Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A new year....

I can't believe 2011 is almost here! Where did 2010 go?

I have to admit, while 2010 had some really great times, it also had some incredibly stressful times and I'm not alllllll that sad to see it go ;)

Still, I learned many lessons in 2010 about trust, faith, and God's perfect timing and provision. I have the feeling the further I get away from 2010, the more I will see what it reaped. Right now I'm still just recovering from the training bruises!

How about you? What will you be happy to see about 2011, and what will you be sad to give up from 2010? Any regrets or wishes for do overs? Any lessons learned you'd like to share? Advice for the future?

May 2011 be a year of more learning (maybe with feathers instead of 2 x 4's), love, family, faith, and blessings - both received AND given!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Highlights

These are a few of my favorite things...
Watching Little Miss share her new toys with her 2 year old cousin at my grandparents house Christmas night. (Can we say Christmas miracle!!)
The look on Little Miss' face when she saw her shiny pink tricycle for the first time
Devouring my mom's delicious, Christmas-only sausage balls for breakfast
Presenting my grandparents Christmas Eve night with a "memory book" I made them, (essentially a sticker book with written messages pertaining to fav childhood memories centered around each of them)
Watching Little Miss roll around in the discarded wrapping paper
Taking pictures of Little Miss taking pictures on her new digital camera of Nana. (did you get all that? and yes she got a real digital camera, made for 3-yr olds! Its supposedly indestructable. We shall see. haha!)
Watching my little niece get to experience her first Christmas and all the fun of new toys (though she actually preferred the tissue paper to the toys, as she's only 8 months old)
Getting to spend part of the day with a sweet friend from church whose husband is currently deployed
Sitting around the lunch table with friends and family and feeling incredibly blessed to have all I have
Devouring my mother's special iced Christmas teacake cookies almost as quickly as the sausage balls
Getting a super awesome laptop pillow custom made from my sissy!
Taking a gazillion pics of which I shall post later when I recover from the post-Christmas chaos.
Blessings to all!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Still recovering from Christmas Chaos! Will resume posting soon....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More pearls...

Day 11: Melissa Mashburn (12/23)

Title: Just give me Christmas this year!



Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS! Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~


All I Want for Christmas…
Is to be able to have Christmas this Year
by
Melissa Mashburn

This is a simple request, isn’t it? In the previous years, we had great big bountiful Christmases with our family. Gifts, goodies and general Christmas cheer but this year it was different. The year before has been chock full of disappointments, failing businesses and severe cutbacks for our family.

Sitting with my husband one night we hammered out the bare minimum that we could spend that year for Christmas and even still the total was four hundred dollars. It does not sound like a whole lot compared to what we’ve spent on Christmas before, but this year it could have been four thousand dollars because we just did not have it.

We prayed, I cried, we prayed some more and decided that we would cut back anything else that we could that year so we could have Christmas for our kids. We did not know how we would make this happen, but we knew that we needed to step forward in faith that it would happen.

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don't these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God. Galatians 3:5 the Message

Not even two days later, we hear a knock on our front door. We open the door to see some friends of ours from church. With tears in their eyes, they handed us an envelope and said that the felt they needed to give us this. We opened the envelope and inside there was four hundred dollars cash.

Shocked, stunned and with tears flowing down our face we just sat there in a state of crying and laughing at what God had done. We never shared with anyone that year what we needed, how bad it was, what was going on or what that number was for us to have Christmas for the kids, but God knew.

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT

He took a willing servant, led them to our front door and changed Christmas for us that year. After many years of being in full time ministry we knew that God would provide, but when He shows up just at the right moment, you know that it was all a part of His plan to show how much He loves, provides and cares for His people.

Father God, thank you that after all the years of serving and loving you in ministry that you continue to teach, guide, love, shepherd and care for us. You, Father, are abundantly gracious and kind, thank you for showing up for us at just the right moment every time, forgive us when we forget that. In Jesus name, Amen.


~~~






About Melissa: Melissa is the founder of the blog Mel’s World Ministry, co-founder of the Praise and Coffee Nights Ministry with Sue Cramer, Kids Ministry Director at her church. Just last year she launched a new weekly series called Godly Gals ~ Real Women, Real Life, Real Faith where we meet new women each week who are “Taking their everyday, ordinary lives and placing it as their offering to God.” Romans 12:1 the Message. You can find her on twitter and at her blog. She loves encouraging women to live with an authentic faith by being transparent, renewed and transformed. ~ Romans 12:2.


~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pirate Queen review





I'm somewhat of a nerd, I think, because I ordered this book without thoroughly reading the back cover copy first. I had heard a lot about it through word of mouth and Facebook and thought I should read it. I naively thought via the cover and title that this was actually about pirates or a historical of sorts.

Whoops.

This is most definitely a non-historical, non-pirate novel. It's a contemporary women's fiction story by Patricia Hickman.

Here's the blurb I should have read before requesting =P

Treasure is found in the most unlikely places. The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon--and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life. Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying. Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God's presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?

I have to admit, this book isn't a light or fun read especially at first. It's actually borderline depressing for someone like me who rather enjoys reading for entertainment and escape. If you're the type to get too attached to characters or allow a "down" book to drag you down in real life, I don't recommend it. Don't get me wrong, the writing is fabulous and the heart of the story sincere, it's just not going to be for everyone. But if you enjoy a good soul searching and a tear jerked, this could be for you!!

Despite my personal distance from this novel, I do give Patricia many kudos for her relatable characters that are so honest and raw. She will make you think - and feel - for sure!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Quiz



Here's a fun Christmas quiz to get us in the holiday spirit :)
This was a timely one as I've spent the last several days wrapping my head off.


(haha, if that was "rapping" instead you'd all be laughing! =P )


I'm so ridiculous about my wrapping paper, I like it to be fun and shiny and whimsical and complementary, but not matching. I like stripes and birds and snowmen and a mixture of prints that aren't all necessarily Christmas - just pretty and colorful and cheerful. How about you?
TAKE THE QUIZ HERE!
Here's my results: Pretty much on the spot!! They nailed me!

You Are Stylish

You are a sneaky gift giver. You're good at throwing people off the trail of what you're really giving them.You are well reasoned and deliberate. You plan out almost everything that you do.You are very organized and together. No one would ever accuse you of being a slob.You love to dress up and take care of yourself. You get a lot of confidence from looking sharp.


What's your results? :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Christmas Pearls - Day 8

Day 8: Tricia Goyer (12/20)

Title: Gift List



Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL ... there's also a giveaway!!!! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS! Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.


~~~

Gift List
by Tricia Goyer


I've been thinking lately how hard it must be for Oprah to Christmas shop. I mean if you were on her "gift list" wouldn't you expect something really, really good? The woman gives away cars and trips to Australia on her television show for goodness sake! It seems by the end of Christmas Day her friends and family would look at the pile of presents and think, "Is that it?" I mean if you knew there was billions of dollars she could spend on you, would you ever feel satisfied?

Sometimes I think we approach God the same way. We look around at our home, our family, our job, our free time and we still aren't satisfied. We wish our body looked better, our clothes were more in style, our husband was more considerate and our kids were more ... well, like the perfect little people we picture in our mind. Our careers don't excel as quickly as we think they should and people don't give us the attention we feel we deserve. We're tired and anxious and the to-do list seems to be tacked to our hearts for all the pain it causes.

Often, we look around and don't speak the words out loud, but think them just the same. "Is that it?" I mean, You're the God of the universe and You have all things in Your hands and under Your control. Couldn't you provide a little more money to help those bills disappear or make me a bit more content with the man I've chosen to spend my life with? And I thought Oprah had it tough.

Is there ever a time when God doesn't hear the murmurs? Again, not with our mouths but in our heart.

I've been guilty of this--of not being satisfied with the gifts I've been given. Yes, there will always be more to want, but today--at this moment--I'm satisfied. And I look to Him with a grateful heart and whisper, "Thank you, it is enough. More than enough."



~~~






About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more information, please visit www.triciagoyer.com



~~~


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}. One entry per person, per day. The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Next chapter!

We got a Christmas gift a little early this year...!!

Yep, after a SOLID YEAR of my husband not having a permanent full time job, he was offered a position by the district fire station TWO MILES from our house.

We have a job!

And not just any job, but his dream job, in his dream location. God is SO good and His timing SO perfect. I kept saying that all this pastyear, even though some days it was harder to feel than others, but I knew it to be true despite the occasional doubt clouds. Well, frequent clouds.

My husband has been volunteering at this station and working part time shifts for them off and on these past few months, while going through their hiring process against tough competition and performing other part time jobs to see us through.

Can I just say how relieved I am?????

I love the fact that I don't have to cringe anymore when I walk past his fire department graduation pic in the hallway. I love the fact that I don't have to cry nightly over our budget anymore. I love the fact that God provided us with some extra money recently that we could help share with friends in dire need, as others shared with us during our need. I love knowing that God set this up SO PERFECTLY and that Romans 8:28 truly played out.

I love seeing God's promises fulfilled and being able to brag on Him. :)

To GOD be the glory! Merry Christmas!

Please hear my testimony. If you're waiting and praying for something important to you, don't give up. God hears you. His timing is unpredictable to us but so perfectly, carefully planned to Him. It's okay to doubt some days. You're human. But He's GOD. Let Him do His work. Romans 8:28 is alive and well =)

My family is living proof.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas...

So just for kicks, what would you do if you were suddenly given a substantial amount of money?

Not millions of dollars or anything lottery-super-huge, but just a big amount of cash that you could use at will. (I know, I wish, right???)

I think I'd pay off every monthly bill I have so only my house note is left, and utilities of course. The basics. Then I'd love to take a European vacation and plot more books. =) And go somewhere and leave a $300 tip just to bless the waitress. And do Christmas up REALLY big that next year for my family.

What would you do?

Let's dream of a green Christmas today! Why not? :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pearls for Christmas

Day 2: Rachel Hauck

Title: Wear Joy


Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along through Christmas day as Melody Carlson, Lauraine Snelling, Rachel Hauck, Tricia Goyer, Maureen Lang, and more share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their life during this most wonderful time of the year.


~~~

Wear Joy
by Rachel Hauck

Thanksgiving day in central Florida broke warm and sunny under a blue sky. The thin fall breeze beckoned me. Taking my bike out, I rode the neighborhood feeling so grateful for all my blessings.

Joy bubbled up in my spirit. I’d been feeling it for a day, these waves of joy, but as I rode my bike and talked to God, the waves strengthened and splashed my heart the entire ride.

I’d laugh. Then tear up. And laugh again. As one who’s battled and won the war on anxiety and fear attacks, the onslaught of joy was welcomed, and actually sparked a new prayer in my heart. I’ve endured attacks of panic, time for attacks of joy.

The journey of joy began earlier in the year while writing a book coincidentally named, “Dining with Joy.”

Sitting at my table one day, revelation hit me. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. The more I meditated on it, the more I wanted His joy. I don’t want my strength. I want His.

Not long after, I went to Nashville for a girl’s weekend. One of my friends handed me a coffee cup inscribed with “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Ever just know? God is calling.

During the holiday season, I turn 50. Yep, the big 5-0. Can’t stop it, I might as well embrace it.

Fifty is often associated with jubilee, a time of restoration, and healing, even release from debt and slavery. It’s a time of returning to property, and inheritance.

A time of rest.

A time of JOY!

This past week, a friend gifted me with a beautiful Christmas ornament. Inscribed on it? You guessed it.

JOY!

To me, the world doesn’t look very joyful. There are social and economic woas. But God is speaking and offering joy.

As you go into this holiday season, ask God for a pearl of joy. Like pearls, crafted through abrasion, God’s true joy is often formed in us during difficult seasons.

Here’s the thing, His strength isn’t doled out based on our goodness, our success or failure, or the fact the holiday season is hard or sad for you. He is ready, willing and able to overcome all your weaknesses, fears and anxiety, sadness with the power of His very own joy.

His joy. Your strength.

I’ve been walking into rooms, houses, outdoors, raising my arms and shouting, “Joy!” People look at me funny, but I want to spread the joy of the Lord. To spread the very essence of His strength.

How about you? Can you find the pearl of joy in your life, in the essence of God’s heart toward you?

Wear joy this season.


~~~






About Rachel: RITA-finalist Rachel Hauck lives in Florida with her husband, Tony. She is the author of Dining with Joy; Sweet Caroline; Love Starts with Elle; and The Sweet By and By, co-authored with Sara Evans. For more information please visit www.rachelhauck.com.

Oh, and be sure to enter Rachel's Dining With Joy NOOK eReader giveaway!

~~~
12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Monday, December 13, 2010

Peeves

I'm curious today what your pet peeves are in reading fiction. Readers who are NOT writers, please especially chime in. Curious authors want to know! :)

What plots are you so tired of seeing? What character profession is just overly done in your opinion? Is there a style of writing that aggravates you more than others? Do you prefer to see a lot of description in narration or very little? etc. etc. etc.

Do tell! =)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas quiz

Do You Spend Like Santa or Scrooge?
Take the quiz HERE!
This was timely since I just finished my shopping. That's right, it's December 10th and I am DONE!! Even stocking gifts are done. Woohoo! Just in time to enjoy the rest of the month =)
My results:

You Spend Creatively

You give some of the most amazing gifts around, but you don't go broke buying them. Almost every gift you give has a handcrafted, personalized touch. Your gifts are special. You rather spend time on your gifts than money. You want every gift you give to be a treasure. You would never get someone a generic gift. You like your gifts to show how well you know the recipients.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Twinkle twinkle

May your day be full of twinkling surprises :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

C is for Cookie

What's your favorite Christmas dessert?



I have to admit I'm a sucker for Christmas cookies, especially anything involving shortbread and sprinkles... like Pepperidge Farm style. YUM!

What helps get you (and your elastic-waisted pants) in the Christmas season? Pies? Cookies? Brownies? Cakes? All of the above ::wink::

I had a church women's ministry Christmas party last night, and wanted to contribute a dessert. However, I didn't decide this until, naturally, the night before. (Sunday) So Sunday evening, my husband and 2 yr old stayed up with me 'til 10:30 p.m., baking tea cake cookies from an old family recipe and mixing powdered sugar icing, and generally having a a flour covered blast! Even Little Miss got in on the action, standing on a chair in the kitchen, pulled up to the counter, "reading" the recipe book to me and stiring measuring spoons in bowls. =)

The teacakes didn't come out all that great, they were a little too thick and some of the bottoms got a little too done. But overall we salvaged 10 of the giant cookies for the party, and while I thought they were a little salty (we followed the recipe I promise!) others thought they were just fine. At least they looked cute - we used a circle cookie cutter and used red and green powdered sugar icing to paint them and then make polka dots in contrasting colors. The important thing was...we had fun. And made a new memory with Little Miss!!

(no, the pic above are not my cookies. lol I wish they had been!)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

eeeeeeeverywheeeere you looook....

Ahem. Sorry, I have Christmas carols in my head! And a room full of surprises in store bags just begging to be wrapped and stashed under the tree. I'm excited, this year I've spread out my shopping (and the costs!) so I only have a few things left to find, and they're all pretty much little items. Yay!



This year shopping was harder technically since Little Miss is now old enough to see toys and want them now instead of later. It was funny though, the other day I asked if she'd share her cookie with me and of course in true toddler method she said no. I pretended to pout and she immediately sobered and patted my arm and said "Don't worry Mama. You'll get one for Christmas."

Guess she's heard that before? lol

What about you? Are you ready for Christmas? Just getting started on your shopping? Do you enjoy spreading it out like I do or would you rather grit your teeth and get 'er done all in one day? =)

Jingle bells, jingle bells....

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Deck the halls



FA LA LA LA LA.....


















LA LA LA LA LAAAAAA!!!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Another winner by Susan May Warren...

Just when I think Susie's novels can't get any better...she surprises me again! =)

One of the things I like best about Susie is that she can write women's fiction, suspense, romance, or chick lit with equal talent. She's never boxed in, and it seems very novel is truly better than the last - which seems pretty impossible since I enjoy them all.

(I'm also a fan of Susie's shoe collection but that's a post for another day) ::wink::

Reading Nightingale was like entering a time warp and being taken back to a time of passion, love and war. Ever wondered what it was like to be a war nurse? Just read this heartfelt, inspiring fiction novel and I think you'll have a pretty good taste of it!

About Nightingale:



Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiancĂ©—she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion.

Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy. Or is he? Peter Hess is not who he seems. Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life. A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart...a battle where only one will survive.

Don’t miss book 1 in this stand-alone collection, Sons of Thunder. It was also fantabulous!

About Susan May Warren:



Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.
Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota , where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/.

Link to buy the book: http://www.christianbook.com/nightingale-susan-warren/9781609360252/pd/360252?event=AFFp=&

SUPER FUN EXTRAS!

Contest info: The Letters From Home Giveaway!

Enter the Contest: Nightingale is about letters, the power of written correspondence to convey thoughts and emotions to those far away. And sometimes near. Letters are forever, they are something we savor and pull out to read again and again. They are often cherished and kept in a special place.

To celebrate the release of Nightingale, Susan would like you to write a letter. One grand prize winner will receive a Flip HD Camcorder. 5 runner's up winners will win a signed copy of Nightingale. There are two ways to enter the contest by writing letters.

1. Write a letter to a soldier. At the end of the contest we’ll print out and mail your letter for you.
2. Write a letter to a friend, loved one, family member, enemy. Tell them something you wished you’d told them before. Tell them you love them, or maybe how they touched your life. Perhaps an apology is in order or a thank you. Or perhaps you'd like to relate a funny tale or just share life. Whatever it is, submit it here along with your email address and we’ll send it for you.

Enter here or at the SHARE page on the Brothers in Arms website.

(this novel was given to me free courtesy of the publisher and publicity team to review, but I was not under any obligation to post a positive review. The above thoughts are my true opinion!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Online book store!


Exciting news - the Christian Review of Books in conjuction with CrossPurposes Bookstore, has temparily created a way to allow readers to purchase books from their site that are SIGNED by the author! Cool huh? And makes great Christmas gifts for fans. So far almost 100 authors in the Christian book industry are participating!







Here's the link:

http://www.christianreviewofbooks.com/





You can browse books or view authors or type in an author's name or book title in the search bar.

Here's how it works: You order a book and it is mailed to the author for signing before being sent to you. What a great idea! And I'm pleased to announce two of my most recent novels, RODEO SWEETHEART and MISTLETOE PRAYERS (christmas novella compilation) are available through this wonderful business.

Start shopping today! =)

Monday, November 29, 2010

A new venture...

So I am beyond pleased to announce that I just signed a contract with Barbour Books for a Young Adult novel, tenatively set to release January 2012!!! Yay!!!

I'm super excited. Can you tell? :)

I've always loved reading YA and have prayed about getting to write one for awhile now. The way this all happened was certainly a "God-thing". So many twists and turns in the journey but I'm here and I'm so blessed to have this opportunity.

Get ready to read about the trials of Addison Blakely, PK (preacher's kid!) in 2012 :)

(now I gotta go write 100,000 words...)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Guest of honor!

Guess what?

I'm this week's featured author on www.acfw.com (American Christian Fiction Writers)

What an honor =)

Check it out!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Lighthouse Keeper's Bride

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Lightkeeper's Bride
Thomas Nelson (October 19, 2010)
by
Colleen Coble
These books shipped late from the publisher, so I haven't finished reading this one yet, but I'm on Chapter 13 and already very hooked. Colleen has always been a favorite author of mine, her plot-driven novels are always full of suspense, romance and intrigue. So far this one is a winner and I have no reason to doubt the last half won't measure up ;)
Here's a little info about my friend Colleen...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.A word from Colleen: God has been faithful, though the path has not been easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. God wouldn’t let me give up, and I like to think the struggle made me stronger. God has given me so much in my life, most importantly my great family, a loving church family at New Life Baptist Church, and my wonderful publishing family at Nelson Books.

And here's some info about the novel. With the weather changing, this really is a great time to curl up in a chair with hot chocolate and a blankie (or if you're like my Little Miss "beehee") and enjoy a good read. Suspenseful, but not scary.

ABOUT THE BOOK:


A thrilling romantic mystery set in the lush Victorian age.Central Operator Katie Russell's inquisitive ways have just uncovered her parents' plan for her marriage to wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster. Her heart is unmoved, but she knows the match will bring her family status and respectability.Then Katie overhears a phone conversation that makes her uneasy and asks authorities to investigate. But the caller is nowhere to be found. Mysterious connections arise between the caller and a ship lost at sea.Against propriety, Katie questions the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson. Then a smallpox epidemic forces their quarantine in his lighthouse. Though of low social status, Will's bravery and kindness remove Katie's suspicion and win her love. Katie and Will together work to solve the mystery of the missing girl and the lost ship as God gives the couple the desire of their hearts.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lightkeeper's Bride, go HERE!
Buy your copy of this great read HERE!

Chicks that Scribble

Visit me today at Scribblechicks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One grateful froggy...

Why is it that random things always happen at the most inconvenient times? I rarely lose my voice but of course the night before I'm supposed to speak at a church's women ministry event (which was planned well over a month in advance), I start croaking.

Like a frog. Who drank a lot of whiskey and maybe was a cheerleader in a former life.

It was bad, to say the least.

Thursday, the day of my event, I spent the entire day sucking cough drops and asking for prayer on Facebook. I texted the coordinator for the event and warned her and said I'd probably need a microphone. She said no prob, and she'd just introduce me as "Mrs. Kermit the Frog." haha. At least I knew I'd have the sympathy votes :)

Despite my thready voice, we made it through and the event was a success. God gave me enough voice to get through my message. Afterward it was worse, but everyone was so sweet and didn't make fun of my leap-frog voice. :) I was even laughing at myself.

It's so nice to be able to go to other churches in my state and visit with women. We're all different, but all united in Christ. It was a joy to spend an evenign with these ladies. In a church that averages only 75-80, 30 women showed up that night for catfish and fellowship and to hear my thoughts on Thanksgiving and of course...shoes ;)

I sold 35 books and was given a gift basket that is still making me smile almost a week later! Lots of goodies that Little Miss has helped me enjoy. hehe. (they even put a stuffed reindeer in there for her!) God is good, and there's no time like Thanksgiving to remember His extra special blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ahoy, mateys!!

So my sister is turning 30 next week! My parents decided to throw her a big birthday party to celebrate. She's into the skull/crossbone trend and of course, the color pink, so my parents took that theme and ran with it, so to speak! They made a gangplank for the front door, decorated the entire house with streamers, hung lights on the patio, handmade a banner and decorations for the food, and had pirate themed games. They even made all the guests wear blank and/or pink to match the theme. haha! :) So creative.

Here's some pics from the fun event...
Birthday girl in a pirate hat...



It was a blast - we almost had to miss it because of my Little Miss running fever, but we got clearance from the doctor and Little miss had a great time. I think all her illness needed was a few cupcakes and cookies ;)
(of course the antibiotic probably helped too....)


Little Miss got to wear her pirate Halloween costume again, which was fun.

It was very sweet - earlier that day before the party, we were waiting inside Walgreens for her prescription to be ready, and she saw a Woodstock (from Snoopy/Peanuts) stuffed dog toy with a squeaker in its belly. She immediately wanted us to buy it for "Aunt Sissy's birthday" (that's what she calls my sister) She refused to be swayed, and thankfully the toy was only $5.00. She was determined Aunt Sissy needed that for her gift from her, and went home and wrapped it in the bag and toted the bag all over the house, so excited to give it to her that night! She refused to let me carry it, she wanted to herself, it was from her after all ;)
Ahh, the joys of toddlerhood. I had some fast explaining to do when my sister opened her gifts later and saw a dog toy in her bag! hahahaha. But of course she thought it was precious. Little Miss has that affect =P
Arrgggghhh mateys....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

B is for Bliss

Blissful reading is exactly what BLISS, by Jenness Walker and Tracy Bowen, will bring you =)

Product Description:

Following the stars, Indie Moore sets off to find ultimate happiness in South Florida. But in her quest for comfort and fortune, she encounters mishap and mayhem. She finds a home in a trailer park, a job scrubbing toilets, and a moody roommate-not quite the glamorous world she'd envisioned for herself when she left Rabbit Hole, Kansas. But maybe bliss looks a little different than she'd thought. Laugh and cry with Indie, the Miss Adventure of misadventure, as she blunders on land, by sea, and in church, seeking love and a sense of belonging...seeking true Bliss.
My review:
This was a really fun read. I had actually started critiquing the very beginning of this novel for Jenness back a million years ago in the very early stages of its writing. As Jenness began pursuing other projects, this one fell by the wayside temporarily, until it won an ACFW award and then was picked up by this publisher. It was really fun getting to read the whole story, in full, and noticing all the changes and enjoying the chapters I'd never even glimpsed.

It's even better than I remembered it! Indie Moore is a great character, relatable, quirky, sympathetic. Everyone can find a little piece of themselves in Indie - who hasn't searched for their life meaning? Who hasn't eaten their weight in muffins in one morning? Who hasn't had the hots for a hunky guy and embarassed themselves in front of said hunk? Who hasn't wished for the stars and then tried to settle for being content with a danish wrapper? ::grin::

In this story of a young woman's journey for freedom, for truth, for BLISS, the reader will certainly find all of the above as well. The cast of characters surrounding Indie are witty, fun, and the perfect backdrop for all of Indie's misadventures. You don't want to miss this one! It's the perfect read for both snuggling by a fireplace or enjoying the warmth of the beach from the sand. In fact, why not buy two copies and try both settings? ::wink::

Great job, Jenness and Tracy! I hope to see more joint ventures from you both =)

Purchase your copy of this fun and inspiring novel HERE!


Find Jenness and Tracey together on Facebook and say hello, and be sure to visit Jenness' individual author website at http://jennesswalker.com/ and check out her Love Inspired Suspense novel DOUBLE TAKE.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top 5 Reasons Why...

A fun friend GEORGIANA DANIELS had a "Top 5 Reasons" blog the other day that inspired me to write one of my own.

So tell me. What are your Top 5 Reasons for getting distracted from your writing? What are the 5 main nemesis (nemesis'? nemesises?) of your time/energy/creative juices?

Here's mine:

1. Work - because I work part time outside of my home and part time FROM home, it can get hectic trying to get it all done.

2. Children - I hate to even list this because I love my toddler interruptions more than any other, but it is a valid reason. A 2 year old is definitely a distraction/energy drainer from writing - even if she's the world cutest/sweetest reason. =)

3. Exhaustion - working the hours I do, and having a family, and still being responsible for the house and most of the cooking, cleaning, etc. it can be hard to find the creative juices late at night after toddler bedtime. I typically do most of my writing during her nap in the middle of the afternoon, and have had to discipline myself to stay awake and not nap myself.

4. Lack of inspiration - this ties into my other reasons. Being busy and tired can be hard on the imagination but I think I was given a double or maybe triple dose of that in the womb, so I typically don't run out of ideas. (just might be guilty of picking a fight or making myself sad on purpose to write an emotional scene...oh come on, you've done it too ::wink::)

5. Diet - yep, sitting on your booty all day at work or at home writing or whereever else can be hard on the backside (as in, keeping your backside too soft instead of firm!) and sometimes when I get free time to write, I want to exercise instead, or NOT sit and write because I'll find myself snacking to stay awake and inspired. Anyone else struggle with this?

The beauty of this Top 5 Reasons list is that despite the time restraints, the distractions, the interruptions, the stubborn pounds and the bags under my eyes, I still write. God still makes a way for me emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically to meet my deadlines and even ENJOY doing it :)

And that's what keeps me going! It's all for His glory and by His grace.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blessings from India....

A few months ago, a sweet lady named Ruthy won a giveaway of Rodeo Sweetheart from a fellow reader's blog. She contacted us after she was notified of winning and admitted she lived in India, and understood if that cost too much in shipping to send her the book.

I felt so strongly that she needed my novel, that I gladly paid the higher postage to get it to her. Sending my novel to INDIA? What an amazing opportunity and blessing. I'm not about to stand in the way of God's open door.

She read it, really enjoyed it, and because of her excellent review and appreciation, I sent her a copy of my new Christmas novella, The Gingerbread Season (compilation Mistletoe Prayers). She read it, reviewed it on her blog, and is doing a giveaway of my signed copy! Then, if that wasn't enough, she went on Amazon and bought herself a keeper copy of the novella as well.
What a precious lady!


I'd love for you to check out her blog and sign up to win the Christmas novella, and say hi to Ruthy.

Visit Underneath His Wrapping HERE and sign up to win!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amy Inspired - a book review

Once again, Bethany House was kind enough to provide this book free of charge for my review.


Here's the back cover:


Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up--both from publishers and her boyfriend. But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated. When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy's relationships, she must come to terms with who she's become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

I enjoyed this book more than my previous Bethany House read (see post from yesterday) but only by a margin. I did finish it this time.

Let me say first of all that Bethany House is one of my favorite publishers in the Christian book industry and I don't feel let down by them at all, rather I realize that some of their more recent publications just simply aren't my personal style. I'm still a fan ;)

Amy Inspired was good in that it held my interest, and the characters were so real and relatable that you truly forget they don't actually exist. But the overall tone of the novel was heavy, angsty...not in a fabricated way, don't get me wrong - all of the issues and turmoil of the characters was accurate and well done, but it just left a heavy feeling in your bones when you read. If you like angst-driven novels, this is one you'd probably love. But I tend to enjoy reads that leave me feeling more hopeful than this one. I like when characters deal with real life issues but I also like the comic relief angle that helps lighten the load. For me personally this one wasn't quite as balanced as I tend to prefer.

The ending was satisfactory but not as much as I'd have hoped after investing my time in the book. Bethany Pierce, however, is a very talented writer and I would definitely try another one of her stories. =)