Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage


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The Advocate


Dallas JenkinsDALLAS JENKINS (Midnight Clear):
“People will do what people will do.” Basically, a liar will lie, a cheater will cheat, and an emotionally unstable person will eventually break down. And on the flip side, people who are honest will tell the truth, and those who are hard workers will always work hard. And we need to avoid the bad ones and cling to the good ones.

Mary DeMuthMARY DEMUTH (Daisy Chain, Wishing on Dandelions):
My father died when I was ten years old. I don’t remember any advice he gave, but I remember how he lived his life as an artist. He dedicated himself to taking breathtaking photos. He wrote poetry that still steals my breath. He didn’t care much for the trappings of fame, but he cared a great deal for beauty. That’s what sticks with me.

James Scott BellJAMES SCOTT BELL (Try Dying, The Whole Truth):
The best advice my father ever gave me was to always tell the truth. Even if it hurts.


Candace CalvertCANDACE CALVERT (Critical Care):
More of an example than direct advice: My father was an incredibly dynamic,
bigger-than-life, charismatic man who threw himself into everything with
unfettered and unapologetic zeal--and never, ever quit. If he was a fictional character (and I could write the dialogue) he'd advise me: "Throw your heart into it, Candy--go after what calls to you, reach for it! You will succeed." Daddy gave me confidence, inspired passion and tenacity, and gifted me with not only with his storytelling finesse, but with an
optimistic sense of energy that I consider to be his finest legacy. In a tribute to him (inspired by TitleTrakk.com!) I've posted an essay, "Magnetic
," on my blog, RX: Hope.

Karen BallKAREN BALL (What Lies Within, The Breaking Point):
“Stop trying to change people. That’s God’s job, not yours.”




Julie Carobini JULIE CAROBINI (Sweet Waters, Truffles by the Sea):
"Don't start your books with the word 'The." LOL. I'm serious. In regards to life, though, I believe he told me to marry someone as wonderful as dear old dad--and I did :)

Justin LookadooJUSTIN LOOKADOO (Chat Room Chatter, Dateable):
"Hold on tight and don’t let go." (He was a cowboy.)


Tamara LeighTAMARA LEIGH (Faking Grace, Splitting Harriet):
Advice? "Do your homework!" Uh...that may have been more of a command, but it stuck with me and has served me well in every aspect of my life. When I avail myself of it, of course.

Bill MyersBILL MYERS (The Voice, The Seeing):
Easy. “Don’t give up.”





Nicole Young NICOLE YOUNG (Kill Me If You Can, Love Me If You Must):
When I was in high school, I'd gotten myself over-involved and overwhelmed. I sat at the kitchen table and complained to my dad about my horrible schedule. He gave me two words of wisdom: “Then quit.” My jaw dropped open. I'd never contemplated such a simple solution. Even now when things get to be too much and I find myself whining about my situation, I tell myself, “Then quit.” It really puts things into perspective. I realize I have the freedom to choose my level of involvement. I have the freedom to take care of myself. Usually I don't quit. But it's nice to know I have that choice. Thanks, Dad, for the great advice.

Michelle SuttonMICHELLE SUTTON (It's Not About Him, It's Not About Me): The best advice my dad has ever given me is... "You don't have to feel like it to do it." He was referring to work. You have to work (or go to school) whether you feel like it or not. That kept me from ditching when I didn't feel up to school and the same goes for work. He taught me a work ethic by his example.

Mindy Starns ClarkMINDY STARNS CLARK (Whisper in the Bayou, Trouble With Tulip):
The best advice my wise and wonderful father ever gave me was when he first met one of my friends from college, John Clark. "You should marry that boy!" my dad said emphatically, but I just laughed because John and I were only friends. Four years later, the laugh was on me when I fell in love with my best friend. Now, almost 20 fabulous years of marriage later, I can honestly say that my dad knew what he was talking about!

Amy WallaceAMY WALLACE (Healing Promises, Ransomed Dreams):
My dad always taught me to know who I am and be true to that.


Jeanette Windle JEANETTE WINDLE (Veiled Freedome, Betrayed):
A piece of advice that stuck: Whether frogs, snakes or irridescent plant life, the brighter and shinier the critter, the more poisonous. That advice first arose at age 6, when my father found my twin and I and younger sister playing with a bright-red 'baby snake' on the concrete floor of our living-room in the Colombian jungle zone where my parents served as missionaries. Turned out our plaything was a full-grown and deadly poisonous coral snake. In later years, I always associated Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death' with that childhood lesson.

(Among many others: 'Always sit behind a taxi driver when traveling alone, because they can't pull a gun on you from that position'; 'Shake out your shoes, clothes and bedding for scorpions and other creepy-crawlies before climbing in', 'If lost in the jungle, find water and head downstream; a small stream will always lead to a larger, and sooner or later you will find human habitation')

James Pence JAMES PENCE (The Angel, Blind Sight):

The best "advice" that my father ever gave me actually takes the form of an example he set (as opposed to just telling me something). Here it is: In all the years I was at home, I never heard my father speak an angry, or thoughtless, or sarcastic, or unkind word to my mother. He always treated her with respect and love, and he expected the same from me. I have tried to follow his example in my own marriage. Incidentally, my wife and I celebrated our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary on June 14th. So my dad's example must have been a good one.

John Aubrey AndersonJOHN AUBREY ANDERSON (And If I Die, Abiding Darkness):
On raising children, one man has said, “Example isn’t the best teacher, it’s the only teacher.” My parents divorced about the time I was born, and I grew up in my grandparents’ home. My grandfather’s name was Horace Aubrey Carpenter—I called him H. A. He never gave me advice, but he lived an exemplary life—and God put me where I could watch.

Nikki AranaNIKKI ARANA (As I Have Loved You, Winds of Sonoma):
My Dad is from the "greatest generation." He always advised me, "Let your word be your bond." I abide by that to this day.


Brandt Dodson BRANDT DODSON (Daniel's Den, White Soul):
My father was a police officer for thirty-nine years. During that time he saw people kill, lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead. Sometimes they were motivated by greed and sometimes they were motivated by a need for status. But in all cases, the consequences of their actions left them to live lives of fear. Often, they were left destitute with the loss of their liberty, the destruction of their families, and the decimation of their reputations. The result of having seen all of this was the best advice he could give. “Be honest.” In an age when many in government, entertainment, the church, and society at large, seem to live by a “means justifies the ends” philosophy, it’s comforting to have those two words to live by. Following that advice will sometimes have a cost attached to it, but that cost is always so much less than the alternative.”

Marilynn GriffithMARILYN GRIFFITH (Rhythms of Grace, Happily Even After):
My dad's best advice? PERSEVERE. He told me that intellect is only about ten percent of any success. The rest? Blood, sweat and tears. So far, it's proved true in my parenting, my writing and my walk with Christ.


Father's Day Feature: My Dad's Best Advice

37 Authors Share Theirs

by C.J. Darlington

"I've learned from my Dad that your starting position isn't the point. It's how you run the race, who you are in the race, and how you can come from behind to finish strong."
-- Dondi Scumaci

Fathers hold a special place in all of our hearts. Whether your Dad played a big part in your life or not, he probably gave you some pieces of advice you'll never forget. But even if your Dad wasn't around during your growing up years, you can learn from the fathers of these popular authors.

Francine Rivers FRANCINE RIVERS (A Lineage of Grace, Redeeming Love):

He taught me that if you work hard, you can achieve much. Just set your mind on what you want to do, and work hard. He was a police officer, and my mother was a nurse. Between the two of them they literally built their house from the ground up. I remember the smell of sawdust and cement from the time I was little. They would come home at night and work. The only thing they didn’t do themselves was the wiring on the house. They even did some of the plumbing. They designed it. My Dad read books on how to build and did it himself. They did it twice, in fact. The house they built in Pleasanton, and then they built a retirement home in Oregon outside of Grant’s Pass.

Bryan DavisBRYAN DAVIS (Nightmare's Edge, Dragons in Our Midst series):
My father, a career military man, told me, “Do exactly what you say you’re going to do and get it done on time. Arrive on schedule and be prepared. People will know they can count on you for anything.” As a child, I didn’t know that this eternal truth was really an echo of Jesus’’ words. “Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.” (Matthew 25:21) And those words still echo in my mind today. I have lived up to that advice ever since, though some people are taken aback when, instead of being fashionably late, I arrive at a barbecue party two minutes before it’s supposed to start. So what if the hostess is still in curlers? I just pitch in and fire up the grill.

Renee Riva RENEE RIVA (Taking Tuscanny, Saving Sailor):
One summer when I was home from college, I was dating someone (who my dad really liked), and someone from the band KISS (who I'd met in an airport while traveling) called me and invited me to the KISS concert with a backstage pass. I told him I'd go and would meet him at the collisium. Then I called and cancelled my date with my boyfriend. My dad was listening to all of this and said, "You know, you really need to learn to be true to people in life." I don't think he wanted to see his daughter get swept away by some guy in a rock band when I was already dating a really nice guy. I remember thinking that over, and as tempted as I was to go, I never went and just called and left a message that I cound't make it. I've seen how important that advice has been all my life. To be true. There are so few relationships anymore that hold to that standard but it's so important for families--I'm going on 26 years of marraige to someone who, thankfully, believes that too. This will be my 3rd Father's Day since my dad passed away, but at his funeral I said the thing I admired most about him was that he was true. He was true to family and friends--we were the ones who mattered in his life and he stayed true to the end.

Dondi Scumaci DONDI SCUMACI (Ready, Set . . . Grow!, Designed for Success):
My father has always been and continues to be a hero in my life. Honestly he is a man of few words. When asked about the best advice I've received from
him, I lean towards lessons I have watched him live. His life inspires me, and those inspirations are woven through my books. Some of the references are subtle, but he smiles when he reads them (and sometimes his eyes twinkle a bit). I know he "gets" it.

I've learned from my Dad that your starting position isn't the point. It's how you run the race, who you are in the race, and how you can come from behind to finish strong. For him, it has never been about "beating" someone else in the race. That isn't the point at all. It's about running your race - the one set before you - with integrity and strength.

It wasn't until I was an adult, with a child of my own, that I began to realize how far my Dad had come and how beautifully he has run. When I hear the stories of his "starting position" and I see the life he has built, I admire him more. Even more amazing to me is the fact that he doesn't see anything extraordinary in that at all. For him, it is the only way to live a life...well.

Melanie WellsMELANIE WELLS (My Soul to Keep, When the Day of Evil Comes):
My dad is a musician - a symphony conductor, among other things. I asked him once what it was like to take a huge, discordant mess - 100 musicians learning the Mahler 1st symphony - and turn it into the work of art it was meant to be. Such a daunting, unwieldy task. Didn't he find it frustrating and discouraging? His response: "All you need is a teaspoon of success a day. Before you know it, you have a cup."

Michael Landon Jr.MICHAEL LANDON JR (The Silent Gift, One More Sunrise):
The best advice my father ever gave me was unspoken. I had the opportunity of having a man who was firm about honesty and truth, but at the same time, he hugged us, he kissed us, he held our hands and loved us. He was there for us. So, it was in my growing up years that he had a major impact. Major. Actions speak louder than words. That’s the first time you’ve ever heard that saying, I’m sure. (Laughs) But it really is so true.

F.P. LioneF.P. LIONE (Clear Blue Sky, Skells):
For Frank: “He talked me into joining the NYPD.” For Pam: “Don’t sit on a boys lap, you can get pregnant.” Just kidding. Unfortunately, my dad was an alcoholic and absent for most of my childhood and adult life, so needless to say he didn’t give me a lot of advice. But he got sober about five years before he died, thumbing his nose at thirty years of AA and rehab. He said the best advice to someone who wants to get sober is, “Grow up and stop being selfish.” That may sound simple, he said. But it’s the truth. Good advice, I think.

Roxanne HenkeROXANNE HENKE (On A Someday, Learning to Fly):
This is going to sound silly, but the best advice my father ever gave me was: "Don't go off half-cocked."As a young girl and then an idealistic, headstrong teenager, it was easy for me to quickly spout-off against anything I didn't think was "right" in the world. More than once my dad gave me a wry look (along with a twinkle in his eye) and repeated his advice. It didn't take me long to understand what he meant. . .if I had all the facts, I could make my point much better than when I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. And people seemed to listen to me more seriously, too. My dad passed away when I was seventeen, but his advice has helped me keep a level-head more times than I can count.

Tricia GoyerTRICIA GOYER (A Valley of Betrayal, My Life Unscripted):
The man I call my father married my mom when I was four years old. I didn't know my biological dad until recently, and I'm thankful God gave me a dad during my growing up years (even though there were times I questioned why I couldn't be like other kids in "normal" families). The best advice my Dad ever gave me was, "Dump the creep." He told me that more than once when I was dating in high school. "That guy is no good," he'd tell me. Sometimes I listened. Other times I didn't and found out that I should have! Then, when I dated a guy named John Goyer my Dad told me, "He's a good guy, I'd keep that one." That time I listened, and I'm so glad I did! John and I have been married seventeen years and he's a wonderful husband and father.

Sibella GiorelloSIBELLA GIORELLO (The Rivers Run Dry, The Stones Cry Out):
I was boarding an airplane from Alaska to New England when he said, “College is usually the last chance anybody gets to fail.” Instead of taking a bunch of English classes, he said I should sign up for something that was really hard for me. “I'll make you a deal,” he said. “If you give it your best, I promise not to look at your grades. So why not learn some new things?” When I got to college, I took as much science and math as possible. Sure enough, my grades stunk -- one algebra professor gave me a "D" and said it was a Christmas present! But true to his word, my dad never said anything about my grades. He would only ask, “Are you learning? Are you giving it your best?” I was. And when my professors discovered the deal with my dad, they helped me through Geophysics or Crystal Mineralogy by assigning extra-credit papers about great discoveries in science or why algorhythms were invented. All that writing reminded me how much I enjoyed words, and eventually led me into journalism. When I started writing about forensic geology for my first novel, that science background was an enormous help. But my dad's advice went beyond all that: He really taught me not to fear failure. And that changed my life.

Tim DownsTIM DOWNS (Less Than Dead, First the Dead):
To never quit while you’re behind; to always leave a winner. In high school I was flunking a physics course and I told my dad I wanted to drop the class. He told me I could drop it—as soon as I got a ‘B’ for the quarter. That lesson has served me well over the years: Choose to leave when you want to, but don’t be driven away. Refuse to give in.

Robin Lee HatcherROBIN LEE HATCHER (Return to Me, The Victory Club):
My father was killed in a plane crash when I was four months old, and my mother never remarried. Uncles and grandfathers were deceased. Therefore, I grew up in a very female heavy environment. The only father I’ve ever known is my Heavenly Father, and His best advice boils down to: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”

Deborah RaneyDEBORAH RANEY (Leaving November, Remember to Forget):
When I met the man who is now my husband and believed God had put him in my life, I questioned God when I realized that we were headed to different colleges. I asked my dad why God would have orchestrated that, if we were truly supposed to be together. I’ll never forget Daddy’s answer. He said, “Debbie, absence makes the heart grow fonder. If this love was meant to be, it will survive a separation.” Truer words were never spoken, and over the next nine months, as Ken and I wrote daily letters back and forth, we got to know each other better than we ever would have living on the same campus. We married the following summer and lived in campus married housing while we attended the next semester together.

Robin ShopeROBIN SHOPE (Wildcard, The Valentine Edition):
My dad was nearing sixty when I was born. My mom was his third wife and I was his third child. More like a grandpa than a dad, I totally adored this man. His watery blue eyes seemed to shine with love for me. He never spanked me, never raised his voice to me. One day I watched my older sister get ready for a date. I was thirteen and jealous, wanting to hurry along the process of growing-up. I didn't know it at the time but Dad was watching me, watching her. Flowers arrived for my sis' and then her date came. Out the door they went. An hour later, more flowers arrived. This time they were for me. Dearest Robin, always enjoy today. All my love, Dad. Yes, live in the moment, and don't wish your life away...but oh, how sometimes I would love to go backwards, flow upstream, and spend another day with him.

Donna FleisherDONNA FLEISHER (Standing Strong, Wounded Healer):
"Push in the clutch, let off the gas." No, wait, that wasn't it. "Listen to your mom." No, but very close. "Creamy Italian dressing works best on a hoagie." (He's a master hoagie maker.) Could that be it? No. His best advice was this: "Don't ever forget this one thing. I love you very very much." I haven't forgot. And I never will.

Sharon HinckSHARON HINCK (The Restorer, Stepping Into Sunlight):
My dad (who went to heaven 25 years ago this summer) battled some tough things. Alcoholism, workaholism, immigrating to the U.S.A. as a young man in total poverty, fighting in the Korean war, two different cancers, and depression. Sometimes my teen angst coincided with his bouts of insomnia, and we’’d both be prowling the quiet house late at night. He’d often say to me, “If you can’t sleep –– stay awake.” He said it with a smirk and a shrug –– acknowledging the humor in the advice. Yet those words continue to speak to me in a broader way. They remind me to stop fighting too hard against things I can’’t control –– to be willing to change course –– to adapt and make the best of a situation. Something he often lived out during his quest for sobriety.

Jenny B. JonesJENNY B. JONES (So Not Happening, In Between):
I didn't get advice, so much as a lesson from my step-dad. I think he taught me that love isn't always about our biological connection. It's not about being loved the most by the ones who look the most like us. It's just about being loved thoroughly and appreciating the ones who invest in us. When I was a kid, I really didn't get that. But as an adult, I can see that God totally provides--even when it doesn't come in the traditional package you thought it would. Even though we didn't swim in the same gene pool, I still have a great dad.

Wayne Thomas BatsonWAYNE THOMAS BATSON (Isle of Swords, Door Within trilogy):
Old Knife, Fishing Rod and Coat Hanger Thing

A Poem by Wayne Thomas Batson

A scheduled spot behind a marina restaurant, waited
one sultry summer dusk for our arrival. Parked near a streetlight among the parking meters and dried, sun-bleached sand dollars, we kids traded eager glances while you and Mom unpacked the Gran Torino. We heard the slaps of high tide even before we four peered over the rail into the playful Gulf.

The perfect time for fishing. crabbing, you knew it would be, the perfect night for me to grow. From your father’s old tackle box, you let me use his dull homemade knife to cut up bait fish. Leslie, Jeff, Brian had done it before---but not me. I scraped silver scales, carved blood-laced chunks from bone, the feel
of your hand on mine eased boyish, queasy pangs. A jagged piece secure on my hook, I lobbed the weighted line
over the rail. Reeling slowly just like you showed me,
I felt a nibble, then a bite. I struggled, not sure a six-year-old could bring it in, but you lifted me, sat me on your knee added strength to my arms. Felt the tickle of your rough, stubbly chin against my cheek, watched the top of the rod quiver, bend, heard Mom, Leslie say,
“ Bet it’s a sailcat!”
Buoyed by their words, your hands, I reeled it in. When the dark wriggling, finned creature hung just below the rail, you grabbed the line, hoisted my fish to safety.
“ It’s a good catch!” you say, “Big one.”
I grinned knowing you’re proud. You knelt
near the always grimacing gray catfish. I shined
the flashlight down. With a practiced flip,
you used that coat hanger thing to free
the hook from the captured bottom feeder- always
seemed like magic. You took my fine fish, with thanks, divided it among the drop sides. Wire, string, traps ready to lay under murky water, on the moving Gulf floor. Though years passed I can still remember bushel baskets of bubbling, snapping, clicking crabs, bounty beyond the catch.

How’d you do it, Dad? The coat hanger thing, flip of the hand? How’d you take an old knife, a fishing rod and turn little boy into a man...

C.J. DarlingtonC.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.