Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"A" is for avoidance.

This is me.



On second thought...


THIS is me.

I'm more freckle-y than an ostrich. 

But you get the point.

I have been avoiding 99% of the blogs on my blog roll. Only kind of lurking here and there on Facebook. Even my dear, DEAR, friends are getting ignored and I'm just sure they've all but wondered if I'm more of a twit than they first suspected/knew.


Yeah. They knew. 

HA!   They KNOW.

I have been doing the prep and tweaking and second guessing and freaking out and melting down and dusting off that is either required or I think is needed for the My Book Therapy Frasier contest. 

OH, AND... I'm being a mom as well. Gotta toss that in there when I get the time. 



So yeah, lately I've been pulling back and thinking about what MUST get done and what WANTS to get done.

And so here we are.
Here I am.
Feeling guilty and refreshed, all at once.

Friday is Good Friday.
Saturday is baking/cleaning for...


Easter!!!! The day God rolled back the stone, and His sleeves, and said "Come on, Son! Let's teach them all what 'Hallelujah' really means!"

And I almost forgot!


Married...With Fiction!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why should I care? Huh? WHY?

This is a poem written by Ben Grove. His mom, Bonnie Grove, posted this on her Facebook page a few days ago.  The poem is about a Native boy in a residential school. The poem hit me like a tonne of bricks and spurred me to talk a little more about why I write what I do. And yes, I was given permission by the author himself to post this.

At Kuper Island
by Ben Grove

At Kuper Island now for six years.
Jerry's mean and the food is gross.
I miss my family
Will has gone home sick,
Thomas is happy here.

The beds are so different even after six years.

Stumpy is here and we plan a getaway.
We get food from Thomas and push off in a canoe.
We paddle across the lake and declare ourselves free.
Walk by day, and sleep in the forest.
We want freedom, and we'll get it.

We finally make it home and we hear stories.
Stumpy's grandpa died
I don't know where he'll go.

I finally get the comforts of home.
I get to see how Will is doing
feel free.

But, in the end, I go back to Kuper.

Oh my word. Doesn't that just kick you in the gut?


So, WHY?

Every writer is asked "Why this subject?" 

Some day they liked the subject matter, some were inspired and some say "It found me".

Now before you get all "Ohhhh, ya flake! How New Age-y is that?"

So why do I write about Navajo people? I don't know, when I finally decided to write , I knew I wanted a Native American thread in my work. But when I was researching, I found an article that upset me and burned a hole in my heart.
I guess you could say "it found me."

In 1864, the US Army "accepted the surrender" of the Navajo Nation, a pastoral society who lived quietly until the Spanish and Anglo settlers came along.
Oh yeah, the surrender. That was right after the Army burned their orchards, killed their livestock, poisoned their get the idea, right?

The Army forced 9500 Navajo to walk from their homes in Northern Arizona to south eastern New Mexico to a place called 'Bosque Redondo'. Spanish for 'round grove of trees'. For some, it was a 450 mile march at gunpoint. Which started in January. The dead of winter. On foot. Most arrived near death, the clothes on their backs long blown away by the harsh winter wind, to no place to shelter them from the elements. 

They went from their homes, which are called hogans, to a flat, sandy ground that had no shelter. They had to dig holes in the ground and live in them. The Pecos River was alkali and could barely support human life. Crops failed year after year. At least 2000 people died. That's 20% of the population.

These are photographs taken of the people at what is commonly called The Bosque.

Here is what the commanding officer, General Carleton wrote:

“The exodus of this whole people from the land of their fathers is not only an interesting but a touching sight. They have fought us gallantly for years on years; they have defended their mountains and their stupendous canyons with a heroism which any people might be proud to emulate; but when, at length, they found it was their destiny, too, as it had been that of their brethren, tribe after tribe, away back toward the rising of the sun, to give way to the insatiable progress of our race, they threw down their arms, and, as brave men entitled to our admiration and respect, have come to us with confidence in our magnanimity, and feeling that we are too powerful and too just a people to repay that confidence with meanness or neglect—feeling that having sacrificed to us their beautiful country, their homes, the associations of their lives, the scenes rendered classic in their traditions, we will not dole out to them a miser’s pittance in return for what they know to be and what we know to be a princely realm.”

(Okay, stop for a see me there on the right with that tiny lady? That's my dear friend Helen Yazzie. Now imagine men on horseback pointing a rifle at HER and forcing her to march. Only, one of her legs is crippled. She would most likely have slowed the march. Guess what they did to anyone who slowed them down?)  

Doesn't that sound noble?Yeah. 
Read what an inspector from Washington wrote:

“The sooner it is abandoned and the Indians removed, the better. I have heard it suggested that there was speculation at the bottom of it. . . .Do you expect an Indian to be satisfied and contented deprived of the common comforts of life, without which a white man would not be contented anywhere? Would any sensible man select a spot for a reservation for 8,000 Indians where the water is scarcely bearable, where the soil is poor and cold, and where the muskite [mesquite] roots 12 miles distant are the only wood for the Indians to use?. . . If they remain on this reservation they must always be held there by force, and not from choice. O! let them go back, or take them to where they can have good cool water to drink, wood plenty to keep them from freezing to death, and where the soil will produce something for them to eat. . ..”

In 1868 , they were escorted home. Wagons, horses, food, water and supplies went with them. Sheep were promised to every man, woman and child. 

I met quite a few people whose ancestors survived the Bosque, or 'Hweedli' as they call it. They ONLY spoke to me because I was with Native American friends who vouched for me.

So much pain and suffering to such a gentle people.What had they done? Lived on some fertile, beautiful land. 

Which was usually how the trouble started.

So. WHY?
Because someone needs to take this story and frame it in the light of God's love. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I have an earned Ph.D in pain.

I'm sitting here with yet another migraine. Yup, I eat my dog's weight in Advil everyday. And I depend on shots of Diet Coke to help things along. Caffiene helps with the pain. Yes, I know aspartame is a complex neuro-toxin and breaks down to some seriously horrendous chemicals once in the body.
I have a migraine. I don't care if my ears fall off. Give me the stupid chemicals NOW.

So, why the migraine?

I was doing this...through a cattle trail in the Foothills of the Rockies. 
Full out gallop, riding hard and fast.
Then we went over a hornet's nest.

So my horse did this.

And then this happened. I flew about 10 feet. Or more. I'm not sure. Because I was knocked unconscious and woke up about 20 feet from where I was launched.

See this? Thanks to the herd of cattle that had just gone through. I landed face first in liquid cow manure.

The only reason I'm alive?
Cow poop.

But I was badly injured AND had to ride 3 miles to the ranch house to call for help. My boss told me that the staff member who was an EMT was 'busy'. 

My doctor told me that had a been put in a neck brace and taken to a hospital right away? I'd have been all right.
"But sadly, because you didn't receive proper medical care, you will have arthritis set into your neck and you will be in pain for the rest of your life."

I was 20.

It is raining.

I am in pain.

But God did not abandon me on that trail. 

No, He has stayed beside me as I slog through life, some days in pain, some days not. 

But do I hold my own future? No.

He knows my name.

He knows where I landed and how much it hurt.

HE knows PAIN.

How much of a blessing to know the King of the universe knows exactly how I feel?

Many more people have it much worse than I do.
Many people would have died or been paralyzed from a fall like that.

So I'm thankful for the little things, like manure.

And the big things, like His hand on me as I flew through the air.

He did give me a soft place to land. And He knew that one day, I'd think it was hysterical.

God is good.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Having my name on something? AHHHHH!!!

You know that book, "If you give a mouse a cookie?"

And it's sequel, "If you give a moose a muffin?"

Personally, I like the moose one better, simply because I'm Canadian and I think having a moose in the house would be INSANE!!

Anyway, the concept follows the snowball principle of "what if..." and things get bigger and bigger and before you know it, holy freaking cow you're name is ON a website!!!!!!

And your picture. Which you took with your digital camera and tried not to look like you're stretching your arm waaaaaaaaay up.

And if you're Canadian, and of a certain age, you want to say "And I'll call Rusty")

And because I'm so ADD it hurts, I just stopped typing and uploaded a Youtube video to my Facebook page to share with my brother.

Okay,so back to my point.

My friends Becky Doughty and Heather Day and I got to talking about marriage and fiction, and how a freakishly high percentage of main characters in romantic fiction are young, hawt, un-marrieds with ripped pecs and perfect hair and that's just the girls.

Sooooooooo, what now?
What is our focus??

Becky graciously allowed me to share her blog post with you all. 

Why is this SO important to writers??

Because there are SO MANY WRITERS out there who float alone!!!

What is one way we can open the floodgates?  MENTORING!!

Mentoring is:
  • Commending - promoting one another by openly speaking highly of each other.
  • Entrusting - passing on important and pertinent information to those who can benefit from it.
  • Teaching - clarifying what works and doesn't work to those who are still learning.
  • Shepherding - being willing to lead, to steer those who are floundering or might get lost without direction.
  • Willingly and eagerly exercising oversight - offering discernment when areas of weakness or strength are noted.
  • Being examples - living in a way that Shows, not Tells - sorry, writer humor.
  • In humility - never setting oneself above others, no matter what station in life, but always being gracious, putting others first.
  • Guiding - offering help and encouragement to others who might be struggling to find their way.
  • Sharing - not only the gospel, but of ourselves. Sharing our hearts - things we've learned along the journey.
  • Training - Being willing to be an example of what has and has not worked, so that others can see more clearly how they should go.
These are just a few of the actions that make up mentoring, according to Scripture. Not one of the above verses mentions anything about allowing yourself to be used, to be walked on, to be beat up, to be taken advantage of, or abused in any other way. Not one of them says mentoring requires setting aside God's calling on your own life in order to hold someone up who isn't desirous of growing and learning and becoming a better wife, child, partner, writer, person. Not one of those verses confuse mentoring with enabling.
Mentoring is helping others find their own way, on their own two feet. Enabling is keeping others from finding their own way by lying down under their feet. On Married... With Fiction, it is our goal to build a community who reaches out to each other. Mentoring, not enabling.

Today, our Facebook Page, Married... With Fiction, is OPEN! Do join us over there - we'd LOVE to have you! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guest Post with Katie Ganshert!!

Joining us today at TFTR is a great writer who is also one of the NICEST people I've met along the way here in Writerland. Katie has her second novel coming out March 19th, "Wishing on Willows" picks up a few years after the pages closed on "Wildflowers from Winter". 
Katie was gracious enough to not only join us, but to guest post too!

I urge you to pick up a copy of Wishing on Willows when it releases, it's a GREAT read and I also advise you to have a box of tissues nearby. Okay, several boxes. And something to eat, cuz Robin will make you hungry. And grab a coffee, or a tea, oh, and a stick, for whacking Ian for being so charming.

So without further ado, here's Katie!!!

More than a Fringe Benefit

When I set off on my journey toward publication, my goal was singular: get published.

Pursuing that goal has taken a lot of time and commitment and let’s be honest, faith. Because there are no guarantees. So much is outside our control. But I was committed to doing everything I possibly could to make that dream happen.

Seeing my book in the hands of readers would be my reward, my payoff for all the hard work.

And it has been. Hands down, holding my book and hearing from readers is amazing. A gigantic blessing and a huge encouragement.

But there is another reward that has come about as a result of my pursuit. One I never could have expected. One I wasn’t even looking for.

And that is the friendships.

People like Jeannie Campbell and Wendy Miller and Jennifer Major and a myriad of others who I never would have known had I never pursued publication in the first place.

These are people you meet in the trenches.

These are the people who understand that crazy, insane passion that drives us to get up at four in the morning or stay up until two in the morning, all to pen stories, quite often in obscurity.

These people get it.

They share it.

They understand the rejection and the waiting.

They understand the burning desire to share our stories with others.

They understand when we talk about fictional characters as if they are real. They get the flashes of inspiration that come so quick and hot, you have to pull over to the side of the road and write it down on a crumpled up McDonald’s wrapper.

This is what brings us together. This is how these friendships are formed. Writing.
But then, after a few phone calls or emails, it becomes more than writing. And all of a sudden, you have these sisters in Christ, these prayer warriors, these life encouragers we never would have had if we wouldn’t have pursued publication in the first place.

We often talk about how writing is a solitary career. So much of it is spent alone. Just you, a pen and a notebook, or a document on your computer screen.

But I’ve discovered that writing is community.

A brave, welcoming, encouraging community. One that will celebrate with you, struggle with you, and come alongside of you.

Even if I never saw my book on a book shelf, this community makes it all worth it.

Let’s Talk: What unexpected blessings have come about because you are a writer?

Friday, March 1, 2013

A visit with Joanne Bischof? Okay, SURE!!!

One thing Christians loathe discussing is when God says 'no'.

 Why? Because doesn't it work on a point system? Like Weight Watchers?

"Lord, I shoveled that grumpy neighbour's sidewalk, doesn't that give me 5 points toward me getting a truck?

Yeah, I know, it's 8 points for dealing with grumpy neighbours.

I personally HATE being told 'no', because I'm self-absorbed and want what I want.
But even though I've walked through the valley  of the shadow, and lingered there longer than I wanted to,  I like to think I learned something. 
Heartbreak is never for naught when God has asked it of us.


Say hello to one of THE BEST WRITERS AROUND!!

This is Joanne.

Joanne REALLY knows how to take her readers on an arduous journey. I mean, Frodo Baggins *MIGHT* have had it easier than Lonnie.

Doesn't she look nice? Yeah, that mind is ticking, people!!!

Here's the cover of the next chapter in Lonnie and Gideon's story. 
Waaaaaaaait just a minute. SHE looks sad. HE is on a horse. Huh?
In the sequel to her excellent debut novel, 'Be Still My Soul', Joanne Bischof tackles the soul crushing turmoil of being torn from the one you love.
'Though My Heart Is Torn' throws poor dear Lonnie and Gideon into a whirlwind of someone else's making. 
And as one who was truly privileged to be given an advanced copy of the sequel, let me just say, OH MY WORD!!!

Here's a brief excerpt. 

Gideon O'Riley has two wives-but he doesn't know it.
(umm, okay, just a second...WHAT??)

“Git on up!”
 The horse scaled the steep slope. The clop, clop of his shod hooves and the creaking of leather were the only sounds to be heard. They scaled the hill and the land leveled out into a broad, flat valley. Gideon glanced around. Nothing but open land for miles. He pulled his hat off and used it to shove his hair back before settling it into place. He moved the mount along a stand of trees, the road beneath him unfamiliar. Untested.
 And the urge to run hit him like a blow to the chest.
 His eyelids nearly fluttered closed. A handful of days and he could be at the Bennett’s door. Lonnie’s familiar form in his arms. Her scent. Her tears. His hand gripped the reins tighter when a burn threatened to clamp his throat shut. His son.
 Gideon gently tapped his worn-out boots into Abel’s side, and the horse broke into a trot. A tumble of clouds shifted in front of the sun. The air cooled. He tugged his coat tighter, the oilcloth smooth in his fingers. Moments passed as light danced with shadow before the sun broke free. It hit Gideon’s face in a burst of warmth, and he tilted his chin up, wishing he could ride toward it.
 Ride toward it and never stop.
 Not until he reached his bride. And in her hands he could place the tattered remains of his heart. For she was the only one who could mend it.

Now wait just one minute!!!
What is going on?
Joanne, you got some explaining to do!!

Girl, we need to TALK!!

1) Why , oh why, must they suffer so MUCH?!?!?!

I’ve heard from so many early readers that the book should come with a box of Kleenex. It’s an emotional journey isn’t? But one that’s not in vain. Though it may tug at your heart and although a tear may fall for this couple who only wanted each other, the happily-ever-after can still be all the more richer—purer, when looking out from the darkness and wondering how sweet the light might taste and if one day they might see it again. Though all hope may seem lost and though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.

2)Are you insane?   The letter from Cassie barely is noticed in BSMS, did you plan that? What other hidden goodies should we look for?

Good question. Yes, that letter in Be Still My Soul—the one Gideon never opens to prove his love for Lonnie—is actually from Cassie. There are a few other moments of Cassie tucked in the first book as in the first chapter when she tries to get Gideon alone…yet during that time, Gideon knew how to orchestrate things to his benefit and avoided her. It’s a mystery that weaves lightly through the first story, no more than a memory of Gideon’s past, a life he’s certain is no more. Yet little does he know, it’s much more than a memory when Cassie appears in Though My Heart is Torn.

3) On a more serious note, what do we say to people when there is no beauty on their horizon, and trust takes everything they've got, and more?

I think back to 1 Peter 5: 10 “But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal Glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered awhile, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.”
God is always at work and even though we may be walking in a time of darkness, He is by our side at all times and WILL see us through just as He promises. 

4) How do you choose your themes? Or do they choose you? Perseverance and unflinching faith are not light fluffy issues. 

No, they are not light issues, but even so, I think they are issues that hit home for so many people. The themes in my books definitely choose me. I don’t think I ever planned on writing about the subject matter that I do. I’m passionate about redemption and the promise that though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning. I love to take a group of characters on a journey that will try their faith, only to have them stronger on the other end.

5) Do you feel drawn to those who are hurting?

We often hear that God never gives us more than we can handle, but sometimes I wonder if perhaps He does. Because it’s in those moments that we cling to Him, and it’s only by His strength we are held up. I’ve had a time in my life like that, and I think many people have too. To be able to encourage people that they’re not alone, though they may feel alone, is one of my greatest hopes.

6) Will there be a long wait until Book Three? 

Not too long, I’m happy to say! Each book has been released six months apart, so My Hope is Found will come out on October 15th, 2013. It’s about to go into the production stage and edits will soon cover my desk and I’m so excited about digging into this story. I still haven’t seen the cover yet and I am so eager to see what the designers have put together for the last book of Lonnie and Gideon’s story!

7) Can I have the file?

Hehe, you ought to win an award for perseverance. I would love for people to get to dive right into the story, but it just so happens that I need my editors so bad! I’m a bit of a messy writer to begin with and they help me iron out ideas and clean up all my typos. Trust me, it’s a good thing no one can see that file ;)

Thank you Joanne, for visiting us today!