Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our first review is in, and it's 5-STARS !

Our appreciation and thanks to Readers' Favorite for sharing their insight into Wesley Out West.

Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan
for Readers’ Favorite

"The story is exciting with a lot of bright and colorful illustrations. They make the characters come alive and they give good pace and movement to the story and scenes. It's a good bedtime storybook for children, and parents and grandparents can use it for their kids and grandkids. It's also good for read aloud sessions in classrooms and school libraries. Wesley the Walrus is adorable and it's nice to read about him trying to make his boring life more interesting.

The facts about marine animals given at the end of the book are informative and educational and give children more knowledge about these sea creatures. The author does a good job of introducing children to marine animals in a fun way, making it easy for them to understand. It's a good book for teachers and parents to teach children about marine life."

We could not ask for a better beginning than praise from Readers' Favorite.  For our story to be recognized as bringing knowledge to children fulfills our writing goals. We wanted to make the words easy to understand, yet provide teaching material.  What a blessing for these goals to also be recognized. 


Wesley Out West was delightfully illustrated by
Alan McCuller of MC2Graphics.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Joys of Writing

Writing has always been a part of my life. When I was just a child I loved to write poetry. The musical cadence to the rhymes were soothing to me and I used to hum along as I wrote each line. If I had been able to read and write music I may have written a song with all the poetry I created over the years.

Music is what started me wanting to write poetry. To me music is poetry in motion. I spent many hours listening to the radio and singing along and harmonizing with the singers. I had dreams of becoming a famous singer at one time but it was not to be. The only place I got to sing professionally for six months was with the Profile Chorus which is part of the Sweet Adeline’s International Chorus.

Though I still love to sing, writing became my passion. I write every day in some form, blogging, and letters to friends on social media, promoting my books, and last but most important is when I am working on a new story or editing an old one.

It is vital to incorporate some joy into one’s daily life. I am fortunate, thanks to God, to have found that joy in writing. When I was in school my teachers never had to force me to write a story, for there was always a story in my head waiting to come out. I remember all the moans and groans from the rest of the classes when an instructor mentioned an essay. I, on the other hand, felt excited to begin the task, or, should I say, the fun.

Writing opened doors to me that have never been opened before. Being an author has been my dream and to fulfill that dream is beyond my wildest imagination. I didn’t realize my dream until I retired from working as an administrative secretary in a school system. Now I take extreme pleasure in watching children enjoying my books. I write to share my words with children of all ages and adults, too. My talented husband, John, is my illustrator and cover creator and I feel blessed to have him by my side through all our books

When I write I pass from one idea to the next and each idea has a new door and a new place to explore. There is much to enjoy as each new door opens and reveals what is behind it. Sometimes there is fantasy; other times there is mystery or a young children’s animal story. It is a pure joy to discover what there is to learn and grow from each new writing experience. With each book that I create I feel that I am growing stronger and more resilient with my writing. I am sure there is much more to come and improvement along the way with God’s help. Multiple stories simultaneously run around in my head and I can’t keep them straight. I must write them down as soon as I possibly can or they will be lost to be replaced by others. 

Like my motto says: Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! When I write I soar! I wish for all readers to read and have fun discovering the joy inside the stories that I create.

On my blog I try to create interesting posts that share my joy in writing. On my website I showcase my books for all ages. It is of the utmost importance that parents spend some time every day reading to their children; thus encouraging them to become readers themselves. My goal is to inspire children to read and by doing so hope to enable children to learn to love reading. This love of reading will empower them to one day become more successful and grow into happy, healthy and contented adults

Below are the links to my books: 

Book 2 coming soon!
Novel 18+ - Hunting Mariah
Newest children’s book - Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey

Blessings and love to all! 
Janice Spina

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Discovering a book-- again! Spiritual food in fascinating "fiction?"

I write, but I also read a lot just to relax. The other day, I finished enjoying a book earlier than I anticipated.  I must admit that once I get into a reading frame of mind, it is like an addict with his drug of choice. I must read until I cannot absorb another word.  This night, I realized that ceiling was not yet hitting my head. So, I began searching through my multiple book shelves for something I might enjoy reading again.  I don't usually read a book more than once, but my addiction was eating me alive, and I had to feed my hunger.

Five minutes later, I stumbled upon "The Shack," by Wm. Paul Young.  I vaguely remembered sitting down with the book a few years ago, but for some reason I did not read very far into the book.  Just returned it to the bookshelves.  This time, I read the back cover. The theme sounded solid: a man suffering immense loss and hurt is led back to his past, and directly into the scene of his greatest hurt.  There, he meets some familiar strangers.  Strangers, for sure; but, with a sweetness he remembered as once knowing, but sorrowfully long lost.

This time, as I settled into the book, I could hardly put it down to eat or sleep.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and if one looks objectively from a distance, the circumstances are always used by God for human benefit, whether evil or good,  happy or sad.  Young uses the question humans have asked for centuries as the basis for a fascinating voyage into the possibilities of God's nature.   Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?   For personal reasons, the questions and discussions found within the story had a more resounding affect on me today than they would have if I read the book three years ago.  So much in my life has changed over those, and the past 25 years.  Taking time to consider the knowledge of God's nature as displayed in the book gives me a little more insight into my own condition, and I even made sense of some of the questions in my own life that have haunted me for years.

Faith plays a tremendous part in my life, and The Shack covers each page with faith: faith in God, faith in his deity and being, and faith in giving our hurts over to God so that He can work a miracle in our hardened and scarred hearts. Above all, faith that we are here to pass along God's messages through our good and not-so-good days, and that our lives are not lived in vain. God has a purpose that we are assigned to fulfill.

The Shack is a book of fiction -- but at its core is a book bespeaking of faith, prayer and soul searching. It was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and millions of copies were sold when first published in 2007.  The rich and famous, such as Kathie Lee Gifford, David Gregory, Michael W. Smith (recording artist), and artists, publishers and people of faith across the country endorsed the book.

Why not read it yourself?  If you already read it, why not read it again?  It will bring to remembrance why we are on earth and allow us a glimpse of heaven's glory at the same time. 

#faith, #God, #heaven, #sorrow, #healing, #spiritual healing, #God's nature, #Jesus the Son, #God the father, #the Spirit, #The Shack, #Wm. Paul Young, #eternity, #spiritual relationship

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Today I met a new Twitter friend. He's from Texas but now lives in Chicago. When I teased him about how he ended up in Chicago, he said "bad luck."  That phrase stayed with  me all day.

Bad luck.  He meant it as a joke, of course.   From his biography, messages, and vast number of follower, I'd say this gentleman has led a pretty exciting life. But, how often do we hear it said it utter seriousness. How often do you fall back on it as an excuse when something negative happens to you in your daily life?

Far too often, I think we, as humans, try to escape the reality that our own actions can defeat our purposes and our goals are sometimes sabotaged by distorted thinking. It's a lot easier to blame the weather for us snapping at the grocery clerk who was a little slow today, or something someone said that diverted us from completing that task we meant to complete. Or, maybe it was just bad luck that the lights were all wrong, thus keeping us from picking the  clothes up from the cleaners. You know: the clothes that your husband really needed for tomorrow's big meeting--the ones you could have picked up yesterday, but decided it would wait another day to do.
I thought a lot about luck today, and decided I don't believe in luck. I believe in God, miracles, choices, decisions, and consequences.  And I really can't think of anything that doesn't fall into one of those categories.  Can you?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Read and be blessed today.


A friend of mine recently shared his view on a very trending topic.  Agree or disagree with his reasoning; however, I encourage you to take a moment and evaluate his logic. Examine your own wisdom leading you own, maybe sometimes volatile, reaction regarding this issue. Read and be blessed today.

"I've got plenty to say, but have chosen to sit back on this one pretty much. It seems to me that any legal contract or license available to some should be available to all. I'm not convinced being gay is a lifestyle choice or a choice to sin; gay people are born gay. I used to not believe this until I spent years as a chemical dependency counselor, researched these issues in college, and, more importantly, gained many valuable gay friends and colleagues along the way and learned of their struggles. I always had this recurring thought that it would have been easier for them to NOT come out based on the myriad of struggles and sacrifices they endured when they did.

This point seems to be the crux of the issue, especially for those who morally oppose homosexuality. I would suggest to the moral opposition:  simply allow people to face whatever consequences you think they're going to face. (Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5) 

The bigger question, in my opinion, is why government needs to be involved with the legality of marriage in the first place? A form of civil contract between consenting participants seems sufficient. The IRS and divorce attorneys are super excited.

On the other side of this issue, I believe that religious people are completely free to believe whatever they like so long as another's inalienable rights aren't violated. Within that context, those with religious beliefs should not be forced to act against those beliefs as that would be another form of rights-violations. Just get your cake somewhere else and/or get married by a public official or clergy that supports your purpose.

We all have beliefs, incentives, and options. Let's each follow our own path and not impede the direction of another. Live and let live."              Cary

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Write your own legacy: why living now matters more than ever

by Michelle A. Homme 2015 ©

Life is short.  We all know that, but how many of us actually understand it? We each have “x” amount of time that we are here – we just don’t know how many minutes or days are captured in “x”. Chances are, we will all leave something left undone, not said words we should have said, and wished we had spent more time with our loved ones.  

Some of us set out to get through life while others with little to no fanfare while others set out to do something newsworthy and important.  

Recently, a man from North Dakota made news by writing his own obituary that only included two words besides his name – “Doug died” and that was the way the news of his death was shared in his local paper.  Although it may have seemed insignificant and minor, the lack of words listed in his obituary actually brought quite a bit of attention from other news sources.  In fact, here is a clip from a video from USA Today ( detailing his story in a few more words.  This man was simple, very humble, and apparently wanted to have the last laugh. 

He got it.

But that started me thinking…this man had lived for 85 years and all we knew about him was that he was no longer here.  I know he had at least one daughter just from the video, but there was so much that was left untold, hidden as if held in a mystery somewhere in North Dakota.  I began to have questions like, “What did he do for a living?” “Was he always quick witted?” “Are any of his children like him?” 

And all I knew about him was that he died.

I also wondered what they would say about him at his funeral.  Would the eulogy be just as short?  Would the family even bother printing a program if there was no information in it? 

The best thing about Doug is that he was one step ahead of the rest of us – he looked at life and lived it – on his terms.  He died that way, so I can only assume he lived the same way. 

But how many of us live in the present?  Living life to the fullest, every single day?

Chances are, not many.  We are in such a state of getting somewhere that we forget where we are.  Our lives are hectic and full of chaos that we overlook the time that really matters most – how living our BEST lives matters now and why that is what people will remember long after we are gone.

Every day that we give more just because we can, we write our legacy.  Every chance we take, we write our legacy.  Every moment was cherish, we write our legacy.  Every word we say stains our hearts for years to come, leaving a legacy.

Life is short and leaving a legacy begins with how we live our lives now. Right now.  Today. Not tomorrow. 

So ask yourself a few questions:  How do you want to be remembered?  What will people say about how you impacted their lives?  What memories will they cherish and hold dear?  Did you think more of others than you thought of yourself?  Did you love so deeply that it never ran out?  Did you stand up for what’s right, even if it meant you stood alone?  Were you passionate about a cause for justice or humanity?  Were you courageous in pursuing your dream?  Were you humble, unassuming, thoughtful, and generous with your talents and time?

Writing your legacy does not require any additional work from you…all it asks is that you live your best life.  The one filled with no regrets, no excuses, and no complaints.  The only question is, “When will you start?”

Maybe we could all take a lesson from Doug Legler…because when it is all said and done, people will know what you did with your time here.  Our obituaries should have just two words…maybe mine will simply read, “I lived.”

Michelle A. Homme is a published author and energetic speaker, bringing her personal experiences, life-oriented stories, and inspirational message to everyone she meets.  She has a degree in Political Science and is married with three sons.  Her women empowerment group, The G.I.F.T.™ has 75 members and is heading into its 4th year and has been blogging about life and the change she has seen in it for over five and a half years.  Michelle also writes quotes about life, change, and love and is nearing the completion of releasing her podcast as well. In addition, she will start writing her second book this fall.  She will get you to think about where you are and where you want to be and how looking at life a little differently can make all the difference.  For more information, you can find her at