Category Archives: author

Expecting Santa!

Tis the season for stockings being hung by the fire, cookies baking in the oven, and books with Christmas themes being opened. This season I am re-releasing a book I wrote years ago and recently updated. It was originally published under the title Open in Nine Months, but the original title was Expecting Santa.

All Sam McCall wants for Christmas is a traditional holiday for his five-year-old daughter, Lacey. The last person he expects to find when he moves to a cozy town in Colorado is the woman who broke his heart: Joy Chase. Joy’s hiding a secret under her grandfather’s Santa suit. When Sam learns she’s carrying his baby, he has to win Joy’s heart fast. But can they learn to trust again? Can Santa deliver a Christmas miracle?

Open in Nine Months (Expecting Santa) is a touching, emotional story, a perfect way to put yourself in the holiday.” Judy Christenberry, best selling author

Leanna Wilson (Ellis) has penned a warm romance with good characterization.
RT Book Reviews

Here’s the brand new cover, and the inside is all updated too! It’s available as a Kindle ebook and also in paperback! Merry Christmas, y’all!


Dorothy Love

Way back in 1991, I went to my very first writing class. A woman sat next to me, and we introduced ourselves. She had been a principal and teacher; I had been a teacher. We’d both ‘retired’ and decided to write books. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We took two classes together and not long after that my friend moved far, far away. Back in those days, long before the internet or email or even Facebook, we wrote each other letters and once in a while we’d treat ourselves to a long phone call. We cheered for each other when we’d get our word count written for the day or a manuscript requested from an editor or we’d commiserate if something didn’t go well and we received a rejection. I still remember when Dorothy called to tell me her first book had sold! Back then, she wrote children’s chapter books. When I sold my first book, she was the first person I called. And so it’s been down through the years as we’ve celebrated books and babies and puppies, and cried together over the loss of our fathers and dogs and experienced painful trials. Friends. Twenty years of friendship. It is a sweet and precious gift.

For many years, Dorothy has been an award-winning author of children’s chapter books and young adult novels. But finally last year, she decided to write a historical novel for the adult market and Thomas Nelson bought the trilogy. The first book is coming out soon and the buzz is building. I cannot wait to read it! She’s already garnered some amazing endorsements. So today I’m delighted to introduce you to my dear friend, Dorothy Love, who is launching her new website this week. I hope you will go take a look and also participate in her contest. You will definitely want to check that out!

By the way, the pictures above are of Dorothy’s beautiful cover, Dorothy and me at ACFW this past September (the first time in 20 years that we were actually at the same writer’s conference!), and Dorothy getting a big, slobbery kiss from the Hilo Monster! I just have to say that Dorothy knows how to handle a big dog as she has 2 beautiful Golden Retrievers. When she came to my house this past September, she taught Hilo (and me and the kids) a few tricks on how to train a dog. I’m thinking Hilo should go visit Dorothy for a few more training sessions.

Charlene Ann Baumbich and Kornflake

Le: Hey, y’all! Please welcome Charlene Ann Baumbich today, author of Divine Appointments, and her adorable dog, Kornflake! Hi, Charlene! Thanks for stopping by today! Let’s just jump right in, okay? What is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?

CAB: My favorite kind of pet is a waggin’ tailed, cuddle right up, licking your face, enthusiastic dog. Medium to large, although I’ve met many a tiny fascinating dog too. It’s hard to beat that swishing tail, an outward sign that all is well with the dog’s love for his friend, and anyone else he or she wants to bless.

Le: How many pets do you have today?

CAB: One pet: my dog Kornflake. However, in my past pet parade, horses, goats, gerbils, parakeets, a catfish, and hermit crabs have entertained me, as well as wondered about me. ;>).

Le: Ah, I have my own pet parade too. Love it! Have you ever rescued an animal?

CAB: Yep. We adopted Kornflake (considered a rescue in my book) from the Winona Area Humane Society in Winona MN. They thought he was about 18 months old. Bone skinny, stinky, ear infection … Now, he is silken and healthy and so grateful for every little thing.

In my youth, I once rescued a fish from a creek bed that was almost dried up. And I found a distressed baby rabbit. In the end, the rabbit did not fare so well, but I tried.

Le: Sometimes that’s all you can do. Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

CAB: Absolutely. Dogs and cats, mostly. And mostly dogs. ☺

Le: What was your favorite character animal?

CAB: Kornflake, the big red dog who appeared in the Dearest Dorothy series. Funny how he “just happened” to arrive in Partonville, not long after Kornflake (named by the volunteers at the humane society) arrived in my home.

Le: Funny how that works, huh? Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

CAB: Yep. I think I pretty much covered that base. But just for the record, Kornflake actually typed a line (no kidding!) in my nonfiction book, Don’t Miss Your Life! Pretty funny story, told in its full glory in the book. I was so happy the editors decided to leave it in!

Le: Terrific! What is the funniest thing you’ve seen one of your animals do?

CAB: Kornflake bonded with the neighbor’s cows, as in they did, and continue to, surround him, lick him, and treat him like a calf! Of course he had to initiate the contact by slipping under the fence and carefully sauntering among them.

When we first got Kornflake, I worked hard to have him pay no attention to the cows, as his early instinct was to chase them if they moved. So, I took to making him settle down (training) outside the fence, not far from the cows, until he paid no more attention to them—or so I thought. Since cows are very nosey, they loved it when he was near. Something new to stare at while they chewed. Then one day when he was off leash, he just scooted under that lowest wire, believing, I guess, he’d “become one with them” rather than having learned to ignore them. And so, it was. They belong to each other—which isn’t that fun when they’re all standing in piles of cow pies. Thus, I try very hard to discourage their ongoing “oneness.”

Le: My dogs like to bark at cows. But one of mine has taken a roll in a cow pattie. So pleasant. Is there a secret that only our pet knows?

CAB: I’m sure there are many. There is something about the way Kornflake smiles and cocks his head ….

Le: What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

CAB: Accidentally rolling over his tail with my office chair as he cuddles near my feet while I write. He also doesn’t like it when I yell at my computer, which I’ve been known to do.

Le: What is your pet peeve about your pet?

CAB: How he goes deaf when he puts his nose to the ground and takes off chasing a scent, or acts like he LIKES standing in cow pies.

Le: Thank you so much, Charlene, for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask Kornflake a few questions. Don’t forget to give your sweet pet a treat afterwards. ☺ Hey, there, Kornflake! Thanks for coming by. What would be the title of your autobiography?

K: I’d like to think it would be My Peculiar and Happy Life With An Author, but I dunno. There is perhaps a better title, one that encompasses my life before her. Some things are difficult to think about … [I stop here, stare into space, doze off for twenty minutes during which I have a bad dream, one that causes me much whining and thrashing.]

[I awaken, yawn, stretch, sit and look out the window.] I’d love to tell the story about how and why I got to the place where I needed adopting, although I’m sure it would induce tears. My previous owner loved me, taught me commands, how not to pee in the house … and then one day—and this in-between part is what I’ve never told my owner, the one that would no doubt make her cry—there I was, all alone, out in the country, starving. I was on my own a long while, and oh, the adventures and loneliness. The heartache. But then, a kind gentleman discovered me (I was rolled up in such a tight ball, he thought I was a fawn!) and turned me in to the Winona Area Humane Society. Then came The Author, who loved everything about me, including all the good stuff my previous owner taught me, which, thankfully, I didn’t forget while I was out fending for myself.

So, autobiography title? It could be complicated if I started from the beginning. Maybe The Lifetime Adventures of a Big Red Dog.

Le: Ah, I love rescue stories. If you were to write a novel, would your friend inspire one of the characters?

K: Where to begin with that question! Some days, I think she’d be a great bleeding-heart protagonist. Others, I’d write her as the bad witch in the Wizard of Oz. She can really YELL! But she gets over it quickly, so … I’m sure she would inspire something. Likely a series, since there is no end to how fascinating she is.

Le: That’s funny. What’s your favorite movie?

K: Anything starring the Chipmunks. I like to chase their cute little rascally backsides!

Le: What musical instrument would you like to play?

K: Banjo. My friend tells me I look to her like happy banjo music.

Le: That would be fu to watch! What do you think about cats? Dogs?

K: I think they can be interesting—or mean. Since I spend a good deal of time on a farm with seven cats that don’t belong to us, and are much beloved by the landlord, my friend tries to make me be Very Nice to them. But I am so curious … I don’t like their hissing, and when their tails “wag,” I’ve learned it means nothing. As for other dogs (or cows or any other critter that looks at me), let’s play!

Le: Where do you sleep at night?

K: When we’re at The Farm, where my friend goes to “hide” and write, I have a cage covered with blankets. The door is always open, but it’s my favorite hideaway. When it’s too hot though (no air conditioning there), I plop down wherever I can catch a breeze. When we’re home, I usually sleep on a cheap dog bed (an overstatement, since it’s really more like a rag) near the couch.

Le: What do you do when your friend is writing?

K: Mostly, I keep her company, near her feet. Sometimes she waits too long to get up, and she’s old, so I worry about her getting all stiff and kinky. So, first, I put my nose on her keyboard to lift her hands and make her pet me. If I wag my tail real fast, she knows it’s time to get up and walk around a little. Or play ball. Yes, let’s play ball! Let’s play ball! Let’s play ball!

Le: It’s good that you’re there to take care of her. What is your idea of bliss?

K: “Wanna go for a ride?” or “Wanna chase the ball?”

Le: What is your friend’s idea of bliss?

K: Me at her side, family and friends across from her (especially her grandgirlies), sitting on the front porch at The Farm (where we can all see the cows), a nice breeze, and maybe a margarita.

Le: Sounds perfect! Thank you so much, Kornflake, for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear?

K: You betcha.

Candace Calvert and Winter Winds!

Hi, Candace! Thanks for stopping by today! What is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?

My answer is the same now as when I could first utter the incredible word: Horse. It’s in my soul to love them—I think it’s that way with some people. Just. There. A fascination for these big, lovely creatures and the yearning to connect with them. It’s genetic: my daughter has it.

How many pets do you have today?
Sadly, none at present: we lost our mini-schnauzer nearly two years ago. And my favorite horse, Winter Winds, long before that.

Have you ever rescued an animal?

Feral kittens that lived in the bushes near the entrance to my ER—we adopted two.

Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

Yes. All of my Mercy Hospital books have pet subplot. Critical Care has Smokey the one-eared cat; Disaster Status has three: a yodeling Chihuahua, a horse, and a geriatric goldfish named Elmer Fudd. (Book three) Code Triage features a horse known as Frisco and his pal, a rescued miniature donkey, Tag. Animals are great characters, and they reveal much about their human friends.

They do, Candace! What was your favorite character animal?

Oh, tough to choose: probably Tag, the donkey. He was a victim of abuse (“tagged” by gang graffiti, lost an eye in the incident) yet had such a sweet, nurturing, spirit.

Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

Frisco the skittish, “hot house” thoroughbred was a bit like my young gelding, Nate. He’s the rambunctious son of my beloved mare, Winter Winds—and the infamous horse that broke my neck (among other bones). That dramatic true story, “By Accident,” appeared in Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul and started my writing career. Despite the trauma, I own him for that.

That is an amazing story, Candace! Truly wonderful to see how God has worked in your life. You have such a joyful spirit. I still love how you find humor in things. What is the funniest thing you’ve seen one of your animals do?

My elegant bay mare, Winter Winds, would “laugh”: shake her long, blaze-embellished, face and flap her lips, clown-like, making the steel bit rattle against her teeth. I’d be riding her (singing “Waltzing Matilda,” her favorite song) and she’d trot me along, laughing and laughing for miles. I sometimes wondered if she was critiquing my singing ability.

She probably would have bucked me off if she’d heard me sing. ☺ Is there a secret that only your pet knows?

Winter Winds knew all of my secrets. I would sit in the corner of her stall at night and listen as she snuffled and chewed her oats—talk to her, even cry during some tough times. She would listen, never judge . . . solid, warm, quiet. Just. There. A perfect friend. My best friend.

Ah, that is so sweet. What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

I insisted that she and I compete in horse shows—braid her mane, shave her whiskers, polish her hooves, wedge her into a trailer and drive down the highways before dawn. She would have preferred to sleep in. Especially after I wallpapered her stall in Ralph Lauren. Seriously. It was beautiful. And our vet was speechless.

That’s hilarious! So, what is your pet peeve about your pet?

I suspect she learned to fake a limp—it always was “cured,” by cancelling the trip to the horse show. Coincidence? Not sure.

Like a kid having a tummy ache. Funny. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask your pet a few questions. I’m sure Winter Winds is answering from the Rainbow Bridge.

Hi, Winter Winds! What would be the title of your autobiography?

Spoiled Rotten And Worth Every Single Penny.

Oh, I can tell you gave Candace a run for her money! If you were to write a novel, would your friend inspire one of the characters?

Oh yes. A comic mystery. Candace would play a very gullible but good-hearted woman. Who can’t carry a tune in a bucket. And suspects her horse is conning her. In my friend’s own novel, she’d probably be Dr. Leigh Stathos in Code Triage. In truth, they both deserve a happy ending.

Oh, Candace certainly does! As do you! So, what’s your favorite movie?

Vintage TV Show, actually: “Mr. Ed.” That smart aleck Palomino who had a phone in his stall—now he knew how to live.

You mean Candace didn’t give you a phone in that posh stall she wallpapered? Unbelievable! What musical instrument would you like to play?

Steel drums. Here: listen, if I rattle this metal bit between my teeth, I can get a pretty decent reggae beat going . . .

Oh, very good. Now we know which of you has the musical abilities. ☺ What do you think about cats? Dogs?

I’m okay with barn cats, as long as they don’t have kittens in my stall. I have big feet, too risky. Can’t abide Australian Shepherds, always nipping at my heels—I’m 1200 pounds; do I look like a sheep, for goodness sake?

No, you certainly do not. Where do you (or should I say ‘did you’) sleep at night?

In a stall with a rubber mat floor and a nice mound of soft pine shavings. No phone—but a night light, Dutch door, barrel of chrysanthemums. I’m a little embarrassed about the wallpaper. The vet thinks my friend is crazy.

Yes, well…she is a writer and you know what they say about writers, don’t you? So, what did you do when your friend was writing?

Eat pasture grass. Try to open the gate so I can eat the lawn around the house. Fake a limp when she looks out her office window.

I bet she came running to check on you! What is your idea of bliss?

A warm summer night, a bucket of molasses-laced oats, topped by a few carrots—maybe some apple wedges. And my friend . . . sitting in the corner of my stall. Just content to be with me. Like I’m her best friend, too. Priceless.

Oh, I love that! What is your friend’s idea of bliss?

An autumn evening, dusk, wood smoke in the air: we’ve had a gallop along a cornfield and now we’re walking in quiet solitude. She slips her boots from the stirrups, lets them dangle along my sides. Pats my neck, gives me a long rein. As we head toward home, she starts to sing Waltzing Matilda. And I laugh . . .

Sounds perfect! Thank you so much for being with us today and for sharing your special relationship with us!

Thank you for having us, Leanna—though Winter’s been gone many years, she’s with me, always. Her bridle hangs on a brass hook in our home. And her name appears in the Acknowledgements of my third Mercy Hospital book, Code Triage:

“ . . . in memory of a bay mare named Winter Winds—you gallop on in my heart. Forever.”

Oh, Candace! You made me cry! Thank you again for sharing with us.

Author/Pet interview…please welcome Elizabeth Goddard!

Welcome, Beth Goddard and Dekker! So glad to have you both here.

Hi, Elizabeth! Thanks for dropping by today! This is my first author interview! So I guess you could say you’re my guinea pig. But I do appreciate you playing along! I hope readers will enjoy seeing a different side of their favorite authors! So, Elizabeth, what is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?

I love animals—but I’m severely allergic to them. Hence, I must take five different allergy medications in order to exist with our pets. Not my choice, mind you—my husband is an animal fanatic. I’ve often wondered—why did God put me, a person allergic to animals, with this man? But, allergies don’t change the fact that I love pets and I think my favorite pets are dogs. The reason? I think of the movie “UP” where Doug (the main dog character) says, “I just met you and I love you.” Is there anything better than that?

I’m allergic to cats, and I have a cat, so I totally understand! How many pets do you have today?

Five! A female hamster named Oliver, a dwarf hamster named Lulu, a cockatiel that was first named Balthier but then HE laid an egg so my son renamed her Fran, a quaker/parrot named Pickles and then our new puppy named Dekker (yes after Ted). We recently lost our Jack Russell named Captain Jack Sparrow because of his patched eye.

Oh, so sorry about losing Capt. Jack Sparrow. Love the names of your pets! And Dekker is adorable! Have you ever rescued an animal?

Turtles off the street.

Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

Sometimes. My mystery romance—THE CAMERA NEVER LIES—releases in December and Murphy is a Jack Russell who actually plays a role in solving the mystery. The character, Polly, named him Murphy after Murphy’s law—you can figure out why. ☺

What was your favorite character animal? I love Murphy, though he’s really in the background—not even physically present in the story—my character thinks about him a lot because she misses him.

Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

Jack, the JRT who recently died, was the inspiration for Murphy. Years ago I watched “Wishbone” with the kids and fell in love with him. Finally we got our own Jack Russell but he turned out to be much more cantankerous than Wishbone.

What is the funniest thing you’ve seen one of your animals do?

My daughter used to sing “opera”—just playing around of course—and our cockatiel would literally open her beak at the right moments, making it appear like she was singing the opera. Also, my daughter was able to get Jack to say I love you. Uh huh, it’s true.

Wow! Those are great stories! Is there a secret that only our pet knows?

Perhaps. But let’s keep it that way. LOL

I completely understand! What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

Pickles the parrot is jealous of me because he loves Dan. I can’t sit near Dan or talk to him, if Pickles is out or he will bite me. Yikes! But let’s talk about Dekker too. He’s a fairly new puppy and has only been with us a few weeks now. I think his pet peeve is that while I’m eating my bacon for breakfast, I won’t let him on the sofa next to me.

Poor Dekker! So deprived. I bet my Hilo Monster could teach him a few nifty tricks to get that bacon. What is your pet peeve about your pet?

My pet peeve is the reverse of the above—I hate that he has to be next to me while I’m eating breakfast, or any meal for that matter. I don’t particular like having him stare at me while I’m eating.

It’s the old guilt-trip at work. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us, Elizabeth! Now, I’d love to ask Dekker a few questions. Hi, Dekker! Down! Really come on, get DOWN! Now, what would be the title of your autobiography?


I bet that’s a common one that my pets could relate to. You should write it! Now, if you were to write a novel, would your friend, Elizabeth, inspire one of the characters?

I don’t know about friends, but Pickles the parrot would end up my favorite chew-toy.

LOL! What’s your favorite movie?

UP. . .

Oh, that’s a good one! What musical instrument would you like to play?

Juice harp

I would definitely like to see that, Dekker! What do you think about cats? Dogs?

Cats–I haven’t met one that I didn’t like—translate, I haven’t met one yet. I’ve only met two dogs—the one next door named Chloe and she doesn’t like me, and the one behind the mirror—he’s really something and I like him a lot.

Dekker, you are so cute! Where do you sleep at night?

In the bedroom with the boys, inside my comfy crate with all my blankets and pillows.

That sounds nice and cozy. What do you do when your friend is writing?

I keep jumping on the funny black box that she has in her lap instead of me.

Good going! The Hilo Monster would be proud of you! What is your idea of bliss?

Laying on my back and having my belly scratched.

Nothing better than that! What is your friend’s idea of bliss?

She loves to eat chocolate and it’s so rare and special, that she won’t share it with me.

I think she’s trying to protect you. Thank you, Dekker and Elizabeth, for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear?

Elizabeth has a new book out called Disarming Andi! Here’s a little info about it:

Disarming Andi

Vance Young inherits a missile launch site—a relic from the cold war buried beneath the plains of North Dakota—from his great-uncle, a man he never knew. An astronomy fanatic, Vance needs free access to the night skies, so he doesn’t consider staying in the underground dwelling until he meets the woman responsible for remodeling it into a lavish home.
Upon meeting the late Vance Erickson’s namesake, Andi Nielsen may have just gotten her second chance to discover what her grandfather hid inside the old missile base decades before when he served as a missileer. Is she prepared to detonate her growing feelings for the new owner in order to find the hidden treasure? When Vance remotely discovers a cybercrime involving his classified software, can he solve the crime and keep the woman he loves safe?

You can learn more about Elizabeth at

Come back next Wednesday for another author/pet interview!