Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Are You Ready for a New Story?

June 27, 2020  - Book Spotlight


What's that you say? You are raising your hand to say you are ready for a new story?
Well, great! Here's a fairytale adventure by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, perfect for fans of The Secret of Roan Innish and The Girl Who Drank the Moon. And it will be arriving just in time for your summertime reading adventures. RELEASE DATE was:   June 21, 2020!
You can find out more on Jenelle's blog or at Amazon to pre-order now and peek inside the book and decide which format you would like to have: hard cover, paperback, --and to read it the same day it's released, check out the Kindle/e-format...  (Here's a hint as to what I am pre-ordering: the Kindle version and the hard-back cover version.) 💻  📗

Follow Jenelle around the "interwebs" to get news about latest releases and her writing adventures: WEBSITE


Excerpt from An Echo of the Fae, by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt:

My earliest memory returns often in my dreams. My mother’s soft smile
caresses me as she bends down to kiss my forehead, my own tiny hand reaching
up and trying to capture a lock of her long red-gold hair between clumsy fingers
that refuse to obey my wish. A soft, sweet humming fills the memory, a tune that
is both dear and yet unfamiliar. Eyes filled with love gaze down at me, and a
gentle laugh, a man’s laugh, fills the room. Strong arms encircle us both, my
mother and me, and I know I am perfectly safe. Perfectly loved.
Another sound permeates the memory: a rhythmic, rushing, liquid sound I do
not recognize, but which fills me with a deep longing that threatens to burst out of
my chest and leave me completely hollow. In the dream, it is merely a subtle
noise in the background, but when I wake I feel a desperate need to find its
source. Sometimes the longing clutches me so tightly that it leaves me gasping,
desperately sucking in each breath as if through a narrow reed, my lungs
screaming as though they have forgotten how to breathe the very air I need to
It is rare to have a memory from such a tender age, especially one so vivid.
And yet, that moment is locked in my thoughts with perfect clarity. During the day
it grows distant and faded, but it has haunted my sleep in full, vibrant detail each
night for nearly thirteen years.
So why is it that the face in my dreams is wholly unfamiliar to me? Why is the
mother from my memory a stranger?
This book was released on the first full day of summer, June 21, 2020!
You may order now a copy in the format of your choice!



During the days, I wrangle four small hobbits and help them along on their adventures.

Basically, I'm Gandalf.

But come evenings, when the hobbits are sleeping... I become my alter-ego: PLOT WIZARD (still a wizard, just a different kind)... and adventures await in the pages I scribble upon.

I write fantasy, fairy tale retellings, hints of steampunk, and I have epic plans for a hybrid science fiction/20s detective story mashup at some point... it's in the works. Mostly I stick with fantasy, though.

I'm a dreamer, a relentless opener of doors in the hope of someday finding passage to Narnia, and story girl.

I'm the author of the complete series "The Minstrel's Song," a four-book saga of epic adventure full of dragons, quests, magical swords, fierce warriors, friendship, loyalty, and an enigmatic minstrel. I won the second Rooglewood contest and my retelling of Beauty and the Beast, titled Stone Curse, was included in their Five Enchanted Roses anthology. I have two short stories published in Mythical Doorways and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales with the Fellowship of Fantasy. I've had my flash fiction published with Havok three times. And I just released my first children's picture book!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Fifth Annual February is Fantasy Month

My daughter is hosting this event (see for more details) and there are some fun ways to enter for the chance to win some give aways. One of the ways to earn 5 entries is to write my own fantasy-themed blog post and then join the linkup!

Well, that made me panic, for I am not a fantasy story writer, and I thought maybe I had to come up with some fantastical-kind of story!
But then... I figured this did NOT mean I had to write my own fantasy story... but rather that I could  make my blog post "fantasy-themed" simply by sharing that there is this fun "party" going on throughout February to celebrate fantasy stories and gain some insights on the ways fantasy authors dream up their fantasy realms and creatures.

Here it is nearing the end of February (already!), so let me just post this and invite you to join in on this fun before the month totally disappears!

There. That was my "fantasy-themed blog post."  ;)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Saying Good bye to such a good friend!

Got word today that my son and daughter-in-law needed to let their beloved dog Samantha Jane, a.k.a. Sammy Sam, go today. They had her from puppyhood for 11 years!
She will be sorely missed! Such a good dog she was!
Farewell, Sammy Sam!  :'(

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Regarding Children and Books

Psalm 127:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.

This verse came to mind as I was sitting here contemplating my own four now-adult children. Now I can also read that verse as: "Grandchildren are a gift from the Lord..."
I love to watch my "kids" and grandkids grow and stretch and dive into new and exciting endeavors.
My eldest is an author and she,  her husband and an artist friend, have produced a most lovely children's picture-story book called 
'Twas an Evening in Bethlehem.
I will include my review here on my blog and hope it inspires you to pick up a copy for yourself to read!

'Twas an Evening in Bethlehem


Beautiful, Imaginative Retelling of a Historical Event
I really enjoy reading aloud the poem-text of this book and let the words roll off my tongue, especially the list of the shepherds' names. I love the soft, earthy tones of the paintings and how their simplicity draws me into the story, leaving the details to my imagination. I especially like how a piece of the "big picture"on the left side page is inserted behind the text on the right side page.
I purchased a copy for my 92-year old mother and she was immensely pleased. So it is quite suitable for all ages!
This is a beautiful picture book that adds a touch of imagination to a true, historical event.
I highly recommend this book! It would make a great gift for Christmas.... or for any occasion!

Monday, August 5, 2019

This day in "history"

My daughter, Brittany Jean (singer-songwriter), reminded me where we were one year ago today (actually it was a Sunday, but it was August 5). We were walking around Lower Manhattan in New York City checking out the 9/11 memorials and then taking a Clipper Ship tour around New York Harbor. The following day (Monday, August 6, 2018) Brittany would have the privilege of performing for 30 minutes at the City Winery NYC prior to the main event: Three Dog Night in concert!

It was a whirlwind trip, but one I am grateful we were able to make with Brittany and get to "see her shine!" It was a "night to remember" and truly a highlight in the year 2018!

Monday, October 22, 2018

"There were only six of us then; how we've grown!"

That post title comes from my daughter's song, "Satellites," and it is more true today than it was even when she wrote it to put on her first album called, "Whispered Stories," released in 2013!
(You can check out her work and info at: bjeanmusic(dot)com
I'll just post a photo from 10/18/2018.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

How I spell "Happiness"

If I could use only one word to describe "happiness," that word for me would have to be:
So when two of our four children traveled across the country with their families to join my husband and me and the other two of our children who live in our town so we could be all together in one place for Thanksgiving, I was filled to the brim with "happiness"!
And a line from my singer-songwriter daughter Brittany Jean's song, "Satellites," came to mind:
"There were only six of us then.... how we've grown!"
We began to "grow" in 2004 when our eldest got married... and then had their first child in 2008...
then her two brothers followed that marriage path several years later...
then... more children came along, whom I like to refer to as our "grand-loves," so that now our family members' magic number is fifteen!
Next year, in the year 2017, we shall grow by three more as each of our married children will welcome babies, and Lord willing, our tribe will reach the eighteen mark!
I am so grateful to the Lord for each one of these people! What a blessing they are!
"Bless the Lord, O my soul!"

How do you  spell happiness?

Summer 2007 Collage

Summer 2007 Collage
Brittany mails her deposit for puppy; Piano recital with supporting "fans"; making music in our home; Family get togethers; baseball; new fence.

Family dinner in Chicago, 9JUL07

Family dinner in Chicago, 9JUL07
Brittany, Nan, Jim, Jenelle, Derek, Grant, & Evan celebrating Jenelle and Derek's 3rd anniversary (early) at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Chicago. Yummy!!!

Jenelle and Derek

Jenelle and Derek
It's always fun to have them come home for a visit! They got to spend a week with us over the 4th of July holiday. We celebrated their 3rd anniversary early by going to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Chicago.

New Patio Furniture to enjoy

New Patio Furniture to enjoy
Brittany, Evan, Claire, Jenelle, Derek, Grant, & Jim trying out our new patio furniture. Sadly, the new umbrella got destroyed in our Aug. 24 tornado!!! :-(

Coach Jim (and nephew Austin)

Coach Jim (and nephew Austin)
Jim coached our boys' baseball team, the Chicago Titans, in the Skyscraper League, Chicago. This was a lot of work, but Jim and the boys had some fun with it.

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline
This was the baseball field near UIC where the boys played all their games this summer. It was quite a spectacular backdrop to view!

Our cute puppy, Sadie

Our cute puppy, Sadie
Grant liked this little puppy! Jim, Brittany, Grant, and Nan drove up to northern WI to get her (Golden Retriever) on July 22. She was fantastic for the 6 hour trip home!

Evan and "Sadie"

Evan and "Sadie"
This golden retriever puppy was such a cute 6 1/2 week old puppy. Evan worked at a private golf resort all summer, so he did not have too much free time, but in his few spare moments he would enjoy playing with Sadie.

Brittany and "Sadie"

Brittany and "Sadie"
And of course, Brittany loved Sadie! It was HER puppy. She had counted the days after Sadie was born in June until the day we could go pick her up! Nan loved Sadie, too, but caring for such a young pup combined with all the kids soon heading back to full-time at schools...was too much for Nan...and the decision was made to take Sadie back to her home in WI...where she was placed in a very good home with folks who raised golden retrievers! We had fun with Sadie for 6 days and we miss her! (You can see the new fence we put up in our back yard...for our doggie.)

Jim and "Sadie"

Jim and "Sadie"
Jim and Brittany drove Sadie back to WI after we had her 6 days. Sadly, Nan was the one who could not "cope" with all that would be involved in raising a dog. It has been one of the hardest things in Nan's bring to an end the dream of her daughter to have a dog!

Grandpa turned 80!

Grandpa turned 80!
Grandkids: Brittany, Brandon, Grant, Austin, Jalen, Connor, LeAnn, Ethan, Garrett~think "Grandpa Wonderful"...

Grandma's turn was coming...

Grandma's turn was coming...
she also would turn 80 this year, so her grandkids helped her celebrate early. LeAnn, Brittany, Austin, Brandon, Grant Ethan, Connor, Jalen, Garrett

Happy 80th Birthday, Mom!

Happy 80th Birthday, Mom!
Randy(50), Nan (52), Mom(80), Anne (44), poolside in Morenci

Angelina, Grant, Evan, Claire

Angelina, Grant, Evan, Claire
Making summer memories...ready to drive to Cleveland, OH for a Kenny Chesney concert, with a stop in Morenci to introduce the girls to G'ma & G'pa; and enjoy the Randy Porter Family and their 4-wheelers! :-)

Grant-man leaving for Biola

Grant-man leaving for Biola
It was an early morning departure for Grant as he and Jim would drive the Ford Pickup Truck back to La Mirada, CA, where Grant began his 3rd year.

Sunrise Departure

Sunrise Departure
Nan and Grant take a "self-portrait" booth style! Grant and Jim were leaving early in the morning to drive cross-country to California! Nan is smiling, but she is NEVER happy to see her boys leave home...again!

Evan-man heading back to Biola, 20OCT07

Evan-man heading back to Biola, 20OCT07
Mom says yet another "good bye" :-( We brought Evan home for a "mini fall break" so he could surprise Claire with an in-between-visit before Thanksgiving.

My Girls 9Sep07

My Girls 9Sep07
Jenelle (25 in photo, now 26) and Brittany (15 here, but now she's "sweet 16") are pure delights to my heart! They are truly "treasures" from the Lord! We enjoyed a Labor Day week visit from Jenelle and Derek. We LOVE having them visit!!!

Hello, Snow!

Hello, Snow!
First snow of December, day 1

Busy, Hungry Squirrel

Busy, Hungry Squirrel
Here's one of many squirrels we enjoy watching as they scamper and play in the snow. This one found a cob of corn and seemed to enjoy nibbling at it!

Squirrel eating his lunch...

Squirrel eating his lunch...
This squirrel was a lot of fun to watch as he dragged this cob of corn around our yard! I wonder if he carried it up into his hole in the tree!

One more squirrel photo

One more squirrel photo
I enjoyed looking out my kitchen window to watch this busy squirrel as he ate his corn. It is so marvelous how the Lord cares for meeting the needs of the wild animals! How much more He cares for us!!!