Showing posts with label #Pen-L Publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Pen-L Publishing. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blanche Day Manos and Her Fictional Friends

Today, my guest is fellow Pen-L author, Blanche Day Manos, and she has a new release to tell us about. I've read two of her other books. Scroll to the bottom of this post to find my review of her first cozy mystery, The Cemetery Club, and the third, Best Left Buried.

Are you ever so energetic and enthused that you feel as if you could “run through a troop and leap over a wall?” (Psalm 18:29)

I doubt that I could do those things but the protagonists in my cozy mysteries just might be able to manage them. Fictional people can do all sorts of things that their creators can’t but that’s the fun of writing!

The Psalmist exclaimed, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer” (Psalm 45:1). And, so is mine. I love writing. My goal is to write stories that are intriguing page-turners, but are devoid of all profanity and lurid scenes. You see, I write Christian cozy mysteries.

God gives each person gifts and talents, and I believe He expects us to use them, not bury them under a bushel. Those talents, seems to me, should in some way help people and point them toward God, the Creator of us all.

Pen-L Publishing has published all four of my cozy mysteries, The Cemetery Club, Grave Shift, Best Left Buried, and Moonlight Can Be Murder. In the first three, Darcy Campbell and her mother Flora Tucker take on the mysterious happenings in their hometown of Levi, Oklahoma. The fourth cozy is the first of a brand new series with a different protagonist, Ned McNeil.


A native Oklahoma, Blanche Day Manos has a deep familiarity with the Sooner state so it’s the logical setting for her books. Her Cherokee and small-town heritage are vividly woven into the background fabric of her books. These books are all available from Pen-L.Com and

You can find out more about Blanche at her website,  and also at these places:

All cozy mysteries by Blanche Day Manos are available from


My review of The Cemetery Club

Best cozy mystery I've read in a long time. This was my first time to read one of Manos' books, but I will definitely read more. I fell in love with Darcy & Flora. I love the idea of older ladies still having it on the ball. They're self-sufficient, intelligent, yet exhibit Christianity in action. Keep them coming

 My review of Best Left Buried 
Manos hits it again with this, the third in her Darcy & Flora cozy mysteries, but this time, I knew what to expect. I wasn't disappointed. These two older super-sleuths get into all kinds of trouble and uncover secrets hidden for years, some that affect their own lives. I love reading these. I know there will be just enough violence or suggestion of violence to be believable without being gory, and I know the hint of love in the making will excite my romantic sensibilities. I hate to say goodbye to two of my favorite characters

Thank you, Blanche for being my guest today. I'm excited to meet Ned in Moonlight Can be Murder.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Devotion from Divine Dining

My Do It Myself


“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13

     My oldest daughter and son-in-law bought an inside basketball goal for our first grandchild, their niece. We put it away and brought it out for each one thereafter. By the time, my third and youngest grandchild was born, the basketball goal was worn, but still usable. The pen that held it to a certain height kept getting lost, so I hid it. My grandson loved that goal. By age two, he was wise to my tricks of hiding the pen. He’d drag the whole contraption into the living area and say “pen,” indicating I should get the lost part. He would take it from my hands and say, “My do it myself.”

     He would aim and miss several times. I’d say, “let Mimi do it.” But no, “my do it myself.” In God-given grandma wisdom, I covered his right hand with mine and guided the pen into the hole. His eyes lit up. Then, he swatted away my hand and reaffirmed, “my do it myself.”

     What a picture of us at times. We’re taught to be independent. When faced with a compulsion we can’t control, we argue with ourselves saying, “I’m an accomplished, capable, intelligent woman. I can get on a diet, stay on it and control this thing.” But, we try and try, and can’t. No matter how many times we tell God with our actions and words, “my do it myself,” we can’t.

     Finally, God holds our right hand and puts the pieces together. But, do we still shake His hand away and say, “my do it myself.” We can’t. God help us. We never can.

Prayer: When I try to walk in my own power, remind me of my grandson slapping away my hand. God, I need You to hold my right hand.

This is one of the 365 devotions from my book Divine  Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness from Pen-L Publishing.

For that daily inspiration purchase it at 

or on Amazon at

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Interview with New Pen-L Author, Lily Iona Mackenzie

I'm excited to introduce a new author, Lily Iona Mackenzie, She teamed up with my publisher, Pen-L Publishing, for her first book.

Now, ta-da! Fling released today. isn't it beautiful!

In honor of her book's release, I interviewed Lily, so that my viewers and I will know more about her. For those who follow the "Writing with God's Hope" blog, this isn't a Christian book. It is a humorous one, and I believe you'll find Lily's story interesting.

First of all, what is your book, Fling, about?

Is it possible to come of age at 60 or 90?

Is it ever too late to fulfill your dreams?
When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother's ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they'd like a little action. And they get it.
      Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles' odyssey. The two women head south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles' long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics.
      In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles' quest for her mother's ashes-and a new man-increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she's immortal. She doesn't hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit.
Has Bubbles discovered a fountain of youth that everyone can drink from?

Where did you get the idea for your book?


Fling? I think it began because I was curious about my mother’s mother, someone I had never met. My grandfather, a former Scottish schoolmaster, had immigrated to Calgary, Canada, hoping to find a better life there for himself and his family. Meanwhile, WWI broke out, and his wife and four kids couldn’t join him for seven years. When they did, my grandmother couldn’t adjust to the brutal winters or to her husband. After being there a year, she moved out, refusing to put up with my grandpa’s meanness, and became a housekeeper for a wealthy family. The story is that her boss took her to Mexico with him. She never returned. I wanted to try and recreate what life might have been like for her once she left Canada, and that then brought in a number of other characters that inhabit the novel.


Definitely an interesting starting point.  How did you find your publisher?


Pen-L? Endurance, many queries, doggedness, and good luck.



Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?


Fling is just one of four novels I’ve completed. Another publisher has contracted to publish Bone Songs in 2016. Freefall: a Divine Comedy and Tillie: Portrait of a Canadian Girl in Training are the other two.  I’m also a poet, and All This, a poetry collection was published in 2011. When I hit a dead-end in a novel, I write short stories and essays. I have enough of both to fill two books. I’ve done all this while helping to raise two stepchildren, teaching writing part-time at the University of San Francisco, and serving as vice-president of the part-time faculty union. I try to allot one hour a day to writing on most days of the week, and it’s amazing how much one can accomplish in just that period of time if it’s consistent.


What kind of books do you enjoy reading?


I like books that challenge me intellectually and offer me new horizons as a reader and writer: that make me see the world differently. I’ve read most of W.G. Sebald’s work. I also love Roberto Bolano. Marquez is a great favorite, as is anything from the magic realist vein. I’ll read anything by Anne Enright, an Irish writer. And so many more. It’s hard to state how varied my bookshelf is.


What has your writing journey been like so far?


I didn’t begin writing seriously until I was in my mid-thirties. I had been a high school dropout and a single parent. I was in my late twenties when I finally earned a GED and was able to attend college. It took a long time to discover and trust my voice. But it’s all been worth it.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?


My husband and I wish we had more time (and money!) to travel as we love to investigate new cultures and to visit great museums. We try to take a BIG trip every two to three years. We’ve been to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Istanbul, Russia, and Scandinavia in the past few years. Now, we’re off to Italy for a month’s immersion.


Wow, what a trip. Enjoy. Tell me a fun fact about yourself.


A friend and I created a children’s radio show modeled after “Let’s Pretend.” It aired for two years on a Marin County California radio station, KTIM (no longer in existence). We both enacted and created the scripts for the show. Many of them are available on my blog.


Give us you contact info.


Where may we purchase your book?
A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in her early years, Lily Iona MacKenzie supported herself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored her into the States). She also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (and almost got her legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, co-created THE STORY SHOPPE, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities). She has published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 145 American and Canadian venues. Fling, one of her novels, was released today, July 1, 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Bone Songs, another novel, will be published in 2016. Her poetry collection All This was published in 2011. She also teaches writing at the University of San Francisco, is vice-president of USF's part-time faculty union, paints, and travels widely with her husband. Visit her blog at:

Thank you, Lily, for visiting with us on the "Writing with God's Hope" blog. I wish you lots of luck with your writing now and in the future. I appreciate your sharing your walk with us.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015


“If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 New Recovery Bible

Blue after the storm while we were in Kerrville, TX.

     Peace, ah, how we long for it in this busy age with the devil free to roam the earth and send forth unrest and turmoil. A lack of peace affects our entire life, but never more than when we're out of the will of God. If we don't submit one area of our lives to Him, the whole person suffers.
     God prepared a place in man's heart meant for worship of our Creator. When we fill that hole with anything else, there is bondage, there is captivity, there is NO PEACE.
     Over a four year period, God gave me 365 devotions in Divine Dining. I read them daily for my own encouragement and am amazed at His Words that once flew through my fingers on the keyboard. On May 3, I read this devotion.

     Recovery is a process. Many times we live for years in denial. We want freedom to do what we prefer. Because we’re adults and work hard, we think we should control our own destiny—with God’s help, of course.


     That’s the way I felt. I had freedom. I ate what I wanted; donuts in the morning at work and Reese’s candy stashed to eat whenever I was home, and no one was watching. Yeah, I controlled my destiny, all right.


     But, I had no peace.


     God’s peace is worth whatever we have to pay.


     For me, I had to give up forever some treats I loved. I had to give up the concept that I was free to do as I pleased. Anything I decided to eat, I had to eat it while others watched. I had to stop being secretive. The sinner lives in shadows.


     God’s peace keeps your heart at rest. We don’t know how to accept it and utilize it, but through the recovery time, God teaches us. Give up the selfishness. Reach for the peace.

Prayer: Teach me what I need to learn about your peace today.

If you have no peace, search your heart. Is God in control? Is every area of your life submitted to His will, or do you keep back in the shadows a small part? For you, it could be spending more money than you make, a bad relationship, or a critical attitude, but ask God to illuminate your weakness.

Peace is worth whatever you have to pay.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

An Interview with Blanche Day Manos

Today I wish to welcome a new online friend, Blanche Day Manos to my Writing with God's Hope blog. She is also a Pen-L author with three books published by them. I have ordered her first cozy mystery book. With a title like The Cemetery Club, I'm definitely curious.
 So, here we go:

Is there a story behind getting three books out all in one year for your first effort?


Actually, this was not my first effort and that’s why they all came out at the same time. The Cemetery Club was first published a few years ago by a different publisher. Same is true of Grave Shift.

Best Left Buried had never been published. I probably went at this backward (I have a tendency to do that). I sent my third cozy mystery, Best Left Buried to Pen-L Publishing. My publisher and I talked about the fact that this was the third book in the series, so he took book one and book two so that there would be a consecutive order to the books.


Very interesting. How did you find your publisher?


I met Duke and Kimberly Pennell almost a year ago at the Northwest Arkansas Writers’ annual meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I introduced my books and myself at that time.


Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?

I am currently working on a devotional book and am planning to put together two books of my mother’s life into one ebook. For many years I’ve worked on assignment for a Christian periodical based in Cleveland, Ohio.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

My favorite genre is cozy mystery. Since that is my favorite book to read, it is also the genre in which I choose to write. I love to have a comfortable case of the spooky shivers while sitting safely in my chair with a cup of coffee close at hand. I’ll have to confess, when I re-read my own cozies, I get a case of the shivers too. Fun!

What has your writing journey been like so far?

My writing journey has been long and enjoyable and I hope it continues for many years. I’ve written stories since I was a child. Many of my articles, poems, songs and short stories have been published by various periodicals through the years but The Cemetery Club was my first published book, followed by Grave Shift and Best left Buried.

Do you have another book due to come out?
I’m hoping! My publisher has a completed fourth cozy mystery which is under consideration.

Where is your favorite place to pray or reflect?

Hmm. I have reflecting spots all over the place. One favorite spot is my dining table which is over a hundred years old and belonged to my dad and mom before it came to me. Maybe it’s because of so many dear people who have sat around that table that I seem to get inspiration from sitting there with pen and paper at hand.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

A fun fact about myself, or maybe I should say a funny fact is that sometimes I react spontaneously and unexpectedly. For instance, if something strikes me as funny, I’m apt to laugh out loud even at inappropriate times, at things nobody else considers funny. Another funny thing is my favorite bird—an owl. Some of my friends think of me when they see owls. That’s pretty neat, and I’m flattered!
Where can viewers find you?

Facebook Page:

Twitter: Blanche Manos

Google +: Blanche Manos


Buy Blanche's books at:

Grave Shift

                Goshen Cemetery lay quiet and peaceful under a benevolent spring sky. Darcy Campbell and her mother, Flora Tucker, had no inkling that in a few moments, the scene would change and they would face a horror on the ground and a threat from above, beyond their imaginations.

     Becoming entangled in a centuries-old legend, being targeted by a group of ruthless men, and discovering a long-lost love were not in Darcy’s plans when she returned to her birth place, Levi, Oklahoma. She merely wanted to soak up the peace of her mother’s home and try to heal the wounds left from her husband’s death. Fate, however, had other plans for Darcy and Flora.

A rousing good tale with appealing characters, an intriguing puzzle, and unexpected twists. Sure to charm."  Carolyn Hart, award-winning author of Ghost at Work, Merry Ghost, Ghost Wanted, Death on Demand series

Having a good time despite my age.

Investigate my cozy mysteries

I love that line. Having a good time despite my age.

Thank you, Blanche, for visiting the Writing with God's Hope  blog today. Anyone have questions or comments for this writer or for me, click on post a comment below.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's Here!

I'm so excited to announce my debut women's fiction is now up for purchase. Thank you, Pen-L Publishing. Many have placed a pre-order with them, and hopefully, you already have your copy in hand.

For those who didn't pre-order, you can now get immediate shipping, or go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the Pen-L Publishing book store, or at your local bookseller.

How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can she be Worth Her Weight?


     LACEY CHANDLER helps her mother, her sister, her friend, and then she binges on food and wonders is there really a God?

     BETTY CHANDLER hates being handicapped and useless, so she lashes out at the daughter that helps, and the God who doesn’t seem to care.

     TOBY WHEELER loves being police chief in Wharton Rock, but when the devil invades the small town, he can’t release control.


Is God enough in Wharton Rock?
Purchase link at Pen-L is

Saturday, December 20, 2014

An Interview with Author, Bonnie Lanthripe

I met Bonnie Lanthripe in Edmond, Oklahoma when she stopped by the university where I was doing a booksigning. She purchased my Divine Dining  and Victoria and the Ghost. How could an author like me not like someone like that? She became a cherished friend and one of my sweetest encouragers.

Since then, Pen-L Publishing Co. has released Bonnie's debut novel, and it's very good. I'm not just saying that because she's my friend, but because I have a twelve-year-old grandson that the hero of her middle grade book  The Ringleader reminds me of.


A middle-grade adventure novel. Fourteen year-old Patrick Morrison makes a bizarre unexplainable discovery while exploring a drainage culvert with his friends. Obsessed with identifying what it is and how it got there, his search turns up some surprising clues as they race from one adventure to another. A series of unusual twists uncovers all the pieces of the puzzle, bringing a stunning resolution to the riddle.

I asked Bonnie to stop by Writing with God's Hope blog today and answer some questions.
1.  Bonnie, tell us a little about yourself.
      I am originally from Arkansas, lived many years in California where I met my husband and raised our family. We have four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandbabies. I love spending time and traveling with them all.

2.  Tell us about your writing journey.
      I basically have been writing for as long as I can remember--- just not on paper. I grew up on a farm in Arkansas and when I was alone, in the field, in the barn loft, I made up stories, even supplying the dialogue and sound effects. I wrote very detailed letters to my friends back home when my family traveled during my teens.
        It wasn't until after our youngest child was in college that I got an opportunity to go back to school to finish my degree. When I began creative writing classes, I felt as if God had presented me with a huge gift; a great big box tied up with a red ribbon; something I'd always wanted, but didn't know it. I've been writing ever since, but it was only two years ago when I got up the nerve to attempt to get published. What a thrill when I held my book in my hand!

3.  Did you ever feel like giving up? And how did you press through this?
     I let life get in my way. It is sometimes difficult for me to discipline myself to a steady routine.  Busy-ness of everyday life sometime overwhelm me and I think maybe it would be better to just stop. Then I remember that God gave me this awesome gift and I plow through the daily "stuff" and come back to the keyboard.

4.  What gave you the idea for this book? What is the book about?
      My 14 year-old grandson told me about an experience he and his friends had. I thought it was hilarious the way he told it, and that it would make a great story.
      The book is about Patrick Morrison and his friends who like to adventure. Instead of hanging around inside, they  get out and explore their neighborhood, the nearby open fields, the surrounding community. Check things out.  They make up wild stories and shoot videos of them.
     One day, while exploring a drainage culvert, Patrick sees something he can't explain, something that really spooks him, but he is determined to find out what it is and how it got into the culvert. His search for the answer leads the boys into some sometimes humorous, sometimes risky, situations but their adventure ends in solving the mystery.

5.  How do you feel this book will encourage people in their walk with Christ, or did you have something in mind when you wrote it?
     "The Ringleader" is not classified a Christian novel, however, when I first began writing courses, I made a commitment to write responsibly. My purpose is to present characters who are respectful, responsible, with integrity. They accept accountability for their actions and learn valuable lessons through their experiences. Isn't that how a Christian is supposed to act?

6.  Anything  more you'd like to add?
      Maybe that I never thought about writing a book for middle-grade or Young Adult. Only when I began writing this one did I realize how fun I was having. I'm having the same good time with the sequel.

7.  What's a little known fact about you?
      I am a socially functioning introvert. Go figure that one out.

 Oh, I love that, Bonnie. I think that describes me, too. Must be why we like each other.  
8. Where can your readers find you?  From here readers can connect to my author's page, blog and web page.
       Also, Pen-L Publishing,, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.