Dawn of a New Day

We stopped to see our friend Dawn at her coffee shop, dawn of a new day.  I asked her if I could use her coffee shop in my new book she graciously gave permission to do so.

Here are a few pictures of the chic coffee shop in downtown Saginaw. This building originally was the office of Lumber Barron, Arthur Hill.

Click here to go to the coffee shop Facebook page.








Beginning a New Book

When I joined Weight Watchers in May of last year, I decided to spend the year reading and responding to the Weight Watcher social media, Connect.  It really helped me to stay motivated by helping others by answering posts. Well, my first year is done -85 pounds and I am ready to begin my new book.  And the words are just tumbling out of my heart.  Say a prayer for me that the words weave a wonderful story.

I don't have a name for the book yet, but here is the first draft of the prologue:

PROGLOGUE
The child hid behind the putrid trash can. Crouching even lower, she silently put one foot behind the other inching farther back towards the cold brick wall. She shivered with fear, as much as from the cold and when her tummy rumbled loudly, she was terrified it could be heard.  She hadn't had anything to eat since yesterday morning. This afternoon her mother had ordered her to stay hidden in the dark alley until she returned with food, but that was a long time ago.

Now there was someone with a flashlight at the end of the alley searching for something. As he pulled boxes away from the building the beam of light jerked back and forth on the wall creating monster shadows. She squeezed her eyes shut hoping if she couldn't see him then maybe he wouldn't see her. 

When the trash can in front of her was pulled away she screamed and tried to push past the man. She stumbled over his feet as the laser flashlight momentarily blinded her. She felt his huge hands grab the back of her jacket lifting her off the ground. Just as her Mom had taught her she kicked her feet and swatted the air with her hands and tried to bite the stranger when she heard him say, "It's okay your mom sent me to find you."

She dropped her hands and made her body go limp in his arms. Constantly warned not to trust strangers, especially strangers saying she had sent them, the child tried this last maneuver her mom had taught her to use in a bad situation. The man assumed the little girl was going to give up and set her on her feet as he pressed the radio button attached to his coat announcing, "This is 134. Found her, heading back to the station."

Now that she could see again she shuddered as her worst nightmare unfolded in the dark alley. It was a Policeman!  When he let go of her hand to put the flashlight back in his belt she bolted. The police officer shouted with terrifying authority, "Get back here, now!" 

She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her, but it wasn't fast enough. This time when he lifted her off the ground he carried her under his arm to the police car, deposited her in the backseat and shut the door. When he walked around the car to get in the driver side she reached to open the door to run again. She screamed in frustration when she realized there was no handle on the inside of the door; no way out. Tears ran down her cheeks faster than her filthy hands could brush them away leaving streaks of dirt on her face. The officer got in the car and looked in the review mirror at the little girl.  He knew without a doubt this would be a night he would never forget.

New Beginnings Free Book Promotion







To celebrate St. Patrick's Day - and to thank my sweet husband for buying the beautiful portrait for me from Clarence Lum - I am giving away my eBook, "New Beginnings." When I originally saw the painting, Prada Girl, at Clarence's home I was instantly inspired to write the book.  I wondered why the girl was leaving the apartment? Why did she not look back?  Where was she going? Why was she alone? What emotions were on her face, sad, happy, relieved?  I couldn't stop thinking of her when I went home. The words flew out of my heart. When the book was finished I was so happy Clarence agreed to let me use Prada Girl on my cover.  New Beginnings is one of my favorite books.  March 15 - 19, 2018, the book will be free.  Go to Amazon by clicking on the book above to get your copy today.


Schirmer Drugstore

This drugstore was on the corner of Hoyt and Sheridan, kitty corner from Bertie's Bakery. It was on the same block as St. Mary Cathedral. I walked past it until we moved when I was in 7th grade.

My friend Sue says that Hazel was a storeclerk who gave her free candy. I didn't go in.

Sam Bashans posted this on Facebook. Lots of Saginaw history posted by Sam.





Bonus Pictures

Ray Barcalow posted these great pictures of Andersen Pool on Facebook. He graciously granted permission to post them here. We all have such good memories of fun times there.  If you never went there these pictures will help you imagine the setting of one of my favorite books. Enjoy.












Tawas Point Lighthouse





Did you ever dream of being a volunteer lighthouse keeper? Click on the picture above of the lighthouse to apply.


In my eBook, A Light Shines Forth, life changing events begin at the Tawas Point Lighthouse during a volunteer week for two families. A prank goes bad causing broken bones as well as broken relationships.

To read my book click on it below.




A Facebook friend, Ricardo De La Garza, posted this photo. It brings back such good memories of Tony's on Weadock. Thanks for letting me post it, Ricardo.

Martha Street Market is Available


The friends are back in Book Five of the Saginaw Series.  Questions abound. Will Katy reconcile with Jen and Colleen, restoring their remarkable friendship through their senior year? Will Sarah and Joseph's hope to adopt a baby be fulfilled after a devastating change of heart ended their first attempt? A book with strong faith-filled characters to share with your daughter, mother, aunt and friends.


Click on the Book


Exciting News

Brenda Wiegand has agreed to paint a picture for the cover of the Martha Street Market book.

You can see her work on Facebook in the public group:

Designs by Brenda @ the right path

When my brother-in-law could not do the artwork for this book I called my best friend and editor, Kay and said I didn't know what to do. She immediately thought of Brenda.

I have admired Brenda's work for a long time.  I was so excited to send her a message. She said YES!

So... it's getting closer...

Woohoo - One Step Closer

Second edit done!  Kay came over with her edits and they made such a difference in the book. Martha Street Market is evolving into a great last book of the Saginaw Series.  I cannot wait for my sister, Jane to get here next week so I can give her a printout for the last edit.  Then as soon as I get the cover art I will be able to publish on Amazon.

I know every single time - and this is the 12th time - that I publish a book, I realize how blessed I am with great editors. Mary Lynn, Kathy, Jane and Kay - these books get so much better after your read them and tell me where I need to explain more, change my commas, ask questions about parts you don't understand and even make sure I have named the right character in the right spot!

The artists I have chosen each time have been superior.  D.A. Clifford - my brother-in-law Dan was the first artist I asked to sketch a cover for my first book series and now he is finishing up with one more cover for the Saginaw Series.  Hope Sweigart a wonderful photographer helped choose her cover photos for the Holiday Series and Four Season Friends.  A Light Shines Forth was inspired by Mike Sonnenberg, the cover artist with his picture of the Tawas Light House. And the book, New Beginnings, was inspired by artwork by Clarence Lum - his painting Prada Girl made the words just tumble out of my heart when I saw it.

So excited...

Inspiration

This morning I read something so inspiring I had to include it in Martha Street Market, the 5th book in the Saginaw Series. The inspiration was a post my friend, Jimmy E. Greene put on Facebook.  I asked him for permission to use it in my book and he kindly said yes.  This is in the dedication of the book:

This book is also dedicated to a very good friend.  I have only seen him a handful of times, but on Facebook... I read his wonderful posts and pray for him to continue the good work he does every single day.  Even though he is working nonstop - always at one airport or another - what makes him so remarkable is that I see him first as a wonderful husband and father. 



I don't miss trips
I've never made or
places I've never been.
I don't miss jobs
I never had or
people that I've never met.
I've found remarkable peace that every place
I'm at is where
I was supposed
to be and everyone in
my life is who
I needed when
I needed them most

                 - Jimmy E. Greene
                    May 30, 2017
                    Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport




Big Day for Martha Street Market!

I am so excited - today is a big day - My sister, and my cousin, Mary Lynn are on their way here to edit Martha Street Market.  AND, my husband, Pat is on his way to his brother, Dan's, to drop off some pictures and description of what I would like for the cover of the book.

I can't wait to get started on this next phase of the book.  After we finish the first edit my friend, Kay, will do the next edit.  Then it goes to my sister, Jane.

I am blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people in my life.  I'll take a picture and post it when we are editing.


Hoyt Library



Sam Bashans posted this picture in Saginaw's BEST Past, Present, and Future group on Facebook. He said I could repost it here. If you are interested in Saginaw history that is a great group to join. The pictures are so interesting.

I love the Hoyt Library. I spent many hours there while growing up. My new book, Martha Street Market, has the opening chapter set in this library. I finished the rough draft yesterday. Now the long process of editing. I love how this book ends the Saginaw Series.

Free eBooks for your students


I would like to offer my Saginaw Series eBooks free for your classes. They are geared towards middle school students; however every age enjoys the stories. There are questions at the end of each book to use in discussions.

I would love to see high school students mentor middle school students by reading the books to each other on a one-to-one basis.  To read a teacher review of using Webber House in a class situation click here.

All four books of the Saginaw Series will be available for free. Click on the books to go to my author page for more information on the books.



I would have to schedule a giveaway day for you to get the books free. Just give me a couple days to schedule the giveaway.

Contact me by email for more information or to set up a giveaway:

mesclifford@charter.net

For your convenience:

Whispercast makes delivering the eBooks easy. To see more about Whispercast click the picture:

Unrivaled selection. Easy discovery.
  • Access a large library of free and pay-for eBooks, eTextbooks, and Apps
  • Search by grade, subject, and age. Filter by user ratings and Lexile score
  • Publish your own content and share it with your students and classes

Inspiration


I prayed for inspiration last night. This morning I saw this and knew just where it belongs in the 5th book of the Saginaw Series, Martha Street Market. Thank you for prayers answered.

Mmmm....Delicious Aromas



I went looking for Martha Street Market and found the Cruz Family from St. Mary Cathedral purchased it in 1969.  In the Saginaw Series the building is the little grocery store that I remember from growing up - but it was so much fun to find this family working from this building for so long.







Gloria and Santos Cruz own the building at 1200 Martha Street that used to be Martha Street Market. Along with their son, Michael they run a successful take out business.  When I stopped to ask them a few questions about the store they were so helpful.  The food smelled delicious.  I can't wait to go back there to order takeouts for dinner.  Some of their choices are: Tamale Dnner, Wet Burrito, Burrito, Taco, Tostada, Menudo. 

When I explained who I was, Michael asked, "Are you Ms. Shea's daughter?" 

I answered that I was - my Mom was the secretary in the grade school.  His face lit up.  He excitedly called his parents to the front saying, "This is Ms. Shea's daughter."

Michael went on to tell me that St. Mary Cathedral was family to them.  The people he went to school with still come and order their food for family dinners.  He told me several names of families coming in that day for their Christmas dinner orders.

The whole visit made me so happy.  Such a sweet family - with a great business.

Colleen's Christmas Pancakes



On Christmas morning Colleen surprised her parents with breakfast by the Christmas tree. The pancakes were a last minute ingedient missing invention. Everyone agreed they were the best ever!

I box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 cup Bisquick
2 eggs
3/4 cup any flavor Coffeemate (Jen used Pumpkin Spice)
Enough milk to make it pancake consistency - not to thin and not to thick.

Pour by large spoonful onto hot griddle. Flip. Flip again if needed.

Serve with butter and syrup.

Martha Street Market - Science Fair Snacks

The senior class was responsible for the snacks at the science fair at St. Mary Cathedral.  Several of the students were making "science" cookies.

Colleen used her Aunt's sugar cookie recipe and cut out beakers, atoms, and test tubes


Jen made the periodic table


James saw the National Science Week poster with Oreo cookies and straws and decided to make that.

Adam was the most artistic of all of them.  His science project compared organic compost with chemical fertilizers when used growing corn. He made Rice Krispie treats that looked like ears of corn.






Chapter 1 - Martha Street Market

I am so happy to announce there will be a fifth book to the Saginaw Series.

SPOILER ALERT - the following first chapter explains which band won the Michigan Talent contest from the last book, Daniel's Den.

Over Thanksgiving my husband's brother agreed to work on the cover of the fifth book, Martha Street Market.  D.A. Clifford is the artist for the covers of the Saginaw Series Books and I wasn't sure he would want to do another one.  But as soon as he said yes, ideas started forming.

Remember, Colleen and her family live above Martha Street Market.

This morning I began to write.

Best Friends, Katy, Jen and Colleen are just entering senior year at St. Mary Cathedral.

Chapter One - ROUGH DRAFT - Martha Street Market

Jen and Colleen walked to the Hoyt Library after school. They each had a term paper due in a week and they wanted to get them done before the weekend.  They both knew their parents would never let them do anything over the weekend if the term papers weren’t finished.

Jen asked her friend, “Have you talked to Katy?”

Colleen grunted.

Jen guessed, “I suppose that means you didn’t.”

Colleen looked like she was going to cry.  She turned to Jen to complain, “You know she isn’t talking to either of us.  She’s furious that we argued with her last week.”

Jen nodded her head in agreement, “I know, but this has gone on long enough.  She stayed home in her room all summer long.  She quit being a lifeguard at the pool.  She wouldn’t do anything with us and now that school has started you would think she would at least have lunch with us.  No… not the long suffering, the world is all about me, Katy. You should try living in the same house with the drama queen!  We used to be the best sisters in the world, but now I don’t think that will ever happen again.”

Colleen agreed, but she knew that Katy still felt so bad about letting everyone down when the band came in second in the Talent Michigan band competition.

It had been a long summer after that ill-fated concert in Detroit, Michigan.  They all had been at the concert.  Katy’s band, the Lifeguards, performed like pros.  They were so good, but the Wildcats were better.  No getting around it, the band that should have won, did.  After losing, Katy’s band broke up and then she began her summer of wallowing in self pity.  Jen and Colleen did all they could to get her out of the funk she was in, but nothing worked.

Finally they gave up. Colleen quit calling Katy and Jen just ignored her.  After a few weeks Jen tried again, but Katy only answered yes or no to all her questions and still wouldn’t leave their house.
Colleen and Jen walked up the steps to the library entrance.  After taking the elevator to the second floor they entered the genealogy and Saginaw Historical room.  They went their separate ways to gather books to research for the term papers. 

Jen was not happy having to go to the library.  She complained to her teacher, Sister Carmelita, that the topics to choose from were so specific that they couldn’t use the Internet to get enough sources to use for the term paper.  Sr. Carmelita smiled as she explained that was exactly why the topics were local Saginaw topics.  She told the students that not every single thing in life was on the Internet.  While they could use the Internet as one way to find sources for their term papers they also needed to learn how to research at a real library, with real books. 

Jen chose the Webber House as her topic; it was a building close to her heart.  The summer before starting high school she had fallen down the cellar stairs of the old mansion and had to be rescued! The officer who had been looking for her and the current owner of the Webber House eventually fell in love and planned on getting married this year. Jen took credit for getting them together.

Colleen was very happy to be in the historical section of the library.  Her topic was to report on the Hoyt Library.  After looking up Hoyt Library on the computer system, she pulled out the books she needed and took them to one of the large oak tables.  The librarian had warned her some of the books were very old and needed to be handled with great care.  After looking in the index Colleen carefully turned to the pages listed and began to read.  Almost immediately she became absorbed with the story.  After reading a few pages she motioned to Jen to come to the table. 

With excitement she whispered, “Oh Jen, our term papers are going to be connected.  Mr. Webber was Mr. Hoyt’s lawyer and good friend.  Mr. Webber actually wrote Mr. Hoyt’s will which set up a fund to build the library.


Jen became interested and read over Colleen’s shoulder.  Neither of them noticed Katy watching them from behind the bookshelves.  She felt jealous, left out and angry that they didn’t even notice her.  She turned and left the room without saying anything to her former best friends.
From A Light Shines Forth
Chapter 18

They ordered their favorite treat, strawberry kakigori, which was a big bowl of shaved ice, covered with strawberry sauce and strawberry ice cream. Noah set the huge bowl on the table and they both dug into it.  Between bites Stephanie asked, "Remember when we ordered our first kakigori?  We didn't know we could share, so we each ordered one.  We were shocked when each one cost 600 yen.  Then they gave them to us and they were humongous; we knew we couldn't each eat one."  Noah nodded his head, "Well, I thought five dollars was a lot to spend for a little dish of ice.  Good thing there was another couple from the base behind us.  We sold them yours and shared mine."




On a mission!

My daughter went to visit Robbie and Alicia in Okinawa. Before she left I asked if they could go have a kakigori to see if it was as good as my research said it was.  The text was
 "Yummy! We got Mango."

Our granddaughter, Sheala went to visit and they found kakigori at another place.



Research!

From A Light Shines Forth
Chapter 18

They ordered their favorite treat, strawberry kakigori, which was a big bowl of shaved ice, covered with strawberry sauce and strawberry ice cream. Noah set the huge bowl on the table and they both dug into it.  Between bites Stephanie asked, "Remember when we ordered our first kakigori?  We didn't know we could share, so we each ordered one.  We were shocked when each one cost 600 yen.  Then they gave them to us and they were humongous; we knew we couldn't each eat one."  Noah nodded his head, "Well, I thought five dollars was a lot to spend for a little dish of ice.  Good thing there was another couple from the base behind us.  We sold them yours and shared mine."




On a mission!

My daughter went to visit Robbie and Alicia in Okinawa. Before she left I asked if they could go have a kakigori to see if it was as good as my research said it was.  The text was
 "Yummy! We got Mango."

Saginaw's BEST Past, Present, and Future is a fabulous group on Facebook that is administrered by Sam Bashans.  The historical pictures are amazing.  Here is one of Andersen Pool in 1948. It shows how high the diving board was as well as a great view of the crow's nest where the lifeguards were on duty.  My eBook series, The Saginaw Series has the third book named after this pool. The characters in the book have jobs at Andersen Pool as lifeguards.  Click the picture to go to the eBook on Amazon. (Listed below this link are the other three books in the series: Webber House, Bertie's Bakery Heaven Scent and Daniel's Den.)


#PoweredByIndie


Books I Published on Amazon

October is #PoweredByIndie month on Amazon.  Let me say, I would not be an author without Amazon Kindle books.  Amazon has given thousands of authors the opportunity to publish and sell books all on our own.  

I write my books to share with each other.  Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, aunts,  even teachers with their students.  They are all about friendship, supporting one another, getting through difficult times, growing up, believing in ourselves, caring about others.  There are questions at the end of the book to facilitate discussion.  I don't care how many books I sell.  I have given many of them away.  I care that the message of the importance of being a good friend is shared by all who read my books.  

I will forever be greatful to Amazon for providing a place for my books.  I love writing.  

My first series - Saginaw Series

The books in the Saginaw Series follow the friends from the summer before Freshman year to the summer before Senior year. In Webber House meet Katy and Jen, best friends. In Bertie's Bakery Heaven Scent, it becomes a trio adding Colleen. In Andersen Pool add James and Adam. In Daniels Den follow the band "The Lifeguards" as they work their way to possible stardom. You will get to know the friends throughout their high school years as they blend the best of Saginaw old with Saginaw today.


My second series - Holiday Series

The books in the Holiday Series are a year in the life of Kyla, Olivia, Maddie and Sophie and all their friends. Difficult issues are faced this year in all four books. In book one, No Christmas for Olivia, it is time to learn the true meaning of Christmas. In book two, Easter Trip to Florida, the students go on a mission trip where they learn humility and the importance of sharing God's love. In book three, Independence Day, Internet bullying hurts two students. In book four, A Very Thankful Thanksgiving, new zero tolerance rules have an unexpected consequence.


My first stand alone book - Four Season Friends

Four Season Friends begins with moving day and all the stress and anxiety of seven people relocating to a new home in a new city.   Each of them quickly becomes friends with the family of eight next door and the fun begins.  A few of the children  are homeschooled while others attend St. Mary Cathedral, just three blocks away.  There are vacations, a first job away from home and even a wedding reception in a Montana barn in the middle of winter!  You will come to love the Castors and the Maxums, possibly even wishing you could live next door to them.


My second stand alone book - A Light Shines Forth

When Noah and Emma plan to scare their sisters at the Tawas Point State Park in Michigan neither of them understands that it will change their relationship. Meet the Emerson and Miller families where friendships are more like being part of an extended family. Follow Noah as he begins his service in the Air Force at basic training. Become part of a friendship that spans generations. Based in Saginaw, Michigan the families belong to St. Mary Cathedral where the siblings go to school. A book filled with friendship, romance and characters you will remember forever.


My most recent book - New Beginnings

New Beginnings is a story of a mother and her daughter, Aubrey and Annie, moving to Saginaw, Michigan from Texas. They are invited to live with a cousin and her daughter, Brianna and Riley. The story will follow where they have been and where they are headed after many "New Beginnings." As a matter of fact, Annie is tired of "New Beginnings" she just wants life to stay the same for awhile. Riley is still dealing with the death of her father. She doesn't want anything to do with anyone.


Why write?

When I retired in January of 2011, I read a lot of books. We took a vacation to Florida and I found it very relaxing to read during our long days spent in the van.

I had just purchased my first Galaxy Note and it had a Kindle reader on it. Many of the books I read were about Amish families settling small towns. The women in the books had a way of stopping during the day and praying when something was troubling them. Then the more I read it seemed they stopped to pray with a friend when the friend was facing a decision, or when something good happened. As I read those books I thought how seldom I stopped during the day to pray.

Not long after that I was intrigued by an article on the Saginaw Library website about the Webber House. My story just had to be written.

As I started to write I felt a tug at my heart to have strong faith-filled characters. I also wanted them to be like the Amish characters. I wanted them to pray as easily as they breathed. This is not how most of us are taught to pray. As I grew up I learned to say prayers when I awakened, before meals, when I went to bed.

After writing several books I found I was praying more and more each day. It made me realise how much closer I felt to God. It made such a difference in my life.

For that reason alone I knew I had to keep writing. My books are not best sellers. I am not a person to market my books. I like to write not sell.

Sunday while sitting in the pew at church I gave it all to God. I explained that I just want to write and if God wanted to use my books to bring people closer then that would be enough.

Today God answered my prayer. My friend told me that she has wanted to tell me that ever since she started reading my books she finds herself stopping during the day to turn to God in prayer and that it helps her all through the day.

Thank you God for letting me see that my books were already doing what I asked that they would do. Thank you for always being here for me. Thank you for friends. Amen.