Monday, October 1, 2018

A beautiful October.


It's a lovely October but...
It's not nearly as beautiful as last October.

Last October,
The leaves were fiery red, bright yellow and glowing orange.
The trees seemed to hold onto the leaves a bit longer as if showing off.
Look at me! Look at me!

The rain smelled incredible.
The sunsets were glorious.
The crispness of morning, a delight.

Last year we'd just come through a horrible time of suffering.
We'd watched my dad battle cancer and ultimately lose the fight.
We didn't look out the windows or feel the fresh air.
We held a vigil of love.

And when it was over.
When the hot pain of anticipation and loss lifted,
October shocked with its beauty.

I remember saying over and over how beautiful THIS October was.
And it was glorious.
It was the prettiest fall I'd ever seen.

Because after the dark,
After going through the ugliness of death,
The light born out of that dark tunnel,
Was so very bright.

Suffering gives birth to appreciation...
Of life, beauty, nature.
And although last October was filled with sorrow,
Joy danced in the falling leaves.
My heart was bathed in a downpour of comfort.
Peace warmed like a comfy sweater.
And it was the most beautiful October on record. 

Christmas In Time - A Country Christmas by Carolyn Bickel

Happy Release Day!!!
Today is the day that the ebook releases so if you pre-ordered (THANK YOU SO MUCH!), it should be delivered to you today!
The paperback still has a week or two to percolate, unfortunately. It's coming though, I promise!
We surely do appreciate your support in this endeavor. It's been so much fun creating a book with my co-authors. What a wonderful group of people to work with!

Today I'd like to introduce you to Carolyn Bickel!
Her story is a sweet tale of Christmas that many of us can relate to...it will warm your heart!




          I experienced some of the events, and situations you’ll see in my story. The struggle to pay the bills, the lack of money to buy gifts at Christmas, like many people, I experienced those difficult times. But in this story I wanted to show the importance of being a close family during hard times. Little things count. Presents from the heart come in different ways, as this family discovered; not always in lavish gifts, but in unexpected ways. The real meaning of Christmas is love for one another, and what this time is all about, God’s son 


Carolyn Bickel lives in southwest Washington State on a small cattle ranch with her husband Sam. Their house pets include a Pembroke Welch Corgi, and their fat cat Mabel. She has written adventures about Mabel and Tasha, yet to be finished. She loves music and plays piano in a band twice a month on Friday night at her church for Celebrate Recovery, a successful program for persons recovering from additions. Lives are being changed. It is wonderful to see.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Christmas in Time - The Junkyard Gang by James K. Pratt


Just a few more days until the ebook is released! The paperback has been a bit delayed I'm afraid. Look for a mid-October release for the paperback version of Christmas in Time!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to James K. Pratt. He's written a fun Christmas story from the perspective of a boy. 

Three kids living on an American military base in Japan sneak out on Christmas morning to give presents to a friend who lost his home in a fire. Along the way the three will struggle with bullies and military police. 
I lived on Atsugi base in Japan during the 1980s, the time the story takes place. It’s a great setting. Add eighties culture and kids in the midst of a Nintendo obsession and it became a nostalgic adventure inspired by my own childhood memories.


James K. Pratt is the author of Chelsea and Swindle, Children of Nod, and Night Side of Nature. You can learn more about James on his website, www.JamesKPratt.comor visit his Facebook home. You can also follow him on Twitter at @JamesKPrattx

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Christmas In Time - A Home for Christmas by Kristie Kandoll

Pre-order the ebook now - paperback available on October 1st.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Kristie Kandoll.
Kristie is another of the seven authors contributing to the anthology Christmas In Time. 
I had the privilege of critiquing the first few chapters of Kristie's story and I was drawn directly into the emotion of the conflict. I can't wait to find out how it ends!
Without further ado...Kristie Kandoll:


My love of northwestern North Dakota runs deep. My ancestors homesteaded the land that my brother still farms. I have the utmost respect and admiration for these tough pioneers. A harsh climate, rocky soil, and often little money, produced resilient, hard-working people. 
One of our bachelor relatives farmed near us when I was growing up. My parents included him in our holidays, and he enjoyed Mom’s home-cooked meals. He held a special place in my heart, and I worried about him going back to his empty house. I’ve wondered how his life—and all our of lives—might have turned out differently if at some point he or we had chosen a different fork in the road.
Kristie Kandoll lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. She grew up in North Dakota and enjoys writing Christian historical fiction in that setting. A Home for Christmas is her first published story. Dakota's Promise, a romantic suspense novel set in 1939, and two novels in her Belden homesteading trilogy, Song of Dakota and Day by Day, are currently being considered. A blog with history of the area is on her website, kristiekandoll.com

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Clock


This is my great-grandfather's clock.
It kept time on the wall of his small grocery store in Montebello, California, back in the 20's and 30's.
My mother inherited it from him.
This Seth Thomas clock was an important part of my growing up years.
It hung on the wall in the family room of my childhood home. 
We willed those hands to reach the correct time as we waited for our favorite TV shows.
Bewitched, The Adam's Family, The Brady Bunch, Partridge Family and during my early teens, Donny and Marie. (swoon)
It's a schoolhouse clock...an old-school wind-up clock.
Wind it up and it runs for eight days straight.
It keeps perfect time.
This was both good and bad when I was growing up. 
Good when I was getting ready to go somewhere...
Bad when I came home late on a Saturday night.
It also has a loud tick tock...
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. 
My friends complained about it when they'd sleep over.
We always had sleepovers on the floor of the family room, playing games, watching Nightmare Theater and staying up 'til all hours (because we'd watched Nightmare Theater).
I love the sound of that clock. 
It's strong, steady and familiar.
Sometimes I don't hear it at all...and then I'll see the pendulum swinging back and forth and the ticking and tocking will waft over my ears...there it is...
Many years ago, my parents asked my sister, brother and I which family heirlooms we wanted to inherit.
I didn't hesitate. 
Great Grandpa's old clock.
When my mom moved this summer, she gave it to me.
It hangs in our den, ticking off it's familiar beat.
The other day, I was talking to my daughter on the phone. 
In the middle of our conversation she said, "Mom, I hear the clock. I love that clock!"
There it was.
That loud, familiar friend.
Nearly a hundred years of ticking and tocking and keeping time for generations of children and grandchildren.
I wonder what secrets...what stories that clock could tell...

Monday, September 17, 2018

Christmas In Time - An English Christmas Treasure by Debby Lee

          This week I'd like to introduce you to Debby Lee.  I met Debby almost two years ago when she responded to my request for a local critique partner on the American Christian Fiction Writer's facebook page. Debby has been an encouragement to me and a valuable critique partner. Her expertise has helped me to grow as a writer and her faith in my ability to tell a story is why I'm part of this anthology. I'm so grateful!
          Her contribution to Christmas in Time is titled: An English Christmas Treasure.

When members of my critique group began talking about putting an anthology together I immediately wanted to be a part of it. A chance to participate in a Christmas collection with writers who help me hone my writing skills, folks I consider my friends, I couldn't refuse. I almost didn't know how to begin. I've written several stories set in America during the 1800's, but for this project I was ready for something different. Then I thought about England. I love the movies Sense and Sensibility and Young Victoria, and besides, my mother-in-law is from Soham, England. So, I delved into research, which I consider one of the most enjoyable parts of being an author. Drawing further inspiration from the classic, The Little Drummer Boy, I wove together what I hope is a tale of heartwarming romance.

Debby Lee was raised in the cozy town of Toledo, Washington. She’s been writing since she was a small child, but never forgets home.
The American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America are two organizations Debby enjoys being a part of. She recently signed her fourth contract with Barbour Publishing. The Courageous Brides and Mountain Christmas Brides both made the ECPA Bestsellers list. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steven Laube Literary Agency.
A self-professed nature lover, Debby feels like a hippie child who wasn’t born soon enough to attend Woodstock. She wishes she could run barefoot all year long, but often does when weather permits. During football season Debby cheers on the Seattle Seahawks with other devoted fans. She’s also filled with wanderlust and dreams of traveling the world someday.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Christmas in Time - Christmas Stars by Barbara Blakey

Christmas in Time is set to release on October 1st!
Pre-order for the ebook is available now, and the paperback is coming soon.

What I've enjoyed most about contributing to this anthology is the people I've had the privilege of working with--seasoned writers from whom I can learn and grow as a writer. This week I'd like to introduce you to Barbara Tifft Blakey. 


 When the opportunity came to be a part of this collection, I started thinking about the many joyful Christmases I’ve known. One of the most memorable, almost magical, was the one spent in Europe, specifically parts of Germany and Vienna. It seemed like a perfect fit to set my story in a place that touched me as wonderfully as that Christmas did.

Barbara Tifft Blakey is the author of the language arts program, Total Language Plus. She has written a middle grade novel, Bertie’s War (published by Kregel) and written for two anthologies (published by Barbour):  The Underground Railroad Brides Collectionand The Pony Express Romance Collection.