Friday, June 29, 2012

Finally home!

What a week! I just got home from a 5 day cruise to Progreso, Mexico and Cozumel. Pics and highlights of trip to come :)
Happy weekend!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Whatcha reading?

I just finished The Wedding Dress and then Alaskan Hearts, and now am reading through Karen Witemeyer's Short Straw Bride. Loving it so far!

Whatcha reading? Do you have a summer book-count goal? I used to before I got deadlines of my own. Now my goal is to turn in my manuscript on time (ideally early, as per my usual) which is mid-July. I'm writing THE RANCHER NEXT DOOR which releases spring 2013 from Love Inspired. Do you like hunky cowboy single dads? Then you'll love Brady ;)

So 'fess up! Whatcha reading? (And if its Fifty Shades of Gray, maybe don't tell me after all. LOL!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Contest!

Hey guys!

It's Summer. And its HOT. So I'm going to host a contest while we all sit around and fan ourselves senseless. ;)

I'm giving away a free autographed copy of ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK on my website! Just go visit and leave a comment on my guestbook there and you'll be entered to win! I'll do the drawing in early July so don't miss it! :)

(US entries only please)

Tell a friend!

Friday, June 22, 2012

A few good reads...

I have two excellent books you need to pick up this summer! :)

1. Teri Wilson's "ALASKAN HEARTS" from Love Inspired (her debut LI and its fabulous!)  Here's the back cover:

Former Alaskan sled-dog musher Ben Grayson is still grieving the tragic loss of his dog team. So much that he put the reins—and his dreams—away.

Now a photographer, Ben's covering the Gold Rush Trail sled-dog race. He's surprised his heart isn't more guarded around lovely journalist Clementine Phillips—until he learns that Clementine plans to handle a sled-dog team herself. Ben can't bear the thought of Clementine in danger.
So he comes up with a compromise—one to keep her close…forever.

2. Rachel Hauck's "THE WEDDING DRESS" from Thomas Nelson. (Wow! So amazing!) Here's the back cover.

Four brides. One Dress.
A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.
Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can't she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?
Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been "redeemed."

I left reviews of each on Amazon, but can't rave about them enough. If you're looking for something new for your hands, Kindle or Nook, don't miss either of these!!! :)

Happy reading!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer fun

I don't know if the calendar has offically marked the first day of Summer yet but here in north LA we felt like summer about 4 weeks ago. So I'm counting it official! Happy Summer! :)

And that being said, here's a fun summer quiz. What does your favorite summer activity say about you? Take it HERE!

Here's my results: YOU ARE UNIQUE

Because you are quiet and sweet, others tend to underestimate your abilities. You are a force.You enjoy your alone time, but you can also hang in a crowd... provided that it's the right crowd. You lay the groundwork for months or years before you act. You like to be completely and totally prepared.When you're allowed to do your own thing, you really shine. You need to be independent to thrive.
What'd you get? :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! (a day late) Oops. Hey, dads do a lot - they can be celebrated a few days in a row, right? ;)

What did everyone do to celebrate?

My husband had to work the fire station (what a hero!) but we celebrated the night before by going to dinner with all my family at a yummy place called The Real Pickle. Then on the actual day, we took him a few surprises at work including a lemon pudding whip cream pie.

(yes, part of my motivation was to make the pie, eat ONE piece, and get it OUT of the house. lol)

What makes the dad in your life special? I have the best daddy in the world, and I think one of his many fabulous attributes is simply his consistency. I never have to wonder if he's going to be there for me. What a blessing.

He also rarely complains. Has a heart for Christ. Is faithful to his family and his church. Unbelievably patient. He's a hard worker, has a sensitive spirit. "Still waters run deep". That's my daddy :)  Plus he has a knack for telling the most horrible pun-type jokes. hehehe.

My husband is a jewel of a dad to our Little Miss. He's adventureous with her where I'm careful, disciplines when I look the other way, and runs her ragged playing chase and other crazy throw-her-around games in the house while I'm hovering nearby with a pillow to catch her. hahaha. We rock a balance ;)   He's also fun, strong, solid, and dependable, and the best part is, even at the age of 3 she KNOWS he loves her unconditionally. What a gift :)

Happy Father's Day, dads!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Take no prisoners

This week is my "take no prisoners" week at the gym. The countdown to my cruise-vacay with Hubby is officially on!

Which is probably why I did "supermans" in the gym this morning until my back cramped. I think I have a problem. lol

But there will be midnight pizza buffets on board, so......yeah.

How's your Friday? ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Can't wait!!!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Short-Straw Bride
Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)
Karen Witemeyer


Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.

After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.

Karen is living her dream by writing Christian historical romance novels for Bethany House.


 No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

if you would like to read the first chapter of Short-Straw Bride, go HERE.

I didn't get to read this one yet, but I'm SO EXCITED to because I love all of Karen's books. I know this one will be another winner and I can't wait until I get to it in my currently To Be Read pile...that sort of mirrors the leaning tower of Pisa. Sigh. Too many books not enough time....But if you have time, don't miss this story! Or any of the others in Karen's historical line. :)  TRUST ME!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Visit me today at

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shocked beyond belief

We've all heard the phrase "shocked beyond belief". I've always appreciated the phrase, after all, it's catchy. Powerful. Sounds good on your lips. But I've never understood it.

Until Sunday.

Sunday, I was for the first time, actually, truly, literally shocked beyond belief. As in, I did not believe the words the other person told me. They didn't make sense. They didn't match up with anything I knew in my world. I. Could. Not. Believe. It. They might as well have said "smarhafloogen". Or "gypsy cloud pyramid with sprinkles on top".

That's how much sense it made at the time.

Unfortunately, I can't share the details of the incident. But I still wanted to blog about it for both release and to commiserate with others who have been in that terribly awkward, uncomfortable, maybe even dire, situation of being shocked beyond belief.

Have you ever been? And if so, can you share the details? I understand if not. Trust me! Thankfully, my situation resolved and no one was harmed or injured or anything permanent in that regard. Thank God for His mercy.  But for one very, very long day, I was truly shocked beyond belief.

I'm thinking that'd make a great book title ;)

I do know that I will never use that phrase loosely again! And if you've even been in that situation, that hopeless feeling of "wow. I don't get this. This doesn't make sense in my world" - I'm sorry. And I hope you have the happy(er) ending that we did.

Thankfully we know know and can rest in the truth that God is never shocked. He didn't bat an eyelash (does God have eyelashes?) at what knocked my world off center for 24 hours. He knew it was coming and knew the results and knew what to do along the way. Not an ounce of anxiety from Heaven.

I didn't have a clue, though, hence the 1.5 lbs lost in one day and an entire box of Kleenex used up - but He knew. And I trusted that, and still do in the aftermath.

Please trust the One that we can never surprise. God's got this, friend. Just let Him know you trust Him and He'll see it through.

And who knows, you might even laugh over it one day :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

New entry!

Hey friends! My monthly column ON GOOD GIRLS is up at Nicole O'Dell's fabulous "Choose Now" ministry website.

Head on over and check it out, along with a wealth of other knowledge for both teens and parents. We've got some great topics over there! Recommend to a teen in your life.

Topics for teens:

Worship and Warfare
Reinventing Yourself
Girl Talk
On Good Girls
Teen Writing

And more! :)

Friday, June 08, 2012

Isn't it ironic?

So I found a website of bizarre and wacky holidays, and do you know what today is? Best Friend's Day!
It's also Name Your Poison Day.
That got me thinking about friendships, obviously. How the Bible says in the book of James that our tongues are full of deadly poison. Yikes.
Our words have power, friends - not just the written word, but the spoken as well. Are you using your words to uplift and edify your friends? Or are you more quick to spew poison when you get angry or defensive or feel misunderstood?
I think we're all guilty of both. We sincerely try for the first and all too often defaul to the latter.
Today let's make an effort together to put that poison away and focus on our friends and our loved ones, and on saying something NICE.  :)

Isn't it Ironic?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A debut novel that reads like a pro...

I knew Katie Ganshert was going to be a hit the minute I first met her at a writer's conference. She was young, cute, overflowing with enthusiasm and hope and faith, and was sweet enough to buy my novel there and have me sign it.

Now, she's still young, cute, and overflowing with enthusiasm, hope and faith, but she's also become a successful author with a contracted series. I could be biased and say she deserves it because of how sweet and fun she is as a person - but that's just not true. She does for those reasons, but trust me when I say her writing style is what goes the extra mile. It's rare to find writing this lyrical and beautiful, and with characters so relatable and well-developed. Add in a solid plot and ta-da! Fantastic book.

Here's the info:

Wildflowers from Winter

A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.

Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.
For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she’s not even sure exists?

Some reviews I've seen on Amazon have complained about heroine Bethany's attitude and heart during the story making her unlikable. I think Ganshert did a fantastic job though with the character arc, bringing Bethany into a well planned 180 that leaves her lingering in a reader's mind and fingering pearls of wisdom in her wake.

The hero was hunky and a cowboy and all things a hero should be - charming, sinful, humble, arrogant, stubborn, generous, sweet, hard, and honest - in other words, real. No perfect people here, folks. And that's how the best stories are told.

I have to admit, I cried about 4 times during this story. It's not a light read, nor one you'll quickly forget. It covers hard topics and was told so realistically that I would have thought Ganshert lived through the experiences herself if I hadn't known better. Rarely has a novel gutted me so thoroughly! But in a way that inspired and uplifted, as hard as that is to believe. Just read it and you'll understand ;)
Congrats, Katie, for a debut novel that reads like it was your 100th book. I'm already ready for the sequel!! :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Snow White & The Huntsman

We saw Snow White & The Huntsman on a date last weekend, and one word - WOW.

I came away from it with several thoughts.

1. Some parents ignore PG-13 labels.

One idiot couple (sorry, but it's true. Parents like this make me MAD) brought their 5 or 6 year old little girl in there. I wanted to tap them on the shoulder on the way out and say "Excuse me, you might as well sign her up for therapy now and put a sleeping bag next to your bed because she's going to be disturbed for life, afraid to sleep for weeks and will probably never set foot in Disney World." UGH.

2. Kristen Stewart can actually act (to a degree).

Twilight never really gave her a chance, but she does possess some acting skills (again, to a degree). At least she got a chance to try in this film. I liked her.

3. Charlize Theron makes a wicked awesome villian.

I was terrifed of her. And her obsession with hearts. (yuck. Several eye-closing scenes here) But what was really neat I noticed the writers did was the development of her character. As vile as she was, we actually respected her and understood her because they showed us WHY she had become the way she was. Sympathy for the villian! Nice! We got more of her backstory and motivation than we did Snow White's. (Again, Kristen Stewart keeps getting the shaft. She did decently representing pureness and light despite her opposite type roles in previous films, but I BET there could have been a better choice out there. Like, maybe Amanda Seyfried in a black wig)

4. Disney seriously redeemed a ton of fairy tales.

All the original ones, like Grimms, etc. are pretty dark, which this movie portayed, so yay Disney for making fairy tales fun. This was the real version of Snow White, in my opinion, but definitely not child-castle-cotton-candy-friendly.

5. I still get panicked when I miss curfew, just like I did as a teenager.

We got a babysitter (::AHEM:: to parents in #1) and I told my mom we should be back by 9:40 to get her. I thought the movie was 1 1/2 hours, and when we got out, we visited with a friend for a moment then started for our car. I asked Hubby what time it was and....10:30. I about freaked. Thankfully my parents had been having fun with Little Miss and didn't even really notice, but I still felt bad. Turned out I read the movie time of 127 minutes to mean about 47 minutes less than it meant. This is why I don't do math, folks.

Have you seen it? What'd you think?

Monday, June 04, 2012

A little something about Dads

I've been thinking about Father's Day coming up. I can't believe we're already into June. Wow! Here comes the heat. Watch out Louisiana!

Dads are pretty awesome. I think they should get 2 days a year. Especially those who not only work hard to provide for their kids but still find the time to play with them and help raise them too. It's a tough balance, and one I respect! Little Miss is so blessed that her daddy works two jobs but still plays with her, buys her Icees, takes her to Bass Pro and on Daddy-dates, and loves her enough to discipline her even when that means being "the bad guy" during part of his limited time with her. What a man!

I had an amazing Dad myself growing up, and still do - which is funny since a lot of the heroines in my books somehow end up having daddy-issues. This is SO not intentional. lol I think it happens that way because of the natural conflict it brings, not because of anything from my own life. Quite the opposite :)  The father relationship is so important in a child's life, no matter what age, no matter what gender. I think that's why it often pops up in fiction stories.

What about you? Did you have a good father growing up? Is the father of your children awesome? Blessings to those who are, and for those who struggle, God gives us grace.

And remember, for those who lost a father or never really had one - God Himself is our Heavenly Father, who will NEVER leave us or forsake us. We can count on Him even when our earthly dads fail. God never fails. God is love. And He loves YOU. Unconditionally.

I hope this Father's Day you'll have a good experience celebrating with the dads in your life, but if you don't (and even if you do) remember to hang out with your Heavenly Dad. He loves times with us.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Dance pics!!

I know I promised Dance Recital pics of my Little Miss, but it would take forever to load them to the blog. So click below instead and view my Facebook album :)  

So fun! She already can't wait for next Fall's new class! :)