Johnnie Alexander’s The Cryptographer’s Dilemma joins Saving Mrs. Roosevelt in the Heroines of WWII series, and I’m delighted to share both of these novels with you. Imho, they’d make perfect Christmas gifts for anyone who enjoys this era.

The Cryptographer’s Dilemma took me right back to World War II, into the life of a young Navy cryptographer nabbed from her secret decoding work to aid a government investigation. It’s a hush-hush operation, of course, which doesn’t faze Eloise at all. But the specifics of the situation do bother her. She’s being assigned to travel across the U.S. with a male agent. Together they’ll be interviewing several folks in various parts of the country, and traveling mostly by train. In addition, this agent fails to impress Eloise when they first meet.

I’ve read some of Johnnie’s other novels, so I expected this story to keep me on my toes. It certainly did, with some twists and turns from Eloise’s family background that heightened the tension. (: I hope you make this book a part of your winter reading cache. AND Johnnie is giving one print copy to a fortunate commenter!

Here’s the purchase link:

And more details from Johnnie:

Finding the Doll Woman

A talented codebreaker. A seasoned FBI agent. And a doll collector who sold naval secrets to the enemy.

These characters confront one another in my latest World War II novel, The Cryptographer’s Dilemma.

The talented codebreaker is Eloise Marshall who is recruited by the FBI to determine whether seemingly innocent letters about dolls aren’t so innocent after all. Eloise, who is mourning the death of her brother who was at Pearl Harbor, wants to do all she can to bring an end to the war. 

After studying the letters, she realizes they are written in jargon code. For example, one letter mentioned an old fisherman doll with a net over his back. This most likely referred to an aircraft carrier since safety nets draped this type of ship.

The seasoned FBI agent is Phillip Clayton. When his hope of becoming a bomber pilot is dashed because of his color-blindness, he makes a Plan B. But that plan is also interrupted when he’s given one last assignment before he enlists in the Army or the Navy—find out who wrote the forged letters to a Japanese contact in Argentina.

Eloise and Phillip travel from the east coast to the west coast and back again to interview the women whose names were forged on the letters. These letters, which included the women’s return addresses, had either shown up in their mailboxes as “Addressee Unknown” or been flagged by postal censors and handed over to the FBI. 

They discover that the forger and traitor is an unremarkable woman who owns a doll shop on Madison Avenue in New York City and has an obsession with Japanese culture.

A woman who actually lived. Who actually forged such letters. Who actually betrayed the United States.

Her name is Velvalee Dickinson, a traitor the FBI nicknamed “The Doll Woman” and designated as the “War’s Number One Woman Spy.” 

She was arrested in January 1944 and is the only person known to have provided the Japanese with naval secrets during the war. It’s suspected she also had advance knowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Velvalee pled guilty to breaking postal censorship laws to avoid facing charges of espionage. She served seven years of a ten-year sentence, changed her name, and eventually returned to her home state of California to live out the rest of her life in anonymity.

The Cryptographer’s Dilemma is the first novel in Barbour’s new Heroines of World War II Series. Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Back Cover Copy

A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring
FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?


Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget in a variety of genres. An award-winning, best-selling novelist, she serves on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and teaches at writers’ conferences and for Serious Writer Academy.

A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, Johnnie shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with her at

Saving Mrs. Roosevelt

What a treat to welcome Candice Sue Patterson, with her Romantic Suspense novel set in 1942. She’s giving a signed paperback copy (US residents only.) Enjoy being taken back in time!

Semper Paratus, Always Ready—that was the motto for the SPARs, the first female-only reserve of the Coast Guard commissioned by Franklin D. Roosevelt in November 1942. The SPARs were created to train women to work military jobs on the home front to free able-bodied men to fight. Women enlisting had to be at least twenty-two years of age, healthy, able to pass an aptitude test, and willing to serve her country. 

The SPARs were both named and directed by Dorothy C. Stratton, Dean of Women at Purdue University. She was director in the WAVES—the female-only reserve of the Navy—when she was asked to head up the Coast Guard reserve. She named the reserve SPARs after the Coast Guard’s motto “Semper Paratus, Always Ready.”

Dorothy, the daughter of a Baptist minister, believed that as a woman, a member in the military, and an American citizen, one should be “always ready” whether during war time or in a time of peace. Ready to teach, serve, encourage, and pray for those around us. I Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

In researching and writing Saving Mrs. Roosevelt, a romantic suspense novel centered around the SPARs, I’ve challenged myself to be a SPAR. To always be ready with a kind word, a way to help and serve, to teach and to be taught, and to answer to “the hope” that is within me. You, too, can be a SPAR, and together we can serve our country by sharing the light. 

Saving Mrs. Roosevelt is book three in Barbour Publishing Inc.’s Heroines of WWIIseries. Publishers Weekly says, “This intriguing installment in the Heroines of WWII series will appeal to both romantics and history buffs. It’s a fun little escape.” For more, visit

The Safety of the First Lady Rests in Shirley’s Hands

Shirley Davenport is as much a patriot as her four brothers. She, too, wants to aid her country in the war efforts, but opportunities for women are limited. When her best friend Joan informs her that the Coast Guard has opened a new branch for single women, they both enlist in the SPARs, ready to help protect the home front.
Training is rigorous, and Shirley is disappointed that she and Joan are sent to separate training camps. At the end of basic training, Captain Webber commends her efforts and commissions her home to Maine under the ruse of a dishonorable discharge to help uncover a plot against the First Lady.

Shirley soon discovers nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust? Why do the people she loves want to harm the First Lady? With the help of Captain Webber, it’s a race against time to save Mrs. Roosevelt and remain alive.

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Heirs of Falcon Point

A unique novel written by four authors. Sometimes war’s effects are passed down through the generations. The modern-day Lang family traces their roots and discovers a treasure worth fighting for. One of the authors, A.L. Sowards, offers us a peek into this complicated story today, so get set for a trip back into a chaotic chapter of World War II.

In the early days of World War II, the Lang family lost everything. Eighty years later, it’s time to take it back.

The Nazis have taken control of Austria, and wealthy widower Leopold Lang faces a difficult decision: join the ranks of the foreign power that has taken over his homeland or flee with his children to safety. Leopold makes his choice—but too late. His family is ripped apart, never to be reunited. But decades later, fate brings together the descendants of this broken dynasty in the place where it all began—Falcon Point.Anna, Cole, and Tess have never met, each relying on fractured pieces of information to understand their Austrian heritage. But when unforeseen opportunities draw these Lang cousins to Falcon Point, they soon discover they are not alone in their quest to claim the coveted property and the fabled treasure hidden within. Unfortunately, another claimant, one with a much darker heritage, is determined to eliminate the Lang family once and for all.

About the authors:
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She loves to travel and enjoys coaching her local high school swim team. She has written more than thirty bestselling novels and is a seven-time Whitney Award winner, including 2017 and 2019 Best Novel of the Year. 

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Sian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales. She left her homeland to attend Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in English. 

She began her writing career as a college student, publishing several articles in the New Era, Ensign, and Liahona magazines. Since then she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children’s books. She is a USA Today best-selling author, a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year finalist, and a Whitney Award finalist. 

Sian and her husband, Kent, are the parents of five children and the grandparents of three beautiful girls and two handsome boys. They currently live in Idaho, and although Sian doesn’t have the opportunity to speak Welsh very often anymore, she can still wrap her tongue around, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch still rolls off her tongue. 

Traveling, reading, cooking, and being with her grandchildren are some of her favorite activities. 

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Paige Edwards is an award-winning author of contemporary Regency romances with a side-order of suspense. Her stories have debuted in the number-one Amazon spot for Christian fiction and have received national five-star reviews by Reader’s Favorite and InD’Tale Magazine. Her novels appeal to a wide range of readers from Historical Romance to Mystery/Suspense. She holds a degree in interior design and has worked professionally in that field. Due to her strong British roots, Paige’s books are often set in the UK, and she hops the pond whenever she gets the chance. She Is the Lady Paige Edwards when in Scotland, but her favorite title is Grandma. When she needs a break from writing, she serves as president of her area’s Interfaith Community Council, she is fond of digging in the dirt (what some might call gardening), she bikes the battlefields, and she kayaks on the lake. 

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A. L. Sowards has always been fascinated by the 1940s, but she’s grateful she didn’t live back then. She doesn’t think she could have written a novel on a typewriter, and no one would be able to read her handwriting if she wrote her books out longhand. She does, however, think they had the right idea when they rationed nylon and women went barelegged. 

Sowards is the author of multiple historical fiction novels, with settings spanning the globe from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries. Her stories have earned a Whitney Award, several Whitney Finalists positions, and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal. 
She lives with her husband and three children and has called Washington State, Utah, and Alaska home. She enjoys hiking and swimming, usually manages to keep up with the laundry, and loves it when someone else cooks dinner. She doesn’t own a typewriter, but she does own a pair or two of nylons. 

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Amanda / A. L. Sowards


Jodie Wolfe shares her new releasE with us today–THIS IS RELEASE DAY!! and is offering an e-book to one commenter. Enjoy!

Protecting Annie -for Gail Kittleson

A foolhardy, straitlaced schoolmarm wasn’t who the sheriff planned to rescue.

Today is release day which is always exciting in the life of an author. Protecting Annieis book two in my Burrton Springs Brides series. In the first book, Taming Julia, my heroine was a no-nonsense, rugged female who spent her whole life living along the trail. Jules (Julia) was a little rough along the edges. She was a duck out of water when she started living in a town.

I thought it would be fun to create a heroine for book two who is the complete opposite of that, which is how I came up with Annie McPherson. Annie is a well-educated, demure heroine. What she lacks in common sense, she makes up for with her research and book knowledge. 

At the end ofTaming Julia,I alluded to Jules trying find a match for her brother, Josh Walker. I knew there had to be a deeper reason why he avoided town living. It was fun throwing Annie and Josh into situations that dug deeper into both of their pasts.

Here’s the official back cover blurb for Protecting Annie:


After twenty years of living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem, she no longer requires his protecting so he’s unsure of his next step.

Annie McPherson needs a change after the death of her father. She accepts a position as schoolmarm, hoping her past won’t catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky sheriff who continues to question her ability to adjust to life in the west and creates confrontations at every turn.

When the irritating schoolteacher’s past and present collide, dragging him into the turmoil, Josh has to decide who he’s willing to defend.

I hope you’ll enjoy my new book. Please leave a comment for your chance to win an ebook of it. Tell me what you’re looking forward to this month.


Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichmentmagazine, her articles can be found online at: CrosswalkChristian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at

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Journey to ChiYah

… a long and twisty road…

Kimberly Russell celebrates her debut fantasy novel with us this week, and she’s offering a free e-book to a commenter. Many authors, consciously or not, integrate their own lives into their stories, and Kimberly has done this intentionally. When I read her bio, I wonder if she’s also used experiences of women in the prison system where she once worked. We’ll see!

My fantasy novel, Journey to ChiYah (Hebrew for restoration) released July 1, 2021. The story is a conglomeration of my life experiences, emotional struggles, hybrid facts, and plain old fiction. Some events are verbatim, while others began as one thing and transformed into something else. Most important, it is the story of my own emotional healing, several decades in the making.

I’ve always struggled with wounds from the past. While God has untangled much over the years, I seemed to be caught in endless cycles, never quite getting long-term healing… until I began attending a new church. 

This was a different kind of place, packed with biblical teaching about how to live entwined with God, breathing in His presence daily. Living in complete agreement with Him involves a willingness to have a cooperative, repentant heart and lifestyle, and being willing to address things He points out. Not always an easy thing. We also learned about His restoring power that can heal us from our wounded past, and I finally began to make lasting progress toward healing. At the same time, my creative juices exploded.

Everyone would see me scribbling furiously during sermons, taking notes, and journaling as God worked me through the healing process that intertwined with Jade’s story, and soon Journey to ChiYah took shape. Life got in the way for a while, and it took a while to finish the first draft, but after I retired four years ago, I knew it was go-time. 

The message of Journey to ChiYah: God can heal and restore us from our wounds if we cooperate during the process. It’s often a bumpy ride, but as we persevere, He is faithful and true to restore us to His original, best intent, then send us on assignment to share with the world.

From the back cover:

Jade Pepperdine has a problem: Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start. Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair… a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination. Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself.

Purchase Journey to ChiYah at Amazon:

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Kimberly Russell lives in a tiny house in southern lower Michigan with Toby, the Shih Tzu, 

who allows her to be his roommate. Retired for four years, Kim’s 30 year day job was that 

of civil servant in the Michigan Department of Corrections at the local prison complex as 

the Warden’s Secretary.

Kim began writing in 2009 after she joined an on-line writing community called FaithWriters 

and regularly participated in their weekly writing challenge. High-ranking finishes led to

publication in the 2015 & 2017 FaithWriters anthologies. She branched out and authored 

a column for entertainment publication, Frank Talk, and has been published in Dog Life 

Magazine. Her first full-length novel is Christian Fantasy, Journey to ChiYah,

which released July 1, 2021. 

When not hanging out in her favorite place on earth—the She Shed—and creating literary magic, Kim is a pickleball fiend, playing several times a week. She also loves to read, enjoys a somewhat mediocre golf game, and is a tech geek.

When Valleys Bloom Again

Pat Jeanne Davis is back with us this week, celebrating a sale on her WWII novel–enjoy!

The verse in Romans 8:28 is a favorite one of mine: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose . . . .”

Abby, the heroine in When Valleys Bloom Again, frequently reminds herself of this promise after she is uprooted from London and forced to return to a country far from her family and the life to which she’d become accustomed. Meanwhile back in England, her parents are under continuous aerial attack from the enemy, and on the battlefields of Europe, her brother and fiance face death daily.

Excerpt from Chapter 3

New York, September 4, 1939

Finally, after sailing in a zigzag course to evade further U-boats, theQueen Mary slipped into the harbor. Abby emerged into the hubbub on deck as they glided under tow into the shadows of the Manhattan skyscrapers. She caught her breath as sirens blared from boats that accompanied them and water cannon spouted a raucous salute. Abby covered her ears as three thunderous blasts from their liner returned the greeting. Streamers of red and white and blue criss-crossed warehouses and the tall masts of ships moored nearby. American and British flags flapped an exuberant “Welcome” in the salty breeze as music from a brass band floated up from below.

Abby leaned against the ship’s railing, letting out a deep breath. She tried to see herself as a brand-new arrival, taking it all in for the first time. An undercurrent of sadness swept over her, diluting her gratitude and relief at a safe arrival. Reality hit hard. No chance of returning now. Still, it wouldn’t be enough merely to tolerate her stay here. She must take charge of her own affairs, and not simply react to circumstances forced on her. And she must put on a brave face for the sake of her family. Lord, I need your help.

The swirling mass on the dock below resolved into distinct faces, each searching for an answering look of recognition. Somewhere down there her uncle and aunt waited. Memories came flooding in of visits with her parents to Uncle Will’s vast country estate. She hadn’t seen Aunt Val in—Abby tallied them on her fingers—four whole years. She had always thought her stand-offish and hoped sheʼd improved in the meantime.

As the Queen Maryclosed in, men in military garb holding rifles scanned the vessel, their heads in constant motion. Not here too. Policemen weaved through the waiting throng below, looking at papers and detaining one here, one there. Abby seized the railing and closed her eyes. Lord, help me to see this is all working to my good.

Here’s a link to book trailer for When Valleys Bloom Again:

FLASH: If you haven’t read my WWII inspirational romance, now’s your chance. From 10/11 thru 10/17 the Kindle version of When Valleys Bloom Again is discounted to $1.99. That’s a savings of $3.


            After fleeing impending war in England, nineteen-year-old Abby Stapleton works to         correct her stammer and to become a teacher in America, only to discover this conflict      has no boundaries and that a rejected suitor is intent on destroying her name, fiancé,             and fragile faith.

Back Book Cover Description:

As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat.Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes.Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home?With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible.Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too?Then Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind.Did she have a sweetheart in England?Was it foolish to think she’d consider him?He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him.Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S.Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence.Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?

PAT JEANNE DAVIS  has a keen interest in 20thCentury United States and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Her longtime interest in that era goes back to the real-life stories she heard about family members who served during the war. When Valleys BloomAgainis a debut inspirational romance set in WWII. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her British-born husband. She writes from her home n Philadelphia, Pa. Pat has published essays, short stories and articles online and in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith, Hope, & Love Christian Writers. Please visit her at 


When Valleys Bloom Again can be purchased here:

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I’m glad to welcome Mary Savarese today. It’s fun to feature authors who write what for me would be a bridge too far! But her Y/A fantasy offers adventure and romance, as well. I hope you venture into her created worlds, cross time barriers, and have fun with Mary’s story. Mary is offering one commenter a HARDBACK COPY of this lovely tale!

This review from the US Review of Books says it all:

“Savarese’s novel is an inventive and original portal fantasy that avoids the genre’s most overused clichés. At moments the story evokes Doctor Who and A Wrinkle in Time, though the plot is unlike anything the reader is likely to have read. Savarese piles incident upon incident, and readers who enjoy a quirky science fiction story with magic and a hint of romance will find much here to entertain.” 

                  Book 1 of the StarWriters Trilogy follows twelve-year old Tyler Charles as he struggles to rescue the love of his life, Callalyly of the House of Montevelli of Siena. Tyler, however, is allowed to call her, Lyly. Tyler lives within the world of today, and Lyly lives inside a world that existed over two centuries ago. When he’s pulled through a lantern portal and slides into a two dimensional world of the toile wallpaper, Tyler must remember his class physics to reverse the effects of an evil wizard’s spell. 

When he finally cracks the code and reverses the effects, Tyler finds himself two centuries into the past where noblemen and women dwell, and where the world is quite different. It is in the past where Tyler finally discovers the true meaning of friendship and learns to work around the daily hardships and emotional traumas of life. 

“Savarese is skilled at contrasting medieval and modern worlds, flowing between them in a manner that is enlightening and creates no confusion in the transition process, which creates a seamless story based not just on one or two main characters, but a host of special interests and It is written in the stars!” Fantasy fans of high school age and older who look for a blend of mystery, history, and spell-binding intrigue will relish the journey and discoveries which defy time, space, and death.” 

— Diane Donovan, Midwest Review 

Mary is an award-winning author born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a degree in accounting from City University, NY and worked within the insurance and financing world. Her debut novel, Tigers Love Bubble Baths & Obsession Perfume (who knew!) is a contemporary spiritual mystery that transcends three genres … mystery, spirituality, and romance, and won eight national book awards. Mary was a religious education teacher and is now a Eucharistic minister for the Catholic church. After raising a family in Connecticut, she moved to Florida with her husband and spends her time writing entertaining and unusual stories.

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Just published by Indignor House & available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Independent Book Stores.     Amazon Softcover   Amazon Hardcover       Barnes & Noble


Mary K. Savarese


Tigers Love Bubble Baths & Obsession Perfume (who knew!)

a Cozy Mystery Romance with a Spiritual Twist

She’s Here… 

The Girl in the Toile Wallpaper 

a Fantasy Adventure Trilogy with Romance 

Visit for more updates 



Unexpected Writer

Some authors plan on writing as a career. Not so for Lisa Bell, our guest this week–here’s her story, and she’s offering a signed copy of THE INNER NEMESIS to one happy camper…I mean commenter. (:

Lisa and I contributed to a wonderful Christmas collection called CHRISTMAS THROUGH THE AGES, and she’s also offering one signed copy of this book plus a couple of others to form a Christmas anthology. We are celebrating this new release!

Take it away, Lisa! (Oh, and did I say I get to meet Lisa in person next week in Texas Hill Country?!?! Very excited here.)

I didn’t grow up dreaming of someday writing for a living, but I became an unexpected writer. In retrospect, I always enjoyed writing. People often told me I should write a book. Imagine my surprise when a corporate manager reviewed my first standard operating procedure and said, “Just because these are technical documents, they don’t have to be boring. Lose the passives.” Now, passives top my list of editor pet peeves, personally avoiding them as much as possible.

I don’t remember the exact moment of my paradigm shift or why it came, but one day, I knew. 

I am a writer. 

Saying that changed my perspective. At the time, I worked in the corporate world. After that day, instead of announcing my corporate position and timidly adding, “and sometimes I write,” when asked, I boldly said, “I am a writer. I daylight as a business analyst.” The mental shift, didn’t change me, but it altered my perspective. 

I left the corporate world intending to freelance write and edit books. God had other plans, and I became a magazine editor, which means writing and editing, plus a host of other responsibilities. Most of the time, I love my job. Having written hundreds of articles in my current position as an editor for NOW Magazines, LLC., my heart desires fiction writing. Recently returning to that passion, I find myself searching for time to work on a novel. 

My second desire, helping other writers, led to my side career as a freelance editor, but I love teaching writing skills and encouraging others in their writing. Somehow, I grew passionate about seeing others succeed. Which steered me to create two books designed for writers. Honestly, I designed the planner for myself because I couldn’t find one that fit my needs well.

What better way to help writers than with interactive tools? My Inner Nemesis offers a combination for journaling ideas, writing prompts and inspiration—perfect for use as morning pages exercises or when you need a break to get ideas flowing. 

A Day in a Writer’s World provides one-page per day for recording critical, important and pleasurable tasks. At the end of the day, assess your degree of success, and jot down notes you need to remember. 

Feel free to visit me on www.bylisabell.comor email

The Stars in April

Welcome, Peggy Wirgau–and everyone, get ready for a treat! Peggy’s giving away a signed paperback copy of her very first book.

My debut novel, The Stars in April, is based on the true story of a twelve-year-old Titanic survivor, Ruth Becker. Released on March 30, 2021 by IlluminateYA, the book has been honored with a Starred Review from School Library Journal.

In 2012, during the hundredth anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, I discovered among the survivors the name of a girlwhose parents were missionaries in India. Twelve-year-old Ruth Becker was separated from her family as the Titanic lifeboats were loaded, yet she managed to share her blankets with others and offer a handkerchief to a stoker who had injured his finger. 

What would make this young girl act so bravely when she must have been terrified? How did she feel about leaving her home in India, and what led to her decisions in a lifeboat full of strangers that cold, dark night? As I asked myself those questions, I began researching and realized I needed to tell Ruth’s story. 

An excerpt from the back cover:

The year is 1912. When doctors in India are unable to treat her baby brother’s illness, Ruth’s missionary parents decide there is one solution: move her mother and the children across the world—to Michigan. 

But India is the only home Ruth knows. In a matter of days, she must leave Papa and all she loves behind, abandon her dream of one day playing violin in the Calcutta Orchestra, and embark on a four-week journey to England, followed by the voyage to New York aboard the luxurious, ill-fated RMS Titanic

Ruth’s story is one of courage and self-sacrifice as she earns her sea legs and faces the unknown, culminating in a desperate, tragic night she will never forget.

One of the best parts of writing the book was getting acquainted with a member of the Titanic Historical Society, who knew Ruth in her later years. He graciously provided several tales she had shared with him about her life in India and aboard the Titanic, and I was able to weave them into the novel. One that took place in India involved a tea party that her mother hosted for other missionary wives, only to have it interrupted by wild monkeys who had decided to invade their veranda and eat the sandwiches!

You may contact Peggy here: 

A River For Gemma

Creativity can serve as an anchor in our lives, giving us hope for something beautiful to emerge from the emotional wreckage around us. That’s what I hope my readers will experience in my novels as they escape into another realm…”

~Debra Whiting Alexander

WELCOME, Debra Whiting Alexander! As an Emily Dickinson lover, I’m excited about your new release. Debra’s here to tell us more, and is offering a GIVEAWAY to a commenter: See details below.


(Releasing August 16, 2021 Available for preorder now!)

Three spirited women. One perilous past. And an unlikely heroine…

Pigeonholed as “intellectually disabled,” a young woman’s desire for motherhood collides with her grandmother’s hidden past, forcing her to muster the grit to save their lives. A sparkling tale of wild courage and unexpected miracles.

Sometimes a woman must take risks to learn to be brave…

When I was nine, I read the poem, “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died”, by Emily Dickinson. That little poem stirred something in me—a desire to capture on paper compelling moments of life in a simple way. When something touches my soul, I listen to it. Those moments often end up in my novels.

Raised in San Diego, I grew up on a steady diet of western movies and musicals and a love for the ocean, cowgirls, pianos, golden retrievers, and art. In Oregon my home backs up to lush green fields, horses, stunning sunsets, and hazelnut orchards. The beaches of southern California were the inspiration for my debut novel, Zetty, but it’s in the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest that I found inspiration for my second novel, A River for Gemma.

         Inspired by my grandmother who died in a psychiatric hospital at the age of 41, Zettyblends personal history with my professional background. The story shines a light on the stigma of mental illness and the shame that often accompanies it. A River for Gemmais the story of a young woman with an intellectual disability and challenges our ingrained perspectives on disability and capability. Writing an uplifting story about nature and the pure of heart gave me a wonderful escape from the difficult years our country has recently experienced.

My writing career began with seventeen published books of non-fiction related to post trauma recovery for children and families, including a project written for schools and parents following the 9/11 attacks. My passion today is to write stories about the humor, spirit, and strength of unconventional women. I relish the opportunity to write about friendship, motherhood, mental health, and to do it with spiritual substance —matters of the heart and soul. I’m hooked on Upmarket Women’s Fiction because it allows me to integrate all the things I love most. 

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