And So It Barks…

If you’ve been reading along for any length of time – say, 20 minutes or so – you probably know I’ve always felt that the world should be divided into two main camps: Dog Lovers and Other. (If you’re a feline fan, sorry. Naw. Not really.) You may also know that I wrote a book about our good dog, Eve, who passed away around Christmas 2013. And that our house has been dog-less ever since.

In the finale of my recent blog post Christmas, Eve, I told you I’d have an update for you on the dog front. Well. Here she is:

Her name is Kimber.  About six months old. Isn’t she a beauty?

Kimber was quite the li’l nipper when she joined us in late August. She’s calmed down quite a bit since then. But she’s a puppy and excitable. If you come visit, I can pretty much guarantee she’ll think the sun rises and sets on you. And greet you accordingly. (I’d bring treats ‘fize you.)

Part Golden Retriever. Part Lab. Part Border Collie. All heart. Way smarter than me. I’m thinking of re-naming her. How does “Einstein” sound? Also in the running: “Cicero.” Or “Typhoon.”

wp-image-2116531908jpg.jpegIn the past few months since Kimber came to us via the local dog rescue outfit, she’s learned “Sit,” “Stay,” “Come,” and “Down.” How to navigate 13 steps by herself. Let herself out. Open doors. Walk on a leash. NOT to eat Dad’s slippers. How to play football (sort of). Lie down while I write (most of the time. Nobody’s perfect.) And jitterbug.

Told you she’s way smarter than me.

I’ve called her “Eve” more than once. Call it a “Freudian slip.” They don’t even look alike. I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to have a dog in the house.  After getting Kimber, however, I can’t imagine having a dog-less house again.

I may even have to write about it. Again. 🙂

Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2017 to your and yours, dear readers!

What are your writing goals for the new year?

Forever, Eve

Forever, Eve

A Dog’s Story

A Kitchen, a Corner and Christmas!

Fabulous chocolate fudge.  Spicy cocoa mocha mix.  Savory roast beef with red wine. Wassail with clove-studded oranges.  Fruitcake.

Well, okay.  Maybe not fruitcake.  But what are the holidays without festive food?

The Kitchen

Grandma Peggy's Kitchen Cover.1Is your mouth watering yet?  Good.  Because I’m opening a door to Grandma Peggy’s Kitchen (aka: my mom), an  ebook collection of holiday recipes, reminiscences and easy, inexpensive craft ideas to spruce up your home for the season!   Grab your copy here.

Man in the Corner

Speaking of which, Man In the Corner is another holiday-themed story based on real people. “Mr. Tom” is loosely based on my dad:

Man in the Corner Cover

Mae Taylor and her son Josiah just want to be left alone after the divorce. Their plans to start over solo are jostled when they move next door to Mr. Tom, a lonely widower and retired school teacher. Together, this unlikely trio finds a second chance at faith, hope and love with help from holiday traditions, cookbooks, an attic secret and two ‘Christmas ghosts.’

Find it here.

If you enjoyed either one, a kind review would be appreciated. Thanks!

‘A Likely Story’ Coming Soon!

A Likely Story: When Spiritual Abuse Comes Knocking is coming soon to Kindle!

Controversy clouds the departure of women’s ministry director Rhoda Pemberton after her sudden exodus from Maple Glen Community Church. No is talking, least of all Pastor Pearson.

Rhoda shows up at her best friend’s door in a downpour, desperate for healing from something she scoffed at until it happened to her. Can two lifelong friends – a soul-sick skeptic and the founder of LightLife Christian Counseling – battle an unseen darkness and fight their way through to health and hope? Or will shame and stonewalling short-circuit their quest for truth?

Includes ‘What Is Spiritual Abuse”‘, 13 Tips for Healing and Hope, and Resources.

Coming soon to Kindle:

A Likely Story:

When Spiritual Abuse Comes Knocking.

By yours truly.

Keep an eye out!

‘Once Upon a Story…’ Part 3 of 3

The best stories are often book-ended by Once upon a time and They lived happily ever after.  Once upon a time there were Three Bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood.  Once upon a time there was an old sow with three little pigs…. A vain emperor who loved beautiful clothes … an east wind blew through Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane.  Once upon a time Gepetto found a piece of wood, Tom and Huck a robber’s treasure, Aladdin a lamp.  A wisp of a happy ending waltzes in the wind.

That’s it, isn’t it?  What most of us want, deep-down inside?  Isn’t that why something stirs within us when a great and noble struggle winds up with a superlative conclusion in which Good triumphs over Evil?  Aslan vanquishes the White Witch.  Kidnapped through the machinations of his Uncle Ebenezer, David Balfour claims his inheritance with the help Alan Breck Stewart.  Dorothy Gale discovers “there’s no place like home.”

Don’t such endings make you want to pump your fist in the air, stand up and cheer?  “All is well” endings to wonderful stories bring sighs of satisfaction.  Where does that come from?  And what about the stories that end with “all is not so well”?  Capulets and Montagues take pot shots at each other from opposite sides of the Verona tracks; Romeo and Juliet are caught in the cross-hairs.  Anna Karenina leaves her husband for the dashing Count Vronsky and a train.   Quasimodo grieves himself to death, clinging to the dead body of his beloved gypsy girl, La Esmeralda.  Don’t they leave us feeling a little… bereft?  Like our map has been misplaced, or we wandered into the wrong tale?

What is it within you and me that sighs when we read or hear these stories?   It’s almost as if “happily ever after” is a yearning etched into the wet cement of our souls at birth.  And maybe it is.  Have you ever wondered why?  Have you gone ahead of your story?

***

Excerpted from chapter 1 of Once Upon a Story, by yours truly.

‘Once Upon a Story…’ Part 2 of 3

“But I’ve gone ahead of my story. Denys would have hated that.

 Denys loved to hear a story told well.”

– Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

It’s true, isn’t it?  Most of us love a story told well.  Especially a love story.  Elizabeth Bennet overcomes her prejudice and Mr. Darcy his pride to find true love.    Sydney Carton swaps identities so Lucie Manette and Charles Darnay can live happily ever after.  “Plain Jane” governess Eyre finds an unexpected soul mate in the brooding, taciturn Mr. Rochester.  Yuri Zhivago and Lara Guishar Antipova are united, lost, reunited and lose each other again during the Bolshevik Revolution and lots of snow.

Stories draw us in with danger, intrigue, suspense and the whisper of a happy ending.  A good story opens with all is well, moves into all is not well, and ends with an echo of hope.  Good is being overrun.  Evil, treachery or loss are on the loose. Sometimes all three.  Battle, sacrifice, hardship, courage, and rescue gallop across pages and plots.

A good story includes a dashing hero or an intrepid heroine who must overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to win freedom, homeland or true love. The Black Riders hunt Frodo with deadly intent.  Mordred plots King Arthur’s demise.  Farmer Brown chases Peter into a shed and Captain Hook loads Peter’s cup with poison. Will the beautiful heroine or gallant hero overcome?  Is all hope lost?  Will rescue arrive in time?  How will these stories unfold, stories that begin with lines like:

I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. …

            It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, …

            Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.

            Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.

            Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.

            In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

A long time ago, when all the grandfathers and grandmothers of today were little boys and little girls… Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie left their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin.

            In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. …

Excerpted from Once Upon a Story…, which is looking for a reputable publisher.  Stay tuned for the rest of the chapter…

‘Once Upon a Story…” Part 1 of 3

Once upon a time, a king loved a princess.  Their love was epic.  Pure and unstained.  Then evil entered, followed by betrayal. The lovers were torn asunder, the princess taken into captivity.  The king sent his son to launch a daring raid into enemy territory to rescue his beloved: You.  
A fresh look at the greatest love story that ever bloomed, Once Upon a Story… mines nuggets of eternal truth from some well-loved stories, reminding us that we were created for relationship, live in a war zone, have an enemy, and that God’s love makes it possible for our stories to end with, “and they all lived happily ever after.”
***
Once Upon a Story is looking for a reputable publisher.  Excerpts from chapter 1 are coming up soon.  Keep an eye out!