Three cheers for Maquis and Elaine K, who each won a $25 Amazon card here at the Inkwell! We are so grateful for everyone who came by to help us celebrate our 6th Blog-o-versary!

Congratulations to Jennifer AlLee! Jen's novel Last Family Standing was a finalist in American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol contest. Well done, Jen!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Santiago Sol Release Party & Giveaway!

by Niki Turner

Welcome to the Ends of the Earth! Our party's wait staff is handing out steaming cups of Nestle's Abuelita hot chocolate, and Chilean alfajores cookies at the door. Yes, I'm hosting my own party, but for the most excellent reason: WE HAVE MORE INKY BOOK RELEASES RIGHT NOW THAN WE HAVE POSTING DATES! How cool is that? God is SO good!

Settle in and get comfortable. If you're chilled, grab one of these alpaca shawls/wraps to snuggle up in. They're soft, warm, and perfect for those fall/spring days when it's too hot for a coat and too cold to go without.

I first posted about Chile way back at the very beginning of Inkwell Inspirations in 2009, six years ago almost to the day! When I wrote that post I never imagined my first publishing contract would spring out of those trips to teach in a ministry training school and churches.

If you want to know how long it takes for a book to go from contract to completion... my hair has gone from pixie to ponytail length since signing that contract!
When Pelican Book Group called for submissions for a new series in their White Rose imprint, I scanned the list without much hope. I was in the writer's doldrums... no inspiration, just creeping along on another project I still haven't finished, and seriously considering quitting writing and getting a "real job."

Writer's Block

I was pleasantly surprised to find Chile on the list of potential Passport to Romance stories, complete with three wildly random plot devices to spur my imagination: a walking stick, a party dress, and a diary. I set out to concoct a tale that would bring Chile to life in a romantic tale with a twist of suspense (cut me some slack, I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden... if there's no suspense, I get bored).

(Our wait staff is familiar with suspense...)

Chile is a romantic nation all by itself. This narrow strip of land that stretches along the western coast of South America combines the mild climate of California (complete with earthquakes and grapes the size of golf balls) with the warm and colorful culture of South America, plus an unusual blend of native Chilean, Irish, and German cultures. To the east the country is bordered by the rugged Andes mountains, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, deserts mark the north, and the southernmost tip reaches into the extremes of Antarctica. Politically, the nation has been scarred by a painful history that dates back to its years of oppression under the violent dictator Augusto Pinochet. There's plenty of fodder for story ideas in Chile!

When a beloved elderly friend in hospice care makes one final request, Tansy Chastain can't refuse, even though returning an heirloom to the patriarch of a powerful Chilean family will take her halfway around the globe. When she's robbed at the airport, a handsome Santiago businessman comes to her rescue. Sebastian Sandoval decides escorting a lovely American for a few days is a perfect distraction from his grandfather's growing pressure to find a lost family treasure. But even as Tansy breathes new life into Sebastian’s jaded perspective, the secrets they are keeping put them in the path of a dangerous, and desperate enemy.  Revealing the truth to each other now will destroy their growing relationship, but if they don’t, those secrets may destroy their lives.
Mixing in the story elements Pelican suggested was a welcome challenge. Enter Pinterest. *insert evil cackling sound* Do you know that you can find millions of pictures of party dresses from the 1950s on Pinterest?

OK, not so weird. Try walking sticks! I am now fully prepared for old age. When I reach the point where I require walking assistance I have a pictorial list of possible styles and variations.

As for the journal, that was easy.

During each of my trips to Chile I visited the artesenal Sebastian and Tansy go to in the story (like a year-round craft fair, housed in a former monastery).

On my first visit we found a leather-goods shop that sold purses and jackets (I still have, and use, the ones I bought on that trip) and the most amazing hand-crafted, leather-bound journals. If (when) I ever get back to Chile I'm buying one, along with lots and lots of manjar, cooked, sweetened condensed milk (here's a recipe), and tins of Chilean fish (it's like canned tuna or salmon in sardine cans, but different, and delicious) that I used to beg my Chilean missionary friends to bring back for me. On my last trip I took books and came home with a suitcase full of canned fish.

Enter the hero, and the heroine.

Aren't they adorable?

And so, Tansy and Sebastian set off on an adventure that, of course, leads them into true love and a greater understanding of who they are in Christ. But you'll have to read the book to get all the details, and find out how that walking stick, party dress, and diary fit into the grand scheme of things.

I'll be giving away a copy (e-book) to one commenter on today's blog, chosen at random. Leave a comment below with your name and email address (use the name(at)blahblah(dot)com format) for an opportunity to win. If you win, please leave a review on Pelican, Amazon, and/or Goodreads! It doesn't have to be a book report, just share your thoughts and some stars. Five is, of course, preferable. ;)

I hope you enjoy Santiago Sol. It's been a pleasure to revisit all those wonderful trips to a wonderful country. If you ever get a chance to visit Chile, it's worth the trip!

Ebook now available at Pelican Book Group
(and it's ON SALE!!!)

Niki Turner
Sadie's Gift (2014) - Available on Amazon and Nook and as part of the Christmas Traditions Collection.
The Skiing Suitor (2015) - Available on Amazon Forget-Me-Not Romances

Santiago Sol (2015) Pelican Book Group

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Legends of a Spectral Hound

    I’ve been having a lot of fun working on my latest Drew Farthering mystery. The books in this series always have a literary inspiration, and for this one I decided it had to be Brontë. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights both have that Gothic feeling personified by the Yorkshire moors. Where better to set a moody historical mystery, even if it doesn’t take itself too seriously?
    So what does this have to do with a spectral hound? Evidently, even though it’s set in Devon and not Yorkshire, a bit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles has crept into the book, too. Since Halloween is coming up, I thought it would be fun to share some of the superstitions that have grown up over the centuries about a spectral hound on the lonely Yorkshire moor.
    There are many tales of large black dogs in the folk tales of the British Isles. These dogs almost always appear at night and are often said to be incarnations of the devil. If one were to appear, it was thought that death was sure to follow.
    Said to be much bigger than even the largest dogs, the spectral hound usually has large red or glowing eyes. It is frequently said to appear at crossroads or places of execution since gibbets and other public means of punishment were often set up at crossroads for the purpose of warning as many people as possible of the consequences of flouting the law.
    It’s hard to say how these tales first began, whether it was in the Celtic or Germanic portions of British culture, but all across Europe dogs have been associated with death, perhaps because they are scavengers. Black dogs are, in folklore, almost always considered to be evil and some are aggressively so.    For my story, I wanted to find out more about the barghest of Yorkshire, though there are many variations of his type. Throughout Britain and in other parts of the world he’s called Black Shuck, Hairy Jack, Skriker, Padfoot, Churchyard Beast, Shug Monkey, Cu Sith, Galleytrot, Capelthwaite, Mauthe Doog, Hateful Thing, Swooning Shadow, Bogey Beast, Gytrash, Gurt Dog, Oude Rode Ogen, Tibicena and Dip.
But barghest (or bargtjest, bo-guest, bargheist, bargeist, barguist, bargest or barguest) is the name most often used in northern England, particularly in Yorkshire, for the spectral black hound, enormous and demonic, with deadly teeth and claws. It might find its prey when travelers walk alone at night or lurk in lonely dales or wastelands. It might appear as a headless man or woman and vanish in flames, or as a white cat or rabbit or, of course, a fiery-eyed black dog. Then again, it might be entirely invisible, its presence known only by the rattle of chains in the night.
    The barghest was at times said to be the spirit of a murder victim haunting his killer. Was the hound searching for new victims or taking revenge on a murderer? Some believed that, when a person of importance died, the barghest would appear and lead all the dogs in the area in a sort of funeral march, howling and baying as they went. And sometimes it was said that if it were to lie across the threshold of a house one of the occupants would surely die. Once some unfortunate soul was pursued by this spectral hound, there appears to be no escape unless the victim could make his way across running water, which it was believed the barghest could not cross.
    I love folk tales and the kind of scary story that we used to tell at summer camp or at slumber parties. But, being a writer, I also enjoy stories about words and how they came about. It’s interesting to me that there are so many variations of the name for this mythical black dog. The actual derivation of “barghest” is highly debated. In the northern parts of England, “ghost” used to be pronounced “guest,” so the word might come from “burh-ghest” or “town-ghost.” Others say it is the German “Berg-geist” (“mountain spirit”) or “Bär-geist” (“bear-spirit”), since the creature is said to sometimes appear in the form of a bear. Still others claim the word actually comes from “bier-geist,” meaning “the spirit of the funeral bier.”
    Wherever the name and the legend came from, I found the story a perfect addition to the local tales Drew and Madeline hear when they go to investigate the mysterious happenings at a friend’s lonely Yorkshire manor house. Murder on the Moor is scheduled to release Fall 2016.

Do you ever wonder what the basis was for an old legend and why some of them are still popular?

DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, as well as Letters in the Attic, The Key in the Attic, The Diary in the Attic and The Legacy in the Attic, contemporary mysteries. Her new series of Drew Farthering Mysteries debuted in the Summer of 2013 with Rules of Murder, followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado in 2014 from Bethany House. Another Drew Farthering Mystery, Dressed for Death, is due out in Spring of 2016. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Floral Depravity Pre-launch Party

Tomorrow is the launch day for FLORAL DEPRAVITY, the third of Beverly Allen's Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries, and we're celebrating with a medieval wedding feast and a little dress up. And a giveaway!

First, the ceremony. In Floral Depravity, the bride has decided to be married at a medieval recreation camp, with a hand fasting ceremony. Couples literally tie the knot.

Audrey Bloom is supplying the flowers, including the bride's
request of bachelor buttons. The custom was that single women would hide the blooms in their clothing, and the bachelors would be tasked with finding them. Kind of makes the garter toss seem a little tame, doesn't it?

After the ceremony, join us for the grand feast. Many medieval dinners started with cheese, to help the digestion.

Help yourself to some cider. We're following the cheese course with a hearty stew that's been simmering in a cauldron all day, and will be served on traditional trenchers.

But the camp is a little heavy on authenticity, so don't expect the stew to contain potatoes. Or tomatoes.

But you might want to break away from the feast in time to enter the giveaway, and avoid the murder. (It is a mystery, after all!)

And don't forget the giveaway, which is taking place on Beverly Allen's (aka Barb Early's web site)!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Conversation With Sara Goff, Author of I Always Cry At Weddings

How did the title come to be, and do you always cry at weddings?

The title followed me around for a number of years, even before I wrote the book. My husband Jonas and I were taking a break from Manhattan in the south of Thailand when we happened to see a sunset beach wedding with the bride in tears. "Some people always cry at weddings," Jonas said. Was she scared and having second thoughts, or so in love all she could do was cry? I'll never know the answer, but that moment sparked the idea that became Ava's story.

People love to ask me if I cry at weddings. It might be odd that the answer is no. I didn't even cry at my own wedding, a small family affair in Sweden. Aren't you supposed to cry at weddings, for one reason or another? My little sister is getting married in Manhattan this fall. (Way to go, Karen and Dario!) When I stand up and speak about her big brown eyes as a baby, losing our father, and her new life with a man we all love and admire…we’ll see what happens then.

I Always Cry at Weddings is about Ava Larson, a handbag buyer at Bergdorf's who cancels her dream wedding and leaves her job in order to find love. How much of the book is based on your own experiences? 

I've pushed myself to try new experiences in order to understand Ava's life. One example of this is the Rockettes scene. I didn't feel I could write it without trying out for their teams. So that's what I did, while taking notes. I didn't make the cuts, but I learned the dance routine, and I felt what it was like to vie for one of their coveted spots.

In an attempt to pursue her love of dance, Ava takes a job singing on top of a grand piano in a cabaret. That, I'll admit, I didn't research beyond watching The Fabulous Baker Boys, starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Ava's interactions with the male clientele are original, but in order to make the conversations feel real, I drew from my experiences working in a gentleman's club. So, is the book based on my own life? No, that would be a different story, but I Always Cry at Weddings comes from me and tells a story about love I very much want to share.

Ava has some bad luck with men in NYC: she almost marries Josh, a man who has no real passion, and she goes out with a drug-addicted police officer. How many of the characters in the book are based on people you've met or known?

Two of the hardest aspects of writing for me are choosing names and coming up with original characters. In choosing names I muddle through lists of baby names and inevitably change my selection two or three times throughout writing the book. Creating memorable characters is more complicated. I like to keep one list of personality quirks and another of physical features collected from people I know or have seen. From my two lists, I more or less puzzle together my characters to fit the story.

If you happen to recognize your "regal nose" or "blue eyes, almost purple," or your habit of showing up without calling first, thank you for the inspiration and please know that I'm not pinning you to the character. Phoebe, Josh's mother, is the one character actually inspired by someone I know. (My ex-boyfriend's mother was someone I admired.) While Phoebe's character is more sheltered and scheming, I'm playing out a fantasy keeping Josh's mother in Ava's life.

Sex and the City is the most popular embodiment of the "finding love in NYC" culture. How is your story about finding love in the city different?

One significant difference between I Always Cry at Weddings and Sex and the City is that Ava doesn't have a personal stylist. That, and she doesn't have sex in the book. Ava realizes in the opening chapter that she jumped into bed with Josh before she really knew (or cared about) him, and that the convenience of sex, along with the hope of marriage, was to blame for why she couldn't see (or ignored) their disconnect.

It's shocking that something as intimate as sex could mask true feelings, but that's what happens to Ava. Still, she learns through trial and error that “no sex” isn't a guarantee, either. Love isn't about the facts. She discovers after finally taking a leap of faith that love is about trust, acceptance, and friendship. I Always Cry at Weddings has that gritty feel of working through hardships, and it looks shame and disappointment in the face.

Besides writing, you are also a philanthropist. Tell us more about the charity you founded, Lift the Lid. How did Lift the Lid come to fruition?

I had a personal connection with a nonprofit that was building a girls’ high school in Kitale, an agricultural town in western Kenya, and with a family that was starting a primary school under a tree in a town south of Nairobi. In the Philippines, a close friend's family runs a charity that meets the needs of street children and encourages them to stay in school. These exceptional people making a difference in hundreds of lives turned to me for financial help and prayers, and I felt helpless. There was so little that I could do alone. In the dark of winter in Stockholm, I had a revelation: start a charity with the purpose of having a long-term, meaningful impact on children's education. That moment I started to research how to set up a nonprofit and never looked back.

In 2010, Lift the Lid, Inc. was born. Now a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Lift the Lid has raised over $28,000 for the four schools we sponsor to date. For every donation of $20 or more, a student writes a poem or personal essay, which is scanned and published on our website at The students feel proud to see their work published, and when a donor leaves a positive comment, they feel even more connected to the world and motivated to work harder. Reading their essays, I feel the same way: proud, connected, and motivated to work harder.

Do you have any upcoming writing projects?

Yes, I have another book underway about a teenage girl with an undiagnosed mental disorder. I won't talk about it in detail until it's finished, but I'm more than halfway there!

I Always Cry At Weddings 
By Sara Goff

Ava Larson is the envy of brides everywhere. She has a glamorous career as a handbag buyer at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City; Josh, her wealthy, New York socialite fiancé; and a lavish wedding on the horizon, to be planned and paid for by her adoring mother-in-law-to-be. But things go terribly wrong for Ava when her friends spontaneously decide to get married at City Hall, and Ava is reduced to tears by the obvious signs of true love exhibited by the newlyweds. Their raw emotion makes her question her own relationship and she wonders whether Josh really and truly loves her.

After an embarrassing attempt to re-ignite sparks in her love life, debut author Sara Goff’s delightful novel I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS (WhiteFire Publishing; October 2015; $14.99) really takes a spin as Ava throws her impending future with Josh away, cancels the wedding, and flees to her tiny, dingy studio apartment on the West Side of Manhattan. Here in her cocoon she finds comfort in the smiling face of Chris, a homeless man who lives under her front stoop.

In a move as daring as a red satin dress, Ava makes a vow to remain a virgin until marriage, hopefully in order to find true, enduring love. At the same time she comes to terms with her personal crises, word from home tells her that her mom may be succumbing to the ravages of cancer; she gets sacked by Bergdorf’s; her former mother-in-law-to-be decides to move in; and her financial status leaves her in jeopardy of eviction and bankruptcy.

Still the only bright spot in her day is Chris, who soon proves to have secrets of his own. When her plans to remain a virgin are challenged by a charismatic new NYPD officer boyfriend and, to everyone’s horror, she takes a job as a “red-dress” at a sketchy cabaret club, she leans on her friendship with Chris even more. But could she really be falling for the nice guy from under the stoop?

With her life balanced on the head of a pin, Ava is brought to tears over a lot more than weddings. In I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS she will need to decide how she wants to live her life and what in the world love really means.

About Sara Goff

Sara Goff is a former New York City fashion designer and merchandiser who, after seven years in the industry, left her career to follow her dreams of making a difference in the world. In 2010, Goff founded the global education charity Lift the Lid, Inc., which supports underprivileged schools and encourages young people to exercise their creative expression through writing.

Philanthropy has always been part of Goff’s lifestyle. While living in Manhattan, Goff especially loved being a writing instructor for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers Workshop, which was founded by Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia. Goff has also participated as a writing instructor for The National Arts Club’s creative writing program for students. She has spoken at the Soup Kitchen, several inner-city schools, and Saint Francis College in Brooklyn about the writing process and the power of the written word. Ever the world-traveler, Goff was also accepted into Sewanee Writers’ Conference and received two fellowships to Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia and Nairobi, Kenya.

Goff recently moved back to New York City with her husband of 14 years, their two children, and a Yorkie named Pia after living in London and Sweden. I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS is her first novel, and part of the proceeds of the book will go towards Lift the Lid, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization. Visit for more information on the charity.

You won't want to miss this wonderful book. And please visit Sara Goff’s website where you will find a fantastic blog geared toward teens.

By Sara Goff
WhiteFire Publishing
Publication Date: September 15th, 2015 ISBN: 978-1939023551 Trade Paperback Price: $14.99
354 pages

Monday, September 28, 2015

Patriot Heart by Diane Kalas

Gina here. Today I'm honored to introduce you to a lovely author I met through American Christian Fiction Writers and the Genesis contest. It's been a joy helping Diane along in her writing journey. Her passion for history inspires me to learn more about the past. 
Welcome guest blogger, historical author Diane Kalas!


Back in 1990-91, a US military operation called Desert Storm took place in the Middle East. Not long afterward, the veterans involved came back with invisible scars that later became known as PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The heartbreaking stories about the men and women who couldn’t keep jobs or relationships soon became a regular feature on the nightly news. The heartbreaking numbers of vet suicides have increased over the years.

I write historical fiction and wanted to know how Civil War veterans who suffered with the same symptoms of PTSD were treated. Nineteenth century doctors diagnosed those afflicted with the condition as Soldier’s Fatigue. They offered bed rest in a soldier’s convalescent home, or recommended a discharge and a train ticket home. Often the soldier had a note pinned to his uniform, giving his name and destination, because he was so incapable of communicating. Let the veteran’s family deal with the troubled man.

As my story idea came together, I especially wanted to write my hero, Dan Goodman, as a strong Christian and show how he dealt with the horrors of Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers. Perhaps a 21st century veteran’s spouse, mother, sister, or girlfriend will read PATRIOT HEART and see there is hope for their loved one. Hope for the future in God, the Father, and salvation through Jesus Christ, His son.

Before my research began for PATRIOT HEART, I didn’t know much about the following:

1.     Clara Barton, Civil War nurse, accepted the government’s request to organize the cemetery at Andersonville Prison site in Georgia, and to notify the families of the deceased.
2.     The trial of the century, the first trial for war crimes in our country was against the Commandant of Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers immediately after the war.
3.     Major General Lewis Wallace, US volunteers, served on the Commission of the Military Court Martial of the Commandant of Andersonville Prison, Major Henri Wirz. Wallace later became the distinguished author of the famous novel BEN HUR published in 1880.
4.     Married women’s property rights in the state of Missouri, the setting for PATRIOT HEART.

With every bit of research, I have to share it with family and friends who will listen. I find it all so fascinating. My happy zone, and the best place for my research, is a used bookstore. Too many times to count, I’ve found what I needed while standing in front of the clearance section or received a discount coupon in the mail that greatly reduced the price of my purchase. I have a nice research library that didn’t cost much.

What draws you to historical fiction? Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of PATRIOT HEART.


 DIANE KALAS collects antique books written by men and women who lived through the American Civil War, and/or who pioneered out West. With a degree in interior design, she enjoys touring historical sites, especially Federal era homes with period furniture. Diane is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Published writers Pamela Griffin and Gina Welborn have been critique partners and mentors. Diane’s biggest challenge is writing Inspirational Historical Romance. Her biggest distraction is her fascination with historical research.

DUTY             COURAGE                 INTEGRITY
May 1865. All Dan Goodman wants is to marry an uncomplicated girl and have a family, but the war interfered and he became a POW who now believes he’s losing his mind and unfit for marriage. He dreams of Oregon to put the memories behind him. The problem is he owes a debt of gratitude to the beautiful songstress. In addition, Clara Barton wants him to be a witness for the prosecution in the first trial for war crimes in American history.

                        INDEPENDENT         ENTERPRISING        FEISTY
Letty Talbot is a world-weary steamboat songstress, and wants a new direction after sudden loss. Letty decides to run a supply depot for emigrants going out West, and talks Dan into a partnership where he builds the prairie schooners. Letty won’t admit she wants to keep Dan from leaving. Even though they butt heads a lot, no man ever interested Letty as this one did.

                                    TRUST            LOVE              PEACE
If Letty marries Dan she losses her depot, because married women have no property rights. Letty must learn to trust God with her future. Dan must forgive fellow Union inmates who killed for selfish reasons, and face the commandant of Andersonville Prison in a court of law. Allowing his Oregon dream to fade, he can then embrace the future God planned for him.

 Available on: - E-book and paperback - Transporting you back in time - US history, architecture, fashion

Monday, September 21, 2015

ACFW 2015!

Susanne Dietze and Debra E. Marvin here!

Forgive our bleary eyes this morning. We arrived at our homes on opposite coasts late last night from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas, TX! What an amazing time!

Here we are, Deb and Susie, before the genre dinner. Deb crafted this amazing Edwardian gown--she is amazing!
Every year, Christian fiction writers from across the globe gather for fellowship, workshops, networking, and celebrating the best and brightest. Inkwell's own Jennifer AlLee was nominated for a Carol Award for her book, Last Family Standing! Wahoo to Jen! (Susie here: If you haven't read this book, I heartily recommend it.)

Several of the Inkies were able to make this year's conference, and we think we can safely speak for all of us: we had an amazing time. Some of us had proposals to pitch to editors. Some of us had publishing house parties to attend. Some of us met each other for the first time (that would be Susie and DeAnna). Most attended workshops and volunteered in some capacity. But all of us had fun being together! Here are some of our highlights:

Six Inkies take a break for coffee and fellowship. L-R Anita Mae Draper, DeAnna Dodson, Susanne Dietze, Jennifer AlLee Lisa Richardson, and Debra Marvin

Roomies Anita and Susanne
DeAnna and Debra

Why, look what's on the Bethany table! One of DeAnna's "drawing room" mystery series, Murder at the Mikado

Free on the Goody table: postcards advertising this coming January's Austen in Austin Collection, Volume 1 featuring novellas by Gina, Anita, Susanne and Debra.

Lovely ladies Debra, Jennifer, Anita, DeAnna, and Lisa

Friday Night Free Dinner: Cynthia Hickey, Gina Welborn, Susanne Dietze, Jennifer AlLee, and Lisa Richardson. Most of us at the table splurged on nachos, and they were gooooood. We also talked books, of course.

Gina, Susie, DeAnna, and Lisa. 

And then, of course, was the gala! So much glamour!

Carol finalist Jen AlLee flanked by Lisa on the left and Anita on the right. Pretty ladies!
While Jen was inside the galaearly a Carol finalist, the rest of us waited outside, ready to cheer her on (and talk about zombies). L-R Lisa, Patty Smith Hall, Anita, Cynthia Hickey, Bonnie Calhoun, Gina, Susie, and Debra. 

Amazing food at the gala, finished off with creme brulee. 

What a successful conference. We had about you? Were you able to attend? Would you like to? Next year's will be in Nashville at the end of August.

If you went to conference? What was a standout memory? Share in the comments!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jigsaw Puzzles Anyone?

by Anita Mae Draper

It's been a couple years since I introduced you to the puzzle pages on my website and although they're still available, I wanted to share something new. is a puzzle site that I first started using for something to do as we watched our favourite TV programs, but I soon felt the urge to start my own page and add my own photographs. Not just any photos, but the ones that I took because I thought it might be good jigsaw puzzle fodder. Like this one:

Petunias and Prairie Coneflowers

So if you want to reach my puzzle page, here's what you do:

- Go to the jigidi puzzle site

- Click PUZZLES and a line of tabs will pop up beneath it

- Click the last tab BY USER

- Type in... wreader13

- It will show users found: wreader13

- Click the blue wreader13 because that's me

- Voila! There are my puzzles

One note for you to think about... you do not need to join the site to make the puzzles. However, if you are in the middle (or near the end!) of a puzzle and you lose power, your puzzle will not be saved.

All my puzzles are in the Very Large (240-400) piece zone because that's the size I like to work on. But if you see one of my puzzles and you want it with less or more pieces, just let me know either by leaving a comment on the puzzle you want to make, or through the contact page of my website.

Here are some examples of what you'll find on my jigidi puzzle page...

Balboa Beach Rest Stop

Florida Pergola

Painted Glass Window

You'll have to forgive me if I don't answer blog comments today. I'm headed for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas and won't be getting into the hotel until late this evening. I'll answer when I can.