Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Many thanks to Kathy at "I'M A READER, NOT A WRITER"; AND Rhiannon at "THE DIARY OF A BOOKWORM," for co-hosting this mega-hop.
If you're a new visitor, thanks for stopping by, and if you're a regular, I hope you'll like the news this week. I share insight into my new manuscript, The Rabbits of Alsace Farm, and news about a new blog I'll be launching soon.
Rabbits deals with two individuals caught up in one woman's slide into the rabbit hole of dementia. Tayte Donnelly and Noah Bradhurst believe they are irreparably broken, and for good reason. They've never had a successful relationship with anyone, incuding their parents. But when their lives connect with Agnes Devreaux Keller, they discover gifts they never knew they possessed, and if they can avoid repeating mistakes from their trouled pasts, they may be able to not only help Agnes, but save themselves as well.
This project is very personal to me. Visit my web site and read more bout the book and the web sit I'm setting up to help families dealing with this devastating disorder. 
And now, let me tell you about my prize--a $25.00 Amazon gift card, and here's how you win. You can enter multiple times, but each entry must be posted separately to be counted.
1. Be or become a follower of this blog.
2. Follow me on Facebook
3. Pop by my website and read about "Rabbits of Alsace Farms" then report that you visited.
4. Follow me on Twitter.  
5. Friend me on Goodreads.
Now please visit all these other wonderful blogs.


Saturday, October 13, 2012


I've been helping set up for a big, church yard sale we call a Give-and-Get, and I've been enjoying the treasury of books flowing in. Parents may balance the budget by cutting out new books for themselves, but they'll stretch the budget to provide something educational for their families, and as a result, some wonderful, slightly-used, non-fiction books are available for cheap or free.

I picked up a great book on castles last night. I don't write medieval romance, but you never know when knowing the ins and outs of castle construction may come in handy. I might have a character travel to Europe and be held captive in a castle somewhere. Lots of possibilities. Best of all, each time I learn something new, fascinating new ideas and story lines fill my brain. It's awesome!

Great research can be conducted online, and at libraries, of course, but when you're stuck, when you need an idea to break the mental log jam, sometimes thumbing through a few books will present a myriad of never-before-considered ideas.

So make a list of topics about which you could use a few good research books. I keep a few on military weapons, lots of historical reference books,  several on colonial life, emerging religions in America, and medical books that detail treatments available during certain periods. I'd like to get my fingers on some books that illustrate historical fashions. It would save me countless research hours to have that info at my disposal.

So make your list, and hit the yard sales. Amazon is also a good choice for used books, but be frugal. Consider how many of your published books you'll have to sell to recoup your research investment. I say, go yard-selling first.

Here's a delightful video based on Macauley's "Castle." Are you inspired now?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I fell in love anew with Christopher Columbus while researching Free Men and Dreamers. I say anew because this great explorer enjoyed at least an annual love fest in classes during my grade school years. We colored dittoed renderings of the Nina. Pinta, and Santa Maria, studied his life and wrote reports about his amazing discoveries, we recited the poem, "IN 1492."  A cardstock print of Columbus hung in the front of our room along with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Are any of them still hanging in classrooms?

Did you know Columbus set sail with a desire to spread Christianity to people who had never heard of the Christ? Did you know he wrote a book about the spiritual whisperings he felt were guiding him? Did you know he returned to Spain in chains?

Like most of our traditional heroes, the luster of Columbus's accomplishments is dimming. No one was aware of the dangerous germs the Europeans carried in their systems, nor of the consequences contact with native peoples would have on them. Disease spread to a people without immunity, and many died. It was tragic, and unforeseeable. Also tragic is the idea that political correctness has reduced the heroic accomplishments celebrated in my day to a study of their failings. They are measured against modern sensibilities rather than being judged against the information available to them in their day. One by one, they fall.

So let's stop the clock for a second and revel in Cristobal Colombo's accomplishments. I'm posting a link to a short quiz, and I'm offering two shelf-worn but autographed books as an incentive to take it.

We'll do this on the honor system. Take the quiz, and report your score. The person with the highest score will win the books. Contest closes out at midnight on the 11th.

Ready, set, go.


Monday, October 8, 2012


If you've read this one before, forgive me. I just love it so much, and in honor of Columbus Day, I had to dust it off again. For a history lover, this is nerd-humor heaven! I'm told this is a true story. If it is, I need to find this attorney because he is now my idol. If it's not, three cheers for the creative genius who came up with this!

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply.

(Actual reply from FHA):
"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:
(Actual response):
"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.

For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France , which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus 's expedition.

Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory.

Now, may we have our loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Anyone who has ever wondered what Mormonism is really about has a great opportunity to hear these principles that way the members do. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is holding its Semi-annual Worldwide Conference this weekend. Church beliefs, history, principles, and point of view will be on full display during two days on addresses.

Here's the schedule:
Session Times
Saturday morning session10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MDT
Saturday afternoon session2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. MDT
General priesthood session6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. MDT
Sunday morning session10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. MDT
Sunday afternoon session2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. MDT

In the following post you can watch an address by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland about how conference can impact individuals. Let me share my personal love of conference. It reinvigorates me, lifts me, strengthens me, inspires me, and fills me with hope when the weight of the world begins to press in. I feel my Savior's love more personally, and my love for Him pushes the world back for a time. I find answers to my problems, both personal and in regards to my family's needs, and how best to serve my neighbors. Most of all, I am reminded of the counsel God gave Moses: "to be still and know that I am God." We have work to do, but we are not alone, and we can do little if anything without Him. Let Him strengthen and lift you too. Come and listen to a modern prophet's voice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I'm about to wax both political and religious now, so take that as fair warning. Today is an important day. The debates begin tonight and finally voters will get a chance to hear from the two candidates without media spin and editorial wizardry distorting their words.

I've read some blogs and Facebook posts that mock the hype some people place on this election. They say this isn't a do or die day, that the future of America will never hinge on the outcome of any single election. I hope they'll agree to let me disagree.

I think we do stand at a pivotal point. Never before have we been in so much debt, been threatened in so many quarters, had so few allies, and been so divided as a people all at the same time. Never has the rock of a free press, designed and protected to serve as the guardian of liberty, seemed so purchased and manipulated. It's as if it's lost not only its mission statement, but its soul.

Here are a few examples. I hope you'll take the time to watch and really listen. It's shocking, and absurd.


Here's another clip manipulated to completely distort Romney's policy point and paint him an idiot.

My blood hits the boiling point when I see this effort to deceive voters by some of the very people crying out against voter ID because it might disenfranchise them. What's that about?

History is riddled with moments when one battle, one man, one vote, changed the course of America. Scripture also records moments when nations' survivals rested upon the willingness of a single leader to step forward, and of a single voice to bring the cause of freedom back to remembrance. Likewise just as many accounts are written of civilizations that fell from grace, met decay, were conquered and defeated because of a lost opportunity to pull it back from the brink.

I think we're there.

Watch tonight. Listen. Then become engaged in the cause of America.