30 November 2011

Diana's Corner - Book Review of The Measure of Katie Calloway



The Measure of Katie Calloway 



by Serena Miller





Revell 2011

5 stars~ *****






Review by Diana L. Flowers



A "TREE''MENDOUS READ!



In The Measure of Katie Calloway, Serena Miller takes us on an arduous journey beginning in post civil war-ravaged Georgia to a lumber camp in Bay City, Michigan. Katie falls in love with and marries the handsome and charming, Harlan Calloway, a graduate from West Point, the sole heir of Fallen Oaks Plantation in Georgia. 


As Sherman and his Union troops burn down everything in their pathway, Fallen Oaks is destroyed, leaving only a small cabin for Katie, her little brother, Ned, and Harlan, to inhabit. After the war, Harlan, turns to alcohol, and beats Katie severely, until one day fearful for her very life, she runs away, taking Ned and a small bag of coins with her, determined to get as far away as the money will take her. 


She ends up in the beauful logging country of Michigan, and meets Robert Foster, owner of a lumber camp and desperately in need of a cook for his men. 
Robert Foster is a kind and fair man; good to his "shanty boys" as the loggers were called, but a man who carries a deep burden of guilt for not being with his wife when she died giving birth. He, too, was on the battlefield, and saw tremendous atrocities such as couldn't be uttered, and he carries a secret that no one knows. Does Katie find out what it is by reading an old journal she finds of Robert's? And what about the secret she is keeping from him - the fact that she is not a widow, but a married woman.

Katie's work is backbreaking, and she must get up at two in the morning to begin feeding the shanty boys. Gruff on the outside, but with hearts of gold, they all grow to love Katie, and of course, her wonderful cooking! Robert Foster is falling in love with her as well, but Katie fights their growing attraction, as she is still married, and fearful of Harlan finding her. 


Add a terrible forest fire that could destroy the whole 680 acre camp, a starving Indian woman with her baby, and a once runaway slave, to the budding, but forbidden romance, and you have one more exciting tale!

Serena Miller's novel is laced with humor (I laughed outright at some of the episodes), but she covers some pretty heavy issues; slavery, spousal abuse, and post traumatic stress disorder, to name a few. Her extensive research into the lumber business taught me alot, and her realistic setting had me actually smelling the scent of spruce and freshly sawed white pine trees. I loved her secondary characters, and still miss the rough spoken and malodorous, but protective and loving shanty boys.

*One word of warning-Do not read this book while hungry, because Ms. Miller's many descriptions of the delectable, mouth watering meals that Katie concocts, will have you craving food and running to the kitchen..mmm.:)  Wonderful novel, Serena Miller, and I am wholeheartedly looking forward to the next one! 


Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book in either Kindle or paperback version, your choice!  

67 comments:

  1. Thank you for the review, this sounds like such a great book, I can hardly wait to read it.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
    wrenshtoughts.blogspot.com

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  2. Thank you, Carrie, for posting...oh, that cover is so pretty! Serena has written such a wonderful book and for those that don't win it here, please do yourself a favor and order it. You won't regret it! Thank you, Serena for writing such lovely Christian books that take us away from it all...for awhile!:)

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  3. Wendy aka wfnren, this is one of those rare books that has everything. I'm sure you will enjoy it!

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  4. Enter me! tattiem (at) ymail (dot) com
    I would love to have the kindle version!
    :)

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  5. You are entered, Tattie! I read mine on Kindle as well! The only drawback to that was not getting to look at that lovely cover sitting on my end table. I so love my Kindle, though!

    Friends, hop on over to Tattie's, Christian Fiction For Your Kindle and "like" it. She has posted some GREAT Kindle deals for this time of year, and some freebies as well! And the sales just keep on coming!

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  6. I'd love to read it either in paperback or on Kindle.
    cllane2(at)liberty(dot)edu

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  7. Welcome, Charity! I hope you get a copy in your hands, regardless of the format! LOL! Before I got my Kindle I thought I would never want to read a book that wasn't a pprbk; now I'm like you...just bring it on!:)

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  8. Oh please enter me! I would love to read this book! :)

    Salena
    srstormo at yahoo dot com

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  9. Looks like I need to pick this one up.

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  10. Welcome, Salena and Kim! I wish I had a book to pass out to each one of you, but since I don't, I'm throwing your names into my proverbial hat here! :) Thanks for stopping by, ladies.

    Kim, my maiden name is Taylor BTW. Sometimes I almost forget having been a Flowers for almost 39 years!

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  11. Okay, DIANA, you had me at A "TREE''MENDOUS READ!"!!! GREAT REVIEW!!! I MUST have this book, so please enter me.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  12. Oh, Julie, LOL! Thank you! Is that just not the corniest thing you've read all week! I just couldn't resist...my mind works differently than most, just ask Carrie!

    So good to hear from you, Julie! I've been missing you, gal! I still haven't read A Heart Revealed yet! Busyness, Julie, but it almost feels like a I've committed a terrible sin, not reading your book on the release date! I did with all your others, but did not have my daughter and her 5 yr old living with hubs and me at the time. It's a wonder I get any time to read! Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

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  13. Carrie, Melissa Jagears has tried to enter a comment on here about ten times with no success. Melissa, count yourself entered, dear. We at OTT love persistency in a person; it's such a wonderful quality!

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  14. Sorry Nelissa! We do usually reward persistency and consistency here at OTT- WGH!!! My agent, Joyce Hart, and I just discussed these two traits this morning, Diana and Melissa!

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  15. Wow, Diana. What an amazing review! Thank you so much! Frankly, it brought tears to my eyes. That book was a labor of love from beginning to end, but the whole time I was writing it I was afraid I wasn't doing the men and women of that era justice. I, too, miss the "malodorous" but lion-hearted shanty boys. I missed Jigger so much that in the second historical I bring him back from his sojourn in Battle Creek. The poor old man is quite shaken from his weeks cooking at the Kellogg health institute:-)

    Oh--and the third book will follow Sky Pilot and Moon Song as he helps her and the baby make the dangerous trek back to her people. Since I'm not particularly good at outlining a book, I can't wait to see what happens to those two:-)

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  16. Charity Lane--I sent your review copy out just this morning. Honest! Sorry it took me so long. I've been traveling and researching a LOT. I appreciate your patience.

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  17. See what good things can happen when you decide to visit OTT?!:) Charity, your book is already on the way! Happy Reading! You will love it!

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  18. When I review a really good book such as this, I always think to myself...can I do it justice? Then I put it in God's hands and let the words flow from my heart. I may not be as well versed as some, but my reviews are heartfelt, and I'm so glad that you could feel that, Serena. I just can't wait to reunite with Jigger (lol), Sky Pilot and Moon Song!

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  19. I've had my eye on this novel for awhile. Sounds like a great read! Please enter me. I'd love the paperback. Thanks!
    sunshine6892 at hotmail dot com

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  20. Cathy, it's hard to keep your eyes off of such a striking cover isn't it?;) And in this case, you CAN judge a book by it's cover. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  21. Hi Diana! Great review! I would love to read this book! Thanks for the opportunity!

    gwen[dot]gage[at]gmail[dot]com

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  22. Waving to my new FB friend! Thanks for stopping by Gwendolyn!

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  23. This book sounds like one that once you start you won't be able to put down. I am going to put this on on TBR list.


    alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  24. Maureen, I was just going to email you! Now I won't have to. LOL! Thank you for Sound Among the Trees...got it today!

    Katie Calloway is definitely a page-turner; not a boring moment in the whole book!

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  25. Great review Diana! I must read this book. Not sure about the mouth watering meals part. I decided today I must get back to watching what I eat and to start exercising again. So far, so good! I'll just have to have will power while I read this book, or perhaps my husband can tape my mouth shut. Fat chance!!

    I would love to win a paper copy of this book. I simply love the cover!

    Blessings!
    Judy B
    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  26. Judy, you're so funny! Katie's meals sound absolutely scrumptious to be sure, and there was nothing in my fridge or pantry that even came close to what she was fixing, so I guess that was a good thing...disappointing, but good. LOL!

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  27. Please enter me...would love to read this book...thanks....jackie_tessnair@yahoo.com

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  28. Thanks for introducing me to a new author and her book. This does look interesting. I enjoyed the interview and would LOVE to read this book.

    THANKS for entering me in the drawing and this fun interview.

    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network
    www.bookfun.org

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  29. This book sounds wonderful. Katie Calloway is the type of book I love--history, depth, and truth with redemption. Thanks for sharing your personal story, and may God continue to bless and keep you and your family.

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  30. Diana -- NO WAY am I going to call it corny, girlfriend, because that is SO something I would do, which is why it tickled me so. Great minds, right???

    And, gosh, I certainly understand busy, my friend, so do NOT worry about AHR -- you'll read it when the time is right to read it and not a moment before. Either way, I just am so grateful for your friendship and support, so BLESS YOU ... especially with a 5-year-old in the house!! YIKES!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  31. Nora, I am chomping at the bit to get to this book. I grew up hearing all kinds of stories about my mom's days growing up in a lumber camp where her mother cooked. Wonder how much trouble I'll get in with my colonial girlfriends if I review their books later while I read this!

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  32. Waving Kathy! How is your little man doing? You and me both will love this. Can't wait. Thanks for coming by and thanks for posting this on your website with Debbie Lynne!

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  33. Miss Julie, what is it going to take to get Revell to get your books on audiotape for me? Gosh. I would listen to ALL of them in a heart beat. Probably would not get a darned thing done for ages.

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  34. Waving to Jackie up there! I hope you will get an opportunity to read this delightful book!

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  35. Thanks Serena and Diana! I can't wait to read the book!

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  36. Julie, since your books are just a little looonger than most...just a tad (lol), I need a little bit more time to read them. Best to read it on Kindle so I can listen to it while I clean my house at the same time, and my neighbor's house, and her neighbor's house! LOL! I love to tease you about your long books, Julie, but you know I love them, and you!:) Hope you get a copy of Katie Calloway in your hands soon!

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  37. You're welcome, Charity! Enjoy, dear!

    Nora and Kathleen, it's good to see you here! Lots of luck, ladies!

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  38. Diana--I forgot to tell you that I also bring Delia back as well. The old, ahem, "madam" has become quite a grand lady in the intervening years:-)

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  39. Oh, awesome, Serena! She had some really good qualities, in spite of, uh, ahem. haha Can't wait to see what becomes of her!

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  40. Entering a comment for my sis in law who isn't able to post a comment on here.

    I would really love to win this. Sounds like my kind of book and the cover is so pretty! Thank you!

    ~Barbara Smith
    thatoldgal@gmail.com

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  41. Hi Nora. So glad you enjoyed the interview! I really hope you like the book.

    Since you are part of the Book Club Network, I thought you might be interested in a phone call I received yesterday.

    Did you ever read Helen Hoven Santmyer's book--AND THE LADIES OF THE CLUB? It helped bring back the popularity of book clubs, but I never dreamed one as long-lasting as Santmyer described ever really existed.

    Then yesterday, a very genteel-sounding, elderly woman called to see if I would consider speaking at their upcoming book club meeting. I have deadlines and was trying to think of a way to graciously turn her down when she mentioned that her book club had been meeting for 113 years. It had been passed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter all that time.

    She said that the meeting would be held in an old mansion (that I have been dying to see the inside of ever since I was a little girl.)

    SO--on December 12, I'll get to dress up and take tea and talk books with this darling old book club. I can hardly wait! Just thought you and the others might get a kick out of knowing such things still exist:-)

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  42. There have been so many comments about the meals at the lumber camp making readers hungry, I've decided to share my deep, dark, cooking secret.

    I have no earthly idea how to make a decent flapjack from scratch.

    Oh, I've tried. I wanted to create a tasty, healthy, whole-grain product. To that end, I tried concoction after concoction but everything I made was heavy and flat. My family ate them, but they weren't real happy about it.

    Then I discovered Baker Mills Kodiak Cakes on an end cap at Big Lots about a month ago. The front of the box says "Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix. All natural whole wheat, oats & honey. Add water only."

    Never heard of them, but I bought one box out of curiosity. I mean, I found them at BIG LOTS! How good could they possibly be, right? And add water only? The only pancakes I had ever made with an "add water only" on the front tasted like wallpaper paste.

    To make a long story even longer--after one bite of those flapjacks, I headed right back out the door and cleared out Big Lots end cap. My d-i-l drove to a neighboring town and we cleared out THAT Big Lots store as well. The boxes are all now residing in my freezer.

    Here's the thing--these flapjacks are the best I've ever tasted. Whole-grain wheat flour, whole-grain oat flour, non-fat dry milk, honey, egg whites, salt, and leavening. That's it. No weird ingredients. Even my ultra-picky eight-year-old grandson scarfs them down and asks for seconds. (He obviously hasn't caught on to the fact that they're good for him) I was so afraid of running out of my flapjack stash this winter, that I was relieved when I went to their website www.kodiakcakes.com and found out that I could order them direct from the company.

    Now here's the REAL surprise! At the New York Fancy Foods show--which has about 10,000 new products each year--Weight Watchers chose these flapjacks as one of their TOP TEN favorite foods and give them a 1 point rating per 4-inch flapjack. How about that? You can eat a stack of them without feeling guilty.

    Disclaimer: I do NOT own stock in this company, nor am I related to any of the owners, and this was not a paid public announcement:-)

    Disclaimer: No--I do NOT own stock in this company or know any of it's owners:-)

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  43. LOL! Who would have thought it? Big Lots? I bet Katie Calloway sure wishes she could have made hers by just adding water!:) Perhaps she could have gotten up at four in the morning instead of two a.m.! Since I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, I'll have to check these out!

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  44. Diana you are a hoot! That's why I love you so. Would love to read Serena's lastest, just finished her LFY SugarCreek, Ohio. I know how great that one was, so I am sure this is also terrific. Girl you don't know what you're missing not getting to read Julie's book yet. I didn't want to put it down, just like all the others. :) tsmathews61@gmail.com

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  45. Diana responds to Teresa with her head hanging in shame, "YES, I DO KNOW WHAT I'M MISSING!" After the holidays, when it's freezing cold out and there's nothing to do, I'm sticking my nose in A Heart Revealed, Miss Teresa. Oh, yes I am!

    And you must stick yours in Katie Calloway...I can just hear you laughing out loud at some of the scenes. Serena covers some serious issues in Katie Calloway, but she has such a great sense of humor! Yep, I can just hear you laughing now, my Bobbsy Twin.:)

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  46. OHMYGOSH Serena;

    What fun you will be having! 113 years WOW!! I can't even imagine. I'd love to interview the book club leader and have them join The Book Club Network. I'm sure we all have a lot to learn from her club!!

    Ok, Take notes. I hope they send you pictures of their group. I can't wait to hear all about your talk.

    Thanks for sharing this Serena!! I'm looking forward to reading your book. It does sound fascinating! I hope I win!

    Blessings

    Nora :o)

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  47. Nora, my feelings exactly. And lol about hoping to win - we bloggers and folks doing giveaways don't often enter for ourselves! Blessings!

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  48. I will most certainly take pictures and notes, Nora. I'll also see if the book club leader does internet. If so, I'll ask if she would mind being interviewed. The lady who contacted me said there were several who are retired school teachers, so I'm guessing there will be at least one of them who would be thrilled to talk about their club. I'll let you know.

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  49. Today OTT has brought a big smile :)

    A "Tree"mendous Read! Awesome, Diana!!!
    Malodorous - now that's just plain ingenious!
    The *warning - I love food so I appreciate it!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is one of the best reviews I've ever read! Heartfelt, indeed!!!

    Pancake mix at Big Lots that's healthy? Oh yeah!!! I am going there today to look and see if I can find some :) My men love, and I mean L.O.V.E. pancakes!

    Oh yeah, enter me ;)

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  50. Oh, Anne, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm smiling through my tears this morning. I just find out that my favorite uncle passed away. So your "words spoken in due season, how good is it!" as the Bible says in Proverbs 15:23, are so welcome this morning, Anne.

    I hesitated long and hard about the "TREE"...so corny. Malodorous came to my mind and I had to look it up to see if it was the word I wanted, and it sure was!:) It's amazing the words we carry in our subconscious mind, but never use...well until now that is! Again, thank you, Anne.

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  51. I would love to win a copy of The Measure of Katie Calloway. Thanks for the chance to win. I haven't had the chance yet to read any of Serena Miller's books. This sounds like a great book to read.
    Debbie Clark
    debbiemcla(at)msn(dot)com

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  52. Debbie, welcome! I so hope you get a chance to read Serena's books! Throwing your name in the hat for the giveaway!

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  53. Aw, Diana! I am so sorry about your uncle :(
    Cyber {{{hugs}}} sweet friend!!!

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  54. Thank you, Anne, Big hugs back! You are such a dear. Carrie, and I, and now Teresa, are blessed among women, for we have some of the most precious friends and followers on OTT-WGH that anyone could ever ask for. We thank the Lord for every one of you; for taking time out of your busy schedules to visit with us, encourage us, talk book talk, and share your testimonies. What a joy you all are to our hearts.

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  55. I've been wanting to read this one for a while! Thanks for giving copies away!
    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  56. You are welcome, Marissa! Thanks for coming by and entering to win a copy of this fabulous book!

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  57. Congrats to Nora, waaay up there! lol You have won our first drawing and tomorrow afternoon we will pick our next winner!

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  58. Thought I'd mention--just for the fun of it-- that one of the best things I've experienced about this Katie Calloway book are the e-mails I get from people who's ancestor's were in the lumber camps. A woman wrote me just today that she was raised in Michigan, and several of her relatives made their living in the lumber camps.She said that her grandmother had mentioned as a child, experiencing a Christmas very much like the one I described in the book--and one relative had been killed by a falling tree. She agreed with me that it was hard core dangerous in those camps.

    Another gentleman sent me a present--two spikes with a large chain between that were used to spike two logs together so the lumberjacks wouldn't have to hold them together with muscle and peavey's. His father was one of the men who bought timber for the lumber camps. He even knew the name of the blacksmith who made the spikes. I have them displayed in my office. He was surprised to know that I was displaying them. He thought they were too rough and rusted, but I smile every time I look at them.

    I can't remember if I've said this on here yet or not--but based on my reader mail. sites like this one, and the people I've met at book signings--I am convinced that people who read Christian fiction are the nicest, kindest, warmest people in the world.

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  59. You're so kind, Serena, and I wholeheartedly agree with you; Christian fiction readers and I'm adding authors, too, are the warmest, nicest people in the world!

    I loved reading your "behind the scenes" sharing of the people that you met during your research for LFY in Sugarcreek, OH, and also the emails and the neat gifts from your readers. That has to be so special!

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  60. Also meant to mention I love your "daadi haus" idea. That's a wonderful thing the Amish do for their elderly!

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  61. Congrats to Kathy Maher who won per random.org's selected number! Kathy is a sweetheart, too, a very kind person. Congrats, Kathy!

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  62. Happy Reading, Kathleen! Thanks again to Serena Miller for being such a delightful guest this week, and thank you to all, for your wonderful and thoughtful comments! Carrie, Teresa, and I are very blessed to have had all of you participate this week and I know your support encouraged and touched Serena's heart!

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  63. Oh, I am so happy! thanks Carrie, Serena, and everybody. Can't wait to read this book. My daughter's name is Katie, so this might be fun to share with her, too. :D

    Kathy

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  64. Okay--I was hoping to hear something from a man at Kodiak Flapjacks today before I posted anything about this, but with my week drawing to a close, I'm going to go ahead and tell you what MIGHT happen in the very near future.

    Remember my rant about how good Kodiak Flapjacks are? Well, when I checked out the site to give you all the contact information, I went ahead and wrote a little "thank you" to the company, and told them about my book and my failure to come up with something near to what my lumber camp cook would have made. I did NOT expect to get a reply.

    BUT last evening, I got an e-mail from the Kodiak Flapjacks people--a Cameron Smith--thanking me for my post and saying that they had just ordered The Measure Of Katie Calloway from Amazon and was going to make it mandatory reading for everyone who worked there. He also offered to send me some free boxes of the flapjack mix as a thank-you.

    Since I already have a year's worth of this yummy product--I shot back a reply asking if, instead, we could give away whatever amount he was going to send ME to use as a prize for some of YOU!

    I had already contacted Carrie to see if she thought it was a good idea, and she loved it.

    Unfortunately, I think he must not work on Saturday. I haven't gotten a reply today although I've been checking about every half-hour. I'm hoping for one on Monday.

    Anyway, I just thought it would be so neat if I could offer a bonus prize to thank all of you for your wonderful comments and encouragement this week.

    So what I want to do--if it is still okay with Carrie--is to go ahead and do two more drawings and giveaways. I'll guarantee mailing a box of Kodiak Flapjack mix to two different winners as a small thank you for an amazing week. If Kodiak decides to kick in whatever they were intending to send to me, that will be just that much better. And no--I won't be taking the two boxes from my freezer stash (lol) I'll have them sent straight from the company to you.

    So Carrie and Diana--if you don't mind cranking up the random.org selection process two more times--I would appreciate it.

    And thank all of you, once again, for welcoming me so warmly onto this site!

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  65. But, but, Serena, that means I won't get any.:( Diana says with her pouty voice, and her lips puckered under. Then she brightens up and says, "hey, I'll take one of the frozen ones!" I'm so tacky. LOL!

    Serena, I'll email Carrie, and plan a trip to Big Lots this week.;)

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  66. Serena, Carrie, and Teresa, Anne Payne is the winner of a box of Katie Calloway pancake mix, er, I mean Kodiak Flapjack mix! Yummy! Congrats, Anne! When's breakfast??:)

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  67. This comment has been removed by the author.

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