Saturday, November 22, 2014




Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I saw her squatting and looking eye to eye at the packaged item standing under the Christmas tree. It was four in the morning, and I had no idea how long she had been there.
            I was grateful for the toys and clothes Mother had bought for my children. She had set a few unwrapped items under the tree before retiring to bed, doing her bit to keep the fantasy of Santa alive for another year—a magnanimous gesture for one who so despised the myth.
             If it had not been for her, my children would have wondered if Santa cared about them. Divorced, unemployed, and with a scant amount of support money, what little allowance I received from the government barely paid for rent and food. Outside of crayons and coloring books, Christmas, as I hoped it would be, was out of the question.
            Mother understood my heartache. She herself had known many disappointing Christmases, and hoped to provide better for her own children; but, it was not until Christmas, 1948, that she first began to actually despise Santa. “Santa Claus is a cruel hoax for poor children.”
The years following World War II were difficult for returning vets. Jobs were scare and finding shelter for their families a daunting task. The only housing my parents could afford was in the south side of the Syracuse, New York. They rented a cold-water flat, the euphemism given to apartments with no running hot water. Rats often found their way into the cleanest of these dwellings. The adaptive rodents would eat anything, even gnawing their way through aluminum garbage cans. They thrived in cold-water flats. Fearful that the rats would bite her children, Mother spent many sleepless nights vigilantly listening for any sounds that might indicate danger. 
A child of the depression and a wife of a World War II veteran, Mother was grateful for her surroundings, grateful that her family was all together under one roof even if money was scarce. My father’s factory paycheck paid the rent and bought food—leaving little for luxuries of any kind, especially events like Christmas. I was still a baby, unaware that there was a special day to be excited about. 

My brother, on the other hand, had been looking forward to Christmas and to Santa’s showering of presents for all good boys and girls. 

At first, my brother was thrilled when he opened the holster gun set and cowboy hat under the tree. “Oh, boy! I’m a real cowboy, now!” He flitted about the house shooting bad men that lurked behind the couch and chair. Then he took his treasure outside. It was not long before he rushed back into the house, his countenance forever changed. “Have I been good, Mom?” my brother asked. 

“Of course, you have,” Mother reassured him.
“Then why did Santa Claus only bring me two presents? Santa brought my friend ten presents and a new bike.”

How could she explain poverty to a four-year-old, an innocent who didn’t know he was poor? Mother took the fall for Santa.

“Well, honey,” she ventured to explain. “Moms and dads have to pay Santa for the presents. We didn’t have very much money to give him.” She watched helplessly as her child faced the brutal realities of social inequities for the first time in his life, knowing the experience would be repeated many times over.  
Yes, I knew Mother understood the heartache I felt that Christmas.
My three-year old turned to look at me, eyes filled with tears. “For me?” she asked, not quite believing it might be true.
“Yes, honey. Santa brought it for you.”
I helped her remove the cellophane wrapping. She hugged the treasured gift so tightly, her little fingers turned white.
 “It’s just what I wanted! He remembered!”
 “Yes, he remembered.”
In my heart, I was grateful to a mother whose memory reached from her pain and gave comfort.

Cancer survivor, author, sometimes speaker but always a wife and mother, Linda lives in Jacksonville, Florida where she is able to golf year around with her more than patient husband of 37 years. She has won a few awards in life but her best achievements are her three children and nine grandchildren. Life is never as we planned but with God at the helm, always an adventure. Linda’s books reflect how God transforms our worst past into our best future. She is always available to speak to your groups on God’s surpassing Love.
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Linda’s Blog: This Daily Grind       Linda’s Website:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sunnybank Secrets . . .: With Music in Their Hearts

A gret read!

Sunnybank Secrets . . .: With Music in Their Hearts: With Music in Their Hearts a romantic suspense About the book:  Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Promise Fulfilled

My friend Nike and I met while I was visiting my children in New York City. So great to share the zanny with someone who understand the crazy writer brain. This video was done shortly after my release of The Other Side of Darkness. Both of us have gone on to write other books. But these two are special.

When God said, "Write," He promised more than I could hope or dream. Silly me thought that meant wealth in high royalties, buying a new car with cash, and being able to leave fat tips at fancy restaurants.

God has more than fulfilled His promise. Writing has provided me with a wealth of friends, experiences, and a deeper appreciation of God's unsurpassed faithfulness.

Sometimes we think God has not fulfilled His promise because we look for His response in the wrong place.

As Christmas draws near, I think of the wise men. They knew a king, a mighty king, had been born. How surprised they must have been to find this king, whose birth had been heralded by such wonders, in a humble home, with humble parents. Yet, they brought their gifts, knelt and worshiped, trusting God's Emmanuel would change the world.

Where do you search for God's promises to be fulfilled? 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014



How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.” Oswald Chambers

Self is the biggest stumbling block in our Christian walk. And it invades our decisions, even for the strongest believer. Satan specializes in throwing the committed life into confusion. Confronted by a myriad of possible solutions to any given situation, most of which may appear harmless or justifiable, the Christian who does not use Biblical principles in decision-making may feel insecure, procrastinate, or become frozen with fear. The Christian may mistakenly believe that God’s mind is unknowable. 
Part of our worship is to surrender our bodies, “as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” which Paul says is our “spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1 NIV). This includes our decisions. How do we weed out self interest in our decisions?  

A good decision is a God decision.

God does not hide himself in obscure situations. God has made known his “divine nature and eternal power since the creation of the world.”  He makes himself plain to those who are willing to see His truth. To make a good decision that is routed in the will of God begins by acknowledging this fact: God wants to make His will known.

A God decision is a result of conviction.

Conviction causes the individual to act. Guilt causes retreat. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. Guilt is the result of enslavement to sin and has no place in the Christian’s decision making process. 

A God decision enhances spiritual development
Spiritual development never remains stagnant. We either move closer in our relationship to God, or we move farther away.  In examining our choices, we need to ask ourselves if the outcome will be a hindrance to our walk with God or bring us closer in our fellowship with Him.

A God decision is compatible with Scripture

God does not ask us to do something that is contrary to His Word. Even those outcomes that might benefit the church, our families, or our pocketbooks, need scrutiny. Will this option be consistent with God’s teaching? Using the Bible as a litmus test will help us avoid making a spiritually wrong turn.  

A God decision is a faith decision

Gideon’s fleece (Judges 6 & 7) was a prayer of non-faith. Sometimes God wants us to proceed on Faith alone, even against the seeming contradictions in life. God does not ask us to make this faith decision without evidence or promises. But He may ask the Christian to hold to the promise when confronted with an option that might corrupt or delay God’s promise.

A God decision is knowable

For the Christian, there is no deep mystery to finding God’s will. There is no need for a crystal ball, magic potion, or mind meld. He makes the right path clearly known for He desires only good things for His children. He knows our needs for material things (Matthew 6:33). But even more, He desires that we walk in harmony with Him for that will bring us the greatest rewards (Matthew 6:19-20). God’s good choice is clear IF we desire to know it.  Then it is up to us either to reject that which He makes known or to claim the promise of a more excellent way.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Indroducing Dawn Crandall

Pleased to introduce another Hartline author. I hope to feature these amazing writers from time to time. Please check the books out. You won't be disappointed!


The Hesitant Heiress--A Musical Heroine

Here is the second in the Hartline Blitz series. Hey this book--you get to read the first chapter! How cool is that? Then decide for yourself if The Hesitant Heiress is for you. Here is author Dawn Crandall's summary of this historical romance.

   With the rare ability to play the piano by ear, Amaryllis Brigham wants nothing more than to someday found a music school. However, someone keeps undermining her hopes and dreams at every turn. 

    Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men—the son of the very man she suspects has been bent on ruining her life. However, Nathan Everstone turns out to be much more than he seems… and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she trust an Everstone man?

Read the first chapter here.

Dawn Crandall writes long inspirational historical romantic suspense. She has a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University and lives in northeast Indiana with her ever-supportive husband and their newest addition, a little baby boy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Introducing Raqel Byrne

Amazing Hartline Agency Writers!

I am pleased to feature fellow Hartline author Raquel Byrne: Check out her books!

The second book in the Noble Island Mystery series just came out! 

Set on the same mysterious Noble Island as the first book, this one delves into the strange and secretive ways of the island's Romany people. 

Secrets at Crescent Point is a Gothic Romance with intrigue and thrills, I know you'll love Raven and Siyah's adventure!

Here is an official blurb...

Leaving Noble Island amid scandal and accusation, Raven vows never to return, but when her sister’s fiancĂ© goes missing, Raven has no choice. Shunned by the island, if she is to unravel the mystery of Niklos’s disappearance, she must rely on the only man she’s ever loved, Siyah Cavaler.

Siyah was devastated when Raven left Noble Island, but as the clan’s heir apparent, he has a responsibility to keep the families from falling into ruin and crime. To preserve the island’s future, he agrees to a bride from a rival family, but Raven’s return stirs his heart and jeopardizes his position in the council. Giving in to his love for Raven would mean turning his back on all he’s ever known.

When Raven’s investigation uncovers a grisly discovery, a darkness is unleashed that threatens them both.

Bizarre accidents, unexplained deaths, and strange apparitions shroud the island. Raven and Siyah struggle to save the families and their love as they race to stop another death and unveil the Secrets at Crescent Point.

 Enjoy a video trailer of this book!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014




I am pleased to introduce my friend and author, Ane Mulligan. Here's some interesting facts about the author of this debut novel. She embodies the adage: never give up!

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite hat, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, multi-published playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two very large dogs. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival releases Sept 8th. You can find Ane on her website, on Facebook, and Pinterest.

Did you always know you would be a writer?
No way did I ever think the stories I told as a kid (back then they called it lying) and played out for weeks with my dolls, would someday become books.

As Creative Arts director for my church, I wrote my first script in 1996, and after we performed it, I sent it to a publisher. They bought that one and everything I sent them afterwards.

How did you start writing novels?
The hubs said I spent a lot on books, I ought to write one. I realized that was God's call, because as soon as Hubs said those words, an idea dropped into my otherwise empty mind.

Plays are a far cry from novels. How did you learn?
First, I found an online Christian critique group and a few mentors, who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. What an understatement.

POV? Never heard the term.
Omniscient? That's what God was.
Show don't tell? How do I tell a story without telling?

Yikes! Yet, with each critique, I absorbed a new concept. I bought every writing craft book they recommended, read them, and absorbed more.

Who are your critique partners?
In 2005, four other writers and I formed a critique group, and being serious about publishing, we were tough on one another. So tough, we all earned nicknames: Attila the Holmes, Hannibal Dotta, Genghis Griep, and Ludwig von Frankenpen, and Ane of Mean Gables.

Was it easy to get published?
Not even. One editor took my manuscript to committee. While I waited for the answer, I got an agent. However ... sigh ...the editorial committee said no. Then, God called my agent into ministry.

A few months later, I signed with my second agent. Soon, she called, saying my manuscript had passed editorial committee and was going to pub board! This was it! Whoopee! Pub board loved it, but their slate was filled, so the editor was going to hold it for their next quarter. Only she retired before the next quarter, and her computer hard drive was wiped clean.

I was lost in cyber oblivion. Then my agent retired. Do you see a pattern here? I did and it looked like a roller coaster. Once again, I whined, "Lord, what is going on?"

And He said, "Wait. Trust me." He didn't offer me another choice, so I chose to trust.

I'm glad I did. In 2012, I signed with Sandra Bishop, and ten years after I began this journey, she called me to tell me we had an offer from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

And my heart quickened. All right, God! This was it. This time, He said, "Yes."

I believe people let down their guard when they think they're being entertained. Through fiction, I can entertain readers. Through fiction, I can present seeds of God's truth. Then when they least expect it, the story can reach out, touch their hearts, and change them. And isn't that why we write? 

About:  Chapel Springs Revival

 Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages as much in need of restoration as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties.