Why I Started Writing:
I have always loved books, and since the day I learned how to write and scratched my first story on paper with a pencil in first grade, I have wanted to write for others. By the time I was ten years old, I was doing just that. My first national article, a funny Christian living kids’ story, was published at that time. I knew then that I would become a writer. Whenever a need arose that required a writer, I was among the first to volunteer. For fun, I write humor stories about our family and local activities. (Like the story about how our legislature tried to outlaw the color beige!) Most of my writing has been for Christian ministries: churches, Christian schools, pro-live groups, and more. I’ve written professionally for our newspaper as well. In addition to writing, I have also taught children’s ministries for most of my life. Many of the things I have written have been for those children.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
In the area of fiction, I would say that my writing has been influenced the most by Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, L. M. Montgomery, and Louis L’Amore. But in humor, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Barbara Johnson, Florence Littauer, Dave Barry, and Pat McManus. Each of these writers knew how to tell a story very well. The humor masters knew how to add unexpected laugh lines that usually left me in stitches. Until he died, I often corresponded with Pat McManus, who encouraged me greatly in my own attempts at writing humor. I studied his instruction book The Deer On A Bicycle to improve my own skills.
Pat McManus once wrote in a letter: “Your novel (One Step Ahead of the Devil) has an unusual quality to it. I at least have never read anything like it. Now that I’m over 80, I no longer do any writing, but if I thought I could write as well as you do, I would be tempted to give it a try.” Pat passed away a few years ago, and I miss him a lot. He was a great encourager.
In the area of Christian life writing, Chuck Swindoll, who was our pastor at Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton many years ago, has influenced me more than any other, for he spoke to my heart. I’ve studied his style of presentation.
Books I Have Written:
Race To Eagle Mountain – When Tanner’s parents are deployed by the military to the Middle East, he and his younger sister go to Montana to live in Badger Creek with their grandmother. While there, Tanner learns about dog sled racing. When another child’s father is lost while dog sledding, Tanner helps with the rescue and drives the team home through the dangerous wilderness alone. Published independently in 2007 by WinePress, Race To Eagle Mountain placed 3rd in YA Fiction with the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. (Currently out of print. I own all rights to it and plan to bring it back, with revisions, in the future.)
One Step Ahead of the Devil, is based on my own battle to save my husband’s life after he suffered severe retaliation as a military physician. I had to change all names, descriptions and locations in order to tell this story without coming under retaliation myself. It is the true story behind the Military Whistleblowers’ Protection Directive of 1995. Sam Donaldson wrote a commentary for it as well as a blurb for the back cover of the book. (His commentary is only in the first edition.) The JAG lawyers who wrote and enacted it referred to it as “Tim’s Law” among themselves. The story was broadcast on ABC’s 20/20 program, with Sam Donaldson as interviewer, and Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs as hosts. The book was published independently in 2012 by WinePress and now by Amazon. (The 20/20 interview can be seen on YouTube under: ABC News Story- Military Whistleblowers “fired” with Fabricated Psychiatric Evaluations, shown on October 23, 1998. I can email it to you if you are unable to find it.)
The Prince and the Plan was designed to help parents teach their children about the plan of salvation through Jesus. Using multisensory methods and simple words, this book explains the concept of salvation in ways that children as young as four years of age can understand. It is a full-color picture book with 99 full-page illustrations, and can also be used in classroom. The Prince and the Plans placed second in Best Children’s Book of the Year in the 2018 Golden Scroll Awards at Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. It was published independently in 2018 by Carpenter’s Son and is available on Kindle Direct Publishing as well. It is also available in Spanish.
What I'm Working On Now:
God? Where Are You? Designed to explain salvation simply to adults with little or no church background, this adult adaptation of The Prince and the Plan tells who God is, how mankind became separated from him, and what God is doing to bring us back to himself.
Before You Find Me – When Tara, a college freshman in Texas, receives a phone call from her younger sister, telling how she witnessed a murder, Tara returns home secretly to rescue her sister and brother from their murderous uncle. She takes them and their three horses far away to a ranch in Montana. While they are in hiding, a neighboring young man helps them with the ranch. Meantime, Tara’s friend, Tyrel, who is a deputy sheriff in Texas, tries to solve the murder and find Tara and the children. This is a Christian book for New Adults (ages 17-21). It is nearly finished. I will focus on fine-tuning it after Christmas.
Feed My Lambs, a teacher-training manual for Christian education, is coming in the future. So far, I have only the heart of how to teach written and have taught it at a conference in Mexico.
Loyal’s Nest is a children’s picture book based on the true story of two trumpeter swans that nested in a millpond in Lincoln, Montana. After the eggs were laid, the female swan flew into an electric wire during the night and perished. The owners of the pond rescued the eggs and sent them to be hatched by another female trumpeter. Ten weeks later, the signets were returned to the pond, where their father, who had been mourning his great loss, immediately bonded with them, taught them to fly, and led them south that fall. I intend to tell the story from the viewpoint of the bullfrog in the pond. The book tells of the love of this father for his young, illustrating the great love of our heavenly Father. This winter I will be painting illustrations for this book.
Sunflower Love is a compilation of my award-winning devotions for Arise Daily. I’ve written these devotions of about 600 words apiece for three years now. At some point, I would like to put them all into a book. They are unusual in that I take my lessons mostly from nature. They would sell well in rural areas especially, for they reflect rural living. Others who live in cities seem to like them, too.
Awards I Have Won
I was named Writer of the Year in 2018 by Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for my work reaching many children with The Prince and the Plan.
In 2020, I was named Arise Daily Devotions Writer of the Year and received a Golden Scroll Award from Advanced Writers & Speakers Association.