Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So in writing, what is your troublemaker?

It seems every writer has a spot in a manuscript they struggle with. The first pages? The sagging middle? The climatic ending? The wrap-up? Where do you struggle the most, and why?

Some writers have a hard time figuring out how to start the story. I know a ton of authors who write the first chapter and then completely redo it once they get halfway through the book, because by then, they know their characters better and know how the story really should start.

Other authors struggle with the sagging middle - keeping it interesting halfway through the book. For suspense writers, this can be easily solved by throwing in a red herring or a dead body. For romance writers, well, that could shake up the plot in a bad way ;) Still, adding more conflict, even emotional conflict, can really up the stakes halfway through.

I tend to struggle most toward the end - maybe the last 4-5 chapters. Not because I don't know whats going to happen, because I do (I"m a plotter, and I have a synopsis that is usually somewhat detailed) but because typically at this stage, the story is "done" in my head and I am itching to move on to my next project, that's new and exciting again and not "worn out" in my mind. This is where discipline and focus come in (and prayer!) to push me through the end and make the story wrap up in the way it's been building all along.

So where is your trouble spot? What element of a novel is your troublemaker? And how do you handle it?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fun in the sun...

Here's a few fun moments from our beach trip with Little Miss and our good friends the other week! :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer update

So how is your summer going?

I'm finally feeling caught up after vacation last week. It's one of those things where you have to put so much on hold to go, that when you get back, you're swamped with responsibilities and need another immediate vacay!! But it was a nice, much needed, break! :) We had fun.

I'm working hard now on finishing my contracted manuscript, HER FAMILY WISH, for Love Inspired, due to my editor July 18th, releasing April 2012. I have about 5 chapters left to write, and 3 weeks to do it. Definitely manageable, but a little difficult with my toddler to chase, my house to run, my Forum newspaper articles to write (also under deadline) and my part time job to work. Not to mention my responsibilities/job as a List Hostess for the ACFW (the big writer's loop I'm a part of. Never heard of it? Visit and get connected now! Wonderful organization!) There's also my getting copy edits of my upcoming January 2012 release of ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK back to my editor at Barbour before July 8th - not to mention running my editing service and assisting clients there.

Whew. That's a lot. Thankfully, I'm a firm believer in Philippians 4:13 ;)

And guess what? Tonight is family night! Yay! Hubby is taking his two best girls (ahem - me and Little Miss) out for pizza and shopping. I can't wait. I mean, seriously - there is no better motivation to get work done than the thought of yummy, greasy, drippy pepperonis at the end of the day.

So what about you? What deadlines are you under? Or are you taking the summer off? What projects do you have going on right now? Any vacays in sight?

PS - I'm getting really excited to see my author copies of FIREMAN DAD arrive on my doorstep any day now. Woohoo! It releases August 1st, and I'll be doing a booksigning at Barnes & Noble August 5th, and yes...there will be firemen there ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A little something different...

I was recently given the opportunity to review a book of devotions for homeschooling mothers, and even though I don't typically blog on non fiction or devotionals, I eagerly jumped at the chance. See, I was homeschooled the majority of mychildhood and youth (4th-8th grade, then again from 11-12th) and am considering homeschooling my daughter one day in the future. So this really got my attention.

And guess what ? This sweet book does NOT disappoint. It's full of catchy tidbits, sound wisdom, Scripture, and real life, heartwarming stories that truly inspire, encourage, and invigorate. These short devo's are typically one page, so they're very quick to read for busy moms-on-the-go, yet linger in your heart all day...

Here's the info and product description for SCHOOL IS WHERE THE HOME IS by Anita Mellott

An estimated 2 million children are homeschooled in the United States. This is a devotional for those dedicated parents. Mellott’s 180 anecdotal devotionals explore specific homeschooling issues and present biblical truths to guide parents through challenging times.

Themes include:

Homeschool Basics—fundamentals such as obedience to the call, prioritizing, decision-making

Homeschool and You—how homeschooling affects the primary educator (and vice versa)

Homeschool and Family—juggling parenting, marriage, education, and domestic life

Gifts We Give Our Children—intangible gifts, from a godly heritage to freedom to pursue their dreams

And A Child Will Lead them—discovering life and faith though our child’s eyes

Spiritual Vitamins: inspiration for Christian life, addressing fear, faith, prayer, and more

Faith of Their Own—intentional discipleship that nurtures children in their own faith

School Is Where the Home Is presents a unique blend of the practical and inspirational for today’s homeschooling parents.

You can buy your copy HERE! Moms, you won't regret it :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just for kicks...

What Crafty Hobby Should You Pick Up?

I saw this quiz and couldn't resist because I posted on Scribble Chicks last week ( about what we would do if writing didn't exist. What hobby would we pursue? Scrapbooking, cooking, dancing, etc.

Take the quiz HERE!

My results: (sort of funny!!)

You are very private, but you aren't aloof. You just have a well developed inner world.You spend a lot of time thinking by yourself. It helps to get your thoughts down on paper.You are an idealistic soul. You have noble ideas about the world. You are a natural writer of all sorts. You are equally suited writing essays, journals, and fiction.

Haha! Without being conceited at all, the above is very accurate for me! Pretty cool. What'd you get? :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

That's When I Talk to Dan & Ali Morrow

I loved this book! And so did my daughter, who isn't even 3 yet.

I requested to review it because of her, and after only reading it once, it made an impact. She began saying her nightly prayers differently, and after reading it again a few days later, really seemed to grasp it. She began praying outloud in the car, or telling me not to be upset about something because God helps us :)

It's so sweet how the Holy Spirit can move in our hearts, even at such a young age if we're just open to it.

Here's the info!

A little girl discovers that prayer is more than a bedtime ritual; she can talk to God anytime, in any place, and about any thing.

As a little girl says her bedtime prayers, her mother asks a simple question that sparks a powerful discovery: “You know we can pray to him any time we want to, right?” With that, the little girl suddenly finds things to talk to God about everywhere—in her garden, in a friend’s backyard, and on the soccer field. The girl’s prayer life will never be the same.

That’s When I Talk to God is a sweet story that will deepen the prayer lives of children four to eight. This charmingly illustrated tale steps beyond explaining prayer and models constant communication with God.

About the Authors

Dan and Ali Morrow teach their two daughters about prayer from their Colorado home, where adventures in the mountains offer lots of inspiration for prayer. They are the authors of That’s Where God Is. Ali also writes women’s fiction, maintains a blog, and pens a newsletter for her fans.

Me again! So, bottom line - I really recommend this book for children, even toddlers! It seems to have a big impact :) The age suggestion on the book is 4-9 but I feel that younger is just as effective.

You can buy your copy HERE!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Biblical fiction at its finest...

About the book: A Reluctant Queen

An inspiring re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity. More here.

About Joan:

Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut , where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals. Joan is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest.”

For more about Joan and her other books, please visit

Click to buy this fantastic novel HERE!

To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant Queen, Joan and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

Joan will be wrapping up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends!

Want to know what others are saying about Reluctant Queen? Check out the blog tour schedule HERE!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Toes in the sand...

Yeah, I'm pretty much HERE so...see ya next week! ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Sweetest Thing is one sweet read...

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Sweetest Thing
• Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Elizabeth Musser

I LOVED this book! I highly recommend. It was so unique, both in plot and character development. If you've ever had a best friend, you've gotta read this... :)


Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, studied English and French literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence,

France. During her Senior year at Vanderbilt, she attended a five-day missions conference for students and discovered an amazing thing: God had missionaries in France, and she felt God calling her there. After graduation, she spent eight months training for the mission field in Chicago, Illinois and then two years serving in a tiny Protestant church in Eastern France where she met her future husband.

Elizabeth lives in southern France with her husband and their two sons. She find her work as a mother, wife, author and missionary filled with challenges and chances to see God’s hand at work daily in her life. Inspiration for her novels come both from her experiences growing up in Atlanta as well as through the people she meets in her work in France. Many conversations within her novels are inspired from real-life conversations with skeptics and seekers alike.

Her acclaimed novel, The Swan House, was a Book Sense bestseller list in the Southeast and was selected as one of the top Christian books for 2001 by Amazon's editors. Searching for Eternity is her sixth novel.


Compelling Southern Novel Explores Atlanta Society in the 1930s.

The Singleton family’s fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri—along with the other girls at Atlanta’s elite Washington Seminary—lives a life of tea dances with college boys and matinees at the cinema. When tragedy strikes, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

At the insistence of her parents, Mary ‘Dobbs’ Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary. Dobbs, passionate, fiercely individualistic and deeply religious, enters Washington Seminary as a bull in a china shop and shocks the girls with her frank talk about poverty and her stories of revival on the road. Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri’s ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women—opposites in every way—fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change. Just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri's well-ordered life, friendship blossoms--a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets...

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

Buy your copy HERE!

And contact Elizabeth or learn more about her writing and her novels HERE!

Scribble Chicks

Visit me today at SCRIBBLE CHICKS!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The great debate...

And I don't mean over creation vs. evolution.

Or plastic vs. paper.

Nope! I mean...


Twitter vs. Facebook.

Haha! But seriously! There is such debate over which online networking community is the most effective or the most fun or the most convenient or the fastest or the most read or most popular, etc. etc. etc.

Probably even a lot more "etc.'s" than that!

I have a Twitter account, but I think I posted last a few months ago. And the time before that was a few months ago too. I lost interest, because several times when I tried to sign in, the network was full. Overloaded. Wouldn't let me in! That's just crazy! So I gave up. I'm debating getting back involved, but really, who has the time, and how important can it be? I have friends on FB, and blog followers, and a professional website that stays maintained - isn't that enough?

I honestly don't know. Some marketing gurus might tell me otherwise, but as an author (who strives to be logical though sometimes fails...) I think eventually, you just have to write. Quit acting like an author and just BE one. Write. Write. Write.

And not necessarily status updates ;)

What is your stand on the topic?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Proper Wife by Winnie Griggs

Sensible, Settled, Steady…

And not Sadie Lassiter. Eli Reynolds knows what he wants in a wife, and the flighty Texas girl couldn't be further from the mark. Eli has his nine-year-old sister's welfare to consider—Penny deserves a mother who will give her proper care. But when bad weather strands Eli and Sadie together, he sees a new side to her character. She's rash—but also resourceful. Instead of discipline, she has diligent faith. Her housekeeping skills are lacking, but she's filled with humor and sweetness. She may not be a "proper" wife, but to save her reputation—and to take a chance on happiness he'd never expected to find—Eli will take her as his bride.

I loved this book! Winnie wrote a lovely historical with compelling characters that couldn't be more opposite from each other. Their bad circumstances leads to a marraige neither of them would have chosen - but proving that God's ways are higher than ours, and He truly has our best interets at heart - even when it appears all is falling apart!

Don't miss this fun story of love and faith set in a small Texas town in 1893. Get your copy HERE!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Inspiring, yet not inspirational...

I just finished reading Lenora Worth's BECAUSE OF JANE, and man, I loved it! The characters were relatable, vivid, three dimensional, and their chemistry quite sizzling ;) I've never read a story about a life coach before! Throw in a washed up football player (that's still in great shape) and a vintage farmhouse and welll - you get a really fun read!!!

What really struck me about this novel though was its heart. Lenora wrote for the secular market a long time ago, but has been continuously writing for the inspirational market for YEARS after making that decision to follow her faith. YEARS. (not that you're old, Lenora. I'm pretty sure when it came to shoe shopping, you'd totally have me in regards to endurance...hehe) But this novel isn't published via Love Inspired, Lenora's typical market (and my own) but rather Harlequin's line titled Super Romance.

Super Romances vary in degrees of sensuality, and what I loved about this story the most was the balance Lenora struck in telling the story she wanted to tell, but not crossing any lines that her own faith would convict. I know what a struggle it is to stay true to the story and the characters all while staying true to yourself, and Lenora struck gold. Kudos!

I hope that non-inspirational readers will become fans of Lenora after reading BECAUSE OF JANE and then cross over to read Christian fiction for the first time, maybe with new eyes.

Anyway...Christian or not, fans of inspy books or not, you'll love BECAUSE OF JANE! :)

Back Cover:

Jane Harper has landed the job of a lifetime. The supporting team around Lenny Paxton is desperate to get the star quarterback on the gridiron again. If she can convince him where everyone else has failed, this life coach will finally get the recognition she deserves.
But a high-profile case like this isn't without its pitfalls. The biggest being Lenny. He's stubbornly refusing her efforts, and since they're on his turf, he has home-field advantage. Worse, the spark of attraction between them is very distracting. Good thing Jane is as determined to succeed as he is to resist.

Find your copy here!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Park Day!

Yay! I'm heading to the park!

Our church is having a kid's ministry morning at the park with a picnic lunch included, and I can't wait! Hubby is actually off work and able to come with us for once, so I'm looking forward to some good family time on the slides. And the swings. And the monkey bars, and the ball field, and the water fountain, and.... :)

Hope you have a great day as well!

PS - Baby, it's HOT outside! 100 degrees around these parts...shudder. I think sunscreen will be a major part of our day!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Lady of Bolton Hill

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Lady of Bolton Hill
Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Elizabeth Camden

I'm still reading this one, but so far I'm loving it! The characters are very relatable and three dimensional, and I'm really hoping they get together ;)

I love stories of childhood friends turned romance later in life. So far, this one has not disappointed in the least! And good grief, the cover is beautiful!! I want that dress! :)


A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida. A word from Elizabeth: I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.As for who I am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.


Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American-born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London's poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face-to-face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel's success is fueled by resentment from past wounds and Clara's deeply-held beliefs about God's grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara's very life is endangered by one of Daniel's adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen. When Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain's worlds collide after twelve years apart, the spark that was once between them immediately reignites into a romance neither of them thought possible.But time has changed them both.Daniel is an industrial titan with powerful enemies. Clara is an idealistic journalist determined to defend underprivileged workers.Can they withstand the cost of their convictions while their hearts, and lives, hang in the balance?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lady of Bolton Hill, go HERE.

Buy your copy HERE!!

Monday, June 06, 2011

My ceiling fan is black...

Sometimes, you just gotta put everything else aside and clean the ceiling fan blades!

Today is just such a day. The fan blades in my bedroom are black. We leave that fan on 24/7 so its hard to notice/care. But now I'm wondering how many dust molecules I'm inhaling every night while I sleep! It's plaguing me. You know, I probably haven't dusted that fan since we moved here.

3 years ago, almost to the week.


So, today is cleaning day. Baseboards, sinks, fan blades, etc. - all the little places you tend to ignore while preferring the more generic dusting and vacumming.

Thankfully, I have a handy little curly-haired helper who is a whiz with a dustpan, short broom, and Swiffer duster. ;)

Somewhere around all those chores and laundry, I'll make progress on my novel due July 18th, turn in two articles for the newspaper I freelance for, and get a shower before heading to my women's night at church.

Okay, stop the betting pool!! I WILL do it. lol

What about you? What have you been avoiding cleaning wise?

Friday, June 03, 2011

I could SO use a purple room right now...

I saw this quiz and thought it sounded fun, as the wiry little hands of Spring Cleaning have officially wrapped a tight grasp around my throat. I actually just cleaned out and reorganized the linen closet before writing this blog...

Painting would be fun. Right now, sounds like a lot of fun! Which room would you redo, and what color?

Take the quiz to get started ;)

(and husbands, I apologize in advantage if this quiz makes wives nationwide come to you and demand a roller and high gloss)


My results:

You Should Paint Your Room Purple

Sophisticated and exotic, purple can also be a deeply comforting color.Your purple room will inspire you to trust yourself more and go with your intuition. Purple has also been known to facilitate healing and a feeling of protection.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A return to Deep Haven....

My Foolish Heart
A Deep Haven novel

Read an excerpt!


Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she’s never really done either. Issy’s ratings soar when it seems she’s falling in love on-air with a caller. A caller she doesn’t realize lives right next door. Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast. Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host—and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . or the one next door?

Betsy here - I LOVED this book. And not just because I'm a rabid Susie-fan and we share a penchant for awesome shoes, though that probably doesn't hurt. No, it's just because Susie, yet again, hit one out of the park. Oops, probably shouldn't use baseball metaphors for a book so filled with football...hmm...

I feel like I've been with Susie from the beginning of her writing journey, because I started reading her books so many years ago. To say Susie has gotten better with each book almost feels like an insult because she started out so fabulously...!! But she really has. She's gone from super-talented to super-hero author. I still think of the characters from the Russian series she co-wrote with Susan Downs like they were real friends...

Okay, now I'm gushing, but come on now , isn't she cute? :)

Seriously guys, check this novel out. Download it, buy it, borrow it (don't steal it) and give it a whirl. It's a return to Deep Haven, where Susie had several other contemporary romances set back in the day, which I also loved! You don't have to read the other books to enjoy this one, but after you get a taste of Deep Haven, I bet you will anyway!

You can buy this book HERE

And check these opportunities out!!!

Button: Win a Romantic Night on the Town from Miss Foolish Heart!

SMW Miss Foolish Heart Giveaway

HTML Giveaway Post: Win a Romantic Night on the Town from Miss Foolish Heart!

Susan May Warren is thrilled to announce the release of her latest Deep Haven book, My Foolish Heart!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

To celebrate this charming novel about a dating expert who's never had a date, Susan has put together a romantic night on the town for one lucky couple. One grand prize winner will receive a Miss Foolish Heart prize package worth over $200!

The winner of the Romantic Night on the Town Prize Pack will receive:

* A $100 Visa Gift Card (For Dinner)

* A $100 Gift Certificate to a Hyatt/Marriott Hotel

* The entire Deep Haven series

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on June 16th. The winner will be announced that evening during Susan’s Miss Foolish Heart Party on Facebook! Susan will be chatting with guests, hosting a book club chat about My Foolish Heart, testing your Deep Haven trivia skills, and giving away tons of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books, donuts, and more!) Don't miss the fun and BRING YOUR FRIENDS!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Happy reading! Tell Caleb hi for me ;)