Saturday, February 26, 2005

No Attachments

Please send your entries for my prompt contest in the body of an email. Thanks and enjoy the prompt.



How to submit:

Send entry (Up to but not exceeding 500 words) to for judging.



In case you can't find it scrolling, I'll post it again:

The winner will recieve their choice between one of the new releases from the Steeple Hill Women's Fiction books. Brand new.

Deadline for entry is Mar. 20th, 2005. Winner announced by March 28th, 2005.

Here's the prompt:
Write a 500 word or less scene involving these things:
A lost puppy.
A mysterious business owner who lives in a mansion at the end of a secluded road just off the interstate.
A frantic single mother whose six year old son is heartbroken.

That's it....Happy writing!!!!!!!!!


I'm two scenes away from finishing the story I'm currently working on. Woohoo! Then I'm going to dive in to another series that's been floating around my head for awhile.
I've changed my format for book reviews. Instead of typing the roses out, I'm just going to say how many roses it gets. Thw way I was doing it before strikes me as cheezy. No comments from the peanut gallery. Or, I guess that would be "Acorn Gallery" here.
The other day one of my kids came in with a toy iron and started running it over my face as if it were a car. I'm like, "What ARE you doing?" Looking intent, with tongue hanging out in concentration and vaguely annoyed at being interrupted with her task, she replies, "Don't interrrupt me. You have lines around your eyes and mouth and I'm trying to help you out here." I ran to the mirror and sure enough, WRINKLES. Bleck.
VERSE: God shall suppy all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19

Even someone to help you iron out all your wrinkles :-)

Help us trust You at all times. When things get tough, and when they are fine. Help us exude the kind of childlike faith that points others to You. You are always faithful. Always. You never fail. In every circumstance, help us to believe that.

Capitalize the first letter of the first, last, and each important word in the title of a book, play, article, etc.
"The Mystery of the Green Ghost"
A Night at the Opera
(Source: Webster's New World Pocket Style Guide by MacMillan.)

When submitting a manuscript, most authors capitalize each letter of the title of their book on the cover page and sometimes the header.

JADED HEART by Cheryl Wyatt.


Prize is usually your choice of a new book valued between $5.00-$25.00 and entry is fun and free!!!


I'm going to be putting out a newsletter a few times a year. I don't believe in spamming, so if you want to recieve it, send me an email letting me know that.

Visit my website:
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Thanks for stopping by!

Your friendly neighborhood Squirrel

Sunday, February 20, 2005


(1 rose) @->-- =Downright Disturbing. (Was the author conscious when they wrote the story?)
(2 roses) @->-- @->--= Dangerously Dissapointing. (Author is not writing up to their potential. )
(3 roses) @->-- @->-- @->-- = Delightfully engaging. (Great read.)
(4 roses) @->-- @->-- @->-- @->-- = Darn near perfect. (One for the keeper shelf, a can't-put-it-down-kind of book. )

BOOK: "Woven Hearts" Novella
Publisher: Barbour
Authors: Susan Downs, Cathy Marie Hake, Kelly Eileen Hake, Kathleen Paul
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Historical-Novella collection of four interwoven stories.

Set in Massachesetts, mid-1800's, four stories about a group of men with the last name of Steadman, and the women who weave their ways into these men's hearts.
Ribbon of Gold by Cathy Marie Hake: (Four Roses) @->-- @->-- @->-- @->--

Carter inherits a weaving mill and discovers the women are working under cruel conditions. He looks to Isabel Shaw, one of the weavers, for information and gets more than he bargained for as he falls in love with her.

This story is a "keep you up all night" kind. I fell in love with Cathy's characters from page one. The depth of emotion kept me rooting for these two to get together. Well-crafted scenes, delightful dialogue and careful attention to historical detail made me feel as if I lived in the weaving room with those women. Excellent read. Sweet story.
Run of the Mill by Susan Downs (Three Roses) @->-- @->-- @->--

Maxwell Steadman has a tiny problem with tradition: He doesn't think women should be placed in positions of authority over men. So why is he so strongly considering Kathleen McKenna to fill the overseer's post for his shipping company? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she's smart, hardworking, honest, and kind. Kathleen soon realizes he thinks she's also qualified to fill the vacancy of "wife" in his life.

This story has strong conflict, especially Maxwell and his traditional views. Susan does a wonderful job showing his struggles without making him out to be a chouvinistic creep. He is a likeable character. Kathleen weaved her way into my heart as one of the most memorable heroines I've ever had the privelage of meeting in a story. This story will tug at your heartstrings and pull tight.
A Second Glance by Kathleen Paul (Three Roses) @->-- @->-- @->--

Ginger Finnegan, nearly blind and raised in an orphanage, doesn't think there's a man out there who would want her for a wife, but her heart won't seem to listen to reason when Lucas Steadman, a new, young doctor comes to town and gives her not only the gift of sight through special glasses, but his stubborn heart as well.

I had a hard time warming up to Lucas at first, but the rest of the story was so good, I kept reading. I'm glad I did because the rest was worth grinding my teeth over not being able to sympathize with the rude and aloof doctor. Kathleen masterfully redeems him and makes her heroine's dreams come true. This story is packed with emotional "umph" and there were some pretty tense moments when I didn't think everything would be alright. Good read.

The Caretaker by Kelly Eileen Hake (4 roses) @->-- @->-- @->-- @->--

Widow Amy Ross runs an orhpanage and has a heart as big as Massachesetts. As if she doesn't have enough trouble with her late husband's mother threatening to close the orphanage, rendering homeless the children she's grown to love, her new neighbor seem to be working against her as well. When he sees her true heart, Tyler Samuels fights for the orphanage. . .and Amy's heart and hand in marriage. There should be more *real* people in the world like this hero and heroine.

I kept reading the bio of this author, saying to myself, "no way is she this young, no way." Watch this one. Though she's young in years, she knows her craft and how to weave a wonderful, story with engaging characters and a hole-proof plot that will leave you inspired and longing to read more.

I highly recommend this book. Well worth your money.



No, I didn't get published yet. I finally got a post to go through. For some reason, this blogger thingamajig kept bouncing my posts. Or maybe it was my computer acting up. Anyway, this month's contest has ended and the winner of the Kaylee's Bagel prompt is.........

(Drum roll please......)

Tracie P.!!!!!!!!!!


The winner will recieve their choice between one of the new releases from the Steeple Hill Women's Fiction books. Brand new. Deadline for entry is Mar. 20th, 2005. Winner announced by March 28th, 2005. Here's the prompt:

Write a 500 word or less scene involving these things:

A lost puppy.

A mysterious business owner who lives in a mansion at the end of a secluded road just off the interstate.

A frantic single mother whose six year old son is heartbroken.

That's it....Happy writing!!!!!!!!!

VERSE: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NIV

Did you know the Bible isn't really a book?
It's actually a library...full of the most wonderful books known to man. A library of promise and of covenant, given to us by the kindest being in the universe...God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

I can't believe I'm admitting this to the world...but when one of my kids turned a year old, they got into my nightstand and sort of, kind of...opened a brand new bottle of KY jelly someone had given us as a wedding gift gag...and ate the whole entire thing. I had to call poison control and they told me to notify the child's doctor who was also one of the doctors I'd worked with for years. I was mortified and begged the poison control operator to call him for me but to no avail. Besides, why would my kid's pediatrician care if I own KY?

By the way: They said it wouldn't kill the kid...just make it have diahrrea for about three days.

Dear God, please continue to help the victims of the tsunami and especially be with the little children who watched their parents be washed out and swallowed by the sea. Please comfort them and let them know You, know that You love them and are close to them. You've promised not to leave us as orphans. Be a father to those children and make sure they're taken care of here on earth: spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. Heal the devastation in their shattered land and hearts, Dear Lord.

( the way...I'm still a newbie myself. The more I learn, the more I learn there is to learn.)

Who's or whose?
Use who's anytime you actually mean "who is."

Whose means "of whom"

Whose blog is this?
Who's laughing at my blush and cringe?

Get it? Good. Because I STILL have to consult my grammar book everytime I revise. I'm not good at remembering all those rules, which brings me to my next point:

Spend the dough on a GOOD PUGS book. (Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, Spelling)
Kathy Ide's is excellent. Here's her website:
and her book is called, "Polishing the PUGS."

Later alligators,


Saturday, February 12, 2005

ACK! TYPOS!!!!!!!!

Speaking of "it's".......... in my "tag" post, I used the wrong one! Whoa! Did u see that apostrophy jump in there when I wasn't looking?

OKAY, I'll admit, I have a hard time proofreading (yes, I DO proofread these things before I hit "send.") by computer monitor. I'm better at catching mistakes on paper.

BUT...since I have this problem, I'm going to use it to your advantage and it will sharpen your editorial skills. For every person who finds a typo or an error, whether it be spelling, grammatical or punctuation, I'll enter your name in a drawing for a book each week.


Its a Beat...or is it?

Did you catch it?

To its or not to it's.

When do you apostrophize it? (made up a new word..hehehehe)

When you're saying "it is" use the apostrophy.
It's fun in Squirrel's Treehouse.
Its a pleasure to have you here.

When "it" is possessive, do not add an apostrophy.
Its tail is bushy.
It's acorns are hidden.

That same friend of my husband's went to a bowling alley one day and thought he saw a friend from his church, so he sneaks up behind the guy and starts rubbing the back of his bald head...and saying, "rub the budha, rub the budha" until the guy turns around annoyed and it's not his friend but a stranger. Snicker.

A beat is a sentence of action placed before or after dialogue in the place of a tag.

Example of a sentence with a tag:
"Bessie? Bessie! I can't believe you ran my pick up truck into our best milk cow, " Farmer haystack yelled loudly to his wife.

Same sentence with a beat instead:
Farmer Haystack flung his old straw hat off and tromped around the dusty yard with his weathered hands chopping the air as he glared at his wife. "Bessie? Bessie! I can't believe you ran my pick up truck into our best milk cow."

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." Psalms 63:3 NIV

Time is running out to enter my contest. Scroll back and see Kaylee's Bagel and come up with a scene. The best one wins their choice of a $5.00 gift certificate to Lifeway Christian stores or a new release from the Steeple Hill Women's fiction line.

Later Taters


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

TAG...You're it!!!!!

Let your gentleness be evident to all. Phil. 4:5a NIV

This isn't something I did, but I have to tell the story. My husband's friend was a chaperone on a youth ski trip. At the hotel one evening, he came through the lobby and caught site of two couples (what he thought was a group of high shoolers) getting a tad too cozy in the hot tub. Being the faithful chaperone that he is, he gets a running start across the floor, leaps in the air, lands in the middle of the hot tub screaming, "Jacuzzi invasion!" Jacuzzi invasion!" and splashes around wildly until he opens his eyes to discover four complete strangers (all adults) staring at him as if he's just grown three heads.

Help me to see people as You see them, God. Even myself.

Let's chat about writing trends. Just like clothing styles, what was "in" ten years ago may not be "in" today. What prompted me to talk about this is an article I read encouraging writers to use dialogue tags. What is that? A Dialogue tag is the word at the end of a stream of dialogue such as "said."

For example:
"You silly cat, stop chasing the bird," she purred.
"Look at the owl!" Thomas hooted.
"He wanted those eggs over-easy," the waitress waffled.
"How 'bout ya take five dollars for that instead of eight?" he haggled.

Okay, okay. I know those were extreme examples but really, it seems to me that most editors today are veering AGAINST the use of dilogue tags other than plain ol' "said."

So, only in rare cases and very sparingly should you use anything other than that and if you do, have a very good reason, to set tone of story, etc.

Helena cowered in the closet with the cordless phone, willing someone to answer.

"911, what is your emergency?"

"Someone is in my house," she whispered.

See? "whispered" helps to set the suspensful tone because she doesn't want the intruder to know where she is. So I don't leave you with the icky feeling of looking over your shoulder, feeling like someone is behind you, I'll finish the story. By the way: I ALWAYS write happy endings. Always.

"Where are you?" the dispatcher asked.

"Bedroom closet," she whispered. "Oh, no! My bedroom door creaked open. Can't talk."

"We have a unit on it's way. Stay on the phone."

"RUFUS! What are you doing?"

"Ma'am?" the dispatcher said.

"Ugh. I'm like, so sorry. My dumb dog crawled through the opening in the screen. How positively embarrassing."

"So, there's no one in your house?"

"No. No one besides one in-trouble dog and its very blonde owner," Helena said.

Clear as mud?

Next time I'll talk about beats. The actions characters do, sometimes to replace tags.

Until next time,



Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Website is almost up

Howdy doody!

Misty is almost done with my website. It's got an ameteur sleuth feel to it. Pretty cool. I'll link to the blog after it's up.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friends. John 15:13

This freaks me out because it struck me today that Jesus considered us His friends before we were even born. His was the greatest love. If you ever doubt someone out there loves a good, hard, long look at the cross before He came off of it. Now that is love.


Write a scene about a middle class female parasailer in her mid thirties caught in the tree of a forty something grumpy but gorgeous millionaire.

Time is short so I'm off. Talk to you later, Taters.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

Major Plot Failure

Well, there are two kinds of fiction writers. Pansters and Plotters. Pansters just fly by the seat of their pants and usually have no organized method of arranging the story prior to writing it. They just sit down and it flows. Plotters on the other hand, meticulously plot, usually from beginning to end. Apparently I'm a panster because I tried to follow my plot but neither I or my characters stuck with it. Oh well. I give up trying to do that. So the moral of the story is: Don't try to write like someone else no matter how succesful they are. Just do it like you do it and be who you are.

Dear God, I want to fulfull the destiny that you have prepared for me. Keep me close to You.

...His compassions never fail. They are new every morning..." Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

Write a short story using all of these words. Notice they can be used as nouns or verbs. Have fun!!!


This isn't a blush, just a cringe. I was putting on deodorant today and one of my charges comes in the bathroom and says, "Oh. I forgot to tell you, That dropped in the toilet the other day." Suddenly, I didn't feel so *fresh*.

Got to go do the dishes since there is some rather interesting green, fuzzy stuff growing on whatever it is that got left in the sink. Ugh. The attrocities of housework. What I really need is a biohazard suit. Oh! Oh! My mother in law got one of those robot vacuum cleaners. It really works! It even senses when it needs to be charged and goes back to it's base and attaches itself to its charger! How cool is that!!!! Now, if someone will just invent one that loads the dishwasher and folds laundry....

As Porky would say,

"T-t-t-tt-t-that's all folks!!!


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I lasted a week

Okay, so I tried to take a two week hiatus (did I spell that right?) from writing to get caught up on my TBR pile and I lasted 6 days. I wrote a synopsis for my newest wip today so I could enter it in a contest. I did get a couple books read this week though. Woven Hearts by Barbour and Paper Moon by Linda Windsor, I highly recommend both. Woven Hearts is a sweet, feel good set of four historical novellas about four Steadman boys who are related. Linda Windsor writes romantic comedy and I bet I laughed out loud at least every third page. She writes just like she talks. Linda is one of the most amazing people I've ever had the privelage of meeting. I'm hooked on her stuff.

Novella: A shorter story than a Novel. Barbour does alot of them.
Anthology: a group of stories, usually novellas.

Blush and Cringe:
Okay, this isn't something I did, but a bit of advice for you married folks: Don't leave the baby monitor on when you're having a *moment* with your husband. No telling who in the neighborhood (or the house) is listening.

Site of interest:
Check out
I practically live there when I'm online.

These were the clans of Reuben;those numbered were 43, 730. Numbers 26: 7

(Just Kidding. Here's the *real* verse. Not that that one wasn't real, but I was trying to make a funny. )

REAL VERSE: WHich is also the BORROWED PRAYER. Just ask God to do this in you.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36: 26

My contest is still open but not for long. Scroll back through messages to find Kaylee's Bagel. I've even given you a prompt to get you started.

New Prompt:

Write a historical scene set in New Mexico in 1866 using a soldier who survived a confederate prison camp who has lost his faith in God and the faith-filled daughter of the man who took him on as a ranch hand.

That's all for now.