Thursday, December 26, 2019


Have you ever been given a WORD TO CARRY WITH YOU FOR A YEAR?

I hadn't experienced that from the Lord, until September 2011. Sitting in a devotional time after breakfast one of the mornings at the ACFW SEPTEMBER 2011 CONFERENCE in St. Louis, MO.

We were asked to stand after the devotional given by one of our members. The gal asked us to close our eyes and empty our mind of any conflicting thoughts, because we were about to ask the Lord for something. That something? A word to carry us through until the next conference in 2012.

I closed my eyes, quiet before the Lord. Then, I asked Him to give me a word for the year. Something happened that I had never encountered before, and haven't since. Across the blackness behind my closed eyelids, in VIVID WHITE SCRIPT was the word "PEACE". I was astounded, but before I could as much as gasp, the verse found in ISAIAH ~ Chapter 26 ~ Verse 3 - "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee..." scrolled across, following the word PEACE. That verse hadn't come to my mind in a very long time, so it was such a shock to me to see it in white script across my eyelids, and it was also in the King James Version, which I hadn't used for over a decade, since I began using the New American Standard Bible.

Since that time, I've purposely asked the Lord for a WORD for the year, starting my request in November, rather than at conference time. Almost always, He has supplied a word before Christmas, affirming it in so many ways throughout the year. Although, it's not been given in such a dramatic way since that 2011 Conference, it's been made very real to me, and He often reminds me of it.

~ ~ ~ ~


Having been given the word PERSEVERANCE for 2019 in November of last year, I had no idea what was in store for me and my work. Closing out 2018, I was in the middle of my first ever (and I hope and pray my last ever) Thyroid Storm.

Also, in November of 2018, I asked the Lord for a unique idea for my journeystojoy blog. Within a very short time, a plan formulated in my mind about using CHARACTER BACK STORIES - FROM THE CHARACTERS' POV and in in their VOICES.

I invited those among the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) membership to take part. I thought I'd be able to eek out a post per month. NEVER DISCOUNT GOD'S AMAZING PROVISION - I had every week filled, with the exception of personal posting weeks - like this one and next week's - with a different author, different characters, ready to share Their Stories BEFORE The Story they came alive in. God provided an array of novellas and novels in a slew of genres, with few being the same genre in consecutive weeks.

I was blown away by the response to my invitation. I believe there have been at least 44 weeks of posts other than my own in 2019 - Beginning in February. Readers, though few in number this year, have shown an appreciation for getting to know the characters before they appear or speak the novel they're a part of.

In early December, God reaffirmed the word PERSEVERANCE in my life with Scripture, and in messages that others sent me, not having a clue they were passing on affirmations.

December 23rd, I took my 3-month old puppy, Bella, outside, at 4:30 am, going out through our sliding door off the dining room onto our deck. I had no idea that we'd had freezing rain in the night. She pulled me across that ice on the deck, made a sharp right turn to go down the steps into her doggy yard, and I couldn't move with the same speed. I took a header down the steps, barely missed the cement slab at the bottom when my head bounced on the frozen ground.

Each year, on Dec 23,  we celebrate both the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and my husband's birth with our children and our grands in the evening. That was a rough day, and I have little memory of the evening that transpired. With Jerry's expert help, I got the meal made, the tables set, and managed to celebrate, and no one seemed any wiser.

I don't have any recollection of the day before Christmas or Christmas eve. I only remember dealing with an extremely sore leg.

On Christmas day, I kept my leg elevated, using ice, while my dear hubby went to the Avery~Family Christmas gathering at my nephew's home.

December 26th, I learned at my regular dr's follow-up appt for my other conditions, I had a concussion. My leg was looked at, and I was told I was doing the best possible treatment for the contusions there that had resulted from my fall. I was banned from any devices, books, crocheting, knitting, writing, etc for a six weeks. Do you know how difficult that was for this writer? NOT PLEASANT.

I managed to PERSEVERE, though I have few memories of all that happened in that time. Memory has since become problematic, especially when under any level of stress.

By Feb 2019, my Thyroid Storm finally waned, according to the blood work, while some of the less pleasant side effects hung on.

In April, I commenced work on editing/revising my novel, Meant For Her. With editing expertise from one of my own editing clients, Dawn Turner, I PERSEVERED through some tough, long days, and longer nights until last September.

FINALLY, by October 2019, Dawn formatted the novel for both Ebook and Paperback formats and finalized the cover tweaks at KDP/AMAZON. Under her direction, I loaded the book in both formats to KDP. We set the release date for November 14th to coincide with both the beginning of the story and my daughter's birthday.

NOVEMBER 14th - MEANT FOR HER hit AMAZON.COM in both ebook and paperback, and the welcome by readers has been wonderful!



The last two weeks of November and the first two weeks of December have been full with scheduling and attending book signings -

I could not have done any of the book signings without the help of my friend, Karen Middaugh - she has been there from the beginning of seeking out venues - assisting a book signings, and tirelessly helping me with inspecting book shipments, and packing to go to the various libraries and coffee shops, and keeping record on spreadsheets. She has been praying me through a LOT of tough stuff!


I had one more 2019 book presentation and signing on December 21st - in the Vicksburg District Library - Vicksburg, MI - the village where Candi's story opens in Meant For Her.

~ ~ ~ ~

On a much sadder note, my family suffered a loss - a huge loss - of my big brother, Vernon Avery, to a liver disease in November.
The visitation and Memorial service, complete with military honors, were held December 13 and 14.
That was an extremely emotional time for me, even though I know without a single doubt, Vern is pain free and with our parents and Jesus! In that, I rejoice! He will be greatly missed at family events from now on.
~ ~ ~ ~
As we close out 2019, my prayer for each of you, my readers/followers, is that you will see God at work in your life, and that you'll draw closer and closer to Him in your personal journey. I also pray that if you read Meant For Her, it'll bless your socks off in a special way!

I haven't gotten my "word", yet, for 2020, yet, but my heart and mind are open to that special one He has for me for this next year.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

CHRISTMAS GATHERINGS~ How Do You Celebrate Our Lord's Birth?

I've lived enough years to come across many ways other families and individuals celebrate Christmas. Not everyone has family nearby with which to celebrate, some don't care to be among crowds, and many celebrate totally on their own.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

What are your favorite foods associated with Christmas?

What is your favorite Christmas music?

How do you (if you do) decorate for Christmas?

How soon (if you do it at all) decorate before the Christmas holiday?

Do you ever take a driving tour to see neighborhood lighting?

What do you dislike MOST about Christmas?

What is your favorite Christmas Day tradition?

~ ~ ~ ~

Okay, in case you're somewhat shy; let me go first!

As for a favorite Christmas memory ~
I was very young - maybe four or so, if that. My elder siblings and parents surprised me with a doll - that doll was nearly as tall as me. I had never had anything that new - that very special. I was number six in line in our family with a brother yet to arrive on the scene. We were a family of dairy farmers, life was hard work and little money. As young as I was, I knew getting a brand new doll, with a doll buggy (it's what they called those four-wheeled beds on wheels back then - even had a collapsible canopy of sorts - it folded up flat, but I never had it in that position. My married sister and her husband gave me that toy for the doll. There were clothes, bottles, a diaper bag, and even a burp rag. That memory long stands as a favorite, because there was a sacrifice involved on the part of the givers.

~ ~ ~ ~

What are your favorite foods associated with Christmas? ~

Food for the holidays are special treats at our house, because there is so much tradition tied up with it. Swedish tea rings became one of our fave treats (shaped like a wreath, they are made with a sweet yeast dough, lots of cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, and butter - cut into slices nearly all the way through to the center, 

When they are baked, they have a golden brown, slightly crisp outside with gooey goodness inside. Perfect with tea, coffee, or hot cocoa!

~ ~ ~ ~

What is my fave Christmas Music? ~

Easy peasy there - I LOVE the soft traditional Christmas carols - such as - SILENT NIGHT and THE FIRST NOEL, and O BEAUTIFUL STAR OF BETHLEHEM.

Then some of the secular tunes - SILVER BELLS and WHITE CHRISTMAS and JINGLE BELLS

~ ~ ~ ~

How do I decorate for Christmas?  ~

VERY SLOWLY - just have so much going on and I no longer go "all-out" like I once did.

I have a collection of Nativity Scenes that now more than fill the living room and have spilled into my library
I also have a collection of snow people - in Jan when Nativity scenes get put away, I spread out the snow people for the month of January - BRIGHTENING EVERY SPOT IN THE HOUSE with them, except bedrooms.
Lights are very important to me - garlands with lights on either side of the huge window in the living room and sliding glass door off dining room and around the top and down the sides of our china cabinet.
The tree has more colorful lights than it has ornaments. THE HOUSE SHINES during the grayest month of the year.

~ ~ ~ ~

How soon (if you do it at all) decorate before the Christmas holiday? ~

NEVER ever before Dec 1st in any given year. I LOVE FALL - I LOVE THANKSGIVING and I want to give it the honor it deserves by spending more time thanking the Lord for so very much than I spend decorating for Christmas.
This year - the very first Christmas decoration went up SUNDAY AFTERNOON - Dec 15th - rarely do we BEGIN the middle of the month - but - never do we begin before Dec 1st.

~ ~ ~ ~

Do you ever take a driving tour to see neighborhood lighting? ~

Jerry and I used to make a date night to go check out neighborhoods in Kalamazoo known for extensive holiday decorating - now we stay nearer to home, checking out Schoolcraft, driving slowly one street to another and sipping hot cocoa in insulated cups - enjoying the variety in lights and decor.

~ ~ ~ ~

What do you dislike MOST about Christmas? ~

A couple of things ~ 


COMMERCIALISM esp when it's so blatantly filled by greed before October 31st now.

What is your favorite Christmas Day tradition? ~

Time with our family ~ We have time with the Avery side of the family (It will be one less in membership this year as we lost my big brother to Heaven the Monday night before Thanksgiving 2019) we gather in one of the Avery's homes around EXCELLENT FOOD with GREATS AMOUNT OF LAUGHTER and LOTS OF LOVE EXPRESSED! I expect absolutely no difference this year, as it's exactly what Vern would have wanted for us ALL.

~ ~ ~ ~

Okay, my readers, it's YOUR turn! 

I can hardly wait to read your comments/answers here!
If we do not see one another before next WEDNESDAY - CHRISTMAS DAY - 

PLEASE leave a comment, and I will be sharing them on FB the day before Christmas - WITH NO NAMES MENTIONED.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Slade Jackson and Asia Stratton ~ SILENT NIGHT SUSPECT

My name is Slade Jackson and I’m here to share my story behind the story of Silent Night Suspect.

My roots are set in small town Iowa. Don’t live there anymore but it made me who I am. Our hometown is the kind of place that exists only in old black and white movies. Everyone knows everyone else’s business, people watch out for one another, and there’s no need for daycare when the whole neighborhood is watching your children.

It was a wonderful place to grow up. Safe. Never more than 800 people even during the fourth of July events. The favorite shindig of the year that brought even those who’d moved away home for that holiday.

I met the woman I knew I’d marry in kindergarten. Asia was the only one for me and I never doubted her love. It was like we were meant for each other. Destined to be together. Until Zander Stratton moved into town. The people I’d know all my life were cold. Unwelcoming toward him. So when Asia brought Zander’s lonely plight to my attention, I jumped into action. That’s me. The rescuer. Except I managed to rescue Asia right into Zander’s arms.

Maybe there’s no one to blame. Maybe I saw Zander infiltrating my territory and I was over confident. Thinking she’d never choose him over me. Until she did.

Our senior prom was our last night together. My sisters rallied around Asia acting like her personal ladies in waiting. Doting on her. And I could picture our future together. Our own huge family interacting with my siblings and their children.

And it might’ve happened except that I made the mistake of sharing my proposal plan with Zander.

Everything was magical. There with Asia, dancing under the fabricated stars (made by using old Christmas lights). Life was perfect. Until it wasn’t.

Zander had disappeared. Asia was worried since he’d seemed depressed that night. I went outside to find him. He always took off to smoke a cigarette. Sure enough, I found him.

Zander dropped an anvil on my head with his confession. He’d fallen in love with Asia. It bugged me but I figured he’d get over it because she didn’t feel the same way. Zander assured me she did. I didn’t believe him. Blew it off thinking it was lies. But when I asked Asia about it at the end of the night while we stood in front her house with the single bulb porchlight illuminating us, her eyes told me everything. She begged my forgiveness and said her feelings for Zander went beyond friendship. She asked me to set her free.

What could I do? Maybe I should’ve fought for her. Maybe I should’ve demanded Zander leave her alone. Instead, I gave in. If she didn’t want me, there was nothing left to say.

And with my heart shattered, I kissed her goodnight and agreed to let her go with one condition, she and I never stop being friends. If I couldn’t have her as my wife, I wanted her to have everything her heart desired. Even if her heart desired Zander. So long as I could be with her as a friend, I’d take it. Whatever it took to keep Asia in my life.

I'm Asia Stratton and Slade’s reminiscence isn’t wrong, but I viewed our teenage years somewhat differently. My name is Asia Stratton. Slade’s correct about how he describes our hometown. But where he saw it’s greatness, all I saw was boring. My whole life was boring. I didn’t realize at the time how beautiful boring can be. Everything was stable. I had a mom and dad still together, still in love. My life was easy. I had a steady boyfriend, and we’d talked about getting married someday. Slade and I had been a couple forever. We were inseparable. He was reliable and safe. He came from a large family. They were loud and loving. The Jackson home was a second family for me.

Until Zander Stratton moved into town our senior year of high school.

Zander turned our 1950s town upside down with his rugged good looks, too long hair, and leather jacket. His whole persona screamed bad boy. It was intriguing. At least I thought so, but our welcoming corner of the world suddenly went cold. Slade and I saw the way Zander was treated and felt bad for him. We befriended him and became the three musketeers.

I’m not sure exactly when it started but somewhere along the line, I viewed Zander differently. I told him nothing could happen between us until I talked to Slade. I wouldn’t do that to him. Breaking up would be hard enough. But he jumped the gun at prom and before I knew it, things had changed instantly.

Life with Zander was hard. He was the polar opposite of Slade. Where Slade was easy-going, reliable and secure, Zander was needy, impatient and sporadic. At first it was exciting, but our life quickly became harder to handle. Then Zander started doing drugs. He had affairs that broke my heart and with each one my heart died a little bit. I was so embarrassed about our life that I never told anyone. I slid into a lonely existence. Then Zander’s erratic behavior got stranger and before I knew it, he demanded I stop talking to Slade.

When he disappeared, I wasn’t too worried, because he’d done it before. Gone on binges and reappeared weeks later. But when weeks became months, I knew something was really wrong.

I never dreamed that I’d be on the run, fearing for my life. Never knew that Zander’s decisions would be the catalyst that changed my life. And that I’d be relying on Slade more than ever to unravel the mess that had consumed my life.

~ ~ ~ ~

My Story Title:   Silent Night Suspect

My Story Genre:  Romantic Suspense

My Story Released:   December 2019

~ ~ ~ ~

The Author of My Story:   Sharee Stover

Colorado native, Sharee Stover, lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and two ridiculously spoiled dogs. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. She writes Christian romantic suspense combining heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a three-time Daphne du Maurier finalist and the winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award. Her debut novel, Secret Past, was named Best First Book 2019 by the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. When she isn’t writing, Sharee enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd.

~ ~ ~ ~

Get Connected:

  • Instagram:

  • ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
    Silent Night Suspect to a winner within the U.S.

    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.


    Thursday, December 05, 2019

    Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Michelle Hadley and Logan Emerson ~ Love In Pictures

    Hi! My name is Michelle Hadley. I’m a wedding photographer and hopeful romantic. Yes, I call myself hopeful instead of hopeless because well that’s just depressing! Though I do hope to be married one day, I’m not sure when that will happen because I’m so shy around men that I don’t really date. Instead, I focus like a camera on my clients and capture their love in pictures. I love what I do and I’m really good at it!

    I have my own photography studio in Annapolis, Md. It’s in a really picturesque location and I enjoy going to work every morning. But my work is not limited to the location of my studio; I travel near and far for my clients! Sometimes, capturing my clients’ love stories takes me on flights out of the United States of America to very romantic destinations! You’ll have to read my story to “get the picture.”

    My clients reflect my passion for diversity. As a woman of color who doesn’t always see people who look like her on mainstream bridal and wedding magazines, I endeavor to produce photography that shows the world that love comes in every color. I want all couples, especially my clients of color and ones who are mixed-race, to see themselves on the front covers of those popular magazines. I want my clients who feel marginalized or overlooked by the world, to feel like someone truly “sees” them and values their love.

    When you “meet” me in this story (Love in Pictures), you’ll see that I’m seated in my favorite café, focused on my work while also chatting via text with my best friend Juliana. I’m so busy that I don’t even notice a certain someone who may become a special someone who changes my own story in ways I never could have imagined! Again, you’ll have to read my story for more details! Hint: It takes a whole lot of listening to Juliana and talking to God through prayer, to help me see the man who is picture perfect for me!

    Without giving away all the details of my story, I can say that as you journey through the pages of Love in Pictures, you will see how God uses my family, friends, faith and photography skills to paint such a beautiful picture of His plan for my life! I hope that my story will encourage your heart, especially if you are a hopeful romantic like me!


    Hey! I’m Logan Emerson. You may recognize me from the evening news broadcast on TV (if you live in the DMV, you know, D.C./Maryland/Virginia)! I’ve been working my dream job as a broadcast journalist for years now and I’m good at what I do but that wasn’t always my story.

    When you first “meet” me on the pages of Love in Pictures, you’ll see that I’m still recovering from a brutal breakup. Long story short, my ex-fiance London broke off our engagement so that she could chase her career dreams. Yep. She chose a modeling career in Paris, France, over our plans for marriage and family. It broke my heart and I thought I’d never recover! In fact, I kept her photo on my office desk in my cubicle for months after our relationship ended. But one day, walking into my favorite local café helped me stumble (literally) onto another chapter of my life. Yes, I met a girl. Her name is Michelle and she is one fine woman. But it’s not only her beauty that drew me in hook, line and sinker; it was her heart of gold!

    Meeting Michelle was good for me but pursuing her almost broke my heart again. I entered into a world that I didn’t know existed; a world where people of color are treated differently – and not always in a good way – because of their race and skin tone. Seeing the hardships that Michelle had to go through made me both infuriated and confused. It also made me want to hold her close, protect her and bring happiness to her heart when these injustices turned her beautiful smile upside-down.

    Michelle’s brother! Have mercy. He was one of the most consistent roadblocks to our romance! You’ll have to read our story to find out why but I will say that I know (now) that he always had Michelle’s best interest at heart. Just like I wanted to protect Michelle from harm, her brother did too.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    My Story Title:  Love In Pictures

    My Story Genre:  Contemporary Romance

    My Story Released:   June 12, 2018

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Author of My Story:    Alexis A.Goring

    Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart who loves the arts!

    She enjoys the storytelling process from interviewing people for news media and faith-based publications to writing the story, editing the story and publishing the story.

    Alexis is an author of Inspirational Romance fiction stories and non-fiction devotionals that inspire the heart. She has written and published three fiction books and her devotionals have appeared in numerous faith-based publications. She is also a passionate blogger and founder of “God is Love” blog.

    Always up for a new adventure, Alexis traveled to Italy where she explored the culture, food and language with friends. She even moved to Montana (where the air is fresh and the land is beautiful) to take her first big break in Journalism as the Editor and Reporter for a county newspaper!

    Photography is another passion that’s close to her heart. She enjoys capturing people’s genuine emotions on joyous occasions with her camera. She’s experienced in natural light photography and photojournalism.

    A total foodie, Alexis enjoys eating delicious food at restaurants (new and old favorites). She loves celebrating special occasions with family and friends over food!

    At the end of the day, Alexis hopes that her passion for Jesus Christ will shine through all of her creative endeavors. She wants her writing to touch hearts for Jesus and lead people to Him.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author will be honored to gift a winner an ebook of

    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.


    Thursday, November 21, 2019

    My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Mary Clare Casteel ~ Pocket Change

    Hello from Pocket, Arkansas. My name is Mary Clare Casteel, but everyone calls me Mac. I’m dying to tell you my story BEFORE the story for two reasons. Number One, the story begins with a murder, and Number Two, it involves a host of my quirky family members and one melt-down gorgeous neighbor—Mick Walker.

    As most of my town knows, I worked my way through college at Mr. Chick-a-Booms Chicken Palace. Once I completed my degree in elementary education, I landed a great job teaching, but as a single woman I had to be quite creative with my monthly earnings. I was toodling along okay. Then one day a van pulled into my driveway. It changed my cash flow from OKAY to WOW! The van belonged to the Publisher’s Clearing House folks and they were there to deliver enough money to make me gulp. The fumes from their vehicle still lingered in the air as I rushed to the bank—still in my pink chenille bathrobe and bunny slippers.

    Fast forward six months and I was the proud owner of my nearly completed dream business, Pocket Change. Part antique shop, part book store, part cutting edge technology, it held all the things our town had lost over the decades—hope. The current status of our town sagged. It was my dream to restore our little metropolis to its former glory and NOT allow it to be forever known for its ten-mile-long monthly yard sale.

    Then the bomb dropped. As my shop sat nearing completion, I made two discoveries. My contractor, Smitty Small, was in our prize Victorian display coffin – dead, and my new neighbor, Mick Walker proved to be an intriguing and helpful piece of the puzzle.

    Want to find out more about what took place and who killed Smitty? I’d love for you to join in the fun and pick up a copy of Pocket Change by Debbie Archer. It’s full of mystery, humor, a bit of romance, and a host of Southern traditions I think you’ll enjoy.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    My Story Title:   Pocket Change

    My Story Genre:  Cozy Mystery

    My Story Releases:   November 05, 2019

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Author of My Story:    Debbie Archer

    Debbie Archer writes contemporary fiction for adults. Humor often shows up unexpectedly. She holds a Master’s Degree in Library Science and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She lives in a small nestled-up part of Arkansas with her incredibly patient husband and a band of rescue animals.

    Her professional affiliations include, ALA, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, ACFW, Sisters in Crime, American Reading Association, and Romance Writers of America.
    Among her favorite authors are John Grisham, Joy Avery Melville, Christine Lynxwiler, Tara Johnson, Dr. Seuss, Sheila Turnage, and Jan Karon.
    Her compass verse is Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

    My author signed a contract with her Mack snapping pics and her fur babies looking on!

    Such excitement in the house!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    THEN - oh for a pictorial drum roll right now  **** **** ****  November 5, 2019 - RELEASE!!!

    ~My author's book launches went well over the weekend ~
    She has generously allowed Joy to share her special moments with  you here!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
    Pocket Change to someone residing in the USA.

    Be sure to leave a comment 

    Include an email address where you can be reached should you win.


    Thursday, November 14, 2019

    My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Candi Reynolds ~ Meant For Her

    Hello, my name is Candi Reynolds, and My Story BEFORE The Story may be a bit more than you can deal with. It might possibly trigger something in you that would be best left unread. Read with caution.

    Although, I had some things happen when I was younger that I've managed to push out of my mind, my big brother, Cam, helped me move on and we lived together at what used to be our parents' horse farm until I graduated from Schoolcraft High School and entered Western Michigan University.

    In my Freshman year, I met a guy there, and his name is Harper Davis Bryant III, and we dated the entire four years there, and we became engaged after graduation.

    Harper's father, a senator, purchased a house for us in Bloomfield Village near Detroit, MI. A large, multi-million dollar home, in fact.

    My home had been with Cam before I started at the University and during school breaks. Since it was close to a three hour drive between the two cities, Harper and I decided I'd move into the house and work on redecorating it, so it'd be ready to live in as soon as we married in December of 2014.

    Harper wasn't pleased about me doing the work myself for fear too many people would find out and feel he and his father couldn't afford to hire everything done. That would never do, since it made them look bad in the eyes of their peers. I explained it was more like a labor of love than sheer hard work, and he finally agreed. I just wasn't to go around telling people. He had nothing to worry about on that point. I didn't know anyone in that area, except the few I was introduced to at the country club or church he and his parents attended.

    He also made it difficult for me to keep him at arms' length when he visited, once I'd moved in. I insisted, and he complied, more for the sake of his reputation and the political name he held than for the sake of his spiritual or moral values. That was something I was struggled to come to terms with  way too often.

    One night, he was supposed to be picking up his mother at the local country club and joining his father at a campaign rally. Since I hadn't been invited along, I stayed at the house and continued working on painting an upstairs bedroom.

    I heard someone at the door, and I thought it was Harper stopping by the house to surprise me before going to get his mother. I went to let him in. I checked the peep hole first, even though I had to stand high on tiptoes to look out. I couldn't see him there, so I thought he was playing a trick, and I opened the door. Probably the worst mistake of my life.

    Two men pushed their way into the house,  searched for anything they could sell or use, and  literally kidnapped me.

    They hauled me out to a decrepit, old car and made me lie down with my face shoved into the backseat of the stinking vehicle they drove for a very long time.

    I couldn't tell where they'd taken me, until we arrived, and they led me into a remote cabin.

    What happened next is much too sordid for me to share with you. In fact, I find... it's much easier to push those memories into a closet in someone else's home rather than deal with them myself.

    I only know, I was left to die a cold and horrific death... until...

    Well... you'll have to get a copy of Meant For Her to find out what happened to me NEXT!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    My Story Title:   Meant For Her

    My Story Genre:  Christian Contemporary Women's Fiction

    My Story Releases:   November 14, 2019

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Author of My Story:    Joy Avery Melville

    Joy Avery Melville’s heart’s desire is to be the author God has called her to be by sharing Him with readers in such a way they long to have a deeply committed personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.

    Fully intending to write Historical Romance—had in fact— she had no plans to deviate from that. God had something else in mind for that ‘call’ He’d made on her life back in 1967. A mere eighth grader at the time, she had no clue about the topics she’d be drawn to write about.

    Surrendering to the genre God placed on her heart has given Joy new insight into the hearts and lives of those who too often hurt in silence.

    The settings of Joy’s books are near where she lives in Schoolcraft, Michigan with her husband of nearly 46 years and their one-yr-old Yorkie pup, Is-A-Bella Bindi, (Is-a-beautiful little girl) who thinks she’s a much larger breed with tomboy tendencies.

    Joy loves to hear from readers and will respond!

    To enter the drawing for a copy of Meant For Her  - Please answer the following question:

    What does Candi do whenever something traumatic happens to her?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    I will be honored to gift a signed copy of Meant For Her  to one who comments, leaving the right answer about Candi and/or her situation above. Each one who comments correctly gets their name in the drawing. 
    For anyone who signs up for my NEWSLETTER (see right side bar) and CONFIRMS SUBSCRIPTION when you receive an email requesting it,  AND INFORMS ME BEFORE DRAWING IS HELD
     ... gets your name in a second drawing - 
    That person will receive an unique gift  - either a treasured bookmark - or - a uniquely wrapped pen with MEANT FOR HER on a bed of fall leaves - done in bead work.....both prizes work perfectly! *smile*
    Be sure to leave  an email address in your comment where you can be reached should you win.



    Thursday, November 07, 2019

    Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Ernestine Sims & Jack Randolph ~ Mistletoe Courtship

    Hi, my name is Ernestine Sims, Ernie to my family and friends. I’m the mayor of Stony Creek, Wyoming. Things are generally quiet around here, though we’re growing by leaps and bounds since the war ended back east.

    For now, I live with my grandmother, though I hope to one day marry. Only one problem—men don’t seem to notice me unless it’s to settle a conflict between two warring ranchers or I’m cutting the ribbon on a new business in town. I may be the mayor, but I’m a lady first. That’s why I decided to get a secret pen pal, a gentleman, someone I can talk without mentioning my work. Things between us were going along swimmingly until the impossible happened.

    My grandmother got a beau.

    A beau! Can you believe that? And not just any beau, but the grandfather of my best friend, Jack Randolph. I thought I’d have a husband before she would, but the way things are going, she’ll be walking down the aisle before I do. There’s only one thing I can do—ask my best friend, Jack Randolph to give me lessons on attracting a man.

    Hi, I’m Jack Randolph and I’ve come back to Stony Creek with a newly minted law degree and the urge to finally settle down. But law school doesn’t leave much time for courting, so I followed my grandfather’s advice and started a correspondence with a young lady he thought would be perfect for me. But I’d barely stepped off of the train before I landed in another one of Ernie’s madcap schemes. Teaching Ernie how to land a husband has opened my eyes and my heart to my beautiful best friend. But what about my secret pen pal? I can’t ask her to come to Stony Creek, not when all I can think about is taking Ernie in my arms and kissing her senseless.

    Then I discovered the truth.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Our Story Title:   Mistletoe Courtship

    Our Story Genre:  Historical Romance

    Our Story Releases:   Available Now!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Author of My Story:   Patty Smith Hall

    Multi-published author Patty Smith Hall lives near the North Georgia Mountains with her husband, Danny. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family, reading or working in her garden.

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    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Note from Patty Smith Hall:
    I will give away a copy of Mistletoe Courtship as well as my new release, Crinoline Cowboys. Mistletoe is E-book while Crinoline will require a mailing address.

    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.


    Thursday, October 31, 2019

    Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Ashley Johnson & Edgar Russell (Russ) ~ Practically Married

    Seventeen years ago, I was supposed to be planning my high school graduation party. Instead, I had to plan my parents’ funeral. Aunt Rose and Uncle John actually planned it, but I helped as much as a traumatized 18-year-old girl could. After it was over, we all stayed together in my parents’ house for six months. I was all set to start college, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave my home empty while I moved on, especially because I wasn’t sure if I could move on.

    I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not because I didn’t move on. Maybe I would have if I’d gone to school. Instead, I used the insurance money to pay for the funeral, paid off the mortgage, and invested in some medical transcriptional equipment so I could support myself without having to leave home.

    I never planned to stay home forever though. It just happened. Then I found my mom’s journal. I never even knew she kept one! Reading it was amazing. Not only did I learn some things about myself, it felt like I got to meet my mom as an adult. Turns out we have a lot of similar hopes and dreams, and reading her journal was the kick I needed to go after them.

    I’m Ashley Johnson, and I can’t wait to see where I end up.

    My whole life has happened on the farm. My earliest memories include apple and cherry trees. And my dad. When other kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons, I got to sit shotgun with my dad as we drove through the orchards or delivered produce. Uncle Bill and my cousin, Tom, were almost always there with us. No one ever told us we had to work on the farm when we grew up. I don’t think either one of us ever considered anything else, though.

    I can’t imagine life without Tom. Growing up with three younger sisters, I couldn’t wait to leave the house to meet my cousin. I don’t know what I would have done without him when my dad died. Dad wasn’t unhealthy or sick. The doctor said there aren’t many symptoms of a brain aneurysm, besides a headache, and Dad wouldn’t have missed a day of work for that. I don’t remember much about the day he died, but I know I wouldn’t have gotten through the next year without Tom.

    That’s why I’m not sure what to do now that Tom’s gone. His annual hiking trip. I’ve actually gone with him a dozen times over the years, but not this year. If I’d gone, maybe … maybe we both would have slipped and fallen. Who knows? What I do know is that I have a farm to run, a family to watch out for, and a beautiful stranger named Ashley looking for Tom.

    I’m Edgar Russell—everyone calls me Russ—and who knows how this will end up.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Our Story Title:   PRACTICALLY MARRIED

    Our Story Genre:  Contemporary Romance

    Our Story Releases:  Tuesday ~ October 22, 2019

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Author of Our Story:    Karin Beery

    Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. In her free time, she enjoys watching University of Michigan football and action-adventure movies with her husband and fur babies.

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    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
    Practically Married
    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.


    Thursday, October 24, 2019

    Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Millie and Jake ~ Millie's Christmas

    My name is Millie. I’m a four month old kitten.

    My best friend Ruthie is teaching me all about Christmas, especially about Jesus.

    Something scary happened though when Ruthie’s big brother Jake—he’s nineteen—fell and broke his ankle. He realized he couldn’t visit his mommy for Christmas, which made him really sad. And Ruthie too.

    I’m very grown-up, but I don’t have much life behind me yet to share with you. I asked Jake to share with you about his life, since it has a lot to do with the story. I’m learning so much about people stuff.

    Anyway, here’s Jake.

    My parents got a divorce when I was about nine, and I’ve always lived with my dad.

    We met a nice lady named Judy a year or so later, and once we all knew each other and knew we liked each other, she and Dad got married.

    When I was thirteen, they had a baby, a little girl named Ruthie. I never knew how fun it was going to be to be a big brother.

    I’m happy living with Dad and Judy and Ruthie. I’m in college now, and it’s helpful to still be able to live at home.

    But I visit my mom as much as I can.

    After the divorce, Mom moved back in with my Grandma in another state. She got a job and moved into an apartment of her own after a couple years, but she still lives in the same town where she grew up.

    Mom told me she really loved me, but she thought it was best for me to stay with Dad. She said she’d been really sick, and she’d explain it to me more when I was older.

    I’m older now, and I don’t know if I want to know any time soon. I get along good with my Dad and Mom, and I just want to keep it that way.

    I visit Mom in the summer, and every year I spend Christmas with her. It’s our tradition.

    But not this year. I broke my ankle pretty bad, and I can’t fly.

    Dad said he’s glad we’re going to be able to spend Christmas together. And Ruthie is really happy about it, so I need to be happy for them. I’m praying about that.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Our Story Title:   Millie's Christmas

    Our Story Genre:  Children’s fiction ages five to eight,
                                 (All ages will enjoy this story)

    Our Story Releases:   October 22, 2019
                                       (kindle pre-order now)

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    The Author of My Story:    Kathy McKinsey

    Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl.

    She’s been married to Murray for 32 years, and they have five adult children.
    She’s had two careers before writing—stay-at-home-Mom and rehabilitation teacher for the blind.
    She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dog.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?
    (Book is up for Pre-Order NOW)

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author will be honored to gift a winner an 
    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.


    Thursday, October 17, 2019

    My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Morgan James ~ A Magnolia Blooms in Winter

    Hello! Or as we say in the South, Hey, y’all! Although as an actor—nobody says actress anymore— on Broadway, I’ve been working hard to eliminate my Southern accent. I’m Morgan James and I’ve been in New York for several years, striving for my big break and a starring role on Broadway.

    Last year, I played the second lead in a Broadway show and got good reviews. Then, I recently auditioned for the lead in Bloom!, a new off-Broadway production. I’m was born for that part. I keep asking God, since He gave me my talent, to please give me favor with the director. I know it’s Off Broadway, but it’s the lead and one step closer to being a Broadway star. My old high school sweetheart, Andy Wayfield, always told me to reach for the stars.

    Then my mother calls me. Y’all are going to love my mother. She is so funny. She talks all around a subject before she gets to the point. Drives me to distraction, but all my friends love her. Well, it seems she somehow squashed the music minister at church, and they need my help to put on the Christmas musical. I guess since I wrote it, they think I’m the best one to help out.

    Do I need to tell you who that music minister is? You guessed old flame, Andy. Just saying his name still makes my heart flip over. But our lives are so far apart, what with him back home in Sugar Hill, Georgia and me in New York City. But, since it was my mama who broke his ankle, I can’t say no.

    Then, I arrive home and see Andy. Oh my!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    My Story Title:  A Magnolia Blooms in Winter
    A Southern Season:
     Four Stories From A Front Porch Swing

    My Story Genre: Romance

    My Story Released:   September 2018

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    The Author of My Story:    Ane Mulligan

    While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Amazon bestselling author Ane Mulligan has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, and bestselling novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler who thinks he’s a teddy bear.

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    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of

    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.


    Thursday, October 10, 2019

    Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Rachel and Emily ~ The Trouble in Willow Falls

    The day I spread a blanket on our foyer floor and invited Mom to join my audience of stuffed animals she applauded my five-year-old version of Aladdin and called me her darling, Rachel, a talented little actress. For six years she inspired me and my friends to create our own one-act performances. Her love and accolades gave my dream wings and made me believe I could fly.

    Then cancer snatched her away and reduced my family of three to two. My father rarely watched my childhood performances. He was too busy building Streetman Enterprise into the South’s most successful real-estate-development firm. His vision for my future didn’t include acting. Thus, he began to groom me to follow in his footsteps, hoping one day I’d become his successor. For years I secretly held tight to my dreams, until my final performance as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street at the University of Georgia. That’s the night my father presented me with a bouquet of roses and said, “Nice job, Strawberry Girl, but it’s time to grow up and take your place in the real world.” Which I did, for seven long years. Then I met Charlie Bricker and Emily Hayes and discovered Willow Falls.

    Hello, I’m Emily. I live two hours north of Atlanta in Willow Falls, the little town where I grew up. Although as an only child I yearned, even begged for a sister, I had a happy childhood and a lot of friends. Some of my fondest memories include Scott. We often played hide-and-seek in his family’s store. He sparked my sixth-grade crush when he found me crouched behind a barrel of kitchen gadgets and kissed me for the first time. Little did I know he’d one day become my husband and inherit Hayes General Store.

    Today I’m editor of the Willow Post and an aspiring novelist, motivated by Mom’s passion for reading and my parents’ love for Willow Falls. Most of our childhood friends moved away. The result of the town’s long painful path to failure triggered when Sadie Liles killed the town hero. She spent thirty years behind bars, before returning to scene of her crime.

    The story of Willow Falls’ quest to transform itself into a tourist destination, and Rachel’s, Sadie’s, and my collision with truth and destiny began in The Secret of Willow Inn.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Our Story Title:   THE TROUBLE IN WILLOW FALLS                                   Willow Falls Series - Book 2
    Our Story Genre:  Contemporary Women's Fiction
    Our Story Releases:   November 4, 2019

    Readers: Mark that on your calendars!!!!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Author of Our Story:    Pat Nichols

    Retired from a twenty-seven-year corporate career, Pat Nichols draws on her experience in seven different management positions working with hundreds of amazing women from all walks of life to create stories about women facing challenges in the pursuit of their dreams. Her debut novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, Willow Falls series book one, was released January, 2019. Book two in the series is scheduled for release November 2019. Pat received a 2018 NGCWC Georgia Peach Award for her short story, The Vet and Valentine’s Day and the 2017 CRW Woman of the Year Award. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers International.

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    Get Connected:

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
    The Trouble in Willow Falls.
    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.

    Thursday, October 03, 2019

    Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Karina & Tristan ~ Sword of Soter

    At a random inn, in a random town, right in the middle of Tzedek…

    KARINA: (clothed in a purple dress for the first time in a while, her dark hair hanging in a long braid, sits on a platform next to Tristan) Greetings, great readers! Welcome to the Three Kingdoms. I apologize that I am not in Aletheia, where I could welcome you properly. For now, we shall have to endure this lesser hall as I endeavor to answer questions.

    TRISTAN: (looks rather uncomfortable as he fidgets in his formal dark pants, forest green tunic, and golden sash, but the way he sits shows that he is protective of Karina) I don’t know why we had to dress up for this.

    KARINA: You will have to forgive my friend, Tristan. Our journey has been long. We are wearied, and there is still so much we have yet to accomplish.

    TRISTAN: Which is why we should not have stopped for this.

    KARINA: (ignores him) You see, I am a Prophetess of the Creator and Queen of Aletheia—though neither is in the realm of what I expected or trained to be. I have been charged with collecting the sacred Armor of the Creator in order to defeat a most foul ancient evil who is using the Warlock King to infect this world.

    TRISTAN: Why’d you have to go and mention my brother? (mutters) At least you didn’t marry him.

    KARINA: (giving him a confused look) He is the whole reason we are on this quest! (looks back to the crowd) I see many of you are confused. Let me start at the beginning.

    When I was just a small child, my father was exiled from Aletheia for betraying his brother—King Pistis of Aletheia. We retreated to Soter for a time, until my parents were both killed by men who are yet still unknown to me. I was placed on an orphan train where I traveled the Three Kingdoms, until they too came under attack.

    After suffering for days in the northern forests of Soter, the royal healer of Aletheia found me, near death, and brought me back to the royal house. He nursed me back to health and then took me on as his apprentice. I enjoyed learning the healing arts, and the king—my uncle—never seemed the wiser.

    Until he was on his deathbed.

    While I cared from him in the absence of the royal healer, he revealed that he had known who I was for a while. And, since he had no children of his own, I was the only heir to his thrown! Talk about having the air sucked out of my lungs. I could not even respond!

    Before I could even take on the mantle of queen, a servant of the Creator appeared and proclaimed me a prophetess and gave me a quest. The Three Kingdoms was being invaded by an ancient evil that wanted nothing more than to destroy all the Creator had done. I was to travel to the 3 temples to collect the sacred Armor of the Creator.

    TRISTAN: At least she would try. Until I kidnapped her.

    KARINA: (a small smirk adds humor to her smug expression) Indeed. You should share a bit of your history.

    TRISTAN: (groans) No.

    KARINA: I am sure these gentle readers would love to know why you would kidnap the Queen of Aletheia, haul her back to the Warlock King—your brother—and then end up helping her to escape and complete the first leg of the quest.

    TRISTAN: See, now they know.

    KARINA: (another sigh) Tristan Lemur is the second son of the former King of Tzedek. His brother, Faramos, killed their father and took his place. He rules the kingdom with an iron fist and the threat of the ancient evil. Tristan was his bounty hunter and assassin.

    TRISTAN: I only took that position so that I could remain close to my brother in order to avenge the death of BOTH of my parents.

    KARINA: (nods with wise understanding) But he came to realize that vengeance was not his to take.

    TRISTAN: Not exactly.

    KARINA: What do you mean?

    TRISTAN: I originally followed after you only because I thought I would have a better chance of achieving my goal on your side. Had nothing to do with realizing anything other than my own incompetence.

    KARINA: You are not incompetent. I think, well, Faramos was your brother, the last of your family in the Three Kingdoms. I imagine it was hard for you to comprehend removing that connection, no matter how evil he is.

    TRISTAN: I don’t think you quite understand the depth of my hatred.

    KARINA: (furrows her brow, but clears her throat) Regardless of his reasons, Tristan ended up helping me through the first part of the quest in Aletheia. Without him, I may not have survived! Now, we have just finished our harrowing journey through Soter. I cannot reveal more about that experience yet.

    TRISTAN: I’m just glad to be done with the deception and pretense of that kingdom. At least Faramos is up front about his evil ways.

    KARINA: He is not! He tried to garner a betrothal from me in order to take my kingdom! Under the name of peace.

    TRISTAN: (grunts) Well, at least I know who Faramos is and what he is about. You just had to find out the hard way.

    KARINA: It was not that hard.

    TRISTAN: (looks to the back of the room as an elf with pale skin and raven hair flings the door open) Rashka says we need to go. Faramos’s scouts have been spotted in the area.

    KARINA: (wavering smile) Well, thank you for listening to the story of how we got came to grace this town. Well, at least the story of how we came to be on this quest. The Honored Scribe says you can read the beginning of our actual journey in Armor of Aletheia and continue on with us in the latest story Sword of Soter, just out this week!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Our Story Title:   SWORD OF SOTER
    Sacred Armor Trilogy - Book 2

    Our Story Genre:  YA Fantasy

    Our Story Released:   SEPTEMBER 26, 2019


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    The Author of Our Story:    RALENE BURKE

    Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone #SHINEBeyond their circumstances! Her fantasy novels are available on Amazon.
    When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their 3 kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all-around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Get Connected:

    WHERE can the book be purchased?

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    The author has offered to gift a winner a signed copy of
    Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.