Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's the little things...

It's the little things in life, isn't it? Like the fact that I'm downright giddy about getting to go to Frozen Frog, a super fun self-serve yogurt place, later today with my Little Miss. The best part is, she thinks we're going for her ;) I get cool mom points AND delicious yogurt with all the toppings I am willing to pay for. hehehe.

What's your day booster? What's the "little things" for you?

For me, the list continues:

1. Fuzzy cozy socks
2. The gray Old Navy sweatshirt I stole from my husband when we were dating about 8 years ago.
3. A cold Diet Coke straight out of the fridge.
4. A text message from a friend
5. The smell of my cupcake Scentsy wafting through the house
6. The joy of knowing I just completed 3.5 miles and 365 calories on the Elliptical, and am alive to tell about it.
7. Late night TV I recorded and get to watch alone while Little Miss sleeps (The Bachelor, The Voice, American Idol, etc.
8. Sprinkles, on well, anything...

What's yours? :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

One to go!

One down, one to go!

I just finished speaking at the Christian Writer's Conference at Benton United Methodist this past Saturday, and it was really fun.

I absolutely love how no matter how far along you are in your career, how many books you have published, how often you teach about writing - you still learn something if you just open your mind to it. I personally came away from the conference ready to write on my new proposal and very inspired to try a new character development angle I'd never considered before (Thanks, Lynn Gentry!)

This upcoming weekend is a bigger conference, the local chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) - NOLA STARS. This is a two day event with appts with agents and editors from publishers like Bantam Dell and Sourcebooks, a silent auction, giveaways and door prizes, a multi-author booksigning with award-winning and New York Times listed authors, a fancy awards luncheon, a variety of workshops, a beautiful hotel, and fun networking. I'll be teaching a workshop on Subtexting - How to Say a Lot Without Saying Much At All. I can't wait! :)

If you're local, I highly recommend coming and signing up even though it's sort of last minute! There's still time. Google "2012 Nola Stars conference" and you'll find all the info! Late sign-up is $150, I believe. This includes two food receptions and a nice lunch. Hotel is extra.

Do you like to go to conferences? There's something so inspiring about thinking of nothing but writing for two days. Ahhhhh.....

Friday, February 24, 2012

In honor of the weekend...

This weekend I'm speaking at the one-day Christian Writers Conference at Benton United Methodist Church outside of town. I started writing my workshop and of course, I somehow incorporated a shoe metaphor into the teaching. This happens to me all the time, and without effort. I'm a little nervous about it, and so is my husband ;)

In honor of my upcoming workshop, I thought we should take a shoe quiz...

CLICK HERE to take it!

Here's my results!


You are both ambitious and passionate. You crave success, but you're going to become successful on your own terms.You are intense and over the top. You have a magnetic personality that others stop and notice.You are both exciting and intoxicating. You are definitely a whirlwind of excitement.You may worry about making an impression, but rest assured that no one ever forgets you.

Hmmm. Interesting.

What'd you get? :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Winter, winter, wherefore art thou Winter?

I mean really. Today is going to be 80 degrees! And stormy. This time a few years ago, it was snowing. That's about a 55-60 degree difference.

What is going on? Global warming? I truly hate to admit that Al Gore is correct about ANYTHING, but....seriously. I barely even got to wear my adorable orange peacoat I nabbed from Old Navy on clearance for $20 something! Sigh.

The really scary question is - what does this mean for summer? :::shudder:::

So anyway, I guess I'll be the one riding bikes with Little Miss today in shorts and flip flops. Or wearing a tank top to the gym and driving with the windows down.

Is anyone out there getting winter? Is there hope left at all?

I think I'm going to turn on the Christmas cartoons and just pretend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

That time of year...

It's that time of year! Spring is in the air (was winter ever even here?) and I'm teaching at two different (very different!) writing conferences over the next two weekends, and I'm really getting excited about it!!

The first is the 2012 Christian Writer's Conference at Benton United Methodist Church in Benton, Louisiana. Here's the link for info if you're interested in coming and live nearby!

It's a one-day conference, and I'll be teaching on writing YA. I went last April to it's first year (now annual!) and taught, and had a really great time. This is a sweet group of people, all varying levels of experience (from published authors to brand new aspiring authors!) and the conference had a great turn-out. I expect good things this year as well! They'll be an on-site bookstore, lunch, and a bunch of workshops covering a wide variety of writing for the Christian market.

The second conference is the 2012 NOLA STARS conference, another annual event that has been going on in Shreveport for several years. Here's the link:

This conference is put on by the North Louisiana chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and is a two-day event with opportunities to meet with editors and agents in the industry, learn the craft of writing, network, and more. I attended this conference twice and taught last year on Time Managment for the Busy Writer. This is a "secular" conference, and includes christian writers and other genres, even erotica. It definitely branches me out ;)

Check out the industry lineup!

Scott Eagan, Literary Agent, Greyhaus Literary Agency
Christina Hogrebe, Literary Agent, Jane Rotrosen Agency
Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor, Sourcebooks
Angela Polidoro, Editor, Bantam Dell
Lori Wilde, Editorial Director, Entangled Publishing, Indulgence line
Others TBA

This year I'll be teaching on the topic of "Subtexting". My workshop is titled "Subtexting: How to say a lot without saying much at all" and I'm really excited about it. I strongly believe subtexting is a fantastic way to really connect with your reader and draw them into your story - turning them from a reader to a participater.

Hope to see you there! (or at both!) :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Elliptical, check.

I'm starting my fourth week of working out regularly in the gym! Woot woot!

My fitness instructor said we'd re-measure me after six weeks, and I'm pretty eager to see how it's going. Two and a half weeks to go. I feel good about it - though sometimes it feels like 2 steps forward, 1 step back because working out so hard makes my appetite sky rocket and sort of puts that false sense of justification in your head on the weekends. (sort of like "I did the elliptical 4 times this week so I can eat 4 pieces of pizza"...yikes.)

But I've been going either 3 or 4 times a week for over an hour each time. Last week was only twice because I was sick and then was out of town, and the days just weren't available. But anything is better than nothing! That was my motto starting out and I want to encourage you with it too - if you think working out is pointless because you can't dedicate hours a day or even a week to it - you're wrong. Even ten minutes a day will benefit more than 0 minutes a day. Think about it! There's also something to be said about the endorphins.

I've been averaging 30 minutes/3 miles on the elliptical (we have such a love-hate relationship right now) and then 30 minutes on different weight machines, that cover all areas of the body.

Funny - I go to the gym full of dread knowing what's coming, dreading the sweat and the exhaustion and the panting - and leave feeling fantastic. It's definitely worth it. Even if I get re-measured in a few weeks and don't see the full results I had hoped, I know this is still a great thing I'm doing and I CAN see the difference, even if there won't be a bunch of set numbers to document it.

(PS - music really really helps while working out!)

How are you doing on your fitness goals this year? Or other non-health related New Years Resolutions?

Friday, February 17, 2012

When dreams come true...

So while we were at Disneyworld in late November, Little Miss and I stumbled into a fun store where the workers were dressed as old fashioned townspeople. Suddenly, the Fairy Godmother came over to us after we'd been there awhile, and knelt down in front of Little Miss with her wand. Very seriously, she told Little Miss "I have a fairy dust. Close your eyes and make a wish. Don't tell us what it is."

Little Miss squeezed her eyes shut and Fairy Godmother booped her over the head with her wand and said "Bippity Boppity Boo" and a few other things then fluttered off with a smile.

Little Miss was entranced, while I stood there both wondering how long it would take to get the glitter out of her hair (answer - 8 days) and filled with dread because of one tiny little word that whispered through Little Miss's lips...


Yep. She wished for a puppy. I was freaking out! How could I make that wish come true? I don't want a puppy, I already have a toddler! ha! We left and I figured she'd forget about it. I mean come on, she's 3.

Nope. Literally every few days for the following WEEKS Little Miss would randomly say "My wish didn't come true." I would remind her that it takes patience, and some wishes take longer to work than others (I didn't want to totally kill the magic! But I wasn't ready to break out the puppy diapers and dog collars either!)

Finally, one day recently, I realized that Little Miss didn't mean a real puppy. She meant a black stuffed animal puppy.


I got on Amazon, used the end of a gift card, and for $3 after that, bought a totally awesome stuffed black lab "Melissa and Doug" brand puppy, and had it mailed to the house with a note inside from the Fairy Godmother, addressed to Princess Audrey, explaining how her patience had worked and her wish came true.

It was priceless. She opened it last night at the fire station while visiting her daddy and was just elated. We got pictures which I'll post later, but the whole thing was just so totally sweet. She was so excited and had no trouble believing the fairies had finally made her wish come true. "Biscuit" is now a part of the family, and part of Little Miss's bedtime posse - and is apparently best friends with the pre-existing Gigi (the giraffe, who refuses to give up her spot as Ultimate Favorite)

It was a magical night. I love the childhood innocence and trust and full belief in what adults typically view as inconvenience or hassle (like glitter imbedded in one's scalp)

Makes me want to come to break out the fairy dust and come to God a little more childlike myself...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Fun stuff!

A really sweet author and an endorser for ADDSION BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, Laura Smith, interviewed me on her blog about my new YA release! Laura is such a great lady and a fabulous YA author herself.

Come check it out and be sure to answer her fun question at the end of the interview ;)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day insight...

Visit me today at GIRLS, GOD AND THE GOOD LIFE! And read my perspective on Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Lisa Wingate is my hero :)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blue Moon Bay
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Lisa Wingate


Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends. Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.


Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through. But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.

MY THOUGHTS - Not only is Lisa a fantastic person and sweet lady, she's an incredibly talented writer. I always look forward to her books and this one doesn't disappoint. I also enjoyed Lisa's older, more comical love stories from a few years back, such as TALK OF THE TOWN and WORD GETS AROUND. These new stories from Lisa that are set on Moses Lake are more womens' fiction in nature and much heavier content but still fabulous, deep stories of romance and personal growth, love and forgiveness, and grace. Lisa is a fantastic storyteller and you don't want to miss this one OR any of her backlist :)

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

Buy your copy HERE!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New addictions

So I've lately gotten hooked on The Voice. Who else watches this show?

I admit, I first tuned in because of all the hype on Facebook, and because I'm in a Blake Shelton kick right now because of my Miranda Lambert kick (long story! lol) So there you have it. But it's a great show, and as a regular Idol-watched, I enjoyed it. Word on the street is it's going to be better than Idol and increase in popularity, so we'll see.

I love how much of this kind of stuff is available to writers now as research. I know a lot of us use that as an excuse to procrastinate and NOT write, but seriously, the availability now to research a story or brainstorm new ideas or ask the infamous "what if" is really out there. I can't imagine how I would research a story if I didn't have Google...

What shows help you research your stories, if you're a writer? And if you're a reader, how does reality TV affect what you choose to read?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Great expectations... a really long, pretty good classic novel that I had to read in high school. But I'm talking about other expectations. ;)

When it comes to reading, what are your expectations? Do you have certain expectations from particular authors? Or from a publishing house?

I have to be honest, I recently read a book (that I won't name) that really caught me off guard. It was very amateurish in feel in many regards, but the publisher is a reputable one that usually publishes great works. I was very surprised. It didn't make me stop reading instantly, but I didn't enjoy the novel to the same degree that I enjoy literally every other one of this publisher's books, and had to force myself to continue at times. Have you ever experienced something like that?

In the writing industry, there is something known as "branding". That's where an author is supposed to be consistent and reliable to her/his readers and meet those expectations every time. It's what propels an author up the charts. Sometimes an author's brand can be their genre, but usually it's more than that. It's a promise, an identity of sorts that often times can't even be labeled. Some say Ted Dekker's brand is "rockstar". Others say that when you pick up a Brandilyn Collins novel, you're going to get a thrill ride of a read, high in suspense. When you pick up a Colleen Coble novel, you're going to get suspense and will usually get to see an animal as part of the cast too (she once did an entire series with an amazing search and rescue dog) Other brands can be more like setting. Robin Jones Gunn is becoming known for Hawaii, though I wouldn't necessarily say that's her brand. Still, you get the idea. Other authors are known for always incorporating a young child in their stories, or for providing a strong romance thread that makes you feel deeply (ala Nicholas Sparks)

Brands. Labels. Expectations. It sounds like a lot of work but its important your readers know what to expect. If Brandilyn Collins suddenly wrote a rich but tame romance, or Ted Dekker busted out with an Amish historical, well...readers would feel gipped.

I'm thinking a lot about expectations lately, and how they apply to my career. I'd love some feedback. What do you expect from a Betsy St. Amant novel? What do you know you'll get from my Love Inspired novels, or more recently, from my YA novels?

Thanks for letting me know! :)

Friday, February 03, 2012


So today is Friday. The weekend. Writing time! Woohoo!! And...I can barely move my arms. Or my legs, or booty, or knees. Or my right ankle. Or take deep breaths without feeling like my ribcage might break open.

Even yawning hurts! ha.

I'm somewhat sore. Let's just say that my working out this week and my fitness asessment with a personal trainer yesterday was.... ummmm .....productive :)


It'll get better. Right? Right?!?!!?

It will. And hey, barely being able to move is HUGE motivation to stay away from the chocolate and the ice cream sandwiches and the cupcakes. I never thought I'd say this but....ithey just might not be worth it.


How's your Friday? I'm off to finish a proposal! (assuming I can keep typing without doubling over) What are you doing?

Ouch. Pass the Diet Coke and Advil please!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Contest winner!

As I announced yesterday on Facebook, the contest winner for my Addison Blakely Picture Contest was.....



She's now the grand prize winner of a pair of fabulous Hello Kitty houseshoe boots (like Addison in the story) and a $25 gift card to her choice of Barnes & Noble or Amazon! Congrats Tonya!!

Thanks for playing, everyone. Stay tuned for new contests and giveaways! :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Another inspiring, hilarious read by Mary C.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In Too Deep
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Mary Connealy


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.


In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they'd planned.Ethan doesn't expect Audra to affect him so profoundly, and when she begins to, he's terrified of the pain he's felt before when someone he loved was seriously injured on his watch. He's determined that his new wife will do as he says so he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on their ranch. Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another--and they've done a poor job of it. Now she's planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way! What will it take to transform two wayward hearts fearful of getting in too deep into two trusting hearts ready to risk falling deeply in love?

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

Click HERE to purchase!

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