Category Archives: Holiday

Easter Give Away ~ Harmful Intent


Spring is in the air. Easter is right around the corner. The most profound celebration of the Christian Church. It’s a time of deep reverence and immense joy.

I’d like to fill your Easter basket with a giveaway. The best comment will receive a Kindle copy of HARMFUL INTENT.

First let me share the most important story of all…that of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Luke 24New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Resurrection

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has [a]risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared [b]to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings [c]only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.


To win a Kindle Copy of HARMFUL INTENT, leave a comment. Below is a synopsis of this detective story.

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Happy Easter

cross, daffodill



Deep Emotional Pain ~ can create soul wounds


Intense emotional pain often isolates us. In our society today , which demands an absence of paint and a totally unrealistic demand for ‘safe spaces’, we might not even want to admit our pain to others. Some respond with anger as a way of fending off pain they feel entitled not to have. Both of these responses isolate us from others.

I’m a seasoned citizen and at my ripe, and I hope, discerning age, I’ve met people who have had real emotional wounds inflicted on them by others. They’ve been sexually abused, which is akin to murder of the psyche, except the victim must go on living. They grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic or drug addict who destroyed everything that was meaningful and good in the family. A parent, or parents abandoned them when they were young. They or a loved one was severely physically injured by the actions of another; or a loved one was murdered or committed suicide. These types of situations cause real, deep emotional pain and often result in lasting soul wounds…damage to the psyche. And, of course, there are other situations, just as emotionally devastating.

I’m talking here to people with real, obvious, deep emotional pain. It is plain to see the world is corrupted by sin. Even the nonreligious will admit this. Jesus said that we would have suffering int this life, in this world.

 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 [NASB]

Over the years, I’ve talked to folks who have had real, deep emotional pain inflicted upon them by others or by life situations. They’re pain is very real. The inciting incident was not imaginary. It did happen. Their family member was maimed or killed by a drunk driver. Their husband did cheat on them and remove all funds from their joint account before filing for divorce. Yes, the pain is very real. But, what I’ve learned is that way down at the bottom of it, shame is attached. People think: if I had been worthy I wouldn’t have been put up for adoption; there was something flawed about me that made him sexually abuse me and in fact he told me exactly that over-and-over.

This attached shame prevents the injured one from sharing with others, or even if they do share intellectually, on an emotional level they continue to condemn themselves. This self-condemnation is a killer. It binds people in heavy emotional chains. What is needed, in my humble opinion, is a total transformation of the mind away from condemnation. Self-condemnation and condemnation of others is a soul killer. No matter who you condemn, yourself or others, you’re destroying your own soul’s health and destroying joy.

As a Christian, I turn to some of the great Christian teachers when I feel a case of self-condemnation or condemnation of others coming on. And I do, and have had cases of self-condemnation or condemnation of others. Of course I have. I’m human. At those times, I click away on my TV remote until I land on a Christian show featuring the teachings of Joyce Meyers, T.D. Jakes, Paul Daughtery, and many others. I personally find a good word for healing there.


What brought this article on was the passing, three weeks before Christmas, of my husband Joseph D. Chillemi. I, in my human limited mentality, thought this would be the worst Christmas ever. But the whisper of the spirit of Christmas, gently wrapped around me as if I were in swaddling clothes and kept me safe as a baby. It was Jesus,  coming to me as the baby Jesus, who I encountered…as hope, light, love. So, yes, I was in a state of deep soul searing pain, and yet, Christmas was all about love and joy for me. This year, I learned how the spirit of the Christmas season so often touches nonChristians. How is that possible I would experience this when in deep mourning? I have to chuckle here, because my God can do for His people two or more things at once. [a wee jest there] He invented multitasking.

And so, the Lord had me write this article about deep pain as a way to honor my husband.


Joseph D. Chillemi; July 30, 1951 – December 8, 2016; husband, father, son, friend, social worker


WAR OF THE HEART by Jenna Victoria ~ a review


On his deathbed, Louise Martin’s farther insists she must go to England after he’s gone and clear the family name. Her grandfather fled London and sailed to America during World War II when wrongfully accused of stealing a royal brooch.

Louise arrives at a particular bed & breakfast in London she’s been drawn to and discovers it’s double booked. The B&B’s manager, George Walker, finds a dusty room for her on an upper floor. As Louise unpacks the family heirloom snow globe she brought with her, she realizes George has one exactly like it.When the two snow globes inadvertently touch, both she and George are transported to London during Christmas week, 1940.

The author is masterful at weaving in historical details of the London blitz as well as British customs of that era. Louise and George must don period clothing and try to fit in on the streets of that bombed out city. If you’re a fan of authentic British characterization you’ll love WAR OF THE HEART. Along the way, they meet Brits with the proverbial stiff upper lip, as well as discovering London’s darker side and meeting miscreants.

This is an elegant historical romance with just the right amount of suspense. I highly recommend this story.



Find Over-50 Romance in a Whodunit ~ pre-Christmas sale


Bertha and Hoot Dagney are perhaps the most beloved characters in my detective series, other than main characters private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels and deputy Dawson Hughes.

Bertha  brings to mind the old classic war movie saying Big Bertha. She’s a head taller than Hoot and outweighs him by half. When we meet Hoot in the tiny village of Arroyo in west Texas, he’s sporting a beat-up prospector’s hat and has a beard reminiscent of Gabby Hayes. They’re an odd couple for sure. Hoot owns a diner and Bertha is his head waitress and chief pie baker. Bertha is one of those Christian women who is genuinely kind, from the heart. And Hoot is protective of her.

So, what’s award winning HARMFUL INTENT all about?

Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully. (Ages 17 to 117)

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie is a sharp shooting, Brooklyn born and raised private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.


Grace Award 2014 inMystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historic Suspense

readers-favorite-5-starsReader’s Favorite 5-Star Review



A Memorial Day Poem ~ the story behind it

Memorial Day 1

Jean Browder had been looking for a Memorial Day poem to read at her church service. She saw the title of this one listed among many poems for the holiday and it touched her. She clicked on it and was amazed to discover her son had written it.


We Never Forget by Mitchell Browder (written on Memorial Day 2001 after a visit to the American Cemetery and War Memorial in Florence, Italy)


Brothers and Sisters at rest
we never forget
the gift you give
we still receive how could you know
so young
that your battle
at all cost
must be won Brothers and Sisters at rest
may we, in your eyes
pass your test
and one day, with honor
join your ranks
Memorial Day 2
Memorial Day 3

Don’t forget prisoners of war. They have  not all been military in a war on terror, and in previous wars. We have and have had journalists taken, medical personnel, missionaries, civilians…

Memorial Day 4
Memorial Day 6

Rolling Thunder

Memorial Day 8

Veteran Suicide

Memorial Day 7

Let’s not forget the first responders (police, firefighters, EMS, equine and canine in the field. We’re losing them at an alarming rate too.



Remembering Mom and Grandma ~ on Mother’s Day

Grandma, Grandpa, Family

I’ve got tons of snap shots of my mom, her mother, and my father’s mom, but nothing digital except this one. I wouldn’t have this photo if my cousin Bruce hadn’t sent it to me a few years ago.

My mom, Helen N. Navor, is the second from the left in the first row. My grandmother, Catherine Novogrodsky, naturally sits in the center.

Thinking of them all on Mother’s Day.


Christmas Cheer ~ it’s spreadable

Xmas Angel


Christmas cheer means different things to different people, but usually has a “spreading it” connotation. Wanting to spread happiness and joy, for so many, goes hand in hand with the Christmas season. It’s about making family, friends, associates, and even those we don’t know happy, doing nice things for others, having an overall joyous attitude and demeanor during this season.

Jesus exhorts His disciples to “be of good cheer” several times in the Bible. Using modern vernacular, we could say Jesus was spreading the message about the spiritual power that’s in being of good cheer.

I think all Christians have felt at one time or another they were sinking, that they could not rise above the waves or get through the storms of life. The Bible tells us Jesus walked on the water, which basically freaked the disciples out. Their imaginations ran wild thinking a ghost was about to set upon them in the midst of the storm. Matthew 14:26-27 [KJV] ~ 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. How on earth could they be of good cheer? They’re boat was about sink in the storm? Yet, Jesus didn’t say to them, “Row harder,” or “Turn the boat eastward.” He said “be of good cheer” and “be not afraid.” Deciding to be of good cheer no matter what the circumstances is the spiritual act of making a firm internal commitment to God and to ourselves. I suspect that once we get into the good cheer mode, it’s a lot easier to ‘be not afraid’. It’s fear that often paralyzes us.

Have you noticed how angry people are today? I sometimes wonder why so many people have anger as their default. Don’t they want to be happy? Why wouldn’t they want to be happy? It’s a mystery to me, but I suspect they have a wrong assumption about life. We’re all going to have troubles in life and some people feel they’re so special that they shouldn’t have those troubles. It’s kind an overall, pervasive societal notion that things should be made easier, noncompetitive, less harsh. The reality is life is tough and harsh many times. They can protest and erect a physical a safe zone on campus, but they can’t create a safe zone in life. Ain’t gonna happen.

For Christians there is a safe zone. We are a peculiar people, set apart. We live in a kind of “Jesus bubble” and in that bubble (call it the Blessing, the favor of God, or the grace of God, if you will) we are sheltered from life’s storms. However, we do have spiritual guidelines so that we don’t walk out of this spiritual safe zone. We are called to love God, self, and others. We’re called to be of good cheer and to have joy, among other things. These are not mere emotions, they are dynamic spiritual forces that dispel fear.We’re called to spread this fear-breaking joy and cheer around…not to hide our light under a bushel. red bowSomething of historical interest from the American White House at Christmas, which traditionally has been used by First Families to spread cheer, joy, and even courage in the nation, especially in times of trouble.

White House Front Gate

White House Front Gate

In 1958 Mamie Eisenhower had 27 decorated Christmas trees in the White House. In 1961, First Lady Jackie Kennedy began the tradition of selecting a theme for the main White House Christmas Tree. Since the early 1970s the White House has included an enormous gingerbread house as part of it’s Christmas decor. In 1971, under Pat Nixon’s direction the confection was an A-Frame. Under Betty Ford’s direction in 1975, to honor America’s upcoming bicentennial celebration, the National Christmas Tree was decorated with 4,600 red, white, and blue ornaments. On the top of the 45-foot blue spruce sat a 4-foot gold and green replica of the Liberty Bell, donated by General Electric. The hostage crisis in Iran dominated the holiday celebrations of 1979 and 1980. In 1979 Rosalyn Carter’s National Christmas Tree and 50 surrounding trees each showed but a single light, one for each of the hostages. The other lights on the trees would be turned on when the hostages were released. But the following year the hostages were still in Iran. The Carters turned on the Christmas tree lights that year for 141 seconds. One second for each day the hostages had been held. For seven of the eight Christmases Nancy Reagan was in  the White House she arranged for residents of the drug treatment program in Virginian and Maryland Second Genesis to decorate the White House trees. In 1985, Second Gensis made 1,500 ornaments from holiday cards sent to President and Mrs. Reagan in 1984. In 1989, out of Barbara Bush’s concern for national literacy, the theme for Christmas presened a “Storybook Christmas”. The White House staff created figures of famous storybook characters such as Peter Pan, Curious George, and Alice in Wonderland, and underneath the trees were books tied up with red bows. In 1993 renown American quilting artisans contributed squares at Mrs. Clinton’s request to make a green velvet skirt for the White House tree.  In 2001, Laura Bush oversaw decorating the White House after the national tragedy of 9/11. The theme that year was ‘Home For The Holidays’. One highlight were scale models of all of the American presidents’ homes. The 18-foot White House Christmas Tree, which was grown in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, was decorated with hundreds of original ornaments depicting historic homes and places of worship throughout the United States. Michelle Obama’s 2015 theme is ‘A Timeless Tradition’. The decorations throughout the White House inspire visitors to celebrate long-held traditions while also creating new bow

Wishing you a blessed and merry pre-Christmas holiday season filled with joy, from the Crime Fictionista, who is on the road to greater greater cheer, gladness, laughter, and who hopes to spread this good cheer all year long.

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