Shadowfell series: A review

Thank you, Chirp! I might never have discovered this delightful series had it not been for a discounted copy of Shadowfell on my Chirp email. Let’s face it, when you devour between two and four audiobooks a week, you just can’t pay full price for them. That’s where Chirp and the Daily Deals from Audible…

Book Review: Well Spring Series by James L. Rubart

Freedom isn’t Free – but the price has been paid. You must accept and believe. The Well Spring Series, three novels by award-winning and bestselling author, James L. Rubart, are not new releases. I’ve owned the first one, Soul’s Gate, for over a year in e-book format, but caught it in audio a few months…

Hope for a Dove – a short story

Hope for a Dove Two come for the seventh – raven and dove. One to be trained, the other to love. Beware the beak where brightness dulls. Mourn the heart as it falls. When perched above, sacrifice made, watch the trees for a Warrior babe. – Great Battle Prophecy April 1900, Glasgow, Scotland Catriona wiped…

Book Reviews: The Bone Witch and Everything You Are

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco The Bone Witch was not what I expected, but turned out to be so much more. Much of the story is still unclear as there are two more books in the series. I was enchanted by the magic that Tea and Lady Mykaela use. Dark magic used for good….

Trust the Reader

One of the hardest things I’ve learned recently as I’ve worked on editing my latest work in progress (WIP) is that I need to trust my reader. Instead of telling readers what to think or feel, and detailed feelings of the characters, I need to let readers filter the character’s words, actions, and experiences through…

Backstory: When and How Much?

Every author is a connoisseur of story. The problem can become where to begin our wonderful tales, and how much stuff that happened to our characters before the story started do we need to tell our readers so they can understand what is going on now and why it’s happening. There are two basic types…

Stay Connected while remaining Physically Distant

In previous periods of crisis, people gathered. 911. Various wars and conflicts. People rallied or protested or both – in groups. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a completely different situation. We are asked to separate and remain apart. We are isolated and told to be “socially distant.” As we physically separate, we must find other ways…

Birthdays and Significance

Birthdays and Significance: Do you look back over your life and wonder if success will ever find you? What if success were not what you were called to, but rather significance? Read on for more thoughts.

Defeat Doesn’t Have to be Your Story

Being a human is hard. 2. Being a human with a family and a job is harder. 3. Being a human who aspires to be a published author can be downright discouraging! You could fill in lines two and three above with almost anything and make the comparison work. No matter what words you choose…

Gifts from Christ-following Authors

I write fiction with Christian themes and messages. Many other authors do the same. The genre “Christian fiction” is an interesting distinction, and sometimes I think it is merely a gate-keeping phrase that tends to keep people out instead of drawing people in. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate knowing the kinds of scenes I…

A New Standard

Have you ever longed for something new? For a change? Maybe of jobs, homes, scenery, hair color? It could be anything. I believe that if we’re honest, most of us have at some point in our lives wished for change or a break. Most of my students wish school were over for them. They long…

Thinking about a Balanced Life at Christmas

Have you heard of the upside-down Christmas tree phenomenon? When this trendy idea came to my attention, I was not sure what to think of it. My first reaction was, why? After a bit of research, I discovered that this may have been a tradition way back in the Middle Ages to represent the Trinity….

A North Carolina Thanksgiving

I know the Thanksgiving holiday has passed and most of us are hurrying to ready ourselves, our families, and our homes for Christmas, but today I thought I’d reflect a little on the past. For one thing, today is my birthday. I turned fifty-four years old today. Everyone should be proud of me for knowing…

NaNoWriMo – 2019 – A Journal

NaNoWriMo AKA National Novel Writing Month. This is my second year of participation in this event. Last year I was a new novelist, still very wet behind the ears, so to speak. I was a slow writer and did a lot of editing as I went. The lesson I learned from last year’s participation was…

Cariño – a Way of Life

As a Spanish teacher, I come across many cultural ideas that are often different than the ones I grew up with as a product of midwestern America. Cariño is one of them. Cariño is the idea of caring or loving those around you. I first came in contact with this word as an interpreter at…

Writing Proposals: An Encouragement

The first time I was asked to write a proposal for a writing project, I had no idea what the person was talking about. A few hours of research later and I still wasn’t sure what exactly I was supposed to produce. Various agency websites had proposal templates, blog posts about proposal formats, blog posts…

How to Deal with a Bully: Guest Post by Linda Sammaritan

Cyber bullying has made the headlines in recent years. As if bullies were a new phenomenon. But bullying is as old as the first family’s existence. The Bible only details the final showdown, but I imagine Cain and Abel had several go-rounds over the years. The boys had a history. Abel probably stood toe-to-toe with…

The Widow’s Test: An original drama-The Celebration!

What happens when a wealthy widow fakes her death in order to determine the most worthy heir? A comedic drama of course! This year’s fall play at West Central was co-written by senior student, Natalie Kennedy, who proposed the original concept, and co-director, Rebecca Reed. Natalie stars as the wealthy widow, Ms. Lillian, who takes…

What kind of faith?

There are many kinds of faith. Most everyone has some type of faith in something or someone. What kind do you have? More importantly, will it save you?

Attractive San Antonio

What a beautiful city! The area around the San Antonio River that flows through the historic district is a goldmine. Known as the River Walk, it is a huge tourist draw, and contains restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. Originally constructed by the WPA in the late 1930s, it has served as a way to minimize…

Seeking God’s Presence at ACFW

Last week I wrote about many of the fantastic authors and friends I met or reconnected with at this year’s annual ACFW Conference. That part of the conference is truly a blessing, but I failed to capture the true essence of the gathering. We all came essentially to connect with Jesus. To ask his blessings…

American Christian Fiction Writers – 2019 – San Antonio

ACFW’s annual conference was: informative, exciting, renewing, brilliant, star-studded, amazing! I departed Indianapolis bound for Atlanta at 7 am Thursday, September 26th full of anticipation and excitement. And a few nerves. The trip to Atlanta was pleasant. I totally recommend Delta Airlines. The crews and flights were fantastic! One thing I love about ACFW is…

Concrete Reminders in a Spiritual Fight

Ephesians 6 reminds us that there are spiritual forces at work that we cannot see. They are real. They are powerful. They are malignant. They are dark. And they exist, albeit in an invisible state, alongside the humans on planet Earth. These are the forces with which we are at war. They are our true…

The Prodigal Daughter: A recommendation

A new book released on September 24th and written by father/daughter duo Rob and Danielle Koke promises to raise the veil on addiction and provide insights into the mind and heart of an addicted person. Check out the book trailer here. My own story contains brushes with addiction and with many other addicted persons. The…

Movie Recommendation: Overcomer

This new category of mine will most likely be underused. I rarely watch, let alone, go to the theater to watch, movies. But recently, my husband and I took a little time off to see Overcomer. I had several friends recommend seeing it. As a track coach, I identified with the difficulties presented with teams…

Lives for Sale

I accompanied my husband to a livestock auction today. Each year we sell about half of the calves our herd of nineteen cows produces. Today was the day of the sale. We sorted and loaded nine calves into the trailer and set off. Once the calves were unloaded and the trailer parked, we entered the…

Are you hiding your talent?

Matthew 25:14-30 are the verses that share Jesus’ parable of the talents. I’m told that in Biblical times a talent was a monetary unit worth approximately a year’s wages for a servant. (I’m not a Biblical expert, so don’t ask me what kind of servant, or in which country or any of the other technical…

What season are you in?

The past two Sundays Wes Raley gave the sermon at our church. His latest message resonated with my place in life at this moment. He spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven existing now. Right now, not at some point in the chronological future. We are called to be in tune to the indwelling Spirit’s urgings…

School is Starting: My goals for the new year

Tomorrow (August 8th) begins my nineteenth year working in secondary education. That is hard for me to believe! I began as a substitute teacher and bus driver the first year and was asked to accept a permanent position as an Enrichment Aide the next year. I taught Spanish to sixth and eighth graders and Math…

Book Review: My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray

This is not a new story. It was published in 2017, but it is new to me. I’m not sure how I found it. Some recommendation from somewhere, but however it ended up in my library, I’m super glad it did! This is the story of Laila and Chad Richardson. Divorced because of Chad’s chronic…

The Liebster Award Challenge

My friend Allison Grace posted this on her blog recently and it looked fun, so I thought I would try it. Thanks Allison. Read her blog here. The rules: #1: Acknowledge the blogger who gave it to you and display the award. #2: Answer 11 questions that the blogger gave you. #3: Give 11 random…

Travelogue: Europe 2019 – Part 4

Switzerland I hope you’ve been enjoying the blog account of our student group travel with EF Tours this June. If you’ve missed Parts 1, 2, or 3, I encourage you to check them out. The highlight our our tour was our visit to Lucerne, Switzerland. We loved everything about the area. It was gorgeous with…

Travelogue: Europe 2019 Part 3

Innsbruck, Austria, Venice and Verona, Italy Welcome to part three of this summer’s travel adventure. For those who missed the previous posts, access them here. Part 1 and Part 2. Two of the pleasant surprises of this journey were our lunch stops in Innsbruck and Verona. While neither of these were highly lauded destinations, our…

Travelogue – Europe 2019 part 2

Germany : Munich and Dachau Concentration Camp If you missed Part 1, I’ll restate, that I believe in experiential education. And to put my belief into practice, every three years, I organize a journey travel through a company called EF Tours for students and adults. You can check them out here. My experiences with them…

Travelogue: Europe 2019 – Part 1

Germany : Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Munich Travel is an important part of experiential education. I fully support this educational philosophy. Of course, I believe in reading and listening and watching, but there is nothing like doing or seeing first hand to drive home a lesson. This is, after all, where the dreaded practice…

Tangible Reminders of our Well of Joy

The best way to maintain our attitude of joy is to remain close to Jesus, through prayer, scripture, and fellowship, but sometimes, because we are human and have human failings, we need tangible reminders of the well of joy we have access to at all times. Each person reacts to different stimuli. Lee in my…

Writing to Break Chains (and to bring joy)

In many ways, the story of Strength to Stand‘s heroine, Lee Russell, mirrors my own. I began my Christian walk filled with love and joy, but over time, the troubles and contradictory messages of this world siphoned my joy away. I went through life living for myself. I had no higher purpose and therefore little…

More than Meets the Eye – A Book Review

More than Meets the Eye tells the story of Evangeline Pearson Hamilton and Logan Fowler, two young people with tragic pasts. Each has chosen a very different way in which to deal with the past, and that is where they meet. Evie has managed to turn her losses into strengths. She has chosen to live…

Paving the Path of Life with Joy Part 4

So what can we do to ensure we don’t get caught in the traps life sets for us? #1. Pray  maintaining a close relationship with our Lord Jesus is the best defense against Satan’s pitfalls. Pray specifically the armor of God on yourself. He gave us these things to defend against the devil’s schemes. We…

Paving the Path of Life with Joy Part 3

Jesus felt joy. He received it from the Holy Spirit and praised God with it. In John 15, Jesus entreats us to remain in his love, follow his commands and receive his joy in ourselves that by doing these things, our joy may be complete. He wants us to have joy, but how can we…

Paving the Path of Life with Joy, Part 2

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 NIV Peter quoted these verses of David in Acts 2:28 on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to the apostles. From them we glean…

Paving the Path of Life with Joy

4 Show me your ways, Lord,    teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,    for you are God my Savior,    and my hope is in you all day long. Psalms 25:4-5 NIV All of us have a life paved with circumstances, decisions and choices . Paved with our experiences. Each…

Chosen Pain

Today I participated in a 3K Color run/walk the high school Student Council organized to raise funds for Riley Children’s Hospital. As I contemplated what to wear at a too early 7:30 am, I mulled over the reasons why I had volunteered to participate in this activity. As a former patient at Riley, I relished…

Nailed to the Cross, Resurrection Day by Rend Collective

Here they are again––my favorite Irish band. Rend Collective’s latest album, Good News, is my favorite thus far. Their distinctive folk sound is as appealing as ever with the eclectic mix of instruments–Jingling Johnny, anyone–and the unique blend of their voices, but the lyrics have always been what drew me to this group. From their…