A mockingbird has made itself very comfortable outside my bedroom window. A bird that never sleeps, it sings endlessly. Many times I awaken, my internal clock telling me it’s time to arise, the sun is about to crest, while the mockingbird chatters. But it’s only 1 AM. The bird tricks me. If I could be as incessantly joyous as this nightbird sounds…
With a contented smile, I rest my head back on the pillow. The bird’s song is beautiful, and the energetic melody reminds me that somewhere on this blue planet the sun is always rising. Dawn is imminent, and so is the hope renewed in my heart for a fresh and glorious day.
“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
My horse-based contemporary romance novel I wrote a few years back, Madeleine's Ranch, is currently being promoted on Riding & Writing.
As a novel often will reflect an author’s personal experience, perception, or interest, I thought I’d also include a few pics here of some these great loves in life…
My publisher is working on combining The Brother’s Keep series into one set. This coming April, all four of my YA romantic fantasy novellas will be available in one volume via Soul Mate Publishing. The cover was just revealed to me, and now I’m revealing it to you. Symbols from each of the novellas are represented in this gorgeous new cover (love!). Sharing today’s news from my happy camp.
Greetings! I'm excited to share the introduction for my latest novel just released. Can't believe I now have nine titles out there! Where does the time go? Oh yeah, that's right...it goes into writing. ;)
This story, MADELEINE'S RANCH, is a contemporary Christian Native American romance, inspired by my five-year stint on a ranch in northern New Mexico (still one of my favorite locations in the world). Hope you enjoy it.
Madeleine Gentry can’t afford to lose the ranch.
Even though childhood dreams betray her, and a history of hurt is wrapped into the place, it’s everything she knows at 47 years of age.
When a handsome Jesus-believing Native American, Dan Longfeather, shows her that the Waymaker has a far better plan, including freedom and healing for her heart, she dares to hope. If only she can learn to trust again and is willing to make the right choice for her future. But when she takes a step in that direction, the last of Madeleine’s world crumbles.
Fighting off a rogue bear that has terrorized the area is tough, but it’s the least of her worries. Madeleine soon discovers she is not safe. There is a danger far worse than a restless bear. Someone is out to get her. People aren't what they seem. And she doesn't know who to believe anymore.
Set in the mountainous Pecos Wilderness of northern New Mexico; discover Madeleine’s wild and desperate love for the Land of Enchantment, and the man who captures her heart there.
Black Sheep, you are different not undesirable; misunderstood not disreputable. Honor is a power of the heart not a reflection of surroundings or surrounding attitudes. Your heart is strong. You do not fail, you climb. Failure is for those who do not move their hooves. Your hardy little even-toed hooves go, go, go! You ascend at your own pace. If you trip, you bleat, but you try again. Resilience. Among the scrutinizing eyes of your compeers I feel your pain, and yet I applaud—for there is no shame in being who you are or what God made you. No embarrassment, only delight. No shame, only honest pride. Some look at you and see deviation from the flock. I see straightforwardness.
Black Sheep, you are beautiful, and as you should be.
Women hold secrets. Even if you think they don’t, they do. Planted deep within the wells of a woman’s soul hush-hush lingers.
While God knows the inner and outer workings of my heart, the only living creature on earth who knows all my secrets is the cat. Therefore, my cat is granted diplomatic immunity and cannot be prosecuted for any action. It’s hardly fair and seems rather unreasonable. I don’t know why it is the way it is, except that I feel safe with him, the cat. I realize that if he went under the duress of interrogation (and he has), my surreptitious vault is safe and will ever be. You see, we have an understanding, the cat and I. So, from all women out there who share this clandestine indulgence, let me hear a “¡Viva el gato!”
Oh. Well then, perchance I might have had an audience with Rainer Maria Rilke who expressed, “I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.” Instead of moving ahead of my time I might be lagging behind in a wish to commiserate with literary predecessors. Ha!
I’m aware I give the cat too much importance yet can’t seem to help myself. It’s both a weakness and a need (stupid cat). Therefore, his diplomatic immunity is a requirement. No questions asked.
It was a dark and stormy night--
Ball? Ball? Ball? Play ball? Wanna play ball? Wanna play? Play ball? Wanna play? Ball? Ball? Ball? Play ball with me? Ball?
It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed--
Walk? Walk? Walk? Go for walk? For walk? Walk me? Walk? Go for walk?—CAR RIDE! Car ride? Car? Ride? Go for ride in car? Ride? In car? Car? Ride?
It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed. Thunder cracked--
Ball? Ball? Ball? Wanna play ball? Play ball with me. Ball? Ball?.....Ball?
(Sigh). Sometimes, the pup just needs to come first.
There’s a very large Black Rat Snake living in my garage. When I first discovered him, I had opened my car door ready to hop out only to find him right there staring up at me with those unblinking eyes. I had almost stepped on him!—and it about scared the light out of me.
But we’ve come to an understanding, the snake and I. You see, he favors my garage, molts, hangs out—literally, and is welcome to come and go as he pleases. I won’t try to kill him or ask him to get lost. In exchange, he keeps the rodents away…and very well, I might add.
Yes, it’s a nice arrangement, my garage his den, for everything works together for good. I’d rather have a rat snake nearby than a rat. I’ve named him Fig, either because his head reminds me of one or that I break into a few bars of “Figaro” whenever I see him. I can’t decide if he likes it or puts up with it. But we have an agreement, you see. My snake and the snake’s crazy human.
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! ~ ~ ~ Figaro qua, Figaro là, Figaro su, Figaro giù...
My son and I stopped at the side of the road, hopped out of the car to see to a goat entangled in the wire fencing of its pasture. As I worked its horns and legs out of the mesh, we seemed to draw a small crowd - a few folks driving by, some who had been working in nearby yards.
A few minutes passed when my son questioned me about why people just stood there and weren’t offering to help us. I suppose I could have asked, but I was too focused on keeping my fingers from getting smashed before the goat decided to trust us. I muttered a quick, “I don’t know,” and went about business, finally freeing the animal from the fence.
Afterward, my son said, “Mommy, do you think God was pleased that we helped the goat?”
“Yes, son, I think God was pleased.” I held back my reflection on our little crowd of gawkers though. Really, the only thing missing was someone handing out popcorn and toothpicks so the spectators had something to keep their hands busy.
In that situation a goat one-upped people, for even the animal turned around and bleated what seemed like, “M-m-m-m-m-any thanks!” before it frolicked away and rejoined its herd.
I have a bleeding compassion for animals. I have a bleeding compassion for people, too. Yet I felt disappointed in humans at that moment. Animals disappoint less often. Stupid goat.
Seeing eye-to-eye with my old goat, Piper, before turning him out to pasture.
When people learn that I’m an equine enthusiast I’m sometimes asked what style of riding I do, Western or English? My response is often “kind of both and kind of neither.” To me the style is not as relevant as is my communication with the horse while I ride. This is how I see faith. Void of churchly styles, i.e., denominational claim—which, in my mind, is really more cultural or religious rather than spiritual—I choose to focus on the relationship and freedom of expression through open and honest communication. I’ll get on a horse bareback at times. In fact, I feel the response of the horse, and vice versa, better when it’s shed of manmade tack.
I have faith. It’s perhaps strong even. But it’s also unbridled.
Now, if someone really wants to know what literal style of riding I favor it is Endurance—but that’s also an implication.