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

Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Day, A New Year. . . New Opportunity


December 31, 2010

This is what the Lord says, ... "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."
-- Isaiah 43:16,18-19

The year is gone, finished, past. We cannot reclaim it or undo it. We cannot rest on the great distance it has brought us. If tomorrow dawns, it will be another day, a new opportunity, and the time to show our faith in Jesus as Lord. Let's journey forward, knowing that God already inhabits the future and promises to provide us refreshment on our journey there.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

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.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keep These Things

Keep These Things (something I wrote a few years ago)

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.

Shepherds Watching


December 22, 2010

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord
appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and
they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is
Christ the Lord."
-- Luke 2:8-11

Shepherds and the glory of the Lord in the same sentence.
Shepherds enjoyed a great heritage in Israel with Abraham, Moses,
and David as notable shepherds and God being identified through
Psalm 23 as a great shepherd. But by this time in Israelite
history, they were not highly regarded. They smelled like sheep.
They spent their time with sheep. They were not really clean and
religious enough to be considered spiritual. So when God chose to
announce the birth of Jesus to shepherds with his contingent of
angels he makes his point clear: Everyone is loved by God, everyone
has access to God, and everyone is desired by God.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Review!

Google just alerted me to a new review of "Prodigal" on the web. Thank you, Southern Fiber Reviews!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday "Karma"

Wonderful, So-True post today by Paperback Writer. I don't believe in "Karma" but this is a compelling case.

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Holiday Karma

If he picked out the expensive perfume in your stocking, prepare to smell like a mango, an opium addict or a streetwalker for the next six months.

If she picked out a special holiday sweater for you to wear, be prepared to flash, ring, shed sequins, itch unbearably and possibly have your manhood questioned.

If you bake your own cookies, no matter how carefully you plan, you will make too many or not enough. You will also burn the ones you're giving your boss but won't realize they're scorched on the bottom until he's about to take a bite.

The day after you finish all your holiday shopping someone will ask you to get a gift for someone who wasn't on your list. P.S., the recipient will be someone you don't know, someone you don't like, and/or insanely difficult to shop for.

The food item you are highly allergic to will be the secret ingredient in your neighbor's famous pumpkin bread. You will not discover this until after the emergency room visit.

The giant hole/termite infestation/occupied bird's nest in your Christmas tree will not become evident until you are putting on the last ornament.

The mail carrier you chewed out for delivering a battered box last July will assure that no gift package addressed to you ever again lands unscathed.

The mall Santa will smell like Ben-Gay, denture cream or Jack Daniels, and will go on his lunch break just as you and your exhausted preschooler reach the front of the line.

When he visits, your weird uncle will definitely ask where you've displayed put the semi-pornographic statue he gave you for your wedding.

While cooking dinner for your family you will drop something on the kitchen floor that 1) shatters into a million razor-sharp pieces, 2) creates a small lake of something nearly impossible to clean up fast (like cooking oil) and/or 3) is an essential part of the recipe for your entree, one you had to drive 20+ miles to purchase.

Visit Paperback Writer every day for more compelling insights!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do Not Be Afraid


December 15, 2010

The angel said to [Mary], "Do not be afraid, you have found
favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and
you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be
called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the
throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of
Jacob forever."
-- Luke 1:30-33

Jesus is identified by many names stated or implied in the four
Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Notice how Jesus is identified
in just this one passage: child, son, Jesus, great, Son of the Most
High, King, son of David, and leader of Israel (Jacob). Jesus
exhausts all descriptions, and yet chose to be limited to imperfect
descriptions by becoming human. But this flood of names and
descriptions helps us find Jesus as our Savior in every trial and
blessing of life. Jesus is Savior for all seasons.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Eve Vigil

I posted this story here years ago, after it was published in a Christmas collection. This looks like the last Christmas we'll have my grandmother with us, so I wanted to share it again.

Christmas Eve Vigil
"Mom-Mom, I hear him," I whispered, sitting up slightly in bed. With the
covers sliding off, I leaned toward the other twin bed where my grandmother
slept, or tried to, during my all night vigil watching for Santa. Cool air
touched my skin, but my excitement warmed me. "I hear something on the

I still recall the sweet scent of her beauty-salon hair-do, as she shook her
head and whispered for me to go to sleep, or Santa couldn't come visit our
house. Mom-Mom stayed overnight every Christmas Eve, it was a family
tradition. I was no more than five at the time, but the memories of that
dark night have never faded. I knew Santa was out there, somewhere, nearby,
and likely to sweep in close when I wasn't looking. I had been good all
year, and had faith that Santa knew that.

Deeper in the night, I looked over and saw my grandmother, appearing to be
sitting upright in a rocking chair. When I woke her to tell her this, she
wasn't pleased.

"Robin, please go to sleep." She still whispered, but with an edge to her
voice now. "You're trying too hard. You know he'll be here."

I tried to comply, I really did. I could then perceive that she was indeed
laying down, not sitting in a chair. But as I lay there, staring into
blackness, my belief grew stronger that Santa was with me, whether or not I
could see or hear him. Most children in our country are lucky, they will
have their beliefs confirmed on Christmas morning. As adults, we need to
keep our faith as well, our faith that God is always with us, whether we
physically see Him or not.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas, the one whom we are really
accountable too. Jesus knows who has been naughty and who has been nice.
When we stare into long moments of blackness, we need to keep the childlike
wonder fresh, and know that He could be on our roof at any time. Even better
than Santa, God is with us everyday.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's Personal


December 11, 2010

The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
-- Isaiah 7:14

God is interested in us personally. So much so, that he personally gives us this sign. Because of Matthew's explanation of the meaning of the name Immanuel, we know what that sign was - Jesus coming to live as God with us. His presence is God's presence. His life is God's sign. The miracle of his conception is God's mystery and also his statement of grace for us.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Reach for Opportunities


December 5, 2010

Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. ... whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it the full."
-- John 10:7,9-10

Jesus came to the world to give us life. He didn't come to bring us rules, or judgement, or fear, or work. Jesus came to give us life in its fullest form. While we know that this is promised to us when we go to be with him for all eternity, John wants us to clearly hear that Jesus' promise to give us life begins right now!
Not JUST life later, but also life NOW!

Almighty God, I confess that sometimes I play life too carefully, not risking failure and loss and not reaching for your opportunities and your concerns. Give me a heart that yearns to live life in all its fullness by seeking after your will, Jesus'
example and the Holy Spirit's leading in my decisions today, and always. Through the name of Jesus I ask this to your glory. Amen.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas Grace

"Christmas Grace" is back! If you missed this duet of Christmas short stories, check it out now, available from Author's Den.

(A duet of short Christmas stories, original publication date: 2008)

Christmas Grace by Laura Hamby

Hannah Kelsey, now orphaned by the War Between the States, awaits patiently for news of her one, surviving brother. A life that has been anything but easy is made more complicated by the Yankee solder she finds lying in front of her cabin a few days before the Christmas of 1864.

The Scent of Falling Snow by Robin Bayne

Aideen O'Conner felt a certain twinge when Rob Novak walked into her dance studio. Was it because she thought he didn't take her seriously, or because she was afraid he would?

When Rob visits his daughter's step-dancing teacher, he makes it clear he doesn't consider the activitiy a challenge. The real challange comes when he learns the teacher's secret.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And Now A Free Gift!

Check out this free, mini-cookbook for the holidays from White Rose Publishing authors.

Be sure to try my hubby's recipe for Stuffed Mushroom Caps!

Gifts for Readers and Writers

Paperback writer has a fun list of gifts you might consider giving the readers and writers that you know.

Ten Gift Ideas Under $10 for Writers or Readers
Books & Book store Gift Cards: We don't have to tell you again how much we love books do we? A book is a wonderful gift for the writer or the reader in your life. An even better gift is to give us the chance to shop for one on our own with an eGift Card (which is all done online, so you don't even have to leave the house.) B& is currently running a special for a free $10 eGift card when you purchase $100.00 of Gift or eGift cards. B& is my retailer of choice when it comes to sending e-mail gift cards because in all the years I've bought from them they've never once failed to deliver them to my recipients.

Bookends: These can be really pricey at department and book stores, so I suggest looking for the handcrafted or vintage variety. I found these these wooden book ends for $4.99 over on iOffer.

Booklights: Anyone who reads in bed with a sleeping spouse or partner uses them; so do writers with bad vision like me. I've tried a lot of booklights in my day, and my biggest complaint is that most of them either use watch-size batteries, which are hard for me to see much less change, or they die quickly. Someday I'd really like to have a reasonably-priced booklight that can run on my rechargeable triple-A batteries. In the meantime, the one I usually recommend is the no-muss no-fuss Energizer's LED clip-on booklight, which can be had over at for $10.00 (I did read an old article over on by Tom Bartlett to see if there were any other cheap booklights out there, but he didn't seem to think much of the two under $10.00.)

Charms: A small charm related to books or reading could make a nice addition to your book lover's favorite necklace or bracelet. has a cute sterling silver bookworm charm for $3.95.

Music to Write/Read By: If you already own an extensive music collection you can probably burn a CD mix tailored to suit your favorite writer or reader. Or head over to iTunes and download individual songs; $10 will buy you ten .99 songs [I love the first Prélude from Yo-Yo Ma's Bach: The Cello Suites (.99); The Theme from Harry's Game from Clannad's In a Lifetime collection (.99); and Chanter's Tune from Shelley Phillips's The Fairie-Round (.99)]

Neck Support: Both writers and readers have complained to me about suffering some sort of neck pain, which hits me pretty regularly, too. A pillow specifically designed to provide support to this area of the bod can be a big relief, like this Relaxzen memory foam neck pillow over at for $10.00.

read the rest here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
-- Colossians 2:6-7

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Give Thanks

Enter [the Lord's] gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

-- Psalm 100:4-5

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
-- Colossians 3:15

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Middle

Great post today over at the White Rose Publishing authors' blog:

Do you like to watch pendulums? They can be fun to watch and rather mesmerizing. Yet I must admit that sometimes after watching one for a while I just want to grab it and make it stay “in the middle”.

I was reminded last week about pendulums in our local department store. In recent times as you enter stores at this time of the year you are greeted with a very bland, generic, “Happy Holidays”. But last week as I walked through the front entrance, there in front of me was a great big colorful sign with the words “Merry Christmas” emblazoned across it. Good for them I thought. As I made my way through the store more and more signs came to my attention which had the words “Merry Christmas”. In one section there were signs about every three feet with the words, you guessed it, “Merry Christmas”. Wow, the pendulum has swung the other way, I thought. It was then that it occurred to me that these signs are not about Christmas at all. They are a marketing technique. If it is in vogue to say “Happy Holidays” great! If “Merry Christmas” fits the bill this year, wonderful! The only problem is that with all of these pendulum swings the middle gets left out.

“What is the middle?” you ask. The middle is what Christmas is really all about.

Read the rest here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Praying For Each Other


November 12, 2010

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
-- Colossians 1:9

In a world where we can feel so isolated and alone at times, it is so important for us to know that someone is praying for us and for our spiritual needs. As I think of the thousands who are a part of the Today's Verse ministry, I cannot help but pray that each of them, that you, are blessed by knowing that you share a spiritual journey with people all over the world, and that today, we will be praying for each other. And of course there can be no better prayer than the one that Paul prayed for the Colossian friends he had never met -- "I ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding." Let's pray that for each other today.

Monday, November 01, 2010


The White Rose author blog has a wonderful post about gratitude--

Autumn giving way to winter, and another year steaming rapidly to a close, has left me in somewhat of an introspective mindset (watching seasons change always tends to do that to about you?).

We’re approaching Thanksgiving and we’re mere inches away from the joy of Christmas. What wonderful opportunities to take stock of our lives, and reflect on where God has led us during the past twelve months.

I give thanks for the grace, love, and continuing direction of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in the pathways of my life. When I’ve fallen – when I’ve doubted – even when I’ve felt frightened, anxious and less than worthy, He has lifted me up. Faithful and true, God’s love is so powerful and perfect that it obliterates all but His plan and will for us. We are His precious children.

I also give thanks for my family and friends, for the love and encouragement of the people in my life both near and far. They are, in fact, God’s presence revealed. The way I see it, God has a human face that he blesses me with every day – a tangible means by which he touches my life and leads me along life’s path. That beautiful face belongs to my friends and family, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Read the rest of author Marianne Evan's post here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Writer Beware!

The Writer Beware! blog has a good post today on facing reality in the publishing world.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Reality Check on Aisle Writer Beware
Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Writer Beware gets a ton of email. Reports of schemes, scams, and fee-charging, of course, but also questions about agents' and publishers' reputations, questions about the researching/querying/submitting/publishing process, requests for advice, requests for recommendations.

Requests to deny reality.

Say what? Well, a request to deny reality is when a writer sees something on this blog or on the Writer Beware website, doesn't wish to believe it, and wants to be told that in his or her case, it's just not true.

As in, "Your website says that agents shouldn't charge upfront fees, but this agent who wants me to pay $500 is so nice, are they maybe legit anyway?"

Or, "Agent X is on your Thumbs Down list, but they want to represent me and their website looks professional, are they really so bad?"

Or, "I found your Alert that says Publisher Y is being sued, but they have books on Amazon, so couldn't it all be a mistake?"

Read the rest here--and beware!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finding the Right Word


October 23, 2010

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply -- and how good is a timely word!
-- Proverbs 15:23

Knowing the right word at the right time is a great gift. But even the best of speakers has to admit that the best of his or her words are not nearly as good as those the Spirit gives.

Nevertheless, we must not excuse ourselves for our insensitive speech, unkindness, or missed opportunities. Not paying attention to what was said is no excuse. Not being spiritually in tune with the needs of our companions is a cop out. Simply not knowing Scripture well enough to bless others with gracious speech at the appropriate time is self-deception. Listening to others after having listened to God in his Word is what tunes our ears and our hearts to bless others.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The China Anniversary

Today we are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, which I have learned is traditionally the "china" year. Next year my parents will celebrate their 50th--the gold year. We are all so blessed!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Resources for Writers

Have you checked out Laura Resnick's Resource Page for writers? It's well worth your time.

Whether you're a beginning writer seeking basic self-education or a mid-career professional in need of specific information, this page contains a wide variety of recommended resources that may be useful to you. There's also a section below that's specifically for teenage writers.

What follows is a long list of books, blogs, articles, services, organizations, workshops, and websites that I recommend. I am personally familiar with some of the resources on this page; all of the others were recommended to me by other working writers and publishing professionals.

Scroll down to browse the whole page, or click on a specific link in the contents list to go straight to the secton that interests you. I update this page regularly, so be sure to keep checking back here for new resources.

Laura's Contents:

* Books That I Recommend
* Books Recommended By Other Writers
* On Agents
* On Packaging
* Some Online Posts and Pieces That I Recommend Reading
* "Will You Read My Manuscript?"
* Recommended Resources On The Web
* Blogs (About the Publishing Industry)
* Writing Workshops and Courses
* For Teenage Writers
* Want Help With Your Manuscript? (Reputable Freelance Editors)
* Miscellaneous (Fun & Interesting Sites Related to the Craft & Business)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kick off the Christmas Reading Season!

With only a little over two months left until Christmas, it's time to dive into the holiday reading season.

Best Friends or True Love? Only Santa Knows.

Kathryn Graham hates Christmas. She hates the snow, the decorations, the whole nine yards. Nick Pringle on the other hand can’t get enough of the season. He may be her best friend and fellow writer at Redburn Weekly Magazine, but sometimes his exuberance gets on her very last nerve. Now they’ve been assigned to cover the orphan toy drive story. It’s just a puff piece not the serious journalism Kathryn hopes for, but maybe—as Nick says—there are no old stories just new angles.

Nick Pringle has been in love with Kathryn practically since the day they met. When he realizes that she’s lost her Christmas spirit, he figures he’s just the guy to help her find it again. He enacts a plan to send her anonymous gifts from Secret Santa, but will any of this really make a difference in her? Will she ever see him as anything more than her smart-aleck partner even after their tender kisses? Then again maybe he’ll get what he wants for Christmas after all.


Outside the air remained chilly, forcing the use of a coat, but it was still fine December weather. Kathryn wrapped a scarf around her neck as she walked down the street with Nick. The last time they’d been together, she’d held his hand and it had felt so comforting. For some reason today, she felt at a loss with him walking several inches away from her. There was something building between them and if she didn’t do something about it—it would only get worse.

Emboldening herself, she grabbed Nick’s arm and wrapped her hands around it. His eyes dropped to hers and filled with puzzlement. She could imagine the thoughts going through his head—like ‘what was on her mind now?’ Or ‘what am I in for this time?’

She parted her lips and smiled at him. “Don’t you just love Christmas, Nick?” She waited to see how he’d react to her using his words from last week. The same words she’d rebuffed at that time and now understood so much better.

“Christmas? Isn’t that just about commercialization?” He smiled as he threw her own words back at her with a grin.

“And where did you ever hear such a horrible thought, Nick Pringle?” She filled her voice with feigned reproach.

They shared a smile as they continued down Main Street . A little thrill moved in Kathryn’s chest. This felt right; it felt good. The friendship she had with Nick could never be replaced. She glanced at the store windows decorated for the season. It reminded her of shopping with her mother and sister as they looked for Christmas gifts for her father. It was one of only a few fond memories she shared with her family. Soon after that Christmas, her parents divorced and her life fell apart.

Kathryn studied Nick’s face again, his raised cheeks and straight nose, rounded just perfectly at the end. He tilted his head at her and formed his lips into a closed smile. Never had she encountered such understanding and empathy in anyone until she met Nick Pringle. He oozed kindness and warmth and yet he had a teasing kind of personality when he wanted to use it. It’s why they got along together. He was easy-going and she was wound tighter than a toy top. But he could dish out the sarcasm when necessary. It kept the friendship interesting and fresh. More than that, he made her feel safe--as if she could tell him anything.

“Nick, did I ever tell you my father left my mother the day after Christmas when I was twelve?”

Concern etched Nick’s face and his eyes grew soft. “No, you never did.”

Kathryn curved her mouth to one side and sighed. Then she faced forward, letting go of Nick’s arm and shoving her ungloved hands into her coat pockets. “I can still remember what he said when he left. Lorraine and I were in the living room still figuring out all the gifts Daddy had thrust upon us the day before, when he came down the stairs with his suitcase. He said, ‘ Marion , I promised to stay until Christmas, but Christmas is over. I’m leaving now.’”

“That’s unbelievable.” His arm slid around her shoulders and she didn’t shrug him off as she usually would. Instead she snuggled close to him and rested her face against the softness of his overcoat.

“My mother tried to get him to stay, but he left anyway. He didn’t even say goodbye to me or my sister. I started thinking about that the other day, and I realized that it is because of how my father left us that I hate Christmas.”

“You never hated Christmas.”

She raised her eyes up to his. “I did.” A sob caught in her throat. “I hated Christmas. I tried to join in with everyone, but basically I wanted nothing to do with the day.”

“And that’s changed now?” His deep, observant eyes searched her face. Nick’s compassion for her well-being touched her profoundly and it almost brought the tears to the surface.

Read another excerpt on my website.

About the Author:

I'm Cindy K. Green, author, teacher, maid, mother, wife and accountant. I have degrees in history and education and taught middle school up until about six years ago. Now I stay home and homeschool my two boys. I was born in California and now live in North Carolina out in the country about a ½ hour from Raleigh . I've been married for 15 years. I'm published in several genres: Inspirational, historical, contemporary, young adult and suspense. Those are also the genres I like to read. I spend my (non-existent free time) reading, watching period dramas and doing my best to keep this house one step away from becoming a disaster area.

Available here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Making Plans?


October 10, 2010

Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
-- Proverbs 19:20-21

"Man proposes, heaven disposes." Most of us rush to give advice and make grandiose plans. The Wiseman reminds us that wisdom comes from submitting to instruction for a significant period of time and then, only at the end of long listening does it come. If you are like me, you would do much better to let your plans ripen a bit more in the light of the Lord before you launch into them. I am comforted that James, the wisdom writer of the New Testament, reminds us that God will give that wisdom if we seek it and not doubt. But while we pray for wisdom, let's pray also for patience to listen to the Lord's truth in Scripture so we may recognize wisdom when it comes!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Appearing Professional

Check out Cec Murphy's blog post today---

Beyond the Amateur Look (Part 1 of 6)

Unless you have established a relationship with an editor, you won't send a manuscript without permission.

"We look for a reason to reject manuscripts," an editor-friend said.

I understood what she meant. Editors are overwhelmed and their staffs are smaller these days. More people now try to write, and many of them send multiple submissions for the same article. Instead of getting 300 manuscripts a month as book publishers might have 20 years ago, those same publishers receive 300 a week.

Good editors easily eliminate a high percentage of the manuscripts without reading a word. They need only to look at the layout. "Amateurs won't take time to learn to submit a manuscript properly," another editor complained.

Most publishers provide guidelines on their website. Despite that, a large number of articles and books come to publishers that show the writers haven't looked at the guidelines. Think of it this way: If you send in a manuscript that deviates from the standard look, it's enough to cause an editor to blink. The blink causes the editor to put the pages in the reject basket.

I want to offer a few guidelines to help you get your manuscript read. This will avoid the initial rejection and the editors might actually buy what you've submitted. The guidelines are easy to follow and simple to learn.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 Myths About Copyright

There is an excellent article here on the myths of copyright law.

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

An attempt to answer common myths about copyright seen on the net and cover issues related to copyright and USENET/Internet publication.
- by Brad Templeton

Note that this is an essay about copyright myths. It assumes you know at least what copyright is -- basically the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of that work. If you didn't know that, check out my own brief introduction to copyright for more information. Feel free to link to this document, no need to ask me. Really, NO need to ask.

1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not copyrighted."

This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The default you should assume for other people's works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure.
It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn't post that either.

The correct form for a notice is:

"Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]"

You can use C in a circle © instead of "Copyright" but "(C)" has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. In some countries it may help preserve some of the "moral rights."

Read Brad Templeton's explanation of 9 more myths here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Keep Writing!


September 24, 2010

Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
-- Hebrews 10:35-36

There are some tough times that go with living. They're
inescapable. That's when our confidence in the Lord's salvation and
our relationship with him get tested! It is one thing to sing "it
is well with my soul" at the end of a peel-the-paint and
raise-the-roof worship service, but it is quite another to be able
to sing it when they auction your house off at the courthouse
steps, you are told you have a long-term debilitating illness, or
you lose a child to death. Faith can't take a holiday when we
travel through the suburbs of hell or we'll never find our way out.
So don't throw it away. Persevere! Keep putting one foot in front
of the other trusting that God will give you the strength for the
next step. No matter how hard it is at the moment, don’t give up to
despair. Be like Job or Jeremiah who both argued and complained to
God, but never let go of God. Don't quit. Christ is coming for you
with grace and in glory. His return is just around the bend and
could break into our world at any time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sound Like You?

Thanks to writer friend Loree Lough for this link--agent Steve Laube's piece "Curse of the Writer."

Speaking from an agent’s perspective…
I have more conversations with clients about their feelings of anxiety, apprehension or insecurity than almost any other topic. Almost every writer I have ever worked with as an editor or an agent severely doubts themselves at some point in the process.

Doubts occur in the midst of creation.
Doubts occur when the disappointing royalty statement arrives.
Doubts occur … just because…

It is the curse of the writer. Writing is an introspective process done in a cave…alone. It is natural to have the demons of insecurity whisper their lies. And, in a cave, the whispers echo and build into a cacophony of irrepressible noise.

Read more here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Win Free Books For A Year!

White Rose Publishing's first anniversary is coming up! To celebrate they are offering a chance to win FREE BOOKS FOR A YEAR! To enter the contest, sign up to receive White Rose Publishing's brand new newsletter, Blossoms of the Vine before October 1. Your enrollment will automatically enter you in the contest.

Subscribers will receive news, announcements and special offers from White Rose Publishing.

If you are not lucky enough to win a year's worth of free books (or even if you are) you can still access short free reads on the White Rose Publishing site.

More info and sign-up here.

No Need To Rush

Marilyn Meredith has an interesting post on her blog today--a good reminder not to rush for publication.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Another Look at a Favorite

When an American patriot of the Revolution inherits his grandfather’s estate in faraway England, he inherits more than an isolated manor house. He discovers Juleah’s love and a plot that leads to kidnapping, murder, and betrayal, in this stirring tale of fidelity and forgiveness. ~

Instead of answering interview questions, I’m commenting on some quotes from reviewers to give my readers a deeper glimpse into the storyline in Surrender the Wind.

* * *

From author Marylu Tyndall ~ Ms. Gerlach's historic research is evident throughout the story, and her attention to detail and literary descriptions of scenes placed me right in the middle of the action.

If a writer wishes to write a historical novel, research is a vital, essential part of developing a great story. When I began Surrender the Wind, I read numerous accountants of the Battle of Yorktown where the book opens in the prologue. I researched uniforms, dress, weaponry, food, and culture.

As the book moves forward into Chapter 1, the reader is taken to England, to a crumbling manor house in Devonshire. The historical research from this point on had to be in the details. I wanted my reader to see in their mind the scene, outdoors and indoors. Everything from a tallow candle in the socket of a brass candlestick, to the blue and white pitcher and bowl on the heroine’s washing table, adds strong visual imagery. My editor told me once that a place can become a character in a book. I feel that is true for Ten Width Manor. It's walls hold secrets of lives past and present in the story. Because it is the ancestral home of the Braxtons, Ten Width has a stronghold on those living in it.

Then there are the historical cultural markings in a book that make up the characters. Dress. Etiquette. Traditional family life. I studied 18th century wills and marriage customs, the fashions of the period, and how the classes interacted with each other.

* * *

From author Linda Clare ~ The American Revolutionary period comes to life as Gerlach explores themes of patriotism with a faith element.

In America today there is a resurgence of patriotism. We are returning to our roots, our Constitution, and faith. In the 18th century faith played a major role in the lives of people in both the Colonies and United Kingdom. In Surrender the Wind, I bring faith into the story as a lifestyle. It is delicately woven into the characters' personalities. One thing I did not want to do is write a ‘religious novel’. My goal was to write a novel where readers would become immersed into the characters by relating to the struggles they faced which bring about spiritual breakthroughs.

* * *

From Annette Temple ~ A Well-Watered Garden Blog' This book is one of the most romantic books I've ever read. The passion and love that is poetically described between Seth and Juleah was rousing.

I am so grateful to Annette for this comment. She helped me realize that I achieved my goal. Most of us ladies want a bit of romance in our stories, don’t we? We want a hero that is tough with the world, but tender with his lady. And a heroine that is strong in the face of tribulation, but swept away by the love of a man. Romance in a novel, in my opinion, is the most intriguing when what is written is just enough to leave the rest up to the reader’s imagination. In Christian fiction a writer brings out romance deftly, love that goes beyond the material, but deeper into the heart and spirit of the characters.

I’ll close here with a romantic excerpt from Surrender the Wind . It is Seth and Juleah’s wedding night. I hope you will consider reading my novel, and keep an eye out for the release of book 1 in a new series, Daughters of the Potomac, coming out in May, 2012, entitled ‘Before the Scarlet Dawn’.

* * * * * *

In his bedchamber, which they now shared, Juleah slipped on her silk nightdress. Thin white ribbons laced the front. She sat at the dressing table brushing her hair. Tinted with the golden splendor of the candles, she smoothed it over her shoulder and ran her fingers down its length. Excitement filled her, tripped over her skin along with desire. She glanced around the room. How masculine it appeared. A fresh coat of paint would improve its appearance, and white curtains over the windows would bring it warmth and light.

She set the candlestick on the table next to their bed. The brass clock on the mantelpiece chimed out the hour. She paused to listen to the musical sound it made, while she pulled down the coverlet. The door drifted open. Seth came inside, shut it, and proceeded to pull off his waistcoat.

“Ah, have you seen the moon?” She opened the drapes wide to let the moonlight pour in. It bathed the room soft blue. “Is it not lovely, Seth?”

He joined her at the window. Wrapping his arms around his wife’s waist, he stood close behind her. His breath brushed against her neck and she sighed.

He whispered in her ear. “Doubt thou the stars are fire. Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar. But never doubt I love.”

It pleased her that he, a Virginian rebel, had memorized the beauty of Shakespeare’s verses. Melting with longing, she turned to him. He took her into his arms. She reached up and pushed back a lock of hair that fell over his brow. “I will never doubt your love, not for anything in the world.”

He brought his lips to hers and she strained against him. Love rose within each heart. He lifted her, and her feet dangled above the floor. Holding her, he kissed her, turned with Juleah toward their bed, and took his bride away from the window.

* * * * * *

Read Chapter One:

Rita’s Website:

Surrender the Wind is available wherever books are sold. Kindle additions available from

Cokesbury Bookstore is having an amazing sale.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hearts Surrender

Kiara Jordan is a sophisticated modernista, but beneath an engaging personality and super-model looks, her heart hungers, and she longs for deeper meaning in her life.

Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church ; he's adjusting to life on his own following the death of his wife and copes by keeping as busy with parish life and mission work as he can.

A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.

After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another…forever?

Enter to Win!!
At the end of her blog tour, Marianne is giving away three special prizes:

1. A $10 gift certificate to White Rose Publishing
2. A $10 gift certificate to
3. An autographed, print edition of her new release, Hearts Surrender

Entering is simple: Leave a comment – or several comments as you track her progress on the tour (Marianne and her blog hosts will get the word out and let you know where she’ll be!). Each comment gives you a chance to win!

On September 30th, she’ll randomly select three comments from visitors at any of the blogs she’s visited, and award them the prizes!

Join in the fun as Marianne lets the world know about Hearts Surrender!


“I’ve been the wallflower who bloomed. But I’ve never believed in myself enough to give up the fancy trappings. I've clung to vanity-centered ideals for too long, I suppose. I’ve worked hard to fit in, and finally I succeeded. Problem is, that kind of success is a double-edged sword. That pathway, once you start to follow it, is hard to leave.”

In an unexpected, graceful motion, Ken caught her swing by the chains. He held her in place, suspended backward, with nothing but a cushion of air between them. All at once Kiara went dizzy, tempted once more by that full, supple mouth, and the satiny-looking fall of his thick brown hair. He was close enough to touch. In this moment, she wanted nothing more than to do just that.

“Some time – at some point – I’d like to hear more about that, Kiara. I’d like know how you became the woman you are.”

“I’d bore you to tears. It’s nothing extraordinary.”

“All present evidence to the contrary.” He set her gliding once again and Kiara’s stomach performed a sparkling fall-away. She delighted in his words but forced herself to brush them aside before they could take root and sway her into believing he saw richness to her spirit. After all, it was part of Ken’s persona to be gracious and encouraging.

He continued, “You're moving forward in directions that are not only admirable, but eye-opening – not just for you, most likely, but to everyone who's part of your life. Don't hold to what other people see, or expect of you, Kiara. Be who you are. And while you're at it, create the best version of yourself you can imagine. After all, the only question, with the only relevance that matters, is this: Who are you now?"

When she sailed back his way, he caught the chains of her swing once again and whispered in her ear, "I believe in you."

With that, he released her on a push, sending Kiara on another dizzying spin of sensation. He walked away, retracing his steps up the path to the cabins and mess hall. She swung to a stop then sat in silence for long moments after he left, absorbing, shivering in a way that had nothing at all to do with the cool of the encroaching night.

Purchase Here

Available in Print and Electronic Formats - $4.99 Digital / $11.99 Trade-Size Paperback

The Story Behind the Story

Talk about a risk…

There I was…well, no. I take that back. There they were, my characters I mean, Ken and Kiara, all but leaving me sleepless as they fed me their story. I tried to silence them. Had to silence them. Really. After all, I couldn’t tell their story unless Collin Edwards and Daveny Montgomery had their shot first!

Let me fill in the blanks for you. I was writing furiously on a submission to White Rose Publishing for their Hearts Crossing contest. Collin and Daveny simply filled up the pages and I fell in love with them completely – but hey, this was a contest. Chances of winning were slim to none when you consider how many talented authors would be participating. Still, I had to try. So, I finished off this heart-warming novella and sent it in.

That’s when the weirdest thing happened. Two of the secondary characters from Hearts Crossing stepped to center stage and threw me into the midst of a story that stole my entire focus. It centered around the modernista versus the clergyman. The gorgeous, vivacious woman versus the quiet, yet completely charismatic missionary. When I wrote this story, the scenes, the dialogue, the characterization, poured out of me like water.

One small problem, though. What about the prequel? What about Daveny and Collin’s story? Ken and Kiara stand just great on their own, but how would I be able to convince White Rose to contract Hearts Surrender if Hearts Crossing didn’t win their interest? Ordinarily that would have stopped my writing angel like a freight train. Not this time, though. The story needed to be told.

I knew I was setting myself up for a letdown, but I had to try, and I figured if I didn’t win the contest, I might still be able to work out details and logistics at a later point. So on I went…or in this case, wrote.

How good is God’s providence and provision? I ended up winning the Hearts Crossing contest! Furthermore, when I told my editor I had a sequel about ready for review, she seemed eager to see it! The rest, as they say, is history. I ended up contracting Hearts Surrender to White Rose Publishing, and beyond that, I have been contracted to create an series of books based around Woodland Church, home of the characters you met in Hearts Crossing, and continue to meet in Hearts Surrender…in fact, Ken Lucerne, the hero of Hearts Surrender, is its pastor. Books 3 and 4 of the series are Hearts Communion and Hearts Key, and they’ll be coming soon from White Rose Publishing!

Thanks for letting me share my story, and excitement about the release of Hearts Surrender! I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another Chance To Win

Many thanks to the Inspirational Ebook Blog for hosting me this week! Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win "Prodigal" or another featured title.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Free Novella!

The judicial system may have cleared Kate Carlson, but those she thought loved her still doubt her innocence. Finding strength in her faith, she hopes a fresh start in glorious Colorado will restore peace and serenity to her broken heart. When history repeats itself, will her new friends stand by or desert her?

Robbie Sutherland’s secret threatens to tear him apart, so he’s learned not to rely on God for anything. Kate may appear sweet and innocent, but he’s been fooled before.

Either her selfless love will help him find forgiveness, or his anger and bitterness will destroy their relationship and suffocate him forever.

How can Kate convince Robbie her love is real and, like God’s love, will endure no matter what?


Elizabeth Pina is an award-winning author. Her White Rose Title, Learning to Let Go,won the 2010 International Readers Choice Contest. Now, Elizabeth brings us a touching story of love, redemption and second chances--and it's available FREE. Just join our White Rose Publishing Readers' Group for exclusive access. Cross My Heart will be serialized beginning 1 October 2010.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Who Supports You?


August 23, 2010

When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported
me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy
to my soul.
-- Psalm 94:18-19

We are amazed at the vastness of God's reach, the awesome
breadth of his power, and the glorious sweep of his majesty. An
additional truth, incredible as it may seem, is God's personal
nearness to us. He chooses to know us and be actively involved in
the trials and triumphs we face each day. How will today, or
tomorrow, be different because you are aware of his presence and
companionship? What difference does it make to know he supports you
when your foot slips or that his consolation is nearby when anxiety

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Heading Home"

Wow. That's my reaction upon reading John Robinson's thriller, Heading Home. This is an end-times story that will grab your attention and keep you turning pages. The characters come alive as the exciting events unfold. After all--when every Christian hears a message they believe is from God, what could go wrong?

When every Christian simultaneously receives a shattering word from God, revealing that time as we know it is over, the world is thrown into stark panic. In the midst of heartbreak and hope, two old friends, hardened combat veterans from the closing days of the Vietnam War, set out on a suspenseful quest to redeem that time.

John Robinson has been married thirty-seven years to the finest woman on the planet, his wife Barb. The father of two grown sons and grandfather of two, he’s also the retired owner of a successful financial planning firm. John hopes to go into full-time writing someday; as the author of the popular Joe Box suspense series, he’s well on his way. He’s made some good friends in the publishing world, including writers Karen Ball, Brandilyn Collins, Alton Gansky, and Christy-award winner James Scott Bell, and all of them greatly—and graciously—shared their talents in helping John hone his craft. In addition to his writing John is a much in demand speaker and teacher, having taught fiction tracks at the Glorieta Christian Writers conference just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. He’s also acquisitions editor for Narrow Road Press, the even “edgier” imprint of Sheaf House Publishers.

The first title in his Joe Box series, Until the Last Dog Dies, was published by RiverOak Publishing in a three-book deal, which also included the hard-hitting When Skylarks Fall and To Skin a Cat. All three works received outstanding reviews. With the release of his apocalypse-with-a-twist thriller Heading Home (Sheaf House Publishers, August 2010), his mind-bending science fiction novel The Radiance (Narrow Road Press, August 2011), and the first of his new soldier of fortune Mac Ryan series, Relentless (Narrow Road Press, August 2012), John stands ready to continue to deliver more nail-biting, heart-stopping suspense.


(Every Christian on earth has been told Jesus is returning for his people sometime in the next seven days. In this scene the two main characters, company CEO Nick Castle, and CT Barnes, his best friend and head of security, are planning strategy on how they can locate the men they served with in Vietnam.)


Nick looked at his watch. Again. Nearly eleven A.M. Manny had sure called it right. Over two hours, and still nothing. CT had finished up with his friend quite a while back. Getting Social Security records, other than your own, was just a wee bit illegal, and CT’s friend said he would do what he could. But it would still take some time.

To pass that time Nick was finishing the draft of a memo to all the company employees. For those who weren't Christians, and so would miss the rapture, existence here on earth would go on for seven more years. And for at least the first little bit of that time life would be fairly normal. So he was, of all things, making sure those folks would get paid next week. After that they were on their own. Plus he couldn't be certain that there would even be a Castle Industries a week from now. Who knew? His vice-president of operations, Gary Kilgallen, was a Christian, so he’d be gone. As would the three assistant vice-presidents. And the treasurer. And the chief legal counsel. Come to think of it, there weren’t any officers of the company—except for the comptroller—that weren't Christians. So what should he do? Put an ad in the trade journals?


He shook his head.

“What?” CT asked. He was in one of the visitor’s chairs facing Nick’s desk, doing his own paperwork.

“This.” Nick threw his pen down on top of the memo. “Is this insane or what? I keep having to tell myself that it’s real, that we aren’t just going down to the Smokies and will be back next week.” He shook his head. “In less than a hundred and fifty-six hours we’re going to be in heaven. Can you believe it?” His chuckle was dry. “This is really, really hard to get my head around.”

“Tell me about it. You know Billy Montgomery, that kid I hired as my assistant last year?” Nick did, of course.

“He really took off fast,” CT said. “I’m proud of him. With just a little more trainin’, I think Billy could run Security as well as I can.” The big man shook his head. “Well, he ain’t gonna get it. The job’s his in less than seven days, ready or not.” CT scratched at his chin. “Thing is, I’ve witnessed to that boy ‘til I’m hoarse. No dice. The kid’s good, but cocky. Says he’s an agnostic.” He started back on his paperwork. “In less than a week he’s gonna find out if he’s a good one.”

Nick was about to reply when the phone rang. He snatched it up before the first ring was done. “Hello, Manny?”

Alverez laughed. “How did you know it was me? Couldn’t it have been a business call?”

Nick leaned back in his chair. “I’m not taking any today. My staff has the day off.” He winked at CT. “So, anything?” He switched the speaker on so they both could hear.

“Okay, first things first. I talked to Patrice, about you wanting to meet with Jack. It took some convincing; she watches him like a mother hen. But she finally said okay. I’ll give her a call and set it up.”

“All right!” CT said.

“Hey, who’s that with you?” Suspicion again.

“One of the good guys,” Nick answered. “Say hello to CT Barnes, another old doorgunner. He was with us that day.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Barnes. Okay, let’s see, next, next . . . Okay, Franklin Edgar Malone. Present address 249 Boyle Street, Newark, New Jersey. No phone.”

“Does your information show how he’s doing?” Nick asked.

“No, just the address and the fact he’s drawing both SSI and vet disability. That’s how I found him.”

“Huh. Jersey,” CT grunted. “Well, I thought he sounded like he was from New York. Close, though, right across the river.”

“Have you ever been to Newark, Mr. Barnes?” Alverez asked.

“No, just knifed a guy from there once, that’s all. It was back in my rowdy days.”

There was a pause. “Uhh . . . okay. Next. Trevor Ames. Now this one took a bit of doing. I called the London Observer. Over there it’s already afternoon and on the phone the place sounded like it was coming down in pieces. Anyway, I finally got some kid to tell me that last’s night’s, well, message, was big news, and he said he’d try to help me if he could. I had him access their system, and it turns out that Ames does still live right outside of London.”

“Is he working for them now?” Nick asked.

“No. According to what they have, the Navy flew Ames to Bethesda Hospital in Maryland the day after he’d been brought aboard the Kitty Hawk. Bethesda had him for a week, until his paper paid to fly him home. He was released from his contract with them under their medical retirement clause. He draws a small pension and that’s about it.”

“Address and phone?”

“Twelve Harrowgate Lane, South Essex, London. No phone.”

CT shook his head in disgust. “No phone. Two for two. Looks like Nicky and me are gonna rack up a whole bunch of frequent flyer miles we’re never gonna get to use.”

“And right here’s where I ran out of luck,” the sergeant said. “I accessed both SSI and the VA, and I found seventeen Dooleys, all in the right age group. Eight served in Vietnam, the rest in other places. Of the seventeen, none of the guys had been burned. Gunshots, landmines, punji sticks, you name it. No burns, though, and none of them had ever set foot on the Kitty Hawk.”

“So where does that leave us?”

“You tell me,” Alverez snorted. “Even Walter Reed has no records of him. I have one trick left, but again, this’ll take some time. How old do you figure Dooley was when you knew him?”

The two men looked at each other, shrugging.

“I don’t know,” Nick answered. “It was hard to tell with him. He looked like a kid, just a farm kid. I know he was from the south . . . I don’t know, what do you think, CT, maybe seventeen, eighteen?”

“I turned twenty when I was there, Nick.”

“Yeah, and I turned twenty the day I left the MASH. The staff made me a little cake to take with me. And I know Dooley was younger than us, so I would say yeah, maybe eighteen.”

“All right then,” Alverez said briskly. “Here’s what I plan to do. I’m going to access the records of all Army inductees with the last name of Dooley and having birthdates ranging from 1 January 1955 to 31 December 1956. I’ll then narrow the search to those from the southern states who were sent to Vietnam.” The sergeant paused. “You know this is going to take a while, gents.”

“Maybe I’m a bit slow, Manny,” CT said, “but that gets us Dooley when he went in. It doesn’t tell us where he went when he got out.”

“That’s because you don’t understand the southern mind, Mr. Barnes. You’re from where?”

“Gary, Indiana. So?”

“So,” Alverez replied, “you were born in Gary, Indiana, but you’re living in Cincinnati. As a rule these southern boys tend to go back home when they leave Uncle Sam’s employment. So figure if, say, Muskrat, Arkansas, sent Dooley to Vietnam, and he ended up in your unit, he probably returned to Muskrat or close to it when he left.”

“Sounds like a generalization to me,” CT growled.

“Mr. Barnes,” Alvarez shot back with some heat, “I’m doing what I can.”

“And we appreciate it,” Nick jumped in. He glanced at CT, shaking his head. “We really do.”

“Okay.” The sergeant sounded somewhat mollified. “I’ll be in touch.”

They hung up, and Nick looked over at his friend. “Almost blew the deal, there. We really don’t need to be antagonizing this guy. He’s just trying to help.”

CT sighed. “Yeah. Sorry. I guess I’m gettin’ antsy. I need to get out of here for a while, catch some rays.”

“Do that. Go up on the roof. I’ll stay here and wait for Manny’s call.”

He sighed again, briskly scratching his head. “Naw, man, I’ll wait, too. Don’t mind me, I was just poppin’ off.” Then he scowled. “It’s just that I’m not lookin’ forward to flyin’ clear over to England and back, I’ll tell ya that for free.”

“Want to stay here in Cincy?” Nick asked. “Go over your paperwork? Check timesheets?” He went on with a grin, “Watch cartoons? Tell you what, you stay here and I’ll bring you back a nice present.”

CT faked a punch at Nick’s head. “Jerk. No, I’m in it till we win it. ‘Whither thou goest, I will go,’ and all that.”

“Why CT Barnes!” Nick fluttered his eyes. “Sarah was right. You are a sweet thang!”

This time he barely slipped the punch.

Order your copy here.

New Fiction

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Malacca Conspiracy
Zondervan (June 4, 2010)

Don Brown


DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES. a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. In 2003, Don began writing Treason, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES.

Paying no homage to political correctness, DON BROWN’S writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.

In November of 2009, four years after it was released, and in the wake of Fort Hood, TREASON rocketed to the top-selling in the nation on the bestseller list for fiction, and remained there for over a week. On Thanksgiving Day of 2009, all four of Don’s novels were ranked in the top 5 on the Amazon bestseller list for fiction!

DON BROWN graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.

During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.


A rogue Indonesian general and his army of terrorists attack oil tankers in the Strait of Malacca in order to profit from oil futures and buy nuclear weapons to establish an Islamic superpower.

Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian race against the odds and a 24-hour deadline before nuclear attacks hit the United States. Departing from the sea of books barely better than soap opera romance and using the frantic pacing of suspense fiction, Brown glides flawlessly among global hotspots of terrorism--including the United States--and the book's principal settings in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

The President of the United States orders ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet towards the Malacca Straits to reassert control over the sea lanes, but with time quickly ticking away, will they arrive in time for Zack and Diane to survive this dangerous and final high-stakes drama of life and death?

Sign up for the contest above! And if you would like to read the first chapter of Malacca Conspiracy, go HERE.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I wanted to post a note to anyone who left comments on my blog over the past few months--you didn't see them because I didn't realize I had turned on comment moderation! But thanks for taking the time to post and I've read them all now : )


August 13, 2010

We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good
works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
-- Ephesians 2:10

The Psalmist reminded us that we are fearfully and wonderfully
made and God has something definite planned for us to do while we
are here. We display his craftsmanship and skill when we
intentionally live for him and not like the rest of the world.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Paper or plastic?

Interesting post over at White Roses In Bloom--
Friday, August 6, 2010
Waste Not, Want Not

This morning God knocked on my heart and revealed how wasteful I've been lately. I was brushing my teeth when my gaze followed the trail of running water. Immediately I turned off the faucet and finished brushing before I turned on the water to rinse my brush. I don't have cups in my bathroom since I use my hands to catch the water for that purpose. Again, a big waste. And, I'd been grumbling about receiving the highest water bill ever this month.

Read how the author, Carol Ann Erhardt, ties her words to e-books.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Staying Mentally Fit: Writers and Depression

I've posted this before, and it was published by Spirit Led Writer, but I've reposted it since I've heard several friends saying they feel blue lately.

Writers seem to live in states of anticipation and dejection, interspersed with small moments of happiness. It’s the whole submit, rejection or acceptance cycle the publishing world casts on us and we accept, along with the title of “writer” and the reality of such a solitary pursuit.

It’s normal to be down for a day or two after a rejection or a hard-drive crash, but what about the writers who don’t seem to bounce back? Who lose their creative edge? Who just want to sleep? There are many aspects of mental health, but I want to focus on depression because it is so common and seems to affect so many of us. Depression is considered a “stress related disease” and varies from mild cases of “the blues” to full-blown, clinical depression. I was amazed at the number of writers who responded to my questions about their experiences. Both Christian and non-Christian writers responded, reminding me that Christians are as subject to bouts of sadness as anyone else. Just because we have hope, we don’t necessarily have happiness.

“Sadness is a big part of life and an integral part of joy. The Scriptures deal much more with the concept of joy than of happiness. Joy encompasses everything on our journey - the good and the bad. Joy is being one with Christ, experiencing his sufferings and participating in his glory and goodness.” --JL Young

Depression affects writers and their creativity in a variety of ways. I was surprised by the number of writers who revealed that negative feelings actually had a positive impact on their writing. E.A. Blackwell reports: “Maybe this is strange, but I actually find that being depressed or upset usually fuels my writing. There is, however, a line between ‘depressed and writing well’ and ‘depressed and wanting to throw oneself off a bridge.’ The latter is obviously counterproductive.” Other writers explain that some of their best scenes come from feelings of angst or despair, and the writing becomes therapeutic.

But for every writer who uses their discomfort to aid their work, there are two who feel apathetic, uninterested in working during these times. They find themselves unable to write, or if they do the work lacks emotion. Every project feels like a “mammoth task” looming on the horizon, and their prayer life suffers as well.

If you are experiencing blue feelings or ‘bouts of funk,’ as one writer described, home relaxation and pampering techniques might work. Try a new form of exercise, spend time outdoors, watch your diet, get a massage, get more sleep, visit a new church, pray in a new place, read something new, take up golf or martial arts, try aromatherapy –anything to add interest to your regular routine.

Writer Kevin Hill recommends the following:
“Learn to be thankful to God. At first force yourself to thank God out loud for at least 10 things everyday. Read the uplifting psalms out loud (Faith comes from hearing and hearing the word of God!) and when you need to "Encourage your soul." There may be time when there is no one else to encourage you. Force your self to pray and focus totally on Jesus Christ, not your problems.

Go and find someone more depressed than you and pray for them, encourage them and help them. This is hard to do but well worth it. God often sorts you out as you minister to another person. Get rid of the fairy tale notion that being a Christian is all wonderful and a bed of roses. There will be pains and troubles but don’t lose heart because Jesus has overcome the world!”

What if These Things Don’t Work?

So how does one know when it’s time to worry and seek help? If you lose interest in socializing and isolate yourself, if your sleeping patterns change or you wake early for no reason, you lose your ability to concentrate or focus, you experience feelings of hopelessness or feel a need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, it’s time to seek help. Some writers put off treatment over fears that they will lose their creativity, especially if medication is recommended. Unfortunately they often become more depressed and don’t write anyway.

So please, if you believe you are facing more than ‘the blues,’ seek help and seek God—don’t suffer in silence.

Nikki Hootman summed it up well: ”How do I get over it? I don't. It's reality. What I do is learn to trust in God. I don't know everything, and I'm not big enough that I will ever understand the whys of the world. But as God asked Job, was he there when the world began? Was I? No. I turn to the bible and I take comfort in the fact that others have asked the same hard questions. . . Then when I get frustrated and depressed I can think, ‘Maybe I can't save the world, but I've done what I can. And I know the person who CAN save the world-- and already has.’”

The symptoms
 Can't make decisions
 Waking in the early morning
 Wanting to cry
 Lack of energy
 Loss of appetite
 Drinking too much
 Eating too much
 Loss of interest in sex
 Not caring about your appearance
 Becoming withdrawn
 Feeling you can't be bothered
 Suffering from poor self esteem
 Can't concentrate
 Lack of self confidence
 Feeling isolated or lonely
 Lacking purpose in your life

Links of Interest:

Writers and Depression:

Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression (Hardcover)
by Nell Casey (Editor)

IVillageDepression & Bipolar Center|hco|tdepression|em|PPC5B9C|s&OVRAW=writers%20and%20depression&OVKEY=and%20depression&OVMTC=advanced&OVADID=4971998511&OVKWID=21604395511

Creativity and Depression

Famous Writers with Bipolar Disorders

writers and Depression

Understanding depression and its many causes

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Theology Boot Camp

Attention! [pronounced Ahhh-Tennn-Shun] The upcoming Boot Camp is all about being grounded in the major training topics of the Christian faith. This is done in one day on Saturday, July 31st from 9am-3pm. We promise you will learn things you wish you would have known 10 years ago. Boot Camp is geared for both teenagers new to the faith and seasoned citizens who have faithfully read the Bible every day for decades. Both will be enriched as we open up the Scriptures, learning about the foundations of the faith. If you have a pulse this event is for you. You will have a great time while your heart and mind are stretched to the glory of God.

Online and onsite seating available.

C. Michael Patton, Th.M. and Tim Kimberley, Th.M. will be our teachers for this Boot Camp.

Major Training Topics include: the Trinity; Scripture; the Person of Christ and Mankind

Find out more Enroll here:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Real Goal


July 28, 2010

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 3:14

The way to walk a tightrope is to keep one's sight on the goal, looking neither down to the ground nor over our shoulder at what is behind. The way to walk with Jesus is to keep our eye on the goal, his victory waiting for us when he returns, not on the ground (our
failures) and not what is behind (our accomplishments). The goal of the Christian walk is to keep walking toward Jesus until we walk with him in heaven.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gotta Have It?

When his publisher offered me a copy of "Gotta Have It!" I felt it sounded like an interesting read. Dr. Jantz's new book has the subtitle, "Freedom from Wanting Everything, Right Here, Right Now." Readers will discover why they crave excessities, learn how to judge their importance and how God can help let go of them. With exercises and Biblical advice, it's a guide I recommend for living in the 21st century.

From the book--

"His timing can be perplexing and even arbitrary. If I understand, feel and experience my need to be so immediate, I can be left to wonder, why doesn't God?"

"When you wait on an excessity, there is no benefit. When you wait on God, however, you realize a host of benefits."

From Publishers Weekly
Jantz (Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders), founder of the Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Seattle, tackles a topic that deals with an inner impulse that every man, woman, and child will understand and relate to. Jantz skillfully handles addictions nd, abuses of every type as he challenges readers to admit they spend far too much time trying to get what they want so that they have no energy left for what they need. The author dissects the power of wants by closely examining deepest human needs for comfort, reassurance, security, validation, and control; he contrasts the human "gotta have it" impulse with the gifts God provides: patience, endurance, contentment, wisdom, hope, help, and even sometimes answers, noting how these things truly satisfy the soul. Strong on biblical principles for handling life's challenges, Jantz offers an insightful and encouraging resource for any person of faith with any sort of tendency toward excess, which could mean just about anyone. This is a timely and nerve-exposing primer of American life today.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the book:
Gotta Have It! is every grown-up’s guide for taming the inner two-year-old. Too many people spend so much time trying to get what they want that they have no energy left to get what they need. Dr. Gregg Jantz calls this phenomenon excessity—when excess becomes a “necessity.” Excessities—whether they are activities, behaviors, or objects—promise protection in a difficult world. Yet they never satisfy.
In Gotta Have It!, readers are invited to discover the truth about themselves that is hiding behind their secret desires. With real-life stories and guided sections for self-reflection, Gotta Have It will help readers see life as never before—and delight in the way God longs to fulfill true needs.

From the author's site:

Twenty-five years ago, eating disorder specialist Dr. Gregg Jantz had a vision of Hope. Trained in counseling, he looked at the treatment options available and realized something was missing. In all areas of need – from eating disorders to depression – hurting people went to a doctor, a psychiatrist, a counselor, and a pastor, going from place to place looking for Hope, help and healing from their pain. At each junction, they received help for a piece of the puzzle, but that puzzle often remained unsolved.
Instead of settling for fractured care, Dr. Jantz created The Center, known as "a place of hope". – leaders in whole-person care where people find comprehensive, coordinated care from a treatment team using a whole-person model “inspired healthcare” –addressing medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual factors involved in recovery.

Available now from David C. Cook.