Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, Date Night and Walmart

Doesn't sound like they go together, does it? Well, friends, read on. :)

When I was in elementary school, I rode a wheelchair accessible school bus with other children with disabilities. I was on the bus for what seemed like ages, but it was probably about an hour to an hour and a half. We had an aid on the bus, and every Friday she would say, "Friday night is boogie night!" lol

Now that I'm all grown up with kids of my own, I have a different saying. "Trick or Treat night is date night." :)

My mom and dad take my girls trick or treating, so the hubby and I turn out all the lights, hop in the car and go somewhere. The last couple of years, our date nights on Halloween have been terribly exciting! Just wait until you hear where we went. Tonight and last year, too, we went and ate dinner at Shoneys. The place this year was practically empty, which was a real treat. We got our food quickly, and it took us no time to eat. We were out of there so fast, I keep wondering what had happened. :)

After dinner, Terry took me to the new Walmart where we shopped for food. That place, too, was practically empty. We navigated that buggy through those isles like nobody's business. lol In no time, we were back in the car and heading to my dad's to pick up the girls.

The girls, I'm happy to say, had a blast. They got so much candy, our trusty candy bowl which sits on top of the freezer for obvious reasons, could not hold it all. We had to sample some candy, one to make sure it wasn't poisonness and two, so we could start fitting it all in one bowl. Ha! Y'all believe that, don't y'all?

So, next time you tired parents want a date night out, have the grandparents or cousins or friends to take your kids trick or treating. I mean, you get time alone with your spouse and free candy, too. It's a win-win situation. :)

So, now the kiddies are in bed, I have a washer a-spinnin', and soon I'll have to put those clothes in to the drier so the man of the house can have some uniforms to wear to work in the morning. I tell you, I'm glad for machines that wash and dry, cause if I had to do it all by hand, somebody would either have to wear everyday clothes or go without. ;)

On that note, I'll say goodnight and apologize for being so late with this post. HOpe y'all had a good day, but mostly, I pray you found time for the Lord today. He's so good, in case you forgot.

Oh, and if any of you have tried sending email to
and haven't heard from me, just comment here or try sending an email to
I have email troubles, and I apologize.

Until Wednesday, don't eat too much of your children's candy and remember to smile; God loves you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Writing, Parties and FaceBook

Since my blog post about writer's block,
I've actually started writing on that story. I still do not have a clear picture of what it will be, but that's all right. In fact, writing in bits and pieces was how "Wild Heart" and it's sequel "To Tame A Heart" came in to being. i like to describe it as a puzzle. Scenes, or rather parts of scenes come to me. I write them down, then over time I fill in the connecting paragraphs until…voila! A book! Ok, so I shouldn't say it's a book at that point; it's actually a first draft. lol But, you get what I'ms saying. Right? :)

A friend told me once that when she wrote her first book, she would sometimes write 60 pages at a time. Ok, y'all, I'd love to say that, but it's just not so. I did write around 2000 words last night, though. One night, while writing "To Tame A Heart", I stayed up until 5 in the morning, just writing, so maybe I got 60 pages out of that, but I don't think so. When I say I'm writing, that doesn't always mean I'm sitting still, typing away on the Mac Book. Sometimes, it means I'm editing something I wrote at an earlier date. Sometimes, it means I am reading what I wrote and trying to figure out where it came from. lol

Ok, I've talked enough about writing. On to another subject.

Took my girls to a Halloween/costume/fall party the other night. They had a blast. There were games, a contest, treat bags and pizza. Ahem, I'm still trying to figure out which was their favorite, the treat bags or the games. lol When asked if I had a good time at the party, i hesitated before saying, "My girls had fun, and that's all that matters."

Parties like that one have not been "fun" for me in a long time, I hate to admit. I feel rather awkward, if you want the truth. I don't know anyone well enough to have a conversation, and if i did, I wouldn't be able to hear them over the noise of the kids. And, lemme tell y'all, that place was noisy. :) In fact, lots of noise like that, added to the fact I can't see, makes me, for all intents and purposes, blind and deaf. Sometimes, I wish I could clone myself. Except, my other self would be able to see; that way, the sighted Shannon could go to parties and the blind one could find something else to do. But, back to the girls, they had fun, and honestly, I'll do it again just to make them happy.

My church is having a Gospel sing tomorrow night. If you live close enough…and if you live far away…you are welcome. :) I wanted to create an event on FaceBook yesterday, so folks would know about it and so everyone would know they were invited. Well, lemme tell ya, it took me over an hour to create that event. I'm not sure I even did it right, but a couple of folks have already RSVPed, so I guess I didn't do so bad. :) I tried to not invite certain of my friends, mostly so I wouldn't hurt any feelings, but I couldn't find a button for that. I tried to invite everyone on my friend list, but then the page reloaded on me, and every box I checked became unchecked again. Deed, FaceBook can be annoying. Anyway, I think that from now on, I'm going to just post an announcement for an event in my status. It would be much simpler and might keep me from sighing so much. :)

So, what nuggets of wisdom have I gleaned from writing, costume parties and FaceBook? Life's too short to get hung up on the little things. If I trust in the Lord, the book will happen. If I'm there for my girls, they will remember it when they are grown. And, the fad of FB will fade one day. Ha!

Y'all enjoy your weekend, and be sure to come back and visit me on Monday. I'm considering a few giveaways, now that the holidays are fast approaching. If you are interested in winning a free copy of one of my books, comment on this post. If I get at least 10 comments, I'll do the giveaways. If not, I won't.

Items available for the giveaway, are as follows:
Wild Heart in paperback autographed by moi
To Tame A Heart in paperback autographed by moi
Wild Heart in audio
To Tame A Heart in audio

The audio books are read by W. B. Ward, and you can find him on the web at

To read more about my books, go to

To learn more about the group singing at my church tomorrow night, go to

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm wondering...

I wonder, do my daughters realize how sleepy I get when they play with my hair? :) My mom used to ask me to massage her shoulders and play with her hair. I'd talk the whole time I was combing or massaging, and she'd always go to sleep. Ha! I used to think I was boring, and I might very well be. But, now, I know better; she just couldn't help herself.

I wonder if we realize how very blessed we are. I have a cousin in the hospital who was having a spinal tap done this morning. i have a friend in another hospital with a blood disorder. I have friends with sick children, and yet, here I am with my 2 healthy girls, I'm recovering well from my surgery, and I have a sighted 6-year-old who is worried about my white spots in my hair. lol :) She is tucking them in so she can't see them very well. She says I can't have a make-over until she hides those white spots. What's up with that? Ha!

I wonder, is it all right to be sleepy and tired because I stayed up until 2 A.M. writing? I'd like nothing more than to lie back down and have my girls do my hair so I can nap. I most definitely do not want to fold and put away laundry, wash up dishes, worry about dinner, work in some school time and go to a costume party this evening. But, back to being blessed, thank God I am able to do these things, sleepy or not.

I'm wondering if it's ok to drink some more caffeine for energy. I have a lot to do, after all, and I'd better quit blogging and get busy. Or, as my mom used to say when I was a kid and didn't want to do my home work, "You'd better git on the ball, ole girl!" lol

Just as a side note and completely off topic, I miss my mom.

I'm wondering why our thinking gets messed up somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Kierstin isn't really sad about my grandmother's death, because in her mind, any minute now, Jesus is coming back, and she'll get to see her Mamaw Johnson again. The other day she asked me…she and Faith asked if they could crochet a blanket to give to Mamaw when Jesus comes back. I was like, "Well, I guess, but she isn't going to need it." They asked me why not. :) I told them that when Jesus comes back, we'll never be cold again. They still wanted to do it. Why are grown ups so afraid to hope like that? Why do we hesitate to answer when children ask questions like that? Do you think it has something to do with parents telling us the truth about things we believed in as kids?

For instance, my girls desperately want to believe in Santa Claus. Faith knows it's just a man dressed in a suit, but Kierstin doesn't believe me, yet, when I tell her he isn't real. She sees nothing wrong in believing in what she can't see or inn things she can't explain. Some kids are heart broken when they learn Santa isn't real. Kierstin can't see Jesus with her natural eyes, but one day she asked if He was sad because His mother is dead. Wow! Are y'all following this? Do we as parents somehow influence our children to stop believing in the supernatural? Why is that?

The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." That's in Hebrews chapter 11 the first verse. Now, for Shannon's interpretation. Faith is when you know something is real, even though you can't touch, see, taste, smell or hear it. Children, without being taught know there is something out there bigger than them. They know the unexplainable is possible. Sure, we need to teach them right from wrong, but they already know there's a God out there, even though they don't know how to say it.

Lord, I believe you are able to do anything. Help me when I start to doubt. Forgive me when I begin to limit what you can do.

Thanks for reading today, y'all. Be sure and come back Friday. Until then, keep praying. Don't ask someone to pray for you in times of trouble. Instead, get to know the Savior so you can pray all by yourself.

Monday, October 24, 2011

And The Diagnosis Is Writer's Block...

or, is it procrastination?

My dad used to say, "Shannon, you spend more time trying to figure out how to get out of doing something, than actually doing it." Ha! He's right.

I have a book to write. The characters are constantly talking to me. "Tell our story!" I dream about them. They are in my head. They are just as real to me, as my family and friends. So, I try to write their story. I write a few scenes, and I start thinking, "Wow, I've got it! Here's what's going to happen."

Yeah, well, a couple of days go by, and I start thinking that maybe my ideas weren't so good after all. So, I pray and think and get busy with another manuscript. Eventually, these 2 particular characters start talking to me, again. I do research on the current idea, and start writing. Then, I start doubting, again. Y'all see a pattern?

Here's what's funny, and a bit nerdy; I love doing research for my books. I've gotten pretty good at googling. My story takes place somewhere around 1896-1900, so I look up stuff about the Spanish American War. I looked up shipping. I read about clipper ships and steam ships. I read about polio, which BTW was called a lot of things back then, including Infantile Paralysis. I read about Yellow Fever, life on the streets of New York City, the cattle industries back then, medical practices, nursing, women's rights and the lack thereof, immigration, gangs, gold strikes in Alaska, P. T. Barnum's circus, involuntary servitude aboard ship…you name it, and i've researched it. And, still, I'm not sure.

So, what does my first sentence of this post have to do with research? Well, see, I've done so much research, that now I'm confused on what to make happen to my characters.

I ask them, "Hey, why can you two be together?"

The answer I get surprises me.

"Because," she says, "he's married."

I'm like, "Do what?" I mean, I can't write a Christian book like that!

So, I ask them, "What would it take to bring you both to a place where you can trust fully in God?"

The answer does not come easy.

One character says, "I ain't needed a man yet, and I'll never need one. I can do anything I set my mind to do. Sure, my folks taught me about Jesus, but I don't think He will forgive me, this time; I've really messed up."

My other character says, "Where was God when I needed Him the most? I mean, sure I was taught about Him, and I believe He exists, but in order to be good enough, there are things I have to do, first. As for the woman I love, she'd never look twice, if she knew where I came from."

Deed, faithful readers, y'all need to pray, cause I just don't know where this book is going to go. To the gold fields of Alaska? To the high seas during a war? Back home to the ranch and praying loved ones? I don't know.

Tell you something else I don't know, too; I don't know where the man came from or how bad it was. I don't know what it's going to take to get these two together. I'm absolutely stumped.

Any thoughts? Questions? Comments? Ideas? :) Y'all wanna hear about the gold fields in Alaska? How about overcoming temptations of the flesh? Do you think Christian books ought to include characters making bad choices in a moment of weakness? Does anyone even want to read this book? :D Feel free to comment or drop me an email at
would love to hear from y'all.

Goodnight and see you on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crazy Is As Crazy Does

It's late on a Saturday evening. In fact, it's so late, I would consider it already Saturday night. I dozed off in my chair some time around 7 this evening, just after finishing a 20 oz bottle of coke. So, even though the man of the place and the kiddies are in bed snoring, I'm wide awake…and bored out of my mind.

If I were the movie type, I'd be wanting to watch a movie. But, TV isn't my thing. Sure, I like a good movie every once in a while, but to actually watch TV would make a little more noise than I'm willing to make. So, I hop on FaceBook. Well, FB is ok, but I don't play any of the games, and statuses don't change that often, so I check my email. No new messages. So, I go to
and play around. I listen to a few samples, and something starts to happen; I get interested in listening to an audio book. Finally! Something to take away the boredom…only, there's a problem here. Do you see it?

Ok, lemme help y'all out. It's after 11 at night, I'm bored, and I gotta be up around 7 AM to start getting ready for Sunday School. If I buy a book and start listening, I'll be good for nothing in a few hours. And, yet…

Those Samples war good! I don't know how long they are, maybe 3 minutes, maybe 5, but our of the 3 I listened to, 2 of them caught my attention. I really wanna know what happens next! And, they are books I normally wouldn't listen to. One was about a vampire guy who is looking for his werewolf woman who had been kidnaped a year or so before. I feel like I just have to listen and see if he gets her back. I don't even like vampire and werewolf romances. lol

The other book started out with a woman reporter feeling the ground shake. She thought it was a bomb and called 9 11 to ask. They didn't know, but she saw a thin plume of black smoke rising against the sky. What happens next? I don't know, but I wish I did! works with credits. I pay so much a year and get a certain amount of credits, which I use to purchase audio books. In Feb. I had 24 credits. As of today, I have 3 left, and they are supposed to last until Feb. 2012. lol Yeah, like that's gonna happen. It usually does, though. But, in order to make them last, I have to be real careful how I spend those last 3 credits. While these books sounded great, and I'd love to see what happens next, I don't want to throw away my credits. I'll look for these books on another website, where books are free, and if I can't find them, I'll just wait. Chances are, I'll lose the urgency to listen to them.

You'd think I'd be busy writing on my own books, instead of seeing what others have written, but not me. I'm crazy. Remember? Ha! Thing is, I do have my word processor open. The story is there. In fact, there are several I could be working on. So, what's my problem? Um, I don't know.

Here's what I do know:
1. I'm thirsty
2. I think too much
3. I'm in desperate need of a weekend alone with my husband ;)
4. I really want someone to read a passage from one of my books and say, "Man, I have to buy that book!"
5. My cousin's strawberry rhubarb pie is best when you take it out of the freezer and nuke it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. lol
6. I desperately need an exercise program so I can lose weight
and last but not least
7. God is blessing me, even when I'm in a weird mood

So, now y'all know what my temptations are; sweets and books. Oh well. Could be worse. Y'all take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Go to church on Sunday, and come back and see me on Monday for another post.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Presenting WV Author, Salvatore Buttaci!

Happy Friday, y'all, and thank you so much for joining me here on the blog. Today, let me introduce you to WV writer, Salvatore Buttaci!

Shannon: What part of WV are you from? Do you still live there?

Salvatore: I am not originally from West Virginia. I visited Crab Orchard, WV, back in 1957 and fell in love with the state. In fact, I made one of my few predictions that came true: "I'm gonna move here someday!" Of course, my older brother laughed. I was only 16. What did I know! Nearly 50 years later I married my pen pal from Yukon, WV, and brought her to Lodi, New Jersey, where I was living. In 2007, only 11 years later, I retired from nearly 30 years of teaching, and the two of us moved to Princeton, West Virginia.

Shannon: I've been to Princeton. How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?

Salvatore: Since I was about nine. It sounded like a fun way to spend my life. To be sure, I also wanted to be a pilot, a priest, a trial lawyer, a newspaperman, among a list of other vocations. I believe a poem I wrote for my mother got me started. My father told everyone about that dumb poem. "My son's another Dante!" he told them. Remember, I was nine. I bought into that and never stopped writing.

Shannon: Children are very impressionable. :) So, who or what inspires you the most?

Salvatore: That's easier asked than answered. I believe writing is a gift God gave me and the only way I know how to say thank you is to pray and write everyday. Of course, my wife Sharon inspires me because love does that to writers. It gives us a reason to release those awesome feelings we take into ourselves. I am also inspired by all the things and people I observe who I feel should become part of my poem or story or novel: captured forever, saved in those pages even after they leave this world for the next. Finally, I am inspired by great writers like Dickens, Dostoievski, Sandburg, Vallejo--so many geniuses I call my heroes.

Shannon: How many books have you written? How many are published?

Salvatore: I self-published my first book back in 1974. A book of poems. In all I've self-published perhaps ten of them, mostly poetry and a few prose. In fact, one of them, A Family of still selling since I first published it in 1998. It's available at and Barnes and Noble as a Nook book.

Pudding House Publications in Ohio, the largest small press in America, published my Greatest Hits: 1970-2000, and added it to their Greatest Hits Series of American Poets. Two more of my poetry chapbooks were published as well: Boy on a Swing (Big Table Publishing) and What I Learned from the Spaniard (Middle Island Press).

Cyber-wit Publications in India published Two Can Play This Game... (co-authored by the poet Paul Juszcyk) and A Dusting of Star Fall: Love Poems, which I wrote to and for my Sharon.

My two flash-fiction collections, published by All Things That Matter Press and available at, are entitled Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts.

Shannon: Wow, you've done some writing! Do you like to read as much as you like to write?

Salvatore: I have always been an avid reader, beginning with the comic books of the 1950s and Classic Illustrated Comics which introduced me to classic literature. Unlike Sharon who reads one book at a time and usually completes it in a day or two, I have the weird habit of reading about eight books, a few pages from each. It makes each book last and luckily--so far!--I know where I left off in each book.

Shannon: :) I've done that on occasion; read more than one book at the same time. Do you have a favorite author?

Salvatore: I have many favorites, but as for the writers of today, I enjoy John Sanford, Alan Folsom, and Jeffrey Archer. 

Shannon: What other hobbies/interests do you have?

Salvatore: Taking walks with Sharon, playing poker, water painting.

Shannon: What advice would you give to all those aspiring writers out there?

Salvatore: If you really want to be a writer, be willing to learn the writer's craft, read extensively, hone your observation skills, ignore destructive criticism, build up your self confidence, write everyday, and be unafraid of sharing your writings with editors and publishers.

Shannon: Good advice. Any other thoughts or comments?

Salvatore: If anyone is interested in ordering my books, they can click on any of these sites:

200 Shorts 


Flashing My Shorts 

Print Edition:     

Kindle Edition:    

A Family of Sicilians

Shannon: Thank you Sal for joining me today and allowing me to interview you. It was a pleasure.

And, thanks to all you faithful readers out there for joining me, as well. Y'all be sure and have a wonderful, safe weekend, and I'll catch ya back here on Monday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No, Don't Make Me Kill It!

Have you ever created something that you knew was horrible? Maybe, you are a writer, maybe a painter, maybe a musician, maybe a chef. Whatever your craft, I'm sure some of your creations are outstanding and some are not. Okay, so maybe you succeed every time, but I, for one do not.

I was going through some files on my hard drive the other day, and I came across several stories that I had started. The dates on them range back to 1997, if you can believe it. :) Some are as short as a half a page, while others are about 70 pages. But, mostly they are anywhere from 2 to 35 pages. Some of them sounds so good, I can't believe I wrote them. Others…well, I can tell from the get-go, they will never see the printed page. It's not that the ideas are bad; they just have no clear direction, no real conflict. So, what am I going to do about them? Absolutely nothing.

"But, Shannon, they are just taking up space. If you aren't going to work on them, get rid of them!"

I say, "No way!"

Those stories, the good ones and the bad ones are my babies, and I'm not about to kill them. Not to say that I have never trashed a manuscript, because I have. Back before I used a computer, I had to trash those really bad stories, because the mountains of braille paper would have taken over. I wouldn't have minded this, but my mom was a stickler for a clean room, and braille paper stacked all over the place did not promote a clean room.

Y'all should have seen me, when I learned that data could be stored on a disk and kept practically forever. I was like a kid in a candy store. Any brailled story I had went on to that first 3-1/2 inch floppy disk with my name on it. I spent countless hours in the computer lab, just transcribing my stories in to WordPerfect 5.1. lol That old computer was a 286 with dos on it. Now, my hard drive is so big, I can't remember the numbers, I'm surfing the world wide web countless times a day, and there is so much stuff saved on my Mac that it takes a long time to get through it all. Look at me now! Ha!

Sometimes, I find myself thinking that if i could take all the good parts from each unfinished manuscript, I might end up with a really great story. :) Of course, with characters being different, plots, times and places not being the same, I can't do that. However, I can take note of what works and what doesn't and try to incorporate those ideas in to something new. I guess to put it in simpler terms, I can learn from my mistakes and try again. Practice makes perfect, or at least that's what they say.

How about y'all? Any darlings you need to kill? lol

Be sure to come back Friday. I am interviewing WV writer, Salvatore Buttaci. Until then, keep smiling. Remember that song, "Smilers never lose and frowners never win. So, let the son shine in. Face it with a grin. Open up your heart, and let the son shine in." :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

FaceBook, and the Simple Things in Life

It's been a week since my surgery, and I have to admit it's hard getting back in the swing of things. Of course, it doesn't help that I picked up a cold from the girls. Life goes on, though; dishes need washed, laundry needs doing, kids need fed… Y'all know what I mean. :)

So, here it is Monday again, and I'm blogging from the hip, so to speak. I didn't know what I was going to write about, when I began this post, and I still don't know. Yet, as I type, certain things come to my mind. So, here goes nothing. lol

I really enjoy FaceBook. Yeah, sure, I'm nosey; I like to check everyone's status and see what they are up to, but I also like to update my own. It's sad that the only way you can keep up with your family, anymore is FB, but it's the way it is. If you don't have internet, chances are you are going to miss something vital happening in your family or friends' lives, and in turn, they will miss what's happening in yours. FaceBook is where I learn about my family's visits to the hospital. It's where I learn who is single and who is in a relationship. It's where folks post pics of family, friends and events. It's where prayer requests are asked and received. It's a great way to promote yourself if you write, sing, blog, paint, take pictures, sell stuff, or if you just want to be seen. FaceBook is all the rage…and yet, I am more lonely for friends than I have ever been in my entire life. I find myself wishing some friends and I could take a walk and chat like we used to. I miss having friends over for dinner, like I did when I lived in Romney. I miss sharing a good laugh over something silly.

Since I'm talking about FaceBook…y'all want to know what kinds of statuses I "like" the most? I like the ones that are positive. I like the ones that praise the Lord, the ones that make me laugh, the ones that uplift my heart and not bring it down. Statuses where folks talk about mundane things and how they are loving it.

Yesterday, I saw on there that one of you were eating chicken nuggets and tater tots and watching football. I clicked "like". Last week, one of you talked about shopping with your mom, and I clicked "like". Some of you talk about cooking for your families, and I always "like" those, too. You talk about cleaning your carpets while your man takes the kids to the park, about needing prayer for your families, about your kids doing well playing ball, about having birthday parties, spending time at grandparents' houses, something funny your kids said, somewhere special you got to eat out at, and everything in between. And, I notice a trend; y'all are just enjoying the simple things in life.

Here's something else, I pray for you. You who say in your status that your having a hard time making it through this long Monday, I say a little prayer for you. Those of you who say you've been up all night with a sick kid? I know what you're going through, and I remember how I feel when it happens to me, so I pray for you. You ask for prayer for your brother? I pray. You ask for prayer for your son? I pray. Sounds corny, but it's the truth. I care about all of you, but more than that, God cares for you, and I want you to know that.

So, to wrap up today's post, remember, next time you're on FB, I'll see your post. :) Thanks so much for reading.

What did you think of today's post? What about Friday's post? Did you go check out Peggy's website?

Y'all take care and be sure to come back on Wednesday. Come back on Friday, too, cause I have another interview lined up. Friday's entry will feature WV writer, Salvatore Buttaci.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Presenting First Time Novelist, Peggy Hoy!

From international drug lords, to country preachers; from hopelessness to faith in Christ, "Classified" by first-time novelist, Peggy Hoy, has it all. Not your run-of-the-mill Christian fiction, this book will keep you on your toes from beginning to end. Just when ou think you know what is going to happen, Hoy surprises you with something new. I literally did not want to put it down, and I stayed up all night to finish it. With characters so real they seem to pop out at you from the pages, and with action so fast paced and real, you will soon find yourself in Hoy's world, laughing, grieving, and living right alongside her characters. This book is funny and sad, full of suspense and joy, and the message of God's love pours out through every word. "Classified" is a must read! I highly reccomend it.

Shannon: So, Peggy, what was your motivation for writing "Classified?"

Peggy: That's funny. It was a whim, actually, that evolved into so much more. I say it really started as a whim because I was turning forty and wanted to see if I could accomplish something. I joked that I was setting out to write the Great American Novel. Of course, like I said, after a while, I found that I truly had a desire to glorify the Lord in the story. When I set my heart to that, it all fell in place and I found the help I needed to finally finish something I started. 

Shannon: Did you base your characters on real life people?

Peggy: I didn't start out to, but as my characters developed, I found that some of the personality traits in my characters - especially Ranson Hilliard - were found in a couple of men I knew. There are a couple other people who helped inspire Amy, but just bits and pieces. Sam, however is a totally fictitious character. 

Shannon: Well, I have to say, Sam is my favorite character. :) So, is there a sequel? Can you tell us what we can expect?

Peggy: There is a sequel called "Closest Enemies" which continues to develop the first characters to be introduced and introduces a few more. You can expect kidnapping, fraud, counterfeiting and of course some more tender moments and life-changing events to add some spice. There is also a third book which wraps everything up in a neat little bow, I hope anyway! It's got murder and an all too-real terrorism plot.

Shannon: Wow! I can't wait. It sounds like you have a lot planned. When did you first realize you wanted to write books?

Peggy: I've always wanted to. Like I said, I've never been able to actually get it all to come together.

Shannon: I'm curious, and I know everyone else is, too; who or what inspires you the most?

Peggy: There are a million things that inspire me. It can be something as simple as a phrase I catch from someone telling about an event that happened to them, a picture I see or even a song. I'll be honest, too. You inspire me! I love talking to you about my work because you always have positive feedback, and since you had blazed the entire book publishing and printing trail for me, it made it much easier not to worry about the little hangups and just write!

Shannon: Well, thank you. Truthfully, you inspire me, too. "Classified" seemed to come to you so easy. It almost seems like you did quite of bit of reading to study your craft. Do you like to read as much as you like to write?

Peggy: I love to read when I'm not writing. When I'm writing, I don't want to read anything because it might inadvertantly cause me to write something about what I've read. I read my Bible, but I limit my reading to that while I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'd love to find some Christian books which aren't so, well frankly, sappy. 

Shannon: I know what you mean. Do you have a favorite author?

Peggy: I like to read after Debi Pearl for devotionals and marriage and child training guidance for non-fiction. As for fiction, before I was convicted for reading so much profanity, my favorite author was Diana Gabaldon with her Outlander series. For Christian fiction, I like Frank Peretti, but I like him much better when he writes alone and not with someone else.  Also there is this local author named Shannon Wells who does a pretty good job, too, and I'm not just saying that because of the interview!

Shannon: Awe, you're too sweet. :) I think you're a pretty good writer, too. So, do you have any favorite books out there?

Peggy: I like This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti, and some of his other works, but I woulndn't read and re-read them. 

Shannon: Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Peggy: I sing with my family in a bluegrass gospel group and we travel all over the country doing that. I like to sew quilts and I enjoy helping families learn how to begin homeschooling.

Shannon: You are a busy lady. lol How do you find time to write between singing engagements, home school, and all the traveling you do with your family?

Peggy: I have no idea! Honestly, I don't know where the time was stuffed in there. I stayed up a few nights, but my body isn't used to that and shut down without my permission most of the time. I never write when I'm at a meeting, either, because I want to focus on the ministry and pray for the services without hindrance of thinking about a plot during preaching!  As far as homeschooling goes, it was Sarah's senior year and Logan didn't need me much either, so I guess that's where it happened. When I got started I would write probably sixty to eighty pages at a time, though. God was really good to give it to me like that!

Shannon: I notice your book is published by Father's House Publishing. I do not think anyone has heard of that publisher before. Can you tell us more about it?

Peggy: Father's House Publishing is my brainchild. As I looked for a publisher, I found that it was very expensive, first off. Secondly, I found that all the Christian publishers I could find were not all that picky about what they published or what version of the Bible the works featured. I stand strongly on the final authority of the King James Bible, and was convicted about having a company who promoted other bibles put their signature on my books. So I was led to start my own publishing company for the sole purpose of not having my name associated with any company who does not honor the Word of God exclusively in the King James Bible. I found that it not only eased my spirit, it cost me a whole lot less to do it myself than to go with an established publisher. I could have published for free through some other companies on line, but again, their name would be on my work. 

Shannon: What advice would you give to all those aspiring authors out there?

Peggy: Keep it real. Even if it's fiction, you can make it believable! I know that junk sells, but I don't know how some of those authors actually rest at night knowing they put out so much trash! It's like cheese puffs, all air and no good stuff! Stay away from cliche phrases and leave some things to the readers' imaginations. It's not necessary to describe every little detail. Last but not least, write, write, write! 

Shannon: Sound advice! Is there anything else you would like to share?

Peggy: Thank you for the opportunity to share some information with you about "Classified" and Father's House Publishing! I appreciate your interest, and look forward to working with you in the future!

Shannon: No, Peggy, the pleasure was all mine. Thank you!

So, there y'all have it! "Classified by Peggy Hoy can be purchased from the publisher's website
It costs $10 plush $3 for shipping and handling and Father's House Publishing accepts payments through PayPal.

Peggy mentioned her family's singing group. She sings with her husband, Ron, her daughter Sarah and her son Logan. The whole family is sincere, and their spirit filled singing blesses me everytime I hear it. They play their own instruments; no sound tracks for these folks. :) Check out the Hoy Family's website at

Thank you for joining me today! Y'all have a wonderful weekend, and I'll catch ya on Monday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Packing A Spiritual Bag

A week before my surgery, I had to go to the hospital for some pre op testing. At the end of the visit, I asked the nurse if I should bring anything on the day of the surgery, like paperwork. She said that the only things I needed to bring, were the things I wanted to have with me during my hospital stay, like slippers, robe, tooth paste and tooth brush...stuff like that.

So, the night before the surgery, I packed a bag with the few items I thought I might want. I packed a tooth brush, some tooth paste, a comb, some deodorant, the charger for my phone, my mp3 player and earbuds and some extra socks and under things. As it turned out, I didn't use the mp3 player or earbuds, but most of the other stuff got used. But, that bag of stuff got me to thinking.

What if we had to pack a spiritual bag to take to the hospital? If we did, what would we put in it? Ever thought of that before? Well, let's think about it. Hospitals are not the funnest places to be, but we've all had to be there or will be there at some point in our lives. So, if we are packing a spiritual bag, here is what I thought might go in it.

1. a huge package of patience, 'cause there's lots of others at a hospital in more need of help than me
2. a big package of humility, 'cause after all, I'm there because I am the one in need of help
3. a satchel of thanksgiving, 'cause everyone needs to hear "thank you" every now and then
4. a bag of smiles, 'cause when you smile, it makes everyone else wan to smile, too
5. a container of friendliness, 'cause no one needs a friend like the night nurse who empties your cath bag. lol
6. a box of forgiveness, "cause even professionals make mistakes
and last but not least,
7. a heapin' helpin' of Christ-like charity, 'cause after all, isn't witnessing the point?

How about you? What would you pack in your spiritual bag? Would you add to this list? Take away from it?

BTW, I'm home from the hospital and doing all right. Tired and sore, but promised y'all a blog post, so here ya go. Be sure and come back Friday! I'll be featuring a new author, Peggy Hoy and her first book, "Classified"!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Can't Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand

Sometimes, I stop and take a look at where I am, and I think, "Wow! How did I get here?"

I'm talking figuratively…sort of. lol Seriously, though, it's good to stop and take a good look at our lives. Are we at the place we planned to be? Are we doing what we thought we would always do?

Back when I was thirteen in 1992, I went to a retreat at Camp Whitney in WV. We put items in individual plastic baggies and put them in a time capsule. Our plan at the time was to open it in the year 2000. The funny part of this is, 2000 seemed so very far away; now it's in the past.

A lot has happened to me since the year 2000, and I think I can say with all honesty, I'm not the same person I used to be; I am more. That girl's dreams and aspirations are not different from my current reality; they are broader.

When I was in elementary school, my teachers had a hard time getting me to do my school work rather than write stories. I wrote stories all the time, and about anything I could think of. Now, I am a published author.

When I was six-years-old, I received a tambourin as a birthday present. I recorded myself playing and singing. My right leg even got sore from banging that noisy thing against it. Ha! Now, I play piano, sing and even have a couple of CD's out. Wow!

I am the oldest of four girls. My sisters are 3-1/2 years younger, 10 years younger and 15 years younger than I am. I remember carrying my sister Veronica around, as if she were my own. Mom worked evenings, I was in high school, and during those long winter evenings, while rocking my sister, I remember dreaming of children of my own. I wanted babies to sing to, babies to rock, babies to love, and a Christian home. Now, I am happily married with two rotten, little girls of my own. I sang to them as babies, and I sing to them now. Amazing!

As a teenager who was blind, I used to wonder if I would ever meet nice guys. Every blind woman who was married, my mom said their husbands were ugly. That wasn't nice of her to say that, but that's how she felt. I remember begging God in my prayers, "Oh, God, please, please, please, don't let me meet an ugly man!" lol Now, i have a husband, who I think is the handsomest man in the world. And, I don't care whether anyone's mom likes the way he looks. :)

I used to wonder if I would ever have a home of my own, if I would ever be able to cook and clean for get my drift. Now, today, I have all of these things, but there's one thing I have learned that you might not be expecting; I don't do it on my own.

Nope, I can't be kind to my husband and children on my own. I can't write books, sing and play piano, take a walk down the street, all by myself. Now, don't y'all go thinking Terry does most of the work around here. I changed more diapers than he, I wash more dishes than he, and I do more laundry, too. Of course, since he likes to cook, I let him. lol No, I don't get help from anyone down here; I rely on my heavenly father, and He has never let me down.

When it came time to change the first nasty diaper, I literally prayed for God to show me how. When my first baby threw up all over herself, the high chair and the kitchen floor, I stood in the middle of the mess and cried out in the quiet of my house, "Oh, God, I need you! I do not know how to clean this up! Please, God, help!!!"

It's that way with everything, and I plan to keep it so. God showed me how to care for the babies. God showed me how to clean up their messes, and it's God who keeps reminding me, that I can do nothing without Him. After all, doesn't the Word say that He is the vine, and we are the branches? In another place, it says that if God be for us, who can be against us? And, yet another place, it tells us to cast our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. With such wonderful reminders of His love and willingness to be our very present help in time of trouble, how is it that we go astray?

How about you? Where has God brought you from since 2000?

Be sure and come back Wednesday. Not sure what I'll write about; having surgery and I'm not sure when I'll get to come back home, but I will blog. Also, be sure and come back Friday. I'm interviewing a new author, Peggy Hoy, reviewing her book, and you just have to be here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday's Fiction Times 4

Yep! The title says it all. A friend suggested I blog about my newest book, but, as you are about to find out, there isn't one new book; there are four works in progress (WIP's).

Now, before y'all go to reading, there's something I want you to keep in mind; none of these have been edited, and they are works in progress, which means, what you read today might not show up in the final product.

So, without further adieu,  here's something for you faithful folks to read.

Wild Heart number 3
As the last notes of the verse sounded in the tiny cubical, she met Colbey's gaze and knew it was over; Mr. Saunders had passed.
Colbey closed the unseeing eyes, folded the lifeless hands over the silent chest, and helped Katie spread a sheet over the body before speaking.
Touching a hand to her shoulder, he said, "It's nearly dawn, and we both have been here since yesterday morning.  Come have coffee with me before I take you home."
"I don't think that is a good idea," she said, an all to familiar ache squeezing her heart.
Rubbing a tired hand across his eyes, Colbey sighed.
"No, I guess it isn't."
"There should be some coffee in the lounge, though, and Mrs. Pemberton brought in some homemade doughnuts last night."
Colbey looked in to her eyes, and Katie knew what he was unable to ask. She mustered up a smile for him and nodded; she would never mention the invitation, again.
The lounge was quiet, the coffee hot, and there was a couple of doughnuts left in the box. Leaning back in an old, overstuffed chair, Katie took a long drink of coffee, allowing it to warm the inside of her mouth before swallowing. What she had to tell Colbey was not going to be easy, especially after the night they had had, but it needed to be said.
When he looked up, she took a deep breath and just blurted it out.
"I'm leaving New York."
There was a dazed look in his eyes, and it took him a full minute to realize she was serious.
He sat his coffee cup down with such force that some of the dark liquid splashed out on to the table, but he paid no attention.
"Leaving? But...but why? I thought... Well, I thought you liked it here ."
"I do like it here, but it's time for me to go home. The folks are having a time of it, what with the drought and the economy like it is. I've... I've learned a lot, and I've enjoyed it, but it's time for me to leave."
For a moment, Colbey's mouth moved, but no sound came out. Katie's heart ached at the desperation on his face, but there was nothing she could do about it; he had made his choice and they both had to live with it.
"I leave on tomorrow morning's train. I know it's sudden, but..."
"Sudden? You're right, it's sudden! I mean, sure an extra pair of hands would help out at home, but your folks would never hold it against you, if you stayed. You know that!"
"Yes, I know."
"Then, why, Katie?"
"You know why, Colbey."
Just like that, the truth, wrong as it was, lay between them. And, as if she could be conjured up by thoughts alone, the door to the lounge banged open and, Camille Lockhart stormed through the portal like a whirlwind.


Trace and Adison's story

Tightening his embrace until she leaned back against him, Trace enjoyed the feel of her in his arms.  Her scent, a mix between sunblock and grape soda, wafted around him, and he felt like this moment would last a lifetime.

In silence, he and the woman he loved watched  as brilliant shades of every color in the rainbow began exploding above them. When there came a pause in the show of fire works, he pulled loose the tie that held her braid in place, and then ran his fingers through her silky hair until his hands were tangled in it.

Leaning forward, he nuzzled her ear and whispered, "I've been waiting to be alone with you all day."

"Me, too," she said, and he could hear the smile in her voice.

"I love you," he whispered.

She did not answer right away, but sat still in his arms, watching the display above.

When the last shower of stars faded in the night sky, he felt her turn her head until her lips brushed his ear.

So soft he almost missed it, she said, "I love you, too."

He tried to hold on to her, but even as his arms tightened, her warm body faded until he felt nothing.

"Adison!  Adison!  Where are you, baby?"

Her face was so vivid in his mind's eye, the feel of her had been so real, but he could no longer see her on the river bank.  Then, he knew; she was not at the river; she was just ahead of him, guiding him as he ran toward safety.

No! No! This wasn't right!

But, he could not deny what his eyes told him; she was there, urging him one way and then another, as bullets rained all around.

He heard her voice then, that distinct alto that was hers alone, and it was reassuring him that she would show him the way out.

In the end, she had done as she had promised; gotten him out.

All of a sudden, his eyes flew open, and he tried to sit up.  Knifing pain coarsed through his head, and he fell back against the pillow. It took all his concentration to keep from passing out. It was several minutes before he could focus once more on his surroundings.

He lay flat on his back, looking up at the ceiling. He was in the hospital, he knew, and all around him were sounds of a busy day: a woman's voice calling for a Jill to report to the nurse's station, an AT&T commercial playing on a nearby television, and nearer still, the sound of someone quietly weeping.

Something lay over his nose and mouth, and if he crossed his eyes, he could just see the out line of an oxygen mask.  He tried to lift a hand to remove it, but his hands would not obey.

Why did he feel so weighted down?

It came back to him, then, what his sister had said to him in one of those odd, lucid moments he had before the dreams came.

A spinal cord injury, she had said.

But, what exactly did that mean, and why the oxygen mask?  Was he still unable to breathe on his own?

Taking an experimental breath, he ran his tongue along the inside of his mouth and felt no foreign objects there.  His chest felt a little tight, but other than that he was definitely breathing on his own.

Thank you God.

A Place Called Home
"You did what?"
"Ah, Krissy, don't be angry. It's for your own good."
"Says who?"
"Says me."
"You might be ten minutes older than me, but that don't make you my boss!"
"Don't shout, Krissy. Please."
Guilt and sorrow, swift and sure pierced Kristi's heart.
"I'm sorry, Kial. I didn't mean to shout. It's just that...well, you surprised me so. Now, why don't you let me get that tonic the doctor left for you."
"I don't want any medicine; I want you to sit down and hear me out."
"But, this is insane! I can't leave you and go on a fool-hearty trip like that! Why, what would I do if I get there and your perfect plan backfires? What if he decides he didn't want a wife after all? I'd be out on the streets, worse off than I am now."
"Sit down and listen...please, Krissy?"
Dropping in to the straight backed chair near the bed, Kristi sighed.
"Okay, I'm listening."
"It's a good idea, Siss," he said.
Kristi saw the earnestness in his blue eys so like their father's. Kial was pale with dark circles beneath his eyes. It was evident he had lost sleep, all because of this crazy idea of his.
But, marry a man she didn't even know? On the otherside of the country?
"Mr. Quade needs a wife. He says he is a Christian, so you wouldn't be mistreated. He has a prosperous ranch, so you wouldn't have to go without. He needs a woman to keep house and take care of his daughter, and you can do all of that. I know you're a good cook, you always wanted a home of your own, and you managed to hold on to this old place despite yankee troops and four years of war."
Kristi wondered what he would think of her housekeeping abilities, if he knew just how she had managed to hold on to the old homeplace. But, he did not know...would never know. The man he planned on giving her to did not know either, but he would find out, sooner or later. She could not allow that to happen. It was her secret, hers, God's and the yankee captain's with the steel gray eyes.



Thankful the rain had stopped, Britney concentrated on the ground beneath her and tried not to think about the stealthy noises she kept hearing ahead of her. The way was slippery, but there were enough tree roots to brace herself against as she struggled upward. The very real possibility that she was heading in to danger, made her feel sick to her stomach, but what choice did she have except to go on? Maybe, the noise ahead had been a rabbit, or a dog or cat.

Probably not; a dog would have barked...unless..."

Oh, Lord,, please don't let there be any cujos out here!

No matter what lay ahead, it was better to face a living thing from whom she might be abel to escape than the dark waters of the stream below that absolutely terrified her. She had not always been afraid of water, but ever since that long ago day when her world had turned upside down, she could not bare the thought of being in water above her knees. Her lack of sight only made it worse.

Pausing against a pine tree, she stood to her feet and listened. There was the sound of the rain as it moved off in to the distance, the breeze as it rustled the trees, but she heard nothing more. The way the wind in the trees sounded, she knew she was nearing the edge of the tree line, simply because there was no rustling ahead of her, only behind. She reached out a foot to check the ground immediately ahead. Realizing it was too steep to walk, she got down on her knees again and went forward, hoping to find a place where she could rest.

After several moments of crawling in the wet grass and mud, her left hand brushed against an outcropping of rock that for a few feet was straight up and down before leveling off. With her right foot braced against the sloping ground, she hoisted her left knee up and using it for leverage, pulled her other leg up on to the rock ledge. Then, she froze, fear running like ice water through her veins.

All at once, she knew she was not alone. The rock beneath her hands was dry and warm to the touch, whereas everything else was soaking wet from the rain.

Someone was there;she could hear him breathe.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she kept her head down. The sting of tears made her feel helpless, something she prided herself on not being.

The woman was a mess; Trey could see that right off. The only thing she wore that was not covered in mud was her backpack.

Funny, her backpack looked like the one that he had bought for...

Leaning to the side, he reached out and adjusted the backpack, looking for the monogram he knew would be there. Sure enough, there it was.

How on earth had she gotten here?

"P…Please, don't hurt me. I…I didn't s…see a thing."

The pleading in her voice tore at his heart. She still didn't know who he was. But, there was no forgetting that red hair or the slope of her cheek. In what felt like another lifetime, Trey had known this woman as well as he had known himself.

He watched as she scrubbed her palms on her jeans, then shoved her wet hair behind her shoulders. At sight of her face, his breath caught in his throat. It was her, all right, Britney, his ex-wife, the one to whom he owed so much.

A splattering of mud ran down her left cheek, and her nose was running. Tears were gathering in the corners of her eyes, and there were bits of leaves and twigs trapped in the mane of her hair. Something was different, though, something about her eyes. They were still a vivid green, big and clear, still rimmed by lashes other women only dreamed of having. But, for some reason, she would not meet his gaze. It felt like she saw him, but there was no recognition, no emotion at all. A shaft of afternoon sunlight fell across her face, right in to her eyes, but she did not react. Her pupils did not contract, she did not blink or turn away.

Reality, cold and painful slammed in to him then; she was blind.


So, which was your favorite? Any questions? Suggestions? Comments? Come on, y'all, let's talk!

Have a fabulous weekend, and be sure to come back next Friday, for sure. I'm reviewing a new book, interviewing the author, and you are going to love it! Until Monday, remember that when you have time on your hands, put them together and pray. More good things are wrought by prayer, than this world dreams of. BTW, that quote came off an old shirt I used to wear. :)