Sabbatical Update…


It’s been almost a month since I started my official sabbatical from writing so I thought I’d update you about the books I’ve been reading as well as an update on my writing. Let’s start with the books I’ve read.

Fool Me Once by  Harlan Coben–This is a mainstream suspense, I enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised to find very little bad language or objectionable scenes. I can’t speak to his other books but this one is “safe” to read.

Voices by John Michael Hilman–This was a sequel to Messages. I would call this a supernatural Christian thriller. I enjoyed this one.

Donna’s Detour by Jo Huddleston–I have a full review on this one but if you don’t want to look for it I’ll tell you that this is a sweet and sassy Christian romance set in the fifties. Good for those who enjoy straight romance.

The Bitter Season  by Tami Hoag–I used to love Tami Hoag novels so this came as quite the disappointment. Within the first few pages there were a number of vulgar words including the F word. I read a few more chapters and the vulgarity continued so I quit reading and took it back to the library. The story itself was good but I couldn’t get past the offensive language. I don’t know if she’s changed or I’ve changed but I couldn’t finish the book.

The Devil and Pastor Gus by Roger Bruner–Another book I did a full review on. Scroll down to find it.Great book that was fun to read with lots of subtle and some not so subtle spiritual lessons.

Waking Up by Ted Dekker–This is a non-fiction book by one of my favorite Christian horror writers. It did not disappoint and I’m in the process of reading it for a second time. Don’t be impressed; it’s a short book

Bloom Within My Heart  by Nadine Hapaz–Another non-fiction book that I’m not quite finished with so more on this one later.

Magnolia Moonlight by Mary Ellis–A Christian mystery. I’ll have the full review up soon.

Right now I’m reading ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DALI by Sandra Orchard. I’ll let you know about this one when I’m finished.


So I’m proud of the progress I’ve made on my reading. I’m definitely enjoy taking time off to read but… I’ve started a few new writing projects but only work on them for a short time each day. Still it feels good to feel good about writing again.

Along with that I got the good news that my publisher accepted another one of my manuscripts to be published. I’m quite excited about this book. It’s completely different from my other books. It’s NOT a mystery, suspense or a thriller. I would call THE PUZZLE HOUSE  simply Christian Fiction. Here’s the blurb thought it might change in the future:

Life isn’t a box of candy—it’s a puzzle!

Rachel Summers was all about Rachel Summers until the day she crashed headlong into a truck. While unconscious she has a very special guest who asks a very special question–Do you want to be healed or be a healer?

Years later Rachel runs The Puzzle House—a place of healing and miracles. Guests come for one reason and one reason only—to be healed. Sometimes they receive their miracle and sometimes they discover there’s more than one kind of healing.

Nia Johnson is a fourteen-year-old African -American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. No future and she’s angry about that.

Together they work on Nia’s puzzle as Rachel shares what she’s learned about puzzles, life and God.

Biblical Advice For Writers!


1 Peter 1:13

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled,

set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.


Paul may not have written these words with a writer in mind, but I think it’s great advice. We can learn much when and where we least expect it. Let’s take a look at the verse part by part.

STEP 1: Prepare your minds .Being an excellent writer takes more than sitting down at a computer and writing. First, you must be a reader, and I don’t mean one or two books every year. One of the best ways to learn to write is to read, read, and read!

Second of all, as a Christian writer, you want to be excellent at what you do. And that means being good at the craft of writing. There are lots of ways to do that, such as classes, workshops, reading books on writing, joining writing groups and critique groups. Along with learning more about the writing craft, writers need to learn more about the business of writing as well. But whatever you do, you must prepare your mind.

STEP 2: Action. You can’t stay in step 1 forever. Some people talk about wanting to be a writer. Some people study writing.  But the only way to become a writer is to write.  So even as you continue to learn all you can about writing, you must write. Writers write!

STEP 3: Be self-controlled. So much to do and so little time to do it! We live in busy times. A multitude of people, activities, and responsibilities tug at us.  You can’t say yes to everything and still have time for writing. Being a writer takes a commitment, self-control, and self-discipline and time. Lots of time. If you can’t make a complete commitment to writing , this may not be the season for you to follow the dream as wholeheartedly as you want. You can still work on steps 1 & 2 so that you will be ready for step 3 when the time is right.

STEP 4: Set your hope fully on God’s grace. How long will it take you to reach your writing goals? I have no idea, but I can assure you it will be longer than you want or expect. Whether short or long, keep your eyes focused on God and His goodness, and know that He is faithful.

Paul’s words may not have been intended for writers, but when you consider the fact he wrote a majority of the New Testament, I believe he knew what he was talking about.


I WAS WRONG!! When Life Gets In The Way Of Writing.


I WAS WRONG!–When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

It’s been a while since I blogged. I haven’t forgotten about it but I’ve been a little busy. Since my last release-DECEPTION-came out at the end of last year, my husband had a very unexpected triple bypass surgery along with several other serious family emergencies.

I consider myself the opposite of a drama queen. In fact, I am the anti-drama queen. I like my life calm—some might call it boring. And that’s okay with me. But the last few weeks, my life has been anything but calm.

Oh, yeah. You probably want to hear what I was wrong about and why. Right before my husband’s surgery, I found out I had an article due for American Christian Fiction Writer’s Blog (ACFW). I panicked but several people told me to write about what I was going through at the moment. Good advice so I did. If you’d like to read it go to:

The gist of what I wrote was that no matter what, a writer should write since that’s what makes us writers.

Three weeks later, I admit I was wrong! Boy was I wrong.

Yes, writers need to write and develop the habit of writing through all sorts of circumstances. After 16 years of writing, I’ve got that habit pretty much nailed down. And, in fact, I’ve done lots of writing things the past few weeks. Mostly guest blogs and other commitments I’d made, and I also started writing a new story. I’m happy to report it looks promising but…

I WAS WRONG. Writers do need to write but there will be times when that’s not the best choice.

Reason number 1…after almost three weeks of taking on all the household chores, being worried and anxious, I’m tired. And when I’m tired, I don’t write all that well or make the best decisions.

Reason number 2…I can’t stay focused on any one thing long enough to let my creativity flow.

Reason number 3…when life happens and problems pile up, the last thing anyone should do is add more pressure to their life.

I was wrong and I’m willing to admit it. Here’s my new advice when life gets in the way of writing.

Give yourself a break—take time off to renew your energy, your spirit, and your creativity—stay in the moment and do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your family—the writing will be there waiting for you when the time is right!

Hows that for some good advice? Do you agree or disagree? What’s going on in your life and how are you coping with it?



For the Love of the Game?

Nothing brings out more fan complaints than a strike or lockout by their favorite sports team.

Right now, that means the NBA is the focus but at any given time that can change to any sport. And the favorite complaint is: “It’s all about the money—not the love of the game.”

Sports fans utter and bemoan this fact all the time.

The loyal basketball fans are very much complaining about this at the moment. Whatever happened to playing for the love of the game? Most of the pro athletes became professional athletes because they love their game, whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, or even bowling. T

here are few were able to get into the sport because of their last name, but most professional athletes do it the old-fashioned way—God-given talent along with hard work, determination, and perseverance. But an odd thing happens as they become professionals in the sport.

It’s not just about the love of the game any longer.

It can’t be. Because the game becomes their livelihood, their job, and their paycheck. And that means things change. That doesn’t make them bad guys—or girls, it’s just a fact of life. It doesn’t mean they don’t still love the game, but…When you become a professional, things change.

I’ve experienced this myself this year.

For fifteen years, I wrote because I loved to write. I wrote because I loved to read.

Funny thing happened when I got those two book contracts in my hand. Now, it wasn’t just about the love of the game any longer, it was about being successful at the game. It changed everything—for awhile.

But as so often happens, God has a way of speaking to us when we least expect it as well as when we need it the most.

A few weeks ago as I was lying in bed reading in the middle of the day because I was sick, I had an epiphany. In spite of being sick, miserable, and in pain, I was having a good time—just me and my book.

It occurred to me that I’d become so focused on my writing and on making my book successful, I’d forgotten why I write in the first place. Because I love books and I have a message God wants me to share. 

Writing is fun for me, and, hopefully, because it’s fun for me, that’s what makes my books enjoyable for my readers as well. I’d lost that joy in books. I’d been so busy trying to be a successful writer, I’d forgotten how much I love books.

Lesson learned!

As in all things, whether life or my writing life, moderation is the key. Proverbs 16:32 says “moderation is better than muscle.” I like that.

When things get out of balance, we start to lose our perspective and our moderation. And that’s when things start going haywire in our life.

I want to be a successful writer, but not at the expense of losing my love of the game. I still want to win the game! I want to be the best writer I can be and sell lots of books, but I will do that within the context of keeping it all in perspective and keeping it balanced.

Simply put, I love books, whether I’m reading them or writing them. And I want my readers to have the same enjoyable experience when they read my books. When they close my book after reading the last sentence, I hope they say, “Now, that’s a writer who loves books as much as I do.”

And that’s my definition of success!

QUESTION: What’s your definition of success—as a writer or in life?