Saturday, December 18, 2010

Congrats Wendi B. You have won!!

You have won the DVD of Journey to Paradise!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Win a DVD of Journey to Paradise or the book, The Christmas Edition!!!

Its almost Christmas! I want to do something really special. You all are just the best should it be? I KNOW!  I am offering the chance to win either a DVD of Journey to Paradise, or my book The Christmas Edition, which is based on the movie. (The movie earned the Dove seal of Approval and is featured on the American Christian Film site)

In order to win, all you have to do is; 1.leave a comment about one of my previous books 2. OR leave a Christmas recipe 3. OR tell me about a Christmas tradition.

You can leave the comment on FB or on my blog.

***I will announce the winner of the DVD and the book on Sat. December 18th, in time to arrive at your home before Christmas!

However, if you don't win, remember, these family friendly products can still be purchased either on Amazon or from Salty Earth Pictures.

My books are available on Amazon. Follow the side links for purchase.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Release! From Salty Earth Pictures. Based on my book The Christmas Edition Journey to Paradise

 Ready for release, after a wonderful premier in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, is the movie Journey to Paradise, based on my book (available on amazon) The Christmas Edition Journey to Paradise.

Lucy Collins is desperate. A large newspaper is planning to set-up shop in town, threatening the livelihood of her small, family-run business, The Turtle Creek Newspaper. Only a miracle can save them...but it's Christmastime, the season of miracles. At the staff Christmas party, Lucy makes a wish, and what seems like the answer to her prayer walks in the front door. Joe McNamara a genius when it comes to the written word, and he's gifted with ideas about keeping the newspaper afloat. Lucy finds herself not only falling in love with his talent, but also the man. Joe McNamara is desperate. He loves everything about Lucy-her fresh spirit, her zeal for the newspaper, and the way she looks at him across the table when they share hot chocolate. But Joe is harboring a dark secret that threatens to tear him up inside. If Lucy ever discovers his part in her fiancĂ©'s death, what looks like a promising relationship will unravel like discarded Christmas ribbon. How can he find redemption for his sins and continue to keep the truth from Lucy? Will the spirit of celebration be enough to heal two hearts? Or will the reality of deception make this the worst Christmas of all?  

To order your copy of the DVD go to....

RED INK A story of Faithfulness and Hope by Kathy Macias

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: New Hope Publishers (October 4, 2010)
Language: English

ISBN-10: 1596692790

ISBN-13: 978-1596692794

Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches

This review is from: Red Ink (Extreme Devotion Series, Book 3) (Paperback)

Kathi Macias writes of religious persecution in China and stuns the reader with true accounts of bravery and self sacrifice in RED INK. Zhen-Li, raised in China, accepts Christianity her husband's faith when she marries. She skirts the taboos of the nation again when she becomes pregnant with her second child. However, she soon pays the price for her conversion and for the child.

The story is wholly mesmerizing with fully developed round characters. The writing is compelling and a page turner. I read it in 2 days, not able to put it down. The expressions of faith inspired my own faith, allowing me to take away spiritual lessons. I also appreciated a list of Chinese words and phrases that the author thought to include at the front of the book. Let us not forgot the persecution of others around this world, and hold them up in prayer.

Robin Shope Jansen author

Author of The Christmas Edition Journey to Paradise, now a motion pictueThe Christmas Edition: A Journey to Paradise

also, author of

The Valentine Edition

The Easter Edition

and Wildcard

Monday, August 30, 2010

God Moves in Mysterious Ways his wonders to perform.

At nine o’clock one Saturday evening late in August of 1965, my boyfriend was at his out of town swim meet and I was stuck at home with a bad summer cold. Since my latest paperback was finished the day before, I went to the bookcase and ran my fingertips over the book spines not expecting to find anything interesting since all the reading material belonged to my mother. However, this title caught my attention; The Family Nobody Wanted.

Written by Helen Doss, it was published in 1954. Helen Doss and her minister-in-training husband Carl were a young California couple. Infertile at a time, Helen wanted nothing in the world more than to have a “happy, normal little family.” After adopting one infant who matched them perfectly, they wanted more children but were frustrated by the lengthy waiting periods for white babies. And so Helen and Carl Doss, whose only desire was to expand their family, ended up with twelve children: Filipino, Hawaiian, Balinese, Malayan, Indian, Mexican, and Native American, in various combinations. Some were afflicted by a host of other special needs—one child had a tumor on her forehead, another was described as mentally retarded—but these defects quickly disappeared and the Doss children blossomed in their family filled with acceptance, faith, and love. They were just adorable kids. The Dosses just happened to think that love had more to do with making kinship than blood.

The entire weekend I lay curled on my bed, book in hand, hearing the weeping of orphans in need of a mother to listen to their goodnight prayers. Tears stung my eyes. Something inside me awakened. It was then I felt God say to me that I would never have biological children, but my children would come to me by way of adoption. The knowing came lowly, like a tapping foot that couldn’t be stilled. Impatience similar to an opening and closing of a hand preceded an avalanche of erupting emotions that swept all preconceived ideas of motherhood away. Suddenly I knew a measure of what my future held. Adoption. From that moment on I balanced myself on the edge of a far off tomorrow. A bit impatient to see what else the good Lord had for me.

On our next date, I mentioned this startling revelation to my then boyfriend, Rusty—the same one I had inadvertently sent his Christmas gift away to the Native Americans. Let’s just say he was a good sport about the present, but now, he didn’t know what to make of my heavenly revelation. It was rather disconcerting for him. However, in his defense, we were only sixteen at the time. I had just come from the presence of God and he was thinking movie night with his girlfriend—maybe, later, a goodnights kiss at the door. He was the same guy as he had been the day before while I had just been swept away by the touch of God.
Many years later, my now former husband (not Rusty) and I discovered we could not have biological children. Although he was devastated from the news, I wasn’t. I wasn’t afraid; I wasn’t distressed, for I had been bolstered years prior by God’s disclosure. My journey for adoption—to find my children—began. I contacted a Christian agency from Wheaton, Illinois and started the paperwork, the interviews, etc. Right before Christmas, the Lord spoke to my heart and said , “Kimberly is on her way” (home to me). A month later, the end of January, the phone call came from the social worker A racially mixed, five week baby girl was ours if we wanted her. YES! OH YES!

Kimberly came home on January 28, 1981. That dark haired little munchkin filled me with unspeakable joy. Since she had been born at the biological mother’s home, alone, without medical aid, the agency wasn’t sure what her intellect might be. No matter. She was mine, and I was hers. We belonged to one another. And to add blessing to blessing, very quickly we discovered that Kim was quite bright. Before she was two years old, she woke me up one morning and announced, “Mother, take me to school. I am tired on not learning anything!” Her thirst for knowledge was lit and remained as a thirst which to this day has not been quenched.

As Kim grew so did her longing for a baby brother. Every night she would thank Jesus for giving her a one. Whenever we shopped, she always insisted on buying little boy’s clothes. When I demurred, she would plead, “But my baby brother needs these.”

Kimberly was four when a woman from our church told me her daughter was distressed. Carol* (not her real name) was about to have another baby, out of wedlock. Since I already knew her, I said I would visit the next day. The minute I stepped into the apartment, Carol asked me if I would take her baby as my own when it was born. I burst into joyful tears. Long story short, I was at the hospital when Matthew, Kim’s baby brother, came into the world. I called home and told Kim the news. “Kim, you have a baby brother.” She said, “I knew it was a boy."

And now I had my children. Not a full house like the Dosses had in the book, but my two. Kim a dark haired beauty with skin the color of milk chocolate, and Matthew a blue eyed charmer with skin the color of snow.

Years later, Kim went into accelerated classes for the gifted and talented in school, while Matthew attended special education classes and speech classes for language, and occupational therapy for his fine motor skills. Yet, my children were two peas in a pod; close to one another, and honestly, they never argued but always got along well.
Kimberly graduated from UT at the top of her class in kenisthesiology and psychology. After working for a law firm, she moved to Atlanta and got her masters in health at Emory. She interned for the GAO in Washington DC. Went to Congressional meetings on The Hill. Met lawmakers. Every job she applied for, she got. The one she chose was working for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. And now she is married and has an adorable son, Kingston who is so much like his mama that it makes me laugh.

After graduating from high school, Matthew went to vocational school and is now a certified nurse’s aide. He’s employed at a nursing home. He loves his residents and takes excellent care of them. Matthew is the kindest, sweetest, most loving person I have ever known. Besides being an artist, he comes up with fabulous story ideas that one day will find their way to paper.

My son Matthew and I live together along with our cocker spaniel Cooper, and our very crabby Russian Blue cat, Lexie.

Imagine a seed planted in the ground. Picture the seed cracking opening to send out a runner. The seed cracks wider and up shoots a sprout. God speaks to it from the firmament and says, “Come up here where the weather is fine.” Soon that sprout reaches the warm air of the garden where it begins to grow strong and even blossom.

God moves in a mysterious way

his wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea,

and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines

of never failing skill,

He treasures up his bright designs

and works his sovereign will.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;

the clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

in blessings on your head.

His purposes will ripen fast,

unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err

and scan his work in vain:

God is his own interpreter,

and he will make it plain.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Precious Journey

Recently I came through a level 5 tornado, but not in the weather sense. It took place in my personal life. Although I suffered damage, I survived. Barely. Now I am in the rebuilding stage—starting over. Finally, many months later, I find I am blossoming. I am on a journey to recover me and find hope for my future. In bed at night, I think back over my life and remember who I once was…..

When I was a young woman, not yet out of high school, I knew I wanted to contribute significantly in some way to make the difference in someone’s life. Back then, people looked to others who were humanitarians rather than the music or Hollywood industry like some do today. My role model was Tom Dooley and Albert Schweitzer. Both men were brilliant doctors who gave up a life of ease to live in third world harsh conditions in order to bring health and hope to others; (American) Dr. Dooley in Cambodia and (German) Dr. Schweitzer in Gabon, Africa. I read voraciously about them and knew God was calling me to do something special. It was then I decided to be an overseas missionary. I told these plans to my mother, who looked up at me from her knitting with an odd expression of disquiet on her face. “There are people in our own nation who need help too.”

Really? After all, I lived in an affluent household. The front of our antique house faced Lake Delavan. From the age of thirteen I had my own speed boat. I might have been too young to drive a car, but on the water, I was master. My closet brimmed with stylish clothes. I lacked for nothing—I couldn’t grasp that people in my own country might need help. Up to that time I thought the only really poor people lived elsewhere, faraway, perhaps, on the other side of the world where no one but God, or a missionary could see them.

So began my interest in the Native Americans who lived on reservations.

I found the name of the director of Indian Affairs at Menominee Falls, Wisconsin. After several weeks of conversing with her, she gave me the names of children who would enjoy gifts for Christmas, and might not get any, any other way (an early form of the angel tree). My mother and I went shopping for the children, and I also bought my then boyfriend’s Christmas gift which was a standard plaid shirt. We got home, wrapped it all up and shipped off the gifts to the reservation. A few nights later, Rusty came over to give me his gifts, a locket and perfume. When I went to get his gift, I discovered it was missing! Mother and I searched high and low for it. Then it dawned on me. Mistakenly, we had sent it to the reservation with the other gifts. That incident soon turned into a Christmas family story.

Now, decades later, I am not any closer to stepping onto a reservation than I was long ago. Sometimes I dream a dream that I am teaching on a one, but then I look around at where I am. I love my job as the Special Education Coordinator at an alternative program for my county. My office is in the supply portable where I sit beside shelves of black army boots and green fatigues. Like beauty and money, a few dreams have passed me by. But when I work with troubled teens, who have been expelled from school, or court ordered to be here, I know I couldn’t be at a better place. Where I belong.

Somewhere my dreams and reality have collided. Some for the better, yet, I wonder about those dreams while I gaze into the mirror. In real life I am a small boned-woman with soft hands. In summer I wear over-sized t-shirts to bed and skinny jeans during the day. Naturally, my face has more wrinkles than it did ten years ago and I refuse to touch up my hair with dyes anymore. I look at my last driver’s license picture and wonder who that person was. I look at my recent driver’s license picture and think I look like someone who has been apprehended for drunk driving and resisted arrest on my way to having my picture took. (No, that did NOT happen. I don’t drink and I work with police officers, don’t tangle or tango with them).

And this is the first bit of writing I have done in half a year. I hope and pray it’s my precious journey back to it as I remember that today belongs to me. It’s all mine. And God’s.

Each morning, when I arise, I look for a bit of hope and live my life in it.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Interview with K. Dawn Byrd*WIN A FREE eBook

Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win Dawn's newest release, Killing Time.

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense released in April and was Desert Breeze Publishing's bestselling novel for the month. Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense released August 1, also with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook group, Christian Fiction Gathering.
When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Publisher: (there will be links at this site to purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the Sony ebook store and others)

Book blurb:

Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world when she's incarcerated on trumped-up embezzlement charges. While in jail, she investigates the death of an inmate who allegedly died of an overdose. Mindy suspects foul play when her cellmate dies and she learns that both women had ingested the same drug. Mindy trusts no one, including Drew Stone, the handsome counselor she can’t stop thinking about. She faces many challenges, including constant interrogation by the Major and emotional abuse from the other inmates. Upon release, someone is stalking her and framing her for the murder. Can she prove to Counselor Stone that she’s innocent of all charges before she loses him forever?

Welcome Dawn. It is my pleasure to interview you about your newest release,  Killing Time.

1) How did this story come to you?

I've always been an avid reader and planned to write a book one day. When I began work as a counselor in a jail, I thought that would be a neat setting for the book. I began to jot down notes about the environment such as sights, sounds, and smells. Before I knew it, my heroine had formed in my mind, begging me to tell her story.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.

This book didn't go through rejections because I never sent it out. I did enter it into some contests in order to get feedback. It finaled in the Duel on the Delta last year. An agent took a look at it and said that she really liked my writing, but was afraid it might be hard to sell a book partially set in a jail. It was then I realized that there's such a thing as writing to market if you want to sell. About that time, I became friends with Michelle Sutton and she recommended one of her publishers to me, Desert Breeze Publishing. They liked it and the rest is history.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

1) I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.

2) I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.

3) I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)

4)What are you working on now and what's next for you?

I'm working on my fifth novel. I've not tried to place novels three and four because an agent is looking at them and I'm awaiting his advice. I can say that Desert Breeze has been absolutely wonderful to work with and I'll be sending them more of my work.

5)Parting comments? Thank you for hosting me on your blog! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?

I'm also on Twitter (kdawnbyrd) and facebook (K Dawn Byrd.) I am the moderator of the Christian Fiction Gathering facebook group (!/group.php?gid=128209963444) If you join this group, you'll get reminders about the weekly book giveways.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shar MacLaren & Robin Shope Interview

Two Different Authors with Two Different Viewpoints write about the 75 Year Social Experiment Known As The Orphan Train.

Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren

Ruby Red by Robin Jansen Shope

Sharlene and Robin made a lovely discovery. Not only are they both teachers (Shar’s retired), they have also written about a special time in history from separate viewpoints. As a result, they decided to ‘cross pollinate’ their books in this shared interview. Come join the discussion,  and for leaving a comment, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a copy of both their books, Maggie Rose and Ruby Red, from either one of their Websites. That’s twice the chance to win; in other words, go ahead and leave a comment at both sites to double your odds. If you aren’t a blogger then leave a comment for them on Facebook, and they’ll throw your name into the “proverbial hat”. Click one or both of the following blogs to read their interviews!

Few people realize that 30,000 homeless children roamed the streets of New York City from the mid-1800s through the 1930s. Death and disease were heaped upon poverty and overcrowding, causing thousands of children to be abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Adding to the malaise, boatloads of European immigrants flooded our shores and soon succumbed to the same adversities, leaving thousands of their children parentless. Accounts have been written of the Orphan Train that carried white-skinned children into the heartland of America to find new families. For some it was a gift; for others it ended with tragedy. Many children were loved and cherished while others suffered at the hands of cruel caretakers and were little more than slaves or servants.

Sharlene: Here is a snapshot of my early life, which influences me to this day. I grew up in the small town of Twin Lake, Michigan. When I say small I mean we had one gas station, a post office, a tavern/restaurant, a lumberyard, and two grocery stores whose owners were ALWAYS at odds (enemies perhaps?) because of the competition. Townsfolk were either loyal Oslunds’ grocery shoppers or Powells. (You couldn’t be both. Ha!) My family went to Powells’ because my mom swore they had a better meat selection!

I grew up in a tiny cottage-style house on the lake, as in we had beach frontage. It was a great swimming, fishing, waterskiing lake, so as a kid nearly every day in the summer the first thing I did when I awoke was peek through my bedroom curtains to determine what to put on, regular clothes or my swimsuit. Some days, Daddy would awaken me at 5:30 a.m. when the lake was still as glass and the fog lying lazily on the surface and ask if I wanted to go fishing. I didn’t LOVE fishing, but I soaked up those opportunities to sit in my Dad’s quiet, reassuring presence. We had a rowboat dubbed “Maybe Baby”. She had a slow leak, so we kept a bucket handy at all times.

My parents were devout Christians. When those Wesleyan Methodist Church doors opened, our family of five (I have two older brothers) walked through them, Sunday mornings, evenings, midweek prayer meetings, and annual revivals. Sundays were kept holy, as in, um, no swimming—unless I took a bar of soap with me in which case I was going down to the lake to “take a bath”. (grins) That was acceptable. However, no jumping off the end of the dock or acting rowdy!

My parents did have some rigid rules when it came to their belief system, I suppose, but they ruled with tremendous grace and mercy. In fact, they loved us kids with amazing tenderness and care. There was always a good deal of joking, teasing, and laughter in our home, lots of it. (I acquired my sense of humor from my dad.)

We had very little in the way of material possessions. After all, I grew up in the 50s and 60s, and the country was still suffering through a long, grueling recovery from the Great Depression. But I don’t recall feeling especially deprived, forget that we had an outhouse till I was at least 10—just loved and free and secure. When I was a little kid, Dad worked in a factory then switched to head custodian at a Muskegon elementary school when I was a young teen. While I was in second grade, my mom took a job in the Twin Lake Post Office. I remember feeling so PROUD that MY mom had a “real job” while my friends’ moms didn’t. No insecurity on my part! She was such a loving, generous, fun person; a very strong influence in my life.

Robin: Here is a snapshot of my early life, which influences me to this day. As you will ‘see’ as you read, my upbringing was very different from Shar’s.

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of a former bootlegger who, by the time of my birth, owned a respectable nightclub, The Ivanhoe Restaurant. My Christian mother was twenty years his junior. Dad had disguised himself as a Christian man, covering up his swearing, drinking, and womanizing ways for two months while he wooed my mother by taking her to church. As soon as that ring was placed on her finger, and vows were spoken, Dad became Dad again and picked up his former ways. I am the middle child of that union.

Born in the late 1800s, my dad was the age of a grandfather. Still, I felt lucky he belonged to me and I to him. He spoiled me terribly with presents, never disciplined me (probably too tired to do so) and gave into me—indulging my every whim while the role of disciplinarian went to my mother.

I loved to hear his stories about running away from home at the age of eleven. He worked his way to Texas where he learned to break horses and pick cotton. Traveling further south, he ran into Poncho Villa (honest) and rode with him for a while. He didn’t like what the bandit did, so Dad returned to Texas and joined the Texas Rangers until WWII broke out and he joined the army. When the war ended, Dad lived with his brother in Chicago and started a tavern at the same time prohibition hit. Not to be deterred from their new adventure, they turned the tavern into a speakeasy and ran bootleg whiskey. After prohibition was repealed, they expanded their business by buying out the stores around them. Soon the small tavern grew into a castle structure fashioned after the one In Robin Hood.

Shar: my early life impacts the person I am today.

I grew up in a very musical family, my mom a gifted piano player and alto singer and my dad having a beautiful tenor voice. Thus, my brothers and I all inherited musical tendencies as well, but along with that creative, artsy bent, God also gifted me with a most vivid imagination. As a kid, I had no notion of EVER writing novels, but I knew I loved to read and jump into the characters’ skin of whatever book I happened to be reading, pretending to be that very person stranded on an island or riding like the wind on a horse, or saving a drowning dog. In bed, I would talk to myself and make up stories. I still recall my brother walking past my bedroom one night, saying, “Who are you talking to?” and I very proudly answering, “MYSELF!” He huffed and marched off.

I made my first attempt at writing stories as an 11th grader. I could fill up an entire spiral notebook with a silly teenage romance. Those stories passed from one girlfriend to another in civics and government classes, and always with the teacher’s back to us. But then college came, and my teaching career, then marriage and kids, and my wild passion for music. That writing thing I’d once done in high school slipped into Neverland, almost a forgotten memory, and would you believe I never gave it another thought until the ripe age of 52 in the summer of 2000? Yep, that’s when God revived my passion, and in the year 2006, I signed my first contract.

My idea for writing Maggie Rose came about because of having read about the Orphan Train, which ran from the mid-1800s to 1929 (more than 75 years!) while doing some research for another book project. It immediately intrigued me, and suddenly, I couldn’t read enough about that era, and in many ways, it utterly enraptured me, as in SWALLOWED ME UP. Whenever I become this wrapped up in a subject I sense God’s percolator working overtime in my brain. Not only that, every time I turned around it seemed I was running into the words Orphan Train—either at the library, or by accidentally coming across something online or on TV—and even in the newspaper. At that point, I said to the Lord, “Okay, God, I get it. You want me to write about the Orphan Train era.” Here’s a brief synopsis of my story, Maggie Rose, which by the way is the second in my series called The Daughters of Jacob Kane:

The year is 1904, and Maggie Rose, the spunky, friendly, twenty-year-old middle daughter of Michigan resident Jacob Kane, feels compelled to leave her beloved hometown of Sandy Shores to pursue what she feels in her heart are God's plans for her life-in New York City. Maggie Rose adjusts to her new life at Sheltering Arms Refuge, an orphanage that also transports homeless children to towns across the United States to match them with compatible families. Most of the children have painful pasts that make Maggie aghast, but she marvels at their resiliency. As she gets to know each child, her heart blossoms with new depths of love and compassion. When a newspaper reporter comes to stay at the orphanage in order to gather research for an article, Maggie is struck by his handsome face…and concerned by his lack of faith. She can't deny their mutual affections, though. Will she win the struggle to maintain her focus on God and remain attuned to His guidance?

Robin: my early life impacts the person I am today.

Although I knew my dad loved me, there was some kind of a disconnect. I needed to find a connection and as a teen found it in Christ. He is my constant anchor. And now I write about people who search for their faith, reach for hope, learn to forgive, and find the most important place in the world—home—a place to belong.

When I was in middle school, I read a book The Family Nobody Wanted. It was about children who were considered unadoptable yet they found a place where they belonged with a wonderful couple. I somehow knew I would never have biological children. God had a different plan for me and that was adoption. Years later, my five-week-old daughter was placed into my empty arms by a social worker. Kimberly was a beautiful, racially mixed baby. A few years later, Matthew followed with very fair skin. Perfect children. Perfect bookends holding up my life.

As a teacher, I read to my class stories of the Orphan Train riders. It pained me to think about the thousands of children who didn’t have parents to tuck them in at night and listen to their bedtime prayers. Had my children been born then, Matthew would have been sent out west to find a home. Would he have been taken in by kind parents? What about Kimberly? What would have become of her? The seed of Ruby Red was born at that moment.

Ruby Red is a fictionalized tale of a true event. Homeless children roamed the streets of New York City from the late 1800s through the 1930s. Death and disease were heaped upon poverty and overcrowding, causing thousands of children to be abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Eleven-year-old Ruby is taken in as a maid. Believing life holds more for her than washing someone s clothes, she makes a risky move by faking insanity. After being expelled from the household, Ruby sneaks onto the Orphan Train. With her best friend, a cockroach named Red, housed in a canning jar, Ruby searches for a place to call home and runs into adventure and heartbreak. Both an enigma and a young teen, she is the perfect reflection of how life once was in America. Ruby embodies goodness, and simplicity of truth; a rare gem which bespeaks her name. Softened a bit through suffering she refuses to be hardened and keeps believing that the world holds a special place for her. Written beautifully by author Robin Jansen Shope for young teens and adults, the indomitable spirit of Ruby Red triumphs and will live in your heart far beyond the pages of the book.

Thank you for joining us here today. Be sure to leave a comment on our blogs for a chance to win our books!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

And the Winner of NO GREATER LOVE IS....

Steve Dunbar! Steve contact me privately with your address. Congratulations!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Kathi Macias & No Greater Love

Welcome. I have the honor of interviewing the award winning author Kathi Macias today. Please be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win her book NO GREATER LOVE released by New Hope Publishers.

Kathi, thank you for joining us here today. Tell us about your life.
I was actually born in SoCal, (suffice it to say, EONS ago!) and have lived in various parts of SoCal ever since, with brief forays into Amarillo, Texas, Houston, Texas, Colorado Spring, Colorado, and LaCenter and Longview, Washington. My husband, Al, and I live in a retirement community (with a golf course, which is all Al noticed when we moved here!). My almost 89-year-old mom lives with us. In our very rare spare time, we ride my husband's Harley (a Road King), which is how I got my road name of "Easy Writer." We also spend as much time as possible with our grown kids and grandkids; our two oldest grandsons are in the Navy, stationed in nearby San Diego.

Grandkids are the best! Now that we know a bit about your present life, tell us a tidbit about your childhood.

As I said, I grew up in SoCal, and I met Al when we were in the first grade. By eighth grade we were an "item." I even told him, while we were still in junior high, that I would be a writer some day. He often reminds me that I'm one of the few people he knows who knew such a thing so young. Also, I was sick a lot as a child (prior to my teens), so I spent a lot of time reading and developing an ongoing love affair with words.

Ah, what a sweet love story between you and dear Al. The calling to write was upon your life as a child. Do your characters talk to you, or even get sassy with you as mine do with me?

I'm not sure if they talk to me, but they sure do tend to go off on tangents of their own! Seriously, I know where my stories will start and where they will end, but much of what happens in between seems to be orchestrated by my characters!

Tell us about your feature book.

No Greater Love is set in 1989 South Africa and is centered around a young (16 years old) African girl named Chioma, the daughter of martyred ANC leaders. The story opens with Chioma and her younger brother, Masozi, living
and working on an Afrikaner farm. When the farm owner's son, Andrew, and Chioma, find themselves attracted to one another--a definite no-no in Apartheid South Africa--tragedy revisits Chioma's life and she must escape and seek shelter elsewhere. A rebel band of "freedom fighters" takes her in, and she soon finds herself faced with life-and-death decisions born out of the conflict between her feelings for a white man and her hatred of his race.

Okay, you have us all hooked. You must tell us snippets about your other books.
There are thirty in all, so I'll just focus on the newest ones. Following No Greater Love, there are three others in the international Extreme Devotion series: More than Conquerors, set in the Mayan country of Mexico (available
now); Red Ink, set in China (releases October 2010); People of the Book, set in Saudi Arabia (available April 2011). I also have a stand-alone historical (third century) novel releasing from Abingdon Press in September, titled
Valeria's Cross and co-authored with Susan Wales.

WOW, thirty books. You are a well-seasoned author.  If you were one of your characters, which one would you be and why that one?

Strangely enough, I think I most relate to Chioma, even though she is a young black woman from another culture and country. But she is headstrong and determined, much as I was at her age--and very idealistic. Chioma became
so real to me during the writing of No Greater Love that I often find myself thinking about her and wondering how she's doing.

I have the direct link to No Greater Love available on my blog but how can we order your other books?
No Greater Love and More than Conquerors can be ordered from my website ( Red Ink and Valeria's Cross are available for pre-order on Amazon. Book trailers for No Greater Love and More than
Conquerors can be seen on my website as well.
Kathi, you are a treasure! Thank you for being with us today.
Thank you everyone for stopping by. Please remember to leave a comment so we know that you were here and for a chance to win No Greater Love.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The winner for Ruby Red is...

Steph Skolad! And wow, did she ever want this book! She commented like 5 times. Thanks Steph...and now for everyone else...

If you order Ruby Red from amazon anytime in May, I will send a special gift to you the first week in June.If you order, be sure to let me know and send me your address. XO

Love you all. YOU are the reason I and all the characters that introduce themselves to me and talk me to death until I write about them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Win a Copy of my Debut Young Adult Novel RUBY RED!

Today I am giving away a copy of my debut novel Ruby Red. To enter, just leave a comment here on my blog or on FB (be sure I know your email address). This will run through Saturday  May 22 when I draw the name. The more comments you make the better the chances of winning.

Background: Homeless children roamed the streets of New York City from the late 1800s through the 1930s. Death and disease were heaped upon poverty and overcrowding, causing thousands of children to be abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Adding to the malaise, boatloads of European immigrants flooded our shores and soon succumbed to the same adversities leaving thousands of their children parentless. Accounts have been written of the Orphan Train that carried white-skinned children out into the heartland of America to find new families, but history is totally silent of what became of the dark-skinned children.

Ruby Red is a fictionalized tale of a true event. It's the end of the Orphan Train run in the mid-nineteen-twenties. The story is told through Ruby Red’s eleven-year old eyes. After Ruby is taken in as a maid, she finds she has little hope of being anything more and makes a risky move by faking insanity. After being expelled from the household, she sneaks onto a train heading west where she finds adventure, danger, and renewed hope.

and now a quick blurb from chapter 1

Ruby didn’t know she sparkled with beauty like the gem whose name she carried. Her skin was the color of lush earth darkened by the heat of summer’s noonday sun. But it wasn’t the green of summer it was the white of winter and Ruby had no place to call home.

Ruby was medium boned with impish brown eyes. Always dressed in brown, she felt she belonged here among the potato filled pots and spice scented kitchen. Ruby held her plain skirt pinched between her fingers as if it were a party dress and danced toward the kitchen where a sink load of pots and pans waited to be washed.

Chilled by early morning winter, Ruby happily obliged to clean the breakfast dishes and plunged her arms into the heated sudsy water, clear up to her elbows. Ruby looked out the window at the halo sun looking down on her with its lemony color seeping down from the bright cerulean sky. She considered this the best part of the day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A book YEARS in the Making...

Every book has a story behind it. A story that has lent part of itself to the book but not has given itself completely to it. And so it is with the debut of my first young adult novel, Ruby Red.

When I was in middle school, I read a book that changed my life. It was about a remarkable family that adopted ten children, one at a time. I was so moved that I read the book time and again. And then I somehow knew, I would never have biological children; that I would find my children through adoption. Although I would have loved to have raised at least a half dozen children, God saw fit to bless me with two, first Kimberly and then Matthew.

Kim was in third grade when Good Housekeeping and IBM teamed up for a national writing contest. Kim entered and she won national in her divison. The story was about her adoption and what it meant to her being part of a family in A Bear Named Song (A mother's assertion that "When something valuable goes out of your life, something more precious enters" is proved twice in her daughter's life), later published by Standard Publishing. Although the book is now out of print, it can still be found on the secondary market and through places like Amazon and ebay.

Around this same time I became aware of something called the Orphan Train.  Homeless children roamed the streets of New York City from the late 1800s through the 1930s. Death and disease were heaped upon poverty and overcrowding, causing thousands of children to be abandoned and left to fend for themselves. An organization sent thousands of children out west on trains to find a new home, a new family and new life. History tells us stories of the white children who rode these trains. No mention has been made of the African American children. It made me wonder what happened to babies and children like my daughter  who is a mix of white, Hispanic and African American.

Ruby Red became a speck of an idea that quickly grew and changed over the next several years. This young adult novel is a fictionalized tale of a true event.

Ruby embody's Kimberly's indominable spirit. An impish brown skinned girl who walks into your heart and takes over your life in beautiful ways. Matthew is my son, who is the same shade of white that I am. He is gentle and filled with joy and imagination like Andy. Andy? Who is Andy? You will meet him and others in Ruby Red.

Eleven-year-old Ruby is taken in as a maid. Believing life holds more for her than washing someone’s clothes, she makes a risky move by faking insanity. After being expelled from the household, Ruby sneaks onto the Orphan Train, meant only for white children. With her best friend, a cockroach named Red, housed in a canning jar, Ruby searches for a place to call home and runs into adventure and heartbreak. Both an enigma and a young teen, she is the perfect reflection of how life once was in America. Ruby embodies goodness, and simplicity of truth; a rare gem which bespeaks her name. Softened a bit through suffering she refuses to be hardened and keeps believing that the world holds a special place for her. Young teens and as well as adults will be inspired by the indomitable spirit of Ruby Red. She will live in your heart far beyond the pages of the book.

Ruby Red on Amazon

Friday, April 16, 2010


Be a LOOSER (this pix of me is 5 months old)

Motivation: A year ago last summer, I spent a lot of time in bed with OA of the knees and in terrible pain as inches of fat kept creeping onto my bones. I thought about ‘skinny’ Robin from my high school years and remembered how happy and active I had been. Then I looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t want this to be the rest of my life. The only one who could change things was me.

I am not a health nut guru. I am not an exercise freak. I don’t tote a magic pill or have a special diet plan. On top of that I will turn 61 this summer. Yet, I look younger, feel better, and am in better health than I was ten years ago. How did a plain, ordinary person accomplish that? Determination.

My main motto for if I am not losing weight is, eat less move more. (Be careful here to be sure you do not have an underlying medical condition). Let me tell you what I don’t do…

1. I do not count calories.

2. I don’t go on crazy diets.

3. I don’t take diet pills.

4. I didn’t have surgery.

5. I don’t buy pre-packaged meals from any diet center.

6. I am not following any diet plan.

What I do…

1. I eat healthy and make it organic as much as possible.

2. I move. i.e. I take advantage of walking the dog. I have a desk job so whenever possible I will get out and walk around the prison (no I am not in one. I work next door to one). (13 minutes of walking a day improves the memory by 20%. Question: How long would I have to walk to improve my memory 100%?) I belonged to a gym for 6 months and biked, swam, did upper body strengthening and building. Doing nothing wreaks havoc on your muscles. Now I walk, swim, hike, and for upper body training I carry 10 bags of groceries from my car up to my second story apt. (that last one was meant for levity).

Let’s explore a bit more in detail about the importance of eating right and movement. (I am about what I did. I am not toting this as what you should do. This is my journey. I am not a doctor or nutritionist. My training is education, so all my information comes from what I have learned and by what I experienced myself. Remember that.)


I can take in 1500 calories a day and move a lot and still not lose weight. How come? I found I was eating the wrong foods.

1. I watch my salt intake. I knew a man who by just cutting out his salt intake lost 20 pounds.

2. I also have given up 90% soda pop drinking. It’s bad, bad, bad. Not only do I gain weight but it also eats into my bones and depletes calcium. I am working on giving up the last 10% of soda pop.

3. I eat dessert once a week and make it really, really good. Not anything like a mini candy bar, but something I totally love. For me it’s hot fudge Sundae with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry on top…or it’s a thick slice of chocolate mousse cake. It can be a cupcake or two. The thought of that single dessert helps keep me on track all week.

4. I never skip breakfast. I have organic, plain yogurt sprinkled with walnuts and pieces of fruit, or a few eggs (yolk and all!) with dark wheat toast and a touch of real butter, or oatmeal with a dab of brown sugar and warm milk (fat free or skim).

5. For my mid morning snack I eat a piece of fruit.

6. Lunchtime is protein. Long grain brown rice with chicken and veggies, like lima beans.

7. Dinner is a salad; lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, etc. A side of salad dressing. NOTHING fat-free or diet. I would rather have a little bit of wonderful than a whole lot of nasty tasting stuff.

8. I try not to eat a thing after 6 pm but if I must I make it something filled with anti-oxidants and/or celery. Celery is your friend. Make peace with it.

*** If I go out for dinner, I skip the appetizer which is usually creamy or fried. For the main course I chose a thick steak or fish…with steamed vegetables (I lose the potatoes), followed by dessert.


1. While I write or watch TV I do butt crunches.

2. I take my dog for lots of walks. We both enjoy it.

3. I swim.

4. I take the garbage out a lot…every step I take burns calories.

5. Several times during the day I put my hands on the seat of my desk chair and do pushups, lifting my butt up off the chair. I do this 3 to 4 times a day. It strengths arms and back.

6. While I drive I hold a death grip on the steering wheel until I feel the muscles at the back of my arms. Release and repeat. Then hold it for 2 or 3 minutes. Repeat.

My continual plan…this summer I will swim more, buy the wii and get the exercise program (my physically fit daughter highly recommends), walk more, and take advantage of the fresh fruit and veggie season.

The Result

I have dropped 5 sizes since last September. I no longer lay in bed all day. I have energy. I am happy (without drugs). The pants I bought one month ago are getting lose.  I have 50 more pounds to go until high school skinny. And did I mention I will be 61 years old in August?
Okay, I might fall off the healthy wagon to eat Fritos or a cupcake or two, but I make my peace with the scale and put all that grease and sugar behind me ... and move on...repenting with celery and water. 

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Does Stephen King scare you? Delight you? The man can WRITE!

ALL THAT YOU LOVE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY (first paragraph from a short story)

It was a Motel 6 on I-80 just west of Licoln, Nebraska. The snow that began at midafternoon had faded the sign's virulent yellow to a kinder pastel shade as the light ran out of January dusk. The wind was closing in on that quality of empty amplification one encounters only in the country's flat midsection, usually in wintertime. That meant nothing but discomfort now, but if big snow came tonight--the weather forecasters couldn't seem to make up their mnds--then the interstate would be shut down by morning. That was nothing to Alfie Zimmer.

Alfie drove around the corner and parked with the nose of his Chevrolet pointed at the white expanse of some farmer's field, swimming deep into the gray of day's end. At the farthest limit of vision he could see the spark lights of a farm. In there, they would be hunkered down. Out here, the wind blew hard enough to rock the car. Snow skated past, obliterating the farm lights for a few moments.

Monday, April 05, 2010

SOUND OFF! Do you believe in Soul Mates?

According to Wikipedia a soul mate is as follows:
A soulmate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep and natural affinity, love, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, and/or compatibility. A related concept is that of the twin flame or twin soul – which is thought to be the ultimate soulmate, the one and only other half of one's soul, for which all souls are driven to find and join. However, not everyone who uses these terms intends them to carry such mystical connotations.

What moves you? Is it the conversation? Being able to laugh with someone? A deep spiritual connection? Do you believe there is a soul mate for you? Are you married to him/her? Or are you one of the people who thought they found that special someone only to be met with disappointment, ending in a broken relationship whether it is divorce or breakup? Sound off! I want to hear from you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Easter Edition Newly Released

My latest release, the third book in The Turtle Creek Edition series, has been released. The first book, The Christmas Edition, is being produced as a movie, Journey to Paradise, by Salty Earth Pictures. Watch for a late fall 2010 release. More information to come. If you haven't already befriended me on FaceBook please do so for updates, which will also be posted here.