Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Miracle on Monday for Kristy Dykes

I have a special prayer request to make of all my readers. Kristy Dykes, a dear writer friend of mine, was diagnosed with brain cancer last month. She has had surgery to remove as much as possible of the tumor and will begin radiation treatments on Monday, December 10, 2007. Her husband has asked for all of her friends to contact their friends to ask for concentrated prayer for her especially at 3:30 PM EST on that date. We know that the power of prayer is much greater than radiation or anything man can devise. Please pray for this dear Christian sister then and in the days ahead, and remember her family, too. I hope you will check out her blog at www.christianlovestories.blogspot.com to read of the true-life love story of Kristy and her husband. He has been posting several blogs lately on the site and they are very inspiring and convicting. Thanks for joining me and many others in prayer.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Book contest rules and winner

Michelle Pendergrass is the winner of the Christmas book drawing. I had over 50 names to draw from this month thanks to all the traffic on Margie Lawson's guest blog last week. Congratulations, Michelle.

I thought this would be a good time to review the rules for my monthly book contest. Each person who leaves a blog comment during the month except for the previous month's winner (Michelle, in this case) is eligible for that month's drawing which will be held on the first of the following month. You will receive one entry for each comment, so feel free to leave one often. Also each person who wishes to win must leave a way for me to email for their mailing info. Any other questions, feel free to contact me.

The book giveaway on January 1st will be for the book featured in yesterday's blog--A Shadow of Treason by Tricia Goyer--so check the info about the book by reading below.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Blog Tour for Tricia Goyer

For those of you who have visited my site before, the name Tricia Goyer should be familiar. If you scroll down to the entry for November 11, 2007, you will see a picture of Tricia and myself at the ACFW conference this past September where I took her great course on writing historical fiction.

Tricia also writes non-fiction as well as her intriguing fiction. Just a few days ago I was reading my Focus on the Family Midlife and Beyond, Nov. 2007 issue, and noticed an excellent article by her on E-vangelism--using emails as an evangelistic tool.

This blog tour is to promote Tricia's latest historical fiction--A Shadow of Treason. I hope this interview with Tricia and synopsis of the book below will whet your appetite enough to go out and purchase this book and the rest of the series.

Book 2 in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series

Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

Q and A with Tricia!

A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?

A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.

I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!

Thanks, Tricia. I hope you all will check out Tricia's websites at www.triciagoyer.com and
http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com and also continue to follow her on this blog tour at the following websites:

12/1Vickihttp://www.vickitalleymccollum.blogspot.com/CeeCeeBooksplurge.blogspot.com 12/3Melissahttp://www.forstrose.blogspot.com/Davidhttp://dameigs.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Guest Blogger, Margie Lawson

By Margie Lawson

A big THANK YOU to Rose McCauley for inviting me to guest blog!

Before we get started, you need to know you may be a WINNER today. If you post a comment, you have a chance to WIN one of my LECTURE PACKETS (a $20 value):

1. Empowering Characters' Emotions
2. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More
3. Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors

Each Lecture Packet is power-packed with over 200 pages of lectures. Please visit my web site, www.MargieLawson.com, and click on Lecture Packets to read the course descriptions. Thank you.


This is one of those small things writers can do that has a HUGE IMPACT.

Taking several stretch breaks throughout your day is a simple way to keep yourself feeling good. YET – so few people do it.

When asked, most people say they know they’d feel better if they stretched. Then they confess that they rarely stretch. Or – they wait until they hurt, then stretch.

Why don’t they JUST DO IT?

They forget. Or they don’t want to take the time.

Do you STRETCH several times EVERY day?

Do you have stretching exercises that you do each time? Or is it more of a random bend-this-way, bend-that-way, kind of stretch?

Do you spend 3 to 5 minutes during each stretch break? Sometimes longer?

Do you make sure you’re stretching various areas of your body?

If you do ALL of the above, congratulate yourself. You’re smart! You’re stretching your body and your mind.

I bet you could each design at least 15 minutes of stretching to do during breaks. If you need a nudge – here’s a link that shows you how to do NECK, HAND, WRIST, FOREARM, SHOULDER, UPPER BACK AND ARM, and LOWER BACK STRETCHES.

HERE’S THE LINK: http://ehs.virginia.edu/ergo/stretch.html

If you need more instruction, you can research the web for free stretch demos (like the link above) or purchase software. You can buy DVD’s, connect with an exercise-buff friend, take an exercise class, or hire a personal trainer.

You can make up your own mini-stretch routine. We’re talking about 3 to 5 minutes of stretching. You have multiple options – and no excuses.

For those who have injuries (i.e., back, neck, shoulder), you can stretch your good parts. Still – no excuses. :-)))

STRETCHING is low-impact. Not intended to do more than give you a gentle stretch. Stretching will increase your circulation, increase your energy, and help reduce the incidence of a repetitive motion injury. Stretching also relieves tension and reduces stress.

Stretching is also a warm-up and cool-down for your exercise session. Create your stretching routine and use it for breaks and before and after you exercise.

If you chose to put more energy into stretching, you could sit on a yoga ball at your computer. You could pop in a DVD and do 5 to 10 minutes of yoga or pilates work during short breaks from writing. You could do Tai Chi or any number of movement-based, stretching, and stress-reducing activities. It’s all good.

Stretching stimulates your body. Stimulates your mind. Stimulates your creativity.

If you want to feel better physically and emotionally – and be more creative – you’ll stretch!

Are you ready to make the commitment? Take stretch breaks every day?

Chime in. Let us all know:

1. What you plan to do
2. How often
3. How you’ll remind yourself . . . use a timer?
4. How you’ll reward yourself when you stick with your plan!

Thank you for dropping by! Again, I appreciate Rose for inviting me to guest blog.

REMEMBER: CONTEST DRAWING will be tonight, 10PM Mountain Time. Post a comment, and you may win one of Margie’s Lecture Packets!
Margie merges her two worlds, psychology and writing, by analyzing writing craft as well as the psyche of the writer. She presents 1) Empowering Characters’ Emotions, 2) Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More, and 3) Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors in one and two day master classes internationally. She also teaches these topics in month-long on-line courses and offers Lecture Packets through PayPal from her web site. www.MargieLawson.com

Friday, November 23, 2007

Upcoming Guest Blogger--Margie Lawson

I'm happy to announce that Margie Lawson, counseling psychologist and writing teacher extraordinaire, will be my guest blogger this next Tuesday, November 27th.

I first met Margie at the ACFW conference in Dallas this past September and learned so much from her Empowering Characters' Emotions workshop that I signed up for her online class last month on Deep Editing and am already planning on taking her January online class on writing productivity and creativity entitled "Defeat Self-defeating Behaviors."

Margie has graciously agreed to do a mini-lesson for us writers on the importance and how-to of taking stretch breaks, so be sure to come back on Tuesday to glean some wisdom from this dynamic teacher and also be eligible to win a great prize!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

ACFW conference and pictures

In September, I (along with 500 others) attended the 6th annual national conference for American Christian Fiction Writers in Dallas, TX. I'm posting pics of some of the highlights of the conference for me.

My first highlight(this pic is third from the bottom) was traveling from KY to TX in the company of Ruth Seamands who is called Mama Ruth by most of our group. Ninety years young, she has been writing since before some of us were born! I took her book Cast A Long Shadow with me to read on the trip, and enjoyed her telling me how the book came to be written. She also shared many other stories and bits of wisdom with me.

Another highlight was rooming with Sharon Ball. (2nd from the bottom) We had met only once before at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers conference, so we enjoyed getting to know each other better and sharing some of our writing journey and family stories. Even though I am only a few years younger than her mother, she ended up taking care of me when I got sick one night. She prayed for me, went and got me a soda, and picked up the handouts from the class I missed the next morning and even kept an appointment for me with an editor and pitched my story! A true friend! Here we are with Janet Kobobel Grant, founder of Books & Such Agency, after we shared a meal at her table one day.
Although I am not presently writing a historical novel, I learned much from attending Tricia Goyer's class on historical writing. She is such a great writer, and had lots of info to share with us. I first connected with Tricia years ago thru email when we both were working with Teen MOPS, and it was such a joy to meet with her in person. (bottom picture)

(note: these pics appear at the top of the blog.)A big part of the conference is meeting with friends from previous conferences whom we haven't seen in awhile. I was happy to get to spend a little time with Connie Stevens and Kim Sawyer who both are precious friends and prayer partners. Also I enjoyed sitting with Nancy Jo Jenkins, another friend from past conferences, and her supportive husband at the awards banquet. Amid all the classes and late night chats and appointments, sometimes meals are the only time you have to connect with "old" friends.

My final highlight was taking a cab to the airport with Mama Ruth and her real-life daughter, Brandilyn Collins, who always does such a fine job of emceeing the ACFW conference. In this picture taken at the airport, be sure to notice Ruth's unusual necklace. The chain is from her husband, and the pin was a gift from a raja in India when they were missionaries there. Another unique story from this very unique lady!

If you are a fiction writer, you need to join ACFW and you need to pray about attending next year's conference which will be in Minneapolis, MN, September, 2008. The booksigning will be held at the Mall of America. Go to http://www.acfw.com/ to learn more about the conference and this wonderful organization that will help you learn to hone the gift of writing to God's glory.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Monthly Book Drawing

Congratulations to Jan Parrish, our winner of the Nov 1st drawing. If you like historicals and love Christmas stories like I do, then you will want to be sure to leave a post during this month for the December 1st drawing. I read Christmas books during the month of December, so decided the book for that month will be Prairie Christmas, a novella collection with stories by Elizabeth White, Catherine Palmer and Peggy Stoks. This book also contains recipes to go with each story, so enter often and be sure to leave your contact info. Everyone is eligible except Jan. Let's get in the Christmas spirit early this year!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Come on aboard the official blog tour for Miralee Ferrell's debut novel--The Other Daughter!

If you haven't read the basic premise of this book, scroll down to look at my post on Sunday. And for those of you who want to know more about Miralee, here's her bio in her own words:
I'm over 50, married for 35 years this July, and have two wonderful children, Marnee and Steven. I'm active at our small church, serving on staff with my ministerial license and working with women in a counseling/ministering capacity. My husband and I are looking forward to full retirement soon and taking off for a few months at a time on our 51' sailboat, where my writing will take on an entirely new creativity. We have a horse, a dog and three cats that my daughter and her husband will inherit while we're gone. Thankfully, they live on the adjoining property and are animals lovers.

RM: Welcome, Miralee. I love your lyrical name, and in reading your bio, I discovered that we have quite a few things in common--over 50, a son named Steve, and am also retired. I don't think I could get my hubby to take off on a sailboat, though! Hope to read of some of your adventures on your blog. Now for our first question:

RM: Authors are often told to "write what you know." How have you drawn on your life experiences to create this fictional story?

MF: I was brainstorming with a friend who suggested I use an experience from my life as the basis or theme for my first novel. I ran through several scenarios in my head, as we've had many interesting things happen in our marriage...some great, some not. This personal incident did indeed capture the essense of secrets, forgiveness and healing...not as much in my life as in our marriage and the life of an 18 yr old girl. About 17 yrs ago my husband received a letter stating a young woman believed him to be her biological father she'd never met. We agreed to meet and hear her story, and after some investigation came to believe he probably was her dad. The episode was similar to that of David in the book...a one night stand prior to his becoming a Christian, but that's where the similarity stops. He was not dating me at the time, and I had a strong relationship with the Lord and didn't have a problem accepting Trish into our lives.

RM: My daughter just adopted a son last year, so someday I imagine he will search out his biological parents, so this is a very interesting premise for me, and I'm sure many others. Any exciting things happening before or during the time period while the book is releasing?

MF: Yes! I’m so excited! I received a Four Star review from Romantic Times Review Magazine. I assumed that Five Stars would be the top rating, but I was so blessed when I found out Four and a half was the best you could get, making Four Stars quite good indeed. I’ve also gotten some very good reviews, including a glowing one from Novel Journey, one of the top Christian review blogs. The Other Daughter is also climbing it’s way up the best sellers list on CBD…at the two week mark prior to release (when this was written) it had hit #15 in women’s contemporary fiction and #103 in overall fiction (out of 9,584 books), very respectable for a book not yet released. I’d love to see it reach the top 75 in overall fiction, but am leaving that in the Lord’s hands.

RM: What else are you working on?

MF: I’m working on Past Shadows (might also be called “Sheltered”), the sequel to The Other Daughter, and hope to have it ready to turn in to my editor in early November. I’ve also started something new for me, an 1880’s novel set in Washington state…I’m hesitating to say it’s a romance, but it looks like it might be heading that direction. I’m playing around with another idea for a stand-alone women’s contemporary with an unusual twist. I’m hoping to start it as soon as Past Shadows is finished. There could also be a #3 in this series, and if so, we’ll return to Brianna, the 13 yr old girl who arrives at the Carson’s door…at the age of 23.

RM: Good! I love sequels that let us catch up on the lives of the characters we grow to love. As a writer myself, I'm always interested in writing tips. Take us through your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.

MF: I’m more of a seat-of-the-pants writer…I get an idea, decide who the main characters are and start writing. I don’t follow a lot of rules, and tend to get better acquainted with my characters as I go. I have a basic overview of the story line in very simple outline form…I’m talking, a few sentences that might fill one page, at most, with very few details.

It does make it a bit more time intensive, in that I probably have more revisions than an organized writer, but I’ve found I can be more creative if everything isn’t mapped out along the way. My characters have more room to grow, change, and make some of their own decisions…I’ve had things happen in my story line that weren’t planned, but that fit beautifully and strengthened the plot. After writing the rough draft, I’ll submit it to my crit group a few chapters at a time, as well as having an editor I trust review the first third to half of the book for plot holes and inconsistencies, then start revising and editing.

RM: What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?

This is a hard one, as I’m still very early in my writing career, having only started writing seriously just over two years ago. I’m growing and learning constantly, and in all honesty, I haven’t had a lot of frustrating times since beginning this journey. I’d have to say that the issue of timing probably stands out more than most other things. I was in too big of a hurry, at first, to send my ‘baby’ out into the world when it wasn’t ready. Had I taken the advice of an author/editor friend on some of the changes she gave me that would have strengthened my book, and not been so sure it was fine the way it was, I probably wouldn’t have had some of my early rejections. Of course, rejections are part of the growing process, and I learned valuable lessons there, too.

RM: Do you have any parting words of advice?

Keep your priorities in order…God first, family next, ministry and others (including your writing) third. Write for the Lord, and yourself, rather than to be published. It will cut way down on the disappointment and frustration level, and bring a deep sense of joy and accomplishment.

RM: Great advice, Miralee. Thanks for visiting my blog and giving us this great inside scoop on your writing.

Attention all readers: Miralee has graciously offered to send a free book to one of the readers who leave a comment for this interview or any of the sites where her book is being featured for the next few weeks. So, one person who leaves a comment on this blog will win a book as well as one reader who comments on any of the blogs listed below. So, the more blogs you comment on, the better your chances!

Oct. 20th, Karen Phillips---Sky-High View

LaShaunda Hoffman—See Ya On The Net

21st Angie Arndt---The Road I'm Traveling

22nd Deena Peterson---Deena's Books

22nd Teresa Morgan---Teresa Morgan's Blog

23rd Rose McCauley---Stories of Faith, Hope and Love

23rd Pattie Reitz----Fresh Brewed Writer

24th Cecelia Dowdy---New Christian Fiction Reviews

Tiffany Amber Stockton--A Fiction-Filled Life

25th Bonnie Way---The Koala Bear Writer

Stormi Johnson---Write Thoughts

26th Robin Grant---Queen Of Perseverance

27th Delia Latham---The Melody Within

28th Jennie McGhan---Jen's Life Journey

29th Susan Lohrer ---Inspirational Editor

30th Carla Stewart---Carla’s Writing Café

31st Christina Berry--- Posting with Purpose


1st Bonnie Leon---Bonnie's Blog

2nd Jan Parrish---Bold and Free

3rd Tina Helmuth---The Ink's Not Dry

4th Teresa Slack---ShoutLife Blog

5th Pam Meyers---A Writer’s Journey

6th Betsy St. Amant---Betsy Ann's Blog

7th Megan DiMaria---A Prisoner of Hope

8th Christa Allan---CBAllan WordPress

9th Susan Marlow---Suzy Scribbles---Homeschool Blogger

10th Jamie Driggers---Surviving the Chaos

11th Cindy Bauer----Christian Fiction Author & Speaker

12th Angie Breidenbach---God Uses Broken Vessels

13th Patricia Carroll---Patricia PacJac Carroll

14th Toni V. Lee---Spreading Truth Through Fiction

15th Camille Eide---Faith Inspiring Fiction

16th Lisa Jordan---Musings

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Preview of Blog Tour for Miralee Ferrell

I'm one of several bloggers who are taking part in a blog tour for new author Miralee Ferrell. Stop by on Tuesday for an interview with Miralee about her book, but here's a teaser below to pique your interest!

The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. "My mama's dead. He's my daddy."Susanne Carson knew that she could trust the love of her life—her husband, David—until she discovered a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David's daughter.Not that their marriage had ever been perfect—David's decision to embrace the Christian faith had strained their relationship. Susanne may not have agreed with his beliefs, but at least she trusted him. Had David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wanted Susanne to believe in his God, but believing hadn't done much to keep David out of another woman's arms.As David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands.

Read the entire opening scene at Miralee's web site:

The Other Daughter just released, look for it in Christian bookstores near you, or order from http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.christianbook.com/ If you visit Miralee's website and sign the guest book, you'll be entered in a drawing for a free book.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Let's play Tag!

When we were children, we spent hours playing tag. As adults we often play "phone tag" with friends and family members. Now we are entering the world of"blog tag"! I have been tagged by one of my ACFW friends, Pat Gonzales (http://www.pattishene.blogspot.com/) to tell what I was doing 10, 20 and 30 years ago. So here goes:

Thirty years ago my husband and I were living in the white house on the farm where we still live. I had taught school for 6 years, but was now staying at home on maternity leave with our almost four year old daughter, expecting the birth of our second child. This was before the days of standard ultrasounds, so we didn't know the gender. I dreamed I would have a red-headed boy, and although the nurse predicted a girl by the heart rate, on October 30, 1977, I gave birth to our son--a boy with blond hair that still has reddish glints! My writing was nonexistent at that time although God had planted the idea in my head years before. My reading consisted of Cinderella and Bible stories.

Twenty years ago my husband and I were in the whirlwind of raising three kids--14, 10 and 5. Between band practice, soccer, baseball and basketball games, and church activities, we managed to sometimes make 6 trips to town a day and survive! (We live about 6 miles from a small town.) We ate most of our meals together, I taught school where the youngest two attended, and the kids and I helped my husband on the farm when possible, so we spent a lot of time together! Writing was still non-existent, but my reading level had risen to The Christy Miller series, and The Thorne Twins, and, of course, still Cinderella and Bible stories.

Ten years ago, our oldest daughter was married, our son was in college, and our youngest daughter was the lone chick at home. Since she still had one year to wait for a driver's license, we still made several trips to town most days, and I was still teaching school, but these ideas for stories kept clogging up my brain, so I actually wrote down some ideas and a few scenes and character sketches (although I didn't know that was what they were called at that time!) My reading had expanded to include several Christian authors like Janette Oke, Lori Wick and Brock and Bodie Thoene. I found out I was eligible for retirement in one more year, and my husband (and the stories in my head) were both encouraging me to retire so I would have time to write, so I did, and here I am with a blog and lots of unpubbed manuscripts, and lots of new friends and new authors to read!

So, I am blog-tagging the following people, and hope they will take time to play this new game:

Brandilyn Collins http://www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/

Miralee Ferrell http://www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/

Tricia Goyer http://www.triciagoyeer.blogspot.com/

Rachel Hauck http://www.rachelhauck.com/blog.htm

Cara Putman http://carasmusings.blogspot.com/

Cindy Sproles http://mountainbreezewriter.blogspot.com/

Kristy Dykes http://www.christianlovestories.blogspot.com/

Camy Tang www.storysensei.blogspot.com

Maryann DiOrio www.maryanndiorio.com/blog

Robin Johns Grant www.queenofperseverance.blogspot.com

Check out their sites and learn something you didn't know about these authors.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

We have a contest winner and we are all winners with notes from Tricia Goyer's historical writing class!

Congrats to Delia, and a copy of A Valley of Betrayal by Tricia Goyer will soon be on its way to her. Everyone (except Delia) who leaves a comment on my blogs during the month of October who also leaves or emails me their contact info will be entered into a drawing for DiAnn Mills' new book When the Nile Runs Red. You can read more about her book on my last blog.
I'm posting a picture of me with Tricia at the ACFW conference in Dallas last month. I took her very interesting and informative class on Historical Writing, and she has graciously given me permission to share some of the notes from that class on this blog.

Here are some of the steps from her "system":
à I read a general overview of the time in history to discover plot points. Then I put them in a PLOT document
à I color-coded the scenes by character.
à I work with through the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, and the assignments lead to information about character (which I put in the character file) and plot points (plot file).
à THEN I research the information I’ll need for of plot and characters.
à I check important dates/events.
à I research specifics that will be in my scenes.

The details for the scenes that I research are:
à Who does what?
à Who goes where?
à Motivation?
à Conflict?
à Setting?

As you can tell the “factual research” usually happens later in the process. It’s important for me to get a general overview of the time in history, but the more novels I write the more I’ve disciplined myself to focus on exactly what I need for each scene. It helps me to focus where the information is needed the most. It saves time. And it saves me from running away on rabbit trails.

I love:
Used books. (The closer to the time period I’m writing about the better!)
I do look for information on the Internet, but I’d rather have an old, musty book in my hand.
Anyone desiring more info can check out Tricia's sites at www.triciagoyer.com or
www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com or you can order the whole set of 4 CDs from her class or many other great classes by going to www.acfw.com/conference and at the bottom of the screen it will tell you where you can order all the sessions. Happy learning!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Book--When the Nile Runs Red

I just got back late last night from the 6th annual American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference in Dallas, TX. (I'll post more about that later.) While there I had the privilege of taking a great class taught by DiAnn Mills. Today I want to encourage you to read her latest novel.
Although I haven't yet read it, I know from her many other books I have read that it will be a great read. Here are a few quotes from other reviewers:

The mix of romance, action, and history, is a perfect concoction to tie everything together in this book. DiAnn Mills allows you to become intimate with the characters and to feel as though you are right there with them suffering in the Sudan heat day after day as they fight to bring peace to the land. This book is based on real events that are going on in Sudan in 2005 between Southern Sudan and the Northern government in Khartoum...I highly recommend this novel. You get to take a look into the current events in Sudan, see the love grow and flourish between Larson and Paul, and see the fate of Ben that will have you wipe a tear from your cheek. This book is an emotional rollercoaster that is worth reading again and again. --Reviewed by Ashley Denis for Front Street Reviews

Mills has created a masterpiece in the inspirational fiction, When the Nile Runs Red...Plenty of action scenes as well as twists and turns in the plot keep the reader engaged with the story. With real characters, real struggles, life-and-death situations and a present but not overwhelming inspirational theme, Mills has created a wonderful read.
Armchair Interviews says: Highly recommended.--Reviewed by Lacy J. Williams

Best-selling author DiAnn Mills brings an international tragedy to life in her new book, “When theNile Runs Red.” Her novel weaves the real-life humanitarian crisis in the Sudan with the plight of her characters who have dedicated their lives to making a difference. Although the book is a work of fiction, it breathes a reality that so many innocent people cannot escape from...Absolutely fantastic!--Reviewed by Vicki Landes for Reader Views (6/07)
So hurry out and buy it or post on this blog next month (October) for a chance to win a copy!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Contest winner and new contest

Thanks to all who left a comment this past month. We had several new bloggers, and one of them won the book Remember Me by Maureen Lang. Ann Johnson is our latest winner and the book will soon be on its way to her. She is the only person disqualified from winning the book for September which is...A Valley of Betrayal by Tricia Goyer. The drawing will be on October 1st.
Tricia has written several fascinating historical fiction books set during the WWII era. Her new book is set during an earlier period we don't hear or read as much about--the Spanish Civil War. Travel to war-torn Spain with the heroine Sophie Grace as she searches for her beloved Michael. Secrets abound. Who can she trust? Leave a comment and perhaps you will win this new book by Tricia Goyer. I also hope you will check out her website and other books, both fiction and non-fiction at http://www.triciagoyer.com/

The rules for the contest are the same as posted before. You are not eligible the month right after winning and you must leave a blogpost and send me an email addy to contact you for mailing info. Happy reading, everyone!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Book review--Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

Since I am a fiction writer, most of the book reviews I post are of fiction books, but this book is so good, I just had to encourage everyone to get a copy and read it! John and Stasi Eldredge are a husband-wife team. John is well known for several other books, including Wild at Heart. Stasi is co-leader of a women's ministry called Ransomed Heart.

The sub-title of this book is "Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul." One of the key verses is Psalms 45:11 "The King is enthralled (captivated) by your beauty; honor him for He is your lord." I like The Message version even better. "The King is wild for you. Since He's your lord, adore him."

The authors go on to suggest ways we can realize and appreciate the truth of how captivating we are to our Lord, including asking Him to show us our beauty and letting him romance us. When we feel His love in greater measure, we will fall more deeply in love with Him and worship Him as He desires to be worshiped.

They quote the Luke passage about Mary and Martha and how Mary chooses the "one thing that is needed." They believe "The one thing that is needed is a captivated, adoring heart, a heart that responds to the extravagant love of God with worship." (p. 123)

I am in a Bible study/prayer group with several of the women whom I went with on the mission trip to Hondorus last Dec. (check out my earlier blogs for more info) We call ourselves the Warrior Princesses which is the title of another chapter in this book.

If you desire to fall more in love with Jesus and become more of a Warrior Princess for him, this book is for you.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Winner and new contest!

Virginia Smith is the winner of The Wedding Caper by Janice Thompson. Congrats to Ginny. Leave a comment on any of my blog posts during the month of August and you will be eligible to win Remember Me by Maureen Lang, a very timely book about two young adults caught up in the maelstrom of War.

Lissa Parker is making plans to head overseas as a nurse with the Red Cross in 1917 when she meets and falls in love with a young man who has lost his memory. Josef von Woerner heads to Europe to fight. As his memory comes back in bits and pieces he is faced with several life-changing decisions. This is not just a love story, but a heart-searching book with many twists and turns. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will love reading this book and learn much about this era in the process.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Book Review--Remembered by Tamera Alexander

I loved this book which is the third in the Fountain Creek Chronicles. I enjoyed getting to know the two main characters from this story, Veronique Girard, and Jack Brennan (whom we met in the other books) as well as catch up on the characters from the author's previous two books. My only regret is that this is the end of this series. I hope the author will reconsider and give us another glimpse of these endearing characters in a few years.

After her mother's death, Veronique travels from France to Willow Springs, Colorado Territory, to search for her father who left for America when she was a small child. Will she find him? Even more important, will she find it in her heart to forgive him for his abandonment?

Jack Brennan has led wagon trains for 13 years since the death of his wife and son. Now he wishes to live in Willow Springs. His dream is to buy a farm and settle down. What other plans does God have for him?

The story line, these loveable characters and the many others would be enough to make you want to read this book, but Tamera Alexander's painting of the scenes with her lyrical words will make you want to keep on reading anything she writes. I'm copying one short passage as an example of her writing: " She (Veronique) imagined her life as a canvas and the events of it, miniscule brushstrokes. Seen up close they meant little. But when given perspective, each splash of color, every dab of paint, however small or large, dark or light, was meant for her eternal good. God had proven that in recent months."

I hope you will go out and buy all three of the Fountain Creek Chronicles including Rekindled and Revealed and enjoy many hours of happy reading as you are swept away to Colorado in the 1870's.

Below I have printed the back cover copy and biographical info on the author. Join me next week for an informative interview with Tamera.

Back cover blurb for Remembered, Book 3 Fountain Creek Chronicles:
Though loss is often marked in a single moment, letting go of someone you love can take a lifetime...
The threat of war—and a final request—send Véronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood—her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Véronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.
His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans... and his life.

Author bio:
TAMERA ALEXANDER is the bestselling author of Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered, the three-part Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Rekindled, a CBA bestseller, has won critical acclaim and was chosen as one of Library Journal's Top 5 Picks for Christian Fiction 2006. Rekindled and Revealed triple-finaled in the 2007 RITA® Awards sponsored by Romance Writers of America-Rekindled and Revealed for Best Inspirational Novel, and Rekindled for Best First Novel.Tamera frequently speaks to women's groups, sings on the praise team, enjoys mentoring other writers, and also served as the conference coordinator for the 2004 American Christian Romance Writers National Conference in Denver, Colorado. She and her husband, Joe Alexander, make their home in Tennessee with their two college-age children, and a seven-pound Silky named Jack. Tamera is currently working on her fourth novel, part of another three-book historical series with Bethany House which is set in the Colorado Territory.
Visit Tamera’s website at http://www.tameraalexander.com/
And her blog at http://www.tameraalexander.blogspot.com/
Wedding Photos

Since I wasn't able to download these photos yesterday, I am posting them today. Don't the bride and groom look gloriously happy? The other photo is of our entire family--me and my husband of 39 years, our three children by birth and three by marriage (including the groom in the second photo) and three grandchildren. Can you tell I'm a proud wife, mom and Mimi? Or rather, I should say a grateful wife, Mom, and Mimi for all God has blessed me with. To God be the glory!

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Storybook Wedding

On a personal note, I want to share a few of the memories from our youngest daughter's wedding this past weekend. The weather was perfect for July--a little warm at the beginning of the service, but cooling off later on in the evening. The prelude and postlude music (classical guitar and violin) sounded heavenly in the outdoor setting. Next our son accompanied on his guitar our oldest daughter as she beautifully sang the song "Grow Old Along with Me." Then the wedding party walked in--7 groomsmen and one nervous groom followed by 7 lovely bridesmaids dressed in short black dresses and carrying dark pink gerber daisies. Then our 8 year old granddaughter walked in looking so grown up in her black dress with dark pink accents, preceding her 6 year old brother and sister and a second set of ringbearer/flower girl, both under two years old. The younger ones needed help getting down the aisle and didn't stay put for long, but they were all very cute.

After a slight pause, the musicians played the first notes of Trumpet Voluntary and we all stood to gaze on the radiant bride being escorted down the aisle by her proud papa. I didn't think I would cry until she stopped by my seat to give me a kiss, which brought happy tears to my eyes. The minister did a lovely job of intermingling the humorous with the serious. During the ceremony, I was surprised to hear him quote a verse I gave to my husband on a plaque on our fifth anniversary.

Woman was created from the rib of man
She was not made from his head--to top him
Nor from his feet--to be trampled on.
She was made from his side--to be equal to him
From under his arm--to be protected by him
From near his heart--to be loved by him.

After making their vows to each other, the groom got to kiss his bride, and they started down the aisle to whistles and clapping, causing our grandson to cover his ears in one of the pictures. After several more pictures, the happy couple danced their first dance, cut and fed each other cake, and enjoyed dancing and partying with their friends to a country rock band. They left a few hours later through a gauntlet of sparklers off to honeymoon in Cozumel, Mexico. May they and all couples keep the Lord at the center of our marriages.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Book Contest for July and the winner for June is...

Miss Reader, again! I have contacted her for her mailing info and also informed her that I am going to add a rule that you can no longer win two months in a row starting this month, in order to give more people an opportunity to win. This is in addition to the other rule that you have to email me your email info so I can contact you if you win.

July's book is The Wedding Caper by Janice A. Thompson. This book is the first in the new Barbour line of cozy mysteries. While planning her two daughters' weddings, some money mysteriously disappears from the bank where Annie Peterson's husband works, while her hubby seems to have "found" some money just in time for wedding expenses. Annie goes through some hilarious and heart-searching times looking for the culprit. It can't be her husband, can it?

Janice is a very funny and talented author, and I can't wait for the other books to come out. I know she is also gifted at setting up websites because she set up mine at http://www.rosemccauley.com/ Check it out and see some of her work.

On a personal note, I would appreciate any prayers for our baby daughter's wedding to go well next Saturday evening, July 7. That's right--07-07-07! A popular choice for weddings! At least the husbands shouldn't have any trouble remembering their anniversary! I'll post some pics later.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

I have read several of Robin Hatcher's novels and her newest book is one of my favorites. It is a contemporary story of two sisters: Roxy, who is the prodigal daughter, returning after she has spent her inheritance and her self-respect trying for a music career in Nashville, and Elena, the pure and proper older sister who has remained at home and followed in the family business. Both sisters have much to learn about God's grace in this story of forgiveness and God's faithfulness. It is also the story of their father who has faithfully prayed for his daughter's return and restoration just as God yearns for all His children to return to Him.

I hope you will leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win a copy of this book, and I would encourage you to read it and all of Robin Lee Hatcher's wonderful novels, both contemporary and historical.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Dirty (I mean clean) Dozen--bits of info from Cyndy Salzmann

The book "Miss Reader" won in last month's contest was "Crime and Clutter" by Cyndy Salzmann, a hilariously funny story with deep truths about friendship, family and forgiveness. The author has agreed to answer a dozen interview questions for us, so I hope you will enjoy getting to know her through her comments. And I hope you will read some of her books to see what you have been missing. Check out her website at www.fridayafternoonclub.com

1. Your tagline is "Advice and Encouragement from America's Clutter Coach." How and when did you decide to rid the world of clutter?

CS: The day my husband asked me why I was saving dryer lint and used dryer sheets – and I responded with what I thought was a valid reason. The look on his face convinced me that this “saving” had to stop. As God taught me the joy of letting go of STUFF, He began to give me opportunities to help others do the same.

2. Your early books were nonfiction , which you share lead you to the speaking circuit. What motivated you to write those books?

CS: I wanted women to understand that God knows and loves us dearly – and is concerned with even the most trivial details of our lives. Clutter. Getting dinner on the table. Even laundry. I once asked Him for a better attitude about laundry and He led me to Genesis 2:20, “They were naked and not ashamed.”

3.Is publishing in the nonfiction arena vastly different from what you later experienced in the fiction world?

CS: Definitely! I had thought that my nonfiction fans would also be fans of my novels. This isn’t always the case. I’ve had to woo them to the fiction by including extras like recipes and household tips. I’ve also had to learn how to connect with readers who rarely read nonfiction.

4. Tell us how you moved into fiction. What was your inspiration for the Friday Afternoon Club?

CS: The inspiration for the Friday Afternoon Club came from my own group of friends that has been getting together on Friday afternoons for more than 15 years. We have no agenda, no crafts or no service projects. We've gone through career changes, divorce, the deaths of parents and spouses, illnesses, marriages—just about every major life change you can imagine. I count the friendship of these women as one of the most precious blessings in my life.

I had toyed with the idea of writing fiction for quite some time but came up with the idea for the mystery series when our group was taking one of our "road trips." We spent ten hours on a train going to Chicago and laughed the entire time. On the trip home, I thought it would be a great premise for a mystery. We ended up plotting a story with the help of several passengers and the conductor, who happened to be a part-time mortician. Although the trip inspired the series, that particular story hasn't been written—yet.

5. I am amazed by all you accomplish: wife, mother, writer, speaker, podcaster, weekly radio station contributor, blog, contributor to blogs, organizer. 'Fess up...you have an identical twin, right? clone? How do you manage all of your roles? When do you write?

CS: Shhh! My family thinks I’m a Pampered Chef Consultant. Seriously… I divide up my day in a way to hopefully provide a sense of balance – and I am careful to protect certain things. Morning devotions. Dinner as a family. Date night with my husband. When these things are in sync – the other stuff seems to get done.

6. What mistake(s) do you think most new writers make when attempting their first manuscript? If you could give them one nugget of advice, what would it be?

CS: My best advice actually comes from Stephen King… “To write is human. To edit is divine.” Listen to your editor.

7. Do you plot before you glue yourself to the chair? What is a "typical" writing process for you?

CS: I first take some time to get to know my main characters. Then I put them in a situation to shake up their lives. From there I let the story write itself. I just try to keep up on the keyboard.

8. Do you set weekly/monthly writing goals, like number of pages or words per day?

CS: Once I know my deadline, I divide up how many publishable words I need to write each day while leaving a month for a good polish. An easy pace is 1000 words a day but I can push myself to 3000-4000 words when I need to. It’s just no fun to be around me.

9. What one organization tip can you offer for time management?

CS: Start your day with a few minutes reading the Bible and praying. Be flexible and let God set your to-do list. After all, He fed 5000 with a few fish and some bread. Let go of perfectionism and trust Him to make the most of your time.

10. Great video snip on your website for Crime & Clutter! Did you have someone else put that together?

CS: Thanks so much! I did that myself with Windows Movie Maker. Such fun!

11. What is your vision for your fiction?

CS: The reason I began the FAC series was to encourage women to invest in friendship. Good friends like my FAC group don’t just happen. You have to put in the time to develop the relationship.

12. Fill-in-the-blank: If I couldn't write, I would.............

CS: ...have to think of a new excuse to avoid laundry. : )

Thanks so much for taking the time for this cyber-visit, Cyndy, and for all your sage advice. I’ve read and laughed out loud over the first two books in the FAC series and hope to read more of your FAC books in the future. Also hope you will gain some new readers after they read this witty interview!

And, I hope all those reading this will leave a post and be entered in the drawing for Robin Lee Hatcher's new book this month. Be sure to leave a way of contacting you in case you are the winner. Rose

Friday, June 01, 2007

New Book Contest for June, and the winner for May is...

Miss Reader who will receive a copy of Crime and Clutter by Cyndy Salzmann.

All those who comment on this month's blogposts will be entered into a drawing on July 1 for a copy of well-known and multi-pubbed author Robin Lee Hatcher's latest book--"Return to Me". I'll post a review of this book next week, so check back soon. Important note: Please leave an email addy if you want to be included in the drawing, so I can contact you for your mailing address. If you don't wish to leave your email on the blog, then please email it to me privately thru the contact me section on my website at http://www.rosemccauley.com/ Thanks!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A new winner and a new book contest for May

Since Carolyn never contacted me with her info, my DH drew another name from the bowl today and Pam C. is the lucky winner, so Jill Nelson will be mailing her an authographed copy of Reluctant Runaway. If Carolyn contacts me later, I will be happy to send her a book from my own collection.

The contest open to anyone who posts on my blog this month will be for a copy of Crime and Clutter by Cyndy Salzman. This is a hilarious and heart-warming book detailing the adventures of the six members of the Friday Afternoon club as they help one of their members de-clutter her life and her heart when she inherits an old VW van and many memorabilia from her dad's life in the 60's Revolution.

Each chapter opens with some great recipes ranging from down-home cooking to recipes used in hippie communes. I've only tried one so far (very good), but plan to try several others.

Captivating characters, a surprise ending and lots of heart-squeezing emotion in between, make this a great read! Hope you will buy (or sign up to win!) this book for your summer reading enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And the winner of the Jill Nelson book, Reluctant Runaway, is...Carolyn. Carolyn, I don't have an email or snail mail addy for you, so please contact me with that info by May 8, or I will have to draw a new winner. Thanks to everyone who entered, and check back next week for info on winning this month's book, Crime and Clutter by Cyndy Salzmann.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Writing Conferences

I haven't posted for two weeks because last weekend my husband and I drove over 1300 miles roundtrip so I could attend the 2007 Called to Write conference held by the Christian Writers Fellowship in Girard, KS. Deb Vogts, president of CWF, made everyone feel very welcomed, and the ladies of the group provided so much great food that I gained weight in two days! We started off each session with a heart-moving devotion led by Patty Phipps who also later did a hilarious and helpful workshop on being a "creative chef" in our writing.

Deb Raney, a fellow ACFW member, was the main speaker, and she taught several excellent workshops on rewriting, publishing, e-newsletters, getting ideas, and writing as a business. We also heard Mary Walton give us great advice on having "Winning Writer Websites" and LeeAnn Campbell spoke about the advantages of critique groups.

This was a conference I definitely hope to attend again, even if it is half way across the country! Every part was well-planned and executed. I also connected with ACFWers in person that I had only known by email and made several new friends, too. So, I encourage all writers to find and attend some local or not-so-local smaller conferences, in addition to national conferences. I am taking my own advice and leaving on Friday for the Mercer County One Day Writers Conference in Stoneboro, PA. Check back later for a report on what I learn there!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Win a book!!
Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

This book is the second in Jill's "To Catch a Thief" series, and I can't wait for the next one to come out in January of next year. Jill has graciously offered to mail an autographed copy of Reluctant Runaway to one lucky person who posts to this blog, so read the review below, and I'm sure you'll want a chance to win a copy. Please leave your email addy so I can contact you for mailing info. I'll get my dear hubby to draw a name from all entries on May 1st, so don't forget to enter before then. And you can check back in on May 2nd to see who is the winner!

You will love the hero and heroine in this book! Desiree Jacobs is a museum security expert who often finds herself in dangerous situations. Tony Lucano is a good-looking special agent for the FBI. Sparks fly when he tries to persuade Desiree to stay out of harm's way while he also enounters dangerous people and places. Their physical attraction for each other is unmistakable, but can it weather their disagreements and separations?

From the back cover..."Tony's organized crime case collides with Desi's (museum break-in) investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister...From the streets of Desi's beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces."

Hope you'll enter to win and also go out and buy or order the first book in the series "Reluctant Burglar" where Tony and Desi first meet.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Jewish Seder

I've always wanted to attend a Jewish seder (Passover meal), so when my daughter's church had one the other night, she signed me and my husband up. Seder literally means the "set order" of the Passover service.

A man from Jews for Jesus gave a wonderful presentation which helped us all understand better what the Passover meal involved and what each food represented.

The room was set with about 20 tables, and 6-8 people of all ages sat at each one. The mother of the household has the honor of lighting the candles. There were 3 ladies at our table, but since I was sitting at the end closest to the candles, I stood to light them while Mr. Cohen spoke this traditional prayer. "Blessed are Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctifies us by His commandments and commands us to kindle the festival lights," and then the Messianic prayer: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctifies us through Y'shua the Messiah, the Light of the world."

We started out by drinking the cup of sanctification--the first of the four cups of grape juice taken during the meal. The prayer over the cup is called Kiddush and says "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe who brings forth fruit from the vine."

Then we tasted some very strong horseradish which represented the ground bitter herb or "maror". The next two cups represented plagues/judgment and redemption/blessing. I'm not sure of the order, but during this part of the meal we also tasted "chaggigah" (roasted egg), "karpas" (greens) and "charoseth" (a very tasty mixture of apples, cinnamon and nuts which represented the mortar the children of Israel had to mix while in captivity in Egypt) and "matzoh" (unleavened bread.) The prayer over the bread was "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth." The last cup we partook of was the cup of praise (also called the cup of acceptance or cup of Elijah.)

We then enjoyed a pot-luck meal of traditional Jewish foods. I made a huge platter of cheese blintzes topped with cherry pie filling and they were soon gone! Some of the foods I enjoyed most were the chicken soup and also the lamb with mint jelly.

We resumed the service by Mr. Cohen asking the 4 questions always asked of the children at the Passover meal. We then did a responsive reading of Psalm 113 and Mr. Cohen taught us a couple of Jewish songs. Then the children hunted for the Afikomen "that which comes later" which was a piece of the matzoh bread hidden earlier. Mr. Cohen spoke of how the bread was taken from the center panel of a 3 layer pouch, and affirmed that this was a foreshadowing of Christ as part of the triune God who was our Passover lamb.

This was a very symbolic evening pointing to the reason for Jesus coming to be the Lamb of God, the sacrifice for our sins. The service reminded me of the cup and bread of communion. I would encourage all who have a chance to participate in a seder to do so to gain more understanding of our Jewish roots and Christ as the fulfillment of the Passover. For more information or to schedule a seder at your church, go to www.jewsforjesus.org

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kim Sawyer, author of Where Willows Grow
This picture is of me with one of my dearest author friends, Kim Sawyer. I first met Kim in 2002 at the first American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference in Kansas City. We were both shy and felt out of place amidst all the well-known authors. Kim had self-pubbed her first book and sold copies at our booksigning. I bought a book and was hooked on her writing. She has been compared to Janette Oke of prairie romance fame, but I think she is even better! If you would like more info about Kim and her other books, please check out her website at www.KimVogelSawyer.com

Review of Where Willows Grow by Kim Vogel Sawyer
This book is a story of enduring love during the Depression period of our country's history. Anna Mae and Harley Phipps are barely surviving on the farm her parents left her. Harley travels across the state of Kansas, against his wife's wishes, to work on a WPA project of building a castle to make money for food and taxes. Several events occur to keep them from receiving letters from each other, leading to more hurt feelings. They are both involved in harmful accidents which God can use for good if they will let Him. The blurb on the back of the book says "Her heart aches for his return, but is the distance between them measured by more than miles?" I hope you will order this book and find out the answer for yourself. If you are like me, you will be happy at the joyful ending, but sad that your visit with these heartwarming characters is at an end. Order a copy today from the site above or go to your local Christian bookstore.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sermon notes

Last Sunday the minister told more of the story of Nehemiah based on chapter 6. I wanted to list all the building blocks he spoke about that Nehemiah used to encourage the people to stand firm in rebuilding Jerusalem's wall, but the bulletin went through the wash in my husband's clothes! So, I will just share two points that I can still make out and which refer to any mission God has given us in life--1)whether it is a physical or spiritual need, we should seek God's vision for it instead of our own, and 2)when we are sure of the vision, we have to remember to not just stare up the steps, but to step up the stairs! Good advice for all endeavors!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Author Interview: DiAnn Mills

I am happy to share an interview with one of my favorite authors and fellow ACFW member--DiAnn Mills.

RM: Hi, DiAnn. I hope you will tell us a little about yourself. How old were you when you began writing?

DM: Actually I was in the second grade. I wrote poetry and stories. Then I remember filling up a Big Chief pad with my first book - a western. I don’t remember what happened in the story except the hero always rode off into the west at the end of each chapter. I imagine it resembled Wagon Train, since that was my favorite TV show at the time. My goodness, I hope some of your readers know that classic!

RM: I certainly do. What is the most important aspect of your writing?

DM: Without a doubt, it is characterization. I’m a character-driven writer, and that means my goal is to write real “people” who react and respond to the events and happenings in their lives according to their traits. When you consider how long we have lived to develop our character, then you have an idea the formidable job a writer has in developing credible, colorful, and compelling characters. Characterization drives plot. Stop for a moment to consider your favorite books or movies. The plot may have intricate twists and turns, but it’s the characters who become unforgettable.

RM: I agree. You write many different types of stories. Do you have a favorite genre?

DM: ☺ That’s like asking a mother which child is her favorite!
I enjoy writing historicals because of the romance of an older era. The obstacles that stood in the way of these people bred courage and strength into their lives. Their problems weren’t any different than the ones we face today, but how the characters solved them presents an intriguing writing project for me.

I enjoy writing a contemporary because it is who we are today. Our lives are fast-paced and stressful. We are courted by TV, movies, magazines, and newspapers. Every headline, every magazine article, every viewed program sparks ideas of how a character could handle a problem. I thrive on suspense and the challenges of a protagonist who lives his/her life from a Christian point of view.

I’ve never tackled sci-fi, fantasy, children, or speculative. But who knows?

RM: What part of the writing process is your favorite?

DM: I don’t think I have a favorite because the process all builds to a finished project: a novel that inspires and entertains.

I’ve already stated how I feel about characterization.

Plotting is an extension of characterization. The actual breakout of words on paper and seeing the story come to life thrills me.

Editing to make my novel the best.

Marketing and networking is an opportunity to promote the story God has given me and to make new friends.

RM: You are great at all these aspects. What part of the writing process is your least favorite?

DM: The scary part. When the book is released. I think of it like a mom who sends her precious child to the first day of school. She wants the child to behave and have everyone love him/her, but what if the child comes home with a note that says the child was naughty?

RM: LOL As a mother I love that analogy! What do you feel is the key to continuous publication?

DM: I’d say it is a mixture of things. Striving to always make the next project better than the previous. Bathing the project with prayer. Listening for the voice of God. And, for me, mentoring new writers. I love to help someone achieve their writing goals.

RM: You have helped me and many other new writers through your excellent teaching at conferences and articles on your website. I hear you and other writers use the word “passion” when you speak about writing. What does that mean to you?

DM: Passion in writing involves a number of aspects. At least it does for me. Passion for writing is like telling a pastor to preach his best sermon, a singer to sing his favorite song, a dancer to reenact the finest performance, or an artist to transfer a dream onto canvas. Many times a writer has this type of feeling or a passion for a topic or story idea. The writer cannot not write it.

RM: How true! How do you feel about critique partners?

DM: Mine are fantastic. I like another set of eyes to read my work critically. I want to know if it works and what doesn’t. Are the characters real? Is the plot believable? Does the dialogue seem to lift off the page? And have I added the right amount of sensory perception.

RM: One of the questions I am asked frequently is where I get my story ideas. Where did you get your inspiration for The Texas Legacy Series?

DM: For years I had this idea about a lady outlaw who decides that she’s had enough and leaves the gang. Along the way, she finds the Lord, but the guilt and shame of her past plague her journey. That was Leather and Lace. In the writing of the first book, I realized the hero had a brother and sister. Each one had a story that begged to be told. Lanterns and Lace is about the younger brother, a doctor who adopts an infant from a dying prostitute. Lightning and Lace is about the sister who is forced to face life as a widow and runs head-on into a man who is attempting to live down a troubled past.

RM: Sounds great! I can't wait to read Lightning and Lace. What tips can you give new writers?

DM: Write everyday.
Establish a time and stick to it.
Read your genre and out of your genre.
Attend writing conferences
Be diligent to the craft.
What you learn, pass on to someone else
Be teachable – both mentally and spiritually

RM: Thanks, DiAnn, for these words of wisdom.

I hope my readers will check out DiAnn's website at www.diannmills.com where you can read more about her and even read a sample from Lightning and Lace, her latest book.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Beth Moore simulcast

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Beth Moore Bible study by simulcast. I had seen and heard her in person twice before, and wondered what this would be like in comparison. It was a great experience, and I would encourage anyone who has a chance to attend one of her Bible studies to do so, whether live or by simulcast or video tape.

Each of the three sessions began with lively praise and worship led by Travis Cottrell. The Beth spoke with humbleness yet great power about God's deliverance. She said her message was a further teaching based on her new book Get Out of that Pit. She began by reading from Psalm 40, verse 2: "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Her key passage was Psalm 18. One of my favorite verses from this Scripture is verse 19 where David says, "He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me." How precious to think of Him delighting in me--in each of us!

I hope you will check out Beth's studies at www.lproof.org which is the website for Living Proof Ministries and get involved in a personal or group study led by Beth Moore. I also hope my readers will recommend any of the Beth Moore or other Bible studies they have found beneficial so we can all grow in His wisdom.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Tonight at church we had a special Youth Night. Several kids sang (including my three grandkids!), a group called "Chosen" from a visiting church did an interpretive dance, and the junior Bible Bowl team whopped upon the three ministers of the church. The first game was a skunk (400 to 0) and the second game was a little closer (300+ to 60). It was an enjoyable evening for all.

Something the deacon prayed in his closing prayer struck me. "Help us see the children not just as our future, but as our present." We usually think of teaching our children to follow us, but he also prayed "And help us to follow the children." This is similar to what Jesus taught when He said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

May we all become like little children in our trust, love, and wonder at God and His creation.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Next to reading, scrapbooking is a favorite hobby of mine. I started scrapbooking over nine years ago, but never completed a whole album until I retired from teaching the following year. I especially enjoy scrapping with friends. We can talk while we work and share our ideas and pictures with each other.

Since I no longer need to do bulletin boards, I use my creativity to create layouts and borders to showcase my pictures. My grandkids especially enjoy looking at our family pictures in the completed albums. Someday I hope the albums will become family heirlooms, passed down to future generations to tell the stories of our lives in pictures. You know they say, "One picture is worth a thousand words." If that's true, I'm a millionaire of memories!

How about you? Any other scrapbookers out there?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Wedding Plans

This is will be short tonight as our youngest daughter is getting married in five months, and she asked me to start working on a wedding invitation list tonight.

The word wedding reminded me of two times it is used in the Bible. In Matthew 22 Jesus tells the parable of the king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. Those invited didn't come, so he sent his servants out to invite others. I am so thankful that we have been invited to the wedding banquet for God's Son where we will be not just guests, but the bride of Christ.

This wedding banquet is found in Revelation 19:7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." Then in verse 9 John writes the words the angel gave him: "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" May we all accept His invitation.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The sermon today was about mistakes we make. One of the quotes the preacher shared really stuck with me throughout the day in regards to my writing. Malcom Forbes said, " Failure is success if we learn from it." An online search also led me to this quote by Henry Ford. "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."

I know I have a lot to learn about writing fiction. Most of the writers on the ACFW loop say writing is a lifelong learning process, which suits me fine because I love to learn new things! So, each failure is a success for me if I can learn from the experience and "begin again more intelligently." As the minister said, we can learn from our own mistakes and from the mistakes of others. So, I will continue to read and study writing how-to books and attend conferences, and most of all, continue to write and implement what I have learned.

I received a rejection letter a couple of weeks ago. I told my husband it was a "nice" rejection letter, although that sounds like an oxymoron. But, it was addressed to me personally by my first name, and signed by the editor with her first name. (I had met her previously at a conference.) My failure in attaining a contract from that house can be my stepping stone to success as long as I continue to learn and to write more intelligently. How about you? Is there some failure you need to turn into a success by learning from your mistakes and implementing what you have learned? What better time to start than now?

Sunday, January 14, 2007


We are in the middle of a long-planned project to build a laundry room/shower room on our ground floor. For the past thirty-three years we have lived in this house, both the washer/dryer and the only shower have been in the basement. After thousands of trips up and down the steps, we finally are working on making this dream a reality.

We hired a couple of guys to close in and insulate a section of our back porch. My husband is doing the plumbing and wiring himself. Today we went to order the washer/dryer. We left them at the store to be delivered later, but picked up the electrical and plumbing supplies he would need to get ready for them. When he finishes with that, I will help paint and decorate the room.

Thinking about how much work is going into this small project caused me to ponder the remodeling God is continually doing in us when we allow ourselves to be led by Him. Although the word remodel is not in the Scriptures, there are many verses about renewal and transformation. One of my favorites is Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is---His good, pleasing and perfect will."

Another one I really like is Psalm 51:10 when David prays, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." As we move through this new year God has given us, I pray that we all may be renewed and remodeled by the Great Architect. (Hebrews 11:10) Happy remodeling!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mothers and Daughters

Dear Readers, thanks for the comments several have left about about the mission trip. This will probably be my last one about the trip unless God leads otherwise.

This experience was very special to me as it was an answer to a prayer request I've been praying for several years for me and my youngest daughter to go on a mission trip together. She had always promised me we would go when she got her medical degree, but she came home the first month of classes and said she found out there was a mission trip planned that she could go on as a dental student. I told her to ask if her mother could go along, and the rest is history! The picture of the two of us in our scrubs was taken in front of a carving at the hotel where the interdenominational church service we attended was held.

I am very thankful that we had this experience together and hope it will be the first of many trips. I was also very proud of my daughter and the others on the trip's willingness and boldness to do everything in their power to relieve tooth pain in the Honduran people and to assist the missionaries and pastors who serve there. The country is very poor economically, but the people are rich in friendliness and smiles!

Another mother/daughter team also went on the trip, a dentist and her daughter. Although the daughter was the youngest member of our group, she pitched in and did sterilization of instruments and helped in the pharmacy, too. It was special to see them together.

We also connected with another mother/daughter team as one of the missionaries we served was a woman who lives in Honduras with her two teenage daughters. I think God prepared us all to encourage each other and to help the Honduran people and be taught and loved by them.

It is my prayer that we all will continue to be led by God whereever He wants us to go. And I hope you will pray for God to send you and/or some of your loved ones on a mission trip. You never know how or when He will answer that prayer!