Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Grouch

'Twas the night before Christmas and out slipped the Grouch
To search corners and crevices in every house.
Grumbling and whining in each person's ear,
He worked to spoil the season's good cheer.

Devising a scheme in his evil mirth,
He would tear Christmas away from planet earth.
"I'll approach the Creator and plead for permission;
If I win the debate, I'll set off on my mission."

He filed a complaint and prepared his case,
Stated his arguments and started to pace,
Back and forth in front of the Throne,
His raspy voice a wearisome drone.

God granted his request, but it would quickly be stayed
If the Grouch found just one who gave thanks while he prayed.
Smirking and sneering, he left with a nod,
And laughed aloud at how he he'd fooled God.

Not a moment to waste, he sped through each city,
Invading the homes, adorned and so pretty.
He lurked in the shadows and watched as they said,
"It's been a long day, and I must go to bed."

Folks were busy, so much on their minds
That time for the Father was too hard to find.
The Grouch slipped through the houses, delighted, amazed
That no one took time to offer up praise.

Dauntless and smug, he smirked to himself,
"My case has been won, and with so much time left!
One more stop and it will be 'in the bag.'
Then I'll bombard Heaven to gloat and to brag."

At the edge of town on that cold winter's night
A scene through a window caught the Grouch's sight.
He slithered inside and what did he see?
A tiny boy, hands clasped, down on one knee,

Thanking the Father for Jesus' birth--
Praying, "Good will to all men and peace on earth."
When the child whispered, "God bless us everyone,"
The Grouch knew his case would never be won.

In an angry fit he yanked out his hair,
Then stamped out ranting, "It's not fair! It's not fair!"
The Creator smiled down, said, "You don't understand--
Salvation exists because Christmas began."

I longed for each soul to know its true worth
So I sent my Son to this desolate earth.
And because of Jesus, My gift from above,
Christmas is eternal, and so is My love."

A note from Laurean:

I hope you enjoyed this. Don't let "The Christmas Grouch" invade your home this year.

I wrote the above poem in December 2003 after I awoke one morning with the first two stanzas rambling around in my head. As the day lengthened, so did the poem, until by 4 p.m. I had finished it.

I pray that all have a very Merry Christmas, and not forget what the Season is truly about. Slow down and enjoy your family and friends. "God bless You Everyone!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I've missed you guys. It's good to be back. October was a trying month. The first day started with computer woes and an awful eye infection, the result of a ruptured blood vessel. For three weeks, I hid myself for fear someone would think I had decked out in early Halloween get-up. "The Red-Eyed monster from Boogie Man Swamp. Grrrrrrr!"

My computer crashed on the same day, and was in and out of the shop until November. That's okay. God knew what he was doing. How much could I have accomplished anyway with a swollen, burning eye, covered in a murky film?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I thank God I still live in a free country. I thank Him for my family. They are well. For healing my eye, answered prayer. For sending me friends like you. For His peace in trials. But most of all that He loved us earthlings enough to give up His only child, (His Son, Jesus) that we might have a choice where we would spend eternity. And what a place! Pearly gates, mansions, golden streets, the river of life, and all the various fruit on those trees.

"And God will wipe away all their tears..."

Thirty-two years ago October 29th, I nuzzled my newborn son curled up in my arms, and whispered, "God, how did you do it? How could you give up your son to die for our sins?" It wasn't until I laid eyes on my sweet little cherub that it struck me just how much God loved us.

If you haven't already done so, stop and count your blessings. As the song goes, "And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Happy Thanksgiving, Blogger buddies!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Trouble With Oscar (An excerpt from Journey To Forgiveness)

Setting up the Scene:

Oscar Ellwood III is the pampered guy who lives next door to Jenny's aunt. Tall and gangly, wearing coke bottle glasses, he has joined the mission trip. Oscar catches the church bus, enroute to the mission, equipped with binoculars, and clad in bermuda shorts, knee socks, complete with a Panama hat. His goal? To pursue Jenny Hinson, who tries her best to divert his attentions.

Austin Grant throws a cog in the wheel when he walks in on what suspiciously appears to be a romantic scene between Oscar and Jenny.

As soon as the truck pulled away, a whining Oscar trudged in to seek minor medical attention. The man had picked up a rough board and swiped it across his jaw. He showed Jenny the splinter embedded in his chin. A tiny piece protruded.

"I tried to remove it," he wailed, "but apparently it broke off when I attempted the delicate procedure."

"Follow me." Jenny gestured and led him to the area where the first aid supplies were shelved. He reached up and pulled down the supplies she requested. Jenny located the tweezers and set the rubbing alcohol and cotton to one side. After disinfecting the tweezers, she attempted to calm the nervous patient. "You sit down on that stool, close your eyes and relax. Think of something pleasant."

She soaked a cotton ball in the alcohol and spoke softly. "Now this may sting a little. Just take a deep breath and bear with me."

"Will it hurt v-ver-y much?" Oscar's voice quivered.

"Nothing a grown man can't handle." She patted his shoulder to reassure him.
It seemed to calm him.

Oscar took a deep breath and croaked, "Okay, Miss Hinson, I am now prepared for surgery."

"Good. Keep taking those deep breaths and hold onto my arms.

The patient did as he was told, and squeezed Jenny's arms. "Not so tight, Oscar."

He loosened his grip slightly. "Now tilt your chin up and look at me."

The trembling patient complied. Jenny planted one hand on his shoulder, and leaned in closer to inspect the angle of the splinter.

She was eye to eye with Oscar when Austin tramped in. "Exactly what is going on here, Ellwood? Remove your hands from her or I will see to it that you don't have hands to grab any other woman!"

Oscar yanked his hands down to cup his knobby knees. Jenny was more pleased than upset with Austin's display of jealousy. But she could not let him get by with insulting her patient.

"Austin, can't you see that I'm treating this man for an embedded splinter?" She thumbed toward the kitchen. "Why don't you just prance yourself right back in there and finish your lunch? We'll be there in a minute."

"Okay. I will." Austin took a deep breath and narrowed his eyes. "But Oscar will keep his hands to himself."

Oscar gripped his knees tighter as if his hands might have a mind all their own. When Austin turned to leave, Jenny shook her head. "Sorry, Oscar. I have no idea what got into him. He's not usually like that."

"Miss Hinson, from my observation, I would say that Mr. Grant is in love."

Jenny smiled as she closed the tweezers around the embedded splinter, and snatched it from Oscar's chin. "Ouch! That hurt!" Oscar shielded his jaw with one hand.

She held up the offending sliver for his inspection. "Got it! Now let's get back to the kitchen before Austin brings Al Capone back with him."

"You won't catch me dawdling," Oscar retorted, and leaped off the stool.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

And the Winner of the Scavenger Hunt...

drawn at random from among all the correct answers, (2) is....Rachel Rosanno! Congratulations, Rachel. You will receive a free download of Journey To Forgiveness.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scavenger Hunt question for Author Roast & Toast

In Laurean's interview with heroine, Jenny on August 13th, what did Jenny throw at our hero, Austin, after the stool tipped over?

Send your correct answer to Laurean at and your name will be placed in a drawing to win a download of this same hilarious and heartwarming story, "Journey To Forgiveness." Good luck!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hear ye! Hear ye! Author Roasting blog.

On Friday, August 28th, the new and hilarious Author Roast & Toast blog will open with a bang. Danielle Thorne is our first vic...uh...special guest. If you chuckled over the Dean Martin Roasts, you will chuckle at this. Pop on over on August 28th and every Friday, to see who will be "roasted and toasted" next. Join in the fun and go on a scavenger hunt. You may just win a prize!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Laurean Interviews the impetuous Jenny Hinson

Setting the Scene: A musty scent invades Laurean Brooks' nostrils as she walks through the open door of the warehouse-turned-mission on that warm June day in 1938. She notices the hard, dirt floor and wonders how the mission volunteers manage to sleep on it. Making her way toward the far end where the kitchen is situated, she spies a young lady at the sink, scouring a cast-iron dutch oven. Could this be the blue-eyed spitfire Austin Grant is mad about? The heroine in Journey To Forgiveness?
Laurean hugs her notebook to her chest and clears her throat. She doesn't want to startle the young lady. At the noise, shoulder-length bronzed curls swish as the girl swirls around, then dries her hands on a dish towel.

Jenny: Yes? Are you looking for someone? The men are out nailing shingles on the second house. In a couple days it will be complete. Those tornadoes wiped out three blocks of homes here in South Pekin. Left a lot of folks homeless. That's why our mission group is here-- to rebuild some of those houses.

Laurean: Actually, I'm looking for Jenny Hinson. I want to ask her about that stool-tipping incident that involved Austin Grant.

Jenny: (Rolls her eyes) Did you have to bring up his name? Austin is the ultimate Klutz! I was doing perfectly well without his help perched atop that stool. I already had the bottle of rubbing alcohol and gauze in my hand,(She rolls her pretty eyes) when he grabbed the stool and we both came crashing to the ground.

Laurean: Why were you reaching for the alcohol and gauze?

Jenny: Like I said, Austin is a Klutz. While working on the roof, he smashed his thumb with a hammer. Goes to show his carpentry skills. His thumb looked pretty bad--purple and swollen. I had hoped that Caroline would bandage it up for him, but she had other ideas. You see, Luke was here today...and don't tell anyone, but I think she's got her hat set for him. She gets all google-eyed at the mention of his name. Anyway...I ended up playing nursemaid to that big baby, Austin.

Laurean: What happened after the stool tipped over? Did anyone get hurt?

Jenny: The breath was knocked from me when I struck the ground. But to hear Austin's cater wallerin', you'd have thought he was the one dying. His head struck a pole on the way down, then I almost landed on top of him. (She smirks).

Laurean: What do you find so amusing?

Jenny: (Leans forward and whispers) Austin's hand was still clenched around my waist when we hit the ground. When I peeled it off he yelled, "Oh-h-hh! That was my sore thumb you bent backwards!"

Laurean: (Gasps) You surely didn't just leave him there in his misery.

Jenny: (Points a finger) Just wait until you hear the rest of the story. I got up and dusted my dress off while Austin lay there curled in a fetal position. I noticed he was shaking, so I thought he might be convulsing. I walked closer and looked down at him, then asked, "Are you okay?" Well, he let out a war whoop that could have awoken the dead, and then...started laughing. At me!

Laurean: Very interesting. (Laurean's brows arch.) What was your reaction to that antic?

Jenny: (Stares at the floor, then clears her throat. When she raises her head, her turquoise eyes soften). I lost my usual. I threw the bottle of alcohol really hard, and struck him in the stomach. Then I traisped straight back to kitchen. All the time he's yelling, "Come back!" (Her eyes narrow.) I was humiliated! I don't like being made fun of.

Laurean: Do you think Austin will be in a bad mood when he comes in for supper?

Jenny: Are you kidding? He never gets mad. Life's one big joke to him. But, I'll tell you one thing... At the evening meal tonight, I will make sure Austin doesn't find one spare inch of room near me. Last night, he filled his plate and plopped down beside me. So I scooted closer to Aunt Violet. But, do you know what that infuriating man did? (Laurean shakes her head.) He slid right over andcrowded me, then set his plate down. I didn't even have room to swing my elbow! Tonight I'll find a spot so tight... (Jenny shakes her head.) Just let him try.

Laurean: (Glances at her watch). Well, I'd better hit the road if I'm to arrive home before dark. Thank you for the interesting interview. Seems there's never a dull moment when you and Austin run into each other. Pun intended.

Jenny: (Stands and curtsies) You are so right, Ma'am. Austin Grant may not know it, but he has met his match. (Jenny smiles and winks.)

Journey To Forgiveness: Available through www.whiterosepublishing. Or for an autographed copy, email Laurean at . She will gladly mail you the book and deduct a dollar from the shipping. What a deal!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

TWO Lucky Winners in the Scavenger Hunt!

I had two lucky winners who answered the questions correctly. And I'm feeling extra generous today...soooo I am sending you each an autographed copy of Journey To Forgiveness. Please email me at with your full names and mailing addresses.

Congratulations to two beautiful ladies! And thank you for participating in the LASR Scavenger Hunt.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

LASR Scavenger Hunt Questions.

1. In The blog post, "An Interview with Austin Grant," what does Austin call Jenny? One word.

2. What does Jenny yell out at Austin after she runs up the train ramp?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blog Award:

Goes To:
To Ashley Ludwig for her sweet encouragement and inspiration. And to
Miss Mae for her continual support and unwavering patience.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Interview with Austin Grant of "Journey To Forgiveness"

Laurean shifts in her chair, takes out her notepaper and pen, then looks into the most beautiful azure eyes you can imagine. The tall, blond hunk who owns them flashes her a crooked smile to reveal a dimple in his left cheek. He crosses his long, denim-clad legs.

Laurean: Austin Grant, I heard about an interesting encounter you had with a petite, blue-eyed blonde. Care to tell us about it?

Austin: (Shakes his head as if to gain sanity.) You must be referring to that pretty spitfire with the flashing turquoise eyes. (He guffaws). Yeah, but it was more like an explosion. Jenny Hinson needs to wear a sign around her neck that reads, "Danger: Explosives ahead." (He winks and conspiratorally leans toward Laurean). Know what, though? I love to get her riled..just to see the sparks shoot from her eyes.

Laurean: Now, Austin. That's not nice. A woman doesn't like to be teased all the time. She gets frustrated.

Austin: Yes, I know. But I can't seem to help myself. Jenny tries to appear cool and collected, but I know a volcano seethes just below the surface. (He scratches his chest) And...I'm just the one to set it off.

Laurean: (Clears her throat). Okay. Now what was that about Jenny's missing vanity case? Give us your side of the story.

Austin: (Folds muscular arms across his broad chest and grins. Mischief shoots from his eyes.) Oh, so you've heard about that? Funny thing. You're the first to ask my take on it. Well...well...where do I start? (Rubs the cleft in his chin and stretches his long legs in front of him).

I was minding my own business--savoring a good cup of coffee inside the Kankakee train station that beautiful spring morning when my boot heel struck something underneath the bench. I bent down and pulled out a small blue suitcase. When I yanked on the handle, it came open and I saw a print dress folded inside. (Laurean arches her brows). Yeah...I know. I let Jenny think I had pilfered through her things. That was my way of getting her goin. And whew! I was not disappointed.

Laurean: Did you try to explain what happened?

Austin: Are you kidding? Jenny was so mad when she found me with the case, that explaining was out of the question. She called me a thief and demanded that the guard arrest me on the spot. (Austin laughs) I can still see her face. She was fit to be tied. Then that train whistle blasted and she yanked the case from my hand. That's when it flew open and everything scattered over the ground. When I tried to help, she yelled, "Get away from me!" Jenny stuffed it all back inside, then ran up the ramp. Know what she screamed from the ramp?

Laurean: No, I don't. Please tell everyone.

Austin: (rubs the back of his hand across his mouth and chuckles) Jenny yelled, "I hope they throw you under the jail!" By then I knew that train was headed for Chicago. With a dose of luck, I might see her again.

Laurean: Did you?

Austin: Are you kidding? Less than two hours later I was getting ready to leave a little diner near the Chicago depot when I glanced toward the window. There sat that little spitfire in a booth sipping orange juice.

Laurean: Oh my! What did you do?

Austin: Now you tell me. What was the gentlemanly thing to do? (Laurean quirks a brow to signal Austin to continue.) I walked over and tried to get acquainted...only she didn't seem to be up for it. I thought we might start over on a civil note, but it was like I had thrown gasoline on a fire. Jenny kept glancing towards the ladies' room for some reason. And when I asked her if we could start over again, she hissed, "Over my dead body!"

Laurean: What did you do then?

Austin: Wasn't much I could do. Harry Tate was with me, and he was ready to leave. I turned back to her and said, "Who knows...we could meet again. I've heard that good things come in threes."

Laurean: (laughs) Austin, you rascal! You didn't! (Austin nods). And what was her response to that?

Austin: (snickers) Sorry. I couldn't resist. Her response? She was speechless. When I left, Jenny's mouth was gaped open.

Laurean: (looks down at her watch) Austin, looks like our time is up. One last question: What do you see in the future for you and Jenny Hinson?

Austin: (Mock-terror on his face). Future? I just hope I can live through the next encounter! (Shakes his head) Taking it one day at a time. (Purses his lips)To tell the truth, I love every minute of it. Can't wait to run into that little blue-eyed spitfire again. I'll be ready for her...armored suit and all.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meet Pamela S Thibodeaux!

Laurean: "Today our special guest author is the talented, Pamela S. Thibodeaux. Here she comes, folks! Give her a warm welcome!"

The audience applauds as Pamela sashays across the stage, sleek, black portfolio case tucked securely under one arm. She smiles and waves at the multitude. Pamela takes a seat, then props her portfolio case on the floor just so-so against her chair. She pushes back the cuff of her stylish silk, charcoal suit jacket and checks the time. After patting the collar of her red, silk blouse, she crosses her legs.

"Pam, I've heard that you are a master at multi-tasking. Can you clue us in on how you manage such a hectic lifestyle? What does your typical workday consist of and how do you pack so much into it?"

Pamela: "Well, Laurie...first let me thank you for having me here today on Laurean's Lore, such a lovely place to visit! My typical workday begins between 4 and 5 am. I get up, brew coffee (thank goodness for a Bunn that only takes 3 minutes LOL!), pour a 12 oz. mug of the steaming brew then head to my office where I check email, blog, promote and/or write. At 6:30 (7 at the latest), I hit the pavement for a walk/jog with my German Shepherd, Cassie. Sometime amidst all that I spend a few minutes with my husband, then it's off to the shower, dress and leave for my job. I work 8:30 to 5 as a licensed insurance producer.

"After work and supper, I'm back at the computer until 8:30 or 9 pm.--unless hubby finds a movie for us to watch. One thing that helps tremendously, Laurie, is I do my utmost to include God in all the thing I do on any given day. The Apostle Paul exhorted us to 'pray unceasingly' and 'in ALL things with prayer and supplication.' I try to do this by talking and listening to God throughout my day. For most people, when you say 'meditation' they have visions of sitting or lying in a trance-like state for long periods of time. In all actuality, the word 'meditate; means to contemplate or ponder. By keeping God and His word prevalent in my heart and mind throughout my day, I am more focused and productive."

Laurean: "My goodness, audience. When does she sleep? Maybe we coud all learn a few things from this lady." (Turns to Pam) "Now Pam, if you don't mind my asking... If you could change three things in your life, what would they be?"

Pamela: "The FIRST thing I would change is the fact that I have to work. You see, Laurie, my greatest desire is to stay home and write. Alas, God has not granted that wish yet. If I could go back and undo the mistakes I've made, I'd love to do that and I'd give my life to Jesus a LOT earlier on. About the other thing I would want to change is PERFECT health for my entire family -- children, grandchildren, and especially my husband whom I adore."

Laurean: "I believe God will honor your desires. Know that your family is in our prayers, also. You must have given that a lot of thought. Next question. Out of all the characters you have developed, with which one can you most closely identify? Take a moment and think about that."

Laurean presses a finger to her lips to shush the audience while Pam closes her eyes and taps a glossy, red nail against her chin. She opens her eyes, then turns to her host.

Pamela: Well, Laurie, as a writer yourself, I'm sure you can agree that we identify with some part of each of our characters. But if I had to pick just one, it would be Katrina in Tempered Dreams. As a battered woman, she had a lot of healing to go through. Since I'd experienced this to a degree in my life, I identified with her doubts and fears of ever being able to trust or fall in love."

Laurean: "Yes, Pam. I can understand that. No one should have to go through abuse. But with God's healing, we will become better if we don't allow it to make us bitter. Now tell us... If a movie were made from one of your books, which one would you select? Who would you choose to play the hero and heroine?"

Pamela: "Dream of all dreams. LOL! I'd love to see a movie made out of Tempered Dreams, book 2 in my 4-part series, as I believe the message of healing is important to all people -- abused or not. We all have things in our lives we need to overcome. Heroine -- Sandra Bullock, Hero -- Matthew McConaughey."

Laurean: "Two great choices. And what a blockbuster it would be!" (Audience whistles and applauds.) Sounds like your fans agree. Okay now, which one book out of those you have written, did you most enjoy writing? Please elaborate."

Pamela: The most fun to writ was Tempered Fire, book 3 in my 4-part series. All of the other stories had major spiritual issues to work through -- abuse, grief, etc. Although this one had its share of ups and downs, writing about a young couple in love struggling to do the right thing was lots of fun and a welcome break after the rollercoaster ride of emotions in Tempered Dreams."

Laurean: "How well I understand. We all need a break from depressing situations. Especially the news. It reminds me of the old Anne Murray song, Sure Could Use a Little Good News Today. And since peace and joy are fruits of the Spirit, we know God wants us to be happy and rest in Him. Now. Which book was hardest to write?"

Pamela: "Actually the hardest to write was my novel The Visionary which is as of yet un-contracted. This book deals openly and candidly with child abuse and the healing an adult survivor must go through. The manuscript is with an agent right now and hopefully, he'll place it soon. As for published books, Tempered Dreams was the most difficult to write."

Laurean: "I critiqued The Visionary, so understand why it was so hard to write. But it is well written and bears a great message of hope for the abused. The next question strikes a lighter note. Pam, in your wildest dreams, describe what you will be doing in five years. Dream big."

Pamela: "Laurie Dear, don't you know better than to ask a ROMANCE author to share her WILDEST dreams? LOL! Oh my...let me think...this is similar to the 'if you had a million dollars' question. Okay, here goes! In my wildest dreams five years from now I'll be living in a log home with a loft office and writing my next NY Times best seller."

Laurean: "Your dreams ar big, but remember: 'With God, all things are possible.' Don't give up those dreams. Could be that God has placed them in your heart for a reason. Now...which authors' books did you devour as a child? And how has reading them influenced your writing today?"

Pamela: "Oh my. Hard to answer that one, Laurie, as I read so much growing up! The first I can recall devouring were The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. As a young girl I read mostly books about horses, and those were my favorite. In fact, my grandfather painted a ceramic replica of The Black Stallion which I still have today. As a teen, I moved into the romance genre and can't even remember all those authors, since I read everything -- contemporary, historical. It didn't matter as long as the book was a romance. LOL!

Laurean: "I loved animal adventure stories as a child, too. Especially ones about dogs and horses. I want you to pause now and take a moment to think through this one. If you could write your own epitaph, what would you want it to say? Pretend you have all the space you need."

Pamela closes her eyes as if in deep concentration. When she opens them, she looks at Laurean and begins...

Pamela: "Loving wife and mother, kind and gentle with a creative mind and generous heart -- a true and faithful follower of Christ."

Laurean: "What greater legacy could one wish to leave behind? Now, in closing, would you like to say anything about your latest book? And share any links to websites or blogs with which you are associate, along with information about purchasing or reading excerpts/synopsis of your books."

Pamela: "My novel Tempered Joy, book 4 in the series, was released in July of 2008 from ComStar Media. This year, I had two short stories released from White Rose Publishing -- Winter Madness and a FREE read, Review of Love. Synopsis and excerpts of all my short stories as well as my novel, The Inheritance, can be found at White Rose Publishing.

"All my full-length novels are available in print form from and all my titles are available in Ebook from the publisher of All Romance Ebooks.

Excerpts and synopsis of my novels can be found a my website,

Besides my own blog, I am an active participant at the White Roses in Bloom blog .

Laurean: (Raises her hand and waves at the audience) "Pamela S. Thibodeaux, everyone! Did you enjoy her interview? Then give her a big hand!"

Ear-splitting whistles and deafening applause reverberate as the audience leaps to its feet. Pamela rises, smiles at her admirers and blows a kiss. She bends to retrieve her portfolio case, then straightens to smoothe her skirt. After tugging at the sleeves of her stylish jacket, she gives Laurie a hug. With one last wave at the multitude, she prances offstage to thunderous rounds of applause and shouts of "We love Pam! We love Pam!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shanghaied on Independence Day!

Have you ever been shanghaied by your significant other? Well, I was.

Saturday, July fourth started out like any ordinary day. Terry (my hubby) and I made plans to gravitate toward Jackson, Tennessee--70 miles south--and stop at every lucrative yard sale along the way. Terry buys and re-sells collectibles, antiques--pieces of interest. The direction we chose was the long way around, with the hopes that the best stops would be on that route.

After half dozen yard sales and a couple really nice buys, we stopped at the Antique Mall in McKenzie to pack them into our booth. While unloading our Ford truck, a young man with a strong resemblance to Eric Estrada(Chips), who happened to also be a cop (but from another district, thank God), pointed to our license plate. "Your tags are expired."

Yup. They had expired on June 3oth. Oops. We were faced with a dilemma. Should we go back home, or continue the next 45 miles and try to stay "behind" the police cars? We decided to throw caution to the wind. After all, we were over half-way to our destination.

By now you are thinking the word "shanghai" is related to the expired license plate. Not so. We saw a police car on two and held our breath as we lagged behind them in traffic.

After pigging out at Barnhill's buffet, Terry and I drove farther south through rural towns, enjoying the beautiful scenery and keeping our eyes peeled for more lucrative yard sales. We found a couple, then spent an hour or so exploring the Hickory Valley (Chicory Valley in my book) area, We took an alternative route back to Jackson. By now it was 6 p.m. I asked my husband, "Do you think we should eat again before we head home?"

" Eat? Yeah, we need to do that." Then he glanced at me, a mischievous gleam in his eye and winked. You wanna get a motel first?"

He had to be teasing--you know how men are. I returned the wink and played the game with him. "Sure." Only he wasn't playing.

Before I could protest, he had whipped into a less-than-desirable motel parking lot, and jumped out, leaving me with my mouth agape.

"You aren't serious!"

"You said, 'Sure,' and I'm keeping you to it." Without another word, he jumped out and marched into the office to confer with the stout Indian man. I watched as Terry pulled out the debit card. But, I still thought this was one of his games. Maybe he was just asking directions to somewhere. Only when he strode out with the key in his hand, was I completely convinced.

"But we didn't bring a change of clothes," I argued. "No tooth paste, floss, toothbrushes, deoderant. And what about make-up? And my hot flash supplements! I will not go anywhere without makeup! That includes to breakfast tomorrow moring," I declared.

"Well, I plan to eat breakfast." He was not giving an inch. "Now we will go to Walmart and get what we need."

"But...the dogs! Who will feed them? They will miss their supper. And I promised Yipper and Riley we would be back by dark."

"They won't starve to death overnight."

"But they will think I lied to them. And Riley was abandoned. That's how we ended up with him. He'll think he's been abandoned again." By the set of Terry's jaw, I could tell I had been licked. I took a deep breath and relented. "Why are you doing this?"

"I'm just tired of the same old routine. It doesn't hurt to break from every once in a while."

I quit arguing. We browsed Wal-mart. You wouldn't believe how long it takes to find the most economical brands of makeup. Are there any? The bare necessities, including a gallon of spring water, came to $43. We paid for our purchases, then found an "Outback Burger." After wolving down our sandwiches, we returned to the motel.

The first indication that things were not exactly as we expected came when I said, "We need ice." (I'm, a heavy water-drinker. Some think that quart, plastic fuschia thermos is an appendage).

A young woman came out of the adjoining room. Terry asked "Do you know where the ice machine is?"

"The machine is out of order. You have to go to the officeand ask for ice."

Terry strutted in that direction and returned carrying a small plastic sack, neatly tied. Just enough to fill my thermos. "The man said not to ask for any more. That was all of it."

Hmmm. The room was was muggy. Terry turned on the air conditioner, a window unit. Out blasted the jarring noise of a dull jackhammer combined with the shrill whir of a high-pitched vacuum cleaner. "We'll end up going home in the middle of the night," I groaned. "There is no way we can sleep to that!"

"I paid for this motel and we are staying the entire night," my hubby announced. "The noise won't bother me." I could believe it. The man could sleep through an air raid.

I turned to pick up the gallon of spring water we had purchased at Wal-mart. "I'll just put this in the fridge and get it cool." The compact refrigerator was unplugged. I reached behind and plunged the cord into the socket. Nothing. I pressed my ear against the refrigerator. Still nothing. "The refrigerator doesn't work."

Terry traipsed back to the office and returned within two minutes. "He said it doesn't work."

Hmmm. Oh really? What next? I shouldn't have asked. Terry picked up the remote. "At least we can watch TV. He pointed at the screen and clicked and...clicked. Nothing. This time he didn't bother to take a jaunt to the office. I glanced around the rooma and checked out the bathroom. A couple other items missing. A clock, and bath towels. But housekeeping was generous enough to leave two washcloths and two hand towels. The kind you throw on the floor when you step out of the shower.

By now I'm wondering, "Why didn't we just camp out?"

I asked to make a couple calls before retiring, but Terry's response was, "No need. They'll figure it out eventually." He kept the cell phone in his shirt pocket close to his it was a rare jewel. Of course, I probably could have slipped up during the night, found it, and sneaked into the bathroom. But by that time everyone I wanted to call was in bed.

We crawled into bed. I tried to sleep on my side with an index finger poked in one ear to shut out the jackhammer vibrating in the hole in the wall. After a couple hot flashes, I fumbled toward the bathroom and grabbed a washcloth. Soaking it thoroughly with cold water, I wrung it out and laid it on the floor beside the bed. It was a life saver. When daylight finally came, Terry stretched out and yawned. "I don't remember the last time I slept that hard. I mean I really went under."

I rolled my eyes, my head still pounding to the beat of the air conditioner, and my ears still whistling from its high-pitched shrill. "How could you sleep through all that noise?" I had climbed out of bed around 4:30 and turned off the ear-splitting contraption.

"Easy," he said so flippantly. "I just tuned it out. You've got to learn to do that."

"Ha! How can you learn to tune out a jack hammer? And yeah, you've had a lot of practice 'tuning out.'"

He ignored the comment. "Where you want to eat?"


Terry scarfed down bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns while I savored an omelet and pancakes. Mmmmm. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, probably talked more than we had in months.Then I glanced down at my watch. Ten minutes past ten. "You know what's happening right now?" He looked at me with a "huh?" in his eyes. "Everyone in Sunday School class is trying to guess where we disappeared to."

We arrived home just before noon. Our labs, Yipper and Riley met us with huge sad eyes. I would swear that Riley had been crying. His eyes looked moist. I gave the dogs generous amounts of food. When they finished eating, I sat down on the steps and cuddled them a few minutes, all the while apologizing for deserting them. My words, "Mommie and daddy will be back by dark," will probablay never be believed again.

After a relaxing afternoon, we arrived at our church's evening services. You should have seen the arched eyebrows and gaped mouths. "There they are! Where were you?"

I pointed an accusing finger at my husband. "I was shanghaied!" Everyone laughed. I'm not sure it was that funny.

With a Gemini mate, I'm still learning to "roll with the punches." And like the boy scouts I must "always be prepared"... for the unexpected, that is. Even over all my protests, I must admit that the unexpected escapade was refreshing.

Has anything similar happened to you? Tell us about it. I'd love to hear your adventures. Share them so we can all get a good belly laugh.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Polished to a Sheen

Just before I awoke this morning, I had a short dream. In the dream I hurriedly skimmed a dust mop across a vinyl-covered kitchen floor before I put it away. "There. It's done." (At least I thought so.) I could not see the face of the person behind me, but a long, extended arm and finger pointed to a dirty spot in one corner. This finger seemed to represent an authority figure.

I pulled out a brush, dipped it in water, and scrubbed at the grime. The brush lifted the soil, but left a dingy place. I remembered the pointing finger and knew I could not leave the floor in this condition.

I searched underneath the sink until I found a spray bottle filled with a super cleaner that promised to leave a high gloss. I sprayed the cleaner on the sponge, rubbed on the dull spot, then stepped back to assess my work.

The surface glowed back at me. My extra effort had paid off after all.

I believe this dream symbolizes the writing process.

The dust mop stands for the short time it takes to skim over a manuscript and find the obvious errors--misspelled words, missing puncutation.

The scrub brush removes the grime. It represents the extra effort to remove excess adverbs and gerunds. Oh, those dreaded words that end in "ly" and "ing"!

Then we bring out the soft sponge and special cleaner to add the finishing touches. The sponge absorbs the passive voice while the cleaner releases the glowing beauty and graceful flow of our words.

The end result? One polished manuscript ready for submission. If we apply all these procedures step by step, God wil bless our efforts.

"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving kindness, O Lord endure for ever; forsake not the works of Your own hands." Psalm 138:8

"Without The Author, the Quill Runs Dry."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Master of The Wind loves ME!

Hi Fellow Bloggers,

I just left Lucy Kubash's blog. If you have not read her strange incident, please take time to do so after you read this. Here's her blog address.

I had a similar supernatural experience with a tornado, late fall of '94. But let me backtrack a couple months. Have you ever heard the song, "The Master of the Wind"? In September of '94 that song kept whirling through my brain, so I bought the soundtrack with the intent to sing it during church service--if I could get up the nerve. (I'm not comfortable performing or speaking in front of a group.) Anyway,I put the tape in the car and sang it everywhere I drove.

Two months later, the Sunday following Thanksgiving, my sister and I were standing outside our mother's house when we noticed a sudden eerie calm after it had been windy. We decided it was time to leave for our homes. I had driven maybe seven miles through country backroads when I glanced to my left. About a 100 yards away in an open field, a wide band of darness stretched all the way from the sky to the ground. It wasn't your usual tornado. No funnel-shaped cloud here. Just a wide sheet that looked to be 50 feet wide.

I was scared out of my wits and started to cry out, "Lord, help me! What do I do?" It was impossible to judge whether the tornado was moving parallel to the car, or if it was headed straight for me. Keeping an eye on its position, I kept driving. I lost sight of the tornado behind tall trees when I passed a wooded area. Then the road curved to the left a half mile farther. Suddenly a thick, dark indigo cloud surrounded my car. But I kept driving slowly until I reached a low spot below a hill. I sat there about 10 minutes. Then I cranked up the car and drove home.

I had no idea of the extent of the damage until my husband drove through the area the next day. He came home to say, "You are just lucky that you and that little red car aren't stuck in a treetop."

I went back with him to survey the destruction. Where the darkness had surrounded me, the house on the left side of the road was minus a back porch. On the right side of the road, a path of trees for about 50 yards, were plastered to the ground.

All I could say was "God LOVES me! He loves ME!" Because for this to happen the way it did, the tornado must have struck the corner of that house, lifted up over my car, then came back down and ripped those trees up by the roots.

No doubt, God spared my life that day. Every time I pass the spot, I get the warm fuzzies because I can feel His love. So do you think that song, "The Master of the Wind" is connected in some way to this incident? I'll let YOU decide.

Below are the words to the chorus. If you haven't heard the song, you really should. It's beautiful. I never did sing it to the congregation, but I still have the tape, remind me how much God loves ME. He loves YOU that much, too.

I know the Master of the wind.
I know the Maker of the rain.
He can calm the storm
And make the sun shine again.
I know the Master of the wind.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Columbus meets Chief Kookamunga

Probably the two questions I'm most often asked are: "When did you start writing, and who planted the first seeds?"

Some writers may not be able to pinpoint an exact event or pivotal point. Not so with me. It was my fifth grade teacher, Miss Mary, as we students called her. She was my catalyst. Otherwise a shy child, I loved to write book reports and read them to the class. Each ended with a cliffhanger, causing several classmates to get into a scrabble over who would get the book next.

One day after I read a book report on a popular mystery, Miss Mary, smiled broadly and announced, "One day, Laurie will be an author."

Those words stuck somewhere in my my. No one had ever inspired me to become anything. I tucked her words away in the depths of my heart and clung to them through the years.

And though Miss Mary was an encourager, she was a stickler for discipline. One day I discovered this the hard way. She assigned the class to write an essay describing the perils Columbus must have endured on his journey to discover The New World. While the rest of the class groaned over the homework, all sorts of creative ideas spun around in my head. Where should I go with this story? Oh, the possibilities!

I pulled the memory of the essay from the recesses of my mind and filled in the blanks to give you an idea of what my fifth-grade teacher was up against. My version of Columbus's perilous journey went something like this:

Columbus's Catastrophe
Once upon a time there was a man named Christopher Columbus. They called him Chris for short. Chris just knew the world was not flat like a pancake. But how could he prove it was round like a globe? Especially when he couldn't find anybody who would back him, or give him ships and the supplies he needed to cross the Atlantic Ocean, so he could discover the New World.

After traveling to several countries to beg the kings and queens, Queen Isabella of Spain finally gave in. She agreed to give him whatever he needed, but only if he promised to bring her bushel baskets of gold. Chris said he would then loaded the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria with food and water. They couldn't take milk or orange juice since neither electricity or refrigerators had been invented. You see, this was before Thomas Edison was born. And because they didn't have any oranges on board, some of the crew members died from scurvy. That's when you don't have enough Vitamin C in your body. Chris and the others had to toss the dead bodies overboard so they wouldn't stink up the ship.

One night the Nina was destroyed in a raging storm. Waves as high as the Empire State Building struck the ship and tossed it about until it sank. On the morning of October 12, 1492, Columbus Day, a man on deck of one of the other ships spotted sea gulls flying around the ship. Another man saw something green in the distance. He yelled, "Land Ho!" Everyone on board started dancing danced and yelling. The Pinta and Santa Maria soon docked in the bay of the West Indies. (Remember the Nina met her Waterloo in the storm.)

The crew was still whooping and hollering when they docked. The Wakoochie Indians on the island heard the loud commotion and armed themselves with spears, then ran to investigate. Before they reached the shore, Christopher and his men shimmied up coconut, banana and pineapple trees in search of fruit to cure their scurvy. When they reached the treetops, they started shaking them to loosen the fruit. Coconuts, bananas, and pineapples, fell like humongous hailstones, and bounced off the Indians' heads, knocking them to the ground. Some were out cold.
The more fruit that fell, the madder the conscious Indians became, until only six braves were standing. Those six rattled Chris's banana tree until his teeth chattered and he could hang on no longer. His grip slipped and he yelled, "Tim-ber!" before he smacked the ground flat on his back. When he opened his eyes, he looked up into six pair of vicious ones staring down at him. The Indians with red and yellow war paint smeared across their noses grabbed Chris by the arms and yanked him to his feet.

In the meantime, Chris's crew scrambled down from their trees, arms loaded with fruit, and high-tailed it to the ships. With yellow streaks down their backs they pulled up the anchors, hoisted the sails, and yelled, "Ship Ahoy!" Then they pointed the ships toward Spain. A big gust of wind blew them out to sea while a forlorn Chris watched them leave him behind. But he had more pressing problems.

The Wakoochie Indians prodded Chris at spear point toward the village square. One last shove and Chris found himself inside the chief's teepee. Big Chief Kookamunga was a hefty, pot-bellied man. They interrupted him as he finished off a pineapple. The yellow juice dripped from his heavy jowls onto his protruding belly. He wiped his face with the back of his hand. Pointing to Columbus, he commanded his natives with one word. "Raka!"

It must have had something to do with fire because the natives found a rope and bound Chris from shoulder to ankle. When the knot was tied, they dragged him to the center of the village and tied him to a stake. A few minutes later while two natives were busy striking flint rocks to start the fire, Chief Kookamunga jostled out of his tee-pee toward them shouting, "Oola! Oola!"

Chris found out it meant, "Wait! I've got a better idea." The chief grunted and pointed to a large cannon a ways down the beach. The Indians pulled Chris from the stake and hauled him to the cannon still bound. They stuffed him inside, feet first and belly down. He struggled and tried protest, but it was no use. They had crammed his mouth full of riped bananas and the ropes were really tight.
The Indians turned the cannon toward the ocean and aimed it up and out. Chief Kookamunga lit the cannon and fired the shot that propelled Chris into the sky like a missile. The other natives stood by and watched him grow smaller with every passing second.

To this day no one knows what happened to Christopher Columbus. We can only guess. So, if on some clear, moonlit night you happen to see a shooting star, stop and salute it, because it might be Christopher Columbus still orbiting the earth. I wonder: Does he knows it's round yet?

By the time I finished reading the essay, the class was in hysterics. The girls giggled and the boys slapped their knees and roared. As I stood proudly, and giggling too, I felt sure I an A+ was coming my way for my rendition of the Columbus story.

Then, a gruff voice behind me spoke. "Laurie!”

I turned to look at Miss Mary. One eyebrow was arched and she was not smiling. I felt the air deflate from my ego before she said, “I want you to re-write that story. And this time, make it more realistic."

My face burned. I thought the story was perfect. And the class loved it. Besides, I wasn't sure of the meaning of "realistic." But that day I reluctantly added it to my vocabulary. Not that I've used it very often since.

Although Miss Mary spurred my imagination in 5th grade, she also reined it. No know the power of his or her words, how they will affect another. I credit Miss Mary with planting a seed that would one day sprout into a desire to become an author.
Miss Mary has been gone for decades, but her son made an appearance at a book signing for my first release, Journey To Forgiveness.” In his words: “I had to meet the student who dedicated her book to my mother.”

Have you had a similar writing experience? Post a comment and tell me all about it. I'd love to hear from you. We can all learn from each others' experiences.

JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS:  Only 99 Cents for a limited time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

On Conquering the "BIG D"

Have you ever noticed how words of wisdom seep through in the first few minutes after you awaken in the morning? Or have you ever awoken from a strange dream, look at the clock and notice the time is around 3 a.m.? Grab a pen and write it down, because dreams and those words you receive upon waking are elusive. Only last week I awoke with these words circulating in my head. "Without The Author, The Quill Runs Dry." Was God trying to tell me something?

I had never given thought to those early minutes in the day until I heard a certain well-known preacher relate his personal story on television. When he visited Jerusalem several years ago, he noted that many Jewish priests and rabbis would gather at the wall very early each morning to pray in their tongue. When he asked a local rabbi about this, the man replied something like this. "It is a Jewish custom. We believe that God speaks to His people during the 4th watch. In the hours between 3 a.m. and the heavens open up and God is more accessible. The prayers reach His throne and He pours out His Spirit upon His people."

The preacher went on to say that he had gone through the Bible and found that Jesus was often up during the 4th watch. Examples are the time the disciples spied Him walking on the water and thought He was a ghost. And the night before His arrest, He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in the wee hours when the soldiers came for him.

If this is true, then the first part of our day is the most important. So why do we allow distractions to draw us away from our quiet time with God? If we quieten our minds, write down our thoughts upon rising, we will find a sense of peace and a well of ideas for our writing. something fighting against up to prevent that?

Here is a typical morning at my house. My husband is an early riser. He hops out of bed, jumps in the truck and heads to the local coffee clatch. I sleep a little longer. Then I drag myself out of bed, stumble into the kitchen and peek out the window to see if my dogs are okay. Sometimes I walk out on the porch and hug them. I go back inside, pick up my Bible and a couple devotional books, and sit down on the floor. I open to the Psalms to find one about praise and worship. This leads me into prayer. But wait! I forgot to take that supplement that has to be taken 30 minutes before a meal. I get up and swallow it, then notice a spot on the counter and one on the kitchen floor where my hubby's splattered coffee. Why can't he wipe it up? I know he saw it! Who does he think I am...his maid? Oops! My peace of mind has already been stolen.

The dogs bark. I hear motors humming. The sound grows louder as wander to the window to investigate. Tractors with disks attached, are pulling into the surrounding field, stirring up dust. Oh well, I will try this again. I sit down on the floor, pull a devotional book into my lap and read a few lines. The back door flies open. It's hubby. He's fully caffeinated and ready to aggravate. I look up and greet him with "Hi, how are you?" He's in a teasing mood and I'm still groggy. This usually ends with me speaking sharply, and him fleeing to the garage to work on one of his flea market finds.

I close my Bible and devotional. Now I'm remorseful. If I don't clear this up now, the guilt will eat at me and give me writer's block. Or my writing will fall flat. I find him and apologize for my sassy remark, then re-enter the house to get online and clear out a jillion emails.

The back door slams and hubby dashes to his office. "Have you seen my checkbook?"
We spend the next 15 minutes searching for that, only to find he's left it in the truck.

Have you figured out that the "Big D" is DISTRACTION? So how do we overcome it so we can write? Get up earlier? But what if you've burned the midnight oil the previous night...just to make a small dent in that deadline.

I've decided as recent as this Monday, that I will NOT check author loops or emails UNTIL I have spent at least an hour writing or revising my manuscript. So far, so good.

Distraction is a thief. Some of it is controllable. Some is not. Life is full of surprises. But, if we take charge of the things that we can control...set schedules, timelines, that will free us up to enjoy the people and things that should take priority in our lives.

Does this make any sense? Or is it just another one of MY distractions?

Monday, May 18, 2009

F.P. O.

Hey there, Fellow Authors. Do you ever get discouraged? Feel like you are spinning your wheels in the flurry of blogging, posting loops, promoting, and revising? Well, I can identify and empathize. Is anyone out there besides me, still on dial-up? Raise your hand if you are not ashamed.

"F" My first topic is FRUSTRATION:

For me, dial-up (and knowing I have to deal with it..presently)leaves me frustrated. Only so much you can do besides wait...wait...wait for the page to load. I could jump up and throw a load of laundry in the washer. Or I could wash those dishes soaking in the sink. And I do. But, when I leave the computer, I everything else leaves, too. I might have had the most inspiring, uplifting message to send to a fellow author in an email. But, after the laundry and dirty dishes, it's left my pea brain.

Not only does dial-up frustrate me, it also robs me of writing time. I can scroll through loops and emails, for what seems to be thirty minutes. Only to glance at the clock and see that two hours have passed and that load of clothes is waiting to put in the dryer. Or that pan of cabbage I put on the range has boiled dry and/or wilted. And still I have not written one word on my WIP. Raise your hand again, if you know what I'm talking about.

Lessons are there in every experience, if you just look for them. I have learned to set a timer. Funny how you can set it for one hour and it seems to go off in fifteen minutes. Never have figured that one out.

"P" Now let's talk about PRAYER:

If I'm not careful, the busyness steals my communion with God. He reminded me of this only last week with a one-liner. "Without The Author, The Quill Runs Dry." I grabbed my pen and wrote it down. And I'm adding it to the bottom of my posts and emails. I knew it was not my own personal thought, but a nudge from my Creator to remind me to spend more quiet time with Him--not just a fleeting five minutes in His Word and in prayer. Then He could orchestrate my life and make it flow more smoothly. "Thank you, Lord. I needed that. Without your inspiration, I have nothing to share with others."


This has been a strange week. I had two book signings scheduled. Though neither brought in the sales I had hoped, God sent certain people in my path that may open doors of opportunity.

The first person I met Thursday night at a Gospel singing at church. I was soooo tired that I almost didn't go. But I am glad I did. The wife of one of the singers has connections with Harvest House. She also handles promos for singers in the Nashville area. We talked at length outide the church. I traded a copy of "Journey To Forgiveness" for one of her hubby's CDs. He didn't look too happy about our arrangement, but, oh well.

The following evening, Friday, I was scheduled, along with several other local authors to set up at a local elementary school. The idea was to get the children interested in reading. Though most youngsters eemed more interested in the cotton candy and balloons set up in another area, I met a young woman (over pizza in the cafeteria) who works like a talent scout, with several major publishing companies. She gave me the name of a literary agent to contact. By now I am wondering, "What is God up to?"

Then Saturday morning arrived, stormy, dreary. What a day for a book signing! I dropped my box of books onto the back seat and drove the 20 miles, praying for the sun to break through. It was 9 a.m. The signing was from 9:30 - 11:30.

The library worker opened the door, glanced up at the sky and groaned, "Doesn't look too good for you today, with the stormy weather. Hopefully, a few will come out."

I responded with, "Don't talk like that. I am praying for the sun to come out." It did. After 11:a.m. A few people drifted into the room where I had splayed several copies of Journey To Forgiveness and a promo sheet on a round table. But only after I ran out of the room to announce coffee cake, punch, and cookies. Most ate their fill, thanked me, and left. I had coerced the library worker into setting up a laptop so I could pull drifters over (after they filled their plates), to view my book trailer. Hee-hee! Whatever works. They all loved it! By the way, it's on this very blog. Just scroll down...

Unbeknowst to me, one lady worked with the local radio station. After viewing the trailer, she purchased a book. Yesterday she emailed to say she had already finished reading it, called it "refreshing" and wants to set up a radio interview. Woo-hoo!

What is that saying, "Do not despise small beginnnings. The mighty oak was once an acorn." I know that isn't the exact quote, but it's close.

I don't know what God is up to, but whatever it is I feel that He is in it. And I will trust Him to follow through and to guide me.

I wrote all this to say, "Don't give up your dreams, no matter how bleak it looks. I agree with Marianne. If God is in it and you are in Him, He will make it come to pass." Then just hang on for the ride!

"...He which hath begun a good work in thee will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." KJV Phillipians 1:6

Monday, May 11, 2009

Contest Questions to win free downloads. Today only!

Sharon and I will each give away one free download of our latest book. You will be sent on a short search, but that will make it all the more fun. Later this afternoon, Sharon will throw her correct answers in a hat and draw out one lucky winner of "Lasting Love." I will do likewise with my download of "Journey To Forgiveness."

Here is Sharon's question and a clue? Sharon asks.........
Which blog gave "Lasting Love" the "book of the month" award? You can find the answer on my website, Then com back and post the correct answer on this blog. Laurean's Lore http://laureanslore.blogspot."

Laurean says...complete this sentence. "Jenny's personal convictions would never allow a relationship where ___? is blatantly missing." Directions:

Part 1. Go to White Rose, and look under "Browse our catalog." Click on "Historical" and read the synopsis for "Journey To Forgiveness".

Part 2. Type "Amazon Books" in Google search. When you reach the site, type "Laurean Brooks" in the right side of the search. Click on reviews.

Here's the question: Which reviewer wrote, "My favorite line in the book was when Jenny thought, 'Two words could describe a romantic involvement. Ultimate insanity.'"

Come back to Laurean's Lore and post your answers and comments. Then I will also toss the correct answers in a hat and pull out the lucky winner.

Drawings will be held later this afternoon. I will get with Sharon and we will post the time. Keep checking in. And don't forget to view my "Journey To Forgiveness" trailer! Just up! Right here on this blog. Tell me what you think of that closeup of Austin. Women everywhere are fighting over my hero. "Cool it, ladies! You will have to wait in line. He's already been ordered twice." LOL

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Interview with Sharon Donovan

Sharon Donovan lives with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has a certificate from Bradford Business School and a certificate in medical transcription from the
Community College of Allegheny County. She was a legal secretary in the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges in Domestic Relations.

Due to diabetic retinopathy, she lost her vision several years ago. Painting was her passion. Devastated when she could no longer paint, she took several classes in creative writing and memoir workshops. And through the darkness, a new dream resurrected for a brighter tomorrow. Motivated by new insight, instead of painting pictures on canvas, today Sharon paints her pictures with words.

1. “Today, we have as our guest, author, Sharon Donovan.” Sharon crosses the stage takes a seat and crosses her legs. (The audience goes wild.) “Thank you, audience for your wonderful welcome for this talented author.” (Laurean waves a hand to quieten Sharon’s exuberant fans.)

“Sharon, please tell us about yourself and your latest release titled, Lasting Love.” (Laurean nods.) “Sharon, you have the floor.” Whistles and howls followed by woo-hoos! blast from the first rows as Sharon smiles at the crowd. After the boisterous fans calm down, Sharon winks at her admirers and begins…

Hi Laurean! Thanks for interviewing me today. Great to be here. Well as you know, I write for White Rose Publishing, an imprint of The Wild Rose Press. I enjoy writing stories of hope and inspiration to strengthen faith. Now as far as writing Lasting Love, I nearly missed the deadline.

The Wild Rose Press has a holiday line and I challenged myself to write an Easter story two weeks before that deadline. Having no idea what I was going to base my story on, I thought about all things associated with this holiday. The lily, the rebirth of the earth and the resurrection, and a feeling of hope for a brighter tomorrow. So how did I tie all these things in a neat little package and present it to my editor?

I kept hitting stone walls that refused to budge. I was now down to one week and had not written one word. Just when I was about to give up on the idea, I had a dream about a red rose. It was a simple red rose blooming in a garden and that was it. Shrugging it off, the image kept popping into my head. Curious, I did a search on red roses…and stumbled upon the Lasting Love rose…and the theme for my Easter story.

The LASTING LOVE is an unusual rose that shimmers like a citrine jewel. It’s a brand new hybrid tea rose with old-fashioned vintage appeal. With its unique blend of dusky red and hint of plum sprouting from glossy green foliage, this gorgeous rose looks artificial. But the minute you get within ten feet of this tea rose, its timeless essence wafts through the air. So I prayed for guidance and asked God to send me a clue. And He did. Here is a blurb and excerpt:

When Vermont florist Abbey Jordan’s nursery manager quits a few days before Easter, she is left up the proverbial creek without a paddle. But when she places it in God’s hands, she finds lasting love in a garden of roses.
Brady Jones has a daughter to raise, is out of work, and knows more about cultivating roses than anyone in rural Vermont. And when Abbey hires him as the horticultural manager of her floral shop, it seems like the answer to her prayers. But just on the brink of a budding romance, a fire destroys the nursery and buries all hope of love.
An amicable silence hovered between Abbey and Brady as they walked toward the restaurant hand in hand. They knew they’d just milestone. The quiet was broken by Abbey’s cell phone. Annoyed at the interruption, she sighed and answered. It was one of her employees. “Come quick,Abbey. It’s the nursery. There’s a fire. It’s spreading like wildfire. Things look bad. Get here soon.” ****
When Abbey and Brady reached the nursery, it was a burning inferno. The glass walls had collapsed and it was going up in a snarling hiss of smoke and flames. Firefighters struggled to get the blaze under control. Police and paramedics had arrived and Eye Witness News was on the scene, snapping photos.

“Oh my!” Abbey was out of the car the minute it came to a screeching halt. Her face was as ashen as the thick clouds of smoke billowing up into the night sky. Tripping over the gravel and cinders as she rushed toward the fire chief, she screamed. “What happened? I’m Abigail Jordan and I own this nursery. What happened? When I left, everything was fine. Please tell me nobody was in there!”

“No one was in there,” the fire chief placed a hand on her shoulder. “Things could be a lot worse. Dead plants can be replaced. People can’t.”

Riveted with shock as reality filtered through her, Abbey screamed, “My roses! All my precious roses. All those hanging baskets of lavender. My exotic orchids and Easter lilies. Gone, all gone!”

“It’s all right,” Brady folded her into his arms. “Shh.”

“What started it?” Abbey stared at the fire chief.

“How did it start?”

“It’s being investigated. At this time, the cause is unknown. Could be a gas leak. A neighbor reported hearing an explosion, and in a few minutes, your greenhouse went up like a house of cards.”

In less than an hour, the fire was under control, but all that remained of Abbey’s nursery was a bed of ash. The floral boutique across the covered bridge was unharmed but the rest of the damage caused by the fire was insurmountable.

“Do you have any idea how long it took me to choose and cultivate each of my prize roses?” Abbey finally let the tears roll. Leaning on Brady, she sobbed in between hysterics. “My Lasting Love rose, demolished. And to think I’ll never smell the spicy aroma of my Sentimental rose again. And at prom time, I never had enough of the Falling in Love rose. They all wanted a corsage made of the pink roses, timeless and romantic. And not to forget the Arctic Flame rose, popular for keeping the romance alive. All my hard work, up in smoke.”

“Ms. Jordan,” the fire chief interrupted. “We know the cause of the fire. It was caused by a recently installed heating table. Some of the cable wiring possibly touched each other due to improper installation.”

Abbey shoved Brady away and stared at him, her eyes glinting with anger. “It was you. You said you knew how to install the heating table and I listened to you. You ruined my dream. Get away from me.”

“Abbey,” he tried to reach her. “There’s gotta be some mistake. Let me—”

“There was a mistake all right,” Abbey hissed.

“Hiring you and trusting you with my roses. Get out
of here and never come back. I never want to see you
On Easter morning, Abbey pulled up to her floral shop, her heart heavy with grief. Feeling as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders, she crossed the bridge to where her garden nursery had been. Even before she got there, the thick scent of smoke lingered, a pungent reminder of what had happened the night before. She wanted the world to stop spinning.

How could Brady have been so careless? How could she
have been stupid enough to trust him? Somewhere deep in her subconscious, she knew she should have had an electrician install the heating table. So why hadn’t she listened? Because she’d been attracted to him and had been well on her way to falling in love with him. She recalled how infatuated she’d been
only yesterday when she watched him touch the roses with such tenderness. And the kiss they’d shared last night. Tears spilled down her face at the memory.

She kicked her foot in the rubble and screamed at the top of her lungs. Sobs ripped through her until she couldn’t breathe. On Easter morning of all mornings, a time of rebirth and resurrection. Hurling herself on the bed of ashes where her
nursery had been, she kicked and screamed, not caring if the world came crashing down on top of her. Hearing footsteps behind her, she looked up and gasped.

An old man with flowing white hair stood over her, his gnarled body stiff and bent. He poked at her with his walking stick. “Get up, girlie,” hecommanded. “Quit feeling sorry for yourself.”

“Who are you?” Abbey stood up and backed away. Other than the birds, there was no one around. She reached for her cell phone, only to remember it was in her purse in the car. Her heart pounded with adrenaline. “Who are you and where
did you come from?”

“I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here to help.”

Abbey started across the bridge. She wanted to
get far away from this nut. Who was he?

His words had a jarring effect. She turned around to see him rooting through the rubble with his cane. What was he doing, digging around in her dirt? Was he looking for money? Food? Was he homeless?

He looked at her without expression. “I’ve come
to give you words of wisdom. When you find love,
hold on tight. Then find it in your heart to forgive.
It’s all about forgiveness.”

Curious, Abbey joined him. The sun was peeking through the mountaintops and a shimmer of red caught her eye where the old man was probing with his cane. She got on her hands and knees and joined him, shoving the dirt and cinders aside with reverent fingers.

There it was, the satiny red petals of a Lasting Love rose, buried beneath the rubble. Tears of joy trickled down her face. Preserved beneath the ash and cinders was her favorite flower
in the whole world, her Lasting Love rose. She kept digging, deeper and deeper, and before long, the entire bush and its brilliant red blossoms had resurrected.

2. Sharon, I got so caught up in your story that I almost forgot what I was doing. (Laurean takes a deep breath) Your writing has been described as vivid and beautifully detailed. Lasting Love is a great example of that. To what or whom do you credit your amazing way with words?

“Thank you for the lovely compliment. As you know, before the loss of my vision, my passion was painting. Blending colors into a rich palette of crimson, peach and indigo into a desert sunset filled me with peace and tranquility. When I lost my sight, I was devastated for the obvious reasons, but mostly, because I could no longer paint. But after a long and winding road, a new dream resurrected when I discovered I could paint just as vividly with words.

“I never want to forget the simple beauty of a rose or the exotic beauty of a wildflower. And describing what I used to see and paint in such vivid detail is my way of remembering.

“So to answer your question, I credit my talent to God and to the genes I inherited. My grandmother wrote beautifully and my aunt writes the most amazing poetry. Art of any kind is a gift, whether it be painting, writing or any of the nine muses. And I thank God for this cherished gift.

3. “Thank you.” (Laurean nods toward the audience.) “Don’t we all wish we had those genes? (The applause builds then tapers off.) “Sharon, your messages are deep, riveting, with underlying emotion. Do you think these emotions are triggered by personal life experiences? If so, will you please share one or two with the audience?”

“Yes. When I write stories of inspiration, I want to convey a definite message to the reader—and that message is one of hope. I have a very strong belief in guardian angels and incorporate them into my writing. Well over a decade ago, I was diagnosed with a fatal illness and doctors didn’t expect me to live for more than six months at best. I was scheduled for brain surgery. Shortly before I went into the hospital, I went out and bought an angel charm to wear around my neck. The moment I put it on, I felt heat searing into my body.

“The night before the surgery, a prayer chain was started for me in three states. I felt the presence of my guardian angel as I slept. I can’t explain it other than there was an aura around me of utter peace. The next day, when I was wheeled down to surgery and given the initial sedative, my neurologist unexpectedly cancelled the operation. He said in his professional opinion, I would not have lived through it.

“My doctor opted to treat the brain infection intravenously for one month, six hours a day. But still, my prognosis was uncertain. Never once did I give up or remove my angel charm. It took close to three years to make a full recovery, but that was 1996. I am living proof that angels abound.”

4. “That was an amazing account, Sharon! A miracle, no less. To what or whom do you give credit for your initial desire to put words and feelings to paper?”

“Again, that all stems back to the loss of my vision. I am a very creative person and have to create in order to feel alive. After the loss of my vision, I was totally devastated. Although preparing cases for judges in Family court was my career, painting was my heart. And my heart was broken. With great reluctance, I enrolled in a sixteen-week program for the blind and visually impaired. I was taught how to use a computer with adaptive software that converts text to synthesized speech. Then I went off to my local college to obtain a certificate in medical transcription. And I hated every minute of it. It did nothing to stir my creative muse.

“But through my classes, my life took yet another unexpected turn. I discovered a passion for writing. And hope soared for the first time in a long time. I began taking classes in creative writing and memoir workshops. I took online classes, joined critique groups, attended conferences and just kept writing. Instructors at the college encouraged me to keep at it. When one of my instructors put me in touch with his editor at a local newspaper, I got my first publication.

“But I can’t credit just one instructor or one person. Finding my way to writing was a long and winding road of triumph and defeat. And I’m still walking.”

5. “That's awesome! Now. I understand that you've had huge
obstacles to overcome? Can you fill us in? Have they made you stronger?

“Yes. My life has been a continuous challenge. I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since the age of six. When a doctor at Children’s Hospital predicted I’d be blind by time I was twenty-five, his harsh words changed the entire course of my life. From that day on, fear and paranoia ruled my world, affecting every major decision I made for years to come. And when I had the initial bout with progressive blindness at the age of twenty-one, little did I know my vision would come and go for the following two decades. It became a deadly game of “Now you see it…now you don’t.” It was also a fight for my sanity. And when I finally succumbed to total blindness, my world fell apart.

“There was no hope until I took control and forced myself out of a deep depression by enrolling in Pittsburgh Vision, an organization for the blind and visually impaired. They saved my life. With all the help available to aid the blind and visually impaired, doors have continued to open. But it wasn’t until I took the first step and asked for help did these doors open.

“I knew after the surgery that robbed me of my vision, I had two choices. Stay behind and let life pass me by—or learn how to cope in a sighted world I was once part of. I sucked it in and took control.

“Because so many people are unaware of the help available, I am in the process of writing a narrative non-fiction based on my fears of going blind. I call it Echo of a Raven, showing what happens when the mind is haunted by the subconscious. This memoir is written in three books. The diagnosis and struggles to keep my vision for two solid decades, my sixteen week stay at a rehabilitation program, and the long road to becoming a writer.

“I use shocking anecdotes from my four months at the rehab program. Some of these are: the humiliation of being fitted for a white cane, the sheer terror of being thrust into traffic for the first time with the cane, and the courage it took to talk about my fears in front of strangers during group therapy sessions. Part of the reason I was reluctant to enroll in this program was I thought clients would be uneducated. I was wrong. They were all ordinary people with extraordinary problems…just like me.

“Some were doctors, paramedics, nurses and teachers. Some even had the extra burden of marital problems because a spouse could not deal with the blindness. It was an incredible journey filled with heart-wrenching pain. We bonded in a way words could never express. Through this organization, I found the courage to face a sighted world I was once part of. What didn’t kill me made me stronger.”

6. “An amazing story, my friend. Could your personal challenges be responsible for your unique ability to delve into your
characters' minds and souls? If so, why? How?”

(Sharon shakes her head and laughs.) “You ask tough questions, Laurie! Hmm. I believe it’s true of most authors. If we put a bit of ourselves and our feelings into our characters, they seem more real and come alive on the page. Since we’re talking about Lasting Love, let’s talk a bit about the main character, Abbey Jordan.

“She is unable to have children due to a recent hysterectomy. This breaks her heart and has left a huge void in her life. Writing that scene was very emotional for me. Because of the brittle condition of my diabetes and retinopathy, doctors strongly advised against having children. And in good conscience, I could not pass my diseases on to an innocent child, given the life I had. So for a short while, I got into Abbey’s mind, feeling her pain. When her heart wept, it was my heart weeping. It was a thorn in my side for one more thing for which the answer was no.”

7. “So, did your writing begin as a form of emotional therapy? Or the desire to encourage others to never give up on their dreams?”

“Absolutely. Writing is the best therapy and a whole lot cheaper! I cannot stress this enough. Never give up on a dream. As authors, we are told to not use cliches, but I say if it is a cliché that has significance or sentimental value, use it. And this one has sentimental value for me. “When one door closes…another door opens…”

8. I love that cliché. And I truly believe it. Does "Lasting Love portray a character or incident you can personally relate to in your past? If so, which character, and in what way?

“As I mentioned, I connected with my character, Abbey Jordan on a personal level. We don’t have the answers to the things for which we do not understand. But rather than close ourselves off when we don’t get what we want, it’s up to us to find happiness and fulfillment elsewhere. Unable to have children, Abbey nurtured her roses until she became a step-mother to a child whose mother abandoned her. My maternal instincts were nurtured when my sister asked me to be Godmother to her daughter.

9. “Sharon, this is a thought-provoking question, but from what
we have already witnessed, you are a profound thinker. If you could write your own epitaph, what would you say? Don't mince words. We'll pretend that you have all the space you need”

Laurean, my epitaph would say: Nothing is more tragic than dying without living. This woman lived her life to the fullest, making every day count. Painting was her life. When she lost her vision, a new dream resurrected. Instead of painting her pictures on canvas, Sharon Donovan painted her pictures with words.

“Holy heck, Laurean! I got a little chill there, writing and reading my own epitaph. I start looking over my shoulder for that angel!!”

10. What great legacy to leave behind! Don’t worry, Sharon. God isn’t through with you, by a long shot. Now, before I let you go, please share with your audience any links to blogs and/or websites to purchase your books, And links to your reviews, or other special interviews they would find interesting.

Please come visit my website: to read excerpts and reviews and see trailers. You can also sign up for my newsletter:

And I love to hear from readers at:

My blog:

White Roses in Bloom Blog:

Lasting Love has been voted readers pick of the month at:

To buy any of my books:

“Thank you for coming, Sharon. You have left us with plenty of "food for thought." And keep writing those beautiful stories of faith, hope, and love. The world needs authors like you who provide encouragement and inspiration.

“Thank you for having me at your blog today, Laurean! It’s been fun and I wish you mega success with your book Journey to Forgiveness!”

Sharon rises to exit the stage. She waves and smiles at her audience. Ear-splitting whistles follow a thunderous applause. Wait! What is this? The audience is jumping to its feet. Sharon Donovan has just received a standing ovation! She takes a bow and blows kisses, then prances backstage. The curtain closes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Upcoming Interview with Sharon Donovan

I am so excited. Two exciting things will happen here on this blog Friday. This Friday, May 8th.

First, the talented Sharon Donovan, who paints words instead of pictures, will be my guest. That is correct. I will ask her some tough and thought-provoking questions about her life. How she has overcome her handicap.

Sharon is an amazing and spirited person, besides possesing a gift of writing. Her stories are rich in detail and description. And the characters are so alive--so real--that you'd swear you know them.

Sharon's books, "Touched By an Angel," "The Claddagh Ring" and "Lasting Love" have merited great reviews and acclaims on dozens of sites.

Pop over here on Friday and post a comment. She's always ready with an answer.

The second surprise is....I am getting a book trailer on this blog for my book, "Journey To Forgiveness." That will be Friday also. I can't wait to view it! But... with this slow dial up, it will take around 35 minutes to download. That means (Ugh!) you will see it before I do. Not fair. LOL. Anyway, it will be worth the wait.

Come on over on Friday and join in the double celebration!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My first book signing--and an excerpt from Journey To Forgiveness

Hey Fellow bloggers,

Today was my first book signing held at Pappy's restaurant in South Fulton, Tennessee. The casual atmosphere lent itself to mingling and introductions. Three friends I had not seen in 10 years showed up. What a surprise! We enjoyed catching up on each others' lives. Through the grapevine they'd heard about my big day and came not only to give moral support, but to buy books. Yaaay!

When the signing was over, Pappy's held a drawing for a free copy of JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS. Wendy Armbruster was the lucky winner. Congratulations, Wendy. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Here is the blurb and an excerpt from JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS.


When JENNY HINSON'S abusive father deserts the family, the responsibility of the family's Tennessee farm falls to JENNY and her mother. Four years later, in 1938, boll weevils infest the cotton crop, plunging the Hinsons into dire financial straits. JENNY is forced to take the train north to find work.

Electricity has yet to reach rural Chicory Valley. But, not only is the young woman introduced to it in its tapped form in Chicago, but also encounters a few jolts along the way when she challenges the infuriating, but charming AUSTIN GRANT over a luggage mishap. Sparks fly outside the Kankakee train station when JENNY discovers her missing vanity case under AUSTIN'S arm. She immediately labels him a thief. And after AUSTIN coaxes money from her aunt's congregation, JENNY determines to find enough evidence to expose him and his nefarious deeds.

Why did AUSTIN pull money from the mission strongbox and stuff a sizable roll into his pocket? Wasn't this just the proof JENNY needed? Then why was she reluctant to report the theft? And why did her heart race at every encounter with the notorious AUSTIN? JENNY'S personal convictions would never allow a relationship where trust was blatantly missing.

Can JENNY muster enough courage to ask AUSTIN the tough questions that will ultimately make or break their relationship? Can she forgive her father's brutality? Find out as you follow JENNY'S struggles in...JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS.


"Well, this is a pleasant surprise." Jenny looked up to lock eyes with the thief she had encountered in Kankakee. His blue eyes danced with mischief. "I never did get your name."

To avoid drawing attention, she hissed just above a whisper, "Get away from me!"

"Sorry we got off to a bad start. Do you think we could begin again?" He chuckled.

"Over my dead body!" Jenny spat, and glanced toward the ladies' room. Where was her aunt when she needed her?

"I wouldn't want that. You are much too cute." His eyes narrowed. "You don't really believe I wanted that vanity case?"

His brows arched when she didn't respond. "How long will you be in Chicago?"

A "drop dead" glare, but still no response.

"Are you ready?" A stout middle-aged man nodded at the man near her table.

"Be right with you." Jenny's unwelcome guest replied before turning back to her. "Who knows, we might just meet again," he crooned. "I've heard that good things come in threes." He winked, then turned to swagger out the door.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

There is so much to tell! Where shall I start? Oh, I know. My box of books is on its way from New York. I can't tell you how that makes me feel. My first book, JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS is now available in print at and on the White Rose Publishing site. Woo-hoo!

Oh, yeah. The inspirational authors of the Wild Rose Press now have their own separate publishing company. White Rose Publishing. Take a gander at all the wonderful books by these talented authors (including yours truly, "blush").

Kara Lynn Russell, Pamela Thibodeaux, Cindy K. Green, Diane Miley, Wendy Davey, E.A. West, Merry Stahel, Carol Ann Erhardt, Nicola Beaumont, Sharon Donovan, Janelle Ashley, Victoria Pitts-Caine, Rose Ross Zediker, Laurean Brooks, and more...

Here's the link. Check us out. or visit our White Roses in Bloom blog at

I have scheduled two local book signings for April. Sure hope I ordered enough books. I'm a little nervous, not one to enjoy being the center of attention. I'd rather hide in the corner. LOL. This will be an experience. I need a new hair style, some new clothes...if I'm going to be out there in the public eye.

I could ramble on, but I have so much to do and so little time to do it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hi Everyone. Woo-hoo!

I am so excited! JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS released today as an e-book. Check out the amazing cover and read the synopsis on the Wild Rose Press site.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hey Bloggers,
Twenty talented, inspirational authors, me included, have grouped together to bring you delicious recipes, uplifting poetry, and heartwarming stories from our personal experiences.

Here is a short list of the authors (from memory). I will add more when I re-visit the blog.

Sharon Donovan, Pam Thibodeaux
Kara Lynn Russell, Carla Rossi
Carol Ann Erhardt, Cami Checketts
Wendy Davy, Nicola Beaumont
Karen Cogan, Kimberlee R. Mendoza
Janelle Ashley, Victoria Pitts Caine
Rhonda Gibson, K.M. Daughters
Cindy K. Green, Jean Kincaid
Beth Shriver, Merry Stahl
Kim Watters, E.A. West,
Rose Zediker, Tricia Ann Woods
and Laurean Brooks

Don't miss it!

Check us out on the new White Roses in Bloom blog at

And check out our latest releases and bios on The Wild Rose Press site.