Why Should Truckers Have All the Fun? by Linda Yezak

Linda YezakClimbing high in the saddle. Feeling all that power under you as you ride. Singing at the top of your lungs any song that comes to mind. Eating simple grub and seeing America first. Really. Why should truckers have all the fun? During my teens, we had a choice between biker or trucker heroes. I chose trucker. My favorite movies  were “Convoy” and “Smokey and the Bandit”–outlaws who defied the establishment on eighteen wheels instead of two. Since I never was much of a rebel, I’ll never understand where I got the notion that trucking would be romantic, but the idea of criss-crossing the country and seeing America through the windshield of a big rig attracted me like a trucker to chrome.

Can you imagine what stories a driver could tell? Doesn’t matter if the tales are based on what he sees or what he dreams up during long, boring stints, he’s likely to be an entertaining story teller over a breakfast of grits and java. I love grits and java. Even though the idea didn’t last long, at the time, I decided I would apply for trucking school right after graduation. I’d ride like a sight-seer on a mission. I’d sleep in the rig in a quiet park, make my deliveries on time, then bee-line home with a new delivery and a head full of stories, poems, and song lyrics. Back then, keeping it between the lines was good enough for me. The long stretch of highway could take me places I didn’t even know existed–and I’d get paid for discovering them.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve realized that big rigs don’t always fit down the side roads. There are other places I want to see, other things I want to experience. Besides, traffic is much slower.18 wheeler

These days I find myself navigating the highways of cyberspace more than those etching the face of the country. What I’m driving depends on the day and the reason to be out on the road. On a good day, I’m zooming down the fast lane toward publication. But more often than not, I’m traversing the side roads. Not necessarily a bad thing, if I can keep these jaunts in check.

Research leads to rabbit trails; whether or not they’re useful is a different matter. Networking and promotions takes me from house to house to visit friends, a fun, wonderful, dangerous use of time because time disappears quickly when I take these detours. I don’t get as many story ideas from this kind of driving as I do the other, so a modified dream exists. I keep my car gassed and ready to roll so I can do some “real” traveling. Refresh the soul and mind. Accumulate story ideas. Visit friends in the flesh. Both forms of travel–cyber and physical–are good for a writer’s life. All work and no play dulls the senses and bores the reader. All play and no work offers nothing to reader at all. Keep your tires balanced and your vehicle facing forward. Enjoy the ride.

 

Writing prompt: As I climb into my big rig to carry a load of ___________ to ____________, I expect to find ____________ along the way. Sure enough, I do, and . . .

 


 

GtLaR Front Cover FinalGive the Lady a Ride
Patricia Talbert is a high-class social coordinator from New York. 
Talon Carlson is a rugged bull rider from Texas. 
He thinks she’s too polished. 
She thinks he’s insane. 
Opposites aren’t quick to attract when the lady who enters the cowboy’s world is on a mission to sell the ranch. But a box of letters changes her mission–letters of unshakable faith and a love deeper than anything she’s ever experienced. 
Soon she finds his integrity appealing. Her spunk draws him in. He has the faith she craves; she may be the love he longs for. But faith and love aren’t achieved in a single weekend. 
To buy time to explore the possibilities between them, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.” 
From here on, they’re in for the ride of their lives.

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and three cats in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound  and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years later, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels, which include Give the Lady a Ride, The Cat Lady’s Secret, and The Simulacrum. Her non-fiction works include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline literary agent, Terry Burns. Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004QX62BI Twitter: @LindaYezak Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GivetheLadyaRide LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindawyezak Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LindaYezak 777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com AuthorCulture: http://authorculture.blogspot.com Newsletter: Coffee with Linda: http://dld.bz/drt5t

Mythology & Folklore: Giants on the Earth

Osmar_Schindler_David_und_GoliathAs a young reader, I loved mythology. I became interested in the myths in school when we had to read them, but continued on my own. So imagine my surprise when I found the following Bible verse:

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.–Genesis 6:4 NKJV

Could it be true? Had there really been giants on earth? Pre-flood, pre-Noah? The answer is yes. And they were men of renown. Well-known. Talked about. And why not? These were called the Nephilim, descended of angels. Later, after the flood, giants still existed in the form of the Anakim, the children of Anak, and also the Emim (Deuteronomy 2:11, 9:2 & Numbers 13:33).

Remember Goliath? He was nine feet tall. Nine. So it’s not a stretch of the imagination to believe the myths may have been based in reality. And of course, as people do, they told tales about them. Fish stories. With each telling, they became bigger, taller, stronger, more powerful. Israel’s spies in Numbers 13 were shaking in their boots. No way were they going back there. Giants lived in the land.

2013-08-25 03.55.16Folklore is the passing down of stories, myths, sung or recanted. Loveable stories like Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan. Fun to read, fun to listen to around campfires. But fiction, all the same. Blown out of proportion by the tellers, but good clean fun, most of the time.

So could these stories also be based in truth?

They never seem to lose their fascination. Moviegoers flock to the hero sagas. Thor. Hercules. Can anyone play Zeus better than Liam Neeson?

As a young reader, finding that verse in the Bible (whose words are truth) was like a door opening on a whole new existence. My imagination shifted into overdrive.  I could see how people would think those men were gods. They towered over everyone else.

I hope my ideas have inspired you to look further into the history of mankind. Search the scriptures on your own and see what you think. Are the myths based in reality?

Writing Prompt: As writers, we have a wealth of ideas thrown at us in the stories of old. What can we do with them? Pull one of them out and give it a current setting. Mix in a little romance, if you will, or a good dose of humor. Make it real. Make it your own. Be creative! Leave us a short sample in the comment section.

“Osmar Schindler David und Goliath”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath.jpg

Betty Thomason Owens

The Flying Pioneers by Rachel Muller

WWI Air WarIt was said to be the “war to end all wars,” however, World War I only provided the fuel to ignite the world into hostile circumstances. 100 years later, we look back on the world’s history and the horrific slaughter on mankind through trench warfare, tank battalions, and the brand new contraption just taking the world by storm—the aeroplane.

In just 100 years the world has quickly developed and improved in aerodynamics. From the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903 to today’s manless flying machines, architects and mechanics have greatly influenced the air and space market. But how did flying evolve into what is has become today? Well, believe it or not, it all started with World War I…

Just prior to the war, England’s air fleet consisted of only 33 planes. Most of these early flying machines were made of paper, bamboo or poplar wood, and bicycle tires. Canvas skins were later used because of its durability over paper. However, Germany advanced in the field of aerodynamics and quickly developed their own effective planes that were more durable, could carry metal bodies instead of paper or canvas, and were faster than the Royal Flying Corps’ own planes.

When reconnaissance flights began, pilots were also instructed to take down Germany’s 170 balloon observation crafts. The pilots found while performing their duties they were also able to drop small bombs from the cockpit onto the enemy’s line with little threat to the pilot and the aircraft. It caused significant damage to the enemy in which they had little to no time to react. In no time at all, guns were mounted to the fuselage and synchronized with the front propeller, thus thrusting the opposing sides into a new kind of war—an air war.Bomb Dropping

Fresh and young pilots entering the RFC (some only 16 or 17 years of age) were thrown into pilot training almost immediately. Most WWI veteran pilots recorded that upon entering their quarters they were handed a pilot’s handbook and the joystick. Before the invention of simulators, a young pilot’s training was on-the-job. Sadly, over 15,000 planes and some 7,000 pilots lost their lives in training alone. By 1917, the life expectancy of a pilot was only 11 days.

The pioneers of flying endured harsh flying conditions. Due to little experiment on altitudes and air pressure, pilots made the half hour climb to 20,000 feet to find the altitude a frigid tormentor. Oxygen was sparse to none at all and the oxygen mask had not yet come into existence. Many suffered frostbite from the extreme temperatures, and air sickness due to the lack of oxygen in the blood. It was an excruciating experience for many.

If a pilot was lucky enough to live two weeks and shot down a total of 5 enemy planes, he was deemed a Flying Ace and decorated for his bravery in the skies. But most pilots never received the recognition they deserved. England’s laws prevented an Ace’s name and photo from being published in the newspapers, but when the law was lifted, a pilot, whose name did appear in the papers, became one not so popular with his peers. The English pilots believed they were a team and did not look for self-glory as the German’s had.

After the end of the first world war, people around the globe were ready to dismiss everything associated with war. The price had been too high for many. Soon pilots and their aircraft were demobilized. Many pilots were out of work and rejected from entering the army. But then something promising happened, and it was something that was catching around the globe. In 1918, the first successful airmail trip was made and inaugurated, introducing the world to the possibilities of air travel.

Since then, man’s dream of flying has become a reality and our technology continues to grow at an amazing pace, expanding our world to the limits of our imagination.

Thanks so much, Rachel, for finishing out our month of World War I…

Rachel Muller_HeadshotObsessed with World War II since the tender age of 17, Rachel Muller has been studying The Greatest Generation for 13 years and composing stories of love and war for nearly three years. After taking time to start and raise a family she has now turned her to passion—writing WWII fiction.

Her first book in her Love and War Series, Letters From Grace, won a Top 28 spot in the Harlequin/Mills & Boon So You Think You Can Write Contest (2012) where it finaled as the only historical romance in their Love Inspired line. Since then she has concentrated on re-writes and is now under review by literary agents. You can learn more about Rachel at www.racheldmuller.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Significance of Women in WWI

July marks the 100th anniversary of World War I. All month long, we’ll look at different aspects of this war to end all wars. Today we introduce an article by our newest Crew Member, Betty Boyd.

DCF 1.0In doing research for the writing of this post, there were many notable women cited for their various contributions. What I found most significant was how the role of women changed when the United States got involved with the war in 1917.

Women’s roles prior to WWI were for domestic purposes. In previous wars fought by the United States, women served as nurses. When WWI came along, what was even more striking was the fact that women were still not allowed to vote.

For the first time, women were recruited in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps. They were assigned no rank and were able to serve both domestically and overseas. Additionally, women who were not nurses could enlist in the Navy and the Marine Corps.Women also aligned themselves with volunteer organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the YMCA.

The shift had begun.

The military side of things opened up new doors for women. Their roles began to expand and also their acceptance in the US Armed Forces. Almost13,000 women enlisted in the Navy and Marine Corps, were given the same status as men, and wore a uniform blouse with an insignia. Over 30,000 women would serve in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps.

As the men went overseas, women occupied various jobs that were once done by men. Employment by women jumped from just over 3 million to over 4 million by January 1918. Women worked as clerical workers in private offices and conductors on trams and buses. They also worked as engineers and toiled in the highly dangerous munitions industry. Women did heavy labor such as unloading coal, stoking furnaces, and building ships.

This was unprecedented in all of modern time.  Women were needed more than at any other period. It became hard for women to go back to just being homemakers and mothers. WWI changed women’s roles forever.

Some women of note are:

Loretta Perfectus Walsh, who became the first active-duty US Navy women. She held a non-nurse occupation while enlisted in the US Naval Reserve. Additionally, she became the first US Navy petty officer.

Frances Gulick was a welfare worker at the YMCA. She was awarded a US Army citation for valor and courage during an aerial bombardment of Varmaise, France in 1918.

Elizabeth S. Friedman worked to document the history of secret communications. She also was a crypto analyst for the Treasury Department, and broke encoded radio messages.

The significance of women in WWI cannot be underestimated. They could no longer sit on the sidelines.

WWI changed forever the landscape of women’s roles both domestically and overseas.

Betty Boyd

Best Treasure Hunting Movies

By+JenniferHallmark

raiders of lost arkI love to watch a good movie full of intrigue, romance and treasure hunting. Who can forget one of my all time favorites, Raiders of the Lost Ark? Harrison Ford became my favorite new hero and the suspense left me breathless.

And how could we talk about treasure without mentioning pirates? Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl combines Jack Sparrow the pirate with treasure and romance.

Another one I’ve watched over and over is Romancing the Stone. A writer living the adventure of a lifetime is my kind of movie.

For an oldie but goodie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart combines a hunt for gold with greed in the desert.

And last but not least, The Goonies, a movie about a group of kids hunting for a pirate’s treasure to save their homes from foreclosure. I loved Sean Astin in this movie!TheGooniesPortada-Frikarte

What are some more movies or television series that deal with treasure hunting?

And speaking of treasure, leave a comment to be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card to be given away on Monday.

A Dozen Apologies with Jennifer Hallmark

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Today we welcome Jennifer Hallmark, another of our Writing Prompts Crew, who also debuts in the group project, A Dozen Apologies, released February 14th.

What drew you to this story? To be honest, the opportunity to be published. Then when I read the storyline and found what was needed from me, the ideas started flowing and I caught the vision of the story itself. Mara is a wonderful character, full of strengths and weaknesses.

What was it like to work on a multi-authored manuscript? A lot of fun and a little confusing. I enjoyed communicating with the other authors, the publisher, and editor through the Facebook group and email. The different experiences and opinions widened my view of writing.

What is the most important thing you have learned through this experience? That writing really isn’t all about me. Deep down, I’d hoped my own novel would be my first publication. I believe, however, this experience will help me gain the knowledge of “being published” and the next time I won’t feel quite as overwhelmed.

Would you recommend this type of writing to others? Why, or why not? Yes! I’ve made new friends, gained more knowledge into being published, and explored a different genre in writing.

A DOZEN APOLOGIES FINAL FRONT med

A Dozen Apologies

In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

Jennifer Hallmark: writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.

Her website is Alabama-Inspired Fiction and she shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! with friends, Christina, John, Ginger, Dicky, and Betty. She and Christina Rich share an encouraging blog for readers called The Most Important Thing.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.

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Modern Day Heroes

McDonald-Bernheim2

By Betty Thomason Owens

I was a teen in the early seventies and part of a vibrant youth group at a local church. We were out to change the world. I remember the night Billy, along with his girlfriend Connie, became a part of our group. There was something special about them from the first. God’s hand was on them. I left when my dad was transferred to another city, but I kept up with the youth group through some of my close friends. After I returned to Louisville, I married and attended another church. I ran into Bill and Connie several times over the years. He went to college, they married and had a daughter. They pastored a church nearby.

What impressed me most about them, was their dedication. They suffered losses. Connie had a terrible accident, they lost two children due to a genetic disorder. Life wasn’t easy for them. Then I got a letter from Bill. They had accepted God’s call to missions. Their heart was set on Ecuador. They were leaving for missions school in Costa Rica, where they’d be immersed in the language. Would I be interested in supporting their ministry? Absolutely.

I started small, since I was a stay-at-home-mom at the time. But every month, I sent in my donation. They graduated from missions school and I received another letter. Cuenca, Ecuador, in the Andes Mountains. Wow. I was so proud of them, but I could not imagine moving to a foreign country with my little guys, leaving all my family and friends behind. They were very brave, and I was in awe of them.

Later, I spoke with Connie about what it was like to leave all she knew behind. She told me about that first day, after their arrival. She faced fear, but they were together, and not only that, God was with them. She had to trust Him for everything. The worst time came at Christmas, far from home and family. I could only imagine. I had a difficult time with the holiday when my parents moved three hundred miles away.

Their first order of duty in Cuenca was to establish a church. Centro Cristiano started small, but in a very short time, the church had grown and they needed a new building. As their ministry expanded, they developed and led a childcare program under the Assemblies of God, to plant schools with a Christ centered curriculum.

Years passed and Bill and Connie welcomed another child, Seth. I loved watching their children grow up through photographs received in their updates (no Facebook back then, just snail mail). The church in Cuenca continued to grow as well. Bill made trips into the Amazon regions, into places only accessed by canoe and on foot. Scary. I received pictures of their excursions into the Andes on foot and on horseback. He led missions teams into some of these places as well as to the Galapagos Islands. I longed to go on one of these. But the opportunity never came.

After their daughter Leah married, she and her husband also became missionaries (Jungle Missions), traveling into the Amazon regions teaching and preaching the gospel.

In 2002, I got a letter from Bill and Connie. They were turning over leadership of Centro Cristiano to Ecuadorian nationals in order to pursue other forms of ministry. Then he wrote about a new opportunity. A television station called Unsion. I had no idea what a bright star had just dawned on the world and through Bill and Connie’s ministry, I was part of it. Exciting stuff!

Bill and Connie’s son Seth is now grown, also working in missions. Their daughter Leah and her husband Joil Marbut have four children; Bill and Connie’s grandchildren, growing up on the mission field.

When Bill speaks, God speaks through him, using his natural abilities, the perfect mix of wide-eyed-wonder, humility, and humor. He’s never lost his awe of God and seems amazed of God’s goodness. He’s dedicated to Jesus, Connie, his children and grandchildren. Connie is one of the most humble women I know, yet beautiful, accomplished, and strong. She’s endured many hardships, but is always found serving God, her husband, children, and grandchildren with a graceful smile.

There’s a song we sang back in the early days, when Bill and Connie first got involved in the youth group. A line from that song says, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, but soon all those around can warm up in it glowing.” Bill was the spark God used to ignite a mighty, glowing flame that continues to spread across the world, carrying the greatest message of all. The gospel of Jesus Christ.

1048906_10200466198676034_645386335_oFor this reason, Bill and Connie McDonald are my heroes. Modern-day heroes of the faith. They would not wish to be exalted. They would give all glory to God, which is exactly where it belongs. He who has called them has given them the grace to perform His calling. (But they’re still my heroes!)

For more information on Bill and Connie McDonald’s ministry:

http://worldmissions.ag.org/search.cfm?Display=Yes&churchdetail=AGFM02F5

http://www.unsion.org/page17/page17.html

Joil and Leah Marbut: http://junglemissionary.com/

Today’s Prompt: Darcy had often dreamed of serving God in a remote region, but she’d never planned on the degree of hardship she’d endured. And she wasn’t even there yet. After twenty-four hours en route, eighteen of them spent in the Bangladesh airport, what she longed for most was…