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from Bonnie Engstrom

Brain fog! That’s what I have right now. Not really writers block, but a misty haze hovering around my head. My own personal cloud.

I know I have to write book nine, the final book in my Candy Cane Girls Series. I even started it and have two chapters. My publisher has been patient, but she did remind me right after book seven to hurry and write book eight because in a series, readers are anxious to know. I even have the title, inspired by a little old lady who walks her blind dog in a stroller in my community. Natalie’s Red Dress. It was easy to write Melanie’s Blue Skirt and Connie’s Silver Shoes, but Natalie is having trouble with her red dress. Rather, I am.

The blame game is easy. All the distractions and obligations are because of the pandemic. Right? I have to iron our pillowcases every Friday, the border of the sheet, too.

Yes, I have to. Crawling into a smooth bed at least once a week is important to my psyche. I never ironed them before. Flor always did it for me. But our daughter insists we have no one in our house right now. So, I mail Flor a check every week to make up for her lack of work. Poor thing, she has four kids and an elderly mother. Plus, she’s a prayer warrior.

Cleaning toilets is no picnic, either. At least I don’t have to mop the floors. Hubby has taken on that task. (Thank you, bad back, for cramping up when I bend over.) I have learned to cook again and relieve the master chef, occasionally. Ina Garten is more than The Barefoot Contessa, she’s my guru angel. Watching her videos sometimes takes up the afternoon. Can’t write when learning how to make zucchini casserole, can I? Will my hubby like it as much as Jeffery?

I cut my own bangs the other morning. I’m afraid to tell Robert. Or Lisa. My two alternate hair dressers. Have you ever tried to use waxing strips? They don’t do much for chin hairs, and certainly not for nose hairs. But, I can’t go to Kay’s salon.

It’s a sad commentary when the most stimulating discussion I have with hubby every morning is “What’s on Netflix tonight?” Or we rush to the back patio to see what the dogs are barking at.

Lola and Sam

“Maybe it’s the Golden Retriever. Or maybe the lady with the two little white dogs!” (Our whiny Lola hates the white dogs. Sam barks up encouragement.) I ask if he has any Skype calls with his university colleagues, and he asks if I have writing to do. Yeh, but . . .

I should be composing my weekly newsletter that converts to my Facebook page. It’s due to my VA Thursday. Thank goodness she’s forgiving when she gets it late Friday. Let’s see . . . there’s the American Christian Fiction Writers email loop with lots of chatter and questions I have no clue how to answer. There’s the Romance Writers of America forums for Pro authors. Boring. Everyone has an opinion. There’s the Moms’ Prayer Chain that I moderate. Lots of needs and thank yous back and forth. There’s the daily card I mail at the remote postal drop box just to get out for a half hour. There was the house I wanted to buy for our daughter and four grandkids. I stalked it every day. Can one really stalk a house? I did. I parked in front of it and prayed and brought up icons about perseverance on my cellphone’s Bible app. It sold to someone else.

Oh! It’s almost three o’clock. Time for my daily excursion to the mailbox to post a card to friend Jean telling her how special she is. Lipstick. Check. Watch. Check. Special bracelet. Check. Gotta feel human. At least I penciled my eyebrows this morning.

It takes exactly seven minutes driving slow to get to the isolated P.O. box for the 4:15 pm pickup. I still go to “the house” to pray. God doesn’t tease. He put the house idea in my head for a reason. Maybe it will fall out of escrow, or maybe there’s a better one soon. After my few minutes of prayer I wonder what the neighbors think about the crazy woman waving her arms out a car window. I doubt if they know I’m praying. Don’t care. The drive back home that should take ten minutes takes twenty-five on my long route. I prolong it by trundling along at twenty-one miles an hour in the forty-five-mile zones. Cars speed around me, but nobody honks. I am the little old lady, Miss Daisy, driving herself. No Morgan Freeman. I wish.

Then to stop on the way home at our bank of mailboxes to retrieve all the useless flyers and catalogues. I sort through the mail. Sam got a card from his vet, Dr. Nick, reminding him to get his teeth cleaned. Hubby got two bills and the Lou Malnati’s pizza catalogue. I got the latest Mornings with Jesus and a Steinmart ad. That’s a toughie. My favorite store, my home from home. Several years ago hubby had a quip, “If you can’t find Mom, call Steinmart.” Not this month, or maybe not this year.

Two of our grandchildren had special birthdays recently. Taylor turned fifteen, and Teagan celebrated thirteen. Big rights of passage, especially for girls. No hugs, just presents handed quickly over the back fence. Taylor had a party of sorts. Her best friend’s family came to sit on the lawn about twenty feet away from her family. Teagan got to indulge in her favorite sushi at Beni Hana since restaurants had opened. I count it a blessing that her family were the only patrons, except one man at the sushi bar. If you want to see the girls and their creative celebrations, go to my Facebook page and scroll down.

That reminds me I am giving away NOELLE’S CHRISTMAS WEDDING there to a commenter. Also, giving one away on this blog. Both signed copies, unless you prefer an eBook. You can have two chances to win it by commenting both places. It’s not just about Christmas or a wedding. (If you believe in Santa you need to read this book). Its message has a much deeper social issue about abuse and stalking (of Noelle, not a house) that takes place off stage. It’s the first in the Candy Cane Girls Series honoring Noelle, a teacher. (I love teachers, don’t you?) I hope you will like it so much you will want to read the entire series to meet Cindy, Candy, Connie, Natalie (yes, she has two books), Melanie and Doreen. You will also meet Jake (my sweet dog I still dream about), Lola (yes, the whiny girl who hates little white dogs) and Arthur, the dog who adopts Doreen and encourages her to dance. All the dogs are on the covers of my books.

Maybe Natalie should adopt a dog! One who pees on her red dress. I think brain fog is lifting and I have my story.



Nolelle’s Christmas Wedding

by Bonnie Engstrom

Noelle Day finally has the courage to break off her ill-fated engagement with her volatile fiancé and cancel their Christmas wedding. It’s embarrassing, and she has to share the humiliating reason with her friends The Candy Canes. The other five girls were to be her attendants in red taffeta gowns.

When she faints and falls into the arms of Braydon Lovejoy, the now former wedding florist, Braydon is confused by her abrupt manner. Who is this beautiful woman with the sepia hair and the huge brown eyes? Is she a damsel in distress as he suspects? He prays for an opportunity to find out.

Then he backs his delivery van into her precious red car, and he’s sure she would never go out with him, especially since he was hired to deliver a huge bouquet of roses to her from a secret admirer.

Noelle isn’t sure how to respond when Bruce, the school principal, physically forces himself on her. After all, he is her boss, and she’s just a first year English teacher.
She finally accepts a lunch date with Braydon, and he takes her to Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar where she learns he is the local rose expert. But, Noelle worries their friendship is happening too fast and calls a respite.

One of the Candy Canes has a tragic accident, and the women bond together. But Braydon, who is not sure why he is involved, becomes their anchor.
Will Braydon’s prayers heal the hurts, physically and emotionally? Will the injured Candy Cane forgive the woman who caused her accident, the woman who is related to Bruce the principal? Will Noelle ever have her California Candy Cane Christmas?

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About the Author

Bonnie lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her psychologist husband Dave of fifty plus years. They have three grown children and six grandchildren, four of whom live in Arizona and two in Costa Rica where they surf. Pura Vida!

She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and a long time member of American Christian Fiction Writers; also, a member of Christian Writers of the West, the Arizona chapter of ACFW. Two of her books, Restoring Love at Christmastime and Melanie’s Ghosts, have garnered 5 Star Readers Favorite Awards.

Most of her stories are set in Arizona, and in Southern California where she and her husband lived for over thirty years and raised their three children. She likes to use real people (with their permission) and real-life experiences in her stories, and real dogs that are featured on her book covers. Readers love animals!

Social Media Links:

Website www.bonnieengstrom.com where you can see all my grandchildren and read about my writing journey, sign up for my newsletter and even order books

https://www.facebook.com/bonnieengstromauthor/ where you can win books and stash and have fun literary discussions and sign up for my newsletter

bengstrom@hotmail.com where we can connect and get to know each other. Be sure to put BOOKS in the subject line