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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ACFW 2011 Conference...Relax Baby!

This week I've been busy making plans to attend the 2011 ACFW conference in St. Louis this September. This will be my third ACFW conference and I'm super excited. I was thinking how different this year will be for me. To understand how vastly different let me tell you about my first conference.

It was 2005. The conference was in Nashville. Money was tight so I eagerly accepted a ride with fellow hoosier, Cara Putman. In fact we roomed together that year. We didn't know each other much other than having a mutual friendship with Colleen Coble. I was very nervous to ride 5 hours in a car with someone I barely knew, let alone sleep in the same room with her. LOL. My husband was a little nervous for me too. I mean, what if she was a nut case or something. She wasn't. Now I consider her one of my dearest friends.

The weeks prior to the conference the loop was busy with all kinds of talk about the clothing I'd need and I panicked. I didn't have anything special. Just everyday work/church clothes. I went out and bought several outfits just so I wouldn't be out of place.

There was also all kinds of talk on the loop about what I'd need to bring and have ready. I worked like a feign to get my one page and my business cards spiffied up.

Oh and all the talk bout how important the editor and agent meetings were about made me hyperventilate.

On the ride down Cara and I talked and talked all the way to Nashville. It would seem I'd made my first writer friend. Then the rooming together went fine. In fact we roomed together again in 2007 so it must not have been too bad. :)

Once we got there I realized I'd forgotten my make up bag and we arrived in a torrential downpour. We had to walk into the hotel looking like drowned rats. But we made it. I was stewing about the make up when one of my favorite writers, Kristin Billerbeck, offered to loan me some of hers. Are you kidding me? I was overwhelmed with her kindness. We ended up driving to a drugstore and buying a few things but I was still in awe of the fact she'd do that for me. A total stranger. Then I was standing in the foyer and realized I was standing next to Deb Raney. DEB RANEY. I nearly squealed in excitement. Diann Hunt took pity on me and introduced me to Deb. Who turned out to be a very gracious lady.

Once the conference was underway I looked around and realized I was surrounded by people just like me. Average people following the elusive dream of writing for publication. It wasn't until Saturday that I started to relax and enjoy the experience.

On the ride home I realized most of the panic and stress I'd been under was pointless. I didn't need to buy a bunch of new stuff or get myself in a tizzy about what I was going to say to the agents and editors. I just needed to be myself and make sure I was prepared for my meetings.

I'm not saying you don't need to work hard and get your stuff polished. I'm just saying don't get too worked up over all the little stuff. Khakis or Capri's and a nice shirt will suffice for most everything other than the banquet. And for that, yes, some dress to the nines, but don't get stressed out if you can't afford a new cocktail dress. Sunday dress is okay if that's all you have. Don't let the little stuff take away from the real reason we're there. To learn and make industry connections. And if you're lucky, you'll come away with a head full of knowledge and a whole lot of new friends.

Friday, June 24, 2011

She Makes it Look Easy...Marybeth Whalen

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
She Makes It Look Easy
David C. Cook (June 1, 2011)
Marybeth Whalen


Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, will be released in June 2011. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division.


Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.

Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.

If you would like to read an excerpt of She Makes It Look Easy, go HERE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Winning him without Words...Donovan and Miller

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Winning Him Without Words
Regal (February 15, 2011)
Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller

Okay, this one is a hard one for me. I am not typically a non-fiction reader. I unevolved of me. LOL. But seriously, when I read I want to read for pleasure. And I find a lot of fiction books do a lot of what self help books do. They stretch us but in an entertaining way. So all that to say, when we were offered this book for review I wasn't sure. What cinched it for me was the subject matter. I've been married for 18 years to an almost agnostic man. I say almost because while he was raised in the church, I was not, he has taken a more liberal and almost blase approach to faith. I'm not sure anymore where he stands. Sometimes I think he tells me what I want to hear but I'm not sure it's what he really believes. For about 10 years I've attended church by myself. When he did go it was to pacify me instead of for himself. This subject has been a painful one for me. Having not grown up in the church I wanted that complete family of faith that I would see in others at church. I'd go home feeling all disgruntled and broken.

This book has given me some new insight and even made it less about what we don't have but more about what we do have as a couple. I think I get caught up in our deficiencies so much I forget to see the blessings and I'm missing the work God is doing. I also learned that it's not my timing that is important here. It's God's. So if you've struggled with a spiritually mismatched marriage this book might just give you some much needed advice. And if you're like me, maybe it will set you on the road to healing. Both in your marriage and your own walk with God.


Lynn Donovan

Verse: John 15:5 Apart from Me you can do nothing.

Tagline: Challenging Women to Live in Truth

A passionate writer and speaker, Lynn is a woman who presents a compelling message to encourage women to thrive in their marriage. She speaks at events nationwide where she challenges the myths women believe about love, pointing them to life-changing freedom through a relationship with Jesus. She reveals the zany yet meaningful stories of marriage challenges, truths, and triumphs in her life and invites women to share her view from her front row seat to an amazing journey; life lived for Christ.

Married since 1992 to her best friend and biggest enthusiast, Mike, she lives in Temecula, California. They have a son and a daughter and a wacky dog named Peanut. She loves to laugh, enjoys a strong cup of coffee and Fantasy Football and not necessarily in that order.

She lives each day in awe of the grace of God in her ordinary life.

Dineen Miller

Verse: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tagline: Igniting the Soul

Dineen readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. And it’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories will always be of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader have prepared her for God’s calling on her life—to write for and speak to those in mismatched marriages like hers.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen writes for Laced with Grace and various other fiction online magazines and newsletters. She’s also won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine.

Married for 23 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband, two precious daughters, and their dog Shasta, who no doubt is an angel in disguise.


Week after week, they sit in church . . . alone. They are the spiritually mismatched, those who are committed to a spouse who does not share their faith. Feeling abandoned by their spouse and forgotten by their church, they live out their faith in survival mode, guarding the spiritual flame yet never feeling free to share it. But God wants them to thrive—not just survive.

Winning Him Without Words presents 10 Christ centered keys to thriving in a spiritual mismatch. Readers are encouraged to commit to Christian community, to release their spouse to God’s capable hands, to find peace in their relationships with Christ and with their spouse, to continue their pursuit of a growing faith and to love their spouse with fresh enthusiasm. God wants every marriage to exude peace and love, and Winning Him Without Words empowers readers to create that environment in their homes and thrive as God works.

Watch their book video:

If you would like to read a sample chapter of Winning Him Without Words, go HERE.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Hope Rekindled...Tracie Peterson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hope Rekindled
Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Tracie Peterson

I've been waiting on this book since the last page of book two, Hearts Aglow. And one of the best things about Tracie Peterson. She's very prolific. She gets those books out there as quick as possible and for her readers that's awesome. :) As usual with her writing, this one starts with conflict and keeps you turning those pages until the wee hours of the night. If you love historical fiction with lots of conflic, this one is for you!

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


Will Love Escape Her Grasp?

Life seems to be falling into place for Deborah Vandermark. On the cusp of finally marrying Christopher, the man who claimed her heart, she is devastated when he receives an urgent telegram. Bound to his family obligations, Christopher travels to Kansas City, uncertain of what he will find there.

When her fiancé returns to Texas, Deborah is faced with a very different future than she expected. She finds herself plagued with questions and uncertainty...about marriage, motherhood, and her passion to train as a physician. And when an old adversary reveals a contract that may spell ruin for Vandermark Logging, Deborah's life seems to be spiraling out of control. Can Christopher and Deborah find a way to claim the future they long to share when so much stands in the way?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Hope Rekindled, go HERE.