Thursday, May 31, 2007

Surprise In The Mail

As wonderful as it is to giveaway things monthly, there's nothing quite as exciting as opening a sealed envelope and/or unboxing a parcel and finding love. Today, the postmaster's assistant gave me a ring to inform me that the box they'd set aside for my mails/packages was already filled to the brim (FYI: The postmaster had to bring a box to their office to contain my mails because he said, "Your mails just keep coming..everyday!")

I went back home to work on my template design without having time to open them, so I spent the afternoon wondering what was inside. Believe me, I was waiting for 5 pm impatiently. As soon as the clock hit 5 pm, I opened the small boxes impatiently. I have to say that I love this moment when a surprise arrives and that I don’t have any clue about it. I like to try to guess what surprise lies within the enclosed package.

So I opened the box and discovered these:

Oh, aren't they lovely?

posted by Rachelle
at 1:02 PM


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Spirit of Sweetgrass by Nicole Seitz

Integrity/Thomas Nelson (March 6, 2007)


Nicole Seitz is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and freelance writer/illustrator published in South Carolina Magazine, Charleston Magazine, House Calls, The Island Packet and The Bluffton Packet.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism, she also has a bachelor's degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Nicole is an exhibiting artist in the Charleston, South Carolina area where she owns a web design firm and lives with her husband and two small children.


Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins is a 78-year-old sweetgrass basket weaver who sits on the side of Hwy. 17 in the company of her dead husband, Daddy Jim.

Inspired by her Auntie Leona, Essie Mae finally discovers her calling in life and weaves powerful "love baskets," praying fervently over them to affect the lives of those who visit her roadside stand.

Relations are strained with her daughter Henrietta, who thinks Essie belongs in a retirement center. If Essie can't pay $10,000 in back taxes to save her home, she may have no choice. More tensions: her grandson EJ wants to marry a white girl, Essie discovers that a handsome man she's trying to find a girl for is gay, and her daughter carries a hidden secret.

When she's faced with losing her home and her stand and being put in a nursing home, Daddy Jim talks her into coming on up to Heaven to meet sweet Jesus-something she's always wanted to do.

The SPIRIT OF SWEETGRASS shifts less successfully to the afterlife, where her Gullah-Creole ancestors surround her; but soon, her heavenly peace is disrupted, for she still has work to do. Now Essie Mae, who once felt powerless and invisible, must find the strength within her to keep her South Carolina family from falling apart. Together, with Daddy Jim, they team up to return to Earth and battle two spirits conjured up by Henrietta's voodoo that threatens to ruin an attempt to save the sweetgrass basket weaving culture.


posted by Rachelle
at 9:50 PM


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Snitch (The Occupational Hazard Series) by Rene Gutteridge

(WaterBrook Press May 15, 2007)


Rene Gutteridge is the author of several novels, including Ghost Writer (Bethany House Publishers), The Boo Series (WaterBrook Press) and the Storm Series, (Tyndale House Publishers. She released three novels in 2006: Storm Surge (Tyndale), My Life as a Doormat (WestBow Press, Women of Faith) Occupational Hazards Book #1: Scoop (WaterBrook Press).

Rene Gutteridge has also been published over thirty times as a playwright, best known for her Christian comedy sketches. She studied screenwriting under a Mass Communications degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University, and earned the "Excellence in Mass Communication" award. She served as the full-time Director of Drama for First United Methodist Church for five years before leaving to stay home and write. She enjoys instructing at writer's conferences and in college classrooms. She lives with her husband, Sean, a musician, and their children in Oklahoma City.


Old School meets New School meets Homeschool

Just shy of retirement and a well-earned pension, Las Vegas Police Department Sergeant Ron Yeager's definition of "active duty" involves shifting his bad leg into a more comfortable position. But when he's requested from his mind-numbing desk job to head an undercover auto theft task force, the former narcotics officer determines to prove he's still got the right stuff.

That is...until he meets his unlikely team of officers.

As Yeager soon finds out, not all the crazies are on the street. An undercover rookie, the audaciously honest Mackenzie "Mack" Hazard sends Yeager's blood pressure skyrocketing by wearing her faith like an ever-present badge. Then there's Jesse Lunden, a maverick undercover officer who refuses to learn anything from an old guy with a cane. Can this tangle of egos and eccentrics be trained into a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine...even while they are being drawn into something much bigger and more dangerous than anyone imagined?

In her trademark style, Rene Gutteridge blends zany, original characters, sincere faith, and surprising plot twists into one hilariously addictive read.


"Snitch is an engaging crime novel, balanced between sheer whimsy and genuine human drama."
....CHRIS WELL, author of Tribulation House

"A wonderful, fully developed ensemble cast makes Snitch an entertaining, engaging read. Rene's flair for a comedic, well-turned phrase shines here. Snitch is worth snatching."
...SUSAN MEISSNER, author of Widows and Orphans


posted by Rachelle
at 2:56 PM


Saturday, May 26, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

The Rules Are:

Post your responses.
Tag anywhere from 1-5 friends.
Leave comments to let them know they've been tagged.
Come back and leave a comment when your post is up.

Ok, here goes:

Next 5 books on your to be read shelf:

These Boots Weren't Made for Walking by Melody Carlson
Snitch by Rene Gutteridge
Murder by Manicure by Nancy Cohen
What a Girl Wants by Kristin Billerbeck
Consider Lily by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt

Last 4 books you've read:

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
Without Honor by Elizabeth Stuart
This Pen for Hire by Laura Levine
Never Ceese by Sue Dent

Last 3 non-fiction books you've read:

Living Alive by Dero Pedero
Know Him Completely by Jenny King
Cellulite by Nicole Ronsard

The 2 books you wish everyone would read:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Last book you've borrowed (library or friend):

Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy

If you're reading this, you've been tagged by ME!!

posted by Rachelle
at 11:11 PM


Some Favorite Quotes

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted." ~Mae West

"Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often." ~Mae West

"When I'm good, I'm very, very good. But when I'm bad, I'm better." ~Mae

"Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone." ~Dorothy

"I don't know much about being a millionaire, but I bet I'd be darling at it." ~Dorothy Parker

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

"I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

"When you come to a roadblock, take a detour." ~Barbara Bush

"I'd rather regret the things I've done than the things I haven't done."
~ Lucille Ball

posted by Rachelle
at 9:14 PM


35 things

I stole this from Gena Showalter, who stole it from Michelle Rowen.
Rule: You answer all the questions using only one word.

1. WHERE IS YOUR CELL PHONE?: Bogo (in the hands of a new owner)
2. RELATIONSHIP?: loyalty
3. YOUR HAIR?: straight
4. WORK?: multi-tasking
5. YOUR SISTER?: lovechild
8. YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?: tea (lady grey tea from Twinings)
9. YOUR DREAM CAR?: Porsche
10. THE ROOM YOU'RE IN?: sala
11. YOUR SHOES?: box
12. YOUR FEARS?: failure
13. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS?: mother (of twins)
15. WHAT ARE YOU NOT GOOD AT?: dieting
16. MUFFIN?: sure!
18. WHERE YOU GREW UP? Consolacion
20. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?: jammies
22. YOUR PET?: Cheyenne
23. YOUR COMPUTER?: bestbuddy
24. YOUR LIFE?: well-spent
25. YOUR MOOD?: happy
26. MISSING?: pizza (from Roma Mia)
28. YOUR CAR?: none (yet)
29. YOUR KITCHEN?: tidy
30. YOUR SUMMER?: great
31. YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?: red (shades of it)
33. LAST TIME YOU CRIED?: yesterday
34. SCHOOL?: shudder
35. LOVE?: great

posted by Rachelle
at 7:45 PM


Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Sword Review

Sword Review is a speculative fiction magazine targeted to adult readers aged 14 and up. It seeks and showcases thought-provoking sci-fi/fantasy stories, essays and poetry (including occasional reviews) that entertain, uplift, enlighten and expand the reader's mind. It started as an online magazine a.k.a. webzine and has evolved into a print magazine after the turn of 2006. The print magazine at this time includes only fiction, poetry, and illustrations. Have a look around the magazine by clicking the image below:

The Sword Review

Submission Guidelines:

For sci-fi/fantasy writers looking for a new market, the submission guidelines can be found at:

The Sword Review is very well stocked with fiction as of the moment but they are still looking for illustrations and poetry.


Currently, they pay 1/2 cent per word up to $25.00 ($5.00 minimum) for one-time electronic rights and if the work appears in print, the author receives one free contributor copy, as well.


The magazine asks for the following rights from contributors whose work has been accepted for publication.


posted by Rachelle
at 9:53 PM


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

B.S. Time Management

I'm reading Dan Kennedy's book "No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs" because like a lot of people I have time challenges. Dan is one of America's most successful businessmen and I recommend this book.

Every page or two has a great idea, at least, so in the interest of time I'm only going to share a couple of ideas here.

First, gleaning and sparking the imagination for new ideas is an essential part of success. The late Earl Nightingale wrote:

"a single thought can revolutionize your life. A single thought can make you rich or well-to-do, or it can land you in prison for the rest of your life. Everything was an idea before it became real in the world . . . the law of averages begins to swing in your direction when you produce ideas."
That's profound and the keyword in that wisdom is "produce" because in reality you cannot "manage time" - but you can manage your activities and what you do as time passes.

Dan recommends an approach I've used for years. People have fetishes of all kinds; mine are notebooks and cards. I buy a new notebook every time I get excited about starting something new. And I keep a stack of note cards around to capture the ideas I have. Whether you decide the idea is worth pursuing or not, you should still capture it because it may be the seed for something else.

I break my projects down on note cards, writing the basic essential steps along the way on a fresh, clean card. When that task is complete, I get rid of the card. It's a good way to move forward and build in a sense of accomplishment along the way.

How you use your time this day will create a ripple effect that ultimately determines where you will be one year from this day - and the final destination ten-years from this day.

posted by Rachelle
at 12:31 PM


Monday, May 21, 2007

Defiant Heart by Tracey Bateman

(Avon Inspire May 8, 2007)


Tracey Bateman lives in Missouri with her husband and four children. Their rural home provides a wonderful atmosphere for a writer's imagination to grow and produce characters, plots, and settings.

In 1994, with three children to raise, she and her husband agreed that she should go to college and earn a degree. In a freshman English class, her love for writing was rekindled, and she wrote a short story that she later turned into a book.

Her college career was cut short with the news of their fourth baby's impending arrival, but the seeds of hope for a writing career had already taken root. Over the next several years she wrote, exchanged ideas with critique partners, studied the craft of writing, and eventually all the hard work paid off.

She currently has over twenty-five books published in a variety of genres. Tracey Bateman believes completely that God has big plans for his Kids and that all things are possible to anyone who will put their hope and trust in God!


Will Fannie be able to keep her family...and her heart, safe and find a new life on the frontier?

Book One of the Westward Hearts series, orphans Fannie Caldwell and her two young siblings have spent the last three years as indentured servants under a cruel master. Desperately wanting a better life for her brother and sister, Fannie devises a plan to secretly join a wagon train heading west.

Her plan immediately runs into trouble when the handsome yet bullheaded wagon master Blake Tanner refuses to allow an unmarried woman on the train.

But Fannie's determined...she'll escape and go west with or without help!

As life on the trail tests everyone's endurance and faith, Fannie soon realizes the perils of being a single woman on the frontier. Witnessing Fannie fending off one scare after another, Blake slowly recognizes how much he cares for this alluring young woman.

Will Blake sacrifice his own dreams and guide Fannie to safety?

Or will Fannie's stubborn independence keep her from finding true love?


posted by Rachelle
at 7:15 PM


Eye Candy Monday

Presenting James Franco

He auditioned for the role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man, but was given the part of Harry Osbourne. James appeared in two movies that premiered on the same day: Deuces Wild and Spider-Man, both opening on May 3rd. The success of the two films was highly varied as Spider-Man film has to date amassed a box office gross some 67 times greater than that of Deuces. In his spare time, he likes to paint. He was named one of People Magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors in 2004. He has his own production company: Rabbit Bandini Productions. He went by the name of Ted in high school.

Check him out in Spider Man 3!

posted by Rachelle
at 1:17 PM


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finding Your Voice

One of the biggest problems for writers is finding their own voice. Part of the problem is that for the most part we feel like we are nobodies in the writing world, beginners. No one will want to read what we write, so we try to write like someone else, instead of using our own voice. Which brings up a very important question. How
do we find our own voice? Remember all the rules we learned in school? Write complete sentences, never end a sentence with a proposition. Use synonyms for "said" like screamed, shouted, whispered, croaked, growled. Well, the trouble with these rules is
that they don't work in real writing. I'm not saying forget all the rules. Some of them are important, but some of them are not. A careful reading of your work will show you what works. Trust your own instincts.

Listen to the way you talk, to the way others talk. How many incomplete sentences do you hear? How many times do you end a sentence with a preposition? We don't speak proper English, and the characters in your book shouldn't either.

Don't imitate. Read other writers to learn how they handle dialogue, scenes, suspense, but never try to imitate their style. Imitation may be a form of flattery, but it won't get you published. Your writing should sound like you. I once created a sarcastic, smart-mouthed older woman and everyone who read it said, "That's Barbara."
Evidently my voice was coming through just fine. Remember, the publishing world isn't looking for another John Grisham, or a new Patricia Cornwell. They want someone who doesn't sound like everyone else. Let your personality show through your writing.

Don't try to be everything to everyone. Some people love Dean Koontz or Stephen King. Others wouldn't read these writers unless you paid them. You can't please everyone. Most of us have a public voice and a private voice. The public voice is cleaned up, prettied up, safe. When we write with our public voice, it may sound good, but it
isn't us. Our private voice is more personal, intense, emotional, less controlled, our tell it like it is voice. Forget the safe, proper public voice and write it the way you feel. When you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to nobody.

Write the way you talk. Even more important, write the way you think. And don't try to be politically correct. Politically correctness is censorship. It will result in bland, boring writing. You don't have to be offensive, but don't adopt a style that isn't your own voice, either, just to meet someone's list of rules. However, a word of advice. Remember not all of your readers have the same opinions you have. Leave your politics out of writing. Don't cram your opinions down your reader's throat, and expect him to come back for more.

Find your own method of plotting and writing. I've tried plotting methods from the writing books, and ended up with a confused mess. I've found a method that works for me. I outline the first half of the manuscript. Then when I have the story going I outline the rest. I print each chapter as I finish it and then read it over and correct it that night. And I read the entire manuscript over and over until it's the best I can make it before I submit it. That's what I do. But that doesn't mean you have to do the same. We each have a different personality, a different way of doing things. Don't get hung up on what the writing books say. Read them, and then use what
works for you.

Don't talk down to your reader. Your reader won't be like most of the people you know. Most of the people I know don't read much. My readers are people like me. They read what I read, like what I like. They probably know as much or more than I do. It's insulting to explain everything to them, as if they aren't smart enough to figure it out for themselves. Tell them what they need to know, and turn them loose. Don't start with back story either. Start out with your main character doing something, and expect the reader to catch on. (Don't be so vague no one could understand what's going on, but don't feel you have to explain every little detail either)

Make sure your dialogue stays in character and moves the story forward. Spend a little time getting acquainted with your characters before you ever start to write. Get to know them. Who are you when you write? Are you the little girl lost in the park? Or are you the woman thinking of having an affair with her boss? Are you the
kid working in a go-nowhere job and dreaming of something more exciting? Know your characters so well you can speak through them the way no one else could. And make your characters sympathetic. I read a lot of manuscripts where the character is hateful, sarcastic, or unsympathetic. When I point this out, the writer will say, "but she changes later in the book. The trouble is, your reader may not be
around that long. Write characters you like, even your villains. Characters you can understand and identify with. Then you can let them be the kind of characters you have created, but still be true to your voice. No matter what genre in which you write, always know your characters. Then we'll hear your voice.

I know I've said, write for your reader, but one way to do that and remain true to your own voice is to write for yourself. Write what interests you, and you'll interest others. It's hard to write with passion if you don't feel passionate, and we are only passionate if we care. Only if we care enough will our voice show in
our writing. If your writing reads like someone else (or everyone else) wrote it, then it's not your true voice. There will always be a writer who can write funnier than you can, a better romance writer or western writer. The one thing no one else can do is put your personality on the page. That's what makes you special and that's
what moves you closer to being published. Don't imitate. Create. And don't try to be like someone else. Just be yourself. Write the way you feel, the way you think and talk. That's your true voice.

posted by Rachelle
at 11:11 PM


Saturday, May 19, 2007

How-to Tip For Writers

Punctuation proves to be a huge stumbling block for many writers. One thing I notice a lot in the stories I crit and e-books I read is the misuse of the poor little comma. The comma is such a misunderstood punctuation mark. When you have a subject that is doing two actions seperated by and do not place a comma between the first action and the and. For example, this sentence is incorrect:

The dog barked, and pulled against its leash.

Why writers insist on putting a comma in such a sentence truly stymies me. Dog is the subject and the subject is both barking and pulling. No comma is needed. However, if you have a succession of actions by the same subject, then commas are required.

The dog barked, pulled against its leash, and wet on the ground.

Test time! Which of the following sentences are wrong?

1. She sat down at the table and picked up a fork.

2. The clock struck midnight and Gloria snatched up her coat realizing she was late.

3. John walked to the door, and answered it.

4. Running across the lawn, the girl tripped and fell.

Now, if you picked numbers 2 and 3 as the incorrect sentences for comma usage, then you get a big purple zinnia (Hey, it's my version of a gold star.) for your good work, lol.

The first sentence is correct because the subject she sat down and picked up the fork, so she is doing *both* actions. The second sentence is wrong because two different subjects are doing two different things, so a comma is needed after midnight to seperate it from Gloria.

The third sentence is wrong because John walked to the door *and* answered it, thus he's the subject performing two actions. No comma is needed! And in the last sentence, we have a participle phrase, followed by the subject who both trips and falls. The only place a comma is need is after the participle phrase.

posted by Rachelle
at 12:36 PM


Recipe for Love: Almond and Bittersweet Chocolate Fondue

10 oz bittersweet chocolate (60%)
3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup amaretto
3/4 cup heavy cream, warm
3/4 cup milk, warm
1 cup sugar


Toasted chinks of nut breads
Pound cake, cut into medium sized cubes
Banana, sliced
Candied ginger or citrus fruits

Place the chopped bittersweet chocolate into a bowl and sift the coco powder over. Add the butter to the bowl and melt all together over a double boiler.
Heat the milk, cream, amaretto, and sugar together in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the fire, stir to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved.
Whisk the cream mixture into the melted chocolate and then transfer to a fondue pot.

Serve with garnishes and feed to your partner!

posted by Rachelle
at 11:51 AM


Friday, May 18, 2007

Orchard of Hope by Ann Gabhart

(Revell March 1, 2007)


Ann H. Gabhart has published a number of adult and young adult novels with several different publishers. The author of The Scent of Lilacs, Ann and her husband live a mile from where she was born in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. She is active in her country church, and her husband sings bass in a southern gospel quartet.


Nothing will be the same after the summer of 1964.

Drought has gripped the quiet Kentucky town of Hollyhill, and the town seems as if it is holding its breath--waiting. Jocie Brooke is nervous about starting high school. Her sister Tabitha is experiencing the weariness of waiting for a new baby. Her father David is feeling the timidity of those first steps toward true love. All of these pivotal steps in life are awaiting the Brooke family.

Into this cloud of tense anticipation, a black family from Chicago, the Hearndons move here to plant an orchard outside of town. Fresh off the Freedom Train, Myra Hearndon is sensitive to what the color of her skin may mean in a Southern town. Her family will have to contend with more than the dry ground and blazing sun as they try to create their ORCHARD OF HOPE.

Jocie finds herself befrending a boy that some townspeople shun. Due to unspoken racial lines in this southern town, the presence of these newcomers sparks a smoldering fire of unrest that will change Hollyhill..and Jocie...forever.

In this close-knit community, everything is about to change.


posted by Rachelle
at 8:30 PM


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why English is Hard to Learn

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn: Yet it can be done!!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France (Surprise!). Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? Is it an odd, or an end? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"?

posted by Rachelle
at 8:24 PM


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Missing Secret to Ultimate Success

Don't probe darkness to understand light.
Don't dwell on sickness to be healthy.
Don't indulge in thoughts of lack to have supply.
Don't dwell in misery to understand happiness.

-- Lester Levenson, from The Ultimate Truth

I am sure that you have heard such profound truths said by others, in other ways.
However, the challenge with this advice is "How do I 'don't' do that?"

It is one thing to say, "Think positive", "Focus only on what you want", and "Don't give counsel to your fears". That's all great advice, but when you feel caught up in life's drama how do you avoid it?

Imagine what your life becomes when you toss aside as little as fifty-percent of the negative thoughts and feelings that go where you go.

Right now, could you feel a little happier?

Could you feel a little more in-love?

Could you feel a little more secure?

Could you feel a little more loved?

Could you feel a little richer?

You certainly could and I know you can. We all can. In fact, there is no limit to how happy, in-love, secure, loved and richer you can feel. And when that's how you feel, that's what you have in your life.

The only thing you need to do is learn how to let those negative feelings leave your life. As you do, . . .

You will feel happier . . . and you will be happier.
You will feel in-love . . . and you will be in-love.
You will feel secure . . . and you will be secure.
You will feel loved . . . and you will be loved.
You will feel richer . . . and you will be richer.

posted by Rachelle
at 1:21 PM


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Historical Figure of the Month: Marie Antoinette

"Let them eat cake", one of the most infamous quotes in world history, has long been attributed to Marie Antoinette, the French Queen who was beheaded for treason. But did she actually say the very words that brought about her demise? Recent evidence suggests that, no, she never did.

"There is nothing new except what has been forgotten."

"I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long."

"Farewell, my children, forever. I go to your Father."

And my favorite Marie Antoinette quote:

"Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it at the moment when my sufferings are to end?"

posted by Rachelle
at 1:32 PM


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bandwidth Bites!

I really had no issue with bandwidths before. Never even knew what they are. But just this morning, as I was checking my blogs and websites to check their page rank (because someone offered me $25 for every site with PR 4 and above that I could trade links with), I was greeted with a blatant error message, "Lots of peeps! Transfer exceeded" and it's on my main website!

Oh, no, not again... Do I really have that many visitors? Hmm..

FYI: In website hosting, the term "bandwidth" is often used metaphorically, to describe the amount of data that can be transferred to or from the website or server, measured in bytes transferred over a prescribed period of time. This can be more accurately described as "Monthly Data Transfer".

Web hosting companies often quote a monthly bandwidth limit for a website, for example 500 gigabytes per month. If visitors to the website download a total greater than 500 gigabytes in one month, the bandwidth limit will have been exceeded.

Without shilly-shallying, I took the bull by the horns and transferred my files to my new domain (domain and hosting was paid for me by as compensation for my creative services). It took me a while before I had all 290 objects (with 96 html files) transferred to its new home (I could hardly believe I created that number of pages and edited that many pictures). I checked the site again and realized I put them on the main domain. Since I'm sharing the main domain with my fiance I've decided to place it on a subdomain... a new subdomain because I have other plans for I thought for a moment and decided on so it'd look like a quasi domain.

Moving files... and DONE!

Needless to say, I also created a new e-mail address. My friends can now email me at this new address: (Cool email addy isn't it?)

Now, I'm feeling like a million dollars (though I'd only be getting $25 for that site and nothing for blogging about it). Still, I couldn't feel any better! I would've never thought I could handle a client FTP software, and navigate through the control panel of my domain without having to go through the menu over and over again to find what I was looking for! It really pays to learn and get techy! (I couldn't believe I just admitted that!)

posted by Rachelle
at 5:06 PM


Friday, May 11, 2007


EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! An extra special post is coming out today, May 11th, for an extra special author. The man who started to ball rolling for FIRST, Chris Well, has a new book out and we have decided to give him an extra plug.

So, give all your attention to:

Chris Well

and his book:

Tribulation House

Chris Well is a member of the CFBA and founder of its sister organization, FIRST. He is an acclaimed novelist and award–winning magazine editor and has previously written the “laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers” Deliver Us from Evelyn and Forgiving Solomon Long (one of Booklist’s Top 10 Christian Novels of 2005). He has also contributed to 7ball, Infuze, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Chris and his wife live in Tennessee, where he is hard at work on his next novel.



I might as well just tell you right now, I killed Reverend Daniel Glory. Back there at the church, in his study.

But this is my story. Don't let anyone tell you different. My dad always said we all write our own story. Of course, I guess that's why it worked out so well for him.

Why did I kill Reverend Daniel Glory? Sure, it was an accident. More or less. At least, I think it was.

I don't know, we were arguing about the Rapture and it kind of got out of hand and then I just --

Wait. Wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.

This all started about three months ago, when Reverend Daniel Glory told us we needed to do our Tribulation House earlier than --

Oh. Wait.

Okay, I guess this actually started last year when Marvin Dobbs left the church. Our church. The Last Church of God's Imminent Will.

A year ago last summer, Marvin left with some of the other families to start a new church, and he took his Armageddon House" multimedia show with him.

You do know about Armageddon House, right? Every Halloween for the past three or four years, Marvin and our team put together a special multimedia presentation explaining the Great Tribulation, which ends with the Battle of Armageddon.

Wait -- you don't know about the Great Tribulation? It's that seven-year period between the Rapture and the Triumphant Return of Jesus Christ, as described in the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel and the Apostles Paul and John. After the Lord Jesus takes His Bride home, there are going to be seven years of horrible judgment inflicted on those who are left b --

What? The murder of Reverend Glory? I'm getting to that.

Well, anyway, when Marvin left to form his little offshoot splinter group, we discovered he had actually trademarked the name "Armageddon House." Imagine that.

When the board at church met to discuss the matter, we considered doing Armageddon House anyway without him. Just reconstruct it from memory and copy or use materials from previous years. Use the same name, business as usual. Just ignore the cease-and-desist letter, let God and His angels work that out.

But we decided we didn't want to be associated with Armageddon House anymore. I mean, if Marvin and his new "fellowship" planned to stage their own Armageddon House, the risk of confusion in the marketplace was enough to rebuild ours as a brand-new event.

Which is how we ended up with Tribulation House. It was an opportunity for a new beginning. We went through a whole list of potential names -- I came up with Kingdom Come, but was voted down -- before we settled on Tribulation House.

We sat down and worked through the whole grid. Instead of imagining how to simply explain or show a picture of each bowl of wrath and each trumpet of judgment, we created an entire theatrical event.

Yeah, we could have set up the charts and graphs and the overhead projector. But today's audience, this last generation, they're kind of jaded about flannel graph presentations, know what I mean?

These kids today, with their Spongebob Squarepants and their American Bandstand and their Buffy The Vampire Slayer, they need the bells and whistles and the like.

The kids don't need a lot of explanation. They need a demonstration.

You see, that was the challenge, wasn't it? It's one thing to say "the moon was blackened" or "the waters turned to blood" or "men were stung by enormous flying scorpions" -- but how do you make it happen right here, right before their eyes?

In the end, we created Tribulation House: A full-sensory immersive interactive dramatic theatrical evangelistic event that simulates what it will actually be like to live through the events of the Great Tribulation. An entire full-service prophetic experience.

You'd be surprised how much of it we accomplished with sound and light. We developed the various rooms throughout the church basement. Some college kids created soundscapes for each event. We wrote up a full script for the actors; they played everything from people caught up in the events, to the world armies fighting the Most Holy, to the father of lies himself, bound and thrown into the pit for a millennium.

The murder of Reverend Daniel Glory? I'm getting to that.

So we were working out the blueprints for creating Tribulation House as a major theatrical evangelistic full-sensory ministry outreach. We had debated the merits of various slogans for the event -- the leading contenders were WE'LL SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU; GET RIGHT OR GET LEFT; and THE TIME IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK. While the first slogan was a favorite of several board members, for its bracing, truthful stance, in the end we worried that the neighbors would misunderstand. So we went with the second slogan, for its simple, instructional message.

And I remember that our chief carpenter, Bill Broadstreet, was giving us his estimate for the physical construction to be done on the project. Suddenly, Reverend Daniel Glory burst in with some news.

"Friends!" There was a glow on the Reverend's face unlike we had seen before. The man stood there in the doorway to the church basement, leaning against the doorframe, wheezing to catch his breath. "Jesus is coming back!"

The room was silent. We all stared. At first, we wondered why he was saying this right then. After all, he preached on this topic every week. But then he dropped this bomb: "And I know when!"

Okay, that was a new one. Collectively, everyone in the room gasped. One of us, I don't even remember who it was, asked, "When, Reverend?"

"October 17."

Five months.

"5:51 a.m." Reverend Daniel Glory waved the papers clutched in his hand. Later, I would wonder what he was waving at us. His Bible study? His calculations? All I know is he grinned ear to ear and said, "The Rapture is going to happen at 5:51 a.m. on October 17."

Everyone around the meeting table reacted differently. Some were stunned into silence, others screamed with joy. One noisy woman loudly sobbed and clapped.

Reverend Daniel Glory came into room, face aglow with thrill and exhaustion, and dragged a chair from the wall over to our table. He sat, waiting until everyone was silent again. "I now have incontrovertible proof that the Rapture takes place this coming October."

I'm sure I grinned bigger than anyone in the room. "What reason do you have to say that?"

Reverend Daniel Glory looked at me and winked. "Why stop with one reason, boy? I got one hundred and seven of 'em!"

Of course, you know what this meant. We were going to have to step up the production of Tribulation House.

(I still can't believe it's not Kingdom Come.)

Excerpted from: Tribulation House by Chris Well
Copyright © 2007; ISBN-13 978-0736917414
Published by
Harvest House Publishers (April 3, 2007)
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.

posted by Rachelle
at 7:19 PM


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace

(Multnomah April 16, 2007)


Amy Wallace is a member of the CFBA and an avid blogger. A self-confessed chocoholic, this freelance writer is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and serves as the liaison for the training division of the county police department. Amy is a contributing author of God Answers Moms' Prayers, God Allows U-Turns for Teens, Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers. She lives in Georgia with her husband and three daughters.

Chained To Yesterday

When tragedy struck and Gracie Lang lost everything, her faith crumbled, and nothing but the drive for justice propelled her forward. But after two years of dead-end searching, the truth Gracie seeks is the very thing her stalker will stop at nothing to hide.

Forgiveness Unlocks the Future

An FBI agent in the Crimes Against Children Unit, Steven Kessler spends his days rescuing other people’s children and nights caring for his son. He’s through with God, embittered by his ex-wife who abandoned them both, and definitely doesn’t expect what’s coming next.

The Past Is the Key

A plot to kidnap a British ambassador’s daughter dangerously intersects Steven and Gracie’s worlds–a collision that demands a decision. But are they willing to pay the high ransom required to redeem dreams and reignite hope?


posted by Rachelle
at 6:38 PM


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spotlight News

Yowza! My heart went zing and popped today! I've just been spotlighted at The Bright Light Café Featured Talent hall of fame. And note this, they created a page just for me! YAy! What a pleasure to be welcomed into the elite section of creative talent!! You can check the page they've put up for me here:

I'm so proud to say that one of the early poems I wrote in 2005 titled "Aurora" was narrated and recorded at The Bright Light Cafe. You can listen to the wonderful performance of this piece by the very talented Barbara Llewellyn by clicking the "PLAY" button below. (Don't forget to click the pause button on the mp3 player playing "Angel Tonight by Leigh Nash" located at the bottom left of this page to avoid sound interferences)

Aside from that, my Cebuano poem, "Ngano, Akong Pinangga?" was also picked from a pool of entries to be showcased at "Radyo Kalubihan", a local radio station here in the Philippines. Here's a completely raw version for your hearing pleasure.

posted by Rachelle
at 9:33 PM


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Toxins in the Kitchen

Eating for longevity begins in the kitchen. You may be eating only organic, antioxidant-rich foods, but if you cooked your food on the toxic surface of your stovetop in a carcinogenic no-stick pan, you just might be doing more harm than good. Find out how to make over your kitchen for health and long life!

Cut the Grease Without the Toxins
When you are facing a stovetop with a buildup of baked-on grease, don’t turn to commercial oven and stovetop cleaners - that is like cleaning with poison.

Instead, try baking soda. Just sprinkle baking soda on your stovetop, let it sit for five minutes and then scour the surface with either steel wool or scrubber. For the stubborn spots that refuse to be removed, try spraying this mixture on: mix dishwashing liquid, borax, and warm water together; let it sit for 20 minutes, and then scour it.

Microwave: Nothing to Rave About
People in the U. S. think microwaves are an ingenious time-saving device and wonder how anyone ever lived without one. Think again!

Microwaves use super-fast particles to literally radiate the contents of water inside food and bring it to boil. Not only has microwave use been linked to causing infertility in men, but it also denatures many of the essential proteins in the food making them virtually indigestible.

If you must, use the low setting just to heat the foods. Or better yet, get a small toaster oven or steam oven and warm your foods. Take your time and warm up your food in a safe and healthy way.

Poisonous Pots and Pans
Are your pots and pans poisoning you? If you are using copper or aluminum cookware, they might be. These metals interact with heat and food, and leach into your diet; gradually these will accumulate in your body, sometimes reaching the point of toxicity.

Toxic levels of aluminum have been linked to memory loss, headaches, indigestion, and brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. High levels of copper can debilitate the immune system and enable cancer cells to proliferate.

After scouring with abrasives, even stainless steel can release small amounts of toxic metals like chromium and nickel. Nonstick pans - although convenient in the kitchen - contain Teflon, a plastic that in recent years has been linked to immune disorders and possible cancer conditions.

My suggestion is to use cookware with porcelain enamel coating or made of glass, cast iron, or lead-free, terra-cotta clay.

Bad News About Canned Goods
In today’s industrialized world, it is more important than ever to search out fresh food, as much for the health benefits of locally grown produce as for the health dangers presented by the alternative.

Canned foods, though easier to use than cooking from scratch, are a threat to your health. The substance bisphenol A, used to line food cans, is classified as an endocrine disruptor, a compound that can act like a hormone when it enters the human system.

Scientists have discovered that exposure to these chemicals can contribute to prostate cancer, breast cancer, cystic ovaries, and endometriosis.

I hope you receive the longevity rewards that come from making over your kitchen! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

by Dr. Maoshing Ni

posted by Rachelle
at 10:03 PM


Monday, May 07, 2007

Eye Candy

Here are some hunks to tempt you.

eye candy mondayeye candy monday

posted by Rachelle
at 11:06 PM


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spell for Self-love

On a Sunday during a waxing Moon, in the fourth hour of darkness:

Light a white candle and another candle of your favorite color. Place a pink rose in a vase of water next to the candles. Place two halves of an apple before the candles.

Sit quietly before the candles. Feel yourself surrounded by pink light. Breathe the light.

Take one half of the apple in your right hand. Pass the apple into your left hand.

I honor and love myself as a whole being.
I take delight in myself and I affirm
There is much love within me.

Eat the half of the apple in your hand. Leave the other half as an offering until the Moon is full. Blow out the candles.

Taken from "Simple Spells for Love: Ancient Practices for Emotional Fulfillment by Barrie Dolnick's"


"To acquire love . . . fill yourself up with it until you become a magnet."
--Charles Haanel, 1866 to 1949

posted by Rachelle
at 9:49 PM


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mae West Qotes

A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up.

A hard man is good to find.

All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.

Any time you got nothing to do - and lots of time to do it - come on up.

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from.

Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.

Good sex is like good bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.

He who hesitates is a damned fool.

I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.

I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.

I've been in more laps than a napkin.

Love thy neighbor - and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.

Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.

To err is human, but it feels divine.

posted by Rachelle
at 9:28 PM


Friday, May 04, 2007

Writing Contests


KT Publishing 8th Annual Short Story Competition
Theme - Open
Length - 2,000
Prizes - 1st $350, 2nd $175 & 3rd $100 (AUD)
Entry Fee - Only AUD$7.50 per entry
Entry form at
Open to entrants worldwide (submit via email).
CLOSES: 31 May 2007

Post Road Magazine Writing Contest
Guidelines at

3rd Annual Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize
$2,400 in Prizes! Details at

Morrison House Hotel Short Story Contest
Details and entry form at

Tamarack Award Submissions
Official rules and entry guidelines at

Adirondack Life Writing Contest
Guidelines at

2008 Thoroughbred Times Fiction Writing Contest
Guidelines at

Baltimore Review Short Fiction Competition
Guidelines at

2007 Carter V. Cooper Memorial Prize
$1,000 plus publication.
Guidelines at

Lilith Magazine's Fifth Annual Fiction Competition
Submission instructions at

The Fourth Annual Labyrinth Society Writing Contest
looking for short stories/fiction, essays/non-fiction and poems that reflect the many experiences available through the labyrinth. More than $1,000 in Prizes! Details and entry form at

2008 Georgetown Review Contest
$1,000 and publication to the winningg short story, poem, or essay on the subject of redemption. Guidelines can be found at

Michigan Literary Fiction Awards
Guidelines at


Florence Poets Society's Annual Poetry Contest
Guidelines at

7th Annual Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest
$2,400 in Prizes! Details at

The Marlboro Prize in Poetry
Guidelines and entry form at

Lilith Magazine Poetry Prize
Submission instructions at

Quercus Review Poetry Series Annual Book Award
($1000 Stipend, Book Publication, & 50 Author Copies)
Guidelines at


Third Annual Gival Press Novel Award
Guidelines at


Student Essay Contest
Guidelines at

aBetterEarth 2007 Spring Essay Contest
Apply Now! Deadline: May 11, 2007
Note: Essays for this contest must be submitted online at

2007 aWorldConnected Spring Essay Contest
Guidelines at

posted by Rachelle
at 9:28 PM


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Taking the Fear Out of Career Change

A great article by Penelope Trunk...

Most of us will change careers at least three times in our lives. And most of us will be nervous at one point or another in the process.

Invariably, you're giving up the known to pursue the unknown. So, even if you hate your current career, it's still scary to give it up.

Five Steps to a New Life

I have a lot of experience in this arena. I've changed careers a lot, going from professional beach volleyball player to software marketer to entrepreneur to freelance writer. While I was doing that, my husband changed careers three times in five years.

Each change was different and difficult in its own way for both of us. But I've learned some tricks along the way to make career changes easier.

Here are five ideas to consider in your own career change:

1. Test things out before you make the leap.

You don't need to quit your current job to get started in a new career. Give yourself a chance to test things out. Try it on vacation or on the weekend. Try an internship -- there's no rule that says an intern has to be 19 years old.
It's very hard to predict what you'll like. Once you admit this and really try things out, you're much more likely to be accurate about what you're well-suited to do next.

The most effective way to make the very serious move of changing careers is to try out that career in a not-so-serious way. I've done this in the past, and I once discovered that I didn't end up liking the new career. This tactic can save you a lot of large missteps.

2. Talk about your change in a way that will make it happen.

When people ask you what you do -- or, even better, what you want to do -- you need an effective answer. Tell people what you're aiming to do and why it makes sense. This little speech is what will allow people to help you make that career change.

Laura Allen, co-founder of 15 Second Pitch, helps people figure out what to say when they want to make a career change. The key to answering the question "what do you do" is knowing yourself and knowing why you want to change. Once you know that, the pitch will come more easily.

3. Keep your significant other in the loop.

A career change is so emotionally and financially profound that it's practically a joint decision if you're living with a significant other. I learned this the hard way, when my husband changed careers.
As a career advisor, I had a lot of opinions about what he should be doing, but I didn't want to step on his toes so I tried to leave him alone to make the decisions himself. But I started getting nervous about the instability his choices might create.

There's a definite balance you need to strike between wanting to support your partner in chasing his or her career dreams, and wanting to maintain sanity in the relationship while the chase is on. Keeping your partner in the loop, not just about what you're doing but also what you're thinking, can go a long way toward creating a team feeling.

4. Make the change before you go nuts.

Most people hold out in a career until it's clear that it's not for them. All change is hard. We like to be stimulated and interested, but most of us don't like constant change. It's too stressful, so we find ways to avoid it.

The problem is that if you put off change for too long you compromise your ability to orchestrate it. I spent a lot of my career with the bad habit of letting myself bottom out before I made a big change, so take it from me -- the change is much harder to manage when you're operating from a place of desperation and exhaustion.

5. Downplay financial issues.

I write a lot about how you don't need a lot of money to be happy. In fact, research shows that you only need $40,000 to be happy, and that the rest of the money you earn has little impact on your happiness.

But Tim Ferriss takes this one step further. In his book, "The 4-Hour Workweek," he starts with the idea that time and flexibility are worth more in life than money. So when you think about if you can afford to make the change, think in terms of your net gain in time and flexibility rather than in money.
Anticipating the Risk

Career change is always risky. But if you have a good understanding of why you're leaving your current career and choosing the new one, the clarity can give you the strength to endure instability and uncertainty.

At some point, your self-awareness will make the career change your only viable alternative. Then it'll seem like a relatively low-risk move.

posted by Rachelle
at 2:31 PM


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tribulation House by Chris Well

(Harvest House 2007)


Chris Well is a member of the CFBA and founder of its sister organization, FIRST. He is an acclaimed novelist and award–winning magazine editor and has previously written the “laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers” Deliver Us from Evelyn and Forgiving Solomon Long (one of Booklist’s Top 10 Christian Novels of 2005). He has also contributed to 7ball, Infuze, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Chris and his wife live in Tennessee, where he is hard at work on his next novel.



Mark Hogan has it all. The job. The family. A position on the board at church. All he’s missing is a boat. Not just any boat—a 2008 Bayliner 192.

When Reverend Daniel Glory announces that the Rapture is taking place on October 17 at 5:51am, Hogan realizes his boat–buying days are numbered. So he does what any man in his situation would do—he borrows a load of money from the mob.

Not that there’s any risk involved: After all, when the Rapture comes, Hogan will be long gone. The mob will never find him.

But when Jesus fails to come back on schedule, Mark Hogan finds the mob is in no mood to discuss the finer points of end–times theology...

Chris Well’s laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers appeal to the millions of readers who gobble up the rollicking crime fiction of Janet Evanovich and Elmore Leonard. TRIBULATION HOUSE does not disappoint!


posted by Rachelle
at 10:57 PM


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Heir by Paul Robertson

It is May 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

Paul Robertson

and his book:

The Heir

Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and former independent bookstore owner in Blacksburg, Virginia. This is his first novel.


I couldn't take my eyes off the casket. It was expensive, and it glowed, resting among the candles and the heaps of flowers. It so perfectly expressed the man inside.

The dignitaries droned, and I didn't hear them. We knew it all. We knew what he had done with his life. If a man knows his purpose, then everyone else will know it, too.

They'd been told what to say and to keep it short, and they obeyed. They'd all gotten where they were by doing what they were told.

It was tribute by catalog listing: achievements, philanthropy, and Senate career. The real man was never mentioned—the companies he inherited, the rivals he crushed, the cold blood behind the politics—but everyone knew. Was anyone else listening? It's easy to eulogize a man who knew why he lived his life.

I just stared at that gleaming box and wondered why I was living mine.

We sang a hymn, and that brought me back—words obscure enough to drive any clear thoughts from a man's brain. A voice behind me sang off-key.

I watched the man's wife instead. Her name was Angela, and she was sitting between my brother, Eric, and me. I might have given her a hug, but she had always objected to my familiarity. It was nothing personal; she objected to anyone. Her brother and sister were not at the service.

She was his second wife. The other one died young of cancer, which had been worth a lot of sympathy in his first election. If he had grieved for her, I wouldn't know.

I looked back. The off-key voice behind me was another senator, a man I'd never liked. He had no speaking part. It was probably a snub.

For a moment it seemed a pity the whole thing was going by so fast. The church was flawless, and the funeral was such a good use for it. Now I even knew the true purpose of candles: to reflect off that casket. They were going to look tacky anywhere else. And there I was staring at it again.

Candles knew their purpose, but I didn't have a clue about mine.

The governor said his few words about what he had felt when he heard about the accident—the shock and sadness, the great man cut down in his prime, what a loss to the state. He shook his head at the whole sad mystery of life and death and checked his watch.


I pushed past Katie and got up to the pulpit. Now the box was right in front of me, shining like a waxed floor. I needed something else to look at.

The back wall of the place had a row of statues in it, saints or angels, and one had his hand up waving at me. I never had written anything to say.

"Why am I here?" The little saint seemed friendly, so I figured I'd just talk to him. "I wish I knew." Maybe it was a her, not a him. They all wear robes.

"I think he could have told me. He knew why he was here, what he was doing. He never doubted anything he did." Somehow, I was staring at the casket again. I found my friend on the wall. "Maybe he is now."

They were all watching me, but I watched the back of the church. "The one thing I ever really knew for sure in my life was that he was there. I only saw him a few times a year and I won't miss him for that. It's more like a mountain is gone—one you'd see off in the distance."

Katie wanted me to be impressive for the assembled personages. She knew they'd be measuring and calculating, putting me in their equations. After three years of marriage, she also knew me enough to know I didn't care. I did hope she wasn't embarrassed. Her mother was sitting behind her and she'd be embarrassed enough for all of us.

I wouldn't inherit anything anyway. It was all going to his foundation. Eric and I would just get our monthly checks, as we always had.

The saint's stone hand was palm up, as if it had been holding something that had just flown away. "Anyway, he's gone and we're still here, so we'll get by without him." I finally got myself to look at the people. What a well-dressed crowd. "And everything he knew about life is gone with him, so I'll get by without that, too."

I didn't have anything else to say. I smiled at Angela, and then I nodded at Eric on her other side.

I waited at the end of the pew as Eric got out, and he patted me on the back. Katie gave me a tight smile as I sat. She was annoyed, but not mad.

Eric was tall, dark, and clueless behind the heavy wood pulpit. We look alike, especially with him wearing one of my suits. For all the money he has, he'd never figured out how to buy clothes. It was loose on him, and maybe that was why he looked so young. Or maybe it was because he was so young. There were no questions about life beneath that spiky black hair.

But he kept his eyes on the audience the whole time and told them what a loving father the man had been. He did a good job. I appreciated him because he did the right thing, what I should have done, and maybe he thought what he said was true.

Then the priest said whatever he had to, and it was over. When I got out into the light of day, I was so glad it had lasted no longer than it did.

* * *

The rest of the festivities went about the same. In the limo, Katie chattered and Angela sighed about how nice the service had been. Eric was watching boats in the bay.

I watched them, too. I prefer water to land because land is unmoving; the water is never still and has nothing fixed. Long Island Sound, Nantucket Sound, Block Island Sound—we were surrounded by silent waters named for the lands that confined them.

Eric turned to me. "What did you mean, you wouldn't miss him?"

"That's not what I said."

"And what were you looking at?"


He turned back to the boats and I did, too. I would rather have been out there. Anyone whose ancestors lived on these coasts would feel the same pull.

Across from me, Katie was glaring, so maybe she was mad after all. She had her hair down straight, over her shoulders. Her simple, dark blue dress with the string of pearls was as perfect as the church. She had me done up just right, too, with the black suit she'd picked out a year ago for weddings and funerals. She had a tailor come every six months to keep all the suits fitted. That's why it hung so loose around Eric's shoulders.

Change the subject. "He really was a great man," I said to Angela.

She smiled, and it was genuine. The funeral had penetrated the pink plastic armor. She wasn't even fifty. Her husband had been fifteen years older, but she'd still expected a lot more years with him. They'd been married for nineteen.

Katie smiled at me, and I was out of trouble. I pushed my luck.

"What do you think he would have been most proud of?"

"Most proud?" Angela always spoke so quietly, like a kitten. I'd wondered if it was an act, but it was no asset to a political wife, being so fluffy. She wasn't striking or brilliant. Why did he marry her? He must have actually loved something about her. I wouldn't even recognize her without the platinum hair and bubblegum lipstick. "He did so much. He didn't enjoy Washington, but he accomplished so much there. He was happier here at home. And he was proud of his foundation. I think that's what he was most proud of."

Not of his sons. Not of his oldest son, anyway. "I hope it will keep going," I said.

"Mr. Kern will run it. He's always done such a good job there. And now he'll have charge of all of Melvin's companies."

Melvin. The name of the deceased hovered in the air for a moment like cigarette smoke, and Nathan Kern's name was the smell of stale beer that went with it so well. I was not a patron of that saloon. I'd get my little allowance, and the big wad would go to the foundation. Melvin had made it very clear that Eric and I should have no expectations beyond simply living in the style to which we had become accustomed.

We were born to be idle rich, Eric and I, and we'd never risen above it. I wondered what our new allowance would be. Katie was feeling constrained by our thirty thousand a month.

Ahead of us, the hearse turned onto the gravel road into the cemetery. We parked beside it. As we waited for the other cars to park, I walked to the open grave. What a view he'd have, of the cliffs and the waves breaking. I was about fifty feet from the edge of the grass, and it was twenty feet straight down from there into the violent water. In a thousand years the whole place would be gone, worn down by the surf. Usually he planned better than that, but while it lasted, it would definitely be a view to die for.

There were six pallbearers. Nathan Kern and the governor took the middle on each side, for show. The casket was heavy, though, and it needed at least four strong men out of the six. So Eric and I were in front, and two gardeners from the estate were in back. We walked the short distance slowly. The sun was bright, between clouds; the better to dramatize the moment. The mourners added darker colors to the brilliant blue and greens, and the brown of the earth piled by the grave.

Five minutes after we set the box down, we were done with the words and the gardeners were lowering it into the ground. I took the shovel they handed me and dropped some ceremonial dirt down on top of the box, and then a couple more good heavy loads just for the exercise. I was just kicking into gear, and I would have filled the whole pit, but then I had to stop. I felt lightheaded and my vision blurred and my breath stuck in my throat, and that was when I knew he was gone. I dropped the shovel and walked over to the cliff, and I didn't know if the pounding I heard was the waves or my own blood filling my ears.

Then Katie was beside me. "Jason? Are you all right, dear?"

I nodded. Wherever we all end up going, he was there now—where he knew the answers to all my questions and where I couldn't ask them of him. I looked around again at the strength and ferocity of that place with its hard stone and unrelenting breakers. It was everything hard, without mercy or forgiveness. I hoped he'd enjoy it.

"Come on, let's go back." Katie sounded nervous. She knew me well enough to want me away from the cliff.

"Don't worry." The moment was over. I took her hand and we strolled back to the others.

* * *

We stood for the right number of minutes in the rolling clouds and sun, nodding to the mourners, saying the proper words. The cloud shadows were chill, a reminder that the New England summer would soon have its own abrupt end.

"I'm getting cold, dear."

I hadn't noticed Francine next to us. The last I'd seen her, she'd been talking to the senator.

"You should go home, Mother," Katie said. "I'll call tonight." We watched her skitter across the grass, like a little crab.

"I'm getting cold, too," I said.

"No, you aren't."

"Let's go home anyway."

My own car was waiting for us. I was about to open the door for Katie when Melvin's lawyer waddled over to us.

Fred Spellman was a nice man. He must have been very smart to have been Privy Counsellor, but I'd never seen him in action. To us, he had always been Uncle Fred, and I had better childhood memories of him than of Melvin.

He gave me a paternal pat on the back and kissed Katie's hand, and I might have thought he'd been crying. But he took a deep breath and pulled himself together.

"Well, well." Then he paused and took another breath and tried again. "Well. We have some things to discuss, Jason, my boy. I need to have you and Eric come see me."

"Right. The reading of the will."

Melvin's secretary, Pamela, was next to us. She really had been crying, and she still was. She hugged Katie, patted my shoulder, and walked on, all without words. I watched her.

"It won't take long," Fred was saying. "Would tomorrow morning be too soon? Or do you need time to ... adjust? I don't want to hurry you, but there are some things that will need attention, sooner rather than later."

"That's fine. The body's still warm, but at least it's underground." I looked away from Pamela to my watch. "We could do it right now, sitting on his grave. That would be poetic. I'll call Eric."

"He's not serious," Katie said. "What time tomorrow?"

Maybe I had gone too far with him. He stared at me in a way I hadn't seen. "Nine o'clock?" he suggested. "Eric is available."

"What about Angela?" I said. "The grieving widow, you know. The scene wouldn't be complete."

"She will have her own meeting."

"Whatever." I opened the door and Katie slipped in. "May I bring my wife?"

"That will be at your discretion." He smiled, the old teddy bear smile. "I think you should. It helps to face these things together."

I shrugged. "It's really not a big deal, Fred. Not to me. We'll just putter along like always. Nathan Kern will have the headaches."

That look again. I couldn't read it, and it was not from the kindly family friend I'd always known. But then we both turned to watch Eric vroom vroom out of the cemetery on his Yamaha. Nice touch, or it would have been if the thought had occurred to him. I would have done the motorcycle-at-the-funeral thing to make some kind of statement. He did it because he was oblivious.

Or maybe the bike was the most presentable thing he had. None of his five cars was very solemn. The leather jacket was going to mangle the borrowed suit.

"Tomorrow morning, nine o'clock."

"I'll be there, Fred."

I got in the car, but not fast enough. Nathan Kern floated elegantly up to the window.

"Jason! I don't know what to say." Not that that had ever stopped him from saying it. "It just doesn't seem possible." If Fred was the king's chamberlain, Nathan was the archbishop.

"Apparently it was," I said. I was the court jester.

"We will need to talk. I know the foundation will be as important for you as for your father." Selfless nobility, thy name is Nathan Kern.

"I don't plan to have much part in it."

He was surprised at that, and he shouldn't have been. He knew me better. "But it was always Melvin's foremost concern." His elegant fingers were trembling. I thought the diamonds would fall out of his cuff links.

"He left his estate to it. I feel sorry for you, Mr. Kern. You have some big responsibilities now." I was getting tired of the day or I might have been a little nicer. I could feel Katie preparing the lecture. "Give me a week, and I'll be glad to come see you." By then I might even build up some curiosity about him and his world. There had to be something beneath the sanctimony.

"Yes, yes, of course," he said.

I took that as a good-bye and closed my window.

* * *

We finally got out onto the road. "You could have acted like an adult," Katie said.

"That's not my way."

We'd come up behind a truck, and there was no place to pass. The coast road went on a few more miles like this, two winding lanes. "Everyone there was looking to you to take your father's place."

"I'd rather die."


I punched the accelerator and passed blind on a curve. The road ahead was clear so I kept the speed up. Katie held on to her shoulder belt.

"You don't have to kill me, too."

I slowed down. "All right, I won't. But the only reason I'm not taking this car off a cliff is because I don't want to die the same way Melvin did."

"Thank you." She would have bitten through the guardrail, her jaw was clenched so tight. I needed to make a gesture.

There was a gas station after a few minutes, and I stopped beside some landscaping and pulled up two flowers.


She relented. "I accept your apology." We got back out on the road and she held them, treating them with far more respect than they deserved. "Why did I marry you, anyway?"

"For my money," I said.

"Then I made a big mistake." She said it with a smile, though, for which I was very grateful. "I don't know if your money is worth putting up with you. If you worked with those people—Nathan Kern and all the rest of them—you could be rich."

"I am rich."

"Not as rich as you could be." The edges of the smile hardened a little. "He'd put you on the board of the foundation, and you could get control of everything your father had." She looked out the window. "It should have been yours anyway."

"Look, all I did was get born into this family," I said. "It wasn't my choice. As long as they send my check each month, nobody gets hurt. If they want anything else I'll inflict damage." I waited until she looked back at me. The two daisies in her hand were a little damaged. "You like your flowers?"


The road was bending through hills, away from the ocean. I stopped again, just off the edge, where the guardrail actually was bitten through. Out of the car, I stood and looked down the hillside at the scraped dirt and torn bushes and the broken tree at the bottom. They'd cleaned away the wreckage, every piece of it.

Katie got out with me.

"Why am I here?" I said. "What is the point?"

She pulled a knot of wildflowers from the ground, much nicer than the daisies, and handed it to me.


"You don't need to apologize for anything," I said.

"I just want to give you some flowers."

I stood for a moment. Then I tossed them down the steep hill and the wind caught them and they landed just where his car had. I'd seen it there, with yellow police tape and spotlights, and the trucks pulling it up the embankment.

"He's gone, Jason," she said. "It might really be different now."

Excerpted from: The Heir by Paul Robertson
Copyright © 2007; ISBN-13 9780764203244
Published by
Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.


posted by Rachelle
at 11:15 PM