My Books

WORTH HER WEIGHT, my first women's fiction, ready for pre-order before CHRISTMAS, 2014
"How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God's healing and love in her life when she believes she's fat, unworthy, and unfixable?"
Coming soon: A GHOST FOR SHELLEY, Book 2 of my YA ghost series.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I wish to thank everyone who has followed or viewed any of my blog posts in 2014. Thank you to all my faithful readers. You light up my world.

And thanks be to God, from who all blessing flow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Ghost Tale from Fort Sill, Oklahoma and a Book Giveaway

It's Weird Wednesday  on Writing with God's Hope blog. A few weeks ago, I told you a legend from Fort Sill, Oklahoma near my home. Today, I offer another tale. To remind you this one also comes from the book, The Ghost of Fort Sill, by Robert R. Hiatt. It was published in 1989 with over thirty ghost sightings from the old fort.


Today, my story is called “The Phantom Child of Quarters 424 East.” Sightings about this ghost were reported in the 1950s, 1960, and up to the 1980s.


On one occasion, the lady of the house hosted a card party attended by wives of other officers. During this middle-of the-afternoon party, she heard a baby crying. She assumed one of the ladies had brought her child who had now awakened.


“Whose child is that?” she asked.


No one had brought a child. All the ladies heard the sound. The crying continued and disturbed their fun. Finally, they went as a group upstairs and determined the sound was coming from the middle bedroom. The lady of the house opened the door. The room was empty. The crying stopped.


Near this period of time, a workman was inside this same house doing maintenance. A child crying unsettled him while he worked. He searched the empty house but found nothing.


Who knows? The story goes that a child was lost going to the out house and froze to death. The base tore down the out house in December, 1929. From then on, stories of hearing the crying have cropped up every few years.
Just another Weird Wednesday ghost story? Maybe, maybe not.
Next Wednesday, I'll tell you another from this book, so drop back by when it's Weird Wednesday, again.
I tried last week to host a Rafflecopter book giveaway, but because of my lack of tech-savvy, I never got it working correctly. The only way you could enter was to tweet about it, and many didn't use Twitter. I wish to thank Amy Cattapan for pressing through and tweeting to be the only one who entered for a chance to win a free copy of Victoria and the Ghost. Thanks to her perseverance, she wins a free book.
However, today, I wish to extend another chance to others to win a free copy of Victoria and the Ghost in time to give it for a Christmas gift.
All you must do to enter is leave a comment below, giving your e-mail address, so I can notify you if you win. I will draw a name after midnight on December 2 and announce the winner on Weird Wednesday next week.
So comment now and check out Weird Wednesday again on Dec. 3.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Interview with MG Author, Mary Hamilton

My special guest is middle-grade author, Mary Hamilton. When I met Mary at ACFW conference in 2012, I fell in love with her sweet spirit. I read her debut novel, and that made me hungry to read the second in the series. She has the voice and heart of the preteen/early teen. In Speak No Evil her characters are a couple years older.

    If you ever went to summer church camp, you will relive those years in her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series, both the good and the bad.

     If you have a middle-grade student on your Christmas list, this is a must-buy for a stocking stuffer.

     So, now I have some questions for Mary, so that you might meet her, too, and learn about her new book, Speak No Evil.

1. When was the last time you wanted to give up on writing? What saved you from doing that?

I’ve wanted to give up many times in the last few months as I’ve worked on the last book in my Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. It was a difficult story that I struggled with all the way through. The only reason I didn’t quit was because I had a contract to honor.


 2. Ah, yes, those pesky contracts that we both love and hate. Where did you get the idea of your new book?

When Hear No Evil, the first book in the series came out, I received many comments that the bully in the story was very relevant to today’s youth. So I decided to make him the star of the second book. I wanted to figure out what made him tick, why he acted the way he did.


3. Who is your favorite character from your new book?

I’ve developed a great fondness for Taylor, the main character. When I first started writing his story, I didn’t particularly like him. He was, after all, a bully. But the more I wrote and got to know what was in his heart and the hurt he was hiding, the more I came to love him. He reminds me of a couple people I know who are rough around the edges and kind of prickly at times, but inside they have a good heart.


4. If you could be a song, what would it be?

I would like to be any one of the great hymns, because they are enduring, meaningful, and their whole purpose is to praise our God.


5. In what place do you do most of your writing?

If I’m working on a first draft, I’m usually closeted in one of our upstairs bedrooms away from telephones and noise and our attention-loving Golden Retriever. If I’m rewriting, I’m either at the kitchen table or out on the patio (with the dog!).


6. What book are you reading right now?

I just finished Red Zone by Kelli Hughett. It’s a romantic suspense played out on the edges of professional football. I highly recommend it.


7. How did you connect with your current publisher?

I met Lynellen Perry of HopeSprings books at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. We sat across the table from each other at breakfast the last morning, when I’d pretty much given up on getting my first book published. Obviously, God had a different idea!

What a wonderful inspiring story for other still unpublished authors who are getting discouraged.


Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. While raising her own three children, she was active in her church’s youth ministry, hosting small group Bible studies and pancake suppers. One summer, she even volunteered as a camp counselor for a week—and decided once was enough.

When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors. She and her husband make their home in Texas with a rescued Golden Retriever.


Connect with Mary:



Having his younger sister at camp was a pain, but Taylor Dixon never expected the pain to go so deep.

At 15, Taylor dreams of getting his driver’s license and driving racecars when he’s older. Only his younger sister, Marissa, believes in his dreams, but her adventurous spirit keeps landing him in trouble. Dad won’t let Taylor get his license unless he stays out of trouble, and predicts he’s heading for the same jail cell as his once-favored older brother.

Taylor returns to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp, expecting softball, swimming and sermons. Then he discovers a classic Mustang in the camp’s machine shed, and the owner’s invitation to help restore it fuels his dream of driving race cars. But when Marissa falls for his snobbish cabin mate, the ensuing war of words and pranks escalates until it threatens to destroy both the car and his dreams for the future.

Will Taylor fulfill Dad’s prediction? Or will the message of the old Mustang’s engine set him free from the prison he built himself?



I love the cover, Mary. Of course, I love Mustangs. The book is good.

Do any of you have questions or comments for Mary?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2 More Ghost Stories from Deb Hockenberry

Children's author, Deb Hockenberry, visits us again on Writing with God's Hope blog. She has two more ghost stories about her mother's haunted bedroom. After all, it is Weird Wednesday.
A few weeks ago, Deb spun a tale involving people marching across her mother's bedroom in the home near Gettysburg, PA. She returns today to tell us two more "weird" happenings. Thank you, Deb.
One Christmas I was staying with Mom and slept in that same bedroom. I was having trouble getting to sleep. I heard loud footsteps on the stairs leading to the living room which was right off my mother’s bedroom. Slowly, they came up the stairs.
Mom heard them, too, but she also saw something. The person wore a short blue coat that came down close to his knees. Mom thought it was my brother.
When she questioned him about it, he assured her it wasn’t him. To this day I’m convinced it was a Union Soldier who was still on guard duty.

Once again, this time at Easter, I was at home in Gettysburg for a visit along with my sister-in-law's parents. In the middle of the night, we were all awakened by horses snorting, the metal in their bridles clanging, and marching through the house.
Oh, my, Deb, you are full of ghost stories. I love it. What an exciting place to visit, obviously.
 I wish Deb well with her upcoming children's book soon to be released by 4RV Publishing.
 Find her at
She has wonderful helps for new writers, so be sure to seek out her site.
One more thing, Deb, will you return another Weird Wednesday to tell us another Gettsburg story?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Giveaway This Week Only



Sign up now through Nov. 25. This would make a great gift for a teen or adult just in time for Christmas.

    At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.

     When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy." rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Visit with Eleanor Gustafson

Don't you just love meeting new people? Today, you and I are getting acquainted with Eleanor Gustafson, a Christian author who loves horses. I can't see a thing wrong with that, can you?

Eleanor, tells us about yourself.

Why am I a writer instead of a church organist somewhere? My mother loved music and was herself an organist, and when I finally decided to be an organ major at Wheaton College—instead of taking up veterinary medicine at Cornell—she jumped for joy. (Well, maybe not literally.)


I came out of college being able to play the organ respectably, but marrying one of my horsemanship students who also played the organ (more anon on that) set me on an entirely different course.


Though she would be sad to hear it, you can blame my mother for my current writing track. As she read stories to me every night before bed, I soaked in Story, and that seems to have had even more influence than my chewing the piano while Mom and siblings sang. My teeth marks are probably still there.


Even though Story won out in the end, music continued its influence. My first novel, Appalachian Spring, is titled after a classical piece by Aaron Copeland and contains the melody for the familiar “Simple Gifts.”


Leaping ahead, my husband Jim and I just celebrated our 50 years as tree farmers in Vermont. No, not Christmas trees; just a large forest that we have thinned, pruned, logged, and made maple syrup. A tree farm became the setting for my second novel, Wild Harvest, in which a modern girl meets a boy of 1796 over a stone wall in Vermont. A time travel.


The next three books showcase my passion for God. Well, I guess all of them do. Middle Night is a rough, raw book that few have liked, but it powerfully dramatizes the gospel, using no religious language or known religions. A good story, but I got carried away, balancing off a superbly good God with terrible evil on the other side. True to life, as we are seeing every day, but not fiction to curl up on a couch with.


The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David puts flesh on the bones of history. Eugene Peterson endorsed that one, as did other Old Testament notables. David has always been my biblical hero, and I had to write his story.


My most recent novel, Dynamo, showcases not only my passion for horses, but also my deep fervor for our sovereign God. He will do what he wants, when he wants to, in order to accomplish His will. Dynamo is a nasty but extraordinarily beautiful five-gaited stallion. His trainer, Jeth, pours his heart into preparing him to show, but at the same time, God is training Jeth to become an extraordinary servant. A page-turner, on most accounts.


God has trained me, as well, using multiple influences—Story, music, horses, Wheaton College, marriage, tree farming, writers’ conferences, relationships…….and the list goes on. My husband, by the way, is now our church organist. I can’t play the instrument anymore, but I can still write.


Story is my game.


Back cover:   Jeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania's mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob's jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion.

Everything changes when God enters his life—in the unconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend—and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God's hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, "Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I'm being set up for something."

He is, indeed. Jeth's life is anything but predictable, much like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption.

This story is God in your face: Who is He, really? What does He ask of us

Born and brought up in Branchville NJ (population 1000), Eleanor Gustafson branched out in several directions.

·         Graduated from Wheaton College, IL.

·        Involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager.

·         Done horses, house construction (including our house, a tepee and log play house), music, Christian camp programming, tree farming (as in logging, firewood, maple syrup), gardening, but, alas, minimal house cleaning!

·         Love to laugh.

·         Love homemade bread, hot out of the oven.

I started publishing fiction and nonfiction in 1978, the most recent novel being Dynamo. I love to write. One major writing goal has been to bring scriptural principles to full-color life for today’s readers through strong characters and dialogue. Let me know if you think I’ve accomplished that.

I will, Eleanor, I will. Since hearing your voice through your words and reading about your books, especially the new one, Dynamo, I'm eager to read your "stories," and I will let you know if you've accomplished your goal. Anyone out there that's already read some of Eleanor's "stories?" Leave a comment and let the rest of us know.
Eleanor, tell us where we can find out more about you and your books.







Thank you for being my guest today. Can't wait for my copy of Dynamo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Ghost Tour of Granbury, Texas

In honor of Weird Wednesday, here's a story about a recent experience I had and the strange tales I heard.

Map showing Granbury, TX marked with the G

My husband and I took a fascinating ghost legend tour. The setting was historic Granbury southwest of Fort Worth. (See map. FYI I live in Wichita Falls to the north) Downtown consists of a square around a beautiful court house. Gift shops and snack places line one side. An opera house and restaurant holds down another side. A theatre with exciting music is the focus on yet another side. The fourth includes the Nut House Hotel.
The Nut House Hotel


Our guide is dressed in period costume to set the mood. His knowledge of Granbury’s history and ghosts is phenomenal. He keeps us enthralled for about an hour.


The Nut House Hotel is of particular interest. A long-ago cook, named Mary Lou Watkins lived in room four. Ask anyone who has stayed there. She’s still there in spirit.


On the right front corner looking from the court house, we learned about a ghost that leaves playing cards to remind others that he’s still around.


Our guide told us about John Wilkes Booth. He lived for awhile in Granbury. His ghost still shows up at the opera house.


The ghost of Indian Joe makes appearances at the jail on the back right corner. We shudder as we watch him swing from the noose.


A girl lost her life leaning too far over a balcony. We look up at that balcony. The tension is strong. We almost hear the circus that she wanted so badly to see. Often, this faceless girl appears in the window.


If you’re interested, here’s the link about the ghost tour.


They don’t guarantee you’ll see a ghost, but not many that walk that square with the guide, Boots Hubbard, miss spotting some spooky sites.


Don’t forget to get your ghost sucker when you leave.

Have any of you went on a ghost tour before? Heard a ghost? Remember a local legend? If so, please contact me. Weird Wednesday on the Writing with God's Hope blog is always looking for new stories.