Thursday, December 29, 2005


My writing time. With the new year I've decided to revamp my time and writing commitments therefore I am going to put the Novel in 90 Days thing off until next year. By that time I will also have a better handle on the craft of fiction myself. Apologies to everyone who was looking forward to doing this with me. Thanks for supporting my blog with your faithful readership.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005


1. Where and what were you doing the moment you got THE CALL?

I was...writing! LOL I got an email from my agent actually. I read it a few times and then wrote back to ask if he was sure...

2. Who was the first person you told or called and why?

I called my husband, but his cell was out of range, so I called my good friend Gail Hayes, a nonfiction author. She'd encouraged me a week before when I'd had one of my I'm-never-going-to-be-published breakdowns.

3. What has been your favorite book to write and why?

Wow, that's hard. I really have enjoyed them all. I'd have to say my first book, which didn't sell. I think some of that is the first novel process though. "

4. What has been your hardest book to write and why?

Now, that's easy. The hardest book for me to write was JADE, the second book in my Shades of Style series with Revell. The main character is Chinese and I really wanted to do a good job portraying her. My editor loved it and I laughed and cried while writing it, so I'm hoping readers will enjoy it.

5. If you could put MADE OF HONOR in the hands of any one famous, who would that be and why?

Hmmm...What a journalist you are! Let me think... Mary Mary. Definitely. I guess that's sort of cheating because they're not one person. I'd give it to them because my daughters and I did a dance from their praise troupe to "Shackles" while I was editing Made of Honor and that song was always in my head. The song is also the heart of what Made of Honor is about.

6. What scene from MADE OF HONOR was the most absolute fun to write? Why?

Oh my! That would have to be when Dana's bridesmaid dress explodes and she end up being carried to the car by someone she's been avoiding for a long time. I was cracking up while I was typing. I'd say that the passover dinner later in the book is a tie with that scene.

7. What was the hardest scene? Why?

Some of the hardest scenes to write in Made of Honor were the interactions between Dana and her friend, Rochelle. These two women really grew on me during the book and when they struggled with their friendship, I struggled with them.

8. What advice would you give to someone out there listening who might be discouraged in their writing journey?

If you can quit writing, DO. If you can't quit, WRITE. This business isn't easy, but everyone has a story to tell. Find your story and the voice to tell it in. Live, love, laugh and read as much as you can. Pace yourself but be persistent. Find your rhythm and play it to THE END.

9. What would you consider to be the content of the perfect reader fan letter of MADE OF HONOR?

Dear Marilynn,

Thank you so much for writing MADE OF HONOR. It was funny, honest and uplifting and I read it at a really hard time in my life. I'm falling in love with Jesus again and I know He loves me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thanks for reminding me.

Perfect Reader

10. You've contracted more than one book, can you tell us how that came about?

Sure! That first book that I told you about was soundly rejected but two publishers expressed interest in seeing something else. My agent and I proposed a series to both and to our shock, each of them were contracted! I sold first to Revell with my Shades of Style series about four women working together at a fashion design firm in New York. The first book, Pink, releases February 2006. I was elated about the first sale, but very connected to the chick lit project as well so we pitched and sold that too. MADE OF HONOR is first in the Sassy Sistahood series and just happened to come out first though it was contracted second. Wild, huh?

11. Has your writing life changed since you've signed contracts? If so, how so?

Deadlines. I always had my own personal timetables, but finishing a book and having to turn around and do it again is wonderfully difficult. It's wonderful because this is what I prayed for and I love it, but difficult because sometimes my brain is tired and doesn't want to come out and play. Then I have to start making deals with myself...and God. LOL

12. What advice would you give to authors on the verge of selling that would prepare them for life after The Call?

Have some experienced author friends to bounce things off of. There are so many things that happen after the sale that can be confusing: the editing process, covers, marketing, etc. Most of all, I'd tell them to stay on pace and keep writing. It's easy to let promotion, glee and general what-do-I-now disease paralyze you. Most of all, I'd advise to READ YOUR CONTRACTS. Even after you've signed, it's important to read and re-read your contracts with both your agent and your publisher. You're a businessperson now.

13. What about as far as being able to handle the transition from writing for ourselves to now writing for a house under the direction of a publisher?

Whoa. This one isn't easy. It's easy to take the check, but harder to comprehend that you've SOLD your book. Yes, they loved it enough to buy it, but there will be edits and some of them might be major. The first time, this can come as a big surprise. Expect it and be surprised if there aren't many changes.

14. You are an avid blogger. Do you feel that plays an important role in your novel writing? How so?

Oh boy. Blogging. What can I say? I've slowed down a bit lately because things are moving fast with these releases but I don't think blogging is important to my voice and my creative self. It's good to have an unedited space. Of course, there are sometimes where there are only so many words to go around and I"m just silent. Once a book is done or if I'm really losing it, I usually blog like a crazy woman. My friends in the blogosphere help me through life's ups and downs and cheer for me when great stuff happens too.

15. What would you suggest readers take to their reading spot when they settle down to read MADE OF HONOR?

Bring a nice vanilla candle if you have one around, some tea if you have it and a pen to underline the funny parts.

16. What do you think it was about this story (other than your fab and magnificent voice) that caused the editors to sit up and take notice?

The grace of God? Honestly, I can't say. There are so many great writers out there, both published and unpublished. Someone just has to like what you do. That's what happened with Revell, even though they didn't sign my first book, my editor enjoyed it. Same thing at Steeple Hill. It's sort of like shopping. Somewhere there's a fit. Somewhere there's somebody who gets it.

17. If Oprah featured MADE OF HONOR in her book club, what would you want her to tell the world about it?

Dana Rose pledges to say "I won't" the next time she's asked to be in a wedding. Her weak will has turned her closet into cemetery for satin gowns from periwinkle to Pepto pink. After ten stints as bridesmaid, Dana thinks she's seen it all. Then she's fired, forced to turn her hobby into a business and faced with her prodigal brother, back-stabbing sis and Mr. Practically Perfect, the ex who not only married someone else, but opened the business of her dreams—across the street. There's that Maid of Honor thing too… And this time she can't say no. Will wedding #11 show Dana what's she's really made of?

18. Who was your target audience with MADE OF HONOR?

Hmmm... Me? LOL I try to write books that I'd enjoy and that I could give to all of my friends, who happen to be a very diverse bunch. A women who loves life, loves the Lord and loves her girlfriends will enjoy MADE OF HONOR.

19. When does your next book come out? And where can readers not familiar with CBA purchase it?

My next book, PINK (Revell), comes out in February 2006. And never fear, no acronyms or secret codes are necessary to get it. LOL Pink will be available wherever books are sold. (And if it they don't have it, ask for it!)

20. Any parting thoughts?

Thank you, Cheryl. I can't wait to return the favor for your first release. Thanks everyone for being here. Please visit me at and tell me what you think of Made of Honor. Bye!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Took my little munchkins Christmas shopping with me for daddy's present this week. Just so happened I had to pick up some feminine hygiene items while we were there. I turned away for no more than a few minutes and all three of the little critters had taken them out of the packages, peeled the strips off, and stuck them all over the kart. It wouldn't have been so bad except that they were those huge overnight ones so they looked barricaded in a moving fortress of miniature pillows....and yes, EVERYONE was staring and of course snickering at my expense.



I've been tagged, which means I get to talk about myself. YAY. ROFL. Okay seriously, I'm really shy but here goes. I think I'm supposed to be telling you 15 personal and writing preference facts about myself. I'll try to write things I'll bet you all didn't know.

1. I got my first motercycle when I was five years old. It was a Honda 50 but I prefer Harleys.
2. I could shoot the "o" out of a coke can with my pellet gun from halfway across 5 acres before I was 8. That was a Daisy BB gun but I prefer semiautomatics. :-)
3. I have batted around the idea of writing a MOM lit. Don't ask me to explain what that is because I don't quite have a handle on it myself.
4. I lived in New Mexico near an Indian reservation, an ice cave, and a dead volcanoe for 16 years. I prefer to be close to family.
5. I love to read action/adventure, romantic suspense, and just plain good love stories, even historicals. I read both secular and Christian writers. I love to write military stories and I've never been in the military.
6. One thing I hate is stories and movies that do not have a happy ending. Life is hard enough and many people read to escape. Therefore I will ALWAYS write happy endings into my story. I can't control life but I can control the lives of my characters. Usually. :-)
7. I was the best archery and chess club student in high school. I put a tiny slice of me into every book I write.
8. I am seriously addicted to books.
9. My husband fully supports my habit, although he says he's NOT building one more bookshelf in the house.
10. I am now grieving over which books I will have to give up to make room for more.
11. I'm a certified practical joker but prefer NOT to have jokes played on me which is a moot preference since I live with The Master Joker himself---Mr. Billy.
12. I am helping to open a library in a small town here where I live. I prefer to sit and read the books instead of sand the shelves and stack the books. LOL!
13. I have a huge heart for orphans and usually have them in my books somehow.
14. I love my children more than anything.
15. I want them, and my entire family to know God more than anything. That's my biggest prayer.

I tag Gretchen, Syndi, Robin, Sandy, and Christa.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sensational Structural Editor

Here's another link and info for an excellent structural editor.

Hi! My name is Camy Tang, and I have a critique service called The Story Sensei.A novel's structure is like a button-down shirt. It can bemis-buttoned so that the story elements aren't quite in the rightplaces or emphasized enough, making the manuscript disjointed.I also know that writers are DIRT POOR (I'm one of them), and manycan't afford to hire a freelance editor to go through their entiremanuscript (which costs anywhere from $300 to $3000) and identifystructural flaws.I offer a cheaper, specialized alternative.For only $40, I will do a high-level structural critique of your storyusing a 2-page single-spaced synopsis and a chapter-by-chaptersynopsis. I'll look for things like:• Good pacing, strong sense of movement• Setting as a character• Unique story premise• Voice• Clear story arc--beginning, middle, end• Inciting Incident• External goals• Internal goals• Obstacles/conflict• Epiphany/sacrifice• Black Moment• Flaws• Unique/original characters• Secondary characters--goals, depth, contribute to the storyYou can find more information on my website, including testimoniesfrom writers who have benefited from my services:! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me.Camy


Here's information on Robin Miller's Critique Boutique
Have you got a work in progress you need polished before entering a contest?

Do you have a work in progress you’d like some feedback on?

Do you have a completed manuscript you need “tweaked” before submitting it to an editor?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, Critique Boutique can help you! We specialize in fiction manuscript critique services. Our fees are modestly set, based on word count, NOT page count. Get as much, or as little of your manuscript critiqued, according to YOUR needs.

Elements covered in a critique include:

Beginning “hook”
POV issues
Plot points

Need a quick critique? No problem…Critique Boutique offers a 36-hour turnaround option.

Bring the experience of Critique Boutique to YOUR manuscript! An experienced critique-er, contest finalist, RWA PRO, judge for various RWA contests, judge for published book contests can critique YOUR manuscript!

Fees: To offer the lowest-price for the highest quality critique, Critique Boutique has flat rate charges.

Contact us for mailing address, or for additional information at

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I already posted this once but it appears lost in cyber space and I just now noticed it wasn't here. So here it is again.


RULES: Write a 500 word scene using at least 5 of the following words.

Business owner
Phone Number

Entry deadline is Dec 20th and winner will be notified by Dec. 25th.

I do not post or publish these stories anywhere, and author retains all rights to it.

Winner will receive their choice of one new fiction release out of several choices offered.

Last month's winner was Sherry P. with her entry In the Garden.

Good luck and get to writing!


Sunday, November 13, 2005


Since I haven't done one of these in awhile, here's one.

My hubby and I try to have a date night once a week. We usually talk over dinner and then catch a movie.

Movie theatres are.....well....dark.

And I'm......well....blind with my glasses on, certifiably so without them.

After dinner we get to the theatre. We stand in line for tickets. So far all is good and well. No catastrophies as of yet.

We buy tickets and walk inside the lobby at which time I veer left to the restroom, and he veers to the theatre showing the previews of the movie we purchased tickets for.

Problem is, I neither remembered the name of the movie, or which theatre he went in. Okay, there are about eight to choose from. So I start out, blind as a cave bat, sneaking into each room, tiptoeing (although I have no idea why) down dark aisles looking for my husband. Okay, the man is pretty easy to spot. I just look for the guy with shoulder length hair who looks like a mop when you hold him upside down. Thin fellow, thick, shoulder length hair. You can see what I mean if you check back in the RWA picture archives.

Anyway, I checked EVERY theatre and he wasn't there. So now my suspense writer's mind is roiling around ideas of The Case of the Missing Husband. Logic tells me he probably went to use the restroom. So my writer's mind told me to stake all the men's restroom entrances out. I did. For quite awhile. You know, in case he's already downloading the chili he ate at the restaraunt thirty minutes prior to accompanying me to the crime scene.

Okay so I have no evidence of a crime other than figuring out how I'm going to file a missing person's report when the missing person has the only car keys that will get me to the police station after the movie is over. Or I could turn myself in for entertaining thoughts of husband torture and homicidal ideations in case he snuck off with someone of my gender who didn't happen to be me. Then I have a Eureka moment. He's a business owner. He probably got paged via voicemail from one of his guys out working evening shift. So I go back and ask the ticket lady if she remembers what movie we paid for. After casting me a look that would have been funny had I not had an MIA husband. I go to the movie she said, and of course that movie has two theatres. Luckily she remembered which theatre she'd directed us to. I go there thinking he'd show up. Eventually.

The beginning of the movie starts and I'm getting a little worried. I pivot in my seat to find the path of least resistance, meaning which door was closest, since I was obviously going to have to call the police. I stand up and look across the theatre, and what do I find.

Blush. Cringe.

I don't know how many times I walked past him. Yes Mophead sat there laughing at me each and every time I inched back in the theatre looking more panicked each time. No he did not get up and come sit by me when he saw me sitting perilously and anxiously alone. He was too busy laughing his Mophead off, quite entertained to see just how long it would take me to figure out he was right across the aisle.

Our first date was a blind date. Snicker. No, really. He didn't tell me where we were going. He'd made me an eye appointment and told me I wasn't leaving without a pair of glasses.

I think we're about due for another one of those blind dates. Sigh. Getting old sucks pond water as my good SAYSF friend would say.




So I escaped the delete button, fearlessly fought the comma police, jumped over my keyboard with a single bound just to come back from the braindead state I was in and rant.

I'll make this writing related. Somehow.

Do you peel your curtains aside, look out your window and think that's all there is of the world?

Of course you don't. You know there's more to it than what you can see through that four by four piece of square glass. Or whatever size windows grace your home.

Do you see a tree from your window? A child playing across the street? A car driving by? Birds lining the power line in the top right corner? Acorns in the yard? (yum!)

What objects do you see?

Do you believe what you see is the complete, unbiased, undiluted, undistorted, whole and complete truth?

Okay, so that's a loaded question.

I'm tired and probably not coming across very coherent since it is the buttcrack of dawn here. My point? Just because you only see one tree and three acorns doesn't mean those are the only trees or acorns in the world. There are a million yards sorta like yours with houses with different views from their windows.

Think of the TV as a window. Think of the news as the small piece of the world that you can see.

I do not for the life of me understand why intelligent people believe everything they hear on the radio, or what they see on the TV news, or read online or in newspapers.

Here's the deal. I don't think there's such a thing as unbiased reporting. Even in polls. Most of those are biased. If you ask eight Democrats can't stand Fox news, and I'm venturing to guess most Republicans don't care for CNN. For the most part.

Just because something's in print doesn't mean it's completely true. Take for example reports of Bush's declining popularity. Okay, do the poll putter onners think the American people are just dense or what? Unless every single person in the United States took part in that poll, IT IS NOT ACCURATE. Did you participate in it? I didn't. No one asked me. How many people did they ask? Study polls to find out. Educate yourself as to how this poll reporting thing works. Someone could easily skew poll results then report it as the dog's honest tooth. For example: if you ask 100 Democrats their opinion of Bush, the results are probably not going to be in Bush's favor like it would tend to be if you asked 100 Republicans their opinion of Bush. See what I mean? I have no political agenda with this post other than getting a pent up rant out of my system regarding liberal media who continue to slam their leader, which borders on treason by the way.

We're in a war. We should support our troops instead of usurping our leader's authority in the eyes of the troops who are over there fighting so we can write, and speak, and report what we want. Freedom has a price. Please don't vomit words on those families of soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me. President Bush is not the enemy. Terrorism, and the evil who controls it is.

Okay, so it was a little political and a little biased. I'm done now. Hopefully it's out of my system until next Veteran's Day.

Pray, really Pray for our troops, not just read the bumper stickers and smile when you drive by.

Since I promised to make this writing-related, I urge you to write a one page article of news gibberish. Go ahead. Make something up and send it to your friends by email. Don't make it so outrageous that they won't believe you. Just say something that could possibly happen but really hasn't. It doesn't have to be something bad. Tell them you won a CD player off the radio or something and I'll bet they'll ask you, "What station?" or "What kinda CD player?"

Okay, stirring up your creativity, and a little bit of political dust while I'm at it. Since the focus of this site is mostly on my writing life, you probably won't have to hear this from me again, unless of course I starte a seperate blog for my political rants and you happen to trip over it. LOL! I don't hate the media as in the people. I just hate selfish ambition that defames the sacrifice and the valor and the courage and the faith that built this country. That's all. In fact, I'm a journalism student as we speak. How do you like them apples?

Squirrel---tired and feathered. Going to sleep since I WAS actually up ALL night editing manuscripts. Can you imagine what my word count would have been had I typed this much on my novel? LOL! Oy! My dear husband is taking care of the house stuff for me today. Sigh. Good man. Good night world. Watch your windows.


I. Am. Drowing. In. Edits.





See the bubbles?


Bile blee blight black blunst bly blain blurks ablin.
(Ya hafta say it aloud to get the full effect people. Take two. :-)




Friday, November 11, 2005



By my standards anyway. My husband and I cut rated R movies out of our diet years ago, but we made an exception since I write military romance.

After the flick was over, we (and most of the audience) sat there going, "What. Was. The. Point?"

Obviously this was an anti-war movie. It had absolutely nothing to do with honor or victory or the incredible sacrifice and stellar performance of our military during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. It had everything to do with a producer's personal agenda in my opinion.

This disgusts me since I personally know soldiers who served. One was a male nurse named Mark. I saw what it took for him to leave his civilian career, and his family. I saw the health problems he dealt with upon returning.

And you know what? I think he'd do it again in a heartbeat for freedom.

If you want to waste eight bucks on a really sucky movie....don't bother. It's not worth spending 8 cents on. I can sum up the plot right here and save you some money and aggravation:

Two soldiers come home pouting because they didn't:
1. Get to know anyone during the war. (*Know* in the Biblical sense)
2. Didn't get to kill anyone.

Okay to be fair and unbiased in my reporting, there was one itty bitty five second part in the movie that was touching and I hate to tell you but it was when they held a fellow soldier down and actually branded him and he cried. I did like that part and felt it was poignant that the other guys accepted him despite the fact that they found out he was getting kicked out upon returning back because he'd been in trouble with the law before. It reminded me of the whole, "Love covers a multitude of sin," thing.

On a different note,

Here are some sites I recommend which I feel honor the men and women who serve:



THANK YOU for serving.

This is one of my favorite holidays.

My favorite soldier?

My dad who served in Vietnam.

I wish there was a way for the US to coordinate another reception for these men who undoubtedly felt another wave of the battle upon returning to what was meant to be home.

I wish we could go back and receive them with the honor and respect they deserved.




I feel like a celebrity has signed my humble little blog!

Donna Fleisher writes military fiction---my favorite!


I'm pleased to announce I won one of her books from Camy's contest.

Speaking of Camy, she did a wonderful series on time management for writers.

Check it out......

Then get back to work! LOL!


Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I have a good friend (waving to Camy) who probably has the keenest set of eyes for structural editing of anyone I know. She's got me interested in figuring out exactly what constitutes good story structure so that I can be sure my stories have it.

Until Camy and I began discussing some of this in detail, I honestly didn't have a clue what the definition of structure was. (Not a good thing since I'm heading into my 10th category or Novella length mss) So I've been reading up on a lot of James Scott Bell's articles. He has a book called Plot and Structure (ISBN: 158297294X) that I've been reading.

I noticed a strange thing. Without knowing what structure was, according to articles and this book, explaining what structure is, at least 7 of my mss have it. It's not perfect by any means, but it's there. The beginning, the middle, the end, and all the elements that should basically happen in each.

Now this freaked me out. How did this happen? The only explanation is that maybe it came from being an avid reader of authors who knew their craft.

If you'd like to know more about story structure, here are some helpful links.

Happy structuring!


Sunday, November 06, 2005


No, Steeple Hill did not call me yet to tell me they love my book and want to buy it. At the very least I'd be getting a revision request anyway. But some time this month or next, I should be getting word on the story my agent sent out. I'll let you know how it goes either way.

I'll bet you wonder if I'm going crazy in the mean time. Actually, I'm too busy to even worry about the possible rejections I'm facing. After I got my first rejection out of the way, I learned not to sit around staring at the phone. I also learned how paranoid the postmen get when you stalk them every day. Okay, so I'm exaggerating. We don't have a postman. Just a postmistress.

Besides, I don't stalk them every day. The Post Office is closed on Sunday. :-)

SO what does one do when they've sent a story off to an editor or agent?

I don't know what most people do, but here's what I do, which is also what I recommend you do:

PRAY alot.
Forget about the stuff you have out there and get to work on another WIP (Work In Progress)

Doing this serves several purposes in my opinion. It helps the wait not seem so long and agonizing. It gives you a back up in case your first (or whatever) story gets rejected. It helps you not bank your whole heart on the story you have on the editor's desk. Once you start the new story, you'll hopefully begin to fall in love with your new characters, focus your mind on your new plot to take your mind off the old one.


I'm writing for two and maybe three ezines.

ACFW's newsletter. I'm now a regular columnist. I do writing excercises monthly. I'm so ecited to have this opportunity to serve a wonderful group such as American Christian Fiction Writers.

A Greater Freedom -is a faith-based military media based website. I hope to be actively involved in this one because I believe 100% in what Sara Horn is doing with that. It's a great way to encourage our men and women who have served as well as who are serving in the military.

A Cup of Hope(Invigorating Inspiration) ezine

These are in addition to being a regular contributor to the Penned From the Heart Devotional book and Rubyzine for teen girls.

Here are the links.

I'm also still in a wonderful writing program called Christian Writer's Guild. Check this link out, too.

Check them out.

Oh, while your at it, check out my website, too. I'm getting rid of the music soon. I keep my computer muted so I didn't even realize my webmistress had even put tunes on there. LOL. I don't care for elevator music though and websites with music annoy me so the music is going bye-bye with my next update.

Have a great day!



Sorry I'm a little late with November's prompts, I had a ton of deadlines for Nov. 1. Plus my DSL server isn't recognizing my password. Sigh. I've been having to walke uphill both ways in the snow to get to a library to check and send my email. *snicker*

October's winners were:

Becky and Ann!!!


Write a scene of approximately 500 words following my prompt rules. Email your entry to

anavim4him @ gmail . com (no spaces) by November 20th. Winners will be announced by November 25th at which time I will give a list of prizes. (There are usually 4-10 books to choose from, either non-fiction classic writing-related books, Bestselling Christian devotional type books, or the newest releases of Christian Fiction.) All prize books are brand new.

Author of story retains all rights to story. I do not reproduce, print, or publish any portion of the entry anywhere. The purpose for this contest is to promote Christian Fiction and Non-fiction and to help aspiring writers learn the craft of writing, as well as to provide prompts to generate your creativity.

Happy writing!

Here's November's Prompt:

Write a 500 word scene using at least 5 of the following words.

Yard Ornament
Red Paint

This story can be funny, romantic, a mystery, action/adventure, chick lit....whatever you want it to be.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pastor Electrocuted

This story broke my heart as he had three little children and a wife. I read one blog where someone commented that he was the exact age Jesus was when He died. So young. A friend of mine in one of my writing groups said something about filing this incident mentally in that file labeled, "The things we don't understand about God," (I'm paraphrasing). She went on to say that file is so full, she can't even get the drawer closed anymore. I dont pretend to understand why He allowed this to happen. I'm not going to defame the family by spouting my ignoramus human opinion when I don't have a clue about the mind of God and His wisdom. I believe His compassion is with that family, and I believe He will take care of that grief-stricken mother and those little children. I'm so thankful He draws not just near, but very near to the brokenhearted, to those crushed in spirit. My prayers go out to this family. May they have a strong sense of God's embrace as He carries them through this.


Sunday, October 23, 2005


Yep. You heard me right.

First of all, sorry for the long delay between posts. My server was down for awhile, and I've actually been in a writing challenge. We were supposed to finish a book in two weeks. Okay so I got to 180 pages. I was 100 pages short because I couldn't seem to turn off my internal editor with this story. Sigh. But hey, I got over two thirds of the book written!

What does that have to do with obedience? I'm getting to that.

I hadn't been very disciplined with my writing the past couple of months and I was beginning to feel that little nudge on my shoulder from God. He called me into a writing cave a couple of years ago. Told me to quit (gasp) volunteering at the crisis pregnancy center, quit committing to certain programs at the church, quit IM'ing my friends so much, quit playing Spider Solitaire instead of writing. He wanted me to get these books written. Okay, so when I drift from my mission, He has to steer me back. I get easily distracted so I'm glad He keeps me on a short leash. I need that. I need to stay the course. I sometimes gripe at God because I haven't heard Him speak anything profound to me lately. Oh I always know he loves me and all that. I'm talking about directional words.

He gave me direction all right. He said, "Why would I tell you the next thing to do when you haven't obeyed the last thing I told you to do? Go back in your cave and finish the books I told you to finish by year's end."

OOOOkay. So I hope He's explaining all this to my church friends who may think I've backslidden or worse, dropped off the face of the planet. The pulling away from serving is very hard for me because I have a problem caring what others think of me. Plus I love to serve. Nevermind that this is also the season in my husband and I's year where we're gone A LOT. But I just have to trust that one day they'll understand. My main gift and calling in the church is intercessory prayer. I can do that no matter where I'm at, and I do. I know there will be a season coming up when God will call me to volunteer more, serve more in the church. Be more involved in teh extarcurricular activities. Do something besides just show up. This is a hard issue for me because I love to serve. If I see a need, I want to meet it. If I see something that needs to be done, I do it now and ask questions later. So these past couple of years has been hard for me in that regard.

Obedience is never, ever easy.

But it's always, always worth it.


Friday, October 07, 2005


This morning at a women's prayer group God did some really awesome stuff. Two gals prayed for me (waving to Val and Becky!), and I left that meeting more peaceful than I have been in a long time. I also went there knowing that Marcie had some words of encouragement for me. And boy did she. I'll share them in another blog entry. I also went instinctually knowing*** that if Obsitu came, she'd have wisdom from God for me. I waited. At the end, she encouraged me without me prompting her about a decision I'm facing regarding a trip to India to visit children that were orphaned by the tsunami. The strange thing is, when I was invited to go, none of the people knew that was a strong theme in my book. So I really think this is a God thing. I'm a mom. They're orphans. I'm going to love them. I think my books will be better for it, but at the same time, my life will be irrevokably changed by those children. Even though I write fiction, my books have a voice. One speaks for the children. One speaks for the soldiers. One speaks for the families who have to let them go serve to keep the rest of us safe. I beleive this trip will help validate my research, and strengthen the voice calling out to the hearts of people to reach out to these little ones.

Last night at church, Jamie's message was so awesome. One thing he said was, "Sometimes God stretches us."

And all I could think was, "Yeah. Sometimes alllllllll the way to India."

Thank you, Jesus for the opportunity to go love your precious children. I'm overwhelmed to the core of my being. It's going to take a miracle to get the paperwork pushed through in time. If you want me to go, you'll expedite it. I know you will. You know my deepest fears with this. Right now, in the face of the world, I lay them down at your feet. Now stomp all over the enemy's head. Destroy this fear in my midst. Do not let it triumph over me any longer. I love what you do, Lord. Breathe life into this love for these little ones in me and others. Breathe life into my characters, and into the voice in my story. The one that speaks your words to that reader in only a way you can, in such a special, tender, intimate way that reader knows you are real, and that you really care. That you know what's going on in their life. You see what no one else does. You hear what no one else does. You feel how deep that pain runs. You know how deep the longing goes. You know. Thank you for being that kind of God.
I love you.


*** That might sound up there like I hear God clearly and perfectly, and honestly, I struggle through it just like everyone else does at times. Just so you know, I'm still not perfect. LOL!***

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Most of my work is character-driven. The more I learn about the craft of fiction the more I learn....that I really don't know much of anything. LOL!

BUT, what I *think* character-driven means is that I know my characters more than my plot when I write the story, and that shows in the finished product. The characters drive the story rather than the plot because they're more developed. That's not to say that people with Plot-driven works have weak characterization, and vice-versa.

You can be perfect at grammar and craft, and have no readership. Why?

Two reasons I think.

1. Because you haven't made us care about your characters, and
2. Because your plot didn't have that, "Wow!" factor.

What's a "Wow!" factor? I have no idea. It's that thing that a book or movie has that, after the final page closes, or the screen credits roll by, makes you sit there for several minutes going, "Wow."

Okay, so you may not be doing that externally because you don't want to look like a goober in front of your date. Even if it is your spouse. But internally, you're going, "Wow." You know what I'm talking about. I did it last night, after watching the movie, "SERENITY."

It had that "Wow" factor in my opinion. The characters were memorable. Meaning I thought about them long after the movie was over. I'm going to analyze each character from that movie, as to why I couldn't stop thinking about them through last night and today. I'm going to ask myself, "What was it about that character that drew me to him, or her?" "At what point in that movie did I feel compassion, or empathy toward them?" For River, the thing that pops in my mind is when the one crew member wants to toss her off the ship because (they think) she's mentally unstable. They're talking about her like she isn't there only she is. That gave me sympathy toward her. I felt for her and at taht point really began rooting for her more. Actually in one of the first scenes (I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen the movie) River endeared herself to me because as a little girl among classmates she was the only one gutsy enough to stand up for something she beleived in, the only one who had teh courage and insight to question her authority.

Can you think of some of your favorite movie or book characters? What makes them so special to you? I'd like to know the answers. So reply here or email me with your thoughts.

Can you think of some movies or books you've read the last month where the characters still vividly stick out in your mind?

What about last year?

Ten years ago?

Why do you think that is?

How can you make your characters that vivid and long-term memorable?

Food for thought. Make those characters stand out...or sit down, or jump off a building to save a heroine, or face her worst fear for her hero, or whatever it is they do to stand out in the reader's mind.


Monday, October 03, 2005


Sorry I didn't post these rules with the last few prompts...brain fizzz.

Here are the rules for Squirrel's Story Starter:

Write a 500 word scene following the Prompt instructions and email it to me at anavim4him@gmail dot com (Replace "dot" with an actual "." and close the spaces.

I don't get all bent out of shape if the word count goes over since the idea of the Story Starter is to, well, start a story. LOL.

Contest ends the 20th of each month and winner is notified by the 25th of each month. Prizes are sent out that week and new prompt posted by the 1st of each new month.

Entrants retain all rights to their entries so I do not epublish or post entries anywhere.

Reply or email me with any questions,


Thursday, September 29, 2005


A good friend (thanks, Michelle!!!) just IM'd me with the wonderful news. This story is one of my favorite stories. I've stopped entering contests for this year, but here's a run down of my finals and wins:

(all these were in the Inspirational Category)

First Place Where the Magic Begins 2004
Second place Heart of the Rockies 2005

Finalist Jasmine contest 2005

First place Contemporary Romance Category Noble Theme 2005
Second place TARA 2005

Finalist Touched by Love 2005



OCTOBER PROMPT CONTEST-Squirrel's Story Starter for October

October prompt contest:
This month's prizes will be choice of two of any of the following from Steeple Hill's Love Inspired and Suspense September lineup

Dana Corbit's On The Doorstep
Shirlee McCoy's Die Before Nightfall
Debra Clopton's The Trouble With Lacy Brown
Tracey V. Bateman's Suspicion of Guilt

Here's the prompt for October:

Write a scene beginning with this sentence:

"You'll never guess what I just found in my mailbox."

Weave these words (appropriately) into the scene:

This month's contest ends October 20th. Winner will be notified by October 25th. November's prompt will be posted before November 1st. Prize books will be sent out as soon as winner is notified and decides which book they want.

Happy writing!!!

You can go for suspense, humor, romance, any of the lit's or whatever you want.


At the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in Nashville recently I accidentally handed one of the editors my room key instead of my business card. EEEEK! I kept both of them tucked in my name badge. If you were that editor, and you are reading this, it was an honest mistake. Honest!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005


In the Contemporary Romance Category was....


Can you believe it?

Here are the rest of the winners:

Noble Theme 2005 Final Results:

Contemporary Romance
1 - Covenant Seal by Cheryl Wyatt
2 - Honor Bound by Tamara Cooper
3 - The Shepherd by Ruth Logan Herne

General Fiction
1 - The First Gift by Ruth Logan Herne
2 - When The Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall
3 - The Little Church that Wouldn't Die by Paula Moldenhauer

General Historical
1 - Windows in the Dark by Sara Probasco
2 - Distant Thunder by Christina Miller
3 - Solemn Vows by Jill Johnson

Historical Romance
1 - Love on a Dime by Carolyn Slaughter
2 - Precious Possessions by Audra L. Harders
3 - A Chasing After Wind by Julie Lessman

1 - Furious Dragon by Camy Tang
2 - Home Runs by Rebecca L. Deel
3 - Assault of Evil by Robin Miller

Romantic Suspense
1 - Undo the Dark by Margaret Moseley
2 - Voice of Bells by Suzan Robertson
3 - Broken by Katie CushmanScience

1 - Star's Daughter by Lynette Sowell
2 - Riders of the Dream by Kristine E. Pratt
3 - Liberty's Son by Ronie Kendig

The Janet Grant award for Outstanding New Writer 2005 - Margaret Moseley,Undo The Dark

The most awesome thing about the conference was the victory of my obedience though. Last year at ACFW I went with my own agenda. This year I went praying like breathing and with a heart to serve others. I know God asked me to go focused on others and not myself. I poured myself into that and I can honestly tell you the fact that God enabled me to have a soft heart that said yes when He asked me to give up my own agenda for the sake of others is the true victory for me. I'll tell you though, winning the Noble Theme was pretty awesome, too!

Thanks judges!


Saturday, September 10, 2005


Yeah, yeah. I know. I've fallen off the Blogwagon again.

I didn't feel right posting this on the Steeple Hill message boards so I said I would post it here. One of the gals over there had a typo (something I can relate to) and put "Hell" instead of "Hello." This is the Christian arm of Harlequin so to speak which makes it even funnier to me.

Made me think of something I did once. I was responding in jest to one of my writing instructors (an editor no less) in response to an email from him saying he had been late sending my assignments back since he was under a deadline crunch with the column he does. My reply email suggested he get all his ducks in a row.

After I hit send I realized I had hit the I instead of the U in ducks....

Sigh. Leave it to me.


SIgned my agent contract today! Cried with joy and profound thankfulness. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Tamela! Thank you, Joyce at Hartline Literary Agency for taking me on.

I'm attending a writer's conference in a few days. I'm going with a heart to serve, and praying like breathing.


Friday, September 02, 2005


Habitat for Humanity is also collecting for hurricane relief. If previous disasters are any indication, they'll be working hard to rebuild the area long after the media forgets about Katrina. They can be found online at

Thanks to Julie for reminding me of this one.



Didn't get to blog yesterday...was in bed with the flu. Still not feeling well today but wanted to give you some links in case you're wondering how to help Katrina victims throught legit means.

Salvation Army (it took a loooong time to get through to this link, but I'm ondial-up)> To donate by phone, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY..> To donate by mail, send checks, earmarked 'disaster relief,' to PO BOX 4857JACKSON, MS 39296-4857.> Visit your local Wal-Mart or Sam's Club to donate to The Salvation Army'sHurricane Katrina relief effort.American Red Cross:

In some areas, Lowe's Home Improvements was collectingalso and will match contributions.

Also, the phone number for the American Red Cross is 1-800-HELP-NOW for making donations.

Give Now - "Disaster Relief" from the giving options. You can pay with credit card and there is a PAYPAL option.

Your denomination may have a disaster organization. Rather than list them allhere, I'll just say they exist (CRWRC, UMCOR, etc.). Church World Service is anumbrella organization that helps, too. Here's a link:


Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Tommow my blog will be dedicated to encouraging people to help with disaster relief. Ten dollars might not seem like a lot, but if 100, 1000, or even 10,000 people gavce 10 dollars, think what that could do. So please, I urge you to give. I'm going to give through World Vision.

Even if you can't help monetarily, prayer is invaluable. Please pray for people who've lost loved ones, houses, possessions, etc.

Pray for the authorities to be able to stop the looters.

Here are some links if you want to be involved with promoting "Blog for Relief"


Monday, August 29, 2005


Everyone in her path, prayers are flooding Heaven for you.

If you're in the path of this monster storm and think you can ride it out, don't be prideful...get your patootie to a safe place, especially if you have charge over small children unable to get themselves to safety. No business, or boat, or house, or car is worth more than your life. You are precious to God. Listen to authorities. Please do not try to leave the shelters until it's all clear. May you get the help and support you need.

Father, protect these people. Bring your divine intervention to any trapped or missing. Please get help to those in need. Speak to this storm, "Be still." You can. Please do. In Jesus' name.

I found a wonderful website. I'd like to share it with you all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Big congrats going out to J.T.M. for winning August prompt contest. Also big congrats to the runner's up (tied) for Honorable Mention: G.R. and A.D.

Ann has won before and Gretchen is a first time entrant. Fabulous, huh!

Here's the prompt for September:

1. Begin a (approx 500 word) scene with one of the following sentences:

"Did you hear who's back in town?"
"I hate to tell you this, but someone just crashed into your________with a ______." (Fill in the blanks and go from there.)

2. Incorporate each of these words into your scene: (Note: Each can be nouns or verbs, and past tense can be used.)


3. Setting must begin in an office setting. I'm looking for strong description with this prompt. Use all five senses. Let me hear, see, smell, feel, taste what your character does.

Happy Writing! Contest will end September 20, 2005 and winner will be announced by September 25, 2005.

Winner will receive their choice of one writing craft book and one work of fiction. Choices will be listed some time this week.

Honorable mention will receive their choice of one book, either on the craft of writing or a work of fiction.



Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Okay. Okay. So I fell off the proverbial blog wagon. I've been enjoying my company. But now it's back to blogging faithfully.

Did an interview today for a Canadian reporter about Steeple Hill Suspense. It wasn't painful or life threatening and was actually kind of fun. I didn't get hives or even chicken pox from it.

He asked me how I was. Asked me my age. Asked if I was a housewife. I resisted the urge to say, "No sir, I'm a human wife." **Snicker** I told him and he said, "Yeah. You're just the age of those who typically read romantic suspense." Okay. So the interview was uneventful up to that point.

He asked me which books I've read in the romantic suspense line. I told him. He then commented he was reading one of the ones I'd read. He asked me what I particularly liked about them. I said the ones I'd read so far had grabbed my attention from page one and held my attention all the way through. I said I thought they were character-driven which I liked. I like the category length because I could get through the books faster. Small enough to take them in my purse to appointments, etc. I said the characters so far seemed real to me, and that I found myself thinking about them long after the story was over. He didn't veer into theological questions really. He did ask whether I enjoyed the fact that the characters were Christians. I said I enjoyed that since I am a Christian but that I also enjoy books where the characters aren't Christian. I told him I read a wide variety of suspense and find the quality of the Steeple Hill books the same as secular ones.

Tangeant: I have family members and friends who, for some reason, are under the impression that Christian fiction isn't the same calibur as secular fiction. So I ask them, "When's the last time you actually read Christian fiction?" Most say over ten years. Sheesh. Well no wonder. So I say, "You need to read some. I think it would change your mind." Anyway, back to the interview, I told him I found the quality of the writing to be the same calibur as secular suspense and I read the books because they are suspense and not because they are Christian. Although I do like the fact that I can recommend SH books to my teen and preteen nieces who enjoy romance without having to be concerned with the content or covers. I told him I read for escape and entertainment and SHS does that for me.

I said I like the plots of the books I've read so far because they had interesting twists and were unpredictable. I don't like predictable suspense(personal pet peeve) and I haven't personally found that in the SHS. It kept me guessing and reading. He asked me what I thought about the endings. I said, they were satisfying. I tend to like action/adventure suspense more than murder/mystery/mayhem type suspense, but the mystery elements in the SHS so far have impressed me and I'd highly recommend books.

I said the books haven't disappointed me so far and I was really glad they decided to launch a suspense line because I'd really enjoyed Love Inspired's Faith on the Line series. I think that was about it. I'll blog more if I remember any more. It was relatively painless. He said he's a wire reporter and that several publications would probably pick up the article. I'm assuming that means newspapers and maybe even magazines. Cool, eh?

Oh and the coolest part...I think one of the editors recommended me to the publicist. I go by Squirl (mispelling intentional) on the SH message boards. I think it's awesome that the editors are aware of the frequent posters. Okay, well I stalk people around the boards, but's fun.

I love the eharlequin community. So if you're ever down and need a great laugh, or a lump of sincere encouragement, visit Go to the bottom of the main page and click "Talk" Then find the Steeple Hill thread and you'll find me and my friends skittering around there. I've met some of my closest friends through those boards, including my very special author mentor. (Hi Margaret!)

A lot of authors hang out there regularly and I've grown so much in craft because of them. It's a great place to hang out, learn, laugh, make friends, and great connections if you're an aspiring writer. Even if you're a reader or published author, you'll fit right in. Even the editors pop in and post once in awhile. You can also purchase books online from the link I gave you up there. There are also writing helps and articles, and submission guidelines for every Harlequin/sillhouette/etc/ line. It's a well spring of opportunity, information, with potential to make life-long friends and do valuable networking.

Do check it out. Drop by, say "Hey" at least.



Monday, August 15, 2005


To hear my agent's (that feels awesome rolling off my tongue!!!) thoughts on the proposal I sent her. When she's satisfied with it, she'll mail it on the the acquisitions editor who requested it.

Didn't final in the Maggie and desperately wanted to for personal reasons. Didn't final in Lone Star and wanted to because that was one of the contests I came in last when I began entering. It will interest me to see if I moved up in the que though. One thing's for sure...I have no possibility of moving down since I came in dead last! ROFL!

However, I am one of three Noble Theme finalists in teh Contemporary Romance category (did I tell you this already?) for ACFW's contest. Winner will be announced at the conference in September. I'm very sad for my friends who didn't make the cut. It convinces me all the more that contests are SO subjective. But one thing not finaling is good for is preparing writers for editor and agent rejection. Persistance is key in this industry. I can't think of a single author I know who didn't go through a season of rejection either before selling or afterwards. It's just something we all have to go through. I don't know why I was so naieve as to think I would be an exception to that. I know it wasn't because of pride because I didn't know any better. So ignorance of the system was probably why I assumed that. Plus the fact that a lot of writers don't talk about or share their rejections until you get to know them.

I'm praying about who to meet with at that conference as far as editors. I can't really pitch to a SH editor since I already have a story with them. So I'm thinking about getting an appt with an editor who only takes proposals/submissions from agented or previously published person, or from folks who've attended conferences. Don't need an agent appt. unless mine plans on attending and wants to meet with me. She's awesome, and did I mention I love her books? You can obtain them at Walmart, K-mart, and Target in the inspirational section under the Heartson Presents. Or get them from Amazon. To see her new or upcoming releases, go to and you'll see the titles and covers of her books there.

Nothing else new in the way of announcements except I am now agented. YEEEE!

Also, I clicked the blogger button that said, "Next blog" and read one girl. She was from St. Louis County, and her blog was chemical something. Now I can't find that blog. She posted that she might close the blog bc she thinks no one's reading it. I wanted to tell her I'm reading it. Hopefully I can find it again in this huge blogosphere.


That Man & Dream Posted by Picasa

Squirrel and Mr. Squirrel Posted by Picasa

Deb Giusti TBL winner and Mae Nunn Posted by Picasa

Cathy Marie Hake & Squirrel Posted by Picasa

Squirrel and Cathy Mann Posted by Picasa

Suzanne Brockmann and Squirrel Posted by Picasa

Just ONE load of books I got from the booksigning!!!  Posted by Picasa

Jaen and Kacie Posted by Picasa

Marta Posted by Picasa

Margaret and Squirrel Posted by Picasa

Squirrel and Rita Winner Shelley Bates Posted by Picasa

Bottom left to top right: Dana, Cynthia, Dream, Squirrel Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 14, 2005

LIFE WITH GOD--writing related.

Yesterday at church we were talking about what it means to be a true disciple and having the right foundation. The thing that stuck out in my mind the most about Sondor's message was John 16 when Jesus said, "In this life we will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."

Here's the deal: I don't like to hear things like this. I automaticly go into fret-mode. (The worst scenarios possible come to my mind.) Then I start picking and choosing in my mind the bad things that I'd like it to be instead of the worst bad things that it could be. Children abducted, husband gets brain injury and loses the capability of his mind, that sort of terrible aweful thing. So I think, well, a house fire would be aweful but not as aweful as the above. Like Natalie's mom not knowing where she is. Stuff like that. A parent's worst nightmare. So then I go into secondary bad thing thoughts. House fire, loss of income, death of child or other family member, lawsuit, etc, etc.

I'm trying to surrender this to God, so just hold on to your horses. I admit to God that I'm scared to death of what will come. And trouble will come. Bleck. I almost mistyped that verse up there as, "In this trouble, life will come..." I'm thinking that also has an element of truth in it.

Why do I torture myself when the underlying issue is trust? Don't I trust Him enough to know that even if something worse that the worst possible thing my mind can think up (I'm a writer, guys, my mind can think up some pretty aweful stuff) that He would not abandon me in the midst of it? Don't I remember the other things I've gone through in my life? The things He got me through that I never thought I'd get through? So why would I fear what's to come? It could be stuff as simple as difficulty with relationships. Why do I always imagine the worst anyway? Ugh. I hate that about me. I really do and pray God would heal my mind and heart of all this fear.

So if you struggle with stuff like this...just matter what comes...He will never leave you. He hasn't promised that trouble won't come. He's warned that it will. It rains on the Just. It rains on the Unjust. And just rains. He'll be there with you. I learned last night that my best days with God are not behind me but ahead of me. Lord Jesus, help me to saturate myself with you, so that when trouble does come, I'm not tossed overboard...into the depths without hope or help. I will ride the storm out because you love me and refuse to leave your post beside me in this rocky boat called life. You are faithful. I'm sorry for forgetting that. Perfect Love casts out all fear. Deal with it, Lord. Get rid of the junk in my heart. The things in my mind that reflect a lack of love for you and for others.

Another thing: why do I feel like I'm the only person in my life who knows how to apologize first and really mean it? I've apparently deeply hurt some people very close to me. (Surprise! Thought I was perfect, didn't you?) Well guess what? I'm not. The difference between me and some other people (no one I know) is that I know this about me. I freely admit that I have faults. I'm severely flawed. I think awful things in my mind and I say awful things and do awful things. But God knows my heart. I'm not saying that in a vindicative way. I'm saying it in this way: Yes. God knows my heart. He knows the evil that I'm capable of. The evil that I think and do. And He loves me anyway.

He also knows that I know it and that I'm sorry for it. He knows that I know that I can't change myself. He also knows how I beg Him in secret to change me because I don't want to be this way. I don't want to hurt those around me. But you know what? As long as there's life in me...I probably will. Not because I want to, or intend to, but because I am not perfect yet. He loves me the way I am but loves me too much to leave me that way. I don't want an obstinant heart.

Guess what? You're not perfect either. You do awful things and say awful things and think awful things. But guess what else? He still loves you anyway. This unconditional love is not exclusive to me no matter how spiritual you think I am. Like my stories, I am a Work In Progress. The thing I want you to get from this is His sustaining love doesn't just apply to those of us who know Him and love Him. In fact, He loved every one of us first. When we had no thoughts of Him. When we outright ignored Him. When we were in willful disobedience...He died for us. Not after He knew we'd choose to love and serve Him. He went to that cross without any guarantee that it would make a difference. But it did. So I hope this love arrests and captures you. I hope He becomes real to you. The person of Jesus. Not religion. Not what the church said or did that hurt you. Pure Jesus.

So if He's drawing, don't harden yourself to Him over and over. Please. That is a very, very dangerous place to be. Disobedience will petrify your heart, people. In case you haven't figured this out yet: people will always disappoint you. Especially me. So don't put your hope in people. Put your hope in God. He will never disappoint you. Never. And He'll help you deal with difficult people in your life who intentionally or unintentionally hurt you. One of those people would be me. But God and I...well, we're working on it. So instead of fearing what will come in this life, maybe I should be more concerned with the response of my heart to the trouble that will come. To the trouble that's here. I don't want my heart to be hardened. I want to see my faults. All thousand ugly of them. I don't want an adultrous heart against God. I want to stay soft, moldable, teachable.

To make this writing related: Like my story wips, God is still editing me. Editing is hard. You have to take things out, and put new things in. You have to let go of things you love. You have to hear hard things about your writing (and yourself). But in the end it will all be worth it because it will make the story (and your heart) better for it. Something beautiful. Like gold. But gold only shines after it's gone through fire. Submit. Obey. Root and center yourself in Him so that when He edits you through trouble or discipline, the foundation of your faith will not be shaken.

May my heart stary tender to His discipline and my faith stay strong and authentic in the storms. I pray that for every person reading this right now, too. Let us know yo better through it so the suffering becomes a treasure on the other side of the pain. Sometimes the other side of the pain doesn't come until Heaven. But we are safe in suffering if we remain in You. So help us God to remain in you. Help us to learn everything we're supposed to learn through the hard things we go through. Because it's occurred to me through something someone said once that you can't really fail the tests of God. He's one of those teachers who lets you take the test over and over and over until you pass it. Death is the only thing that will halt your chances. So I pray for you and for me, that we can learn the first time. So we don't have to take that test again.


Saturday, August 13, 2005


Okay, so I admit I pirated that term from my dear friend Danica. When her husband does something not to her liking, his name is not "dear" or "Randy" or "Hubby," it's "That Man."

Since I find great humor in that, I'm glad my snickering husband got to hear me refer to him that way. Just now. Three seconds ago.

As I was posting that last blog entry, he walks past the puter, stops, reads the caption to my blog, "Squirrel's Treehouse," and proceedes to snicker and say, "Shouldn't that be called Squirrel's Nuthouse?"

"THAT MAN!" Thanx Dream, I feel better.

OH....Oh!!! And do you know my man has a mistress? Dream has a mistress. It's her computer. When her husband tries to touch it, she says, "are you fondling my mistress again?"

Since my husband was present when that was said, the next time I pick up the phone, I can probably expect to hear, "Are you feeling my mistress up again?" Yes. My husband's mistress is the phone. Oh..and something else....he has more than one. Yes, at the same time. I'm serious. He'll be talking on the home phone (mistress #1) then when his cell phone rings, he talks to that person with his other mistress...cell phone (AKA Mistress # 2)

I might be a nut, but at least I'm screwed onto the right bolt. Plus, I rest my case that living with him would send anyone teetering over the edge of sanity.

Squirl---who really does love her man.


The fact that I thought today was Sunday instead of Saturday down there. So oh well, it's my post and I can cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to.........

So tomorrow, the REAL Sunday, I'll do LIFE WITH GOD....which, according to my obsessive compulsive schedule....was supposed to happen today.

I'll do a verse tomorrow, too. In fact, I'm chewing on one right now that I heard in church tonight.

Got to see some dear, dear friends who left to go on a church plant elsewhere in the US. I can really understand in the Bible when Paul and the others said things such as, "my heart longs to be with you again, but I must go where God tells me, and you must go where God sends you...." type scriptures. Man, the heartache. I miss them so badly. That's all part of the alluring hope of Heaven though. There will be no more separation or painful losses there. No such thing as missing because (hopefully...if you've asked Jesus to be your God and meant it for life) there will be no more goodbyes and we'll all be together forever. I think the worst part of Hell is going to be the eternal separation from God. No way back once that bridge is burned. It rips my heart and guts out to think of my friends and family not being there with me. Or my children. Biggest prayer of my life, biggest desire of my heart...if I could ask you to do anything, it would be to BE THERE. Please be there. Jesus is the only way. He loves us and have himself up to give us the chance. And like we want to be with our loved ones, we are his loved ones, you, me, the person next to you, and he longs for us to be with Him.

Thank you, Jesus.

Whatever comes, don't let us run....away. Hold us forever. I love you.

Cheryl "Squirrel" Wyatt


Most of you know I write Inspirational Military Romance. If you didn't, you do now. So I have a special place in my heart for those willing to sacrifice for freedom.

I listened to a few of the newly released World Trade Center tapes yesterday. I also read some of the first hand paramedic, EMT, and firefighter accounts of that day. I can tell you it really helped me get over my niggling frustration with our troops still being in Iraq.

I'm not ashamed to say I love our President and think he's a great man of God. Still I had questions in the back of my mind like, "will this war really make a difference in the face of history? Or when we pull our troops out of there, will things just go back the way they were?"

This is my blog, and I'll always be honest. You may agree with me, you may not. But one thing I think we've lost sight of in all of the anti-war media: evil men chose to infiltrate our country for the sole purpose of planning and exacting those attacks. They came on our turf and started this fight. They killed thousands upon thousands in a matter of minutes then rejoiced over it. Children lost fathers and mothers. Wives and husbands, girlfriends & boyfriends lost the loves of their lives. Fathers and mothers lost children. Not to mention cousins, aunts, uncles, coworkers, friends.

It affected every single person in our country emotionally. So as you sit in your easy chair annoyed because one more American soldier died today, I ask you to do three things. Pray for our troops and allied forces. Pray against the evil that delights in terror.

And remember.



Remember the lives lost when those planes blew through those towers. Remember the horror of that black, gaping hole right before the buildings collapsed, taking all life with them. Remember the people who had to choose whether to burn to death or jump. Remember people running for their lives from the wall of toxic ash. Remember the broken Pentagon. Remember the passengers who died while thwarting the plane that didn't make it's mark.

Remember why our soldiers are over there. For freedom. For those who died. For those who have to live life missing their loved ones.


Since today is Sunday, here's my prayer. Borrow as you wish.


Lord, help us to stay the course of our purpose on this earth. First and foremost that is to love you with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Show us what this means exactly. Give us unquenchable desire for you. Be with our soldiers and the allied soldiers. Please help them catch the terrorist leaders like Osama Bin Laden and the others still at large. Take down in other realms the instigators of terror, Lord. Show them who's God. Protect our troops. Give grace to the loved ones. Bless their sacrifice. Bless the little children. Draw those people to yourself. You are Truth, and bless the warriors who've left their homeland to chase this terror because they know freedom is worth fighting for. When they get discouraged or homesick, be with them. Draw near to them. Grant strength emotionally, physically, spiritually. Help them remember why they're there. Help them remember. In Jesus' name. Let it be.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Okay. Any one of my close friends can tell you I'm an organizational freak. Sooooooo I'm organizing my blog. Here's the deal.

Thursdays: BLUSH & CRINGE
Saturdays: LIFE WITH GOD

Under announcements I'll put things like Market updates, contest notices, finals or wins, and once I get published, upcoming releases for books.

Practical help for writers will include craft tips, editing tips, organizational strategies, etc.

Encouragement for writers will be something I pray about from week to week, as I ask God to tell me what to say here. I'm trusting Him to reach through this blog to minister to your needs. This won't only apply to writers but anyone chasing after a dream or waiting for God's promises.
I'll also add words of advice from pros here.

Blush and Cringe: If you're not familiar with this, I admit something embarrassing about myself. This is one of the most popular things that brings folks to my blog. So if you're in need of a chuckle, stay-tuned.

Rants and Random thoughts: Well, just what it says.

Life with God: Stuff God's dealing with me on, or answered prayers. I call it life with God, but actually God is my life so of course I can't leave Him out. He simply is.

Borrowed Prayers and Verse: Where I pray something and encourage you to use the prayer in your time of need. Verse, a random verse

Now, after a month or so I may rearrange things if I find I'm missing things or need another slot for something else I think up to do. My prompt contests will fall under announcements.




I'm going to post some things I heard editors say at the recent conference I went to. I find it strange that I heard this same thing from five different editors, nearly word for word. It deals with persistance through rejection and scathing contest scores.

They said, "It's not the most talented that end up making it (becoming published) but the most persistant."

Friday, August 05, 2005

BORROWED PRAYERS and Pouring my vial of words over Him

Father God: thank you that you are a giver of dreams. Help us to commit our gifts and talents to you, to be used by You for whatever purpose. Whether that's to entertain, to provide a temporary reprieve from the reality of life, or as a means for you to reach through the works of our hands to take the hand of someone hurting and draw them unto yourself. Just as you lavish us with good gifts, help us lavish you back. You are worthy, Lord God of praise and honor and thanksgiving. You are worthy of worship. You are worthy of everything that is in us. You are worthy of first place in our hearts. Come now, take up your rightful place in our lives and in our hearts. In our gifts, talents, abilities. As the three kinds brought you gifts, baby Jesus, so let us bring our talents and callings to you as an offering of love.

I speak before the world that I believe you've called me to write. It's not a career, but a calling. I beleive you cause these characters to speak to me. Even when I don't want to hear because of a hard critique or scathing contest remark. Even still, the voices whisper. Because someone out there needs to hear, needs to know that your heart is to them as it was to that character in my book.

I release the guilt of sitting me butt in this chair when I'd rather be playing with my children. For you spoke directly to my heart this weekend. (Thank you, Debbie Macomber. You have no idea how God used you. Your heart for God is evident and beautiful and inspiring. I'm sorry I missed your knitting session, but actually, your words stringed my heart back together where harsh words and doubt had ripped holes in the fabric of my spirit. God used you to heal that in me.) I now know that I am not neglecting my children. I'm teaching them that it is okay to chase a dream.

And mostly, the Giver of those dreams. Praise you, Daddy God. Praise you. Please lift those up who've been wounded in battle on this bloody road to publication. A road that I'm finding is paved with disapointment, rejection, but also, friends who will stick it out until the end, pick you back up and tug you along. Sometimes it feels like I'm crawling over broken glass on my hands and knees for miles. And why? Because God asked me to write as worship to Him. Don't write to get published. Don't write to minister. Don't write to win contests or to gain an editor's attention. Write for me. Published authors who in the only industry I've found where the mothers and fathers don't eat their young. The spirit of mentorship is awe-inspiring. I long to get to the point where I can help the little ones along the road. But I have much to learn and suspect I always will. The learning never stops, or your writing grows stale.

So for this reason, I say to the world, I pour my vial of words over you, Lord Jesus. As Mary broke the vial, and that gift meant so much to you. May my writing minister to your heart. May I always be faithful with this gift that you've entrusted me with. May I never compromise.

Receive, Lord. For you are worthy. Worthy. Worthy.



Well I made it to the second round of Noble Theme Contest. I think I'm all contested out for the year though. One thing contests have taught me is that judging is highly subjective. You might final three times in a row, then bomb in the very next contest. It takes a while to figure this out though and can be very confusing and disheartening. My advice? Don't pay attention to scores, or even placement. Pay attention to consistancy. What I mean by this is look for comments that are repeated about paricular parts of your story. If three judges say they have a problem believing your hero would say a certain thing...then you may want to consider reworking that part. If one judge says they love your heroine's name but the other four say they can't stand all means, you should probably consider changing it. Now if you get two comments that totally contradict one another, then don't mess with it unless you have another person (either a contest judge or critique partner) point it out as an area of concern. Above all, it's your story, not theirs and if you don't have peace about what they're saying, it's probably best to leave it alone. But stay teachable. I think that's the main thing. Hope this helps. Oh, and by the way? The first five contests I entered? I came in DEAD LAST. Now I'm finaling consistantly just one year later.

Why? Because I looked for the diamonds in the rough with contests and critiques. My diamonds were things that got consistantly pointed out by two or more judges. I paid attention to those things and pretty much ignored the rest. . .until another score sheet arrived or another critique bobbed in my inbox citing the same concern. Those are the diamonds in the rough. The things you can use. I've been a contest judge...for published authors no less and let me tell you guys, it's HARD! Not something I take lightly. The thing I try to remember is for the most part, judges are out to help you and not discourage you. If it seems they're being tough, it's probably because they see something promising in your work. Don't let it make you want to curl up in a ball and quit. Put the entry away for a few weeks. Pray a lot. Cry over it. Stomp around the house. But don't quit. Don't ever quit.

The only reason the Isrealites didn't get to see the promise land was bc they stopped believing too soon. Don't give up. Good news might be just around the corner.

I also have a feeling someone's reading this who has had a secret desire to write but you doubt yourself. Many of the desires God gives us are for things we're destined to be or do. So come out of your cave and chase that Dream if you feel a nudge in your heart by God to do so. Don't worry about what others think. The only person's opinion who matters is God's. And we have a God who is also a giver of dreams. He delights in these things, guys. So whoever you are, stop hiding. No reason to be ashamed of who He's made you. This may not only apply to the calling of writing.



One more thing....

My pitch resulted in a request for OC--the first story in my PJ series. YAAA! ME from Steeple Hill was SOOO nice. I forgot I was talking to an editor. I had the privelage of meeting DD, too who has a lovely shade of hair and a great sense of humor. Also got to see KS again...who burst out laughing as I tripped over a piece of cheese in front of her at the FHL banquet. Sigh. Leave it to me. (Yes. A piece of cheese. Don't ask. I don't know how it happened either.) I didn't realize it was a piece of cheese until I tried to pick it up because it looked like a dinner napkin. (Gross!) Same size, shape, color.



I came back from Reno with some great news. The agent I've been under consideration with for has agreed to represent me! YEEEEEEEE!



I'm back from Nationals. WOW. I'll post other highlights but I'll tell you, the best piece of advice I received was from Diane Love Snell in the registration line, and from my roommate, Danica. They said, "Only pick one thing you want to learn then focus on that." (Diane) chose tow or three workshops a day that I wanted to go to and blew off the rest and bought the CD of the entire conference. One of my regrets was that I didn't attend the PRO retreat but I was torn between that and another workshop that I didn't think was being taped. Sicne many of you who read this may be attending your very first conference, I'll post some tips and highlights at a later time. I'll also post some pictures.


Monday, July 25, 2005


Wizard, the wonderful wizard of...

Wait. No. Going to RWA in Reno. So if I don't post for a week, I didn't get electrocuted on a power line...dratted squirrels.

C U all in a week. I'll tell you allllll about it when I get back.

In the meantime, you can send me thousands of emails to check when I get back.

Ugh. I'll dread checkign those. My inbox scares me. I have to get prayer for the trauma maybe...


I'm sure I'll do a lot of goofy things to contribute to my blush and cringe. Hopefully not at my editor appt though. Yikes. An entire ten minutes to make a complete fool of myself.



Thursday, July 21, 2005


Integrate each of these words and phrases into a scene. I'm looking for high action here and maybe a dash of humor thrown in.

Bite (bitten, bit okay too)
Squad car
"Drop the bag!"
"I can't find my poodle!"
Off duty officer
Spoiled Heiress
Fancy Restaraunt (Name it)
To enter: Write a 500 word scene following the prompt directions then paste your story in the body of an email (no attachments please) and send it to me at Cheryl @ CherylWyatt dot com (no spaces, replace "dot" with ".")
Please be sure to put "August Prompt Contest" in the subject line.

Thanks to all who entered July's prompt. Every entry was outstanding and I had a very difficult time choosing the winner.


Contest will end August 25th, winner notified by August 30th.

Congrats to July's winner SAM!!!


Friday, July 15, 2005



I got lighty up shoes on clearance (Wal-mart or K-mart maybe?) for 4 dollars. They look like a little glass slipper (plastic) and the heels light up when you step. I thought they'd be perfect for the awards ceremonies.

Then I went to the store to look for a pair of those undies that squish your belly in. All I could find was a pair the color of murky mudpuddle water. We're not talking black lace or white satin here. So of course I flung them at the beginning of my line of items so the cashier would ring them in first in case anybody came behind me and saw the hideous (and gigantic) things. The evil woman let everything else pass by first and wouldn't you know it...two good-looking guys and three people I know came to that line behind me. So then she holds them WAAAY up, turns them around for the world to see, says, "Can't find a tag." Calls for a manager to do a price check so now there are like fifteen people in line behind me because it's late and we're the only lane open and Evil Cashier is STILL holding those murky tan-brown girdle panties up. Manager's busy so of course it took forever for me to be able to flee the wretched scene. M-barrassing!

SO then I get home, wash them and try them on......

Ugh. Have you ever tried to stuff an elephant into a rubber band that is oh, say TEN sizes too small? So then after sweating to death, jumping up and down six hundred times and using a pair of vice grips to tug them on...realized I'd never be able to get them off to go to the bathroom. Not only that, but they were cutting off the circulation in both of my legs and you can clearly see the line even with my skirt on where they're attempting to severe your legs at the top of your thigh. So much for the girdle-grannypanties. Six bucks and I had to go through the embarrassment of calling dh to come cut them off with his razor knife, all the while he's snickering and asking me, "WHAT were those. . .those. . .THINGS?" and looking at them as if they'd been dipped in Anthrax.

Oh well. I guess it's back to the old sit ups. Or in my case. . .sit up.

I keep telling my size 1 neices, "Don't be anorexic, but don't let yourselves get to be a blimp either because this is the sort of trauma you have to deal with." LOL! Squirrel

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Better hurry up and get well soon...looks like they're bringing your suppository!!! Posted by Picasa


My prayers go out to London, and specifically those affected by this tragedy. Father, I ask that you bring those responsible to their knees voluntarily or otherwise. Break the power of evil and terror in our world today so that our children may live in peace and not fear. We look to You. Set your hand against your enemy and thwart the plans of terrorists before tragedy strikes. You can do this, Father we have no doubt. We cry out for the children who've lost parents, for parents who've lost little ones. Please give them a strong sense of your presence and comfort. Help them look to you for healing for their hearts and land.

Please go forth, Father as a man of war and settle this once and for all for your glory and for goodness to break forth in the world. Give our leader wisdom, as well as other leaders who love you and follow you. For those who go against you, Father I pray you bring confusion and chaos on their mind to the point they cannot function. Disable the enemy, Lord. Be glorified and magnified in the hearts of your creation. We love you and trust you. You are our help in time of need. You are our strong tower. Let those hurting in London run to the refuge of love under the protection of your merciful wings.
The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him. Psalms 37:40 NIV Bible
Your enemies will be clothed in shame and the tents of the wicked will be no more. Job 8:22 NIV
The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. Deuteronomy 28:7 NIV
For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4
With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies. Psalm 60:12
...To rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear. Lk1:74
The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in truimph on my enemies. Psalm 118:7 NIV

Go up and pray those scriptures. God's word is His will and He always answers prayers that are according to His will.



Wednesday, July 06, 2005


From eharlequin boards yesterday. Their new site's up today! Check it out at click discussions, then Steeple Hill boards to see the main place I "hang out" online.