Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Colonel's Lady...

I thought I'd leave you a little something before bidding you goodbye! I'll be away for part of July on a research trip/tour of Pennsylvania and am packing my bags to go. Revell has just released the book trailer so thought I'd post this morning. Do you hear those violins? Love that music! Please share if you like. As soon as I return we'll have a launch party here with lots of giveaways, book talk, pictures from my trip and more! Prayers for travel mercies are so appreciated!

If you'd like to be entered in the first of several drawings for a signed copy of The Colonel's Lady as well as other launch party gifts (some of which I plan to pick up in colonial Philadelphia!), please leave a comment below. Your name will stay in the kitty for all the drawings. I'll leave this post up until I return so comment away...

Bless you all!

Monday, June 27, 2011

about that book...

Just wanted to say I'm over at Colonial Quills today answering some interesting questions about my upcoming release, The Colonel's Lady. If you'd like to enter the drawing to win a signed copy of the book, please mosey over and leave a comment at the link above. Or just say hi and tell me what you're reading;)

Counting down till release day... August 1st is just around the corner!

Bless you all!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

more Whitefield...

My mind being open and enlarged, I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and word. This proved meat indeed, and drink indeed, to my soul. I daily received fresh life, light, and power from above. I got more true knowledge from reading the book of God in one month, than I could ever have acquired from all the writings of men.

Lord, teach me in all things simply to comply with Thy will, without presuming to say, even in my heart, "What doest Thou?"

Take care of your life and the Lord will take care of your death.

Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.

~George Whitefield

Thursday, June 23, 2011

behind the stories

Recently, when I was cleaning out the garage, I came across a book I'd bought about 10 years ago and never read. Well, I'd read about a chapter back then but it was so painful to me in those pre-publishing days that I buried it:) Now I'm really reading it and wish I'd stuck with it from the first as it would have encouraged me so much...

AND IT'S NOW AVAILABLE FOR ONE CENT BRAND NEW ON AMAZON!!! How's that for a summer reading deal?

Since it has one of my favorite historical authors inside, Liz Curtis Higgs, I read her chapter first:) But there are many other authors who have some wonderful things to say. I didn't know, for instance, that dear Liz was such a popular speaker and radio personality that she had a large audience waiting when she published her first novel. Or that Karen Kingsbury waited over a year for an editor to make a decision on the first manuscript that launched her career. This is just a few of the gems you'll find within its 288 pages.

I enjoyed these quotes at the start of each chapter...

The work of art which I do not make, none other will ever make. ~Simone Weil

Instead of a gem, or even a flower, if we could cast the gift of a lovely thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give. ~George MacDonald

I believe our heart desires are the allurements of God, coaxing us to a life beyond what we could ever ask or imagine. As we serve God out of our desires, we find a fulfillment and satisfaction like we've never known. ~Douglas J. Rumford

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. ~Winston Churchill

God is as creative in how He breaks into our lives as He is in the original creation. ~Lucy Shaw

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

closed doors, open windows

I've been reading a lot of Whitefield lately, spending so much time with dear George I think Randy is a bit jealous;) His amazing writing and all the truths therein keep coming to mind. One in particular bears repeating here...

That God never disappoints us one way, but He opens a door to do good in another.
Journals, Friday, December 1, 1738

This past spring it became clear that my summer schedule as planned was not going to fly. The one thing I was most looking forward to was my Kentucky book launch in August. I ignored all the little checks that tell you something isn't feasible and assumed a do or die attitude:) Who wouldn't want to get dolled up in a reproduction silk gown in 90 degree heat and sign books and drink tea and eat scones for a day? (Well, plenty of people, actually, but this history-loving author finds it hopelessly appealing;).

Several things happened that essentially wrote a big NO across my calendar for that particular event yet I was determined to make it work. And then I received notice that the tea room had closed. How's that for confirmation? It's since moved and reopened in another location but they no longer have that charming historic house. Disappointment crowded in along with circumstances that made it impossible to reschedule.

It seemed I had to give up my plans before the Lord could hand me His. Only then did He open the door for me to go to Pennsylvania for research. A few days later Paul was asked to play fiddle for the local radio and at a summer venue during the time frame I was to be in Kentucky. So I stopped complaining and started praising, wishing I would have trusted and praised Him when all those doors were slamming shut instead.

I apologize with all my heart to readers who were willing to travel to see me! Lord willing, we'll meet. I do hope to return to the area in future and have another book event there. The good news is that I can pour my resources and creativity into a book launch right here on the blog starting August 1, something I couldn't do while traveling. I'm so excited to tell you what giveaways we'll be doing beginning with release day and how much I love the book trailer I just received for The Colonel's Lady! But that would be a certain spoiler. So just stay with me and enjoy the fun...

Closed doors and open windows are something we are all familiar with. Have you had an experience where something was taken away only to receive something better instead? Does trusting come easily to you or do you tend to complain instead of praise?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Guardian Duke

Author friend, Jamie Carie, just released this lovely video of her upcoming historical, The Guardian Duke. This is a wonderful peek at how CBA book covers are made. Enjoy! And thanks, Jamie!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

a constant calm

God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
Psalm 46:5

"Will not be moved" - what an inspiring declaration! Is it possible for us who are so easily moved by earthly things to come to a point where nothing can upset or disturb our peace?

When God is at the center of a soul, although disasters may crowd in on all sides and roar like the waves of the sea, there is a constant calm within. The world can neither give nor take away this kind of peace. What is it that causes people to shake like leaves at the first hint of danger? It is simply the lack of God living in their soul, and having the world in their hearts instead.

~R. Leighton

Monday, June 13, 2011

counting down...

Guess we can start the official countdown till release day! The Colonel's Lady arrives in the Baker warehouse at the end of this month and though I've been expecting this I never feel quite ready. I've been talking with Revell's publicist about upcoming interviews and reviews in magazines, some of which make me smile or shudder;) It's a bit like putting your baby before a judge's panel in a beauty contest. And the old adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is quite true. Some of you liked Lael best, others enjoyed Morrow more. Roxanna is waiting her turn in the wings. You get the picture... As an author, I don't have favorites. Each book and its cast of characters are meaningful to me in unique ways. That's why the pre-release days are a combo of jitters and joy. Here are a few JOYS:

Getting that first copy of your spanking new book by FedEx
Reading your first rave review (not rant)
Hearing the book is going into another printing
Finding your book in a big box store like Wal-Mart or Sam's Club

I do feel each book is a journey for me as an author. And I feel God placed these stories on my heart not simply for myself but to reach certain readers. Notice I didn't say all readers. I always pray that He will put my stories into the hands of those He chooses. I leave the results to Him. This helps me weather the bumps along the way and keeps the jitters to a minimum.

Here's a fun question that I was asked for an upcoming magazine interview. I'd love to hear your thoughts...

If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

my all in all

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

~2 Chronicles 16:9

God is looking for men and women whose hearts are firmly fixed on Him and who will continually trust Him for all He desires to do with their lives. God is ready and eager to work more powerfully than ever through His people, and the clock of the centuries is striking the eleventh hour. There is no limit to what God can do through you, provided you do not seek your own glory.

George Mueller, at more than ninety years of age, said, "I was converted in November 1825, but I didn't come to the point of total surrender of my heart until four years later, in July 1829. It was then I realized my love for money, prominence, position, power, and worldly pleasure was gone. God, and He alone, became my all in all. In Him I found everything I needed, and I desired nothing else. By God's grace, my understanding of His sufficiency has remained to this day, making me an exceedingly happy man. It has led me to care only about the things of God... Never be satisfied until you too can express from you innermost soul, 'God is an infinitely wonderful Being.'

~Streams in the Desert

Monday, June 6, 2011

one sheets and a great catch!

One of the best things about being a writer is celebrating the successes and joys of friends who come to publication. No two journeys are the same! I really believe an author and publisher are tailor-made, at least when the Lord has a hand in the mix. And with that comes new friendships. There are several writers who have blessed me with their expertise and encouragement and Lorna Seilstad is one of them:)

Lorna's second novel, A Great Catch, just released and has been on a blog tour. "Fresh" and "fun" are two words I often hear about Lorna's work and this is, I think, an understatement. I don't think there's anyone in the CBA who writes like Lorna! She combines a real historical setting, Lake Manawa, with romance, humor, and spiritual truths that make for a delightfully refreshing read. If you've read the first book, Making Waves, you probably still remember that wonderful cover, not to mention that original story line;)

One of the best kept secrets about Lorna is how gifted she is at creating those interesting little things writers and editors love called "one sheets." When I was working on my proposal for my current series, she surprised me by making a killer one sheet. It was the very essence of my idea and so lovely (only you see a black and white one here - the final is much nicer!). My publisher loved it. It's also very helpful for editorial and marketing, back cover copy and press releases, etc.

If you're headed for a writing conference and want a professional presentation, I encourage you to visit Lorna's website and click on the writing tab where she shares her savvy about one sheets. She graciously shares samples there or she'll custom design one for you.

Fun facts about Lorna:

*Lorna is her pen name, and her real name, but most people call her Lori
*When she's not writing, she's a wedding planner
*She's 5 foot 4 inches and husband, David, is six foot six!
*She's the only author I know with zero rejections
*She has another series in the works with Revell:)
*She was wildly popular as a fan fiction writer prior to publication
*The black and white dress Emily is wearing on the cover for A Great Catch was designed and sewn for the model based on Lorna's ideas

Have you read any of Lorna's books? Ever been to Lake Manawa? I encourage you to do so, either in person or in print:) Heading to a conference? Working on a one sheet? I'd love to know...

Today Lorna is talking about one sheets and her first pitch to her editor at her blog Inkspirational Messages. I'm sure she'd love to have you visit!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

randy's cherry chocolate chip cake

It's my Randy's birthday today and I'm making this beautiful cake. He's 41 years young;) Readers are emailing and asking for the recipe so here 'tis...

1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
2 cups mini-chocolate chips
1 recipe white cake batter or white cake mix
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, with stems, drained and wiped dry
Red food coloring
4 cups vanilla buttercream or canned buttercream frosting
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

For the cake: Drain and rinse cherry pie filling under running water. Press cherries between several layers of paper towels until very dry. Chop cherries fine and reserve 1/2 cup (discard remaining cherries - or eat them!). Gently fold cherries and 1/2 cup chocolate chips into cake batter. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans and divide batter among pans. Bake on middle rack in 350-degree oven until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.

For the cherries: Melt remaining 1 1/2 cups chips and shortening in bowl. Holding stems, partially dip maraschino cherries into chocolate and place on parchment-lined plate. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 10 minutes.

For the frosting: Beat 5 drops red food coloring into buttercream; add more coloring as desired.

To assemble: Spread 3/4 cup buttercream on bottom cake layer. Repeat with 3/4 cup more buttercream and second cake layer. Top with final cake layer and frost top and sides with remaining buttercream. Decorate with whipped cream and cherries. Yum!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

heart full of God

I've been reading George Whitefield's journals when he was a young man and sailed from England to America for the first time. Thought I'd share with you some of the timeless treasures therein...

Sunday, January 15, 1738
The weather was cold, and the wind blew very hard; but when the heart is full of God, outward things affect it little.

Wednesday, January 18, 1738
Had great comfort in reading the Scriptures. Was afterwards a little inclined to heaviness, but drove it off by a long intercession. Prayer is an antidote against every evil.

Thursday, January 26, 1738
Thanks be to God for His strengthening grace! As our day is, so shall our strength be.

Sunday, March 5, 1738
I am never better than when I am on the full stretch for God.

I got more true knowledge from reading the Book of God in one month, than I could ever have acquired from all the writings of men.