Please Join Us Weekly For Writing Inspiration. . . "Words To Write By" from your favorite Christian authors. . . .

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winning and Losing

This is an excerpt from Bill Keller and's daily devotional--it applies to writing as much as it does to life in general.

The first lesson in losing, in failing, is to take personal responsibility
and not blame other people or anything else. Having spent 31 months of my
life in Federal Prison, having ministered these past 18 yrs to tens of
thousands of men and women who are incarcerated, I can tell you the biggest
problem I see with people in prison is the refusal to take personal
responsibility for the choices that put them in prison. Most people you talk
to who are in prison will tell you they are there because of what this
person or that person said or did. They are not willing to accept
responsibility that they are there because of the choices THEY MADE. A
person who is in prison will never be able to move forward and turn their
life around until they are ready to accept personal responsibility for THEIR

Whenever we lose or fail, it is always easy to sit back and make excuses.
Some of those excuses may even be valid. However, rather than investing the
time and energy into finding excuses why we lost or failed, it is far more
productive to look at the role WE played in our loss or failure. You learn
nothing by blaming someone else or making excuses. When you sit down and are
honest to look at yourself, at the choices you made that contributed to your
loss or failure, then you are able to learn from the mistakes you made and
hopefully not repeat them in the future. We can all learn much from our
losses and failures in life if we will simply be honest with ourselves and
take the time to analyze our thoughts and actions so we can identify what we
did wrong.

The second lesson in losing, in failing, is to not let our loss or failure
paralyze us from trying again. Some people become so devastated by losing,
by failing, that they simply refuse to try again. My friend, losing and
failing are part of life. As I said earlier, the only people I have met who
have never lost or failed are people who have never tried. You can't be
afraid of losing or failure. Nobody likes to lose. Nobody likes to fail.
However, you will never win unless you also lose and you will never succeed
unless you also fail. Rather than being paralyzed by losing and failing, let
them motivate you. Learn from your losses and failures so that you don't
repeat the mistakes and poor choices you made that led to them. Instead of
losing and failing making you weak, they can make you strong.


The third lesson in losing, in failing is this, THERE IS NO FAILURE WITH
GOD! In the process of serving the Lord, we will always have times and
experiences when we feel in our flesh that we have failed, that we have let
the Lord down. That is a lie from the pits of hell! THERE IS NO FAILURE WITH
GOD! You can't fail when you are serving the Lord. The only way you can fail
is to NOT serve Him! God uses our obedience and faithfulness in ways we will
never see or understand until we get to Glory. The reality is, when we are
yielded to the Lord, God uses our lives to do incredible things that we
never even realize.

As a matter of fact, I submit that the greatest things you will ever do for
God you don't even know you did them until you get to Heaven. Those are the
things you do each day simply by being obedient and faithful . God will give
us a little feedback along the way since He knows our flesh is weak and
needs encouragement. However, the vast majority of what God does in and
through our lives we will never fully comprehend in this life. Don't forget,
our job isn't to know everything that is going on, it is simply to be
obedient and faithful. God can use a willing and yielded vessel!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

This is a devotional I wrote a few years ago, and it was published as part of Cup of Comfort's Daily Devotional collection.

Boxing Day (Dec 26)

Give With Good Cheer

You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.

2 Corinthians 9:7

When your decide to give to those in need, do it with a smile and much love.

Boxing Day was first observed in Queen Victoria’s England, in the mid-1800's, with servants and tradesmen receiving gifts and money. Children received small gifts from their parents, and the poor would go door-to-door hoping for treats to fill their boxes. The custom is still practiced today in England and Canada, but the concept of charitable giving is upheld in countries all over the world.

Jesus encouraged us to take care of the poor, to share our worldly possessions with those of us less fortunate. Throughout the holiday season, individuals and businesses donate what they can to ease the burdens of others. Make it a habit to think of the poor all year round. Share your material wealth and your spiritual wealth– the knowledge of God’s love. Un-box His word and share the joy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Keep These Things

The gifts were many, each a treasure
Some of wealth, more of the heart.

The greetings robust, yet hushed
And filled with awe.

The star shimmered still, even
As morning neared.

Her body drained, Mary sighed, breathing in scents
Of pungent hay, and sheep, and donkey.
Her pulse quickened again at the wonder—
Her new son, her Jesus, who would be Lord.

She knew the Scriptures and held them dear.

Her stomach clenched, overwhelmed at being chosen.
Her, a common girl, not worthy, not ready.

The baby fussed, and Mary hugged Him to her chest. A breeze
Tickled the hairs on her arm, and she smiled.
She thought of the Angel’s words, the shepherd’s words.
The voices lifted in praise.

Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
She held them dear.

The Christmas Candle

A single flame flickers, alone in the silence
Wax drips like lace down all sides
No one watches, but like the greatest star
Which ever rose, it is a
Flicker of light, flicker of hope.

Those in darkness have seen great light,
The flame leaps with joy, and sways silently,
no sound in the night, and like the greatest star
which ever rose, it is a
Flicker of light, flicker of hope.

The children clutch white candles,
Casting pinpricks of light like stardust
In the land, sprinkled on all men from the greatest star
Which ever rose.
Flickers of light, flickers of hope.

Across the globe the candles shine
Their flames bow and praise the Great News.
They light the sky, they light the sanctuaries as they wait
And watch for the greatest start which ever rose.
Flickering with light, flickering with hope.

I wrote these poems last year but thought I'd share them again. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cover Art Award

I am thrilled to announce that "Words to Write By" has won an Honorable Mention for its wonderful cover art. Lee Emory of Treble Heart Books designed the cover. Thanks to everyone who voted!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Take a moment and read the article published today by the owner of Treble Heart Books, Lee Emory. It's titled "Onward Christian Soldiers" and deals with the very real threat we face today as Christians.


Are we, as Christians, going to live the life God asks, or are we going to claim we’re Christians, sit back and fail to fight for what we know to be God’s truth? Can you count yourself among God’s Warriors or among the millions of weak-kneed brothers and sisters who are merely wannabe Christians? Oh, but not if you have to really live like it tells us to in the Bible. Do you love the Lord enough to fight off His enemies doing their best every hour of the day to destroy us? Do you love Him enough to forgive those who wrong us?

It’s time to take up the sword and fight for what you know is right, even if you have to fight your own children to show them the way. Let God’s will be done. Ignore it at your peril.

Wake up, people. We are on the brink of losing our freedom in America. The enemy now has a concentrated foothold in this country and the battle will be long and bloody—make no mistake of that—for those of us intending to fight for their most basic belief in our Creator.

It is my belief this is one time when the Lord will welcome your righteous anger toward our enemies who’ve allowed themselves to become Satan’s pawns. When people are uneducated and basically obtuse and empty headed, they are exceedingly easy to manipulate into finding fun in depravity and corruption. They find sick pleasure in disgusting, stupid commercials meant to insult intelligence. It’s so much fun to watch cartoon characters that depict sex, drugs, depravity and violence as if it’s the in-thing, a complete alternative answer to lack of sense and manners, respect for others and even grooming.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What I've Done So Far

Thanks to Robin Lee Hatcher for this fun idea--

What I've Done So Far

Directions: Put an asterisk next to the things you have done in your life, and then feel free to pass it on in your blog! Also feel free to add a couple at the end, if you like. (I didn't add anything but you can if you choose to.)

*1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
*4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
*6. Given more than you can afford to charity
*7. Been to Disneyworld
*8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
*10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
*13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
*14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
*20. Slept on an overnight train
*21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
*23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
*29. Seen a total eclipse
*30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
*33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
*35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
*37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
*41. Sung karaoke
*42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
*45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted - drawn I think that counts!
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
*52. Kissed in the rain
*53. Played in the mud
*54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (my car has, does that count?)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
*57. Started a business
*58. Taken a martial arts class (self defense)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
*61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
*63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
*69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (book!)
*70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
*73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
*75. Been fired/laid off from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
*78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
*79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
*80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
*82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
*84. Had your picture in the newspaper
*85. Read the entire Bible
*86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
*88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
*91. Met someone famous
*92. Joined a book club
*93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
*97. Been involved in a law suit
*98. Owned a cell phone
*99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
*101. Learned to play an instrument
102. Kissed the Blarney Stone
103. Ridden a camel

I am adding:

*104. Climbed the steps to the top of the Washington Monument
*105. Climbed Stone Mountain, GA
*105. Been stung by a jellyfish

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Enjoying Christmas

An excerpt from's Daily Devo yesterday--

I am saddened every morning as I open the business page to read about
another company laying off thousands of people. While it is only a number in
a story to most, the fact is each number is a very real life, with a very
real family, that will probably be facing very real financial issues because
of losing their job. While there is never a good time to lose your job, it
is especially difficult at this time of year.

We are expected to buy gifts for our family and close friends. We are
expected to decorate our homes. We are expected to attend various parties
and events. All of these require EXTRA MONEY, over and above our normal
monthly living expenses. This time of year that is supposed to be
personified in the word JOY, quickly becomes a nightmare for many who simply
don't have the money to do all they feel they are expected to do.

First, let me reiterate the point I made last week. Christmas is NOT about
gifts. Christmas is NOT about decorating your house. Christmas is NOT about
parties. Christmas is the day each year that we set aside to celebrate the
birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is HIS birthday. THAT is what
Christmas is all about, celebrating the birth of our Lord.

Of course, it is impossible to deny the gross commercialism that marks this
time of the year. But we have choices. We CHOOSE to get caught up in how the
world celebrates Christmas. I have yet to read a news account of someone
that was forced at gunpoint to go to the local shopping mall and spend
thousands of dollars on presents. I realize that if you have children, being
able to provide them presents on Christmas morning is important.

However, what is MORE important is making them aware of what Christmas is
really about. The greatest gift that you can give your children this
Christmas is NOT some toy that they will forget about in a month. The
greatest gift that you can give your children this Christmas is the
knowledge of what this blessed day is really about...the birth of Jesus!

Some practical ways that you can do this is by attending some of the
fabulous Christmas pageants many churches now put on. In many cities, some
of the larger churches put on incredible, professionally produced Christmas
programs that do a marvelous job of telling the story of Christ's birth.
Taking your children to see these great productions will be fun and help
them understand the true meaning of Christmas. Another great thing to do
with your children is to teach them that Christmas is NOT about getting
presents, but about giving to others. Getting them involved in helping to
prepare a bag of groceries that you give to a ministry feeding the homeless
is a very easy way to help them learn the blessing of giving.

Within your own home, sitting down with the entire family and reading the
Christmas story in Luke chapter 2, spending time as a family in prayer
thanking God for the wonderful gift that He gave this world that first
Christmas, going as a family to church and celebrating His birth together
all help your children learn that Christmas is the time we set aside each
year to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. YOUR CHILDREN WILL CARRY THESE

My word for you today is that you don't have to fall into the trap of buying
lots of gifts, or decorating your home, or going to all the parties. Those
things are NOT what Christmas is about. The true peace of this season, the
true joy of this season, comes from celebrating the birth of Jesus. HE is
the reason for the season. The greatest gift that you can give someone this
Christmas is to share with them the REAL meaning of Christmas. The greatest
gift you can receive this Christmas was given over 2000 years ago when God
gave you His son Jesus!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wonderful Christmas Fiction

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Engaging Father Christmas

FaithWords (October 30, 2008)


Robin Jones Gunn

Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawai’i.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.


Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation.

But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost.

And yet...maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Engaging Father Christmas, go HERE

I thoroughly enjoyed this warm Christmas story!

Monday, December 08, 2008

New Fiction!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Quills And Promises

Barbour Publishing, Inc (May 28, 2008)


Amber Miller


Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, and live in beautiful Colorado just east of the Front Range of the Rockies, but I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are this current one, Quills And Promises (July 2008) and Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Delaware Brides. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010 as Michigan Brides.


-- 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. --

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not until thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6

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 his military duty separates them, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to each other. Elanna has never known emotions like this before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. Wh a local news reporter 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?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Quills And Promises, go HERE.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Fiction

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dark Pursuit

Zondervan (December 1, 2008)


Brandilyn Collins


Brandilyn Collins is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is currently working on her 20th book. For chances to win free copies of her work, join her Fan Club on Facebook. Here’s what Brandilyn has to say about why she wrote Dark Pursuit:

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan’s followers, kicked out of heaven, boast about storming the gates and reclaiming their territory. Beelzebub scoffs at their boasting as merely “hatching vain empires” and suggests a different revengeful scheme: seduce mankind away from God. So Satan visits the Garden of Eden to teach humans the very thing he and his cohorts have learned to be futile—the dark pursuit of hatching their own vain empires instead of following God. He presented man with this “gift” of death, disguised as life. And man fell for it.

Upon this theme of man’s fall and spiritual blindness, I created the characters and events in Dark Pursuit. The story clips along at a fast pace, with much symbolism running underneath.


Dark Pursuit—A twisting story of murder, betrayal, and eternal choices

Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, reclusive and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.

Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she’s rebuilding her life. But in Kaitlan’s town two women have been murdered, and she’s about to discover a third. She’s even more shocked to realize the culprit—her boyfriend, Craig, the police chief’s son.

Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he’ll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.

But can Darell’s muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan’s plight may be the stunning answer to the elusive plot he seeks...

Read the first chapter of Dark Pursuit, HERE.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Shop Now for a Great Cause

Join readers and writers in an auction to benefit author Jo Leigh.
Jo lost her husband earlier this year and has medical expenses looming. So authors, editors, agents and others donated their goods and services for this very special auction.

"Paperback Writer" donated this lovely, unused quilt.

Other items being auctioned include:

Mentoring Opportunities

Editor Critiques

Bundled books

ARCs (advance review copies)

Book/Gift Baskets

A sampling of the listings:

T. Schultz - author for Whiskey Creek Press, The Wild Rose Press and Forbidden Publications, offers a copy of The Bride Wore Boots and t-shirt, as well as a Lying Eyes & Alibis t-shirt and a happy bunny book bag with loot

Nalini Singh - Bestselling author for Berkley offers copies of Slave To Sensation, Visions Of Heat, Hostage To Pleasure

The Smart Bitches / Dear Author Winter Survival Kit: A grab bag of 25 new romance novels (some signed), both paper and audio, $30 to spend at Fictionwise, $30 to spend at Amazon

Lynn Viehl - author for Signet offers a new, unused patchwork quilt in corn & beans pattern, 74" X 52" - (above)

Shiloh Walker - author for Berkley, Ellora's Cave, and Samhain offers a signed copy of THE MISSING and a goody bag

Tawny Weber - author for Harlequin Blaze offers a Romance Memories package featuring a hand crafted 12 page My Love Story scrapbook ready to add your own pictures, a magnetic bulletin board with four flower magnets and matching heart keepsake box

Scarlet Wharton - BeautiControl consultant offers Self Tanner (including Leg-a-Peel - exfoliates skin, Scrub - polishes and smooths, Tanner- even ,natural looking tan) and Regeneration Reprogram Rejuvinating serum - an $87 value

Access Romance offers a one year membership to its author community (lower tier value of $660) along with one promo newsletter ($125 value)

AuthorMBA blog team is coming together to help you take your career to the next level. This powerful prize package includes: ** Full set of exclusive, downloadable AuthorMBA Training Guides--step-by-step guidance to help you master the business of writing! Donated by Kay Lockner ( ** Personal Brand Express Package--a fast-action approach to developing an author's brand and slogan! Donated by Jenn Stark ( ** Make Your Website Pop website evaluation--detailed written feedback on your site from a master web designer! Donated by Glass Slipper WebDesign ( ** Press Release Power Makeover--to get the media attention your writing deserves! Donated by Louise Knott Ahern ( ** Dreams to Reality goal setting guide--to put you firmly on the path to making your dreams a reality! Donated by Tawny Weber (

Joely Sue Burkhart - author for Drollerie Press offers two $20 gift certificates to the Drollerie Press Bookshop

Laurie Damron - reader blogger at Laurie's Laudanum offers a Gooseberry Patch Pocket Calendar, a Christmas Kitchen Cookbook, and a Magic of Christmas Candle - a $33 value

Eileen Dreyer - NYT Bestselling author for multiple publishers offers a character in one of her upcoming Regency era historical romances for Grand Central Publishing written as Kathleen Korbel

Deena Fisher - of Drollerie Press offers one book cover design

So join the fun and do a bit of Christmas shopping with your favorite authors, or treat yourself to a new book or gift.