Cash Burn on Book Talk Tuesday

I had the privilege of reading this book before it was "done."
The author is a friend, so yes, I love it. But even if he was a stranger, I would still love this book and gladly recommend it.

It's free on amazon right now.

My review says: Jason Dunn is a commercial banker with millions of dollars disbursed or held back on his say-so. When his career and marriage become less than fullfilling, Jason contemplates just what all that money can do.
Flip is newly released from prison. He and Jason have a shared past. Their presents collide in a page-turning fast moving plot.
I enjoyed the "behind the scenes" look at banking, espcially with the current economic news so discouraging.
Highly recommended.

I hope you enjoy it, too.


Crazy Times

I don’t have a book to talk about today. I also haven’t posted anything for Fiction Friday for two weeks.

I woke up two Fridays ago with Labyrinthitis.

Room spinning.


General unpleasantness.

My husband got the bright idea to check my blood pressure.

It was high.

Very high.

Suffice it to say, I spent a week doing nothing. This week is continuing to recover. I feel much better, but I’m not back to full speed yet.

Normal blog posting will resume in a week or two.

Thanks for your patience.

Play nice while I’m not watching.


Germ-o-phobe? Woe! It's Wednesday

Hasn't the health and medical community been telling us that we're going a little overboard on anti-bacterial soaps and gels? A certain level of germs is acceptable because it helps our immunity and resistance. And continually wipeing out all germs just breeds new super germs that are harder to suppress.

So I was in awe of a story on The Today Show this morning. They showcased all kinds of germ killing gadgets. Some of them ... I can see the point of. Some of them though... not so much.

A countertop sterilizer for baby bottles and toys and pacifiers: Sure.

A $40 "Cone of Sterility" (my name for it) to sanitize your cell phone: Pass

A flexible, rubber, washable keyboard: Okay, but because of food and coffee spills.

Another Cone of Sterility for your toothbrush: Ummm... you can buy an awful lot of toothbrushes for the cost of that gadget.

And for the germ-o-phobe with too much money and time on their hands, an ultraviolet wand that will kill germs on surfaces. You wave the wand and poof, no more germs. Isn't it just as easy to wipe a clean cloth over the surface? Since it's primarily friction that kills germs. When you're getting a shot or having blood drawn, a swipe with an alcohol-moistened cotton ball isn't going to do the job. The tech needs to rub vigorously for a few seconds. It's the friction, not the alcohol. The alcohol is used because it dries quickly, not because it kills germs.

I'm not saying filth is preferable to cleanliness, but I am saying we seem to gone a wee bit overboard in our battle against germs.

What say you?


Book Talk Tuesday

I have a whole bunch of writing how-to books. Most of them I’ve read and gleaned something from. A few still have uncracked spines. Some are dog-eared, some are still redolent of paper and ink.

I’m currently going through:

                                                  <em>Writing the breakout novel workbook</em>: hands-on help for making your ...

with a few friends. I’m learning so much from this book. I discovered I’m much too nice to my characters. I have to make life almost not worth living for them, before giving them hope for a future.

I also frequently pull out:

                                                The first five pages: a writer's guide to staying out of the rejection pile [Book]

There’s lot of great stuff in here about how to rise above the unsolicited manuscripts, AKA the Slush Pile.

For inspirational quotes, I turn to

                                  <em>Patches of Godlight</em>: Father Tim's Favorite Quotes [Book]


Father Tim’s fictional journal,

compiled by Jan Karon.


One of the most influential books about writing I’ve read is

                                    <em>Making a Literary Life</em> [Book]

It’s because of what I read in Making a Literary Life, that I write notes to authors and editors whose work I admire. This book has had a lasting impact.

If you’re thinking about writing a book or your memoirs, I highly recommend any and all of these.


Woe! It’s Wednesday

It seems like everyone is moaning about the weather. Friends across the country are posting on Facebook about the crazy weather they’re experiencing.

So I guess it’s not just me.

We live in the country and we can NOT keep up with the weeds. Hubby wanted to scrape them so as to limit the reseeding and spreading that seems to happen with mowing. We got a pretty good section of the back done.

Then last week it rained. On Friday, there was a new sea of green where just two days previously there had been brown bare dirt.

I mowed on Friday.

I pulled weeds by hand on Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday it rained.

I’m tired of weeds. I’ll take the rain, gladly, but I wish it didn’t bring germination of pesky plants in its wake.

The very worst are the puncture vines, also known as goatheads.


Life stages of Puncturevine

Picture from University of California

They stick to the soles of our shoes, then they embed themselves in the carpet and rugs and wait until I’m barefoot, then they SPROING and stab into the tender flesh of my foot. The really good ones let loose a little bit of toxin so I end up with an inflamed dot on my foot or finger if I dared to try to pick it out of the carpet first.

We can’t ride bikes in our neighborhood. We tried to give the kids bikes but they had perpetually flat tires.

The dogs pull up lame and hop in on three feet for help extracting the thorn.

Did I mention I hate weeds?

But that’s just me.

I have several friends who loathe snails. They feel the existence of a snail is a direct insult and they take it highly personally when one forages in their garden.

What natural element annoys you?


Book Talk Tuesday












Three recent Young Adult titles I’ve reviewed for Authors Choice.

Excerpts from the reviews:


CASCADE is an action-adventure story for girls. And it’s a very good one … CASCADE picks up immediately after the end of WATERFALL. Gabriella Betarrini and her sister Evangelia have found an entrance to the space/time continuum and have just returned from 14th century Italy. They are eager to go back but want to bring their archeologist mother with them. Reluctantly, Dr. Betarrini follows her daughters to see where this fantastical sounding adventure started ... CASCADE moves quickly from adventure story to love story then on to a war story. As the sisters help their new friends and loves, they dare to wonder if they can control their time tunnel and perhaps return to an earlier time than when they left ... Young adults, male and female, who love adventure stories will enjoy CASCADE. Even older adults will find it easy to lose themselves in 14th century Italy.

The Violet Flash:

THE VIOLET FLASH is delightful. It’s a sequel to Mike Mason’s earlier Juvenile Fiction work, THE BLUE UMBRELLA ...Though categorized as Juvenile Fiction, readers of all ages will enjoy THE VIOLET FLASH. It tells the story of Chesterton (Ches) Cholmondeley, his family and friends, and Ches’s struggle to repair the hole in the blue umbrella/sky that is allowing evil Horace Henbother to steal time. With each second Henbother pockets, calamity occurs. Ches must stop Horace before he accumulates a whole minute, which will rip apart the world as we know it ...Mike Mason’s story will take its proper place next to Madeleine L’Engle’s "A Wrinkle in Time" and other speculative fiction that points the reader to God and expounds on the nature of good, evil, creation, and redemption ...As a new reader to Mason’s fiction, I was a bit lost at the beginning. It would have helped to have a brief synopsis of THE BLUE UMBRELLA as a prelude to THE VIOLET FLASH. A few times in my life I’ve been present in conditions optimal for the sunset phenomena of a green flash, but it’s proven elusive. Reading THE VIOLET FLASH almost makes up for my near miss.

A Girl Named Mister

A GIRL NAMED MISTER is the story of Mary Rudine, known as Mister to her friends and family. Mister is a Christ-believing, church-attending, purity-committing high school girl. Then she meets Trey, a smooth-talking, fast-hands-and-lips, long-lashed high school boy… Told in poetry, A GIRL NAMED MISTER is a moving story of mistakes, consequences, and forgiveness. The poems are short but eloquent and the element of poetry makes a poignant situation even more so ... A GIRL NAMED MISTER should be read by every teen who’s ever said, “It will never happen to me.”


Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

Sarah Jane’s former boyfriend is back in town for a visit. He just told her that her sister Rachael, missing for ten years, has been living in Los Angeles where he recently ran into her.




Chapter Seven

I drove under the speed limit all the way home, turning over in my mind everything Jesse just told me.

Rachael alive.

Living four hours away.

Finishing school.

Never calling to talk to her dying mama or her baby son.

By the time I pulled into our tree-lined lane, I had a pretty full head of steam worked up.

I stomped up the back porch wooden stairs and flung the door open.

“Sarah Jane, do you mind?” Anna’s annoyance at my entrance was clearly heard in her voice.

“Sorry.” I closed the door with a soft click and tiptoed to the kitchen table. Only then did I notice the gleaming counters and stove. “Anna, I said I would clean up.”

“I left it until five o’clock, thinking you’d be coming right home from school to keep your promise. But then I had to do it so I could fix supper. You can clean up after we eat.” Anna in her capris and cute peasant blouse could be taken for a suburban soccer mom instead of the farm wife and mother she really was. She worked at the packing shed from before dawn until noon, when she came home and napped until two. From two to four, she cleaned house. Evenings were for homework supervision and ranch paperwork. God forbid a car would refuse to start or a flat tire would disrupt her day. I once saw her turn a recalcitrant vacuum on by staring at it. If it was as scared as I was just watching, it never had the nerve to act up again.

“Of course, I’d be happy to do all the dinner dishes.” I smiled through gritted teeth. “I’ll just go put my things away.”

“We’re ready to eat.”

“What do you want me to do, Anna? Put my stuff in my room or leave them here on a chair while we eat?”

Her lips tightened while she considered which option she could best live with while exasperating me the most.

“Fine, put them upstairs. And change out of that skirt and blouse. You’ve had kids snotting all over you all day. You’re probably a walking germ factory.”

Score one for Anna.

I climbed the stairs feeling a perverse satisfaction in letting my satchel clump alongside me. With each bounce off a riser or balcony support, a little frustration escaped and by the time I changed into my own capris and top, I felt much better.

I slipped into my usual seat at the long table just as Daddy bowed his head and reached for my hand. I felt the calluses along his thumb and the heel of his palm and felt comforted.

“Gracious God and Father, Thank you for the wind and rain and sun and pleasant weather. Thank you for this our food and that we are together.”

Amens echoed around the table from Jake, Anna, Nathan, April, and my other two brothers, Daniel and Abel. We didn’t always eat together like the Waltons. We were scattered across four farms, several hundred acres and three generations. Since Mama passed though, Anna made it a point to have the single men over for dinner several times a week.

I had wanted to talk with Nathan before I told Daddy about Rachael. But if he found out I knew and broke bread with him and didn’t tell him, he’d be angry. Very angry. And Daddy angry was enough to make even Anna scurry out of his way. He wasn’t violent or mean at all, just silent. And the angrier he was, the more comatose he became.

“I hear Jesse Hofer is back in town.” Trust Anna to bring up the subject.

Now I had no choice except to blurt it all out. “That’s why I was late. He asked me to coffee after school—I mean—” That made it sound like I was off having fun with Jesse.

“Oh, you should have said so,” Anna said. “I didn’t know you’d already called him.”

“I didn’t.” How did Anna manage to twist everything that came out of my mouth. “He invited me. He had news. About Rachael.”

Anna’s mouth froze in a round O.

Daddy stopped chewing and set down his fork.