My husband called from work and said there was a starving cat in the parking lot, and he felt bad for it. For several days, the cat waited for someone to come out, would rub on their legs, and beg. We decided he would take it to our vet and find her a new home. I went to pick her up and pay. The vet brought her out, and I was mortified. She was like petting a skeleton. Her hair was a weird brownish color with some flaky stuff in it. One ear was pointed in the wrong direction. Honestly I was a little grossed out, and I'm a cat lover. The vet said she was about a year old and weighed only four pounds. She couldn't be spayed yet because she was too small and sick.
They put her in a cardboard box, and I nervously drove home. What had we gotten into?
By the time I made the fifteen minute drive home, she had eaten her way out of the box and had an accident :(
She lived in our spacious guest bathroom away from our other two cats for her safety and theirs. She had a parasite and severe ear infection. She lay on a new bed I bought for her, only getting up when we petted her, then she would eat a few bites of food. We treated the illness for over a month and loved on her. She finally gained enough weight to be spayed. She still needed ear medication and antibiotics, though. More love, food, and healing.
Then she started making a real progress. She became a pig, eating constantly. We began letting her out into the house, supervising around the other cats and our dog. She discovered the dog's food and still eats it, as well as her cat food. She climbs on absolutely everything and plays like she's a kitten now.
We were going to find a home for her, but as long as she doesn't hurt the cats we already have, we've decided to let her stay.
We've called her stray kitty, scrappy, and itty-bitty kitty, none of which really seems like a permanent name.
Want to help us find the perfect name? Leave a suggestion in the comments. Someone will win a code for the new Audible version of Leaving Oxford! (Void where prohibited. Winner announced 11-20-17.)
Leaving Oxford is now on Audible! This is my sweet narrator Naomi Karez who I only knew through email. Though I was sorry her family had to evacuate during Hurricane Irma, I was blessed that they ended up just fifteen minutes away from my house. Before I get into that story, HERE ARE THE EXCITING DEALS!
I'm giving away one free Audible code for the audio version of Leaving Oxford to someone who comments on this blog!
My novel Blown Together is completely free to anyone right now as an Amazon eBook! GET FREE eBOOK HERE https://www.amazon.com/Blown-Together-Southern-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B01M12YBAO/
And Tackling the Fields is only 99 cents, so basically you can get the whole 4-book Southern Hearts series for a fantastic deal!!
So now, hear from Naomi about their journey during Hurricane Irma:
After living in Florida for almost four years, Irma will have been our first hurricane. As the storm was approaching we were making our final preparations and boarding up our windows. All the hardware stores had completely run out of plywood and materials for boarding up, so we scraped together anything we could find assembling a puzzle for each window and bracing our lanai doors with the ping pong table (my husband is a tennis pro, this is a “must have”), maybe not the best idea. Thankfully in the end it proved effective!
We were planning to ride out the storm until it took a shift to the west, placing us in its direct path. After hearing that we needed to evacuate by 1pm we began packing in a hurry. We had an hour and a half to pack up our family, important items, and hit the road. We made it! All loaded up, 3 kids, a miniature zoo, and our guitars. All we needed then was a Volkswagen bus.
Making our way north, my father in law kindly helped us look for any possible vacancies that would allow pets. The kind of pets that include 2 dogs, a guinea pig, and a fish. North Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama were completely full. Finally he called us and told us he found a vacancy in Brandon, Mississippi. After juggling the ideas of camping in Georgia (that was ruled out in case the storm headed that way), and going out West to stay with my sister, we booked the hotel in Brandon. Lo and behold, Janet Ferguson lives in the area. It was a long journey through traffic but everyone did so well. We were truly blessed!
I had been keeping in touch with Janet who wanted to make sure we were safe. When she found out we landed near her home town she didn’t hesitate to visit. She was so sweet, she and her husband came to where we were staying, brought us gift cards and loads of ideas of fun things to do during our stay in Mississippi. We spent another day with her during our short time there and attended her church Sunday morning. I must say I am thankful there were no closer vacancies. It was such a joy to meet Janet and her husband, we will always treasure it!
I will treasure the time, too! Naomi has such an adorable Christian family, and if you like audio books, I hope you will give her a try! I think she has an amazing voice! Here's the purchase link:
Leave a comment by 10-19-2007 to be in the Audible code drawing (void where prohibited).
Schedule for Magnolia Storms signings:
September 16th Bay Window Books, Brandon, MS 1-3
September 20th at the CRAVE HIM! Event in Southlake, Texas
September 21-23 Marketplace ACFW Conference at the Gaylord Hotel, Grapevine, Texas
October 6 Page & Pallette, Fairhope, AL 6-8
October 23 Mendenhall Library, Mendenhall, MS 5:30
October 28 1-3 Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS 1-3
November 4th Barnes & Noble, Jackson, MS 1-3
I hope to see you! Thank you for your kind encouragement!
Preorder the eBook by 9-14 for only 2.99! Amazon Nook Kobo iBooks Google Play
Paperbacks coming to Bay Window Books Lemuria Square Books Pass Christian Books Amazon
I had no idea when I wrote this novel that the release would coincide with the monster storms battering our country, but I believe in God's timing. I pray for those affected and hope they will be encouraged by my little story.
My father lived to be ninety-four years old. During those last years, his short-term memory eroded. While he could still do math, remember names and directions, he often couldn’t think of what to say in ordinary conversation. When he did think of something, with no short-term memory, he repeated the question or statement many times.
Something like, “Did I tell you the story about getting that grandfather clock from the old post office in Cold Water, Mississippi?” -- times ten. Other times simple requests such as, “Have you seen my wallet?” came over and over. Sadly, the last few months he asked, “Is Helen really gone?” That would have been a nice one for him to forget, perhaps.
It must’ve been isolating not being able to pull information forward and interact with others. As I’m over fifty now, I already struggle to locate the appropriate word or response, at times. I can only imagine how bad I will be if I make it another forty years!
There are two repetitive vocalizations I really miss about my father, though. One was, when he asked how old he was and found out it was in the ninety-year range, he always said, “The good Lord’s been good to me, letting me live this long.” The other thing he repeated was singing hymns. Well, mostly one hymn in particular, “How Great Thou Art.”
In the car, on the way to the doctor’s office, he’d sort of randomly ask, “Do y’all want to sing ‘How Great Thou Art’ with me?” What can you say to that, but yes? It was so sweet. We sang the song at his request in the car, in his room, and he even sang the hymn to at least one of his doctors.
No one in the family who was around my father those last years will ever hear “How Great Thou Art” and not think of him. Of course, we sang it at Daddy’s funeral. The thing is when I’m old-er, and my mind starts to go, I hope I remember to sing hymns. Or even just one hymn. Like my father.
Do you have a favorite hymn?
There are a few monumental days that divide our lives. Some are happy—a marriage or the birth of a child. Others are horrifying—that knock on the door or that phone call with bad news—the death of a spouse, child, or parent. There are days when we remember exactly where we were when something horrific happened—September 11, the Challenger explosion, a president being shot.
August 29, 2005.
Hurricane Katrina was a horrifying day that divided the lives of most Mississippians. The destruction and loss was staggering.
Though my home is three hours inland, Katrina’s storm winds still howled and moaned for hours, uprooting trees in every yard in my neighborhood, many of them crashing on rooftops. We had no power or phone service for a week, which was nothing compared to what happened south of us. I had dear friends from the Coast, and for weeks on weeks, I had no idea whether they were safe, due to the damage to communications infrastructure. The storm hit in August and caused the Gulf to surge up to twenty-seven feet in places.
Six months later, I traveled with a rebuilding team to hang sheetrock. The surreal mutilation of the landscape I witnessed, even months afterward, is forever branded onto my mind. No street signs, no landmarks, food still being served by members of churches under tents, because there was nowhere else to get it. I’ve done my best to honor the people who lost so much in this disaster.
This book is dedicated to my friends and all the Mississippians who went through the devastation that was Hurricane Katrina.
A Coastal Hearts Novel
Janet W. Ferguson
Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.
The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.
Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?
Preorder the eBook at Amazon for 2.99. More venues to follow--stay tuned!
"Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Additionally, women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims, the report states."
I researched human trafficking for a small thread of this story. Trafficking is in our communities, and it's appalling.
Though Tackling the Fields deals with tough issues, it is a clean story--a story of grace and healing, so don't be afraid to read it.
It's free on Amazon July 30th to bring awareness.
I'm super excited about my interview (via email) with one of my heroines of the faith, Francine Rivers! It will post July 11th on Inspy Romance with an eBook giveaway of one of Francine's books!
Also, check out the interview with my quirky heroine, Elinor, from Blown Together on Faithfully Bookish with an eBook giveaway of Blown Together!
Mississippi Book Festival!
Saturday August 19
Author Alley near Mississippi State Capital in Jackson
I will have a booth where I will have all four of my books available, and I will sign books all day :) Come by, and say hello!
CRAVE HIM! Christian Readers & Authors Fellowship
I'm looking forward to this fun event in the Dallas area where readers & authors of Christian fiction will hang out and worship! If you are interested in attending, you can find out more on the website cravehim.com
Or the Facebook Group. We're having an open house Facebook party July 11 with prizes where you can learn more. https://www.facebook.com/events/1562843720435033/
Stop by even if you can't go to Dallas (for prizes)!
Also in the Dallas area-
2017 ACFW MARKETPLACEOur venue in the Gaylord Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas
This is the premiere Christian fiction writer conference, and many authors will be at the Gaylord. I will have a table with author bestselling author Misty Beller where will sing books. Other authors will have tables, as well.
TENTATIVE TIMES Of MARKETPLACE HOURS
*Thursday, September 21st: 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm
*Friday, September 22nd: 9:30 am - 11:45 am and 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
*Saturday, September 23rd: 9:30 am - 12:15 pm and 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm
One last bit of news:
I'm editing my next book Magnolia Storms, set in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. I hope to have preorder details next month if all goes well!
Thank you for your support and encouragement!
This week only, book 4 of the Southern Hearts Series is on sale for only 99 cents!!
This romantic comedy was my favorite story to write, and it's set in Mobile, Alabama, and Fort Morgan.
I've written about the Alabama beaches-
but I thought I'd share a little about Mobile.
The city is an active port, situated where the Mobile River meets Mobile Bay, and is connected to much of the country via the Tennessee Tombigbee waterway, which is heavily traveled by tugs pushing barges loaded with cargo to and from the port to inland ports up north.
Kids love touring the USS Alabama. Our son's Cub Scout group made a trip down to spend the night on the battle ship.
A word of warning about the port, cover your head when the sea gulls fly over. I had the unfortunate misfortune of being bombed once and have harbored a bit of ill will toward the creatures ever since. The experience comes out in the novel with a character, of course.
Another fun thing, you may not know is that Mardi Gras was observed for the first time in the New World in the 1700s in Mobile. You can tour the Mobile Carnival Museum to learn the history of the celebration.
You may also enjoy touring the historic homes. Each spring they have a two-day pilgrimage, often with Azalea Trail Maids, dressed in extravagant antebellum-style attire there to greet you.
There are beautiful flowers in the area. Growing up, my family enjoyed stopping in to tour Bellingrath Gardens.
There are plenty of places to fish and boat and relax with the Mobile Bay and the Dog River nearby, and lots of seafood restaurants to enjoy.
If that's not enough, you can drive down to Dauphin Island and/or take the ferry over to Fort Morgan for the beach :)
I hope you enjoy the story! I'd love to hear your thoughts on Blown Together! Reviews are always appreciated, as well, if you liked the novel!
Alzheimer's is a disease that ravages the patient, but it also takes a huge toll on the family. Occasionally, I've heard people say they don't visit a loved one who has Alzheimer's because their family member no longer recognizes them, and it's too painful to see their mother-father-grandparent-aunt like that.
My beautiful mother suffered from this incurable illness.
During the last few months of her life, we often weren’t sure whether she recognized us, or whether she even realized we were visiting her. But we came anyway.
One evening, I was about to leave after having been there several hours, and she looked up and said, as clear as ever, “Oh, Janet, you came.” Suddenly, some hidden place in her devastated mind had connected, and she knew me. She knew I was there.
Another afternoon, only a couple of weeks before her death, a group of our family brought a cake for her and my father’s birthdays. My father loved old hymns, so we sang a few songs there in the nursing home. We come from an acapella tradition, and we easily fell into four-part harmony. Mother perked up and quietly asked if the church was having a singing service. She'd connected with the familiar music.
And one of the last days that I was privileged to spend with her, she was barely eating, according to the nurses. I sat beside her most of the afternoon and rolled her crumpled body to the dining room for supper. Gently, I rubbed her arms and back. I spoon-fed her Jell-O and soft foods from her plate. She ate the small bites that I offered, and declared, “This is delicious.” Once she finished, she struggled to lift her head with those weakened muscles for just a second and spoke. Her words etched into my heart.
A simple phrase. “I like you.”
In that moment, she no longer knew I was her daughter, her baby girl that she'd raised. She no longer knew me at all. But what she did know, and what mattered was, that I cared. I was kind to her. She wasn’t alone for a moment in her scary, disappearing world.
So though, she didn’t know me, my mother liked me. And that was more than enough.
Welcome to my new subscribers! You've signed up at a great time. One year ago, my debut novel Leaving Oxford released! I'm celebrating the great year and journey by offering the Kindle eBook for free April 15-19! For my loyal friends who've been with me for a while now, it's a good time to let a friend know about the book!
I've recently acquired several hundred new subscribers, so bear with me as I introduce myself. I'm Janet W. Ferguson, a Christian author who lives life in the real world with real problems. I don't live a perfect life or have all the answers. I struggle with anxiety at times. I can be basically a mess some days (or a lot of days)---so I write stories about characters like me who have messy lives.
But what I cling to and what I offer in my writing is hope.
I try to add a bit a humor, too. I'm from the South, so that's where my stories are set.
Could you use a little hope or a laugh or two? If so, then travel down South with me, starting in Oxford, Mississippi.
Here's a link to the free eBook, and welcome!! Amazon
Praise for Leaving Oxford
4.5 Stars TOP PICK
The author expertly tackles the emotional gamut as her heroine struggles to overcome her panic attacks and attempt to start over. With deep poetic and inspiring prose, Ferguson brings forth a love story that will inspire and enrapt readers." -
Romantic Times Review
Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson