Tuesday, December 22, 2015

An Irregular Christmas

I'm one of those traditional Christmas folks. I celebrate family traditions handed down from my parents and grandparents, along with some my husband and I have included throughout the years. Christmas Eve is a special time I reserve for me alone. After everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet I turn on the Christmas lights, enjoy a favorite Christmas movie, and then I often watch a Christmas Eve service on television. After the busy Christmas rush, it is a time to be quiet and to reflect on the season and what it means. If it's not too late I often share some of my thoughts here on my blog.

This year is a bit irregular. But so was the first Christmas.

I'm having my gallbladder removed on December 24th. I'm scheduled for surgery at 7:30 AM and if all goes well I will be home that afternoon. Likely I'll be napping while my family works on their last minute Christmas preparations.

I suppose it sounds kind of crazy to have surgery on Christmas Eve morning, but the other option was mid-January ... too long a wait for this sick puppy. I want to share my thoughts with you today because I probably won't be up late on Christmas Eve this year and if I am I likely won't feel like posting a blog.

This holiday season hasn't been typical .... or maybe it actually has. Between my mother's needs, my own illness, my daughter's illness(she has a couple) and my grandson's issues with a traumatic brain injury the season has felt less merry. But interestingly enough I've been at peace, for the most part. I know it is the Lord who is holding me together.

I'm still loving Christmas. It's a beautiful time of year - not just because people seem friendlier, the shimmering lights in town make life brighter, and Christmas music is uplifting but because it is a time that reminds me of my Savior's birth and God's great sacrifice. Without these there is no hope. And so, in the midst of all the heartache and worry I have found peace and hope.

My favorite Christmas Song
Mary Did You Know

I wish you all peace and joy as you reflect on the beauty and miracle of Christmas. Emmanuel, God with us, was born to deliver us and open the door to heaven.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Favorite Part of the Seasosn

The gifts have all been purchased, the meals have been planned, tree is up and decorations make the house look festive. I breathe again. Now I can calmly do the part of Christmas that is one of my favorite parts. I wrap gifts and put them under the tree. I do this while listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies.  I also make out Christmas cards to a few special people. It is a quiet time of the season for me.

I wish I could say I was fabulously creative when it comes to wrapping gifts, but I'm not. Still, I love pretty wrapping papers and bows and ribbons and the gifts do look pretty darn good when they are done and find a place under our tree.

There are more favorite parts of this season I hope to talk about in coming days. What do you like most about the season?

Have lots of happy days during this Season of celebration, and make sure to celebrate the birth of our Savior.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Book Giveaway Winner!

I  have had so much fun hearing your Christmas stories. Thank you for participating and for answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed reading the excerpts from To Dance With Dolphins and add it to your Christmas list. It is still on sale - just 0.99 in ebook.

Alrighty. Time to announce the winner! 

Deanna Patterson, you've won a series of my books! You can choose - Alaskan Skies series or the Sydney Cove series.

Congratulations Deanna. Please contact me at bonnie.leon52@gmail.com and let me know which series you'd like and where I can send them.

Merry Christmas.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie Leon

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Christmas Book Giveaway & Excerpt From To Dance With Dolphins

Final entry in the Christmas Book Giveaway! And the last excerpt from To Dance With Dolphins. Let's see what are Claire, Sean, Tom, Willow, and Taylor are up to.

"Willow, are you not feeling well? Are you sick?
    She didn't answer for a long moment
    "I'm not sick, but I'm not all right either." She sighed. "I should be filled with thanksgiving. Instead, I'm down in the dumps. Days like today remind me how much I dislike my body. I want to be strong and healthy. The old me would have been fine in the water today. I'd have made it to the boat on my own and climbed back in easy as pie." Tears washed into her eyes. "Yet here I am, all gimped up. Sometimes it just makes me so mad." She wiped her eyes with the edge of the blanket." I really wanted to ride in that race, but who am I kidding? I'll never be able to do it."
    Claire swallowed hard. What could she say? Willow was the one she relied on--the one who was strong, wise, full of faith. She'd never seen her like this. If Willow couldn't stand up to her weaknesses, then who could?
    "You'll do it. I know you. You're strong."
    "Oh yes, that's me - strong. Even my name, Willow. A willow bends in the wind. Its limbs are weak. That's who I really am."
    "But a willow also dances in a breeze. It's flexible - that's how I see you." Claire reached over and rested a hand on her arm. "Today was just a bad day."
    Willow shook her head. "You all think I'm so tough, but I'm just like everyone else. I get mad and depressed. And sometimes I don't understand why God allowed me to end up like this. I used to be fun-loving, the one involved in everything. I enjoyed working hard and playing hard. But now ..." She wiped her eyes. "Oh I hate feeling like this. What must the Lord think of me?"
    "He loves you. No one is strong and full of faith all the time. You're alllowed to have real feeliings." Claire grasped Willow's hand. "But you are strong. And you have great faith. You help everyone around you. And I'm thankful for you.
    "This morning I was feeling reall low. I hated how I have to live and I had, once again, convinced myself I had no future. But today was amazing. I went fishing. And then I helped my friend when she fell in the lake. We all helped each other - Sean, Tom, you, me and even Taylor. We didn't have to think about it. We just did it."
    Willow sniffed and wiped away more tears. "You're right, but sometimes it seems impossible to make it through even one more day."
    "I know exactly how you feel. But I'm learning to take care of the body I'm in, and not think about tomorrow." Claire hugged  Willow. "I love you so much. I'm so glad you have more days to live."
    Willow smiled. "You're right. It was a good day."

If you'd like to find out more about what happens to my traveling comrades you'll have to get your hands on a copy of To Dance With Dolphins. You can find it online or have your local bookstore order a copy. And for a limited time the ebook version is on sale for just 0.99!


I will be drawing a winner on December 11th. I'm posting a question at the end of each day and all you have to do to have a chance to win is to answer the question or leave a comment. If you're just now discovering this, you can go back to my first entry in this contest on November 29 and read each blog and answer the questions. The more times you comment, the greater chance you have of winning.

I'll be giving away a complete set of The Alaskan Skies or Sydney Cove series - your choice. I can't wait to see who wins.

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite Christmas movie or Christmas song? 

Thank you for hanging out here with me on my blog and sharing your thoughts about Christmas.

Grace and peace to you from God,


- See more at: http://bonnieleon.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-book-giveaway-to-dance-with.html#sthash.fJ0EHtnG.dpuf

Monday, December 07, 2015

Christmas Book Giveaway & To Dance With Dolphins Excerpt

Another glimpse at To Dance With Dolphins.

"It's so cold." Would someone find them in time?
    Sean looked about. "If we get out of the wind, it'll help."
    He steered Claire toward a stubby evergreen with a broad trunk and a hollow center with one side partially rotted away, creating a natural barrier.
    "This should help." He took a large pocket knife and cut several evergreen boughs and spread them out on the floor of the hollow tree.
    "Get inside."
    "But it's not big enough for both off us. What will you do?"
    "I'll be all right." Sean set her cane against the outside of the tree, then helped ease Claire down.
    She huddled inside, pressing against the rotted wood.
    Sean sat in front with his back to her, his hoodie pulled down over his head.
    What if he froze to death? They both could. Claire opened her coat and stretched out her arms. "Lean back against me."
    Sean didn't argue with her. He rested against her chest, and she put her arms around him.
    They stayed like that, huddled against the storm, freshly cut boughs enveloping them in a sharp, tangy fragrance.
    "I shouldn't have decided on a walk, especially not this far," Clair said. "I didn't think it would get so bad. I'm sorry."
    "It's not your fault."
    Claire had been careless, wanting time with Sean, wanting to be close to him, rather than paying attention to staying safe.
    Now they were close - so close they might die together.
    Claire's shivers increased and her hope faded.
    "Someone will find us. We'll be fine." Sean drew his legs up close to hiss chest.
    Claire should ask for God's help, but she could't hold the truth back. God, how can I believe in your mercy? You haven't protected me from this disease. My sister is sick ... and missing. Sean's brother died a horrible death. Why shouldn't I think that it might be your plan for us to die under this tree today?
    Wouldn't it be ironic if her illness had nothing to do with the way she died? What if she could have been living differently, not letting her sickness restrain her?
    "Are you all right?" Sean asked.
    Other than regrets and life questions pummeling her? "Just cold. How long does it take for hypothermia to set in?"
    "Someone will find us before that. Or the storm will blow through."
    Claire rested her cheek against his back.
    "Just don't sleep. Okay?"
    The minutes passed and the world was only wind and snow. Claire's eyelids wanted to close.
    What if no one came?
    It seemed unfair to die like this - arms around the first man she thought she might be able to love.
    And he didn't even know how she felt.

What's ahead for Sean and Claire? You'll have to read more to find out.

I'll be posting excerpts here until December 10th to give you a glimpse into the story and its unique and lovable characters.

I'm also having a Christmas drawing. Each day that I leave an excerpt from To Dance With Dolphins I'll also post a question and if you answer the question or leave a comment, you'll be entered in the giveaway. The winner will be announced on December 11th. Each time you comment I will add your name again, which gives you a better chance of winning.

I'll be giving away a complete set of the Alaskan Skies series or Sydney Cove series - your choice.

Question of the Day:  Have you ever experienced a real winter storm? I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for hanging out with me here. Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Christmas Book Giveaway & And more from To Dance With Dolphins

Another glimpse of To Dance With Dolphins, my summer release


They hadn't been on the road more than a few minutes when Claire spotted a man hobbling east along the far side of the road.
    "I wonder what he's doing all the way out here. Maybe we ought to give him a ride." Willow wasn't going very fast, but now she slowed to a crawl. "He's limping."
    "No way!" Taylor said. "He could be an axe murderer or something."
    Willow looked at Claire. "What do you think?"
    Remembering her mother's warning, she said, "It's probably not a good idea. We don't know anything about him." She studied the man.
    He was tall and slender, dark haired, and very good looking.
    "Though he looks nice."
    "I'm sure that makes him just fine, then." Taylor's voice dripped with disdain. "Even Ted Bundy looked like a nice guy. Not every criminal looks like Charles Manson."
    "It doesn't seem right to leave him out here, injured," said Willow. She turned to Claire. "We're on an adventure, right?" She chuckled, eyes dancing with mischief as she stopped the coach.
    Willow leaned out the window. "Are you all right?"
    The man drew close. "Yeah. Me and my bike had a close encounter with an antelope a few miles back. The bike is lying in a gully, totaled, and I'm lucky that I only wrenched my knee."
    "Where you from?"
    Claire leaned toward Willow to get a better look.
    "Monterey originally."
    "It's beautiful there. Where you heading?"
    "You look like you could use a ride."
    The stranger looked to be in his mid-twenties. He smiled, and his deep blue eyes met Claie's.
    Claire's cheeks heated up, and she quickly looked away.
    "I sure could use a ride, but you're going the wrong way."
    Claire dared to look again. He seemed harmless.
    "We're only going to a campground a couple of miles up the road and then we'll be traveling east."
    The stranger didn't say anything.
    "You're welcome to ride with us," Willow said.
    "Taylor, open the door for this young man."
    Taylor threw a disgusted look at Willow, then opened the door.
    The man climbed in, favoring his right lgeg. "Thanks."
    Daisy's hackles were raised, and she woofed at the stranger.
    "Hey girl," he said and held out a hand.
    Daisy sniffed his fingers and seemed to relax.
    "Nice dog." He stroked the top of her head. His gaze fixed on Clair for a brief  moment, then he turned to Willow. "I'm Sean Sullivan. I appreciate the ride."

And so the adventure continues in To Dance With Dolphins.

I'll be posting excerpts here until December 10th to give you a glimpse into the story and its unique and lovable characters.

I'm also having a Christmas drawing. Each day that I leave an excerpt from To Dance With Dolphins I'll also post a question and if you answer the question or leave a comment, you'll be entered in the giveaway. The winner will be announced on December 11th. Each time you comment I will add your name again, which gives you a better chance of winning.

I'll be giving away a complete set of the Alaskan Skies series or Sydney Cove series - your choice.

Question of the day - What is your most  fun or funniest Christmas memory?

Grace and peace to you from God,


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Book Giveaways

Books make great Christmas gifts. I have a new summer release, To Dance With Dolphins, that would love to have a place under your Christmas tree.  Here's a link where you can find the book. http://amzn.to/1MXJx5o

I'll be posting excerpts here until December 10th, just to give you a glimpse into the story and its interesting characters.

I'd also like to run a Christmas drawing. Each day I leave a story excerpt I'll also post a question and if you answer the question or leave a comment,  you'll automatically be entered in the drawing on December 11th.

I'll be giving away a complete set of The Alaskan Skies Series or Sydney Cove series. Your choice.

Here is an excerpt from To Dance With Dolphins:

When they finally reached the bed, Tom crawled onto the mattress and rolled onto his back in slow motion. Panting, he lay absolutely still, his hands gripping the bedding.
    Willow leaned over him. "The medication will help soon." She draped a light blanket over him and removed his glasses.
    Tom opened one eye and peered at Willow for a brief moment. "Thanks."
    "I wish there was more I could do for you." She set his glasses on the bedstand.
    "I've had this before. It'll pass."
    "How long until you're better?" Taylor asked.
    "Your guess is as good as mine. Sometimes a few minutes. Other times a few days. It can come and go for weeks."
    "You liar! You told us you could drive this rig across the country. How you gonna do that if you've got the spins?" Taylor strode toward the front of the RV. "We can't stay here for weeks. I knew this was stupid. I told you I didn't want to come." She sounded close to tears.
    "Calm down." Willow put on a reassuring smile. "We'll be fine. Everything will work out. God has a plan."
    With a huff, Taylor dropped onto the sofa. "Oh sure. Like I believe that."
    Willow looked at the road. "Didn't we pass a campground a little way back?"
    "Yeah. I think so," said Claire.
    "Well ... I can drive this thing, at least to the campground."
    "You can?" Claire wrinkled her brow. Was letting Willow drive better than being stranded?     "Maybe we ought to wait a while and see if Tom gets better."
    "I don't think we should wait. It will be dark soon. And there's a sign that says no overnight camping." Willow moved to the front of the RV. "As a young woman I lived on a bus. An old school bus. This is a limousine compared to that. One time I had to drive that bus up a winding dirt road, then I parked it in a meadow in the middle of the forest."
    "Eons ago," Taylor said without humor. "And you were probably so stoned you imagined it all."
    Willow eased into the driver's seat. "I might have been stoned, but I didn't imagine it." She flashed a smile at Taylor.
    Daisy climbed between the front seats.
    "Aww, that's a good dog, Daisy."
    "You used to use drugs? Claire asked. Apparently there was a lot she didn't know about Willow.
    "I was young. It was the sixties."
    Willow brushed her wild mane of hair off her face. "We'll stay at the campground tonight and maybe Tom will feel better by morning." She looked in the rear view mirror. "Hang on. We're headed back to the highway."

QUESTION OF THE DAY - What do you love most about Christmas?

Grace and peace to you from God.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Riding The Tide

Do you ever feel like you can't do one more thing? That life is just too much? It's too hard? You're too busy? You're overwhelmed? You truly can't do one more thing? 

Yeah, me too.  At least some of the time.

I've been thinking on this a lot lately, mostly how to make a positive change. Last Sunday's sermon was helpful.

The pastor talked about family and how God designed us to work together. A church can't function if the pastor is the one who does everything. We need to live like family. After all, God created families and they are good. More about that in a moment.

Writing books is a solitary endeavor, mostly. I'd like to share a little about what being a novelist means in today's publishing world.

Did you know that novelists used to "just" write? (Well mostly)

I think I can almost remember this. 

Alas, so much has changed.

Writers are now advertising experts, bloggers, publishers, researchers, secretaries, bookkeepers ... and they are also mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, caretakers. They work other jobs and serve in their churches. They have family's that need them and long to-do lists that have nothing to do with writing. 

Yet, we are supposed to have minds that can think creatively (after fulfilling all the other tasks in our lives) and if we hope to create a novel we need the energy to labor through the hours that make up the months required to get to the place where we write The End.

I'm pretty darn sure God called me to write and I'm also pretty sure he didn't expect me to kill myself doing it. 

I long to write great novels, to lose myself in unique and interesting tales and to get caught up in the lives of characters that I care about. But that doesn't always happen. The blaring horn of the world distracts me.

The difficulty is that the distractions matter too. The diversions, mysteries, heartache, and fun is part of what life is all about. If we skip those we really aren't living. We need time of quiet to listen to the hush of the forest or the humming noise of the city, time with friends and family, time to take in the moments with a child that will never come again - laughter and tears - we need to live it all.

I marvel at those who seem to live quietly in the ebb and flow of life. They don't fight the tide, but allow it to carry them out to sea and then rest when washed into a quiet pool. I long to find my way to such a place. And I am convinced that I will discover it in the quiet presence of the Lord. Or in the friend who comes alongside to help. And in the confidence to just let something go - to learn not to strive so hard.

And what about all the writerly things I need to do? I'm still sorting that out. I can't do it all and instinctively know that I should focus on what comes naturally and do the things I enjoy and to write about what I am passionate about. If I do that the tasks are not a chore but an opportunity to create and creating fulfills and sustains those who love it.  

And what about family? We were created to love and help one another, to carry burdens and to pray for each other. Writers, need to encourage and uplift other writers. And readers you are part of the family too. Writers need to hear from you, words of encouragement can brighten a dark day. And if you find a book you love help an overworked writer by telling others about their work.

Above all, we need to be content and grateful that we get to share this planet in whatever place the Lord has planted us. He knows our hearts like no other ... and in this knowledge we can rest in his great ocean of love.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Cross Country Adventure Winners

I had so much fun reliving the cross country trip my husband and I made in 2006 when we did research for a book. We left with high expectations and we were not disappointed.

Thank you all for following along and sharing the journey. I'm so thankful Greg and I went and I'm love the results - To Dance With Dolphins, which recently released. It took several years before I was able to write the story, but it was worth the wait. I couldn't have written it without making the trip.

On my blog journey each day a gift was offered to those who posted a message answering the question of the day. You were all such good sports and I loved hearing about your experiences.

The winners, listed from day 1 - 8 are:

Day One - Chris Granville

A copy of my novel, The Heart of Thornton Creek.

Day Two - Lynette Cooper

One pound of Christmas Hershey Kisses

Day Three - Sue Bakken

Two movies -- The Ultimate Gift & Miracle on 34th Street

Day Four - Sara Derscheid

Nightscape Poster - Imagination

Day Five - Kim Amundsen

The Day by Day Devotional Jesus Calling

Day Six - Patti Iverson

Tropical Dolphin Abalone Shell Earrings

Day Seven - Naomi
Mara Collectible Dinner Mugs

Day Eight - Garrett Nichols
The novel To Dance With Dolphins & Mannheim Steamroller CD.

Congratulations to you all! Please contact me at bonnie.leon52@gmail.com and leave your name and address so I can send you your gift. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Cross Country Adventure - Day Eight

And so we come to my final entry. Three weeks - 8,000 miles. I can't  believe we drove so far and discovered so much in such a short period of time. I'm sad the reliving is done, just as I was nine years ago.

Time to see how it all turned out.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We maneuvered the winding highway through the Shasta National Forest and anticipation filled me. When we stopped in the small mountain town of Weed my eagerness intensified. We were almost home!

While high in the Siskiyou Mountains we passed a sign that said, "Welcome to Oregon." We'd arrived in our home state and it felt good. Yet, the best was yet to come. We descended into a valley north of the Siskiyou Mountains where golden hills cast in shadows and surrounded by forests welcomed us.

We continued north,, navigating familiar mountains. The evergreens were taller, their girth greater, and the forests were dense with Douglas Fir and Cedar. The final few miles we traveled from Roseburg to Glide were a balm to my need for home. Sheep and cattle grazed on honey-colored hills and the colorful oak and dark thick forests shouted, HOME!

In spite of all the grandeur, beauty, and fascinating people and sites we've encountered the last three weeks, there's just no place like home. Fall arrived while we were gone. The air is cool and the smells of evergreen and overripe blackberries welcome me. Before leaving for church today, I stepped onto my front porch and savored the morning crispness and the mists hanging over the meadow in front of my house.

As I contemplate our journey it's clear that God favored us with His presence and His mercy throughout our adventure. He revealed to us so much of Himself and His creation. We felt His protection and took comfort in the prayers of our friends.

A cross country trip may seem a small thing to some (after all we didn't travel to the other side of the planet), but I'm changed. Travel isn't easy for me. My body sometimes betrays me and I can't push it too far. But every ache and pain was worth the insight, wonderment, pleasure and knowledge that I gained. God's hand is truly upon this country, and we are blessed too live here.

I learned many lessons on this trip and praise God for allowing me to go. I know better how much He loves me, just as I am. And my confidence in Him is greater than ever.

May you know the joy and wonderment our glorious God offers to each of us."

It's been fun to relive the journey. I had no idea then that it would take me nine years to find the time and the heart to write the book I traveled so far to research. But God's timing is perfect and I trust Him.

Of course only a little of what we saw could be posted this week, and I hope you'll read the book To Dance With Dolphins to experience more of our incredible journey and how it affected my characters and their story.

Today's Question:  What place to you call home?

Today's Gift:  I'm going to give away two gifts - a copy of my book, To Dance With Dolphins. After all, it is the reason for our journey. 

And with Christmas so close I want to include the beautiful holiday sounds of Mannheim Steamroller. There are no Christmas sounds quite like theirs.  

You still have time to visit the last eight blog entries and leave an answer and win gifts! I'll be drawing the winners names this Wednesday.

Grace and peace to you from God,