Thursday, December 20, 2012

Inspiration. It's a beautiful word, I like saying it. 

A theological definition:
a. a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
b.the divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.
 
I posted on Facebook a few weeks ago about Jonathan and Charlotte. I found their story beautifully inspiring.  Go for it, reach for the stars, heart-warming influence warmed my spirit as I listened to their initial audition, and then cheered them on as they progressed. I really don't know anything else about these two young people, but these few moments that I brought them into my life, via my Son-in-love's suggestion, touched me. Hope it brings you an inspirational moment.
 
 
 
My daughter bought their CD for me as an early Christmas present. It's absolutely wonderul!
 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kindle Freebies 12/06/12

You'll love Janice Hanna Thompson's books!

How's your Christmas decorating coming? I haven't even started! What cool decoration have you snagged from Pinterest?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kindle Freebies 12/5/12


 Hello, here are two Kindle Freebies today: Enjoy!!









Talk of the Town = Welcome to Daily, Texas Book 1 by Lisa Wingate 

The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh


Curious, what are you family Christmas traditions? I'd love to hear one or two.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Big and Small

Sometimes my commitment to look at things through HIS love colored glasses gets tested. For example, this morning when I sat down to another empty roll of tissue, I could gripe that I'm always the one to change it, or I can look at it as a small, silent way to show love to my family by changing it, even putting a folded corner on the edge.

Love is needed in a big way today as we cast our vote for President. The results will test us or exult us, but either way we need to shoe His Love.



How do you show love to your family in the small ways?

Monday, November 5, 2012

We were in the Psalms in church yesterday. Specifically, Psalm 126. We prayed for each other, and we prayed again about the election. Verses 5 and 6:
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
 Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

We wondered, confessed in fact, that we'd talked more than prayed, fumed more than wept. However  it comes out tomorrow, I am more convinced, convicted, and committed than ever that our country needs us to fall on our knees before God. 

Do you agree? 

Friday, November 2, 2012

I saw a friend today in Walmart. She mentioned that her mother's birthday was coming up and that it would be a hard day. Her sweet mother went to heaven in April. 

It reminded me that those who have lost a loved one continue to hurt long after their friends go on with their lives.

Say a prayer today for someone who has lost a loved one. The Father said, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Phil. 2:4). 

It's sometimes hard to know what to say, but I'm reminded today that we should continue to lift the bereaved up in prayer.

What else can we do to show that we remember?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I posted a few days ago about my "freakazoid" schedule and how I'd planned something so far in advance that I forgot about it and couldn't remember what I'd planned. Quite a disconcerting feeling, but I got through the day. 

This morning, I shook things up a bit. I had my coffee and watched the sunrise before I got dressed. My husband said, "How radical." He was joking but it was kind of nice to rearrange things. Inspiration can come in those unplanned moments. 

I was just about to ask him what color he thought that cloud formation was, and then it changed before he could see it. Reminded me of how quickly life is going by. I've decided it's good to shake things up a bit.

Do you do anything special for inspiration sake?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Look who's vising today! 
Welcome Sharon Srock
Author of 
The Women of Valley View: Callie. 


Before you read her interview, you should take a look at the amazing prizes she'll be giving away to one commenter!



A copy of Callie's story
A certificate for Terri's story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card
Just leave a comment (and be sure to include some contact information) and she will draw for these prizes on Monday, Nov. 19. 




 "Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all." 

Sharon, thanks so much for coming by. I'm so excited about your new book! How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
I don’t, intentionally, write any of me into my characters. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a little piece of me in all of the women. Callie teaches Sunday school and loves her guacamole, Terri is looking for God’s will in her life and arguing the whole way, Pam is learning lessons in forgiveness. Yep, there I am.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love a good courtroom drama. Fantasy when it’s well done. By well done, I mean it has to completely draw me into a different world. Mysteries, and Romantic suspense are devoured at my house like chocolate covered cherries.
How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?
I guess I’m a product of our environment. I like being busy. Even on a vacation I have to consciously tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sanity…I’m a writer, that option took a hike a few years back.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m going to assume you don’t mean raising terrific daughters.  Really? This book. Not just for the validation or a sense of “I can really do this”. But because I feel like it represents me, finally finding God’s place for me.
What is your favorite food?
I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
It has to be a God thing. I wake up with these stories in my head, things I would never see or think of on my own. He gets all the credit.
In what ways has being published changed your life?
Besides making me busier that I used to be? The jury is still out on that one. Ask me again in a year or so.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m working with my editor to get Terri’s story complete. Pam’s story is close to being at the word count I want. Then I’ll start the serious editing process for her. Samantha is knocking…
If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?
Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the “I’ve come to destroy your world” type we see portrayed 99% of the time.
Of all the current technological marvels, which is your favorite and why?
My GPS. I don’t navigate. Now I don’t have to.
If you could have a do over on one day in your life what would you pick?
Fourth of July, 1996. It was the last day we spent with our little grandson before he was murdered. I wish I’d spent more time with him that day.
Where was the location of the best vacation you ever had?
Now you’ve opened the flood gates. For the last 7 years I’ve taken one of my grandchildren on a special vacation. We’ve been on cruises, been to Hawaii, visited The Grand Canyon and Vegas, Spent a week in Cozumel, Done the whole Disney thing in Orlando…God has placed a special blessing on these trips. They’ve all gone off without a hitch and there is no way to just pick one.
If you could travel back in time when and where would you go?
King Arthur’s court. I wouldn’t want to stay forever, I’d miss my hot rollers, but I think there was an elegance to life then that we don’t have any more.
What is your favorite season of the year? What’s special about it for you??
I only have three seasons to my year. Summer, Spring, and SWEATER. I have a serious sweater addiction, so Sweater is my favorite.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.
What is something that very few people know about you?
I’m a serious Trekker. I have my own uniform.
What is the hardest part in writing a story?
Editing and Editing and Editing….
What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
That I don’t like research. Does that count? Seriously I write contemporary fiction so I don’t have to do a lot of research. I’d never goggled anything til about a year ago.
What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
My Kindle. It’s just the most amazing machine.
Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?
My characters constantly surprise me. Their individual determination to be front and center in my brain is relentless. I’m a SOTP writer. I don’t work with an outline, so I can’t give you an example of where I planned to go one way and they insisted on taking their own way, but I continue to be amazed.
Do you have a favorite scene in this book and what would it be?
I think where Pam, Karla, and Terri come to Callie’s house with groceries and stuff for the girls. That is exactly like it would happen, has happened, in my life. Our church family is so generous. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of help.
What three things about you would surprise readers?
My favorite pet of all time was an iguana.
I hate reality TV
I love to mow the grass
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who
would it be and why?

Nora Roberts. I would pick her brain completely dry.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
A lack of time. I don’t think there is a way to overcome it until I retire. I just have to deal with not enough hours in the day.
Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?
For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.
If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Australia. It’s on my bucket list. I’ll make it someday, God willing.
What was your favorite book as a child and now as an adult? Is there a connection between the two?
That is an impossible question to answer. You’ve heard about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Well, my mom must have had a terrible time giving birth to me with a book clutched in each hand. I can’t remember a time when reading wasn’t a priority. Picking a favorite out of 50 years worth of books…impossible.
As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look alike to go out and face the public.


What a fun interview! Thanks, Sharon, and best wishes for your success!

Now, Ya'll don't forget to leave a comment with contact info so you can be entered into Sharon's drawing:)
Thanks for coming by.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm so excited to host Sharon Srock tomorrow! She is the author of Women of Valley View: Callie She is bringing us a wonderful interview and a chance to win some spectacular prizes. Take a look!


Just come by tomorrow and leave a comment with contact info and you'll be entered into a drawing for all these prizes:)

A copy of Callie's story
A certificate for Terri's story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card
Just leave a comment (and be sure to include some contact information) and she will draw for these prizes on Monday, Nov. 19. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Schedules

Pretty much everyone knows what a freakazoid I am about planning and scheduling. I find that planning frees me for the unexpected, and paves the way for spontaneity. I also have way too much to do, so my schedule helps me get it all accomplished.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin



But I trip myself up sometimes, and this morning proves it. I forgot that one of the Day Care groups would be coming for a program. How did I not have that written on my calendar? No problem, I had the program planned weeks ago. Only problem was, I couldn't remember what I'd planned. I knew I'd  written a puppet show, recorded it and loaded it onto the ipod, picked out a book and prepared a theme related craft.

Plus side: I went straight to my labeled file and pulled everything out.

Down side: I only had a few minutes to set up and re-familiarize myself with the material. STRESS!

Oh well, it turned out great and I calmed down and remembered to take pictures. 

This year I actually have spaces marked on my calendar that say "UNSCHEDULED". You wouldn't believe how hard it was to get used to not having to check something off my list. Now I look forward to those evenings at home, totally available to my family and my phone turned off. 
 
The older I get, the faster time seems to fly.
 Psalms 90:12 - So teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom.

How do you feel about planning and scheduling? Do you have any tips?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Interview with Ben Erlichman

Hey! I'm excited to host guest Ben Erlichman today. He's talking about Splickety Magazine, in which yours truly has a short story published in the current issue!

Why a magazine like Splickety?
I created Splickety Magazine for two reasons: First, I saw a need, a void in publishing that Splickety seeks to fill. That's the need for flash fiction. That void isn't necessarily just a "publishing" void, but also a void in our reader's lives. Splickety is designed for on-the-go readers with busy lives who wish they had time to read more but can't. It's also for folks who enjoy (or even don't enjoy) reading because they can't seem to stay focused on a novel for long enough. They can get an issue of Splickety and consume their fiction in smaller bites.
What's your vision for Splickety's future?
Splickety is on course to put out four magazines this year. We've already launched two, our third will launch in September, and we're hosting the HIS Writers Novel Crafting Seminar Flash Fiction Contest for our November issue (more info here: http://www.hiswriters.acfwcolorado.com/flashfiction_2012.php). Four issues per year is great, but I'd like to get up to six or possibly even eight issues per year within the next five years.

In addition to that, we are in hot pursuit of subscribers for both our digital and print versions of Splickety. My Book Therapy (we can insert the link here once I get it) is running a promotion right now where if you subscribe to the MBT blog, you get our newest issue for free. The second part of that promo is that if you buy an annual subscription to Splickety ($7.50 -digital, $24.95 - print, $29.95 - both) then we will send you the latest digital issues of our three other magazines: Harpstring, Other Sheep, and Starsongs.


What are you looking for from authors?
The best way to describe what I'm looking for from authors is to point you to what we've already published. Read the first issue (which you can download for free any time at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/324163), and read our second issue (http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/411510) and definitely read our submission guidelines as well (http://inthefray1.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/splickety-magazine-submission-guidelines/)

In short, we need quick, clean, poignant stories that have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They have to have developed characters and conflict. If you can mesh all of that together in a cohesive way, you've got a good shot at being published by Splickety.

Tell us about yourself and your staff.
Splickety operates with much more efficiency now that we are three people instead of two. Previously I had recruited Arpit Mehta (www.arpitmehta.com) as our Art Director well before we ever put out our first issue. He lives in California, recently got engaged (congrats, buddy!) and just re-designed our second issue AND our logo. He's incredibly skilled and I'm blesses to have him helping me with the layout and design.

Andrew Winch is a recent friend who seems more like an old one, even though we met not even a year ago at the ACFW Conference in St. Louis. After editing two issues myself, I realized that I needed help and that, frankly, it was taking too much of my time. I need all the time I can get these days, so I asked Andrew to serve as our Senior Editor. He handles all acquisitions, editing, proofreading (which I help with), and rejections. That's easily 1/3 of what we do at Splickety, so it's a relief that he does those things so I can focus on growing our readership.


As for me, well, I'm 26 and I live in Wisconsin just north of Milwaukee. I'm married to my beautiful wife Ashley, I have a new baby names Liam (who is sooo cute), and when I'm not Splicketeering I'm sword-fighting, shooting guns (at the range), playing church-league sports, and writing. I have a full-time day job, a burgeoning writing career, a family, and a church youth group to juggle, so life is always interesting and rarely not busy. That's just the way I like it, though.


How can one grab a copy?

If you've made it this far into our interview, you will have already seen two links where you can purchase hard copies of Splickety, as well as a link to My Book Therapy where you can subscribe to their blog for a free issue and where you can get info on subscribing to Splickety to get those three extra free issues of our other mags.  To purchase an e-version of the new issue, just email me at subscribe.to.splickety@gmail.com and I'll make sure we get you set up with a way to do that. Actually, emailing me there with any subscription/purchasing questions is a good idea.


Thanks, Ben. I loved issue 1.1 and am so thrilled to have my short story, Snagged, included in 1.2. The sneak preview I got to check out is exciting. Each story is different and engaging. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Help me name a character who looks something like this.(Eyes are blue, though.) His last name is West. He's a good guy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Prepared


http://www.metrolic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/crying-tears.jpgThe elevator doors slid open and a lovely young woman stepped inside from the maternity floor. I opened my mouth to say hello but she turned her head to the wall and began sobbing. Her grief filled the elevator and gripped my heart.
“Can I help you in any way?” I whispered. She shook her head ‘no’ and tried to get control of herself. I reached in my purse scrounging for tissues.
“May I pray for you?” I handed her a little pack of tissues. She looked at me with red, tortured eyes and her lips parted as if to speak, but the doors slid open on the lobby floor. She bolted.
How I wished I had something to give her besides tissues. I determined I would never again be unprepared in those unexpected divine appointments to minister.
I searched and found the most amazing evangelism tools at a site called The Pocket Testament League. This well designed ministry, attractive and easy to navigate website is on the cutting edge of providing free evangelism training to anyone wanting to share Christ.
Free copies of pocket-sized gospels of John are on their way to my house right now. There are over 30 stunning cover themes to choose from. Thinking of the sad young woman in the elevator, I chose a beautiful lighthouse theme with stormy seas in the background. I will be prepared now to give something besides tissues to the people that God has cross my path. The gospels are available in English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. 
The Pocket Testament League provides complete support for the Christian community. Taking the 21 Day Challenge is a wonderful way to experience the life of Jesus. EvangelismBoot Camp is a course offered to learn how to share faith in Christ. Free daily devotionals and member testimonies are inspirational and motivating. Membership is free. Donations are accepted to cover the cost of the pocket gospels. Sponsoring others in their ministry is another option. 
I think one of my favorite tools on the site is the mobile phone app. All the features I’ve mentioned are available on the go and include the ability to build and connect with a team of fellow evangelists. I can even drop a pin on a map indicating where I’ve shared a pocket gospel of John, access a daily Bible reading, and watch inspirational videos.
Not bad for a ministry that has been around since 1893. Let me encourage you to visit ThePocket Testament League. You’ll be inspired, motivated and equipped to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) because “how can people call for help if they don't know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven't heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them?” (Romans 10:14)
Logo



Did you check out the site? What did you think?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith...He always reminds me of my father. Actually, Daddy was like Andy Taylor when he was "cool" and he was like Barney Fife when he was uh, not cool. Lovable, either way. I've always loved the Andy Griffith Show. I wrote a book about Andy and Barney growing up in Mayberry in the 30s. Here's the first chapter.

In honor of Andy Griffith....

 
Untitled

Chapter One

     Opie Taylor left the Law Office of Ernest Theodore Bass, Jr. with an envelope stuffed in his pocket.  His cell phone buzzed.
     “Hey, Eunice.”  The lump in his throat stopped him short.
     “Opie, are you coming back to the house?  There are tons of people here.  They came straight from the funeral.  I want you to eat something.”
     “Ernie gave me a letter,” the lump was rising again, “from Pa.  I think I’m gonna take a walk and I’ll be back in a while.    You’ll be alright with Andrew and Kathy?”
     “Yes, our new daughter-in-law already has everything well in hand.  She is presiding over that mountain of food in the kitchen and making sure everyone is served.  Andrew follows her around like a puppy.  Her wish is his command.  Newlyweds, still, those two.” 
     His Pa had loved that grandson of his.  He loved Andrew’s wife as well. 
     “And Helen?” Opie asked. 
     “She’s lying down, and Thelma Lou is hovering over her like a mother hen.  It must be hard on her, with Barney gone only a couple of months,” Eunice said.
     “I reckon so, I‘ll be back soon.” Opie answered.  Eunice giggled at his use of that old familiar Mayberry dialogue.  Opie was amazed at how quickly he reverted to the old country speech whenever he came home.  His staff at the New York Times wouldn’t believe their ears if they could hear him now.
     Andrew Jackson Taylor hadn’t been Sheriff of Mayberry for the past ten years, but he was still considered the father of the town.  The townspeople were reeling and lost at the death of their beloved Sheriff Andy Taylor.  They seemed to look to Opie for some kind of strength or direction.  He felt the weight of it.  How could he help anyone, give any kind of stability when he felt the foundation of his life kicked out from under him?  His dearest friend, father and mother, confidant and counselor, greatest fan and cheerleader, but most of all his shining example and greatest inspiration was gone.
      They’d never sing together, talk about current events with his Pa’s unique perspective, skip rocks on Meyer’s Lake or fish together again.  For so many years Opie and his father talked nearly every day.  Opie was always running ideas or family problems through his Dad’s infinite wisdom, cracking jokes old and new, and generally sharing the every day details of their lives with each other. 
Andy, over time, had told Opie many things about the townspeople that he grew up with, things he hadn’t known as a child.  Opie felt he knew the people of Mayberry like the back of his hand, even better now than when he was a kid, thanks to his father’s faithful tales.  His mind wandered back to that morning on the Lake after they’d fished.  Andy had praised Opie for his catch then they fried it up for breakfast.  Opie had seen Indians become blood brothers on TV and he wanted to make a pact by slicing their wrists and rub them together and be blood brothers forever.  His Pa had played along but instead of cutting their wrists he drew a mark on their wrists with a charred rock from the fire and led them in an oath; they raised their right hands and said something like, “In the name of  Boujum Snark, spirit ‘o the water, Trillen Camp, spirit ‘o fire, and”, oh, what was it, somebody “spirit ‘o the air, we do hereby make a pact to be blood brothers and never be separated forever.”  Opie had tried to sabotage Andy’s efforts to date after that, until Andy sat him down and told him how much he loved him.  That memory stayed in Opie’s heart all the years after, and they really were blood brothers.  Opie didn’t know how he was going to live without his father’s presence. 
     Now it seemed like Mayberry was looking to Opie for some kind of strength, for guidance.  Shoot, he didn’t even live here anymore.  He could hear his father’s voice in his head, “Act like somebody.”  Somebody who?  Somebody who gives up his dream job at the New York Times to come home and take care of Helen, the whole town for that matter?  Why couldn’t Helen move to New York with Opie and Eunice and Mayberry take care of itself? 
     And now the letter.  Ernie’s eyes had filled with tears when he turned the letter over to Opie.  “I’ll never forget what your father did for me, for my family.  If there is anything I can do, Opie, please just say the word.  If it weren’t for your pa…“ he choked up and extended his hand for a shake.  The letter was scrawled on the front in his pa’s handwriting, “Go on up to Meyer’s Lake.”
     Ernie’s office was located in the old Walker’s Drug Store across the street from the Courthouse.  Opie took a few steps across the street toward the old building.  No, he couldn’t deal with that now.  He’d better head on up to the Lake, read the letter and then get back to his pa’s house and help Eunice with all the company.
      The walk would clear his head, and the solitary, still pristine atmosphere at Meyer’s would shield him from onlookers as he read his pa’s letter.  They’d said everything there was to say.  What could his Father have written to him and wanted delivered posthumously? 
     At least it was a beautiful day, cool and clear.  They were past the North Carolina summer humidity but not yet into winter’s cold.  Meyer’s Lake was surrounded by pines and evergreens, but sprinkled throughout were oak and sycamore that showed their fall colors. 
     The air was crisp and fresh.  Even in his grief Opie appreciated the clean air of the country, one of the things he missed living in New York. 
     He sat down on the ground at the edge of the Lake, where he and his pa sat fishing countless times.  He closed his eyes and pictured the two of them on their old faithful canoe, Gertrude, casting their lines and talking quietly.  He could taste Aunt Bee’s bologny sandwiches that she always packed for them when they fished.  He got up and plunked a rock into the still, shining water.  He watched the ripples fan out and he stood there until the water stilled again.
     Opie sat back down on the ground, thinking Aunt Bee would have a coniption because he was in his best suit.  He missed her. 
     He opened the letter and was taken aback at the scent of his father’s after shave.  He knew his dad hadn’t purposely scented the letter.  He probably had started writing it right after shaving and applying the Aqua Velva. 
    “Dear Opie, if you’re reading this then I’m gone.  I hope I’ll be sittin’ on a heavenly porch somewhere having coffee with Aunt Bee, Barney, Brisco Darling and all the others who went before me.  I hope you’ll think of us that way, all a talkin’ about how proud we are of you and your family.  I know you’ll take care of Helen, that’s not what this is about.  There are some things that I wanted you to know, things I couldn’t tell you while I was there, just too precious, painful and sweet.  Maybe it’s because it involves people we know and love.  I just couldn’t talk about it while they were alive, in case they didn’t want people to know.  It’s nothing earth shattering, just very personal to Mayberry, to us and why I am the way I am (was, ha).  It all started when your grandma died... 
    
    


Thursday, June 28, 2012