Wednesday Writers–When the Geese Fly North by Tracey L. Dragon


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Today’s Wednesday Writers’ guest is Tracey L. Dragon. Tracey will be sharing her dual-time romance When The Geese Fly North – Book 2 of her Return to the Home Front Series. She’s also sharing an excerpt, so be sure to read to bottom of the post. Welcome, Tracey!






Thanks, Catherine,

When the Geese Fly North is Book 2 of my Return to the Home Front Series. Like my novel Cherished Wings – Book 1 (Fran’s story), When the Geese Fly North is a dual time romance that begins in the present but weaves in and out of the past. When the Geese Fly North returns you to the town of Albion, NY during the late 1940’s where you will once again meet the characters from Cherished Wings. This time it’s is Amy’s story being told.

After I finished writing my novel Cherished Wings which was inspired by my own mother’s story and the pair of Navy wings she’d kept hidden in her dresser drawer, I discovered that I liked Amy Lake, a secondary character in the book so well that I thought she deserved a story of her own, and thus, When The Geese Fly North was created.



When The Geese Fly North

By Tracey L. Dragon

Callie Baldwin, former Army nurse suffering with PTSD from her tour in Afghanistan, takes on a safe, low-key, nursing job caring for Will and Amy Henderson, an elderly couple who are long-time friends of the family. The only fly in the ointment is their annoying grandson, Dr. Michael Henderson, who manages to get under her skin during his weekly visits.

In an attempt to help Callie come to terms with her war experience, Will and Amy share their poignant love story that began in 1948 when Will, an emotionally and physically scarred Marine, takes on the job of farmhand for a newly divorced and bitter Amy. As the story unfolds, its beauty and richness transforms Callie as she learns the healing power of love.



March 1948

Now that Amy could see Mr. Henderson in the broad daylight, she trembled inwardly at his visage, not in fright but more with curious fascination. Beside the fact he stood a good foot taller than her, and outweighed her by a hundred pounds, there was something in the depth of his eyes—a deeply held pain maybe, but she wasn’t sure. His lids briefly shuttered and when he opened them again the dark emotion was gone, and an amiable expression spread across his face.

“How’s the head this morning?”

Amy felt her cheeks flush with heat. She tucked her head, embarrassed. “Not good and I have you to thank for it.”

Will chuckled. “Sorry little lady, don’t think I should shoulder the brunt of the blame. All I did was pay for what you ordered.”

“And that’s the point.” She jabbed her finger at him. “If you hadn’t been buying, I wouldn’t have drunk quite as much. I couldn’t have afforded to.” She bit down on her tongue, wishing she’d kept that tidbit to herself. She had some pride after all. Irked that she’d admitted her precarious financial position to a mere stranger, she proceeded to cram the rest of her foot in her mouth. “If you hadn’t been plying me with drinks all evening, I wouldn’t have needed a ride home, and hence, I wouldn’t be forced to drive you back to Albion this morning, now would I?”

Will’s steady gaze locked with hers then shifted back toward the road. His lips pursed as if he were pondering her choice of words then he gave her a curt nod and limped off the porch.

Amy stepped back into the house and slammed the door behind her. Fine, she thought with a pout. He could go sit in the truck until she was ready to leave. She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, horrified at her own rudeness to a man who’d been nothing but kind, an injured Marine to boot. Geez, what next? Kick a puppy while it’s down. She couldn’t have been any ruder if she tried. Her mother would be ashamed. What on earth had come over her? Just because she was bitter about Rob, didn’t mean she needed to take it out on the rest of mankind.

She glanced at the clock. If she didn’t hurry she’d be late for work two days in a row. She only had fifteen minutes to spare before she needed to leave. The dang man would have to wait a little longer.


Want to read more? You can find Tracey’s book at Amazon. Warning to readers of sweet, clean romance: this novel contains some mild language.



About the Author:

Tracey L. Dragon is a relocated New Yorker, former Navy wife, and retired educator who now lives in Florida with her husband. After seven military moves, raising two Navy brats, and twenty years teaching troubled youth, she is now able to put her full attention to publishing the children’s stories and romance novels she’s written over the years. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Florida Writers Association.

Look for Tracey on social media at  and








Tuesday Wedding Tales–Restoring Love at Christmastime by Bonnie Engstrom


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Welcome to Tuesday Wedding Tales blog series,

where wedding-themed stories are the fare.

Bonnie Engstrom is today’s guest,

and she’ll be sharing about her story Restoring Love at Christmastime

The Story Within the Story of Restoring Love at Christmastime


The old hotel in Restoring Love at Christmastime is, or rather was, real. The inn was filled with childhood memories for me that were fun to recreate and bring up to date. The day before I was scheduled to send the story to my publisher I decided to revisit a few facts online. I was shocked to learn the historic inn had burned to the ground three days before. I was devastated and indecisive. Should I publish the story that featured the hotel as the background for love? I decided to go ahead. It would be a tribute to the rickety old building that had housed guests for over one hundred years.

My many summer visits to Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania had special memories of trail rides on handsome Traveler. Yes, the Traveler in the story is a tribute to a gorgeous chestnut-colored steed, the first horse I’d ever ridden. Jenni stands on the impressive wraparound veranda and borrows books from the hotel’s library – both authentic memories. That’s as far as genuine memory went. I had never seen snow there, but I do have a vague memory of ancient bathroom fixtures, old even fifty years ago.

My publisher retitled the book to add at Christmastime when we both latently remembered the story takes place during the holiday. A colorful new cover adorns it. Just before the new title was revealed the book won a 5 Star Readers Favorite Award. It was a fun story to write, especially the teasing banter between Jenni and Jake and how their old friendship grows. I almost forgot . . . readers will meet a skunk, an owl and a preying hawk. Trail rides can be interesting.




Restoring Love at Christmastime

By Bonnie Engstrom

Why was Jenni taking this journey back in time during the Christmas holidays? Surely, Jenni didn’t expect to see Jake the stable boy. She had moved on from sneaking kisses in the barn after trail rides. He must have, too. Who on earth would stay in the tiny town of Cambridge Springs?

She planned for a respite from teaching, time to read, take quiet walks and indulge in delicious hotel meals. At least no one knew where to find her, none of her friends, and not even her family.

The internet site for Pleasant Springs Hotel highlighted an annual holiday production of A Christmas Carol that guests sometimes played parts in. That sounded like fun, maybe a minor way to fulfil a fanciful dream, if only for a few minutes. Hopefully some handsome guest would play Scrooge.

Odd the name of the historic hotel had changed. Who would have done that? Maybe new owners. She hoped the rooms were still filled with antique furniture. She wanted to soak up memories, alone. Unless by a Christmas miracle Jake was still there to share them.

Can romance still flourish after fifteen years? Will a teacher and a former stable boy remember their first kiss?



They raised their heads, and their eyes met – brown and blue. Both sets of lips grinned and they dug in. Jenni was glad the kitchen had included a large spoon for her to twirl her pasta on. Her Italian friend Corentina had taught her that when she was growing up. It seemed more civilized than sucking the strands into one’s mouth.

Jake watched her with curiosity. “You always eat spaghetti that way?”

“Yes. It’s the proper way to eat long pasta. You don’t?”

“Naw. I just chop it up.” He proceeded to do so, almost mashing it. He shoved a big forkful in his mouth.

“But, that takes the fun out of it. And, it’s easy to twirl.” She demonstrated. “See!”

“Oh, boy! You gonna make an issue of how I eat?” He put his fork down and glared at her. “If there is any future for our relationship, we shouldn’t squabble over eating habits.”

Squabble? Future? What was he insinuating?

Want to read more? Restoring Love at Christmastime is available in eBook and print at


About the Author:

Bonnie Engstrom is a multi-published author who mostly writes romances. She has published fourteen books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and Christian Writers of the West.

She and her Ph.D. psychologist husband, Dave, reside in Arizona near four of their six grandchildren. The other two live in Costa Rica on the beach with their father who surfs every day and has taught the boys to surf and skateboard since they were toddlers. Pura Vida!

Bonnie spends a lot of her time, when not writing, helping with the four Arizona grandkids. Dave is a full-time faculty member and faculty advisor at the University of Phoenix, as well as a psychologist at Honor Health Medical Center, Scottsdale, Arizona.

They have been a team for fifty-three years.

Please visit Bonnie at her website to see the grandchildren and figure out who the surfing ones are. Fun fact: The little red-head imp recently got baptized with her.

Follow her on Twitter at @BonnieEngstrom1 and on Facebook

Email her at Please put BOOK in the subject line so your post doesn’t fly off into cyberspace.

She loves to hear from her readers, and reviews are a special way to say you liked her books.

Wednesday Writers–The Hidden Truth by Janeen Swart


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Wednesday Writers welcomes Janeen Swart to the blog today with an excerpt of her YA novel, The Hidden Truth, and a warning about the research she had to do. Welcome, Janeen!

Don’t Try This at Home

by Janeen Swart

While doing research for my book, THE HIDDEN TRUTH, I needed a way for the teens to break into a building so I searched online for ‘how to make a bomb’. Later, my husband was checking our computer history and asked, “Why are you wanting to make a bomb?” with a rather perturbed look on his face. I assured him I only needed the information for my book and he kidded, “You know someone, like the police could misinterpret this information.” Well, not so likely, since we don’t attract that kind of attention. Anyway, this is what I learned: First things first: they do not under any circumstances recommend that you build your own electromagnetic weapon. But if you’re hell-bent on adding to the mayhem, cheaply and without too much studying, you might try a high-energy radio frequency, or HERF, gun. As described by an engineering student, you can make one from a microwave oven. Before you begin, though, wait until everyone else has left the house. (That right there should discourage anyone.) Take apart the microwave oven and connect several other gadgets and voila, you have an e-bomb. There’s even a schematic available. It seemed a little scary to me that this was so easily available online for would-be bomb makers, but I’m glad the information was available to solve my problem of getting the teens into the building in my book.




by Janeen Swart

After being struck by lightning while jogging, Clara’s dreams cause her to question the issues of DNA changes, cloning, and genetically modifying food. In her dreams she visits an environmentally perfect world where an angel-like being tells her to watch for a sign. While Clara searches for answers, her boyfriend, Brian, becomes active in demonstrations against a local biophysics company, named aptly, New Nature. Clara convinces her Science Club to begin a project to confront this company to make them more accountable. She and John, a new friend, vow to do their part, using peaceful strategies. Brian’s jealousy results in several uncomfortable incidents between the three teens. Things go awry when a few of the Science Club members go beyond simple investigation by breaking into the company, then later sabotaging the company’s biosphere. What’s even more troublesome is the fact that Clara suspects her ex may be the one behind the crimes. Relationships and beliefs are tested as Clara searches out the truth. In the end, her questions are answered, but at a cost, she hadn’t anticipated.


Brian jumped in and turned the key. The ignition ground, but started. As soon as Doug left, Melanie scrambled into the passenger side and said, “Let’s go. Doug can find his own way back. We don’t need him anymore.

“No, we’re not leaving him. He’s the one who got us in there like you wanted.”

“Me? What happened to ‘We’ve got to do something about this company’? You were just as much in favor of this. You’ve gotten soft because you’re afraid Clara will find out,” said Melanie.

“You’re wrong. I was hoping we could find something, so we could get it out to the public.”

“Oh, right. Then Clara would look at you again with those adoring eyes.” Melanie grunted. Brian leaned back against the headrest, waiting. She was right.

Doug’s image materialized in the rearview mirror. He was running toward the car, arms waving. Twenty feet behind him, two other figures sprinted their way. “Open the back door,” Brian yelled at Melanie. She leaned over the front seat and pushed the door open just as Doug reached the car.

Brian put the car in gear with his foot on the brake, ready to take off. Doug fell in, slammed the door behind him and Brian tromped on the gas. Tires squealed and a faint smell of burnt rubber entered the car’s open window. One of the guards grabbed at the door handle but had to relinquish the chase as the car sped away. Please God, don’t let them see the license number or shoot.

“Good thing I covered the license plate with foil,” said Melanie.

Brian just stared ahead, saying a thank you prayer. Melanie watched behind. “No one’s following. You can slow down.”

They drove several more blocks and Brian asked, “Did you get the power inverter?”

“No. When I went inside, I heard the guards coming and I had to make a run for it,” said Doug.


Want to read more? You can find The Hidden Truth at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

About the Author:


Growing up in a small town in Indiana may have been the best experience or the worst depending on your viewpoint. For me, it was the best. My two sisters and I were raised with strict traditional values and rules for the life of a Christian. Once I left for college my horizons expanded, giving me the chance to see many different viewpoints. I wanted to travel the world. Instead, I met the love of my life in college and we married. After retiring from teaching at age fifty-five, it was time to move forward with my dream of writing. After many rejection letters, A DOG AND HIS BOY, was published through a small Christian publisher. I self-published my other five children’s books. During this same time my young adult novel, THE HIDDEN TRUTH, became a reality, thanks to Soul Mate Publishers. When I received my contract to publish it as an e-book, I was ecstatic. New writers often ask for advice from published authors. Here’s mine: be true to yourself, and then, have fun with your writing. Maybe, just maybe, you will become one of those best-selling authors we see featured in the bookstores.


Connect with Janeen at: FB: twitter: @JaneenSwart2: and her web page


Tuesday Wedding Tales–Magnolia Mistletoe by Lindsey P. Brackett


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Welcome to Tuesday Wedding Tales blog series,

where wedding-themed stories are the fare.


Today’s guest is Lindsey P. Brackett. Lindsey will be telling us about her newest novella, Magnolia Mistletoe. She also has an excerpt from the book and a surprise for readers.

And, of course, there’s a wedding!



“Take it from the expert in this industry, Cor.

You’re destined for happily ever after.”


In my debut novel, Still Waters, Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree—and a plan for avoiding her own past. But after a little matchmaking from her beloved grandmother, and a little scheming from her wedding planner cousin, she learns to live with both the past and her future in mind.

Ever since Still Waters released in September 2017, readers have written and asked me if Tennessee and Cora Anne will get a wedding. Because I write women’s fiction, not romance primarily, I closed Still Waters at the end of Cora Anne’s emotional journey toward forgiveness.

But you readers are persistent with your wants.

Next summer, my stand-alone sequel, The Bridge Between releases. It’s a love story—of marriage and separation, of divide and reconciliation. I wanted to explore the small things we let wash away the bridges built between us and the ones we love.

Spoiler alert: there’s a wedding.

But before I could cross the bridge of that story, I had to explore another first. Cora Anne’s cousin, wedding industry expert and curator of happily ever after is Hannah Calhoun. She’s a southern wedding planner, a girl who knows her way around in high heels, and a woman who’s more than a little bit concerned with image.

Hannah knows what she wants, but before she can become a full-fledged partner in her mother’s business, she has to first prove she can handle her own shortcomings. Benjamin Townsend is an entrepreneur always looking out for the next big thing—and if hosting weddings on Edisto is it, he’s all in. Even if that does mean a lot of time with Hannah, whose world is full of way more happily ever after than his.

Magnolia Mistletoe is a bridge itself—a novella that spans the time between where Still Waters ends and the sequel begins. The best part is, if you sign up for my newsletter, Magnolia Mistletoe will arrive free in your inbox before Thanksgiving!

I had so much fun writing this little story and interviewing my sister, who plans weddings and events at the swanky Atlanta Athletic Club. She’s full of anecdotes about collapsing cakes, missing groomsmen, and why an outdoor ceremony in July is never a good idea.

But most Saturday nights she fills our group chat with pictures of fairy tales—of dreams come true and a happily ever after well on its way. Like Hannah, she always errs on the side of hope and the belief: love conquers all.


Excerpt from Magnolia Mistletoe:


She strode toward the gazebo housing the band. Cutting across the lawn, she wouldn’t have to sidestep guests along the path that, conveniently for them, would keep their shoes dry. But just as she reached her destination, the heel of her favorite black pumps sank into the soft mud and seemed determined to stay there.

Disaster. Of course.

“Need a hand?” A familiar voice, laughter underscoring its tone, came out of the garden shadows. Benjamin Townsend, roguishly handsome as ever in a sport coat and tie, emerged from an arbor.

Surely the day’s stress had caused her to hallucinate. She’d memorized the guest list, and he wasn’t on it.

He slipped a hand under her elbow. “How are you, Hannah?”

She smoothed her dress and forced a smile, still subtly wiggling her trapped heel. “I’m wonderful, Ben. How are you?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “Are you so wonderful you want me to leave you stuck right here?”

She sighed. “If you’ll just—”

He lifted her by the waist and twirled her back onto the path. Balancing on one foot—and fighting her quivering stomach—Hannah waited for him to retrieve her shoe. When he did, he bent and slipped it onto her foot. “Now you can be wonderful again.”

“Thank you.” She ducked her head to adjust the heel—and hide her flushed cheeks.

“So this is one of your shindigs, huh?” He waved to indicate the festivities. Twinkling lights, magnolia garlands, and poinsettia centerpieces set the Christmas wedding ambiance.

She straightened her spine. “Shindig, no. A Carolina Calhoun wedding is a well-oiled machine.”

“Point taken.”

Between him and the rain and her mother’s tight smiles, Hannah wanted to explode. But she forced a smile, as if glad to see him. Which she didn’t want to be.


About the Author:

Lindsey P. Brackett writes southern fiction infused with her rural Georgia upbringing and Lowcountry roots. Her debut novel, Still Waters, inspired by family summers at Edisto Beach, released in 2017. Called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing,” Still Waters received 4-stars from Romantic Times, shortlisted for the INSPY Award, and was named 2018 Selah Book of the Year. Connect with Lindsey and get her free newsletter at or on Instagram and Facebook: @lindseypbrackett.




Wednesday Writers–From My Balcony by Patricia Bond


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Today Wednesday Writers welcomes Patricia Bond to the blog. Patricia will be talking about France, unexpected research, and her women’s fiction contemporary romance From My Balcony. Welcome, Patricia.

What comes first – the story or the research?


Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it?

I can hear you. “Research, of course!”

But then, what if the research isn’t research at all? What if it’s simply a vacation? Or a trip you’re taking for some other reason entirely, and it turns into a story?

That’s what happened to me with “From My Balcony.” I never started out thinking about a story set in France. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the country. When I studied French in high school, it came easily. Maybe it was my Latin background (thank you, Sister Mary Eligia). Or maybe because, as my best friend said, I’d lived a past life there.

However it happened, I’ve always been a Francophile.

When my husband announced he had a short military deployment there many, many years ago, and I found out he was headed to the south of France, I knew I was going, if only for a week.

He had to work almost the entire time I was there, which was a mixed blessing. While I missed his company on my sightseeing, I had the freedom to go where I wanted, for however long I wanted. So long as I was back in time for dinner. And like my character, Diana, I had the pleasure of choosing a different city or town to visit every day, like “picking candies from a dish.” I was charmed by so many places. Arles, Nimes, Salon, Aix. But when I chanced upon Cassis, it took hold of my heart and my soul and never let go.

Fast forward – okay, slow forward – ten years. I was still dreaming about Cassis. About how lovely it looked, how I would love to live there on the shores of the Mediterranean. A story started brewing. “What if?” kept popping into my head. I was writing historical romances then, was on the verge of selling my first one, and in the back of my head, Cassis kept dancing around showing me sunsets over the water, teasing my memories with the scents of water, fish, and lavender.


Sometimes it was hard to visualize runaway slaves and the shores of the Chesapeake because I kept seeing flirtatious Frenchmen and calanques instead. But I persevered, and “By Love’s Honor Bound” became reality.

And still, Cassis haunted me. For another ten years and two more historical romances it haunted me. It reared its head in the middle of rural Pennsylvania and tried to give my Civil War Colonel’s dialogue a French accent. It valiantly tried to turn his love, Melanie, into a fifty-ish American divorcee with grown children and shattered confidence. It tried to make a rural farmhouse into a rehabbed monastery owned by an aging film star.

When I started to dream scenes and dialogue runs, I knew I was a goner.

“From My Balcony” HAD to be written. I wove memories together with “What ifs,” and gave birth to my first contemporary romance. Because Cassis still held my heart.

And because I really wanted to sleep.


From My Balcony

By Patricia Bond


Do you want to live your life or hide from it?

Diana knew she lied to her best friend when she said she wanted to live it.

Oh, how desperately she wanted to hide! Hide from her husband’s betrayals, hide from the blame and guilt heaped on her by her younger daughter’s refusal to accept the divorce, hide from the pity, the questions, the snarky innuendos from her “friends.”

Most of all, hide from herself and her failures.

Her family accepted her need to “find herself,” and this apartment in the south of France was perfect with its balcony and view of the sea and town. Low enough to be able to watch life happen below her, high enough to not participate in any of it.

Now if only the gentle people of Cassis would let her do that.

Excerpt of From My Balcony

It was the balcony that drew me first. Three stories up and wrapping around two sides of the building, one side of it faced the sparkling Mediterranean. The other looked down on the town’s main street, lined with a small profusion of shops and cafes so quintessentially French my heart ached with the sweetness of it.

I watched the light glint madly off the waters of the sea, forming iridescent pools that melded into the shadows cast by the massive rock formations called calanques. The behemoths rose from the water like so many Poseidons, framing and protecting the small harbor.

I turned from the balcony back to the floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, which gave the small apartment an open, airy feeling. Most of the place was given over to a great room, with a kitchen area so tiny you could bump into yourself if you turned around too quickly. Only an island divided it from the living room and kept it from feeling claustrophobic. Through a door on the right, the bedroom had a view of the street, a pair of double doors giving access to that side of the balcony.

There wasn’t much, but then when you’re not the trophy wife, you don’t need much. And most of what I needed came with the apartment. It was as though it had been made up, ready and waiting for me.


Want to read more? You can buy From My Balcony here. Warning to readers of sweet romance—this book has mild open door romance scenes.

About the Author:

When not writing, Patricia spends time with her family

and grandchildren. Her greatest goal is to be the partner in crime granny and give her grandchildren LOTS of silly memories.

She also indulges her other passions – traveling when possible, reading voraciously, knitting and embroidery, practicing reiki, and her latest – attempting watercolor.

She lives in Western New York not far from the Honeymoon Capital of the World, so writing romance is pretty much a given.

She plans to continue writing both contemporary and historical romances and give her readers stories that will touch their hearts.

Because, in any time and in any place, love is all that matters.

Social Media:



Wednesday Writers–What Prayer Can Do by Ada Brownell


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Today Wednesday Writers welcomes Ada Brownell back to the blog. Ada will be talking about her book What Prayer Can Do and the miracles she’s heard about and written about in the book. Welcome, Ada!


Thanks, Catherine

Miracles. I heard about them often in the churches I attended.

You see, our churches used to have testimony services where people stood up voluntarily and told about answers to prayer.

I believed every one of them. My family prayed when anyone faced a problem. My parents and brothers and sisters became born-again Christians about the time I came into the world—the eighth child.

A family of Christian achievers–Ada at lower right

They had just come through The Great Depression, the Kansas Dust Bowl, and were “pockets-empty-poor.” The only time I saw a doctor from my birth until I got married was when I had the croup and the doctor came to the house.

During my infancy, my two-year-old brother emptied a salt shaker into my eyes. I was a little older when my 10-year-old sister gave me a bath, and, not knowing they’d put a fire in the wood-burning cookstove, she sat me down on the hot surface.

The only lasting effects of the burns is scars, but I remember nothing about it. I’ve never had trouble with my eyesight from the salt.

When I was older, I froze my feet going ice skating too far from home. I put them hot water when I got home because I didn’t want my daddy to know I went skating on the river. My feet turned black, swelled so much I couldn’t wear my shoes, and I was caught. But praise God, I didn’t even lose a toe. Prayer made a difference.

When I was in my early teens, a friend, Velda Jean Bailey, was healed of leukemia.

So when I became a writer I began interviewing people about their miracles, and wrote them for The Pentecostal Evangel. Some I wrote for the newspaper where I worked, The Pueblo Chieftain.

Because of my husband’s railroad job we moved often, so we attended many different churches and heard amazing testimonies.

Now I’ve taken 55 articles that appeared in The Pentecostal Evangel over the years, and published them in my book What Prayer Can Do. The Evangel no longer exists, but Jesus still does, and I didn’t want these amazing testimonies to be lost.

Here’s the book summary:

What Prayer Can Do

Pray. God answers. True testimonies of events where God intervened.

Irene Hoselton found her missing kidnapped children after 38 years. Ennis Surratt, known as the “meanest man in town,” changed in a moment. John Feliciano, blinded in an industrial accident, sees instantly. Marjorie Eager’s family escapes death when God stops a forest fire. A mother prays on her deathbed for her sons to meet her in heaven, and years later God grabs Gary Hilgers out of sin and turns him around. More amazing chapters by Ada Nicholson Brownell originally published in The Pentecostal Evangel, and reprinted in this book–enough for every week of the year, with three bonuses.



(Excerpt from What Prayer Can Do)

It was 4 a.m. Sunday. Gary Hilgers staggered into the house and got into bed. He knew a brief moment of loneliness when he remembered: Dona had taken the children and left last week.

“This is it. I’ve had all I can take,” she had said. “Don’t come crawling with a lot of promises this time, because I’m not coming back. You’ll never change.”

Gary turned over and tried to make himself comfortable in the bed that hadn’t been straightened since Dona left. “Oh, well,” he muttered stubbornly. “I don’t care. Dona wanted to run my life—always nagging.”

He put Dona out of his thoughts and began thinking of how he could win back the money he lost last night. Tomorrow would surely be his lucky day!

Late Sunday morning Gary dragged himself out of bed, still exhausted but anxious to get going. He had kept the same schedule for three years; going to work, getting off work; drinking and gambling until the morning hours; coming home to face Dona and his broken promises.

Dona had left him several other times, but he had always talked her into coming back. This time she seemed to mean it. “There’s no hope for you, Gary,” she had said. “You’re an alcoholic, even if you’re only 22.”

It was true. He couldn’t shake his thirst for liquor. At times he had delirium tremens. He was afraid of being alone. Yet he enjoyed the excitement of gambling and liquor helped him forget his family waited at home.

Later that Sunday morning he was playing poker when suddenly he turned his cards face down on the table and quickly laid his cigar on the ash tray. Sharp pains stabbed through his chest. A long drink from the bottle didn’t help. Something stirred inside him. What if you should die right now?

When his friends asked what was wrong, he tried to laugh, but the pain stayed. The thought kept pulsating through his brain: If you die right now, you will go to hell.

Gary had been reared in a Christian home but hadn’t thought of God or church for years. Now he had an irresistible urge to go to church!

From childhood he had an unusual desire for excitement. By the time he was 10 he had figured ways to avoid going to church, and he involved his eight-year-old brother John in his schemes.

When Gary was 11, his mother had a stroke and cerebral hemorrhage. The third day she seemed to rally. She talked to the children, then prayed aloud that each of them would meet her in heaven. Within an hour she went into a coma, and late that evening she died.

For the rest of the story, and other amazing testimonies, buy What Prayer Can Do, by Ada Niicholson Brownell.

Want to read more? You can find What Prayer Can Do at Amazon


About the Author:

Ada Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a B.S. degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to freelance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books. She occasionally writes op-ed pieces for newspapers.

Connect with Ada on these social media outlets:  Facebook:

Twitter: @adabrownell  Blog:  Stick to Your Soul Encouragement

Book Fun Network:  Amazon Ada Brownell author page:




A Writer’s Garden–Catherine Castle’s Garden Anticipations


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Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing gardens—aka their books.

Today’s guest is me, Catherine Castle, and I’m going to share my garden adventures and pictures from this season, with a peek at past years.


“If you would be happy, plant a garden.” Chinese Proverb

 Garden Anticipations


As I write this post, it’s supposed to be fall in our gardens, but here in Southern Ohio the weather has been more summer-like than fall-like. This past week is the first where it has actually felt like fall. The most fall-ish thing I see outside my kitchen window is my sedum, whose tops have turned maroon. I’ve never seen them quite this dark. I’m wondering if it’s because we had a nice amount of rain this year.

I’m anxiously awaiting the flaming red leaves of my burning bush to appear. If I’m lucky I’ll just be able to see it over the no-longer-dwarf mugo pines. The landscaper didn’t tell me I needed to trim them to keep them dwarf and now they block everything behind them.

Picture of red flaming bush when it was young


Since the temps have finally dropped below 40 degrees so I—and when I say I, I mean my dear hubby—can dig up some daylilies and wayward black-eyed Susans in a chigger-infested bed and make the bed more tidy. I can’t do heavy labor any more. I get the sit-on-the-garden-stool-and-sort jobs now. While weeding the bed this spring I was eaten alive by the no-see-em bugs, so all gardening stopped in that spot. If you’ve ever had a bunch of chigger bites you know how miserable that can be. I did discover that ice packs held on the bites until you can’t feel your legs kill the sting and itch.

North deck beds that has the chiggers


Another fall job we need to do is in the front day lily bed. This bed is full of weedy runner grass, also known as quack grass or snake grass. For three years we’ve sprayed and dug the three tiers back in this corner in an attempt to kill the grass. The grass is gone from the back and we’re ready tackle the last patch of pesky grass. We started the big job this Tuesday, and I think I’m going to have more day lilies than I have bare areas to replant them in. We may have to drop some back in the same place and just keep fighting the weedy grass by hand.

Weedy Day lilies


Because of my back issue, we had landscapers come in and do the heavy work this spring. They tore out most of my Shasta Daisies in the front beds. They had become puny and full of clover, which is extremely hard to eradicate or pull. I will be dividing my Stella D’Oro daylilies to fill the empty spaces in the picture on the left below. This is what the beds looked like in their heyday. They haven’t looked as nice recently as the clumps had begun to thin out and bloom sparsely. More weedy than lovely.





Old shasta bed (L) and cleared shasta bed (R)


Garden Gymnastics

Oh, and I must share the lovely beds my husband built me this spring along the front stairs and the gard. He leveled the slope out so I can stand in the beds or sit on the walls to weed. Slopes are harder and harder for me to navigate.





new beds to replace shasta daisies


I wasn’t much help with the building as he started. I was recovering from a severe sciatic attack that put me on crutches for a month. I mostly sat on the edge of the front wall and supervised. Great job if you can get it. J

By the time he’d completed the top layer, I had improved enough to work in the garden for short periods of time. My back still hurt, but I could function on a daily basis. So, one morning I grabbed a hoe and started smoothing out the top layer of dirt and compost. One step backward tumbled me over two bags of compost lying in the yard. I flipped heels-over-head backward and then the downward slope of the front yard turned me sideways. I completed the backward roll and ended up sitting, legs stretched out in front of me, facing the opposite direction.

In a very calm voice, my husband said, “Are you all right?”

Confused that I was now looking south, instead of north, I just stared at him, thankful that the compost had broken my fall and amazed that I hadn’t hit the flowerbed wall just above me and broken my neck. “I think so,” I said. Then I asked, “Why didn’t you help or call out my name?”

“I couldn’t get up in time,” he replied. “It happened so fast, yet you were rolling in slow motion. It was crazy.”

He offered to help me up, but I started laughing hysterically—the stomach crunching kind of laughs that put you in tears. After a couple of minutes, when I could breathe again, I inch-wormed my way to my feet—an acrobatic move that in itself would have been video worthy. Upon standing, I discovered my garden gymnastics had adjusted the last piece of my spine that was out-of-place. I had no back pain! And I felt as if I stood fully erect for the first time in months.

Unfortunately, my husband didn’t have his camera with him. If he had we’d have won America’s Funniest Home Videos and could have been $10,000 richer. The story made for weeks of giggles as I recounted it to friends. When I told the chiropractor he was amazed, but recommended I not use that particular adjustment method on a regular basis. I wholeheartedly agreed, although it was the best my back had felt in months.

Currently the new beds next to the stairs are empty, as I can’t make up my mind what I want to plant in them. It needs to be something easy to clean in the spring. At first I was leaning toward filling the beds with the day lilies I separate this fall. It’s been 14 years since my day lilies have been separated, and I’m sure I’d have enough to fill the new beds. But now I’m considering peonies. They die back in the fall and would be easy to clean up. I also love the heady smell of blooming peonies, but I hate the ants that accompany the plants. I know they’re necessary to help the blooms open, but I really hate ants. If you have any suggestions on other plants, I love to hear them. I need easy to clean and easy to care for.

I want to thank all readers who stopped by and spread the word about the blog and the lovely authors who have helped make this blog series a success this year. It’s been so much fun seeing all your gardens—both green and living and those stitched between the covers of your books. I hope you’ve all enjoyed visiting with me as much as I’ve enjoyed having you. At present, I’m planning to repeat A Writer’s Garden next spring, so keep snapping those garden pictures in anticipation of a new gardening year.

Here’s wishing you all Happy Gardening,

wherever you live.


About the writer/gardener

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, theatre, and quilting. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances and both of her books have won awards. You can find her award-winning books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama on Amazon. Follow her here on her blog or on Catherine’s Amazon author page.



A Groom for Mama

By Catherine Castle

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.

A Groom for Mama won in the Contemporary Category this year in the Raven Awards!

Buy Link


Wednesday Writers–Joan Deppa and her Season of Love series


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Today I’m welcoming Joan Deppa to the blog. Joan will be talking about her Seasons of Love series and has included an excerpt of the first book in the series, Whiter than Snow, for your reading pleasure. Welcome, Joan.


Hi, my name is Joan Deppa. I have been a wife, mother and pastor’s wife for many years, but have started a new adventure.  I am now an author.  They say you should write about what you know, so that’s what I have done in my series, “Seasons of Love.”  When I came home from my dad’s funeral, and after a March snow storm that left everything white and clean, Whiter than Snow was born.  It’s based on some of my dad’s past, as well as my husband’s, his salvation experience and how it brought about the release of the pain and bitterness of his past, and then the wonderful results it brought. It takes place in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as that’s where we were living when I began writing it.  Throughout our ministry, we have counseled many people who have been hurt by the pain of divorce, as well as experienced it ourselves when my parents, as well as one of our sons went through a divorce.  It causes a lot of feelings of rejection, insecurities and fears that only Christ can heal, so that is the theme for my second book, Summer Dreams. I am currently writing the third book entitled, Autumn Discoveries. It will deal with the issue of high expectations that we, as well as others, place on us.

My books are for women of all ages, are a fun-read, inspirational and share wonderful sights and activities to enjoy in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


by Joan Deppa

Bonnie Turner has recently moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is enamored by its beauty in the winter time. While enjoying the beauty, Brad Jorgenson “bumps” into her and takes it upon himself to show her the sights and how to enjoy Winter in the Upper Peninsula. But will Bonnie be able to show him how to release the anger and bitterness he’s carried since childhood and introduce him to the Creator of the beauty he enjoys? Can God’s love and forgiveness really make him, “whiter than snow?”



Excerpt of Whiter than Snow:

The snow was gently falling from the sky, kissing Bonnie’s face as she looked up. The snow covered the branches on the trees like a soft blanket and made a thick white carpet on the ground. It was a beautiful, winter wonderland. Bonnie loved being out in the woods on a day like this, just her, God, and nature.

“Hey, look out!” screamed a voice from behind Bonnie, but too late to stop her from landing on her backside as she tried to get out of the way. She looked around to find the person responsible for the outcry and saw that he also was on the ground with his skis pointing to the sky, ski poles on either side of him and his back toward her. But not for long. As he turned around, she knew he was very angry, and she braced herself to hear about the trouble she had caused.

“What do you think you’re doing, standing in the middle of the ski trail like that?” He reached to take off his skis and stood up.

“I’m sorry,” Bonnie said, as she awkwardly tried to get up. But the snow on the side of the trail was softer, and she was having a hard time in the deep snow.

Then a hand reached down to help her. As she looked up into his face, it looked less angry and more concerned for her welfare. “Here, let me help you up. Are you hurt anywhere?”

“No. Thankfully I had the snow to cushion my fall. How about you? Are you all right?”

“Yes, although I’m sure we’ll both have some bruises we didn’t have before. Don’t you know you’re not supposed to walk on the groomed trails? It ruins it for cross-country skiers, and coming down this hill it’s hard to stop. I didn’t see you until I came around that turn. What were you doing here?”

“I was enjoying the beautiful day, just like you…”




April Phillips is a 6th grade teacher who loves children but feels she should never marry due to the history of divorce in her family. So instead, she pursues her dream to learn to Kayak and buys an older house that she can make into the home of her dreams. However, Aaron Matthews has his own dreams – to marry April and have a family of their own. But first he needs to help her realize that God is able to break her chains of fear and give her a love that paddles through the storms and difficulties of life and thrives. Whose dreams will be realized? Can they both win?



About the Author:

My husband and I have been in church ministry for over 30 years and have counseled many hurting people. I have always loved to read and now write inspirational fiction, sharing God’s love, forgiveness, wisdom and ability to change lives yielded to Him, in a way that people can relate to. My hope is that my readers will find true joy, guidance and forgiveness in Christ from their past and present challenges in life. We have four adult children, eleven grandchildren and have lived mostly in the Midwest. We enjoy seeing all the beauty of God’s creation wherever we are, and I share some of our favorites in my stories. I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.

Where to Buy My Books:

Books may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or my website:

Social Media sites:

Facebook – JoanDeppa

Twitter – @JoanDeppa















Summer Dreams:

A Writer’s Garden–HL Carpenter shares Green Thumb Moments


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Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing gardens—aka their books.

Today’s guest is mother and daughter writing team HL Carpenter sharing some of their favorite Green Thumb Moments. Welcome, HL!


Green Thumb Moments

by HL Carpenter



Our gardening friends are scattered like seeds in the wind. North. South. East. West.



When we get together, the day feels sunnier as we discuss all things gardening and marvel at each other’s glorious flowers.


And we exchange gifts.

The gift might be a stick with a leaf and a root attached. Replanted, the little sprig grows into a healthy plant. We call that experience a green thumb moment.

Last fall a relative arrived with four blueberry bushes and a pear tree. This year tasty treats fresh from the garden grace our table, providing more green thumb moments.



Other gifts are less practical but no less appreciated, like the whimsical solar paneled turtle we recently received. Not for any special occasion. Just a wonderful surprise from a fellow gardener. The cheerful turtle now resides on a sunny spot of ground near an unruly tangle of flame lilies. By day, Mosey the Turtle smiles as we pass by. At night she lights our way. Occasionally, we tell her about our latest book-in-progress and she winks at us.


Okay, the winking part might not be true. Sometimes we’re more fanciful than Mosey the Turtle. But whether she winks or not, each time we see her, we think of the friend who sent her.

Yes, gardeners make the day brighter. They also make us realize we can never have too many flowers or too many gardening friends.

And that’s the best green thumb moment of all.

About the writers/gardeners

Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

 Walled In

 A young adult, sweet novel by HL Carpenter.

When her father is accused of fraud, seventeen year old Vandy Spencer discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception.

Amazon buy link for Walled In




Wednesday Writers–Carole Brown on Capturing A Man: Toby’s Troubles, Romantic Mystery


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Today I’m welcoming Carole Brown back to the blog with a post on Capturing A Man, something all our romance heroines do at some point in our books, and something the heroine in her book, Toby’s Troubles, wants desperately to do. So, without any further delay, here’s Carole!


Capturing a Man

by Carole Brown


The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Or so it’s said.

In Toby’s Troubles, the fourth book in the Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series, Amy Sanderson, next door business neighbor of Toby Gibson, has loved him forever. But being declared “like a sister” or a “best friend” doesn’t cut it. At all.

He’s just not interested.

But when she joins forces with him to capture the “ghost” that is breaking into his shop, she has this one chance to prove to him she’s worth loving. They visit the local cafe for lunch regularly. They even go on picnics with their favorite foods. But nothing is working.

What can a woman do?

Let me list some ways that she can help herself in “capturing” a man:

  • Be true to herself. Don’t let down your standards in behavior and belief regardless of the consequences.
  • Follow God’s leading. Once you know God’s will for your life, follow how, what and when as God leads in those areas.
  • Be positive. Be friendly. Be loyal. Be confident. Your value in these areas are important.
  • Don’t be too available. A little competition never hurts, and it might just open a man’s eyes to your value, what he’s missing, and what God wants.

Examples from the book: Toby’s Troubles:

  • In some of the scenes in the book, Amy goes with Toby to auctions and outbids him on certain items he is interested in. Of course, he doesn’t like it, but she has a very special reason besides capturing his attention.
  • A casual date with others sometimes shows the other person that she is desirable in others’ eyes. That’s not a bad thing, and it worked on Toby.
  • Although I don’t bring in a lot of spiritual scenes in this book, I do allude to the fact that they both are faithful and loyal Christians. When Toby allows himself to get carried away with denouncing interest in Amy, the hurt on her face convicts him that he’s done wrong. This not only helps in showing him he was being unkind and thoughtless, but pulls out hidden emotions about Amy that he wanted no one, including himself, to see. It was a decided turning point in opening his eyes. Be steadfast in your pursuit.

Or as I’ve written in Toby’s Troubles about Amy:

She can be just as stubborn as the man who’s determined to ignore her love.

Whatever you want to call it, follow the suggestions above, then go for it.

Happy hunting!


Toby’s Troubles

by Carole Brown

Everyone loves Toby Gibson. A co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a unique shop of antiques, collectibles, and junk, Toby is friendly, generous to a fault, the director of the local plays in Appleton and supports his church’s youth functions. But the minute his sister, Caroline and her new husband, take off for their honeymoon, a “ghost” begins to haunt the shop—or maybe it’s just an intruder. If so, Toby has no idea for what the thing is looking. To add to his troubles, he suspects Amy, not only is bidding for the property he’s wanted forever but is in love with him. And he’s not interested.

Amy Sanderson who owns the only flower shop in Appleton—Bloomin’ Life—is drawn into capturing Toby’s “ghost” when her own business is damaged by a destructive intruder. Having loved Toby since a teenager, she’s more than willing to join forces with him. But she has no interest in being his best friend or a sister to him. And if she has to resort to schemes of outbidding him at his frequent auction attendances to get his attention, then so be it. She can be just as stubborn as the man who’s determined to ignore her love.

In between the break-ins, destruction of property, thefts and personal competitions against each other, Amy and Toby work together to find the thief who seems so determined to find a valuable item, he’ll stop at nothing.

Buy link for Toby’s Troubles



About the Author:

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with Carol on her Personal blog: Facebook: Amazon Author Page