Friday, December 28, 2012

Fun Fridays-My Three Boys

When I tell people I have three boys, most of the response I get isn't really positive. I receive a lot of, "Bless your heart." or "You must have your hands full." and then many a times I get, "I don't know how you do it." It often makes me laugh or roll my eyes. I grew up with four sisters and let me tell you, my three boys are a piece of cake compared to what we put my mom through! There was drama most every day. Arguments and lots of yelling. Now don't misunderstand me. We had fun moments, too. Lots of them. Laughter filled the house a lot. We would giggle about silly things and watch girly  movies. It was fun having my sisters. But I dearly love my boys.
Are they a handful? At times. Do they argue? Yep. Is there drama? Oh yeah. Girls are not the queens of drama. I think my boys are! However, I adore my boys. They are sweet and thoughtful. Here's an example: Garrison and Gavin wanted to buy me something from their own money for Christmas. All three boys pitched in to buy me a silver cross necklace. Last night, Gavin was looking on my laptop on Amazon so he could buy me a gift for my birthday. All three boys, without being prompted, made us special things and put them in our stockings.
My boys make me giggle. Garrison does the Shawn dance from Psych, and it never ceases to make me laugh. When he gets on his giggly kick, I can't help but giggle with him. And that's been a lot lately! Gage is a boy in his own world. His mind is always going, and then he'll say something so out of the blue! He loves to talk and spend time with me, and often, I'm laughing with him. Then there's Gavin. He woke himself up early yesterday just because he wanted to have some alone time with me before I left for work. He's got a great laugh and makes jokes a lot.
My boys are extremely special. They aren't perfect (they take after their imperfect mom) but the love they shower on me is treasured and valued! Chris and I had the opportunity to spend a half hour of alone time with each boy last night. I loved it! I thank God for my three sons, and I couldn't ask for a better family!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-Jobs

Because I started my new job yesterday, I thought it appropriate to write about my first few jobs in the 1990's. My first real job, aside from babysitting, was at Soup Exchange in San Dimas, California. It is now an IHOP. Soup Exchange is like a Souper Salad type of restaraunt. I did a lot there, from cashiering to wiping tables, to filling up the salad bar. Sarah Towne and I worked together. Actually, I do believe it was her who got me the job. It was fun working. I enjoyed meeting people. We did have a lot of regulars.
One funny story was when my two sisters, Steff and Kim, had gone shopping that day and parked near my work. I saw the car and wrote a note, "Hola Hermanas!" I left it on the windshield. Well, Kim had no idea what I meant since she hadn't taken spanish yet and said, "What's a herman?" Ever since that day, I've called those two Herman!
I remember working there and getting really burned out after a while. Sarah had prayed with me and asked God if it was time for me to leave. Shortly after her prayer, I fell and dislocated my right shoulder and bruised my butt-bone. Not that I think God made that happen, but it ended up being good. I got worker's comp for a bit, too. That was helpful.
So many memories of that night come flashing through my mind. Like when my mom's husband, Vic, picked me up. We got home, and I couldn't open the Cadilac's door. I told him that and he kind of flipped out. He rushed in the house and got Mom and off to the hospital we went! The next day, he stood outside of my room which had an adjoining shower/bathroom just to make sure I didn't fall when I took a shower. It was neat.
My all-time favorite job in the early 90's was definitely the coffee shop. I really think I was made to work/own one some day. I worked at Garden Gate in downtown Covina. The coffee shop isn't there anymore, but the needlepoint store is. That was a blast! I had many friends and family come in to hang out with me and talk with me. Krista Tucker was one of my weekly if not daily friends who hung out with me. Sarah Towne worked there, too, and told me they were hiring. With her recommondation and the owner's husband knowing my dad from years before, the job was mine. I loved that place, too! Kim Broadwell and I used to work the evening weekend shift together quite a bit. She hates Michael Jackson, and being the fun friend I am, when I was the lead person, I would play his cd. I know. Great, huh?
Anyway, just some of the places I've worked at. One day, I really want to open a coffee house. I know it'll be tough with Starbucks, but who knows? God may just fulfill this dream yet!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wonderful Wednesdays-A New Road

The month of December came and is leaving in a whirl. I'm not too sure what happened. I blinked, and bam! It's almost over. I'd like to blame it on working, but since the coffee shop I worked at closed it's doors early December, that certainly isn't it. I'd say more than likely it had to do with promoting Hope for the Journey and Christmas Rayne. Throw in Christmas, and yep, it was one busy month.
Today, however, begins a new journey for me. I start work at Einstein's Bagel Shop. I won't have a set schedule like I did at the coffee shop, and I'll be working 25-35 hours per week. I've applied to so many places over the last month. My qualifications should have landed me more than a few interviews (not to be conceited). So, the fact that I was offered this job tells me that this is where God wants me. That has been my biggest prayer. Lord, where do You want me? How can I further Your kingdom?
I didn't want to work at a Christian owned company. My life is surrounded by all things Christian. I go to church, I have mostly Christian friends, I write Christian novels and novellas, etc. In and of itself, that isn't bad. But I also need to be a shining light in a very, very dark world. If I surround myself with only Christianity, how am I impacting others who need Jesus?
And thus, begins a new road for me to travel. I get to go to work 4-6 times a week, put on a smiling face, and shine for my Great and Wonderful Lord. I won't be preachy. Nope. I'll let my actions speak first and then follow with my words. I get to come in contact with people who will visit the bagel shop on a regular basis and some who will come in only once. I get to see my co-workers often and learn about them.
And on top of it all, I have the blessed opportunity to bring in a little extra cash to help us get out of debt, build up a savings, and save for Disneyworld. Really, I am truly a woman overflowing with gratitude to be able to do these things....starting in just a few short minutes!
I am off to work today, and I pray will make a huge impact for His Kingdom. This is my new road I get to travel. Thanks for sharing the journey with me!
How about you? What new road do you have the opportunity to travel?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Fun-More Christmas Books

I'm a reading maniac. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I love to read. And with Christmas right around the corner, well, let's just say I've been reading almost every Christmas story I can get my hands on!
Today's post will feature 2 authors-Amanda Cabot and Melody Carlson.

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot is by far one of the sweetest Christmas stories I've read! Here's the back blurb:

Celia Anderson doesn't need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .

Amanda Cabot invites readers to cozy up with a romantic, heartwarming tale of the greatest gift of all--love

Absolutely adored this one! It's definitely a must read!


I've read quite a few by Melody Carlson, too. Here are some of the ones I've read this season: Christmas at Harringtons, The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Shoppe, The Gift of Christmas Present, The Christmas Dog, All I Have to Give.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Christmas at Harrington's. Here's the back blurb:
Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret?

And then another favorite was The Gift of Christmas Present:

College student Christine Bradley grew up in a loving and honest family. So she couldn't have been more surprised when, shortly after her mother's death, her father revealed the startling truth that Christine had been adopted at birth.In search of clues about her biological mother, Christine encounters a family she never knew she had. She digs deeper as Christmas nears and what she finds reveals a shocking lineage. Will Christine be able to come to grips with the past, take hold of the present, and look forward to a brighter future?Carlson's warm tale of loss, recovery, and acceptance will captivate current fans and create new ones.
 
There were so many twists and turns in this story! Loved it!  
 
I hope you get a chance to read some of these books. They are great!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-Grace Livingston Hill

Ok, so I opted to continue with my throwback theme, even during Christmas. I can honestly say that without Joanne Long, I never would have known about Grace Livingston Hill. Joanne introduced me to her when I was first a believer, probably trying to help me fill my mind with good stuff and not V.C. Andrews.
I can remember riding my bike to Joanne's house and borrowing almost every book she had by Grace. It was so much fun to sit and read and get lost in a sweet story. And believe me, her stories were really sweet! I loved each and every one I read.
I may very well have read every book every published by this amazing author. I don't know. Joanne had quite a collection going. Whatever she had, I read!
Joanne, thanks for introducing me to good reading material! I am very grateful to you for showing me how to fill my mind with good, Godly fiction! It's really helped me as I write!
So, in honor of Grace Livingston Hill, here's a blurb about The Christmas Bride:


Now a wealthy man, Greg Sterling heads back east to make a name for himself. But on his first day home, he stumbles on a down-and-out young woman in desperate need of his help. Then just as quickly as she appeared, Margaret McLaren vanishes without a trace. As several days of searching come up empty-handed, old flame Alice Blair saunters into Greg’s world, vying to win his heart—and his pocketbook. But will her coquettishness keep Greg from finding his true love?

The Christmas Bride (Love Endures)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wonderful Wednesdays-Wonderful Christmas Fiction

It's Christmas time! Can you believe how fast the year has gone? I am truly amazed! I can still remember exactly what I was doing on January 1! Ok, granted, it does happen to be my birthday, but the year has flown by! We've had ups and downs, twists and turns, joys and sorrows. The world has been in an uproar over tragedies, elections, crazy weather, and more.
Yes, through it all, I make the time to read. I read for a few reasons. I read to escape my life. I read to meet new people. I read to better my writing. So, this Christmas, I have read pretty much nothing but Christmas books and novellas. I've thoroughly enjoyed most of what I've read. Granted, some I have not. But today, I am going to share with you at least two, maybe three Christmas books I really liked.

Merry's Christmas by Susan Rohrer-Desperate to make ends meet, winsome diner waitress Merry Hopper takes a temp job as a Christmas Coordinator for a handsome widower, promising to bring Christmas back for his three kids. As the "haves" collide with the "have nots" of this world, Merry finds herself head over heels for the family she's never had, most of all her new banker boss, not realizing that he's well on the way toward a Yuletide engagement to his employer's beautiful daughter.

Absolutely loved this book! A must read for Christmas time!


31 Kissed and Advent by Chautona Havig-
 31 Kisses-
When one plus one equals thirty-one… It happens every day. Guy meets grandpa–and girl. Guy knocks grandpa off ladder Guy kisses girl to make it “all better.” Every day. For a month. Just your normal, average, all-American romance… Meet Chessie and Carson. She goes “all out” for Christmas (and every other holiday including Columbus Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Flag Day); he doesn’t own a single thing that could be considered decorative–unless you count the stickers he stuck to his dresser back when he was three. Neither of them have ever had a serious relationship; both are opposed to frivolous expressions of affection. How on earth did they get tangled up in a “kiss-a-day-during-December” pact? “Read it with a mug of hot chocolate and a candy cane. It's better than Christmas cookies.” ~ B. D. Haropolous

Advent-
Countdown to Christmas! Curtis Brighton: the enigma of Delta Advertising. Why doesn’t the highest paid, most successful man in the office receive the promotions that he has earned? Why is his wallet worn out and his briefcase falling apart, and why doesn’t he at least participate in the office “Secret Santa?” These and other questions plague his cubicle- mate, Lita Cathey. After three years of sitting across from him, she knows only his work ethic and his strange propensity to disappear from the office in a rush. As the month counts down, the most unlikely relationship builds until Lita’s heart is so entangled that she has to face her own fears. Why is a Christian woman panicked at the thought of a man sold-out to Jesus? Merry Christmas, Lita!

Simply adorable books! Good, heart warming, and wonderful.
 
These are just a few of the ones I've read. I'll post more on Friday and maybe even skip out on Throwback Thursdays to bring you some more! Loved these books, though! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tickled Tuesdays-Goodbye Noel by Nike Chillemi

My guest for Tickled Tuesday is Nike Chillemi. Thank you, Nike,
for joining us today!
A Penchant for a 1940s Christmas by Nike Chillemi

I've always been intrigued by Christmas in earlier years in America, especially in the 1940s. Somehow it seems they had a better handle on the meaning of the celebration. In the forties, most American families considered themselves to be observant Christians. Parents would say, "Yes, we have a Christian home."

That's one reason why I wrote GOODBYE NOEL. It's my Christmas/New Year's themed novel which opens in December, 1946 on the south shore of Long Island, NY. The setting is the fictitious village of Sanctuary Point from which the series gets its name. The main families in the story, both on the right side of the tracks and the wrong anticipate Christmas with great excitement. At the murder scene, Det. Ian Daltry, who is well versed, comments on the lyrics' significance when he discovers Christmas carol sheet music on the victim's old upright piano. I researched the most popular Christmas carols of that day and also the popular big band music which plays a significant role in the story.

The first families to settle on Long Island were primarily Dutch, English, Scotch, and Irish. Immigrant families coming to this tiny village in the 1930s and 1940s were from Czechoslovakia. I greatly enjoyed writing about Christmas cooking and baking from those ethnicities. Throughout the twelve days of Christmas, as so many Czechoslovakian people did, heroine Katrina Lenart's family served walnut cookies sprinkled with confectioner sugar intended to look like snow. On New Year's Eve Mrs. Lenart served a confection much like a German chocolate cake and on New Year's Day, kolacky, a cream cheese cookie filled with raspberry jam.

In one of the early chapters, heroine Katrina Lenart perused their tree, decorated with her mother's prized beaded and/or hand blown Czechoslovakian glass ornaments. Her gaze fell to the sleeping orphan baby on the sofa, who's momma is the story's murder victim. Katrina wondered how this heinous crime would affect the little one's feelings about Christmas. Later in the book, there is an ice skating scene, and of course in the forties women wore special ice skating outfits on the ice.

GOODBYE NOEL is actually the second novel in the series. Story number one is BURNING HEARTS, which opens with arson/murder and develops into a gentle love story. Harley riding, WWII hero Lorne Kincade immediately falls for Erica Brogna when she flags him down to save her friend trapped in a burning house. PERILOUS SHADOWS, is more of a psychological whodunit. Pioneer newspaper woman Kiera Devane has a great many secrets and doesn't trust anyone, especially men. Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye, who falls for her, finds he has to protect her as much from herself as from a killer. These novels were all released in ebook format. There is a fourth story, DARKEST HOUR which is scheduled for a February, 2013 release and features a young widow framed for murder.

I'm thrilled to announce that my publisher, Desert Breeze Publishing, will begin releasing the Sanctuary Point series in print in 2013. All in all, this has been a very blessed and exciting time for me.

I want to wish everyone a joyous and blessed Christmas…and a merry one, filled with love, tenderness, family and friends…and don't forget the love of pets at this season. I'm a huge animal lover. I also want to wish everyone a spiritually prosperous New Year, a flourishing and healthy one.

Author Bio:

Like so many other writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, the third in the series released in July, 2012. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Purchase Links for Nike's Sanctuary Point Series

 
 
 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Matters-Christmas

As I scan the posts of Facebook this morning, I came across the sweet faces of the 26 people who died on Friday. My heart just broke. Trembling lips, tears falling, I just can't help the overwhelming sadness I feel when I think of the senseless tragedy that took place.
Then I saw Mike Huckabee's video. My heart again, broke for the senselessness of removing God from our public schools. I agree with him. If prayer had been allowed in school, I seriously doubt it would've stopped the bad from happening. Shoot. We pray all the time, but still, bad things happen because there are bad people. I also agree that taking away people's rights to have guns isn't the answer. Bad people will still find a way to get them. We are only giving innocent people a way to not have a means of defending themselves.
But aside from all that, I sat yesterday in church and bawled like a baby for about 5 minutes. The worship pastor of Waterstone talked about what happened, and I just cried. I couldn't stop myself. At one point, my wonderful husband handed me a pack of tissues he keeps in his coat pocket. Thank God! I needed it!
I don't know anyone who was affected by Friday's shootings. I don't have a distant cousin or relative or even a friend who lost a loved one. I do have an incredible God who watched it happen, who welcomed those into Heaven, and who said, "Weep with those who weep." And so I wept. And I continue to do so.
My first thought on Friday was, "How are we to celebrate Christmas when that happened? Is it right to be happy and spread Christmas cheer when so many are hurting?" Then my pastor said something on Sunday that put it all in perspective, "We will celebrate because this is why Jesus came. To give hope to a sad and very lost world." I'm not happy about the gifts under the tree. I'm happy and joyful because of what Jesus came to do. That's why we celebrate Christmas.
I celebrate Christmas because of the baby born in a manger, because of a Divine night that changed the world. I celebrate Christmas because of a King who stepped down from His throne and abandoned His home to pour out His love for me. I celebrate Chris-child because of what the God-man would one day do.
Yes, I will celebrate Christmas this year. The tragedy of Friday renewed the meaning of Christmas for me. We are a world in desperate need of a Savior. And I want so very badly to do my very best to reflect Him, not just this time of year, but year round, every day that God gives me breath.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fun Fridays-More Than Family

I met my husband in 1997. We began dating and over the course of a year, we knew we'd end up marrying. I'm so glad we did! Not only is he the love of my life, he's my best friend, my support system, my encourager, my corrector. He is the second best thing to happen to me (Jesus being number one.)
I met his mom, who lived in Indiana at the time while we were still dating but before we got engaged. Her first words to me were, "You're tall!" It's still a joke with us. The pictures she'd seen of Chris and I were with us sitting down. She had no idea I was a few inches taller than she was. It makes me laugh, even after 15 years!
Jan and I got along pretty quick. When she left to go home, we talked often on the phone. She helped tremendously with our wedding, even though distance separated us. After Chris and I married, Mom and I talked at least once a month, if not more. We began developing a great relationship.
Mom, Dave, and Sarah moved out to CA shortly after Chris and I were married. I remember her saying she didn't want to be so far away when the grandkids started coming.
As the Good Lord would have it, Chris and I uprooted our family and moved to Colorado. I know that was hard for Mom, but she'd visited us three times before she and her new husband (Dave passed away), decided to move out here during this last summer.
What a blessing it's been! Not because of her watching the boys or anything like that, but our relationship has blossomed. It's been great to have Mom here. We've done zumba together (although a bad knee right now isn't allowing me to do this), we've been yard saling together, shopping, and then, of course, just having coffee/hot chocolate together. Mom has been here since July, and I can honestly say, I feel closer to her now than ever before. Mom has become not just a mother-in-law, but really, one of my very best friends! I love you, Mom! I am so glad you are here!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-This Present Darkness

I can't be a writer and not share some books that have made a huge impact on my life, especially as a believer. Just can't happen!
I've always loved reading. Growing up, I'd read the Sweet Valley High Twins books, The Babysitters Club books, and anything else I could get my hands on that struck my fancy. When I became a Christian, that didn't change. I just rewired myself to read Christian fiction (which after reading V.C. Andrews was a really good thing).
I heard about Frank Peretti pretty early on. I don't remember who told me about him, probably Chuck Booher, my youth pastor at the time. Or maybe one of my sister's friends. Guess it doesn't really matter. But someone told me about This Present Darkness, and I knew I had to read this book! I remember laying in my bed (a green futon that turned into a chair), covered up with my blankets, reading about angels and demons. Here's the blurb:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:12

Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.
This Present Darkness is a gripping story that brings keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer. Since its original publication more than 2.7 million copies have been sold. The companion volume, Piercing the Darkness, continues the story of the battle between spiritual forces;


It was an amazing book that really opened my eyes to the spiritual realm that I couldn't see. I continued to read the next book, Piercing the Darkness, and every other book Frank Peretti wrote! This wasn't just a great fictional book for me. Like most fiction stories, I try to gleam something and apply it to my life. These two books opened my eyes to the battle going on around me that I don't see.While I know it is fiction, it was an amazing journey I took! Loved these books! Have you read them? If so, what was your favorite part?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wonderful Wednesdays-My Cup Overflows

Last Tuesday, I spent most of the day in tears and battling with anxiety. I'd just lost my job. I worked at a coffee shop in Littleton, Co. The shop went out of business due to personal reasons/health reasons of the owner. I think they really wanted to expand the bar next door, too. So, Tuesday morning, I found out my job was terminated. I'd never been let go before. I was always the one to determine if I left a job or not. Until Tuesday, that is.
While I understand God has a plan, all I saw was my job gone. We were counting on that money to get out of debt, to save for Disney World. I'd only been working there for a month, but I loved it. I really felt like the coffee thing was my niche.
One of the hardest things for me turned out to be job searching. Most of the stores and restaraunts had hired for the holidays already. My window of getting a job before the New Year was quickly closing. I searched everyday several times a day on craigslist and searched the niternet. I applied to many, and I do mean many, places. Nothing.
In the meantime, I continued to write. I'm working on another novella that should be done soon. I was able to see my boys get awards at school (I wouldn't have been able to if I still had my job). And I spent all day Tuesday with my fabulous husband! I felt really full! God is filling my cup to overflowing!
Do I have a job? Nope! But I do have 2 job interviews. We are currently praying about opening a coffee shop. Not sure how, but if God wants us to, He'll provide a way. And I am still writing. Chris is doing a lot of the ground work on that because he knows it's always been my dream. Love that guy!
I woke up on Tuesday to a few inches of snow, and let me tell you, the snow and cold weather just put me in the Christmas mood! I get to sing praises to God through Christmas carols, and I get to pause and remember the birth of my Savior. My cup indeed overflows!
How about you? How is your cup overflowing this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tickled Tuesdays-Lillian Duncan

Today, I am pleased to have Lillian Duncan on my blog!


THE CHRISTMAS STALKING-INTERVIEW



TELL US ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS STALKING.

The Christmas Stalking is a romantic suspense novella that features Destiny-a very famous country music star. She has everything she dreamed of and more. Fame. Wealth. Beauty. Adoring fans. Oh, yeah and a stalker.

As the stalker escalates, she decides it’s time for Destiny to disappear and let Holly Stone take over her own life again until the stalker can be apprehended. She goes back to the Adirondacks where she spent time as a young girl. She reconnects with an old friend and...that’s where the fun begins.

The cover for THE CHRISTMAS STALKING is so awesome, you should take a look at it at : www.lillianduncan.net



WHAT’S THE SETTING FOR THE CHRISTMAS STALKING?

It’s in a fictional hamlet called The Village Of Serenity & Peace in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The citizens refer to it as Serenity. And, of course, there is no such thing as serenity or peace when my main character, Destiny, shows up.



HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT TITLE?

It’s a great title for a Christmas-themed book, don’t you think. I actually was almost finished writing it. My working title was simply STALKED—nothing Christmassy about that. All of a sudden, it came to me in a flash-THE CHRISTMAS STALKING. I thought it was the perfect title.

WHY DID YOU WRITE THE CHRISTMAS STALKING?

I could give a deep profound answer, but the truth is I wrote it to entertain my readers. My publisher (Pelican Book Group) announced they wanted Christmas-themed novellas. I’d never written a novella before so thought I’d give it a try, the real challenge was to incorporate the Christmas theme into a suspense novel?

I took up the challenge to do just that and I enjoyed every minute of it!



IF THE CHRISTMAS STALKING BECOMES A MOVIE WHO WILL PLAY THE MAIN CHARACTER?

Either Carrie Underwood or Kelly Picker would be great as Destiny. As for the male characters, I’m not going to say since it could give away the ending!

WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE CHRISTMAS STALKING?

We have become a celebrity-obsessed society. Many people think they can only be happy if they are rich and famous. I wanted to show a character who “had it all” but still wasn’t happy. True happiness and joy comes from a relationship with God not how many people know your name.



IS THE CHRISTMAS STALKING THE FIRST BOOK YOU PUBLISHED?

No, I’ve published several others, including DECEPTION and PURSUED also published by Pelican Book Group. This is. however. my first novella and it’s only available as an e-book. So, it’s a little different from my other books.

WHY DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?

Interestingly enough, I’ve always had stories that rattled around in my head. I called them daydreams. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me I should be writing them down to share with others until I was 40. It took me a year to finish my first manuscript, but by then I was hooked! I loved writing.

I remember as a child, I would create elaborate scenarios for Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and their children, not to mentions my dolls. The poor things had so many problems! I think I lived in my head or in my books as much as I did in the “real” world.

WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS? DO YOU OUTLINE YOUR STORIES IN ADVANCE?

I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.

When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.



DO YOU KNOW WHO THE BAD GUY IS WHEN YOUBEGIN YOUR STORY?

Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be and as the story comes to a conclusion, I am surprised right along with my readers. This story was no exception, there are several characters who could be the stalker. And I wasn’t sure who it was until the very end.

MOST PEOPLE DON’T THINK OF MURDER MYSTERIES AND SUSPENSE NOVELS AS CHRISTIAN FICTION, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THEM?

I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s ok, I understand that. I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.

I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories and show characters experiencing the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions.

THEN WHAT MAKES YOUR STORIES CHRISTIAN FICTION?

I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories in any way. My characters experience the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions.

My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.

One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?

My editor and I are busy on the final edits for a book to be released next year. It’s the second in my SISTERS BY CHOICE series and is currently titled BETRAYED. The first book in the series was DECEPTION.

DECEPTION is the story of a school counselor who’s get the shock of her life one morning when a niece she doesn’t know exists calls her and asks, “where’s my mommy?” Her journey to find her sister leads her on a winding path of deception. BETRAYED picks up the story of DECEPTION, but focuses on Maria who was the wife of the terrorist from the first story.

I also have a devotional blog (www.PowerUpWithGod.com) that I love to work on. Lately, I’ve been working on a series of devotions called FACING ADVERSITY GOD’S WAY. I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors this year and so I’m using my experiences to help others who are facing a crisis.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO TELL YOUR READERS?



As a special Christmas gift, anyone who purchases a copy of THE CHRISTMAS STALKING can receive a FREE e-copy of either DARK ALLEYS or GEESE MATE FOR LIFE. Once you purchase it, simply go to my website (www.lillianduncan.net) and send me the order number. I will email you a copy of the book of your choice. Merry Christmas!



HOW CAN READERS FIND YOU ON THE INTERNET?

My website is www.lillianduncan.net and I have a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan



THE CHRISTMAS STALKING by Lillian Duncan


Overzealous fan or crazed stalker?

Country music superstar Destiny appears to have it all. Beauty, money, and fame. But it’s not all glitz and glamour. Being a celebrity comes with a price—loneliness, and now threats from an unknown stalker.

With Christmas approaching, and as the danger escalates in Nashville, Destiny has no choice but to disappear. She escapes to her grandparents’ cabin in the Adirondack Mountains near the tiny Village of Serenity & Peace. It seems to be the perfect choice for a hideout. Longing for the serenity and peace she experienced there as a child, Destiny sheds her celebrity persona and resumes her long-forgotten identity as Holly Stone.


Unfortunately, fame follows her to the tiny village—along with her stalker.


Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com
 
Product Details
 




Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Matters-Home in the making

One full year ago this month, I came home from California. I'd talked with  Mark Risley, our realtor, about going house hunting when I returned, just to see what was out there. One Friday while my boys were in Friday school, I saw a listing of a house just 2 minutes from the condo we were renting. Mark agreed to meet me at the house at 2:00 in the afternoon.
I drove up to the house and thought, "Hm." Not too impressed, but we'd give it a go. If I recall correctly, someone was still looking at the house when I pulled up. Mark and I waited for them to be done and then took our turn. We walked through the front door, and already, I thought, "Well, this is  hideous!" Black tile floor, tile stairs, mirrored closet doors in the entry way. Not my cup of tea, but let's keep going.
We looked through the entire house, and I really didn't get a feel for it. The thing is, the price was right, and I had a hard time not showing it to Chris. We saw the house again on Sunday. Chris hum and hawed, just like I had done. We talked it over and over and over. I think we waited a week before we put an offer in. The following Monday, our offer was accepted. And thus began the journey of purchasing our first home in Colorado.
I won't go into detail about that. Many of you know the trying times we had. I really wanted to share the joy it is to have our own home. From the day our offer was accepted, we drove through the neighborhood several times. It was so fun to see how quiet or noisy it was. Always quiet. Still is. We would look at the huge window and dream of a Christmas tree sitting right in front of it. And it's there now as I write this.
I pictured our couch against the wall, me curled up with a blanket and my laptop. Yep, it's happening this very moment. This is more than just a house. It's my home. A home I invite people to join us for dinner. A home where friends can put their feet up and relax. A home where the boys can play outside on the trampoline, invite friends to play with them.
This is my home, a place where Christ is the center. Where He can use me and my family for His kingdom. We still have a lot of work to do, but I love my home, and I am so very thankful God has given me this place!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fun Fridays-More Christmas Traditions

I love our Christmas traditions! One of them is when we decorate the tree. Admittedly, I think this is the first year Chris and I didn't get in a tiff while putting up the lights on the tree. I think it's because I realized he doesn't like my help while doing that part. I don't know why it took 13 years for me to realize it! So this year, Chris came home from work, we had a yummy dinner, and then it was tree decorating time! I put out all the ornaments on our ottoman. The boys picked ones they wanted to hang up, and we talked about what some of the ornaments meant, where they came from, why we had them. I love this part of decorating the tree! It's one of my favorite things to do! We don't just grab as many as we can and throw them up there. No, we talk about it. I love it! And each year, we get a new ornament symbolizing something special that happened over the last year. I really enjoy looking at all the years gone by with special ornaments. We have pictures of people who've passed away. We have pictures of our kids for their first Christmas. We have a snowman for when we visited the Ferris' in Ohio. Kim Broadwell made me a book ornament with the actual pages of my first novel, Hope for Tomorrow. I cannot even tell you how much I love hanging up that one! What a joy! This year, we have two ornaments we are going to purchase and hang up. The first one is one Garrison will pick out. It's going to be something that symbolizes his baptism. That was a big one and definitely needs to go on the tree. The second is going to be one that affected us all. The buying of our house. I'm excited to be able to find these two ornaments and place them on our tree! I love that our tree isn't elegant. It's got ornaments that are handmade, that reflect our family. I don't think a Christmas tree for my family is only a thing of beauty. It's a reminder of what God has done in our lives! What about you? What is one holiday tradition you and your family share?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-Semi Formals

During the Christmas season, I have to mention for Throwback Thursdays our old Semi-formals at Christ's Church of the Valley. If I remember correctly, they were normally held on New Year's Eve. The guys and girls would all dress up. We'd dance, laugh, and have a ton of fun. Awards were even given out for things like, "Most Friendliest", "Prayer Warrior", and such. I look back and remember those dances with fondness. They were so much fun! It wasn't like the prom or winter formals in high school. No pressure to find a date. Just people gathering together and enjoying each other. One year, I had taken a friend who worked across the street from the coffee shop I worked at. He'd worked  at Taco Bell. He couldn't quite fathom how Christians could have so much fun at an event sponsored by the church.
Anyway, while I don't have a whole lot to say about the dances, all I remember is they were a ton of fun! They deserved to mentioned on Throwback Thursdays! Here are a few pictures of that time:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Today for Wonderful Wednesdays, I have the pleasure of having Lena Nelson Dooley as my guest. Here's Lena!

Blog Post About My Christmas Ebooks

Lena Nelson Dooley



I’m very excited about the three Christmas ebooks I’ve uploaded to Kindle recently.



The newest is 24 Christmases. This book was 24 years in the making.
 


In 1985, as I was preparing to order Christmas cards from a Christian supplier, God told me that He had given me the gift of writing, and I should use it to bless people at Christmas. That year, I wrote my first Christmas story. The story of Mary as a dramatic monologue.


Five other monologues—of people who were involved with that event so long ago—followed. Joseph … the innkeeper … Mary’s mother … the youngest shepherd … the servant of a wise man.


The next story was a romance. One year I wrote a modern Christmas fable. Another year, I wrote a short play that was used to take Christmas to two local malls. Other stories contained different perspectives, but one focus—the impact that first Christmas has had on mankind through the ages.


Unfortunately, there were a few scattered years when I didn’t write a Christmas story. Life interfered with my plans


James and I have friends spread across several countries around the world. Many of them have contacted me to tell me how much the stories mean to them. They anxiously await their copy of the Christmas story and make it part of their family’s celebration. What a blessing that is to me.


I pray these stories will bless you as much as you have blessed me.


The picture on the cover of this book was taken in my den a year or two ago.



The other 2 Christmas ebooks are novellas.



Christmas Confusion

Lori Compton, mayor of Mistletoe, needs ideas for ways to prop up the sagging economy. After having her heart broken by the former pastor, she doesn’t want to spend time with the new pastor. Rev. Russell Brown has plenty of ideas, even one that includes his spending the rest of his life with the beautiful mayor. Will Lori be able to move beyond her hurts and recognize God’s intentions for the future of the town – and for her own future?




The Best Medicine

When Thomas Stanton shows up at the holiday party of Rose Fletcher’s best friend, his appearance reminds Rose of the infatuation she felt for him when he worked on her father’s ranch. Although her heart wants to continue those long ago feelings, her mind reminds her that he doesn’t share her faith in God. Thomas can’t understand why Rose seems so standoffish. Will it take God’s intervention to show these two people just what He has planned all along?
 
 




 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Author Anita Higman answers a few questions about her Christmas novel, A Merry Little Christmas. Thanks for joining us, Anita!


What inspired you to incorporate Jim Crow laws and segregation into your book?
Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.


The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?
I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.

Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?
Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Do you think that sometimes we don't pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?
Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?
My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Is Franny's character based on any "real life" person?
Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.

Does the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" have a special significance to you?
The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?
I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.




Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Matters-Hope for the Journey

It's here! Hope for the Journey will be available to the public on December 4, just one more day! I can hardly believe it! I was talking with my sister the other day, telling her about writing and what not. She mentioned that Hope for the Journey would be out in a week. A week? What? How did that happen? When Hope for Tomorrow released, I was doing a countdown on Facebook. Now? Here it is one more day until it's out, and I barely began my countdown! Where did the month of November go? Actually, I know. I've been doing blog tours, working, writing, etc. I've been pretty busy, to say the least. So, anyway, I thought I'd do my own interview of myself about this book. Why not? Afterall, I'm on a lot of blogs already. Why not my own? :)  Here it goes (by the way, feel free to laugh along with me. This is just plain goofy, and I know it).
Me: Joi, thanks for joining us today.
 
Joi: Thanks for having me.
 
Me: Tell us a little about your book.
 
Joi: Well, Hope for the Journey is the second book in the Hope Series. It still centers around Josephine and her sisters. I've added a few new characters to the mix. Overall, it's about love, marriage, forgiveness, and the strength to continue when life looks bleak.
 
Me: Wow. Those can be some pretty heavy topics. How did you come up with them?
 
Joi: I took the sickness Emily has from a woman I met, Cynthia Curro. She was pretty amazing. Emily's life isn't based off of Cynthia's, only her battle with this disease. As for Brad and Kayla, well, I know couples deal with this issue in marriage.
 
Me: Are you any one character in this book?
 
Joi: I think I'm a lot of characters, actually. I take pieces of who I am and disperse them through-out each character. You'll see my struggles of who I am or used to be or who I want to be.
 
Me: So are you saying you've dealt with some of these issues?
 
Joi: Who hasn't dealt with forgiveness on some level? I don't really know any one person who is perfect in that area, do you?
 
Me: No, I don't. I mean, Chris is pretty forgiving, but I'm sure even he has his moments. Can you tell us a little about your last book in this series?
 
Joi: Sure. For now, the title is Hope from the Past. It really allows you to dive into Arthur's life. By far, this is the best one I've written yet.
 
Me: Well, there you have it, folks. Joi, again, thank you for being here.
 
Joi: My pleasure. And be sure to go to Amazon.com and purchase your copy of Hope for the Journey! Please contact me if you have any questions, and don't forget to leave a review!
 
Well, that was fun! I hope you enjoyed it, too! Thanks for all of your support, and God bless!
 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun Fridays-A Holiday Tradition

One of my family's holiday traditions is decorating for Christmas. It started when Chris and I got married. He told me he used to love it when his mom would decorate the house for this wonderful holiday while he was at school. He'd said it was like coming home to a winter wonderland. Since that's what he liked, that's what I started doing. I would decorate the house while he was sleeping. Every year I've done this. And my boys love it!
Yesterday, after the boys went to school and Chris headed off to work, I decided to decorate. I didn't tell them I was doing this. I like them to be surprised. So, I put on some Christian holiday music on pandora, took the boxes upstairs, and started unpacking them. As I set each one down on the couch, I could see in my mind's eye where each one would go.
We now have a place for our stockings. It's not on a mantle above a fireplace, but it works. After I finished decorating, I quickly realized how very little decorations I own for my bigger house. Last year, our 1100 square foot home held all the decorations pretty well. Mm, not so much for our 1800 square foot home! But that's ok. We will make do with what we have this year until some awesome sales happen after Christmas.
Anyway, when my boys came home from school, they loved it. Gage couldn't stop talking about how great the house looks. They immediately put on the santa hats and looked at the Christmas books. It's wonderful having Christmas traditions. We have a few more, but this is one that starts off our holiday season.
How about you? What are some of your traditions?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-A Hard One to Write

Boy, this is a tough post to write. But as I look back to my early years in following Jesus, there's just no way I can NOT write about Melody Hunnicutt.
I can't tell you the first day I met Melody. I can't tell you what brought us to be such great friends. I can tell you the impact she had on my life. I can tell you the funny things we did together. And I can tell you my biggest regret when it comes to Miss Melody. I'm not sure I've shared it with many people, but I feel I need to.
Melody and I had weight training class together. I remember her spotting me while I was lifting weights. She'd push me to go harder, lift more, and work out with all my might. We'd enoucage each other with scripture, challenging one another with what we learned from our personal Bible studies. We'd find the most disgusting thing in the Bible and compare whose were the worst. Then we'd giggle. And believe me, there are some pretty gross stuff in the Word of God! And Mel and I? Well, we found them.
I remember one day I was having a really hard time. She found me after Bible study and sat with me. I talked and we cried together. The next day, she gave me a 3x5 card with a verse on it: 2 Cor.4:16-18. It was amazing how much she understood me. But she wasn't like that with only me. No, she poured herself into others. She worked with jr. high, she spent time with family and friends. Don't get me wrong. Melody was by far not perfect. She had issues just like everyone else. I won't go into them because they aren't my issues to share (and yes, I do remember them). But she loved whole-heartedly.
One Thursday, she called and asked me if I wanted to go with her to the mall. She and another friend were going. I despise shopping. Always have, always will (except Black Friday). That particular day, I told her no thanks. But I'd see her on the weekend. A bunch of us girls were getting together to go hiking.
That Friday night, Melody was in an accident that took her life. My biggest regret was not going with her that day to the mall. To laugh with her and joke with her, to pray with her and just be her friend. Nope. I gave in to my own selfishness and didn't go because it didn't sound like fun. I'm not weighed down by the guilt anymore, though it took quite a while for me to let that go. But I don't want to have those regrets anymore. One thing I learned from her death was to live life like it's my last day on earth. Is it fun to do certain things? No. But is it worth it in the end? You bet.
I miss Melody. I wonder what direction our lives would have taken us had she still lived. But I know she's with Jesus, singing her praises to Him, glorifying Him in a new body, receiving many rewards for the amazing things she did on earth.
Don't have any regrets. Make peace where peace needs to be made. Love fully, laugh often, and live for Him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wonderful Wednesdays-A Song

On the way home from work one day, I heard this song by Laura Story. I've sang the chorus before without really listening to the words. Until Sunday, that is. I sat in the car and listened. Really listened. Here are the lyrics:


"Blessings"
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


Wow. I really had to think about this song, think about what I felt in regards to the lyrics. Please understand that while I write this, I am in no way saying God makes bad things happen. He allows things to happen, yes. But He doesn't make them. So, for me, this song took on a different meaning.
You see, I suffer from anxiety. It's just the plain and simple truth. It's something I really think I've struggled with most of my life. I don't know when it began. I just knew it started at a young age. I don't know why it happens. It just does.
As I listened to these words, I found myself knowing what she's singing about. I've prayed for God's healing in this area of my life. I've prayed for God's mighty hand to ease my suffering. I've cried in anger when I didn't feel God near me during this rough patch of my life. I've felt darkness winning in my battle.
But then, the pain I go through reminds me this is not my home. I still struggle with anxiety and the guilt that's weighed me down like a heavy cloak. I don't believe God made me go through this. I don't believe God's love isn't there, seeing me through. No. I believe God's allowed this to happen to remind me this isn't my home.
I used to fear heaven, leaving this world and my family, who I love with all my heart. But I love God more. As I go through this trying time and learn how to deal with it, I'm reminded, and longing for, a new body when I leave this world.
If this is the worst I have to go through right now, I'm ok with it. Not to say anxiety isn't hard. It is. Not just on me, but on those around me who watch me suffer and don't know what to do to help me. But I don't know what it's like to go through the pain of losing a child, a spouse. I can't even pretend to comprehend any of that. I'm not sharing this song to point the way to anyone, but to say, after much thought, I'm still processing this song. I see what she's saying. It's just taking a while to sink in. Ever feel that way? Anyway, I'm thankful for this song. It's caused me to stop, think, ponder, and search my weary soul. Thoughts?