Thank you to everyone who sent in a pet story. What great entertainment! The first ten stories are from the contest winners. Congratulations! But according to the contest judges, it wasn't easy to choose. I wish we could send you all a book! But I hope you take time to read and enjoy all the fabulous entries. Thanks again!

Today is November 1 and we woke up to 3-4 inches of snow! Two days ago it was sunny and in the 60's. The snow reminds me of a cute cat story about my now beautiful, deceased calico cat named Sunshine. Most cats do not like to get their feet wet. Well, she didn't mind at all. Our house is down in what is called a holler, so our driveway up to the mailbox is quite steep. One day my husband strapped cleats onto his shoes, put on a heavy coat, gloves and walked out of the garage. Sunshine was going with him, so she jumped each step into his footprints all the way up the driveway and back down - a funny and cute sight.

-Beverly DeBenedictis

The first Christmas after adopting a tuxedo kitty, she climbed into my Christmas tree. I heard a funny noise; and after peering into the tree, I let out a startled yell. Two piercing yellow eyes stared back at me! Tessie is a hoot, and my best furry cat friend.

-Laurel Taylor

I have a sweet Main Coon. We call him Mr. HoBo because he walked into our lives. Whenever Mr. HoBo gets shut into a room by accident he knocks gently at the door until we hear him and let him out. He's a real sweetheart.

-Shirley Chapel

During the first weeks after my daughter's traumatic brain injury, intense waves of dizziness sometimes stopped Jennifer in her tracks. Every time, Hooligan appeared out of nowhere and lay on her feet. When the wave passed, without a word or movement from Jennifer, he rose and left, his job done.

-Edie Sodowsky

In 3rd grade our cat had a litter of 5 kittens, and I chose a fluffy orange one as my own! In 5th grade he once followed me to school and disappeared! 2 years later, we were near my old school and my kitty ran up to me! Hooray!

-Aimee Gay

Jake, our ancient orange tabby, accessed the attic by jumping onto the washer, then the water heater, climbing garage shelving, finally balancing across open rafters. He always came down in reverse — until the night we awakened to the sound of the drop-down stairs slamming into the hallway floor.

-Karen R. Hessen

About 15 years ago, my son's cat, Sneaker, hitched a ride to a wedding a couple of hours away on top of the spare tire of our pickup. The spare was under the bed of the truck. When we stopped we could hear her meowing, it took a while to find her. She rode home much more comfortably in the cab.

-Janie Kessler

My Grandfather's Cat

The old man opened the door to feed the scraggly tailless cat. He spoke to the cat and stroked him. His eyes lit up as he described times gone by and of living on the farm. One day the cat never returned and my grandfather retreated into his Alzheimers.

-Pat Conrad

We have three cats. A young cat started visiting our yard this summer. My husband feeds and pets him making our indoor cats jealous. Twice two of them got out and chased him out of the yard. However, he chased them right back into the yard, surprising us all.

-Carolyn Gutierrez

My favorite dog story...

When our dog, Jake, was about a year old, I noticed that some throw pillows, a blanket and toys were missing. One day I heard paper shredding and went to investigate. Jake had created a 'man' cave behind a chair. He was busily shredding the book "Don't Shoot the Dog".


You can read the rest of the entries here.

The View From My Window

My Dream Team...

As I mentioned in my newsletter, I get letters from readers who say: "I'm your biggest fan." Is that you???

If so, you're in the right place. As I'm looking to this new year, I have some new ideas regarding my career. But they're the kind of ideas that need the help of a team--a DREAM TEAM! Actually, it's something I've been dreaming of...and something I hope just the right readers will be interested in. I believe everyone has different gifts and I'm hoping you'll want to partner with me with yours. So if you're interested in things like reading books...or talking about books...or praying for authors...or doing book reviews...or starting book clubs...or receiving free books to review...or a lot of other book related things, I hope you'll consider joining this team. To hear more about this idea, please, email me at and I'll send you a detailed letter explaining how the concept works. Thanks so much for your interest!

One Book at a Time

I was recently honored in Chicago with the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Receiving this award made me stop and look back over my writing “career” and I found it hard to believe that I’ve been writing (professionally) for more than twenty years. How is that even possible? Before I got serious about writing I tended to flit from one “career” to the next. I never lasted at one thing for more than a few years. Although I learned a lot of interesting things in my diverse occupations, I could never find something I loved doing enough to imagine doing it for the rest of my life. However, I had always loved writing. I just never dreamed I could make a career of it. And even now—with more than 200 books published and more than five million books sold—I am more amazed than anyone. How did that happen?

Melody Carlson

One book at a time. Just like so many other things in life, one step at a time, one day at a time, this writing career happened one book at a time for me. And it continues to do so.

I’m the first one to admit that it’s amazing to do what you love for a living. And I feel very blessed that I can do that. But it’s only because of you (my readers) that I’m able to write as a livelihood. The connection we have—and I experience this connection regularly through the fabulous emails and letters I receive—is what really keeps me going. I love hearing your reactions to my stories and characters, and I so appreciate you taking the time to write to me. Thank you—thank you—thank you! On the same token, I want to thank every single one of you (even the ones who don’t write to me) for reading my books. That too is part of our connection. And I hope in the next twenty years that we will continue to stay connected.

I try to keep up with the emails and letters and facebook messages, but because I’m always working on a new book, it’s very easy to get behind. Like right now...I am way behind. But I hope you know that as I write new books, creating new characters with new problems, I am thinking of you and I’m hoping that I’m making something you’ll enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing.


Melody Carlson

The Christmas Cat

After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends--plus a sizeable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison's job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay.

The Christmas Cat

Trading Secrets

Back in fifth grade, Micah Knight got an Amish pen pal, and over the years, they've exchanged many letters--and many secrets. At age seventeen, Micah finally has the chance to meet her pen pal face-to-face. The only problem is that because of confusion about her name when the pen pals were assigned, her pen pal was a boy, Zack Miller. And all this time, Micah's never told Zack that she's actually a girl! While she wants nothing more than to experience life on Zack's Amish farm, she's afraid he'll hate her for deceiving him all these years. But she makes up her mind to face the music--and that's where the fun really begins.

Trading Secrets

My Amish Boyfriend

Sixteen-year-old Shannon McNamara has exciting plans for the summer, and she can't wait to get to them. Unbeknownst to her, however, her widowed and ailing mother has plans of her own--to relocate them both to the heart of Amish country in Ohio where she has relatives who can look after her. Shannon quickly learns that living a "simple" life is actually a lot of hard work. But when a hot young Amish guy named Ezra enters the picture, she's ready to get an Amish makeover and even consider making it a permanent change. But does Ezra share her attraction? Will Shannon really make the jump into this new way of life? And will it be for the right reasons?

My Amish Boyfriend

The Waiting Room

It happens to everyone. Someday it will happen to you. While you're reading these words, it will happen to more than fifty people--and by the end of the day it will have happened to about 10,000. Maybe even someone you know. And yet most of us don't want to talk or even think about it.'s unavoidable. So what happens after we leave this life? If you believe in Heaven, what do you expect to find there? What if there was a waiting room? A holding cell for people who aren't quite ready to pass through the pearly gates. And if there was a waiting room, who would be kept there? And why? This fictional story explores this with a touch of humor and a dose of reality.

The Waiting Room

Dating Dining and Desperation

Daphne Ballinger has learned to accept her deceased, eccentric aunt’s strange request that she marry in order to inherit her estate, along with taking over her aunt’s hometown paper’s advice column.

But knowing and accepting that God’s will be done becomes harder when a new neighbor, a divorced socialite, learns of Daphne’s predicament and takes on the task of finding her the perfect man, even if it includes speed dating. When God does open Daphne’s heart, it is instead to take in a young girl left parentless and in the care of her dying grandmother. It may be a temporary arrangement until the girl’s uncle returns from the Marines, but God uses Daphne to speak His heavenly love and protection into the life of the child -- whom Daphne soon discovers has a very handsome and single uncle.

Dating Dining and Desperation

The Princess Wars

The twin princesses of Raspen Kingdom have been at odds for their entire lives. Firstborn Heather is a no-frills girl who grew up riding horses, fencing, and dreaming of great adventures. Meanwhile her twin sister Rose loves ornate jewels, silk gowns and being treated like royalty. Because the king is sickly, Heather is due to take the throne on the twins’ eighteenth birthday. But before she is crowned, Princess Heather embarks on an exciting journey throughout the kingdom. And it's not long before Heather's adventure goes sideways and threatens to undo the entire kingdom.

The Princess Wars

The Long Road Home

Disenchanted with her humdrum Kansas farm life, Jessica Johnson is swept away by handsome Barry Bartowski’s poetry and music. Naturally, her family can’t stand the guy. But when Jessica makes a startling discovery, she chooses to run away with Barry. The farther she goes, the more twisted and long the road becomes. Is Barry the guy she thought he was...will she ever find where she truly belongs? [Carlson’s first novel, this book was originally published under the title “Jessica” nearly twenty years ago.]

The Long Road Home

A Home at Trail's End

Elizabeth Martin and her two children have finally reached the Oregon Country. But Eli Kincade, the wagon train scout who captured her heart, has chosen to continue life on the trail. As other pioneer families begin building new homes, Elizabeth has never felt more alone.

However, when Eli unexpectedly returns, confesses his love, and proposes, Elizabeth accepts with her family's blessing.

A community begins to take shape, but not without growing pains. As an alternative to the local minister's fiery sermons, Elizabeth's father begins to preach at home, raising the ire of some. Racial biases arise against Brady, Elizabeth's African-American hired hand. Eli's warm sentiments toward Indians also raises concerns.

Can Elizabeth and her family overcome these differences and begin a legacy of reconciliation and love?

A Home at Trail's End


Sixteen-year-old Simi Fremont thinks she’s found her dream job and the solution to her family’s money problems. But the modeling agency she found online is not what it seems. It’ll take every bit of her faith for her to escape the dangerous scheme and survive.