Welcome to my blog. I hope you will return often for that second cup.

Writing has become more than a way to make lists or keep in touch with friends. It is a vital part of who I am. For the past few years I've been writing essays, devotionals, a memoir, and several novels. I invite you to join me on this site so we can explore ways together to improve our writings. Words can be beautiful or they can be hurtful - even devastating. The well-placed word or phrase, the choice metaphor, a fresh perspective - each can add to the reader's participation in sharing the thoughts of the writer. I invite anyone who wants to improve their work or even if you have never attempted writing beyond a grocery list to return often. Feel free to add your thoughts. There are no grades given - no critics to deter you. We do this as friends - chatting over their second cup of coffee. (or tea, if you prefer.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012



A Romantic Christian Novel about choices.



Celia, a law student in Philadelphia, discovers unconditional love as she works her way through her past. No father and a promiscuous mother lead her toward self-destruction, but a man's love and his mother's unselfishness give rise to a real future. Everything changes when she discovers she must make a decision that will change the course of her life.

For your reading pleasure I've included part of the first chapter:

Chapter One



I have no idea who my father was. Neither does the woman who gave birth to me. It doesn't matter. Not really.

Right now I'm headed for my Yoga session and I really need to relax. After studying for a whole week and taking my exams, I can feel the stress messing up my neck and shoulders. Couldn't even sleep last night. Of all times

to run out of booze. Just as well. I promised myself I was done drinking, and I mean it this time. I simply don't need it. I warned Mo (that's for Mohammad) not to bring it in anymore. The jerk laughed, but then he saw I was serious and cut the humor. I even warned him to get a job or get out. It's hard enough supporting myself on a part-time job, let alone putting up with a guy. Okay, so sometimes he breaks down and buys a few groceries. Big deal. He eats like a horse, when he's not too high. Which isn't often. I thought Muslims didn't drink, but then I think he only changed his name to be cool. I've never seen him pray. Never.

I reach the neighborhood where I take my Yoga class and park a block away. Figure it won't kill me to walk that far, even though it's freezing. Might work out the kinks. One good thing about living in Philadelphia, you can find anything you want around here. This Yoga class is actually in a woman's home.

After I lock the car I catch up with my friend, Jasmine. I'm envious of that girl--she's got guys clambering after her. Her father works for the State Department. I have no idea what he does. Neither does she, but she says it's important. "So where were you last week?"

"Amsterdam. I had to travel with my job. I forgot to mention it."

"Rough job."

"Honestly, Celia, it's getting tough making it through airports and all."

"Yeah. I'm sure they give you the third degree. As if you looked like a terrorist."

"Well I do have long black hair and--"

I roll my eyes at her. "You know you're way gorgeous. No one would mistake you for a bad guy. A movie star, maybe. Hey, I finished up my exams today."

We head to the changing room and put on our exercise clothes. Mine are getting pretty beat, but I don't have the cash for new ones. Guess I'll check out the Salvation Army next week.

Jasmine twists her long black hair into a weird configuration and tucks it under a couple of clips. "How do you think they went? The exams. Will you pass?"

"I hope so. Actually, they weren't bad. So far I've got A's in all my classes except one."

"Which one is that?"

"Music appreciation. I took it as an elective. Didn't need it for my law degree, but thought it would be fun and easy."

"You should be good in that course since you play guitar," she says as we head into the class.

The six regulars are already stretching and gabbing. They're older than we are and we never pay much attention to them. Especially after that dog, Roseanne, or some name like that, made a remark about my tattoo. It's just a rose, for crying out loud.

I continue my conversation with Jasmine as we get on the mats and stretch our legs. "I know. I thought it would be a breeze, but I had to diagram symphonies and stuff."

"Never heard of that. Thought diagramming sentences was hard. I can't imagine putting music through that."

"It's not quite the same, but it's hard. What's new with the guys? Any one steady yet?"

"Maybe. I've been seeing a lot of Zach--the guy who owns the sporting goods store."

"Ladies, it's time to stop all the gossip and begin to relax. Let's get into the Lotus position and breathe deeply."

Silence takes over and we all obey our teacher, though I don't think she knows much more than we do at this point. Maybe I'll teach the class myself someday.

An hour later we leave and I decide to stop at the store for some veggies. I'm on a constant diet, which I figure I'll be on for the rest of my life. Fat runs in the family   at least on my mother's side. That's according to her, but I've never met anyone else related to me besides Mom's sister, Aunt Felicia, and she's so skinny it's scary. She stays indoors on windy days. Honest.

This time I wasn't lucky enough to get near the entrance. I have to park at the far end of the parking lot here at Walmart and it's beginning to snow. It shouldn't take long to buy fruit and veggies and pick up soy milk.

Wouldn't you know it? That cool Mr. Perfect from one of my law classes is buying bananas. Maybe he won't see me--

"Celia, I thought that was you," he begins with a huge smile. Alright, I have to admit, he is fabulous to look at. He could be the leading man in a movie. But he's so…so what? Uptight. That's it.

"The very one. Those bananas are way too ripe. You'll be throwing them out in two days." I pick up greener ones and hand them over. He looks confused, poor thing. For someone as brilliant as he is in class, you'd think he'd know how to buy bananas.

"Thanks. What about grapefruit?"

"What about them?"

"What do I look for when I buy them?"

"Are you planning to?" I have to hold back a laugh. I mean, really.

"Guess I'll skip them. I don't really like grapefruit that much. How do you think you did on the exam?"

"Aced it."


"Well, of course I'm not certain, but it seemed easy enough." I reach for some escarole and a package of carrots. I'm thinking maybe he'll take a hint and go away, but then on second thought, do I really want him to? I have to admit, he is quite the handsome dude.

"Look, it's snowing harder now," he says looking out the glass doors. "It nice to look at, but I hate driving in it. Guess I shouldn't complain, after all it is December. Want to have a cup of coffee till it slows down?"

"I barely have enough cash for my groceries."

"I'll treat."

I let out a long sigh in order to look totally indifferent, though I can feel my heart skipping beats. "In that case."

"Good. We can go into McDonald's here and leave our carts till we're ready to check out."

We wheel the carts over and find a small table for two. "Can I get a snack?" I think that's a trifle bold - even for me, but why not?

"Anything. You want a burger?"

"Maybe fries. Large."

Why is he grinning at me? What did I say?

"I'll be right back. Don't go away."

Like I would when free food is on its way.

While he orders, I quickly add a touch of lipstick and smooth down my hair. It's the first time we've talked more than a few sentences. I hope I don't goof up.

A toddler's piercing shriek comes from the next table. Why doesn't that mother clobber her brat? Look at the way he smears the ketchup all over the table. Gross. When I have kids… I doubt I ever will, since I never liked them much. Now the kid's punching his sister. I thought about offering her a piece of advice but Al's heading back to the table, so she's on her own.

"That was fast service," I say, smiling.

"Here I bought us each a milkshake to go with the fries."

"What flavor?"

"Chocolate. Is that okay?"

"Guess it has to be." I love chocolate.

"I can drink them both and get you--"

"No. That's fine, but I need two straws. It's way too thick for one."

After adding a second straw from the counter next to the table, he sits down across from me. Oh, good grief, is he going to pray or something? He has his head down. After all, it's just a snack. He looks up. Whew! Guess he just had his eyes closed. "Sooo, what's your last name, Al? I should probably remember, but…"

"The whole name is a moniker and a half. Ready?"

I shake my head. I mean - how bad can it be?

"Vernon Alexander Elliott, the third."

Bad. "You sound like a pompous politician."

"Unfortunately, I didn't have much say in the matter."

"I guess that's why they call you Al."

His smile is disarming. I don't have a chance with this gorgeous creature so why the shivers. He is way out of my league.

"And you? Is Celia your real name?"

"No, just a nickname. My real name is Ravenna. Ravenna Cicilia Petterson."

Somehow, it's kinda weird-sounding in front of Al.

"Ravenna. That's an odd name. I've never heard it before."

"My mother named me that because she figured I was conceived in Ravenna -- Italy, that is."


"It sure beats Roma, don't you think?"

I love his laugh. It's so…so deep and real.

"So you're Italian?"

"Half. The other half is Swedish."

"That accounts for your fair skin and green eyes, I guess. It's a nice contrast to your black hair."

"Have you applied to a law firm yet?" I ask hoping he won't get into my family stuff. The compliment stuff is fine, though.

"Yeah. I've been accepted at Fontaine & Fontaine in Philadelphia. How about you?"

"I've sent out a few letters, but nothing yet. Of course, I still have three semesters to go. You're graduating this spring, aren't you?"

"Yes, I'm glad to say. Do you have a job for next summer?" he asks.

I slurp the last of the milkshake and look up to see him grinning again. "Not yet. I've applied for interning at a couple law firms here in Philly, but haven't heard."

"Maybe I can help you out. I worked at F. & F. last summer as an intern. They usually take on several every summer. Want me to put in a good word for you?"

"You'd do that? I'm practically a stranger."

"Not really. I've been watching you. You're a real bright student. I think you'll go places."


Monday, November 5, 2012

Hope Chest Review for "A Special Blessing for Sara"


Review from the Hope Chest Review      Received 4 Stars


A Special Blessing for Sara is a gentle inspirational romance that in some ways is more reminiscent of women's fiction with a strong romantic element.

 Sara is a caring, compassionate young woman who is very good at her job as a counselor but is struggling a bit in her personal life.


I did enjoy A Special Blessing for Sara. Sara's close-knit family is very heartwarming, just the kind of family almost anyone would love to have. The multiple romantic connections that occur for the other single characters in the book was cute, and at least left me with a good feeling about no one really getting left out in the cold. I especially loved the way the people of the church reached out to help those in the community who were without power during the storm, particularly ones who were the most vulnerable, like the elderly. Readers who are averse to religious themes may not care for this one, because the faith message is ever-present throughout the narrative. I found it to be a gentle, organic part of the story and therefore, not off-putting in any way, but others may feel differently.

Overall, this was one of those really sweet, super-easy reads that makes you feel like you've wrapped up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter's day. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a simple, uncomplicated story to relax and unwind from the stresses of life.

Note from reviewer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hot off the Press! INN SANE - Memoirs of an Innkeeper

New book published about my life as an innkeeper in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. My husband Jim and I purchased a 38 room inn in 1976. Little did we know what we were getting into, but after transforming the old resort into a fashionable country inn, we experienced so many fascinating moments, I wanted to record them for posterity. Join me as I tell all!


Here is the first chapter for your reading pleasure.
Be sure to order your copy today for the rest of the book. Based on fact - many names changed to protect identities.
Chapter One

First Thoughts


On the scale of one to ten - ten being the worst - today is a nine-and-a-half.

A stomach virus has attacked three of the kids at once. The washer and dryer have gone non-stop as I change bed sheets and night clothes. Leo, our cat, has been missing for three days, and the dishwasher broke down last night. I’ve been too frazzled to call a repairman, so dirty dishes are piling up in the sink. It’s the fifth day of rain. As I dump a load of clothing on the floor for the washer, the phone rings.

“Junie, it’s me. How are the kids doing?” Mother’s voice registers her grandmotherly concern.

“Well, Scott and Bryan kept some chicken noodle soup down, but Jill is still throwing up. It’s a nightmare. How are you doing?”

“I feel fine, but I’m getting cabin fever. I was hoping to go on a shopping expedition with you to the King of Prussia Mall, but obviously, that’s out of the question.”

“Yeah, I’m afraid we will have to wait a few days for that.” I confess to being secretly relieved not to have to go shopping. It takes tremendous patience to shop with my mother. We have to check every store before purchasing any item and then, almost without fail, we return it a week later.

After signing off, I loaded the washer again and added detergent to my grocery list.

Scott struts into the kitchen in his Phillie’s baseball pajamas. “Mom, if I’m feeling better, can I go to the cub scout picnic Saturday?”

“Oh, Scott, I completely forgot. I have to make cupcakes!” I scribbled “make cupcakes” on a paper napkin and turn back to my son. “If you’re totally better by Friday, yes, you may go.”

“Hooray! Mom, I’m starving. Can I have a cheeseburger?” My nine-year-old looks at me with his big dark raw-umber eyes.

I reached over and hugged him. “Not a cheeseburger yet, honey, but I can make you a poached egg.”

He nodded and sat at the table to wait, setting up two dozen miniature soldiers in battle formation, while I prepare his eggs. The shooting sounds coming out of his mouth reassure me the worst is over. While he ate, I reached for my cupcake recipe and then remembered I’m out of sugar. Store-made cupcakes will do just fine.

Laurie, our 15-year-old came in the back door from school with a load of books. “I think I’m next, Mom.” Her color resembled a dish of cold oatmeal, and she decided against her normal snack. As she passed me, I checked her forehead. I’m pretty good at guessing temperatures and she definitely had a fever.

I looked in on the other two children. Bryan, who is nearly twelve, and Jill, our six-year-old were playing a game of gin rummy. No one had thrown up for five hours.

It was reassuring to know my husband, Jim, planned to be home early from his insurance job. We might even have a quiet dinner by ourselves after the kids are in bed.


Around eight, I put on Vivaldi and lit candles as we settle down for warmed-over meatloaf with some burgundy wine. Jim seemed quieter than usual. I glanced over at him and wondered if he might be coming down with the virus. Instinctively, I reached across the table to feel his forehead. Nope. Cool.

He grinned at me with that ‘much too cute’ Italian smile. “What’s that all about?”

“Just checking, but you seem normal.”

“As normal as I can ever be, you mean?”

His chuckle reassured me for the moment. Then I proceeded to fill him in on all the gory details of my day. “But how did your day go, honey? I’ve been so busy talking about my problems, I forgot to ask about you.”

“Oh, typical day. Same old stuff. Jack piled more files on my desk. I also had to get photos on City Line Avenue this morning. Big accident claim.”

Silence. I look over waiting for more details. He appeared pre-occupied. “I detect there’s more going on in that head of yours. Is anything wrong?”

“I’m fine. It’s just…well, I realized today how long I’ve been in the insurance business. It’s been eleven years and I basically do the same thing every day. I'm really getting bored and don't find the work very challenging.” He hesitated and looked at me with his chestnut-colored eyes for a response.

I nod and pour myself another glass of wine. This conversation is going somewhere, but I’m not sure where. “Go on,” I offer, secretly hoping he won’t.

“Well, while I’m still young enough, I’d like to quit this rat race and do something different and challenging. Actually maybe we could find something to do together.”

I tried to sound calm, but inside I felt anything but. “I know you aren’t happy at your job any more, but please, let’s not talk tonight. My brain is total mush.”

“I guess my timing was poor.”

“Yeah, very.”

“I wasn’t going to bring it up tonight, but since you asked–”

“My mistake. Let’s talk about it another time.”

“It’s just hard to deal with the monotony of the job.” Jim put his hand on mine and smiled his sweetest smile – which doesn’t help me a bit. “Thanks for listening, honey.”

Oh, please don’t ‘honey’ me. I need to remain detached.


It was several days before I allowed myself to think of what Jim was asking. Working for a large insurance company might be boring, but it did offer health insurance, a company car, retirement benefits, and a paycheck every two weeks. There’s a lot to be said for security. And what could we do together and get paid for?

My talents are speedy diaper changing, canning tomatoes, wiping runny noses, and stretching a pound of meat to feed six. What do I know about making money? Besides, I enjoy my role as wife and mother. I have gone through a difficult period after a divorce and raising four little ones alone. Now after four years of marriage with Jim, many of our early problems have been ironed out. We have a lovely 18th century farmhouse on seven acres with a great vegetable garden. The kids have friends and attend good schools – even the cats are happy. Yes, our stray has returned, a little skinnier, but as ornery as ever.

After years of neglecting my art, I’ve resumed painting. I’m taking classes with Ed Lis, a wonderful teacher, and I have even presented a one-woman show on the Main Line. Do I really want this change now?

I have seen Jim’s lack of enthusiasm for his job, and inwardly, I know he needs a challenge in his life. Since that night when he brought this whole thing up, I can barely think of anything else.


It is several evenings later - the sun has shone most of the day, the kids aren’t throwing up any more and my dishwasher is working again - so I brought up the subject. Somehow it doesn’t seem all that impossible now to take a step into uncharted waters. I agreed, at least, to consider alternatives.

Jim was delighted at the prospect of being his own boss, and we began a daily discussion of ‘ifs’ and ‘what-ifs.’ Jim mentioned running a day care center. I’m raising the four kids – five, every other weekend – so his suggestion definitely does not strike me as a whole lot of fun. Scratch that one.

We researched the idea of owning and managing a nursing home or retirement center, but we lack start-up money and experience, and it would require far too much of my time: raising our young children remains my life’s prime mission.

“How about artist and promoter?” Jim questioned.

“Totally unrealistic. We’d starve in a month. What about a fabric store?”

Jim grunted. “I can’t even walk into one.”

We considered a nursery – the green kind, but there are too many in our area, and one recently closed. Nothing really hit us, but it was fun to dream.

We reside in a lovely community, west of Philadelphia, called Westtown. Jim’s whole family lives in or near the city, and we enjoy getting together with them for holidays and Sunday dinners. My mother, who divorced after nearly forty years of marriage, is living in an apartment a couple of miles from us and is coping with her situation. She needs to be near us. How would a move, if necessary, affect everyone involved? There are so many considerations. We decide not to discuss the changes which might take place with the other family members until we are closer to a decision. Perhaps we wouldn’t even have to move, so life could go on pretty much as always for the rest of our loved ones.

It’s summertime. Spring and summer are absolutely beautiful in Chester County, and this year is no exception. My days are filled with gardening, providing healthful meals for the family, painting, and relaxing on our screened-in porch, which looks out on fields and rolling hills. Laurie helped me prepare beans from the garden for the freezer, and we’ve canned tomatoes – tons of them. Most late afternoons, when Jim comes home from work, he changes his clothes and spends time weeding and trimming. The garden is work, but we all enjoy the results of fresh lettuce, corn on the cob (if we beat the raccoons), and the many other vegetables. Jim has purchased a real tractor for cutting the fields. We enjoy playing ‘homesteaders.’

Our stone l8th century home is my dream-house come true. It has so much character with its four fireplaces, deep sills, and six-paneled doors. Our family room is on the lowest of four levels. It had been a summer kitchen and contains a large walk-in fireplace, still sporting its original crane for hanging the old iron pots. It’s always cool down there and during the heat of a three-digit summer day, we spend most of the afternoon there – the kids playing or reading – while I catch up with the mending or ironing.

We have six gnarly old apple trees left from the eighteenth century orchard growing behind the house. One of those apple trees produces apples so large, that once I baked an eight-inch apple pie from one apple! It made incredibly good apple sauce.

My clotheslines are strung between two of the trees and I enjoy hanging the clothes in the fresh air. It has become my thing. It is my “alone time – my thinking time.” I work on being organized – hanging pairs of socks in order of size and arranging the towels by color – that sort of thing. It prolongs the process, which is part of the reason I do it. It is my commune with nature. It has nothing to do with saving money on the dryer. It’s just something I enjoy doing. Would I have to give this up, too?

Jim and I have finally completed turning the top floor attic into three bedrooms and a full bathroom for the children. We worked every weekend through the winter doing the carpentry. We did hire professionals to do the electrical and the plumbing, but the rest we tackled ourselves. Neither of us had experience in carpentry, so I read aloud from a book about home construction when we arrived at situations beyond our capability. In an old home like ours, each stud had to be cut to fit, since nothing was level. We wanted to preserve the house’s natural beauty, so we worked around existing windows and alcoves, instead of replacing them. Nothing was plumb.

Now with this house project completed, we all enjoy more privacy. Jim and I use the whole second floor for our bedroom, office, sewing and art area. Bryan and Scott share a room, as they always have, on the third floor. It works out most of the time even though their personalities occasionally conflict. The girls, Laurie and Jill, each have their own room. Jim has a daughter by a previous marriage and when Christina visits, she stays with Jill. They are only three months apart in age and are very close. Christina has fair complexion and dark brown hair and eyes, while Jill has reddish brown hair. They are about the same size and frame. As soon as Christina arrives on the week-ends, the two run off with their Barbie dolls or coloring books and entertain each other. Having two brothers, they also like climbing trees and playing hide-and-seek in the fields and woods surrounding the house.

The boys play baseball every afternoon, weather permitting. Home base is situated under a large willow tree and the grass is non-existent; just one of the consequences of raising healthy children.

So now, since we are all settled into our home, the children have scads of friends and I enjoy my life tremendously, it makes the discussion of a move even more difficult.

In spite of all this, Jim is growing more restless all the time. Loving a challenge, I admit I am excited about the possibility of working together at something new. We are still sort of newlyweds, and I love having him home. It surprises me I would even consider a major life change, but I am only in my thirties and nothing seems impossible at this tender age.

We continue to talk and dream. We’re considering many alternatives, but nothing strikes us as very exciting or challenging. So we keep our thoughts on our mental back burners and continue to live our lives normally almost.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Now available - A Long Way to Go

 A bugle sent out a shrill warning that the party was about to take off. In the distance, Rachel saw about ten wagons abreast slowly beginning the trek west. Her heart began to pound even harder. Was it fear or excitement or a combination? She couldn't be sure, but she reached over for Helen and held her to her bosom, kissing the side of her head. "This is it, my darling. You'll never remember any of this -- the trip of a lifetime. God, watch over us all."

David helped Rachel and Helen up to the wagon seat and then stood next to the wagon, holding the reins. Lucinda mounted one of the horses and held the lead line tied to the other two. Lulu, the cow, pulled up the rear. Josiah ran over to his father and grabbed hold of his arm.

"Is this it? Are we really going?"

David patted him on the head. "It sure looks like it. You'll have plenty of time to play when we camp, son. Do you wanna ride in the wagon with your Mama or walk awhile?"

"I wanna walk with you, Papa."

"I guess it'll be okay, as long as you to stay clear of the wheels and the oxen. When you get tired, I'll set you up on the box in the wagon, but you have to be very, very careful."

"I know. Mama's told me a hundred times."

Rachel looked down at her husband and smiled nervously. "This is it."

"Yup. The start of something pretty special." He reached over and patted her hand. "You won't be sorry, Rachel. I promise you."

She nodded and looked at her sister's wagon. Bess was resting her head against Joe's chest. What mixed emotions she must be feeling, leaving a fresh grave. Friends had promised to place flowers on each of the graves of their loved ones when the wildflowers bloomed. It seemed like a small thing, but it meant a great deal to Rachel and Bess.




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Welcome Shaunna Gonzales

I'm honored to have Shaunna visit this week with me. A fellow novelist with Desert Breeze, she has a new book out this month. Great cover!

                                             Please tell us about your book.

Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.

While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father -- a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes -- she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.

ISBN: 978-1-61252-218-0
Please give us an excerpt from Dark Days of Promise

  "Do you trust me?"
"Do I have a choice?" I whispered.
With the mistletoe still in hand, he placed it at the back of my head. His fingers entwined in my hair. My heart accelerated its beating dance, knowing a much more euphoric rush would accompany his kiss. More than his first visit, more than his peck on my cheek, more...A warm quiver of anticipation settled over me, fixing me to the spot. The music from the movie in the next room swelled, intensifying the moment. His lips brushed mine, hinting of gingerbread and milk. I wondered if I'd ever experienced such a kiss. The gentle, warm, sweet pressure, invited me to live in the moment. An experience I'd never known in all my years with another...I couldn't even remember his name. My adrenalin roller coaster revved its engine in my stomach before climbing with massive force in an upward motion before dropping to my deepest core. Yet it didn't last long enough. He no sooner released me than I had the distinct feeling of his reclaiming every intimate emotion he'd shared with me.
"I shouldn't stay. It's not safe for you." He withheld his smile, his eyes hinting at something I didn't understand.
Best of luck with your sales. It sounds like a great romance novel!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Tina Pinson - Author

Welcome, Tina. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and sharing some of your thoughts with us.

First, my readers might like to know why you write. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

 I love to tell stories. As a girl I used to get in trouble for telling stories, so      writing gives me an outlet to use my imagination. I prefer fiction, of course.

When did you begin to write?
  I started writing in elementary school.

How did you get your first break as a writer?
Actually, Desert Breeze gave me my first real break two years ago. I     turned in a three stories and Gail chose two. So here I am. And I appreciate it immensely. I had tried to self publish and that didn't pan out like I hoped.

How much time to you spend in preparation? In actual writing? In editing?
The time I spend in preparation depends on the book, and whether I need to research, but usually, I start my book and write through it, researching as I go. Actual writing time, could take a few months or a year or more. Editing… can I just say ugh? But it has to be done. That can take a few weeks or longer.

Who is your best critic?
I don't know that I have a best critic. I know I'm my worst one.

What is your writing space like?
I have an office, but a lot of times I sit in my chair with my laptop. Mostly, I write out by hand so I use my #3 pencil and notebook and write away, then type it in.

Time wise - do you write daily? Weekly?
I try to write daily. It depends on the day though. But weekly for sure.

Do you wait for inspiration?
Yes… which comes up meaning times in my dreams. Waking and sleeping.

Okay, do you start with coffee as so many writers do?
Tea, English style with cream and honey. I used to do coffee, but started getting too many jitters if I drank too much.

What is your goal -  long term?
To leave a legacy of writing that touches peoples lives long after I'm gone.

Any advise to wanna-be's?
Hang in there. Write your heart. Use the imagination God gave you. Use your writer's voice and make it sing. Don't let anyone take it away from you.

Thanks for sharing, Tina. May God bless your endeavors.

Blurb --
The Civil War rages, and Rebekah fights to keep her world intact. Loss and sorrow seeps into her heart. Her sights on Oregon, she prays New Eden will be a place of peace for her and her son. A refuge. She travels to Missouri to start her journey and is denied the opportunity to join the train. Matthew battles his way through the war thinking of Rebekah, planning to help her west. He fears his biggest battle lies ahead. Will Rebekah open up her heart and allow him to be the one to hold her When the Shadows Fall?
Purchase my books at:
Desert Breeze Bookstore.
Touched By Mercy - http://tiny.cc/0rgkm
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/we4ul
When Shadow Fall  http://tinyurl.com/d93p77a

Matthew drew up his legs, rested his arms on his knees, and tucked his head on his arms. The sapling straightened in relief. The sweat beaded and ran a line down his back; he was too busy visiting with Rebekah to care.
Where was she now? How was she? Nathan promised to keep him informed, but so far, no word had arrived. It worried him. If he had the time -- if he hadn't joined up -- he'd look into things himself, but he wouldn't have leave 'til November. He was beginning to doubt he'd make it till then.
"Mr. Cavanaugh." Hearing his name, Matthew stood up, brushing his backside. "Mr. Cavanaugh." A young private scanned the area, searching for him.
"Here." Matthew waved and headed toward the messenger.
"Mr. Cavanaugh." The private studied Matthew's attire, then saluted and tried to catch his breath. "Captain St. James would like to see you in his quarters, sir."
"Will that be all, Private?" Sweat beaded on the young man's forehead. It dislodged and rolled with his nod. Matthew swiped his own brow. "If you've nothing further to do, maybe you should head down to the stream. I think I see an empty spot."
"Yes, sir." The private started to run then stopped and saluted.
The private headed for the stream and crammed himself in the small space. Matthew went in search of Nathan.
"Nathan." He stopped outside the tent.
"Come in." From behind his desk, over a stack of papers, Nathan looked up at his friend. "Glad you could come by. We don't see enough of each other."
"Probably has something to do with this war," Matthew said lightheartedly.Nathan's face devoid of emotion, he nodded. "You just get back?"Matthew nodded and plucked at his shirt. "Haven't cleaned up. I'm surprised you can get this close without gagging." Matthew smiled... Nathan didn't. Something was wrong. Matthew took a seat on Nathan's cot, and studied his friend.
Nathan looked healthy enough. A little tired. Weren't they all? Nathan's double-breasted coat with blue velvet cuffs and collar, was slightly worn, but he dressed impeccably in spite of it. From his regulation haircut, right down to the shine on his black Wellingtons, he looked like a true career soldier. What was amiss?
"I know you haven't given your report, but I wanted your assessment of the situation." Nathan looked up long enough for Matthew to glimpse the pain in Nathan's brown eyes.
"It doesn't look good. But you know that. We aren't going to hold Harper's Ferry, and Lee knows it. He's determined to make a stand here." Matthew sighed. "It was nothing short of a miracle to find Lee's orders in Frederick and it's to our benefit Lee has his army divided with us sitting right between 'em. Let's hope, McClellan will use that advantageously. But this won't be a minor skirmish and it can't be stopped. Over a hundred thousand men are in those fields -- itching to fight."
"So, when it does come -- and it will. Soon. -- It will be nothing short of hell on earth. I just pray we hold the line. Pray we hold Maryland." Matthew barely nodded. "That's about all I can say."
The table wobbled as Nathan moved from behind it. His stack of papers shifted as if caught by a breeze -- a ghost breeze the whole camp was looking for. Nodding solemnly, he took a seat on the cot. It creaked and bowed under the weight of both men.
"I wouldn't tell this to another soul, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid I'm not going to make it through this next battle. I feel it, Matt. I can't even tell Sara."
Matthew understood the feeling. It tormented him too, tormented them all. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. Only a fool would say he wasn't afraid. You'll make it home."
Tears formed in Nathan's eyes. "This feeling is awful strong. And how long will home be there?
"Don't talk like that, Nate. We'll hold the line." Matthew fought to hold his tears. "You won't die. You can't." I won't let you.
Nathan met Matthew's eyes directly. "But if I did. I couldn't without you knowing how much you mean to me. You're like a brother. I count it a privilege to call you friend."
"And I you," Matthew choked the words, tried to swallow the pit in the back of his throat. It felt as if his heart lodged there. The two men hugged and cried like mere babes. Somewhere amid the pain, they both found a smile. They pulled apart slapping each other's arms softly.
"About that bath," Nathan teased and covered a snigger with his hand. He dusted Matthew's shirt before he grew serious again. "Matt, I know I've hounded you about the Lord and your eternal soul, but I couldn't bear to have you go into this next battle without telling you again of God's love. I've been praying for you. Praying you'd accept the gift of God's grace. Praying you'll be okay. I want to know if I do die, I'll be able to see you again."
Nathan's sincerity touched Matthew. True, he'd told him all this before, but knowing at this moment in time Nathan prayed for him, humbled him. "I know," Matthew's voice broke. "I know I've always told you, I'll think about. And I do. It's on my mind more than ever. I'm glad you pray for me. Don't stop."
"Ah, Matt. I call you brother now because you're dear to me. One day I hope to call you so 'cause you know the Lord. I won't stop praying." Nathan squeezed Matthew's shoulder.
"I'm glad." Matthew smiled."I should let you clean up before you give your report, but I'll see you there.""Until this afternoon then." Matthew turned to leave and Nathan stopped him."Wait, this might interest you." Nathan pulled an envelope from his pocket. He handed it to Matthew with a wink. "It came while you were gone. Don't worry about getting it back to me. You keep it."
Matthew stepped out of the tent and turned the envelope in his hands. After a month, word had finally come from Rebekah. Matthew stuck the letter in his pocket; he'd read it once he'd cleaned.
Changed and shaved, he settled back on his cot half an hour later and opened Rebekah's letter. It didn't matter it wasn't addressed to him, all that mattered was knowing she was okay.