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.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

5 Tips to Save Yourself Dips in Blood Sugar

     Sugar and insulin jockey for top place in our bloodstreams. Too much sugar can throw a person into a destructive disease known as diabetes. When the blood sugar becomes too high, a person can feel weak, faint, sick, go into coma, or even die.

A condition known as hypoglycemia is less known but is on the opposite end of the spectrum. When blood sugar levels drop, the same symptoms apply. This can happen when we go too long without eating, exercise too much, or can even happen to diabetics that take too much medication. Blood or glucose levels must be kept in balance for good health.

According to the healthline website, here are some of the symptoms for low glucose levels:

1.     blurry vision

2.     rapid heart beat

3.     sudden mood changes

4.     unexplained fatigue

5.     headache

6.     sudden nervousness

7.     pale skin

8.     hunger

9.     shaking

10.   inability to concentrate



Compulsive overeaters often deal with imbalanced glucose levels because of how much or what we eat. If I eat a bag of Reeses candy, I overload my system with sugar. God made our bodies perfect and provided for even this eventuality. Our pancreas produces insulin to clear out the sugar and bring balance again.

Here’s the Wikipedia link about this process if you care to read it:


When we continually abuse our bodies with eating too much sugar or simple carbs, we produce too much insulin that causes drops in sugar. When we feel the above symptoms, our tendency is to eat again (usually the wrong thing), so that our system rides a roller coaster of ups and downs. See my sketch below.
Poptart at 7AM, donut at 10AM, candy bar at 3 pm makes a roller coaster ride for our blood sugar levels and bad health for us


When we ask God’s help in dealing with our unhealthy eating, He provides wisdom. I just came back from vacation, a challenge for anyone who struggles with food. Here’s five tips that helped:


1.     Start your day right.

Go for a more complex carbs, that is fresh cherries instead of cherry poptart, or a banana instead of a banana-nut muffin. Pair that with a protein such as peanut butter or cheese.

2.     Put on your boy scout uniform.

Prepare for surprises. Never leave on a hike or a sight-seeing trip without something to eat in your pocket or purse.



a.     light cheese sticks

b.     low fat protein bar

c.     Piece of bread or low fat cracker smeared with peanut butter

3.     Don’t go too far.

Sometimes, with hiking mountains, or hunting for sea shells along a long stretch of beach, we exercise more than we’re used to doing. Our body uses our carb store much more quickly.

Stop for frequent rest breaks even if you feel gung-ho.

Take a water bottle everywhere you go.

Remember that tucked away snack at the slightest touch of fatigue.

4.     Walk, baby, walk

Don’t let the need to not exercise too much keep you from exercising at all. Walking naturally lowers blood sugar, so if you indulge in a special treat with your dinner, a walk afterward can keep your levels even.

5.     Balance you food, balance your blood sugar

Aim for a veggie with every lunch and dinner.

Add a glass of milk or a slice of cheese to meals.

Go for a leaner steak, a salmon filet, a sandwich piled with turkey.


Don't neglect healthy eating though you add those special treats along the way.


These tips will help you maintain level glucose. Look back at that list of symptoms. Would you not enjoy a vacation better or life in general if you didn't suffer from those things?


Do you have other tips to control your blood sugar levels?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Visit with Jennifer Slattery

I'm honored today to have as my guest Jennifer Slattery. We first "met" on the American Christian Fiction Writer's (ACFW) online critique group. We keep in touch through the ACFW loop. Through this Christian writing group, God led me into a ministry of writing about hope through Him.

 Jennifer has some thought-provoking words for us, and we always need that.

Jennifer: You know those days when you feel like a two year old in an old woman’s body? When everything feels overwhelming and you’re behaving so contrary to that What Would Jesus Do bracelet dangling from your arm, you’ve seriously considered tossing it?

Well, on just such a day, God delivered a gut-punch through the words of my teenage daughter.

With an eyebrow raised, my daughter crossed her arms, and said, “You forgot to pray today, didn’t you?”

How did she know? By my short temper, frequent bursts of selfishness, and scowls.

Standing in our kitchen, schooled by a child, I realized how much truth she packed in that statement. Amidst the hustle and bustle of my day, I’d inadvertently left God out of the equation, and it showed. The peace that surpassed understanding? Forgot to grab hold of it. The strength made perfect in weakness? Missed that one, too. By neglecting to connect with my Power-source, I’d trudged through my day ill-equipped and overwhelmed. 

Our “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” generation tells us to work harder, strive longer, grit your teeth and get it done, but God flips that. He says, “Slow down and come to me, and let me guide you through life’s hurdles.” God never intended for us to walk through life alone. He’s always there, watching, ready to help us move from stress to peace and fear to victory. All we need to do is abide. He’ll take care of the rest.

The 19th century theologian, E.M. Bounds, said, “The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.”

Fritters away the morning. When I neglect my prayer time, that’s what I do. Run around, expending a large amount of energy, accomplishing little. And yet, when I take the time to pause and connect with God, He stills my heart, fills me with truth and clarity, and helps me navigate through the chaos of my day.

What about you? How do you find–make–time for God amidst your busy day? Notice a difference when you do?

Janet: When I worked away from home, I got up earlier than anyone in the family to have my quiet time. Now, that I'm retired, I can sleep later but still have an increased amount of time to spend talking with the Lord. I love that. If I don't do it early before life interferes, I don't usually work it in. With quiet time first, my day is more productive, my attitude much improved.

You're so right with your devotion, Jennifer. Americans are the worst. We teach our children to be independent thinkers, but God doesn't intend us to be independent of His leading. After all, He should be the one in charge. Great reminder. I love the quote by E. M. Bounds.

Now, tell us about your new novel, Beyond I Do.

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Purchase it here:

Sounds wonderful. With all the divorce, we sure need encouragement to remember that marriages lasts for a lifetime. Tell us something about yourself.

                Jennifer Slattery is an avid reader who enjoys long, leisurely strolls with her husband; mall dates with her daughter; and chatting with her girlfriends over hot, flavored milk with a hint of coffee.

She writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions. She also writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, an international ministry that broadcasts via radio waves in 32 countries. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her serving in her church, community, or home.

Connect with her online at her blog, , on Facebook at, and Twitter at
Do any of you have questions or comments for Jennifer? What is your remedy to finding quiet time with the Lord? Does it help?

Thank you, Jennifer for visiting with us today on Writing with God's Hope blog. The book sounds wonderful. Think I'll mosey on to Amazon and get my copy. I wish you well in all your writing pursuits.