Friday, October 19, 2018

MELANIE'S GHOSTS - Bonnie Engstrom - One Free Book

Welcome back, Bonnie. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I was raised in the church, so always a believer, but not a practicer. I was the president of my church’s youth group, and I attended women’s Bible studies when my children were young. When one of my dear friends’ three-year-old little boy died, everything changed. Actually, before he died and while he was hovering near death with a heart ailment, I got an inspiration. I lived in a close-knit community of eleven hundred homes where all the streets were connected. I had an idea, one that God surely put on my heart, to make big red hearts with an explanation on the back of each asking people to tape them on their garage doors as a sign they were praying for little Michael. A friend and I drove around and delivered them. (One slightly humorous thing was we would stop kids who were playing on each block and offer them a quarter to deliver the hearts. Guess that tells you how long ago that was.) Almost half of the community displayed them. It was very encouraging to the parents. I think it was at his funeral that I reaffirmed my faith.

Recently, I got water baptized – something I’d never done. Besides feeling Jesus’ touch, the most special part was my little eight-year-old grandson got baptized, too.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Simple. I would invite Deb Raney whose novel I first read that inspired me to start writing; Cynthia Hickey, my wonderful friend and publisher who has faith in my writing and never gives up on me; Alice Arenz whose friendship and prayer support sustain me; Roger Bruner (yeh, gotta throw a guy in there) also whose prayer support for my grandchildren and his honesty keeps me encouraged.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
No, but I have a prayer chain ministry. I moderate two online prayer chains. Neither are large, just under 20 prayer warriors. The Moms Prayer Chain started about twenty years ago with women all over the country. We are very close and very faithful. The Writers Prayer Chain is small and consists of other Forget Me Not Romance authors. Only about three are faithful, but when two or three are gathered together . . .

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I always encourage them with “You should!” because that’s the first step. I offer to edit or beta read when they do. The response is usually, “You’d do that for me?” Of course, I would because there is little else as self-fulfilling than writing.

Tell us about the featured book.
Melanie’s Ghosts is the seventh book in The Candy Cane Girls Series.

One is laughing down from heaven.
One wears rags.
One is falling in love with her.

Melanie’s faith is shaken.
Her husband Larry is dead. They had only been married a few hours before he was arrested. Will her best friend Natalie be enough? Who will understand about Larry’s crime, his deception, and how he died? Surely not her new friend Robert who lost his wife to cancer; no deception there.

Just sadness.

Should she believe the homeless old woman who claims to be Larry’s estranged mother, calling herself Melanie’s mother-in-law? Especially when the raggedy old lady stalks her and camps on her doorstep. Why did the woman abandon her son and husband over thirty years ago? Robert gives her empathy and support . . . until his own secret is revealed.

All Melanie has left of Larry is the gorgeous blue diamond ring!

Her special group of friends, the Candy Canes, promise to pray for her. But, is prayer enough? She counts on all of them for support and answers! The love of a dog with her shaggy fur, big eyes and her kisses may have to be enough.

Larry, his homeless mother, and even Robert, all haunt her. Her only normalcy is teaching the adorable three-year-olds in her preschool class. Maybe little Jackson will help put the ghosts to rest.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”


“This is wrong. No sense. Makes no sense.”

Melanie embraced his big, strong brown hand between her small white ones.  Larry didn’t move. He was dead.


Melanie sat across the table from attorney Randi. Her fingers were paste white and knuckles blue. Is that what death does? She examined her glittering fingernails; the fancy ones Kay had gifted her with for her marriage to Larry and now insisted she needed again as a boost for the burial. But, their luster was useless. Her life was, too. Her future held no meaning. She was a widow, not a newlywed.

Natalie, her best friend, shifted in her chair. “What is the next step, Randi? Melanie needs somewhere to go in her heart and in her head. She needs to find understanding and peace. What do you suggest?” She looked over at Mel and squeezed her hand, the hand that rested on her special blue skirt, the one she clung to and claimed as her God skirt, the one she wore when she met Larry. What would happen to the skirt now? Would it be folded away in a memory trunk, or maybe destroyed?

Randi, professional attorney as she was, blinked rapidly. Moisture coated her lashes. “I have been trying to decide how to tell you. Not easy.”

“Just tell, please. I need to know what to do.” Melanie squeezed Natalie’s hand tighter.
Randi sighed and pushed a paper toward the two women.

“A list? You are giving me a list?”

“No, I am giving you a suggestion. Hopefully a healing option.” She lowered her chin. “Sorry. But I believe this is the one thing that will give you comfort and clarity.”

Melanie picked up the typewritten paper, the paper with the single suggestion, and held it in trembling hands. Natalie leaned closer to look. “Oh!” The expletive blew out of her mouth like a gust of dry wind.  

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m not very good at Facebook, although my publisher keeps encouraging me. I’ve just learned how to tweet and have only done it a few times. Here are a few suggestions:

I love to connect with readers, even non-readers. Email me at and put BOOK in the subject line so you don’t fly off to cyberspace. The first person who puts BOOK in the subject line and mentions Lena’s blog will receive an autographed print copy. Be sure to include your snail mail address. U.S.A. only, please.

You can check out, even order, Melanie’s Ghosts at and my other books at Sadly, Amazon has included other author’s books, but mine are there.

I just learned Twitter and can be found @BonnieEngstrom1. Please follow me and help me learn how to tweet.

My website is where you can see all the grandchildren, even the little redhead who got baptized with me!

Please connect with me. I would love to connect with you.

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the ebook. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book. The story sounds interesting.
lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Bonnie Engstrom said...

Hi, Linda! I found it interesting to write about how Melanie deals with the woman who's stalking her. I hope you do, too. Thanks for your comment.

Melanie Backus said...

I am intrigued and would love to read this book. Great title! Melanie Backus, TX

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Such an intriguing premise. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading this book.
Connie from KY

Bonnie Engstrom said...

Thank you, Melanie, namesake for the heroine! I hope you do read it. I think it's intriguing, too. Let me know. Email me at with BOOK in the subject line.


Bonnie Engstrom said...

Thanks so much, Connie. I hope you do read it and find it interesting. Please be sure to post a review. Thanks for commenting.


Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Vivian Furbay said...

This is quite a different story and i would like to read it to find out what happens. Vivian Furbay of CO

Bonnie Engstrom said...

Hi to both Sharon and Vivian! Thanks so much for reading Lena's blog and commenting. It is a 'different' story, Vivian. BTW, one of the prominent characters is named Vivian. And, if you figure out exactly what happened in the end, let me know. It is a bit of a mystery even to me! LOL

BTW, Melanie's story (two volumes) will be featured soon on Christian Book Heaven at a super low price my publisher has set to promote it. So, be sure to sign up for CBH and follow all the great deals.

Blessings to you both,

Linda Palmer said...

The beginning of the book, Ghosts intrigued me. And I loved the interview with Lena.
I live in Kansas