Legend of the Candy Cane + Giveaway!

I doubt I have as many children’s Christmas books as Kav Rees, but I certainly have my share. It’s been a while since I’ve gone through my box (sorry, no room on the shelves) of books–it’s like walking through a candy store but without the calories!

I don’t remember if my kids had a favorite, but one book stood out to me: The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, illustrated by James Bernardin. I love how this book takes a simple Christmas symbol and gives a spiritual meaning to it.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Legend of the Candy CaneOne dark November night a stranger rides into a small prairie town. Who is he? Why has he come? The townspeople wish he were a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. But the children have the greatest wish of all, a deep, quiet, secret wish. Then a young girl named Lucy befriends the newcomer. When he reveals his identity and shares with her the legend of the candy cane, she discovers fulfillment of her wishes and the answer to her town’s dreams. Now will she share what she has learned?

Warm, lavish illustrations by James Bernardin bring to life a timeless tale by Lori Walburg, a story that will help families celebrate the mystery and miracle of Christmas—for many Christmases to come.

Actually, the candy cane was created around 1670 when a church choirmaster bent white sugar sticks into cane form to represent a shepherd’s staff. He used those candies to keep the attention of children during long services.

The red stripe was added around the turn of the century. Some sources say that an Indiana candy maker added the red stripe as a witness of Christ’s love, but it’s not confirmed.

Question: Do you like candy canes?

3D Chain of Mercy - new (254 x 300)~~~ Book Giveaway Details ~~~

To enter, in the comments below, say whether you like candy canes or not. Contest runs through midnight CST on 12/18/2015. One autographed copy of Chain of Mercy (Coming Home series, book #1) by Brenda S. Anderson will be given away to one commenter on today’s Inkspirational Messages blog. The winner will be announced on December 19, 2015.  This contest is only open to US residents only.

Indie Excellence

*** Last Day to Enter Book Giveaway ***
See rules below

With this new climate in publishing, I’m amazed at the proliferation of indie authors and hybrid authors doing well in the marketplace.

A couple of authors in particular have caught my eye, and their books are on my must-read list. In my opinion, these are two authors to watch.

Kept by Sally BradleyKEPT by Sally Bradley is a 2-time Genesis finalist. The gritty story line is exactly the type I salivate to read, and I can’t wait till my book arrives in the mail!

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her–all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes her anonymity was an illusion.Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her–a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.

Miranda WarningHeather Day Gilbert has released a couple of books, books that show her diversity. Her first release, God’s Daughter, is about Vikings (and no, not my Minnesota Vikings), and her second, MIRANDA WARNING is a combo women’s fiction / suspense.

Miranda Warning sounds like it’s right up my reading alley.

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.

But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox—a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting—Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself.

Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

The Brickmaker's Bride*** Book Giveaway ***

Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing to receive one of the two copies of Judith Miller’s The Brickmaker’s Bride. Every time you leave a comment on the Inkspirational Messages posts dated September 29, 2014 to October 10, 2014, you will be entered.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org on
Fri., Oct. 10 at midnight, central time zone. 

Oh, Goodie, Goodie!

>>> Last day to enter to win
Rose Ross Zediker‘s
See contest rules below <<<

At Inkspirational Messages, we recognize that chocolate is the most important of the five food groups (said tongue-in-cheek, just in case you’re wondering), so I’d be remiss if I didn’t cap off this hometown series with an homage to one of the greatest candy bars ever invented:

Pearson’s Nut Goodie

Nut Goodie

This delectable candy bar brimming with chocolate and peanuts and a creamy maple center was born in Minneapolis 102 years ago (1912) and has been making mouths water ever since.

The Nut Goodie is created by Pearson’s which originally began as Pearson Candy Company (five Pearson brothers) in 1909. Before this bar’s creation, the company was just a candy distributor. But the Nut Goodie Bar changed that. Until 1933, it was their main creation. That’s when Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll came on the scene. No chocolate, but equally as yummy.

The company has since crossed the river into St. Paul, and it has changed hands. Along the way Pearsons also introduced other candy bars, but Nut Goodie and Salted Nut Roll remain its staples.

Now, unfortunately, the Nut Goodie is not calorie free. I know, you’re shocked, right? So, I treat myself infrequently, but when I do, it is worth every bite!


!!! Book Giveaway !!!

Every time you leave a comment between Monday, August 4 and Friday, August 15 at midnight, central time, you are entered to win a copy of “Sweet on the Cowgirl.”

Camping With Cows

>Last day to enter to win Shari Barr‘s OPERATION: EXCITEMENT!
To enter, see contest rules below<

Camping with cows sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe not, but let me explain. I grew up on a dairy farm, and my best friend also grew up on a farm, so cows were always in the background. Summers were super busy with picking rock, harvesting crops, baling hay, and other *fun* farm chores, so we had to grab the free time when we could and camp close to home. That usually meant heading to one of two places: the hayloft or cow pasture.

The hayloft / shed was great for the rainy night. I’d head out there with my sister, my friend, and her younger sisters, munchies and boombox in tow. (No boys allowed!) We’d form a stage out of hay bales and pop in the Grease cassette or 8-track (yes, I know that ages me). Someone would blink a flashlight to create cool stage effects (for a hayloft, the effects were cool!) while others sang and danced.

MP900385381[1]For the non-stormy nights, my sister and I would bike over to our friend’s farm. She’d hook a large wagon onto a tractor, we’d fill the wagon with sleeping bags and blankets and pillows and boomboxes and guitars and munchies (we really roughed it!) and head out to a wooded part of the pasture. After getting a fire started, we’d roast hot dogs and make s’mores, then break out the guitars to serenade the cows.

Oddly enough, few cows visited us in that pasture. Wonder what that says about our music …


What’s your camping story? Tell us about it in the comment section below to get your name in a drawing for Shari Barr’s book Operation: Excitement. The more you comment on any Inksper blog posts dated June 23 – July 4, 2014, the greater your chances of winning. The giveaway ends at midnight on July 4, central time, and is open to continental U. S. residents only.

Operation excitement 1Here’s the blurb to Operation Excitement, featuring three Camp Club Girl’s stories (by Shari Barr, Janice Hanna, and Linda Carlblom) in one book:

Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 3-in-1 story collection. Whether the Camp Club Girls are vanquishing vermin in Vermont, searching for stolen sea lion pups on the Oregon Coast, or investigating peculiar elk stampedes in Estes Park, you’ll encounter six charming characters who combine their mystery-solving skills to save the day.

Purchase Operation Excitement online:

Parable | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD

Spine Poetry

(Last Day for the Giveaway!!!
See below for more info)

You ask what I’m reading? Well, let me tell you! My bed stand to-read pile happens to be overflowing right now; all I need is a little bit more time to tackle that pile.

So, what’s on that bed stand? Glad you asked! But rather than tell you about it, I thought it would be fun show you in the form of Spine Poetry.

SPRING INKspiration!

(Spring releases by our very own Inkspirational Messages contributors)

Spring Inkspiration

Library Love!

(Note: Every book I read, I order from the library, BUT I also purchase many of those books. I hope that by checking them out at the library too, that’ll help them stay on the shelves. Maybe a library expert could weigh in on whether this is beneficial or not …)

Library Love

And I can’t forget that we have a GIVEAWAY going on yet! One copy of Chain of Mercy, one small box of Fannie May candies, and the Phillips, Craig and Dean Breathe In CD will be given away.

To enter, in the comments section below, tell us what you’re reading now, and if you’re feeling creative, write it out in spine poetry form.

Contest ends tonight (Friday, May 9, 2014) at midnight, CST! Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced here on Saturday, May 10, 2014.


See that guy to your right? That’s precisely how I was feeling earlier this week. I had a ton of blog interviews to fill out, three blog posts to write, one non-blog interview to fill out, ACFW MN NICE President stuff to attend to, a Book Launch celebration to plan (pssst… The launch is May 15 at Northgate Church just in case any of you happen to be around the Minneapolis area then) …

And that’s just in my writing life!

This spring is rather nuts in the Anderson household with (4) major lifetime events occurring within a span of 7 weeks:

April 22 – my debut novel, Chain of Mercy, releases (pre-order <here>)

April 25 – my daughter has her senior recital. It’s just her in concert for over an hour!

May 3 – my daughter graduates from college

June 8 – my son graduates from high school

Along with each of these exciting events comes a wagon load of preparation, and it seemed that I wasn’t doing any of it 100%. On top of that, I’ve been neglecting the family. They’re lucky if they get a warm meal three days a week. The house hasn’t been well-cleaned since … well, I don’t know when. You’re welcome to come visit, just ignore my new pets, those dust bunnies partying in the corners.

Writing RetreatSo, what’s a girl to do?

Arrange a vacation, that’s what! Well, not exactly a vacation, more of a retreat. I packed up my laptop & netbook and my to-do list and made the three-plus hour trek to Wisconsin Dells for two days of uninterrupted quiet. (And yes, Stacy, that is a Fannie May bag on the table. Chocolate is a requirement for retreats, don’tchya know!)

The first thing I did after checking in was head to the local outlet mall to find a new outfit for my book launch. Thanks to Lori at Dress Barn for helping me find the perfect outfit. Actually, she helped me a bit too much because I came home with more than one outfit.

After picking up groceries, I returned to my villa (about 10:30 pm) to tackle that to-do list.

By the end of the next day I had crossed off all but one blog interview. Yeah! I rewarded myself with a little TV–had to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Can you say plot twist?!!! And then I enjoyed Face Off on the SyFy channel. Yeah, I’m a bit of a geek.

The following day I tackled blog posts, the non-blog interview, the MN NICE stuff, and I started this post.

And then I returned home to my messy house.

Hmm, I booked a vacation to get my writing tasks done, I wonder if that’ll work for housework too…



In honor of our blog re-launch, the Inkspers are giving away copies of their books. You can enter to win all five of the books below by leaving a comment. Every time you comment, you’ll be entered, so make sure you stop back every day. This contest is open to U.S. residents only, due to shipping costs. Contests ends Friday, April 11, 2014 at midnight (CST) (That’s today!!!) and the winner will be posted here on Saturday, April 12, 2014. 

Prize Package includes these fabulous books:

We're Back! Book GiveawayRodeo Song by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson (novel releases April 22)

The Widow’s Suitor by Rose Ross Zediker

The Prodigal Daughter by Linda Fulkerson

When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad