Sunday, December 10, 2023

The Piano – A Conglomeration of Music


By Suzanne Norquist

The mere silhouette of a piano fills our minds with various melodies. It seems like pianos have been around forever. However, the ones we recognize weren’t invented until the 1700s. After that, they went through numerous refinements.

A piano is a stringed instrument, like a harp—with strings hit by hammers, like a dulcimer—and hammers operated with keys, like a pipe organ. It produces both loud and soft sounds, which makes it unique. The piano was initially called the pianoforte, combining the Italian words for soft (piano) and loud (forte). The term was later shortened to piano.

A form of the pipe organ, which inspired the piano’s keyboard, has been around since the third century BCE. It essentially allowed someone to play more than one wind instrument at a time, each pipe representing a different instrument. Greek and Hebrew cultures as well as the Roman Empire used organs. 

On a dulcimer, strings are hit by small hammers to create sounds in a resonating box. This mechanism is used in modern pianos.

The dulcimer appears to have originated in the Middle East, perhaps five thousand years ago. People throughout the ancient world played it. The instrument evolved over time, creating a greater dynamic range. In 1690, a German musician designed an extra-large one for himself, four times the regular size, nine feet long with an extra soundboard.

Another ancestor of the piano was the clavichord. This stringed instrument used a keyboard to strike a string with a brass rod. This was considered an improvement over the pipe organ. Clavichords are small and unable to produce a big sound, making them only useful in small rooms or as practice instruments.

Clavichords appeared in the fourteenth century and were popular in the Renaissance Era.

Harpsicords, created in Italy around 1500, are shaped like pianos but function quite differently. Pressing the keys causes the strings to be plucked by a quill. They are louder than clavichords but produce sound in a limited volume range. 

Bartolomeo Cristofori, an Italian instrument maker, invented the first piano. He was employed by Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany, as the Keeper of the Instruments. To overcome the harpsichord's shortcomings, he switched out the plucking mechanism with hammers (like the dulcimer) that would hit the strings and gently return to their original position. The strings could produce sounds at different volumes based on how hard the musician pressed the keys, the first of its kind.

It's unclear exactly when he built the first pianoforte. One appeared on an inventory made by his employer in 1700.

Other instrument makers copied Cristofori’s pianoforte, making changes along the way. Gottfried Silbermann built his own version and had Johann Sebastian Bach offer suggestions. At first, Bach criticized it, saying that the higher notes were too soft.

Silbermann made changes. Bach liked the revised piano so much that he served as an agent selling them.

Over time, others made improvements, including the number of keys and the shape. Eventually, frames were crafted from cast iron, and it became the instrument we use today.

Who knew that playing the piano involved so much history? And I love the songs that go from loud to soft and back again. Forte—piano—forte, all in one instrument. Thank you, Mr. Cristofori.


”Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Threads Collection

Four historical romances celebrating the arts of sewing and quilting.

Mending Sarah’s Heart by Suzanne Norquist

Rockledge, Colorado, 1884

Sarah seeks a quiet life as a seamstress. She doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers, and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away? 

Suzanne Norquist is the author of two novellas, “A Song for Rose” in A Bouquet of Brides Collection and “Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Threads Collection. Everything fascinates her. She has worked as a chemist, professor, financial analyst, and even earned a doctorate in economics. Research feeds her curiosity, and she shares the adventure with her readers. She lives in New Mexico with her mining engineer husband and has two grown children. When not writing, she explores the mountains, hikes, and attends kickboxing class.


Saturday, December 9, 2023

 I try to reply to the few comments I receive on my blogs, but google won't let me do so. Please forgive me if I haven't responded to your comments. 

Sherri Stewart

A Charlie Brown Christmas

__By Tiffany Amber Stockton__

In November, I wrapped up the series on state name history. You can read last month's post if you missed it. Today, I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane for a lot of us here at the blog, either readers or writers. It's a nod to a story that has warmed its way into the hearts of millions and has become an annual tradition.


Newspapers had delivered the tales of the “Peanuts” characters to American doorsteps every day since October 2, 1950. Now, for the first time ever, comic strip characters would be coming to life for a thirty-minute children's cartoon airing during primetime on December 9, 1965. Quite a gamble for those TV execs.

The popular animated musical special about Christmas was based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip. It was a telling commentary on the loss of the spirit of Christmas among Americans, and it's now shown every year at Christmas time all over the world. But do you know how this beloved classic came to reality?

Apparently, there was a big ad war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi during the 1960's, and after Pepsi teamed with Disney in 1964 for their "It's a Small World" presentation at the World's Fair in New York, there were rumors that Coca-Cola wanted to sponsor a family-friendly Christmas special the next year. 

Schulz gave it a whirl, and Coca-Cola accepted immediately. Unfortunately, CBS didn't jump on the bandwagon quite so quickly. They outright rejected the idea at first, but in light of some recent executive changes at the network, they eventually agreed to take a risk and divert from their successful primetime programming.

With less than six months to create the special, Schulz and the team working with him attempted a feat none of them had ever done before. After a pre-screening mere days before the air date, the execs were not impressed, but still agreed to move forward because they already had it on the schedule for the following week.

On Thursday, December 9, 1965, nearly half of all American television sets (over 15 million households) were tuned in so viewers could judge for themselves. What the CBS network thought would be a flop turned into a classic.

In 1966, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” won a Peabody and an Emmy for outstanding children’s programming. The success of this special changed the network’s prime-time philosophy, and next year, another animated holiday special aired during primetime: the adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” In 1969, it aired “Frosty the Snowman.” By the mid-70s, the three major broadcasting networks were airing 80-90 television specials annually. Charlie Brown had ushered in a new age in television history. :)


* How many times have you seen A Charlie Brown Christmas?

* Were you there to see it air for the first time on television? If so, do you remember anything about that day?

* What was your first impression of this Christmas special?

* Are there any other Christmas specials you're sure to watch each and every year?

** This note is for our email readers. Please do not reply via email with any comments. View the blog online and scroll down to the comments section.

Leave answers to these questions or any comments you might have on this post in the comment box below. For those of you who have stuck around this far, I'm sending a FREE autographed book to one person every month from the comments left on each of my blog posts. You never know when your comment will be a winner! Subscribe to comments so you'll know if you've won and need to get me your mailing information.

Come back on the 9th of each month for my next foray into historical tidbits to share.

For those interested in my "fictional" life as an author, what I'm currently reading, historical tidbits, recommended reads, and industry news about other authors, subscribe to my monthly newsletter. The Christmas edition was just sent out. Receive a FREE e-book of Magic of the Swan just for subscribing!

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker who is also a professional copywriter/copyeditor. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help improve their lives in a variety of ways.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and four cats in southeastern Kentucky. In the 20 years she's been a professional writer, she has sold twenty-six (26) books so far and is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Breaking the Code: Project Verona

by Martha Hutchens

Image from Deposit Photos, zim90

In the past several blog posts, I have profiled the Soviet spies in Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. They all have one thing in common. They were discovered by Project Venona.

Project Venona involved breaking the encryption used by the Soviets. The Soviets used a “one-time pad” system, meaning that each encryption key is used only once. Using them even twice makes the code breakable.

The Soviets had two main issues with this. One, creating the keys is a labor-intensive process, and when Germany invaded Russia, the demand for cipher keys rose exponentially, while available labor decreased. To meet the demand, the company that made the keys duplicated some pages.

The Soviets also had to transport the keys to the places they would be used. It the case of the atomic spies, the Soviets sent a summary of the information by cable from New York City to Moscow. (The full reports were hand-carried, and accompanied by armed guards.)

Image from Deposit Photos, vampy1

To get the keys from Russia to New York during WWII, they were carried in diplomatic pouches through Siberia, through Great Falls, Montana, and finally to New York. This could take several weeks. Sometimes, this delay forced the Soviet embassy to reuse a key. Once American counter-intelligence realized this, they found ways to delay the keys even more.

Decrypting the messages was still a slow, laborious process. It was not until 1949 that the code-breakers decrypted the code names for the atomic spies. And then, buried in the files, the Americans discovered one more crucial Soviet mistake. In a single message, the Soviets used Klaus Fuchs’ real name instead of his code name. The Americans had the name of the first spy.

Image by Martha Hutchens

Klaus Fuchs named his handler, Harry Gold, to avoid execution. Similarly, Harry Gold named David Greenglass. Greenglass, in turn, named Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg, who were executed without naming any more agents.

It is interesting to note that no Project Venona material appeared in any of these trials. It was far too sensitive to be released in open court. Instead, they were tried based on the testimony of the people who turned them in.

For this reason, Ted Hall would never be tried for his espionage. The Soviets mentioned their first meeting with Hall under his true name, because he didn’t have a code name at the time. His name, and his friend’s, Saville Sax, were both listed in the Venona decryptions. Neither of them were known to any of the other spies, so no one could testify against them. When they were both detained, neither turned on the other. The only evidence the FBI had came from Venona decrpytions, and they could not use that information in court.

The Venona Project also cleared one high-profile American. It found no evidence that J. Robert Oppenheimer passed on information to the Russians.

The Venona Project discovered many other spies before it ended, including Alger Hiss, and the Cambridge Five espionage ring in Great Britain. Even so, only a small portion of the Soviet transmissions were ever decoded.

Image from Deposit Photos, Wirestock

The Venona Project was declassified in 1995. By this time, the secrecy had far outlived its usefulness. Kim Philby, a Soviet spy at the British embassy in Washington, knew about its existence in 1949. He presumably passed the information to his handlers in Moscow. When he defected in 1963, American counter-intelligence knew that Moscow knew. And yet it remained classified for another 32 years. In 1994, a top KGB operative released his memoir and claimed that Oppenheimer was actually the asset code-named Star. The Venona transcripts showed clearly that this was not the case, so the FBI released them.

I can hardly finish a series on the atomic spies without at least mentioning Perseus. The Venona files list this code name as a fourth spy in Los Alamos. He has never been identified, and many believe he was an invention of the Soviets as a disinformation campaign. Since we only managed to decode a fraction of the total Soviet traffic, we will probably never know for sure.

Martha Hutchens is a transplanted southerner who lives in Los Alamos, NM where she is surrounded by history so unbelievable it can only be true. She won the 2019 Golden Heart for Romance with Religious and Spiritual Elements. A former analytical chemist and retired homeschool mom, Martha is frequently found working on her latest knitting project when she isn’t writing.

Martha’s current novella is set in southeast Missouri during World War II. It is free to her newsletter subscribers. You can subscribe to my newsletter at my website,

After saving for years, Dot Finley's brother finally paid a down payment for his own land—only to be drafted into World War II. Now it is up to her to ensure that he doesn't lose his dream while fighting for everyone else's. No one is likely to help a sharecropper's family.

Nate Armstrong has all the land he can manage, especially if he wants any time to spend with his four-year-old daughter. Still, he can't stand by and watch the Finley family lose their dream. Especially after he learns that the banker's nephew has arranged to have their loan called.

Necessity forces them to work together. Can love grow along with crops?

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Appalachian Trail

By Michelle Shocklee

Are there any hikers in the house?

Hubby and I enjoy the great outdoors, especially the mountains, but hiking -- real hiking -- isn't something we've attempted. We like a nice, fairly easy hike of a couple miles there and back at most. A bottle of water, a snack, and a pair of comfortable shoes is all we need to have a grand time basking in the beauty of God's creation. 

But there are those who enjoy a challenge when they go hiking. Hundreds of trails wind through national forests and parks all across the country, taking anyone brave enough to gorgeous waterfalls, rock formations, and mountaintop views that can't be seen unless you're willing to go the distance. 

Panoramic image of the Catawba Valley from the McAfee Knob overlook on the Appalachian Trail. Photo:

One of THE most challenging trails, however, has got to be the Appalachian Trail. Friends of ours own property in East Tennessee that backs up to the trail, so I can say I have officially been ON the trail, but I can also honestly say I have no desire to hike it from one end to the other.

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,190+ mile long public footpath in the Eastern United States, beginning in Springer Mountain in Georgia and ending in Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail passes through 14 states and traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally diverse lands of the Appalachian Mountains. 

The idea was first proposed in 1921 by Benton MacKaye, a forester who wrote his original plan—called "An Appalachian Trail, A Project in Regional Planning"—shortly after the death of his wife. He shared his idea with several politicians, and an article was even written about it in the Saturday Evening Post. People became interested in the project and money was raised. Things took off from there. 

On October 7, 1923, the first section of the trail, from Bear Mountain west through Harriman State Park to Arden, New York, was opened. MacKaye then called for a two-day Appalachian Trail conference to be held in March 1925 in Washington, D.C. This meeting inspired the formation of the Appalachian Trail Conference (now called the Appalachian Trail Conservancy). Arthur Perkins, a retired judge, and his younger associate Myron Avery took up the cause. Built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.

Most of the trail is exclusively for foot-travel. A few short sections allow biking, horses, and ATVs, but those are mainly near towns. Throughout its length, the AT, as it's known, is marked by white paint blazes that are 2 by 6 inches. Side trails to shelters, viewpoints, and parking areas use similarly shaped blue blazes. In past years, some sections of the trail also used metal diamond markers with the AT logo, but unfortunately many were taken as souvenirs.

Most hikers carry a lightweight tent, tent hammock, or tarp. The trail has more than 250 shelters and campsites available for hikers who prefer more solid accommodations. Public restrooms and showers are very limited throughout the trail.

"Unofficial registries", which are known as shelter logs, can be found at all campsites, but signing them is strictly voluntary. These logs give hikers a way to leave day-to-day messages while they are on the trail to document where they have been, where they are going, and who/what they have seen. Shelter logs can also provide proof of who summits certain mountains and can warn about dangerous animals or unfriendly people in the area. Hikers may cite when a certain water source is dried up, providing crucial information to other hikers. In the case of an emergency or missing person, the logs can be an invaluable source of information to emergency personnel. 

Although I doubt I'll ever traverse the Appalachian Trail, I'm glad it exists. Getting outside in God's beautiful world is always a great idea!

Your turn: Have you hiked any part of the Appalachian Trail? Is it on your bucket list? Tell  me about it!

Michelle Shocklee is the author of several historical novels, including Count the Nights by Stars, winner of the 2023 Christianity Today Book Award, and Under the Tulip Tree, a Christy Awards and Selah Awards finalist. Her work has been included in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazines, and blogs. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of two grown sons, she makes her home in Tennessee, not far from the historical sites she writes about. Visit her online at

                             APPALACHIAN SONG

Forever within the memories of my heart.
Always remember, you are perfectly loved.

Bertie Jenkins has spent forty years serving as a midwife for her community in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Out of all the mothers she’s tended, none affects her more than the young teenager who shows up on her doorstep, injured, afraid, and expecting, one warm June day in 1943. As Bertie and her four sisters tenderly nurture Songbird back to health, the bond between the childless midwife and the motherless teen grows strong. But soon Songbird is forced to make a heartbreaking decision that will tear this little family apart.

Thirty years later, the day after his father’s funeral, Walker Wylie is stunned to learn he was adopted as an infant. The famous country singer enlists the help of adoption advocate Reese Chandler in the hopes of learning why he was abandoned by his birth parents. With the only clue he has in hand, Walker and Reese head deep into the Appalachian Mountains to track down Bertie Jenkins, the midwife who holds the secrets to Walker’s past.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Annie G. Fox: Woman of Valor

Tomorrow marks the eighty-second anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor, a “day that would live in infamy,” and the impetus for the United States to join the war that was taking over the globe. Located on Oahu, the third largest of the Hawaiian islands and home to Honolulu, the base at Pearl Harbor was the main base for the American Naval Fleet in the Pacific Ocean. Schofield Barracks, headquarters of the 25th Infantry Division, and several Army airfields were also part of the base. More than 35,000 soldiers lived and worked at Pearl, and in fact, more soldiers than sailors were present on the day of the attack.

There were a mere eighty-two nurses stationed in Hawaii at three Army medical facilities that day. First Lieutenant Annie G. Fox, Chief Nurse in the Army Nurse Corps at Hickam Field was on duty at the time of the attack. The forty-seven-year-old nurse was a twenty-three-year veteran having enlisted in 1918, a few months prior to the end of World War I. Annie was born in Pubnico, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, to Doctor Charles Fox and Deidamia Fox. I couldn’t unearth how she came to the U.S.

After WWI, she served in New York, Texas (Fort Sam Houston), California (Fort Mason), and two locations in the Philippines. After some time back in the continental U.S., she was assigned to Honolulu in May 1940 and received her promotion to Chief Nurse in August 1941, after which she was moved to Hickam in November of that year at the same time the 30-bed hospital opened.

Casualties that included a high percentage of burn victims poured into the facility within minutes of
the first bombing run. As bombs fell and fighter jets filled the sky, Annie pulled together the nurses and organized the hospital’s response. Officers’ wives and NCOs reported to the facility, and Annie trained them how to make hospital dressings by the hundreds and assist with patient care. She participated in surgery, administered anesthesia, and tended the wounded. By all reports, Annie maintained a cool demeanor during the entire event.

A year later, Annie was awarded the Purple Heart, her citation reading in part, “During the attack, Lieutenant Fox in an exemplary manner, performed her duties as head nurse of the Station Hospital…{she} worked ceaselessly with coolness and efficiency and her fine example of calmness, courage, and leadership was of great benefit to the morale of all with whom she came in contact.”

In 1942, the criteria to receive a Purple Heart changed to be limited to wounds received as a result of enemy action, and Annie's award was rescinded. She was then given the Bronze Star Medal in replacement. Four other nurses were also recognized for their performance during the attack: Captain Helena Clearwater, First Lt. Elizabeth A. Pesut, Second Lt. Elma L. Asson, and Second Lt. Rosalie L. Swenson, each receiving the Legion of Merit “for extraordinary fidelity and essential service.”

Annie was promoted to Captain and in May 1943 transferred to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, California, later moving to Camp Phillips, Kansas where she was promoted to Major. After retiring in December 1945, she moved to San Diego, California to live near two of her sisters. She never married and passed away on January 20, 1987 at the age of 93.


Francine’s Foibles:

She's given up hope. He never had any. Will they find it together?

World War II is finally over, and America is extra grateful as the country approaches this year’s Thanksgiving. But for Francine life hasn’t changed. Despite working at Fort Meade processing the paperwork for the thousands of men who have returned home, she’s still lonely and very single. Is she destined for spinsterhood?

Grateful that his parents anglicized the family surname after emigrating to the United States after the Great War, first-generation German-American Ray Fisher has done all he can to hide his heritage. He managed to make it through this second “war to end all wars,” but what American woman would want to marry into a German family. Must he leave the country to find wedded bliss?

Purchase link:

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star-Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historical places all her life. She now lives in central New Hampshire where she is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Wilson A. Bentley - Pioneer in Snowflake Photography

By Mary Dodge Allen 

The old saying, “No two snowflakes are alike” – was first proven without a doubt in 1885, when a young Vermont farmer figured out how to photograph these delicate frozen crystals.

Early Wilson Bentley snowflake photo (Public Domain)

Wilson A. Bentley (

Wilson Alwyn Bentley was born in Jericho, Vermont on February 9, 1865. His family owned a farm in the “Snowbelt,” an area in Vermont where the average annual snowfall approached 120 inches. He and his brother worked on the farm and were homeschooled by his mother, who was a former teacher. During his childhood, Wilson developed an avid interest in studying the structure of the natural world around him - spider webs... butterflies... leaves... raindrops. He was also interested in weather patterns, and he kept a detailed record of weather conditions every day of the year.

When Wilson turned 15, his mother gave him an old microscope. It was snowing that day, and he used this microscope to get his first close-up view of a six-sided snowflake. Seeing its intricate design sparked his lifelong fascination with capturing and studying the structure of snow crystals.

He first tried to make detailed drawings of snowflakes, but they always melted too quickly. So Wilson decided to try photographing them. When he asked his parents for a better microscope and a camera, his father voiced the opinion that “fussing with snowflakes” was a waste of time. But he eventually gave in, and he gave both items to Wilson on his 17th birthday.

Wilson built an elaborate wooden frame to hold his new camera equipment and microscope – and he began working outside in the cold or in an unheated back room at his family’s home. In that era, photographers used glass plates to take photographs, and photos required lengthy exposure times - between one to two minutes... a long time for a fragile snowflake to remain intact.

Wilson Bentley in later years, photographing snowflakes (Wikipedia)

Over the next three winters, Wilson spent his precious free time away from farming chores, trying to photograph snowflakes under his microscope. Wearing winter clothing and thick mittens, he stood outside during snowstorms catching snowflakes on a black wooden tray. Then he used a straw he plucked from a broom to carefully push each snowflake onto the microscope slide. He was careful not to breathe on each flake as he quickly focused the camera and then photographed it.

Wilson developed these glass photographic plates in a darkroom he created under the stairway. He tried photographing the frozen flakes over and over again, but his efforts failed to produce clear images. Wilson never gave up, despite the cold and the difficult working conditions.

On January 15, 1885 - three weeks before his 20th birthday - Wilson finally captured the first clear photographic image of a snowflake. 

With this accomplishment, Wilson Bentley - a young Vermont farmer - became a pioneer in “photomicrography” – taking photos of tiny objects through a microscope.

Early Wilson Bentley snowflake photo (Public Domain)

After that first success, Wilson went on to photograph more than 5,000 snow crystals over the next 46 years. He often described snowflakes as “tiny miracles of beauty” and “ice flowers."

Early Wilson Bentley snowflake photos (Public Domain)

Wilson Bentley snowflake photos (Public Domain)

Wilson also photographed frost, dew and other weather phenomena. In 1904, Wilson donated 500 of his snowflake photographs to the Smithsonian Institution. And in 1920, he was elected as one of the first members of the American Meteorological Society. Wilson wrote nearly 60 articles during his lifetime, published in a variety of scientific and popular magazines, such as National Geographic.

Before his death in 1931, Wilson published a book called "Snow Crystals," in partnership with William J. Humphreys, a physicist with the U. S. Weather Bureau. This book contains over 2,300 of Wilson’s photographs, proving that every snowflake is unique.

"Snow Crystals" is available at online retailers like Amazon.

Wilson lived in his family’s farmhouse in Jericho, Vermont all his life. He died of pneumonia on December 23, 1931, at the age of 66.

Several books have been written about Wilson Bentley, including a Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book called “Snowflake Bentley” by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. There is also an interesting museum in Jericho, Vermont celebrating Wilson Bentley’s accomplishments.

Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley Museum, Jericho, Vermont (Wikipedia)

Snowflakes are falling today in many places. (But not in Florida, where I live.) And during the holidays we will see plenty of snowflake Christmas ornaments, snowflake light strings and snowflake gift wrap.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, for his curiosity about the natural world. Through his hard work and persistence, he produced thousands of beautiful photos of these delicate and unique snow crystals.

As I look at Wilson Bentley's snowflake photos, I am amazed at God's creative handiwork - all the intricate shapes and designs. How about you?

Mary Dodge Allen is the winner of a 2022 Christian Indie Award, a 2022 Angel Book Award, and two Royal Palm Literary Awards (Florida Writer's Association). She and her husband live in Central Florida, where she has served as a volunteer with the local police department. Her childhood in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, sparked her lifelong love of the outdoors. She has worked as a Teacher, Counselor and Social Worker. Her quirky sense of humor is energized by a passion for coffee and chocolate. She is a member of the Florida Writer's Association, American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith Hope and Love Christian Writers. 

Mary's novel: Hunt for a Hometown Killer won the 2022 Christian Indie Award, First Place - Mystery/Suspense; and the 2022 Angel Book Award - Mystery/Suspense.

Click the link below to buy Hunt for a Hometown Killer at

Link to Mary's Spotlight Interview:   Mary Dodge Allen Author Spotlight EA Books