Monday, December 15, 2014

Author Spotlight: Interview and Give Away

Today I am honored to have Ruth O'Neil as a guest on my blog. Ruth has been writing for over 20 years and has published hundreds of articles. Ruth is offering a GIVE AWAY of one of her books to one lucky reader. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win the Ruth O'Neil book of your choice. 

1)      When did you start writing? What was the first story you remember writing?

When I was nine I wrote my first story called "The Hunchback Bug." My mom allowed me to use her typewriter. I felt proud as I sat at the dining room table pounding away at the keys. When I was done I asked if I should put my name, age, and date at the bottom. She thought it was a good idea.

Later on that story came up missing. I never knew what happened to it until my mom passed away. Dad gave all four of us kids our baby books that Mom had meticulously kept up with from the days we were born. Inside were treasures of all kinds: hair, reward certificates from school, honor roll certificates, report cards, and…my story. She had kept that story all those years, safely tucked away so it wouldn’t get lost or damaged.

I still have it today.

2)      What is your favorite thing about being an author?

Helping other potential writers. I want to see others see their writing dreams come true. I have witnessed more than one person cry when they hold their book in their hands for the first time. There is nothing like that feeling!

3)      How many books do you currently have available?

I started a series of novels, What a Difference a Year Makes. The novels are all stand-alone with different characters. But over my life I’ve seen that so much can happen in a year. I wanted to do a series, but I get frustrated when I buy a book and it’s the second or third in a series and I haven’t read the previous ones. With my series, order doesn’t matter.

After the death of her father, painfully shy and introverted Shelly finds her world turned upside down. She is forced to speak with people and she may even have to move from her comfortable apartment. Sorting through her father’s possessions at his house brings back many memories, including how they would research her mom’s genealogy so that in a way, she could get to know her mother’s family, who are all deceased. Shelly wonders why her dad never researched his own family and she never remembers any family events. Why? She begins a journey that takes her to places she never dreamed. Throughout the entire story, God nudges Shelly to get out of her comfort zone. That’s easy for some, but for Shelly it may almost be impossible.

Get your copy of BELONGING on Amazon:

Come Eat at My Table

Karin Miller has a need to feed everyone. One of her twin daughters always teases her about it, while
the other daughter, Faith, realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Faith’s suspicions are confirmed when she is assigned a project in school that forces Karin to talk about her past. Most people have pleasant memories from childhood, but not Karin. Instead, she has a lot of secrets that she has managed to keep hidden for twenty years. These secrets have contributed to her vulnerability and lack of self-esteem. Her husband tries to convince her to talk to their girls about it and let it out. Would it be good for the girls to learn more about their mom and why she is the person she is? Until Karin faces her past, she and her family cannot face their future.

Everyone has things in their life that form who they are. It’s Karin’s past that has formed who she is. This is a story about perseverance, love, and especially forgiveness. We can all take the bad things
that happen in our lives and turn them around to benefit those with whom we come in contact.

Get your copy of COME EAT AT MY TABLE on Amazon:

4)      Which book(s) inspire you the most?

That’s like asking which child is my favorite. I think different books inspire me at different times – depending on what I’m going through at the time. I think it’s great that different authors can have an effect on me when I need it.

Keep in touch with Ruth at her blog, Real Life is Better Than Fiction 
And don't forget to leave a comment on this post, with your email address in a safe format (example: username (at) internet server (dot) net) to be entered for a FREE book. Deadline is Friday, 12/19/14 at midnight EST. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Author Spotlight - Suzanne Williams

I'm starting a new feature on my blog - on Mondays I will post an Author Spotlight or Book Review. This week, I'm happy to kick off with someone I met through Facebook. Suzanne D. Williams is a best-selling author of both fiction and non-fiction books. She's also a photographer and does graphic design for indie published authors. Suzanne and I share a love of photography as well as writing. 

Suzanne has a Christmas-themed novella with a title many of us up in the frozen North will be drawn to - and dreaming about! Merry Christmas from Florida is just the thing to warm you up and get you in the Christmas mood. 
Fashion model Whitney Hobart snuck off to Florida to solve her Christas blues. A bad, extremely public breakup combined with endless rounds of holiday cheer seem like simply too much to endure. She'll hide out at a small hotel on the coast, soak in the winter sunshine, and no one will be the wiser.
But when her secret gets out, the problems she's tried to escape multiply, and what's supposed to be relaxing isn't anymore. The only good thing remaining is hotel manager, Fletcher Collins.
She finds in him a listening ear, a gentle hand, and maybe, just maybe, the greatest gift of all - love.

Suzanne, tell us a little about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?

I snickered a little at this question because when am I not writing? I write practically all day every day. That said, I do stop to eat. I like to try new recipes, especially desserts, and to cook with my daughter. I also garden. I plant both flowers and vegetables. I love watching the birds and bees enjoy what I've planted. I enjoy that even more with my camera lens. Nature photography is like therapy for my soul. It helps me set aside all the nonsense of the day and clears my head. When nothing else makes sense, photography does.
A sample of Suzanne's photography
A sample of Suzanne's photograpy


 When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I was a graphic artist first, doing book covers, newsletters, and the like. I went through a trying time in 2007 and decided to write my personal testimony. This was my first effort at writing and, for me, the hardest. Writing fiction, came after that. I had an idea for a story and a friend encouraged me to go after it. Though I had no idea what I was doing at first, I've never looked back. 

   How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I write mostly novellas of about 20,000 words. That said, I currently have 59 novels/novellas/short stories released, 34 of which I released this year alone. My brain seems to be an endless fountain of ideas.
I love all my stories, but have a fondness for Love &Redemption (The Florida Irish) and Me & Timothy Cooper for their place in kickstarting my writing career. Love & Redemption has been not as popular as some series, but it was the book I learned to write on - how to plot, how to create meaningful characters. Me & Timothy Cooper set me to writing YA romance. There's something about the innocence of youth that appeals to me and keeps me coming back to that genre.

    Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I have all kinds of themes slated for next year. I have a YA Rodeo series, a YA Surfing series. I have a contemporary Celebrity series. I also have a historical fiction series to finish as well as several individual contemporary novels. I do write a lot of romantic suspense and have even written sci-fi. 
If I would list favorite characters, my swoon-worthy hero is Michael O'Fallen in the Love & Redemption series for that amazing singing voice. My favorite YA hero is Aaron Loving in All About Romeo. He's imperfect, but somehow, that makes him so likeable. For personality I would choose Atlas Bellamy in Atlas(Billionaire Boys Club) Book 1. He's strong and confident, knows who he is and doesn't turn aside for anyone but his wife, who he adores.
Get Merry Christmas from Florida on Kindle or in print at
About the Suzanne D. Williams:
Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit or link with her on Facebook at

Friday, December 5, 2014

Naultag, the middle of nowhere

When Sean Taggart first meets Caitlin Harrington, his initial impression is that she's too sophisticated for a small town. "She didn’t belong in the middle of nowhere, which was pretty much the exact map location for Naultag, Massachusetts."
This is Lake Lashaway - the "model" for Lake Naultag
I patterned Naultag after my hometowns. I grew up in North Brookfield, moved to Brookfield, then moved back to North Brookfield. We're pretty close to the town line for East Brookfield. And I've worked in West Brookfield. Sounds like a lot of Brookfields, doesn't it? They're just four small towns smack-dab in the middle of the state. Chock full of everything you'd expect in an area that used to be very rural and is slowly creeping toward suburban. 

In this post, I want to give readers a peek at what Naultag might look like. So here are some pictures of the Brookfields. As you read She's Mine you just may recognize some landmarks.
the pond on Brickyard Road - yes, it's a real place!

Main Street, North Brookfield

First Congregational Church of North Brookfield
Asparagus & Flower Heritage Festival 
the new Police Station in North Brookfield, MA
Haston Library, Main Street, North Brookfield, MA

Merriam-Gilbert Library, West Brookfield, MA
Explore more of Naultag and get to know Caitlin Harrington, Sean Taggart and the rest of the residents in She's Mine, now available on Amazon

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Good Man is Good

In my new novel, SHE'S MINE (releasing December 1, 2014), Caitlin Harrington struggles to know how to tell if someone is truly a good person or merely a wolf in sheep's clothing. She recently dated a guy she met at Bible Study, thinking his apparent interest in learning about God and Jesus indicated that he was a good man. He wasn't good. At all. She flees from him, returning to her childhood hometown where she has a new job. And meets Sean Taggart, who seems like a great guy. Almost too perfect, in fact.

Fear chilled Caitlin. On the one hand, the idea was romantic, joining with the man she loved and becoming one. On the other hand, what if the guy wasn’t what at first he seemed to be? She’d get her heart broken, or worse. If only there was a way to tell if Sean was the nice guy he appeared to be or actually a slimy creep like Adam.
Caitlin bowed her head. “Lord, please forgive me. I’ve been trying to figure this out on my own. But I need to lean on you. Please show me the right path. Help me choose correctly.”

At this point, Caitlin turns to her Bible and reads Luke 6:45. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Seems too good to be true, doesn't it? That's exactly how Caitlin feels. Yet it is true. When
Image courtesy of Savour Sisterhood
your heart is filled with goodness, you speak more kindly, are more helpful, and are just generally a good person. People whose hearts are filled with evil are generally bad. Take a moment to think about the people you interact with daily. See, it's true. But there's more to it, something we don't think about yet is crucially important. If you consider yourself a good person, don't fill your thoughts (and Facebook/Twitter status updates) with nasty things. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. And certainly a little sarcasm used humorously in a way that isn't hurtful can bring about a laugh - which is good. But letting your head fill with thoughts of criticism of others or negativity about situations is like letting a cut get infected. Pretty soon the wound fester, oozes pus and smells bad, and if left untreated, it becomes a major problem. Yeah, it's natural to get down about things now and then. Current affairs are enough to drag anybody down into the pit of negativity. Don't go there! Fight it! Fill your thoughts with positives, things that make you smile. If someone else's discomfort or pain makes you smile, then you probably need to reconsider whether you are a good person or and evil one.

In SHE'S MINE, Caitlin first thought Adam was a good man because he attended church and Bible study. He expressed an interest in learning more about Christ. But it was all for show. After a few months, Adam's true personality became clear. Sean, on the other hand, is kind and considerate to everyone, well-liked and respected in the church and town-wide. He has a fantastic rapport with the kids on his Little League team, including Caitlin's best friend's sons. Good overflows from his heart. Too bad Caitlin had treated him so coldly in their earlier encounters. Dared she hope Sean might be willing to forgive her? 

SHE'S MINE, the new contemporary romantic suspense by Tammy Doherty, is now available on Kindle and coming soon in print on Amazon

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Poppies for Memorial Day

In May of 1915, during the First World War, Lt. Colonel John McCrae presided over the funeral of a friend, a fellow soldier killed in the war. He was inspired to write "In Flanders Fields". Moina Michael was so moved by the tribute that she purchased a bouquet of poppies and handed them out to businessmen meeting at the New York YMCA where she worked. This was in November 1918, after WWI had ended. She later led a campaign that resulted in the adoption of the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.

Each year for Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, the American Legion Auxiliary gives out paper poppies in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. When you see that nice lady standing outside the bank with a bouquet of "fake flowers," be sure to stop and give a donation. Our veterans, past and present, deserve all the support we can give.
(information posted above taken from the American Legion Auxiliary website)


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Lt. Col. John McCrae

Technically, this is the wrong kind of poppy; these are Iceland Poppies. In Flanders, they would've been Oriental Poppies (red with a black center). But this is my own photograph of poppies we grow & sell. They seem a fitting tribute despite their color.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring in New England - or Not!

I've lived here all my life and there's one thing I can say for certain - New England weather is never predictable! Growing up, winter seemed to last well into April. Possibly that's just childhood memories, though In the 80's and 90's, it seemed like we had lots of snow but always a January though and generally late February we'd get a nice warm week - in celebration of my birthday, of course! Then we went into a spell of milder weather, though lack of snow didn't mean it was warmer. 

But no matter the winter, when Spring arrives at last we are all happy. Well, mostly happy. With spring comes "mud season" followed closely, or sometimes going hand-in-hand with allergy season. Then summer comes with its heat and humidity and we start griping about that, dreaming of cooler weather. When school starts, the kids grow wistful for snow days. 

Okay, so there's one more thing I can say with absolute certainty regarding New England weather - - we're always complaining about it! 

Here's a few photos of what Spring is bringing us this year.
Rivers in the driveway as snow melts and we have "April Showers"

Just when you think the snow is gone...!

When I was a kid, boots were often lost in the barnyard. Cars had to be pulled out by tractor. Mud is a serious thing in New England.

 And then the plants and flowers come back. On the left is a blueberry bush with leaf buds and leaves unfurling. Below is a cheerful forsythia - better harbinger of Spring than Robins, considering the Robins stay all winter around here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finding Joy Again Is Not a Betrayal

Today would've been my brother's 46th birthday. They say time heals all wounds, but don't say that to someone who has recently lost a loved one. Believe me, I know. Still, the words are true although there are all kinds of "healed."

Every kind of wound has a different healing process. You can do a head-first flip of your bicycle, on a dirt road, wearing shorts (yes, experience speaking here!) and your knees will look like something that came out of a meat grinder. In a few short days, the scratches heal and soon there is no sign they ever existed. Or, you could decide you're old enough and big enough to use your father's chainsaw. The resulting gash will be deeper, bloodier and take longer to heal than the bicycle accident abrasions. You may even end up with a scar from that one. But probably a scar is all you'll have. Sometimes a wound isn't as obvious but lasts longer. In high school, I reached for the right-side handle of set of double doors, using my left hand. Someone came through the left-side door at the same time, whacking my wrist pretty hard. It swelled and turned a really nasty shade of indigo-black. It hurt. Slowly the bruise healed, yet the spot is still tender even all these many, many years later.

When someone you love dies, whatever the circumstance, it's a wound that cuts deep. If the death is of an elderly person or someone who has been ill for a long time, some of the healing process has already begun. As much as no one wants to think about it or face the truth, we all know our parents are going to die. My grandmother was 90 when she passed away. Though I was prepared for the eventuality, it still hurt to lose her but moving on took less time than losing my brother. His death was a shock. He was 23, full of life, the future wide open. Then he was gone. In the blink of an eye. As painful as it was for me, I can only imagine how hard it was for my parents.

Losing a child is every parent's greatest fear. It's like that gaping, blood-gushing wound that looks too horrific to ever heal. With proper care - consideration, compassion, empathy - the wound can be stitched and the repair process begins. At first, it hurts beyond words. The body's defense mechanism tries to block the pain, which for an emotional injury often leaves a person in a kind of psychological numb state. Be patient, please, with those who are numb and if you are the numb one. As recovery progresses, the wound scabs over - figuratively, yes, but it's just like a "real" scab...pick it, and the wound bleeds. Sometimes it looks like the wound is all better, then it reopens. That happens with grief, a lot. A picture, an inadvertent question, hearing about a similar loss, it's hard to predict what may set off the grieving pain all over again. For me, breaking a glass and disrupting a "set" sent me into tears - because that broken glass was too shattered to be saved much as my brother's bodily injures made him too broken to fix.

Years pass. You don't "get over it," you "get on with it" - it being life. The sorrow doesn't go away, you simply learn how to live with, and often how to compartmentalize, the grief. The agony and anguish fade to an ache. That doesn't mean you love the person less or that you don't miss them. It means you are still alive and your brain knows you need to function whether or not your emotions want to. If you're going through this now, as a recent or not-too-distant loss, please accept this bit of advice: don't be afraid to find joy again, it is not a betrayal. My brother had been growing into the attitude that he was my "big" brother despite being 3 years younger. I know he would want me to be happy. He wouldn't want my mother to spend her days crying. He would probably have been the kind of uncle parents hate and kids love (admit it, Billy, you would've been!). He would not begrudge me a smile or laughter.

So as time goes by, focus on the happy memories. Laugh and smile again. In your mind, share the joy with the one who is no longer physically with you, like I did up there in that sentence about my brother as an uncle. Live life to the fullest because that's what your loved one would want for you.

Happy Birthday, Billy!