Friday, February 24, 2023

Thank God for Music

Last week during the meet-and-greet time of our church service, a song played that brought on a feeling I have had many times. A joyful ache, a sense of hope and promise, which happens even in a sad time. I don’t remember the song; I don’t even know if I knew it.

Often, I’ll get this swell inside when I hear a song, a certain sound. I may have no idea of the words—I might not even like the words if I remembered them—but I know that joy. The day opens up, and I feel lifted. I smile; sometimes I cry.

God gave this to us in waterfalls, in the drumming of rain, from birds and wild animals, the clomp of horses’ hooves, wind brushing through leaves, a baby’s laugh, the whispers from someone we love.

I get a sense of such healing possibility. Lord God, just another gift to thank you for.

“I Got a Name” by Jim Croce; “El Shaddai,” Amy Grant; “It’s a Big Old Goofy World,” John Prine; “What a Wonderful World,” Louis Armstrong.



Friday, February 17, 2023

Guest Author, Kathy Cretsinger

Kathy Cretsinger is so special to me. She was my first publisher, and I can never thank her enough for taking a chance with me. And she is a great author. I highly recommend this fun series.


Thank you, Kathy, for asking me to be on your blog. It’s a special honor from a special friend. I’ve known Kathy for several years. She and Murray plus all the children are dear to my heart.

Kathy asked me to write about my book coming out February 21, 2023. This is the third book in the series, Nothing Shady Ever Happens In Shady Valley. The first book, Bogged Down by Murder, is about Daisy McQueen and Harry Greer. Shady Valley is nestled in the mountains in what we call Northeast Tennessee. You know where the state juts out into North Carolina? That is very close to Shady Valley.

The second book, Death by Doubloons, is about Liberty Garcia and Matt Sluder. Gold Doubloons in the mountains of Shady Valley? Yes, in my imagination there are.

Now, for the next book, Shady Connections. This book is about Bruce Howard and Grace Manis, bodyguards for Daisy McQueen Greer.

Bruce and Grace fall in love after working together for five years. They slipped into love. Didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did without them noticing. Bruce and Grace are in their 40s, and two months after their elopement, they find they are expecting a baby. That is a shock because both were married before but never had children.

Shady Valley is such a unique place. It is so peaceful with mountain streams, cranberry blogs, and good people all over the place. The residents are peaceful, the summers are cool, and the winters are snowy.

There is only one way out of the valley without going over mountains. Bruce and Grace decide this is their forever home, after they find out who wants to steal their baby.

Kathy Cretsinger lives in Kentucky, but she was born and grew up in Tennessee. Her husband, Jerry, grew up in Shady Valley, where some of his family still lives. Kathy invites you to check out her Facebook page at. and her author page, She also writes a blog at

What’s up next? Two more books set in Shady Valley, Tennessee, and another one I’m not talking about now. Love suspense.

Kathy Cretsinger

Friday, February 10, 2023

Guest Author, V. B. Tenery

V. B. Tenery has been my critique partner for a number of years. I have enjoyed all her books, historical (World War II) and contemporary fiction. She writes with sensitivity and excitement.


A Time to Speak is filled with suspense and action.

Friday, February 3, 2023

A Few of My Favorite Things

I’m always bad when someone asks what is my favorite something. “I have a lot of favorites,” I complain. But as I was thinking about it recently, I came up with a few favorites.


Book: To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. I read this book again not too long ago, to make sure it was still my favorite. It is. Still brings tears to my eyes.


There’s so much I can learn about writing from Harper Lee, and I want to be as good a story-teller as Scout Finch.


Food: Hamburger with all the fixings.


Song: “He Is,” by Aaron Jeoffrey.


Movie: The Sound of Music—“These are a few of my favorite things…”


Flower: daisies. Especially tiny wild ones.


Color: orange. I met a lady this week who said her favorite color is orange too. “It’s a happy color.”


I don’t watch much TV anymore, but I have a couple favorite shows I love watching reruns of: “West Wing” and “MASH.”


Book of the Bible: The Gospel of John. When I was in college, I was having trouble believing in God, and a minister suggested I read the book of John. Many years later, this book still touches me.


John 20:30-31: Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


Dessert: Chocolate anything. ’Cept maybe chocolate-covered bacon. Mmm, well, I guess I’d be willing to try that.


When my kids ask me, I always say I have five favorite kids—my favorite Ping-Hwei, my favorite Sarah…