Seeing our Marine grandson was a dream a few weeks ago but it became a reality this weekend. It has been truly amazing to see Ben transform from a high school teen to a muscular Marine.

No wonder this "tough guy" is the Marine mascot.

Last evening Ben shared a video that documents his intensive survival training by French troops in New Caledonia. While there, among other things, he jumped from unbelievable heights, learned to hunt and dress a deer, ate live grubs that had been dislodged from a tree, and mastered multiple water survival techniques. An unplanned event for Ben was being bitten on the arm by an “unknown” insect. This resulted in a swollen arm, losing a large patch of skin, and a big open wound. He has a scar. Lesson learned: Keep arms inside the sleeping bag. (His mother thinks maybe a Purple Heart. After all, he was deployed and he was wounded. Never mind that it was by a vicious little critter.)

Additional achievements for Ben while deployed included earning his black belt in Marine Martial arts and mastering scuba diving.

Welcome home for a while, tough guy!


Cool Day, Great Coffee, Good Read . . .

. . . the ingredients for a perfect day. (Note that I’m putting my novel out there as a possibility for reading lists.)

I always read with interest the reviews of my book that are posted online. The most recent such review was by novelist, Batya Casper. She wrote:

“I read Child of Desire on a plane ride, devoured it actually, grateful that I was on a 14 – hour flight.

Verla Lacy Powers transported me into the fundamentalist, Christian community of an all but lost, rural American world. Only Powers allowed none of the expected clichés to creep into her text. We humans, she seemed to be telling me, are good and fallible--all of us. As such, Powers’ characters are beautifully rounded and fully, beautifully, flawed. No sanctimony. No patronizing. Powers looks humanity smack in the face, unperturbed by its proclivity for deceit and treachery, at times actually seeming to delight in her characters’ flaws. But Powers falls short of condemning her characters. Ultimately, she treats all with compassion.

The story is about an innocent who witnesses something no 16 year old should, an act that changes the course of her life. The story grips the reader as we follow our heroine through the thrills of first sexual awareness, to loss, maturity, true, ruthless grit—and, eventually, acceptance and love.

The clincher of this book lies in the twist at the end, in the trick she pulls on her readers, making us do a total double-take, causing us to wonder who, in fact is the good guy—and who the bad. Wait till you get to the end. You’ll see---Batya Casper, http://www.Israelathebook.com

This review made my day – maybe even my year!


Tough Marine

When I last wrote about our grandson, Ben, in “So Proud,” he was being deployed for the first time. In just a few weeks Ben will arrive back at his home base and we will have the privilege of spending time with him.

This picture of our handsome (now much more muscular) grandson was taken in his area of deployment last week. Anxious to see him!

Ben, February 2016


Twitter World

Following a long period of ignoring the Twitter account I created over two years ago, I decided that using it might provide a good way to connect with other authors. While the jury is still out concerning the value of this connection with relationship to my writing career, I can report that I now have a new level of understanding concerning the world of social media. Time spent on Twitter has provided an experience and an education. Not bad, but interesting. I share here just a few of the things I have learned.
  • Many Twitter users, maybe even the vast majority, purchase followers. When a relatively unknown user has thousands of followers, I suspect fake accounts are involved. Numerous companies have offered to find thousands of followers for me, for a price (of course). The powers that be at Twitter have attempted to stop this fraudulent practice, but to no avail.
  • Canned tweets are in the same category as fake followers. Some who purchase tweet packages have messages sent out many times each hour. During my time on Twitter I have tweeted less than 200 times but have had offers to post “great” tweets for me on whatever topic I might choose and as many times per day as I want (again, for a price). Many authors have page after page of the same repeated tweet about their books. Often these tweets begin with the words, “purchase,” “free download” and “limited time offer” (or other variations of this marketing strategy). 
  • Most Twitter communities are made up of people who share common interests. However, even while connecting with others who have similar interests, individuals in these communities often have an interest not shared by others in the group. That interest is self. Each hour of the day my feed scrolls with dozens of “buy my book,” “read my blog,” “visit my website,” “like me on Facebook” and “purchase my editing service” tweets.
  • Members of Christian Fiction Writers (CFW) and authors published by well-known Christian publishers (authors with whom I might have reading interests in common) seem to mostly follow others in CFW. Not being a “groupie,” I do not follow these authors. 
  • Self-published writers (AKA Indy writers) support each other while finding fault with authors who have followed the traditional path to publishing. They are apparently unaware that we cannot discount our books or offer them free. In exchange for well-edited manuscripts, expert book design, hosted web sites, and promotional support, our publishers reserve the right to set the prices of our books and electronic downloads.
  • On-line book groups tweet book choices for readers to consider. All registered users of these sites have a voice, and self-published authors comprise the majority of registrants. Readers love free and cheap. 
  • Tweets from online sites that feature discounted and free books are plentiful. Translate, self-published books. Traditional publishers rarely feature a book that is discounted deeply enough to find a home on one of these sites.
While not comprising the majority of my followers, I have made some good connections with authors who have publishers. The tweets these authors compose tend to be motivational and helpful. So, for now, my Twitter account is active.

Image from FreeClipart