Salve for Souls

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


The day I looked death in the face began like many others.

As a photographer/reporter team for a newspaper in Central Florida, my husband Dan and I were on assignment to cover activities at a local horse ranch.

But as we drove there I felt unsettled, like the gusty wind rustling the trees.

Perhaps this hesitancy was God's "still small voice" (see 1 Kings 19:12) warning me to be careful.

At the ranch, its owner Lynn came to greet us. A children's riding class happened to be there on horseback. Lynn was about to lead the group down a sandy path to a meadow with a pond.

"Want to join us?" she asked Dan and me.

Dan nodded. “That sounds like a great setting for pictures.”

Angela Neal, volunteer at Hidden Rescue for Thoroughbreds
(HART) in Cocoa, Florida, (not location of incident)
gives horses such as  Lucy, tender loving care.
Holding a horse's reins, Lynn led the procession, while Dan and I brought up the rear on foot. I stepped carefully among piles of manure.

Dan pointed out an electric fence. "I touched one of those by accident years ago. It gave me quite a jolt."

When I turned to look, the wind blew sand into my eyes. As they burned and watered, I considered returning to our car and letting Dan tackle this job alone.

I dismissed the thought after seeing the fun others were having. The children were chatting and laughing. Dan began taking pictures as we emerged into the meadow.

While Dan moved closer for better picture angles, I stayed in the background taking notes. Relaxing a bit, I was able to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. Beneath an azure sky, horses circled the pond and waded in with their riders astride.

Rachael Whiteley, volunteer at Hidden Acres Rescue
For Thoroughbreds (HART) in Cocoa Florida
(not location of incident) gives horses such as
Comrade, tender loving care.
But when I noticed unfenced horses grazing about 50 feet away, my unsettledness tried to creep back in. I forced it to the back of my mind. The horses were content, grazing peacefully. For a fleeting moment, I felt peaceful too.
Then suddenly, a spotted horse with a girl on its back, galloped toward the pond, kicking up its hind legs. The girl slid off, splashing into the pond, thankfully unhurt. The horse continued to gallop and buck.

Lynn attempted to grab its reins, but the horse galloped past her, around the circumference of the pond—aimed straight at me!

Time seemed to move in slow motion.

Where can I run? How will I get away?

I glanced behind me. The electric fence was right there and all around was open field, with nowhere to hide.

My heart pounded. I could almost feel the horse's hooves kicking me to death right there in the muck and manure. God help me, I prayed.

Immediately, one of the loose horses stopped grazing. Although facing away from the panicked animal, it turned as if on cue. It then galloped into the path of the spotted horse, blocking its way. Calmed, the spotted horse trotted off in another direction. Things returned to normal as the intervening horse went back to grazing.

Lynn later told Dan and me that the horse had "spooked" because it was new to the ranch and something had blown past its face.

As we drove home, Dan expressed amazement.

"That horse in the field seemed to know exactly what it had to do."

Shaken but thankful, I agreed, certain the horse had received its instruction from the Master, who heard my cries.

Flora invites you to check out her "Castle in the Sun" romance/suspense series, published by Helping Hands Press.
In Book One, "Love's Sweetest Revenge," after Liz's husband takes off with a plaything in her twenties, Liz hopes to forget her troubles in the beauty of the forest. But unseen eyes are watching and an encounter with destiny, waiting.
In Book Two, "Love and Obsession," fly away to romantic, St. Augustine Florida, where Liz and Carlos plan to marry beneath the city's legendary "Love Tree." But Liz's ex-husband Steve, is hell-bent on stopping the wedding and he's ready to duke it out with Carlos. Who will prevail?
Think that dream you had might mean something? Flora's devotional book "Where Your Heart Meets God's," published by Helping Hands Press, explores the many ways God whispers our name.
Book also available in "sample" kindle edition.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


God has life changing messages for you, but how would you know?

And what would He say?
You might be surprised to find God's words of love,
shining like jewels in everyday life.

But also where we need to search and dig.

"Where Your Heart Meets God's," a devotional book from MillerWords, can help you discover this priceless treasure of the heart.
With 51 "stand alone" devotions, book may be used for study by Sunday
school classes, small groups and individuals.
 E-book just $2.99. 
Paperback also available.
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21, KJV).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Her  husband had left with a twenty-something playing and Liz hopes to forget her troubles in the beauty of the forest.
But bigger problems are watching and waiting.

How could this dangerous situation possibly lead to
a hidden locket filled with secrets, a castle in
paradise--and romance? 

It all unfolds in "Love's Sweetest Revenge,"
Book I in the "Castle in the Sun" series.
Ebook ONLY $2.99.
Paperback also available.

In Book II, Liz and Carlos, Jack and Rosa
stroll along Florida's sun-kissed shore,
but trouble is on the horizon.
E-book ONLY $2.99

Saturday, November 12, 2016


If God had something to say to you, how would you know and what would He say? You might be surprised to find God's words of love hidden like jewels in everyday life, but also where we need to search and dig. Where Your Heart Meets God's can help you discover a priceless treasure of the heart with your name. Open the pages and your heart for an everlasting journey of hearing and experiencing God. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21, NIV).
Book contains 51 devotions, each with a question and reassuring statement. It may be used for study by Sunday school classes, small groups and individuals.
From Heaven with love. What or Who do you see in the clouds?

Thursday, November 10, 2016



During the final, critical moments of a football game, I leaped to my feet with the cheering crowd when the quarterback hit a home run.
Not really—but that scenario illustrates something unbelievable about my writing career. For several years, I covered sports for a newspaper, even though I know absolutely nothing about sports.

I got by quoting those involved in and passionate about whatever sport I was featuring.
People were amazed by my "vast knowledge." Now the truth can be told.

It can also be told about mistakes I have made as a writer. I keep a log to remind myself how easy it is to trip up—sometimes in subtle ways. Errors were often caught by my husband and editor, Dan, whom I call Ol' Eagle Eye. He will spot a mistake and pounce on it.

Here are some examples:
In a query to a publisher, I wrote, "A 100 word blub follows, rather than a blurb.

In a devotional, I wrote about a lethargical dancer, rather than a liturgical dancer.

I addressed an envelope containing my manuscript to Strange Publications, instead of Strang Publications.
For a newspaper story about how a New Jersey transplant initially thought Florida was a new state with little history, I wrote, "A move to Titusville and the historic, LaGrange Cemetery would challenge that perception."
Dan asked me if she had moved to the cemetery.

I re-wrote the sentence as follows: "A move to Titusville and a visit to the historic, LaGrange Cemetery would challenge that perception."

In "Lovers and Secrets," book three of my "Castle in the Sun" romance series, I wrote, "Carlos returned to his room, immaculately cleaned by hotel workers."

Dan asked me if he had been scrubbed down with a big brush.

I re-wrote the sentence as follows: Carlos returned to his hotel room, finding it immaculately cleaned by hotel workers.
Somehow, at the conclusion of a Bible verse in a very serious devotion, an extraneous word became inserted. "But knowing these things and knowing His fate, Jesus still told his disciples, 'I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you.'" Pocahontas
Dan asked me if Pocahontas attended the last supper.

This is but a sampling of my mistakes, many of which got past my spelling/grammar checker. Sharp human eyes always work best.

FLORA'S BOOKS, published by Helping Hands Press:
Think that dream you had might mean something? "Where Your Heart Meets God's" explores the many ways He whispers our name.
Sample kindle edition only 99 cents.

How could a dangerous bear encounter possibly lead to a vacation in paradise--and romance?
Find out in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," first in the "Castle in the Sun" series."
Will Steve get past Jack and his motorcycle buddies to stop Liz and Carlos' wedding? Find out in "Love and Obsession," second in the "Castle in the Sun" series.

In "The Face Behind the Veil," travel in time to old New York and meet WWII's "Greatest Generation."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Love grows amid the flowers in the magnificent Rockies, but sometimes romance can be deceptive.

Wren Tabor hopes the cool Colorado air at Lavender Fields Inn will heal her aching heart after her former boyfriend betrays her. When she literally bumps into handsome accountant Graham Maier, the painful memories from the past begin to fade. But after she sees Graham kissing another woman, she figures no man can be trusted.
Graham Maier needs to prove to his father he's as capable as his brother Greg. The Rocky Mountain Anglers' Tournament at Gold Pan Lake will give him the chance. But he must win first place. After he meets Wren, a woman like the unnamed girl who's occupied his dreams, he can't understand why she suddenly won't speak to him.
Can Wren learn to trust men again? Can Graham understand how valuable he is in God's sight?

Author, June Foster

Find out more about "Lavender Fields Inn," by gifted author, June Foster:


Friday, October 28, 2016



It’s wedding bells and boxing-ring bells in St. Augustine, Florida, where Liz and Carlos plan to marry at the city’s legendary Love Tree. But Liz’s ex-husband, Steve, is hell-bent on stopping them and he’s ready to duke it out with Carlos. Can he sneak past Jack and his motorcycle buddies to accomplish his evil? Who will prevail? Find out in "Love's Sweetest Obsession," second in the "Castle in the Sun" series. Ebook ONLY $2.99.
Liz and Carlos, Jack and Rosa stroll along St. Augustine Beach,
never suspecting that trouble is on the horizon.

It all beings in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," Book 1 in the series, available from MillerWords.
A bear, a bauble and a beach.
How could it all add up to a castle in paradise--and romance?

Friday, September 30, 2016


Pretty as a picture in a frame, the young woman looks from the window of a Queen Anne style home. Luxurious golden locks flow to her ivory shoulders. She smoothes the ruffles on her Victorian dress, then folds her hands demurely on her lap.

Lifting her angelic face heavenward, she prays about a critical decision she needs to make. Turning also to her Bible, she feels impressed to seek the wisdom of her pastor and her father. She obeys and follows their wise council.

Lovely Elsie Schmitt looks at us from another time.
Who is this paragon of beauty and virtue? She could be the central character in much of today’s Christian fiction. She always makes the right decision and I can’t relate to her. While she may reflect the ideal, she does not reflect the reality I know.

I much prefer someone like Liz Bertelli, the central character in my “Castle in the Sun” romance/suspense series. It opens with “Love’s Sweetest Revenge” and the following scenario.

Liz too, is looking from a window, but her brow is furrowed, her dark hair slightly unkempt and she carries a few pounds too many. Wearing casual slacks and T-shirt, she looks toward the driveway of her home in rural New York State. Not so long ago, her husband sped down that driveway in a cloud of dust, leaving her for another woman. Doubtful of God’s existence, or even if he would listen to her, Liz doesn’t bother praying.
Her gaze shifts to the meadow and woods beyond her home. On that peaceful spring day, she watches butterflies flutter among the wildflowers and listens to birds singing in the trees. It’s as if they are singing her name, inviting her to walk in the meadow and forest. Stepping onto her back porch, Liz breathes-in the cool, refreshing air and looks toward trees whistling in the wind.
However, as a cloud casts its shadow, a sudden chill makes Liz shiver. She realizes she has never ventured into the forest alone.
Without knowing she is being watched, Liz makes the critical decision to take that first step, then another and another toward the forest, where destiny awaits. Did she make the right decision? Answers unfold in “Love’s Sweetest Revenge,” first in the "Castle in the Sun" series available on Amazon.
Might that dream you had mean something? Flora’s devotional, “Where Your Heart Meets God’s,” explores the many expressions of God’s voice.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Before taking off with Gloria, a twenty-something plaything, Steve verbally assaults his wife, Liz. "I wasted my youth on you. You've let yourself go. Look at you! I don't even want you anymore."
Seeing the rage in Liz's eyes, Steve bolts for the door as she hurls a vase at him. Barely missing his head, the vase smashes into the wall.

In Book I, "Love's Sweetest Revenge," how could a
dangerous bear encounter possibly lead to a
locket filled with secrets, a castle in paradise--
and romance? Ebook ONLY $2.99.
Paperback also available.
He mocks her. "You broke it! I was going to give it to Gloria, along with your wedding gown. It's just her size and you'll never squeeze your fat butt into it again."
"I'll wash the car with that dress before I give it to you and your tramp," Liz yells back.
Although Steve has redeeming qualities, such as being a good father and provider for the twin sons he had with Liz, his hurtful words and actions keep Liz in emotional chains. This continues after she begins a relationship with Carlos Martín, a brilliant and  handsome Presidential aide, who has flown aboard Air Force One.
He says he loves her, but Steve said he loved her too. And Carlos has wined and dined beautiful, bejeweled woman at embassies around  the world. Can Liz free herself from the chains that bind her, to surrender her heart? Find out in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," first in the "Castle in the Sun" romance/suspense series.:
In book II, "Love's Sweetest Obsession," Liz and Carlos,
Jack and Rosa, stroll along Florida' sun-kissed shore,
but "Hurricane" Steve is on his way.
Ebook ONLY $2.99.

Friday, September 16, 2016


We never know when a minor change in our daily routine will alter the course of our lives. Liz had other things on her mind that fateful day she ventured from her usual walking path into New York State's pine-scented, but lonely forest. She doesn't see the mother bear with cubs until it is too late. How could this dangerous encounter possibly lead to a locket filled with secrets, a castle in paradise--and romance? It all unfolds in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," book one in the "Castle in the Sun" series. E-book ONLY $2.99. Paperback also available: 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


"It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles" (Philippians 4:13, The Message).

 As a shy, overweight child growing up in a working class neighborhood on Staten Island, New York, I always felt like an outsider.  Even in my first-grade class, other children had friends, cliques and little "romances."  Few befriended the unpopular girl they called "fatso."

I remember wishing I could become invisible.  That way the teacher wouldn’t call on me and ask math questions I couldn’t answer.  Classmates would snicker as I struggled and stammered.

After I entered second grade, a new student joined the class.  Our teacher introduced the blond boy with a cherubic face and eyes mature beyond his years.

"This is Michael.  He moved here from California, near Disneyland."

My classmates and I looked approvingly at each other. Michael seemed to come from some magical, faraway land and we all wanted to be his friend. I could scarcely believe his instant affinity for me.

He was always at my side, whether in the lunchroom, the schoolyard, or walking me to and from school.

Michael would also step between taunting classmates and me.  Although gentle, he spoke with authority.

"Leave her alone!  She’s my girlfriend and she’s pretty and smart."

Pretty and smart—me?

My mother had said those words, but that's what moms are supposed to say.  Michael made me wonder if they might be true.

I began inviting Michael to play at my apartment after school.  Each day, Mom greeted us with milk and cookies.  Despite the treats and good times, Michael would keep glancing at the clock, then suddenly run home.

When I asked him why he did this, panic rushed into his voice.

"My daddy wants me home on time! If I'm not there, he'll spank me."

One wintry day as Michael and I played outside, my mother made some shocking observations.  Michael wasn’t wearing a coat.  His shoes had holes.

Rummaging through our closets, my mother pulled out an old jacket of mine and gave it to Michael.  She also gave him an old, but intact pair of my shoes that didn't look girlish.  I was glad to share what I had. 

The rest of that school year, Michael and I enjoyed each other's company.  And when he visited, my mother watched the time for him.  But when school closed for summer vacation, I lost track of Michael.  When classes resumed in autumn, he wasn't there.

"Where is he?"  I asked several classmates.

"I think he moved back to California to be with his mom," one answered, treating me with new respect.

This attitude extended to other classmates.  But I started treating myself with respect, too—talking with and befriending other children.  After school, we’d ride bikes, play stickball and visit each other in our homes.  That year, lasting friendships were made.  No longer did I feel like an outsider.

Even though I continued to struggle with math, I discovered I had other skills, such as reading and writing.  I wished Michael could have shared my joy, especially after I began losing weight.  Although I never saw him again, I knew that even if I remained forever awkward and overweight, Michael would have still been my friend.  He understood my pain, because he knew it so well.  I hoped he was finding a better life and being rewarded for his kindness.

"He was like a little angel," my mother said after he left.

Maybe she was right. Michael came to me just when I needed him and left when his job was done.

This true story is a sample devotion from Flora's devotional book, "Where Your Heart Meets God's," which explores the many ways God whispers our name.
Ebook ONLY $2.99.
Paperback also available.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Flora Reigada: Please HELP me pick a cover for my new Romantic Suspense novel "Love and Obsession"!!!!!!
A diamond and emerald engagement ring sparkles on Liz Bertelli's finger that Christmas day in New York State. Liz has just accepted a marriage proposal from Carlos Martin, a presidential aide who has flown aboard Air Force One.
The couple is gathered with family and friends for a holiday feast. Best friend Rosa Ramirez is there with Carlos' Army hero brother, Jack, the chemistry between them evident.
Hints of trouble come with a disturbing phone call from Liz's ex-husband, Steve. He seems determined to ruin Liz and Carlos' joy and sabotage their upcoming wedding in St. Augustine, Florida. Equally determined to exchange their vows, the couple arrives on the scene. Jack and Rosa join them.
As an approaching hurricane rustling palms and stirring-up waves, signals danger, Steve's escalating behavior forecasts trouble. Will he get past Jack and his motorcycle buddies to disrupt Liz and Carlos' marriage? How does a tiny acorn lead to a big surprise?

Flora would love your help choosing a cover.

Please use the comment area at the bottom of the post or the "Contact Form" on the sidebar of the HHP blog!

Thank you for your help!

You can grab the first novel in the series in either ebook or paperback on Amazon:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


"Let’s remember to love our neighbor as ourselves." - @FloraReigada
Brothers Carlos and Jack Martin had noticed that the elderly woman in their condo development just seemed to vanish. Not knowing so much as her name, they asked around, learning she is Agnes Smith.
“She lives next to me in 3-C,” a young woman said. “She must be in her eighties. And yeah, I guess I haven’t seen her lately. But excuse me, I gotta run. I’ve got an appointment with my hairdresser.”
Though this situation is fictional, involving characters from my “Castle in the Sun” romance series, it is all too real and it is all around us.
One day the brothers knocked at their elderly neighbor’s door. When she didn’t answer, they exchanged worried looks.
“Maybe she fell and she’s unconscious on the floor,” Army hero Jack said.
"Or worse, Carlos" the Casanova cringed."


Thursday, May 5, 2016


“Maybe somedays.”  I have too many of them.
Some were picked up at yard sales. Maybe someday I’ll need this table, this wall hanging, shirt, chair, silk flowers. The list goes on and on. Other items were purchased in stores. They called to me and I could not resist. Maybe someday I’ll need this.

Maybe someday I'll clean that garage.
Then there is an empty box collection. Maybe someday I’ll need this box to ship something, somewhere. For most of these boxes, someday has never come. The boxes, along with piles of items purchased on a whim, then plopped down at random, lend my home all the “welcoming charm” of a storage shed.But “maybe somedays” aren’t only material. They are also dreams, goals and intentions. Maybe someday I’ll call that person, say I’m sorry, write that story, take that trip, clean that room, begin or finish that project.

Meanwhile, months, years and lifetimes slip away. Maybe somedays pile up like the empty boxes gathering dust in my closet.
I suspect most people have their maybe somedays. Too many will get buried in the cemetery.
For me, resolving the "maybe someday" clutter in my home, involves resisting the “siren song” of impulse buying. I have also learned to say “no thank you” to people who want to give me their own maybe someday stuff. “I was just going to throw this away, but I thought you could use it.”
This article attests to one maybe someday goal taken from the shelf. I’ve been meaning to write it for a long time.
Other maybe someday goals realized, include a devotional book I wrote, published by “MillerWords.” Titled, “Where Your Heart Meets God’s” it explores the many expressions of God’s voice, even those rarely discussed such as visions and dreams. Might that dream you had mean something?
Instead of maybe someday, today could be the day to take that first step.

Friday, April 8, 2016


The historic Pritchard House in Titusville Florida,
 inspiration for the "Casa Martin."
Imagine you have won a week of being catered to at the classy Casa Martin bed and breakfast in sunny St. Augustine, Florida. I say imagine because the elegant, Queen Anne, Victorian-style home exists only in the pages of my "Castle in the Sun" romance/suspense series.

The series follows its renovation from abandoned and run-down, into a community jewel, much like its inspiration, the Pritchard House in Titusville, Florida. See this elegant home and you will see how I envision the Casa Martin. But while the Pritchard House serves as a community museum, the Casa Martin serves guests generous helpings of fine food and southern hospitality.

In your mind's eye, step onto that welcoming porch to unload your luggage and cares. Admire the ornate, antique furnishings and framed artwork as the hostess escorts you upstairs to the master suite.
Continue your dream vacation in the pages of "Love's Sweetest Revenge" first in the series. E-book ONLY $2.99: 
Paperback also available:
Escape to Florida's sun-kissed shores. E-book ONLY $2.99.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Set aside your cares and enter the luxurious Florida condo featured in my novel, "Love's Sweetest Revenge." Enjoy the "million-dollar" ocean view.
Latino hunks and brothers, Carlos and Jack Martin are preparing ethnic cuisine for love interests, Liz and Rosa.
Relax and enjoy the ocean view, photo by D.R.
Vaca frita (fried cow) is on the menu. It is shredded beef, marinated in lime, garlic and salt, then seared until crispy. Yellow rice, black beans and maduros, (fried plantains) are on the side.
The table is set in elegant dinnerware, while candles flicker to the strains of romantic background music.
Liz cannot resist taking a picture of her meal.
Come join Liz and Carlos, Jack and Rosa, for adventure, romance and a dream Florida vacation seasoned with a generous portion of mystery.
It's all in "Love's Sweetest Revenge," Book One in the"Castle in the Sun,"  romantic/suspense series.  Ebook ONLY $2.99.

In Book II, "Love's Sweetest Obsession,"
Liz and Carlos, Jack and Rosa enjoy a stroll
along Florida's sun-kissed shore.
But trouble is on the horizon.
Ebook ONLY $2.99

In Book I, "Love's Sweetest Revenge" (above) Liz hopes to forget her troubles in the beauty of the forest. Instead she encounters a bear and a locket filled with secrets.
Ebook ONLY $2.99.