December, 2 BC (Give or take a couple years)
Bethlehem: The streets are bustling with activity. All around, merchants and innkeepers are doing a brisk business for a census has been decreed and all must comply to registration, each to his own city.
December, 2002 AD (Give or take a couple years)
Big City, USA: The streets are bustling with activity. All around, mega-malls and convention centers are packed with travelers and residents alike, each conducting their own business, each off to their appointed city.
At the time of Christ’s birth, the angels announced, the shepherds praised and sang, the wise men bore gifts, yet all across the land, the people lived their lives oblivious to the miracle which had come into this world.
At the time of Christ’s birthday, the preachers proclaim, the believers sing praise, congregations worship, yet all across the metropolitan area, people live their lives oblivious to the salvation offered to this world.
Some things just don’t change, do they?
What can we do to bring Christ back into Christmas? An overwhelming task to say the least, but every road is paved one brick at a time. How about this Christmas you choose an "oblivious" friend or relative and make a special effort to show them the joy of Christmas beyond the tinsel and paper. Spread Christ’s salvation by giving a special ornament or book containing the message of salvation. Send cards that speak of the true meaning of Christmas.
Or hey, how about this. . .bring a friend to a Children’s Christmas program!
Be creative in your encouragement, pray the Spirit helps you, and smile with the joy that fills your heart knowing you’re giving Christ the best present of all for His birthday.
And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 RSV.
Friends and family help me celebrate! I finished the NaNoWriMo challenge on November 27 with 52,634 words. Wow. The writing isn't pretty, but it gives me something to fix : )
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is every November. The concept challenges novelist and writers of any sort, to push themselves and their creativity. 50,000 words written in one month. If you're looking at writing a rough draft, it's pretty sweet.
You don't have time to edit.
You don't have time to plot.
You just write.
Frankly, I have a terrible time plotting out books. I spend too much time thinking and then my characters make unwise choices. NaNoWriMo gives your mind the freedom to write, to listen to your characters and let them show the direction they want to move in.
For me, my rough draft makes sense.
Like I said, my rough draft is not pretty, but I can clean it up. It's getting the book out of my head and on to the screen that's the hard part. Now that the journey is behind me, I work on the landscaping, the relationships and the roadblocks.
It's all good : )
Mark your calendars. November 2011. NaNoWriMo. Accept the challenge!
Enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! May we always remember to give thanks for all the blessings God has poured on our nation. May we keep them in mind now more than ever and remember the visions our founding fathers embraced. Blessings to you! ~~ audra
A Thanksgiving Proclamation
October 3, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789.
Stop by and comment and be popped into the drawing for some really cool stuff.
Stop by especially today because I'M hosting! One lucky recipient will walk aaway with a B & N gift card, an IOU for my Steeple Hill Love Inspired, January 2011 debut book Rocky Mountain Hero, a CD of Chris LeDoux Greatest Hits, and of course, chocolate!!
WINNING ONE!!! ALONG WITH PRIZES GALORE, INCLUDING A KINDLE PRE-LOADED WITHA HOPE UNDAUNTED, AMAZON.COM, STARBUCKS AND NETFLIX GIFT CARDS AND MUCH MORE!!!
Julie's "Technology and Romance" Giveaway contest is going on NOW in celebration of the release of A Hope Undaunted, so don't miss out!! You'll find all the details on Julie's website at: http://www.julielessman.com/contest/.
THEN ... on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7 at 7:00 PM CST, join Julie at her Facebook party to CHAT WITH HER AND WIN prizes given away every ten minutes for a solid hour!! The winners will be announced at the party, so here's to a win!!
DON'T FORGET TO MARK YOUR CALENDERS!!! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!
Seekers at play before the kick off of the conference.Janet's daughter graciously allowed us use of her gorgeous house outside of Indianapolis for our party that included burgers, cake and conversation!! From left: Myra Johnson, Janet Dean, Debby Giusti, Audra Harders, Missy Tippens, Mary Connealy
Lucky me! I got to hang out with Pepper Basham and Angie Dickens -- two up and coming stars who had fabulous pitches prepared for their chosen editors and agents. These two ladies came prepared!
I can't begin to tell you how well we were fed! And the artistic design of each meal -- to die for!
Julie Lessman, Anita Mae Draper and Myra Johnson
Sara Richardson and Wendy Paine Miller show off their great taste in bags : )
How lucky was I to share a lunch with Cynthia Ruchti, ACFW President?
Seems like all you do is smile, LOL!
Erica Vetsch and Mary Connealy
Look at all the ribbons attached to Kim's name tag!
Audra Harders and Kim Vogel Sawyer
Emily Rodmell, my editor, Audra Harders, and Tina James, editor of Steeple Hill Love Inspired, LI Suspense, and LI Historical
I have plenty of pictures left. Don't want to use them all in one post!!
The Seekerville party schedule is now up. Our birthday bash is October 1-31. We have an awesome line up of guests...Steeple Hill Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell, Bob Mayer, Stanley D. Williams, Patty Hall, Nancy Kress, Debra Dixon, Caroline Tolley, Jeff Gerke, and the Usual Suspects. Don’t forget our pre-party guests, Avalon Editor Lia Brown, authors Angi Morgan, Sara Mitchell & Barbara White Daille and our exciting post-party guests include authors Alicia Rasley, and Cat Shield. Stop by for a chance to win CRITIQUES, GIFT CARDS, BOOKS and the GRAND BIRTHDAY PRESENT--a Kindle loaded with Seeker books.
The 1920's are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman -- smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband -- good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?
A story cann't get much better than that, can it? Rich with emotion, description and romance, Ms. Lessman gives us a glimpse into the grown-up characters of Katie O'Connor and Luke McGee - or you might remember him as Cluny McGee - from her outrageously popular Daughters of Boston series. The family saga lives on as Faith, Charity, Lizzie and all the rest pop in and out of the pages of Katie and Luke's journey of discovery, faith and love.
Ms. Lessman polishes her own facet on the diamond of inspirational romance to a brilliant shine. Known for her edgy romances, she's gifted us with another slice of nostalgia sure to live on in our hearts long after the last page turns.
To say the least, I cracked open the book and couldn't put it down until I finished. Romance at its finest!
How can a woman betrayed so thoroughly by her late husband ever think of loving a man who once again keeps his own thoughts and secrets steadfastly to himself? Made To Order Family showcases love and forgiveness, and the occasional boot-in-the-pants, with flair.
Here's a peek at the back cover:
Single mom Rita Slocum wants to get her life back on track. Taking things one day at a time seems doable -- especially with Brooks Harriman at her side. Brooks has been there for her through good times and bad. But she's always been leery of getting too close to the broad-shouldered woodworker who keep his past locked away. Now that Rita's opening her own bakery, she needs him more than ever. If only Brooks would open up his life -- and his heart -- to Rita.
Doesn't that just make you sigh? From page one, Ruth Logan Herne draws you into a life that could mirror any typical person, only the lives of Rita and Brooks reflect unique from the get go. Both are recovering alcoholics, learning to take one day at a time. Only Rita's life includes three children with issues of their own, and Brooks struggles to deal with a past filled with betrayal and deception.
The story that unfolds on the pages of this book will simmer in your heart way after you read The End.
Neither of them are looking for love -- really, they hold anything resembling love at arms length. At times, you really don't see a viable resolution. Don't let that fool you, though. Ms Herne delivers a book filled with heart and hope...and a very satisfying ending.
Hi Everyone! The weather is sunny and bright here in Indianapolis where I’m attending the 2010 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. Well, I think it’s sunny…I haven’t really left the hotel complex since noon yesterday.
To be honest, a hurricane could be barreling our way and I’d never know….
Myra, Janet, Debby, me, Missy, Mary at Janet's daughter's house having a pre-conference party. WooHoo!
The conference kicked off at 3:00pm on Friday with an opening and general session of all the attendees. This year’s conference is hosting 620 attendees -- the total number more if you count friends and spouses who join us for meals. It’s fun to see and meet all my Internet friends who are just as delightful in person as their words are scrolling across my screen.
me, Patti, Julie Sara, Laura, Wendy enjoying the terrific food at a great Mexican restaurant
Our keynote speaker this year is Tim Downs. An incredible man whose interests are as diversified as his writing. I look forward to hearing him speak again.
Also of note, James Scott Bell hosted an early bird session before the conference kicked off. Unfortunately, this was not in my budget and I was unable to attend, but those who did came away with pages of notes and almost all his Plot and Structure books are gone from the bookstore.
On a personal high, I attended the Steeple Hill editor meet and greet last night. Okay, I’ll admit it, I had newbie written all over my face as I participated in an event hosted for their authors only. Wow. Tina James and Emily Rodmell gave us an overview of the changes and new ideas for the lines. Love Inspired (my line!) releases 6 books a month, Love Inspired Suspense offers 4, and in January 2011, Love Inspired Historical will increase their monthly offering to 4.
Cheryl Wyatt, Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, me, Emily Rodmell, Debby Guisti, Glynna Sirpless, Myra Johnson at the Steeple Hill Spotlight
If you have an inspirational concept with romance the primary plot point, send your query in to Steeple Hill! They are actively acquiring for all three lines and you don’t need an agent to submit to them.
Late night activities included the Seekerville (another blog I belong to) tradition of hosting our informal gathering each night in the lounge area. 12 of our 15 Seekers are in attendance this year and we welcome all to come and enjoy with us. Our mission? NO ONE is to feel left out. You’re always among friends in Seekerville.
Okay, have to get back to workshops. More updates come soon!
A dear friend sent this to me and I just couldn't help but pass it on. I wish I knew who originally wrote it to give them credit.
ALL VITAL THREADS
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?", the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.
Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning : "There is a mousetrap in the house!
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."
The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house!
The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."
The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house!
The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."
So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap.
The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital. When she returned home she still had a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup. So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.
But his wife's sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.
But, alas, the farmer's wife did not get well. She died.
So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.
And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.
So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you, remember --- When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.
EACH OF US IS A VITAL THREAD IN ANOTHER PERSON'S TAPESTRY. OUR LIVES ARE WOVEN TOGETHER FOR A REASON. And one of the best things to hold onto in this world is a FRIEND.
Join us in Seekerville today as I host Keli Gwyn, 2010 Golden Heart finalist.Keli is the investigative reporter/hostess of Romance Writer on the Journey and a shining example of talent and spirit. Here's a little bit about Keli:
Award-winning novelist Keli Gwyn was a 2010 Golden Heart® finalist who finaled in 2008 as well. Her inspirational historicals are set in the heart of California’s Gold Country. She’s represented by Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary.
Keli lives in the Sierra Foothills of California in the historic town of Placerville with her British sports car enthusiast husband and their two skitty kitties, who run for cover every time she happy dances. A recent Empty Nester, she learned to text in order to keep in touch with her college daughter. Keli earned a degree in Mass Communication with the print journalism option. In her pre-motherhood days, she worked as an assistant editor for a small special education textbook publishing company.
When Keli returns from her time-travels to the 1870s, she enjoys taking walks past the Victorian homes in her small town or hiking with her hubby on a local rails-to-trails path that crosses a century-old railroad trestle. She loves to drool her way through the Coach outlet store, inhale the scent of new leather handbags, and dream of adding another one to her wardrobe. A total Taco Bell addict, most of the staff at the restaurant in her hometown knows her order by heart.
Keli is offering a give away of RWA National goodies. Drop by Seekerville, join the fun and leave a comment!
Check out the latest book by Ruth Logan Herne! Romantic Times gives her another 4.5 star review! My review will follow soon, but in the meantime, check out the blurb and run to the store for a copy!
Single mom Rita Slocum wants to get her life back on track. Taking things one day at a time seems doable—especially with Brooks Harriman at her side. Brooks has been there for her through good times and bad. But she's always been leery of getting too close to the broad-shouldered woodworker who keeps his past locked away. Now that Rita's opening her own bakery, she needs him more than ever. If only Brooks would open up his life—and his heart—to Rita.
This year, the Romance Writers of America is hosting the annual conference in Orlando, Florida. What a hoot! Two thousand romance writers - published and aspiring - cruising around Disney World. Ahh, the mouse will never be the same again.
If you've never been to a RWA conference, you're missing the experience of a lifetime. Endless workshops to help hone your craft, celebrity authors mingling with the mutlitude over chocolates and coffee, book give aways galore. It's as close to heaven on earth as this inspirational author can get : )
Am I there?
Not this year.
But friends are emailing and blogging about their adventures helping me feel right there in all the action. Almost.
Not only my writing career, although that is tops on my list.
But also my day job as our county 4-H secretary.
I mention this because our office is heading into the most hectic time of the year...the week before the County Fair. So much preparation depends on this week to make the Fair go smoothly for everyone involved and all who visit.
This is the week I prepare all the materials used for judging day -- the culmination of the hard work and efforts of our intrepid 4-H'ers who have spent a year honing skills on selected projects and are ready to display them to the public. Along with the verbal interview with a judge, of course : )
Ribbons are all waiting to be awarded.
Display racks are being set up as we speak.
Ahhhh, the Fair is just around the corner. I can hardly wait!!
Come join us if you're anywhere near Longmont, CO Aug 3-7th. We'd be happy to see you!!
Come join the fun on Romance Writers on the Journey where I'm the featured author! This is my first lengthy interview since my first sale and I really don't know what at expect, LOL! Keli Gwyn is my hostess and being the kind and gracious lady that she is, I have no fears of the unexpected.
Leave your email addy for a chance of winning chocolate from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory : )
Monday: Join Barbour author Mary Connealy for part four of her five part series on revising a completed manuscript. Don't miss, Tag You're It. She'll also be giving away a copy of Doctor in Petticoats.
Tuesday:Faith Words debut author Carla Stewart is our guest. Carla will be giving away a copy of her debut release, Chasing Lilacs. Chasing Lilacs is a Publisher's Weekly starred review and a 4 1/2 star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews.
Wednesday: Seekerville is delighted to welcome New York Times best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall. Cindy has two current series out, both with Amish settings available from WaterBrook Press.
Thursday: Love Inspired author Winnie Griggs shares, Crafting Effective Scenes. Stop by for a chance to win a copy of her new release, The Heart's Song. (This is Winnie's first contemporary novel for Love Inspired and it received a 4 1/2 star TOP PICK from Romantic Times Book Reviews.)
Friday: And somewhere in the world there is a Derek Jeter sighting. None-the-less, Steeple Hill Love Inspired author, Ruth Logan Herne is your hostess today.
I despise paying bills. Anyone else feel the same way??
I just finished paying the last bill for the month and, hallelujah!! There's money left in the checking account : ) This is such a tight economy, every penny left over is celebrated.
But that joy won't last long.
We have a high school senior who is chomping at the bit to graduate. This coming Saturday. We're all dancing with excitement in the Harders' household, including my daughter who just graduated from junior college two weeks ago. And to think, I remember them starting preschool like it was yesterday...
I digress : )
Back to graduation and our budget. All is not gloom and doom!! I've prayed for breathing space in the bank account for special occasions, and guess what? After shopping for party fare prudently, ordering graduation gifts when they were on sale, and cleaning up stored deck furniture in lieu of new, I do believe we have the special occasion signed, sealed and paid for -- IN ADVANCE!!
Now THAT'S a miracle, LOL!
Congratulations to all the graduates looking forward to their special days no matter your age, school or degree. I applaud your achievements and wish you all much success!!
Monday: 2010 Genesis Finalist and Seeker Pam Hillman is posting today.
Tuesday:Steeple Hill Love Inspired author Ruth Logan Herne is your hostess today. Her post is called, "Love With the Perfect Stranger... For Research Purposes ONLY, of course..." Ruth will be giving away a copy of Waiting Out the Storm and Courage-building Chocolate for approaching unknown writing industry professionals. Two winners.
Wednesday: Steeple Hill Love Inspired author Glynna Kaye will be here. Her post is "A Word From Your Inner Critic. " And she'll be giving away a copy of Dreaming of Home.
Thursday: Thomas Nelson debut author Cara Lynn James shares today. Cara is giving away a copy of the first book in The Ladies of Summerhill series: Love On a Dime!
Friday: Steeple Hill Love Inspired debut author Tina Radcliffe will be taking you for a stroll down Memory Lane with her post, "The First Time." Stop by for a little reminiscing and a special give away.
Monday: Revell and Steeple Hill Love Inspired author (and RITA finalist) Irene Hannon is our special guest. She'll be giving away one of her books too!
Tuesday: Steeple Hill Love Inspired author, Cheryl Wyatt will post on, Getting into (TOO MUCH) Character. She'll give away a copy of Brandilyn Collins' Getting Into Character, a craft book that Joan Marlow Golan recommended. She'll be talking about characterization pitfalls and how ancillary characters differ from secondaries and the significance of each.
Wednesday: Steeple Hill Suspense author Debby Giusti shares today and she's giving away a winner's choice book prize.
Thursday: Zondervan and Steeple Hill Suspense author Camy Tang will be giving everyone a chance to practice their one-sentence hook! And she'll provide feedback if you dare to post yours.
Seekerville is kicking May off right! Look at this line up for the week.
Monday & Tuesday we have an all day workshop delivered in two days of posts with Steeple Hill Historical author Renee Ryan . Join us for The Art of Layering. Not only is Renee presenting but she is she's giving away two books plus a Series collection.
Wednesday: Seekerville will be commemorating Executive Editor, Joan Marlow Golan's visit with a 9-5 giveaway. We'll mark the hours with drawings for all kinds of lovely Seekerville friendly prizes. Our 9-5 will be East and West Coast inclusive. So if you are in PST we will be giving away prizes until it is five p.m. there also.
That's actually 12 hours of giveaways. Don't miss the fun.
Food courtesy of the Knights of Columbus Annual Spring Fish Fry, featuring their broiled or fried seafood platter complete with a fresh fruit bar and a dessert melange hosted by Ruthy and the Westside Sisters Bakery. Carrot cake courtesy of Mary Connealy. Coffee bar courtesy of Starbuck's.
Romance Writers of America announced the long awaited finalists for the 2010 Rita and Golden Heart contests. Over 100 finalists in a multitude of categories will be on the edge of their seats in Nashville, TN this July 31st when the winners will be announced. Good luck, everyone!
Harlequin received 34 nominations for the Rita! Is that great, or what? And a special shout out to Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical author, Carla Capshaw whose book The Gladiator received TWO nominations, Inspirational Romance and Best First Book. What an awesome first year!
And let us not forget our friends of Seekerville and friends of Five Scribes who have finaled in the Golden Heart. You guys rock!
Of course our special congratulations go out to Donnell Ann Bell. Deadly Recall is a Golden Heart finalist in the Romantic Suspense category!! Donnell has MANY reasons for wanting to attend the RWA Nationals, now she's racked up one more!! Way to go, girlfriend!!
I don't know about you, but my mind tends to work like an air hockey table with all the discs hovering around with no direction when I'm brainstorming and plotting. Everything sounds good. But without a central theme, my proverbial Alice In Wonderland of goals, motivations and conflicts only serve to muddle up my mind and stiffle my creativity.
A train wreck waiting to happen.
Over the next few days, I plan on identifying the writing peak I'm going to climb and investigate all the paths and trails that will lead my characters to the summit.