October 19, 2017

Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

Pepper Basham's soon-to-be-released book, Charming the Troublemaker, is going to be a hit with readers. She has such a way of weaving romance, truth, and unique characters into a masterpiece you won't want to put down.

About the Book:

Rainey Mitchell is doing just fine. She has a great job helping children in need, her family is around her, she is mother to a fabulous little girl, and is getting over the betrayal of her ex-husband. Dr. Alex Murdock is not doing so well, as he is forced to work at a rural university, his life is full of secrets surrounding his family, and he has to start over in a new town. Luckily, Rainey, the daughter of his landlord, is there to get him settled. Rainey just wants to stay away from the new professor, who has the same charm as her ex. Unfortunately, they seem to need each other. Rainey needs his grant-writing ability to save her program, and Alex is terrible at the lecturing at which Rainey excels. The two must work together to fulfill their goals, but will they be able to do it? Rainey's insecurities and Alex's obsession with protecting his family could be their undoing. 

My Thoughts:

Pepper writes such vivid characters that you can sink your heart into and come away feeling like a part of their family. I loved the extended Mitchel family and the warmth and love they show to each other. They are such a giving family that enfolds a stranger like Alex in.

Can I just say that I love the term "adorkable" for Alex Murdock? Ever the flirt and teaser, he gueards his past and his family and hides behind his humor and adorkability. Rainey is bound and determined to resist Alex's charm, but he wears her down, little by little, with his sweet care and some fabulous kisses. Whew! Pepper can write a fabulous kissing scene!

I'm looking forward to the next installment in the Mitchell family series!

You can pre-order Charming the Troublemaker HERE. It will be released on November 1, 2017.


October 12, 2017

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips

If you love the Bachelor or Bachelorette, you will love Krista Phillip's newest book, The Engagement Plot. Seriously. Krista has a knack for witty banter, funny situations, and some ooo-la-la romance!

About the Book:

Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.
              
William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations.  Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?  When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.


My Thoughts:

I love Hanna and William's story. Hanna's hope of a happy-ever-after seemed to be dashed with William's ill-fated interview, sending her home with her reputation in shreds. But when William shows up asking her to team up with him to save both of their reputations, she reluctantly says yes. Their rocky journey is filled with some funny experiences, warm-hearted relatives, and some incredible romantic tension. And Krista knows how to write a good kiss....yes, she does! 

If you love romantic comedy, Krista Phillips is the author for you. You will smile, laugh, tear up, and laugh some more. Yes, I snorted in a scene or too. 

You can pre-order Krista's book HERE. The Engagement Plot releases November 1, 2017.


October 10, 2017

Knowing Your Identity


Knowing your identity is a hot topic right now. I've seen it repeatedly in blog posts and books, and it has also popped up in my ladies Bible study at church. We are going through the Word Writers Study of James by Denise J. Hughes right now, and Day 16 brings up this thought of identity while discussing the importance of being cultivators of peace.

James 3:17-18 says, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."

Bitterness and envy stem from ungodly wisdom. The world says to push your way to the top. Be the best no matter what. But godly wisdom is gracious to others, wishing them all the best in their endeavors.

In the study, the author compares James and Paul. James was called to lead the church in Jerusalem, while Paul preached to the Gentles. They each had their own call from the Lord to the people He placed before them. They were secure in their calling and found their identity in that call of God. They didn't have to compete with one another because they each had their own job to do.

Knowing your identity is the way to rise above the competition and comparison game. When we know who we are in Him - His child, His creation, His beloved - we can rest secure in His call on our lives and support others in their calling.

  • Has He called you to be a mother or father? Rest in that and don't compare your family to others. Rejoice in their success and celebrations.
  • Has He called you to be a writer? Stand strong that He will give you words to share on the page. Your own words, not the words of others. Cheer others on in their writing journey. God is doing a new thing in each person.
  • Has He called you to lead in a ministry? Then lead with confidence that He is supporting you and will give you the wisdom to do so. Don't get your feelings hurt when another person has more people flock to their ministry. God has just the right people coming to yours...the people who need what you have to offer. 

Your identity is rooted in your Creator. You are a child of God and given a role in the life you lead. Live boldly in that calling, stepping out in faith toward the path He has set before you. And while you are at it, cheer on those around you as they move forward in their calling.

Loving Him and serving others is by far the best calling of all.

Have you found it difficult to cheer others on? Do you find your identity lost amid competing and comparison? What are you doing to find your true identity?





                                                                                                            * Photo credit: John Hain at pixabay.com

September 25, 2017

ACFW 2017 Conference Wrap-Up

I've been asked quite a few times what conference I went to this past weekend and what it was about. I'm glad you asked! ACFW stands for American Christian Fiction Writers and it is a national group of writers who write for the Christian market. They hold a conference once a year with many workshops and courses to learn about the craft of writing, as well has host pitch appointments with editors, agents, and mentors. I believe there was around 500 writers at the conference, and let me tell you, they were a bunch of beautiful souls willing to share their expertise and wisdom about the writing life. I went to the contest because I am writing historical romance and need to learn and connect with other writers.

Thursday was the early bird session, which I paid extra for because James Scott Bell was teaching for the whole day. He was totally worth it! His knowledge of the craft is immense and gave great tools for enriching your story.

Thursday evening I sat in on the Bethany House panel, with their editor/marketing team. It was fascinating to hear the behind the scenes action and what they are looking for in fiction. After that, I went to an agent panel where I learned what agents desire in a client, what to expect when you query, how to query, and on and on. It was terrific information that I needed as I am now seeking an agent.

Friday I went to Allen Arnold's course called Using Chaos As Your Canvas. Oh my, this course was beautiful. I took eight pages of notes while my heart burned within me. You know when the Spirit moves inside your soul, nudging you to pay attention because something is happening? That is what I felt like in this class. I would share more, but will save it for another blog post.

Friday night was spent with my lovely Alley Cats, co-writers at The Writers Alley blog. I was in on the start of this blog years ago and stepped back in this year. I love these spunky gals who make me laugh and encourage me on this writing journey.

Saturday was the day for classes. I took one on Setting, one on Writing in Layers, one on Indie publishing, and the last was an Agent's View on Traditional, Indie, and Hybrid Publishing. This last one was fascinating. I have never been opposed to indie publishing, but didn't have much knowledge about it and was concerned about the marketing aspect. This class had so much practical information and really spelled out the pros and cons of each. I went away really encouraged by all I learned.


Then there was the Gala. This is a dress-up affair with a delicious meal followed by an awards ceremony. Jerry B. Jenkins was given the Lifetime Achievement award. Awards for Agent of the Year, Editor of the Year and Mentor of the Year were given as well. Then the Genesis awards were given. This is the contest for unpublished authors (You submit a small portion of your manuscript for judging.) I was a finalist in the Historical Romance category. The Carol Awards are for published books. It felt like the Academy Awards and was so exciting!

I was so blessed by the conference. These writers are a gracious bunch, so willing to help each other and cheer each other on. I came away encouraged, motivated, and humbled by God's goodness.

Now, it is time to to plot the next story!


September 16, 2017

2017 ACFW Conference Mix & Mingle Blog Link-Up


Thank you Laurie Tomlinson for creating this blog link up so we can get to know each other before the 2017 ACFW conference!


Here’s how to play:
– Copy/paste the questions and fill out your own answers in a post on your own website and paste the URL to that specific post (not your homepage) using this handy link-up tool at Laurie Tomlinson's site.
Here are my answers!
Name: Sherrinda Ketchersid
Location: Irving, Texas (almost part of Dallas!)
What you write/tagline/trademark: I write clean + inspirational historical romance!
Place in the book world: One completed manuscript and about to start it's sequel. I'm entering many contests and am starting the query journey.
On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space: Bring them on. The bigger, the better.
Something VERY serious: How do you take your Starbucks? Cold brew coffee with lots of cream and no-calorie sweetener.
The unique talking points that will get you going for hours: Bible Journaling, lettering, time-travel romance, Scotland, and Netflix...currently Blacklist and Granchester.
Loved ones at home you’ll be missing: My sweet husband, though he will be joining me for the Gala!
Conference goals we can pray for? This is my first conference, and I am terrified of having to say my pitch. Still can't do it without stumbling around. So don't ask me! lol Actually, please do...I need the practice. 
Anything we can celebrate with you? I am a finalist in the 2017 ACFW Genesis historical category and the 2017 Lone Star inspiration category. 
One or two ways we can help you build your platform? You can sign up for my monthly newsletter by clicking here! You can follow me on twitter here and instagram here.
Now head back to Laurie's site to meet others who will be at the ACFW conference!


September 04, 2017

Preparing For A Writing Conference



I am going to the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference this month. It is being held at the Gaylord in Grapevine, Texas on September 21-23. I am so excited about this conference, because it is my first big conference and I am going to learn so much.

I already have business cards made and ready to hand out. Evidently, your business card is a great way to make connections and friends along the writing journey. Who knew?

Another item I need to prepare is a One Sheet. This is a one page sheet that includes a blurb about your book, rather like a back cover copy. It also includes a bio and picture. I believe I have the information ready, though I need to put it together in an engaging way.

Yesterday I finished the final edits on my manuscript. I cannot even begin to tell you how good that felt. The process came with a huge learning curve, yet I learned so much, and hopefully the skills I learned will help my next story.

Of course, in preparations for a conference you cannot forget about the all-important grooming for the event. I need a nice dress for the Gala, as well as some "business casual" clothes. I've lost 25 pounds in the last few months, so I really need to update my clothes! I wonder if I can tempt my daughter into shopping with me next weekend. She has a good eye and makes me pick things I wouldn't normally choose.

The most important thing to do in preparing for a conference is prayer. I'm praying daily the Lord will order my steps and my words so that His will is done in my life. For open - or closed - doors. For new opportunities. For the right path for me and my writing.

Can you think of anything I've missed? Please share!

August 14, 2017

Blogging Consistently and Eclectically

When you are writing with the hopes of publication, there is so much more to the dream than just putting words on a page. These days writers are expected to have an online presence before they are even published. It's a lot of pressure and takes up time that could be better spent writing, but if we are serious about publishing, we need to learn to go public.

I've had this blog for quite awhile and have been fairly consistent until the last couple of years. Now that I'm writing again, I need to blog more consistently. The thing is, I don't remember what made it so easy before.

Maybe it's because I just wrote what I was interested in, what I was doing at the time, or maybe I just did a book review. No pressure. Just me. Not what I thought people expected.

So I'm going to attempt to do that again. It will be an eclectic collection of posts, so if you are following me because of the summaries of John's excellent sermons that I post, then I apologize. Please feel free to unfollow me if you don't care for the new regimen. I promise it won't hurt my feelings!

Now....to think of something to blog about this week. ;)


July 13, 2017

Hallelujah: A Call to Praise

The last psalm in the Bible, Psalm 150, ends with one word.

Hallelujah

This word means 'God be praised'. It is a call to praise.

Through this psalm we can learn much about the praise of God.

PRAISE IS BEYOND US

Praise the Lord. (Hallelujah)
Praise God in his sanctuary;

    praise him in his mighty heavens.


Praise him for his acts of power;

    praise him for his surpassing greatness. (vs. 1-2)

Praise is other worldly. The psalm talks of God's sanctuary and His might heavens. There is praise there. It speaks of His surpassing greatness and His might acts of power. He is supreme.

He is a God who can do more than we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-22) He is beyond our scope of understanding, scope of knowledge, and scope of imagination.

He's a mysterious God, this otherworldly God of ours. He is deserving of our hallelujahs.

Activity: Look for the thing that is awesome to you. A sunrise, a flower, a mountain. Let it draw you into His presence.

PRAISE IS CREATIVE

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals. (vs. 3-6)

Just as the vast array of instruments listed here to praise the Lord, so is the body of Christ in its variety of gifts. We are all unique and bring a different facet of creativity to the body, His church.

God accepts each and every one's differences. He desires and loves your unique abilities. He delights in the special way you serve and glorify Him.

God delights in your unique hallelujahs.

Activity: Look for the creative ability God has given you to glorify Him. Can you sing? Draw? Count change? Organize? Encourage? Give a hug?

PRAISE IS SPIRIT-FILLED

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord. (vs 6)

The praise we lift to the Lord is spirit-filled because it is our breath that speaks of His glory and sings of His love.

You see, the word used for breath is Spirit. His Spirit. The two are interchangeable. When God breathed into Adam, it was with His very own Spirit. That very Spirit is the One inside of us.

We commit every breath to praising God and breathe Him out into the world.

The world needs your hallelujahs.

Activity: Breathe. Inhale, knowing we breathe in God. Exhale, knowing we share God with the world by who we are and what we do.

Hallelujah!

How are you praising the Lord today?


***Taken from John Ketchersid's sermon July 9, 2017***


July 05, 2017

People Watching At The 4th of July Fireworks Show

As an introvert at heart, I do not like crowds. But when I am in a situation where I am in the middle of a mass of people, I watch and listen. It is a great place for creative writers to use their imagination and make up stories. I took my camera with me and used my long lens to capture interesting people. Let's see who I found.

Now here's a closet superhero buff. He has hordes of comic books stuffed under the bed and in his closet. He secretly daydreams about being a caped superhero, saving pretty girls and making the world a better place.

Ah...here are two friends that are total opposites. The one on the right is a free spirit. She has some short shorts on with some wild socks and high tops. Her friend on the left is a bit more subdued. She wishes she could be more "out there", but just can't quite make it. She settles for a navy skirt with flowers and some denim high tops. Hey...at least she mixed the skirt and high tops!


Well....words aren't coming. Strange, I know. These friends like to stand out. I think they've tried mixing Halloween with Game of Thrones. The only thing I can think is....courage in numbers???
Okay, now I get it. The last girl has a bunch of flyers in her hand. After being handed one, I found out they are out advertising for the musical Pippin being shown at the Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch, Texas. Their shows are amazing!
Some people aren't very brave and settle for sticking a flag in their hat. This guy doesn't really care. He didn't want to be there anyway. See the tinge of gray? He is in the throes of mid-life crisis and just wants to do what he wants. 
  
This guy is ready for the sun to go down and get the fireworks going. Why must he sit in the heat just to save a seat close to the display? Ugh...the band is sooooo loud. 
 
This momma is tired. She has her cute bandana tied around her head, with her hair twisted around it. It was all she could manage with 3 little ones running circles around her.

This sweet lady loves the 4th! She even dyes her hair to match all her July 4th paraphernalia. If only she had some sparkly red earrings to go with her outfit. 

Dude!!!! Check me out. I got spirit. 
 
Ah, the sad lonely chair...all decked out by mom, and abandoned by the energetic 3 year that should be sitting there. 

Okay, no story here. I just want to say this band was amazing. They play cover songs and are incredible. They could sound like the original! All the music was upbeat and there were lots of people dancing. Just a great concert!
Check out Inside Out on Facebook.
 All I have left are a few fireworks. Farmers Branch puts on the best low-level fireworks show around.





Do you love to people-watch? Have you ever made up stories about the people you see?


June 29, 2017

Strength for the Journey

I spent a lot more time in my Bible today. Some days, well, you just need more. I am going through Psalms in my daily readings and was in Psalm 84. Verse 5 really resonated with me as I feel like I've been going through my days relying on my own strength. Ugh...that gets so tiring!

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey.   From the Voice 

When we rely on our own strength, our own path, our own abilities, we grow weary. It's hard to do it all alone. The thing is, we aren't created to do it all alone. God gave Adam a helper, Eve. He Himself walked with them each day. We were not meant to live in isolation.

We have godly people all around us who can carry the weight for us. They can pray you through, encourage you to lean not on your own understand, and love on you to bring you peace.

We have God and His strength to lean on. When we can remove the burden of isolation. We can push off the load of having to be strong in our own right. We can enjoy the journey and treasure every step of it!

Are you leaning on God's strength or taking it all on yourself?


June 23, 2017

Is God Jealous?

We talk a lot about God's love and his faithfulness. We talk about his goodness and compassion. But we don't often bring up the fact that He gets jealous. Even angry.

We don't like to talk about that kind of God, because then we would have to look into why He would ever be that way. What would make the God of love so angry?

In my reading of Psalm 78, I was asking God to speak, to show me the verse that He wanted me to dwell on. That is how I find scripture to journal and meditate on. But Psalm 78 is not an encouraging Psalm. There isn't much in it that speaks of love, compassion, and encouragement.

After reading over it a few times, I kept coming back to verse 58.

"They angered him with their high places; 
they aroused his jealousy with their idols."

They aroused his jealousy with their idols. We don't have physical idols today - no stone monuments we pray to. But an idol can be anything we prioritize over God. The Oxford Dictionary says it like this:  "a person or thing that is greatly loved, admired, or revered."

Sleep can be an idol when you keep hitting the snooze button instead of spending time with Him.

Sports can be an idol when you choose to stay home and watch a game over going to church to worship Him.

Work can be an idol when you give it priority over your relationship with God.

Anything can become an idol when it takes precedence over your love for God.

So while God is a God of love and compassion, He is also a jealous God. One not to ignore. He wants us to love Him above all else. He wants your heart, your love, and your time.

I've been guilty of making God jealous. Time and time again. It's just a matter of getting my priorities back into focus....and focus on Him.

How are you doing with your priorities? Does He come first in your life?



June 22, 2017

Review: A Tailor-Made Husband

Review of A Tailor-Made Husband by Winnie Griggs

Backcover Copy:
Tired of pining for handsome sheriff Ward Gleason, seamstress Hazel Andrews plans to head East for a fresh start—until Ward finds an abandoned child. Hazel can't turn down his request that she watch the little girl while he investigates a spate of crimes. But spending time with Ward is sending local gossips—and Hazel's heart—into turmoil. 
Nothing in Ward's world is the same since he took charge of orphaned Meg…and that includes his growing feelings for Hazel. A fake engagement will allow them to care for the child together until Hazel moves away and finds someone more worthy. But with little Meg convinced she's already found her forever family, can Ward and Hazel dare to make her dreams come true, along with their own?

My Thoughts:
I enjoy stories of love developing between friends, and this was no exception. Hazel Andrews, the town seamstress, has loved Ward Gleason, the town sheriff, from afar. But she has waited long enough for Ward to notice her and decides to leave town, making a new life taking over her aunt's business. But Ward needs her help when he returns from a trip with an abandoned little girl named Meg, so how can she say no?

I enjoyed the town and friendship between Hazel and Ward. They had an easy relationship, which made for conflict in and of itself. Hazel is a strong woman who knows what she wants and doesn't mind standing her ground to get what she wants, even if it means walking away. I love that about her - tough love! Throw in a fake engagement and a town mystery and you have a fun story!

This was a sweet story with some twists and turns that will entertain all those who love a good romance.


June 19, 2017

Taking The Dad To The Museum of Biblical Arts


 We were given tickets to the Museum of Biblical Arts in Dallas by some dear friends from church. (Thank you, Eric and Megan!) Since Father's Day was nearing, we thought it would be a good idea to take my dad and mom. You see, Dad is an artist. He has drawn and painted all his life. He is now a writer and editor, but art is in his blood. So last Friday we met for lunch and toured the museum.

I was blown away by the quality and variety of the art there. There were works dating back to the 1100's. There were pieces from all over the world. There were works done in paint, ink, pencil, mixed media, oil, and even markers. It was fascinating to see the various mediums and the creative way in which they were used.

There was an exhibit by an artist that honored women who had served and made a difference during World War II and the Holocaust. I learned about so many brave women who stepped up, risked their lives, and changed history by their efforts. Just incredible.

I think my favorite part was all the statutes. There was such a variety of materials used to create them: bronze, wood, steel, plaster, and even drill bits! Such beauty. Such creativity.







I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I think Dad did too!

What is the most fun thing you have done with or for your Dad for Father's Day?


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