Monday, July 22, 2013

Review of 'Climb That Fence & Take That Leap' by Philip Johnsey

Climb That Fence & Take That Leap

by Philip Johnsey

Ever wonder if there is more to your pet's behavior than meets the eye? Can we learn something about ourselves by watching them?

Climb that Fence take that Leap is a compilation of personal, inspirational animal stories and the life lessons we can glean from them.

After enjoying these stories, you'll spend a little extra time with your friend and know what it takes to Climb that Fence and Take that Leap!

**My thoughts**

 This book was very sweet and made a lot of good points. Have you ever paid attention to the behavior of your animals? They are actually very intelligent creatures. If we would just take the time to pay attention to what they do, we could truly learn a lot from them. That's what Philip's message is to his readers.

He tells stories, primarily about his cats. I am partial to the stories about the turtle, probably mostly because I don't have any reptiles as pets and never would have thought about watching them. I was sort of jealous of his experiences, both with his pet and with the babies in the wild. I wanted to find my own to watch. I was also moved by his story of his cat who had a terminal disease.

I read this book while sitting on the beach on vacation, and found myself wanting to get home to watch the behavior of my own cats and dog. Basically, I need to remember to sit back and to relax while going for my own dreams in life. Anything is possible.

Author bio:
Raised on a farm and having been a volunteer at different animal rescues, it’s no surprise that his first two published articles were about animals. So it’s only fitting that Phil’s first book is about animals and the connections we share. From Phil’s first high school job to present, he’s spent his career working with clients, explaining complex ideas in an easy to understand manner. Phil enjoys using his talents to make a positive difference and all the things he learns along the way. In addition Phil enjoys exploring the world and sharing those adventures via writing, photography, and videography. We are all connected and sharing our stories just brings people closer. Phil’s credits include, multiple I.T. certifications, account management, Reiki master, photographer, author of two blogs, writes a travel column for work, co-hosts a local television show, and whatever else he can get into.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Meet DL Larson, author of 'Promises My Love'

Please welcome author DL Larson to Uplifting Reads today. Get to know her and her books a little bit better. Feel free to leave her questions and comments below!

'Promises My Love' is the sequel to 'Promises to Keep.' Please tell us about the first book.
Promises To Keep is a love story and family saga set in 1840's Kentucky. Annie Douglas's wayward husband Joe is a gambler and spends too much time away from home. His long absences has her wondering if she made a mistake in marrying him over a former beau. And Joe's sister, Christine Frailey is determined to strengthen her marriage to Francis. Francis has a nasty secret he keeps from her, destroying the trust between them. 

The life of these two couples mingles and twists together much as families do today. Gambling threatens to ruin a marriage; infidelity taints everlasting promises and dreams seem impossible if love doesn't win over all.
What inspired the sequel?  
Change is never easy and my characters falter with serious personal problems that one book simply couldn't cover. Francis is reluctant to talk about his problems, let alone discuss them with his wife. Yet his past catches up to him and he can no longer struggle on by himself. It takes his wife, Joe and his father to help him cope with his past.

Joe realizes life without Annie is really no life at all and it takes time for someone as stubborn as his wife to understand gambling is a business not a habit or a disease. And no matter who fathered their young daughter, she belongs to him and no one can ever change that.
Then there are the two young boys, Jimmy and Ruffie, who hunger for a relationship with their fathers. I wanted to express the devotion these boys have and that they see more than adults ever dream they do.
Will there be a third book? If so, when can we expect it?  
The next installment is called, "Coming Home." Francis learns to live again, finds a new love he wasn't looking for all the while wondering if he can commit to this new life with another woman. The boys, Jimmy and Ruffie are growing up and experiencing their own calamities as well.
As to when this may be published - I quit trying to figure that out a long time ago. I thought it would only be a year between my books, instead it took several years. All I can say, is I'm ready for the next book!
What message are you hoping to send with these books? 
My message is simple … it is never too late to start over, never too late to try again, and never too late to love oneself. And it is never too late to lean on God.
Please tell us more about your other published books.  
My first book, Memories Trail, is a war story/love story set in and around the War of 1812. Elizabeth has visions, she is kidnapped by Shawnee warriors and becomes friends with Tecumseh, the Shawnee warrior instrumental in the War of 1812, allied to the British. (Tecumseh is a real person in our American history and all the battles in the book are as accurate as I could make them.)

Will Douglas is a frontiersman, blood-brother to the Pawnee who were not in the War of 1812, but Will couldn't stand the injustice and became involved in the war. He befriended Tecumseh, retrieved Elizabeth and by doing so, fell in love with her. Their story takes them to the British fort in Detroit and then out west to hunt the buffalo, to the Louisiana Territory and back home to Kentucky. 

Tecumseh, also a man with visions, says he sees Will's death as easily as he sees his own. Despite Elizabeth's pleas, Will picks up his war club to assist the Indian cause. His actions bring destruction and heartache down upon all of them. 

Memories Trail is actually the first book in the series involving the Douglas family.
Do you have any other projects currently in the works? 
I'm working on a contemporary sci-fi romance where the werewolf and his soldiers are in league with the Almighty. Their plan, their mission, is to cleanse the universe of evilness. Bloodlust is a virtue, how else can they fight the evil and carry on?

Wade Axelman is a priest, warrior and the werewolf prince's protector. He and his prince are on Earth, watching over the young planet and have the common problem of memory loss while on the blue planet, which is no big deal since instinct rules their actions. But a young female reporter, human, messes up their simple life and fun and absurdity begins.
I've enjoyed my werewolf story so much, I'm currently working on the third book.

I'm also working on additional books in the Douglas family series. I have completed the stories up and through the Civil War. It's been intriguing writing about a family from one point in history to another. The research has been invigorating and watching the generations grow up and become main characters in their own stories is something I've always wanted to do. Jimmy and Ruffie become grown men, Jim and Ruf, and I can't decide which one I love more. Each has become unique with character flaws and strengths. I feel as if I've known them forever - and I have. I created them.
You work as a children's librarian. Have you ever considered writing children's books? 
I have 2 children's books written. I'm very particular at what is considered 'a children's picture book.' A picture book should not be laden with too many words. Each word reveals something important.

My books are: 
Mama Turtle's Hidden Treasure - a story about a sea turtle hatching her eggs along the shore.
Buddy - a story about an alley puppy finding a friend.
You grew up in a very small town. How do you feel this influenced your writing? 
Sometimes I credit that for my slow start. We didn't have 'writing' classes in our small school, so I never had the opportunity to hone my skills. I worked on the high school newspaper and that was about it. But I always knew writing was in my blood. I was often told I was too chatty with my reader whenever I wrote an essay. My college professors scolded me for the same reason. Now, I see books written directly to the reader and I wonder, heh! Maybe I was on to something and just didn't know how to proceed. 
What I so dearly enjoyed about growing up in a small town, was feeling safe, accepted and able to wander around without worry. There's an old saying, 'you never really leave a place you love.'
How does your faith influence you in your life as a writer and otherwise? 
Actually my faith is a strong presence in my writing. My wish is for my readers to find a relationship with God. I don't care if my readers go to church, I don't care if they are one denomination over another, I simply pray they discover a lasting faith. My characters find themselves in all kinds of messes, from infidelity to child abuse, and as they struggle and grow, they also learn to lean toward God. I veer away from preachy messages. My job is to plant a seed, the rest is up to the Almighty.
I try to live by the same philosophy in my everyday life. Everyone has struggles, but it's sure nice to have someone at your back, watching over you. I'm a firm believer if God led you to it, He'll see you through it!
What are some of your other hobbies? 
 I love, love, love hanging out with my kids and grandkids. We make wonderful meals together, make terrible messes and then try to look busy when it's time for clean-up. My husband and I enjoy traveling and try to get away as often as possible, which becomes a bit of a challenge with our different 'busy' times. We used to go boating, but have gotten a bit too lazy for all that work to be the river rats we once were. I enjoy reading, gardening, and I keep hoping I'll one day take up knitting. I've learned three times now and have only inches of a scarf as proof. I'm afraid my dream is bigger than my ambition. And movies! My family often quotes movie lines and then asks, "what movie?" It's a game that never ends.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you? 
I took belly-dancing classes with a girlfriend once. My shaky-shaky belt is now in with the Halloween costumes. Need I say more?
Is there anything else you would like to add?  
It was a joy to answer your questions and I hope you'll find the time to read a book by DL Larson! Thanks!
Thank you so much for your time!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

DL Larson always thought she’d be a city girl, but instead, she has spent the last 40 years surrounded by corn fields. She lives in northern Illinois and enjoys the outdoors, especially gardening, boating and bike riding with her family.

Reading is a big part of DL’s life, both professionally as a writer and as a Children’s Librarian.
She likes being in the know, seeing firsthand what folks like to read. Going back to school as an adult rejuvenated her desire to become a novelist. The writing awards she received lifted her up and reinforced her drive to tell the best story she could. Her second novel, Promises To Keep was a 2008 Reader’s Choice Recipient.

DL is a WindyCity member of RWA. She blogs each Thursday at

Connect with DL Larson
  Promises My Love
by LD Larson



The Story from Promises To Keep continues with … Promises My Love 
a novel by DL Larson

Francis Frailey fears he might become as abusive as his uncle once was, so he admires his young family from a distance. His plan is lonely, but safe, until his wife Christine sneaks past his staunch decorum. With tender devotion she coaxes him beyond his wretched childhood memories to a place where trust and love grows.

The fragile bond shatters when Francis’ family intervenes and he must decide if hate will rule his heart. Christine promises forgiveness will make him whole, but Francis aches for revenge. He’s determined to kill his uncle and be done.

Christine’s brother, Joe Douglas, has plans of his own that include asking his wife Annie to face her troubled past. But to help Christine, Joe agrees to go after Francis and bring him home. Taking his young son and nephew with him unhinges them all. Joe doesn’t know if the love Francis has for his son is stronger than the hate he harbors for his uncle. Or perhaps Francis despises himself most of all. Joe fears the wrong person may end up dead.

Read an excerpt:
Francis paced the confines of his office. A blind man could notice the change in his wife.

The slight tremor to her hands, fatigue, he knew, and it had worn on him. Plus her pale cheeks – damnation! Her face should be glowing! He’d taken her on several carriage rides in the last few weeks. His excuse had been that he needed time alone with her, when he’d been hoping to see her eyes sparkle and her cheeks turn rosy. Instead, she suffered with chills and it wasn’t cold.

His head pounded and frustration welled up ‘til he feared going home. His hand swiped through his hair and he stared at the jagged scars on his wrists. They seemed unnatural and many times he’d tried rubbing them away. Of course, that proved futile.

Darkness inched across the room, closing his wishful thoughts into a far corner of his mind. He needed to stay strong, but strength eluded him. Every day it grew harder to look at his wife. He only brought her misery and heartache. And now she had grown weaker because of him.

He charged out the door, and his strides down the boardwalk led straight to the saloon. One beer, he told himself, he’d stay for a beer then head home.

As he leaned against the bar, the room spread out before him didn’t ease his temperament in the least. Ruby was there, talking to men and boys alike. She didn’t need him bothering her. Ruby Joslin couldn’t help him. He knew that, but old habits were hard to break. For years he’d come here when he felt out of control.

The beer tasted bitter, like his miserable life, but he took another swig. Ruby didn’t want him visiting her. She had better customers than him. Any customer was better than him. He was beyond needing her to fight his demons. They both knew it.

Ruby sauntered about smiling and talking. She even laughed at something someone hollered out to her. Her gaze caught his and she looked away first, pretending not to recognize him.

Francis pretended as well. He acted as if all was well. His life was working out for the better. Suicide had never been his intentions. Nor murder. He loved his wife and kids. In fact, he adored his wife. That was what had brought him to the saloon in the first place all those years ago. Love. He’d needed to learn how to touch someone with tenderness, find a way to bank his temper and not turn into a monster if she wanted to touch him. He had no experience with love. He still had no idea how to treat someone he adored. How did one apologize for causing so much needless agony?

Ruby sashayed up the stairs with one of her regulars. Francis watched her go, breathing easier now. Tom Brady was known to buy Ruby for the night. With another shaky sigh, Francis set the half empty mug down. Another deep breath had him walking out the door.

Entering his own home took every ounce of fortitude he could muster. Christine’s soft welcoming smile cut off his breath. He felt near to collapsing at the beautiful sight of her.

“So there you are,” she offered, her voice full of candor. “The kids are already in bed. I promised Crystal you’d tuck her in when you got home.” She crossed the room to look at him standing speechless at the door. “I waited supper for you.”

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 DL will be awarding a copy of one of her previously published books, hardback (US only) or e-book format, to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!