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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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July 19, 2013 | 0 comments

            When my children were young, I took them up to Brookings-Harbor, Oregon each summer to visit with my parents who lived up the hill and across the highway from Whaleshead Beach.  We usually spent 7-10 days.  Mom always had “stone soup” waiting for our arrival – and a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Mom got up early every morning and prepared a picnic basket.  Dad often kept the kids occupied in the forest behind their house or making sling shots or hunting salamanders.  We’d all head to Whaleshead or Lone Ranch Beach to explore the tide pools.  We drove south to Smith River or over to Oregon Caves.  We went to the aquarium in Crescent City and drove up to Humbug State Park, the Prehistoric Gardens and West Coast Safari Park where they held and petted baby Bengal tigers, bear cubs, cougar cubs and were surrounded by a herd of friendly deer, rams, and goats...

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July 5, 2013 | 0 comments

A number of years ago, environmental groups went to war with the lumber industry over the plight of the snowy owl.  It nests in redwoods, and people wanted its habitat protected.  People climbed and camped in trees.  Some chained themselves to redwoods.  Eventually, they won and lumber mills were shut down in northern California.  Some towns went into rapid decline with high unemployment.  Some are still struggling to survive.

But I have new found hope because pot farms (illegal and otherwise) are doing greater damage to the environment than the lumber industry ever did.  Here is a real war for the environmentalists to fight.   Pot farmers are mixing carbofuran with tuna and sardines to kill off bears.  Pollutants are seeping into the watershed: fertilizers, soil amendments, miticides, rodenticides, fungicides, plant hormones, diesel fuel and human waste.  Salmon and trout are dying off, not to mention putting snowy owls...

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