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 had a term paper due in a week and they wanted to get it 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 concluded, “I guess 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 is very angry that we argued with her last week.”

Jen nodded her head as she replied, “I know, but this has gone on long enough.  She stayed at 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.”

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, the band broke up and then Katy 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 and quit calling Katy.  After a few weeks Jen tried again, but Katy wouldn’t leave her 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 for their 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 quote 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 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.  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 great 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 left out and angry that they didn’t even see her.  She turned and left the room without saying a word 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."

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 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.










Tahquamenon Falls

In the second book of the Saginaw Series, Bertie's Bakery Heaven Scent, Katy and Jen are overwhelmed with the majestic waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Tahquamenon Falls is one of the largest falls west of the Mississippi. It is about 200 feet across with a 50 foot drop. The average flow is 7,000 gallons per minute, sometimes the flow is much more like on this day.






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. Thanks to Sam Basham who posted this picture on Facebook from the book Saginaw Historic Homes.



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!