Showing posts from December, 2011

Brief Hibernation Ends - Word for 2012

Well, I TRIED to hibernate for awhile, but it lasted only a short time. I could probably hibernate for a couple of seasons and still want more.

As I wound down the year, I reflected on the busy-ness of 2011. We accomplished a great deal - enough that our lives are no longer considered "boring" by my kids!

Each year I pray for the Lord to give me a word for the coming year. For 2011, He gave me the word CELEBRATE. It was a difficult year in many ways, but through it all, we continued to celebrate HIM. Some of the things we achieved this year , through His guidance and favor, include:

Completed 10 classes for school. I was actually surprised I'd finished that many - and lived to tell about it.

Started two publishing companies that published three books this year, and we're already hard at work on the next five to be released during the first half of 2012.

Wrote one short script, a mystery novella, over a dozen short stories and essays, articles, press releases, marketing …

Support the Troops: Christine Cunningham

A few weeks ago, I got involved with a special effort to show our military troops support during the holiday season - authors from all across the country are donating e-books as gifts for military members (

To help promote the Support the Troops effort, many of the participating authors are interviewing other authors to get the word out.

Today, I'm happy to introduce you to one of these participating authors - Christine Cunningham, who writes fictional stories for the general market.

Welcome, Christine - we're so glad you could join us. Please tell us a little about your books.
Eternal Beginning: This book is about my own personal journey to the life I have always wanted. Granted I took some artistic license with the story, but the main message I want to get across to readers is every moment you can begin again. Each moment is an eternal beginning.

First Snow: This story is about Nell and her yearly dwindling holiday cheer. She longs for a family of her…

Fun Friday a Day Late

Yesterday, I posted a blog on our local Patch site, and meant to cross-post it here, but time slipped away. As I went about my day, I remembered some other observations I'd hoped to share, so I'll post them here with a link to yesterday's post on Patch.

I've so enjoyed spending time as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. This is our final week, and I've learned a great deal. And for the record, in yesterday's post, I think I mentioned warm temps? Well, today, we're set to be 30 degrees colder than we've been for the past several days. So brrrrrr...

A few more observations:

1) I finally learned the reason my daddy thought it so important to teach us how to rub our heads with one hand and pat our tummy with the other - at the same time. Trying to wave with one hand and ring a bell with the other - well, let's just say I'm definitely right-handed and doing both simultaneously has presented quite a challenge. I wonder if beauty queens are taught to…

Write Your Passion: Following Your Heart

Writing Your Passion by Staci Stallings

I think in every writer's life there comes a point where you have to decide what you're going to write and how you're going to write it. For me, that decision has shown up several times in different ways over the last 16 years.
Let me explain.
The first time I hit this decision came in writing the early chapters of my first book. I knew the book was a romance, and that was great by me. I'd devoured my share of them when I was younger. So here I was, typing away, when I found my heroine in the water, swimming for her life, trying to save a young man she'd just met. To make matters worse, she had cut her leg in the accident that landed them in the water.
She was going down, losing strength, and not nearly close enough to the shoreline to save them both. And I stopped.
Think about running full speed into a brick wall.
That pretty much describes that stop.
And I sat here and sat here and sat here. What to do next? This was long before a…

Mystery Monday: What's in a Mystery? (Part 4)

Defining the Genre by Jenna Victoria

Recently, my husband and I visited a local Italian restaurant that features a popular, extensive gelato bar.  I was amazed at the variety of flavors – more than 62 in all, bearing names such as Artic White, Batter Blast and Stracciatella (similar to chocolate chip). I had never tried gelato before – and when I queried the waitress about the taste, she shrugged and said “it’s like ice cream, but the flavor is different, more intense.”
What does this have to do with a blog post about mysteries?  Well, it’s elementary, my dear Watson. We could offer the waitress’s exact same response in answer to the question, what is the difference between suspense and mystery?  A suspense novel is like a mystery – but with a more intense, emotionally-driven flavor.
Famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock had the following explanation:

One of the simplest rules of thumb for describing the difference is -- a mystery novel (whodunit) elaborates on something that has already occur…

Fun Friday: Observations of a Bell Ringer

Wednesday evening, I began serving as a Salvation Army bell ringer at the Towne Lake Kroger. Here are a few things I learned on my first day: 1) Layers make all the difference. Wild Weather Wednesday. One customer described the fierce winds as a hurricane. When I woke at 7 a.m., the temp was 61. By the time I went to work at 3 p.m., the temp had dropped to 43. When I got off at 7 p.m., it was 41. But I stayed comfortable - I had on enough layers to clothe a few people - my green elf slippers were even hidden under my jeans and shoes. 2) Even the Scroogiest faces will crack a smile if you grin or wink at them. Yes, I saw you frowning and chose to grin anyway. And it worked. 3) A loud bell attracts attention - a timid bell does not. If I'm going to stand out in the cold four hours, you bet I want you to hear the bell. That's why we're there - so you'll see us and give generously to help your neighbors who are struggling. 4) Many folks who gave told me they'd been in despera…

Write Your Passion: Reason to Rejoice

Today, we welcome author Ada Brownell. 

God and Satan were having a discussion. “I can do anything you can,” Satan said. “All right,” God said. “Make a man.” Satan bent over and started scooping up soil. God touched the devil’s shoulder and said, “Use your own dirt.”
Ever fully realized you’re nothing but dirt? For years I’ve studied the human body and the more I study, the smaller and more insignificant I feel. Although the flesh I live in is awesome with the seeing eyes, hearing ears, a brain that even at my age is better than most computers, and I have awesome electrical systems, more than a trillion cells that have specific jobs to do, I’m nothing but dust.
I was about to get a complex when I realized God can do a lot with a handful of clay.
Similar in some ways to the little chip inside a computer, the human body has something within far more significant than the parts that can be seen or viewed with modern technology. Inside us is LIFE, and the soul and spirit that God breathed in there…

Marketing Tips and Another Upcoming Event

Now that our 99-99 Event has ended, I've got another one to tell you about!
I first got the idea for a 99-cent sale from a new friend I met in a marketing group. Karen Baney's book Nickels is releasing on the 13th of this month, and to celebrate, she decided to have a 99-cent event. It filled up before I could sign up, so we decided to create our own event. I promised Karen we'd be sure to let all our readers know about her event, too. 
Since she's well-known for her successful marketing, I decided to tap into her knowledge for a short interview, and then we'll tell you about her book and about her 99¢ sale with nine other authors.
Now for the interview:
Karen, you are considered an expert at Internet marketing. Can you give us three tips that will help us in our own endeavors?
Wow, thanks for the high praise. I consider myself more of a student. I've found there's always something new to learn about Internet marketing. Here's a few tips for authors:
1. Creat…

God Moments: Whose Moment is it?

Tracy's God Moment
Monday morning started out entirely too early – 6:45 to be exact, when my normal wake-up time is 7:30 (still too early for someone who occasionally longs for the days she could sleep til 10.) The December sky was still dark and cloudy – rather depressing, but it matched my waking mood.
I sat at the computer and piddled awhile, waiting for inspiration to strike so I could write about a God Moment in my life. I read some blogs, and then I read all of the other God Moments we’ve posted here these past four days. I see such beauty in the words, and in the hearts of these writers, my friends.
Then I realized something - I just don't measure up to any of them. I have nothing to say. I admire everyone’s ability to write beautiful, meaningful blog posts, seemingly at the drop of a hat (although I know better – I KNOW how hard writing actually is, and I KNOW how hard writers work). But too often I have nothing to say and today is one of those days. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Not…

God Moment: God is My Warrior

God is My Warrior by Sarah Witenhafer
Tired of trying to please my distant heavenly Father, I had given up. Our business had failed, friends were gone, even our church had died. I didn’t think my faith would make it 5 years. I didn’t think my marriage would last much longer. I was sinking and, in my mind, God was displeased with my lack of faith.  
I felt used.
So I lost myself in writing a fictional story about grace, and battles, and Roman soldiers who fought to the death. Their bravery captivated me, dulling the pain of abandonment. Their glorious victories shimmered in my dark world. I devoured all things Roman and fell in love with the warrior image. Why?
Because I longed for someone who would fight to keep me.
Then out of curiosity one day I picked up my daily devotional. What was today’s reading?
“The Lord is a man of war.” Exodus 15:3
Curiosity turned to hunger as I read about the Lord fighting for His people, putting on the breastplate of righteousness, and the hel…

God Moments: Divine Provision

God Moments with Jennifer Fromke
So I went looking for a God Moment yesterday. Last night. I went to the place where I see the face of God most: my backyard, in the dark, stars a-hinter and staring down, waiting for me to finally show up.
And it dawned on me (a dawning, after dusk) that “God Moments” are every moment. I simply fail to participate and notice them most of the time. But I have managed to attend a few moments God planned just for me. Funny thing, those moments stick with you.
I’ve been remembering one particular moment of late. Seven or eight years ago I still felt new in town. My kids were pretty young, and time alone with my husband was rare and precious. God sat us behind a family in church that boasted three (count ‘em!) three girls that looked like they might be babysitting material. The youngest daughter in particular caught my eye. God laid her on my heart. She reminded me of me at that age.
But I couldn’t possibly just walk up to complete strangers and ask them to ca…