Saturday, December 27, 2008

Please be in prayer...

Some of my friends lost their 11-year-old daughter yesterday. Some sort of infection (they still don't know what it was). It happened so quickly. As I lay in bed last night, unable to sleep, I thought about how we're never guaranteed anything. We could die at any time. We could get sick at any time. We could be in an accident at any time.

And it made me think about what's most important to me. As we approach the new year, a time of setting goals and reflecting on the past year, I encourage you to look at what's most important to you. Look at what you think God really wants you to worry about. What does God want you to focus on? What really matters in this lifetime?

And would you please pray for the Hurdle and Costello families? Only with God's help will they be able to walk through this.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

From the Tippens' household to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas!! I hope you enjoy a wonderful day with family and friends as you celebrate Jesus' birth.

I'm posting on the Faith blog on Thursday. I've asked everyone to share their favorite gift that they gave this year (not received). I hope you'll stop by and share yours!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Linore Rose Burkard

I'm pleased to offer you a chance to win a book I've been hearing a lot of buzz about. Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard. I've had a chance to start it, and I love the humor!
As Linore says on her website, she writes inspirational romance for the Jane Austen soul. Her books include:

*Fast-paced adventure and falling-in-love .
*Humor, and all the Regency atmosphere you could want.
*Feisty heroines who aren't afraid to fall on their knees to pray .
*Twists and turns when you least expect them .
*And happy endings made in Heaven .

*Romance you can share with your mother, daughter, sister, or friend (and don't forget Grandma).

I hope you'll leave a comment for a chance to win this book. I'll draw a name late Monday. Please either leave an email where I can contact you or check back later to see if you won!

Linore Rose Burkard lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. She homeschooled her children for ten years. Raised in New York, she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.
Ms. Burkard wrote Before the Season Ends because she could not find an Inspirational Regency Romance on the bookshelves of any store. "There are Christian books that approached the genre," she says, "but they fell short of being a genuine Regency. I finally gave up looking and wrote what I was looking for myself." She has begun four other works of fiction in the category, and also enjoys writing articles, reading, parenting, family movie nights, swimming and gardening. Visit her at

Friday, December 19, 2008

Connealy Crunch

Mary Connealy shared a recipe with me, and I thought I'd pass it along. She (and others who've tried it) say it's wonderful! You'll have to let me know if you make it.

Connealy Crunch

2 pound package Almond Bark (melted)
Melt in microwave 1 ½ minutes. Stir. Melt 1 ½ minutes. That should be enough. You might need slightly longer. Almond bark doesn’t lose its shape when it melts so you have to stir it to see if its enough. Add:
3 C. Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal
3 C. miniature marshmallows
3 C. Rice Krispies
3 C. mixed nuts
Spread out on waxed paper. Let cool. Break into bite sized pieces.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Getting Organized

Whew! Getting organized is quite a job for me. And I tend to put it off, because I already know what's in each of my piles! :) But today I took a couple of hours to put things in notebooks, to file research material, to file receipts. (Well, not file. More like cram in my tax folder.)

It's nice to have a little more room to work!

Okay, if you're an organized person, I'd love to hear suggestions for how you do it! And if you're more of a piler like I am, I'd love to hear how you try to stay semi-organized.

Missy--who's really happy her son arrived home this evening!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Come by Thursday! The Second Day of Christmas...

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two sparkling gems....

Come by the Craftie Ladies of Romance Blog. I'm posting Thursday about sparkling gems--specifically how my husband proposed to me. :)

And don't forget to comment to be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas on the Craftie Ladies of Romance Blog!

Come take part in the 12 Days of Christmas celebration starting Tuesday on the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog. It's the new group blog I'm on with some Steeple Hill Love Inspired authors. And we're doing an updated 12 Days of Christmas--a song Margaret Daley created.

Leave a comment on the Craftie Ladies blog between Tuesday and Christmas and be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate!!


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Steal that Christmas Ornament!

This is the season of Christmas parties and events. This past week, I got together with several friends for our annual ornament exchange and dinner. We always have such a fun time. And when it gets down to the ornament exchange, we draw numbers. We go in order, and when it's your turn, you can either pick a gift under the tree or "steal" from someone else whose ornament you've been coveting. :) I guess I should be ashamed to say that I've kind of got a reputation. I'm one of the ones who isn't afraid to steal that perfect ornament! And one of my friends, Amy, isn't afraid either. We can both get, shall we say, competitive. Of course, there's strategy involved, because once an ornament has been stolen three times, it can't be taken again.

Even with just 10 people there this year, I bet we took an hour to get through the exchange. And this year, I was the victim! (Maybe payback time??) I lost the first 3 or 4 ornaments I opened! But I had the best number. Number 1. I got to go first--and then once again, last! So I got my favorite ornament back from the thief who had taken it from me (pictured here--a glittery elf shoe). :)

If you've never tried this game before, I hope you will! It's such a hoot. And it can be even more fun with white elephant gifts, which we do at our church staff Christmas party each year. So more to come on that party in the upcoming weeks... :)
What party games do you enjoy at Christmas?


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas Shopping in Hard Economic Times

I hope you'll stop by the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday. I'm sharing ideas on how to find inexpensive Christmas gifts and on how to squeeze every last drop of joy out of the holiday. I hope you'll stop by!

And don't forget to visit my new group blog, The Craftie Ladies of Romance!


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Blog! Craftie Ladies of Romance!

I'm part of a new group blog, The Craftie Ladies Of Romance. It's a group of Steeple Hill Love Inspired authors, the sister blog of The Craftie Ladies of Suspense. We've officially started now but will be having a 12-Days of Christmas focus and contest starting soon. I hope you'll come by each and every day!

Participating authors:

Missy Tippens
Debbie Clopton
Janet Tronstad
Lyn Cote
Lenora Worth
Linda Goodnight
Margaret Daley
Patricia Davids
Pamela Tracy
Valerie Hansen

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home Again

We're back from a wonderful trip to my parent's house in Kentucky. It was so nice to go home! The trip seemed too short, though.

I did have time for lunch with my college roommates on Friday. I hadn't seen one of them in 3 years! We had such a good time catching up and acting like we're still about 20 years old. :)

Would you believe I forgot to take another single photo?! So I don't have any of my family. I will say it was an interesting holiday visit with my mom and her broken foot and broken wrist! Since she usually does most of the Thanksgiving cooking, it turned into a group effort with my sister and I trying to keep my mom and dad out of the kitchen as much as possible. And though we didn't do all our normal feast, we did have the basics--turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie. (In case you noticed the lack of "color," it's because we forgot the vegetables!) LOL

All in all, we had a great time together relaxing, talking, watching old movies on TV--and lots of football. No crowds, no shopping (other than to run in Walmart for a football) and no Internet or work. Just a great time with family.

How did your Thanksgiving go?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I wish you lots of time with family and friends. And after all the stress I've been hearing about, I wish you a PEACEFUL, relaxed time. :) Also, for those traveling, I wish you a safe journey.
And now I want to share a recipe with you. My hair stylist told me about it yesterday, and I made it this evening. I think it's just about the best cake I've ever made. I know it's the moistest and most tender. So enjoy!!
Pecan Pound Cake
1 box yellow cake mix with butter
1 can pecan icing (the one I found was the pecan/coconut for German chocolate cakes)
4 eggs
1 c water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat 350 degrees
Grease or spray a Bundt cake pan (I used real butter)
Dust the buttered pan with powdered sugar (instead of flour) [I had never heard of this and it made a gorgeous texture on the cake!]
Combine water, oil, cake mix and can of icing. Then mix in eggs one at a time with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 1 hour. Let cool about 20 minutes, then dump out of pan onto plate.
Voila! Yummy! And it's heavenly served warm!

Monday, November 24, 2008

We Have a Winner!

Belinda has won the copy of The One Year Women's Friendship Devotional. Congrats!

And now I have to tell you I'm so excited. My college freshman son is on his way home!! For the first time since he left in August. I can't stop smiling!! :)

The turkey is thawing. I have a new cake recipe to try. And I'm going to buy groceries tomorrow. I'm looking so forward to this holiday. I may be strange, but I always love Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. And this year, with our oldest being away, it's going to make family time that much more sweet.

I hope each of you has fun plans ahead. I'd love to hear what you're going to be doing this week!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

The One Year Women's Friendship Devotional

I'm pleased to introduce you to a new devotional book today. The authors have provided a copy that I'll be giving away in a drawing from among those who leave comments. Please leave contact information in case I draw your name! The book looks fabulous! If you don't win, I hope you'll get your own copy.
The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional (Tyndale) is the latest book from friends and coauthors Cheri Fuller and Sandra Aldrich. Not only does the text provide a deeper connection to and enjoyment of God and His Word, but it is a wonderful opportunity for today’s busy women to connect with each other as they discuss the short daily devotions and the “To Ponder” questions at the end of each week’s section. Perfect for small groups or two girlfriends meeting over coffee, the devotional also is appropriate for those who prefer individual study.

And now, an interview with the authors...
What can women gain from The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional?

Sandra: The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional is designed for today’s busy woman. Each of the 365 devotions are on one page and contain a daily Scripture, short devotional thought from either Cheri or me and end with an honest prayer and an insightful quote. At the end of each week are questions to ponder individually or talk over with a friend. But beyond the friendship connection is our heavenly Father’s invitation to know more about Him and His living Word.

Cheri: One of the benefits of our One Year devotional is it provides a vehicle to discover your natural rhythm for drawing near to God in a personal and regular way. For right-brained people like me, the structure helps me stay in God’s Word day by day so my roots can grow deeper in Christ. Being a lover of people, I also enjoy exchanging ideas and discussing how a certain verse or story spoke to me, and the weekly questions are ideal for that purpose.

What’s the biggest challenge to women developing friendships today?

Sandra: Lack of time. And a lack of a sense of community. Today’s women have daily to-do lists as long as their arms. It’s difficult to concentrate on deepening friendships—or even developing them—when our idea of fun is crossing items off that list. Also, those endless lists make us feel alone even in a crowd. Women need each other, but often it takes special effort to form those connections.

Cheri: Recent research shows that 30% of Americans are lonely and often feel isolated. The more hectic life gets, the more we need friends and the encouragement that comes from relationship with God and our sisters in Christ. Our hope is that reading The One Year Women’s Friendship Devotional will energize your spiritual life and your friendships.

Another major challenge we face as women is taking care of so many people that we neglect ourselves and become irritated or burned out. Taking time to refuel spiritually and emotionally is important and the benefits ripple out to our children and family members, job, and all the people our lives touch.

What are some of the topics covered?

Sandra: The 52 weekly themes cover many issues of a woman’s life, including career challenges, the power of encouragement, joyful living, hearing God above life’s roar, when your childhood family is toxic, faith building, avoiding overload, attitude adjustments, finding your spiritual pathway, dealing with stress, wading through grief, telling and hearing truth, making a difference, dealing with Christmas frenzy, a fresh-brewed prayer life, freedom from fear, and reaching a hurting world.
What parting words do you have for your readers?

Cheri: Remember that God loves to hear your voice, just as you love to hear the sound of your kids’ or loved ones’ voices—not just once a week on Sunday but throughout your days. And every time we open his Book, the Bible, there’s a gift, a promise, or a truth that will help us learn to live abundantly no matter what we’re facing.

Sandra: Because of the shed blood of Jesus, we have the incredible privilege of stepping directly into the Presence of our heavenly Father through prayer. Years ago, a woman asked the great preacher G. Campbell Morgan if she should pray about everything or just the big things. Morgan answered, “Dear lady, pray about everything. After all, what could possibly be big to God?” I love that. And I love knowing we do not pray to air.

The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional provides connection in this fragmented world—connection to other women and, most importantly, connection to our heavenly Father. The quickest way to order it is through For more information about Cheri Fuller or Sandra Aldrich visit their websites at or And remember: the heavenly Father is just a whisper away.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Debby Giusti from the Craftie Ladies of Suspense blog! I'm supposed to tell 7 random facts about about reading.

1. When I'm on vacation, I plow through books like you wouldn't believe. I usually take a huge canvas bag full of books and go through them all. (My poor family!)

2. While on vacation, I love to read down at the beach! It have a beach umbrella and comfortable low-slung chair. I read a while, doze a while, read a while.... You get the picture. :)

3. Of my three children, only one loves to read like I do. The other two can take it or leave it (although my daughter loves to write like I do).

4. I've always loved to buy the kids books--ever since they were babies and got their first cloth book. Once in elementary school, my son had to count all his books for a math assignment. He counted 1500!! And yes, I have a box full ready to give away right now.

5. Right now I'm reading two books. One I keep in the house: King of Sword and Sky by C.L. Wilson. The other I keep in the car for sitting in the carpool line and eating out by myself: Single Sashimi by Camy Tang. I'm loving both of them!

6. I have a hard time reading guilt free. I'm usually thinking I should be writing. But sometimes at night I'll take a break and give myself permission to read without feeling any guilt. :)

7. And since Debby tagged me, I want to say that I love reading her books! So exciting!

I've Now Seen It All

Well, I can officially say that I have now seen it all.

I've been amazed, horrified, even, by spying drivers of cars applying mascara, reading a newspaper and even holding an operating laptop computer. But this morning on the way to school, I actually saw a guy brushing his teeth. Brushing his teeth!!

Now, please tell me how you'd do that. Bring along a spit cup?? Or just swallow the toothpaste? Bleck! Gag!

So... is there anyone out there who would admit to doing this? If so, I'd love to hear how you managed it. :)


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Love that Lasts Forever

Love that lasts forever. Well, maybe not forever. But almost.

I went to a funeral on Saturday for a gentleman in our church. He was 93 years old and had been married to his wife for 71 years. 71 years! That's longer than some people even live.

I thought a lot about this as they helped the widow into the funeral home chapel and down the aisle while we all stood. I don't know if this is just a southern tradition or if others do it all over the country. But as the family enters the church or chapel, they ask us all to rise. Just like in a wedding.
So I was reminded of weddings. And started thinking of the couple, married for most of their lives. And of how difficult it would be for the wife. When my husband visited with them, she kept saying she didn't want to let her husband go.

That's a lasting love. Love that carries you through 7 decades. And that's the kind of love I want. I want to celebrate a 70th anniversary with my husband. (Goodness, what gift do you give for a 70th?!)

That's also the type love I want to write about. I want to think of my characters having their happily ever afters and growing old together. And of them being so in love that they don't want to let go.

If you're married, how long have you been married? I'll celebrate 23 years in June. :)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thursday--Editor Melissa Endlich in Seekerville!

Please stop by Seekerville and visit with Steeple Hill Editor Melissa Endlich!

Preparing for Advent

I wanted to go ahead and let you know about an upcoming event for Advent. I'll be taking part as well! I hope you'll stop by each day.

Join Christian Bookworm Reviews as we celebrate Advent and countdown to Jesus’ birthday. Each day an author will share a special Christmas memory or Christmas excerpt from their book.

Participating Authors:
Please stop by each day and leave a comment for our participating authors.
Day 1 – Cara Putnam
Day 2 – Lena Dooley
Day 3 – Susan Page Davis
Day 4 – Darlene Franklin
Day 5 – Tamela Hancock Murray
Day 6 – Megan DiMaria
Day 7 – Robyn Bayne
Day 8 – Rhonda (rcwriter)
Day 9 – Michelle Sutton
Day 10 – Marilynn Griffith
Day 11 – Vickie McDonough
Day 12 – Lynette Sowell
Day 13 – Robert Elmer
Day 14 – Joan Hochstetter
Day 15 – Linda Hargrove
Day 16 – Linore Rose Burkard
Day 17 – Missy Tippens
Day 18 – Tiffany Amber Miller
Day 19 – Dee Stewart
Day 20 – Sharon Ewell Foster
Day 21 – Robin Jones Gunn
Day 22 – Lauraine Snelling
Day 23 – Marcia Ramsland
Day 24 – Irene Brand
FREE Books!
If you leave comments, you will be eligible to win FREE books.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Working on Line Edits

Once again, I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth! I received my line edits for my second book, His Forever Love, last week. I need to mail them back to my editor this week. They're going pretty well, but I'm trying to stay off the Internet to get them done! :)

I've been keeping up with the Gratitude Project, if not online, then at least in my life, by trying to make sure to be thankful every day. I hope you'll join me in this, either on my blog or at Susan Wiggs' blog.

Also, I sure would appreciate prayer for my mother. She fell yesterday and broke her left wrist, broke her right foot, and cracked her elbow. She's in a good bit of pain and will have surgery tomorrow to put a pin in her wrist. She said she feels most sorry for my dad, though! He's having to help her around, and she's really off balance.

Thanks for the prayers!


Monday, November 03, 2008

The Gratitude Project

While I was on Facebook this morning, I found out about a project author Susan Wiggs is doing between now and Thanksgiving. I love her idea and will be taking part! She wants everyone who joins in to post 3 things they're grateful for each day. You can post on her blog comments section or can keep private or on your own blog. I may post here on occasion but will probably join in on her blog as well.

I hope you'll join in! I think being grateful can change our outlook, change our lives.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm still here!

I am still alive. Just haven't blogged in a while. :)

We had the best visit last weekend with my son at college for Parent and Family Weekend. We hadn't seen him in 2 months, and I was surprised that when I first hugged him, I started crying! (Outside, with other people nearby.) All the kids were laughing at me. And I was laughing and crying at the same time. Very embarrassing. LOL

We spent 3 nights there and had a great visit. We also got to go to church with him Sunday morning to see where he's attending now. It was hard to leave, but much easier than the last time we left him. This time, we know he has some friends and is doing much better. Oh, and we got to meet some of the friends. Very nice!

Have a great weekend! It's gorgeous here in Georgia. Sunny and 60 degrees. What about you?


Monday, October 20, 2008

Camy Tang on Distinct Character Voices

I'm thrilled to welcome my good friend and fellow Seekerville blogger Camy Tang today! One thing I've loved about Camy's books, Sushi for One, Only Uni, and now Single Sashimi, is that her characters have such distinct voices. Each of the cousins is very unique. So I asked her to tell us how she does it. After reading, be sure to check the link in her bio. She's having a huge website contest and book giveaway!

Now, here's Camy...

Hi there! Missy asked me to guest blog today about how to make character voices distinct.

1) First of all, the different characters in your story should sound VERY distinct to you in your own head.

If you “listen” to your own characters, and if you notice that two male characters sound alike or two female characters sound alike, you need to refine your characters more so that their personalities are more distinct.

Because here’s the key: Distinct personalities will naturally create distinct character voices.

For my Sushi series, Lex is an Amazon—headstrong, aggressive, athletic, blunt.

Venus is also aggressive and blunt, but she’s a sharper tool—she’s more refined than Lex, she’s organized and efficient, she’s very professional whereas Lex is more casual.

Their two voices sound very different to me in my head. Lex’s voice is more brash, a bit unconventional. Venus’s voice is more educated, elegant, but piercing.

2) Next is to try to convey those distinct voices down on paper.

Sometimes, that involves a bit of exaggeration when you write a character’s dialogue, because if the character voice differences are too subtle, it won’t come across well on the page.

Character voices differ in many aspects, which include:
Word choice
Sentence length
Action beats

Word choice and cadence/rhythm are what most often distinguish character voices in a novel, but you can play with other aspects to make characters more distinct from each other.

In my Sushi series, Lex’s vocabulary is filled with sports cant, and her word choices are middle school or high school level. Her rhythm and cadence is loping and casual.

Venus’s vocabulary is highly educated, college level. Her word choices reflect her business and video game development background—technical and professional. Her rhythm tends to be more clipped and logical.

3) Observe different character voices.

My favorite exercise is to watch movies with the same actor in them, playing very different character roles. I listen to the actor’s speech, rhythm, and watch body language.

In doing this kind of “research,” I get ideas about how to make my own character voices more distinct.

4) Write your characters in the same situation.

This is an excellent exercise for helping you define the characters’ voices. Take each character and put him/her in the exact same situation. Then have the character retell the situation and their reaction in their own voices.

If two characters tell the same situation similarly, then you need to go back to the drawing board to further refine their personalities to make them more distinct.

But if you’ve done a good job deepening personalities, the different characters should recount the same situation in very different ways.

Thanks for having me guest blog, Missy!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away ten boxes of books and 30 copies of her latest release, SINGLE SASHIMI.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dangerous Recipe. :)

I got this recipe in an email from a friend. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds sooo yummy that I just had to share. Let me know if you make it! Also, note someone's comment at the end that you should watch it so as not to overcook it (if you have a higher powered microwave).

When I went to look for the photo of the cake, I actually found a blog with a similar recipe posted. And she has photos!


1 coffee mug
4 Tbsp. cake flour (plain, not self-rising)
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. oil
Small splash of vanilla
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips, optional

Add dry ingredients to mug, mix well with a fork.
Add egg, mix thoroughly.
Pour in milk and oil and vanilla, mix well.
Add chips, if using.
Put mug in microwave, and cook for three minutes on 1000 watts. Cake will rise over top of mug--do not be alarmed! Allow to cool a little; tip onto a plate if desired. Eat!
(This can serve two if you want to feel slightly more virtuous.)

***And WHY is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only five minutes away from chocolate cake any time of the day or night!!!*** ___________________________________________________________________________
This is GREAT!!! Got the recipe from a friend, and tried it out immediately. It works! I see multiple applications for this gem: With kids; grandkids; 4-H cooking classes; college dorm room when there's only a microwave; late-night cravings; just enough for one or two servings instead of an entire cake..........ha, ha! My kids added some drizzles of chocolate syrup and some Cool Whip (we didn't put in the chocolate chips). You could add canned frosting, too. The batter does rise up 'way over the top of the mug, but doesn't run down the side. Fun to watch! Be careful not to overcook--our microwave is higher than 1000 watts, and three minutes was a dab too long--dried the cakes out a little bit. Anyway, give it a try! And be sure to watch it the whole time it's baking in the microwave!!!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Bad Case of the "Plan-To's"

I'm blogging today (Thursday) on the F.A.I.T.H. blog about my long-term "disease," The Plan-To's. Come on over and join us to find out what you can do keep it from striking you. :)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meet Author Ronica Stromberg!

I'm pleased to welcome author Ronica Stromberg today. Ronica has a brand new children's book out, The Time-for-bed Angel. I've had a chance to look at a digital copy, and it's a gorgeous, fun book!

Here are some things I learned about Ronica:

Q: Ronica, I love your story! Can you tell me how you came up with the idea?

A: As a young child, my oldest son, Josiah, was a lot like Andrew in The Time-for-bed Angel. He never wanted to go to bed. After tucking him into bed for the umpteenth time one night, I was exhausted. I remember asking him, “Josiah, what about your guardian angel? Don’t you think he needs a little rest?” We ended up discussing guardian angels for the next few minutes, and I left his room, thinking that a bedtime story with a guardian angel might be reassuring to children who are reluctant to go to bed alone or who have a fear of the dark or “the monster in the closet.” Such a book might calm children by letting them know that guardian angels protect and watch over them at all times. When I couldn’t find anything on the market like this, I knew I should write the book.

Q: Great idea. How did you and the artist get together?

I’ve never met Kristina Stephenson or had any communication with her. My publisher chose her and handled the match of graphics with text. This is common with picture books. Historically, authors and illustrators have not always seen eye-to-eye, and most publishers today carefully manage the relationship between author and illustrator. I have to say, though, that I am delighted with Kristina’s artwork and think it really captured the spirit of the book.

Q: I see you’ve also written middle school and teen books. Could you tell us which will be out next, and give a description?

A: My “tween” (ages 10 to 14) book, The Glass Inheritance, was published in 2001. This is a mystery centered on the Depression Era glass a young girl inherits from her grandmother. I have three teen novels under contract and am expecting them out this next year. One, Wrappers, deals with abstinence from a boy’s point of view. The other two, A Shadow in the Dark and Living It Up to Live It Down, are about a young teen, Kirsten Hart, and her struggles with living out her faith in her nonbelieving family and in her public middle school.

Q: What does a typical writing day look like for you?

A: Unfortunately, I have yet to become disciplined enough to write every day. I generally write in spurts—maybe spend one or two days per month writing from morning until night and then spend odd times throughout the month revising. If I’m writing a full-length novel, I often get “on a roll” in which I’ll write a few hours every day, but I like to have downtime, too, when ideas can stew in my mind.

Q: What’s something you enjoy in your free time?

A: Reading, travel, spending time with friends and family, and shopping for antiques. I can’t pick just one!

Q: What’s something that most people don’t know about you (and that you don’t mind sharing!). :)

A: As a child, I wanted to be a missionary, improving the lives of orphans and poor children overseas.

Q: Very in interesting! Thanks for sharing. How can readers buy a copy of “The Time-for-bed Angel”?

A: The book has distributors in both the inspirational and mainline markets, so any bookstore—whether it be one of the large chains like Barnes & Noble or a small, independent Christian bookstore—may stock it or at least be able to order it. And, of course, the book is available online at places like

Thanks so much for being on my blog today, Ronica! I enjoyed our visit.

Ronica Stromberg is the author of a picture book, The Time-for-bed Angel, and a tween mystery, The Glass Inheritance. She also has three teen novels under contract and is working on an inspirational romance. Her short stories appear in 16 anthologies and numerous magazines.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cooking and Brainstorming. :)

I was watching the Food Network this morning while brainstorming ideas for my revised proposal. I know some people (my hubby included!) think I'm crazy for having the TV on while I'm working. But most of the time, I like to have background noise. Even if it's just music.

Today, though, I had cooking shows playing while I was going through external conflict in my head. I think I've come up with a pretty good idea. At the same time, I saw a yummy-looking recipe from Rachel Ray for a pasta dish. :) Later, after I've jumped into writing the new synopsis, I'll get online and find the recipe. (It was a crab pasta dish made with shell pasta and a bunch of herbs, in case you want to try to find it.) :)

So, do you like background noise while you're paying the bills or reading a book? Or are you someone who needs quiet to concentrate?


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Another Book Sold!!!!!!!!

Well, I had my blog all set up to go through the weekend, but I couldn't resist posting my exciting news! My editor called today to offer a contract on a book for Christmas 2009!!! I'm ecstatic!!!!!

But now back to work... :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Upcoming Blog and Book Signing!

For writers! Thursday, October 2 (Where did September go??!!), I'll be blogging on the F.A.I.T.H. blog about episodic writing. So if you'd like to find out more, please stop by!

Also, for writers attending the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference, I'd love it if you'd come to the workshop Debby Giusti and I are presenting about being prepared for the first sale. So look for us on the schedule!

For readers! Coming up this weekend in the Atlanta area (I hope you'll stop by!!):

Moonlight & Magnolias Conference
Book Fair and Autographing
Hilton Atlanta Northeast
Norcross, GA
Saturday, Oct. 3
4:00-5:30 pm

At the book signing:
Teresa Medeiros (Keynote speaker and one of my favorite authors!)
Tanya Michaels (Featured GA author)
Suzanne Adair
Ana Aragon
Petrina Aubol
Christina Barber
Stephanie Bond
Jacquelyn Cook
Marcia Colette
Susan Crandall
Alyssa Day
Jacquie D'Alessandro
Anna DeStefano
Debby Giusti
Carmen Green
Raven Hart
Kimberly Killion
Cindy Kirk
Marianne LaCroix
Dana Lyons
Susan Lyons
Lynne Marshall
Susan May
Jess Michaels
Trish Milburn
Julie Miller
Joyce Moore
Jenna Petersen
L.W. Rogers
Loretta Rogers
Emilie Rose
Jan Scarbrough
Haywood Smith
Jennifer St. Giles
Gillian Summers
Missy Tippens
Karen White
CL Wilson

Monday, September 29, 2008

Out of Gas!

Okay, it's starting to get ridiculous. No gas in Georgia. Everywhere you go, you see trash bags and grocery bags over the gas station pump handles. And every so often, you find a place that has received some gas, but the lines go out into the street. So I've been staying home as much as possible, only taking trips that are absolutely necessary (like to pick up the children from school!) :) I've conserved and driven slower, putt-putting around town like a granny, hoping that if I avoided panicking and getting gas, that I could hold out until the supplies picked up.

Well, this past Thursday, I had finally dwindled down to a quarter of a tank--my personal panic point. And on top of that, I had to drive to the other side of Athens (about 30 miles away) for my son's cross country meet. (One of the absolutely necessary events.) :) I had heard rumors that Athens had more gas than we do around here, so after the meet, I started searching. I found a station that had premium gas for $4.59/gallon! Uh, no thanks! I decided to make one last go-around of the station and was about to drive away when I noticed one pump that didn't have an "empty" sign over the regular gas. I lucked out! I was able to fill up for 4.19/gallon. Not great, but hey, it was better than waiting in line for a half hour like my husband had had to do! (Plus, it took him another half hour to pump the gas because it was pumping so slowly.)

It's amazing how much more secure I feel with a full tank of gas. I've always been that way, but with these insecure times, it makes an even bigger difference in my attitude.

So now I'm once again putt-putting around town, avoiding acceleration, avoiding quick trips to Wal-mart (way across town) or trips to the mall (25 miles away). If we could afford to do it, I would love to get rid of my gas-guzzling SUV. But that'll have to wait. For now, I'll keep embarrassing my kids by driving like a granny. And I'll just have to hope the weather doesn't decide to turn cold before I splurge and drive to Wal-mart to buy my poor son (who's grown like a weed lately) a pair of jeans! :)

Have any of you experienced a shortage as well? What are you doing to cope?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm baaaack! And Photos from Minneapolis.

I had a wonderful trip to the American Fiction Writers Conference! I'd love to share some photos. But before I do, I hope you'll come by the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday. I've posted a fun contest. You can win books and even some Mary Kay Mint Bliss Foot Cream--fitting for a Name That Mystery Shoe contest. :) Please stop by before Sunday to enter the contest.

And now for the photos...

My good friends from Seekerville, Janet Dean and Mary Connealy (sorry I cut the top of your head off, Mary!).

At the awards banquet-- me, Janet Dean, my wonderful editor, Emily Rodmell, and Debby Giusti.

The best critique partner in the world, Belinda Peterson!

Another Seeker friend, Myra Langley Johnson (who recently sold to Abingdon!)

Me with amazing Steeple Hill authors Mae Nunn and Debby Giusti.

A blog reader drove over an hour to meet authors at the Mall of America book signing. Thanks for stopping by, Mimi!

Steeple Hill Authors at the Meet & Greet with Emily Rodmell.

Me with fellow United Methodist pastor's wife, and writer, Bev Varnado.

Book signing with 120 Christian authors! So exciting! The line of tables went on forever.

The F.A.I.T.H. bloggers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Signing in Minneapolis!

If you're in the area, please come see me and say hello! Here's the press release:

Booksigning by 100+ novelists at Mall of America September 20

(MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.) Hundreds of authors and aspiring authors will attend the annual
American Christian Fiction Writers conference at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel September
18-21, 2008. They’ll study the craft of writing from a Christian worldview, get the word out
about their books, and meet with editors from nearly every major publishing house in their industry.

They’re also coming to get signed books. On Saturday, September 20, 1:00-3:00pm in the Best
Buy® Rotunda and Bloomingdale’s Court of the Mall of America, over 100 bestselling and
award-winning authors such as Angela Hunt, James Scott Bell, Rene Gutteridge, Deborah Raney, Tamera Alexander, Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Brandt Dodson will sign copies of
their books for conference attendees and the public.

For more information regarding the signing or conference, please contact Cara Putman at (765)
418-3427 or To learn more about ACFW, visit

Missy here again. I probably won't post again until I get back. I'll try to post some photos asap. Here's a list of all the authors participating. I'll be at table #60. It'll be so exciting!

Tamera Alexander
Jennifer AlLee
A.K. Arenz
Diane Ashley
Karen Ball
Janet Lee Barton
James Scott Bell
Joseph Bentz
Terri Blackstock
Robin Caroll
Patricia Pac
Jac Carroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Eleanor Clark
Debra Clopton
Gloria Clover
Brandilyn Collins
Mary Connealy
Lyn Cote
Kathryn Cushman
Margaret Daley
KM Daughters
Susan Page Davis
Mary Davis
Janet Dean
Megan DiMaria
Brandt Dodson
Lena Nelson Dooley
Cecelia Dowdy
Sharon Dunn
Wanda Dyson
Lynette Eason
Meredith Efken
Leanna Ellis
Sharon Ewell Foster
Miralee Ferrell
Tina Ann Forkner
Darlene Franklin
Jonathan Friesen
Rhonda Gibson
Terri Gillespie
Debby Giusti
Beth Goddard
Cathy Gohlke
Rene Gutteridge
Cathy Marie Hake
Rachel Hauck
Roxanne Henke
Cynthia Hickey
Patti Hill
Sharon Hinck
Joan Hochstetler
Steven Hunt
Angela Hunt
Denise Hunter
Annette Irby
Jennifer Johnson
Jenny B. Jones
Golden Keyes Parsons
Deb Kinnard
Julie Klassen
Kathleen Kovach
Harry Kraus
Patti Lacy
Maureen Lang
Jeanne Marie Leach
Tosca Lee
Julie Lessman
Michelle Levigne
Sherri L. Lewis
Elizabeth Ludwig
Christine Lynxwiler
Richard L. Mabry
Sharlene MacLaren
Gail Martin
Debby Mayne
Vickie McDonough
Andrew McGuire
Susan Meissner
Becky Melby
Dana Mentink
Amber Miller
Judith Miller
Sara Mills
Siri Mitchell
Nancy Moser
Janelle Mowery
Elizabeth Musser
Mark Mynheir
Jill Nelson
Mae Nunn
John Olson
Donita K. Paul
Trish Perry
Marta Perry
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Deborah Raney
Sandra Robbins
Paul Robertson
John Robinson
Martha Rogers
Cynthia Ruchti
Gail Sattler
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Shelley Shephard Gray
Virginia Smith
Lynette Sowell
Candice Speare
Kathryn Springer
Denice Stewart
Sarah Anne Sumpolec
Michelle Sutton
Camy Tang
Donn Taylor
Janice Thompson
Cindy Thomson
Missy Tippens
Carrie Turansky
ML Tyndall
Amy Wallace
Susan May Warren
Linda Wichman
Beth Wiseman
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y'Barbo

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001...September 11, 2008

Eva Marie Everson posted a link to this great article on one of my ACFW loops yesterday. I hope you'll take a minute to read it. It's about her experience of being in New York City on September 11, 2001. A very powerful testimony as we look back today, the 7th anniversary. She said it's taken her 7 years to be able to write or talk about this.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Janet Dean, Author of Courting Miss Adelaide

I'm so pleased to welcome my good friend and fellow Love Inspired author, Janet Dean, to my blog today! Janet, I'm so thrilled that your book is finally out! I know it's seemed ages since you got The Call. Janet will be giving away a copy of Courting Miss Adelaide to one lucky winner among those who comment today. Please be sure to leave contact information.

I loved Courting Miss Adelaide! What a great story. I still hear Adelaide's voice in my head. For those who haven't read the book, could you tell us a bit about it? (And notice the gorgeous cover to the left.)

Janet: Small-town single Adelaide Crum saw the “Orphan Train” as her last chance to mother a child. So many lost children needed a caring home—the home she longed to offer. And yet the narrow-minded town elders refused to entrust even the most desperate child to a woman alone….

Newspaperman Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by this lovely, lonely woman who was fighting for the right to take some motherless child into her heart. And her gentle soul and unwavering faith made him wonder if even he could overcome the bitter lessons of the past, and somehow find the courage to love….

Missy: The question everyone wants to know... What's the secret to making that first sale? (Or what do you think made the difference for you?)

Janet: By 2005 my writing was publishable. I was more than ready. But, I kept slamming into closed doors. Either I needed an agent to submit or publishers only bought historical fiction from established authors. Then in 2006, Steeple Hill made the decision to launch the Love Inspired Historical line and opened that door. I polished the partial one last time and mailed it to New York with my heart in my throat and a prayer on my lips. Editor Melissa Endlich, head of Love Inspired Historical, read the partial, requested the entire manuscript and bought the book, all in a little over two months. When things change, they can change fast. :) I’m still thanking God for His perfect timing.

Missy: That's so exciting! I, too, am thankful for His perfect timing.

Now, another question. Do you have any particular how-to books that you would recommend?

Janet: My favorite how-to books:

Writing and Selling Your Novel and Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham
Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass
On Writing by Stephen King

Missy: Thanks, Janet. For those who don't know, she has also sold another book! Can you give us a blurb on your next book?

Janet: Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, May 2009
When Luke Jacobs arrives in Noblesville, Indiana peddling his remedy, he goes toe-to-toe with the town doctor’s daughter, Mary Graves, who tries to convince the townspeople to not throw their money at another worthless tonic. Unknown to Mary, Luke is in town for another reason, one that will forever change her life.

Missy: Sounds so good! Now for fun... What's something about you that most people wouldn't

Janet: I enjoy painting hard-shelled gourds. I got interested when I saw a painted gourd from the late 1800s. I was impressed by its durability and folksy charm. Two friends joined me once a month to paint every size and shape of gourd. After crafting a good-sized collection, we joined the gourd society and entered our work in gourd shows. Though I no longer have the time to paint, the gourds are part of our family’s holiday tradition, especially at Christmas.

Missy: I love them, they're gorgeous! Wow. I had no idea of your artistic talent.

Thanks so much for hanging out and answering questions. Where can readers best contact you and find out about upcoming releases?

Janet: Thanks for having me on your blog today, Missy. I enjoyed it!

My Web site:
My e-mail:
My blog Cup of Faith:


Janet Dean grew up in a family who cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted fascinating stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. She married her college sweetheart and taught first grade before leaving to rear two daughters, but Janet never lost her interest in American history and the stories of strong men and women of faith who built this country. With her daughters’ grown, she eagerly turned to historical romance. Two of her manuscripts were Golden Heart Inspirational finalists in 2005 and 2006. Her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, releases September 9. The sequel, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, will release in May 2009. When Janet isn’t writing for Steeple Hill, she stamps greeting cards, plays golf, and is never without a book to read. The Deans love to travel and spend time with family.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Author Interview This Week

This Wednesday, Sept. 10, I'm thrilled to have Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical author, Janet Dean, visit. I hope you'll stop by and read her great answers to interview questions. She'll be giving away a copy of her debut release, Courting Miss Adelaide, so be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing!

I'll also have Janet as our guest on the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday, so I hope you'll stop by there as well for more interesting info on how she creates her characters.

By the way, I LOVED Courting Miss Adelaide!! You don't want to miss this wonderful book.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Writing a Synopsis

Today, I'm blogging on the F.A.I.T.H. blog, a group blog of Christian writers that I'm part of. If you're interested in finding out what resources I recently used for writing a synopsis, please stop by!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Lookin' Back Texas--example of a great blurb

Leanna Ellis has a new book coming out. And I just love her blurb!

A devoted wife and mother must return to her hometown of Luckenbach, Texas, to help her mother plan her father’s funeral. Trouble is – he isn’t dead! And neither are the secrets she buried there years ago.

Isn't that a great hook? I want to read it right now! :)

Lookin' Back, Texas will be out this month. I hope you'll check it out. You can find out more at

Monday, August 25, 2008

Her Unlikely Family in large print hardback

I'm excited that my February Love Inspired, Her Unlikely Family, will be coming out in September in a hardback large print edition (from Thorndike). These will mostly be library editions, but anyone can buy one. I'll love having one on my bookshelf. :)

I just saw the new cover today and thought I would share it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Well, We Did It

Well, we did it. We took our son to college. And I had no idea it would be this hard having him 6 hours away. I keep hearing noises in the vicinity of his bedroom and expecting him to walk in the room.

It's amazing that we can experience grief, even when we know he's doing what's best for him and is doing something he's always dreamed about. But we'll adjust.

It was hard to leave him, though. Luckily, he's doing better and better. He's meeting more new friends every day and is having a great time. Plus, they have tons of activities planned for orientation week. It's keeping him busy. And once classes start on Monday, he'll have to buckle down and work. :)

It's strange how the little things hurt. I ran to grocery store last night to pick up a few items, and when I went to grab the huge party-sized Stouffer's lasagna, it hit me that I can't buy that giant size anymore. How embarrassing to cry in the grocery! I stood by the freezer case and had to dig out a Kleenex.

So, I'm pouring myself into my writing. I cranked out a whole synopsis yesterday, not an easy feat. And today I'm going to try to write another chapter for the proposal.

Eventually, we'll all adjust. Probably about the time he comes home for fall break. :)


Monday, August 18, 2008

Book Cover Contest

Hi, all. I just found out about a Book Cover Contest at the Stepping Stones Magazine. I've had a lot of people comment how much they love the cover of Her Unlikely Family. If you really liked it, would you consider voting for it? Here's how you do so:

Send an email to: rpkg at comcast. net (using the @ symbol and leaving out the spaces) and write in the subject line 'SSMW Book Cover Contest'.

Then in the body of the email, please give:

Book Title
Author's Name
Genre (which would be inspirational romance for my book)
Deadline is August 30.

Here's a link to the site for more info:

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This and That

The book signing went great on Saturday. We used to live near that area, so several old friends from our former church dropped by. It was wonderful to see everyone! And so nice of them to come support me. Thank you to our County Line family!

Well, we're down to the countdown to moving my son to the dorm. We're buying the last supplies he needs (just thought of toiletries yesterday!) and he'll start packing soon. He's also completing an online course all in-coming freshman have to do on alcohol education. I think it's a great idea. Plus, he's trying to finish up a book they all have to read before arriving on campus. Believe it or not, he's not much of a reader, so he's struggling. He told me today he's going to have to give himself an incentive. Once he finishes both assignments, he'll go buy Madden 09. Whatever it takes! (My incentives always seem to be food--in the chocolate food group! Not good.) :)

I'll be blogging in Seekerville on Wednesday and at the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday. I hope you'll stop by!

Would you believe I saw signs of fall today?! A tree across the street from the church is turning red. I couldn't believe it! Maybe it's because everything is so dry. We're all praying for rain around here.

Are any of you from the North? Are you seeing leaves turn yet?


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Book Signing and RWA photos

I want to invite anyone living in the Marietta, GA, area to come to a book signing this Saturday, August 9! I'll be signing from 2-4 pm with other authors (a variety of genres) at this location:

Barnes & Noble, Town Center Prado
50 Barrett Pkwy Ste. 1100
Marietta, GA 30066

Please come by and say hello!

Speaking of book signings.... Here are some shots from the Readers for Life Charity Book Signing sponsored by Romance Writers of America this past Wednesday in San Francisco. There were over 500 authors in a huge ballroom signing books donated by the publishers. All proceeds will go to literacy organizations. (Before this year, RWA had raised over $600,000!)

And here are some more photos:

Top: Me with Steeple Hill Senior Editor, Krista Stroever, after a wonderful lunch.
Center: Fellow Love Inspired authors and Seekerville buddies Janet Dean (left)and Debby Giusti at the Harlequin party.
Bottom: Linda Goodnight holding her RITA award statue! In the front, you can see a profile of Susan May Warren. And Steeple Hill Editor Melissa Endlich looks on in the background.
I had a wonderful trip! I look forward to next year.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Home from RWA National!

I'm home from a great week in San Francisco! I'll try to post some photos and give a report later. Right now I'm enjoying a little time with my family! :)


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Three More Sundays

As my husband and son were talking about the high school Sunday school class, my husband told him, "Well, you only have three more Sundays before you head off to college."

Three more Sundays.

Okay, I'm sure you can imagine the huge lump in my throat and tears burning my eyes as I typed that. It's going to be a tough month. But exciting.

My son and I went out this past week to buy "stuff" for his dorm. It's so different from when I moved into a dorm a hundred years ago. I did all the girly stuff--going out with my roommate so everything matched. :) But my son mainly wants functional things. We did splurge on a cool chair for sitting in front of the TV and playing the X-box 360. (Ha! We'll see how much time he has to play once he gets there.) Still, it was fun going out together and spending that time out. Just Mom-son time.

It's going to be so strange to be a family of four. Of course, we've been preparing over the last couple of years, since he started driving. As one of my friends said, they start weaning you from them during the last year or so of high school. :) And that's the truth.

As we approach the last three Sundays, though, I'm having a hard time letting go. I'm wanting to treasure every moment. But I'm thinking that once we get to the campus, I'll be so excited for him that I'll get over the blues. The thrill of newness and meeting new people. Of living independently. Of learning so much.

Oh, and guess who the speaker will be for the incoming freshman class?! Maya Angelou! That'll be really cool (and parents will get to watch outside by TV monitor.)

My critique partner, Lindi Peterson, has said that she'll take me out for coffee once we get home from dropping our son off. To help distract me. So I'm taking her up on that offer. And I'll also be throwing myself into writing a new proposal/book. That's always a good distraction. :)

I'll try my best not to whine too much on here, and will appreciate any advice! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Want Reader Input!

Do you like to read series books? Do you love it when an author has a series of books that take place in the same town or within the same family?

Then come visit at the F.A.I.T.H. blog today! I've posted there asking for input since I'm about to write up a proposal for a new book. I want your input!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network

Tonight on Episode 27 of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Original air date: 3-10-08), a woman said a wonderful thing: "The food has a lot of love in it, and you can always taste it when people cook with love."

I just love that quote! And isn't it true? Don't you think my kids know the difference between the frozen waffles I give them most mornings and the French toast or pancakes I make on occasion? And what about when I make a special pasta recipe? They went crazy for a new one I made a couple of weeks ago. It took a lot more work than my usual fare (and was pretty expensive to make because of the ingredients). But they knew the difference between that and my regular ol' spaghetti (I do have to say they love my spaghetti, too). Still, they knew it was something special, and I think it made them feel special.

We definitely show love to our families through food. I'll share a link to my new pasta recipe below--and I admit I just figured out that when I wrote the recipe down, I wrote the wrong amount of cheese! That's why it was so expensive when I made it. LOL I wrote 1 pound of cheese instead of 1 cup. :) But boy, was it nice and cheesy!

Could you share any special dish you make that's full of love?

Missy P.S. This cooking with love idea has me thinking about writing with love. I may use it for my post in Seekerville on Monday. I hope you'll stop by!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This and That

A friend of mine emailed to tell me about her cousin's husband, a musician. She sent the link to his website so I could listen to his music. He really does have a beautiful voice. Check it out and see what you think:

Also, last night at our church, we had a covered dish dinner (pot luck is what I grew up calling it in Kentucky) . It was a chance to welcome new pastors and families to our district. I met a really nice pastor who has what looks to be a fun blog. You might want to check it out, too:

I'm still recovering from vacation. Isn't it funny that you have to do that? We had the most relaxing week at the beach--lots of family time (well, actually, total family time!) But then we had to pack up everything and re-load the car, then make the 6.5 hour trip home. It wears you out!

When I get my act together, I'll post some photos. Right now, I'm preparing to send my revisions off. Doing a last read-through (and having my husband give it a read-through for typos, etc.). I hope to mail it Friday. Then it's time to get back to working on my next proposal!

Have you read any good books lately? You can see what I've read on my Shelfari page (see my shelf on the right side-bar).

Hope you're having a great week! Oh, a reminder to have your annual skin cancer check! I had mine today. I had a few spots the doctor froze on my face. (I was so bad when I was a teenager, using baby oil and iodine at the pool all day every day!) I hope you'll remember to see your dermatologist each year. (And wear sunscreen. And don't do tanning beds.)

Here's a link to a great blog hosted by a writer friend, Tina Russo. It's all about battling cancer and has lots of great info and the latest about research:


Friday, July 11, 2008

Act Two--A Novel in Perfect Pitch by Kimberly Stuart

I'm excited to tell you about a fun new book, Act Two--A Novel in Perfect Pitch by Kimberly Stuart. I read the first chapter at her website ,, and got such a kick out of it, I decided to take part in the blog tour.

I can tell by some of Kimberly's interviews that she would be someone I would really enjoy knowing. :) I hope you enjoy getting to know her as well.

First, a bit about the book...
Sadie Maddox loves New York. She’s the toast of the classical music world and the queen of all she surveys. Sadie is, in a word, a bit of a diva. But lately her CD sales are waning, not to mention parts of her anatomy.

When her agent suggests she take on a professorship at a small liberal arts college, Sadie decides to give it a go. Except the college is in rural Iowa, and the closest thing to designer clothes is the western wear shop down on Main Street. Sadie’s colleagues are intimidated, her students aren’t impressed, and she has to live far too close to farm animals.

Then Sadie meets Mac, a large animal veterinarian. She assumes they have nothing in common—he is, after all, a country music fan. Besides, she’s counting the days until she can end her exile from civilization. Er, New York. Yet when Sadie’s forced to spend some time with Mac, she finds she likes him. Her students, it seems, really need her, and this quiet Midwest community begins to grow on her.

But when the semester ends, Sadie packs up and heads for the city that never sleeps…and finds she can’t either. Will she find the courage and grace she needs to embrace her Act Two?
I have to admit I'm only part-way through the book (a high school graduation, travel and revisions kept me from much reading time), but I'm hooked already and can't wait to see what happens! Kimberly has such a fun voice--smart, sassy, honest. Her character, Sadie, sometimes thinks things that might make you cringe as you laugh out loud, but you love her all the more. :) I've never been a rich diva, but I can somehow relate to Sadie, and look forward to going along for the ride.

Next, a little about Kimberly (and you'll see why you'd like to know her)...

Q: If you had to write your memoir in six words, what would they be?

Wanted Angst, Clung Instead to Humor.

In high school and early college, I wanted nothing more than to be the tortured artist. I read and wrote horrible, dark poetry, tried to find the paradox in everything from God to navel oranges, and made my remarkably sunny parents nutty and fretful, usually within one dinner conversation. If you were so inclined, you could dunk yourself in my many journals of self exploration, a journey which, turns out, is frightfully dull when done alone and in denial of how diverse God’s fingerprints really are. It was only after several years of marriage and the birth of my daughter that I fully let go of the idea of being someone I’m not, tossed my inner longings to wear only black and moan songs by Ani DeFranco, and instead embraced laughter and humor as God-drenched gifts to humanity. Laughter truly is medicine and finally I’m ready to take and give a generous dose on a daily basis without feeling like I’m missing the artistic boat.

Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a “seener” (singer). Mostly, I wanted to be Amy Grant. That’s right, people: I was into STRAIGHT UP AMY GRANT. The hard stuff, the early years, like “My Father’s Eyes,” and “El Shaddai.” I rocked out (with choreography) in our basement, next to a record player roughly the size of an Escalade and was wholeheartedly convinced of my musical and entertaining genius. If only I could have met her at the right time, perhaps post-Gary, pre-Vince, we could have toured together! She totally could have used a back-up dancer/singer! In fact, if you’re reading this, Amy, I’m still available!

Missy's note: I loved Amy Grant, too!! :)

Q: Where are you headed next?

God willing, I’ll be giving birth to our third child in August, so I’m afraid I won’t be heading anywhere too quickly. Lactation seems to preclude so many of life’s adventures…In addition to caring for our growing brood and being really snippy with my husband for a few months due to sleep deprivation, I have two more books to write with David C. Cook. Act Two is the first of three, and I must ask you humbly to buy it within the next four minutes as it is time-sensitive material. And it’s a pretty good summer read, if I must be so bold. After Act Two will come two more. This will make a grand total of five books so far from the pen of Kimberly Stuart. Don’t place any bets that I’ll try to have as many children as I do books. When it comes to babies, those in print are much kinder on a uterus.

Missy here again...

Kimberly, I wish you a safe, joyous delivery of both books and baby!

Also, I hope everyone will visit with Kimberly at her other blog tour stops

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

I’m excited today is the official release date of Mary Connealy’s newest addition to her Lassoed in Texas series. Calico Canyon was such a fun romp (Mary style), but of course with nail-biting angst thrown in for good measure.

This story follows book #1, Petticoat Ranch, and we get to see some of the characters we met in that book. Petticoat Ranch featured a single mom with a houseful of daughters. Calico Canyon features single dad, Daniel Reeves, with a houseful of boys-- a set of twins and a set of triplet. And even though Mary had a houseful of girls in real life, she’s really portrayed well the way a household with five boys could be: Loaded with fun, fights and chaos.

The main character, Grace Calhoun, has been running from an abusive adoptive father who’s out for revenge. And she’s finally landed a job teaching in Texas, which would be perfect, if not for the Reeves boys. Chaos reins when they’re in the schoolroom. In fact, they and their dad are responsible for getting poor Grace fired.

And of course her luck doesn’t turn. That very night, her “father” finds her and tries to take her away. She thinks quickly, though, and hides out in the closest supply wagon.

The Reeves’ wagon!

What follows if funny, touching, and in the end, satisfying. You’ll love this story. Especially with the subplots Mary winds throughout. This is another great story from the prolific Mary Connealy. I look forward to many more!
Below is an excerpt from Mary's bio on her website, This just shows her fantastic humor. :)
My writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. I just kept typing away. I think the reason I did it was because I’m more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when I really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when I ought to sit silently).

So, I have all these things, I want to say, in my head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. I keep all this wit to myself, much to the relief of all who know me, and then I write all my great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mary Connealy Official Release of Calico Canyon on Tuesday!

On Tuesday, July 1, I'll be blogging to celebrate the official release of Mary Connealy's new book, Calico Canyon. It's book 2 in the Lassoed in Texas Series.

I'm reading Calico Canyon right now and love it! I hope you'll stop by to hear about the book and to discuss it!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Promotion--What Works for You?

Do you judge a book by its cover? Do catchy titles reel you in?

I hope you'll stop by and read my post on the topic of promotion at our F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday. I'd love to get writer and reader input!

Hope to see you there!

P.S. I'm still working on revisions! I'm just about to break through some of the most difficult changes.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seen any good movies lately?

My son went to a movie tonight, and it got me thinking about movies. I recently saw College Road Trip (yes, it's been out a while-- we saw it at the dollar theater). It was cute, and since I have a child going off to college soon, I cried at the end.

I guess the last movie we saw before that was Horton Hears a Who. Movies at the "regular" theater are $10.00 now, which is highway robbery! So we've been trying to be patient and see them later at the dollar theater (literally $1 or $2 depending on the day of the week).

So, what movies have you seen lately? Did you like them? I'd appreciate any recommendations!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blogging in Seekerville on Monday

I'm blogging in Seekerville on Monday about what to do when our creativity well runs dry. Please stop by and give us any ideas you have for jump-starting creativity! This could be for any form of creativity, not necessarily fiction writing. So any readers who do a creative activity (quilting, jewelry making, painting, knitting, writing poems or songs, etc.), I hope you'll come by and leave a comment.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday in Seekerville

I hope you'll stop by Seekerville for Saturday's post by guest blogger Cynthia Rutledge aka Cindy Kirk. She has a great contest success story! And it's also her anniversary. Of her first sale. :)

Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Graduation Photos

Graduation went great! We were so proud of our son. I thought I'd share a couple of photos with you. First, my son with me and my husband after the ceremony (I look so wilted! You can tell it was over 90 degrees outside when it started!).

And here he is as he gives his speech. He did such a great job. Didn't seem nervous at all. I was relieved he did so well because he had a bad cold.
I only cried once. :) That was while one of the classmates sang a gorgeous song she'd written--sung to her mom, saying look at me now, you've made me everything I am, telling her she hoped that she was proud of her. Oh, my. That one choked me up.
We had all the grandparents here, plus my sister and brother-in-law. So it was great to share it with everyone. Plus, we got to watch the draft on Thursday and see my nephew drafted in the first round by the San Francisco Giants! And we were able to watch his and my other nephew's team (FL State) win the Super Regionals. A very exciting weekend!
Now school's out (for the kids, anyway)! It'll be interesting to see how much writing I can get done with everyone at home and friends constantly spending the night. :)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A New Phase

Well, it's almost here. Graduation is Friday. I'll start a new phase in my life. Well, I guess it won't officially start until he goes away to college in August. But it still feels like a monumental week. I've cried at the drop of a hat--every sad song or every little commercial that even hints at the sentimental. I went with my middle son to an awards ceremony today, and the speaker there even had me in tears. :)

I hope you'll drop my the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday. I'll be posting about revising my book to add more and move forward the internal conflict for my hero. Stop by and tell me what you think!

So... any advice about surviving the first child graduating?? :)


Monday, June 02, 2008

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball--Mike Dellosso's Story

I'm pleased to introduce Mike Dellosso to you today. He has an inspirational story. And he also has a new book out now, The Hunted.

Congrats on the sale, Mike!

Okay, here's a little about Mike's story...

How did you first feel called to write?

My call to write was in no way gradual. It happened all at once and might as well have been God speaking directly to me. It began with a motorcycle accident that left my brother-in-law in a deep coma and a prognosis of death or, at best, persistent vegetative state. My wife, Jen, and I went to visit my sister and Darrell in the hospital and came away wrestling with emotions I couldn’t easily explain: anger, frustration, sorrow, confusion, you name it. When we got home I did the first thing that came to mind, I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and started writing.

Now, it’s important to know at this point that I’ve always struggled with stuttering. Lots of thoughts and ideas swirled in my head but I rarely voiced them because talking was just so laborious. I often kept my emotions under lock and key because it was easier than trying to express myself in words. Well, when that pen hit paper I knew I was on to something, I felt a freedom I had not felt before. I could say what was on my mind and in my heart and say it with perfect fluency. I had found my voice! That was almost ten years ago and I haven’t stopped writing since. Oh, and by the way, Darrell pulled through and is doing just fine now.

Do you have a day job?
I’ve been a physical therapist assistant for 10 years.

Will you share a little bit about your family?
I’ve been married to my lovely and supportive wife, Jen, for 10 years. We’ve been blessed with three daughters ages 5, 6, and 8. All fun-loving, sweet-spirited, and of course always well-behaved (ahem).

And how did your first sale, for The Hunted, come about?
Shortly after [a frustrating ordeal with a POD publisher] I began work on another manuscript, calling it The Hunted. A year later I toted it along with me to my first writer’s conference where I met suspense author Kathryn Mackel who critiqued it, liked it, and said she’d not only endorse it but help me find an agent. A few weeks later she referred me to an agent friend of hers, Les Stobbe. Les liked my proposal and chapters, agreed to represent me, and circulated the project to various publishers. Four months later we got an email from Realms Fiction (Strang Book Group) saying they were interested in the full manuscript and a few long, endless months after that they were offering me a contract.

That's so exciting! But readers may remember I mention in my title that life has thrown you a curve ball. Can you tell us about when you were diagnosed with cancer?
Yeah, cancer. Kind of a big thing. I was diagnosed on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. Here I was getting ready to launch into trying my hand at promoting my new book and in the middle of negotiating a contract for a second book when the doctor dropped the bomb: You have colon cancer.

Funny thing is, I don’t remember ordering colon cancer. Not part of my plans at all.

How has that diagnosis affected your writing?
How has it affected my writing? Well, immediately, it’s halted my writing. With the exception of daily journaling on my blog, I haven’t written a lick since being diagnosed. I love to write, it’s my passion, but this cancer thing trumps it. I took this diagnosis as a nudge from God that I need to set writing aside for a little while and just concentrate on the most important things: my relationship with Him and my relationship with my family. Sometimes it takes something like cancer to refocus you, to get you to evaluate your life and do a little re-prioritizing.

In the long run, I think the experience of traveling through this valley will only enhance my writing, give it more depth, more texture, more emotion and passion. I know firsthand what it’s like to traverse that Valley of the Shadow of Death, to question Why me?, to be scared of dying, not for dying’s sake but for my family’s sake, to live with a monster inside me that wants to kill me (hey, that gives me a great story idea), to be poked, prodded, scoped, and stuck, to live a life that revolves around the next test result or the next doctor’s appointment. I’ve been there now and I can incorporate those experiences into my stories, into the life of my characters. It’ll be interesting to see how my writing changes once I get back to it.

Mike, we wish you all the best. We'll be praying for your treatment and recovery. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Check out Mike's website, You'll be able to find an excerpt there and can sign up for his newsletter.

Again, the link to buy his book is: