COFFEE LOVERS JOURNAL

My newest project: DAILY GRIND COFFEE LOVERS JOURNAL

COFFEE JOURNAL COVER FRONT ONLY
It’s finally online and for sale — from Amazon. (Copies will also be available from me personally if you’re in the Southern Illinois area). I love this journal. I enjoyed creating it, and I’ll enjoy using it personally. I’m including a few pictures of the outside and inside — since the sample Amazon gives is too short to see what the journaling section actually looks like.

COFFEE JOURNAL COVER BACK ONLYJOURNAL SAMPLE 1JOURNAL SAMPLE 2

There are 31 delicious coffee pictures — each with its own appropriate caption and 3 lightly lined journaling pages. There are 93 lined journaling pages total. I hope coffee lovers all over the world will get one and enjoy it or give it as a gift to someone they love — who loves coffee.

The journal is $19.00 on Amazon. I’m selling them personally at a discount, but, of course, you’d have to live close enough for me to deliver one to you.

Anyway, check it out more thoroughly or purchase one HERE.

 

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Why I Wrote ‘The Smoky Mountain Novel Series’

 


My love affair with the Smoky Mountains began when I was still a very young child. Except for a two-year stint in Fort Wayne, IN, my years between infancy and first grade were spent in Southern Illinois. And all of our family travels took us into the northeastern sections of the country. But when I was six, my family traveled south for the first time. On our way to South Carolina, we passed through Tennessee, and I came face to face with the homeland of my Cherokee ancestors: the Appalachian Mountains – and specifically the area known by that time as The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

I remember two specific things about those mountains. In one sense they were a little frightening to a six-year old. Highways were not what they are now, and the less developed highways ran in among those mountains with a little more drama than they do today. The inclines were exceptionally steep in places, with warning signs everywhere about making sure autos were in lowest gear and with stories rampant about “runaway” semis going down those inclines. I remember coming around curves more than once where the road looked as though it would literally lead straight into the mountain. It was a little overwhelming in one way, but it was also tremendously exciting as well. The second thing that struck me was that within these mountains and their foothill regions dwelt people of a different culture and attitude toward life. It wasn’t just the Cherokee people who exhibited that difference. It was virtually all the people who called that place home.

That particular trip touched, not just me, but also my parents. They fell in love with Tennessee and decided that they wanted to live there. When an opportunity came to do so – through a job opening in Nashville, TN – my parents jumped at it. Nashville wasn’t in the mountains, of course, but it was a lot closer. I can honestly say that I have never lived any place that was so special to me as Nashville, Tennessee. I fell in love again – with the city of Nashville and the whole state of Tennessee.

In the years following, my family and I made many trips into the Smoky Mountains. We saw the Park and the surrounding towns change considerably during that time, but the area never lost its unique culture. And having a strong Cherokee heritage in my own life, the older I got the more I wanted to know and be known by the people who had given me my great grandmother. My immediate family and I eventually moved back to Illinois, but we have never stopped visiting the Smoky Mountains.

I’ve wondered sometimes if there’s something in my own blood that calls me home to the Smokies. I don’t recall ever visiting any other place –  or even living in any other place – that kept pulling me to come back to it the way the Smokies do — or where I felt so much as if I were “home” each time I visited. Over more recent decades, I’ve tried to maneuver some things in my live and work out a way to have my work and my everyday life in the midst of that area of the country. But the Lord has kept opening doors to the ministry He wants me to do in other areas instead. So those other areas remain my world of everyday life. And, alas, I am still relegated to making visits to my mountains.

But those visits, over the years, have gleaned me an entire family of wonderful characters who do get to live and love and work and play right in the midst of the Smokies. So I’ll have to settle for that. When writing the books in The Smoky Mountain Series, I’ve lived there with them and enjoyed being “home” for all those months. There’s one more book to come, so I’ll continue that enjoyment as I write Book 5: This Fire In My Heart.  I’m grateful that, through these books, I can truly live in two worlds at the same time.

My heart’s telling me that it’s time I worked things out in my schedule to make another trip to that place that’s the next best thing to Heaven. In fact, on my most recent trip to the Smokies, I picked up a little magnet for my refrigerator door that says, “Heaven’s a little closer in the mountains.”  Ahhh, YES, INDEED, IT IS!


If you’d like to read the series, you’ll find the first 4 books in paperback and digital HERE.

 

 


 

Audio Short Stories — My Newest Project

Do you enjoy just sitting back and listening to stories? Then you’ll enjoy my newest project: Audio Short Stories. You’ll find the first story on YouTube now. I’ll make it really easy for you and insert it right here, but if you like it, hop over to the YouTube site so you can click the “thumbs up” symbol and subscribe to my channel so you’ll know when I post the next story in the project.

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Weekend Coffee Share — 6/16/18

Thanks to Eclectic Ali for hosting the weekend coffee shares.

cropped-coffee-being-poured-w-spoon-pdpics-px.jpg

I’m so glad I have some time to share coffee with you guys this week — because I am really excited to share with you about my newest venture. I have recently created a brand new poetic form. At least, I think I have. With all the searching I’ve done, I’m fairly certain no other poets have this form out there. I’m excited, not only because I loved the challenge of creating a unique form, but also because there is only one poetic form that is generally recognized as being ‘American’ by the poetry world. So this new form that I’ve created — being American myself — will be the second.

And to make it even more truly American, I borrowed from my own Cherokee culture to give the form a name. I’ve called it Tso’i. That word is pronounced “cho-ee,” and it is the Cherokee word for the number ‘three,’ and I chose it because the syllable count for the 5 lines of the poem are in multiples of three. I’ve posted about the form — along with examples of poems that follow it — in more than one post on my author’s site and my poetry site. So I don’t want to be too repetitious here. But I know there are a few people who read the “Coffee Share” posts who don’t read my others.

That being the case, I want to tell you the details of my new form so that any of you out there who enjoy writing poetry can try it if you’d like. So here’s the scoop:

A Tso’i poem must meet the following guidelines:

It must have 5 lines
Lines 1, 3, and 5 must have end rhyme.

Syllables:
Line 1 has 3 syllables.
Line 2 has 6 syllables.
Line 3 has 12 syllables.
Line 4 has 6 syllables.
Line 5 has 3 syllables.

Lines 1 and 5 follow a dactyl meter.
Lines 2, 3, and 4 follow an iambic meter.

Subject matter and theme are open to the poet’s imagination and preference.

Here’s one example from my own work:

PARAMOUNT KNOWLEDGE

Knowing God:
Oh, what a wondrous thing
To comprehend such pure love; I’m completely awed,
Learning I am priceless
To my God.


If any of you poets out there would like to try this form yourself, please do and leave a copy of it — or a link to it — in the “Comments” section below.  And have a great weekend!

 

 

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A Little Bit More of My Shameless Marketing

PROFESSOR'S EDUCATION FOR AMAZON FRONT ONLY - 2Just wanted to let readers know that the inspirational novel The Professor’s Education is now selling on Amazon in paperback and digital. Many of you read the novel free right here on this site a few months ago. And many of you expressed your enjoyment of it as well. Thank you again.

Now, here’s my pitch. If you did read it for free here and enjoyed it, how about purchasing a copy for a friend or loved one who enjoys inspirational romance?

Paperback: $7.99
Digital: $2.99

And, by the way, did you know that a lot of men enjoy inspirational romance novels? It isn’t just us gals. I’ve had a number of gentlemen tell me how much they appreciate reading a good Christian love story.  Sooooo, girls, why not buy one for your boyfriend or hubby?

And thanks in advance.

 

 


 

Hey, Jake, Wanna Buy a Book?

EVERYTHING'S JAKE COVER FOR FBBOOK SALE — ONE WEEK ONLY — STARTS TODAY

EVERYTHING’S JAKE

E-Book: $0.99

Paperback:  $4.00

It’s just a little love story. But, then again, it’s a whole lot more than a love story. It’s about finding out who you really are and learning to like that person – and discovering that liking who you are opens the door for the best relationships with other people. It’s about family – and friends who are just like family. It’s about letting God’s way of loving take control of your heart.

Meet Mariah Jacoby. She’s happiest working under the hood of a car, but she’s convinced that grimy hands and greasy smudges on her face aren’t exactly what guys are looking for in a girlfriend. Unfortunately, though, she’s having trouble holding down a job in any other field, despite college degrees and an upbeat personality. Desperate to change her unemployed status, she finally admits it’s time to face the fact that she’s really a “grease monkey” at heart, but dare she hope there’s a guy in her future who’s dreaming of a girl who smells like engine oil?

 

 


 

More Than Hugs & Kisses

It’s February, the month of love. Wouldn’t you like to read some satisfying love stories that give you a whole lot more than just hugs and kisses? I’d like to introduce you to four men who want very much to love and be loved, but who are facing some serious challenges to love that only God and His Word can overcome.

Private Detective Maddison Holt, who is so bound by grief, guilt ,and self-incrimination that he feels he has no right to have real love in his life. Pastor Cameron McDaniels, who has finally found the woman who is the answer to his prayers for a helpmate but discovers that, since losing a fiance, she is now afraid of loving anyone else at all. Lionel Butler has caused many a girl’s heart to flutter, but he never even notices because he’s convinced he’s destined to be a bad husband and father. His future looks bleak and empty. And violinist, conductor Jonah McDaniels, now in his 40’s, finally recognizes the one woman who can fill his heart and life, but is fearful that the age difference between them makes his situation hopeless.

When these four leading men in the “Smoky Mountain Series” novels put their faith and the Word of God to the test, they find the God of miracles is a master in the subject of true romance. There are plenty of hugs and kisses, to be sure, but sooooo much more in the “Smoky Mountain Series.”

Paperback or Digital at Amazon.

Find this series and more inspirational reading at this link:

 

 

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A Chapter a Day — 2

You’ll need to go HERE to read Chapter 1 first.

TEACHER AT GREEN BOARDCampus Crimes Series: Book 1Featuring Darcy Knight, Coed Detective

CHAPTER TWO

The professor was in the chair behind his desk, but he wasn’t sitting there the way he normally did. He looked more like he had fallen down into the chair, and it was rolled far enough back that his head, which had dropped backwards, was actually touching the whiteboard behind him.

But that wasn’t what made my stomach revolt. It was the massive amount of blood pouring from his chest and soaking his blue tie and light blue shirt. I don’t know for sure how long I stood there with my mouth open, not able to move a muscle or even make a sound. I hope is wasn’t more than a couple seconds. I couldn’t bear to think that perhaps my lack of quicker action might have made a difference in his outcome.

But, finally, I came back to life and screamed – something. I think it was, “Noooooo!” But then I turned and stuck my head back out the door and yelled, “Help! Someone Help! A man’s been shot! … Help!”

At least it was words to that effect. I didn’t hear any response, so I ran a few feet out into the hallway and tried again. In a few seconds, I heard pounding footsteps coming down the hallway on the main floor, and then a voice. “I’m coming! I’m coming!”

Then feet pounded up the steps, and suddenly the janitor loomed in the hallway, struggling to run as fast as his overweight body would carry him. I pointed to Professor Sommer’s office and said, “The Professor – he’s – he’s –” I just kept pointing frantically toward the office, and the janitor finally got even with me and looked into the doorway.

“Good God!” he cried and hurried over to the desk. “Call 911! Quick!” he instructed me, and whipping out my phone, I started punching numbers. My hands were shaking so badly I punched the ‘9’ three times and had to start a second time. By that time the janitor had checked for any signs of breathing or a pulse.

“I think he’s dead,” he was just saying when the 911 operator answered. I relayed everything to her the best I could, but it was all a jumbled mess. I guess she was used to those kind of messes, because she seemed to stay pretty calm and collected. But then she wasn’t staring at a dead body with blood pouring out if it.

I’ve already told you about my conversation with her, but, finally, after what seemed like an hour  — but I’m sure it wasn’t more than ten minutes — I heard what sounded like a hoard of people coming through the front door of the building, and a voice shouted, “Police. Stay where you are.”

Yep, that sounded like the cops all right, but who were they yelling at? They’d either captured some other unsuspecting student who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the killer had sneaked back in to get rid of me too. Well, either way, I was really glad they’d arrived.

I stepped out into the hallway just as the first two officers were making the top of the stairs. “In here, officers,” I said, trying to sound in control, but with my voice still vibrating from shock.

I recognized both of the men. Sergeant Harris has been on the force at least a couple decades. When we see him off-duty, he’s always friendly and interactive with the people in town. But on duty, he is all police sergeant, and no letting down on the protocol. The younger man with him, Lucas Duran, is newer to the force. And he is a hunk. I know that doesn’t say much about his police procedure, but the simple truth is that several of the girls on campus have admitted that it makes their hearts pick up speed and sends signals to all the appropriate places in their bodies when Lucas comes on the scene.

His dad is Hispanic, and that heritage is evident in his dark skin and his luscious black, curly hair. He has to keep it short for police work, but it’s gorgeous all the same. He’s tall and has shoulders that could move a boulder with one good shove. Now, you’re probably assuming that I have a ‘thing’ for Lucas myself, but you’d be wrong. I do freely admit that he’s an eyeful and a prime catch in our county, but it’s my friend Nadia who is really stuck on him. And evidently, he likes her pretty well too, because he asked her to go with him to the charity dance our police force sponsors every year to raise money for a local orphanage. When she talks to me about him she calls him Lucas, of course, and I guess that’s why I think of him that way instead of as ‘Officer Duran.’

Well, I’m off topic again, so back to the murder scene: Both officers entered the room, and Sergeant Harris went immediately to the Professor’s body to check that out. Officer Duran started for the window to see what evidence he might find there, and by that time, the paramedics were coming through the door of the room as well. It didn’t take long to decide that the Professor was beyond help, but nothing could be done about taking him out of the room until the coroner, Mason Wells, had done his job and pronounced his findings.

One of the paramedics asked about the coroner, and Sergeant Harris answered: “He’s on his way, but he was at a restaurant in Hanover County, so he’ll still be a little while. Just stand by while we question the two witnesses, and as soon as Mason gets here, we’ll get back to your procedure.” With that statement, he turned his attention to me and the janitor.


To be continued …

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Simon Stone Mystery – Daily Post Prompt

CHAPTER ONE

Deanna Forbes sat straight in the uncomfortable wooden chair. She kept her shoulders back and her right leg crossed over her left knee, making sure to hold her foot perfectly still. That effort, along with the pleasant expression on her face, cost her considerable energy, but she was a strong-willed woman and had had a lot of practice at maintaining proper demeanor.

Her ash blond hair, blunt cut to just below her jawline, was shiny smooth and added to her cool, collected composure. Only her gray eyes darted from place to place, taking in all the details of her surroundings and keeping up with her rapidly shifting thoughts.

“Now, Ms Forbes,” Detective Simon Stone addressed her from the opposite side of the table where they sat in the interrogation room. Her eyes focused totally on him as he continued. “I have here your earlier statement that you were with friends at a private party the evening Peter Crandell was shot, but so far, our office hasn’t been able to make contact with any of these – uh – friends.” As he said the last word, his left eyebrow lifted in a question, and his blue eyes pinned her.

The implication that real friendship was somewhat lacking here wasn’t lost on Deanna, but she couldn’t seem to keep herself from focusing on those eyes – well – on his whole appearance, which was commandingly attractive: dark complexion, black, wavy hair, and strong brows – all accented by the most brilliantly blue eyes she’d ever seen on a man. This meeting was the second time she’d sat with Simon Stone for questioning, and both times his extravagant good looks and his virile, no-nonsense manner, coupled with a surprisingly melodious voice, had interfered with her efforts to concentrate. That wasn’t good — not good at all. She needed all her wits about her for this one.

“Well, Detective Stone, as I explained in my original statement, it was a bon voyage party, and two of the couples were sailing that night. The other two couples live in Montrose, some 100 miles from here, so God only knows where they may be by this week. Besides – as I also said previously – you won’t find anyone who honestly thinks I had a motive for killing Peter Crandell. Why on earth would I want poor Peter dead?”

“I don’t know that you did want him dead, Ms Forbes. But right now we can’t rule out anyone who knew him, and an alibi for your whereabouts at the time of death is crucial.” There was a knock at the door of the interrogation room, and Stone got up to answer it. After the briefest whispered conversation, he turned to Deanna. “Excuse me a moment, Ms Forbes. I’ll be right back with you.” He then stepped out into the hall to continue the conversation.

After a good five minutes, he returned with a smile on his face. “Well, good news: “ he said, closing the door and returning to his seat at the table, “our men have finally made contact with one of the couples from the bon voyage party. They have corroborated your alibi completely, so it looks as though you’re free to go. I’m sorry we had to detain you so long.”

Deanna smiled widely. “That is good news, Detective. And I’m glad to know you think so too. I’d hate to have you believe I was guilty of such a terrible act as shooting someone.”

“Just because we question a person doesn’t necessarily mean we believe they committed the crime, Ms Forbes. But in cases like this, there are usually a number of people who are possible suspects until we can find good reason to eliminate them from the list.”

“I understand, Detective Stone. But I want to make sure I have the facts right: You are saying that your department no longer consider me a suspect in the shooting of Peter Crandell. Is that correct?”

Stone smiled. “You are correct, Ms Forbes,” he said and rose from his chair.

Deanna rose as well, and on a sudden impulse, she said, “Well … now that we’ve got all that matter cleared up, I wonder if you might consider having dinner with me tomorrow evening, Detective Stone. I feel I’d like to get to know you better.”

Stone’s first response was one of surprise, but it registered only momentarily. His easy smile replaced it, a smile that reached his eyes, and Deanna suddenly realized that it was that smile that came from deep inside of him that made him particularly attractive.

“I should be free tomorrow evening ─ barring some unexpected homicide, that is,” he said with a grin. “Do you have a particular place in mind?”

“I like dining at The Captain’s Table in the restored lighthouse a little south of the city. Do you know it?”

“Yes, I’m familiar with it. I enjoy it myself. Shall I pick you up?”

“It’s probably better if I meet you there. Say 7:00?”

“Fine. I’ll look forward to it, Ms Forbes.”

Deanna smiled widely again. “Why don’t you just call me Dee? All my friends do, and I think we could become friends now that this nasty murder business is behind us.”

“Well, then, Dee,” he said moving to the door and holding it open for her, “I’ll see you at The Captain’s Table at 7:00 tomorrow evening.”

“Good bye Detective Stone.” She smiled again and gave him a questioning look. “Perhaps you’ll give me permission to call you Simon when we meet for dinner.”

“Perhaps I shall,” he answered with a teasing grin. Deanna turned and walked out of the office and exited the police station without looking back. Keeping her back straight and her head up was second nature to her; smiling at everyone she passed didn’t come quite so naturally. However, she was determined not to let that smile slip until she was well out of sight of any law enforcement officers.

Simon Stone returned to his own desk and filled out his report on the interrogation – but he didn’t sign off on it. Instead, he entered Deanna Forbes’ name into a data base he used only when the normal sites failed to give him satisfactory information. He waited, holding his breath.

In the meantime, Deanna Forbes sat behind the wheel of her Lexus. Driving back to her home, she questioned her own sanity. Why on earth had she invited Simon Stone to dinner? Well, she knew the answer on the surface, of course: he was stunning, sexy, and captivating. He was also dangerous, but she had lived with danger most of her life.

Having been raised by a drunken father who came home to beat up on his wife and two kids on a regular basis ─ and then living with a grandmother who ran a gambling casino, with all the attending crime element casinos attracted ─ she was no stranger to dealing with danger and its threats to her own peace and security. In fact, sometimes she wondered if she had become too comfortable with danger. Maybe that’s why she’d never stuck with any relationships in the past that didn’t carry with them any kind of threat.

She shrugged her shoulders now. Oh well, her die was cast. She was having dinner with a man who, up until an hour ago, had considered her a possible murderer. Come to think of it, he hadn’t told her which couple had corroborated her alibi for that night. Of course, all six of the other guests had been so drunk that they couldn’t have been sure about who was there and who wasn’t.

One thing about most of her friends: they were so irresponsible in their own lives that they didn’t think twice about checking up on anyone else to make sure they weren’t doing something they shouldn’t be doing. It would never occur to them that one of their guests might have slipped away from the group long enough to put old Peter away and slipped right back into the crowd as if nothing had transpired except a trip to the bathroom.


INNOCENT FRONT COVER = AMAZONThe mystery continues in book #1 of the Simon Stone Detective Series.
Read all of INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Available in paperback and digital at Amazon.

 

Daily Post Prompt: Mystery

 

 

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