Hopes, Hearts, and Hoofbeats Readers, Cindy Ervin Huff is opening our hearts today!

Award-wining author Cindy Erwin Huff is the founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers and a member of the ACFW. Over the past forty years her by-line has appeared in numerous publications.Her blog Jubilee Writer offers writing encouragement to all newbies. cindy huff 2016

This week, Cindy will give us a preview of her newest Novell and book, New Duet. So please welcome Cindy Ervin Huff!

Cindy, can you tell us a little about your books?

You’ve read Secrets & Charades, my historical romance about a female doctor who goes west as a mail-order bride. It won the Editor’s Choice Award and placed third in the Maxwell Awards. It will soon be available in audiobook.

There will be sequels in the future.

Cindy Huff Secrets & CharadesJake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?

My latest release is a contemporary romance, New Duet.

Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her Cindy Huff New Duetcontrolling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt-ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in search of her own identity and a new beginning.

Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.

Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?

My newest WIP is a novella (currently untitled) for my Smitten Imprint for Historical Romance. The collection is entitled “The Cowboys.” Linda Yezak, Jennifer Hough Uhlark and Sandra Melville Hart. Three awesome authors in their own right. Such a privilege to work with them. Each of us must create a romance for a cowboy. My novella has twins who’ve inherited a ranch in Kansas from their uncle. The Civil War ended the year before and the two want to rebuild their lives in a new place. When they arrive at the ranch they find a woman there. And a blizzard traps them while they sort out what’s going on, whose who and of course the love connection for one of the twins. It is slated to release in August 2019.

What inspired you to write?

cropped-cindy-huff-new-duet-books.jpgOther than voices in my head creating stories, it was a writing contest in junior high. My seventh-grade teacher entered my short fiction in a contest. I didn’t win or even place, but the die was cast. I continued writing in a variety of areas from journalism, to scripts to short stories for children. Then life happened, children to raise and many other things sidetracked me, but I persevered writing what I could whenever I had time. Then I suffered burnout and I put writing aside for over a decade. At 50 while on a mission trip in the Philippines, God spoke to my heart to pick up my pen again. I laid a fleece before the Lord and he answered it by providing the funds to take a writing course I felt I needed after my ten-year absents from publishing. While taking that course I wrote the first draft of Secrets & Charades. Then I spent the next decade rewriting and honing my writing skills. During that time S & C was rejected about twenty times. Then it won the Editor’s Choice Award and then was contracted by LC publishing. Then I kept on writing. First New Duet, which was picked up by Clean Reads, now the novella for LPC.

Do you find it a challenge to write your new novella, after writing an 85k+ novel?

Absolutely. A novella only has one storyline. There are no subplots and the characters need to be completed and compelling in a fourth of the words. It is quite the challenge. I’m a panster, so I need to complete the first draft before I can do any serious rewrites. I don’t do charts or detailed outlines. My characters evolve with each rewrite until I am sure they’re telling me all I should know about them. Lots harder in fewer words.

Your wonderful novel, Secrets & Charades is coming out as an audio soon. What does the process entail?

Cindy Huff Audio SecretsI had fun auditioning narrators. I heard five different people read from my novel for about two minutes. I chose Meghan Kelly. She did a wonderful job. As you know S & C has lots of characters from different ethnic groups. Meghan had to change her voice as she read. Definitely met the challenge. Once she was done I had to listen and send a correction sheet for any do-overs. Not everything needs to be corrected. The listener doesn’t know the difference. Sometimes a narrator will rearrange a sentence or change things slightly for clarity. She used the word library for collection of books. It didn’t change the story at all. She’d graciously referred me to two helpful blog posts that explained what an author should expect from a narrator. Next came the cover and then LPC has it slated to release in June (maybe sooner).

Who has inspired your writing most?

Great writers. I read a lot and when I find a gem of a book I often turn to my husband and say I want to write like that. I learn more about writing from reading than any craft book.

Why did you decide to write historical romance?

I love history. I’d rather see a museum on vacation rather than the beach. Unless of course, the beach had historical significance. I love reading westerns and historical fiction. The characters introduced themselves and the more research I did the more I knew their story. The same is true with the other historical romances I have completed and are not contracted yet.

I wrote out of genre with New Duet because the idea hit me in a what if moment and it begged to be written. The characters cooperated nicely too, even the dog obeyed. I may write more contemporary romance in the future.

What have you learned through your journey that you could pass along to other writers?

Don’t be afraid to show others your work. I don’t mean your mom. Go to conferences and find other writers to connect with. Join a critique group and get better at the writing craft. Knowing other writes doesn’t make you feel so weird.

And what would you have done differently?

Taken classes and started writing novels earlier.

Where do you see your next writing adventure?

I’m 62 so I plan on writing novels as long as I can. I have ideas waiting in line to be brought to life. I’d like them all to be in audio format and who knows maybe one will be a movie.

Buy links:

Amazon: : https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Charades-Cindy-Ervin-Huff

Barnes & Noble:


LPC: https://www.shoplpc.com/?s=Secrets+%26+Charades&x=0&y=0

About Cindy Ervin Huff

Her latest release, a contemporary romance titled New Duetis set in Aurora, Illinois. Healing Hearts, part of The Cowboys novella collection is slated for release in August 2019.

Cindy’s blog Jubilee Writer offers writing encouragement to all newbies, especially those starting later in life. http://www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com

Visit Cindy on her Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cindyehuff or follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff.

By commenting below, you’ll be entered into a drawing for Cindy’s newest novel, New Duet  (Ebook if out of country).

Join me in opening hearts and journeying with other authors.  Subscribe to Hopes, Hearts, and Hoofbeats.   You’ll receive my latest blog post in your email.


Destiny’s Whirlwind

The second book of the Destiny series, Destiny’s Whirlwind is scheduled for release on April 17. You can imagine my joy on seeing this wonderful article written by Elise Shire of The Oxford leader!

Local author ready to release sixth novel

Cathy holding Destiny's Whirlwind
An award-winning Addison Township author is preparing to release her sixth novel.

Brakefield’s latest contribution to the literary world is entitled “Destiny’s Whirlwind” and it’s the second part of a thrilling four-part series. The novel is set to be released on April 17 through CrossRiver Media Group.

Destiny's whirlwind coverAccording to a recent press release, “Collina McConnell is thrust from adolescence to adulthood as she promises her dying father she will manage their estate – but her father dies before disclosing the mystery behind his legacy for Shushan [the estate].

“Dashing Rough Rider Franklin Long offers his help, and suddenly, Collina’s heart has a will of its own . . . War is declared, and he leaves for the Cuban shoreline. He holds the key to her heart, but will he return?”

The events within the novel, which is a historical romance, take place just before the Spanish-American war and span through 1898.

According to Brakefield, the struggles which the McConnell family faces throughout the Destiny series mirror the struggles and perserverance which have been shown by past generations of American leaders, like former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

“History, and historical romances, are really about the past shaping our future. I think that is what my Destiny series portrays,” said Brakefield.

“It begins in the Antebellum era in the 1850s and it’s going to carry us all the way through . . . after World War II. It shows us that each generation peppers (its) wisdom upon the next generation. The people who lived in the past, they helped (transform) this nation into what it’s become. Those American leaders throughout our history (demonstrate) courage and wisdom … It really shows us how we survived, despite all odds.”

She added that she hopes her upcoming novel will help inspire readers to face life’s challenges with similar fortitude.

“We’re sinners, but we’re willing to repent. Life may knock us down but, like the McConnells, we never quit,” said Brakefield of her upcoming faith-based fiction. “Our nation was founded by Christians. As long as we keep praying, God’s going to keep helping us through our ordeals.”

Brakefield is set to hold book signings at Beadifferent Boutique (7 North Washington St.) in downtown Oxford on May 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. and at the Addison Township Public Library (1400 Rochester Rd.) in Lakeville on May 17 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Brakefield will be featured on Write Stuff Radio Station with Parker J. Cole on April 24. She will also host book signings at Hidden Treasures in Altoona, Iowa on April 26; at Grace Central Church, Omaha, Nebraska on April 28; at Faith Book Store in Flint May 5 from 1 to 4 p.m.; and at Shiawassee District Library in Owosso, MI on May 10.

Brakefield is also the author of the faith-based historical romances “The Wind of Destiny” and “Wilted Dandelions,” which received two awards. She has written two pictorial history books: Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County.

Upon release, “Destiny’s Whirlwind” will be available on Amazon.com and at CrossRiverMedia.com. To learn more about Brakefield and her previous works, visit catherineulrichbrakefield.com.


This Mother’s Day give Mom a present she can continuously reopen. Here are a few great places to find that special gift.

Beadifferent Boutique. Located on 7 North Washington St. in downtown Oxford.  I will be there on May 12 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Faith Book Store; 4463 Miller Rd.  in Flint. I will be there on May 5 from 1 to 4 p.m

I look forward to seeing all my friends in Iowa again so don’t forget:

Hidden Treasures;  100 8th St. SE F; Altoona, Iowa 50009 on April 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Reference article by Elise Shire: http://oxfordleader.com/local-author-ready-to-release-sixth-novel/


Irish image 328192

What do those words mean to you?

President Trump declared that March 1 would begin the Irish-American Heritage Month 2018, and stated, “We celebrate Irish-American Heritage Month and the tremendous role Irish immigrants and their descendants have played in the development of our great Nation.”

Through my mother’s and grandmother’s wise teachings, I learned about the Irish immigrants who flooded the harbors of New York during the 1840s and ’50s. Little did I know that this knowledge would inspire my novel Swept into Destiny.

I am so very grateful for my reviewers, who have become my faithful friends to share my stories to, and their comments are always a blessing to me :

Swept into Destiny is a wonderful historical romance that gives the reader a glimpse into the Irish immigrants in the Civil War.” Award-winning author Cindy Ervin Huff goes on to write, “Ben McConnell is a wonderful character who portrays the best of the Irish spirit and Maggie Gatlin the heart of Southern charity. Catherine has captured the determined nature of the Irish. Their perseverance amid extreme difficulties.”

The Irish immigrant, as have many immigrants, persevered through the barriers of poverty and prejudices, accepting work unbefitting the lowest American. Their spirit persevered and pervaded, by their dogmatic faith in God and the American dream.

President Trump, in the Irish Central, goes on to say, “Irish-American Heritage Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the nearly 33 million Americans with Irish ancestry and their tremendous contributions to the betterment of our country.”

I invite you to enjoy a good read for Irish-American month with Swept into Destiny, a historical romance that tells about Irish immigrant Ben McConnell, who fights against unparalleled odds in the swamps of Tennessee, and as a part of the Irish Brigade during the Civil War. He fights to rise above his “unwelcome” status and provides a “living hope” (1Peter 1:3).  Swept-Cover small

As new republic lies ahead with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, Southern belle Maggie Gatlan journeys through unimaginable hardships of war and discovers the truth about faith and devotion, and America’s greater cause.  God Bless!

Swept into Destiny is on sale for a limited time. https://www.amazon.com/Swept-Destiny-Catherine-Ulrich-Brakefield-ebook/dp/B0719RRHXG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520430936&sr=8-1&keywords=swept+into+destiny

The above President Trump quotes taken from Irish Central, journalist Frances Mulraney: https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/irish-american-heritage-month-2018-trump

See: www.CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com  for more information about the Destiny series and check out  http://www.crossrivermedia.com/  for more great books.










First Line Friday Features Wilted Dandelions

 Anneliese Dalaba

The book I’m featuring today is Wilted Dandelions by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield.

Screenshot 2018-02-05 16.20.19

Buffalo, New York


“Spinster Rachael picks weeds, hoping someone will pick her.” 

I met this author at our ACFW Great Lakes Chapter meeting in January and decided to read one of her novels. It was time well spent. The characters are well developed and believable. I love that the heroine is strong and self-sufficient, yet vulnerable. The hero is brave and desires to obey God, while dealing with his inner weaknesses in a way that do not diminish him as a man. This novel was hard to put down.

The story takes you on an adventure through the heart of Indian country in the 1800s. Rachael Rothburn’s one desire is to be a missionary and share the love of Jesus with people who have never heard of Him. She sees herself as a spinster and has given up on marriage. Dr. Jonathan Wheaton desires the adventure of going west and, as a believer, would like to use his skill to help people as well as tell them about Jesus. Unfortunately, anyone desiring to join in the expedition must be married, so they agree to a marriage of convenience. On the journey, they battle raging rivers, hostile Indians, and treacherous mountains, while having to deal with ungodly men and women, yet the greatest battles are the ones within themselves. How long will pride and feelings of jealously keep these two from surrendering to God’s perfect plan?

First Line Friday is something every reader can participate in. Pick up a book near you. Type the first line in the comments, along with the title of the book and the author. Then check out the books other readers have featured in the comments on this blog or on the Hoarding Books link at the end of the post. You might find a book you would like to read simply by reading the first line. You can also click on the title of the book below and it will take you to Amazon so you can see what the book is about and the reviews other readers of shared.

Local author to sign books at Castle in the Sky

Author Catherine Ulrich Brakefield (center) with customers at Faith Christian Bookstore in Flint.

Flint Faith Christian 1

 By Catherine Minolli  cminolli@pageone-inc.com

IMLAY  CITY Local author Catherine Ulrich Brakefield will make an appearance at Castle in the Sky bookstore from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, December 16th.

Brakefield will sign her popular faith-based historic novels ‘Wilted Dandelions’ and ‘Swept into Destiny.’

Brakefield says the novels make great holiday gifts, and both stories bridge the gender gap-making them suitable for men and women alike.

“My novels are packed full with facts and informa­tion that oftentimes history teachers and professors rarely touch on,” Brakefield says. “I believe that is the main reason for their popu­larity.

Brakefield spent several years working as reporter and writing features some of them for the Tri-City Times. She’s also the author of historic reference books called ‘The Lapeer Area,’ and ‘Eastern Lapeer Area.’

“I would definitely say those people who love American history inside out enjoy my books,” she says.

“I find school age children ranging from 15 through to college level interested in these books as well as adults.”

Because of the interest, Brakefield’s ‘Swept into Destiny’ is now one of a four part series.

The second in the series — ‘Destiny’s Whirlwind’—will be released in April, 2018. Brakefield says more information about the series will be available at Saturday’s book signing.

She says she’s looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

“I am so excited to do a book signing at the new Castle in the Sky because I enjoy seeing all my friends again and sharing the great news about my most recent book,” she says.

Brakefield also has a tip for holiday shoppers.

“I’d like to tell every­one to buy a present this year that will inspire the heart and enrich the soul, a Christmas gift that can be continuously reopened,” she says.

“A good book, not just ‘Wilted’ or ‘Swept,’ can become a treasured memento that through the course of years and can entertain, inspire, and encourage a loved one. And patronize the family-owned stores, because that is where the heart of America lies. God Bless!”

Castle in the Sky book­store is located at 150 Bancroft Street, behind Gem & Diamond Specialists, downtown. Light refreshments will be served; all are welcome to attend.

For more information visit the website www. CatherineUlrichBrakefield. com for more information and http://www.facebook.com/ Castleintheskybooks/.



Inspire the Heart and Enrich the Soul!

Give a Christmas gift that can be continuously reopened! 20171111_104147

Join the celebration on December 2 from 1 to 4 p.m.

I will be at Faith Christian Store located at 4463 Miller Rd., Flint, Michigan on December 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. with my latest inspirational historical romance, Swept into Destiny, this is the first book of my four Destiny series.

CTK Craft show 3 cropped

Light refreshments will be served, special gifts, and a destination tour guide will be available of my recent excursion on the research of Swept into Destiny, and my trip out west researching my award-winning novel, Wilted Dandelions.

Swept-Cover small

Swept into Destiny

One Brave Decision leads…To Serious Consequences…

First book of the four book Destiny series, Swept into Destiny relates the story of Irish immigrant Ben McConnell and his encounter with the spunky Maggie Gatlan. The story opens in 1857 in Tennessee. Maggie is loyal but impetuous, faithful but reckless, and as Civil War sweeps the horizon, she finds herself falling in love with Ben McConnell. Her loyalty to her heritage now holds her heart in bondage and her life in peril…

Wilted Dandelions   wilted-dandelions-with-awards-2

The Second Great Awakening has stirred Her soul.

       High-spirited Rachael Rothburn and strong-willed Jonathan Wheaton want to share the salvation message with the Indians. Neither wants a spouse, but agrees on a marriage of convenience. The pair set off for Oregon. In the process of co-existing, they discover God doesn’t create coincidences—He designs possibilities.


This Christmas, buy a keepsake that keeps on giving!

Greetings everyone! Grab your coffee and tune in at 9 a.m. November 10th, to Lapeer’s WMPC channel 1230AM on your radio station and hear all about my exciting upcoming events!

I am praying this Thanksgiving and Christmas season will find all my very dear friends and patrons blessed with health, family, and prosperity. Here are some special dates I do not what you to miss out on:

November 11, 2017

Book Publicity Nov 11, 2017 Info

As our thoughts focus on what to buy our special someone on our Christmas list this year, check out the Craft and Vender Show at Christ the King Church located on 1550 W. Drahner Rd. (2 miles west of M-24 Lapeer Rd.) Oxford, Michigan. There will be over fifty vendors, like myself, all supporting the missionary trips.
The event begins at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.






I hope to see you all there!  Bring a friend, or tell someone about this great event.



Anyone live near Lapeer, Michigan? I will be at Marguerite deAngeli Branch of the Lapeer District Library, located on 921 West Nepessing St. on Monday, November 13 at 6 p.m. I shall give a 40 minute presentation consisting of videos, pictures and the towns I visited in the south and give a reading from my latest book Swept into Destiny. I shall also talk about some of the books in the Destiny series. Into Destiny’s Whirlwind will release April of 2018. Light refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase.

December 2nd
If you are located in the Flint area, please mark your calendars and don’t miss this fun-filled event at the Faith Christian Store located at 4463 Miller Rd, in Flint, Michigan I am planning to be there from 2 to 5 p.m. Kari’s store is a lovely place to find that special someone a wonderful Christmas gift!  I will have some light refreshments and plenty of great books on hand for you to give that certain person a treasured Christmas keepsake!  Check out her great website www.faithstores.com

December 16th 

If you live in the Eastern Lapeer County area, meet me at Castle in the Sky Bookstore located on 150 Bancroft St. (behind Gem & Diamond) in Imlay City, Michigan at 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 16. The store has just recently opened, so don’t miss this event! There will be light refreshments available. Come in and enjoy this cozy  oasis snuggled into this small town country setting. The perfect place to do Christmas shopping and enjoy the holiday lights. see https://www.facebook.com/Castleintheskybooks/

This Christmas, buy your loved ones something that will motivate and encourage. A keepsake that will keep on giving! Swept into Destiny and Wilted Dandelions, kindle version is presently on sale for just .99 cents!

See: www.CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com for more great Christmas ideas.

Verse of the month:
Proverbs 16:3   “Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.”