Help Celebrate the Release of Shattered Faith at a Book Signing Event Nov. 3!

Shattered Faith Cover

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my second book in two months! No, I didn’t dash this one off in a month–I was working on it while getting Silken Strands ready for publication.

If you’re a mom, if you live in Minnesota, if you homeschool or know homeschoolers, and if you’ve ever been helped through a crisis by a faithful friend, you’ll appreciate this book.

From the back cover:

Faith, a successful author of suspense thrillers, has a personal mystery to solve. Isme, her ten-year-old daughter, is seeing things. Weird things that come true in bizarre ways. On her quest to find out what could be going on with Isme, several friends hint that her husband, Lance, needs watching. She ignores their suggestions until a second vision from Isme—a black cat on her parents’ bed—directs Faith to physical evidence that Lance is having an affair. Faith springs into action, putting her fictional sleuthing skills to work in real life. She has a weekend to gather clues before Lance returns from his annual convention. Surprises keep popping up, including the revelation that her grief over her stillborn son has been poisoning both her marriage and her relationship with God. Can she trust the God who broke her heart to fashion something good from the horror every married woman dreads?


Shattered Faith, winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers First Impressions contest in 2017 (novella category), is a work of contemporary fiction set in Minnesota in the summer. Just as the hard frosts are hitting us, think how nice will it be to curl up by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and this engaging story! You can imagine yourself with Faith as she goes fishing on Lake Minnetonka, strolls through the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and canoes on Minnehaha Creek. That’s what you’d do if you suspected your husband was having an affair, isn’t it? But Faith has her reasons. She’s gathering clues and advice from some women who have insights to share. What she hears might not be the knowledge she’s searching for, but perhaps it’s what God knows she needs.

In Shattered Faith, I pay homage to the many wonderful homeschooling moms I had the pleasure to get to know over my twenty-six-year homeschooling adventure. The main character’s best friend, Jen, is a multi-talented, energetic, and fun homeschooling mom. Through Jen and the other women Faith reaches out to, she learns that God’s good plans for his children reach far beyond the pain of today’s immediate crisis. Though this book deals with some heavy themes, it’s full of gentle humor and hope.

If you were unable to attend the Book Launch Event for Silken Strands in October, here’s another opportunity to find out more about that novel and get your copy autographed.

I hope you’ll join me at this festive open house on Sunday, November 3, from 2 – 5 p.m. to celebrate my two books. Enjoy refreshments and relaxing live music, get your books autographed, and chat about the books, being an author, or anything else that comes to mind. Books will be available for purchase at a discount–think Christmas gifts! The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Maple Grove Lutheran Church, 9251 Elm Creek Blvd N, Maple Grove, Minnesota.

If you can’t attend, you can order Shattered Faith on Amazon. Don’t forget to post a review to let me (and others) know what you thought!



Join Me at the Book Launch Event for Silken Strands!

Silken Strands Front CoverIf you’re in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area–or will be on October 10–please join me and fellow historical fiction lovers as we celebrate the release of my debut novel, Silken Strands. Here’s a sneak peek into what’s in store. I’ll share with you:

  • A glimpse into the stranger-than-fiction real-life people and events of Oneida Community that I incorporate into the book’s plot.
  • A sampling of the gems I discovered about Oneida during my on-site research at the Syracuse University Archives and the Oneida Community Mansion House.
  • The inside scoop about the “little miracles” that happened on my research excursion.
  • Some surprising ways my imaginary characters and events took shape as I wrote the manuscript.
  • A preview of Shattered Faith, my hot-off-the-press novella.

After a brief talk and reading, we’ll move on to the prize drawing. Wonderful giveaways await the lucky winners! Refreshments, great conversation with other book lovers, and a book signing will wrap up the evening.

Here’s what you need to know to get you to the right place at the right time:

When: Thursday, October 10, 2019, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: University of Northwestern–St. Paul, Berntsen Library, 3003 Snelling Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota

Who: Lovers of history and great fiction or anyone who wants to support me and my writing

Cost: FREE, of course! (and there’s plenty of convenient, free parking, too)

RSVP: At the Facebook Event Page

Playing with Father Redux

God asked me to come out and play—again.

In the freshman composition classes I teach for University of Northwestern St. Paul and  North Central University, I demonstrate how to write narrative reflections using a blog post I wrote a few years ago called “Playing with Father.” It tells how God “put together” a costume for me to wear at our church’s Halloween alternative, the Fall Frolic. God taught me some lessons I needed to know right then—in a playful and surprising way.

Evidently, I needed an update to my costume repertoire and some advanced lessons from Father. A couple of Octobers later, I headed back to the thrift store to purchase what I needed for my new persona. This time, instead of God leading me to the various items of my ensemble, I knew I had everything I needed already. Everything but a stuffed monkey.

I was going to be Pippi Longstocking. I had striped stockings and wild ribbons for my hair. I had a striped shirt and some chunky boots (left over from that previous costume). I had an eyebrow pencil to dot my face with freckles. I just needed Mr. Nilsson, Pippi’s pet monkey, to make it clear who I was.

Although I’d had this plan in mind for a couple of weeks, when the day of the Fall Frolic arrived, I still hadn’t journeyed out to find Mr. Nilsson. The Goodwill store five minutes from my home had bins brimming with Teddy bears and Beanie Babies, and I was hoping to find a cheap furry friend there. With only a few minutes to complete my mission, I strode over to the stuffed animal aisle. A few seconds later, I spotted him.

ff1I assumed I’d have to safety pin whatever creature I found to my shoulder to make him part of my costume—and I wasn’t confident that would work. But God had that all under control. The Mr. Nilsson who was waiting for me had long arms with Velcro hands, so he could hang perfectly from my neck!

My transformation into Pippi was surprisingly quick and easy. At the Fall Frolic and when I posted my picture on Facebook later, everyone knew immediately who I was. No doubt Mr. Nilsson helped!

Later, when I had time to contemplate the event, I realized that once again God was showing me something about myself and about Him. But this time, He wasn’t showing me what I could be, but what I already was through my relationship with Him.

In the book series by Astrid Lindgren, Pippi lives alone in her father’s house. Her father is away at sea, but he has made sure she has plenty of gold coins, a pet monkey, and a horse. While others doubt the existence of Pippi’s father, Pippi never doubts him or his love for her. Pippi’s father trusts her to be capable and wise—and she meets those expectations.

From time to time people release “all I ever needed to know I learned from” lists. Interestingly, though I had always loved the Pippi stories, I never believed I was anything like Pippi. Until that fall. That’s when I realized God had been developing in me all those best qualities of Pippi, and I could finally make one of those lists.

All I really need to know in life I learned from Pippi Longstocking:

  • My Father loves me and takes care of me, even when I can’t see Him.
  • I have infinite riches at my disposal.
  • I use my resources wisely and never squander them.
  • My pets are my friends.
  • I am stronger than I look.
  • I can get away with wearing bright colors.
  • Freckles are cool.
  • I am capable of living on my own.
  • A new adventure, with new friends, is just around the corner.
  • Washing the floors is fun.
  • I don’t mind if others think I’m “different.”
  • I am my own unique person and am confident in who I am.
  • I will be reunited with my Father someday.
  • Pigtails don’t have to be straight.

I’ve come a long way, but only because of my loving Father, who provides for me and teaches me, even though I can’t see Him.

“That’s all you need in life right now.”

rebecca at acfw2Yesterday the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Annual Conference wrapped up. I was blessed to attend and blessed to be a finalist in the ACFW Genesis Contest.

When I attend an event like this, I always expect God to show up and teach me something big. This time, the first day and a half went by, and although I learned many wonderful tips for becoming a more successful writer, I didn’t have an emotionally moving moment where I felt God’s special word to me personally. I’d already heard several amazing God stories about how one attendee or another had connected with just the right person or received just the right message.

I decided to give God a little help.

Since I’d only scheduled one appointment with an editor and one with an agent, I put myself on the schedule for a publishing representative who had a free appointment slot. I signed up for an opening on Friday, but the person I requested to meet with didn’t show. The next day, I noticed that the person who had blessed a friend of mine had an opening, so I put my name down to meet with her. When my time came, she, too, stood me up.

Once is a coincidence, but twice is a pattern.

I interpreted it to mean that God knew what He was doing. If I wasn’t satisfied with what had happened so far, then God had something else in store.

I didn’t dare think it would be winning the Genesis Contest. I knew that many authors who had been writing fiction longer and with more expertise than I were in the contest, and I didn’t expect to win my category.

I was moved by a workshop that Liz Curtis Higgs presented. If hers had been the only session I’d attended, it would have been worth the trip to Nashville. What an inspiring woman!

That night, as winners were announced in the Genesis Contest, I didn’t receive an award, but I wasn’t disappointed. It wasn’t my time.

Sunday morning, I had a few free hours before leaving the luxurious Gaylord Opryland Resort. I donned my walking shoes and rambled through the sprawling indoor tropical paradise. As I approached a waterfall that had drawn me near several times over the past days, I considered its unique attraction.

cascade fallsThe pathway leading toward it was bordered by manufactured stone that reminded me of the cliffs along the St. Croix River. One of my earliest memories—a mere flash of recollection—is of my dad taking our family to an outing at Osceola, Wisconsin, to see the falls where Osceola Creek tumbles over a cliff on its way to the St. Croix. A special feature of Cascade Falls is that you can walk behind it, and that’s what we did.

I was probably only three years old. Dad carried me in his arms while my older siblings walked. We stood in the cleft of the rock as the waterfall roared in front of our faces and the creek rushed away before us. I smelled the damp stones and fragrant vegetation. Cool water sprinkled my face as Dad’s warm, protective arms enfolded me.

ACFW2018Like Cascade Falls, this indoor waterfall allows one to walk behind it. It even offers a bench to sit on behind the falls where you can watch the water pour down from the rocks and pools above your head. With plenty of time this morning, I stopped a few minutes to meet with God. It was a drop-in appointment, but He was ready and waiting for me.

Sitting in that secluded nook brought Colossians 3:3 to mind: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

When I attended Bible College, one of my favorite Bible teachers told a story about that verse. He remembered being out in a rainstorm with his dad as a very young boy. He and his teddy bear were wrapped inside his father’s rain jacket next to his heart. My professor’s point was that Christians are the teddy bear, held close by Jesus, who is held close by God.

I’ve drawn comfort from that image hundreds of times. But today God pointed out that I had an image of my own that would serve me better—one I’ve left unclaimed for decades. Behind Cascade Falls, I was enclosed in Dad’s sturdy arms, and we were both hidden in the cleft of the rock. God is the shelter and the fount of blessing. In Christ’s arms, I am safe, and I am loved. That’s all I need.

Perhaps I hadn’t received some big reveal from God during the conference, but He’d given me everything I needed right now.

ACFW2018aEncouraged by that thought, I continued my walk. A few minutes later, I stopped by a pastry stand for breakfast and ordered a double chocolate muffin and two percent milk.

When the server heard my order, she grinned. “That’s all you need in life right now.”

The same thing God had just told me. He must have wanted me to hear it twice.

Playing with Father

(I wrote this post about seven or eight years ago for a different blog. I now use it as an example of a narrative reflection in my college-level Rhetoric and Research class, which I teach for North Central University. My R & R students have all seen the now-famous leopard shirt and platform shoes. With Halloween approaching, it seems appropriate to post this here.)

God asked me to come out and play.

My daughter Naomi and I went to the Earth Exchange thrift store to look for a costume for her for the Fall Frolic Halloween alternative at our church. As I was scanning the clothing racks for something for her, I ran across a black shirt jacket with the head of a leopard painted on it and leopard pattern trim on the sleeves and collar. I showed it to Naomi. “You could be a leopard tamer,” I said. Naomi dismissed the idea, so I put the shirt back. I kept suggesting other ideas to Naomi, and she kept suggesting other ideas for me. When we had exhausted every possibility for Naomi, she insisted that I find a costume for myself. I went back to the leopard shirt. “I could be a leopard tamer,” I said.

We proceeded to look for other pieces to complete the leopard tamer outfit. There were some long black pants that I had ruled out because they were size two, but Naomi encouraged me to try them on. Naomi found a black t-shirt with the appliqué of Mickey Mouse in a leopard pattern. I said, “That’s great! It means I can turn a leopard into a mouse!” The pants fit (surprise!) except they were way too long. That’s when Naomi presented me with some amazing black platform shoes. They were a little too large, but they added three inches to my height! Naomi then found some black clip-on earrings, and I found a black stocking cap and a black water bottle holder in which I could place the whip my son had used with his Lord of the Rings costume. To my surprise and delight, I was unexpectedly outfitted in a costume so unlike my “real” persona that it was sure to make anyone who knew me smile at the irony.

At the beginning of the evening, I had the opportunity to have my nails painted, something I seldom do. One of the junior high girls who was volunteering at the nail-painting station was wearing orange nail polish with black spots. I asked her to paint mine the same way. Having always been a minimalist when it came to fashion, I never understood my girly girlfriends’ fascination with accessories.  Now with my earrings, heels, hat, bag, and nail polish, I was fully accessorized. I felt “put together.”

Wearing the outfit for four hours affected me. I felt unusually tall, feminine, confident, and capable. Whenever I met a little kitten or leopard, I asked if she wanted to be tamed by me. They all refused! Nevertheless, I knew that if I were a real leopard tamer and they were real leopards, it wouldn’t be up to them. The leopard tamer is the one who calls the shots.

At the end of the evening, I had a new appreciation of my own strength and femininity. I understood that strength and femininity need not be in opposition. In fact, they complement and enhance each other. It was a healing revelation I desperately needed right now. How mischievous for God to teach me so playfully!

Thanks, Father. I’ll play with you any time!