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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wanna play a game of WHO?

A wonderful group of authors are participating in a Clue-like game with characters from our books. We'd love to have you come join the fun! Here's how...

A crime has been committed, and it’s up to you to figure out WHOdunit! Play the game of WHO? for a chance to win a free book!

Here’s what you do: read through each of the scenes below, which were written by one of six popular authors. Collect the KEYWORDS from each scene. Once you have the keys and have figured out whodunit, send an email to with the subject line WHO?

Entries will be received until 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday 30 May.

WHO? Volume 1

Quinn by Roseanna White
See it at

Of all the displays in this New Mexico museum, it was the room containing Native American artifacts that always made the hairs on the back of Quinn’s neck stand up. He hated leading his tour groups in here. His fingers inevitably got itchy and hovered over the two-way radio on his belt.

He stepped into the room after the last of his six guests. They were chatting among themselves, most of them focused on the one other man in the group, an old guy who had introduced himself as Grandfather. Quinn kept several feet away from them, staying near the exit. So when the sound of metal screeching over metal sung out from right behind him, he jumped and spun.

The metal security gate came crashing down, its criss-crossing slats sliding between him and the rest of the museum. Quinn’s eyes moved from the obstacle to the unobtrusive camera and security console secured near the ceiling in the corner. Its red light was flashing angrily, signaling the sounding of a silent alarm. Apparently, a silent alarm from this room.

"Hey!" It was the woman with the wild black hair who was all but punching him in the shoulder to get his attention. When she motioned toward the lowered gate, her crimson talons almost nicked him. "What's the big idea?"

"Just stay calm, ma'am." Even as he spoke, Quinn was palming his radio off of his belt and pressing the call button. His eyes, however, were moving over the other occupants of the room, trying to identify what had triggered the alarm. Everything looked to be in place. The Native American pottery was all under its glass casings, the tools in their proper displays. And the faces of his tour group were all identical masks of confusion. "Mack, it's Quinn. What's up? We just got locked into the Indian display."

The static from his radio screeched out briefly before his friend's voice interrupted it, the high-pitch squeal making talon-woman wince. "There's been a breach in security."

Obviously, the whole group heard that. The overweight, auburn haired girl who was standing off by herself shifted from one foot to another and darted a glance at the one man in the group. He had introduced himself as Grandfather and had just been sharing with them all that he was one-quarter Nez Perce so had been eager to get to this room. Now the old guy was looking with wide eyes at Quinn as if he was responsible for this unforseen turn.

He pushed the button again. "In here?"

"Negative. The room you just came from. A book's gone. Cameras were blocked, but it's gotta be someone from your group, they're the only ones who've been through."

The woman still standing at his side put her hands on her hips and rolled back her shoulders. "All right. Which one of you idiots ruined my day?"


"I'm a cop, buddy, I can handle this."

Quinn sighed and rolled his eyes as the woman marched over to the overweight girl and all but poked a finger in her chest.

"You. What's your name?"

The girl cast another look at the old man, who stood with his hands in his pockets, looking on mournfully. "Jessica. But I didn't do anything, I swear. Why would I want something from some stupid museum, anyway? I was talking to Grandfather the whole time."

That, of course, just made Madam Cop turn her pointed finger on the old man. "Well you've seemed mighty interested in everything here."

Grandfather just smiled and raised his empty palms up in a peaceful gesture. "Calm down, Marina. I was right beside you, wasn't I? Wouldn't you have noticed if I had pocketed a . . ." His brows knit, making the wrinkles of his eyes fan out. He looked over at Quinn again. "What was taken, son? Did he say a book?"

Quinn just nodded and glanced at the other three women in the room. Gracie, a schoolteacher scoping the place out for a possible field trip–or so she said–was standing with mouth agape and long auburn hair still pulled over one shoulder. She had mentioned how chilly the air conditioner was, and her white sundress didn't do much to keep her warm. Beside her was Tiffany, whose posture had shifted over the past minute from sultry to uncertain. He'd been flirting with them both off and on for the whole tour. Only Tiffany had flirted back.

But it was the third woman he settled his gaze on. With her flyaway red hair, Maxine Webb looked like a total airhead. But he knew better. She was the one he pointed at. "Is this all part of one of your acts?"

Tiffany raised a perfectly shaped brow and pivoted a little on one stiletto. Quinn had noticed from the outset that her shoes were about as practical for a walking tour as her black dress with the plunging V neck that dipped low enough to make him smile. She looked at Max as if noticing her for the first time. "Huh?"

"Ms. Webb's with our security company." Quinn clipped his silent radio back onto his belt. "They like to stage robberies–to test their systems."

Max shook her head. There was worry in her eyes. "If this were one of ours," she said in her Texas drawl, "I'd be behind a computer tracking Desi, not locked in here with you."

Gracie rubbed a hand over one goose-bumped arm. "Or maybe that's what you want us to think. I saw an empty display case in that other room—that must have been where the book had belonged. I was the last one that went by it–which means it could have been any of you. Or all of you, working together." She paused and shifted from one strappy heel to another, tilting her head and obviously evaluating her own words. Then she wrinkled up her nose. "Okay, probably not. Still."

Marina let out a near-growl. "Well, let's do a search. Obviously neither of our beauty queens have it hidden in their little dresses, and I can vouch for Grandfather." She narrowed her gaze on Jessica again. "What have you got under that baggy sweater?"

Tiffany snorted and tossed an auburn lock out of her face. "Nothing a few weeks in the gym with me couldn't fix. Seriously, Jessica, let me give you my card. I could do wonders for you."

Jessica just sent Tiffany a dirty look. Quinn stepped into the middle of their loose circle before Officer Marina could ask any more questions or Gracie could come up with a more intricate conspiracy theory, raising a hand to get everyone's attention. "Okay, look. One of you took it–and there's nowhere to go. Maybe you stashed it somewhere in the hall or had an accomplice, I don't know. But you're not getting away with it. There are enough of us here that someone had to have seen something. So let's just figure this thing out, okay?"

He paused and looked from one suspect to another until they were all staring back at him. "One of you is a thief. The only question is, who?"


Marina by Cyndy Salzmann (From Crime & Clutter)
Read it on her blogs at and

Amateurs! Marina shook her head and stalked over to the tour director. He was spending more time ogling the chick in the black dress than trying to figure out who swiped the book. If she let him handle the interrogation, they’d be locked in this tepee room all night.

Marina slapped Quinn on the shoulder. “Why don’t ya let me handle this, Bubba?”

“Bubba? Did you just call me Bubba?”

Marina grinned and pulled a notebook from her leather shoulder bag. “Just a figure of speech.”

Jessica giggled and Quinn shot her a dirty look.

Marina put her arm around Quinn’s shoulder and lowered her voice. “Listen, we all want to get outta here. And to be perfectly honest, you makin’ time with the suspects isn’t getting us any closer to that goal.”

Before Quinn could respond, Tiffany stepped forward. “Suspect! How dare you refer to me as—”

“Back off, Barbie doll,” Marina growled. “Or would you rather head down to the station to talk about how that strand of auburn hair ended up near the empty display case?”


Max by Jill Elizabeth Nelson (From Reluctant Burglar & Reluctant Runaway)
Read it on her website at

Whoa! Maxine Webb jumped and whirled at the crash of a metal gate slamming shut behind the museum tour group. Her gaze darted from the mesh grill, to the furiously flashing red light on the security camera, to the lady’s man tour guide, Quinn, who’d quit making cow eyes at every shapely young thing in the group and was now jabbering into his walkie-talkie.

At least she could see the security system she and her boss had designed was doing its job. The alarm would be raising a ruckus in the control room, but not here. Nothing but excited conversations going on around her. Too bad she couldn’t overhear what the guide was saying to his contact outside this Indian artifact display room where they were now captive. Max stepped closer to Quinn and caught a few words about a missing book.

A book? She turned and squinted toward the barred gate into the room they’d just passed through. Is that what had been in the empty case? She’d thought it was funny the lid was open on an empty case. But not so much that she’d said anything when Casanova Quinn hustled them onward. Museums changed displays all the time.

Marina, a black-haired woman with fire-red fingernails, told the tour guide where to get off, announced she was a cop, and then made a bee-line for the most vulnerable person in the room, an overweight redhead who’d mumbled an introduction as Jessica at the beginning of the tour. Good thing Chief Grandfather flanked the frightened girl, or one dyed-in-the-wool Texan might be tempted to ride to the rescue. But that tough old Nez Perce Indian could handle Lady Cop. Yikes! She was beginning to think like her boss and best friend, Desiree Jacobs, and nickname everyone by appearance or occupation.

The tall, pretty school teacher drifted toward her. Gracie, wasn’t it? The gal had gorgeous auburn hair. Max’d trade her a head full of poofy red curls any day, but the poor thing had goose-bumps on top of goose-bumps chasing themselves up her bare arms. Max ran a hand up her own cardigan-clad arm. She always brought a sweater to a museum, even in the summer time. Experience as a museum security electronics EXPERT had taught her the need.

She smiled at Gracie. “This is so not my cuppa Joe! Bein’ a suspect in a museum theft? Now if Desi were here, she’d be eatin’ this up and figure out whodunit in no time. Not me. I’m happy to add window dressin’ in the background, thank you very much.”

Gracie’s answering smile fluttered a little at the corners. “Maxine, I’m . . . I’m really sorry for my earlier accusations. I’m a little skittish with the confinement and want this over as soon as possible.”

“Don’t we all.” Max ran a hand across her hair. Pesky stuff just wouldn’t settle down. “You seem pretty bothered by the gates. Something got you spooked?”

The teacher sucked in an audible breath, and her gaze darted away. “I’m beyond cold and a tad claustrophobic, that’s all. Can I ask you something?”


Gracie flashed an off-white business card. “On my way here, I picked this up near the empty display case in the other room. I’d planned to return it to Tiffany, assuming it was hers, but I wanted to ask you about it first. Didn’t you mention needing to get back in shape to keep up with your friend Desi?”

Max plucked the card out of Gracie’s fingers and studied it. “American Gym? Not on your life. I have two little ones that keep me hoppin’.”

“But didn’t you say—”

“Mrs. Lang? Can I ask you a few questions?” Quinn’s sharp tone brought both their heads around.

Uh-oh! Max pressed her lips together. Third degree comin’ for the lovely schoolmarm, while he eats her up with his eyes. Somebody fit this guy with a pair of blinders like an old plow horse.

Max stepped forward. “Whoever snatched the book was wearin’ high heels. I heard that tell-tale clickety-clack right before I noticed the case was empty.”

Tiffany, the statuesque physical trainer and second biggest flirt in the group, stared down at her stiletto-heeled shoes and went as red as Marina’s fingernails.

Quinn glared at Max.

A bit too fluffy and old enough to be your big sister, am I? She grinned at him.

His gaze fell away—straight toward the spike heels of Gracie Lang’s trendy sandals.


Gracie by Amy Wallace (From Ransomed Dreams)
Visit her website at

With a shudder, Gracie surveyed the small museum room filled with colorful Native American pottery. Other than the frigid air and imposing metal gates which enclosed the small group of seven, she would have loved this fascinating tour. Her students, James and Susannah especially, would have been enthralled by the docent-led exploration of pottery, tools and ancient art.

As it was now, she didn’t plan on ever returning. Too many unpleasant memories. She watched the now very obtrusive security cameras whirr to catch all movement, every person but Quinn a study in controlled fear. Had the video captured the theft?

While Marina, the outspoken and opinionated lieutenant, raked poor Jessica over with veiled accusations, Gracie crossed the room to stand by Maxine.

Quinn continued his discussion with Tiffany, no flirting smiles but pure male interest still smoldered in his eyes. His stiffened posture and quick glance at her movement signaled she was next and blared his displeasure with her choice of companions.

“Maxine, I’m… I’m really sorry for my earlier accusation. I’m a little skittish with the confinement and want this over with as soon as possible.”

“Don’t we all.” Maxine smoothed her fly-away red hair and narrowed her eyes. “You seem pretty bothered by the gates, something got you spooked?”

Deep breath. No need spilling the upside down story of her recent problems to a complete stranger. Time with her FBI AGENT beau and his partner had taught her the value of limited words. And cold showers. But she didn’t need those thoughts making everything worse. Getting ahead of God’s timing with Steven ranked high on her “to be avoided” list.

Now she was minutes away from possibly being accused of theft and adding museums to her black list.

“I’m beyond cold and a tad claustrophobic, that’s all. Can I ask you something?”


Gracie pulled out a small, mostly white business card. “On my way in here, I picked this up near the empty display case in the other room. I’d planned to return it to Tiffany, assuming it was hers, but I wanted to ask you about it first. Didn’t you mention needing to get back in shape to keep up with your friend Desi?”

Maxine snatched the card. “American Gym? Not on your life. I have two little ones that keep me hopping.”

“But didn’t you say—”

“Mrs. Lang? Can I ask you a few questions?” Quinn’s lazy once-over had her wishing again for Steven’s company on this excursion. Then he could defend her to Quinn while she concentrated on decoding the mystery at hand.

Maybe if she could piece together the clues for Quinn, he wouldn’t bother her long or question her too much. With her recent assistance in solving her family’s cold case murder, this problem should be easily overcome.

After all, she’d survived much worse than this.


Tiffany by Trish Perry (From The Guy I’m Not Dating & Too Good To Be True)
Visit her website at

Now, really. Why would I steal a book? I mean, I won’t claim I’ve never stolen anything—I’ll be honest with you about that. And I’m truly sorry for what I’ve stolen in the past. I’ve stolen clients from other trainers at the gym. I’ve stolen other girls’ boyfriends without hardly trying. I even tried . . . well, I’m not proud about any of these things, but the worst black blotch next to my name in the Big Book of Pluses and Minuses is probably that I tried to steal a husband once. A long time ago. People, see? I’ve stolen people.

But a book? Puh-leeeeze. Do I have time for book reading? When I’m too old to mingle with the singles, I’ll consider reading books. For now? Maybe People magazine once in awhile. So if someone steals your copy of People, you go on ahead and come looking for me. Ha! Again, I’m willing to admit I steal people. People, get it?

I’ve got to say, though, this museum is like Fort Knox in the SECURITY department. How did they manage to lose a book? I wandered away ever so slightly from that schoolteacher chick—Gracie—and that cute guide, Quinn, and you’d think I was Obie-Wan Kenobi—

No, wait, that’s wrong. Osama Bin Laden. You’d think I was Osama Bin Laden, the way the guards all hopped-to and shuttled me back to the group.

See, what happened was I thought I was going to be able to just wander around on my own when I came to the museum. But they make you go in groups here. So I get put with a bunch of women and this old guy, who turns out to be really kind of sweet. He was part Indian—not the Bollywood kind, but the other. Like Cher. He reminded me of my granddaddy when he smiled. I really miss my granddaddy—he died when I was just a kid, and absolutely no one will ever take his place. So, this Indian guy—oh, that’s right, it’s Native American, sorry. He seemed to know a lot about all of the things we were looking at, almost as much as Quinn, our guide. I decided to tag along and listen to what he said, but I don’t think he knew how closely I was listening to him. Not that he said anything mean about me; he just didn’t seem to notice me much.

I was also sticking pretty closely to Quinn, because, of course, he knew a bunch of stuff, working for the museum and all. To be honest, I stuck close to him because he was good looking, too. And flirty. No ring on the finger, plenty of confidence, securely employed—definitely worth a mild pursuit. But then I noticed he was flirting with that schoolteacher, too. Gracie. Guess he was into how we both looked. She has long hair pretty close to my color. She’s in pretty good shape, too. But I think she said she had a boyfriend, and she ignored him, as far as I could tell.

Still, I needed to play less than available after seeing that kind of behavior—Quinn’s flirting with both of us. So I wandered. Nothing sinister, just an effort at nonchalance. So he wouldn’t think he was some kind of gift. I just wanted to drop out of his line of vision briefly and see if he missed me. I thought it was working, and he did seem troubled that I wasn’t with the group for every minute he was in charge of us.

I can’t say whether or not I even noticed that book they’re talking about. I was looking at other things and was able to, you know, absorb culture on my own, the way I had hoped to. I didn’t go far, just out of Quinn’s sight for a while, and I can even tell you what I saw. Some of the paintings were modern, which I thought was just plain awful. No people in them. Or even dogs or cats. And I caught a glimpse of some sculptures. Also modern. What’s up with that, anyway? One thing I learned is that I like art to look like real life. I wonder if that’s okay, culture-wise.

The only reason I’m even here in the museum is because I figured I needed to get a little more sophisticated. I certainly wasn’t exposed to museums and such down home in South Carolina. Mama and Daddy just aren’t that kind of people. But I hear my co-worker, Kara, and her best friend, Ren (another schoolteacher, like that Gracie girl, sheesh), when they get talking sometimes. It’s a little intimidating when they talk about stuff I don’t get. Just once, I’d like to surprise someone by knowing something about art or whatever.

Thing is, I seem to attract men as easily as that Maxine lady seems to attract static electricity with her hair. But I’m a little weak in the relationship-longevity department. And I’m not particularly gifted with making friends with women, either. I’m wondering if I need to broaden my horizons. You know, smarts-wise.

I thought I came off well in Quinn’s eyes, despite my having to gracefully shrug off a few catty remarks that Marina woman threw my way. I swear, the woman could make a sarcastic remark without even opening her mouth. Just by looking at you and using her eyebrows. She was one tough broad, I think.

I just hope they get us out of here soon. Sometimes I’m kind of claustrophobic, and I’m nervous about everyone sucking up all the air, especially that big girl, Jessica. Man, I wish she’d come to the gym and let me whip her into shape. She wouldn’t look half bad. I offered her my card, but I think she’s in denial. At least I tried.

So, come on, museum people, and get us out of here. My shoes are killing me. And I have a manicure in a couple of hours; my nails are looking wicked ugly.


Jessica by Nikki Arana (from As I Have Loved You)
Visit her website at

Jessica folded her arms across her chest and blinked back tears. First she’d been signaled out by that loud mouthed Marina and then insulted by the red-headed Barbie, Tiffany.

Jessica tossed her head. She wasn’t surprised Miss Tiffany had a cross dangling above her cleavage. Typical Christian, always judging people. And that remark, “I could do wonders for you.” Jessica adjusted the shoulder strap on her purse and ran her hand over the front latch, making sure it was securely closed. I’ve got something that could do wonders for you, Missy.

She never should have come on the tour. And she never would have if her fiancĂ©’s mother, Leigh, hadn’t made her feel stupid for not even knowing there was a museum in town. She stifled a grin. Thanks to Leigh she had a brand new place to meet her contact in the future.

“Who cares about this stuff, anyway?” Jessica shifted from one foot to the other and motioned at the cases full of artifacts. “It’s all hundreds of years old, and I can’t imagine any of it was useful even when it was new.”

The man who called himself simply Grandfather smiled. “You’d be surprised how valuable those tools were to the people who used them, young lady. My grandfather benefited from similar items in his tribe and managed to survive in the Wallowa mountains.”

She felt heat creep up her neck. “I’m so sorry. You’re. . . an Indian? I guess when you said that about your ancestors, I didn’t realize. . . I thought. . .”

He chuckled and actually reached over to pat her shoulder, like she was an old friend or something. “Don’t worry, my dear, I’m not offended, nor do I have any designs on your hair.”

It took a minute for his implication to sink in. “Oh my gosh! Like I thought you were going to scalp me or something?” She turned and walked away.

Jessica glanced around the room for a place to sit down; her legs were killing her. Even though the tour had hardly started, walking on the hard floors had sent shooting pains up her calves. Not seeing anything to sit on, she backed up against the wall behind her and slid to the floor. Clutching her purse in her lap, she eyed the other people in the room.

Her eyes settled again on Grandfather. He’d gone out of his way to walk with her when she’d fallen behind as they’d moved between rooms. She’d wondered if he was an undercover cop. Nobody was nice without a reason. She’d been RELUCTANT to talk to him. No point in encouraging anyone’s interest.

Her gaze shifted from Tiffany to Gracie, both of whom had their backs to her. The image, suddenly familiar, triggered a memory. As the docent had been speaking about the displays in the room they’d just left, Jessica had been scanning the area, looking for a place to sit. And she’d caught a glimpse of a woman talking to a man in the hall and handing him something. She closed her eyes a moment, then looked back at Tiffany and Gracie. She pulled her lower lip between her front teeth and bit down. She wasn’t positive, but she was pretty sure it had been one of them. Whatever. She wasn’t going to get involved.

Jessica’s heart started to pound as Quinn moved toward her. Tightening her grip on her purse she lifted her chin and stared him straight in the eye. She could feel her palms starting to sweat.

It wasn’t the book, it was the baggie of loose leaves and the cigarette wrappers in the bottom of her purse that she was worried about.


Grandfather by Miralee Ferrell (From The Other Daughter)
See it on her blog at

Grandfather looked around the room, trying not to smile at the antics of the younger generation. Seemed like flirting and arguing was more popular than the Native American display they’d stopped to view.

“Who cares about this stuff, anyway?” The plump red-head beside him shifted from one foot to the other and pointed at the artifacts in the glass case. “It’s all hundreds of years old and I can’t imagine any of it was useful even when it was new.” She brushed her hair out of her eyes.

He searched his memory, groping for her name. Ah, yes…Jessica. “You’d be surprised how valuable those tools were to the people who used them, young lady. My grandfather benefited from similar items in his tribe and managed to survive in the Wallowa mountains.” He tempered his words with a smile.

A slow blush crept above the neck of Jessica’s baggy sweater and stained her cheeks. “I’m so sorry. You’re…an Indian?” She whispered. “I guess when you said that about your ancestors, I didn’t realize…I thought…”

He chortled and patted her shoulder. “Don’t worry, my dear, I’m not offended, nor do I have any designs on your hair.”

A frown creased her face. “Oh my gosh! Like I thought you were going to scalp me or something,” she glared and walked away.

Grandfather shook his head and grinned. Young people now-a-days didn’t seem to have a sense of humor, or an appreciation of things from the past. Too bad his FAMILY couldn’t have come…his grandson David and wife Susanne’s two youngsters would’ve loved this museum. Oops…three youngsters. He’d almost forgotten their newest addition, Brianna, who’d recently arrived on the family’s doorstep, claiming to be David’s Other Daughter. The kids would get a kick out of seeing some of the tools and pottery that his own great-grandfather had used.

Though maybe it was for the best they weren’t here, given this latest development. Grandfather watched as Quinn went from person to person, talking to them about what they’d seen. Grandfather didn’t know what he could really add, so he just went on studying the artifacts around him and bided his time.

“Ah-hem.” A deep vibrato voice at Grandfather’s elbow swung him around.

“Yes, Mr. Quinn?” Grandfather glanced at the man whose eyes kept darting from one woman to the other, but always seemed to return to Tiffany of the low neckline.

“Where were you when the book disappeared?”

“Yeah, you seemed awfully interested in all the displays in the book room,” Marina the cop chimed in.

Grandfather waved his hand in the air and smiled. “Calm down, folks. If there’s one thing my great-grandfather Raven passed down to his children and grandchildren, it was honesty and truthfulness. I’ve been chatting with Gracie and Jessica…and Marina, I spent some time with you earlier, too.”

Gracie stepped forward, swishing her long, auburn hair around her bare shoulders. “My boy-friend and my dad both have experience in the intelligence field, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think it’s a conspiracy, that’s what. Maybe someone at the museum has it in for some of us.” She crossed her arms and glared at Quinn, then swiveled her glance back to Grandfather. “What did you see, Grandfather? If I may call you that?”

“Certainly,” Grandfather replied. “Let’s see…while we were in the antiquities book room I remember you chatting with me about some of the older volumes and I shared a story with you that’s been passed down through the generations among my people.”

Gracie nodded, her face beaming. “That was so interesting! He was telling me about his great-grandfather, Little Raven when he was just a boy…why you’d never believe…”

“Pu-leese!” Rasped Marina, stomping her foot and silencing Gracie. “Go on Grandfather, then what?”

“I noticed everyone leaving the book room headed for the Native American display, and I hurried to catch up. Jessica’s foot seemed to be bothering her, so I walked the rest of the way with her and we were together almost till the alarm sounded. I’m afraid I can’t add much more.” He shrugged and pulled off his cap, running his fingers through his iron gray hair.

“Right,” drawled Max. “Then the lovely gate came crashing down, and here we all stand, trapped, tired and wanting to go home. Whoever has the book, how ’bout fessin’ up, ya hear?” She ran a hand over her fly-away hair, but only succeeded in sending it spiraling into more absurd directions.

He turned to the group. “I agree. I’m sure whoever took it simply forgot they were carrying it. If you’re embarrassed and are having a hard time letting us know, we’ll understand.”

“Humph,” snored Marina. “You might, Grandfather, but I won’t. Theft is theft and someone’s going to pay.”
Know who did it? Be sure to collect the KEYWORDS from each scene, your guess at whodunit, and then send an email to with the subject line WHO?

The game is afoot! Cast your vote, and then let me hear your super-sleuth ideas.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I'm back....

After a week on the beach and being home for two days, I'm finally ready to jump back into my "normal" life and blog again.

Instead of doing a "here's how my beach vacation went" type blog, I decided to get a little creative. ;-) My friend, Paula, at GraceReign tagged me for another 8 random facts game.

While I'm not tagging anyone, I thought it'd be a fun way to share some vacation highlights...

Random Beach facts about me

1) I have celebrated my birthday at the beach almost every year since we started going to Destin in 1999. It's an awesome way to commemorate another year~ the presents and the beach anyway. The getting older I could do without.

2) This year my husband's gift made me cry. This picture doesn't do justice to the fact that my hubby bought me a very special and very cool Mont Blanc pen with a card that said, "To my favorite author. May God always write His words through your heart. Happy Birthday!" What's even more cool is that this gift was his way of encouraging me and letting me know he hears the little secret wishes I only joke about sometimes.

3) This year and last year someone in my family landed in the ER. Last year it was me. This year it was my littlest one. ;-( We'd appreciate prayers because we're still not sure what's up with her foot and we're going to yet another doctor tomorrow.

4) My oldest two aren't exactly swimmers, but they can surf the waves with style. Some of my favorite memories are the times we've floated on Boogie boards and talked or jumped the waves and laughed together.

5) My baby is not a fan of the water, but she's all smiles as she darts in and out of the ankle deep water that bubbles over the sand. Her favorite part of the beach? The pool. Go figure.

6) I do not tan. I burn. No matter that I use SPF 5,000. It's a frustrating fact of life, but thankfully our girls inherited their coloring from their dad and all three of them have darker sun-kissed skin with no sunburns~ praise the Lord!

7) My favorite part of the beach is listening to the ocean waves while sitting out on our deck in the morning reading God's Word. The beach is one place I can most easily hear the Lord and respond in praise without words because my heart is so full.

8) Beach vacations are the only time I let my family go wild with food. It's like a once a year Soma rush of Pringles, sugar, and chocolate with no guilt because I'm usually running around so much that I work it all off and fall into bed each night happily tired and satisfied.

Thanks for your prayers as we were gone and your great birthday wishes! We're now heading into the last few weeks of school and lesson plans for next year. Then it will be months of art projects and "Girls Club" where my kiddos get to do all the messy projects I run from during the school year. Prayers for my sanity and clean carpets are much appreciated. ;-)

What about you all? What are your summer plans?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Birthday musings on comparitivitis

This is me thirty-two years ago. I can't believe I'm actually posting this, but I figured in honor of my birthday on Monday I'd post a picture of me from back in the day.

Can we say Mona Lisa smile? At least it's better than what one of my girls did to a photographer when she was a baby. She not only didn't smile, but she stuck out her tongue. Complete with eye roll and attitude. I totally love that baby picture now. ;-)

Thinking of my birthday has me a bit pensive. I'm afraid I'm burning out the few brain cells I have left after three pregnancies, but here are my wannabe sage musings...

I'd like to think as I age I've grown wiser, but recent actions have me reevaluating that hope. You see, I've spent the last few months playing a game I'd hoped I'd outgrow.

In Kindergarten it looked like this: Susie has more chocolate.

In High School: Susie has more chocolate and she can eat it without gaining a pound.

As a new mommy: Susie's baby is beautiful, chocolate is still kind to her, and she left the hospital in her regular jeans.

As an over-thirty woman: Susie's kids are high achievers, chocolate still doesn't expand her hips, and she's published a book that's selling off the shelves with an Amazon rank so low it's hard to see.

Okay, everything in me says to get a new friend and stop thinking about Susie and her chocolate. But the reality is "Susies" are everywhere. And I keep comparing myself to them and coming up way short.

This comparison game has successfully siphoned my joy. But short of turning off the computer, phone, and never opening my eyes again, I can't ever completely escape this game. I live in two worlds (mommyhood and writing) where there are no stars for good behavior, nothing I can study to earn an A, and a plethora of scales from which to be measured...

The bathroom one
Mommy meetings
Christmas letters
Amazon ranks and more review sites than my mind can grasp
Sales ranks which weigh heavily into future contracts

And that's just the short list.

Here's the rub... Joy and contentment are my choice. I can either let those scales define me or choose what my heavenly Father says. One leaves me depressed and the other holds the promise of peace. Seems like an easy choice.

But it isn't.

The scales sometimes tip in my favor and that feels too good.

God's view sometimes seems passionless, like I'm just one of the many He says nice things about.

Here's where I have to cling to the Truth and put all my proverbial eggs in one basket. God's.

Either what He says is true and personal to me. Or it isn’t.

Either God knows what He’s talking about when He calls me His beloved child. Or He doesn’t.

Either God’s perfect and passionate view of me is correct. Or it isn’t.

Simple choice.

Not easy.

But like Pascal’s wager, “the wise choice is to live as thought God does exist (and His love for us is true). If we’re right, we gain everything and lose nothing.”

The wise choice will always be to listen to the Voice of Truth. He knows us best and loves us most.

So maybe the old saying was wrong… Maybe, just maybe, you can teach an old dog new tricks. ;-)

There is hope for me yet. And a birthday to celebrate because once again I have been reminded to choose wisely...

I choose God.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Answers to Scrambled Dregs interview

I've received some great answers to my Who Am I? post. Here's question one that Kelly asked in her interview last week...

Describe something you can see, hear, taste or feel without telling us what the item is.

This item smells like summer, tastes like salt, and can feel both scratchy and smooth at the same time.

What is it? THE OCEAN

The second question I asked was: Is (the scene below) worthy of being a novel?

The leaves weren’t the only things stirred up by the breeze which now carried the cloying scent of death.

FBI Agent Bowers fought the gruesome images vying for control of his mind. Too late, he’d been too late again.

While death clung to every tree branch and fabric within the cordoned off area of Kentucky backwoods, John imagined the moment he’d come face to face with the killer.

In that one encounter, he’d send a nightmare to hell. The risk of his badge and sidearm were no match for the satisfaction of watching his brother’s last breath.

It wouldn’t bring back his wife or baby girl. But it would silence the ticking clock that haunted his dreams.

If only he’d come home an hour earlier.

If only he’d deciphered Braden’s clues, left just for him to find.

If only…

The words wrapped around mounting case files of unsolved destruction and called out of his subconscious the final photographic remains his brother had orchestrated.

No more. Justice had earned her revenge. He’d see her paid in full.

To that hope he clung. It was all he had left.

The bonus question was: "Who am I?" as a writer?

A new blog friend who I hope to meet IRL sometime in the near future said: "A writer who is using her God given gift of writing to further the kingdom of God. Amy is showing people you don't need to have perfect lives, or be perfect yourself for God to use you in a mighty way."

Wow, those words are total heart chocolate! And the ones about God so very true~ God doesn't require perfection. He is perfection. What He desires is obedience and our love, a passion He will use to light up the world around us and lead people to Him.

The answer God gave me as I pondered the scene showing my "voice" was that I write suspense because it's a part of who I am, how I think, and the way God has chosen to speak through me at this time.

But in the simplest terms, who I am is this: His.

That realization is something I will ponder as I soon head to one of my most favorite places in the world... the beach.

Wherever you are right now, I pray you'll ponder your answer to the same question. Who are you?

I can assure you of this as you consider your answer, if you belong to Jesus you are a beloved child of the King. He smiles and sings over you. I pray you see that in spirit and in truth as you spend some time with Him.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

There are a million reasons I love being a mom. The top three have made me laugh, cry, and experience God more than anything else in the world. They are my precious princesses:

My Sweet Song, my firstborn.

I love her curious mind and loving personality. She and I could read books together all day and discuss the big questions of life forever.

My firstborn taught me about God’s perfect love. Through months and months of colic, new mommy fears, and beautiful baby smiles, my little girl showed me how to fully embrace the joys and tears of being a mommy and never be afraid to run to the Perfect Parent, who loves us both to infinity and beyond.

My oldest has also taught me the joy of watching a child grow into young adulthood with grace and passion.

She is a daily reminder that my being whole, full, and healthy in my heart and soul is the best gift I can give to my children, second only to showing them Jesus and His love for them.

My Musical Laughter.

My middle girl is an old soul with deep wisdom and a relationship with God that leaves me in awe.

She's taught me how to laugh and live fully in the moment with all I have.

While being the only one to send me to the ER (I rescued her from meeting the concrete with her face and landed in the ER with ripped tendons) and the only child who needed the ER because of her being energy personified, she is the one who embraces every minute with life with honest passion. She is always there with a hug or a kind word of encouragement that flows from her heavenly Father. She truly has her Father's eyes and she's taught me to see the best in people, to hope, and to pray.

She is a daily reminder that laughter is good medicine and that joy is the best choice no matter what the circumstances.

My Sunshine.

My baby is no longer a baby, but is growing up into a beautiful little girl who is equal parts strong-willed and a total snuggle buggle.

She has taught me to trust the Lord no matter what life holds. After miscarrying a little one before I became pregnant with my youngest, and a very painful first year with severe reflux and all new mommy fears, this little girl is a daily reminder that God has good plans over and above anything I could ask or imagine. She has completed our family with such a flourish that I'm in awe of God's perfect gifts.

My little one reminds me daily that God is good and that I'm loved just because I'm me. She's the first to say "Mommy you are boo-tee-full!" and to impress on my heart how much I need the Lord because my little girl wants to be just like me.

I'm reminded of an older Christian song that talks about how "I want to be just like You, Jesus, 'cause (she) wants to be like me."

No matter who is following in our footsteps~ our little ones, nephews, nieces, young people at church~ we have a most awesome privilege and a holy calling. May we take our Daddy's hand and follow Him with passion and hope, living out loud the truth that He is good and He has such amazing plans for each and every one of us.

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

What am I?

Okay, I need your help here folks...

Today's interview at Scrambled Dregs is my last hurrah for the Ransomed Dreams CFBA blog tour and it's a doozy. I laughed most of the way through it and then got serious with the very last question.

Please come join the fun and answer two questions for me...

One of Kelly's questions asks: Describe something you can see, hear, taste or feel without telling us what the item is. Can you guess what it is???

Second thing is after you read the creative corner section, please leave me a note and let me know what you think of the very last story scene. Is it worthy of being a novel?

And here's the bonus question: After reading this interview, can you help me answer the question "Who am I?" as a writer?

I'm looking forward to your answers!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The secret of education

My daughters and I discovered the secret of education (and life) in a very unusual place yesterday... a Newbery Award fiction book called From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

What an awesome book!

Rather than summarize what this incredible author said, I'll let E.L. Konigsburg speak for herself through the delightful character of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler...

"I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It's hollow."

I can give a hearty "Amen" to those words because I have tons of facts rattling around my brain thanks to two degrees and 16 years of studying just to pass tests. Now to be fair, I had some incredible teachers: my first grade teacher, two high school English teachers, and two amazing professors in college who taught me the same secret Mrs. Frankweiler was sharing with two children.

That secret of education being to let the words, facts, and lives of the people we read about touch us, fill us, and become something we experience.

As I've been homeschooling my girls and praying for them to love learning, I've found this secret about experiencing history, science, and all the other facets of education to be a goldmine of truth. When we let the people and time periods of history, the joy of discovery and science experiments, and the thrill of a good book become a part of us, then education is a treasure we'll carry with us throughout life.

Not so with a bunch of A's on a report card.

The secret of education is a great truth of life that my middle daughter summed up well, "The secret of my life, what Mrs. Frankweiler said about experiencing and feeling life and thinking about it, is how God made me."

Me too. I still cry when I read good books or when I experience acts of kindness from others. I ponder all sorts of things till they swell up inside and fill me, change me, grow me.

It sometimes hurts because all the good we experience with this honest openness is balanced by bad too. But like I told my girls, life's best "secret" is that in experiencing, truly feeling and thinking about what we read and live, that's where we meet God.

And experiencing Him is the best of life's gifts.

The CFBA tour continues

If you haven't done so yet, please check out Ransomed Dreams on CFBA blog tour this week.

A few stops worth checking out are...

Sean Slagle's blog~ this CAT fan had some nice words to say about me, even though I'm a total CARD. ;-)

Christy Lashea Smith's blog ~ a very awesome review that touches my heart every time I read it. And I've read it a lot just to make sure it's really real. LOL

Deena's Books ~ a nice review by a gal with Gracie's tenacity in finding a copy of Ransomed Dreams. Thanks, Deena, for sticking with the search! Hopefully now, other folks won't have to search quite so hard.

Kelly Klepfer's blog ~ her review was great and her interview (she'll post on Friday) a totally fun time.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

CFBA Tour for Ransomed Dreams

This is my first ever Christian Fiction Blog Alliance tour and I've been excited about it for a long time now! The CFBA is an awesome organization for any reader, so I'd encourage you to check it out and join the fun. We do weekly blog tours and it's a great way to keep your bookshelves stocked and your blogs busy~ not to mention getting to enjoy some incredible fiction in every genre.

Below is the official CFBA review...

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Multnomah April 17, 2007)
Amy Wallace


Amy Wallace is a member of the CFBA and an avid Blogger. A self-confessed chocoholic, this freelance writer is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and serves as the liaison for the training division of the county police department. Amy is a contributing author of God Answers Moms' Prayers, God Allows U-Turns for Teens, Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers. She lives in Georgia with her husband and three daughters.


Drama. Tragedy. Thriller. Romance. Can these four actually go together? Amy Wallace's meaty first book of the Defenders of Hope Series, RANSOMED DREAMS, has successfully united these genres.

It is one of those books that after you read a little and put it down, the desire to see what will happen next is so strong that it will occupy your thoughts, compelling you to make the time to finish. But watch out! It is best consumed where no one will hear you cry because, if you have children, it will hit you like a stab in the gut and wrench you with a twist of the knife.

Although the subject at first depresses, the characters are so real and likable that you need to see what will become of them.

This book will NOT bore you.


Chained To Yesterday

When tragedy struck and Gracie Lang lost everything, her faith crumbled, and nothing but the drive for justice propelled her forward. But after two years of dead-end searching, the truth Gracie seeks is the very thing her stalker will stop at nothing to hide.

Forgiveness Unlocks the Future

An FBI agent in the Crimes Against Children Unit, Steven Kessler spends his days rescuing other people’s children and nights caring for his son. He’s through with God, embittered by his ex-wife who abandoned them both, and definitely doesn’t expect what’s coming next.

The Past Is the Key

A plot to kidnap a British ambassador’s daughter dangerously intersects Steven and Gracie’s worlds–a collision that demands a decision. But are they willing to pay the high ransom required to redeem dreams and reignite hope?


Steeped in police intrigue and rich characters, Ransomed Dreams entertains, educates, and captivates. Amy Wallace is a fresh, vibrant voice in the Christian market
~Mark Mynheir, Homicide Detective and Author of The Void

Ransomed Dreams had me hooked from the start and didn't let go until the deeply satisfying ending.
~Kristin Billerbeck, Author of What a Girl Wants

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Day in the Life of Rachel Hauck

Please welcome my witty, wild, and totally awesome writer friend, Rachel Hauck...

A Day In The Life
Writers have weird days. Productive, non productiveand my personal favorite: faux productive.

Eight hours at the computer. What a great day! But it goes something like this:

10:00 a.m. Need to turn off Glenn Beck and get to work. But this bit about movies is so funny. Another few seconds. Oh, rats, left clothes in washer for two days.

10:01 a.m. Rewashing clothes.

10:03 a.m. Turn off radio. Ahhh, sigh. Okay, that was emotional, but now that I've cut the chord, I can get to work.

10:04 a.m. At computer. Must check all email and blog sites accounts.

11:00 a.m. Wow, it is eleven already? What...? Well, I was answering emails, checking in with a few readers, doing a quick blog pass. (Had to comment on five of them.)

But, it's marketing right? Getting my name out there!

Oh, write blog for Amy Wallace. Shoot, I forgot. Unexpected company last night. Stayed until 1:45 a.m. Hello, not a teenager anymore. Can't burn the candle at both ends.

11:02 a.m. Writing blog for Amy.

11:30 a.m. Sending blog to Amy. (Pssst, edit for typos, pulleeease)

11:35 a.m. Double click on WIP (work in progress) and go to page 351. Hey, almost finished with my edits and rewrites before deadline.

Shoot, am at a place where I need to write a new scene. Okay, think, think, think.

Hum... wonder who's emailed me in the last, oh say, thirty seconds.

11:37 a.m. Check all three email accounts and MySpace.

11:40 a.m. Okay, stop, get to work. Oh, is the laundry done? Want to get it in the dryer this time.

11:45 a.m. Laundry in dryer. I. Am. Ready. To. Go. But first, launch iTunes. Get some background music going.

Noon! Finally ready to go. Had to pause for a few minutes to download new songs.

12:05 p.m. Staring at page which needs new scene. What I've written so far is good. Like it. But, better check email. Hollywood might have contacted me with emergency request for movie rights.

12:10 p.m. See, this is what's wrong with Hollywood. Cannot recognize a good book-to-movie option. Lost In NashVegas, Georgia On Her Mind, Diva NashVegas...great movie plots.

12:11 p.m. Back to scene. Oh, this is good. Heroine is going to tell hero...wait, I can't write it here! It's a pivital plot point. Can't use Amy's blog as spoiler.

Wonder if I'll ever write as good as Kristin Billerbeck. Where is her latest release. Maybe what I should do is spend a half hour or so reading, then I can write. I don't read enough. Yeah, time out for... Oh, Chris Lynxwiler just IM'd me

2:00 p.m. Back to work. Chris is so funny. Had fun helping her plot her next book, due in June. Okay, so scene with heroine and boyfriend.

2:01 p.m. Wow, it's been awhile since I checked email.

2:30 p.m. Rats, still no Hollywood. Or Broadway. Lost In NashVegas IS begging to be made into a Broadway play.

2:31 p.m. Back to WIP. Crud, cat is caterwauling and dog wants out.

2:32 p.m. I need to get to work here. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, dog is scratching to get back in. Hey, don't you know I have a deadline! I'm pressured here, buddy. Don't waste my time.

Writing is so hard. Look, it's 2:33, I've been working for four hours and only written half a page.

3:00 p.m. Okay, scene done. I like it. Solid. These characters are great. Now, back to editing. Need to get twenty pages done to keep on schedule.

3:01 p.m. Well deserved email break.

3:30 p.m. No one emails me. Sigh.

3:31 p.m. Lunch! How could I forget lunch.

4:00 p.m. (Do not need to watch Oprah. Do not need to watch Oprah. Resist, resist. Do you think she got rich watching other people work?)

5:00 p.m. Oprah was sooo good. I needed to watch today's show. It was about a singer and a songwriter. Good research verification. Oh, Spinning. Need to go to Spinning!

Crud, put bike pants in dryer. Gel seat is lumpy.

Dog... forgot to feed dog. Must hurry to feed dog. Good bikes go fast.

5:15 p.m. Driving in convertible to gym, thinking of my WIP and characters. Have great idea for scene I wrote earlier. See the work NEVER ends.

5:35 p.m. On bike Spinning. Feeling very guilty. Should be home writing. Time is running out. How can I work, work, work all day, so hard, and end up with only one scene? No wonder the greats only have a dozen lifetime books.

Genius takes time. Thought. Hard work. Writing over and over.

6:50 p.m. Home from Spinning.

Hum, wonder who's emailed.

7:30 p.m. Am hungry. Should make dinner. Oh, need to take shower. Dried sweat drives me crazy.

8:00 p.m. What night is it? Good TV? American Idol? Gilmore Girls? King of Queens?

Hubby asks, "How was your writing day? Did you get your pages done?"

"I sat in front of the computer all day and only got a few pages done. Writing is so hard and draining. Takes all I got, you know. But, I'll make the deadline. I'll work more after this show is over."

10:00 p.m. Wonder who's emailed.

10:30 p.m. Has it been three days since I blogged? Better blog. Watch King of Queens rerun while blogging.

11:00 p.m. Too tired to work on WIP. Best go to bed and start fresh in the morning.

2:00 a.m. Wake up from sound sleep in panic. I'm behind! I'll never get this done! And what I have...stinks! I just need more time. I'm working so hard. What do these writers do who have children?

"God, please help me. Really, I can't do it without you."

4:00 a.m. Fall into unrestful sleep.

7:00 a.m. Wake up, shower, Bible time, McDonalds run for Diet Coke (Have to get out of the house some times.) Boot up computer so it's ready for me when I sit down to write. Hum, wonder who emailed overnight? Isn't Hollywood three hours behind?

7:05 a.m. No one emails me.

10:00 a.m. Repeat yesterday. Rinse and repeat again.

Okay, so I exaggerate. But it's all about discipline and time management.

If we want to achieve our dreams, to have a flowing heart in God, loving our family and friends, achieving our spiritual and career goals, we have to employ strict time management. Be aggressive. Be flexible, but God has given time to us to manage.

Make the most of it. And don't worry about achieving your dream in clean, dry but very wrinkled clothes

Works for me.

Thanks to Amy for having me today!

Diva NashVegas:

For the past decade, Aubrey James has ruled the charts as the queen of country soul. She rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parent's death - pioneers in Christian music. While her public life, high profile romances and fights with Music Row writes juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey's is a media mystery.

When a close friend and former band member betrays Aubrey's trust and sells an exclusive story to a tabloid, the super star knows she must go public with her own story.

Inside NashVegas sports anchor, Scott Vaughn, is not prepared for the summer assignment of interviewing a country diva. Especially not one he dated. And abandoned.

But he has no choice. His career and the future of Inside NashVegas depends on the success of this interview.

Aubrey's private world is rocked when Scott shows up at her home for the first session. Realizing it's too late to back out of the deal, Aubrey bravely opens her heart to Scott and discovers a future beyond the lonely orphan girl. Will she find faith, hope and love?

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Aubrey James, the Queen of Country Soul."

Rachel Hauck Bio:

Rachel Hauck is a multi-published author living in sunny central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. They have two ornery pets. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and a huge Buckeyes football fan. Rachel serves the writing community as Past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Advisory Board. Visit her blog and web site at

Leave a comment on her blog and be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks or Barnes & Noble. Two names will be drawn.


For web site, blog and book news go to:
Diva NashVegas, May 2007, Thomas Nelson

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Help! I've been tagged...

My dear friend Christy tagged me to play. As if you all don't already know too much about me, here are 8 more things...

But first, the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

8 random facts/habits about me ...

1. There is a point at which research can go too far... the picture here is proof of that. These are my Citizen's Police Academy classmates on one of our fun academy days ~ days that I spent learning way more than I needed to know about cop life. Just ask me about the CSI class! (As long as my hubby and best friend aren't around anyway.)

2. The baby I'm still recovering from in the picture (thankfully the picture is too small for you to see that I truly did resemble a whale before her birth) weighed 11 pounds and 8 ounces~ three weeks early. (insert loud clapping and gasps here LOL)

3. We've taught our kids all the old TV show tunes like Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan's Island, and Green Acres. I've even snuck in a few of my fave 80's tunes minus the questionable, I-don't-want-to-explain-what-that-means lines.

4. Try as I might, I simply cannot get to bed before midnight.

5. No matter what my college transcript says, I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader!

6. But my almost fifth grader, who is positive she is MUCH smarter than me, is going to audition for the show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. Pray for us!

7. According to my best friend, my color-coded closet qualifies me as anal-retentive.

8. I am a die-hard University of Louisville fan~ GO CARDS! To the point that the last time U of L played my husband's team and we watched the game as a family, my then 18 month old daughter stood in front of him (in her black and red cheerleader outfit) and did the C-A-R-D-S cheers, much to my hubby's chagrin. I'm happy to report that UofL won. :-)

I tag..............

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Children's view of the National Day of Prayer

For all the ills of our nation, we are still a free country and have the privilege of joining with other believers all across our land to pray.

As my daughters and I prayed this morning I was struck by two things...

One was that God's Word from thousands of years ago still calls us to join together and pray: 2 Chronicles 7:14 "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."

This may be a oft quoted verse, but it's so very needed, and the turning to seek God is directed to us, His children. I know it did my heart good to remember this and to hear my children pray for our leaders and for us to seek Him.

The second thing that struck me was the declaration of my two oldest daughters that they were going to fast and pray for our nation at lunch. They did this with no nudging from parents or anyone else. It hit me that their hearts honored God so purely today. They may not fully comprehend fasting or know many big words to say to God. But they know the power of prayer. What a reminder they were to my soul that growing up doesn't mean growing calloused to the power of prayer even in the face of such powerful evil and suffering.

God is still on His throne. Let's meet there today and pray...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Cocoa Tree

Today we're talking about all things chocolate. My kinda post. ;-) We'll sample some yummy pictures and talk to Bethany with The Cocoa Tree.

I love this quote from Bethany and Jesse's about us page, "At The Cocoa Tree we believe that chocolate is evidence that God delights in our pleasure and longs for us to delight in His Creation with love, laughter and conspicuous consumption."

AMEN! ;-)
Now doesn't this picture tempt your tummy???

Add to it the note on Sampson's Darkest Dark page and you have a recipe for pure enjoyment.

"The health benefits of chocolate are optimized when the percentage of cocoa content is high (dark chocolate). Did you know that dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant? It has also been documented by doctors that dark chocolate reduces high blood pressure. So enjoy this amazing truffle, guilt free, because it is Sampson's - the one that's good for you."

"Two years ago on St. Valentine's day, over dinner in a restaurant in Franklin's quaint historic downtown, Bethany and Jesse, parents of three young children, decided to start a family business they could all pour their hearts into. The result is The Cocoa Tree, which is filling a local niche by offering truffles with "a taste of the South."

What Bethany and Jesse do for a living is a chocoholics dream, and I being a total chocoholic decided to catch up with Bethany for a short interview to learn some more about this wonderful store and the people behind the scrumptious pictures.

Amy: Can you share your favorite part of your work so we can live vicariously through you for a few minutes? ;-)

Bethany: My favorite part of my work is making my own decisions about my time, and being able to make the decision to have my kids with me. I also love pouring 10 lbs of melted chocolate into a big stainless steel bowl. I love tasting my truffles whenever I want. I love scraping the Mexican chocolate chip cookie dough out of the bottom of the 20 quart mixing bowl and scooping it into my mouth. I love talking to my employees about love and life. I love seeing the look of my customers’ faces when they bite into a truffle for the first time.

Amy: Is picking a favorite flavor sort of like picking a favorite child, or can you share the truffle that most tempts you to sample your work?

Bethany: My favorite truffle is Tina's Dark Chocolate. It is named for my best friend - appropriately. Its tag line is, "the one you always come back to."

Amy: I've passed the chocoholic gene down to my girls and they'd like to ask a question... If (I'm thinking when!) we come to visit The Cocoa Tree in Franklin, are there any samples out?

Bethany: We usually have samples out, and if we don't - all you have to do is ask! :) We love to give samples of our frozen hot chocolate, our hot chocolate, and any truffle that you want to taste, we will cut in half and let you try it.

Amy: Speaking of samples, can you tell us a little about the many incredible sounding truffles you make and how you formulate your ideas for new treats and truffles?

Bethany: My Southern flavors are what we are famous for, Sofia's Sweet Potato, Rachel's Sweet Tea, Grant's Pecan Pie and Jack and Ginger are all Southern. I come up with the ideas just living out life. I usually am thinking about chocolate, and when I taste a spice or liqueur or even a flower that I think will go well with chocolate, I usually try it out to see if it works.

Amy: Is The Cocoa Tree your dream come true business, or is there something else you all are reaching for in the future?

Bethany: I am actually a songwriter at heart. I am doing chocolate right now because

a) I love it
b) It is what God called me to
c) It is a good fit for my family while they are young

I hope to be able to continue my songwriting career sometime in the future -but I am content to follow where the Lord leads me. :)

Wise words from a delightful lady.
Thanks so much for the interview, Bethany!

As you hop over and take a look at The Cocoa Tree's awesome website and drool over the truffles and other goodies, please remember to say a prayer for Bethany, Jesse and their kiddos. They may have a sweet job, but like all of us longing to live a dream and walking in obedience, this journey is anything but easy.

It's my hope in sharing my dream as well as introducing you all to other believers living the dreams God has for them, that we'll draw closer as the Body of Christ, remember to pray for one another, and cheer one another on toward the more-than-we-can-ask-or-imagine dreams God has for us. And if we get to enjoy a few yummy chocolates in the process, that's all the better!
Dream big, you all, and enjoy God's smile!
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