In A Writer’s Garden with Tina Susedik


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Today gardener/writer Tina Susedik is visiting A Writer’s Garden. Let’s see what she’s been up to since her visit last year.

I believe the last time I posted was last summer shortly before my husband and I were ready to move. We are now settled in our house – in the city. This is new for us as we haven’t lived in a city in thirty years. Even though it was an adjustment, I’ve enjoyed the change. It seems nearly everyone on the block enjoys flowers. I love being able to talk with other gardeners and exchange plants and information without having to drive for miles.

Last year we moved in the middle of summer. Before we left, I dug up plants from our old place and got them in the ground at our new place in between trying to get settled. One thing I didn’t think to do in my rush to get my flowers in the ground, was to mark what I planted and where I planted it. Guess what? I have no idea what should be coming up this spring. A friend also gave me plants last fall and – you guessed it – I didn’t mark anything! So, my gardens will be a surprise. I did plant tulips and daffodils, which came up and were easily recognizable.

One thing we inherited with the house was a beautiful flowering crab in our front yard. Last weekend there was a major marathon that ran past our house. So many runners took the time to comment on the tree – and my tulips. That’s how gorgeous it was. Unfortunately, the blooms have run their course, and as I write this, it’s raining pink blossoms outside.

My husband dug up some evergreen bushes that weren’t doing so well. He then planted some bushes that have some color to them other than green. I look forward to seeing them bloom. I finally have a lilac bush, which is blooming. The city I live in is filled with lilac bushes. At times, that’s all you can smell as you go for walks.

I’ve been slowly adding perennials in the flower bed in the back yard, but since I don’t know what I planted last year, I’ve been rather hesitant to plant too much – if there is such a thing as too many flowers. Not in my opinion, anyway.

My neighbor across the street came over one day as I was planting rose bushes to tell me how excited she was that I was planting them. She said she has a black thumb when it comes to roses and hopes to see mine blooming. So do I.

Moving is always an adventure. Seeing what nature has provided and others before me have planted has been fun. I just hope we live here long enough for me to figure out what I planted.


About the Gardener/Writer:

Tina Susedik has loved flowers and gardening for as long as she can remember. Wherever she has lived, and it’s been many, many places, she has tried to make her surroundings filled with flowers. She is a multi-published author in both fiction and non-fiction, covering children, military, history, and romantic mysteries. In June, she will begin hosting her own radio show with Authors on the Air Global Radio Network. She will be interviewing authors in all genres. The title of her show – what else – “Your Book Garden.”

Her newest book is a The Trail to Love, which is part of The Soul Mate Tree Collective. The Trail to Love is a medium heat level romance with open door love scenes.

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations. 

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

 Jack Billabard, mourning the loss of his wife and baby in childbirth, vows to never to love again. After their funeral at Fort Laramie, he rides into the Wyoming hills beyond the ranch he built for his wife. Through his grieving tears, an ancient tree appears, giving him the hope he doesn’t believe is possible. For the next four years, he acts as a guide on the Oregon Trail, taking families to a new life while his looms lonely and stagnant.

The night before her abusive husband’s death, an ancient tree appears in Sarah Nickelson’s yard as she agonizes over how to survive her marriage. The tree gives her hope she can’t help but reject. After all, a tree doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. After her husband ‘s death, and with no options as a widow in Independence, Missouri, Sarah decides to travel to Oregon City as a Mail Order Bride.

During their trek west on the Oregon Trail, Jack and Sarah encounter one another, each afraid of being hurt again. Can they survive dogs and puppies, wind and rainstorms, Indians and unfavorable fellow passengers, while their love blossoms? Will the tree fulfill its promise?

Book available at Amazon


Connect with Tina at:

Twitter: @tinasusedik


Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author





Amish Author Susan Lantz Simpson on Wednesday Writers


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Today I’m welcoming Susan Lantz Simpson to Wednesday Writers. Susan loves Amish and I think you’ll find her new Amish romance, Plain Haven (Plainly Maryland Book 1) has an interesting twist. At least it caught my attention. Welcome, Susan

Thanks, Catherine.

I have been fascinated by the Amish for a very long time and have always wanted to write stories with Amish characters. I chose to set my story in Southern Maryland where I live. We have Amish and Mennonite communities here, but as far as I know, no novels have been set here. Our Plain communities are small and pretty obscure. We do not have the commercialism found in many other areas. St. Mary’s County, Maryland is basically rural–though we are growing. Plain farms may be located right beside English farms or houses. Plain businesses, such as feed mills, quilt shops, furniture shops, grocery, stores, and even a dairy, serve Plain and English customers alike, but our Plain neighbors rarely seek employment in English establishments.

I wanted to take an English character and plunk her in the middle of a small Amish community she had never even heard of before. The reader learns about Amish ways and Southern Maryland along with Hannah Kurtz. The fact that Hannah is really Lilly Brandt, a crime witness seeking a safe haven, adds a bit of suspense to the story.


Plain Haven

By Susan Lantz Simpson

Can deception, even if it’s necessary, be forgiven?

Lilly Brandt was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now she is running for her life—straight into a small, obscure Amish community in Southern Maryland. Now as Hannah Kurtz, she vows to remain aloof since she doesn’t expect to be in Cherry Hill long enough to form any attachments. But her head has neglected to inform her heart of this plan. She hadn’t counted on meeting and being attracted to the kind, young man with the amazing blue eyes.

Jacob Beiler, skilled young furniture maker, has made a vow of his own. After being jilted by the girl he trusted right before he is about to propose, he decides to focus strictly on honing his craft and guarding his heart from any future injury. When Hannah Kurtz drops into his world, she drops into his mending heart as well, thawing the wall of ice he has meticulously erected. Against his better judgement, he allows himself to care again and to trust another woman.

When the Amish community discovers Hannah is not really Amish and that she is not even Hannah Kurtz, Jacob feels betrayed yet again. Will Jacob be able to forgive Hannah’s necessary deception or will he turn his back on her despite her desperate attempts to reason with him?

You can find Plain Haven (Plainly Maryland Book 1) on Amazon


About the Author:

I have been writing stories and poetry ever since I penned my first poem at the age of six. I have always loved the magic of words and how they can entertain and enlighten others. My love of words and books led me to earn a degree in English/Education. I have taught students from prekindergarten to high school and have also worked as an editor for the federal government. I also hold a degree in nursing and have worked in hospitals and in community health. I write inspirational stories of love and faith and have published a middle-grade novel (Ginger and the Bully). I live in Maryland and am the mother of two wonderful daughters. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, walking, and doing needlework.

Connect with Susan at:




Pinterest:Susan Lantz Simpson (susanlantzsimps)

A Writer’s Garden with Author Kathy Bryson


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Today’s Gardener/Writer guest on A Writer’s Garden is Kathy Bryson. Kathy’s been with us before, but she has a new garden experience to share from one hot spot to another. Welcome, Kathy.

Thanks, Catherine.

Last Christmas, I packed up and moved from Florida to Texas for a new job. It was a great opportunity even though it meant I had to leave my garden behind. I had really mixed feelings about that. I loved my flowerbeds in Florida, but they had started to get away from me. I had to get help for weeding and mulching – a lot of weeding and mulching!

I wasn’t sure that I could manage better in Texas. Where houses are sold by the lot in Florida, they’re sold by the acreage in Texas – way too much change to take on immediately! So I moved into a townhouse and resigned myself to no garden, at least for a while. But then I started learning about just where I’d moved to.

Piney Woods–all photos by permission of Katy Pleake

The eastern spur of Texas isn’t open plains and cattle. It’s the Piney Woods region, pine forests that stretch from inside Oklahoma and Arkansas nearly to the Gulf in Louisiana. Historically known as the ‘Big Thicket,’ it’s considered one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. I live right between the Angelina National Forest and the Davy Crockett National Forest.

two paths

So I’m getting my garden fix after all. My college, Stephen F. Austin State University, sits on 400 acres and had 3 other sites where students practice forestry. Right behind the library is the SFA Mast Arboretum, 10 acres devoted to native plants. It rains almost daily, but that’s no excuse for not taking a walk!

natural gazebo

I had psyched myself up for all the stress of the move, knowing I’d have moments of anxiety and stress and not letting myself take on too much until I got settled. But I’m finding this new environment very inspiring, all sorts of ideas popping up and ticking over.

The pictures above were taken by one my student tutors, Katy Pleake, for a social media project and used by permission.


About the Author – 

Kathy Bryson is the award-winning author of a series of leprechaun romances as well as the adventures of a hapless med student. She has degrees in both advertising and literature as well 20+ years in business that came in handy for exposing leprechauns. The zombie stuff she’s making up out of research – mostly! A recent transplant to Texas, she also runs a college writing center and caters to the whims of spoiled cats.

I just released YA/NA fantasy novella Giovanni Joins The Werewolves. Giovanni Goes To Med School became an EPIC 2017 eBook Awards Finalist, and I’m thinking vampires need to take over the campus coffee shops for the sequel. It’s going to be a busy summer!

Author Links –Blog –

Giovanni Joins The Werewolves (The Med School Series Book 3) by [Bryson, Kathy]About Giovanni Joins The Werewolves –

Poor Giovanni! Just as he enters his 2nd year of med school, a voodoo curse catches up with him. He’s determined to get through medical school, even if he now howls under the full moon and has to take himself for walkies! But just as he’s getting used to fur and fangs, Giovanni’s zombie returns, leading him to wonder – exactly how many other monsters are out there?

Book Links –

Amazon –

iBooks –

Nook –

Kobo –

All available outlets! –



Madelyn Hill and Highland Faith on Wednesday Writers


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Today Wednesday Writers welcomes historical author Madelyn Hill. Madelyn will be talking about researching for historical details, specifically related to how she researched for the second book in her Wild Thistle Trilogy, Highland Faith. Welcome, Madelyn!

 Thanks, Catherine.

Writing historicals can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when we are writing to the whim of a muse and we need to be able to accurately research historical details. Highland Faith is the second book in the Wild Thistle Trilogy to be released May 17th. My heroine is a strong and feisty lass, whom is also a huntress.

While the weapon of choice for Faith is a bow and arrow, my expertise in this realm was limited by my experiences from a decade ago. Using a bow and arrow, finding the right terms, feelings, and nuances can be tricky because you must go back in history and determine the right materials, language, and hunted beasties. You have to know the landscape and where an animal may lurk and how a huntress will have the advantage as she stalks her prey.

Early in the novel, the reader learns of Faith’s hunting experiences and how she perfected her skill. A skill which puts her at a level higher than any other clansmen. While men appreciate the fruits of her labor, they find it somewhat emasculating how she bests them on hunts. And the hero, our handsome Graeme, is skeptical of her skill until he witnesses her prowess first hand.

Since I only write historicals (for now), I am used to researching every detail. I often use my book, English Through The Ages, to see if word choices are appropriate or Google certain words to see their specific usage during the novel’s time period. This also means I have to research archery terms and techniques. I had used a bow and arrow before, however aiming toward a target is vastly different than aiming toward a moving animal. There are consequences when wielding such a weapon and the archer must be nimble, strong and accurate.

Since Faith had the freedom to traipse about the MacAlister territory to hunt game, I needed to know the landscape. For this, I used Google Earth. I’m a tech nerd, so if I can use technology to aid me in any way, I’ll use it. Google Earth allows you to “zoom” into a certain location and experience a “street view” of the location. This is incredibly helpful and even though my novel is set hundreds of years ago, I can still get the feel of the vegetation, geography, and perhaps stumble upon a cave or unique land feature to use in my story.

Thanks, Madelyn. I love to research using Google Earth, too. And now for an excerpt from Highland Faith.


Highland Faith

By Madelyn Hill


’Twas her sister’s fault.

Hope had married Aidan MacKerry, leading the MacAlister Clan together, and now they were acting like lovesick cows. Aye, they’d recently had another bairn and ’twas why they were smiling like amadans. But Faith MacAlister had enough of the cooing and kissing.

She had to leave the Wild Thistle Keep or go mad.

Hunting was the only option.

The size of the MacAlister Clan dictated hunting trips each fortnight to keep the larder full. Faith grabbed her quiver and bow, left word with the guards at the palisade to inform the lairds Aidan and Hope her direction, and left to find sustenance and peace.

And now, three days later she continued stalking the elusive stag. She kenned her sister would be close to sending a group of men to look for her in a day or so. Luckily she’d managed an agreement with her sister whom was also her laird. An agreement between sisters proved hard to negotiate, but she’d won in the end. And she hunted without escort as long as she never left without telling the guards her direction.

A sun filled day, just cool enough not to need too much clothing that may hinder her movement, but warm enough she didn’t need to start a fire to warm herself. She stretched in the britches she’d stolen from one of the stable hands. Aye, she’d tried the tartan her sister Hope loved to wear, but found it too revealing as she moved and climbed to find her prey. And a gown, the devil take them, ’twould make it nigh impossible to hunt and secure meat for the clan.

She moved quietly through the woods. Each footfall, purposeful, silently brought her closer to her elusive prey.

Aye, there he stood. In the morning mist that hovered just above the low foliage, a proud, beautiful stag who’d avoided her arrow for too long. Huge, with several points on his rack and a cocksure stance stating, I’m king of the forest. She hated to take down the magnificent animal. But he’d provide for her clan and her duty dictated securing meat for those who depended on her.

She drew her bow, stretching the sinew, straining her arm muscles as she prepared to let the arrow fly. The feather fletching grazed her cheek as she held her breath waiting for the perfect moment to release. She’d traveled far for this chance, stalked her prey as her father had taught her so many years ago with her so wee she could barely hold a bow, much less draw and aim. And today, her size may well again thwart her hunting. ’Twould be problematic once the massive stag was felled. She’d have to dress him in the field and lug the meat back with her. No matter, she’d manage as always.

Two more steps forward. Stared down the length of the arrow past the head, ready to release.

“Well, well, well. What have we here?” a man said.

Interested in reading more about Faith and Graeme? Highland Faith, Book 2 in the Wild Thistle Trilogy will be released May 17th! You can find the book and pre-order link at Amazon

To my readers of sweet romance, please note that Highland Faith is a sensual romance.

About the Author:

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier! A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

Connect with Madelyn at:






Madelyn Hill’s Amazon Author page:

A Writer’s Garden—Casting Your Cares in the Garden with Christina Lorenzen


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When your troubles weigh you down, what better place to be than in the garden. Today’s guest Christina Lorenzen shares the soothing aspect of her garden with us. Welcome, Christina.


Thanks, Catherine.

Last spring was a particularly tumultuous time in my life. As a matter of fact, it was around this time one year ago when it seemed like everything around me was unraveling. I will be the first to admit I don’t do well with change, and especially when there are several changes at the same time.

My husband had been dealing with health issues since late winter and here it was late April and he was still on medical leave from his job. As a person with health anxiety, the dozens of doctor appointments and medical tests were unnerving for me. I wanted to be calm for him. My daughter, a junior in college, was also dealing with health issues in the form of anxiety. She was struggling, unable to walk to class alone or stay home without one of us there. Though I knew I should have been grateful for my own health and good fortune in life (my second and third books had been published), the weight of their troubles pressed down on me.

If you’ve suffered from anxiety at some point in your life, you know that there are times when the weight of it can feel as if you can’t take a deep breath. I felt like that often, except for the times I went outside.

I had been reading articles about natural ways to cope with anxiety and most agreed getting outside in the sun and fresh air was a great way to be in the moment. While people who struggle with depression tend to live in the past, people battling anxiety tend to live in the future. Without a doubt, this is where I was. What if my husband couldn’t go back to work? What if something happened to him? What if my daughter couldn’t stay in school? What if her dreams were the future ended before they even began? What if I had to take care of two people when I finally had gotten to a point where I had time to pursue my writing? As I ran these scary projections of the future in my mind, it occurred to me that the ‘what ifs’ I was creating were weighing me down like the rocks in the garden outside.

It was that thought that prompted me to step outside that day. I hadn’t noticed before that how green the grass was, how the crab apple tree had blossomed or the way the petals had scattered to the ground below it. But what caught my eye was the cluster of rocks surrounding a small plant.

I couldn’t remember what kind of plant it was or when it had been planted. It was then that I realized I had been so frazzled and so consumed with the future, I had been missing the little things happening every day. I was deep in thought, marveling at how I had compared the things weighing on me to rocks and there I stood in front of a small border of rocks, Then I noticed a faint movement out of the corner of my eye. At first I panicked, thinking it might be the mouse we had seen last fall. I geared up to make a break for it when I saw a small grayish head pop out – of a turtle shell!

In the twenty plus years we have lived in our house we have seen an assortment of ‘wild life’ pass through our yard. Our children thrilled at the sight of rabbits, ducks, frogs, possum, raccoon and even a yucky mouse or two, but never had we seen a turtle. Since we don’t live anywhere near water, I thought this sighting was especially unusual. I inched closer and bent down to get a good look. Sure enough, the little head drew back in so quick it looked as if a vacuum had sucked it away. I stared at the shell, sitting there in full view in the green grass, and wished I knew how to tell how old he or she was. And being a worrier, I immediately wondered how this turtle, which upon seeing him my daughter named Vern, would find his way back home. Without even thinking, I whispered this verse.

Matthew 6:25 -26

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns — and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

For the next week or so, no matter how busy I was, I stopped whatever I was doing and took a few minutes to spend time in the garden – and check on Vern. By the end of the week, he was gone. I searched the plants and flower beds around where he had been just to be sure. I could have stood there and thought the worst. I could have added another ‘rock’ to the load I was carrying. But I could still hear those words from Matthew. And somehow I just knew that wherever Vern was, he was okay. And with that reassurance, I let myself drop each of those rocks, doing as the Bible instructs us to do by ‘casting’ my cares, knowing that all would be well.


About the Author:

When I’m not writing or reading, I love spending time with family, my cats, taking walks with my Cocker Spaniel Yogi or getting lost in jewelry design, a venture that feeds my creativity as a writer. I am a member of Faith, Hope & Love, the inspirational chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

My most recent release is:

Healing Seas

by Christina Lorenzen

In just a matter of days, Addie Mayfield’s life is upended. Through an arrangement her father makes, she sets sail on the RMS Titanic as governess to the two young Fairchild children. When tragedy strikes, she finds herself rescued alongside strangers on the RMS Carpathia, headed for New York City. Far from home, she is taken in by the O’Reilly family to wait for her family to send for her. With no money for her passage home, she’s brought to the small hamlet of Montauk to become a caretaker for a great aunt she has never met.

Captain Frank Shea is a man without a ship. Removed from duty as captain of the RMS Morrow, he’s come to Montauk to recover from a leg injury. More painful than the injury is his fall from grace after spending his entire life at sea. The ocean was his home and he has never needed anyone. Now faced with an uncertain future, he’s desperate for a way back to the sea. Until he meets Addie Mayfield, a woman who is just as lost as he is. Can these two people find hope for the future after all they’ve lost? Can an unexpected love heal two broken souls?

Available on Amazon:

I hope you’ll visit my home on the web often and keep in touch.








Wednesday Writers Welcomes Ada Brownell and Peach Blossom Ranch


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Today Wednesday Writers Welcomes Ada Brownell, author of Peach Blossom Ranch, a book that has been described as suspense, romance, humor, murder, insanity, hope, fun, wrapped in a Western you won’t forget.

Welcome, Ada.


Thanks, Catherine.

You won’t believe the work required to run a peach and horse ranch, or the types of diagnoses that could get you committed to an asylum in the early 1900s.

To write this historical romance I drew from my  experiences growing up in Fruita, Colo., near Palisade’s peach country, and from my years as a journalist covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum.

In this Historical Romance, a handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and hopes to marry a beautiful young widow who is an attorney. But she takes up the case of a brilliant doctor committed to an asylum because of one seizure. Will the rancher, the attorney, and the asylum patient achieve their dreams?

Peach blossoms, regal horse flesh, three beautiful women and one handsome rancher almost fall to the background in this book as an insane asylum surfaces, holding people who are not imbeciles, as they called them in the early 1900s.

My career as a newspaper reporter dropped me into that pit, and one piece of authentic historical information that I was given by the now Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo told the story about some of the characters that appear in my historical romance, The Peach Blossom Rancher. The rancher’s intended wife is an attorney and she’s trying to get a doctor released who was committed because of one seizure. Here’s how the document ended up in my book:


Silence descended on the courtroom as the patient stared. Finally, Dr. Dillon Haskill spoke. “The list is headed, ‘The Eleventh Biennial Report from the Board of Lunacy Commissioners, dated 1899 to 1900.’ First, I’ll read some diagnoses that might”—he eyed the judge—”might show insanity. Seven types of mania. Six types of melancholia. Five types of paranoia. Nine types of dementia.”

He took a deep breath, squirmed at the straitjacket, and then started on the list again. “Now for the questionable diagnoses. Thirty-nine patients admitted because of intemperance.” He smiled. “I don’t think those folks listened to Solomon, who wrote in the Bible, Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Snickers drifted over the room.

He searched the list again. “Eleven men and three women admitted with syphilis. End stage of this disease can result in insanity, but are the patients held in an area separate from others to avoid spread of the disease?”

Under Dillon’s condemning gaze, the superintendent squirmed.

Dillon tipped his head toward the paper in the silent courtroom. “Here are only a few of the ones I believe aren’t a true diagnosis of lunacy. Religious excitement.” Dillon scanned the audience where low murmurs began. “Be sure and don’t get excited about meeting Jesus and having your sins forgiven, or you could end up in the loony bin.”

People covered their mouths to prevent laughter from exploding.

“Domestic trouble.” Dillon cocked his head sideways. “Better be sure the neighbors don’t hear arguments with your wife.” A low giggle swept through the crowd.

“Ill health and privation. Better not get sick or hungry. Exposure. Don’t stay out in the cold or the sun too long, or you’ll be found insane.”

The superintendent jumped to his feet. “This imbecile is again making a mockery of this court.”

The judge faced the attorney. “This is an interesting list. May I see the paper he’s reading?”

Archibald handed it to the judge.

The hard lines in the judge’s bulldog face softened as he studied the shaking paper in his quivering hand. “I’ll read some of these to the court myself. Jealousy. Sunstroke. Grief. Disappointment. Childbirth. Rheumatism. Injury. Suppression of menses. Excessive use of tobacco. Injury to spine. Loss of money. Christian Science. Cerebral hemorrhage. Hmmm. According to what I’ve learned, that is a stroke where people often become paralyzed on one side, and it may mess up their speech, but they don’t lose their minds. I guess it goes along with ‘injury to spine.’ Paralysis is what we have here with the teacher, Jim Cook.”

He lowered the paper, studied Dr. Haskill, Pete, the boy with Down’s Syndrome, and Jim, and then shook his head, and his eyes bore into the superintendent. “Who makes these diagnoses?”



Peach Blossom Ranch

by Ada Brownell

EXCERPT, End of Chapter One


The young lady rancher flipped her blonde braid over her shoulder. “But I wouldn’t keep her around here. She has a temper to match her red hair. Yet, after her parents died, she lost her spunk. Claims Wellington compromised her, but nobody believed it.”

John took his knife out of his pocket and began grooming his fingernails. “She was doing a lot of praying when we found her in the barn loft, and she wanted me and Abe to leave her alone. Soon as I understood a baby was on the way, I went for Polly.”

Edwina wrinkled her little turned-up nose. “What’s that terrible odor?”

John stepped to the fence. “Might be coming from my prize pigs. See the big one over there I call Gertie?”

Gertie trotted close and rubbed her prickly mud-covered back on the hog wire.

“I expect to make big money from pork while I rebuild the horse herd and work in the peach orchards. You ought to try a few pigs. You get a quicker turnover with your money than with horses. Your papa used to raise them. Besides, it’s always nice to have smoked ham and bacon available.”

Edwina leaned over the fence. The pigs grappled with each other over the slop, snorting and grunting. “I might get some. The little ones are cute. Since my papa is in the wheelchair, I’m running everything. How is the pork market doing?”

“It sounded great to me. It …”

Gertie stuck her snout through the fence and sucked Edwina’s lacy pink dress. Edwina jerked the skirt out of the slimy jaws and then, stringy pig saliva slid down her pretty legs.

“Eeeeewwww!” she squealed, holding her dress out away from her. “I didn’t know pigs would eat clothing.”

Laughter almost escaped John’s lips. He pressed his fist over his mouth until his insides quit quaking in case she was mad enough to use the gun strapped on her slim middle. “Gertie probably smelled the cornstarch you used to starch your dress. I’d guess for her it was quite tasty. I’ll get you a towel.”

“Don’t bother.” She grabbed a big blue handkerchief from the buggy, wiped at her legs and jumped in the driver’s seat. “You probably wanted me to stand over by the fence so that would happen. You are incorrigible, John Parks. Get someone else to go to the church picnic with you!”

As the dust rose from her departure, she almost ran into the mailman.

John meandered to the mailbox. Strange. He hadn’t asked her to the picnic. He never intended to.

Want to read more? Read the first chapter free or purchase the book at



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 currently is working on another novel, plus compiling her more than 125 articles from The Pentecostal Evangel into a book.

She is author of Peach Blossom Rancher, released By Elk Lake Publishing in 2016; The Lady Fugitive, Elk Lake 2014; Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, 2013; Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, 2011; Imagine the Future You, released 2013; and Confessions of a Pentecostal, Radiant Books, out-of-print but released in 2012 for Kindle;. All the books are available in paper or for Kindle. Imagine the Future You also is an Audio Book.

You can connect with Ada at


Twitter: @adabrownell

Blog: Stick to Your Soul Encouragement

Amazon Ada Brownell author page:




A Writer’s Garden–Patience and Crocuses with Author Jenna Victoria


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Today’s A Writer’s Garden guest is Jenna Victoria, creator of fiction that feeds your faith. She’s going to be talking about patience and her crocus bulbs—all 100 of them! Neither of which I can claim to possess. ☺ Welcome to the blog, Jenna.


Patience Has its Own Reward

By Jenna Victoria


Last November, a friend helped me plant my first-ever crocus bulbs. We dug about a dozen holes for a huge bag of 50 “Romance” yellow and 50 “Ruby Giant” purple corns (or bulbs). For me, this was emotional, as my long-ago-sold childhood home had gorgeous cheerful crocuses blossom every spring, and many decades had passed since a house I lived in brought me that first wonderful glimpse of springtime. It was emotional, too, given my chemotherapy treatment was still working, and planting the 100 bulbs was investing in hope that I would still be here to see these tiny flowers blossom in the new year.

Late February 2017 brought an unseasonably warm period here in the northeast, followed by extreme bitter cold weather. I was disheartened, as the tiny yellow shoots of crocuses which had delightedly (but barely) stuck their heads up during that February warmth were now withered. Plus, the purple ones hadn’t even made it to the bloom phase before frost and snowfalls came. Their little purple heads were cut off before life above ground ever began.

I couldn’t believe that Mother Nature could be so cold-hearted. Here are my “Romance” yellow crocuses right before the snow, and under ice in a picture of that first small snowfall. Gardener friends sympathized, adding that their tulips and daffodils had met a similar bad fate.

Mollie, the heroine in my new book, Love Among the Lilacs, had planted hopes, too, only to be embattled by circumstances beyond her control. Learning to accept trials, relying on others for encouragement to find hope amid any circumstances – even ones that seem hopeless – can make a huge difference in our outlook. She begins to trust and accept whatever the possible outcomes may be, even falling in love with Sean, who wants to evict her from his great-aunt’s cottage.

Weeks passed with cold temps and shriveled crocuses. Like Mollie, though, I, too, turned my disappointment around. I decided to trust God. His plans are very different than ours, and infinitely better. No doubt that unseasonable February warm patch would make my crocuses blooms hardier next year, and if my cancer was still at bay I’d see them. Imagine my astonishment when after a week of steady warm temperatures – this happened! Glorious, strong-blooming crocuses returned. I was captivated by the view for several brief weeks until the blossoms faded.

And, if that wasn’t enough of a reward for my trust and patience, I left for a brief trip when full onslaught of Spring weather kept steady in New York. Imagine my surprise and wonder when I pulled into my driveway after five days to see this:

A whole robust border of Ruby Giant purple crocuses. Even though they had been planted at the same time as the Romance yellows, ion the same holes, they showed up in God’s timing for me to get a double blessing…another few weeks of crocus viewing.

Psalm 27:14 says “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (KJV, public domain)

Even all of creation knows patience has its deserved reward when we trust in God.


About the Gardener/Author:

Ever since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1955, Jenna Victoria has yet to taste a cake she hasn’t liked. Jenna writes for readers who enjoy sweet & compelling romances, and also for those who enjoy her “fiction that feeds your faith” titles – happily-ever-after romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian world view. Her stories emulate those she prefers reading…ones that feature satisfying fairy-tale-endings. Her clean romances won’t put you into a diabetic coma, and her faith-based romances aren’t preachy or unrealistic. It is her glad purpose to glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ through books that illustrate hope & peace in unbearable situations. Her first triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 has led to surgeries, radiation, reoccurrences and incurable metastasis. Still, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.

Her newest book, Love Among the Lilacs is available from Amazon

Bookkeeper Mollie Wright knows about living on the streets, and her purchase of  Lilac Cottage is a dream come true. She is determined to stay and fight when a legal error puts her ownership at risk.

Attorney Sean Grady never wanted his great-aunts to sell their cottage in Westchester County, New York, so when a paperwork snafu puts the deal on hold, he moves swiftly to evict the pretty, feisty squatter. Mollie finds unexpected allies in Grady Cove neighbors and a member of Sean’s own family but knows the clock is ticking.

Will a theft and her past secrets force a  showdown to heartache, or will Mollie and Sean discover home is truly where your heart is?

Jenna Victoria

Fiction that Feeds Your Faith







Amish Romance Author Kelly Irvin returns to Wednesday Writers


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Amish romance author Kelly Irvin is back on Wednesday Writers with a new Amish romance, Upon a Spring Breeze, which is the first novel in her four-book series, Every Amish Season. Kelly has been a frequent visitor to Wednesday Writers’ blog series, sharing behind the scenes information on her Amish romances, including The Beekeeper’s Son and The Bishop’s Son. I’m always glad to have her visit. Today, she’s going to talk about The Facts in the Fiction. Welcome back, Kelly.


Thanks, Catherine.

Do you know what it’s called when a sow gives birth? Me neither. Do you know a sunflower’s scientific name? Me neither. Do you know when the Purple Martins arrive in northwestern Missouri and how they like their houses built so snakes can’t slip into them? Me neither. At least I didn’t until I wrote Upon a Spring Breeze. What do you know about bird flu? Every time I start a new novel, I realize just how little I know about anything. With the advent of twenty-four-hour access to news, CSI TV programs, and Internet Google search, we can learn about these subjects with relative ease. And readers expect their authors to get the details right.

My heroes in Upon a Spring Breeze include Aidan Graber, who is a chicken farmer who decides to expand his sources of income to include hogs. I was fortunate to be able to interview via telephone a man near Austin, Texas, who has a farm where he raises chickens and hogs. I also interviewed via email a state trooper in Missouri who was involved in the quarantine of farms affected by bird flu. These interviews provided the underpinning for Aidan’s farming experiences and expertise.

I used to be a newspaper reporter in another life so I understand the art of research and interview. It was never my favorite part. I love to write, but I’m an introvert. I struggle with making the phone call to someone who might not want to talk to me. That’s not a good quality in a reporter. As an author, I’ve overcome my natural inclination to make it up as I go along. It may take me a few days—or weeks—but eventually I make the call. It’s good for me to come out of my hidey hole and talk to people in the real world.

For Upon a Spring Breeze, I had the most fun with the flowers and the plants. It’s easy to get information about growing flowers from the Internet. What grows best, when it grows best, and where it grows best. That helped me flesh out the character of Dusty Lake. He works at a nursery and plans to get his degree in environmental science someday. He knows there are sixteen species of Helianthus (sunflowers) in Missouri. They are grown worldwide for seeds and oil as well as ornamental uses. At one time Missouri was a leader in the production of sunflowers. Dusty will talk your ear off about flowers if you let him. It’s one of the things Bess Weaver, my heroine, likes about him.

Aidan, on the other hand, knows all about raising chickens and he also knows it’s called farrowing when sows give birth. He knows they have a gestation period farmers could set a calendar by. Three months, three weeks, three days. And they have two or three litters per year.

But Aidan is more than a farmer. He loves to watch the beautiful birds that migrate through Missouri in the spring, including the Purple Martins. That’s why he fixes up the Purple Martin houses and brings Bess to see them. Their arrival reflects the continuing cycle of life. They return every year to the same houses to have their babies. Bess can count on that.

“He held Joshua up, his face close to the little one, talking as if the conversation was just between the two of them and the baby could understand every word. ‘I added insulation to the apartments so it won’t get too hot or too cold in there. And I threw some pine needles into the compartments. I read something that it makes them think the houses have been occupied before. They like the idea that others came first.’”

How do they keep the snakes out? Aidan added a stovepipe baffle to the pole about four feet off the ground. It wobbles and keeps the snakes from shimmying up the pole.

The details give the scenes that touch of realism that allows readers to lose themselves in an imaginary world. The characters come to life. I love that feeling. I hope my readers do too!

Once Upon A Spring Breeze

by Kelly Irvin

After a devastating year, a spring breeze promises more than new flowers.… It promises a new chance at love.

Bess Weaver, twenty and expecting her first child, is in the kitchen making stew for her beloved mann, Caleb, one minute, and the next she’s burying him after a tragic accident. Facing life as a young widow, Bess finds comfort only in tending the garden at an Englisch-owned bed and breakfast—even as she doubts that new growth could ever come after such a long winter.

Aidan tries to repress his guilt over his best friend Caleb’s death and his long-standing feelings for Bess by working harder than ever. But as he spends time with the young son his friend left behind, he seems to be growing closer to the boy’s beautiful mother as well.

When a close-knit group of widows in her Amish community step in to help Bess find her way back to hope, she begins to wonder if Gott has a future for her after all. Will she ever believe that life can still hold joy—and the possibility of love?


Is your curiosity piqued? You can find Kelly’s book Upon a Spring Breeze at:


About the Author:

Kelly Irvin is the author of Upon a Spring Breeze, the first novel in the four-book series, Every Amish Season. Library Journal called Upon a Spring Breeze “a moving and compelling tale about the power of grace and forgiveness that reminds us how we become strongest in our broken moments.”

Kelly also penned the Amish of Bee County series, which includes The Beekeeper’s Son, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it “a delicately woven masterpiece.” She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series. Kelly’s novella, A Christmas Visitor, appears in the anthology, The Amish Christmas Gift. Her novella, Sweeter than Honey, is included in the anthology, The Amish Market.

She wrote two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.

A former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional, Kelly is married to photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors.


Readers can find Kelly at and on Facebook at, Twitter at @Kelly_Irvin













A Writer’s Garden-Janis Lane talks about Willows


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Today’s Writing Gardener guest is Emma Janis Lane–two authors for the price of one. Emma Lane writes Regency romance. Her pen name counterpart, Janis Lane, writes romantic cozy mysteries. Today, she will be talking about–


willow catkins

Recently I overheard a patron mention his willow tree had budded, a sure sign of Spring. I felt a rush of panic. No! I couldn’t be late to harvest the silver buds before the catkins appeared. Whereas the little kitties are sweet, they do not stay on the branches very long. Harvested early, the decorative silver buds will be around as long as you like. Spring finds my vases full.

Once pretty willow shrubs lined our service road and supplied me with an abundance harvest, but borers found and riddled the trunks. I am pinching myself to remember to plant twigs to start them all over. In Spring, when the soil is saturated, a willow branch may be rooted by simply sticking it in the ground where you’d like a nice shrub. Careful. Some consider it invasive. Often willows are planted on the banks of streams and ponds to prevent erosion because the roots are abundant and healthy. (‘ware the borers!)

Folk Lore “Wearing the willow” is a term used to describe the lonely heart of a lover who has lost her mate either to another person or death. Willow branches on a hat may also mean that person is hopeful for romance. (Waggles eyebrows.) A well-known television celebrity couldn’t control his laughter while describing Dyngus Day in Buffalo, NY. Always the day after Easter, this Polish American holiday is celebrated with the boys switching (gently) the girls with willow branches and splashing them with water. (A Polka dance or two might be expected.) The next day is turn about fair play for the girls. As you may imagine, these antics have their origins in ancient traditions. Long branches of willow buds are a celebration of Spring in cold country.

ROMANCE: Who can resist the dreamy, swaying branches of a weeping willow? When plotting a Regency Romance, I occasionally allow courting couples strolling the grounds in the warm breezes of early summer the privacy they long for. The swaying green curtain on the stream bank offers privacy to steal a quick kiss. This proved handy in Belinda, My Love when the heroine received her very first kiss by the besotted rogue who had waited patiently for her to grow up.

Medicinal: The willow has a long history of usefulness to mankind. Hippocrates mentioned the willow for medicinal properties. Willow leaves and bark yield salicin, a principal component of aspirin, which was used as both an anti-inflammatory and pain relief. Research reports pure salicin is tough on the digestive system, but it’s interesting to read about the early Native American’s frequent use of the willow bark as medicine.

Crafts: Basket makers made use of the strong but pliable branches. I’ve used them for crafting wreaths instead of grapevines on occasion. I’ve admired a trellis made from willow branches as well. Last but not least, the twisty willow, which grows into a mid- sized tree, produces unique branches for walking sticks. The gnarled branches also add winter interest. Willow, in any of its many varieties, can be both beautiful and useful in your garden.


About the Author:

Emma Janis Lane lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous color. She writes Regency Romance as Emma Lane, but also delights in dipping into a Cozy Romantic Mystery, pen name Janis Lane.

Part owner of a plant nursery,she will answer gardening questions at her website

Whispers of Danger and Love by [Lane, Janis]Whispers of Danger and Love is a contemporary novel which sports a lovely heroine named Cheryl, who loves her career as a landscape designer. This warm tale is a must for gardeners while waiting for the chance to get outside to commune with nature. A bonus is the handsome detective, a childhood friend, who moves next door.







Barbara M. Britton author of Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey on Wednesday Writers


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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is author Barbara M. Britton, author of the Biblical romance novel Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey, whose story has its origins in the book of Judges from the Bible. Barbara is sharing a post, an excerpt, and a book trailer today, so keep reading to find out about Naomi’s Journey.

Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey –To maintain her family’s honor, can Naomi abandon the shepherd who has not only captured her body, but stolen her heart?

Welcome, Barbara!


Hi Catherine,

Thank you for having me on your blog. I love your readers!


Checking on Mom’s Facts

I thought I knew a lot about the Book of Judges in the Bible. After all, I had taught chapel and told the story of Gideon’s battle against the Midianites using glow sticks for props—“A sword for the Lord!” I had also heard about poor Samson’s troubles once his hair was cut by Delilah. I remember being at a Biblical costume party when a man came in with slinky-like goggles to represent Samson’s eye gouging incident. How creative! And of course in Judges, there’s Deborah, a pioneering female warrior for the tribes of Israel. But I had no idea at the end Judges, there is a Sodom and Gomorrah-ish story where the tribe of Benjamin is almost wiped out by the other tribes of Israel. How did I miss this?

This crazy battle among the tribes didn’t end well for Benjamin. Their tribe was left with 600 men—no women, or children. What’s a Benjamite to do since the other tribes have taken an oath not to give their daughters in marriage to those wicked Benjamites? And marrying outside the tribes of Israel is forbidden by God’s Law. Well, some bold Benjamites do a grab-and-go of unsuspecting girls who just want to dance at a feast. What happened to these girls? The Bible doesn’t give us details. We do know the tribe of Benjamin went on to give us the first king of Israel, Saul, and the apostle Paul. Babies were born, so the tribe survived.

My latest novel “Building Benjamin” follows girls who were abducted from the feast. Naomi, my heroine, is none too happy with Eliab, her kidnapper. She is waiting on a rescue until she discovers Eliab has suffered loss just like she has due to the craziness in Judges 19-21. Romeo and Juliet fell in love with each other in a short amount of time. Perhaps, Naomi and Eliab can put aside their differences and see if love is possible with God as their bond.

I knew I had to write this story when my youngest son thought I was kidding about this incident in the Bible. My son ran upstairs, grabbed his Bible, and laughed as he read about men hiding in a vineyard to snatch a wife. In all the absurdity of Judges, my latest story was born.

I hope you enjoy “Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey.”


Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey

By Barbara M. Britton

Love Grows Where God Grafts the Tender Shoot.

Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife.

As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her tribe.


Here’s an exchange between Naomi and Eliab after her abduction.

“Rest, Naomi. You are a tower of stones. The mule listens to one master.” Eliab’s arms closed around her, holding her next to his body. His tunic wasn’t the most comfortable bed, but his body was warm, and up until this point, he had not harmed her.

She prayed her father would find her before Eliab desired a union and made her his wife.

Fighting sleep’s snare proved useless. As the mule swayed side to side, her eyelids became millstones. When her eyes fluttered open, a pomegranate-red ribbon of sky rose above the hills. For a moment, before her body fully awakened, she floated, blissful, believing she was sleeping in her mother’s arms, rocking gently, back and forth.

Her head snapped upright. She was not in Shiloh. She was on a mule maneuvering a downward path to a wicked land.

“Ah, you’re with me.” Eliab sat as straight as a rested merchant carting goods to the market.

“And you’re still here.”

“I am not a dream.”

“You’re a curse.”

“Good. I chose a quick-witted wife.”



Purchase “Building Benjamin” on Amazon, Target, B&N


About the Author:

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicked off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” Naomi’s journey, “Building Benjamin” is out now. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Barbara on her website, Twitter, facebook and Goodreads