Monday, March 27, 2017


  As some of you know already, I will be "going
         through the health construction zone " for a period of time. 
         I am an 8-1/2 year ovarian cancer survivor, however the 
         cancer returned with a tumor in my pelvis in Oct. 2016.

  Since then I have been receiving chemotherapy drugs plus 
          Avastin which stops the blood supply to tumors. I am
          happy to say the tumor has shrunk to where the gyn-
          colonic-oncologist surgeon is anticipating an uncompl-
          icated colon resection to remove the tumor.

(An image of the colon. Right?)

   My surgery will be Tuesday, March 28 and I will be in the hospital for a week and then an indeterminate time of recovery.

   As soon as I am able to be on my computer and 
           a clear mind to write, I will have this site up and 
           running again. Hopefully there will be no detour
           or stop signs; but only "construction complete."

   I have great faith in my gynecologic oncologist
            surgeon, his team of nurses, and most important I know
            that The Great Physician is with me every minute of
            every day. He will also be guiding the surgeons.

   I will try to keep you updated as to how my health is in
           the construction zone. I thank you for your prayers
           and support. I anticipate a beautiful road of life ahead.

    Karen Ingalls


Friday, March 24, 2017


Let's celebrate this last half of March with reading a book each week. Turn off the television and turn on music of your liking; sit in your favorite chair; have a beverage of choice near by; and then open up a book. 

With a book you will travel to faraway places and meet amazing people, real or imagined.
Historical facts and figures might be available.
You will have romantic, spiritual, emotional, or historical experiences.

       If you are a writer and/or blogger I invite you to check out
                       The Sully Award Competition

Here are some books that I have recently read, which I highly recommend:
     Pregnant Future by Joy Lo-Bamijoko
     The Neon Houses by Linda Mims
     Subnormal by Stuart Kenyon
     There is a Reaper by Michael Lynes
     Cottage on the Border by Hannah Warren
     Loggerhead by T.A. Peters
     The Elixir by Lori Soard

These are just a few of the many great books I have read. I have chosen to highlight these because they are on a wide variety of subjects and represent different genres.

And, I must include my own books:

     Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (based on the true story of America's premier sculptor and his 25 year love affair with his model).
     Novy's Son (a look at the importance of a father's role in the life of his son. As a nurse therapist I counseled several men who had this issue. It also was true for my grandfather, father, and sons).
     Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. This book is for anyone who has faced a life-threatening or life-changing illness. You will learn about healthy ways to cope as well as about the deadliest form of gynecologic cancer.


Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Friday, March 17, 2017


Mindful Monday – P. S. I Forgive You, by D. G. Kaye

Welcome to Mindful Monday. Each week I look at new or sometimes old things about myself on my journey to becoming more conscious about my life journey. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I try to engage in the present.
Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.
I have something different for you this week. It’s a book review of a novel that touched me deeply. The subject matter had to do with a journey and a liberation of pent up emotions that enabled the author to find peace. If that is not a mindful journey, I don’t know what is.
Mindfulness is about change, understanding, and acceptance of who we are and who we want to become. We all have a journey, and who we are as children changes through the years into adulthood. Perhaps it has to do with maturity, but we all get to a certain age where reflection leads to deeper understanding and forgiveness of the things we simply cannot change.
Please let me introduce:
  • Title:  P. S. I Forgive You – A Broken Legacy
  • Author: D.G. Kaye
  • File Size: 358 KB
  • Print Length: 107 Pages
  • Publisher: Self-Published by Author
  • Publication Date: 9/26/2016
  • Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Parenting and Relationships, Family Literature, Biography, Memoirs
“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”
“Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling, heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.
After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.”
How many of us come from dysfunctional families? I know I certainly came from one. However, when you are the child of a narcissistic mother, those wounds fester and bleed well into adulthood becoming baggage that hangs around your heart. Almost certainly, these feelings are accompanied by guilt and a desire to understand why a mother could treat her own flesh and blood in such a demeaning way. Especially, when you would never think of treating your own children with such disdain.
This is the author’s journey to redemption. She sets out to explain the reasons why her mother treated her and her siblings in such a derogatory manner. What she discovers is her own strength and determination to come to grips with the revelations that none of this treatment was her fault. The final realizations pivot the reader to experience the liberation of a survivor, first hand, with empathy and compassion for the author and her family.
I followed D. G. Kaye’s path into a state of mindfulness, where she focuses on the present while acknowledging and accepting her feelings and thoughts from the past. At times, I cried right along with the family, feeling old emotions of my own boil to the surface. Ultimately, the story ends when understanding is achieved and the only avenue left is that of forgiveness.
This is a poignant novel filled with inspiration and strength. By the end of the story, I felt like D. G. Kaye, and I had become close friends, and she was telling me that my hunt to dispell my own childhood demons was going to be all right. If you have a narcissistic family member, this is the book for you. Believe me, you will never feel alone again.
Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Author, D.G. Kaye
About the Author
“D.G. Kaye was born and resides in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of Conflicted Hearts – A Daughter’s Quest for Solace From Emotional Guilt, Meno-What? – A Memoir, and Words We Carry. D.G. is a nonfiction/memoir writer. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life and the lessons that were taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcomes some of the many obstacles that challenged her. From an emotionally neglected childhood to growing up with a narcissistic mother, leaving her with a severely deflated self-esteem, D.G. began seeking a path to rise above her issues. When she isn’t writing intimate memoirs, Kaye brings her natural sense of humor into her other works.
D.G. began writing when pen and paper became tools to express her pent-up emotions during a turbulent childhood. Her writing began as notes and cards she wrote for the people she loved and admired when she was afraid to use her voice.
Through the years, Kaye journaled about life, writing about her opinions on people and events and later began writing poetry and health articles for a Canadian magazine as her interest grew in natural healthcare. Kaye became interested in natural healing and remedies after encountering a few serious health issues. Against many odds, D.G. has overcome adversity several times throughout her life.
D.G. began writing books to share her stories and inspiration. Her compassion and life experiences inspire her to write from the heart. She looks for the good and the positive in everything and believes in paying it forward.
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return, Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
D.G.’s Favourite Saying: “Live. Laugh. Love …and don’t forget to breathe!”
When D.G. is not writing, she’s reading. Her favourite genres of reading are biographies, memoirs, writing and natural health. Kaye loves to read about people who overcome adversity, victories, and redemption and believes we have to keep learning–there is always room for improvement! She loves to cook, travel, and play poker (when she gets the chance).”
Thanks for stopping by and offering your support. It always makes the path easier when we have friends along for the ride.
Remember… If you would like to join me with your mindful goals, please do. The whole idea is to start thinking about ways that you can get in touch with your own mindfulness needs and how it pertains to your life. Write about it. We all learn from each other’s experiences.
If you’d like, you can link to my post with a ping-back each week in a separate post on your own blog. I will add your blog to a list of Mindful Monday supporters that others can visit to gain motivation on each of my Mindful Monday posts. I’m happy to see you!
Until next week. Don’t forget to let me know how your week is going. 

Monday, March 13, 2017


Ten Ubiquitous Tips for Getting Book Reviews, and How Reviews Impact Authors

book reviewsI recently got a book review that I didn’t care for. It was a five-star review, but one of the comments was, in my opinion, way off the mark. Which got me thinking…
  • Why would the reviewer give the book five stars if it was lacking in some way?
  • Why are there not better criteria for reviews?
  • We need reviews as a mark of credibility, but how credible are the reviewers?
I’m not going to say which book of mine I mean or who reviewed it or what comment I didn’t like. I’m bringing all this up because I think we need to have a frank discussion about reviews. I knew I was taking that particular comment personally, so I decided to look at reviews of books I had no stake in. I looked at reviews of bestsellers. You know, books by household names that have hundreds of reviews.
It was eye-opening. I don’t feel so bad anymore. Or I feel bad on behalf of those authors. It’s kind of a fifty-fifty mix.
I didn’t just look at the number of stars, I actually read the comments. Two reviews right next to each other would completely contradict each other.
  • Reader 1 said the book was cliché but well edited.
  • Reader 2 said the storyline was fresh but had typos throughout.
Three reviews would have similar comments, but each would rank the novel differently.
  • Reader 3 said the book was a fun and fast read—four stars.
  • Reader 4 said the pacing was good and the content was easy to follow—three stars.
  • Reader 5 said the novel kept his or her interest and he or she finished the book quickly—two stars.
Aren’t these basically the same thing? There’s no consistency.
My favorite reviews (and please note my sarcastic tone here) are these:
  • “I hated it.” Particularly when they give two or three stars instead of one.
  • “I don’t usually read science fiction, but I tried this novel. I didn’t like it.” Of course he or she didn’t like it. That reader doesn’t like science fiction!
Shouldn’t there be some oversight on these? How are they fair or helpful assessments of the work?
The good folks at Amazon, bless their hearts, have decided to exert some control on reviews and reviewers.
They don’t allow authors to pay for reviews. I can understand that. The wealthy could circumvent their algorithms that way and rise to the top of the charts. But what about authors who don’t have any public exposure yet? Shouldn’t they be allowed to pay a service to distribute their books in exchange for an honest review? The waters get murky here. Those services exist, and the reviewers are supposed to say, “I received a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.” But some of them don’t say that. Why, you ask? Because Amazon sometimes removes those reviews. And readers hate taking the time to read and review something only to have their assessment removed, so they leave that statement off. Problem is, they didn’t buy the book, so they aren’t verified purchasers. Amazon takes note of those, and “seemingly” on a whim deletes some of them.
Per Amazon’s customer help page: 
When we find unusually high numbers of reviews for a product posted in a short period of time, we may restrict the number of non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews on that product.
Well, I guess that’s one way the non-verified purchase reviews get bumped. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen reviews get bumped that weren’t because of high traffic days, though.
Another way Amazon interferes is by deleting reviews from people they think know each other. That means not only family and friends, but also author reviews of other authors. Because they’re either friends trading reviews or they’re competitors trying to hurt each other. I guess Amazon never considered that writers are voracious readers. It’s pretty likely that we’ll read a book once in a while, and because we know how important reviews are, we will review what we’ve read. Doesn’t matter to them, though. If they think you know the writer or are competing with the writer, they’ll pull your review.
Per Amazon’s customer help page:
We take the integrity of the Community very seriously. Any attempt to manipulate Community content or features, including by contributing false, misleading, or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited.
In other words, don’t game the system. As for whether authors and reviewers are manipulating things? Well, I’ll leave that to you, and them, to decide.
It seems like Amazon is always coming down on the side of caution, right? That’s fair, always taking a hard angle one hundred percent of the time.
Wrong. That’s not what happens. Here’s where the whole thing breaks down.
A long time ago, I swear it said reviews are supposed to be at least twenty words. I can’t find where it says that now. I suppose I could be wrong. (Old age and memory issues, I guess.) It’s possible a review could be one word. “Great.” Or “Awful.” Or somewhere in between. But is that really a review? I’ve seen plenty of reviews that simply say, “I hated it.” How is that helpful? If a customer can’t learn anything useful from a review, it should be pulled. That person is far more likely to be trying to hurt an author than the reviewer from the example above.
If a book is listed in the “mystery” genre, and a reviewer bashes it by saying, “I hate mysteries, and I didn’t like this one, either,” then Amazon should pull it. The author is getting a bad review from a negatively-biased source.
Per Amazon’s customer help page:
The Community is intended to provide helpful, relevant content to customers. Content you submit should be relevant and based on your own honest opinions and experience.
So, yeah. There’s that. I’m not sure how relevant or helpful some of these reviews are, but Amazon didn’t ask my opinion. I guess technically they’re taking those biased opinions, instead, though.
If Amazon wants to monitor reviews, then they should be just as concerned about treating the author fairly as they are about treating the reviewer fairly.
You probably think this rant (and I do apologize for the negative tone so far) is just sour grapes from an author who has few reviews, has had many reviews removed, has had reviews she’s written denied, and who has recently received a review she didn’t like. I’m honest enough to admit that might be part of it. But a small part.
You see, the problem doesn’t just impact me. It impacts all writers.
Sure, we can click on the “yes, this is helpful” or “no, this isn’t helpful” buttons all day to try to move good reviews higher and bad reviews lower. We can petition Amazon to remove damaging reviews (good luck with that). We can beg family, friends, and neighbors to read and review our work and hope Amazon doesn’t think they know us.
But all of that work is basically like adding a single blank page to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I have that book. It’s massive. Trust me, no one would notice.
It’s doubtful anyone will notice the two reviews you manage to get from blatant begging, either.
My best advice is to keep following the best practices you find all over the web. As promised, here are ten ubiquitous tips for getting exposure for your book.
  1. Build your email list.
  2. Start a street team.
  3. Offer free books.
  4. Request reviews.
  5. Put an author note in the back of the book to your readers.
  6. Maintain fresh content on your website and your social media platforms.
  7. Try a book tour.
  8. Run targeted ads.
  9. Trade guest posts with like-minded authors.
  10. Give more than you take.
With a good product and a lot of hard work, the reviews will come. Or so they tell me.
There’s no fix—simple or otherwise—for the review process. Everyone has a different scale and a different opinion. For authors with hundreds or thousands of reviews, the average probably indicates the quality of the book. But for those writers just starting out, the average of five reviews may not be as balanced.
My recommendation? Keep your chin high and your skin thick. And most importantly, keep on writing your next novel.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


I am honored to have my guest this week, Margaret Kazmierczak as my guest this week. In this interview you will learn about how she came to write her book and why she loves to write. 
Leave a comment or question at the end of the interview for a chance to win a copy of her book in ebook fashion.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

     As a child the English language was a nightmare as I found it so hard to master. At twelve I still could barely read however I had a vibrant imagination. The books I loved were picture ones and I would make up my own stories to go along with the colorful illustrations.
     As a young adult I entered a Religious Order and the strictness triggered off my sense of humor. I would write humous little quips. These were my first written examples. The smiles and chuckles gave me a great boost and my poor grammar and spelling seemed a mountain that I could climb and overcome. I submitted an essay to the Retreat Master about the role of the church in encouraging the clergy to bring hope to their congregations instead of preaching about empty seats. He told me that if I ever gave up the life of a religious sister i should become a writer.
     In retrospect I have been a story teller all my life. I loved telling my children bedtime stories. Actually being a writer did not dawn on me as a possibility but i felt I had a book wishing me. In my fifties I became unwell and God turned my life upside down. During this time I wrote and prayed and a book was born. A book that changed my life and prayer, instead of saying give me this or take away that, I realized the most important prayer was "yes" to his will and not mine. I found it hard to write a non-fiction book so this concept was intertwined into a fictional journal but with a real heartfelt message for all Christians through family life.

 How long does it typically take you to write a book?

    This is a hard question to answer because my first book took around two years due to coping with chronic fatigue. I wrote when I could and there were times of empty pages waiting to be filled. I still take time with my writing as my illness dictates my concentration levels. I do blog as this easier and takes less time. 
    Writing is a great release. writing a story line in my head is much simpler as I watch it like a movie unraveling before me---I don't need to write words or worry about grammar, as a result the story lines take less time but are never written.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

     I am not sure I have an interesting writing quirk, although the book in itself is quirky as it is different from other Christian books. I have tried to make it relevant to Christians trying to cope with everyday life and living in the presence of God. People have asked how to pray, what to say. How to Make Victoria Sponge helps with these questions, but in a human and humorous way. She is normal, copes with every day trials, laughs at the joys, and gets frustrated with a cold shower. She could be your or me, and I love her.
    Having said that perhaps my writing quirk is the title. So many people congratulate me on a cook book. The truth is that those who know me, know I cannot cook. So that would be something to be congratulated on. I love the play on words How to Make Victoria Sponge, because the book is about ingredients such as life, experiences, how we deal with them, etc. All of which makes us who we are.

What do you like to do when you're not writing

      I have to confess I love games like Farm Heroes Saga, and any match three game as well as Solitaire. I love reading, especially action thrillers, science fiction, dystopian novels. My favorite author is Ted Dekker, but it takes me quite a while to read a book.
     I love the countryside, walking and taking photos. I enjoy sitting on the couch listening to my children talking, planning for the future, and laughing together. I treasure meeting new people and hearing about their stories. My husband always makes me laugh---he as a brain the size of a planet but no common sense. He is always very encouraging and says he loves my writing. I am intrigued by family history because again there are so many stories to be uncovered.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

     I think the statement "A book is never finished" may well be top of the list. no matter how many times you read it during its birth you will still find things that could been written better or worded differently. It is after all a skill that needs to be honed and crafted and this can take many years. I am only at the beginning of my journey and have a lot to learn. Thankfully there are some wonderful in Christian groups who are so generous with their time and knowledge willing to share their expertise with new authors.

What do you hate most about the writing process?

     That my fingers and brain don't work fast enough. Often I am awakened at 0500 with an idea and I know that I cannot go back to sleep until I have written it down. Then more ideas come and it might change the whole story line, which means I have to either disregard it or try to work with it. Or it can be an idea for a completely new story, which distracts me from the work in progress. I have lots of half started stories saved onto the hard drive, but i can only concentrate on one.

What do you think makes a good story?

    I think a strong plot is important along with well rounded and strong characters. In my book you have the main character, Victoria Sponge, who is an ordinary woman who says "yes" to God each morning even though she does not know what His question is for the day. The you have God showing Victoria how her day parallels Jesus' day during his last week---Lent. There are petitions from Victoria intermingled with her daily exploits.

     For example: "As i think about the delights of washing away the stress of this morning's preschool antics, I step under the shower head. IT IS COLD. I jump back out of the way shaking with the shock of being drenched by such a stark realization that my family has left me with no hot water. I grind my teeth in frustration and mutter impure thoughts about each o my offspring. Aaaaaah."

     "Oh Lord, I understand that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, but could you organize a warm shower for me just for once? I have served my family this morning and the least I ask for is a little bit of consideration. You said ask and you shall receive. Well, I am asking for a shower with hot water. It's not much!"

   An how does God answer this petition? Well, you will have to read the book to find out. Each day moves into the next and builds up the stages of the Passion as well as building up Victoria in her journey of faith.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

     My idea for this book came when I accepted the calling to write a prayer book with a difference. I felt drawn to encourage others, a commission I have felt was given to me by God. By listening to people's experiences, observing behaviors and many events have actually taken place in many households, supermarkets, and schools. You may recognize some of them, or see yourself in the pages. So many ideas come from everyday events and I added humor to them for seasoning. You may well find yourself laughing and crying and nodding your head saying, "Oh yes, seen and done that." 

Where can we find your books?


Will you give us an excerpt from your book?

     I shall share the letter Victoria's son Johnny wrote to her.

Dear Mum,
I am sorry for the things I said to you. I don't hate you; I just get so angry inside with myself for being me. I don't  understand who I am, but thank you for your lofe, for knowing my limitations and accepting them. I feel like I am serving a life term in prison. I see you standing out of reach. I try to reach you but my body and mind are trapped behind the bars. I stretch my arm as far as possible but the bars prevent me from reaching you, from hugging you and showing my true feelings. I am a prisoner unable to escape the cell of my disability. I long to be free to express my inner self, to be part of your world, to join in and be like everyone else. I hate being different, trapped in a parallel world, a world that is alien to you and the family, seeing, but unable to partake. There is no key, not even a lock to put a key in, no release. I am a reluctant prisoner, confined indefinitely, with no reprieve date. What heinous crime have I committed to be serving this sentence? How do I find freedom? I may not show it but I do love you, I always have. Thanks for having in there for me. Johnny.
I hold the letter to my heart. What a revelation from my son and disturbing too. His life seen as a prisoner, locked forever in an inescapable fortress of the mind, certainly not by choice. But unknown to him he has found the slit, a chink in the iron, a route out. for the very first time I am able to see his world from his side of the door. there might not be a lock with a keyhole in it, but he has opened it fractionally with a pen.
"Oh Lord, you understand about being a prisoner, charged as a criminal and sentenced without being guilty. You rose above it all. Help me to mirror your example to help my son to be who you made him to be."

Thank you Karen for this opportunity to tell you and your readers about my book. I have enjoyed speaking to you and sharing some of my thoughts. 

                             TO MAKE VICTORIA SPONGE"

FB Author Page:



Guest blogger on:

CelebrateLit Publishing



Amazon Author page:

on February 6, 2017 Review:

How to describe this contemporary story about a married, working mother of four children; most of them teenagers, and her weekly battle to be wife, mother, teacher, neighbor, protector, encourager, maid, daughter, and healer? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, "Pray without ceasing." (KJV), and that is the core of this book. Victoria Sponge wakes each day to the chaos and commotion of dramatic teens, a sensitive young child, a busy husband, distracted preschool toddlers, a father with Alzheimer's, a neighbor in distress, bullies at school, audits, accidents and more. Maintaining her composure, faith, and acting with compassion is challenging. How does she do it? She wakes each day saying, "Yes!" to God, and praying and praising God through her day regardless of the situation and challenge. This book is good, but it is not one that can be read in large doses. There is a great deal of scriptural 'meat' to chew on and ponder. The more I read, the more I found myself praying along with Victoria and often her prayers became my prayers for the situations in my own stressful day. There are some tough topics in the book which the author handles with candidness and empathy. Is this an easy book to read - No. Is it worth reading - Yes!
Note: The author uses British spellings and terminology.
Final thought: I would consider this a very interesting book for a bible study or Sunday school study as it offers plenty of topics for discussion - topics that are both personal and spiritual all pointing to building a strong relationship with God.

                         HERE IS A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE E-BOOK