Summer Fruit


What Do You Love About Summer?

Even though I miss my beloved California coast, I love many things about Florida. For one, our freedom here to have life mostly back to normal which means we’re able to celebrate our God in worship as well as our nation’s independence. Every week our church is overflowing with new people longing for more of Jesus. That makes my heart happy.

Of course there are other summer fun things too. No matter where we live, I love summer fruit. Such an amazing plethora of sweet, summertime goodness. Like the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Abundant, leaves us wanting more, and so good for us!

Then there are our afternoon thunderstorms. Okay, so even though the thunder still makes me jump, even when I see the lightning and know it’s coming, the pouring rain washes the heat out of the day. After the deluge, a peace settles over everything. Like Jesus washing us in living water and giving us his peace.

Brendan and I have enjoyed a couple of outings now that I am able to do a little more. Our friend, Bob, is a gracious man who has treated us to some fun – like riding in his sidecar! A first for both me and Brendan. 

And finally, who doesn’t love summer reading? Take a good book to the beach or the lake and escape into someone else’s world for a few hours.

That’s why I’m happy to announce that Where Blows the Wind is finally available in paperback! It’s been a long month trying to work out the printing issues, but it’s still in time for your summer vacation.

AND

The really good news is that I’ve made it half price until August 15th.
$8.99 is a great deal for those who prefer the feel of a book in hand and the smell of paper and ink.

It can be read without Book 1, but if you haven’t read When the Wind Blows and want to read them in order you can find it here. Most of my time this summer has been spent writing. Book 3 in the Winds of Redemption series, A Mighty Wind, is well under way and unfolding in ways I didn’t foresee. It’s on track for a fall release. I’ve also been working on the sequel to The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater – my first true non-fiction. (Even though it tells more of our story, it’s really a book about marriage.) My goal is for Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Collides with Reality to be available before Christmas.

We’ll see what God does. It’s up to him, I just let him use me. LOL

Tyrina longs for family, but doesn’t trust anyone. But when she meets the group of neighbors brought together by the previous year’s hurricane, she’s inspired by Dylan Davis’s story. Could God possibly help her find the siblings she lost contact when they were children? And what about finding love?

“Oh my goodness…I couldn’t stop reading it. I loved every minute of it!
Laura Bennet has a way of using vivid language so that you can envision
yourself right there in the room with the characters.” Cindylq

Laura’s Monthly Reading List

Until Next time…Enjoy the fruit of summer and of the Holy Spirit!

What We Can’t See


Here in Florida, we’re warming up! We’ve had some 90 degree days, but this past week, my son flew to California and had his flight changed because of cold weather in Dallas! Wow. I forget that snow flurries still happen in May in other parts of the country.

Still, for many of us, things are starting to bloom. In my little patio garden, my tomato plant is climbing places, and I can’t contain it. We have a number of plumeria plants growing and producing lovely, fragrant pink tinged blooms. Even a chrysanthemum that I thought was long dead has sprung to life. We just never know what roots are growing where we can’t see them. Maybe you’ve found, like I have that things are blooming in your life, your heart, and mind as well. That new thing that God’s doing?

Maybe you’re seeing evidence bursting forth like May flowers. After the trials of the past year, life is beginning again. Revival is in the air.

“The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1-2

I pray that the roots that were growing in the dormant, dark, lonely places of your life are giving way to blossoming beauty. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t despair – it will come! The length of every season is different and each zone has it’s own timing. You may be in snow flurries still while some are heading into summer weather, but God’s faithful and does not change.

As I mentioned last month, something in bloom around here is Book 2 in the Winds of Redemption series, Where Blows the Wind. Edits are well underway and we’re heading for a mid-June release. I’m pretty excited about the way God redeems the life of the main character, Tyrina Duval.

If you haven’t read it and want to follow the series from the beginning, you can get When the Wind Blows Book 1, on Amazon.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have advanced reader copies of Where Blows the Wind ready for anyone who would like to be the first to read and hopefully willing to write a review the day it hits the market. If that interests you or someone you know, email me and I’ll make sure to add you to the list.
Laura’s Reading List for this Month

Within This Circle by Deborah Raney – 
A young mother disappears after she has an emotional breakdown brought on by stress and lies she’s believed. *****
Romeo’s Hammer & Romeo’s Fight by James Scott Bell – I love this witty, philosophizing, ex-cage fighter protagonist who has a challenging past. His heart is all compassion even while he tries to (but doesn’t succeed) avoid the trouble that comes his way. *****
Shock and Awe by Christy Barritt – A favorite author whose suspense/mystery books never disappoint. Lantern Cove series. *****
The Cake List by Dianne J. Wilson – A new author for me. Just started reading, but I’m enjoying the witty humor of this story about a woman who has a list she wants to accomplish before she turns the big 30. So far *****

*Rated 3-5 stars – I won’t keep reading something less. 

Tomorrow we celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We’re looking forward to some restful, romantic, and fun time together. We believe that God has something growing in us as a couple, and we’re looking forward to seeing what that is. After the miracle of meeting online with Brendan and his children traveling across the world from Australia, we’ve had many challenges, joys, and miracles along the way. God keeps us on our toes as he refines us through the gift of marriage!

One thing I would leave you with is to remember that God is faithful even when we can’t see beneath the surface!

Waiting Well


Do you wait well?

Photo by Enric Cruz Lu00f3pez on Pexels.com

In line, in traffic, for good or bad news? What about for an answer, or promotion, or tax refund?

I confess, I can be impatient, irritated, or dismissive when I’m called on to wait for something. That may be part of why I’ve been entrusted with this season of waiting.

Since October, I’ve been waiting for God to heal me.

I have some mystery illness which my primary doctor has currently speculated might be seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. It has caused swelling all over my entire body (not just joints as is common), numbness in my hands and feet, rashes, dizziness, fatigue and constant pain – either aching, burning, or stabbing me randomly. Mostly at night. So I have a love/hate relationship with sleeping right now. Moving makes me blow up like a puffer fish. Resting causes me to not be able to move. And I’ve been waiting since December to see a rheumatologist. Apparently there aren’t many where I live, and even less that take my insurance.

Did you hear my snort of impatience right then?

Just to make it clear, I’m not complaining. I don’t really think doctors have answers. The few offered haven’t changed anything. (Diet, medicine, activity, etc.) My unique symptoms don’t really match any particular diagnosis. I believe God is my only answer. And I trust him completely. So I’m asking him to help me wait well while I wait for whatever good plan he has to be completed.

At some point, all of us might have to wait for many things – hasn’t this been a season of that? (Sorry to all you who are still waiting for your state or city to open up again!)

But do we know how to wait well?

Here are some of the things I do to wait well:

  • Every morning I choose to thank God for the day he made and rejoice and be glad in it.
  • I start each day with praising him, reading his word, and singing along with worship music.
  • I listen to prophetic words of encouragement.
  • I pray for others.
  • I proclaim what I know to be true about God.
  • I do whatever I am apply to accomplish and let go of the rest. Sometimes that means not washing my hair. (Yuck.)
  • I ask for help when I need it.
  • I let others know how to pray for me.
  • I keep writing books (even though it makes my hands and arms ache).

God is so faithful. He hasn’t allowed my healing to show itself yet (I believe I am healed and waiting for it to show up), but he has shown me so many things. I’m learning to be bolder in prayer. I’ve been alerted to some old resentments I didn’t realize I was harboring against someone who hurt my family. I’m learning to be slower to speak and better at listening. My compassion has increased.

And in the midst of it all, God has helped me write my next book. Yippee! As I write out the last pages, I’m sharing the beginning here with you. Where Blows the Wind is the sequel to When the Wind Blows and now part of a four book series that I never planned, but apparently God did.

So, I hope you enjoy this taste of Where Blows the Wind while you’re waiting for its release on June 15th in time for your summer reading pleasure.

Maybe it will help you wait well. 😉

Where Blows the Wind

The older man had no idea how Tyrina Louise Duval felt about family. How could he? And yet, here he was inviting her to join their gathering. His family of strangers. At least that was the way he put it. Although they all lived in the same building, the group had never met until Hurricane Harriet blew in less than a year ago. The connection between them was obvious. The longing in her heart nearly surpassed her hesitancy. But in the end, she thanked him kindly and turned to leave, flinging a yearning glance over her shoulder as she left.

Now she watched them from her third-floor balcony.

“Ralph Manning,” the man said when he introduced himself and offered to share their story. She imagined it was a remarkable one. No one would guess that the young couple with a baby and the man with the twenty-something girl—from the resemblance she assumed they were truly father and daughter—were not related to the elderly couple. He claimed they met there. Neighbors in this high-rise building of condos. Clearly, no matter how they met, they shared an uncommon love. Tyrina felt it when she walked by. Even from a distance.

Why hadn’t she stayed to listen?

She wanted to. Now she wished she had. To interact with a group that obviously cared so much for each other could only bring joy. Couldn’t it?

Observing them from the safety of her condominium evoked the old pain and longing while reaching an arm out to her with hope. A sad smile tugged at her mouth. Hope brought disappointment. She knew that feeling all too well.

Turning away from the scene below her, she brushed back a stray curl that had escaped from her braid. On humid days like this, her tawny hair tormented her with frizzy strands that barely remained contained in tight braids like the one she wore today. Otherwise, she let her springy locks hang loose down her back and shoulders. She finally learned about ten years ago that fighting her natural born curls was not worth the long hours and money wasted on product. Besides, she believed in being free. And she was trying to be. That included her hair.

Tyrina shook her head at her thoughts. How had her hair determined so much of her identity? For nearly a lifetime, it seemed it was her one claim to real beauty. As a youngster, when her light brown skin brought some snide comments from those lighter or darker than her, confusion took up residence in her heart. Even her grandmother hated that her ebony-skinned son had married a white girl. Tyrina didn’t understand. How could the color of someone’s skin make a difference as to who they were inside?

Confusion ruled her life for as long as she could remember, and not belonging dictated it from the beginning.

Tyrina shook off the reverie.

It was a beautiful afternoon. Exactly the reason she had gone out in the first place. Until she observed the group with Ralph and his friends celebrating something, she’d planned on spending a few hours outside in the warm, but not too hot weather. In late August, cooler days were infrequent in Southwest Florida, so residents took advantage whenever a breezy day lowered the temperature to a reasonable setting. A walk around the grounds or at Fort Myers Beach after church on Sundays gave her time to reflect on the pastor’s message. Every week it seemed that he spoke to her directly. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. She knew it was the way God let her receive the words.

But the past few weeks, no matter what he said, or what she read in her Bible, nothing landed right. Restlessness stirred in her and wouldn’t be quelled.

His Gentle Whispers


Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

“The whisper wafted into her heart. Again? He’d been sending her on these little missions more frequently these days. Not that she really minded. Amanda felt humbled that he would choose her. She wasn’t anyone special.”

Amanda Grace Stiles, A Mighty Wind

God calls Amanda Grace Stiles to befriend a mysterious stranger who lies in a coma after sustaining life-threatening injuries. Who is this woman and is there hope for her? Can Amanda help her survive the past that’s put her in danger? Book three in the Winds of Redemption series is coming this summer. ⁠

In this, the third book in the Winds of Redemption series (When the Wind Blows is book one and Where Blows the Wind is book two, coming this spring), God speaks to a young women and leads her to intersect with another whose tragic life has led her to the lowest possible place. Through Amanda, the mysterious stranger will encounter healing through Jesus, who sustains life and leads us in purpose.

Here’s the thing….

We never know where the Spirit of God will lead us. He is like a mighty wind blowing us in and out of situations in life that will impact not only us, but those we come in contact with.

That is, if we will yield to his control.

Will we let Holy Spirit direct us into unknown places that may not make sense? Will we lean in and listen to catch the whispers of his heart for the lost and broken so that he can lead them to Jesus who saves? Are we willing to take risks that cost us something? Maybe our perception, reputation, or relationships?

Scary, huh?

But what if we learn to trust and follow that mysterious Spirit the way the Israelites followed the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night? What if we surrender what we think we know and allow Him to lead us into the unknown? What if that is where breakthrough, healing, peace, and joy are found?

The move of Holy Spirit is where:

  • dry bones turn into an army (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
  • axe heads float (2 Kings 6)
  • armies of ten thousands are defeated by 300 men (Judges 6-8)
  • a donkey talks (Numbers 22:28)
  • a blind man sees (John 9:1-12)
  • a lame man walks (Acts 14:8-10)
  • a little girl is raised from the dead (Matthew 9:18-26)

Today, Holy Spirit is living in each of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. (John 14:15-17) He leads us into all truth. It is by his power that we enter into a spiritual realm to see miracles accomplished in the name of Jesus.

Today, people are being healed in soul and body, delivered from the bondage of pain and addiction, released from depression and anxiety. Revival is here.

The world is desperate for Jesus.

As we listen and give way to the gentle whispers of Holy Spirit, we will experience an outpouring of such abundant joy and blessing, not only for ourselves and our lives, but through seeing others touched as we obey and intersect with their lives.

While the world is in turmoil, we live in a supernatural world of the incredible, the impossible, the unbelievable, the magnificent come to life. It’s a wonderful place to live.

Will you join me?

What’s So Exciting About 2020??


My word for 2020 was EXCITEMENT.

The end of 2019 promised new vision, strategies, success, and growth. My husband and I looked forward to exciting experiences the new year would bring. Only it didn’t come like we expected. Instead it came with grief.

God’s grief for the brokenhearted of the world—those who are weary in their perseverance through loss. His cries for those who have gone their own way into hurt, hatred, violence, and division—his children whom he loves that don’t want to have anything to do with him. I feel his grieving heart as I pray for our community, our nation, and our world.

I believe this year has allowed us to see and know who God is, and what’s important. Being forced to be at home, we’ve had time to spend time with God. We’ve been given a chance to reconnect with our spouses and children. Maybe we’ve learned how to work from home, setting our schedules to adapt to higher priorities. Conversation replaced hours previously spent watching sports or sitcoms. Many families have grown closer to God and each other.

Granted, nothing is what we expected. Disappointment and despair over job and family losses is real. But maybe the 2020 turmoil is what we needed to wake up to a different perspective. What if this year has actually brought more benefit than what we expected? When I choose to look at each day with gratitude, I’m suddenly aware of all we do have; all we’ve learned; new opportunities and strategies for change and growth. Maybe that’s what God has in mind. He’s our hope. Nothing but Jesus can bring us peace in the midst of these terrible storms. That’s what I’ve learned to cling to even more this year.

And that has brought excitement.

Looking forward with excitement as we celebrate Jesus in the weeks to come!

LAURA’S BOOKS

If you’re a book reader or have one on your list, you might be excited to hear of these Christmas deals!

My contemporary fiction, A Deadly Silence, is on sale now through December 15th. In it, Sara Maree Matley unpacks a box that challenges her family with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make. You can get the paperback version here. Kindle version will be FREE for a limited time this Saturday and Sunday December 12 & 13th by going here.

I also have a limited supply of paperback copies of my newest release, When the Wind Blows, that were slightly damaged in shipping. You can receive a signed copy for only $7! That includes media mail shipping in the US. (takes about 7-10 days). These copies have minor flaws such as a bent corner or page or marks on the cover. Use the contact form to order. While supplies last.

AND as my Christmas gift to you, my biblical fiction, Rachel’s Son, about a woman named Rachel who’s son is killed in the Bethlehem massacre, will be FREE in Kindle version from December 23-27th for some Christmas reading. You know how the day after Christmas you don’t know what to do? Now you do! Merry Christmas to you.

I think that’s pretty exciting news! Enjoy!

And Then There Were Five…


“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

When my last book was in its finishing stages, I sensed a stirring in me to write a sequel. I’ve never been a series writer, and haven’t considered it before, but the wind blew this mysterious woman into the end of When the Wind Blows, and I knew I had to tell her story.

Her name is Tyrina Lousie Duvall, and her story isn’t easy, but it will offer hope and healing to someone.

It’s interesting how book ideas materialize. No sooner had I thought about the mystery woman, than I realized Bailey Crenshaw, a twenty-year-old character in When the Wind Blows would need a book of her own as well. So a third book in the now series will follow Tyrina’s story. The two characters will end up being intertwined so how could they not both have a book? Besides, some who have finished When the Wind Blows want to know more about how Jessica’s character has changed too. She’ll pop in here and there in both books.

But the two new books, Where Blows the Wind – Tyrina’s story and Winds of Change – Bailey’s tale (the current working titles that may end up changing) were added to a list of books I’ve already started. I’m pretty sure the word I sensed from the Lord was prolific writing. Wow. Here we go!

Faith’s Song, based on the best friend of Sara Matley in A Deadly Silence, walks with Faith when she receives devastating news and can’t seem to rally her faith to handle it. How will she deal with the ramifications of this shocking news?

And then there’s The Fisherman’s Wife. Simon Peter is impulsive and brash, spending long hours fishing in often stormy waters. When Jesus calls Peter to follow him, how will Abigail handle another one of Peter’s crazy plans – this time to leave her for an undefined time? A couple of readers mentioned that they hoped I’d write more along the lines of Rachel’s Son. Here you go.

Bed and Breakfast isn’t what it seems. Two activist inventors clash in a contemporary romance when they each believe they have the perfect answer to create housing for the homeless. Can they combine their talents and innovations to alleviate one of the world’s worst problems?

And that’s not all! The list continues…oh, my!

On the back burner is Silk Stalkings, Out of Egypt, a possible yet-to-be-named sequel to Voices of the Past, and a couple of middle school series featuring Perry Trotter and Justin Case.

Not to go crazy or anything about book writing, but Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Meets Reality, the continuing saga of my Aussie husband, Brendan, and me is also in process.

That said, let me take a survey. I”m curious. Of the books I’ve mentioned here, what would be your first choice? Anyone who responds will have their name entered in a drawing for a signed print copy of A Deadly Silence. Let my know in the comments below that you submitted your vote.

Thanks for participating! From my desk chair of piled notes, proof copies of books, and computer manuscripts, I thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting, voting, and following! It means so much.

Show a Little Love


In a world of so much division and hatred, I thought I’d share a little short story that reflects how we might choose to handle life. This week, I want to be one that shows the love of Jesus in my reactions.

I’ve also made October the month of FREE books. With fall moving in, don’t you want to curl up with a good book and a cuppa (Aussie for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate)? Even here in balmy Southwest Florida, we’ve had a few nights of “cooler” (70 – LOL) weather. So after you read this little short story, head on over to Amazon where you can pick up the Kindle edition of Voices of the Past this weekend. It’s FREE starting yesterday, October 9 until the 13th.

Then from October 16-20th you can get Dangerous Ground for FREE.

New Release, When the Wind Blows, will be FREE October 20-24th. That’s a month of great reading! Starting with the story below. And don’t forget to show a little love…

Joy Wurshop yanked on the handle of her rolling briefcase. For the last time. The handle came off in her hand. The impact nearly threw her off her black high heels. Walking was no longer an option. She’d have to call a cab now. Ten minutes before her meeting started. Only a miracle would get her there.

“Taxi!” She scanned the crowded street for yellow while attempting to shove the bag’s handle back in place.

You’ll have to be aggressive in the big city. The unsolicited advice from her previous boss incited her to take a step off the curb. Without looking. A cab screeched to a halt inches from her black pencil skirt. Joy’s free hand flew to her mouth while her purse slid off her shoulder and down the grey and pink floral silk blouse adorning her arm.

“Lady, what the heck’re ya doin? Trying to get yourself killed? Do you want a cab or a coffin?”

“Cab, please.” She let the coffin remark slide. Gripping her broken briefcase and purse, she fumbled with the door handle. The driver turned, facing her, and yelled out the passenger window.

“Come on, lady. I ain’t got all day.” His booming expletive carried over honking horns blaring behind him.

Joy threw her belongings through the door and slid in beside them.

“Where to? Where to? Let’s get a move on.”

“27th Street. The Town Center Building. Please hurry. I have a meeting, and I’m already late.”

“Oh, miss fancy-pants wants me to hurry now. Dawdled getting in my cab, and now I’m the one to get her to her meetin’…”

Joy closed her eyes against the pooling tears as the man carried on. Not what she needed. Not today. Not when her career hung by a thread.

Drawing in a deep breath, she dug in her purse for a tissue, settling for a wadded piece at the bottom. By the time she removed mascara smudges and reapplied lip gloss, they turned onto her street. Joy prayed she had enough cash for the fare.

Flipping through all her cards, her heart plunged. Bank, credit, medical, pharmacy, Sam’s Club, library. Nothing. Opened her change purse. A couple of folded up ones and two pennies. They were pulling up to her building. Praying for a miracle, she peeked in a little, side pocket, fully knowing she never kept money there.

“That’ll be $17.50. No charge for not runnin’ ya over back there.” He howled a laugh.

Tucked inside the pocket was a folded bill. Thank God! But when she pulled it out, the sight elated and crushed her. A fifty. Since when…she never had that kind of money. But she knew what she needed to do. She closed her eyes with a sigh. A moment later, she opened them and handed the bill over, offering a shaky smile.

“Here. Keep the change.”

As she closed the door, she caught his muttering.

“Well, I never…”

And she guessed he never had.

When the Wind Blows is coming soon…

New Release Coming Soon!


Deadly Silence CoverThe benefit of sheltering at home is more time to write. In April, I released A Deadly Silence. Here’s what a few of people have said:

“Sara and Brad’s story gripped me the second I opened the book. Laura Bennet weaves believable storylines and it’s like you are an invisible person witnessing it as it’s taking place. Emotions run high with the characters, but also the reader. Thank you, Laura, for such an outstanding book. Bravo!!!” J.Messmer

“I really couldn’t put this down. I enjoyed reading this, and I was surprised because it’s not usually my reading genre. A definite recommend, especially if you like reading about relationships, family, friendships, overcoming trauma, personal growth, spiritual growth, and learning.” J.N.

“I enjoyed this book as I have all of Laura’s books. Her honest writing style is refreshing in that things don’t always work out the way we think they “should” – just like in real life. This book covers a difficult topic but one that many people face. I’m glad to see an honest take on removing the stigma in talking about issues when they occur. Can’t wait for the next book!” Peggy I.

I’m glad to know readers are anxiously awaiting the next book because it’s almost here! Anticipating an October release, When the Wind Blows, shows how being in community brings hope, healing, and redemption.

when-the-wind-blows-1

Category 4 Hurricane Harriet slams Southwest Florida, throwing six high rise neighbors together in unexpected ways.

Alec and Jessica Freeman can’t seem to make their five-year marriage work, and Jessica’s secret isn’t helping. Author Dylan Davis loses himself in writing books about missing children as therapy for the daughter he lost. Bailey Crenshaw, a free-spirited young woman who’s been on her own since girlhood, finds family with strangers. Older, retired folks, Ralph and Edith Manning wonder if life is over for them, but experiencing trauma with neighbors offers a new sense of purpose. Within community, each one discovers that weathering a storm together is better than surviving alone.