Book Review: “Whisper to My Heart”

Whisper to My Heart: A Contemporary Christian Romance Novel by [Durgin, JoAnn]

I love books where the story is set in my home town or, in the case of Whisper to My Heart, my home state, Georgia. Although set in the fictitious town of Darling, Georgia, JoAnn Durgin has done a wonderful job of capturing the small town, everybody-knows-everybody atmosphere.    

And then, there’s the music. Our heroine, Anna, is a classical concert pianist, who has escaped to Darling, Georgia, to rest and recover from an extremely busy concert season. She takes a job at the local diner, not because she needs the money, but so she can meet some of the locals.

It is at the diner that she meets Weston, a crew member of an Atlanta-based construction firm, who is in town to build a bank.

I will not divulge any more of the story. You need to buy the book!

But I will say that JoAnn has once again written a beautiful love story that has many scriptures and or scripture references included. She has even included the “salvation plan”as we Baptists call it.

Add to this mix, a cast of crazy, funny people and you have the makings of another hit book by JoAnn Durgin.


I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinion expressed here is solely my own.






What to Say to a Depressed Loved One

Welcome! I’m delighted to have Dr. Michelle Bengston as my guest today. Dr. Bengston recently published Hope Prevails, a excellent book of God-given wisdom and encouragement. Enjoy the below article and then connect with Michelle at http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com.


Book Review: More Than A Promise

Product Details

A heroine who truly believes she is not pretty, a “plain Jane,” if you will. She dresses in unusual outfits. But she is centered in God, and confident in Him. She is faithful. Elle Drake creates beautiful pottery and is well known for her works.

Good-looking, but with haunted eyes, Matt Wilmot and his three sons move into the house next door to Elle. Through a series of mischievous mishaps by his sons, Matt meets Elle . . . and, well you’ll have to buy the book to find out.

In More Than a Promise, Ruth Logan Herne has written a beautiful love story. But it’s more than a love story, it is full of adventure (again, think three mischievous boys). It’s a story of healing for both Elle and Matt. A story of redemption. And a story of new beginnings.

You will be captivated from the first page to the last and will find yourself wanting more. It is simply that good.


About the Author: Ruth Logan Herne is the mother of six and grandmother to fourteen. She and her husband, Dave, live on a farm in upstate New York. She works full-time but carves out a few hours each day to write the ind of stories she likes to read, filled with poignancy, warmth, and delightful characters. She is a 2011 Carol Award finalist from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).


The Whisperer

I am so pleased to have Joanie Shawhan as my guest blogger today. Joanie and I met two years ago at a WordGirls Writing Retreat Weekend. Joanie is a survivor of ovarian cancer – so she knows first-hand about what she writes.

The Whisperer

by Joanie Shawhan

Stop. Listen! Do you hear the whispers of ovarian cancer? This insidious disease assaults over 20,000 unsuspecting women per year and is the most lethal of all female cancers. Since there are no screening tests, it is often diagnosed in the latter stages.

Despite my background in oncology nursing, I missed the whispers of ovarian cancer. Over the course of several months, I experienced nausea, mistaking these episodes for the flu. Fleeting thoughts of ovarian cancer crept into my mind, but I dismissed them. I rationalized. This nausea is too infrequent to be ovarian cancer.

 But in September 2006, I rolled over in bed and felt a hard grapefruit-size mass in my abdomen. The whisperer roared.

My doctor thought it was a uterine fibroid, but we needed to schedule an ultrasound. In the darkened room, the ultrasound technician furrowed her brow and shot me a glance. Something was wrong.

After examining the images, my doctor announced her verdict—ovarian cancer—the size of a cantaloupe. She rattled off the tests and surgery that needed to be scheduled. Words spilled over her lips, sounding foreign and distant. I sat numb, frozen. Is she talking to me?

I had witnessed the devastating side effects of chemotherapy suffered by my patients, and vowed that I would never undergo chemo. But now, I felt powerless to carry out this resolution. The side effects of the drugs terrified me: baldness, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and a life-threatening allergic reaction.

My nursing scrubs and shoes gave way to tieback gowns and skid-free gripper socks. I was one of them, dragged through the theme park of cancer.

Today, I am cancer free. I lost myself to ovarian cancer, but in losing myself, I found a new purpose and calling in my life—to advocate for and educate women regarding ovarian cancer. One way I do this is by writing encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Stop and listen for the symptoms that whisper. The life you save may be your own.

 Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:

  •   Pain or pressure in the pelvis, abdomen or lower back
  •   Abdominal bloating or a sense of fullness
  •  Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, gas or indigestion
  •  Urinary frequency or urgency
  •  Fatigue

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.

joanieshawhanJoanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy. Her publishing credits include Coping with Cancer magazine and God Still Meets Needs. She speaks to medical practitioners in the Survivors Teaching Students program. Check out her blog at www.joanieshawhan.com


Writer, Do You Want to Break into the Homeschool Market?

Today, I’m delighted to host Susan K. Stewart, member of WordGirls and an award-winning author. If you’ve ever thought about homeschooling your children, you need to read this article!

Writer, Do You Want to Break Into the Homeschool Market?
by Susan K. Stewart

At a Christian trade show recently I asked representatives of several publishers about tween novels to review for my homeschool audience. Generally the reaction was “We have this curriculum or this journal.” I was looking for novels, not curriculum.

This reinforced that many in the publishing world think homeschoolers only want “teaching” material. They have trouble breaking into the market because they don’t know it.

My sons loved Lee Roddy’s books. Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson is another favorite of homeschoolers. Neither series is written specifically for homeschoolers, but are enjoyed because the stories are fun and well written.

Like Roddy and Erickson, you can break into the homeschool market. Here’s how:

Step 1 – Know the market.
You can read all the statistics about an average homeschooler. It’s far better, though, if you get to them yourself. Read the homeschool websites, attend homeschool events open to the public, and, with permission, follow homeschool social media groups.

Step 2 – Write well.
Just like anyone else, homeschoolers want well-written books. The story is the key.

Step 3 – Don’t make assumptions.
Don’t assume only homeschoolers can write for homeschoolers. Lee Roddy and John R. Erickson aren’t homeschool dads.

Don’t assume that homeschooling is school at home. Often it is vastly different from traditional schools.

Don’t assume you need to have a specific type of character or specific message. Just write a good story.

Three questions are commonly asked when I teach at conferences.
• Do you market to parents or kids?
Max Elliot Anderson markets his books to parents for boys who are reluctant readers. Lee Roddy talks with boys at conferences to share his stories. Use the same marketing techniques you use for the general market.

• Is there more of a need for non-fiction or fiction?
In an informal survey, I found homeschool parents are looking for everything from fantasy to finances. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

• Should I include a study guide?
If you want to. Some authors offer a study guide, lesson plans, or coloring pages as a free bonus for purchase.

You too can break into the homeschool market with standard marketing techniques: Know the market, write well, and don’t make assumptions. The next time I ask publishers for Christian tween novels to share with my homeschool readers, maybe it will be yours.


Susan K. Stewart – When she’s not tending chickens and peacocks, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. You can learn more at her website www.practicalinspirations.com.


A Friend Who Refreshes

Today it is my privilege to host Kolleen Lucariello, a fellow WordGirl member. Be sure to check out the information about her latest book, below!

A Friend That Refreshes

by Kolleen Lucariello     

As we flip our calendars from August, ushering in September, we say farewell to our summer vacations and hello to the season of back-to-school, cooler temperatures of fall and one of the highlights of our home: football. Here’s another bonus of September: it’s also Women’s Friendship Month and I love the gift of friendship!

Recently I was reading in Acts about Paul and how difficult life had become for him. He was beaten, bound with chains, accused by the Jews, imprisoned, taken before councils and Rulers, and then eventually sent to Rome. I imagine by the time Paul boarded the ship to begin his journey to Rome he was a tired man; he’d endured a great deal. As I’m feeling bad for him, this verse jumps out at me: “The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, treating Paul with [thoughtful] consideration, allowed him to go to his friends there and be cared for and refreshed” (Acts 27:3 AMP).

I simply adore the fact Julius, the guard in charge, thought enough of Paul to recognize he needed the care and refreshment of his friends. That part of the story just blesses my heart because I’m so grateful for those who recognized when I needed the care and refreshment only a faithful friend could bring. While my journey, or your journey, may never look like Paul’s, it’s still possible for imprisonment to find us.

We might endure a prison of darkness when depression covers us like a thick heavy blanket. Or chained to a past we can’t seem to move away from. We may find ourselves standing before accusers—relentless in voicing their opinions while refusing to hear ours. Life is full of moments when the waters can become a turbulent sea.

That’s when we need our own Julius, the guard in our lives, to recognize our need for care and refreshment. Who is traveling your journey with you? Who is your guard in life that notices when you’re about to break? Who reaches out when you begin drifting away? We all need a guard like Julius, someone willing to stand by us, giving thoughtful consideration to our needs. And we all crave friends who bring care and refreshment to our lives. Proverbs 11:25b promises, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (NIV).

Guarding and Caring always brings:


Colleen is the author of The ABCs of Who God Says I Am, which takes women on a back-to-the-basics journey by outlining their identity in Christ with the alphabet as the roadmap. From accepted to loved to victorious to zealous, readers will find refreshment and encouragement in this devotional study as they shed harmful and false thinking about their life in Christ Jesus. Ready to find out who God says you are and experience a more joyous existence? Dive into these pages and prepare to be renewed like never before in Kolleen Lucariello’s new devotional study, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am, and discover who you can be when you trust completely in the Lord. Pick up your copy today at Amazon!



Prosper Where You’re Planted

Over the next several weeks, I will be hosting members of WordGirls, an online writing group that began in 2014.Today I am delighted to have Kathy Carlton Willis who is the founder and leader of WordGirls.

Prosper Where You’re Planted

by Kathy Carlton Willis

We were excited about our brand new home, but not so much with our new sod and landscaping. It struggled to survive the move. Of course, the 100-degree heatwave didn’t help matters. The crux of the problem was transplant shock. Those green leafies were traumatized by being uprooted from their comfortable setting and placed into strange new surroundings.

We did all we could to “love on” our greenies. We refreshed them frequently with nourishing drinks of water. But even with the proper care, the bright green leaves of grass, trees and plants dimmed to a straw-like gold. Transplant Trauma.

It takes time and the proper care for transplants to adjust to new surroundings, and then they snap out of the shock and turn green again.

I know what it’s like to be a transplant, and perhaps you do too. You wonder how it’s possible to prosper where you’re planted when you’re dealing with your own version of transplant trauma. We didn’t get to stay in the hometown of our childhood. No, God uprooted us. Took us from the comfort of what we knew and loved, and moved us to a new area that needed us. God often sends us to parched places—to rejuvenate others with refreshing green ministry.

Sometimes it takes a while to get acclimated. We go through a period of transplant trauma. Shock. The refreshingness of the lush green we offer others temporarily turns to dry hay. With the right amount of time to adjust, and with the loving care of our new surroundings, we green up again. It’s good to know it’s just a temporary condition.

Sometimes we come to a new place still grieving the loss of what we left behind. We bring that trauma with us until we come to accept it. Other times, we are eager to get started in the new ministry, but are confronted by the culture shock of the new area. We adapt. We add the water of the Word, confirming our calling to our new spot. We soak in the SONlight. We allow our Heavenly Master Gardener to tend to our needs while we tend to the needs of others.

Are you yearning to prosper where you’re planted? Repeat this phrase with me: “Transplant trauma is temporary. God’s tender loving care is permanent.”


kathywillisKathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. She shines the light on issues that hold readers back and inspires lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published and she’s written several books, including Grin with Grace and Speaker to Speaker: The Essential Speaker’s Companion. She and husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston terrier. Learn more at: www.kathycarltonwillis.com