Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Well Do You Know Your Christmas Songs?

Here's a little challenge for you...

I'm participating in a Christmas Ride Blog with a lot of other Wild Rose Press authors this month: Here's the deal. Each day a different author posts to her blog. On that day's blog is a clue to the Christmas Song of the Day. Some are carols, some are songs, some are well known, others not so well known. Contemporary and traditional, we cover the gamut.

Guess the song of the day from the clue or lyrics provided, and each blog author will direct you to the next blog. But I'll also post the list here of who is blogging when.


Nov 28 Elaine Cantrell
Nov 29 PL Parker
Nov 30 Lynn Reynolds
Dec 1 WRP blog
Dec 2 Michele Hart
Dec 3 Teri Wilson
Dec 4 Roni Adams
Dec 5 Stacy Dawn
Dec 6 Susanne Saville
Dec 7 Beth Caudill
Dec 8 Kyann Waters
Dec 9 Meagan Hatfield
Dec 10 Donna Micheals
Dec 11 C.H. Admirand
Dec 12 Amber Polo
Dec 13 Bess McBride
Dec 14 Sky Purington
Dec 15 Alisha Paige
Dec 16 Wilder Roses blog
Dec 17 Ashley Ludwig
Dec 18 Anna K Lanier
Dec 19 Hywela Lyn
Dec 20 Debra St. John
Dec 21 Jane Richardson
Dec 22 Dayana Knight
Dec 23 Liana Laverentz
Dec 24 Skhye Moncrief

Each author will have her own contest/drawing going for her particular day, so there are prizes to be won every day. Plus, to spread even more Christmas cheer, we're giving one lucky Grand Prize Winner a $75 Wild Rose Press gift certificate!

All you need to do to enter the Grand Prize Drawing is attend each day's blog post, identify the carol/song of the day, and make a complete song/carol list to submit after the final blog post of Christmas Eve. Don't forget to check the list twice!

Send your entry to by midnight, CST Dec. 31st 2008!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day for Giving Thanks

I have been ruminating all morning on what to say about Thanksgiving. It’s now after noon and I still don’t know where to start, because I have so much to be thankful for…

So I’ll just start at the beginning and see how far I get.

Last week I went to Mass (I don’t always go, so I was relieved to hear in the homily, that it’s not going to church that gets you into heaven, but how you live your life the whole week long) and the gospel reading (in part) was from Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, `Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'

I took the message to heart, and after Mass, my son and I joined a friend who is having some financial troubles in this economic climate for a bite to eat. We listened and shared, and offered support.

The next morning I decided to visit my friend Marc, who is in prison, and has been for the past ten years. I hadn’t made the hour-and-15-minute drive in almost three months, and would have gotten there eventually, but Father’s homily moved Marc to the top of my list. It was a surprise visit--usually he knows to expect me--but I put it in God’s hands and it turned out perfectly. Marc had just showered and shaved his head and was having a cup of coffee when they called him, so I didn’t interrupt any of his classes or anything. He’s taking an office software course, to keep up with computers as best as he can, learning word processing and power point and excel.

I treated him to a vending machine lunch—which I always have fun doing—I don’t usually eat out of a vending machine, so I am like a kid in a candy store, picking out things he wouldn’t ordinarily get to eat—to give to him. (He’s not allowed near the vending machine at that particular facility.) I tend to choose things on the healthier side—like fresh fruit and yogurt--but he doesn’t seem to mind. It’s all a treat for him, and he says he has no preference, as long as it has beef in it, which he doesn’t often get. (It’s mostly turkey, turkey, turkey.)

After three hours of conversation, I headed back home in the rain.

That night, my faith sharing group met, and we had what I felt was a rather intense meeting. I am somewhat empathic, and so I tend to pick up on the pain of others as I go through my day, especially if I don’t have my shields up. For the most part, I prefer to be open to what others are feeling and experiencing, so I keep my shields down. Health problems, family discord, financial uncertainties….turns out we all face them to varying degrees—and Monday night was our opportunity to share and support each other in our efforts to keep the faith and prevail.

Which left me feeling pretty wiped out the next day. It seems everyone we know has something going on in their lives, and it’s not something fun.

But still, there are those who are so much less fortunate…Tuesday night my sisters in faith and I met for two hours of standing outside a grocery store to collect donations for the homeless. I was feeling pretty beat up already, and—quite honestly--not looking forward to standing out in the cold, begging, but I thought the least I can do is stand there for two hours to support someone who has no where else to go but into the cold.

Just before I left, I collected a few boxes and bags of clothing, books, and stuffed animals my son has outgrown, including two three-foot tall versions of Rabbit and Tigger. As it turned out, that was a good move, as there are currently 27 children living in this particular shelter. Once I heard that, I wished I’d collected more. I’ll be making a trip to the shelter with the rest in a few days.

The collection experience itself was a blast. My sisters in faith knew what they were doing, and came prepared with gloves and coffee and creamer and Styrofoam cups. We also had lawn chairs and blankets. And a tambourine, of all things. I took over the tambourine, just shaking it lightly, and it sounded like sleigh bells. I think that helped to let shoppers know there was someone waiting to waylay them at the door, because many of them came prepared, with money in hand.

There were six of us…three inside and three outside, and we switched off to keep warm. We chatted, caught up with each other’s lives, and collected what our group coordinator reported in an email today was an impressive amount of money.

Here’s what she said: “The Executive Director reported that she heard my group really had fun with the experience and she felt that helps greatly with bringing in donations - she said that donors know when the volunteers are sincere about and committed to the mission and are also attracted to those that are obviously willingly participating and felt it was one reason we had such good results (they had not counted the donations yet but said the cans were fuller than any other attempt to date this year).”

Afterward, my friends and I went to one woman’s house for hot chocolate and birthday cake, which we felt very blessed to be able to share, along with our fellowship and her warm home.

Wednesday, I guess I had an off day. I didn’t do anything special but pray for the needs of others. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday made me really aware of how much pain and suffering there is in the world, right here in my own little community, and how blessed I am to have a warm house, a full refrigerator, a healthy child, my own health, work I love, a car that runs, and money to put gas into it.

So today I drove to Mass to say Thank You. The purpose of going to Mass is to give thanks to start with, for all the blessings we have been given during the week, but this was a special Thank You I wanted to say. Thank you for opening my eyes so clearly to the needs of others, and thank you for guiding me to make a difference, if only for this one week. Because of my friend’s nudge, 27 children now have nearly new stuffed animals to play with and books to read over the holidays. Because of Father’s homily, my friend Marc got to see me a lot sooner than he would have otherwise. Because of my new awareness of the suffering going on in my own community, my son and I will shift our holiday donation (in lieu of Christmas gifts) to a local organization this year.

As I was procrastinating, trying to figure out how to start this blog entry, I came across Dear Abby’s prayer of Thanksgiving, written by her mother, Pauline Phillips:

Oh, Heavenly Father,
We thank thee for food and
remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and
remember the sick.
We thank thee for freedom and
remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir
us to service,
That thy gifts to us may beused for others.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Love, ABBY

That said, I want to offer my own list of thanks for this week:

That it was raining instead of snowing when I went to see Marc.
That Marc doesn’t care what he eats, and thinks it’s all good.
That it was closer to 40 degrees than thirty, or even twenty, when we were collecting for the homeless.
That someone thought to bring a tambourine.
That I was able to pass on my son’s books and toys to someone who can use them.
That I have friends who share my beliefs and values and who provide me with opportunities to live them.

God bless you all, and thank you for being in my life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Guest Author, Molly Stark

Today's Guest Author is Molly Stark, whose book Midsummer Magic came out in print on November 21. Molly is a fellow Rose at The Wild Rose Press, and after the rave reviews she's received from Simply Romance Reviews and Long and Short Reviews, we look forward to seeing more books in her Sisters of the Heart series soon!

Who are you?

My name is Molly Stark. I’m a writer and a reader, a teacher, a quilter, a baker (mmmm - eating homeade shortbread right now), a wife and a friend.

What type of stories do you like to write and why?

I love to write about the Regency period. I find the paradox of rigid manners and raw romanticism utterly fascinating. My heroines always dance to their own inner music, and during the Regency period the consequences of challenging social conventions were particularly dire.

What type of stories do you like to read and why?

I have eclectic tastes, but I love real romance -- the knee-melting, sigh-inducing kind. Sex is fine, but romance is essential.

When do you write?

I do my best writing in the morning at a lovely (quiet!) little coffee shop near my house. I can also write at night, but I need time and quiet to actually create pages.

When do you read? Where?

I confess I like to read in bed, on weekend mornings and as I fall asleep. And in the winter, there’s nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace on a blustery afternoon, a cup of cocoa in one hand and a new read in the other.

Where did you get the inspiration for Midsummer Magic?

Funny, I remember this so clearly. I was sitting through a boring lecture, and I had this sudden image of a single scene: a young woman pinning up her hair as she talked to an older woman. The young woman warns that the man waiting downstairs will know she’s an imposter and will shame the whole family by telling the world that they tried to pass her off as his bride. The older woman argues that it doesn’t matter -- even if the man knows he is being tricked, he will be too polite to say anything. That was the seed. At that point, I had to come up with a reason the family would be trying to pull a switcheroo, and that became Midsummer Magic.

Where do you go to think?

I do my best thinking on long walks. Also, I have a very long commute, and I find that I can do some good thinking while I drive. Unfortuneately, that means other drivers sometimes catch me talking to myself. (I prefer “eccentric” to “crazy,” thank you very much.)

How did you come up with your title?

I went through several titles until, in consultation with my editor, I settled on Midsummer Magic. The climax of the book is at a Midsummer revel in Cornwall, and I loved the symbolism of Midsummer being a threshold, when the seasons change, when the veil between this world and the next is lifted, when the usual rules simply don’t apply. The magic isn’t “woo woo” magic, but the magic of things we cannot understand. Like love. Nicholas spends much of the book convincing Mira to let go of logic and believe in that kind of magic. It’s something I struggle with myself.

Why do you write?

Of course I love to tell stories, to dig into what makes people tick and build characters from the bones out. But I really write because I love words. Always have. There’s nothing better than sifting through words, weighing the nuances of their meanings, and choosing exactly the right one. I love stringing together words, not only for their meaning but for their sound. I always read my writing out loud, and pay as much attention to the cadence of the language as I do to the sense of the story.

At the tender age of twelve, Molly Stark began pilfering her mother’s historical romances, staying awake until the wee hours, lost in the lives and loves of women from distant times and foreign lands. She knew from page one that she wanted to create and share her own stories of humor, passion, and mystery . . . stories that would transport readers and keep them turning the pages long into the night. Molly lives in Texas with the love of her life and a brood of temperamental felines.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday's Inspirational Quote

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it - Mary Little

I have this one up in my kitchen, to remind me to take time out and "just be" for a while. I couldn't think of a better quote for this week, when so many of us are preparing to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family and all that entails: the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the traveling, the snow shoveling....

Remember to take time out and appreciate why we are all getting together.

In the meantime, we're still clicking over at the Breast Cancer site, and are 52% on our way to our goal.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guest Author, Carol Ann Erhardt

Today we have as our guest author, Carol Ann Erhardt, who has seven stories published with The Wild Rose Press, both full-length books and short stories. I was blessed to meet Carol Ann this summer in Cincinatti at the Lori Foster Readers and Writers Get Together, which was a wonderful experience all around. (I need to blog about it sometime, because it really was a great time.)
Carol Ann and I kept each other company during the booksigning. So, without further ado, here's Carol Ann...
Who are you?

I am a wife to my soul mate after surviving an abusive marriage; I am a mother to my four children and four step-children; I am a proud grandma; I am a full-time Executive Assistant; I am a caretaker of thirteen feral cats;I am owned by three cats named Charlotte, Wilbur, and Templeton; I am a woman who loves God, ice cream, chocolate, people, animals, sunshine, snow and good books; I am afraid of heights, the dark, and spiders (eek!); I am a woman who dislikes mean-spirited people, death, and destruction; I am a child who worries about her elderly mother and misses her deceased father--I am Carol Ann Erhardt, romance novelist.

What type of stories do you like to write and why?

I love to write suspenseful stories set in small communities. Being raised in an area where everyone knew their neighbors makes it easy for me to develop characters my readers can associate with and care about. I especially writing suspense because I enjoy creating the “page-turners” that keep readers awake at night.

What type of stories do you like to read and why?

I love anything with well-developed characters. That’s so much more important than a clever plot, although plots are important, too. I’m a multi-genre reader, but my favorites books are romance and romantic suspense.

When do you write?

It’s hard to cram in writing time. I work full-time and in the warmer months, I sit in my car and write during my lunch hour. At night, it’s difficult because my husband is more demanding of attention than any of my kids ever were. Sometimes, I cram in a few pages over the weekend. I’m luck to have a job that gets slow sometimes, and I have an office with a door…so I’ve been known to crank out a few pages at work and save them to my flash drive. Shhhh.

When do you read? Where?

I read in bed every night. Sometimes it’s only a paragraph, sometimes an entire chapter. It helps me relax and get my mind off the day-to-day stresses.

Where did you get the inspiration for your books?

To be honest, I don’t know where I get the inspiration for any book! Sometimes a scene pops into my head, or a character. Since I’m a pantster, the story develops from those glimpses.

Where do you go to think?

In the bathtub or shower. It’s the only place I have peace, though sometimes my cats wander in.

How did you come up with your title and main characters’ names?

Since this was an inspirational, I wanted to reflect that in the title. I loved the name Joshua for my little boy and decided to use his name. From there it was easy to come up with Hope for my heroine. Thus, Joshua’s Hope was born.

How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?

Five very long years!

Why do you write?

Because I can’t not.

Carol Ann Erhardt resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three curious cats. Her bookshelves overflow with over five hundred novels written by her favorite authors. Carol Ann writes romantic suspense and sweet romantic short stories. She has three novels and four short stories published with The Wild Rose Press. Additionally she has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort books. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, RWA Kiss of Death Chapter, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, American Christian Writers, and Pop Fiction Writers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Guest Author, Kimberlee Mendoza

Today we feature guest author Kimberlee Mendoza, who writes young adult stories and inspirational romances, among others, for The Wild Rose Press, and is also a cover artist at The Wild Rose Press. Kim did my wonderful covers for Jake's Return and Ashton's Secret. Kim has a new Christmas release out TODAY, and is the author of the five-star (well, angels, actually) Russell Family series of Young Adult books.

1. Who are you?

I am Kimberlee R. Mendoza…Who is she? … A mom and a fulltime graphic artist who moonlights as a YA romance novelist and playwright. For the first time in 33 years, I’m not a student, having just graduated with my master’s degree this spring. I am also an Army veteran, but I’m more Private Benjamin than G.I. Jane. And when I’m not creating novels or going to school, I am directing a youth drama team of 25+ students.

2.What type of stories do you like to write and why?

YA romance. Even my adult romances tend to have a younger heroine. Why??? Hmm…good question. I suppose because the time in my life when I was an advocate reader was when I was 15 years old. Or maybe it’s because I refuse to grow up. Some of my best friends are the kids on my drama team. And why romance? I’m a sucker for male/female tension and that first kiss.
3.What type of stories do you like to read and why?

Funny thing. I don’t read a ton of romance. I prefer to read psychological thrillers, like Dekker. However, I do read some YA novels, such as Janette Rallison’s book, “Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My to Do List.”

4.When do you write (daytime, nighttime, on your lunch hour, before the kids get up, after everyone is asleep? In large chunks of time or stolen snippets?)

I usually write after my kids are in bed, during my lunch break, and on the weekends. I have a rule. At least one page a day. With that goal, I know I can at the very least, write a novel a year. But I usually do much more than that.

5.When do you read? Where?

In my car. Waiting for the dentist. Between projects. Basically, I have about four books stashed in different places (work, car, home, etc.) and read them when I have a free moment.

6.Where did you get the inspiration for Seek Ye First My Heart?.

“Seek Ye First My Heart” is part of a series. It is the third book and it deals with the one character that you love to hate. So, I had to find a way to make the reader like her. The idea came from watching way too many 80’s movies, I guess. It kind of has that tone. Nerd likes girl, girl wants popularity. Who wins?

7.Where do you go to think?

On my couch after everyone has gone to sleep.

8.How did you come up with your title and main characters’ names?

Titles are huge to me. I spend hours going through Amazon and my thesaurus, making sure no one else has it, etc. The first two books in the series were, “Love thy Sister, Guard thy Man” and “Oh Brother, You’re Not My Keeper.” They both had that biblical sound to them. I liked that. So, I needed that for the third. The third book is so much about the heroine, Cassi wanting someone to love the real her, not her appearance. So, “Seek Ye First My Heart” just seemed to fit.

9.How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?

I wrote my first novel when I was 13 (Love thy Sister, Guard thy Man). My first published novel was called, “On the Couch.” It was published just a few years ago, and I’m 37. So, it took a long while. However, I did publish plays and poetry long before.

10. Why do you write?

Someone once told me that if you’re not happy doing anything else, then that’s what you’re supposed to be doing. That is writing for me. It is my warm, fuzzy blanket. It makes me happy :).

Kimberlee resides in La Mesa with her husband and two boys. She is a graphic designer and a cover artist. She is the author of ten novels, three e-books, one non-fiction book, six plays and several poems. She is also a drama director and a part-time acting teacher. She has a BA in Human Development and her MA in Humanities with an emphasis in literature. She is also the winner of the Sherwood Eliot Wirt Writer of the Year Award for 2006. For more information, go to

Liana's note: What Kimberlee didn't mention is her Russell Family Series has been awarded Five Angel reviews across the board at Fallen Angel Reviews, and she has a Christmas story released TODAY at The Wild Rose Press, titled Wanted: Boyfriend for Christmas. I would have posted a picture, but after twenty minutes of trying, I gave up. (Can someone tell me how to post pictures at the bottom of a blog? Or even in the middle of one??) At any rate, do check it out by clicking on the link. Thanks!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday's Inspirational Quote

The ulitmate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I got this quote from the front page of the The Rainforest Site. I blogged about this site a while back, Click to Give Hope. I now get a daily email reminder to click for the rainforest, hunger, literacy, breast cancer, animal rescue and children's health. This morning when I clicked, this quote was on The Rainforest Site, but by the time I got my act together, it was gone, replaced by another. Thankfully, it came around again, so I could copy it :) .

It only takes a minute to click on all six sites, and I want to note that the Breast Cancer Site is having a special click-fest, where they're trying to reach 300 mammograms, so they can help fund a cure with $20,000 through their charitable partner, As of today, they have reached 18% of their goal. Yesterday it was 17%. So every click counts.

Last, but not least, it's time to start thinking of Christmas again. My son and I have decided that instead of giving gifts to each other this year, as we have for the past two years, we will donate what we would have spent to Heifer International, to help fight world hunger.

It's not just about leaving a good world to our children, it's about teaching them how they can help while they are still children, so that lesson carries on to their adulthood and to their children.

Please consider Heifer International in your gift-giving this holiday season. In the meantime, sign up for a daily reminder to click for other worthy causes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Interview With Author Jenny Gilliam

Today we have an interview with Author Jenny Gilliam, who has two books coming out this month, The Truth About Roxy, from The Wild Rose Press (this week!! Friday!!) and Under My Skin from Amira Press at the end of the month. Welcome, Jenny, and thank you for being here today. Let's get right to the questions :)
Who are you?
Hmmm. Who is Jenny Gilliam? I suppose I’m a lot of different things, the most important of which is a wife and mother. A writer, of course. And a smart-ass, most definitely. I’m pretty sure I was born with what scientists are calling “the Wise-Acre” gene. So, it’s in my blood.

What type of stories do you like to write and why?
I love to write stories about unrequited love. Probably because nobody wanted to date a 5’11 “big-boned” (big-boned, my patootee, I was a little overweight) Amazon with braces and freckles. Call it therapy, call it cathartic—it works for me. Also, I love reunion stories, or more commonly known as “the one that got away.” Something about re-falling in love with your childhood sweetheart tugs on my heartstrings (Ouch).

What type of stories do you like to read and why?
When do you write (daytime, nighttime, on your lunch hour, before the kids get up, after everyone is asleep? In large chunks of time or stolen snippets?)
I usually write in the morning after I’ve put my daughter on the bus, and my son is playing “let’s destroy the house.” I sit on the couch with my laptop (to ensure the safety of said son and said house) and write to my heart’s content for about 2-3 hours. Then, if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I bring my laptop to work and write when it’s dead. Oh, crap. I’m gonna get fired now. Thanks, Liana. (YVW. Anytime. ~L)

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book.
The book I’m working on right now is Book One in the Moonlight Bay Witches series. There will be six total. As a witch myself, and having read books where Wicca is grossly misrepresented, I feel it’s my duty to inform the public. Plus, I just like writing about magick. And writing.

Where do you go to think?
I sit out on my back porch and smoke, staring at the mountainous range that is our backyard. I used to read, but I get a lot of good ideas. Like where to bury my father-in-law when he makes me mad. Just kidding. (Not really)

How did you come up with your title and main characters’ names?
My creative writing teacher in college gave me this one. The phone book! There’s TONS of given and surnames in there! Have you checked it out? It’s big, yellow and has lots of numbers. As for my titles, I get the inspiration for those when I’m about halfway through the manuscript.

How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?
Writing is always serious for me. I wrote when I was ten, twelve, twenty—you get the picture. But I really started writing towards publication about 3 years ago. I was lucky enough to be published two years later, and voila! Here I am.

Why do you write?
Because I have to. Plain and simple. I’m pretty sure my head would explode if I didn’t. I have all these characters and story ideas, my head is literally floating five feet from my neck. My husband has to check my pulse regularly.

Jenny began writing at the age of twelve, when she realized the voices talking in her head were characters, not a result of pre-teen induced psychosis. She’s been writing on and off for almost twenty years, but actively pursuing publication for the last three. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. She is the author of four novels.

Jenny loves to hear from her readers. You can visit her at

The Wedding War (Available Now)
Letting Luce (Available Now)
The Truth About Roxy
(Available November 7, 2008)
Under My Skin (Available November 28, 2008)