Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Go ahead, say it:)

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas! I've said it as many times as I possibly can to any and all. What a joy! 

"For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11

Go ahead and say "Happy Holidays" if you want. It means "Holy" day, anyway, so you can't keep Christ out of Christmas if you wanted to. But why would you want to? He loves you, offers you freedom and eternity and you're gonna say, "Uh, no thanks." Really?

Well, yeah, really. I, for one, say 'no' to him often in my choices, attitudes, lack of gratitude. Still He loves me, knew me from my mother's womb, knew how I'd fail Him, knew all that but still made my salvation possible. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life." Reallly? YES!!


God Bless YOU! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Easy Peasy

Tomorrow's the big day. I'm looking forward to being with my family. We've grown so much that this year we're all pitching in to rent a place so that we can celebrate comfortably together. The older I get, the more simplicity becomes my mantra. This year I ordered our dinner. It seemed extravagant until I added it up. The cost of purchasing all the ingredients for our traditional meal was way more than what I paid the restaurant.  Less expensive and easy peasy is always a good thing. We'll still make some of our extra favorites, but the lionshare of the time will be spent loving on my family.

May your day be filled with grateful worship and love, full hearts and stomachs. From our home to yours, a most blessed thanksgiving. God Bless you:)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fights Like a Girl

Met a terrific lady today!
Jamie BatsonJamie Batson dropped by to check out the library meeting room and make plans for her book signing on November 25th. Don't you love her pink boxing gloves?

 This is an irreverent, often humorous look at breast cancer through Jamie's eyes as she progresses through this life-changing disease. It is brutally honest and frankly describes the events and processes faced by a survivor.
I'm halfway through this awesome read and am mesmerized by the ordeal she went through, and the humor and insight with which she deals with it. I'm glad I met this wonderful woman. Her book signing will be at Fort Stockton Public Library, Monday, November 25th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pressed Down, Shaken Together

Bundles of Joy
So this is what I've been preoccupied with these last several months. Scarlet Laine Hamilton born October 13, and Isaac Nathaniel Ontiveros born October 27. We couldn't be more proud or grateful. Grandchildren numbers 8 and 9!

Talk about the windows of heaven opening! Our family is reveling in
baby love. 

Want to get your childhood sense of wonder back? Sit and hold a baby for a few minutes. Watch them pucker their lips as they wake up stretching. Thrill at a dimpled grin that delights as they dream. Is there anything softer than baby skin?  

 "There's really nothing quite so sweet as tiny little baby feet." Unknown

"A baby is a little bit of heaven on earth." Unknown

Children are a gift from the Lord;they are a
 reward from him. Ps.127:3

"Granny wuvs you, you widdle darlin' sweetums poo." Me

Overcome, we give thanks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Two, Count 'em, TWO!

Say hello to Sarah Day Hamilton and Jessica Day Ontiveros. These two daughters of mine are due within a few days of each other. I'm been reflecting on all the love poured out on these two by our friends and families.

Our great friend, Kay Boswell, otherwise known as the Shower and Tea Party Lady, along with a host of friends and family, blessed my girls with the most amazing showers.

Sarah, due October 5 and expecting a girl (Scarlet), her first,  was given a sweet tea party shower.

 Jessica, due a few days after Sarah, and expecting a boy (Isaac) was given a Mother to Bee Shower.

Jessica, with her son Micah and daughter Lily.
 I'm a very blessed woman:
Me and My Girls (Not Shown: My handsome son Nathan)

Randy and I will have nine grandchildren by Christmas, and we couldn't be more exited and grateful. Thanks to Kay and friends, and to the awesome husbands who loaded all the presents at the end.  

My love colored glasses are clouding over thinking of the many blessings we have. Above all, thanks be to God. Makes me think of this:

What are you looking at through love colored glasses today?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

See Things Differently!

My little friend Peter clapped his hands with excitement as he talked to my husband. "Do you want to see what I'm going to wear to church tomorrow? I'm going to look so handsome!" And he did:)

Don't you wish we could get a little of that enthusiasm back, the kind we had as kids?  Everything was wonderful, exciting, and there was so much to look forward to.
The only real difference is that we stop expecting wonderment and awe. The tremendous joy of little everyday things disappears. It's all about how we look at life. We begin to magnify problems instead of solutions. We forget to be grateful and thankful.

I'm purposing to look through my love colored glasses and magnify the ONE who is in control, who works all things together for our good, who loves us so much He gave his life for us.

"Do you want to see what kind of day I'm going to have? It's going to be amazing!"

What are you looking at differently today?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I had a wonderful time talking about Washout Express at a Rotary club meeting last week. Such fun people! They were abuzz with plans for their fundraiser, the ever popular Cruise Party.  I'd never been to a Rotary gathering before. I absolutely love this from their Guiding Principles:

The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings:
Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
and they added a 5th one at this meeting:

     5. Is it fun?

LOVE IT! That relates to my Love Colored Glasses platform so well, and mirrored the talk that I gave. 

I smiled as I drove back to work. Had to take a few minutes to sit and listen to the rain gracing my car.  Rain is an event where we live. We thank God for it.

So...what are you looking at differently today?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bittersweet Giveaway

My agent, Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency, represented Dianne Price, author of  the Thistle Series. Ashberry Lane released the first of the series, Broken Wings, just a week shy of her passing on to Glory.

Ashberry offered Dianne the contract knowing she had terminal cancer, and did everything in their power to get that first book out.

We all knew they were pretty much dropping everything to get this done for her. I had the privilege of visiting with her on Facebook a few weeks before she died. I was inspired and amazed at her humor and faith. She joked with me about it being bath day and feeling so wobbly she might drag the nurse down with her.

She told me that bed baths are called "cat licks" in Scotland, and we shared about Oregon where she lived. I'd lived there too as a child. I knew this was a kindred spirit. One of her greatest joys, flying, is one of my greatest fears and I'd hoped to share that with her. But God called her home. I know we'll be friends in Heaven.

 You can read more about Dianne and her books, and excepts as well,  at this Ashberry Lane link. I'll be giving away an e-version of her Broken Wings on Monday, September 16. Just leave a comment between now and then, and I'll have a drawing. Blessings, prayers and hugs to Dianne's family.

Beloved Author Gone - Her Books Live On

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Celebrating Fall, 2013

I celebrate Fall in a big way, I love it. I don't exactly live where there are leaves that change colors. Actually not a great area for leaves, or trees for that matter, but I still love Fall! So Snoopy kicking a big pile of leaves is my PC wallpaper, and I've downloaded a falling leaf screensaver. I made cinnamon toast (shared with my grandson who looks like Opie Taylor) and drank coffee from one of my many Fall themed coffee mugs given me by my best friend.

So celebrate with me. Post a few of your favorite Fall things. Photos, poems, recipes, memories. Join the party. Well, gotta go flip my Thomas Kincaid calender to Sept. 1.

Ah, this month the painting is called "Courage". This is a 2004 painting. This is what he said about it.

"In Courage I use a vocabulary of personal artistic symbols to convey this message: God rewards our perseverance with His gift of courage. A storm-tossed sailboat has come within sight of a lighthouse; the beacon of divine love will guide it to shore." Thomas Kinkade

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Two Platform Lessons

I read a great blog post last week by Karla Akins, author of The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots. It got me to thinking about my marketing journey regarding my debut novel. It was suggested in much of my research that you ask for endorsements, and aim pretty high. What could it hurt? I wanted my message to reach as many folks as possible. So I got brave and asked some pretty big names for endorsements and reviews. I also asked some  lesser known authors and reviewers. Here's what happened.

The famous, high profile authors responded to me within a few days. The answer was "Sorry, no," but I received warm congratulations and well wishes. (Apparently, when you reach a certain pinnacle of success, your name doesn't belong to you anymore, or at least that was the case for one of the authors.) The emails were from assistants. That didn't bother me at all. They responded, and wished me well. The messages might have even been automated, but it didn't seem that way.

The lesser known folks DID NOT RESPOND. Now I will concede that there could be many reasons for that. This is not a rant or criticism, but it just illustrates a point. Who do you think I'm still a huge fan of, and who do you think not so much? The response I received solidified the message of the authors who responded. The lack of response caused me to lose a little faith in the message of those that completely ignored me.  Let it be noted that everyone with whom I have a relationship, whether multi-published or not, online or in person, said Yes!.

So the lessons I've learned in this journey so far are:

1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

2. Relationship - build relationships with people who need your message and/or who can help get your message out there.  

Here's a link to Karla's post: You're Doing Twitter and Facebook all Wrong

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What say you?

Happiness is....

Charlie Brown was popular and my favorite when I was a kid. I wrote a poem in the fifth grade called "Happiness Is" inspired by the Peanuts cartoon. I don't remember much about it, except that it ended "and at schoolwork, doing your best." I got to go to the office and print it on a poster to be displayed in the school foyer. The idea of making an impact with writing stayed with me. 

I thought we might reconstruct that poem together. So what is your one liner to go with 

Happiness is.....? Go! I'll post the results later in the week.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

You're So Beautiful to Me

 I thought you all might like this sweet poem written by a friend of mine, Windy Lanzle


With dirty clothes scattered round my feet,
And toothpaste globs dripping down the sink,
I hear the words, "You're so beautiful to me."

With dark circles round my eyes,
And extra padding round my thighs,
I hear the words, "You're so beautiful to me."

When supper is boring or not there at all,
When shoes crowd the doorway, or laundry fills the hall,
I hear the words, "You're so beautiful to me."

When my eyes grow dim and my face becomes lined,
When hearing becomes an effort and my teeth aren't mine,
Whether you're still here with me, or have been gone for some time,
I know I'll still be hearing,
"You're so beautiful to me."

Here's Windy with an outfit her husband bought for her birthday. He said that if God can put those colors together, why can't he??  He sounds like a keeper. But I know this little lady...she is a jewel, so I think her hubby is just as blessed, don't ya think?


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Heav'n Rescued Land

 Ran across this post from a few years ago...still feel the same way.

 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord..." Psalm 33:12

I don't have a Bucket List, but I do have a list of dreams.  One of them came true on Saturday when I was asked to sing the National Anthem at the Permian Basin Fire Convention.  (I almost got to sing at a Maverick's game once, but that's another story.)

It was a tremendous honor to sing The Star Spangled Banner.  Normally, only the first verse of Francis Scott Key's masterpiece (which is a bear to sing by the way) is performed at public events.  I wish we could also sing the last verse:

Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 

I do believe that the success and freedom of our nation will be determined by God, and the extent upon which we trust Him.  I'm not going to start waxing political, but I'm just sayin'.  May we be "heav'n rescued", and "blest with victory and peace".  We praise you, Father, the "Power that hath made and preserved us a nation".  Have a blessed week.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bread Crumbs, NOT!

I received some garden zucchini this week and got ambitious. A zucchini tomato casserole recipe looked great so I got out all the ingredients. Since my husband is a carnivore, I added some ground beef to the mixture. When I got down the bread crumb topping, things got dicey. It's a good thing I tasted the crumb/butter/onion concoction before I sprinkled it over the top of my beautiful dish. It wasn't bread crumbs in the container. Someone used the container for spicy, and I do mean HOT, barbeque rub. What the hey, I sprinkled a little on top anyway, a very little. Added just the right amount of oomph. Husband liked it. Score!

A little unexpected discombobulation is a good thing once in a while. We readjust, make do, suffer or gain, but it breaks up boredom. I for one, love a little shaking up once in awhile.  

How are you shaking things up these days?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fearless Anna

Fearless Anna
     "Live life to the fullest!", "Carpe diem!". I hear it all the time. I sometimes wonder how people do that when they have problems,  have a mortgage, a difficult job, etc. Everyone has something. I'm a generally happy and grateful l person, but I sometimes get irritated at the mantra 'live every moment'.
    I saw it in action on the 4th of July weekend, watching my two-year-old granddaughter.
     On our Independence day celebration she was very brave. She wandered too close to some of the fireworks her dad was doing, but mostly she obeyed. The most fun thing for her were the sparklers. She loved them. Her dad lit one after another for her. She held them way up into the sky and as soon as they went out she dropped them to the ground. When she wasn't doing sparklers, she was oohing and ahing over the fireworks display down the hill from our house in the park. When we all finally went inside, she sat next to me and asked if she could play a game on my phone, and then she promptly fell asleep, her head on my shoulder. A few minutes later her father picked her up and carried her to the car.
     It occurred to me how she enjoyed the day. I know part of it is her personality, but also I think the fact that she has no fear gave her freedom to just enjoy. Anna has wonderful parents who keep her healthy and safe. Her face reflects the love that is in our family. She's not afraid to try new things because she has the assurance that her mom and dad are watching her. All her needs are met, and so she is free to wonder at the sparkling fire before her.
     How many hundreds of times in the scriptures does it say, "Do not fear?"  I want  to be like fearless Anna. - to live in a an abandoned way knowing that my heavenly Father has me safely in the palm of His hand - to hold life's miracles in awe before me, and to drop and discard things that no longer matter. I'd love to be able to live in such a fearless way, and then drop off to sleep at night without fear, having spent and poured myself out in the miracles and challenges of everyday.
     What a life - to wake up to every day, knowing that we are blessed, secure, and loved and that when it's ove, He will carry us to heaven. Anna made me think of  that scripture "I will lie down and sleep in pie peace, for you Oh Lord are with me.' (Psalm 4:8)

     Thanks so much Father and thank you Anna. Yes, we can go do bubbles now. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Next Thought

 Just sharing a poem about perspective. I like to encourage us to look at life through love colored glasses. It all starts in our thoughts.

 The Next Thought
Sometimes our thoughts are darkness
And shackle us to sorrow.
The manacles of things that happen
Bind us from tomorrow.

It's the next thought that matters
In the moments of our days,
The fleeting jewels of time we're given
To walk in Father's ways.

It's the next right thought that fuels
The next right word we speak;
That power over which we set
The course of life we seek.

The thought, word and then the deed;
One moment changes all.
We build a life with thoughts
And kingdoms rise and fall.

What can you look at differently, through love colored glasses today?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

His Harvard Daughter

Donnie Bailey
He told everyone his daughter was going to Harvard. I suppose it was truth in that I was going there every day - to work as a secretary in the Law School. I did get to take a couple of classes as a Harvard employee. The point is he was so proud. Whatever I did, he was always very proud of me. He told me many times that I could be whatever I wanted to be. 

He was a fighter. A WWII Veteran, he lived through the Depression, fought asthma, MS, a brain tumor,  alcoholism - and won. A man of faith later in life, his love of God's Word was an inspiration. He was a story teller, a comedian, and a cook. 

I remember when he promised that if I left for school without making my bed, he'd come fetch me. One school morning the intercom called for me to come to the office. There he was. I'd forgotten. He drove me home in silence. I made the bed. Smiles broke out all over his face. He was not one to hold a grudge. He cooked a breakfast for me and than took me back to school. One of his many lessons in responsibility. 

I remember the night before I started school. He sat me on his lap and told me the best advice he could give me, aside from doing my best, was to keep my mouth shut. I wish I'd listened to him.

He once gave one of my sisters, who was about to marry, a gift; a tiny pair of overalls, with a note that said, "Fill em up." We honor him still by giving that as a gift to his granddaughters on those kinds of occasions. He never met with grandchildren without a brown paper sack of candy for each one.

There was a whole lot more to my daddy, but suffice it to say that I love him and miss him. I wish he could be here to see my dream come true in a few days. He'd be so proud.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Dreaded Hair Incident

Taking a little break to tell a funny that happened to me yesterday. Actually, it was something I dreaded, but when it actually happened, I had to laugh.

My close friends and family know I've lost a lot of my hair because of some health issues (not the life threatening kind) and so I wear wigs. I've gotten used to it and now I love the convenience and variety of it. But living in windy West Texas, I always feared the rig blowing off my head. It finally happened yesterday.

I left work and walked outside to a raging wind. Since both my hands were full I wasn't  holding on to my "hair" as usual in that situation. Off it came and blew away from me so fast I knew I'd never be able to retrieve it. I threw my purse and, Heaven be praised, it whacked that rug right down to the ground before it blew into the street. I couldn't put it back on fast enough. 

We Baby Boomers have to learn to laugh at these getting older issues. What are you dreading? It might not be as bad as you thought:)

P.S. Looking for a new style...these were interesting. What do you think?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hitting Rock Bottom.

Did you ever have a day when everything just came crashing down on you at once? That's how my novel begins. The heroine loses everything in one fell swoop. 

How would you counsel Bailey Brown if she came to you with her sad story?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wobbly Plates

Baby Boomers will remember the popular "plate spinning" acts on variety shows of our day. If plates could represent areas of our lives, then THIS USED TO BE ME:

However, now, THIS IS ME:

I'm glad I found this funny one that made me laugh. It helped put things in perspective. I've got a lot of wobbly plates these days, but I'm so grateful that the Father has said that I can cast all my cares on Him, for He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). I'm grateful for my husband who still thinks I'm Wonder Woman even though he has to fend for himself a lot these days. I'm grateful for all my friends and family who've said "I want to help." I'm grateful that I have plates to spin!

Do you have wobbly plates right now? I'd love to pray for you. Jody

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oldie But Goodie (Not me, lol).

Still working on my workout playlist. I never paid much attention to the verses of this song, but I love the chorus. The dancing and fashion is a hoot. Yes, I'm dating myself. Enjoy!

"Nothin's gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna hold me down, oh no,
I've got to keep on MOVIN'!" 

Still could use your inspiring music suggestions.

Monday, April 8, 2013

We're Givin' God All That!

Hellooooo, Monday! So inspired after our church gathering yesterday. God always gives me what I need. He's amazing that way, right? Full time job is gearing up for Spring events, Summer Reading Club, and Piano Recital. Gotta get a book finished by the end of April, and do a wedding in May, AND my debut novel releases June 28!! Plus, I'm tackling health issues with a vengeance and rockin' the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. 

Nothing is impossible with God.(Luke 1:37 NIV). We heard God's Word yesterday about being positioned to bless and be blessed. I was struck by Psalm 84:6 (NIV) As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

Ah, Baca means weeping so definitely a low place. But we make it a spring! Through Christ, we can turn anything into living water. Something about that reminded me of that Newsboys song Wherever We Go. That's my motivation this week. Hope it blesses you:)

HELP! Can you suggest some upbeat music to coast me along on my journey? Thank you!!! Jody

Monday, April 1, 2013

I usually listen to sermons, music, or audio Bible while I workout at the gym. Sometimes I listen to inspiring commencement speeches. I ran across one Dolly Parton did that was fun, and I love the song she sang at the end. Enjoy this sweet inspiration.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I've been listening to inspirational speaker Andy Andrews lately. He spoke at a church in Dallas and made this statement. "The power of our thoughts is so strong that we cannot act against it." I took that sentence to prayer. I realize that that is one of the reasons that I will still make a wrong choice, or a choice that takes me aside the path I'm traveling to my goals. What is it that I believe, or don't believe, that sabotages me, even after all my planning and prayer? I'm convinced that I need more washing of the Word in my mind and spirit. How wonderful that there is an answer!

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

What derails you on your path to your goals?

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Piano Teacher

She wasn't my music teacher because we didn't move to Kirbyville until I was in high school. My younger siblings did have the honor of having her for an elementary music teacher. Mrs. Burres Bean was known to everyone in our small community for her love of teaching, her kindness, class and grace. She passed away last week at the age of 102.

One of those silly graduation rites of passage is the "Most Likely To..." print out at the end of the year. I believe mine was "Most likely to take Mrs. Bean's place at the elementary school." That prediction came true, although there were several before I taught music at Kirbyville Elementary. I took piano lessons from her when I was working on some personal music goals. Our lesson was the highlight of the week. 

Mrs. Bean had the ability to make you think you were the most important person in the world when she listened intently and gave you full attention with her beautiful eyes. Her comments were always kind. She had a delightful, amusing personality, and had a caring heart for everyone in her life. You could not leave her presence without feeling valued and encouraged. I smile as I think of how she is the only person I've ever known who could rock wearing white pants:) Beautiful inside and out, Mrs. Bean left a mark on all who knew her, and she will be missed. 

So long for now, Dear One, until we see you in Forever. Thank you for everything. Jody

Monday, March 4, 2013

Which is yes.

I thank God for this most
amazing day;
for the leaping greenly
spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural, which is
infinite, which is yes.
e. e. cummings

2 Corinthians 1:20 
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

What YES are you looking for this week?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

I share my birthday (Jan. 19) with Robert E. Lee, which is fun for me since my husband and I are Civil War buffs. I discovered today an author who shares her birthday with none other than Dr. Seuss! How cool is that? I hope you enjoy Mari LaVell's birthday poem as much as I did.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss (and me)

I like Dr Suess, I won’t tell a lie.
We share the same birthday, we’re tight him and I. 
A creative creature, a word maker is he
When I grow up, just like him I’ll be.

He has a funny way to make us all think
His thinker is funny, combined with some ink
But funnier still, ‘tween ink jot you read
Squeezed in by the tittle, you’ll see a great creed.

Go places, be someone,
Try something new.
Have a big heart.
Now that’s a good start.

Be a Who on a speck,
Save your people from heck.
Don’t think you’re too small,
Don’t think it at all.

There are things you can find,
If you don’t stay behind.
Think out of the box,
Be smart like a fox.

Here’s the moral that sticks in my heart when I read,
When my thinker has thunked, and I truly take heed:
God made only one you, with a purpose and plan
No one else can be you,  now isn’t that grand?

So with a tip of my hat, I’ll close with a smile,
As Seuss once said in his Seussian style:
 “Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord..." Jeremiah 29:11 

Take a look at Mari's wonderful website:

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book or quote? I'd love to hear it:)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bella's Back!
 Bella’s Back!

Enjoy this fun interview with author Janice Thompson, where she shares the story-behind-the-story regarding Bella’s return.

Janice, welcome! I’m really enjoyed the Weddings by Bella series and am excited to read the spin-off series.

1. Can you tell us more about why you decided to write it?

Sure! (Thanks for hosting me, by the way!) When I wrote Fools Rush In (book one in the Weddings by Bella series) I knew I had something special on my hands. The characters really resonated with me, but there was more. I felt as if I’d created a world of real, wonderful, wacky people. Sure, I’d breathed life into them on the page, but they seemed to take it from there, springing to life and moving the story forward as they willed. I wrapped up the series with Swinging on a Star and It Had to be You, but my readers weren’t satisfied! At least once a week I got a letter from a fan saying, “Are there more? Please keep this story going!” I sent several of those letters to my editor, and before long she agreed that we should, indeed, keep the story going! That’s how the Weddings by Design story began. I’m so relieved to have more to offer. Since Fools Rush Inwent free on kindle, it has been downloaded nearly 300,000 times. Crazy! So, I have many, many new readers, aching for more!

2. How are these stories similar to the novels in the Weddings by Bellaseries?

This is a wedding-themed series, just like the first, and loaded with fun, quirky mishaps on the way to the altar! Readers will experience the same “feel” of Galveston Island and my ever-present humor, which drives the stories forward.  I truly hope that readers pick up the first book in this new series and sigh with relief as they catch up with their favorite characters from the last series: Bella, D.J., Aunt Rosa, Uncle Laz, the three ladies from Splendora, Brock Benson, and so on. Here’s what the publisher had to say about the new series: With her contagious humor and cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives readers more of the bridal business drama they want in a brand-new series all about those long-suffering people who make beautiful weddings happen. Readers are desperately waiting for more of Bella and this new series brings her back in a big way, while introducing new characters fans will love. Fans will laugh out loud as they experience this breezy and entertaining novel from a great storyteller.”

3. What sets this new series apart from the last one?

The Weddings by Design novels are told from the point of view of new characters. Book one, Picture Perfect, is about a wedding photographer named Hannah. Book two, The Icing on the Cake, is about a wedding cake designer named Scarlet. Book three, The Dream Dress, is about a dress designer named Gabi. Book four (yet unpublished) is about a wedding florist named Gina. Each of these ladies longs to work with the most fabulous wedding coordinator on the island—Bella (Rossi) Neeley, so everything loops back to Club Wed, just like the first series.

4. When does the new series release?

Book one, Picture Perfect, is already available on amazon. The kindle version will be ready for download on February 15th. (Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!) I received my author copies last week, so autographed copies are available for purchase ($12) if readers are interested in that. They can email me at for more information.

5. Can you tell us about Picture Perfect, the first book in the series?

Ooo, I’d love to! The synopsis should answer any questions:
She’s trying to focus on her future. How can one man make everything feel so . . . fuzzy?
Hannah McDermott has a successful photography studio. She’ll soon be featured in Texas Bride magazine. And she has a celebrity client whose Galveston ceremony will be her ticket to the top spot on wedding coordinator Bella Neeley’s list of recommended photographers. But it could all come crashing down around her because of one man: archrival and photographer extraordinaire Drew Kincaid.
As the competition between Hannah and Drew heats up, Hannah is surprised to find that it’s not the only thing getting more intense. She can’t get the handsome man out of her thoughts-or even out of her line of sight-and the job of her dreams is turning into a nightmare. Will everything she’s worked for slip out of her hands? And can she see past her pride to find a picture-perfect love?
6. How is the new series doing with readers so far?

Great! Folks who’ve read the book have already contacted me to say they love it! I’m also thrilled that Picture Perfect got a great Romantic Timesreview. . .four stars! Here’s what the reviewer had to say: "Fans of romantic comedies are in for a treat just in time for Valentine’s Day. Book one in the Weddings by Design series does not disappoint! Funny one-liners and absolutely lovable characters combine with just enough romantic tension to keep the pages turning at a brisk pace — but readers will want to slow down to savor this one."

7. How are you kicking off the new series?

I’m hosting an online party! I’m calling this my “Bing & Bob” party and it will be held on the night of February 18th at 7:00 p.m. central time. These two funny fellas hold a special place in the heart of my characters and they will provide the entertainment at our gathering! This fun, interactive party will take place inside the “Bella’s Back” group on facebook. Join me for an interactive chat, video teasers, Bing Crosby music and giveaways! Some lucky reader/participant will win a free kindle fire! To be entered, you must join the Bella’s Back facebook group and attend the party. (i.e. “Must be present when your named is called.”)

For more information about the party, check out this video invitation.

8. Can you share a little bit from the novel?

Going My Way

May your troubles be as few and as far apart as my grandmother’s teeth.
Irish proverb
My life has been a series of almosts.
Take, for instance, the time I almost made the cheerleading squad in high school but lost out to my archnemesis, Jacquie Practically-Perfect-in-Every-Way Goldfarb. Then there was the time Matt Hudson, the hunkiest football player at my high school, almost asked me to the prom but ended up going with Jacquie instead. Oh, and we can’t forget the time I almost got a photographer’s dream job, shooting superstar Brock Benson’s wedding. Yep. Another almost. That time, the opportunity of a lifetime slipped through my fingers and into the open palms of my chief competitor, Drew Kincaid of Kincaid Photography.
Some people are haunted by memories of things they’ve done. Me? I’m haunted by all of the things I nearly accomplished but missed by a quarter of an inch. That’s why, when faced with yet another unbelievable opportunity—a profile piece in Texas Bride magazine to promote my new Galveston-based photography business—I couldn’t blow it. No more almostsfor me. This time I would hit the finish line a winner. My meeting with the Texas Bride reporter would transform my career and propel me into the limelight, winning me the favor of the island’s top wedding planner, Bella Neeley. If I could just keep from messing it up.
Oh, but this time I wouldn’t! In fact, I could almost hear my Grandpa Aengus cheering me on from the great beyond: “Hannah Grace, if you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.”
I didn’t happen to believe in luck, but if being Irish meant I stood a better chance at succeeding in business, I would embrace my heritage as never before. I would bathe with Irish Spring soap, dress in the vibrant colors of the family crest, skip through fields of shamrocks, and listen to my father’s nightly tales of Clan McDermott’s glory days. And I would do it all with a smile on my face and confidence in my stride.
From his mansion up in heaven, Grandpa Aengus smiled down on me, his gold-capped front tooth gleaming like the precious stones in the pearly gate. I could sense his pleasure as I made up my mind to do the McDermotts proud. Like my warring ancestors of yesteryear, I would fight to the finish, wielding my bloody sword—er, my two-thousand-dollar digital camera with stellar resolution and optical zoom—until I took the prize. I would come out a victor in the end, or make a fool of myself trying.
Either way, I wouldn’t go down without a fight. A true McDermott never did.

Thanks for visiting with us, Janice! Looking forward to the new series!

Join the “Bella’s Back”Facebook group
Watch the Bing & Bob party video invitation