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Showing posts from 2015

Goodbye and God Be With You

It's rather fitting that some things come to a close on this day -- the last day of the year.

I submitted my last entry into the Rooglewood contest this morning.  I can hardly believe it took me until the day of the deadline to send it in because I'm usually earlier than that.  And, even with the extra time I took, I still felt a little bit like maybe I could have done better if I had more time.

But there was no feeling of regret when I hit "send."  Mostly it was just a prayer that Rooglewood would hear the heart of the message when they read it and that maybe, if I win, they could help me bring the full potential out of my little story.  And there was also a feeling, after working on these stories for more than six months, that it felt good to close that chapter and move on to the next one.

I did it.  I wrote them.  And I'm really proud of them.

Last year, the act of hitting "send" on my contest entry catapulted me into an anticipatory state.  I coul…

From the Archives: the Duke of Northumber: 3

From the Archives: the Duke of Northumber: 2

While I'm Gone...

Hello, dear readers and friends!  I am very much enjoying my holiday break from blogging, but I wanted to pop in and tell you how much I appreciate you.  And I also wanted to give you something to read, in case you were bored.  It's from my archives, but many of you are newer to the blog so you know nothing about the Duke of Northumber.
     The Duke of Northumber is a horrible villain in one of my stories, and I became so fascinated with his backstory that I had to write little scenes from his life.  And I posted these scenes on my blog a little over a year ago.
     So, if you want to know who the Duke of Northumber was and how he turned from a sweet little boy into a cruel man, start here:

Wrapping Up

No, I'm not talking about Christmas presents.

I'm talking about the stories for the Rooglewood contest.  In two days is the deadline for turning in your submission forms -- so if they haven't already been sent in, you have 2 days to get them postmarked and on their way.

I finished my drafts and some edits on all of my stories earlier in the fall.  Then I got terribly overwhelmed and decided to hide and pretend that there were no stories waiting for me on my computer.  I was like the little frilled lizard on The Rescuers Down Under, with my hands over my ears, dancing around singing, "Dadabaduba, dadabaduba, I can't hear you!"

Which, as cowardly as it sounds, was probably a good thing.  Because, essentially, I was taking the recommended break so that I could come back with fresh eyes.  I just didn't know that's what I was doing.  I thought I was procrastinating.

But then, last Tuesday, I sat down and read through AAM.  With a big gulp, I decided that i…

The Mental Ward - To Jefferson Park Avenue (32)

Emery and Beth burst out of the door and into a narrow alleyway.  Emery grabbed Beth's hand and started running, winding her way through the streets.  Dingy buildings toward over them, and they dodged fences and trash cans as they ran.       They made it several blocks before Emery slowed down.  Beth was gasping for breath, and they were both tired.      Emery looked worriedly at Beth.  "We still have a long way to go.  Do you think you can make it?"      Beth closed her eyes.  Her face was pale and sweaty.  But she nodded.      A truck rattled down the road by them. Then it stopped and backed up.  Emery shifted her weight uneasily.        The driver leaned out the window.  "You kids need a ride?"  His eyes focused on Beth and he frowned.  "What are you wearing?  A nightgown?"       "Yes," Beth said.  She walked around the truck and climbed into the back of it.      "I guess we would appreciate a ride."  Emery hesitantly fol…

Bethlehem Walk Tapestry

Hi!  I just wanted to show you the tapestry that we wove on the ancient-style loom last week.  Isn't it beautiful?

The Mental Ward -- Brave or Stupid (31)

The man froze when he saw them, and Emery gasped, throwing her arm out as if to shield Beth.  For a moment, no one moved.      The man's eyes roved over them.  Little by little, his shoulders relaxed, and he reached up to run his fingers over his thick, white beard.  Suddenly, he started cackling.  "Hehehe!  If one of you is insane, it's the bigger one."  He shook his head at Emery, an amused twinkle in his eye.  "Hehehe!  You got guts, young lady, sneaking her out!  Half the city will be after you!  Hehehe!  But you gave them the slip, didn't you?  Hehehe!"  His shoulders bounced with each chuckle and he was clearly enjoying what he considered a good joke.  Suddenly he stopped and grew somewhat serious, placing a finger over his lips.  "Shhh, now.  There's too many people this direction."  He jerked a thumb over his shoulder.  "But if you go the other way, and take the first hallway on your left, and then the second door on you…


Ta-da!  I just submitted my AAM manuscript to Rooglewood Press for their 5MS contest.  Although, at the moment, I feel less like "ta-da" and more like...

It's always a bit of a leap of faith to let a story go.
But it feels good to send it, too.  I hope it fairs well.  I'm sending my submission application forms for the other two stories to Rooglewood tomorrow, and I'm going to try to have both of them ready to go by December 20th.
Godspeed, my little stories....

The Mental Ward - I've Got You (30)

"I've got you."  Beth grasped Emery's shoulder and gave it a tug.      Emery climbed on the neighboring roof.  She glanced back at the makeshift bridge with a shudder.  "How did you walk across that board?  I thought I was going to fall, the whole distance across."      Beth shrugged and looked around the empty roof.  "Now what?"      Emery took a deep breath.  "Now we get you home."      The two girls found the door leading down into the building.  It was open, and Emery silently breathed a prayer of gratitude.  Beth followed her down the steps and they made it to bottom of several flights without detection.  Emery tested the door at the base of the stairs.  It was open.      "Shhh," Emery whispered as she pulled the door open and stepped out into a carpeted stairway.  "Okay.  The coast is clear."      But just Beth stepped out behind her, a man appeared at the end of the hallway.

Bethlehem Walk 2015

Hi, so this week is an awesome week because this week is Bethlehem Walk.  Every year, over 300 people from many different churches in the area participate in a reenactment of the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Welcome to Bethlehem...

Travelers walk through a city of Bethlehem, set up with period shops, like a tapestry shop, candle shop, blacksmith, carpenter, tunic shop, spice shop, basket shop, meat shop, bakery, and so much more.

And, as you walk through, you hear about the oppression of the people as well as the hope for the Messiah.  You will even hear "rumors," such as the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth having a baby in their old age.

And then you walk through some scenes from the story: The Inn, the shepherds' field, the manger, the wise men, the dedication at the temple, the sermons and miracles, the cross, the tomb, and then thinking about what you are going to do now that you have heard this story.  At the end is hot chocolate and cookies and people available…

The Mental Ward -- The Bridge to Freedom (29)

Emery eased open the heavy door and scanned the roof.  It was empty.  "Coast is clear.  Come on, Beth."      Beth followed her onto the flat roof of the asylum.  "Why aren't they guarding this door?"      "Because they think it is locked securely.  Thanks to this control box in my hands, they knew they couldn't get in this way and so they assume we can't get out."  Emery crept along the roof, keeping low.  To her left hung a clothesline where she had once dried asylum laundry.  To her right was the low wall that encircled the roof.      As she had hoped, the crowd of people milling around the asylum had gathered at the temporary police base set up in front of the building.  The locked doors had lured them all into a sense of security, and the excitement of the forces entering the building had everyone's attention.  Emery set the box down on the roof and switched open the doors to the fifth floor, including the doors to Beastly's …

NANO Recovery Month

Hello, my friends!

  How many of you did Nano this year?
    How did it go?
      What's next?
        I want to know.
          I've never done Nano
            -- at least not yet --
              but you have my respect & admiration,
                and I want to hear all about it.

COVER REVEAL: Resist by Emily Ann Putzke

I am thrilled that today, I have the honor of participating in the cover reveal for Emily Ann Putzke's new novel: Resist.  I have been following her blog for some time, and I have to say that I am pretty excited about this book.  But don't just take my word for it.  Read about it for yourself!

Resist Synopsis:
Munich, Germany 1942—Hans Scholl never intended to get his younger sister involved in an underground resistance. When Sophie Scholl finds out, she insists on joining Hans and his close friends in writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets entitled, The White Rose. The young university students call out to the German people, begging them to not allow their consciences to become dormant, but to resist their tyrannical leader and corrupt government. Hans knows the consequences for their actions—execution for committing high treason—but firm in his convictions, he’s prepared to lose his life for a righteous cause. Based on a true story, Hans, Sophie and all the members of The…

The Mental Ward - Men with Guns (28)

"It's Mr. Carlysle!" The murmur rose up from a number of people as Andrew strode into the midst of the miniature base set up outside the asylum.       The blank stares of the policemen reminded him that no one knew his daughter was there, that no one even knew his daughter was alive.  He needed to find the matron who knew where his daughter was.       Before he could voice his request, a tap came on his arm from a middle-aged woman with a somewhat military bearing.  "Mr. Carlysle?"      "Yes."  He looked her up and down.  "I'm looking for the matron of the children's ward."      She nodded briskly, pursing her lips like the bearer of bad news.  "Come with me and I will tell you what you need to know."      Moments later, she had him seated in a tiny cubicle of a room in a building across the street.  He twisted his hat in his hands.  The matron eyed him patiently, as if waiting for him to show her where to begin.     …

Black Friday Book Sale!

It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you. From Nov 27 (that’s today!) through Nov 30th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.> What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.Acknowledgements: T…

The Mental Ward - Have You Heard, Sir? (27)

Andrew thumbed through the pages of his notebook.  Why was it so wretchedly hard to concentrate tonight?  He silently cursed the swimming letters that refused to organize themselves coherantly on the page.      A light knock sounded on the oaken door of his study.  Andrew nearly leaped to his feet in relief.  Anything to fill the silence of the evening!      "Come in."      Antrin, his faithful servant for the past ten years, entered the room, closing the door behind him. A gust of wind entered with him, filling the room with a dark, suspenseful air.  Antrin looked about him as if afraid of being caught by something.       "What is it, man?" Andrew demanded, but softly, for he suddenly felt as uneasy as Antrin.       "Perhaps you've heard about the uproar in town?" Antrin folded his hands behind his back and spoke in a secretive tone.  "The entire police force is preparing to storm the asylum there."      Andrew pressed his eyes closed…

He Done Told Us

It was dark when the men carried Stony to his cabin.  Dinah held the wooden door open and pressed her hand to her mouth, trying to stop the tears as she heard his groans.  Someone lit a candle and the pale yellow light flickered over the bloodstained bandage that wrapped her beloved's back.        One of the men clapped his big, meaty hand on Dinah's shoulder.  "Do you need anything, Miss Dinah?" His voice was deep and rumbly and oddly strengthening.  Dinah lowered her hand and shook her head.      The men filed out the door, heading for their own beds.  The day would start early tomorrow and no one wanted to risk his ability to work hard by staying up all night.  Dinah was left alone with Stony.      "Dinah." Stony's voice was a whisper.  "I'm so happy, Dinah."      Dinah looked over his battered form and choked back tears.  "Happy, Stony?"      He moved his head so he could see her, and pain washed over his face.  He clos…

The Mental Ward - The Invasion Begins (26)

The control box was heavier than Emery expected.  She grunted as she lifted it in her arms and hurried into the hallway toward the elevator.      Beth trotted beside her.  "Where are we going, Emery?"      "We're getting you out of here."  She stopped in front of the elevator, setting the box on the floor and flipping a couple switches.      "You're letting them in?" Beth asked.      "Yes.  They can get in the lobby now. And we can use the elevator." Emery pushed the button in the wall and the elevator came to life.  As the doors slide open, she shoved the control box inside.  "Are you coming, Beth?"       Beth ducked into the elevator and eyed Emery.  "You're not going to give me to them?"      "Of course not.  I told you I would get you out of here."      "Why?" Beth wrinkled her nose.      Emery counted the floors as the elevator dinged passed each one.  "If one of my sisters were…

The Mental Ward - We're Ready (25)

"Hello?" Emery held the intercom button.  "Anyone there?"       "Hi, Miss Clayton, we're here.  Have you found the control box?" A voice crackled through the intercom.      Emery glanced down at the sheet under the desk.  "Yes, I've got it."      "Okay."  There was a scrambling noise and then a new voice came on the line.  "Miss Clayton, the first thing is to get you out of there.  Use the box to open the necessary doors and bring the box to us."      Beth chewed a finger, looking worriedly at Emery.      Emery shook her head at Beth.  "No.  I think you should come to us.  And one of the staff here needs a doctor.  I'll open the doors for you."      The intercom went silent for a moment.  Then a voice spoke.  "Miss Clayton, can you tell us exactly where Beastly is?"      "No."      "That's okay, Miss Clayton.  Don't worry about it.  We are ready."      A voice …

My Deepest Apologies...and a Tiny Excuse

Hi, guys...

     I am making an appearance today to request your pardons.

     I may seem to be a bad blog host.  I promised you a story episode on Saturday, and I did not deliver.

     It's true.

     And I'm sorry.

     I offer as an excuse the fact that our internet went down -- unexpectedly, unexplainedly, and irrevocably for several days.

     I will make it up to you somehow.  And, if our internet behaves itself, I will be posting regularly again now.

      Thank you for your grace and forgiveness.

Yours Truly,


Behind the Scenes Writing Tag

Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing? Not particularly. If I'm hungry, I nibble on whatever we have in the house. But typically food is not on my brain while I'm writing.
When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning? Whenever I get the chance. This may be early in the morning...or sometime in the afternoon...or late after everyone else has gone to bed.

Where do you write? Most of my writing is done at the computer in a corner separated from the kitchen by a thin wall. Which means that writing just before or after a meal is difficult due to the lively conversations right next to my ear.
How often do you write a new novel? Thanks to Rooglewood, I write at least one new short story every year. My full-length novels take longer, and I haven't been doing this long enough to give you a good estimate on time.
Do you listen to music while you write? Not usually. It's a rare thing. Theoretically, listening to music sounds like a great idea. But when…

I Done Told You

The hot sun prickled on Dinah's face and neck, and sweat dripped from every pore.  She straightened up, trying to stretch the ache out of her back.  The rows of tobacco spread out endlessly in every direction, dotted with dark-skinned workers.
       The woman nearest Dinah stood up and wiped the sweat from her face with a kerchief.  "'Bout time for dinner, ain't it?  Is Stony eat'n at his house or yours?"
     Dinah flushed at the mention of the handsome young man.  "He said he eat w' us today."
     The woman grinned and shook her head.  "When you and that boy gwine t' jump the broom?"
     Dinah bent over, burying her face among the tobacco.  She ignored the strain in her back and legs.  "When he akses me."
       The woman reached down again, pulling a handful of nasty tobacco worms from the undersides of the leaves and crushing them under her bare feet.  "Stony's a fine boy.  He'll make you a good…

Snippet: Path of Death

He placed his foot on the first step and his skin prickled with the knowledge that an hundred arrows could be released into his flesh with the flick of a finger.

The Mental Ward - Missing Egypt (24)

Emery was halfway down the hall before she realized Beth hadn't followed her.  The white-clad little girl stood stolidly where Emery had left her.       "Come on, Beth!" Emery called.      Beth didn't move.  "They're not going to let me leave."      A pang hit Emery's heart.  "I know."      "They're going to come at me with their tubes and their needles."  Beth's voice rose.  "They're going to put me back in the Box."  She grasped her hair with both fists.  "I don't want to go back in the Box!"       Emery ran back and grabbed Beth's shoulders.  "Don't panic, Beth.  It's going to be okay.  I'll get you out of here.  Don't forget what's already happened -- remember?  You are already freer than you have been in a long time."       Beth whimpered.  "I need IT.  IT was the only way I was strong enough to fight them."      Emery shook Beth's shou…

Beautiful Books -- November

This month, I am only taking a few questions out of the ten offered.  Some of them are too much of a spoiler at this particular time, or they don't seem to apply, or I have recently answered them elsewhere.  So, in its abbreviated form, here it goes:
1.Is your books turning out like you thought it would be or is is defying your expectations?       A little bit of both, honestly.  Some of it turned out perfectly as planned.  Other bits turned out better than I imagined -- rather catching me off-guard with a turn of a phrase or a plot twist.  And some parts turned out much, much harder to write than I expected.
5. What do you look for in a name?  Do you have themes and where do you find your names?      I look for the sound of it -- how does it roll off my tongue?      Sometimes I look for the definition of a name -- sometimes I will start with a meaning and find a fitting name that means what I want it to.  Sometimes I will even put a word into Google Translate and make a name out…

ROOGLEWOOD announcement

Attention, those of you participating in the Rooglewood contest, please check out an important announcement on the Rooglewood page:!writing-contest/c22i6
The guidelines haven't changed for us -- we still have the same deadlines. But there is a window of time wherein any submitted forms will have to sit patiently in an inbox for a while. In other words, if you submit your application tomorrow, you can count on not getting your "please-send-your-story" email until December 20th.
Applications must still be postmarked by December 16, and stories must still be submitted by the end of December.
So really, nothing has changed for us, except now we are prepared to be patient. I don't know about you, but I'm actually glad to know I have that long for edits without feeling like THEY are waiting on ME.

The Mental Ward - Beth's Hope (23)

"Precious was your cat?" Emery shook her head incredulously.  "My father came home from work with that story and told me when I was just a little girl."      Beth opened her mouth and shut it again.  She chewed her lip.  "Can I...?"  Her eyes flickered over Emery's face and then dropped to the ground.  "Can I go home now?"      Emery's eyes watered.  "Yes."  She reached out, cupping her hand under Beth's chin.  "Yes, I think so."  She dropped her hand and hurried down the hallway ahead of her young charge.  "I just need to figure a way to get you out of here alive."

Snippet: Strong Enough to Wake the Dead

“Don’t worry.  This won’t hurt you,” the little girl said majestically.  She wiped the leaf on his lips.

       Detlef sucked in a breath as his eyes started to water.  “Won’t hurt?  It burns like pepper on an open wound.”

     She scrunched her face and peered up at him hopefully.  “Won’t hurt…much?”
     He laughed.  “Whoo-eee.”  And blinked the tears away.  "I'll be reluctant to try your cooking when you grow up."

The Mental Ward - The Other Side (22)

Andrew Carlysle pushed open the door to his wife's dressing room.  She sat at the far end, disconsolantly, by a window.  Her hair hung loose over her neck, and her nightgown was black.      Andrew waved a maid into the room.  "Set the box on the table."      The maid carried a box in and did as he directed.  Then she curtsied and left.      Andrew crossed the floor to the table and fingered the silver bow on the box in silence.  Her silence.      "I brought you a dress -- dark blue."  His voice sounded loud in the quiet room.  "I thought it might be time to try a little color.  Nothing too drastic, but..."      "Black is the color for me." Her voice was calm and cultured, but it carried the undertone of some deep emotion.      A puff of exasperated air escaped Andrew's lips.  "It's been 7 years.  People don't wear black for 7 years. A week.  A month maybe.  Not 7 years."      She turned her head and looked at him…

One Lovely Blog Award - from Clara

       Clara Stone, from The Golden Dusk, nominated me for the "One Lovely Blog Award."  Therefore, I shall follow two of these three rules:
Rule 1) Link back to the blogger who nominated you (that's Clara, of course)
Rule 2) Post seven facts about yourself
Rule 3) Nominate 15 other bloggers to participate       The last rule, I'm going to modify a little bit because I'm not sure I can come up with 15 names on the spot.

      Now for the seven facts:

1. I can scratch out a simple tune on almost any woodwind, string, or percussion instrument.  Brass instruments are still rather hit or miss for me.  And I am not terribly skilled at any one instrument because I don't consistently practice.  :/

2. I can't really read sheet music.  My reading level is like first grade:!  r-r-r-r-r--a-a-a-a-a--n-n-n-n-n-n...  I am wel…