Dusty you are…

When one’s 6’5” bearded teddy bear of a son—the baby of the family—and his lovely fiancee say, “Can we have our wedding rehearsal dinner at your house?” what is one to respond?
One and one’s husband say, “Of course!” And begin the list of everything needed to get the house and yard ready for 40 guests.

Husband and son handle the groundskeeping, I am supposed to handle the housekeeping.
But a year of Covid and chemo mean the house has not been particularly well kept.
Tidy? Yes. Healthy? Hopefully.

On the recommendation of my daughter-in-law we called in the cavalry.
“The cleaning crew who come in for me are awesome. Their boss is willing to do a one-time-only deep clean. English isn’t her first language so texting works best.”

Texts flew for a couple of days and so did I. One doesn’t invite a cleaning lady into one’s house without cleaning first, correct? (My husband says, “I don’t swat all the mosquitoes outside before I call in mosquito control, do I?” Men don’t comprehend the complexities involved here.)

The big day came and so did the small, sturdy cleaning team leader. I walked her through the house, watching out of the corner of my eye as she frowned at my 1001 knick-knacks, ran a practiced finger around the inside of the tub, and glared—there’s no other word for it—at the plethora of bookcases.

Finally, the reckoning. I waited anxiously, having abandoned hope that she might compliment the results of my panic cleaning.
She poked what seemed to be innumerable keys on her phone calculator.
She poked a few more and punched in one last number with an emphatic finger.

With an expression that hovered between judgmental and pitying, she said,
“Little dusty. Upcharge.”

Image by Katie Phillips from Pixabay

We have our years, and we have our years

We taught our boys the “Now I lay me down” prayer when they were about 2 1/2.

“Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Guard me Jesus through the night
And wake me with the morning light.”

By the time our middle son was three, he wanted to branch out with his own requests.
He prayed regularly for Pete.
He didn’t know any Petes.
Although his paternal grandparents had a friend named Pete and 31 years later Pete is still going strong, so who knows? The prayers of a child, right?

And this little toddler son of ours often began his prayers with “Lord, we have our days and we have our days.”
It’s become a family motto for the past three decades.
We do indeed.

Lately I’ve been saying, “Lord, we have our years, and we have our years.”
This past year was a doozy.
It started after Memorial Day, 2021 when I was literally hours away from death.
The Covid that barely skimmed my family hit me hard.

In the ICU, after having my heart shocked into submission and being pumped full of who-knows-what and gallons of blood drawn (I’m sure that is barely an exaggeration) and having X-rays and CT scans all night long, we found out why I was so sick.

I have an underlying comorbidity.
Unbeknownst to me—because apparently I’m rather clueless—megalosplenatic lymphoma had extended my spleen to the size of a basketball.
Biggest spleen the oncologist ever saw.
I was a rock star at the hospital.
Nurses, interns, other doctors would poke their heads in my room and say “Can I feel your spleen?”
Honestly, words I never expected to be directed at me.

So began a year of one kind of chemo that had no effect on my spleen but gave me ugly, painful mouth sores, rigors (severe, uncontrollable trembling) and some nausea.
Then another kind of chemo, several CT scans, more blood draws from my pincushioned arms, oodles of naps, countless prayers from loved ones and even strangers, and way too much anxiety and “what if” thoughts.

And then a follow up appointment yesterday.
While I’ll always have lymphoma, for now the chemo did its job.
My oncologist didn’t use the word “remission” but did say my family would have to put up with me for good while yet. Wonderful words that had seemed too much to hope for.

We have our years and we have our years. This one showed me that when my faith burns low, the prayers of God’s people warm me. When I’d rather huddle at home, if I drag my droopy-bodied and scraggly-haired self to church, I experience joy. I’m taken out of myself and my worries and fears and brought into a foretaste of glory divine.

This year demonstrated that I’m pretty weak. And guess where God promises that HIS strength is made perfect?

This year cemented the truth I’ve professed for ages but never internalized to this degree: God uses His people to care for His people.

And this past day reminded me that no one but God has my days numbered. So instead of worrying about how many more He may have planned for me, I best get moving and love every minute of today, while it is today.

Praise God for this past year.
And please, God, if it’s your will, can this coming year be rather uneventful?

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

On Beyond Avocado Toast

This makes year umpteen I forgot to cancel my WordPress site.
It links up (again) to the umpteenth year I’ve promised to be a better steward of money.

Some perfect year we’ll eat avocados before they rot in the windowsill.
I won’t buy items from Amazon and forget to return them until it’s too late.
Or buy too many flowers from the greenhouse when I have no room and try to cram 24 zinnias in space recommended for 16 and spend the summer watching them fight over soil nutrients and sunlight.

But this is not that year, my friends.

I have WordPress for another year and I’ll try to post more than once in the next 12 months.
Of course I would love to have you stop by.
I’ll be prudish and nice and hopefully practice brevity and you can decide if what is here is worth reading.
Let’s do our bit to keep the blog corner of the world alive and kicking. And keep my resolve to be a better steward of my resources.

Anyone got a good recipe for avocado mush?

Silence is Violence?

You’ve heard it said, Silence is Violence.


But is it always?

Maybe some voices shout on different battlefields, but now are muffled by the clamors of the current war. Or no one ever paid much attention to their battle cries. It can be hard for some to redirect passion and energy to the conflict now raging as quickly as  signs/memes/chants demand.

-Some call for nursing home reform, as many of our most vulnerable citizens are taken advantage of and abused.
-Some attempt to stem the insatiable appetite of the dark underworld feeding on human trafficking.
-Some rescue women and children from domestic abuse situations and try to keep them safe.
-Some beg the Western world to understand that people groups in eastern Asia are being imprisoned and silenced and are disappearing at an alarming rate.
-Some urge us to be aware that Christians are being slaughtered for their faith in certain areas of Africa and the Middle East.
-Some (too few) decry not only the conditions on Native American reservations, but the reason indigenous peoples are on them in the first place.
-Some attempt to make the U.S. citizenry aware that the government has sold many of our rights to powerful corporations because a well-funded lobbyist carries more weight than Constitutional rights.
-Some demand changes in a system that allows drunk drivers to keep their licenses—until they kill someone.
-Some battle daily for the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, who’ve been tossed aside like human rubbish.

Some—many—of those battling the evils above are happy to join the battle against racism in all its ugly, God-dishonoring manifestations. They just may not want to forget their other wars, and therefore aren’t shouting loudly.

You’ve heard it said, “Stating ‘All Lives Matter’ to the particular life most under threat is an insult.”
Many would agree, because their own threatening situation is taking all their time, energy and grief. All they have to offer at the moment is silence.

-Many desperately search for a runaway teen or elderly, wandering parent.
-Many hold the hand of a loved one poised on the brink of eternity and don’t dare look away lest they miss any precious moment.
-Many do battle with an addiction that threatens to overwhelm them if they relax the fight for even a second.
-Many spend every waking moment trying to prevent the suicide of a friend or family member who has lost the will or ability to struggle with life any more.

Silence isn’t always violence. Let’s not boil the complexities of the “heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to”* into three words, and judge others by them.
Systemic racism is real and evil, and if it were the only evil in the world, we could all give it 100% of our attention 100% of the time. But it isn’t the only enemy, and people are battling on so many fronts.

Wars wage everywhere. Let’s fight the fights God set before us, praying for wisdom to turn from those engagements for a time, and join the crusade next to us if our fellow image-bearers appear to be losing their battle. But using three words to produce guilt in those exhausted from their own warfare only adds to an already overwhelming burden.


Painting: St. Francis Contemplating a Skull
Francisco de Zurbarán, Spanish, 1598–1664
Date: c.1635

* Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Act III Scene 1


Author Gail Pallota cooks up a mystery

CookingUpAMystery website large size


Gail Pallota is the kind of author who not only has published many books (her latest, “Cooking Up a Mystery,” comes out Friday, April 24) but finds time to promote fellow authors. That kind of selfless commitment to others makes her one of my favorite people I’ve never met.Cooking Up A Mystery Annc. 2

I cooked up some nosy questions for Gail to answer, to get to know her better. I think you’ll enjoy her responses. Here we go!


How did you choose the setting for Cooking Up a Mystery (and earlier, Hair Calamities and Hot Cash)?

I grew up at the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains and went to college north of Asheville. I gave Triville the ambiance of my small hometown, but set the book in the mountains because I wanted to use the beautiful breath-taking views.
Do you love to cook as much as Laney in “Cooking Up a Mystery” does?

Oh my goodness, no. I learned to cook when I was ten. According to my father I needed to know how when I got married. I didn’t marry until I was thirty, so I’d learned to prepare some pretty tasty dishes. After we married my husband said, “You could open a restaurant.” I was interested in other things, such as writing. However, I decided to open one in this book.

How hard was it for you to work out the details of the mystery?

I used to write freelance articles and had learned some of the details I used when preparing them. However, I did more research. I tend to write what I know and stop when I see something that needs further investigation. Even though the technique is an interruption, I enjoy doing it that way. I often get so fascinated by what I’ve found it takes me a while to get back to the book.

If you could live in any region of the United States, what would it be?

I’d live in Destin, Florida.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Ordinarily, I’d name somewhere exotic like Hawaii or Italy, but right now after being sheltered in, I really want to go to Destin.

AND NOW!!!!! We’re going to learn even more about you now, in a sort of back-handed way.

Oh fun!

You are going to share some favorites with us, but because we don’t want scammers to get hold of info that might help them to guess your passwords,
all answers have to start with the letter “P.” You know, for “Pallotta.”


Remember, these don’t have to be your absolute favorites of all time. Just favorites limited to the category of the letter “P” for Pallotta:

-favorite flowerPhlox

favorite foodPotato

favorite animalPuppy

favorite colorPurple

favorite movie/TV showPirates of the Caribbean

favorite “P” recipePineapple rice


Well done, Gail! I might have to try the letter challenge myself!

Favorite part of writing? (it doesn’t need to start with a “P”) 🙂

I love making up the story.

Least favorite part?

Marketing. That doesn’t sound like a part of writing, but I’m told it is.

Finally, what do you want your readers take away from your books?

First, I hope they enjoy the book and it brings them a bit of an escape. If they also find a message that enhances their lives, or gives them an “Oh yeah” moment so much the better.


I knew I liked this woman! Here’s the blurb on her upcoming book “Cooking Up a Mystery”

Laney Eskridge worked to put her husband through dental school. Then he left with another woman. She’s on edge from the emotional scars and her parents’ deaths. Then she hears unexplained noises in her new tea house, and her anxiety is tripled. Add a budding romance with Eric—a guy with a fear of commitment—and it’s all too much to handle. She cuts ties with Eric and plunges into making her business pay off.

 When Eric discovers that Laney’s in danger, he vows to protect her. But can he make a lasting promise? Will she trust him? . . .and when they overhear a threat that could cause national turmoil, will anyone believe them? There’s more brewing than herbal tea in Cooking up a Mystery.

Here’s where you can buy it:

Amazon long link:(she ain’t kiddin’ folks!) https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-up-Mystery-Gail-Pallotta-ebook/dp/B085LJMH5V/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Cooking+up+a+Mystery+by+gail+pallotta&qid=1584746377&s=books&sr=1-1
Barnes and Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cooking-up-a-mystery-gail-pallotta/1136612098?ean=9781522398806
Pelican Book Grouphttps://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1468

A little more about Gail and where to sign up for her newsletter:

Portrait shot Gail Pallotta

Gail Pallotta is a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner and a TopShelf 2020 Book Awards Nominee. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. She loves to connect with readers. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.gailpallotta.com/mainphp.html and visit her website at https://www.gailpallotta.com
Thank you Gail, for the visit. I hope you can go to Destin soon!


And just because this has to be about the cutest book cover ever, I thought I’d share one of Gail’s previous books. Is that not fun?

Stay safe and healthy and strong in the Lord, friends!

Ditching 2020


Take a peek at that top shelf, if you don’t mind. Everything on it was given to me in the 1980’s. (Well, to my husband too, but he doesn’t remember who gave them. I DO.)


That title? It’s another of my attempts to click-bait you, and if you just read this sentence, it worked.
No, I’m not ditching 2020 because of  impeachment hearings and weird weather and a contentious political race and quarantines and tanking economy and 24 hour news forecasting millions of deaths.

Although now that I list them out, I see those are all excellent reasons to MoveOnfrom2020.org (wouldn’t that be a great site?)

I myself was a clickbait victim when I spent way too much of my precious time—that could have been dedicated to staring into my refrigerator—and hit “next” after “next” on a link called “Don’t make these decorating mistakes or you will be the laughing stock of the universe.” Or something like that.

I don’t remember all the mistakes it said I shouldn’t make, but one slide demanded I get rid of anything that even whispered of the 80’s. Teal green and country blue and stenciled hearts and beribboned geese? Dump ‘em all or become the human version of the crappy virus we all want to avoid.

So what did I do?
Went downstairs and gathered up all my wedding and shower gifts from the 80’s.
And proudly displayed them in my kitchen.

Feel free to put a mask on and spray me with disinfectant next time you see me. I’ll understand, but my outdated 1980’s decorations will stay.

Because I am tired of 2020 bossing me around.




Meet Tara: Mother Extraordinaire from “Buttonholed”


Last week (on a Tuesday!) I introduced Manderley, the main character/protagonist/heroine of Buttonholed. This week, you’ll meet Tara Jessup. On a Thursday because I have been housebound since Sunday afternoon with nothing to do except delay posting on a Tuesday.

Tara is Manderley’s mother and I enjoy her immensely. Practical and a romantic, artistically gifted and happy as a homemaker, trusting God but unable to fully eliminate worry over her offspring.

Here is Tara. Tara

Taken on vacation last year. She hates this photo because she’d gone swimming, had no makeup on, and her hair had dried “any which way.” Tara’s husband Pem loves the picture.

Her hair is short because “no woman over 35 should have long hair.” She’s wearing a very modest swimsuit because humans should never, ever show too much epidermis. Freckles and the red-gold hair she inherited from her Scots-Irish ancestors (although whether that hair color is all natural or gets help from the local beauty salon, we’ll never know. Tara and her hairdresser aren’t talking). The jewelry is a demonstration that the well-dressed Southern woman does not appear in public unadorned. Tara also wishes someone had told her the necklace had gone askew.

Below are some passages from Buttonholed that will help you get to know Tara. And if you want to know her even better, snag a copy of the book from Amazon! *


Tara could match her daughter sigh for sigh. She’d been practicing for fifty-four years, ever since, instead of a newborn’s lusty cry, her response to the doctor’s slap was a genteelly offended gasp. “Now Mandy Lee, don’t say it like that! How often do I call with dreadful news?”
It was a valid point. Last Sunday had been unbelievable news, the Tuesday before her mother was too shocked for words, and Manderley could recall twice in the past month when Tara’s calls began with “Darlin’ are you sittin’ down?”


Tara bustled around the kitchen. Bustling, according to Manderley’s mother, was how one should always tidy up, but now it was a cover story for fretting, which was how mothers waited for news of their offsprings’ activities.

Tara held a ladylike hand to her forehead. “Oh, gracious. I suppose. You go visit with the family. I’m peelin’ potatoes for tomorrow and no, you can’t help. Bartie bought this thing he calls a tablet and loaded it with all my favorite books on tape, and I can’t wait to start a new one.”

Manderley hid a smile. They would be ‚books on tape‛ to her mother no matter how technology tried to convince her otherwise.

“Now shoo. I don’t want any distractions.”



Tara fluttered her fingers before affecting great surprise at the time on her delicate wristwatch. “Heavens! So late! Barton, you can help me with the dishes. Ruthanne, isn’t it our baby girl’s nummies time?” Tara would never, under pain of death, refer to a baby as ‘nursing.‛




(Upon being complimented by Jameson, researcher on the duel, on a painting she’d done years ago.) Tara thawed. “Well, it was painted with a lot of love. My Grand-daddy Raikes was a wonderful man. I always thought our blue pansies resembled him.”
Manderley hastened to explain. “The markings in the middle of the flower. See the face? Like two bushy eyebrows and a full, sort of drooping mustache. Great-Granddaddy actually did look a lot like that.”
“You know what Mandy Lee?” Tara wore a dreamy expression. “I haven’t painted in a while, but I know for certain I could paint you your own little Grand-daddy pansy picture.”
Jameson was seized by a fit of coughing and Tara’s expression turned suspicious.


[Manderley] circled the blocks back home and found her mother in the study, soap operas sniveling in the background, and a sketchpad and pile of graphite pencils in front of her. She didn’t even turn her head when Manderley walked in.
“Oh, honey!” she wailed, waving a sheet with several half-finished pansies covering it. “I’ve lost my touch. My artistic eye must be failin’.”
“Not true. Creating art is like riding a bike. You never forget but you might wobble the first few times back on. Keep working. That one does look a lot like Great Grand-Daddy.”
“Of course, it does.” her mother snipped. “It just doesn’t look anything like a pansy.



“I declare baby doll, you are so pretty that I could shake all the single men in town, Chicago included, and ask if they are nearsighted, or plain stupid. But don’t you worry, sugar.” Tara checked furniture surfaces for dust mites, real or imagined. “Somewhere out there a man is waiting for a real lady like you to make his life complete. And I know how you can catch his eye.”



Manderley bedHOME BEAUTIFICATION: When she opened her eyes to nothing but darkness, Manderley didn’t know where she was, when it was, or why she couldn’t see. Floundering, she realized she’d buried her face in one of the ruffled pillows covering nearly every horizontal surface in her bedroom. No doubt she’d drooled on the flowered pillowcase.

DAUGHTER BEAUTIFICATION: Tara wore a summer robe too, but her hair and makeup were already fully marshaled, and she exclaimed in dismay at Manderley’s fresh-scrubbed face and ponytail.
“Darlin, we need to be gone in under an hour!”
“Mama, my makeup routine lasts five minutes, and that’s when I go all out.”
Still bleating, Tara prodded Manderley up the stairs and to her own dressing table. For the next half hour, she employed every cleanser, pore-reducer, tweezer, and concealer, liquid, powder, gel and stick. One eye on the clock, she set to work on her daughter’s hair, comparing the curling iron unfavorably to her hot rollers, a set that predated the Gulf War and finally expired from age and overwork. At five-fifteen, she turned Manderley around to the mirror.
It was disconcerting, that face looking back at her.



*To purchase:

A Field of (Honourable) Forget-me-nots


Rachel A. James’ book released Friday. Bless her—right in the middle of all the Covid-19 chaos. Which is why the Tuesday Prude is posting about it on a Saturday morning.

A Field of Forget-me-nots is part of the “Ponder This” series based on Philippians 4:8. The book centers on the virtue of honor. What is a noble, honourable way to behave in an almost impossible circumstance? That is what Luke and Ana grapple with as they enter into a marriage of convenience based on pity and desire to please the last wish of a beloved dying woman.

Let’s let Rachel tell us what the book is about. She is in the best position to know!

A Field of Forget-me-nots by Rachel A. James
When the patron of the Foundling School takes pity upon young orphan, Georgiana (Ana) Weston, Lady Dunston raises her as one of her own. However, years pass and Lady Dunston’s health begins to fail. With the Longworth estate entailed away, Ana is faced with an uncertain future.

Mr. Luke Renshaw still mourns the loss of his parents, and would rather travel the world than live in a place that reminds him of so much pain and loss. But responsibilities await, and when his only aunt becomes sick, he returns to Longworth. After all, it is where he will receive his inheritance.

Luke and Ana used to play together as children, though many years have passed and much has changed. The prospect of marriage without love holds little hope for their romantic ideals, and yet it seems the most sensible solution for both parties.


I read this novella, set in Victorian England, and enjoyed it! Then I had a few questions for Rachel.

The book has such a lovely title! And very appropriate. Do you have a favorite flower?
I love roses – especially white roses. I believe they’re supposed to symbolise innocent love!

-Do you have a favorite genre to read? Write?
My favorite genre to both read and write is Christian romance. It doesn’t matter if it is historical or contemporary, I just love clean romance with an inspirational storyline.

-Are you as accomplished as Ana, your heroine? The woman can do almost anything! Which of her accomplishments do you enjoy doing—or wish you could do?
No, I don’t think I’m accomplished at all, at least domestically like Ana is. I truly wish I could sew, though. I did take Textiles in high school, but I was better at the research than the practical, and my teacher had to rescue my feeble attempts on many occasions!

Your story is set in Victorian England. What do you like or admire about that era?
I’ve always loved the Victorian period ever since I studied it at school, I just find the way they lived back then so fascinating. I particularly admire the clothing and the charm that is associated with the Victorians.


To buy A Field of Forget-me-nots : https://www.amazon.com/Field-Forget-me-nots-Ponder-This-ebook/dp/B084JRTCLQ

About Rachel
Rachel is an inspirational author. She has an MA in Creative Writing and loves to write fiction that uplifts, inspires, and encourages others. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three adorable girls and when not writing she enjoys idling time away in a vintage teashop or visiting a historic landmark in pursuit of a new story! For more information visit www.rachelajames.com

Connect with Rachel


Susan and Kimberly and Charlotte and Lucy

Tuesday  I introduced you to Manderley, heroine of my soon-to-be-released novella Buttonholed. ( “Buttonholed” by Anita Klumpers (aka The Prude): Meet Manderley ) My book is part of a series, Ponder This, based on the virtues listed in Philippians 4:8.

The first two books in the series release this Friday! Charlotte’s Dilemma by my dear friend Susan Karsten, and Lucy in Love by Kimberly Miller (a new cyberspace friend) are delightful. I know—I read them both!


Charlotte’s Dilemma by Susan Karsten

Charlotte’s Dilemma is a Regency novella. Susan excels at this genre. Here she is. Isn’t she beautiful? me at anniv.

Here’s her blurb: She was part of a London scandal through no fault of her own. Now she’s been banished to the countryside to live as a schoolteacher under a false name. How can she go on, so alone, living in a rustic cottage, bereft of family and friends?


Here are some questions she graciously answered:

What is your favorite thing about writing Regency?

I am very familiar with the era because I am a huge fan of the genre, having read hundreds of Regency romance novels, and that adds to my enjoyment as I write my own. I also enjoy the language and slang that was used in that day, as well as the fashions, literature, and music.

If you could have lived at that time, what would you love?

I’m sure I would have loved the relative freedom brought in by the style of the dresses. English fashion was inspired by France. France’s revolution had liberated women from the physically restrictive, heavy clothing. The clothing was much more comfortable, and was very pretty, but not always very warm.

What would you definitely NOT love?

I would have hated the lack of indoor plumbing, as well as the lack of central heating.

Your “Ponder this” virtue is “Whatever is pure…” Tell us why this was a perfect attribute for you to write about.

My heroine, Charlotte, is a pure maiden, but is embroiled in a scandal for which she shouldn’t have been blamed. She kept her chin up even thought her purity was cruelly thrown into question. But in the end….no, you’ll have to read it to find out her outcome.


Susan’s bio: (Personal aside—she has raised three of the most wonderful children that walk on God’s good earth.)

Susan Karsten lives in a small Wisconsin town, is the wife of a real estate broker, mother of three married children, and grandmother of three. Her hobbies include fitness, quilting, and reading. Her interest in writing developed while in college, and she enjoys doing speaking engagements about writing, books, and other topics. With child-rearing days at an end, Susan now invests time in fiction writing. With her first cozy mystery and her four Regency historical romances— all  published—she is working on an Amish Romance with a twist.  She loves reading reviews of her books, so hop onto Amazon when you’ve finished her book(s) and leave a review.


AND here is her buying info. This book is good. Did I say that already?CharlottesDilemma_prc5483_680 nice

Buying info: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, or PelicanBookGroup.com


Lucy in Love by Kimberly Miller

Kimberly Miller wrote a fun contemporary romance with a thread of bittersweet woven into the fabric of the humor and love story.

Here is Kimberly: pic4

Here’s her blurb:

Things are finally looking up for Lucy Leti. Her bakery is doing well, her friends are amazing, and her family is supportive. She’s even so close to being past the heartbreak of her broken engagement that she can taste it.

But what’s missing is trust and love. And until her old friend Henry Lee comes back into her life after a ten year absence, Lucy is convinced she’ll never find either one.

Henry is handsome, successful, and has been secretly in love with Lucy for years. But the musician isn’t the same man Lucy knew in high school—he’s lost weight and gained confidence. And in no time at all, he’s in love with Lucy all over again.

And she could be in love with him too.

But when the couple’s first date goes terribly wrong, they’ll both need a little perspective to see things clearly.


She also graciously answered some quick questions and I’m glad she did. It was a fun way to get to know her better.

Tell us about your high school experience. Were you more Lucy, Henry, or somewhere in between? I had a great time in high school. Though I was probably more Lucy than Henry I wouldn’t say I was popular– even if I did have a good number of friends.

We know Lucy had regrets about high school, in spite of her popularity. If you could go back to those high school years, what would you change? If I could go back to high school, I’d probably be more brave and try more things and not worry so much what other people thought of me.

Music and baked goods play a big role in the story.

What’s your favorite music genre? I am pretty eclectic in my musical tastes, and they shift often depending what I’m writing. In HS I was pretty rock and roll, but now I’d say I like everything from Harry Connick Jr. to Jon McLaughlin (a current favorite!) to Matchbox 20 or Queen.

Favorite baked good? Now you’re asking really tough questions! I love chocolate- so probably a good chocolate cake


And here is her bio, so we can get to know her even better!

Kimberly M. Miller is a writing and film professor by day, author by night. She enjoys watching movies, making jewelry, and creating fun stories for her readers. Currently, Kimberly has two published novels, Picking Daisy and Forgiving Tess, but she looks forward to bringing more romance your way soon!


Buying info? Of course:

lucy cover large

Here’s the link for Amazon:

“Buttonholed” by Anita Klumpers (aka The Prude): Meet Manderley

Buttonholed_prc5474_750 2Hoo boy. My next book, “Buttonholed,” comes out March 13 and I have a sinking feeling I was already supposed to be going great guns with promotions and publicity.

On the plus side, I am finally putting up a Tuesday Prude post on a Tuesday.

“Buttonholed” is a light-hearted romance set in eastern Tennessee. I was there once and felt sufficiently imprinted and inculcated with all things southern to set a book in this beautiful, hill-covered region. Or maybe they are mountains. Not sure I remember.

It is also the first of my published books with no murder. That’s right. No one gets killed— but not for lack of trying. Manderley’s several-times great grandfather tried to kill his nemesis in an 1816 duel and…well, you’ll have to get the book if you want to learn why.

Back to Manderley Jessup, our heroine. Here is how I picture her, when she is in top form.


Unfortunately her top form has been a bit over-the-top lately. She’s barely touched her makeup bag in the past year, and cut her own hair to save money. And none of her clothes fit.

She took a teaching job in Chicago to escape a hopeless crush. More on that
A side benefit would be escaping southern fried chicken, biscuits with sausage and gravy, shrimp with grits, corn on the cob and peach pie.
All she needed was to live where the best tasting food wasn’t yellow, and she would be fine.
She hadn’t reckoned with the multi-colored delights of deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and rainbow ice cream cones.
Calories infiltrated the entire color wheel.

I really like this girl. She is a people-pleaser, with just enough gumption to keep from being walked over. Manderley loves her family passionately and in spite of their faults. She loves the Lord. Hates plucking her eyebrows. And after an entire school year in Chicago without a single proposition from a single male, she’s beginning to think God gave her the gift of singleness, and she would like to return that gift, thank you very much.

Manderley’s parents are Pemberley and Tara Jessup, her brothers are Thornfield and Barton, her sister is Marguerite.
Extra credit if you figure out what the names have in common!


A distress call from her mother, Tara, sends Manderley scurrying from Chicago to her hometown of Lowellton, Tennessee. A New York film crew is researching the duel between Tara’s ancestor, Talbot Latimer, and his arch-enemy Henderson Coventry. The results of that ill-fated battle have split Lowellton for over 200 years. For some reason, Tara is certain Manderley will be able to run interference and protect the family honor.

Manderley thinks she is up to the challenge. A sermon on Philippians 4:8 and “whatever is of good repute” convinces her the best way to protect the family honor is to heal the two centuries-and-counting breach between the Coventrys and Latimers.

Problem is, the only one who can help end the hostilities is Abram Coventry— descendant of the despicable Henderson Coventry and the object of Manderley’s hopeless crush. But he barely knows she exists.

Just when it appears Manderley might have the family feud beat, her best-laid plans backfire spectacularly. And it’s all Abram Coventry’s fault.


Although “Buttonholed” doesn’t release in e-book until March 13, it is available for pre-order for $3.99 on Amazon, even as we speak.