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Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Monday, November 17, 2014

And the winner is ....

Susan Simpson!

Congrats to you ... look for an email with details on your Amazon gift card!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November Writing Contest (Repost)


"When You Find the One"
Original Oil Painting. Used with Permission of the artist.
c 2014 Karen Winters Fine Art

We're excited over here at Pen In Hand about my upcoming novel, Five Brides, which will be released June 2015 by Tyndale Publishers. So excited, we're going to start looking at a few special painting between now and then, talk about your stories, add bits of trivia about weddings, etc.

How to Enter This Month's Contest

1.  Share this on Facebook or Twitter and link  my name to your shares.
2. Write a 250 word (or less) story, poem, or song  based on the painting above  and submit in the comments section below.
3. Be sure to put your name on the bottom of the submission in case your entry comes up "anonymous."
4. Check back November 15, 2014 to read the winning entry. (Jot a note in your calendar! The winner may be you!)


Mama slowed as we approached the storefront bay window showcasing the bridal gowns, like an apparition stood beyond the glass.

Or Daddy.

She neared it, drawing me with her. I looped my arm into hers, feeling the autumn air growing cold as winter around us. Mama let out a long breath, but I couldn't tell if this was a happy sigh or one of her weary ones.

"Mama," I said. "Did you wear a dress like this one when you married my daddy?" I allowed my eyes to scan upward to the red crepe balls hanging motionless but adding a pretty touch nonetheless. To the folds of the pale gold drapes and then back to those that swept the skirt of the dress Mama couldn't seem to take her attention away from. "Mama?" I asked again.

"Yes," she finally said. "Exactly like this dress. Nana and I shopped all one day and half the next until we found the right one."

I pondered a moment. "I guess that's important, huh? Finding the right one?"

"As important as finding the right man to marry," she said, "is finding the right dress to marry him in."

"Where's your dress now, Mama?"

"Had to sell it, little 'un."

This time I sighed too, squeezing her arm with mine. "I sure do miss him," I said. "There won't be another one like my daddy."

"Nope." Mama swiped at a tear. "He was one of a kind."  ~~Eva Marie Everson

Okay! Your turn! Have fun ... winner will receive a gift certificate to Amazon.

A note on the painting: It's for sale, so if you are interested, you can contact the artist at the website above. Karen Winters kindly gave permission to use this once, but not for anyone to copy it, change it in any way, etc. I'm so appreciative of her generosity ... let's all be respectful of this incredibly talented artist.

Monday, October 13, 2014

And The Winner Is ...


Will he ever understand? John’s attentiveness is wonderful but it’s not enough. It’s not about tea and gorgeous views. It’s about opening up. It’s about letting me in. It’s about sharing all of him with me. It’s about true romance. Both of us becoming one flesh. I want—I need more than the smell of exotic spices when he holds me. More than the joy I feel at the sight of him. More than the beautiful words he whispers to me. I must be a part of him, all of him. I long to know the pleasures he derives from his work. My desire is to share what he feels whenever he’s conducting his business. Perhaps to join him in his enterprise as one who helps it thrive. This is what I want. To be his equal, his partner in marriage and business. To be his life-long companion in everything. ~~Bruce Brady

Monday, September 29, 2014

October Writing Contest

"A Passing Storm" by James Tissot


1. Share this on Facebook or Twitter and link my name to your share.
2. Write a 150-word story based on the painting above and submit in the comments section.
3. Be sure to put your name on the bottom of the submission in case your entry comes up "anonymous."
4. Check back on October 15, 2014 to read the winning entry.


The tea had grown cold but, after the storm, the weather remained humid. The heaviness in the air had been born out of more than precipitation, however. My husband’s impatience had sparked another argument; my words in return had done nothing to ease the turmoil. Now, an hour later, the tea could no longer be enjoyed and, while I pretended to sleep on the divan, Harry stood just outside our yacht’s living quarters, looking in. I couldn’t see him, but I could sense him—the smell of his aftershave blending with the scent of sand and seawater. I would, I decided, let him believe that I had fallen to sleep easily, that his words had no effect on me. I would let him believe that, like our final destination, my love remained just over the next horizon. Then, perhaps, he would see things my way. Then, perhaps, my intense ardor for him might lessen. ~~ Eva Marie Everson
Okay! Your turn! Have fun! Winner will receive a gift certificate to Amazon.


Monday, September 1, 2014

14 Days, 37,209 words to go

Don't panic! I'm writing away like a crazy woman!

And enjoying the research more and more every day.

So, what's happening now? Well, Betty just got a marriage proposal, which she accepted. Ah, romance.
Evelyn didn't get a marriage proposal, which of course nearly broke her heart.
Inga is still in a world of trouble and Magda has enjoyed New Year's Eve 1952 with Barry and his family.

And our Miss Joan? Well, she's headed off on a slow boat to Europe where she will meet the man of her dreams ...

"Love is in the air ... exciting and new ..."

Meanwhile, check out some of the websites I've been to today:

1953 Quick Facts (wait till you see the price of gasoline!)

Car of the Week (1950 Buick Super)

And, can you name the handsome gents in this photograph? This contest is harder than before, but it comes (again) with a free book when Five Brides releases to one lucky winner! The shot is from a movie released in 1952.

Friday, August 29, 2014

17 Days, 45,813 Words to Go

I pretty much spent my birthday writing. That's okay. I'm so into the world of the Five Brides, I find it difficult to live in the present anyway.

Night before last, I deliberately left one of my characters, Inga, at a crossroad so that I could be anxious to get up yesterday morning and write. As I made my breakfast I allowed the conversation she was having with Francis to play out in my head. Thinking I had it pretty much "down," I went into my office to type.

Okay, so I knew that they would have dinner together and I knew that she would give him some important information at the dinner. What I didn't count on was them walking into a Middle Eastern restaurant.

What Inga is wearing on the date.

And that, my friends, changed the story.

Crazy, I know ... but it did.

Let me share a few of the websites that helped me dress Inga and Francis in the pictures to the left and below. Okay, ladies, don't you LOVE the shoes? I mean, this is from a 1952 ad, but wouldn't you love to slip your feet into some of those right now? I know I would ...

When Francis  buttons his suit coat over a plaid vest, this is what it looks like.

Inga is wearing  the black slipper shoes on the bottom left.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

20 Days, 52,000 words to go

Yeah, that's right. The number of days has gone down; the number of words has gone up.

Don't worry, this is the good news!

I met my husband for lunch today at one of our favorite cafes. I arrived before he did so I took out my notebook and wrote down "what has to happen next" along with the number of words I had to accomplish it. By the time the huggy hubby arrived, I had ordered our meals and worked myself into a frenzy. There is no way I can write the rest of this story in 30,000 words.

I took out my iPhone and pecked out an email to my editor (cc'ing my agent).

Then I waited. And ate my fries.

A few seconds later I heard the "bling" of my phone, indicating I had a new email. I opened it. Sure enough, my editor had sent back a reply.


The fries were really good, which meant I was in a pretty happy mood. So I wrote back:


I giggled as I added: (ARE YOU BREATHING??) followed by: 100,000??

O, Happy Day! The reply came back: A lot of historical novels run up to 120,000. Try not to go over.

So now what you see if the new goal. I may or may not get to 120,000, but now the feeling of sheer panic is gone.

Meanwhile, I dressed one of my characters in this dress today. It's called a "dressy suit."

What do you think?