Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Where is Papa's Shining Star?
Finding Papa's Shining Star
Today I’m happy to showcase author Judy Nickles and her two Vintage Rose novels.  Where Is Papa's Shining Star? and its sequel, Finding Papa's Shining Star were released April 2 and April 16  of this year by The Wild Rose Press. Never one to let her keyboard cool off, Judy also penned a third book, The Showboat Affair, coming in 2011 under the pen name, Gwyneth Greer, and also from The Wild Rose Press.

Judy maintains a wonderful writing blog at filled with oodles of helpful advice. One particular saying of Judy’s always makes me smile and inspires me to get back to my writing chair.  Her signature phrase is “Someday is Here.”  Here’s how Judy describes her writing journey and the story behind the quote.

I've been writing forever, first on a big Chief tablet, then on my father's ancient Underwood typewriter. I've been through a portable typewriter, two electrics, a word processor, and several computers. I wrote stories and poems to amuse myself and to express feelings that had no other outlet. But published or not, I write for the love of writing and that's the most important reason of all.

Someday, Judy often thought, she’d be a published author.  I can still remember the blog post when she announced that first contract.  It was simple and to the point. The first line read: Someday is here.  It’s a wisp of inspiration we should all have as writers. The thought that SOMEDAY will come and we’ll see our name on a published book. Judy believed it and all of us should too.

Publication happened for Judy because of her talent, persistence and determination.  Although I’ve only known Judy for a few years, one thing I’ve always admired about her is her great stick-to-it-ness.  Despite the fact that her ‘retirement’ from teaching has often been more work than a full time job, I’ve never known Judy to throw up her hands and declare in her delightful Texan drawl, “I don’t have time to write!” Judy approaches writing like I imagine she faced lesson plans during all those years of teaching.  She wrestles it into submission and gets the job done!

You can find trailers of Judy’s books at her newsy and informative websites:  and

Judy’s latest project is the self-publishing of a trilogy she calls The Kate Chronicles. The series is dedicated to her long time friend, Linda Sherlock, who sadly passed away early this year. The titles of the Kate series are: The Sparkling Years, The Shining Years and The Golden Years

Here’s a brief synopsis of The Kate Chronicles:

When Dan Forrester meets Olivia Bancroft, he is ready to live again after the tragic loss of his wife during the Civil War. Cary, her oldest son, opposes the marriage. Just a few months later, Olivia and Dan make the decision to adopt an infant found beside the body of her mother in a deserted line shack on the Double B ranch.

Nicknamed KatieBee by her brother Cary, Katherine Bancroft Forrester soon steals the hearts of her much-older siblings and brings incomparable joy to her parents.

"The Christ Child brought you, Kate precious," Dan tells her every Christmas

"Well brought up little girls do not come down the stairs like a herd of cow ponies," Olivia admonishes her.

Her brother Cary teaches her to ride and shoot. Her sister Regina delights in having 'a real live doll' to dress and show off. Hart secretly resents the attention lavished on his unexpected sister. And Mr. Amos fills the roll of grandfather, counselor, playmate, and adviser when Kate is at the ranch.

Kate fulfills her ambition to become a doctor, marries, and has a son and a daughter. She lives through two world wars, a depression, and sees a man walk on the moon. The memory of her parents' words and example keeps her feet firmly on the path despite all the changes around her.

Judy chose self-publication for Kate’s stories because of their wide scope and the age range of readers.  Interested readers should visit   to learn more about Kate and these entertaining books.  To promote The Kate Chronicles, Judy sends a free email newsletter – The Kate Chronicles Newsletter.  This is a delightful mix of excerpts from the Kate books, a contest for readers, helpful links for historical writers and usually an article or two on a historically based topic.  Judy is always looking for new writers and topics for the newsletter.  You can email her at:  New readers for the newsletter are also welcome.

This month, The Kate Chronicles is having a contest.  If you become a newsletter subscriber and get one other friend to join, your name is entered in a drawing for a complete set of Kate books! One winner will get a set of Kate chronicles just by subscribing and getting a friend to join. It’s free and the newsletter is a great historical breath of fresh air once a month. There are always useful links to historical sites as an added bonus!

So, saddle your ponies and gallop to the nearest computer! Spend some time on one of Judy’s fun websites and learn about this amazing author! You’ll be glad you did!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life's Too Short Not to Read this Book!

Leafwood Publishers

Release Date: April 2010
ISBN-10: 0891126406
ISBN-13: 978-0891126409
Paperback, 220 pages
Retail: $14.99

About the Book:                                                                         

(Brentwood, TN) – Do you ever feel like life is getting the best of you? Do you routinely question if this is really all there is? Do you wish you had more time and energy to focus on family, friends and other important, worthwhile ventures? Don’t miss the big picture—life ahead looks good!

Day-to-day life responsibilities, coupled with the ordinary consequences for each decision, create stress upon stress if we
let it pile up. The world is crying for relief—for something more. Life coach and well-known author Steve Diggs’ latest release, Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture, challenges readers to focus on making each day count for something important.

With seventy short Life Note chapters Diggs shares small dragon-slaying habits each reader can develop to see big long-term results. With chapter titles like “Eat Your Problems for Breakfast” and “Stop Petting Piranhas,” the author delivers single takeaway points with humor and honesty. Reading a Steve Diggs book is like having your own personal cheerleader. Each chapter is an energy bite filled with enough insight and nourishment to last the entire day.

About the Author:

Steve Diggs, Personal Finance & Life-Skills Coach, is the author of six books, hundreds of articles, and is a fixture on local and network television and radio. He speaks to enthusiastic audiences worldwide over 250 times yearly. Steve is proud to announce that Bonnie, his bride of 33 years, has just picked his option up for another two years. The couple lives in Brentwood, Tennessee. For more about Steve’s ministry, go to or


by Steve Diggs

As a habit, I don’t put bumper stickers on my car. It’s partially because they distract from the appearance of the car, but there’s actually another reason why my car is a sticker-free zone. Frankly, I don’t generally prefer to go around announcing all my political beliefs and preferences to a world that mostly doesn’t care—and when it does, can become hostile.

But what about those bumper stickers that tell the world that I’m a Christian? You know the ones. Sometimes they’re in the shape of a fish. Others make a proclamation of belief in Jesus as the Way to God. Why don’t I put those particular stickers on my car? After all, if I’m really serious about Jesus, don’t I want to be a walking, talking billboard? Isn’t life too short to miss such opportunities?

This is where it’s going to get a bit tougher, because this is going to force me to admit an embarrassing truth. I don’t put those bumper stickers on my car because I’m afraid I’ll do something that will destroy my witness. I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good. What if I cut another driver off in traffic, or lose my temper and glare at someone? Do I really want the last thing they see as I pull away to be a sign advertising my allegiance to Jesus? It’s the same reason I don’t wear many “Jesus shirts.” I love and respect other Christians who attach the bumper stickers and wear the clothes—as long as they are 66 Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture really representing Jesus. But as I say elsewhere in this book, Jesus gets some of his worst PR from professing Christians who don’t live their profession.

Recently I was working on a project with one of my dearest friends, Pat Boone. One thing about Pat—he’s not ashamed to proclaim his faith. As a matter of fact, he wears neck chains and rings with godly symbols all the time. One day as we were wrapping up some work in his den, Pat pulled out a ring and said, “Steve, I have a gift for you.” I wasn’t quite sure how to handle a guy giving me jewelry. But in a moment I saw what it was: a beautifully designed ring with a very large cross in the middle—just like the one Pat was wearing.

Ah, this was perfect for me! Not as bold as a bumper sticker or as bombastic as a tee-shirt—but at least it was something. It was a start. So I thanked Pat profusely and accepted the gift. As I put the ring on my pinky, I decided that this would be my first witness to the world, so I turned the cross outward.

Since that day, I’ve worn my cross ring 24/7. As a matter of fact, recently a young woman at a cash register noticed it when I paid my bill. Over the months I’d seen her on a number of occasions. I had always been amiable and friendly. She said, “I really like your ring.” I thanked her politely and walked on. Was she another Christian who had been encouraged by my ring? Was she a seeker who had run me through whatever litmus test she uses to assess whether Christians are real or fakes? I don’t know. But at least in that one particular case, I was able to smile in my heart as I walked away knowing that I had acted like Jesus would want me to act. I had not embarrassed my Master.

Now for you Christians who are much more mature than I am—those of you with fifteen “Jesus stickers” on your car, a gold cross chain around your neck, and an “I love Jesus” tee-shirt with Scripture verses on both front and back panels—my baby step probably sounds pretty pathetic. But for me it was a start.

Maybe it would do us all well to realize two things:

1. Life is too short not to be a walking, talking, living, breathing banner for Jesus.

2. Life is also too short not to walk the walk if we talk the talk.

Frankly, this is sort of exciting for me. Who knows, it may help me graduate to a bumper sticker—or even a tee-shirt.

Excerpt from Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture,
with permission from Leafwood Publishers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's here!  My first book is now on the market and for sale at:  There is also a nice interview I did on their Glory of America blog. Just follow the links down the side of the home page.

Still recovering from a very dumb accident two weeks ago. Tripped backwards while unloading wood and hit my head on the garage. Had a HUGE lump for awhile but it is just barely tender today. Also landed on my right hand and arm - wouldn't you know? Must have sprained the wrist, hand and twisted some muscles in my arm. It hurt like blazes for a few days and swelled to the size of a muffin.  Swelling has gone way down. Can type, use my fingers and do pretty much except for fine motions that require me to turn my wrist in certain ways. Missed a week of work but am going to try to get back into the swing of things this week by trying to work.

Need to recover before Friday as I'm due at a booksigning in Dayton - Huber Heights. Hope I can sign books without an ace banadage on my wrist.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gearing up for a Harvest!

It's been a long time since I've kept up my blog. A lot has happened since my last post - some good, some not. Some days it almost seems a waste of time to even try to keep this up. Other days, I get really enthusiastic and think, "I can do this!"  Most of the time the enthusiasm passes quickly and I get back to procrastinating. :)

But today, I decided that I'd just start out slowly and put up a small post. Surely, I can write a couple of paragraphs and post something to sort of break the 'log jam' (Can you tell I've been watching a lot of Here Come the Brides reruns?) So as I was thinking about what to write about, I came up with an idea.

Gearing up for a Harvest.  I put up a little picture of some of my garden harvest from last year. These are the pickled beets - yummy - and bread and butter pickles I canned. That's one kind of harvest . . .

another kind of harvest is the one that we reap in good works, perseverance and persistence - such as in our writing lives.  Guess part of my writing harvest is coming in soon with the publication of my children's mystery, The Search for the Madonna.  On May 15th, I'll have an actual book with my name on the cover!  I've waited a really, really, really long time for this harvest and now it's coming true. I'm reaping from my persistence, perseverance and plain old hard work! Hopefully, some other 'seeds' of writing that I have sown over the past few years will start to bear fruit soon.

And that's my thought for today!  Hope your harvests are coming in too!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The second "Dear Lucky Agent" contest is for writers of book-length middle grade and young adult. The judge is agent Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.  The contest runs from Feb. 7 - Feb. 21.  This is a cool free contest. You submit the first 150 -200 words of your work in progress then follow some easy steps to get the word out.

For more information see:

This is a super tool for writers. I love this blog!

We are snowed in here!  I am so ready for spring.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Lisa Wingate Blog Tour!   Read about this exciting new title from Lisa and make a comment.  One name from my blog (as well as others on the tour) will be placed in a drawing for a super load of goodies!  It's so fantastic I can't even describe all the great stuff you get!

About the Book:

Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence. And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the wind blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.
Interview Questions:

1. How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?
Some book ideas you search for, and some just blow in on the wind. For the past several years, dating back to Hurricane Katrina, we in Central Texas have been the recipients of massive hurricane evacuations. These massive exoduses of people, pets, and belongings are frightening, frustrating, challenging, and at times oddly wonderful. When so many are on the road seeking shelter, the worst, but also the best qualities of humanity come to the surface. Hurricane evacuations truly provide times when we ask the question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" In answering that question, we’ve enjoyed amazing moments of friendship and fellowship, family reunions, and chances to share a food and space with strangers from other parts of the country. We’ve traded stories and recipies, laughter and tears. 
One thing we’ve learned about hurricanes, living here, is that the paths are never predictable. Storms waver, hesitate, speed up, slow down, and sometimes change course unexpectedly. Evacuations needs can change and develop quickly. What better way for the beauty shop girls to find their inner strength and to show Daily hospitality, than for their cruise plans to land them smack in the middle of a sudden and chaotic hurricane evacuation?
2. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)
There’s a bit of me in the setting, of course. I love Texas, in all its variety of cultures and landscapes, but, living in a small town, I have a particular affection for little bergs like Daily, where the coffee’s always hot, and a good slide of pecan pie can cure most ills. Having watched our little town mobilize to take in hurricane evacuees several times now, I’ve been reminded that sometimes the worst things that can happen bring out the best in people. Given the opportunity and faced with the need, regular people can rise to the occasion in amazing ways, as do the citizens of Daily in the book. 
Some members of the Wingate family might also claim to recognize themselves among the citizens of Daily, Texas. I would offer the disclaimer that any resemblances are completely unintentional, but that would be a bald-faced lie. When you come from a family of great storytellers and colorful characters, there’s nothing to do but make use of what you’ve got.
3. Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.
The most difficult part of working on Never Say Never was researching and reliving the devastation left behind on the Texas gulf coast last year after Hurricane Ike. While interviewing family members about their experiences during the evacuation and return, we shared laughter and quite a few tears. For those who have lived in southeast Texas all their lives, talking about familiar landmarks, heirlooms, and old family places that were washed away forever, knowing some things will never be the same, is both difficult and devastating. For those of us who have so many memories of family gatherings and vacations there, it’s hard to believe we’ll never visit the old places again.
4. Why is this book/story relevant today?
Despite our best-laid plans, we all experience storms in life—whether those storms be of a weather-related nature, or due to an illness, death, or in recent months, job loss and financial misfortune. When the parameters of life and our ability to control fate suddenly change, we’re confronted with our own helplessness and need to rely on other people and God. In a culture that values independence and self-sufficiency, it’s important to remember that we all have a common need and a common responsibility for each other and that without faith we really are alone in the storm.
About the Author:
Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Drenched in Light, A Thousand Voices, and A Month of Summer. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in central Texas.

Monday, February 01, 2010

 Whether you have a sister or just a great friend who feels like one, you'll love this new book by Virginia Smith! Take time to read through the blog and leave a comment.  I will select one name and send it on for an awesome drawing of goodies within the next couple of weeks!

Virginia Smith is the author of a dozen Christian novels including the Sister-to-Sister Series, which is based in large part on her relationship with her own sisters. Stuck in the Middle was a finalist for the 2009 ACFW Book of the Year award. Her newest book, Third Time’s a Charm, the third and final book in the series, is now available wherever books are sold. Learn more about Ginny and her books, and enter a Prize Bonanza Giveaway, at

The Awesome Bond of Sisters
By Virginia Smith
 Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of.  You know whatever you do, they'll still be there.  --Amy Li
My middle sister and I fought like wildcats when we were growing up. One of my most vivid childhood memories is of being forcibly separated during an argument and banished to sit together on the living room couch with orders not to get up until we could get along. I huddled against one arm and resigned myself to living on that two-foot square cushion for the next eleven years, when I would turn eighteen and could get my own apartment. After an eternity, Mom entered the room to mediate. “Girls,” she said, “you are sisters. There will never be another person in the world more closely related to you than your sister. So you’d better learn to get along, because someday one of you might need a kidney.” Not, perhaps, the most convincing argument for reconciliation ever presented, but it worked. For the moment, anyway.
A woman has many relationships in her life, but the bond between sisters is unique. There is the biological link, but the connection goes beyond that. Sisters enjoy a shared past. They experienced many of the same events that molded their personalities, and therefore they understand one another in a way no one else can. They speak the same shorthand. If one of my sisters says, “I know! Let’s put on a show!” we all laugh, because we remember the first time one of us said that, and the resulting spectacle that has become family legend.
Sisters “get” each other without having to go into all the background. When I’ve had an argument with my husband, I can call my sisters and say, “He doesn’t want a puppy. I think I may divorce him.” My sisters understand my reaction immediately, because they remember witnessing our parents’ argument over the same subject. They can talk me down from the ledge, and away from the divorce attorneys. And they will do this even if I call them at three o’clock in the morning, with only a minimum amount of grumbling about the loss of sleep.
Psychologist Marcia Millman, author of The Perfect Sister, said during an interview, “I think sisters can help repair the injuries of childhood.” That’s certainly been true in my family. Whenever we get together, our husbands cover yawns and eventually slip away to the other room to watch a ballgame while we rehash events of our childhood, and discuss how they have impacted us as adults. Often I come away with a new perspective and a better attitude, so gatherings with my sisters are sort of like group therapy sessions. Only less expensive.
While it’s true that we share a common past, even sisters experience different events while growing up in the same household. I like to remind both of my sisters that, being the oldest, I blazed the trail for them. They both got their ears pierced sooner than I did, and wore lipstick, and shaved their legs. They were both allowed to date at an earlier age than I was, and stay out later. There are ten years between my youngest sister and me, so by the time she became a teenager, I had successfully driven our parents into a state of exhausted stupor, and she got to do pretty much whatever she wanted. (Which I still think is totally unfair, but that’s the way it is in most families, I’ve learned.) I think she owes me big-time.
My sisters and I do still have the occasional conflict. Author Linda Sunshine said, “If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.” Our arguments don’t become physical anymore (we all understand the importance of good hair now, so we are no longer tempted to grab a handful), but these days, being at odds with one of my sisters is far more painful than our childhood brawls.
Several years ago, my middle sister and I had a disagreement and didn’t speak to each other for a few days. I was miserable without her, but we both stubbornly refused to back down. While cooking dinner one evening, I dropped a glass measuring cup she had given me, and it shattered. When it did, my stubbornness broke into a million pieces. My husband brought the phone to me where I sat sobbing on the floor, surrounded by shards of glass, and said sternly, “Call your sister.” Never has a reunion been so sweet.
Someone once said that relationships between siblings are the most long-lasting and influential of all. My sisters have been a part of my life longer than my husband or my children, and they will be part of my life even after our parents are gone. They know me, and understand me, and they like me anyway. They’re one of the best blessings God has given me. And as Mom said, if I ever do need a kidney, I know who to call.

8 Tips for Maintaining a Relationship with your Sister

In today’s busy world, it’s easy to let a relationship slide. That’s true regardless of whether you live nearby or far apart. Here are some tips for maintaining a strong relationship with your sister.
Scheduled Phone Calls – Communication is the key to any relationship, so don’t leave it to chance. Select a specific day each week for an uninterrupted phone call. Put your sister on your cell phone “Favorites” so you can talk free.
Text Messages – Texting is the preferred method of communication for one of my sisters. Be sure you have unlimited texts on your cell phone plan.
Utilize the Internet – Email and social networking sites like Facebook are wonderful ways to stay connected. On Goodreads and LibraryThing you can keep track of what your sister is reading, too.
Skype – If you both have a computer with a camera, this software allows you see each other while you talk – and it’s free.
Letters – Email is wonderful, but there’s nothing like reading your sister’s words in her own handwriting.
Cards – Next time you browse the card shelves, pick up several funny ones and tuck them away in a drawer. Send one every so often to surprise your sister with a laugh.
Sister Sleepovers – Even if you live near one another, there’s nothing like getting away from it all with your sister. Schedule an annual sleepover at a lodge, or hotel, or even at someone’s house. Leave the kids at home, and focus on having fun with each other.
Start a Tradition – Create a tradition you share only with your sister. For instance, my sister and I exchange ugly ornaments at Christmas every year. We spend months shopping for the ugliest ornament we can find, and love the competition of seeing who “wins” that year.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another year, Another opportunity

It's been awhile since I've written a post on here. Too much has happened to go back and recap everything so I thought I'd just start fresh. After all, I've been given another year to reach my goals, another year to stretch toward becoming a published in book length author.  Some days my writing life seems to have the same warning shown below! Will I cross in safety to the world of the book length author or will the ice break and place another delay in my way?

The sun shone today which was a very nice break from our dreary, winter weather. We got another dumping of snow Tuesday, which resulted in a snow day for the boys. They were gloriously happy to do nothing.  I managed to get some more candy articles written. (Check out some of my work at the website 

I'm also guest blogging tomorrow on Judy's blog:  

Come on over and see what witty words of wisdom for writers I was able to impart! :)

Guess this is enough for a first time back post!