Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fun in Key West


This is Margaret Daley. My husband and I went to Key West recently for the first time. The picture to the right is the real Sponge Bob (made of sponges from the waters in Key West).

I really enjoyed the area, especially being on the ocean. It brought back memories of when I lived on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. The gentle breeze. The scent of the salt water. The sound of the water lapping against the shore. The shrieks of the gulls as they fly overhead. And the high humidity that zaps your energy twice as fast.

The first day we were there we walked around to get a feel for the old part of the town of Key West. I was soaking wet by the time we got back to the hotel. You would have thought I’d gone to the beach and swam.

One of my favorite things to do was to test the key lime pie at different places. Mike and I decided we would find the best piece of key lime pie in Key West. The problem with that was there were several places we enjoyed the pie for different reasons. One had a more limey tang to the pie while another was milder but the crust was great. I couldn’t make up my mind which slice I liked better (nor could my husband). Maybe we need to go back and try both of them again some time.

Another thing they do in Key West is watch the sunset. A lot of boats take people out to watch it. Key West is known for beautiful sunsets and our hotel room had a balcony facing the Gulf where the sun went down. A perfect place to watch the sun set and it was beautiful.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Hi Everyone--Debra Clopton here :) I'm happy to tell you that I have a book out this month, COWBOY FOR KEEPS is the 2nd instalment of the Men of Mule Hollow series which is a mini 3 book series of my ongoing Mule Hollow series (which will continue on into 2011 for all those who have written to me thinking Mule Hollow was ending. It is alive and doing very well thanks to all of you :)
I'm busy, busy right now working on new books and also planning my wedding! As many of you know my dear husband Wayne passed away July 5 2003. I'd been trying to get published for 13 years at that time and it was God's plan that during the saddest, most difficult time of my life He blessed me with the sale of my first book to Love Inspired. God gave me a new path and direction for my life when I needed something positive and good and uplifting to focus on. As Wayne's death date...or as I like to think of it, his homegoing since he is in heaven with his heavenly father--anyway, as the date draws near it is always a hard time for me. I've worked and dedicated my life to my sons and my work for the last 7 years and feel like I've pleased God. It seems strange to me that as I've finally have a small break in between books I'm concentrating on planning my wedding during this time of year. I feel like, as always that God's timing is not off. God blessed me when He sent Chuck Parks into my life and this time of year is easier. I've accepted God's plan for my life and know that God is in control of my past and my future. I feel so blessed. I'm writing this post for many reasons, partly just because I need to put my feelings on paper today but also because it is book related. In COWBOY FOR KEEPS my hero Wyatt Turner has to learn that he is not in control of his life, that God is. This book is very close to my heart as I'm very similar to his character.
I've been told by many, many readers that it is my best work. I'll let you be the judge of that :) but I do know that He walked me though it.
I'm praying that if any of you are feeling out of control, hurting, grieving, sorrowful. I just pray that you will give it to the Lord and trust Him. His grace is sufficient, His shoulders are wide and His love for you is immeasurable. He will get you through the dark times and bring you back into the light and give you joy again. Just hang onto Him...give Him control and watch Him show you his glory!
Until next time live, laugh and seek God with all your heart!
Debra Clopton

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hero Interview from The Rancher's Promise by Jillian Hart

Hero Interview for The Rancher’s Promise by Jillian Hart:

1. Justin Granger, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I run a cattle ranch with my dad, brother and sisters. I’m the oldest of the bunch. We run Hereford and Angus on one hundred thousand acres of Wyoming rangeland. My best friends are my dad and my horse and, once, the pretty girl I let get away years ago.

2. What do you do for fun?

I ride horses, hang out with my dad and sometimes head into town. Wild Horse, Wyoming is a typical small town, not a lot to do there, but the diner makes great cheeseburgers.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Dealing with my feelings, especially when it has to do with Rori Cornell. She’s the pretty girl I mentioned who chose heading off to college over marrying me. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over losing her. Now she’s back in town and I’m not sure my heart can take it.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

That Rori Cornell is about to break my heart twice and I’ll have to go on living without her.

5. What do you want out of life?

Rori’s love.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Family.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

I read when I get the chance, although ranch work keeps my plenty busy. I like westerns and a good action story.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would like to learn to lower my guards and my pride and give love a chance.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

Well, there’s my horse, but Scout is more of a best friend than a pet. Buttercup, a cow, is our family pet. She was orphaned as a calf. Dad and my sister, Autumn, bottle-fed her. And boy, did they spoil her!

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would go back to the long ago day I proposed to Rori and when she asked me to wait for her to finish college, I would have lowered my pride, tucked away my disappointment and did as she asked. My heart has been waiting for her all this time anyway, and I’ve discovered one thing. My life doesn’t mean much without her.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THE RANCHER'S PROMISE BY JILLIAN HART

Rancher Justin Granger hasn't seen his high school sweetheart since she rode out of town with his heart. Now, "too good for this small town" Rori Cornell stands on his doorstep, seeking a job as his cook and housekeeper. He can't turn her away, not with the sadness and worry in her cornflower-blue eyes. He'll just have to avoid her between meals. But when Justin discovers that Rori's big dream has always been him, he finds his heart softening. And an old promise yearning to be kept.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's bigger in Texas



Everything is bigger in Texas--as you can see in my pictures. Chia pets are bigger here.

I was going to the furniture store and saw these longhorns. I couldn't believe it, so I stopped my car and took pictures of them on my cell phone. Well, not being handy with electronic thingees, I couldn't figure out how to get it out of my phone, so the next day I went with my digital camera. I went to take the picture and the thing died. The battery was out of juice. I plugged it in and let the battery charge. On my third try, I got the picture.

Who says you can't get around electronic things?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Allie Pleiter on the "Finding Nemo" Factor

Writers are curious creatures. We do the oddest things for work, staring into a computer screen while whole worlds spin themselves into being inside our heads. That’s the art.


But writers also deal with all kinds of deadlines, and it’s a business no matter how much art we relish. So I’ve become a student of how art gets done on time. It’s taught me a lot about how life gets done on time.


I’m a list-maker. I’ve got all kinds of computerized programs and planning documents. A list of paper is one thing, however. A list accomplished is a whole other ball game. Especially for us distractable arty types.


Enter FINDING NEMO.


Or, more precisely, what I call the Finding Nemo Factor. Remember Marlin, Nemo’s dad in the movie? He was a man...ahem...fish on a mission. He hated distractions, he was focused on one thing and one thing only. If you’re a Marlin, it helps you to bunch like tasks together. All your writing stuff on Tuesdays, all your grocery shopping for the week done on Thursday, you probably exercise at the same time every day, etc. So when you look at your “to do” list, and you number it to do 1 first, then 2, then 3--an absolutely vital step lots of folks omit but is actually the single most productive thing you can do--it’s best to bunch like things together. You won’t like a writing task poking its head into all your church tasks, or a load of laundry showing up in the middle of your crafting day.


Then there are the Dorie’s, like me. Distractable. Fidgety. We can barely sit still long enough to bang out our word count for the day. I have to alternate sitting with movement tasks because I can’t sit still for long. It’d probably be dangerous for me to go off to a cabin in the woods to finish my novel. I’d go bonkers--well, more bonkers. I have to mix it up all day long in order to keep my energy fired up. That’s not bad, but I need to reflect that as I number my “to do” list.


Learning this about yourself can unlock a great deal of productivity in your day--whether writing is part of it or not.


So...which are you?

(image courtesy of imagesdisney.com)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Save the Octopus

Kim Watters here. We’re on vacation at the beach a few weeks ago, in Rocky Point, Mexico. That in itself is another story, and not for the feint of heart. So, my daughter and I are out early in the morning hunting for seashells, minding our own business when we hear a scream.

Being curious souls and realizing there is no one else on the beach except us and two other ladies, my young daughter and I go to investigate what the ladies are pointing at on the sand. At first we didn’t see the two gelatinous globs of brown speckled things with eight arms until we were almost on top of them. I immediately conjured up images of fried calamari and had a hard time reconciling the two. Not that I for a minute thought about the possibilities of dinner that night.

Anyway, these poor creatures got washed up with the rough tide the night before and were at least twenty yards from sea. Hmmm. We can’t just leave them there, so one the other ladies took her hat off and was trying to douse them with water. Each time she did, their heads would enlarge and the blow hole would go off. Really creepy.

So now there are four of us standing around pointing at these octopuses trying to figure out how to get them back into water. I certainly wasn’t going to touch the squishy, filmy, slimy things. The hat wasn’t really working at holding much water so I *gasp* sacrificed my coffee so we’d have a cup and a much better way to keep them hydrated while we put our heads together. Finally I realized I was holding a bucket full of shells.

Tada. I dumped my shells into my daughter’s bucket and scooped up the poor fellow and ran with him to the sea. I waded into the surf, put the bucket in the water and turned it over.

I’m sure by now you’re shaking your heads. That’s right. Everything but the octopus spilled out of the bucket. Our hapless friend has suctioned himself to the bottom. Great. I already broke a glass the night before, now I’m going to have to e-mail the condo owner that his bright, red bucket has been sacrificed to Poseidon to save the sea life. (Of course we still have the other one to deal with, too.)

Fast forward to the security guard at the resort. I’m sure the last thing he wanted to do before he got off his shift was get his shoes wet prying an octopus loose, but Luis was a real “hero” about it. He finally managed to convince our friend that he was safer in the tide pool than with a big stick poking him in the head.

Number two went without a much suction at all.

So what does this have to do with writing? Aside from a story scene? Desperate conservationist and hungry, hunky security guard? Double hmmm.

How many of you have felt like our poor octopuses, trapped in unfamiliar territory and in limbo? You can see the ocean or the publishing contract, you just can’t figure out how to get there. How many of you have felt paralyzed with fear about submitting or finishing the book, or even decided to start writing, and suctioned yourself to the bottom of a bucket? You’re safe for now, but outside it’s a big people eat octopus world.

Relax, there are always people willing to help you along the way, be it us beach combers or God, or your writing friends, critique partners, family, agents or editors. We’re all in this sea of life together. We’re all God’s children, whether we have two legs or eight. So what are you waiting for? Get out of the bucket and live. What’s the worse that could happen?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night....

This last week or so has been a whirlwind of activity.  Things that had to be done in a timely manner with my writing.  Done.  Catching up at work after being away on vacation--done.  Mostly, anyway, but as someone once said, "tomorrow is another day!"  :)
And today, I've been bustling about the house getting ready for company--fellow author Lyn Cote and her husband.  Two of my favorite people!  All things to keep me running, focused on my to-do lists.  And then...in the midst of all my bustling this week, a storm hit.  The weather here is the Midwest has been unstable for weeks and weeks--heavy rains, powerful storms.  A cycle that is supposed to bring damaging winds and heavy rains again tonight, and after today's heat and humidity, it's no surprise.  But the storm I wanted to mention was the one that made me stop in wonder, for when the clouds broke just before sunset, the sky was so incredible that I just had to stare in awe.  Suddenly, all the little concerns, the to-do list, just seemed so inconsequential in comparison to  God's absolute glory unfolding across the sky!  I grabbed a camera and ran, hoping to capture a bit of it.  I've never seen colors like this before!

Roxanne Rustand
http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Monday, June 21, 2010

I confess...

Hello from Lisa Mondello

I must confess...I read series books out of order. I may read book 2 before book 1 or book 5 before book 3. This goes for series, trilogies, continuities, etc. I know. I can already see some of you cringing. "How can you possibly do that?" you say.

Truthfully? I have no clue. I chock it up to the fact that I don't write my books in order either. I'm a puzzle writer. Like a picture, I know what the story is supposed to look like, but I piece the whole story together as it comes to me. I don't start on page one and go straight through.

Right now I'm reading a book by Irene Hannon called In Harm's Way. I knew it was book 3 in the series. I should have picked up book 1 and I probably will pick up book 1 and 2 at some point. But something about this book spoke to me as I was searching for something to read. I'm glad I did because I'm loving the book.

What do you do? Do you stockpile series books and read them in order? Do you get really upset if you find out you're reading a book out of order? Or are you like me? Can you read a book no matter where it falls in the series and then go back and still enjoy the rest of the books?

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hero Interview from Steadfast Soldier

Interview with the hero from Steadfast Soldier by Cheryl Wyatt:

1. Chance Garrison, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I am in one of the world's most dangerous careers and I thrive on danger in hostile territories while rescuing downed allied military pilots...yet I'm terrified of crowds. I'm very shy. (Grins sheepishly.)

2. What do you do for fun?
I like to exercise for fun. I also like to fish and hike through Refuge's woods and observe wildlife there. I'm very outdoorsy. Of course I also love to skydive and do it for a living as a U.S. Air Force Pararescue Jumper.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Going through my late-mom's stuff. I miss her so much and all those things in boxes have memories attached to them. It's hard to get rid of anything she owned.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Of losing my dad on the heels of losing Mom. He had a stroke not too long after she passed and life has been pretty rough since then. Two rays of sunshine named Chloe and her dog, Midnight, have been dropped into my life, so I'm starting to see that there's hope.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want to marry and have a family while I'm young. I was a change of life baby and my parents were older and not in good health during my growing up. Though my parents did their best, I want to be there for my kids and their kids.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Right now, getting Dad to a point where he wants to do his rehabilitation exercises so he has a chance of getting his mobility and stuff back.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I love books. I love classics and modern bestsellers alike. I'm a bookworm...but don't tell my Special Ops military team that or I might have to deny it. LOL!

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I sometimes still stutter despite going through years of speech therapy as a child. The dysfluency erupts at the worst times. Of course Chloe doesn't seem to mind.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I don't but Chloe has THE coolest dog. His name's Midnight and he's a black Lab. Chloe is an occupational therapist who uses rescued animals to help rehabilitate humans. I was skeptical at first but her unconventional methods are actually pretty cool and what she does and it seems to be working on Dad.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Back to my childhood, early teens. I'd spend more quality time with my mom and less time goofing around.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THE STEADFAST SOLDIER BY CHERYL WYATT

Rescuing people is his job: But the one person pararescue jumper Chance Garrison can't seem to help is his own ailing father, who refuses his much-needed physical rehabilitation. That is, until Chance hires unconventional occupational therapist Chloe Callet. To his surprise, Chloe and her sweet black Lab, Midnight, work wonders. And not only on the elder Garrison. Chance just may have met the woman who can get through his own toughened exterior. Can he persuade the lovely Chloe to take a chance—on him?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ja, you betcha!

Friday, June 18th


Valerie Hansen here. I'm going to do my best to write this early and schedule it to pop into place on Friday, but knowing my record with computers, nothing is certain. :)

The reason I'm so rushed - and excited - is because I'm about to go on vacation - to NORWAY! The farthest I've been from the U.S. is several trips to Mexico so this will be a real adventure. I can hardly wait. I've been packing and unpacking for a week, and I know I'll still forget something. It's a given.

Why Norway? Because that's where my father was born and raised. The two people pictured here are my father's parents, on their wedding day, I think. I'm taking a copy of it and my "pedigree" on my dad's side so I'll be prepared, although I don't expect to find any new info. My uncle, who lived to be 101, did a genealogy for me years ago. Without his help I'd be really lost. Many churches burned because of war and that's where the birth, death and marriage records were kept in those days.

Mostly, I want to see Norway and soak up its beauty and culture. I was 10 years old before I knew my dad was a naturalized American citizen. He loved the USA so much he worked hard to lose his accent and never considered himself anything but an American. Period. I respect him for that but I still wish he had told me more about his origins. It's going to be fun seeing the country for myself.





Blessings,


Val

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Writer :)

Missy Tippens, here. What do you think a day in the life of a writer would look like?

Well, for me, it's a bit like this photo. Me, working with my laptop in my lap while sitting on the family room couch--with my dog sitting at (or on top of!) my feet. :)

I usually have books and papers scattered all around me. My cell phone nearby for quickly checking email without facing the temptation of getting online on my computer. A cup of coffee on the table. Pens, pencils and highlighters also on the coffee table. My work-in-progress notebook at the end of the couch in case I need to look something up, like the color of a character's hair or the name of a secondary character. Or goodness, sometimes I even have to look up the color of my hero's eyes or the name of his father! :)

Yesterday on one of my group blogs that's geared for writers, Seekerville, Tina Radcliffe shared this really cute video about a day in the life of a writer. I hope you'll check it out and enjoy! Click here.

Now, what would you say is your dream work setting?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Storms of Life and God's Amazing Grace

Hail from the recent storm

Linda Goodnight here with apologies to Lyn Cote for posting yesterday on her day and to anyone else who was as confused by my early post as I was.




Now, on to my praise report. This has been a crazy year in Oklahoma. The weatherman calls it the 500 year weather pattern. In February we were hit with an ice storm and lost power for a week. In May a tornado ripped through. (Along with damage, we lost power for another week.) While folks were still picking up the pieces, a freak hailstorm of unbelievable proportions pounded the state. Yesterday torrential rains came and with them some disastrous flooding.



Storms of life hit us all sooner or later but as trite as it sounds, God’s grace really is sufficient. I was reminded of that this morning when my husband came in from taking care of the cows. He was soaking wet from head to toe and visibly upset. While crossing the creek, his leg went through a log and he was flipped upside down and trapped-head down-in the flooded creek. Alone and unable to right himself because of the log trapping his leg, he called out to the Lord. “Somehow”, by God’s grace, he found himself upright again, sitting in the middle of the creek with his head above water. Suddenly, the storms and the loss of property didn’t matter quite so much as we gave thanks for something far more important.



Have you weathered any storms lately? How has God carried you through?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Social Networking-Is it for You?

Lyn Cote here. Do you all remember the time before blogging? The time when you could only contact an author via US Mail or email? Blogging has changed the relationship between writers and many readers, making us available to you in ways we couldn't be before.
Obviously you like this since you are here, right?

But what about Facebook, MySpace, GoodReads, Shelfari, Shoutlife, Twitter, and others?

I most enjoy Facebook and GoodReads. I like keeping up with others on my time. I can check my Facebook page and run through my list of updates and see who's busy doing what. I've also connected with long ago acquaintances whom I had lost touch with. When I was preparing my 12th Annual Christian Fiction Market Update this spring, I found that most of the editors I wanted to contact were available through Facebook. And that made contacting them much easier.

Janet Tronstad has also helped draw together a group of readers and Love Inspired Historical authors on GoodReads. If you love books, you'll love GoodReads!

So which of the social networks do you frequent? Which blogs? And why? You tell me!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Orphan of My Youth

This is Janet Tronstad here, pondering the past, the future and all that lies between. I just heard that the comic strip Little Orphan Annie will end. I remember her from my childhood and while the busyness of life has come between us since then, I recall her fondly -- this little red-haired girl who was forever spunky in the midst of homelessness, poverty, and other hardships of life. She was quite a role model for us all. I sometimes wonder if it was simple stories like Annie's that made me want to be a happily-ever-after kind of a writer. I want people to smile when they've read my books and think that maybe life isn't so bad after all. I know life can be cruel and that things don't always end happily, but I prefer to focus on stories where that does happen. How about you? Are you a happily-ever-after person, too?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hero Interview from The Heart's Song

Interview with the hero from The Heart’s Song by Winnie Griggs:

1. Graham Lockwood, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I don’t know about interesting, but something folks here in Tippanyville might be surprised to learn is that I play several musical instruments and was a choir director at one time. Of course, I don’t plan to bring the subject up since I’ve given most of that up now. When my wife died a year ago, the music died for me as well.

2. What do you do for fun?
I like to run. My morning run keeps me both fit and focused, ready to face whatever the day has to throw at me.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I just moved to a new town and my next door neighbor, Reeny Landry, is one of those welcome wagon types who’s certain everyone wants to get involved in the town’s goings on. I’ve been avoiding retuning her welcome visit because I know she’ll try to ‘fix me’.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Being pitied

5. What do you want out of life?
Right now I’d just settle for having folks stop walking on eggshells around me when they find out about my wife’s death. That’s why I moved hundreds of miles to settle into a town where no one knows my background.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Hands down - it’s got to be family

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I’m an educator, of course I read. In non-fiction I like biographies and historical texts. In fiction I’m a fan of legal thrillers.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Annie, my wife, used to say I needed to loosen up more.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Not at the present. But I still have fond memories of my childhood pet - a Dalmatian named Champ.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the months leading up to my wife’s death and make sure we made different choices than we did the first time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THE HEART'S SONG BY WINNIE GRIGGS

Widower Graham Lockwood hasn't stepped foot in church since he lost his family. So he can't possibly say yes to his new neighbor's request that he lead the handbell choir. But widowed mother Reeny Landry is so hopeful—and her fatherless children so in need—that Graham agrees to help. Suddenly, the man who closed himself off is coming out of his shell. And he finds himself acting the father figure to Reeny's sweet mute daughter and loner son. But going from neighbor to husband is another matter altogether. Until a loving family teaches Graham to hear the heart's song.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Editor Blogs on Harlequin


Wow, Terri Reed here, my editor blogged on the Harlequin blog about the upcoming continuity series for Love Inspired. I wrote book two and will hit the shelves in August. This series is set in Alaska, with plenty of mystery running through all the books as well as tender love stories. This book was so much fun to write. And I have to say I love all the covers. They are so bright and vibrant. And you will recognize several names in the line of authors!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer by Leann Harris


Summer means different things to people all over the country. When I lived in Colorado, summers were wonderful days, filled with outside activities of playing and swimming and having fun.

When the family moved to Houston, summer was brutal. Hot, humid, sucking the life out of kids and they retreated indoors. Now, I'll be honest, it depends on what part of Texas you live in. North Texas and the panhandle, summers aren't quite the killer that they are in south Texas--that is most of the time. This summer is turning out to be a killer. We're going to be counting how many days we'll be over 100 degrees. I think the record was 1981 when we went for over 50 days over 100. And believe me, you can tell the difference between 100 and 103.

Summers are killers. Winter are wonderful, but then we've paid for our easy winters.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lessons from the cricket's chorus...

I'm sitting here in my living room, in the dark, my laptop open on the couch, trying to decide what to blog about for my post tomorrow (well, really, today - I'm writing this the night before. Yesterday. But it's right now. Confused yet?) and I can't even think of a topic because the crickets in the backyard are so stinkin' loud.

The air conditioner just kicked on, yet I still hear the crickets.

It's not so much an annoying sound just a constant one, and when you're trying to concentrate on something (like blogging!) it can quickly become annoying.

How often in life do we let the buzz of the world distract us? I know this is just a blog post and eventually the crickets will hush and if I really wanted to I could drown them out with the TV or something, but...I'm reveling in the lesson.

With our writing, our goals, our hobbies, our dreams, our families - are you guilty of letting the constant, busy hummmm of the world knock you off focus from what you know is right? Are you easily sidetracked by the lure of temptation, the promise of procrastination, or the convincing chatter of "you should do this" or "that" instead?

Today, try to take a moment to drown out the chirping of the world and listen to the still small voice inside you know you can trust. What is it about your story, your novel, your job, your children that you KNOW you should do, but thus far haven't found the courage to take the step because of fear of failure, fear of rejeciton, fear of gossip, etc.

Kick those crickets to the side and tune your ears to the voice of the Lord and the instincts He gave you!! =)

Buzz, buzz. They're still out there. But softer this time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Preparing for Change


Terri Reed here, My daughter is going away for the summer to be a camp counselor. "Just preparing you for college, Mom," she says to me. Like I really wanted to hear that!
But change is inevitable. Some change is good. Like the change in weather. Or the change of a hairstyle.
Some change is hard to cope with. Like children leaving the nest.
Okay so I'm not quite there yet, but its coming. Fast. Two more years of high school and then off she goes. I'll still have my son at home, thankfully. But I will miss my daughter. She wants to go to art school in London. Yikes!
How do you prepare for your child to leave home? Any tips and suggestions? I've got two years to prepare myself. But that leaving looms like a dark cloud on the horizon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I've Got the Vacation Bible School Blues

Tonight began my church's Vacation Bible School. This is my son's third year attending. It's a memory I have of childhood, and isn't it funny, but the best part of my memory is that for that one week of church, we were allowed to have cookies and kool-aid in the classroom.

Wow. I tried to get Mikey to tell me what he enjoyed most tonight, but it was almost nine as we drove back home and a combination of fatigue and pure five-year-old stubbornness prevented him from answering. I do know he enjoys it, though, because I check on him. I peek in while he's playing games, I stand in the back and listen as he sings, I watch when it's his turn to walk his kool-aid carefully to his seat.

Okay, and here's the pure Mommy of a boy moment. I try not to chuckle when I hear him singing, "If you're farting and you know it, clap your hands." Hmmm, if I tried to put that in one of my LI books, would I get to keep it?

What are your personal memories, or do you - like me - have a child who changes the words.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Heroine Interview from The Pastor Takes a Wife

Interview with the heroine from The Pastor Takes a Wife by Anna Schmidt:

1. MEGAN OSBOURNE, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I am a single mom, raising a daughter in a small Wisconsin town. My daughter’s father was the town football hero who denied paternity when I got pregnant our senior year in high school. Now my daughter is in high school and I worry a lot about her.

2. What do you do for fun? Actually my work is fun. I help a friend manage a bed and breakfast and it’s always fun meeting new people and making sure they enjoy their stay.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? Anything that puts me in the spotlight – I was the topic of town gossip for far too long and these days I just want to live quietly and raise my daughter.

4. What are you afraid of most in life? That I will be a bad mother.

5. What do you want out of life? My daughter’s happiness.

6. What is the most important thing to you? My daughter.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read? I like to read stories about strong women who face tough choices in their lives and find a way over and around them.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? One thing? You’re kidding, right? No. Okay. I would go to college and get a degree.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? No pets.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? Sometimes I think the answer to that would be that I would go back to before I got pregnant but that isn’t true because I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter. The truth is that I have no desire to look back – only forward.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

FEATURED BOOK: THE PASTOR TAKES A WIFE BY ANNA SCHMIDT

Everyone in Singing Springs, Wisconsin, is talking about the handsome new pastor. Except single mother Megan Osbourne. With a checkered past, she knows not to speculate about others. Or think for one dreamy minute that Jeb Matthews would even notice her. Yet there she is, telling him about her life and not feeling judged. Soon she's even helping him set up a church youth center and becoming more a part of the community than ever. And when Jeb slowly opens up to her about why he gave up his former life, she hopes the pastor will soon take a loving wife—her.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Strapping in the Babies

My granddaughter is the subject of many conversations that I have these days. My husband and I just finished watching her for nearly two weeks while her mom and dad went on a vacation. What a fun time!

But things are different today than they were when my kids were babies and toddlers. Everything has multiple straps that must be buckled and tightened. Every one of them is different, and sometimes, I feel as though I ought to have an instruction manual in order to figure out how they work.

The high chair we have is easy. There are just two side straps that buckle into the one the goes between the legs. It is much easier than the one she has at home, since it also has arm straps. Then we had the stroller. Once Grandpa and I figured out how to unfold it, we had arm straps, that hooked together with the one in the center. It was like putting together a puzzle to get all the parts in the right places. Thirdly, we had to figure out how to buckle all of the parts of the car seat. The little silver things that went into the center piece were hiding from us, but I knew they all had to connect. Finally, the topper came on Sunday morning when we couldn't figure out how to get the car seat out of my car and transfer it to a larger car for our trip to church. We wound up taking two cars because we were going to be very late for church if we wasted any more time trying to figure it out. Next time, I will watch while they install the seat, so I'll know how to take it out.

At least when I took her to the beach, the only thing that required a strap was her hat.





Do you have any interesting stories about keeping kids strapped into various chairs, car seats or strollers?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Crooked and Twisty Road

THE ROAD TO PUBLICATION HAS MANY TWISTS AND TURNS
By Margaret Daley

I sold my first book in 1980 and thought I was set (for life). Back then there was no RWA or ACFW, and I didn’t really know the realities for writers and the publishing industry. It is amazing how naïve I was. Selling my second book was a struggle. By the time I sold my fourth one, I thought I was getting into a rhythm that would keep on going like the Energizer Bunny. Another naïve thought of mine. When I hit my twentieth book, I hit a brick wall. I didn’t sell anything for eight years. I could have given up and almost did several times but something kept me going. Then in 1996 I sold a book that started my road back to publication. In 2000 I sold to Steeple Hill Love Inspired and found the Christian fiction market, which was a perfect fit for me. If I had given up during that eight years, I wouldn’t have gone on to sell forty-six more book. My tip to others is don’t give up even during those downturns if you truly want to be a writer.

I couldn't resist putting up this photo I took when I was in San Francisco two years ago. Talk about a crooked street! It was a series of switchbacks--like my writing career.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The long hot summer is here--Lenora Worth


Hi. I don't know about where you are, but down South, it's hot. It seems to me I used to have these lazy easy summers. But now, I'm more busy than ever. So the heat takes it toll with running here and there, juggling several tasks and trying to keep up with life in general. But I try not to complain because I prefer summer to winter any day.

Our garden is back in shape with magnolias and wisteria blooming, lilies smelling so sweet and hibiscus plants popping with dark pink and creamy salmon flowers. The pool is just refreshing enough to take your breath away. So come on down and join us. We'll whip up some iced tea or lemonade, slice you a piece of pound cake and add some ice cream and strawberries and you can kick off your flip-flops and dangle your toes in the water. The big oak trees will bring shade and the soft breeze will tickle your sweaty neck. And I have lots of books, so brow the bookshelves all over the house, dust one off and sit back in a lounge chair and escape. Isn't that what summer is all about? Even if it's just in your imagination.

The picture of my lilies is special to me. I named each lily after some of the long-time launch authors of Steeple Hill--Marta Perry, Lyn Cote, Irene Brand, Lois Richer, Kate Welsh, Carol Steward, Gail Martin and Patt Marr. I hope I didn't leave anyone out. They are my treasured friends and like a wonderful summer day, they energize and refresh me.

Now that we've had a little retreat, it's back to work for me. Sigh. I'll go and write about summer while I enjoy the air conditioner. Hope you have a great one.