Sunday, August 27, 2017

"THE CASE OF THE CLOBBERED CAD"--an entertaining and atmospheric 1950's mystery tale from author Debra E. Marvin

The Case of the Clobbered Cad (Nosy Parkers Mysteries #2) by Debra E. Marvin Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls' Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until... Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master's Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, the same would-be lothario she’d hoped never to see again. As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to trust.

MY REVIEW: Reading “The Case of the Clobbered Cad”, from author Debra E. Marvin, is a fun trip back to the 1950’s, and it includes all of the elements of those great black & white mystery movies from that era. With its appealing heroine, quick pace, beautifully detailed story line, and of course, the “Whodunnit” at the heart of the tale, this is a real treat for mystery lovers. Settle in for a while with a pot of tea and some “biscuits”—you’ll enjoy the story so much that you will read it all the way through in one setting. Young American Heather Munro is residing in Edinburgh, Scotland to pursue her Master’s Degree in Celtic Studies. Her part-time job at the university begins and ends in one fell swoop with the murder of Jack Winter, author and celebrity professor. Movie-star handsome with charisma to spare, Jack is also a womanizer. Heather met Jack, and his wife, on the ship which brought her to Scotland. After realizing that Jack was married, his appeal began to fade, and Heather was more than surprised to find him on staff at her university. On her first night monitoring the Archives room at the university, Jack is murdered, and Heather is the one who finds his body. Fascinated by detective work and historical research from a young age, Heather now finds herself at the center of a crime case where suspicions swirl around and about, and she must find the real killer in order to be free from implications of guilt. Her landlady, Mrs. Kintyre, is a policeman’s widow with a lively mind of her own. She offers friendship and advice, and Heather is grateful for her support. Then there’s Tom Brown, a university historian who seems most interested in Heather—but is he someone she can trust? As a history lover myself, I enjoy Debra E. Marvin’s way of making the past come alive while telling an entertaining story with rich detail and captivating characters.

Book Copy Gratis Author


Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She'd like to live a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankful that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor. Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has rather normal obsessions such as fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas, and whatever mystery series she's currently stuck on. Inkwell Inspirations Blog

Sunday, August 20, 2017

“THE AMISH OF SUMMER GROVE”—inspiring contemporary fiction series from author CINDY WOODSMALL

Ties That Bind: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove Book 1) Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart? Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach. Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish. Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever. Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.

Fraying at the Edge: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove Book 2) Family, community, faith, and love. These “quilt blocks” sewn together made Ariana’s beautiful life. When they are pulled to pieces, will anything familiar remain? The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can steady the tilting ground between Ariana’s two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals? At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and a deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family. New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures? Fraying at the Edge is the second novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

Gathering the Threads: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove Book 3) Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together— or completely rip them apart?’ After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family? Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart. Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

Book Copies Gratis WaterBrook Press


Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written nineteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy's been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with. National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers. She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible. She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards. Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US. As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

“CONVENIENTLY WED TO THE GREEK”—author KANDY SHEPHERD engages the heart of the reader with a sweetly-sensual, timeless love story...

A marriage for the sake of her baby… When luxury hotelier Alex Mikhalis encounters the blogger who once nearly destroyed his reputation, he wants to get even. Only Adele Hudson isn't exactly as he remembers. She's pregnant and alone, and he can't stop his protective instincts kicking in! After a difficult breakup, Adele is very wary of all relationships. She has no choice but to accept the Greek tycoon's offer of a job, despite their complicated past. But his next suggestion is much more intimate: becoming his convenient wife! MY REVIEW: Author Kandy Shepherd has unique strengths as a storyteller: Her perfectly contemporary romances fascinate the reader with an up-to-minute look at modern society, but then they also engage the heart of the reader with sweetly-sensual, timeless love stories. All this makes for an irresistible reader's treat! With "Conveniently Wed to the Greek", secondary characters from a previous storyline are now featured for a chance at finding their own "Happily-Ever-After". Food writer Adele Hudson and hotel and restaurant tycoon Alex Mikhalis were once at extreme cross-purposes. Her painfully truthful review of his restaurant exposed secrets and changed both their lives. After three years, a chance meeting brings them together again, and now sparks of anger are turning to a different kind of heat. Adele, on her own and pregnant after the end of a difficult relationship, needs a job. Alex needs someone like Adele to help him make a success of his new luxury resort venture. It's a project near and dear to his heart--it's located in the beautiful Greek Islands of his home place. With the kindness and generosity of Alex's family making her feel welcome, and the undeniable charm and appeal of Alex himself keeping her enthralled, Adele is caught between two worlds. Alex tries hard to resist the lovely, warm woman whom he once despised, but she is bringing light to the darkness of his own tragic past. As the bitterness from prior days melts away, is there hope of new happiness and the gift of an unexpected love? Those who are captivated by poignant, heart-stirring romance will greatly enjoy "Conveniently Wed to the Greek". Book Copy Gratis Author KANDY SHEPHERD
Kandy Shepherd left a fast-paced career as a magazine editor to write award-winning romantic fiction. Kandy lives in a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband, daughter and a menagerie of four-legged friends. She believes in love-at-first-sight and real-life romance—they worked for her!

"RED, WHITE AND BUILT"--exciting romantic suspense series from author CAROL ERICSON features awesome NAVY SEALS

Red, White and Built A team of six Navy SEAL Snipers has been matching skills and wits against a known sharpshooter nicknamed “Vlad” across several deployments. Now Vlad has assembled a group of international terrorists, who are threatening to create chaos and fear across the globe. Each member of the sniper unit receives a stateside assignment that will not only challenge his skills and fortitude but his personal honor and commitment to himself and those he loves.

Locked, Loaded and Sealed (Red, White and Built #1) A navy SEAL sniper turned bodyguard, he'll protect his target at any cost The SEAL's secret assignment had been to protect a certain important doctor. But when the man is murdered, Austin Foley's mission changes. The navy sniper must now protect the doctor's protégé, the irresistible Sophia Grant, at any cost. For Sophia has information that could endanger the entire country. There's only one problem: Sophia has no idea what those secrets are. With lethal terrorists on their heels, Austin and Sophia must embark on a covert operation. But it will mean placing Sophia even more in harm's way--a sacrifice even the steel-hearted SEAL may be able to make.

LOCKED, LOADED and SEALed by Carol Ericson MY REVIEW: “Red, White and Built”, an exciting new romantic suspense series from author Carol Ericson, begins with “Locked, Loaded and SEALed”. Navy SEAL sniper Austin Foley is sent back to the US to protect Dr. Hamid Fazal, a former informant in the war on terrorism. However, Austin arrives too late to keep Dr. Fazal from being murdered, and now the doctor’s young assistant, Sophia Grant, seems to be the next target. Sophia is bright, beautiful, and street-smart—her young life as the child of substance abusers led to her growing up years being spent in various foster homes. Austin, the oldest of six children, grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. He’s cowboy-tough, cool, calm, and collected—but his attraction to Sophia is red-hot, and he can’t let his feelings get in the way of keeping her safe and completing his mission. Sophia knows her big, strong, handsome, green-eyed protector can’t stay around forever, but that doesn’t stop her from wishing he could be a permanent part of her life. As the two of them work together to solve the mystery of the doctor’s murder, they realize that it’s not just their lives at stake—it’s their hearts as well. A great beginning to a much-anticipated romantic suspense series from the talented Carol Ericson.

Book Copy Gratis Author

Alpha Bravo SEAL (Red, White and Built #2) Navy SEAL Protector When members of her film crew start being killed off, documentarian Nicole Hastings is relieved to find the man following her is Slade Gallagher—a navy SEAL sniper who once saved Nicole from Somali kidnappers. Now he's shadowing her to trap the terrorists behind the killings and find out just what they want. Nicole couldn't be more different from the women Slade usually falls for. But he quickly learns that there's a lot more to this socialite than he first thought. And as Slade's admiration for her courage and resilience grows, so does his yearning. Protecting Nicole is an assignment, but can he let her go when it's all over? ALPHA BRAVO SEAL by Carol Ericson

MY REVIEW: I greatly enjoy author Carol Ericson's thrilling romantic suspense reads with their intriguing and imaginative storylines and their captivating characters. "Alpha Bravo Seal" is Book 2 in the "Red, White and Built" series, and it is now one of my favorite books by Carol Ericson. I always become involved in following the action-adventure of the stories, but "Alpha Bravo Seal" has an extra-special love story at its core. Navy SEAL Sniper Slade Gallagher once saved the life of documentary film-maker Nicole Hastings when he freed her from captivity at the hands of extreme terrorists. The two of them didn't actually meet at that time, but now Slade is once again assigned to protect Nicole--this time on her home ground. Not exactly comfortable as a big-city bodyguard, Slade must think on his feet to keep Nicole safe. Smart, capable, and gorgeous, Nicole is more than a match for her handsome hero. The attraction is immediate, but the warm friendship which blooms between them grows into a real affair of the heart, with plenty of heat to keep sparks flying. Their relationship is natural and so well-written, and I couldn't wait to see how they could make the differences in their lives and lifestyles work out for a united, happy future. A great romantic suspense read from a great storyteller.

Book Copy Gratis Author

Bullseye: SEAL (Red, White and Built #3) by Carol Ericson A navy SEAL's mission is to protect a vulnerable target, not give in to temptation... Saving Gina De Santos from attempted kidnappings is one thing. But navy SEAL sniper Josh Elliott's assignment requires getting close to the ravishing widow to ascertain what she knows. And that feels more dangerous than combat. In her presence, Josh has to remind himself she's not to be trusted. Gina's drug-kingpin father had been negotiating with terrorists when a CIA raid killed him and Gina's husband. Now someone is after the vulnerable single mom and her little boy. While traveling to the Caribbean in search of clues, Josh and Gina find their sizzling desire overpowering. But when they're attacked again, they must overcome their mutual mistrust to survive at the hands of an unknown enemy.

 MY REVIEW: “Bullseye: SEAL”, Book 3 in author Carol Ericson’s “Red, White and Built” series has Navy SEAL sniper Josh Elliott feeling the pressure of trying to keep an emotional distance from Gina De Santos, the woman he must protect and investigate. Josh was part of the elite sniper team who took down Gina’s own father and also her husband and others as they negotiated with terrorists. Gina was left a widow with a young son, but her knowledge and involvement with the terrorist group must be ascertained and clarified—is she a victim or an insider? More than a year after the elimination of the men in her life, Gina is trying to make a new life in the real estate business for herself and her son in Miami, but she finds herself the recipient of mysterious text messages asking for the whereabouts of drugs and weapons. Josh originally finds his way into her world under the cover of someone interested in buying a property, but eventually he must reveal his assignment as the danger of the situation closes in on them. As the threat escalates, so does the flare of attraction between Gina and Josh. To keep them all safe, he must stick to his mission and his training—above all he must do his utmost to seek out and destroy the ultimate evil of the terrorist leader, Vlad. Can Josh and Gina find a way to make a new family with her son and keep the ever-present dangers at bay? If you love contemporary romantic suspense, you will greatly enjoy the “Red, White and Built” series from the intriguing imagination of author Carol Ericson.

Book Copy Gratis Author

Point Blank SEAL (Red, White and Built #4) You can keep your protocol--he'll go rogue to keep his family safe Tortured in captivity, navy SEAL Miguel Estrada owes his survival to his fiancée, the memory of her keeping him strong through his darkest moments. But when his escape is compromised by military protocol and he suspects the woman he loves is being targeted, he turns rogue. Jennifer Lynch has spent a year mourning Miguel and raising the baby he never met. But her reality is shaken once she finds him at her door and discovers they're all at risk. Putting his life on the line for Jennifer and their child, Miguel is forced to face some hard truths--and confront the secrets that might separate them permanently.


Author Carol Ericson says: "I was always a bookworm. I think most authors are. I started reading romance when I was about 12 or 13. The first romance novel I read was Victoria Holt’s Secret Woman. I went on to read all of Ms. Holt’s books and started devouring all the Gothic romances of that time. I’m also a huge Georgette Heyer fan and have read all of her books. As an English major at UCLA, I read a heavy dose of the classics, and later I started reading a lot of non-fiction and true crime. What better way to combine my love of romance with my interest in true crime than by writing romantic suspense?! I have written over 25 books for Harlequin Intrigue (check out my Books page!), and have self-published a few more books, including a romantic comedy (check out my Indie Books page!). I live near the beach in Southern California, and when I’m not writing, I’m reading, running on the beach, and going to my son’s water polo and soccer games. I have two teenage sons and a husband retired from law enforcement, who gives me an idea or two. I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. I love hearing from readers, so let me know what’s on your mind. Also, follow me on Facebook and Twitter for news and contests and check out my blog for up-to-date info." Happy reading!

''THE PROPER PROPOSAL" and “THE VISCOUNTESS BEQUEST” (THE FRENCH ADVENTURE)—two delightful Regency Romances from author Sophy Hester

Sir John, 4th Baron of Chalkstone, inherited an estate deep in debt even before he came of age and the responsibility as well for five younger brothers. After ten years of hard work and self-denial he has finally done it: The debts are paid off; the estate is flourishing. Time to go looking for a bride! The right one just is not there for him among the ladies of the countryside. So the attractive nobleman takes himself to London – and meets there the enchanting Louise Staunton. With his customary energy and strength of purpose, he goes about winning her over. A strong man who knows what he wants and a smart, beautiful woman who is willing to be persuaded…

MY REVIEW: Author Sophy Hester's "The Proper Proposal" is an engaging, well-written Regency Romance with all the traditional elements that readers of this genre find so appealing. However, the author's voice is all her own, and she tells this story in such a way that one is reminded of why we first fell in love with Regency. I so enjoyed "The Proper Proposal" with its detailed story line and characters for whom you root to find their happy ending. At age sixteen, John Bradley, the 4th Baronet of Chalkstone, lost his parents and gained a heavy burden. Not only did he become responsible for all lands and obligations, he become the responsible guardian of his five younger brothers. Not only did Sir John rise to the challenge, he brought prosperity and security to his family and his community. After ten years, at age twenty-six, he began to realize that it was time for him to find a suitable wife and make a satisfactory marriage. Where better to look than London for a lady of quality who met his qualifications? As soon as he meets Miss Louise Staunton, he sets about in his usual forthright manner to quickly woo and win her for his bride. A visit to his home place, accompanied by her cousin Harriet, seems just the thing to convince her of the pleasant practicality of the arrangement. Louise is quite taken by the beautiful manor and countryside, and she is most enamored by her persuasive suitor, but she wants more than just convenient companionship. Sir John is used to commandeering, not compromising, and Louise fears his heart may never become involved as hers has become in the relationship. Can her gentle, womanly strength, along with her beauty and intelligence open his eyes and his heart? I loved "The Proper Proposal" and hope that the author will write a sequel featuring one the secondary couples, Victoria and Lester.

Book Copy Gratis Author

The Viscountess Bequest: A Regency Romance (The French Adventure) by Sophy Hester England and France, 1817: Henry Wenton, 6th Earl of Brentford, is the black sheep of the family and deplored by good society as a bon vivant and wastrel. Neither the censure of polite society, nor the entreaties of his buttoned-up mother, nor the attention of the daughters of aristocrats can rein in the wayward Earl. Yet when a distant French uncle bequeaths Henry the lavish Maligny coastal estate on the condition that he wed his daughter, the orphaned 18-year-old Florence, a marriage of convenience suddenly has appeal for the incorrigible bon vivant. However, when the young Earl travels with his brother Stacy to become acquainted with his would-be bride, he finds not a helpless youth consumed by sorrow but a quick-witted, spirited belle. Instead of a helpless young woman in mourning, he finds an independent-minded, radiant beauty. The 18-year-old fascinates him. She is sensuous and innocent at the same time. Florence also feels herself drawn to the Earl. However, his domineering manner and his experience with women frighten her – and yet awaken in her a desire for love. Henry’s authoritative bravado and Florence’s innocent but sensuous charm make for a heady mixture, at once combustible and compatible, but will their mutual stubbornness stifle love before it can bloom? An entertaining Regency novel full of wit, charm and romantic tension with two enchanting main characters and personable secondary characters. Amusing commotions and entanglements offer genuine reading enjoyment for aficionados of historical romances.

MY REVIEW: With a fresh voice, and a great love of subject, author Sophy Hester spins a delightful Regency Romance in “The Viscountess Bequest” (The French Adventure). Henry Wenton, the 6th Earl of Brentford, has long been the despair of his family and polite society. A bequest from a distant French relative proves to be a challenge and an adventure for Henry, who travels to France with his brother, Stacy. With the inheritance of the estate comes an unexpectedly appealing condition: Henry must marry Florence, daughter of his benefactor, in order to inherit the estate known as Maligny. Although young and aware of Henry’s experience and autocratic manner, Florence has a mind and spirit of her own. Sparks and words fly between Henry and Florence, but can these two fiery hearts find the sweet compromise of love for a future of lasting happiness?

Book Copy Gratis via Author


Sophy Hester studied musicology and Russian at university and works as a copywriter and editor. For love she moved from a city of millions to a village. She has been married since 2004 and has three children. She loves to play the piano, to read romantic novels and to write - classic, contemporary Regency Romances. Since her youth, Sophy Hester has been an avid reader of Regency novels. Georgette Heyer is her favorite author.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


REMEMBERING ELVIS...and his greatest Mama...

August 16, 1977 will always be remembered as the day that Elvis Presley died. No one could ever replace Elvis, and no one could ever take his place in my mother's heart. Here is the true story of how my mother's sacrifice for me led to her moment of a lifetime. January 8, 1935 is the birth date of one of the most incredible entertainers who ever lived--Elvis Presley. It's hard to believe that Elvis would now be in his eighties, and it's even harder to believe that over forty years have passed since I saw him in concert in Roanoke, VA, a popular stop throughout his concert career. Even though I was in one of the "high altitude" seats in the civic center, the power, passion, and potency of this magnificent performer could barely be contained by the walls of the structure. It was April 11, 1972, and I was thirteen years old. I have been a fan of Elvis since I was old enough to recognize him on TV. During my growing up years, I never missed an "Elvis movie" at our local theater. At the time of this performance, Elvis was 37 years old, and he was in his prime. Mercy! It was only natural that I would adore Elvis. My Mama was one of the all-time greatest Elvis fans who ever drew a breath. She was so well known as his fan that even casual acquaintances would bring back souvenirs from Graceland and give them to her for her collection. When a series of Elvis collectible dolls became available at one of our local stores, I almost lost my life making sure that I got one for Mama, but I will save that story for another day.

I have written numerous articles and commentaries about Elvis, and I definitely have an "Elvis book" inside my soul. However, my greatest story is the one about Mama and Elvis, and how her sacrifice for me resulted in her ultimate reward. A very good friend and coworker of my mother's had obtained four tickets for the concert, and she wanted Mama to join her and her two sisters in attending the show. Well, of course Mama was thrilled, but she didn't want to go without me, so the five of us went with only four tickets. We squeezed together into the coworker's dark blue VW Beetle, and off we went, with Mama sure that somehow things would work out so that all of us would see Elvis. I am five-feet-ten, and so were Mama's friend and her sisters. Mama was the shrimp at five-feet-five. We were like sardines in a can, but what an adventure! When we got to the civic center, there was no way to obtain a fifth seat anywhere for the concert, and Mama would not allow me to miss seeing Elvis. She asked for the keys to the car and said she would wait on us, and that she would probably be able to hear some of the concert outside the building. I did not want to see the show without Mama, and I felt tremendously guilty about being inside while she was outside waiting. In fact, I kept saying how bad I felt until our friends told me in a nice way to "shut up". I was also very worried about Mama being out there somewhere on her own. I should have never underestimated my mother. She said all along that things would work out, and they couldn't have worked out better if they had been planned with meticulous detail. When we left Mama inside the entrance of the civic center, she didn't immediately try to go back to the car. She decided to call home and let my grandparents know that we made it okay, and so she went and closed herself up in the phone booth to make the call. When she came out of the booth, everyone was gone and the doors were locked. All of the civic center people had gone into the show so they wouldn't miss Elvis, and they had locked Mama in the building! She couldn't find anyone to help her, so she followed everyone else's lead and went inside to the show. No one stopped her or asked her what she was doing, so she walked straight down to the stage area and watched the whole concert from ten feet away from the stage. She was able to describe the color of Elvis' eyes, count all of his rings and admire the detail work of his jumpsuit and cape. All the while that I was up in the rafters making everyone miserable, Mama was front and center having the time of her life! I will never forget the weird, almost other-worldly sensation of going through the inner doors when the show let out and hearing Mama call me from behind. Behind? She was in the parking lot all by herself, possibly in peril--wasn't she? No, she wasn't! I finally turned around, and there she was behind me in the crowd, waving madly. Her face was lit from within, and she looked like a kid who caught the real Santa Claus placing presents under the tree.

Mama sacrificed her concert seat for me, and she ended up with the best seat in the house! I don't know if you believe in miracles, but as for me and Mama, we believed. Mama worked at our local hospital for over thirty years. The original hospital had an old-fashioned "plug-in" switchboard, of which Mama was the master. The day that Elvis died, August 16, 1977, Mama was working the switchboard as part of her duties as an admissions clerk. The hospital was flooded with calls, and the switchboard was lit up and humming. Most of the calls were for Mama. When Elvis died, she was the first person that many people thought of, and they called to check on her and offer their condolences. It took me a while to reach her, and then we shared our disbelief. In fact, she was one of the people who didn't believe that Elvis was really dead, and as long as Mama lived, he lived in her heart. I like to believe that when she passed away, she was met at the gates of Heaven by a man dressed all in white--a white jumpsuit, that is. What beautiful music they make! Mama on the keyboard, and Elvis singing Gospel with all his might.