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.

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 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,