Favorite Friday Fiction: The Cat Lady’s Secret by Linda W. Yezak

The Cat Lady’s Secret is my favorite of several great books by Linda Yezak. This one focuses on acts of kindness, something very near and dear to my heart. The characters are fun, even quirky, the plots speeds along, and there are some interesting twists and turns before the story’s over. I recommend it as an enjoyable read…

Click to tweet: The Cat Lady’s Secret focuses on acts of kindness. #FridayReads #kindnessmatters

The Cat Lady’s Secret

Emily Taylor loves to help people, loves to ease their burdens and make their dreams come true. But when a conman ruins her reputation, she discovers that helping others is safer and easier from behind the scenes.

When one of Emily’s gifts captures the attention of an avid journalist, her identity as the town’s anonymous benefactor’and her renewed relationship with her high school sweetheart’are threatened. As her private life begins to unravel, she realizes the one hope for regaining control lies behind prison walls.

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Favorite Friday Fiction: The Spindle Chair by Shellie Arnold

The Spindle Chair is a southern fiction gem in a genre I enjoy reading and writing. Arnold’s characters are deep and real, and the plot moves along well. I really connected emotionally with this story…

Click to tweet: Southern fiction that’s beautiful and haunting.  #FridayReads #fiction

The Spindle Chair

“At once beautiful and haunting … a story you won’t soon forget”. ~ Ann Tatlock, Award-winning author of Once Beyond A Time, a Christy Award winner

Laurie Crane is happily married, yet she aches to have a child. During her husband’s moments of quiet sadness she senses a void she believes only a child can fill. Pierce wants a child, too and has spent years praying alongside his wife. But he has no idea that a “yes” from God will unearth long-buried memories and bring their marriage to the brink of catastrophe. What happens when “happily-ever-after” becomes more than you can bear?

Small Acts of Kindness: “Honey-dos” with Sweetness

By Ada Brownell

I interviewed Dr. Joyce Brothers for the newspaper where I worked and she said something that caught my attention.

She believed married people should thank each other more often. Her idea was to stop nagging your mate to do a job that needs doing. You ask kindly and if or when the job’s done, say “Thank you,” Dr. Brothers said.  She emphasized mates treated in this fashion will help each other more, and the atmosphere in the home will change for the better.

I tried her advice, and it works.  No, it didn’t happen with the first couple of Thank yous, but when I showed appreciation I got more help. My own attitude also improved.

It’s been years since we started thanking one another for even little things, we’ve made it a habit. What an improvement giving thanks has made in our marriage.

God gave us similar advice in the Bible.  Paul said in I Corinthians 13 the loving person is kind, joyful, loving, patient, gentle, faithful and full of self control (Galatians 5:22). These are all fruits of the Holy Spirit, and need to be cultivated. Being thankful is the beginning of growing greater things in our lives.

Let us not be among those Paul told Timothy would live in the perilous last days: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money … unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJ).

Thanking one another, with kindness, separates us from that crowd.

Click to tweet: Married people should thank each other more often. #kindnessmatters #smallactsofkindness

First shared in-The Pentecostal Evangel, February 29, 2004


MEET ADA BROWNELL

The eighth child and the sixth redhead in a family of achievers, Ada Nicholson Brownell writes with stick-to-your-soul encouragement from her Missouri home where she lives with her handsome husband who is the father of their five children—not one of them with red hair or freckles.

Her latest novel is Peach Blossom Rancher.


PEACH BLOSSOM RANCHER

http://amzn.to/2arRVgG

The groans of a woman in the throes of birth pangs come from the barn loft of John Lincoln Parks. Who is it? He has enough to do trying to restore his horse herd and bring the peach orchards back to bearing fruit. Polly the cook/housekeeper delivers the baby, but John keeps finding people who need him or a miracle. The woman he hopes to marry is trying to get people wrongly held there out of the asylum for the insane. His neighbor, Edwina Jorgenson, is trying to run her father’s ranch since he was disabled, and now she has a peeping Tom. The peeper’s bootprints left under the windows are like those in John’s barn after a body was dropped there.

Will John achieve his goals and dreams, regain his faith, or be tried for murder? http://amzn.to/2arRVgG

Favorite Friday Fiction: Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh

Artists in Crime is one of Ngaio Marshs’ thirty novels with Inspector Roderick Alleyn set in England in the 1930’s. I love this one because it introduces Agatha Troy, an artist and teacher, who Inspector Alleyn falls in love with. I love a little romance in a good mystery novel. 🙂

Click to tweet: Classic mystery novel from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. #FridayReads #Fiction

Artists in Crime

It was a bizarre pose for beautiful model Sonia Gluck–and her last. For in the draperies of her couch lay a fatal dagger, and behind her murder lies all the intrigue and acid-etched temperament of an artist’s colony.

Called in to investigate, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Roderick Alleyn finds his own passions unexpectedly stirred by the fiesty painter Agatha Troy–brilliant artist and suspected murderess. First published in 1938.

Small Acts of Kindness: Reflections of God’s Love

By Maria I. Morgan

It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. An unusual shape on an x-ray prompted me to head to my gynecologist. Sure enough, following an ultrasound, it was confirmed: I had two large fibroid tumors – one directly behind the other. Because of the size of the fibroids, laparoscopic surgery was out of the question. I was scheduled for an abdominal hysterectomy.

The information from my doctor and every other article I read listed the recovery time as eight weeks. I was definitely not looking forward to so much down time. My surgery was scheduled for a Wednesday with an expected release date of Friday. Although my husband would be with me through the surgery and the weekend, he had an important conference he had to attend the following week. I wasn’t sure how I would manage to take care of our pets or myself so soon after major surgery.

Riley to the rescue. Although our daughter, Riley, and her husband live 4 hours away from us, as soon as she found out about the operation, she offered to come and help. Because she had limited time off, I knew it was a sacrifice for her. This was just the beginning of several small acts of kindness that were big reflections of God’s love.

Surgery went really well and I was taken to my room by mid-afternoon. That’s when the adorable bouquet arrived: Doggy Houser, M. D. – beautiful white carnations in the shape of a puppy complete with stethoscope and doctor’s bag. And the miniature floral version looked just like our grand-dog, Ollie.

Another act of kindness from our daughter and son-in-law.

Over the days and weeks that followed, the acts of kindness continued like ripples on water. One of our neighbors took care of our pets while I was in the hospital. My husband and daughter cleaned the house for me and ran to the grocery store countless times to make sure I had everything I needed. Some sweet friends from church made meals ensuring we wouldn’t go hungry. And one friend sent cards of encouragement every week – for eight weeks. Just to let me know she was thinking about and praying for me. Wow!

Such a great reminder of what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s fitting to echo the words of the apostle Paul, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” (Philippians 1:3, KJV)

Each act of kindness – such a beautiful reflection of God’s love.

Click to tweet: Acts of kindness after surgery. A beautiful reflection of God’s love. #smallactsofkindness #compassion


Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author of Louie’s BIG day! Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truths and make an eternal difference.

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*The 3rd book in the Louie the Lawnmower series, Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig,” will be releasing on Amazon soon!

Louie and the gang are fired up about the neighborhood yard competition. But when a sarcastic shovel arrives on the scene, hurtful words cause big problems. Will the newcomer succeed in intimidating Louie and his friends? Or will her plan backfire? Join Louie and the others and discover whose words win.

Enter to win: leave a comment below listing a character quality you’d like to see featured in a future Louie book, along with your email address, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to receive a copy of “Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig.” (Open to U.S. residents only. Contest will run through Monday, November 6th. Winner will be contacted via email.)

Other books in the Louie the Lawnmower series:

Louie’s BIG day!

Louie & the Leaf Pile

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble

The Mermaid’s Sister is a different type book than I usually read but when I heard it won Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel for YA fiction and the Realm award for best Speculative fiction, I had to check it out. The book did not disappoint. It combines Speculative at its best with a coming-of-age story. Well worth the read…

Click to tweet: Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel for YA fiction. “The Mermaid’s Sister.” #FridayReads #amreading 

The Mermaid’s Sister

There is no cure for being who you really are…

In a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain, sixteen-year-old Clara lives with her sister, Maren, and guardian Auntie. By day, they gather herbs for Auntie’s healing potions; by night, Auntie spins tales of faraway lands and wicked fairies. Clara’s favorite story tells of three orphaned infants—Clara, who was brought to Auntie by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend, O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.

One day, Clara discovers iridescent scales just beneath her sister’s skin: Maren is becoming a mermaid and must be taken to the sea or she will die. So Clara, O’Neill, and the mermaid-girl set out for the shore. But the trio encounters trouble around every bend. Ensnared by an evil troupe of traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill must find a way to save themselves and the ever-weakening Maren.

And always in the back of her mind, Clara wonders, if my sister is a mermaid, then what am I?

Small Acts of Kindness: Give Thanks in All Circumstances

 

By Lindsey P. Brackett

I passed a church sign today. Give thanks in all circumstances. I use that verse in my debut novel, and when my main character, who’s had her share of tragedy, reads it, she wonders if it’s possible, really, to always give thanks.

Two years ago, our Thanksgiving was marked by similar questions. Two years ago this time was when we first began to suspect something was wrong with our youngest daughter. When we first took her to a doctor and were told we weren’t crazy. When we first realized this might be the beginning of the end.

Or the end of the beginning.

During those first six weeks of tests and blood draws and hospital stays and tears cried until my throat was raw and my knees burned from the carpet at the alter, I could not give thanks. I could not find a way to see gratitude because I was blinded by fear.

And then one day, I did.

I stood in the cold hallway of a children’s hospital and watched a man, a father of a child much smaller than mine, ask the nurse for toothpaste. They had left with almost nothing and found themselves confined to the neurology floor of a place where people spoke in whispers and used words parents are not always equipped to understand.

He caught my eye, this man who shared my fear, and he smiled. I had dirty hair and red-rimmed eyes and hands that shook around my coffee; I had no smile for anyone.

But he had one for me.

I began to make a list, Ann Voskamp style. A daily list of random acts of gratitude, of ways I still felt loved even when they sent us home and the neurologist called two days later and had us come back.

Someone brought us dinner. Gift cards came in the mail. My editor gave grace on a deadline, and so many other mamas stepped in for our three other children. The day we went across the state line to the Birmingham specialist, my husband’s truck broke down. The receptionist at the mechanic shop drove us to our appointment—and she picked us up.

Give thanks in all circumstances. It’s the only way to live thanksgiving, really. We gather around these feast-filled tables one day out of every year, but in reality, we should give the same thanks over the bowl of soup or peanut butter sandwich that graces our plates the rest of the time.

If we can give thanks in the bounty, we must also give it in the meager. If we can give thanks for the new home, better car, bigger paycheck—then we must also give it for the diagnosis and the doctors and the anxiety. Eventually, grace always overcomes. Just watch and you’ll see.

Somewhere in those darkest moments, those worst of times, there will be goodness, there will be kindness, there will be faithfulness. Give thanks in all circumstances—perhaps, especially, in ones that bring us fear.

Click to tweet: Finding thankfulness in all circumstances. #SmallActsofKindness #KindnessMatters


Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine.

In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.

Connect with her at www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she Just Writes Life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Instagram @lindseypbrackett, or on Twitter @lindsbrac.


Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan—avoid her own past despite being waitlisted for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists—she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts her with loss. Here her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the Island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt over his father’s death.

When the family reunion brings to light Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her—and Edisto—from more desolation. Now she must choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Miracle Man by Buck Storm

Every once in a while I come across a writer who just mesmerizes me with his or her books, like The Miracle Man. Buck Storm is one such writer. His books are fun, moving, with a great story line, and quirky characters. I’ll buy all of his books…

Click to tweet: 2016 Selah Awards Finalist. “The Miracle Man.” #FridayReads #amreading 

The Miracle Man

2016 Selah Awards Finalist

Welcome to Paradise, a sleepy, backwater town in the mountains of Southeastern Arizona where police chief Luke Hollis is perfectly content to concentrate on nothing but issuing the occasional speeding ticket. Well that and working up the nerve to approach his dispatcher, Ruby Brooks, for a date. 

When an unexplained healing occurs during a service at the Mount Moriah Pentecostal Church of God, Hollis finds his simple belief system challenged and his life changed forever. Throw in a struggling minister, a world-class grifter, and a stranger with an unbelievable story of love and redemption and the stage is set for The Miracle Man. By the time it’s all over everyone involved will come face to face with a power that’s greater and more wonderful than any of them could have ever imagined.

 

Small Acts of Kindness:  Sometimes in Three’s

By Beth Ann Ziarnik

Only one day stood between me and the big party I would host Sunday afternoon at church. Standing in my kitchen, I wondered how I would ever be ready. I was also a little sad that Jim would not be with me for that special day. He had died just three years before. It seemed like yesterday.

But people were depending on me, so there was nothing to do but keep moving. I grabbed my coat, ready to head for my hair appointment, when the doorbell rang. The poor flower shop man had chased all over, trying to deliver the beautiful bouquet from Sue and Becky.

As I quickly placed the vase on my dining table, it hit me. My Jim couldn’t give me flowers to celebrate my first novel’s book launch but, through the kindness of these dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. I wept all the way to my salon appointment.

Back home, while working on preparations, I thought about the kindness of my friend Jackie. I’d been terribly sick Tuesday through Thursday, and didn’t have the strength to run errands on Friday. Jackie put everything aside to be my chauffeur.  We ordered the cake, bought fruits and veggies, and picked up other last minute items. If not for her, I would have had zero chance of being ready.

Now late Saturday afternoon, I faced preparing all those fruits and veggies, as well as frosting one-hundred-and-fifty star shaped cutout cookies in various sizes. Overwhelmed? Absolutely!

The phone rang, my sister Shelly calling to see how I was doing. I filled her in. “Get yourself over here and help me,” I pleaded, knowing perfectly well that wasn’t happening. She lived several states away.

“Funny thing you should say that,” she said. “I’m just crossing the border into Wisconsin. We’ll be there in a couple of hours.” We included her daughter Nicole, baby Addie, and three-year-old Eli.

Two days before, Shelly had felt such a strong urging to attend my book launch that she chanced driving hundreds of miles in the middle of January, ignoring the snow and frigid cold. Before bedtime, the fruits, veggies and cookies were ready. So were the boxes of decorations, prizes, paper goods, and everything else we’d need.

Three acts of kindness. I will never forget the special friends and family who heard from God’s heart and came to my rescue that Saturday before launch.

Click to tweet: Through the kindness of dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. #Kindnessmatters #smallactsofkindness


  An avid fan of romantic suspense fiction and a firm believer in small acts of kindness, Beth Ann Ziarnik combines both in her debut novel, Her Deadly Inheritance. Besides reading, she enjoys fun times with family and friends and working puzzles.

https://www.facebook.com/beth.ziarnik

https://bethziarnik.wordpress.com


Her Deadly Inheritance

First a runaway. Now running for her life. Won’t Jill Shepherd’s family be surprised when she returns to Grand Island, Michigan to end their lies and scheme to have her declared legally dead? But when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her intended death, her family’s deception may kill any chance she has of remaining alive. 

Clay Merrick may seem to be little more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill’s historic house under renovation, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice … until Jill gets in the way. 

When the killer sets sights on Jill as the next victim, it’s not just Clay’s mission on the line, but his heart.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is an extremely well-written book of fairy-tale romance. It is rich in historical detail and makes it easy to imagine being right in the story. It’s listed as YA but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes transformed fairy-tales…

Click to tweet: Fairy-tale retelling at its best. “The Healer’s Apprentice.” #FridayReads #amreading 

The Healer’s Apprentice

In author Melanie Dickenson’s new book, a young healer’s apprentice named Rose believes she will never marry … until she meets Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of her village. Hamlin is everything she could ever want—kind, understanding, and a man of faith—but her low station and the fact he’s already betrothed to a mysterious woman makes their romance impossible.

As Lord Hamlin seeks to find the sorcerer who cursed his future bride, Rose’s life spins toward confusion. A creative retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale.