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Worth Her Weight, my first women's fiction, coming November, 2014

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A devotion a day just for foodies

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What Does Your Home Say About You?

     Mementos adorn every area of my house. They’re a part of me and speak volumes of who I am. I like to think my house reflects hope as my writing strives to do.


Plates painted by my 2 youngest & a bear picture painted by the oldest -both at age 8-9

     My three daughters are precious. Memories from their childhood grace several rooms. I cherish each and remember where it was made and which girl made it. Come Christmas, our tree sports decorations made by our daughters. No faddish tree will do for me.


Pictures adorn every table, desk, and wall in this place; children and grandchildren at different ages. If you give me a vacant, spot, I’ll fill it. I add extra shelves to hold new treasures. I look for new ways to display art.


History speaks to me. Things from my past hold a place in my heart. This pitcher set was given to my grandmother when she married my grandfather, so it’s somewhere around 75 years old. I don’t do genealogy, but years ago, when wondering where I got my love of writing, I met a cousin of my mother who wrote poetry.


Friends are important. I may never travel to England or Australia, but I have souvenirs from there given to me by gracious friends. I have visited fields of bluebonnets, but none any more beautiful than a picture painted by a friend.

London souvenir from my English friend, Anne
from Australia. Thank you, Madeleine, my online writing friend.

painted by a dear friend now gone to heaven
Stacks of papers and books make up my husband’s “black hole.” I dust around them, but I never remove them. That’s his territory, a reminder of the wonderful man that shares my home.


Sayings stuck on mirrors, pictures, or cabinets remind me of things I tend to forget, but shouldn’t. One is entitled "Memories." Another says "move it or lose it." The one stuck on the bluebonnet picture above says "It's never too late to be who you might've been."


The Bible I’m studying at the present sets beside my place at the dining table for easy pick-up to read after I eat.


My writing corner. The plaque above it says "Lo, I am with you always - Jesus
A junky study overflows with books, papers, and file cabinets highlighting the computer where I pour out my heart through my fingers.

What’s in your house, condo, or apartment? What does it tell the onlooker about you?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

An Interview with Ane Mulligan

Today, my guest is multi-published Ane Mulligan. She bills her writing as southern-fried fiction. With me being a Texas girl born and bred, I just must like that tagline.

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.


1. Ane, when was the last time you wanted to give up on writing? What saved you from doing that?

    I don't think I've ever wanted to give up, although I've been really discouraged at times. My writing journey has taken nearly 12 years. But every time I felt lower than the bottom rung of a ladder, God showed up with someone who encouraged me. I eventually realized I needed to factor His timing into my publishing equation. Once I did that, I wrote and left the rest to Him.

2. Good advice. Where did you get the idea for your new book?


    Years ago, a young women at church told me when she married, she didn't know she should have prayed for the husband God had picked out for her, so she was gong to get a divorce and go look for that other man.

I talked her out of it, but it stuck with me. If one woman thought that, there had to be others. So I decided to explore what would happen if a woman in her forties, who had been married for a long time just learned that.
3. What is your favorite character from the book?

    Claire. She's a hoot. She's moves without thinking and has no filter between her brain and her mouth. She gets into more messes. The tagline form the book tells it all: With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

4. I think I would like Claire, too. Ane, if you could be a song, what would it be?

    This took a lot of thought. I may have sprained my brain, but I finally came up with When You're Smiling. God wired me happy. I love to laugh and I'm usually smiling. After all, frowning takes more muscles and therefore more work—and more wrinkles.

5. Thanks for the reminder. I must smile more. In what place do you do most of your writing?

    I used to do most of it at Starbucks, but then Hubs bought me a wonderful recliner that stopped all my back problems. So now, I write in my chair, in my new office.

6. What habit do you struggle with making or getting rid of?

    We're not talking about chocolate or coffee here, are we? Because those are two of the four major food groups. Can't give those up. Probably getting in my quiet time. I'm ADD and get distracted so easily it's pathetic.

7. What book are you reading now?

    At the time of this writing, it's Woman of Fortune, by Kellie Coates Gilbert. Although, I'll have finished soon. It's hard to put down.

8. How did you connect with your current publisher?

    I read a book I liked, Becalmed, by Normandie Fischer, and mentioned it to my agent. She looked it up, saw it had been published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and decided to send my manuscript to them as she knew the editor. I'm delighted she did.

    They also allowed my hubs, an artist, to paint my book cover. It was no easy task to pull an imaginary town from my brain. To me, it was more of a feeling than brick and mortar, even though I'd drawn a map for where everything is within the town. But he did it and I'm tickled pink with the result. Ken Raney took his painting and made the cover design with it.

9. What a wonderful thing to have your husband included in the work. I love the cover. Is there anything else you want to tell us?

    If you're a writer, never give up. Only those who give up, fail.
Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

Okay, I hit Ane with several questions, but she was gracious in her answers. Do any of you have questions or comments for her? Chapel Springs Revival sounds like a must-read to me.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#FREE Devotions this month

Is it time for you to lose weight?

Here's the steps to take:

1. Make decision
2. Pray

3. God shows you the strategy to fulfill the decision

4. When you flounder, reinforce your decision to God.

5. God provides the strength to take the next step.

Proverbs 16: 9

   A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.


Time is going to pass whether you lose weight or not. Isn’t it wonderful if, as it passes, the pointer on the scale is going in the right direction?

          This is a quote from a Weight Watcher leader.

This month only, Pen-L Publishing is offering a free devotion a day from my book Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.

Don't miss this opportunity even if you only thought about wishing you could lose weight God's way. There is no obligation. All you have to do is click on    

and download  30 free devotions.
 I pray they speak to you.
Sept. 2 Bonnie Lanthripe will be blogging about Divine Dining at

Sept. 7 Winona Cross will be blogging about Divine Dining
Another day in Sept. Lee Carver will be blogging about Divine Dining
If anyone sees any of these blogs and e-mails me @
and tell me you did see one of them, I will automatically put you in a drawing for a free copy.

I'll be watching this next week for your e-mail, or you can comment here.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Writing Tip from Kathy Ide

Multi-published author, Kathy Ide has a tip for better writing for us. I confess this is one I struggle with. Should I use as or when?

AS vs. WHEN: Tips for Better Writing

By Kathy Ide


As (when used as a conjunction, as in “As this happened, that happened”) implies that the second thing occurred while (within the same time frame as, during the time in which) the first thing was in the process of happening.


When implies that the second thing happened at the same moment in time that the first thing happened (a specific time being the essential element).




"As the garage door came down (while it was in the process of coming down), the cat scurried under it."


"When the garage door came down (at the moment it touched the concrete), it hit the cat."


As she bid him farewell, a tear fell down her cheek.” (During the time it took for the tear to fall, she was in the process of bidding him farewell. Both took about the same amount of time.)


When she bid him farewell, a tear blurred her vision.” (At the moment in time when she told him good-bye, a tear appeared.)


“When the dance ended, she thought, I’ll never see him again.” (At the moment in time when the dance ended, that thought came to her mind. The two things happened at approximately the same point in time.)


The Dictionary of Problem Words and Expressions by Harry Shaw says that as is “one of the most useful and most overworked words in the language. … As a conjunction, however, as is usually weaker (less effective) than since, because, and when, each of which is more exact.”


The Wordwatcher’s Guide to Good Grammar and Word Usage (by Morton S. Freeman) says that as (when used as a conjunction) is often “fuzzy” because it is ambiguous. “It may be conveying the idea of time (which needs when) or of cause (which needs because).”


Their example: “As the time grew short, the people became fidgety” could mean either “When the time grew short, the people became fidgety” or “Because the time grew short, the people became fidgety.” They recommend using when or because instead of as to avoid ambiguity or possible misreading.



Kathy Ide is a published author/ghostwriter, editor/mentor, and writers’ conference speaker. Her latest book is Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. To order, visit Kathy is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Connection ( To find out more, visit  

Sounds like a book all writers need. Thanks, Kathy, for visiting Writing with God's Hope blog today. I think I understand the as vs. when dilemma. Anyone else have a problem with that besides me?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Niki Chillemi tells us what happens when Your Heroine takes an Organic Cooking Class

Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels, female private investigator likes to eat. She hails from Brooklyn where she follows a bunch of unsavory characters and does a lot of taxing surveillance. Hence she has often grabbed a quick bite from a street vendor. Brooklyn dirty-water hot dogs were one of her favorites. She could scarf two of those babies down loaded with sauerkraut and mustard, then get a large order of French fries and a Coke, and follow all that with a honeybun. Not exactly healthy eating.

One of her fav expression is, "I could eat a bear." Readers don't get very far into HARMFUL INTENT, book one in the series, when they notice as soon as she says, "I could eat…" ~ The hero, (Taylor County, Texas) Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes finishes her sentence for her with "…a bear."

So, what is a Brooklyn, gal PI doing in Texas? She's been framed for the murder of her cheating husband and she's trying to clear her name. Meanwhile she's eating her way through T-bone steaks with sides of skillet fried Mac 'n cheese, or a nacho platter followed by three beef soft tacos, or an oven-baked pancake the size of a Frisbee.

Then the unthinkable happens. She must take an organic cooking class in the course of the investigation in an attempt to wheedle some info out of the chef/instructor. She goes into the class with an overwhelming craving for a bacon and cheese Quarter Pounder with all the trimmings, super-sized French fries, a side of onion rings, and a McFlurry.

The instructor (who, BTW, also has information about a heinous killer) gives the ladies taking the class a hand-out with color photos of the dishes they will be preparing: tossed green salad with pale-striped cucumbers and cherry-tomatoes, pan seared chicken breasts with shallots, golden sparkling cider as the beverage, and grilled pineapple slices for dessert. Naturally, all ingredients are certified organic. At the end of the cooking, when the ladies sit down to eat, what surprises Ronnie is how tasty the meal is.

When we meet up with our hero and heroine again in DEADLY DESIGNS, book two in the series, we learn Ronnie took a few healthy-eating cooking classes when she got back home to Brooklyn. Now that she and Dawson are teamed up on another case, when they have to stop to eat, he's more than surprised to see her ordering a salad for her appetizer and grilled fish for her entrée. Since his motel room includes a kitchenette, she promises to cook a healthy meal for him. You'll just have to read the book when it comes out to find out how that goes.

Oh, my, Niki, I'm hooked. I just must read both of these stories. So where can we purchase them?

Here's the link to purchase Harmful Intent.

Deadly Design will release later this year.

Gotcha. I'll get Harmful Intent now and check for the second book later. Now ...

Tell us something about yourself.
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored 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.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is 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, a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories, and a judge in the Eric Hoffer Awards in 2012 and 2013.

Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released in the spring of 2014 under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN).

Nike loves animals, the ocean and is a healthy-eating foodie…these themes show op in her novels.

We sure have that in common, Nike. I'm also a healthy-eating foodie. Yes, absolutely must have both those books. Thanks for stopping by the Writing with God's Hope blog today and telling us about them.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Interview with Kelly Irvin

I love author interviews. I approach them with such hope. They're like making a new connection, forging an interesting alliance, beginning a satisfying relationship.

Today, Kelly Irvin tells us something about herself. You and I have the potential for a new friend. If you'd like to ask her a question I forgot, you'll have your turn at the end. 

  Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing. Her latest release is A Plain Love Song, set in Amish country in Missouri, which debuted July 1. It is the final installment in the series, which also included Love Redeemed and Love Still Stands.


 She is currently working on The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan/HarperCollins. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.


Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years. They have two young adult children, one gorgeous new granddaughter, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.

Kelly, tell us something of your writing journey.

I always wanted to be a novelist, from the time I was a child. But I grew up in a working class family and I knew it was important that I be able to get a job and support myself so I earned a degree in journalism and became a newspaper reporter. Then I got married and had children and the years passed. On my forty-fifth birthday, I woke up and realized I might never reach my dream if I didn’t get a move on. So I squeezed in writing my first novel with a full time job in public relations and two children in middle school and my marriage. It took another seven years, but I finally published my first romantic suspense novel at the age of fifty-two. I almost gave up several times along the way, but God blessed me with a supportive husband and an agent, Mary Sue Seymour, who never gave up so I stayed the course. Mary Sue urged me to try Amish romances after I published two romantic suspense novels. At first, I was hesitant, but she was so sure it was the right move for me, I gave it a shot and she sold the first book, To Love and To Cherish, to Harvest House before I finished writing it. I now have two series with Harvest House and a new series that starts next year with Zondervan/HarperCollins. It’s been an incredible journey.

How exciting. What a history. Wish I'd gotten busy with my writing at age 45. Alas, I waited until 63, but hey, we serve the same awesome God. Is there a favorite spiritual theme in your writing?

It seems that I always come back to two things: forgiveness and grace. The Amish are great role models for forgiveness. The tragic shooting at a school house several years ago received a tremendous amount of publicity when the Amish families who lost daughters forgave the man who killed them. That set me to thinking about what could I forgive and did I live out that fundamental Christian tenet. Just because we believe in forgiveness, doesn’t mean it comes easily. That was the basis for my first Amish romance, To Love and to Cherish. God’s grace covers us and he forgives us even though we fall short of his perfection over and over again. We are called to do the same for others, but it can be a tough road to travel.

Ouch, you're so right. What books have your read recently?

I mostly read mysteries and romantic suspense, but I never miss books by historical fiction writer Allison Pittman. I love her most recent historical novel All for a Story, which is a Christy Award finalist this year. Allison has such a great style and her characters are always memorable. This novel takes place during the Roaring Twenties, which is fun. Plus this one is about a newspaper gossip columnist and the man who inherits the tabloid for which she works. He tries to change the paper into something more wholesome and she resists. It was a great read for a former journalist.

Thanks for the tip. What other interests do you have besides writing?

I love to read, of course, and I enjoy spending time with my children and my nine-month-old granddaughter whenever I can. I have a full-time job in public relations so I don’t have much time to do anything else other than write and spend time with family.

What is your writing routine?

I go to the office early and get some writing done before I’m on the clock at 7:45 a.m. Then, whenever I can, I close my office door at lunch time and write for as long as I can. Whatever time I can squeeze in on evenings and weekends, I do. Because I was a newspaper reporter, I’m used to writing fast and on deadline so I make it work.

What song best describes you?

“Sweetly Broken” by Jeremy Riddle comes to mind. It really speaks to how far I had to fall before I could come crawling back to the cross and the wonderful affirmation that God would take me back, no matter what I’d done or where I’d been.

You mention earlier about almost giving up. Tell us about that, and how you got through it.

As I mentioned earlier, it took seven years to get my first contract. I was so exhausted from working full time and trying to be a wife and a mother as well, I began to wonder if God intended for me to have this fiction writing career. I wondered if I should be writing mainstream novels instead of inspirational novels. It’s a bigger market and more possibilities for the kind of gritty romantic suspense I was writing at the time. Finally, one Sunday I sat in the pew at church and I prayed for God to show me the way, to give me a sign, to tell if I should stop or keep going or do something different. Three days later my agent called with a contract offer. It’s all in God’s hands and it’s all about his timing. I have to keep reminding myself of that even now. People think because an author receives one contract, he or she has it made. But it’s always about the next contract so that an author can build on that momentum and build a following of readers. I try not to get wrapped up in that, but rather to focus on the writing and let God take the helm. It’s the only thing that works.

What's your favorite Scripture verse?

Micah 7:18-19, the verse I used for the second book in the New Hope Amish series, Love Redeemed.  These verses remind us that God’s grace is unending. He will forgive. We need only ask and be repentant. My lack of perfection makes this a very comforting scripture!

Who is a God like you who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

You will again have compassion on us;

You will tread our sins underfoot

and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

That is beautiful. Tell us what's next for you.

I have a new series that I’m very excited about. The Amish of Bee County is set in Bee County, Texas, home of the only Amish district in the state. It’s very small and rustic. The first book, The Beekeeper’s Son, comes out in January and I’m currently writing the second book, which has the working title of The Bishop’s Son. I think Amish fiction readers will enjoy it because it’s very different from what you typically see in Amish fiction. The Beekeeper’s Son examines the difference between what the world says is beautiful and what God sees as beautiful.

Tell us about your most recent release.

She had to find her way to him…but first she had to find her way to God.


Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to make music. It’s all she’s ever desired—to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That’s a dream that will never come true in the confines of her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and suddenly she sees the chance for a different kind of life…a real stage, a real guitar, and a real opportunity to sing her songs to a real audience!

But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her faith, her family, and her community—and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can’t get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she’s ever known to pursue her dreams?
Purchase it at:

Contact Kelly at::

Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin
Thank you, Kelly, for allowing me to get acquainted with you. Now, it's the Writing with God's Hope blog viewers' opportunity to ask questions. Click on post a comment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watch for Weird Wednesdays

Starting in September, Weird Wednesdays will give Writing With God's Hope blog a new dimension.

Watch for the announcement.