Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sixteen Brides gets Sixteen Thumbs Up...

Stephanie Grace Whitson is a talented author who really delivers with SIXTEEN BRIDES. Don't worry, there aren't sixteen main characters, rather five, and while that's often difficult to juggle, Stephanie does so, with, well, a lot of "grace". =)

Here's the back cover:

Sixteen Civil War widows living in St. Louis respond to a series of meetings conducted by a land speculator who lures them west by promising "prime homesteads" in a "booming community." Unbeknownst to them, the speculator's true motive is to find an excuse to bring women to the fledging community of Plum Grove, Nebraska, in hopes they will accept marriage proposals shortly after their arrival! Sparks fly when these unsuspecting widows meet the men who are waiting for them. These women are going to need all the courage and faith they can muster to survive these unwanted circumstances--especially when they begin to discover that none of them is exactly who she appears to be.

Me again - As far as summer reads go, this is a must. Trade the heat in your own backyard for that of Plum Grove, Nebraska - and trust me, situations get heated! ;)

Buy this fun historical HERE!

I was given this book free to review by Bethany House.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Playing hooky

Going to play hooky today! Please pray for my family. We're under a lot of stress! Nothing major, nothing really even all that new, just the same ol' same ol' hitting us hard again. It goes in waves, as you understand...sigh.

Thanks for the prayers and readership. See you all on Monday. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Fine Day

I work three days a week at my part-time job, and typically on those days, my mom babysits my Little Miss. Occasionally my husband is off work from his part-time job(s) and he can do it, but sometimes, my mom's part-time job has her come in an extra day that week, meaning my dad then takes off work to babysit since he's the only one out of all of us who gets paid vacation time.

(yes, these past few months have been hectic, to say the least!)

But the good news is, he LOVES it.
See, when Little Miss was, well, little, she wasn't the friendliest to her Papa. He was crushed for months because she just went through a long stage of preferring women to men. It wasn't personal, it was just that she felt most comfortable with me (still does, the little clingy miss!) or her Nana. Now she's branching out, growing up, and getting more comfortable with her family. Papa is officially a Best Friend.
And after the day she had yesterday, wouldn't you be too?
My dad has a Master Plan for babysitting days - nonstop fun. He figures if they're too busy playing all day, she won't notice that Nana and Mama and Da-da aren't around.

Here was yesterday's agenda, give or take a few minutes.

8:05 - Push doll carriage around driveway outside and wave byebye to Mama leaving for work.

8:32 - Get in Papa's truck

8:40 - Munch on Sonic French Toast sticks in carseat (one in each hand, naturally)

8:55 - Enjoy a red Icee from the gas station

9:20 - Feed ducks an entire loaf of bread at the duck pond park

9:40 - Slide on every slide on the playground, more times than anyone could ever count
10:20 - Sweat, sweat sweat and slide some more while finishing melted Icee
10:45 - Cool off at Mammaw and Granddaddy's house and color pictures of apple trees

12:00 - Happy Meal cheeseburger and apples

12:30 - McDonalds ice cream cone

1:00 - Truck ride back home

1:15 - Collapse on blanket on floor and read books and watch cartoons with Papa in sheer exhaustion

Seriously, the world just needs a few more Papa's in it! =) I'm so blessed that my family can help us the way they do...

Here's a pic of them at the park a few weeks ago when I was there too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Visit me at Scribble Chicks!

Visit me today at Scribble Chicks and join in the discussion!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Summer....

Okay, I need to live vicariously for a bit. Who all is going on summer vacation, and where? Did the Gulf spill mess up your plans? Let's talk va-cay for awhile and let me drool!

With our financial situation due to my husband's job layoff last winter and our hectic schedules right now between all of our multiple part time jobs, a vacation is pretty much just a distant dream. (as is the ACFW conference this year in Indiana, but that's a blog for another day!) A distant dream of warm suntan oil, chilly umbrella drinks, pristine white sands, and bright blue skies.

We might be able to do a cheap beach trip this fall with my family (vacations are cheaper when you split costs 3 way!) if the Gulf has straightened out by then, but we're having to play that by ear. I hope it works out.

This is a pic I took on a cruise we did several years ago. Candid pic from my position on the beach but looks like a postcard!

So where are you going? Hey, stow me away and I'll even gladly take your sunburn for you ;)

If I'm going to dream, I'm gonna dream big, and pretend I'm going to Hawaii. Or no, wait. Europe. Oh yes. ::::sighs::::

Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy Graduation!

It's Graduation Season!

Do you have a loved one graduating this month?
My two cousins both are, one from junior high and another from high school. I'm so proud of them, they've really grown up well and have turned into amazing young adults. I was talking with my mom yesterday and we both freaked out when we realized that my Little Miss will be SIX YEARS OLD when my younger cousin graduates high school in four years. CRAZY!

Is it just me or does time seem to fly faster with each passing year?? Didn't we just have Christmas and now its only six months away? Kinda scary.
We also just attended a party for our dear neighbors across the street, whose oldest daughter is graduating and off to the mission field for the summer. I'm so proud of her too. What a heart for God she has!!

So who do you want to brag on today? Are you in charge of any graduation parties for a family member or friend? What gifts do you tend to give graduates in your family or church circle? Since I didn't go off to college, I didn't need the typical gifts of laundry bags or coins for washing machines, etc. I pretty much just got cash, and hey that worked fine! ;) Other good ideas include devotional books for graduates, fiction novels for the book lover, gift cards to restaurants near their school, or even gift cards to their school bookstore.

Congrats to all 2010 Graduates!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shoe, a heel, a very high heel (to the tune of Sound of Music's "Doe, a deer...")

Not entirely sure who this woman is, but she's awesome - because she's on crutches and still rocking high heels!!

After Wednesday afternoon, she's my hero.

I don't even have a good story. She's on George Clooney's arm, she probably has a great story! I, on the other hand, was simply walking across my aunt's kitchen at a graduation luncheon for my cousin, and then suddenly, was not. Props to my husband who saw me fall from about two feet away and didn't even laugh! I laughed, until I realized how bad it hurt. I must have looked like quite the sight, walking and then suddenly bowing down into an extreme curtsy on the floor. My 4 inch heels slipped on the tile and down I went! My shoe turned sideways. The height of my shoe didn't make me fall, but it probably did contribute to how badly I wrenched my foot. I landed on my opposite knee which is also bruised, and somehow I have a bruise on my arm, not sure how thats even possible. I even scuffed up the floor pretty bad. Hubby was able to polish it all away with wet paper towels. Thankfully the rest of the party didn't realize what had happened until later. Talk about embarassing.

To sum it all up....OW.

I made it back to work that afternoon, not realizing that it was sprained, and by the end of the day, couldn't put any weight on it at all. That made getting back to my car two blocks away interesting, but I made it home and Hubby made me ice and ace-bandage it for the rest of the night. Pain wise it's okay - until I put weight on it.

After seeing me literally crawl to the bathroom that evening, Hubby called in to work at his part time job and stayed home with me yesterday to help out. He cooked, even vacuumed, changed Little Miss's diapers, etc. She was sooooo sweet - kept trying to unwrap the ace bandage and saying all concerned "Mama, toe!!!" She doesn't understand why Mama can't sit on the floor and roll a ball or play dollhouse. =( Poor baby. But we'll make it!

I hope it heals quickly. In the meantime I'm making great headway on my freelance articles and novel proposal revisions. =)

So, now everyone is telling me to start wearing flats. I just smile and nod while mentally rehearsing the glorious moment when I can wear my heels again. Hey, true shoe lovers don't let little things like sprained feet stand in their way.

Just ask Clooney's date.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Kristen Heitzmann novels will always have a place on my shelf in a narrow list of "Favorite Authors". She never disappoints, and continues to create fantastic read after fantastic read.

INDIVISBLE is no exception.
Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With a rising drug threat and never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers—and his fragile sobriety. But he can’t penetrate every wound or secret—especially one fueled by a love and guilt teetering on madness. From best-selling author Kristen Heitzmann comes a spellbinding tale of severed connections and the consequences of life lived alone.

Kristen knows how to write heavy suspense and spin unique, complicated plots with a master's ease. Incorporate a bit of romance and you have a winner as usual! She's one of my favs, and I hope she will become one of yours too. =)

Here's a snapshot of Kristen's life...

While home schooling her four kids, Kristen Heitzmann wrote her first novel. It became one of a five book historical series. Since then, she has written three more historical novels and eight contemporary romantic and psychological suspense novels including The Still of Night, nominated for the Colorado Book Award, The Tender Vine, a Christy Award finalist and Christy Award winning Secrets. She lives in Colorado with her husband Jim, sundry family members, and pets.

Want a sneak peek? Click HERE!

Visit Kristen at her website HERE!

And purchase this novel yourself HERE!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Visit me today at....

Visit me today at SCRIBBLE CHICKS and see what the chicks are discussing this week ;)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To Classic or Not to Classic?

On SCRIBBLE CHICKS last week, we talked a little about why readers should read classics, and why classics are classics and if they are helpful to writers or not.

The consensus was that classics are fun to read in a certain mood and setting, but when it comes to craft, not the best idea because that's not the style/tone etc. that editors and agents want today. Aspiring authors shouldn't "waste" a lot of time reading something that won't help grow their craft.

Throughout my writing journey, I've always heard to read what you write. If you read a ton of chick lit but are writing a suspense, a mismatching chick lit tone might creep into your more serious suspense project. You don't want to read a lot of historicals if you are writing a contemporary romance because you might be subconsciously tempted to use a more flowery prose, longer setting descriptions or other attributes that makes a historical shine, but would just confuse contemporary romance readers. No corsets in 2010 please! =)

It's the same with the classics. Completely different vocabulary, setting, time period, clothing, word styles, activities, protocol, society, etc. So just be careful, and all things in moderation.

Of course, reading for fun is important and a good escape, so after work on your WIP is done and you have some extended time, grab a Dickens or Austen and have some fun with Charles and Jane (and Mr. Darcy of course!) ;)

What contemporary books of today do you think might have potential of turning into a "classic" in years coming? I bet Nicholas Sparks will have a few!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nighttime Stories

Okay, true confession time, authors!

Do you tend to dream in a plot format? I have been lately. My dreams will be this really complicated plot, usually with a romance involved - and its as if I'm watching or reading the dream even though I am also starring in it. There's a beginning, middle, and end. There's conflict, motivation, and a big Black Moment climax. Sometimes I even find myself "editing" as I "watch".

Please tell me I'm not alone! haha.

Then there are the nights like last week when I read a historical prairie romance before bed, yet somehow dreamed about vampires, futuristic technology and castles!!

Do you incorporate your writing career into your dreams? Do you dream about real life events or a combo of made-up fantasy too? I've always dreamed in color, and always dreamed a LOT of dreams in one night. Maybe like short stories? lol And I'm famous for taking tiny things that don't stand out to me in real life during the day, and incorporating them into my dreams too.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good news!

I received word from my agent yesterday that Steeple Hill is going to contract my new proposal, working title RESCUING HER HEART (this is guaranteed to change, FYI - always does), a contemporary romance about a single mom and a fireman...with lots of sparks ;)

Celebrate with me!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Confessions for a Shoe-a-holic

I've mentioned that I've been exercising regularly again. Kickboxing, floor routines with hand weights and crunches, etc. I've even gotten to the point where I climb flighs of stairs in the office where I work part time. When the afternoon lull hits and I crave chocolate, I slip out the back hallway door and start hiking down the inside stairwell and climb up.

Two days ago, I climbed 7 flights of stairs in 4 inch heels. Yesterday was 8 flights in 3 1/2 inch heels. I'm kinda curious if I wear 3 inch heels today if I can climb 9 flights...

So when I stumbled up on this quiz, I had to take it...yes, that's right. If you hadn't figured this out yet, my name is Betsy St. Amant, and I'm a shoe addict. I LOVE shoes. When we bought our house, the giant walk in closet (and I do mean giant, it's literally big enough to be a bedroom) was a huge selling point...and guess what? The entire floor on my 3/4 of the closet is lined with double rows of shoes. Designer, name brand, clearance, off-brand. $50 shoes, $3 flip flops, $20 Payless sales...and everything in between. Sketchers running shoes, shoes with bows, shoes with stripes, giraffe print ballet flats, coral pumps, silver wedges, black lacy heels...seriously, I love shoes.

And, uh, let's just say I was a little bummed with my results!!!

You Are Loafers

You are confident, powerful, and successful.Hard working and business like, you always dress and act appropriately. You are consistent and a bit conservative. You aren't really susceptible to trends, although you always dress well. While you tend to be formal, you know how to adapt to your surroundings.So are professional at work... but more laid back when your with your friends.
You should live: In a huge city
You should work: In a competitive field where you can rise to the top
Take the quiz HERE! And see if you got a more fun pair!! ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

L is for Links!

Lots of links today!
Visit me at SCRIBBLE CHICKS here...
Visit me at Craftie Ladies of Romance here...
And read a new review of Rodeo Sweetheart here!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The inevitable head bob...

For all the authors and writers out there...have you ever been persecuted for your career? (or hobby, if you'd rather call it that depending on where you are)

Persecuted is a strong word. I mean, Paul and the apostles were persecuted, not so much myself!! But you know what I mean. I mean the eye-brow lift and simultaneous head tilt that often comes when you say you write romance novels. Then the immediate following head bob when you clarify that you write Christian romance novels. Then there's another eyebrow raise as you explain how that's not an oxymoron and soon you just feel dumb and they just look like a bobble head from all the pacifying nodding.

Any stories of a confession goes bad? Do you find people (in your family, your church, your grocery store, your workplace, etc.) think being an author or avid writer is "cool"? Or a waste of time? Or even a sin? I know for a fact there are Christian fiction authors who struggle with support within their own church because their pastor deems it ungodly for women to have a ministry at all, or for Christians to write fiction because "all fiction is bad", etc.

What have you experienced in this regard? Let's share!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

So, if the commercial industry can declare a holiday like Mother's Day, can I declare it again for today? I'd love two in a row, please. =)
I hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday. Mine didn't turn out as expected - Hubby got asked to work a shift last minute on Saturday, so he was gone the entire 24 hours of Mother's Day. I was initially disappointed but the day turned out well. He surprised me with a gift and card "from Little Miss" early that morning before he left. I made muffins with Little Miss and had some fun pre-church snuggles, then we enjoyed a good time with our church friends and lunch after with my family - my parents, my grandparents, my sister and her new baby. Then it was home for a short nap and more snuggletime with my baby girl!

Being a mom is the best blessing in the world. Even during the days when I get overwhelmed with life and think "we're never gonna have a full time job again. we're never gonna have money again. we're never gonna get out of this. my MIL is never going to get well." etc. etc. etc., all it takes a smile from my Little Miss and my world is centered again. Her laugh can straighten my priorities, and her hug and kiss can remind me what's important. Nothing can cheer a bad mood faster than an adorable almost-22 month old waking up in her crib with messy hair, and in the space of 30 seconds, randomly demand applesauce, identify all of her stuffed animals by name (Gigi, Baby, Duck, Willis, and Puppy) inform me that her feet are cold, and give me a good morning eskimo kiss.

God gives us gifts through our kids - free gifts - the gifts of love, and joy, and patience, and laughter. I'm so grateful!
Here's some pics of the day.

How was your day? Anyone else want Mother's Day Part 2?? =)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Time is relative?

So I've been continuing with my kickboxing kick, against all odds. Seriously, as a mother of a toddler who also writes ficton, freelances for a newspaper (with an average of 2 articles a week) and works part time outside the home (as well as tries to cook and keep the house clean and laundry washed!) I have to get creative.

Since I missed my workout last night (Hubby was at a Bible study 'til late and I didn't feel comfortable leaving Little Miss to sleep in the house alone while I went out to the barn in the pitch black of night), then I had to work out today. Well, Hubby had plans again to help a friend, so unless I wanted to skip my writing time during Little Miss' afternoon nap and work out then (when its 90 degrees today, no thanks!) then I had to take Little Miss with me earler in the morning. I suited up with my gloves and water and cranked up the music in the barn. Little Miss played in and out of the barn, (mostly in the dirt right outside) while I worked out.

It went surprisingly well. At one point, she gestured at me with a grin and said "Mama pow pow!" haha. I said "yes, Mama goes pow pow". She then cracked up and every time after that when I hit the bag, she'd laugh hysterically.

Makes me a little insecure about my form....

Anyways, what do you do to get creative for time? As busy wives, moms, employees, homemakers, and writers, how do you find time to write or do your hobby of choice? Do you wait until you are alone or find a way to involve your children if needed, like I did today? Which works best for you?

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The good, the bad and the jiggly...

So after three days of dieting and intense exercising (started kickboxing in my barn!) I've decided that I'm fat, tired, and sore.
But you know what? It's a good kind of fat, tired and sore. Because I'm being productive toward a long term goal and that productivity feels great! (and so do the endorphins!)

Sometimes to make something better, it has to get worse first. Like when cleaning out a closet - you have to make a bigger mess in order to clean the original mess. So, before, I felt out of shape, jiggly, and I feel out of shape, jiggly, breathless, and achy. (not to mention sleepy from having to work out early in the morning or late at night)
But I know that soon the corner will turn and I'll be better than I was.
Often as writers, our manuscripts are much the same way. We ignore the problems (shallow characters, jiggly thighs, purple prose, cellulite, forced conflict, etc.) until we just can't take it anymore, then we finally spring into action, despite the pain. We cut back on eating here, slash some wordcount there, add an exercise routine here, enhance the conflict there...until finally, successful results! A better novel! Toned muscles.

If you're in that first stage of "ugh" in a new process with your writing or even in your personal life, hang in there. Keep going. Keep working.
It will be worth it! =)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Speaking Event

So Monday night, I did a speaking event at my church. The topic of their monthly women's ministry meeting was WHAT ARE YOU READING (which is why they asked me to speak!)

I gave my speech by an outline I created: What Do You Read, Why Do You Read, and then ended with Why I Write, and my testimony of how I began writing.

It went really well! Everyone was interested in the process of what it takes to get a book published. A lot of things surprised them (just like they surprised me when I first got into this business!) like how little input authors have with cover art, titles, and even back cover copy. It was fun sharing what I knew to an interested crowd. I also sold a lot of books afterward, which is always so encouraging.

I also got some good feedback from a variety of readers in a variety of ages...

Here's what some of their favorite genres were...

Historical Romance (which makes sense this is in an industry best seller right now!)
Nicholas Sparks (apparently he is his own genre now! ::wink::)
Romance in general

I was a little surprised to hear about the mysteries since so many publishers have recently done away with "cozy mystery" lines, and since romantic suspense is on the decline. (at least for now. Come on, comeback!)

What do ya'll think?

PS - For more industry chatter, visit me today at !

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Couldn't resist....

Take the quiz here!
My results:

Your Name is Miss Henrietta Bertram
How quick come the reasons for approving what we like! - Jane Austen
* * * * *
and just for kicks...
(come on, you know wanna play....hehe!!) Take the quiz here!
My results:

Your Dream Guy is Edward

You are a true romantic, and for you, love is a very emotional and passionate thing. You want to be wooed, charmed, and even seduced. You have old fashioned ideas about romance. You don't mind being with a protective guy like Edward, as long as he has your best interests at heart. You like being taken care of completely, even if things get a little intense at times.
(interesting...I would have sworn I was Team Jacob...)
Come on, fess up. You know you played. What is your Jane Austen name and dream guy? (hey, if we combine the two we might get a new book idea! haha!)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mother's Day Approaches....

So Mother's Day is less than a week away. What are you doing for your mom? As a mom, what would you want done for you? Our pastor yesterday instructed from the pulpit that men should include new clothes, a day of no cleaning, cooking or chores, and of course, lots of diamonds on their Mother's Day agendas. Hehehe. Sounds good to me! Thanks Pastor! ;)

This year I'm a little melancholy about the big day, however. This is the first Mother's Day since my Mother-in-Law's traumatic accident last June. Not only that, but her birthday is just a few weeks later - and then the anniversary of the accident. Its going to be a hard time for our family, especially for my husband. I'm trying to get prepared now for the emotional aspect of it all, for myself and on his part.

But on a brighter note, my sister's baby arrived just in time for Mother's Day, so she'll get to celebrate with little Fallyn.

And I'm looking forward to Mother's Day with my own Little Miss. She is such a blessing to my life! Can't remember what I did without her...

Do you have any special plans yet? Any diamond requests? ;)