Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chicken Dancing

December's been a doozie of a month for me and I'm still wading out of the bog I ended up in. It's been weeks since I've done any writing. Weeks. And I'm having a really hard time getting back to my keyboard. Not because of time—I've had lots and lots of time, but because I did something Israel did after they left Egypt with Moses.

Israel was in Kadesh-Barnea, right on the brink of entering the Promised Land, and they chickened out. Guess where I've been this month? In Kadesh-Barnea doing the chicken dance. It's not a very pretty picture. More than that, it's not a pretty experience. I know what I'm supposed to be doing, the path I'm to be following, but instead of moving forward I've settled for the chicken dance.

Sure, as I danced I read some excellent books that challenged me spiritually and counted as research for my writing project, so the time wasn't wasted. The problem came in with my mindset and my focus. I fixed my eyes on the giants in the land and on all my weaknesses—which is exactly what Israel did there in Kadesh-Barnea. Check out what happened to them as a result:

Then the Lord heard the sound of your words, and He was angry and took an oath saying, 'Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers, except Caleb...because he has followed the Lord fully.'
~Deuteronomy 1:34-35 NAS

Israel's chicken dance landed them in the desert for 40 years, and that generation died in the desert.

I have no desire to die in the desert which means I need to quit doing the chicken dance, face my fear, get moving and go in and conquer the land God has given to me. I need to get cooking. *grin*

How about you?
Have you been chicken dancing or cooking?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winners

Wowzers! I feel like my boat's been swamped by a tidal wave, but I'll tell you about that later this week. =) Right now it's time for the winners of the last two author spotlights we had here.

The winner of Amber Stockton's book giveaway is Cherie J. Cherie can pick her choice of Amber's six books. Thank you, Amber!

And Merry is the winner of Margaret Daley's book, Christmas Peril. Thank you for being with us again, Margaret.

I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas. We did. It was a really nice day, and Christmas weekend. =) I'll be back later on this week to tell you about my December and plans for January...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My New Fave

Last night we left the kids home alone and went to our Sunday School class Christmas party and had a great time! I haven't had that much fun since August. These last couple of weeks have been...well, they've been. I didn't realize just how much I needed to relax and laugh until after the fact. We're so blessed with an awesome Sunday School class! There's a wide variety of people and all of them love to laugh.

I was tired enough that I actually told my friend Deb that she could afford to lose some weight! We were chowing down on some major desserts (they were so good!) and I meant to say she could afford to gain some weight, but totally mangled it. (Sorry, Deb!) I'm so glad she has a great sense of humor and almost laughed herself silly...at my expense! That was just one of my wacky blunders.

Each year our class does an ornament exchange and lemme tell ya, it's serious business! You don't know what you'll end up with until it's all over because those ladies are ruthless in their stealing! I brought a snowman ornament from a Christmas store in Berlin, Ohio that I absolutely loved. I planned on stealing it and bringing it back home...but by the time my turn came, it had been stolen three times already and was no longer an option. So I stole from Deb. Yup, the same one I told could lose some weight!



Of course, it was stolen from me and I opened the last gift under the tree...a snowman with a red bird sitting on his hand. It was cute, but it wasn't that flamingo. BUT! Mechelle, who stole my flamingo, decorates her Christmas tree with red birds and a snowman with a red bird was just too good for her to pass up, so she traded with me after everything was done! Thank you, Mechelle!! So I brought home my adorable pink flamingo! I. am. so. happy! =)

Oh, and this is one of those ornaments that you'll see year round at my house now. It just makes me smile.

So tell me, what makes you smile?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unimportant Update

Yesterday I finished two major projects I HAD to do this week: finish our Christmas shopping and finish the preliminary edits for my husband's book about gender dynamics. Actually, I've been working on those edits since March, so this has been a major project, especially considering that I'm not an editor (which is why I did only the preliminary edits!) and the material wasn't something I would normally have an interest in. But I do have a great interest in my husband and I've heard much about gender dynamics since I'm one of his sounding boards. =) What a learning experience this year has been! Now that project is off my plate. Kind of. LoL

In the cracks of time (it's amazing how much you can read in 5-10 minute segments!) I've been reading and researching for my new project, the one God gave me on my birthday. I've read Through Gates of Splendor, These Strange Ashes, and No Graven Image, all by Elisabeth Elliot and all about Ecuador. I love reading missionary stories and I love reading about Ecuador—the people and the country itself.

The next books on my list are Jungle Pilot (about Nate Saint's life) and End of the Spear (written by Steve Saint, Nate's son). I have to tell ya, I'm having a very hard time making myself do the things I need to—things like correct the kids' school work, plan (and help cook) the meals, fold the mountain of laundry, sweep and vacuum. You know, the usual things I need to do to keep our household running smoothly, or at least running. LoL All I want to do is dive into End of the Spear. I know that's reading the books out of order, but it's a library book I had to order from a different library and I want to make sure it's read by the time it's due. Thankfully, I own Jungle Pilot, thanks to the generosity of Missionary Aviation Fellowship.

Speaking of MAF, I really, really, want to write a book (a novel LoL) about an MAF pilot. Last month, as I read a bit about Nate Saint (in Through Gates of Splendor and flipping throuugh Jungle Pilot) and then did some research online, I had to pry myself away and refocus on the storylines I have. Those stories have to take place before or during World War II to fit in the parameters of the publisher I'm aiming for, and MAF wasn't started until just after the war, by veterans. Men who saw a need, saw they could fill it with the skills God had given them, and they obeyed God's call. Their obedience to God and the vision He gave them changed the landscape of missions. My brain goes into a frenzy when I start thinking of possible storylines with MAF pilots and someday I'd love to follow that...

This is the second or third week that I've done NO writing. This week I've not been on the computer much, except to edit for Jim. I'm backlogged and feeling a bit panicky about not writing and all the things I need to do (my writing to-do list, not even considering my daily living to-do list!!). I've let Adding Zest sit idle because those articles take a huge amount of time and energy to write, time and energy I just haven't had. I've also let this place sit idle except for the author spotlights. But yanno, that's okay. =)

Just wanted to give you an unimportant update of what's been going on. Next year (LoL it's just a couple weeks away!) I'll get back to my normal routine around here with devotionals, not just author spotlights.

If you haven't seen them yet, there's two book giveaways going on this week:
Margaret Daley with Christmas Peril, and Amber Stockton with the winner's choice of book. Both book drawings close late tomorrow night, so if you haven't entered, you still have time!

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

with Margaret Daley

Patterings


Welcome back to Patterings, Margaret! It's a pleasure having you again.
What verse is special to you right now?

I am with you always, to the very end of the age. 
Matthew 28:20
Knowing the Lord is with us always makes life a lot easier than thinking we are alone to do everything by ourselves.

What do you do in your free time?
Read, go to lunch with a friend, play bridge.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Be more patient. As a teacher I had patience, but when it comes to my own life, I’m not as patient as I wish I could be.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Annie Coleman—the heroine in Merry Mayhem. I can’t imagine running for your life, not knowing who to trust. And worse having a child to protect as well as yourself.

What part of writing do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the plotting the most when I write. I love it when the story falls into place, the characters come alive on the page.

What sparks a story for you?
Many things spark a story for me—a career, a situation, a setting, something from the news. Sometimes I’m not even sure where my ideas come from. They just appear one day.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Cowboy Protector is a March Love Inspired Suspense 2010. It is the third book in the LIS continuity series about the Witness Protection Program.

The blurb reads:
Two years ago, Hannah Williams left the Witness Protection program—and she’s been running ever since. To stay ahead of the mob, she changes her name and location constantly. So when she takes a job caring for a Montana rancher’s sick daughter, she expects to leave soon. But little Misty Taylor tugs at Hannah’s heartstrings—and so does her handsome father. Hannah knows Austin Taylor suspects she’s keeping secrets. But how can she tell him the truth without endangering the pair she’s come to love?

You can purchase Christmas Peril from Amazon:


Margaret is giving away a copy of Christmas Peril. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 20th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

meet Margaret Daley

Patterings


Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Holt Medallion, Golden Quill Contest, FHL's Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines. She has sold sixty-six books to date.

Margaret is currently the Volunteer Officer for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She served as vice-president for two years in WIN-ACFW and is still on its board as an advisor. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and Romance Writers of America chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired last year, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community.

You can visit her web site at www.margaretdaley.com and read excerpts from her books and learn about the ones recently released and soon to be released.

You can also find Margaret on her blog, and the group blogs Craftie Ladies of Romance and Ladies of Suspense.

Christmas Peril
Christmas bells ring with danger in these suspenseful holiday stories.

Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley
When single mom Annie Coleman unexpectedly arrives in Christmas, Oklahoma, police chief Caleb Jackson suspects she's hiding secrets. He'll be watching her closely. And his protection is just what Annie and her daughter need, as danger has followed them to their new home.

Yule Die by Debby Giusti
It's hardly a happy holiday for medical researcher Callie Evans…until she discovers her ailing patient is her long-lost brother. And he's being watched by undercover police officer Joe Petrecelli. When the trio is abducted by a cadre of bad guys, Joe and Callie will have to fight to keep her brother—and themselves—alive.

Click here for an excerpt of Christmas Peril

You can purchase Christmas Peril from Amazon:


Margaret is giving away a copy of Christmas Peril. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 20th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Busy Weekend!


Last week was...busy. Really busy. We had our Christmas musical at church and that goes on for three nights, plus dress rehearsal. This year only my husband sang, and my oldest son was a shepherd, but all of us were there every night. I was able to lend a hand with shuffling kids and making sure the shepherds were ready, but other than that I sat and enjoyed the program. It was wonderful!! But late nights add up to one very tired family and one very mushy brain, unable to focus on more than surviving.

One perk of this year's program was seeing my husband in a tux--for the first time in 20 years. LoL So we took advantage of the situation and took some pictures. This one is my favorite, taken in front of the stained glass windows that line the church sanctuary. In the sunlight they're a kaleidoscope of color.



Today I'm planning on pulling things together here at home and trying to get my brain back in gear. This week isn't 'normal' either, so there's not guarantee I'll succeed. LoL

Last week Margaret Brownley was with us and Shirley of Sunny Glade has won Margaret's book A Lady Like Sarah. We still a giveaway open with Amber Stockton, so if you haven't entered, be sure to!

I hope you're able to enjoy this Christmas season and soak in the magnitude of what Christmas really is!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

with Amber Stockton

Book Bonanza Banner

Welcome back to Patterings, Amber!
What verse is special to you right now?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. There are usually several at any given moment. But if I had to narrow it down to 1, I’d say it’s Matthew 6:25 (NASB): “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” This passage on worrying hits home at various times when the finances get tight, or the contracts don’t come, etc. But then God reminds me that He’s got it all under control, and I need to lean on my faith to get me through the tough times. He’s always been faithful, and I know He always will be. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

What do you do in your free time? OR What would you do if you had free time?
LOL! I like the second part of the question. Free time is definitely at a minimum these days with a writing career, at-home business and an infant at home. But, I do my best to make some down-time, and when I have it, I usually watch Dr. Quinn on DVD, play games on the computer, or read a book.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I’d be more vulnerable and honest with others, more approachable. I struggle quite a lot with feelings of loneliness and isolation, wondering why people don’t seem to want to invest time in my life. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s something I’m doing that’s pushing them away and keeping them at arm’s length. I’d love to find someone or even 2-3 others who could become close, personal friends.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I’d have to say Shannon, primarily because of her desire to maintain the simple and basic life she led. There are times when I wish the same thing, especially when I think about all the modern “conveniences” we have that are supposed to make our lives easier, but only end up making them more complicated and impersonal. There is something to be said for keeping things simple, and I admired Shannon for the stand she took.

If this book is part of a series, tell us about the series.
Patterns and Progress is the third in my Michigan historical series which began with Copper and Candles, followed by Hearts and Harvest. The focus is on the Industrial Revolution and all the opportunities that are opened up as a result of the industry and technological developments taking place during this era in history. When I assembled this series, the financial recession and tough economic times were just starting to hit our country. So, as I discovered similar economic situations in the past, I thought it would be fun to pursue that theme and showcase the differences in how people responded over 100 years ago compared to how they’re responding today to the financial situations. Quite a difference…and unfortunately, not all good.

What part of writing do you enjoy the most?
I’d have to say the editing. I’m a fast writer and can often pump out a full novel in a month or two, but it’s the editing and revisions where the real meat of the story is created. It’s not easy cutting parts, but I know from that snipping will come an even better story.

What sparks a story for you?
It can be anything. A conversation, an article, a movie, another book, or even just seeing someone at an every day sort of place. My mind is always whirring with ideas and inspiration. It’s just a matter of singling out the stories that will work.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
As of right now, I am without a contract, but I have several circulating with editors and I’m praying for a contract before the end of the year. What a fantastic Christmas present that would be!

You can read an excerpt of each of Amber's books at her website, here.

Amber is giving away the winner's choice of any 1 of her 6 books. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 20th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.

Don't forget we have Margaret Brownley in the author spotlight this week with a book giveaway that will end THIS Sunday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

meet Amber Stockton

Book Bonanza Banner

Tiffany Amber Stockton is an author, online marketing consultant, and web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart, and their baby daughter in Colorado. They also have a vivacious Border Collie mix named Roxie. Amber has sold eight books to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Other writing credits include five short stories for Romancing the Christian Heart, and contributions to Grit for the Oyster and 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage. Her goal in writing is to convey the message that God is always present, even during the most difficult circumstances. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.

Promises, Promises
Book 1 of Liberty's Promise
Raelene Strattford believes God has forsaken her, but her neighbor proves just the opposite while giving her a voice in a world where women have none. --

Has God forsaken Raelene? What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice? When Gustaf Hanssen promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word, must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him? Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Quills & Promises
Book 2 of Liberty's Promise

Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned. --

Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years--With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When he is called away to fight the French and the Indians, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to one another. Elanna has never known emotions like these before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a writer for the first newspaper in the colony questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Deceptive Promises
Book 3 of Liberty's Promise

Living during the American Revolution and the formation of a new nation, Margret Scott gets involved with a spy and a life of deception that could endanger herself, her family and the man she loves.

Is deception fair in wartime? Margret Scott finds she must deal with this question as she becomes attracted to the enigmatic Samuel Lowe. As the tensions grow between the colonists and the British soldiers and loyalists, Margret struggles to determine where Samuel's loyalties lie, despite his reassurances that they lie with the colonists. Samuel's duties have him working for both sides of this war, and he is often torn between what is right and what is wrong. He promises Margret she can trust him, and Margret promises him she does. But can promises born in deception be trusted? Can relationships built in uncertainty survive?

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



Coming in March:
Liberty's Promise
These 3 books repackaged into 1 volume at Amazon and Christianbook.com.



Copper and Candles
Book 1 of Michigan historical series

A young lady of means discovers that keeping secrets, no matter how noble the intent, demands a price that she and a refinery worker, with all their resources, might not be able to pay.—

Society teas and garden parties, shopping, gossip—Life as a young lady of means may be fun, but Felicity wants to do more. Unfortunately, she finds that her position and wealth can sometimes hinder her efforts to help those around her in need. Thus, when a charity case falls ill and cannot work, Felicity determines to go to work as a commoner in Detroit's dangerous factory district. Relationships become complicated, however, and she soon finds herself falling in love with a worker from the copper refinery next door. She knows her family would never accept him as a suitor, but what's a girl to do? What she doesn't know is that Brandt has his own secrets and hides his identity just as carefully as she. Brandt and Felicity soon discover that deception—no matter how noble its intent—demands a price that even they, with all their resources, may not be able to pay. Can they survive the storm when truth is revealed?

Available at Christianbook.com and Amazon.

Hearts and Harvest
Book 2 of Michigan historical series

A destitute young man fights society's mores to win the hand of his privileged sweetheart.—

William's is a true riches to rags story...Once members of Detroit's elite society, the Berringer family lost everything they had in the financial crash of 1893. From a life of influence and privilege, they now find themselves working a potato patch alongside immigrants and other destitute folk on borrowed land. William's resentment toward his current situation—and mostly toward God for allowing it—simmers barely beneath the surface. All it takes is one charitable visit to the fields from a lovely society darling to burst his fa├žade of acceptance. Annabelle Lawson, convicted by her pastor's admonishing words, begins delivering food and water to the workers on her father's donated land. But as she learns the stories of the people who work there, she becomes increasingly drawn to their plight. Especially that of the inscrutable William Berringer. Can Annabelle and William overcome the stigma placed upon his family by a society that once embraced them? Will her parents remember their own meeting or forbid this budding romance altogether?

Available at Christianbook.com

Patterns and Progress
Book 3 of Michigan historical series

A farmer's daughter would rather turn back the hands of time than accept the fact that advancement in technology could be in God's plan.—

Shannon Delaney was right. Every time she might consider changing her stance on what other people called progress, something bad would happen and she would be proven right again. Take the day Jacob Berringer almost ran her over in that new Model-T, for instance. And he had the nerve to suggest she'd been daydreaming? Or the Titanic. A marvel of modern invention. Look where that got them. Or how about the new tractor her brother insisted they try out. What did he get from that? A broken arm. Why can't things just stay the way they are—the way they should be? Jacob's got his work cut out for him, proving to the stubborn but beautiful Shannon that just because he works for the Henry Ford Company, he isn't evil incarnate. But something about her tells him she's worth the effort, and when Jacob puts his mind to something, he doesn't turn back. But will either of them look to God for direction?

Available at Christianbook.com

You can read an excerpt of each of Amber's books at her website, here.

Amber is giving away the winner's choice of any 1 of her 6 books. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 20th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.

Don't forget we have Margaret Brownley in the author spotlight this week with a book giveaway that will end THIS Sunday.

Tomorrow we have an interview with Amber. See ya then!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

with Margaret Brownley

Patterings


Welcome to Patterings, Margaret! It's so good to have you here!
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.

I was always a storyteller and was constantly in trouble as a child for making up stories. The writer part was harder to acknowledge, partly because English was my least favorite subject. My eighth grade teacher told me not to even think about being a writer. Diagram a sentence? Never! I’m like the musician who can’t read music. It’s hard to let go of the negative messages of childhood and I published close to a half dozen books before I could work up the nerve to call myself a writer.

I probably might have spent the rest of my life scribbling in notebooks had I not “volunteered’ to edit my church newsletter. After I made the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, my former preacher took me aside and said, “Maybe God’s calling you to write fiction.” Until that moment I never had the courage to follow my heart.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
I’ve enjoyed writing all 30 plus books I’ve written (even the 7 that never got published) but I think my current Rocky Creek books are the most fun. Each book allows me to go back to the same town and “visit” with some of the same people and see how their lives have changed between books. It’s like a homecoming. I hope readers feel the same way.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
The most difficult thing to overcome was lack of confidence. I began my career writing short stories and humorous articles. I sold a humorous piece to the Auto Club magazine and they sent me a check for a $100. I was stunned. Convinced no one would pay that much for something I wrote, I called them up to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. Failing 8th grade English definitely took its toll. I overcame my lack of confidence with pure determination. That’s how much I wanted to be a writer.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
The heroine Sarah Prescott is by far my favorite character. She’s an outlaw on the way to her own hanging who falls in love with a preacher. As Sarah would say, “That’s plain askin’ for trouble.”

What is your strangest habit?
My family would probably say it’s getting up at 4 a.m to write.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Right now I keep putting off writing the last chapter of the current book I’m writing. It’s the third and last book in my Rocky Creek series and I dread the thought of leaving the town and characters behind. I just know that I’m going to be in a major funk until a new book and new characters take over my life again.

What does a perfect day for you look like?
It’s pretty boring. I’m up around 4 a.m. I turn on the coffee pot and computer, read the newspaper and then it’s work, work, work. A perfect day is 10 written pages, answering maybe a 100 emails, 3 miles on the treadmill, family, a good book and chocolate.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
As a historical writer, I have to read a lot of non-fiction. For fun I read historical and contemporary romance. I also like to read mysteries with an occasional thriller thrown in. I’m especially fond of quirky books with funny titles. I recently read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society because one simply must read a book with a title like that.

LoL, what a title!
Are there certain foods or snacks that keep the words flowing for you?

Food is an issue only if the words stop. If I can’t think how to write a scene or a character is giving me fits, then it’s off to the kitchen. The problem with writing at home is that the home office is so close to the refrigerator.

Speaking of food, my daughter is a professional chef. (You can “talk” to her on chefsline.com. Just look/ask for Chef Robyn.) After reading my book, she got to work and created special desserts to go with my Rocky Creek series. For a A Lady Like Sarah she made a luscious dessert that has a nutty (rocky) crust and creamy melt in your mouth chocolate. Hmmm, good. She also created a mouth-watering raspberry delight for A Suitor for Jenny, the 2nd book in the series scheduled for publication September 2010. If the recipe isn’t on my website when you read this, email me and I’ll send you one.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I think my favorite theme is forgiveness because that’s the one I have personally struggled with the most. It’s the one my current hero is struggling with at this very moment.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
I just know that the reason God made me a writer is to teach me patience. Anyone who’s a writer knows that the publishing world does not move quickly.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
A Lady Like Sarah can be ordered online now but it won’t be in stores until December 29th.

It’s the first book in my Rocky Creek series: She’s an outlaw, he’s a preacher. Both are in need of a miracle. I’m happy to say that the book has been selected as a Woman of Faith book for 2010. The 2nd book in the series A Suitor for Jenny is scheduled for release September 2010. When looking for a husband it’s best to go where the odds are in your favor and that would be Rocky Creek, Texas. To make a long story short, Jenny Higgins creates havoc when she whirls into town to look for husbands for her two sisters.

Thanks so much for being with us this week, Margaret!
You can purchase A Lady Like Sarah from CBD and Amazon:


Margaret is giving away a copy of A Lady Like Sarah. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 13th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

meet Margaret Brownley

Patterings


Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this—except Margaret  happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."

And that’s what Margaret did  She now has more than 20 novels to her credit.  In addition, she's written many Christian articles and a non-fiction book.  Still, it took a long time before Margaret tried her hand at writing inspirational fiction which led to her Rocky Creek series. 

"I love writing about characters at different stages of faith," she says of the new direction her writing career has taken, "and I'm here to stay."

Happily married to her real life hero, Margaret and her husband live in Southern California.

You can Margaret online at her website. She's also on the team at the Petticoats and Pistols blog.

A Lady Like Sarah

She’s an outlaw: he’s a preacher. Both are in need of a miracle.

Preacher Justin Wells leaves Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying U.S. Marshal at her side, his journey takes a dramatic turn. When he promises the injured lawman to take his prisoner to Texas, Justin has no idea the trouble that lies ahead. The slightly-built prisoner turns out to be SARAH PRESCOTT—sister of the notorious Prescott brothers—and she’s determined to miss the hanging party waiting for her in Texas.

But escaping proves to be tougher than she thought. Justin doesn’t own a gun and hasn’t the foggiest idea how to survive the wilderness. How can she leave him alone with the injured marshal?

Nothing is more sacred to Justin than a promise made to a dying man, but how can he turn the blue-eyed beauty over to the hangmen? She’s tough as leather, but there’s something about her that is pure and good.

Justin can’t bear to lose her, but how can a simple preacher fight an entire town? And how can either one of them know that miracles come in many guises—including love?



Here's an excerpt of A Lady Like Sarah:

A Lady Like Sarah

1879
Missouri

Vultures signaled trouble ahead.

“Whoa, boy.” Reverend Justin Wells tugged on the reins of his horse, bringing his brown gelding to a standstill.

Adjusting the brim of his dusty felt hat, he narrowed his eyes against the bright afternoon sun and peered across the wide, arid plains. Trees grew directly ahead of him, the first he’d seen since leaving St. Louis five days prior. The graceful, tall sycamores suggested the welcome presence of water, perhaps a stream.

He mopped his damp brow with a kerchief, then lifted his eyes upward. They were vultures, all right. No question about it. The scavengers circled overhead on broad, outstretched wings, scanning the ground in waiting silence.

Something or someone was dying. An animal no doubt. He’d passed his share of buffalo skulls and cattle carcasses in recent days, and each had made him ruminate on dying and the meaning of life.

Born and raised in Boston, he never planned to travel across country, never really had a hankering for adventure. Not like most men he knew. Certainly he never expected to leave his hometown in disgrace.

He reached for his canteen, every muscle in his body protesting. He wasn’t just saddle sore; his back ached from the restless nights spent on the hard, unyielding ground. Sleep, if it came at all, had been fleeting at best and offered little respite from his troubled thoughts.

He pulled off the cork top of his tin canteen and lifted it to his parched lips. Never one to question God’s will in the past, it disturbed him that he questioned it now.

Texas!

What possible reason could God have for sending him to a rough, untamed town in Texas?

He thought of all the work left undone in Boston. To be separated from the congregation he loved seemed a fate worse than death. Though what choice did he have but to accept God’s will?

Behind him, Moses, his pack mule, made a strange whinnying sound that ended in a loud hee-haw. The short, thick head moved from side to side; the long ears twitched.

Having learned to trust the animal’s instincts, Justin felt a sense of unease. With increased alertness, he rose in his saddle and scanned the area ahead. A movement in the trees caught his attention. A previously unnoticed horse stood in the shade. At first he thought it was a wild mustang that had strayed away from its herd. Upon closer observation, he realized his mistake. This horse was saddled.

He glanced at the still-circling buzzards and a sense of urgency shot through him. “Let’s go, boy.” Digging his heels gently into his gelding’s ribs, he galloped along the trail, kicking up dust behind him.

Moses followed close behind, the pots and pans tied to the mule’s pack clanking like old rusty chains.

Moments later, Justin dismounted, stabbed the ground with a metal picket, and staked his horse. He approached the bay cautiously, his gaze scanning the nearby terrain for its owner.

Tethered to a sapling, the horse pawed the ground and neighed, its long black tail swishing back and forth. Something—a red neckerchief—fluttered from a nearby bush.
Leaving horses and mule behind, he followed a narrow path toward the stream, stopping to pick up the kerchief en route.

Two bodies lay side by side in the grass, and he hurried toward them, searching for signs of life. One man wore a badge on his black vest, identifying him as a U.S. Marshal. The other man, judging by the handcuffs, was his prisoner.

Justin kneeled by the lawman’s side and felt for a pulse. The man’s eyes flickered open and his parched lips quivered. He had been shot. Blood had seeped through his clothes and trickled to the ground.

“Don’t talk,” Justin said. “Save your strength. I’ll get you some water.”

The marshal reached for Justin’s arm. “Promise me—” He coughed. “My prisoner . . . promise—” He spoke in a murmur that was almost drowned out by a sudden gust of wind rippling through the tall prairie grass. “Take . . . to . . . Texas—”

Justin sat back on his heels in surprise. “Texas? You want me to take the prisoner to Texas?”

The lawman nodded slightly and closed his eyes, his breathing labored.

Intent upon getting the marshal water, Justin straightened. A moaning sound, soft as a kitten’s first mew, made him take a closer look at the prisoner. That’s when he saw the man’s foot move.

Dropping down on his knees by the prisoner’s side, Justin leaned over him. “Take it easy, lad.” The prisoner’s face was covered in dust, but he appeared to be a young man, clean-shaven, probably still in his teens. The boy’s youth would probably account for his ill-chosen bright red boots, which looked all the more garish in full sunlight.

“Just stay put.” Justin squeezed the man’s slight shoulder. “I’ll get you something to drink.” There was nothing to be done about the boots.

Returning to his horse, Justin retrieved the canteen tied to his saddle, then hurried to the fast-running stream. Removing the stopper, he dipped the canteen into the cool, clear waters and rushed back to the injured men, chasing away one of the vultures that had landed nearby.

“Here.” Lowering himself onto his knee again, he slid one arm beneath the marshal’s head and lifted the canteen to the man’s swollen lips. The lawman took a sip and then slumped back as if it took all his energy to swallow. His eyes open, he looked worried or distressed, maybe both.

“Tell my . . . f-family—”

Justin tried to reassure him. “You’ll be all right,” he said. He didn’t know anything about bullet wounds. It wasn’t the kind of thing taught at Boston Theological Seminary. Still, he couldn’t just let the man die. There had to be something he could do.

But first things first. He turned to the prisoner. Slipping his hand beneath the young man’s shoulders, he lifted the youth’s head. The man’s wide-brimmed slouch hat was crushed behind him, the leather strap still beneath his smooth chin. Justin pulled the felt hat off—and much to his surprise, long red curls tumbled out of the crown.

Justin froze. Not sure if he could believe his eyes, he blinked and took a closer look. There was no mistake; the prisoner was a woman!


You can purchase A Lady Like Sarah from CBD and Amazon:


Margaret is giving away a copy of A Lady Like Sarah. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 13th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas in Hebrews

Did you know the Christmas story was in the book of Hebrews? I sure didn't and I've read that book many times! But it's there! This morning Pastor Mike preached about the reason for Christmas, from Hebrews 10:5-13. What a message! My sermon notes are full of asterisks and exclamation points and even a few wowzers thrown in—it was that good of a sermon!

Hebrews 10 is tells us of a conversation between Jesus and God the Father just before Jesus came and was born in Bethlehem. Jesus said that all those animal sacrifices did not please God, they were to be a reminder to the people of their sin (Heb. 10:3). But Jesus came to earth to do the will of God (Heb. 10:7). Jesus offered Himself for the remission of our sin, of my sin, once and for all.

The priests of old, that we read about in the Old Testament, offered countless sacrifices, and kept offering them. When the high priest went in to the Holy of Holies once a year, he presented the offering and got out of there fast—but not Jesus! Jesus made the sacrifice and sat down, right there at the right hand of God. Wowzers. Nothing needs to be added or altered or adjusted or even tweaked when it comes to Jesus' sacrifice. It's complete. It's perfect. And He gave us a perfect and permanent standing with God (Heb. 10:14). That's what Christmas is about—Jesus offering Himself for us and the remission of our sin. That's why He came and that's why we celebrate Christmas.
~*~*~*~*~


We have some winners from last week's author spotlights. Terra H. is the winner of Shirley Kiger Connolly's book I See God in the Thistles n Thorns. And Deborah (holycamp09) won Roseanna White's A Stray Drop of Blood. Congratulations, ladies! Be sure to get me your snail mail addresses.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Swirling

Do you ever feel like you have soooo much you have to do that you feel like you're going nowhere (because you aren't!)? That's how I've been for two weeks now. I have about a hundred things I HAVE to do, another hundred that I WANT to do, and yet another hundred that I SHOULD do...and none of them are getting done.

As time has allowed, I've been reading Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. Five minutes here and ten minutes there adds up...eventually. I'm soaking it all in, not rushing, but mulling things over and even making notes. Earlier this week I received Jungle Pilot in the mail. It's Nate Saint's story and I have to tell you, I'm dying to jump into it, but I'm being really, really firm with myself and finishing Through Gates of Splendor first. I DID flip through the picture section, and had to go for tissues. There's just something about missions and Ecuador that gets me every single time.

I've come across some good quotes that I want to share with you, and I will, but right now my thoughts are swirling. I'm wrestling with doubt and fear over this writing project, but God is holding me to it. I WANT to write fiction about missions, and I have a story line in mind. I don't know if it's one book or two or three, but I do know I need to obey and write it. I'll write it to the very best of my ability and leave it up to God to do with it as He wishes. My duty is obedience. Joyful obedience. It's something I keep seeing as I study and research missions. I'm so blessed to have such a 'job.'

Anyway. I just wanted to let you guys know I haven't forgotten my blog. My mind is like a whirlpool these days and soon my fingers will catch up to a thought and you'll hear about it.

So tell me, what's your week been like? Any surprises? How about blessings and unexpected joys?

Don't forget to enter the drawing for the book that was in the spotlight Monday by Shirley Kiger Connolly. Also in this week's spotlight is A Stray Drop of Blood by Roseanna White. Both book giveaways are open until Saturday night and the winners will be posted on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

with Roseanna White

Today I'm blogging At the Well about the price I pay for doing my Bible reading during my 'business hours' as a homeschool mom. I'd love to have you stop by and let me know if you think it's worth the price. =)

At the Well Blog Button


Patterings


Thanks for being with us, Roseanna.
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.

By the end of first grade, my life's goals were to be a doctor, a beautician, a teacher, and a writer. By the end of second grade, it was just writer and teacher. By third grade, archaeologist and writer. Fourth grade I thought maybe I could teach archaeology and write. By middle school I said, “Ah, forget it. I just want to write.” So I did. I finished my first novel at age 13 (and what a stunning piece of literature THAT was! LOL), wrote a second in high school with David, now my hubby, and warned him from the get-go that a future with me would involve him having a real job to support my habit—until I got rich and famous from it, of course, in which case I'd buy us a beach house and he could live off my millions. Thus far, we're still in the him-supporting-me stage, which he does in every possible way—emotional, physical, monetary, you name it. Since I've always, always known that this is what I want to do, there wasn't an epiphanic moment per se. Just a growing determination to make it work.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
The most fun would have to be Love Finds You in Peculiar, Missouri, which is about a quirky art-gallery-owner determined to scare away the man of her dreams with weirdness to keep from having her heart broken again. It was full of gags and quirky turns of phrase that made it a total blast to write.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Time. I have a preschooler and toddler, so finding time to write is quite a challenge. But the less time I have, the better I make use of it. I write in the morning before they wake up (on a good day—my son wakes up waaaaaay too early for this normally), during nap times, and occasionally after I put them to bed. Sometimes one of the grandparents will take them for a morning or afternoon to give me some extra time, which is a special treat for me. Whenever I have the time, I sit down and just write. In a lot of ways, it works better than when I had nothing but time. Now I know I have to use it!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I once piled seven college-aged girls into a car that seats five so we could go lingerie shopping.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Dinner. Every night. I exist in a state of denial until 4:00, when I look up and say, “Oh, man. I have to feed these people again.” To make it worse, my sister and best friends are all these uber-organized sorts that plan a weekly schedule of meals and have everything defrosted and ready . . . meanwhile I'm going, “What do I have? Do I have any pasta? Do I have any sauce? Would it be terrible to get takeout again?”

What would a perfect day for you look like?
I would rise at 6, but the kids would sleep until 8. That would give me two hours of bliss, in which I could catch up on email, post my blog, and write. I'd enjoy a leisurely two cups of coffee, without anyone tugging at my arms. Then I'd joyfully get the kids up when they awoke, feed 'em, dress 'em, and we'd go out for the morning. Maybe visit my mom. Eat lunch there, then come home. Put the little one to bed, set the bigger one up with coloring or something, and get another couple hours of writing in. In the afternoon we'd play outside, until dinner magically appeared on my table. After that we'd go for a nice family walk, put the kids to bed when we came home. My hubby and I would snuggle up on the couch, and I'd read a fantastic book while he watches television. Ahh . . . perfection.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
That would definitely be my heroine, Abigail. It's primarily her story—though we see the points of view of many other characters, where she goes, we go. When I first came up with the idea for this, she wasn't such a complicated person. But then the more I wrote, the more I realized that she has a heart hurt so early in life that her reactions to the stories of Jesus can't help but be colored by them. Orphaned and sold into slavery, she has this way of clinging to humility out of pride—God put her in the position, so she figures she's a slave to him above all. Never would it enter her mind that there isn't a God in heaven . . . she knows he's there, because she feels his heavy hand on her and thinks of it as tyranny. Throughout the story, she comes to see that the Lord does not forsake his own, even when it may feel like it.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorites are romance. Historical, contemporary, doesn't matter. And it doesn't have to be traditional romance, it's just gotta have a love story to make me sigh. I love suspense and thrillers too; some mysteries, but it's gotta be the kind where I'm not totally lost, jumping into a story with a character who's already been in twelve books I haven't read. I love classics, I like certain sci-fi authors (hello, Orson Scott Card!), and since my critique partner is a Young Adult writer, I'm getting into that too. And of course, as a nod to the kids, we can't forget Dr. Seuss. Sometimes I feel like I read more of him than anything, LOL.

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
Chocolate never hurts. I'm a sucker for chips too. But I think my morning coffee has to be my staple. If I could, I'd sit and drink coffee all day. But alas, if I do that I end up with sores in my mouth from the acid and jittery hands if I do it with caffeinated coffee.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I've noticed that I tend toward stories of second chances and redemption—which is kind of odd, because I'm one of those people that accepted Christ at age 5 and never significantly faltered in my walk. I think it comes, though, of sticking with my first loves, both in faith and in romance. I married the guy I started dating at 15, I never questioned my dedication to Jesus. I think that's given me a special place in my heart for those stories of returning to what you knew way-back-when.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
To seek him in everything. This is ongoing lesson for me, but recently I studied a verse from I Corinthians that talks about how we build on the foundation of salvation with either precious things that stand up to the fire, or flimsy things that burn away. I don't want my life's work to go up in flames, so I need to seek him in every moment to make sure I'm following his blueprints for my life.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I have a deal in the works, but I'm not at liberty to talk about it yet. Stay posted, though!

You can purchase A Stray Drop of Blood from Amazon:


Roseanna is giving away a copy of A Stray Drop of Blood. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 6th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Don't forget to enter the drawing for the book that was in the spotlight yesterday by Shirley Kiger Connolly.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

meet Roseanna White

What a weekend full of work it was for me! In the midst of all the transferring and finding things, I neglected to post last week's winners! But I have them for you today! =)

The winner of Janice Thompson's book The House is Quiet, Now What? is DeeQ who will someday soon have a very quiet house. And the winner of Tracy Ruckman's Christmas Miracles is Deborah M. Congratulations ladies! Don't forget we have TWO book drawings this week. One with Shirley Kiger Connolly and the other with Roseanna White, who's in today's author spotlight.

Patterings



Roseanna M. White is a wife, mommy, writer, reviewer, and lover of all things literature-related. She makes her home in the mountains of Maryland, where she runs the Christian Review of Books. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, HisWriters, and HEWN Marketing.

You can visit Roseanna online at her website www.RoseannaMWhite.com and on her blog.


A Stray Drop of Blood
Beautiful is a dangerous thing to be when one is unprotected.

For seven years, Abigail has been a slave in the Visibullis house. With a Hebrew mistress and a Roman master, she has always been more family than servant . . . until their son returns to Jerusalem after his years in Rome. Within a few months Jason has taken her to his bed and turned her world upside down. Maybe, given time, she can come to love him as he says he loves her. But how does she open her heart to the man who ruined her?

Israel's unrest finds a home in her bosom, but their rebellion tears apart her world. Death descends with Barabbas's sword, and Abigail is determined to be there when the criminal is punished. But when she ventures to the trial, Barabbas is not the one the crowd calls to crucify. Instead, it is the teacher her master and Jason had begun to follow, the man from Nazareth that some call the Son of God . . .

Born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds, Abigail never knows freedom until she feels the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter. Disowned by Israel, despised by Rome, desired by all, she never knows love until she receives the smile of a stoic Roman noble.

Here's an excerpt of A Stray Drop of Blood:

He was close now, only a step away, and Abigail had a horrible fear that he would look at her. Quite suddenly, that thought struck her as unbearable. She knew, knew with every portion of her being, that if he looked at her, he would see her in her completeness. He would see how black her soul had become with sin and hatred and bitterness. He would see all she had done and thought to do and wished herself capable of. He would see that though she wished him spared, it was only so that another could die in his place.

Something within her drew back the closer he got, pulled at her until she wanted to turn and flee to escape his approaching presence. But Jairus was still at her side, gazing silently now at the man before him.

Jesus stumbled on a rock and would have fallen if it had not been for the centurion holding him up. All of her focus, all of her concentration was on the man who was falling toward his knees. Then an arm caught him, and he jerked against gravity. Jesus’s head flew back, his eyes turning to heaven and his mouth opening as if to speak.

The action broke open one of his wounds, and his crimson life dripped onto the ground. He was pulled to his feet, and his head was once again jarred. A stray drop of blood arched through the air and landed on the round of Abigail’s stomach.

Immediately, she felt a burning on the flesh beneath her garment. It was so quick, so debilitating that she could not even respond. A fire spread through her, devouring her, leaving in its wake a relief that brought tears to her eyes. She looked down at the stain on her clothes in disbelief. It was so small, so insignificant. One little drop of red, a perfect starburst against the faded blue of her woolen tunic.

One little drop to soil her garment.

One little drop to cleanse her soul.


There is also a Companion Guide with all the behind-the-scenes research and interesting factoids that went into the book. =)

You can purchase A Stray Drop of Blood from Amazon:


Roseanna is giving away a copy of A Stray Drop of Blood. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, December 6th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Don't forget to enter the drawing for the book that was in the spotlight yesterday by Shirley Kiger Connolly. We'll see you tomorrow for an interview with Roseanna.

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