Book Quest

Book Quest

What to write next? I’ve never before had “writer’s block”—that infamous cork-up of creative flow. And perhaps even my current experience can’t technically be labeled that, either. I just have so many ideas that instead of pouring out of my pen, it’s like they’re flooding from a fire hydrant. So today, while I’m on a…

Book Reports

Book Reports

Didn’t you just dread writing book reports as a school kid? I did, at least. Though I loved reading from an early age, I had no idea how to identify the important elements that make up an appealing story. But I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. Because a book that touches your…

Uncovering the Cover

Uncovering the Cover

As you scroll down a few paragraphs, you’ll see the cover for Destiny at Dolphin Bay revealed. This first book of mine, written during our last year in Chile’s Chiloé Islands, has had almost as many trial tapas as opening chapters. But today we’re unveiling the final cover. The design you find here combines many…

A Crisis of Character

A Crisis of Character

It happened again last week—I read another Christian book that started out with SOOO much potential. Until it petered out in a light gloss of forgiveness and a pinch of repentance. Well, okay. We surely need to forgive and sometimes we ought to repent. But whatever happened to a life-changing crisis of character? Without a…

The Longing for Love

The Longing for Love

Part of the dynamics of a good story focuses on a desire. Sometimes it’s a physical plot goal, sometimes it’s more of an emotional yearning. The romance shelf, of course, features the longing for love. But the not-so-odd paradox remains that 99% of the books you read—whatever their genre: mystery, fantasy, thriller—have a love thread…

The Pursuit of Purpose

The Pursuit of Purpose

Whatever Thomas Jefferson meant by “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, I equate the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of purpose, the pursuit of a place of usefulness and meaning in the world. You might say I’m searching for my happy place. I know. For some of us,…

The Search for Substance

The Search for Substance

I am a realist. Though my mother might disagree (I suspect she equated my head in a book with my head in the clouds), on the bottom line I’m the ultimate pragmatist. I believe—and write—about life in all its humble glory, yet that’s a spiritual reality. I search for SUBSTANCE, the core value inside the…

Behind My Mask

Behind My Mask

Can I share a secret? Hiding behind my mask, I’ve saved a bundle this year on face cream, lipstick, and even (gasp!) toothpaste. What I’ll look like when I finally emerge from the cocoon may alarm the neighbors.   We so often leave unattended what nobody else can see, where no outsider will notice. You…

6 Educational Secrets

6 Educational Secrets

“I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry,” says the Apostle Paul (Phil. 4:12). That pretty much sums up my educational secrets: Abundance and hunger. Fullness and need. Prosperity, humility. We stuff our minds with new facts and ideas, and still we know, there’s always more to learn. A good story always…

This Homesick World

This Homesick World

Among the many themes in my books, the motif of HOME—or perhaps more precisely, houses—surprises me most with its broad-spectrum presence. I never planned to weave those ideas into the writing, was hardly even aware of them. But in this homesick world, maybe that’s not unexpected at all. Recently I suffered an attack…of nostalgia. Did…

Do You Believe in Destiny?

Do You Believe in Destiny?

“Do you believe in destiny?” Nicolás Serrano, up to his elbows in apple mash, asks halfway through my first book Destiny at Dolphin Bay. His friend Melissa has questioned his self-identification as a Chiloé islander, knowing he grew up a city boy. As she watches him make cider in an antique press, she sees him…

7 Novel Ideas About Love

7 Novel Ideas About Love

Good sport that he is, my husband cheerfully endures watching the occasional chick flick or romantic comedy with me. But as Lord Byron said: “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart, ’Tis woman’s whole existence.” There’s a reason why love stories creep into (or take over) most of what I write–and why Romance continues…