Monday, December 5, 2011

Let's face it: It's always Thyme for Love!

Today I'm featuring debut author Pamela S. Meyers and her delightful novel, Thyme for Love, published by OakTara.

  April Love has always dreamed of being a chef.
But she didn’t expect her former fiancé
or murder to be part of the recipe for her new job.

When April Love signs on to be an in-house chef at an old lakeshore mansion in Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, she comes face to face with her long-lost love, the drop-dead gorgeous Marc Thorne. It doesn’t take long for their old magnetism to recharge, but how can she trust the guy who left her nearly at the altar eight years earlier? Her gut tells her something happened to Marc in between—something he’s reluctant to reveal.
 When April’s boss is murdered, Marc is accused of the crime. Unless April can find out who really killed Ramón Galvez, her chances for love will end up at the county jail. But someone else is just as determined she not solve the mystery…and will go to any length to stop her.
***
This debut novel by Pamela S. Meyers had me by the title alone--I grow herbs and anything having to do with my beloved hobby is fine by me. Then I opened the cover and began reading. As much as I liked the title, that was just frosting on the cake (excuse that deliberate pun) compared to what followed.

Pam Meyer's plot is out of the ordinary, her setting is beautiful, and her characters are delicious (but not too good to be true-to-life!). Protagonist April Love has been hurt in the past and isn't about to make the same mistake a second time, despite the fact that she's irrestibly drawn to the man who did the hurting the first time around. The romantic angle of Thyme for Love is great all by itself, but the mystery that deepens after Marc Thorne, April's ex-fiancé and current thorn-in-her side, is accused of murdering their boss kept those pages flipping as fast as I could turn them. I didn't put the book down each night until I could no longer make my eyes focus on the words.

Ms. Meyers has a wonderful way with description and not only puts her readers in the scene, but also inside the heads of her characters. Just when I thought I knew who the guilty party was, I was proven wrong. That's my kind of mystery!

Fortunately for me (and all the rest of Pamela's readers), Thyme for Love is just the first of a three-part series and I look forward to reading more from this talented author. Be sure to look for Pam's recipe for Chicken George at the end of the book!

About the author:

A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Pamela S. Meyers currently lives in Arlington Heights, Ill. She served on the Operating Board for ACFW 2005-2009, and is president of her local ACFW chapter. Her debut novel Thyme for Love releases November 14, 2011, and her historical that is set in her hometown, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, will release in June 2012. She has published articles in Today’s Christian Woman, Christian Computing, Victory in Grace, and Ancestry. She is also a contributor in the compilation book, His Forever.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here it comes!

It's coming.... it's almost here... won't be long now... keep an eye out!

Yes, that's right. Polar Bear Plunge by author Linda S. Glaz is being released on December 5th! And to make it even better, for the entire month of December, you can have this delightful novella for only $1.00.

Yep, you read that right--$1.00. Can't buy a quart of gas for that anymore. Can't even buy a cup of coffee at McDonald's for $1.00--at least not in Alaska. I paid $1.69 for a cup the other day at McDonald's and believe me, it wasn't one of those fancy brews, either. Plain old coffee with two creams. I should have saved my money and I could've had one and two-thirds downloads of Polar Bear Plunge!

Here's a little more about Linda and her book:

Striving to put meaning back into her life after her husband’s death, Aleni Callan immerses herself in hospital work. Angry with God, she finds herself even angrier, when hero, Brice Taylor, author of The Human Shield, arrives in the Emergency Room with a concussion and hypothermia after participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. Aleni wants nothing to do with a man who willingly takes chances with his life.

Brice doesn’t understood how God could bring him through being a captive in Iraq, when he failed his troops so miserably. Writing about his escape brings fame he would rather avoid. And by meeting widow, Aleni Callan, his feelings of failure only increase.

Megan Callan with the help of her three-year-old grandson, Ty, scheme to bring Aleni and Brice together. And while the best laid plans often go awry, Megan isn’t one to accept no.

About our author, Linda S. Glaz:
I’m a wife and mother of three. I balance being a child of God while also being older than God. Hmmm, scary, but almost true. I’ve been blessed to have had an amazing life so far: Air Force meteorologist during Vietnam era, teaching karate and self-defense along with soccer for 25+ years. I sing and direct in church and community theatre musicals where this little old lady sounds more like the guys than the gals. Also scary, but true. I work in a physical therapy clinic three days a week to earn money to keep my writing afloat. My writing life is a 24/7 proposition. When not writing my own stories, I am an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. I wear so many different hats I’m surprised I wasn’t invited to the Royal wedding. Blessings to everyone, may your writing dreams all come true.

*****

I've read this story and believe me, it's great. If you look carefully at the top of the book cover, you'll see a comment that reads: "Heartwarming, funny, and poignant... a real winner," signed by me! Yep, I was lucky enough to read this book a while ago and I guarantee this is the perfect "curl up under a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate in front of the Christmas tree" book. At only $1.00, what better way to spend some quiet hours during the holiday season? Don't forget your friends and family, as well. They'll thank you for this delightful story.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jonathan Wakefield's Fatal Reality

Today, I welcome my good friend and fellow Christian Writers Guild fiction track graduate and finalist for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild 2009 Operation First Novel contest, Jonathan Wakefield. Jon's debut novel, Fatal Reality, a fast-paced thriller, is on the shelves at Amazon and Barnes and Noble (and probably at a lot of other places by now). It's published by OakTara Publishers (www.oaktara.com). Following the interview, I’ll post my review of this thrilling novel, but first, let’s find out a little more about Fatal Reality and its author.


Jonathan, can you give us a little background on your journey to publication?

My journey—similar to that of many authors—was long, challenging, and rewarding. I can trace my initial interest in writing all the way back to third grade when my teacher surprised me by reading my poem “Family Sounds” to the class. In fourth grade, I started writing fiction regularly. I’ve never stopped.

I was so passionate that I even tried to write my first novel, fully (and naïvely) intending to get published, in seventh grade. I quit after fifty pages, but the goal of becoming a published novelist had been established. Twenty-three years later, it has finally been met.

While Fatal Reality is my debut novel, it’s actually the eleventh I’ve written. I’ve spent many years studying the craft of fiction to be able to write something that someone might want to read.

As for the premise, the popularity of reality shows has always intrigued me, so when the idea of one being hijacked in view of the entire world hit me, I quickly grew fascinated with the possibilities. Within a few days, the entire novel had written itself in my head, and I knew I had to get started. Six months later, I was finished.

As you know, I entered it in the 2009 Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and, like yours, it was chosen as a finalist. I didn’t win, but I did gain the interest of an agent, who ultimately submitted Fatal Reality to OakTara and landed me a publishing contract.

Fatal Reality is a hard-hitting thriller that is sure to make Christians think (and a few Christians cringe as they recognize themselves). If you had to choose one thought your readers take away from your book, what would it be?

A theme running throughout Fatal Reality is the importance of being honest with ourselves and each other about who we are and our shortcomings. I want readers to finish with the thought that we rob Satan of his power when we face those shortcomings head-on and thereby allow God to turn them into our greatest strengths.

Because you and I were fellow Craftsman students, I know you studied with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. What made you decide to go with a Christian writing program? Would you do so again? Would you recommend a program like this to beginning writers--or others who might be farther along their writing path?

I didn’t become a Christian until after college, which was actually about the same time I started seriously training as a writer and seeking publication. It didn’t take long after my spiritual awakening to learn that God was the one who’d implanted in me that insatiable desire to write. Knowing him personally gave my writing a purpose, and from then on I intended to glorify him with every word I wrote.

Soon thereafter, I came across an advertisement for the Christian Writers Guild and decided to give one of their courses a try. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve since taken two more courses with them and grown tremendously as both a writer and a Christian in the process. The Guild taught me how to write with a biblical worldview, giving me the confidence to attempt something that’s really quite intimidating. Words are powerful. The Bible—God’s Word to us—has transformed countless lives. So if I’m going to attempt to use the same tool to reach people with his message, I had better be sure I know how to use it properly. I would certainly do it all again, and I would encourage anyone at any point on their writing journey to do the same.

How long was Fatal Reality "in production," i.e., have you had this idea in mind for a long time or has it evolved over several years?

As I mentioned, concept to completion encompassed only six months. I normally take longer than that, but the Operation First Novel contest deadline was looming and I really wanted to enter.

What in your daily life influenced you in writing this book? Was there a particular event that tipped the scales--when you knew you had to write this book?

For a while I had wanted to write a novel about a reality show with a Christian protagonist, because I thought it offered a lot of good possibilities for moral dilemmas for someone who tries to live by biblical standards. And I love a good thriller, so as soon as I got the idea of turning a reality show into a race for survival, I knew I was on to something.

In the book, your protagonist, Kyle Borders, is a well-respected Christian leader who faces nearly insurmountable odds for survival while coming face-to-face with his personal demons. When you were putting this book together, what part of the plot came to you first--the reality show or his personal problems?

The reality show came first, but his problems quickly followed. I’ve actually never had a story lock itself in place in my mind so quickly before Fatal Reality. It just materialized in a way that seemed to fit perfectly for me. That’s part of why I was able to write it so quickly—once I had the story set, it didn’t need much reworking.

I know fiction isn't the only writing at which you excel. Can you tell us more about Jonathan Wakefield and what you believe in passionately?

How did I know you were going to ask me that? J Yes, I do have a wide range of interests, both within fiction and beyond. The eleven novels I’ve written have actually spanned five separate genres.

I’ve also done a lot of freelance copywriting and editing, some for profit and some for charity. I’ve written and edited everything from scientific papers to grant proposals to marketing materials.

I enjoy article writing as well. I’ve written for a variety of publications, including technical journals, newspapers, Christian magazines, church newsletters, and political blogs.

Writing about politics is something I’ve become quite passionate about, especially in recent years. I used to think that as a Christian I should avoid the topic because it might distract from my attempts to spread the gospel; but I’ve come to realize that the Bible has much to say about government (the word “king” and its derivations—such as “kings” or “kingdom”—appear over 2,500 times in the Bible), so Christians should as well.

But I want to make it clear that my political writings are entirely separate from my fictional writings. Fatal Reality doesn’t carry a political message or address politics in any way. It’s a straight-up thriller driven by spiritual and cultural themes.

And finally, Jon, where can we learn more about you, your career, your books, and your writing journey?

The best place is at my website at www.jonathanwakefield.com. You can find all the details about Fatal Reality there as well as information on any events I may have scheduled. And if readers have any questions for me, they can contact me through the form on the website. I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you, Jon. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more about you and your writing in the future.
*****
Long before I actually read Fatal Reality, I had a feeling it would blow me out of the water. I've known Jonathan for a few years now and he's always struck me as an earnest Christian who takes his writing as seriously as he does his walk with Christ. I couldn't wait to read the novel written by this talented man. I'm happy to report I was not mistaken in my assumption!

Jonathan Wakefield's debut novel, Fatal Reality, is based in the not-too-distant future and among other issues, addresses the sad state of much of today's television programming (reality shows, in particular). It explores the scenario of a well-known Christian leader who competes in what he thinks will be a 24-hour race to the finish line. Because it will be aired through a live feed, Extreme Mortality, the biggest reality show ever, will give Kyle Borders the perfect opportunity to live out his faith for the whole world to see. Unfortunately, it will also give Daniel Vats, creator of the groundbreaking show, an opportunity to not only kill at will, but also expose Kyle Borders for the man Vats believes he really is.

What follows is a fast-paced thriller that engages and entertains the reader while at the same time guiding him to important moral and spiritual points. The plot twists and turns through the pages much like the desperate contestants who dash through the jungle in the fight of their lives. Wakefield's characters--each one a hard-nosed individual chosen to compete based upon his or her strengths and expertise--are portrayed with skill and an eye for the varied weaknesses all human beings are capable of displaying. Wakefield carefully peels away the bravado and exposes their greatest fears.

Wakefield writes with great skill and plots his book well. Around each corner (and page after page), he reveals the ugly, naked truth about the harm human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another.

Wakefield admits he took a risk writing this book, but in my opinion, it was a risk well worth taking. You will too.
***

Until the next time...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mad for Mind Over Madi

Q:        What’s true-to-life, drop-dead hilarious, inspirational, eye-opening, and sometimes hits a little too close to home?

A.        Easy—Lynda Lee Schab’s new novel, Mind Over Madi.

           When too-close-to-forty Madi McCall decides her husband, Richard, is cheating on her with town siren Fawn Witchburn, she asks him to move out. No, it's not the smartest move Madi could make, but her insecurities, coupled with her mother’s constant haranguing about the evilness of all men, blind her to common sense and her husband’s assurances of his undying love.

            Left with their twin teens, Christina and Max, and youngest child, Emily, Madi forges ahead with her life. While she juggles her hormonal teens and a little girl who misses her dad, tends to household responsibilities, spends time with her fashionista friend, Sylvie, and tries to straighten out her insecurities with her counselor, Sarah Price, Madi turns to her guilty pleasure for solace.

           Schab has turned the insecurities that so many of us feel into a witty, thought-provoking debut novel. What transpires will have you laughing out loud, cringing, sighing, commiserating, and wondering just how Lynda Schab knew your innermost thoughts—let alone your guilty pleasures. Her characters could be our next door neighbor or sister or co-worker. Her descriptions are fresh and spot-on. Her plotting is superb and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what new dilemma Madi would find herself in--and what hilarious or heart-rending way she would use to get herself out. Prepare yourself for some unexpected twists as Madi discovers a few secrets and realizes she needs God in her life as much as she needs her husband.

          Thankfully, Mind Over Madi is the first of a three-book series. Looking forward to Lynda's next two novels, Madily in Love and Sylvie and Gold, will help you get over coming to the end of a great debut novel.
*********

LYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards (Blue Mountain Arts, Dayspring) and from there went on to write articles and short stories (Mature Living, Christian Home & School) and in many places online (including www.Examiner.com and www.wow-womenonwriting.com), but her passion has always been fiction.

Mind Over Madi, her debut novel, is near and dear to her heart. Lynda admits she has a lot in common with the character of Madi. Not only are they both addicted to ice cream, chocolate, and computer games, they struggle with the same types of insecurities and continually require a hefty dose of God’s grace.

Lynda works behind the scenes at FaithWriters.com and is a member of ACFW. She is a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com and is the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner and the National Writing Examiner for Examiner.com. Mind Over Madi received Runner-up in the 2007 FaithWriters Page Turner contest, was a finalist in the 2007 RWA Get your Stiletto in the Door contest, and won second place in the 2008 ACFW Genesis contest, Chick Lit category. Lynda lives with her husband, Rob, and two teenagers in Michigan. 

Coming attractions!


I hope you're all ready to read about a great new book coming out soon! I'll be reviewing debut author Linda Schab's new book, Mind Over Madi, right here tomorrow. Don't miss out hearing about this fantastic author's first novel. I'll give you a sneak preview:

Is this a great cover or what???

Until the next time.... (which will be tomorrow)...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Purging the litter box of sin...

She's beautiful, isn't she? Her name is Maple and she's my little Mississippi kitty. She was just a kitten when we found her in a PetSmart in Tupelo and brought her home that same day. She came with us, of course, when we moved to Anchorage.

As gorgeous as she is, she has her ugly side--namely, her litter box. While Maple is soft and loving, beautiful to behold, and fun to cuddle, her litter box isn't. And if I don't dig carefully enough to purge that box of her hidden "treasures," it will eventually begin to smell and offend and become a major household problem.

So it is with sin. We can hide it, cover it up, disguise it, smooth it over, rearrange it, or flat-out ignore it, but nevertheless, it's still there. There are times we can manipulate things so our sin isn't as obvious, but it hasn't gone anywhere. It's festering, stinking, adding up.

A few months ago, I was teaching my grandsons the proper way to clean their kitty's litter box. When I asked why they scooped only the top layer, Hunter, who was 7, explained to his silly grandma that if you dug down too deeply, "you get all that yucky stuff." His idea of cleaning the box was to skim off the visible clumps and leave the rest safely buried where (in his opinion) it wasn't hurting anybody. I explained that while that was true in the short run, eventually the yucky stuff would overtake the entire box. The only way to keep the box fresh and clean was to dig deep and do the dirty work of cleaning it right the first time.

I, too, have to dig deep to purge the sin I've covered up, passed off as a bad habit, or just plain ignored. Skimming works only when you're trying to fool someone--and our Heavenly Father isn't One to be fooled. No, it's not fun, but neither would it be fun to find myself with a lifetime of yucky stuff clogging up my relationship with God.

Until the next time....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessing upon blessing...

Few things are as exciting as the birth of a child, and when that baby is your grandson, it’s doubly thrilling. I arrived in Detroit, Michigan, from Anchorage, Alaska, early on the evening of Thursday, May 26th. After a joyous reunion with my son, Derek, my very pregnant daughter-in-law, Renee, and my 3-year-old grandson, Tyler, we settled in to wait for the arrival of their second son (and my fifth grandson).

Adam Dennis Gordon was born on Tuesday, June 1st, at 9:16 p.m. He weighed nine pounds, six ounces, and was a whopping 22 inches long! Although mom was in labor for close to nine hours, he gave her little trouble once he got down to business. As you might imagine, he’s beautiful. He arrived sporting a full head of dark hair (just as Tyler did) and was perfect in every way. He passed all his tests with flying colors and was on his way home by Friday.

Since he’s been home, I’ve taken every opportunity to cuddle, kiss, love, and hug him, as well as exclaim over, encourage, praise, and explain things about life, the rest of his family, and Grandma to him. He’s been remarkably receptive and has very politely limited his inattention to a few instances of nodding off completely or screaming his lungs out for a meal. I can’t blame him for either. I don’t suppose I’m the most interesting conversationalist in the world (particularly in the still-working-on-focusing-eyes of a six-day-old baby) and hearing how incredibly perfect one is might become tiring after a time. Nevertheless, I keep on telling him. I comfort myself by believing he’ll miss my jabberings when I’m gone.

I’ll be returning to Alaska on Friday, June 10th, completing a visit that allowed me to be at the birth of my new grandson, spend time with my slightly-less-new one, Tyler, and their parents, Derek and Renee, as well as my dad, sister and brother-in-law, nephew, and brother, and two dear friends. Once I get home, I’ll settle in to await the birth of my sixth grandchild in Alaska this coming October!

Life is good. God is good. Thank You, Lord, for granting me travel mercies, for bringing my grandson safely into this world, and for keeping all of us in the palm of Your mighty hand. With You, all is possible; without You, nothing is. Help me to remember that and to praise Your name always.

Until the next time…

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A little help from my friends...

I don't often write about my passion--writing--on this blog, although that's what its original purpose was to be. It's too easy to veer off on subjects that, without a doubt, influence my writing, but don't refer directly to the craft of writing.

However, today's entry will address a very important aspect of writing--the invaluable assistance, advice, and encouragement given to me by my writing friends. I wouldn't even be on this blog today if it weren't for the expertise and generosity of Bonnie Calhoun, technological genius. She helped guide through the seemingly impossible task of accessing my blogs after obtaining a second email address. Thanks, Bonnie, for your untiring help.

There are many others who have helped me along the way--far too many to mention by name--but without whose guidance I would still be in the starting block. From teaching, mentoring, editing, critiquing, encouraging and advising to hands-on technical assistance and pulling-my-fat-from-the-fire rescues, my writing friends are just as much a part of any success I might find as I am.

Of course, we know the true Author of any writing success--our Heavenly Father, without Whom none of us would know what we're doing or see any of the fruit of our work. He and He alone deserves the praise when we do well, but there are many wonderful folks out there who serve as His helpers!

I've been blessed with friends and colleagues who are as eager to help others as they are to find a home for their own work. I'm particularly fortunate to be a part of Terry Burns' client group (Terry's our agent extraordinaire from Hartline Literary Agency) and I've found so much more than a random group of writers who share an agent. We laugh, cry, lend a helping hand, congratulate, empathize, encourage, advise, and share praises, pain, and prayer.

Just a few years ago (and I'm dating myself here), writing was a solitary job. Submissions were made by snail mail; answers came the same way. Unless you knew someone personally and lived within driving distance of them, sharing writing experiences, critiquing, or even taking classes were difficult at best, impossible at worst. The advent of computers (wonder of wonders!) and then the Internet, complete with e-mail, changed all that. (Of course, they brought their own set of problems to the situation--see second paragraph above.)

I'm glad I happened to live during the transition from solitary writing to family-style writing. Not only has my writing improved, but my sanity's been maintained and my computer remains in one piece. (Thanks again, Bonnie!) Thanks, also, to everyone who's helped me along the way. I couldn't have done it without you.

Until the next time...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bless her sweet heart...

... Linda Glaz has featured me and both installments of  my Laramie on the Lam series (Laramie and the Law and Laramie and the Land of Liberty) on her writer's blog at http://lindaglaz.blogspot.com/
Linda is a talented writer and editor whose blog is a wealth of information for aspiring writers (as well as those other "normal" folks out there). She's hilarious, creative, wonderfully helpful and I guarantee you, she'll have books falling off the shelves any day now.

Without the kindness and encouragement of people like Linda (thank you, Linda!), I wouldn't have my agent, Terry Burns, nor would I have my completed adult manuscript in his hands. For that matter, I wouldn't be having half as much success with my Laramie series without the publicity and kind words her blog post have generated.

Surely, God knew what He was doing when He put people like Linda Glaz in my path! Thank You, Lord.

Until the next time...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Regal Round-Up

Talk about magnificent. This was taken in the parking lot of the VFW Hall in Eagle River, Alaska. Each winter while the rivers are frozen over and fish are hard to come by, a kind woman feeds wild eagles on Sunday mornings. She begins passing out pieces of fish at 10:30 a.m. and precisely at 10:25 a.m., the eagles begin arriving. Don't ask me how they know; I guess nature has a way of relaying important information like this when it needs to.

My son-in-law, Ron, and I visited a week ago yesterday. This lone eagle stood watch over the parking lot, and eventually, someone came out from the building and informed us that the eagle lady would not be coming that morning. Apparently, the river had thawed enough to allow the eagles to fend for themselves. My question for him was "How do the eagles know not to come?" He shrugged and grinned. "Beats me." When I asked him how many had arrived the week before, he said, "About a hundred." Can you imagine seeing a hundred of these magnificent creatures gathering from all directions, down the from the snow-covered mountains to a humble gravel parking lot on the edge of a small town-- swooping, snatching, gliding on the currents to accept the gift of food during the cold Alaskan winter?

Evidently, the memo hadn't reached this eagle and he stood on his tree branch for close to an hour while we snapped pictures and waited for the lady, her fish pieces, and the other eagles to arrive. When they didn't, we left and I imagine he did shortly thereafter.

But for a little while, I shared a moment in time with one of God's most regal creations, both of us hopeful; both of us waiting and watching. We have one more winter here in Alaska before we leave for parts unknown, and you can bet your bottom dollar (and all the fish you can eat) that I'll be there every single chance I get for a chance to witness the regal round-up.

Until the next time...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pretty in pink...

The mountains here on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, are beautiful any time of day or night, all year long. But when I looked outside the other night to see the setting sun painting the snow-covered peaks a pretty pastel pink, I had to take pictures. To add to the grandeur, the moon was almost full and its gauzy, fragile beauty added a touch of elegance to the scene.

Granted, it's not always spectacularly beautiful up here. (Notice how I never post dreary shots of foggy skies or rainy days?) But on any given day, there is something of beauty to celebrate no matter where we are. The Lord has filled our world with objects of incredible beauty--some are magnificent and hard to miss, others are tiny to the point of being nearly invisible. But since He took the time to create each and every one of them, shouldn't we take the time to look for them, to admire His handiwork, and thank Him for thinking of us long before we ever came to be?

Until the next time...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Living in the moment

I've spent the last few days marketing my new story, Laramie and the Law. Somewhere in there, it dawned on me that I'd better start thinking about working on the third installment. (The second will be published on April 1, 2011.) I've become caught up in the neverending game of the "done" and the "yet to be done."

Life is like that sometimes. We get so caught up in something in our past (or looking to the future) that we forget to live in the moment. This morning I woke up and noticed the glorious sunshine the Lord has seen fit to bless us with for the last several days. The snow-covered mountain peaks are etched against the startlingly blue skies, the snow covers the ground like a huge white blanket, and the icicles that melt during the day magically re-form overnight as the slow process of thawing out for another year progresses.

In a few weeks, this will be gone. Yes, I'll love the warmer temps, the green grass, and springtime flowers. But I shouldn't lose sight of the beauty that God is giving me this very moment. I have lots of "yesterday moments," and plenty of "tomorrow moments"--but I have only one "right this minute" moment. I need to savor each and every one of them.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Laramie and the Law now available!


It's here!

Laramie and the Law, the first installment of my six-part series  (Laramie on the Lam), published by Echelon Press is now available for Nook download at http://barnesandnoble.com/. It's a steal at a mere $.99 per download! It will also soon be available (at the same low price) on Amazon for Kindles and other e-readers, through apps on the iPhone, and at other online outlets, as well.

Laramie and the Law was written for kids between the ages of 8 and 11, but younger ones would love to get in on the adventure--especially if Mom or Dad or an older sibling reads it to them.

The second installment, Laramie and the Land of Liberty, will be available for download on April 1, 2011. Follow Laramie Wyoming and his best friend, Maestro the black lab, as they solve mysteries  and dodge the bad guys while they travel across the United States in a motorhome from one cool place to another.

It all starts with a bank robbery in his hometown of Laramie, Wyoming. Read more about it here:

You know you're in trouble when you see your picture on the front page of the newspaper and discover you're wanted by the local police for robbing a bank—all because you were just trying to be polite!

Laramie Wyoming always (well, most of the time) does what his mother tells him to. But what happens when an unsuspecting sixth grader holds open the door for three men leaving the bank?

The police accuse him of robbing it. What kind of a deal is that?

The next thing Laramie knows, his mother is ready to scalp him, the police are hot on his trail, his dad's going to blow his top when he gets home, and he and his dog Maestro are holed up in the tree house. Oh, and there's the $30,000 in his backpack he didn't have the day before. Worst of all, the robbers want it back.

Life gets complicated for Laramie Wyoming of Laramie, Wyoming, and he's got a lot to do if he wants to clear his name, get the police off his back, avoid the bank robbers, and ever see the inside of his house again.


I'd be tickled if you'd take a look and pass this information along to anyone you know who has kids who love wholesome adventure, faithful dogs, and mysteries just waiting to be solved!

Until the next time...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good times, goodbyes, and new beginnings!

It's nearing that time again--the day I'll be boarding another plane back to Alaska. I've had a good, long run here in Kentucky, though, and I've loved every minute of it. I arrived on September 10th and my flight leaves on February 6th. Five months! And although I'll always be grateful for these special months spent in the company of my daughter and her husband and my three precious grandsons, it's time for me to let them have their house back to themselves.

I was able to share Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (and all the preparation and celebrations those occasions entail) with my family down here. The day before I leave, we'll be celebrating my middle grandson's 8th birthday, so we'll be ending the visit with another memorable occasion. I hope I've been a healthy, happy, nurturing, and inspirational influence on my grandchildren during this visit, as well as a help to Dennae and Richie. I appreciate their putting up with me for all this time and hope I'll be welcome to visit again! I love you guys.

Then in June, I'll be heading to Michigan in time for the birth of my 5th grandson! My oldest child and his wife are expecting their second child--and it's a boy! He'll be joining his big brother who will be four in August. Good times! And there will be news from Alaska soon... stay tuned for further developments.

Finally, I'm excited to announce that the first installment of my six-part children's series for Echelon Press will be published on March 1st! I've been asked to keep a lid on the details, but soon....

Until the next time...

Monday, January 17, 2011

A clean slate

Christmas is behind us and as are most folks about now, I'm ready for spring. Not that Alaska, or even Kentucky, where I am at the moment, don't abound with beauty during the winter time. They do--at least sporadically. But a little bit of snow and freezing temps go a long way and I reached my breaking point about three weeks ago.

I think if most of us had our way, the first day of spring would occur on December 26th. Fortunately, we don't have that perogative, for if we did, springtime would lose that special anticipation it holds for us year after year. Yes, the stretch between the day after Christmas and that perfect first day of spring (not the one on the calendar, but that true first day--the one we "know" is the harbinger of green grass and new flowers) seems an eternity. But isn't that what makes it so magical? Isn't that what makes that first sniff of newly-revealed dirt, the pristine air, or the hint of growth in the flowerbeds so enticing? Aren't the drab conditions of an overlong winter darkest just before the sparkling days of spring?

Fragrant grass, spring-green leaves, colorful flowers, unblemished beginnings. Spring heralds all things fresh and innovative, innocent and unblemished. It gives us all a chance at a new start. In the meantime, while the winds blow cold and the skies remain dreary, let's remember all that lies in store for those willing to wait--second chances, a clean slate, a new day.

Until the next time...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Doin' the Happy-Hop

This was me yesterday (aside from the long ears, ability to jump off the ground, fuzzy tail, long ears--you know, that "being a bunny thing" Birch has going on here) when I found out my son and daughter-in-law are expecting a baby boy. This will be their second child and he'll be joining big brother Tyler (3) when he's born in early June.

The newest addition to our family will make a total of five grandsons (currently aged 9, 7, 3, 3, and our new pre-born) and six when you add in my step-grandson (14) here in Kentucky. I honestly don't know if I could find my way around the little girls' department anymore. I'm so accustomed to trucks and Legos, dinosaurs and Hot Wheels, Spiderman, SpongeBob, and anything "Cars" related that I'd be lost in the world of little girls.

Of course I'd love to have a granddaughter someday and if it's God's will, I will. But in the meantime, I'm content to do happy-hops around the house and revel in the rough-and-tumble world of little boys and bunny rabbits.

Until the next time...

Laughing with the Lord #4

Welcome to #4 of Laughing with the Lord! Wondering what makes God smile has long been a burning question for me. I know He smiles and laug...