What Am I Reading?

Many authors and writers post about what they are currently reading. I have decided to do that here, partly just to reveal a little more of myself to all of my fans [lol], and partly because I just got back from a week’s vacation with my daughter and her large family and, because of my Fibromyalgia, I am wiped out and will take a few days to recover.

I am re-reading Cathy Marie Hake’s Fancy Pants. I enjoy Cathy Marie’s novels and this is one of my favorites. [for links, see end of post]

Fancy Pants (Only In Gooding Book #1) by [Hake, Cathy Marie]

It’s just a fun story, but it also shows me, really well, a male and female protagonist struggling to overcome their own inner and outer obstacles. Like any good romance it has the Cute Meet…and this one is very cute. It has them immediately at odds with each other, yet there are hints of the attraction to come. I can relate to both the male protagonist [Tim] and the female [Sydney]. It’s also a great story to study from a writer’s point of view. This is a well paced, slightly edgy Inspirational [Christian] Romance

I also just finished reading Runaway Heart, by Amity Lassiter.

Runaway Heart: The Baylors #1 (Hearts of Three Rivers) by [Lassiter, Amity]

This is a Romance, but not Inspirational or Christian. I read secular romances fairly regularly because it helps me to understand who part of my [hopefully] audience will be. I don’t want to just “preach to the choir.'” I’d love to have non-Christians read my books and my blog and learn about God and godly romance. So, in order to understand their world and their thinking and values, I read the books. There is swearing and sexual content in this story. I take it in stride, aware that this is who people are. God loves us all, even if He does not love all that we do. Another reason I read secular romance is that it’s frequently free on Book Bub. That doesn’t mean I read all of the offerings. If there is casual sex without any commitment and/or if there is a lot of swearing, especially taking the Lord’s Name in vain, I pass. I enjoyed Runaway Heart. It has a good plot and characters I can relate to and love.

The Texan's Second Chance

Just finished The Texan’s Second Chance by Allie Pleiter. This is one of Harlequin’s Love Inspired’s August 2016 offerings. Allie Pleiter is one of my favorite authors. In this Romance Witt Buckton is starting up a foodtruck business featuring the great bison-burgers from Blue Thorn Ranch. Witt has a number of personal obstacles to get over as well as the competition…literally…for best foodtruck business. He teams up with, and locks horns with, Jana Powers the chef he hires to put his foodtruck business on the cutting edge. There is a bad guy in this story and he throws a wrench into Witt’s and Jana’s business. Allie Pleiter has great pacing with sweet moments intermingled with action.

Another Harlequin Inspired for August 2016 is Jean C. Gordon’s The Bachelor’s Sweetheart. 

The Bachelor's Sweetheart

Here is another Harlequin author who gets the pacing right, characterization and world-creating right. Jean has been writing stories based in Hazardtown and Paradox Lake for quite a while now. And she’s still getting it right.

I love returning to a well-known and loved community in books.

Tessa Hamilton is attempting to make the old movie theater in town a success. She needs Josh Donnelly, at first for his engineering know-how and his friendship, than as their story unfolds, she needs him in a deeper way. But Josh is a committed bachelor and wants to leave Paradox Lake.

Jean always pulls me into her stories and the hearts of her characters.

Just a sampling of my reading this week. What are you reading, or have just read? I’d love to hear comments.

Cathy Marie Hake Fancy Pants, Amity Lassiter Runaway Heart, Allie Pleiter, The Texan’s Second ChanceJean C. Gordon The Bachelor’s Sweetheart

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Live, Love, Differences, Similarities

It’s interesting that the words ‘live’ and ‘love’ are such very similar words. Lets take a closer look.

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I could select a lot of different pictures to represent ‘Live’

Fresh water rushing over rocks  does it for me.

Live can be pronounced two ways, with a short ‘i’ or a long ‘i’. Jesus said to a royal official, “Your son will live.” [see below for links] Live also means, your place of abode. “I live in the purple house.” It can have a lot of nuances. “I live in my pajamas because I work from home.” Or, “I live on coffee and granola bars.”

All of it pertains to your being.

The word ‘live’ [long “i”] is not used as much as ‘alive’. Alive means, having basic physical functions, eg heart rate, respiration, and brain activity. ‘Live’ is used in certain contexts, like ‘live bait.’ That is, ‘not dead.’ There are nuances here too. Live performance means you see and hear the actual people, you could go up and touch them, [but you better not unless you have a backstage pass]. Or, weirdly, “Live on TV.” Not living people in your living room, but a performance that is being conducted or played [as in sports] live somewhere else, and being filmed and beamed to your TV at the same moment it takes place.

I could go on but I have a main point I’m leading up to and I want to keep this post short.

So what about ‘love’? There is only one rendering of love but a whole lot of nuances.

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The dictionary describes it as, ‘An intense feeling of deep affection. or, an intense romantic attachment.’ The dictionary also includes sexual attachment.

Jesus said to Peter, “Simon…do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter answered, “You know that I love you.” In the Greek there are nuances here that don’t come through in the English. Jesus asked Peter if he agape-loved him, that is a kind of holy, unconditional, determined love. Peter replied, “Yes, Lord, I philios-love you.” That is, I love you as a brother or friend. I suspect the agape love may have had some kind of association with a love between a man and a woman, a bride and her groom, and that’s  partly why Peter so steadfastly refused Jesus’ lead. Peter wasn’t stupid and he was quick to say he did such and such or felt such and such, but he shied away from agape in a romantic sense because Jesus was a man and Peter was still wrestling with the God aspect of Him. [Theology/Christology that I find fascinating but won’t get into here]

I think Love and Live are inextricably linked, connected, in our lives [there is another nuance of ‘live,’ or life…the existence we have, our ‘lives’]. What is the most important thing in our lives, the thing that makes us want to LIVE. Some say money, or power, or sex. Yet all the songs and novels and movies and poems are about some form of LOVE, and not always romantic love [eg, Cat Steven’s Cat’s In The Cradle, about a boy’s love for a father, and vice versa]. There are songs with lyrics that say something like, “Without your love I can’t live anymore.” Or, “Your love has given me life.” [Life being just a form of live–short ‘i’].

When we lose love we feel like we don’t want to live. Conversely a new love, whether a new romantic love or a new baby, makes us feel alive in a whole new way.

So Live and Love, are in my view, inextricably linked.

Links to references; John 4:50 ,  Dictionary definition of  love,  Expose on John 21;15-17

I welcome your comments.

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Jack Needs a Smile; A Mini-Story

 

Note; you may recognize the people in these pictures but here they are not themselves, they are fictitious characters in this mini-story.

Jack walked into the coffee shop and pushed back his hood. He shook rain off his jacket sleeves and looked around. Warmth and the smells of coffee and sweet things surrounded him like a hug. He needed a hug.

He got in line behind a guy in a leather biker jacket

Jack let his eyes roam absently as his mind wandered. Mom was giving him trouble again. What was he going to do with her?

His gaze was suddenly arrested by a pretty face. It wasn’t her prettiness that grabbed him, though she was pretty. It was that she was looking right back at him. Jack couldn’t look away. The woman’s face held… what? Kindness, friendliness. She gave him a small smile and then looked down into her coffee.

Jack ran a hand over his damp hair. What was with that look? Did she know him from somewhere? Surely he would remember her.

It was his turn to be served. He stepped to the cashier and ordered a black coffee with sugar, and an everything bagel and cheddar cheese. Lunch. He was in a hurry.

He grabbed his coffee and walked towards a table beyond the pretty woman. As he came alongside her table he slowed. She glanced up. He drew a breath. “Uh, may I sit with you?”

She looked a bit disconcerted, dropping her chin, running a hand through her hair. Jack shrugged. “Never mind. I’ll get my own spot.” He started to move on.

“It’s OK,” she said. She shrugged, mirroring his movement. “Why not?”

He grinned and sat down. “I just thought… maybe I know you…” What a lame line. But he was wondering.

“I don’t think so,” she said in a soft voice. “I thought… you looked like you needed a smile.”

Jack looked out the window at the pouring rain. He looked back at her. “You’re right. I needed a smile.”

Jack needed a smile. It’s pouring rain. He’s having trouble with his mother. The pretty woman, whose name is Jane, has smiled at him and made his day a little better. Will Jack and Jane go on to a Romance, as this suggests. Or is this one of those fleeting things, a little bit of sunshine  on a grey and difficult day. Jane has blessed Jack. Maybe that’s all that’s going to happen.

I have always had trouble smiling at strangers. Sometimes I have trouble smiling, period. I feel God is telling me to change my ways. What does a smile do anyway. A lot, actually. A smile is a deep connection without touching. When I practiced smiling at the dog (Yes, I did! You can laugh!) my dog wagged her tail and looked back at me with a doggy smile. A dog recognizes a human smile. And she wags her tail. What fascinating things God has created. Our smiles, a dog’s wagging tail. A cat’s purr. Why would God do that? I think, just to bless us. And, maybe even to bless him. We are made in his image. Doesn’t that mean God enjoys our smiles? I think so. So go ahead, smile at a stranger today. Bless somebody. And when you smile it automatically makes you feel better. I know, because I’ve been feeling sick and in pain, yet God had prompted me to smile and when I do I feel a bit better.  :)

And get this; I had written this post but not published it yet when I came across this;

Freitas-Magalhaes studied the effect of smile in treatment of depression and concluded that depressive states decrease when you smile more often” Quoted from Wikipedia on Non-verbal Communication

Leave a comment, do you smile easily, or do you have trouble with it?

 

 

 

 

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Book Review; Without Proof by Janet Sketchley.

I recently bought Janet Sketchley’s novel Without Proof at the Write Canada conference in June. [see links below]

Without Proof

I have to say, this book kept me awake late because I couldn’t put it down.

NB; Without Proof is Book 3 in Janet Sketchley’s Redemption’s Edge Series. I have not read the first two, but hope to do so soon.

Two years after her fiance was killed in a plane crash, Amy Silver is interviewed by a reporter who suggests the plane crash was not an accident. Amy doesn’t want to believe sabotage was involved but evidence begins to stack up. She starts getting mysterious texts on her phone. Meanwhile Amy struggles with forgiveness of her father for how she came to be. And she struggles with attraction to Michael Stratton, her dead fiance’s best friend. Michael Stratton is a fairly successful artist who runs a gallery. Michael, his Aunt Bay, and Amy all live in an apartment over the gallery.  Amy works as Michael’s personal assistant.

Michael doesn’t seem to see Amy as anything other than his dead friend’s fiance. He appears impervious to Amy as a person who might be a romantic interest. However, he is very protective of Amy, making her feel smothered, caged. And since he’s protecting her ostensibly for her fiance…what’s the point?

Enter good looking, flirtatious Ross, who does appear to find Amy attractive in her own right. Micheal doesn’t like Ross at all, yet he shows no romantic interest in Amy, yet he doesn’t like her going out with Ross. He’s being a dog-in-a-manger.

Without Proof  is a sweet, clean, inspirational [Christian] read, with romance, suspense, and some quirky characters, like Aunt Bay. It takes place in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, a beautiful setting, which is revealed more through Michael’s paintings than the narrative.

Peggys Cove Nova Scotia Lighthouse

Peggy’s Cove. Photo courtesy of http://www.peggyscoveregion.com/ 

Without Proof  was a finalist for the Write Canada Word Award; Suspense Category.

I’d love to hear your comments. Have you read Without Proof?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Random Thoughts; From Family to Mobius Strips

I missed posting last week because I came home from the Write Canada conference and crashed for a week. I actually did little but sleep the first two days back, and only did a few basic activities of daily living [nurse-speak for things like, getting dressed, brushing teeth, showering, eating] for the rest of the week.

Today I am just enjoying the family time that my son, Stef, his wife, J, and my two teenage grandsons are having. I remember when my kids were growing up we decreed Sundays as family days and we’d hang out and just have conversations. Our kids discussed things like calculus just for fun. [We had a rule of No Screens. Stef and J. have the same rule for Sundays]. Conversations without Facebook, or texting, etc. Imagine that.

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Today we got onto the subject of Mathematical quirks, what my son calls Mathemagical. for instance, the Mobius strip. A Klein bottle.

Stef created a simple Mobius strip by taking a rectangular piece of paper, giving it a half twist, then taping it closed into a loop, as illustrated.

What’s a Mobius strip?

A Möbius strip made with a piece of paper and tape. If an ant were to crawl along the length of this strip, it would return to its starting point having traversed the entire length of the strip (on both sides of the original paper) without ever crossing an edge.

However, according to Wikipedia,

…the Möbius strip is not a surface of only one exact size and shape, such as the half-twisted paper strip depicted in the illustration. Rather, mathematicians refer to the closed Möbius band as any surface that is homeomorphic to this strip. Its boundary is a simple closed curve, i.e., homeomorphic to a circle. This allows for a very wide variety of geometric versions of the Möbius band as surfaces each having a definite size and shape. For example, any rectangle can be glued to itself (by identifying one edge with the opposite edge after a reversal of orientation) to make a Möbius band. Some of these can be smoothly modeled in Euclidean space, and others cannot.

Don’t worry, I didn’t understand it either. Wikipedia goes on to tell us a whole lot more about Mobius strips, and their first cousins, Klein bottles, but I’ll spare you the details. For me this is just another way God dazzles us with the complexity and amazingness [my own made up word, just call me Shakespeare] of His creation. Not Himself, but His created stuff, stuff He made. How much more complex and amazing must the Creator be? For me, there are no words.

One of the wonderful things we have in our creation is relationships…family. Almost everything living in this world, and some things not living [like mathematics] has relationships. And that tells us something about God too.

Beauty. Complexity. Relationship. And, yes, Romance. God is a romantic. Butterflies. Birds. Sunsets. roses with their wonderful fragrance.

Those are my random thoughts for today.

Congratulations to Diane who has won a romantic suspense book. I said it would be a Harlequin romantic suspense, banking on receiving some free books at the conference, but of course, since I promised that I didn’t get any. However I received a book called Blackwater Crossing by David Griffith. I have not read it. I hope it turns out to be a good prize, Diane, and I’m hoping I can borrow it back when you’ve read it so I can read it.

I would love to hear your random thoughts on Family days, Mobius strips and any other things we touched on here, especially things that showcase God’s amazingness.

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