She ain’t from around here, is she?

Many of my Northern friends have commented on my Texas accent. I don’t think I have one, at least not much of one, but they disagree. I think the difference often comes down more to the word choices we make rather than the sound of our voices.

For example, in the South we use the word “y’all.” It’s a contraction of “you all.” But rather than that harsh New Jersey sound (picture Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny), it has a nice Southern drawl to it.

We also call all soft drinks “coke,” as in, “I’m gonna get a coke. You want one? OK, what kind, Dr. Pepper or root beer?”

This little guy? He’s a doodle bug.

We use the word “tump,” as in, “Don’t swing so high on the swing set. You’re gonna make it tump over.”

And we won’t get into the argument of how to pronounce pecan.

Most of the time, my non-Texan friends and I communicate well, despite our differences. We may hide a grin behind our hands from time to time, but we understand each other. However, in the past few weeks, three words I consider commonplace have stumped my critique partners.

That makes me curious. One partner lives in Illinois and the other in the United Kingdom in the Forest of Dean (but was originally from Australia). Do they not know the words I use simply because of geography?

So I’m doing a survey. Without looking these words up (’cause that’d be cheating), post your answers in the comment section below and tell me what you think they mean. Then tell me where your parents raised you. (Technically, that should say where you were reared, but nobody actually says that word and it sounds weird.) Ready?

  1. Percheron
  2. cup towel
  3. criminently

I can hear my grandmother’s voice on that last one, and it makes me smile. I’m eager to hear your definitions. If you have a word you think we won’t know down here, throw it in, too.

P.S. For those of you who have read and enjoyed Protected and A Father’s Gift, I have an update. I mailed the manuscript for book three, Accepted, to my publisher on Saturday. I hope the new book will be out by late summer/early fall. Squee!

Need a book to read? Oh, wait. The answer to that is ALWAYS yes.

I have one to suggest. My friend, Dreena Collins, recently published And Then She Fell. Not only is the book super interesting, it’s written exceptionally well. Here is the review I left on Goodreads.

And Then She Fell by Dreena Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew in the first few pages this book was going to be great. Dreena writes prose as if it is poetry. Such perfect turns of phrase, all through the book.


“You will see our new fences,” he said. “Very safe.”

The word ‘safe’ formed and hovered in the air. It stayed near him. Did not quite reach me.


We were still like concentric circles. You were at the heart of me. Focal. Vital.

You learn in chapter one the book is in the POV of a grieving mother who is trying to discover what really happened when her daughter died. Each chapter reveals another detail, and you think, “Aha! It was you!” But the next chapter turns that on its ear. When you finally realize the truth, your heart will break. I finished this book two weeks ago, and it still pops into my mind throughout the day.

I enjoyed this book so much, I want you all to read it too. In fact, if you’ll share this post with your friends (tag me!), I’ll put your name in a drawing to win my copy. I’m happy to pass it along and share the wealth. And if you don’t win, get your own copy. You’ll be so glad you did.

Merry Christmas to all …

At this point on December 24, most of us have probably begun our family celebrations. When my grandparents were alive, we spent Christmas Eve at their house. We ate the dinner Mom prepared, with boiled custard and our choice of pie (pecan, for me!) for dessert, then opened gifts. The ride home through the frosty darkness was sweetened by the Christmas songs that played nonstop on the radio.

Now, Christmas Eve is a quiet time for me and my husband, John. Tomorrow morning, we will all converge at my mother’s house – my brothers, my two grown children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren, along with whomever happens to be with us at the time – for Christmas waffles and a lot of chaotic noise and joy.

Christmas 2022

But Christmas is about more than presents and feasting. It’s about the greatest gift ever given, and I pray you know the peace and fulfillment of Jesus in your life.

I also pray your new year will be happy. And to start you off early for 2023, I have a link to nineteen viral videos that will make you smile, laugh, and (probably) cry. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas.

2022 Christmas Round-Robin with PRIZES!

Merry Christmas! Welcome to Hallee Bridgeman’s annual Christmas Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt!

Here’s how it works: At each author’s blog post, you will find a question you can answer by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book or blurb. Provide the answer at this form. Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round-robin to be considered to win the $200 first place, $150 second place or $75 third place Amazon gift cards. These prizes are USD values. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will get a gift card from the Amazon store for your country; however, it will be valued at these USD amounts.)

At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, which will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end, creating a circle (a round-robin) visit through all the authors’ blogs.

I’m so happy to tell you about my book, Texas Heirloom Ornament. It is a sweet compilation with romantic stories of three generations of Texas women finding love at Christmas.

In Small Things Liberty by Jessica White

A parking spot. An almost kiss. An ornament.
1923—The only thing war widow Hattie Freemont wants for Christmas is liberty for all. As president of the Fort Worth Women’s Club, she’s determined to see them exercise their new right to vote and oust the current representative. But his assistant keeps showing up at the most inconvenient times, challenging her convictions even though she has the statistics to back them up. First, Mr. Fancy Car tries to steal her parking spot, then her heart. Will he choose love and fight for freedom alongside her? And can she trust in true love twice in a lifetime?
In Large Things Unity by Sara-Meg Seese
A tree. An electric kiss. A radio proposal.
1972—Single mom Tricia Little inherited Grandma Hattie’s knack for numbers, but not her knack for love. With money tight and Christmas around the corner, she’s determined to prove to her boss and her next-door neighbor she can take care of herself and her daughter on her own. Radio DJ Mr. Wright can’t help but admire the hard-working woman and her spunky kid on the other side of the fence. When he offers to help them light up their Christmas with a tree, she pushes back. Can they work together to make the holidays brighter? Can he convince Ms. Independent that he’s Mr. Right?
In All Things Charity by Paula Peckham
A bell. A whirlwind kiss. A storm.
2015—Alexis Baxter loves Christmas and her family traditions, like the handmade ornament passed down through five generations. But the final bell before the holiday break doesn’t release her from coaching duties. When the handsome basketball coach confesses he’s spending Christmas alone, she invites him to join her family for a fun-filled night. Joyful bells turn to warning sirens when his biggest regret walks into the party, casting a dark cloud over their budding romance. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth? And can love truly cover a multitude of sins?

Enjoy this story compilation where generations pass down not only the ornament, but also the famed Texas strength of the women in the family.

Let’s begin this scavenger hunt! Go to the book on Amazon at this link. Read the full blurb to find the answer to this question:

In Texas Heirloom Ornament, what is Alexis’s job?

When you have the answer, FILL OUT THIS FORM and head on to the next blog!

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Sarah Hamaker, who is telling us all about her Christmas book, Dangerous Christmas Memories. You can find it at this link:

Remember that the round-robin will end on December 11th at 11:59 PM EST!

Ever Been Involved In a Research Project?

Want to help me write an article?

I send short stories to a magazine on a regular basis. The editor-in-chief asked me to write a story about sports drinks. I don’t like the flavor, and they make me too jittery, so I’ve never been a fan. But I’d like to hear from others about drinks like Celsius, Monster, Red Bull, etc.

If you have consumed sports drinks, what was your experience like? Physical reactions? Addictiveness? Did you enjoy the flavor?

If you stopped drinking them, why?

I don’t want to influence your answer, so I’m not telling you who the magazine is or what slant I’m taking. I want to hear what you think and why.

They like the stories to come from a personal point of view, true stories, not fiction. I may quote you in the article. If you’d rather I didn’t, please let me know.

Ok, partners! Let’s do this. Hit me up with your answers and stories. Enquiring minds want to know.

Just a Baby – guest post

This week, I’m sharing a post from my friend Angela D. Shelton. Angela is living out a dream I’ve secretly harbored, and I love reading her posts about the animals on her farm. She is also a fellow author, and her books are winning awards. You’ll want to check her out. Might find some good stocking stuffer ideas! Now, read on to enjoy Angela’s message.

One of the most painful lessons I’ve learned since becoming a farmer is that life ends. The worst endings are the unexpected. It may seem strange to hear that a person who raises Angus cattle for beef would mourn the loss of an animal, but I have.

Some deaths, though sudden, haven’t affected me as much. A perfect example of this is when two of my chickens escaped their coop early in my chicken-mama career. Our Husky, Ricky, has free access to the backyard and saw those two loose birds on the other side of his fence. Once he saw that, the game was afoot!

He dug his little heart out until he could crawl under the barrier. Once he was free of the enclosure, the chickens became the best toys ever. Those birds never had a chance. Honestly, though, I was more upset at the dog getting loose and getting the taste for free-range chicken than I was about the dead chickens. I guess that makes me a little hard-hearted.

Another incident occurred when a calf was born prematurely. He was the cutest little bull I’d ever seen. Calves are so small compared to their mamas, but this little guy was beyond tiny. He did great, though. Within days, he was up and running around with the other babies, jumping and having fun. It’s so relaxing to watch them play.

Then one day, we checked on him, and he was not with his mama. He wasn’t with any of the herd members. They were all down by the woods, chilling, but he lay in the pasture on the hill by himself. This behavior was a little unusual for his age. When we got out to check on him, he ran back down to be with the rest of the cattle. So, we figured his mama had hidden him and not called for him yet. Yes, mama cows will hide their calves when they are little.

The next day, we checked on him, and he was up by himself again. This conduct wasn’t normal, for sure. Not after he’d already shown he could play with the other babies. So, we decided we needed to hand-feed this little fella to ensure he was getting fed properly. Off I went to the store to pick up the formula and supplies to make him a bottle. Never having hand-fed one before, I had to ask several questions and do a bit of research to ensure I had all the required supplies. When I returned to the farm, I went in search of the little nipper.

I searched and searched and searched the entire field. He was tiny and could have been hiding anywhere. When I found him, my heart broke. He was lying dead at the top of the hill, all by himself. My tears and sobs of sorrow flowed out in torrents. It devastated me. It was as if I’d failed the poor little fellow when I should have ensured his well-being. Mama had probably abandoned him, knowing he had some medical problem, and I hadn’t recognized what she’d done.

It was days before I stopped hurting over that little bull’s death. It terrified me another one would die on me if I didn’t watch them with the same intensity that Ricky devoted to looking for more chickens to get loose. Later that same season, we had another small calf born, and his mama wouldn’t nurse him. I immediately jumped into action and got the formula prepared. It wasn’t easy to learn how to get him to nurse on a bottle, but we did it. We only fed him four times before his mama got mad at us for feeding her baby and took over feeding him herself. New mamas can figure it out with time.

Lessons learned? You never know what to expect in life. Surprises occur daily. Some of those surprises are losses that kick you in the gut. It happens, and we don’t always see it coming. But there is life after loss. Supporting each other through these difficult times is a crucial ingredient to getting past them. I was grateful to have family and friends to support me while I struggled.

I also learned that just because you failed once doesn’t mean you are a failure. It means you had something to figure out so you could do it right the next time. As a new farmer, I feel as though I’m learning lessons every day. But that’s what makes life sweet—always moving forward.

You can see Angela’s website here:

Here is information about her latest series. If you have teen readers in your family, this is a perfect gift for Christmas.

Blurb for the series:

After a global catastrophe wipes out millions and devastates global resources, three teens must navigate a new life. 

In book one, Collapse, Jan learns the hard lesson deception serves up. She trusts the wrong person and brings even more hardship to her family. Can she rally behind the right people before the battle for their ranch begins? 

In book two, The Death of Honor, Caleb’s haunted past comes back with a vengeance. He hides the truth from those he loves, making him the perfect target for blackmail. Will he confess before his family pays the price? 

Book three, The Death of Independence, follows Olivia after her father abandons her. Stuck with incompetent relatives, she struggles to eke out a life for herself and them. When a man makes her an offer she can’t turn down, will he pull her into a life she never wanted? 

The Collapse series is a young adult, post apocalyptical alternate reality by Angela D. Shelton. Explore these tales of survival in a shattered world. 

Amazon link:

Book Two is out!

Hi, friends! Some of you may have seen the news already, but wanted to let you all know Book Two in the San Antonio series–A Father’s Gift–is now published by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

A Father’s Gift continues the story of Abby and Manny. Abby struggles with a difficult pregnancy. Looming fatherhood uncovers Manny’s deeply buried feelings stemming from the loss of his own father. His desire to understand what truly happened so many years ago threatens to drive a wedge between him and Abby as Christmas nears.

When Gabe, a mysterious stranger, appears, Manny enlists his help. Secrets swirl, drawing an ever-tightening net around the three. Some mysteries, he discovers, are better left alone. Clawing back the curtain places Abby and their unborn child in danger.

Will Manny be able to put his restless curiosity to bed? A Father’s Gift tells a story of a father’s endless love, whether human or heavenly.

This tender love story makes a perfect Christmas gift. You can find it on Amazon. Or join me this Saturday at the Burleson Half Price Books and get your copy signed.

Help my unbelief.

Do you ever see Christians on TV praying eloquent prayers and think, “They’re perfect”? They serve the poor, dish soup in a shelter, collect shoes for the homeless. I try doing those things, but life gets in the way. Best-laid plans and all that.

Those perfect people sometimes make me feel defensive, and I resent instead of admiring them. God, in the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New, repeatedly used flawed people to carry out their work. Perfection is not required. A willing heart is.

Characters in my stories sometimes make wrong decisions. They’re selfish. They don’t turn to God right away when things go wrong. But they try. They call out to God eventually and learn through life experiences they can trust him.

I experienced this a while back. I sell my books in Kroger grocery stores. Passing shoppers stop at the table I set up and chat with me. This day, a youngish man walked directly to me (which was odd… most wander by with a cautious eye, unwilling to commit until they’re sure why I’m there). Nothing about my display makes it obvious I write Christian fiction, so I’m unsure what drove him to my table. Straight on he came, though.

During our conversation, I learned he was visiting Texas from his home state of Florida. He’d been here only three days and had been to four different churches. I asked if he came to speak at those churches, but he didn’t. Just attending. I was confused about his purpose, but he was so enthusiastic, I gave up making sense of it.

He asked if he could pray for me.

“Of course!”

He put one hand on my shoulder and gripped my hand in his other. He asked if I had any pain.

This threw me. I was unprepared. Surprised, I tossed out the first thing I thought of. “My hip flexor sometimes hurts.”

He began praying. Loudly. Using all the “Christian-ese” words like “hedge of protection” and “healed by Your stripes.” I flinched inside.


You’re drawing attention to us.

People are probably staring.

Then I heard a whisper in my heart.

Listen to his words. Claim the promises he is calling down for you.

I listened. To the holy nudge and to the young man. A smile crossed my face as my new friend claimed healing for my body. He was so sure. Why couldn’t I be the same way? I was just like my characters. Stubborn. Unwilling. Unsure.

He finished his prayer, and I hugged him. Whew. Quite an experience. I wished for that faith.

Ten minutes later, a sparkling feeling—imagine what Tinkerbell’s wand might feel like if it touched you— fluttered through my hip joint. I kid you not.

I froze.

I was afraid to move. Movement would be a test to see if my hip really had been healed, revealing my doubt. And, if I doubted, would it cancel out the healing?

I so totally identify with the Roman soldier who told Jesus, “I believe.” Then, in the same breath, begged, “Help my unbelief.”

I believe Mark shared this story to tell us it’s okay if we sometimes waver. We see with this story we can ask Jesus for help.

Help me believe, Jesus. I want to believe.

And when we pray in his will, he answers that prayer.

Don’t worry if you’re not perfect. God doesn’t demand perfection. He asks for an open heart. That we can do.

My latest book, A Father’s Gift, is now available on Amazon. Book two in the San Antonio series, it continues the story of Abby and Manny who you first met in Protected. Originally published in the Christmas anthology, Christmas Love Through the Ages, it is now a stand-alone book published by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

If you missed book one, (Protected), for a limited time, you may download the eBook version for only $0.99. Check them out.

River Witch: a review

River Witch by Cheryl Burman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to begin? I loved this story so much.

Hester lives a bland, dreary life as the daughter of a poor farmer. Her days consist of endless chores overseen by a particular mother and overbearing brothers. Despite the hopelessness of her future, she finds joy in the relationship she shares with Sabrina, the goddess of the river. Then she meets Aaron, the first person who seems to understand the pull Hester feels.

Aaron opens news doors for Hester, and she dives into his teaching with enthusiasm. Anything to take her mind off the lumpen fisherman her mother wants to marry her off to.

But Hester lives in a superstitious time ruled by men. And these men don’t take kindly to her independent ways.

You will cheer for Hester as she steps out in a bid for independence and the chance to plot the path of her life. Once you start reading, Burman’s detailed descriptions will pull you in. You’ll surface hours later wondering where your garden path and your river nymphs have disappeared to.

Get this book! But only if you have several hours to set aside. Enjoy!

View all my reviews

2022 Christmas In July – Reader Blog Tour and Giveaway

July in Texas. Christmas sounds mighty pleasant right about now. It’s HOT here, and anything that takes my mind off 100˚ weather is welcome. I’m always up for disappearing into a good book. If you’re the same way, you’re gonna love this!

Happy Christmas in July! Welcome to my blog in the 2022 Christmas-in-July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway, which runs July 15-22, 2022 (contest closes at 8 p.m. Eastern on 7/22). At the bottom of each author’s blog post, you will find the name of a Christmas song. Write them all down and provide all song titles (26 in total) on this Google formSee below for a list with links of all participating authors!

Note: You must grab all the song titles from every author in the 2022 Christmas in July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway to be eligible to win the grand prize of a $520 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of each participating author’s book OR first place prize of a copy of each participating author’s book. At the end of this blog post is a link to the next blog, and so on, to the final blog post (26 authors in all). 

I’m pleased and honored to play a part in the Christmas-in-July blog tour. I am giving away a copy of Texas Heirloom Ornament. This three-novella collection traces a family of Texas women from 1920 to present-day. In my story, In All Things Charity, Alexis invites Matthew, the handsome basketball coach, to join her family for Christmas. Joyful bells turn to warning sirens when his biggest regret walks into the party, casting a dark cloud over their budding romance. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth? And can love truly cover a multitude of sins?

Here is a sneak peek into the story of Alexis and Matthew.

As he approached the library, tapping footsteps emanated from the math wing. He slowed, peering down the dim hallway. It had to be Alexis. He’d seen her head this way after the games. No one else was in the building, not even the janitors. The school had emptied faster than the donut boxes Admin brought to early morning faculty meetings. Sure enough, she appeared, back-lit by an emergency exit sign over her head as she passed through the double doors leading from her darkened hall. She studied some papers she held in her hand as she walked.


A shriek loud enough to scare the pigeons off the roof pierced his eardrums. He recoiled, heart in his throat. Something thumped against his chest.

“Holy Moses, Alexis! Calm down. What did you throw at me?” His pulse stuttered, but quick on its heels was an unbearable desire to laugh. He clamped his mouth shut.

“Sweet chips and salsa! Matthew, is that you? What the—” Her hand went to her throat, and papers littered the floor where she’d dropped them. She glared at him with a slit-eyed gaze, a soft light from an overhead skylight glowing on her cheekbones.

“What kind of cuss word is that?” He gasped the words without giving away his amusement, but it was a losing battle. Laughter shook his shoulders. He snorted, and that was all it took.

Alexis hid a smile. “Are you laughing at me?” She straightened in mock-offended silence.

He gave up. He laughed so hard he staggered against a brick column in the foyer in front of the library, tears streaming from his eyes.

Now, it’s time to for my Christmas song title: Home for the Holidays

Save the holiday song titles from each of the 26 blog stops, and when you reach the final blog, enter all the song titles on this form for a chance to win the grand prize of a $520 Amazon gift card and a copy of each author’s featured book OR first prize of a copy of each book.

Sign up for my blog here:

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Tina Radcliffe and her Christmas book, His Holiday Prayer. You can find it at this link:

Remember, the 2022 Christmas-in-July Reader Blog Tour & Giveaway ends July 22 at 8 p.m. EST. Have fun discovering some fantastic new authors.