Book Review: A Promise to Protect


Fall is here, nights are cooler. It’s time to light a fire in the fireplace, grab your favorite cup of hot tea or cocoa, and begin to read Patricia Bradley’s A Promise to Protect. You might want to make a pot of hot tea, because you aren’t going to be able to put this book down.

Full of action and suspense, A Promise to Protect will keep your nerves on high alert until the end of the book. Ms. Bradley has done a masterful job of developing the main plot and increasing the suspense and excitement with each chapter.

The main characters, Ben and Leigh, are “good people,” but flawed, as we all are. That’s why they remind us of someone we know-maybe even ourselves. As the story progresses, Ben and Leigh’s relationship grows and you will find yourself pulling for them as they face danger—and—love together.

This is the first book by Patricia Bradley that I’ve had the opportunity to read, but it definitely won’t be the last! I highly recommend A Promise to Protect.



I must confess: I totally missed the ball on this blog! It should have been posted this morning but life got in the way! My sincere apologies to Sandra Ardoin, author of The Yuletide Angel. I posted my review of the book several weeks ago; to make up for this oversight, I will post my review again before month’s end! Please enjoy the interview and pick up a copy of The Yuletide Angel today!

You spent a lot of years writing short stories for denominational publications. What made you take that turn to writing novels?

Off and on over the years, I tried my hand at writing novels. (I have several filed away in the dark places where failed stories go.) Every time, I’d get no more than fifty pages in when I believed God was telling me, “Not now.” In 2008, circumstances were such that I decided to try again to have a career as a novelist. This time, through various signs and successes, I felt God giving me the go-ahead. That’s when I learned that writing 1,000-word short stories and writing 80,000+-word novels were two totally different things. I spent the next few years in training—certainly not the quick career move I had envisioned. In 2012, I found an agent. Last spring, I signed a contract for my first longer project, The Yuletide Angel, a Christmas novella. In August, I signed a contract for my first novel-length project, A Reluctant Melody.

What is something you hope to accomplish through your writing?

I have a number of things I would like to accomplish. First, I’m a reader, so I know the types of stories that affect me on an emotional level. I want to create that same type of emotional experience in my readers. I want to get their hearts pumping, their eyes watering. I want to make them laugh out loud and look forward to the next story.

Second, while I believe in the Great Commission, spreading the gospel to strangers one-on-one and in person is not my strong point. I look at my writing as a mission, a way of getting that word across, but I think my stories tend to be geared more toward Christians. I hope they’ll find something they can use to strengthen their own faith.

Third, what I do is a business. Even if a writer feels “called” to write for the Christian market, she still has an obligation to the publisher to market the book and try her best to make it a financial success.

What is your favorite social media outlet—the way you connect with people?

One of the ways writers stay in touch with readers is through social media. Most of us have a love/hate relationship with it. J While we enjoy interacting with others, especially our readers, it eats up a lot of writing time.

For pure interaction with family and non-writing friends, it has to be Facebook, because that’s where they are. Very few are on Twitter.

From a personal, relaxation standpoint, I like Pinterest. I love finding images that appeal to me. It’s a little like window-shopping. I don’t repin them all, but I enjoy looking. Lately, I haven’t had time to be on it much, though.

As a reader and writer, I like Goodreads. I would like to, and should, spend more time on it than I do, but I try to get there two or three times a week.

How do you spend your “off” time?

What time is that again?  I write all day Monday through Friday. I clean on Saturdays and sometimes write. Sundays, I’ll check emails, but I don’t write. Sunday afternoons are for football (Go Panthers!) and NASCAR, laundry and as many other relaxing activities as I have time for.

Tell us a little about your book. What is the theme? Who will it appeal to?

 Here is the back cover copy:

It’s Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor. 

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others. 

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh’s estranged brother shows up in town … and in Violet’s company. 

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.

In The Yuletide Angel, my characters deal with issues of forgiveness and pride. It’s a story that will appeal mainly to readers who enjoy stories set in times past, a little suspense, and sweet romance.

Ardoin - TYA Cover


Sandra Ardoin is a multi-published author of short fiction who writes inspirational historical romance. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, released this month. She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina.

Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter.

Sandra Ardoin_Headshot


A Lesson Learned from a Frustrating Day

This has been one of the most frustrating days of my life!

My husband, Dave, and I flew to Jacksonville yesterday for an appointment at The Mayo Clinic. The appointment was scheduled last May. Yes, almost six months ago–that’s how far in the future they are booking appointments.

Some of you know that Dave has suffered with several back and nerve issues. For the last six to seven years he has been in constant, unrelenting pain. He has seen orthopedic doctors, orthopedic surgeon, a spinal specialist at Emory Hospital, and two pain management doctors in Newnan. Not one doctor has been able to give him an absolute, definitive diagnosis, much less recommend a course of treatment. This appointment at Mayo was pretty much our last option.

When the appointment was scheduled, Dave was told to plan on being here two to three days. He would see different specialists, have any tests performed they felt necessary, and we’d have a recommended treatment plan presented to us before we left for home.

We saw the first doctor this morning who basically left us with the impression that a) he didn’t care about Dave’s case; and b) he really didn’t think Dave has a serious problem–if a problem at all. He had his nurse schedule Dave for a consultation with the pain management doctor here at Mayo. Naturally, we assumed it would be sometime this week. After all, that is what we were told. Right? Oh, no. Not at all. The appointment is for Tuesday, October 28. We are finished here for the week. But we’ve paid for the hotel room for three nights, flights tomorrow (Thursday) to Atlanta are full and some are overbooked (we fly standby) so we are staying here until Friday.

It was an incredibly frustrating situation that I allowed to really get to me and I complained for hours.

Finally, God had heard enough. He spoke softly, but with authority. “You think this has been a frustrating day? That you have it bad? This has been nothing. What about all the women you have seen with scarves covering their heads because they lost every single hair on their head during their chemo treatments? Or what about the young girl in Registration this morning whose legs were prostheses and whose hands were stumps? What about the wizened little man who joked and laughed with you, but his color and his body language says he’s losing his battle with cancer? These people are fighting the battle of their life while today’s situation for you was an inconvenience. It was a test and you failed completely.”

I was broken. Completely broken. I cried and asked for forgiveness and cried some more. How could I be so self-centered when there are people all around me, not only here at Mayo, but also in the world, who are suffering unimaginable diseases, abuse, poverty? How could I pass these people by without silently lifting a prayer for them, or reaching out and speaking, offering encouraging words? May I never reach this point of self-centeredness again.

God was gracious, as always, and extended mercy and forgiveness to me and I thank Him for that. But my prayer is that He will help me to always be aware of people around me, that He will even put people in my path and i will know beyond a shadow of doubt that the person and I have crossed paths for “such a time as this.”


An Open Letter to My Son Anthony Kyle Bond

My how time flies! As you grow older, Kyle, you will understand just what I mean. Someone said just last night that she believes a baby’s personality is established as they’re being born. I don’t know if that’s true for all babies as it was for you. You came into this world in your own timing—3 weeks late—and you’ve never gotten in a hurry for anyone or anything since then. Well, maybe the Marines.

But you still haKyle Elementary Schoold an opinion. There were things you liked and didn’t like growing up and you made that a well known fact.

You had some challenges growing up, especially during your teenage years. Again, you moved through those difficulties in                      your own way and in your own time and you came out a survivor and a strong young man.


Do you remember when we went to see “Saving Private Ryan” and we walked out of the theatre and I said to you, “Don’t ever                  come to me and tell me you’d enlisted in the service. I don’t want to hear it.” Just a few short years later, you brought home the Marine Recruiter and I knew, before you even told me, you were headed for the Marines. Two tours in Iraq and the entire time I lived with my stomach in knots and my heart pounding so loud I thought the world could hear it. Never has any mother been so glad to see a plane full of Marines land (the first tour) and a bus full of Marines (the second tour) pull into the parking lot! And never was any mother more proud of her son that I was of you! I was always thankful you came home and my heart broke for the mothers whose sons didn’t make it back.


You finished your tour in San Diego and moved to New Orleans for your final years as a Marine. And God had a surprise for          you there because Angela was waiting for you. She probably didn’t know it . . .



This afternoon, you will stand at the altar and watch as she comes down the aisle to meet you. And you thought you couldn’t love her more, but you will fall more deeply in love with her than you are now. There is a saying I want you to remember and apply it to your life with Angela: “Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”

Today my heart is bursting with pride. You have grown into the young man that every mother dreams of having. I am         so blessed that you are my son.



I love you,






Book Review: The Yuletide Angel Sandra Ardoin, Author

There is nothing better to put you in the holiday spirit than to read a book that takes place during the Christmas season. But you don’t have to wait until December to read a wonderful holiday novella.

The Yuletide Angel written by Sandra Ardoin, is a delightful story set during December, 1890. You will adore shy, timid Violet, and you will champion her because by the end of the story, she finds her true voice and becomes a woman of strength and dignity. And you will fall in love with Hugh who owns the grocery store in town, but all he wants to own is Violet’s heart.

This book is only 108 pages and I read it in just under two hours. But packed in those 108 pages is such encouragement, selflessness, giving spirits and loving hearts, that you will feel wonderful long after you finish reading The Yuletide Angel. And you will understand that this story—and the season–is all about giving to those in need.


The Yuletide Angel hits the bookstores in just a few days – October 15. I would encourage you to pre-order a copy because this book will not stay on the shelves very long. You can also get the book online or from the publisher at http://heritagebeaconfiction.com. And if you’d like to get to know Sandra better and find out more about this book, visit her website at http://sandraardoin.com.