Live Nativity 2014

IMG_8173 (1024x768)Once a year, anyone can be an angel…or a shepherd…or a wiseman.

This year at our church’s live nativity display, Bryon and I were Joseph and Mary and despite our procrastination in signing up we scored the coveted manger scene. The best things about the manger scene?

#1 the barn is a windbreak

#2 the animals are entertaining

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#3 the ding dang baby sheep this year stole the entire show.

Grace was an angel. Again.

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This live nativity is a huge production and was the brainchild of Jan Robertson. It takes many, many volunteers to man each of the scenes. The church members also feed all of the volunteers over the three nights the nativity is held. The event is open to the public for two hours for three nights in December.

I think this is the fifth year we’ve participated.

You missed out this year. Like us on Facebook and join us next year at Marshfield United Methodist Church.



Writing Update: A year of publishing

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Authors at Art Walk in Downtown Springfield with Rosalie Stanton


So much happened this year in my writing career I can’t even begin to put it all here. That’s why I have an entire website devoted to it. You can see all the gory details of my journey over here at

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

March 2014Reap & Repent published in a box set

May 2014 – Attended Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans

June 2014Reap & Repent published as a single-title

July 2014Reap & Redeem published in a box set

September 2014 – Attended Ozarks Romance Authors Conference

October 2014 Reap & Redeem published as a single-title

November 2014 – Attended Authors at Artwalk

August 2014 – Finished Haunt My Heart Manuscript and sent it off to the editor

January 2015Haunt My Heart publishes on Amazon in e-book and print.

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My table at the Ozarks Romance Authors convention.


There’s so much more on the horizon and some really big news regarding the Reaping Series I’ll share just as soon as things are finally firmed up. I’ve been sitting on that news since Sept. 29.

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My first PRINT copies!



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I was pretty excited 😀


Yeah, I’m not really that patient but I can’t share it yet.

Trust me though. It will be good news.

If you’d like to keep up with my writing you can visit and/or subscribe to my writing blog posts over here on my site. Just look at the top right corner there.

Or if you’re only interested in new releases, you can sign up for my New Release Newsletter. You won’t get more than 5-7 emails a year from that one. I’ll only send when there’s actual new release news 😀



Miss Merry Christmas 3rd Grade Rides in the Niangua Christmas Parade

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Last year was Niangua’s first-ever Miss Merry Christmas pageant. Grace won for her third grade class with her brownie-making demonstration. She even got a nice appreciation package from Betty Crocker after I posted her picture to their Facebook page. You can read about it here.

She was over the moon and coveted that tiara like a princess. She was supposed to get to wear her crown and ride in the Niangua Christmas parade but it got cancelled due to ice and snow.

This year she got her wish.

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The motorcycle group Bikers Against Child Abuse, B.A.C.A,. sponsored a Breakfast with Santa prior to the parade.

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IMG_8112 (1024x768)I’ve gotta say I was digging the biker Santa.

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In a cool turn of fate, Bryon got to drive her car. He’d driven our high school homecoming queen one year. I can’t find a picture of that day, but as fun as that was for him, this was much better.

They were both excited to get to drive/ride in a cool new car from Marshfield Chevrolet. When he arrived, they gave him a brand new, red Chevy pickup. Erm, cool but he drives a brand new red, GMC pickup. Nothing too special about that. Still, he drove it back to Niangua and planned to make the best of things.

When he got back to the parking lot to line up though, one driver had three high school girls to drive and a two-door Ford Mustang from Don Vance Ford to escort them in. Bryon and the other drive made the switch and he ended up in this cool ride instead.


The real irony and the completion of the circle of awesome is his first (and favorite) car was a 1972 Mustang Mach I. It looked VERY much like this one. All this car needed was some black racing stripes.

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Some things are just worth the wait.

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Niangua has a population of 405 people.

Want to see the entire parade? Here it is…all ten minutes of it.


Over the river and down the highway to Granny Leen’s we went


Bryon’s mother, Eileen, has been very ill with COPD for some time now. Since she lives eleven hours away in Tennessee, we don’t get to visit her very often. We took off a few days over Thanksgiving to make the trek.

IMG_8029 (1024x768)We travelled on Thanksgiving Day and tried to eat at Cracker Barrel in Paducah, KY. Apparently that was EVERYONE’s idea. Deciding we didn’t want to extend our trip by the two-hour wait for Cracker Barrel, we hopped across the street to Ryan’s and had a Thanksgiving lunch with all the trimmings.

After that long ride, we were all ready to crash at the hotel.

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IMG_8035 (1024x768)We visited, shopped for Granny and ate pie.

The last night we took everyone bowling.






Cashing in arcade tickets.

It was good to see Grace’s cousins.

IMG_8059I missed winning the first game by ONE POINT.

Even with a bad back, Bryon won the second game.



Random Acts of Grace

10171046_10154909246715691_6971842787937266676_nI taught the kid to make chocolate chip cookies. She can totally do the whole bit by herself now.

My work here is done.

10364131_10154908053880691_5650071877003833791_nThis is a super cool and intricate piece of artwork Grace did in her elementary art class. She has that amazing attention to detail like her Grandpa Medley.Here’s one small sample of Gary Medley’s artwork below.

You can see many, many more on Flickr here.

4504125042_7310fb32e5_mGrace also finished the longest book she’s ever read. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere came in at 321 pages! She really loved this book about a little girl and her family trying to survive in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. She even wrote her first book review and I posted it for her! She enjoyed the book so much she asked to download the Kindle version of it too so she could read it again.

IMG_7991 (768x1024)Success!


She’s also quite a good shot.

Bryon said, “Gracie used her 20 gauge with slugs and put a solid hit on this milk jug! I dub her ‘slugger’!”

A brush with the King. Stephen that is.

Photo from Rainy Day Books’ FB page

I almost missed the boat on my chance to see Stephen King in the flesh. Thankfully, my author friend, Beth Carter, saved my bacon and produced a ticket for me at the last minute.

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Beth Carter and Lisa Medley on the Plaza in Kansas City, MO.


I had seen a post on Facebook that Stephen King was going to be in Kansas City. The appearance was sponsored by an independent bookstore called Rainy Day Books. I wanted to go. For whatever reason though I hesitated.

IMG_7972 (1024x768)The next morning, after I had decided I wanted to go, I checked the site again and they were already sold out.


Folks, carpe diem. Every time. Because if you don’t seize the day, you’ll miss the day.

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I’d given up until Beth said a few of the friends and family she’d thought would want to go bailed out on her.

Photo from Rainy Day Books’ FB page



Photo from Rainy Day Books’ FB page


I said yes, immediately. Even though it was three hours away. And after dark in KC. On a weeknight.

Getting to eat at the Cheesecake Factory was an incentive as well.

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The man is a writing legend. And not getting any younger.

It was so worth the trip.


Stephen King is such an inspiring guy, both as a writer and as a human being. His book On Writing is one of the pivotal books that pushed me to make the plunge into writing.

Talk about a guy who’s spent a lifetime seizing the day.

November River Trip to Dry Run Creek

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Bryon has been wanting to take Grace to a kids’ only branch off the Norfork River in Arkansas called Dry Run Creek for a long time. The little creek is stocked with ginormous trout. Despite our complete lack of wet, cold weather gear, we loaded up and hit the water with the Shomakers for a day kayaking and then fishing fun.


We stayed at Gene’s Trout Fishing Resort. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the television writer/producer Dick Wolf (think Law & Order  and Miami Vice) was in the cabin beside us. We even exchanged pleasantries on our way over to the Shomaker’s cabin with breakfast in hand. Gah, if I had known…I would have talked his EAR off. Probably best it went down as it did.


We spent the first day on the river. My one goal: don’t get wet.

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Luckily it was a warm day for November and inched up toward the 50s. With the sun out, it was downright lovely. We made it all day with no water related incidences. It was after the kayaking was done and the fishing started that some people (Bryon and Grace) took a bit of a swim.


River rocks are slippery, folks.


Being a helpful dad and trying to pluck your child from the creek is much like trying to save a falling roller skater. You are both going down.


They did. They survived. They caught fish.



The next day we awoke to Mr. Shomaker on our patio bearing Starbucks.


Most excellent.

The men made breakfast and aftward they and the kids all headed down to Dry Run Creek. Kris and I hung back in the cabin, packing, cleaning, talking and surfing the internet.

It was a fun late-season trip.

Next time though, I’m going to pay more attention to the neighbors.

The pièce de résistance: Halloween

After all the hoopla BEFORE Halloween, we all sort of flamed out.

I asked Grace how important it was for her to go trick-or-treating and she said, “Meh.”

So instead…

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We went to town for sushi.

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Halloween sushi. It’s a thing. This is the Oh My God roll.

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Then it was off to the Hotel of Terror. I hadn’t been there since high school when a spook chased me out and three blocks down the street with a chainsaw.

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Still we managed to make a friend.

And start a new family tradition.

Haunted Trail: Scary Edition

The first Haunted Trail we did for Grace’s class a couple of years ago was pretty tame. The kids said it wasn’t scary. This year, we turned up the scary.


 Of course before we even got the trail there was lots and lots of prep.

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Thank God it didn’t rain.


Me, Grace and Grandpa Medley.


The entrance of the Haunted Trail.


First stop, Terminus.

Of course none of the kids got the genius of this.

The trough…

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and the BobBQ.

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I KNOW, right?


Your last warning.

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One of three graveyards.

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The skeleton ‘guts’ were mushrooms.

Yeah, I know skeletons don’t have guts, but it looked too cool.

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We walked the trail in the dark the night before to make sure everything worked correctly. This grim reaper scared the crap out of Belle and she growled at it.

This ghost and the witch coming up next are motion activated but needed an assist in the dark.


We had about a dozen masked spooky volunteers stationed throughout the trail to make sure things stayed… interesting.

The Cook family provided half of them.

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The Tunnel of Doom was super awesome. We had strobe lights inside, a cackling reaper that said, “Come closer. Come closer. Let me get a hand on you.”

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The kids had to squeeze out the end and my brother, Mike, was there to spook them when they did.


This animal burrow was the perfect spot for a strobe light and bones. We threw the light down the hole when it got dark. And no, I was NOT the one who stuck my hand in there and fished out the light when it was all over.


Speaking of hands… Aw yes, the bloody stump.Gotta have it.


Graveyard number three.

Grandpa Medley was dressed as Dracula and sat in the coffin. That coffin has a lot of miles on it. My dad had it when I was in college. No. I don’t know why or how he came by it. I can tell you he used to stuff a pair of overalls and close them in the coffin with the legs hanging out the end, pile the whole thing into our pickup and drive around town with it on Halloween.

It’s a legacy coffin.


Nearing the end.


Of course another reaper.


I like to call him Bob.


My dad sat at the very end of the trail and turned on the four wheeler lights to blind the revelers as a spook chased them with the leaf blower…which sounds EXACTLY like a chainsaw 😀

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For me, the scariest thing of all was the fake snake Grace planted outside the back door.

I about lost my mind. Violet at least made an attempt to save me.


The Big 10

Grace turned ten this year.

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For her actual birthday, we went to The Cave for dinner. Her choice.

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It’s exactly what it sounds like. A restaurant. In a cave.

It’s a pretty cool place. Pun intended.

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Per usual we had a sleepover a few days later. The arrival was a little scary.

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One of the girls farted as soon as she got into the truck and the windows. Went. Down.

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There was ice cream cake…

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and a clown.

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Bryon got a ton of mileage out of our Haunted Trail Halloween masks. I’m pretty sure he trotted out every one of them before the night was over.

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They all screamed like little girls.

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We made parachute bracelets. It took a few tries but we finally had success.

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For a sleepover…there was very little actual sleep.