Friday’s Feature with Tamera Kraft

Alice’s Notions


Wrapping her arms around herself and swaying to the music, Alice Brighton remembered her husband singing romantic ballads, rivaling howling dogs, as they danced around their miniscule New York apartment. He would call her his Judy Garland. Her dark hair and brown eyes might have looked something like the movie star’s, but Joe exaggerated the resemblance.

The song ended, and Frank Sinatra’s crooning of “Full Moon, Empty Arms” blared from her new Crosley radio. A gun clicked, fired. She trembled. Joe was gone. Her arms were empty. After a long swipe with a tissue, she tied a blue chiffon scarf around her hair. Enough daydreaming about the life the Germans stole from her. She needed to get to work.

In three days, she’d have the grand opening for her fabric shop, Alice’s Notions. Dozens of boxes waited to be unpacked, threads and fabric had to be sorted, and she still needed to set up the quilting frame near the front.

Alice had designated a corner of the store for quilting and set up shelves with lap hoops, materials, fat big-eyed needles, and threads. From the time she’d been a little girl playing underneath the tent-like quilting frame until she could help tie or stitch, she had quilt block patterns swirling at the edge of her consciousness.

One thing she loved about the big city was the fabric and quilting shops in every neighborhood. She’d helped many women in New York City learn to piece together victory quilts for the war effort. Opening a fabric store here would help her contribute to the economy of Burning Bush.

Alice let out a sigh. This wasn’t the life she had wanted, but she would make the best of it. She perused the room determining what still needed to be done. Shelving would go against the back wall, where she could lay out the new rose-patterned cotton and the everyday linens.

The needles and scissors though could be a problem. How to display them without resorting to an expensive glass case, yet keep them away from curious children? Perhaps someone in town could help her build one. Mr. Toliver was a good carpenter. At church last Sunday, Mrs. Toliver said to call on them if she needed help. So many old friends offered help. Alice even arranged a sewing circle at the shop next Friday.

Blinking back a tear, she remembered her Mamie’s quilting bees where women would gather for companionship. Mamie helped her put together patches for a log cabin quilt for her marriage bed, but when Joe got the job in New York City as an interpreter, they rushed to get married so she could go with him. A few months later, the war started and Joe enlisted and shipped out. The quilt remained in Alice’s hope chest, unfinished like their lives together.

“Well Joe, do you think I can make the place ready in time for opening day?” Alice sniffed. He wouldn’t answer. He was buried in Belgium with so many other brave men who died during the Battle of the Bulge. Somehow that didn’t matter. She’d talked to him about everything since they were children, and it didn’t stop after the telegram from the U.S. War Department.

Talking out her problems with her dead husband helped her decide to leave the city where they started their lives together. She had thrived on big city life, every day being an adventure, every city block a new area to explore, and with her job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, she did her part contributing to the home front.

After Joe died, it wasn’t the same. She wasn’t the same. The final stitch in the quilt came when soldiers were shipped home and they laid her off to provide jobs for the men. The money she’d saved went to open a fabric shop where she could pursue her love of quilting. She ached to come home to Burning Bush, a place where life was predictable and safe.



Desert Breeze Publishing

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Thursday’s Throwback with Linda Maran

Confronting The Bully of OCD


Blurb: From Chapter One – Separate and Conquer

Before we do anything else it is a good idea to take a kind of inventory of our particular OCD symptoms and fears. This helps us to organize the OCD into specific fears rather than one big horrible bombardment of thoughts, ideas and/or compulsions.  It enables us to literally separate and conquer.


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Linda Maran has written non-fiction articles, a self-help booklet and a self-help book.

Her first fiction book in the genre of  Amish Inspirational Romance, The Stranger,

will be published in November 2017 by White Rose Publishing.

Wednesday’s Writer with Linda Rondeau

Today I have Linda Rondeau answering some fun questions for us.  Thank you for being here, Linda.

Some people listen to music when they write. Some people write outside, near a window, etc. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I need to clear my mind in order to focus. I have found the best exercise is solitaire. I like the Daily Puzzles, and I have discovered Taptiles. I occasionally play Mahjong.

How long does it take you to write a book?

That varies. I am currently working on a few books that had gone off the market and are finding new life with a new publisher and agent. I consider myself a slow writer.  Normally, it takes three months to construct a new manuscript and three months of revisions and editing before I’m comfortable with hitting the send button to my agent.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Hubs and I love to golf, travel, go for walks, and watch television. I have recently signed on as an editor for Elk. I am a member of Toastmasters International and, on occasion, enjoy speech contests.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

They pop up everywhere. I draw from news articles, biographical anecdotes, and personal experience. Often, I think to myself … this is material! In fact, what does not kill me is good material. If an idea stays with me for a while, I’ll take notes and put it in my “too write someday” folder.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will relate to?

Absolutely. My theme is: God turns our worst past into our best future. No matter how badly we think we’ve messed up, God still makes a beautiful tapestry of our lives once we surrender our oops to him.

What are your future projects?

I am currently at work on a contemporary paranormal and soon to be published futuristic political thriller, The Fifteenth Article. I will be starting a “blog book” … a non-fiction, entitled Who Put the Vinegar in the Salt. I am developing a suspense series set in the Adirondacks. And I have several books in my que I’d like to develop: a YA Adirondack suspense, a children’s sci-fi, and speculative set in biblical times. I am not a genre writer, as you can tell.

What kinds of research do you do for your books?

Depends on the book. Even contemporaries require much research. Yesterday, I needed to find famous Italian golfers. When it comes to sports, I live with an encyclopedia! What hubs doesn’t know, he looks up for me. He loves doing research. I have a historical thread through my books, and really enjoy learning tidbits of the past. On one recent book I completed, Legacy of Regret, I discovered the minister who led the dedication prayer at the Transcontinental Railroad ceremony, an abolitionist, did much work with runaway slaves in the Adirondack region. I love museums. I sometimes do personal interviews for occupations. I’m fortunate to have friends in various professions I can go to for specific questions such as medical or legal.

Did you always want to be a writer?

From my earliest days, I loved to write stories. In college, I wanted to major in creative writing, however knew I’d need an occupation. Switched to English and secondary education. Taught one year and my life fell apart. After a few years, I found a job with our local social services. I didn’t know then how much this career would prepare me for my greatest love. I am reminded of Romans 8:28. For the author called of God, this truly applies.

Thank you for having me on your blog today.

“Christmas is a time for miracles,” Ryan McDougal tells his mother, when he is told that a long lost cousin, Millie, has resurfaced after nearly forty years, the cousin whose picture his mother clasped the day his father abandoned him. Though they occurred decades apart, he always believed the two disappearances were connected like opposite links of a chain. With Millie’s arrival, perhaps he might finally receive the answers he so desperately sought. However, Ryan has a third thorn in his side, more devastating than any mystery. His wife, the love of his life, has left his arms and his bed. How long before she moves out of the house and takes his beloved son with her? He prays for his own Christmas miracle. Millie’s anticipated visit prompts Ryan’s mother to reveal secrets that bring all to light. However, when past and present collide, the truth is more than Ryan can bear.

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