Misfit Rebels

It’s been suggested that I should warn readers about WILD. How they’ll be plunged right into the story, hot on the heels of Wake. How this series brings a different way of thinking than many novels-after-God’s-heart.

Wild is the second book in the City of Light series, although the light is not traditional. Like many authors, I often use the art of story to explore my own questions. For this series, they are: how closely should we adhere to the strictures of our culture?
Should our faith align with those strictures?
What if what we call wild living is the exact opposite of freedom?

A few weeks ago, my pastor showed our congregation a video of Jedidiah Jenkins, a man who decided to quit his job and live on his bicycle for a year while he traveled. His reason being that our lives get robbed of time when we establish a routine. But when we break from that repetition, we become more alert—fascinated with the world, just like a child learns things for the first time with eyes wide open. So I guess my overall question is this: are we living as freely as we were designed to live?

I take my characters, Luke and Monet, on a journey where they have no reference for God, artistic expression, or the history of the world. These things they begin to discover in book 1, which leads them to leave their restrictive city, and walk into the Wild in book 2. It’s not merely rebellion, which brings me back to the question of wild living. Rebellion can be born from many things, but what I search for in Wild is not about anger, revenge, or fitting into a something that just looks different—it’s about exploring a new life outside of what’s expected of us.

Monet and Luke have to rediscover who they are as individuals, and if their relationship is based on something real, or from childhood trauma. When a horrific event occurs, they must take their friends, a former teacher and an old enemy with them on a journey of survival, where they go in search of the world they never knew.

Is life with God just a set of commandments, or are we looking with our eyes wide open? Are we asking Him about our jobs, the church, our dependence on the media, and where He is in all of it? Do we feel the need to ask our culture permission to change? If we look closely at His Book, we see a God who works from a vast array of creativity. Who is more Wild?

If you are so inclined, WILD is available for review on StoryCartel for a few more days.

Memories in perpective

There was this rock shelf down at the creek where the bones of mice rested. My friend, Mike, and I could play for hours going through these bones, making up stories, wondering if the mouse captor was lurking behind the cat claw bushes, waiting for us…
It was the type of graveyard where kids can play without bringing home nightmares.

Around the corner and down the dry creek bed was our rope swing, frayed and hovering over nothing but rocks and sand. Oh, how we loved to swing. We saw the frayed bits as a sign of a loved thing — danger was a word we left home with our parents.

Dream, swing, run and play, these things that filled the childhood treasure chest.

As I outgrew the bone cave and understood frayed as may break and let you fall onto the rocks I found that girls made good friends too and who didn’t want to look like Molly Ringwald?

Leah invited a few of us friends to her place for a party. Her life was gloriously mysterious. Leaving the traditional life behind, her family lived in their RV, spending three weeks in a Thousand Trails campground to move to another local camp until they reached their maximum stay. Back and forth, from a valley to a park, all under the Arizona sun. It was on one of their Thousand Trails rounds that we had our party.

It was hot.

It was amazing. We got ready in their tiny bathroom area, poofing our hair to 80’s standards and venturing out with kids of the road. The recreation room was stuffed with chaos. Noise, play and the kind of games that could produce a bloody nose or two.

Bounce, bang and none stayed down for long.

It was awesome.

Leah wore an outfit that could have been in Pretty in Pink. It was a thrift store find which disappointed me only because I knew it was the only one. I’d have to check out Sprouse Rietz for some pink fashion when I got some birthday money.

Back home again to a house of bricks, secure in the ground. Until the forest called…

Kindling works best when it’s nice and dry, and cooking over it makes for the best food in the world. It was cowboy camping with my family with no bathrooms but the shadows of juniper trees. The pine scent that inspired millions of air fresheners filled the blue skies of summers and I never felt dirty until we got home and I permeated the space around me with the perfume of campfire.

I brought my skills inside and built a fire in our woodstove that some people find 100_2621primitive. It made for cozy holidays and reminders of the ancients who brought us this far.

Ramble and vroom we went in my grandparents motor home to get a taste of comfy camping.

The black and white TV played my grandpa’s favorite Ernest movies and I slept on a bed that has no home but the landscapes of America. Carrots and potatoes were peeled in the campgrounds, McDonald’s a chicken nugget feast when we were in between destinations.

It was always world class travel when I got to see bits and pieces of America.

Time to do some stitching.

I could sew a beautiful quilt out of all the ragged bits of fun I’ve had or I could just write a book. So here I am, putting in scraps of truth into a bit of fiction that penetrates deep with the life experience of me and those warriors of rope swings and RV’s. It digs deep into the bloodline of America, passing from the fingerprints of all of us into one giant quilt of a story.

What do you do with your memories? Do you paint them, teach about them? Tell us in the comments.

Traveling with the Birds

Childhood summers were often spent with my grandparents, touring the roads of the western United States. Sometimes my brothers joined us and away we went, walking through the Redwood forest, looking for Ewoks and Storm Troopers; playing in the endless ocean or roasting marshmallows to the tune of crickets and busy highways that embraced America.


It was on these youthful adventures where bluegrass/gospel music rooted inside, becoming threads of fond memories. I might have made fun of that genre of music 100_0093back on the playground where everything was separated by “cool” and “uncool”, but inside, I was reliving the inner slideshow back by the campfire, listening to my grandparents harmonize their way into hearts of their grandchildren.


America. I can still smell the ocean where I first saw starfish, watching them for hours. I visited swap meets where people sold cool stuff like ballet shoes, antiques and books. And, of course, there was McDonalds. “The steering wheel automatically turns into McDonalds, no matter how tightly I hold it”, my Grandpa would say. A giant grin would creep across his face as he spoiled us with endless boxes of chicken nuggets with honey mustard sauce; a child’s gourmet meal.


One memory made when dining under the golden arches was the meeting of the Birds. Not the tweeting kind, but those that shared the same surname as my Grandparents. By the time we had finished our Egg McMuffins, and absorbed the smell of coffee into our clothes, we were invited to park the motor home in any Bird driveway available on our travels. After all, if we went back far enough, we could be related. And what says family like those named after the creatures that travel freely and sing love songs to America?

Back home, my brothers and I would enjoy the Arizona sunsets once again on My Grandparents front porch, shelling pecans and getting bit by mosquitoes before they became harbingers of this or that disease.


My grandparents may make their way into the pages of my book, singing their love of our country into the restless hearts of my characters. If you read about Earl and Geneva, sit down and enjoy the legacy they leave. They will be singing, “I’ll fly away” and watching a family in search of what they already know: Faith in America.