Things I Love, Things I Hate

I hate cold, I hate winter, I hate snow – I hate Santa. That sounds more like an opening line for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” than my usual upbeat, positive blog, yet all these statements are true.

Grasshopper cover #3

I hate snow because it’s cold and I hate cold and being cold. Probably dates back to childhood, surviving in sub-standard houses, some of which had no heat. Then cutting and gathering firewood in the ice and snow with no gloves or warm outer garments. As for Santa, he gets bashed because if you teach children Santa brings them gifts and then they learn it’s not true, will they believe in God?

Thanks to all of you who read my blogs. I love and am thankful for each one of you. And I’ll forget about stacking icy firewood with raw bleeding hands and take a positive turn.  I’ve just released a new mystery-romance-suspense book, “I’m the Grasshopper.” Releasing a new book always raises my cheerful volume, even in the cold, cold winter.

Newspaper staff writer Stacy Estes has never forgotten the fate of her childhood pet – a grasshopper – when it encountered a spider. Her failed romances make her view herself as the grasshopper and men as spiders. She. Is. Done. With. Romance.

Stacy is a runner and hider. Until she trips over a body at her grandmother’s house and goes from reporting the news to being the news. Stacy fights to keep her secrets intact, including her physical disability, especially from the first love of her life who has moved back to the community. Lost treasure? Gold mining in Texas? Flying saucers on her grandmother’s hill? And what about the men who go into the Comanche Cliff store – but never come out again? Mysteries entangle and endanger Stacy. When a local poacher is jailed for murder, Stay’s life unravels.

Her investigation into the murder victim on her grandmother’s property takes her to the strange world of boanthropy, where people believe they are cows. It sends her into a confrontation with satanic worshiper “Snake.” And she is slated for the next sacrifice.

“I’m the Grasshopper” is a great Christmas read, clean enough that the kids or Grandma can pick it up and read it, yet packed with excitement, adventure, mystery and love. Stacy has a physical disability, but does that make her a “cripple,” as a heartless co-worker labels her?

To give credit where it belongs, the Bible promises in Romans 8:28 that “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” Being in extreme pain and on crutches for months gave me the idea for the story and characters. God is always faithful to His word. I’ve since had successful spinal surgery, so it will be a very Merry Christmas for me.

To all of you reading this blog, have a Very Merry Christmas and a Deeply Blessed New Year. Thanks for being there! God bless.

Grasshopper cover #2

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0787RWNSG/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513147845&sr=8-1&keywords=I%27m+the+Grasshopper+stephanie+parker+mckean

Love Stinks

It takes courage to love – because love stinks.

Okay, so I write Christian mystery-romance-suspense books. I should march through life expounding a giddy procession of clichés about love’s virtues. But honestly – love stinks.

Love stinks because only those we love possess the power to hurt us. We can be callous and indifferent when taunted by enemies, but when someone we love criticizes us, we shatter.

Love stinks because it ends. I met a fellow dog walker today. We fell into each others arms and cried – me because my son had graduated from earth to heaven, she because her loyal doggie companion had done the same. No matter what the object of one’s love, the pain of loss is devastating.

Husband, wife, friend, lover, companion, child, pet, wildlife, flower, tree – every object that we find the courage to love will be lost to us someday. I can write romance novels. I can write happy endings. But I can’t take the hurt out of love. I can’t make it smell good.

Yet, without love, life would be a desert wasteland. Love splashes life and color into every drab corner of human existence. Love fires the souls of writers, poets, dreamers, achievers. Love is the only heart condition that makes living worth the pain and effort. The Bible promises that love never fails.

Love stunk for Jesus, too. Because He loved us, Jesus allowed Himself to be mocked, whipped, have His beard plucked out and thorns pounded into His head. Love nailed Jesus to the cross. Love kept Him there. He could have called angels to rescue Him, but Jesus chose to stay on the cross and die for our sins. Love stinks.

Jesus spent three days in hell – because I’m bad, not because He was bad. Then Jesus snatched the keys of death away from satan, and rose victorious. Jesus broke the power of sin and death and handed us the victory.

Without the stinking love of Jesus, Heaven would be out of reach for us.

Love won’t stink in Heaven. Love will be a fragrant perfume that never dissipates and that lasts for all eternity.

So perhaps love doesn’t stink. Perhaps I can keep writing romance novels, some with happy endings. When sorrow finds a resting place inside my heart, a rose will bloom in its shadow.

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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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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What to do with Fifty Million…

Wow! Fifty million! If I had that in dollars, I could buy everyone in my family a nice new home and car. Then I could find a poor village somewhere and buy all of them houses and cars. And think of all the clean water systems that could be put in to give people in poor countries a fair start for a healthy life. And if there were any money left over after those worthy projects (I’m not good at math, so I’d have to just keep track of it as I spent it rather than writing out a budget), I would build another Bible Land. One bigger and better than the one I had started in Texas.

But what if the 50 million turned out to be chocolate or blue cheese? Even as much as Bridge to Nowhere‘s Miz Mike and I love chocolate, I doubt the two of us together (if she were real, of course) could eat through 50 million anythings of chocolate, even individual candies! Speaking for myself, I have to go running already in an attempt to maintain my weight. Ditto for the blue cheese dressing, no matter how much I love salad with heaps of blue cheese crumbles and dressing.

What about people? If you were to put fifty million folks together, what an amazing amount of talent and abilities you would compile! Think of all the doctors, attorneys (forget all the lawyer jokes for a moment), scientists, writers, engineers, plumbers, electricians, builders, architects, and just plain hard working people. You could build a good world with that amount of possibilities. You would have someone who would unlock the key to curing cancer and AIDS. You would have someone who could write the next great book, like To Kill a Mockingbird, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee…or children’s classics like Black Beauty.

Fifty million could change the world. But that chance is lost. Fifty million is how many babies have died since 1973 – including two of mine – when abortion was legalized in the U.S. Fifty million means that some 3,000 babies are murdered every day. We’ve already killed the next Shakespeare; the next Jonas Sulk; the next Rogers & Hammerstein; the next Dr. David Livingston; the next Amelia Earhart; the next Annie Oakley.

My babies were stolen by non-medically supervised backwoods abortions that nearly killed me, preformed by the monster who was raping me and wanted to hide the evidence. A monster that threatened to kill me if I didn’t cooperate and let him abort the babies. I was a frightened, young teenager who didn’t even have a boyfriend and had never been on a date. At the time, I was a helpless victim. But now I wonder, what would my babies have become? I’m a fourth generation writer. Would one of my children have written the next world’s greatest novel? Would he or she have engineered bridges to connect islands to the mainland and make life easier for residents? Gone into space? Built a vehicle that could recycle fuel? Or would they have just been happy, healthy folks who worked hard and wanted to take care of their mother when she grew old so that she would never have to be put into a nursing home?

Love’s Beating Heart sends two teenage girls on a wild river Huckleberry Finn type adventure as pregnant, unwed Natasha wrestles with the hardest decision of her life: keep her baby or let it be aborted as her parents have demanded.

Love’s Beating Heart also showcases homeschooling, marriage and family life. While Dena and Tash are facing hostile wildlife and people on their river adventure, Dena’s older sister Cat has escaped an abusive boyfriend. Cat doesn’t believe in God. When she is rescued by a Christian family who homeschool their family, Cat’s non-belief collides with their Christian faith Cat suspects they’re crazy. Still, she can’t help envisioning herself as a replacement wife for the attractive family man, Skylar. If only musician Jesse Montgomery, who wrote a pro-life song called Love’s Beating Heart, would quit condemning her, Cat would happily facilitate Sky’s divorce so she could marry him.

Dena and Natasha get swept away by a flooded river. Cat gets trapped in a burning barn. Who lives and who dies in Love’s Beating Heart and are there any happy endings for those trapped in parallel stories?

Love’s Beating Heart is a teen, young adult, and adult adventure-romance, a clean, engaging Christian reading experience suitable for the entire family.

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