Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Research on Guthrie, Oklahoma

It's Weird Wednesday again, and guess what? I find I need to take a trip north. Someone told me that Guthrie, Oklahoma had a ghost tour. My antenna went up.

Research takes a lot of an author's time. Even if we mostly avoid writing historical novels, like me, we can't avoid research. Even writing fiction requires research. What if someone reads your novel that knows all about that profession, or hobby, or setting? If it's inaccurate, that reader would close the book.

I wrote a YA ghost story, Victoria and the Ghost, that highlighted a real Texas ghost town, Clara. Soon, the sequel to that story, A Ghost for Shelley, will release. This book will tell about the ghost legend at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, which used to be the courthouse. It's in McKinney, Texas just north of Dallas. I began Weird Wednesday in anticipation of the new book.

So, I'm offering real ghost legends here on Wednesdays.

I researched Guthrie online and learned the following things:

1. Guthrie offers ghost tours throughout most of the year (weather permitting) every Friday and Saturday evenings.
2. Guthrie is 22 miles north of Oklahoma City just off I-35.
3. Guthrie came to be in one day.
     (Check - weird, yes, must investigate this)
4. Guests on the tour visit 6 -8 historic places.

Find Guthrie on Facebook at

Yep, I figure Guthrie, Oklahoma is about 3 hours from me, so when the weather warms up (please, Lord, soon) I intend to go on a research trip. Who knows? A new ghost story might be on my horizon.

How about you? Anyone ever been to Guthrie?
Have you ever taken a ghost tour anywhere?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Crystal L. Barnes Tells About Anthologies and Contests

Today, I've asked award-winning author, Crystal L. Barnes, to be my guest on "Writing with God's Hope" blog. With her new anthology releasing, I asked her to tell us what it's like to be part of an anthology and to also reveal something about how she reached this point in her writing. So, Crystal, take it away.
Howdy, folks! Congratulations, you get to be subjected to my first guest post! I'll try not to torture you overly much but no promises.  :) 

How many of you have ever entered a contest? 'Pert near all of us, I'd assume. Now how many of you can say you actually won something from said contest? I'm sure at least half of us had to drop our raised hands. :) Trust me, I know that feeling. Thus it was a wonderful surprise when I found out my very first attempt at writing a short story landed me a contract. (Okay, now that I think about it, I did have to write a couple in high school but that was years ago.) It was a miracle somebody didn't have to come pick me up off the floor or pull me down out of the rafters. 

My short story is called Husband Hunting (I just love fun titles, don't you?), and it's one of twelve short stories chosen to be featured in the Out of the Storm anthology. It's the tale of how a rancher borrows his love's wedding dress in one last effort to prevent her from marrying the wrong man. (Ever met a man that desperate or determined? Boy, howdy! Wouldn't that be something? :) )

Out of the Storm is a compilation of our favorite stories from the 2014 Storming the Short Story contest, hosted jointly by Chalfont House Publishing’s fiction imprint HopeSprings Books and Writers on the Storm (WOTS), The Woodlands, Texas affiliate of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Writers submitted original stories around a theme, this year’s theme was storms, and the WOTS membership voted for the stories they liked best. Proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to a scholarship fund to help financially-strapped authors travel to the annual ACFW Conference, a dream for many.

I'm thrilled that my first story will be supporting such a worthy cause, and my work is getting to appear with a host of wonderful authors. Storms come to all our lives, and I love how much good God brings from them if we'll just let Him. I'm reminded of the verses from 1 Peter 4 I read just the other morning:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

It's a joy to know that our troubles, our storms, don't have to be the end. With our hearts anchored in Christ Jesus, we have a certain and joyous future assured for us in heaven. 

What joys are you looking forward to in heaven?

Crystal L. Barnes is an award-winning author, who also happens to be a born-n-raised Texan. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), her local ACFW chapter, 19th Century Writers, and her local church. In 2012, she was a semifinalist in the ACFW Genesis contest.
She has a degree in Computing Science because she loves putting things into their proper place, and she enjoys writing because she gets to share her love of old-fashioned things and the Lord. When she's not writing or reading, Crystal enjoys knitting, sewing, or crocheting while watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy is one of her favorites. Find out more about Crystal at or connect with her on Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or Pinterest.
Thank you, Crystal, for sharing this. It's just the type post I love to have, filled with hope and the love of God. What encouragement that verse gives us since you are so right, there will be storms.
Good luck with the selling of Out of the Storm. It is a good cause. A lot of us might want to purchase it for that reason. I started with short stories myself, and I love them. A short reading for one sitting.
Any other short story writers out there?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Review from a Critique Partner

             Worth Her Weight                                                           


Reviewed by Sue Watson


Worth Her Weight  by Janet Brown is a story of inspirational fiction about a woman who has struggled with  her weight for many years. She has tried every kind of diet and failed. Mostly she has lost a couple pounds, and then gained them back because of treating herself to unhealthy food choices.  She eventually learns she is indulging in emotional eating due to stress, anger, or hurt feelings.


Lacey works full-time for a demanding boss, takes care of her disabled mother, and eventually takes over the responsibility for her four-year old niece after her sister is busted for drugs. She’s the person everyone seems to lean on for whatever they need done.  She finds her self-worth in doing for others even when it is not a good idea to do so.


Her long time police officer friend, Toby, comes around a lot and helps with heavy chores and gets very involved in helping her raise her niece. Unfortunately, the pastor’s beautiful, slender daughter has her eye on Toby as potential husband material.


 Author Janet Brown has lost 95 pounds and kept it off for many years. She wrote a devotional book, Divine Dining, and teaches a weight loss class at her church. Her life long battle with food addiction helps her write a story that touches on the intended and unintended unkindnesses people subject overweight people to.


Since I am a member of her critique group, I have watched this book go from a nugget of an idea to a well-written story. Anyone who reads this book, whether they have a weight problem or not, will not only read a good story, but also gain some insight into the problems over-weight people face.


You can contact Janet on Facebook as Janet K. Brown, Author, and on Twitter @janetkbrowntx, or e-mail her at You can learn more on her website/blog:  Her book is available through Pen-L Publishing on line.

Thank you, Sue, for allowing me to post your review on my blog. God bless.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I read a quote today that preached volumes to me.

Life is for enjoying. It is not a race to see how much you can get done.                        Jill Clark

My new year began with a case of the flu and a new book releasing. I came down sick the day after Christmas. For nearly two weeks, I've had enough energy to fill a very small thimble.

As I begin to lift my head above the covers, my huge to-do list smacks me in the face and makes me want to curl back under my blankey.

When I read that quote, I thought, "yes," I will not run the race to see how much I can do, but that's hard. A new year affords a perfect time to prioritize and realign everything you're involved in. That's never more true than when you're back is against the wall with several projects at once.

Here's my words for January:

STRIVE - toward a decision to follow Christ in all things

STRETCH -toward God's excellence, not man's approval

SURRENDER - to God's will, not ours

SUCCEED in keeping communication lines open with God

I have one more word to think about especially if, like me, you're behind because of illness and holidays. Especially, if your work is stacking up higher than you can climb. Especially, if your to-do list is sticking out the front door.

What is your motivation for what you're about to do?
Most of the time, we don't make choices between good things and bad things. It's between important and more important.
Shall you be active in a group at church or donate time to your library?
Should you continue with one writing group or another?
Do you visit a friend for a couple hours or visit your mother-in-law which takes all day?
I think you get the idea?
First decide on your motivation, and the decision will be easier.

A quote from Hollow Victory by Tara Johnson asks this, "Why am I doing this? Is it because I really want to help out, or because I'm afraid they'll be mad at me if I don't."

Mere people-pleasing can be exhausting and ruinous to our attitudes.

 Seek God.
With a free flow of communication, we can start this new year

and Pampered

And, I don't know about you, but I'm needing a little pampering about now.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ghost Legend?

Is there a ghost in Vernon, Texas?


Vernon is a city about fifty miles from my home in Wichita Falls. In the fall two years ago, our newspaper carried a story about the Vernon Ghost Tour and Folk Festival. That peeked my interest since my debut YA, Victoria and the Ghost had just released. The festival raised money for Vernon’s downtown reconstruction.


Now, it’s time to find a new ghost legend to build the last story in my YA ghost series around? And, I’m thinking Vernon would be super. Is there a ghost in Vernon?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Interview of Cherie Burbach

Today, I have the opportunity along with you to get acquainted with author, Cherie Burbach and ask her several questions. So, here we go . . .

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


Yesterday? Today? LOL! I think there are moments of frustration at times with the business ends of things because it’s after all, work… but the actual writing process itself is very soothing for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline that keeps me centered and sane.


2. Where did you get the idea of your new book?


Outer space! I was so into watching Cosmos and seeing all God had created, so when I started choosing poems for My Soul Is From a Difference Place, it seemed like a natural fit to incorporate the look and feel of the universe.  


3. I like that.  Now, tell me if you could be a song, what would it be?


Maybe Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” I’d like to be able to do that a bit more. 


4. In what place do you do most of your writing?


 In my home office.


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


I’m always trying to get over the need to please and working too much. I’ve made strides but it’s something I can easily fall back into. 


6. Oh, I'm with you there. What book are you reading right now?


I just finished Vanishing Grace the other night and now I’m digging into the Gospel of John again. I go through cycles with the gospel writers and right now I’m obsessed with the words of John.  


7. Ah, yes, John speaks of God's love. Anything else you want to tell us?


Feel free to connect with me on my Etsy page or website. Thanks so much for having me.

Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She's written for, NBC/Universal,, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: My Soul Is From a Different Place: Poems. Visit her website for more info,


About My Soul Is From a Different Place: Poems

The poems in My Soul Is From a Different Place reflect the hope and spirit that have been evident in Cherie Burbach’s work for over a decade. Each poem sweetly centering on faith while examining the ups and downs of life.



Sounds beautiful and a good book to start off a new year. I so appreciate your stopping by and talking with me today.

Anyone have another question or comment for Cherie?