Wednesday Writers Welcomes Leeann Betts–Coffee Shop Inspiration


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Coffee Shop Inspiration

By Leeann Betts

I’m sitting in a coffee shop trying to figure out what to write about this month. All around me are people sipping java or tea, munching bagels, meeting friends, talking on phones—and it hits me.

I am looking in at the goldfish bowl.

For example, already today I eavesdropped on three friends who meet every two months to discuss a book, like a mini book club. While I couldn’t see the title of the one they are reading, it seemed to be full of witticisms, observations, and helpful insights. For example, one was about Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. He married 1,000 women, which were his downfall. So if a man doesn’t marry 1,000 women, he’ll already be smarter than the wisest man who ever lived.

Later there was a table of older women gathering tables from near and far, even settling for round tables, to get enough seating for their group of about 20 women. Along comes one woman with a little girl, maybe about 4 or so. And I got to wondering if this older woman was the grandmother—or the mother. And plot ideas sprang forth immediately.

A few days ago, at a table nearby, sat a middle eastern man and two women. Sometimes they spoke in English, sometimes in another language that sounded Arabic. Sometimes they mixed their sentences together, using English words in the middle of a sentence with this other language. For example, I heard the word ‘embassy’ and ‘must be careful’ in the midst of other words I couldn’t understand. Got me thinking about a suspense plot.

Every Monday when I am here, there is a woman sitting nearby who is a counselor of some kind. I’ve heard her talking to a client on the phone about an issue the client was going through. Not details, but I saw this counselor’s demeanor change from the way she looked when she was typing on her laptop—doing right-brain work—to the way her face softened and her posture relaxed as she talked to her client—left-brain work. She’d make a good character where I could show both sides of her at work.

Right now there is a couple sitting next to me who are speaking Chinese, perhaps. I don’t understand a word they are saying, but they’ve been very animated at times, voices raised, hand gestures, smiles. Are they planning a business move? To buy a house? Get a cat? Have another child in contravention of China’s one-child law? What if one of the couple wants to return to China, but the other doesn’t? Will that impact their decision?

Sitting in a coffee shop may sound like a waste of time. Usually I come here just to get away from the laundry or to meet fellow writers. But perhaps I need this unique stimulation to get the old grey cells, as Hercule Poirot would say, working.

Do you write in a setting other than your home or office? If so, where? How often? And why?

About In Search of Christmas Past:

Grace Bellows, a senior in college, receives a Christmas card one month after her grandmother’s death, where her beloved Grammie challenges her to an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Raised by her grandmother after her parents’ death in a car accident when she was eight, Grace has lived a jetsetter lifestyle with her wealthy grandmother. Now all she wants is to settle down and have a normal life.

Luke Fisher manages his family’s Christmas tree farm out of a sense of loyalty to his deceased mother because she gave up her dreams of being an attorney. He doesn’t want to live with any regrets, and longs to escape the confines of loyalty to live a life of adventure in the real world.

Can Grace and Luke solve the clues in her grandmother’s scavenger hunt and uncover the truth about their real feelings, or will the tension and their differences in goals and faith drive them apart?



About the Author:

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released six titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Petty Cash releasing in December. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at All books are available on in digital and print, and at in digital format.


Website: Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.




Books: Amazon and Smashwords:




Wednesday Writer Welcomes Ryan Jo Summer and Rainbows in the Moonlight


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Rainbows in the Moonlight by [Summers, Ryan Jo]Today, Ryan Jo Summers is back on Wednesday Writers. This animal lover has an interesting tidbit to share about her book, Rainbows in the Moonlight, that had me smiling. I have to tell you, Ryan Jo, I love this title! Welcome to the blog!

Thanks, Catherine.

Unlike most of my books, “Rainbows in the Moonlight” did not start as inspiration from a photo or from a chance observation or conversation. In fact, I really don’t recall how the story line came to me. It just happened of its own accord. Almost immediately I felt a connection to Koda and Dalton.


Another unusual fact about this story is I seldom write stories involving children. Just a personal comfort level of mine, I suppose. It’s easier to focus on the relationship developing between the hero & heroine without kids needing their page-time too. However, Koda’s young children, Ruthie and Terry, quickly became an integral part of the story. In fact, the charm of the story could not have happened without Ruthie and Terry.

What did surprise me was how instantly four-year-old Ruthie took over the pages. She was not supposed to be so gregarious and outgoing, but she most certainly is! There was no stopping Ruthie once she got going across the keyboard. Older brother Terry had no choice but to accept a quieter role in his baby sister’s shadow.

One more thing about “Rainbows in the Moonlight”: every single character is named for a dog I used to know. Many years ago I was active in the doggie world and was fortunate enough to know many wonderful pooches. Some of them are now have their name immortalized in the pages of this book.

The original Koda was an English Setter hunting dog. Dalton was a collie mix. Ruthie was a sheltie mix and Terry was an Australian Shepherd puppy. Dalton’s parents in the story; Cal and Judy, were really older tri-color collies. The only three characters not named for dogs are Candi (the bad girl of the story) and Koda’s co-workers Amy and Norm.



Rainbows in the Moonlight

By Ryan Jo Summers


Koda Jacobs urgently needs a nanny. Right now.

Fresh from prison, Dalton Clayton needs a job—and just about anything will do.

Divine Intervention steps in and tosses Koda and Dalton together. Koda struggles with the conflicts of her impulsive decision to leave her babies with an unknown, convicted felon. That just can’t be wise, can it? But she can’t help but see how quickly the children bonded to him and trust him. Or the reassuring sense that this is just right.

Meanwhile, Dalton stumbles through the spills and thrills of two young children, and his growing interest in their mother. A chance meeting brings him back to his estranged family as well.

Over time mutual attraction forms between Koda and Dalton as the bond between Dalton and the children deepens. A sweet, southern romance full of forgiveness, second chances, and fun kids.


About the Author

Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who likes to pen romances with a twist. Love stories blended as inspirational, with paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry, so Ryan came by the writing gene honestly.

Her hobbies include poetry, bird watching, houseplants and gardening, gathering with friends, hiking in the forest, painting canvas and ceramics, and working wiggly word find puzzles, mah johngg or chess.  She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. She often daydreams of the shore and frequently uses water as settings in her stories.

Contact Ryan and learn more about her other books at:




A New Release for Catherine Castle–Bidding on the Bouquet an Inspirational romance


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My newest book, Bidding on the Bouquet,  An inspirational romance just released yesterday. Here’s a peek at the blurb and cover.


I’ll be talking about the book for a few days giving my readers some more tidbits about the story. For a sneak peek, head over to Amazon and check it out. It’s only $2.99 for the Kindle version. Also on Kindle Unlimited. A great book to add to your Christmas reading, even though it’s not about Christmas. But who doesn’t love a happy ending? I know I do.


Wednesday Writers Welcomes Clarice G. James and Party of One


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Today’s guest on Wednesday Writers is Clarice G. James, who has a very unique story to share with us about second chances and her contemporary Women’s Fiction book Party of One. I have to confess, as a romance author when I read this title I was intrigued. Welcome, Clarice!



Thanks, Catherine.

Six months after I was widowed, I returned to the diner my husband and I had frequented for decades. It was tough. While seated at the table we had called ours, a server approached and asked if someone would be joining me. When I told her no, she asked me to move to a stool at the counter because they liked to save their tables for two or more.

In the midst of one person’s insensitivity, a seed was planted. I began writing a memoir about my experiences as a widow. Although it felt good to write again, I was concerned my transparency would trample on the privacy of friends and family. So, I put my project on hold.

Eight years later, I was blessed to remarry. When I discussed my memoir with my husband, David, he gave me a solution to my problem: Turn my non-fiction work into fiction. I titled my novel Party of One. During my single years, I’d toyed with the idea of starting a singles supper club, but I never went through with it. Party of One is based on that premise. The story opens with the incident at that same restaurant.

One day I realized I didn’t have to be single to reach out to the lonely. So, even before Party of One was released, I started Party of One: A Fellowship for Those Tired of Dining Alone. The group grew after a local newspaper did in a story about us. People were blessed! My sweet husband, David, joined us in these twice monthly singles suppers for over two years. Not every day a husband agrees to his wife starting a singles club!

Standing on God’s word that he “sets the lonely in families” (Ps 68:6a NIV), I believe both the Party of One novel and fellowship were God-inspired. I fully expect and welcome God’s intervention in the next stage of my life!

                                     Party of One

By Clarice G. James


When widow Annie McGee breaks through grief, she falls flat on her face into loneliness. In a bold move for this private woman, she founds Party of One, a communal table for single diners. Outside of these weekly gatherings at a local restaurant, she has no intention of getting involved in the diverse lives of the people who join her.

Set in her ways and critical, Annie believes she has all the answers she needs for her life and some left over for others. When confusion and curiosity chip away at her pride, she asks God for a sign, then gets way more than she hopes for. Her self-assurance continues to falter when she realizes the only thing weirder than the quirks of her eclectic tablemates is her fear of losing their company.


Chapter 1

My husband was dead—I wasn’t—and I hated eating alone.

Yet there I stood, a party of one, on the steps of the Ebb Tide Diner. With Exxon pumps out front and the motto “Eat Here and Get Gas,” you didn’t expect fancy. The home-style cooking is what kept this place packed.

Ned and I had discovered this local favorite after our move from the Boston area to the Upper Cape Cod town of Sandwich. Ebb Tide transitioned into our Friday date-night eatery after the kids were grown and gone. I hadn’t been back since he died.

Now, two years to the day, I needed to deal with some things. Coming back here alone was one. The start of the New Year was as good a time as any.

I’d had my hair done for the occasion, covering a few grays which threatened to dull my natural nutmeg. I even wore the peacock-blue sweater set and dangly silver earrings Ned had given me. Why? I guess for the same reason I spent time staring out over the ocean rather than the cemetery: Ned would’ve been pleased.

The place was crazy-busy as usual. The smell of Yankee pot roast and fried clams awakened tasty memories. A fast-walking waitress, plates running up her arms, slowed down long enough to tip her head in the direction of the last vacant table—the one Ned and I had called ours.

I took a seat, my seat. With my hands clasped under my chin, I leaned on my elbows and stared across the table at the empty chair. I let my mind drift back in time until the word pathetic chided my resolve. I recovered, then scolded myself.

Keep moving, McGee. Self-pity is not on tonight’s menu.

Summoning images of us in times past brought a smile instead of tears, consolation in place of sadness. I could feel grief turning.

I can do this.

A waitress startled me out of my reverie, but her familiar face put me at ease. She extended a pair of menus. “Will someone be joining you?”

A bit bruised she hadn’t recognized me, I pretended not to notice. “No, just me tonight,” I said, my voice an octave too high. What I wanted to say was, “Don’t you remember? I’m Annie of Annie and Ned, your old regulars?”

“Oh.” She pulled the menus back before I could accept one. “Then would you mind moving to the counter? We like to save our tables for two or more.”

Want to read more? Check out Party of One at


About the Author:

Clarice G. James writes smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction from a Christian worldview. Her first two novels are Party of One and Double Header Her third novel, Manhattan Grace, will be released in 2018. After 23 years of marriage and three children, she was widowed. Eight years later, she was blessed to remarry. Clarice grew up on Cape Cod, but she and her husband David now live in southern New Hampshire. Together, they have five married children and ten grandchildren. When Clarice isn’t writing, she’s reading, encouraging fellow writers, participating in ladies Bible studies, or involved in a home decorating project.


Contact Links:


Facebook: Clarice Gregoire James

Twitter: Clarice G. James




Wednesday Writers Welcomes Leigh Goff with Bewitching Hannah


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Today I’m welcoming Leigh Goff to the blog. Leigh will be talking about her young adult fantasy romance Bewitching Hannah and the book’s connection to the Annapolis Tea Party. Be sure to read to the end for an exclusive Excerpt from the book. Welcome, Leigh!

 Thanks, Catherine.

In Bewitching Hannah, my new young adult fantasy romance, the historic Annapolis Tea Party has a mysterious connection to the witches in Annapolis, and it is the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the event described below that marks the climax of the story.

In defiance of British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, the Sons of Liberty in Boston boarded a ship filled with tea and set it ablaze. Ten months later, Annapolis patriots denied Parliament’s right of taxation and followed suit.

It was October 1774, and the Peggy Stewart brig arrived in Annapolis from London…loaded with tea. Since this was not the first time the owner, Anthony Stewart, had tried to import banned goods, he decided in order to unload the two thousand pounds of tea, he would pay the tax.

Colonial Annapolitans rushed into a rage and demanded Mr. Stewart be publicly punished by tarring and feathering him. They protested in front of his house, threatening his life and his family. A local committee of Maryland citizens decided the best course of action was to burn the Peggy Stewart and her cargo in the harbor.

The night of October 19th, 1774, several patriots including Charles Ridgely accompanied Mr. Stewart on board the brig. Mr. Stewart hesitated to touch his torch to the ship until Mr. Ridgely warned him that if he didn’t, his life would be in danger. The ship and her cargo burned and sank in the harbor, thereby entering the Annapolis Tea Party into the history books.

Eventually and in fear for his life, Mr. Stewart relocated to Nova Scotia, Canada. As for the ship, according to the Maryland Historical Society Library, the Peggy Stewart‘s remains lay beneath what is now Luce Hall at the U. S. Naval Academy.

In the excerpt below, Hannah talks about her fear of October 19th—the date of the upcoming tea party reenactment.

                                       Bewitching Hannah

By Leigh Goff

Being a witch is the last thing Hannah wants…

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she was descended from a royal legacy of dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W, a Calvert descendant who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead. Engaged in a deadly game and not knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.




“I want to assume you found the trunk key I left for you, and you’ve been studying your father’s notes from the attic. If you’ve been up to anything more than that do not tell me,” Aunt J said.

“I have been reading his notes.”

“Good. Keep doing that, but you should know something else. Your father’s ring, the one on your hand—there is more to it than meets the eye. Your father was working on its secret before he died, but he never figured it out.”

“He always told me it held a secret and secrets would reveal themselves to me once I proved worthy.”

“That’s true, and I have a feeling you’re exactly the worthy kind of witch that ring deserves. You need to pick up where he left off. Uncover its secret. You might need it.”

I stared at the Fitzgerald crest, the weight of my heritage falling heavy on my shoulders. “The way you say it scares me.”

“You need to be scared.” She stared straight ahead, but her knuckles on the steering wheel paled white as she gripped it harder.

“How much time do you think I have?”

“I don’t know. Momentous events surrounding witches usually occur during planet alignments or natural disasters.”

I wasn’t clairvoyant like Mrs. Meier, so predicting a volcanic eruption or tidal wave was out of the question unless the date came to me in a fog-free dream. However, I wasn’t counting on that. I reached for my phone and Googled “upcoming astral events.” I scrolled through the list. My eyes nearly popped out of my head—one impending big, amazing, blood moon-slash-total lunar eclipse. With anxious fingers, I checked my phone calendar. The eclipse was occurring on October nineteenth, the night of the tea party re-enactment. I swallowed the lump in my throat and slipped the phone back in my pocket. Aunt J would be there with other members of the coven for the painting unveiling and everyone else in town for the re-enactment. I sighed, frustrated. “Can you drop me off at Mateo’s.”

“Mateo? We’re talking about your actual life, not your social life.”

“I promised him.”

She frowned. “If you prunus domestica to consider what I’ve told you.”

“I promise that, too.” We parked in front of Mateo’s house. I waved goodbye to Aunt J and dashed to the front door.

Summer greeted me with a huge smile. “Come in. I’m glad you’re okay.” Her gaze drifted to the cloudless blue sky. “Why do you look so damp and disheveled?”

I sighed, filled with frustration and stress. “Long story.”

“Mateo’s in the backyard. He’s been waiting to show you his stupid sacred treasures,” she said as if it wasn’t a big deal to anyone except Mateo. She pointed to the sliding glass doors. “He’s out there, but come back when you’re done.”


Mateo, sitting at the sunny picnic bench in the middle of the yard, eyed me up and down. He set his small brush down. “You look like you got in a fight with a fish and the fish won.”

“Maybe I did.”


I shrugged. “Emme.”

“She doesn’t know when to quit, does she?”

“That’s for sure.”

He puttered around with a shell thingy. “So you gonna tell me exactly what happened after you left the beach by the cliff?”

I slid onto the bench opposite him. “Stupid really. Went to the pond, got distracted, and fell into a drainage ditch.”

He laughed. “I’m serious.”

“Me, too. Fortunately, I didn’t die there.”

“What had you so distracted you didn’t see the ditch?”

“Siris, my raven showed up.”

He looked up from cleaning. “I thought familiars were supposed to be helpful.”

“He was helpful. It was my fault. I wasn’t paying attention.”

“So what happened?”

I pressed my lips together, not sure how he would take the news. “That’s where William found me.”



Leigh Goff is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). She is also an active member of the Severna Park YA Writers’ Group and a committee member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Her second young adult novel, Bewitching Hannah, released September 17, 2017. The story has a subtle Beauty & the Beast theme and is set in present-day Annapolis, Maryland. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, released in June 2015, and the history of the Wethersfield witches of seventeenth century Connecticut inspired the story.

Buy Links:  Amazon


Mirror World






Wednesday Writers Welcomes Lynne Tagawa


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A Twisted Strand: A Story of Faith and Second Chances by [Tagawa, Lynne]Today’s guest on Wednesday Writers is Lynne Tagawa talking about her debut A Twisted Strand, a science/medical novel with a twist of gospel and restoration. Welcome Lynne!

Thanks, Catherine.

My debut novel began life as a question: what would happen if a genetically engineered virus were let loose in my neighborhood? Let’s say twenty miles south of San Antonio, in a field with a cow. And the virus affects the animal—but will it also affect people?

But of course, I needed people in the story, and since it’s a science kind of story, I picked a nurse who works for an epidemiologist, and her ex-husband, a gastroenterologist.

“What is Dr. Stuart again?”

“An epidemiologist.” She pronounced it slowly, eyes on the road. Gripping the steering wheel with clammy hands, she forced herself to sound calm. “I’m going to call him when we get to Uncle Don’s.”

“Epi-demi-ologist,” Jason repeated. “You told me he researches diseases, right?”

“Yes.” Rachel decided not to tell him about the Ebola symposium her boss had just attended. Don would call it “need to know.” Or was that the CIA? Don was FBI. Wouldn’t it be the same?

I’m the daughter of a nurse and a biology teacher, but I knew I was stretching it when I included the gastro doc, so I asked a doctor to look at my manuscript. Just to make sure. Here’s a scene from the ICU:

Andy was snoring, the faint rumble penetrating the plastic sheeting around the bed. Will poured a cup of coffee and thought about what he had just read online. A new treatment for Ebola. Dr. Stuart would know about it. Good grief. He felt like a soldier thrown into battle without any weapons. Could they get some of this new drug on short notice? And would it work on this engineered virus?

Out of nowhere, Rachel’s face filled his mind. Will blew into his hot coffee, trying to cool it. She was so cold toward him. Could he blame her? But now, thinking about this disease, his insides would seize up at random moments.

Rachel discovered the carcass first. Could she be infected? Will wanted to stop his thoughts, put on his professional physician’s persona and just function. But it was getting harder and harder to do.

Unlike some science/ medical stories, the real story isn’t the science, although I worked hard to make it both accurate and believable. It’s about a broken family restored by the gospel. If you read it, I hope you are blessed!

                                   A Twisted Strand

 Rachel Davis owns a small homestead south of San Antonio, where she hopes to heal after her recent divorce. A nurse, she works as a research assistant for an epidemiologist in town. One day, she and the kids discover to their horror that their Jersey heifer is dead—killed by a strange virus stalking South Texas cattle. But is it a natural pathogen—or bioterrorism?

Dr. William Davis has made a terrible mistake. His brief affair has cost him his family, apart from occasional visits to his children. He does his best to be a good father, but decides he will never grovel to win back his wife. A strange disease of cattle might also affect humans. When a vet is hospitalized with symptoms, Will enters the battle.

Estranged from God and from each other, both Will and Rachel encounter the truth of the gospel and struggle to make sense of it all. The law of God seems to condemn them both. Is there hope? And is there hope for their relationship?


About the Author:

Lynne Tagawa is an educator, writer, and editor. Author of Sam Houston’s Republic, a history curriculum written like a novel, she is feeling her way into true fiction with the help of fellow writers. She lives in San Antonio with her husband and four sons.

A Twisted Strand will be available in August on kindle and paperback. Also, check out her website:

Buy link: Tagawa/e/B00AJR7TRG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0



Wednesday Writers Welcomes Sara L. Foust


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Today, Wednesday Writers welcomes a new author to the series, Sara L. Foust. Sara will be talking about her contemporary Inspirational Romantic Suspense, Callum’s Compass and sharing an excerpt. I love the tag line she sent. Facing betrayal, wild animals, meth-addled drug makers, and their own fears, can Kat and Ryan discover the golden treasure and God’s love?

Welcome to Wednesday Writers, Sara.


Thanks, Catherine,


In Callum’s Compass, Kat Williams is a wildlife biologist studying salamanders in the mountains of East Tennessee. For a long time, I dreamed of becoming a wildlife biologist. I thought it would be so cool to be involved in researching and studying a wild animal. To be the one who got to catch them, sedate them, and actually lay hands on a bear or moose or some other such critter. As I got older, the idea still appealed to me, but I realized that I wanted to be a mom first and I didn’t pursue being a wildlife biologist after all. I did, however, get my bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from The University of Tennessee.

For me, Kat’s character is a way of exploring a career I am fascinated by, and also a way of showcasing a unique animal that lives in East Tennessee. Salamanders are nocturnal, and I have always found them fascinating creatures with their beautiful colors and glistening, delicate skin. I find the challenge of locating them fun whenever we are near streams.

I realize not every reader is going to be as outdoorsy as I am, but I hope that Callum’s Compass will transport all of you into the woods of East Tennessee that I love so much! Maybe your interest will be piqued by my main character, Kat, and the next time you are out and about in the wilderness you can keep an eye out for some of the animal life I mention in Callum’s Compass.


Callum’s Compass

By Sara L. Foust

KAT WILLIAMS’S brother died in a gruesome accident in the mountains of East Tennessee. She blames herself.


RYAN JENKINS’S fiancée was murdered. He couldn’t protect her.

With the death of her brother, Kat believes she is unworthy of love from anyone—even God. When a good friend elicits a promise that she will stop living in the past and then leaves her clues to a real-life treasure hunt, Kat embarks on an adventure chock-full of danger. To find the treasure, Kat will have to survive wild animals—and even wilder men. Can she rely on Ryan, the handsome wildlife officer assigned to protect her . . . without falling in love?

Ryan swore off love when his fiancée was murdered, but feelings long-buried rise to the surface around Kat. He volunteers to help with her treasure hunt, vowing to keep her safe. Together they venture deep into caves and tunnels . . . and even deeper into the depths of their unplumbed hearts.


As she and Scout hiked, listening to the songbirds trilling and the wind dancing in the trees, Kat could breathe again. She pushed thoughts of the handsome officer aside.

The way the sunlight drifted through the foliage in patches, playing on the ground before her, cast joy into her soul. The fragrance of the forest filled her lungs, the rich, earthy scent of wet leaves and half-eaten acorns.

Out of habit, she reached her hands to the sides and grazed the fresh green leaves next to the trail, absorbing the sensation of their smoothness. There was nowhere in the world she would rather be on a beautiful spring afternoon. Out here, she could remember the smiling, sweet boy, as long as the night did not overtake her. In the woods, she could connect with Callum and the memories she kept buried until she was alone.


About the Author:

Sara writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Tennessee Mountain Writers. Her debut novel Callum’s Compass won second place in Deep River Books’ 2017 Writer’s Contest. She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit





A Writer’s Garden with Catherine Castle


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Photo © Catherine Castle

Fall is about to arrive in Southern Ohio, for real this time. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

I love the crisp, but not freezing, temperatures that accompany fall weather. We’ve had an unusual summer—wet to start and then dry, with a very few 90 degree temps and more than normal lows in the 50s. This past week we dropped into the 30s with highs on some days in the 40s. That’s not fall sweater weather, it’s winter coat weather!

Unfortunately, I won’t see the beautiful fall colors in the picture above, which I captured several years ago while traveling to Massachusetts. We haven’t had enough rain, and October has been in the low 80s too many times to create the leaf color I crave. So, I’ll have to depend on pictures to satisfy my fall color yearning.

I’ve been waiting all summer for the cooler weather to arrive, specifically for the temps to drop to the 40s so all the chiggers in the foliage on my hillside garden will die. It’s the one place I can’t weed easily. After my hubby and I got eaten up by chiggers one summer, we avoid this hillside. And boy does it show this year.

Photo of Catherine’s back hillside garden © C. Castle

Because I used all my discretionary garden funds hiring a team of young gardeners to clean up the beds after I injured my back this spring, I can’t afford help this fall. So I must tackle this job alone. My fall plans are to clear as much dead stuff out while the temperatures are crisp, yet not freezing, and the bugs gone, so I won’t have as much work to do in the spring when the wasps and other six-legged creatures start coming out with the warmth. It’s much easier to stay warm while gardening than to stay cool under a hot sun. In my humble opinion.

After what I saw crossing the road the other day in front of our house I’ll be skittish about the work, praying I don’t flush out a smelly creature from the underbrush. Skunks rate right up there with snakes, chiggers, wasps and other stinging insects, and bats on my hate-them-a-lot list. I don’t mind all the lizards that run around the stone walls of my gardens, mostly because they eat bugs and skitter away from me when they see me coming. As long as they stay outside, I’ll let the lizards alone.

As this gardening season closes, I’d like to thank all my author buddies who’ve contributed to A Writer’s Garden. It’s been a joy seeing your flowers, herbs, trees, and every other garden thing you’ve shared this year. I hope you’ll all return next spring with more beautiful photos of your gardens.

About the Author:

Catherine Castle has been writing and gardening all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. Her newest book, a contemporary, romantic comedy with a touch of drama, entitled A Groom For Mama, is now out from Soul Mate Publishing and available on Amazon. You can follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, Facebook or here through her blog Romance for the Ages.

A Groom for Mama

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.












Wednesday Writers–Saundra Staats McLemore and Christmas Hotel Reunion


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Today Wednesday Writers is welcoming back Saundra Staats McLemore, author of the Christian Inspirational series Christmas Hotel. I fell in love with this fictional hotel in Saundra’s first book, which you can read about on an earlier blog, and have been following the progress of the Wright family throughout the remainder of the books.

Welcome, Saundra. Please tell us about the latest book in the series, Christmas Hotel Reunion.


Thanks, Catherine,

Christmas Hotel Reunion is the sixth and final book in the Christmas Hotel series. Although each book can standalone, the Wright family thread weaves through the series. Each book has a theme and Christmas Hotel Reunion’s theme is the horrific disease of Alzheimer’s.

I dedicated Christmas Hotel Reunion in memory of my father William Warren Staats who developed complications from Alzheimer’s, and he died July 21, 1997. I watched this man, who stood 6’1″ and weighed around 210 pounds, become a shell of the man he once was. It’s so hard to watch a man who was a leader in his profession, and once revered by so many people, regress to infancy. While he was in the throes of Alzheimer’s, I discovered one in four will have the disease by age 65 and one in two by age 85. My sister and I suspect at least seven of our dad’s nine siblings had Alzheimer’s. Knowing the disease runs in families, these are chilling results for our Staats family members.


Thanks, Saundra for sharing this with us. Alzheimer’s has touched the lives of almost everyone in some way. My father had this dreaded disease, too. So, I understand how it affects families.

Saundra sent me several excerpts to choose from and, I’m going to be honest here, every single one made me cry. I chose the one I know from experience is what every person who has a family member with this dreaded disease wants—one more moment of clarity with your loved one. If you’ve ever experienced this blessing, after all you’ve been to a loved one is a stranger, you’ll know how much this gift is coveted.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Christmas Hotel Reunion

By Saundra Staats McLemore

Alzheimer’s: a horrific disease. Jerilyn has Alzheimer’s. Christopher and Jerilyn are now elderly, and Christopher has ongoing fears. If his beloved wife outlives him, will she be properly cared for? How can two people who have adored each other for fifty-seven years be separated?

On vacation, Jerilyn becomes violent and doesn’t know Christopher. When they return home, Jerilyn leaves in the middle of a cold night in her nightgown. Other friends have family members with Alzheimer’s. Some have turned their loved one over to the care of a nursing home.

With the Alzheimer’s spinning out of control, withdrawing from family, having to be watched every minute, Christopher’s grieving heart is in turmoil. Jerilyn’s children and grandchildren lament over Jerilyn not knowing them. Christopher needs to make the nursing home decision soon. Christopher prays for one last cognizant moment with Jerilyn. He places his trust and hope in the Lord Jesus.

♥ ♥ ♥

The family members headed to their homes, and, Jerilyn asked Christopher to walk her into the square and sit on their bench facing Christmas Hotel. They put on overcoats, hats, gloves, and scarves. Once they were seated, she shivered, and he wrapped his arm around her. “Are you too cold, dear, to sit outside?”

“No, I’m fine. I’m just happy to be here with you. God is good, Christopher.”

Hot tears filled his eyes, but he couldn’t help himself. He’d prayed in earnest for this special time with his beloved Jerilyn. With his other hand, he took hers. “Yes, He is, my love.”

They stopped speaking for a few minutes, cuddled together, and reveled in the moment. Christopher took a deep breath. “The air is so clean and crisp. I do love the Christmas season.” Townspeople walked by and smiled. Some greeted with “Merry Christmas!”

“You know, Jerilyn, sitting here brings back memories of fifty-seven years ago. You were only twenty, but I knew without a doubt we were meant to marry and raise a family. I was nervous the night I proposed.”

Jerilyn turned to him. “You were?” Her soft voice warmed his heart. “I thought I was the nervous one. You’ve never told me this.”

I can’t believe I’m sitting here and carrying on a normal conversation with Jerilyn.

“I was twenty-eight-years-old. I suppose I wanted you to have confidence in my decisions. You were so mentally wounded when you arrived at Christmas Hotel. I wanted to be your knight in shining armor.”

She took her free hand and placed it on his cheek. “You have been my knight in shining armor. I’m so happy the Lord sent me here all those years ago. I never thought being penniless would be a good thing but it brought us together. Our Lord brought us together. I’m so thankful, Christopher.”

“So am I, my darling, so am I.”

She placed her head on Christopher’s shoulder, and they took a moment to gaze up at the sky. “It’s so clear tonight, Christopher. The stars are putting on a light show for us.”

Christopher pointed up. “I know that one’s the North Star, but tonight, for us, it’s the star of hope.”

“I love you, Christopher.”

“I love you, too, Jerilyn. I want you to remember our love, at least for tonight. I’ve never in all our years together tired of telling you I love you.” He kissed her.

“I want to pray together in the Christmas Hotel chapel, Christopher. Let’s go in. Maybe we’ll be alone.”

  Want to read more? You’ll find this book at Amazon


About the Author:

 Saundra Staats McLemore is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Ohio chapter of the ACFW. After thirty-three years, Saundra is recently retired as President/CEO of McLemore & Associates, Inc., a nationwide sales and marketing business she built in 1984. In her spare time, she loves to garden, and she can be seen throughout the summer working in her flower beds. Saundra has written two novels so far in the Staats Family Chronicles Series: Abraham and Anna and its sequel: Joy out of Ashes. Saundra had the good fortune of having Abraham and Anna endorsed by two best-selling authors: Richard Paul Evans and Janette Oke. There are six novels in the Christmas Hotel Series: Christmas Hotel, Christmas for Lucy, Christmas Redemption, Christmas Pact, Christmas Love and Mercy, and Christmas Hotel Reunion.

Born and raised in the state of Ohio, Saundra is married to Robert, and Anthony is their only child. The other two members of the family are the cat Charley, and the Cocker Spaniel Daisy. Check her website regarding new novels.




A Writer’s Garden with Gail Kittleson


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Today’s A Writer’s Garden guest is Gail Kittleson who is delighting us with pictures and uses for herbs. I can almost smell them now. Welcome, Gail.

Thanks, Catherine. This year, our garden produced an abundance of herbs…thyme, oregano, sage … well, you know the list.

Here it is, October already, and I’m still taking in some of the beauty through my sense of smell. Yes, peppermint still regales me, in the form of dried, crushed leaves for tea. I’ve been known to add some of the flowers, as well.

Recently, I discovered the pleasure of an evening cup of parsley tea. I’d heard that this garnish also served as a mouth deodorizer, but tea? Yes! Nothing better, imho, than a hot cup after dinner.

Here’s the plant (Italian parsley) in all its glory last summer. Now, I’ve brought it inside and keep making this mellow brew.

And then there’s rosemary. I love that it’s for healing … when the world’s harshness seems over the top, there’s rosemary to shave into your baked sweet potato. With butter—lots of it.

Our glorious summer gardens can accompany us into winter’s starkness, even if we live in the frozen hinterlands. Here’s to hot tea and curling up with a wonderful book on a wintry day.


About the Gardener /Writer:

Gardener/writer Gail Kittleson has been gardening just about everywhere she and her husband have lived, including Senegal, West Africa. Her favorite thing about gardening is the survival of plants over harsh Iowa winters, the anticipation of new growth, and eating fresh salads. When she’s not gardening she’s writing memoir and women’s historical fiction novels and teaching a creative writing class. Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband enjoy gardening and grandchildren. In winter, Arizona’s Ponderosa pine forests provide relief from Midwest weather and a whole raft of new people and stories. Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, paved the way for fiction writing, and her debut women’s fiction novel, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Line) was released on November 18, 2015.Since then she’s completed two more books in her WWII romance series. You can learn more about her at

A Purpose True, the sequel to With Each New Dawn, reveals Kate and Domingo risking life and limb in French Resistance efforts to stymie the Nazi advance to Normandy. But even their fierce devotion to liberty cannot preclude questions raised by the enemy’s cruelty. How is faith to survive in the midst of relentless Nazi atrocities toward innocent citizens? Can the power of love withstand the worst of evil and forge positive paths for the future?