Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prayers appreciated...

Tomorrow (Wednesday) my Little Miss has an eye doctor appointment. It's her first one, but sadly its not just a routine check-up. I suspect she's getting a lazy eye, or at least the beginning stages of something similiar. When she looks at an object up close, like a spoon in front of her face, etc. one of her eyes goes in toward her nose a little bit farther than the other. And sometimes when she's sleepy, it does that too. It doesn't wander all over, its just that one contained motion, but still. Its something I need to deal with now while we have options, before it gets worse.

But dealing with a two year old in a "scary place" like a doctor's office is going to be interesting, especially since her well visit to the pedatrician (complete with shots) is still fresh in her mind from a few weeks ago. They told us to expect two hours for the appointment in full, as it has to go in stages and her eyes have to be dilated twice during the morning. Ugh.

I'm sort of dreading it, not just for the pending tantrums or tears, or attempts to entertain in a waiting room that long - but also because of the results. What if they say she needs eye surgery? (worst case) Or has to wear a patch off and on for a few weeks/months to strengthen the muscles? (best case) Or glasses??? How do you keep glasses on a two year old?? I guess there is the possibility they won't be concerned with it at all but I sort of doubt it. I'm trying not to worry, but I'm a mom, so that's what I do best. I know God will be with us regardless of the outcome, and really this isn't a HUGE deal...but big enough for me. Prayers appreciated for both of us! :)

I'll give a report Thursday...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Baseball & Brawn

This past Saturday was the 2nd annual Travis Duffy Softball Tournament in Alexandria, Louisiana. The Duffy family is a sweet family my husband met and bonded with during the weeks he literally lived in the ICU waiting room at the hospital after his mom's accident last summer. Their son, Travis, had a similiar accident on a four-wheeler and was in a coma almost as long as my mother in law. They held a tournament last year to raise money for his therapy and treatments, and this year, they did the same for my mother in law and another little boy in their city who needs a dog for his seizure issues.

This year, Travis got to play in the tournament. :)

His healing was a miracle, he's almost back to 100% and still in therapy to work out the lingering kinks.

My husband gathered a group of guys to play on a team, and despite rolled ankles, torn tendons, skinned shins, bruised heels, knocked off glasses, softballs to the head, and a variety of bumps, cuts, scrapes, and bruises...they won the championship. =)

(and gave the trophy to the guy on their team who hurt his ankle during the warm up yet stilll played all day long!)

I went with my friend Steph to cheer them on, and it was fun. The town really came together to play, raise money, raffle off items, and sell food all in the name of a worthy cause. It was really touching, and I'm grateful that my husband was able to meet such a caring family during the worst storm of his life.

You just never know when God will bring good from bad. You just have to look for it and trust He will. We have no idea why God healed Travis but hasn't done the same for my mother in law. We have no idea if her condition will ever get better or how long she will be trapped in this miserable state. All we can do is watch for the rainbow and trust its there behind the clouds.

So thanks, Duffy family, and the town of Alexandria for coming out despite the threatening thunderstorms. And congrats to our team - who kicked booty ;)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Any volunteers?

I'm going to be preparing a blog tour of sorts soon to promote my October 1st release, THE GINGERBREAD SEASON - a Christmas novella that's in a two-book compilation with fellow Love Inspired author Marta Perry. The compilation book is titled "Mistletoe Prayers".

Here's the cover blurb for my story:

Allie James returns to her hometown in need of a holiday job. Never did she expect her old boyfriend Jordan Walker to hire her as his secretary! Years ago Jordan shredded her heart like wrapping paper. Now he must convince Allie that all he wants for Christmas is her love...

And the blurb for Marta's story, THE BODINE FAMILY CHRISTMAS, is:

Left at the alter on Christmas Eve, Annabel Bodine has lost her holiday spirit. When her big brother brings home handsome Coast Guard buddy Travis McCall, can Annabel summon the courage to open her heart to love for the holidays - and maybe for a lifetime?

If you're interested in signing up to review this novel on Amazon and your blog and maybe CBD or other sites, please email me be privately at betsystamant@yahoo.com with your influencing plans (where you will be post a review) and your mailing address.

Please only volunteer if you really intend to follow through - I've had issues lately with people wanting to review and receiving their free book and never posting. Thanks!! =)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

P is for Progress

Sometimes, accountability goes a long way in helping us stay motivated - especially in our writing!! Let's share our curernt projects today (as much plot detail as you feel comfortable sharing!) and list our goals.

Are you trying to get a proposal ready for the ACFW conference in a few weeks? Are you trying to reach so many chapters completed by a certain date? Want to have your book submission-ready to target a particular agent by a certain date?

Share here and let's help each other stay focused and productive!

For me, I'm working right now on my newly contracted Love Inspired story, set for an August 2011 release. My deadline for the full manuscript to be completed and turned in is November 24th. So I'm working hard, especially among my other duties (wife, mommy, part-time employee, freelancer, etc.) This story is about a fireman and a event-cooridnator, single mom who have a certain spark...despite the fact that the heroine is the widower of a fireman and has sworn never to marry a hero again! (dumm dum dummmm...) =)

What are you working on???

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An amazing journey...

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Bethany House (August 1, 2010)
Nancy Moser

This novel was amazing. I couldn't put it down, and while that sounds cliche, it's true. There have a handful of books that I have enjoyed that much lately, and this is one of the top 2. Historical romance at its finest - and not just romance, but the story of two young women's journeys to love, faith, and finding themselves and their place in life. And of course, that's never quite what it seems... I recommend with two eager thumbs up! =) Kudos, Nancy!

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane(Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novel is Masquerade. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more athttp://www.nancymoser.com/ and http://www.sistercircles.com/.


They risk it all for adventure and romance, but find that love only flourishes in truth...

1886, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine. She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. She wants a chance at "real life," even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it's a risk she's willing to take.

What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares.As for Dora, it's the chance of a lifetime. She lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt from the possibility of discovery and the presence of another love that will not die. Is this what her heart truly longs for?Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Masquerade, go HERE.

Purchase this novel yourself HERE!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Polish those boots...

Saturday night was the 2010 annual Baron's Ball presented by the American Cancer Society here in town. This annual event is a western-themed night with silent and live auctions, amazing food, drinks, midway games and dancing. It's pretty pricy per ticket, as it should be for a good cause - but my husband and I were awarded complimentary tickets since I wrote the cover story for the event/tribute in the newspaper where I freelance.

So with a few days notice, I had to find a "country chic" outfit to wear. My hubby had no problem, he has button down shirts galore and boots and a nice hat already.

Here's what I put together - my sister's dress, my jacket, and my really, really old Fatbaby boots. They were a half size too small but I managed. ;)

It was a great night. Each table was awarded "baron's bucks" (fake money) to play games with. We won a bottle of wine through a ring toss game, which was funny since we're not really drinkers. It was a good evening of visiting with my editor and her husband, mingling, and of course eating steak and shrimp the size of a small lobster...and the dessert table! Strawberries, marshmallows, and pretzels with white, milk and dark chocolate FOUNTAINS. Bliss.

More photos...

My editor, above.

And of course Little Miss has to get in on the action...

Friday, August 20, 2010


Today is busy with Little-Miss snuggles, running errands, working from home, and writing, so this is all the post I can spare today.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

Happy Friday!! =)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

YAY! Super fun.
CLICK HERE to take a book quiz and discover what type of reader you are.
My results?
Serial Reader!
"You may read a little or a lot but either way you are a publisher's dream, because once you find a favorite author you stick with him or her through thick and thin and eagerly await the next in the series. Yet even you need to find new blood from time to time!"
What are you?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Visit me...

Visit me today at SCRIBBLE CHICKS! And join the clucking about finding time to write during a busy summer...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Never scare a writer...

So yesterday, my editor at the newspaper I freelance for, sent me a new assignment via email. I was visiting friends last night, so once I got home and got Little Miss to bed, I opened my laptop, pulled up the emails from my editor, and hit reply to write back and ask a few questions.

When I hit send and the email processed, I realized that the "sent" notification yahoo shows after sending an email had a completely different subject title than the one I had just sent. Instead of the boring, article-related subject title that had been there when I wrote my email, my sent mail showed this one instead...

Who drank my crystal Pepsi?

I'm not kidding.

My jaw dropped.

I had just emailed my editor a note at 10:00 at night asking her who drank my Pepsi.

That part alone was bad enough. I quickly emailed her an explanation and apology, and then I started getting nervous. Was my email being hacked into? Was someone spying on my computer? Then I thought of horror movies and how maybe my laptop had a ghost wondering where her drink was and she was trying to convey a late night message to me about her death...

Yeah. Never scare a writer.

My skin was craaaawling!! I don't believe in ghosts, of course - but at nighttime, alone in the dark living room, wondering what the heck was going on with my laptop, well. It was food for my very vivid imagination.

I called my parents to see if my dad might have an idea, being a computer tech, but he was unavailable and my mom had no clue and was as curious/creeped out as I was. So, keeping her on the phone, I bravely went back to my haunted laptop and googled the phrase in quotes "Who drank my crystal Pepsi?"

The hit returned several blog links. I opened one, quite nervous...and thank the Lord, some random person in the blog-o-sphere explained the phenomenon. Apparently, yahoo mail has a feature (and a completely unnecessary one at that!) where if you click the subject button beside the subject line, it provides you with a random, witty subject title all by itself. I somehow clicked that button when typing my email, and there you have it. Thank you, random blogger.

No ghosts. No need for a priest, or a new laptop.

I emailed my poor editor to explain. She laughed and said she thought I was just trying to be funny!

Yes. Hilarious.

Thanks yahoo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's your weakness?

Everyone has SOMETHING they can't resist.

For some, its a piping hot donut. For another, its a big box of salty, crispy French Fries. For me, lately, its been cupcakes. There is a new shop in town called BUTTERCUPS and oh...my...goodness. They are amazing. Some of their homemade flavors inclue Banana Pudding, Strawberry Creme, Wedding Cake, and Chocolate Chunk. Just imagine the best cupcake you've ever eaten, and then add about 10 x the yummy factor to that. At $3 a cupcake, its not something I do often and usually my sister treats me to them at work, but wow...they are good. And BAD for the diet!

What's your weakness? With food? With writing? Just like there are often food items we can't resist even when on a diet, are there particular distractions you can't resist when writing on a deadline? Any justifiable or not so justifiable excuses that pull you from your goals?

Let's share here and maybe learn how to beat the temptation!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lessons from Little Miss

It's so humbling, awe-inspiring, frustrating, and funny when God chooses to teach us lessons through the tiny, stained, dirt-streaked little people tugging at our legs, otherwise known as toddlers.

My Little Miss teaches me daily about life, about love, about priorities, about sacrifice, and lately, about God's love for ME. I often draw illustrations and parallels from her actions to me and mine to hers that show me God's love...a poor comparison at best, but it's there nonetheless. If I love her as much as I do, how much MORE does God love me?


The other night was no exception. Little Miss wanted ice cream for her snack, so even though she's graduated from high chair to booster seat at the table, I went ahead and brought her high chair into the living room so she could watch cartoons while she ate and have a tray to contain the mess. (and give Mommy a few minutes to write while she snacked!!) I went to get the chair with the high chair attached from the dining room, and she toddled with me and grabbed the front legs of the chair. "I help too. I help too."

"No, baby, Mama's got it. It's okay." Now we're both holding the big dining room chair.

"NOOOOOO I help too!!!!!"

"Okay, okay."

Together, we carry the chair into the dining room, Little Miss walking in front of me, backwards, holding onto the front two chair legs. Very meticulously, with lots of effort, she held the chair and walked backwards, through the kitchen, around the corner, past the fridge, around the trashcan, into the living room, to the designated snack spot by the couch.

The whole time, I'm thinking she's hurting more than helping. I'm still supporting the entire weight of the chair, and not only that, but also having to exert more effort and strength into making sure I matched her slow pace and didn't let her run into anything and didn't let the chair hurt her.

While I was walking, a thought hit me. Isn't that what we do to God sometimes? Say "NO I DO IT!" or "NO I HELP!" when He's got it under control, and could have done it faster and better if we hadn't gotten in the way? I could have put my foot down and insisted she go ahead of me and let me do the work. But I didn't. I let her help, let her experience, let her learn, even if it was hard. God does that to us too, I am convinced.

That lesson makes me want to yield to God's direction....and be that much more patient with my Little Miss, who is growing up in a complicated world and doesn't understand yet that sometimes yielding control is better than trying to constantly stay in control.

A lesson we can all use....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Visit me...

Visit me at SCRIBBLECHICKS ....yesterday! haha. Caught ya off guard. I posted there on Wednesday but because of Liz's review, didn't post this until today. Confused yet? Just go to scribblechicks. =P

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A fantastic suspense...

On sale August 10, 2010...

So I love the cover of this book, first off, and once you read it you'll understand why! Are you hooked yet? ;) Go buy the book!

Seriously, this novel was fantastic. I read it fast because I wanted to see "who dun it". Liz weaves an excellent tale of romance and danger that will leave you on the edge of your chair...and at some points, possibly snuggled under a blanket with your back purposefully against a wall...hehe.

This is Liz's second novel with Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed her first one, THE KIDNAPPING OF KENZIE THORN, but I feel that this novel rose to a new level in both plot, craft, and romance. I loved the characters - relatable and real. And the heroine is a mechanic - how cool is that? Girl power!! =)

Check it out and see what you think!


Eighteen months ago, Nora James watched as her father was shot in an alley-and then she fled. She changed her name, her appearance and her job, hoping to keep her father’s shooter at bay. For months, it worked…but now her luck has run out. A ruthless assassin is on her trail, and soon Nora, now known as Danielle, will be found. But this time, she has FBI agent Nate Andersen by her side-right? The handsome agent would give his life to protect Danielle, but he’s wary of giving his heart…until a deadly confrontation leaves him with both on the line.

Sounds great huh????

Here's some info about the super talented, super sweet author herself...who I am honored to call friend!

Liz Johnson grew up reading Christian fiction, and always dreamed of being part of the publishing industry. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a degree in public relations, she set out to fulfill her dream. In 2006 she got her wish when she accepted a publicity position at a major trade book publisher. While working as a publicist in the industry, she decided to pursue her other dream-becoming an author. Along the way to having her novel published, she completed the Christian Writers Guild apprentice course and wrote articles for several magazines.

Liz makes her home in Nashville , TN , where she enjoys theater, exploring the local music scene, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her two nephews and three nieces. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. Keep up with Liz's adventures in writing at http://www.lizjohnsonbooks.com/.

So what are you waiting for? This book is affordable, and GOOD. Definitely one for the keeper shelf. Go on, now. GO! Get it!! =)

You can buy it here at Amazon...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Big girls...

So my Little Miss is now officially a "Big Girl". No more pacifier. (She still tells every stranger on the street she passes "P broke!" haha) No more high chair. (booster seat now at the table) No more baby bath. (big girl baths in the regular tub in guestroom bathroom) She'll start potty training soon, she's talking in long phrases and full sentences, learning new words every day, and even looks forward to church now. Once upon a not so long ago time, she dreaded the nursery and me leaving her. Now its "bye bye mama!" and she likes to be thought of as the nursery lady's "big helper".

Last night she confirmed her new big girl status even further when she told me she did NOT want her nightlight on. This is a Snoopy nightlight that is too cute - baby snoopy on the moon - that I've heard since I was younger. Its sentimental to me, and she's used it every night since she was born, practically. She asked me to turn it off, and despite the extreme darkness, she plopped right down in her bed and snuggled in with her stuffed animals. "Love you mama."

My big girl. Makes me happy and sad all at once. I'm mostly just flat out proud of her though, and nostalgic in a good way. She's growing up so fast, and so well. What a blessing! She teaches me as much as I her, I often think.

For instance, there are some days I need to be a big girl too and just lay safely in the padded embrace of my Saviour's arms, not worrying about how dark or scary my circumstances seem. God gave me family and friends (my own version of comfort stuffed animals!) to help encourage me, and I need to know that the light is coming. Dawn will break. The sun will rise. And the shadows will flee.

So that's my new goal.

To grow up and be more like my daughter.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ho ho ho...?

Did you know there are only like 136 days until Christmas?

Before we know it, it will be time to buy candy corn and candy pumpkins, put the scarecrows in the yard, switch out the wreaths from summer to fall, and start raking leaves. Then starts the sleet, the holiday music, the sales, and....


I can't wait =)

Do you prepare early for the holidays? I saw a news article instructing people on how to start saving pennies and spare change and things now, and have $1,000 by Christmas for shopping. Seems like a good idea! I can't stand going into debt for Christmas gifts, and the last few years we've managed to do a cash only Christmas. It's more fun having to get creative anyway!

Are you starting to smell the hot apple cider and peppermints? Or are you content sweltering in the current state of summer? ;) Are you looking forward to the coming season? Or dreading the hoopla?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday recovery...

So yesterday afternoon, Lil Miss had her 2 year well visit at the doctor and her shots. She's still my Little Miss at 2 years and nearly 1 month old, she's 24.5 lbs and 34 inches. But she's right on track with her personal growth rate and proportion. My petite sweetie!

We actually had a decent visit. She didn't cry the entire time the doctor was in the room as she did at her last visit at 18 months. lol This time our beloved doc got to see Little Miss's personality and her language skills and coordination as she played on Nana's iphone, etc.

She had to get two shots, which was a bummer, but as soon as she was done and I was able to hold her again, she immediately rallied and through teary eyes and sniffling nose, told the nurse the door was shut. haha. "Oh no! Door shut!" The nurse assured her she'd open it when she left. lol Then on the way home she kept telling me from the backseat "All done. All done." Poor baby.

This morning she never ran fever, thankfully, as sometimes these immunizations tend to do. But her poor legs are stiff from the injections. She's walking around saying "legs too tight!" I guess soreness is strange for a toddler!

So today is a snuggly day at home until tonight, when hubby and I get to have a wedding anniversary date! Happy 6 years to us!!!! <3 <3 <3

Thursday, August 05, 2010

M is for Messy? Or Meticulous?

Are You Messy?
I find this quiz and thought it fun and accurate. I've always been known as a neat freak, and well, apparently its no longer a secret.
Let's find out your results HERE
My results:
(This is sadly very, very, very true!!)
You Are Not Messy

You're so clean, people have accused you of being a clean freak!You like things tidy, organized, and smelling fresh. Messes drive you crazy, especially when you didn't make them.It's hard for you to live with a slob - or someone who leaves their dishes in the sink.
As a writer, how do your status of messy or not messy affect your writing? Or does it? How is your work space organized? Can you write in an alternative environment from your norm? How particular are you of your creative space? (for writing or other hobbies) Confess now! :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Variety of spices and other cliches...

Yesterday I talked about keeping it real and fresh in our writing, and wishing celebrities would follow the same guidelines.

In an ever changing market, it seems lately the fiction industry has gotten stuck on two spinning wheels - historicals and YA's. Romance is always popular, but usually the romance can be found in the historical or in the YA. We've talked genre before here on my blog, but what do you think now? Are you ready for historicals and YA's to fade out and let a new genre spin for a bit? Why or why not?

I LOVE reading historicals lately, which probably just proves the market is right on in knowing its readership. ha. I also really enjoy YA's. But I still love a solid contemporary romance, a good romantic suspense, a thought provoking and emotional women's fiction, and a funny, lighthearted but inspiring chick lit. (wahhh...bring back chick lit!!)

Variety is the spice of life, they say, which by the way is cliche so don't ever use that in your novel. (wink) But cliches are formed because they are true, and this is no exception. (wait. is "this is no exception" a cliche too? yikes. this is tricky!)

Variety lets everyone win. We need to keep a good variety of fiction on the marke so everyone gets to read what they love. There will always be one or two genres that are more popular right now than others (Amish fiction, anyone?) but hopefully readers will never let one particular genre die out completely. (I refuse to admit chick lit is 100% gone. Just revamped. Right?)

What varieties do you like to read? Do you read what you write? Do you write different genres than you read? What genre have you sworn to never read or write, or have you? Inquiring minds would like to know. (there I go again!)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Enough is enough?

So who else is sick of hearing of Lindsay Lohan's jail time?

I admit to reading the "jail journal" in a magazine at the grocery store check out line. Turns out she's getting served slop and listening to taunt sof other prisoners and pretty much living it out, no special treatment. I'm proud of that and glad that authorities are finally applying real-people rules to celebrities, though I'm sure Lindsay isn't as grateful.

But seriously, after awhile, enough is enough. Do you get sick of the same headlines? Katie Holmes pregnant, not pregnant, pregnant. Angelina and Brad adopting...divorcing...making out...stalking poor Jennifer Aniston. Let the Jennifer and Brad marriage/divorce rest in peace already! Sheesh.

And all the Twilight actors/actresses. I know Jacob (Taylor L.) is an attractive young man and has impressive abs, but really? Every magazine cover? Of course he looks good, he has trainers paid to make sure he stays that way and a nutritionist to keep it going. I could have abs too if someone would cook for me, tell me what and when to eat, give me a detailed exercise chart to follow, and babysat my toddler while I did the above. ;)

I digress.

Sometimes we get sick of the same celebrities being in the same headlines over and over. They say bad publicity is still good publicity, but sometimes I wonder. The overly used headlines just make me want to tune out the noise. What do you think? How can we apply that to our writing? As authors, we need to be sure to keep topics and themes fresh. Readers will just as easily get sick of seeing the same thing over and over. How do you keep it real?

If you're reading this post and are not an author, then tell us your point of view. As a reader of fiction, what are you sick of seeing and what would you like to see more of in regards to characters, plots, theme, circumstances in the story, etc.

Chime in here!!