Four Season Friends is Now Available

I am pleased to announce that Four Season Friends - my first novel - is available on Amazon.

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.

I know you will like this book as much as the Saginaw Series and the Holiday Series.  Click the book.

Address Label Tip for Military Mail

I thought I would share a tip.  I use Avery 6461 address labels for my letters to my grandson. They are actually removable multipurpose labels.  They stay on the envelopes AND he can peel the label off and use it for his return address.  That saves him a lot of time that he could use for writing letters.  If you have ever seen a military address you will know what a great tip this is!  

I don't use one for my return address though because I'm not sure it would always stay on for the return trip.  But after it leaves the base it doesn't really matter if his return address stays on or not (but it has always arrived with the label on.) We can't send him anything but he can recycle!

Happy Birthday Jane!

To honor my sister's birthday, my eBook - Independence Day - is FREE July 4th - 7th. Happy birthday Jane! Click the book to go to Amazon.

To Honor Robin J. Jacklin, Jr.

I am so proud of our grandson. A three day free giveaway of the first book of the Holiday Series. In honor of my grandson joining the United States Air Force, "No Christmas for Olivia" will be free June 21-23. I can only imagine how hot basic training will be in San Antonio so the summer solstice seemed to be a good day to begin the giveaway. The Holiday Series is about a military family so I thought it would be a great way to show my love and to let those who love him know how proud I am to have him serve.

The Wedding Barn!

After searching for a year, we found the wedding barn for Four Season Friends.  
The setting in the book is Montana in the winter for Nancy and Jim's wedding.  
However, we found the perfect barn for the wedding close to Brant, Michigan in the spring.  
I will have to go there in the winter to take a picture with snow in it.
When I saw it yesterday, I knew immediately that this was the one.

Chapter 1 of Four Season Friends

I am right on target with the next book, Four Season Friends.  This is not a series book, it is my first novel. Four Season Friends should be published on Amazon as an eBook by July.  Now is the time to put it on your summer reading list. It is a book appropriate for all ages.  This book follows two large families living on Hoyt Street in Saginaw, Michigan.  Some of the children attend St. Mary Cathedral and some of them are homeschooled.  The two moms, Sissy and Noreen, team up to teach some of their children at home.

The book starts out in Summer.  It is moving day for the Maxum family and it is not going well.  Everyone is overwhelmed and they all need a time out.  A new friendship begins on this day that will last a lifetime.

I focus a lot on Larry, one of the older children in this book.  He has some anger issues.  How does he learn from his outbursts of anger?  Can he learn to change his attitude?

The kids are encouraged to pull pranks by one set of parents.  The other parents are divided in the wisdom of pranks that are supervised and where safety is the major issue.  They all learn there are consequences to pulling pranks on each other.

There is fund raising for the East Side Soup Kitchen.  How good can actually come out of a bad situation.

Of course there is wedding - I don't think I can write a book that doesn't have a love story in it!

There are vacations in Montana.  My husband and I traveled to Montana this past year to gather information for this book.  The people we met were kind and helpful and even allowed me to put them in the book. Some of the book is set in Traverse City, Michigan.  One of our favorite vacation spots. One of the children wants to work there over the summer.  But she needs to learn what it means to have good work ethics before permission is granted.

I hope you will love this book as much as I loved writing it.  I am in the last phase of editing and have really enjoyed getting to know these characters.  Watch for the announcement of publishing.  I can't wait!

Chapter 1

Amanda yelled down from the top railing of the gleaming oak staircase, "Mom, where are the boxes from my bedroom?" Her mom was in the kitchen in the back of the new house.  With the dishwasher running she couldn't hear her daughter.

Amanda screamed louder, "Mom!"  Still no answer. She stomped angrily down the stairs, stopping at the landing to yell again. This time with all the pent up anger she felt about moving, she shouted, "Mother, where are my belongings?"

Without waiting for an answer she turned on the landing and ran down the last set of stairs to the entry hall.  She randomly started opening boxes and as she rummaged through them, the contents began spilling out onto the floor. Her mom had heard the last yell and as she walked into the long entry hall to see what was wrong.  When she saw the mess Amanda was making she gasped, "What are you doing, Amanda Jane? Don't start pulling things out of boxes right here in the front hall."

Tempers were short. Moving day was taking its toll. Mrs. Maxum stopped to regain her composure.  She stared out the front door and started thinking about the move.  When their fifth child, Timmy, was born it was evident they would have to find a larger home.  The only other boy, the oldest, Larry was sleeping in a room no bigger than a closet.  The three girls, Amanda, Clare and Joanna were crammed into the largest bedroom which had no place to put a crib.  Timmy had been sleeping at the end of the hallway.

Chaos Corner

When we went to Montana we visited Celeste at the X Hangin X Creative photography in the Chaos Corner. I asked her why they named it Chaos Corner and this is my favorite quote ever! Now she made this sign to hang on their door!
Chaos Corner is in the new book, Four Season Friends. Due out summer of 2014.
By the way, if you are visiting Absarokee, Montana, make sure you stop by the Chaos Corner!

Snapping Fingers - Inspiration

On Facebook last night my daughter Caroline posted a sign that says, "Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out!"  My other daughter, Joanna, posted, "Hahaha...that started happeing YEARS ago for me.  Then my sister, Jane, posted, "Oh the snapping fingers!  I tried to stop myself, but alas they snapped!!

Which quickly turned into this in my next book, Four Season Friends:

After everyone was tucked in with kisses and books, Sissy called Noreen.  She groaned as she exclaimed, “I am turning into my MOTHER!”  She explained, “When I was growing up my mother made a lot of phone calls for school.  Whenever a vote came to the public that would help St. Mary’s in some way she, and her loyal group of friends, would begin a calling campaign.  Of course this was way before the Internet, so phone calls and mailing campaigns were the only way to go.  When Mom was on the phone all night long, there would be sometimes when I just had to ask something.  Invariably, I would get the snapping fingers with the disapproving look for interrupting her.  Today, I snapped my fingers at Julie.  I tried to stop myself, but alas they snapped!" Noreen burst out laughing.  Years ago I found myself clicking my tongue at something Amanda did and I slapped my own face!  The two women laughed until they had tears streaming down their faces and their husbands asking what was so funny!

Inspriation.  It comes from all over the place!

Festival of Books

Velyn Cooper of Festival of Books has featured my books on her website today!
It has been such a pleasure to have someone else market my books.
I have been so busy writing that marketing has just gone by the wayside.
Thank you so much, Velyn!

Click the link!


My editors are a gift from God.

After spending many hours writing and rewriting my books I tend to lose focus. The story makes sense to me because I know my characters inside out.  I begin to worry whether a new reader will like my book.

My cousin, Mary Lynn gets the first draft. When I give it to her I worry until I get it back.  She checks grammar and punctuation. If something seems confusing she points out the problem. She hates compound sentences.  Mary Lynn is the first person to get to know my characters. In the new book, Four Season Friends there are so many characters I was worried it would be confusing.  But when the phone call came, when she finished reading it the first time through, she said she loved the characters in the book.  I felt so relieved.

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.

The Holiday Series is a new series written by Mary Ellen Shea Clifford. After the success of the Saginaw Series, with over 1,000 books downloaded, Mary Ellen writes about a new set of friends in Saginaw, Michigan.  In the Holiday Series Olivia, Kyla, Sophie and Maddie are best friends.  Come along and enjoy the drama, mystery, love and budding romances in the newest series.

Holiday Series tackles some pretty difficult subjects.  My hopes are that Mothers and Daughters, Aunts and Nieces, Brothers and Sisters, and even Grandmothers and Granddaughters read these books together and then discuss them.  Internet bullying, abortion, zero tolerance and its consequences, disrespectful and rude behavior as well as forgiveness, cancer, waiting for answers from God in God's time not ours, finding out the world does not revolve around us are some of the issues in the Holiday Series.

Click on books to go to Amazon

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.



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Dear Readers

Please go back to Amazon to review the books. Click the sign "Your Attention Please" above. It would mean so much to me because this really helps sell the books. People are more likely to purchase a book if it has lots of reviews.  Additionally, some distribution services will not send out my books unless there are more reviews.  I would greatly appreciate your help.  Thank you so much.

Using Webber House in a Classroom - Guest Blogger Theresa Bills

Theresa Bills teaches the 9-12 age girl's group at Hillside Bible Church in Ortonville, Michigan.  I asked her to write about her experience using my book in her class.  Here is her response:

What young girl hasn't had secrets to share or secrets to keep?  What does God say about secrets?    The girls in the book, Webber House, provided a great platform in which to discuss ways that we should handle secrets in our own lives.  With the enthusiasm of a bunch of girls and a great book to read, this combination had all the makings of great teaching!