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Humor Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Mining For Gold

Miss Wetherham's Wedding
Miss Wetherham’s Wedding

We think of gold primarily as either bullion or jewelry, but the precious metal has many other uses. In the old days, it was used for tooth fillings and even the odd false tooth. Nowadays, uses range from industrial to medical, to agricultural. For instance, gold is used to treat pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It is liquefied, injected into muscle tissue, and reportedly helpful in 70 percent of cases. 

Writing historical fiction doesn’t only mean researching the time period of the book’s setting. For my newest release, Miss Wetherham’s Wedding, my heroine owns the controlling number of shares in a tunneling gold mining venture that’s gone dry. As I dug up whatever I could find on gold mining, I came across some interesting facts most of us probably aren’t aware of.

Another interesting tidbit is that 10 billion tons of gold circle the world in seawater! Before you start panning, the gold isn’t just floating around in specks or nuggets. In fact, the cost of recovering it unfortunately exceeds its value.  

And here’s something to wrap your brain around:  worldwide, the amount of steel poured in just one hour is more than the amount of gold that’s been extracted in all of recorded history! That’s how rare gold is. 

In my book, Miss Wetherham has neither the money to explore the mine for more gold, or the heart to try it even if she did, for there is danger involved. For these reasons, she finds herself in precarious financial straits–the perfect place to introduce a hero, even if he is, by all report, a rogue. 🙂       

Linore Rose Burkard An award-winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book (Before the Season Ends) opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense, contemporary romance, and romantic short stories. Linore resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots. 

Categories
Author Interviews

A Chat with CAN President Angela Breidenbach

Author and genealogist, Angela Breidenbach
CAN President Angela Breidenbach

February greetings from Marti Pieper, who is grateful to have had both power and water throughout this chilly month! I’m also grateful to reintroduce a familiar face to our CAN readers today. It belongs to our multitalented president, Angela Breidenbach. I first met Angie when we were both teaching at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I then had the privilege of working closely with her on the CAN newsletter for several years. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her and her books.

Welcome, Angie! I’m so glad you’re with us today. Please tell us about your latest book.

The Mail-Order Standoff: Marriage plans put on hold in the Old West when four mail-order brides have second thoughts. How will their grooms win their trust?

This four-in-one book includes Right on Time by Angela Breidenbach. Could two people be less suited than an English gentleman and a Western gal who is used to giving the orders? From the wild Montana Territory to the refined Kentucky horse farms, can Timothy prove worthy of Tara’s heart?

Do you have an unfulfilled dream?

The Mail-Order Standoff
The Mail-Order Standoff by Angela Breidenbach and others

I do, but I’m constantly working toward them. Them—because as I achieve one, I move to the next on my list. Oh yes, I have a long list. Currently I’m close to graduating with my genealogical studies degree and specialty in English records. I’d like to add more specialties (halfway to Scottish records already) and take small professional tours on genealogical research visits to Scotland, England, and other countries. I’m also working toward having my screenplays produced on TV and big screen. I dream of writing movies that touch lives and of leaving a body of work. I’d also like to have an endless lap pool someday inside a heated sunroom. Why not, right? Who wants to walk out in the snow to swim? Some very big stretch dreams.

Especially when you live in Montana, as I know you do! What talents do you have aside from storytelling?

Music. I love singing and am learning the harp. I hope to use both of those talents in church and music therapy. I also really enjoy teaching/speaking on genealogy, writing, and historical topics.

You amaze me with all you fit into a day! Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?

I’ve had a variety of jobs from airlines to radio to heating company co-owner (still am, but no longer in the day-to-day). Every job I’ve had informs my writing as I create characters. Once I’m finished with my last few genealogy classes, I’ll take genealogy projects for clients starting late summer/fall 2021.

Anyone who follows you on social media knows the answer to this one: Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?

Muse, my fe-lion executive assistant, inspires a lot of humor. I share our Muse and Writer conversations on social media and my website. He also inspired An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar. We hope to work together more this year to produce A-Muse-ing Tales series in the genre of cat comedy.

Sounds purrfect! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?

Themes are a little harder to define because they’re not as interesting as the story world that reveals the deeper meaning. But the themes I tend toward are unique life experiences that reveal our life purpose and overcoming. For instance, I’ve written nonfiction in story form that deal with one specific characteristic like becoming a confident woman in Gems of Wisdom: The Treasure of Experience, and I’ve taken that same thing and built it into a character’s sense of not being good enough in the historical romance Right On Time (Mail-Order Standoff).

What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?

Writing is telling stories whether fiction, nonfiction, articles, screenwriting. The biggest thing to me is that as a writer, I don’t read one genre or write only one genre because I’m interested in so many different things. As much as the industry tries to box writers into brands, and we have to establish that for readers, but my writing interests are hugely varied.

I understand that well! What inspired you to write this book?

I love following obscure historical tidbits, then setting characters into those interesting events. This one is in 1883, the year my own grandfather was born. The time zones, as we know them today, did not exist. Train crashes killed thousands of people because clocks and watches were set to the sun at high noon at the nearest town. I was fascinated by how something so mundane and normal today changed the entire world my grandfather was born into. I wondered how something that seemed so small might actually have caused a huge shift in societal life. What would that be like? How would that affect families? Business? I was stunned how long it took for the time zones to be normalized, but how it immediately saved lives. Some of the smallest decisions have the biggest impact.

And what do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Change, though scary in the expectation, becomes an amazing opportunity. Change in hindsight becomes normal, and fear disappears as that change becomes normal life. Each time we conquer the fear of change, we gain confidence.

So true. So what was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

I’ve been in college for that genealogy degree. Writing while in college, while speaking at conferences, and while caring for my family was really an adventure in pushing myself and my capabilities.

And I know you did it with excellence. Please tell us about your next project.

Coming this summer, I’m excited to release my Queen of the Rockies series. It’s set in Helena, Montana, starting in 1889. Helena was a very modern and beautiful city in what was considered the wild west. I love this gorgeous series full of vivid characters and real history.

Muse and Writer will also release A-Muse-ing Tales, book 1, cat comedy for the whole family in time for Christmas.

Marti Pieper
Marti Pieper

To learn more about Angela Breidenbach, visit Angie’s website or Angie’s blog.

For His glory,

Marti Pieper

Marti’s website

Categories
Book reviews

Book Review: A Change of Scenery

A Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer
A Change of Scenery

Looking for a new inspirational historical western romance? Try A Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer!

A hidden fear. A daring challenge. A liberating love. 

A motorcar accident on a rainy Chicago night steals Ella Canaday’s fiancé as well as her ability to ride. Clinging to the remnants of her independence, she cuts her hair and her ties with her wealthy father and takes a train west as the seamstress with a moving-picture company. Colorado offers the change of scenery she needs. But she doesn’t expect the bold cowboy who challenges her to reclaim both the loves she thought she’d lost forever.

Cale Hutton needs the money the moving-picture company is paying for use of his cattle and horses, but he’s not keen on some city gal gettin’ in the way at the ranch. Between the filming crew by day and a rogue cattle-killing bear by night, his attention snags on the little bob-haired seamstress. Something about her easy manner around his horse sets his mind to find out what she’s hiding and why she has such a pull on his heart.

* * *

Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite:

When Ella Canady joined the moving-picture firm, Selig Polyscope Company, as a seamstress, she wanted to leave her pain-filled life in Chicago. The company was filming scenes at the Rafter-H ranch in Canon City, Colorado. Two brothers, Cale and Hugh Hutton, owned the ranch and needed the money. Hugh was a widower with three young sons, and Cale had never married. While there was a strong attraction between Cale and Ella, she had physical and emotional scars from a tragic accident that changed her outlook on life. Cale needed to establish a trusting relationship to discover her past that she was reluctant to reveal. Each of them had to face other problems – animals on the Hutton and nearby farms were disappearing at night; Ella had to deal with the jealous main star in the movie. In A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles 4, written by Davalynn Spencer, an engrossing tale unfolds.

One of the best features of this book is the insightful development of many characters. How several characters coped with tragic events in their lives is realistic, affecting relationships with those they love. This novel is categorized as a Christian romance and historical fiction work. It is a well-balanced blend of these aspects. The tale flows smoothly, and the book is easy to read. Author Davalynn Spencer has woven an entertaining, thoughtful story in A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles 4. While this is a stand-alone book, readers will want to read the earlier editions of this series!

~ reprinted by permission

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Davalynn Spencer, Author
Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction. She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and the author of sixteen titles, both contemporary and historical. Connect with her at https://www.davalynnspencer.com

Angela Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach, CAN president
Angela Breidenbach
CAN president, Genealogist, and Author.

Christian Authors Network president, Angela Breidenbach, is a bestselling author, professional genealogist, screenwriter, speaker, and media personality. She builds the characteristics of courage, confidence, and candor into the heroines she writes with the goal that every book is always good for your heart.

Angela Breidenbach received certifications in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister; Letters of Paul theological study; life coach through Coach Training Association; and has multiple business and management certifications. She’s also a Toastmaster trained public speaker (and past chapter president). In addition, because of her love of learning, Angela has her genealogical methodology, genealogical lecturing certificate, and will add specialties in English Records Summer 2021. Audience favorites are Scottish travel and genealogy talks.

Angela is married, has a combined family of six grown children, and now a passel of grandchildren. Laugh along with Writer and Muse, Angela’s fe-lion assistant, whose antics are often found on Facebook or twitter as well as on the A-Muse-ings blog.

Links:

Speaking:

Angela uses warmth, humor, and fascinating stories as she deeply connects with and entertains her audience. Talks and topics suitable for retreats, teas, keynotes, events, & book clubs range 20 minutes through full weekend retreat settings. These talks can be combined for longer events or as a special event keynote. Contact Angela for your own customized talk or program.

Genealogy, Writing, Podcasting/Vlogcasting, Humorous Events, and more.

Download and print this speaker sheet:
AngelaBreidenbachSpeakerSheetWeb

Researching Genealogy in Scotland:
Turn your dream trip into a reality

Grace Under Pressure: How to be a woman of confidence, courage, and candor
The secrets of becoming a woman of grace under pressure, confidence, courage, and how to express yourself in a gracious manner. (Matches the podcast. A book is also in the works…)

String Slams
Pure entertainment as Angie leads a variety of authors in stringing unrelated stories together creating original comedy on the spot. Live, funny, never the same! Excellent for building book club participation.

Victim or Victorious
Overcoming the past to live a brilliant future to become the person God wants you to be. Drawn from true experiences in Angela’s life and the women who have overcome difficult pasts. You can too!

Crafting a Legacy
How to pass on your faith, family stories, and talents.

Transparency With Discretion
In this tell-all world, how do we learn the biblical value of discretion? Angela shares guidelines, examples, and tips to help you regain discretion and wisdom in your life. Tips to help your family learn it also.

For Writers:

Judging Books:
What are book judges looking for and how to judge books objectively, book covers, formatting, content, voice, active prose, and more…

What does it take to become a writer?
1-2 hour workshop that helps aspiring authors gain a solid overview of the real writing world and how to start a career. The longer workshop goes deeper into each area.

Powerful Prose: Passive to Active
Ridding your manuscript of wordiness, passive writing, and editing power into your work.

Acting for Authors
2 hour workshop. Getting into your characters’ heads and then putting the emotion, motivation, and conflict on the page. Learn to build a rich story and intimate connection with your readers by transferring personal emotions and experience into the pages of your book through thespian techniques of emotional transference, character projection, and the art of physical action/reaction.

What do people say about Angie’s speaking and teaching?

“Loved your workshops at #inwcw. Thanks for the great information you shared and for being so approachable. Blessings!” –Pamela Thorson, author and workshop attendee

“Angie has amazing passion and mission for helping others achieve their goals and live healthy, fulfilled lives. With her eye always on the Big Picture, she is an unending source of inspiration, energy and empowerment for others.” – Tosca Lee, NYT Bestselling Author

“Any cause Angie supports is truly blessed. She has so much energy and passion.” – Linda Bauman, Owner Market Place Media

“Angie B. was EXCELLENT!! A wealth of info and she put her whole heart into her presentation. Lots of GOOD energy!!”  attendee

“Love Angela B’s workshops … she is so full of important tidbits of info for beginning and intermediate writers.” – attendee

“Really appreciated Angela Breidenbach’s workshops – she packs so much into it in a fun and energetic way! Good info!” – attendee

“Is that the ball I see sailing over the outfield fence? Homerun!” – Clint Kelly, author/communications specialist Seattle Pacific University/co-director NW Writers Renewal


Categories
New Releases

NEW RELEASE – Reagan’s Reward by Susan G Mathis

Reagans Reward Book Cover
Reagan’s Reward

Title: Reagan’s Reward
Author: Susan G Mathis
Genre: Historical
Publisher: smWordWorks

ISBN-13: 978-0692686645

About the book:

It’s 1912. Reagan Kennedy assumes the position of governess to the Bernheim family’s twin nephews, and her life at Cherry Island’s Casa Blanca becomes frustratingly complicated. Service to a Jewish family when she is a Gentile and tending to eight-year-old, mischievous boys yields challenges galore.

Daniel Lovitz serves as the island’s caretaker and boatman. He tries to help the alluring Reagan make sense of her new world, but she calls into question his own faith background and forces him to face the hurts of his past. Then there’s the jealous lady’s maid who seems intent on wedging herself between them. Can he and Reagan ever find common ground on such a small island?

About the author:

Susan G. Mathis
Susan G. Mathis

Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family LegacyChristmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

Categories
Book reviews

Book Review: Reagan’s Reward

Reagan's Reward
Reagan’s Reward

Interested in a historical novel? Reagan’s Reward is one you’ll enjoy . . .

In the summer of 1912, Reagan Kennedy assumes the position of governess to the Bernheim family’s twin nephews, and her life at Cherry Island’s Casa Blanca becomes frustratingly complicated. Service to a Jewish family and tending to eight-year-old mischievous boys brings trouble galore.

Daniel Lovitz serves as the island’s caretaker and boatman. When he tries to help the alluring Reagan make sense of her new world, her insecurities mount as her confidence is shaken―especially when she crosses the faith divide and when Etta Damsky makes her life miserable. As trouble brews, Daniel sees another side of the woman he’s come to love.

Check out her book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc3W_tu55vE

*  *  *

And here’s the book review, reprinted with permission:

The beauty of the Thousand Islands is but one reason Susan G Mathis writes such wonderful stories about them. The history and enchantment of the islands create the perfect backdrop for the mystery, romance, and godly journeys Susan develops with her characters, especially in Reagan’s Reward.

Susan takes one of her main characters, Reagan, a tender, sweet, young lady and places her in a tumultuous setting with a gruff patriarch who is opposed to Reagan as well as her faith.

Masterfully, Mathis brings her characters to a pinnacle outcome spurred on by the mischievous twin boys she is to govern and the island’s caretaker, Daniel, who is so intrigued by Reagan that his own faith is challenged and matured.

The journey to a pleasing outcome is sidetracked by the forks in the road of life making the reader wonder if things will ever work out. Such a satisfying and fulfilling read that will leave you better for reading this wonderful story written by Susan Mathis. ~ Laurie Raker

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Susan G Mathis, author
Susan G Mathis, author

Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and her newest, Reagan’s Reward, are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award, and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more information.

Categories
Book reviews

Book Review: Miss Tavistock’s Mistake

Linore Rose Burkard’s first book in The Brides of Mayfair

series, Miss Tavistock’s Mistake, released this month…

Miss Tavistock's Mistake
Miss Tavistock’s Mistake

Can Miss Tavistock’s mistake ever be undone?

Book One of a new series by an award-winning Regency author brings a much-awaited delightful romance in the vein of Heyer. Sweet and clean meets laugh-out-loud in this period romp that’s sure to please romance fans of all ilks.

Check out this review of Miss Tavistock’s Mistake:

Burkard, the author of Forever, Lately (2019), offers a humorous romp about misunderstanding and forgiveness amid the blindness of love.

As the story opens, Feodora Margaret Tavistock is a 9-year-old orphan and the newly adopted ward of her kindly but isolated uncle, the Duke of Trent. She’s rescued from a switch-clutching housekeeper by Gabriel Rempeare, a teenage cousin to whom she’s already betrothed, and she treasures this dashing memory throughout her adolescence.

At 19, she’s a beautiful, spirited woman, and she awaits Gabriel’s return from a stint in the navy. However, a series of misunderstandings lead her to believe that he’s dissolute and unfaithful. A combative exchange culminates in her assumption of another identity, “Lady X,” a gossip columnist’s moniker for Margaret Chrissendon, her uncle’s alleged mistress. Feodora finds herself thrust into a web of obfuscation, reluctantly supported by her chaperon, Mrs. Filbert. She’s still determined to pursue a social season in London, and she attempts to convince Gabriel that she truly is “Lady X”—and she also gives Margaret permission to assume her identity. It’s a tenuous arrangement, and as Feodora and Gabriel fall in love, she fears that the truth will end her chance to be his bride.

Over the course of this lighthearted, romantic series starter, Burkard combines elements of Sense and Sensibility and The Importance of Being Earnest to craft a delightful and comedic story that will certainly please historical fiction aficionados and those who enjoy wholesome, romantic stories. Burkard has also clearly done her research to immerse the reader in real-life historical context, including true events in the background to her light narrative. The book’s romantic tension, lush environments, and light comedy combine to provide readers with a sweet, heartwarming reading experience.

A clever tale that’s sure to delight fans of historical romance. ~ Kirkus Reviews

Linore Rose Burkard, Author
Linore Rose Burkard, Author

Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. Best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, Linore also writes contemporary romance and YA/Suspense.  Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and children, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.

Categories
Inspiration for Writers

Are You a Cheerleader or a Nitpicker?

Miss Tavistock's Mistake
Miss Tavistock’s Mistake by Linore Rose Burkhard

Are you a cheerleader or a nitpicker?

by Linore Rose Burkhard

Every author I know, myself included, wants to make readers happy, especially the cheerleaders who love our genre and stories. After all, by loving and reading our books, they keep us in business. Nevertheless, not all readers agree on what works for them, and some get downright nitpicky.

What’s a writer to do when we are stymied by conflicting feedback? Case in point:  my recent release (Miss Tavistock’s Mistake: Brides of Mayfair, Book One).

Reader 1: “The Jane-esque language in this novel is exquisite.”

Reader 2:  “Kudos to Ms. Burkard! (for) a few words or phrases that were new to me.”

Reader #3: “I have no idea what that word means.”

And what about pacing? We try to build plots that snowball to keep those pages turning. One reader writes, “This latest offering from Burkard explodes onto the page;” another, “Like a runaway horse, the plot picks up speed, hurtling along…” But just when I’m about to relax that I nailed the pacing, another writes, “It took me a few chapters to get into this book, but once I did…”

Wait. It took a few chapters? Aargh.

So what’s a writer to do? Personally, I watch for responses that are repeated. For example, phrases like “pure delight,” “a hero to swoon for,”  “a perfect escape.” If I see such phrases in numerous reviews, then I can be sure I’m hitting the sweet spot for my cheerleaders. I have to accept that, as with most things in life, I can’t please everyone.

But I sure do appreciate the cheerleaders. If you love a book, be sure to review it and let the author know what they’re doing right. You are the ones we write for and who help keep us going!

 

Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, she also writes contemporary suspense and contemporary romance. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.

Categories
Humor

The First Zip Line Ride?

Fun trivia: The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883. The first person to cross it was E. F. Farrington, the Bridge’s master mechanic.

Zipline Photo
Zipline Photo

But instead of walking across the bridge, he went by zip line!
I discovered this fascinating bit of trivia while doing research for my novel, A Sicilian Farewell, part of which is set in late 19th-century Brooklyn.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author who writes riveting fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest novel, IN BLACK AND WHITE, a love story about racism, released in November 2019.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

MaryAnn has also written THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES trilogy, a page-turning, family saga revolving around the life of Maria Landro, a woman torn between two worlds, and who must choose between them. MaryAnn’s books for children include five picture books: WHO IS JESUS?, TOBY TOO SMALL, CANDLE LOVE, THE DANDELION PATCH, and POEMS FOR WEE ONES and one chapter book: DO ANGELS RIDE PONIES?

MaryAnn lives in New Jersey with her husband Dom. They’ve been married 50 years and are the blessed parents of two wonderful daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn loves to paint, play the piano, and make up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn at maryanndiorio.com.

Categories
New Releases

New Release: Katelyn’s Choice by Susan Mathis

Katelyn's Choice
Katelyn’s Choice

Katelyn’s Choice 

Susan G Mathis

Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC)

Release date: March 15th, 2019

ISBN-13: 978-1946016720

About the book: 

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

About the author: 

Susan G Mathis
Susan G Mathis

Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in Upstate New York. Katelyn’s Choice,The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, and Christmas Charity will transport you to a time and place few have visited. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her husband, Dale, and relishes time with her four adorable granddaughters. Find out more at www.SusanGMathis.com.