Dairy Free Product of the Month

This month, I searched for the elusive dairy free chocolate. After driving to Madison, I found a nice variety in the local Kroger supermarket. The Enjoy Life boomCHOCOboom bar is dairy, soy, nut, and gluten free. Woo hoo!

And best of all, its tastes great…


Special Friendships

So many people think being an author is a solo effort. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yes, it’s true that the author does the majority of the writing, but each book you read is the result of countless hours. And people…

What can I say about this wonderful woman that hasn’t likely already been said? I was first a reader of Tracie’s books, starting back in the early 1990s when she was writing under the pen name of Janelle Jamison. A few years later, email became a new method of corresponding with people, and I discovered Tracie had a web site. So, I began writing to her and she wrote back. This continued for about 5 years. During that time, I told her I’d written a few stories and dabbled in the writing world. She asked me to send her something I’d written. I was nervous about one of my favorite authors reading my work, but I sent it. She wrote back fairly soon to tell me she really liked it, and she’d shown it to her husband, Jim Peterson. At the time, they were acquisitions editors for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line of books. The story I sent to them ended up being the last book they acquired for publication before they stepped down from that position. Had it not been for their friendship, mentoring, coaching, and belief in me, I likely would not have been published. What started as admiration for her writing blossomed into a special friendship for which I thank God every day. Thank you, Tracie!


Linda was one of the first authors to teach a one-day intensive clinic where I took part with 7 other writers. At that clinic, I discovered she only lived about 90 minutes away from me, and we started meeting monthly with 2 other writers for support, encouragement, brainstorming, and so much more. When Jim and Tracie told me they wanted to publish that first novel, Linda took a look at the first few chapters and told me to come down to her place for a weekend so we could whip those chapters into amazing shape. She’d been writing and publishing books for over 20 years, so I wasn’t about to pass up such a generous offer! That intensive editing weekend paid off. Jim and Tracie were quite impressed, and that book is still my highest selling book to date. A few others have come close, but haven’t quite surpassed it. I learned so much from Linda that weekend, and I still apply her principles to this day. Thank you, Linda!


She has been a friend for many years. We met through ACFW and working the bookstore at the annual conference, but we quickly became great friends as well. She had some books published before she realized her passion and love laid in editing. It wasn’t long before she and I began trading services. I designed web sites at the time, so I designed and maintained her site in exchange for her amazing editing services on several of my books. When we first met, I didn’t live in Colorado, but now I do, and we’ve gotten together several times over the years. She’s a fantastic friend who never fails to put others first, even if it means she has to go without. I’ve had one or two intensive deadline weekends where she’s gone over and above to make sure my chapters received the best editing she could give them. My recent books wouldn’t be nearly as good without her, and I treasure every aspect of our friendship in so many ways. Thank you, Jeanne!


I “met” Joy through a request I put out to the writing community for someone who could help me edit a book due on a fast deadline. She almost immediately responded and offered to do a chapter as a sample to see if I liked her work. Well, once she returned the chapter, I had no doubt in my mind. God has led me to another amazing editor. Not only did she find things everyone else had missed, but she also gave well-placed advice and suggestions for where I could make the story itself stronger through character development or plot enhancement. She also challenged me to take my writing to the next level in ways I hesitated to do on my own. The end result has been books with deeper emotion, more intricate plots, and a greater ability for readers to connect with the characters. That alone is invaluable to me. Joy’s dedication and commitment is beyond words. She has stayed up all night with me on more than one book, editing each chapter as I finish it and doing everything she can to ensure my book is the best it can be for submission to my publisher. I owe so much to her, and this is just one small way I can honor her for all she’s done. Thank you, Joy!

Contributed by Tiffany Amber Stockton

Monday Meet: Flying Fish Bait

fishing poleIf I had to describe Jim, it would be debonnaire. A CEO, he hobnobs with the top brass of Fortune 500 companies. He dresses in the finest clothes, his shoes are Italian leather. So when I heard his daughter, Jenna, wanted him to take her fishing, I knew I had to find out what happened.


Jim and his wife live in an upscale coastal community in Southern California. Now, he’d seen men fishing off the jetty, so that’s where he’d take Jenna. Not wanting to seem less than wonderful in front of his daughter, he made a clandestine visit to the jetty, to learn all he could from seasoned fishermen.


He observed their clothing, how they cast their lines, and reeled in their catch. Before he left, he asked them what they used for bait.


“Sardines’re the best, if you want to catch anything worth frying up for dinner.”sardines


Jim wasn’t sure about the frying part, but he assumed Jenna would want to keep her first fish. His next stop was the recommended tackle store to purchase rods and reels. He saw little jars of round, pink eggs but no sardines.


The next morning, they packed up the tackle and lunch in a brown bag. Jim dressed the part, finding the oldest pants he owned, a pair of designer jeans. As they drove, he pondered the best place to get bait. Finally, he pulled into a market. He wandered the aisles until he spotted canned sardines.


Jim picked up three cans. If those two old coots could catch their dinner with these, he could show Jenna a fun afternoon. The bill was $12.37. Good grief. But they said sardines, so sardines it would be.


When they arrived at the jetty, Jim baited a hook as Jenna watched, then drew his rod to the side and cast his line, just as he saw the fishermen do. The line arched high through the air toward the water.


So did the bait. Separated from the hook, that sardine flew on its own trajectory. A seagull, circling overhead dove and caught it before it splashed down.


“I don’t think that’s right, Dad. Are you sure you got the right bait?”


“They’re sardines. That’s what I was told to get.”


He tried again. As he slid another sardine onto the hook, hungry gulls circled overhead in anticipation. His casting was wrong. Bait firmly ensconced on the hook, Jim flipped the rod backwards and with a snap of his wrist, cast it forward.


On the snap, that sardine flipped off the hook and one lively gull caught it midair.


By that time, a small crowd had gathered, drawn by the flock of screeching gulls. Jim grabbed another sardine, double hooked it, and cast again. This time the sardine landed on his shoe.


Bait and hook refused to remain together. Each time the crowd roared with laughter.


How had those old guys done it? He’d seen their cooler filled with fish.


He baited and cast and baited again—through all $12.37 worth of sardines. When the third can was empty, the laughing crowd dispersed, wiping their eyes.


Jenna finally got her fish, when Jim took a ham sandwich and fixed it onto the hook.


They caught a sardine.


Contributed by Ane Mulligan

Ane can be found on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.




Easy Vegan Taco Salad

Hello all! I’m back today with another great recipe from one of my favorite dairy free sites…Milk Free Mom. This taco salad sounds yummy despite the fact there is no cheese…

makes 2 entree sized salads or four sides

2 cups chopped Iceburg lettuce
1/2 cup corn
1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup guacamole (I used a Wholly Guacamole mini 100 calorie cup)guacamole
1 or 2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa
A few crushed tortilla chips for topping (I used Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn chips)

Layer your lettuce, tomatoes, corn, and beans in a large bowl. Top with salsa and guacamole and sprinkle with tortilla chips.

Take a moment and visit Milk Free Mom for other great recipes!



Monday Meet: Life is a Column

lr1People ask me where I get my writing ideas from.

Often my main inspiration is my husband.

For Steve, it was one of those days, everything going wrong. Oppressively hot. But it was men’s golf league night. Since the world hadn’t come to an end, Steve thought he’d play. The first omen came when his partner’s wife called to say he was in the hospital. “I should probably call on him. But, it’s men’s golf league night. Jim will understand.”

Steve found a substitute. He played one of his worst nine holes of golf since he first learned the game. His substitute didn’t fare much better. They lost all four points to the other team.

Most nights, the men stay after their game and get a bite to eat at the nineteenth hole. My husband’s substitute opted to go home. “Family duties.” The winning team decided to stay only long enough for a celebratory drink. They headed upstairs and one of the opposition asked, “What you drinking, Steve?”

My husband doesn’t drink alcohol. Although the temptation to start was there. “Coke.”

They sat at the table, and Steve ordered his dinner. The men downed their expensive drinks and left.

Steve sat lr2at the table alone hoping his salad plate would erase some of the disappointment of the day.

Forty-five minutes later, his food arrived. “Sorry, Mr. Rondeau. We forgot about you.”

“Don’t worry,” he said, although inwardly he thought, a perfect end to a horrible day.

He finished his plate and asked for his bill. On it were three drinks and his salad plate.

“They not only beat the pants off us, they stuck me with their bill!” he moaned to the waitress. She shrugged her shoulders, and my husband paid up.

On the way out of the clubhouse, he commiserated this unhappy experience with another golfer. Knowing that I write a religious column for the local newspaper, he told Steve, “There’s gotta be a column in there someplace.”

Steve laughed as he told me what his friend said.

What is life but a lesson? We can either chose to be unhappy about these inconveniences, let it spoil our enjoyment, or see what nugget for living we can glean from it.

What did Steve glean?

“Hey, I’m grateful to play golf. Even if I don’t perform up to my own expectations. The coke tasted good after a hot round. And the experience gave my wife something to write about.”

Hubby is more than a patsy for my column. I simply couldn’t write if he weren’t there behind me, literally and figuratively. When it seemed as though I’d never be published, he reminded me who I wrote for. “If all God wants is for you to write solely for His pleasure, is that so bad?”

“It’s wonderful.” I said. That helped me to gain new perspective, to see my writing not as an end but a fellowship.

Hubby is my research assistant, virtual assistant, and book signing assistant. Sometimes he has to be chief cook and bottle washer when I’m under a deadline.lr3

Any wonder why I love this man?


Contributed by Linda Rondeau

Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com, her blog, This Daily Grind, or email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.   



A Bit of a Rant ~ Gluten Free

Hey, all. It seems like forever since I’ve been here or anywhere for that matter. I hate to tell you I’m going to rant just a bit, not so much as a complaint but so that those of you who can’t have gluten are aware.

Due to a family issue, we’ve spent quite a bit of time at the hospital. Like all day for several days. One thing I’ve discovered, at least as far as our hospital is concerned, they’re not gluten free friendly.

All their fried foods are cooked in the same oil, even their fish, so if you’re allergic to fish you can’t eat the fries.

The salad bars contain pasta and too often the spoons are transferred from one tray to the next.

The available entrees contained soy sauce, which you have to be careful of because most soy sauces contain gluten.


Sooo, there you have it, my little rant. But seriously, this is more about being aware of what’s available and where the contamination can occur. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.


Monday Meet: A True Sharpener

27f99abfe41b0a8c0b12a0.L._V341012408_SX200_I connected with Caryl McAdoo for the first time, over the American Christian Fiction Writers email loop. A friendship developed before we met face to face in Indianapolis September 2013 and we instantly bonded.
When the praise and worship service kicked-off, I thought I heard what could only be the voice of an angel behind me. I turned, and it was Caryl!
Not only can the girl sing, she’s also an extremely talented writer who inspires the love of Christ through her books. Her supportive nature and incredible gift as a writer and critique partner have sharpened my writing. Proverbs 27:17 says, As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Caryl is a true sharpener and a creative genius, full of ideas. We talk and sparks fly and  creativity flows whether coming up with new ideas for marketing, websites, new books, new ventures, or praise of the Lord, who brought us together. I am truly blessed with Caryl McAdoo in my corner and I count her as a dear friend.
And, to top it off, Caryl’s books are the best I’ve ever read in Christian Fiction. Vow Unbroken and Hearts Stolen will be released on September 5th.
Contributed by Holly Michael