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Published in: on August 27, 2015 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Release: Gillian’s Heart

On September 1, 2015, www.desertbreezepublishing.com will release my contemporary romance e-book, Gillian’s Heart.

Gillian Grant, abandoned by her alcoholic parents, is raised by her grandmother in a beach house overlooking the Pacific in Reagan Beach, California.

As a tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian is determined to restore the house to its original beauty and hires Dusty, a handyman and surfer, to help her. Dusty shares the apartment above the garage with Gillian’s childhood friend, Josh.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Later they discover their shared grief for beloved grandparents. But Gillian also suffers from anorexia and abandonment, and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Concern for his salvation, they agree he will attend church if she will attend a twelve-step program.

It is during a twelve-step meeting Betsy, Gillian’s mother, arrives and announces the house was left to her, not Gillian, and she plans to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart—stable Josh or can she trust Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house?

 

Published in: on August 27, 2015 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Book Review — Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

Finding Me peeks curiosity to open the book and discover Kelli’s story.

Trust was shattered when Kelli discovers her beloved father wasn’t who she believed him to be. She goes on a journey in search of her family. Along the way, both Kelli and readers discover devastating secrets.

Some may find the story implausible. Others will consider it a page turner, not wanting to put it down, especially the last 100 pages.

An emotional story, one of Kathryn Cushman’s most touching dialogue is, “She loves you like a sister. We both do.”

Finding Me is a bittersweet story with a take away message— Kelli’s father was a coward. Will Kelli follow his example?

Includes thought provoking questions to dig deeper in the Questions for Conversation section at the back of the book, for individuals, groups and book clubs.

Kathryn Cushman’s other books include A Promise to Remember, Waiting for Daybreak, Leaving Yesterday, Another Dawn, Almost Amish, and Chasing Hope.

Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Published in: on April 6, 2015 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Marriage

As a freelance writer, I spend my days alone in my office, yet, every once in a while I get out and see what the rest of the world is like. Yesterday, I attended a women’s luncheon and sat next to a lady who recently divorced after 63 years of marriage. I’ll call her Violet (not her real name). Did she see my shock? After that many years together, what drove her to get a divorce? Violet said, “I was tired of him telling her how to cook and how to clean. Now he can cook, clean and pay the bills himself.” She seemed happy with her decision. She went on to say that family and friends couldn’t believe she hadn’t done it sooner.

Many years ago I talked to a woman who said at the beginning of her marriage, she wanted out, but couldn’t see how she could do it without an education or a job, so she stuck it out and in later years she was glad she had. That was how it was for many women in the early 1900—they stuck with it.

In the early years of our marriage, my husband said, “Divorce isn’t an option. Whatever problems we may have, we can work them out.” He was right and I’m grateful for a committed, godly spouse. Something else he said, “Marriage isn’t always fifty-fifty. Sometimes one partner gives 75% and the other 25%, etc. Recently, I read that each of us needs to give 100% to our marriage. I like that even better.

Also, have a threefold marriage—God, wife and husband. Never go to bed angry. Communicate—listen twice as much as you speak. There’s a reason God gave us two ears and only one mouth. Set a priority—God first, spouse second and children third.

Recipe for a Happy Marriage

Submission                                                                              Joyfulness

Love                                                                                        Patience

Respect                                                                                   Kindness

Time                                                                                        Commitment

Trust                                                                                        Encouragement

Humility                                                                                  Communication

Sense of Humor

Mix together mutual submission, love, and respect. Add a sense of humor and joyfulness. Fold in time, trust, humility, patience, kindness, commitment, encouragement, and communication. Pour into a lifetime.

TEMPERATURE: Moderate

TIME: Forever

AMOUNT: Unmeasurable Blessings

Published in: on February 26, 2015 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happenings

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d share recent happenings.

In November I signed a contract with Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. to publish my book, Gillian’s Heart. It’s a contemporary Christian romance, set in southern California. I enjoyed writing Gillian’s story and now I’m busy formatting the book to send to the publisher.

This year my other endeavors consisted of speaking for Stonecroft Ministries in Coos Bay and Medford, Oregon. At the Coos Bay event, I sat next to a young woman expecting her first baby. She was darling with a bubbly personality and excited about this time in her life. I enjoy these events and meeting new women.

May book talks on my historical novel, Lily, were well received with those attending being engaged in the discussion questions. I share how Lily began as an idea while sitting in church and the 27 year journey to publication. It’s a fun evening for all.

My work-in-progress is Sweet Charity. Nancy, a high school senior, gave her baby up for adoption in 1958 and later became a distinguished OBGYN. Twenty years later Nancy comes face to face with her daughter who needs medical attention to survive. Nancy’s blood type does not match her daughters. Will Nancy find her daughter’s biological father who never knew about the baby?

Published in: on December 18, 2014 at 12:30 am  Leave a Comment  

In the Garden

            I don’t do mornings.

            I’ve never been a morning person. And I’m blessed to be retired and no longer required to rise early and go to work.

            Now I awake leisurely, sometime around nine o’clock, and enjoy a cup of tea with my breakfast. Then I sit in my recliner with my second cup of tea, my Bible, devotional book and prayer journal. I start my day at my Heavenly Father’s feet. I spend time reading God’s Word and writing my prayers in my journal.

            Some may call it a habit. I call it a relationship.  

            What if in my relationships I never spent time with them? Talked to them? Listened to them? What would our relationships be like?

            I choose to spend time with my Lord, because I cherish our relationship.

                             In the Garden

I come to the garden alone,

While the dew is still on the roses;

And the voice I hear,

falling on my ear,

The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me,

And He talks with me.

And He tells me I am His own;

And the joy we share as we tarry there

None other has ever known.

 Austin Miles

Published in: on July 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

He’s the Love of my Life

            I fell in love in 1955. I was a teenager at the time. If you’ve ever been in love, you know how I felt. I couldn’t eat. I wanted to spend every minute with him. Just thinking about him made me tingle all over, and become more giddy than usual. Deep down I knew he was the only person who loved me completely, even with my zits and lazy right eye.

            He’s so patient, kind and gentle. He’s stronger than anyone I’ve ever known and he never loses his cool. During my youth I’d gaze at his picture often. His hair was longer than the trend of the fifties. It didn’t matter to me, but it did to my parents. They weren’t happy with my new relationship and hoped it was a fad that would run its course and eventually pass. It didn’t.

Where We Met

            My family moved a lot and when I was 15 I attended a little neighborhood church. Everyone welcomed me and it wasn’t long before I became active in the youth group and made some lifetime friends.

            It wasn’t love at first sight. I’d know him and grew to love him over time. Actually I knew his father before I met him. I attended Sunday school when I was a child and every week I completed my lessons by looking up Bible verses and filling in the blanks with the correct words.

            That’s where I met him, in that little church. He has not only been with me during the happy times, but also through disappointments, frustrations, decisions, losses and the routines of everyday life.

Disappointment

            My first devastating disappointment came when I was a high school senior. I’d applied to the Christian college I wanted to attend. The day I tore open the letter telling me that I wasn’t accepted, he was beside me, comforting me. He waited until I was ready and guided me in a new direction.

            The following year was one of the happiest times. He held my hand on my wedding day. Other highlights came with the birth of my children. He held my hand and reassured me through the painful hours of labor. As he gazed at me with those eyes full of compassion, I knew the temporary pain was worth the end result.

            When my husband and I lost our business and we filed for bankruptcy, it was like a death. Yet even then he never left me, but helped me get back on my feet.

I Walked Away

            More recently I was in a serious car accident. I saw a car pull out in front of me on the highway and knew I had no time to stop. To avoid killing the driver, I braked with all my might and swerved to the left. He slammed into the passenger side of my car. After impact, I thought this is bad. But it was only the beginning. My car flipped up in the air. I’m not going to survive this. I was ready to meet my Maker. I felt his loving arms holding me inside my car as it rolled and rolled and rolled.

            I don’t know why God let me walk away from that horrific accident without a scratch. I believe I’m one of His present-day miracles. Awestruck witnesses gaped as they watched me walk away. “God’s not finished with me yet,” I said as they marveled at what they had just witnessed. With tears in his eyes, the young man who caused the accident approached and said how sorry he was. When I asked him if he knew Jesus he said, “Yes . . . and I think I’m going to know him even better now.” Maybe that’s the reason God saved me—to be a witness.

            For 59 years God has blessed me with a loving relationship with His Son, Jesus. Wherever I am He’s with me. Together we talk, walk, work, play and rest. Over these many years He has comforted, directed, protected and provided for me and my loved ones, even giving me the desires of my heart. He’s the love of my life.

Published in: on June 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tammy’s in Love

Summer 1957

The Diner

 

Was the gnawing in my stomach from hunger or worry?

I pulled into the parking lot at Mom’s Kitchen and entered the diner. I took a stool at the counter and perused the one page plastic menu.

A waitress clad in a pink uniform with a hankie in her bodice pocket and a cleavage the depth of the Grand Canyon approached me. “What’ll it be, sweetie?” She pulled a pencil from the dishwater blond bun on top of her head.

I placed the menu in its metal holder in front of me. “I’ll have a hamburger and a Coke.”

 “Do you want fries?” She cracked her gum.

 “Yes, please.”

 Pink uniform straightened and filled her diaphragm with air. “One burger with fries.” I resisted the urge to cover my ringing ears.

Being the only woman in a restaurant full of truck drivers and others who looked like workmen, I tried to make myself invisible. A small juke box sat every few feet along the long counter. Thankful for the one in front of me, I turned the knob and viewed the selections.

“Blue Suede Shoes,” by Elvis; “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino; “Only You” by the Platters and “Wake Up Little Susie” sung by the Everly Brothers. Ah there was Mom’s favorite crooner Bing Crosby singing “True Love” with Grace Kelly. I searched in my purse for some money when Doris Day’s voice came over the speaker, “Whatever Will Be, Will Be” (Que Sera, Sera). Was it an omen? While I desired true love, was it going to be more like whatever will be, will be with Rick?

Pink uniform placed my plate of food in front of me. “Here you go, sweetie.”

“Thank you.” I took a bite of dill pickle, and slathered the bun with mustard and catsup.

“Hey, Gladys, how about some more coffee?” One of the patrons at the end of the counter held his mug above his head.

 “Hold your horses.” She picked up the coffeepot from the warmer and headed down the row of customers.

 A sinister voice hissed, “Where you headed, little lady?”

 Although I tried to appear stoic, I shivered while ignoring him. Then Gladys game to my rescue. She leaned down real close to him. I’m sure he could see the entire Grand Canyon cleavage. “Now Bucky, you don’t want to scare her, do you?”

His noticeable overbite reminded me of Bucky Beaver.

While Gladys had Bucky’s attention, I took a last gulp of Coke and dropped my crumpled napkin on my plate. Then dug in my purse and pulled out enough money for my tab, plus a nice tip. I put the cash next to my empty plate and quietly escaped, not letting the door slam behind me.

After I locked my car door, I pulled onto the highway, headed north. I looked in my rearview mirror for any headlights following me from a scary driver with an overbite. Then I said a silent prayer. God, thank you for Gladys— my angel in a pink uniform with a hankie in her pocket.

 

Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 1:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Set Goals and Reap the Rewards

One year Jack London received 400 rejections. With that many rejections he was bound to have received some acceptances as well.

I look forward to the beginning of a new year with a fresh slate to record my goals. Since I began setting goals, I’ve written and published more.

I set monthly goals. Others set daily, weekly, yearly, short and long term, word count, a certain number of pages, etc. I find setting monthly goals works best for me. When I achieve each goal, I put the date beside it, and the following month I set new goals. Instead of monthly goals, what may work for you is a 1 year, 5 year or a 10 year plan.

What is it you want to attain? Set realistic goals.

Periodically review where you’ve been and where you plan to go.

Goals don’t only refer to my writing. I also consider family, responsibilities and activities while setting goals.

Be flexible. When I receive a new assignment, it becomes my number one priority. And always include new possibilities as well. Don’t be afraid to dream big.

If you know your goals, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities you’ll have to accomplish them.

A goal without a plan is only a wish—so plan by setting goals.  Believe and invest in yourself and see yourself as successful.

Stretch Yourself

Someday I want to set the goal of receiving 400 rejections in a year, like Jack London. With all those rejections I’m bound to receive some acceptances. It’s probably not a realistic goal, but it sure is a gutsy one.

Published in: on January 3, 2014 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Escape to the Benbow Inn

After stuffing my large tote bag with books, tablet, pens, knitting—and the cooler with Pepsi, ice and something to eat—I don shorts and a T-shirt over my swimsuit.

            I leave the housework, yard work, the phone (before I had a cellphone) and other distractions and climb into the car. A giggle escapes as I accelerate.

            The breeze lifts my fine hair as I take each curve under the towering Redwoods. My heart leaps as I reach the ‘Benbow 10 Miles’ sign.

            I’ve arrived. I peak over the edge of the balcony; hopefully, a wedding party hasn’t taken over the manicured grounds that slope down from the inn to the river. To my delight, I discover empty white chaise lounges on the green grass below. I skip down the stone steps to my retreat.

            I’m free. For hours I pretend I’m rich, for I am. I read, write, dream, swim in the river, sit in the sun, move to the shade. At three o’clock I pack my tote bag and cooler and climb the stairs to the lobby. I indulge in tea and scones. I find puzzle pieces scattered across the antique tables and begin to interlock the pieces.

            It’s time to head home. It’s dinner time. I leave exhilarated—ready to face my responsibilities.

            I’ve spent the day pampering myself with everything I enjoy—time with my Lord in his creation—praying, reading, writing, knitting, swimming and solving jigsaw puzzlers, while sipping tea and munching on scones oozing with strawberry jam.

Published in: on October 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment