Ps 91 (NKJV)

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Am MOVING... my own website.

As of today, this site will no longer be updated.

If you subscribe via e-mail, please join me at my new site. I will still be doing book reviews, and Writer Wednesday and adding tidbits from our family life--tentatively being called Monday Musings, just at a new place.

It's not completed yet...still a work in progress, but please move with me to...

To get to the blog, click on the tab A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included. I plan to make my first post over there on Monday--writing from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference. 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Shannon Taylor Vannatter - Giveaway

Help me welcome Shannon Taylor Vannatter.

Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.

Her nine titles are with Heartsong Presents and she’s contracted for six more. Her books are available at,,,, and Learn more about Shannon and her books at and check out her real life romance blog at

Changing Careers -- in Real Life and in Fiction
by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

When I was in my thirties, I had a mid-life crisis. Not the kind where I did anything crazy. But after working as a hairdresser for ten years, a loan clerk at a bank for two years, and various corporate office positions at a fragrance company for five years, I wondered if this was it. Had I fulfilled my potential? Would I always work in some office for someone else?

During this time, it hit me, I wanted to be an interior decorator. I’ve enjoyed decorating my house for years and several visitors have told me I should go professional. But I didn’t want to move. I live in a tiny community. Ten miles away is a city of 7,000, but this is rural Arkansas. Interior decorators aren’t in high demand.

Around that time, my friend moved to Memphis to be closer to family and started her own interior decorating business. She racked up clients fast and did pretty well. I envied her. But then we talked and she told me what hard work it is and that she was halfway doing construction projects. She didn’t stick with it long, but it helped me realize that interior decorating was probably a lot like being a hairdresser. It seems glamorous, but it’s really a lot of hard work.

Over the next several months, I realized what I really wanted to be was a writer. And a stay at home mom. Over the next two years, I wrote five books and got over two hundred rejections. In 2001, my dream came true, I had our son, quit my job, and concentrated on writing. I only completed two more books in the next three years as my son was my main focus, but once he started pre-school part time, my window of writing opportunity expanded.

Finally, after 9 1/2 years, I got published. And I realized, I can try whatever career I want to through my heroines. I’ve been:

  • A florist
  • A postmaster
  • An apartment manager who dabbled in interior decorating
  • An advertising exec
  • A photographer
  • A stay at home mom/horse trainer
  • A publicist
  • A rodeo queen/blingy western clothing store owner
The heroine in my latest release, Rodeo Song is an interior decorator who owns a decor store in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

I had so much fun as my heroine redecorated the hero’s house—picking paint swatches, tile, and fabrics was right up my alley. I googled Texas themed decor and took pictures of tile at Lowe’s. I giggled when the Lowe’s employee asked if he could help me—imagining what he’d say if I told him I’m trying to figure what kind of tile to put my hero’s house.

As my heroine railed against having to decorate with deer antler curtain rods and animal hide, longing for silks and satins, I was right there with her since our house is half and half. My son’s room, his bathroom, and my husband’s office have rustic decor with antlers, fishing lures, and log furniture. The rest of the house is flowery with moire curtains, pastels, and wingback chairs. My husband is constantly wanting to redo the whole house rustic style.

My next heroine works in the interior decorating store, but she gets to fulfill her dream of being a clothing designer. Then I get to be a school nurse, a veterinarian, own a jewelry store, be a wedding planner, and own a bed & breakfast.

This writing thing is perfect for me. If I get tired of one career, I just hop into the next one.

ME: Thank you for a great post, Shannon. I'd never thought of the possibilities of changing careers via fiction, most of my heroines are forced into marriage early on due to circumstances, but I will have to look into giving a few of my new ones great careers. BTW, you can come decorate my house any time you like. It could use all the help it could get because I am far from gifted in the decorating field. :) 

More about Shannon's book, Rodeo Song:

But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna's life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer. 
Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he'd be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he's found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.

Rodeo Song is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.

Shannon has graciously agreed to do a giveaway of one print copy of Rodeo Song.  One winner will be drawn using Random Name Picker next Tuesday, announced on next Wednesday's Writer Wednesday. To enter this giveaway answer the following question in the comments. What career would you choose if money/time were no obstacle?


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writer Wednesday with Amanda Cabot

Today I bring to you the wonderful, multi-published author Amanda Cabot.

From the age of seven, Amanda Cabot dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true.  A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian historical romances.  Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim; Christmas Roses was a CBA bestseller; and a number of her books have been finalists for national awards, including ACFW’s Carol award.

Comfort in Unexpected Places
by Amanda Cabot
It was January of 2000, and the last thing I wanted to be doing was driving from New Jersey to Western New York.  Oh, it wasn’t the threat of bad weather that made me so reluctant to be on the road.  It was what waited at the end.  My mother had developed Alzheimer’s, and as the oldest child, I had the responsibility for some tough decisions.  The goal of this trip was to select an assisted living facility for her.  To say the least, I wasn’t looking forward to anything about the visit.

Halfway along the route was the Welcome to New York visitor’s center on Interstate 81 near Binghamton.  My husband and I had stopped there a number of times over the years, but since we were only passing through, we’d never gone into the small room filled with tourist information.  This time, though, as I was riding down the escalator, I noticed a carousel horse inside that room.  Intrigued, I went over to it, looked at it for a few seconds, then picked up a brochure.

That was the beginning of what became a full-fledged case of carousel fever.  As I read about the six carousels in the Binghamton area and how they had been commissioned by George F. Johnson, my mind began to whirl.  Although I’d heard of Endicott-Johnson shoes, I hadn’t known that George F., as he was referred to, had grown up poor.  When he made his fortune, he was determined to make life a little happier for other children, and so when he donated the carousels, it was with the stipulation that the towns could never charge for a ride.

That story both touched my heart and sparked my imagination.  I started thinking about a poor boy staring through the iron fence that separated him from a carousel, wishing he could ride it.  I began to imagine the men who carved those beautiful painted ponies and what their lives had been like before they started carving carousel animals.  My thoughts leapt forward to modern times, and I pictured the men and women who painstakingly restored the antique horses to their former glory.  And, all the time I was thinking about them, I wasn’t dwelling on the real reason for the trip.

I know it was no coincidence that although the carousel horse had been in that room for years, that was the first time I saw it.  We’ve heard so often that God’s timing is perfect, and it was.  He knew I needed comfort on that particular trip, and He gave it to me.  He also led me to a wonderful church-run assisted living facility that was able to give my mother the 24/7 care she needed. 

That chance encounter with a carousel horse is the reason the hero of “One Little Word,” my novella in the Sincerely Yours novella collection, is a carousel carver.     

Sincerely Yours
A Novella Collection
Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey

Four unexpected letters. Four intrepid women. Four lives changed forever.

Spanning a century and a continent, these romantic novellas will lead you on a journey through the landscape
of love. Four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver’s workshop to a remote hospital, you’ll be swept into the lives of women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it.

Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes
Camilla Renfrew is a highborn English lady fleeing false accusations when she runs smack into love on a steamboat bound for the new Erie Canal. But can this unexpected attraction survive the treacherous journey?

Lessons in Love by Ann Shorey
Marigold Montgomery Bentley writes marriage advice for Kipler’s Home Weekly even though she is single. Everyone assumes from the initials that “M. M.” is a man. When the editor asks to meet Mr. Bentley, can Merrie come up with a ruse to keep her writing job?

One Little Word by Amanda Cabot
Lorraine Caldwell will lose her family fortune to a reckless cousin if she doesn’t marry quickly. When she learns her long lost brother is alive, she hopes she’s found the answer to her problems. What she finds instead is a mysterious carousel carver who turns her life upside down.

A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick

Grace Hathaway must rescue a dear friend from a remote and notorious clinic that promises healing but delivers only heartache. In a place laced with deceit, where lives hang in the balance, whom can she trust to help her?

You can find out more about Amanda at the following sites:

My review of Sincerely Yours.

Sincerely Yours is available at Amazon and other fine retailers.

Thanks for joining me today, Amanda.