Today I share my review for the devotion Time to Refresh: A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined by Karen Brown Tyson. This blog tour comes at the perfect time of year as the holidays can be a hard time of year in the first place and if you have recently lost your job, you can be challenged even more.
This blog tour is brought to you by WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR.
What happens when some part of your life comes to a screeching halt?
Time to Refresh: A 21- Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined, highlights Karen Brown Tyson’s journey through the Bible following one of three layoffs in her life.
Watch how God leads one woman on a 21-day journey through the Bible and teaches her how to G.L.O.W.— gratitude, listen, observe and witness.
Author: Karen Brown Tyson
Published: August 10, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 19-25, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Time to Refresh is a 21 day devotional that focuses on what to do after being laid off, but it can apply to any difficult time in your life. Reading this devotional helped me, and I have not been laid off.
Tyson refers to timeouts throughout the devotion. Timeouts are a brief suspension of an activity (in the case of this devotion, a job). Tyson shares her personal story of being laid off three times over the course of 25 years. In each daily devotion, she shares journal entries she wrote to God over the first 21 days of her most recent layoff.
She also focuses on a topic each day and gives an example of each topic from the Bible with verse(s) to read. She has timeout takeaways, listening, and witness sections. The listening sections are where she wants you to ask God for advice as you pray.
You may see a 21 day devotion and think that is too long, but each day is not super long (including the bible verses suggested). It also takes 21 days to start a habit and with starting this devotional, it can help to start daily readings of the Bible and devotions. This devotion can help someone who is struggling through a job loss or any other major life event that may be occurring.
About the Author:
For the past 25 years, Karen Brown Tyson worked for Fortune 500 companies in the fast food, pharmaceutical, and telecommunication industries. Today, Karen is the founder of Constant Communicators, a lifestyle business that helps people improve their business writing skills. Time to Refresh: A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined was released in August 2018. Karen lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.
You can find the whole blog tour here:
November 26th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and stop by the Muffin blog where you can read an interview with author Karen Brown Tyson and enter to win a copy of her book Time to Refresh.
November 29th @ Bookworm Blog
Be sure to stop by Anjanette’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s guest post on managing career, home, and ministry.
November 29th @ The Frugalista Mom
Visit Rozelyn’s blog where you can read her review of Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
November 30th @ Amateur Twin Mom
Visit Jonelle’s blog to read what she has to say about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 3rd @ Beverley A Baird Blog
Visit Beverley’s blog where Karen Brown Tyson talks about how to improve your writing life.
December 5th @ Break Even Books
Stop by Erik’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about how to build your personal brand.
December 5th @ Jill Sheets Blog
Stop by Jill’s blog today where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about how to improve your writing life.
December 6th @ Beverley A Baird Blog
Visit Beverley’s blog again where she shares her thoughts about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 7th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette’s blog again where she interviews author Karen Brown Tyson about her book Time to Refresh.
December 8th @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about fearless writing.
December 9th @ Reducing Overload
Stop by Peggy’s blog to read author Karen Brown Tyson’s post about journaling and stress management.
December 13th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Visit Kathleen’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about fearless writing.
December 13th @ M.C. Walker’s Blog
Visit M.C. Walker’s blog where she interviews author Karen Brown Tyson about her and her book Time to Refresh.
December 14th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about having faith during difficult times.
December 15th @ Jessica’s Reading Room
Visit Jessica’s blog where you can read her thoughts on Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 16th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog where she shares her opinion on Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 18th @ Look to the Western Sky
Visit Margo’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about parenting.
December 20th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi’s blog again where you can read her opinion about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 20th @ The Faerie Review
Visit Lily Shadowlyn’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about journaling.
December 21st @ The World of My Imagination
Visit Nicole’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 23rd @ Look to the Western Sky
Be sure to stop by Margo’s blog again where you find out what she had to say about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about journaling.
December 24th @ Coffee with Lacey
Stop by Lacey’s blog again where she reviews Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
December 27th @ The Frugalista Mom
Be sure to visit Rozelyn’s blog again where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about change management.
Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for It’s a Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans. Jaimie will be telling us a little about the novel that is based on actual facts! **If you live in the UK, there is a giveaway going on!**
One night will change their lives forever…
Georgia Bailey is closing up her little charity shop in Oakbarrow when she gets a mysterious late night call from a stranger, threatening to jump off the town’s bridge.
Something about the man’s voice is faintly familiar but all she can do is stay on the line and, after talking for hours and losing sense of time passing, coax him back from the edge.
The next morning, Georgia walks to work, buys a festive latte from Leo (who she’s had a crush on for months!) at the local coffee shop, and is shocked when she suddenly recognizes the voice from last night…
A heartwarming festive love story that reminds us that even in the darkest of times, hope is always just around the corner!
**Also available from all other ebook retailers.**
*Oakbarrow is based on a real town.*
It’s a place I used to visit when I was young, a little town in Wales where I always went to do my Christmas shopping, and used to love going there every year. When I started thinking about It’s a Wonderful Night and where it would be set, this was the place that came to mind without consciously thinking about it. I could instantly picture the shops I had envisioned in the book in this real setting, despite the fact I haven’t been there for at least eighteen years. I went on Google Maps and had a look at the place on Street View, and instead of the bustling busy place that I remembered, now it’s all faded shops and boarded up empty buildings. It made me sad to see it as it is now – a real reminder of the ‘death of the high street’ stories we constantly see on the news. That inspired the part of the story where Georgia and Leo try to bring Christmas back to their own failing high street.
*Some of the things Georgia mentions actually happened.*
One of the things I love about writing books is that you can use little anecdotes from real life that you wouldn’t get to share anywhere else. For example, the part where Georgia tells Leo about singing along to The Wombles with a random woman in a supermarket – this actually happened to me! It was a brilliant moment, and I thought at the time that I would use it in a book one day! I used to work in a charity shop so I got to use a bit of experience from that, and when Georgia mentions that the shop phone is a wired one fixed to the wall because someone accidentally sold the cordless one – that genuinely happened in the charity shop where I worked!
*I got the idea after listening to Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie, and the soundtrack to the book was this and Being Alive from the musical Company.*
After seeing a poor cover version on TV, I was listening to the original on Youtube and the idea of someone working on a suicide prevention helpline and answering the phone to a voice she recognised popped into my head. I’ve always thought that the song inspired it somehow, even though I don’t quite understand the connection! I can’t listen to music while I write because it stops me concentrating, but generally each book has a ‘soundtrack’ – usually one or two songs that I listen to before I start writing each day. For this book, it was Under Pressure and the other song was Being Alive from Company, a line of which also became a theme in the book.
*The connection with It’s a Wonderful Life was kind of an afterthought.*
I’d already named Georgia Bailey and outlined the plot before I realised there were similarities between my story and our best-loved Christmas film! Georgia stops Leo from jumping off a bridge, like Clarence does for George in the film, and I realised I could use the similarities as a hook for my story. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to naturally fit, even to the point where Georgia pretends to work in a bank, similar to where the real George Bailey works in the film, and I didn’t even realise this myself until the moment Leo points it out in chapter three! I wanted a title that tied in with the film too, and my working title was Every Time A Bell Rings, which I didn’t expect to be able to keep, and my editor renamed it to It’s a Wonderful Night, which I love and is a much better fit!
*The character of Leo was inspired by a friend of mine.*
For about five years now, I’ve been friends with someone who I call ‘the happiest guy I know’. He makes me laugh every time I speak to him. If I’m feeling down, I send him a text or email because I know he’ll cheer me up. He’s never without a smile and something hilarious to say. And we were chatting one night and he opened up about having low self esteem, anxiety, and struggles with depression.
And it absolutely threw me, because it had never crossed my mind that there was something hidden underneath his cheeky grin. He was the last person I would ever have imagined suffering from mental health issues. It really made me think about that quote “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.”
I really wanted to show this through Leo. I wanted to show that no matter how much someone laughs and jokes, you have no idea what’s going on behind their smile. I wanted to show that he makes Georgia happy every morning but he’s struggling so much behind the bright smile he gives her every day.
I’ve lost family members and close friends to suicide, it’s something I care about a lot, and as I write romantic comedies, I never thought I’d get a chance to write about it, but I wanted to show that even the people you think are fine can find themselves at rock bottom, and I sincerely hope I’ve handled it sensitively enough and with hopefully a bit of humour too.
About the Author:
Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, It’s a Wonderful Night, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.
Win an It’s a Wonderful Night Goodie bag which includes:
*It’s a Wonderful Night notebook
*It’s a Wonderful Night fridge magnet
*A signed postcard of the cover
*A copy of It’s a Wonderful Life on DVD because this is the inspiration behind the story.
*An invisible spine Paris notebook because it’s where Georgia wants to go more than anywhere in the world.
*A light-up Christmas tree pen, because who doesn’t need a light-up Christmas tree pen at this time of year?!
Today I am part of the blog tour for Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner: I interviewed her! There is also an INTERNATIONAL giveaway going on. Be sure to check that out!
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?
A girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But those from whom they expect support are manipulating them both because their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.
After a stormy youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. That is, until he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. To follow his heart, he’ll have to face his demons again, outside the security of the monastery. Is it worth the risk? Can he beat them this time? Or will they finally destroy him?
Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the abbey. All she wants is to learn how to manage her unusual abilities so that she is not a danger to those around her. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything threatens to spiral out of her control. Whether she leaves or whether she stays, how can she possibly avoid destroying – yet again – those she has come to care about?
Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. He knows what he has to do but is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.
I guess there’s no such thing as a typical author, but I’m certainly not typical. I have a degree in Civil Engineering although I’ve never worked in that area. I’ve mostly worked as an accountant and I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). I’ve run my own accountancy business for many years, where I provide financial management and financial modelling services to public sector organisations. How that led to becoming an author, I’ve no idea.
In my spare time I like to keep fit so I swim regularly and I’m also an archer, something I enjoy very much. I’m actively involved in my local church where I manage the sound system (the minister is my husband – so I have the power to turn his mic off if he preaches too long!). I also have a couple of voluntary roles, one as trustee with a local youth theatre and the other advising a genealogical organisation.
JRR: I also worked the sound system at one of my former churches for a while and it’s hard work! (Turning off that mic can be tempting…. 😉 ) Now, Did you always want to become an author?
No, it happened to me by chance. The story developed in my head and eventually I had to write it down to stop the characters taking over my life. That didn’t work, by the way. Once I got them out of my head and onto paper they started taking over even more of my life!
JRR: What inspires you to write?
Pretty much anything! I can hear something, or see a picture or read something and an idea just develops. I dreamt one of the scenes in Strand of Faith and the rest of the story grew from there. I’m definitely a pantser not a plotter and I find the story unfolds on the page. Sometimes I’m surprised by the direction it goes.
JRR: What does your writing process consist of? Do you research, do you hand-write or type, do you have a playlist or do you need silence?
I don’t have a playlist but I don’t need silence. I’m quite happy to be interrupted and I find it quite easy to get back to work again. I type because my handwriting doesn’t keep up with my thought process – I can type much faster. I research when necessary but once I start research something there’s always a danger it will be hours before I get back to writing!
JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
I don’t think there’s any one author that has influenced me more than another. I read extensively as a child and I still do today. I couldn’t pick any one author.
JRR: Oops… Who are some of your favorite authors as an adult?
I have quite a list – some of my favourites include Neil Gaiman, Terry Prachett (Discworld), Jodi Picoult, Annette Marie (urban fantasy), Jodi Taylor (Chronicles of St Mary’s), Sarah Woodbury (After Cilmeri time travel fiction), Trisha Ashley (romance), Diane Gabaldon (Outlander), Anne McCaffery (Dragonrider series). But there are many, many more.
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
My Dad would be one of them, definitely. He died five years ago which was before I started writing or had any idea about publishing so I’d really like to share all this with him. He influenced at least one of my male characters. I’d love to spend time with Neil Gaiman, because I’ve read so much of his work and it ranges over so many different areas. And that leads me on to my third choice, Terry Pratchett. I could (and have) read his Discworld series over and over again. Spending time with someone with that level of imagination would be fascinating.
JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?
Umm…My TBR pile currently has 25 books in it and that’s just the physical pile. I don’t think there’s any one stand out book that I’ve always meant to read, just a whole lot that have tempted me. I started the Goodreads reading challenge to encourage me to work through the physical pile this year, but much of what I read is eBooks. Using an eReader means I can adjust the font size if I need to instead of having to hunt for my reading glasses.
JRR: Yes, too many books and never enough time! What made you choose the paranormal romance genre to write your first novel?
I didn’t choose it, not exactly. I just wrote Strand of Faith and its sequels and then tried to work out what genre it was. Paranormal romance seemed to be the closest fit for something that is really cross genre.
JRR: Where did you get the idea for Strand of Faith? Did you base any character off anyone you know?
The idea started when I dreamt one of the scenes in this book, and then developed in my mind and on paper. It felt like the characters were telling me their story and I was writing it down. Some were more reticent than others! No character is based directly on someone I know, but I can see some of my friends’ characteristics in some of my characters.
JRR: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Finish it! It’s very easy to start something and not nearly so easy to plough on and finish it. It applies to everything, not just writing. I felt a tremendous sense of achievement when I finished the first draft of all four books in the Choices and Consequences series.
JRR: Is there anything else you would like to share?
I really hope you enjoy reading Strand of Faith as much as I have enjoyed writing it. My plan is to release the other three books in the series over the next fifteen months or so. I’d love it if, at the end of Strand of Faith, readers were eager to read the rest and impatient for the next release date. If you want to look out for them:
Book 2 – Thread of Hope, to be released spring 2019
Book 3 – Weave of Love, to be released autumn 2019
Book 4 – Cloth of Grace, to be released spring 2020
Or sign up for my newsletter at www.racheljbonner.co.uk to be sure you don’t miss out.
JRR: Thank you for your time with this interview Rachel! And now we know when to look out for the rest of the series!!
About the Author:
Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, is due out in November 2018.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Target shooting only, honest. Nothing to worry about.
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk.
Win a signed paperback copy of Strand of Faith, a set of bookmarks (3 styles plus a business card) featuring the cover art, and a canvas print (40cm by 30cm) of the original cover art. **Open Internationally**
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.