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October 4, 2013 | 0 comments

I have been reading articles on Obamacare and trying to make sense of it all.  I guess I’m not alone.  One telling sentence in our local (very liberal) newspaper said “the most important thing to know is that everybody must buy insurance or else pay a penalty.  You must obtain insurance, either through your employer or, if they do not offer it, through the Covered California exchange or a broker.” 

 

“California exchange” gives me chills.  We are such a well-run, solvent state, you know.  For the most part, we’ve managed to tax and regulate business so they have (or are) fleeing elsewhere.  At last count, the (Demo majority) legislature was coming up with 1200+ new laws.  I wish they’d shut our state government down! But then, I’m sure they would find a way to punish the people just as the feds are doing as they:

 

Close all the national parks

 Keep all military personnel on duty, but delay...

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September 27, 2013 | 0 comments

Over the past twelve years, I have been trying my hand at gardening.  My mother had a green thumb, and my brother definitely has two green thumbs; he can grow anything from Jerusalem artichokes to Asian pears.  Me?  Nada.  But I’m still trying.  

When we moved in, the backyard was a beautiful lush forest of over-grown lavender, butterfly bushes and grasses – the colorful, spiky kind called Mother-in-Law’s tongue.  Our first night, we were welcomed by a resident of said garden – a very large rattlesnake.  Hence, I stripped the backyard of all hiding places so our grandchildren could explore without finding some sneaky snake in the grass.

We put in neat boxes for growing vegetables, each fitted with screen underneath to prevent the other residents (gophers!) from nibbling.  We filled the boxes with good soil and I planted – enthusiastically.  That first attempt brought forth an abundance of (10-12) brussel sprouts.

...

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September 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Whenever I finish a novel, I wonder if I’ll be writing another one, or if it’s time to “retire”.   Even mentioning the word makes Rick a little nervous.  “You’re not a happy camper when you’re not working on a project.”  Really?  What happens if I don’t feel the Lord nudging me into another project?

I have writer friends who can do multiple projects at the same time.  I also know a few who can do more than one book a year.  Some write in only one genre, others in several.  I’m in awe.   I can only manage one book at a time and it takes eighteen to twenty-four months to “finish” it and then sometimes I have to rethink what I thunk in the beginning, not that thunk is a proper word.  Sometimes it takes me six months before I start to “process” the story, let alone start writing the first sentence.  Part of the time I’m arguing with God.  Are You sure that’s the direction You want me to go?  Because I...

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September 13, 2013 | 0 comments

Recently, I was asked about memorable road trips.  My first experiences were with my mom and dad and brother. My parents only had two weeks of vacation a year, and they wanted to visit as many National Parks as possible.  Hence, we spent long hours in a car without air conditioning to get to the goal – wherever it happened to be. Sometimes they drove until after dark and parked the small trailer along the road side (until one night when we could hear a distant river and discovered in the morning it was hundreds of feet down a cliff face a few yards from the trailer steps). Sometimes Dad had to drive all day, day after day, to get to where he and Mom wanted to go.  My brother and I were along for the ride and passed the hours of boredom squabbling in the back seat.  I envied my friends who spent the summer at a family cabin in the Sierras, and swore, when I grew up, I’d never take another road trip.

Now, I love road trips.  One of my favorites was...

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September 6, 2013 | 0 comments

Over Labor Day week-end, I joined a group of writer friends, both men and women, all veterans who have survived the ups and downs and ins and outs of the publishing industry over the last twenty to thirty years.  You’d know their names.  Some have sold millions of books all over the world.  Several had written more than one hundred books, one – over two hundred. I am a fan and sat in awe that I was among such great writers.  We come from different denominations and backgrounds; Presbyterian, Baptist, Mennonite, non-denominational and fundamentalist, Assembly of God and Pentacostal.  Several are or had been pastors.  Differences didn’t matter, and were even a source of teasing.  We were all solidly united in Christ.  

Our host had poured out his frustrations with publishers over the years by creating a paradise with towering trees, fountains and pathways that lead to leafy alcoves and a sand “pit” that felt more like a beach....

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August 23, 2013 | 0 comments

Now that Bridge to Haven is in Tyndalean hands and moving toward publication, it’s time for me to clear my working space.  To my left is a wall-length bulletin board on which I’ve pinned pictures of my characters.  Some are people you would recognize; others are unknowns whose pictures I found in magazines or newspapers.  I also created the town of Haven, complete with a grid of streets, with pictures I took of stores (giving them new names) and family homes, and where the river runs through my imaginary town.   I love towns with a western/Victorian feel. 

I also have several 3.5 inch binders divided and full of information, and numerous loose notes and bits of dialogue scattered around my typing stand.  All of these things will be gathered and tucked (stuffed) into a box(es) and moved to our storage unit to languish with tax files, Rivers Aviation Services files and various treasures we’re saving for our adult children. ...

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August 17, 2013 | 0 comments

I’ve been listening to KLOVE Radio since Rick and I moved to Sebastopol in 1985.  It was a small start-up station then, conceived by San Francisco DJ Bob Anthony, with Dick Jenkins as general manager.  I wasn’t a Christian yet, but loved the “positive alternative” music with lyrics that fed my soul and made me dance (or sing along when I was alone in the car).  When KLOVE sponsored concerts in Santa Rosa, I brought my three young children along.  Petra was one of our favorite bands.  We used to sing “This Means War” at the top of our voices. 

I’m still listening to KLOVE after all these years, and still loving it.  They have cruises on occasion.  Rick and I haven’t made any so far, but this year, we decided to jump on board.  Well, not yet – but we have our reservations.  In case you’re interested, check their website. 

Date: January 25 – 30, 2014.  

Miami, Ochos Rios, Jamaica or the Grand Cayman...

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August 9, 2013 | 0 comments

To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.

To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.
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August 2, 2013 | 0 comments

            No sooner did I get back from the Oregon trip with my daughter, elder son and three grandchildren, than Rick and I packed and headed off with a couple from our Bible study to see Philadelphia and Gettysburg.  We’d been planning this trip for almost two years, eager to get a taste of history with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. 

            We arrived in Philadelphia and checked into the Penn’s View Hotel within a few blocks of the old city and its historic buildings.  We had one day to wander before we headed to Gettysburg for the re-enactment.  We headed for the Visitors’ Center for maps, and visited Philosophical Hall, the Congress Hall, Christ Church Burial Ground (Benjamin Franklin’s grave), walked by Betsy Ross’ house and went to Christ Church (where several founding fathers worshipped). 

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July 26, 2013 | 0 comments

Yesterday, I emailed my third and final scene to my editor.  She has already completed the deletions and sent me the “clean copy” and will be dropping the new scene in when I’ve finished my read-through.  I must admit, when I saw the small pile of work, I gulped.  Is that all that’s left of 200,000+ words and eighteen months of hard work?  But then, it is single-spaced with wide margins, and not the double spaced manuscript format I submitted.  Whew.    

It’s always better for me to read the manuscript with all deletions completed so I can see if the characters and story track well or if the work needs more transitions to smooth over areas that have been plucked out.   It’s also less heart-wrenching than to see 80.000 words red-lined out.  My eye would go to what is being removed, rather than what remains.  I trust my editor.  Nothing I’ve written is sacrosanct, and readers are probably not as interested in the...

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