Monday, July 29, 2013

My Family - My Life

As much as I like being a published author and having such fabulous publishers, I love my family more than anything. Here they are:

My husband Wally

My daughters Alison and Lauren
Alison and Lauren before Alison's wedding
Granddaughters Emma and Sophia
Sophia and Emma having a tea party

Alison with Emma and Sophia
My sons-in-law Jason and Ryan
Jason with newborn Sophia
Lauren and Ryan at their wedding

Jason, Emma, and Wally at LegoLand

Lauren with Ryan after USAF basic training

Grandpuppy Cody
Cody hanging out with Emma and Sophia

Grandkitties Maddie and Olive


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thanks to Friends and the Fiction Team at Abingdon Press!

When Ramona Richards, senior fiction editor at Abingdon Press, asked what I thought about moving my release dates for the Class Reunion series so they'd come out back-to-back, I agreed that it would be a fun experiment. I never expected the whirlwind of excitement that has happened, and I'm thankful to Ramona and the rest of the team at Abingdon for all the energy and enthusiasm they've invested.

Cat Hoort came onboard as the marketing manager, and she hit the ground running with all the fiction, including my Class Reunion books Pretty Is as Pretty Does, Bless Her Heart, and Tickled Pink. I'm extremely delighted to have the opportunity to work with someone who not only knows how to promote books, she seems to care about each and every one of the authors in her capable hands. I've met quite a few wonderful bloggers and reviewers through the Pump Up Your Book blog tour that Cat signed me up for.

I don't want to leave out others who have been involved in this series. Thank you, Barbara Scott, for believing in the concept when you were the editor at Abingdon! Tamela Hancock Murray, you're the best literary agent ever! I'm also grateful to friends Julie Pollitt, Paige Winship Dooly, Sandie Bricker, and Cherie Burbach for your friendship and support. Julie and Paige, another round of thanks to y'all for reading my books after I wrote them and before I sent them to Ramona.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bless Her Heart - Coming Soon!

Bless Her Heart, the second book in my Class Reunion series, is scheduled to release the first week of August. I'm excited to share the 15-year reunion with fans who were there for the 10-year event. You'll see how Priscilla, Tim, Laura, Trudy, and Celeste have changed - somewhat for the better but with a few twists and turns you might not expect.

As I wrote these books, I fell in love with the people in the stories. They became more than just characters because I felt what they felt and had a pretty good idea of what they needed...or thought they needed.

If you liked the 10-year reunion in the first book, Pretty Is as Pretty Does, you are invited back for what I hope is another enjoyable journey five years later.

Here are some links to preorder the book:


Barnes and Noble



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Organizations for Serious Writers

Aspiring fiction authors often ask me for advice on how to get published. I sure wish I had an easy answer, but I don't. All I can advise anyone to do is read, study craft, read, take workshops, read, have others critique your work, read, and join a professional organization. I obviously think reading is the most essential thing a writer can do to eventually get published because it will give you an idea of what works. Most writing organizations offer workshops and other opportunities to learn craft.

Here are some organizations I often recommend:
ACFW – American Christian Fiction Writers
RWA – Romance Writers of America
MWA – Mystery Writers of America
SFWA – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quick Hair Tips

I live in a very humid climate, so I tend to get the frizzies very easily, regardless of the length. I've actually found that it's easier to have long hair than short because I have more options.

Here are some quick tips I've learned to make my hair behave:
  • Don't wash your hair too often. When I wash my hair daily, it dries out and gets frizzy faster. I'm better off doing it every three or four days. Occasionally I'll use conditioner instead of shampoo if it's really dry.
  • If you like natural, beachy waves, braid your hair before you go to bed. You'll wake up with smooth, natural looking waves without having to work too hard.
  • Loose curls at the bottom of your hair are easy to achieve. Using sponge rollers (found at almost any discount store), roll just the ends of your hair when you first get up. Aim your blow dryer on the curlers and blast them with a quick shot of hot air. Allow them to cool while you put on your makeup. When you take out the rollers, your hair will have a nice, soft curl.
  • Argan oil is your friend. I love this stuff! You can buy it from quite a few places, but I've discovered that Sally's has one that works perfectly for me, and it's not terribly expensive. I squirt a dime-sized drop into the palm of my hand, rub my hands together, and rake it through my hair, starting at the bottom and working my way up. I even use it between washings. It doesn't leave the hair oily.
  • If you have little sprouts sticking up around your part, spray a little bit of hairspray on your fingertips and pat it into your part. That should tame the little sprouts for a few hours.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Skin Care at Home

One of the things I appreciate about people in the beauty business is that most of them do their best to help us look as good as we possibly can. That's what Priscilla did with Celeste in Pretty Is as PrettyDoes. However, we can't go to our favorite aesthetician every single day, so I've found some things that help me when I'm on my own.

Here are a few skin care tips that have worked for me:
  • Remove all makeup before going to bed.
  • Moisturize with a product designed for the face and under-eye area. I like my moisturizers to contain antioxidants and skin-replenishing ingredients.
  • Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – the more colorful the better.
  • Occasionally do a facial scrub. I tried doing them everyday, but my skin started burning, so I do them weekly.
  • Splash cold water on your face to make the pores appear smaller and to wake up your skin.
  • Use the highest SPF your skin can handle and try to keep the direct sun off your face. I live in Florida, so that's not always easy.
  • If you still get wrinkles and laugh lines, in spite of all this, embrace them. They show that you have lived life and smiled a lot. And that's a good thing, right?

I wear makeup most days, but I don't always have a lot of time to spend in front of the mirror. If you are a busy woman, pick just a few items that can enhance your natural beauty. Unless you have large spots, don't try to cover up or hide anything. It generally doesn't work.

How to do a 5-minute face:
  • Start with a moisturizer right after you wash your face. Do something else while it absorbs.
  • Apply a light coat of moisturizer with a sponge or your fingertips.
  • Conceal only the areas that the moisturizer doesn't cover.
  • Depending on the products you use, you may want to set the foundation with a light dusting of powder. I use a big powder brush.
  • Apply a very thin line of eyeliner at the base of the top lashes. When I have time, I also do this on the bottom, but I have to have a very steady hand so the line doesn't become thick and too dramatic.
  • Apply a single coat of mascara. I use black, but I think blue or purple look nice on some people.
  • A quick dusting of a powder blush keeps me looking alive.
  • If you have sparse eyebrows or very light ones as I do, use an eyebrow pencil or powder to enhance them. Tweezing eyebrows can be tricky, so follow these tips to keep from overdoing the plucking: Proper way to tweeze.
  • Apply lipstick (preferably with a brush). If you have uneven lip lines, use a lip liner first, but keep it as close to your lip color as possible. The days of obvious lip liner have passed, and you don't want to look outdated.
  • Take one last look in the mirror, fix whatever needs fixing, and you're all done.

Just remember that it isn't the moisturizer or makeup that makes you beautiful. It's your faith, your attitude, and how you treat others. Enjoy your day!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Congratulations to the 2013 ACFW Carol Award Finalists!

I want to congratulate all the 2013 ACFW Carol Award finalists. Here are their names along with the names of their publishers and editors:

Seaside Reunion by Irene Hannon (Love Inspired * Editor: Melissa Endlich)
A Horseman’s Hope by Myra Johnson (Heartsong Presents * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
Lost Legacy by Dana Mentink (Love Inspired * Editor: Emily Rodmell)

Heart Echoes by Sally John (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Stephanie Broene/Kathy Olson)
You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Sarah Mason)
Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)
Proof by Jordyn Redwood (Kregel * Editor: Dawn Anderson)
A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh (Guideposts Books * Editors: Beth Adams/Rachel Meisel/Lindsay Guzzardo)

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)
At Every Turn by Anne Mateer (Bethany House * Editor: Charlene Patterson)
The Discovery by Dan Walsh (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander (Zondervan * Editor: Sue Brower)
A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller (Revell * Editor: Vicki Crumpton)
Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House * Editor: Karen Schurrer)

Downfall by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan * Editors: David Lambert/Sue Brower/Ellen Tarver)
Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing * Editor: Karen Ball)
The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/Jamie Chavez)

You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/JoAnne Simmons)
Impressed by Love by Lisa Karon Richardson (Barbour Publishing * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
A Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Natalie Hanemann)

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson * Editors: Natalie Hanemann/L. B. Norton)
Saving Gideon by Amy Lillard (B&H Publishing * Editors: Julie Gwinn/Julie Carobini)
An Uncommon Grace by Serena B. Miller (Howard * Editor: Holly Halverson)

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Ami McConnell)
Saving Hope by Margaret Daley (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)
When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)

Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)
Judge by R. J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
Daystar by Kathy Tyers (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)

Prophet by R.J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley (Zondervan * Editor: Jacque Alberta)
The New Recruit by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

Celebration of the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, dates back to the American Revolution when Congress declared independence from Great Britain. Before we begin our festivities, we should ponder what others before us were willing to sacrifice so we can have the freedoms that we enjoy so much. If you fly a flag, read this article: American Flag Etiquette
Photo courtesy of MrMac04/

Here are some more articles to help celebrate this day:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book #1 in the Class Reunion Series - Pretty Is as Pretty Does

If you haven't already read Pretty is as Pretty Does, the first book in the Class Reunion series, I would love for you to get it from your favorite retailer - online or brick-and-mortar - before the second book is released. My husband is reading it now, and he says the story is all about expectations. I see his point, but I think there's so much more to it.


Barnes and Noble


Here's a blurb:
Priscilla Slater goes to her ten-year high school reunion with equal parts dread and eager anticipation. Even though she’s a successful owner of a chain of hair salons and no longer has the mousy brown hair, crooked teeth, and discount-store wardrobe, she still feels like the ugly duckling. But when she arrives at the reunion, Priscilla soon realizes that her old classmates aren’t exactly as she remembers them. With humor and a just a touch of sassiness, Priscilla finds herself facing her own truth—and she may be surprised at what she discovers.