and bonding with one of God’s most fascinating creations.

I’m Debra Shiveley Welch and am the author of A Very Special Child, a children’s book about adoption and winner of the Faithwriter’s Gold Seal of Approval – Outstanding Read award: Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams, co-authored with Linda Lee Greene,my memoir Son on of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher, also a winner of the Faithwriters Award, of Books and Authors Best Non-Fiction 2008 and AllBooksReview’s Editor’s Choice 2010, soon to be available in audio format; Cedar Woman, the story of a woman of the Lakota Sioux and winner of Books and Authors Best Native American Fiction 2011. In addition, I have written many short stories, essays and poems.

I am now working on Spirit Woman, the sequel to Cedar Woman, Christopher’s Family Table, a collection of family recipes and Christopher Meets Emma, third in the Christopher series about the proper care of a pet cat.

Christopher has published a subsequent work, Just Chris, his memoir and companion book to Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher.

I hope that you enjoy Christopher Meets Buddy, soon to be available in coloring book format.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Gift of Inspiration

If your holiday shopping list is anything like mine, there are gaps in it. Figuring out just the right gift for some people is as tricky as catching Santa Claus doing his job on Christmas Eve night. I suggest you do what I plan to do: I’m going to fill in the gaps by giving books to the readers on my list.

                Throughout this month, I will turn this blog over to authors of books that I recommend you consider as gifts to the readers on your list. The authors will tell you in their own words what they want you to know about their books. The first among the group is Paulette Mahurin, an award-winning and best-selling author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, who on this page will feature her brilliant new novel His Name Was Ben, which is based on a true story. All proceeds from His Name Was Ben are donated to dog rescue efforts. Paulette is a great friend to me and I'm honored to have her as my guest. Welcome to my blog In Good Company, Paulette:

The Gift of Inspiration


Paulette Mahurin

The sun rises over the eastern horizon flooding my bedroom with light, and I awake with gratitude for the gift of my life; a life I do not take for granted. Many years ago, while in college I had the great fortune of meeting and working with a couple who inspired this way of thinking in me. Both of them were diagnosed with a terminal illness when they met and fell in love. It was this love, their expression of a deep intimate sharing that really opened me to what living is all about; right here and now. After meeting the real Ben and Sara, about whom my new book His Name Was Ben is written, my life changed. Into it entered gratitude, a thankfulness for the simplest yet most powerful of things: my vision, my hearing, and that the physiology of my body continues to function to keep me alive.

His Name Was Ben was initially written as a short story while in college and earlier this year published as a full-length novel. The synopsis from the back cover reads: Hearing the words “it’s cancer,” threw Sara Phillips’s life into chaos, until an unexpected turn of events and a chance encounter with a stranger changed everything—his name was Ben. Based on real events, Ben and Sara discover that when all else fails, healing can come in the most unexpected ways. Chilling and heart wrenching, His Name Was Ben is a triumph over the devastating circumstances and fear experienced when faced with a terminal illness. In this narrative, the power of love conquers shadows and transforms the very nature and meaning of what it is to be fully alive. From the award winning, best-selling author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, comes a story filled with soul and passion that will leave the reader thinking about it for days after the last page is closed.

Some read this and are turned off when they see the word cancer and make the mistaken assumption that it’s a downer story of suffering and loss. Those who have read it and taken the time to review it have a common reaction; it’s a story about life, living it to the fullest, and the healing power of unconditional love and gratitude. On this Thanksgiving holiday, as I reflect on Ben and Sara, this beautiful couple I met so many years ago, I am reminded of the expression “from the ashes the phoenix will rise again.” I never understood the expression until meeting Ben and Sara, and then I saw that it is never too late for a miraculous comeback. And, it can all start with gratitude.