Friday, December 29, 2017

The Cornerstone ♦ New Year Thoughts ♦ Gail Kittleson

New Year Thoughts

from Gail Kittleson
Jesus, the Cornerstone
"The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:22-24 [NKJV]

 Another year almost past...everyone remarks how they go faster and faster as we age. It gets tough to remember what we were doing last year at this time...were we entertaining company on this date, or was that the year before?

Experts encourage us to focus on one day at a time—good idea, because that really gives us enough to take in at once. Although this Psalm refers to the full Gospel day—the coming of salvation to the world through Jesus’ death and resurrection, that “day” makes a pivotal difference in each twenty-four-hour period of our lives on this earth.

C. H. Spurgeon, in his sermon #1420, writes, “What day is this which the Lord has made? is a Sabbath day, the beginning of a long line of Sabbaths. The day in which our Lord Jesus rose from the dead is now sacred to rest and holy joy. Let us keep it with reverent love and bless God for making it—...” (

Others have delved into the meaning of the word sabbath, and hold various views on which day of the week to observe. But considering that sabbath refers to stopping and resting, we can gladly leave all that wearies us—for example, striving to win God’s favor or trying to please everyone. the old Pepto Bismol ad says, “Oh, what a relief it is.” And this concept can bring us relief and joy every single day of the new year.

: When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim. Favorites: walking, reading, meeting new people, hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters. 
Twitter: @GailGkittleson

Now, sit back and enjoy this beautiful rendition of One Day At a Time by Lynda Randle, and be blessed. (Courtesy Bill and Gloria Gaither)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

10-day Writing Challenge ♦ Leeann Betts ♦ Giveaway

The 10-day Writing Challenge

by Leeann Betts

Have you ever stared at a blank computer screen and wondered what on earth you were thinking when you thought you were a writer? Or maybe you’ve pounded away at the keyboard and cranked out a thousand words, but when you read them, realized they were gibberish and needed to be deleted? Or perhaps you’ve written a complete novel, or two, or three, but can’t seem to find the energy to edit them, or send them to an agent or publisher. Maybe you signed up for NaNoWriMo last month and couldn’t even get started.

Writing is hard. It’s hard to be rejected. Criticized. Told you have plot holes. Or cardboard characters. Or you need to join a writers group and learn how to write. Or your story line is boring.

I know how you feel. Really, I do. I’ve been told all of that, and more. “Horrendous” was once used to describe a project I submitted to an editor.

So how do we overcome all of the voices--including our own--telling us we can’t do this? How do we get enough oomph in our engine to continue writing until we reach the end of the book? How do we persevere long enough to see success, however we define that for our writing?

A 10-day writing challenge might be the perfect solution to all of these problems. It’s short enough not to eat up too much time. Each day’s activity takes twenty minutes or less. And by the time you complete Day 10, you’ll have character sketches and an outline for a book.

Here we go, the abbreviated version:

Day 1: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down why you’re taking this challenge. Go ahead, be silly. Be insightful. Be honest.

Day 2: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down things you’re passionate about. Passion as in you could talk for hours without notes. Passion as in it gets your blood boiling when you hear someone else say it’s not important.

Day 3: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down things you’re good at. Not expert. Just something you do adequately.

Day 4: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down the titles of books you want to write. If you can’t think of any, write down the titles of books you wish you’d written.

Day 5: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Choose one title from Day 4. List the characters and the setting.

Day 6: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write your acceptance speech for an Academy Award for when the novel from Day 5 is turned into a movie.

Day 7: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write the opening paragraph for the book from Day 6.

Day 8: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write a two-sentence summary of the book from Day 7. What you’d say in response to the question, “So, what’s your book about?”

Day 9: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write a one-sentence summary of each chapter of the book you worked on in Days 5 through 8.

Day 10: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write the final scene for the book you’ve been working on in Days 5 through 9.

That’s it. From idea to outline in ten days. Now, write that book!

About In Search of Christmas Past:

Grace Bellows, a senior in college, receives a Christmas card one month after her grandmother’s death, where her beloved Grammie challenges her to an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Raised by her grandmother after her parents’ death in a car accident when she was eight, Grace has lived a jetsetter lifestyle with her wealthy grandmother. Now all she wants is to settle down and have a normal life.

Luke Fisher manages his family’s Christmas tree farm out of a sense of loyalty to his deceased mother because she gave up her dreams of being an attorney. He doesn’t want to live with any regrets, and longs to escape the confines of loyalty to live a life of adventure in the real world.

Can Grace and Luke solve the clues in her grandmother’s scavenger hunt and uncover the truth about their real feelings, or will the tension and their differences in goals and faith drive them apart?

 About Leeann:

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released six titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Petty Cash releasing in December. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at 

Website: Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.
Books: Amazon  and Smashwords:

About the Giveaway:
Leeann is offering a free copy of In Search of Christmas Past ... your choice of either print (US only), or digital, to one of you readers who leave your name and email information (disguised) in the comment section below. 
Giveaway ends one week from today on Thursday, January 4, at Midnight, CST.
Winner's name will be drawn on Friday via and notified by email.

Thank you, Leeann, for being my guest this week. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Joy in the Waiting ♦ Amy Anguish

Finding Joy in the Waiting

 by author Amy Anguish

My husband and I have had a lot of waiting over the thirteen years of our marriage. When we first married, we had to wait for him to find a good teaching position. That took two years and moved us thirteen hours away from family. When we decided to have children, we ended up having to wait six and a half years before actually getting pregnant. That was a crazy hard journey, but we came out stronger in the end for it. Several other times through all of that, we’ve been through more job changes and moves. The latest move was this last summer, when my husband got a better teaching position again. We uprooted our little family and headed east from east Texas, where we had lived for six years, and stopped in middle Tennessee. The last six months have been a bit insane, to say the least. We’ve been renting, half our things in a storage unit, as we searched for a house to buy. We took a while to find a new church family, make some new friends, and haven’t found a house quite as quickly as we meant to when we first came. But we’re starting to settle in and will move into our new home over New Years’ weekend, God-willing.

Through all the upheaval, missing some of my things stuck in another location, dealing with cramped spaces and high rent, it’s easy to focus only on the things that have gone wrong, the negative points, the things that didn’t happen as planned. Especially when a certain three-year-old girl colors on the wall only weeks before we’re supposed to move out. Thank goodness for Magic Erasers! Hopefully, it saved our deposit. I discovered I needed to really stop and force myself to remember all the good things. My husband has a job that he loves for the first time in years, which improves so much about our home life. Our kids are both healthy and growing like they should. Even though we don’t get to date as much as we would like, our marriage is strong. We have found new friends and a warm, welcoming church family. And God has worked everything out beautifully for this house we’re buying. While we’ve lived in this townhouse, we’ve had easy access to a playground, my little girl has discovered the joy of sending drawings and notes to friends far away, and we’ve had everything we needed, plus some. So many blessings that would be so easy to miss if we focused only on how long it took for things to happen or how frustrating it was that my Halloween decorations were in storage instead of adorning my home this year.

In my book, An Unexpected Legacy, my character Aunt Ruth had to do some waiting in her past. Her waiting didn’t end as well as mine has so far, but she also didn’t look for the joy in it. Because she couldn’t find the joy in the waiting, it was even harder for her to find joy in anything that happened afterward, either, and it causes trouble for everyone around her. I won’t give away more right now, but I’d love to hear if you enjoy should you choose to pick up a copy and see for yourself. If you’re going through a period of waiting, I hope you choose to focus more on the joy than the negatives. God is with you even when it doesn’t feel like it. And remember: He had to go through some times of waiting, too, when He came to earth as Jesus.

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 [NKJV]

When Chad Manning introduces himself to Jessica Garcia at her favorite smoothie shop, it's like he stepped out of one of her romance novels. But as she tentatively walks into a relationship with this man of her dreams, secrets from their past threaten to shatter their already fragile bond.  Chad and Jessica must struggle to figure out if their relationship has a chance or if there is nothing between them but a love of smoothies.

Amy Anguish grew up a preacher's kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a cat or two. Amy graduated with a degree in English from Freed-Hardeman University and hopes in all her creative endeavors to glorify God, but especially in her writing. She wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.

Friday, December 22, 2017

On the Clock God, Friday Morning Devotional with Alexis Goring

On the Clock God

A devotional written by Alexis A. Goring

This devotional was inspired by a scene from my real-life work as a seasonal sales associate. One day, I went to ask our on-duty manager a question and he stepped back with his hands raised in mid-air saying kindly “I’m off the clock.” Seconds later, the new manager on duty who was standing in his place while he was on break, stepped forward to address my concern.

This interaction, though very brief, taught me an important lesson. Apart from being more mindful about when a manager is off the clock, it taught me to remember that God is always on the clock and it gave me hope that we serve an “on the clock God”.

Sometimes, when looking for the perfect Bible verse to support a devotional that you’re writing, it’s necessary to share the entire chapter in the Bible because it’s beautiful and provides a strong support. This was the case when I set out to write this devotional “On the Clock God” and found Psalm 121 to be the best support for my message.

Before I delve deeper into my message, would you join me in reading this beautiful passage?
Psalm 121 (NIV)
A song of ascents.
 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

This beautiful passage of Scripture inspires my heart and comforts my soul. Why? Because, my dear friends, it reminds me that we were created by a God who is always on the clock! He never slumbers. He’s never on break. He’s there for us 24/7/365 no matter what, and He’s readily available to come to our rescue!

I find it so incredibly comforting that God is always there for me and that He’ll NEVER leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). It soothes my soul to know that not only is God available 24/7/365 but He’s also completely capable of helping me in EVERY situation! The Bible clearly says that the only thing God cannot do is fail (Joshua 21:45). He’s better than our fictional heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman because He’s REAL, He created us (so he knows us better than anyone here on Earth) and His life span is eternal (so He cannot and will not ever die).

So, my dear hearts, whenever you have a problem or concern in this life, don’t hesitate to take it to God first. He loves you with all of His divine heart and He wants to hear from you. He wants to be your first resort for any problem you may face. He wants you to trust Him and confide in Him like you would with your dearest friend or loved one. Since He never slumbers, don’t feel afraid or hesitant to call Him in your midnight hour. He will come to your rescue and help you in ways that our mere mortal selves cannot, but that doesn’t mean that He won’t use His people here on Earth to help you too. God is good and He loves to bless you through His servants (followers of Jesus Christ) throughout the world!

Aren’t you glad that we serve an ‘on the clock’ God?

God bless your hearts.


Alexis A. Goring
Founder of “God is Love” blog


Thursday, December 21, 2017

What To Write ♦ Story Background ♦ Terri Wangard ♦ Giveaway

What To Write?

A guest blog post by Terri Wangard
with a Giveaway (see below)

After eight years of thinking, breathing, researching B-17s for my Promise For Tomorrow series, I was ready to disembark and concentrate on something else. But what? I had a vague idea of three friends who joined the WAC, the WAVES, and the WASPs, but nothing crystalized. Except for the WAC.

I didn’t want to completely turn away from flying, and I prefer topics that aren’t commonly known. How about a grasshopper pilot? My second character was on board.

I had toyed with the idea of a family generational series. A World War II story paired with a World War I story. But no, too unwieldy.

The WAC could have a sister, though, who stayed on the home front and did factory work. Oh, dear. I couldn’t completely stay away from B-17s. She’s building them.

She also needs a husband. He’ll be in the navy, and not on an aircraft carrier. A destroyer! I studied the list of Pacific destroyers and, oooh, the Spence. All kinds of possibilities there.

So there I had it: a sailor, his Rosie-the-Riveter wife, her WAC sister, and a grasshopper pilot. They’re all doing their part to help win the war, but sometimes the enemy isn’t obvious.

While researching the Pacific War, I came across the story of the USS Tabberer, a destroyer escort. I loved it, but I couldn’t use it in Wheresoever They May Be. It had nothing to do with my sailor.

When the opportunity to contribute a short story for a historical Christmas collection came, I immediately thought of the Tabberer.

A destroyer escort is among the smallest of warships, but the Tabberer has the heart of a giant. A typhoon threatens the US Fleet in the Pacific during World War II, days before Christmas. The men of the Tabberer stand tall as they rush to the aid of their fellow sailors. For Seaman Jerry Collier, the typhoon prompts a greater awareness of what he wants in life. First, though, they have to survive.

About Terri: 
Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she keeps busy as an associate editor of Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984.

About the Giveaway:
Terri is offering a free Kindle version of The Hope of Christmas to one of this blog's readers. Entering is easy ... Just leave your name and email address (disguised) in the comment section below, and answer this question:
Do you like to read WWII Stories?
Giveaway ends on Thursday, December 28 ... one week from today, at Midnight O'clock, CST. Spread the word!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

-- they presented to Him gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh."

“-- they presented to Him gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh." (Matt.2:11)

A Christmas Hymn Story by Lucy Neeley Adams

The bathrobes were too big but the three little boys were "kings" tonight, so it was fine to wear robes that dragged the floor.  Their crowns were not exactly a perfect fit either.  But what did that matter:  It was the Christmas pageant at their church - a night to remember!

Thousands of children have portrayed the wise men who brought gifts to the Christ-child at his birth.  The story is derived from Matthew 2:1-12, which is the only biblical reference to this event.  It is beautifully captured in the majestic hymn, "We Three Kings."  Although there is no specific number of men mentioned, it is assumed that each gift was carried by one man.  Many years ago artists began to portray this great experience as they drew three camels and three wise men.

The number involved is not essential for this beautiful Christmas message.  The gifts are only symbols that explain the purpose of Jesus' coming.  In stanza two "the gold I bring to crown Him again" signifies that Jesus is the King.

Stanza three speaks of the gift of frankincense, which is the incense that denotes prayer and praise in Jesus' priestly ministry.

In stanza four, the gift of myrrh and "its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom," points to Jesus' suffering in death.

John Henry Hopkins composed words and music to this message in 1857.  His intent to lift up the great event of praise and worship was eagerly received by his congregation and continues to add beauty to our Christmas season.

Hopkins was born in Pennsylvania in 1820.  As a minister, who was ordained into the Episcopal church, he was also a leader in the development of hymnody in that denomination.  He was the first instructor in church music at General Theological Seminary in New Your City.  His popular publication, CAROLS, HYMNS AND SONGS was reprinted four times.  "We Three Kings" is the best known song from that collection.

After the first stanza, the words move from the activity of the "three kings" to a personal involvement.  The personal pronoun "I" is used in the remainder of the carol.  Do I bring Him gold, frankincense or myrrh"  Do I offer Him "prayer and praise, voices raising, worshipping God on high?"

The message is clear: We are responsible for our gifts to Jesus as we choose to give our hearts.  Each day our prayer must be that we continue to give our all to our Lord.

Lucy Neeley Adams

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Texas Christmas Mystery ♦ Book Spotlight ♦ Anne Greene ♦ Giveaway

by Anne Green

 A lady Coastguardsman searches for a killer. An oil rig Troubleshooter accused of murder races to clear his name. The murderer strives to silence them both.

Sparks fly as Amber Meredith seeks to arrest Derrick Darbonne. She needs to solve her first case, but the handsome Cajun suspect makes her heart race and her toes tingle.

Derrick has worked all his life for his high-paying, adventurous job. When the past threatens his future, will he endanger the woman he loves in order to save himself?

Visit with Anne at,, @TheAnneGreene, on Pinterest at The Anne Greene, on Book Fun Magazine at, and at

About Anne:     
My home is in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, just a few miles north of Dallas. My dear husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. My little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares my writing space, curled at my feet. I have four beautiful, talented children, and eight grandchildren who keep me running.

I’ve traveled in every location of each book I’ve written, and each book is a book of my heart. Besides my first love, writing, I enjoy travel, art, sports, reading, sailing, snorkeling, movies, and way too many other things to mention. Life is good. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” Whether writing contemporary or historical, my books celebrate the abundant life Jesus gives.

I love writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. I hope my stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy my books on Amazon

Visit with Anne at, @TheAnneGreene, on Pinterest at The Anne Greene, on Book Fun Magazine at, and at

About the giveaway:
Anne is offering a free eBook copy of A Texas Christmas Mystery to THREE of my readers. Entering is easy: Leave your name and email address (disguised) in the comment section below, and answer this question from Anne:

Do you prefer to read contemporary or historical romance?

 Giveaway ends one week from today on December 26 at Midnight, CST.