Friday, April 29, 2011

Beautiful country read...

Do the secrets from our past affect who we become in the future?

Can the hurts we’ve experienced really prevent us from finding true fulfillment?

In her release, A Cowboy’s Touch, award-winning author Denise Hunter will explore these questions, and readers will discover that “the truth really can set us free.”

Abigail Jones has a secret—a secret from her childhood. This secret has shaped who she has grown to be—an investigative reporter known as “the Truthseeker” at Viewpointe Magazine in Chicago. With her blood pressure out of control, the editor, who happens to be her mother, sends her on a three-month sabbatical to check on her great aunt in Moose Creek, Montana.

Wade Ryan may have been voted as the “Sexiest Man Alive,” but he has sworn off women forever. Four years earlier, the rodeo celebrity gave up his identity to protect his daughter Maddy. Now he is safely settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, living in obscurity with his heart guarded by a high, thick fence. But when Wade’s summer nanny quits without notice, he agrees to let his neighbor’s visiting niece help care for his daughter. As he begins to feel an attraction to his new hire, Wade starts to question his wisdom in hiring her. Can he really trust himself with another woman and learn to love again?

Abigail was bored anyway, so no harm in helping out a neighbor. But her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Abigail may be mesmerized by Wade’s denim blue eyes, but can she really trust him? She is the truthseeker, after all, so shouldn’t she be able to stay objective and discover the truth about Wade? But what if she is missing the truth altogether? What if her past mistakes prevent her from finding the love of her future? Or, perhaps her relationship with Christ could give her the answers she is seeking. But “instead of pursuing Him, she’d been pursuing her career. Chasing story after story as if finding the next truth would somehow scratch an itch that never went away,” she thought.

As the first book in the Big Sky Romance series, A Cowboy’s Touch is the story about a truthseeker who ends up discovering the real truth and a cowboy who learns to let go of his past. Hunter shines as she draws her readers into an intriguing world of boots, chaps and cowboy hats. This heartwarming romance is a story of love, pain and forgiveness. It has also been named a Women of Faith novel for 2011.

My review: yet another winner by Denise Hunter. Cowboy novels stay popular and that's because of quality, unique stories like Hunter's. Don't miss this heartfelt country romance!

A Cowboy’s Touch by Denise Hunter
Thomas Nelson/March 29, 2011 ~

*I was given this copy free to read and review by the publisher*

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Smells like writing...

At the NOLA STARS writer's conference I attended last March in Shreveport, I met a fantastic young mom/aspiring author who was attending her first conference ever! How brave! :)

We got to be friends and she ended up also attending the next local conference I spoke at, a one-day event at a local church in Benton, Louisiana.

Of course I ended up telling her about the larger scale conferences such as RWA and ACFW, and of course, now she wants to go! :)

And you know what? You can help this young, single income military mommy get there by purchasing one (or ten! ::wink::) of her yummy smelling fundraiser candles!

Here's the info:

Genelle’s Fundraiser Candles

16 oz for 23.00

1.) Apple Cinnamon
Ripe apples sprinkled with cinnamon gives this candle its charm - perfect for any time of the year!

2.) Caramel Pear
This delectable candle incorporates top notes of fresh juicy pear infused with bottom notes of sweet creamy caramel. This candle is sure to make your mouth water!

3.) Sweet Orange & Chili Pepper
A zingy, zesty, orange-eeee smell that you will never forget! It rose to the top as one of our most popular fragrances immediately! Get one today and see for yourself!

4.) Japanese Pear
The exotic fragrance of Japanese Pear has an Oriental mystique with a nice fruity smell that is perfect for a romantic or sensual setting.

5.) Juniper Breeze
A fresh clean scent with a balance of floral , hints of green and a slight musky undertone.

6.) Lemon Verbena
A wonderful, pleasing and powerful fragrance, your entire home will quickly fill with this clean-smelling candle

To purchase, email Genelle at

Thanks for helping!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter recap

We had a fabulous weekend celebrating our Risen Saviour! Not only did we have multiple Easter dinners/egghunts with family and church friends, we also attended my niece's first birthday party! Can't believe it's been a year!

Here are fun pics from our crazy weekend of fun!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A little help from our friends...

I'm asking for prayer this week as I tunnel underground (not really, but wouldn't that be nice!) and make the final push on finishing my Young Adult novel. My deadline is June 1st, but I really want to finish this week so my agent has time to read it over and make any suggestions. Then I can beat my deadline, which is always a good way to make a positive impression on a new editor :)

Then immediately start progress on my newly contracted Love Inspired novel which is due mid-July and currently consists of a grand total of 3 chapters. Count 'em, THREE.

So yes....Prayers appreciated!

I wish I really could tunnel and do nothing but write, but someone still has to keep the house running, the toddler fed and entertained, the clothes washed, and the madness contained, not to mention working my parttime job two days this week and meeting a bunch of newspaper article deadlines for job freelancing at the Forum within the next week.

I just re-read the above paragraph and would like to scream. Instead, I'll laugh. Because really, it's funny. ha! Hey, I can do all things through Christ, right? Philippians 4:13. Let's see if I can prove it ;)

Thanks for your support and encouragement! I'm really not complaining, because these are all great tasks and things I enjoy and am grateful that God gave me the opportunity to do! Blessings from above! I get paid to write - a true blessing.

THAT said...let's keep those prayers coming this week, hmmm? And in return, I'll pray for you! What's on your plate this week??

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

As you go about celebrating this weekend with your family, friends and loved ones, hiding Easter eggs, eating candy, laughing, taking pictures, stuffing yourself with turkey, and nibbling chocolate Easter bunnnies, don't forget the real reason we celebrate Easter - JESUS! He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Because we all have those days...

I love the Snoopy as an author cartoons. Especially the "dark and stormy night" ones! But this one is probably too familiar to a lot of us, and since outside my window right now, it really is dark and stormy, I thought in honor of Snoopy, we'd have a little encouragement session!

So who today is discouraged in their writing journey? Who needs to whine and vent? This is a safe place to receive feedback and encouragement.

So let it out, published and non published alike! Did you get a rejection letter? Did you get a bad review? Did your editor give you back your contracted manuscript with so many revisions you don't even know if its the same book? Did you receive negative feedback from a critique partner that has left you confused?

You're not alone. We've all been there in some form, multiple times - even Snoopy! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We are so not in Kansas anymore...

So, yesterday I promised you a story.

WARNING - do not read further if you have a weak stomach... ;)

We had a GREAT trip - until Sunday morning when we came home. Little Miss woke up fine, then suddenly started coughing and gagging on the flim/congestion in her throat. She threw up but it was just the congestion, nothing from her stomach. I thought, okay...not too bad. Probably a one time thing of getting choked and having a drip for a few days.

No problem, right?

Well I took her to potty before we hit the road, and...diarrhea. I will spare you any further details. Let's just say I was beginning to think the two issues were connected. With much fear and trembling, we loaded up, said goodbye, took an old beach towel Lori graciously donated from her linen closet for "just in case", and hit the road. Little Miss was very sleepy by now, yet gagged up another round before we even got on the highway. Still, I wasn't too worried. It was much smaller than before, and was still just the drip, and so far no more issues from other end.

No problem, right?

We made some progress on the road. I sat in the back with Little Miss just in case, and we stopped and got her some gaterade since she was used to drinking that and I figured water would be too hard on her stomach. She drank several sips (I made her go slowly) and turned down the offer of Saltines. She napped, woke up, ate 5 saltines, drank a cup of juice, and seemed much more like her old self. Relieved, we stopped for lunch at McDonalds, having been on the road about 4 hours by now. I really hoped she'd eat and prove she was better so I could stop worrying like all mommies do.

Little Miss not only refused to eat, she refused to even let me ORDER her a kids meal. I did anyway, and it sat 100% untouched on the table. She wanted to potty, so we did, with no incident. Then she laid in my lap on the Mcdonald's bench while I ate. Then had to potty again. This time, again I will spare the details, it was a lot but not as sickly, and I thought surely she'd feel better now.

No problem, right?

By this time, we were leaving, she still refused to eat or even take a sip of Sprite, and fell asleep within 40 seconds of getting in the car. I moved to the front seat, spread out, breathed a sigh of relief, enjoyed the mountain Arkansas scenery whizzing by my weekend, and about 15 minutes later...

Little Miss woke up. Coughed, and... threw up.


Continually. It was a fountain of blue gaterade. I still despise the color blue at this moment, and I hope that changes because I used to enjoy the color. We had time (from the first glimpse of her throwing up) to pull over on the side of the mountain, jump out, get in the backseat with the towel, and it was still coming. All liquid, but OH MY GOSH. All over Little Miss, the car seat, her best friend giraffe Gigi, her favorite beloved blankie...


Seriously, if hubby hadn't been with me, I think me and Little Miss would STILL at this moment be sitting on the side of the mountain just crying.

I don't like blue.

Hubby sprang to action. Caught the 2nd half of the blue gaterade fountain in the towel, then threw the towel outside. Got her out of carseat, stripped her down, stood barefoot on hot mountain rocks himself while letting Little Miss stand on his flip flops while he changed her. I shook off the blanket (ew), then got in the trunk and got her new clothes and the only trashbag we had brought (grocery sized, for car-trash during trip) We shoved her dirty clothes in there, Hubby cleaned her up with the TWO wipes we had in the diaper bag. Which was obviously not sufficient by any stretch. I wanted to cry, then remembered we had an entire unopened package of WetWipes antibacterial wipes in my purse. (THANK YOU, TARGET DOLLAR BINS)

There was now a light in my tunnel. Cleanliness was once again possible. Hubby used those wipes to really clean her, then Little Miss sat in the front seat all gimpy while Hubby cleaned the car seat. I found the potty seat we had carried with us for the trip, and used the trash bag I'd wrapped it in for her dirty blanket and that disgusting towel. That went back in the trunk. Then Gigi got a roadside, Figi-water/antibacterial wipe bath while Little Miss looked on from the front seat longingly.

I don't like blue.

Finally, the two were reunited, buckled back in, and we hit the road again. Guess who stayed in the backseat with an entire roll of paper towels this time? Yeah, me. So much for reading and writing on the 10 hour trip. The drive home became survival-mode, Hubby pushing the speed limit, no stops, just roadroadroad, homehomehome.

Little Miss ended up sleeping the entire rest of the way or watching movies the few minutes she was awake. No more episodes, thankfully. She came home and finally asked for a popsicle, then started eating, then drinking, and as of Monday night, no more issues, just a lowgrade temp. Apparently she caught some kind of virus or bug last minute. I'm glad it didn't happen sooner in the trip but oy, carseats and viruses DO NOT mix.

Did I mention I am so NOT a fan of the color blue?

PS - I married a hero.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Home again...

So this past weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) I've been in Kansas City, MO visiting one of my bestest friends Lori and her family! She has FOUR kids - and after living there in their beautifully renovated 3-story house, I still have no idea how she does it! :) We had a great time. Hubby and I took my Little Miss with us and we all played together. The kids got along great, even the two toddlers (for the most part. Of course there were moments but wow I was impressed!) We got to eat at some of our favorite restaurants (Buca's, FreeState, etc.) and do a ton of birthday shopping. I came home with some amazing treats - a handsewn purse from Lori that looked like something straight out of an Anthropologie magainze (my fav store), a handsewn skirt for Little Miss to wear Easter Sunday (with matching bow! We picked out the fabric at her fav fabric store while shopping and she whippped it up - with no pattern! - that very night!) and a bunch of cute clothes from a fun store in Lawrence, KS. Now we're home and exhausted and recovering from all the fun and traveling with laundry and allergy medicine and all of Little Miss's toys she left behind and was so happy to come home to! I will post pics later after I get them loaded - then I have an interesting story to tell you tomorrow...stay tuned ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

See ya Monday! :)

I'm taking today and tomorrow off from blogging because of some family fun time, so I will see you on Monday! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hoppin' down the bunny trail...

So, Easter is on its way... And there's one truly important question you must answer ;)


Here's the LINK:

My results:

Your Chocolate Easter Bunny Personality You are friendly, optimistic, and kind hearted. You don't have a harsh word for anyone. You cheerfully live your life with little complaining or suffering. You are creative and artistic. You live in your own inner world. You live your life freely, without guilt or restrictions. And you would never feel bad about eating too much chocolate!

What'd you get? :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tea for Two...

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Tea For Two Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2011) by Trish Perry


A word from our Author: I started writing short stories—pretty bad ones. And I started taking creative writing courses to round out my degree. So I was in classes full of people just like me—lousy writers. But we were learning! Then the Lord led me to a local writers' group, Capital Christian Writers, and the contacts and friends I made through CCW enriched my personal life and my writing life more than I can measure. Through CCW and through reading just about every book and magazine ever published by Writer's Digest, I started catching on. Now I'm writing full time and man oh man do I love it. Before the writing began, I worked for attorneys in Washington, D. C. I worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission. And I was a stockbroker. A horrible stockbroker. How do people do that? Take responsibility for other people's financial futures? Yikes. I'm perfectly happy to take responsibility for the amount of time any one person wants to spend reading my books. If you enjoy the experience, then know that we both enjoyed it together. I love that about books. In the midst of all that fretting over other people's money and writing about other people's lives, I racked up a few personal experiences myself. Some good, some bad, but all part of God's plan. Now I'm an empty nester living in Northern Virginia. My brilliantly funny son is in college. I have a savvy, gorgeous grown daughter, a charming son-in-law, and an amazing grandson.


Zack Cooper tries his best to raise his children, but he's losing his grip on them in their teen years. They've both had scrapes with the local law. Tea Shop owner Milly Jewel has the perfect woman in mind to help Zack. Counselor Tina Milano meets weekly at the tea shop with her women's group. Milly encourages Zack and Tina to work together to draw the teens back before they get in even hotter water. Milly never thought things might heat up between Zack and Tina. Or did she? Tina's connections with the Middleburg police department prove a mixed blessing for Zack and his kids. Both her best friend and old boyfriend are officers on the force. And when Tina's women's group gets wind of her personal pursuits and clashes, they want to help. The group's meetings at the tea shop take on a slightly different flavor. Tina wonders who, exactly, is counseling whom. Although heroine Tina Milano and her women's group are mentioned in The Perfect Blend (the first book in this series), Tea for Two is where we meet her and hero Zack Cooper. I knew I would write this book while I wrote the first, so it was fun to plant a passing mention of Zack and Tina while I wrote Steph's story in The Perfect Blend. By the time I was able to write Tina and Zack's story, I was eager to unfold their lives, conflicts, and love. I hope readers will be eager to experience what happens to them!

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

Buy your copy here!

Friday, April 08, 2011

If I didn't know better...

If I didn't know better, I'd think I was about 8 1/2 months pregnant. I've been nesting! Call it Spring Fever, but the last two afternoons, I've spent over an hour doing some sort of random, unplanned cleaning-out project. Yesterday was my jewelry stand and top dresser drawer, today was the closet. I cleaned out the shelves, rearranged shoes underneath, packed two bags full of clothes and shoes to give to a local shelter, and just straightened up. I feel so great! Not sure what came over me though... Are you into spring cleaning yet? :)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Take a trip...

to the war torn shores of Vietnam...

About the book:

She's after the story that might get her the Pulitzer. He's determined to keep his secrets to himself. Vietnam, 1967. Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something. Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they're forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

My thoughts:

This was an incredible novel, with depth and layers like you wouldn't believe. I had the honor of reading some of the early chapters years ago when this book was first born in Cathy's heart. Most of those pages have been reworked and changed as Cathy grew into a more advanced writer and went through revisions and edits. But the theme and the lovable, realistic, relatable characters are still shining through just like I remembered!

This story seriously makes you feel like you have truly visited Vietnam and the war right alongside Luke and Kristin. I don't know how much research Cathy put into this novel, but I'm guessing a ton because if I didn't know better, I'd have thought she was once a soldier in the middle of the war herself. ;)

The other night when I finished up reading, I had to take a few breaks because the emotion was so real and deep, I was getting overly involved! lol Full of angst (but not overly so) love, romance, tension, passion, and conflict, this novel is a big hit and one you don't want to miss... A fine debut by a fine author!

About the author:

Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine's debut novel Yesterday's Tomorrow, releases March 15th, through OakTara Publishers.

For more info on Cathy and her books, visit:


OakTara Website:


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Birthdays, oh my!

Here are some fun pics of our busy week last week. My birthday celebration and the zoo and the writers conference where I taught my time management workshop to a group of about 50.

This is what Spring looks like around here ;)

PS - the zoo was COLD! Hence the random turtle sweatshirt I thankfully had somehow stashed in my car forever ago. lol Little Miss had on THREE shirts (because we didn't know to bring her a jacket!) Very unexpected but fun and a lot better than sweating...

Monday, April 04, 2011

Miniature Meteorologist...

It's been supposed to rain today for a week, and when I woke up this morning the sky was still dark. I kept seeing Facebook posts from locals about the storm coming, so I told my Little Miss it was going to rain. She's very particular - she likes rain, she does not like thunder. (understandably) I told her it was getting dark out and about to rain, and she looked outside, threw her arms out in despair, and wailed "But then we can't play outside anymore again foreeeeever!" (really, I have no idea where she gets this dramatic flair...wink) She then remembered when we looked at the radar map a month ago, and excitedly said "Mama! I can help you measure how long its gonna rain! I can help you on the website!" (remember, she's 2 1/2...) I said, okay, we can go look at the map. We side up to the computer, pull up the website, and I show her the radar. Yikes. Big long thick band of red and yellow and greens coming out way. Pretty much coming everyone's way, that thing was huge! I told her what the colors meant and she's tracking it with her finger, a concentrated frown on her face. Then she announced (verbatim, I'm not kidding here) "All that rain is mighty dangerous! But we'll be safe in no time." Let's hope she's right ;) And if she ends up pursuing meteorology as a profession one day, I'm so telling this story to her boss.

Friday, April 01, 2011

More later

So I'll get back to blogging regularly next week! I have some stuff to finish up today for the conference I'm teaching tomorrow, and this is the first day in forever my little family is actually all home together :) Also, I'm still on a bit of a birthday cupcake high, so any deep thoughts are a little beyond me today. Stay tuned for next week for bday pics :) Have a great weekend!!