Saturday, July 25, 2009


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


What are your spiritual gifts?



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,

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


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!


Saturday, July 18, 2009


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


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 you see why? Check out his ears.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


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


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, 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 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


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.