SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Author Catherine Brakefield

I have such a treat for you today! Author Catherine Brakefield is back on the blog sharing about her Destiny Series. And there is some fabulous bits of history in these books. I am soooo in love! But I won’t bore you with my thoughts…I’ll get you to Catherine as fast as possible!

Catherine Brakefield’s Destiny Series

Sara, it is a true pleasure to be back on your blog with you and talking about the third book in the Destiny series, Destiny of Heart. I was on last year talking about Destiny’s Whirlwind and really enjoyed myself!

Before I begin, I’d like to refresh you and your reader’s memory about the series:

Swept into Destiny, book 1, begins in 1857. Maggie Gatlan may be a Southern belle on the outside, but inside she’s a rebel. She meets the handsome, strong Irish immigrant Ben McConnell. Ben is enchanted by Maggie’s beauty and fiery spirit, but for him the South she dearly loves represents the injustice and deprivation he left behind in Ireland. As the country divides and Ben joins the Union, Maggie and Ben are forced to call each other enemies.

Destiny’s Whirlwind, book two, begins in 1898. Smallpox and the townspeople’s fears capture the McConnell family into its evil clutches. Collina promises her dying father that his legacy for Shushan will continue. Dashing Rough Rider Franklin Long offers his help and suddenly Collina’s heart has a will of its own. War calls him to the shores of Cuba. Collina is flung into a tangled web of deception and greed when a vindictive lawyer places the family in peril. Will Franklin return in time?

Tell us a little about your novel, Destiny of Heart?

Book three opens in 1917 and Ruby McConnell (Collina’s sister) is married to Stephen Meir. The story unfolds as they travel to the prairies of Colorado for Stephen’s health. Ruby’s sister Collina and Franklin Long are also in this story. Destiny of Heart covers a large span of history and three states: Colorado, Kentucky, and Michigan. The reader will experience the patriotic fan-waving that plunged America into World War I, as well as the extravagant lifestyles of the Roaring Twenties, and the grand old sport of fox hunting. 

Readers will experience those affluent lifestyles evaporating in a blink of an eye and Maggie, Ruby, Collina, and Franklin’s spirals into the Great Depression. Destiny of Heart concludes in 1933 after Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration into the presidency and a life-altering decision must be made.  

Thank you for that wonderful synopsis! I am all the more eager to hear more! First, can you share the more historically significant events behind your story?

I’d love to! I could not rely solely on the internet for my research, nor modern-day history books or Hollywood movies. When I tried, I felt out of step with the story. I had one foot in modern pop culture and one foot in a watered-down version of the past. I sought out people who had lived the era and interviewed them.

WWI – troops marching toward the Battle of Somme

I learned that the typical American did not cherish the modern conveniences of their day. Their family, however, was a vital part of their existence. Wow! I realized that people of this century were polar opposites of their ancestors who did not carry a phone in their pockets or check the latest news, weather, and style.

Our children are brought up to believe they are ‘the enlightened generation,’ but I want my readers to experience a feeling of entering a time capsule. I decided not to watch any show or read any books dated from the 1960s forward.

History books published before 1959 gave me insight, as did old newspaper clippings and interviews. From the 1800s up through the 1940s scripture verses were a common part of everyday language. Some of you might recall seeing a Bible where your ancestors recorded their marriages, births, baptisms, and deaths within the reverend folds of their Holy Bible.

Wow! I so appreciate your dedication to your research!

What was the inspiration for your Destiny series?

My grandmother’s stories and my father’s memoirs are a major part of the Destiny series. My siblings and I would ask Dad, “What was it like back then?” So he wrote about the good ol’ days. We sure learned those days weren’t always so good. You will learn more about that in book 4, Waltz into Destiny, which releases on D Day, June 6.

I think what Harry S. Truman one said sort of sums this up: “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

Much that our young people are learning today about our America is a watered-down version of the truth. Much of our classic literature that I grew up reading are now being banned or edited. I feel this is wrong. I have heard the age-old jargon that history can repeat itself. So how can our young people know what not to do if they don’t know the truth about our American history? Hence, my reason for writing the Destiny series.

Enjoy an Excerpt

President Wilson’s words blared out. “The right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have carried nearest our hearts.

“Come on.” Stephen took her hand and they rushed down the stairway. Bus boys arrayed in flashing red and gold braided suits greeted her. Crystal chandeliers twinkled gaily about the lavishly decorated lobby of the hotel, accenting the deep red and gold drapes and rich mahogany furniture in the lobby.

The doorman opened the outside doors of the Grand Hotel; a gust of cold air greeted them. Snow lined the newly shoveled walkways. The horses’ neighs and the tinkling of sabers clashing against the soldiers’ stirrup irons mingled with the cheers of the crowd.

A regiment of the cavalrymen rode before them, the insignia of the crossed swords displayed on their sleeves and cavalry blankets. “How dashing.” Ruby squealed with delight. “I can envision that gallant Rough Rider Franklin Long there among them.”

“Far better it is to dare mighty things…even though checkered by failure,” Stephen said, quoting Theodore Roosevelt. “The United States became a world power because of the Rough Riders when America defeated Spain in 1898.”

The horses nodded their fine heads, and their flowing manes caught the sunlight and glistening snow, as they pranced forward as proudly as the foot soldiers in the snow that last evening and this morning.

Stephen laughed. “I seriously doubt we have seen the last of Franklin Long.” He drew her hand to his lips and kissed it. “Shall we purchase our tickets for tomorrow’s train to Colorado?”

“No, you mustn’t,” the woman’s voice vibrated with emotion. She dotted her eyes. Her embroidered handkerchief was moist. “The porter said the railroad crew just tunneled through a large drift.”

Stephen nodded. “He told me that Amarillo’s never seen a storm of this magnitude.”

The woman dabbed at her eyes again. “True. This morning I overheard one of the workers on the railroad crew tell the engineer that they hadn’t been able to clear all the track… He said the passenger car could become a steel death trap for those foolish enough to ride the iron horse tomorrow.”

More About the Author

I am an award-winning author of the inspirational historical romance Wilted Dandelions. My faith-based Destiny series includes Swept into Destiny, Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz into Destiny, which releases June 6.

I have written two pictorial history books. Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County

My short stories have been published in Guidepost Books True Stories of Extraordinary Answers to Prayer, Unexpected Answers and Desires of Your Heart; Baker Books, Revell, The Dog Next Door, Horse of my Heart, Second-Chance Dogs, The Horse of my Dreams (releases on September 17);CrossRiver Media Publishers, The Benefit Package and Abba’s Promise; Bethany House Publishers, Jesus Talked to Me Today.

I am a longtime Michigan resident and live with my husband of 45 years and our Arabian horses in the picturesque hills of Addison Township. I love traveling the byroads across America and spoiling my two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters!

Connect with Catherine and Her Books

Blog: Hopes, Hearts, & Hoofbeats:

Twitter: :



Catherine is offering a giveaway! A copy of Destiny of Heart or whichever novel the winner chooses in the Destiny series. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter:

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INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Wendy May Andrews

Hello, readers! Author Wendy May Andrews is back on my blog today with a new clean Historical Romance. And the cover is oh so good! I won’t delay you any longer. Let’s get right to Wendy!

Hey, Wendy! Thanks for rejoining us on the blog. It’s good to have you back. I’m sure I’m not the only one eager to learn more about this new novel. So, what was the inspiration for The Debutante Bride?

This story explores the rollercoaster of emotions that could ensue if an arranged marriage starts off on the wrong foot. I’m always fascinated by the possibilities when a couple is forced together by circumstances. It wasn’t so uncommon throughout history. But what if there are too many factors tearing them apart? In this story, I wanted to explore how love could conquer the external and internal pressures society and we ourselves put upon relationships, but in the complicated context of the Regency era.

Interesting. I do love reading in the Regency Era, but have never tried to write in that time period. Just hasn’t spoken to me…or maybe it just intimidates me 🙂

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I did go through a phase as a child when I wanted to be a writer but I thought it was too fantastical of an idea. Then I wanted to be a vet until I realized how allergic I am to cats. Then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do except that I knew I wanted to work in an office in a brand new building in my home town – it was so big and shiny. I took a couple side trips as an executive assistant and an insurance broker before returning to my first love – the written word.

I know…once you get bitten by the writing bug….as they say…

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

After I wrote my first book 🙂 I wrote my first book more as fulfilling a dare from my husband. I never really considered that it could be a serious pursuit. Then I fell in love with writing and the rest is history.

I hear ya! But as much as we love it, I know there are those things we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Editing is my least favorite. By the time I’ve gone through the manuscript 35 times I’m ready to throw it across the room. But the discovery of first draft writing is the joy that keeps me returning story after story.

Isn’t that the truth! So many times through the manuscript.

Just for curiosity’s sake…what are you currently reading?

A non-fiction book on marketing. There’s always something more to learn.

Sometimes I like to write in silence, but most often I get the right mood going…music and everything. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t listen to music while I’m writing. I think it would be distracting. I find music to be very inspiring. But I don’t want to run after new ideas while I’m working on my current WIP.

I can understand that. What about your atmosphere? Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Whenever the words are flowing is my favorite time of day 🙂 But I’m a morning person so first thing in the morning is usually my most productive time. I have my computer set up in one room, so that’s where most of my writing takes place. But I carry a notebook with me wherever I go so that I can jot down any notes that come to me when I’m not in front of my computer.

Readers are always curious about this next question: How long does it take you to write a book?

It really varies for me from book to book, depending on what else is happening with LIFE while I’m writing. So anywhere from two months to two years has been my experience. I have written the first draft of a full-length book in as short of time as two weeks. But then there are the edits…

My last question…Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m currently in edits for my second Proxy Brides story – A Bride for Ransom (set to release in April) and brainstorming for the third. It has been a fun multi-author project to be a part of.

Wendy, thanks so much for your time and for sharing about your process. I know I’ve got readers eager to see your cover (if they haven’t peeked already) and read more about it. So, I’ll turn them loose to dive in 🙂

The Debutante Bride

First comes marriage, then comes love.

Miss Elizabeth Dunseith grew up in genteel poverty, happy despite her abusive father and weak mother. The marriage her father has arranged for her seems shady, but despite her fears for her future, Beth is relieved to get away from home with her handsome, new husband.

Justin Fulton, Earl of Westfield, is puzzled by the contradictory behavior of his purchased bride. One moment she is haughty and cool, the next she is warm and endearing.

Their relationship is just starting to develop when Justin’s meddling sister throws them off course and an old friend of Beth’s complicates matters further.

Can their differences get sorted before it’s too late to claim their happily ever after?

Enjoy an Excerpt

As she came to wakefulness, Beth held herself very still, momentarily surprised to find herself in a strange bed, but then it all rushed back to her consciousness. She was a married lady. A countess at that. And she had only met her husband thirty-six hours before.

The thrill of freedom flowed through her as she reminded herself once more that she would never again have to return to the house she grew up in unless she so chose. Of course, she would want to see her mother again, but she allowed herself to bask in the contentment she was experiencing. She wiggled her toes and stretched her arms, revelling in the new sensation.

The unknown factor of her new husband was obviously of concern, but so far, he had been remarkably even tempered. She would even go so far as to describe him as kind, at least what she had seen of him in their short acquaintance. Beth could not decide how she felt about how handsome he was. He was deliciously attractive, but she was unsure if that could be trusted. No doubt other women would find it to be a point in his favour.

Feeling surprisingly rested from the long day of travel but reluctant to climb from the warm, comfortable bed, Beth allowed her mind to drift as she thought of the varied events she had experienced over the last day and a half. It had all started when she had spotted her father’s carriage bowling down the road, and it had felt like she was in a runaway carriage ever since.

She pondered her new circumstances and allowed her mind to drift. After several moments of quiet reflection, Beth felt very much awake and remarkably cheerful. She blinked languidly against the sunshine that was streaming into her room. The sound of chirping birds filled the air, causing her to smile slightly. It was rare for her to awaken to such peace, so for a moment, she simply lay there in wonder at the feeling of lightness she felt. Then she remembered that she was free of her father forever, and although she had always been told the devil you know is better than the one you don’t, her naturally optimistic outlook allowed her to have some hope for her future.

Buy Link

Buy link

More About the Author

Wendy May Andrews loves words. She loves words so much she’ll even read the cereal box repeatedly. This love affair has lead her to her new love, writing. So far she has published thirteen sweet, historical romance novels. Wendy and her husband love to travel either for hiking or for research and they are happiest whenever they manage to combine the two. When not traipsing around the world, Wendy can be found in front of her computer or with her head buried in a book in their cozy home in Toronto. She loves hearing from her readers and hopes you love her books as much as she does.

Connect with Wendy and her books







Pure Romance Reader Group:


Wendy May Andrews is offering an ebook copy of Book 1 in her Orphan Train Series to one (1) winner chosen by Rafflecopter. See directions below.

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INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Kathleen Neely

Hello, all! I have a fresh face to introduce you to today, Kathleen Neely. Kathleen is another author I have encountered through ACFW. This wonderful organization allows authors to network and glean from each other in the most amazing way. I wish I’d joined sooner 🙂

Thanks for being on my blog today, Kathleen. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

I love novels that focus on relationships, particularly inter-generational. I also enjoy reading stories that involve the legal system—law suits, court cases, attorneys. The Street Singer is actually my second novel, although the first to reach publication. When I finished my first novel and breathed a big sigh of relief, my mind went to work weaving story lines, building and discarding ideas, until I decided on what eventually became The Street Singer. It’s about Trisha, a final-year law student, and Adda, a once famous recording artist known as Adaline. Although it’s their story, everyone loves a little romance. That keeps things interesting.

The Street Singer blurb:

Trisha Mills, a student in her final semester of law school, has fond memories of listening to the music of Adaline, a once famous recording artist. She learns that Adaline, now Adda
Marsh, is a street singer in Asheville, NC. Adda’s sole means of support in her senior years comes from the donation box. Along with her meager possessions, Adda has a box labeled, “Things to Remember.” Adda agrees to show Trisha the contents. With it comes her story. Adda reveals her journey by sharing a few items at a time, beginning as a sharecropper’s daughter in Mississippi, to fame in Nashville, and to poverty in her old age.

Trisha is busy cleaning out the home of her deceased grandfather, preparing to sit for the bar exam, and planning her wedding to Grant Ramsey. However, she cannot overlook the
injustices that Adda has experienced. Aided by Rusty Bergstrom, an attorney who will work pro bono, Trisha convinces Adda to seek restitution. Will her growing friendship with Rusty Bergstrom affect her engagement to Grant?

Sounds interesting. I love novels that give us multiple storylines like this. I always have to ask fellow authors: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

My advice is more for new writers. Surround yourself with people in the industry. Garner all of the help they can give you. I’ve found writers to be the best and most willing mentors. Read trade books on writing and attend conferences.

That is sound advice. Never stop learning. Non-writers are always curious about the length of time to complete a novel. Now, most understand this varies from author to author. What about you? How long does it take you to write a book?

Writing a book takes the better part of a year. About six months of that time is actually drafting the manuscript. After that, comes editing and rewrites. Unlike what I hear from many authors, I enjoy editing—not the line editing checking for every punctuation mark. Once the skeleton of a story is written, I enjoy embellishing it, bringing it to life with words. I go through my manuscript many times, looking to add sensory details and thinking through the emotions that should be evident. I use beta readers to review the finished work, then, if needed, will do further edits.

You’ve got one on me. I certainly do add depth, but editing is not my favorite 🙂

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb?

I was mesmerized by a youtube video of a drum circle. I knew I had to have a scene in The Street Singer that included it. Here’s a link:

So cool! Lastly, do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m working on a story about a mother’s love. After a teenage pregnancy, she gave her baby up. Twelve years later, she has another chance to be part of his life. Until the unthinkable happens. That’s all you get. Sorry. No spoiler alert.

Oh my goodness! What a teaser that is!

Research in Writing:

Research is a vital part of writing, and is not limited to historic settings. Most people know a little bit about the legal system. I knew enough to get myself in trouble if I hadn’t consulted an expert. Actually, two experts. I reached out to an attorney who read the legal portions of my manuscript and provided feedback on my misunderstandings, then passed it along to her husband whose area of law was more closely compatible.

An interesting sub-theme shows the renovation of an older home. That research was easy for me. My husband has worked for decades in every area of home building. He walked me through each phase of the work.

Thanks, Kathleen, for sharing your insight and for being on the blog! And now, it is my pleasure to introduce you all toThe Street Singer

The Street Singer

Enjoy an Excerpt

Excerpt from The Street Singer

“I done figured you knew. You wore them questions all over your face. She opened her water bottle and took a long, slow drink. Here’s what you gotta know. There ain’t no more Adaline. I’m Adda, my given name. That’s all I am.”

Trisha nodded but remained unsatisfied. “Can I ask what happened?”

Adda laughed. “Honey, age happened. You too young to understand. The body goes. The voice goes. The energy goes.

“I know, but your records, they sold…maybe millions.”

Adda chuckled at that. “Well, you be givin’ me too much credit, but yeah, they did sell back in the day.” Adda looked at her watch and took a bite of her sandwich. “So, I guess you’re wondering where all my money went.”

Trisha backpedaled. The bluntness made it sound so callous. “That’s none of my business, but…”

“You right there. It ain’t none of your business. But I’ll tell you anyways. My daddy, he was a sharecropper in Mississippi. We young’uns had to help when we got big enough to hold a shovel. I never got me past primary schooling. Them record people knowed it and all them fancy papers I signed didn’t give me much left over.”

Trisha gasped. “That’s terrible.”

Adda looked up from her lunch. “Oh, they treated me good. Real good. Set me up in a fancy place to live, bought me clothes and food. Dressed me for pictures and took me to the studio. But they never let me go places where I’d get to talk and never let me talk in microphones where I went to sing. Didn’t want me having no friends. I knew they feared my poor schooling would show. Them fancy papers I signed didn’t leave me much left over.”

Buy Link


More About the Author

Kathleen Neely resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer, to be released in February, 2019. Beauty for Ashes and The Least of These will be released in 2019. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her first novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions. Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.

Connect with Kathleen and her books

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter –


Kathleen is offering a giveaway to one (1) winner within the continental United States: a scripture print (picture with related scripture). Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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DEPRESSION: An Honest Look at Symptoms & Treatment

Hey, all! I apologize for the delay in this series. We’ve had sickness, and houseguests, and you name it! But my burden for increasing awareness and understanding of depression and mental illness weighs on my heart (in a good way).

So today, let’s dive into how to recognize if you or a loved one is experiencing a mental illness, such as depression.

Are you just “under the weather”? Tired? Baby blues? Or is it something more? Discerning if your symptoms are actually caused by a mental illness or something else can be more difficult than you’d think sometimes. But it is best to be aware of the common “calling cards” of these disorders so you can pinpoint what’s happening more easily.

Each mental illness has unique makeup, and therefore, different symptoms, but there are some common things that tend to show up:

  • worry or fear that is excessive
  • Feeling overly sad or “low”
  • Problems concentrating and learning or just general confusion
  • Mood changes that seem extreme, even “highs” that feel somewhat euphoric
  • Irritability or anger that lasts or is intense
  • Shutting down and avoiding friends or any social situation
  • Having a hard time relating to others or even understanding their feelings
  • Tiredness, low energy, changes in sleep patterns
  • Increased hunger or a lack of appetite
  • Noticeable changes in libido
  • Reality doesn’t quite always seem right – delusions or hallucinations
  • Lack of insight – doesn’t notice the change in own feelings, behavior, personality
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Headaches, stomach aches, other “aches and pains” that persist without a cause
  • Thoughts of harming self
  • No longer able to perform daily activities or manage daily problems or stress
  • Fear of weight gain that is overly intense or uncharacteristic concern with appearance

There are also marked symptoms to look for in children as their behavior is usually more telling. For the most part, children do not know how to verbalize what they are feeling and thinking:

  • Notable changes in academic or school performance
  • Fighting or defiant behavior, or excessive worry/anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increase in bad dreams
  • Increased aggressiveness
  • Temper tantrums – more numerous than before

If you think you have more of these than you should or you have a couple to a greater degree than is normal, REACH OUT! A trusted friend or supportive spouse is a great start. One of the things about depression and mental illness is that it alters your cognitive filter…you know, that thing that helps you identify thoughts as crazy or not crazy. A good, reliable friend can help be that filter for you in a non-judgmental way. Hear me – YOU are not crazy…you just need a little help.

Your primary care physician (regular doctor) is a good next step. He or she can help with a diagnosis and get you the right kind of help. Being aware of the signs and symptoms above can aid you in this conversation. The diagnosis is the necessary first step as only then can your provider develop a plan for you…tailored to you.

There is NO “one-size-fits-all” treatment for mental illness. But there are, again, common approaches. These include medication, talk therapy (counseling), and possibly life style changes.

The NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) HelpLine can assist in finding services and supports in your area as well: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or

You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to interact with a crisis specialist.

If you, or someone you care about, needs immediate help…do not delay. Call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

Join me next Wednesday. I’ll be sharing about things I’ve learned in my years living with chronic depression that have helped me along my recovery and kept me stable. Call them tips if you’d like…these are things that helped me and tend to be helpful to others. Maybe a couple will spark for you or your loved one. Again, mental illness is NOT a “one-size-fits-all” kind of thing.

Thanks for joining me 🙂

Has Depression Become An Epidemic?

I spent some time at a Women’s Retreat this past weekend and was struck by the number of women I ran across who had struggled with, at some point, a depressive disorder. And I thought about our country. The number of depression-related suicides we’ve seen in the last several years, and the sheer amount of those suffering whether in silence or opening up and sharing their struggle.

Has depression become an epidemic?

Well, first, I thought it might be helpful to seek out Webster and find out what “epidemic” actually means.

epidemic – a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time

Yes, usually “epidemic” refers to infectious diseases, but further looking determined that it doesn’t always have to. If a disease or disorder excedes 7.7% of the population, it is considered “epidemic”. But the definition does speak to a sudden upsurgence of instances in a certain area.

Does this fit depression/mood disorders? Is it confined to the U.S.? Has there been rapid growth in the recent years or is there just better testing? More awareness? Less stigma so more willingness to report?

Here are some of the facts:

A study done by Harvard Medical School found that approximately 27.4% of United States adults experience a mood disorder (depression, bipolar depression, or seasonal affective disorder) at some point in their lives. As far as how affected they are, 45% experience “serious impairment”, 40% experience “moderate impairment”, and 15% experience “mild impairment”.

And it’s striking younger and younger, too. A study found that those 18-29 years of age are more likely to experience depression than those over 60. And college students reporting a period of depression in the previous year (those that reported, depression is frequently an under-reported number) were 33% of the women in the student body and 27% of the males. That’s a big number!

The suicide rate for adults has increased 25% since 1999. That’s absolutely crazy!

The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that the level of disability and life lost due to depression will exceed that seen in war, accidents, cancer, stroke, and heart disease by 2030. WHO already sites depression as the #1 cause of illness and disability worldwide.


This is not just epidemic. It’s pandemic!

And just what does “pandemic” mean, you ask?

pandemic – prevalent over a whole country or the world

This is a major issue. Worldwide. And definitely within our country, our states, our communities. Our neighborhoods. Even, dare I say, our spheres of influence – our friends, families, and the people we interact with.

So many lives, hurting, suffering – again, some in silence. And with a problem so big and so wide reaching, the hardest thing about depression (from someone who deals with chronic depression) is how isolating it can be. How alone you feel.

This is a big deal.

Join me next week. I’ll share more about the symptoms of depression, treatments, and some tips (for the one experiencing depression and for the one who sees a loved one struggling in depression).


Psychology Today. Why We Can’t Stop the Depression Epidemic. by Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Authors Tim & Gail Sattler

Welcome, readers! I have Author Gail Sattler back on the blog today, sharing with us about another one of her books and talking about some more tidbits. Once again, meeting other authors through the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) genre pages has been amazing for networking and making great connections.

But that is for another time. Let’s get to Gail…

Welcome back to the blog! First, lets start off by getting a feel for this novel. Can you tell us a little about it?

This is not my usual romance novel, this was co-written with my husband, and it’s a supernatural adventure.  It was written over the course of about ten years. We would talk about it for a while, then I’d get a contract for another book, so we put it aside and time went on. When my youngest son was in grade twelve I worked the night shift for a year. We would put the dogs in the car, drive our son to school, then take the dogs for a morning walk along the Alouette River, and that’s when we put everything together for Mercury Rising. More time passed, but now it’s finally done, and we’re very happy with the result.

Supernatural romance? I’m intrigued…

What was the inspiration for Mercury Rising?

This is mostly my husband’s plot idea. I’m not even sure how we got started. But once we got started, more and more ideas came, and we couldn’t stop.

I know how that goes! Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

While I enjoyed writing stories in school, I only wrote one book in my teenage years, and it was filed and never saw the light of day, which is not a bad thing. I wanted to go to university to take music and be a music teacher, but that didn’t happen.  I taught piano lessons from my home when my kids were small, and now I’m in 3 bands, but I never did make a career out of it.

That’s pretty cool. THREE bands!?! I can barely keep up with life and writing!

Speaking of which…there’s always something about the writing process every writer doesn’t care so much about. What is it for you? What part of the writing process do you dread?

I don’t really dread any part of it. I always outline, so I know where I’m going with my story at all times. I know the ending before I write the first word, so there is nothing to dread at all while I’m writing. I never dread the edit, as the purpose of the edit is to make the book the best it can be. However, after the writing, editing, proof, and all the final work, comes the marketing. That’s what I dread. When I first started writing, all the writer had to do was write the book. Today, that doesn’t work. Now the writer has to do a lot of marketing and promotion, but all I want to do is just write the books.

Promoter and Writer seem to stem from two totally different personality mixes, don’t they?

At any rate, what are you currently reading?

I’m not going to say the title, but I’m currently reading a book I got for free from Amazon. I actually picked up a few freebies, and sadly, they’re not very good.  I’m trying to get a feel for what’s out there, and there is a lot, some good, some not so good, in order to gauge the competition in the marketplace as I move from the standard publishing by a book publisher, to indie publishing, which is promo and marketing by the author.

I understand this is the danger…the minefield of indie publishing. There are great books out there and there are…not as great books.

What about your process? Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I work full time, plus I’m in 3 bands, so my time is limited. Fortunately my husband is retired and does all the housework and we share the cooking (but he does the dishes). I write mostly evenings when I don’t have band practice, and on weekends. Since we are recent empty nesters, I now have one of the bedrooms in my house turned into an office.  Gotta love it.

It does sound like you are quite busy! (My husband does the dishes, too. And we share house duties.)

I am eager to hear, though… Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

One of my main characters, Ardent, makes small appearances throughout the book, then he comes out in full force near the end. I had to give him a different speech pattern to set him apart. Every time he showed up, I had to somehow use the phrase “do not be afraid” to give the discerning reader a hint of who he really is.

And, lastly, do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’ m working on a 6 book series called The Kozlowskis. It starts when Zac Kozlowski’s distressed sister (and her dog), two wayward cousins, and his eccentric aunt (and her cat), all move in with him, and his neighbor, Cara, tries to help, but then gets buried in her own issues. I have no dates, but as I progress, I’ll keep everyone posted on my website on the release dates.

Gail, thank you so much for coming on the blog again today and sharing with us Mercury Rising and giving us more insight into your process. As usual, I promise not to keep you all, but let you get right into the book details:

Mercury Rising

Michael wants to save his daughter, but first he’s got to save the world. Michael and Charlotte meet when Michael is trying to find Ashley, his missing daughter, who has fallen into drug abuse, and Charlotte is searching for her son Jon, a brilliant and aspiring young scientist who has also gone missing. Ashley and Jon should have nothing in common, but after the murder of Jon’s favorite professor, they become ensnared in a tangled web that becomes worse with every new discovery. When Michael and Charlotte join together to figure what their children have become involved with, they, too, are sucked into a sinkhole for which there are no answers, only more questions. When all seems lost, will they all recognize the source of strength offered to them, and… will they take it?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Michael sat in the hard wooden chair, numbly staring down into a Styrofoam cup. He’d been told that cop shows didn’t truly imitate reality, but this police station coffee really was as bad as the television characters said.

After he’d missed Ashley and Binky at the park, since the police hadn’t come to him, he’d gone to them. But because Ashley was an adult, and because he had no evidence of abduction or foul play, especially considering her history, they couldn’t officially consider Ashley a missing person. Instead they’d told him to go home and wait for her to return, as most people returned within three days. But first, they wanted more information on Binky, a name they recognized as a person of interest in a drug trafficking case. He would gladly give them all communications between Binky and Ashley, except Ashley’s cellphone battery was nearly dead, so they needed to find a charger to plug it in.

Michael swished the coffee dregs and set the cup on the desk. They would never find Binky. He’d watched enough cop shows to know that Binky would be using an untraceable burner phone for his drug deals. This tidbit, he had no doubt, the cop shows had based on reality.

While he waited for the officer to find a charger, Michael watched the action at the reception counter. He couldn’t hear all the details, but some woman was ranting about finding her son’s hat at a murder scene.

Of course they couldn’t tell her anything. It had only been a couple of hours since it happened, and they still hadn’t finished with the crime scene. Yet instead of leaving, she continued to argue. If he’d been in a better mood, it would have been almost comical. The woman was small, not quite as small has his daughter, but she obviously didn’t let her size stop her. She had dark blonde hair, but this woman wouldn’t be the subject of any blonde jokes. She laid all her facts in order, leaning closer to the unfortunate officer at the counter and narrowing her eyes in those few moments she demanded a response, none of which apparently met her approval. She actually made the officer cower a few times, even though at no time did she ever raise her voice. She was by no means a raving beauty, but he would have called her better than average. Still, when she spoke, she had the attention of everyone in the near vicinity, including himself. 

At least watching gave him something to do until the officer who was helping him came back with a charger compatible with Ashley’s phone. Then they could read the logs of her texts with Binky, and then he could go home to wait for her.

Again, he looked at his watch. If Ashley did get home and he wasn’t there, he hoped she would phone him. Of course, he had her cell phone with him, but she could always use the wall-phone in the kitchen. If she remembered how to use it.

 Since the woman wouldn’t leave, they escorted her inside and offered her a chair next to the desk beside him.

Another officer gave her the same speech about her son, who was twenty-three, that they’d given him about Ashley. The officer paused, cleared his throat, and looked at the woman with the utmost sincerity. “I’m sorry, Ma’am. Since your son is an adult and you have no real evidence that he’s hurt or in danger, and no significant amount of time has passed, we don’t have a reason to file a report.” 

Instead of calming down, the woman thunked a green ball cap on the desk. “But I have evidence. The murdered man was his friend. My son was there.”

“Allegedly murdered, Ma’am. And if the hat was indeed at the crime scene, it would have been inside the yellow tape, and you wouldn’t have had access to pick it up.”

Her mouth tightened. “It was outside the yellow tape, but it was still there. At the scene. It was his friend who was murdered. My son is missing, and I know he was there.”

“We’ve already interviewed all potential witnesses, and your son’s name is not on the list. When did you last speak to your son, Ma’am?”

“Last night. But I know he was home this afternoon and he hadn’t been gone long. I know he went to the crime scene. The news article was on his laptop. I know something’s wrong.”

The officer sighed. “That means he read the article, and went to the crime scene subsequent to the crime being committed.”

She leaned closer to him. “I know that, but I know he went there.” She poked her finger into the top of the hat, now laying on the desk. “Because he lost his hat. And now he’s missing.”

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do. He’s not a person of interest because we know he wasn’t at the scene at the time of the incident. While the state of Nevada has no specific time frame to wait to file a missing persons report, you do need to have a significant reason to believe that something is wrong. Finding a hat you believe to be his outside the perimeter of a crime scene can’t be taken as evidence that something has happened to your son. But I can take some details, and if he still hasn’t returned after thirty-six hours, and you have significant reason to believe he’s in trouble or distress, then we can start looking for him.”

“Then tell me what you’ve found about Sal Fesbane’s murder.”

“You know I can’t do that, Ma’am.”

Michael watched the two of them stare at each other in silence.

The officer sighed, then composed himself, no doubt controlling his frustration. “I can enter some information and file the report if we determine later that he really is a missing person.”

“Yes. Do that.”

The officer who had been helping him, in the loosest definition of help, returned with a compatible charger. They plugged in Ashley’s phone, Michael flipped to the log for Binky, and handed the officer the phone.

While he waited, out of the corner of his eye, he again watched the two beside him. Going through the same frustration with the system about Ashley, he certainly could empathize. Still, he didn’t want her to catch him looking at her for fear she’d start a conversation. He didn’t know her, but he’d hazard a guess that the woman was ready to blow a gasket. He didn’t want to be the one talking to her when that happened.

The officer typed her son’s personal information into the computer, then rested his fingers on the keyboard and turned to her. “Do you know who might have been the last person to see your son, Ma’am?”

She started to shake her head, then stopped. “I don’t, but I do know he had an appointment with a student he was tutoring. He must have phoned to cancel the appointment. Maybe she knows something. I went straight to the bar because I was positive that’s where he’d be.”

The woman dug through her purse, drew out a cell phone, and swiped. “Yes, he called someone right at the time I think he left.” She pressed her finger to the phone, no doubt to redial. At the same time as she held the phone to her ear, Ashley’s phone rang from the hand of the officer in front of him.

The officer held the phone out to Michael. “You might want to answer this.”

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More About the Authors

Gail Sattler’s first book sold on her 40th birthday, and she hasn’t looked back. Gail now has over 40 novels and novellas, and a few works of non fiction, most still available on Amazon. Gail Sattler lives in Vancouver BC (Canada, eh!) where you don’t have to shovel rain. A recent empty nester, Gail lives with her husband, 2 dogs, and a guinea pig who isn’t shy about asking for snacks.

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