Party Time!

RT1 Next week I’ll be packing up and moving into the Hyatt Regency for a week of FUN!  The party of the year for readers, authors, publishing industry folks, librarians and book sellers is coming to town and I can’t wait!

On Tuesday, Deeanne Gist and I will join Kathryn Falk (the owner of RT) and together we’ll host a bus load of readers on a tour out to Southfork Ranch, the filming location for the popular television series DALLAS. I thought it’d be fun to give y’all a preview:

100_2155 This is the iconic entrance to the Southfork Ranch. Do you remember seeing J.R. Ewing drive through that gate?

100_2156 This is the ranch house. I thought it was so strange that all the Ewings lived in that single house, especially given that they all seemed to hate one another. Besides, they were rich and could afford to build multiple houses, couldn’t they?

100_2133 This is Jock and Ellie Ewing’s bedroom.

100_2132 And, this is Bobby Ewing’s bedroom. Remember when he was run over and killed, then appeared alive in the shower at the beginning of the next season?  (that dream sequence was highly criticized!)

100_2151 The most famous scene was when J.R. was shot. So fun to see the actual prop used.

RT Conference Shareable graphic_pdf_001 Excited to join fellow Baker Publishing Group authors for a hosted Chocolate Festival for our readers. Hope to see you there!

RT2 On Saturday, nearly 750 authors will be signing books!  The event is open to the public, whether or not you attend the entire convention, so I hope you’ll plan to spend the day with us!

During the RT Booklover’s Convention, I’ll be tweeting and posting photos on Instagram and Facebook, so be watching!  That way, even if you can’t travel to Dallas, you can still be part of the big party!

(P.S. – Take a peek over at my CONTEST tab for a chance to win a complimentary one year digital subscription to RT Book Review magazine!)

277340_WhereRiversPartGilbert_SMgraphics2

A Fun Contest!

I love many things about being an author. High on the list is connecting with other great authors. Here are two of my favorites.

Victoria Bylin and Melissa Tagg write for Bethany House, a sister imprint under Baker Publishing Group (I write for Revell). As soon as I learned about Victoria’s TOGETHER WITH YOU and Melissa’s FROM THE START, I hurried and got my own copies. Both of these novels are on my book shelf waiting to be read (as soon as I turn in this next manuscript!)

It is my sincere pleasure to share about their books and the big release day contest for readers!  If you have not yet read these authors, do yourself a favor and order their books. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Good luck on the contest!

begin-again-blog-button

 

Relax!

relax_massage I am writing to meet a deadline these days, which means I often spend ten to twelve hours parked in front of my computer with my fingers on the keyboard. I’m not complaining. I adore my writing career and nothing is more fun than watching a story form and take off.

That said, the physical act of all those hours can wreak havoc on my body. Often, I have to ice my wrists and hands. My feet swell. My back aches. And that’s on a good day.

I’ve learned a trick though. When I’m in the thick of the manuscript, when my entire being begins to feel like a sack of mashed spuds (can you tell I grew up in Idaho?) I head for a massage. While expensive, the money is well spent. After a massage, I just feel better. The tension in my muscles is gone and I no longer hurt.

So . . . yesterday was one of those days. I’d hit my limit and decided to drag my poor muscles and joints off to get worked on.  But never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined what would happen over the next hours.

My regular massage therapist was unexpectedly out, with no replacement available. Upon recommendation, I went to a little shop nearby–one that smelled like a lotus flower as you walked in, where the proprietors smiled widely and waved you inside without speaking much English.  They answered my questions by nodding a lot.

Well, I have to say . . . the little woman who sat me in a reclining chair and soaked my feet in a tub of warm, fragrant water knew her stuff. In next to no time, I felt stress leave my body.

Soon, she moved me into a tiny room curtained off for the table portion of the session. Now, I’m a very private person . . . never remove my clothes.  I just don’t feel comfortable. Thankfully, she seemed absolutely fine with that.

Once settled, face down, I again came to appreciate the woman’s talents. And then . . . 

Relaxing_Massage_at_caring_hands_massages Is she climbing up on the table?

What is she doing?

Oh, my goodness . . . she can’t be. She isn’t!

Yup . . . I had a tiny Asian woman standing on my back!

Couldn’t help it. I giggled. And try as I might, I couldn’t stop. She nearly slipped off.

She stopped taking tiny steps and said, “Aye, aye, aye–no laughing!”

And of course, I couldn’t stop.

So, there you have it folks!  If you find a similar scene in some upcoming book, you’ll know where the idea came from. I hope you RELAX and ENJOY it!

274776_Gilbert_sliders2

A Little About Fathers

Daddy cropped March 27 is always a poignant anniversary. It was Easter Sunday morning the year my sister and I learned the heartbreaking news our dad had suffered a sudden heart attack and was no longer with us.

The news dropped me to my knees.

My dad shaped who I am. He instilled in me the belief I can do anything I set my mind to, but not to think too highly of myself. He penciled out on paper his sheep business and taught me about making profits, and how to have integrity in the process. Nearly every greeting card was inscribed “To my Partner and Daughter.”

Most of all, he adored me.

I believe I am valuable because my daddy showed me every day I was special and that I mattered.

Me - Version 2 To some, Elwin Coates was just a sheepherder . . . in my eyes, he was a king. 

 

 

274776_Gilbert_sliders2 In WHERE RIVERS PART Dr. Juliet Ryan’s self-esteem is easily rocked, especially in her professional life when others don’t value her advice. She struggles with the aftermath of a rocky relationship with her father, believing at her core that she didn’t matter to him. He put his own selfish needs before her own, and the effect on his daughter was profound.

Those who have already read the story saw how unexpected circumstances recalibrated Juliet’s life . . . and most especially the relationship with her father.  They both got a second chance.

What readers are saying:

“Thank you for writing with integrity, using strong, flawed characters, and making redemption possible. Hope flows from that.”    ~ Sharon P.

“This was a very captivating story.”    ~ Ros L.

“Something about this book just pulls you in and wont let go.”    ~ Mary F.

My Friend, Kristi

TheDickmans Over our many years of marriage, I’ve often warned my husband not to give me cash for my birthday, or for Christmas. You see, I hold fast to the belief that gifts are to represent the giver’s careful choice of something special. To me, cash is just a lazy way of meeting an obligation.

Unfortunate for my husband, he is just not one given to shopping. Seldom does he approach a special occasion with an idea in mind, and often the need to select something gives him a lot of stress. He wants me to feel special, he just doesn’t know what to buy me.

 

On one particular holiday I relented and removed the pressure. “Okay, cash this year—but only this once,” I warned.

Still, the devious side of me couldn’t let an opportunity pass to make a point. I graciously accepted the cash gift—and used it to enroll us in a marriage retreat sponsored by our church! (Yup….don’t mess with me!)

Of course my hubby had to consent and go. It’s how I chose to spend my GIFT!

So, we went. The retreat center was amazing . . . a mountaintop setting with private cabins set amidst ponds and pines and cobbled paths leading to a sanctuary with massive glass windows overlooking a stunning vista. We even spotted a doe with brand new fawns.

Retreat1

Better yet, we met two couples who became close friends. Phil and Carol Johanson and Randy and Kristi Dickman. Many Sundays after the service, we headed for a nearby Shari’s restaurant and ate breakfast together with a crowd from church. We celebrated milestone birthdays. We emailed and texted . . . laughed, and sometimes cried together.

Carol and Kristi Last week, we lost Kristi. The Lord called her home after her second protracted battle with cancer. While her family and friends are all heartbroken, we’re also thrilled for her. She’s now walking in the presence of Jesus, a very real person she adored with all her being.

Kristi left her mark on this world for sure—she loved like crazy and those of us who were fortunate enough to be called her friends and who were the recipients of that love deeply feel the loss.

Even so, because of what we believe, we know we’ll see her again (this time in the ultimate retreat center!)

I can’t wait!

Sunset