Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yummy Contest!

I'm an avid reader, and I get really excited when my favorite authors offer a series. Now Sandra D. Bricker is doing something really fun, and I'd like to share it with my blog readers. Here's some information on how to enter a contest to become a character in one of her upcoming books:

Author Sandra D. Bricker Gives Readers a Chance to Step Into Her Book

Sandie's Contest

When Abingdon Press released Always the Baker, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker in the fall of 2010, it was a standalone romantic comedy for the inspirational market. The setting (a wedding destination hotel), the heroine (a diabetic pastry chef) and a unique cast of memorable secondary characters blended to create a perfect storm for readers, and the demand for more books in the series was almost immediate.

“The first couple of reader emails came to me even before the official release of the book,” says the author. “They wanted to know what I had in store for Emma and Jackson, and a few of them were interested in visiting The Tanglewood Inn, hoping that it was a real place. It didn’t take long for my editor to recognize the potential for a few more novels in this series.”

This fall, the second of four Emma Rae Creation books hits store shelves. Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride centers around Emma’s best friend from college, a wedding planner returning to the Atlanta area to take a job at The Tanglewood while planning her own wedding. Always the Designer, Never the Bride follows in the spring, and the final novel of the series, Always the Baker, FINALLY the Bride, wraps it all up with the long-awaited wedding of Jackson and Emma Rae.

“I wanted to do something really special for the final book,” Bricker explains. “I think what I’ve come up with is going to excite my readers while rewarding them for sticking with these characters…and with me!...the way they have.”

On November 1st, a contest will debut on the author’s Web site ( where readers will compete for the honor of choosing Emma’s wedding cake from a series of drawings provided by up-and-coming Canadian artist, Hanna Sandvig. Bricker says she talked to more than a dozen artists before finding and falling in love with the childlike wonder of Sandvig’s artistry. “Hanna’s talent just embodies the fun and whimsy of Emma’s personality.”

“I never imagined how loyal my readers would turn out to be,” Bricker says. “I just really wanted to find a way to say thank you in a very personal way. I think this contest is going to fit the bill. The winner will actually be written into the final book as well as receive a preview copy of the novel and a special Emma-inspired confection as well.”

Now all you have to do is click on this link: Sandra D. Bricker. Follow the instructions, and you may find your name in Sandie's next book!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Drink to Good Health!

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Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
Genesis 1:29 NIV

Eating healthy food isn’t always easy since most of us are constantly on the run. Who has time for elaborate meal preparation? Fast food isn’t just fast to order and eat. It doesn’t take any time at all for the calories to plant themselves on our hips and midsections. Although that burger and fries may be filling, they don’t provide the nutrition you need to stay healthy.

In order to get my daily fruits and veggies, I whip up smoothies for breakfast and afternoon snacks. You’ll need a blender, some basic ingredients, and a to-go cup for days when you’re on the run.

Berry Breakfast Smoothie

This smoothie is a delicious way to start any day. You’ll get the protein, fruit, and heart-loving omega-3 fatty acids—all in one healthy drink!

• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or apple juice
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1/2 cup frozen berries
• 1 small banana (or 1/2 large one)
• 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
• 1/2 cup rolled oats
• 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
• Dash of cinnamon

Pour the oats into the blender and turn it on to grind them into a fine powder. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour and drink for an excellent, nutritious start to any day.

Photo by Alvimann on

Green Smoothie

A delicious way to have your veggies is to drink them in your afternoon smoothie. This may sound like an odd combination, but after you taste it, you’ll probably be hooked.

• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1 cup of chopped kale
• 1/2 cup of frozen spinach
• 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple
• 1/2 cup crushed ice
• 1 tsp. agave nectar (optional)

Put all the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. If you prefer a sweet drink, the agave nectar will give you just enough sweetness without overpowering the other flavors.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Early Christmas Treat

I teamed up with Trish Perry to write the generational anthology Love Finds You on Christmas Morning. My novella, “Deck the Halls,” is set in 1925, and Trish’s novella, “’Tis the Season,” is contemporary. I think you’ll find our connected stories enjoyable and uplifting.

Deck the Halls

In 1925, the wealthy William Tronnier becomes smitten with the lovely but penniless Lillian Pickard. Not one to give up easily, William pursues Lillian even though she does everything in her power to resist falling in love with a man from a completely different social class. As Christmas descends on the picturesque town of Cary, North Carolina, William plans to make Lillian a proposal she can’t refuse.

‘Tis the Season

When Nikki Tronnier moves back home to Cary, North Carolina, she plans to fulfill a lifelong dream and buy back the family home built by her great-grandfather for his bride. But before she is able to make an offer, someone else buys the house! Just as she’s preparing for a fight, Nikki meets the handsome new owner, Drew Cornell, who wants her help restoring the home to its historic beauty in time for Christmas.

Bonus Treat

Trish and I decided to include a recipe that has been passed down through the generations of our characters. We hope you enjoy baking, eating, and sharing the shortbread cookies and bars. Look for the recipe between the two stories.

Look for Love Finds You on Christmas Morning wherever books are sold including the following places:
Barnes and Noble
Books a Million

My friend Trish Perry is an award-winning, multi-published author of novels, short stories, essays, devotionals, and poetry for both Christian and general markets. Trish has two grown children and one grandson. Visit her website at


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update Your Wardrobe for Less

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Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Every season, designers come out with must-haves that send many of us scurrying to the store to make sure we look current. I have to admit that I’ve wasted way more money than I should have on purchases that only lasted a single season. Over time, I’ve learned how to stay current without recklessly spending money that can go toward something more permanent.

The key is to start with a basic wardrobe filled with quality pieces that won’t go out of style. Then each season, add trendy items that complement what you already have. Rather than discard your entire wardrobe, you’ll replace just a few pieces, ultimately saving money, while being as stylish as ever.

Basic Wardrobe

Start with a basic wardrobe in your favorite neutrals and accent colors. I have pants in several basic colors—black, brown, navy, olive, and khaki. Add tank tops, T-shirts, and a white button-front shirt that make good standalone or layering pieces. A dress or two that can be worn alone or with a sweater or jacket will add more looks to your wardrobe. Two or three blazers, a cardigan, and a vest will help you mix and match for a variety of outfits. Other pieces you may want to add to your basic wardrobe over time include a trench coat, jeans, shorts, and capris. If you have a frequent need to dress more formally, you may want to have a long black skirt that can be paired with different tops and jackets.


Accessories can pull together an outfit and take it from blah to exciting, fun, and glamorous. Swapping out your pearls for a chunky necklace gives your outfit a completely different look. Try on various accessories with your basic wardrobe to maximize your trendiness.

One of the biggest trends over the past several years has been accessorizing with scarves. Pick up a few rectangular and square scarves in your favorite accent colors and learn different ways to tie them.

Add trendy belts to change up your outfit. Wear skinny belts in layers with your favorite dress or layer a tank top, white button-front shirt, and a candy-colored wide belt for accent and a fresh new look.

Necklaces are the perfect pieces to fill in the frame created by a scoop neckline or V-neck top. Choose trendy pieces that are flattering to your skin tone.

Wear a single bracelet or stack several for more drama to get the current look without spending your entire paycheck. The arm will be the focal point, regardless of what else you’re wearing.

A cute, fashionable handbag can make the plainest outfit come alive. Carry an animal embossed leather bag with your black slacks, white top, and jewel-tone blazer for a current look. Or choose a metal mesh bag from Whiting & Davis to show a hint of edgy-glam style.

A new pair of shoes may be all you need to update your wardrobe. Look for the latest shoe fashions at discount sites such as Zappos or BlueFly.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Treat Your Skin

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You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
Song of Songs 4:7

You can save money and treat your skin to cleansers, toners, and moisturizers made from ingredients you already have on hand. It’s also nice to know what you’re putting on your skin. Priscilla Slater, the main character in my upcoming Class Reunion series, would approve.

Homemade Facials

I’ve always enjoyed doing facial masks because they leave my face feeling clean, smooth, and hydrated. Here are some healthy mask ideas with products you probably already have:

Mix an egg with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of lemon or lime juice. Spread the mixture over your face and allow it to dry. Rinse it off with warm water, pat dry, and moisturize.

Pulverize a cucumber in your food processor and spread the paste over your face. Lie down for ten minutes and relax with slices of cucumber over your eyes. Rinse with cool water, pat dry, and moisturize.

Run ¼ cup of oatmeal through your food processor until finely ground. Add ½ cup of plain yogurt. Spread the mixture over your face and relax for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and moisturize.

Soothe Sunburn

I know it’s not a good idea to expose my unprotected skin to the sun long enough to get a sunburn, but sometimes it just happens. This is why I like to keep aloe vera gel on hand. After rinsing my face with cool water, I spread a light layer of aloe on my face and allow it to dry before applying makeup.

I’ve heard that a mixture of tomato juice and buttermilk can also soothe sunburned skin. I’ve never tried it, but if I did, I would leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

Prevent Sun Damage

The best way to protect your skin from being sun damaged is to use sunscreen with the highest SPF you can handle. Don’t forget to protect your ears. One of the worst sunburns I ever had was on one of my ears. I’d covered my face with sunscreen, but I didn’t even think about my ears being exposed. And remember that even your head can get sunburned, so if you don’t want to have clumpy or oily hair from sunscreen, wear a hat. Add sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Egg photo by duboix on

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Easy Peasy Money-Saving Tips

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She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
Proverbs 31:16

With the sluggish economy and tight budgets so many of us have to face, I thought it would be appropriate to kick off the “Good Life” angle of my blog with simple ways to save money. You might find that this is all you need to make ends meet, or it may just barely put a dent in a budget that needs even more squeezing. Whatever the case, most of these ideas are pain-free. And the bonus is you'll have more money left to buy books by your favorite authors.


This is a no-brainer, and most people have heard of others who manage to save half or more of their grocery bill. Where can you find coupons? Look in your Sunday newspaper, and you’ll find some from national companies and local grocery stores. Another place to look is online. Some of these places require you to sign up with your email address, while others offer unconditional couponing just for the taking.
Here are some websites that offer coupons to download and print:

Coupon Cabin


Do a personal audit of your utility use and find places to cut. Most power companies are willing to come to your home and determine where you’re wasting money and how you can save. Other places you might be able to cut include phone lines, gas for heating (close the vent in rooms that aren’t used), water (wash larger loads and only run the dishwasher when it’s full). If you can cut each utility bill by 10%, you’ll feel the difference at the end of the month.

Cell Phone Service

Evaluate how much time you talk and text on your cell phone and compare services. When it’s time to renew the contract with your cell phone carrier, shop around to make sure you’re getting the best plan for you and your family. Don’t overlook the option of having prepaid. If you don’t use all the minutes you’re allowed on your plan that might actually be the best option.


When you’re due to renew your auto or homeowners’ insurance, shop around to make sure you’re getting the best value. Rates change, and most insurance companies know that people tend to stick with what they have.


Whether you’re in the market to buy a new(er) car or fix the one you have, shop around. Prices for cars, tires, and maintenance can vary considerably from one place to the next. Do an Internet search for used cars in your area before heading out, and you’ll be in a better position to negotiate the price.

Dining Out

Eating out can be expensive if you’re not careful. Before you leave your house, look for sales, specials, and coupons in your local newspaper. Purchase Entertainment books for hundreds of buy-one-get-one-free meals. Register with Groupon and Living Social for some of the best bargains out there.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Introduction to the Good Life

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I’ve decided to change the focus of my blog to living the good life. This has nothing to do with being wealthy, popular, or gorgeous. It’s all about taking what you have and turning it into something sweet from a Christian worldview. As a novelist, I've found that most of my books have a sense of community and quality over quantity of life.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

My plans for this blog include ways to find time for regular worship—and not just on Sunday mornings. As we go through each day, we need to be cognizant of the Lord’s presence and acknowledge Him openly and with a humble spirit.

I’ll explore some of my other interests, including family, healthy meal ideas, general health, fitness, fashion, family budget, aging gracefully, home decorating, social events, party ideas, and saving money. I plan to show ideas and ways to work from home and tips for finding jobs. Of course, I don’t personally have all the answers, but I do have some friends who are experts in various fields, and I won’t hesitate to ask for advice that I can share on my blog.

Although everyone is different, there are some basic things most of us have in common—the need for acceptance, the desire for love, and hope for the future. The Lord has provided all these things. Living the good life means accepting the gifts He offers and making Him an integral part of your life. As a fiction writer, I explore the depths of human nature to create a story. On this blog, I hope to find ways to help people understand their real human needs and find true joy.

But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:8-9 (NIV)

I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I love to brag about my family, so you’re likely to see some of that here—but I’ll try not to overdo it. As a published novelist and nonfiction writer, I do tons of research. I plan to share some of what I learn here. Of course, I’ll also announce my books as they’re released, and the themes of my stories will show up in some of my blog posts.

I look forward to sharing and hearing from people who follow my blog. If you have questions, ideas, or simply want to send me a private message, email me at If you have something to share, please post it here.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Under Construction - Revamping Blog!


Photo by Mconnors on

I'm in the process of revamping my blog to provide more value to friends, readers, and other writers. In the meantime, please check out the following blogs:

Steve Laube Agency blog


Sandra D. Bricker

Debra Collins

Lena Nelson Dooley

Trish Perry

Rachelle Gardner

Charisma House Author Blog


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Salute the United States of America!

Photo by click on

During the past week, I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of the comment, “Have a happy Fourth of July,” or “Enjoy the holiday weekend, and stay safe!” There’s nothing wrong with wishing someone a happy holiday, but don’t forget what we’re celebrating.

I love this country, and I’m grateful to have the freedoms we take for granted. We’re allowed to choose our mates, our careers, and our homes. But the best freedom of all is being able to worship God without fear of the government’s interference. Men and women have fought hard for us, so let’s not forget to show our gratitude.

Photo by jdurham on

As a former U.S. Air Force brat, I often include a patriotic element in my books. In Sweet Baklava and Special Mission, I touch lightly on the reality of military life and show the sacrifices families make so we can continue to enjoy our freedoms. My books can be purchased wherever books are sold:

Barnes and Noble


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Love Finds You on Christmas Morning

Here's a sneak peek at the Christmas anthology Trish Perry and I wrote. The characters in my historical and her contemporary novellas are related. Enjoy!


Friday, June 24, 2011

National Take Your Dog to Work Day

Photo by Seemann on

Today is officially National Take Your Dog to Work Day. I find this amusing and rather ludicrous because no employer I’ve ever worked for has allowed pets in the office, unless they’re service dogs.

I work at home, so everyday is “take your pet to work day” for me. I used to have a dog and two cats, and they dutifully sat by my feet, staring up at me lovingly, hoping for a rub and a treat. My dog and one of my cats have passed on, but I still have one kitty that naps while I work.

In Noah’s Ark, the first book in my West Virginia series that will be repackaged as a 3-in-l entitled Appalachian Weddings, the hero is a veterinarian, so of course he had pets in his office all day. I’ve enjoyed hearing from readers who related to some of the experiences my characters had.

I wonder how many companies will acknowledge National Take Your Dog to Work Day and encourage employees to celebrate with their best furry friends.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer

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As hot as it’s been in the Southeast, it’s hard to believe that summer has just arrived. Yep, that’s right, June 21 is officially the first day of summer.

This is the time of year thoughts turn to relaxing, going on vacation, heading for the water (pool, beach, garden hose), and playing outside. In most places in the U.S. days are longer.

I love many things about summer, including long walks on the beach, relaxing and reading romance novels or fun women’s fiction, eating ice cream cones quickly so they don’t melt, and hearing the sounds of crickets and frogs every night around sunset. I’m not crazy about the mosquitos and sweltering days when my clothes stick to my back, but nothing is perfect.

What are some of the things you look forward to doing during the summer? If you are looking for a fun beach read, try my novels Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida, and Sweet Baklava, both set on the West Coast of Florida.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy "Eat Your Vegetables Day"!


Moms, dads, and health-conscious people will be happy to know that today is Eat Your Vegetables Day! There’s no better time than now to purchase fresh produce to serve cooked your favorite way. Steamed, boiled, roasted, broiled, or baked, vegetables are good for you.

If you have finicky kids, bring them to the grocery store and let them help select fresh veggies. Encourage them to choose a vegetable in each color, which will provide a wide variety of nutrients. Then when it’s time to prepare dinner, get creative and celebrate!

In my latest book Sweet Baklava, I have Greek recipes that include fresh vegetables – both cooked and raw. Look for Sweet Baklava anywhere books are sold. You can find it at Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Cokesbury, Family Christian, CBD, or Amazon.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy "Worldwide Knit in Public Day"!

Everyone has a special day to celebrate, including knitters! Today is officially Worldwide Knit in Public Day, so pull out your knitting needles and yard and go somewhere to show folks what you’re up to.

Back in 2005, Danielle Landes began the Worldwide Knit in Public Day to encourage knitters to get together and enjoy this as a social hobby. Get your friends together or use this as an opportunity to make new friends for a day of knitting. Plan an outing to your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or community hall, knowing you’re in good company since knitters in the U.S., Canada, Australia, England, France, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and South Africa are celebrating too!

At the end of the long day, settle into your most comfortable chair and read The Knitting Diaries by authors Debbie Macomber, Christina Skye, and Susan Mallery.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy Best Friend's Day!

Although I always appreciate having pals I can confide in and hang out with, June 8 is the official day to celebrate your best friend! If you haven’t already, take some time to show this special person how important she/he is.

Here are some ideas to celebrate:
• Call your childhood best friend and talk as long as you need to catch up on everything.
• Send a card to your best friend letting her know how much you value the friendship.
• Schedule a spa day to relax and enjoy time with your best friend.
• If you have more than one best friend, have a potluck and enjoy the feast.
• If you don’t have a best friend, join a group or take a class to meet people so you can have a best friend to celebrate with next year.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy National Rocky Road Day!

Chocolate ice cream is delicious, but add nuts and marshmallows for over-the-moon sensory pleasure!

I am delighted (and drooling) to announce that June 2 is National Rocky Road Day! Could there be a yummier holiday?

For those who don’t know what rocky road is, I’ll tell you. It is possibly the MOST delicious flavor of ice cream ever invented. Well, maybe ONE of the most because I haven’t met an ice cream flavor I don’t like. Rocky road ice cream offers a mix of chocolate ice cream, nuts, and tiny marshmallows to create a flavor sensation unlike any other. I also love the variety of textures—with smoothness and crunch that will send any ice cream lover into orbit with every bite.

I want to pause for a moment to remember William Dreyer (founder of Dreyer’s Ice Cream) who created this delicious concoction after the stock market crash in 1929. He knew exactly how to ease the pain.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is a time to reflect and celebrate the sacrifices made for our freedoms as Americans. Originally called Decoration Day, it started after the Civil War.

Many people only see Memorial Day as the beginning of summer, but we need to keep in mind what the cost of freedom really is. It’s not free. In fact, the price is steeper than many of us realize. People who fight to protect the U.S.A. are willing to give their lives so we can go on living in this beautiful country filled with more opportunity than citizens of most other countries will ever have the privilege of seeing.

So before you head out to the beach or on the road for your family vacation, take a moment to reflect with gratitude. And don’t forget to pray for those who are willing to serve our country in these tumultuous times.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunscreen Protection Day - Protect Your Skin!

Tomorrow is Sunscreen Protection Day, so I thought this would be a good topic for now. Although summer isn’t the only time sunscreen is important, if you haven’t started wearing it, now is an excellent time to start.

With melanoma and other types of skin cancer on the rise, not protecting the skin is risky. Choose one with the highest SPF (sun protection factor) your skin can handle and reapply it frequently. If you wear makeup, choose one with SPF built in, but don’t expect it to last all day. Bring along some extra sunscreen to slather on periodically.

Cancer isn’t the only concern for most people. Too much sun exposure will dry out your skin and leave you with leathery hide that is anything but healthy looking. Choose one from your favorite pharmacy or try the organic Green Screen.

What if you want to have a tan? Then go for a fake tan! You can find a wide variety of tanning methods that don’t require the sun. Whether you choose tanning towels, lotions, or sprays, you can have a sun-kissed look without damaging your skin.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Journey and Process of Writing

I’ve been behind in posting lately, but I have an excuse. I needed to finish the first draft of a book that gripped me more than ever. Although I always enjoy the writing process, this one took me to a different level. I felt as though I was right there with my characters—in their lives and participating in everything they did. When they felt pain, so did I. When they were happy, I walked around all day smiling.

Most writers will understand all this and agree that our fiction becomes our reality as we write our books. It is our job to take readers on a journey of joy, sorrow, pain, pleasure, revelation, and whatever else it takes to immerse them in the story and give them a reason to keep reading. I pray that people who read this book will get something out of it and want more when they’re finished because I’m contracted to write two more in this series.

So here I was, writing scenes that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. When Priscilla had to make tough decisions, I worried right along with her. Balancing a hair salon chain can be quite difficult with creative types clashing with the office workers. As Tim worked hard to win her over, I brainstormed with him, hoping to give him that extra little oomph that might make a difference. I found more of a challenge with Laura, who had everyday life crashing around her as she planned the ten-year class reunion. Everyone was counting on her, so the pressure was immense. Then there was former beauty queen Trudy who can’t seem to get her mojo back, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

This book will be out in Spring 2013, which seems like a long way off. But in the publishing world, it’s not because after I turn it in, it will go through several rounds of editing, then the printing process, and finally distribution. The marketing people will do their magic to make sure it’s available to as many people as possible. I’m excited to have such a wonderful team to work with.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day Thoughts

As Mother's Day approaches, I have a wide range of thoughts and feelings - from the joy of having had a loving mom and two daughters who have made motherhood wonderful, to the sadness of not having my mother with me anymore. I lost my mom about seventeen years ago, and I still get teary-eyed when I think about her. I've heard that this feeling never completely goes away, but the pain does fade a bit over time. I just wish she could be here to see how delightful her granddaughters are and to hold her great-granddaughter who has brought even more sunshine into my life.

Here's a picture of my daughters:

And my granddaughter:

My mother-in-law passed away last October, so this year my husband joins those of us who have lost our mothers during a time to celebrate the women who brought us into this world. Bobbie Mayne was not only a wonderful mother-in-law, she became one of my best friends.

Over the past several days, I've been getting all kinds of emails related to Mother's Day. Some are thoughtful poems and letters from friends, and others are gift ideas for Mom. I miss being able to send my mother a card and a small gift to show my appreciation, even though I know she never expected anything.

This morning, I got a different kind of email that is loads of fun, and I'd like to share it with y'all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Honor All Teachers!

Teachers are some of the hardest workers out there, so show your gratitude by recognizing them during Teacher Appreciation Week. A gift card to his/her favorite restaurant and a book to enjoy later are ideal for these wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to education.

Some books I would recommend include Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days or Sweet Baklava if the teacher is a woman. Men might enjoy reading the medical thriller Code Blue by Dr. Richard Mabry.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Administrative Professional’s Day!

Mary Barrett, the former National Secretaries Association president, and C. King Woodbridge, the Dictaphone Corporation president, came up with the idea for a day to honor secretaries. As jobs and titles changed, so did the name of the special day.

You should always be thankful for administrative professionals, but face it. You are likely to take them for granted most of the time. Since today has this special designation, take a moment to thank them. It also doesn’t hurt to sweeten your gratitude with flowers, candy, a meal, and if you can afford it, a cash bonus!

While you’re purchasing gifts, stop by your favorite bookstore and pick up Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry at your favorite bookstore or Target.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy No Housework Day!

Today is No Housework Day! How cool is that!

Put away your brooms, dustpans, mops, cleansing cloths and cleaning solutions. Take some time to do something fun. Take a stroll at the park or beach! Visit someone you love. Hang out with your kids. Do anything BUT housework!

Enjoy the day!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Tarpon Springs Potato Salad

Greek Salad – Tarpon Springs style (with potato salad)

Notes from Apollo in Sweet Baklava: Hide the potato salad beneath the lettuce for the surprise factor.

• 4 large romaine lettuce leaves
• 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
• 3 cups potato salad (recipe below)
• 2 medium tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
• 1 cucumber cut into 16 slices
• 1 bell pepper cut into rings
• 4 slices canned beets
• 8 cooked and peeled shrimp
• 4 anchovies
• 8 Greek style black olives
• 8 banana peppers
• 4 whole green onions
• 1⁄2 cup white vinegar
• 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
• 1 tsp. oregano

Potato Salad:
• 4 large potatoes cubed and boiled
• 1⁄4 cup diced onion
• 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise

1. Mix the potato salad ingredients and chill.
2. Line a large bowl or platter with large romaine lettuce leaves.
3. Scoop the potato salad onto the romaine leaves in 4 single serving mounds.
4. Cover the potato salad with the chopped lettuce
5. Top with tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, beets,
shrimp, anchovies, and olives.
6. Add banana peppers and onions to the side of the salad.
7. Mix the vinegar, olive oil, vegetable oil, and oregano.
8. Pour the vinegar and oil blend over the salad.



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Greek Lentil Salad

I absolutely love most Greek cuisine, and this is a delicious dish that is easy to make, packed with nutrition, and ideal for lunch on a warm spring day. Enjoy!

• 3 cups of cooked lentils, drained
• 11⁄2 cups crumbled feta cheese
• 3⁄4 cup Greek vinaigrette salad dressing
• 1 sliced cucumber
• 1 cup of diced fresh tomatoes
• 1 medium diced onion

11. Place lentils in a large mixing bowl.
12. Stir in 1⁄2 of the salad dressing.
13. Add feta, cucumber, tomatoes and onion.
14. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two.
15. Before serving, add the rest of the salad dressing and stir.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Fever and Starting Something New

For the past several weeks, the weather has been amazing, and I’ve had a bad case of spring fever. I love when the weather warms up a bit – before the stifling summer heat arrives. My daily walks are enjoyable and not something I dread. But by mid-afternoon, I want to open the windows and take a nap.

I’m taking a short break before I start my next writing project – a women’s fiction book for Abingdon Press. I figure spring is a great time to start something new. This story, All Prettied Up at the Cut ‘n Curl, is centered on the ten-year class reunion in a small fictional town near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The opening of the story leads up to the events of the big weekend, with everyone getting ready to show off what they’ve accomplished…or in this case, what they want people to think they’ve accomplished.

Before I start working on this book, I'm walking an extra few minutes each day. And I just might sneak in a nap or two.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy International Waffle Day!

I have this really cool calendar that shows all these obscure holidays. Today is International Waffle Day, so now you have an excuse to fire up your waffle iron and enjoy!

Here's a recipe for yummy waffles:

• Cooking spray
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• pinch of salt
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 2 whole eggs, beaten
• ¼ cup melted butter
• 2 cups milk or buttermilk

1. Preheat your waffle iron and spray with cooking spray.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well.
5. Carefully pour the batter onto the waffle iron.
6. Close the top and cook until they are done and easy to remove from the waffle iron. They should be golden brown.

Serve with your favorite syrup, fruit, eggs, and bacon or ham.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy National Goof Off Day!

Believe it or not, my calendar claims that March 22 is National Goof Off Day! How fun is that! It’s been sanctioned by someone, but I don’t recommend trying to get away with goofing off if you A) have to report to a supervisor at work, B) have a small child who depends on you for meals, transportation, or general care, or B) have any life-or-death situation that requires you to NOT goof off.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t goof off at all. If you have some freedom or even a few spare minutes in your day, you might take advantage of the holiday. I think it’s actually good for you to goof off every once in a while. So let’s think of some great ways to goof off.

Here are a few ways I can think of:

• Turn off the ringer on your phone and settle down with a good book by your favorite author.
• Close the shades, blinds and curtains, grab a blanket and pillow, and take a nap on the sofa.
• Go to your favorite park or beach and relax with nature.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Are you wearing green? Do you know why you're wearing green? Any idea why you see shamrocks everywhere on St. Patrick's Day? I did a bit of research to find out.

St. Patrick’s Day is the celebration of the anniversary of Patrick, the son of an of Roman-British army officer Calpurnius. He was born in either Scotland or Roman England with the name Maewyn Succat. He was sold into slavery by pirates who kidnapped him.

After a dream of seeing God, he escaped to Britain then went to France where he joined a monastery. He trained for 12 years then became a bishop. After dreaming that he was called to Ireland to share the news about God, he went with the Pope’s blessing and managed to convert quite a few of the Irish—many of them Pagans.

Patrick was arrested a few times, but he always managed to escape. He set up monasteries and schools throughout Ireland. Legends claim that St. Patrick used a 3-leaf shamrock to show the Trinity of Christianity.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 – 132 years ago! In addition to his brilliance in physics, I discovered some interesting tidbits about this man.

Fun facts about Albert Einstein:
• He was a chubby baby.
• Albert was a late talker.
• He didn’t pass his college entrance exam the first time he took it.
• He was known to be quite a womanizer.
• Albert lived to be 89.

Sounds to me like Mr. Einstein had a bit of slacker in him, yet he still managed to make a difference in the world. I think there's a lesson in there somewhere.

I think all intelligent and not-so-smart people should find a way to celebrate Albert Einstein's! Read a great book or learn something new. Share your knowledge with family and friends!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Interview With Lena Nelson Dooley and Chance for a Free Book!

Lena Nelson Dooley posted an interview with me on her blog today. Go there and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Sweet Baklava! Lena's Blog.

A Few of My Favorite Authors

Most of my friends know me as a writer, but long before that (like way back in the Dark Ages), I was an avid reader. In fact, I still am. I’m a very happy person when I have stacks of books by my favorite authors, a few current magazines, and the daily newspaper.

I have eclectic taste in reading. Sometimes I enjoy cozy mysteries or women’s fiction, but my all-time favorite books are romances or books with strong romantic elements.

Here ‘s a list of some of my favorite authors:
• Sandra Bricker
• Trish Perry
• Jenny B. Jones
• Pamela Morsi
• Shelley Shepard Gray
• Margaret Daley
• Anne George
• Kristin Billerbeck
• Diann Hunt
• Rachel Hauck
• Joyce Magnin

If you can think of an author I haven’t listed, please let me know. I might already know about her (or him), but just in case, I’d love to discover a new voice!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Greek Pilafi (rice) Recipe

Sometimes you need a side dish that is filling and goes with anything. Here’s a Greek rice recipe that is a great go-to item.

Pilafi (rice)

• 2 cups uncooked rice
• 1/2 cup butter
• 5 cups chicken stock
• 2 tsp. salt

1. Melt butter on medium in a large pan.
2. Brown the uncooked rice in the butter.
3. Add the chicken stock and salt. Stir. Bring to a boil.
4. Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blogging Job opportunity

I just learned that there's a job opportunity for people interested in blogging. It's a paid gig. If you want the details, check it out here: Quips and Tips Blog.

Most writers I know do more than one thing. Even successful novelists often have their hands in editing, proofreading, freelance nonfiction articles, web writing, teaching, and whatever else they can find to supplement their income. I think it's smart to have more than one stream of income to prevent the loss of one from being so devastating.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Greek Food - Spanakopita (spinach pie)

Some of the best food I've ever tasted comes from one of the many Greek restaurants in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Here is my favorite recipe for spanakopita:

• Cooking spray
• 10 sheets of phyllo dough
• 1⁄2 cup butter, melted
• 1 pound fresh spinach, washed, patted dry, and chopped
• 2 eggs
• 1⁄2 cup chopped onion
• 2 cups ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
• 1 cup grated feta cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spray a 13 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Place a layer of phyllo in the pan.
3. Brush the first layer of phyllo with melted butter.
4. Repeat layering the phyllo and melted butter until there are 5 sheets in the pan.
5. Place the spinach in a bowl and lightly salt. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
6. Beat the eggs then add onion and cheeses.
7. Fold the spinach into the egg, onion and cheese mixture.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Spread the entire mixture over the phyllo.
10. Layer the remaining phyllo over the top, brushing
each layer with melted butter.
11. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
12. Cut into squares.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tarpon Springs, Florida

One of my favorite places in the entire world is Tarpon Springs, Florida. In addition to being on the beautiful, sunny West Coast of Florida, the community has a strong Greek influence. Walk down the sponge docks along Dodecanese Blvd., and you'll be hard pressed to miss the strains of Greek music and shouts of "Opa!" from the restaurants and shops.

One of the unique things you'll find in many of the shops is a vast selection of natural sponges harvested in the Gulf of Mexico.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Exciting Times!

This is an exciting career year for me. I have 7 books coming out, and I'm working on more projects that look promising. Publishing is a business with no guarantees, so I'm trying to enjoy the good times after many years of being on a roller-coaster ride.

Sweet Baklava and Delight Yourself in the Lord...Even on Bad Hair Days (devo with Sandra Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Trish Perry) have March release dates. Shades of the Past, a Heartsong Presents book set in the Mennonite community in Sarasota, Florida, is going to book club members this spring.

Then in the fall, Love Finds You on Christmas Morning (2-novella generational anthology with Trish Perry) is being released in September. The other two Heartsong Presents books in the Sarasota series, Trusting Her Heart and Unlikely Match, are going to the book club in the fall. Then the 3-in-1 repackaged West Virginia Heartsongs, Appalachian Weddings, will be available in bookstores.

People sometimes ask what it takes to have a successful publishing career. There's no easy or single answer, but there are some common traits I see among other multi-published authors.

Being an author requires a ton of hard work, tenacity, motivation, study, willingness to change and shift, and the ability to work with editors. The time to get serious about being a published author starts long before an editor offers a contract. And once you have a taste of success, if you want to keep the momentum going, you can't stop. In fact, I find that I have to work harder than ever, even when I get bad reviews, rejections (yes, I still get them), and have the temptation to go outside and play before my work is done.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days!

Sandra Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, Trish Perry, and I are happy to announce that our women’s devotional Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Cokesbury, Books a Million, and

Here’s a sneak preview of what to expect. Enjoy!

Visit author Sandra Bricker’s blog for even more information about our devotional.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Read all about Valentine’s Day Symbols and Traditions from around the world to heighten this day of romance and love.

Then cook something delicious together before, during, or after a romantic date.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine’s Day Coming Soon!

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, so if you haven’t already picked up something for your sweetheart, you need to do it now.

Need ideas for a fabulous gift or something romantic to do? Here are some articles I wrote that might help:
Gift Ideas for a Man
Gift Ideas for a Woman
Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Gifts
At-Home Valentine Dates


Monday, February 7, 2011

Easy Baklava Recipe!

In honor of my book, Sweet Baklava, that will be released on March 1, I would like to share a super simple baklava recipe. I have a more complicated recipe in the book, but until you get it, try making this one. They're both delicious!


• Cooking spray
• 1 lb chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
• 1 cup melted butter
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup honey
• 2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Spray a 9” x 13” pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix cinnamon and nuts in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Cover the bottom of the pan with phyllo and brush with melted butter.
4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture on top.
5. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used.
6. Finish with 3 or 4 layers of phyllo.
7. Cut the baklava into squares, rectangles, or triangles.
8. Bake in a 350 degree oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp.
9. Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the honey and vanilla and reduce the heat. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
10. After you remove the baklava from the oven, slowly pour the sugar, honey and water mixture over it.
11. Cool the baklava and serve.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Great News - Love Finds You on Christmas Morning!

Trish Perry and I just signed a contract with Summerside Press for a 2-novella anthology! Love Finds You on Christmas Morning will be available this coming fall. My story, "Deck the Halls," is historical, and Trish's, "Tis the Season," is contemporary. Her heroine is the great-granddaughter of mine. How fun is that!

Our anthology is set in the beautiful town of Cary, North Carolina. We're incorporating as much of the real setting as we can, but of course, since this is fiction, we'll make up a few places for our stories.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Delight Yourself in the Lord...

...Even on Bad Hair Days!

Authors Sandra Bricker, Trish Perry, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and I are excited about our new devotional that we wrote for busy women.

Delight Yourself in the Lord...Even on Bad Hair Days is now available for pre-order on Amazon and This will make a great gift for Mother's Day, and don't forget to order one for yourself.

Now take a moment to enjoy a little video the Marian Miller put together for us after we finished writing our devos. We had a blast! And yes, some of us were rather dorky in the video, but that's okay. We were letting our hair down after putting together this project.


Monday, January 31, 2011

3-Book Contract!

I'm very happy to announce that I signed a 3-book contract with Abingdon Press earlier this month. All 3 books are women's fiction set in the South. I decided on a fictional town near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, so I could include a healthy dose of made-up places close to a real setting.

The "Class Reunion" series titles:
All Prettied Up at the Cut 'n Curl
Fancy Is as Fancy Does
Stylin' with Ms. Prissy Big Hair

The first book is coming out in Fall 2013, so y'all will have to wait a while to buy it. But don't worry. I'll post a reminder here when they're available.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sweet Baklava Coming Soon!

If you'd like to be on my mailing list to get reminders of Sweet Baklava and all my other upcoming book releases, please send your snail mail address to Debby [at] DebbyMayne [dot] com (remove spaces and replace words "at" and "dot" with symbols).


Monday, January 24, 2011

Vintage Clothing and Accessories

I've enjoyed seeing some of my favorite old styles coming back lately. My daughters talked my husband and me into going to Little Five Points in Atlanta, where we visited one vintage shop after another.

Here are some articles I wrote on vintage fashion:

Update Your Wardrobe With Vintage Clothing

How to Dress in Retro Vintage Clothing for a Glamour Girl Look

One of the employees at the Clothing Warehouse was kind enough to pose for pictures in her head-to-toe vintage outfit after helping my daughter select a dress that looked good on her. We'll definitely return to that store in the future!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy National Buttercrunch Day!

Although there’s no evidence that Congress has any intention of making this an official holiday, people who love the flavor of buttercrunch can still rejoice and eat their favorite sweet treat to their hearts’ content! Enjoy making buttercrunch cookies and have a happy day!

• 1 cup of softened butter
• 1 cup of sugar
• 1-1/2 cup of flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. cream of tartar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 cups of crushed cereal (Cornflakes are best!)
• 1/2 cup of chopped nuts

1. Mix butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Add dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.
4. Fold in the crushed cereal and nuts.
5. Roll the dough into balls and place on cookie sheets. Lightly press the centers of each cookie ball.
6. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes.
7. Cool before eating.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Eat a Healthy Breakfast!

We’re still in the middle of the cold, flu, and virus season, so make a concerted effort to stay healthy. One of the best things you can do for your family is make sure everyone starts out with a healthy breakfast.

Since your days are probably as hectic as mine, I came up with some suggestions for healthy but quick-and-easy breakfasts. Here they are:
• Oatmeal with raisins and milk
• Fruit and yogurt wrap – Slather Greek yogurt on a whole wheat tortilla and fill with slices of your favorite fruit.
• Leftover veggie pizza
• Apple slices with peanut butter
• Fruit smoothie – Mix apple juice, frozen strawberries, plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of honey, and a small banana in a blender.