skip to Main Content

Friday Roundup or What I Didn’t Get Done This Week!

I’m late posting this. Why? Well, I’ve been a little manic this week. Every day brought a new surprise that couldn’t be set aside and involved time-consuming attention. The weather was all over the place too. Early in the week it was warm and sunny, but yesterday brought snow and an accompanying snow day.

Snow Day


Instead of checking off my anticipated writing goals, I set them aside to finish new ones. I didn’t mind. I love my job!

Other things I didn’t get done?

  • The stack of magazines on my end table are still sitting there unread.
  • My bathroom still hasn’t been cleaned.
  • The book I ordered from the library hasn’t been opened.
  • The exercise DVDs I was going to do Tuesday and Thursday weren’t touched either!
  • The appointments I needed to schedule? Pushed to next week’s to-do list.
  • My twice-a-month coffee date with myself to brainstorm story ideas and bask in motivation articles? Nope. Didn’t happen.


But…my daughter and I worked on some must-do upcoming college tasks, I turned in two work items, my son picked out classes for high school next year and I ordered a pizza for lunch yesterday ‘cuz that’s fun! All-in-all, a good week!


Do you ever have weeks where everything turns upside down? How do you deal with it?

Have a fantastic weekend, and don’t forget to sign up to win Belle Calhoune’s latest, Alaskan Reunion!! Easy entry options are below!



The Inside Scoop with Belle Calhoune and a Giveaway!

Today Belle Calhoune is  graciously answering questions about her writing life and giving away a paperback copy of her new book, Alaskan Reunion! Belle writes for Harlequin Love Inspired, and Alaskan Reunion is available in stores and online. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

The Inside Scoop with Belle Calhoune


Belle Calhoune


1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I grew up in Massachusetts across the street from a Public Library, so from the time I was very little, books were deeply embedded in my heart. For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being a writer. I knew deep down in my soul that it was my destiny. It’s funny but it seems as if I always knew. I honestly can’t remember a time that I didn’t dream about it. When you constantly have stories running through your head, there aren’t many paths you can follow other than writing. As a kid I was really inspired by books such as Where the Wild Things Are, Ramona the Pest, Phyllis Whitney books, and of course, once I was a teen, Harlequin romances.


2. What is unique about your process?

Hmm. I’m not sure if it’s unique but I’m a big brainstormer. I love to take colored pens and markers and create a huge storyboard. Since I’m working
on a series for Love Inspired called “Alaskan Grooms” it’s really fun for me to chart the characters and their back story and relationships. I’m also an author who loves creating names for my characters. So I have a baby book that I delve into from time to time that lists wonderful, creative names. I also go to my author Facebook page and get help from time to time from my readers. They’re the best! They’ve helped me out a time or two. I also love to read aloud my words. It really helps me by hearing how they sound out loud. At times I can really get into it. If something doesn’t sound right, I go back in and fix it.


3. What inspired your book?

To be honest, I don’t really like secret baby stories. It always seems so wrong to have a parent miss out on those precious weeks and months of their child’s life. Because of this, I decided to write a secret baby story to challenge myself. As a writer I think it’s fun to challenge ourselves to do the very thing that scares us or takes us to a point of almost being uncomfortable. That’s where true growth as a writer comes from. Once I decided to write that trope, I wanted to create a story about hurt people who made decisions based on that hurt. And I love the theme of forgiveness. It always seems to pop up in my books. I think there is such power and grace in granting forgiveness. I always try and remind myself of that in my personal life.


4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Finish the book! So many people want to write a book and they end up working really hard but not making the goal of finishing it. An unfinished book cannot be sold to a publisher, especially when you’re just starting out and an editor-publisher needs a completed work in order to make a contract offer. Trust me, they want to see that authors can finish. As hard as the task may be, writers need to finish their novel. It helps create credibility in the industry, and as authors it gives us a sense of accomplishment to know that we completed the project.


Alaskan Reunion

A Baby Between Them

After her father’s betrayal turned her hometown against her, Paige Reynolds fled Love, Alaska. Now she’s returned to mend the damage her dad’s actions caused. But repairing her broken heart is a different story. She must face Cameron Prescott, the man she left behind—and reveal he’s the father of her infant daughter. As Cameron falls in love with his baby girl, he can’t bury the growing feelings for her mother. In a time of turmoil, they turned on one another. But older and wiser, can Cameron and Paige learn that forgiveness may lead to their happily-ever-after?


Click Here to Purchase Alaskan Reunion!



About Belle ~

Belle Calhoune grew up in a small town in Massachusetts as one of five children. Growing up across the street from a public library was a huge influence on her life and fueled her love of romance novels. Belle is the author of six Harlequin Love Inspired novels with a 7th, Christmas-themed book coming out in 2016. She has Indie published the popular Inspirational romance series, Seven Brides, Seven Brothers. Her new Indie Series, the Secrets of Savannah is a spin-off of her debut series. A best-selling Amazon author and winner of the Angeline Bishop award for Multicultural Romance, Belle loves writing romance and crafting happily ever afters. When she’s not wrangling her two high maintenance dogs or spending time with her family, Belle enjoys travel and exploring new places.
Facebook: Author Belle Calhoune


Belle is giving away one paperback copy of Alaskan Reunion! Easy entry options are below.

Contest giveaway open to US Residents 18 years and older. Winner will be chosen via on February 28, 2016 at 9pm. Winner will be notified via email. See entry form for complete rules.




Did you borrow books from the library as a child? I did all the time!

Have a terrific Day!

Pork Chops, Brainstorming, and Weird Weather

This week was odd. Snow and cold temperatures ruled early in the week, but–get this–today it’s supposed to be sixty degrees. So weird!

I was as off kilter as the weather. The kids didn’t have school on Monday, and all my normal Monday stuff got switched around. On Tuesday I forgot to get pork chops out of the freezer to thaw, so I improvised with brats and mac & cheese.

My kids were happy about the pork chop situation. They claim I make them too often. *sure*


Pork Chops
Picture courtesy of MorgueFile. Sadly, my pork chops did not look this delicious.


Wednesday was a pull-my-hair-out writing day. I hated everything I wrote, and each sentence felt like I was pulling feathers out of a pillow one-by-one. In other words, they took forever. And, yep, I forgot to get those stinking pork chops out again! Tacos to the rescue…

Once again, the kids weren’t crying about no pork chops. Shocker.

Yesterday was lovely, though. I popped those pork chops in my slow cooker with potatoes, carrots, and a can of cream of mushroom soup in the morning. I had a date with three writing friends to chat and brainstorm all morning. We got a lot done! I’m excited to flesh out a future novel from their suggestions. Love it!

The kids were less than enthused about the pork chop situation…oh well.

I had about 257 extra errands and appointments this week, but I’m almost done with them. Maybe next week will  be more normal. I don’t know! Guess I’ll find out.

How was your week?

Have a fab weekend!

The Inside Scoop with Julie Jarnigin: Writer Wednesday

The Wedding Barn

Today  Julie Jarnigin is  graciously answering questions about her writing life. Julie’s new sweet contemporary romance, The Wedding Barn, is available now. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.


1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I did speech and drama in high school and really enjoyed writing original speeches. That led me to believe I wanted to write non-fiction. When my writing professor my sophomore year of college assigned us to write a short story, I wasn’t looking forward to it. My story was a mess. I accidentally changed the name of the main characters mid-story! The poor woman. She probably read a lot of terrible writing that day. But when I got my assignment back, she’d written, “Hang onto this story” at the top of the page. That was the first time I’d ever even considered fiction. After that, I fell in love with writing novels, and I haven’t looked back.


2. What is unique about your process?

Almost ten books into this writing journey, I think every process has been a little different. I’m always trying something new. I’ve done intensive plotting. I’ve done complete seat-of-the-pants writing. I’ve written a rough draft in two weeks. I’ve written a rough draft in two years. And honestly, I still don’t feel like I’ve found the “best” way…because writing is hard! It’s a challenge. Maybe that’s what keeps me interested.


3. What inspired your book?

Weddings on Pinterest inspired this book. My heroine, Paige, was a wedding planner in Dallas who ends up living and working on a ranch. My wedding was nice, but it was 15 years ago—pre-Pinterest! This book gave me a fun opportunity to dream up all kinds of fun weddings.

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Writers write! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in blogging, social media, conferences, writing groups, etc. and not leave any time for actual writing. And I would say that making time for reading is equally important. There’s something about consistently reading great novels that gives writers an eye for good story and writing that captures readers.


Julie, I’m nodding to everything you said! I feel sorry for the people who read my first attempts at fiction, too! And I’m always trying new things. Some books come easily while others do not. Pinterest relaxes me. The engagement photos get me every time. Thanks so much for being my guest!



The Wedding Barn


Paige Morgan’s career is in shambles. What kind of wedding planner gets left at the altar? So when a job planning parties on a ranch in rural Texas comes her way, she jumps at it. So what if the cowboy who runs the place isn’t happy she’s there?

Rancher Nick Reid risked his heart once… and lost. Who needs love? He’s got a great life on the family ranch—so long as Paige Morgan and her city ideas don’t ruin it all. If only his family didn’t need her help to save their livelihood. And if only he wasn’t so darned drawn to the woman. But no sooner does Nick start to believe in love again, than a socialite shows up looking for Paige. Asking her to plan an elaborate wedding. Back in the city.

Both Paige and Nick need a second chance at love. But what will it cost them to take it?


Interested in purchasing The Wedding Barn? Retailers are linked below!

Amazon      |      Barnes & Noble      |      iBooks      |      Kobo



Julie Jarnigin

About Julie ~

Julie Jarnagin is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet and inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Sign up for her newsletter (linked) to be the first to learn about new releases and free books.


Do you swoon over wedding pictures? Sometimes I’m tempted to buy a bridal magazine because the layouts are so pretty!


Have a wonderful day!



Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m knee deep in writing my fifth Lake Endwell book and preparing for the April release of Her Small-Town Romance, so today’s post is going to be short and sweet.


Happy Valentine’s Day!!




May your day be filled with chocolate, hugs and blessings!!


Have a wonderful weekend!

The Inside Scoop with Mary Alford: Writer Wednesday

Today Mary Alford is  graciously answering questions about her writing life. Mary writes for Love Inspired Suspense, and her new book, Rocky Mountain Pursuit, is available in stores and online. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.


1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?


For me, becoming a writer kind of evolved from being an avid reader. I can’t remember exactly when I first started reading, but when I did, I realized I couldn’t put a book down. The stories drew me in and transported me to wonderful places. I was a true bookworm.

Early on, I discovered Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Mysteries and loved them. Then a few years later, I was introduced to Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt and I was hooked on the romantic suspense genre. I loved the mystery and the drama along with the love stories these two iconic women blended into their books. I couldn’t wait to get to the last page to see how the book turned out.

That’s when I first knew I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first book when I was a tween, (it’s tucked away in a drawer somewhere never to see the light of day).

But for me, the dream of becoming a published author came much later. Although I continued to create stories in my head, it wasn’t until 2012 when I entered the So You Think You Can Write contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and sold Forgotten Past. It still seems surreal. It was a dream come true for me.


2. What is unique about your process?


I’ve always been a seat of my pants writer, although I’m trying to be more organized.

My writing process goes something like this. I’ll see or read about something that sparks my imagination and gives me an idea for a book. From there, I let the story play out in my head for a bit and then I sit down with my laptop to put words on the page. I don’t care how well planned out you have the book, staring at a blank page for the first time can be intimidating. And it never fails, the story I had in my mind doesn’t quite come to life exactly as planned, but that’s okay. I figure my characters have their own idea of how they want their story to end.


3. What inspired your book?


I love spy stories. I think if I had chosen another career path in life it would have been a spy. I love the danger and intrigue, the life and death decisions spies are forced to make. Then there’s the romance… Living life on the edge has a way of clearing away the clutter in life. It shows you what’s really important.

Rocky Mountain Pursuit is about a former spy who is forced to live under an alias because some very bad people are trying to kill him. When Reyna Peterson, the widow of his former comrade comes to him for help, Jase Bradford doesn’t hesitate to assist, even though it means risking his life and blowing his cover. Jase is a true man of valor.


4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?


The hardest to do at times. Keep writing and don’t give up. If you are really a writer, then you can’t help but write. Every author I know was rejected before they became published. Some many times. If you give up, you’ll never know what might have been.


Mary, I’m nodding at how fabulous authors hooked you on a genre. For me it was Jodi Thomas and Stephanie Laurens, both historical romance authors. I still love reading historical romance, but I don’t write it! I think it’s really cool you’d be a spy if you weren’t a writer. Something tells me you practice on your downtime. Am I right? *wink, wink* Thank you so much for being my guest!




The Inside Scoop with Mary Alford



Everyone believes agent Jase Bradford is dead—everyone but Reyna Peterson. Only he can protect her now that someone wants the information her CIA husband died to secure. As the one member of their spy team not killed, Jase must remain in the shadows. Yet when Reyna leads the enemy right to his mountain refuge and blows his cover, Jase risks his life for hers. As his best friend’s beautiful widow scales the walls around his heart, whether out of loyalty or love, he makes it his duty to secure her safety. But when their pursuers trap them in the snowy Colorado mountains, will it become his final mission?

Interested in purchasing Rocky Mountain Pursuit?

Buy from Harlequin!

Buy from Amazon!



Mary Alford

About MARY  ~

Mary Alford was inspired to become a writer after reading romantic suspense greats Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Soon creating characters and throwing them into dangerous situations that test their faith came naturally for Mary. In 2012 Mary entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and later received “the call”. Writing for Love Inspired Suspense has been a dream come true for Mary. Visit Mary’s website!




So…would you make a great spy? Why or why not?

(I’d be a terrible spy. I’m no good at lying, and my eyes give EVERYTHING away!!)

Thanks so much for stopping by!



It Takes Three Days to Lose Momentum: Writer Wednesday

Tell me if this sounds familiar.


You’re writing a draft, loving the characters, debating about what should happen next, and you’re feeling really good about your progress. It’s almost the weekend, and you won’t be able to write due to a jam-packed schedule. No problem. The writing is going so well! You’ll be back at it on Monday with the same enthusiasm.


But Monday rolls around, and you have the sniffles, there are fifty emails in your inbox, you have no food and need to run to the store for basics. Before you know it, the day is over and you didn’t add a single word to your work-in-progress.


Tuesday morning arrives. Anxiety swirls in your gut. You’ll have to write extra today to make up for the words you missed yesterday. If you could just force yourself to open the file…


Facebook lures you in. And you can’t remember where your story left off, so maybe you should check your favorite blogs first. By the time you open the file, it’s late. You’re not motivated. And you  have no idea why you even decided to be a writer in the first place.


Momentum is lost. Just. Like. That.


Three days. Three days is all it takes for me to completely forget what I’m writing, why I’m writing it, and if I will ever write again. Three days turns into four which becomes a week, and, well, you know…


I’ve made myself a rule. Every Monday, I set my writing goals for the week, and I don’t let myself take more than two scheduled writing days off in a row.  Momentum is everything during a first draft.


Okay, but what happens if you’re on day seventeen of a wordless stretch? Dive in. Get into that file. Pour Junior Mints into your mouth if you must, but get some words on the page! Once you have a paragraph written, the rest of the book doesn’t feel as overwhelming.


The cure for lack of momentum is to build it up again, and you can only do that by writing.


Do you ever lose momentum with your writing? How do you get back on track?

Have a terrific day!!


Back To Top