By Linda Hanna
People always ask when I first became interested in writing. That’s an easy question for me to answer. It was just after Easter in 1957 when I was four-years-old. Mom worked in a hospital and my preacher dad became my evening caregiver. This meant long hours of trying to quietly entertain myself while he prepared sermons or studied.
Usually, this was no big deal. I was a quiet child could roll with the punches. However, I thought I’d go stir crazy when he dragged me to the library at a local Christian college with strict orders to not make a sound.
Since college libraries don’t have a kid section, Dad bought me a Little Golden Book. Bless his heart, he meant well, but it was Flash Gordon, an older boy’s book. There weren’t any cute baby animal pictures or anything else of interest to a little girl who loved fancy tea parties and dollies.
Instead, it had action pictures of an airplane landing on the Amazon River, people running through a dense jungle to get away from flying spears, and scary snakes hanging from trees.
I couldn’t read, yet, so I studied those pictures for weeks and made up my own gentler versions of the story. However, a four-year-old can only dream up so many plots about dangling tree snakes. I decided the very next library excursion, things would be different!
I packed my new Easter purse with a pen and paper, a lacy hanky, and a brand new bottle of Mom’s Evening in Paris cologne. Later that week as we headed to the college, I hugged my purse and grinned to myself. Farewell, Flash. Adios, Amazon.
But Dad threw me a curve ball. He ushered me into a completely different building. This classroom was hot and stuffy with the distinct aroma of Sen-Sens and mothballs. Several men sat in a large circle of wooden folding chairs. Naturally, I was the only child there.
One by one, they prayed l-o-n-g pastoral prayers. I had no idea of what their big, fancy words meant. I just knew it was time to dig into my stash of supplies.
Out came my lace-edged handkerchief to make twins in a cradle and other ‘hanky origami’ projects!
As luck would have it, the man on my right had a major case of B.O. and breath that could drop a rhinoceros at fifty paces. Being this take-charge woman, I quickly evaluated the situation and devised a brilliant plan. If I dabbed a little perfume onto my hanky and held it up to my nose, it might hide his disgusting odor.
If that failed, I could always cram the hanky twins up my nostrils.
I quickly made a visual sweep of the praying preachers to be sure all heads were bowed and eyes closed, and leaned over to retrieve my bag. Out came the Evening in Paris. I carefully removed the silver cap, and tipped the bottle onto my hanky. It was strong stuff, so just a tiny drop would do . . . perfect!
Then, it happened. Somehow that full bottle slipped from my hand, and landed in my purse, drenching everything inside. A nauseating stench permeated the entire room and mixed with George’s stench. I thought I was going to puke.
Wooden chairs scraped across the floor as those men scattered. Prayer meeting was over just like that. I was a sobbing mess. Dad never said one word. He simply lifted me into his arms and carried me to the car, still clutching my dripping purse.
Dad never took me back to that preacher’s prayer group, but unfortunately, he never hesitated to drag me to the boring college library. Know what? After that stinky experience, I was content to make up stories about Flash and the gang.
Linda Hanna is half of the writing team of Hanna and Dulworth. Their first book in a new contemporary romance series, Come Next Winter, releases February 1.
When unexpected tragedy hits her family, Carol Mason struggles to forge a new life for herself and her sons. Though Vermont has been their home for twenty years, betrayal and misunderstanding force Carol to leave the mountains she loves and return to her hometown of Apache Pointe, Arizona. There she is welcomed by scorching heat, lizards, scorpions, and (gulp) Aunt Penny. Carol finds a sympathetic friend in her cousin Millie as she does her best to put the pieces of her shattered life back together. But her prayers for guidance and a decent place to live away from Aunt Penny’s disapproving eye go unanswered. Has God turned a deaf ear to her just when she needs Him the most?
The answer might be found in the handsome pastor of her family’s church. Frank is everything she would look for in a spouse. If she were looking. Which she is not. Especially when she discovers that Cousin Millie has set her hopes on becoming the pastor’s next wife. Aunt Penny’s outrageous attempts to ensure that Millie wins Frank’s heart bring Carol’s past crashing into her present, and might destroy any chance she has at a happy future.
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The writing team of Hanna and Dulworth deliver a story full of love and faith, and sprinkled with touches of humor that will have you wondering whether to laugh or cry.
Linda Hanna and Deborah J. Dulworth’s first novel, Reflections of a Stranger, was a cozy mystery published by Harbourlight Books in 2012.
As freelance writers, they have jointly and individually written magazine articles and devotionals. Debbie and Linda love to share an uplifting message of faith, family, and love within the framework of lighthearted novels. In addition to entertaining through these stories, they hope to inspire and encourage readers on their own spiritual journey.
Linda and Debbie are well-known for their humor, word play, and unpredictable plot twists. The two always find themselves writing poems, songs, and stories with a funny plotline and quirky characters. For seventeen years the ladies were co-directors for a high-spirited senior adult ministry within their church denomination. This venture presented many entertaining examples of said quirky characters.
They’ve led many workshops, spoken at woman’s retreats, teas, sororities, various church functions, and book signings. They have been members of ACFW critique groups for years and are active in a local writing group.