Life Lessons From a Rubber Band

The last month around our house has been a tad stressful. For me at least. The month started with a castle trip (fabulous!) and then a Special Olympics trip (good memories but blazing heat), followed by several weeks of revising a very-rough first draft manuscript, putting the polishing touches on The Author Toolbox blogs, planning the class I’m teaching next month, switching our family from cable to live streaming services (complete with a new internet provider and multiple hours on hold to cancel accounts), and several doctor’s appointments for the kids…plus a day job project that came along mid-month and a renewed determination to whip my body into shape before a family vacation rolls around.

To say I was stretched a little thin was an understatement. To say I was almost at a breaking point several times was more accurate. To say I learned several life lessons from a rubber band would also be true…and I’d like to share a few of them with you.

First, rubber bands come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are the tiny neon ones my youngest son is supposed to be attaching to his orthodontic braces daily and the giant inch-wide variety that held together a stack of papers until my oldest son found it and launched it across the room. I’m unique and so are you. There’s a rubber band for every job so stop the comparison game.

Second, rubber bands can stretch further than we think possible. Just when you think you’ve reached the end of your patience or energy, there’s a tad more stretch to devote to the next task or next family member who crosses your path. And as moms, it’s usually possible to add one more thing to your already-never-ending-to-do list.

However, third, when stretched too far (or for too long), rubber bands break. So stop stretching them before they reach that breaking point. Duh. Take a nap. Go for a walk. Read a book. Listen to some music. With a little time off for good behavior, you’ll be re-energized and strengthened to get back out there and stretch again. (Oh, and dried out, old rubber bands are also likely to snap when asked to stretch, so make sure to hydrate along the way.)

Fourth, rubber bands are flexible. They can bend into all sorts of different shapes. And when you press on them, they adjust and move as the circumstances change. Rather than stick to a rigid set of rules or routines, rubber bands can go with the flow and adapt to a variety of situations…which is an important trait for working moms during the summer when baseball games get rained-out and then rescheduled onto a night you already had other plans or a looming deadline.

Last, rubber bands can be used to make music. Remember those rubber band guitars from childhood? Different thicknesses stretched to different tensions made different sounds when plucked. So when all else fails, use your life to make some music and cheer up someone else’s day.

What about you? Are you being stretched too thin lately? Are you flexible under pressure? Are you making music with your life? What other lessons can be learned from a rubber band?

Thy Word Have I Hid…Just Not Exactly

Once upon a time, I excelled at Bible “sword drill” and Scripture memory challenges. As a pastor’s kid and general all-around overachiever, I could fan the pages of my well-read Bible and start reading a certain passage faster than most. And if there was a verse to be learned by next week, I had it memorized by sundown. After all, as the Psalmist wrote, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”

Of course, I later learned that the real Psalmist didn’t write those particular words in King James English. As I grew, I discovered other translations and paraphrases of the familiar verses and by the time I got to college at a Christian school, many of the versions I’d heard through the years had melded into an amalgamation of words in my memory. I had hidden God’s Word in my heart…but sometimes it was harder to find it again.

The specific reference for certain verses was the first thing to go. Instead of quoting chapter and verse, I was more likely to remember it was in a certain book of the Bible, on the lower right side of the right-hand page, and underlined in blue ink. (What can I say? I’m a visual learner.)

The next memory slip came when I could recall only a phrase of a verse and had to paraphrase the rest. The essence of the truth was still there, but the precise wording was gone. Thy word have I hid in my heart…just not exactly.

In the grand scheme of things, my faith hasn’t suffered for my lack of memory. I continue to read Scripture and meditate on certain passages, therefore adding new verses or solidifying existing entries in the memory banks.

The real problem comes when I’m writing and need to find that verse I want to use. Often, I only remember a phrase and searching for those words may or may not lead me to the verse I was thinking of. To make matters more complicated, I also must be able to document for my publisher which exact translation I used so that we can add the proper citations to the copyright page. And then the words I use in my book have to match that translation precisely down to the punctuation.

For example, I recently finished line edits for a novel coming out next February. One phrase from Jeremiah 29:11 pops up several times in the book as somewhat of a theme verse. In my mind, God tells Jeremiah that He knows the plans He has for him, plans for good, to give him a “future and a hope.” Except that particular phrase isn’t in most of the translations. Instead it’s written as “hope and a future.” Since we had to cite it correctly for the version my publisher uses, I changed the wording in several spots. It felt weird at first, but then I came to appreciate the fact God gives hope first, then the future.

Another example. In a pivotal scene, one character reads a verse from Psalm 23 where “goodness and mercy” will follow her all the days of her life. Mercy. That’s a great word. And this was a phrase I’d heard over and over growing up…except it wasn’t in the version my publisher wanted me to use. I had to write “goodness and love” instead. It just didn’t roll off the tongue as easily and I was almost tempted to find a new verse for that scene. Except the unfamiliar wording drew attention to the word “love”…which tied perfectly into the theme of the entire book, Focus On Love.

I’m still writing Christian fiction, so verses from the Bible are still likely to pop up here and there in my stories and in the minds of my characters. However, until it’s time for another round of picky line edits, I’m not going to worry that my wording is not exact. After all, that’s part of making the story real.

What about you? Do you still remember things you memorized as a child? Can you recite it perfectly or have a few phrases changed over time? Does it matter as long as you remember the essential parts?

Guest Kimberly Rose Johnson – His Faithfulness Never Ceases

Dear readers, from time to time I ask others to share their stories of faith, hope, and love in order to encourage us all. If you have a story to share, you can find my guidelines under the Connect tab. In the meantime, welcome Kimberly Rose Johnson!

Sometimes it feels as if life is one challenge after another. In my case I caused my own problem. I had received the rights back on a book and wanted to get it re-published before Valentine’s Day—which I accomplished.

My readers started asking when the next book would release. I panicked. The book had originally been written as a stand-alone novel, and I wasn’t prepared to write a sequel.

I realized, to keep their interest I needed to get a book written and published, and I needed to have that book ready for readers no later than June. That might not be a challenge for some writers, but for me it was. I knew there was no way I could do it on my own, but all things are possible with the Lord.

I have a small group of women that I presented my challenge to and asked them to pray for me daily for the next month.

I had a plan. If I wrote 2,000 words five days a week, I would finish in time to get it to the beta readers and then my editor and on down the line to proofreaders. But, I knew I could not write that fast without the Lord’s help. I didn’t have time to chew on the plot and make a gazillion changes if things didn’t work. The story had to be right the first time I wrote it, and I needed the words to come to me fast.

Guess what? Our Lord never fails. The Bible says He is always with us, and He never fails. I sensed His hand on this story as I wrote. I knew He was with me, helping me knock out those 2,000 words each day. I tackled one day at a time and didn’t allow myself to panic as my deadline drew near, and I was still writing the first draft.

I’m happy to say I beat my deadline as I had several days where I wrote close to 5,000 words and got ahead—that is unheard of for me. Again, I credit the Lord.

Yes, I created this situation for myself by not thinking ahead, but I also knew this was something I was called to do and that if I asked the Lord would help me.

The story I’m talking about is An Encore for Estelle. As it happens the main characters in this story had to overcome their own challenges and they also turned to the Lord for help.

I am comforted knowing that He is always there for us no matter what. All we need to do is ask Him and trust Him.

Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Book Blurb: The theater ties them together but a painful past could pull them apart.

At a crossroads, former movie star Estelle Rogers, returns to the place that set her life on a new course. Although she expects a rough reception she is pleasantly surprised and quickly settles into her new position at the local children’s theater. But her road back to acting isn’t as smooth as she would like.

Tragedy brought Blake Price to Oak Knoll, Oregon, but it’s love that keeps him there. His late wife and daughter loved acting, and he owes it to them to honor their memory with the children’s theater, but his new assistant is making changes he isn’t ready for both at the theater and in his heart. Can he forgive himself and move forward, or will he forever be tied to the biggest mistake of his life?

Buy the book now on Amazon.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website, or follow her on Amazon, on Facebook, or on Twitter. (Or all of the above!)

Reflections From a Castle Tower

Yes. That’s where I stayed for several days last week. In a castle. In Colorado. With a room at the top of the tallest tower featuring floor-to-way-over-my-head arched windows.

Officially, I was chaperoning a group of middle school writers and teaching them about plotting fabulous stories. Unofficially, I was dreaming up stories of my own and soaking up the inspiration.

During the day, I was busy from dawn until dark staying ahead of giggling, energetic kids that reminded me of my youngest son at home. Between meals, teaching classes, mentoring during individual writing times, and games, the trip was a non-stop adventure. Despite rain that drove us inside to roast marshmallows for our S’mores over a butane food-warmer-flame instead of at a campfire, the afternoon thunderstorms while inside a castle made it extra magical.

But before breakfast and after lights-out each night, my fingers itched to romp through story ideas set in the regency, medieval, or fairy tale eras. You know. Times where people really lived in castles. From the servants’ tunnel starting at the carriage house to my room at the top of the tower and all the antique features in between including a suit of armor in the main lobby, my imagination spent the days in overdrive and it was all I could do to stay ahead of the brainstorm and record every random thought or idea. (Thank God for notebooks and pens, but mostly my mobile Scrivener app so that all my ideas are already somewhat sorted by topic.)

Even when I fell exhausted onto my pillow at night, my mind still wandered the halls in my dreams. What kinds of people would have lived here or in similar castles? What would it have been like to be a servant and relegated to the shadows or forced to hoist heavy tea trays up narrow, steep servant staircases? To be the pampered child receiving (and expecting) the royal treatment? Would it be easy to fall into an entitled position of false superiority or would a sense of responsibility for the manor translate into compassion and care? This particular castle was home to a young woman suffering from tuberculosis so what other pain did castle-dwellers mask behind a veneer of wealth and privilege?

Castles like this one are filled with secret passages, hidden doors, disguised nooks, and forgotten attics. Just like our lives with secret pain, unfulfilled dreams, and untapped potential. I have to admit that while I learned how much I love (and am good at) brainstorming plots with other writers, I am equally if not more intrigued about the possibility of writing a collection of stories with a castle setting and an exploration of servants vs. royalty through the lives of new characters. (Of course, I’ve got two projects to finish up first, but these castle stories are clamoring for attention as the perfect carrot toward the end of the summer.)

I’m now home again and back in my real world of laundry, dust, dishes, and endless meals…but my heart remains in a castle tower. And some day, either on another teaching trip or in my imagination, I will return to the castle life.

Guest Angela Couch – Waiting For Her Turn

Dear readers, from time to time I ask others to share their stories of faith, hope, and love in order to encourage us all. If you have a story to share, you can find my guidelines under the Connect tab. In the meantime, welcome Angela Couch!

April was a great month for me. My historical romance, The Patriot and the Loyalist, was released, I was busy getting ready for a move into a larger home, and I was entering the second trimester with my fourth pregnancy—yay, no more morning sickness! And then, about a week before our move, and at 14 weeks along, I threatened to miscarry.

But everything was going to be alright.

I stayed in bed catching up on edits, promoting my book, and enjoying a “When Calls the Heart” marathon, while my poor hubby tried to keep up with kids, packing, and a little work on the side.

Everything was going to be alright.

Thursday the 4th of May we had the moving truck booked and friends lined up to help us pack up our home so we could make the three hour drive south Friday morning, (my husband’s birthday). But by two in the morning, I knew plans were going to change. I’d given birth to three babies. I knew what labor felt like. Only this was six months too early. And there was way too much blood.

Prayer brought peace, but not the kind I wanted. With that peace came the understanding that I wasn’t having a baby this Halloween. The understanding that I needed to stop fighting my body and let nature take its course. The hardest thing I’ve ever done.

By eight in the morning I came home to my house of boxes, no longer pregnant.

Yet God did not leave me alone.

I told my husband I wanted to go ahead with the move on schedule. No sitting in limbo. I honestly just wanted the distraction, the busyness around me though I would be of no help. I believe that in itself was a gift from God. And that peace that continued with me. The wonderful understanding that God held my baby…and that someday I would hold him or her, too. I just needed to wait for my turn.

Gradually it became so the miscarriage wasn’t about “losing” my baby. The Lord whispered “patience” to me. His timeline, his plan for my live, and that child’s life, is the perfect one. All I need to do is trust.

To keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.




Back Cover:

Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home-not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain-so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.

Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope-if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes. . .

Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded. . .and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.

Buy links:  On Amazon and At Barnes and Noble

A Season of Growth – Part 3

Spring has sparked a new season of growth for my whole being in body, mind, and spirit. I’ve already talked about growing stronger physically and growing sharper mentally. This week, I’m focusing on growing richer in my spirit.

The spirit is a harder concept to grasp, even if you come from a faith perspective like I do. All I can say is there’s a part of me deep inside my heart or chest region that reacts and responds to beauty around me. A part that longs for more. That sings a new song when inspired. That overflows with abundant love and joy. A part of myself that can just as easily feel parched and isolated and empty.

Just like I feed my body with food and feed my mind with information, my spirit gets fed with beauty. Much of that beauty comes from communication with the Creator of all beautiful things through my quiet times of reflection in the Word of God, prayer, and worship. In the rush of a busy life, this area often gets short-changed so I have to be deliberate and disciplined to protect this time on a regular basis.

I’ve also found that it’s harder to find times of silence when everyone else in our household is out of school for the summer. That’s one reason why I enjoy getting out of the house and heading to a park, the path alongside a lake, or even the nearby mountains. When outside in nature, I’m reminded of the Creator and easily slip into a conversation of thankfulness that in return fills my spirit. Of course, there is also research to show that “forest bathing” through a simple walk among the trees reduces stress and has other health benefits, but I personally think that’s because all time spent in creation feeds the spirit because I feel the same refreshing alongside water or watching the surf roll in on a beach.

There is also inspiration to feed my spirit found in other areas of creation like a powerful musical score, a gorgeous piece of art, the fluidity of dance, and even the laughter of children. So, I’m going out of my way to find these other sources and then pause to soak them in while I can.

Between my quiet times, walks in nature, and other sources of creativity, it’s a season of growth in the way I care for my spirit. How do you feed your internal being and find refreshment?

A Season of Growth – Part 2

Spring has sparked a new season of growth for my whole being in body, mind, and spirit. Last week, I talked about my desire to change, baby steps to get there, and rewards along the way as I transform my flab to fit and tired to toned. This week, I’m focusing on growing my mind.

Confession time. I am an avid reader. Shocker, I know. But I usually read fun books as an escape from the stress or as a reward for getting my boring day job’s work done. Whether they are romance, suspense, historical, or dystopian, I like easy reads where I don’t have to do much in the way of thinking about individual themes or theological concepts. I could spend days on end falling deeper into a world of unending stories.

However, a mental diet of light fiction is like a physical diet made up primarily of chips and soda. There are times we need to chew on the protein-packed meat in order to strengthen our muscles. Likewise, it’s also important to sometimes really dig into a deeper topic and dust off those unused areas of logical thought in the recesses of the brain. That venture might be in the form of a non-fiction book or even a biography of an inspirational person, but either way, the choice must be deliberate.

So, during this season of growth for my mind, I’ve moved a few buried treasures within my to-be-read pile to the top of the teetering stack. Of course, I’m also setting aside time for reading, likely on my front porch where I can sit outside in the nicer weather for a change but still feel like I’m doing something productive. I’ll admit that I’m also alternating fun reads between these heavier books in the stack, but those will be my built-in reward for reading something outside my normal choosing.

There’s also a lot to be said in the field of neurological research about the importance of learning new skills or exercising neglected areas of our brains in order to prevent or hinder dementia or even Alzheimer’s. While I’m only in my mid-40’s, I’m determined to dust off a few areas of critical or logical thought. That’s why I bought a magazine filled with logic puzzles and hope to solve one a day in order to remind myself how to think outside the box. It’s not a huge step, but it will help move me in the direction I want to go by sharpening my mental acuity. Plus, the ability to connect seemingly unrelated things should help with the plotting of my next book.

At our last meeting, one of the member’s of our local writers’ group presented us with an overview of how to use Photo Shop and the cheaper Photo Shop Elements program to create layers with a picture. She will be doing a follow-up session specifically on how to create full book cover layouts for indie publishing and since my writing career is likely headed back that direction, I am looking forward to learning more about both this program and this process while I acquire a few graphic design tools along the way. I’m not exactly artistic so this will certainly stretch my mind by actively learning the program, but the reward will be the ability to create my own book covers on a budget I can afford.

Between books, puzzles, and a self-taught class, it’s a season of growth in the way I’m taking care of my mind. What are you doing to exercise your brain?

A Season of Growth – Part 1

Spring is my favorite time of year. Between the colorful bulbs in my flower bed and the lilac blossoms in my own backyard, there’s a sense of hope and anticipation that builds in my heart. The long cold winter slips away and fades from memory as new life emerges and dead brown grass turns a vibrant green. It gives me hope that exciting things are around the corner.

While spring is the start of a season of growth outside, it also sparks an internal season of change. This month—despite the snow that fell over the weekend—I’m deliberately turning my attention toward growth in several areas. I’ve often talked about my writing journey and how I’m growing in craft, but I am more than my business. More than the next book I write. More than the next post I share on social media.

I am a whole person. Body, mind, and spirit. So while I am also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, and volunteer, my core identity is the true foundation of all that I am able to do. And neglect in any one area affects the others with an outward rippling effect on the rest of my life and influence.

With that said, my first focus in this short series is to create a season of growth for my body. Which honestly makes me laugh, because as my mirror reflects, I spent that long cold winter growing in a few unwelcome areas. Ahem. I may have stayed inside where it was warm but my current squishy, jiggling, pasty white body is not the earth-suit I want to journey through life with. No. I’d much rather have a healthy, strong, toned, and energetic body that will carry me to all the places I want to go.

So, how does one actually change? First, by wanting to change. By being honest about where I am, but also seeing where I would rather be and focusing on that goal. Second, by rearranging life to include new habits that will replace old habits while moving me closer to that goal. Third, by measuring results and giving myself rewards when I reach certain milestones until the achievement of the overall goal becomes reward enough.

Practically speaking, I’ve dusted off a stack of videos and DVDs that serve up strengthening exercises in ten minute doses while focusing on those big muscle groups with squats, lunges, sit-ups, and push-ups. I can squeeze ten minutes in while waiting for my daughter’s bus in the morning. Already I feel stronger, have a boost of energy to carry me into my work day, and I know that the increase in muscle will eventually boost my metabolism to burn more fat even while I sleep.

I’ve also hung a few cute items of clothing where they are visible in my closet. You know, that adorable shirt that doesn’t look quite right now but will be absolutely perfect once I’ve dropped five or ten pounds…just in time to be out and about for a summer event. I don’t spend a lot of time around a swimming pool, so this is my equivalent of getting that swimsuit-ready body.

Spring and summer are the perfect times to also eat a bit healthier with fresh veggies and salads. But I’ve also invested in a cute insulated cup with a straw and told myself that I have to drink one full glass of water between each indulgence of Diet Dr Pepper. Small changes but they should add up, especially once I’m able to get outside more, be active, and soak in that Vitamin D from the sun during walks.

That covers the desire to change, what the end result will look like, and the small changes to get there. As for measuring the results, the scale and the fit of my clothing are pretty obvious signs of progress. There will definitely be an internal reward of feeling better about myself and looking cute in my new clothes, but I’m hoping the renewed energy physically will also translate into fresh creative ideas in my writing and the ability to participate in activities with my kids.

It’s a season of growth in the way I take care of my body. Who will join with me in this journey?

Beside Still Waters, He Restores My Soul

God certainly knew what He was doing when He gave me the word “Abide” as a focus point this year. I’ve been digging deeper to learn how to abide. To be still. To listen. Yet I find myself still striving inside and wrestling with decisions to make and unaccomplished goals.

When I’d set aside time for my devotions, I had often found myself at least subconsciously watching the clock to see when I could stop and get back to the mountain of real work I needed to do.

Knowing there is something extremely messed up about not being able to be truly quiet during my so-called quiet time, I tried something radical. I cleared my schedule, took a short drive, and just sat beside some water. Sized somewhere between a pond and a lake, it had all the necessary elements of water, a few trees, some grass, and even a few feathered guests. A gentle breeze formed a few ripples across the surface of the water, then it stopped, leaving a surface like glass. Water lapped a bit against the shore as gliding ducks created new ripples of their own. The surrounding trees were beginning to leaf out while the grass was transitioning from winter’s brown to the life-giving green of spring.

As I sat, my senses soaked it all in…then calmed. Low-level anxiety and stress and tension melted away and as I sat, something deep down inside began to get filled up. My mind wandered without an agenda. Without a purpose.

I just was.

Beside the still waters, I found a prayer of communion and intimacy taking the place of my earlier prayers of desperation and need. Me and God, hanging out beside the water. No rush to be somewhere or do something. Simply being all the way down to the depths of my soul and trusting God to keep me in the palm of His hand whatever the rest of the day held.

Eventually a pain in my stiff back forced me to move and life’s responsibilities intruded once again. Yet, as I drove back home, I found joy in the realization that my soul had truly been restored beside the still waters.

So far this month, I’ve given myself permission to wait before making a big decision and permission to relax about my never-ending to-do list. Now, I’m giving myself permission to trust even more the One who restores my soul.

After all, that’s what abiding is all about.

Getting To Know The Twins in Moonstone Secrets

From time to time, I let others share their stories on my blog. Today, welcome back Dawn V. Cahill as she interviews identical twins Livy and DeeDee McCreary, singers and dancers extraordinaire, who star in her new novel Moonstone Secrets – sequel to Sapphire Secrets.

Dawn V. Cahill: DeeDee, since this is your story, why don’t we start with you? Tell us why you want to share your story with the world.

DeeDee: Picture this—a remote cabin in the Canadian bush. Howling wind. A barking dog and a dead body…. Wouldn’t you be curious, too?

DVC: Indeed I would.

DeeDee: Moonstone Secrets is basically my testimony. And what an incredible journey. Not only did I find out the truth about my boyfriend’s ex-wife, I also found a husband. And God. Now, I just want the world to know that God loves them. So many people have never experienced His love. They don’t know what it’s like when God grabs ahold of you and pulls you into His arms – so unlike anything you’ll ever experience.

DVC: But you weren’t raised to believe in God. What made you change your mind?

DeeDee: I met someone who wasn’t afraid to share Christ with me. At first, I was resistant. Our parents and grandma raised us to be suspicious of organized religion. But then, one day everything changed. I made a shocking discovery about the man I loved and…

DVC: Spoiler alert!

DeeDee: Whoops. Zipping my lip now. Better change the subject. Let’s talk about dancing!

DVC: Okay, dancing it is. One of my readers wants to know, were all those dance lessons growing up a pleasure, or a chore?

DeeDee: I won’t lie and say they were a piece of cake. Dance lessons are grueling. If I hadn’t had Livy to learn and practice with, I’m sure I would have given up a long time ago. But now, I marvel at what my body can do. I’m pumped that we get to pay it forward by teaching other little girls the beauty of dance.

Livy: Our mom’s passion for dance rubbed off on us. I couldn’t have quit if you paid me. For me, the downside of dance was the demanding nature of it. In the professional dance world, you have your share of divas and spiteful types and those who take themselves oh-so-seriously.

DeeDee: You find if you don’t keep raising the bar, someone else will be more than happy to grab the best part.

Livy: Yet all the practicing builds character and self-discipline.

DeeDee: I loved the intense competitions…

Livy: I hated the bloody toes and outgrowing my favorite leotards…

DeeDee: There were hardly ever any boys in class to tease or flirt with.

DVC: How times change! A couple of single fathers brought their daughters into your studio for lessons.

Livy [giggling]: Don’t forget to mention how cute they were.

DVC: And now you’re married to one of them, aren’t you, Livy?

Livy: Spoiler alert!

DVC: My lips are sealed. But my fans who read Sapphire Secrets are dying to know…were you ever able to dance again?

Livy: I don’t want to spoil the surprise. But if they read Moonstone Secrets, they’ll find out!

DeeDee: Don’t forget to tell them about your prequel, When Lyric Met Limerick, a free short story about a fateful meeting…the day our amazing and talented parents met.

DVC: Readers, just click on my Amazon author page to find all my books. And thank you, ladies, for letting my readers get to know you today.

Livy and DeeDee [in unison]: So long, lovely readers.

DeeDee: Peeps, you have to download Moonstone Secrets, because this crazy author is going to put me through an even worse ordeal than Livy’s. I have no clue how I’m going to get out of this mess…

DVC: Not to worry, DeeDee, your story is now available for preordering and will be released next week!

DeeDee: Hey everyone, be sure to subscribe to my favorite author’s newsletter at so you can be the first to read my story!

As the Christmas season sparkles around her, DeeDee McCreary eagerly anticipates visiting magical Victoria, BC, with her boyfriend, Nick, and meeting his family. But the trip proves disastrous. First, Nick finds his bank account cleaned out. Then he disappears. Frantic, she determines to uncover what happened. When she discovers something far worse than she anticipated, she questions everything she believes to be true about him.

With the man she loves in jail for an unspeakable crime, DeeDee knows the truth lies somewhere in Nick and his ex-wife’s past. But if she pursues their secrets, will she put herself in danger, too?

Author Dawn V. Cahill pens “Stories of Victorious Faith for the 21st Century,” nearly always with a crossword puzzle, sudoku, or dark chocolate nearby. “The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about.”