OnceUponaTime My Storybook Site

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Review by Zeta Blankenship How to Make Victoria Sponge by Margaret Kazmierczak

Everyone loves cake but this book isn’t a recipe for making a cake, instead, you’ll get a recipe for making it through life.

The story’s main character and storyteller are Victoria Sponge. She wears many hats during the course of each day and the book is a type of daily journey of life’s ups and downs and how she embeds her faith and prayer to deal with life’s multitude of never ending struggles, sun up to sun down.

Wife, mother, woman, teacher, friend, co-worker, supervisor of the household duties, yes we all have walked miles in those same shoes and many others that arise in the course of living life. The story antics, the problems, the experiences were entertaining, heartbreaking, uniting, and healing. I connected with similar experiences in my own life, over the years. 

Vicki shares the same frustrations and joys; she just uses every opportunity to give praise or to seek grace, guidance, and love within her to adjust her attitude in every situation. Her day begins with waking and acknowledging another day with yes Lord, for whatever the day brings and she opens her heart with mindfulness of other’s needs. She ends the days with gratitude for all she has seen His hands upon that day and prayers to guide her through any failures.

She listens to hear God speak and when we too, open our hearts and focus our minds on Him we hear and feel His omnipresence.

Good read as a devotional daily journey!

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

Click here to purchase your copy.

Click to purchaseAbout the Book

Victoria Sponge – a well-known cake? Maybe, but also a wife and mother of four children. Disorganized and chaotic, with obligations galore, sweet Victoria clings to God, her best friend who shares His amazing love with her. From tripping over a hoover left in the hallway to discovering her son’s desire to die because he is different, she journeys through her own Lent. Giving up is not an option, but saying ‘yes’ to God each day is. Tragedy and comical events follow Vicki through her week. Does Victoria Sponge rise through all the messiness that life offers or does she sink?

About the Author

Born in England, Margaret Kazmierczak loves storytelling, but dyslexia made writing difficult. After marrying and birthing three children, she finally got around to it. She and husband Peter live in Dorset, United Kingdom with two daughters.

pic-for-websiteGuest Post from Margaret Kazmierczak 

For those that know me cooking is not a talent that I am famous for. I follow the recipes, but for some unknown reason my cakes remain flat, albeit cleverly disguised with chocolate.

My friends were, quite understandably, shocked that I appeared to have written a cookery book. My friends let me introduce the Baker who inspired me to write, ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’. His name is God the Father. This cook needs all the help she can get.

In 2010 God literally took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to become vulnerable. He took away my health and job. An active middle aged woman reduced to a shell. For two years I struggled to come to terms with my condition. Then one night I prayed and asked what I was supposed to do now? The message was simple, “write a book”. Well I could think up a million and one reasons why not to write a book. I declared them one by one but God the Father was having none of it. He reminded me of WHO was commissioning me.

To say that my reading and writing skills were on a par with my cooking skills was an understatement. So I stopped questioning and listened to His answer. “I shall give you the ingredients and you provide the humour and story outline with your life experiences.” So Victoria Sponge was born. Not a cookery book per se but a recipe for a closer relationship with God the Father through story and petition.

This journey took two years, a long time to wait for a cake to rise! The proof, however, was in the tasting which for some time was bitter due to rejection. Then a sequence of events happened one after the other and ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’ was cooked, oops, birthed. I have been blown away with the face to face reviews in England of the book. A Methodist minister used it to empower her congregation, to show them how even the simplest things in life can lead to a prayerful response.

Victoria known as Vicki, married to Bob, is a normal woman with four children. The book looks at a week in her life and compares it to Jesus’ Lent week. Many issues are explored through the pages. Vicki Sponge could be you or me and the response to each situation, a solution to your own challenges.

Without the Baker this book would end up like my cakes! The writing of it helped me to begin a new life and I hope it helps you to do so too if you read and journey through its pages.

Blog Stops

September 29: A Reader’s Brain
September 30: The Power of Words (spotlight)
October 2: Bukwurmzzz
October 3: Artistic Nobody
October 4: Quiet Quilter
October 6: Mary Hake
October 10: Petra’s Hope
October 12: Onceuponatime



To celebrate her tour, Margaret is giving away a themed gift bag containing an apron, whisk, Bible, and a limited 1st edition paperback copy of How to Make Victoria Sponge! Click here to enter:

Friday, October 7, 2016


Book Review By Zeta Blankenship 

 The Bedwarmer's Son

 by Caryl McAdoo

            The journey of many years is told by the The Bedwarmer’s Son; to his white, woman, lawyer in a jail cell in rural Georgia, the year of 1928.
            His life story and the history of his family is crucial to his defense and his lawyer has to know the story if she is to save him from hanging for the murder of his white half-brother.
Originally, Miss Parmalee was sent as a second seat to his defense team. She was to do preliminaries for her successful, distinguished partner and honorary Uncle. She has only been out of law school for a couple of years and has only first chaired one trial. Mr. Sinclair and his grandson are insistent that she will defend him if he is to have any chance.
For months, she is escorted by a security team consisting of Mr. Sinclair’s grandson and family, back and forth from the courthouse and to a safe house. She is in danger from a divided town that is generations known by each other and their opinion on whether her client is guilty and how they think he should pay.
The Bedwarmer’s Son is an entertaining story that tells of the struggles that began with the family matriarch and onward to his life journey, being the first born son, bi-racial, and a former slave.
At first the southern slang, disturbed me and I didn’t think I was going to enjoy. I am a Southern raised girl with a heavy accent and a good dose of slang and we prickle easy.  I had to give it a chance to even out as the story proceeded in time and soon I was drawn in to the storytelling of Mr. Sinclair just as Miss Parmalee was hooked. His belief and faith doesn’t hit you over the head. It comes through with his mannerisms, speech, and actions. He shares his Love for the Lord by example to those who care to open their heart; there they can find the same assurance, with acceptance by faith.
Enjoyed the book very much! I’d love to read more of the family story.

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

Bedwarmer FB 

About the Book

What if Abel had killed Cain? But there was no jury of his peers….

In 1928 Georgia, a black man who kills a white man is automatically guilty, but the bedwarmer’s son, an ex-slave, is no normal black man. Once his lily-white lawyer lady learns the truth, everything changes. Can she save him from swinging?

Will the bedwarmer murder the one she’s been bought to serve?    

From the antebellum South, come travel the dusty trails of Jim Crowe Dalton, Georgia with slave and master, saint and sinner. See if God is really big enough, if He truly cares about His children. McAdoo has done it again, this time in a brand new way. A delightful morsel for the palates of Christian readers world round.

About the Author

Caryl, praying her story gives God glory, loves writing for Christian genres–historical and contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and mid-grade especially. In 2014, Simon and Schuster debuted VOW UNBROKEN, a historical Christian romance set in 1832 Texas, and Caryl followed with three additional novels. In April, LADY LUCK’S A LOSER (contemporary, mature, inspirational romance); September’s debut, HEARTS STOLEN (set in 1839-1844), book two of her historical Christian Texas Romances–a #1 Amazon Best-seller; and in November, A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, volume one of her new Biblical fiction series, The Generations–also an Amazon #1 Best-seller.

In 2008, her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved her to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes each one ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. She and Ron live in Clarksville, Texas with two grandsons, Christian and Benjamen.

Guest Post from Caryl McAdoo

The Bedwarmer’s Son, my twenty-eighth title to be published, is different from any of my books to date, offering two complete love stories from two eras a generation apart.

How I came to write it is a very different story, too!

You see, I have a contemporary book in progress based loosely on the television show The Voice, but instead of the big new singer, my imagined program The Pitch is looking for the next big author! I started it in November 2013, but abandoned its 35,000 words shortly after Vow Unbroken debuted in March from Simon and Schuster.

My characters in The Pitch—three teams of authors and agents—attend writers’ conferences all over the country looking for the next great American novel with the voters being the readers across the country. For my story, I needed lots of titles, a few with skeleton story premises to make it work.

The Bedwarmer’s Son was one of those God gave me.

But it refused to be left there as just a title. The intriguing title demanded to be written.

And so, now I’m blessed that CelebrateLit is hosting a blog tour to celebrate its September release! Though definitely a historical, this novel is not in my Texas Romance family saga series, but is a ‘companion’ book to it. My readers will remember four-year-old Charley from Hearts Stolen, book two…then him grown up and the hero of book six Just Kin. Well, in The Bedwarmer’s Son, readers meet Charley’s son and grandson, minor characters in a chapter or two.

The story opens in 1928 where the title character, William “Billy” Sinclair II is on trial for the murder of his white half-brother Jamison. Alice Parmalee, his lawyer, finds the old man’s grandson, William “Will” Robert Sinclair IV quite handsome, good-hearted and generous.

In explaining to Alice why he killed his brother, Billy goes back to the story of his mother, the ‘owned’ bedwarmer, Jasmine. Of course, every time he starts, I break into the young slave girl’s point of view, and readers find themselves back in the mid-1800’s. I love her spunk and think you will, too.

I especially love The Bedwarmer’s Son’s opening line: “He sold us right before he married that fancy lady from England, then bought us back the next Spring.” It’s set on the fictitious Three Springs plantation near Dalton, Georgia.

 In my story, I used a word that in my growing up was considered on the same level as a cuss word. I would have had my mouth washed out for saying it. So conflicted, I asked for much counsel, and everyone agreed that for the story’s time period—to portray it correctly—it was necessary…but still hard for this lady.

On the other hand, I so enjoyed going back and forth between the two stories. There’s plenty of period racial tension—so common to the day—with the KKK unhappy about the pretty white attorney defending the old black man who’s guilty simply because his victim’s skin was white.

Of course, being a Christian novel, he and his grandson trust God and believe the Almighty sent Alice—an atheist who’s been taught putting any faith in an invisible being is nothing more than a fool’s errand. She’s been reared by a famous black attorney who volunteered to take Billy’s case.

At the end of the story, when Billy’s trial is over, I think readers may be cheering. I hope so.

I pray Jasmine’s and Alice’s journey will cause readers to draw closer to the Lord, while others might reconsider a few of the things they’ve been comfortable believing. That Holy Spirit will use this story to draw them deeper into their own relationship with our Awesome God.

Looking back, I can see God’s hand all over this story and its creation and cover…the whole nine yards. I can’t begin to imagine all the ways He will used it, but am convinced that use it, He will! I always say I am blessed and highly favored, and He keeps on creating the fruit of my lips!

I love story and the cover of The Bedwarmer’s Son (designed by Ruthie Madison Derby) that displays both dejection and hope, and melds the two historic periods. God has indeed blessed me and showered His favor over me. I pray it will touch your hearts.

Oh, and as an aside I spoke with Sandy Barela about over a coffee chat, I wrote Lady Luck’s A Loser back in 2001 long before The Batchelor ever hit TV. My story is a mature inspirational romance about a wealthy man inviting nine women to come live at his bed and breakfast—under the guise of hiring a manager for it—in order to choose a wife.

Hopefully if The Pitch becomes a TV reality show, I’ll get proper credit, considering this idea is published here and copyrighted in my doing it! đŸ™‚ Laaaa!

Blog Stops

September 27: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 28: Karen’s Krayons
September 30: Simple Harvest Reads
October 2: Artistic Nobody
October 3: The Power of Words
October 5: Bigreadersite
October 7: Once Upon A Time
October 8: Bukwurmzzz
October 9: Under His Wings
October 10: Mary Hake



To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away all seven of her Texas Romance ebooks to a lucky winner! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a3fd

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sara Zarr on Goodreads


Your greatest creation is your creative life.

 It's all in your hands.

Sara Zarr

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It's October - 14 Sayings About Fall and The Autumn Month

It's  time for cozy sweaters, apple pies, and Halloween parties — it is October.
There is nothing more cozy, than a fire with a gathering. Soon there will be pumpkins and mums gathered by our doors, the sweetness of candy corn, the sidewalks covered with leaves. and October fans who rejoice in the cooling fall air. Time for a pleasant hike, a good book by the fire and a hot cup of cider to enjoy. Welcome Fall and the tenth month of the year.

Here are 14 noted October quotes, aquired from Goodreads, the Quote backyard and BrainyQuote:

"There is not any season when such pleasurable and sunny spots can be lighted on, and produce so pleasing an effect on the feelings, as now in October." — Nathaniel Hawthorne

"September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and excellent marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered a massive quantity of the most amazing wooded area tapestry for her grand reception." — Oliver Wendell Holmes

"October, tuck tiny sweet bars in my pockets and carve my smile right into a thousand pumpkins.... Merry October!" — Rainbow Rowell

"October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and riding rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts each morning and icy draughts that bit at uncovered hands and faces." — J.k. Rowling

"i am so pleased I are living in a global where there are Octobers." — L.M. 1st viscount montgomery of alamein

"October is crisp days and cool nights, a time to twist up around the dancing flames and sink into a great publication." — John Sinor

"All issues on earth element domestic in historic October; sailors to sea, guests to partitions and fences, hunters to box and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken." — Thomas Wolfe

"The clear light that belongs to October changed into making the landscape radiant." — Florence Bone

"What could be more pleasing than an October day? it be your birthday, Fourth of July and christmas all rolled into one." — Peggy Toney Horton

"candy October, fill with praise / rich and glowing as thy days / each poet's heartfelt lays." — Caroline May

"The end of the summer time is not the conclusion of the area. here's to October..." — A.A. Milne

"After the eager nevertheless days of September, the October sun crammed the world with mellow warmth ... The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a big pink torch. The okay alongside the roadway glowed yellow and bronze. The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet. all over she walked the colour shouted and sang around her." ― Elizabeth George Speare

"In October, a maple tree earlier than your window lights up your room like a fine lamp. Even on cloudy days, its presence helps to dispel the gloom." — John Burroughs

"October is the fallen leaf, but it surely is also a wider horizon greater evidently seen. it is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them as soon as once more." — Hal Borland