Wednesday Writers–Borrowed Lives by Carol McClain

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Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest author is Carol McClain who will be talking about the topic of opioid addiction and how her mentorship of people afflicted with the problem helped lead her to the writing of her book, Borrowed Lives.  In addition to the post, Carol has provided a book excerpt from Borrowed Lives. Welcome, Carol!

Thanks, Catherine.

My county in Tennessee at one time boasted being the third worst county in the nation for opioid addiction. For several years I mentored reformed addicts and worked on a board to help them. You couldn’t understand the bondage of sin and drugs until you worked with these women. Only a minority remained sober. Even after years of sobriety and dedication to the Lord, I’ve watched people sink back into addiction. It is heartbreaking.

The stories I heard shocked me: parents simply leaving their children to fend for themselves, fathers teaching sons how to deal and how to make meth, cops losing their job and status because of addiction, the permanent loss of children through the social service system. Many of these people started using at a startling age—many not even in their teens.

I wanted to tell their tales. I wanted to show the effects of human cruelty, but ultimately, the triumph of human love.

We teach our children how to sin by our own poor behavior. By example we prove the cause/effect of Exodus 34:7. “… yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

But don’t despair over my tidbit of research. God never abandons us. Dedicated believers live lives that heal themselves and others. In the end, our faith is one of hope and redemption.

And my novel Borrowed Lives contains a healthy dose of goats and humor and romance next to its pathos.

Borrowed Lives

by Carol McClain

God Only Lends Us Those We Love for a Season

Distraught from recent tragedy, Meredith Jaynes takes pity on a young girl who steals from her. Meredith discovers “Bean” lives in a hovel mothering her two younger sisters. The three appear to have been abandoned. With no other homes available, Social Services will separate the siblings. To keep them together, Meredith agrees to foster them on a temporary basis.

Balancing life as a soap maker raising goats in rural Tennessee proved difficult enough before the siblings came into her care. Without Bean’s help, she’d never be able to nurture these children warped by drugs and neglect—let alone manage her goats that possess the talents of Houdini. Harder still is keeping her eccentric family at bay.

Social worker Parker Snow struggles to overcome the breakup with his fiancée. Burdened by his inability to find stable homes for so many children who need love, he believes placing the abandoned girls with Meredith Jaynes is the right decision. Though his world doesn’t promise tomorrow, he hopes Meredith’s does.

But she knows she’s too broken.

Chapter 1

Something crashed downstairs.

Meredith Jaynes bolted up in bed. John? Rosemary?

She shook sleep from her head and listened for another sound.

Nothing.

Just a dream.

Then porcelain shattered.

Not a dream.

She tossed off her covers. Out of habit, not onto John’s side. While her heart hammered, she slid open the bedside table to grab her Walther .22. Meredith strained to hear. She prayed for silence. She slipped in the cartridge then ratcheted a shell into the chamber and released the safety.

Once more something clattered like a tipping chair or a marionette tap dancing on the hardwood floor.

She tiptoed into the hallway.

Below her, the distinct bleating of goats wafted up the stairwell.

Goats? Inside?

She reengaged the safety on her .22 as she scurried down the stairwell.

In the kitchen, Oreo, her black and white Nubian who looked like her cookie namesake, eyeballed her with cocked head and slit pupils. With a bleat from her perch on the table, she dug into the loaf of bread Meredith had brought home from the farmers’ market.

Meredith leaned against the doorjamb and breathed again. The metal of the gun she held chilled her through John’s shirt—one she hadn’t washed, so his scent would surround her. She shook terror out of the way and slipped the gun onto the countertop where the weapon clacked against the toaster.

“Oreo, off my table!” She strode to the nanny and grabbed her collar.

Oreo skidded across the golden oak surface gouging the wood with her keratin hooves.

Meredith clenched her teeth and groaned. “Oreo, Daddy finished this tabletop only ten months ago.” Before Rosie …

She shook the thought away and let out a breath. Another sanding and polyurethane would mend the scratches.

But her heart? Nothing would fix the gouges and scars.

Want to know what happens? Borrowed Lives is scheduled for release soon. You can find out more by signing up for McClain’s newsletter and checking Carol’s blog for information on the book’s release date.

About the Author:

Carol McClain is the award-winning author of four novels dealing with real people facing real problems. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.

Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, a budding potter and photographer. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and soon will own two doelings who must be bottle fed.

You can connect with her at carolmcclain.com. You can also find her at Facebook and Instagram/twitter: @carol_mcclain

Tasty Tuesdays–Il Cibo è Amore (Food is Love) from Rose Spiller

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Il Cibo è Amore – Food is Love. Growing up in a very large and very Italian family, this was our creed. We were poor by American standards for sure, but there was always fantastic food to eat! Soups, casseroles, stews, meats, and of course, pasta! Whenever anyone showed up at our home, whether expected or unexpected, a feast was put before them. Friends and extended family knew Sunday was spaghetti and meatballs day. Every Sunday morning, my mother would fry dozens and dozens of homemade meatballs to put into her “gravy” (Real Italians call spaghetti sauce gravy), while we begged for a few to eat for breakfast. It seemed my mom was always cooking something! But the incredible thing is, she never acted like it was an imposition. She showed people her love through the food she served them; and felt their love was returned by their enjoying what she prepared.

What I learned growing up in this crazy, loud, delicious environment was the importance of showing people that they are special; making a fuss over someone by serving them a wonderful meal is showing love to them. I have also learned that this can be a great opportunity to share the Gospel with people. Jesus’ pattern was to fulfill a person’s physical need, and then fill their more important Spiritual need. When people feel like their physical needs matter to you, i.e. you feed them a good meal, they will be much more receptive to you telling them of their deep need for a Savior to save them and reconcile them to God. Being told you are a sinner who is under God’s wrath may go down a little easier when it is preceded by a delicious bowl of scarpell soup – one of my mom’s most famous dishes, and now mine, too. Please also check out our book below, No Half Truths Allowed – Understanding the Complete Gospel Message. Armed with our book and a hot, steaming bowl of scarpell soup, you will be ready to witness to anyone!

Scarpell Soup (Italian Crepe Soup)

Ingredients:

Chicken Broth – Made by boiling and then simmering a whole chicken, chicken stock, onions, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper for about 3 hours.

Scarpells:

Whisk together

  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 4 ½ cups of water
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper

Directions:

  • Using a very hot non-stick frying pan, pour a little of the batter in, swish it around by moving the pan so batter covers the entire bottom.
  • Cook about 15 seconds then using a fork or your finger, flip it over to cook 15 seconds on the other side.
  • Lay the scarpell out flat, sprinkle parmesan cheese and black pepper on it. Roll it up.

When you serve, cut the scarpell tubes in pieces, place in a bowl and cover with chicken broth.

Note: You can make scarpells and freeze for later! Just leave them flat, with no filling, and put a piece of wax paper between each one.

While you’re waiting for the chicken broth to cook for this delicious soup, check out Christine Paxson and Rose Spiller’s book.

No Half-Truths Allowed – Understanding the Complete Gospel Message

by Christine Paxson and Rose Spiller

Authors Christine Paxson and Rose Spiller were frustrated at the fluff and heresy being pedaled as “Women’s Bible Studies.” Many studies are shallow and emotion-based, not grounded in the truth of Scripture, and they found this particularly true in regard to the Gospel Message. Because of a genuine concern for salvation and what was being witnessed, they wrote their Bible study, No Half-Truths Allowed: Understanding the Full Gospel Message (Ambassador International, May 8, 2020, $15.99) to teach the women of our church. Originally used with just their church, the response was exciting! They saw women’s lives change as they became excited and hungry for the Word of God. Paxson and Spiller felt led to branch out beyond just their church and community by turning their study into their new book, No Half-Truth’s Allowed: Understanding the Full Gospel Message.

About the Book: When it comes to proclaiming the Gospel message, half-truths, vague notions, and generalizations can be dangerous. What are the important truths we need to know and share with others?

• Is it enough to believe that God loves us and wants a relationship with us?

• Is it enough to “ask Jesus into our hearts”?

• Is it enough to recite the “sinner’s prayer,” or do we need to repent of our sin?

• Is going to church and serving others enough?

• Is what Jesus suffered more than just a gruesome death on a cross?

• If Jesus, who is fully God, was crucified, did God die on Good Friday?

• Is God mad at us when we sin and happy when we’re behaving?

• Can we lose our salvation?

If you’re not sure of the answers to any of these questions, you are not alone. There are a lot of false ideas out there about Christianity and the Gospel. Join Christine Paxson and Rose Spiller as they explore the answers to these and many other questions about the true Gospel message in No Half-Truths Allowed: Understanding the Complete Gospel Message. Learn what Jesus did for you, why He did it, and how you can articulate the Gospel to others. Also available is the companionNo Half-Truths Allowed Study Guide, an interactive study guide with questions and Scriptures to help readers delve even deeper into understanding the complete Gospel message.

About the Authors:    

Chris Paxson & Rose Spiller are co-founders of Proverbs 9:10 Ministries and co-hosts of the No Trash, Just Truth Podcast. They have been teaching Bible Studies for over 20 years and have written many of their own studies. Along with teaching together, they speak at conferences and retreats together.

Chris resides in Lancaster County with her husband, John, of over 31 years. They have twin sons in the USAF. Rose and her husband, Ed, have recently sold their home and now live full-time in their RV to travel between their four children and eight grandchildren.

Besides their first book, No Half-Truths Allowed, Chris and Rose have a second book, The Bible Blueprint – A Guide to Better Understanding the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, due out in spring  2021. They are in the process of writing their third book. Connect with Chris and Rose:

Links toProverbs 9:10 Ministries&No Half Truths Allowed

Website:  https://proverbs910ministries.com

Proverbs 9:10 Ministries on MeWe:  https://mewe.com/p/proverbs910ministries

Instagram: proverbs910ministries

No Trash, Just Truth! Podcast https://www.buzzsprout.com/615385 can also be found on all major podcasting sites, Rumble, & YouTube

Musings from a Writer’s Brain–Musings Then and Now by Gail Kittleson

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Wondering about my musings often leads me to other authors. J. M. Barrie, the enormously creative writer who gave us Peter Pan, provided insights into his Muse in an address to future clerics at the University of St. Andrew in Scotland in 1922.

In post World War I times, his perspective must have refreshed his audience, and his ability to laugh at himself is priceless. Several portions of this speech qualify as quotable, but here, he addresses his inner musings.

“M’Connachie, I should explain, as I have undertaken to open the innermost doors, is the name I give to the unruly half of myself: the writing half. We are complement and supplement. I am the half that is dour and practical and canny, he is the fanciful half; my desire is to be the family solicitor, standing firm on my hearthrug among the harsh realities of the office furniture; while he prefers to fly around on one wing. I should not mind him doing that, but he drags me with him. I have sworn that M’Connachie shall not interfere with this address to-day; but there is no telling. I might have done things worth while if it had not been for M’Connachie, and my first piece of advice to you at any rate shall be sound: don’t copy me.

“Courage”, J.M. Barrie Rectorial Address, St. Andrews University, May 3, 1922

Don’t we love it when writers “let down their hair”? Barrie uses humor and creativity to describe his mind’s musings. His last sentence makes me smile: of course this suggestion has not been used yet!

In the solemn halls of the scholarly, few individuals would bare their souls as Barrie was doing. Oh, to interview some students from his audience! His transparent, humble honesty surely fell on eager ears.

Barrie also mentioned pertinent societal events—the devastation of World War I still reverberated. His mix of utter seriousness with self-deprecating humor touches me even now. We can all be grateful that, at least some of the time, he let M’Connachie take the lead.

The next time I wonder about the state of my mind, hopefully I’ll remember the delights J. M. Barrie brought to his era and bequeathed to future generations. I daresay he would never have imagined the extent of his influence.

(If you’d like to read the full speech, it’s here

If you’d like to read about other persons whose Muses have inspired Gail, check out her book about Billy Rae Stewart, Country Music’s Hidden Gem: The Redd Stewart Story.

Available on Amazon

Country Music’s Hidden Gem: The Redd Stewart Story,

by Gail Kittleson

Redd Stewart’s journey began as more than just another rags-to-riches story, but with an essential heritage of family love and music that would later shape him into one of the music world’s greatest ‘unsung heroes.’

His life inspired others to do better, to be better, to love unconditionally, and to share with others the blessing of God-given talent. He was a man who never asked for personal praise, but whose individual contribution to the Country and Pop music industries is still alive throughout the world today.

Many of the songs written by Redd have been performed and recorded by such entertainment legends as Patti Page, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, Dean Martin, Michael Bublé, and the list goes on. He was heard to say in all humility, “I don’t deserve any of this.”

Follow these pages of heartfelt thoughts about our subject as explored in detail by the musician, author, and loving son of this sincere man, revealed for the first time is the real-life love story that inspired the lyrics to the world’s most famous Country music song; the beautiful Tennessee Waltz.

About the Author:

Writing has always been Gail’s passion. Her Women of the Heartland series honors make-do Greatest Generation women who sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom.

Gail and her husband live in northern Iowa and retreat to Arizona’s Mogollon Rim Country in winter. They also enjoy grandchildren and gardening. It’s no secret why this late-bloomer calls her website DARE TO BLOOM, and she loves to encourage other writers through facilitating workshops.

Connect with Gail on her Website: Facebook or Twitter or Instagram @gailkittlesonauthor \

@GailGkittleson

Wednesday Writers–Excerpt: Gateway to Elvendom by Carol Browne

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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is author Carol Browne, who will be sharing an excerpt from her epic fantasy book Gateway to Elvendom. Welcome Carol!

His adventures in Elvendom left Godwin a changed man, and now bereavement has darkened his world.

In another dimension, a new Elvendom is threatened by the ambitions of a monstrous enemy. But who – or what – is the Dark Lady of Bletchberm?

And what has become of Elgiva?

Reeling from the loss of their Elwardain, the elves ask Godwin for help.

Transported into a strange world of time travel and outlandish creatures, will he succeed in his quest against impossible odds, or will the Dark Lady destroy everything the Elwardain fought to preserve?

EXCERPT
His heart thumping in his throat, Godwin took in all the details of the goblin’s appearance. The creature was probably four feet tall at most and was wearing a sleeveless leather tunic and short leggings over his skinny frame. His arms and legs were hard with thin bands of muscle; sinews moved like taut wires beneath the scant flesh. Godwin fancied that the goblin’s skin had a sickly, greenish tint, but in the firelight it was impossible to be sure.

The goblin moved in an awkward manner, not upright like a man or an elf, but slightly stooped and with bent knees, as though on the verge of pouncing. The dome of his head was as bald and smooth as a pebble, and his very long, pointed ears were attached on either side like those of a lynx. His large eyes glittered like wet malachite and between them a long, sharp nose protruded with all the aesthetic attributes of a small parsnip.

The goblin’s large eyes widened as they swivelled in Godwin’s direction, making his stomach curdle in fear and revulsion.

“Only two of you, then?” said the goblin with a smirk. “Not much of a challenge, is it?” He beckoned with his sword and others of his kind began to creep into the circle.

Godwin glanced around. There were six more of them, each carrying a sword of a curious design, the blade like a thin, metal spiral with a very sharp point. A visceral fear welled up inside him at the sight of these weapons, but he didn’t know why.

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Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction but has also taken a plunge into non-fiction with Being Krystyna. This story of a Holocaust survivor has been well received.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tasty Tuesdays–Voodoo Oven Fried Pickle Chips from Leigh Goff

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Here’s a favorite appetizer or snack straight from the bayou, courtesy of author Leigh Goff. Shew claims it the favorite snack of her character Jenna, from her YA paranormal book Koush Hollow. I have a feeling that Leigh also likes this dish.

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The unique flavor of Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips, which are made in Louisiana, features salt and vinegar with a smoky BBQ sweetness and spicy, jalapeno kick. These chips are so good, they’ll taste even better on an oven-fried pickle.

Voodoo Chip Fried Pickles
2 cups sliced dill pickles drained and patted dry
2 eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups crushed Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips

Cajun sauce for dipping
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon horseradish
4 teaspoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to broil on high. Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and then whisk in the flour.
  2. Place crushed Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips in a shallow dish. Dip each pickle slice in the egg mixture, then dredge in the crushed potato chips.
  3. Place coated pickles on a rack set above a baking sheet and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven. Broil for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  4. Serve right out of the oven with Cajun sauce.

Koush Hollow by Leigh Goff

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.
As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow: How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?
As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Writers–The Inn at Cranberry Cove by June Foster

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Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest is June Foster. June will be sharing a bit about the setting of her novel The Inn at Cranberry Cove. Welcome, June!

Thanks, Catherine.

Twenty years ago, my husband and I lived in Washington state – in Olympia, the capitol. I love the Pacific Northwest and frequently set my stories there. In fact, the first five or so were inspired by the forests of Douglas fir, majestic mountains, and lakes and streams that are perfect for fishing.

One weekend during our time in Washington, we decided to travel west as far as we could go until we reached the ocean. Our trip brought us to a delightful B&B in Ilwaco on the south end of Long Beach Peninsula in the southwest corner of the state, between the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River. I hadn’t realized that a sleepy, historic fishing town nestled there.

The B&B was once an old place of worship, and today boasts of guest rooms, lush gardens, and a large meeting room where the sanctuary used to stand. At the time we were there, I hadn’t written my first book, but years later, upon thinking back to the lovely inn, my imagination began to percolate and The Inn at Cranberry Cove was born.

Today the B&B is owned by a sweet couple by the name of Leanna and Kevin Moos and is now called the Inn at Harbor Village. The picture on the cover of my book is the real inn that the Moos graciously allowed me to use.

The Inn at Cranberry Cove

By June Foster

After her boss fires her on unfounded grounds, twenty-nine-year-old Ashton Price leaves Denver for Cranberry Cove, Washington. She’s inherited her aunt’s B&B and is determined to carry on her legacy. Upon preparing for guests, she learns of a century-old tale of treasure within the inn. Many have searched for the illusive gems but to no avail. She discovers a man working on the inn’s grounds, but is he the gardener Gina Price hired? Perhaps he’s searching for the hidden treasure.

James Atwood, corporate executive, works in the Atwood’s thriving cranberry business. Tragedy strikes, and he’s numb and riddled with guilt. Befriended by Gina Price, he finds solace working evening and weekends in the fresh earth, fescue grass, and aromatic blossoms of the inn’s gardens, helping to divert his mind from his dishonest cousin Robert, bent on destroying the Atwood business. He continues tending the grounds after Gina passes, and the new owner believes he’s a gardener. After she calls late one night upon hearing a prowler, James races to her rescue and discovers his feelings are more than protective.

Ashton’s first guests, the Claxton’s, appear out of nowhere saying they’ve had reservations for a year though she finds no record of a deposit. She chalks the failure up to faulty accounting before she arrived. When an elusive intruder continues to make frightening midnight visits, Ashton fears for her own safety and that of the Claxtons. But then, their odd comings and goings cause Ashton to wonder. Are they really vacationing visitors from California, or do they have other motives for staying at the inn?

Can two people allow the majestic northwest and fragrant coastal air heal their wounded hearts? Will they discover the secret of The Inn at Cranberry Cove?

Want to read more? You can find The Inn at Cranberry Cove at Amazon

About the Author:

An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next book.

To date, June has written over twenty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels and novellas. She loves to compose stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. She’s published with Winged Publications. Visit June at www.junefoster.com to see a complete list of her books.

Tasty Tuesdays–Quick White Chicken Chili from Catherine Castle

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The other day I made some chicken breasts in the crockpot in anticipation of making a batch of chicken pot pies. I threw in a couple extra boneless breasts, and hubby and I went out to run some errands. When we got back later that afternoon we were hungry and the scent of chicken filled the house.

“What’s for dinner?” hubby asked.

I decided to use some of the crockpot chicken breasts and throw together a quick White Chicken Chili with what I had in the pantry. I didn’t have enough cannellini beans so I substituted and came up with a pretty good chili, if I do say so myself. I hope you’ll think so, too.

Here’s what I had in the pantry to make this chili.

Ingredients:

2 boneless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans), drained

1 15-ounce can of butter beans

1 4-ounce can green chilies

8-16 ounces of chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Cumin to taste if you like a hot chili

Directions:

Place cannellini beans, diced green peppers, and 8 ounces of chicken broth into a pot.

Place butter beans in a food processor and pulse until beans are mashed up.

Add to ingredients in pot and stir well. 

If chili is too thick add more chicken broth until it reaches the consistency you want.

Heat and serve with homemade cornbread and coleslaw. 

Makes 4 1-cup servings

While you’re waiting for the chili to heat check out Catherine’s Award-winning Inspirational Romantic Suspense The Nun and the Narc.

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

The Nun and the Narc

By Catherine Castle

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

About the Author:

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. 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. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

Musings from a Writer’s Brain–The Similarity Between Art and Writing by Carol Browne

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from Carol Browne

Christianna Cassisa, an artist friend, recently posted some of her paintings on Facebook. I love her art because she has a unique style and her work seems to have a life of its own that I can only describe as magical. Some creatives really do have a special gift for breathing life into their artistic concepts. Here are three of my favorites.

As usual, I remarked upon how much I love her paintings and how perfect and brilliant they are. Her response was that I hadn’t seen her failures, and I never would. Nobody would, because they are mediocre and fall short of her vision. She couldn’t make them work on paper.

She said, didn’t I as a writer experience the same phenomenon, where no matter what you do, you can’t make the medium you work with reflect the ideas in your mind? The similarity between our two art forms struck me very forcibly then, yet it had never occurred to me before. One of the major frustrations of creative work is when a great idea takes root in your mind but you can’t do it justice in the physical expression of it.

For some months now I have been struggling with one of those great ideas. It is dark and unsettling and the perfect premise for an intelligent thriller. It’s an idea that won’t leave me. To discard it is unthinkable.

I wrote three different versions of chapter one and binned them. Likewise, characters have been introduced and quickly shown the door. Backgrounds changed colour and setting. Dramatic conflict between faceless characters led to long verbal exchanges that had no mouths to speak them. Only the idea, the central premise, remains, both egregious and ingenious, demanding manifestation.

And I can’t make it work on paper.

This idea is like a seed that is full of potential but in the hands of an indifferent gardener may never reach for the sun and bear fruit. It is too good an idea not to run with it, and yet it has no legs. I could wish this idea had been given to someone else. Let them sit and stare at the wall, trying to work out a plot! I have been infected with the germ of an idea for a great story, but so far it is peopled by phantoms and written on water.

At some point, I might have to tell myself to let it go. If that happens it will mean having to face the possibility that I’m not up to the job. I was given a good idea but it surpassed my abilities as a writer. I’m not prepared to give up just yet because this idea is bold and brave. It is a commentary on our times. It has important topics to explore, essential truths to impart, observations to set down and questions to pose. But without a structure these themes float around like rudderless boats, seeking anchorage in a shared harbour. The harbour they are searching for is the book I have called Now You Don’t. It has a title so it should exist. But it doesn’t. It’s a non-book.

Because I can’t make it work on paper.

Here’s a blurb from my book that did work on paper.

Gillian Roth finds herself in middle age, living alone, working in a dull job, with few friends and little excitement in her life. So far, so ordinary.

But Gillian has one extraordinary problem.

Her house is full of other people… people who don’t exist. Or do they?

As her surreal home life spirals out of control, Gillian determines to find out the truth and undertakes an investigation into the nature of reality itself.

Will this provide an answer to her dilemma, or will the escalating situation push her over the edge before she has worked out what is really going on?

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Note to readers : This book may contain mild language and sexual situations.

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol writes both fiction and non-fiction.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Wednesday Writers–Heart’s Desire by Linda Hoover

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Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest is author Linda Hoover. She’ll be treating us to some research about her Historical Christian Romance, Heart’s Desire, and some pictures of the setting. Be sure to read to the end of her post for an excerpt of the book. Welcome, Linda.

Thanks, Catherine.

I wrote Heart’s Desire a number of years ago, but set it aside when I was encouraged to try something different. In the time between then and now, I learned a lot about the craft of writing. I dusted the story off and revised it, making the stakes much higher for my heroine, Julia. The story is set in Boston. I’d done a lot of research when I wrote the book originally and wished I could see the places I wrote about. In 2019 I got to go. Seeing the places my characters lived, socialized and worshiped was a dream come true. I stood in Louisburg Square on Beacon Hill and imagined it was 1880 as I looked at the townhouse Julia would have lived in.

TOWNHOUSE

One of the places Julia and her friends spend time is the Public Garden. The story begins in winter and skating on the lagoon is a favorite activity. I was there in the summer, so you have to imagine what it would have looked like in the winter. However, the story ends in the summer, so all you need to do now is ignore the modern buildings in the background.

LAGOON AT THE PUBLIC GARDEN

The footbridge you see across the lagoon plays a part in the story. You’ll have to watch for it when you read the book.

FOOTBRIDGE ACROSS THE LAGOON

The interior of this church looks like the one Julia and her family would have attended.

CHURCH

There are many things Julia and her friends enjoy doing; balls, dinners, concerts, picnics. Through it all, Julia deals with the knowledge of an unwanted marriage looming in her future, when what she really wants is to know Jacob better. If only God would make a way.

Heart’s Desire

by Linda Hoover

                      

In 1880 Boston, Julia Phillips’s father betroths her to wealthy Lucien Harris to cover up a tragic secret. She has no interest in Lucien, but Jacob Anderson, a kind jewelry store clerk has captured her attention. Can she put off Lucien long enough to convince her parents to accept a man who isn’t in the upper-class?

Jacob works with his uncle in Boston, but plans to buy land for a farm in Iowa when he has enough money. When Julia walks into their store his priorities change. Their mutual attraction grows into love, and he wants to be the man she marries. But how can he with so little money?

Julia feels increasing pressure from Lucien to pretend she’s happy about the upcoming wedding. Then, she discovers the arranged marriage is based on blackmail. Her family will be ruined if she doesn’t comply.

Will God make a way for Jacob and Julia to have their heart’s desire?

EXCERPT:

Boston, February 1880

~1~

            Don’t worry, nobody knows. The phrase repeated itself in John Phillips’ mind like the rhythmic ticking of a clock as he hurried out of his office and headed for the elevator. His valise bumped against his leg with each step. When he arrived, his finger hovered over the button, indecision swirling in his mind.

            Maybe I should take the stairs. No, I never do that. Everything has to look as usual. John pushed the button and a bell sounded faintly several floors below. The car made its slow approach while he ran his finger between his neck and tightening collar.

            The elevator stopped with a bump and the metal accordion gate across the doorway folded to the side. John’s mouth went dry and his heart galloped in his chest as a hideous creature with blood red eyes and razor-sharp teeth stalked toward him, pointing its finger and cackling. He stumbled back, but the creature lunged forward and grabbed his jacket sleeve with its clawed hands.

            “Noooo.” He twisted and turned, trying to get out of his jacket.

            “John, wake up!”

            The haze of sleep cleared as John became aware of someone shaking his shoulder. The creature disappeared and he worked to even out his breathing.

            “Are you awake?”

            He forced words past his constricted throat. “I’m awake, Elizabeth.”

            “Was it the same dream? You were moaning and thrashing around. I wish you’d tell me what it’s about.”

            “I don’t want to burden you with it. Let’s go back to sleep.” He rolled away from his wife, grateful to be at home in his bed. The situation occurred twenty-five years ago, yet the dream’s frequency had increased to several nights a week. He drew in a shaky breath. It took longer each time to calm his pounding heart when he awoke.

            John wiped the perspiration from his face with the sleeve of his nightshirt, then pulled the blanket tight around his shoulders. Could this mean he’d been found out?

Books in print and digital format can be purchased at Amazon

About the Author:

Linda lives in west central Ohio with her husband, daughters, grandson, two cats and a dog. She earned a degree in psychology from Anderson University where she learned the voices in her head were actually characters from stories waiting to be told.

Linda recently retired from the county’s public library system. It was the perfect place to indulge her love of young adult and Christian fiction. It was also a good place to build a long “To Read” list. These days she enjoys being a fulltime author in her home office. Linda is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

To learn more about Linda and the books she writes visit her website. While you’re there, subscribe to her newsletter to keep informed about new books, author activities and giveaways.

Connect with Linda on her social media sites: Linda’s Goodreads page: Facebook: Pinterest:

Tasty Tuesdays– Sweet Fruity Biscuits from Tina Ruiz

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from Tina Ruiz

My mom is 82-years old and doesn’t cook or bake at all anymore, but she is thrilled that I’ve kept her recipes and shared them with my children and grandchildren. Here is one of our favorites especially at Halloween time.

Grama Tina’s Sweet Biscuits

4 cups white flour
2 tbsp. baking powder – double acting is better
1 pinch salt
½ tsp. nutmeg and/or cinnamon
1 cup frozen or very cold butter
1½ cups milk at room temperature
1 egg
Flour
½ – ¾ cups of blueberries, raisins, or chopped apples, optional

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

In another bowl, shred butter. Shredding instead of adding melted butter is better because when the butter flakes into the dough, you’ll get wonderful flavor in every single mouthful. *HINT* spray PAM on the shredder before using for a quicker clean-up.

Pour milk into a separate bowl. Stir in egg. Now add wet mixture to dry, and knead it until it forms a ball.

Sprinkle flour onto your counter or work area, and spread your dough out how you want it – a flat circle or a square.

Brush the top with butter and then sprinkle with white or brown sugar.

Cut dough into shapes you prefer. Place them on a greased cookie sheet or onto parchment paper.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes.

Once cooled, spread each biscuit apart and place any kind of fruit or jam on the inside. Add whipped cream or ice cream on top, then place the cap on and serve.

How about sharing one or both of my children’s Halloween books with your favorite kiddos while you enjoy dessert?

The story is about Peppa Roni and her twin brother, Reece A. Roni, who are having their 9th birthday party in the neighborhood restaurant. What makes this story different from any other children’s book, are the names which the author has given to her characters. Example: Tess Ding, Chris P. Bacon, Mr. Noah Lott, Harry Pitts, Miss Turi, Walter Melon, Judge Mental and his wife, Judy, etc…

The storyline is quite charming, and because you will try to figure out the double meaning of the fun names while you read, this is bound to become your child’s favorite book.

 

The pictures are bright and the story is fun. It was written not only to entertain kids, but also to challenge their minds.

Every character has a name with a double meaning. Such as: Mr. Noah Lott, Mrs. Faye Ding, Mrs. Frieda Livery, Upton O’Goode, Adam Zapel, and Ella Vader, to name but a few.

Here’s a hint to help you solve the puzzle, Ed Zortails is his name really heads or is it tails? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.

Solving the double meaning of the words will be delightful for children and adults alike. On the off chance someone can’t unravel a name, Tina supplied a cheat sheet at the back of the book.

As with all of her children’s stories, there’s a moral at the end.

 

 

Tina Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children’s stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz has now written wrote thirty books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor’s office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor’s Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It’s usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary’s New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.