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.

After I get the draft back, I work on those areas she thinks could be better. Usually it takes a month of working on the story line.  I am always thankful for her suggestions.  The book begins to take shape and takes on a life of its own.

The next step is to give it to my best friend, Kay. She checks to make sure every time I use a name it is the correct character. She thinks I need more commas and less exclamation points. (I would have used one at the end of that last sentence, but I may have learned my lesson.) I have been working for two hours on the second draft and I am still on chapter one!  (Yes, I do need that exclamation point.)

Both of my editors make my books possible. The work they do helps you to understand what I have written. I cannot thank them enough.  This final journey into the Four Season Friends book is going to be a lot of work, but I know you will be so happy my editors are hard task masters.

I do thank God for giving me these two women.  I love them both very much.

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!

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.



Click on the picture below to download a FREE app from Amazon to read Kindles.

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!

Issues and Conflicts


Issues and Conflicts in the Books

Both these series of books are filled with loving families faced with difficult situations. 
There is a strong faith-filled community of adults in each series to help the teens find answers through prayer, faith, love and friendship. 

Holiday Series: Book One - No Christmas for Olivia - Chapter One


"Are you finished packing your suitcase, Liv?" Mom yelled up the stairs. "Almost," answered her daughter as she stared unhappily at the empty suitcase open on her bed. She was thinking about how she didn't want to go to Aunt Fran's for Christmas. Olivia didn't like their family traditions thrown to the side, as if they didn't matter. Each Christmas had always been filled with rich family traditions. Until this year!

Holiday Series: Book Two - Easter Break in Florida


Kyla walked up the staircase to finish homework due on Monday. She needed to write a report about dissecting the frog in Biology class yesterday. She paused when she saw the sunshine streaming through the window on the landing between the first and second floors of her family home in Saginaw, Michigan. She couldn't resist. She climbed into the window seat making herself comfortable, plumping the pillows and pulling the handmade quilt over her legs. Her mom made a yellow curtain to pull across the front of the opening and when Kyla pulled it closed she was in a sunshine cocoon.

Holiday Series: Book Three - Independence Day

Chapter One

Kyla's phone chimed. Even though she didn't know the sender, she looked at the new message, "New exciting blog about students at Saint Mary Cathedral High School! Click the link below!" She clicked the link.

"Oh no, Kyla!" screamed Liv, as she ran up the stairs two at a time to their room. "KyKy, don't open the link!" Liv's warning was too late. Kyla opened the bedroom door. She had tears streaming down her cheeks. Liv ran to give her sister a hug. Sadly, Liv whispered, "Where's Mom?" With tears in her eyes, Liv answered, "Sewing."

Holiday Series: Book Four - A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

Chapter One

Mr. Dontay put his thumb and forefinger in his mouth and blew out a shrill ear bursting whistle. Then he yelled, "Okay everyone, settle down! Settle down." When it finally quieted down, he said, "Welcome back Children of God!  This is the first gathering of the school year of the most fabulous teens in Saginaw, Michigan!" The hooting, hollering and clapping teens turned the room back into chaos. Miss Montalvo smiled as she watched Mr. Dontay join in the pandemonium. She could tell he loved it as much as they did.

As she looked over the room full of high school students she couldn't help but focus on one very small girl. She was watching everything with wide-eyed wonder. She had dark circles under her eyes, and very little hair peeking out of a close fitting crocheted hat. It made her look fragile and actually quite ill.


Lately people have been sending emails and stopping me to say they love the Saginaw Series.
A young lady told me today she loved the grilled cheese story. A gentleman from Maryland emailed to say he loved the memories. A woman from church asked when the next series will be out. Even a woman from Australia who can't wait for the Holiday Series to come out because she has read the Saginaw Series over and over!
You all warm my heart.  Take time to give compliments - these people have made me more aware of how important it is to reaffirm the people who touch our souls.
Thank you for the lesson!