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Saturday, November 27, 2021

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Kathleen Neely @NeelyKneely3628 & Arms of Freedom!

Good Morning!

I pray your Thanksgiving was Blessed and you're not too worn out from Black Friday shopping to welcome our spotlight guest. Kathleen Neely has visited before but today she's sharing with us her latest release, Arms of Freedom.

Welcome back Kathleen...

With each page of the age-old journals, Annie discovers all that unites her with a woman who once lived in her farmhouse. One lived with wealth and one with poverty, but both knew captivity. Both longed to be free. 

Miriam yearns to escape her life as a super model. She drops the pseudonym and uses the name she gave up years ago—Annie Gentry. Then she alters her appearance and moves to rural South Carolina to care for her grandmother. Can she live a simple life without recognition? Can she hide a net worth valued in the millions? Love is nowhere in her plans until she meets a man who wants nothing more than Annie Gentry and the simple life he lives.

Charlotte lived in the same farmhouse in the tumultuous 1860’s. The Civil War was over, but for a bi-racial girl, freedom remained elusive. She coveted a life where she wouldn’t bring shame to her family. A life where she could make a difference. As she experiences hope, will it be wrested from her?

The journals stop abruptly with a climactic event, leaving Annie to search for information. What happened to Charlotte? Did her life make a difference?  Did she ever find freedom?


The key turned in the lock, but the attic door still required a strong arm to open it. Years of dried paint scraped the door jamb. The bottom rebelled against the threshold, clearly in need of a carpenter to sand it down or re-align it. She propped it open, hit the light switch and immediately met years of stagnant air. A musty smell caught in her throat activating a gag reflex. She coughed, then hoisted the cardboard boxes to shield her nose and mouth. As the still air began to dance in its new freedom, the disturbed dust mites floated in dull light beams. She’d have to deal with this sometime. She’d take the boxes and drop them upstairs. The attic needed a good airing out before she could look around. With the boxes held high in her arms, Annie climbed the steep wooden stairs.

The dim light cast shadows, enough to know that the room wasn’t empty. Annie plopped the boxes down and felt along the wall for another light. Instead, she found a string dangling from a single bulb mounted on the ceiling. She tugged the string and the room came to life revealing a lightly-cluttered attic. Sheets covered surfaces in their attempt to protect them from years of dust. Her initial inclination was to leave this for another day. Or another year. Low priority with all she had to do.

Yet something compelled her to stay. A few boxes and a storage chest. You would expect those in an attic. But a large section of the room held an air of familiarity. Children’s furniture had been stacked against one wall. A wooden table, four chairs, two turned upside down to nest on the other two, and a bookshelf. A carpet, about six-foot square, spread out on the floor in front of the furniture. Why was everything so familiar? She had only visited here twice when she was around five years old. And she was certain she’d never been in the attic. Eleanor would not have allowed it.

Annie opened an old chest that sat on the carpet. She lifted the dusty lid and saw the toys, mostly wood and metal. A toy tea set, a sorry looking stuffed teddy bear, and wooden building blocks with faded alphabet letters. A smaller chest sat beside it. She picked up a yo-yo, the string discolored and stiff, marbles in a cardboard box, a metal spinning top, void of color. These were definitely old, perhaps antiques. She lowered the lid, puzzling over this discovery. Another box held two items, both wrapped in cloth. She lifted one and removed the flannel to discover a baby doll. An image formed in her mind. She had seen this doll. She was certain of it. She could see a vision of the doll sitting on one of the wooden chairs. She knew she’d find another when she unwrapped the other flannel—one with red, curly hair.

As she unpacked the second doll, it all came back to her. A picture. She’d seen the items in a painting at Nana’s home, the home she had in Pittsburgh before she moved to Roswell House Assisted Living. The painting mirrored Andrew Wyeth’s style of down-home realism with rustic details. The table and chairs on the same carpet where Annie stood today, the tea set in the center, and two dolls seated with teacups before them. The gritty window in the background of the picture with its yellow-gold curtains matched the window a few feet away. The gold had faded to a drab shade and held years of dust, but it was the same curtain. The same window. That meant a child’s play area had been in this attic. Why would anyone set up a playroom in an attic? Or perhaps this space served as an artist studio, the dolls and tea set staged for a picture. But another thought marched to her brain. Her grandmother’s words. Those walls hold secrets.

Annie turned and pulled the string, extinguishing the upstairs light, then made her way back down the steps to the other light switch. She shoved the scraping door closed, still baffled about the set up. Who had painted the picture that hung in her grandmother’s kitchen? The locked door and separated key indicated that renters had no access. Had her grandmother locked this area away when she left over two decades ago?

Kathleen Neely is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, The Least of These, Arms of Freedom, and In Search of True North. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions.

Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 

Find out more about Kathleen by visiting her Website or connecting with her on  Facebook, Twitter  & Instagram.

Check out Kathleen's previous visits to our blog HERE!

Get your copy of Arms of Freedom at Amazon.

Congrats on your new book, Kathleen, it sounds amazing! We wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it and all of your writing.

Hope you enjoyed Kathy's spotlight friends and that you'll check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight. 

Until next time take care and God bless.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes @KarenMalley Karen Malley!


I pray your TG week has been going well. I'm making potato salad and banana pudding to go with Gumbo for family meals this week. Yeah, I know, Gumbo is not traditional Thanksgiving meals but it's what everyone wants. Except me. I'll eat it but Gumbo is not my favorite food. No worries though, just being with family makes any meal wonderful.

Speaking of wonderful, it's such a pleasure to introduces today's guest. Karen visited in April so please welcome her back.

Psalm 118:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.



Last year I wrote a devotional about how Thanksgiving was different in 2020. No big family gatherings, no mismatched tables strewn end to end across the dining room with aunts and uncles and cousins. A year later, we’re in a different place. Still not back to where we were in 2019, but not where we were last year, either. We all have nostalgia from Thanksgivings past. Many of those we’ve celebrated with in past years are no longer with us. Our reasons to be grateful are still present, however. God is faithful, and is in control, and deserves our gratitude for the blessings we still enjoy.


Gratitude has been scientifically proven to make us happier, increase our self-esteem, improve our relationships – with family, friends, and even make us more effective at work. In addition, gratitude improves our health – reducing depressive symptoms, reducing blood pressure, and improving our sleep! With all these benefits, God certainly knew what he was talking about when he said:


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


No matter what your Thanksgiving looks like this year, take the time to be grateful.


 As the apostle Paul said in 1 Colossians 3:15-17, help us to remember the following:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Praying you have a blessed Thanksgiving, no matter what it looks like!


Here’s a short Thanksgiving excerpt from my latest novel, Sunflowers and Suspicions:

Thanksgiving morning, Julie packed up the pies she baked the previous evening and made the thirty-minute drive to her parent’s house. Yes, Matt’s family invited her, as Mia foretold, but today represented a turning point in her family, and she couldn’t miss it. When was the last holiday Amy was home? It was hard to remember.

When she opened the front door, the smell of roasted turkey greeted her. Her father rose from his recliner and squeezed her tight. “It’s so good to have all my girls here.” Julie hugged him back and peered over his shoulder into the kitchen beyond.

“Amy’s already here?”

“She came last night. Said she wanted to help out.” Harold nodded at the ladies in the kitchen. “She and your mother worked together all morning.”

A twinge of guilt flitted through Julie’s stomach. “I’m sorry. I should’ve come earlier.”

“Nonsense,” Harold said. “This is good for them.”

He was right. Amy never spent time in the kitchen with their mother. Julie carried the bag with the pies into the kitchen and hugged her mother and sister. “It smells great, you two. What can I do to help?”

Soon Julie was peeling potatoes and the small family started reminiscing about Thanksgivings when the girls were growing up. Even Harold left his recliner to help, despite the close quarters of the kitchen.

When the meal preparations were over, the Wagners carried the food to the dining room table and Harold asked the blessing.

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this bounty of food, and thank you for surrounding me with these three lovely ladies. Thank you for bringing our girls home. Amen.”


Blurb for Sunflowers and Suspicions

A Deception Revealed ...

When Julie Wagner's identical twin Jade goes missing, Julie travels to New York pretending to be her sister so she can discover the truth. There, she meets the only person who has ever been able to tell them apart. Together, can she and her sister's neighbor unravel a shady restaurant owner's mysteries and find Jade?

A Fractured Family Healed ...
Matt Callahan has lived across the hall from Jade Wagner for a year, but never understood the pain behind her eyes. When her sister appears in his apartment building, he is amazed at the differences he sees in the twins. As he helps Julie find her twin, he discovers she just might be the answer to helping his own fractured family.

Sunflowers and Suspicions is the third book of the Pine Springs Series, but all the books can be read as standalone novels. Get your copy at Pelican Book Group or Amazon.

Karen lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. She works full time as a scientist, but enjoys writing in her spare time whenever she can find some! When not writing (with her left hand), she enjoys baking, volunteering at her church, camping, hiking, playing board games, and reading. She loves reading faith-based stories, because we can all use a happy ending.

Find out more about Karen by visiting her Website and connecting with her on Twitter, FaceBook, GoodReads and BookBub.

Thank you for the lovely post and excerpt Karen. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings in all things.

And, Thank You, Friends for stopping by. Oh, btw, Keri's Christmas Wish is available in audio! I have free codes for anyone who will review the book. Comment here or email me.

Until next time, take care and God bless.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Izzy James & Garrett

Good Morning and Welcome!

As we head into Thanksgiving week, let's take an extra few moments each day to meditate on what we're grateful for. For me, dear friends, that's YOU! 

Today's guest have been in our spotlight a few times and now Izzy James returns with a sneak peek into her latest release Garrett ~ a Yorktown Christmas Time Travel Novella. Take it away Izzy!

Garrett Tyler thought he was leaving Ballard House for home, secure in the knowledge that love had finally won-out for his long-time friend Olivia. He steps out the door and into the past, 1769 to be exact. While finding his bearings Garrett stumbles upon a beautiful woman being attacked. He makes sure she gets home and because of his kindness, she allows him to stay in an outbuilding—even believing his time travel story—while he figures out how he will get back to his life in the future. The more time they spend together, the deeper friendship they build, but one thing is going to rip her world apart.

Mercy Hansford is a confidant, independent woman running her own tailor shoppe. Her world is shaken when she is brutally attacked after delivering one of her sought-after shirts. The consequences of this night could be more far-reaching than either of them can guess.

Should Mercy trust a man she barely knows?


Max shimmered by him as Garrett stepped down from the back steps into what should have been the back yard. His foot landed on a polished wooden floor instead of the grass he’d helped plant at the Ballard House. A room took shape around him. The chamber was as Olivia’s grandmother had described. Windows on three sides. A piano decked one wall. It must be Max’s conservatory. Max must have come back through time once again to meet Olivia. Garrett spun to follow Max, to see the look on Olivia’s face. It was only, what, an hour ago she’d told him she’d despaired of ever seeing Max again? One look into the adjoining room stopped him cold. 

It was all wrong. The room was full. Furniture. Papers. Books. Stu. All the historic houses he knew were basically empty accept for a few well chosen period pieces. He grabbed his head to ground the floating. 

An Elizabethan voice sounded from somewhere beyond the door. Garrett dodged back into the conservatory. 

A lurch in his stomach told Garrett his organs were all in place. He flattened palms against his middle and decided then and there that beaming around the universe was definitely not for him. 

Garrett dropped to get as far below the wall of windows facing him as he could. He slipped into a corner next to a table with long legs to gather his thoughts. He ducked under the table as a man dressed in breeches and large white shirt stepped into the room. 

“He’s not here.” The man called back. Spun on his heel and left. 

Garrett slid moist palms down his cotton pants and tried to calm his breathing. At least he’d arrived at whatever time this was in his docent costume. He pulled out his phone. 

No bars. Full battery . 

He rolled his eyes. Of course there were no bars. He didn’t know what year it was, but by the looks and sounds of things it had to be the seventeen somethings. 

Fear clenched his stomach. What would they do if they found him with a phone? 

Izzy James is the pen name of Elizabeth Chevalier Hull. Elizabeth grew up in coastal Virginia surrounded by the history of the founding of our nation. She still lives there with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

Connect with Izzy via her Website, FaceBook, Instagram  izzy.james, Gab @izzy_james, or by signing up to receive her Newsletter.

Get your copy of Garrett at Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by friends! Hope to see you next week for another edition of Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until then, take care and God bless.