Monday, July 29, 2013

July in Pictures!

The month of July was busy! It included writing AND editing on a computer that needed an external keyboard (spilled water on the original--lesson learned, do not do your nails while surfing the Net!)...vacation with family in Florida...visiting our church's main campus in first paperback version in a long time...lunch & fellowship with great friends from church...a new RED car...and a fun but too short trip to Blowing Rock, North Carolina! Hope you're loving your summer, too.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Win Some Sandy Dreams in PAPERBACK

Now that my beach read is in paperback, I've decided to give away FIVE autographed copies on Goodreads. Just click on the widget at the top of my blog to enter. Good luck & hope you enjoy this fun-loving, touching story!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Another Cinematic Gem!

Movie night found us watching another Christian film, this one starring Kevin Sorbo, John Ratzenberger, and the lovely Kristy Swanson. Incidentally, I don't know if these films are new to you, but they are in this household. Just in case you've never seen it, do make time for 2010's What If, another well done and exceptional inspirational movie. In a nutshell, Kevin Sorbo plays a young man who leaves his college sweetheart (played by Kristy Swanson) behind at the bus depot on his way to success as an investment banker. He is all about the money: flashy cars, expensive jewelry, and an attractive fiancee who's as materialistic as he is. John Ratzenberger gives a brilliant performance as a tough-guy angel sent by "The Boss" (and, no, by that he does NOT mean Bruce Springsteen--LOL!) to show him what God had originally planned for him, a life so much different than the one he leads, as a minister, husband, and father to two beautiful girls. The angel tells him that he "broke two hearts when you left--Wendy's and God's."

By turns funny and touching, What If is unexpectedly and pleasantly romantic, and as reviewers have noted on on Amazon, it will bring tears to your eyes. What if you make watch this one with the love of your life? And what if all movies could have this much heart?

Thinking of buying this one and watching it again. It's THAT much of a keeper. 

Monday, July 8, 2013


What a pleasure it was to discover an uplifting AND entertaining Christian movie!

Okay, let's be honest here. Christian movies have come a long way from the offerings of the 1970s and early 1980s. I'm not talking about the unforgettable Passion of the Christ with Jim Caviezel. What I'm referring to is the low-low budget films with the disciples who speak with a Southern twang. Yes, I remember a couple of movies like that, usually shown at church on Youth Night! They were nothing like Fireproof and Courageous, movies of today that are both wonderful and very well written, besides being a blessing with powerful messages.

But, hey, considering Hollywood has lost nearly all its imagination and mostly now just rehashes old TV shows and movies, many of the "regular", or more accurately, the secular movies are sadly not what they used to be, either. You're just paying more at the box office for something that's not nearly as good as the original.

So it was great to find both The Encounter and The Encounter: Paradise Lost on Netflix this weekend. I don't suppose either movie will win any Academy Awards (and a lot of wonderful movies never do), but as far as Christian entertainment goes, both were well worth their weight in popcorn and Junior Mints.

The first movie, The Encounter, has something of a Twilight Zone feel to it, so yes, we enjoyed that. Because of a road that's been closed (by a shady deputy named DeVille--not hard to figure out!), a group of travelers along a mountain highway are diverted to a lonely diner out in the middle of nowhere, aptly named the Last Chance Diner. The potpourri of people include a couple on the verge of divorce; a confused young girl with a troubled past; a former football player who now owns a burger restaurant chain; and a young woman on her way to her fiance.

Imagine their surprise when their host, the diner's amiable owner, claims to be the Son of the Living God Himself. He even wears a nametag that reads JESUS. (That was precious! :D) In one of the film's most amusing scenes, one of the customers reads his name tag and says, "Hello, Jesus!" pronouncing it like the Spanish hay-zoos. The Lord gently corrects him, saying, "Actually, it's pronounced jee-suhs." The movie has sweet touches; for example, Jesus knows exactly what each of his "customers" would love to eat that night, and He serves everything with more than a dash of humility and a heaping of love.

Christian recording artist, Jaci Velazquez, is cast in the role of Melissa, the engaged traveler, and she does a good job, her moments with the Lord believable and tender. Her story made me smile, because the character reminded me of myself when I accepted the Lord as a 20-year-old college student.

Bruce Marchiano gives a unique, warm and intriguing performance as Jesus, in both films. He gives the Lord an "average Joe" sort of persona, while at the same time reminding the viewer that He is God the Son. He conveyed Jesus as having a sense of being compassionate..."as not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) There's real delight in this actor's face and true concern, both when are appropriate to the scene at hand. The movie, incidentally, is scripturally sound.

My husband and I loved The Encounter so much that we didn't waste time in watching The Encounter: Paradise Lost. That one moved much slower at first and seemed convoluted in the beginning. We stuck it out and were rewarded for our patience. The storylines include a drug dealer, a DEA agent out to avenge the death of his sister who died of a heroine overdose, a couple who own a resort hotel whose marriage is also in trouble after their son dies in the 2004 Thailand tsunami, and a former Thai prostitute who is rescued by the drug dealer, played by Robert Miano. As I said, this second film has something of a clunky start, but it was Robert Miano's multi-faceted performance as Bruno Mingarelli that kept us watching. Bruno, a brutal drug dealer, was no one-dimensional character, but rather he had these interesting layers to him, including the fact that he truly loved Mimi. Paradise Lost had its high points and is still more worthwhile than watching a film where swear words are tossed around mindlessly like confetti, and considering the subject matter, the violence level is much less than what you'd see in non-Christian films.

All things considered, both movies made our Movie Night a blessing. If you haven't caught these films, go on and give them a chance. Don't forget the popcorn and Junior Mints!

Friday, July 5, 2013


Head over to Free EBooks Daily for a Q & A on my free book, THE CHRISTMAS WALTZ. A little background on this short story that is also Book 2 of THE LARKSPUR VALLEY SERIES.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Time for a BEACH READ!

Welcome to summer!

Here in North Carolina--at least the western part, where my husband and I live--it took a long time for the spring weather to come breezing in. With the Fourth of July right around the corner, summer is definitely upon us. Time for barbecues, vacays, backyard pools, swimsuits, sandals, summer dresses (hello to my good friend Linda, who has a collection of those!) and last but not least, the beach.

It's also time for a beach read...and mine is finally out! GREETINGS FROM MY SANDY DREAMS is now available at Amazon and Smashwords. More distributors, including Barnes & Noble for your Nook lovers, to come.

Please note that GREETINGS FROM MY SANDY DREAMS is a women's fiction/contemporary romance that, although still generally a sweet romance, does contain a higher level of sexual tension, as well as adult situations. All in all, it's a fun, easygoing read to pop into your ereader or phone.

More news, though, to follow!

So have fun this summer & don't forget your sunscreen!