Tea with Me: BIG News, Priorities, and a Leap Second

file0002117963911Happy Friday, friends! As you sit there, reading this post, I’m busy visiting with family and friends at my parent’s house in VA. I only get out here about once a year, so it’s always so fun to catch up with everyone. Plus, we’re celebrating 2 very special birthdays–including my son’s June birthday. Love family fun!

But, that’s not why you came to visit, right? There’s questions that need to be answered. For instance, Cindy submitted 2 very interesting questions this week.

Cindy: What did you do with your leap second?

Me: Well, since the leap second was the last second in June, which means it came right before midnight, I was in bed, trying to sleep. Of course, sleep wouldn’t come because my mind was a whirl of excitement for the vacation to begin the next morning!

Cindy: I suddenly have free time! How do YOU establish your priorities to settle YOUR free time?

Me: That’s a loaded question! Priorities are so important when it comes to planning how we should spend our time. Without them, our temptation to say yes (or perhaps no) will overcome us and lead us to waste time on things we have no business doing or to over-commit ourselves.

My first response, though, was “what free time?” Ha! I really don’t seem to have much, but I can procrastinate with the best.

While choosing priorities is a whole blog post itself, I will say that to choose my priorities, I followed these steps:

1. Pray! Any decisions effecting our lives as a whole should not be made without prayer. How are we to know God’s path and plan for our lives if we don’t ask . . . and then listen?

2. Look to the Bible for answers or examples. The New Testament actually lays out a pretty good outline for priorities.

3. Establish priorities and then make sure activities fall in line. Once I established my priorities, I laid out all the activities I have throughout the week. If they didn’t line up with the priorities, I got rid of them!

4. Be sure to work in “me” time. It’s OK to have time to do things you enjoy, but they shouldn’t take up hours a day several days a week. Instead, work in a half an hour a day or an afternoon a week. It’s nice to get a break and relax!

For a look at my priorities (and what I use to inspire others), take a look at my article, Are Those YOUR Priorities or God’s?, on Managing Your Blessings.

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And finally . . .

My big news.


I’m going to officially be a published NOVELIST sometime in August!


My agent and I met this weekend to hash out details and decided to serialize my stand-alone novel, Bellanock. I’ll be self-publishing the story as a series of longer short stories, basically. If all goes well, I’ll be releasing the first one in August (we’re shooting for the first Tuesday!).

Eeeeee! I know, I’m so excited. And terrified.

So, what’s Bellanock about? I’m glad you asked!

Thousands of years ago, humans were expelled from Eden. God placed 2 angels and a spinning sword at the entrance to keep them out. But, as humans spread across the planet, some creatures of old became endangered, and God hid them–and Eden–on a small island in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, Bellanock.

Now, though, a demon has found its way inside. It’s spreading its evil and changing the innocent creatures of folklore into monsters. It is up to Fauna, the fairy queen, to journey into the real world and find the savior she’s been dreaming about since she was a child.

In Chicago, Brian, a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up, is shocked when a crazy blonde tries to convince him that creatures like dragons, unicorns, and fairies really do exist–and he needs to save them. Even if he did believe her, what could he do? He knows demons exist, but how does one fight against them?

Brian and Fauna must return to Bellanock and defeat the demon before all that is pure is wiped from the realms of the universe.

What do you think?

5 Things I Learned at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference

10253868_722067807814954_1123009107988543688_nThis past weekend, I attended the KY Christian Writers Conference, held in Elizabethtown, KY. Actually, attended might not be the right word. I am the faculty chair for KCWC, so maybe “worked” would be the more appropriate term, especially since I only attended 1 session that I wasn’t either teaching or hosting. Still, there was a lot that I learned at this year’s conference.

1. If you’re looking to lose weight, try working on the planning committee for a decent-sized conference. You’ll either be too busy or too stressed to eat much, and you’ll be hurrying from one side of the building to the other most of the day. I think I may have lost 10 lbs. OK, maybe not quite that much . . .

2. When you get involved, conferences are a great place to network with people. Well, this isn’t something I learned this year, but it’s definitely something I’m reminded of at every conference I attend. I love volunteering. At ACFW, I often work the registration desk or the bookstore; for KCWC, I am the faculty chair; and for Realm Makers, I’m the Social Media Director and the Director’s minion (ha!). Through these opportunities, I’ve met some amazing people–like my agent, many of my critique partners, and a whole multitude of people who have been sources of encouragement, insight, and wisdom.

3. I’m funny! Seriously, that is something I learned at KCWC this year. I have been so afraid and self-conscious about getting up in front of people to speak, that I’ve never applied to do workshops and, in fact, avoided anything that required me to do so. However, I felt the pull to do a workshop this year. Plus, as faculty chair, I was in charge of leading the Editor’s Panel and doing all the giveaways and entertaining when we gathered as big group. So, I was up on stage, in front of the whole conference, several times throughout the 2 days. And, apparently, I’m pretty funny. Unless they were just laughing at how pitiful I was, which I would entirely understand. 🙂

4. Jesse Florea (from Focus on the Family) was a great keynote speaker. I didn’t get to sit in on most of his first 2 keynote sessions, but what I did hear was pretty entertaining and helpful. However, his last keynote session was downright inspiring. He made us laugh, made us cry, and made me want to go home and write!

11217513_10206984246869755_5010395468265576946_n5. My agent, Julie Gwinn, rocks! Not only did she do a fabulous job answering questions on the Editor’s Panel and the Fiction Panel, but she is great at brainstorming and helping to decide on career direction. In face, her and I have some exciting stuff cooking . . . which could actually involve some major changes in my writing over the next few months. Can we say “published writer”? More information to come soon!

I’m so thankful for the conference this past weekend. While I didn’t exactly learn a lot of writing-related tips and tricks, I did get to listen to a few knowledgeable experts, meet some amazing writers, spend time with friends, and leave with a lot of motivation and inspiration.

The planning committee is taking a hiatus for the rest of the summer, but we’ll be diving back into planning for 2016 in September. We already know that Sandra Aldrich will be the keynote for next year . . . the rest of the speakers are still a mystery. Only God knows–and that means the conference is in good hands!

If you live in the area, or even within a few hours drive, I highly suggest coming to hang out with us next summer! Dates are June 17-18.