Sunday, March 29, 2009

Photo contest winner!

A few weeks ago, I announced a photo contest. My publisher needed photos of Revenge, Ohio for my historical coming out in June, but living in Mozambique made the request a bit of a challenge. The response from all of you, though, was amazing.

A big thanks goes out to all of you who responded with offers to help, and especially to Kythrie and her entire family. A couple weekends ago, they drove to Revenge and took over one hundred photos of the area. One of these photos will be published on the back cover of my upcoming book Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio. A couple more will be used in the forward.

Click here to visit the Love Finds You blog where I have a few more photos posted in my article, It Takes a Village.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Water of Life

We have a group coming this summer who will be digging a well in one of the nearby villages. Scott has been working on organizing the project from this end as we want to coordinate the drilling with hygiene classes and evangelism. Scott has visited three possible sites to find out who needs a well the most. Sadly, there are dozens of villages whose water source is nothing more than a hole dug in the ground as you can see from these photos.

The main problem seems to be not access to water, but access to clean water. They bath and wash near their drinking water sources, and water holes are often filled with trash. We are excited about how God will use the groups coming this summer to not only help provide clean drinking water, but living water through the message of Jesus Christ.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

This man named Jesus

One of the tools we have used here is the Jesus film. Scott visited a compound today where the family had never heard the story of Jesus. The son decided to follow Christ two weeks ago and wanted his family to hear about Jesus. Scott went with several of the Christians and showed the Jesus film to that family. When it was over, David asked if they had any questions or comments. The father replied, "How could I not believe. What I have seen could only have been done by God."

They have been invited to return next week to teach more about this man named Jesus.

Tonight, they are showing the same film, in the local language, in David and Emily's backyard. A large group showed up, including some of Gabriel's friends he invited. A number of the new Christians are anxious to go into their villages to teach, so Scott is using this opportunity to teach them how to follow up with those who want to accept Christ.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Proposed cover for Blood Ransom

Here it is! The proposed cover for Blood Ransom, and I couldn't be happier with it

I find the process of publishing a book fascinating. While Blood Ransom is not expected to hit the shelves until the beginning of 2010, the Zondervan marketing team has already been hard at work. In January, I turned in a detailed file on my characters, story line, photo examples, and ideas I had for a cover. They took this information and started creating my cover. Everything has a purpose from the size of the font, to the red edging, to the weathered art that makes the book look like it's been carried around the world in a backpack.

This cover will now go to another committee for approval, then put into their catalogue so it can be sold to bookstores around the country before its release. And in the meantime, editing continues on the actual story. Right now, the book is in with my editor where it will go through a number of edits before it will be ready for the final printing, and I'm already hard at work on book two of the series.

So what do you think about the cover?



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Name that Bunny winner. . .winners!

First, I want to to thank all of you for all of your wonderful responses--47 unique names in all--so Gabriel's bunny could find a name. We had so much fun reading through the names and making the tough choice. So, here are the top five choices--in random order--followed by the winner. . .um. . .winners.


Rascal E. Rabbit


Sir Hops-a-lot

Mao Tse Bun

And the winner is. . .Sir Hops-a-lot. Thanks to Erica AND Alene who both suggested the name Gabriel finally choose.
Please email me with your snail mail address and the title of one of my books you would like. You can find a list on my website.

I also wanted to thank you all for your sweet comments on my photo shoot. It ended up being a lot of fun.



Monday, March 16, 2009

Photo Shoot

With no photography studios within several hundred miles from where we live, Scott and I headed to the beach today to take photos for the back cover of my upcoming book with Zondervan.

Now considering the fact that I'm no professional model and Scott's not a professional photographer, I had my hesitation about my urgent need for a professional photo. The one thing going for me was that we have a great camera and photo editing abilities. Beyond that, I wasn't so sure.

First was make up and hair. Unlike other professional shoots where models have their own make up and hair team, I was left on my own. Both Jayden and Mariah offered to do my makeup, but I sweetly declined their offer of bright blue eyeshadow and headed into my bathroom that also doubles as a sauna in the heat.

Putting on make up is always a bit of a game. I put on some foundation, then run into the bedroom to the fan to dry the sweat. Back to the bathroom for eye shadow, back into the bedroom for the fan. You get the picture. By the time we were out the door, my face was drenched in sweat and my hair was already damp.

The next thing we had to think about was the wind at the beach. I sat on the sand with my face into the wind, hair blowing every direction, and my face "glowing."


Now you might be asking at this point, why in the world did I choose the beach for a photo shoot. Well, you have to understand that where we live there are no lovely landscaped parks, flower gardens, or photo worthy backdrops. The ocean is the one thing of beauty where we live and I knew that there were also a number of palms we might be able to use.

In the end, we took dozens of photos. Some of them will be deleted from my hard drive, never to see the light of day again, but there were a handful I actually liked. So a big thanks goes out to my knighted "professional" photographer hubby for saving the day.

Tomorrow I'll post the winner of my "name that bunny" contest. There were about 47 suggestions posted, and we've had so much fun picking out a name.



PS Above is one of the shots that made the final cut.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Name that Bunny

Our "farm" continues to expand. This time we have two new bunnies that even I have to admit are completely adorable. Scott and the boys spent about a week building a bunny hatch for the them. We also took some time to learn everything we could about rabbits for school.

Thumper is Jayden's little black bunny and Gabriel named his bunny. . .well, that's our problem. As of today, his bunny remains nameless, which is completely unfair to the little critter.

So here's where you can help. Gabriel needs a name for his bunny. Leave a comment with as many name ideas as you'd like, as many times as you'd like. Then on Tuesday the 17th, he'll chose a name from all the suggestions. And to make this even more fun, whoever sends in the winning name wins a free book! Your choice of any one of my books I have in stock.

Now you can't beat that, so leave a comment! This poor bunny needs a name!



PS. Anita, please contact me with your snail mail address for your copy of Chef's Deadly Dish. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Winners!

Congratulations to Emma, Shelley, Rasberry Girl, Abi, and Anita who all won copies of Chef's Deadly Dish! I'll be contacting you shortly to get your snail mail address.

For those who didn't win, don't worry. I'll be posting more contests for free books in the next few weeks! Thanks for participating, ladies!



Saturday, March 07, 2009

Fact for Fiction

Fact or Fiction

Last fall, my romantic suspense novel Final Deposit came out. It's the roller coaster ride of a daughter who tries to get her father untangled from an on-line financial scam. (You can order a copy here)

I recently received a letter from one of my readers that reminded me just how true the set up of my story is. Several weeks ago, this reader met with a friend who mentioned getting a call about a prize she'd won. All she had to do was send in money for taxes and legal fees. Because my reader had just read my book, warning bells began clanging in her mind. And she was right. Her friend had fallen for a fraud that ended up turning into a nightmare. One of the hardest things has been that her friend has invested her hard-earned money into the scheme, she still wants to believe that it will all turn out okay in the end. All she needs to do is send in a little more money. . .and a little more. . .and a little more. . .

Something that's completely untrue.

"If it hadn't been for your story, I wouldn't have picked up on what was going on, and I would never have expected the two-steps-forward-three-steps-back situation we're dealing with."

The truth is, there are dozens of frauds being played out on line everyday and just as many people falling for them. And while it might be beyond belief that anyone could be as heartless to swindle another person this way. . .it's happening.

The bottom line is that you must be careful before agreeing to send anyone money. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!



Friday, March 06, 2009

Orphan work

First, I want to thank all of you who have sent encouraging emails and comments after my last post. While living here isn't easy, I also know that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. Many of you are experiencing your own difficulties with job losses, issues with family, sickness other things. A good friend of mine sent me a great reminder and that is to not focus on the negative, or on what might happen, but rather the positive things in our lives and God's blessings. He is so faithful.

Janelle has some great news regarding our sweet orphans in Zimbabwe. The schools have now opened and the children have returned to their normal lives. This is a great blessing to everyone. School is a major “life line” for hope in the future. When the children are progressing in their education, there is hope for both them and for their caregivers. In Africa, getting an education is the key to being able to progress in life, and perhaps to have a better life than what has been true in their families. Please pray that the schools will remain open!!

We also have been blessed with two tons of soya mixes that will also be distributed to the families throughout the coming months so that they will have good nutrition. It has been the maize (white corn) we have been able to source and the soya mixes sent from South Africa that have sustained these families for the last year. It is with great joy that we see the food packaged and sent to them.

Have a blessed day,


PS. Don't forget to leave a comment and let me know you want to win a free copy of Chef's Deadly Dish! Three days left!

Getting the soya mixes ready to send

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Murphy's Law


In one of my recent twitters, I asked why it was that every time we have overnight guests, the power AND the water goes out. A friend of me wrote and said it must have something to do with that man named Murphy.

Now while I don't believe in bad luck, I haven't found a way to avoid having one of those days now and again. And today as been just that.

Scott left for Maputo yesterday morning to run several errands, one being working on the finalization of our paperwork so we can stay in the country. Now Maputo is a long, six hour trip on bad roads, so we try not to go often. Which also means we cram in a lot in the short time we are there.

So while he was preparing for meetings and working on paperwork, my day began with Mariah waking up early with a high fever and a sore neck. Immediately, I was worried she had malaria. I got out the home testing kit, prepared her for that dreaded prick, and got everything ready. After one flying needle--don't ask--I finally finished the blood test. It was negative, so I gave her some fever medicine and sent her to bed, promising I'd go out and buy her Sprite.

Gabe ran into town with me. We found two Sprites at the second kiosk we checked, then went to the bread shop to see if they had another one. I sent Gabe inside to buy the sprite and bag of chips for lunch, which he did. Now chips are normally hard to find here, but sometimes I can buy a small bag for about a dollar. But apparently, Gabe doesn't know what the exchange rate is, because he bought a five dollar can of Pringles! While he was thrilled with his find, I told him that those chips were worth their weight in gold, and would be rationed out for the next week.

In the meantime, Scott called me from Maputo. Our contact had lost some of the paperwork we needed to file with the government. An hour later he called me again. Someone else had stolen both rearview mirrors of the car.

It was already turning out to be "one of those days" for both of us and the morning wasn't even over yet.

Now, if you're lucky, you can find the parts you need at the "stolen goods" market. In fact, you can more than likely find the exact part you lost by someone more than happy to sell it back to you.

While I was dealing with a sick child and home schooling later that morning, Scott called again. He had planned to hurry across the boarder into South Africa for some things we needed, but found that some of his car papers were missing. So David, the guy who works for us, and I hurried to the government office where they'd been the week before. Scott thought he'd left the papers he needed in one of the offices.

We stood at the wooden counter of this office where four or five women were sitting at desks with piles of paper surrounding them. How in the world were we ever going to find one missing paper? After a good twenty minutes of no one noticing we were there, someone came to help us. She pulled out a box after hearing our request and started going though papers.
Sure enough, the copy Scott needed was sitting in file. I was impressed. They might not have a modern filing system, but in five minutes the woman had found what we needed.

Now all I had to do was fax him a copy. Easy, right?


I returned home to fax the copy and quickly ran into a problem. One of the things Scott is replacing in Maputo is the fax cartridge which he took with him. Well, apparently, you can't send a fax without this cartridge, even though I didn't need to print.

So once, I again I was off to town to try and find a place to fax the car papers.

That's the brief overview of the day so far. I won't even go into the rest of the week in trying to register our bikes and getting a new post office box.

To end on a positive note, don't forget to leave a comment on my last post for a chance to win a copy of Chef's Deadly Dish! Drawings on Monday!

Have a GREAT day!


Monday, March 02, 2009

I'm giving away FIVE free books!

I can't believe March has arrived! For us, the weather is finally getting a bit cooler, though I still prefer to be sitting in front of a fan or two. Blogging--most everything else not essential--has taken a bit of a back seat these past few weeks as we started school, jumped back into ministry, and I faced not one, but two, books deadlines on March 1st. I'm happy to say that I sent both books off in time, and I'm very pleased at how they both turned out. Hopefully my editors will be just as happy. :-) Now that book one, Blood Ransom, is off, its time to start book two in the series, something I can't wait to do.

If you saw my blog last week, you heard about my photo contest as I worked to track down photos I could use in my upcoming book and on the back cover of Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio. I have to say, I was so excited by the response! I heard from people with links to websites, information on the area, and even volunteers to drive to the area and take photos. Thank you! Thank you! I'll post more on the winner soon.

As for the chance to win one of five new books. . .Chef's Deadly Dish is being released by Barbour Publishing this month! This is book three in my Pricilla Crumb cozy mystery series, and I feel like celebrating.

One of Pricilla’s former students from the Willow Hill Private Academy for Girls is in trouble. Arrested for murder at the prestigious Rocky Mountain Amateur Chef Competition, where Pricilla is one of the honorary emcee, things are looking grim for the young chef, until Pricilla follows up on a batch of clues.

Leave a comment on this post between now and next Monday for the chance to win one of five copies. Winners will be announced next Tuesday.

I have three more books coming out in the next few months, so check back often for a chance to win even more books!