When I think back to Christmas as a child, I remember gathering at the home of one of my aunts on Christmas Eve. We would enjoy a potluck dinner and catch up on family news—coming babies, recent graduations and other milestones. Before the families separated to attend church services, the children anxiously awaited the arrival of one special guest—Santa Claus. My uncle would dress up in full costume and arrive with great fanfare down the staircase. He carried a velvet sack filled with gifts for good girls and boys from infants through college-aged. Since I was the youngest of my generation, I was the last child who still believed in Santa Claus. When I finally discovered the truth about the man-in-red, I played along with the subterfuge for years. I didn’t want to spoil the fun for my mother and aunts. Finally when I was in the sixth grade and Santa passed out his gifts, I said, “Hi, Uncle Louie. Thanks for the gift.” My mother and aunts looked broken-hearted, but all good things must come to an end.

Looking back, I’m grateful for the joy they preserved for me because of their love. And because of God’s unending love and the gift of His son…once again I have something to believe in. Merry Christmas! May God’s blessings rain down on your family during this special season.
1 cup butter, softened (do not use margarine)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 ¾ cups flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
cinnamon sugar
Cream together the butter and sugar. To this mixture add the eggs, milk, and vanilla, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder; then add the creamed mixture. Roll dough into little balls and then roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
   Need a Christmas novella to get you in the Christmas spirit? Sarah’s Christmas Miracle is available in all electronic formats for $2.99.
And don’t forget to enter the Suspense Sisters fabulous Christmas giveaway! One winner will walk away with a gorgeous quilt, plus books, candy, Christmas items and gift cards.  Winner will be drawn on Dec. 22nd. Scroll down to Dec. 1st to enter. Enter the contest by clicking this link an scrolling down at:  SUSPENSE SISTERS




Happy November Readers!

Will you be having house guests for Thanksgiving this year? It’s not too early to think about a simple breakfast to enjoy while the turkey bakes.

Orange Pecan French Toast

Cover and refrigerate the following overnight –

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 12 slices French bread
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 cup orange juise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tbs white sugar
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 eggs

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Pour into a greased 9×13 dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over the mixture and arrange the bread slices on top of it – in a snug single layer.

In a medium bowl, whisk the orange zest, orange juice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, egg whites and eggs. Pour over the bread, pressing to make sure the liquid is absorbed. Cover and refrigerate.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350. Remove the cover and stand for 20 minutes.

Top with a sprinkling of pecans, and bake for 35 minutes. Mix the 1 Tbs confectioners sugar and 3 Tbs orange juice and drizzle over the toast before serving.

Hope you enjoy!!!


Mary Ellis

We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways!
This week we’ll introduce you to a brand new Suspense Sister! We’re thrilled that Linda J. White has joined us. If you’ve never read one of her books, you’re missing out! Friday, you can learn more about Linda. Stop by and say, “Hello!” Someone will win a copy of her newest book, SNIPER! One word of warning: You’ll stay up later than you want to because it’s hard to put down!
On Tuesday Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.
On Wednesday Suspense Sister Mary Ellis talks about writer’s block. You’ll enjoy her article “When the Words Won’t Come….aka Writer’sBlock.” Mary’s giving away a $25.00 Amazon gift card to someone who leaves a comment on the Suspense Sister’s blog. (Don’t forget to leave your contact information or you cannot win).
Friday, you’ll get to know our new sister, Linda J. White. Someone will win a copy of her great suspense novel, SNIPER!
Shocked by the murder of a friend, FBI Special Agent Kit McGovern vows to bring the killer to justice. Then the shooter kills again, and again … and again.
Saddled with an unpredictable partner, forced to put her personal life on hold, Kit doggedly pursues the sniper. Quantico sends a geographic profiler to help identify him, but the killing of a young woman outside the probability zone casts doubt on that technique. As panic grips the Hampton Roads area, pressure mounts, and Kit soon finds herself in the crosshairs of failure—and defeat.
Mary Ellis from the The Suspense Sisters! We love books!

Today Home Thoughts welcomes Susan Page Davis, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing.

MZ: If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
SPD: I’m an ordinary person who tells stories.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
SPD: I enjoy reading, solving logic problems and codes, genealogy and embroidery. One of my favorite activities is doing things with my family—it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we’re together.
What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
SPD: So many to choose from! As a child, I loved the Miss Pickerel books by Ellen MacGregor. As a teenager, one favorite was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.
Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.
SPD: I’m a horrible cook. I know how to shoe horses, but I haven’t done it for forty years. I am a book magnet, and books come to me, but I have an awful time trying to get rid of any.
What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?
SPD: The first books I wrote were romantic suspense, but my first published books were historical romance. I still write both, and cozy mysteries. I love variety. I don’t get bored that way.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
SPD: The worst criticism is when a reader doesn’t feel I’ve done the job well—haven’t finished the story, or haven’t made them believe it could happen that way. The greatest compliment is when the reader says she feels as though my characters are her family.
Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?
SPD: Well, I’ve done a lot of genres—from fantasy (Feather) to military suspense (Frasier Island), with lots of romance, historicals, mysteries, and romantic suspense. I have a horse story (Sarah’s Long Ride) for middle-grade kids. I’m the sort of writer that, if it occurs to me, I write it. So, no, I don’t think there’s any other type of book I’m longing to write.
If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?
SPD: I would start writing fiction seriously much sooner, and I would connect with other authors sooner.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?
SPD: Get a good edit before you submit your work, whether to a traditional publisher or to be self-published.
Here is a summary of The House Next Door:
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 70 novels and novels. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky. She’s a two-time winner of the Will Rogers Medallion and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest and a Carol Award winner.
Find Susan at: Website: www.susanpagedavis.com
Twitter: @SusanPageDavis
Sign up for Susan’s occasional newsletter at https://madmimi.com/signups/118177/join
Have a great week of reading, readers ~  Mary Ellis 

Good morning, readers,

I recently returned home from a two-week trip where a condo had been booked in beautiful, historic Charleston. Only that nasty Hurricane Irma had other plans for us. My heart breaks for all the people living in the state of Florida, coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina and the several Carribean islands severely impacted. For a week we stayed in the mountains of NC, waiting to see which way Irma would head. Then we headed to Memphis and a friend’s house in Kentucky. Yes, we were out money and a chance to put final touches on my next book, Night Falls on Charleston. But so many people lost their homes, possessions, and some even their lives.  They are the ones heavy on my mind and they will remain in my prayers for a long time.

The first thing I did when I returned home was to send a check to the American Red Cross. This country has experienced one disaster after another. Please remember the Red Cross and Salvation Army with whatever you can afford to give. Thanks!

On Friday, please drop by the Suspense Sisters blog where I will be interviewing Susan Page Davis. She’ll be giving away a copy of her book, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR, or any of the earlier books in the current series. Kindle or paperback, but a signed paperback is for U.S. only.  Please leave your comment after the interview to be entered in a drawing.       http://suspensesisters.blogspot.com/

The charming stone house next door is for sale! How could there be a downside to that?

As his wife Jennifer’s due date approaches, Captain Harvey Larson decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. The neighboring house seems ideal for Jennifer’s brother Jeff and his wife. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? The men of the Priority Unit might be wasting their time, trying to prove one dead man killed another. Or is the murderer still alive, and ready to strike again? Join them on their latest case as they deliver Maine Justice.

Thanks, readers!  Mary 




We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways! On Tuesday Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.

Single mother Penny Potter has spent months in hiding to keep her toddler from his father, a rogue FBI agent turned fugitive. But he’s determined to flee the country with the child, and she can’t dodge him forever. When he corners Penny in the Montana wilderness and gets away with their son, she’s forced to trust his brother, handsome FBI K-9 agent Zeke Morrow. And Zeke must decide where his loyalty lies: with his sibling or the woman he wasn’t supposed to fall for. As the bullets fly and family ties are tested, Penny and Zeke will fight to save the boy who brought them together.
On Wednesday Suspense Sister Elizabeth Goddard reviews Rachel Dylan’s new book, DEADLY PROOF.
In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegations and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

Friday, we hear from Elizabeth again! You could win a copy of her book, DOUBLE EXPOSURE! 

Epidemiologist Tara Blackburn is investigating an illness in an African village when she hears rapid gunfire and barely escapes with her life. What she witnesses terrify her and she flees home to the States to take refuge at a wolf sanctuary where no one will find her until she knows whom she can trust.

When Grant McCall arrives at the sanctuary to photograph the wolves, he knows Tara is wary. But he can’t reveal that he’s working undercover to learn who’s behind the carnage in Africa. An image surfaced that exposed the truth—The epidemiologist believed dead had survived, like a ghost image in a double exposure on film exposed to light.

The killers will stop at nothing to find the woman who witnessed their crimes. But even more deadly is the illness to which she was exposed.

The Suspense Sisters! We love books!
We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways!  THIS WEEK:
On Tuesday Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.  

On Wednesday Suspense Sister E.E. Kennedy writes about “Agatha and Me!” Don’t miss this great post! She’s also giving away a copy of one of her great cozy mysteries. Your choice! 

Friday, the Suspense Sisters interview the incredible Patricia Bradley! She’s giving away a copy of her brand new book, JUSTICE BURIED!  
In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league–and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.
Have a great week, readers! Mary Ellis, proud to be one of the Suspense Sisters! We love books!