Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Cathy Elliott


It's my pleasure to have the delightful, Cathy Elliott as my guest today. We met many years ago at a writing conference. I've never forgotten her open, friendly personality and gentle spirit. Her story is special. I'm not surprised.  

Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer who lives in northern California. Her cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from quilting and antique collecting to playing her fiddle with friends.
She also leads music at church and cherishes time with her grandchildren.

Cathy’s other plot-twisting works include Medals in the Attic and A Vase of Mistaken Identity.

Website & Occasional Blog - www.cathyelliottbooks.com
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/cathyelliott10/
Facebook – Author Cathy Elliott cathyelliottbooks.com


Unexpected Healing:

When folks ask me, “Why do you write?” I tell them I write for joy.
     Now looking back, I can see another purpose for my writing. Yes, joy is a definite payback for every page of every story. But there is more.
     Thirteen years ago, my writing journey was new. I had just signed with an agent and was hard at work on my first novel, anticipating how God would bless my writer journey.
     A long weekend dawned and I had big plans. Mostly, plans to enjoy time off work while upping my word count ... after I slept late.
     At about 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, my phone rang, frightening me awake.
     “Hello?” I said, my voice groggy. Please let this be a wrong number!
     “Your dad won’t wake up. Can you come out?” My mother’s tone was tinged with desperation. “I don’t know what to do!”
     Thus began a very uncertain and emotional time for both of us. After a fall in the night that left him with a brain bleed, Daddy had to be hospitalized. We faced decisions about surgery, and later, witnessed a rehabilitation that didn’t take. It was a great deal for my mother to endure at her advanced age.
     Behind the scene, I fought my own selfish thoughts. Did this mean I must put aside my writing? How could I come alongside my mom when I was writing a book? All the doors that had opened for me seemed as if they must swing the opposite way now.
     After Daddy awoke from surgery, recognized me, and smiled his beautiful smile, I knew I could give up writing. My heart seemed to dance with the possibility of his return to health. Much might be required of me in this season, but I was so glad for more time with him. Whatever it took, I told myself, swallowing hard. I could do it!
     One day, I came home to a message flashing on my answering machine. “I have a publishing house interested in your manuscript. I know you were doing some rewrites, but can you finish fast?” my agent asked. “I want to send the proposal to them right away!”
     What? Interest from an editor in something I’d written? I knew then that God had not asked me to give up writing. I marveled at His kindness, wondering how quickly I could pull these rewrites together. I grabbed my computer to take with me and zoomed
out to pick up my mom for a visit with her sweetheart.
     After that, I took my laptop often when we went on our visits. I’d read emails to Daddy from family, then work a little on my book while he and Mother chatted together.
     Whenever we left the nursing home, we were overcome with sadness. Daddy seemed to be slipping backwards. To cope, mom read books I brought her from the library. I spent joyous time in Thea’s fictive world, writing my first book, A Vase of Mistaken Identity.
     And in the doing, I found healing.
     My dear Dad didn’t live long enough to see it published, but I mentioned him in the dedication, hoping he could see from heaven. I’m sure he had better things to do there, but I know he would have been proud, had he still been here.
     Years passed, I had another book published, and my mother became more and more frail, moving into an assisted living facility. Two years ago, she fell and broke her hip, starting her on a slow downward slide, never fully recovering. That October, her physician counseled me that it was time for Mother to go on hospice. She had lost that sparkle and wouldn’t eat, sleeping much of the time.
     I couldn’t bear the idea, but I knew the doctor was right. And so I filled out the paperwork and waited, trying to tempt her to eat, treasuring every moment in her company, and sad to my core.
     But God had a new plan. I got another call from my agent. The second adventure starring my dear little amateur sleuth, Thea James, had been sold to Abingdon Press as a part of their Quilts of Love series. I had another book to write. A sweet diversion to think
about and to enjoy as I walked alongside my mother in her final journey.
     Again, Thea made me laugh with her crazy antics as she pulled me into her world. I couldn’t stay sad for long. When Mother’s journey was so hard for us both, I could delight in Thea’s British War-Bride Gram and her bumbling ways. When my mom was
sleeping through our visits, I could have an inner chat with Thea and she with me. I plotted her adventures and devised how my clumsy protagonist might stumble out of another scrape. And again in the writing, there was healing for my wounded heart.
     Then, in the middle of what seemed our last days together, my mother began to awaken. She started to eat again, talk to the caregivers, and smile her beautiful, blessing of a smile. Her health returned and to everyone’s amazement, she graduated off hospice
and lived well enough for another two years.
     On this section of the journey, as before, God provided opportunities for me to write about Thea and company, in the form of a book contract. Then, while I found joy and healing in the doing of the thing, He gently healed Mother, too, giving her more time to
cast her sweetness about. And giving me more precious time with her.
     How glad I am that God gave me Thea and her stories to write during those difficult times. It truly gave me great joy. And the unexpected blessing of healing.


A Stitch in Crime
Free to one of you.




  Thea James thought working as co-chair for Larkindale's first quilt show extravaganza would be a natural extension of her antique business. But while organizing the busy week's premiere events would make anyone frayed, she doesn't expect a complete unraveling!
   At the opening soiree, local matriarch Mary-Alice Wentworth is knocked unconscious and robbed of her diamond brooch. Soon a rare quilt - the main attraction and a rumored key to great riches - goes missing. Those who signed up to help Thea are strangely no help at all. What more could possibly happen?
   Amid a cast of colorful characters and a tight schedule of garden galas, tea parties, and televised socials, everything is falling apart at the seams - and nothing is quite what it seems. Can Thea sew everything back together?


"...Fans of inspirational fiction will enjoy the funny, feel-good whodunit."
Publishers Weekly Review - November 7, 2014

“…There is mystery and laughter, and Elliott’s characters are strong, confident and
determined to make their mark….Fans will want to add this gem to their keeper shelf.”
RT 4-Star Review November 12, 2014


This sounds like a fun, fabulous story, Cathy! Thanks for being my guest.

If you'd like to be included in a drawing to win a FREE copy of A Stitch in Crime leave a comment. Please include your email address so Cathy can contact the winner.

Last week's winner of Nancy Mehl's book, Deadly Echoes is ...
Loraine Nunley! Congratulations!

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie




  

10 comments:

  1. I do love quilting.. Thanks for letting me get to know you better. I'd love to read one of you books. thanks for gifting one for the giveaway :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. My pleasure to donate a book. Good luck, Deanna. Nice to meet a fellow quilter. And thanks for dropping by....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm sure I would enjoy reading this author's books. I will be watching for them.Thank you for sharing with me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can promise you that you will love every page of Cathy's books. Not only is she a wonderful author, she is a kind hearted, good person!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! This sounds like my kind of book. I love a good mystery!

    mo1202007@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. You folks are so encouraging! Thanks for the kind comments...AND the interest in A Stitch in Crime. Hope you win. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Cathy!!!! I told you I liked the sound of your book, so here I am. :)

    Happy Trails,
    Crystal L Barnes

    booksbybarnes[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I forgot my addy :)
    dkstevensneAT outlookD OtCo M
    Love the cover :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous3:59 PM


    Hi Cathy. It definitely is hard to deal with losing our parents. I wasn't with my daddy when he passed for he had made a trip to another state to visit a sister. Then he had a heart attack.
    But GOD blessed me by giving me the four last days of mother's life being with her. She had been in the hospital too often and the last time I told my boss and my husband we had to go. So, packed and left the next day. She was living with a sister then. While there another sister and a brother unexpectedly showed up. So, she got to be with 4 of her children for a few days before GOD took her home. A great blessing for all of us. GOD does take care of us. I would love to be the winner of your book. Thanks for the give-away. Thanks Bonnie for having Cathy here.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis