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The Call to Serve is a story about 4 funny but loving Catholic ladies during World War II who are in love or looking for love. Their support of St. Benedict's Church and the local neighborhood share the 1940s with the reader in an intimate, heartwarming manner. As Christmas approaches, the hopes and plans they have seem terribly threatened, as the War in 1943 heats up. But on Christmas Day that year, what happened felt almost like a miracle!

So close to my heart, The Call to Serve is my first novel whose plot comes from imaginary goings on in my parents' generation. These folks held the country together during one of the great tragedies and victories of history known as World War II. Because of their pains and sacrifice, we have a heritage rich in the beautiful results of self-discipline, giving of oneself, and most importantly, adherence to the love of God and all that is good. As a Christian romance writer, I believe this, and other inspired books, bear out this theme with love.

The Call to Serve is suitable for readers of all ages, contains no objectionable language or situations.

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Love in the Victory Garden follows a few unresolved situations created in The Call to Serve. It also represents my effort to show the glory and power of love, in all of its forms. Romantic love can drag a person through sorrow, but the strong hold on and find the reward in overwhelming happiness. The young but powerful love Bernice feels toward God and her calling is packaged in the clarity of seeing reality, staying focused on life and its true beauty. While love of friends and comrades in arms stand the test of time with the challenges rewarded in victories for battles never sought. Yet this story is told with a lot of humor, and celebration of human charm & appeal, as well as its vulnerability.
Like its predecessor, Love in the Victory Garden is suitable reading for all ages. 
Thanks for reading!

 

 

Just as Joan and Annie, Bernice and Helen have begun to faithfully live with the hope that at the end of the War, all of their dreams will come true, everything seems to start coming apart for them. In their comic but caring way, they do the best they can to manage things as they seem to only get worse. Then, just as it appears that the holidays will be one long lonely affair, good news causes a turnabout and a dazzlingly Joyful Christmas Celebration!
When I started this manuscript, I was in a tough spot emotionally, with a lot of financial struggles and worries about friends' and family members' health. Writing is always a joy for me, and I knew if I just persevered, things would look better. Well, by the time I finished Indivisible Hearts, some family members' health had miraculously improved, and I had found a wonderful new friendship. Additionally, I  coincidentally reconnected with a dear old friend and photographer, Thomas Klee, whose beautiful photo perfectly covers this latest manuscript. When I first saw that harbor photograph in its rich sunset splendour, I knew it was what I wanted for this story's cover, and Tom very kindly agreed. 
 
So all in all, it turned out to be a surprising and even entertaining experience to visit with Annie, Joan, Bernice, and Helen again in these pages. It made me want to continue the series, just to see how they all make out in the future--and I probably will. Of course, I'm still broke, but I think that might be part of being a writer!
"With a faith that throttles an ocean of tears." John Denver
Like its predecessors, Indivisible Hearts is suitable reading for all ages. 
 
Thank you!

 

 

ANGELS IN THE ROUGH

After waiting so long for Sly to come home, Annie is perplexed and hurt that barely home for a month, he’s off again. Finding sympathy from her best friend, Joan is tough when Dick has performed his own game of hide and seek.

Their disappointment reaches a wild combination of distress and hilarity when an urgent need for everyone's help changes everything. With everything changing and no solid futures, will Annie and Joan still walk down that aisle with their beloveds?

As always, please accept my invitation to say hello and offer your thoughts. 

This story is appropriate for readers of all ages.

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Winner of the 2021 
Catholic Media Assn. Award
for
Inspirational Fiction.

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As the title might suggest, there are some changes happening in Abbottsville! It was so much fun to work on this manuscript and put Annie, Joan, Helen, and Bernice back in action, but also add a little fun with Rose and Clara, the two elderly ladies living in the neighborhood. With the War moving into the past for some, life in Abbottsville centers around the importance of welcoming home those who have served. It means making a place for folks in general, whether they were fighting the war or otherwise affected by it.

 

So the story continues. With Major Harry Ashenbach's disappearance, and Sly and Bobby jumping into action to try to locate and bring about a rescue. Annie, Joan, Helen, and Bernice find new support in their long and caring friendship. But Harry's troubles are far from the only ones confronting the girls in this fifth book in the Serve Series. Below are some excerpts.

“Dick saw it first. The ceiling looked as if it were breathing. He opened his mouth to say something, but he never got the chance. The forty-two-year-old ceiling breathed its last, crashing loudly down with finality onto all of the objects below in a terrifying scream followed by a deafening blast heard blocks away.”

 

"Joan fell into her arms, sobbing and petrified, the pain too much to bear alone. But even as she wept, her friends were on their knees, candle lit, and the rosary begun. The tea would wait. A stronger resource, the greatest resource, the love and light of God in Heaven above would take them through this."

Will Dick and Bob survive amidst the gnarled wreckage and debris? Will Sly make it home in time to attend his own wedding? If Harry makes it home in one piece, will he survive Helen’s response? Enjoy the suspense, camaraderie, and laughter in Love, Honor & the Cake.

As always, I'm very happy to hear from you!

This story suitable for readers of all ages.

Beyond the Victory Garden takes the girls, Joan, Annie, Helen, and Bernice, into new territory, but don't worry--they're still in close proximity of each other, and forever working on something for either St. Benedict's Church or others in the area! 

It seemed that this might be time to bring Gloria into focus, and she really wanted to be the center of attention! Following is an excerpt describing a predicament in which she found herself near the end of the story:

As the fog lifted a little more, Gloria became aware that she was missing vital pieces to her wardrobe. She had on a blouse, oh, and a nice one, thirty-two dollars it cost. If she were to be seen in public, a classy blouse was essential. And a scarf hung on either side of her, a matching silk scarf, better quality even than the blouse! Well done, Gloria. Looking down, she noticed she had on her blue pumps with the gold accessory and good, un-run stockings. Excellent, she thought. I have at least not shamed myself--. Her thoughts stopped there, calculating in the rear part of her brain, that something was not quite right in her clothing assessment. She looked down, intending to recheck her shoes, but came to an abrupt stop on the way down. Where was her skirt? She felt around for it, not wanting to look too far down again, remembering the scary experience only moments before of seeing the large opening from a crack that ran the full width of the building. Surely she was wearing a skirt. Her hand stopped at the bottom edge of her blouse, like a skier about to fly from a jump. Slowly she inched her index finger down and alas, there was nothing. No skirt. Stockings, yes, but skirt, no. Just a relatively long expanse of nylon clad leg.

In addition to Gloria's curious behavior, Annie has become frequently "out of sorts," which Joan attributes to her unhappiness over Sly's geographical distance. But most of all, Bernice is in a stage of her life where she feels she needs to follow her path to happiness, i.e., the one God has set out for her. Yet, she is terribly conflicted, unsure of whether her feelings for Henry are meant to draw her from her plans to enter the convent. Henry does his best to be understanding in the situation, but it's no picnic for him either! 

With a failing summer garden, the erstwhile Victory Garden, Joan and the others are sad. But Helen's plan for growing new and beautiful things in honor of the Blessed Mother in a "Mary's Garden" gives the girls a happy new direction.

 

Then, when Helen discovers a wonderful bit of news, things start to come together for Bernice. Ironically, Gloria's escapade brings about circumstances that provide the needed determination for Bernice's choice.

This story is suitable for readers of all ages.

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In 2020, which I have affectionately dubbed "the Year of the Acorn," I think I avoided great distress by creating a Christmas story for the girls in Abbottsville. Life overall was better for them than it had been, but what's happiness and utter joy if not preceded by nagging uncertainty? 

Glorious Christmas actually brings home some of the feelings these characters suffer for their love of their fellow man, and of course their love for God. In Father Bertrand's case, his happiness is wholly dependent on the happiness or at least non-suffering, of his parishioners, his flock. When he is confronted with the very troubling story of a son missing, not just in action, but generally missing overseas, he endures the mother's pain. His prayer and actions do not cease until he has found what must be the workable solution, even if not happy news for all.

Another character with deep self-examination is Bernice, who struggles to understand the path she is meant to take. Her love for so many good things confounds her and leaves her craving a simpler life, or one with simpler instructions. She relies as always, on her dear friends Joan, Annie, and Helen to help her see, and like Father Bertrand, seeks and finds peace in prayer.

I had a great deal of fun with Joan in this story, who grows quite a bit, too, with her dear friend Annie, at her side, and Helen to help keep her spirits high. 

And of course there is a mystery solved, albeit a light one, and some "cops & robbers" as Annie would call it, that turn out quite unexpectedly. I hope this journey into another, possibly more loving period in time, brings you some smiles, joy, and peace. Merry Christmas!

This story is suitable for readers of all ages.

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Joyful Hearts came from a very joyful place in my heart. The characters needed a little time to get resituated as their lives were changing, and for them, as for me, joy was the dominant sentiment! 

We find the men to be true heroes at home, carrying their military training and years of experience into their daily lives, and actually performing heroic acts of rescue that bond the group, as well as the individual couples into a close knit group that one believes could stand all kinds of distance and challenge.

When Bernice is faced with her internal confusion and one might even say, crisis, she knows that she has her friends, and she relies on them. In a similar way, she relies on her deep faith in the Church and asks God to guide her, and He, of course, does.

Joan doesn't ask if she's ever going to get married in this volume, but she is starting to wonder exactly when that will come to be--but not for long! Saving Treasures comes up next!

This story is suitable for readers of all ages.

As always, I'm happy to hear from you via the Send a Message tab!

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Saving Treasures is actually about saving treasures! But the treasures in peril are far from the typical ones you might find in a pirate's belongings. In this story, Helen comes upon a woman she once knew as a comfortably affluent society woman, who attended some of the same functions as Helen and was also a member of her St. Benedict's church. But this poor woman has undergone some painful changes and has become lost to herself very bitter as she struggles merely to stay off of the streets.

Helen's efforts to save her from that fate coincide with her own lack of ability to see her own value. While she herself is a treasure to Harry and her friends, she fails to be concerned with her own life is in peril--in a more physical sense. 

Bruno Formaggi reappears in this story. If you remember, he was the man who had changed his mind about committing murder, and then accidentally went and shot Sly in the leg after all. Bruno, like Helen's friend, has a bitterness inside that obscures the treasure within him. Monsignor senses these sorts of things, and eager to find and preserve the goodness in each person, he makes it his quest to rescue that treasure, while Bruno attempts to relocate his own surprising treasure.

Joan, Annie, and the new Bernice, as Sister Mary Joseph, all play their warm and funny selves in rich measure, assisting Helen in her quest and solving mysteries of their own.

This story is suitable for readers of all ages.

As always, I'm happy to hear from you via the Send a Message tab!

In Making the Grade your author enjoys closing a loop for one of her favorite all time characters. But please do not mistake this momentary conclusion for a completed story of our dear friends in Abbottsville. There are more adventures left to come! In the meantime, here is a short description I have shared that brings out a little of what goes on in Book 10 of my Serve Series.

Joan Foster is hopelessly in love, and after three patient years of waiting, her wedding is gloriously within sight. There will be pink and white roses, bluebells, carnations, all the beautiful flora she’s imagined for so long. Her dearest friends, Annie, Helen, Bernice, and Laureen make her beautiful veil, and make plans for a magnificent reception. But tragedy strikes when Bernice is suddenly stricken and hospitalized, Helen and Annie’s husbands, Harry and Sly, disappear overseas, and Laureen’s new baby falls perilously ill. With things already on a collision course, when her fiancé Dick comes up with a very practical suggestion, it is all too much for Joan. After all this time, is it curtains for Joan and Dick?

This story is suitable for readers of all ages.

Thank you for reading! I appreciate your continued patronage and look forward to hearing from you via this website or on others where you may find my stories sold. Until next time, my best wishes to you!