A committed Catholic and author of Christian fiction, I find God continually places me in situations which create new stories to include in my books.
I am also an avid dressage rider and competitor on my beautiful home-bred bay gelding, Cruz Bay.
The only place my husband and I could both agree on to live was Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. We both live here and it has proved to be a win-win!
My horse is boarded at a wonderful barn just off island. Although I miss having him at home with me, it only takes twelve minutes for me to visit him every day and he's enjoying all the attention he gets from the staff there, who love him almost as much as I do!
As a Christian author, I thank God for each gift of success.
“Dinny’s Challenge” became a #1 Best Seller for a glorious while and I knew took screen shots of its exalted status immediately!
Creating the book was an interesting exercise in humility, as you can see from my post, “Dinny’s Challenge:” A Fresh Start. It taught me not to take criticism personally, but to see it as a helpful aid to improvement.
My critiquing circle’s good judgment made the book successful, and I am eternally grateful to them.
Readers tell me my books bring back happy horse memories from their childhood, and one was even encouraged to get on a horse again, after reading about the equine adventures of my heroes and heroines!
Such feedback is enormously rewarding and encourages me to continue writing.
I’m now working on “Friday’s Folly,” Book 3 in The Sinclair Island Romance series.
P.S. If you would like to join my Launch Team and receive Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of my new books, please comment below. I’d love to welcome you aboard!
Running into her former fiancé forces Dinny to face her cowardice towards him decades earlier.
Dinny gave Grant back his ring and married the man who was accusing him of fraud.
Now widowed, she attends a wedding on Sinclair Island and unexpectedly runs into her ex-fiancé – three decades after he moved away.
Dinny’s beloved mare is about to go blind and Grant meets with her to suggest an unorthodox solution for saving the horse’s sight. But his girlfriend becomes determined to keep the once engaged couple apart and extracts a promise from Dinny not to interfere in her relationship with him.
Dinny realizes she’s falling in love with Grant again. Problem is, he’s a crook and her deceased husband’s arch-enemy. And she’s given her word to stay away from him.
Grant never stopped loving her, and a nearly fatal incident with a horse gives him the unexpected opportunity to clear his name.
When Dinny discovers the real criminal’s identity, she is faced with the sordid truth that her marriage was based on a lie.
Can Grant forgive her for believing the wrong man? Can she forgive herself – or her late husband?
Under pressure from Grant, she admits her true feelings, she then tells him that she mustn’t give into them. Angry and disappointed, he walks out on her.
Soon afterwards, he risks his life to save his girlfriend and Dinny knows she’s truly lost him.
Her life will be unbearable without him and she has to get him back.
It’s been interesting to discover that an author friend of mine, who is way more successful than me, is having the same trouble with her current novel as I am.We both suffer from a difficulty to move on from the hero in our previous book to the next one.
Grant didn’t own a horse in the first version. He’s quite a bit older than Fulton in ‘Saving Prophecy’ and his only sport was golf. I hadn’t realized how boring he was until I decided to make him the owner of a beautiful grey gelding. After all, the horses make the book, don’t they?
That immediately gave him a snazzier car, an interesting extra hobby, and he is also a member of the volunteer emergency services on the island. I shan’t say which one, but no, he’s not a fireman.
Which brought me to Dinny, who needed spicing up, too. She was under her husband’s thumb for many years, but broke out of her shell after his death. I wasn’t conveying that, apart from having her fulfill her lifelong dream of buying a horse. Now she’s up to all sorts of things, and I’m having a hard time keeping up with her!
Wish me luck as I follow the tricky romance between the two of them.
My beta readers are currently running their eagle eyes over the novel and giving me valuable input. After that I shall be sending out ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) to my wonderful Launch Team for their feedback.
All being well, the book will be ready to launch by the end of November.
What’s the book about?
Twenty-nine years ago, Dinny was swept off her feet by the man accusing her fiancé of financial fraud.
When Grant loses the woman of his dreams to his boss, he moves away for good.
Now a widow, Dinny attends a wedding on Sinclair Island, where a chance meeting with Grant rekindles powerful emotions.
He’s never found a woman to replace Dinny in his heart. Butwhenhe hints that he was framed by her husband, she feels disloyal for spending time with him.
Yet if Grant is telling the truth, her whole marriage was a sham and she can’t handle that.
When Grant has a riding accident, Dinny realizes she’s still in love with him. But giving into her feelings means facing the sordid facts about her deceased husband. Is she ready for that?
Grant finally convinces her of what really happened and she prepares to move onto the island to be with him.
But then he confesses a secret that sends her reeling. Sensing her love for him is not strong enough to accept the truth yet again, he walks out.
Life for Dinny will be unbearable without Grant. She has to get him back!
But how?Is it too late to salvage their relationship?
When I have the final launch date I shall let you know.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been busy writing a romance novel inspired by a recent trip to Daufuskie Island with a friend who was giving a riding clinic at Haig Point Stables.
Two things struck me during my visit.
One was the peaceful atmosphere: the only permissible vehicles on the plantation are golf carts.
The other was that two ladies at the barn had met their Mr. Right on the small island. What were the odds? I wondered.
My writer’s brain shot into overdrive and on my return to the mainland – read Hilton Head Island 😉 – I began scribbling down a story woven around events on fictitious Sinclair Island.
My little isle has cars on it – I couldn’t quite wrap my head around a romance conducted in golf carts! Maybe in a later book.
The result is ‘Saving Prophecy,’ and the novel is going through its final edits before I announce a publishing date. I thought it was going to be a standalone book, but the plots for a second and third one wouldn’t leave me alone so I’ve already outlined them both.
‘Saving Prophecy’ will now be the first of the Sinclair Island Romance Series.
The first draft of Laura Harper’s first trilogy book is complete, and I shall resume edits as soon as I am certain of where the next two novels in the series are headed. Writing romance has been a fun interlude which is helping to keep things fresh when I go back to the Harper family.
Today I am revealing the cover, and as the launch date draws closer, I shall disclose a few details about the plot!
During the first two weeks of May, my German friend and erstwhile riding instructor came for a visit to Hilton Head Island from her native Frankfurt.
It was her first time here, so we did a lot of sightseeing. But she was very interested in helping with my riding and I was thrilled to receive the much-needed training!
Cruz and I are like a long-time married couple: we’ve adapted to each other without realizing it. As a result, I’ve got used to his crookedness and he’s learned to cope with mine.
When your horse doesn’t give to the left, the temptation is to bend him even farther left. But that just puts him off balance and makes him move yet more crookedly.
Ingrid had me let go of my stranglehold on the left rein and concentrate on driving Cruz forwards in a straight line. In any case, I should only see his inner eyelash when he’s bent to the left, not his entire neck!
Here’s a link to the video of us cantering between markers to the left – our worse side. You can see his haunches swing out to the right until I improve my leg position.
CLICK ‘WATCH ON FACEBOOK’ IN THE BLACK BOX TO VIEW.
In this video I’m cantering to the right. This used to be my ‘bad’ side, but somehow we’ve switched over!
AGAIN, CLICK ON ‘WATCH ON FACEBOOK’ IN THE BLACK BOX TO SEE THE VIDEO.
In addition to creating forward impulsion, I was to make sure I could always see the top muscle in his arched neck, to denote that he was using himself correctly and enable him to carry me better.
He didn’t have to be ‘reeled in’ to achieve this: I could do it on a longer rein, too, allowing him to stretch into my contact. As a result, she assured me, he would not be so tired nor ache so much from using the wrong muscles.
So I’ve taken a photo of his neck and will get another shot of it in two months’ time. Hopefully the before and after pictures will show a significant increase in his upper neck muscle and a huge decrease in his lower neck muscle. (I’m too embarrassed to let you see the before photo right now!)
If all goes according to plan, I’ll post them both!
Next week my great friend Maggie McGuire, of https://maggiemcguiredressage.com/ is coming to give a clinic next and I hope to post some great photos and videos from that.
Twelve years ago, when the horse barn on our Maryland property was ready and our three horses had moved in, a grey tabby and white cat showed up.
He was friendly and vocal and visited frequently. I began feeding him and that was that. My barn = his barn.
At the time I was reading a book series by Alexander McCall Smith whose heroine’s name is Precious, so that’s what I called him because he was so pretty and I thought he was a girl.
Until I discovered his previous owner. The local cattle farmer, she told me his name was Junior and he was one of a litter of five, but was now fighting with his siblings. He had wandered off to get away from them.
I told her she was welcome to check if I really did have her cat and she agreed to come over.
Praying she wouldn’t want him back, I brought her into the barn. Junior took one look at her and ran off. “Yeah, that’s him. You can keep him.”
I didn’t like the name Junior, and never did improve on Precious, which in all fairness I couldn’t still call him. So he became ‘Barn Cat.’
He was extremely affectionate and extremely feisty. He’d come up to the house every morning and accompany me back to the barn to give him his breakfast, but I never moved fast enough in his opinion. He was always striking out at my legs and catching his claws in my pants.
As soon as he’d eaten, if I made the mistake of sitting down anywhere, he was in my lap like a shot, purring and kneading holes in whatever I was wearing. Many of my riding breeches suffered this treatment.
He trotted behind my horse down to the arena every time I rode, so he could watch us, or run across the sand chasing leaves, or dig a hole in front of me to do his business in. That cat was determined to be a part of everything! My instructor called him her assistant, because he’d curl around her legs while she gave lessons. He also leaped onto the laps of anyone who sat down to observe her teach.
In the winter he slept in our basement, which he could access via a dog flap. I’d feed him at the top of the stairs, then he’d rush to the front door to escort me down to the barn, where he’d demand a second breakfast.
He made me laugh whenever it snowed: I’d watch him hop out of one of my deep boot prints into the other on his way down to the horses.
Barn Cat was a brilliant mouser and many a morning I was greeted by the sight of rodents’ entrails in the aisle. Our dogs knew to keep away from him, for he had no fear and let them know it, and our house cat soon learned to give the semi-feral feline a wide berth if he was in the back yard.
He was about a year old when we first met, and quickly became an integral part of life at the barn. So he was thirteen when we found a buyer for our farm, who agreed to take care of him.
But I noticed he was slowing down and his belly had suddenly grown larger. The vet said he had a tumor.
Had Barn Cat decided he didn’t want new owners? I don’t know. But it was with a heavy heart that I took him back to the vet two days later.
That tumor was growing fast and it was time to do the decent thing. It was hard, for this truly remarkable cat had weaseled his way deep into my heart!
I said my goodbyes while he slowly fell asleep on my lap and have brought his ashes with me to South Carolina, to be with the family he chose.
The positive effect Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaosare having on the youth of today, especially young men, is undeniable. Though a big fan of his, I was still concerned that his views may be at odds with Catholic teaching.
I am currently writing the third book in The Father Michael Trilogy and looking for a realistic way to bring hope to Joe Harper and those who suffer like him with ulcerative colitis or other IBDs.
Joe comes from a Catholic family, so is Dr. Peterson a good spiritual father for him?
Dr. Peterson Attacks Nihilism
Life is difficult and Dr. Peterson doesn’t sugarcoat the fact. His is not a ‘feel-good’ book, which makes a refreshing change.
But he stresses that throwing our hands up in despair is irresponsible and the easy way out. ‘Everything is horrible, there’s nothing I can (want) to do about it, so what is the point of existence? I’ll just feel sorry for myself and make everyone else around me more miserable, too.’
Instead Dr. Peterson urges us to stand up and voluntarily accept ‘the burden of Being’ and ‘the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open.’ ‘There is evil to overcome, suffering to ameliorate, and yourself to better.’ We must make whatever sacrifices are needed in order to ‘generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language.)’
Christ ‘outlines … the proper aim of mankind’ in the Sermon on the Mount. We must ‘aim at the highest good’ which puts us on a heavenward trajectory and ‘makes (us) hopeful.’
The psychologist urges us not to make the world a worse place but a better place. Either we are advancing the world towards Hell or towards Heaven. Which do we want to inhabit?
He points to history, warning us of the extremes to which people will go when they don’t take on the burden for improving life but instead seek scapegoats for their unhappiness. They become bitter, resentful, vengeful and ultimately murderous. He reminds us of the excesses of Hitler, Stalin, and the Communist Party in China and Russia in the 20th Century. Extreme right and extreme left ideologies are equally dangerous.
In Our Lord’s prayer we ask that “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” and Dr. Peterson states clearly, ‘To place the alleviation of unnecessary pain and suffering at the pinnacle of your hierarchy of value is to work to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth.’ This viewpoint does not conflict with Catholicism or Christianity in general.
He tells us to meet suffering head on and be heroes – a great message for the lost young men of today. What a worthy challenge! Be the hero who reduces the suffering of others.
He says that the clinical psychologist has brought to light once more why Scripture matters and is ‘recovering the power of those texts’. They are not dead myths, which prominent atheists would have us believe, otherwise they couldn’t have lasted so long and had such influence.
“Jordan Peterson and Bishop Barron are the two biggest reasons why I’m getting confirmed Catholic tomorrow 😀. God bless you both”
“…I was a cradle catholic and left the church when I was 18….I went to my first confession in 20 years last month and have gone to every service since Ash Wednesday thanks to Dr Peterson’s work. I’ve even picked up the Bible.. it is like a switch has been flipped.”
What a resounding endorsement!
Bishop Barron states that Dr. Peterson believes deeply in the texts of the Bible and is spreading the message that faith in them is a matter of life and death. This is most definitely the Christian viewpoint!
Where Peterson’s Views Diverge from Catholicism
On the topic of whether Dr. Peterson’s views are Christian, Bishop Barron is scrupulously fair. He stresses that the author doesn’t claim to be a Christian theologian nor a Christian – he’s looking at the Bible from a purely psychological viewpoint.
Dr. Peterson is an avid follower of Jung, who said that the first great psychologists were the early Church Fathers. Yet in his video Bishop Barron on the Jordan Peterson Phenomenon the bishop cautions that the psychologist’s ideas verge on Gnosticism – the idea that only a few cognoscenti can know Christianity. Wikipedia describes one of the Gnostic core teachings as ‘To achieve salvation, one needs to get in touch with secret knowledge.’
Bishop Barron’s other concern with Gnostics is that they tend to ‘bracket the historical references in these biblical texts,’ thereby ignoring the reality of events in the Bible. The bishop reminds us that, rather than being philosophical or psychological, ‘Christianity is stubbornly historical.’ It matters that God really did become man, that He really did rise from the dead. Those are historical facts.
Christ is not an archetype, as Dr. Peterson describes Him – He is not a myth. The ‘myth’ of Christ is firmly grounded in history.
Myths are not rooted in a specific time or place: they happened ‘once upon a time’ and ‘in a faraway galaxy.’ Jesus Christ was ‘crucified under Pontius Pilate.’ We know who Pilate was, where he lived and when. The New Testament may contain mythical elements but is also historical: the Church stubbornly insists on that.
Bishop Barron says the problem with liberal theology is that it sees God ‘as the deep background music of life.’ Biblical theology says that God ‘is a Person who acts in history and has purposes and it is the primacy of God’s Grace that breaks into my life and changes me.’
Bishop Barron endorses Dr. Peterson’s book but cautions us against the Gnostic tendencies in it.
Is Dr. Peterson a Christian?
He makes frequent statements that suggest a belief in God. For example, ‘you have a spark of the divine in you, which belongs not to you, but to God.’ Yet when asked in interviews he declines to come down on one side or the other.
About the Resurrection, he says that the literal (historical) and metaphysical (archetypal) sometimes touch – and that is a miracle. He is not excluding the possibility that the Resurrection truly happened. He is simply unsure about its historical truth and needs another three years to go into it.
Bishop Barron has no problem with that. He suggests we look at St. Paul, who after his encounter with the Risen Christ went to Arabia for three years to sort himself out before coming back to preach the Gospel. Dr. Peterson is in good company.
The bishop regards Dr. Peterson as a spiritual father for young men, whom the psychologist says are starving for direction. Spiritual masters who give spiritual instruction are what they need, according to Bishop Barron, who adds that priests would do well to talk in the same manner as the author of the 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
Therefore I feel confident that Dr. Jordan Peterson will be a good influence on Joe. He will encourage the teenager to read the Bible. He will urge him to overcome his suffering by being the hero who takes responsibility for his actions and makes the world a better place.
Using him as a spiritual adviser to Joe is not a bad place to start.
Where do you stand on Dr. Jordan Peterson? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!
In January my son began a new job in Chicago with an accounting firm. Any of you reading this who are CPAs or know one, will be aware that the first three and a half months of each calendar year are CRAZY!
He is working 16 hour days and on Saturdays – and was seriously ill for ten weeks.
All of this meant that he was unable to take care of his dog, Fly. So his father and I kept her at home with us and our two English bulldogs. Every evening I would send him a short video of his Border Collie black Lab mix.
My son and Fly had never been apart for more than a few days, so it was very hard on him to be apart from the girl he rescued four years ago from the local shelter. Since that time he has put in a lot of hours teaching her to be well-behaved, and working with other canines to earn himself a great reputation as a dog trainer.
When Fly met our bulldogs for the first time they immediately fought. In less than 24 hours my son had them all peacefully living together.
The Border Collie mix was such a model of good behavior while she stayed with us that we threatened not to give her back!
But the day came when our son was ready to take her to the Windy City. Reluctantly we put her in the truck and drove to Toledo to meet up with her rightful owner.
When we arrived in the car park of the Toledo hotel, our son wanted Fly let loose a little way off, where she couldn’t see him. He whistled from behind a tree, and she rushed off to meet him! They’d been apart, our son reliably informed us, for a whole 71 days and it was enormously touching to see their joy at seeing each other again.
The three of us and Fly stayed the night at the hotel, then came the time for our son to take his dog back to Chicago and for our return to Maryland. We were so sad to say goodbye to the dog we’d been fostering that our son offered to send us nightly videos of her…!
A few hours later he sent us this photo from his apartment.
The two of them are having a ball, going for long walks in the numerous large parks that surround the apartment building. On Saturday, 17th March, I received this photo: