Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL






Luke 1:30-33


30- "Don't be frightend, Mary." the angel told her, "for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. 32 - He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!"


Holy Bible, New Living Translation, 1996

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

TV DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON



TV sure has evolved over the years. When my father was a child, there was no TV. When I was a child, I grew up watching shows like, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeannie, and cartoons like, Tom and Jerry, and Underdog. Anyone remember Magilla Gorilla?

Cable is nice. The technology of VCR’s and DVD’s, are all nice as well. But what I find lacking is TV is not what it used to be. I especially notice this during the holidays. My kids are not excited about the Christmas shows that come on around the upcoming holiday like I was when I was their age.

I remember eagerly anticipating the holiday shows that only came on once a year. Shows like, Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, How The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, The Charlie Brown Specials. Now days you can purchase these movies and watch them all year round, as much as you please…which really takes away from the excitement of getting to see them.

I do so love to be able to pop in a movie whenever I have free time, and stop and start it at a whim. I love having many options of great programs on cable. But still, the many channels and shows available now days can be overwhelming. And not just overwhelming but truly takes away from those special times when a show comes on.

I use to wonder why our society watches so much TV, when my generations, didn’t. Well, duh! We only had a handful of channels to choose from, so most of the time there just wasn’t something on that interests us. So what did we do? We played outside! We played board games, and Barbie, and with GI Joes, hide-n-seek, and kick the can.

My kids aren’t too happy about it but when school isn’t in session, their TV time is limited. They could sit and gawk at the thing for hours. I can’t image what ten; twenty years from now will bring to the TV world. For now, I silently weep the loss of my children not having the awe experience of those special programs that only came on once a year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

LIFE OF A FOSTER HOME



In 2005 I made the decision to foster dogs in my home. I was a mother of young children, a husband with a crazy work schedule, working two jobs and not having much money, yet I wanted to do something to help our furry four legged friends.

My first thought was to volunteers at a shelter but my husbands schedule wouldn’t allow it. I then came across the idea to foster in my own home. Having had a Collie for twelve years, I new what breed I would chose. With three young children and a dog of my own, I knew that Collies were the breed to go with. My own, Sam, was the gentlest dog I’d ever known. I felt sure that bringing another Collie into my home would be a safe bet for my kids.

I soon started searching the internet and came across Collie Rescue. Not long after, I was fostering my very first Collie Rescue dog, Jack. Things went well, and what a treat it is to know that you’re helping a dog to find a new forever home.

Not long after my first Collie Rescue dog, my father called me up to enlist my help. While out walking his dog, a German Shepherd followed him home. That in it’s self is a long story I’ll save for another blog entry with a wonderful ending.

Since I started fostering for Collie Rescue, including the Shepherd that followed my father home, I’ve fostered eleven dogs in all. Each one has been a similar, yet unique experience. I’ve certainly been blessed over the years by the animals God has brought into my life, so fostering has given me a way to give back.

Our latest foster was our youngest and only second puppy we fostered, Clyde. Oh what a treat that was. Though he was a Collie mix, his personality and temperament was ALL Collie. He reminded me so much of the Collie we had for nearly thirteen years.

If you feel lead to help dogs that would otherwise be placed in a shelter, contact Collie Rescue and see if fostering would be a good fit for you. Or if you’re looking for a Collie, please consider adopting one from Collie Rescue, rather then purchasing one from a breeder.

Collie Rescue of Greater Illinois, http://www.collierescue.org/Default.htm

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU VISITED ME

On Thanksgiving I had the privilege to attend Cook County Jail to celebrate Thanksgiving with several hundred inmates. To hear more, please check out the blog entry on Willow’s Compassion and Justice blog at,

http://wccc.blogs.com/compassion_and_justice/

Friday, December 11, 2009

WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING - ENTRY #5



Love, Love, Love this book! Did I say I love this book? I'm a little more then halfway through and already I’ve added it to one of my top books to read. Not only is this book astatically pleasing to the eye, it’s easy to understand.

I now understand what’s missing in my own writing! Yea!

I’m so excited to get started on implementing what GMC has taught me. This book has given me the tools to write a “complete” story. I love the GMC chart. It’s simple, giving you the foundation to write a good story.

One thing I learned in entering the HEARTS CROSSING contest is having a synopsis in place before writing the story can make writing go smoother, and quicker. I’ve been a seat-of-the-pants writer but have had to wonder how that came to be. Generally I’m a very organized person that likes to have everything in place for the quickest and best results.

To implement the GMC idea, one can be a seat-of-the-pants writer or a planner/outliner. Not long ago I had the privilege of talking to author, Cindy Woodsmall. What I learned from her is that one could be BOTH! That is who I believe I am. I need to do a bit of planning, though not needing to have my story completely outlined.

With the GMC chart, I believe it will allow me enough insight to my story to ultimately move it along quicker with more certainty of where it’s going.

So, if your story is lacking, do yourself a favor and pickup a copy of G.M.C. Goal, MOTIVATION, and CONFLICT, by Debra Dixon,


Love, Love, Love this book! Did I say I love this book? I'm a little more then halfway through and already I’ve added it to one of my top books to read. Not only is this book astatically pleasing to the eye, it’s easy to understand.

I’ve now understand what’s missing in my own writing! Yea!

I’m so excited to get started on implementing what GMC has taught me. This book has given me the tools to write a “complete” story. I love the GMC chart. It’s simple, giving you the foundation to write a good story.

One thing I learned in entering the HEARTS CROSSING contest is having a synopsis in place before writing the story can make writing go smoother, and quicker. I’ve been a seat-of-the-pants writer but have had to wonder how that came to be. Generally I’m a very organized person that likes to have everything in place for the quickest and best results.

To implement the GMC idea, one can be a seat-of-the-pants writer, or a planner/outliner. Not long ago I had the privilege of talking to, Cindy Woodsmall. What I learned from her was that one could be BOTH! That is who I believe I am. I need to do a bit of planning, though not have my story completely outlined.

With the GMC chart, I believe it will allow me enough insight to my story, ultimately moving it along quicker with more certainty of where it’s going.

So, if your story is lacking, do yourself a favor and pickup a copy of, G.M.C. Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, by Debra Dixon.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

MEXICAN CAVIAR

Here's a great quick and easy appetizer, MEXICAN CAVIAR:

2 15 oz cans of black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can of whole corn (drained)
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (chopped)
1 red onion (chopped)
2 avocados (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of two limes

Gently mix all ingredients. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least four hours for best flavor. Makes a lot! Eat with tortilla chips.

Saturday, December 5, 2009




This was a very inspiring story. A well written book that will send you on an emotional rollercoaster. This book IS NOT filled with a pack of lies, as one review seems to think. I met Dennis Shere, and Warden Cain, along with many of the inmates and those that work at Angola. Of course Angola is not a perfect place, run by perfect people, nor has only perfect inmates. I don't believe that anyone ever made that claim. But what it is, is an amazing place with amazing things happening. Anyone who doubts this, start visiting different jails and prisons in your area, then go to Angola for several days, and tell me God isn't at work there.

The system is screwed up. The government is screwed up. People screw up. But God is good. With Him, all things are possible. I stayed at Angola for eight days. I ate there, slept there, worshiped with those that worked there, and those that were doing time there. I was so moved with what was going on there, I didn't want to leave.

I'm involved in the prison ministry and write to several inmates, including a coupld of handfuls from Angola. Great men with big hearts and a genuine devoted love for God. Look at how crowed our prison systems are! What the statistics show the reentry rate is. Isn't it obvious we're doing something wrong! I truly believe in my heart that if all prison systems would adopt what Burl Cain is doing, along with places like, Koinonia House, in Illinois, and other great ministries, we would find a big dent in the cost of our prison system, for we would be truly reforming criminals, instead of slapping a number on them and writing them off. That's just not working...hello.

Hebrew 13:3 "Don't forget about those in prison. Suffer with them as though you were there yourself. Share the sorrow of those being mistreated, as though you feel their pain in your own bodies."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009




WONDERFULLY WRITTEN AND A GREAT STORY, October 3, 2009
By Kym McNabney (Illinois) - See all my reviews



This book caught my attention from the bookshelf at the store. Great cover, exactly what calls to me. Love historical, cowboys and ranches. Once I discovered the main characters name was, MaKenna, I knew the book was mine.

My youngest daughter's name is, MacKenna. Not a popular name, and even more so in the way she spells it. It may be silly but when I see a book with her name or my other daughter's name, Callie, I purchase them and hope for the best.

The Inheritance proved to be a wise choice. The book was beautifully written, an amazing story with constant action to keep you turning the pages. There was no putting this book down at the end of chapters.

I now have Tamera Alexander to add to my list of favorite authors. She writes right from my heart. I dream about one day writing as she does.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

SHELFARI

Checkout my Shelfari bookshelf on by blog. I just love using this website, so I was pretty excited when I recently discovered you can put your self on your blog.

I’ve been recording what books I’ve read for years, even keeping a list of books I’d like to read in the future. Now with Shelfari, I can do exactly that and so much more.

With a click of the mouse, I can see all the books I’ve read, as well as the books I own, and would like to read. I can record the dates I’ve read them, and even write a review.

So, for all of you books lovers, checkout Shelfari.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BAPTISM

HOW PROFOUND IS IT TO WATCH A BAPTISM?

I’m repeatedly amazed each time my church incorporated those from the congregation to be baptized during the service. Each time I find myself fighting back the tears. So, when they announced they’d be not just baptizing during one weekend service, but for two consecutive weekends, I thought I was prepared.

The first Sunday I had forgotten they were going to be doing the baptisms. They’d only just begun when tears began to sting my eyes. I blinked, and blinked, but still they threatened to escape. Just when I thought I had it under control, the word of the song being sung sank into my soul, threatening to fill it so full it would burst.

As each person stood next to a pastor or leader of the church, you could see the emotions play out across their face as words were repeated to them, confirming what they were about to do before God and the entire congregation. As they were dipped backward in to the crystal blue water then brought back up, you felt the transformation. There was joy, and tears, and celebration.

Though there were many that were going through the processes, each seemed to reach up to my very soul and grab hold. With each person I relived my own journey from being baptized to where I am now and with that the unshed tears threatening to escape. As the congregation continues to sing songs of worship, I could not for I was too filled with emotions to form the words.

By the time the baptisms were completed, I was an emotional wreck.

The following week I walked into the auditorium, took my usual seat and waited for the service to begin. I had completely forgotten it was the second weekend of the baptisms. Oh well, I should be fine for I had witnessed it only last weekend.

When they began my emotions were no less held together then the week before. Once again I was filled with joy, love, hope, thankfulness…WOW, God is good! What a blessing to witness such an amazing experience.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING - ENTRY #4

The dreaded DEADLINE!

Here I was worried about meeting a deadline, when the time finally arrives and I hit the jackpot, receiving a contact to publish my book. With my busy, busy life I often wondered how on earth I’d be able to meet such a said time frame.

Over the past few months I’ve entered a couple of contest, and given a couple of assignments for my church blog. And with them came the dreaded DEADLINE! But to my surprise, I was able to meet them. And to my even bigger surprise, I discovered that in not having a deadline, I was lost…not as focused on writing.

Writing is a discipline. A discipline one needs to learn and maintain in order to get the job done…or in this case, the story completed.

Oh, how the story burns inside me but to my horror, I’ve discovered I need to go back to square one, so to speak. Get down the basics. I can feel I’m on the verge of connecting the dots, if you will. And once I do…watch out!

So for now, I’m a bit lost/setback. But never fear, once again I’ve gained a bit more knowledge…I can and will meet a deadline!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

THE HOUSE THAT GRACE BUILT

Just got back from a Prison & Jail meeting. Met two wonderful women doing amazing work for the Lord. They're on the verge of opening up a house for woman getting out of priosn or jail. Please check out their website and what they’re all about. They’re a non-profit organization, so your cash donations are tax deductable. They’re also collecting items to fill the house like pots and pans, bed sheets, etc. Anything you can think of that you’d need to start a home.

http://thehousethatgracebuilt.com/

Monday, November 2, 2009

TREY'S PROMISE

Here's the short story I wrote for a contest on Harlequin's website. You had to use a few specific words: Promise, silent night, pumpkin and wooden leg. It could only be 250 words which was a challenge for me. Though I didn't win, I had fun doing it...and the author that was running the contest gave each of us a free, autograph book! I received, Silent Night in Dry Creek, by Janet Tronstad. Can’t wait to read it.

TREY’S PROMISE

As soon as Jory’s father passed out on the couch, she grabbed her little sister’s hand and quietly led her out the backdoor. It wasn’t until they were a half-a-mile away that her younger sister tugged on her hand.

“What is it, Izzy?” She glanced down at her sister, not slowing her pace.

“Where are we going?”

Jory felt a ting of regret when she noticed the tiny doll Izzy held close to her side. Its dress was tattered and her wooden legs had seen better days. It was the only thing she’d taken from their meager home.

“Were going to, Trey’s.”

“But…”

“Not now, Izzy, “she said, sternly.

After a few miles, they turned off the dirt road into a field. The silent night was deceiving; they were far from safe.

Izzy stumbled over a pumpkin and cried out.

“Its okay, Izzy.” She quickly pulled her sister up. “Were almost there.”

When Jory saw the old farm house come into sight, she silently thanked God. They quickly made their way up the wooden porch. She only hesitated a minute before knocking.

Several minutes later, the door opened.

Trey’s eyes met hers. She didn’t have to say anything. The bruises on her face spoke loudly.

“Izzy, why don’t you go in while Trey and I talk for a minute?”

Trey softly closed the door, and wrapped his arms around her, gently kissing the top of her head.

“You’re safe, now Jory. I’ll never let him hurt you, again. I promise.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DISHWASHER BLUES

Well, we often don’t appreciate things until we have to do without. Thus is the case with my dishwasher. To think I complained about having to EMPTY it!

My daughter went to start the dishwasher, one of her jobs, and low and behold it didn’t start. I went to check out the situation, figuring she didn’t shut it all the way. To my horror, SHE DID!

My dishwasher was broken! After finally coming to terms with it being broken and realizing I would actually have to do the dishes by hand, I had to think about going about the task. Oh yeah, fill up the sink with soapy water, clean, and rinse. Right, that’s how it works.

Of course this had to be one of those times where not only the dishwasher was stuffed full but the sink had been overflowing with dirty dishes as well, waiting for the next load. I had to actually take dishes out of the sink to fill it. When I completed those dishes, on to the ones in the dishwasher…this just didn’t seem right.

Over a half-hour later, the counter and stove were covered with drying dishes. Wow, what a workout!

My husband, being a fireman and having to work twenty-four-hours at a time, had to work the following day so I had to endure yet another day of washing dishes. Though I must admit, nothing was as bad as that first time. Now I was keeping up with them. Yeah, I had to do them several times a day but it was manageable that way.

A couple of days later, off to the stores we went in search of a new dishwasher. Three stores later and we found the one we were looking for. You can only image my horror when the salesman said it would take THREE days to get!

THREE DAYS, are you kidding! Now the decision…go to yet another store, possible finding one we can take home right then and there, or exhibit the skill of patience? Let’s see…Okay, thinking of those in Africa with so little, maybe I need a lesson, here.

So patiently I wait, and wait, and wait.

And in that time, a miracle occurred…my husband did a load of dishes!

See, even in the worse of situations, something good can come of it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MICHAEL BUBLE






















I first discovered Michael Buble through Blake Shelton this past year. After Blake released his video, Home, I searched Youtube and came up with Michael Buble. Come to find out Michael sang it before Blake. I still can't tell you which artist I prefer to singing it more. They both bring something different to the song.

In the past few weeks I've discovered a couple more songs of Michaels that I fell in love with. I purchased them on itunes and spent my two hours cleaning the house, listening to the three songs over, and over, and over, and over again.

Really, the entire time…they're that good.


CRAZY LOVE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ov4BTDJId8

EVERYTHING

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeKtB2EhdaE

HAVEN’T MET YOU YET

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdiobXckUdY&feature=rec-LGOUT-real_rn-HM

Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

READING DISCOVERY


I purchased this book on a recommendation. I did get quite a bit from it though I have to admit I had a hard time following it in many parts. The information was a bit confusing at times. I guess if we can get even one thing from a non-fiction read, it was worth reading.

I did enjoy reading some of the segments of the author's novels. One particular book intrigued me enough to check out the author on the web. I was surprised to find out he wrote over 75 books, and is the author of a childhood movie I saw, The Apple Dumpling Gang. Even more intrigued, digging deeper I was saddened to find that he is no longer living.

All in all, I would suggest this book to any struggling and or new writer.

I also plan on purchasing one of his novels that was reference in the book, Katie, Kelly, and Heck. It sounds intriguing.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING - ENTRY #3

One thing that I'm constantly hearing is that author's need to promote themselves. Now days you need to have a Website, Blog, a presence on Facebook, Twitter and more. Publishing houses need to know that you’re willing to market yourself, thus your books.

Sometime ideas come to me in rapid succession, and other times I have to think for some time before one aterializes. I keep a daily log of what I plan to do each day. In that log I've scheduled the days I need to add to my Blog.

When an idea comes to me for a blog entry, I write it down on a sticky note and place it on my schedule for a particular day in my binder. When I get another idea, I write it down and place that sticky note several days from the last one, and so on. This way when I come to the day that I need to write an entry on my blog, the idea is already there.

Works great!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A BOOK TO REMEMBER


Hard to believe that after seeing three Nicholas Sparks movies, this is the first book that I've read by him. This is also the first book that I've read AFTER seeing a movie. It's always been the other way around. I've never been interest in reading a book after seeing the movie. I mean, why would I?

Being a romance writer, and having two of his movies, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook, on my list of all time favorite movies, I craved to read the written words. I aspire to write such novels one day. With that in mind, I set out to read, A Walk to Remember and right after it, The Cliffnotes.

The book was very good, so good I couldn't put it down and on the second day of reading it, I stayed up well past midnight to finish it. I even cried, though I had known the whole story. I was surprised at how different the book was from the movie...both in good and bad ways.

In the end, I would have to say that both the movie and the book stand alone. Both were brilliant, wonderful stories, each bringing something different to the final product.

I've just started the Cliffnotes and can't wait to get a glimpse into how an author created such a masterpiece. I plan on reading The Notebook, next. It will be interesting to see how different the novel is from the movie, as this one was.

All in all, A Walk to Remember will remain an amazing story that will resonate in me forever, with characters that came alive and will never leave me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

FIREPROOF YOUR MARRIAGE


Every marriage that isn't rock solid would benefit from seeing, FIREPROOF. What a great movie, bringing hope back to those who feel they are losing the battle to keep their marriage alive.

Most Christ centered people know that without God, a marriage (and a meaningful life) has little chance of surviving. Fireproof gives the hope Christ centered Christians already know...that if one makes Jesus first in their lives, God will work everything else, out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

EITHER WAY, I'VE WON


I’ve been working, working, working and finally, I finished and submitted my short story for the contest I was working on, Hearts Crossing! I won’t know until the end of the year if I’ve won or not but in my eyes, I already have.

I’ve learned so much from this experience including what it takes to meet a deadline. I was also challenged as a long winded writer, to write a short story, less then 25,000 words. And if all that wasn’t enough, a publishing company will be reading my work.

WHERE THERE'S LOVE, THERE'S HOPE



FAITH LIKE POTATOES is a wonderful movie. It was inspirational and moving. Make sure to watch the documentary on Angua Buchan's story as well. It made me want to watch the movie all over, again.

In watching this amazing story, I was quickly brought back to the exact moment I truly accepted Jesus into my heart, along with the trials and tribulations that can follow. So very true to life.

Frank Rautenback did an amazing job at playing, Angus. I hope to see him in more movies in the future. Angus' story is a true inspiration, and a lesson we all should not just grasp but live out.

Listen to your calling, and then dive in...no matter what.

Monday, September 21, 2009

WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING - ENTRY #2

The story doesn't actually start until 20,000 words.

I've recently discovered that when starting a new novel, it can take you approximately 20,000 words before you REALLY get into the story. Before it really starts flowing and you get a sense of where you’re going.

So keeping that in mind, write away!

One of the crucial words of wisdom I absorbed from reading Stephen Kings book, ON WRITTING, is to just write/start. The first draft is always the roughest, so know that and get over it...and past it.

Get the story out, and worry about the rest, later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

SING ME TO SLEEP, WINS MY HEART



SING ME TO SLEEP, WINS MY HEART

Wow, where do I begin. I was blown away when I read TAKEN BY STORM by Angela Morrison’s, so I had no doubt, SING ME TO SLEEP would be good. Yet I couldn’t have begun to foresee what an impact Beth’s story would have on me.

When I finish reading a book, I often run to the computer to write my review. Not so with SING ME TO SLEEP. There was no way I was emotionally ready after finishing the final pages. Heck, I wouldn’t have been able to see the screen, anyway.

I was pre-warned that I would need a box of tissues. Silently I said to myself, I don’t think so. As an avid reader, I’ve read my share of tearjerkers. One tissue, maybe…but a box? I don’t think so.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As an aspiring writer, I was in awe of Ms. Morrison’s writing as I read one great line after another. There was nothing I would have changed and that’s saying a lot. It exceeded anything I could have conjured up. She has a uniquely amazing way with words. Each line was perfect in every way. I laughed. I cried. I was angry. I smiled. I felt every emotion Beth, Derek, and Scott experienced. I felt as though I were right there in the midst of their lives

On page 88, my jaw dropped. Some of the sweetest words you could image came from Derek and Scott. Ms. Morrison is more then a writer of fiction. She’s a poet and a song writer as well. I was so caught up in the story that I longed for a soundtrack of, SING ME TO SLEEP.

I was taken back to my school days, living them through Beth and Scott. Many faces came to mind of past schoolmates. Kids today need to hear this story, as do teachers and parents.

SING ME TO SLEEP is filled with trials, and tribulations, as well as friendship, love, hope and faith. It was moving, gripping and intense. It set me on an emotional rollercoaster from the very first line to the very last!

I have never experience a book such as SING ME TO SLEEP where I sensed what direction the author was taking the characters early on, then doubted my decision several times, then was blown away by the final chapters.

This morning after the kids left for school and my husband for work, I sat down in the living room to read the remaining seventy pages. God must have known I would need the solitude. I began to read and couldn’t put it down. There were moments where I was chocked up but I kept reading, absorbing every word.

I held back my emotions…until I got to page 291. That’s were I lost it! I have never HAD to step away from a book before. After several long minutes, I was finally able to pull myself together enough to read the final pages. This was not the first time I’ve cried or got caught up in a book but NEVER to this capacity. I was an emotional wreck through the last three chapters. They were truly the most powerful chapters I’ve ever read.

This book is a must read for preteen, teens, young adults, teachers, parents, and so many more. One can not help but get caught up in the lives of these characters, each one beautifully done. I savored and absorbed every word, often rereading many lines because they were that good.

I see “movie” written all over this book. If some producer doesn’t snatch it up, they’ll be missing a great opportunity.

Watch out, Nicholas Sparks.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FICTION WRITERS

"The Premier Christian Fiction Conference"

STANDING FIRM...MOVING FORWARD

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)

DENVER, COLORADO
SEPTEMBER 17 - 20, 2009



Bestselling authors, publishing industry representatives, and newcomers to Christian fiction writing will gather in Denver at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s annual conference September 17-20 to compare notes, learn from each other, and encourage one another in the pursuit of publishing goals.

This year’s conference theme , Standing Firm…Moving Forward, will especially inspire the full range of talent and dreams in the ever-changing publishing world today.

This amazing conference will feature representatives from major publishing houses like B & H, Guideposts, Zondervan, Harvest House, Barbour, Steeple Hill, Summerside Press, Bethany House, Waterbrook Multnomah, Marcher Lord Press, Tyndale House, and Thomas Nelson, and top literary agents who will meet with writers and identify promising proposals from both new and veteran novelists. Conferees will have access to publishing panels, professional critiques, and customized workshops based on skills and interests.

The keynote speaker is New York Times bestselling author, Debbie Macomber, who has more than 100 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

Learn more about the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference by visiting www.acfw.com. Click on the left sidebar on Annual Conference.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

FOR THE BIRDS...NOT



I never thought I'd own a pet bird but now I'm an official bird owner. I've always been fascinated by birds. Loved their singing and chirping. Always found it to be very peaceful and soothing.

But owning one...that's a whole other thing.

My middle daughter, my huge animal lover of all animals, wanted a bird in the worst way. We went to Tennessee a few years back and visited, Parrott Mountain. Since them my interest in birds spiked, as did her.

After weeks or researching different kinds of birds and asking anyone and everyone I found that owned a bird about their experience and what kind they owned, I finally made the decision to purchase a feathered friend.

So now we have, Coco the Cockatiel. The first two weeks were a little rough. They told us it would take about two weeks for the bird to become comfortable in his/her new surrounding and to bond with someone. Birds bond with one person, though they can be friendly to others as long as you handle them a lot and have them around others, often.

I was afraid that since I was the one home all day and cleaning out the cage, etc., that the bird would bond to me. My daughter would not be happy if that happened. After all, we did get the bird for her. Coco would first protest being held by pecking at you, and this sent my daughter over the edge. She thought the bird hated her.

Thank goodness, about two weeks into having our new addition to our home, Coco quickly became my daughter’s BEST friend. Oh was she happy…we all were. She walked around for weeks saying, “I can’t believe I have a bird”. Now you should see them. She can do anything thing to this bird! She kisses it, even Eskimo kisses, gives it “baths”, takes it on car rides, watches TV with it, and even takes it to watch her sister’s ball games. You should see the looks we get.

At the ripe old age of eight, my daughter dreams of one day being a Veterinarian at a zoo while she lived on a ranch. She wants to be able to be in the mist of ALL types of animals!

Coco is great fun, I must admit. Coco and my daughter whistle from one room to the other at one another. He/she (not sure which, yet) actually gets excited when she comes into the room. Coco runs down the side of the cage, ready for her to take him/her out.

Another bird just may be in our future!

Monday, August 31, 2009

ROOTS


I saw this book at the store this past year. My initial reaction was there’s no way I’m going to buy it. I saw the movie years ago when it was first shown on TV, and it rocked my world. One that has never been prejudice, I was sickened by how blacks were treated.

ROOTS, has been deeply rooted in me all these years.

Over the next months the cover of the book flashed through my mind. I was fearful of the feelings the book would bring up. I hated the injustice done to others just because of the color of their skin.

I believe that if I was born in those days, my life would have ended early. I have no doubt that I would have been one to step up and speak out for the indecency of it all. There’s just no way I could have stood back and watched someone being treated the way they were.

So I'm challenging myself to read the book and refresh my mind of what others have to endure just because they are “different”. To be reminded, as a Christian, I need to continue to show love to all of Gods children. To show through my words and actions that it’s not okay to treat others any other way then the way Jesus would…period!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A NEW AUTHOR, AND A GREAT STORY


Just started this book late last night and I'm really enjoying it. I met this author while in Wyoming, and purchased several of her books. I've finally gotten around to starting it (I have so many books awaiting me on my bookshelf.). I know she’s a small press author but let me say what little I’ve read so far, is amazing. It’s very well writing with some great lines. I’m only a few chapters in and already drawn into the story in a way I don’t want to put it down. But life waits, and as does my own writing, so as usually I’ll slip in a few pages here and there, between eating and when I slip into bed, tonight.

Can’t wait to get back to it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A NEW NAME FOR AN OLD STORY

I’d just turned off my bedside light for the night after reading for about an hour. The story I’m currently working on, Hearts Crossing started to run though my mind. One thought led to another, and before I knew it I was thinking about the book I currently have completed and should be submitting.

I have always been one that has been able to easily give title to what I write, whether that is a non-fiction article, short story or full length novel. The title usually comes to me relatively quickly and with satisfaction in believing it’s a good match/fit.

Reasons unknown to me, my second novel didn’t come as quickly or with the confidence they usually do. My first thought was, 24 Hours, but soon turned into 24 Days to 24 Hours. I even toyed with, 24/24.

As I often do, I look the title I’m currently thinking of up on Amazon, curious if any other books out there have the same title. And there was. So once again, not really happy with the title, 24 then became The Bet.

The Bet stuck for almost four years, though it never really did appeal to me. As I lay awake in my bed that particular story came to mind and out of the blue a title popped into my head! I hadn’t even been thinking about re-titling it, just that I needed to submit it, and wasn’t keen on the title.

The new title hit me like a Mack truck, as the saying goes. Quite an experience when one is lying down. The minute it popped into my head, I knew it was perfect. I immediately wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it and then happily rolled over and went to sleep with a smile on my face.

The next morning with my tiny piece of paper in hand, and the words, Don’t Walk Away, written on it, I sat down at my computer to search Amazon for the title. No other books popped up with the exact title, though what did was another called, Don’t Walk Away, Yet.

What really blew me away was the book, Don’t Walk Away, Yet, is an inspirational book, which I write, though that one is non-fiction. Another God thing. It was written by a woman name, Kim. And if that wasn’t enough, the book was published in 2005, the same year I started writing my story now titled, Don’t walk Away!

The whole thing had God, written all over it. Just another hint from above to get going and get that story submitted! This will certainly be an experience I’ll never forget…especially if this book ends up being published.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

AN AUTHOR REVIEWS MY REVIEW

I just love it when an author reads my review and responds to it. I know first hand what work is put into a novel, so when one is done so well I make it a point to let the author know how much I enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, there are those out there writing reviews that aren’t so mindful of others feelings. They don’t seem to have any qualms about bashing someone’s writing. I just have to wonder if they've ever attempted to write a novel of their own.

Personally, one of my mottos is: You reap what you sow, so sow well.

Can’t wait for the continuation of Michael and Leesie’s story, and so thankful there’ll be one.

Here's what Angela Morrison had to say about my review on, Taken by Storm.

Angela Morrison says:
Hey Kim! I LOVE this review. Thank you, thank you. I've got two more books planned for Michael and Leesie. Not sure when book 2, UNBROKEN CONNECTION will be out, but it's coming. Watch my website for a sneak preview. All best, Angela

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A BOOK REVIEW, TAKEN BY STORM


I'll STILL GIVE IT FIVE STARS

As I was looking for my twelve-year-old at the library, I walked by the teen section. There, sitting on top of one of the selves was a book that captured my eye, "Taken By Storm". I admit it, I'm a romance fanatic. Love to read a good romance, and not necessarily the mushy kind. Actually that's not really my preference in reading or writing.

I took the book from the metal cradle holding it and flipped it over. Not much there to give me any real hint of what it was about. Inside, there was a better synopsis.

Now I'm intrigued.

I leave the teen section with book in hand as I seek out my daughter. Mind you this is the first book I can remember, other then non-fiction, that I've personally checked out from a library in so many years I can't even remember the last time I had. I love books, and would rather own them. But the book was there and beckoned me to read it...now.

I took the book home but first needed to finish the book I was currently reading, Isolation, by Travis Thrasher. A great book by the way. You should also check out his amazing love stories. I had flipped through the pages of Taken By Storm, several times, and was actually thinking of returning it. There were Chatspot Logs, Dive Logs and poems, all amongst what you would normally see between the pages of a fictional romance. I'm so not a poems person.

When I finished the book I'd been reading, I hesitated to start this one. My daughter wouldn't allow that. She made a big deal about, "When are you going to read that, mom?" So I picked it up and started to read. And as I read, I quickly found I couldn't put it down. As I was looking for my twelve-year-old at the library, I walked by the teen section. There, sitting on top of one of the selves was a book that captured my eye, "Taken By Storm". I admit it, I'm a romance fanatic. Love to read a good romance, and not necessarily the mushy, kind. Actually that's not really my preference in reading or writing.

The writing was amazing. The story was amazing. I loved the whole idea of the story, two young people who desperately need someone, and how their paths cross and intertwine. The message of need, love, grief, beliefs and one finding their self is emotionally wonderful.

Needless to say, I loved the story of Michael and Leesie. I loved how Michael went from being a full-of-himself teen male, to one that learned to respect a woman's wishes and beliefs. I loved how Leesie was so rooted in her beliefs and though she swayed at times, stuck to them...at least most of them.

The reason for titling this review, "I'll still give it five stars", is because I did not like the ending. In fact, I was upset when reading it. The last section before the poem wasn't too bad, though not what I'd expected but the ending poem through me off. Remember, I'm not a poem person. I didn't get it, though most of the pomes in the book were actually pretty good...I got them. Maybe I just didn't want to believe how the author chose to end it.

Although the story ended as maybe it should have, and I do see the point in ending it the way it did, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I WANTED them to... Okay, I won't say it, ruining it for those that haven't yet read it. Oh how I would love to see a second book continuing their story.

Needless to say, I will be looking for the next book by this author. Being a write myself, I'm once again feeling nudged to one day write YA.

Monday, August 10, 2009

WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING - ENTRY #1

I thought it was about time I officially started sharing what I've learned about writing.

In all the reading I’ve done over the years there’s one thing that has really stands out. You can have a wonderful, amazing storyline…but if it’s not written well, you’ve just lost your reader. If the reader is determined to finishes it, they most likely will walk away thinking, what a waste of storyline. Or maybe not even recognize the great storyline through all the bad writing.

Not that it’s a good thing to have a well written story, yet a lame storyline. That too can kill a story but at least then it’s ones own preference. After all, writing’s subjective. After reading the story, you may feel as though the story didn’t quite do it for you. Maybe it was the action or lack of, or maybe just not a subject you cared to read about. Whichever it is, at least if it was well written, there’s a good chance you won’t write off the write (no pun intended) as one to avoid in the future.

The best of books though, are those that have all the qualities met for a good novel. Those are the ones you can’t put down and the minute you finish the last page, has you running to the computer to email the author. You just have to let them know how much their book impacted you. And trust me, they deserve to know.

So writers beware…aspiring and best selling…don’t be/get sloppy. Always put your best work out there.

Friday, August 7, 2009

FOR ALL YOU RAT LOVERS...HA, HA, HA


If there’s one thing I learned about being a rat owner for years, it's that not everyone shares our love of rats. We waited three weeks for these cute little girls to be old enough to take home from the pet store.

As you may have read in my previous blog entry, my oldest daughter adopted two male rats from a pet store, Ralphie and Dumbo. Our first experienced with male rats. So far they are great, but I later found out that there is one particular trait that is not so desirable. Hopefully we won't regret our decision for the opposite sex.

My youngest daughters have been waiting for female rats to be ready to take home for three weeks. They were so happy when we got the call, telling us they were old enough to be adopted. We immediately went to see them. And of course we then took them home.

Their names are Cinnamon and Starlight. What do you expect, their “mothers’ are only six and eight. The rats my girls had before were fondly named, of course complete with middle names, Cupcake Coffee and DQ Dairy Queen. How’s that for pet names!

Ah, doesn’t DQ stand for Dairy Queen?!?!?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

BILLY GRAHAM'S PRAYER FOR OUR NATION

HOW TRUE THIS IS!

Truth...from a man the media has never been able to throw dirt on...amazing!!
he has certainly hit the "world" on the head!!!

Billy Graham's Prayer For Our Nation

THIS MAN SURE HAS A GOOD VIEW OF WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR COUNTRY!

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!'

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired. With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'One nation under God.'

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

HEARTS CROSSING ON THE MOVE

The story I’m writing for the contest, Hearts Crossing is coming along slowly but surely. With summer here, and kids out of school, about all I can do are two pages a day…if I’m lucky. It’s so hard when I hear of other authors accomplishing thousands of words a day. Yet it also gives me a kick to at least meet my measly two page a day, goal.

The due date is the end of September, with a 20,000 to 25,000 word count. As of today I’m at, 14,500 words. My other two novels are over the 100,000 word mark, so this has been a new challenge. A challenge to write a short story. A challenge to start with a ready-made synopsis. A challenge to meet a deadline. Something I’ll unfortunately…or is that fortunately…one day have to grow accustom too.

It’s been fun getting to know my characters as the story unfolds. They just had their first kiss! How exciting! Next, I’ll be reveling something to set them back. Something that will leave both characters wondering how this sudden and intense attraction can possible continue.

So at the end of the day, if I don’t win the contest I will have at least have walked away with a few things, like having met a deadline to name one. I will also be well on my way to completing another novel. I have no intentions of letting this story slip away. I fully intend to add to it, and submit it elsewhere if I don’t win.

The road to getting published can be a long and merciless one, but one that I fully intend to conquer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

TRAVIS THRASHER



Life is good when you get to meet one of your very favorite authors, and even more so when he signs seven of his books you’ve purchased…and even better when you have the privilege of getting your picture taken with him.

Today my oldest daughter and I headed off to Barnes & Noble, for Travis Thrasher book signing. As you can see, it was a success. Though I admit in my excitement, and lack of fully reading information, I ran into just a few problems getting there.

Not reading the information on line completely, I thought the bookstore was in Woodfeild Mall, when actually it was at a store outside of the mall. So as we headed into the mall and found a directory, I was baffled when I couldn’t find the bookstore on the list. After all I’d remember years ago going to a bookstore in the mall.

I still wasn’t fully convinced that there was no bookstore, there. But before we headed off in search of it, I needed to use the ladies room. We went into a fast food place, me leading the way. I opened the bathroom door and proceeded in. In my haste, I vaguely head my daughter calling me. I turned to find she hadn’t followed me, and headed back out to see what she wanted and why she hadn’t gone in with me. I looked at her, waiting for an explanation. She stared at me blankly with her mouth hung open, while she motioned toward the sign on the wall…MENS!

Okay, that was good…no, bad! In my haste, I’d gone into the men’s room. Okay, so was it the excitement? Being too much in a hurry? Old age setting in? Whatever it was, thank God no one else was in there!

I hesitate to say this was not my first encounter in the men’s room…but it was the first time I hadn’t intentionally done so. Oh well, we both had a good laugh, later. At least I did. I think my twelve-year-old was a little dumbfounded, and a tad embarrassed.

Eventually we found our way to the correct place. Not only was I able to get the books I’d purchased signed by Travis, he was kind enough talk to us for an hour about his writing, and his own journey to getting published.

So far I’ve read three of his books: The Promise Remains, Sky Blue, and The Watermark. All three are amazing. He’s an incredible writer, one that I believe is on his way to being a number one best selling author. So, do yourself a favor and pickup one of his books. You won’t regret it.

When I got home I started another Travis Thrasher book, Isolation. Though life beckoned me to cook dinner for my family and tend to the kids, I only got to page eight. But already my fingers are itching to pick it back up and read. As usual, Travis captures you from the very first page. I do most of my reading at night, after I get into bed…and the kids are asleep.

I can see it’s going to be another late night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

THE PEN PAL MINISTRY

What are your spiritual gifts?

Encouragement?

Mentoring?

A love to share God’s word, and what he’s done in your life?

Do you love to write? Have you thought about serving but haven’t yet found where God could use your gifts he’s blessed you with?

After reading, The Purpose Drive Life, by Rick Warren, then watching the movie, The Passion of the Christ, my heart was screaming to find my purpose in life. I knew without a doubt that purpose would be to serve God…but where?

A mother of four, and not a whole lot of money, and a husband with a fireman’s schedule, I searched for a place to serve the Lord. To save you the long version, God lead me to the Prison Pen Pal Ministry.

Write letters to those incarcerated from my home, on my own time…now that I could do! Serving through letters allows me to work around my husband’s schedule, and taking care of the kids, and my home.

Through getting involved with serving, I’ve also had the privilege of going to Louisiana (Angola) State Penitentiary in, Angola Louisiana. There I stayed for eight days, and when I left the prison gates, my heart was heavy. I had met so many great men of God, there and didn’t want to leave. The Lord is doing some amazing things in Angola.

I’ve also been blessed to go into Cook Count Jail, a couple of times. The men that are serving there on the jail team are joyfully doing the work of God. You can’t go there without being moved by Gods’ love.

The serving didn’t stop there. I’ve also been blessed to go into Warrenville, on more then one occasion. God just keeps tugging at my heart. The volunteers that are serving there are so giving. I have no doubt that he Lord is smiling down on them.

Whether you are currently serving or not, if you feel a call to serve our wonderful Lord through the Prison Pen Pal Ministry, you can sign up through the Willow Creek Community Church website, or directly through, Christian Pen Pals. You find both lines on the Prison and Jail Illinois blog at, http://prisonjailministry-illinois.blogspot.com/.

Who knows what incredible journey God will take you on? If there was only one thing I was allowed to say about the prison and jail ministry, it would be that I have truly been blessed by those I’ve been allowed to serve, and those I’ve serve with, more then I could ever have dreamed possible.

The Lord is amazing!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

MONYA MARY CLAYTON REVIEW

I just love it when an auther, and espically one I admire their writing, post my Amazon review on the blog.


Sunday, July 12, 2009
Another Review for The Pirate And The Puritan...
Thought I'd be different and post the BACK cover of the book. I'm sure you've all seen the front one often enough. If you haven't, scroll down!

This review is number thirteen on Amazon. Hubby and I have thirteen grandchildren so it must be a good number for us!

It's from Kym McNabney and her enthusiasm for the story is touching and palpable. She headed her comments "An Amazing Story, written by an Amazing Writer." ***Blush!*** It's such a compliment. Here's a few excerpts.

"Not the typical book I would have picked to read...

I was in awe of Ms. Clayton's writing and storytelling..."(Blush again, though I'd call myself mainly a storyteller, having been a lover of good yarns since childhood.) "Not only was the story one to be believed, it kept me ... eager to find out what would happen next...

I love the way she wove in faith and morals in a subtle yet impacting way..." Gosh, Kym, I was just going wherever Edmund and Mercy led me! But I am moved by her words because Kym, as a Christian reviewer, found nothing to offend her in the novel.

The point is, many people have read the book, all have widely differing tastes - many not having read anything technically classed as 'Romance' before - and almost all enjoyed it. (I hope I'm not insulting anyone, but my personal opinion is that those who didn't were possibly expecting a 'bodice ripper'.) Just my perception!

My point is, it appeals to many people in differing ways I didn't envisage when I began writing the story of the reluctant pirate Captain Edmund Gramercy and his mute Puritan captive Mercy Penhall. In other words, a wide cross section of readers all found it a satisfactory tale. As Drebbles said "A gentle romance... a rip-roaring adventure." *Blush* again. But thank you all for your honest enjoyment. It is very encouraging to this writer!

Monya

Saturday, July 18, 2009

FISH DEVISTATION

Today we went on a six mile bike ride, several miles from home. As we rode along the wooded path, the rode cam alongside a river to the right. After riding for a short distance, a sudden stench assaulted our nostrils.

On the left side of the path, a dried up pond. In that pond, hundreds, if not thousands of dead fish! And not just fish, but very large fish. They must have been at least twelve inches long, if not longer.

From what we could gather, it appeared that the drain pipes that ran under the gravel path had seeped water from the river to the other side, creating a narrow pond along side the bike path. While filled with water, the fish must have found their way beneath the bike path and to the newly created pond…but when the waters receded, the poor fish could not figure out how to get back to the other side. Not soon enough to save their lives, that is.

I know their just fish, but my heart aches and I can’t seem to get that image out of my mind. It’s one thing to see a dead fish but to see so many scattered along a long, narrow path, knowing that all they need was a little guidance and they could have easily swam to safety. The way they were all scatted out, lying on their sides in the soggy ground, some areas with only an inch or two of water, made me think of the carelessness of human lives being destroyed in the days of Hitler.

Maybe THAT’S was the core of what was truly haunting me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

AREN'T THEY CUTE


Here's a cute picture of my oldest daughters pet rats, Dumbo (nick name, Bo), and Ralphy. Aren't they soooooo cute! See the one on the left, that's Dumbo...do you see why? Check out his ears.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A DAY AT THE MUSEUM







Once again today was filled with the busy life of a family, so no writing was accomplished. I guess tomorrows another day. For now I thought I’d share a few amazing pictures from our trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chiciago, Illinois.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

AN AWSOME PORTRAIT







I truly do love the ministry God has placed me in. I get so much more then I receive, and really, isn'tthat how it is so often when we serve the Lord.

One of my pen pals since May of 2005, Juan Castillo, just sent me a portrait of my daughters. I knew he was good but when I opened the package my jaw dropped! I couldn’t belief the amazing job he’d done. And really the pictures I’d sent him weren’t that great. A little fuzzy. But needless to say, he did an incredible job.

If you’d like to learn more about Juan and his story, check it out at, http://iippi.org/inmates/nevada/juancastillo.html. He is a God devoted man that never ceases to amaze me with his faith, hope and wonderful outlook on life. He ministers to others in prison right from his own cell, holding classes, teaching the word of God.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HAPPY 4TH

Happy forth of July. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. For me and my family, we will be taking it easy around the house. My husband has to work, thus is the life of a fireman's wife. Next weekend our town has their fireworks, anyway.
My story, Hearts Crossing, is coming along slowly but surely. As with all my writing, it’ll be interesting to see where God takes it. With the sun shining outside (most days) and the kids off of school, I don’t get near as much done as I would otherwise. But I will continue to keep with my wimpy goal and do my best to at least produce two pages of fresh writing five days a week.

Yeah, I know that’s not much but I have to set a real enough goal that I can feel as though I will actually accomplish it. I’ve listened to Allie Plieter’s talk on more than one occasion about carving out time for writing. Ever since, I’ve struggled with what kind of writer I am and how much time can I devote to it. Am I big chunk person, or a small chunk person? Can I schedule a set amount of time daily to writing, or a set time? How many pages can I realistically do in a day, and how many days a week can I do them?

Kids, husband, working part-time, taking care of a house, fostering and the prison ministry all add to my jumbled life of a little here and a little there. But I trust God is shaping me and preparing me for my future as a writer in His own, all knowing ways.

So for today I don’t let the amount of time and work accomplished get me down, instead I go with what God grants me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

FOSTER COLLIE


Just picked up a six month old Collie mix from Collie Rescue of Greater IL. He's so cute! Check him out on their website by clicking on their link below (under my favorite links.). His name is Duncan.

Monday, June 29, 2009

RATS

Today we'll be going to the pet store to see if the baby rats that are in will be going home with us. My middle daughter is very excited to go and see them. My oldest daughter came home with two a few days ago, and they are so playful and cute, it's hard not to pick them up. I’ve never had male rats, so this will be a new experience for us all. That being said, the other two we’ll be getting will be females.

She fondly named them, Ralphie and Dumbo. Ralphie, after the mouse in the movie my daughter had recently watched, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and Dumbo, of course after the Disney character. By they way, he does have Dumbo ears! He’s so cute!

Adding the new additions to our family has reminded me of the article I had published several years ago, Star of the Pet Shop. They are truly great pets. If ever you’re looking for a smaller pet, please consider owing a pet rat. Just make sure to get them when their really young, and do some reading up on owning them before making your purchase.

Friday, June 26, 2009

THE PIRATE AND THE PURITAN




AN AMAZING STORY, WRITTEN BY AN AMAZING WRITER, June 26, 2009
By Kym McNabney (Illinois) - See all my reviews



The Pirate and the Puritan is an amazing story written by an amazing writer. I happened across this book, not being the typical book I would have picked to read, and having never heard of, Mary Clayton. I feel truly blessed to have come across her writing.

The Pirate and the Puritan was written, in my eyes, with no flaws. As an inspiriting writer, I was in awe of Ms. Clayton's writing and story telling. Not only was the story of one to be believed, it also kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to find out what would happen next.

I loved the way she wove in faith and morals in a subtle, yet impacting way. She slipped in virtues and morals, yet as in real life, also ones sins. It was refreshing to be allowed to read a novel that is so true to life in that one can be good, and yet struggle with their sins.

I enjoyed the interaction between Edmund and Mercy. Who could not fall in love with Edmund? He is strong and honorable, took charge, yet was protective when need be, and gentle and caring. And who could not help but admire Mercy, whom is spirited, stubborn and kindhearted. I have no doubt that you will fall in love with the main characters, but it may surprise you when a few others seep into your heart.

I sincerely hope Ms. Clayton intends to continue this story. I would love to become entangled in Richard and Soulange's story, as well as learn of Edmund and Mercy's future together.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will purchase more books by Mary Clayton in the future, for she has won my heart in the world of novel writing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

FARRAH FAWCETT

I could not with good conscious say nothing about Farrah Fawcett’s death. Though she was not someone I followed or even admired, she was a famous figure from my younger years. It is sad how we can so quickly dismiss ones death, and move on to another, especially when the next is seemingly more famous or interesting then the other.

Regardless of what I though of Farrah, I felt a certain sadness of what her life had become as well.

My heart goes out to her loved ones.

God rest her soul.

MICHAEL JACKSON

I am truly saddened by the death of Michael Jackson. I was surprised when a reverend friend of Michael’s spoke on the news, almost the exact words I had just thought. It disturbed me to see all those people crowded around the hospital. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them were there only so they could say they had been. How many of them truly cared about, Michael? What had they thought several years ago, or said to their friends and family when he was going through rough times?

Were they condemning him?

Were they praying for him?

I have always liked Michael Jackson, thought him to be an incredibly talented man. When controversy rose about his life style and later accusations, I never fully bought into it. I know how cruel and inaccurate the media can be. Instead, I felt sorry for him. In my eyes, he was a man in pain. A man with hurts and losses and disappointments. A man that sinned just like you and I, though because he was “Michael Jackson”, he was “suppose” to be perfect.

How awful it is that we so often treat others so poorly until the day they parish from this earth, then all of a sudden we are sorry their gone. It’s too bad we can’t all be more like Jesus, and love and care for our brother and sister no matter their color, social or economical status, or their sins.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time we pick up one of those gossipy magazines at the checkout counter, or read or watch the news, that instead of getting a trill off others hard times, we instead pray from them.

May God be with all of Michael Jackson’s loved ones.

God rest his soul.

Monday, June 22, 2009

MAKING TIME FOR WRITING

It seems as though there are never enough hours in the day. It's hard to believe that at one point in my life, years ago when I was much, and I do mean much younger, that I was actually BORED! If only I had the dreams and direction I have now, back them, I can imagine all I could have accomplished. But what is one to do…it’s all part of the process of life.

For now, I have to find a way to fit in more writing time. I really admire all those that have had several books published.

I find for me this is what gets in the way:

-Procrastination.
-Stuck in my writing.
-Lack of discipline and carving out the time needed to accomplish what I set out to do.

I’m married to a fireman and with that and kids comes an ever-changing schedule. And this is a huge root to my lack of writing time. I’m such an all or nothing persons, and a routine really is what I thrive on. Everyday for me is so different, yet the same in so many ways.

I have the basics like everyday house chores, reading my devotional, my Bible, exercising, but then everything else is up for grabs. It all depends on the kids mostly, and what they have going on…or not.

But because of my love for putting pen to paper, or in my case, fingers to typewriter, I will continue to learn and grow and perfect my writing. I fear the day I’ll have to meet a deadline. I guess this challenge to write, Hearts Crossing, will be a test of some sort. After all it is due by September 30th, 2009. The requirements is for 20,000-25,000 words so that shouldn’t be so difficult.

Should it?

Well God bless, and happy writing to all you writers out there!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

HEARTS CROSSING



I still haven't filled in all the blanks for the story, Hearts Crossing. I'll need to do so soon, seeing I only have til September to to write, edit and submit it. I did however work some on my Wyoming story. It's so hard when you have one in the making, to stop and start another. I guess only time will tell where God will take me with all of this.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

OKAY, ONE MORE BOOKSHELF



Thought I'd check out one more shot of my bookshelf to see which looks better.

What do you think?

Twitter and Facebook




Yesterday I made the decision to try out Twitter and Facebook for my writing profile. I'm now on both but still trying to figure out how it all works. I've been trying to change the background on my Twitter to a picture of my bookcase I’d taken but it doesn't seem to want to come up. I'm guessing it's too large of a file, yet that doesn't sit right. I checked out Travis Thrasher's site and he has a background of his own making. For those of you who don't know who Travis is, he's an amazing author. Check out some of his books.

Oh well, maybe I'll give it a rest for now and come back to it later. Sometimes a new day can present itself with a clearer head, and things become clearer. Kind of like writing….write, then let it sit before going back to it for revisions.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

ANOTHER STORY IN THE MAKING

Like I needed another story to write. I have two completed, yet one needs a major overhaul. The other I thought was ready to go, but I now feel could use some more work. I have three other stories started. And now, I’ve been given the opportunity for write yet another…what is one to do?????

I was really into my one story, tentatively titles, Forgiveness. Around 10,000 words then became stuck. But before I could move past that, my Wyoming story screamed at me from all directions, and that one is at about 8,000 words. Now I’ve been presented with a unique challenge.

A contest, so to speak. The cover of a book, and a premade synopsis. I just have to fill in the blanks. It’s actually pretty exciting. What makes we want to stop my Wyoming story and attempt this one is that you’re only allowed 20,000 to 25,000 words! That could be whipped up relatively quickly. I know from past experienced that writing a full length novel can take a long time. Writing it, yes…but all the countless hours of editing is really what takes its toll on time.
So, I’ve been putting an outline together for the contest story titled, “Hearts Crossing”. Now I just have a few major components to figure out. If I can do that, then I think I’ll go for it, knowing it could be a “quick” write. What do I have to lose?!??!?!?!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A GREAT DAY IN WYOMING

Nearing the last day of my visit to Wyoming, I decided to go into the next town and fill up my gas tank. I stopped at the gas station in Guernsey, filled up then started back to, Hartville. Though, I didn’t make it very far. At the last minute I spotted a sign that pointed in the direction on the Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts. I had heard about them, and was mildly intrigued to go there. Since I had time, and here was the sign pointing the way, I went.

After stopping to see the Wagon Ruts from years ago, I was glad that I’d stopped. I actually stepped down onto the rutted path, having an eerie sensation shoot through me as I thought of the families that had traveled this very path so long ago.



On the way out from the ruts, I encountered another sign. This one pointed to the, Registered Cliff. Not sure what that was all about, I proceeded to follow the signs. I past by an Army training base, which was pretty cool to see so close, having only previously seen one on TV.

When I rounded the road then turned onto a path that lead over a cattle guard, a large stone wall came into sight. Not knowing what I would be encountering, I parked my van and got out. There, along side the massive cliff, carved into its side were names and dates and states. Some new and some dating back as far as the 1800’s. Once again I was quickly swept back in time.



Up above I spotted what appeared to be mud balls with small circular openings. I was bewildered, but not for long. Soon I realized they were homes to the birds swarming overhead.



After my visit to the Wagon Ruts and the Register Cliff, I started back to Hartville, once again. As I passed through the town of Guernsey, I spotted a tiny library. On a whim I pulled around the corner and parked my van. I waited outside with a few others, awaiting the Librarian. It wasn’t long before she scurried towards the library, letting us know she was sorry she was late. Small towns seemed to be that way…laid back, and all.

As I stepped into the tiny library, I asked the Librarian if they had any history on Wyoming. Of course they did, just not material that I could take with me. I headed to the back of the library, searching for books they may have for sale. The Liberian noticed I was searching for something and asked if I needed any help. She directed me to the section of the shelf that held books that were for sale.

The Liberian jotted off to help, but later returned to where I was still scanning the shelf for books. One word led to another and she’d told me they had published author’s right there in, Wyoming. I’d asked her their names, wanting to write them down so I could look them up later. She then excused herself. I figured she was going to jot them down for me.

Several long minutes later the Liberian returned, but not with the scrap paper holding the authors names as I expected…but with one of the authors! So I was introduced to one of Wyoming’s authors, K.B. Ross.

For nearly two hours we talked about writing, her books, her family and Wyoming. I I learned small bits of her journey in writing her books, along with other interesting facts such as how the covers came about. She was kind enough to go home and get a few of the books she had so I could purchase them…complete with autograph, of course. She even sold me one of the libraries copies since I had shown an interest in that particular book and she didn’t have an extra copy.

So all in all, it was another amazing day in Wyoming.

Monday, June 8, 2009

MORE ON WYOMING



This is what I woke up to the next morning! That's right. As I slowly made my way from the bedroom, four large picture windows stood before me with this to fill them! What a treat after arriving in utter darkness.



Here’s looking down on the ranch from my yurt.



This is inside my yurt. Amazing, huh. Kind of like being in a cabin out in the wilderness. And I had the whole place to myself; compete with a fully functioning kitchen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

BACK FROM WYOMING

I’m back from Wyoming! I had an amazing time. As soon as I get settled, and back on track, I’ll add some updates to what I did while there. For now, I hope you enjoy a few pictures I took.



This is the sunset, overlooking the yurt, where I stayed on the ranch.



This is looking down on the ranch from my yurt.

Monday, June 1, 2009

AN ADVENTOUROUSE DAY IN WYOMING

Yesterday was an eventful day. It started out by getting up early, walking the dogs, cleaning out the cat boxes then heading off to town for church.

I'd debated the night before if I was going to go. I knew that if I were to go to church, it had to be in, Hartville. I wanted the experience for my book as much as I wanted to see what a small town church was like. Not to mention the fact that I rarely miss a Sunday.

I arrived in the small town, parked my van and assumed the little building on the right was the church I'd go to. The doors were closed and there didn't appear to be any lights on. I glanced to the left and saw the church across the street stood with its doors wide open, as if inviting anyone who cared to enter.

I ascended the few concrete stairs, and stepped into the building. I was momentarily blinded by the dim candled light and the contrast from the sunlight I'd just exited. The room was smaller then I'd imagined with only ten or so pews on either side of the narrow room.

As I slowly made my way to the front, I glanced at the few people occupying the pews. A few on this side, and a few on that side. I quietly took my seat on the left, a few pews from the front. An older coupled sat just in front of me. It didn't take long for a few others to straggle in. A few here, and a few there...and a do mean a few.

A woman entered the building and made her way to a pew across from me. She looked my way and smiled. It wasn't long before she made her way over to introduce herself. She asked where I was from, and one word lead to another, and before I knew it she'd offered to sit along side me to help me thought the service.

As the service started, I quickly realized what a blessing it was to have the woman offer her assistance. We quickly flipped from an old Hymn book, to the handout program I received at the door, to the “Bible” they used for readings.

Later in the service everyone shook hands, offering God's peace to one and all. Not a one of them missed a soul...though there couldn't have been more then ten of us. That's right, ten! And here I come from a church that seats 7,000, in just the main auditorium. Quite a shock, to say the least.

When they took communion, breaking of the bread, I made the decision to participate. It was not done in the fashion I had been accustom to in my home church. As I made my way to the front of the church, I looked to others for what to do. I knelt as they all had, and waited to be handed a piece of the bread. When I noticed they'd all sipped from the same cup, I sucked in my shock and threw all caution to the wind. And that I did.

When I looked into the silver goblet in front of me, I was surprised to see what appeared to be water. I was shocked when I took a sip, and to my utter surprise, found it to be wine!!!!! I hadn't had a sip of alcohol in over ten years...by choice...and it wasn't even noon, yet! You can imagine my shock.

After the service many came up to me to find out who I was and where I came from. How long I'd be there. An incredibly sweet group. I talked to the man who is the “main pastor” (not sure of his title). He explained to me about how many of the neighboring towns can't afford to hire a full time pastor (or bishop, not sure which they are referred as), and so they have a handful of they that travel, helping the other churches out. Inside, he looked to be like anyone else I might have seen around my town. One outside, he wore a black Stetson. I couldn't help myself. I had to look down to see it he was wearing cowboy boots, and sure enough he was.

He told me about the church and a few other things regarding the area. He's lived in the very same house he was born in, and his wife’s father lives next door. A 92 year old man who could tell much of the history of the area, if one was willing to listen.

I headed across the street, a few steps away, to the tiny building I'd originally thought to be the church. Come to find out the church had purchased it for a hall for meetings and gatherings. I spoke to several people, was given information on the history of the church, before sitting down with a woman that was all too eager to fill me in with whatever information she could offer.

I was trilled, and yet sadden, to find they have a Barn Dance, not too far from Hartville. I would be in only a few weeks after I'd be leaving. I was thrilled at the thought that such a thing still existed...you just can't know what that did to my entire being. And saddened that I'd missed it. But God always knows what's best, and if I'd gone there, there'd be a good chance I'd never returned to Illinois.

I also learned that on Fathers day, in a town called, Esterbrook, they have what is called, Buckboard Sunday. From what I recall, people come from neighboring towns by foot, horse or buggy. There's a small wooden cabin with no electricity or running water. They worship together, and when they're done, they turn in all the pews to the middle of the room with tables lined in the middle. Everyone offers a dish they brought, and they all sit down to eat.

When their bellies are full, the instruments are brought out. They sing and dance, young and old. I just have to return, purposely planning to be here for both the events.

As if that wasn't enough I headed out to a neighboring town, then turned around and headed in the opposite direction to, Fort Laramie. There I visited a old fort. Now that was packed full of history. Many pictures were taken to capture the way of life from over a hundred years ago.

I then headed back to town, though along the way I'd remembered being told about Hartville's cemetery. I passed it up, for it looked so remote and uninviting. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to, so I turned around and headed back.

I turned onto a narrow dirt road, wondering if I were trespassing. I passed a wooden post sticking up with a black cowboy boot sticking out from either side. A few more feet and I spotted a large wooden boot that read, Boot Hill Cemetery. It was very uninviting, surrounded by rusted bob wire, tall grass and no entrance to be seemed.

I proceed up a little further where an iron arch with the words, Hartville Cemetery, beckoned me in. I slowly proceeded forward along the dirt path glancing to the right, then to the left. There were Grave stones of many different styles, some with artificial flowers, and some without. It was fascinating to see a few here, and a few there, surrounded in antique fencing.

As I got out of my van, camera draped over my shoulder, I proceeded slowly, looking at the dates. There were many dated as far back as the later 1800's, early 1900's. It struck me deep within that some gravestones were modern, ones I'm accustom to seeing with names and dates. But the ones that struck me the most were those that were merely a rock. A rock. A small boulder. That's it. No inscription. It was as if someone picked up a rock from over yonder and placed it there. The only indication that it was a grave site was the plastic flowers someone has carefully stuck in the ground beside it.

As if all this hadn't been enough for one day, as I entered the main street of Hartville, I decided to see if the bar I had gone to on Friday night was opened. I had wanted to go back and get a few pictures, mainly of the brandings on the wall. Until a few days ago, I haven't been in a bar in years, so when I approached and saw the line of Harley's outside, I had to wonder what I was doing.

Once again with camera strapped over my shoulder, getting closer, I noticed the metal sign hanging above. I was wrong in my earlier thinking that it was the oldest bar in Hartville. It's the oldest bar in Wyoming! How cool is that?!?!?.

I turned the brass knob, and entered the building, immediately seeing two of the women who worked their on Friday. I knew I must have looked the part of a tourist with my camera. I didn't want to cause any worry, so I explained what I was doing and why. They were all too happy to allow me to take pictures and fill me in with whatever information they had. I was able to purchase a book about all the ghost towns in Wyoming, including, Hartville.

Now it was after three, and I still hadn't eaten since early that morning. Feeling as though I had my fill for the day, I headed back to the Kindness Ranch, where I knew I'd want to sit at my lap top and capture everything I'd just experienced.