Gail's Book Nook

Monday, August 29, 2011

Looking Out the Window: One Weird Bug

In the winter in Georgia someone always says, “Our weather isn’t cold enough to kill the insect eggs and larva.”

I recall this now because we had an unusually frigid winter here, and I’ve seen more bugs this summer than I’ve seen in years. One particularly fascinating insect appeared on our deck while we had a house guest. I first heard it fling itself into the sliding glass door in our living room. It sounded as though a baseball struck the glass. Our guest sat in front of it. I jumped and looked at her. She shrugged her shoulders, but said nothing.
A few nights later we turned out the lights to get ready for bed, and I heard a loud, staccato clicking outside. Our guest said, “It’s that bug.”
“What bug?” I asked.
“The same one that banged into the door the other night. When you go to bed, and I'm here on the sofa I hear it. It makes that sound. Pull back the curtain and look. It spins around.
I peered outside. A lime green insect about the size of a butterfly spun around in circles with its wings folded vertically and made the weird noise. “I’ve never seen anything like that.” I gazed at my husband, Rick. “Where did it come from? Any ideas?”
He stared at the bug and shook his head. “I don’t know. It must be doing some sort of mating dance and call.”
I peered at our guest. “The bug’s in love you.”
We all laughed and went to bed. But when the guest left, the bug left.
I can’t think about the bug without also thinking of the refrain to a song I sang in Sunday School as a child, “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” The lyrics were written by a woman, Cecil Alexander in 1848, and the tune, a 17th Century English melody, arranged by Martin F. Shaw in 1915. The refrain is:
                                           All things bright and beautiful,
                                           All creatures great and small,
                                           All things wise and wonderful:
                                           The Lord God made them all.

Psalm: 104: 24, “How many are your works,
                         O Lord!
                         In wisdom you made them all;
                         the earth is full of your creatures.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Looing Out the Window: Staci Stallings, English Teacher Turned Writer

In Staci's interview she tells about a dangerous school situation. As for writing, she prefers characters who've decided life stinks. She offers them hope. She advises other writers to write their hearts.

Welcome, Staci. First, tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids a husband and a writing addiction! I've written 30 full-length novels, hundreds of articles, six Bible Studies, and two God Help books (for when self-help just isn't working anymore!) I blog. I volunteer at two schools and my church. I teach Sunday school and substitute. And the only reason I'm still sane is because God loves me and does an awesome job scheduling my days.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
Yes. Words were one of my first loves. I told my grandpa when I was four that I was "anticipating" getting a ring when we went back to town. However, when I hit junior high and found romance novels (anyone remember Sweet Dreams?), my love of reading became a full-blown addiction. I devoured those early romance books and have, on occasion even after I got "older," gone back and re-read them. I love people falling in love.
Why do you write?
Because if I didn't, I would either explode or go crazy. Seriously. Writing is like breathing to me, and when I go too long without putting something on paper, life just doesn't feel right. My friends can tell when I haven't written in awhile, and they can tell when I have. I love writing because it's when I feel God the most. It's when I can take spiritual risks, just let go and let God show me the world by writing through me. It opens up possibilities in all the other areas of my life. I always come away fuller and wiser.
That’s interesting. My husband says I have pretend people running around in my head, and I have to let them out. Sort of the same thing. Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book was actually the third book I finished out of the 30. It's called "The Price of Silence," and it is far darker than most of my books. In it, we follow Robyn Lockhart, a senior in high school who's just been transferred to a huge school that she does not want to attend. Coming from a small school in Iowa, Robyn finds herself in the midst of wall-to-wall people and wall-to-wall silence about what's really going on. When she lands a spot on the school newspaper and begins trying to get the word out about the danger lurking in every hallway, she becomes a target as well. However, telling someone she is could end with her newfound friends in body bags. How do you shout from the rooftops if the only ones listening are those who want you quiet? And if you stand up, will anyone else stand with you?
That sounds like an intriguing book. A high school reporter in danger. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I was a high school English teacher almost twenty years ago. In one school where I taught, a gun was brought to a classroom next to mine and a student was threatened with it. Then I taught at another school and had one brought to my own classroom. In both incidents the administrations tried very hard to hush everything up. They didn't want to scare parents, and they thought maybe the kids would never find out. (Yeah right!) I found both assumptions to be ludicrous. In fact, one of my students had to transfer because she had seen the gun and was the one who told the administration. Because of the way it was handled, she was harassed and threatened for saying something. I began to wonder, "What happens if you're a kid and you know bad things are happening? What do you do if you tell someone and nothing is done about it? Where do you go if your parents are disconnected and the administration just wants everything to be 'okay' without doing something about it?"
The truly scary thing to me was that two years later, the boy who brought the gun to school and threatened my student was on trial for murder. How off-the-rails was he all the way back at the gun incident? So, I wrote the book for kids, yes. But even more so for parents and teachers and administrators. These types of "incidents" are incredibly dangerous to the innocent kids in school, and if you hush up enough of them, you will hush up everyone--even students who might say something about a potentially deadly situation. We need to give our kids ways to tell us what's going on. And we need to believe them when they do!
You're right, Staci. That's really scary. But I’m glad you’re making people aware. Other than something like this, where do you get ideas for your books?
A lot of my ideas come from dreams I've had. In fact, the first book I finished started with about 30 seconds of a dream. Ever since I was a child, to put myself to sleep, I would come up with a story and "tell it to myself" in what most people would consider like a movie in my brain. I would start with a dream I had that I really liked. Then when I got in bed, I would think about that dream and "push play" to watch more of it.
That's what I do with my books too. I simply "Push Play" and then translate into words what I'm seeing in my head. Beyond that, a lot of times when I get to the end of one book, I can "see" the story going on, maybe with secondary characters from the first book or maybe with the primary characters from the first book. Honestly, I never know when a great idea is going to come or how fast a book will write itself. Two I've finished in less than a month. One took seven years.
I am writing about six at any one time, and it's kind of like watching television. When I sit to write, I select a story (choose a channel), get quiet, and push play.
How do you get to know your characters?
I think I've tried about everything. I've interviewed them. I've talked with them. I've thought about them. I've listened to them (sometimes at three in the morning!). Mostly I just let them tell their story, and I write what I see. Most of the characters I've had over the years were fine with that. They wanted their story told and cooperated quite nicely. One guy, however, in the book Lucky, was the hardest character I ever wrote because he simply didn't want to be honest with me about what had happened in his past. I wrote things that made no sense to me at all. But rather than force them to make sense, I just kept writing hoping the Holy Spirit knew where we were going. (I pray A LOT while I write, falling at the mercy of God to know where this is going because I rarely have all the pieces even in the middle of the book!)
Then one day near the end of that book, I finally said, "Look, Kalin, you're going to have to tell me what happened." As weird as it sounds, I could feel how hard it was for him to tell me as he had never even admitted what happened even to himself. He was in an incredible amount of pain over it, and the shame and guilt had convinced him that no one could ever love him again if he told them... so he hadn't.
Strangely enough, however, when he told me, suddenly all those things that I'd written in the first of the book that didn't make any sense at the time made perfect sense.
So I've learned to simply be a safe place for my characters to be, to live, to grow, and to tell their stories. I find the more I do that, the better off everything ends up.
What themes do you write about?
I write what God gives me to write. Most of the stories are about characters who are incredibly broken. They have for whatever reason decided life stinks and they are on the verge of giving up--sometimes on life, sometimes on themselves, sometimes on everything. Then this person they never saw coming shows up, and through the gift of love and acceptance they find peace and healing.
Some of the themes I've written about include: alcoholism, drug addiction, loss of a spouse, success-at-any-cost thinking, dyslexia, death, gangs, social injustice, having sex before marriage, anger, fear, molestation, date rape, suicide, church abuse, starting over, hope, finding peace, seeking justice, and love.
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
Yes. Big time. I say that I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids, a husband, and a writing addiction, but even that doesn't do my life justice. I also... run two companies, do all the finances for both companies and my family. I have my own house (with laundry, cleaning, dishes, etc.) I run the three kids here, there, and yonder. I've got two very tight-knit extended families and all the parties and responsibility that entails. I volunteer at two schools organizing and running three major fundraisers every year. I teach Sunday school and direct plays for VBS each summer. I'm active in an online writers' group, and I have my own much smaller online writers' group. I blog twice a week and try to publish something bigger almost every month. I edit my own material, help with cover design, help with formatting, and oversee everything. I also guide marketing efforts, do interviews, and write articles for publication in books like God's Way for Mothers and Chicken Soup for the Body & Soul. Oh, and I also mentor other writers--especially new ones trying to get their feet on the ground.
How do I balance it all? I don't. I know that sounds crazy, but I really don't. If I tried, I'd go nuts. Several years ago, I learned to just put my day in God's hands and let Him figure out what I needed to do that day. Whatever I get done is what He wanted me to do. Whatever I don't get done is in His hands.
Sometimes I write like crazy for a week or more. Sometimes it's a month or more between anything other than blogs. That used to make me nuts when I thought it was all up to me. Now I know God is going to give me the next piece if I'm patient enough to wait for it. I can't explain that, but I know it works. Most of all I've learned that I can't, but God can. Let Him!
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Without God, I wouldn't even be in this game anymore. He teaches me so much through the writing. Some of those lessons are learned through just watching how He works in my characters' lives. One of those was in the book A Little Piece of Heaven--the second book in The Faith Series. As I was writing that book, I learned something about the heroine that she had never told anyone (sound familiar). She did not want to tell anyone either, but because of what had happened, she was putting her own life on the line to try to stop it. I knew that she was going to have to tell her new boyfriend and that what happened next could wipe both of them out (most often I do not know where my stories are going, so I didn't know how this was going to turn out).
I quit writing it. I didn't want them to have to go through what I knew they were going to have to go through. I'm not sure how long my rebellion lasted, but I do remember crying to a friend that I didn't want to write this part. However, when I did, I realized that it was that "hard part" that made them both stronger. They had to go through that to find real, lasting peace. Without it, the "peace" they were living was a sham.
Then there are the lessons I learn about God and how He guides my every step--in writing and in life. He leads me to the right pieces that I need for the books. He orders my days. He knows where this thing is going, and He will get me there if I just trust Him and let Him work through me. Mostly, I've learned that faith isn't about me at all. It's about Him. He has the faith, not me. I don't write the stories. God does. I don't have the plan. God does. And if I am willing to just take the steps He's asking me to take when He asks me to take them, He will bring me to the place He knew my heart wanted to be all along.
What are you working on right now?
Well, the book that I'm working on right now that's the closest to my heart is one that started out a lot like Kalin's story. This character's name is Jake McCoy, and he's a writer. He's also very much a loner. In fact, that's where we met him the first time--alone in a coffee shop huddled over a laptop in the corner. As he and I got to know each other, I realized that I could see what was in his head--the stories he was writing, but he wouldn't let me see his laptop. I couldn't figure that out. But as I wrote, he met the love of his life, and he wouldn't let her see it either. Finally it dawned on me that there must be a reason he didn't want me to see that screen.
Much like Kalin, he didn't want to tell me why. Then in the middle of writing it, my son was diagnosed with dyslexia (he'd been having extreme trouble in school with reading and spelling). Suddenly, I knew why Jake didn't want me to see that screen. Sure enough, the whole thing was filled with red squiggly lines--he couldn't spell at all! Here he is this cool guy with all these awesome stories to tell, but he can't get them written. Enter the love of his life who has been drifting in college trying to find a major or anything she really wants to do. Shortly after meeting Jake, not knowing much more than his name, she gets sent to an on-campus Literacy Center where they work with people who have dyslexia.
Right now in the story, she has just figured out what's going on with him and has talked him into going to the center. But he's terrified because in his mind there is something physically or mentally wrong with him--like part of his brain is missing or something. He loves her, and he doesn't want to let her down as he has let so many others down in the past.
For me, this one has been very personal because a lot of the things Jake goes through and has gone through I can so see having happened to my son if he hadn't had people willing to go to all lengths to help him. I just keep asking myself, "What if no one had helped him? What would have happened to my creative, fun, energetic, awesome little boy?" And sadly, I found out through research into dyslexia that in several states, they calculate the number of prison beds they will need 20 years out by counting the number of kids that can't read in the third grade.
Now if that doesn't scare a mom with a kid who's struggling, nothing will!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don't be afraid to write your heart. There are those who will tell you to figure out what will sell and write that. The only way I would agree is if you are writing just to make money. If you are, great. Go for it. But if you feel like God has stories He's giving you to tell, tell them. Follow HIM--not the world. Write what He gives you to write and then do with it what He tells you to do. You will never go wrong doing that. Yes, the path may not always be easy, and sometimes you will wonder if this will ever happen. But God knows where your piece of the puzzle fits and how it fits and when it's supposed to drop into place. Learn to trust Him--you will never be sorry you did.
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Books In Print, Kindle & FREE on Spirit Light Works:
Spirit Light Books--The Blog:
And… Staci’s website Come on over for a visit…
You’ll feel better for the experience!
Connect with her on Twitter: @StaciStallings

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Regina Andrews


Hi Regina, welcome. First, tell us a little about yourself.

Gail, thank you so much for having me here today! I’m a New England girl through and through who loves to travel the world and loves getting home. I love in Providence, RI, and love being near the ocean. I met my husband because my sister moved in next door to him and I visit her all the time. She had a Christmas party, and well…that was that! Now I love there, too. We have a cat rather feral we rescued from a shelter named. Her name is Tiana.
I love getting to know more about you. Tell us about your latest book.
My newest book is called “Angels of the Heart”. It is book two in the Sterling Lakes Series, a 9-book series from Desert Breeze Publishing. The series looks at the town of Sterling Lakes as they undergo a rebirth while they are renovating their church.

In three words describe your style of writing. That’s a great question, Gail! I’d say: Uplifting, user-friendly and colorful.
How do you get to know your characters? They come to me and it varies about how we all get to know each other. Some of them are really extroverted, so we get to know each other very quickly. Others are not so outgoing and we have to hang around together, mostly going for walks, to get closer. 
What themes do you write about? Well, love, most definitely, in its many, varied forms – spiritual, personal, familial, communal. And what happens when love of self takes over the greater good. But we always have a happy ending!
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it? Yes, I have a job where I work 60+ hours a week, and I am married, I have a very nice family (no children) and I do lots of volunteer work. My writing time is compressed! But my imagination is always going and that’s the big part, for me.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer? I think I’m a hybrid. I do a plot/synopsis, and then I just let it rip and see where the gang takes me. Maybe I am a plotzer?
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Yes, I would say never, ever give up. Keep practicing and learning and reading. Believe in yourself and your talent and don’t ever stop.
Thank you for having me here today, Gail!
It was my pleasure, Regina!
Read about Regina's New Book
The life of a television journalist has been good to Maryanne Lynch and life in Sterling Lakes suits her well. That is, until she learns of developer Travis Collimore’s plans to destroy a local landmark, the Townsend Barn along with its rare angel weather vane, as part of the renovations of St. Luke’s Church. The reappearance of her former high school friend who moved away years earlier turns Maryanne’s life into a series of events which put her values, her character and her beliefs to the test. Will she be able to maintain her professional and ethical standards in the face of a ghost from the past…who looks to be clouding her future?

Regina Shares an Excerpt
Chapter One

"That's a wrap, everyone, thank you. Another great show."
Reviewing the studio audience, WMAS television host Maryanne Lynch started to remove her earpiece as usual and roll the wire into a neat coil. This time though, the stone on her diamond engagement ring snagged the strands of her sleek black bob, tangling up the wire and interrupting her thoughts. She freed herself only to have the ring hitch again, this time catching the jacket pocket of her cappuccino business suit as she tried to slip her earpiece safely inside it.
Kirk Blackstone, her producer, approached her. "Maryanne, there's a bunch of girl scouts here. Doing some badge about media careers. Can you meet with them?"
"Sure, in the conference room. Just give me one minute, okay?"
She moved through the studio, scanning the crowd while remaining intent on her purpose. "I had to wear a pencil skirt today," she mumbled. One of the guests today had looked familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on it. She hurried to catch up with him, while considering an even more pressing matter about the show’s topic.
When she turned the final corner before the studio exit doors, she spotted him. With his tall frame and blond hair, he stood out in the crowded lobby area.
"Excuse me!"
"Thank you for visiting the show today."
His brown eyes traveled up and down her frame. "No problem."
"Everyone is all worked up about the renovations to St. Luke's Church and the new face of Sterling Lakes. It's a hot topic."
"It's good the town folks are interested."
"They are more than interested, they are reborn. This is the new lease on life that Sterling Lakes has been praying for so very long. You can't imagine what it means to us."
"Heartwarming. Now, if you'll excuse me?"
Maryanne had done enough interviews to know his tone of voice probably meant he was not really interested. She took one step closer to him. "There's just another thing to clear up. If you develop St. Luke's the way you explained on my show, it means you'll have to raze the Townsend Barn."
"There is a structure--"
"Townsend Barn."
He nodded. "There is a structure, Townsend Barn, thank you, which currently stands right in the middle of the land that will house the rectory and youth center. To build the extension, the barn has to go."
"That can't happen."
"The architect has designed for it to happen that way."
"The people of Sterling Lakes love the barn. It has an angel weather vane. That's very rare, you know."
"I don't know what to tell you. The plans have been drawn up and approved."
Maryanne arched one eyebrow. "Really? We all know plans are made to be broken."
"Some of us do. Especially you."

Regina's Bio
A resident of Providence, RI, Regina grew up in nearby Barrington. After graduating from Providence College she attended the University of Delaware, eventually earning her Master’s Degree in American Civilization from Brown University. She is inspired by anything to do with nature, and she and her husband enjoy visiting nearby Cape Cod.
Regina’s hobbies include Travel, Museums, Theater, Classical Music, Choral Singing and Gardening. She is a radio host for In-Sight, an association dedicated to providing services to the visually impaired of all ages.
Learn More about Regina at her Web site at and visit her blog at
Buy Angels of the Heart from Desert Breeze Publishing at

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Mildred Colvin, Award Winning Author of Sweet Inspirational Romance

Mildred talks about three new E-Books.
She's giving away one. Winner picks!
To enter to win leave a comment with an email address.

Hi Mildred, First, tell us a little about yourself.
Gail, thank you for inviting me here today. I’ve been writing for about ten years for Heartsong Presents, which is the romance line at Barbour Publishing. I have eleven novels published with them as well as two collections and one audio book. Learning to Lean is a new venture for me as I launch into ebook publishing and promotion. It’s exciting to reach into a new area of readers with my work. While I fully intend to continue writing for my Heartsong readers, I hope to reach many ebook readers with the stories I am now working on for Amazon. In fact, as my backlist becomes available, my goal is to rewrite some of those and publish them as ebooks as well as new, unpublished stories.
It sounds as though we readers have lots to look forward to. Were you an avid reader as a child?
One of my earliest memories is of my father reading to my brother, sisters, and me when we were children. I remember getting my first library card in first grade. After that, the library became one of my favorite places to browse and pick out the best stories to read.
What did you read?
The Bobbsey Twins were the most memorable since they were a series. As a teen-ager I loved Grace Livingston Hill’s books.
I'd forgotten about the Bobbsey Twins until you mentioned them. I have fond memories of them too. Why do you write?
I started writing because my children asked for stories. I continued writing because I’ve always loved to write, yes, even the essay assignments in English classes. I sold a few children’s stories to magazines and a few more devotionals to Key’s for Kids at Children’s Bible Hour. That was fun, but then the stories left and were replaced in my mind by book-length ideas. Ten years later, these ideas continue to bump each other for attention until I get them down on paper. Writing has become my ministry.
Tell us about your latest book.
Learning to Lean is my first ebook, a Christian romance, and can be found on for only $.99. It is full-length with about 60,000 words and is set in present-day Iowa. Heather Conway is the heroine. Matt Sanders is the hero.
Heather Conway is a mother who wants better than she can provide for her children. She wants a home almost as nice as the one she had when her husband lived. She’s been saving for that purpose but knows it isn’t enough, so she begins dating a nice, and obviously well-to-do man.
Matt Sanders is trying to get his business as jack-of-all trades off the ground. He enrolls his children in Heather’s day care and accepts the job of building a room for her so she can expand her business. His three kids and Heather’s all hit it off and gradually begin blurring into one family as they work together on the room and participate in church activities. Matt and Heather have a few problems when they fall in love and then there’s still this other man who is rich and wants to marry Heather.
She’d be irresponsible if she followed her heart toward a man who is as poor as she is, when everything she’s been working toward is within her grasp, right? I hope you’ll have a chance to read Learning to Lean to see how everything works out.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Ideas for my books come from many sources. The idea for Learning to Lean came from another book I read, which had a totally different story line. It was of an unmarried lady preacher who fell in love with a widowed father of two young children. I still wonder how that led to Learning to Lean. I’m in the process of writing an historical for each of my granddaughters. My idea for those is coming from their personalities and a lot of imagination. LOL!
What themes do you write about?
I seem to do a lot of writing on forgiveness. I’m not sure why? Maybe because I feel to forgive or to be forgiven is so important. Trust is another favorite of mine. I try to write whatever God has laid on my heart as it fits the story.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on another contemporary romance, only this one is set in central Missouri. Love Returned is the story of Megan McGinnis and Scott Landis who meet while each are camping in a state park. Scott’s nine-year-old son and Megan’s nephew become fast friends and find they will have the same teacher in the coming school year. Megan talks Scott into enrolling his son in Webelos Scouts, as she is the Webelos leader. Scott eventually becomes her assistant, but even while they grow close to each other, Megan has a problem. She begins to notice coincidences about Scott and his son that lead her to believe his son is the baby she gave up for adoption nine years ago. I served as a Cub Scout and Webelos Scout leader for several years and even researched for this book while attending Cub Scout camp. It’s always fun to write something you have first-hand knowledge of.
I hope to have Love Returned published as an ebook for Kindle sometime this summer.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
My advice for aspiring writers is to give up if you can. If you find that you can’t stop writing, then don’t let anything discourage you. Learn everything you can about the craft of writing. Study the how-to books or find helpful articles on-line. And above all, write. Everyday if you can. Pray over your work and for God’s will to be accomplished in what you write even if you only have a readership of one or two. My sister wrote a book that has never been published and probably never will be. She let a woman she worked with read the manuscript and was thrilled when her story touched the woman’s heart so that she began going to church. Before long, this woman gave her heart to the Lord, and last I heard, she’s still living for Him.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Gail, again I thank you for having me here. You have a wonderful ministry of introducing readers to authors. If you don’t mind, I’d like to leave with just a short teaser from my book, Learning to Lean. This takes place after Heather and Matt have gone out to dinner without the children, and while they are clinging desperately to being only friends.
It was my pleasure to have you, Mildred.
Excerpt from Learning to Lean
Their easy conversation carried them to Heather’s front door. Matt stopped her with a hand on her shoulder when they reached the porch. She turned toward him. He searched her face, causing her heart to race.
“A kiss would be traditional at this point, but since we’re only friends, maybe we should shake hands instead.”
His words were as a brake placed on her heart, bringing it to a slow, painfully heavy drumbeat. He was right. Heather knew he was, and she hated it. With a tight rein on her emotions, she held out her hand and felt it swallowed by Matt’s warm grasp.
She lowered her lashes to hide the hurt and confusion in her eyes. A gentle tug pulled her forward, and Matt’s lips brushed her forehead in a quick, sweet kiss. She lifted her eyes to his, and he slowly moved closer while her heart resumed a quick staccato.
Headlights swept across the yard and tires crunched on the gravel beside the street. Matt and Heather jumped apart as if they’d been caught in an illicit act. Matt released her hand.
Car doors slammed. Becka’s and Brad’s voices blended as they called their thanks and good-byes to the youth minister who had brought them home.
The front door of the house opened, spilling the four younger children with Jan close behind. Heather picked up one of the little girls as Matt lifted the other into his arms. Gary and Ricky competed for attention while Becka ran up the walk, “Dad, guess what?”
At the same time, Gary stepped in front of Heather. “Mom, can I go to Ricky’s house?”
“Not now.” Heather thought Becka said something about a campout. She looked for her oldest son.
Brad stood back watching everyone else. During a short lull in the racket, he called out, a smirk on his face, “I’ll bet you don’t even know you’re holding the wrong kids.”
In the resulting silence, Heather looked at Kristi in her arms and at Candace with Matt. She knew she’d picked up Kristi, but until that moment she hadn’t thought of the significance or how natural it felt. The line separating her kids from his kids seemed to be disappearing and that thought scared her. Matt said they were friends, but he’d almost kissed her. Were they kidding themselves? Did she really want to be just friends with Matt?
She met his gaze and read the same confusion in his eyes that swirled in her heart.

A New Life: She’s city. He’s Country. She just found out they have something in common. Her son!
Kimberly allowed her family to pull her from Travis seven years ago before she knew she was pregnant. Now widowed, she takes the job of housekeeper on Travis’s ranch with one goal in mind. To tell Travis he’s the father of her six-year-old son.
Travis fears for Kim’s city-bred son on his ranch. So he tells Kim her boy had better stay out of the way, or they’ll have to leave.
Kimberly has to decide what’s best—keeping her secret from Travis and her son or taking the chance that Travis will become the father their son desperately needs.

A New Life is a full-length, contemporary, sweet romance.

Learning to Lean: Learning to Lean is a full-length contemporary sweet romance.
Heather needs to provide for her kids. Matt wants a simpler life than the one he left behind in the city. They have six kids who want Heather and Matt to bring them together into one family.
Heather Conway, daycare owner and widowed mother of three, wonders where God was when her husband died, leaving her penniless. Her fourteen-year-old son is out of control, they need a house, and she’s just bumped into a man who has her heart beating overtime. If she were sensible she’d latch onto a childless, wealthy man who can give her the security she craves.
Matt Sanders places his three kids in Heather’s daycare while he gets his Jack-of-all-trades construction/repair business off the ground. His admiration for Heather turns to love as their families intertwine through church activities and work on her daycare.
Maybe Matt and Heather should only be friends. They soon find it’s hard to let go of the security they see and blindly trust God to take care of their tomorrows. Learning to lean on God can take a lifetime or maybe only a lesson in trust.

Lesson of the Poinsettia: Abigail Stevens is part owner of Kingson Steel, but she lets her older sister take care of business while she hides in the darkness. Nine years ago Abigail lost her sight when fever struck, and she’s given up on leading a normal life. Then her nine-year-old neighbor sneaks across the street to see Abigail’s flowers and her father soon follows. Because of the lesson in Abigail’s Poinsettias, Abigail and Seth learn to see beyond the darkness of their lives and in the process find love to last a lifetime.
Lesson of the Poinsettia is a historical romance of about 25,000 words.

Buy Mildred's books at Amazon: A New Life Lesson of the Poinsettia Learning to Lean
Barnes & Noble: all three books at:
Just put in the name of the book and Mildred's name

Mildred's Bio

Mildred Colvin is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and is active in two very special critique groups. She is also active in her church and enjoys special times with her husband, three children, and three grandchildren. Her hobbies, when she has time, include quilting, photography, and gardening. Of course, reading is more than a hobby. It’s a way of life.
Mildred has been writing sweet inspirational romance since 2001, and is an award-winning author of fifteen novels in both historical and contemporary themes, including two compilations, three e-books, and one audio book.
Mildred blogs at :

Sunday, August 7, 2011




Monday, August 1, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Anita Mellott

Anita Mellott shares a devotional about trust from her new book, School Is Where the Home Is, 180 Devotions for Parents

She'll give away an e-book.
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He’ll Catch You

“I will trust and not be afraid.” (Isaiah 12:2)

“How do I know you’ll catch me?” Seven-year-old Caleb peered down from a tiny ledge five feet off the ground, a deep gorge behind him.

“Look at us,” yelled a homeschool co-op buddy. A dozen kids and adults faced each other as their intertwined arms formed a safety net.

Caleb had been the first in line for Trust Fall, a team-building exercise for our co-op kids at camp. Now he took a half step backward, bringing his back up against the solid tree trunk.

“Well, I trust you with my secrets,” his voice faltered. “But not to catch me.”

“But we’re your friends,” a chorus of voices replied.

“You can do it, Caleb,” the adults encouraged.

He sighed and turned around to face the tree. He closed his eyes, leaned backward, and with clenched fists, dropped off the ledge to our cheers.

Seconds later, a redhead popped up from the carpet of intertwined arms.

“That wasn’t too bad.”A huge grin spread across his face as he jumped down.

I’m so much like that, I thought, as we walked away. I trust God with my deepest longings and struggles. Yet when he leads me to step out, I pull back.

Isaiah 12:2 is a simple but profound reminder that God is trustworthy. The word trust implies a place of security. The remainder of the verse gives the reason not to fear: “The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Trusting is a choice to find strength in the Lord. It’s faith in action. When God calls, I can leap knowing that “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Digging deeper: Can you leap with abandon into God’s arms? Reflect on Psalm 91.

Excerpted from School Is Where the Home Is: 180 Devotions for Parents by Anita Mellott, copyright © 2011 by Anita Mellott. Used by permission of Judson Press,

School Is Where the Home Is: 180 Devotions for Parents is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lifeway and other major on-line and retail book stores.


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A homeschooling mom of several years, Anita Mellott lives its joys and challenges. With post-graduate degrees in Communications and Journalism, she worked as an editor with Habitat for Humanity International, headed the Department of Journalism at Mt. Carmel College, Bangalore, India, and did a stint in public relations and advertising. Her articles have appeared in various publications including Homeschool Enrichment, Novel Rocket,, The Christian Post, and magazines in India. When she's not homeschooling, she blogs at From the Mango Tree: