Thursday, February 24, 2022

In the Spotlight: Connecting With Christ by Yolonda Tonette Sanders


Author: Yolonda Tonette Sanders
Publisher: Yo Productions
Pages: 212
Genre: Nonfictional/Inspirational

Self-care is a buzzword often mentioned when people seek to optimize their health. Suggested self-care practices tend to include activities such as exercising, getting a massage, or eating a healthy diet. While all of these actions have their place, none of them are sufficient enough to provide the soul-care we need to maximize our self-care. Self-care without soul-care equates to temporary solutions that leave us searching for the next new thing. However, when Christ becomes the center of our holistic health journey, we not only find fulfillment in Him but also a dependency on and trust in Him to truly live our best lives-emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

"If ever there has been a time in history when we need to connect with and cling to Christ, it is now. Loud divisive voices vie for our attention. World events distract. Personal challenges overwhelm. Staying connected to Christ takes effort, even for the most devoted believer. Connecting with Christ aids in fostering that connection. Yolonda Sanders chose contributors well, those who provide thoughtful, encouraging, helpful guidance in making connection to Christ a priority."-- Candy Arrington, author, Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well

"Inspiration can wane when the winds of discouragement blow through our lives. Connecting with Christ offers 52 weeks of easy encouragement everyone can benefit from. Easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to apply to our wind-blown lives. Receiving inspiration from a variety of authors makes you feel like you're family. Coming together to talk about life and how God's truth plays an active part for all of us is priceless."-- Linda Goldfarb, Speaker-Trainer-Coach, Award-winning author of the LINKED Personality Series, helping you take your next best step- Relationally-Spiritually-Professionally (

"Connecting with Christ is a unique, faith-filled, inspiring devotional designed to cultivate a thirst for the Word as you grow in your spiritual journey. You will feel the love of God and experience His goodness, grace, and faithfulness, which are woven throughout this work."-- La Verne Tolbert, Ph.D., author of How to Study and Understand the Bible (; Founder & CEO of Teaching Like Jesus Ministries, Inc. (http: //; and host of Sunday School Made Simple (https: //

"Eternal, intrinsic, and unique, your soul is a touchpoint between you and God. A healthy soul is protection against agnosticism, hatred, prejudice, and superficial materialism. Yolonda Tonette Sanders and others provide a resource for the vital care and feeding of your soul and help you connect with the God who loves you."-- PeggySue Wells is the bestselling author of 29 books, including The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make, and the founder of

Book Information

Release Date: November 30, 2021

Publisher:  Yo Productions

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1732850842; 212 pages; $14.99


Barnes & Noble:


Book Excerpt:

If you conduct an internet search for devotionals, I’m sure that you won’t find a shortage of materials. The challenge when constructing this project was creating something different  enough to draw others’ attention without requiring an enormous amount of time. The goal is not for anyone to spend an exorbitant amount of time with this devotional. As wonderful as this project is, nothing should replace the written Word of God contained in the Holy Bible. My prayer is that this work leads you to the Word and enhances your understanding of


Enclosed you will find 52 devotionals broken into 12 themes to correlate with the 12 months of the year. Although the devotionals are ordered, feel free to go through the themes in a manner that best suits your needs. There is only one devotional per week. Ideally, the hope is that you will read the devotional at the beginning of the week and meditate on the Scripture and overall message for the rest of the week. You are encouraged to read the entire passages of the Scriptures listed to see what the Lord may reveal to you outside of what is written in this book. There is a place for you to jot down your thoughts each week if you choose.

You will notice that this work contains no dates, only generic weekly references (e.g., week 1). This is so you can use the entire collection of devotionals for many years to come. You do not have to follow the order of the weeks or themes. Go through this book as the Lord best leads you. May you hear His voice loud and clear as you journey on this road called life.

Love and Blessings,

Yolonda Tonette Sanders


About the Author


Yolonda Tonette Sanders is the CEO of Yo Productions, LLC and co-founder of the Faith & Fellowship Book Festival. Her writing portfolio includes academic papers, novels, short stories, poems, and other creative works. She is an editor for a national publication, a professor, and serves on several boards and associations. Yolonda holds two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in organizational leadership. She treasures her relationships with family and close friends. Yolonda is blessed to be the wife of David; mother of two adults, Tre and Tia; “Nini” to her grandchildren, Khari and Khia; daughter of Eddie; sister to Milton; and dog mom to Paco.

Her latest book is the nonfiction/inspirational Connecting with Christ: 52 Weekly Devotionals to Nurture Spiritual Growth (Yo Productions).

Visit her website at or connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Top 5 Books I Want to Reread in 2022

This week’s topic at Meeghan Reads Top 5 Tuesday is top 5 books I want to reread in 2022.


I alwasy, always have a list of books that I want to reread. And, I am sure all of you have an ever growing TBR pile so then I almost feel guilty. But, there are a few that I will certainly be reading again this year for a variety of reasons. 


If you missed the January-March 2022 topics please see this link. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted here @ Meeghan reads.

top 5 books I want to reread in 2022

Verity— Colleen Hoover

Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard of Verity by Colleen Hoover. Having read this book years ago, a lot of it has stuck with me but I feel like I want to reread it to get all the details back in my mind, fresher than ever. Then I can jump into the conversations surrounding it again and know that I am not remembering things wrong. 


The Thirteenth Tale — Diane Setterfield

It is rare that I give a book 5 stars, but this one gets 5. It has been YEARS since I have read it, and to be honest I don't remember it completely. But, my aunt and I were talking about great books not that long ago and this book came up. I decided it was time to read it again.


The Mayfair Witches — Anne Rice

I have been a fan of Anne Rice for a LONG time. Read this series many years ago and remember liking it even more than Interview with a Vampire et al, so thought I would give it another shot. 

IT — Stephen King

My Mom passed away in November and I am still struggling pretty bad with it. These last two picks were her two favorites. IT was her favorite book of all time. I am also a HUGE Stephen King fan, and even though this one is mammoth I want to read it again, if for no other reason than to feel a little closer to her. 


Helter Skelter — Vincent Bugliosi

Another favorite of my Mom's...and mine too. We both were always fascinated by the Mason family and the murders that took place so I am actually looking forward to reading this one again. It's been a long time as well.

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Monday, February 21, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (5)


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.


Another week, hard to believe how fast time goes sometimes. It's been a rough week, work isn't good and I had my infusion on Friday so haven't been feeling the best emotionally or physically. But, thankfully I always have my friends, family and books. 

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Up next:

I always have plans on what I am going to read next but they never stay the same. But, I'm thinking The Dutch House by Anne Patchett.

Read More »

Sunday, February 20, 2022


Nicholas Garnett
 received his MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. He has taught creative writing at FIU, the Miami Book Fair, and Writing Class Radio. Garnett is also a freelance editor and co-producer of the Miami-based live storytelling series, Lip Service: True Stories Out Loud. He is a recipient of residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and fellowships to the Norman Mailer Art Colony and Writers in Paradise. His writing has appeared, among other places, in, Sundress Publication’s “Best of the Net” and Cleis Press’s Best Sex Writing.

His memoir, In the Pink, is forthcoming from MidTown Publishing in January 2022.

You can visit his website at or connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work in my alma mater’s creative writing program, advising and teaching. I play the drums. I exercise. And I love and collect all things vintage, including jukeboxes, records and record players, and movies on film (which I play on my 16mm film projector).

When did you start writing?

I’m not one of those writers I see interviewed who say that they remember writing on the back of cereal boxes when they were six, or who finished their first novel at 16. I guess you could say I came to the party late. I read a lot, which I’ve learned is a common occurrence among writers. But the thing that got me writing creatively was that I had a very specific story to tell, one which I knew was unique. That didn’t happen to me until I was in my mid-forties. But once it happened, I couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle. I committed to a writing life, including going back to school for an M.F.A. in creative writing. At an age when most people are thinking about ending their professional careers, I started a new one. I have had my share of frustrations and disappointments, and yes, I wish I had started twenty years earlier, but the writing life has been transformative for me.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

For me, nothing happened quickly. It took me years to write my memoir and years after that to get it published. In the meantime, I spent more years writing a novel. All in all, about a 15-year stint, filled with ups and downs. I can’t say there was a pivotal moment, after which everything changed. The way my manuscript came to the attentions of its publisher could have happened five or ten years ago—or never. There was no pivot, just the gradual realization that I was in it for the long haul, that I had to look past the rejections and near-misses and keep going. There were times I wanted to quit, but I could never answer the question: quit, and do what? I’d pretty much tried everything else. I think the arts are a game of attrition, designed to get you to quit. In many ways, the ones who succeed are the ones who just stay at it.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Greece. My heritage is Greek, though I haven’t been back in a long time. But my memories of the place are so distinct. I’ve never seen a place that offers such a variety of national beauty, history, and a lifestyle so conducive to creativity.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Hit up Trader Joe’s, play my drums, lift weights, nap, then read.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Sometime in the not-too-distant future: the very last movie theater in operation.

Back to your present book, In the Pink, how did you publish it?

I began writing the story many years ago as a chronicle of what I always knew was an unusual situation: a straight guy immersed in a gay world. I was pretty good at writing vivid description. I could take a reader to the moment, the sights, and sounds. What I couldn’t do is convert an unusual situation into a story. What I mean by that is I didn’t know how to answer the question: so what? Only with time and distance could I begin to make sense of the story, which I came to see as a search for acceptance and belonging. The story became my MFA thesis and had a couple of literary agents interested enough to shop it around. It turns out that what was unique about the story—straight guy/gay world—made it difficult to place in a niche. After many rejections, I moved on, wrote a novel, and came to terms with the fact that In the Pink was never going to see the light of day. Then, a faculty member at my alma mater took an interest in the story, made some suggestions, and placed the manuscript in the hands of someone who got it and published it.  I’ve just compressed more than 15 years of some ups and many downs into a paragraph.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I did plenty of traveling, though I didn’t realize at the time that it would serve as research! The circuit party scene of the 90s was a global phenomenon. My wife and our friends met up in Miami, New York, San Francisco, London, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Mykonos, and Rio de Janeiro. It would be a stretch to categorize our activities (as depicted in my book) as research, though. More like raw material. 

Why was writing In the Pink so important to you?

The writer Robert Olen Butler claims that the fundamental element of good storytelling depends on what he calls the Unified Theory of Yearning. By yearning, he means the kind of desire that goes way beyond wanting. I can want money, sex, or a prestigious job, but yearning is what drives that desire. Butler claims, and I agree, that the most universal yearning is to find our place in the world, a place where we belong and feel accepted—where we can finally answer the question: WHO AM I? It’s what’s behind all kinds of “identity” movements of race, and gender, and religion. I believe it was Butler’s kind of yearning that attracted me to the world depicted in my memoir. And it’s that same yearning that, once I had discovered the world of writing and writers, attracted me to it, too. It had taken a while, but finally, I had found a place where I belonged. But still, without a published book, I felt like I was standing outside the club, waiting for the doorman to choose me. Getting published made me feel as though someone had finally lifted that velvet rope.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

The best ideas are a combination of our conscious interests and desires, combined with our unconscious fears and obsessions. I had a professor in my MFA program who had an edict regarding storytelling: only trouble is interesting. “Trouble” could be anything from physical danger to emotional distress—preferably both. So, if I start with a setting and a character that I’m interested in, figure out what they want and what they fear, then either block them from that desire and/or or shove their worst fear right in their face, I’m on my way. Of course, if you’re writing memoir, you’re applying this formula to yourself. That can be scary. But if you pull it off, you’ll probably have something that will keep the reader turning the pages.

Any final words?

Writing is hard. Writing a book-length story is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. If you think about the process too much, or get hung up on a timeline, you’ll either never finish or give up. Or both. For me, the hardest part of any writing project is starting. So, my advice (not that you asked for it) is: start!


Washed out of another corporate job, scraping by playing drums in a wedding band, delivering roses in a tuxedo. This was Nicholas Garnett’s version of the go-go 90s. Then, beautiful, worldly, Rachael turns his world upside down, introducing him to her gay friends who occupy the upper crust of the burgeoning gay circuit party scene. Nick and Rachael marry. They become known as the hot straight couple that party hardy with the boys in all he right places—until their friends self-destruct, Rachael burrows into addiction, the marriage implodes, and Nick is out on the street again. Follow his harrowing journey as he struggles to find his way in a life that’s been buried beneath a lifestyle.

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The Sunday Post (2)


So I had my infusion on Friday and that usually means a pretty quiet weekend. To be honest, that seems to be all of our weekends lately. My husband wants to start doing things, but with the weather there isn't much to do outside so will have to try and think of some fun things. 

The job is the job. Not sure if I'm loving it and there are some things that are bothersome. Will have to wait and see how things go. Have 4 9 hour days this week, not totally excited about that. 

Recently finished The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager, Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. Look for reviews soon (I am behind).

Currently reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel.  I haven't started An American Marriage yet but can already tell This Might Hurt is going to be crazy!

Can't wait to see what you are reading or are going to be reading!

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Friday, February 18, 2022

Book Blogger Hop - Genres You Refuse to Read

I don't usually say no to any genre, but I am not a huge fan of straight up romance. Think Harlequin. I need a little more substance to my reading. 

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Book Beginnings on Fridays (1)


Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am getting an IV infusion today so wanted to start something that I thought would be a little more fun. In the past I listened to Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson and absolutely loved it. I decided to bring Furiously Happy by the same author today and it started with some laughs at the author's expense. She is one of the most down to earth, funny authors I have read. It really is something to read about her struggles but I do love it. 

Onto the first sentence, and it's a doozy. 

First sentence: "You're not crazy. STOP CALLING YOURSELF CRAZY," my mom says for the eleventy billionth time. "You're just sensitive. And...a little...odd."

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Monday, February 14, 2022

It's Monday - What Are You Reading? (4)


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.


Happy Valentine's Day! Having been with my husband for 25+ years we are not the most romantic individuals in the world. There has been a lot going on personally and professionally so it will be just another day. We did have a nice weekend though, bought a few plants/flowers and just enjoyed spending time together. 

What I read last week:

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

What I am reading now:

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield 
The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager 

Up next:

I always have plans on what I am going to read next but they never stay the same. But, I'm thinking The Dutch House by Anne Patchett.

Read More »