Monday, March 31, 2014

Catherine's Pursuit, an Honor - Lena Nelson Dooley

The first few months of the year is the busiest season for book award contests. Catherine's Pursuit is my only book eligible for contests this year, so it was entered in several. One contest that I personally entered the book in is the NTRWA Carolyn Readers Choice award, and it was a kind of last minute decision.

Well, Catherine's Pursuit is now a finalist in the contest. I'm very excited about that.

The only other Readers Choice award I've ever won is the TBN Readers Choice Blogger of the Year contest for my A Christian Writers World blog: Check it out. I interview other Christian authors and help promote their books.

I'm always thankful when people enjoy reading my books. And when anyone gives it special recognition, it's a special blessing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cover Reveal! A Windswept Promise

I'm so thrilled this week to reveal the cover of my new novel, A Windswept Promise. This is the second book in my Brides of Assurance series, set to release on November 4, 2014. It's available now for preorder on Amazon.

From the cover:

Pampered town belle Sophie Charlton has always secretly enjoyed the attention of cowboy Dusty Sterling, a hired worker on her family’s farm, even though she’d never tell him so. But can she go against the will of her family, who insist that she make a good match in Assurance’s most eligible bachelor?

Monday, March 24, 2014


My Pastor Mike has a wonderful blog that I turn to when I need encouragement.
If you're having that kind of day read this...

Life comes at us in waves. Waves of blessings and sometimes waves of problems.

This morning, with the wonderful blessing of rain comes flooding in our garage. We spent the night manning the sump pump to keep it out of the house. Tired, but victory is ours!

This morning I took my car into the shop. It's not working right. I've tried everything to fix it, but with no success. Now for the pros to work on it.

Waves come and go. We so easily think that when we are crushed by a wave that this is the way it will always be. We're wet, beat up, tired, off balance with the force of the wave, but the wave will pass....another will come soon, but that will pass as well. The challenge for us is to realize that these waves of both good and bad are part of the normal tides of life on a fallen planet. Don't let one wave knock you off your feet and defeat you. It will pass and the next one might be an amazing blessing.

One thing for on our little world is never boring! There's always another wave coming to make your life exciting. Anticipate what's ahead, don't dread it. God is in charge of your life and if the wave brings flooding and broken cars it's just one wave. It will pass, you will grow in faith and God will work in your life.

Enjoy the waves. They are part of a life lived well.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Making a Major Move - Purging and Starting Fresh

My husband and I are about to wrap up a major move from Florida to South Carolina. We love the "Sunshine State," but we love our children and grandchildren even more, so we decided it was time to get closer to them. It's never easy to move, but this was extremely difficult. I loved our Florida house and thought we'd probably stay there for a very long time. Now we've found a house in South Carolina that I think we'll enjoy just as much. 
View from the front yard of the
house we left behind in Florida.

As we went through the past 11-1/2 years of stuff we'd accumulated, we had to make decisions about whether or not to keep each thing. It was easy to toss the old shampoo bottles half filled with liquid that I didn't like enough to keep but thought they might come in handy if I ever ran out of the one I liked. It wasn't too difficult to get rid of kitchen gadgets that I only used once and then tossed into the back of the drawer.

What was difficult, though, was deciding whether or not to keep old greeting cards. We found boxes and boxes of cards we'd been given for various occasions – birthday cards, Christmas cards, and thinking-of-you cards. They were all thoughtful, but we eventually decided to only hang onto those that were handmade – mostly by our granddaughters.

The coffee table and end tables showed years of wear from our children's art projects and prior moves. I seriously considered keeping them, but I'd have to refinish them to make them look nice with the new furniture we plan to buy. I'd rather spend that time with the family. So I donated them.

After watching our furniture getting carted off by friends, neighbors, and the Salvation Army, we thought about how expensive it will be to replace it. But it will also be a fresh start that enables us to decorate according to our current tastes and where we are in life at this moment.

The timing on this move couldn't be better. I'm in the midst of writing my 3-book Uptown Belles series for Charisma House. Everything related to my career is calm at the moment. Shortly after we settle into our new home, I'll receive edits on my second book, and I'll be ramping up the promotion of the first book, so I'll quickly have a sense of normalcy as I dive into the work. The Lord has had His hand in all of this, giving us a sense of peace about our decision. It hasn't been all smooth sailing, but He has also given us the ability to deal with the glitches that have come our way.

Have you ever made a major move that involved leaving something you like behind? How did you make the decision about what to take and what to give away or donate?

Friday, March 14, 2014

ABDUCTED TO KILL, the movie - Lena Nelson Dooley

I was asked to be the screenwriter for the Christian movie Abducted to Kill. I will be adapting Pola Muzyka's book. The story is a romantic suspense novel, heavy on the suspense.

The story is about truth, love, forgiveness, and faith as depicted in the lives of persecuted Christians near the end of the 20th century.

A lot goes into the making of a movie. The "above the line" production team for Higher Ground films has been having pre-production conference calls for over a year. I'm a part of that team.

You can check out their videos on YouTube:

Higher Ground Films has launched an Indigogo crowd-funding campaign for the startup funds. You can be instrumental in getting this movie started, by making a donation in an amount all the way from $1 to $10,000 with perks that come with each level of donation.

Up to 10 people could claim the perk that would allow you to receive a producer credit and be invited to the set of the film where you will be featured in a promotional photo with the stars of Abducted to Kill. You will also be honored at the premier and be invited to the cast party and the premier party. Doesn't that sound like fun??

Here are some of the other perks:
Being an extra in the movie or have a small role
A signed script, DVD, and photo
Lobby Movie Poster and DVD
And many more things

Check it out here:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Read To Them

I realize that this blog is dedicated to fiction for adults. But I suspect there are many of us who have written fiction for children over the years. Our agents and publishers may not deal with children’s literature, but sometimes a story presents itself in a genre better suited to children than to adults. So what about those stories—the ones collecting dust on our bookshelves?

I have a suggestion.

Because I was an elementary school teacher for thirty-two years, I had the privilege of reading to children on many occasions. I read my stories in order to model creative writing, and I sometimes read simply to entertain the students. Either way, the children enjoyed the experience because it was “cool” to have the author present.

Even though I have now retired, I still go into the local school as a substitute teacher. And I always carry some of my children’s stories with me to read to the students when time permits. It is vital that children continue to develop listening skills, and what better way than to have an author come into the classroom and volunteer to read a story that is geared to a particular level?

There are many opportunities to go into classrooms or school libraries and read to children. Teachers are always looking for resource people to help promote literacy skills, and children make such a delightful audience. So I would encourage those who have a children’s story or two up their sleeve to dust them off (the stories, that is), contact an elementary school near you, get clearance to go in as a visiting author, and then gather a group of children around you and . . . read to them. It’s a win-win situation.

How many of you have had the opportunity to go into a school—elementary or secondary—and read to students?  How was the experience?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


As writers we have the opportunity to meet some of the people who give us ideas for our stories. It's even better if we can talk to them on the phone or in person. I have had the opportunity to attend churches and weddings with Amish folks and Mennonite as well. I admire their devotion to spend three or four hours each Sunday in worship. The Cappella singing lifts one's spirits and goes on for at least an hour.

After working with the homeless I decided to write a blog about their situations. Hearing their stories opened eyes. Making the less fortunate heard helped people see the other side, that many don't have the opportunities most of us do. Through time more people have come to see their plight and ask how they can help, and in turn help them by growing back into society.

What have you learned while creating characters in your books?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Time Flies When You're Having Fun...Or Not

March Already?

When did the calendar get so fast. Seems I turn one page and then it's time to turn it again. We're almost three months into 2014, but didn't we just have New Year's last week?

My grandmother always told me that time sped by faster the older one grew. I heard that again recently from someone else and stopped to think. Yes, time did go at a snail's pace as we played with our friends and wished to be first a teen-ager then an adult. No, I don't wish to go back to those days, but now I do understand what my grandmother meant.

When a deadline looms near, everything begins to go at warp speed. We set goals to write so many words a day then life happens and we lose a day or two. The hours speed by when trying to meet a word count for the day, but then go into slow motion when waiting on a doctor or getting caught in a traffic jam.

This is the time when I have to sit back, breathe deeply, and remember Who is in control of it all. My precious Lord will help me get things done in His timing and His way. If I make a poor decision, He will help me turn it around although it may not be as quickly as I'd like.

Of course we can do nothing about the number of hours in a day, week, month, or year, and sometimes we have no control over what happens with that time. What we can do is give it all over to the Lord and let Him direct our paths. He may laugh at the plans we make because He knows He has something better in store for us. As long as we are in His will, and working in His time-frame, what needs to be done will get done. Sometimes we may get behind, but if try to go too fast to catch up, we may only get further behind. My advice for the day: "Let go and let God."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Christmas in March

                                     Clara's Wish

                                     Photo: Cover for my newest book, Clara's Wish!!

  I couldn't wait until Christmas to share this cover, so here it is, the first week in March! I have mentioned many times how much I appreciate our cover artist, as have readers, but this time I've had even more responses for this cover than any others. He did such a good job I'm starting to shiver!!!

Do you have a favorite cover? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Women Who Made a Difference in My Life

I didn't always know that I would become a writer. I've heard stories about how some people held up a crayon at the age of three and announced that they wanted to write books. The very notion of authoring books didn't even dawn on me until I was an adult. In fact, I always saw myself working with the elderly because the most influential people in my life were my grandparents and great-grandparents.

As I look back, I can see God's hand in my decision to be a writer and the type of writer He wanted me to be. I love showing family interaction and putting grandmothers and great-aunts in my books to add dimension and texture. The elderly women in my stories reflect many of the traits of my grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great-aunts. People often ask me who or what inspired me to become a writer, and I suspect these amazing women had something – or perhaps everything – to do with it. I borrow tidbits of conversation and personality traits from what I remember to give the older characters in my books.

My paternal grandmother Maxine was an avid reader who always had an open book nearby, and there was never any doubt that she'd rather have her nose in it than do anything else. I always thought she was a pretty cool lady, and my favorite thing to do with her was to go to the library in Ellisville, Mississippi. When Grandmother Max asked me what I wanted for my fifth birthday, I told her a library card just like hers. She talked the librarian into breaking the minimum age rule so she could grant my wish.

My maternal grandmother Hazel was the playful one. She used to tease and play practical jokes on all of her grandkids. Grandma Hazel taught me how to fish, drove me to the creek to swim, and hosted backyard watermelon parties for all the cousins. She was always the one at the garden hose filling water balloons, and when she thought the party needed livening up, she'd fling a few.

I also got to know three of my great-grandmothers who kept me riveted with stories about their youth. They taught me the value of learning how to cook, sew, and pick butterbeans. I learned to braid fragile gray hair and twist it into a bun. I learned that people of all ages can enjoy bubble gum, and with years of practice you can blow a bubble as big as your head. They taught me some of my most treasured life lessons while we rolled out biscuit dough, fished with cane poles, gathered eggs, or shelled peas on the back porch.

Family reunions were always fun because my great-aunts loved to compete in everything. Grandma Hazel's sisters got to choose teams, even when they didn't participate, and they knew who'd be the best for the three-legged race and raw egg toss. Then the competition continued on to the buffet where they tried to outshine each other with casseroles and desserts.
My mother - June

The woman who made the most difference in my life was my mother who played with me, disciplined me, and loved me no matter what. She was a working mom, and she didn't ever hesitate to better herself. Long after I became an adult and moved out, she started taking college classes.

I sure wish I still had here here with me. She would have adored her great-grandkids. Fortunately, she was able to see our daughters Alison and Lauren, but she passed away more than 20 years ago.

All of these women were spunky, self-sufficient, smart, interesting, and beautiful. As they got older, they voiced their opinions more often, and their points of view became more interesting. Many of my books feature older women who speak their minds and don't hesitate to offer a combination of annoying advice and cherished hope to the younger characters. 

Is there anyone in your life who influenced you in your chosen profession?