Taking the Bridge to Nowhere to the Loch Ness Monster

When I was in the fifth grade, I read about the Loch Ness Monster in our SRA Reading Program. I informed all my friends that when I grew up I was going to Scotland to search for the Loch Ness Monster.

Prophetic boast? Because here I was some fifty years later taking a tour of Loch Ness and waiting for Nessie to appear. I had a present for her. Such a mysterious creature, I felt, would love reading my mystery-romance-suspense Bridge to Nowhere, published by Sunpenny.  Just in case her reading tastes were not what I expected, I took along a typed copy of my pro-life, adventure-romance Love’s Beating Heart (electronically published) and my husband’s two time travel-adventure books The Scent of Time and The Scent of Home.

Yes, I understand that Nessie lives in a 755-foot deep lake which contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. But she’s been in there a long time. Surely she needs some place to get out of that cold water and I’m envisioning a cozy little cave carved into the rock sides of the lake where she can rest, read, relax – and enjoy all the non-monster pursuits that her heart desires. She has often been spotted around Urquhart Castle, which reportedly sits on a rock shelf with deep water underneath. Strange claims have been made of 30-foot eels frightening divers away when they searched around the castle.

Not everyone believes in Nessie. She was mentioned back in the 7th Century. Legend states that Saint Columba rescued a swimmer under attack by ordering the monster away in the name of Jesus. Since then, there have been more than 1,000 sightings, the most recent of which began in 1933. The evidence for Nessie’s existence is anecdotal with disputed photos and sonar readings.  Many of the sonar studies have recorded creatures of up to 30-feet long and more than five-feet wide following boats at great speed and depth. Sound recordings have monitored strange clicks, knocks and swishing noises.

Famed monster hunter Jeremy Wade looked for Nessie without success, but noted that with so much evidence having been accumulated over so many years – something strange lived in Loch Ness. His best surmise was that a rare Greenland shark chased salmon into the loch from the North Sea.

Back to my own personal search for the Loch Ness Monster. I can’t claim to have seen Nessie. So I didn’t get to give her a copy of Bridge to Nowhere or any of the other books. However, I did discover something that gives me hope for future searches. Loch Ness is so huge and deep with so much water – that she could easily be real. There is simply no reason to assume that Nessie is a hoax. So you are welcome to go online and buy my books or even private message me for a signed copy – but I’m keeping Nessie’s copy for next time I get to search for her. She doesn’t know me yet, but I feel we share a special connection. She’ll want to meet me.

Some people search for God with all the inconclusive results that professional Nessie hunters have accumulated. Not only do they mock and scorn Christians, they attempt to push an atheist agenda hard enough that Christians and their faith in God will decline like the Nessie sightings of recent years. How sad. The evidence for God’s existence is all around these non-believers, pulsing with every beat of their heart and borne on the wings of the wind. Nessie might not have popped up on my monster-hunting expedition, but God’s awesome majesty reflected from sky to waves and bounced off the mountains, trees, flowers and wildlife along the shore. God made it all. It’s His perfect creation. And Nessie, if she does exist, is a mysterious creation of God. Mysteries belong to God. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy writing them so much!

See you soon, Nessie! I’m keeping your books for you!

U castle w water Loch N & castle

 

Follow the Jumper!

We are blessed to live in Fortrose, Scotland, within walking distance of Chanonry Point where the dolphins come to jump and play. Well, truthfully, to eat salmon!

One thing we’ve learned about photographing these amazing animals is to follow the jumper. The firth can be full of surfacing dolphins, but if none of them jump – the pictures are boring ones of water, fins and backs. To get an interesting photo, watch to see which dolphin is a jumper and keep the camera trained on the jumper.

Life is like that. Some folks sit watching their TVs and eating snacks and let others jump out of apathy and attempt to change the world. If you want to have an interesting life – jump! You may come down on the wrong foot and end up with a sprain. Don’t let that stop you – sprains heal. Mediocre couch-sitters will despise you and attempt to break you in pieces with words so that they can build up their self-image without getting up out of their comfort zone. Not to worry. Jesus went through the same thing. He was a Jumper.

Being an author is similar. My goal is to write “jumpers.” Books that people will remember; mystery-romance-suspense books that will inspire them to leave their comfort zone and jump for their dreams. Bridge to Nowhere, from Sunpenny Publishing, follows older Texan protagonist Miz Mike who would mind her own business except for her motto to “never let an adventure pass by unmolested.” She almost loses her faith in God when her youngest grandson is kidnapped and law enforcement lets the murderer who kidnapped him escape. Her involvement in the mystery threatens the renascent romance with her cowboy hero Marty. Then she jumps.

Love’s Beating Heart jumps all over the place. A pro-life teen and up adventure-romance with a strong supporting arm for homeschooling and the sanctity of marriage, Love’s Beating Heart is out there jumping through the waters of controversy like an entire pod of dolphins!

Heart, Shadows, Until the Shadows Flee and the soon-to-be-released Fear of Shadows all contain a strong Christian message woven into the action and believable characters – not some preachy tacked on addition. They all jump.

Writing “jumpers” matters to me. I want to offer readers books that won’t discomfort them with profanity or negative lifestyle examples. Books that entertain and delight. Books that jump! Someday I will be gone just as surely as the dolphins fade away from Chanonry Point when the salmon run is over. My desire is to leave something behind that will cause others to jump up out of their ordinary lives and do something extraordinary for God.

I want to live for the jump!

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Prickles & Stickles

I relate to my tough Texan heroine in Bridge to Nowhere, released by Sunpenny Publishing. Miz Mike always minds her own business, but she can’t resist mystery – so she winds up in one pickle after another when she sets out to molest new adventures. Miz Mike is adamant, intransigent, and intractable – only about important things, of course!

Me? I’m just stubborn. Take the prickles and stickles incident. No, don’t. You don’t want to go there.

When we first got our rough collie Angel Joy, she would only catch and collect balls as long as they were easy to retrieve. If they went too far, went into the water, or into bushes – it was our job. Golfers along the golf course would holler, “Can you get your dog to find my ball?” To which we would reply, “She won’t even find her ball.”

Angel Joy now goes into the water – as long as it’s not too deep – and into tall bushes and grass to find her ball. Not prickles and stickles. She’s smart.

Yesterday the wind blew off Moray Firth at near gale force. Her ball whipped into a hedge of wild Scottish roses intertwined with blackberry vines and gorse – solid prickles and stickles and thorns.

Suddenly Bridge to Nowhere‘s Miz Mike hijacked me. I body slammed those prickles and stickles and thorns and stickers and plowed a path into the impenetrable growth. Angel Joy nipped in, grabbed her ball and backed out again. It took me a bit longer since I was speared with thorns, stickers and vegetation with pickles, stickles and hooks.

Sometimes success demands that we plow into prickles and stickles. Staying in our comfort zone won’t get the job done. This is especially true in writing. It’s not enough to get a book published. After that comes the marketing – even if by pushing yourself forward you feel like you’re plowing into a rose bed and coming out with thorns rather than the fragrance, color and softness of rose petals.

Some readers will love you and everything you write. Others will hate you – not because what you’ve written is bad – but because they disagree with you. When that happens, you feel like you attempted to pluck a rose for your sweetheart and grabbed thorns instead.

If you’re a writer, I won’t encourage you to become like Miz Mike. For one thing, she and I are Texas born. It takes a while to learn how to be a Texan. For another thing – she’s my character! But I will encourage you to be stubborn. Get over your fear of prickles and stickles. They only hurt a little bit. Plow ahead with confidence and don’t let criticisms and discomfort steal your dream.

My newest book, Love’s Beating Heart, is the most stickery and prickery since it deals with issues like abortion, pro-life, adoption, homeschooling and the sanctity of marriage. It is also the most satisfying on the deepest level. Don’t get me wrong! I love stubborn, mystery-solving Miz Mike. She’s fun, funny and fun to write. Bridge to Nowhere is a great Christian mystery-romance-suspense, the first in a series of at least six.

But plowing into the stickles and prickles gave me a lasting gift to leave behind when I go home to be with the LORD. Love’s Beating Heart is more than a book. It’s a life-saving manual.

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Twisted Perfection

Bandera, Texas, “Cowboy Capital of the World,” used to be called the place where misfits fit. It still is (as Three Prongs) in the Christian mystery-romance-suspense book Bridge to Nowhere, published by Sunpenny.

Ross was a deaf mute. He rode his tractor up to the main road and caught a ride into town, visiting with friends at the coffee shop. He talked with his hands and everyone understood him.

Harold Jenkins was so twisted and gnarled from birth that he frightened children. His hands were like claws and his arms were bent and deformed. His face looked like it had been trampled on and then half-eaten by a wild hog. He had a heart of love that made him beautiful. He loved Jesus and told everyone. He was a volunteer ambulance driver and firefighter.

Occasional unkind remarks claimed that Gerald wasn’t much smarter than a mop. But even those who questioned his mental capacity lauded him as honest and hardworking. He rode his bicycle into town each day and waited until someone hired him for the day. He was always positive and never complained, even when he was dying of cancer.

Lou Colburn was long labeled a “hopeless alcoholic.” Then he got saved and exchanged the bottle for Jesus. He led trail rides, entertained guests at a local dude ranch and eagerly shared his salvation experience. Lou had TEXAS written in gold across his teeth.

Three sisters. I’m the author of Bridge to Nowhere, Love’s Beating Heart, Heart Shadows, Shadow Chase and Until the Shadows Flee. I’m blessed to be married to author Alan McKean, author of time travel adventures The Scent of Time and The Scent of Home. I am also blessed to have an extraordinary son, Luke, in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Leslie P. Garcia is the author of Unattainable. She has four lovely, talented children – all teachers and coaches – and nine great, lovely and talented grandchildren.

Vicky Potter is a talented editor and animal trainer. Her dogs visit in nursing homes and children’s homes, bringing joy to the housebound. Her dog Lucius is a star now in the musical Annie.

Abortion advocates believe that children in the mother’s womb who might experience physical or mental problems should be killed. Scientists are taking two or three human eggs, removing genetic imperfections, and putting the eggs together to create perfect babies. Had they tested us three sisters in our mother’s womb, we might never have been born. All three of us inherited a genetic weakness in math.

And how much poorer the memories of Bandera without its “misfits” – who fit?

Today I was feeling honored and blessed by God for having been allowed to write the pro-life teen & up action, adventure, romance Love’s Beating Heart. I was thinking about a world in which only perfect people were allowed to live. (Yup. I’d be out!) Without the Harold Jenkins of the world, how would we learn that true beauty is on the inside, not outside? How would we learn to look past the face and see into the heart?

Without a Ross, how would we learn to really listen, even without words?

Without a Lou Colburn, life would be boring.

Without a Gerald, how would we learn that God creates gifts and places them inside each individual and a person doesn’t have to graduate at the top of the class to be a success.

Without people who are allowed to live in spite of their imperfections, would we learn kindness? Would we learn to be thankful for our own strengths? Would we have the chance to be a blessing to others by helping someone less fortunate than us? Every life is precious. Every life is a gift from God. A world of perfect people would be horrible and twisted…and incredibly sad and empty place.

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