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.

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.


Trial Junky

As a former legal professional who spent a lot of time in courtrooms, I am drawn to trials. Especially in high profile cases.

Like many, my eyes were glued to the television during the O.J. murder case. I even traveled to Beverly Hills and made my poor husband take me to the Rockingham and Bundy addresses made famous during that case. I climbed on top of our rental car to take photos. My husband begged me to get back in the car, and the boys joined telling me I was embarrassing them. I complied, but not until I got great shots of the guest house where Kato Kaelin stayed. Made for an interesting vacation!

Okay, I digressed . . .

As I was saying, people who know me well understand I am a trial junky. Pure and simple. Some love the legal wranglings, but I’m drawn to the people involved and their stories.

This week, nearly every television channel is broadcasting commentary on the Sandusky trial proceedings (former Penn State football coach accused of molesting young men).  As I watch the pundits expound on the developing testimony, my heart breaks as the legal drama unfolds. Not only for the alleged victims who must testify about things they’d rather forget, but for family members in the courtroom who must endure what must be overwhelming emotions.

And I wonder, in that circumstance, what would a mother feel?



MOTHER OF PEARL is the story of a high school counselor who discovers an inappropriate relationship between her daughter and the football coach, and how she risks everything to bring him to justice.

Available in bookstores on September 1.

Pre-order your copy today.




First Love

I learned this week the guy who first stole my heart was killed in an accident. Now, before you start sending sympathy my way, you need to know I dumped him. And for good reason. Ended up we didn’t see things the same way when it came to monogamy.

Still, the knowledge he’d died made me feel strangely sad. I mean, he was the reason I spent most of my senior year standing in front of a mirror. While we were dating, I even kept a bottle of his after-shave in my top drawer so I could take a whiff every so often. (Oh, don’t give me that. You probably did something similarly stupid when you were seventeen).

First loves can be exhilarating, can’t they?

But then, so can old loves.

I’ve been married to the same man for over thirty years. We have a sweet history that could never be duplicated. The other day a woman I met asked how I stayed with the same guy for that long. I answered simply. “I never got divorced.”

It’s not that we didn’t want to a few times, but we stayed. And, I’m glad.

When my years on this earth conclude, he’ll be there holding my hand. Or, if his turn is first, I’ll be holding his. Regardless, we’re in this together until the very end.

I wouldn’t switch that for any new love…..ever.



MOTHER OF PEARL shows how a marriage can be tested in hard times, even when two people are committed to one another. Pre-order yours today!


Fifty Shades of Black and White

I recently became aware of the popularity of the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY book series by E.L. James. Some report this novel is selling close to a million copies daily. Especially since media outlets everywhere are featuring the author and her work.


Normally, I do a happy dance any time I hear readers are buying and enjoying a new novel. This time I can’t.

You see, I have a heart for women. There’s not much more I want in life than for gals like me to find the love and security we were meant to have. I’m afraid the content of this particular story demeans women and leads us into believing our value is “tied up” in our ability to please a man (pun intended).

Admittedly, I’ve not read James’ books (and won’t). I’ve learned the hard way women were never meant to be “mastered” by anyone but our Creator. If you want to release yourself into the complete control of another, God is the only safe person.

Before you start thinking I’m a prude, I happen to know God created sex and is crazy about us having a good time in that arena of life….so long as we enjoy ourselves within the boundaries He’s designed for our protection. Years back, I stepped outside those lines and found some things considered HOT can BURN YOU. I’m not throwing judgment stones at James or her readers. I’m simply warning some paths lead to a place we might not want to go.

I’d love to hear what you think.

My book MOTHER OF PEARL is about a mother who learns her own teenage daughter stepped outside those protections and ventured into an unhealthy relationship with the high school football coach. Barrie Graeber risks everything she holds dear in order to bring him to justice.  Now available for pre-order and in stores September 1, 2012. 

The Things We Do For Love

Saturday night, I accompanied my husband to the Texas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. Admittedly, this would not be my first choice for time spent with my guy (I much prefer a cozy restaurant). But, as many of you women know, sometimes we do a lot for the ones we love. 

A real treat was the Foreigner concert that preceded the races. Those songs brought back a lot of memories. (Hot Blooded and I Wanna Know What Love Is, for example.) Isn’t it crazy how a song can transport you back?

I wish all the memories of my young adult years were good ones. I’m sorry to say I spent a lot of time in too many bars and too many cars, know what I mean?

The manuscript I’m currently working on is about a group of gals who look for love in all the wrong places.  Boy, can I relate.


I guess that’s why I write about messy lives….and eternal hope.


Make sure you get your copy of MOTHER OF PEARL. Available now for pre-order on Amazon, and in bookstores on September 1, 2012.


Mothering Can be a Dirty Job

Our family recently celebrated a milestone, our baby grandson’s first birthday. Watching my son and his sweet wife parent that tiny boy over these past months has brought such joy, and rekindled so many memories of my own early days as a mother. One in particular.

One afternoon, my boys took an extended nap which allowed me wonderful time to read (a rarity at the time). Finally, I went in to check on them because they’d slept so long.

My hands quietly pushed the nursery door open, taking care not to wake my little guys. But when I slipped my head inside, what I found nearly had me running for the mother resignation line.


My three-year-old had climbed into my one-year-old’s crib. Together they’d hand-painted the wall a really nice shade of diaper brown (if you get my drift).

Rarely are young mothers warned about the surprises parenting can bring!

What is your favorite parenting memory?



My debut novel, MOTHER OF PEARL, tells the story of a mother who maneuvers some surprises of her own. The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Jump on over to my website and get your copy!

The Other Woman

Early in our dating relationship, a spunky redhead set her eyes on my new boyfriend. Despite assurances from Allen that he only had eyes for me, that green monster called jealousy still bit . . . hard.

I won’t go into how I wrestled that monster to the ground (my jealousy, not the redhead), but somehow I held onto my man and my dignity. So, nearly thirty-five years after we married, imagine how surprised I was to come home to find a female in Allen’s lap!

This is Ava–our 2.7 pound Yorkshire Terrier.


Guess it’s easy to see how she captured his heart–and why this time I chose to look the other way!

Do you have a favorite pet who has taken hold of your heart-strings?

Tell me about it in the comments. (And don’t forget to send photos!)