Writing Retreat Time!

Look like it's about time for me to get life back on track
and write my next book!

I am headed off to Fort Scott for a long weekend of writing, yummy food, writing, visiting with my RWA friends, and more writing. It's going to be awesome! 

What are your goals or plans this weekend?

Creating a Life Plan

If you didn't know, I'm currently participating in Connie Sokol's 8 Week Back to Basics Challenge. So far, I've really enjoyed it. I love that the goals are for one week only - and it's not an every day goal. You choose something you can do 2-5 times. Whatever works best for your schedule that particular week. Then you do your best to meet at least 80% of that goal. No beating yourself up! Of course, the reward at the end of the week is fabulous, too!

Last week (Week #2), our goal was to create a life plan.

Now, this isn't a where I want to be in five years plan. It's more of a motivational mission statement about who I am, what my talents & skills are, and how I bless myself and others kind-of-thing. That chapter of the book has several questions for the reader to answer which help you to do an in-depth evaluation. I used my journal and answered all the questions first from my perspective. Then I pulled out my patriarchal blessing and answered the questions again from the things that are contained there.

I absolutely LOVE my Life Plan statement. It's so me! Of course, after it was written, edited, then edited again, I decided to make it all cute - another reflection of me. Here it is. Note: You may need to click on the image to make it larger.  =)

I think everyone should create a life plan. I posted mine next to my desk so I can read it every day.

What would you put in your life plan?

To learn more about Connie's Back to Basics Challenge, check out her website.

Faith, Hope & Gravity by Merrill Osmond & Giveaway

Today, I am spotlighting Merrill Osmond's new book, 
Faith, Hope & Gravity. 

“Faith, Hope and Gravity” is the spiritual, magical adventure of teenage Liam Kane as he discovers some of the same lessons Merrill Osmond learned as the world-traveling lead singer of the Osmond Brothers. Like Merrill, Liam is often misunderstood as he helps those seeking for purpose in their extraordinary talents. Liam’s visionary abilities gain him international notoriety as “The Prophecy Boy” who swims with dolphins, dreams of a mysterious red door, and champions those who are often misjudged for their uncommon gifts. Surviving kidnapping, near-drowning, and imprisonment leads to the discovery that despite differences, when people respect each other and their wide variety of abilities, the thread of commonality that runs through mankind grows ever stronger. Turn the pages to join in this unforgettable journey.

“Fiction rarely resonates with more truth that ‘Faith Hope and Gravity.’ Merrill Osmond's music has made him part of our lives. His delightful debut novel is a journey into his heart. It is a journey you don't want to miss."
Kieth Merrill, Academy Award Winning Filmmaker

The Giveaway

Enter to win 2 Merrill Osmond CD's - Swingtime & Unplugged. To enter, simply do the following two things before September 30th. Giveaway is open to the U.S. only.

  1. Follow my blog AND
  2. Leave a comment on this blog post

More About The Authors

Merrill Osmond is a world-class entertainer, producer, author, motivational speaker and renowned lead singer of the Osmonds. Merrill and his siblings have produced 47 platinum & gold records and Merrill has written the lyrics for five #1 hit records. Merrill is a co-founder of the Osmond Foundation, which originally produced “The Children’s Miracle Network” Telethon. He has produced presidential inaugural events for both Reagan & Bush. Merrill is excited to release his first novel, Faith, Hope & Gravity.

Shirley Bahlmann has written a wide variety of genres, including historical fiction, novels, biographies, how-to, and how-not-to books. One of her favorites is a children’s book titled “When the Chicken Crossed the Road” which comes with instructions and a chicken-colored washcloth so you can roll your own chicken! Shirley finds the most annoying thing about being a prolific writer is sleep, because she’d rather be writing.

Buy the Book

Faith, Hope & Gravity is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local book stores.


Book Review: Demons by Heather Frost

Demons by Heather Frost

Kate’s life is far from normal. She can see auras, her boyfriend is immortal, and her powers make her a target. But now that the Demon Lord is hunting her, things are about to go from dangerous to truly deadly. Packed with action, mind-blowing plot twists, and characters you can’t get enough of, this is a fast-paced, heart-pounding read from cover to cover.

Heather's Website

Demons on Goodreads

My Review

Absolutely excellent! A great sequel to Seers.

Demons starts just a few weeks after Seers ends. In this novel, Kate discovers why the Demon Lord wants her specifically - and a lot of secrets are revealed. Then, just when you think you start to put things together, something major happens that threatens Kate and Patrick. All I can say is holy mackerel!

The characters, story, plot, twists and turns were so incredibly done, I was glued to my Nook until I hit the last page - which was a major doozy of a cliff hanger. Then I wanted to beg, beg, beg for the next book. There were some tears in this one. One of my fave people dies. I'm not telling who though. 

If the author finishes the trilogy with another incredible novel, then this series is going to become one of my all time ever faves!

Recovery from the Storymakers Midwest Writers Conference

The Storymakers Midwest Writers Conference was a HUGE success!

I made lots of new friends and strengthened existing friendships. Purchased new books for my shelves - which reminds me, I must buy a 4th bookshelf. The other 3 are overflowing. Mind you, these are my shelves filled with books from author friends I personally know. Our other books are all on shelves in the play room.

I digress. Conference = awesome.

Recovery = a week of relaxation filled with day time naps and new books to read.

I've been too tired to cook, so the crock pot is once again my best friend. Today I put together a stew. One of my Facebook friends requested the recipe, so here it is:

Sweet Potato & Beef Stew

1 lb beef stew meat
1 can 14 1/2 oz beef broth
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 2" pieces
1 lg onion, chopped
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 TB cornstarch
2 TB water

1. Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Add beef, broth, sweet potatoes, onion, bacon, salt & pepper. Cover & cook on low for 7-8 hours, or cook on high for 4-5 hours.

2. Transfer beef & veggies to a serving bowl.

3. Turn slow cooker on high. Combine cornstarch & water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir into the juices in the slow cooker.  Cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until desired thickness, stirring occassionally. Add beff & veggie back into broth. Cover & cook for 15 minutes, until veggies are warmed through.

Makes 4 servings.  *I double this recipe for my family.

And here are a few of my favorite pictures from the conference weekend. You can find more on my Facebook album.

This was my daughter's very first writers conference!

Josi Kilpack, Lisa Mangum, Danyelle Ferguson (me), my daughter, and my awesome hubby John Ferguson.

Heather Justesen, Traci Hunter Abramson, Danyelle Ferguson (me), & Laurie Lewis.

The Storymakers Midwest Writers Conference Committee: Lynn Parsons, Danyelle Ferguson, John Ferguson, Don Carey & Heather Justesen.

Storymakers Midwest Writers Conference 2012!

Karen Hoover - shooting food at my husband. She also taught my daughter how to use a laser to distract presenters.  =)

Danyelle Ferguson, Steve Westover, & Heather Justesen

The conference guys - James Blevins, Steve Westover, Don Carey & John Ferguson. Yes, four guys surrounded by 36 women. But they survived.

Barnes & Noble Authorpalooza Book Signing. It was fabulous!

Tres Leches Cupcakes Winner AND an Upcoming Booksigning!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win a copy of Josi Kilpack's new book, Tres Leches Cupcakes. Before I announce the winner, just a quick note!

I'm participating in a fabulous Authorpalooza this Friday, September 14th. If you're in the Kansas City area, please stop by, visit, and check out some awesome books! There will be a Q&A session with the authors and several prize drawings.

Oak Park Mall Barnes & Noble 
11323 W 95th Street, Overland Park, KS

Additional authors include:

Lisa Mangum
Josi Kilpack
Heather Justesen
Don Carey
Karen Hoover
Traci Hunter Abramson
L.C. Lewis
Steve Westover
Lynn Parsons
Tamara Hart Heiner
and more! 

And now, the Tres Leches Cupcakes winner is . . . 

Kathleen Brebes!

Kathleen, please email me your snail mail address and I'll get your book in the mail.

Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi Kilpack Giveaway!

My mailman brought me some happiness today. 

For Sadie Hoffmiller, going undercover as an informant for the Bureau of Land Management on an archeological site in Santa Fe, New Mexico, seems like the perfect way to stay safe and busy while a threat against her life remains unresolved. But when recent burials are found on an ancient site, Sadie finds herself in the middle of an unexpected—and unwanted—investigation. The more she digs for the truth, the more secrets she uncovers—secrets that people would kill to keep hidden.

As a member of Josi's test kitchen, I received an extra autographed copy of TLC. That means some giveaway love for my readers. So, you want to win? You just need to do two things:

  • Follow my blog
  • Leave a comment 

I'll announce the winner Monday, Sept.10th.

Teaching Kids About Germs

Our theme for this week's family night was Cold and Flu Awareness. We started off the night by singing Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes - led by Rob (8 years old). Then our 13 year old son, Isaac, was in charge of the lesson. He did a fabulous job, too! He shared some good health habit reminders.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 30 seconds (which is the length of singing the ABC's)
  • Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters and the dining room table with disinfectant wipes.
  • Cover your sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm (your elbow)
  • Exercise and get plenty of sleep 
  • Eat good food and drink lots of water
  • Don't share your food or drink
  • Use hand sanitizer 

Isaac then followed up his lesson with two short Sid the Science Kid videos. The younger kids loved them!

We ended the night by playing Wii Tennis and munching on popcorn. It was the perfect theme for the upcoming fall and winter weather.

How do you teach your kids about germs and staying healthy?