Last week, I watched the Disney movie BAMBI with my grandson for a second time. When we viewed the movie initially, my little Peanut was extremely worried about the “humans in the forest” and what happened to Bambi’s mother.

This time, he giggled out loud at the “twitterpating” scene. He’s a little older now and understands the concept of romance. In fact, he wanted to watch that scene over and over and then turned and asked if me and Papa were twitterpated. I assured him we were!

Isn’t it fascinating how fascinated we all are by the concept of falling in love?

My upcoming release A REASON TO STAY explores how a couple’s relationship can get knicked by life and how differences and misunderstandings can threaten a marriage. Any couple married very long can attest to how “becoming one” is not all that easy. Somehow the early twitterpated feeling wears off and then the real work begins.

This story is a testament to the value of choosing to stay through those difficulties.

Purchase your copy here:


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.

Bad Bosses

XX This is the image of an easily recognizable celebrity, Sharon Stone. When writing WHERE RIVERS PART I used this photo while imagining the character, Alexa Carmichael, the once beautiful, but aging woman executive who came up through the ranks when women often hit a glass ceiling. Think of the woman in The Devil Wears Prada…..failed marriages and family life in the ditch because of her ambition. A woman who drives a black Aston Martin and who will sell out anything and anyone to succeed.

For those of you who have read WHERE RIVERS PART you know what happened when  protagonist, Dr. Juliet Ryan, tangled with her. And, it wasn’t pretty!

As a former legal professional who served for years in law firm settings and for the Department of Justice, I’ve worked with my share of bosses–good and bad. Nothing surpasses an experience where you work alongside a person who supervises your work, respects and treats you as a valuable member of the team, and compensates you accordingly with praise and monetary gain. (a few have even lent me and my family use of their vacation homes non grata!)

On the converse, I’ve also worked with a few doozies! In work environments everywhere you’ll find people in upper level positions who are power hungry, who believe the people reporting to them are less valuable to the effort and who are threatened by anyone else’s success.

I’ve had phones thrown at me. I’ve been screamed at. I’ve even been promised a huge bonus that never came. (Shocking….I know!)

Some of you have your own war stories about working with bosses, good and bad. I’d like to hear them in the comments (keep identities anonymous please).  So, share! Tell us about your boss experiences. Are you a boss? Tell us about that!


An Easter Message



This is the ocean view I gazed at on Easter morning, eight years ago. Something caused me to wake in the pre-dawn hours and I grabbed my Bible and nestled on the sofa in our hotel room for my own private worship service.


Less than four hours later, I got the call.

“I’m sorry, Kellie. It’s your dad,” a close friend whispered over the phone. “He’s gone.”


Some of you have faced losing someone you love. You know what I felt in those next seconds. The instant regret at not having a chance to say goodbye. To tell him what he meant to me. The crippling pain knowing I couldn’t simply call him. He was no longer there.

People who knew me in my younger days shake their confused heads when they learn I’ve become a Christian. Images of me winning at beer pong and (well, let’s skip that part) still wander through their minds. “Kellie? She’s a Christian now?”


My debut novel, MOTHER OF PEARL, asks an important question.

Is death the end?

Because of what happened on that first Easter, I have the hope of seeing my dad again. That’s worth living my life differently. It’s worth having people think I’m small-minded, not open to progressive social ideas. It’s worth bending my knee and submitting my will to His.

It’s not religion. It’s climbing into Jesus’ lap, recognizing I don’t belong there, but knowing I’m welcome and loved by the one who made me.

If there was a Facebook emblem I could post on my profile page this week that said I’m a Christian, I’d sign up. Not to be divisive, but to acknowledge my faith. It’s not about me judging others, or acting better than anyone. It’s simply saying I know where I’m going after I die . . . and I’m grateful.



MOTHER OF PEARL is the story of a mother who risks everything for her daughter. Available at your favorite bookstore, or at Amazon.


A Christmas Wish for my Readers


There, I’ve said it. No holiday brings me more joy than the celebration of the Savior’s birth.

As a child, I grew up in a wintery wonderland not far from Sun Valley, Idaho. Close your eyes a minute and imagine riding on a sleigh pulled by horses over glistening snow. Or, think about a Christmas afternoon spent on a frozen lake showing off new ice skates.

Back then, I couldn’t imagine a fake tree. Every year my dad would pile kids from neighboring ranches into his truck and we’d go cut trees.  Ladies from down the road made popcorn balls and Mom filled my sock with yummy hard ribbon candy and orange jelly wedges on Christmas morning.

My childhood holidays were magical.

Now, I live in Dallas.

No snow.

No real tree.

My parents have passed on and my sister lives hundreds of miles away.

But, this year I look forward to something very special. Something that almost tops my childhood memories.

There’s a furry spring horse that whinnys and makes clopping sounds when you press his ear waiting by our tree.

On Christmas morning, my husband and I will watch our little two-year-old grandson climb up and take the ride of his life.

I can hardly wait.

Tell me . . .  what are you excited about this season?




When the Heart Breaks

I started (and stopped) this blog post several times. You see, I’ve had a bit of a hard week. I lost something I loved very much. And, writing is hard when your eyes keep tearing up.

Last Thursday, my 2.7 pound Yorkie slipped into our pool and drowned. My husband found her. We were both devastated. While not on the tragedy level of losing a family member, little Ava was deeply tucked inside our hearts, and the unexpected goodbye sliced our emotions like a knife.

Even so, I’ll find my footing again. Despite the hurt, the days ahead will grow steadily brighter.

Until then, I can’t help but ponder how often women face unexpected, life-changing misfortune. Someone out there lost her job this week, or received a foreclosure notice. Another gal signed divorce papers. Perhaps one of you opened the door to a law enforcement officer with bad news.

No one escapes the hard things in life.

And, when we encounter these situations . . . where do we turn?



MOTHER OF PEARL (Abingdon Press) follows the story of Barrie Graeber, a mother who faces incredible loss, and who discovers she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

Releases SEPT 1, 2012. 

Let the Olympic Games Begin (or Not)

Unlike most people, I hate watching the Olympics.

When I recently expressed this view at dinner, my friends gasped.  How could anyone not like the Olympics? “That’s just plain un-American,” they claimed, with frowns painted across their faces.


Let me explain.

I’ve never been a person drawn to athletics, preferring to bury my nose in a good book over watching sports on television.  Oh, I like the opening ceremony, but that’s because I enjoy all the pomp and circumstance, the music, the broadcasted stories behind the athletes.  But the actual competition? Yawn…..

As a novelist, I do pay attention to why so many other people glue their eyeballs to the fierce competition of these athletic events.  I may be wrong, but perhaps the popularity stems from the same reason I love novels.

There is something about a person fighting to attain a goal against insurmountable odds and winning that strikes a cord in all our hearts. We love wondering what that feels like. What if we could do the same in our own circumstances?

No matter if you live vicariously through your favorite athlete with gold medals wrapped around his/her neck, or you relate better to a heroine maneuvering through the pages of a novel to a satisfying conclusion  . . . humans striving to break across the finish line calls to the deep part of our souls and reminds us the race matters.



The football coach went too far with her daughter, now this mother is willing to risk everything she holds dear to bring him to justice.

MOTHER of PEARL releases Sept 1.

Pre-order yours today!

Let’s Pretend

Don’t you love this photo?  Who doesn’t want to be a fairy princess?

I grew up on a sheep ranch in southern Idaho. Often, my busy mother would shoo my sister and me outside to play. A heavy list of chores needed done without us around her feet complaining, “I’m bored.”

Didn’t take us long to come up with ways to entertain ourselves, especially through the summer months.

We pretended.

Some days, we imagined ourselves doctors in a busy hospital filled with patients (i.e. the lambing sheds and chicken coop).  Or, we played farmer and used our dad’s garden hose to irrigate our tiny dirt fields lined with rocks.

Occasionally, we donned our suits and sunglasses and swam in the cattle trough letting visions of palm trees dance in our minds. (PS – don’t use Jergen’s hand creme for tanning lotion unless you want a sunburn you’ll not soon forget!)

My favorite game was Academy Awards. Glammed up in our mother’s nightgowns and high heels, we’d march forward and accept Prell Shampoo bottles (our version of the coveted Oscar statue) and blow kisses to our adoring fans (the fence posts).

I’m often asked how I come up with stories for my novels. The easy answer is this:  I go inside my head and pretend. I imagine being someone else and what I’d do, and how I’d feel if this or that happened.

I think most novelists would say the same.  We’re inspired by our imagination.



As a debut novelist, I admit to closing my eyes and pretending I’m a New York Times bestselling author. What would THAT be like?


Want to help me find out? Pre-order your copy of MOTHER OF PEARL today!

God Bless America!


Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and our family is gathering to celebrate. Doesn’t get much better than an Independence Day potluck picnic and BBQ!

I’m taking a Watermelon with Feta and Mint salad I found in my Paula Deen magazine. Thought I’d share the recipe. Looks SO good, don’t you think? 




  • 1 (5-pound) watermelon
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 whole mint sprigs


Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.

To serve, garnish with mint leaves.

God bless America!

How is your family celebrating this year?

Goodbye Ann Curry


I’m ticked off! 

Something deep inside my spirit wants people to obey the golden rule of fairness. Like many, this morning I watched Ann Curry’s announcement that NBC was moving her into “another position.” My heart quivered as this beautiful, smart and dedicated news anchor fell into tears and apologized on air for letting viewers down.

What gives?  The situation makes me mad. A long line before her were given respectful tributes as they left that sacred sofa spot on the popular morning Today Show (uh-hem . . . Bryant, Jane, Katie, Deborah, Meredith) In fact, Meredith got a two hour worship fest.  Ann started with an NBC affiliate in Medford, Oregon in 1978. That’s thirty-four years ago! And THIS is how she’s treated for a slip of a few rating points?

As a former legal professional, I smell legal maneuverings in the backdrop. We’ll never know for sure, but I suspect NBC sent a loud message to Curry and her attorneys this week. The injustice really gets my heart pumping . . . know what I mean? I’d write the last chapter in this tale very differently.

So, how would YOU write the end of Ann Curry’s story?


Early reviewer/readers say they connect to Barrie Graeber and her determination to set things right, no matter the personal cost and risk to her family.  MOTHER OF PEARL releases Sept 1 – available for pre-order now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.