Saginaw Series: Book One - Webber House - Chapter One


Jen ran as fast as she could through the winding park walkway, but it wasn't fast enough. The echoing footsteps behind sounded so much closer. She focused on Katy's long auburn hair flying behind her in the wind. Suddenly, Katy slowed in front of her, stretched her hand behind her back and grabbed Jen's hand. Thankfully, they both took off faster than she could have running on her own.

They each silently prayed they would make it to the street so they could melt into the crowd that had been watching the parade earlier. With a burst of energy they turned the corner and sprinted the last few feet, pushing their way through the spectators. Without looking back, they entered the crowded coffee shop and quickly moved away from the window. Jen bent over trying to catch her breath; she was sure her pounding heart would explode!

Saginaw Series: Book Two - Bertie's Bakery: Heaven Scent - Chapter One


The girls let out a collective scream, “AAAAHHHHH!!!!!” Colleen yelled, “I don’t know why you make me do this!” Jen agreed, “Katy, this is not acceptable, I want you to turn the movie off, now!” Katy grabbed a hand on each side of her and laughed as she screamed, “My Aunt Jane told me we had to watch the classic original “The House on Haunted Hill” together, and she kept saying something about having to hold hands through it!” Then they understood why you had to hold hands. They closed their eyes until they could only see through little slits while watching the end of the scary movie.

St. Anthony's Rock

The Kent family goes to St. Ignace to see the St. Anthony Rock - but - they can't find it! As Mr. Kent says when they do find it, "If it was a snake it would have bit us!"

Classic Michigan

Grand Marais Devil's Slide

A link found on You Tube of Devil's Slide.

The Michigan Hands

Ask people from Michigan where they live and they talk with their hands! In the Saginaw Series:Bertie's Baker: Heaven Scent, Grand Marais is just before the knuckle on the top of the left hand.

Grand Marais Agate Lady Blog

Gitche Gumee Museum

Click the words "Gitche Gumee Museum" to go to the museum website.

The Agate Lady is mentioned in the Saginaw Series: Bertie's Bakery, Heaven Scent.  If you are anywhere near Grand Marais you need to stop by this museum to hear the fascinating history of agates.  These rocks are the most beautiful you will ever see. 

Saginaw Series: Book Three - Andersen Pool - Chapter One


"Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!" exclaimed Tommy Blackburn shivering at the top of the high diving board at Andersen Pool. He wasn’t cold, he was terrified! He had never jumped off the high dive before. And like usual, when he wanted to do something he knew he might not get to do, he lied to his grandfather. Tommy told him that he had jumped off a million times.

Colleen, Katy and Jen's Easy Delicious Brownies

The brownies made by Colleen, Jen and Katy in the second book of the Saginaw Series: Bertie's Bakery Heaven Scent.  They are so good they made a comeback in the Four Season Friends book, too!

Click Read More to see the recipe!

Welcome Fandangles' Friends

Tom and Steve were kind enough to send you to my blog. The post below is the menu for Sarah and Joseph's wedding from my third book in the Saginaw Series, Andersen Pool.
Click this link to go to Amazon

Menu for Sarah and Joseph's Wedding

Wedding Dinner of Sarah and Joseph

Catered by Fandangles' of Flushing, Michigan. Fandangles' is a real restaurant just minutes away from Saginaw.  Tom and Steve have created a beautiful restaurant with ever-changing art from local artists.  They cater symphony parties, university dinners, and classy weddings!  So I knew when Sarah and Joseph were planning their wedding they just had to use Fandangles'!

Click on Read More to see the fabulous wedding dinner menu!

Saginaw Series: Book Four - Daniel's Den - Chapter One


The music was blaring from the large speakers behind them on the stage. The dance floor was alive with gyrating teens all laughing and flirting while moving to the rhythm and beat of the original rock and roll song. It was another exciting Friday night at the teen night club, Daniel's Den. Katy’s friends, James and Colleen were by the stage with her sister, Jen and her boyfriend Adam. They were looking up at her as she was singing like there was no tomorrow.

Art of the Saginaw Series

I asked D.A. Clifford if he would illustrate the covers of the Saginaw Series. I provided pictures of the buildings.  The Webber House picture I have used with persmission of the Saginaw Library.  The Bertie's Bakery picture I took of the existing building that is closed and boarded up.  The Andersen Pool is from an old Saginaw postcard.  The Daniel's Den was a picture from the Internet.  The covers were so wonderful.  I was so pleased with the beautiful artwork.  Thank you so much D.A. Clifford for your attention to detail on each of them.

Lights in the Night Grand Rapids

The Kent family travels to Grand Rapids to be part of Artprize. They plan a prayer memorial for their parents during the "Lights in the Night Grand Rapids" art experience. This event brings together thousands of people on a beautiful fall evening in Michigan. The moon was almost full - the sky clear - the lights unbelievable.

Video used with permission from Paul Jendrasiak.

Grandma's Wedding China

I am writing the second series. It is called the Holiday Series.  The four books are:

No Christmas for Olivia
Spring Break in Florida
Independence Day
A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

I asked my niece to take a picture of their Thanksgiving table to use on my Pinterest Board.

When my Mom died we all knew that Kim should have her wedding china. She entertains like Grandma Shea.

This is lovely Franciscan china made in California in the DEL MONTE pattern. I am happy to have it in the book.

Crystal of the Holiday Series

In the Holiday series the beautiful cut glass and several Heisey Candlesticks are a special collection of Grandma Dade's.  The Lismore Waterford goblets have special meaning because they were purchased on a trip to Ireland with her best friend.  The table set with the beautiful china and all the sparkling crystal was a sight to see.

Bishop Ken Untener's Homilies

Bishop Ken's homilies are online. His sister, Sr. Mary Ann Untener, IHM, gave them to Visitation North Spirituality Center to post. I knew Bishop Ken when he was the Bishop of the Saginaw Diocese. He was a humble man. He sold the Bishop's residence and moved to the different parishes in the Diocese.

In the Holiday Series Mary tells Sgt. Davidson to go online to read Bishop Ken's wise words. You can, too!


Bishop Ken Untener's Year A - Matthew Gospels - Homilies

Bishop Ken Untener's Year B - Mark Gospels - Homilies

Bishop Ken Untener's Year C - Luke Gospels -Homilies

Art of the Holiday Series

The picture on the bottom is one taken by Dennis Keyes - I found it on Pinterest - Choosing Chihuly Board - the quilt above is one that my cousin, Mary Andrews from Grand Blanc, MI made after being inspired by a trip to the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix when a Chihuly exhibit was showing.

Mary made that masterpiece and several others after that show inspired by Chihuly. That beautiful quilt art is hanging in my kitchen and it brings me inspiration on a daily basis.

In the book, Holiday Series: No Christmas for Olivia, Mary makes this quilt for Robbie's nursery as a rememberence that life is filled with beauty and that he should always look for it in his every day world or even in unexpected places.

The picture below is also from the book: "One hill had hundreds of smooth, bright red-colored glass rods that reached to the sky."

White Chili

My friend Ruth Eggerd gave me the original white chili recipe. We had it for a soup supper at St. Mary Cathedral during Lent. It was so delicious. Over the years I have added and changed a few things and it is one of my favorite recipes.

Fran makes it for dinner when Dennis comes over the first night he meets Ayva in the 2nd book of the Holiday Series, Easter Break in Florida. The secret ingredient to Fran's white chili is Charras tostadas. If you cannot find them in the Mexican food section of your grocery store you could replace it with tostada chips.

Click on Read More to see the recipe!

Blitz Kuchen

The delicious coffee cake that is in the 2nd book of the Holiday Series, Easter Break in Florida. The St. Mary Cathedral youth group makes them to sell at a bake sale after Mass. After a sleep over at the church they bake 100 of these delicious coffee cakes.

In my real life my sister was in Campfire Girls. Her group made these to sell at church one year as a fundraiser and ever since this has been a favorite recipe in our family.

Click Read more to see the recipe for one.

St. Francis Quilt Club

Mary starts a weekly quilt club at the local nursing home. She has chosen the kaleidoscope pattern as their first quilt.

Holiday Series: Independence Day - Family History Sharing

In the book, Independence Day - Fran opens a surprise box from her sister Mary.  A memory box of Great, Great, Grandpa Charles Shea performing at the Elks Club. (Actually my sister, Kathy said it was more like 1937 and that the record was a 33 not a 45.)  

Fran shares with her daughter Sheala about Family History.

Four Seasons Friends: A Stand Alone Book

I am so happy to announce the next book will be a novel.  There are two big families living next door to each other and I want you to be able to read right through the book instead of having a series of books.


Amanda yelled down from the top railing of the beautiful oak staircase, "Mom, where are the boxes from my bedroom?" Her mom was in kitchen in the back of the 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, "Mother, where are my belongings?"

Without waiting for an answer she turned 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 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. Amanda started crying as she said, "I want to find the boxes for my room. I NEED to find my journal. It's a matter of life or death!"


Mrs. Castor needed to use a Spirometer in the first book, "Summer" of the Four Season Series.

A spirometer measures the volume of air that is taken in and put out by the lungs.  The indicator encourages the patient to maintain an appropriate rate of intake of air to work towards the lungs being able to work at capacity.  The main reason Mrs. Castor needed it was to exercise her lungs by breathing deeply to make sure she didn't develop pneumonia.

Camping in Atlanta, Michigan, not Georgia!

In the second book of the Four Season Series, Fall, William and Sissy go camping. David and Noreen offer to watch the kids so William and Sissy can go camping in Atlanta, Michigan.  Clear Lake State Park is their favorite campsite.  They can drive down the two tracks and see elk, go to Inspiration Point for quiet reflection and Bear Den Lake to watch the Loons.
William and Sissy can't believe their eyes!

The loons at Bear Den Lake can stay under water for a long, long time!

Three elk pose for Sissy to take lots of pictures!

Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans

Click the picture to go to my Four Season Pinterest Board for the recipe.

Ma's Molasses Cookies from the Four Season Series

I just baked these for the first time. Fran, Ma's great granddaughter, gave me the recipe to use in the series I am working on - the Four Season Series. 

Fran's home had an extended family living there.  Ma, her sons Ed and Pat and her daughters Helen and Honey.  Helens daughter Patsy and her husband Pumkin and daughter Fran.  I could spend hours at that home.  Someone was always cooking or baking.  There were always Patsy's brothers and their wives coming over with babies - oh how I loved holding and playing with those babies!  Uncle Ed and Uncle Pat always were sitting on the porch telling stories.  And of course, Fran, you could always count on Fran and me to get in trouble somehow. 

When I was little I used to love watching the woman I cherished, Ma in her 90's, make these cookies. I could barely wait for them to come out of the oven and cool enough to eat. That is how I feel right now!

I am taking my first bite - oh my goodness - not too sweet - just right - the jelly on top is essential. (Fran said to use grape jelly. ) The cloves and cinnamon and ginger and nutmeg are in perfect proportions!

Mmmm...  I just went back in time.

Click on Read More to see the recipe!

Four Season Inspiration

We were out taking pictures of the beautiful fall colors when we decided to drive through Forest Lawn Cemetery.  I was inspired!  One of the classes is going on a field trip to find names in Saginaw History!

Here are a few:

Stephen Knapp Inspired Art

In the third book, Winter, of the Four Season Series, Sarah and Julie join the Art and Environment committee.  The group at St. Mary Cathedral plan the environment at church.  The girls are invited on a field trip to the Midland Center of the Arts where the artwork of Stephen Knapp is displayed.

The committee is inspired to create "lightpainting" behind the cross for Easter. Click on the picture to go to Stephen Knapp's website.


Webber House is now available
on Smashwords in any format
so if you have a Nook, Sony, Apple IPad, PDF, etc.
you can now read Webber House

Set up a Smashwords Account
Search on Webber House
Click on Cart

Then go to the bottom of the Webber House Page
Select the type of book file you want to download.

Real People in My Books

Many things have inspired me over the years.  Even though I make up the stories that happen in my books, some of the people and places actually do exist.  I have written fiction about all of them - so the stories are all in my head.  Some of the events have happened, but again, the people are all just characters in the books.  I thought you might be interested in knowing some of the real people, places and things in my books.

Saginaw: A Very Difficult Year, 1963-1964

Chapter One

Martha was eating her lunch in the cafeteria with her friends, Joan and Jane. They were at St. Mary Cathedral High School in Saginaw, Michigan. Miss Floeter, the head cook at the school, made their favorite cherry cobbler for dessert. They were eating it as they were making plans to go downtown, after school. They each wanted to buy a new outfit to wear to the YMCA dance the next day. The girls loved going downtown after school, it was only a few blocks from their homes. They always enjoyed window shopping, but today they could actually shop to buy!

Biology class was right after lunch and today they were going to dissect a grasshopper. When they filed into the classroom, everyone sat at their assigned lab desks. Martha was lab partner with John, a member of the basketball team. Yesterday he told everyone that he wasn't touching the grasshopper. Mr. Kraemer walked into the classroom and yelled, "Hey John, catch!" The basketball star had very fast reactions. He threw his hand up in the air and caught the grasshopper that Mr. Kraemer threw to him. His classmates burst out laughing, knowing their favorite teacher had put one over on the unsuspecting star. John was a good sport about the trick played on him and he laughed, too. As he dropped the insect into the tray he told Martha, "You're still dissecting the bug."

Suddenly, there was an announcement made by Sr. Agatha on the public address system. "Attention, this announcement is to ask the teachers to turn on the televisions in each classroom." The principal continued, "There is sad news from Dallas, Texas. President Kennedy has been shot!" There were gasps and many students started to cry. The principal asked everyone to pray for the President and for the United States of America.

Televisions around the world were turned on.  It was the first time in history that the news would be broadcast for a straight twenty four hours. It was the first time, that for days, everyone would be riveted to their televisions. The same footage was played over and over as everyone relived the horror of that moment. It was the first time that Martha, and her friends, felt uncertain and nervous about something outside of the realm of their neighborhood. The world was forever changed, and even though she didn't know it, this was just the beginning of a very bad year for Martha.

A Standalone Book set in the early 60's

WORK IN PROGRESS: A standalone book, not part of a series.

It is about a family going through severe changes in their lives. Many of the events in the book happened to our family. I have changed how the events happened in some instances, and even though one of my brothers was home during this year I put him in the Air Force because of the storyline. Actually, I was in sixth grade in 1963-1964 but I combined my age with my brother's in the story and unfortunately for my younger sister she ended up having to do any of the bad things I did during that year! I'll say it right here and now - my sweet sister never even thought of doing or saying the things I put in the book - they were all my sins! I'm sure she will forgive me.

This was a time of great change in our history. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a name, someone whom a white student in Saginaw had just begun to hear about - the "I have a dream" speech was given in August of 1963. The African Americans were called "colored" in the late 50's, then Negro in the early 60's, then Blacks in the late 60's. Our lives were separate, none attended my school until the late 60's.

Mr. Kraemer shows up in the story, he was a favorite science teacher. Sr. Yvonne who actually was my first grade teacher shows up as a high school Current Events Teacher and Sr. Agatha, a principal is in there and Miss Floeter the head cook makes cherry cobbler. The lay teachers and the Dominican Nuns were a dedicated group of teachers at St. Mary Cathedral. They taught us to be respectful, peaceful and tolerant to change. A few of the events happened, like the grasshopper, but most were just made up to give a sense of different people reacting to the same situations. There was no field trip and the school in Detroit doesn't exist and never did.

Mr. and Mrs.Roennecke, the owners of Bertie's Bakery make another appearance. Those glazed donuts again!!!

My aunts and uncles whom I loved very much and who helped form who I am today, are here in a not so pleasant light. They were brought up to be separate; like many Americans at that time thought that the different races should stay apart. I am glad to say that I saw them change over the years to be more accepting than they were in the 60's. Do not judge them by this story, they were wonderful, loving people.

My mother was a strong faith-filled woman. I marvel when I think of how blessed our family was to have her as the head of our household. My father was a good Christian man and I put much of what Monsignor Forbes actually said in his homily at his funeral in this book.

The friends in my neighborhood, I changed all their names, were the best friends anyone could ask for anywhere. Before 1963 it was a simpler more peaceful time and when President Kennedy was assassinated and my life became a roller coaster of changes, my friends remained constant in my life. The Novaks, the Shaltry's the Slaggerts, the Kochans - you all were an important part of my growing up in Saginaw and I thank each and every one of you.

I hope in the new book "Saginaw: A very difficult year, 1963-1964" I have given you a small idea of a turbulent time of the 60's. Following is the first chapter of the book.

Thank you Rachael!

The first young lady to read a draft of Webber House sent a card to congratulate me for publishing my first book. She wrote inside, "I'm so happy for you!"
After she read the draft she gave me good constructive criticism. She told me the parts that she really liked. It was a turning point in my writing. Knowing that someone the age I was writing for liked my book gave me great encouragement.
Now to be the first to send me a note means so much to me. Soon I hope the second book will be published, I am just waiting for the cover art. In that book, Colleen's mom knows how important connections are and tells her daughter to make them in her life. Obviously, your parents have taught you the same.
Rachael, I am so happy you are my friend.