Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Emanuel, God with us.

All is bright
Christmas night with only seventeen minutes remaining of day. My heart is full. Joy is evident. I'm in Tennessee with my husband and my family, and beyond the window, the night is thick with a cool rain.

Growing up, I hated the end of Christmas. No more glorious music. No more Christmas specials or holiday movies. Soon the lights in neighborhood yards will be taken down and off we go on day-in and day-out.

What is it about Christmas that makes us all stop and... hope. Believe? The lore of Santa Claus is about anticipating the "wow" of life. To believe the impossible.

Knowing and loving a big, amazing God makes the impossible seems possible. Even more, seem plausible. Why not here? Why not now? Why not me? You?

As much as I hate the end of the Christmas season, the New Year is chance for new hope and new joy. To set goals and face challenges. There's just something about a new year that says "reboot." Start over. Begin again.

Like the picture, life can seem very black and white at times. But there is always the color of Love and the dazzle of Promise that reminds us of what this is all about -- Emanuel. God with us!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas from Me to You

Joy to the World! Christmas is such a magical and charming time of  year. It warms our hearts, reminds us of peace and hope. 
The other day as I was playing a Christmas Carol, "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee," on the piano, I started thinking about the great carols we sing. After a bit of research and I found that most of the Christmas Hymns we love were penned in the 1700 and 1800s. 
Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's Ode to Joy are the melodies behind Joy to the World and Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.  
As I meditated on the great composers of the 18th and 19th Century, and the lyrics and melodies of Christmas songs composed at the same time, songs we still sing today, I started to smile. 
The Lord released sounds and songs from heaven to earth that would be sung  and played a hundred and fifty years, a hundred years, fifty years before the break of humanism, communism, Darwinism and Freudism (my term) onto the world's stage. 
A good portion of the earth still sings "Joyful, joyful we adore thee." Or, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth! Hallelujah, hallelujah!" once a year. The brilliance of Handel and Beethoven is indisputable. 
Every December choirs and choral groups, Muzaks play the hymns of the sovereign Lord's return and reign. 
God is always about the business of glorifying His Son. What sounds, songs, melodies and words is He releasing from Heaven in this hour in history that will resonate through time until His return? 
Every Sunday morning as we pray over our worship set, we ask the Lord for sounds from Heaven. We want to partner with Him to accomplish His purpose in us, through us unto the earth. 
I may not be a Handel up there leading worship. I many not be a C.S. Lewis writing novels that will endure the decades, but I am the Lord's willing and available vessel. My words and songs do affect the heavens. Forever. 
I love this passage out of Malachi 3. It's not your typical Christmas verse, but it speaks to what I'm trying to say: 
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

"They will be mine," says the Lord Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 

And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

God listens in on the conversations of those who fear him. He writes them down. He's recording our writings, our stories, and singing!

Make a new melody in your heart to the Lord this Christmas. Believe that it will resound through the ages to come.

I've made up a lot of songs on the piano just me... and myself. But I have a feeling God's going to play them back to me some day with the full force of heaven. Hey, maybe he'll ask Beethoven to pretty up my chords and turn it into his first symphony in the new era.

Who knows? But let's not limit our thinking to earth. Let's be heavenly minded. What is God sending to your hearts this season? Let the Holy Spirit breathe in and through you.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

So a bunches of bunches of folks are participating in this blog hop to learn about new and old authors, and get a peek at what's coming.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with a blog hop, it’s a series of posts linked to each other across the web. I’d like to thank Edie Melson who invited me to this hop!

I’m answering ten questions about my latest WIP (Work in Progress). Feel free to post questions and comments! 

Here are my answers to the questions.

What is the working title of your book? 

I'm calling it "An Uncommon Duchess." Zondervan may change it but for now, that's the title. It's a bit of a double entendre. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is the second book in the Royal Wedding Series. The first comes out in May 2013, "Once Upon A Prince."

The series idea came from watching Kate Middleton marry Prince William. The whole world was captured by Kate, William and the wedding. I thought a fictional series about a common girl becoming a princess, or duchess, would be fun.

Coming May 2013
What genre does your book fall under?

Romance! Love Stories. Good readin'.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have pictures of the characters but I don't have an idea of the actors who would play their role. I don't like to assign actors or actresses to my characters. It changes who they are to me and I want them to come out genuine and real, and with a spiritual truth.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Regina Beswick knows who she is until a stranger from Europe arrives to tell her of her true identity.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published by Zondervan/Harper Collins. I am represented by Chip MacGregor at MacGregor Literary Agency.

 How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six weeks. And it's a very rough first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Princess Diary for adults. :)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Who doesn't love a fairytale? A royal wedding?

And the story is about how we think we know who we are then the Gospel and love of Jesus is presented to us and we are forced to reckon with our true identity in Him. Regina faces that same battle.

Hop on over to my friend's blogs to continue this journey!

Sibella Giorello

Kristin Billerbeck 

Donita K. Paul

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Once Upon A Prince!

I'm so excited to debut my new cover! Once Upon A Prince releases May 2013 from Zondervan!

Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale. 

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. 

But life isn't going according to plan.

When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life. 

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon's Island is the queen of his heart. 

A prince has duties, and his family's tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna's aid under the fabled Lover's Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He's a royal prince. She's a ordinary girl. 

But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. It's the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God's will or their own? 

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things! A Birthday Giveaway

For my birthday on Friday, Dec 7, I'm celebrating you and giving away a few of my favorite things. It starts at midnight tonight and ends midnight on the 7th. (So really, the 6th.)

Winners will be announced on Friday! Enter to win by following my FB Page, on Twitter or leaving a comment here!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lull Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

It's the lull week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. How are y'all doing? Can you believe K-Mart and Wal-Mart had Black Thursday sales?

I'm grieved that we nearly have no true holidays in American anymore. Stores are open seven days a week, sixteen hours a day if not twenty-four.

For what? Stuff. I saw a man first in line outside a local K-Mart at seven o'clock the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving.

I said, "What's for sale that you're out here waiting?"
"A 36'' LCD flat screen for $97."


As I drove to my destination I got hit with the shop-cheap bug. "Wow, that's a great deal. I could give it as a present."

"Or, we could put a TV in the turret with a Blueray player. We don't have cable or DISH but we could watch Netflix."

I'm telling y'all, it was insane. I wanted nothing until someone else was told me what they were getting.  How true is that of mankind? We covet what our neighbor has or is obtaining.

The class warfare going on in our country right now is grievous. Anyone in this country willing to work hard, yes some more than others, can achieve whatever they want. Sure, some people have more advantage -- wealth, smarts, looks, ability -- but the only thing that prevents a person from getting ahead in this country is their own laziness, bitterness, envy or greed. Or lack of ambition.

Even obstacles like prejudice or poverty can overcome by anyone willing to do the work to win over an enemy, take a college course, aim for a promotion. Look around. Open our eyes at those who have overcome!

But what we can't overcome is if the gov't continues to take, take, take and spend our money. It's our money. Not theirs. It blows my mind they are on capital hill right now discussing how to tax "the rich more." That old mantra has worn all of it's threads thin.

Sorry, I had to go on that rant for a second because that's what hit me as I left K-Mart. Greed. I wanted what that man wanted because... just because.

But I didn't want to sit all night in the cold for a stupid TV so I actually pondered ways to get what I wanted without working for it. Yes, I did.

Hmm... another trend in our society. "Who can get it for me so I don't have to leave my comfort zones?"

Once I got to youth church, and in the presence of God, my heart was realigned and I knew I didn't want a TV or Blueray player or whatever else K-Mart was selling on sale.

Kuddos to those of you who shopped 'til you dropped and got good sales on Black Friday. I know it's a blessing to many who are on a budget and have lot of people to buy for. But what I hope is that greed was not your motivator, or envy or covetousness.

I have to watch those bad boys in my life. 

Here's to the spirit of Christmas -- love, peace and JOY to the world. That's what I "covet." JOY!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Write for Relief Winners!

A big thank you to everyone who bid for critiques for Write Now Relief! 

Your generosity added up to $2,300 for the relief efforts for the victims of Superstorm Sandy! Well done and congratulations to all the winners!

On this site Jeanne Takenaka and Charity Hawkins were the winner with their last minute bidding war. Thank you gals so much! And to all who participated.

If you are the high bidder or think you might be, please check the blog where you were bidding to get your marching orders.

Your first order of business is to donate your bid amount to Samaritans Purse. Then email a copy of your donation receipt with your 50 pages to the author who will be critiquing you. Again, thanks so much to everyone.

And if you didn’t win the critique please consider giving to Samaritan’s Purse for your year-end giving. The need back East is huge.

Here is the link to donate online. The GIVE button is located just below the photo gallery link.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Write Now Relief for Hurricane Sandy Victims

Write Now Relief
How you can help the victims of Sandy and also get a little first aid for your novel!

WHAT: Bid on a 50-page critique of your novel by a published novelist! Highest bidder will send their amount to Samaritans Purse for their relief efforts for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

WHEN: Begins Friday, November 9, ends Friday midnight EST November 16.

HOW: Head to the blog of the author you’d like to have critique your 50 pages. Find their Write Now Relief blog post and place your bid in the comments section of that post. Monitor it closely so that you can re-bid! Check back on this Facebook page for updates on all the bids. If you are the high bidder at the end of the week, make your donation and email a copy of your receipt to the author with your 50 pages. It’s that easy.

How much is a 50-page critique worth?
Most authors and editors can easily charge $35 an hour and a fifty-page critique is well over three hours of labor. But this labor of love is for victims who have lost everything. Their need is huge. One blogger who hosted a similar campaign last week had a top donation bid of $1,000 for a 50-page critique!

What will the critique entail?
The author you choose will read your fifty pages with an eye to giving you insights and feedback on all aspects of your story excerpt, including plot, character, story arc, mechanics, pacing, and reader appeal.

What is Samaritan’s Purse?
Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Here is a video from Samaritans Purse on their efforts to help Sandy’s victims.

How do I donate to Samaritans Purse?
You can head to the Samaritan’s Purse webpage on Hurricane Sandy
and click on the GIVE link imbedded on the page. Whether you are the highest bidder or not, do consider donating to this effort.

How do I start?
Check Susan Meissner’s blog on Thursday, Nov 8 for the full list of participating authors and their blog addresses. Pick an author, head to their blog on Friday, November 9, and make your opening bid.

What's it really worth?

For me, Rachel, I do this for My Book Therapy clients and a proposal therapy is about 30 pages and it costs around $450. So a 50 page critic is a GREAT deal and worth a good bit of $$. Consider my time as part of the donation. Your crit will be very detailed with a summary letter. Well worth your money!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

2012 Writers and Readers Reach Out

Pleased to welcome my friend and fellow belle on southernbelleview to share her heart on this great cause! 

Before us is a great opportunity to partner with one another to raise awareness about human trafficking and join together to raise funds towards their rescue through Kimberly L. Smith's foundation, Make Way Partners

And yet, even as we are set to launch, one-fourth of our population has been impacted by Super storm Sandy and many areas remain in distress. Far too many people have seen their homes destroyed and many others have suffered the painful loss of loved ones. 

The winds of Sandy have literally caused us to adjust our sails as we respond to the heartache in our own country. Writers and Readers Reach Out 2012 is enlarging the vision!

As you make your donation to Make Way Partners, please consider making a matching donation to relief efforts underway for our neighbors on the East Coast. 

We believe strongly that our being mobilized to respond to the needs of our neighbors at this very moment is no coincidence. We've been given much, let us give much.

Over the years I’ve challenged my readers at All Things Southern to join me in an annual benefit for the less fortunate. 
We’ve done everything from drilling wells in Africa with Life Today to partnering with World Vision to buy chickens and goats for needy families around the world.
Last year I became fixated with the exponential power represented by the fellow writers I meet in my travels. Knowing these wordsmiths all had a circle of readers that enjoy his or her work and interact with them via their websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, I wondered what we might accomplish by combining our individual platforms and multiplying our efforts.
 The dream led me to launch Writers and Readers Reach Out. The positive results fueled my desire to do more. For the second year, I’m asking writers and readers to embark with me on 30 Days of Thankfulness to coincide with the season of Thanksgiving.
I was in the planning stages of the drive and personally burdened by what I was learning about human trafficking when I read Passport through Darkness, by Kimberly L. Smith.  
I knew immediately that Make Way Partners, the organization that Kimberly and her husbanded founded, should be the recipient of this year’s efforts. Make Way Partners works with individuals, churches, and organizations to help prevent and combat the evil of human trafficking and all forms of modern-day oppression.
If you’ll take the time to read just a few of the real-life stories on Kimberly’s blog of women and children who Make Way Partners has rescued from slavery, and for whom they provide long-term care, I believe you’ll want to participate in this beautiful journey of restoration.
Eight years ago, Kimberly began chartering small mission planes to fly her into the war zone where U.S. sanctions and Islamic regimes rendered thousands of orphansunadoptable
Providing food and opening a first-grade school in a lawless land with no other educational systems, MWP partnered with an indigenous leader to rescue and care for these most vulnerable orphans. Year-by-year, they have added a new grade to their school. 
Now, graduating eighth grade, the orphans of MWP have more education than many current leaders of their nation.  It is time to build a high school, making it possible to raise up the next generation of educated Christian leaders who will stop the cycle of violence and slavery.
Read about a few of these amazing students and the complete high school proposal here:
The quotes scattered here are those of the late Helen Keller.  Inviting Ms. Keller to share this journey with writers and readers feels right, for it was the power of a word written in the palm of her hand that unlocked Ms. Keller’s heart and mind and subsequently impacted untold lives around the world!
As readers and writers, no one knows the value of education better than we. Let’s dream big and build a high school for the world’s most vulnerable orphans!
Thirty days of thankfulness. It’s not a long time, but it’s a perfect time to join hands and do something grand, together. ~Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Friday, October 26, 2012

Idea Sparking! How to Brainstorm Conflict Into Your Novel

Hey all, please welcome My Book Therapy team member, Michelle Lim. She's taken the time to write a well done book on how to spark new ideas for your novel that will add depth and conflict.

Welcome, Michelle!

 Rachel, thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog. 

I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through My Book Therapy and our local ACFW Chapter, Minnesota N.I.C.E. retreat a few years ago.

 For those of you who haven’t heard, during my Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel Tour I’m having a drawing for a Free Kindle Paperwhite.

 For each different blog I visit that you comment on during my tour, you get one entry. Each day I will post any new tour locations on my blog.

 One of my favorite romantic moments in my life was the day my husband left a rose in my mailbox. A surprise meant to bring me delight and it did. 

I fell in love somewhere between roses in mail boxes and moonlight strolls along the shore of Lake Superior.

 Our characters fall in love in much the same way. The struggle is how to be unique in building conflict in a Romance novel. Brainstorming is a great tool for bringing out the conflict to accentuate the romance.

 In my new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel I give tools and strategies to build that conflict to lift a sagging middle or intensify a limp plot.

 Let’s try the Strategy of Pedestal Principles when talking about your characters. Characters all have expectations of themselves as do those around them. Oftentimes our expectations cause internal conflict when we don’t meet our personal expectations.

 For example:
 Linda is a Pastor’s wife at a small country church. It is her goal to always bring a meal to a family with a crisis like hospitalization, etc. When Linda comes down with pneumonia she is unable to bring food to a family they have been trying to reach out to for the last year. She feels she has failed. This might cause internal conflict.

 The expectations we have of ourselves are not the only expectations. What about the people around you? The boss that expects you to finish your work by the end of the day, but you value quality and there is no way you can produce quality work in that time line.

 Pedestal Principles are one of the tools I cover in greater detail in my Idea Sparking Book. They are just one of the many ways to add conflict in a novel.

 Focusing on not just the happy gushy moments in our romance story is difficult, especially when what we tend to remember most about our own love story is the special moments that made us feel cherished. Both are needed to create a strong story.

 How about you? What is your favorite romance moment? 


What Others Are Saying About This Resource!

 “I think it's a great resource! I love the way you give examples, offer opportunities for writers to craft out their own ideas.”  ~Lisa Jordan Author of Lakeside Reunion and Lakeside Family

 “Michelle recently helped me brainstorm Silent Night, my new Rock Harbor digital novella coming at the end of next month. Her brainstorming prowess amazed me! I loved her new book, especially the chapter on secrets.” ~Colleen Coble Award Winning Author

 “Michelle encapsulated some workable, practical, yet energizing techniques to help spark that all-important conflict and tension in our stories. I especially appreciated the buffet of ideas that showed how a combination of tips could bring about a tailor-made solution to a lack-luster character, scene, or plot.” ~Cynthia Ruchti Multipublished Author, speaker, and writing instructor.  

Michelle Lim is the author of the new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel. Also a romantic suspense author whose manuscripts have earned recognition in The Rattler Contest 2012, the Genesis Contest 2011, and the Frasier Contest in 2010. Michelle is the Brainstorm/Huddle Coach at My Book Therapy and serves as Vice President of MN N.I.C.E., a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Check out her blog at:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Diary of A Writer: Politics Continued...

Are you struggling with the vote? I hear this so often, "I'm tired of voting for the lesser of two evils!"

Well, Beloved, being silent, quitting and/or checking out and drawing into ourselves is not the answer. Some Christians have become so insular. We've left the world to itself and lookit... 

Then we become more discouraged and more insular and yes, this is coming from a fiction author writing for a Christian publisher.

But the lines have been drawn. Too many publishers don't want the "Christian stuff." If Christian books are shelved with the rest of the books, readers go ballistic. "I didn't know I was going to be forced to read about God."

But originally publishing was done by Christians. The moveable press was invited by a guy who wanted to publish Bibles.

Universities like Harvard and Yale were founded to teach theology and the Bible, to make sure the tenets of the faith.

Now it seems they are quite the opposite. How to destroy the faith.

Hubby and I were talking about the election and I said, "What do you think God is saying? What's on His heart?"

Hubby said something profound, "You know, we're a Republic. Maybe the Lord is leaving it up to us to choose. We get who we vote, or don't vote, for."

A light dawned. America is a Republic, meaning "belonging to the people." Our Fathers dreamed and declared God is our King. So, when we have the opportunity to vote for leaders, it behooves us to choose the best possible men and women.

Christians should not be OUT of politics but in the heart of it. We should not adhere to restrictions on speech such as, "never talk about religion and politics."

No, Beloved, talk about it. Kindly. Informed. With a heart for God rather than ourselves.

Are you struggling to vote for one of the candidates? Don't. Pray. Search the scriptures. And vote. 

We have been given a blessed right by the Almighty to align with Him for the leadership of this nation. "Come, let us reason together," He says.

I know many Christians struggle to vote for a Mormon. Frankly, the alternative with his Liberation Theology and Muslim leanings isn't any better. 

Study. Don't just guess. Don't just go on the politics you had in the '70s, '80s and '90s, Those days are over! Way over!

More is at stake here than our personal comforts and beliefs.

My friend and fellow author Randy Alcorn, author of Heaven, has been blogging about this election. It's thorough, thought out and well written. Much better than what I'm doing here. So, please, check out his series.

Pray. Vote. Be vigilant for freedom.