Category Archives: Book Blab

Author Jim Rubart is killing me!

Book of Days: A NovelI died and learned to live free in James L. Rubart’s recent suspense novel, Book of Days. You’ll have to read it yourself to see all of what I mean but let me tell you a little about the book.

Much like Frank Peretti’s, The Oath or Prophet, Rubart takes a spiritual concept and illustrates it in a compelling and fascinating story.

Cameron Vaux is plagued by the fear that he is loosing his mind to Alzheimer’s. His father is in advanced stages of the disease. Cameron is convinced that if he finds the Book of Days his dad talks about in a rare coherent conversation, he will be cured. He sets out on an adventure in a small town in central Oregon, filled with danger and romance. Cameron faces some of my own deepest fears, and yet, the story Rubart tells is full of hope and ultimately freedom.

I cried through the first two chapters, rallied for Cameron through the fast paced middle and celebrated in his victory at the end. This novel is a must read! I will always have a copy, or two, on my shelf.

Jessie Ann

For more on my biggest fear and my personal experience with Alzheimer’s see this previous post; Things I Can’t Talk About.


Filed under Book Blab, Twenty Something

Learning to write, featured writing instruction resource, and a lesson.

The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile

Please join me at my new web home and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

Learning the craft of fiction is sometimes a tricky and expensive business. But we are on a single income budget with a whole passel of kids to boot, so expensive and my own ambitions (no matter how noble) don’t go together.

That’s why Amazon, the library, and author/agent blogs where the craft of writing it taught and discussed are places I like to frequent.

Although, the howling toddler flopping at my feet as I attempt to type this quick post is making me reconsider the other options; check into a loony bin, fly to the moon….

The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman is a hand-me-down book from an author friend of mine. But don’t let my worn copy deceive you. It is well-loved! This is a great instructional resource to keep and refer back to.

Each chapter addresses a topic aimed at “staying out of the rejection pile” with examples of errors, ways to fix trouble spots and then ends with a lesson to apply to your own work in progress. From presentation to dialogue and on to more advanced techniques like pacing, this is an invaluable resource. It also happens to be concise and chapters move along quickly so you can learn a lot in a short amount of time especially if you apply the end of chapter lessons.

Your Mission #1: Here is a lesson from my reading that I enjoyed. Join me if you like by leaving your “homework” in the comments below or on a blog post and linking back.

Lesson from the chapter on setting:

Lukeman challenges writers to train themselves to be attentive to their surroundings, and by learning to better observe, infuse richer settings in their writing. Find ten unusual details in the room you are in and write them down. It doesn’t matter how small. Then see if you can convey a feeling or leave an intentional impression about the setting using these details.

Here’s mine:

  1.  Dust clung to the blades of the fan.
  2. A candle tipped out of rank on a wall sconce of otherwise tidy, crimson candles.
  3. Laundry spilled out of the hamper, slumped like an old man, weary and tired.
  4. Neatly stacked books occupied every flat surface, holding up random wads of this and that.
  5. A well-loved quilt was spread over the stilted log bed.
  6. Pages from Parents Magazine littered the floor.
  7. A white scratch marred the wall painted with midnight forest green.
  8. Grandmother’s old rugs made a cozy place for feet to land on the hardwood floor.
  9. The faint smell of heated rice and lavender filled the small space.
  10. A lone wooden block lay abandoned in the corner.

Your Mission #2: What can you gather from my surroundings?


Filed under Book Blab, Journey to Publication, Twenty Something

Local LoneStar – The Legend of LoneStar Bear

Product Details Product Details Product Details 

The Legend of Lonestar Bear by Remi Kramer

Former hollywood director, Remi Kramer wrote and illustrated the trilogy of Lonestar Bear after moving to Idaho.  The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are enjoyable for kids and parents alike.

Mom: Tell me about Lonestar Bear

Captain Obvious: Those are AWESOME. He fishes.

Mom: What else do you like about the books?

Captain Obvious:  It is a bear that talks.

Mom: Does he have lots of adventures.

Captain Obvious: Yes, he flies on a plane.

Mom: Anything else?

Captain Obvious: Oh and one more thing. I like it because Aliens come to him.

These books are great for boys.  A hometown bear is an unlikely hero.  He resides in the Idaho mountians and has many great adventures at home and while traveling.  These three books are some of my Thinglets favorites and thankfully a favorite of mine as well.

Find what books other kids have enjoyed (and don’t forget to link up) at 5 Minutes for Books  Kids’ Picks carnival the 3rd Tuesday of each month.


Filed under Book Blab, Children & Kids at Heart

Oodles of Books – What’s on your nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand 

Someone asked me this week how I manage to read so many books at once and not get lost. Honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe I’m a bit off. 🙂 The best answer I have is that each is in a different genre and therefore different enough that it is easy to keep track. I mean whose gonna confuse the creepy villan (or villans depending on how you look at it) in Dekker and Peretti’s “House” with the sultry pirate wench whom God-fearing hero, Dajon Waite loves in M.L. Tyndall’s “The Red Siren”?

So on my nightstand this month are, as always, oodles of books.

Just finished:

The Red Siren by M.L. Tyndall – a surprising romance filled with themes of struggle, triumph, forgiveness and God’s provision even for those who do not always follow Him.

The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg – a political thriller and New York Times best seller. The first of his “The Last Days” series about end times prophecy.

A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher – Historical fiction set in my own home state, about a sassy, single woman Gwen Arlington who runs for mayor and her handsome opposing candidate, Morgan McKinley whose political aspirations seem completely self serving.

Still Reading:

House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti – a mind bending thriller by two of the nation’s top Christian authors.  I started reading this novel as a ministry to a bedridden neighbor. Please pray for the Doctor. He has developed pneumonia and I haven’t been able to see him for weeks. If you missed God’s harebrained plan for my friend click here.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass – Nonfiction text on the craft of writing. Extremely helpful! The ideas in this reference have pushed me to think more about sharing my stories because I’ve now got the tools to market along with my passion to tell stories.

Experiencing God – Bible study workbook about knowing the will of God and understanding His purpose for your life.

Coral Moon by Brandilyn Collins – The queen of suspense spins yet another creepy tale of crime and human depravity, while all throughout weaving God’s power and presence. I’m having a hard time finishing this one because of the spiritual warfare that is involved. Not a problem for me necessarily I just can’t read it at night and that’s about the only time I can find to read. 🙂

What are you reading?


Filed under Book Blab

Legend of the Three Trees

Please join me at my new web home and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

Some of you were wondering what this mosaic on my kitchen floor is all about.

The Legend of the Three Trees is a folklore story of unknown origin. My favorite picture book version is HERE.

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale

The story is retold by Angela Elwell Hunt and beautifully illustrated by Tim Jonke. It is a Christmas classic but we keep it out year round.

Below is Thing One’s retelling of the legend un-edited.

A long time ago there was three trees. The first tree wanted to be a treasure chest and hold the greatest treasure. The second tree wanted to be a ship and made for just kings. And the third tree wanted to stay on the top of the hill and point up to God.

Many years had passed by. Then after a few days three woodcutters came and the first woodcutter cut down the first little tree. The second woodcutter cut down the second tree. The thrid woodcutter said, “I will cut down whatever tree I want to. This is the one I’m going to cut.”

The first tree got tooken to a carpenter. The carpenter turned the tree into a manger for animals to eat out of.

The second tree was tooken to a ship yard and no big ships were getting made that day. Instead tiny fishing boats. Every day he brought in loads of dead smelly fish across the lake.

The third tree was confused when she got cut into straight square logs. She stayed there for a very long time. Then she got carried by a man and she felt ugly when they nailed his  hands to her.

The first tree got to be a manger and hold the greatest treasure of all. That was Jesus.

The second tree got to be a sailboat and hold the greatest king of all that was powerful. He got to see Jesus stop the storm when he woke up.

The third tree got to be carried by Jesus and forever remind people of God. That was better than staying on the mountain.



Filed under Book Blab, Children & Kids at Heart, From the Mouth of Babes

Do you Kindle?

I’m never been one to jump on band wagons. And I’m NEVER the first of my friends with the latest gadget. But lately the Kindle has peaked my interest. I have to admit when my husband asked if I’d like one for Christmas I poo-pooed the idea saying “It’s too expensive. Besides I like to hold a book, smell a book….” And on I went with a laundry list of reasons why I don’t want a Kindle.

Then came that day when I learned that not one but TWO of one of my favorite author’s books were available FREE on Kindle and I began to take back a few of my previous affenties to the electronic beast. Well who hates free? The only problem with that is now I feel bad not supporting my writer friends if I were to buy the device and only load free books. Can you say “cheap, cheap, cheap?”

The question remains. Do you Kindle? Should I Kindle? When are they going to have a Kindle library. THAT might be the clencher for me.

Even as I write it I have visions of my grand home library with hardwood floor, walls and walls of books, plush chairs, ornate lampstands, complete with one of those sliding ladders. Sigh! It’s imaginary people, remember I have kids! We operate on a teacher’s salary. Maybe I can load a virtual library on the screen of my Kindle and “flip” through titles on a touch screen like it’s a mini shelf.  Hmmm, ya think I would get anywhere with my ideas? Here’s wishin’ and here’s to reading- Kindle or not!


Filed under Book Blab

FREE Brandilyn Collins on Kindle

My post “How to Read a Brandilyn Collins’ Novel” is being featured today (Sunday) on 5 Minutes for Books!

Check it out here and learn how to get my favorite Christian suspense writer’s novels free!

Happy New Year,



Filed under Book Blab, Twenty Something