CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Review and Book Drawing for AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE


An Irishwoman’s Tale by Patti Lacy (see blog entry below) is based on a true story. The fact and fiction are woven together to tell Mary Freeman’s story—a delightful and sometimes haunting tale of her being torn from her mother’s bosom in a dingy Irish cottage and sent to live with a couple in Chicago.

Mary’s lifelong yearnings are to have a best friend and to understand why her mother let her be sent away. Living with a new mother who is distant and cold and a philandering father of prominent social stature who buries himself in the bottle, Mary’s bears her longings alone, unable to trust herself or others. Paul Freeman, a gentle, hardworking man gently guides and encourages her, both in their marriage and in the difficult relationship with her adoptive parents. But it isn’t until Mary opens her heart to Sally, a new acquaintance at the tennis club, that Mary really begins her journey to learning who she is.

The settings are evocative with detail and voice that put the reader in the wilds of Ireland, an American home where love is not expressed, a parochial school classroom, a farm in Indiana, and Mary’s own tortured heart. The prose is achingly lovely, and while the ending is satisfying and complete, there were times I wanted to know more about Sally, the friend, who gives unselfishly of her time and her presence to travel Mary’s road with her. In Sally, Mary does find the friend she’s always wanted and through Sally’s insistence, a trip to Ireland to unravel her past.

Friendship. The unseen grace of God. Deliverance. And hope.

An excellent read that I will be dwelling on for a long time.

Leave a comment on this post before noon on Friday, November 7. In the post, tell me your all-time favorite setting for a book and your contact information.

Thanks, and may the luck of the Irish be wi’ ye!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ah . . . Do You Remember These?

Does anyone remember the Statler Brothers? Max and I loved this group in the 70s and 80s, so much, in fact, that we own all their CDs and have seen them onstage in four different states. In 1983, we planned our entire vacation around going to their annual 4th of July celebration in their hometown—Staunton, VA.

The Statlers retired a few years ago, and I’ve missed them—their unapologetic love of God, country, and families, the four-part harmony, and story songs that became their signature “voice.” They clowned around, sang about times gone by, and pierced my heart with achingly beautiful love songs.

Andy, our oldest son, was indoctrinated with their “gospel” music from an early age and announced that he liked Grandma Pat’s church because they sang Statler Brothers’ songs. The song that day? “How Great Thou Art.”

It was Andy who found this video and sent it my way. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, October 24, 2008


We all need a break once in a while. So today I’m taking a short breather from my novel revisions to bring you some pictures of what we did last weekend.

It was fall break for the school kiddos, so Max and I were recruited . . . er, volunteered to watch Scott and Denice’s three kids. Lovely weekend for all of us. Scott and Denice got a break from their busy lives of working, chasing kids, and handing out hugs to get away for their tenth anniversary (You know you're old when your children are celebrating double digit anniversaries!). The twins got a break from Kindergarten. And we got a break from our stilted routine.

Some of the things we did: Took the gang to Pumpkin Town (pics below), painted the pumpkins we purchased, took trips to the park (Max did this on Saturday and then had to follow up on Sunday with an encore trip), read books, brought Chinese in one night and pizza another.

All of the kids enjoyed the new book I got recently from Andy McGuire—Rainy Day Games. Such a fun book from a great author and editor at Moody Publishers (although Harvest House did the book).

For a few days, our lives were suspended, but investing time with our grandchildren was just the right break for all of us. Hope that you and yours take time to paint a pumpkin or swing from the monkey bars this month. You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Have You Seen The Afictionado E-Zine?

I've told you about the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference I went to last month. Not all of you could swing it this year, either due to cost, distance, or other obligations. Now, though, you can have the conference in a nutshell - and for free!

Check out this month's AFICTIONADO E - ZINE. This monthly online magazine is always full of fun stuff and great information, but once again, the e-zine editors, Michael Ehret and Kristin Bliss have put together a conference extravaganza - a short article about EVERY session, workshop, and late night session from the 2009 Conference. So, it's like a mini-conference all in one place.

I was fortunate this year to be part of the conference "editorial staff", and I invite you to check out the articles I worte: YA Palooza, Writing For Teens here and CBA vs. ABA here. Grab a mug of your favorite fall latte or cocoa and click over there now, but a note of caution. Once you're there, you'll want to stay a while. There are sooooo many great, informative articles. Expect to be encouraged and inspired to get back in the writing groove or take your writing career to a new level.

I'm off now to finish reading all the great entries.

Monday, October 13, 2008


We have attended more weddings this year than we have total in the last five years. Love must be in the air, and it is so encouraging to see young couples in love, their feet on the ground, and their heads in the clouds.
Weekend before last, my nephew, Robbie, married his sweetheart, Kylee, in a beautiful, just-before-sunset, outdoor wedding. They will both soon graduate from college and are adorable together. I thought you would enjoy these pictures.

Kylee and Robbie - With This Ring

My sister, Marsha, with two of her boys, Jonathan on the left, and Robbie, the groom with the pink boutonniere. The wedding colors were chocolate and this yummy shade of pink. Just a perfect evening - a lovely Texas twilight, a host of family and friends, and a celebration. The reception was starlit with a million twinkle lights, a great dinner buffet and an evening of dancing. There's just something about a wedding in Texas - all those tapping feet and the warm hospitality of Kylee's family. Thanks for including us - we loved it!

God's riches blessings to you, Kylee and Robbie.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Guest Blogging Today at Seekerville

I'm guest blogging today at Seekerville.

Drop by and see what I've been up to with my recent novel revisions.

See you next week!