Knowing When To Slow Down

August 21st, 2014

Sometimes life slams you across the head with a 2×4 to get your attention.

20140816_030902That’s what’s happened recently in my household. As if being 7 months pregnant wasn’t enough to remind me that I need to slow down and take care of myself and my family, last Friday’s torrential rain storm certainly was.

Our finished basement was flooded with about 6 inches of backed up sewer water that night. Might not have been a big deal, except that’s where our bedrooms are. Imagine the horror of waking up at 1 a.m. and setting your feet into ankle deep, ice cold water that wasn’t there when you went to sleep. Hubby, God bless him, not only stayed up until 6 a.m. trying to suck up as much water as possible in our borrowed shop vac, he also had the brilliant idea to call our insurance company. (My 5-year-old daughter says he saved her life, too, by carrying her upstairs so I could drive her out to my folks warm, dry house to spend the rest of the night.)

Since then it’s been a matter of focusing on the next step for the insurance claim and “where do we go from here?”

That brings me back to my original thought: knowing when to slow down.

God always takes care of us. Sometimes, though, we neglect to listen to God’s guidance and just barrel on through, which often ends in our being forced to reconsider what we thought was important. That’s what’s happened to me.

During the summer, my daughter was on vacation, so my writing schedule was extra tight. I had, at most, one hour to do everything writer related–business, monthly messages and studies, and drafting my newest Bible study, Trust God. I pushed on, believing that if other mother’s could do it, so could I, pregnant or not.

Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Not a big deal. I had it with my first daughter, so I knew what to expect. Still, there are times when low blood sugar causes some irritating side effects, like feeling like I’m slogging through half-set Jell-O. And yet, I did not head the message to slow down.

Then last Friday’s flood was the last straw. I’m now faced with trying to live in 800 square feet of space with my husband and daughter and our mountains of stuff. All our 20140816_104632clean clothes are piled in the kitchen. Everything that could be moved from downstairs is now residing either in our shed or our dining room. The living room is now our dining room and bedroom. Our poor neurotic cat is stuck in my parents’ basement garage, hiding somewhere. And we have less than 2 months before the new baby arrives.

I think it’s time to re-think my schedule.

I am certainly not complaining. It could be much worse. We could have had a house fire. The multi-outlet surge protectors we usually have on the floor of our bedrooms could have been in the water and we all could have been electrocuted. Any number of other scenarios could have played out, but they didn’t. All in all, I think we’ve been blessed.

Perhaps the biggest blessing is my realization that I need to slow down and focus on the most important things right now. I need to focus on my family and our welfare at the moment.

Here’s what you can expect from me for the next few months.

Journeyman-Cat15percentI may be rather scarce on social media and my regular monthly posts may become much more irregular, as might my monthly newsletter. I’ll be diligently working on releasing Master Cat in October, as promised, and finally releasing the audiobook for Journeyman Cat later this fall (fingers crossed).

Beyond that, I’m working on the first of the Master Cat Novel series, which takes place after Master Cat and continues the story of Toby and his partner Lorn. I’ll also be drafting the third in the Malkin novella series, featuring Nadine and her continuing struggle to understand what it means to be specially chosen by the One.

I also have plans for another inspirational book on how to pray and see the blessings around us while in the midst of crises.

My normal schedule for new releases is a Malkin novella in the spring, a Bible study or inspirational book in the summer, and a Master Cat novel in the fall. However, things being what they are, release dates may need to be pushed back a month or two (or three or four. You get the picture). It’s frustrating to me, but I put my faith in God’s timing and I hope you’ll join me on this new, if slower, adventure called the writer’s life.

***

GFront-Cover-25-percentod promises to be with us through everything,
encouraging us to trust him through every situation we encounter.

Individuals and groups alike will find themselves
discovering that every day is a new opportunity to see God’s touch on their lives as they journey through scripture to uncover that:

  • No Matter Who You Are…
  • No Matter How You Feel…
  • No Matter What People Do…
  • No Matter What Happens..
  • No Matter Where You Are…
  • No Matter How Little You Have…
  • No Matter What You’ve Done…
  • No Matter How Old You Are…

Trust God!
Paperback edition also available on Amazon.

Ebook version available for Kindle, InkteraNookKobo, and Scribd or…

Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selzbuy the .pdf version here

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Get six Bible based, inspirational messages by Virginia Ripple from the blog One Servant’s Heart all in one .zip file.

Messages include:

  • Called to Forgive Called to Serve
  • New Beginnings
  • No Fear In Love
  • The Boneyard
  • The Dirty Little Penny
  • The Hardest Commandment

Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selz

Simply Prayer ebook

When we find ourselves stymied by what we think prayer should look like, it’s time to step back and think like a child. God loves each of us and wants to hear from us.

Prayer can be as complex as we want or as simple as we need, but sometimes we need a little help getting started. In this book you’ll discover the basics of:

  • What prayer is
  • Why we pray
  • How to pray
  • How to know your prayers are answered

From repetitions to labyrinths to dancing to journals, it is all Simply Prayer.

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or…

Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selzbuy the .pdf version here

You can purchase this book at Amazon.com or in my CreateSpace store front.

Or Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selz

Fear NotWhen life seems impossible to cope with, God reaches out to remind us of his promises for our lives. Journey through scripture to meet God in new and unexpected ways as you discover what it means to “Fear Not!”

Anyone can use Fear Not to meet God in new and unexpected ways.  Each of the eight sessions begins with an introduction, then moves on to a scripture reading (included), questions to ponder, a meditation picture and lastly a list of possible hands-on projects you can do.

The eight sessions are:

  • Session 1 … God is always with us
  • Session 2 … God is in control
  • Session 3 … God keeps his promises
  • Session 4 … God keeps us safe
  • Session 5 … God provides for us
  • Session 6 … God reveals himself to us
  • Session 7 … God gives us new life
  • Session 8 … God sends a Helper to us

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or …

Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selz buy the .pdf version here

Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.

Blog Tour – Why I Write

July 29th, 2014

When Jessica Schaub invited me to be a part of Blog Tour — Why I Write, I jumped at the chance. It’s only three questions, questions authors are asked again and again, but they are three questions that reveal a lot about the person behind the words. So here are my answers to those three important questions:

What am I working on?

I just finished my second Bible study, Trust God! No Matter What…, and have returned to finish final edits on Master Cat (the third in Toby the cat’s tale). If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Apprentice Cat or Journeyman Cat, be sure to check them out. Master Cat picks up where Journeyman Cat left off and finishes up the story arc. Not to worry, though, there are plenty more Toby and Lorn stories to come.

Here is the description of Master Cat:

Toby, a magical talking cat, has cut ties with the Office of Kingdom Guardianship, intent on finding his long-lost father and avenging his mother’s murder. He thought he left everyone behind, but someone from his past is stalking him. Now he must avoid this strange new menace while he seeks the truth about his family’s dark history, a history that threatens to unravel his sanity and cause the rest of the world to descend into madness. Can Toby reconcile himself with the past or will his inner turmoil allow his enemy to plunge humanity into chaos once and for all?

Check back next month to cast your vote for the Master Cat cover and be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter to be first to find out when Master Cat is available.

Why I Write what I do?

That’s a good question. I’ve been a story-teller since I was a child. When I learned to write, I couldn’t get enough of stringing words together to create stories from the wild imaginings going on in my head. I even self-published two short stories when I was nine  (basically I used brads to hold the sheets together between two pieces of construction paper with a pasted on cover I drew myself). I begged my English teachers to read them and they seemed to like them. I wish I could say I got an A on every story I ever wrote in school, but that’s not true. Still, it was the enjoyment of writing that was the pull, not the grade.

For a short time, I put writing on a shelf and worked in ministry, even working on a Masters of Divinity. It was during that stressful time in grad school that I discovered I wasn’t meant to be a minister in a church setting. My ministry was writing. Through that medium, I can be a tool for God to reach people, to share God’s love and caring. I left school one semester shy of graduating to pursue my career as an independent author and haven’t looked back since.

Today, my mission is to aid others in developing a closer relationship with God, to see that God is more than a wrath-filled judge or a magic genie. That is why I write.

What is my writing process?

At first I tried to cram everything into whatever free time I could carve out for myself. That’s a recipe for frustration and procrastination. After my eldest was born, I tried squeezing it all in a scheduled hour or two before spending time with my husband just before we went to bed. That led to being over-tired and cranky.

After my daughter started half-day’s in preschool, I was able to get four solid hours of work done before I had to go to my day job. This, so far, has worked best, especially since I pretend that I’m going to a regular 9 to 5 job as soon as I walk in my front door after dropping her at school. On my days off from my day job, I spend the mornings doing the highest priority work, like drafting or editing the next book, and the afternoons on more business tasks, like marketing and administrative tasks, and research.

The next step I took was purchasing a Galaxy Tab 10.2 in 2012 with a bluetooth keyboard. That has been the best business purchase I’ve made to date. I can now extend my writing time to the afternoons at my day job and kill the down time between customers with some massive productivity. In fact that’s what helped me win the 2012 and 2013 NaNoWriMo. Combined with my smartphone, I can work on both writing and business anywhere, anytime.

As for the actual drafting of any of my books, it wasn’t until I read James Scott Bell Plot & Structure and Conflict & Suspense that I really got the hang of it and the process got faster. I’m a plotter by nature, so Bell’s various ways of plotting made getting my ideas down so much quicker and efficient. And while the old adage “chase your character up a tree and throw rocks at him” might be one way of creating suspense and conflict, it just didn’t make sense to me. It wasn’t logical. When I read Bell’s Conflict & Suspense the “ah-ha” moment arrived with a giant Acme lightbulb. It’s not just throwing your character into challenging situations; it’s about finding the tension point — the “what’s the worst that could happen” moment — and then building the next scenes from that. I highly recommend both these books to anyone wanting to stuff some more tools in their writer’s toolbox.

Who is up next on the tour?

Call me an overachiever, but I found three terrific ladies you’ll want to meet. They are: Kathy Jones, Jansina Grossman and Beckie Laux Carlson. Be sure to stop by their web sites to find out more.

A Mission, A Dream, And A Cat – My Interview With Jessica Schaub

July 9th, 2014

A couple weeks ago I was interviewed by Jessica Schaub. It was such a great experience, getting to let readers know about the behind the scenes work I do with my books and what my driving passion for writing is, that I wanted to share an excerpt here. To read the entire post, scroll down and click the read more link.

A Mission, A Dream, and a Cat – Meet Virginia Ripple

Over the last several months, and for months to come, I’ve been interviewing authors who have self-published their work or have published through small publishing houses. From each, I’m amazed by the mission behind each book and the hopes of the author to share a theme. I have learned something valuable from each – and the trend continues this week with Virginia Ripple.

If you are a fan of fantasy and also appreciate authors who include their faith, then Virginia’s books are certainly for you!

2Apprentice Cat Toby with mysterious eyes

1. In your biography on your website, you shared something that really struck home – While working part-time as a Religious Education Director and writing the other half “the teeter totter of passions unbalanced” your life and you found yourself writing less. Many people reading this will find encouragement that they are not alone in feeling frustrated with not having enough time to write. What changes have you made to your life-style, your career, and your passions that open up the 24 hours to more writing time?

I learned a lot during my time in ministry about what it means to be Called into God’s service. Sometimes others see our hard work and think, “Wow! She really has a heart for (fill in the blank). She should do it full-time.” If we’re not aware of what our true purpose is, then we might go along with their well-meaning suggestion and then suffer because we’re not doing what God planned for us to do. It took me the better part of seven years to figure that out and another four years to understand what doing my particular ministry meant in terms of what I spent time on.

Click here to read more.

Birthday Bash Sale!

March 9th, 2014

giftIt was 21 plus years ago this week (I’m not telling how many plus years. ;) ) that I let the world know I was here. Because I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life since that day, I’m offering all my books on Amazon and on this post at a discounted rate.

For a limited time (March 9-15) you can buy Apprentice Cat and Journeyman Cat for $2.99 each and Secrets of the Malkin (Amazon only) for $.99. Scroll down to purchase the epub and pdf versions of Apprentice Cat and Journeyman Cat.

If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you’ll receive a special thank you gift that you can download for free. If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late. You have until 12:01 a.m. CST March 16 to sign up and receive your free thank you gift to help me celebrate my birthday.
Here’s to another exciting and productive year!

 

 

 

Journeyman Cat

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Despite the war, despite that everyone else says he’s dead, Journeyman Toby continues to search for his father with the help of his human partner. When what promised tobe another dead-end lead turns into something more, Toby pounces on the possibility like only a talking magical cat can. However, his questions regarding the secret goings-on of a local temple catches the attention of a mysterious cat whose sole ambition is to enslave the human race.

His supervisor orders the young tom to leave his informal investigation alone or be dismissed from the Office of Kingdom Guardianship. Even though he yearns to find his father, Toby obeys because it would mean taking away the one thing his partner cherishes: his position in the OKG. He follows orders, that is, until someone connected with the temple kills someone he loves.

Buy the .pdf now  Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selz

Buy the .epub now  Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selz

Apprentice Cat

Toby is a young tom who dreams of becoming an apprentice cat, a feline partnered with an apprentice human mage, at the King’s Academy of Mages. When he is partnered with Lorn Ribaldy, the nephew of known traitor Master Hecktor Ribaldy, he learns his dreams are in jeopardy. There are those who want to keep undesirables out and that includes Lorn and anyone associated with him.

In a meeting with Head Master Cat Meredith and Head Master Mage Jalen, Toby and Lorn are offered a way to change their status from provisional to permanent: find out why Toby’s father disappeared during a standard recon mission for the High Council.

Now all they have to do is keep up with their homework and survive a little espionage.

Buy the .pdf now  Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selz

Buy the .epub now  Buy this on Selz Start selling on Selz

Also available as an audiobook on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Listen to a 5-minute demo now.

Apprentice Cat On The Fussy Librarian TODAY

November 13th, 2013

My book, Apprentice Cat, is being featured TODAY, at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 32 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic. It’s pretty cool — check it out!

Apprentice Cat Cover

Apprentice Cat Audiobook Giveaway Winners!

October 31st, 2013

Congratulation to the winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will be emailing you with the details. Enjoy your new audiobook and share the love.
Please remember to leave an honest review.

Curious about what these people are about to hear? Check out this sample of Apprentice Cat.

 

Want to know more about this book about a talking magical cat? Here’s the description:

Apprentice Cat CoverToby is a young tom who dreams of becoming an apprentice cat, a feline partnered with an apprentice human mage, at the King’s Academy of Mages. When he is partnered with Lorn Ribaldy, the nephew of known traitor Master Hecktor Ribaldy, he learns his dreams are in jeopardy. There are those who want to keep undesirables out and that includes Lorn and anyone associated with him. In a meeting with Head Master Cat Meredith and Head Master Mage Jalen, Toby and Lorn are offered a way to change their status from provisional to permanent: find out why Toby’s father disappeared during a standard recon mission for the High Council. Now all they have to do is keep up with their homework and survive a little espionage.

Want to know where you can get your own copy?

Also available in paperback and for KindleNookKobo and iPad via iTunes, as well as the audiobook on AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

 

Raves for Apprentice Cat:

“This is pure furry fun. Set in an alternative reality with horse-drawn carriages the mode of transportation, young Toby must prove to his mother…and himself…he’s a chip off the furry block when he applies to be an Apprentice Cat in a school for magical kitties who partner with equally magical humans. The writing is so seamless and matter of fact, the reader quickly becomes drawn into this world–magical cats? talking felines? evil magic? OF COURSE! In the book, it all makes sense. The author includes accurate cat behaviors to lend even more originality and credence to the fully drawn feline characters. Bravo!” – Amy D. Shojai, CABC

“I absolutely loved this book! It is so hard these days to find a good clean book that teaches some great morals, and has lovable characters and a strong plot. Easily five stars!” – J. A. Dalley, Author of The Zochtil, Read by Nick Sullivan

“My daughter devoured this book. She is a fan of the Warriors series and she was so excited about this read.” – Kathy Baker, Williamsport, PA

 

Apprentice Cat Audiobook Giveaway

October 23rd, 2013

Apprentice Cat Cover

 

I have four FREE codes to offer in this awesome Apprentice Cat Audiobook Giveaway (Oct. 25-30).

Click on the cover image or the giveaway link above to enter.

Enter as many times as you like, but do it before 11:59 p.m. CST, Oct. 30, 2013, or you’ll miss your chance to receive this wonderfully narrated audiobook.

Listen to this sample to see just what you’ll be getting:





Want to know more about this book about a talking magical cat? Here’s the description:

Toby is a young tom who dreams of becoming an apprentice cat, a feline partnered with an apprentice human mage, at the King’s Academy of Mages. When he is partnered with Lorn Ribaldy, the nephew of known traitor Master Hecktor Ribaldy, he learns his dreams are in jeopardy. There are those who want to keep undesirables out and that includes Lorn and anyone associated with him. In a meeting with Head Master Cat Meredith and Head Master Mage Jalen, Toby and Lorn are offered a way to change their status from provisional to permanent: find out why Toby’s father disappeared during a standard recon mission for the High Council. Now all they have to do is keep up with their homework and survive a little espionage.

Raves for Apprentice Cat:

“This is pure furry fun. Set in an alternative reality with horse-drawn carriages the mode of transportation, young Toby must prove to his mother…and himself…he’s a chip off the furry block when he applies to be an Apprentice Cat in a school for magical kitties who partner with equally magical humans. The writing is so seamless and matter of fact, the reader quickly becomes drawn into this world–magical cats? talking felines? evil magic? OF COURSE! In the book, it all makes sense. The author includes accurate cat behaviors to lend even more originality and credence to the fully drawn feline characters. Bravo!”Amy D. Shojai, CABC

“I absolutely loved this book! It is so hard these days to find a good clean book that teaches some great morals, and has lovable characters and a strong plot. Easily five stars!”J. A. Dalley, Author of The Zochtil, Read by Nick Sullivan

“My daughter devoured this book. She is a fan of the Warriors series and she was so excited about this read.”Kathy Baker, Williamsport, PA

Remember, you may enter the Apprentice Cat Audiobook Giveaway as many times as you like, but do it before 11:59 p.m. CST, Oct. 30, 2013, for your chance at one of four FREE codes.


Also available in paperback and for KindleNookKobo and iPad via iTunes, as well as the audiobook on AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

Journeyman Cat: The 2nd Talking Magical Cat Book Coming Soon

August 10th, 2013

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Upcoming release.

Despite the war, despite that everyone else says he’s dead, Journeyman Toby continues to search for his father with the help of his human partner. When what promised to be another dead-end lead turns into something more, Toby pounces on the possibility like only a talking magical cat can. However, his questions regarding the secret goings-on of a local temple catches the attention of a mysterious cat whose sole ambition is to enslave the human race.

His supervisor orders the young tom to leave his informal investigation alone or be dismissed from the Office  of Kingdom Guardianship. Even though he yearns to find his father, Toby obeys because it would mean taking away the one thing his partner cherishes: his position in the OKG. He follows orders, that is, until someone connected with the temple kills someone he loves.

Sign up for my monthly newsletter to be the first to know when it’s released.
(Sign up form in the sidebar to the right or click the link above.)

Apprentice Cat GoodReads Giveaway

June 1st, 2013

June 1-4

Enter to win one of 2 signed paperback editions in this GoodReads Giveaway.

Apprentice Cat Cover

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

January 8th, 2013

Rules of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop Chain Engagement

This is a blog chain that originates from She Writes.  Each writer answers a series of interview questions and posts them on their blog or website while also linking to five other writers.  Those writers then answer the questions, post and include links to five other writers and so on and so on.  If you happen to fall short of five peeps, that is cool.  Just run with who you have.

On to the interview…

What is the working title of your book?  Following the idea of the my first book, Apprentice Cat, I decided to name book 2 Journeyman Cat.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I’d already decided that there had to be at least two more books following Apprentice Cat because who would want to leave a character at just the apprentice stage? The idea for the story came from watching my daughter play and thinking about how terrible it would be if the bad guy from book 1 decided to use children in his war against humankind. From there it was just a little research and letting the muse throw plot devices in my lap until I had an outline to use for the first draft. Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I now have that first draft sitting on a virtual shelf cooling off while I throw myself into the next project.

What genre does your book fall under? I categorize it as Christian fantasy, but it would easily fit in YA/NA. It’s not your typical Christian fantasy because there isn’t any overt references to God and there’s a lot of magic. Besides that, I can’t say I’ve ever read a Christian fantasy with a full cast of talking cats either. However, there are definite Christian themes running through both Apprentice Cat and Journeyman Cat.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? That’s a good question. Obviously the cats would be CGI, but the humans? The only real person I actually thought about casting in a role was Patrick Stewart as Master Jalen.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Toby, a magic-wielding cat, must choose between saving his human partner or losing his father forever as he races to capture a feline terrorist determined to enslave humans.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? It will be self-published just like Apprentice Cat, with an audio book coming out sometime after the release of the print and ebook editions.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Two months — and that was a lot shorter time span than for the first book. I think I’m getting faster. :D

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  Harry Potter, of course, and Erin Hunter’s Warrior series, but I’d say the greatest influence would be Mercedes Lackey’s Last Herald-Mage trilogy. I also patterned much of the cats interactions with humans on Joe Grey and Dulcie from the Joe Grey mysteries.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? The inspiration was a long time in coming. Book 1 was originally a short story I published on writing.com that grabbed the attention of some people who wanted to publish it in their magazine. The deal fell through, but I was left with a burning desire to tell the rest of the story. That was back in 2003, so when I finally decided to do this self-publishing thing for real, Apprentice Cat was the first fiction book I sat down and worked at. Journeyman Cat was the natural follow-up.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  If you’ve ever caught a cat staring at you with narrowed eyes and wondered if they were secretly planning to enslave you and everyone you knew, you might want to read this book. Then again, maybe not.

Unfortunately, by the time I got around to doing this post (which is among the last regular posts, so sign up for my newsletter for sneak peeks and awesome specials), I wasn’t able to tag five other writers. They’d all been tagged about a dozen times already. :D