Painting Angels: Cover and Co-Author!

Painting Angels, Book 3 in the #SamandSaucer trilogy, just went to press! It’s due to release on July 21, and I want to share the cover, catalog copy, and adorable new co-author for this book as we wait to see the book “in person.”

The Cover

The Catalog Copy

What happens when you can’t get away from the person who drives you craziest? Sam and Macrina are about to find out. Stuck working together to help the nuns, Sam and Macrina come up with a thousand reasons to disagree. Sam is too rude. Macrina is too bossy. Summer at the monastery will be miserable if they can’t find some common ground. With the help of three friendly nuns, a runaway bunny, and Saucer the trusty corgi, Macrina and Sam discover a big secret that helps put them on the road toward peace.

The Co-Author

I am thrilled to announce that I have a co-author for Painting Angels! Thirteen-year-old Veronica Naasko kindly contributed an account of life as a “farm kid” that is going into the print, ebook, and audiobook editions of Painting Angels! The animal farm at the book’s imaginary monastery is central to the story in Book 3, and when we found there was space available at the end of the book, we asked Veronica to write for us. I recorded my part of the Audible edition this weekend, and Veronica is submitting hers this afternoon. Her part of this book is awesome. It has turkeys. It has wolves. It even has an unusual bishop. Just wait till you read it!! Here is a picture of Veronica recording for Audible.

Painting Angels: Coming this summer!

Today, I enjoyed being a writer for a few minutes during a day of otherwise un-writerly work. The publisher sent back the copyedited version of Painting Angels (Book 3 in the Sam and Saucer series). The book is going to press in just a few weeks. I’ve seen some illustrations and sent back feedback, and I’ve worked on all the text edits sent to me. Now I just need to read this copy-edited manuscript, and it will be off to the proofreader – almost finished!

Today I also received the “promo copy” for the book. This is the description that shows up in the publisher’s catalog, on their website, on Amazon, and everywhere the book is sold (in English). When the original manuscript was submitted, I completed an author questionnaire as I do each time one of my books is published. The questionnaire asked me to provide text that could be used to create this promo copy. The editor worked with it, and I’m happy with the final result. Here it is!

What happens when you can’t get away from the person who drives you craziest? Sam and Macrina are about to find out. Stuck working together to help the nuns, Sam and Macrina come up with a thousand reasons to disagree. Sam is too rude. Macrina is too bossy. Summer at the monastery will be miserable if they can’t find some common ground. With the help of three friendly nuns, a runaway bunny, and Saucer the trusty corgi, Macrina and Sam discover a big secret that helps put them on the road toward peace.

Reading this, I realized how well this book fits the time in which it will be released. God willing, we’ll be out and about before the summer, but who knows? Even if we are, our memories of being cooped up, struggling together, will be fresh! COVID-19 never entered my head during the writing process (in fact, the last major revision was completed before quarantine), but today I see major parallels!

Writing and imagination, minds and thoughts, and the whole spiritual atmosphere swirling around us fascinate me. There is no knowing the complex of our connections with each other, or with the unseen influences around us and within us. Perhaps the only key to the mystery is this:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

God help us all, according to His purpose.

Herd the Bird: A Poem for Ferdinand the Corgi

This is a poem I wrote on behalf of our corgi, Ferdinand. Ferdinand’s views on birds suggest that a corgi does not always learn from experience.

Herd the Bird: A Poem by Ferdinand the Corgi

Herd the bird.
Herd the bird.
I will herd the little bird.

Herd the bird!
Herd the bird!
See me herd the little bird!

Stop it, bird!
Stop it, bird!
You have left my little herd!

Herd the bird.
Herd the bird.
I cannot ever herd the bird.

[To be repeated however many times it takes to get around the block on your stumpy legs, with no wings.]

Ferdinand with a bird he WAS able to herd…

Land, trees, illustrated books

In the snowy yard with our corgi, I am the X at the center of a joyful, galloping figure 8. You can see the map of his progress like the marks of a skater on the ice. Happy corgis always run in circles.

Sniffing, woofing, galloping like a bunny while his bat-ears flapped in the breeze, Ferdinand enjoyed our yard at nose-and-paw level. I did what I have done ever since the day we moved in – reveled in the amazing enchantment of owning LAND. Land with dirt and birds and twigs and ferns. Land with slope and streamlet. Land with trees older than I am. It will never grow old. The enchantment will survive mowing and weeding and shoveling. I love it under my feet and before my eyes.

Recounting this joy to my husband after dinner, I heard myself saying that it’s like writing a book and having it illustrated. These are two joys that never grow dim. I wondered briefly why they came together in my mind, and I realized they are the same. Both are something ethereal made tangible. Dream made visible. Wish made palpable. And both are full of their own beauty.

Glory!

7 Things Our Corgi Doesn’t Believe In

You might think a dog who likes to eat socks would have no sense of propriety, but you would be wrong. Ferdinand the Corgi combines a photographic memory of how the planet looked yesterday with a joyful confidence that you should have left it that way. Generations of sheep-herding ancestors egg him on, and his soulful gaze and soft, stumpy paws make him a formidable opponent.

What surprised me, as he first began expressing his opinions, was how often his objections stemmed from his love of routine. Like the Navy, Ferdinand adheres strenuously to the precept that there is a place for everything and everything should BE in its place. No dog likes a thunderstorm, and neither does Ferdinand. But he is more likely to protest from outraged sensibility than fear. And even you, oh lovely reader, would struggle to predict what will outrage him.

  1. Trash bags. Wouldn’t you think a dog would be fascinated with a lumpy sack of kitchen smells? Not this corgi! The minute we heave it up from the trash bin to haul it to the garage, Ferdinand loses his fuzzy little mind. He braces his front paws, winds his ears up to full alert, and barks hysterically. Plainly, this kitchen necessity is far more dangerous than the vacuum cleaner.
  2. Helicopters. Also airplanes of every description. He races across the yard, barking the buzzy thing off the property. Does he think it hears him? One must admit that every time he chases a helicopter, it leaves and doesn’t come back.
  3. Lawn reindeer. They weren’t there yesterday. They do not respond to friendly greetings. Sometimes, they fall over. As a species, they have sunk themselves below reproach.
  4. Dishwasher detergent dispensers. You know the square opening on the door of your dishwasher? The one into which you pour the detergent and then shut the cover with a click? To be fair, this should be filed under Things We No Long Object To. Upon discovering that the dishwasher contains eggy plates and spoons decorated with peanut butter vestiges, Ferdinand found that he no longer objected to the detergent caddy.
  5. Heating vents. This objection can be filed with number 4. In the early days of his puppyhood, Ferdinand refused to pass any vent in the floor unaccompanied. He peered nervously into each one, sniffing with the veriest tip of his nose. But winter came, heat began to emanate from these gloomy abysses, and he decided that covering them with his furry belly and snoring was the best defense.
  6. Loaded laundry baskets. Is he wrong? Do you not also wish to flee headlong from the room at sight of one?
  7. You, leaving the house for any reason without him. You can have no possible reason for doing so. There is nothing more to be said.

Laughing at an adorable corgi is an irresistible temptation. His personality is so much larger than his stumpy small self, and his barking, squeaking, pleading little voice is almost human. How can outrage be taken seriously when it bounces?

But I suspect we are more like Ferdinand than we realize. Don’t we all object to the unexpected? How often do we race to control forces that, like helicopters passing overhead, are not truly under our control? And who can object to love that mourns every parting and rejoices with such sincerity over each reunion?