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

Meet Virginia Ripple, Next-up in Pay-it-forward Author Interview Series

Jessica Schaub Books

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…

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Poem for a summer day


Do you ever
what makes
a perfect day?
Is it
summer sun
and dewdrops,
or buttercups
in May?

And do you ever
when daylight
dims to dusk,
why rabbits hide
and songbirds fly,
and clover
turns to musk?

Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Wow.  If this wasn’t an interesting book…. I went from loving it to hating it to loving it again.  It’s beautifully written, not in a literary sense, but in terms of its economy of language, precision of diction, etc.  And I loved the mixed-media format, from e-mails between Bernadette and her arch rival, Audrey, to narrative passages told from daughter Bee’s point-of-view to Sonia’s, the ‘admin’s’, frank and funny posts.

Really funny, most of this book!  In short, it’s about a wacky family in Seattle, Washington, whose life centers around a sickly thirteen-year-old girl and her ‘unusual’ (to say the least) parents. Beginning with an introduction to the Branchs’ quirky home life, the story takes off when Bernadette’s neighbor complains the Branchs’ blackberry bushes are invading her backyard, an enormous issue because said neighbor (Audrey) is hosting an outdoor fundraiser for the private school their children both attend. Ultimately, as the title suggests, Bernadette goes missing, which sets off a cavalcade of events that take us as far away as the South Pole.

Where I got bogged down was in Bernadette’s backstory–from her years as an aspiring architect in Los Angeles to her current life in Seattle, a place which baffles and confounds her with its 5-way stop lights and its curiously polite denizens, a population almost ‘Canadian’ in its deference. Despite Semple’s deft and humorous treatment, the pace slowed here as these narratives morphed into digressive rants instead of serving to advance the story.

What kept me reading throughout, though, were Semple’s acerbic observations about people, places, things, and the delightful chaos of Bernadette’s daily life. What drew me in at the end, especially, was Bee’s impassioned quest for her mother and Bernadette’s own self-awareness–which elevated the story from simple comedy to a moving narrative replete with pathos, regret, and, ultimately, love.

5 stars

Bloom Tune

When trees

turn green

and bluebirds


we tuck

the winter

in with fall.

The bulbs

we set

in loamy


poke through

the earth

to nod

their heads.

Write to Empower – An Interview with Author Nikki Rosen

Meet Nikki Rosen–Next-up in the Pay-It-Forward Author Interview Series

Jessica Schaub Books

When I first started the Pay-It-Forward Author Interview Series, I knew I would meet all types of writers from all over the country and the world. I’ve been amazed by the stories they write, their candid honesty about the writing process, and their willingness to share secrets of their craft with others. How often in other businesses do you find people in the same business so willing to help one another? The ‘secret sauce’ and the ‘family recipe’ are well guarded to keep that something special an exclusive right.

Not so with stories.

I am amazed by the writers who have come to share their work – and now I am humbled by Nikki Rosen, author of In the Eye of Deception: A True Story, Dancing Softly, Twisted Innocence, and No Hope? Know Hope: A Healing Journey.

cover2 with sticker

Nikki has won awards for her writing, and rightly so. Her story…

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