Friday, February 27, 2015

It Is Well...

“I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability—to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It’s like this…

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip—to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans.  The Colosseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You learn some handy phrases in Italian.  You book a plane flight and reserve a room.  You make dinner reservations.  It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  You board the plane feeling more anticipation and excitement for this trip than anything you’ve experienced before.  Several hours later the plane lands.  Italy, what a dream come true!  You have arrived!  Then the stewardess comes in and says “Welcome to Holland!”

“Holland?” you say.  “What do you mean, Holland?  I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”  But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  You’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.  The important thing is that you haven’t been taken to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It’s just a different place.

So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks.  You must make new hotel arrangements.  Dinner plans will have to be altered.  And you must learn a whole new language.  You must make new reservations at new places.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met if you hadn’t landed here.

To make matters worse, everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they have there.  They share Italy stories and offer Italy advice.  Little of it applies in Holland.  For the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go, too.  That’s what I had planned.”  And the pain of that will never go away because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

Holland is a different place.  It’s slower paced than Italy.  It is less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been in Holland for a while you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

If you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special and lovely things about Holland.”

         **Excerpt from a story by Emily Perl Kingsley as printed in “Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul”

Trimester 2 finals are in the books and it’s weeks like this one, when my family finds itself knee deep in the debris of train-on-tracks, spectrum living, that I long to run away with my ticket in hand, desperate to secure my spot in a country I long to visit.  Even though the opportunities have come and gone, I’m desperate not to let the topic drop but to say just one more thing in case it’s the right one.

Italy.  I was supposed to be over there, not here.  And while I’ve had almost fourteen years to adjust to living here and while Emily Pearl Kingsley is correct, Holland is incredible in its own right, a part of me sometimes wonders what I’m missing over there, in that other place.  But pining for Italy is a slippery slope and I know firsthand it leads me far from where I want to be.  From where this family and the child I adore need me to anchor myself.  Far from where God has planted me.

Holland is a beautiful place and while this season brings with it some grey days, I can’t let myself forget that this is right where I need to be.  After all, spring is coming.  And I’m looking forward to the tulips.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

8 Sentence Sunday--WeWriWa

This is an excerpt from my newest novel, Faith 15, book two in the Men of Faith series.

“A regular guy,” Cooper mumbled.  “All I'm hoping is for Cali to see me as a regular guy.”  As he ran the tip of his toe over the weathered deck board wondering how much further to expose himself, Jason Aldean's voice cut through the silence with a heated, country drawl promising something about memories and tattoos. Burke smiled at Cooper’s latest choice of ring tones and reached for his abandoned coffee cup before Cooper could manage another word.
“Here's your chance, big boy,” Burke laughed, slapping Cooper on the back.
How could Cooper have failed to remember that his best friend was a total pest when he wanted to be?

Thanks to the crew at WeWriWa for hosting 8 Sentence Sunday.  Be sure to check out all of the authors sharing #8sunday at

Cooper Hensen is back in the Midwest, a place that holds haunting memories for him.  Worse, he’s been labeled the newcomer, the guy now responsible for replacing a pro bowl, quarterback superstar destined for the hall of fame.  And while the other guy’s name graces everything around the city from a children’s hospital to a golf course and philanthropic foundation, people keep misspelling Cooper’s, driving him crazy.  Twice in as many weeks he’s heard his neighbor, a die-hard other guy fan, refer to him as Copper.  Seriously?

Cali Carter is a hard charging, no non-sense district attorney determined to clean up the city of Indianapolis.  But lately things have shifted and she’s felt torn between her work and the position she fought so hard to achieve, and helping her sister, who’s struggling to manage her own young family and run the small cafĂ© where she’s invested all of her heart, not to mention her life savings.

When a bossy, quick thinker who likes to fix things meets a man with incredible potential clouded by a haunted past, can two household names find a balance of power within their relationship and share the spotlight?

Readers can find Faith 15 at the following:

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Different Happy Hearts Day...

Valentines Day is a tough holiday at my house because my birthday and our anniversary fall in the same week meaning the three occasions take place within five days.  With President’s day falling nearby (which means a long weekend for us), needless to say it’s a jam-packed few days.  Before our son was born, we made it a point to travel to Napa Valley every year and spent many a fabulous long weekend between San Francisco and the Napa and Sonoma valleys as a result.  Even now just thinking about those years makes me sigh and chant those were the days.  And they were, in their own way.

Now my son is in his second year of middle school and while I’ve never said this about a given year before, I can’t wait for this Valentines day to be over.  My son’s world has changed dramatically in the past few months as girls we’ve known since preschool have started texting and his first real girlfriend has come and gone, leaving his heart in pieces when she left. At times over the last few days, the uncertainty in his world has felt overwhelming to everyone in our house.  I don’t remember the first time I got my heart broken but I know enough to remember it wasn’t fun.

As a mom I think I’ve turned from thoughts of my own experience on the happiest of hearts day to that of my son.  I find myself wondering what I can do for him on February 14th to help cover that new hole in his heart.  In years past we’ve celebrated as a family with cupcakes, candy and cards but this year I want to up the anti just a bit.  My son’s ex bought him Polo Black cologne for Christmas and I’ve noticed since they parted ways, he hasn’t worn it much.  That being said, in the wee hours before Valentines day dawns, I plan to use my mom superpowers to make said cologne disappear, leaving in its place on the shelf in his medicine cabinet a fresh, new bottle of Polo Red, complete with a note from me for his eyes only.

And while we’ll still have cupcakes and candy and share a card or two as a family, it’s that note, that little bit of encouragement shared from my heart to the heart of the child I adore, the one God has entrusted me to raise, that just might make this Valentines day the one I consider my favorite years from now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday

I always get a little giddy on release day.  There’s a feeling of excitement that comes with seeing a project make it to market that’s hard to match.  I love my readers.  I love to hear what people think of my stories and I absolutely love putting paperbacks into the hands of those eager to explore my work for the first time.

Faith 15, the second book in my Men of Faith series, released just yesterday and as excited as I was to see Cooper’s story to fruition and share it with all of you, hot on Cooper’s heels comes Charity 12, the story of Cooper’s best friend, Burke Miller.

Charity 12 blurb:

After years of playing gatekeeper for the people he cares for most and watching several of his best friends marry and start their families, Burke Miller suddenly feels like the old man at the party.  While he doesn’t have trouble getting a date, Burke’s never met anyone that would cause him to consider risking it all.

Abigail Foster didn’t mean to ruin her life.  She didn’t mean to watch her home burn to the ground as she faded into the blackness of that night, never to be heard from again, as the result of her addiction.  And she certainly didn’t expect to see steel blue eyes staring back at her through the darkened windows of a limousine as she scrounged for food on the side of the road.

When a successful attorney meets a homeless woman on the cold streets of Indianapolis, all becomes fair in games of chance and it’s anybody’s guess as to who’ll be left holding the winning hand.

Here’s a snippet of Burke and Abby’s story:

“I can’t believe I haven’t noticed before.  Darkness or not, you don’t just hide what I’m guessing is close to a hundred people when the sun comes up.”  Horrified by the images four feet from him, Burke continued to stare from the protection of the darkened window.   Boxes covered bodies leaving only feet, sometimes shoeless, exposed.  Grocery carts littered the sidewalk, some tied to their owners, some rolling slightly given the slant of the pavement.  Runaways.  A couple of small metal barrels housed fires although it was the middle of summer.   If he didn’t know better, Burke might have thought he’d been transported from his riverfront high rise on the northwest side of the city and dropped somewhere closer to East Los Angeles.  While ten years of working within the court system had taught him sometimes bad things happened to good people, the amount of poverty so close to his front door was staggering.  He was less than fifteen miles from home.
"Wow dude, way to harsh the mellow," Gage leveled toward Burke who sat riveted to the scene playing out just beyond the safety of the car.
"Way to what?"  Eric asked, seemingly amazed that one of their oldest friends, the kid they'd meet wearing zit cream and glasses freshman year, could so easily transform from a gyrating, kissing, one-man love machine to a hippie in less time than it took Eric to microwave popcorn.
"Stop the car!"  Burke shouted, shocking both Eric and Gage into silence.
"You aren't getting out here, man.  We'll start a fund.  I'll get some corporate sponsors for a new shelter.  Gage can help neighborhood kids do a canned food and clothing drive.  Anything you want, bro, but do not get out of this car."
Shoving his hand into the air, Burke tried to quiet his friends and shut out everyone around him but her.  Outside the car, which had stopped not because he’d shouted his demand but due to a traffic light instead, Burke saw the well-sculpted form of a woman huddled against one of the oldest building in the city.  Hampered by the window tinting, which cast a grey shadow on the objects in its view, Burke couldn't help but stare.  Everything about the stranger looked grungy and dusty except her face, which was graced by an angelic jaw line and deep-set, haunted eyes.  As corny as it sounded there was no other way to phrase it.  She was stunning.
"Why are we moving?"  Despair lacing his voice, Burke shouted and alarmed his friends again when he felt the car start to roll forward.  "Eric, the car stops or I jump."
"Alex, pull over to the curb and keep the doors locked," the ringleader of the group said to the man he hired twice a month to chauffeur them around town for guy's night.  "We'll only be a minute." 
"What in the world is going on, man?  Go home and get your own car and come back and play Mother Theresa if you want.  That’s fine with me.  I just want to get home,” Gage groaned at Burke.
Looking through the glass, Burke focused on the woman's face and studied her with such intensity he didn't even realize she was looking straight back at him.  Shaking his head against the possibility she'd seen him given the deep tint that separated them, Burke sent his eyes to meet hers again.