Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Sea Prayers

The Sea Prayers
By Normandie Fischer

What an exciting read! Fischer takes us back to Beaufort, NC in this book, as she tells the story of a single mom barely making ends meet, and her daughter, who learns a huge secret about the dad she's never met: he’s her favorite singer and she listens to his music all the time.

There’s a sous chef who has overcome addiction and lives on a boat, an inherited house that requires more than the recipient can handle, and a town filled with people who know how to be the hands and feet of God. Date rape, emotional abuse, unforgiveness, and a missing child provide lots of conflict, plot twists, and reasons for our heroine to learn how to pray.

This is a love story, a faith story, and a family story. It’s about the past coming back to bite you, and learning how to make sure the future doesn’t run away without you.

I highly recommend Fischer’s latest installment in her Carolina Coast Series. This story definitely stands on its own, but if you’ve already met the lovely people from her other novels, you will enjoy it even more when several of them pop into this storyline too.  

Learn more about Normandie Fischer here: and you'll also find more information about all the other books in her Coastal Carolina Series. Don't worry about reading them in order, each book stands on its own, but the characters overlap for an extra bonus when you do read them all. 

Jennifer Fromke is a novelist who writes from NC, where she pines for colder temperatures all year long. Northerners by upbringing, she and her husband of 26 years have raised three Southern-ish children. Jennifer reviews books at and you can download a free story from her website when you sign up for her newsletter at She writes contemporary women’s fiction and her family’s annual Christmas letter, which she needs to get going on this week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Pickle Project with Shirley Raye Redmond

Today, Wednesday, November 14 is Pickle Day. Everyone in my family has a different favorite. I’ll bet you do too. My son loves sweet gherkins. My daughter prefers zesty garlic dill, and my hubby likes pickled okra.

Personally, I’ve always loved my Aunt Peggy’s pickles better than any I’ve ever tried. They are a pleasant bluish green color and taste both sweet and sour. Over the years I’ve begged for her recipe. Each time I asked, Aunt Peggy said she couldn’t remember how she made them or where her
cookbook was. I should have been more persistent because now Aunt Peggy is elderly and living in a nursing home. She doesn’t’ remember making her delicious pickles at all.

Not long ago, I made it my mission to peruse cookbooks and cooking blogs to try to find a recipe that would produce pickles like Aunt Peggy used to make. I asked my friends who were canning queens for their sweet and sour pickle recipes. The pursuit led to a lot of pickle making. I even became rather adventuresome, learning to pickle watermelon rind, pears and even peppers.

At a roadside stand on a recent road trip through Georgia, I noticed brightly colored pickles for sale—orange, red, green, yellow and even purple. Kool-Aid pickles, the sales woman told me. I didn’t buy a jar because I would be flying home to New Mexico and knew I wouldn’t be allowed to carry them on the plane.

At my first opportunity, I went online to google a recipe for Kool-Aid pickles. I had a hunch that as those bluish green ones looked so much like Aunt Peggy’s, I hoped they might taste like hers too. The Taste of Home website posted a recipe calling for one 32-ounce jar of whole dill pickles, undrained, and two-thirds cup of sugar, and one envelope of unsweetened Kool-Aid mix in a any flavor. I chose lime.

Following the recipe, I drained the pickles, reserving the juice to mix with the sugar and the Kool-Aid. I sliced the pickles into “pennies” and returned them to the jar. Then I poured the juice mixture back into the jar and kept them refrigerated for a week before allowing myself to taste them.

And guess what? They taste just like Aunt Peggy’s pickles! I was in heaven! Then I became more adventurous and tried the same thing using cherry Kool-Aid. Between now and Christmas I may become a pickle princess, experimenting with blue raspberry and orange.

Do you have a favorite pickle? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel. 

 Happy Pickle Day!


An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of three inspirational novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED, VIPER’S NEST, and AMANDA’S BEAU, as well as two dozen children’s books, including LEWIS & CLARK: A PRAIRIE DOG FOR THE PRESIDENT (Random House), which was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Touch bases at or Facebook.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hollywood Gold

Hollywood strikes gold when it pairs certain actors and actresses such as Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan or Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. But movie producers have been creating twosomes for decades. Remember Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? How about Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn or Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Another such duo is Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland who were paired for nine films, the last of which released seventy-five years ago this month. Girl Crazy couldn’t help but be successful. Based on a 1930 stage play of the same name, the film includes music written by George and Ira Gershwin. Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra are featured, and June Allyson appears in her film debut.

In a December, 1943 article in The New York Times proclaims, “Hold on to your hats, folks! Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland are back in town. And if at this late date there are still a few die-hards who deny that they are the most incorrigibly talented pair of youngsters in the movies, “Girl Crazy,” now at the Capitol, should serve as the final rebuttal.” The piece goes on to say, “For all his {Rooney} cocky precociousness, he is an entertainer to his fingertips. And with Judy, who sings and acts like an earthbound angel, to temper his brashness-well, they can do almost anything they wish, and we’ll like it even in spite of ourselves.”

Married several times, but never to each other, their on-screen chemistry reflected their friendship that was deep and long-lasting. They met in 1933 when both were attending the Lawlor School for Professional Children. Perhaps they were drawn together by the similarities in their lives: they had been performing with their vaudeville families since they could talk, came from homes where troubled fathers had abandoned them, and had gone to work to help provide for their single mothers.

Twenty years after the release of Girl Crazy, Mickey guest starred on Judy’s short-lived television show, and their performance (on YouTube) is just as endearing as their first.

What is your favorite “pairs” film?

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for her local public library. Active in her church Linda serves as treasurer, usher, and choir member. To find out more about Linda and her books visit Sign up for her newsletter for links to free ebooks, book reviews, historical tidbits, and more.