Okay. Because it's the day before Independence Day, and I have very little to say today, and none of you probably have time for this silliness, but I can't think of anything else, so here we are with a huge run-on sentence precisely because I can't think of anything else, so I want you to answer one of the above to the following items on this list. How's that?
1. Milk chocolate Dark chocolate
2. Coffee Tea
3. Pop Juice
4. Sandals Flip Flops
5. Cake Pie
6. Jazz Country
7. Thriller Romance
8. Movie Book
9. Politics Theology
10. Scrambled Fried (Eggs)
Lord, thank you for this day, this life, this breath. Thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Happy Birthday to my first born son pictured here with his son, my grandson. You went through so much and yet you still love me. Thank you for being who you are. May the Lord continue to mend your heart and heal all pain. Have a day where God's abundance hits you hard and heavy. I love you!
God, you've blessed me with two sons I didn't deserve. Your mercy is never ending. Your grace immeasurable. Please load up my son with all of it from this moment on, please. Keep him safe from all harm. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Everyone who knows me understands my over the top love for the POTC series. The first of them was of course the best, so here's a great trailer that touches on every aspect of the wonderful movie. Enjoy!
O Lord. So many need you. "I know whose Blood you need." The Savior's Blood washes the sin stain away. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Debra made a good comment the other day when I stated I enjoyed chapter titles. She agreed and mentioned she felt like quotations were always a fun bonus to begin chapters. I'm reading a true crime story by a Las Vegas police detective and he uses amazing quotations to begin his chapters. I'll probably have a review up next week.
To search out a particular quote that works the best for individual chapter headings is exactly what Debra mentioned in her comment here.
So many ways to entice readers . . .
Father, help each of us who write to do it your way and honor you in the process. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard, published by Revell, is advertised as romantic suspense. I would classify it as a cozy mystery. And since cozy mysteries aren't my particular cup of tea (pun intended for those who will read or have read this story), all I can say is for those readers who enjoy the amateur sleuth type of investigative stories, you will probably enjoy this one, the first in the Port Aster Series.
Kate Adams loses her mentor and close friend (Daisy Leacock) to what the police have deemed a suicide and closed the case. That doesn't work for Kate who knew the older woman with whom she worked too well to believe she would take her life. Together they worked on an herbal cure for depression and seemed close to a major discovery for a potential cure. Daisy loved God and lived her personal life accordingly plus she treated Kate like a daughter. Supposedly the coroner decided the particular toxic chemical in a certain kind of marigold found in her tea was Daisy's undoing, an intentional means to her end.
Kate Adams storms into the precinct demanding to express her disagreement and of course meets with the handsome former DC FBI agent Tom Parker, now a detective in Port Aster, his hometown. After the discussion with him, she warns him if they (the police) won't find her killer, she will. Detective Tom Parker knows the case is closed, but in spite of Kate's no proof, she makes some valid points, and he's concerned she might possibly be in danger if the information she shared with him is true.
The suspects keep multiplying, Detective Parker develops a fondness for Kate and vice versa even as they keep their secrets from one another. There are herbs, grow-ops, a missing intern from the research station where Daisy and Kate worked, a con artist and his rich girlfriend, a coworker acting strangely, and then there's Tom's boss, the Chief of Police (Hank), best friends with Tom in high school. When Kate as a suspect enters the fray, all kinds of suspicion, hurt, angst, and feared betrayal add to the convoluted mess.
As I said, cozy mysteries are not my favorites, and I didn't anticipate this story as being one of them. The amateur sleuthing, the juvenile attractions and reactions, the conduct of both Kate and Tom just didn't fly for me. While I find plants, herbs, and the intricate knowledge of them interesting, not enough to carry a story for me.
Faith elements are injected periodically.
I'm sure there are many readers who will find their enjoyment served up in a nice cup of herbal tea via Deadly Devotion. And perhaps romantic suspense is the proper genre classification. For me it read more like a cozy mystery which didn't work for me.
Father, you've given Sandra her own special gifting. Please continue to use her for your glory and bless her as she honors you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
I've come to the conclusion that I really enjoy chapter titles, not that I prefer them over just numbering the chapters. When an author selects a title that eludes to the content but doesn't give it away until the reader realizes its intent after finishing the chapter, I find that those titles enhance the chapter. Not saying they work well for all genres and/or all stories. But when they do, they do.
I've used chapter titles in two of my seven completed novels (The Famous One and Destination). I think they work in these two stories.
Do you like or dislike chapter titles - or are you apathetic to them?
Father, thank you for assisting in all you would have us do. Help us always to ask for your direction and assistance. Apart from you, we can do nothing. And what we do apart from you is worthless. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Most writers have faced this if not literally, figuratively. The empty pages stare back, waiting. Words fail to materialize, to surface, to comply with the urgency felt at the moment when writers summon creativity to no avail. It's not a welcome feeling, situation, circumstance, condition. There's not a lot of recommended advice that solves the problem.
My solution is to read. You might notice how many novel reviews are showing up here recently. Lately I've managed to write some on one of my in-process stories and have been grateful for every word. Somebody must be praying for me. No question I need it. Welcome it. Hope for it. Crave it.
I've learned I need to reset the discipline factor which simply means I have to quit avoiding the stories I'm working on. Just get back to them. Do it. I like them so there's not a problem there. Just need a boost.
Lord, you know what I need. I count on you but acknowledge my responsibility. Help me, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
We left Tess Spencer and her attorney husband Thomas expecting their first child. We learn quickly in Trial by Twelve they named their daughter Miranda Brooke after the woman (Miranda Michaels) who rescued Tess in the unstable years of her youth. The original Miranda's health is failing quickly at the start of this story, and Miranda's daughter Charlotte has fast become Tess' best friend in her mother's place.
Thomas is offered a job he desperately wants and Tess works part-time at a health spa while Thomas' parents gladly watch little "Mira Brooke". When the spa's owner wants to build another swimming pool, the earth moving turns up human bones, and the search begins for the murderer.
Heather is excellent at misleading the reader with suspects although her clues do give us a chance to ferret out the killer. Tess is a natural born investigator, inserting herself into troubling situations. And not just any troubles but the kind that lead to her becoming a victim. Her Glock always at the ready, she does her best to be prepared for mayhem.
Thomas is beside himself with his wife's involvement in this case and comes to the point where he demands she desist from helping with her insights - which is fine with Tess after some scary episodes. However, Tess always finds a way to up the ante where her safety is involved, and somehow her best intentions backfire.
There are some laugh out loud moments in this story, and Thomas' parents, particularly his mom Nikki Jo, and his younger brothers provide the tapestry of a real family. Tess is devoted to them and they to her.
Heather gives snippets of romance between Thomas and Tess in her suspense novels which highlight their love, respect, and passion for one another. Refreshingly and honestly done.
Since the stories are told from Tess' first person point of view, she always notices her female counterparts by how they dress with detailed descriptions and self-deprecating comparisons.
Cleverly introduced in the first book of the series, Trial by Twelve begins with a letter and they continue at the beginning of each chapter. The title works perfectly, specifically referred to near the end of the book.
Heather Day Gilbert's voice plays very well for Tess. Her entertaining prose, story development with occasional humor, fleshed out, colorful, and interesting peripheral characters, emotional conflicts, touching moments, and multiple suspects provide quick reads with satisfying conclusions to the immediate mystery. Trial by Twelve leaves the reader with a new conflict to anticipate in Heather's next addition to the well done A Murder in the Mountains Series.
Father, you've blessed Heather with unique stories just for her to tell. Please continue to furnish what she needs to do what you designed for her. Encourage her all along the way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness", and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." So then, no more boasting about men!
Ta Da! My latest novel has arrived for e-readers. Here's my blurb:
Life leads us to and from many places, but when it comes to eternity there are only two choices for our destination . . .
An unlikely felon returns to his roots and the friendship of a fiery old widow. The last things he expects to find are true love, a ministry to youth, and the unusual burden for his new love’s ex-fiancé.
Here's one place you can find it if you're interested:
Rusty barbed wire. Dangerous. Harmful. Painful. Barbed wire fencing is often used for cattle because their tough hides generally will not suffer potentially hurtful injury if they lean over or through the rows of wire. However, if they get a foot or leg caught in the fencing, they can suffer severe cuts from the barbs - all the worse with the rusty element.
This is a picture of the world today. It's crazy weird with barbed wire danger threatening to cut righteous conduct to shreds, leaving it bleeding to death. The depraved mindsets which call evil good and good evil dominate the mainstream media cursing at all who disagree with their bizarre opinions and wickedness. It starts at the top of this once great nation and the trickle down evil is aimed at destroying every trace of right thinking and actions substituting unholy behaviors and practices in their places.
Liars and cheaters are being exalted. Murderers and crooks are praised and defended. The stench of evil permeates politics and pulpits. Wickedness is defended and righteousness is criticized and persecuted. No character, no integrity, no leadership.
It's like this country has been wrapped in barbed wire, cutting into the core of its values and statutes, those who strung the fence watching while it dies a slow and painful death. The devil rejoices at its demise, laughing at the ridiculous foolishness of those who honor him with their ignorant plans as they set their course for their own destruction right along with his inevitable end.
Believers have one course left to them. Prayer. Intense, effective, prayer blessed by the Savior and dictated by the Holy Spirit.
As Paul wrote so long ago in 1 Corinthians 4:18-20 (NIV):
Some of you have become arrogant as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
Father, hear our cries. Forgive us. Redeem us. Restore our country to One Nation Under God. Please, Lord. We're truly desperate for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
If you want to read some grown up Christian Fiction with a painful and important plot, Finding Amanda by Robin Patchen is a good place to start. The prologue will make you nauseas as you prepare to meet Amanda many years later.
Amanda Johnson's chef skills, teaching cooking classes, and blog have given her a considerable following and a published cookbook with another one in the works. Although there is much to celebrate in her life, she's decided a separation from her former Marine husband Mark is necessary primarily because he's urged her not to try to publish her memoir about the traumatic past she endured at the hands of her psychiatrist as a young teen trying to recuperate from being the only survivor in a car crash with her best friend's family. She completely misconstrues Mark's reactions after reading the memoir and his reasons for not wanting her to publish it and builds a false foundation on which to build her case for an eventual divorce.
Mark is miserable being separated from his wife and two little girls without understanding why his marriage has suddenly fallen apart. He loves Amanda, is determined to win her back, but she keeps throwing up new roadblocks to his every effort.
I don't want to give away the plot points so I'll focus on the characters. The disconnect which caused the separation between this couple is a direct result of their inability to express their deepest feelings about the atrocity committed against Amanda. The misperceptions by Amanda are really her feelings projected onto Mark who is oblivious to how she's taken his actions over the last two years since she detailed her experience in the memoir. Amanda will have none of Mark's suggestions not to seek publication for the memoir because he fears her predator will try to find her even though she doesn't reveal his name in her account.
Mark is all about protecting - and loving - his family. His concerns for his wife's safety reveal his character and his being a warrior at heart. He struggles with some PTSD symptoms but not always. His inner rage against the one who hurt Amanda is constantly having to be subdued, and he fights against what he wishes he could do to the man.
We watch the struggles of both characters as they react to each other. Although Amanda is a successful woman and a devoted mother, she suffers the scars of her past while hoping her memoir will provide some sort of justice and/or revenge. She's convinced herself the way she feels about Mark is correct and that her memoir will somehow benefit others and expose the man who ruined her life even though she never names him. Her conduct at times, in spite of her damaged reasoning, is despicable. In fact, I had to set my Kindle down a couple of times because she made me furious.
Mark found Jesus to get him through the trauma of learning of his wife's horror. His faith is new and raw, but it's all he has to get him through what's happening with his family. His best friend and former Marine Chris is now an FBI agent and helps Mark with information to protect Amanda. His wife Jamie is Amanda's best friend and hopes Amanda will stay with Mark and does her best to make sure Amanda sees that her husband truly loves her. Mark is honorable, has that all-man thing goin' on, and it figures he wouldn't know the real reasons his wife wants to end their marriage.
Robin Patchen writes skillfully and keeps the conflict present and intense. She handles the delicate topic of sexual abuse with gut-wrenching clarity and purpose and builds a painful but rewarding story about forgiveness and faith contrasting them to vengeance and self-reliance. The title is twofold: Amanda must find herself before she can be found. Highly recommend Finding Amanda.
Father, please continue to bless Robin as she writes about the trials and sufferings of people in this world. Give her whatever she needs to complete those stories you have just for her to tell. May she continue to honor you in all she does. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
This is really the perfect setting to listen to Chris Botti, but he's just as spectacular in a larger venue with multiple guests. Always selecting superb musicians to accompany his work, it's a pleasure to listen to his creations and covers. An older song in an earlier time, this is another beautiful tune by the one and only Christ Botti.
Father, you know all of our hearts. You give such gifts and talents. Wishing we would all acknowledge the source of what we do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Former Federal Prosecutor Diane Munson and former NCIS Agent and undercover agent for the DEA David Munson collaborate to "factionally" expose the underbelly of DC politics in their legal thrillers. Confirming Justice, published by FaithWalk Publishing in 2006, is one of many legal thrillers written by this duo.
Federal Judge Dwight Pendergast and wife Christine have a few secrets from each other but nothing they feel will ultimately affect their marriage until a friend of theirs, who Judge Pendergast feels is inimitably qualified, is nominated to the Supreme Court but withdraws his nomination under scrutiny and in a tirade when his wife is assaulted with a pie in her face during the hearings.
Suddenly, Judge Pendergast is the next nominee. He learns his wife has been receiving terrible notes about her brief past relationship in college with a mutual friend of theirs of which Dwight had no knowledge. And Dwight's health issues haven't been completely revealed to his family.
Judge Pendergast is forced to dismiss a trial of a guilty individual when the prosecution can't find its star witness FBI Agent Frank Williams. After Special Agent Griff Topping and his partner Sal discover what's happened and find the agent, although it's too late for the trial, the judge summons Griff to see if he will agree to work for him on a private project which involves the judge's health. Shortly after Griff agrees to do this, the judge is nominated to the Supreme Court.
This is only a brief summary of half of the plot elements in this complex story. With many characters, locations, criminal scenarios, and some tense moments, Confirming Justice is a satisfying account of the working of the justice system, those who try to find an angle to exploit it and those who operate within it, the typical political hacks and those who lust after power over principles, while those who truly want justice lay down their lives to keep the law and follow it.
Faith issues were introduced organically and became prominent throughout.
From the writing standpoint, I'm a stickler for contractions in conversations and in general. Without them the language seems stilted and obtrusive, slowing me down as a reader. Now if either the "I" or the "am" (for example) is there for emphasis, I would prefer italics to clue me in, same with cannot or do not, etc. Otherwise it feels like a first grade reader.
There was a lot going on in this novel and sometimes the break-off points seemed forced and perhaps a bit late or too early, making it difficult to resume my place with the following scene or the return to what has passed.
Those points don't really take away from the story itself but rather present a little reading interference for this reader.
There were a few stereotypical characters, but that's got to be expected when dealing with criminals and politicians where sometimes there is no recognizable separation between the two.
Confirming Justice is a good read for those who enjoy political thrillers - I would classify this as political suspense - with complex storylines and a wide cast of characters. The Munsons clearly know the way things work on the inside of DC, and it was a pleasure to read from their perspective.
Father, please continue to give the Munsons the stories you have for them to tell. May they be blessed for their experience and their wisdom and their multi-talents under your direction. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
There is no good reason for my life being blessed - other than the God who created me somehow decided I would be born in the USA, given the best parents a child could ever hope to have and a wonderful protective older brother, go astray as a young 20 year old, spend over 30 years working with race horses which was a dream fulfilled, meeting the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 30, and because of Him somehow managed to climb out of self-induced difficulties, to triumph in spite of foolish and hurtful mistakes. I am blessed by the Creator of the universe. Not because of who I am but because of His forgiveness and tremendous grace. No other reason.
I have a loving family, miss my parents and brother who've gone on to be with the Lord. Came through heart surgery with every prayer answered. I love deep, receive much, and try to be generous. I'm flawed and imperfect, undeserving of these spectacular blessings, but I'm filled and overwhelmed with gratitude to the King of Kings.
Sometimes you just have to remember, to speak out, to acknowledge to God: "Apart from Him, I can do nothing." I love you, Jesus. Thank you is never enough. And I remain desperate for you.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: