Sunday, October 31, 2010

Inspiring You Challange - The Final Day

If you've tried to reach me and landed at, please forgive, I'm trying to make some changes here... I should know not to start any remodeling until after the guests leave...

Today is the last day of the challenge, so everyone who participated, please confirm were you are with your goal...

My challenge was to start a new book. Goal Accomplished. Never mind that Chapter One looks horrendous. A lot of revisions needed her.  My challenge also included to have the rough draft completed by October 31st.
Ouch! Goal Not Met.

I did learn that I did not have a good enough handle on my characters. I also had not done enough research on the issues I plan to address through these characters. It seems I wanted to write about people I didn't know all that well. Back to the drawing board....

Here are some of your stated Challenges:

~Dianna - wanted to get through revisions on her completed book as much as possible.
~Lindi - wanted to write 1,000 words a day.
~Rebecca - wanted to have 50,000 words of new text written by today.
~Mindy - wanted to have 12, 000 words written for the month.
~Cindy - wanted to have 45,000 words written by the end of the month. (I think Cindy met her goal!!!)
~Eva - is currently working on revisions to a completed book.
~Sherrie - was working to mail out a proposal and looking to begin a new book.

Check In time ladies... How have you done?  If you accomplished your goal, a gift card will be awarded to you, for thanks in helping me remain accountable. For those of us who have not reached our goal, never fear, in Scarlett O'Hara's words, "Tomorrow is another day..." 

I am going to continue to post progress on my blog as much as possible. I invite you to return and keep me updated on your own progress. Thanks to all who have participated!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Inspiring You: Days 20, 21, 22

Hi All!  We've already had one person meet their goal, so I know she will be getting a gift card from me for participating! How about the rest of you. Dianna and I haven't done so great, but I think part of this challenge is remaining accountable no matter the progress. This is something I need help with because I am the queen of deciding not to follow through with a goal.

Maybe writing is such a passion, I'll learn to change my ways through this avenue.

Nothing more written since I checked in with you all on Sunday. Last night, Author Amy Wallace, spoke at our local chapter meeting (ACFW's WORD). I was certainly inspired by her discussion on story structure, character voice, and character lies.

I had never thought about my character in this manner. Do you know what I mean? Is your character believing a lie about themselves? You may be wondering, what is a lie?

Your character may believe, "I'm helpless," yet they find themselves in a situation where they must fight their way out, or fight to save someone else. Think about your character for a moment. If he/she were in this life threatening situation, but in their mind they believed "I'm helpless" how would that affect how they approach the situation? They can't avoid the situation - They have to face this life-threatening event - Imagine how their inner "lie" about their self will up the stakes, up the conflict and trigger a tougher motivation for them. Imagine how sweet the resolution could be if they are able to face the "lie" and even overcome it.

Is this approach to thinking of your character's situation new to you or is this something you are already doing? If my past characters had any lies about themselves, I don't think I approached it in this manner. It has put a new spin on my characters and I'm rethinking my current story. I hope this was the spark I needed to dig in deep to this new story. Now, it's your turn...

A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Season of Miracles
Kregel Publications; Reprint edition (August 3, 2010)
Rusty Whitener


Rusty Whitener is a novelist, screenwriter, and actor. His first screenplay, Touched, won second place at the 2009 Kairos Prize at the Los Angeles Movieguide Awards and first place at the Gideon film festival. That screenplay soon became A Season of Miracles. The movie version of this book is now in production with Elevating Entertainment. Find out more at and Videos and book club discussion questions are also available at


“A Season of Miracles is a must read for anyone who has ever played youth baseball. I read the book, and was reacquainted with my childhood. In the midst of an enjoyable read that took me down memory lane was a touching, challenging and beautiful story about how God can use the unlikeliest among us to draw us to Him.”—Matt Diaz, outfielder, Atlanta Braves
“Baseball, inspiration and childhood memories—a great combination. I couldn’t put it down!”—Richard Sterban, bass singer for The Oak Ridge Boys
“Rusty Whitener weaves a deft tale of young friendship and the curve balls of faith, the whole story seasoned with sunshine and the leathery scent of baseball gloves!”—Ray Blackston, author of Flabbergasted
A Season of Miracles is a heartwarming all American story of small town boys and Little League baseball. You’ll be cheering this captivating bunch of characters all the way home both in their game of baseball and the bigger game of life.”—Ann Gabhart, award-winning author of The Outsider


Looking back on the 1971 Little League season, Zack Ross relives the summer that changed his life…

Gunning for the championship is all that matters until twelve-year-old Zack meets Rafer, a boy whose differences make him an outcast but whose abilities on the baseball field make him the key to victory.

Admired for his contribution to the team, Rafer turns everyone’s expectations upside down, bestowing a gift to Zack and his teammates that forces them to think—is there more to life than winning or losing? And what is this thing called grace?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Season of Miracles, go HERE.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lydia's Charm by Wanda E. Brunstetter

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lydia's Charm
Barbour Books (September 1, 2010)
Wanda E. Brunstetter


A Note From Wanda:

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. When I was in the second grade, I wrote my first poem about a moth. Luckily, I received encouragement from my teacher. During my teen years, I wrote skits that my church teen group performed during special holidays.

It wasn’t until 1980, that I took a course on writing for children and teenagers. I became serious about a career as an author. Soon after that, I began to write stories, articles, poems, and devotionals, which appeared in a variety of Christian publications. Later, I had 5 books of puppet/ventriloquist scripts published. *These books are currently available by contacting me. (

My first novel was released by Barbour Publishing’s book club, Heartsong Presents, in Dec. 1997. I have now written nearly fifty books, with over 4 million books in print. Many of the novels I've written are Amish-themed.


Widowed and jobless, Lydia King moves her son and herself to Charm, Ohio, to be close to her mother and help with her grandfather. Menno Troyer, a furniture store owner, is also recently widowed and the father of four energetic boys.

Levi Stutzman, another newcomer to the area, is the only one in his family not handicapped by dwarfism and has dedicated his life to caring for them. As fall colors the countryside, will anonymous gifts left for Lydia bring her hope for a new life and romance, or will another tragedy flood her with infinite despair?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Lydia's Charm, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Inspiring You Days 17, 18, 19

Checking In late...

Writing Done on Friday - Day 17 of this challenge - ZIP, ZILCH, NADA... but I did clean the house... and usually I become creative while cleaning... Not so today.

Writing Done on Saturday - Day 18 of challenge - ZIP

... however, I did make a really tasty banana pudding. I've posted the resume on FAITH, where I blogged today.

... and this brings us to Writing Done on Sunday - Day 19 of challenge - ZIP... and I can't count the words for the FAITH blog post, dog-gone it!

I'm so excited to read the comments of how far everyone has come! Keep it up, obviously I need a little inspiration...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inspiring You Days 15 & 16

Yesterday I woke up and wrote. I tweaked what I'd started on my first chapters and had to cringe at how bad the writing was. Thank the Lord for revisions!

This morning I woke up and made a layered dip for the food day we're having at work. It felt strange getting up and heading to the kitchen to make something edible, beyond coffee. Then, on to the story...

But I'm having issues with this WIP. I love the story, of course. It's just I haven't been able to get a good handle on it yet. I also reworked my GMC chart yesterday. I can feel a tug where the story is concerned. A tug to move forward but also a tug in the other direction. When I feel this way, I do tend to go back to the GMC Chart to see if my goals and motivations are strong enough and if they work with the conflict.

On a positive note, hop on over to the FAITH Blog, where Missy Tippens is talking about dreams. She's also giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. Leave a comment to put your name in the hat AND tell her about what your dream is.

My current word count is 4,615. Not much improvement, but I am plugging forward. We have 10 days left in our challenge. Some of you are really close to achieving your stated goal. I can't wait to relinquish prizes to those who have met the goal they stated when we started this challenge.

Okay, check in time, how are you doing?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Inspiring You - Day 14

What's In A Name?

A lot, as far as I'm concerned. You see, I'd come to almost the end of plotting my story, but there were a couple of main characters that I had not named yet.  I really wanted to begin Chapter 1, but I could not let myself take that step without completing the final steps of the story. 

I love baby name books. I discovered these books long before I became a mom. These books give you the first name, the name's origin and its meaning. For me, the meaning of a name matters. Sometimes, the meaning doesn't make sense in relation  to my character.

For my current book, I have a villain. I tried to think of all the names that I wasn't fond of, but when I'd think of a name, I'd think of someone in the world I'd heard of that had done something good. Well, that crossed out the use of that particular name. I searched the baby name book and found the first name Holt. Its meaning is "wood."

When I think of "wood" I think of someone trying to drive an axe through it. I think: sturdy. Tough. There are many good things I associate with wood, but for this story, I needed this character to have been around for a long time, to have always been tough and for my hero to become very angry with the character of Holt. Who knows, I may have a scene where my hero is driving an axe through a log of wood. No one would understand that underlying meaning except me, and those of you reading this post. Hmmm... sounds like a possible scene.

What about you... Do you put a lot of thought into choosing a name for your character? What tools do you use?  Perhaps if you give me the name of one of your characters I can bring you their meaning in the comments section of this post.

p.s.... My current word count is 4,302!  I'm excited that I accomplished more during lunch yesterday and wrote more again this morning. Thank you to all of you for keeping me accountable!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inspiring You, Days 11-13

It was a very busy weekend. Another six day work week for me pushed aside my desire for getting any writing done and housework. I am seeking better ways to accomplish my goals both for writing and for household/family issues.

My report for this weekend is an increase from 3,119 words to 3,657 words. I wrote some of those during church... just jotting down quick notes about the story while jotting down scriptures and listening to the sermon. I feel bad admitting that... and I promise, I did hear the message. I suppose when I am able to be still and sit quietly, that is when my thoughts can increase and become productive. Another plus of the church service was that we sang The Solid Rock. Within that hymn is the potential title of my book, Sinking Sand... Love that hymn although it is not the easiest to sing with all of its change in tempo.

Anyway, I'm so excited for all of you who wrote so much this weekend. Keep it up!

What's your current report?

While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
While We're Far Apart
Bethany House (October 1, 2010)
Lynn Austin


It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.


In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother.

Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie's wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war.

And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary. But during the long, endless wait for victory overseas, life on the home front will go from bad to worse.

Yet these characters will find themselves growing and changing in ways they never expected--and ultimately discovering truths about God's love...even when He is silent.

If you would like to read the first chapter of While We're Far Apart, go HERE.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Inspiring You - Days 9 & 10

It's been a busy week...

Hubby has been away on a fishing trip he claims is a lot of work. Yeah, right....

Hon, you are fishing, something you love to do. It may be a lot of work, but it isn't work.

I've been doing a lot of work, at work, and managing to do some laundry here and there while somehow managing to get the kids bathed, homework done and gulping down coffee at certain intervals of the day to keep myself going...
Have I done any more writing?


And this has got to stop!!!

No proposals or contest entries have been mailed out.

I do not like all work and housework days with no writing involved.

This week, I plan to turn over a new leaf. I must rise early. I must stop emails/blogging/facebook/twittering at a certain time so that my time can be put to good use. No more wasted days. No more feeling sorry for myself that not only did I get a rejection from writing this week but also one at my place of business.

I refuse to put my head down.

The chin will remain up and I will continue onward.

Rejection is simply God's redirection and His plan is a whole lot better than mine.

So here are my stated goals for this week:  1) Mail off the proposal to the Agent who requested it from this year's conference.  2) Finish the synopsis/story draft for this book (I'm not writing chapters, I'm trying to outline the book from start to finish... should be doable).  3)Possibly mail off the Golden Heart Entry.
4) Possibly apply for PRO with RWA.

My possible goals may not be accomplished this week. Items 1 and 2 are most important.

What about you? Where are you and what are your goals for this upcoming week.  Let's make Saturday our new week...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Inspiring You Day 8

Today I received a rejection letter in response to one of the manuscripts I submitted. I must say, receiving this agent's kind, "No, thank you," to the project was an easier pill to swallow than the ones I used to get when I was simply mailing out blind queries. On those query letters I would describe my book and offer it to the agent or editor I was targeting. The responses I received on quite a few were simply form rejection letters. However, I will never forget that one agent simply wrote his/her response on my letter and mailed it back saying the story was "too contrived, melodramatic. I'll pass."

A good way to view that rejection is that the agent was already trying to conserve paper and figured he/she wouldn't waste a tree on something she could say in a few words on my recycled letter. That was about 10 years ago. That person was way ahead of his/her time.

With this current rejection and the one from the past, I know that God has a plan for my projects and that He will find the perfect person to represent my work when the time is right.

And, with that said, I will continue to pursue requests and continue to work on new stories.

I also wanted to add, that when I was mailing the queries, I never felt that path was a secure path to offer my work to an agent or editor. Only years later when I joined writer's organizations did I find a more organized way to network in this field and learn more about the craft as well as marketing me and the book. I am still working on all of this, of course, and have no certain answers, but at least, I am making contacts, good contacts, that will certainly last through my career.

If you are still sending out queries by following a Literary guide or gathering names out of Writer's Digest of the agents that are accepting new clients, I would say to continue doing this. Nicholas Sparks says his success started by a query of his getting pulled from the slush pile. If it happened to him, it can happen for you. But I would also recommend joining local writers organizations... finding a group that writes what you like to write... and begin to participate in their activities and volunteer. If you are serious about pursuing publication, this is the best advice I can give you that I have experienced first hand.

Earlier, I mentioned working on a new story. Well, today was another unproductive day. I think my new challenge is helping me be accountable and post my progress, one word at a time.

So, what's new in your writing world?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Embers of Love
Bethany House (October 1, 2010)

Tracie Peterson


Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.

She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books


The logging industry in eastern Texas is booming, and Deborah Vandermark plans to assist her family's business now that she's completed college. Unexpectedly, her best friend, Lizzie Decker, accompanies her back home--fleeing a wedding and groom she has no interest in.

Deborah, the determined matchmaker, puts her sights on uniting her brother and dear friend in a true love match. Deborah soon meets Dr. Christopher Clayton, a much-needed addition to the town. As their lives intersect, Deborah realizes that she has a much greater interest in medicine and science than the bookkeeping she was trained in.

But when typhoid begins to spread and Lizzie's jilted fiance returns, Deborah wonders if true love can overcome such obstacles...for those dearest to her, and for herself.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Embers of Love, go HERE.

Inspiring You Day 7

Day 7 was not so lucky... no progress made on the book - Uh!

However, if I am not going to write, I need to mail that proposal out and mail out my entry and enter the Golden Heart. Anyone with me?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspiring You - Day 6

Oh, Monday, Monday, Monday...

It was a good Monday, overall, but not a good Monday for writing on the manuscript. I managed to squeeze in less than an hour before work, but no work was done on it outside of my thoughts for the rest of the day.

My combined word count for this draft, including a GMC chart is 3,119 words. I'm impressed that I have that much and must have written more this weekend than I realized.

We have some who have started new stories and some who are revising existing stories. Some of you we have not heard from, but I know you are with us in spirit!  The key is to keep your head up and keep moving forward no matter where you are in the process of writing.

If you all will remember, just a few short months ago, I was pushing hard to finish a manuscript I'd worked on far too long. It was hard work and I had many road blocks, but each road block helped me reach my final destination.  My ultimate goal was to finally submit it to a publishing house that had requested it a year or so before.

Don't despair if you have reached a huge wall and are unable to write. If you are blocked in a scene, try to go back from the beginning and read your story, for enjoyment. Mark places you are bored or that you feel you are trying to skip over. This will indicate the place where your pacing is off. Call your friends and talk out the story.

Sometimes, though, you need a break from it. Take that break and enjoy the life around you. The story will be there when you return. It will be published all in God's time. He may have planned this break just for you.

Where are you in your writing journey today. If you're frustrated or tired, bring those forth. We're here to support you and move you through the valley.

Look, just ahead! Look at the promises waiting for you on the horizon!

Don't give up!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Snow Day by Billy Coffey

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Snow Day
FaithWords (October 11, 2010)


Billy Coffey


When you’re raised in small-town Virginia by a redneck father and a Mennonite mother, certain things become ingrained. And when you marry a small-town girl and have two small-town kids, all you want to do is pass those ingrained things along.

Like believing the best life is one lived in the country enjoying the pleasures it provides—summer nights beneath the stars, rocking chairs on the front porch, deer grazing in the fields. And believing that no matter how iffy life can get sometimes, there are some things that are eternal and unchanging.

But above all else, believing that in everything there is story waiting to be told.

That’s where I come in.

Billy Coffey was raised on stories. The first ones came on the front porches of relatives, tales laced with local charm and deep meaning. Then came the stories from people like Max Lucado and Robert Fulghum, who write with a charm and deep meaning of their own.

Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. If you drive by his house, you’ll probably spot him on the front porch. If you do, give him a wave. He’ll wave back.


In this debut novel, Peter is a simple man who lives by a simple truth--a person gains strength by leaning on his constants. To him, those constants are the factory where he works, the family he loves, and the God who sustains him. But when news of job cuts comes against the backdrop of an unexpected snowstorm, his life becomes filled with far more doubts than certainties.

With humor and a gift for storytelling, Billy Coffey brings you along as he spends his snow day encountering family, friends, and strangers of his small Virginia town. All have had their own battles with life's storms. Some have found redemption. Others are still seeking it. But each one offers a piece to the puzzle of why we must sometimes suffer loss, and each one will help Peter find a greater truth--our lives are made beautiful not by our big moments, but our little ones. (2010)

To read an excerpt from Snow Day, go HERE.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Inspiring You Day 5

I can't believe we're on day 5 already! 

Unfortunately, I didn't get much writing done today. I enjoyed the day playing with my children and helping my husband on a project. We started the day at church. I was amazed by the passion our pastor conveyed when he shared about a new outreach he's leading us toward. It's all about helping those that are in our neighborhood... those just beyond our backdoor. Very eye-opening.

My daughter sat with us in "Big Church" today and did really great. She was well behaved, colored during the sermon and stood and sat when the rest of us did. She's only 5, but I can tell a huge change in her. Still, I look at her and I'm amazed at how fast she's growing up.

Back to writing... I'm continuing to think through the story. I decided that I may go ahead and write a major scene that's been on my mind. This is jumping waaayyyy ahead, but I must remember I can perfect the scene in revisions that come later.

I hope you all got something accomplished today. My word count remains the same. As a matter of fact, I didn't even open the document today.  I know Dianna is feeling under the weather. I pray she's back behind the keyboard soon.

This week, along with writing more on this new story - I hope to have a proposal completed and mailed to a perspective agent on a prior story. What about you, anything you'd really like to finish this week?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Inspiring You Days 3 & 4

I was off work on Friday, however that does not mean I rest. I cleaned floors, washed clothes and managed to run a few errands while chasing my 8 month old son around the house. My 5 year old daughter also keeps me busy, although she's a great help.

However, the busy-ness of the day kept me from posting my progress yesterday. Though minimal, I did manage to continue plotting my book and I started two charts for my 2 main characters.

That progress continued this morning. I'm happy to report I've gained another 500 words to my draft as of yesterday. Today, my total is 2,423. I'm approaching the middle of the book. I'm working between reviewing some brief plot points I made a few weeks ago when I outlined the book. I used Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure. I've got to say, this tool really helped me visualize each major part of the story.   

I also use a GMC chart that Debra Dixon teaches in her book: GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. You can actually purchase a copy at the link above. Using GMC helps me to understand where my characters have been and where they are going. Although, I always have doubts as to whether the GMC is strong enough and the character's GMC will usually change, and should change, as the story progresses. Right now, I don't know that I have a strong handle on either character's GMC. I know where they've been and where I want them to end up. It's that sagging middle that always worries me. And right now, I'm at the point of plotting where I wonder how I'm going to overcome that sagging middle problem.

After all, I want my story to be that svelte hourglass-figure shape... not that unhealthy pear shape.

How do you overcome the sagging middle? Or, a weak character? Do you just write and write and worry about the flaws of the story in revisions?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Inspiring You: Day 2

I'm so excited about this challenge. I ended up sleeping in later, but knowing I had all of you working with me and working on your own projects, I knew I had to accomplish something!

This morning, I began what I'm calling my STORY DRAFT. I'm letting myself free write, I refuse to worry - at this time - about how badly I'm telling, or what words do or don't sound right. I am drafting as I see the story unfold in my head. I've got about 2 subplots going and the one major plot working. I've found I need to give some of my character's names and need to work on the background for them. All of this I plan to come back to. Right now, I'm drafting and I'll worry about everything else later.

This is the first time I've approached a story in this manner. Or, maybe in my earliest drafts, this is what I did, but I thought I was properly writing the story. I'm hoping this maneuver will help me as I work toward the completed manuscript and will better prepare me to attack revisions when that time comes.

Today, my word count is 1,191 for the rough draft. More than I expected! Woo-Hoo! I pushed through this morning and am excited about this progress. I can't wait to hear how all of you did yesterday and this morning. Please share!!

(Don't forget, some lovely prizes await you at the end of the month for those who reach their appointed challenge!) Check out Day 1 for more details.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Inspiring You Challenge: Day 1

It's time. 

Time to light a fire under your butter bean.

It's time for another At Split Ends Accountability Race.

I need you. You need me. Together, we will inspire each other and keep each other accountable to reach our goals.  Earlier this year, you helped me finish my book. Rebecca finished hers and Lindi and Dianna worked on theirs right along with us...

Well, folks, it's that time again...

For this challenge, I'm inviting anyone -

(L) Me & (R) Edwina Cowgill
 at the National Corvette Museum
 in Bowling Green, KY, September 2010

Writer or Not - Come Forth and Declare Your Goal

Are you assisting a loved one and need support or prayer? Do you want to reorganize your closet? In the middle of renovation of that one room that you can't seem to finish? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to make it to the gym daily? Are you trying to finish writing your book? Are you planning to start a new business?

Whatever, your need, let's declare it here on ASB

But wait! You're not done. Declaring the Goal is ONLY the first step!  Then you have to hold yourself accountable and come back to this Blog and give me your progress.

Here's how it works.

1)Declare your Goal.
2)Report back to the blog daily - whether you made an achievement or not. Everyone involved in the challenge will be reporting and you will get support from all of us working on our goal.

3) By October 31st - we'll see who has met their challenge.
4) Reward!!!

If you finished that room renovation, I'll send you a Home Depot Gift Card.
If you finish writing your book, I'll send you a Walmart gift card. And so on...

Basically, if you truly finish your stated goal, you will get a reward from me :)
(However, I cannot mail out of the country, so United States participants only, please)

Now mind you, the gift cards won't be anything fabulous. $5, $10 will be the max. But the fact is, I appreciate my friends and I want to help you reach your goals.

I'll go first... My challenge is to start a new book - working title, Sinking Sand. I'd like to have a rough draft completed by October 31st. My target word count for the book is 60,000 words, but I am not holding myself to that for this first challenge. That will come with rewrites. I simply want to have the beginning, middle and end down from all of the character's perspectives.

Are you up for a challenge?

Declare it and Let Us Begin to Inspire You!

Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe by Irene Brand & Anita Higman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe
Summerside Press (September 1, 2010)

Irene Brand & Anita Higman


Irene Brand has written Sunday School curriculum, edited a two-year series of mission curriculum, and her works have appeared in five program-material anthologies. Her publishers include Zondervan, Standard Publishing, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Fleming-Revell, Barbour Publishing, Kregel Publications, Steeple Hill (inspirational imprint of Silhouette), and Summerside Press. She has had 4 non-fiction books published, and 43 fiction works. Her first inspirational romance was published in 1984.

Award-winning author, Anita Higman, has twenty-six books published (several coauthored) for adults and children, and she has been honored as a Barnes & Noble Author of the Month for Houston. Anita has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Her favorite things include exotic teas, movies, and all things Jane Austen.


Two Christmas stories - one historical, one contemporary - under one cover!

Love Finds You under the Mistletoe: An Appalachian Christmas

A promise to her dying sister compels Julia Mayfield to take her young nephew to Mistletoe, Kentucky, a tiny town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. Sparks fly when she meets David Armstrong, a World War II veteran like herself. Even as shadows from the past weave a dangerous web around Julia and David, will their love flourish like the mistletoe that blankets the nearby hills?

Love Finds You under the Mistletoe: Once Upon a Christmas Eve

Hollie Goodnight's store has just been voted best Christmas shop in America. All the new publicity draws flamboyant novelist Van Keaton to the cozy town of Noel, Missouri, demanding to write Hollie's story - a dramatic tale of misfortune and triumph. She is swept up in his world of beautiful words and fanciful interludes. . .until Owen Quigly, her lifelong best friend, launches a plan to win her back.

If you would like to read an excerpt of Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cancer Fighting Foods

Earlier this year, I thought I'd join the Weight Watchers program and give that points counting program another try.

Once again, I ate a whole month's worth of points in a week. Oh, well. I do understand how the program works, but I rebel when faced with certain restrictions.

Despite the fact I don't do the program well, I do respect the program because if you follow its guidelines, you'll definitely eat healthier. I still receive their newsletters in my inbox, and I wanted to share with this article that can also be found on the Weight Watchers Website.

Foods That Help Fight Cancer

Article By: Megan Gressor

Eating well to lose weight can have some hidden benefits. Here are some scale-friendly nutrition facts that could also help you ward off cancer.

Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, either personally or by watching a loved one's battle. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than a half-million lives annually. Each year, according to ACS projections, more than 1.3 million new cancer cases are diagnosed.

Researchers have linked about one-third of cancer deaths to dietary factors, such as those that contribute to obesity, according to the ACS.

Acing Antioxidants

Research has shown that people whose diets are rich in plant-based foods—fruits, vegetables and whole-grain breads and cereals—have a lower incidence of most cancers.

Why? One reason may be that people who eat more of these foods are less likely to be obese, which is a risk factor for some forms of cancer.

While researchers are still searching for the answers, it appears that plant foods, particularly produce, are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidants work to stabilize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage cells and may cause cancer. However, more research needs to be done in this area—particularly when antioxidants are taken in the form of dietary supplements.

Nutritionists recommend getting most of your nutrients through food rather than supplements, and eating in moderation from a wide variety of food groups, particularly grains, fruits and vegetables. Be sure to get the five servings of fruits and vegetables per day that Weight Watchers recommends.

Anti-Cancer Eating Plan

The following are some of the dietary recommendations from the American Cancer Society for reducing your risk of cancer:

•Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day, and include vegetables and fruits at every meal and for snacks.

•Eat smaller portions of high-calorie foods. Be aware that "low-fat" or "nonfat" does not mean "low-calorie" and that low-fat cakes, cookies, and similar foods are often high in calories.

•When you eat away from home, choose foods low in calories, fat and sugar, and avoid large portion sizes.

•Choose 100% juice if you drink vegetable or fruit juices.

•Choose whole-grain rice, bread, pasta and cereals, and limit consumption of refined carbohydrates, including pastries, sweetened cereals and other high-sugar foods.

•Choose fish, poultry or beans as an alternative to beef, pork and lamb. When you do eat meat, select lean cuts and eat smaller portions.

•Prepare meat by baking, broiling or poaching, rather than by frying or charbroiling.

•Limit alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink a day for women. (A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.)

6 Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Alas, 80 percent of us don't consume anything close to five servings of fruits and veggies, according to the American Dietetic Association. Here's how you can up your intake.

•Favor dishes incorporating as many plant-based ingredients as possible, such as stir-fries, soups, salads and rice salads.

•Keep crunchy raw vegetables on hand, such as carrot sticks, jicama and pepper strips.

Jicama - high in fiber and Vitamin C

•Add leafy greens such as spinach leaves and watercress to sandwiches.

Watercress -a leafy, peppery plant, high in minerals and Vitamin C

•Consider nutrient-rich squash as a side dish.

•Top cereal and salads with fruit, nuts, sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds.

•Empty a can of beans or tomatoes into your favorite casserole

Monday, October 4, 2010

Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Within My Heart
Bethany House; Original edition (September 1, 2010)

Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Her second historical series, Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart), penned in her style with deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award, the 2007 RITA for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2009 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville with Tamera's father, Doug. They enjoy life there with Joe and Tamera's two adult children, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.


Widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat and provide for her two young sons, though some days it feels as though her efforts are sabotaged at every turn. When her cattle come down with disease and her sons' lives are endangered, she must turn to Rand Brookston, Timber Ridge's physician and reluctant veterinarian. While Rachel appreciates his help, she squelches any feelings she might have for Rand--her own father was a doctor and his patients always took priority over his family. Rachel refuses to repeat the mistakes her mother made. But when she's courted by a wealthy client of the local resort, she faces a choice: self-sufficiency and security or the risk inherent in the deepest of loves.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Within My Heart, go HERE.


Christy: I will post a review soon...due to traveling, illness and work I have not had a chance to settle down and dig deep into this book. I've just begun the first pages and they are great so far!

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Believe in Spaghetti by Kari Smith Murphy

Today, my Author Spotlight is my dear sister in-law, Kari Smith Murphy. Kari is a full time college student pursuing a degree in Forensic Psychology. She enjoys spending her free time out of the classroom with her husband Blake and their 4-year old son, (my adorable nephew ;) Landon.

Kari won my Author Spotlight today because of her essay I'm about to share with you. Although she is not pursuing publication she's taking English and the instructor allows her creativity to flow. I think Kari may be on to something here. She has a unique voice and the subject matter is very special to Kari, and to me, too. I was thrilled to read her most recent essay. I wanted to share this with all of you...


I Believe in Spaghetti

by Kari Smith Murphy

I can’t cook. It’s true. When I do the whole house smells like someone lit the stove on fire then tried to put it out with burnt rags. One may think I am exaggerating, but unfortunately for us, it’s true. I do however have one go-to-meal that seems to come out right each time and it is spaghetti. Spaghetti is the first thing I made after I was married and the only thing my new husband could stomach. It was a basic recipe and it was good. Not Daddy good, but it was good.

My dad’s spaghetti was amazing. The man was a sheer genius when it came to the dish. I would think of how much I wanted some for dinner then to my surprise that evening when he came home he’d make it, like we had ESP. I have played around with the recipe for years trying to figure out why his spaghetti was so delicious, but never could. I would walk down the aisles of the grocery store looking at labels trying to spark some memory of what he would put in the sauce to no avail. Then with the next batch, I would try again and fail. Although, the sauce got better each time, it was still missing something and I was determined to find that key ingredient. So back to the grocery store and back to the kitchen I went.

It was a particularly grueling day for me that chilly spring evening when I decided that I would make spaghetti for dinner. While gathering all the ingredients I opened the refrigerator and something I hadn’t tried fell out onto my foot. It was so generic and so simple, there was no way this could be the missing piece, but could it? I threw this mystery item in my sauce towards the end just for fun and there it was. This was it. Emotions flooded over me; I fell to the floor weeping, dumbfounded not even sure, if I was happy or sad. Still sobbing I set the table for dinner; silently I sat and watched my husband and son as they ate, then ask for seconds, then thirds. Before I knew it, the entire batch was gone.

It was a chilly night in September when my father was killed; his life cut short by an angry man’s bullet. His spaghetti was so much more to me than just dinner, it was comfort, and it was safe. So whenever I am feeling particularly blue I’ll whip up a batch and remember the good times, remember my father.

Although I can’t recall much from our conversation that day, I do recall asking for spaghetti when he returned home from his hunting trip. It only took nine years for me to have that spaghetti, Daddy’s spaghetti.