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’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!

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.


Women of Strength and Dignity

Last evening I drank too much caffeine and couldn’t sleep. I found myself clicking through channels on late night television and landed on an old favorite of mine. The Big Valley.

The ABC series ran in the late sixties and portrayed a woman named Victoria Barkley (played by Barbara Stanwyck), a widow of a wealthy nineteenth century California rancher. Week after week, this woman faced intense drama with a perfect blend of tenderness and tenacity. I remember thinking I wanted to grow up to be just like her.

Barbara Stanwyck’s refusal to portray the character as fragile was controversial at the time, but I loved how Victoria was both credibly warm and tough as nails.

I know a few women just like that:

~   The friend who faced another MRI this week, to see if the cancer was back.

~   Another gal learned her son is in jail. He crashed her car while driving under the influence.

~   One woman got the call every woman dreads. Her husband went for a ride on his motorcycle and isn’t coming home. Ever.

Despite their hurting hearts, these women will pick themselves up and face the days ahead with strength and dignity. Faith will carry them through.

What about you? How do you deal with hard times?

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” Proverbs 31:25




In my novel MOTHER OF PEARL (Abingdon Press, Sept 2012), Barrie Graeber learns devastating news. Pre-order your copy today and learn how far this resolute woman will go to set things right.


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.