Even If You Change It

by Catherine Castle

March 7-13 was Celebrate Your Name week. Established in 1997 by American onomatology hobbyist Jerry Hill, Celebrate Your Name Week (CYNW) is a week for embracing and celebrating your name.

Before you say, “Why would I want to celebrate my name?” think about this–your name identifies you. It is the one thing that will be in your life now and forever. It can define your ethnicity, your heritage, how you look at yourself, and sometimes how others look at you. If you hate your name you can change it, but the original moniker will still be on your birth certificate. Your name will be used throughout your life to identify you in a myriad of ways: on your driver’s license, bank accounts, health accounts, mortgage deeds, insurance policies, social media accounts, professionally, and friends and family will say your name hundreds of thousands, or even millions of times, over the course of your life.

Think about your name or names if you have a middle one. Do you know what they mean? Do you know how you got them? Do you know how long it took your parents to decide on what to name you? How important was your name to those who named you? Have you ever wanted to change your name, and if so why? How did that change work out for you?

I know the answers to a few of those questions. My birth names mean pure and peace. I was named after both of my grandmothers, whose names at the time of my birth were very old-fashioned. My aunt Ella, on my father’s side, always addressed me by my first and my middle names. I suppose she didn’t want me to forget my paternal grandmother, whom I never met. I can still recall my aunt’s voice addressing me. She was the only one who ever called me by both names and somehow it became extra special to me.

I don’t know how long it took my parents to decide on my name or whether they had chosen it before I was born or after. Back then you had to have male and female options, since the gender was a surprise until the baby arrived.

I do know that it was very important to my mother that people called me Catherine, not Cathy. While in high school I shortened my name to Cathy and introduced myself that way at school. Catherine was too long to write on homework papers and very old-fashioned at the time. I wanted to be hipper back then. At church, and in front of my mother, I was always Catherine.

That dichotomy caused me a lot of problems. Although I cautioned any boy to whom I gave my home phone number to ask for Catherine—not Cathy, they invariably forgot. When Mom got to the phone before I did, which was often since she had a phone beside her easy chair, I’d hear, “Sorry, there’s no one here by that name.” Then she’d hang up the phone and glare at me. I lost a lot of potential boyfriends and dates that way. One icy answer from my mother and they never called back. I think they thought I’d given them the run-around with a wrong number. As the years went by, I grew out of my Cathy phase and now I have to correct people when they shorten my name. I still answer to Cathy at my high school reunions. Mom’s not around anymore to glare at me in disapproval and it’s just easier for those few hours to answer to the nickname.

My grandmother was called Cat by her brothers. I used to think that was a horrible nickname and cringed whenever I heard her addressed that way. When my nieces and nephews came along, Cat was easier to say than Catherine, so I adopted Grandma’s nickname. It shocked the heck out of my family when I gave those babies the okay to call me Cat. Now I’m Aunt Cat to all of them. I now eschew the high school nickname I gave myself and love the birth name I once hated. Ain’t life funny?

When I began my fiction-writing career, I changed my name again. I kept my first name, because I like it a lot now. I’ve grown into it. I also thought keeping my first name would be less confusing at writing conferences. If someone called me Nancy, I might think they were talking to another person and unintentionally ignore them. That would be bad. I did, however, choose a different last name—one that would fit easier on a book cover and had a nice alliteration to my first name. My pen name is Catherine Castle. With that name change I became an author of sweet and inspiration romance.

I still remember the first time a stranger in a bookstore asked, “Are you Catherine Castle?”

Startled, I looked at her and said, “Yes, I am.” No one had ever recognized my author persona before and I wondered how she knew me.

She must have seen the question in my gaze because she said, “I recognize you from your picture on your website.”

I left the bookstore with a big grin on my face that lasted for several hours. A complete stranger knew who Catherine Castle, the author, was!

Shakespeare wrote, in Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” This popular quote is often used to imply that it didn’t matter that Romeo’s name was associated with the house of Juliet’s family’s sworn enemy.

I suggest that your name does matter and that your name affects who you are. A boy named Sue will have a very different life than one named Chauncy. So if you love your name, or are just indifferent to it, embrace it. Take a few minutes this week to celebrate your name. Find out everything you can about your name. Dig into its history. You might be surprised as to why you are named what you are and how your name has made you who you are.

If you need to change your name for some reason, choose wisely. In the Bible, when a name change happened it often reflected some new aspect of one’s life, a thing that changed them and defined their new life paths. Your name can define you, too. So make your new name a good one.

Celebrate name week—Celebrate!

Catherine Castle is very picky about how she chooses the character names for her books. She once wrote an entire book inserting the name Mother 2 into the pages because she couldn’t think of the right name for that antagonist character. Her critique partners thought it was a real hoot, but when she finally came up with Mother 2’s name—Tiberia—they all agreed it fit her perfectly.

In her book A Groom for Mama, she named one of the characters in honor of a dear friend who battled cancer. Here’s a peek at the blurb.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes, she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom for Mama.

Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer, she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems.

In addition to writing, she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting, and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Follow her on Twitter, FB, or her blog.


from Emma Lane

My goal is to serve food with as little fuss as possible while still producing an attractive, delicious, and healthy meal for my family and guests. Hopefully this plan will give me more time to enjoy everyone. I encourage you to add your own favorites.


Baked Ham

Raisin Sauce

Candied Carrots


Dinner Rolls

Peaches al la Mode


Hams are already cooked you merely want to warm it through. Follow the package directions so as not to dry out the meat.

Raisin Sauce

1 ½ cups water

¾ cup raisins

⅓ cup packed brown sugar

1 pinch salt

1 tsp. cornstarch

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in raisins, then boil until raisins are very tender, 5 minutes.

Whisk in brown sugar and salt, then gradually whisk in cornstarch to avoid lumps forming. Simmer over low heat until glaze has thickened, 10 minutes.

Serve in a gravy boat for your family and friends to spoon onto their ham.

Candied Carrots

Are always a favorite. This recipe works great in your microwave.

5 – 8 baby or mini carrots per person

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. brown sugar

Dash of maple syrup ¼ cup water

Parsley for garnish, optional

Cut carrots in half or thirds into long pieces.

Mix remaining ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in carrots. Nuke until carrots are fork tender. Careful not to overcook. Spoon sauce over carrots before serving.


I have mentioned before I am originally from the south of the U.S. Oranges and coconut mixed together is Ambrosia in South Georgia. Use a pretty glass bowl if you have one. I use my mother’s cranberry bowl and love the contrast of the bright orange colors. This is a messy recipe to prep as you must remove the orange membrane. Do prepare the dish the day before and refrigerate to really blend the flavors.

1 orange per person if small, ½ if large

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

¼ cup orange juice

1 small can crushed pineapple

Stir all ingredients together then scoop into a serving bowl.

Canned biscuits or Crescent Rolls

Follow the recipe on the package.

Peaches a la Mode

1 can sliced peaches in light syrup

Vanilla ice cream

Granola, optional

Maraschino cherries

Cherry juice

Spoon 3 – 5 peach slices in individual dessert dishes. Add a generous double scoop of vanilla ice cream. Top with a maraschino cherry and a sprinkling of granola. Drizzle sparingly with cherry juice.

Other fruits are also tasty prepared this way.

Here is a brief intro to the cozy mystery series Emma writes as Janis Lane.

MURDER in the JUNKYARD sees the demise of a man no one likes, a romance, and plans for a wedding as Detective Fowler and his friends keep their small-town America free from danger.

Detective Kevin Fowler is furious that low life has targeted his town where people live in blissful safety. Brenda Bryant is out junkn’ for good things when she stumbles over the grotesque body of a man beloved by no one. Suspense heats up when large sums of money are found in two different places. Drug money is suspected, and Brenda targeted by someone who wants the money returned. Detective Fowler faces surprise after surprise as he peels back the surface of Hubbard, New York and deals with its shocking underbelly. Meanwhile romance infiltrates the group of friends with a wedding in the making.

<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Junkyard-Janis-Lane-ebook/dp/B00N9JVN3W/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&amp;keywords=Janis+Lane&amp;qid=1614371852&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-5


Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

The First Timekeepers

from Sharon Ledwith

Here’s an eerie treat for my readers, straight out of the pages of Legend
of the Timekeepers
guaranteed to chill you to the bone:
“W-Where are we?” She-Aba asked, crawling out of the plant.
“I-I’m not sure,” Lilith replied. Her nose flared. It smelled fresh, almost pure to her.
“Well, we’re not in the desert anymore,” Tau said, wiggling and huffing. “Could you two get me down?”
She-Aba smirked. “What’s the magic word?”
Tau stopped squirming between the branches. “Huh? Magic word? How would I know, I’m not a magus!”
“You’re not very bright, either,” She-Aba replied. “What word would you use if you want something?”
Tau snorted. “Now!”
Lilith rolled her eyes. She passed the record keeper to She-Aba, then stuck her foot into the closest, deepest crevice in the tree. She pulled herself up, found another crevice, and pulled herself up again. She looked down at She-Aba. “Go cut a vine for Tau to use to climb down.”
“What’s a vine?” She-Aba asked, frowning.
Lilith sighed. “Over there, hanging from that tree. It looks like a rope. Haven’t you ever seen one?”
“No. I live in the desert. In fact, I find it quite warm and damp here. Not the best place for my hair.”
“There is no place for your hair, fire-head,” Tau said, indignantly.
She-Aba grunted. She opened her satchel, slid the record keeper in, and pulled out the metal clipper she used to cut and style hair. Lilith hid an emerging smile as she observed her friend. Walking proved to be anything but easy for She-Aba, as the forest floor appeared to want to swallow her shoes. Reaching for a long, strong vine that crept around the base of a tree, as if it were a snake,
She-Aba sliced through it with ease, untangled it, and hobbled back to Lilith and Tau.
A rancorous scream permeated through the forest. She-Aba froze in her tracks, the vine she cut hanging lifeless in her hand. “W-What was that?”
Lilith’s whole body prickled. No, it can’t be, can it? That would be impossible.
She turned to scan the area. Tau wouldn’t quit wiggling. She reached for his arm and squeezed. “Stop that, I’m trying to—”
Another scream, this time closer, rolled out through the leaves.
“Oh, Poseidon, it is,” Lilith said, feeling her heart start to race. “Quick, She-Aba, throw up the vine and go hide! Now!”
“What’s going on, Lilith?” Tau asked. “Why do you sound so frightened?”
Lilith looked around again. “Because a wyvern is hunting us.”
“A…what?” She-Aba asked.
“A wyvern. It looks like a huge snake with wings, feet like a hawk’s, and a tail like a white crawler.”
She-Aba huffed. “Excuse, me, Miss Bossy, but I think I proved that I can handle a snake just fine.”
“For once would you just do as you’re told, fire-head,” Tau said. “Throw up the vine!”
“You mean this vine, Tau?” She-Aba swung it in her hand.
“She-Aba, you don’t understand, wyverns aren’t like cobras,” Lilith explained. “You’ve never seen one before, so you have no idea what they’re capable of.”
“So enlighten me, then. How do you know so much about these snake-like creatures?”
Lilith scanned the area one more time, before she said, “They’re native to only one place on earth.”
“And where’s that?” Tau asked, grunting, as he gripped the tree branch.
Lilith licked her dry lips, and said, “Atlantis.”
Ready for a trip to Atlantis?

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:


If you haven’t already read Sharon Ledwith’s novel, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, here’s the blurb…

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:


Check out The Last Timekeepers series Facebook Page.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sure and Begorrah!

By Sloane Taylor

Presenting the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal most North Americans will enjoy with a cold Harp Lager, Guinness Stout, Killian’s Irish Red Lager, or Smithwicks Ale. But here’s a newsflash, Boyo, except for the beer you’ll never find corned beef served anyway on the Old Sod. That’s right. Our Irish brethren look at us in amazement, but that’s never stopped us Yanks from creating traditions. So pour another wee dram and let’s get cooking.

Corned Beef
Bakery Rye Bread
Horseradish Sauce
Irish Beer and plenty of it

Corned Beef

1 5lb. corned beef brisket*
2 med. onions, peeled and quartered
4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3 bottles of beer, not Lite
water to cover

Preheat oven to 300 F°.

Place beef in a Dutch oven. Add remaining ingredients, including spice packet that comes with the beef.

Bring to a boil on stovetop. Place in oven and roast for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.

*Don’t stint on the beef. It cooks down to approximately half. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Here’s a tip from my butcher Raoul. Always buy corned beef flat cut. It has less fat than the point. Therefore you get more meat for your money.

6 med. red potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 carrots, scraped and cut into 2″ pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 2″ pieces
1 med. green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
1 cup corned beef cooking liquid

You can prep all the veggies and store in a large container covered by cold water until you’re ready to cook them. Refrigerate so vegetables remain crisp.

Place veggies in a large pot. Stir in corned beef cooking liquid. Add water to cover vegetables by 2 inches. Cover pot. Set cooking temp at medium. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat so the pot doesn’t cook over, but maintain a soft boil. Cook about 30 minutes or until veggies are fork tender.

Horseradish Sauce

1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. fresh chives, snipped short

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well.

Transfer to a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Take Time to Unplug by Catherine Castle

by Catherine Castle

Statistics I found on the internet suggest that on the average people pick up their cell phones about 58 times in a single day. The top 20 percent of users spend more than 4.5 hours on their phone just on a weekday. Although many of those pick-up times might only be, at a minimum, only a couple of minutes to check email or delete scam calls or texts, they add up.

I don’t know how many times a day I pick up my smartphone, but if I’m being honest, I’d say I look at it a lot. Whenever an unknown-caller rings me, I pick up the phone after it stops plinking and delete the number so I don’t accidently hit redial the next time I remove the phone from my pocket. I do the same with spammy texts and emails. I check and answer my email several times a day. I text my daughter and best friend several times a day, and answer when people I know call me. I go the “Fount of all knowledge”, aka the internet, anytime hubby and I have a conversation and I wonder about a word, or have a question, or when I’m writing something and I need to answer a research question. Sometimes I peruse Pinterest while watching television. Most of the time I keep the phone in my pocket, a habit I got into when I was home alone and wanted to have the phone close by because I’m a klutz who falls a lot. The phone on my hip or in my pocket was my “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” security blanket. The one thing I don’t do, however, is look at it during a dinner conversation lull while eating with friends or family ocasions. I also spend as little time as possible on social media and that’s all related to my job as an author.

Hubby and I are just back from a lake retreat where we were unplugged from social media. Our mornings at home at the breakfast table often include our cellphones while we check our emails, blogs, and social media stuff before we begin the rest of our day.

While we can look out at our hillside garden and hear muffled bird calls as they land on the porch railings and trees outside, we are essentially cut off from nature’s sounds and sensations. Here’s the view at our house from the breakfast nook.

The garden view from the breakfast nook


Our long, lingering breakfast on the screened porch at the lake looked like this.

Breakfast at the lake

Trilling bird songs entertained us all day long, the breeze blowing through the screens ruffled our hair, kissed our cheeks and cooled us as the sun crept into the porch, and the lapping of the water against the docks soothed our souls. I wish my blog had the ability to show videos, because I recorded at least 2 minutes of birdsong to play when I came home. I loved listening to the birds!

Our phones may have been sitting beside us, but the scene in front of us and the songs of the birds overwhelmed any urge to bury our heads in the tyranny of social media. Instead, we sat back and only used the phone to record the birdsong and photograph the beautiful, serene lake in front of us. The only screens we spent time on at the lake were our computer screens as we were working on our WIPs. The uninterrupted time was fruitful, too, as plot problems were ironed out and manuscripts reworked.

My peaceful time on the lake porch reminded me of my youth when I’d take an armload of library books onto the front porch of my home and read all day long while the breeze rustled the leaves of the trees shading my summer reading nook. Back then, there was no internet, no computers, and no cell phones. If you wanted to communicate with someone you visited them or called on the landline telephone. If you lived too far away to visit or call without incurring long-distance phone charges, you sat down and wrote a letter. We did have a landline, but we didn’t even have an extension phone, just a long cord on our only phone. I would drag the phone into another room so my parents and sisters couldn’t hear my conversations. There wasn’t even call waiting, so Mom would often yell, “It’s time to hang up! You’ve been on that call too long now! Someone might be trying to call us.”

Yep, our six days at the lake were a bit of heaven for more than one reason.

Then we came home.

I have a mountain of emails on my smart phone. Honestly, I’m dreading slogging through the list. However, I will dig into the emails and do what must be done.

But I have to tell you, I can’t wait to unplug again!

What about you? Have you unplugged recently? Do you want to do it again?

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

Check out Catherine’s romantic comedy A Groom for Mama available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in Ebook or Print.

What readers are saying about the book:

Four stars Dec 03, 2017 Cyrene Olson rated it really liked it

Uncaged Review: Allison’s mother is very ill but in order for her to try out more tests, to find a cure – Allison must find a husband. As fate would have it her ex-boyfriend Jack runs an online dating service, but finding a groom won’t be that easy as Allison first thought.

I really enjoyed this book and even if the subject matter is a little sad. It is still a very romantic story. I loved Allison as a character as I felt I could identify will her and what she was going through, due to similar circumstances. I hope to read more by this author in the future. Reviewed by Jennifer (less)

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.


From Linda Lee Greene Author/Artist

When the venue is appropriate to do so, I often open my author and artist biographies with the following: “As a child on the farm of my maternal grandparents in Southern Ohio, and while carted around on the shoulders of my teenage uncles, or on the broad tall backs of our horses, my view of life began atop those high places. From those lofty vantage points, the fairytale landscape and the storybook yarns spun by the hill people there impressed my mind’s eye and ear so indelibly that they emerged over the years as images in my artwork, and as the bedrocks of my last three books.”

Looking up to it from the main highway far below, the farmhouse, shielded in white clapboards and silver metal roof, seemed to float high on dewy air, harbored in make-believe. Arrive down its long and winding lane, and sit on its creaky front porch swing, only then did you see the source of its magic, for it hovered on the southern rim of the star-wound crater in which the world-famous Great Serpent Mound lies, a mythical place, whose stories reach back millennia, and can never be known by mortal beings. A place like that weaves into a person’s soul and doesn’t let go. It becomes the soul’s very fabric, textured by its plant life, its animals, and its people. Near and not quite so near, fabled persons populated comparable, as well as varied, Ohio backdrops, individuals such as inventors Thomas Edison and Orville and Wilbur Wright; astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn; actors Roy Rogers, Clark Gable, Doris Day, Dean Martin, Paul Newman; singers Nancy Wilson and John Legend to name a few—and oh yes, more presidents of the United States than from any other state in the union—and lest I forget, sharp- and exhibition-shooter Annie Oakley.

In addition to our both being Ohio-girls, Annie and I were born on the same day of the same month, although she preceded me by well over three quarters of a century. Farm-life shaped both of us, me to a far less degree than it did Annie, because my everyday tenure on the farm was interrupted in my toddlerhood when my parents and I moved to Columbus. Thereafter, weekends and summer vacations found me back on the farm, decidedly citified and a bit awkward in my former sanctuary.

Annie’s was a back-and-forth girlhood, too, but as dissimilar to mine as it could be. The sixth-born of her parent’s nine children, she and her family were thrust into deep poverty upon her father’s death when she was six years old. By the age of seven, Annie was trapping, and by eight, shooting and hunting, and bringing food to the table of her siblings and widowed mother. She was a budding entrepreneur even at that young age, for she sold her excess kills to nearby locals and shopkeepers, one of whom shipped it to hotel kitchens in Cincinnati and other cities. Not to be outdone, she undertook to sell her game personally to regional restaurants and hotels. Her “sharpshooter” days had begun.

Having been too impoverished even to attend school, three years after the death of her father, Annie was admitted to the care of the superintendent and his wife of the Darke County Infirmary, where she learned to sew and decorate. At a later date, she was “bound out” to a local family to care for their infant son, a position whose promise of fifty cents per week in wages and an education never materialized. Her two-years of near slavery to them comprised cruel physical and mental abuse. At age 12, she ran away, found herself a much more benign situation, and by age 15 was back living with her mother again. Despite having married for a third time, apparently her mother was never able to outgrow her dependency on Annie, an obligation Annie shouldered willingly. By the age of 15, Annie was able to pay off the mortgage on her mother’s house with the money she earned by way of her unparalleled skill at shooting guns. By then she had won shooting contests and met traveling show marksman Frank E. Butler, the man who became her husband, partner, manager, and mentor for the rest of her life.

Remaining childless, together Annie and Frank, accompanied by their adopted dog, became headliners. Five-foot-tall and comely, Annie as America’s first female star, appeared in such venues as “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show,” and in Europe at the “Paris Exposition of 1889.” She was received in the United Kingdom by Queen Victoria and crowned heads of state in Italy and France. Supposedly, upon his request, she shot the ash off a cigarette held in the mouth of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II, a feat she regularly performed with her husband in their shows.

Ill health as a result of a train accident, and then again, a car accident in later years, Annie slowed the pace and the face of her career, appearing on stage in shows written for her. Legal battles against libelous lies about her took up much of her time and energy as time passed, but she continued to perform and to set shooting records well into her sixties, nearly to the very date of her death on November 3, 1926. By then Frank and Annie had been together for just over 50 years. So grieved by her death was he that Frank stopped eating and died 18 days later. It was discovered that throughout her life, Annie had donated all her fortune to her family and various charities.

“Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.” Annie Oakley, scribed at the exhibit at the “National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.”

From the porch swing of our family’s farmhouse, I often saluted Annie Oakley. It was as if her spirit hung high in the air above our Appalachian hills that formed the backdrop of our enormous Serpent Mound Crater, a spirit urging me on, willing me, a fellow Ohioan, to never give up.

Guardians and Other Angels, multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s novel, chronicles the story of two heroic families played out against the bad and the good of the early to mid-twentieth century, years of worldwide economic depression and war, as well as the spawning of the “Greatest Generation.” Firsthand accounts of the times in authentic letters written by members of the families are peppered throughout the book.


Available in paperback and eBook on Amazon

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.


Want to be an Author? You’ve gotta have grit!

By Anne Montgomery

Would F. Scott Fitzgerald be successful in today’s publishing world?

Being an author is a tough job. OK, maybe not as daunting as the career track those Deadliest Catch folks are onadmittedly, I found myself reaching for the Dramamine more than once watching those crabbing boats being tossed like toys – or Mike Rowe’s gig when he does things like testing shark suits or mucking out sewers on Dirty Jobs.

Still, converting thoughts to printed words in order to tell a coherent story that’s of interest to readers, and then convincing others your efforts are important and well-written enough to publish and promote, well, there are all kinds of adversities mixed up in that endeavor.

I’ve had a number of difficult jobs over the years. I used to be a maid, on my hands and knees cleaning other people’s bathrooms. I was a baseball umpire for 25 years where I was, without question, the most disliked person on the field pretty much every time I stepped on the diamond. As a sportscaster, I was on live television about 2000 times, where, when you make a mistake, there are myriad people who delight in pointing out your errors.

Despite my labors with jobs that didn’t do much toward promoting positive self-esteem, I was definitely not prepared for the rigors of being an author. I’ve written six books: two rest in a drawer, two are published, one will be shortly, and one is a work in progress. Since I began writing 25 years ago, I have been rejected by agents, publishers, editors, and reviewers too many times to count. I’m pretty sure my no-thanks numbers have edged up over the one thousand mark. In fact, I’ve been snubbed so often that I sometimes find myself strangely delighted when I receive a rejection letter that’s, well, kind. A positive comment contained therein might tempt me to tears. (I know I’m not the only one.)

Today, aspiring authors face a different reality than those of the past. The advent of the personal computer and the Internet have paved the way for a huge release of creativity, that, depending on your point of view, is either fabulous or horrifying. On the positive end, anyone can write, self-publish, and post their book on Amazon. It’s estimated that somewhere between 600,000 and one million books are published in the U.S. alone each year, probably half of which are self-published. The other side of the equation is that without the gatekeepers – agents, editors, publishers – finding your gem in that the massive pile of prose is problematic: the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Feeling down yet? All I can say is don’t give into despair. Here’s what I’ve learned from the authors I’ve become acquainted with, my fellow travelers on this detour-filled journey. We are a tough bunch. I have not yet met an author who’s said, “I quit! I can’t take it anymore!” Perhaps that’s why I found a bit of unintended humor at the expense of one of America’s most famous writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald. I recently began watching Z: The Beginning of Everything, a biographical Amazon series based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald, the writer’s wife and muse. In one of the early scenes, F. Scott opens a letter from a publisher. His book is rejected. And F. Scott, who up until that point was dashing and strong and optimistic, disintegrates into a despondent pile of mush and goes completely off the rails, drunk, depressed, needing Zelda to give him strength. While I know my reaction was not what the show’s writers intended, I couldn’t help it. I felt like laughing. I wanted to yell at F. Scott to pick himself up. Get over it! Move on! Try again!

And then, I wondered whether the famed writer of The Great Gatsby would have survived the complexities of today’s publishing world. And what about Hemingway? Twain? Faulkner? Steinbeck? How might these giants of the industry have navigated the choppy waters we face today?

I think they would have struggled, just like we do.

So, my fellow authors, take heart! Be strong. Be proud. The fact that you’ve even finished writing a book puts you in rarified air. You will survive, if you don’t take rejection personally – Yes, I know it’s hard – and if you have a sense of humor.

Allow me to offer you a glimpse at my latest women’s fiction novel for you reading pleasure.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.


Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.