I do not read every book/author I spotlight or book tour I host!
Readers, Please research and use wisdom before buying

Saturday, April 30, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Stacey Weeks @WriterSWeeks & To Sweet Beginnings in Sycamore Hill

Good Morning Friends,

Had a blast in Biloxi but now it's back home and getting ready to go to Toledo Bend Lake for a week. Today's guest has visited often, so please welcome Stacey Weeks back with a peek into her book, To Sweet Beginnings in Sycamore Hill!

When a whistleblower speaks up, she tips the first domino of a twenty-four-hour chain reaction on the eve of Sycamore Hill’s most important holiday event. A baker gets a career-making opportunity, a reporter chases the truth, a woman faces her greatest fear, and a lost child returns as the dominos continue to fall. The residents of Sycamore Hill approach a new year, and five couples celebrate sweet beginnings filled with endless possibilities in this short story sequence.

Excerpt: This wasn’t quite the triumphant return Gloria Sycamore had always imagined. She tugged up the hood of her winter coat with one hand and tipped her chin down. She clutched a file folder to her chest. Her downcast gaze made the likelihood of being recognized slim.

Gloria pointed herself in the direction of the library and merged with the foot traffic on Main Street. The archives should have copies of the newspapers from when her life imploded. Not that she wanted to relive those moments, but she needed to look at the articles with fresh eyes and a clear head. She didn’t trust her memory. Or maybe she didn’t want to believe what she suspected. 

She’d be in and out, and no one would be the wiser. If she was wrong, no one would know she was here. But if she was right, everyone would know. Her chest tightened, and she swallowed a lump swelling in her throat. She knew what really happened that day, and more importantly, God knew the truth. But if that was right, why did she feel like a scolded dog slinking into town with its tail between its legs?

“Good afternoon,” a cheery voice called from the doorway of a bakery.

Trepidation tightened her core. Her grip on the folder stiffened as she lifted her face. A man with a white apron tied around his waist rested his gloved hands on the handle of his snow shovel. 

Relief loosened the knots in her belly. Her face relaxed into a smile as she flicked her eyes to The Muffin Man’s gilded sign. Cute. 

He bent at the waist, whistling a holiday melody as he resumed his chore. She knew the minute the proprietor noticed her heeled, leather, took-an-entire-paycheck-but-she-deserved-them boots. His whistling faltered. Gloria flattened her lips. Apparently, some fashion trends hadn’t trickled down to Sycamore Hill. She buried her mouth and nose under her scarf and avoided making eye contact with anyone else as she hurried away. Every click of her booted heel seemed to scream; you don’t belong, you don’t belong.  

“Look out!” A group of teenagers brushed past her and bumped her shoulder. They knocked the file from her hands, and she turned her ankle in her ridiculous heels, landing palms down on the pavement. The breeze snatched the loose papers.

Sycamore Hill: One. Gloria: Zero.

As one page scraped and danced down the sidewalk, she pinched her eyes shut. Dampness seeped through her knees, and her palms burned from the cold. She inhaled a deep, slow breath, but it didn’t slow her racing pulse. Her imagination was on overdrive. They were just kids. She hadn’t been targeted. No one even knew she was back. Sycamore Hill had been one funeral away from claiming ghost town status when Gloria shook its dust from her feet. It would seem that the sleepy settlement had woken up during her years away. 

Sycamore Hill: Two. Gloria: Still zero.

“Is this yours?” A hand extended the rescued newspaper page waltzing with the wind.

Gloria skipped over the headlines. She had them memorized. Experimental Drug from Emergence Pharmaceuticals Shows Promise. Income Opportunity Knocks at the Door of Life House. Her attention lingered on the picture of her former bio-medical lab partner. Tiff’s confident grin stared back at her. She always did take a good photo. With her arms folded across the front of a starched white lab coat, she looked every bit the part of a trustworthy professional. But Gloria knew better.

“It is. Thank you!” Gloria pushed herself to her feet, but she crumpled when she put weight on her ankle. 

The man cupped her elbow. “Let me help you.”

Gloria fumbled out another thank you. It had been a long time since anyone offered her assistance. If enough new blood pulsed through the town’s veins, maybe her scandal was ancient history? Lord, please let it be so! 

A gust of wind blew back her hood as she lifted her face to her Good Samaritan. Little wisps of blonde curled out from under the edge of a dark knitted cap with a brown leather label. Her mouth fell open.
Recognition dawned in his eyes. “Gloria?” 

Owen Mason’s once lanky frame had filled out during her absence. His shoulders were broader than before, and even in a winter jacket, she could tell he narrowed nicely at the waist. The twinkle in his eyes dimmed as her delay in responding lengthened. 

Say something. Anything. 

She bit the inside of her cheek. She couldn’t seem to push words around her suddenly swollen throat and thick tongue. Once she confirmed her identity, he’d walk away. She hadn’t just abandoned Sycamore Hill; she’d rejected everything the small town stood for, including him. It was the only way she could cope. 

A vertical line etched between his eyebrows as he drew them together.

Say words. Any words will do.

Heat burned her skin as she recalled their last interaction. His smile faded. She’d left Owen with only a letter to explain why. 

“Hi, Owen.” It came out deep and raw. Then, as if her eyes had a mind of their own, her gaze trailed down all the way to his bare ring finger. Her stomach hopscotched. When she lifted her face again, the corner of his lips twitched. 

He inhaled a large, deep, savouring breath.

Sycamore Hill: Two. Gloria: One.

Finally, she was on the scoreboard.

Stacey is a mother of three, a sipper of hot tea with honey, and loves to share the hope of Christ with women. She has a graduate certificate for Women in Ministry, is a multi-award-winning author and novelist and is a frequent conference speaker. Find more information at StaceyWeeks.com

Sign up to receive Stacey's Newsletter and get a free short story!

Find/Follow Stacey on...
Twitter: @writerSWeeks 
Instagram: @writerSWeeks

To Sweet Beginnings in Sycamore Hill can be purchases at many online retailers found HERE.

GREAT spotlight, Stacey. Thanks for sharing! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your book.

Until next time, Friends take care and be BLESSED

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes Carolyn Rae Williamson!

Good Morning from lovely Biloxi, MS!

One of my BFF's and I drove here Monday and we're staying at the beautiful Beau Rivage hotel/casino. We've had such a wonderful time enjoying each other's company. This friend lived at my house in 2010 while I bounced back and forth from Bandera and although we see each other regularly we haven't had a girl's trip in a long time so this was a wonderful opportunity. I'll share photos later but for now, please welcome Carolyn Rae Williamson back to our blog. Carolyn visited way back in 2018 so it'll be great to catch up with her again. Take it away, Carolyn.....

To Diet or Not....

My husband and I tried two types of advertised weight loss pills with no results. Others advertised probably don’t help much either. I have read six books about losing weight. Analyzing them is like what I found out in college, where professors in similar subjects had different slants on things. Today, one nutritionist may say something that contradicts another’s words. 

I earned a master’s degree in home economics and keep up with current nutrition knowledge. Reducing fat calories has sounded promising, because fats have nine calories per gram, while protein and carbohydrates only have four calories per gram. 

One study showed those in one group who ate less fat, but the same number of calories, lost more than the other group, who ate the same total of calories, but their meals had more fat. 

Authors of weight-loss plans differ on when to eat and how much exercise one needs. They all suggest some exercise, but the amount and timing recommended varies.  

Some say it’s better to eat three meals and several snacks. Another study showed a group of people who ate several smaller meals a day lost more than the other group eating the same number of calories served in three meals a day. 

According to the New York Times: “But now, a rigorous one-year study in which people followed a low-calorie diet between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or consumed the same number of calories anytime during the day has failed to find an effect.” 

Several authors want you to eat mostly chicken, turkey, and fish. Some authors recommend cutting carbohydrates to little or none, while others suggest limiting carbohydrates to complex ones that are slow to digest. Most suggest a variety of fruits and vegetables helps keep one healthy, while Atkins limits you in the early stages to low starch vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and greens such as spinach, with only apples and berries for fruits. It didn’t take long for me to get tired of those. 

Many diets emphasize including plenty of protein. Did you know that foods with some protein may not contain all the essential amino acids your body can’t make? Eggs, milk, cheese, fish, and meat provide complete protein. If you don’t eat meat, fish, and dairy, combine servings from two of the following groups in the same meal, so your body will receive all the essential amino acids. Those groups are 1: Grains, such as wheat, oats, barley, rice, 2. Nuts and Seeds, and 3. Beans, such as pinto beans, navy beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc. 

One author doesn’t allow coffee. Some authors forbid artificial sweetener. Another doesn’t allow red meat. One author includes mostly plant proteins instead of meat or dairy foods. Another wants you to stop eating at 7:00 p.m. and not eat again until 11:00 a.m. the next day.

Now, as I learned in college, you must decide what to believe. And there’s another factor. Certain programs work for some people, but not others. Each individual needs to find what works for his or her body, lifestyle, and preferences.

Since my co-author and I are developing a sequel to our cookbook, There IS Life After Lettuce, now out of print, we needed to choose which theme to follow with our new cookbook for heart patients and diabetics, who may also need to lose weight. Like most nutritionist authors, we believe it’s good to limit fat, salt, sugar, and calories as well as provide adequate, complete protein. That is the basis for our recipes. We will leave which plan you choose up to you. We aim to provide nutritious recipes for delicious foods you’ll enjoy eating. 

Our next cookbook will feature delicious main dishes with complete protein as well as recipes for fruit dishes, desserts, vegetables, soups, and snacks. 

If you are a heart patient, a diabetic, or just want to lose some weight, look for the next cookbook by Carolyn Williamson and Pepper Durcholz, who’s a diabetic with a sweet tooth.

We’d like your opinion of the following names: More Than Lettuce, Beyond Lettuce, When Lettuce Isn’t Enough, Lettuce Eat Well, or Lettuce Eat Healthy. Perhaps you can suggest another catchy title.

Carolyn Rae Williamson writes romantic suspense under the name, Carolyn Rae. Her latest book is Romancing the Doctor, about a brilliant CDC researcher and his ambitious reporter girlfriend, who search for the vicious spreader of a dangerous virus that causes sterility. (There’s also some sex involved.)

Check out Romancing the Doctor HERE. Find our more by visiting Carolyn's website and Facebook page and following her on Twitter @CarolynRaeW1

Great post, Carolyn, Thank You for sharing! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your upcoming cook book!

Well, friends that's about it for today. Until next time take care and God bless.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Linda McLaughlin AKA: Lyndi Lamont & Lady Elinor's Escape!

Good Morning Friends,

Linda has visited our blog before so please welcome her back with a peek into her Regency Romance novel, Lady Elinor's Escape. Take it away Linda....

Lady Elinor Ashworth always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. Elinor fears her aunt who is irrational and dangerous, threatening Elinor and anyone she associates with. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, she accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him.

There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin's life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a damsel in distress. The younger son of a baronet is a rescuer of troubled females, an unusual vocation fueled guilt over his failure to save the woman he loved from her brutal husband. He cannot help falling in love with his secretive seamstress, but to his dismay, the truth of her background reveals Stephen as the ineligible party. 

Excerpt: (Note: Elinor has run away from her abusive aunt who hit her the day before. She meets Stephen Chaplin at a nearby inn.)

“Excuse me, madam, but I could not help overhearing you say that you must leave for London immediately. Allow me to introduce myself. Stephen Chaplin, Esquire, at your service.”

Elinor turned to face the gentleman who had suddenly appeared. She stared at him through a haze of black, taking advantage of her veil to get a closer look at this tall, dark-haired, seemingly well bred gentleman. He was above average height, with finely chiseled features, and while he could not, strictly speaking, be deemed handsome, there was something in the intense scrutiny of his light brown eyes that drew her to him. By the cut of his bottle green Superfine coat, which emphasized his broad shoulders, but was not so tight as to hamper movement, and his casually tied neckcloth, she surmised he was no society dandy.

“How do you do?” she said politely, extending one black-gloved hand.

“Fine, thank you.”

As he took her hand and bowed over it, Elinor savored the warmth of his touch for a moment. It had been a long time since someone had touched her out of kindness. Suddenly realizing she was clutching his hand, she withdrew hers. He studied her, his gaze seeming to penetrate the veil, and she could only stand like the veriest lump under his scrutiny.

“I beg your pardon, madam, but what did you say your name was?”

“Eli—” Elinor broke off and feigned a cough, panic bubbling up inside. Her name. Dear heavens, she needed a new name. If she told him who she was, he would never agree to take her to Mimi. She stared down at the gentleman’s yellow nankeen trousers and shiny brown boots. “Brown,” she stammered. “Ellie Brown.”

“Mrs. Brown, may I offer my assistance? I’m heading for London myself and would be pleased to convey you as far as Chippenham, where you may pick up another stage coach.”

Relief flooded through her at his offer, but could she trust him? No proper young lady rides in a closed carriage with a gentleman who is not related to her. The words of her governess rang in her ears. “I do not think—”

“Of course, you are cautious,” he interrupted smoothly. “Any genteel lady would hesitate to trust a strange gentleman.”

"But I am not a lady,” she blurted. If Aunt Sarah learned that a ‘lady’ had been here, she would know where to look for her. “I am merely a seamstress.”

"Really,” he drawled, doubt evident in his tone. 

“Yes, I have a position awaiting me in London.” She was surprised, and a bit uncomfortable, at how easily the lies flowed from her lips, but they were necessary. 

"Then you had best accept my offer, lest your position go to someone else. Miss Wainwright can vouch for me. We traveled here together from London. Nancy,” he called out. “Over here.” 

A young serving woman who was obviously in the family way approached them. “What can I do fer ye, Mr. Chaplin?” 

“I have offered to convey Mrs. Brown to London, but she is not sure I can be trusted.” 

Nancy giggled. “Oh, ma’am, ye’ve naught to fear. Mr. Chaplin’s the finest gentleman I’ve ever met. And we gets quite a few gents here at the Horse and Cart.” 

“Yes, I expect you do.” And not all of them honorable, Elinor thought with a glance at Miss Wainwright’s belly. 

Elinor pondered her choices. It was either Stephen Chaplin in a closed carriage or back to Aunt Sarah’s cottage where, at best, she would be locked in her bedroom after today’s escapade. And at worst... 

She remembered Aunt Sarah’s pistol and promptly made up her mind. Stephen Chaplin was undoubtedly the lesser of two evils. 

“Very well, sir, I accept your escort.” 

“Would you care for some breakfast first?” 

The inn was warm and she’d like nothing better than to settle near the fire and break her fast. Her stomach felt like it was stuck to her backbone, but she shook her head, afraid to stay a moment longer. 

Scant minutes later, Mr. Chaplin led her outside to a closed traveling carriage standing in the inn yard. He must be a gentleman of some means, she mused, to have his own carriage. He supervised the loading of their luggage then held out his hand to help her into the carriage. As she stepped up, the wind caught her veil and blew it upwards. For a second she had a clear glimpse of his startled face. 

He had seen the bruise.

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history fostered by her paternal grandmother and an  incurable case of wanderlust inherited from her father. She has traveled extensively within the United States and has visited Mexico, Canada, Australia, Europe and Iceland. She now lives near the ocean in Orange County, California.

Linda writes historical and Regency romance under her real name and spicier romance under the pseudonym Lyndi Lamont. 

Catch up with Linda/Lyndi at the following Social Media Locations:

Get your copy of Lady Elinor's Escape from Amazon, BookBub, or Goodreads

Thanks for sharing with us Linda! Wishing you the best of luck and God's blessings on your writing/books!

Until next time friends, take care and God bless.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends with Me!

Good Morning Friends,

It's that time of the month where I catch up with you and share what's happening in my world. So much to talk about LOL!

I'll begin with my trip to Nacogdoches, TX earlier this month to watch my son's cheer and dance teams from Stephen F Austin State University show off their national routines before they headed off to Florida where they brought home several awards including a few National Championships!

While at his house, I took care of his ducks and dogs.... Cleaning brooders and gathering babies that hatched to add to the brooders. Lot's of work but the joy of sitting on the deck and enjoying nature is well worth the effort.

In my last post, I mentioned a special gift I gave my granddaughter for her 18th birthday. I started writing a journal when she was a few months old and stopped when her PawPaw died. I spent the better part of March filling in the blanks. I'm still a bit raw from the experience but here's a pic of the front, back and poem I wrote...

Click on the pic to enlarge and read the poem.

Now it's just getting through graduation and her moving to Nac with her uncle. 

That's about it for now, Friends. Hope you enjoyed catching up with me as much as I enjoy sharing with you. And, I hope you'll stop by each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and be BLESSED!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on David Russell & Pearlman!

Good Morning and Happy Easter Weekend!

Today's guest visited last month so please welcome David Russell back with his book, Pearlman. As we mentioned in David's last visit, although the excerpt is mild, David writes erotic romance so be advised before you buy. Take it away Dave....

This was inspired by a passage in the Spanish epic poem La Araucana, which I have translated. In the original story, a Spanish soldier, after a battle, is accosted by an Indian woman who asks him to lead her to her husband's body, to pay her last respects. In the original story, she disappears. In Pearlman the hero is contemporary, but he does time and space travel to those legendary times, and the woman turns out to be Auchimalgen, the Araucanian Moon Goddess. She seduces and enlightens him. There is a backdrop of Chile, with its incredibly volatile ecosphere and long history of protracted conflict. This story combines romance with sci-fi and time travel.

Excerpt:     Her skill in undoing my armour was worthy of any trained white man. “We are supremely adaptable; we learn avidly from those we observe and oppose”, she whispered, her teeth gleaming in her smile. As I saw the chain mail and the cuirass lying there, discarded, I saw that the rust had all disappeared.

     Deft hands tenderly peeled my sweat-ridden leather and cotton; it was lovely to be nursed without immediate wounds to distract from the exquisite sensations.

     “You must be proud of your exertions!” she said. The power in her words was akin to a duelling challenge. (The time warp flashed me into my happy collaboration with that beautiful fitness trainer, when I imagined that lithe, toned form excelling itself at the Olympic High Jump as her prelude to our delicious consummation.)

     I looked up towards her breasts, to see the matching metal, discs, chains, bangles – an array of gold, silver and jade; I sensed their resilience beneath their cover. She read my response with total ease; with a radiant smile, she whispered “do as you have been done by.”

     My hands trembled a little as I delicately negotiated the pins and clasps, but I succeeded in making a harmonious pattern of them, like a crown at the head of my discarded armour. It was good to have gained intimate knowledge of those metallic treasures in the museums.

     The face of a full moon, reciprocating its radiation on Tegualda’s face and eyes, beamed its glittering reflections, as if casting off a diaphanous robe, to reveal the perfect body of its illuminated rocks, bouncing back and forth around the elaborated grid of our variegated metalwork – steel, bronze, silver and gold – its luminosity almost suggesting that it would all come to life, radiant in the flames of their smelting, almost as two armies facing each other. In turn, the beams flooded our faces, giving an external flourish to our luminous vibrancy charged from within. 

    She took my hand, and made it caress her sealskin robe: “please do the honours”. I lifted it at the bottom. My hands reached up inside it until they could feel her firm but still slender waist. Repeating my earlier gesture, she raised her arms in surrender and conquest, the robe clouding into a transient veil over her noble features.

    Then Tegualda cast off her gleaming white cotton camisera for me with all the challenging flourish of a toreador. She tamed me and fired me simultaneously with her lovely self-revelation.

      The walls of my time-capsule were fractured. There glistened across the world, ricocheted back and forth across the centuries a composite of the world’s beauties, celebrated in poetry and song, painting and sculpture, melted, distilled and poured into one vibrant, impassioned, soul-suffused body. Egyptian and Grecian statues and mural figures melted into an array of Hollywood dream sublimities deeply embedded in my memory. This was a spiritual earthquake, embracing all history and culture, the distilled essence of all artistic striving poured into one giant goblet.

What People are Saying about Pearlman....

"Pearlman" by David Russell is an inspired work. It is fun to read, stimulates unconventional approaches to knowledge and scientific inquiry, and is written in language that is a feast for the senses."

Born 1940. Resident in UK. Writer of poetry, criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Poetry Collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998). Several poems published in Forward Press anthologies, and in International Times. Editor of Poetry Express Newsletter. Speculative fiction works High Wired On and Rock Bottom. Romance publications Self's Blossom, Explorations, Further Explorations, Therapy Rapture and Darlene. I am also a guitarist/singer-songwriter. My main CD albums are Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate; I have several tracks on YouTube. Find out more about David and his other books by visiting his GoodReads page and get your copy of Pearlman at Amazon or Amazon UK.

Hope you enjoyed David's visit and peek into his book and that you'll check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes @FayFaylamb Fay Lamb!

Good Morning Dear Friends,

Well I drove back from Nacogdoches yesterday and ran errands before even setting foot in my house. Alas, the life of a traveler LOL! My son's dance teams did rather well in the two national competitions they competed in. I'll share more on that later. But now, let me introduce to you a brand-new-to-our-blog guest, Fay Lamb!

Fay Lamb is the only daughter of a rebel genius father and a hard-working, tow-the-line mom. She is not only a fifth-generation Floridian, she has lived her life in Titusville, where her grandmother was born in 1899.

Since an early age, storytelling has been Fay’s greatest desire. She seeks to create memorable characters that touch her readers’ hearts. She says of her writing, “If I can’t laugh or cry at the words written on the pages of my manuscript, the story is not ready for the reader.” Fay writes in various genres, including romance, romantic suspense, and contemporary fiction.

If you’d like to catch up with Fay, visit her at her website, on Amazon, Goodreads, and Twitter @FayFaylamb. Also, Fay has become a “novel” gardener, and she shares her adventure in her newsletter, Tales from the Azalea Garden. You can sign up for her newsletter, Tales from the Azalea Garden, here.

So nice to have you share with us today, Fay!

The Solitude of the Garden

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” Isaiah 35:1

In July of 2021, I came out of the coma that had beset the world. I peeked out of my front window, and I was horrified at what I saw. What I found was a long-neglected front yard of which an azalea garden comprises seventy-five percent. Virginia Creeper, a foul phrase in my opinion, had climbed atop the struggling and dying azaleas. Oak trees towered unchecked amongst weeds large enough to be shrubs. The whole yard was a disaster of my own making.

I pushed open my front door and stepped outside to the beauty I had abused by not keeping evil—yes, pure evil—in check. Starting at one end of the garden, I began to pull weeds and to tug off of plants and up from the ground vines that Tarzan could use to travel from tree to tree.

I began to spend many hours at a time getting to know every nook and cranny of my garden. With every azalea I could save trimmed and the dead and dying shoveled up, the vines pulled, and the weeds taken care of for the moment, I turned my eyes upon the gardens in front of my house and then to the grass itself. I never sought help from family. I worked in solitude.

This solitude brought me into the presence of God where the desert inside of me began to rejoice and blossom like a rose. Oh, I can be in solitude with God anywhere, and I have since learned to seek out that time with God in order to bloom in other places. The garden, though, is where my relationship with God was renewed. God didn’t begin talking with me in the garden, but I began to listen to Him there. His Word came alive in my heart as He taught me many lessons such as how sins can grow and overcome me like the weeds and vines of my garden. As I toiled and gave love to the garden that had seen only indifference from me, I began to draw closer to God, to begin to nourish the relationship I once treasured but to which I had grown indifferent.

And another miracle occurred. I forgot to tell you, that prior to July, 2021, the plant world knew me as a serial killer. While I walked and talked with God in the garden, He blossomed in me the heart of a gardener, someone who loves the plants, nourishes them, and protects them, as God loves, nourishes and protects me.

Today, when I look out of my window, I see the fruit of my labors which were directed by God, and I see the fruit of what God brought to me in my garden where the Master Gardener and the novice gardener meet almost every day.

* * * 

What lovely sentiments, Fay. We can all learn from regular solitude with God. THANK You for sharing! Now please share with us a peek of your book, Storms in Serenity which is available on Amazon....

How can one man save the town he loves when he’s the reason for the destruction?

Serenity Key, Florida, has seen its share of hurricanes, but this time, one foul weather system is about to collide with another storm, and this one has nothing to do with atmospheric pressure.

David New has guarded his secrets for years, but when two brothers, John and Andy Ryan, arrive in town and he gets news that the daughter he’s never told anyone about has disappeared, possibly the victim of a heinous crime, and the lives of many of the town residents begin to unravel in the gale force consequences of David’s past, he has nowhere else to turn.

God is the only one Who can calm the storms, but can David and the good folks of Serenity Key survive until He does?

A tempest has been brewing for thirty years, with only one island town in its path.

Sounds like a great read, Fay. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it. One thing you should know, Friends is that Fay donates 100% of her royalties to Christian charities so if you love to read and give, you can do both by purchasing one or more of her books!

That's it for today, folks. Tax deadline is barreling down upon us so I'll be wrapping up mine and getting them filed. So until Saturday....

Take care and God Bless

Saturday, April 9, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on @KalbMarple Kathleen Marple Kalb!

Good Morning Friends,

Well it's turned cold again but that's not unexpected (although not welcomed by me LOL!). I've always said no matter how warm it may get, there's a cool/cold snap around Easter. Let's see how long this one will last.

Our guest today has visited as herself and her alias, Nikki Knight. On Kathleen's last visit she shared with us book 2 of her Ella Shane Mystery series. Today we'll get a look at books 1 & 3.

Welcome, Kathleen!

First up is A Fatal Finale, book 1....

On the cusp of the twentieth century, Manhattan is a lively metropolis buzzing with talent. But after a young soprano meets an untimely end on stage, can one go-getting leading lady hit the right notes in a case of murder?
New York City, 1899. When it comes to show business, Gilded Age opera singer Ella Shane wears the pants. The unconventional diva breaks the mold by assuming “trouser roles”—male characters played by women—and captivating audiences far and wide with her travelling theatre company. But Ella’s flair for the dramatic takes a terrifying turn when an overacting Juliet to her Romeo drinks real poison during the final act of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
Weeks after the woman’s death is ruled a tragic accident, a mysterious English duke arrives in Greenwich Village on a mission. He’s certain someone is getting away with murder, and the refined aristocrat won’t travel back across the Atlantic until Ella helps him expose the truth.
As Ella finds herself caught between her craft and a growing infatuation with her dashing new acquaintance, she’s determined to decode the dark secrets surrounding her co-star’s fatale finale—before the lights go dark and the culprit appears for an encore . . .

Book 2 A Fatal First Night can be seen HERE. Now for a peek at Book 3, A Fatal Overature

During the first winter of the twentieth century, Gilded Age trouser diva Ella Shane refuses to dim the lights on her dazzling show business career for marriage—even to a dashing British duke. But the versatile mezzo-soprano may have to put it all on the line once murder takes centerstage . . .
New York City, 1900. Renowned opera singer and theatre company owner Ella may have both much to gain and much to lose by getting engaged to her courtly long-distance love, Gil Saint Auburn. But there’s little time for romance or resolutions with Gil’s aristocratic mother and aunts visiting Greenwich Village—especially when the ladies discover a dead man in the bathtub of their hotel suite.
The victim’s disturbing background and subsequent demise at the elegant Waverly Place Hotel leave the group puzzled beyond the obvious certainty of an unnatural death. Adding to the confusion and mounting fear, danger explodes through Ella’s close-knit circle after a friend makes a stunning confession and Gil becomes a fresh target for violence.
Now, with a London tour run fast approaching, prenuptial worries weighing heavily on her heart, and an intricate Joan of Arc aria to rehearse, can Ella decide what she’s willing to sacrifice before confronting a relentless criminal bent on watching her entire life go up in smoke?

Kathleen Marple Kalb grew up in front of a microphone, and a keyboard. She’s now a weekend morning anchor at 1010 WINS New York, capping a career begun as a teenage DJ in Brookville, Pennsylvania. She worked her way up through newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Vermont and Connecticut, developing her skills and a deep and abiding distaste for snowstorms. While she wrote her first (thankfully unpublished) historical novel at age sixteen, fiction was firmly in the past until her son started kindergarten and she tried again. She, her husband the Professor, and their son the Imp, live in a Connecticut house owned by their cat.

Find and Connect with her at the following Locations:

Check out Kathleen's alter Ego, Nikki Knight HERE.

Get your copy of Kathleen's Ella Shane Mystery books at Amazon and other online & brick and mortar books are sold.

Thanks for stopping by to support Kathleen/Nikki, Friends! Hope to see you next week for Wednesday Words with Friends and another Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends welcomes Cathy Gohlke!

Good Morning!

I'm still at my son's house in Nacogdoches, TX and will be here until next week. His trip to Daytona Beach, FL for national dance and cheer competition started out with a bang.... After driving 2+ hrs to Houston to catch a flight, it was cancelled (along with about 2500 more over the weekend!!) and he had to DRIVE 960 miles! Of course he did that in 2 days but still...You'd think the airlines would be courteous enough to let people know in advance their flights are very likely to be cancelled. UGH! Doubt I'll be flying anywhere, any time soon.

Anyway, that's about all the excitement in my family's lives for the moment. Today's guest has visited before but it's been a while so please send warm wishes to Cathy Gohlke as she talks with us about her new book, A Hundred Crickets Singing....

1. What inspired you to write A Hundred Crickets Singing? What particular issues in the time periods, as well as our current time period, prompted your interest?

I loved the characters and town of No Creek in Night Bird Calling and wanted to not only continue their story but delve into their past. 
I was inspired by our country's need for racial justice, and especially by our need to know, understand and own the sins of our past in order to move forward into an honest future based on fairness, compassion, mercy, and equity. 

When I learned of the treatment of "brown babies"—children born of white English girls and Black American GIs during WWII—as well as the laws prohibiting marriage between such couples, the unfairness Black American GIs experienced in the armed services and when hoping to access benefits of the GI Bill, the importance of inherited wealth and land ownership, and the effects of redlining, I felt compelled to write a story that would not only expose these things for myself and readers, but that would show the many sides of the story and the history of all that led to that era.

2. The novel is set in the 1860s and 1940s and tells the story of two young women, eighty years apart, each devoted to standing up against wrongs in her community. How are they connected?

The story is connected by fourteen-year-old Celia Percy’s discovery of an 1860s land deed in the false bottom of a hidden and forgotten trunk in the Belvidere attic. The original document deeded land to a man once enslaved by the Belvidere family—a man who never actually received ownership of the designated land. That man’s descendants still lived in No Creek in the 1940s and would greatly benefit if the land was legally transferred to them. But there were “powers that be” in the 1860s determined to prevent that land transfer, just as there are “powers that be” in the 1940s determined to prevent the same. To right this wrong and help her friends, Celia risks herself and others to complete the work courageously begun by a young woman who was her counterpart in the 1860s.

3. Your story hovers over two time periods, the Civil War and post-WWII. What about these time periods did you find intriguing?

Born on a farm that was believed by my grandaunt to be a safe house on the Underground Railroad, and having grown up in the South during the years of the civil rights movement, I’ve long been fascinated by the desperate struggle for freedom, equity, and equality of so many of our country’s citizens. I grew up hearing my grandfather’s stories of my great-great-grandfather Samuel Smith Goforth and his adventures and misadventures in the Civil War—some of which inspired my character Elliott Belvidere.
I wanted to understand how our country could fight a long and bloody civil war, free enslaved people, establish Reconstruction to the point that many Black people rose in public arenas of education, land and business ownership, and politics, and yet we still ended up with the horrors of the KKK, lynching, and Jim Crow. It made no sense to me until I studied the step-by-step policies of intentionally failed Reconstruction, the rise of the Lost Cause myth, the influence of the 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation, and finally how the benefits of the GI Bill—which launched many into the middle class and helped create inherited wealth within families—were unattainable to most returning Black military. The longer those political, legal, and social inequities continued, the more disparate our society became. 
WWII was a time when our country pulled together to fight a common enemy. Our Black population hoped that by joining the fight, they, too, would win—Double V, victory at home and abroad. It broke my heart that they did not realize the dreams of human dignity and fairness that they’d fought so hard to attain for others. 

I had to dig through history to learn these things. I hope that A Hundred Crickets Singing brings some of those struggles to light and enables us to continue the work that will bring victory to all.

4. How do you hope the novel, especially the struggles of your characters, will resonate with your audience?

I hope this story enables readers to look at history objectively and see the unfairness and lack of love that existed and was implemented through laws meant to separate, to benefit one group of people while keeping another group of people down and degraded. I hope seeing that will help increase understanding and compassion and will encourage readers to reach out to their neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ as equals, heirs together, and family before God.

5. Please tell us about the historical research that went into writing this novel. Did you learn anything new that surprised you?

Much of my research had already been done in working on other books related to the Underground Railroad, the American Civil War, WWII at home and abroad, and through time spent in France and England researching WWII. Travel, books, the internet, archives from newspapers and the Library of Congress, family history, and some first-person accounts proved invaluable. 

I learned that North Carolina was a much-divided state regarding Union loyalties, secession, slavery, and support for the war. One of those viewpoints is reflected in my family’s history and the archives of my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Smith Goforth, who, a captain in his militia before the war, remained loyal to the Union, refusing to carry a gun for the Confederacy, even though he was incarcerated and later sentenced to death by Jefferson Davis for this. He obtained a reprieve, thanks to a sympathetic officer who shielded him first as his noncombatant cook and later had him appointed as an ambulance driver, until his capture by Union forces. My ancestor’s story helped me understand how many different sides/viewpoints there are in war and politics—many more than history books would have us believe. 

Because I could not connect the dots for how our country fought a long and bloody civil war ending slavery over one hundred years ago but continues to exist with racial disparity and social unrest today, I needed to learn how it all transpired—or didn’t. Researching the evolution of Reconstruction and how it was forced to fail; the rise of the Lost Cause myth; the far-reaching societal influence of the 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation; the reasons Black GIs were often unable to benefit from the GI Bill; color codes, redlining, and the vital importance of land ownership and inherited wealth was eye-opening. 

6. What role does faith play in your novel?

Faith journeys in the book are embodied in the lives of many characters—the evidence of things hoped for, the belief in things unseen.

In the WWII timeline: Celia’s hope to right a longstanding wrong for the sake of her friends and her struggle to wait on the Lord’s timing even though she wants to rush ahead and change things; Marshall’s belief that things will somehow work out as long as he keeps walking forward, honoring the Lord in his life, even when a multitude of things go wrong; Joe’s need for family and the realization that the connection he needs most begins with a relationship with the Lord, the only one who will never fail him or leave him. 

In the Civil War timeframe: Minnie’s desire for God and goodness to prevail; her learning that sometimes faith means trusting that even though she cannot accomplish the goal, others will in God’s time; Obadiah and Martha’s hope that better days will come and their belief that things happen in God’s time when we faithfully do His will. 

I find comfort and peace in knowing that while my time, opportunities, and abilities to do good are limited, God is not limited by time, humans, or history. He will accomplish His purposes in His time. Our job is to faithfully rise each day and move forward on the path before us, working with whatever gifts, opportunities, talents, and circumstances the Lord has placed in our hands. That is the faith journey I take from this book.

7. As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?

I loved writing Celia and Chester’s discovery of the hidden room and false-bottom trunk in the attic after the storm. I loved writing Celia’s coming of age—especially her evolving maturity in allowing the truth to unfold, and the budding of her writing dreams and romantic inclinations. I loved writing Joe’s journey to faith and his commitment to family and community. I loved writing Marshall’s determination to rise above all that held him back despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I loved portraying his integrity and love for his wife, his child, and the profession he chose. I loved writing of Minnie’s love for her family and her passion to help enslaved friends. I loved weaving threads from my great-great-grandfather’s Civil War adventures into the character of Elliott Belvidere, and tracing the Tate family history through the strong characters of Obadiah and Martha. All those things felt like both a moving forward and a coming home to No Creek, the small rural town and characters I’ve grown to love.

8. A Hundred Cricket Singing presents intriguing and lovable characters in heartbreaking and challenging situations—did the journeys of any of the characters surprise you as you wrote?

WWII medic Joe Rossetti grew from a minor to a major character, became integral in helping Marshall's wife, Ivy, and in locating Marshall’s child when she was later taken into a home for "brown babies" in England. If not for Joe, baby Violet may not have been found. Joe's longing and organic journey to faith and family surprised me, too.  

9. Is there one character whose experience you especially identify with or one whose story grew out of lessons you have learned in your own life?

Celia. I understand her desire to make things right, her dogged determination for social justice and mercy for those she loves and champions, her belief that good should and will prevail. She doesn't always make the wisest or most informed decisions, but she does her best from a good heart. She aspires to write great stories and, despite her bent for solving mysteries, is a romantic at heart. That sounds a lot like me.

10. What did you learn by writing this novel, and what lessons do you hope your readers take away?

I learned so much about the roots and evolution of racism in our country, how we arrived where we are now in terms of disparity in incomes, land and business ownership, politics, societal mores, and attitudes. Tracing this stream—or problem—to its source was enlightening beyond measure.
I hope readers will draw conclusions that lead them to stand for those in need, vote for needed changes in our laws and zoning, and reach out to others of different races and nationalities in friendship, brotherhood, and compassion. I hope readers will view those things as natural responses to our admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves, to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

Four-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks

Thank you SO much Cathy for sharing your new book with us! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it.

Well friends, hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.


Check out Cathy's previous post HERE.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Nellie H Steele @NellieHSteele1 & Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore!

Good Morning Friends!

I'm heading out to Nacogdoches, TX to dog/house/duck sit for my son as SFA Cheer and Dance squads head to Daytona Beach, FL for national competition. I'll catch up with y'all from there Wednesday. Meanwhile, please welcome new-to-me-our-blog author, Nellie H Steele with a peek into her cozy mystery novel, Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore!

A new town.
A haunting legend.
New beginnings or the beginning of the end?

After Cassie MacGuire’s husband dies in a plane crash along with her father, both her and her mother, Lily Bennett, are left as widows.  Looking to make a new start, they move together to the quiet seaside town of Hideaway Bay.  But their new home, Whispering Manor, has a reputation stretching back centuries.  Legends of ghosts, paranormal disturbances and pirate treasure are all associated with the former sea captain’s mansion, starting with the death of its first mistress, Henrietta Blanchard.

When Cassie stumbles upon Henrietta’s journal and Lily uncovers a more recent tragedy in the home, they begin to wonder if the stories may be fact instead of fiction.  When the strange occurrences turn dangerous, Lily and Cassie will have to investigate to save their home and possibly even their very lives!


“There’s no need to explain at all. We understand.” She took a sip of her tea as awkward silence fell over the room. “Speaking of signs, I noticed your Whispering Manor sign dangling sideways from the lamppost sideways. I’m not sure if you saw it.”

“Yes,” Lily answered. “We hung it just before lunch and the chain snapped. We’ll need to fix it later. I insisted we have some lunch before Cassie climbed that ladder again.”

“Ah, yes. A faulty chain.” Tinsley offered a knowing glance. “I’m glad to see you are both so level-headed and didn’t give in to the lore.”

“Lore?” Cassie inquired.

“Oh, yes,” Tinsley said with a slow nod of her head. “I’m surprised Lucy didn’t tell you. Though, then again, she wanted to make the deal, no doubt. And I suppose she’s not really required to disclose it. It IS only a rumor. And technically the death wasn’t IN the house.”

“Death? Disclose what?” Cassie asked.

“Oh,” Tinsley said flicking her hand at Cassie and shaking her head. She puckered her lips and narrowed her eyes. “Nothing, nothing. Just…” She paused and added a dramatic shrug. “Some people would have read the snapping sign as a harbinger of bad things to come because…”

Cassie raised her eyebrows and cocked her head. 

Tinsley glanced side-to-side before leaning forward and pressing her hand to the side of her mouth. “The house is haunted,” she whispered.

Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore is the charming first installment in this small, seaside town mother-daughter cozy mystery series. Get your copy at Amazon!

An Indies Today finalist for Best Book of the Year 2020 with Cleopatra’s Tomb, Nellie H. Steele made the leap from science to art with her first book, The Secret of Dunhaven Castle.

An animal enthusiast, Nellie often features a version of one of her fourteen rescue animals in her stories, though the fictional pets are usually better behaved than her own fur-babies!  A literary split personality, Nellie’s work ranges from cozy mystery to supernatural suspense to riveting adventure.

She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.  When she isn’t writing or engaging in animal care, she enjoys teaching Statistics and Data Science at a local university.

Check out all Nellie offers at www.anovelideapublishing.com/novels or at her blog, Nellie’s Book Nook, available at www.nelliesbooknook.com

Connect with Nellie online at the following locations....

Publisher Website:  www.anovelideapublishing.com

Blog: www.nelliesbooknook.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nelliehsteele

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nelliehsteele

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nelliehsteele1 

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@nelliehsteeleauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19769743.Nellie_H_Steele

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nellie-h-steele

Amazon: Nellie H. Steele

Sounds like an amazing start of your series, Nellie! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it and the books to come.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into Nellie's book friends and that you'll stop by weekly for Saturday Spotlight and Wednesday Words with Friends.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.