The Preacher and the Shopkeeper

It’s here! Get your Kindle copy for 99¢ for a limited time.

Here’s the back-cover synopsis:

Industrial City, Ava Starling’s hometown, is struggling to survive with businesses and industries closing and jobs at a minimum. She’s desperately trying to help assist the needy through the thrift store she owns and operates, but homelessness is on the rise. Ava doubts the recent assignment of the young and handsome Brandon Sparks as senior pastor of the defunct Union Street Church can breathe hope into empty hearts. 

When Ava and Brandon meet, sparks fly but misunderstandings and trust issues ensue. Only Ava’s mother knows the true reason behind her daughter’s resistance to the new pastor, but it’s only a matter of time before Brandon discovers why Ava holds animosity toward him. Will she learn to accept his offers of help or continue to resist his hand of friendship? Working together to meet the needs of the community might forever change both their lives more than either can ever anticipate.


Somebody “Un-Liked” me!

In this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up in “likes” and “un-likes” on social media.

Here’s the thing. Your self-worth isn’t determined by whether someone likes you or not.

It’s like Junior High.

“So-and-so likes me.” Or… “I don’t think so-and-so likes me.”

Does it matter?

Whose approval are you going for? Those who truly love you, or some like-likers, like-unlikers, like, un-like, but like again-ers? Oh, my! It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

Yes, once you make your name public, whether you’re an author, actor, singer, musician, WHATEVER, you make yourself a target of Like or Un-Likers.

People are fickle. They like you until…

They find you’re not like them, politically.

They find you’re not like them, religiously.

They find you’re not like them… um… Italian-ly, Irish-ly, Black-ly, White-ly, I-like-big-dogs VS small-dogs-ly, or cat VS dog-ly.

SO WHAT!!!

Take a deep breath.

It’s “social” media, folks.

Which, may or not, by definition,  be SOCIAL at all.

Rant over.

What’s Next?

That’s the question I ask myself once I’ve finished writing and publishing my latest book. Awake into the wee hours, my mind is a whirlwind of activity. Will I dive into writing a trilogy? Dabble with a stand-alone novel? Maybe come up with a couple of short stories for giveaways?

Decisions, Decisions.

A lot of my stories start with a series of “what-ifs.” The possibilities are endless.

And so, the idea for my next novel, The Preacher and the Shopkeeper, began to take shape:

What if my heroine lived in a declining city where homelessness is on the rise? And, what if she owns a thrift shop and uses the proceeds to benefit those in need?

What if a young preacher accepted a pastorate at a church only to find an empty building with no congregants except for a slightly eccentric live-in custodian?

Excellent! We now have a heroine and a hero.

And, fleshing it out, we have a back-cover synopsis for our story:

Industrial City, Ava Starling’s hometown, is struggling to survive with businesses and industries closing and jobs at a minimum. She’s desperately trying to help assist the needy through the thrift store she owns and operates, but homelessness is on the rise. Ava doubts the recent assignment of the young and handsome Brandon Sparks as senior pastor of the defunct Union Street Church can breathe hope into empty hearts.

When Ava and Brandon meet, sparks fly but misunderstandings and trust issues ensue. Only Ava’s mother knows the true reason behind her daughter’s resistance to the new pastor, but it’s only a matter of time before Brandon discovers why Ava holds animosity toward him. Will she learn to accept his offers of help or continue to resist his hand of friendship? Working together to meet the needs of the community might forever change both their lives more than either can ever anticipate.

Coming Soon!

THE PREACHER AND THE SHOPKEEPER

Motivation VS Discipline

coffee-156144__340I’m just sitting here waiting for my second cup of coffee to magically move from the kitchen counter, where I left it, to my office, where I’m too lazy to get up and go get it. Maybe if I see hubby going that way…

mission-3568221__340Here’s a thought. Totally random. I remember when a friend and I went to a writer’s conference where we listened to two motivational speakers. One was very interesting, the other, meh. Anyway, we all left the room pumped up after the one particular guy’s presentation. Yeah, we’re gonna do this! Wow, wasn’t he good? Man, am I amped up. Woo-hoo!

image.pngBut what it all amounted to, come to think of it, was getting our psychological balloons inflated with hot air. Then, when the rah-rah-rah wore off, we were in the same boat as before. We all wanted success, and it was nice to hear about his series of lucky breaks, how pieces fell into place, and the stars lined up to create stair-steps to the pinnacle of literary fame.

So why’d I bring this up, anyway? I dunno. The coffee’s still in the kitchen. I want it. Bad. I know how good it’ll feel to have it. To wrap my hands around my favorite mug, feel the warmth penetrating the ceramic shell, making my skin feel wonderful. The anticipation and want-to is there.

I’m motivated!

But I’m not disciplined.

Where are all “Disciplinal” speakers? Do they exist? Or, maybe they’re just too busy “doing” to put down their hoes, wrenches, and battle gear to get on stage and give a talk to us lazy, undisciplined, deflated slugs?

Man, I really, really want that coffee.

Rant over. As you were.divider-36856_960_720

Click HERE to visit me and my books on Amazon.

Book collage

 

Hotdogs and Beans

 

A silly tale of childhood woes…

shopping cart
Shopping cart, AKA, “the wheeler.”

When I was a kid, we ate hotdogs and beans for supper every single Thursday night. It was a ritual. Mom would come home from work, we’d eat our quick meal, and then she, my two brothers and I, would go grocery shopping at the A&P on 149th Street near St. Ann’s Avenue.

We lived on the fourth floor of a South Bronx apartment building, and the A&P was two and a half blocks away. We’d drag our empty “wheeler” to the store and drag it back, full to the brim. Six brown paper bagfuls of groceries sat snuggly in the basket with the top two sticking over the brim. Often, one or two of us would have to carry additional bags.

One of the problems with our Thursday pilgrimage to A&P was that we had to pass a couple of buildings where several boys from my school lived. I dreaded it. To top it off, I had a major crush on one of them.

My junior-high self was extremely self-conscious. It stressed me out. Oh, the things that went through my mind. Was I walking funny? Should I say hi or pretend I didn’t see them? Had I put on enough Clearasil to hide my blemishes? Were they talking about me behind my back after I passed, or were they simply carrying on with their conversations?

commode-2028556_1280.pngThen, one Thursday, it happed. Yes, IT.  The thing I feared most… To be laughed at and humiliated. By my crush and his cohorts. The source of my humiliation and torment? Toilet paper. A huge package.  Smack-dab on the top of the wheeler, sticking out of a paper bag for all the world to see.

cat-1816646_1920.jpgPoint and laugh. The boys went full-bore junior-high on me, and it didn’t stop on the street that day. For them, there was something insanely funny about toilet paper. I was mortified. They knew. I was outed. The cat was out of the proverbial bag. My family and I… gulp… used toilet paper.

It made perfect sense – back then, when personal things were, well…personal.  Back then, things like “lady” products were wrapped with brown paper, anything that had to do with “the bedroom” was kept behind the pharmacy counter or at least hidden on a remote aisle, and TV commercials didn’t flaunt remedies for people’s personal problems.

Can I be perfectly honest? For many years – yes, into my adulthood – I wouldn’t throw a package of toilet paper into my shopping cart unless I already had enough items to bury it under. And, I wouldn’t grab a package off the shelf if anyone else was in the same aisle.

There is no moral to this story.

I still buy toilet paper, and it doesn’t embarrass me any more.

As for eating hotdogs and beans? Yeah. Okay. Once in a while.

But never on a Thursday.

 

 

 

Lessons from Babysitting an Old, Blind Dog

IMG_0178
Killer, the geriatric miniature dachsund.

My eldest son was going on vacation for ten days.

“Can you watch our dogs?” he texted, knowing full well I’d say yes. Hubby and I had watched his three dogs the last few times he and his family had gone away. It saved him a chunk of change, gave him peace of mind, and gave us a way to bless him and his family. What kind of dogs, you ask? A dachshund, pug, and a chihuahua.

Back and forth, twice a day. That’s how we usually cared for the dogs. I usually took the morning shift, going over to my son’s house to feed, water, and let the dogs out, and hubby took the evening shift and did the same.

This time was different. Killer – the geriatric miniature dachsund – required a little more TLC than last time we’d kept him. Blind – or nearly so – he gets stuck in corners, confused at intersections where walls meet, and has trouble getting his feet under him when he first wakes up. We decided that he’d stay with us for the ten days.

Geriatric care is no laughing matter, even with pets. It grieves my heart to see Killer, a once-proud, Napoleonic figure who thought he ruled the roost, reduced to this frail state where his back legs don’t always obey his command to stand erect and walk.

So, what lessons have I learned by taking care of this old, feeble, incontinent dachshund?

Patience, for one.IMG_0176

Killer can’t fight the hand he was dealt. Age has caught up with him as it will with ALL of us.

Forbearance.

Accepting the facts without negative emotional responses. He can’t help it when he has accidents. Probably doesn’t even know it’s happening.

Love.

Cuddling him during these waning days, giving him pets and kisses, and being thankful for the fifteen or sixteen years he’s been part of the family.

The need to be loved doesn’t expire at a certain age. It carries over into the years when we’re no longer cute, vivacious, witty, and strong. The need to be loved begs for fulfillment. “Somebody, please love me.”

I’ll try to remember these lessons when I grow impatient with the elderly who take longer to pay the cashier, drive twenty-miles-per hour no matter the speed limit, or when I have to repeat myself several times before they hear what I’m saying.

The Rolling Stones once had a hit song that began with, “What a drag it is getting old.” Yes, Mick Jagger…

I agree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Refuge for Rosanna

Picture1

Twenty-two-year-old Rosanna Cabot is not your typical London socialite. Strictly opposed to the customary “marriage mart” where young women are pushed into arranged marriages by their parents or other adult caregivers, Rosanna uses her inheritance to purchace Honor’s Point, a luxurious home  set upon acres of glorious property and uses it as her personal refuge. Not only that, she also hopes to open her home to other ladies who are also put off by the expectation of marrying for anything other than love.

Self-sufficient, Rosanna doesn’t see the need to pursue marriage. But strong opinions on the subject get thrown into a tizzy when she meets a handsome and mysterious neighbor, Lord Peter Winstead.

Both Rosanna and Peter have pasts to deal with and obstacles to overcome before they can clearly map out their futures.  The road ahead is bumpy. And dangerous.

buy-on-amazon

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 11.03.43 AM
Book One of the Honor’s Point series

 

Susan Karsten

About Susan Karsten

Susan Karsten lives in a small Wisconsin town, is the wife of a real estate broker and mother of three, mother-in-law to two, and grandma to three. Her hobbies include fitness (mostly jogging with her friend, Sandy and her friend’s dog, Millie), quilting (definitely taking a back seat to writing), and reading.
Her love for writing developed while in college where she earned a BS degree in Home Economics, with a minor in Speech.
Having home-schooled her children, and with child-rearing days at an end, Susan now invests time in writing fiction. Under contract for her three-book Regency historical romance series, and a Regency novella, she expects book #2 to be released in July, 2019. Her agent is currently marketing Susan’s first cozy mystery to publishers. Her personal blog can be found at Graciouswoman.wordpress.com, and find her on facebook at Susan Karsten – Author.