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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Musings--Snow is a Dichotomy

Since this has been the snowiest December on record in Kentucky (and many other places), I've had snow on the brain (and my coat and face, etc.), so want to share some of my conflicting observations.

Snow can be...

pretty and white...or...dirty and gray

soft and fluffy...or...hard and packed

snow day activities...or...plans gone awry

snow day fun...or...an icy nightmare

silently descending...or...blustery and blowing

part of God's creation we should enjoy while we have the chance!

And just this morning, I was thinking of many songs that mention snow--most of them the good side, like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," but there are some that tell us the other view like "the weather outside is frightful!"

Please share any thoughts you have on snow--what you like and don't like! And your favorite songs that mention snow. Happy snow day for most of us!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Guest Blogger--Jennifer Slattery on "What My Husband Wants for Christmas"

Just in time for your holiday giving, I am pleased to share this guest blog on gift ideas for our husbands or other loved ones. Hope you enjoy it, and will check out Jennifer's bio and site listed below for more great info.

Jennifer writes:
My husband is the king of gift giving. I think he makes a game of it, and often he drags our daughter into his fun little plan. The two will look at me, at each other, then explode in a fit of giggles, followed by the familiar phrase, “We have something to do this weekend.” And I play along, feigning ignorance.
This past weekend was my birthday, and as is his way, my husband whisked our daughter off for a day of shopping. They didn’t spend much, albeit more than I would have liked, but their presents were laden with meaning. A leather bound journal for me to take to church so I don’t have to scribble all over the bulletin, three new candles to replace the ones I had burned to a nub, and a beautiful candle holder I casually admired one evening while shopping together.
That night, after spending the afternoon showered in love, I contemplated how I could return the gesture. Christmas will be here in a few short days, and I still haven’t found that “perfect gift” for my husband. What can I give him that will have as much meaning as those special gifts he and our daughter have given to me? Clothes aren’t his thing, nor movies. He’s already got a garage full of tools. I was stumped.
The answer came that night as I watched him recline in his favorite chair, remote in hand. Gifts are great, but there are a few things I believe my husband wants most of all:
1. A retreat to come home to. I’m blessed to work from home. If someone bothers me, I simply delete their email, or don’t answer the phone. My husband doesn’t have that luxury, and his job can get pretty stressful. I may not be able to buy him a home tucked in the hills, but I can give him a few moments each evening of emotional peace.
2. My appreciation. There are so many things my husband does right, yet I don’t thank him near as often as I should. In fact, there are times when I take him for granted. He’s our trash and recycle man. Every Thursday at the crack of dawn, he drags nasty smelling bags and overflowing recycle bins down to the curb. Never forgets. Never complains. He just does it, likely without thinking. And I haven’t changed a light bulb or put new batteries in a smoke detector for as long as I can remember. Each day there are countless little things he does. What if I took the time to notice, then made the effort to thank him?
3. My acceptance. The other day as I listened to someone complain about one of their loved ones, I had a passing thought—would they themselves measure up to the standard they set for others? How often do we raise the bar for our spouse, then lower it a few inches for ourselves? When we’re crabby, we’re over stressed or over tired. When they are, they’re insensitive. This Christmas I’m going to toss out my magnifying glass and put on a pair of rose colored glasses instead.
In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye out for that special gift that will make my husband feel like a treasured king, but I’ll also focus on those little tokens of love that help to build his inner man.

Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, freelance writer and columnist who lives in Kansas City, MO with her husband of fifteen years and their thirteen year old daughter. She’s written for numerous publications and has a weekly column on the Reflections in Hindsight website. She is also the marketing representative for the literary website, Clash of the Titles. You can find out more about her and her writing at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review--Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith, The Wives of King David, Book 2

I have loved Biblical fiction since reading Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, and The Robe while in high school. It is hard to find modern day Biblical fiction that melds the great writing and characters that grab your heart while also not straying from the message found in the Bible.

The author has done a fabulous job on both points. Her writing takes us inside the minds of several characters, especially Abigail and David. We can feel their love for each other and also hurt deeply when they disappoint each other.

We watch Abigail grow from a scared and scarred widow to a woman fiercely in love with her husband, David. We also see David as he matures from a king on the run to the anointed King of Israel. And, we get a front row seat at the mistakes each one makes, causing us to identify with and root for them even more.

If you like Biblical fiction, or know someone who does, I hope you will treat yourself and them with this book. And, although the books don't have to be read in order, I highly recommend Michal also by Jill Eileen Smith. These books are both published by Revell and can be found at most Christian book stores or cbd.com or amazon.com.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Musings on Christmas

I am definitely NOT a poet, but as I thought of G words to describe Christmas, several of the verses seemed to beg for a rhyme, so here are my thoughts as my gift to you this Christmas.

Christmas is...

Girls in angel white with silvery wings
Guys in bathrobes as shepherds and kings.

God in a manger with hay for a bed
Glorious angels proclaiming, "Peace on earth," they said.

Grace in human form, a newborn boy
That brought us all the hope of eternal life and joy.

Guests on camels from lands near and far
Travelling along as they followed the star,

Bearing gifts for the King they came to behold--
Frankincense, myrrh and costly gold.

The Greatest Gift of God's own Son...
The Gift that keeps giving on and on and on.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Musings--December

Thanks to all who posted or emailed to let me know they liked this new format, so I plan to continue it for the forseeable future. Today I want to invite you to join me as we muse on:

December is...

winter solstice

white wonderland

wonderful winter sunrises and sunsets

wrapping paper and ribbon

wonder in the eyes of a child

walking in the snow

wreaths on windows and doors

weekends in your pajamas

welcoming scents of hot chocolate and cookies

warm woolen mittens

worship of the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)

Can you think of more to add to this "w" list of winter things we might see or experience in December? Or perhaps you'd like to share your own list starting with other letters. PS I decided to share some pictures taken last winter of a beautiful sunrise and also awinter-wonderland ice-covered bush, both taken from my front porch last winter.

Monday, December 06, 2010

New Blog series--Monday Musings

Hi, I am piggybacking on an idea I got from Carole Brown's blog http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com She is posting a list every Monday called "Monday Morning Gratitudes." I really liked the thought and asked if I could do something similar. She replied that she knew several people who do it and invited me to join in. So, I hope you will check out her blog, and I hope you will check back in here on Mondays each week to help keep me accountable. My goal is two-fold: to make me more likely to post at least once a week and to give us a chance to share our musings with each other on a wide range of topics, so I hope you will add yours in a comment. And if you want to be entered in the monthly book drawing, leave your email addy in the comments.

Since we are in the midst of Hanukkah (Dec. 1-9 this year) I decided to do my first musing on that Jewish celebration.

Hanukkah is:

the 25th day of Kislev in the Jewish calendar...the Festival of Lights...the Feast of Dedication...Jesus participated in it(John 10: 22-24)...nightly lighting of the Menorah...foods like latkes...giving of gifts...playing games like spinning the dreidel...a time of celebration...

I hope this short musing helped you know a little more about Hanukkah. Can you see the similarities to our Christmas celebrations? What can you add to these musings about Hanukkah?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

An early Merry Christmas present going out to Karen K...

who won a copy of A Door County Christmas by Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips and Cynthia Ruchti--a wonderful read that is sure to get her in the Christmas mood! And for those of you who didn't win, put this book on your wish list or go buy it as an early present for yourself!

Everyone with a US mailing addy who leaves a comment in the month of December (except for Karen K.) will be eligible to win an ARC copy of Highland Blessings by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.

Here's the back cover blurb to give you an inkling of what it is about:
Scotland, 1473. Highland Warrior, Bryce MacPhearson kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise he made to his dying father. When he forces Akira to wed him, hoping to end a half-century old feud between their clans, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment. Yet her strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce. But there is a traitor in their midst...and murder is the ultimate weapon.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

This book was provided to me by Abingdon Press to use as a giveaway for promotional purposes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

We all have so much to be thankful for. I am especially thankful for life and health after being in a car accident last week. I slid off a wet slick road thru someone's yard going sideways about 50 yards, only to stop when I hit a tree. The tree is still there, and I am still here, but the car is totalled. The guy at the garage said they call it a banana when one side is so bent in like that. My Bible and several other books were on the backseat, and they flew out the side window when the glass shattered and landed several feet away on the grass. My husband said that could have been me if I hadn't had my seatbelt on, so make sure you always wear one!

I am thankful to be a survivor, albeit with a skinned knee, bruises and sore ribs. My doctor says they might be cracked or bruised but they have to heal on their own either way. So, if you've ever had injured ribs, you know what I am going thru. Sitting or lying down aren't too painful--it's mostly the getting up and down that hurts! And the coughing and sneezing!

Sorry this is only the second time I've posted this month, but I do promise to do better next month. Besides the accident laying me low for a couple days, I have been furiously typing out the words for my first book contract. (See Wed., Sept. 22nd blog) I have a little over 15,000 words of the 20,000 word count for a novella. It isn't due til Feb. 1st but I want to get it finished early, let it sit a week or two, then go back and do rewrites before sending it to my crit partners and the other three ladies writing novellas for the anthology to read thru and make suggestions. If I haven't said this before in a blog, I believe it takes a village to write/re-write a book. That's one of the reasons I am so thankful for ACFW and all my writing friends.

Most of all I "Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His Son!"

Monday, November 01, 2010

Winner and new book to win--A Door County Christmas

Linda Kish is the winner of The Narrow Path by Gail Sattler. She has a week from today to send me her mailing addy or I will have my hubby draw another number.

I usually read Christmas books the month of December, but read this one early so I could use it for this month's book drawing. That way whomever is chosen on Dec. 1st will receive this book in the mail early enough to add it to their own Christmas reading! And whoever wins is in for an early Christmas treat because the four authors in A Door County Christmas--Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips, and Cynthia Ruchti--all had me laughing out loud at their wonderful stories.

I had read Cynthia Ruchti's first novel They Almost Always Come Home a few months ago and blogged about it, so I knew she wrote hilarious yet heartfelt stories. But since I had not read anything by the other authors, I had no idea I would get such enjoyment and laughter from all the stories in this anthology. I've only met Becky Melby once, but have been friends with Eileen, Rachael and Cynthia for several years. I know they all have a deep love for the Lord, and it is definitely and creatively expressed in these stories. This is Rachael's debut novella, but I am sure it won't be her last.

This was a free copy sent to me by one of the authors to promote, but I also bought my own copy, and I am so glad I did. These are stories I can enjoy reading many Christmases to come. So, leave a comment anytime this month to be eligible to win a copy. Or go on and order a copy so you will be sure you don't miss this fantastic book. Everyone with an American mailing addy can enter except last month's winner--Linda K. And it helps if you leave your email addy to make it easier to contact you. I had to have my husband pick numbers three times last month due to the winner not leaving an email addy and not responding to my blog post saying they had a week to contact me with mailing info. So, make it easy on us both by leaving the info. Thanks!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Great Sophomore Novel by Deborah Vogts--Seeds of Summer

Sometimes an author writes a wonderful debut novel but the second novel doesn't quite measure up. That is definitely NOT the case with Deborah Vogts newest book, Seeds of Summer. I thoroughly enjoyed her first novel, Snow Melts in Spring, but Seeds of Summer kept me up past midnight wanting to find out what happened to the characters. All of the characters had foibles and failures, and that made them seem real to me and caused me to root for them.

The heroine is a former rodeo queen and the hero is the local pastor. They seem like an unlikely pair, but as you read, you find yourself rooting for them to get together. I don't want to tell the ending, but it is a happy one for almost everyone. Make sure you get this book and read it soon. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another story by Danielle Kinney

Some of my readers will remember me posting a story by my youngest granddaughter a few months ago. She is now 9 and has written another story. She has also written a very interesting play. Below is the new story I hope you will enjoy. And the picture is of her ready for school this morning. At breakfast I gave her my ACFW folder from the conference I attended last month. I asked her if she was an American, a Christian, and a Fiction Writer. She answered yes to all of the questions so I gave her the folder to write more stories in. When I said I wanted to take a picture of her with the folder she struck the pose you see here--pencil held high, tablet under arm. At first I wondered what she was doing until she told me she was the Statue of Writer-ty! What creativity! No wonder she is already on her way to publication. She told her mom she doesn't want to wait til she is 60 to get her first story pubbed.

My First Horse Camp

By Danielle Kinney

Chapter 1
It was night and I was in the race. Then I fell off my horse and I lost the race. Then I woke up, and I knew it was a dream but it was still night. So I went down stairs then my dad said we are going to the woods to camp out to celebrate my brother’s sixteenth birthday.

Chapter 2
I went to school the next morning. I told my friend I’m going to camp out for spring break. Then I went home so I can pack my things and go. We went to the woods and celebrated my brother’s birthday.

Chapter 3
After 2 days of the camping trip, I went to the woods and I saw a graveyard. But Emily was too scared so I was right next to her. Then I saw my mom’s grave. I cried for a minute, and then I went back. On the way back to the camp, Emily got lost! We all went to the woods to look for her but she was gone forever.

Chapter 4
Dr. Peter found my horse in the woods. He hates horses and he is greedy. He set a trap for Emily and pulled her legs in the rope. He tied her in a knot, and pulled her to a secret place on a hill in the woods. He tied her up on a tree on top of the hill. Then he set the tent on the ground and made a camp out too. Then he went to sleep.

Chapter 5
I went looking for Emily by myself. Then I saw Emily between two trees. 7 minutes later he woke up and pulled out a gun. Then I jumped in the way and pulled the rope on my horse’s neck. I got her out of the way just in time! I saved Emily’s life. Well Dr. Peter got arrested for 3 months. Then my dad got a new girlfriend at the big camp. 2 days later we went home. After that I was thinking about my dad because he has a new girl friend and maybe when I get a new mom I will be really really happy.

The End

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Winner of goodness gracious green is...cheryl linn martin

I am waiting to hear from her. If I do not hear back by next Sunday night, I will have my husband pick another name.

My apologies for being a couple days late posting this month. My hubby and I just returned from a week in Florida yesterday afternoon. We came from temps in the high 80s to the low 40s. Brrr! No big trips planned for the rest of the year, so leave a post anytime in Oct. and check back on Nov. 1st to see who wins an ARC copy of The Narrow Path by Gail Sattler.

I just saw Gail in Indianapolis a couple weeks ago at the ACFW conference and her dark hair had streaks of red this year. Wonder what color it will be the next time I see her!?! You never know with Gail! She is also a mean bass guitar player who helps lead worship for our ACFW conferences.

Gail Sattler has written 21 novels, and 12 novellas, numerous giftbooks and cookbooks and short pieces in other anthologies. She is a member of a Mennonite Brethren church. In The Narrow Path her characters struggle to find a way to make peace in order to meet their goal of opening the doors of the hero's Old Order Mennonite church. This story deals with a universal question--Can two people from different worlds find love somewhere in the middle?

I hope you will want to read this story and find out. If you don't win, you can always order a copy from Abingdon Press or your local Christian bookstore or online.

This copy was provided by Abingdon Press for promotional/review purposes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waiting, patience, prayer...and receiving my first contract!

I have been writing for over nine years and joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) 8 years ago. My writing has steadily improved since then, but the elusive first contract had remained out of reach until Friday evening, September 17, 2010.

God has taught me many things over the past nine years, the main things being patience and learning to wait. When I awoke that morning and read my chapter in Jeremiah, there was a devotion by Catherine Marshall on the facing page, so I read it, too. It was entitled "Waiting" and here are a few snippets from it that spoke to me: "Waiting...is God's oft-repeated way of teaching us that His power is real and that He can answer our prayers without interference and manipulation from us." She then goes on to give the example of a child who brings a broken toy to their father but gets impatient and snatches it back still in the broken state, then reminds us that if we leave the "toy" in His hands, "not only do we eventually get it back gloriously restored, but are also handed a surprising plus. We find for ourselves what the saints and mystics affirm, that during the dark waiting period when self-effort had ceased, a spurt of astonishing spiritual growth took place in us. Afterwards we have qualities like more patience, more love for the Lord and those around us, more ability to hear His voice, greater willingness to obey." Those qualities are ones I still desire more of, even if it means I have to wait again.

Now for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say. I told my roommate , Jennifer Johnson, about my devotion, then we attended a class, ate lunch, shopped at the mall, and went to the opening worship session at 3:30. The worship leader Rachel Hauck, chose the song "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller for us to sing at most of our sessions:
"I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting"

Are you getting the message with me? Wait with patience! And keep serving and worshipping while you are waiting!

Next our president, Cynthia Ruchti, read from Colossians chapter three and verse 12 was very familiar since it is posted on my bedroom mirror: "Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." That last word jumped out at me and I leaned over to Jennifer and told her God was still telling me to wait and learn patience.

Then Becky Germany, editor at Barbour Publishing, took the stage and said she was ready to announce the 2 new authors who would receive their "first contract", something Barbour has done at each conference. When she announced the name of the first story as Nick's Christmas Carol, it sounded vaguely familiar but I still didn't realize it was a story I had written until she said my name! Then I went up on stage in front of over 600 people, amid cheers and shouts, and was handed an envelope with my name on it and a letter offering me a contract for my first fiction story! Jennifer took my picture but the flash didn't work so she motioned for me to go back up on the stage and she took it again. Then Donna Rich was announced, again amid cheers and shouts, as the recipient of a contract for a Heartsong book, also pubbed by Barbour.

Of course, I couldn't wait to call my husband and children and a couple friends, but the story doesn't end there. I got to attend the Barbour Banquet at PF Chang's that evening and kept receiving hugs and congratulations all weekend, but the best part was when one of my dear friends and prayer-partners, Connie Stevens who had received her first contract in 2009, told me that God had impressed on her heart to pray for the ones who would receive their first contract the following year. So, she prayed that prayer that whole year and didn't know she was praying for me (and Donna)!

Later that evening, I told Donna about the prayer cycle Connie began, and we both agreed to continue it by praying for the persons who will receive their first contract in 2011. Kind of paying it forward by praying the prayer that was prayed for us. So, the cycle continues, and I will continue praying and update you with who gets the new author contract next year. And I will also announce when my first book hits the shelves next September! Until then, let's all keep waiting patiently and praying and worshiping the One who deserves all our praise

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kaye Dacus does it again!

I was sad to read the last of the Brides of Bonneterre series that I enjoyed so much, so was eager to read Love Remains, book one in Kaye Dacus' new "Matchmakers" series. And I was not disappointed! The prologue sets up the story with a conversation between several grandmothers who want to have great-grandchildren. Then we are introduced to Zarah Mitchell who works for a commission on historical preservation and to a face from her past, Bobby Patterson who will be investigating fraud within the commission. As the question on the back of the book asks, "Can the historian learn to leave the past in the past?"

That alone is enough to set up tons of conflict, but the author takes it a step further when we find out the way our hero and heroine separated several years earlier and the lies they each believe about the other. Another delightful read from an author who gets better with each book! So hurry on over to http://www.barbourbooks.com/ and order this book and her other series if you haven't read them.

This book was a gift from the author and publisher for review purposes which I requested because I know how much I love Kaye Dacus' writing!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Book Review--Take Your Best Shot by Austin Gutwein

My TBR pile is overflowing so I plan to do more book reports the rest of the year. This book which is subtitled "Do something bigger than yourself" is based on the true story of Austin Gutwein who watched a video from World Vision at the age of eight that changed his life and so many others. It chronicles what one child can do to make a difference in our world. One of the inspiring quotes in the book is what young William Pitt said to William Wilberforce in the movie Amazing Grace. "We're too young to realize that certain things are impossible! So we will do them anyway!" That is a good description of this story of Austin and the many other children who have already made a difference in our world. Each chapter ends with a Bible verse and a short devotional that challenges the reader to ask how he/she can make a difference. Very inspirational reading for adults and older children.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

We interrupt our Alaskan saga for a very important announcement--

Karen K. is the winner of Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble which will be in the mail as soon as I receive her addy.

And, if you would like to win an ARC (advance reader copy) of goodness gracious green by multi-pubbed author Judy Christie, leave a comment on any post this month. The other rules are you must have a US mailing address and you can't win two months in a row, so only Karen K. is ineligible.

This is the second book in the "Green" series so I am saving this one to read after I read the first one. I hate to read series books out of order! Here is the blurb from the back cover to whet your whistle: "Will Lois Barker put down roots in Green...or will small-town life be too tough?" I love books set in small towns so I am sure I will enjoy it! And you can check out more about this author and her other books at http://www.judychristie.com/

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alaskan Trip, Day 5 Wasilla--home of Sarah Palin and start of the Iditarod Trail

Now to continue our bear story...When we arrived at the lodge for breakfast the next morning, this sign was posted on the front door, so we had to tell our story of seeing the bears the evening before and take this picture as proof! Then we loaded up the bus again and toured Talkeetna on our way to Wasilla.

Outside Wasilla we went to do the Ididaride (no, that is not a typo!) The Ididaride is run by the Mitch Seavey family. Mitch has finished the Iditarod 16 times and won 4 times! His son gave our tour and told how the family used to fish, but when that source of income dried up, they came up with the idea of training their dogs during the summer months by using them to take tourists on rides pulled by teams of huskies! Quite a good idea. I said I wish someone could come up with something that good for tobacco farmers to do to replace lost income!

Our hotel in Wasilla was located on Lake Lucille only a few hundred feet from Sarah Palin's house so we walked there and took a picture of the now famous double-decker fence! Another activity-filled day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Alaskan Trip, Day 4, Denali National Park

Early the next morning we had breakfast at the lodge then loaded a bus for our 7 hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. We had hoped to see Mt. McKinley, aka Denali, the highest point in the US, but every time we got close the clouds were too low. We did get pictures of several other mountains with snow-covered peaks, though.

Although we saw several kinds of wildlife from the bus--moose, sheep and bear, none were close enough to get without a high powered zoom which our camera does not have. But, we did enjoy the beautiful scenery. The picture of me pointing to a flower is of Alaskan fireweed which is used as a harbinger of winter, kind of like the wooly worm is used to predict a cold winter in Kentucky. In Alaska, they say when the reddish fireweed blooms all the way to the top of the stalk, summer is over, and winter is near. It still had a few inches to go when we were there in late July.

When we got back to the lodge, since it was still bright daylight we took another walk and actually saw two bears across the river from our cabin. We wanted to get closer for a better picture, but the park employees advised against it, so you will have to settle for this picture of one of the bears (the brown smudge) eating berries in the brush! (to be continued.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Alaskan Saga, continued, Day 3

In the morning, our tour bus took us to Fairbanks University where we got to see their experimental gardens and took a hayride around the farming area of the campus. The Fairbanks area has 22 hours of daylight in July, (and only 2 hours of sunlight in January!) so although their growing season is only 3 months long, it is very intense, allowing them to grow cabbages that weigh over 100 pounds and the most beautiful flowers you could imagine!

Next we stopped and checked out the Pipeline. My husband is over six feet tall, and he had to stretch to reach the underbelly of the pipeline in this area, but about 100 yards from there, the pipe went underground. We were told that about half of the pipeline is buried underground. Here is some info I found online about it. The 800-mile-long Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is one of the world's largest pipeline systems. Starting in Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope, TAPS stretches through rugged and beautiful terrain to Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in North America.

On our way to Denali National Park we stopped at North Pole, Alaska, so I had to have my picture taken with Santa to show the grandkids! Then we headed on down the highway and arrived at Denali just in time to see a very entertaining show about Alaskan history at the Cabin Night Theater. The delicious food was served roundhouse style. Afterwards, even though it was almost nine o'clock, it was still bright daylight so we settled into our cabin then walked to the lodge and back.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review--A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

We interrupt this Alaskan saga to share a book by a wonderful debut author--Karen Witemeyer.

Karen presents us with a heroine and hero who are at odds with each other from the time they meet. J.T. Tucker is a livery owner who hates frippery. Hannah Richards is a dressmaker who ends up with the shop he hoped to buy.

They both discover surprising traits about the other. Hannah helps his sister catch a beau. J.T. helps many of the townspeople. What will it take for them to each see the real person inside the other?

I hope you will go to your Christian bookstore and buy or order this book to find out. It is such an enjoyable read. I received my copy from the publisher (Bethany House) for promotional purposes.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Alaskan Trip--Day 2
Our second full day in Alaska was spent at several working farms in the Delta Junction area, near Fairbanks. First we stopped at Rika's Road House State Park where we saw this cabin with a sod roof and toured the roadhouse, a common form of lodging for those travelling through Alaska in the days when cities and motels were far apart.

Our busy morning continued at Alpenglow Farms and Kennels where sheep and dog trainer Catherine Hadley showed how her collie could corral the sheep. After that we travelled to Misty Mountain Ranch where Scott Miller told us about raising elk and beef which was very interesting especially to the many beef farmers in our group. Next stop was lunch at the Buffalo Drive-In where we ate outside despite temperatures in the upper 50s.

After lunch we made one more stop--Kaspari Farms where Phil and Mary Kaspari showed us their yak ranch and Mary served us some great refreshments with the help of her grandson, part of the next generation of Alaskan farmers. Then back to our hotel (the Regency Fairbanks) for dinner. PS. pictures to be posted later. My dialup won't post this many pics without timing out and my air card isn't working tonight, but I want to go on and post this much.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti...
...will be finding a new home with Karen K. who is the winner of my monthly drawing. The drawing for this month will be for a gently used autographed copy of Colleen Coble's Alaska Twilight which just travelled over 6,000 miles with me to Alaska and back. To get you in the mood to read this book I will be posting some pics from our Alaskan adventure each week this month, so be sure to check often to see the pics, and the more times you post a comment, the more chances you have to win this great book! Rules are the same as usual--everyone with a US mailing addy who posts is eligible except for the previous winner--Karen K.

Our group of mostly farmers, retired farmers and retired teachers arrived in Fairbanks on the evening of the 20th of July. The next morning we boarded our tour bus for Chena Hot Springs, a resort and experimental farm about an hour out of Fairbanks owned and run by Mr. Bernie Karl, a man with more ideas than Einstein! We toured his hydroponics greenhouse and geothermal building, and also went to extreme temperatures when we toured the Ice Palace where it stays 20 degrees year around and then got in the hot springs which is scalding enough to burn at the edges, but very relaxing and soothing in the middle. My husband and the other farmers also enjoyed the old farm machinery around the place.

After leaving there, we drove back to Fairbanks for an Alaskan Salmon Bake and musical about life in the frontier of Alaska at Pioneer Park. We were joined for this meal by another Harrison County-grown young man, Nate Thornton, whom we have known since he was born and who is now serving in the Army there. We were also glad to see his wife--Stephanie, another HC girl. A great first day! Be sure to check back for this continuing saga.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Book Winner and July's book---They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti

I only posted three times last month due to a family vacation (you'll hear more about that next week) and several other things going on in our family, but I do want to post the winner of the drawing for the June giveaway--Mary DeMuth. As soon as I receive her mailing address, the book Finding Jeena by Sharlene MacLaren will be on its way to her.

This month's drawing will be for an ARC copy of Cynthia Ruchti's debut novel--They Almost Always Come Home. This copy was provided by Abingdon Press for promotional purposes which is one of the reasons I do a monthly book drawing--to introduce authors and their books to readers who maybe haven't had the chance to "meet" them yet.

I am so happy to have the opportunity to help promote Cynthia Ruchti's book. Cynthia was one of the first people I met at my first ACFW conference in Kansas City in 2002. She is a delightful person, and I've enjoyed our contacts at the conference and also reading the Backyard Friends magazine which is an outgrowth of The Heartbeat of the Home radio broadcast she has been involved in for many years. She also directed our ACFW choir several years and now serves as President of American Christian Fiction Writers. And she is very gifted and talented at all of these endeavors.

So, I can't wait to read this intriguing sounding novel. I have parts of three other books already started (not counting 2 Bible studies! Does anyone else do this?), so this book is number 4 in my TBR pile, and I plan to finish reading it before I have to mail it off to a blessed winner next month. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment on any post this month along with your email info so I can contact you if your named is picked. Everyone with an American email is eligible except last month's winner.

To whet your appetite to read this book like it did mine, I will share the first sentence of the back cover: "She would leave her husband...if she could find him." Want to read more? I do. Good thing tomorrow is my happy birthday so I plan to fore go most of my usual activities (except going out to eat with my hubby!) and try to finish at least one of the other books so I can start this one! Happy reading, everyone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life in Defiance Social Media Tour

As a fan of Mary DeMuth's writing, I am happy to be part of her social media tour this week.

This book is the third in the Defiance Texas Trilogy, and although I would recommend reading all of them in order, you can also understand and enjoy this book from what is revealed in the character's thoughts and dialogue.

Mary's writing is always exceptional, very lyrical and literary feeling. She is a true wordsmith. This book is written from the main viewpoint of Ouisie Pepper, mother of two and wife of the local pastor. Although Mary is a pastor's wife herself, she states at the end of the book that Hap Pepper is nothing like her loving husband.

As an ACA (adult child of an alcoholic) parts of this book were hard for me to read. I felt so sorry for the children and Ouisie, and sometimes found myself angry at Ouisie for not taking better care of them. But, we also know she dearly loves her children, just doesn't know how to save them and herself. We do see her grow in strength and determination and looking to God for help by the end of the book

If you like suspense, you will be caught up in the mystery of who killed Daisy Chance in the first book and is still roaming the woods in this one. When the killer was revealed, it was unexpected, very well-done, Mary!

I hope you will check out Mary's website at http://www.marydemuth.com/ and her blog at http://www.relevantprose.blogspot.com/ and find out more about this enchanting author and her other books.

I did receive a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

150th Blog Post! Review of A Claim of Her Own by Stephanie Grace Whitson

As I got ready to start this post, I noticed that it was my 150th since beginning my blog. Hard to believe! For this post I want to do a review of a book I read several months ago by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I had already read her contemporary series set in Paris (A Garden in Paris) and Italy (A Hilltop in Tuscany) ,and loved both of them!

While A Claim of Her Own is a historical, it still has the superb writing style that attracted me in Mrs. Whitson's other books. The author is a master of characterization, description of both people and setting, all with a spiritual message that is not contrived or forced. This book chronicles the perilous journey of Mattie O'Keefe as she travels to Deadwood, South Dakota seeking her brother. It also tells of her spiritual journey as she searches for gold, but finds true treasure instead. I highly recommend this book and all other books by this author. You can check out more about her and her other books at www.stephaniewhitson.com

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

This month's winner is...Lisa Harris

Lisa wins a copy of Sharlene MacLaren's Abbie Rose. If you leave a comment during the month of June you will be entered into a drawing for Finding Jeena by Miralee Ferrell.

I usually am able to finish reading the book before I post about it, but this month has included 2 computer problems, our youngest daughter's college graduation, getting a proposal ready for an agent and editor, a bad sinus infection and guests this past holiday weekend with a cookout for 10 one night and a fish fry for 6 another, on top of ordinary life--or maybe that is my ordinary life!

So, this month I will copy the back cover blurb of Miralee's new book to whet your appetite. "Jeena Gregory thought she'd made it. She has everything a woman could ask for and a budding career promises more. But when rumors around town cast her boss in a shady light, Jeena starts to question her employer's integrity. Was she wrong to trust this man and this job?
When the boss disappears, salaries go unpaid, and Jeena overhears several hush-hush phone calls, she realizes her carefully crafted world is crumbling. Shaken to the core at the threat of losing everything, Jeena is suddenly confronted with her prejudices--and with a God she had long forgotten."

All I can say about what I have read so far, is "there but for the grace of God go I" or any of us.
I will tell you a little about the author. This is Miralee's second book for Kregel, and she also has 2 books pubbed in the Love Finds you in... series by Summerside Press. And you can find more about the author and books at her website http://www.miraleeferrell.com/ or her blog at http://www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/

My company left this morning, so I am off to read for awhile! Hope you will join me in enjoying this book which was a gift from the author/publisher for the means of reviewing.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Interview with Author and Writing Instructor, Janice Hanna Thompson

Hi everyone! Hope you have all had a Happy Mother's Day with your families. I want to introduce you to Janice Hanna Thompson who is a friend of mine, a multi-pubbed, multi-genre author of fiction, and freelancer who has just started the new venture of teaching others how to freelance. Although I haven't had time to yet take this course, I have sat in her classes at ACFW conferences and enjoyed her humorous, very-helpful style. And at the bottom you can read several endorsements from those who have taken her classes.

Janice, could you tell us a little about your new venture?
Of course! Thanks for asking. On April 20th, 2010, I debuted my new writing course “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The sole purpose of this venture is to teach struggling freelance writers how to earn money with their writing. Here’s how it will work: students can purchase one lesson (for $24.95) or all ten (for $199). They don’t have to feel compelled to buy the whole package, though they will get a package price, if they do. Each lesson will include an audio file and a video power point presentation of me teaching the lesson (available with just a click of the mouse), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where I will meet with authors for some group mentoring (at designated times). Right now there are ten lessons, but eventually those ten lessons will become ten separate categories with multiple lessons in each. For example, the current lesson on magazine article writing will eventually have multiple other lessons underneath it—all meant to teach writers how to make money writing articles. People who take these courses will have the benefit of meeting other freelancers in the forum and can also chat with me about their projects. Best of all, the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be available. (I’ll be recording new lessons routinely.) I’m so excited, because I know that struggling freelancers can and will learn how to make money with their writing.

What prompted you to set off on this new adventure?
For years I’ve been writing novels and non-fiction books. I’ve been so blessed to have over fifty books published, as well as dozens of magazine articles and even a movie script. It’s been quite a ride. . .and it’s not ending anytime soon! I’m currently contracted through 2011. The longer I’m in this business, however, the more I’m aware of the basic need of the average freelance author to make “better” money. Sure, many of them eventually sell books. They get advances and royalties, (though, not often in the range they had hoped). As a full-time freelancer, I’ve faced this myself. Several years ago, I found myself hollering, “Where’s the money?” I made up my mind to find as many creative ways as I could to bring in money as a freelancer. I’ve learned so much since then, and want to share what I’ve learned with others, so that they can benefit, too.

Why are you so passionate about teaching others how to make money with their writing?
I meet so many struggling writers. So many are just hoping and praying to sell a book. They pour all of their energies into that venture. Most don’t realize that they could be making money much sooner if they would explore other avenues (besides just books). The possibilities are endless. If I can share what I’ve learned about the money-making aspects of writing, then I’ve helped another struggling writer on his or her journey.

Tell us a little about your own writing.
As I mentioned above, I’ve written just about everything! Most of my writing is for the Christian market, so my stories have a clear faith element. Lately I’ve been writing romantic comedies, (most recently the “Weddings by Bella” series), but I also enjoy writing mysteries, kid’s stories, historicals and more. I continue to write magazine articles, because they provide a great financial supplement. I’m also very excited about my many write-for-hire projects, because a huge chunk of my income comes from those. To learn more about my books visit my author site at www.janiceathompson.com. Books can be ordered directly from the site.

What has it been like, supporting yourself full-time as a freelancer? Is there really money to be made?
As I mentioned, there was a time (back in 2007) when I wasn’t sure I could do it. At that time, I hadn’t set any real goals for myself. That all changed in the fall of 2007 when I began to strategize about the future of my writing. Instead of worrying about the challenges I faced, I got busy and put together a plan. I began to look for non-traditional ways to earn money with my writing. . .and it worked! That’s not to say I’ve “arrived,” but I have managed to support myself full-time from that point till now.

If you could list one of the biggest frustrations that freelance writers face, what would that be?
The biggest frustration of all is this: Some markets don’t want to pay. This is especially true when it comes to the Internet. It’s so challenging to make a living when you can’t figure out who pays and who doesn’t! But that’s why I created this course! There are so many markets that do pay, and many of them are relatively untapped. Freelancers can earn money. . .they just have to discover where the money is! (And I plan to help them in that journey!)

You’ve said there’s money to be made. . .but where? What avenues are available to freelancers?
At www.freelancewritingcourses.com, students will explore multiple areas where they can earn money with their writing. Lessons include:
· Setting Career Goals
· Magazine Article Writing
· Write for Hire Work
· Marketing and Public Relations
· Becoming a Public Speaker
· Becoming a Creative Writing Teacher
· Making Money as an Editor
· Writing and Selling the Non-Fiction Book
· Writing and Selling the Novel
· Secrets From the World of the Pros
Each lesson will cover a host of possibilities and will give real, practical suggestions.

You’ve mentioned other lessons that aren’t yet available. Could you share a few here?
Sure! Each of the ten topics listed above will eventually become its own course (with multiple lessons in each). I’ll be heading back into the recording studio soon to cover the topic of magazine articles more thoroughly. I’ll also record lessons covering all aspects of fiction writing. We’ll talk about passive vs. active writing, plotting, characterization, and much more. I’ve also got a host of lessons coming up related to non-fiction books. We’ll delve into specific topics related to write-for-hire work (my favorite!) and will share a host of lessons on marketing and PR. Hang on for the ride! Participants in these various courses will get the tools they need to work as a pro in the industry.

How, exactly, will these courses work?
When participants sign up and pay, they will be granted access to the “inner sanctum” of the site, where they can view the various components of the lessons, (the audio file, audio script, worksheet, power point and forum). I would suggest folks start with the first lesson (Setting Goals) and go from there. They can print up a copy of the worksheet and follow along with the audio and power point presentation. Then, at a designated time, participants can meet with me in the forum to discuss the topic at hand. I love the fact that this is all so user-friendly and participants can work at their own pace.

If you could tell beginning freelancers one thing, what would it be?
Don’t give up. Keep going and keep looking for creative ways to make money. Examine new markets. Learn all you can about the industry. Become friends with editors. The potential for money-making is there, but much of it is relational.

Why do you feel so strongly about stirring up the gifts?
There’s a scripture I love where the apostle Paul speaks to his young protégé, Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (II Timothy 1:6 NIV) The King James version uses the words “stir up the gift” instead of “fan into flame the gift.” The idea is the same. Gifts need stirring and fanning. As a published author, I make it my goal to “stir the gifts” of those hoping to be published (or hoping to be published in more markets). I know that these lessons will stir people up. I could sense it as I recorded them. Changing lives. . .and encouraging writers. . .what could be better?

I understand you won the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers “Mentor of the Year” award. Could you tell us more about that? What role does mentoring play in your life and how will you incorporate mentoring into your online writing courses?
I have a theory about mentoring. I believe that everyone should have someone they’re mentoring and someone they’re being mentored by. If we ever think we’re too “big” to be mentored, we’re in trouble! And it’s imperative that we pour into the lives of those who are learning the writing craft, especially if we’re published and/or doing well in the industry. I’m tickled that I received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award. I can think of nothing better to be remembered for than mentoring others, to be quite honest. Writing books is great, sure. And getting my name out there is fun, too. But if I don’t mentor. . .if I don’t pass along what I’ve learned, then my writing is nothing but selfish pleasure. I don’t ever want to be known as a selfish author. I want to be known as a giver and an encourager. My prayer is that people who take this course will see my heart for all writers to succeed and earn money doing what they love!

Janice, where else can people find you on the web?
My freelance writing courses site: http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com
My book-related website: www.janiceathompson
My blog: http://janicehannathompson.blogspot.com/
My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson?ref=profile
My facebook reader’s page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Janice-Hanna-Thompsons-Readers-Page/303537684650?ref=ts
Explanation of the Course on YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-5IZSNaZFU

Writers, would you like to make money doing the thing you love most? If so, then this announcement should be of interest to you! Janice Hanna Thompson, author of over fifty novels and non-fiction books, would like to announce the debut of her writing course for freelancers titled “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” available at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The purpose of this course is to strategically train freelance writers so that they can earn top dollar with their writing. Students can purchase the entire course (Ten Lessons) for only $199, or students can choose to purchase individual lessons for only $24.95 each. Each lesson will include an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where Janice will meet with authors for group mentoring (at designated times). Currently, there are ten lessons available, but the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be added. If you’ve been looking for creative and exciting ways to earn money with your writing, your time has come! Please visit www.freelancewritingcourses.com and sign up for the newsletter, or write to Janice at booksbyjanice@aol.com for more information.
What writers are saying about Janice’s course:
“I've taken a number of classes since starting on this journey of writing, but Janice's course on freelance writing has been the most helpful. Full of tips, suggestions and her own writing experiences, Janice's course has something for everyone. If you are considering signing up for her writing lessons, I urge you to do so. You won't regret it!” – Edwina Cowgill, American Christian Fiction Writers member.

I've not only had the pleasure of taking online classes from Janice, but also attending seminars. I love the practical working knowledge she teaches because I was able to put much of it into practice immediately. From the classroom to real life in a snap, Janice Thompson gives the steps, the encouragement, and the simplicity to help any writer become self-sufficient. Would I tell you to take her courses? ABSOLUTELY! You will grow the ability to earn money with your writing! Every writer's teacher, Janice Thompson. -
Angie Breidenbach, Author of Creative Cooking for Colitis, ACFW PR Officer, Mrs. Montana International 2009

I participated in Janice’s online course in January of ’10. I found her to be very thorough and very concise in her explanations. She also took pains to offer lots of feedback and make it interactive. I know her classes will be great! – BK (Brenda) Jackson

Monday, May 03, 2010

Two New Book Reviews--Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris and A Case for Love by Kaye Dacus

Today I want to share two new books out by two of the best new authors on the scene in the past few years. I have met both of these authors at ACFW conferences, and know they are genuine followers of Christ who seek to use their writing talents for Him. And we get to reap the benefits of reading stellar writing from a Christian worldview. And both of these ladies write in more than one genre, so I know you can find something you will like here.

Until I read Blood Ransom, I had only read historicals by Lisa Harris, but I am so glad she took the chance on branching out to international political intrigue. Blood Ransom is set in a fictional nation in Africa, the continent which Lisa knows very well after living there the past several years with her husband as missionaries. I hope you will find out more about her and her books by visiting her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com and her blog at www.myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com

In Blood Ransom we are introduced to Natalie Sinclair who works for an agency which is trying to eradicate diseases in Dhambizao. She is thrust into the middle of slave trade and election rigging, even a possible assassination attempt when she reconnects with a former translator, and also a doctor, Chad Talcott, who is on sabbatical from his clinic in the States to volunteer at a small clinic in Dhambizao. This trio has to decide how much they want to be involved in African politics, and whom they can trust along the way.

Although this book is very different from anything else I have read of Lisa's, I am so glad I did. Her poignant words and masterful plot swept me into the drama surrounding Natalie and Chad and made me want to read it as fast as I could to find out what happens to them and the people they are trying to help. I hope you will order a copy from Lisa or www.amazon.com so you can travel this exciting journey, too.

Kaye Dacus is also pubbed in two genres--several books in the regency category and what I consider modern romantic comedy with her The Brides of Bonneterre series. The book I am reviewing today is the final book in that trilogy. The title is A Case for Love, and the subtitle gives you the romantic comedy feel I mentioned--All's Fair in Love and Lawsuits.

I just checked out Kaye's website at www.kayedacus.com and saw that she is currently writing another modern series entitled The Matchmakers. I can't wait to read them!

But, back to the review for A Case for Love. I have read all three of the books in this series, and I believe they just keep getting better and better. If you haven't read the first two books, Stand In Groom and Menu for Romance, you are in for a treat! I suggest you first read them, for the sheer enjoyment, and to know more about the Guidry family as you begin this story of Forbes Guidry, a lawyer who has been a major character in the other two books, but now takes on the starring role as the male love interest, instead of standing in the wings, manipulating his brothers' and sisters' and cousin's love lives.

His heroine, Alaine Delacroix, has also been introduced in the other books, and this book lets us get to know her better, even sharing some of her family secrets and her own desires. Alaine is a local newscaster who feels torn when her family's business is threatened by the Guidry family. Can she stay neutral and watch what her parents have worked all their lives for be taken away? Is there any way a Romeo/Juliet match can be successful in this modern-day conflict? You'll have to read the book and find out. Kaye's website mentions seven places where you can order any of her series, so hurry on over! Happy reading!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Two New Winners! Will you be next?

I'm happy to announce my two winners for today's drawings from the list of those who commented last month. The winner of Sandra D. Bricker's hilarious The Big 5-0 is Lynda Schab and the winner of Angie Breidenbach's very helpful E-book on Creative Cooking for Colitis is Donna Winters. Angie and I will be sending their books out pronto.

And now, if you want to be the newest winner, just leave a comment and your email info on one of my posts for the month of May. The drawing will be held June 1st and everyone with a US mailing address is eligible except this month's two winners, so what is stopping you? Oh, you want to know the name of the book you could win? Then check out my post from April 17, 2010 and read more about Abbie Ann by Sharlene MacLaren. It's another keeper!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book Review--Abbie Ann by Sharlene MacLaren

Abbie Ann is the third book in the Daughters of Jacob Kane series published by Whitaker House. All of the Kane sisters have been spunky, independent women, but Abbie Ann is known as the spunkiest of them all. She's the head of the local WTCU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) promoting women's suffrage and Prohibition. Even threats and attempts to harm her do not sway her from acting on her beliefs.

Abbie Ann is also a Sunday School teacher of little boys and finds herself drawn to the father of one of her students in spite of herself. Through it all, she seeks God's will in this and all matters.

The book is set in Michigan in 1907, and reading it gave me a great feel for what it was like to live at the beginning of the last century when automobiles and telephones were just coming into general usage. Mrs. MacLaren does a great job describing the town, fashions, and the general store, owned by her father, where Abbie works.

If you have read the first two books in this series, you will catch up on what is happening in the lives of the other two sisters, but this is still an enjoyable story that the reader will have no trouble following even if you haven't read the first two books. So, hurry over to the author's site at www.sharlenemaclaren.com and see a complete list of her books and order one or more while you are there! Happy reading!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Special E-book giveaway by Angie Breidenbach--Creative Cooking for Colitis

I usually only give away one book a month, but I am happy to share with you that Angie Breidenbach has offered to give away her new E-book to one lucky winner. So, any one who posts a comment on this special blogpost any time this month will be in the drawing for this cookbook. (If you wish to also be in the drawing for the other book of the month, read the last post and leave a comment there.)
Don't you love these pictures? The first one is of the recipe listed below for Spanish tortillas and the second is of Angie and her cute grandson Jude making homemade noodles. What a precious tradition!
Angie is a sweetheart whom I first met at an ACFW conference where several of us did a skit about the ACFW board. I played Gail Gaymer Martin and Angie played Randy Ingermanson. Can you picture that!?!

Angie is a busy lady. Here are a few things she's been up to this past year:

Angela Breidenbach
Montana, United States
Angela Breidenbach, Mrs. Montana International 2009, teaches Creative Cooking for Colitis. She is a multi-award winning inspirational author and speaker. Her book, Creative Cooking for Colitis, comes from living with it daily. Tired of the culinary limitations, Angela set out to create! She shares tips and recipes to add joy back into eating. She is married, has a combined family of six grown children, one grandson. Come uncover your courage and confidence at www.MyGemofWisdom.com Personal growth = Powerful living! Angela Breidenbach's sites: http://www.MyGemofWisdom.com http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com http://GodUsesBrokenVessels.blogspot.com http://twitter.com/AngBreidenbach http://www.facebook.com/AngelaBreidenbach http://WritingByFaith.blogspot.com on Wednesdays each week. And somehow, she also finds time to do a smashing job as ACFW's Publicity Officer and works with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries, the American Heart Association, and the Jadyn Fred Foundation. In fact, part of your purchase price will go to the Jadyn Foundation. Angela also teaches online classes and coaches one-on-one in courageous confidence, personal growth, and powerful living. She’s certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and Assisting Minister.

To whet your appetite (I know it did mine!) I am copying one recipe from the book (with Angie's permission, of course.) It is just a sample of the many recipes you will find there, ranging from main dishes to dessert. In the book, she also gives a detailed explanation of how to treat colitis by limiting your food then adding one at a time. She also has marked several of the recipes as ones that are good for celiac disease and also for weight loss.

Spanish Tortilla+*
A tasty, mild egg and potato omelet some might call a frittata. There’s no flour. This is not bread like Mexican tortillas. I
learned this traditional Spanish tapas recipe from Maite’ Pressler when I lived in Spain. Tapas are small snacks served in pubs. It’s
modified for simplicity and easy digestion. Bonus: add ingredients as you build your food list. The trick is two eggs for every potato in
case you want to expand the recipe size. Important: Standard potato—the size of a light bulb for two eggs.
Serves 8 as tapas, 4 as the main entrée.
2 large potatoes, washed, peeled, & bite-size
4 eggs or the equivalent in egg substitute
1 tsp. water
½ tsp. salt
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped Garlic
¼ Cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons Sun-dried tomatoes, julienne
4-5 large mushrooms, sliced
Chives to taste
4 thinly cut slices of ham
1 thinly sliced fresh tomato
1 cup grated medium cheddar*
Additional sharp cheddar, grated for garnish
Angela Breidenbach, Creative Cooking 4/2/2010 34
In heavy frying pan coated with olive oil, sauté potatoes over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. If you are able to tolerate onion,
cook with potatoes. Lower heat to low and cover. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until soft. Test for
doneness. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees and begin eggs.
Whisk all eggs, salt, and water. (The water fluffs the eggs when cooking.) Oil or spray a round pie glass-baking dish. I prefer
not to use non-stick or dark pans to avoid overdone edges and tough bottom. The traditional round shape doesn’t matter as much as
the depth. This recipe will puff. I make this for large family gatherings of 10-12. Then I use my largest glass-baking pan and multiply
by three.
Add the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic to the potatoes and sauté for one minute. Pour vegetable mixture into the
glass-baking dish. Pour the whisked eggs over the vegetables. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The goal is to set the eggs hard
without turning them overly brown. If the eggs set well on the bottom, but still too much liquid on top, turn on broiler 5 min. to finish.
Top tortilla with cheese. Spread ham to cover the round tortilla, and place sliced tomatoes around the top. Return to oven. Broil
for 2-3 minutes to heat the toppers and melt the cheese. Sprinkle with chives for garnish.
Serve warm or cold. We eat it fresh out of the oven for a dinner and then eat it cold the next day for lunch or breakfast.

Rose here again: I don't have colitis, but I have a daughter who has had IBS. And I am trying to lose a few pounds, plus these pictures and recipes look and sound so good that I will definitely be trying some soon. Hope you will hurry on over and find out more about:
New Release Creative Cooking for Colitis!
Special new release price, $10!

Full color photos for each recipe

You can check out another recipe and tips and learn how to order this e-book at:

Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the contest. I will have my husband draw a name when we do our regular drawing on May 1st. And you can always order a book for a friend or family member, too. I'm sure they will thank you for that!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Book Review and Book Contest--The Big 5-0 by Sandra D. Bricker

I hope you will leave a comment on any post during the month of April to be entered into the drawing on May 1st to win a copy of this great book. All those with an American mailing address are eligible, except last month's winner. And all you have to do is make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win. Simple.

Although I passed the "Big 5-0" eleven years ago, this book touched my heart as I'm sure it will ladies of any age. I also loved the main setting--Captiva, Florida, one of our favorite places to vacation. An added bonus was reading about the various familiar sites and restaurants and the key lime pie! Makes me hungry for a slice just to type it.

Widow Olivia Wallace dreads her upcoming 50th birthday, but not for the usual reasons. She has a string of bad memories associated with birthdays. Her next-door neighbor and her neighbor's mom who lives in Sanibel, work it out for Olivia to dog-sit the mom's beloved Boofer (a character in himself!) while the mom visits her daughter.

While there, Olivia meets two men, a father and son who both seem to fall for her. She can't imagine what can go wrong on this birthday! If you want to find out, you will have to read the book, so leave a comment or run out and buy it. You'll be glad you did.

This book which is an ARC copy was a gift from the author and publisher, Abingdon Press, for the purposes of review.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The winner of Annalisa Daughety's Love is a Battlefield is Denise...

I have contacted her for her mailing info and will be mailing it out as soon as I hear back. If I do not hear within a week, I will draw another name. I had 32 comments last month which is the second highest since I began blogging 3 1/2 years ago. Check back this weekend for a review of the book you can win this month--The Big 5-0 by Sandra D. Bricker.

Happy Easter, everyone! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thanks and Book Review--Once in a Blue Moon by Leanna Ellis

First of all I wish to thank all those who left a comment on my last post about my 8 year old granddaughter's story. She sat on my lap last night while I read them to her, and she was so pleased and encouraged! And if you haven't read it yet, be sure to check it out and let her know what you think. I believe she will be giving writers some stiff competition in a few years! She's already got engaging characters and the drama of conflict and a race!

Now I want to share my review of Once in a Blue Moon, a very intriguing book! I met Leanna Ellis at last year's ACFW conference when we sat near each other in Donald Maass' class. I loved meeting this friendly lady, and I love her writing!

When I first started this book, it felt different from most of the books I read--not in a bad way, but in a good, intriguing way. The heroine, Bryn Seymour, is good at many things, including writing obituaries and investigative newspaper reporting. She is willing to let herself fall from an airplane, but not into a relationship. Even her relationships with her daughter and grandmother are strained by a secret she has kept since she was nine years old--the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and the day her mother who worked in the space industry died.

Bryn meets many quirky characters along her journey to find out if there was any conspiracy concerning her mom's death. She also meets a man who isn't what she thinks when they first meet. There are many twists and turns, and I found myself wondering what was true and what wasn't. I don't want to give away any more of the plot, but I hope you will read this book for yourself and find out what happens only "Once in a Blue Moon." I will let you know that you can expect a happy ending since Library Journal had this to say about it: "Sharp prose and an appealing love story make this tale a winner." I second that emotion!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I want to share something special with my readers today--a story written by my youngest granddaughter, Danielle. I hope it will be as encouraging to you as it is to me to keep reaching for your dreams, no matter what your age! The picture is of her with me and my husband on her 8th birthday last June.

My First Horse Training

By: Danielle

Chapter #1

Hi my name is Sam. I’m 8 years old. I have 4 brothers, they call me names all the time at home. My mom died last year, I still think about her.

My dad loves Horses but I’m not good at riding them, so my dad teaches me how to ride. But I’m just not good enough.

Chapter #2

My friend is good at riding Horse I told her my Horse Emily she is tall and pretty I never ever ride on Emily at all. On Sunday I go to church. After church I went to the barn. And feed Emily but I got on Emily's back and was riding on Emily my dad was proud of me and my brothers to.

Chapter #3

My dad teaches me more about how to ride Horses I could go to the race only for horses but in 2 more Days I will be There at 2:00 sharp 2 Days later I went to the race and I was shocked but Emily was running so fast that I won the first round that I was getting ready for round 2.

Chapter #4

It was round 2 so Emily ran as fast as she could but the crowd was wild so I ran to the finish line. That I won round 2 it was round 3 so I got on my Horse. But a man said you’re going down!

Chapter #5

But he was wrong so I ran even faster. Then I won! I won the race! I got the trophy my dad was happy my brothers are happy to. I went home and I put my trophy in my bedroom I went to bed it was morning I went to school. I told my friend that I won the race she was happy when I want to be a horse rider I will be. When I grow up I want to be just like my daddy .

The End

Danielle is an 8 year old girl. She is a third grade student. She wrote this book by herself on a snow day in February 2010. She enjoys art, gymnastics, and making her own stories, sometimes without words!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Check out www.karenelange.blogspot.com for a neat contest...

to celebrate my cyber-friend Karen Lange's first year of blogging--her blogaversary. This week you can win Cadbury chocolate and a book by Tamera Alexander plus she is running a different contest each week of this month. Karen always has neat articles and tips on her blog, so hurry on over.

Although Karen and I have never met in person, we both live in KY and both like to write and both love the Lord, so we were instant friends the first time she visited my blog! Visit her site (Write Now), and I bet you will feel the same way, plus you might even win a prize!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Mary DeMuth is a winner...Who will win a copy of Love is a Battlefield by Annalisa Daughety?

Mary has won a copy of The Pastor's Wife by Jennifer AlLee. And you could be the next winner! If you would like to win an autographed copy of Love is a Battlefield, by Annalisa Daughety, leave a comment on this blog anytime the month of March. The rules are that you must have a US mailing address and leave a way for me to contact you if you win. The only person not eligible is the previous month's winner, which in this case is Mary. So, read the review below, and I know you will want to sign up for this new author's delightful book! Or run out and buy a copy if you can't wait a month!

Annalisa, who used to work for the National Park Service, has come up with a unique idea for a series, published by Barbour, set in various National Parks. The series title is "A Walk in the Park." The first book is set in Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee. I loved the multiple meanings of the title Love is a Battlefield. Several of the scenes take place at some of the many Civil War battlefields in Shiloh. Plus the main female character, Kristy O'Neal, starts out battling the new man who took her job, Ace Kennedy, then has to battle her heart to keep from trusting him. As the back cover asks, "Can she risk her heart on the battlefield of love one more time?"

You'll have to read the book to find out. And I hope you will check out her website at http://www.annalisadaughety.com/ I can't wait for the next book in this series to come out. Her site mentions the titles of those books plus a new book she wrote for Summerside Press entitled Love Finds you in Charm Ohio. It is already available at WalMart or your local Christian bookstore. This young author is off to a great start with a book that will make you laugh and cry and even learn some interesting facts! 5 Stars!

Note: This book was a gift from the author.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Thin Places, a memoir by Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth has written an extraordinary look at her childhood and its influences on her life. Although my story is not the same as hers, I am an ACA (adult child of an alcoholic) who grew up in a dysfuctional home, so I strongly identified with her story.

But, Mary doesn't leave us wallowing in self-pity or dislike. The way she so beautifully and accurately describes each experience causes you to feel like you are right there with her. And her telling of her acceptance of Christ during her high school years and the hope He gave her shows how He made all the difference in her life.

Let me share part of Mary's story with you in her own words:

Thin Places – Mary’s Story
My True Story
By Mary DeMuth

When I started my writing journey toward publication, I thought I’d always be a novelist. My agent at the time suggested I write parenting books, something I balked at for quite some time. I was a storyteller after all. And because of my upbringing, I suffered from deep wells of insecurity in my parenting. And yet, I sold three parenting books. I wrote them from a position of weakness, and I prayed other parents with struggles similar to mine would be encouraged that they’re not alone. One facet strung its way through all my books: story.

I can’t help but tell stories, whether they be fiction or nonfiction. As I brainstormed with my next agent and my editor about who I wanted to be when I grew up, we all came back to story. I am a storyteller. We decided it would be best for me to place my primary focus on novel writing, but keep the storytelling alive in nonfiction.

Two years ago, I sensed the need, urge, and desire to write a memoir. I’d come a long way in my healing journey, enough that I could write it without bitterness, with a view toward God’s intervention. Thankfully, my vision for a memoir fit well within the story idea, and Zondervan took a risk and bought the book.

I wrote the book much like I’d write a novel, with an inciting incident, some flashbacks, a rising action and a late climax. Of course, as memoirs go, I had more freedom to explore and meander through the story, but I kept the book mostly in scenes, written in first person present tense to create intimacy and immediacy with the reader.

It was difficult to create me as the main character, to place the potential reader into my own head, to play it out in a way that would woo the reader to turn the page. In doing that, I learned even more about myself, how I viewed the world (sometimes in a warped way!), and what possible impact my journey might have on fellow strugglers.

Though I knew well the landscape, setting, and characters of my life, it proved difficult to give myself permission to truly delve in deeper, to re-feel my pain, angst, joy, frustration, anticipation, and worry. Once I let myself go there, the memoir progressed. And my editor helped me shape the book more chronologically, something for which I’m deeply thankful.

The end result is story: mine. It’s the story of a little girl who faced sexual abuse, neglect, drug-using parents, fear, death of a parent, and a host of other malevolence. And yet it’s a hope-filled story, where the bright light of God’s climactic redemption outshines the dark places. It’s a story of God’s nearness when I thought I’d nearly lose my mind and will to live. How grateful I am for the beautiful love of Jesus, how dearly He chose frail me to shame the wise. It’s really His story after all.

Rose here again: I hope you will order this book soon. Read it and then pass it on to someone you know who can benefit from her story. You can link to Thin Places on Amazon, as well as Mary’s website. www.marydemuth.com I did receive this book from the publisher for review purposes.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I told you I'd be back, so...here I am...

to tell you about a great book I just finished last week that you can win a copy of this month by leaving a comment. The book is The Pastor's Wife by Jennifer AlLee, published by Abingdon Press.

As a child, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary and had to be very quiet when services were going on downstairs, which solidified her life-long love of books and writing. Jennifer now resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her husband and teenage son. And I also happen to know from personal experience that she is a fun person to be around and a great actress!

This is Jen's second published book, and she did a wonderful job of immediately drawing me into the situation of a wife returning to her pastor husband after a six year separation. I felt empathy for both the pastor and the wife as they struggle to adjust. And the way the reunion came about is a unique idea, but I won't share too many details so you will want to read this book for yourself.

The wife, Maura, also has to learn to adjust to the members of the congregation where her husband still preaches. And she needs to find a way to share her long-kept secret with her husband.

The husband, Nick, is determined not to make the same mistakes he made before. Is it true that love is more wonderful the second time around? You'll have to read this book to find out. Leave a comment for my ARC copy which the publisher provided for this drawing. Or, if you can't wait, you can read the first three chapters of The Pastor's Wife here: http://issuu.com/abingdonpress/docs/pastors_wife

Contact Jennifer in cyberspace:
website - http://www.jenniferallee.com/
personal blog - http://jenniferallee.blogspot.com/
group blog - http://inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.allee
Twitter - http://twitter.com/jallee

You can purchase The Pastor's Wife online at:

Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/Pastors-Wife-Jennifer-Allee/dp/1426702256/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262215416&sr=8-2

Christianbook.com - http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntk=keywords&Ntt=Jennifer+AlLee&action=Search&N=0&Ne=0&event=ESRCN&nav_search=1&cms=1&Go.x=2&Go.y=13

Cokesbury.com - http://www.cokesbury.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=815073