Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Count Your Blessings

This song played through my mind last week when I'd not yet watched White Christmas, or heard the song on the radio or Pandora. If only...

Count Your Blessings was as popular as Santa Baby this year! Can I call a moratorium on that song? Just me...

I closed worship Sunday with this song. "When I'm worried, and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep..."

It was a lovely way to end a morning of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ than to "count our blessings."

Tony and I have been extremely blessed this year. Last Thanksgiving while riding my bike before joining friends for dinner, I had a JOY attack. As I pedaled, waves of joy swelled in my heart. I'd laugh. I'd cry. I'd laugh again.

I had no idea the blessings coming to us this year. A new house with an amazing office for Tony and me. I have the "tower," he has the "dungeon." ;)

We cleared our debt and a friend's.

In the fall I was offered a new 3-book contract from Zondervan that miraculously matched my writing goals. I'm so humbled and honored.

I finally purchased an iMac.

Family and friends flooded in for visits. Friends from New York, our girl Carrie Campbell, Tony's brother and his family, our girl Cassie Campbell visited with a friend. Then my brother came with his wife and kids. And last but not least, my mom came for a very fun week.

I had a fun few days brainstorming with fab writers in Vero Beach.

Through it all, Tony and I have a general feeling of grace and well-being. Despite the economy, despite missed paychecks and other reductions in pay along with our living expenses going up a tad with the new home, we've lacked for nothing.

The Lord blessed in other ways. My writing income is increasing, and while a writers paycheck can be very unstable, this year birthed in my heart a greater reality that God can and will meet our needs.

I'm grateful, blessed, and so honored to be walking this journey with my husband and family, called and loved by Jesus. Honored to walk this with you.

I know, I've turned into a horrible blogger, so thank you for those of you who hang in there with me. I count YOU in my blessings.

So, what blessings are you counting this year? Let's purpose to be grateful and full of JOY.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Count Your Blessings

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting smallI think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings."

Cole Porter had it right. We can't worry, we have to count our blessings. In a way -- though I'm not sure of Mr. Porter's spiritual beliefs -- he wrote a song out of Philippians 4.

Paul, the apostle, wrote, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving in your heart, let your request be made know to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

Isn't that amazing? God, the Father, guards our hearts and minds with peace. It surpasses all "comprehension." Meaning, we can't understand it but boy howdy, we can go for it!

Porter to put music, "think on these things..."

There is no except to the rule. We can all live out what Paul is admonishing us to do. We just have to take our thoughts, and our emotions, captive.

This has been an amazing year for Tony and me. We started off the year just asking God to make His will for us known. We talked a lot about what was, what is, and what is to come in regards to our lives and ministry. His career. My career.

Then in March, God began to move. And speak. Things we'd said to each other were repeated back to us by a man of God. I knew then, "God listens," and I'll tell you, it put a holy fear in my bones.

A prayer I whispered at my dining room table was answered within four days when friends of our came to us with an amazing offer to by their house. We've been so blessed by this place it is starting to be a part of my DNA how good and great God is.

The house was really an answer to our prayer about finances. A crazy, wild, totally God answer. I would have never imagined a new home with a cool office as His answer to our financial prayer.

Toward the summer, I began to seek God about my writing. Go on, stop, hold the line? He began to open doors and present opportunities.

It's not all perfect. Church offerings fell off during the fall and all the pastors missed a few paychecks. Our washer broke. Had to get a new one. Tony ended up teaching one less class this year, so his salary was reduced.

With the new place, some of our living expenses went up a bit. Yet we've lacked for nothing! We have more than we need. And shoot, a good bit of what we want. How amazing is God?

I count my blessings. This Christmas, I want to be about gratitude, thankfulness, reflecting on my mighty, mighty God who loves me. And He loves you.

That's what Christmas is at the core: God becoming man because He loves us.

His Holiday Family by Margaret Daley

Please welcome my friend and ACFW President, Margaret Daley. Looks like she's at it again with another entertaining, and delightful release!

MD: When I decided to write a series about a town that goes through a hurricane, I wanted to give tribute to all the people who have gone through a disaster and rebuilt their lives. This series was written for the heroes and heroines who help others in a time of disaster.

Blurb for His Holiday Family by Margaret Daley:

When Hurricane Naomi tears through a small Mississippi town, a daring rescue unites two heroes. Nurse Kathleen Hart is a single mom racked by guilt over her husband's death. Firefighter Gideon O'Brien—orphaned as a young boy—has lost too many people he cared for. To rise above the storm's devastation, Gideon helps Kathleen and her sons rebuild their home. As Christmas approaches, they discover that even the strongest of storms can't destroy a romance built on the foundation of faith.

Excerpt from His Holiday Family:

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Gideon O'Brien hopped down from Engine Two and assessed the chaos in front of him. Strapping on his air pack, he started toward his captain. A hand gripped his arm and stopped his forward progress. He turned toward the blonde woman who held him, her large blue eyes glistening with tears. She looked familiar, but he couldn't place where he knew her from. His neighbor's daughter, perhaps?

"My two sons and my cousin—their babysitter—must still be inside. I don't see them outside with the other tenants." Her voice quivered. She tightened her hand on his arm and scanned the crowd. "I'm Kathleen Hart. My sons are Jared and Kip. I tried Sally's cell but she didn't answer. Please get them out." A tear slipped down her cheek.

"Where are they?" Gideon moved toward his captain, his palm at the small of her back, guiding her in the direction he wanted her to go. Yes, he realized, she was his neighbor Ruth Coleman's daughter.

"Sally's second-floor apartment is on the east side, the fourth one down on your right. Number 212. Hurry." Her round eyes fastened on the fire consuming the three-story apartment building on Magnolia Street.

Gideon paused in front of Captain Fox. "Mrs. Hart says her sons and babysitter are still inside. Pete and I can go in and get them." He looked toward the west end of the large structure where the men of Engine One were fighting the flames eating their way through the top level. "There's still time."

"Okay." His captain surveyed the east end. "But hurry. It won't be long before this whole building goes up."

The scent of smoke hung heavy in the air. The hissing sound of water hitting Magnolia Street Apartments vied with the roar of the blaze.

Gideon turned toward the mother of the two boys. "We'll find them." He gave her a smile then searched the firefighters for Pete.

When Gideon found him a few feet away, he covered the distance quickly. "Let's go. There are three people trapped on the second floor. East end."

At the main entrance into the building Gideon fixed his mask in place, glancing back at the blonde woman standing near his captain. He had seen that same look of fear and worry many times over his career as a firefighter. He wouldn't let anything happen to her sons and Sally.

Gideon switched on his voice amplifier and headed into the furnace with Pete following close behind him. Through the thick cloud suspended from the ceiling in the foyer, the stairs to the second floor loomed. Crouching, he scrambled up the steps. The higher he went, the hotter it became.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

French Toast or Cinnamon Streusele Muffins

My dear sister-in-law made these for Thanksgiving week at my mom's and they were yummy.

Check out her web site, Simply Homemade Chef, for more awesome recipes. She's a nutrition expert and personal chef. Soooo proud....

These have made an appearance twice in the past week. Of course, they are best fresh out of the oven but re-heat nicely with a steaming mug of coffee. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Streuseled Muffins (adapted from Velvet Lava Cafe)
Yield: ~8-10 muffins

1/3 c.unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg (preferably room temperature)
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium-large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined, but still a bit lumpy. Don't overmix. Pour the 1/2 tsp cinnamon onto the batter, use a knife to swirl through. Using a spoon, scoop batter into muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they just start to turn a bit golden at the edges.

For the topping, mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place melted butter in another small bowl. Dip the warm muffins in melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar. These will melt in your mouth!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

40 Ways To Get Closer To God by Jerry MacGregor

My agent and friend, Chip MacGregor recently released his own non fiction work, 40 Ways To Get Closer To God.

Co-written with Keri Kent, Chip, writing under the name Jerry MacGregor, (not to be confused with Jerry Maguire) writes plainly and straight forward about a life in God.

From his blog:

"But let me warn you: if you read this book, you're not going to glow in the dark. It's not one of those, "I worked to be perfect... now YOU can be perfect like me" type of books. Those books always make me want to vomit. Besides, I'm not tall enough, and I don't have cool enough hair to get my picture on the cover. Instead, this is more of a "I'm a dork, but I did this stuff, so now I'm less of a dork than I used to be... in a way, I guess" sort of book."

I have a lot of respect for Chip, and though I don't disagree with him on everything about a life in God, he's a man of wisdom and candor.

Check out the book!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lakeside Reunion by Lisa Jordan

I'm so thrilled to tell y'all about a great new book by my friend and fellow My Book Therapy staffer, Lisa Jordan.

She wanted to write, buckled down, did the hard work, learned, wrote and rewrote, and finally landed her first contract earlier this year at Harlequin's Love Inspired. Way to go friend!

A Recipe for Success

My oldest son loves to cook. In fact, after three years of college, he has decided to transfer to a culinary arts program at a different school. His biggest concern was losing his passion for cooking.

I told him if it were truly his passion, the love for cooking would grow. I’m sure there’s someone who could argue that. That’s how I feel about writing—it’s my passion and the desire to be a full-time writer grows daily.

When Scott started cooking, he experimented. A lot. Some of his experiments turned out terrific—his barbecue sauce was yum. His taco lasagna, on the other hand, would have been much better had he put the lettuce on top after it had come out of the oven, instead of baking it in. I see those wrinkled noses.

When he moved into his first apartment near campus this past fall, I gave him a Better Homes & Garden Cookbook—you know the one with the red plaid cover, which covers everything in the kitchen. He loves the cookbook, but still wanted to make some of his own recipes. I told him he needed to learn the basics and then experiment once he had the fundamentals down.

That’s how it is for writers—writing rules are more like guidelines put in place to help us learn the craft. Once we’ve prepared the base, we can experiment to see which craft ingredients work with our stories.

During this blog hop, I’ve been asked what writing advice I’d share with other writers. Even though I’m so guilty of it, I suggested writers shouldn’t rush the process. Cranking up the oven to 400 degrees to bake the cookies in 5 minutes will not produce the same results as baking them 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Take time to study the craft. Read quality writing craft books. Join reputable writing organizations. Read novels to see how published authors keep their readers turning the pages. Learn what works for your voice and for your story. Listen to those who have gone before and shared about their mistakes and triumphs. I know it’s hard waiting to be published—I’ve been there. But submitting that manuscript before it’s ready may be a recipe for rejection. Savor the process to create a recipe for success!


I’m holding a scavenger hunt and lakeside photo contest to promote my Lakeside Reunion release. Plus, blog commenters on my blog hop will be put in a drawing for fun prizes—breakfast basket, Love Inspired Authors basket, autographed copies of Lakeside Reunion

Visit my Lakeside Reunion Contest page for more information.

The token for this blog is a cookbook.


Heart, home and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories that feature both comes naturally to her. She has been writing contemporary Christian romance for more than a decade. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion will be released in November by Love Inspired, followed by her second novel, Lakeside Family, in August 2012 by Love Inspired.

Happily married for twenty-two years, Lisa and her husband have two young adult sons. When she isn’t writing or caring for children in her in-home childcare business, Lisa enjoys family time, romantic comedies, good books, crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. Visit her at to learn more about her writing.

Lakeside Reunion: Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won’t run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake.

Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he’s still able to stir up Lindsey’s old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he’ll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again.


Read an excerpt of Lakeside Reunion

Friday, November 04, 2011

Vote for Your Favorite book in 2011

Hey all,

For fun, I nominated Softly and Tenderly for Best Fiction Book of 2011 over on Goodreads.

Go vote if you want! Look through the Fiction Category or just nominate Softly and Tenderly at the bottom of the main page. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

La Belle Christiane by Lyn Cote

Can the beautiful daughter of a French courtesan find a love that lasts for a lifetime?

In the early 1770's, Christiane Pelletier, an extraordinarily beautiful young woman, is next in a line of courtesans who have been favorites at the French court during the reigns of two monarchs. Yet she longs to be the beloved wife of one man, not a lovely piece of human art passed from one noble to another. And the winds of change are sweeping Europe.

After her mother's violent murder, Christiane flees France with her renegade father. In the Canadian wilderness, she survives the shock of leaving a life of wealth and privilege.

To escape frontier violence, she moves southward only to become involved in the burgeoning American Revolution. Daughter of a French courtesan to frontier wife to companion of Lady Washington, Christiane moves into the heart of the American rebel elite.

But one man in her life can never be forgotten. Once he was her friend. Now he has become her enemy. Will he become her destiny? Only God knows.

About Lyn Cote

An award-winning author of both contemporary and historical inspirational romance, LYN COTE has been a 2006 RITA finalist as well as a finalist for the HOLT Medallion and the National Readers Choice Award, and in 2011 a winner of the prestigious American Christian Fiction Writer's CAROL Award.

Lyn lives with her husband and four cats in the northwoods of Wisconsin.

Visit her web site here.

Drop by Lyn Cote's blog to learn more about .99 ebook sale.

Purchase Links

For Print Edition

To buy a print copy

For a discount code for $3 off $15.99 print edition, go to and click Contact and email Lyn.

For Digital Editions

For Kindle Readers link

For All Other Ereaders such as the Nook purchase link

First page excerpt

Chapter One

British Canada, July 1774

Tonight, I’ll lie beside some stranger as his wife. Christiane blinked away the bright morning sunlight but could not blink away the dread. Once again she had embarked on another journey that would change her life. She sat between her Algonquin father Shaw-nee-awk-kee and his son in a birch bark canoe. To the rhythm of the dipping paddles, they were gliding farther down the Ottawa River. In the cramped space, she hugged her knees to herself and pressed her forehead against her tattered skirt.

She glanced sideways into the remorseless current, wishing for time, for control. But instead, the river, shimmering with molten sunlight, gave her glimmers of the past--candlelight on silver, soft lace against skin, frosting on the tip of the tongue. But she’d fled France with her father, here to Canada and then. . . She thrust all thoughts of the past year aside. She had to face today. Tonight, I’ll be some stranger’s wife.

The thought brought fear, a rush of sensation—as if the bottom of the canoe, her protection, parted, and she was plunged into the cool water. She fought her way to the surface of this feeling, gasping for air, pushing down panic. She pressed her face harder against her knees. I will not shame myself. Ever.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Snake In My Toilet

When I was a girl, my dad's mom, Grandma Hayes, lived in the Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio. It was a beautiful place to live. At night, she'd open the family room windows and fill the house with the fragrance and music of Turkey Creek. A sound especially thrilling after a storm.

We cousins would run and play through the woods, lost in our own never-never land for hours. We'd fish from the bridge for minnows using Velveeta cheese as bait. I still can't eat that stuff...

But being in the forest, we were always on the look out for snakes. Copperheads and rattlers were the big threats. Grans house was an older place with a bare necessity utility room with a bathroom and door leading out to the backyard.

It was the spare bathroom. And for some reason, I always imaged that one day I'd go to use it and find a snake in the toilet. Maybe I'd heard that Gran found a snake in there once before, I can't remember. But I never, ever "sat" without a thorough look.

I just saw on the news a man found a snake in his toilet. That's what made me think of it.

I never did find a snake in the toilet. And it's been a lot of years since I've been to Gran's home in the forest, but it's still one of the happiest places I've ever been. Concern over snake in the toilet or not. :)

What is one of your childhood "fears?" Do you have a "childhood happy place?"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I broke down and went on a diet

I hate diets. I love working out. I even like "watching what I eat," but the combo of those two were not working for me any more.

I was holding steady, but my weight was not where I wanted. I think it took the pictures of me after the ACFW conference for me to go, "Something's gotta change."

Counting calories wasn't working. I'd log my breakfast and forget about the rest of the day.

I was running and gyming but losing some momentum. A hot summer didn't help.

So, I decided to be radical. Do what I said I'd never do. Nooo, no lipo. Sheeze. I decided to try the HCGdiet.

A friend of ours from Texas stopped in for a quick visit a few Monday's ago. He told us how he lost 40 pounds. Intrigued, as I am about how people lose weight, I asked how he did it.

"HCGdiet," he said.

Oy! What's with the HCG diet? My sister lost on that diet. A dozen writers that I know. I've been watching them, especially Colleen Coble, for over two years. They lose it and pretty much keep it off. A friend at church is loosing very successfully on the diet.

I asked a lot of question of my friend. I emailed my writer friends who'd tried it. I Googled and looked online. Talked to my sister.

I really couldn't find anything negative about it. Other than it being a rapid weight system and keeping it off, the diet looked good.

Besides, the Biggest Loser candidates are losing five to ten pounds or more a week, right?

All weight lose requires maintenance. I have years of exercised muscle under this small load of extra weight. I just need to find it. :) Once I lose, I'm back to the gym routine.

I've been on the diet for nine days, seven of them eating a restricted calorie diet. I've lost ten pounds. I feel good, though weak at times. I'm hungry once in awhile -- in the "I could eat" kind of way. It feels like a fast.

I've heard people say the diet "reshapes" you, but I've looked better at the same weight. :) I know that's the exercise factor.

I feel good. I took my mom out to a scrumptious breakfast and while she ate eggs and home fries, and a yummy pile of French toast, I sipped iced tea sweetened with Stevia.

This feels like a fast. You know how after a few days, you're tad hungry but not dying, and you're motivated.

I have seventeen days to go. I hope to lose another ten pounds. We'll see. I'll be done and off maintenance by December which is birthday month and Christmas. Not that I can pig out! But I'll be able to enjoy the season.

Who knows, I might go for another ten pounds in the New Year. Though, I could easily employ the things I'm learning and doing now to lose that last ten.

I'll let you know if I recommend the diet when it's all said and done.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Response to Pain and Suffering

I'm reading a great book by my friend Shelley Hundley. "A Cry for Justice: Overcoming anger, reject bitterness, and trust in Jesus who will fight for you."

This is an amazing book. Not only is Shelley bringing justice scriptures to life but she shares of her own horrific journey into understanding and embracing Jesus as Judge.

Abused sadistically as a child, she was on the verge of suicide when her cry for Jesus to make Himself known to her was realized.

Shelley has pushed through the pain and despair of abuse and a four year chronic illness to rise up and say, "Jesus not only loves you, He'll fight for you and bring justice to your heart and mind."

This message is not preached enough. I'm not sure most of us even understand the justice of Jesus in this life or the next. But we must. Everyone of us has experienced some kind of injustice.

From my kind of injustice that when I was fourteen, my boss at Publix stole money out of my cashier's bag and blamed me for losing Shelley who endured untold abuse.

There is no scale of injustice in Jesus's heart. He cries over it all.

Here's a great quote from Shelley's book:

"For all of eternity we will be face-to-face with the beauty and splendor of our God, but only during my lifetime on earth to I have the opportunity to impact the heart of God in the midst of darkness, accusation, and blindness. I have a chance only today to love Him in the midst of my current hardship, for this is when y heart feels nothing and sees nothing, but still I move in love toward the One I cannot see. And his heart is most undone (Song of Solomon 6:4-5.) I feel nothing. He feels everything."

I could meditate on this passage for days, grasping the depth and reality of it's truth.

Shelley is the real deal. Buy her book! It was released this month by Charisma House of Strang Communications. Worth EVERY penny!

Here Shelley talk about it here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

True Justice

A blog from my Hubby:

It’s hard to see injustice all around us and not get angry. But it is comforting to know that, ultimately, no one escapes justice.

(Mat 12:18-21) Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.

Jesus is coming again, and will see to it that every man, woman and child receives justice, except one.

(Acts 8:32-33) He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.

Jesus is the only man who will never receive justice. Throughout eternity the one great injustice will stand, an innocent man killed for the sins of others, and they will never be called to account for it. He chose to sacrifice His own justice to become a gift to us.

Romans 5:8 calls this the demonstration of His incredible love. The next time you feel you’ve been treated unjustly, think about this.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

An Invited Into Divine Partnership

When did it happen? Over time? Lack of understanding? The misgivings of powerful men?

But we lost sight of something so dear and critical in our relationship with Jesus. Partnership.

We see ourselves as only, merely, servants. We are servants, yes. Bondslaves, absolutely. But out of love and utter devotion. Completely surrendered. "Not my will, but Your's be done."

But we are called to be partners. We are the Bride of Christ. Not the concubine.

Until the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus taught His disciples. He sent them out on test runs. "Go do what you've seen Me do."

Then came Matthew 26. Jesus is about to endure the greatest ordeal of His or any man's life. He goes to the Garden to pray. Here's what He says to His friends,

"Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed...

Jesus is not teaching or demonstrating, or hanging out with the disciples, He's imploring them to pray with Him. The toughest hour of His life is about to come upon Him and He, the God-Man, needs His friends. He needs support in prayer. This is the only time we see Jesus call us into partnership with Him. "Do this with Me." Not for me. Not to Me. Not because of Me. But with Me.

Then, He leaves them. He goes to another spot in the Garden to pray. Why? Seems odd, doesn't it? "Watch with Me, but I'm going to be over here."

This is such a picture of what was to come. Of what IS our life with Him now. We are here. He is "there." He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. We are still called to partnership in intercession with Him!

When He returns, the disciples are sleeping. We know it well.

"And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Romans 13:11, Ephesians 5:14 have verses that call to the Believer, "Wake up!" We are to be on the alert, watching and waiting.

But we are weak. Prayer is hard. It's a spiritual battle. But it is THE ONE THING where Jesus invites us to partner with Him. "Keep watch with me."

He is coming. Will we be found watching or sleeping?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Home from the 10th ACFW Conference!

(left, Susan Downs, me, Susan May Warren. Ten years and counting!)

It's never easy, Being in a pool of peers. Swimming with the current. Against the current. Exhausted. Laughing. Weary yet energized. Pulled in a thousand different directions. Yet somehow having a single purpose.

Novels. Fiction. Hanging with other writers. I love to teach. Never realized how much until I started doing it.

This year, I learned I'm good at improve at the My Book Therapy Pizza Parties on the 18th floor with 100 Voices and a lighted terrace. No wonder singing antiphonally is easy. I can "act" antiphonally too. Ha! We ended the night in song, "Don't Stop Believing." Sharing the stage with Jim Rubart, Karen Ball and Susie May.

Being asked by the band, Jeremiah, Jimi, Jason and Jeremy to ride the elevator with them at 1:00 AM while they detonated iPhone farts on tipsy riders. My acceptance to their invitation inducted me permanently in to the "boy's club." I should write my older brother and his friends thank you notes. They trained me well.

Leading worship with 720 people who love Jesus. Chills running over my arms as we sang to the King of Kings. Disappointed when one of the band members overheard a woman rushing out of the hotel Sunday morning saying, "I can't wait to get back to 'normal' worship." Really? That was her conference take away? Abnormal worship.

Which leads to the question. What's normal worship? Who gets to define worship? Not me. Not you. But the Holy Spirit. Isn't it amazing how MUCH worship is about us. I have to watch that with my own brand of worship. Too tempted to pigeon hole it to fit "me" not Jesus.

Laughing with Liz Curtis Higgs during the Awards Gala. We were too rowdy. I apologize. We never meant to laugh at all -- but a tiny spark can ignite a roaring flame. Then came the spinning elephant and it was all over.

Loving Shannon Marchese's tears-of-laughter. And sharing the table with T.L. Higley, Karen Ball, Steve Laube, Susie May, Shannon and Andy Meisenheimer.

Susan May Warren winning The Carol for Sons of Thunder. I tuck away all of her wins as my wins too. We work that closely...

Meeting so many new writers. Connecting with friends I only see at conference. Meeting new friends. You know who you are!

Gathering with the Belles -- Lisa Wingate, Marybeth Whalen, Beth Webb Hart. Love you! Lisa winning The Carol for Never Say Never!

Hugs from My Book Therapy Voices -- Beth Vogt, Lisa Jordan, Reba Hoffman, Michelle Lim, Delores Topliff, Alena Tauriainen, Edie Melson, Melissa Tagg, and so many more!

Realizing we all have insecurities. We all feel lost. We all want to belong but often feel we don't.

The humor and smiles of Tyler and Jeane Wynn. (Yes... I know... )

Decided I need to be more proactive, a bit more goal oriented. I so want God's will in my life I've been come... passive? I volunteered to sit on the back row with Him, let Him lead my life, let Him sing my praises. I intend to stay there. Yet, I must put plans into place so HE can direct my steps.

Having those moments where I couldn't wait to get home and start writing. Yet, loving a season to refresh.

I love writing novels! It's the other stuff I don't always enjoy...

Ten years ago I attended the first ACFW conference in Kansas City. I've been to every one since. Oddly, there are times when I still feel sooo new, so outside, observing. Am I still the newbie at that first conference so long ago? LOL. It seems like it sometimes.

I met Susan Downs, Susan Warren, Tracey Bateman and Christine Lynxwiler that year and they became dear, dear friends. Women of my heart. I've not seen Tracey or Chris in a few years. I miss them.


I'm proud of what ACFW is doing, from where we've come to where we're going. Honored to be a part of God moving among His people and opening up our hearts to WRITE for Him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Things We Don't See Anymore

Something happened... I don't remember what, but it occurred to me, "Man, you don't see that anymore."

I came up with a quick list of things I used to see but rarely if ever do now.

Sweat stains
Girdle lines
Dandruff (at least I don't)
Overheating cars on the side of the road.
Teased hair
Beehive hairdo
Frosted hair
Wrinkled cotton clothes
Bare light bulbs dangling from a wire
Five & Dime Stores
Kids collecting glass soda bottles for money

I asked a few writer friends for their thoughts on things they don't see anymore.

Lenora Worth said, "How about the
mullet?" To which Kristin Billerbeck responded, "How about the bullet? With the bald part in the back."

Lissa Halls Johnson said she never sees:
Waxed paper bags for sandwichesMailing things wrapped in brown grocery bags and tied with string
remotes that "click" (and take some effort to push the buttons)
bakery guy who comes to your house, opens the back of his specialized wagon and pulls out a drawers filled with yummy breads.
A cardboard cap for the glass milk jar.
A machine that slices the bread for you when you buy it at the corner grocery
Over the counter medicinal products without any kind of extra wrapping and seals (You could buy a bottle of aspirin, pop off the top and there were aspirin! Sometimes a cotton ball, but never anything else."
Kids playing outside after dark in a neighborhood. Young kids playing outside by themselves
Kids riding in cars without seatbelts
Anyone riding in cars without seatbelts
Kids riding in the back of open pickup trucks
Kids sleeping in that hollow space of the back window in the car

Author and friend Carolyne Aarsen sent a great list!
Rolls of film by the checkout counter in a grocery store or drugstore.
Mascara that came in little blocks with a brush. You'd have to make the block wet with the brush and then put it on.
Pay phones.
Sanitary napkin belts.
Cassette tapes
Floppy disks
People smoking in restaurants
Paying for groceries with a cheque. (She's from Canada, but we love her!)
Milk being delivered by a milk truck

Historical author who wanted to be anonymous wrote:
Crooked teeth
Public telephones
Women pulling up their
sagging panty hose
Service Station attendants pumping gas and washing car windows

Friend and author Debora Raney offered these great ideas:
Black-and-white TVs
Smallpox vaccination scars on children's arms.
Women in public with spongy pink curlers in their hair.
Telephone party lines
Phone cords (at least not very many)
Butter churns (except in museums)

What about you? What items do you think are of "days gone by?"

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliot

Please welcome debut author, Rosslyn Elliot!


Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor, Eli-until Will Hanby shows her that nobility is more than fine words.

On a small farm in 19th-century, young Ann Miller is pursued by the gallant Eli Bowen, son of a prominent family. Eli is the suitor of Ann's dreams. Like her, he enjoys poetry and beautiful things and soon, he will move to the city to become a doctor.

Ann travels to Pittsburgh, accompanying her father on business. There she meets Will Hanby, a saddle-maker's apprentice. Will has spent years eking out an existence under a cruel master and his spirit is nearly broken. But Ann's compassion lights a long-dark part of his soul. Through his encounters with Ann's father, a master saddler, Will discovers new hope and courage in the midst of tremendous adversity.
When the Millers must return to Ohio and their ministry there, Will resolves to find them, at any cost. If Will can make it back to Ann, will she be waiting?

Read an excerpt here:

About Rosslyn:
Rosslyn Elliott grew up in a military family and relocated so often that she attended nine schools before her high school graduation. With the help of excellent teachers, she qualified to attend Yale University, where she earned a BA in English and Theater. She worked in business and as a schoolteacher before returning to study at Emory University, where she earned a Ph.D. in English in 2006.

Her study of American literature and history inspired her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction. She lives in the Southwest, where she homeschools her daughter and teaches in children's ministry. For more about Rosslyn, visit her website.

Link to buy the book.


Win a custom made period dress ... and a KINDLE from Rosslyn Elliott!
Enter 9/1-9/20!

To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Fairer Than Morning, Rosslyn Elliott is giving away two fabulous prize packages. The first is brand new KINDLE in her Fairer Than Morning Kindle Giveaway. Then on September 20th she's giving away a $200 gift certificate toward a Custom-Made Historical Reproduction Dress (from Recollections) during the Fairer Than Morning Book Club Chat Party on Facebook! Sigh...romantic.

Fairer Than Morning is receiving wonderful reviews - Library Journal said, "A well-written historical series debut…". Read more reviews here.

Be sure to join the fun and enter the Kindle contest -

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Fairer Than Morning (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/19. Winner will be announced on 9/20 at Rosslyn's Book Club Facebook Party. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

Then be sure to RSVP for Rosslyn's Facebook Party! During the party Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, hosting a book chat about Fairer Than Morning (don't worry if you haven't read the book yet - you could win a copy!) & historical Fiction, testing your trivia skills. She'll also be giving away that $200 gift certificate toward a FABULOUS custom-made period dress from Recollections!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Thursday, September 01, 2011

From This Day Forward By Margaret Daley

“A wonderful love story in the American Tapestries series with characters who are trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after the War of 1812. Daley turns the ugliness of war into a new beginning for the ones who pick up the pieces. Her characters are willing to do what they need to in order to survive, but also are willing to give a friendly hand to those around them.” -- Patsy Glans from RT


Releasing today, September 1st!

From Summerside Press.

Learn more about it here!

From This Day Forward

By Margaret Daley

Rachel Gordon is stranded in South Carolina, pregnant, a recent widow when her husband fell overboard on the voyage to America. Nathan Stuart, a physician who came home from serving in the American army during the War of 1812, disenchanted with his life and the Lord, rescues Rachel and saves her life. Feeling responsible for her, Nathan tries to discourage her from living at a rundown farm her husband bought to start a new future in America. He wants her to return to England.

Rachel refuses to go back to England where her father disowned her for marrying against his wishes. The farm is all she has, and she is determined to make it on her own. But Nathan has other ideas and becomes her farmhand to discourage her from staying in America. Instead he ends up protecting her and being challenged by her. Can two wounded people heal each other?

Chapter One Excerpt:

March 1816

“We are going to die,” Rachel Gordon’s young maid cried out.

Rachel looked up at the clouds rolling in. Dark, ominous ones. She shivered and pulled her shawl tighter about her as the breeze picked up. A storm brewed, and she still had several miles to go until she reached her new home in South Carolina. “God willing, we will make it, Maddy.”

Fear deepened the lines on Maddy’s plain face. “’Tis like the squall on the boat.”

Lightning flashed, momentarily brightening the shadows of the forest. A clap of thunder rumbled the ground. Maddy screamed. The old gelding that pulled the cart—all Rachel’s meager coins could afford—increased its speed, weaving from side to side. Out of control.

Determined to be there before nightfall and in one piece, Rachel gripped the reins and fought to slow the maddening pace of the horse. Finally it resumed its plodding step. The weather-beaten cart she had bought near the dock in Charleston hit a bump in the road, jostling her into Maddy. Her maid clutched the seat with one hand and held onto Rachel with the other.

Steadying herself, Rachel rested her wrists on her rounded stomach. She had more than herself and Maddy to worry about now. Her life had changed so much since she left her ancestral home in England. She had married, conceived a child, and was now a widow, all in the space of a year. And worse, she was going to a place she had never seen because she had nowhere else to go. Her husband had used most of their money to purchase this plantation she was traveling to. It was her future, whether she wanted it to be or not.

The warmth of a spring day quickly faded as the sky grew blacker. Rachel stared at the menacing clouds through the treetops and realized she would not make it to her new home before the storm broke. She scanned the area for a place to seek shelter.

Sinister shadows lurked just beyond the road. Again she shivered, her imagination conjuring images of wild animals staring at her from the depths of the forest. She’d heard stories about the bears. Huge. Fierce. Sharp teeth and claws. Shifting on the seat, she darted a glance from side to side, feeling as though she were some beast’s next meal. She could not stop, even if it poured down rain.

Oh, how she missed England, with its gently rolling hills and refined beauty—not this raw wilderness. Like a fish floundering on land, she did not belong here. Nothing in her life had prepared her for this strange environment.

Drops of water spattered her. The wind picked up.

“That man on the boat told me about a big cat. They are out there.” Maddy whimpered, draping her shawl over her head and hunching her shoulders. “Lord, have mercy on us.”

Rachel forced herself to keep her gaze fixed on the road ahead. Once they were at the plantation Maddy would settle down. The squall two days out of Charleston had nearly sunk the ship they had traveled in. Surely this storm would not be as bad.

Taking deep breaths, Rachel calmed her racing thoughts and heartbeat. Pain spread through her lower back. She gripped the reins, the leather digging into her palms. The pain dulled to an ache. Another deep inhalation and the panic nibbling at her composure abated. Soon she would be at her new home and could sit in front of a warm fire, put her legs up, and rest. Hopefully the letter her husband had sent ahead would alert any staff to her arrival. Her glance strayed to the tall pine trees, swaying in the gust. Everything would be all right when she arrived at Dalton Plantation.

But even with Maddy next to her on the seat, the feeling she was the only person in the world overwhelmed her.

The wind picked up, whipping strands of her long brown hair that had escaped its coiffure about her face and threatening to whisk away her bonnet. Lightning zigzagged across the sky, followed by thunder. Maddy jumped in her seat. The gelding’s ears flattened.

A chill embedded itself deep in Rachel. She arched her back to ease the pang still plaguing her. Suddenly lightning struck a tree nearby, its flash a beacon in the growing darkness. A crack as the pine split into two pieces echoed through the forest. Immediately afterward, a boom of thunder cleaved the air. Maddy shrieked. The horse increased its pace while a few more splotches of water splashed Rachel. Then all at once rain fell in gray sheets.

The gelding lurched forward even faster. Rachel grasped the reins, trying to maintain control. She pulled on the leather straps to slow the horse. Nothing. He kept galloping down the road, oblivious to his surroundings, as though the hounds of hell were nipping at his hooves.


Looks like another great read from beloved author, Margaret Daley

Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest. She writes inspirational romance, both contemporary and historical, and romantic suspense books. Her seventy-fifth book is From This Day Forward.