Friday, January 30, 2009


Sally Stuart's book is the best. INVALUABLE to authors, whether that's pre-pubbed, newly pubbed, or very-pubbed. =)

Whether you're looking to get established or looking to branch out, get your copy today!!

The Resource Guide to Getting Published

For 24 years running, the Christian Writers’ Market Guide has remained the most comprehensive, complete, essential, and highly-recommended resource for beginning and veteran Christian writers, agents, editors, publishers, publicists, and those teaching writing classes.

This year’s Guide is even handier with a CD-Rom included that features the full text of the book for easy searches of topics, publishers, and markets, as well as 100 pages of exclusive content including indexes and writing resource listings.

This is the resource you need to get noticed—and published.

Completely updated and revised to feature the latest on…
more than 1,200 markets for the written word
416 book publishers (32 new)
654 periodicals (52 new)
96 literary agents
100 new listings in Resources for Writers
226 poetry markets
316 photography markets
25 African-American markets
and 166 contests (29 new)

Sally E. Stuart is the author of thirty-six books and has sold more than one thousand articles and columns. Her long-term involvement with the Christian Writers’ Market Guide as well as her marketing columns for the Christian Communicator, Oregon Christian Writers, and The Advanced Christian Writer, make her a sought-after speaker and a leading authority on Christian markets and the business of writing. Stuart is the mother of three and grandmother of eight and lives near Portland, Oregon.

An exciting upcoming event!

March 19-22 there will be an amazing event - the Christian Book Expo in Dallas, TX!

There will be over 200 authors in attendance, many of whom belong to my writers group - the ACFW. (American Christian Fiction Writers)

I won't be able to attend this year but I wish I could go and hang out and just absorb it all! Maybe next year. I'll be attending a local writer's conference in my city earlier in March and I can't do it all! (how I wish I could!) =)

However, if you're in the Dallas, TX area on those dates, please plan to check it out and support Christian Fiction!! In our current state of such a negative economy, we readers really need to take a stand and make an effort to support Christian Fiction - support reading in general, at that.

Will you do your part?

Here is the link for more info!

An exciting upcoming event!

March 19-22 there will be an amazing event - the Christian Book Expo in Dallas, TX!

There will be over 200 authors in attendance, many of whom belong to my writers group - the ACFW. (American Christian Fiction Writers)

I won't be able to attend this year but I wish I could go and hang out and just absorb it all! Maybe next year. I'll be attending a local writer's conference in my city earlier in March and I can't do it all! (how I wish I could!) =)

However, if you're in the Dallas, TX area on those dates, please plan to check it out and support Christian Fiction!! In our current state of such a negative economy, we readers really need to take a stand and make an effort to support Christian Fiction - support reading in general, at that.

Will you do your part?

Here is the link for more info!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


It's snowing - in northwest Louisiana!

This happens maybe once every 2-3 years, and its always a quick flurry sometime in Jan. or February, gone almost as quickly as it comes. We bundle up, pulling dusty mittens and hats and scarves from our rarely used "winter drawer", and by the time we bundle up and make it outside, its over.

But not today. Last night temps dropped into the low 20's, and an icy fog hovered over the city. We woke up this morning to freezing temps, white-covered everything, and SNOW. It snowed almost the whole way to work. At first I was in my car, grinning, thinking "Yay, Snow!".

Then as my car began sliding down the highway exit ramp, I quickly changed my mind. "No, Snow!"

We north-Louisiana-ians are so fickle...

(don't worry, I only slid a few feet with no further incident.) =)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Time to celebrate!

Possibly the only thing more exciting than finishing writing a contracted manuscript is finishing 2 1/2 months ahead of deadline.

That's right! 2 1/2 months. My original deadline was March, then it got extended to mid April once a plot element changed that was going to take more time to revise and create. I'll do one last read through, prepare the "extras" they need along with the manuscript (such as the dedication, reader discussion questions, etc.) and hopefully turn it in next Monday the 2nd.

How should I celebrate? Hmm...I'm thinking a nonfat White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks, WITH whip this time, and a hot bubble bath with a good book. =)

Everyone now, on the count of 3!















Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Tuesday Morning Blessing

Yesterday was a bad day. Just chaos, frustration, and stress. Not one horrible or major thing happened, just a series of small things that led to tense shoulders, frustrated arguments with loved ones, and stress headaches.

Audrey also had a rather tough afternoon/evening, as she didn't seem to be feeling great herself.

However, the night wrapped up in a positive manner, with everyone asleep soundly and early after a good dinner and a visit with a friend of ours. (and a brownie!) =)

This morning I woke still sleepy, after having to get up and find Audrey's pacifier several times during the night, and also with a mild neckache from sleeping wrong on my pillow. I had to be at work a few minutes early to prepare the office for a big meeting (set out the breakfast tray I ordered yesterday, fill the thermo with coffee for the boardroom, etc.) and so I was already a little tense and hoping my day wouldn't end up like yesterday.

I was driving to work and listening to KLOVE, a fantastic Christian radio station, and two of my favorite songs came on back to back. Songs that aren't necessarily played a lot on that station, or at least not when I'm listening. It felt like SUCH a personalized blessing! I sang along and worshiped in my heart and had a lovely drive to work, feeling renewed and ready for the day.

Thank you, Lord!

(the songs were BLESSED BE YOUR NAME by Tree 63 and Addison Road's HOPE NOW) =)

Monday, January 26, 2009

A new revelation...

Concert revelations...

At the Dierks Bentley/Braid Paisley concert, I experienced two new revelations.

One, I'm a little blonder than I realized. There was a singer opening for Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley that I hadn't ever heard of. His name sounded somewhat familiar - a black man, which is pretty rare for country music, but I was excited about hearing someone new. He sang two songs and I was like "wow, he doesn't even sound country. This is cool." I also noticed he was very popular already, which is also kinda rare of us country fans. Usually, you have to earn our respect before we'll mob the stage to touch your hand =)
But this guy already had quite the crowd. During the second song, I told my husband "he looks sort of like Hootie from Hootie & The Blowfish." Hubby agreed he resembled him a little.
Then the singer began his third song, which started with the ever popular line "she sits alone by a lamppost..." and everyone screamed. But no one louder than me. Turns out Darius Rucker IS Hootie.
I freaked. I used to be a pretty big Hootie & The Blowfish fan, but it was when I was much younger and only knew them as their band name. Turns out Hootie is reinventing himself solo in the country music world and going by his real name. Who knew???
So there's the first revelation.
Secondly, you've all heard the expression "white people can't dance". This isn't necessarily true, I've seen plenty of white people with rhythm. =)
However, I think it can accurately be revised to say "drunk white people can't dance."'
The most entertaining part of the whole night was watching this one lady across the aisle. It was like a trainwreck, we couldn't look away. She was a pretty hefty gal, probably late 30's, dressed in black too-tight everything, and she had the same move, which she demonstrated nearly nonstop throughout the whole concert, a move which sort of resembled a stumbling chicken, all while clutching her Bud Light with her free hand.
Then there were the blonde 18 year old girls in front of us who arrived beyond tipsy, bummed a beer off an old man, then begged us to buy them more. We said no, we like our lives OUTSIDE of jail just fine, thankyouverymuch. With a slurred voice and blearly eyes the girl assured me it was okay, they've been doing this since they were 14.
OH, well in THAT case...
Hubby and I stuck with our Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper and advised them to do the same. =)
Here's a pic of Dierks, then Brad.

It was a fun night. Too much beer in the air for my preference but hey, that's coutnry music! We had a lovely date, awesome floor-seats, and definitely got our money's worth. It started at 7:30 and Brad was still singing at 11:00 when we left! What a guy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A little country goes a long way!

Jammin' tonight...

Hubby and I have a date tonight!
My parents are babysitting and we're heading out to a Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley concert. (country music). I can't wait. I might even rock some cowboy boots, who knows? =)
These are two of my favorite country music singers, especially Dierks, so it will be fun. Getting to spend extra time with just Hubby will be even sweeter!
Anyone else have fun weekend plans to share?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life's little pleasures...

A thought for today...

All too often in life we find ourselves looking ahead. We're looking forward to this vacation or this holiday or this day off work or this upcoming event. There's nothing wrong with this in theory, its fine to be excited about things coming up. But when we constantly crane our necks toward the future, we miss out on the present.
This morning I was snuggled with Audrey on the chair at 5:30 a.m.. She was drinking her bottle and we were all cuddly in PJs and a blankie, watching a Trading Spaces rerun on TV. It was cozy and warm and sweet and such a wonderful 30 minutes before getting ready for work!! Instead of gauging how much longer Audrey had until she was done eating, or anxiously checking the clock to see if I was going to have enough time to dry my hair without being late, etc. I just appreciated that time for each moment.

It made me realize how sweet those moments are and how fast they pass by. This is a reminder to myself and to you to enjoy life in each moment. Look forward to that summer vacation or that coming week off work, but don't LIVE for it. Live for NOW. For today. For this minute. Find the good and God in it and embrace it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Skinny jeans or fat pants?

Skinny jeans...or fat pants?

I'm proud to say I've lost three pounds since New Years. I've apparently lost inches as well because a pair of Ann Taylor Loft pants that weeks ago I couldn't get over my rearend now fit and button! I'm pretty excited about that.

So, 3 lbs in 20 days. Not quite as fast as I'd hoped but counting calories is working, slowly but surely. If I could find time to exercise more I'm sure that would give me another boost, but my schedule is beyond hectic. When I get off work I'm exhausted and just want to get home to my daughter! But in a few weeks my friend is going to join my gym and then I'll be more motivated to go. We're going to commit to twice a week - realistic, but not over the top considering we both have new babies.

How are you doing? Are you meeting your New Years weight-loss goals? Have you backslid a little bit? Or have you lost more weight than me? =) Now's your time to brag! Or admit defeat and find some encouragement to start again. Remember, you're not alone in this!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History in the making!

History in the making...

Today, history will be made. An important event will occur in a few hours that will forever grace the pages of our children and grandchildren's history textbooks.

Obama will become the 44th President of the United States.

For some, this is joyful news. For others, its a little scary and/or sad. But despite personal opinion, we must pray for our newly appointed leader. As Christians it is our responsibility to lift our leaders in prayer and pray for our country. Nothing happens that is outside of God's control and ultimate will.

If you're someone who didn't vote for Obama, don't simply give up and think "that's that". Pray for his heart. Pray for his relationship with God and for his family. Pray that God will use him to bless America and lead us. Pray for him to have wisdom. Pray for him to make the right decisions.

Too many times, people, even Christians who should know better, think prayer is a "last resort" type thing. They use phrases like "All we can do is pray now." Praying should be the FIRST and most powerful, effective action you take. Not the last. Not "I'm giving up now, so I'll pray."

Think about that today as you watch history in the making. And take the time to lift some heartfelt prayers to God on behalf of our country and its people.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."


Monday, January 19, 2009

Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus

When wedding planner Anne Hawthorne meets George Laurence, she thinks she's found the man of her dreams. But when he turns out to be a client, her "dream" quickly turns into a nightmare. Will Anne risk her heart and career on this engaging Englishman? George came to Louisiana to plan his employer's wedding and pose as the groom. But how can he feign affection for a supposed fiancee when he's so achingly attracted to the wedding planner? And what will happen when Anne discovers his role has been Stand-In Groom only? Will she ever trust George again? Can God help these two believers find a happy ending?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Stand-In Groom, go HERE!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaye Dacus is an author and editor who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. But her greatest joy comes from mentoring new writers through her website and seeing them experience those “aha” moments when a tricky concept becomes clear.

What others are saying about the book:

Dacus pulls off a delightful story that places readers in the heart of the South with the debut of the Brides of Bonneterre series. Readers will enjoy this look at how lives are transformed through devastating events and how forgiveness is the key to a promising future. Nothing is as it seems in this heartwarming story.”–Romantic Times, 4-Star Review

Absolutely delightful! I enjoyed Stand-In Groom from cover to cover! Ms. Dacus’s clever story and wonderful prose will draw you away to a place deep in the heart of Louisiana, surrounding you with the scents, sounds, and sights of the deep south. A story filled with romance and intrigue, betrayal and forgiveness, I found myself laughing, crying and rejoicing right along with the characters.”–M.L. Tyndall, author of The Falcon and the Sparrow and the award-winning Legacy of the King’s Pirates series

Stand-In Groom is as sweet, beautiful, and chaotic as a perfectly planned wedding. Anne is a bright and wounded heroine you’re going to care about for a long time. George is a hero to capture your heart. Kaye Dacus will take you along for a fun, poignent ride in Stand-In Groom.”–Mary Connealy, author of the Lassoed in Texas series and Of Mice...and Murder

Buy your copy here!

Friday, January 16, 2009

And the blessings keep coming...

My Little Miss!

Well, my Little Miss is indeed still a Little Miss! She had her 6 months check-up yesterday and she weighs 14.15 lbs and is 25 inches long. Very proportionate and healthy though, as you can tell in the pic, despite her smaller size. She's 25th percentile for weight/height, which just confirms she is indeed Mommy and Daddy's Little Miss! =)

It was a surprisingly good visit. She got oooohed and ahhhhed over by the nurses, which of course she loved. She had fun playing on her tummy on the examination table, drooled everywhere as usual, and impressed the doctor with her hand coordination. She made it through her shots (and so did Mommy) She didn't cry nearly as long this time as she did at 4 months (and neither did Mommy). =)

Doctor proclaimed her "perfect" and totally healthy and off we went to eat dinner at home and watch Wheel of Fortune and snuggle off the bad memories of the shots! What a blessing to have such a healthy baby girl. I was sick almost 24/7 the first several months of my life, and I can only imagine how hard that was on my mother. I'm so glad Audrey has never been sick before, never even run a fever. What a blessing! I know she will get sick eventually, of course, but I'm so grateful God has spared us from dealing with that thus far.

PS - She got a little taste of Daddy's dum-dum sucker on the way home. for being such a good girl =)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Caught with hand in the...trashcan???


I have to tattle on my husband.
Last night, I cooked a GOOD dinner. And by good I mean something that involved the stove and multiple pots, pans and utensils. Not a frozen pizza, mac-n-cheese, corndogs, Bagel Bites, or sandwiches.
That's right, while my 6 month old Little Miss played on the floor in her bumpo seat and toys, I made mashed potatoes, brown gravy, hamburger steaks in a skillet, and steamed veggies. Now, yes, the mashed potatoes were instant, the brown gravy was in a package, and the veggies were frozen in one of those new, microwavable/steaming packages they sell at Wal-Mart. But still, I was COOKING. This was huge. And I was doing it by myself, while watching Audrey. Kudos to me!
By the time dinner was ready, Hubby was home and Audrey was needing a nap. I took her to the nursery to try to put her down for a snooze and asked Hubby to just get all the food served up on plates. Audrey didn't want to go to sleep easily (she knew Wheel of Fortune was on!) so I was in there several minutes. I finally trudge back to the living room, tired from a day at work, 30 minutes of cooking and entertaining my babygirl, and sore from leaning over her crib. I pause by the couch as my husband looks up with a classic "hand in the cookie jar" expression.
Yes, folks, that's right. He was bent over the trashcan, his little plate of steamed veggies in hand, rearranging the trash in the basket so he could dump the veggies and hide them under the current trash. The look on his face at being busted was so very priceless I really couldn't even be mad.
Apparently the look on my face was priceless too because OHHHH the desperate blubbering, back-pedaling, and excuse-making began!!! His main justification/excuse? "I wasn't supposed to get caught!"
Oh, I hope Audrey's ears were closed for that one!!!
I finally started laughing, letting him know he was off the hook, and he ended up giving the veggies he didn't want to me instead of scraping them into the garbage. Good thing we don't have an inside dog or I'm sure he would have been victim to the steamed greens.
We sat down and ate after that - my plate overflowing with veggies, Hubby's void of anything that wasn't meat or carbs - and enjoyed our dinner.
I'll plan my revenge later.... ::wink::



Fellow writer Cathy Bryant graciously interviewed me on her blog. Come visit us and check it out!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Idol or Idiot?

Idol or Idiot?

That's the question of the day for many viewers who tuned in to watch the first episode of the new AMERICAN IDOL season last night.

I like the show. I admit it. I never did hop on the realty TV show bandwagon but this one is pretty good. Entertaining, to say the least, especially these early episodes in the season where anyone and sometimes even anything can audition. Some auditions bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "tone deaf" but hey, they have more courage than me getting up there and singing to the world. Literally!

Last night was no exception. We had sobbing wanna-be rockstars, a guy who sang AND looked remarkable like Smegal from Lord of the Rings, a handful of actually talented people, a blind man who totally rocked the house, a guy with a fro that could barely fit through the doorway, and...bikini girl.

Which brings me back to my blog title of Idol or Idiot...

I know sex sells. I know Bikini Girl was guaranteed to get attention and that's why she did it - she admitted so much herself in the interview. And I know the producers were probably toasting each other at their good luck when she strolled on the scene because they knew they could use her particular audition as a preview-teaser throughout the show and keep viewers watching throughout the two hours so they might see her at the end. Then the producers probably dropped the champagne glasses and went out and bought new cars at their good luck after Bikini Girl and new judge Kara got into a heated cat-fight over their voices. Guaranteed ratings! Everyone wins!

Except Bikini Girl. Sure, she's going to Hollywood. Sure, she got to kiss host Ryan, even if it did look a little forced and he did look a little pertrified. Sure, she made a splash, had her 15 minutes of fame, and made Simon's eyes nearly pop out of his head.

But what kind of fame is that? Here soon Bikini Girl is going to realize her Idol-istic move was more idiot than superstar. She's going to want people to hear her voice and not just stare at her....well, you know. She's going to want people to know her name. Who can remember it? Probably a few, but not most. She's Bikini Girl. What kind of cheap legacy is that? She'll probably get to Hollywood and fail out as soon as the judges realize the attention grabbing, hair tossing, ratings-boosting time is over and its now time to get to the talent segment of the show. She wasn't a bad singer, but she wasn't great. In my opinion, too much head jerking, chin action when she sang. In my experience in watching the show, the girls with super-big attitudes never get to become super-stars. Their foul moods evenutally get them kicked off, especially when America gets to vote.

And especially if Judge Kara gets a chance at revenge!

The bikini got her to Hollywood, but more than likely, she'll be another classic falling star among a sky full of hopefuls. It's really pretty sad. Hopefully the women who aren't necessarily supermodels but are actually talented will be able to progress this season and not be voted out because they aren't a size 2 or don't have long beauty-salon hair or a perfect tan.

My personal fav so far is Ariana. That girl could sing! And she's apparently got herself a sweet little heart if she's created a good cause for the elderly in nursing homes.

Come on , America, vote wisely! We did great last year with David Cook! Let's keep up the good work! =)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pick a vice, any vice...

I thought I only had two vices in life. Diet Cokes, and tanning beds. Not the healthiest, but it beats more common vices which I won't list here - don't want to offend. =)

But today, I found a third.

Tall, non-fact, White Chocolate Mochas from Starbucks. No whip. Only 270 calories! A guilt free treat. The cost is more than the calorie count but I had a gift card these last two times, which definitely helps.

Funny thing is, I don't even like coffee. Pour coffee in a mug and its impossible to doctor it enough to make it drinkable for me. But something about those mochas... MMMMM.

So, fess up. I know 2009 is a new year, a new start for resolutions and weight loss goals and health changes, but you know you're still clinging to something. What is it? =)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sweet dreams!

As a follow up to my sleep SOS post last week, I'd like to thank everyone for their prayers and support and encouragement, and announce that after implenting our new schedule, Audrey has taken 4 out of 5 naps in her crib, putting herself to sleep with the aid of her mobile, favorite blanket, and stuffed animal - not being held or rocked. What a big girl! She also has a new bedtime and slept almost 12 hours Friday night as a result! Praise God.

I know it won't be that easy every time, but so far this is working! And knowing its worked so far gives me hope and encouragement during the nights (like last night) when she doesn't sleep quite as soundly. But now I know I can hold her for some naps, and lay her down in her bed alone and awake for others, and she'll be fine either way. Best of both worlds! =)


Friday, January 09, 2009

The Problem with ZZZZ's...

Rock-a-bye baby...or not?

A sleeping baby is so adorable. Peaceful, quiet, cute - the sweetest thing ever. Yet the practice of putting said baby to sleep has become so controversial. As a new mom, I'm about ready to pull my hair out (but I won't, since I definitely can't rock the whole bald look!) =)

Right now, I'm torn. I'm a working mom, so my evenings with my daughter are precious.

So many methods make my head spin. Rock to sleep? Hold until sleepy but not asleep, then put in crib? Put in crib wide awake and let baby fall asleep on their own, learning to "self soothe"? Some say its impossible to spoil a baby at this age, that they cry for a reason and need the reassurance of their mothers and that ache mothers feel when their babies cry is also for that same reason. Others say let them cry it out and it'll do 'em good and not hurt anything. Others say that crying it out will teach babies that bedtime or their crib is a scary place because they're alone and unhappy when they get there.


Right now, when it comes time for an evening nap or for bedtime, I hold Audrey until she falls asleep. I WANT to, because our time in the evening is so limited - yet at the same time, I don't want to create a bad habit for later. My husband and I personally know several babies who are 2 years+ and still have to be held, in the dark, in the quiet, every single time they go to sleep, sometimes with a comfort bottle or toy or food, and I personally do NOT want that to be the case with Audrey when she is that old.

But when does one start a new sleep routine?

Baby websites are full of contradicting advice. Some say that 6 months (Audrey's age next week) is too young to try the "cry it out method" of letting them put themselves to sleep in their bed. Others say its the perfect age and that's what I should do. Others agree with how my heart feels - that its too painful for me to listen to her cry for an extended period of time. I don't feel that's right for us! Yet again, I don't want to create a bad habit.


Every baby is different, and so is every Mom, I'm sure. I'm torn before following advice of others and textbooks, and following my own instincts. Its hard to trust myself since I've never done this mom-thing before. I want Audrey to sleep soundly and through the night, and most nights she does just fine. Sometimes she still wakes up, not to eat, though, just to be comforted. Those times I give her the pacifier back that fell out of her mouth, and pat her for a second until she calms down and she immediately goes back to sleep without having to be picked up, or fed. I feel like that's a good thing. Same with naps.

But the actual act of falling to sleep - I'm not sure what to do. Thoughts, opinions? I'm open to your personal stories or advice. I'm praying about which way to go and could use extra prayers, please!!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

For authors only...

A new year, a new start. Not only for weight loss and other resolutions, but also for writing.

Fellow authors, what are your goals this year regarding furthering your writing career? What steps are you taking to get where you ultimately want to be?

There are various quotes that revolve aroud the fact of - if you don't change something, nothing will change - meaning that if you continue to do the exact same things you're doing now, you can't expect different results!

For me, I'm planning on attending two writing conferences, one here in Louisiana locally and one in Denver, Colorado. Right now, I am contracted with Steeple Hill Love Inspired for two novels this year (one releasing in July 2009, the other February 2010) but I hope to earn another contract or two before 2009 is over. I hope to use my time wisely in order to fully invest in my writing, but not at the sacrifice of my family and the precious time I have with them. It's a giant balance. Some days I teeter quite precariously, other days it all evens out. For 2009, I hope to have more balanced days and less wobbling. =)

So what will change for you this year? What will you give up for your career? What sacrifices will you make time-wise or money-wise to invest in your writing?

Or maybe this is a year of change for you in other ways. Maybe this is the year you step back, take it easy, and re-evaluate.

Regardless the road your writing career is cruising on this year, be sure to cover it in prayer. Share your goals and dreams with God, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He'll be sure to keep you on the right path. =)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Remake of a goodie!

Reprinted & fabulous!


Ellie Karlson is new to Deep Haven. As the town’s interim fire chief, she is determined to lead the local macho fire crew in spite of their misconceptions about her. But when someone begins setting deadly fires, Ellie faces the biggest challenge of her life. Especially when sparks fly with one of the volunteers on her crew: Pastor Dan Matthews. As Ellie battles to do her job and win the respect of her crew, she finds that there is one fire she can’t fight—the one Dan has set in her heart. (This book is the repackaged edition published in 2004)

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Perfect Match, go HERE.

Awards:2004 American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year A Romantic Times Magazine TOP PICK – 4½ stars

Romantic Times Magazine: Vibrant characters and vivid language zoom this action-packed romance to the top of the charts. This is a one-sitting read –once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down.

You can buy this fantastic novel HERE!

Susie's books are always on my top favorites list. This series has always been one of my favorites and I was so excited to receive a copy with a brilliant new cover. Doesn't it look great?

(and no I'm not just biased to this story because my hubby is a fireman, too. ::wink::)

Susan grew up in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, and became an avid camper from an early age. Her favorite fir-lined spot is the north shore of Minnesota is where she met her husband, honeymooned and dreamed of living. The north woods easily became the foundation for her first series, The Deep Haven series, based on a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior. Her first full-length book, Happily Ever After, became a Christy Award Finalist published in 2004 with Tyndale/Heartquest.As an award winning author, Susan returned home in 2004, to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods and the beautiful town that she always dreamed of living in.

You can sample a chapter of each and every one of Susan's novels, on her website, HERE.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Time to get serious!

January, 2009.
In a woman's codebook, that would stand for:

I think we've all been here at one point or another! HELP, indeed. Especially after eating all those Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years goodies. Who doesn't gain a few lbs? What's frustrating is when you're trying to lose weight before the holidays and all you do is gain more.

I took a stand this year and refused to fall into the old pattern! I've actually lost almost 2 lbs since Christmas, which isn't a lot, but I didn't gain! Instead, I ate sensibly ever since Christmas and started a very strict counting-calories diet on New Years Day. I weighed myself that morning and as of today I am down 1/2 lb in a few days. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I sure hope so!! I have 8.5 lbs to lose to be back at what I refer to as my pre-Audrey weight. Not too bad, considering she's not even 6 months yet.

So far this calorie counting diet hasn't been too hard and its definitely working. I'm already noticing my favorite PJ pants fit better than they did just a few weeks ago. Progress is such a motivator, isn't it? Makes it easier to resist the M&Ms and left-over Christmas cookies (which I would toss out but Hubby actually likes them) by knowing I'm already getting somewhere, and my goal isn't some distant illusion.

My hubby took me to and entered in my current weight, and the weight I'd like to be. It then told me how many calories I need to consume to maintain my goal weight. So that's now the number of calories a day I am eating - 1550. If I eat healthy snacks and spread them out, its actually quite doable. I even went to Olive Garden with Hubby for a date Saturday night and had 1 and 1/2 breadsticks, a plate of salad, and shrimp primavera, and stayed within my calorie limit after having had a small lunch and a granola bar for breakfast. Yesterday I came in UNDER my calorie limit, and today I am spreading my snacks out and will have enough calories left for dinner to get something fun at McDonalds. Yay for diets that don't deprive!

I'm a big fan of Weight Watchers but for me right now, this is much easier and faster. I don't have the time/money to go to the meetings and pay to access their amazing online programs. I would if I could! But I'm going to try this calorie thing first since it seems to be working. (and of course, keep on exercising!)

So I'm hanging in there! How are you guys doing? Who else is dieting in 2009? What diets are you trying? What made you decide to try that one? Dish!!! =)