On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 16, 2018:

Rains County LeaderThe first couple of time I submitted an article to the Leader, my musings were published as Letters to the Editor. When I persisted in sharing my thoughts, Earl Hill gave me a column; and when I continued to complain about bugs, poison ivy, and other country-related hazards, he christened me “City Girl.” It was a fitting name since, until seven years ago, I had spent the majority of my life in metropolitan areas. My roots, however, were definitely not in the city.

Mom and Dad were both raised on farms in West Texas. Before you begin picturing

Granny Hagan and family she has ruffled dress in front

My maternal grandmother is the little girl in the front with ruffles on her shoulders.

gentlemen farmers, let me explain that both my grandfathers were tenant farmers, following rumors of the best crops and working the fields on the halves. By the time I came along, Mom and Dad had moved to Merkel, Texas, about sixteen miles west of Abilene. The town was approximately two square miles and had a population of around 2,000. It was so small that Dad used to tell me he got me at the hardware store. I was really born in the Sadler Clinic which was upstairs above the local hardware store, so his tale wasn’t far from the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Published in the Rains County Leader on January 9, 2018:

Pretty Kitty 062015It’s no secret that Kitty is spoiled and that she reigns in the Brendle home, but I don’t think I realized how true that is until this past weekend. The fairy tale of the “Princess and the Pea” is not much of a tale compared with “The Princess and the Kitty Bed.”

When Kitty first began to sleep in the laundry room on cold nights, I folded an old mattress pad and put it in a laundry basket on top of the dryer for her. It gave her a place off the cold tile and away from the draft that crept in under the door. There was always a Kitty shaped depression in the middle of it along with an abundance of her excess fur each morning, so I assumed it met with her approval. Read the rest of this entry »

One Night in Tehran Cover

About the book:

 CIA operative Titus Ray is searching for answers. Meanwhile, an assassin is searching for him.

Learning the truth . . .
Veteran CIA officer Titus Ray–on the run from the Iranian secret police–finds shelter with a group of Iranian Christians in Tehran. While urging Titus to become a believer in Jesus Christ, they manage to smuggle him out of Iran to freedom in Turkey.

Dealing with the past . . .
Returning to the States, he discovers his Iranian mission failed because of political infighting within the Agency. In a hot-tempered outburst, he delivers a scathing indictment against the Deputy Director of Operations, and, as a result, the deputy forces Titus to take a year’s medical leave in Oklahoma.

Facing the future . . .
Before leaving Langley, Titus learns he’s been targeted by a Hezbollah assassin hired by the Iranians. Now, while trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ, he must decide if the Iranian couple he meets in Norman, Oklahoma has ties to the man who’s trying to kill him, and if Nikki Saxon, a local detective with an intriguing past, can be trusted with his secrets.

Can a man trained to lie and deceive live a life of faith?

Should he trust the beautiful young detective with his secrets?

Was the bullet that killed his friend meant for him?

My review:

 Luana Ehrlich’s novel, One Night in Tehranfell short of my expectations, and that’s a good thing. Lately I have read a number of independently published novels, and I have come to the conclusion that creating a well-written suspense thriller is not as easy as the big-named authors who crank out annual best sellers make it look. Mrs. Ehrlich, however, has done just that.

The main character of the first Titus Ray Thriller Series is multi-faceted – tough enough to go head to head with the most vicious enemy assassin but an easy mark when a stray dog shows up at his door; wary enough to be a successful CIA operative but open to a special friendship with an attractive Oklahoma detective. The story line can hold the interest of the most die-hard thriller fan, and it leaves you wanting more. I thoroughly enjoyed One Night in Tehran, and I look forward to reading the rest of the Titus Ray Series.

 About the author:

Luana Ehrlich Head Shot Luana Ehrlich is an award-winning author, minister’s wife, and former missionary with a passion for spy thrillers and mystery novels. She began her series of Titus Ray novels when her husband retired from the pastorate. Now, she writes from an undisclosed location, trying to avoid the torture of mundane housework, grocery shopping, and golf stories. However, she occasionally comes out of hiding to visit with her two grandsons or to enjoy a Starbucks caramel macchiato.

A resident of Norman, Oklahoma for the past twenty-five years, Luana has also lived in Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, Texas, and Michigan. For several years, she and her husband were missionaries in Costa Rica and Venezuela.

In addition to being an avid reader, Luana is also a news fanatic, following events around the world on a daily basis, particularly the Middle East. She loves to hear from her readers! Contact her through email, Author@LuanaEhrlich.com.

To learn more about Luana, visit her websites: www.LuanaEhrlich.com and www.TitusRayThrillers.com.

All books in the series are available on Amazon here.

Blessings,

Linda

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 19, 2017:

RingsMany wedding ceremonies include words to the effect that “love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment.” The idea, of course, is that love is not simply the dizzying excitement of a new relationship or the warm, fuzzy feeling of a long established marriage. It’s a commitment to act in a loving manner even when you don’t feel like it. People who rely simply on loving feelings are often disillusioned when the honeymoon is over. The more Christmases I experience, the more I realize that Christmas is a lot like love –those who rely simply on the magical feelings of the season are destined for disappointment.

My husband David is a nostalgia kind of guy, and he often reminisces about the good oldold fashioned christmas days, especially at this time of year. He recently lamented the fact that he can’t seem to recapture the excitement and anticipation he experienced during the Christmas season when he was younger. Unfortunately, some of the magic of those mysterious packages disappears when you know the bills will be waiting for you at the end of the month. And let’s face it, there’s not as much magic in a new sweater or even the latest book by your favorite author as there was in a shiny red bicycle or a Daisy Red Rider BB Gun. There’s still lots of magic to be found, though, if you know where to look. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover

About the book:

What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name? A care facility is everyone’s solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband, Jack, can’t bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams, and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving, complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home. With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But, on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days, and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.

My review:

Blue Hydrangeas is a beautifully written novel that tells the story of a man’s all-consuming love for his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. It is also the story of how this terrible disease affects the entire network of family and friends that surrounds the affected person. Marianne Sciucco does not mention a personal connection with Alzheimer’s, but I’m sure she has dealt with it in her career as a nurse. She definitely writes about the dementia experience with the insight and sensitivity of one who has watched a loved one disappear slowly, one memory at a time.

The story is about more than the disease, though. Sciucco paints lovely word pictures of the Blue Hydrangeas Bed & Breakfast and of the love between Jack and Sara that is stronger than the trials they must face together. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to the prequel that will be coming soon.

 

About the author:

Head shotI’m not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, I studied the craft of writing as an English major at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and briefly worked as a newspaper reporter in New England. To avoid poverty, I later became a nurse and write about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. A native Bostonian who loves Cape Cod, I make my home in upstate New York. When I’m not writing contemporary and young adult “flinch-free” fiction, I work as a campus nurse at a community college. I am also a founder of AlzAuthors blog, spotlighting carefully vetted books and blogs for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To see what else I’m up to visit http://MarianneSciucco.blogspot.com or find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You may also drop me a line at mariannesciucco@gmail.com.

Buy at Amazon 

Blessings,

Linda

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 12, 2017:

Change is one of those things that few people are neutral about – they either thrive on the new and different or they cling to the old and familiar. I’m more of a clinger. I tend to buy the same brands when I shop, I avoid trendy fashions in favor of the classics, and I almost never rearrange my furniture. This week, however, I’ve had to adjust.

Garage Sale Screen ShotI mentioned last week that David’s sister has ordered a new sofa and is passing on the sofa and love seat that were originally in their mother’s house to us. Since we have no extra space in either the house or the storage shed, our existing sofa, chair, and recliner have to go. I took pictures of those pieces shortly after we returned from our Thanksgiving visit, but for some reason – probably my resistance to change – I didn’t follow through and post them on the Rains County On-Line Garage Sale. Last Friday, I finally got busy, and within four hours of my posting, the recliner was gone. Less than twenty-four hours later, the sofa and chair were sold, and by the time this column is published, they will be gone, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Sharing | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 5, 2017:

All I need to knowIn 1986 Robert Fulghum published a book titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Over the last thirty years, it has become a standard of common sense wisdom, and the basic ideas of this simple credo can often be seen on plaques, coffee cups, and other gift items. The first item on the list is always “Share everything.”

I’ve been thinking about sharing a lot the last couple of weeks, and for good reason. It seems like every time I turn around, I run into an opportunity to share, sometimes on the giving end and sometimes on the receiving end. Read the rest of this entry »

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