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Enduring Trials


Enduring Trials God’s Way, by Scott LaPierre is a book that’s a unique blend of Old Testament prophesies and New Testament fulfillment. This book will redirect the suffering reader’s focus from a single layer prospective to a new, uplifting outlook.

Scott’s very straight-forward approach to writing and an educational–though encouraging–delivery shows his pastoral background. The book is absolutely chock-full of solid scripture and concise examples to aid the reader through their struggles and trials.

This is an excellent resource, meant to transform the reader’s view on suffering and trials to one of encouragement. It offers undeniable proof that God is 1–in control, 2– seeing our pain, 3- alongside us during our trials, and 4– planning a good end to our trials and suffering. An entire chapter is dedicated to finding the good end God has in mind for our suffering and trials of today.

This is a book that should be highlighted and underlined. There are heavy references to Job, Joseph and other heroes of pain and trials. There are fantastic insights and a particular favorite was this: if we repent and stop a sin(s), that void now must be filled by doing something else. The intention is that one now does something positive to replace the negative (sin) of before. This seems much like saying for every negative action (or sin) that we stop, there is now an equal and positive reaction.  That sort of insight causes the reader to pause and contemplate.

There are series of questions at the end of each chapter for the reader to record personal reflections or have a discussion with a small group. This book is a resource that would be fine read alone or as a group study.

Finally, I would mention the author also has another book, entitled “Marriage God’s Way.” For anyone searching for ways to strengthen their marriage and make it how God intended holy matrimony to be, it would behoove them to check this title out as well.

Links to connect with Scott LaPierre or purchase his books are:

https://scottlapierre.org/                              Twitter @PastorWCC



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My last ‘Been Thinking’ post had been on where we start. This morning I was reflecting more on when we stop, slow down, step away, or halt. Interestingly, I was thinking about the concept of doing that with writing.


Now, before anyone gasps in horror, no, I am not ending my writing career. I am enjoying it way too much and have so many stories planned to write. However, what about the people that do? Therein lies my thoughts.

Like many writers, I get overwhelmed or frustrated by the required promotion time we have to invest in our books. We mostly just want to write, not stop writing in order to promote or sell ourselves. It requires a balancing act many struggle with, including me.F Factor in time spent on family, friends, other jobs, and life in general, it’s easy to sometimes ask ourselves: Is this even worth it? This can be especially true following a harsh review or disappointing sales. Just scan the Facebook pages with all the groups devoted to authors who give each other that boost to keep going when it seems insurmountable.

Now suppose someone just decided enough, they were stepping away from writing. How do they do that? Well, the obvious answer seems to be “Stop writing”. However, it’s not always that easy. Do the current work(s)in progress just go into the drawer or archived files? What about the social media presence? Do the posts just stop? And what about the books already out there? Royalties will still trickle in from future sales. The book will still be ‘alive and available’ unless it’s self-published and the author decides to remove it from all listings. Is that advisable? Contracts? Series? Sequels? All things to consider. Even harder is the story lines already dreamed up and wait their turn to be crafted into a book. Are they destined to lie in silence forever?

I would invite you to take this reflective journey with me. Imagine the one thing you secretly, deeply, totally want to stop. What is this one action? Your day job? Your hobby? Your marriage? Family or friend obligations? Social obligations? A stifling friendship?  Close your eyes and silently give it voice, say it to yourself.

Now, picture all the things that will cease as a result. The future things that will no longer be.  How does that look to you? Liberating? Terrifying? Exciting? Sad? Happy?

Sometimes, when we want so badly to stop or walk away from something but know we cannot, it can be cathartic to imagine it, to let the fantasy run while in our minds for brief flights of fancy. above-adventure-aerial-air.jpg


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Karibou Magic cover

“Karibou Magic” is a nice Christmas fantasy.  The reason for the misspelling of Caribou is actually the name of the town used for the setting. Karibou, Wyoming.  I was given a free copy of this book through Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

There were several pros and cons to this story. It was a short, easy read. Eva Mars Bowman, DVM is happily settled in Karibou, working alongside elderly veterinarian, Doc Nickolas. Thank to Doc and some special reindeer, Mars’ faith in Christmas magic has been restored. She is especially looking forward to joining Doc in their annual Christmas Eve sleigh ride.

Then Doc’s estranged son, Trebeck, returns to Karibou, and brings his teen daughter, James. Yes, the names are it bit unusual, and can stumble a reader at first. I backtracked when I first encountered the daughter named James but there is a story to why she’s called that.  Trebeck does not believe in nor appreciate Christmas and immediately he and Mars at at odds. He is rude, insensitive, and pretty much a jerk.

The quick friendship between Mars and James is heartwarming and very sweet. It seems they both needed each other. Things turn bad when Doc falls gravely ill just before Christmas. Trebeck ends up in control of Doc’s vet clinic, pushing Mars even further out of the picture. She goes from initially feeling unwelcome with his arrival to ready to pack her bags since he has taken over.

The resolution is good. What I did not like about this story was the sudden romance between Mars and Trebeck. They clearly did not agree on much of anything and the almost instant attraction seemed rushed and inappropriate. Granted there was some misunderstanding in the beginning, but still one normally doesn’t go from disliking a person for several reasons to thinking he/she is hot all that quickly.  Second, there were many types, incorrect and missing words and other grammatical words that slowed down the flow of reading. More editing or proofreading would have helped greatly.

Beyond that it was a cute Christmas fantasy. James, the reindeer and a three-legged dog add much to the story. Warning, have a few tissues handy as you’ll probably need them.

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Today I was thinking about starting a writing project. Whether it be a journal, memoir, book of fiction, or a poem, we all have to start somewhere. But where?

My dad has kept a journal for upwards of forty or fifty years. My own journal keeping started around 2004. My first book was written in 1979. My first poem was written shortly thereafter. Articles came later, as did novels. My great-aunt wrote poetry, though I’ve no idea when she started scribbling her thoughts.

Countless times I hear people say they’d like to write a book or a memoir, but they can’t. I’ve also heard countless reasons why. No time…no skill…no ideas…no notion of where to start. All I can say is you start where you begin.

Sit down with blank paper and a pen, or computer and open document. Write or type that first word. Then a second word. Etc… Change them and maybe change them back again. It doesn’t matter. The key here is to stick with it until you have something completely down. If it’s a journal, it’s your honest thoughts for that moment. If it’s prose, it’s a first draft, with time to go back and make it better. Ditto for song lyrics if that’s your passion. We all have to start somewhere.

When I began with my journal back around fourteen years ago, I had no grand plan of keeping lengthy journals. I was frustrated, scared, and desperately clinging to optimism at the time, and the writer in me begged–nay, demanded–that I write it down. So I sat and wrote, capturing all the pieces of my tumultuous life at that moment.

Since then, they’ve evolved into ‘chapters’, complete with titles to reflect the period of my life. As each stage of my life changes, one part closes and something new begins, I end that ‘chapter’ and begin a new one. November 24, 2017 I began chapter 11, titled ‘Standing on Faith & Stepping into the Unknown’. Chapter 10 was called ‘Strong in the Storm’. I’ve no idea when or how this eleventh chapter will end, but I don’t worry about it. I just write when inspired, and let the days and pages unfold. They average about a year and a half to two years, though many years ago I had an entire chapter covered in three months. That was an intense three months!

So whether you’re wanting to write that first word or tackle that fiftieth project–just begin it. And that is your point of beginning. You can only go forward from there. Good or bad, it can always be redone, but it can’t be undone. It might be lost or trashed, but it was done. Celebrate yourself, you have started. Congratulations.

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Recently I was visiting a friend at her house. Her seven-year-old granddaughter read a graphic novel about a lost kitten to me. I marveled at how well she read and praised her lavishly. Later, she stopped reading and marked her place with a bracelet. Grammy discovered she’d misplaced her bookmarks. They found one but I made it a point to give her three more bookmarks the next time I saw her.

Now, I like comics too, particularly the Sunday ‘funnies’. About the same time I came across the weekly strip for “For Better or For Worse’ by Lynn Johnston (www.fborfw.com) Reading it was almost a flashback to my friend’s granddaughter. While I dislike seeing books damaged or dog-eared, I especially liked how ‘dad’ gave a new perspective of it. The child was reading. Isn’t that the important thing to remember?

fborfw For SMP blog 1-15-18

Both events got me to thinking how, as adult readers and writers we have an obligation or duty to help the younger generation to become readers. Hopefully they learn to treasure books and take care of them in the process, but it’s even more important they develop an interest in reading. If you look close at the last frame of the comic strip, you will notice movies on each of the bookshelves behind the parents. A television set, with a VCR player on top is on one end of the frame and a computer is at the other. I have nothing against any of those things, however, nowhere in the cartoon does one see a book save for the dog-eared one ‘mom’ is holding. To me, that says a lot in itself.

I know so many adults who know how to read and write, they just don’t like to. They say nothing interests them; not fiction, not much non-fiction, maybe the newspaper if anything at all. To me that is sad, because I know there is so much out there ready to be explored, discovered, and enjoyed. I know one man, in his thirties, who told me in all seriousness he has read one book in his life. One! To me, that is tragic. He is smart, capable of reading almost anything, he simply has no interest in opening a book. He is a father and I can’t help but wonder if he fosters an interest in books for his young children. It would be difficult to encourage children to do what they never see him doing.

While I was growing up, books were my escape. I loved the places they took me, the friends they became, and many childhood gems still grace my adult bookshelves. However, I was in the minority. I never saw my mother with any reading material beyond a magazine. My brother would rather cut off an appendage than be forced to read. I did see my father with paperback westerns. Incidentally, I still have a keen interest in western movies and books to this day.

Compared to the rest of my family, I was book obsessed. I had to have loads of books to read. The older I got, the more genres I wanted to explore. To be blunt—I loved books. I liked the feel of them. I liked challenging myself with tougher subject matter and longer lengths. Discovering a series made my heart flutter. While my family did not demonstrate or especially encourage a love of reading, they also did not discourage it. They bought me books for birthdays and holidays. They (sort of) tolerated my long visits to the bookstore where I spent my baby-sitting cash on books. I still remember walking out of the bookstore (ours was called WaldenBooks) with heavy stacks and shopping bags of books. I felt so grown up! On the long drive back home I would already be immersed in them, picking out the next great adventure.

As parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, there are so many things we seem to get wrong while dealing with the children and youth in our lives. The one thing we can do right, and pays a high dividend on the future, is to encourage, foster, and model an enjoyment and respect for books.  When the youngster wants to read a story, remember it is a blessing to sit and be read to. If they want us to read them a story, that is equally as special. The impressions, lessons, and memories created in those moments will last them a lifetime.

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If you’ve been following my Facebook author page during the last few months, you probably noticed several short posts referring to “crazy woman” and either how far along I was with it or how crazy it was making me–along with two novels to edit for December releases and a non-fiction article deadline all looming simultaneously. The good news is everything is finished now, except the final wait.

Several months ago I noticed a call for submissions from Limitless Publishing, wanting stories that dealt somehow with the theme of ‘country’. I pondered a few days before sending them a proposal, which they replied with “Write it and send it to us. Deadline for edit ready scripts is…” Gulp! I got to making tracks…all over my keyboard. And I submitted it on time. But it drove me crazy.

Limitless Publishing is a multi-genre publishing house. They recently had two of their books recently picked up for  major motion pictures; “Ghost Files” & “Ghost Files 2”. They also have a number of Craving anthologies out on such themes as Christmas, soldiers, security, and bad (bad boys and wicked girls). My contribution is part of their 12-author Country theme. Right now they are seeking stories to include in their mafia collection.

The concept of the Craving: Country anthology is simple: There is something about a country boy that makes us hot for denim jeans and country hats.

They are mysterious, intriguing, confident and demand our attention in everything they do. Then there’s the fierce loyalty you see in their eyes that makes you think of tangled sheets and sinful deeds.

There’s definitely something sexy about a cowboy…

So pull on those jeans, roll up your sleeves, and grab your boots.  Things are about to get dirty in Craving Country.

My story is “Crazy Woman Creek”:

Legend of Crazy Woman Creek(1)

Craving;Country is set to release January 18, 2018, with the entire twelve story anthology. I am very excited to be a part of this. I’ve been included in a Christmas anthology with Soul Mate Publishing and Food & Love anthology with Melange Books and enjoyed both experiences tremendously. This is my third anthology and it makes me want to find a fourth!

“Crazy Woman Creek”

Rancher Dawson Lonigan is hunting for cattle and finds a lost woman. Though well dressed, she is scratched up, scuffed up, and suffering amnesia. He takes her back to his ranch, tends her wounds, and temporarily calls her Faith.  He shares with her the legend of Crazy Woman Creek and the Native American maiden who lost her beloved warrior and her spirit still haunts the area, and how she refuses to allow any couples to remain happy together.
Time passes. Faith stays on with Dawson, and tries to adjust to life on a ranch. It is not easy. The clothing seems foreign, the food tastes strange, and the people are different. She has no memories, only strong emotions and gut feelings.
To complicate her situation, she knows she has something important to do, but can’t remember what it could be. As Dawson spends more time with her, to help ease her frustrations, he goes from being a comforting presence to a smoldering attraction. Yet how can she fall for him when she doesn’t know who could be out there, looking for her? And what about the pale circle on her left ring finger?
It’s mutual for Dawson. Each hour he spends with Faith, he only grows to enjoy her more. She has a passion and a grit he admires, and he starts to hope she never discovers who she is, because he is liking who she is now a whole lot. He is encouraged how well Faith and his little girl strike up a relationship too. All he can do is hope there is no husband or lover out there looking for her.
Attraction grows. Passion grow. Life settles into a routine. Then a visitor to the ranch mentions about city folk on their land. Well-heeled men. Faith goes in search of them, knowing they are somehow a part of her past. She finds them, only to learn too late why she left.
Dawson tracks Faith back to Crazy Woman Creek and finds her and who she was running from in her past.



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Legacy of evil cover

In full disclosure, I was given a copy of this through Reading Alley for my review. The cover wonderfully illustrates many of the features inside the pages: horses, motorcycles, a historic hotel, and a man and woman passionately tangled up.

This is a fantasy/ suspense novel dealing with terrorism on US soil. It could certainly be called paranormal too. And don’t forget the romance.

Emma Horserider is the heroine. She is a former Marine, a horse whisperer, and she is called when the wild horses are shot. Almost killed herself while at the scene by an unmanned drone, she calls her brother, at the Homeland Security Anomaly Department. Brother Bert sends agent Brandon “Bronco” Winchester to the scene, with his pet bobcat, Gaucho.

When Emma and Bronco meet, it’s clear they both have strong leader personalities, and they have instant strong emotions toward each other. The Hotel La Belle, Lucius & Tallulah Steward are secondary characters and critical in helping  Emma and Bronco infiltrate the Neo-nazi camp where the terrorists are believed to be hiding.

This story has horses, motorcycles, twins, an Elvis impersonator, tattoos, ghosts, and more. It has steamy sex scenes between Emma and Bronco. It has paranormal elements like telekinesis, a unique communication between human and animal, and more. Most importantly, it has a happy ending after many twists, turns, surprises, sadness, and upsets.

Like many fantasy and suspenseful paranormal romances prove—things are not always as they seem.

Important note: This is Book # 2 of the Hotel La Belle series. It is a stand alone volume, however, reading book 1 first would further explain the secondary characters who return in “Legacy of Evil”.

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