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May 24, 2015 | 0 comments

American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

25,000 died in combat; 25,000 wounded

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

            15,000 died; 5,000 wounded

Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

            13,283 died; 4,152 wounded

The American Civil War

            214,938 died in combat, an estimated 400,000-500,000 died of other causes: wounds,

 infection, disease; total deaths approximately 750,000 (420 died each day)

World War I (1917-1918)

            320,518 dead and wounded

World War II (1941-1945)

            291,557 dead; 670,846 wounded

Korean War (1950-1953)

          ...

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May 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Last weekend, I flew up to Reno to take part in the Redeeming Love Conference put on by the Awaken Reno ministry and hosted by Outlook Christian Church.  Before the event, I had the opportunity to hang out with the five amazing women of faith who put this event together.  The idea started with their small home Bible study.  Each addressed important issues all women face; identity, purpose, rest, joy and love.  The conference was designed to offer hope and show the power of Jesus Christ to free captives and bring soul-deep healing.

Awaken Reno helps prostitutes escape their traffickers and works with them to reclaim and rebuild their lives.  The shame, degradation and paralyzing fear these women suffer often keeps them silent and trapped.  Helping them escape can be a dangerous job anywhere -- especially in Nevada where prostitution is legal.

A few facts:

13 is the average age a girl enters prostitution

22 licensed brothels...

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April 29, 2015 | 0 comments

I’m always afraid to say too much about a project I’m working on because it seldom turns out to be like the outline.  Characters tend to take over and I’m just along for the ride to see where they’re going to end up.  In this case, I don’t want to say too much because there is a surprise imbedded that has a lot to do with why I started this project in the first place. I don’t want to spoil it.

The two main characters are very wounded individuals who face life in very different ways. The childhood experiences I imagined for them are so traumatic I went to a group of family therapists for counseling.  I’m not kidding.  I wanted to know if cases like these exist.  Sadly, they do and in growing numbers.  I also wanted to know if the patterns of behavior I see coming for my characters are realistic and if they line up with how people cope and survive as they grow up in an unloving environment and what problems those coping skills can cause later in...

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April 14, 2015 | 0 comments

A few readers wrote with some concern that this book was more “explicit” than my others and they wondered why I had Abra in relationships with three men.  I knew that question would come up, what surprised me is the discomfort seemed to be focused on the love scene between Abra and Joshua as a married couple rather than her experiences with Dylan and Franklin Moss. 

First of all, I was careful to craft the scenes in a way to evocative, and not explicit.  There is definitely a difference between the two.  The first takes more work and is aimed at drawing the reader into the emotion of the scene.  The second describes everything.  It’s harder to write an evocative scene than an explicit one. 

Now for the reasons Abra was with three men: 

Over the past few years, I have done a lot of reading on sex trafficking, how predators attract victims and how it impacts the lives of the women they enslave.   During the 50s,...

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March 24, 2015 | 0 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a writers’ conference, and this is one of the best in the country. I’m going as a student with a missionary friend from Chile.  We can’t wait to dump our stuff in a room and head for class.  The instructors are all terrific, several friends I’ve known over the years, and most have written more books than I have ever dreamed of writing in my lifetime.  I plan to have notebook and pen poised to glean the jewels they will be giving to us. Frankly, I can be by myself in my office for so long, there’s a risk of becoming myopic.  I can become so focused on what I want to do with a story that I might be putting God in the back seat when He belongs in the driver’s seat. 

At Mount Hermon there will be lots of soul searching.  There will be evening sessions taught by someone I highly respect (Robin Jones Gunn) who will undoubtedly challenge me to go deeper and trust in the Lord more, with tips on how.   ...

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March 16, 2015 | 0 comments

The pestilence has spread.  I’m not sure if it’s the cold I caught in Branson or the beaded strings of pollen dripping from our oak tree, but I’m still sniffling and hacking.  I’m sorry to say Rick caught it a few days after I did.  At least we’re no longer contagious (so we’ve been told), but must weather this annoying cough for however long it wants to hang around. This was not in my plan. 

I used to be able to shake these bugs in a few days.  I’d lather myself with Vick’s Vapor Rub, put on thick socks and pajamas and sweat the germ/virus to death.   That method worked until I hit my sixties.  

Maybe I need to be more mobile.  Not that I’ve been spending all day every day in bed or on the couch.  We’re still up early.  We still have our routines.  I’m still writing.  I do get off my chair and move around occasionally.  I’ve been up and down the stairs five times this morning.  I go up...

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March 9, 2015 | 0 comments

We had airline tickets that had to be used before March 13, and it had to be a quick trip that would fit into our already busy schedule.  What was in-country and on our bucket list?  Branson, Missouri!!  We set the dates with the airline and got our hotel reservations.  We figured the end of February into the first week of March would be nice weather.  Rick mentioned our plans to his sister and brother-in-law and found out they planned on going to Branson, too.  Why not all go at the same time and make it a family reunion?  Since they live due west of Chicago, they were eager to get out of the snow and freezing rain. 

As the trip approached, the weather looked dismal.  The east coast was getting hammered.  Chicago was hitting sub-zeros.  Snow and ice storms swept down lower and lower, right into the south.  Did it make us change our plans?  Nope.  We’re Californians, born and raised in the Bay Area and now...

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February 27, 2015 | 0 comments

Every year, around this time, I work on taxes.  Or I should say I work on organizing and adding up all the data to hand over to our trustworthy CPA who makes sense of numbers. I still have trouble balancing our checkbook.   One of my roommates in college was an accounting major (who eventually went to work for the IRS).  She practiced on my checkbook .  She would shake her head and ask how it was possible to make some of the errors I did.  What else could I say but that I majored in English for a reason?

When Rick and I started into our individual businesses (he with Rivers Aviation Services and me with writing), we had a few surprises in regard to Uncle Sam.  If we had a good year (more often his than mine) Uncle wanted a bigger share than what we’d already paid.  As a California corporation, Rick paid LOTS of taxes.  (There’s a reason business is fleeing the state.)  One year he counted seventy different tax installments....

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February 21, 2015 | 0 comments

When you don’t use it, you lose it, they say.  Sitting in a chair at a computer for hours at a time doesn’t help arthritic joints.  So I’m back in the gym and signed up for six sessions.   My trainer was a pretty young whipper-snapper in awesome shape (think college soccer player and marathon runner) who tried valiantly to teach this old granny new things to strengthen my core.  You want me to do what?!  I have crushed discs in my lower spine from falling off a horse at the age of fifteen.  (The horse wasn’t actually moving, but that’s another story.) When my trainer held out a big rubber ball, I crossed my arms. “Nope.  Not going to lie backwards on that thing.  Not unless you have an ambulance waiting at the curb to cart me way.” 

Crunches, no problem.  Step up, step down, no big deal.  Leg lifts, fine and dandy.  Yes, I can put my hands flat on the floor, just not in public.  Push-ups?  I...

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February 13, 2015 | 0 comments

My heart is heavy.  I don’t even know where to start.  An interview with Dr. Juli Slattery’s “Java With Juli” radio program a few days ago opened doors of thought I would have preferred left closed.  Conviction is never pleasant, but always life-changing.  We talked women’s issues and the sharp rise of women reading erotica.  I spoke from my own experience as a woman who attended college in the sixties when the “free love” movement started.

Without going into details, I will say I bought the lies and followed the crowd.  Loose morals bring brokenness and devastation.  I felt ashamed, used and guilty for giving myself away and putting myself into dangerous situations, one of which ended in a date rape.  I’ve shared my story before about reconnecting with a long-time friend from my home town and how we married.  We recently celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary.   We were in love then and are still in love....

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