Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Woman's Work is Never Done by Christine Lindsey

I'm happy to welcome author Christine Lindsey today:

Like most women, I work, work, work...and work some more. There is truth to the old adage that a woman’s work is never done. Or is it possible that some of us gals are workaholics because we like it?

I’ve noticed something about men and women as we grow older—while our husband’s testosterone levels drop, so too do our estrogen levels. While our husbands start to slow down, our lowering hormone levels that made us want to cozy up the nest for decades, now make us speed up, grow more confident, downright assertive in many cases. How many of us ladies in our forties, fifties, even our sixties, start new enterprises, take up demanding responsibilities in the community or our church?

At the start of my fifties I began my long-desired writing and speaking career, and while things were challenging, God gave me the strength to rise to that challenge, and I thoroughly enjoyed reaching those long-sought-after goals. Oh my, I felt fulfilled. I was woman. I was strong. I was the Proverbs 31 gal, like many of us are.

But fifteen years after the fact, I also discovered that it was hard to shoehorn leisure time into my schedule. When was the last time I relaxed, took a day off? Sometimes months would go by.

This past spring it dawned on me that my dear husband was suffering from loneliness due to my extremely busy schedule. The wrongness of this hit me between the eyes. Something had to change. But what?

I was scheduled to do a bunch of speaking engagements on Vancouver Island in June, and off we went. At least my husband had the opportunity to travel with me and we enjoyed that.

While I chatted with various ladies during my speaking engagements that week, it was as if I ran into two different sets of women. Six of one and half a dozen of the other, you might say. The first group warmly reminisced about the wonderful holidays they had camping with their husbands over the years.

The other group shared that quite recently their husbands had passed away, unexpectedly, suddenly, and all these dear husbands were around the age of sixty.

This too hit me between the eyes. My husband was sixty. On the way home from that speaking trip I felt the question echo in my mind. What was I waiting for? The Lord encouraged me to take time to go away camping with my husband. That week we purchased a brand new little travel trailer.

On our first trip in July we drove through the majestic Canadian Rockies, and at the summit of Roger’s Pass I noticed a large artillery gun. I asked my husband why on earth that was there, and he explained that avalanche control experts shot artillery shells into the snowcaps to trigger avalanches. They did this to carefully control the snows from building too high and thick and thereby causing a fatal avalanche.

I mulled this over and compared that to the changes I was making in my life. My marriage had to come first, even at the expense of my writing and speaking ministry. So, like the avalanche control experts, I chose to cut back on my writing so I could spend more togetherness time with my husband.

My little novelette Heavenly Haven is the culmination of all that thinking. I hope and pray that my characters, Jack and Shaina, will inspire you to keep your priorities in line as well.

A woman’s work can and must stop at times. God insists we take time to rest with Him. He also wants us to keep our priorities in line. Take heart from the story of Mary and Martha from Luke chapter 10, NIV.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’”

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”

Thank you so much for being here today, Christine. Readers, check out Christine's novella Heavenly Haven:

Avalanches happen to other people, not us. Marital problems happen to other people, not us, especially nine days before Christmas. At least that’s what Jack and Shaina Burke thought.

Married for ten years, avalanche control expert Jack, and Shaina, only wanted to celebrate their December anniversary in a romantic way, until the shifting snows on the mountain bring havoc tumbling down upon them.

Heavenly Haven is available as an Ebook on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo.

Christine Lindsay would love to connect with you on her website www.ChristineLindsay.com,

or drop by her blog for inspiration www.ChristineLindsay.org

or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Author Marianne Evans -- Never, Ever give up!

I'm so thankful to have the wonderful Marianne Evans here today to blog about her own personal journey to publication. She's been an inspiration to me, and I'm sure she will bless the rest of you as well:

Today's blog post is about a life lesson I learned.

Back when the earth was still being formed, I sold my first book, a category contemporary romance, to Kensington Publishing. Wonderful, yes, but let's back up a step or two to the months preceding that glorious milestone.

I had done fairly well in a series of writing contests sponsored by RWA. In addition, I had secured the support of an agent who was new to the market, but energetic and positive with just the right combination of aggressiveness and charm. Best of all? She loved my work. Her name was Kelly St. Clair – a lawyer who moved from private practice to literary representation because she loved romance.

I kept writing and Kelly began a full court press, submitting my manuscripts everywhere. We came close. Over and over and over again I kept hearing wonderful feedback...but never the magic five words: 'We want to buy it.'

After nearly a year, with an ever growing stack of 'no thank you' notes from publishing houses far and wide, I lost confidence. In fact, I went into writer's remission, uninspired and incredibly sad that a dream I'd held for decades was doomed to go unfulfilled. I needed to go to work full time because college money needed to be raised for our kids. Writing time was easy to push aside, since to my mind, it wasn't taking me anywhere. I began to think that perhaps God was trying to send me a message about my writing and I was refusing to receive it.

Meanwhile, as I stopped writing and stepped up my outside work life, Kelly kept on top of the market and new developments. And I received yet another rejection. I was ready to call it quits - and told Kelly as much in a very heartfelt, almost apologetic letter. She had been a tremendous advocate, but by that point, I felt like I was wasting her time.

She wrote back promptly, In an equally heartfelt reply, she urged me to keep going, affirming a talent she saw, but I no longer believed in. She concluded by saying how much she was looking forward to seeing me at the upcoming RWA national conference.

I had nearly canceled my registration, but her note had me deciding to stick with it. It would be my swan song – and at least I'd get a chance to thank her directly for all she had done.

Enter the blessing of timing.

At the conference I checked in at the registration desk and who did I find standing two people away from me? My agent. Kelly had heard me give my name and came up to me immediately and gave me a hug. That was our first face to face communication—and she bubbled with excitement.

She pulled me to a seating area of the hotel lobby, not far from the dozen or so conference rooms that lined the hallway. She explained Kensington was looking for publication ready manuscripts for their new “Precious Gem” line of contemporary romances, and she'd been keeping an eye out for Senior Editor Kate Duffy to get further information about the line...and tell her about me.

We couldn't get over the timing of our lobby meeting.

But that's not the end of the story. We chatted, and she continued to encourage me – and told me not to give up, and that she was determined to keep submitting on my behalf. What a gift. When I had given up, without my even really knowing about it, she had continued to push forward. Her confidence ran deep, and was authenticated by her actions.

A few minutes into our chat, Kelly stopped talking abruptly and started to smile, looking at a spot behind me. Kate Duffy was leaving one of the conference rooms, headed right for us.

We introduced ourselves, and Kelly mentioned I had written a book that might fit the Gem guidelines. Kate was delighted to hear about it – and we chatted a bit further, then Kate left. A short, sweet, perfect meeting.

Less than a month later I sold book number one. A month after that? Book number two.

Moral of the story? Never, ever, ever give up on a dream. I've often used that interlude in my life as an opportunity to tell my kids: Persevere. If a call is on your heart, follow it, and overcome the obstacles. Surround yourself with people who will support, encourage and uplift you. I'm thankful every day they've seen that axiom vindicated.

My wish and prayer is for just such benefits for you, no matter what your dream.

And now, an excerpt from "By Appointment Only"

Political dynamo Matt Bellinger understands he has an unyielding responsibility to work hard for the betterment of his community and the world around him. Life, he believes, should be built strictly on effort and tangibles, not an elusive faith.

But that belief is challenged when a bill to spearhead volunteerism leads him to canvassing efforts at Detroit's legendary diner, Sal's Place, and a meeting with Heather Cavanaugh. His polar opposite, the street-smart beauty challenges his heart and perceptions.

She's the head stylist at Optiva, a trendy, upscale hair salon in downtown Detroit, as well as a tireless volunteer giving back to the city she loves in honor of the God she serves.

Love blooms, gradually shifting Matt's perceptions. But when a life-threatening illness in his family challenges that fledgling faith, will he be able to hold fast to his newfound beliefs? Will he discover that faith makes all things possible and love makes all things beautiful?

*****************

Matt made it to the hospital in plenty of time to give Mandy’s untethered arm a gentle squeeze and dot her forehead with a kiss. He loved the way her eyes lit up at the sight of his gift—a big, pink teddy bear with get-well-soon balloons tied to its paws. Once the pre-operative sedative kicked in, Mandy became sluggish, so Matt followed his family out of the room. Only Rick and Stephanie stayed behind.

In the waiting room, the O’Connors and a few couples from Rick and Stephanie’s church that Matt had never met before convened to wait for word from the OR. As a group, they joined hands and murmured a prayer. Matt watched, compelled by the scene, and he thought instantly of Heather, of how readily and easily she had prayed at dinner, just like these people prayed now. She was comfortable with her faith and her beliefs, as well as the pattern of her life.

Matt felt a stab of yearning that had nothing to do with the love he held for Heather. Rather, the ache that swelled through his chest as the prayer session ended stemmed from the fact that he could feel the peace that flowed. He saw it in their eyes and in the more relaxed way they moved.

But he couldn’t taste it for himself. He was an outsider, hungry yet rootless, staring through plate glass at a feast meant to fill and quench.

How, he wondered, could he ever break through?

“Hey there, handsome.”

From behind, that quiet, subdued summons reached his ears…then entered his heart.

Matt spun, face-to-face with Heather who stepped straight into his arms and held on tight. The love that washed through him was so powerful, words failed.

PURCHASE LINKS:

http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/by-appointment-only

http://www.amazon.com/Appointment-Only-Sals-Place-ebook/dp/B00DE2L4BK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371227004&sr=8-1&keywords=by+appointment+only+marianne+evans

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=41524EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1151944&event=ESRCG&view=details

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/by-appointment-only-marianne-evans/1115656436?ean=2940016796789

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Doggie Love

I love my beagles, Jack and Riley. Part of it is their overwhelming love for me.

It is not unusual to be greeted at the door after having been gone for all of thirty minutes with the kind of reception usually reserved for people that have been gone for let’s just say – longer.

Sometimes when I come downstairs, and they’ve been lying around they will wag their tails in greeting and joy that I’ve decided to again grace them with my presence.

They don’t always get up because they’re lazy but I do appreciate the tail wag. It’s as if they’re saying, “Hey.”

We take boatloads of photos of our furry babies, but below is one of my favorites of Jack. I wonder what he's dreaming ...