Friday, January 29, 2010


So how many people realized that my post yesterday was about Friday, and it was actually Thursday? Oy! That just goes to show you how crazy my last week or two have been! =)

Yesterday's quiz was fun for THURSDAY but now we need something else for the real Friday. And I feel bad for Friday, like I ignored him or brushed him off. Poor Friday.

So to make it up for Friday, let's do something REALLY fun.

Writers, today is for you. I want you to share a snippet in the comment section of a novel you're writing just for fun, or a novel you wrote a long time ago, or a novel you play around with but know more than likely you'll never consider for publication. Does anyone have something that like?

I did, but I actually wrote something new in that regard last night. I've been in limbo waiting for various news the last few weeks, and now that my revisions for my Christmas novella are finally done and approved, I needed a creative break. Writing with no pressure!

So, I sat with my laptop in the dark and penned a few pages of a novel I'd LOVE to write but know I can't. Mainly, because of the research involved. I know NOTHING about the character's career, and to do the novel justice, would have to spend months researching. It's not a practical move for me right now, but who knows, maybe one day!

Here's a little bit of it....

Dust fairies shimmered and danced inside the beams of sunlight pooling on the hardwood floor, staining the glossy surface with liquid gold. Mechola Heber watched, envious of their easy rhythm. No instructors calling commands, no competitive glares. No pressure, no reviews, no protesting ankles. Just dancing.

Mechola caught her own gaze in the floor-to-ceiling mirror as she bent into a stretch, one pink-slippered foot tucked against the barre. Madame Odette would be in to start rehearsal soon, no doubt arching her thin black eyebrows in silent surprise that Mechola was the first to warm-up. But today the walls inside her sorry excuse for a shared two-bedroom apartment closed in, and while the dust fairies mocked Mechola with their grace, their presence remained preferable to the incessant litany twirling through her brain with much less elegance. Failure. Failure. Failure.
She leaned forward and rested her forehead against her raised knee, then switched legs and performed the same stretch. Her hamstrings didn’t argue anymore, in fact, most days Mechola wondered if her ligaments and muscles had turned to pure rubber. Gumby Girl, they nicknamed her in junior-high school, when she showed off her skills in gym class one morning before she knew better.

Had that only been ten years ago? It felt more like a lifetime—a lifetime of early mornings, crash diets, bloody toes, and solitude. And for what?

Mechola used to know.

The all too familiar thump of a cane sounded against the floor, and Mechola flinched. She straightened from the barre and curtsied to Madame Odette, head bowed. “Good morning.” Mechola might have graduated from the School of American Ballet and perform within the New York City Ballet company, but respect was demanded—and rarely given—by Odette.

A snort and a slight incline of her chin was the only response the instructor gave as she whisked her way across the floor to her position at the head of the room. One by one, Mechola’s fellow dancers filed silently inside, lining up at the barre and stretching as she’d done. Odette tapped a rhythm with her cane as they moved through the grossly familiar warm-up, one Mechola could do in her sleep and often did, at least in her dreams. Eat, sleep, breathe ballet. She saw the bumper sticker once when she was in second grade and thought the idea sounded heavenly.
Now it just felt cold.

“Did you see last week’s review?” Aimee Norton’s black bun barely reached Mechola’s shoulder as they bent into a plie.

Mechola stared at her reflection in the mirror as she crossed her feet into third position and plie’d again, working to keep her traitorous expression from revealing her emotions. Cold. Cold. Cold. She’d read the review, all right, and leave it to Aimee to point out the only black and white type that could make Mechola see red.

She switched to fourth position and made sure her next plie went deeper than Aimee’s. “I don’t care to read reviews anymore.” True. “One person’s objective opinion doesn’t change anything.” Liar.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friday fun!

Here's a fun holiday/seasonal quiz for a Friday break. Let me know your results!

What is your Winter Sense?

Here's my results...

Your Winter Sense is Sight

You are a very visual person, and some of your strongest memories are around things you've seen in your life.You simply like the way winter looks. This season may seem dead to most people, but it's very alive to you.You enjoy all the sites of winter - from starry winter nights to dancing holiday lights.You think this is the most beautiful time of the year. Snow makes everything a little more magical.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Come visit me!

Come visit me today at CRAFTIE LADIES OF ROMANCE and SCRIBBLE CHICKS and chime in on the discussions!! =) Hope to see you there!!

PS - there is still time to leave a comment HERE and possibly win a free, autographed copy of my upcoming release, A VALENTINE'S WISH!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Computer problems?

Unless you prefer to write via paper and pen ala Jane Austen, a writer's most important tool is her computer. (and I admit to sketching ideas for plots and characters on a notepad sometimes, it jars the creativity!) But I think most of us would agree we are most productive while typing on a keyboard.

So, I have great news!

My good friend and his partner have started a computer business here in north Louisiana. ROCKET TECHS will, for a very reasonable flat fee, do pickup and delivery for local customers, give your computer a full system diagnosis, fix software problems, perform hardware troubleshooting, give data backup up to 4gb, and speed up your slow system.

Their tag line is "Other Problems? NO problem!'

I can personally vouch for Sean Smiley - he is a computer whiz and at one time worked for Best Buy's "Geek Squad", along with serving as a computer tech at various companies over the course of his career. If its' fixable, he and his business partner can fix it!

If you're not local to my area but are still in need of good computer service, I believe they will accept mail-ins. I understand shipping can be expensive but I still think you'd be getting a good deal because their prices are so great.

If you're interested in their services, PLEASE email me at and I'll give you the pricing info and their phone number.

Or you can email and tell them Betsy sent you! =)

Monday, January 25, 2010

S is for Saints

I have to say, the game last night was a welcome respite from the drama and emotion of our crazy busy weekend. I'm really glad the Saints won, of course, but I'm also just as glad we got to have a fun night in with neighbors and chicken casserole and cookies and just recover from our big sale! We needed something fun and mind-numbing for awhile, and well, the game wasn't exactly relaxing, but it was super fun =)
One of the best parts was text-messaging my good friend/Vikings fan back and forth during the game. Each of us took turns talking smack and dogging each other's teams until the end. What an amazing game - I have to say, its rare for a football game to hold my attention for the duration. Even Little Miss stayed up to watch the end, and cheered with us. It was really cute, when we got excited, she'd start grinning and clapping and yelling thinking we were exclaiming over her....which of course, we immediately did. =)
In other news - thanks for the prayers and support Saturday! The sale went well, and while there was still a lot left over, a lady in our church has started a consignment shop and she was able to come pick everything up and try to sell it there in her store for a few months - so we can potentially make more money for my MIL later in the year. But donations were generous, and we were so blessed to see how family, friends, church members, and strangers were sympathetic to our cause. It was a physically and emotionally tiring weekend, especially for my husband who had no respite from it, but we survived. God is good. And, my speaking event at my local ACFW chapter meeting also went well! I spoke on Traditional Publishing Vs. Ebook/Small Press publishing and it seemed to be a success.
I'm looking forward to a somewhat easy week, but you know how that goes. lol We'll see what is in store. Hope everyone is having a lovely, BLACK AND GOLD Monday. =)

Friday, January 22, 2010

And it begins...

Please pray for my family again this weekend. Two weeks ago we went down south to pack up my mother in law's belongings to get ready to sell, as you might remember reading about. Well, today my husband is taking a UHaul back to her house to start lugging everything up here for the sale, which is tomorrow morning at 7:30. Then this evening I'm heading up to the church (where the sale will take place) and helping unpack and clean and arrange everything on the tables.

If you're local, please email me at for directions if you are interested in stopping by the church. There are some really nice things for sale and we obviously need all the money we can get for her care. There will be scrapbook supplies, jewelry, Temper-pedic mattress, kitchen decor, artwork, bar stools, appliances, outdoor freezers, dishes, garden tools, books, clothes, accessories, Christmas supplies, misc. bottles and jars and decoratives and candles. We even need to sell her party barge boat and her horses and trailer and lawnmower, if you're interested. It's quite the list!

Thank you for the support and prayers! We are more than ready for this stage to be over. It's exhausting emotionally and physically. What makes it more complicated is tomorrow I'm going to be at the sale in the morning, then heading across town to a speaking event that's been scheduled for six months for my local writer's group. I'm excited about teaching on Traditional Publishing vs. E-book/Small Press Publishing, but it's going to make for a long busy day. Prayers for that are appreciated as well.

Thankfully, so far my MIL is doing great at her new nursing home here in town. Its so sad we have to liquidate her assets and foreclose on her house, but I trust God has a plan in this and it will all work for the best for her, and ultimately for His glory.

Someone please remind me that I said that later when things get emotional! =)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What are you reading?

What are you reading?

I just got two books in the mail yesterday to review for Bethany House and I can't decide which to read first. One is Lisa Wingate's newest NEVER SAY NEVER, and the other is by Deeanne Gist called BEGUILED. And I have to say, the covers on both are amazing.

In the limited amount of reading time I have, I've discovered lately I really do enjoy historicals. I never would have thought that. I've never minded them, but the last year or two of historical novels have come a long way and are taking risks and reaching new heights. Kudos, authors!! =)

I have to admit though, I must be careful of not reading too many at once, because I tend to write like I'm reading. That's why its usually important for authors to read the genre they write, because its easy to let the flowing, prosy feel of historicals take over my contemporary romance manuscript. Obviously a chick lit doesn't need to be written in the short, tight, choppy style of suspense writing, nor does a romance need an ominous, thriller feel to it. Does anyone esle struggle with that?
So what are you reading today? What's next in your pile? I just finished a reviewer copy of Allison Pittman's new historical THE BRIDEGROOMS and have started Kristen Heitzmann's first in the Rose Legacy.
PS - My hubby actually asked me the other day if I needed/wanted more bookcases in my office, and to let him know and he'd build something. Sweetest words ever spoken. =)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Visit me...

today at Scribble Chicks and chime in on the discussion!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First time for everything...

I've never really talked about sports on my blog, but I suppose there is a first time for everything! And around here in Louisiana lately, its hard not to get excited about the New Orleans Saints!

I know, I know. All of you who are boo-ing right now. But you have to admit, it's pretty cool that this Sunday, we'll play the Vikings for the second time in history to have a shot at the superbowl. And if we win, it'll be the FIRST time in history we actually play in the superbowl. That's pretty awesome!

There's a lot of friendly and sometimes even not so friendly wars in Louisiana, because we have so many Dallas Cowboy fans in Cajun country. It's confusing to me, the loyalty to the Cowboys, because we have our own state team, but....I guess maybe its the fickle fans who prefer the Cowboys because they have a better winning streak. It's fun ciphering out the real Saints fans from the "bandwagon" fans who only are interested and happy when good things are happening.

My husband is a true fan. Not a die-hard, not the kind who decorates the house for a game or insists on watching every single play ten times, but he's a fan through thick and thin. So here's hoping the Saints make it to their own "first time for everything"!

Are you a football fan? Chime in with your favorite team, and tell me who you are rooting for Sunday. Vikings or Saints? (I promise not to throw anything at you.) =)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Raining blessings

I can't post this without crying.

Remember my post from Saturday, about when it rains, it pours? Well now its pouring - my grateful, happy tears - because believe it or not, a few $100's really did fall from the sky Sunday.

Not from the heavens, but from Heaven. We were given money over the weekend from an anonymous giver that will meet our needs for the next two weeks or longer during this time of unemployment. This anonymous giver wrote on a note that they were prompted by God to

Mr. Anonymous, if you're reading this blog, please know your obedience is a bigger blessing than you'll ever understand. My husband and I cried and prayed together and thanked God for His providence and have asked Him to bless you and your family, whoever and wherever they are. THANK YOU. We were really drawing near the line, and this gives us more time to hear back from the fire departments Hubby has interviewed with and keep our family fed and the bills paid.

I feel like I've received a distinct, nearly tangible hug directly from Jesus on this one. He is meeting our needs during this storm in such amazing, creative ways. His grace IS sufficient.

I pray that if you have a need in your life, Reader, that you will have complete faith and trust that God is already in the process of providing. Just hold on to Him and wait.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Its raining cliches...

As an author, I'm trained to avoid cliches - avoid them like a prisoner avoids a bloodhound at a jailbreak!

(see that wasn't cliche, that was just corny. There's a difference.) =P

So it bugs me to use cliches in my every day writing, though of course at times, they slip in there like a banana peel on a -- see??!!?! -- but today, there simply isn't any other suitable phrase except "when it rains, it pours."

I could revise that to be more creative, as authors are instructed to do. Take a cliche and edit it a touch to give it a personal, unique spin. For example, instead of "when it rains, it pours", I could say "when it rains, it really rains." But that's worse. Or maybe "when it rains, it rains really hard." Again, bad. This is a hard exercise, and I have no Diet Coke handy, which makes it harder.

So, back to my point. Yesterday, it rained, and poured. My hubby is still waiting to hear about a fire department job, after his lay-off in December, and while we have positive leads, nothing is official yet. So we're squeaking by (another cliche) until he can get on somewhere.

Just when we think its going to work out money and timing wise, BOOM. Literally. His truck ball bearing joints break, quite violently, and we have a $600 repair bill after paying labor and various parts. =( And, oh yeah, the mechanic recommended we take it by a transmission shop sometime in the near future because there is a leak. Yay.

I realize this isn't a big deal, not compared to the health issues of family and friends around us, and especially not compared to a global tragedy like the situation in Haiti. I know God will provide for us, and in His timing, and in His way, not mine. I trust that, and Him. He's provided for us is tangible, miraculous ways before, and I refuse to assume He will stop now. By His grace, my faith is stronger than that.

So I wait. And blog. And drink Diet Coke. And read in my Bible all the stories about how he handled problems much bigger than mine, and quite successfully.

Still, I'm human, and some days I can't help but wish a couple of $100's would fall from the sky along with all the rain....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Park day!

Sorry I haven't posted yet today! I try to post mid morning at the latest, but today has been a much-needed family day. My deadline was met yesterday with 24 hours to spare, so today Hubby and Little Miss and I headed to a local park. I've discovered my Little Miss definitely has her Daddy's genes, because she, with zero prompting, scooted over to the tunnel slide and went down head first, arms extended, and had a blast. lol So we did that for a solid hour before snagging Happy Meals and crashing at home for naps.

Now it's time to work on a new deadline, which is preparing a lecture/speech for my local ACFW chapter meeting this upcoming Saturday the times! I'm really branching out this year, as I definitely prefer writing to speaking. But God is giving me opportunities, and I am, of course, taking them!

I hope you're all having a lovely Friday, whether that be working on your own deadlines, spending time with your family, or looking forward to getting off work for the weekend.

See you all Monday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The giants above us...

Take a deep breath. Do you smell that?


Coffee. With a dollop of whip cream, and hopefully, a dash of inspiration.

I'm settled at Barnes & Noble with my white chocolate mocha, ready to make the final push on my novella. My deadline is tomorrow - and I'm a little ashamed. I have NEVER been this close to a deadline before. Ask my editor, I'm usually the girl who turns her material in weeks, sometimes even months, early. But this novella has been a challenge, and with life's drama interfering, I've just cut it close.

I don't like asking for extensions. I don't want to be the girl who emails her editor and says "hey, uh, my husband lost his job, we're approaching 'dead-broke' at rapid speed, my mother in law was just moved to a nursing home here in town where she's still not doing well, and we're going back and forth out to her house 2 hours away trying to get her estate settled, and oh yeah by the way, I have an 18 month old who wants to play dollhouse 24/7 WITH Mama, so...can I have more time, please?"

That's just not me, however justified it might be. I don't like excuses. I committed to this deadline, even though the date given was not my suggestion, and I like to keep my word and my promises.

So here I sit, under a giant mural of Dickinson, Shaw, Hardy, Faulkner and Eliot (talk about giants!) and making my final caffeinated push to keeping my word. Maybe staring at this mural will inspire me, even though Dickinson does look sort of depressed. I guess that was her life though. Maybe I should focus on the happier writers...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Mary Lou Cheatham, a Christian Book Examiner, wrote an article on my upcoming release and book signing on February 1st! Check it out HERE, along with her other informative articles. =)

Also, feel free to visit me today at SCRIBBLE CHICKS.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Bride in the Bargain is a bargain indeed...


In 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure 640 acres of timberland for free.

Joe Denton doesn't have a wife, though. His died before she could follow him to Seattle and now the local judge is threatening to take away his claim. In desperation, he buys himself a Mercer bride--one of the eastern widows and orphans brought to the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer.

Anna Ivey's journey west with Mercer is an escape from the aftermath of the Civil War. She signed on to become a cook--not a bride. When she's handed over to Denton, her stubborn refusal to wed jeopardizes his land. With only a few months before he loses all he holds dear, can he convince this provoking, but beguiling, easterner to become his lawfully wedded wife?In 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure 640 acres of timberland for free.

This was seriously one of the best historicals I've read. Definitely made my top ten list, maybe even top five. I've recently started getting into historicals, thanks mostly to Allison Pittman and her amazing CROSSROADS OF GRACE series, but Deeanne Gist's "A Bride in the Bargain" was such a fun read. Intriguing, very unpredictable, and, with the exception of Julie Lessman's novels, probably one of the most sizzling Christian fiction romances I've ever read. It takes a talented author to show chemistry and tension between the hero and heroine without crossing a line, and Deeanne did a fine job with that.

This was a very enjoyable read, and I look forward to more of her books!!
Find out more about Deeanne and her novels here:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, at last!

What a long weekend!

Friday, as I posted, we left early to go to my mother-in-law's house down south and spent the entire day, in the record-breaking cold, cleaning out closets, rooms, drawers, even her giant barn. We made sell piles, keep piles, store piles, throw away piles, etc. It was exhausting and emotional, but everyone held up much better than I expected.

The fact that we could barely feel our fingers the entire day might have contributed to that! lol But I think it was the prayers and support from our friends and family. So thank you to all who prayed for us last weekend.

We are having a garage/estate sale type of event at our church on January 23rd to sell her belongings that we aren't keeping for sentimental value. We need every dollar we can get to help pay for her nursing home fees until she can get on Medicaid. We'll be selling everything from furniture to scrapbook supplies to wrapping paper to jewelry, to refrigerators, freezers, mattresses, and a brand new washer and dryer set. So please, if you're local, keep an eye on the paper and my blog for details closer to time. Maybe you'll be able to find a bargain and help our cause at the same time. Last I heard, my husband wasn't planning on putting price tags on anything - just "make me an offer." We're also going to be accepting donations.

For more details about the sale in advance, please email me at if you're interested.

I hope you're having a good Monday! Still no word on the fire dept. job front for Hubby yet, but I know in the midst of this storm, God is there, and has a plan. He's been able to get more hours at the hospital (his second job) lately, and we're hanging in there. But something needs to give soon, and I can't wait to see what God does!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Prayers Appreciated

My family and I would appreciate your prayers today as we deal with some tough emotional issues regarding my mother in law.

We're going to have to start going through her belongings and seeing what we might like to keep as sentimental value, and what we will have to sell in order to get her on Medicaid. She's been moved as of yesterday to a nursing home here locally, which is good, since it wasn't working out for her to stay in her house with nurse-care and family help. But she hasn't progressed any further, has still very few responses or communication ability.

So please pray for us. I haven't been back to her house since the day of the accident, and this will be especially hard on my husband and his sister as they sort through her belongings and find memory after memory, picture after picture...

Thank you.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Definitions Learned

So I learned two definitions last night on my date with Hubby...

1. The definition of disappointment.

2. The defintion of pure joy.

Let's start with the disappointment. We went to a local favorite clothing store to look for my husband some jeans. His have, well, seen many, many better days, and it was time to stop showing up at church with grass stains. They were thankfully having a sale, so we ended up getting him two pair, one of which the clerk discounted for us just because. How nice!

While we were in line to check out, I saw a pair of red satiny, scalloped-edge high heels on a display. My jaw dropped, and like a suicidal moth to flame, I flew to their side. Hubby found me there, literally stroking them like a puppy. Then he said the magic words. "Why don't you get them? You deserve them. You've got several speaking events coming up, and a book signing. Get 'em, baby!!"

My heart swelled. The most adorable red shoes, EVER, and all mine. Happiness at its finest form...

Until I realized they only had a medium and extra large pair. I needed a large. (size 8-9)

I wanted to cry. I actually considered, strongly, buying the too-small pair and just hobbling. I really did. That's how cute they were. Then logic, and Hubby, vetoed that idea.

Disappointment. In its truest form. Sigh. But, Hubby says I can keep on the lookout for an equally cute pair, and buy them when I find them. Sigh.

We enjoyed our dinner date, using a gift card to a nice Italian restaurant we obtained at Christmas. I'm not a fan of Italian desserts - don't really like raspberry cheesecake (other cheesecakes are good, just don't love the raspberry part) or tiramisu, etc. So we drove around thinking of someplace to go. I thought about Strawn's, a local diner, which has AMAZING pie that I rarely get to eat. These pies have even been featured three times in the past decade in Southern Living Magazine - not bad for our city! I knew the diner closed early, but thankfully we got there 20 minutes before quitting time.

We sat down and ordered cokes and my pie. Hubby said he didn't need any. I argued, hating to eat dessert alone. Back and forth, until he convinced the waitress, no, he was fine, no pie. So I tried not to feel like a fat kid planning to eat pie alone, until suddenly the waitress came by with my slice - and his! She said his piece was free, and he should enjoy it. haha! So he ate most of it and I helped him finish the crust. =)

Here's a pie of their actual pie as seen in the magazine.

So we were getting ready to leave, me in a happy state of pie-bliss that only Strawn's can bring, when here comes the manager.

It happened in slow motion, as most things do in a pie-bliss state...he slides a giant white box on the table in front of us and says, in slow motion "Heeeereee......strawberrrrry.........we were going to throw it away anyway at closing......"

For the second time that night, my jaw dropped, and I lovingly stroked an inanimate object.

An entire pie. Free.

Pure joy.

Now if I can just find those shoes......

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Come see... blog posts at CRAFTIE LADIES OF ROMANCE and SCRIBBLE CHICKS today!

The Craftie Ladies are talking about New Years, and you might be interested to read about how my grandparents lied to me for over a decade ;)

The Scribble Chicks are talking about all kinds of writing related topics, as usual. So hop on by!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A fun new series


About the book: Brought together in an online community known as Boomer Babes Rock, Susan, Patricia and Mary form a fast friendship, even though they live in different parts of the country and lead completely different lives. These vibrant, successful fiftysomethings share laughter, tears, and advice as they pop into one another’s’ lives via the Internet—and the airlines.

Susan owns and operates a hip hair salon on the Las Vegas strip, decorated with her collection of world-class disco memorabilia accumulated decades ago when she was one of the beautiful people on New York’s disco scene. She’s come a long way. Now happily married, Susan is known for her business savvy, her fabulous vintage ensembles, her faith, her big heart—and the impromptu disco dance numbers salon staff and clients join in when the spirit moves. If life is a dance, Susan’s mastered all the moves. But an exciting business opportunity, a fiftieth birthday, and her husband’s impending retirement rock Susan’s world—now she’ll have to face down her past and reinvent her marriage if she wants to keep dancing.

This is such a unique novel. I really enjoyed it as well as Allison's novel in 2006, A STITCH IN TIME, about a woman who underwent gastric bypass surgery to lose weight and get healthy. Allison's writing is fresh and vivid and relatable, to readers of all ages.

Author Bio: Allison Bottke spent 17 years as a professional fund-raiser before her personal journey prompted her to create the best-selling God Allows U-Turns anthologies. Now a popular speaker and author of hip-lit fiction as well as nonfiction, Allison was one of the first plus-size models with the Wilhelmina agency. Today, she has created a place where fun, fashion, food, family, and faith merge to empower and inspire boomer women all around the world.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fun Facts

Fellow writer and ACFW member Lynda Schab interviewed me on her Christian Examiner page today...Ten Fun Facts about yours truly! Do you already know them? Or are they a surprise? (Hmmm, maybe I should have my husband read them too just in case! lol)

See them HERE and follow the links to read more fun facts about other authors, including historical authors Cara Putman, Amber Miller, (Tiff Amber Miller-Stockton) Erica Vestch and Winnie Griggs! (and many more!)

Happy first Monday of the New Year!!