Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, we're back. I ADDED A VLOG!!!

Yup, I've been out of the loop.
I flew the coop.
I hope you snooped!

Yes, I DID learn poetry from Sesame Street. Why do you ask?
I had to get done a chop of my manuscript in time to enter Genesis, and to get rolling on the query process.
I simply evaded the blogs and Facebook, as best I could, and worked.

Now we're done!!!



And Monday??


And what about April??



The launch of Married...with Fiction!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

After the butterflies leave...

I don't usually post back to back, but...

This is Becky.

I just read Becky Doughty's blog post "I love you". You can find it here.

I encourage every married person to read this, then store it up it your heart for those days when life is dull and you think the romance has died.

You know what? He could have, and by all accounts, this guy SHOULD HAVE DIED. 

Kevin Doughty
But God was not done with Kevin, not with Becky AND Kevin and not with ANY of you.

In June, John and I will celebrate 24 years of marriage, which in this world, is a grand achievement. 

If I knew on June 17th, 1989, what I know now?

I'd have gotten married June 16th, just to have one more day with him.

Marriage is WORK, it can be more painful than you thought possible. And it can be all you have to hang on to when the impossible hits and you know, you KNOW that your spouse has your back and will go down fighting for you.

I've said this before, marriage has seasons.

 Please, please, PLEASE give up on the idea that the "falling in love" butterflies are meant to last for all time.

You know what comes after the butterflies leave? 
The constant, solid, immovable promise that you will grow old and comfortable and content with this person.
That at the end of every day, the face they want to see smiling at them is yours. 
The cup of tea or coffee made just the way you like it. 
The wink across a crowded room, meant only for you. 
The certain laugh that sets you off too.
The secret jokes.
The spot on your shoulder that his hands know to go to.
The look when one of the kids does something exactly the way one of you do it.

The simple things, the difficult things.  



On April 1st, a new blog goes up. "Married...With Fiction".
Where are all the happy marriages in Christian fiction?   
We aim to find out.
How do I write a killer query? Come and ask!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pet Peeves and promotions....

"Hey kids!!"

Remember that?
It preceded almost every annoying commercial on Saturday morning TV. It drove me nuts, even as a child.

And YES,we had TV back then.

And yes, I knew Gilligan's Island was as dumb as they got. Why? Because I could read. I had no patience for shows that portrayed adults as idiots.

Another pet peeve? 
Anyone remember that?

What did they make that stuff with? Shredded cable? And if it burned, it looked surprisingly like plastic.

Speaking of plastic, I loathe polyester. I actually break out in hives if I wear nylons for too long. Now, don't get me wrong, polyester suits have their place, like cleaning up oil spills and being ground cloths for when I refinish antiques.

Although these chicks look so happy in their casual attire formulated from non-recyclable polymers and non-oxygenating layers of solar protection.

But they're not really running, unless it's away from whoever made them dress like this.

So, a few more pet peeves?
-empty juice cartons still in the fridge
-food containers in back packs, with apple cores that are GREY!!
-people who tailgate
-people who drive so slow you think they've run out of gas
-friends in California who whine about the cold. 65F in January is not cold!
-people who want meals when I'm writing, gah! Come on! We have a toaster!!

No, before you go all "waaaaaaaah!" and tell me your pet peeves...




LAURA FRANTZ is still booking her flights, but she's coming too.



"MARRIED...WITH FICTION" launches April 1st!!!!
I am soooo excited about this blog. Sometimes, ya just gotta take a leap of faith and JUMP!  


So? What are some of your pet peeves??

Come ON!!!

Your Aunt Vinezia constantly telling you that you have child bearing hips?
Snotty kids in the church nursery?

Bratty kids?

Bring it on!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Matthew Crawley, marriage and expectations.

Okay, look at them...they're all happy and oo-ey and gooey....annnnnnnd fake. 

As in 'NOT REAL'.
They are some guy named Dan and a woman named Michelle.

But do you think,"wouldn't it be lovely to have a man who's SO charming and witty and wise and RICH?" And have an estate? And all you do all day is dress for dinner?


Okay, now, look at the one on the right. 

Seriously, I mean it. LOOK at her! She's covered in road dust, filthy, has not showered in days, and her hair is soooo awful!! She's been stuck under her cowboy hat for a week and smells like it.

But? She's very real. 

She's one half of them.

 That's John and Jennifer. As of June 17th, 2013, they'll have been married 24 years.

That's TWENTY FOUR years.

They've had their ups and downs. Normal people do.
And you know what? Sometimes???/

HE'S right and she's WRONG.

But, shhhhhh. They already know that...

Their real life secret?

For one, he tells her about 9 times each and every day that he loves her. 
She tells him that back.
He's never once, never, never, NEVER said "That woman is much prettier than you." 
Nor has he brought the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition anywhere near either of them.
She doesn't have "How to dress like Matthew Crawley" posters hanging in the bathroom.

They both have a deep faith.
And they both are in it forever.

So, to what can one attribute such a solid marriage?

Well, faith and the knowledge that each marriage has seasons.

Spring, is well, duh, falling in love. Saving sugar packets from where you had coffee, ticket stubs from your first movie date, that filthy hand that you never did wash again when he held it the first time (kidding), hiking through the mountains, all that sweet, tender momentous stuff. 

Summer is realizing HE is IT. Staying up late and pondering how he'll propose and then laughing yourself silly when he blows you away with the real thing. Learning how to make him laugh so hard he can't breath. Holding the sick little ones so you can sleep. Holding tiny hands when the first steps are taken.
Autumn has tried to come, to dry us out and force the life to ebb away and die. But that is when having each others' back is critical. When the going gets so hard you cannot seem to breathe and the tunnel is so long, there is no light.
The forces of Autumn can bring Winter so quickly, you won't know what hit you.
God is the lover of our souls, and a happy marriage gives us a glimpse of Him. 

For us, those two crazy kids up there, Spring and Summer have flowed back and forth for almost 27 years. Autumn has tried, but God prevailed.

Choosing to be loving toward each other honours the vows we made. Knowing that he is there for me has made my life 100% better.  

Fictional relationships are based on someone's imagination. We need to remember that they are FALSE.

My relationship with my husband is real, it's every day and it is the truest thing in my world.
God gave him to me.

I am not the same person I was June 17th, 1989. Which is a relief to me and everyone I know!!

And in other news....

Married, with WHAT???

On April 1st, some writer friends and I are starting a blog called "Married...with Fiction".

We hope to up-end things. To bring people close and gather around for some wisdom. Mentor and care for each other. People from across the writing world who have something to share, and who want to share in something.
There is a need in Christian Fiction to show the happily married side of things. Not all love stories are about single people under 25. Many love stories, those great romances, are going strong after 50 years!!

How about you? Is there a place in your world that longs for wisdom, words and the wonder that is a love story between a Mr. and Mrs.?

Friday, February 15, 2013

A visit with Chad Allen of Baker Books.

I've been visiting a blog of a man I first encountered when he guest posted on Rachelle Gardner's blog.
He's smart and very interesting. I'm learning a lot from his experiences in the publishing world.
And hello, he's a redhead! That makes him even smarter.

Chad Allen is the editorial director for Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
He blogs about writing, publishing,life and creativity at
You can follow him on Twitter @chadrallen.

Here is a photo.

So, how did I persuade Mr Allen to visit TRTR??

I asked him AND he said yes!!
I know right!? How nice is that?

I sent him a few questions about publishing and his views of things, I hope you enjoy the Q and A session.

1) Besides the obvious challenges of publishing becoming much more of an internet venture, what do you see as a new challenge to writers and publishers that was unthinkable ten years ago?
A shrinking number of bookstores, which of course is related to a burgeoning number of online “storefronts.” This change, as with most changes, I expect, comes with liabilities and opportunities. One liability is that people are less likely to stumble upon your work in a bookstore. One opportunity is that it’s a lot easier to make sure the right people stumble upon your work online.
2) With the onset and growing influence of Amazon, is the global publishing experience erasing literary borders?  Do you see more international writers' work coming across your desk?
It’s not erasing literary borders, I don’t think. A genre is still a genre regardless of which country you’re in. I am not seeing proposals from other countries very much; that’s likely mainly due to the fact that I work so much with agents, and agents recognize that  authors who do not have a presence in the U.S. are by and large still a tough sell in this country, with some very notable exceptions. Still, globalization has meant that a part of our list is devoted to matters of international concern. For example, I just finished working on a book by Chinese dissident Bob Fu, and we are about to reissue a book on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict called Blood Brothers.
3) How has your 9-5 job changed how you see the world when you're travelling? Do you pay more attention in airport or local bookstores, or newspapers, keeping an eye out
for new authors?
I am an acquisitions editor, so I’d like to think I can’t help but notice an up-and-coming author or a hot topic. The reality is I’m sure I miss these all the time, but I do my best, and being a Christian acquisitions editor, I have faith that God leads me to the authors and topics that he wants me to pursue. Books are cultural artifacts; I’m endlessly fascinated to learn what our culture values as evidenced by what we read.
4) If there was an opportunity for you to try your hand at a completely different career for one month, no holds barred and you'd magically have the skill set required, what would you do? Cowboy? Astronaut? Disney animator?
Hm. That’s tough, but I think it would involve public speaking—either as a pastor or as an author. I’ve been on the receiving end of public speaking that has had a profound impact on my life, and I like the idea of helping others in this way.
5) If you could re-do one day of your life, which would it be and why?

I’m sure there are many, but the one that comes to mind is the day my wife organized a graduation party for me when I finished graduate school. My ungrateful behavior tainted what was otherwise a beautiful gift of love that she gave me, and I wish I could do that over.

Thanks Chad!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No, love is NOT a battlefield.

Me and John.

John and I.
Myself and my husband.
Annnnd my jacket was sliding, hence the whole linebacker shoulder thing. 

Pat Benatar was wrong. Love is NOT a battlefield.

But it can be, if we don't build an impenetrable fortress around our spouse and our self.

Here are some things my husband and I do to keep the fortress healthy and standing.

-We call it "a hedge". Keeping a hedge around us so that no one can ever say "well, I was all alone with her/him and she/he did...."
Keep all office doors open, literally. 

-Do not get suckered into an emotional connection with a person of the same gender as your spouse. DUH. Seriously. But it's a fine line, people, and if you have to justify secret conversations, then you are in trouble.  BIG trouble.
Unless you are planning a surprise party, then it's all good. 

-Do not speak ill of your spouse to anyone for any reason. This undermines your relationship in tiny steps, but a hundred tiny steps turns into a very long walk.

- Brag about them. Go ahead. If she sings well, tell your friends. If he's a great cook, share that with the crowd. Because if you brag them up? Chances are, someone is hearing about how awesome you are.

-Make time for each other. My husband will actually sit and watch Downton Abbey with me. People who know us are STUNNED by his behaviour. Why? It's PBS. It is NOT hockey.

-Make out. Can I get an amen?

So, anyone else want to chime in???

And in other news....

*Chad Allen from Baker Books will be joining TFTR for a visit. 
*As well as Katie Ganshert!

Stayed tuned for details.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

When grace HURTS...and then?

In the Spring of 2006, we were vandalized.
Yes, again.

We were hit previously on Halloween of 2005.

 How bad?

Our 14 foot trampoline was cut around the rim with a box cutter.
The police said if one of the kids (3, 8, 12 and 15 at the time) had slipped their foot into the holes, they could have very easily lost that foot. The nylon weave is so taut that we didn't see the cuts. And because the sliced nylon was so sharp, well, you do the math.

Our white siding was spray painted.
Our roof was spray painted.
Even our wood pile was painted.

They came back 2 nights later.
Spray. Rinse. Repeat.

Our neighbours were spared.

Therefore, we knew, as did the police, that we were specifically targeted.

We weren't allowed to discuss it outside our home, because it was an ongoing case. Over time, we settled into our routine again and then...

April of 2006. Six months later. My husband was out of town. With both older boys. I was alone with a 3 year old and a stressed out 15 year old daughter. Poor girl. It affected her bigtime.
Then very late at night, I heard glass breaking. 

And I felt God say, very clearly, "Don't move a muscle."

The next morning, I found this.

And this.

That little black bag to the left of the van? That's the CSI guy's goody bag. 
That window shattered into THOUSANDS of tiny pieces. Our neighbours cleaned it up.

And this too.


Our world imploded into visits with the police, LONG discussions with detectives, neighbours, friends, pastors and finally the nice doctor in the ER who told me I was having "an externally triggered chemical imbalance".

I was having a meltdown. Annnnd I went on meds.

Between that weekend, and June, our lives were either normal or a whirlwind. Nothing in between.

Then one day, a crack in the case.
And another one.
And then? 
A confession!

We had alot of suspicions, and they proved true.

We chose to mediate with two different police forces and the families of the boys who did the crime.
But we learned, also, the lengths bullying can reach. 
The fear of two of the boys was visceral and quite frightening. Two sets of parents were grieving what their sons had done. One set basically blamed the other two, even though their son was one angry and volatile young man.
The police knew exactly who did what.

So we chose restitution and a contract with the police to stay out of trouble. One of the nice police officers told the boys if any of them as much as jay-walked, they'd be in deep trouble.



I had to CHOOSE to forgive those boys. I absolutely had to.

Anger is never sated. Its appetite knows no bounds. 

So over the summer, I'd see one of the boys working at the supermarket to pay off his debts. To us. I'd see the look in his eyes and change it with a "hello, how are you?"

I am not saying I changed this kid's life.
God's love for us both did that.
But I walked the road of forgiveness with that kid and sharing that experience with him was not easy, but God's grace took us one step further each day.

I received an email this morning that let me know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that grace is stronger than our trials, and God's memory is much longer than mine. 
I'd forgotten about that day.
But these words brought it all back, and finally, we're on the sunny side of the mountain.

This was from his father, to a mutual friend.

By the way, remember the trouble that we had with D---- a while back? He is now Captain L----- and is making his mark as quite a leader in the Military. He is a God fearing, passionate young man. It is a good thing that everyone worked together to resolve that problem, otherwise his career would have been screwed.

I know it is quite while back but thank you. I don’t know if the Major’s still go to the church, but it would be nice to let the Mrs. Major know that D---- is doing very well. This was a significant event in his life to help him turn the corner from where he was headed as a follower , to become a leader.

I am SO proud of that young man. And thankful to have been a part of his life.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Navajo Word of the Day!!

First, I want to give a huge thank you and a shout out to Byron Shorty, the creator of a fantastic website called Navajo Word of the Day.

I am quite happy to plug his website because he's doing an awesome job and has kindly agreed to let me (poach his work) teach you a few words. 

You can find the website here

Go on, I dare you to visit and learn something new. He has something called "sound cloud" which is an excellent tool for linguistic nerds like me. I can go there and get shamed in my pronouncition. 


Where I try to repeat things after him and sound real good.

But...I don't.

So there.

So, our first word is "shik'is".

It's the word for "friend".

Now, you try it. Go ahead. I'll wait..

Did you try to say it??

Well done!!!

Good job!!

Now go visit his website and have fun AND learn something new!!

Ahe'hee' !
(yes, I know that's wrong, Byron and Kiersti, but I don't have the proper accent things on this blog!)