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.