Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wanna know how to make God smile? =)

Here I am, 9 months pregnant. I had everything all planned out. I was going to start my maternity leave on July 14th. That's a Monday, so it would be a fresh start, easy for everyone to keep up with at my workplace. I get 12 weeks off work (woohoo!) so that would give me 2 days at home before we induced on July 16th. And since we're in the process of moving, I figured I could use those days productively but still be able to enjoy the majority of my time off with my daughter after she was born.

I. Had. A. Plan.

Just so you know, us Type A's love plans. We love lists, and organization, and charts, and spreadsheets. And we are usually a bit OCD. I'm the girl who straightens wall art when I walk into an office or a place of business if its not hanging correctly. I'm the girl who tucks in a stranger's shirt tag in an elevator or at the movie theater if its poking out. (not kidding!) I'm the girl who cleans up her dishes as she's cooking a meal, even to the point of usually having to use extra utensils because I toss them in the sink too soon. Most of my arguments with my hubby stem from us having a plan for the evening and him changing it last minute. Spontaneous, I am not.

So, I had a plan. Maternity leave, July 14th. Bring it on!

Well, last Wednesday I went to the doctor for my usual check-up. I had taken off work that day because I wasn't feeling well and my feet were pretty swollen, so I figured my doc would advise me to lay off the salt or soak my feet that evening.


He strolls into the room, checking out my chart, and says "So, you're not going back to work."

"Excuse me?"

"You're done at work. You're on bedrest."

"I'm sorry, I thought you said something. What?"

That was the extent of our convo until reality sunk in with nasty little unorganized claws. I had protein in my sample, elevated blood pressure, and apparently my swollen feet weren't as minor as I thought.

My plans went out the window. I was starting my maternity leave over 2 weeks earlier than I expected. Bed rest? I had visions, none of them pretty - most of them involving me laying in bed those last few weeks gaining another 40 lbs before delivery. I broke out in nervous sweats and turned all blotchy red - which I'm sure did great things for my blood pressure.

Then, bless him, my doctor clarified. "Mild bed rest. You can still go to church, and your baby shower, and your hubby's graduation. Just no house cleaning, work, shopping trips, exercise, etc. Nothing that will keep you on your feet an extended period of time. Just take it easy."

When I heard the "no house cleaning" part, I perked up a little. I can handle that! Then I realized that if I didn't do it, it probably wouldn't get done. Just another downside to being a Type A and married to a hubby who most definitely is not.

But I was proud of myself. I kept breathing, I returned to my natural shade of pasty-white, I thanked my doctor, promised I'd behave and would see him on Monday and took my apt. slip up to the receptionist to check out.

Between the office and the car, I thought of a perk to the whole quitting work early thing (besides shocking my coworkers! ha.) Writing time! I have full permission to park it in bed for the next week or two and really concentrate on my revisions for my editor. I found a few more perks over the next day or two, and things are looking up. I'm taking it one day at a time (with my feet propped up, don't worry) and have actually had a nice long weekend. Plus, I discovered a secret. I know how to make God smile!

Just make a plan. =)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Calico Canyon!

Calico Canyon
by Mary Connealy


MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation. Mary has also written Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.


Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons.

When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process? Running from her Abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas.

As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormenters who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they? Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.

When God throws Grace and Daniel together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning. Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Two fun quizzes to brighten your Monday!


You are FALL!


This was a fun quiz. Anyone else want to play?
What other seasons do we have out there? =)

Here's the link!!


How's Your Attention Span?

Your Attention Span is LONG!

You're attention span is amazingly long.
You can concentrate well, and your mind doesn't stray easily.
Even if you have a mundane task to complete, you can get it done easily.
Because you don't get distracted, you accomplish more than most people.
Your self discipline is your greatest strength. You can will yourself to do almost anything.
All you have to do is put your mind to it.
Here's the link! How'd you do? =)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The BIG Picture - by Jenny B. Jones

Katie Parker is a riot!

A realistic, relatable, sarcastic, hilarious girl on the verge of adulthood and all the issues that come with. The best part about Katie is EVERYONE gets her - young teens, college students, moms, middle-aged women, even grannies can relate to something in Katie's life. In fact, one of my favorite characters was Mad Maxine, Katie's crazy foster grandma who gets into more trouble than Katie herself.

Book Description:

Katie Parker is having a bad day. After leaving the drive-in, where her imploding love life was the main attraction, Katie arrives home to a surprise guest. Her mother, a former convict and recovering addict, wants to take Katie away from her family, friends, and church. Now Katie's life will be changed by a series of dramatic choices as she struggles to understand what family and home really means.

A Katie Parker Production series offers teen girls real-world fiction balanced by hope and humor. The Big Picture helps us realize that the difficult chapters in our journey are only part of God's big story for our lives.

Me again: I would recommend this series (please, go back and read them in order!) to any teen girl. They're fresh, fun, and full of inspiring themes that don't preach, but rather give subtle undertones of faith. Katie is real - it was hard to put this last book in the series down. I want to save them and let my daughter read them one day.

(Okay, so she'll have to wait about 12 years, but hey!) =)

About Jenny

Jenny B. Jones is the author of A Katie Parker Production series. Though now an adult, she still relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. She is thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her previous claim to fame was singing the Star Spangled Banner at a mule-jumping championship. (The mules were greatly inspired.)

Jenny resides in Arkansas, where, as a teacher, she hangs out with teens on a regular basis.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"If I Only Had a Brain..."

I'm gleaning material. Lots and lots of material. The problem is, any future books I write with pregnant characters are probably going to get rejected for lack of realism. Unfortunately, my preggo mistakes are all too realistic!!

For example:

In the past three months I've: walked straight into the men's room in a very crowded restaurant (yes, there were witnesses, and yes I'm still an unnatural shade of red), informed my friend that there was potato in onion rings, gone the wrong way down a one-way street downtown, almost ran over an innocent pedestrian trying to walk into Barnes & Noble (she came out of NOWHERE!) searched online for an hour for the name of a cologne that didn't exist (long, long story - I think my mom and sister are STILL laughing at me) tripped over my own flip-flops, and bumped into so many doorframes that I keep continual bruises. I'm sure there is more, but I forget. (which is also something I do regularly!)

You've gotta laugh, right? I mean, what else can you do? (other than break down into hysterical sobs, but I've done that too and laughing is much better!) =)

I'm thinking my daughter is going to be a genius. Otherwise, where are all my brain cells going?? Regardless, I can certainly relate to the poor scarecrow in The Wizard Of Oz.

I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry...
If I only had a brain!

What's been really fun is seeing how being pregnant relates to my writing. My crit buds stay super busy fixing more typos than usual (sometimes now I just leave out words altogether in the middle of a sentence!) yet, surprisingly, I've been more productive than usual. I guess since I don't necessarily write EVERY day, (a girl's gotta rest sometimes, you know!) the time I DO spend writing during the week or on weekends is very productive. I guess it all balances out in the end. (whew)

Okay, so dish. Any funny preggo stories from your own experiences? Share here! (and share the embarassment, PLEASE!) =)

Friday, June 13, 2008


Finally, permission to post! I'm so excited I can barely type.

My agent, Tamela Hancock Murray of Hartline Literary, sold my contemporary romance to Steeple Hill Love Inspired.


We're looking at a release date of July 2009. Oh, this year will be so long. (then again, I will also have a new born baby girl, just might fly after all. ha!)

Return to Love is about a New Orleans penguin keeper and her reformed bad boy childhood best friend, who return to love with a little help from a rowdy youth group and a few homeless penguins.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another winner by Melody Carlson

I Heart Bloomberg

Kendall's managed to wrangle her grandmother's house-free and clear-except for the rules. No male roommates. But that's ok, with the right ad she'll pull in some girls, their rent and if she's lucky, she won't have to go to work any time soon.For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can't take another day in her aunt's tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades. Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths. And they struggle to become the women they want to be, they'll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love and the true meaning of friendship. If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including three of her latest, These Boots Weren't Made For Walking, A Mile In My Flip-Flops, and Mixed Bags. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It’s the “whosoever” part that gets me. That’s who I write for – “whosoever” and to me that means everyone and anyone. Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with I Heart Bloomberg that functions mostly to set up future storylines. Three women rent rooms at 86Bloomberg Place:
To contact Melody, email her at:
Click HERE to get your copy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

With Endless Sight - by Allison Pittman

When this series first started, I was hooked, and each time I've have the chance to review the next novel, I've jumped on it. Something about the rawness of the characters grabs your heart and refuses to let go until you've taken every step of the journey right along with the heroine! This third story in the Crossroads of Grace series also guarantees to deliver. Please don't miss it! You will be moved.

A must read? Indeed! Here are some details...


Belleville, Illinois and Wyoming Territories, 1861Born into a life of privilege, fourteen-year-old Belinda never questions her security, even as she leaves Illinois with her family to discover new adventures in the Oregon Territory . But when disaster falls, Belinda is left wounded, weak, and alone. Her faith in God gives her the only strength she knows in a harsh new world.Belinda’s journey takes her to a snow-covered mining camp and a red-roofed brothel in the Wyoming mountains, but not before she must spend a lonely winter with the man who took away the life she knew. Throughout the grief and hope of a strange land, Belinda must decide if her faith is big enough to allow her to forgive.The satisfying conclusion to the Crossroads of Grace series, With Endless Sight offers a rich story of family, new beginnings, and the freedom that grace can bring.

Author Bio:

Allison Pittman is the award-winning author of Ten Thousand Charms and Speak Through the Wind. Before her recent success in fiction writing, Allison spent seventeen years teaching high school English. Now a full-time writer, Allison serves as the director of her church’s Theater Arts Group ministry. She lives in Texas with her husband, Mike, and their sons.

You can buy your copy of this must-read here!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

SKID - a must read!!!

Back cover blurb:

Blissfully unaware that Atlantica Flight 1945 from Atlanta to Amsterdam is about to make aviation history, First Officer Danny McSweeney focuses his energies on navigating the turbulent personalities of an eccentric female captain, a co-pilot with a talent for tactless comments and conspiracy theories, and a lead flight attendant with an outsized attitude that definitely exceeds the limits for carry-on baggage.

On the other side of the cockpit door, the unscheduled in-flight entertainment includes a potbellied pig, a jittery diamond courier, and the recently jilted Lucy Meredith, whose personal mantra of “What Would Oprah Do?” will be challenged by the sudden appearance of her ex and his new traveling partner. On her left sits Hank Hazard, whose unusually polite but constant requests–prompted by his covert role as a spy for the airline–test the limits of the crew’s customer service.

But as Lucy and the rest of the crew discover, Hank’s odd behavior is linked to a quiet faith that may play a key role in the fate of everyone on board. Especially when an unexpected traveler sets this already bumpy flight on a course toward the unfriendly skies.

My review:

This story was HILARIOUS. Beyond funny, really - I was laughing and snorting right along with the pig. =) Only Rene could take such a wild cast of characters and make us not only love every one of them, relate to them, cheer for them, but even find ourselves in the back of our minds praying for them!

I personally have yet to be on an airplane in my entire life. I am sure I'll fly somewhere someday, Lord willing, and after this story, I figure my first airline experience will be super simple in comparison. Thanks Rene, for giving me that boost! haha. =)

You must pick up this book ASAP and join the party. It's quite the ride - one you will never forget!

Rene Gutteridge is the author of twelve novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, and the novelization for The Ultimate Gift, as well as Scoop and Snitch, the first two Occupational Hazard novels. She lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children in Oklahoma City.


Monday, June 02, 2008


It's official folks!
We have a winner of the FREE copy of Rachel Hauck's
Sweet Caroline!
Was it you? Your best friend? Your aunt? Your neighbor? Your mailman? Scroll down to see... (insert diabolical laugh here)
Congrats to
Thanks so much to all who played and please check back for more giveaways soon!
(not to mention fun blog posts!)
Terri, please email me your mailing address and I'll get your book sent to you this week!
You can reach me at