Book Talk Tuesday: Love on the Line

Didn’t I just say that I’d read another Deeanne Gist after I read and reviewed Maid to Match a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I didn’t have to wait long. A friend handed me a copy of Love on the Line and said, “I loved this. I think you will, too.”

She was right.


Georgie Gail is a switchboard operator and bird lover in Brenham, Texas.

Luke Palmer is actually Lucius Landrum, a Texas Ranger, working undercover to find an outlaw train robber. Luke is working with Georgie as a lineman for the phone company. His job is hampered by the community’s regard for the outlaw, who’s known to give some of his ill-gotten gains to the local needy. Georgie is one of the townsfolk who sees Frank Comer as a Texan Robin Hood.

Sparks fly. Love blooms. Birds take flight.

I sure seem to be reviewing a lot of historicals lately, even though I often say I don’t read historicals. I think I’m being converted by the great stories, colorful characters, and well-crafted prose.

One day soon, I may even pick up a historical instead of a contemporary, if given the choice.

It could happen.


Woe! It’s Wednesday–Doing the Right Thing

Someone recently commented to me that they knew the right thing to do in a situation, but they didn’t “feel” like it, so they didn’t do it.

I nodded.

Then later, (palm  slap to forehead), it occurred to me:

I didn’t know doing the right thing was optional.

Wow. The possibilities that opens up.

If I don’t feel like it, I don’t have to visit a sick or dying friend. No one likes hospitals or sick rooms, right, so it must be okay to skip making that final visit. They’ll be gone soon enough, after all.

If I don’t feel like it, I don’t have to take a meal to a sick friend or someone who just had a baby. After all, I’m busy, too, and it’s just too inconvenient to shop, cook, and deliver food.

If I don’t feel like it, I don’t have to send a thank you card in the mail for the person who gave me a gift. After all, I thanked them when they I received it and they know how busy life gets.

If I don’t feel like it, I don’t have to respond and let a hostess know if I’m coming to her party. After all, I have to wait and see what other offers I get for that night. Something more fun may come along.

If I don’t feel like it, I don’t have to return to the store to pay for the item the checker missed in the bottom of my basket. After all, it’s the employees fault and the store is insured against a certain level of loss.

If I don’t feel like it, I don’t have to discipline a misbehaving child. After all, that’s the school’s job, right? To raise my kids?

If I don’t feel like it, I don’t have to apologize for gossiping, slandering, or presuming. After all, I didn’t really mean to do those things, and everyone knows, it only counts as something bad if you meant to do it.


Uhhhh … no.

I do the right thing because it’s the right thing.

  • Whether I feel like it or not.
  • Whether it’s convenient or not.
  • Whether it’s easy or not.

The right thing is the right thing.

What do you think? I hope I’m not alone in this fight for doing the right thing.


Book Talk Tuesday: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle


I’ve been scrapbooking lately and for some reason, nothing I’m reading is appealing to me. When I’m not scrapbooking, playing Words With Friends, or Angry Birds, I just can’t bring myself to read right now. Which is very strange and unlike me. I think it must be that the scrapbooking is using the part of my brain that is normally reading. I don’t know, but it sounds good to me.


A favorite series when I was a child was Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Then I shared the stories with my children. I recently purchased one for my grand-daughter. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives on!

In the first book, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is presented with problem children. One will never take a bath. Another pair of siblings fight and quarrel all day. There’s a picky eater. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle helps the parents solve the problems with common-sense solutions.

In the following books, she often has a “magic” potion to use. The results are what you’d expect if the problem and/or cure is taken to the extreme.

We’re big fans of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I just found a TV series on hulu.com based on the books. Start with the books, though, before trying the videos.


Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat


PREVIOUSLY: Sarah Jane tried to call Jesse to get Rachael’s phone number. Anna called Sarah Jane and told her to come home. Sarah Jane ignored her for two hours. When she got home, there was a sheriff’s patrol car in front of the house.


Chapter 12

I pressed the accelerator then skidded to a stop behind the patrol car. When would I learn? Whenever I minimized Anna and her demands, it came back to bite me. Something had happened and I should have been here.

I shoved the car into Park and opened the door all in one motion. “What happened?” I called to Anna and the sheriff deputy standing on the porch. “Oh, hi, Frank.” My breath came a little easier. Frank’s been Jake’s friend for years. He’s like one more brother.

“Glad you could make it, Sarah Jane.” Anna’s voice could have cut through a quilt, batting, backing and all.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know—”

“You mean you didn’t believe me.”

Frank raised a hand. “It’s your dad, Sarah Jane. He collapsed. The ambulance took him to the hospital.”

The bottom dropped out of my stomach and I turned on Anna. “Why didn’t you call me back? And tell me what happened? Why would you let me stay at work when my father—”

“Come on, Sarah Jane.” Frank grabbed my elbow. “I’ll follow you to the hospital.”

I wrenched free and turned back to my sister-in-law. “Anna, how could you?”

“I told you to come home. How is it my fault you dawdled for two hours?” Anna’s thin rationalization left me speechless. I stared at her a moment, then turned and clattered down the porch steps.

Frank was right behind me and in a moment I was following him down the tree-lined lane and onto the main highway.

* * *

Three hours later, I sat in the family waiting area of the Critical Care Unit at Rosedale Community Hospital. Jake was with Dad. My other brothers and Frank filled the rest of the chairs. I’d had three minutes with Dad, holding his hand and stroking his cheek while machines beeped and dripped and put out thin sheets of paper with lines and graphs.

“Tell me again what happened,” I said to Nathan.

“I was spraying in the west orchards. I went to the shop for some tools. I found Dad on the ground just outside. He didn’t answer or respond. I called the ambulance, then Jake and Anna, then Will and Abel. I asked Anna to call you. Frank heard the call on his scanner and he went by the house as soon as he could. He was working an accident out on Highway 16. That’s when you got there.” Nathan stared at his hands. “I still can’t believe it. A heart attack? Dad’s never been sick. Not even a cold. And he has a heart attack all by himself.”

Daniel stood and strode out the door, hitting the wall with his fist as he went by. I stood to follow.

“Let him go.” Abel patted the seat next to him. “He’ll be okay. He’s just worried and it’s better for him to keep busy.”

Footsteps clacked down the hall and we all turned to see who it was. A doctor could be bad news.

Anna entered, holding April’s hand. “How is he?” She scanned the room, but since it was Jake’s turn with Dad, her expression darkened when she didn’t see her husband. “Where’s Jake?”

That was my cue to follow Daniel. I brushed past Anna but gave April’s shoulder a squeeze.

Out in the hallway, I wandered to the big double doors leading to the cardiac intensive care area. Visitors had to be electronically buzzed in by a nurse or someone inside the unit. Only one visitor at a time. And only for five minutes. There were more rules here than in a manual for contract bridge. No outside food or drink. No lingering in the halls.

The doors buzzed and I wheeled around to see Jake coming out.

“How is he?” I rushed to my brother and grabbed his arm.

“The same. We need to talk.” He pulled me close. “Let’s find the others.”

In the waiting room, I sank into the chair by Abel and pulled April into my lap. I ran my hands through her silky hair and smoothed down the flyaway strands.

“Dad had a massive heart attack,” Jake said. “He survived the attack and the surgery here and that’s good. What’s not good is that we don’t know how long he was unconscious before Nathan found him. They’re doing everything they can for him, but he has a long road.”

We all nodded. Jake wasn’t saying anything we hadn’t already surmised from the guarded words and hushed voices.

“I think …” He took a deep breath. “Does anyone know where Dad keeps his will?”


Woe! It’s Wednesday

I’ve skipped a couple of rant weeks just because I didn’t have much to say and I was busy. You’d think with a non-retired husband and an empty nest, I’d have all kinds of time for writing and journaling and reading. Right?


Paper Clip And Notepad Free Stock Photography


I keep paring down my schedule and commitments but I can’t seem to find any more time in my week. The only thing left to cut out is critique groups.

I’m probably in too many. Two that meet weekly, although one tends to be more hit-or-miss. The other is the most helpful of all and it is the last one I’d quit. Another group meets only every three weeks so it doesn’t take a huge chunk of my time.

I’ve also taken a couple of classes recently, trying to expand my spheres of expertise. I enjoyed the script-writing workshop a great deal. The grant-writing is bogging down some, but I’m still getting good info. It’s just that I’m not sure how I’ll be able to implement it when the class is over.

Every year, my resolution is pretty much the same. To live more intentionally. To purposefully keep in touch with long distance friends and family. To visit more. To read more. To spend more time with the people I love and less with those I don’t.

I don’t care where all the flowers have gone. I want to know who took my day and how can I get it back?


Book Talk Tuesday: Maid To Match


For someone who doesn’t read historicals, I’ve been adding quite a few notches to my historical belt recently.

I downloaded Maid to Match because it was a free Kindle download. But it was so good, and I enjoyed it so much, I would have paid for it. In fact, I will pay for future Deeanne Gist titles, so the publisher’s strategy totally paid off when it came to me.

Tillie Reese is head parlormaid at the Vanderbilt mansion. She hopes to be promoted to lady’s maid. Until a tall, handsome stranger hires on as a useful man. Mack Danvers upsets Tillie in all kinds of ways. Including making her doubt her aspirations to see the world through the travels of another woman.

I really enjoyed Maid to Match.

Let me know what you think!


Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat


Previously: Sarah Jane and Jesse talk and she realizes that they took different paths in life for a reason.



Chapter 11

I slept better that night than I would have thought possible. It’s like once I told Jesse that I loved my life and my family and my students, I realized how true it was. Even if Mom hadn’t gotten sick, I would have stayed in Rosedale. It wasn’t just a pretty town in the central San Joaquin Valley. It was my home and it embraced me and gave me all I needed.

The next day I kept returning to the part of the conversation Jesse and I hadn’t finished: How could I reach Rachael? I needed to see and talk to my sister. Ten years was too long to let her stay away. She’d missed Mom’s final months, the funeral service. Her own son’s childhood would be gone all too soon. We couldn’t let any more time pass.

After school I pulled my cell phone from my purse and stared at it. I had never entered Jesse’s parent’s home number, but it didn’t matter. My fingers pressed the keys in the familiar pattern and in just a few seconds I heard it ringing.


“Hi, Mrs. Hofer. It’s—”

“Sarah Jane. How are you, dear?” Her voice, warm as hot cider on a November evening, ignited memories and old longings.

I cleared my throat. “Good. I’m good. Uhh … and you?”

“We’re fine, but I’m afraid Jesse left this morning.”

My heart plummeted, but not the only sense of loss had to do with Rachael, not Jesse. “I’m sorry to hear that. I hoped he could give me Rachael’s phone number.”

“I’m sure he could. How about if I give you his number and you can ask him?”

“Sure. That would be fine.”

She rattled off the digits and I scribbled them on the back of Roseanna Lopez’s book report on The Violet Flash.

We said good-bye and I started to press the keypad again. Just as I finished the area code, the phone vibrated with an incoming call from a blocked number. I tapped the Answer button.


“Sarah Jane. It’s Anna. We need you.”

“Why? What’s going on? I have papers to grade and—”

“Honestly, Sarah Jane, could you just forget about yourself for once? Please come home.” She hung up before I could ask again what was so urgent.

I stared at the phone for a moment, then turned it off and picked up my red pen. Roseanna’s book report still needed to be read. The last time I dropped everything when Anna called with an “emergency” I had rushed home to find that we were out of raisins for her apple cinnamon muffins. Well, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice and me and my money will soon be parted. Or something like that.

v v v

Two hours later, I turned into the lane leading to the house. “Oh, dear God.” I said the words out loud. A sheriff’s car waited at the steps to the front door.


Book Talk Tuesday: The Purity War


Tuesday’s are mostly about fiction, but when I read a particularly stellar non-fiction book, I’ve been known to mention it on the blog.

The Purity War by Dr. James M. Cecy deserves a Book Talk Tuesday review.

Pastor Jim has been teaching on, preaching on, writing about, studying about, speaking on, and living purity for not just years, but decades now. He knows what he’s talking about.

The book is interwoven with lots of Scripture, personal anecdotes and solid teaching. It is designed to be used for both personal and corporate study, for accountability groups, for discipleship. There are discussion questions and accountability worksheets.

The book is broken up into sections with chapters. The sections cover topics relating to personal purity such as The Need, God’s Design, The Way of Escape and The Way Forward, as well as others. It’s a practical guide about how to get pure, if you’re not, and how to stay pure, if you are.

It can be purchased here.

I recommend it!

(Disclaimer: Pastor Jim and his wife and family are personal friends and I helped with the editing and proofing of the manuscript, so I’m not completely unbiased. However, I’m convinced of the need for this book in our families, our churches, and our culture.)

Book Talk Tuesday: Read Down Reading

I’ve been reading like crazy recently. Some are great, some okay. My annual reading goal is 100 books. Usually I make it to between seventy and eighty. This year I’m at sixty-nine so I have a shot at 100.

This last week I read:

Hook, Line & Sinker

Hook, Line & Sinker by Susan May Warren

It’s a E-book I purchased for my Kindle and it’s more of a novella. I read it in an hour or two. Cute fun, but I expect nothing less from Susie.


US Hardcover 

J.D. Robb’s Indulgence in Death.

I love all the Lt. Eve Dallas books and this one is superb as usual. I love how Eve is becoming more of a well-rounded person but hasn’t lost her kick-ass edge.


Lost Melody By Lori Copeland

Lost Melody by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith. A lovely story of letting go of dreams and embracing new hopes.


The You I Never Knew by Susan Wiggs. Solid and well written, as I expect from Susan. My only quibble: the book takes place during a frigid winter. I kept expecting spring and the scene from the cover. Note to publisher: Read the book (or talk to the author) before designing cover art.

Fireside, also by Susan Wiggs. I’ve read a couple of her Lakeshore Chronicles books and really enjoy them because I recently visited an area of New York state that could easily stand in for Avalon and the Willow Lake area. This one is just as good. Note to publisher: The cover fits! Someone did their job.

Thanks for reading. In 2012 my blog will be changing. A lot. Changing names. Contests with giveaways will happen. It’s a step of faith for me and an exercise in consistency.