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 in 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.


Gone, but not forgotten

Many of the landmarks, homes and businesses in my books are no longer in Saginaw. They were here when I was growing up.   If I put them in one of my stories it is because I have most of them in my heart. I say most because Webber House still sends chills up my spine!

All of my stories blend the Saginaw of my childhood with the Saginaw of today. The best of both worlds.

Cover Artists

Cover Artwork


I love the art of my covers. I have been blessed with four artists who have provided not only their artwork, but inspiration for my writing.

I will go backwards in time, starting with my latest book.

My classmate Clarence Lum was preparing to show his art at Fandangles' in Flushing, Michigan.  He had several pieces standing on a chair in his living room.  I was looking through them when Prada Girl jumped out at me.  It was so compelling.  A story started to form and the images just kept popping into my head.  I had been trying to find a new storyline for a few months.  That night, I wrote the first three or four chapters.  It is a story from my heart and the inspiration from his art is why this story has been told. I purchased a digital copy for my cover.




A great Saginaw Photagrapher, Mike Sonnenberg, has been posting his pictures on Facebook for sometime.  I love looking at his photos.  They are from all over Michigan.  And if you know anything about me, you know I love Michigan.  One day he posted a picture of the Tawas Lighthouse.  It was so amazing.  We have camped in Tawas many times, so when I saw this picture I thought I would research it a bit.  Hah, I found a few references to it being haunted by a little girl.  A story began to form and I contacted Mike to purchase a digital copy to use for the cover.  His website is: Lost in Michigan


When I was looking for covers for the Holiday Series, my daughter suggested someone she knew, Hope Sweigart.  At that time she was a college student.  I met with her at Barnes and Noble in the coffee shop and I told her the storyline of the Holiday Series.  A few weeks later she had the cover photos I would use.  I loved them so much that a year later I asked her to work on the Four Season Friends cover with me.  I purchased the digital photos for the covers.









When I was writing my first book, Webber House, I didn't know what I was going to do. The four books in the series were well-known landmarks in Saginaw. I called my brother-in-law and thankfully he agreed to do the sketches.

The Webber House was torn down in the 60's, but their was an historical picture on the Saginaw Public Library site.  Bertie's Bakery building is still standing, but it doesn't look anything like a bakery anymore.  Dan took my description and transformed that old building.  Andersen was sketched from an old postcard.  His favorite was Daniel's Den.  Dan and his brothers went to several concerts at Daniel's Den and he really liked drawing that one.  I purchased the artwork to use on these covers.







I am so excited - my latest eBook is now available on Amazon.


This has been a wonderful experience getting to know these characters.  They are sweet, mean, loving, upsetting, caring, joyful, and filled with love.

Annie and Aubrey move to Saginaw to live with Riley and Brianna.
It takes some time to get to know each other and even longer to become a family.

Aubrey is on the cover of the the book below.

Click on the book to go to my Author's Page on Amazon
where you may purchase the book and see where she's going!


Ding Dong Merrily on High

 In the book New Beginnings, 
Riley and Annie sing at 
Christmas Eve Mass.

The David Haas arrangement of 
Ding Dong Merrily on High 
is their first choice.

As they left church that evening, many parishioners mentioned how beautiful the song was and how well they sang it. Annie smiled and quoted her own choir director, "You can't go wrong with a David Haas song!"



Click picture above 
to go to website to purchase.

Click video below to listen


It's Here!

Working hard on the last edit of New Beginnings. Thirteen chapters done today.

I swear I am putting commas back in that one of the other editors had me take out.

After I finish all these, my last step is to read it out loud. Then watch out Amazon!

The New Amadore Apartments



When one of the characters in the book, New Beginnings, is looking for an apartment, this grey building in the background is where she will move.  It is called the New Amadore Apartments.  When it was first built it was for the very rich citizens of Saginaw.  Parquet floors, high ceilings, large windows, even a magnificent entrance.

In 1976 my Mom moved into that corner apartment on the first floor.  Although it was no longer for the rich, it was a lovely apartment.  The wood floors were still in perfect shape (until a certain 18 month old took a pen to the bedroom floor, thankfully easily covered by a throw rug!) She had beautiful drapes custom made to fit the tall windows - after she moved out of the apartment I used those drapes and curtains for over 30 years and they were still stylish and in good shape! They were from a store on the corner of Genesee and Michigan called A.A. Meyers.

Just past the apartment building, across the street, is St. Mary Cathedral where our main characters, Riley and Annie, go to school.

ALMOST


Almost!

Tomorrow or Friday!!!

I love this story, 
I can't wait to share it with you.








Woohoo



One person in New Beginnings
was very happy
to get this Jeopardy
question correct!

Brianna and Max Wedding in New Beginnings

"The guests were pleasantly surprised to see the bride and groom waiting to welcome them on the front steps of the Cathedral."  

"Todd had come for several weekends in a row to work on the flower beds in the garden overlooking Lake Huron."




"When they arrived in Tawas, they found the backyard of the Forney cottage had been transformed into a beautiful garden reception venue. Brianna, Aubrey, Riley and Annie had spent hours going to thrift stores buying beautiful old china plates to have on the tables.  They all were an assortment of sizes and colors.  The tables were beautiful.  Strung above the tables were the lines with hanging strings filled with flowers and three dimensional decorations."




The evening began to get dark and the LED Falling Raindrop lights set the mood.





New Beginnings

The painting is called, Prada Girl.  The artist is Clarence Lum, a Saginaw resident. When I saw his painting, my heart started to pound, my mind began to race, a story began to tumble out of my heart.

Clarence and I went to school together at St. Mary Cathedral.  When he moved back to Saginaw a few years ago I had the pleasure of getting to know him again.  I couldn't stop thinking about this picture after I saw it in his house.  It was in a pile of pictures waiting to be taken to a gallery showing at Fandangles' in Flushing, Michigan.

I am happy to announce that I have purchased the rights to use his painting as the cover of my next book, "New Beginnings." 

It is a story of a mother and her daughter, Aubrey and Annie, moving to Saginaw 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.

This eBook will be published sometime in 2016.  I am thankful for the inspiration that Clarence has provided.  To see more of his paintings click this link.





To see all of my published eBooks click the link below:

Mary Ellen's Author Page

Art and About Exhibit in Saginaw Michigan


Annie and Riley go to the exhibits of the Art and About in Saginaw.  They road their bikes all over town to see lifesized statues - they were on exhibit in Saginaw the summer of 2016.  
A few of them are pictured below the map.










Pink Cake Box



Whenever I need inspiration for a wedding cake I find it at the Pink Cake Box website.


The beach themed cake for 
Max and Brianna 


The beautiful flowered cake for
Sarah and Joseph


The Bell of St. Mary's


In the book, New Beginnings, Mrs. Shea rings the school bell to begin and end the school day. A student rings the bell to begin and end lunch.

Mrs. Shea is not only the school secretary, but in real life she was my mom. When the real St. Mary Cathedral school closed my mom retired. She walked out of school with the school bell.

It is one of my favorite memories.

Draft is done!

The 1st draft of "New Beginnings" is done! Yeah!

I printed it out for one more read through before my editor gets it.

I am so happy.

Thyme for Flowers




A new business has been created for the book, "New Beginnings."

Todd and his friend Henry are opening a flower and organic herb shop in Saginaw.  It is right across from Bertie's Bakery on the point created by Hoyt and Cherry Streets.  I have been wanting to bring Sarah and Joseph into the book and this is how it will happen.  Stay tuned........

Spatz Bakery





The Spatz brothers came to Frankenmuth in 1871 from Germany. A few years later they moved to Saginaw and opened their bakery.  The recipe has never changed.  Spatz bread is light and airy and absolutely the best bread sold.

If someone moves away from Saginaw - they ALWAYS ask family to bring some with them when they visit.  It makes the best crutons and delicious toast.  I think I have written this bread into every single book.


Audra Francis Home in Saginaw, Michigan


This is the Audra Francis home in Saginaw, Michigan.  She was the first woman to be elected to City Council in 1953 serving for twelve years.  She was the first female chair of the Saginaw County Commission.

One of my classmates, Sue Siers, moved into the home with her family while we were attending St. Mary Cathedral.  It is on Thompson Street right next to the Cathedral.  I used to love going over to her house.  The wallpaper had been handpainted, the staircase was magnificent, their was an impressive circular opening at the top of the stairs that looked down into the foyer.

The Forney's, characters in the book New Beginnings, live in the Audra Francis home.  I love bringing an historic home alive in a book written about today.  Thankfully, unlike the Webber House from my first book, this house is still standing.  A former Mayor of the City of Saginaw, Wilmer Ham-McZee, currently resides there.

My book, New Beginnings, will be published in 2016. To read reviews of my ten other books about families living in Saginaw, Michigan, click here!

Jacobson's


Oh how I miss Jacobson's.  Of course the store made it into my books. We loved walking through the store after school. We only went once a week because we were worried we would get kicked out. We never ever bought anything. 

When my Mom died my best friend came from Chicago for the funeral. She could only stay a few hours before driving back. She told me after the luncheon that we would honor my Mom with a shopping trip to Jacobson's.  I found a set of placemats I had seen in Ireland on the trip I took with my Mom and Patsy and Fran.  I told Janet they were more than I wanted to spend. She said, "If you don't buy these today when will you? Never..."

She found a vest that was beautiful and expensive. She laughed & told me to go get the placemats. We both splurged on ourselves that day. At first I felt funny shopping on the afternoon of my Mom's funeral, but I have thought about that trip so many times over the years. It's been 21 years and my friend also has died. I treasure her spontaneity and her friendly urging to buy those items that day. It was one of the best days ever and I know it truly was a great way to honor my Mom.

Great Gifts




Give the gift of friendship this Christmas 


My eBooks are filled with friendship and love.  Whether the reader is in middle school or a great grandparent, these books are meant to be shared.  Everyone will enjoy the stories and characters.


I weave the past of Saginaw into the present time.  Whether the characters are going to Tony's on Weadock or Andersen Pool, young and old alike will enjoy the best of Saginaw.

Click the picture


The Forney Home in "New Beginnings"

Greg Hatfield, a new friend I met on Facebook, took the perfect picture of the home that is featured in the book I am writing. He graciously gave permission to post it here on my blog and on my Pinterest board.

In the book Mr. and Mrs. Forney live in the home. It is right next to St. Mary Cathedral. (You can see the church in the background on the right.)

In real life the Siers family lived in the house. I visited my friend, Sue when we were growing up.


From New Beginnings......

"Aubrey was awestruck when she parked her car in front of the Forney home.  It was a Georgian Revival house with Ionic columns.  There were magnificent porches on the main level and second floor at the front of the home.  Actually she thought about how their last apartment in Texas could have fit on 1/10th of the front porch of this house!  She walked up the wide steps to ring the doorbell.  She sort of expected a butler to open the door, but Mrs. Forney opened it herself.
The inside was as spectacular as the outside. Aubrey's eyes were drawn to the double wide staircase in front of her that led to the second floor.  There was a grand circular opening between the first and second floor.  Aubrey exclaimed, "Please tell me you put a Christmas tree right here!"
Mrs. Forney laughed, "Of course not, it would take a whole lumberman's camp to bring in a tree that big and the cost to light it and decorate it would feed the homeless for a whole year!"



Cathedral Inspiration

 This is the church I grew up at in Saginaw, Michigan.  The stained glass windows are so beautiful.  These are my two favorite windows.

In "New Beginnings" Brianna sits in the quiet, empty Cathedral and contemplates the window of the woman at the well with Jesus.
"Brianna stopped by church to say a prayer.  She sat in the pew in the beautiful Cathedral looking at the stained glass windows.  The sun coming through made them glisten like jewels. When she looked over at the one with the woman at the well she wondered at how Jesus would talk to her if he walked into church right now.  Would he be proud at how she had loved her husband Joseph to the moon and back?  Would he be proud that she worked very hard raising Riley?  Would he be proud she had helped Aubrey and Annie start a new life?  Would he be disappointed because she just couldn't make up her mind about Max?"  








New Review

So pleased that a review of my eBook, Webber House, is on the Catholic Fiction website.

Life Changing Moments


In the book, New Beginnings, Miss Robinson talks about this Steve Jobs quote during a counseling session.  She points to a picture on the wall.  However, the quote is actually longer than the text on the picture.

"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

Miss Robinson explained each day was a chance to make changes in our lives.  Mr. Jobs died before he was done making enormous technological changes that would affect their lives.  Much like when Riley's father died, way before he was done making enormous changes to Riley's life.  But, and this was very important, Riley now had the chance to make her own enormous changes in her life. 

Makes M.E. Happy

When I saw this on my blog this morning I jumped for joy!
Six out of Seven people entered my blog to find Bishop Ken's homilies.
It makes my heart fill with hope that these people read his wise words.