Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Agent Chip MacGregor

I just read Chip MacGregor's blog for today and for writers he has a lot of great words of wisdom. I can't post it here, but I can post the link.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Glory to God in the Highest This Christmas Day!

Christmas greetings! 

In the Chicago area, we are having a brown Christmas this year. Beautiful clear blue sky and not a cloud in sight. The temp is about 30 degrees, due to rise to the upper 30s before the day is over. And nary a flake of snow to cover the brown grass.

Yesterday, as I was reading Luke 2 in the Bible and reflecting on the night Christ was born, I paused at the part where the angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. I don’t use the King James Bible but Luke 2:14 in that version reads:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men.”

Back when I was about age six or seven, I attended Sunday school at a Congregational church that was only a half block from our home. It wasn’t the church denomination either of my parents were raised in, but when we first moved to that house we didn’t have a car, so that neighborhood church became our church for those years.

As in most churches, the children put on a Christmas program each year where the Christmas story was acted out according to Scripture. One year, I was chosen to be an angel. I remember my mom sewing my costume out of lots and lots of gauze, and on top of my blonde curls sat a tinsel halo. I’m sure I must have had wings as well. God has a sense of humor, I’m sure, because I was anything but an angelic child. To top it off, I was given one speaking line. You guessed it. Luke 2:14 in the King James Version, which back then was the only version people used.

I remember saying it over and over and on the night of the performance, I quoted it in the same strong voice I still have, at the top of my lungs. I nailed it. The very first Bible verse I’d ever memorized.

If only back at that tender age I truly understood the meaning behind the words. Like a river, lots of years had to flow under the bridge before my spiritual heart would awaken from its slumber. Not on Christmas, but on a Good Friday afternoon as I sat in a far different church listening to the biblical account of the crucifixion.

That Christmas back in my childhood I celebrated baby Jesus, not really understanding the significance of His coming and probably more focused on what would be under the tree for me Christmas morning. Little realizing that God’s gift to us at Christmas is far more valuable than a bike or a doll.

When I gave my heart to the crucified and risen Jesus on Good Friday over thirty years later, I came to finally understand the words I’d memorized as a child. Because of God’s good will in sending His Son Jesus to earth as a man, I could come to faith in Jesus my Savior and have eternal life with God the Father.

Now I can say loud and clear and with great joy,

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men!!”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!!!

The busyness of December has gotten away from me. I've been plotting and starting the first draft of Book 2 in my On The Road to Love Series (more adventures of April and Marc!), preparing to coordinate ACFW's Genesis writing contest for unpublished writers which opens January 2nd, and doing Christmas things like baking pumpkin bread to give away, hosting a Christmas dinner and gift exchange for the ladies in my small group, and dealing with a car battery that was being drained by an errant amplifier.

Despite it all, I have been careful to remind myself of the Reason for the Season. It's not about presents or food or parties, although that's what many seem to think. I read an article in the paper recently on the Christian significance of Christmas, and the author said he wanted to stab a candy cane through the heart of the person who made up a department store ad campaign for this year which says simply "Believe." It made me laugh, but really ... What does any store that places that word in their ads want the consumer to believe? That they have the best deals in town? The most choices? What? I'm sure it's not to believe that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

But wait! Maybe whomever developed the campaign does believe Jesus is the Reason for the Season and that's their subtle way of making a statement.

Regardless, I choose to believe the way I want to believe.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Through His Eyes: From Dreams to Reality - Part 2

Through His Eyes: From Dreams to Reality - Part 2: For the 2nd installment of From Dreams to Reality I'm featuring the following talented authors: Pamela S. Meyers Lisa Grace Max Anderson...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

From Ane Mulligan's Southern-fried Fiction: Is Your Wallet Empty This Christmas?

My good friend and writing buddy, Ane Mulligan, posted this on her blog this morning. It's worth repeating. Click on the link to read the whole thing

Southern-fried Fiction: Is Your Wallet Empty This Christmas?: When my pastor, Chuck Allen , talked about giving this last Sunday, it struck a chord in me. We'd already decided since...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Featuring Author S. Dionne Moore and Her New Release!

Today it is my pleasure to feature my good friend Sandra Moore who writes under the name S. Dionne Moore. Sandra is also one of my critique partners, and I can attest to her ability to spin a good story.  

Her latest release, Promise Brides, is a compilation of three novels, and is published by Barbour Publishing.

Anyone who has written historical fiction knows the countless hours of research that is required for any story. Sandra is going to discuss some of the things she learned as she researched for her novels.


One of the most interesting elements of my research for Promise of Time, one of three historical romances in newly released Promise Brides, was discovering that Abraham Lincoln was not the featured speaker at the Gettysburg National Cemetery dedication ceremony. Edward Everett was so honored, and he was scheduled to speak before the president on that cloudy day in November of 1863. Everett was a man noted for quality speeches and deliveries, his reputation for excellence in speech-making already established, as well as his tendency toward being long-winded. President Lincoln must have known this, for he planned his speech to be short, coming in at about two minutes compared to Everett’s two hours!

Even with two hours of talk time, Abraham Lincoln’s speech became the most well-remembered of the two, probably in great part because of its brevity.

The only known photo of Lincoln at Gettsyburg, the president is shown in the circle. His bodyguard is on his right. 

In my past blogs for my books, I’ve talked at great lengths about the historical facts used to make stories come to life. But what about my characters? Who are they and how do I develop them? Evolve might be a better word. My characters generally develop traits based on what will be happening in the plot and what hurdles they will have to jump in order to reach a satisfying ending.

In Promise Brides, specifically for Promise of Time, the idea of two people falling in love across the lines that divided our nation in 1863 fascinated me. Ellie is a Northerner, Theo a Southerner, but Theo is first and foremost a man. A young man thrust into the atrocities of war because of the things he saw his family and friends suffer at the hands of the Yankees. He had watched the North wreak havoc on everything in the South and he wanted to fight to protect what was left.

From this I delved deeper into who I wanted this man to be. How did the realities of war affect him? Theo would, like many, be unprepared for the stark realization that it had become his job to shoot at a men just like himself, but labeled his “enemy”.
But what if he months of war, of death and destruction became too much and he couldn’t take it anymore? What if, on the eve of watching yet another friend die, he also saw a man who was his “enemy,” but also a relative, murdered. . . ?

You can see the mire of questions I used to develop Theo into the character he became for Promise of Time. I wanted Ellie to be understanding of his mental anguish, thus she had experience working with the wounded in the aftermath at Gettysburg. But in spite of her compassion, wouldn’t the idea of falling for a Rebel be repugnant to her. . .or could she see what others could not. That Theo was a man first, then a soldier.

Promise of Time is available now on line at, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble as well as at your favorite retailer.

Sandra Moore writes as S. Dionne Moore, and was named Favorite New Author in the 2011 18th Annual Heartsong Awards. A compilation of three historical romances released in November 2011, titled, Promise Brides. Stories include:  Promise of Tomorrow, a 2011 Carol Award Finalist, is set in Johnstown, PA, Promise of Yesterday, is set in Mercersburg/Greencastle, PA, and Promise of Time, in Gettysburg, PA.

Winter of 2012 watch for A Shepherd's Song, the first in her Wyoming Historical Romance series, followed by The Cattle Baron's Daughter (summer 2012) and Valley of the Heart (winter 2012).

Sandra resides in the rolling hills of Cumberland Valley, PA--a transplanted city girl and glad of it! She enjoys ferreting out little-known historical details and crafting a story around them. To learn more about Sandra and her work, visit her at

Thursday, December 01, 2011

 As 2011 comes to a close, ACFW authors are finishing out the year in grand style with more offerings for your reading pleasure. It's not too late to include a few of these for the readers on your Christmas shopping list!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW FictionFinder website.

An Amish Wedding by Beth Wiseman -- Romance from Thomas Nelson; Pricilla's upcoming wedding is stirring up trouble - and romance - in Paradise.

Christmas Pearl by Robin L. Bayne -- Romance from White Rose Publishing (Pelican). Joe Gardner never expected to see Elizabeth again, not after the part she'd played in ruining his life. Refusing to believe she now shares his faith, Joe tosses aside her efforts to apologize. But when they are forced to work together in the midst of the Christmas season, Joe has to face the truth about Elizabeth, and himself.

Daddy’s Little Matchmakers by Kathleen Y'Barbo -- Romance from Love Inspired -- Wanted: Wife And Mother. Veterinarian Eric Wilson is confounded by the classified ad his three young daughters have placed. The handsome widower is not in the market for a bride!

Death in Dahlonega by Deborah Malone -- A Mystery from Lamp Post Inc.. A vacation with a friend should never include murder and mayhem.

Gold, Frankincense, and Murder by Barbara Early -- Romance/Mystery from White Rose Publishing (Pelican); A missing coworker. A brawny sidekick. Sometimes the holidays can be murder.

His Holiday Family by Margaret Daley, -- Romance from Love Inspired. In the aftermath of a hurricane, will Kathleen Hart and Gideon O'Brien, two scarred people, find hope and love?

Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. White -- Romance from Summerside Press. In 1784 peace has been declared, but war still rages in the heart of Lark Benton.

Polar Bear Plunge by Linda Glaz -- Romance from White Rose Publishing (Pelican). Aleni Callan can’t accept that God allowed her husband to die in Afghanistan while war hero, Brice Taylor, returns from Iraq to cheers and fame and feelings that he somehow failed. Neither can accept that one man lived and one man died.

Replication by Jill Williamson -- Young Adult from Zondervan; A girl discovers her biologist father is covering up multiple secrets—all of which are named Jason.

Savanna’s Gift by Camille Eide -- Romance from White Rose Publishing (Pelican); When Savanna gets a second chance at the love of her life, will her dream that once divided them get in the way?

Small-Town Sweethearts by Jean C. Gordon-- Romance from Love Inspired; With the help of God and the love of Drew Stacey, a down-sized Wall Street analyst turned church camp manager, NYC assistant art director and former town misfit Emily, ne Jinx, Hazard finds the thing she wants most in the place she least wants to be — Paradox Lake.

Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt -- Romance from Thomas Nelson; When a failed logging company threatens their town's survival, four friends devise a plan to turn Smitten, Vermont, into the country's premier romantic getaway.

The Christmas Witness by Susan Sleeman-- Thriller Suspense from Love Inspired; Can a former FBI agent let go of the devastating loss of his wife to cancer in order to save a critically ill child and her mother from a ruthless criminal?

Tracks in the Snow by Sandra Hesch-- General Fiction from Lamp Post Inc.; Jo Bremley feared losing her husband to World War II, but when a snowstorm rips apart her storybook world, how can she heal her broken heart, and move on?