This week's writing prompt asks authors to express their gratitude.
Living where I do, I have much for which to be grateful. Watching the news or reading the newspaper brings home that dismissive expression of "First World problems" when I gripe about something that annoys or inconveniences me. Because my list of gratitude would be exhaustive (and exhausting), I'll restrict it to a few key entries.
I'm grateful for:
Of course, I'm thankful for the readers who enjoy my stories and even plunk down their hard-earned money to buy the books. I'm even thankful for the readers who leave less than flatter reviews: I learn from them what works and what doesn't work. Writing and publishing stories is an evolving process.
Promotions From Vendors Attending The 2019 Winter
The fatherhood football is being fumbled. In the U.S., 24-million children are being raised apart from their fathers. 40 percent of the kids of divorced parents haven't seen their fathers in the past year. Tragically, in too many cases, even when dad lives with his children, he is emotionally absent. The negative consequences of all of this for children, families, communities and the nation are many. Yes, there are many mothers doing a fine job of raising their children without much help. But that is not the Creator's plan for the family. God's perfect plan is for mothers and fathers to work in partnership to provide their children every needed resource to grow up happy, safe and healthy.
Children do better on just about every measure when they have a loving, committed, engaged, skilled father in their lives, even when the parents aren't romantically involved. It's time to recover the fatherhood football. The Church can and should lead the way. We can start by raising-up an army of Christian fathers who model God's deep and powerfully nurturing love. His desire is to work within our hearts to produce fully-developed agape love by the power of the Holy Spirit. Eli Williams is a husband, father and minister. He is the president and cofounder of Urban Light Ministries in Springfield, Ohio.
Urban Light actually addresses the father absence and family fragmentation crisis by helping fathers develop healthy parenting and relationship skills. Learn more at www.urbanlight.org.
It is indeed a crisis. In the U.S., 24-million children are being raised apart from their fathers. 40 percent of the kids of divorced parents haven’t seen their fathers in the past year. Tragically, in too many cases, even when dad lives with his children, he is emotionally absent. The negative consequences of all of this for children, families, communities and the nation are many. Yes, there are many mothers doing a fine job of raising their children without much help. But that is not the Creator’s original design for the family.
God’s perfect plan is for mothers and fathers to work in partnership to provide their children every needed resource to grow up happy, safe and healthy – whenever possible. Kids need a loving, committed, engaged, skilled father in their lives, even when the parents aren’t romantically involved. And even when there is a father-figure present, boys and girls still long for a relationship with their biological dad.
Reverend Williams is an ordained minister and owner of EWilliamsCommunications. A 37-year broadcasting veteran, Eli’s Hot Gospel 20 is a weekly countdown of the top gospel songs of the week, and is carried by Internet and traditional radio stations worldwide. Listen at www.hotgospel20.com.
#Excerpt from Willow: Branch 3 of the Tree of Life Series
by Holly Bargo
Be care what you wish for, because you just might get it.
Willow should have taken heed of that familiar warning, because she wanted Dane’s attention and then got it. She wasn’t ready.
On assignment protecting a paranoid client at a convention, Dane Karl has finally found his mate, a very young sidhe ill-equipped to deal with a legendary mercenary warrior, fierce weretiger, and powerful sidhe all wrapped up in one big, badass package.
His plan for a slow courtship ruined by the catastrophe that destroys the conference hotel, he claims Willow as his mate to keep her safe from the demons hunting sidhe flesh and sidhe magic. Willow must find her strength to stand up to her legendary husband’s overbearing ways, deal with the shade of his long dead, sidhe wife, and survive the demons after them.
Can an ancient warrior learn to love? Can a young, untried sidhe find her strength?
This is the third and final book of the Tree of Life trilogy.
“Er, hello. May I help you?” Willow asked, silently damning herself for the nervous quaver in her voice and wondering just what she had brought upon herself. She’d gone fishing and caught herself a shark instead of a goldfish.
Dane wanted to sigh with relief. She had at least given him an opening by speaking first rather than him just blurting out that she was his and to come with him immediately. Instead he gave her what was supposed to be a reassuring smile that obviously didn’t work because she cringed like a rabbit about to be pounced upon and devoured. Hm. He needed to work on that. He picked up the sample CD on the table.
“Hello,” he said quietly, taking care not to growl at her. “How up to date is this directory?”
“The data is only six weeks old,” she answered, keeping her tightly clasped hands on her lap hidden beneath the table drape. “More current data can be downloaded from the NAVA website, but the disk also contains standard documents, conference papers and presentations, and other auxiliary materials. With the disk, the information is collected and available in one convenient location rather than scattered among the twenty-five thousand pages of the NAVA website.”
“You’ve memorized the patter,” he commented with a little smile.
She returned a wry grin and said, “At this late hour, we’re lucky I remember how to speak at all.”
“Sessions break in another two hours,” he said, setting the sample disk back down in such a way that he knew she would move it, set it straight so the pile was orderly. He wanted to see her hands. “I’m Dane. Join me for a cup of coffee?”
Her eyes flew open wide and, before she could answer, a yawn grabbed her jaw and vocal cords. She hastily raised a hand to cover her mouth and finished the yawn. When she was able, she spoke even as she returned the CD to its proper place: “Thank you, but I really need my sleep. Perhaps some other time.”
“This afternoon then,” he adapted smoothly, seeing with satisfaction that she wore neither engagement ring nor wedding band. He inhaled delicately and tasted no other male’s scent upon her. Good. He wouldn’t have to kill anyone to claim her. “I’ll meet you in the lobby at three o’clock.”
He walked away and Willow wondered just what she’d gotten herself into. The rest of the night dragged until she closed up the booth and went to bed for some much needed sleep. She woke later than usual the next morning and by ten o’clock was back at the booth tapping away at her laptop computer to answer inquiries, update information, and take care of general association business as best she could from a remote location. She hardly noticed the bellman and his loaded cart and accompanied by a tall, slender woman with gorgeous auburn hair until they stopped in front of the booth. The woman thanked the bellman and sent him off to return in twenty minutes or so. Then the woman moaned, groaned something that sounded like “Cassia,” grunted, staggered to her knees, and passed out. She had Willow’s full attention.
Willow rushed around the table and shifted the woman to a more comfortable position, rather than leave her crumpled against the heavily loaded cart.
“Ma’am? Are you all right?” she whispered and patted the woman’s cheek.
After a too long moment, the woman hissed and groaned, “Stop that.”
Willow stopped patting the woman’s cheek and let instinct take over. She placed her palm on the woman’s forehead and let the healing flow. She did not notice the nimbus of cool, blue-white light that gently pulsed around them. She only noticed the easing of the woman’s distress and pain. The woman blinked several times and, realizing she’d been healed, thanked her.
“I really do appreciate the healing, but you took a dangerous risk,” she said, her voice a bit shaken.
“You know what I did?” Willow gasped softly, surprised that the woman understood what had happened.
“You’re sidhe,” the woman stated succinctly.
The woman attempted to smile reassuringly at her and answered, “I’m sidhe, too. Name’s Rowan.” She paused, considered something, then asked rudely, “How old are you?”
Promotions From Vendors Attending The 2019 Winter
Springfield OH Book Fair
Pets Uniting People Society is the group for the magazine PUPS Digest and its site is above. Pets Uniting People Society is directed and founded by my sister Judy Benning and me in 2010. It is for helping to keep the pet population in-check with a neuter/spay voucher for those who need help with their animals.
On a Mission Magazine
On a Mission Magazine was started in July 2017 and the reason is pretty clear as many of us need inspiration to get by on a daily basis. The Blog also feeds the spiritual side and will have some additional boost from our Podcasts "On Assignment" which are monthly.
When I married, my culinary skills could best be described as an ability to burn water. Over the last 30 years, I've improved. I no longer detest cooking and can even find some pleasure in it. My palate has expanded and I've learned, more or less, what seasonings go well together. For instance, pork goes well with rosemary or tarragon. Dill weed and lemon work beautifully with just about any fish. Garlic goes with just about everything. And so forth. I'm no contender for Master Chef, but my cooking doesn't suck.
I do make one entree that my husband and I particularly enjoy during cold weather: chicken paprikash. I deviate from the traditional recipe, but it's still sinfully easy and really tasty and can best be described as a heart attack on a plate. It ain't pretty, but who cares? Here goes:
- 1 pkg (about 1-1/2 lbs.) boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces. (You can use chicken breasts, but thighs are better.)
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup paprika (I prefer Hungarian paprika)
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup sour cream
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms (white button or portabello), sliced (optional)
- 1 small can sliced or chopped black olives (optional)
- 1 pkg wide egg noodles
- 1 medium cabbage (and more butter)
- Salt and pepper
Put water on to boil for the noodles. Cook the noodles while you work on the rest.
Melt the butter on medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and paprika. Stir. When onions have softened a bit, add chopped chicken and sliced mushrooms. Stir, being sure chicken is thoroughly coated, then reduce to medium low or low. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and let the chicken simmer, stirring occasionally. When the chicken is cooked through, reduce heat to its lowest setting and stir in the sour cream.
While the chicken simmers, core the head of cabbage and cut it into quarters or smaller pieces. Put the cabbage in a pot with a little bit of water and a tablespoon or three of butter. Cover tightly and simmer over medium heat for no longer than 10 minutes.
When noodles are tender, drain. Dump them in a large serving bowl or return them to the empty pot. Pour the chicken mixture over the noodles and stir. Serve immediately with the cabbage as a side vegetable. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle black olives on top.
Steamed broccoli goes well with this, too. Not only is this good when freshly made, it's wonderful if you eat the leftovers the next day--and you always want leftovers of this dish.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Book Of The Month