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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

5 Star Review of Randolph W. Hobler's " 101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya"


“Randy Hobler has written the best memoir of a Peace Corps experience that I have ever read. His amazingly detailed book instantly grips the reader by putting Libya in its properly rich and unique historical perspective. Everyone should read this book, to enjoy its humor as well as its insights. "
—Niels Marquardt 
Former Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Madagascar and the Union of the Comoros Peace Corps Volunteer—Zaire and Rwanda 

 101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya is substantially set apart from the over-1,000 published Peace Corps memoirs because they are individual memoirs and this is a unique collective memoir, garnered from in-depth interviews with 101 fellow Libyan Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. A herculean effort. 

 The story’s spine is Hobler’s own narrative, anchored to and deftly embroidered with hundreds of other anecdotes. Rather than a narrow individual view, this collective sharing provides many rich hues and shades of experiences—hilarious, heartbreaking, insightful, poignant, as well as educational and inspiring. These volunteers were spread out over 900 miles resulting in an omniscient kaleidoscope of experiences, many of which fall under the category of “you can’t make this up!” 

 It’s an amazingly detailed chronicle of anecdotes, historical perspectives, fun, adventure and hardship. Hobler’s breezy whimsical style is accessible and entertaining, capped off with 220 compelling photographs. 

 The book is available on Amazon.. 

 For more information go to 

 About the Author, Randolph Hobler 

RANDOLPH HOBLER is, in no particular order, a perspicacious marketer, a fastidious author, a voracious reader, a tenacious researcher, a conscientious thinker, a curious observer, an industrious composer, a gregarious world traveler, a punctilious musician, and a prodigious anthemologist. 

 He served in the Peace Corps in Libya from 1968—1969 in the Berber village of Al Gala, in the Nefusa Mountains 85 miles south of Tripoli. Besides his daily diary and a sometimes journal, he interviewed 101 of his fellow Libyan Peace Corps volunteers in depth for this book—creating a unique collective memoir amongst the 1,000 + books on the Peace Corps. 

 A graduate of Andover and Princeton University, Hobler has spent 42 years in national and international advertising, marketing and consulting. He is fluent in French and conversational in Spanish and Arabic.

 -- 5 Star Review by  Crystal J. Casavant - Otto 

I knew very little about the Peace Corps when I picked up my copy of 101 Arabian Tales - but this enjoyable book had me wanting to learn more as I was drawn into each story. The author, Randoph Hobler has such an interesting style of storytelling and his witty personality shine through in each story. The photographs also add so much to this book - as someone who doesn't travel very much, I felt the visuals provided by the photographs helped me feel like I was really traveling along with the volunteers. This was such an excellent opportunity for me to learn about the Peace Corps and about another culture as well as the individuals interviewed. 

It's safe to say I have never read a book like this - it's unique and refreshing. I passed my copy along to my teenage daughter who is now doing her own investigating into the efforts and benefits of the Peace Corps. I thank Randolph Hobler and WOW! Women on Writing for bringing this fascinating memoir into our lives and our family. 101 Arabian Tales is definitely 5 stars in my book! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Book Reviews For: Only My Horses Know and Read Aloud Stories with Fred

I am so excited to share our family reviews for two fabulous books we have enjoyed immensely! Thank you WOW ! Women on Writing for inviting us to participate in this book blog tour!

And now, without further ado - 

Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection and Only My Horses Know

Both books are perfect for parents who worry about the material their children are reading or they are reading to them. Both are clean and sweet. 

Published by Editor-911 Kids, an imprint of Editor-911 Books, a small, independent press owned and operated by Margo L. Dill that publishes books that readers love but aren't traditional. 

Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds with a story by Margo L. Dill, editor (stories for kids ages 3-9):

In this full collection of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, we have included all six stories from volumes 1 and 2, a bonus story "Looking Inside" by Margo L. Dill (only available in this collection), and a foreword by Margo also. Each story has an illustration to start the story along with a question for children to consider while the story is being read aloud to them (or older children can read to themselves). These stories are perfect for parents and grandparents to read to the children in their lives.

The stories are:

"Looking Inside" Join a kindergarten class as they learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he believed all people were the same on the inside.

"Ben and the Terrible Red Card" Ben is always getting in trouble at school, but he feels his teacher just misunderstands him. He's trying!

"The Hobbling Hermit" The hermit's feet hurt, and he takes out his grumpiness on his new housemate, a small, smart mouse.

"Sammy and the Cross-eyed Crow" Sammy lives in the jungle and talks to animals! What happens when he meets a crow who can't fly straight?

"Ben and the Bully, Billy Bob" Here's another Ben story, and this time, Ben's in front of the principal's office for a run-in with Billy Bob the Bully!

"The Cheerless Chairmaker" Fred Olds has written a new fairy tale with a poor, sweet chairmaker and a smart, savvy princess!

"Sammy and the Royal Rabbit" Sammy is back in the jungle with Jonathan the crow, and this time, he is visited by a rabbit who thinks he's a king!

This is a very special collection of short stories by two experienced children's authors. Don't miss out on getting this collection today! 

Purchase Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Only My Horses Know (middle-grade contemporary novel) by Cinda Bauman

Life on a Montana horse ranch has always been the best for twelve-year-old Kylie Hannigan. She bonds with the horses, rides them with her friend Joey, and helps her mom train them. Plus she barrel races her favorite horse, Kiwi, and with plenty of practice and grit, they will definitely beat her rival Olivia this year.

But then, something starts happening with Kylie’s mom. She sleeps all the time, and Kylie has to do the chores, the training, and all the care for the horses--and it’s too much! At least it’s summer, so she doesn’t have to worry about school, and she can spend time talking to her favorite animals. One day, a strange-behaving horse with an even stranger name shows up for training but is only ignored by Kylie’s mom. Training a difficult horse used to be a fun challenge Kylie could share with her mom, but that’s not even happening now.

Then her mom changes again, and she’s up doing everything—including cooking and cleaning in the middle of the night. Kylie still gets no rest because Mom thinks Kylie should be able to do it all, too. So when school starts and Mom’s behavior goes back and forth and back and forth, and then embarrasses Kylie in front of Joey more times than she can count, Kylie decides the only thing she can do is hide everything from everyone—accept her horses.

Kylie’s life spins out of control along with her mom’s. She can’t train for the barrel races with Kiwi or keep up with homework or talk to her best friend. What will it take to get her life back to the way it used to be? Or is that even possible?

Purchase Only My Horses Know on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Be sure to add this to your reading list on GoodReads.

About the Authors

Fred Olds has crafted dozens of stories over the years and has been involved with various writing and critique groups. At the age of 92, he is a devoted husband and proud father and grandfather living in Central Illinois. After retirement from the Postal Service as an electronic technician, he finally has time to concentrate on writing. A true storyteller at heart, his first love is writing children’s books with an occasional murder mystery thrown in for a change of pace. Check out his kids’ short story books, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, Vol. 1 and then Vol. 2, and his first book for adults, The Hobo Who Wasn’t, an exciting detective story. He's also the author of The Dog and the Flea: A Tale of Two Opposites and The Cat, the Mouse, and the Neighbors' Dog, two books of the Perky Pet Problems picture book series.

Margo L. Dill is the CEO and owner of Editor-911 Books in St. Louis, MO. She is also the author of the American Civil War Adventure Series with two books, Anna and the Baking Championship and Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg, for middle-grade readers. Her other books are That's the Way It Always Happened and Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies, which are illustrated picture books, and she has a short story about kids learning about Martin Luther King Jr.'s teachings in Fred Olds's collection of short stories, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Vols. 1 and 2. Her next book is for teachers and parents and is out in June 2021, It's Not Just Academics: A Guide To Teach Kids' Health, Communication, and Social Emotional Skills. She lives in St. Louis with her tween daughter and lively rescue dog, Sudsi. 

Find out more at:

Her website:

Cinda Jo Bauman lives in Central Illinois with her husband and dogs. During her high school years, she took every art class offered along with every child development class. After a class where she spent part of the day at a daycare, child development won out over art. Years of story time led to a love of children’s picture-books, which made her wish she had stuck with art. 

Flash forward to today, and she still loves children’s books! After researching and much study; learning about writing and illustrating children’s books, she joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and found her passion. Besides writing children’s picture books and middle-grade novels, Cinda also creates with cut paper sculptures and paints in oil and acrylic. She loves iris flowers and the color purple.

Only My Horses Know is her debut middle-grade novel.

Find out more about Cinda:

Cinda's website is:

Review(s) by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto and her family (children: Leah, Carmen, Andre, Breccan, Delphine, and Eudora - as well as husband Mark)

Every parent knows reading is important for children. At our house, reading is quite the family affair. Once you're old enough to read on your own, you'll be asked to write a review for mom's blog or a note to the author. When you're little and need help reading, mom will have you sit with her in the fluffy rocking chair where you'll enjoy stories before bed. Sometimes we read short stories and get through several of them each night. Sometimes we stop at our local book store and choose a book that can take us on an adventure lasting months. Regardless of your age, you'll be asked to share your thoughts and ideas about whatever book you're reading. You'll be asked to grab a book to take in the van, a book to read in the orthodontist waiting room, a book for the beach, a book for the tub, a book for beside the bed. The truth is - there are books in every single room of our house, and Grammy Patty is gracious enough to store the overflow in her attic (which is incredibly fun to explore in as well).

I'm sharing the back story so you can fully understand what a compliment it is when we say:

Only My Horses Know and Read Aloud Stories with Fred can both be found next to the couch in the living room. We've read each page at least once, and yet have decided these books cannot possibly be stored away. They will be enjoyed again and again by children of all ages. When the books arrived in the post, something magical happened. We opened the packaging and Eudora (3) said to Delphine (6) "look what mommy got for me!" and she was excited how the books looked. I like to say in my head 'score 1 for mom' when that happens!

The first night we cracked the cover of Read Aloud Stories with Fred, the children asked if we would start reading in a Facebook live video so our friends could enjoy the story too - and we did! I began with 2 small girls on my lap and only a few friends in Facebook land. Before I knew what was happening, I had doubled my audience and my boys came to sit with us and a handful of more viewers joined us on Facebook. One story turned into two and three into four and the time flew by!

The next afternoon was rainy, and the children asked if we could start reading Only My Horses Know and as a horse loving family, we were drawn into the unpredictable story of Kylie's life on her Montana horse ranch. The children were so excited to chat with our neighbor Christine about this book because she had also grown up on a ranch on Montana and had her own horse stories to share. 

Both of these books have sparked so many conversations and so much joy - there aren't even enough words to describe how thankful we are to have them on our bookshelf to enjoy again and again! 

  --- Upcoming Blog Tour Calendar

June 26th @ Shoe's Seeds and Stories
Join Linda as she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. 

June 28th @ Jill Sheets' Blog
Visit Jill's blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. 

July 1st @ What is That Book About
Michelle shares a guest post about following your dreams at 92. What an inspiring story!

July 2nd @ One Writer's Journey
Visit Sue's blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. 

July 6th @ McFly's Book Bliss
Join Marisa as she reviews Only My Horses Know.

July 9th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Join Wendi at her blog Strength 4 Spouses where she shares her review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know. 

July 10th @ Shoe's Seeds and Stories
Visit Linda's blog again where she shares a guest post about finding a good critique group.

July 11th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Join Wendi again at her blog where she shares a guest post about the importance of communicating in families.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Upcoming WOW! Blog Tour - Reserve Your Copy Today! The Eternity Knot (Part of the Celtic Magic Series) by HR Conklin


WOW! Women on Writing Presents


The Eternity Knot

(Part of the Celtic Magic Series)


By H R Conklin


Tour Begins July 19th


Book Summary:


Mairi has been shown the future and knows humans must change their ways. Continuing on their path of disconnect with Nature will cause the destruction of human life. Tasked by the Seelie Fae to save the human world, Mairi and friends seek out ancient wisdom in the stories of old. The Queen of the Unseelie Fae decides humans have to prove themselves worthy of the Earthly Realm, or die trying. Dark magic makes Mairi push harder to find the answers she needs, but the Undersea Faerie Queen is weighing in and Mairi is uncertain whose side she is on. When young people representing cultures from all of the continents share their knowledge, Mairi finally feels the seeds of hope. Deadly faerie magic is working against humanity, but humans and faeries are working together like never before. As humans begin seeing the earth through ancient views, they are waking up to their dormant powers. Now Mairi must put all the pieces together before time runs out for human life on Earth, and for once she's starting to feel worthy of the task. Join Mairi and friends in this exciting conclusion to the Celtic Magic series.


This book is perfect for:

tweens, teens and adults of all ages who enjoy a modern take on myths and fairy tales!


The Celtic Magic series is a unique tale connecting modern day California to the Scotland of centuries ago. Join Mairi during a life-changing year in this eco-heroine's journey, following the Celtic wheel of pagan holidays through the seasons and time as she meets druids, witches, and faeries of both Light and Dark. Discover what role mythic stories play in saving the Earth from imminent destruction, and what happens when the world is inclusive of all people. This series includes The Trinity Knot, The Witch's Knot, The Faerie Knot, and finishes in book 4, The Eternity Knot, this summer.


You’ve heard about it in the Enchanted Living magazine Spring, 2021 issue. You’ve tuned into the podcast, and heard about it on Hot Mess to Awesomeness,



now it’s YOUR turn to get your hands on this delightful tale!






We have e-book copies available now with print copies in a few weeks. And for those of you looking for a guest post – there’s a few of those to choose from too:


·        Symbolism in fairy tales


·        Women's Circles


·        Eco heroines


·        Parenting


·        Storytelling with parents


H R says: ...I'm open to brainstorming


So….if you have any ideas for a different guest post topic, let us know!


Find out more on her website:

About the Author:

H. R. Conklin grew up in the rural mountains of Northern California where her mother gardened and her father played the bagpipes, as well as spending long hours in the theater where her parents were a dancer and an actor. This undoubtedly led to her overactive imagination and love for nature. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband, two adult children, and three dogs. She used to teach kindergarten at a public Waldorf charter school in which she told many fairy tales to the children, and made up stories in her spare time. Now she is a Story Circle Leader and guides parents in homeschooling at a private Waldorf school.


If you'd like to participate in this tour - I can get you the PDF SOON! Please fill out the google form below: