Thursday, September 26, 2013


Sue studied his new wagon. It looked a lot different than any she’d ever seen.
“Isn’t she grand? Heavy and well built?" He walked around the latest purchase he and his brother bought from the sale of their father's estate. He looked so proud. "Yessiree, it'll haul all the timber me and Jacob could cut in a month.”
His unbridled exuberance caused a smile to blossom in her heart and bloom on her face. “It looks like a fine wagon, Andrew. I'm happy for you.”
“For us! It's our future, Susannah. Oh, it needs another coat of oil, and I’m going to stretch the canvas, but it’ll do. She’ll get us there.” He turned from what she was sure was the most expensive belonging he’d ever owned and faced her. “Did you talk with him?”
Her rose wilted then died, only thorns left to pierce. She examined the ground a moment before meeting his eye again. “I did. Last night right after supper.”
“Well? What did he say?”
She shook her head. “My father's pigheaded and doesn’t understand. Says we’re too young." Andy's hand reached toward her face, and he wiped a tear away. "Daddy said no. He will not give us his blessing.”
Her love slipped his hand over hers, his fingertip still wet. “Sue, we’re both of age. We don’t have to have his permission.”
She closed her eyes. Why was this happening? Why did she have to choose between the two men she loved the most in the whole world? It wasn’t fair. “Andy, can’t we wait? Maybe in the spring…”
“No, I just cannot. I gave my brother my word. Once the wagon’s finished, I’m leaving. I have to. Everything has fallen into place, Sue. We’ll be full partners.”

“Your brother… He’d understand, wouldn't he? What’s six months?”
“Exactly. The Judge isn’t going to change his mind. He wants you to stay right there in that big ol’ house cooking and cleaning like it’s always been since your mom passed. He can’t stand the thought of his little girl getting married and going west. Besides, there's no way for me to get word to Jacob. I've got to go. Please.” He lifted her chin. "Come."
What could she say? Of course he was right. Her father would be all alone. Him not wanting things to change... She understood, but couldn’t he see she was grown? He wanted her to stay twelve, but at eighteen, she was as mature as she was ever going to get. Most of her friends had already started a family. But could she leave him?
She looked skyward. Change his mind, Lord. Make him see.
She smiled again at Andrew. “I love you.”
“I love you, too. So what's it to be? Will you go west with me? Start our new life?”
She hated the look in his eyes. The same fear lurked in her heart. She couldn’t let him go, not again. “Can we come back to visit?”
“Of course! In a year or two, we’ll return, introduce him to his grandbabies. You’ll see. He won’t stay mad.”
“You promise we’ll come back?”
“You have my word. Three years at the most.”
She took both of his hands in hers and searched his eyes. He loved her, she was certain. “Yes. A thousand times, yes. I will marry you, Andrew Baylor.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dinner with Frank Peretti

So, I’m at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis. It’s the end of a fabulous Saturday full of friends, teachings, appointments, and encouraging news. I’m on my way down to the lobby from my room on the fourteenth floor to meet my fellow Howard Books’ authors and editors for dinner at a nearby pizza place. If you’ve been following my posts, you may have heard me mention that my editors are also Frank Peretti’s and the Duck Dynasty fellows, too—Phil and Willie. I’m tickled with that and consider it an honor to be in such company. God’s blessed me so!
Frank Peretti, fabulous Christian author and me!
            So I step onto the elevator and who’s already aboard but the man himself. I say, “You’re Frank Peretti.”
            He nodded a little and smiled. “I know.”
            “Are you going to dinner with me?”
            He looked a bit puzzled at my question. “Well, I’m headed to the lobby to meet someone who texted and said be down there at 5:45 for pizza.”
            “Then you are! I’m a Howard author, too.”
            I started telling him about my historical Christian romance VOW UNBROKEN coming out next March. We walked through the lobby together and found our group. I’m pretty sure I sang the new song the Lord had just given me—well finished, He started it on the flight to Indiana—that day to sing for Kim Childress, the Zonderkidz editor I had an appointment with.
            I’m uncertain how we got off on tornadoes, probably speaking of Texas being in ‘Tornado Alley’ but I had the chance to witness that we are to tell a tornado coming at us to go “up”. Back up into the clouds. There’s a whole funny story about that. I also testified as to how I once prayed around a McDonald’s parking lot I had to pave telling the dark clouds—as I walked its perimeters—that they could rain on the other side of the highway, or there in the woods, but they could not rain on that parking lot. I rejoined the other contractors I’d been meeting with when one said, “Would you look at that!”
            It was raining across the highway, and in the woods, but my parking lot stayed dry and I was able to get it paved in time for the grand opening. I so love to give God glory and tell of His excellent greatness, how much He loves me!
Pizza dinner with Frank Peretti and Howard Books authors and editors!
            Anyway, once we’d all gathered, we headed for the pizza place and had delicious pizza. It was a wonderful evening and I so enjoyed speaking with an author I’ve loved since first reading his books PIERCING THE DARKNESS and THIS PRESENT DARKNESS. He has over FIFTEEN MILLION BOOKS in print now. The living Word tells us that God is no respecter of persons. What He’s done for my brother Frank, He can do for me! Heavy sigh! Now THAT IS an encouraging word!
           Father, continue to bless Your servant Frank and give him more wonderful stories to write for the advancement of Your Kingdom on earth! And give me a few as well because I want to bring You glory! Bless Howard Books and Simon and Schuster, the American Christian Fiction Writers, and all those in the publishing industry that seek to glorify You! In the name of Your beloved Son, I ask, and thank You, Abba! Amen!   

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MY FIRST ACFW Conference - W*O*W!!

     The 2013 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference rocked. I was honored that the Lord made a way for me to go to Indianapolis.
      Next year is in St. Louis, Missouri, and I’d encourage all to start planning to go now. The link is then click 'Conference' and sign up! I promise, if you love being in God's presence with 600-700 Christian writers, you will not be disappointed!
     ACFW's ‘First Timer’s Email Loop’ blew me away, all the information astounding. Everything posted by two board members Brandilyn and Cara proved so helpful to make all us first-time attendees feel comfortable—from traveling to what it would be like once we arrived. Plus it let us newbies make friends with others before we went, too.
Holly Michael from Kansas City MO
My Roomie, Mimi Conteur from N. Carolina
 These are my new sister- writer-friends who were all First timers like me : ) There was an immediate bond! And we're starting an online critique group.
Tanara frm Phoenix AZ


The ACFW ladies introduced many First-Timers to One-Pages—a tool to have your novel idea/synopsis and biography on one page to hand to an editor or agent; they went over the ‘elevator pitches’ and even took the time to critique and help make those the best they could be. All this made interviewing with an agent or editor so much less intimidating.

Mary Sue McAdoo Seymour and me : )
The Seympour Agency Ladies
 Blessed to already have Mary Sue, a New York agent who hosted a dinner at P.F. Changs for all her authors on Friday night, I didn’t need any agent appointments! It was great meeting all her ‘Seymour Ladies’, my fellow agency scribes.
Beth Adams, Amanda Demastus and me
       And I already have my editors for historical Christian romances in Beth Adams and Amanda Demastus with my VOW UNBROKEN debuting from Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, next March. It’s available now for pre-order so you don’t have to remember! My editor said it would really be great if there were a thousand pre-orders waiting to be shipped on March 4th! You can go to any number of sites, but here’s two: or

       They hosted a Saturday dinner at a great pizza place for the Howard authors. This photo is taken at the ACFW gala Sunday night. Anyway, they’ve got first option on my romances, so I didn’t need to meet with another editor for those.   
      So, I took STARFISH PRIME, book one of The King’s Highway trilogy to pitch to a mid-grade Christian editor. I pre-chose Kim Childress with Zonderkidz; I figured with her raising four kids almost the same age as the four grandsugars I’ve got, on top of our love for the Lord, we’d hit it off. She flabbergasted me when she told me the manuscript was already on her desk in the short pile! She’d already taken it to her editorial board and they had a couple of questions which I was able to answer. I believe it was another divine encounter!
     And here's another miracle. I’ve gone to schools all over Texas with the mid-grade River Bottom Ranch Stories as a visiting author, teaching creative writing for grades K-5. I use the new songs God gives me that go with the stories to reel in the student’s attention if it starts to stray. So, I’d asked the Lord for a new song to go with STARFISH PRIME. I got the beginnings on the plane in route. Then in a class—thirty minutes before my appointment with Kim—He gave me the entire song which I sang to her! It’s a sweet tune titled Angels Unaware. I’ll post the lyrics sometime, but this is already getting long. Kim promised to get back with my agent within the month! Can you say exciting? :)

      What I looked forward to most was the corporate praise and worship, and it did not disappoint! God’s manifest presence came down and Holy Spirit walked among His people! I sang. I went to His throne. I even danced before Him a bit! It was absolutely Heavenly to be there and love on Him with so many fellow writers!
      I’m praying He makes a way for me to attend every ACFW Conference until He comes again! What a wonderful experience it was!