Monday, February 29, 2016
Sunday was a glorious day with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. I checked the tide tables in the morning because I wanted to see the harbor seals at Sandy Hook. The seals show up at low tide to loll about on a sandbar. They spend the winter there every year--though this year they came later than usual. I've seen many more seals on that sandbar than I saw on Sunday. (See the photo at http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com/2015/12/a-contract-for-outside-blessings.html). However, there were some people who brought their dogs along with them to watch the seals. When the dogs barked, the seals jumped into the water.
The seals looked so cute. If you go bring binoculars, but not the dog.
There are Irish and Scottish legends about some seals with the ability to switch into human form. These seals are called the Selkies. (Read more about that here: https://www.celtic-weddingrings.com/celtic-mythology/the-seal-people.aspx).
My historical paranormal romance, OUTSIDE BLESSINGS, is a Selkie story, but it's set in New Jersey because after all, there are harbor seals here, too. :-) OUTSIDE BLESSINGS is still on sale at the publisher's site http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/products/outside-blessings. Download it today!
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Please welcome Nancy Shew Bolton, my guest blogger today with another Talking Love post!
Ah, love! Such a topic!
For me, I had a close, loving family growing up, but we hit some rough times when my siblings and I were all teenagers in the 1960’s, and the closeness often became strained and rocky, especially with our Dad who felt pretty overwhelmed with his outspoken, stubborn children. How I longed for the uncomplicated days when we were smaller!
I’d always gotten along well with boys, and often preferred their company. But due to a childhood trauma, as I grew older, I was wary of any romantic relationships, and figured I’d never marry since the whole dating process appeared pretty scary to me. Though I perceived interest from various boys during high school, I kept a friendly distance, protecting myself from the titanic hurts I watched my siblings suffer as they navigated through their dating years.
Then, in my junior year, when I was seventeen, I became re-acquainted with a boy who’d once lived next door to us years back, and who I’d hardly seen in recent years. He had soulful, dark blue eyes, and a marvelous, quirky sense of humor which captivated me. He didn’t show any of the annoying romantic attention that always made me wary, and I delighted in humorous bantering with him, and sharing comic observations about everything. He was such fun to talk to.
Somehow, he snuck through my giant defenses, and I found myself fascinated at the thought of getting to know him as more than a friend. Though I resisted it once I realized he was becoming romantic toward me, it grew more difficult to push away the strong feelings I had for him. To his credit, he waited and maintained our friendship while the attraction deepened. When I finally opened the door to my heart, he rushed in and though we’ve had our rough times, now five sons and 40 plus years later, he still makes me laugh and is my other half.
We also shared our spiritual journey toward new birth in Christ in our twenties, and God has been a huge part of our ongoing relationship. I am well and truly blessed with love, and children and we even have two grandchildren now. We’ve never had a regular sort of life, but I’m comfortable being rather an oddball, and so is my husband, who first taught me to embrace my eccentricities, and enjoy them, just as he’s always enjoyed his and mine. God makes all kinds of quirky folks, and I’m so happy to share my life with my husband John, though honestly sometimes he drives me nuts!!! I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Check out Nancy’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…
A Work in Progress
“Love is kind…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4
There’s something cooking outside the kitchen….
They’ve worked together for two years, but that’s all they have in common. Like oil and water, they just don’t mix. Julie thinks he’s a shallow flirt, Mark thinks she’s a cold fish. Despite their mutual dislike, they’ve carved out a civil work relationship at the restaurant. But after each of their inner worlds suffer a jolt; the careful, polite kitchen routine becomes a stew of conflicting emotions. Things are about to get interesting.
Buy the book now at http://amzn.com/B01AGMJGHO
Friday, February 26, 2016
OUTSIDE BLESSINGS has received two terrific reviews so far. At PRG Book Reviews, Linda Tonis said, "There were surprises and secrets revealed and the two main characters were wonderful."
Raven Hill Reviews said, "I gave this book 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who likes Historical Paranormal Romance, especially stories of Halflings and Selkies. Outside Blessings is a must read for those long winter days!"
The book is still on sale at the publisher's site. You can download it at: http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/products/outside-blessings.
Get it now before the price goes up!
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
KISS OF BLARNEY is the story of Ula, an Irish princess, raised in a hidden location in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. When her only companion, a druidess, is kidnapped by the evil druid, Balor, the princess must leave her secret cottage to seek help. And who better to help her locate the druidess than the Irish Wolfhound who just happens to be owned by the handsome man who saves her virtue at a pub?
Shay Devlin wants nothing to do with the beautiful Ula--especially not once he realizes she's out to steal his unruly dog, Bran--but there's no way he and his geise will allow him to turn her out into the snow, alone and unprotected. Too bad everything about the mysterious dog snatcher tempts him to break every rule of his sacred code.
Though their love is forbidden--for prophecy says Ula will marry a man with black eyes and Shay's are blue--they battle the druid who wants not only Ula, but the kingdom she is destined to rule.
In the scene below, Shay realizes he is cursed, but he thinks he can outwit fate.
Shay glanced around the garage. He did not see any snowshoes. Where had that woman put them? He checked a few places where she might have hidden them, but the snowshoes seemed to have vanished. Muttering a few curses, he rolled the snow thrower out of the garage.
A gusty wind bit at his skin but he hardly noticed. The audacity of that woman still had him reeling. Angry at his own body for reacting to her touch, he wanted to rid himself of the hormones she had stirred up. He intended to push the snow thrower and his body to the limits. He cursed himself for being so tenderhearted and bringing her home so she wouldn’t get into any more trouble.
Then he thought of her small waist, those delicate feet of hers, that fiery hair--the softness of her flesh when he had held her, the hint of violets that swirled about her, the tender valley between her breasts….
Bran whimpered and derailed Shay’s obsessive train of thought. That woman could send him to the psych ward. Glancing at his pet, he noted how miserable the animal appeared.
“You’re supposed to be a courageous dog. I’m wanting to see you laugh at the weather.”
“I’ll not have a wimpy dog,” Shay complained. “Or one that lets crazy women steal them away.”
Bran hung his head in utter wretchedness.
“Serves you right for falling in love with her,” Shay chastised the dog. “Do you think it’s going to be fun hunting in this weather? And what is she hunting for? Have you asked her that?”
He should have asked her. No. He should have run in the other direction.
He should have listened to the geise. It made a lot of sense not to bring a woman into the house. Right now, Ula could be helping herself to….
He stopped to think a moment. She seemed inordinately interested in his appliances, but aside from
those work-saving devices he did not own anything worth stealing--except for his tools and his dog--and his truck. Judging from the fiasco in the pub, she did not have a license. Odd.
Shay cranked the knob so that the chute would throw the snow to the right side of the driveway. Then he yanked on the cord to start the snow thrower. Nothing happened. Swearing, he gave it another pull, but the engine refused to turn over. It had gas in it. It had been working last week. It had a brand new spark plug in it. There should not be anything wrong with it.
In a fury, he pulled again on the cord—and again until his arm burned from the exertion.
“Dammit!” He cursed as he rolled the snow thrower back into the garage and got out a snow shovel. Still enraged, he pitched the shovel into the first snowdrift and the handle snapped in two.
Shay stared at it in disbelief. Bran let out a howl and the sound cut through Shay like a fine blade.
…misfortune and even death.
“I am cursed is it?” He asked his dog as he stumbled back against the wall of his house. “Doomed because I have broken one of my geise. Doomed because I won’t let her have my dog.”
Bran let out another howl and scratched at the door.
“You’d leave me here to my death?” he asked his pet. “After I’ve trained you, fed you, cared for you and paid so much money for the vet bills that I know he could not have purchased his Porsche without my business.”
Bran whined and scratched at the door once more.
Shay stared out at the solid white landscape and felt his heart sinking. Somehow, it did seem as if the geise was working against him. It did not make any sense, but there could be no other explanation. The damper should not have slammed shut. The snow thrower should be working. That snow shovel had a lifetime guarantee.
He brightened as an idea formed in his mind. Opening the door of the garage for Bran he decided that anything was worth a try under the circumstances. He did not need any more broken dampers, non-working snow throwers, or broken snow shovels. He would end the curse of this geise the way he had handled the other one last night--in a devious manner.
Friday, February 19, 2016
My guest blogger today is Julie B. Cosgrove. Please take the time to read her own true story of sibling love.
I guess most sisters bicker as they grow up. We have a tendency to be a tad jealous of each other. “How come she gets to…” and later, “Why do all my boyfriends notice her?” Even later, “Why doesn’t my husband treat me like hers treats her?” or “”Why are her kids so well-behaved?”
My sister and I are six years apart so by the time I entered my teens she was married. I felt a deep loss and for a long time I felt the odd person out. She and my brother’s wife were closer in age, so they bonded. They always huddled at family events. I felt the pangs of exclusion like the wimpy little kid slumped on the sideline bench whose muscles would never fill out his uniform.
Until my husband died suddenly in the shower getting ready for work. Though five hours away, my sister dropped her life and rushed to my aid. She boarded her animals at the vets, packed a bag and drove to my door. I honestly cannot tell you how long she stayed with me. Certainly until after the funeral five days later. Having lost her husband a year previously, she guided my numbed mind and aching heart through the planning, the visitations and the arrangements as I sniveled for days on in overwhelmed by it all.
When I sold the house and moved to a one bedroom apartment, all I could afford at the time, she returned. We spent hours rubbing masking tape onto the floors mapping out where furniture would go and plotting what I could bring and what I should leave behind for the estate sale. She then monitored the estate sale like an award winning car salesman, raking in the bucks so I could afford the moving company.
My brother, an attorney, drove in to handle all the legal affairs pro bono without blinking an eye. All I had to do was show up at the courthouse and swear my husband to be deceased—by far my highest hurdle. Declaring him legally dead before a magistrate made it real, too real. My brother stood by my side as my knees quaked. His even-toned professionalism became my boulder. I watched, wide-eyed and tear-blinked as he handed off paper after paper to the court clerk. Documents all identified by letters and numbers which I never understood.
Growing up, my brother seemed a phantom. Eleven years older than me, he was a teenager locked in his world by the time I could toddle. Then came the college years away. When I was in third grade, he walked down the aisle. After that, he moved away, had a child of his own and built a life. Eventually I did the same. For decades we acknowledged each other like shadows at family gatherings. But that day at the courthouse, he became flesh and bone to me.
God purposes good from tragedy. My husband’s passing brought me closer to my siblings and showed me what family-bound love is all about. Five years later, we are able to communicate at a deeper level, share our feelings openly, and be there for each other through this rollercoaster called life. Now, that’s true love— a love akin to no other on earth.
Check out Julie’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…
“Love does not envy…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4
Twin sisters, Erin and Ellen, covet each other’s lives and husbands. Their festered envy has not only kept them at arm’s length for almost two decades, it has placed both on a precipice of divorce— something they’d never admit to each other.
Yet after two weeks together with their spouses, as they sort through their mother’s belongings following her funeral, they discover the flaws in their sibling’s “grass-greener” lives. But will that revelation help each sister appreciate her own husband and lifestyle as truly according to God’s plan? Or is it too late for a change of heart?
Available at http://amzn.com/B01ACFD3BK
Thursday, February 18, 2016
I hate acronyms. English is littered with a mind-boggling and confusing collection of shortcuts. These seems to proliferate most in the medical field where people are labeled with an endless list of capital letters like this: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/appendixb.html
But it seems every group has its own personal set of acronyms. Writers, who one might imagine love to hear the flow of nice long, genuine words all spelled out are noted for a long list of abbreviations. You can read some of those here: http://clarissadraper.blogspot.com/2010/10/list-of-writers-acronyms.html
In my teaching career I found plenty of alphabet soup: http://www.educationoasis.com/resources/Professional_development/list_edu_acronyms.htm
Then there's the political world where nothing is sacred: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/10/taking-notice-of-potus/376985/
Can't we stop this? Can't we take a little more time and say Post Traumatic Stress Disorder instead of PTSD? Or Work In Progress instead of WIP?
Please stop the flood of acronyms!
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Hubby ran into one store yesterday but I opted to sit in the car and watch the big fluffy snowflakes fall. I am too busy most of the time getting stuff done, hurrying through one task after another. I rarely have time to contemplate, but it was nice to take a little bit of time out and ponder about snow as I sat in the car.
There's going to be some snow in the book I'm currently writing, The Cowboy's Miracle. So it was good to simply think about snow--the beauty of it, the sort of tranquility that settles over everything as it falls, and the danger of slippery roads.
I got out my camera and tried to take photos of the snowflakes before they melted on the warm windshield. I did capture one. :-) You can see it faintly in all it's six-pointed loveliness.
Fortunately, the temperature zoomed up last night and all the snow was gone by this morning. I don't have to shovel it.
Do you sometimes take time out to think about this wonderful world and all its intricacies? Try it. Just sit down, appreciate everything you can see, and let peace settle in your heart.
Friday, February 12, 2016
My guest today is Gay N. Lewis, one of the Prism Book Group authors. She has a great story to tell about how she met the man who would be her husband.
At the age of seventeen, my boyfriend presented me with an engagement ring. I said yes and then wondered what I’d done.
My fiancé was good-looking, charming, and he cared for me, but our goals were different. The man I’d promised to marry planned life as a farmer. Can you imagine me as a farmer’s wife? I grew up in the city, had never even planted a pot of ivy, and possessed no idea about country life.
And to top that off, at the age of eight, I’d surrendered for God’s service. I presumed I’d teach children Bible stories in a distant country in South America. After all, I was studying Spanish.
To say I had second thoughts about marriage to this nice guy is an understatement. Our ideas were totally incompatible. I guess when I said yes I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
I finally decided it would be kinder to undo this tragedy in the early stages rather than continue in a relationship destined for failure. Three months later, on a Saturday night, I gave him the ring back. He reluctantly accepted it and said to me, “You’re gonna get your feet wet.”
As I tried to sleep the night of our heartbreaking parting, I thought about his odd remark. I’d never heard the expression before, but I had an idea what he meant. The thought came to me that my feet had been in hot water when I’d accepted his proposal. I’d just dried them off when I returned the ring.
The next morning dawned warm for early March in Texas. After church, I spent the afternoon washing cars for a high school fundraiser. The project kept my mind off the sadness dwelling in my spirit. During a lull between vehicles, I inspected my appearance and gave a rueful smile. My feet were literally wet, and so was the rest of me. I was a dirty mess, but I don’t think that was the kind of prognostication my former fiancé had meant.
As I finished hosing down the last car, a friend and her mom came by. I declined their invitation to attend a new church, but they talked me into it and waited for me to change clothes. The three of us strode late into the service. The small, crowded sanctuary left no room for us to sit together, so we split up.
A handsome young man with black, wavy hair and sparkling brown eyes led the music.
At the end of the service, he slipped out the back door and managed to be the first one to greet me as I left the sanctuary. The guy must have sprinted—he appeared faster than Texas tornado. We exchanged names and spoke a few minutes, and then I left.
Intuition told me he’d call on Wednesday night. And he did. We made a date to go bowling the coming Saturday night. The evening was fun, and in between my falling down once or twice and throwing my ball into the gutter rather than down the alley, I discovered he planned to enter the ministry.
He walked me to the door as our date ended. He kissed me goodnight and then said, “I’m in love with you, and I’m going to marry you.”
Whaaat? Was he kidding? Seriously?
I’d just ended a relationship and had no intention of jumping into another one. This guy didn’t know me, and he loves me? What kind of nut could he be?
Before long, I learned. This man is a fast mover, makes speedy decisions, and is seldom wrong with his discernment.
Our relationship moved along at a rapid pace, and I discovered we shared the same goals.
He was in college, worked full time, gave twenty hours a week to the church, and somehow managed to find time for me.
Before long, a church in Oklahoma invited him to become their pastor. He accepted the invitation, and then drove back to Texas. We met for lunch the day he returned. He proposed marriage—presented me with a ring. I felt comfortable accepting this one, but I wanted to wait before we said the vows. I’d just graduated high school and wanted to attend college for at least one semester. During those few months, I could plan a wedding.
“Oh no, you can’t do that—no time. I told the church I was bringing a wife in three weeks. We have to marry now.”
Whaaat? Was he kidding again? Seriously?
After I gulped back my shock, I responded. “I can’t marry you right now. My mom is in the hospital.”
His reply? “We can have the ceremony there.”
My fiancé drove to the hospital to visit with mom. She was extremely ill, and we weren’t supposed to upset her. She surprised me by accepting the news well, but she asked the young preacher how much money he would be making.
“Fifteen dollars a week.” Came the reply.
Mom almost fell from the bed. “Fifty dollars a week? You can’t live on that.”
Uh oh. She’d misunderstood the amount. My sweetheart merely nodded and said, “The Lord will provide for us.”
Six months after we met, we had a small ceremony in the chapel at the Methodist Hospital in Dallas, Texas. We said vows on a Thursday night and packed our few belongings on Friday. We drove to Oklahoma on Saturday, and Paul preached his first sermon on Sunday morning.
Our meeting and wedding sounds fictional, doesn’t it? But it is a true story. I tell it often when I speak to groups. Maybe I’ll include it in a book in the near future.
My sweetheart isn’t the most romantic guy in the world, but he is kind, caring, thoughtful, and funny. The first time I saw the Dallas skyline lighted up against the black sky as we drove in from rural Oklahoma, I cried.
My new husband said, “If I’d known lights would make you this happy, I would have fastened a string of them in the back yard.”
Three daughters, and four grandchildren later, we find we think alike—even finish each other’s thoughts.
The Lord, Paul Lewis, family and friends are the loves of my life. I’m thankful that God graciously prevented me from making a mistake with a nice guy—but he was the wrong one for me. God was kind to me, and I didn’t get my feet wet. God gave me the husband He’d intended for me all along. I just had no idea a whirlwind came with him.
And here’s the thing, this man of mine still moves faster than I do. Somewhere over the years, I’ve adapted to his swifter pace. On the other hand, he’s slowed down a bit so I can keep up.
Check out Gay’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…
Clue into Kindness
“Love is kind…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4
Georgia loves her husband, Alan. She shows him kindness with actions and words, but Alan responds in a heartless, selfish way. In order to be respected by people, he believes he must have a perfect wife—so he criticizes Georgia at every opportunity—even tells her she’s fat! Alan’s best friend, Ken, and his wife, Jana, reassure Georgia that she is still the gorgeous beauty queen she was during her college days. Who will Georgia believe—her friends or the mysterious stranger who comes into her life?
Circumstances bring a change to Alan’s attitudes. But is it too late to save this marriage?
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
I'm not the first person use that term either. And it's not a terrible disease, it's actually fun. True, it's a big distraction, but it's certainly better than concentrating on mundane tasks. At any rate, I sent off the proposal and received a contract. I love publishing in this technological age. Everything is FAST. Of course, now I have to write the book, but I'm looking forward to it.
I just handed in the manuscript for Hoping for Joy, which is part of Prism Book Group's Love Is Series. Hoping for Joy will be released in December of this year. The Cowboy's Miracle will also be released in December. There will be plenty of editing to do in the meantime.
Meanwhile, Outside Blessings is already on prerelease at Smashwords. So if you have a few minutes surf on over to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/610444 and download a sample.
Thursday, February 04, 2016
My Special Guest Today is ANITA KLUMPERS!
Read her own true love story below.
By the time I was twenty-five my mother had given up on the hope that I would marry. She bought me pots and pans and Pfaltzgraf and flatware because, she reasoned, even single women need to live. And, Lord willing, I wouldn’t live with her and Daddy forever.
Dad wasn’t too concerned. After all, he hadn’t married Mom till he was in his early 40’s. And if God didn’t want me to wed, then I could follow in Cousin Angie’s footsteps and be a missionary in Africa.
The idea of a single life filled me with dread. Please, please, PLEASE God, don’t be equipping me to remain unmarried. I developed crushes. Friends tried setting me up with their relatives. I went out dancing with friends. To bars. After all, I was a nice Christian lady at a bar. Why couldn’t there be nice Christian guys there too? Maybe there were. I never met one.
A few months shy of my 27th birthday I decided I was tired of looking for potential mates. Although not at the point of picking up books on how to enjoy the gift of singleness, I figured it might be time to focus on my relationship with God. So, along with several wonderful single girlfriends I went to a spiritual winter retreat for young adults from a dozen churches across our state. Did I mention I’d determined not to check out every eligible young man also in attendance?
I meant it. So when I took note of a devastatingly handsome man with dark eyes and a dimpled chin sitting across the room, it wasn’t his good looks that got my attention. Arms crossed, looking bored, he was the only one sitting out the square dance mixer. In gracious and generous Christian-girl fashion I thought ‘Jerk,’ and went back to dancing my little size 9’s off and trying to remember my allemande left from my do-si-do right.
Later that night, after devotions, a group of us played cards. A game I didn’t know, called euchre. I’m a dab hand at Old Maid but this one had me flummoxed, and a group of generous friends tag-teamed trying to teach me to play. It was hilarious. Really hilarious.
Later that night a group of us went into town for coffee. The dark-eyed square-dance-boycotter came too. He sat across from me and told me he got a kick out of watching me laugh over euchre. He flirted just enough to make me feel interesting but not so much as to make himself look insincere or lecherous.
We went our separate ways after that weekend and didn’t meet up till early summer. It took him till late summer to ask me out and in the meantime one of my major crushes from the previous few years, a Christian marathon runner and photographer I’d met at work, finally returned my interest and began asking me out. After I lectured God about his timing I realized maybe He knew what He was doing. I had to make a decision between two attractive men (my daydream back in the days before I realized it would be painful) and I chose the right one.
Wouldn’t my story make a fine romance movie? Sort of an ‘At Long Last Love’ type of life? But now, three sons, four grandsons and countless prayers and tears and rejoicings later, I realize that my entire life has been filled with love.
From birth, before my birth, my parents loved me, and continued until their last breath on earth. Aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens meant extended love and the kind of safety net children long for but don’t always enjoy. Then there is my family in Christ. Brothers and sisters more than the sands on the shore, and wherever there are God’s children there is my family, and we love each other. We don’t always play well together, but the love is there.
My friends—oh, my friends! When I bemoan my limited practical skills and meager dose of common sense I remember my glorious friendships with some of the most godly, delightful, gracious, fault-overlooking women as can be found. I would rather have my friends than an artist’s eye, a singer’s silver tongue, or an athlete’s supple limbs.
On all this abundance of love God set a gem of a husband. He is as attractive, open, and affirming as when I first met him, and he still refuses to dance. Those three sons love me in spite of a plethora of faults and mistakes and my little grandsons still give me smooches in public.
Do I know I have been gifted far and above anything I could think or ask, much less deserve? You bet. But what if God had not seen fit to give me a husband, children, grandbabies? What if my parents had been cold, negligent, absent, and I didn’t have some sort of strange ability to find wonderful friends? Would I be any less blessed? No. Not a bit.
God loves me. God has loved me before I knew what love was. If I had never known human love, God’s love would be beyond the heights and depths and breadths of what I think I need. Jesus prayed for me the night before His death and prays for me today and the Spirit intercedes for me with sighs too deep for words and the Father’s love is vast beyond all measure. What wondrous love is this?!
Family, friends, husband and children have all hemmed me in love, and the love that comes from God is greater than these.
Check out Anita’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…
“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4
Elise Amberson’s husbands always die before she can get the marriage momentum going. At least this last one left her with lots of money. Now she can hang out with her dogs, avoid men, and try to keep off God’s radar.
But her dogs are behaving oddly, a pesky pastor can’t keep his hands off her soul, and God is backing her into a corner.
It’s all more than a rich, beautiful young woman should have to bear. But when someone begins targeting Elise, she’ll have to figure out why before she becomes the late Widow Amberson.
Read an excerpt at www.prismbookgroup.com/Hounded.html
Available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1nIiqWm.