‘Remember Us’ Book Launch {Giveaway}

Based on recent announcements from friends, 2018 is the year of the book launch. I’m happy about this latest announcement – the writing duo Lindsay Blake (friend from Omaha) and Layne Beckner of Ontario have written a fiction book called “Remember Us,” and get this – it’s based in Nebraska!

The new book “Remember Us” is in the middle of a Publishizer campaign that you can support.

Lindsay and I go way back to The Daily Nonpareil days. Newspaper pay was so low, I knew my coworkers were there for the love of writing and not for the fame. She found a way to crank out creative stories daily for the newspaper, and captured compelling images to go with them.

The special thing about “Remember Us” is that it’s building steam through a Publishizer campaign. It’s a new-to-me process that is fascinating: The authors set a goal for pre-orders and if they hit it by the deadline, their book is queried by a set number independent publishers. Their aim right now is 250 books. Head over to Publishizer now to pre-order and support their goal!

Let’s dive into the book and then you can learn more about Lindsay and Layne in a fun Q&A. This post ends with a giveaway for an autographed copy of “Remember Us.” So, stick around!

About “Remember Us”

“Remember Us” is a new fiction book about a family in Nebraska. The humorous story is described on the Publishizer page as a story that “explores love, loss, & the unexpected beauty of forgiveness where ‘Parenthood’ meets ‘This is Us’ with a side of ‘Arrested Development’ dysfunction.” Love it!

The story centers around the Hamiltons and commences 13 years after Bernice, formally known as Mom, walked out of their lives without a word. When 25-year-old Ben calls his twin and best friend, Reese, to tell her their father Carl has cancer, she drops everything and races back to their childhood home in Nebraska. Bernice shows up unannounced on the doorstep a few days later at 10 p.m. exactly with three suitcases, her pet chihuahua Rocky sitting high in her fuchsia purse, and mascara running down both cheeks.

She said she came to be helpful.

“Remember Us” chronicles the Hamiltons through the next three months as they begrudgingly grow reacquainted with each other, confront their past and look at the future. Ultimately, “Remember Us” is a story about family, forgiveness, and finding your way.

About the authors

Layne makes a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies from a recipe she’s had since she was 7, adores her husband, Jonathan, and loves film photography. They live in southern Ontario where they host dinner parties and drink too much wine.

Lindsay says “Layne is the bigger reader out of the two of us and knows the “industry” a lot more than I do. She is a brilliant writer and has a knack for excellence. She is the one that continues to change a word here or sentence there to make our story even stronger.”

Layne Beckner co-wrote “Remember Us,” a fictional story about a family in Nebraska.

Lindsay Blake co-authored the award-winning book, “Act Here. Love Now.” (Youth With A Mission, 2011). A former journalist and photographer for the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, her work has also appeared in publications including The Omaha World Herald, Family Ties Magazine, and on several blog sites. Her bachelor of arts in studio art photography and minor in communications Journalism was received from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She also received an associates of art in mass communication from the University of the Nations. Lindsay’s dream list is 100 deep. She has traveled to over 32 countries caring for others and exploring our beautiful planet. She’s jumped out of a plane, lived in a mud hut in South Sudan, nearly died from a tape worm in Pakistan, and dreams of flying to outer space. She’s shaved her head twice “just because.” Lindsay currently lives the good life in Omaha with her husband and son, Carsen Warner.

Layne says “Lindsay is passionate, bold, and amazing with the details! She’d catch things that we’d been overlooking for months. She also is amazing at the one-liners. Any (probably every) one-liner you read and love in our book is probably from her.”

Lindsay Blake is the other co-author of “Remember Us.”

Author Q&A

It’s always fun digging a little deeper about authors, don’t you think?

Q. Who are some writers or creatives who have influenced you?

Layne: “L.M. Montgomery, Charles Dickens, Carol Rifka Brunt, Paula McClain, John Steinbeck (etc.)”

Lindsay: “C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas, and Jackson Pollock”

Q. What is one book that you’ve read that has stuck around with you long after you finished it?

Layne: “Tell the Wolves I’m Home”

Lindsay: “The autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. edited by Claiborne Carson and ‘Amazing Grace’ by Eric Metals. I love autobiographies/biographies #nerd.”

Q. When you aren’t writing, what do you do in your spare time?

Layne: “I read. I go for walks. I play ultimate frisbee on Mondays and cook soup on Sundays. I keep it simple.”

Lindsay: “As a mom, small business owner, and author my spare time is limited. BUT, I love a good girls night/breakfast out with friends and a great restaurant experience. I love going to the movies, although it hardly happens anymore and I can’t even tell you what movies are showing. And I love to read.”

Win a signed copy of “Remember Us”

Book lovers: You can win an autographed copy of the new book by Layne Beckner and Lindsay Blake! It’s simple to enter. Just fill out the form below. Must be 18 or older to enter. The giveaway ends Sunday, Feb. 11, at 11:59 p.m. CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Peanut: A storybook for mighty preemie babies Review + Giveaway

Update: Congrats to Kristen, the winner of the book giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of “Peanut: A storybook for mighty preemie babies” so that I can review it and share it with you. I was not compensated for this post. This post contains an affiliate link. At no extra cost to you, if you click the link and make a purchase, bloggers like me receive a small amount for referring you. It helps keep me keep doing what I love to do – writing and sharing great things from Omaha with you. Thanks!


Peanut cover photo

Omaha author and illustrator Lindsay Nolan recently sent me her new book, “Peanut: A storybook for mighty preemie babies.” With lovely illustrations, based off actual photos and events of Nolan’s own preemie son, it was a sweet story I couldn’t pass up telling you about.

“Little baby,

I understand

that life never goes

exactly as planned,

and that something so little

can be something so grand.”

– Lindsay Nolan, “Peanut: A storybook for mighty preemie babies”

It’s a short storybook full of faith and a mother’s lover. I think you’ll like it!

Since it’s Nolan’s hope to offer encouragement to parents of other mighty preemies, I’ll be passing the book on to my sister, who’s daughter was born prematurely, too. She weighed in at a whopping 2 pounds, 7 ounces. Peanut indeed.

Just look at me holding the little peanut for the first time. 

Holding my niece for the first time.
Holding my niece for the first time.

My niece is turning 2 years old next month – her latest feat is climbing out of her crib.

If you have a preemie, I know you’ll like the book. If know someone who has a preemie, it makes a great gift. Nolan’s book is available at Amazon

And if you’re wondering about the “Peanut” in the book, he looks like a happy (and mighty) boy. Here’s a photo Nolan shared with me:

Author Lindsay Nolan and her family.
Omaha author Lindsay Nolan and her family.


You can win a copy! I’m giving one reader “Peanut: A storybook for mighty preemie babies”!

To enter, just leave a comment below tell me about the might preemie in your life that this story reminds you of. Must be a U.S resident, 18 years or older. Giveaway ends Sunday, Feb. 14, at 11:59 p.m. One winner will be drawn using random.org and I’ll contact the winner via email within 48 hours. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before I draw another name. Good luck!

New Prairie Kitchen + Omaha Events

There’s a new book out celebrating chefs, farmers and artisans in the Midwest – and a lot of the featured players are from Omaha. Including the book’s author, Summer Miller.


I was one of a few lucky bloggers invited to watch Summer prepare a sample of recipes from “New Prairie Kitchen,” and hear her stories about the individuals she met in the making of the book.

It’s all in a day’s work for me, this eating of good food while in good company.

The book is part seasonal cookbook, part stories of the Great Plains, and filled with beautiful color photos by Dana Damewood. Summer invited chefs to share recipes that used at least one locally grown/produced/raised ingredient, and the resulting 50 recipes covered all imaginable courses and all four seasons (sorry, the fifth season, chocolate season, was mistakenly left out).

Summer Miller us braided mozzarella.
Summer Miller us braided mozzarella.

Summer explained that it was important to have recipes accessible to people at different levels of cooking ability (and available time). “I don’t want moms to feel like this is something they have to pull off,” she told the four of us ladies – all mothers – sitting in front of her.

Good, because while I like to think I love trying new food, and I cook a lot, there’s no way I’m making homemade sausage. But I just might try to make homemade ricotta.

Mom ain’t got time for anything more.

But maybe you do, so it’s a good thing both are included in this cookbook.

To give you a sampling of what we tried, and to shed a little light on where some of these recipes came from – and where some ingredients came from – here’s a rundown of what we ate:

Cheese course

NPK cheeses

Cheeses from Milton Creamery in Milton, Iowa, Dutchgirl Creamery in Lincoln, Neb., and Branched Oak Farm in Raymond, Neb.


Summer Starter

Goat Cheese and Tomato Chutney Crostini recipe from Proof in Des Moines, Iowa.


Fall Main Course

NPK tacos

Golden Potato and Cabbage Tacos with Apple-Cilantro Pico recipe from Maggie’s Vegetarian Cafe in Lincoln, Neb.


Spring Dessert

NPK shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake with Rhubarb Compote recipe from M.B. Haskett Delicatessen in Sioux Falls, S.D.


I’m excited to dig into the book and try out some recipes. I asked Summer for some of her favorites, the ones that are on rotation in her house and pass muster with her kids. She recommends Bryce Colton’s cornbread, which is part of the Tesa, Poached Eggs, Roasted Tomatoes and Spicy Cornbread recipe. Bryce is the chef at The French Bulldog in Dundee.

Other ones on in the book she makes regularly include Dried Fruit and Pumpkin Seed Granola from Kristine Moberg of Queen City Bakery in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the ricotta mentioned earlier, which you’ll find the recipe for in Toast with Homemade Ricotta and Fresh Strawberry Jam, shared by Nick Strawhecker of Dante Ristorante Pizzeria in Omaha.

You can get “New Prairie Kitchen” online at retailers like Amazon.

Or, better yet, go to one of the local events, buy the book there and maybe get that book signed by Summer!

May 9 – 1 p.m., The Bookworm, 2501 S. 90th St.111, Omaha, panel discussion with contributors from the book

May 16 – 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jackson Street Booksellers, 1119 Jackson St., Omaha, book signing

May 16 – 1 to 2:30 p.m., Provisions, 3157 Farnam St., Suite 7106., book signing with Summer Miller and Clayton Chapman, chef. Snacks will be served.

May 18 – 5 to 9 p.m., Dante Ristorante Pizzeria, Omaha, four-course dinner featuring Clayton Chapman, chef of The Grey Plume, Paul Kulik, chef of The Boiler Room, Bryce Coulton, chef of The French Bulldog, and Nick Strawhecker, chef of Dante. Cost is $100, RSVP at 402-932-3078 or email Adam Weber at aweber@dantepizzeria.com.


Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary lunch prepared by Summer Miller because she’s cool like that, and I was given a copy of “New Prairie Kitchen” so I can try my hand at mangling some recipes. This post contains affiliate links, which at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through the link, I receive a small amount of money to keep doing the thing I love to do – writing.

Local Author’s “A is for the Alchemist” Book Signings + Giveaway

If you’ve been to The Rose in the last couple decades, there’s a good chance you saw a production James Larson had a hand in either writing, directing or producing.

He’s now writing children’s fiction. His novel, “‘A’ is for THE ALCHEMIST,” the first of his Winnie and Winslow Adventure Series.

A is for Alchemist


Geared for ages 8 and up, “‘A’ is for THE ALCHEMIST” introduces young readers to 12-year-old Winslow, who wants to lead his team to victory in the upcoming football championship, and his brilliant kid sister, Winnie, who is finishing her sure-to-win entry for the national science contest – a robot designed with unique artificial intelligence that enables it to sing any and every piece of music. Joined by Cavalcade the family cat, and Amulet, a cowardly dog who dreams of being part of the family, the story features themes of personal courage, loyalty, kindness and humility.

I got the chance to check out a copy of the book. I enjoyed the book features such a bright young girl. And Winnie’s not only smart, she has a particular passion for science. How’s that for a role model?

Larson has a long history working with the target age group of this book, and with that experience, he has crafted an engaging first novel full of adventure.

Larson will be at a couple of events coming up where he’ll read from the book (and you know given his background, it’s going to be theatrical!), answer questions and sign books.


Meet local author James Larson:

Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Benson branch of the Omaha Public Library

Monday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Abrahams branch of the Omaha Public Library

Sunday, Nov. 2, before and after the 2 p.m. of  “A Wrinkle in Time” at The Rose

Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Millard branch of the Omaha Public Library


The book is now available on Amazon.com and at the Bookworm bookstore in Omaha.



I’m excited to be giving away signed copies of “‘A’ is for THE ALCHEMIST”! Three readers will get a copy of the new book. It’s easy to enter, just use the Rafflecopter entry form below (you may have to log in via Facebook). Contest runs through Sunday, Oct. 19, at 11:59 p.m. CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I was provided a complimentary copy of “‘A’ is for THE ALCHEMIST” in order to write this post.