On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…


Genre: Cozy Mystery

About the book:

A dodgy travel business
A journalist in danger
Tainted chocolates
Hotel/casino magnate Derek Turpin is flexing his muscles in Atlantic City. Even the cops are not immune to his influence. Can Damien and Millie thwart his unsavory plans?

My review:

The ChocolateLabradoodle Caper was my first venture into the world of Damien and Millie Dickens, but it won’t be my last. I very much enjoyed meeting the wide variety of characters created by Phyllis Entis and following their adventures. Dick and Millie, partners both in marriage and a detective agency, attempt to find out who tried to murder their journalist friend. In the process, they endanger their lives and their marriage and take the reader on a wild ride from the U.S. to Canada and back again. I want to go back and read the first two Damien Dickens Mysteries, and I look forward to future offerings from Entis.

About the author:

Phyllis EntisPhyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper and The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper. Her debut novel, The Green Pearl Caper, was a Library Journal SELF-e Selection. Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 2007, ASM Press published her non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.

Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, browsing in the local library, or enjoying her garden.

Buy the book on AMAZON 

Where to find the author:

Amazon author’s page 







Published in the Rains County Leader on June 18, 2018:

My Daddy and me - 1947

My Daddy and me – 1947

Dad has been in Heaven for seven years, but I still miss him and think about him a lot. He’s especially on my mind in June when there is so much emphasis on fathers, so in honor of the special day we just celebrated, I want to share some of my favorite memories of the man I called Daddy.

  1. I was Daddy’s girl, especially when I was little. When he went anywhere, I wanted to go with him. In the time before seat belts and child seats, he was my child restraint system. I remember standing beside him, tucked “safely” behind his right shoulder. As shocking as that may be to our safety conscious society, I felt completely safe and lovingly protected.
  2. Another of my favorite memories is something that today’s children, strapped and restrained as they are, will never experience. From time to time, he would let me sit in his lap and drive the car. Of course, all I was doing was holding onto the steering wheel while he continued to be in complete control. Still, it was fun, it was a great confidence builder, and it was great practice for my later life as a Christian when I finally realized who is really in control.
  3. I loved going to work with Daddy. The first job I remember was at a lumber yard, and when Mom would take his lunch to him, my brother Jim and I would go climb on the stacks of lumber. Later, he took a job at the Post Office, and he sometimes picked me up from school. While he cased his mail for the next day, I’d sit on a stool at a work table and practice my letters or put my fingers through the air holes in the crates of baby chicks and pet their fuzzy yellow feathers. I’m sure we broke lots of OSHA and Federal regulations, but being a real part of his life was worth being a bit of an outlaw.
  4. A friend once told me that, when God made me, He forgot to put in the higher gears. I’m not sure exactly what she meant, but perhaps she was referring to my tendency to nod off in either a car or a church. In the early years, as soon as the sermon began, I put my head in Daddy’s lap and went to sleep. Sometimes, though, I stayed awake and sat in his lap. I amused myself, and totally ruined his ability to concentrate, by playing with his tie. I would begin at the bottom, roll it up to the knot, and release it. After it rolled out to its full length, I repeated the process. Maybe that’s why, for every gift-giving occasion, I gave him a tie.
  5. When I was five, we moved into a house where I had my own bedroom. Until then, I had slept in a crib in my parents’ room or shared a bed with Jim in the living room. For a few months, I had occasional sleep-walking episodes during which I assume I was looking for companionship. Several times I woke up sitting on the side of Mom and Dad’s bed with Daddy sitting beside me, his eyes full of sleep and his hair standing on end, trying to stop the flow of my tears and reassuring me that everything was okay.

I also jotted down five memories of how Daddy provided support and practical aid later in my life when I was single again. Before I completely exceed my allotted word count, I’ll summarize:

  • He often hung curtains and pictures, installed ceiling fans, and finished many other things on my “I don’t have a honey to do” list.
  • In addition to caring for his own yard, he mowed, trimmed, and edged mine. He also removed and disposed of tomato worms that tried to take over my patio tomatoes.
  • Although he wasn’t in a position to offer financial assistance, he didn’t hesitate to co-sign a note when my old car bit the dust.
  • Daddy always had a key to my house, and more than once he got up out of bed and came over to unlock my door when I locked myself out.
  • Daddy showed me how a godly man should love his wife. His love for Mom was one of the defining realities of his life. He loved her as Paul told the Ephesians to love their wives and would have given up his life for her. He told her every day how beautiful she was and how much he loved her, and he never tired of kissing her or holding her hand.
Mom and Dad 50th

50 Years Together – 1990

Mom and Dad Christmas 2009

Mom and Dad – Christmas, 2009

There’s much more, but these are a few of the things that added up to a lifetime of love and care. Daddy led by example and loved by acts of service. Happy Father’s Day to the first man I ever loved.



Cover Divine Intervention

About the book:

LUKE MARSHAL, a brilliant doctor and whole-hearted atheist, clings to the last dredges of a life shattered by grief when he meets EMMA COOPER, a gorgeous novelist, proud mother of 13-year-old SKYLER, and a true believer that no man – besides God – deserves her trust.

My review – 4 out of 5 stars:

Divine Intervention was a compelling book that was sometimes difficult to put down – at least in the beginning. Later on it began to slow a bit, but it ended well. The characters were well developed, evoking the proper emotional response for their situations, but the who’s who became a little confusing toward the end. The story was well-told, although it contained more romance and less mystery than I expected, and some of the New Age-ish theological was a little disconcerting to my conservative background. Still, I enjoyed Ms. Iova’s work and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining read.

About the author:

Ica Iova Head ShotIca Iova is the author of several books–two of which are award winners. She Never Got To Say Goodbye, was one of the three winners at World’s Best Story, 2015, and Boundaries, was a finalist at WBS, 2014.

Member of Federation of B.C. Writers, Ica writes what she enjoys reading. In her novels, she brings to life powerful, gripping relationships and fascinating characters to whom readers can relate. Every one of Ica’s books reminds readers that life is precious, and that no one should waste it on insignificant things.

When Ica is not writing, editing, or marketing, she’s a proud wife, mother, and grandmother, with a substantial sense of humor. She loves spending time with her family and pets, shopping for shoes, or just lazing around with a good book.

Buy the book HERE

Where the find Ica Iova:
Amazon Author Page



Published by the Rains County Leader on June 12, 2018:

clothes hangersThere are certain things in the world that multiply when one’s back is turned. One of those things is clothes hangers, wire and otherwise. Unless you’re a neat freak, which I’m not, you’ve had the frustrating experience of trying to untangle a pile of these pieces of metal and plastic and have finally wondered if folding and stacking might be a better idea.

Aside from hangers, the next thing that is usually suggested when the subject of prolific growth comes up is rabbits. I have no personal experience to draw from, but supposedly two can become a hundred in a matter of weeks. If rabbits are anything like wild pigs, I believe it’s possible! Read the rest of this entry »

David and Linda with proof copyWednesday morning while I was in the shower, David came running into the bathroom and held something up over the top of the shower door – he’s tall enough to do that. He shouted, “I got the first copy!” I rinsed the soap out of my eyes and struggled to focus without my glasses. I recognized what he was holding immediately, though. It was a paperback copy of Tatia’s Tattoo, my first venture into Christian fiction.

It’s a proof copy that I’m supposed to go over carefully and make note of any errors I notice. It’s also one step closer to the release on July 16. That’s a little later than originally projected, but the exciting part is that the paperback edition is available for pre-order NOW! Go to the Amazon link  to place your order, and your copy or copies will be shipped ten days before the general release. Ebooks will be available on the 16th. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 5, 2018:

Cows by the gate

The girls gathered at the gate one morning to give us a friendly send off.

This past week, David and I were house, dog, and cow sitting. The house sitting is the easy part since all we’re expected to do is to make the house look lived in. We try not to make it look too lived in, but just enough to encourage any passing burglars to move on to a less lived-in house. The cow part is pretty simple, too. Since we are still basically city folks, our only job is to count noses on our way in or out. This time there were only four noses – the older ladies were visiting a friend in the hopes of expanding the herd.

The third part of the job is where I usually get my writing material. Spike, the Great

Spike is a good boy

Spike surveying his kingdom

Pyrenees mix who rules the house, is friendly and frisky. He’s also big and strong, and he has a mind of his own. The last time we stayed with him, I took him for a walk on his leash. Even though he has more than sixty acres in which to run, the sight of his leash sends him into a frenzy. His favorite route is up the driveway to the road, to the end of the property, and back to the house. Even though David once clocked him at over twenty miles an hour, when he’s on the leash, he’s content to amble along at the walker’s speed – unless a car comes along. Read the rest of this entry »

CoverSome special marketing this year for A Long and Winding Road has resulted not only in lots of new readers but also in a number of new reviews. Here are some excerpts:

5 stars: Heartfelt by JaneReads * January 2, 2018 *  A Long and Winding Road takes you along on a heartfelt journey in a caregiver’s tale of love.

5 stars: Life as we will know it by Prairie House * January 14, 2018 * This is a very well-written book relating the humor, sadness, and inspiration of dealing with aging parents with memory problems. I also could relate to the relative simplicity of living in an RV and the joy of wanderlust. Read the rest of this entry »

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