Saturday, December 22, 2012

My First Santa Photo

My mom came across my first picture with Santa... it was 1965, which makes me a year and a half old. I don't look too secure with the old gentleman.

Wishing you and your family a very merry,
very secure Christmas!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

All the Signs Point to Voting Day

This morning I accompanied my 19-year-old son to the polling place for his first time participating in the electoral process. "Whatever happens over the next four years," I told him, "you're now partially responsible. Congratulations."

I had to laugh at the entry to the voting machines. There was absolutely no doubt we were in the right place.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

50,000 Words in 30 Days

November is National Novel Writing Month, a time when thousands of writers dedicate themselves to writing a 50,000 (or more) word manuscript in just 30 days. Since I have a book to write, from scratch, that's due April 1st, I figured this would be a great way to jump start it. I'll let you know how things progress.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Case of the Disappearing Neck

I came across this add for a clothing line sold at a mid-scale department store. It caught my attention, but for all the wrong reasons. What happened to this poor gal's neck? Is this a case of over-enthusiastic airbrushing? Photoshop fail? It looks like a strong wind could snap her head clean off. Makes you wonder who approved this photo to go to print. Hmmm...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quilts of Love: All the Covers in One Place

Counting down till the release of my next book, A Wild Goose Chase Christmas . Check out this video from Abingdon Press. Didn't they do a great job with the covers?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Christina Aguilera... and friend

This cracks me up... how did Alfred Hitchcock
sneak into this picture with Christina Aguilera?

And now, for extra fun, who out there knows
what I'm talking about?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Coming or Going? You decide...

My son and I were in Target the other day, and we saw this...

Is it any wonder people get confused?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Free Christian Fiction - August 8, 2012

Here are some new ebooks you can get for free. You never know how long the freebies will last on Kindle... but as of right now, these are all FREE! Even if you already have the paper version, grab the e-version and give the authors a boost. We LOVE that. Oh, and here's a hint... when it's free on Kindle, it's often free on other e-reader platforms. So check them out on the one you use. You may get a nice surprise.

These books are still out there for free... YAY!

Monday, August 6, 2012

When "New & Improved" Isn't

We all have our comfort foods. For some, it's mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, bread slathered in butter... whatever your comfort food, it's probably something that you know really isn't good for you, but it takes you back to another time and place. With that first bite, the tension leaves your shoulders, you kind of sink into your chair, and a contented sigh escapes your lips.

Hamburger Helper is one of my comfort foods. Lasagna HH, to be exact. I haven't eaten it in years, but two weeks ago, I decided I wanted some. So I picked up a box and a pound of ground beef and headed home to make a comforting meal. At least, that was the idea.

My beef was browned and drained. I looked at the back of the box to double check how much water to add and to my surprise saw that milk was now listed. Milk? In my lasagna? There was never milk before. Did I get the right kind? I turned the box over, and that's when I saw it: New Improved Flavor.

My heart sunk. Because New Improved Flavor should mean that I'm going to really, really enjoy this food. But we all know it doesn't. What it really means is, We took something you already enjoyed, messed with it, and now it's completely different.

I still made it. I ate some of it. And I was extremely disappointed. Maybe it does taste more "homemade" like they claim on the box (although when I open a box and cook on top of the stove, I consider it homemade, so I don't know why that was even an issue.) But it doesn't taste like it used to. Not even close. And it doesn't look the same. I miss the almost-neon orange sauce. Sure it was artificial and a color not normally found in nature, but it was part of the experience. And now it's gone.

Sometimes, it seems like companies decide they have to constantly change things in order to keep people interested. Perhaps that's true. Personally, I cringe at the word upgrade. Because nine times out of ten, it doesn't mean better... it means now you have to relearn how to do something that was easy to you yesterday.

Sorry for venting about my disappointing HH experience. If you're waiting for it to lead into a philosophical analogy about the fluidity of life and how nothing stays the same, sorry to disappoint you. I've got nothin'. I'm just really bummed about a taste from my past that apparently is gone forever.
To leave it on a positive note, let's take a look at a dependable friend. A product that never disappoints because, despite all the different versions available, you can still get the old, dependable original... plain M&Ms. How I love you, little candy-coated chocolates!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Itty Bitty Faith

This has been a hard year. Personally, that is...

My church, Faith Community Lutheran in Las Vegas
my spiritual home... a place of peace
and hope and love. A blessing.
Things are moving forward career-wise. I had a book come out in April. Another one coming out in November. And there's a new deal I'll be announcing (I hope) by the end of this month. So from a career perspective, I have no reason to complain.

But back to that personal stuff...

It's been brutal. I'm keeping the details to myself right now. God may release me one day to share it all, but today isn't that day. What's important is that I've been letting personal crisis and struggle beat me down.

I've had itty, bitty faith.

There are times when my faith blooms a bit... I know God will get me through. But for the most part, my faith is so small... I'm convinced there's no way out. That I've passed a point of no return and all I can do is surrender to it, to get as comfortable as possible in my discomfort.

I heard a pastor once tell this story... a travelling salesman visited a farmer one day. The man was sitting on his porch in a rocking chair, comfy as can be. On the other side of the porch was a hound dog, stretched out lazy and half asleep on his side. The salesman was telling the farmer about the great deal he had when the dog moved a little and whimpered. The dog wiggled, then went back to sleep. The salesman kept talking, but a minute later, the dog did the same thing. It happened a few more times, and finally, the salesman asked, "Is your dog all right? It sounds like he's in pain."

The farmer shook his head and smiled. "Naw, he's fine. He's lying on a nail and he's too lazy to move off it."

I've been a hound dog lying on a nail. And you know... it's time to get up and move.

It's time to do something different. It's time to know that God doesn't need me to be a woman of great, mountain-moving faith in order to move in my life. God has everything I need. He just wants me to start living in it.

So I share with you today my desire to live in God's grace and mercy. If you're a praying person, I ask you to consider sending up a prayer that God will constantly remind me that HIS power and grace and love are sufficient for me, regardless how much faith I feel at any given moment.

And friends, I pray for all of you. That you will know how much God loves you, no matter what the circumstance. And He doesn't want a single one of His children taking naps on nails.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Free Kindle Christian Fiction - July 6, 2012

You never know how long the freebies will last on Kindle... but as of right now, these are all FREE! Even if you already have the paper version, grab the e-version and give the authors a boost. We LOVE that.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

CFBA Presents SHORT-STRAW BRIDE by Karen Witemeyer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Short-Straw Bride
Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)
Karen Witemeyer


Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.
After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.

Karen is living her dream by writing Christian historical romance novels for Bethany House.


No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Short-Straw Bride, go HERE.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rewriting my Debut Novel

In 2007, Five Star released my first novel, a contemporary romance titled The Love of His Brother. Boy, was I excited. It was the first step in an ongoing journey... the first time I seriously made the transition from writer to author (in my mind, anyway).

Now, five years later, TLOHB is out of print and the rights have reverted back to me. That means I have the ability to republish it, which I intend to do, in ebook format. In preparation for this, I decided to go over the manuscript and give a good polish and shine. What an eye-opener that was!

I still believe it's a good story, but the writing, well... let's just say I've come a long, long way since then. What I thought would be a quick touch up here and there has turned into a major remodel. Hopefully, I'll get through it by the end of the month... even with my hand in a cast (which I have to mention in order to elicit the appropriate sympathy sigh... awwwwwwwwe.)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yep... It's Broken

My usual excuses for not blogging - busyness and laziness - are neither good nor original. But now, I have a really good excuse... a broken wrist!

And the story, while silly, is at least unique. I did it while gardening. Yes... pulling big, stubborn weeds, which resulted in a loss of balance and a fall on my backside. The moral of my story... never reach back to break your fall!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CFBA Presents MY STUBBORN HEART by Becky Wade

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Stubborn Heart
Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (May 1, 2012)
  Becky Wade   

Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University. As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States. A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas.

A Sensational CBA Debut in Contemporary Romance!

This summer author Becky Wade makes her CBA debut with a fun -- and funny -- contemporary romance. Amidst the light-hearted banter and laugh-out-loud moments is a compelling spiritual journey of one woman's choice to listen to God and wait on him. Filled with humor and authentic romance, My Stubborn Heart is shaping up to be the hit of the summer.

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.
If you would like to read the first chapter of My Stubborn Heart, go HERE.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


In real life, Joyce Magnin is one funny lady. As an author, Joyce creates memorable, lovable characters that will make you laugh and possibly even shed a tear. Her latest heroine, Harriet Beamer, is no exception.

In Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, the title character is a widowed senior citizen who collects salt and pepper shakers and has meaningful conversations with her basset hound, Humphrey. While decorating her Christmas tree, Harriet takes a spill and breaks her ankle. The discovery that the ankle is indeed broken causes her to lose an impulsive bet with her daughter-in-law. Always one to keep her word, Harriet must now pack up her shakers, sell her house, and move from Philadelphia to Grass Valley, California. Harriet's none too happy about it, but she decides to do it on her own terms.

Harriet decides to take the bus. And not a Greyhound. Oh no. Harriet will take public transportation across the country.

The ensuing road trip is filled with discovery as Harriet sets out on the adventure of her life. She meets every kind of person you can think of, touching lives along the way. As she changes them, Harriet herself changes. She trades in her nice shoes and dresses for sneakers and jeans. She learns how to use a smart phone and a GPS. Better still, God uses her experiences to transform Harriet on the inside.

This is a lovely, gentle book. As Harriet makes her way to California on buses, trains, motorcycles, and whatever way she can, her son, Henry and wife Prudence are dealing with their own issues. Henry goes from being worried about his mom to rooting her on. As does Humphrey, who waits patiently for his owner in California, encouraging the humans around him anyway he can.

Joyce has written a much-loved series of books about Bright's Pond . In her latest novel, she continues to live up to her reputation for creating characters with heart and soul. I'd encourage anyone to pick up Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus. It's a trip worth taking!

Joyce Magnin is the author of five novels, including the popular and quirky Bright's Pond series and the middle grade novel Carrying Mason. She is a writing instructor and frequent conference speaker. Joyce lives in Pennsylvania with her son, Adam, and their crazy cat, Mango, who likes to eat nachos.

And now, for the legal stuff: I received and advance copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. There was no monetary compensation.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Yesterday, the lovely Fed Ex dude made a delivery at my house. It was copies of my new book, The Mother Road. It's exciting to hold your finished book in your hands. It's even more exciting to open a box and see a bunch of them in there.

Friday, March 16, 2012

How Helpful is Self-Help?

I've got a post up today over at the Inkwell Inspirations blog, taking a look at that famous quote, "God helps those who help themselves." I'd love it if you'd pop over and join in the discussion. For incentive, consider that we're doing a big giveaway this week in  honor of our 1000th post! Leaving a comment on ANY post this week gets you entered, so come on by!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CFBA Presents A SWEETHAVEN SUMMER by Courtney Walsh

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Sweethaven Summer
(Guidepost Books - February 7, 2012)
Courtney Walsh


Courtney Walsh is a published author, scrapbooker, theater director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, will be followed by two additional novels in the series. She’s also written two papercrafting books, Scrapbooking Your Faith and The Busy Scrapper. Courtney has been a contributing editor for Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Group Publishing curriculum. She works as the PR Manager for Webster’s Pages from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her husband and three kids, who range in age from 4 to 10. Courtney drinks entirely too much coffee.


Suzanne's daughter, Campbell, journeys there in search of answers to her questions about her mother's history.Suzanne's three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-were torn apart by long-buried secrets and heartbreak. Though they haven't spoken in years, each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together in Sweethaven. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets one by one, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored-just as Suzanne intended.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Sweethaven Summer, go HERE.

Courtney Walsh has written a lovely debut novel. Any woman who's ever shared her heart with a best friend will be drawn into this touching story of forgiveness, restoration, and bonds that cannot be broken.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CFBA Presents SONG OF MY HEART by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Song of My Heart
(Bethany House - February 1, 2012)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.


Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Song of My Heart, go HERE.


It's no secret that I'm a fan of Kim Vogel Sawyer. I haven't read a book of hers yet that I didn't like. But Song of My Heart may just have become my favorite. Sawyer gives us strong, likable, believable characters in Sadie and Thad. You can't help but be drawn into their story and root for them to get together. But it becomes obvious that more than one obstacle will get in their way. Combine a great love story with a lost of well-drawn secondary characters, and you have a book that is both entertaining and moving. Thumbs up to Sawyer on another great read.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CFBA Announces IN TOO DEEP by Mary Connealy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In Too Deep
(Bethany House - February 1, 2012)
Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series: Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series: Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series: Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.


In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they'd planned.

Ethan doesn't expect Audra to affect him so profoundly, and when she begins to, he's terrified of the pain he's felt before when someone he loved was seriously injured on his watch. He's determined that his new wife will do as he says so he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on their ranch. Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another--and they've done a poor job of it. Now she's planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way!

What will it take to transform two wayward hearts fearful of getting in too deep into two trusting hearts ready to risk falling deeply in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Too Deep, go HERE.

I love Mary Connealy. Love her writing, too. If she wrote a grocery list, I'd read it... and it would probably make me laugh, because Mary's just naturally funny. (Don't tell her that, though, because she doesn't think she is... go figure.)

In Too Deep is classic Connealy... a strong-silent-type hero and a spunky heroine butt heads in a story filled with laughs, action, and love. If you're already a Connealy fan, you'll enjoy this one. If you're not... then jump on the bus. One caveat... In Too Deep is the second book in The Kincaid Brides series. While you can read it and enjoy it if you haven't read book one, I don't recommend it. Oh, you'll understand what's going on, but you won't have the same attachment to the characters as you would if you read the books in order. So if you haven't read book one, Out of Control, pick that up first. You can thank me later.

Watch the book trailer:

Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Year... What the Heck?

Here we are, almost two weeks into 2012... and I'm just now putting up my first blog of the year. My goal (as always) to post more frequently, but we'll see how that goes. In the meantime, let me prove that I haven't been sitting around idly...

I spent the end of last year writing furiously on my fourth book: A Wild Goose Chase Christmas. I essentially had about three months to write it from scratch. You see...

Abingdon Press is launching a new series called Quilts of Love. A call was sent out for pitches. Basically, a one or two paragraph summary of what your book will be about. So I sent in mine, centered around a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt. I didn't hold out much hope of being chosen, especially when I found out that over 100 pitches were received, and there were only 17 spots to be filled. Imagine my delight to receive the phone call from my agent saying that not only was my book chosen, but they wanted it to be the Christmas title. (At the time I pitched it, the title was Izzy and the Wild Goose Chase, and it was not set at Christmas time. But making that change proved easier than I thought, and really improved the story.) Since my book is set to release November 2012, I had to have it completely done by December 1st. So I wrote until my arms hurt... literally. Toward the end, my arms and wrists were sore before I even started my daily writing. But it was worth it. I love the finished novel, and am really excited about it.

2012 will be the first time I've had two books release in the same year. The Mother Road comes out April 1st, and the reaction from advance readers has been amazing. It's humbling when you realize that not only do people "get" your work, they enjoy it.

What else have I been doing... I still blog at Inkwell Inspirations. If you want to see what Christmas was like for me as a kid, you can check out my post, Thoughts of Christmases Past.

Of course, there have been lots of holiday-related things going on. And that basically catches us up. I hope the new year is off to a great start for you! See you (hopefully) soon  :)