Tag Archive | faith

The Value of a Day

I’m a proactive worrier. A planner. I want to understand all the contingencies and be ready.

Life doesn’t always allow that though and nothing I’ve worried about has ever come to pass. I’m not superstitious enough to believe that my anxieties and preparation had anything to do with that.

Worry robs me of peace and joy. It takes me out of the present into an invisible (to me) future.

Leaving worry aside and focusing on the here and now can bring me greater contentment. That is if I truly value the work I’m doing right now.

As I’ve grown older, (not grown up), I’ve had to re-think what’s important. I’ve always been a doer and getting things accomplished were a measure of my worth at least in my own myopic perspective.

God has brought me to a place where I can savor more of the less remarkable moments. Yes, I sometimes make a list of all I’ve done to reassure myself that I wasn’t lazy at the end of the day when I don’t have anything tangible to show for the time that’s passed.

Getting work done around the house, completing projects and even finishing a book or having one come out are all tasks that recycle. They never end. There’s always more laundry to do. The dogs track in mud on a freshly washed floor, my daughter needs something for school right away and the grass keeps growing and when that stops the snow will keep me busy. When the kids were younger I struggled to find value in keeping them clean, clothed, and fed. And there are more stories and books in my head than I can possible accomplish in the time God has given me today.

While I still need do all the necessities of daily life, cleaning, grocery shopping, looking after kids, paying bills, helping my husband, and doing contracted writing/editing/teaching work, I’ve found that sometimes the seemingly smaller things are more important:

  • My time with God each day.
  • Hanging out with my dying father even while he sleeps.
  • Giving my mom a break so she can get away from the 24/7 burden of caring for my dad.
  • Playing mini-golf with my husband or sitting and watching television together and date nights.
  • Spending time with my daughter shopping or working on something together.
  • Girls-night out (or in!)
  • Hosting the small group that meets in our home.
  • Having people over for dinner or playing cards.
  • Being aware of people around me wherever I go. Who would God have me bless?

I’m finding that while the daily stuff is important, making time for the eternal stuff, the relationships, is even more so. Even though I hope my stories will impact lives, encourage people to grow in faith, or see the world a little differently, and they may outlast me, I firmly believe relationships are more important than all of it. When I teach writers I emphasize this often. Don’t overlook the people in the rush to accomplish a task. It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

I like to get things done. But sometimes sitting back and valuing the moments in a day with another person, even if it is silence, has the greater value. It won’t happen unless I’m intentional about it.

I doubt I’ll ever have regrets about a dirty house, or a messy lawn when we are in the process of making changes. I won’t regret the dust that sits undisturbed. At the end of my life I won’t think about any of that. All that will matter are the people. If this were my last day on earth would I be happy about how I left the people around me? Would they know without a doubt how loved they were?

I’m not saying to abandon cleaning and caring for those around us and for the material possessions God has given us. I’m suggesting we find greater value in the people than things or tasks. It isn’t easy and I still don’t always do it well, but I’m growing in it.

What are you learning to value in your day?

Spatzle Speaks: Madi’s Secret (Book Review)

My mom wrote Madi’s Secret many years ago and then she forgot it was releasing. I think my brother, Benji, who has dementia has been distracting her. And then there are other life things going on too, much I don’t understand. Still, I really liked this book except there’s no dog in it. Really, mom?

So Madi comes back to Wisconsin with her teenage son, but she left without a trace a long time ago leaving the love of her life behind. He never really understood where she was or why she’d left.

Parker had moved on after a while and married, had a daughter and became a widow. As a paramedic he’d seen many challenging things but nothing challenged him as much as finding his long-lost love trapped in an upside down car on the side of the highway.

She was back. But why had she left? Why wouldn’t she tell him? And her son? Who was the father?

Could love reignite in the shadow of the secrets she hasn’t shared? Madi isn’t even sure what it is that she saw that has her hunted by unknown evil. She returned to Wisconsin because she believed God was leading her back. But would she survive that obedience? And would God ever give her a relationship with Parker once the truth came out?

I recommend this book. Sure, it was written by my mom, but I know she pours herself into these stories. Check it out. It’s in ebook only for now but hopefully it will come out in print soon!

I give this book five bones, because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Whitney’s Vow Book Review

Mom has been busy getting the garden in and wouldn’t log me on so I could post a review of her very own book! As a dog it’s hard for me to type in the password to her laptop.

Mom told me that her author friend, Loree Lough had posted this photo (on the right here) on Facebook and stated that it looked like the cover of a romance novel. Mom thought Loree should write it but then opted to make the attempt herself.

Whitney’s Vow is the end result. A romantic suspense which is a newer genre for mom although most of her Gothic Regencies have those elements as well as some of her contemporary romances. Her publisher gave it a different cover which I think looks great.

Let me tell you a little about Whitney’s Vow. First of all Whitney was raised in a more affluent household but going to a public college cut her off from the purse strings of her parents and there she met Blake Anderson. They began their marriage on a beach along with four other friends from college.

Fast forward seven years and Whitney stays home at Rebel Falls Ranch in Montana, manages to make quilts, read books, garden and ride horses. Oh, and she’s a crack shot as well. Blake, however, is often gone for stretches of time doing some kind of undercover military operations with his team. Whitney is clueless about those operations, much less the actual day to day of running the ranch or their finances.

All of that comes to a head when she is informed that Blake is dead and that their beloved ranch is being forclosed on. The only way out is with an arranged marriage set up by her father. Whitney doesn’t want to remarry. She’s desolate…and vulnerable.

Blake is not dead and returns home just in time to stop the wedding and together they begin to unravel the lies and deception that brought them to that point. Whitney learns a lot about the ranch, and her husband’s military operations and undergoes a torturous journey to their happily ever after. Whitney becomes a part of the solution instead of a victim and I am happy to state she gets a dog too! (My favorite part!). Of course I’m biased and think you should read this book…but I will warn you, you might not be able to put it down! I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and that’s how I role!

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: An Escape for Ellie (Book Review)

Susan Karsten has released her third and final installment in the Honor’s Point Regency series, An Escape for Ellie. If you’ve enjoyed her series to date, you’ll not want to miss the final installment!

Ellie has been seeking shelter at Honor’s point, avoiding an unwanted engagement, but it seems her location has been discovered so she runs away and right in the carriage of Lord Dare and his sweet aunt.

Without giving away her story, she engages to become a companion to this older woman. She reads stories to her by day and writes them at night because she’s a budding novelist.

Lord Dare, however, is not so sanquine about the new addition to his household. His own love betrayed he struggles to resist the winning and sweet Ellie.

With unspoken secrets on the part of all three, and a devious plot by her parents, adventure lies ahead. Will Ellie and Lord Dare find their way to true love in spite of the obstacles? And when the truth is revealed by everyone, can love prevail?

My mom really enjoyed this series and loved this final installment so you’ll want to get a copy! I give it five bones because I’m a dog, and I don’t have thumbs or do stars.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Love Stumbled In (Book Review)

Love Stumbled In by [Nancy Shew Bolton]

Nancy Shew Bolton has written Love Stumbled In, another amazing historical romance filled with twists and turns that will keep you reading.

Set post-World War 1, the 1920’s are fraught with injury and loss due to a flu epidemic. Carrie is orphaned and has to go live with relatives who are so distant she didn’t really know them. They took her in and soon more deaths followed that home leaving the five brothers (one an adult) to look after their distant cousin.

Carrie struggles with a limp and an unrequited love with one of the boys who ends up leaving. Taking a job in a wealthy home to care for a disabled young woman, she finds herself struggling with broken dreams and and just what she wants to do with her life.

This is a wonderful piece of fiction and takes you back to a time when things were simpler but not so much when it comes to the human condition. My mom had a hard time putting this book down so you’re going to want to read it too! I give it five bones!

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Following the Sparrows (Book Review)

My mom met a new author, Karen Malley, last year and discovered she has a fabulous skill for story-telling. She was late posting this because we adopted another old dog (I’m not THAT old). Benji’s been keeping us busier than usual! So here is Following the Sparrows by Karen Malley!

Kathryn Baker has a secret. Not even her husband knows but it’s been a struggle for them both. When her husband is killed in a tragic accident she works even harder hoping to make up for the sins of her past. A handsome stranger challenges everything she thought was true.

Adam Harrison has his own past to overcome but he’s clinging to Jesus and waiting for Him to reveal Adam’s purpose. Maybe it’s to help Katheryn to know God? But what if he falls in love with her? When will she share her dark secret?

Adam and Kathryn grow closer. A puppy dog, an accident, and a crisis of faith all complicate things and makes this a book you’ll want to keep reading. The great news is it is the first in a series of three books!

You won’t want to miss this one! I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll!

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Writer Wednesday: LoRee Peery

Please welcome author LoRee Peery to Writer Wednesday!

When did you decide you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

Back in the mid-80s we were on I-80 in western Nebraska, driving back from vacation. I slapped a magazine on my lap and spouted, “I could write better than this.” My husband challenged, “Why don’t you?”

The Lord wouldn’t let me put that out of my head. I started with short magazine romances. So pitiful, I submitted them without rewrites. I tried different things, piled up rejections, and learned as much as I could. I didn’t get the call until going through three editors in 2009-2010. I have learned notebooks full and gathered more cyber friends than I could have ever imagined. And I can’t forget the blessings!

What’s your pet peeve?

I’m sure they’ve changed over the years. I was always good at English grammar and worked as a proofreader/editorial assistant for 20 years.

I remember someone using sense for since. The irksome it’s / its.

Transposed ending punctuation, as in quotation marks before the period.

There had to have been many, but I must have overcome the bothersomeness (made-up words are not a pet peeve).

Right now the words after, before, and when signal passive writing to me, indicating that the order is backwards. If any of my sentences start with those words, they’ve come from someone else.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Oh, boy. I remember sending off for some kind of journal kits, those were the days before the Internet. I probably read something in a Writer’s Style Manual. Oh, it just came to me. They were called press kits. I later pictured whoever opened those requests roaring and/or shaking heads over my stupidity.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Voicing the mechanics of story. I’ve heard all the terms, and understand them. But if someone asks me to describe my character’s journey with plot pinches and turning points, I go “duh.” For a while there was psychology of character as in taking some kind of test for those made-up people and incorporating that into story. I’m sorry, but that stuff just goes over my head. I’m all for simple, though my characters meet tough real-life situations, and they somehow grow, overcome, and change. As in life, they can’t do those things without the Lord.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

It’s been a while since I received actual rejections. My White Rose Publishing editor has asked for rewrites. She didn’t care for the heroine of one of my upcoming releases, so I changed her backstory and motivation. A reader’s comment from my first Christmas story bothered me for a long time. This person didn’t like that I referenced God, yet one of the main characters worked in a bar. (She or he obviously doesn’t know that in small-town Nebraska, many restaurants are housed in the town tavern.)

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

How does a person measure success? It sure isn’t money for me, or a number of sales. I always think of the words from my publisher’s editor-in-chief. My calling as a writer is just as legitimate if I never make a dime. This call to write is a sacred invitation. A soul is a good return for my writing investment.”

I’ve had highlights. Finally, after decades of writing on the topic, I self-published the story that haunted me, based on my father’s unsolved homicide. I solved the crime in fiction. Once Touches of Time released, peace concerning the event filled my soul.

I petulantly mentioned to a writer friend that I felt left out that no other author had invited me to be part of a boxed set for release on Amazon. Within a few months, I received an invitation and couldn’t be more tickled to have been asked to take part again.

What is your current work-in-progress?

I’m waiting for a critique partner to return my Christmas Extravaganza story. I’ll edit it and submit by the end of April. Here’s what I call my 40 working words for “A Cup of Christmas Kindness”: Violet returns home. Her twelve days of kind Christmas deeds to help Heath through his grief instead churns bitterness. His daughter is intrigued by the Advent tributes, grows close to Violet, and seeks to draw the old lovers back together.

The title and setting are clear for my next story, but at this time, that’s all I know. Brainstorming will kick in soon.

Thank you, Susan, for letting me visit on Writer Wednesday.

Bio:

Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Rom

 

ance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. Her Frivolities Series and the book based on her father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time, are available on Amazon. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author. Connect with LoRee through this Website: www.loreepeery.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/LoreePeery

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LoReePeery

Pelican Book Group http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/LoRee-Peery/e/B004UAGL2W/ref

Latest book release:

Repurposed     https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086J2QDQF?ref

Writer Wednesday: Barbara Britton

Please welcome author Barabar Britton to my blog. I’ve known Barbara for a few years as we attended a writing group together. She is also published by the Pelican Book Group, the publishing house I work for and publish my own work through. 

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

I had no idea that I would become an author later in life. When I was younger, no one mentioned being an author as a career choice. I enjoyed my creative writing class in high school, but the teacher never encouraged me to go further with my storytelling.

Many years later, I was teaching chapel to elementary students at my children’s school. Every week, I would create or mold curriculum to teach the Bible to my students. When I prayed for “creativity” to help me put all my lessons together, I received a prompting to write stories. Eight years later, my fourth story sold to a publisher and wouldn’t you know, it was a take-off of a Bible story.

What’s your pet peeve?

At home, my pet peeve is when people leave their dishes where they finished eating. The dishwasher might only be a step away. When I was pre-published, I avoided telling people that I was a writer because the first question that came out of their mouth was, “Are you published?” It is very difficult to be traditionally published and many readers do not understand the years of rejection it takes to receive a “Yes” from a publisher. Writers need all the encouragement they can get.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

 I don’t know if it’s embarrassing, but it sure is interesting to gauge people’s reaction when I say that I write Biblical Fiction. I’ve heard:

-my grandmother reads that.

-the sound of footsteps fleeing my table.

-isn’t that a tad redundant? (I didn’t think that was funny, but it was said by an atheist)

 What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Marketing consumes a lot of my author time. Authors have been delegated most of the marketing and discoverability aspects of their career. What once was done by a publisher is now done by the author. I am not a tech savvy person, so I have had a big learning curve since my first book debuted. Once you figure out a system, everything changes in the cyber world.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejections are part of writing. They aren’t fun, but I amassed over 200 rejections before I sold my first manuscript. Negative reviews hurt my feelings—for an instant—and then you have to let them go. I bathe my writing in prayer and I have a Christian publisher, so I am comfortable with my stories. Not every story is for every reader. You never know what a reader is going through in their life. Sometimes a story can be too real for them to read, or it’s simply not their genre or story trope.

 What is your current work in progress?

I am working on another Bible story, but the daughters of Zelophehad have one more book to go before they claim their land. “Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey” will release in April. I have a Historical debuting in June. If you liked “Me Before You” but disliked the ending, then you will like “Until June.”

Bio:

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.

Website: http://www.barbarambritton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraMBritton

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-M-Britton-173432342754243/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Barbara-M.-Britton/e/B01C800ADG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Latest book release: “Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey.”

Book blurb:

Noah bat Zelophehad might have broken tradition by being able to inherit her father’s land, but her heart’s desire is to have the finest herds in all of Israel, something an orphaned and unmarried woman has never achieved.

Jeremiah ben Abishua cannot speak, nor hear. God has made his thoughts captive to his mind. But he can communicate with one shepherdess, a woman who sees his skill with animals and treats him like a man worthy of respect.

When their people disobey God and incur his wrath, Noah and Jeremiah must overcome tragedy in order to change perceptions in the tribes of Israel. Will their kinship desire to care for one another and the four-legged creatures God has placed in their care, be able to flourish in a land filled with enemies of the One True God?

God gave Noah bat Zelophehad four sisters, a way with four-legged creatures, and a strong spirit. She will need all three gifts to thrive in the Promised Land of God and find love with a special shepherd.

 

Writer Wednesday: Carol Raj

Welcome Carol Raj to Writer Wednesday!

When did you decide you would be an author?
When I was in second grade, my story about a duck received a gold star and a prominent place on the classroom bulletin board. I had always loved books and stories, but had never realized that real people actually wrote them.

What is my pet peeve?
The new practice of editors and agents not responding at all to submissions. It leaves authors hanging. How long would it take someone to type “No thanks” and hit “Send?”

What was my most embarrassing moment as a writer?
I haven’t had one yet.

What is my most difficult challenge as an author?
Marketing! It’s against my nature and my upbringing to draw attention to myself.

How do I take rejections and/or negative reviews?
My response ranges from stoic acceptance to internal grumbling.

What do I feel is the best success so far in my writing career?
I was very encouraged by a review calling my novel, “The Curious Prayer Life of Muriel Smith,” a “hidden gem.” It was very encouraging.

What is my current work in progress?
A Young Adult novel entitled “Charlotte Masterson Gets a Life” is under contract. I’m also working on another faith-based YA novel and a secular adult novel. I’m not yet sure which one will take off.

Writer Links
Website: http://www.carolraj.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carol.raj.79
Pinterest: pinterest.com/crajmerr
Twitter: twitter.com/CarolRaj4
Amazon link for Muriel: http://amazon.com/dp/B07V39G9PR

Writer Wednesday: Kim McMahill

Welcome author Kim McMahill to my Writer Wednesday here! 

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

I’ve always loved to write. In a high school creative writing class, I wrote a short story. The teacher commented on my paper that with a little more character and plot development, I had a novel. I packed that paper around for years and eventually turned it into my first novel. While finishing my first novel and trying to find a publisher I started writing travel and human-interest pieces for magazines and piled up quite a list of credits. But when I really started writing fiction in earnest was when my husband started fighting wildfires. We lived in a remote cabin with no tv or phone and he would be gone for up to twenty-one days at a time which gave me the opportunity to really explore my craft, and I’ve been writing adventure and suspense novels ever since.

What’s your pet peeve?

It’s not writing-related, but my biggest pet peeve is when I see someone who is texting while driving. It is one thing to endanger yourself, but totally unacceptable to endanger those around you.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I write action, adventure, and suspense. In Shrouded in Secrets, the adventures take place all over the world. When I wrote the book it never dawned on me that I might need to do a reading someday. Needless to say, it’s pretty embarrassing to not be able to correctly pronounce words in your own book.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

My most difficult challenge as an author is in marketing my work. I’m a bit of an introvert and technologically challenged, so promoting my work is not easy, especially in the age of social media.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I remind myself that everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has different taste in reading material. If someone doesn’t like my work, it doesn’t mean that no one will.   

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

By sheer numbers, Marked in Mexico has been by far my best seller, but the marketing arena has changed since then and the promotions that yielded good results don’t necessarily work anymore. I hope each book I write gets better as I learn and get more experience, so each time a book gets accepted for publication I consider that my best success.

What is your current work in progress?

I have recently submitted the fourth book in my Risky Research Series, A Measure of Madness, to my publisher. While waiting to hear back, I’ve started outlining book five.

Bio:

Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. She started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense and adventure fiction. Along with writing novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel story anthology. Kim currently resides in Colorado, and when not writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.

Blog: http://www.kimmcmahill.blogspot.comTwitter: https://twitter.com/kimmcmahill   @kimmcmahill

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KimMcMahillAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimmcmahill/

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/849945.Kim_McMahill

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-McMahill/e/B007IK0EJW/

Latest book release: A Foundation of Fear

FBI Special Agent Devyn Nash is obsessed with taking down Coterie, a deadly group out to control the multi-billion-dollar diet product industry. The FBI’s plan to expose Coterie places Devyn’s best friend and her partner’s fiancé in the crosshairs of this ruthless organization. Can Devyn protect her friend and bring the coldblooded killers to justice before they strike again while distracted by injury, a sexist bully, and a long-distance relationship with a handsome Wyoming sheriff?

Lobbyist and Coterie assassin Sofia Wilks wants nothing more than to regain control of her life. Sofia knows Agent Nash is nipping at her heels, but the FBI agent isn’t the worst of her fears. She is drawn to a man who has the power to destroy her.