Friday, August 31, 2012

Winner of Free book

On Peg Phifer's Whispers in Purple blog, the winner for a free copy of Victoria and the Ghost went to Patricia Turner. Congratulations. Hope you enjoy the book.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Do you love to write?
Do you have trouble comprehending what you read?
Do you believe that you'll never be able to write because you are a slow reader?

You're not alone. Let me give you hope. Notice the name of my blog "writing with God's hope." Everything I write, I desire to give hope. We don't have to be ruined because of an addiction, whether it's to food, alcohol, gambling, or drugs. With God, hope abounds. True to my theme, let me explain my writing/reading challenges.

During elementary school, teachers gave us Scholastic Magazines. Each week, we read a story and answered questions about what we read. I love English, and I love reading. I received good grades on most exercises, but on the reading ones where there was a time limit, I failed. When the teacher said "time's up." and passed out the tests, I usually had only read the first few paragraphs, so I didn't know the answers.

I require quiet when I read. If people are talking around me or the TV is on, I can't concentrate. I paint word pictures in my mind to understand what I read. This takes time. I often reread a sentence or paragraph that I didn't understand the first time. Because of these challenges, I read slowly.

This year, 4RV Publishing debuted my fist novel, an inspirational, paranormal YA "Victoria and the Ghost." I have completed seven books and started number eight. I can testify that being a slow reader doesn't prevent a writing career. Take hope. If you want to write, do it.

Here are the biggest difficulties:
1) reading for pleasure 2) reading to support other writers 3) reading blogs or books to help with your craft 4} reading e-mails, or any info onlne quickly enough to leave time for writing 5) reading and rereading your own work for edit while you're completing it, and the hardest for me, so far 6) reading fast enough the editor's copies for correction while preparing a book for publication.

Yes, reading is required constantly to be a writer. I'm slow, but all good things come to those who perservere and pray. Go for it. There is hope for slow-reading writers.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Burkburnett, TX - What a Welcome!

Burkburnett, TX Public Library hosted a wonderful authograph party to welcome me and my book last night. We discussed the ghostown of Clara,TX, ghosts, my book, and the pubishing process.

It was fun. Thank you, Teri Pickrell, librarian, and Sue Watson and all the friends of the library. Thanks also to personal friends, Debra and Bethany Calloway, Stephanie Gallentine, Rhonda Prince, Mary Beth Lee, and Lisa Goodrich for coming. What a wonderful turn-out and thought-provoking questions. I had fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chrsitmas Blessings for Natalie - part 2

The first half of this short story came out here on Friday. Today, as promised, here's the ending.

Please leave a comment & let me know if you enjoyed the story, or else, post on my Facebook author page, send me a tweet, or an e-mail. I would love some feed-back.

Thanks for taking a moment to read about God's work at healing a young girl with a hurt as big as Texas.

Christmas Blessings for Natalie - part 2

“That sure is a neat catcher’s mitt,” Jake said noticing what the young woman was holding.

“My husband had bought it for Bobby. That was my son’s name.” She looked at the grave again. “He’ll never grow up to use it now.”

The three stood silent. Natalie got lost in her own personal grief. A cold wind slapped her in the face.

The woman snapped out of her thoughts, turned, and introduced herself as Paige Huston. “Would you like the mitt, Jake?” She held it toward him.

Jake reached for the mitt. “I shouldn’t.” He dropped his hand. “I mean, would your husband mind?” He looked up at their new friend.

Paige smiled. “No, I think he would like to see it used.”

“Do you have lots of family around here?” Natalie didn’t know why she asked that. It just came out as if someone else spoke.

“No, just Bob and me. That’s my husband. We were going to have a Christmas tree for Bobby, but not now.” She knelt and straightened a ball on the little tree that topped a small mound of dirt. “This is Bobby’s tree.” Paige gulped and sniffed. Her hand swabbed her face.

Natalie swallowed her own tears. “I’ll ask my father if you could come for Christmas dinner with us. We’ll be lonely.”

“We need a mother around the table,” Jake said.

Natalie noticed his words brought a fresh bout of tears to the woman. She hoped they were a good kind of tears.

That night, they approached their father about having Paige and Bob for a Christmas dinner. At first he balked as Natalie had expected. Later he left his work and came to Natalie’s room. He stood at the door. “Maybe inviting that young couple would be a good idea. My company will give me a ham. We should share. That’s what your mom would have done.” Sobs welled up and shook his body for the first time since the funeral. He braced, grimaced, and walked out of the bedroom.

Natalie slid to her knees. “Thank you that prayers are beginning to be answered for us, Lord.” Once again she prayed for Jake, her dad and for Paige and Bob.

Four days later as the five of them bowed heads together over the ham dinner Paige and Natalie had prepared, Natalie felt her load lighten just a little. Her mother was still watching over her family. Natalie felt her presence as Paige peeled potatoes and Bob said grace.

Bob and Jake enticed Dad out for a game of catch. Paige and Natalie clasped hands while they watched out the window. Natalie sqeezed the hand of her new friend.

That evening the five of them attended a special candlelight service at the Huston’s church. As they sat together and listened to the carols, Natalie stole a glance at her father. He winked and patted her shoulder. Bob and Paige held hands. Natalie clasped Jake’s small hand. God’s presence filled the pew despite the pain.
“Thank you for new Christmas blessings, Lord,” she whispered.

This story was first published in Brio Magazine, Focus on the Family’s magazine for teen girls in the December, 2007 issue.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Christmas Blessings for Natalie

Today, I start a short story. I will post the ending on Sunday, August 19. Leave a quick comment or e-mail me. Let me know if you like the story. It was published in Brio before the Focus on the Family magazine quit publication.

New Christmas Blessings for Natalie

Natalie rushed out of school, the sound of “We wish you a Merry Christmas” still echoing in her ears. She started running. In the background her friend Crystal called her name. She ignored her.
“Why didn’t you answer my prayer?” she called out to God as she raced to her car. “Why did you let my mother die?”
Church services were worse. All her mother’s favorite carols troubled her mind. Her mom should be singing in that choir or delighting the congregation with her rendition of “Holy Night”.
Last year, while her mom sang, Natalie sat with her dad and Jake, her little brother, for the candlelight service. This year her dad refused to go, and Jake stayed with him. Before the choir finished their songs, Natalie stood and dashed down the aisle to her car where she sat behind the wheel until she controlled her tears enough to drive.
More and more she pulled away from people. She refrained from conversation since none of it helped.
Today at school had been the annual Christmas play ending with “We wish you a merry Christmas”. Now, in the background, Crystal stopped calling as Natalie reached her car.
Even starting up her dark blue Accord reminded Natalie of her mother. It had been her mom’s idea to get her a car for her seventeenth birthday so she could drive Jake and herself to and from school. It had been her mom’s idea to look at the Hondas in the first place.
Natalie cringed as she remembered the harsh words to her mother two months ago. That had been the day her dad had driven her mom to get the latest report on her CAT scan. Natalie had
been upset because she had to stay with Jake when she wanted to go shopping with Crystal.
“I always have to stay with Jake!” she had yelled. “It isn’t fair. I want to have a life too.”
How she wished she could take back those words. She would
remember the downcast look on her mother’s face for as long as she lived.
Two days after that day her mother took her aside and explained that the cancer had spread into her brain. She did not have long to live. Twenty-two days later she was gone.
Now Natalie drove to the cemetery as was her custom each day after school. She sat on a bench near her mother’s grave and prayed and talked, feeling sure her mother looked down on her from heaven. The wind chime played a lullaby. It was the only place Natalie felt some peace.
“Lord, why did you have to take my mother? I loved her so much,” Natalie asked again as she did daily without answer.
She noticed a young woman nearby. Natalie watched her as she had on other days bring flowers and stand over a grave in the next section which was known as Baby Land. Now the lady put down a Christmas tree and carefully decorated around the stone. She pulled grass and stuck wire pins into the ground to hold garland around the tombstone. She bowed her head as if to pray. After that, the woman climbed into her car and left.
The sun crawled closer to the ground in the west shooting streaks of pink, orange and purple in its wake. Natalie remained
on the bench longer than she realized. Her father would be home wanting dinner.
At home her father heated cans of soup. His scathing look told his daughter he was unhappy with her late arrival. She quickly set the table and put out crackers and cheese to go with the soup. Tears rolled down Jake’s cheeks as he sat at the table staring at his bowl. Dad ignored him, but Natalie put her arms around her little brother’s shoulders.
“It will be okay,” she lied. It would never be okay again.
Their dad ate his soup in silence, then went to his study. He often brought work home now, shutting himself away for hours.
Her mother would have interrupted her husband, chiding him that this was family time, and he should stop and play a game with Jake or help Natalie with homework. Now he seemed unable to face family life without his wife.
Natalie finished the dishes and went to her room.
Jake poked his head in thirty minutes later. “Can you help me? I don’t understand my math, and I hate to disturb Dad.”
“Sure,” she responded.
“Why does Dad ignore us, Nat?” Jake walked with head down as
he often did these days.
“I guess it’s hard since he misses Mom.” Natalie stood.
“I miss her too.” Jake’s tears started again.
“I know,” Natalie said. “I do too.” She hugged her brother, then walked him into his bedroom.
“Why did Jesus take Mom away?” Jake asked for the hundredth time.
“It is one of those things we can’t understand, Jake.” The statement sounded as trite as when others said it to her.
“There has got to be a reason,” Jake asserted. “Maybe I should go to Sunday school, even if Dad doesn’t, to see if my teacher can explain.”
“Talk to Jesus yourself, Jake. That’s what I do. Maybe you would like to go to the cemetery with me tomorrow.” Strange, she had never thought of inviting her brother to go with her before.
“Yes, I would. Will you take me? Please.” Jake’s eagerness made Natalie understand how she had neglected her brother the way her dad neglected them both. That night for the first time since her mother died, she knelt beside her bed and prayed for Jake, then she also prayed for their dad. Enjoying her prayer more than she had in a long time, she prayed also for the young woman who came to the cemetery every day and visited Baby land.
Next day school was no better. Everyone talked about their Christmas plans. They were shopping, helping their moms cook, or wrapping gifts. Natalie tried to close her ears. No Christmas blessings for her family.
“Why did you run off so fast yesterday?” Crystal asked as she walked down the hall with her friend. “I yelled and yelled.”
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t stand the singing.” Natalie looked over at the girl who had been her best friend since sixth grade. “I had to get away.” She hoped she understood.
“You’ve got to go Christmas shopping with me and my mom this Saturday. Please, please.” Crystal stopped at the classroom where she had math.
“I can’t. There won’t be any shopping for me this year.” She paused, then moved on. “See you later.”
Once again Natalie rushed off. She knew Crystal meant well and sometimes got her feelings hurt, but Natalie couldn’t help it. Why wouldn’t Crystal leave her alone?
“Natalie,” she heard Crystal calling behind her. This time she turned around.
“I’m sorry.” A tear crawled down Crystal’s cheek. “I don’t know what to say. I just want to cheer you. I’m praying for you, and you are my friend. I wanted you to know that.” She turned into her class.
“Thank you,” Natalie murmured. She knew many were praying. When would it help?
Before driving to the cemetery this time, she dropped by the house for Jake. She had wondered if he would remember but knew instantly when he came bounding down the walk to her car. They stopped at a florist to get a Christmas wreath. Natalie arranged it at the top of the temporary stone. The permanent one would not be in for two more weeks.
She looked around after setting up the wreath. Where was Jake? Then, she noticed him in Baby land talking with the woman. She followed him.
“Hi,” Natalie said to the woman she had seen many times, but had never spoken to before today.
“Hello. I’ve seen you here before.” Tears stained the woman’s face as she stood.
“Yes. I’ve seen you here, too.” Natalie almost whispered as she examined tthe words on the stone at the woman’s feet.
The woman followed Natalie’s gaze. “I lost my only child two months ago.”
“Jake and I lost our mother over a month ago,” Natalie said, continuing to look down at the ground.

Whispers In Purple: Victoria and the Ghost, Janet K. Brown, a BookBites w/Giveaway

Whispers In Purple: Victoria and the Ghost, Janet K. Brown, a BookBites w/Giveaway

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2 day FREE book offer by Staci Stallings

Today, I want to introduce Christian author, Staci Stallings, who has an exciting offer for us. First, she promised a good thought for the day. Staci--


I am a word nut. I think I have been forever. I even have a favorite and a least favorite letter of the alphabet. So basically, I’m a little weird. I love words. I love how by combining just 26 letters in a myriad of ways, I can take the pictures in my brain and convey them to yours. To me, that’s cool.
Many times I have found myself fascinated by a word that I have used forever but suddenly understand in a different light. So one day I was thinking of words and deconstructing them to see what they literally meant. I had gone through a couple when out of the blue the Holy Spirit said, “Yeah, it’s like inspiration.” I said, “What?” And He said, “It’s like inspiration. Get it? In-spir-ation. Or literally being in the spirit.”
Wow! I had been giving the Holy Spirit credit for my writing for a lot of years. Do you really think I could come up with the line “A lie doesn’t understand truth anymore than fear understands faith”? No, way. That was totally from the Holy Spirit. However, I had been using the word inspiration like it just meant “uplifting” or “motivational.”
What I had failed to see until that very moment was how being in-spir-ed literally meant one moment when you were in the Spirit – or more literally He was in you.
So the next time you feel inspired by something, give credit where credit is due and realize you have just had a visitor come into your life. Look around; it might be happening more than you think!

I'll never think of that word again without remembering a visit for the Holy Spirit. Thanks, Staci. Now what's that about free books?


Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only...
August 15 & 16
Staci's "Amazing!" novel:
To Protect & Serve

"I'm taken away to another world, a world I want to be a part of and never leave. Staci's characters are real with real everyday problems. I love that. Oh, and the firemen in this story, they're smokin' hot! Especially the hero!"
--Debra, Amazon Reviewer

When control freak Lisa Matheson falls for handsome but shy firefighter, Jeff Taylor, it's possible that life might just be going her way for a change. The only problem is she can't control Jeff or the death wish he seems to have...

Available as a free download from Amazon!

Thanks for letting us know about this offer, Staci and thanks for visiting my blog today. I'll never forget the word In-Spir-Ation.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Interview with Author, Mary Beth Lee

This weekend we welcome multi-pubished author, Mary Beth Lee. Her Inspirational women's fiction Letting Go released in July. She lives near me and is a good friend and a good writer.

Tell us something about your latest release, Mary Beth
Letting Go is a story of forgiveness, redemption and second chances. The main character Clarissa has a criminal past and so much resentment toward her mother, it weighs her down. She’s worked for several years to become a different kind of person than she’s been raised to be, but that difference doesn’t include God at all. The book is a romance, but it’s also a book about God’s unconditional love and salvation through Christ. It’s book 1 of a planned trilogy. Right now it’s available in paperback or in e-format on kindle

Where did you come up with the idea for this book?

The main characters just showed up in my mind one day. I see so many people hurting today because they can’t forgive those who’ve hurt them in the past, I wanted to write a book that showed the healing power of forgiveness when it follows Christ’s example.

I love that idea. You're right, forgiveness is so needed. What do you hope the reader will come away with from this book?

I hope they’ll fall in love with my characters, and I hope they’ll be left with a feeling of peace. God’s grace truly covers all. As one of the characters in the book says, Thank God He doesn’t base our salvation on our pasts! If my writing touches hearts, I’m happy.

Praise God. What do you like best about writing? Least?

Best: Probably my dialogue. It feels real to me when I read it. Least: description. I’m terrible at it.

Wow, you echo my own strengths and weakness, so I so relate. What do you feel you did right in your writing career?

Making the decision to self-publish while also pursuing a career with a traditional publisher.

Did you have trouble coming up with your own distinctive voice?

No. I’ve written forever. My friends say they can tell my writing even when it’s not signed.

You’re also published in young adult that isn’t inspirational. One of your books Honor and Lies recently hit the top #50 “coming of age” book list on Amazon. Do you plan on continuing to write in both genres?

Yes! I love YA. Honor and Lies was my first published book. It holds a special place in my heart, and I love that so many people are falling in love with Sissy and Savannah. It’s also a story about redemption and family, although it’s not overtly religious.

Tell us something of your writing journey.

I started writing novel length fiction in junior high. At the time I LOVED the Harlequin Teen romances, but there weren’t enough of them for me and my friends. I started writing serial romances in spiral notebooks with Erasermate pens. My friends would pass the spirals around and tell me to write faster. When I started my college studies, I put the fun writing away until I reached the end of my English degree. One of my last English undergrad classes was Drama. The professor, Dr. Thomas Hoffman, made us write a play for an assignment. I did, loved it, moved on to a career teaching. A couple years later Dr. Hoffman told me I needed to be writing and he’d like me to start work on my master’s degree. I’ve been writing fiction ever since. Honor and Lies was my thesis.

What do you do for fun?

I read and write more than anything else, but I love to watch movies and I spend way too much time playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I love social media. You can find me on facebook at and on twitter @marybethleeybnp.

Thank you for this interview, Janet. It's so much fun to share about writing with friends!

Mary Beth also writing YA as Elizabeth Lee

Thank you, Mary Beth. I enjoyed visiting with you. I look forward to reading Letting Go.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Guest Devotion by Amanda Stephan

This morning I welcome a guest on my blog. Amanda Stephan, a multi-published Christian fiction writer. Since she's known also for her devotions, she's agreed to share one with us.

Regrets By Amanda Stephan

The Free defines regret as:
1. To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about.
2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.
To feel regret.
1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone.
2. A feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.

Each one of us deals with some sort of regret about something in our lives. Perhaps it's a mistake we made when we were younger. We can wish all day long that particular incident was different; that you'd made a different choice. Yet all the wishing in the world will not take it away. Neither will self-condemnation.

I've got quite a few regrets under my belt. There are times I'm a little embarrassed to tell someone from my past that I'm a Christian romance author. Why? Because of some infraction I've committed that they'll remember. Oh goodness, just ask my mother-in-law. Scary, I'm telling you!

In fact, I've found that the longer I live, the more regrets I rack up. Not because I'm necessarily stupid, but because...well...I'm human. And we all know what that means. Human = mistakes!

But, let's reflect for a moment. Can worrying about something in our past erase it from our history? Absolutely not. You can pretend it never happened, but all the pretending in the world won't take it away. It's still there. The only options I see? Ask for forgiveness and move on. Get up. Admit you're wrong, brush yourself off, and keep going. This may seem a little simple, but really it's not. We humans have a tendency to remember every mistake (whether it's our own or someone else's) and that is what keeps us down. It impairs our ability to move forward.

I've got a news flash for you.
You're going to make mistakes. In fact, some of your friends are going to make mistakes. They're going to let you down. Someone is *going* to hurt your feelings ~ whether intentional or not ~ it's going to happen.

My advice? Consult your Bible. Read it. Pray over the situation. And if you have a problem with regretting things, ask God to help you get over it. Why?

So you can move forward.

Do you see this picture?

I'm sorry - Amanda- tech-challenged woman, here - Amanda had a picture of a rear view mirror with dice hanging on them. I tried to get it on my blog, but errors prevented it. Readers, try to visualize here your car's rear view mirror.

This is a rearview mirror.
And rearview mirrors have one job.

To show what's behind you.

And we need to be looking ahead.
Not the past.

So next time you're tempted to concentrate on the past, remember the rearview mirror. Its only job is to give you a *small* glimpse of what's already behind. Why is this important?

James 4:14
King James Version (KJV)
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Next time you feel someone has done you wrong, don't waste time on holding grudges and heaping up regrets while you stew about it, let it go. Pray about it.

Because we're only here for a little while.

Only one life will soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Amanda, tell us about your recent release:

The Price of Trust blurb:
Beaten and betrayed by the one who was supposed to love her, Carly Richards is on the run! ~ Christian romantic suspense

Amanda Stephan is a multi-published Christian romance author who loves sharing God's love with others. A homeschooling mother and stay at home wife, she finds pleasure in many things from sewing, to baseball and karate, to writing. She is currently working on a three book Christian romantic suspense series and resides in Columbia, TN, with her real-life hero husband of 18 years and two children.

You can find Amanda at her website -
Her collaborative blog -
Twitter - and
Facebook -

Thank you, Amanda. I, for one will remember that rearview mirror in my car when I start entertaining regrets. Thanks for visiting with us today.