Being Intentional

A week ago, I attended a homeschool mom's retreat in the North Carolina mountains. It was beautiful! That sounds a bit lazy for a writer, doesn't it?  I'll try again...The scenery was awe-inspiring and magnificent. The feeling of peace and contentment surrounding me filled my weary soul.

I was blessed to get away with a good friend and to hear the wonderful Heidi St. John who you might know as The Busy Mom. Check out her website. Follow her on social media. Download her podcasts. You won't be disappointed. 

I've heard Heidi speak before and I've followed her online for a few years, but this time more than ever she was so incredibly encouraging. That didn't only relate to us as homeschool moms. In fact, she spoke to us more as Christian women than anything else. We have to keep our walk with Christ strong for us to be successful in anything else we do--whether it be homeschooling our children, being a good wife, a productive writer, etc.

She encouraged us TO BE INTENTIONAL. That is so important in this day and age. We are busy people. Look at Heidi's online handle (The Busy Mom). Let me repeat, we are busy people. So more than ever we need to be intentional about the things that are important to us. Do you want to get into God’s Word everyday? Then be intentional. Do you want your children to be in God’s Word everyday? Then be intentional about making that happen. It won’t happen otherwise. We have way too many other things that can slip into our day and before we know it, we’ve missed opportunities to spend with the Lord.

So, now, readers, I want to encourage you to be intentional. One way you can do that is to switch up your morning routine. What do you do first thing in the morning? My kids are getting older. They don’t bother me at first light like they used to. In fact, I think they hope if they are quiet enough I might forget they live here and won’t put on the teacher hat and start school. (Not Happening Kiddoes!)

Now my morning routine usually consists of me grabbing my phone or iPad and checking my calendar, email and other social networks to help me wakeup and get my day started. I’ve made a switch over the last week to open up my Bible app and read several chapters of the Bible instead. I’m using the Olive Tree Bible Study app. The basics of the app are completely free and you can set up a reading plan for yourself. It has really helped me. I’m also taking part in Heidi’s monthly Scripture Writing Plan. Download it and start writing scripture. I do this with fiction when I am trying to prepare myself to write a new story/new genre. It fills my brain with good words. What better words are there than God’s Words? Do it. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it will make in your day.

I hope I’ve been an encouragement to you. Be Intentional Today!

Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1) by Dina Sleiman

Dauntless by Dina Sleiman is a delightful Christian fiction novel filled with adventure, love and redemption. Ms. Sleiman is a new author for me, but I am excited to read and review the other books in this series. I picked up the first book in this series because I love Robin Hood and this looked like a version of that iconic story. I was pleasantly surprised that this book was so much more than what I expected.

The writing is fantastic, characters memorable and the historical details will pull you into this story and hold you captive to the very end. It is a novel of faith and the characters accomplish this without the story becoming preachy. However, there is one scene which seemed a bit too supernatural for me toward the end when a small child is miraculously healed. Other than that, I absolutely loved this book!  You definitely will want to read this one before the others in the series as the characters introduced in this book will show up as the central characters in other books in the series.

It's free right now. Grab yourself a copy.

Author Showcase

Had a wonderful time at the author event at the Wilson Library on Saturday. I must have spoken to about 100 people about my books. And I even took part in a live Facebook interview of all the authors. Here are a couple screenshots from that interview. Which expression is your favorite?

I met a lot of great people, but the most poignant moment had to be when a middle aged man in a wheel chair approached my table. He picked up a copy of my YA novel and appeared to be reading the back cover blurb. Looking at him, I couldn't imagine he would enjoy my teen girl coming of age novel, but I began to engage him in conversation and I asked him the question: "what kind of books do you like to read?" He looked me right in the eye and replied, "Actually, I can't read." That started a whole other conversation about trying to help him figure out a place locally he could receive adult reading classes. Before he left my table, he told me, "I'm not giving up." He so dearly wants to learn to read and he's not giving up. I took away much from that conversation. Immediately after he told me he could't read, my heart hurt to see that shameful look in his eye but by the time he left I felt as elated as him. He wasn't going to give up. Learning to read was so important to him and he wasn't going to let it defeat him. I wished him well and he continued on his way. Of the hundred people that I spoke with that day, I will never forget him. 

Cover Reveal: Kisses, Kids and Bundles of Joy

Cover Reveal!!
I'm excited to share more about my big secret project! 
Back in January, I was asked to take part in a Christian Romance Boxset with six other authors. Today I can share more about that project. The title of the boxset is KISSES, KIDS and BUNDLES of JOY. 
Snuggle up with seven brand new, never before published Christian winter romances from bestselling and award-winning authors. Kids and babies abound in this collection of novellas that will warm your heart all winter long.
Available for preorder in August for only $.99 including all 7 stories and releases in September.

Want to win some of my Fabulous New Bookmarks!!

I'm so excited that I finally have some nice bookmarks for my Aubrey YA series and my new romance Challenging Miss Valentine. If you'd like to win a few of these, just enter the Rafflecopter to be entered into the giveaway. I'll be sending out some signed swag to five winners. Contest ends April 24th at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Fire & Ice by Mary Conneally

Can I tell you how excited I was to see that the 3rd book in this series was available for review!! I loved it and I think you will too. Here's the review:

Over time, Mary Connealy has easily become one of my favorite authors. She writes fun adventure stories filled with authentic characters with humor and wit that pulls me into the story time after time. Fire and Ice is the 3rd book in the Wild at Heart series which focuses on the three Wilde sisters who fought in the Civil War and have now claimed land out west as part of the government exemption for homesteaded property due to their military service.

In this third novel, Bailey Wilde is the central heroine, and she is the oldest and strongest willed of the three. She’s also the one who has kept up the ruse of living as a man the longest. And boy does she get under the skin of ranch owner Gage Coulter. These two are most definitely the true Fire and Ice combination. I loved every minute of this final installment in the series and look forward to Mary's next series.

While this is the 3rd in the series, it is easily read as a stand alone although it will mean so much more if you've read the other two books and gotten to know all these characters. I received this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.