Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I'm published!

Yesterday, Summer's Winter finally became available as an ebook on Amazon. Hopefully the print version will be coming SOON.

Over on my new website, I blog about a little Godwink on my first day as a published writer.

Take a look, and remember, you can unsubscribe from The Queen's blog and subscribe over there.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Blog, New Website, and Downton Abbey!

I am setting up a new website, which in future will host my blog. It's still under construction, but I'm excited about the progress. The new website is:

My first blog post contains my reflections on last Sunday night's Downton Abbey episode--particularly something Lady Mary said about grief. Something I found particularly true in my experience over the past year.

Check it out if you will. There's also a nifty email sign-up box on the page so you won't miss any future blog posts.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On Math, Cold Snaps, and Dogs on the Sofa

A lot of people say they hated math when they were in school. When I was a kid, I didn’t mind math. (At least not until I got to trigonometry. I still have no idea what trigonometry was, or what it was for.) What I minded was every day trying to grasp a new arithmetic concept, finally having it click—and then having to move on to yet another tricky concept almost immediately.

Frankly, once I finally understood how to add a column of numbers, I wanted to do it for a while. Relax, kick back, put some music on and add a few lines of numbers.

Kind of like knitting. I learned one stitch to begin with, and then made garter stitch scarves for months. Eventually it became boring and I decided to add the purl stitch, but it was in my own time.

Not like in math class, where the minute I understood about adding two columns, they made me add three. Or multiply them. Or draw that little scaffold and learn to divide them. Don’t even get me started.

Unfortunately, I’m discovering that life is more like math class than like knitting. It’s more of an education, I guess, than a leisurely hobby. In life, like math, I don’t seem to be able to relax and bask in “getting it,” in figuring out a problem or solving an issue, before an even more complicated one takes its place.

My relationship with animals is the perfect example. Along with my mother, sister, and husband, I am constantly trying to rescue or help some stray cat or dog. They all come with problems. They all tend to CAUSE problems. We stress and scheme and figure out what to do—and another problem comes along.
This boy (who is going to be the subject of a couple of in-depth posts in the next week or two) is a perfect example.

This is Pegasus Pete, the Pet Pit Puppy. In other words, a pit bull—the kind of dog my family and I always said we would never have. Just asking for trouble, and all that. Those dogs’ll turn on you! (That’s what we heard, anyway.)

But thanks to someone who abandoned him at my elderly mother's house, we have Pete. And we’ve worked out his stealing food from the cats, and stealing their beds (solution: a gated cat sanctuary on one porch) and getting out in the road (solution: extremely expensive fence), and running away from potential adoptive parents and getting lost (solution: go find him and keep him forever), and oh, a whole lot of things. But he has been strictly an outside dog all these months. But that’s okay. We live in Georgia, right? Mild weather and all that.

I know that, compared to a large portion of the country, this will sound very paltry, but suddenly, just when I felt that all was right in our animal world, I hear that the temperature is going to plunge to 12 degrees two nights in a row. And there are all those adopted strays, including several cats and Pete the Pit, who need a warm place to stay.

A new animal problem. Imagine that.

My mother and sister let several outdoors-only stray cats sleep in a guest room last night. So this evening, I will be helping my mother rehang the curtains they tore down and do something with the shredded window shade. Not sure what else I will find. She says I “won’t believe that room.” She’s probably right.

I thought I was getting the hard part. Pete came home with me--his first time inside a house! But he was a very good boy, just nervous. After being dumped as a five-month-old, he has abandonment issues, so he whined when we left him in a kennel in another room to sleep, and he wasn’t really happy until he got back home to my mother’s front porch.

But he did discover that he really likes my comfy

sofa. And he enjoyed watching Parks and Rec with me.

And it makes me smile that he knows that--finally!--he has a home.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World: John 3:16 Marketing Excerpt Tour

What a perfect time for me to be hosting Jill Richardson as a part of the John 3:16 Marketing's Excerpt Tour, with the new Hobbit movie coming out within days! Here's a bit about her new book--and then read on for an excerpt, information about a contest with great prizes, and where to go on the tour for another treasure from Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World

Hobbits, elves, and dragons have become common fantasy characters but do they have more relevance to your life than you think? Are they as real as, or the same as, people you meet every day? Maybe not literally, but J.R.R. Tolkien's famous characters bring to life real character qualities we all can learn from, whether good or bad. What can the bravery of a hobbit, the faith of a elf, or the greed of a dragon teach teens about themselves? How can their stories lead us to the real Kingdom where God is working out way more than a fantasy for his people? Dig in to these familiar characters and relevant Bible passages to find out. Come out understanding how to live your own epic story!

Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World of Middle-earth—



Vital Stats
Name: Beorn.
Height: What time of day is it?
Special Talent: Skinchanging. It sounds a whole lot more awesome than “Werebear.”
In His High School Yearbook: Most likely to grow a beard. And two extra legs.

Beorn is the Brando of The Hobbit. Tough, skeptical, secretive, and vicious when provoked. Not someone you want as an enemy. But Beorn will equally viciously protect his friends. You just need to be his friend,
first. OK, nothing sketch about that.

“‘You must all be very polite when I introduce you. I shall introduce you slowly, two by two, I think; and you must be careful not to annoy him, or heaven knows what will happen. He can be appalling when he is angry,
though he is kind enough if humored.’” (The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, p.118)

There’s a little bit of confusion here. On the one hand, it’s great to have this guy on your side. The dwarves and Bilbo would have starved through Mirkwood Forest without the food he sent with them. They found some much needed rest and food at his somewhat unconventional house. They would have never gotten out of Middle Earth alive without his handy turning-into-a- giant-bear trick in the end. When he’s on your
side, he’s there to the end. There is a lot about Beorn to be grateful for.

On the other hand, he admits to being a little untrustworthy. He implies their chances of being eaten alive are fairly high if they leave his house after dark. They’re not entirely sure for a while if he’s the savior they need or the terror they don’t.

What kind of a role model is this?

Maybe Beorn teaches us how important it is to watch where we put our loyalty. Then, when we give it, he shows us how to keep it. Friendships during the teen years can have complicated loyalties. Has anyone ever
said things like this to you?

If you’re really my friend you would... If you really trusted me you’d...

If you really loved me you would...

Teenagers toss around the words “friends forever” and “I’ve got your back” easily. But, what do those words mean? Do you mean what you’re saying? Do you know what you’re saying?

With some people, it’s a bad idea to promise loyalty. Pippin finds this out when he offers a lifetime of service to Denethor. The guy is certifiably nuts. He even dabbles in filicide. (That’s killing your own kid. It is not normal.) But Pippin jumps in quickly and doesn’t put a lot of thought behind how smart it is to promise you’ll be best buds with a lunatic.

Maybe you know the feeling. A promise of friendship has turned into sticking with someone you know isn’t doing great things. You’re realizing how hard it is to be totally behind a friend who tells lies, harms herself, bullies other kids, or wants you to do things you’re not comfortable with. But what to do? You promised.

With other people, it’s tempting to break a promise to be a loyal friend, even when you know you shouldn’t. She’s not popular anymore; he’s gotten annoying and moody. Sticking with them when they need you is
the right thing to do, but...

Here’s a story that might shed some light on the problem.

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. . .

Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.”

Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you . . .”

Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town (1 Samuel 18-20).

Yes, the story is a long one. Here is the Spark Notes version: David is King Saul’s “intern.” He does well. Too well. Saul’s son becomes his best friend, and his daughter marries the guy. David becomes more popular than the king. Of course, this does not go over well. So, the king tries to pin David to the wall with a spear. Multiple times. Jonathan doesn’t believe his father has evil intentions and thinks maybe the man is just misunderstood. Until Saul tries to pin him to a wall, at which point Jonathan tells David he’d better get out of town fast. Jonathan stays loyal to his friend, makes his dad mad, and basically ends up losing everything. Wow, great story.

Through all of this, Jonathan struggles. Stay loyal to dad, or keep his promise to David? It’s not an easy Choice. He loves his dad. They have a history, and anyway, it’s safer to remain on the king’s good side. Plus there’s a lot of job security in being the king’s firstborn son.

But, David is his friend, and his friend hasn’t done anything wrong. In fact, he’s being picked on and Threatened for being a good guy. What to do?

1. Jonathan started this BFF pact with David. David couldn’t really have started it. He was a commoner, and this was the king’s son. It would be like you walking into the White House and asking Malia Obama to hang. Not done. So why did Jonathan do it?
2. What do you think it meant for Jonathan, the king’s son, to give David his robe, sword, etc.?
3. What was Jonathan risking by making this friendship?
4. Jonathan is torn between two loyalties. What do you think he considered when trying to make his decision about whom to stick with? Why did he decide to stay on David’s side?
5. What did he lose by making this decision? What did he gain?

God says in Psalm 15 that people who really worship Him will “keep their promises no matter how much it hurts.” So, first, it’s good to keep promises, but second, you’d better be pretty careful before you make one.

The dwarves don’t really know much about Beorn, so they have to make their decision without much info. What they do know is that the smartest person around, Gandalf, tells them he’s a friend worth making. So, they choose to go with listening to someone who knows more than they do, and they befriend Beorn.

But, they don’t keep it one-sided. They live up to their end of the friendship, too. They don’t bring Beorn’s ponies into Mirkwood, even though they’d like to. They respect his boundaries (don’t come outside at night, don’t mistreat my animals), and they are rewarded by a very useful friendship. Friends, chosen carefully and given respect, are some of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. And hey, if one of them can turn into a giant bear, all the better.


Have you ever had to choose between two people? What helped you make your decision? Did you make the right decision or the wrong one? Why?

When you decide on friendships, what matters to you? What would make you keep a loyalty no matter What? What would make you end one? Do you have criteria you think God would like?


“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10

Want to read more? The next excerpt can be found on December 10 at .

Jill's love for hobbits and elves comes from her time as a literature  teacher and as a lifelong reader of great stories. She also loves an epic challenge and a chance for grace wherever they exist. Jill has a BA in English and Education and an MDiv in theology and is an ordained minister who has served as a worship, preaching, and discipleship pastor. She has published four books previously, as well as articles in national magazines such as FamilyFun, Discipleship Journal, and Today's Christian Woman.

Jill enjoys speaking on a variety of topics and has been very active on the MOPS circuit, as well as in junior high and high school classes. She enjoys speaking for retreats for all ages.

With three daughters, three cats, and (thankfully!) only one husband, she keeps busy otherwise with community theater, gardening, reading, scrapbooking, and traveling. Jill loves oceans, cats, chocolate, teenagers, her family, the Cubs, and God, not necessarily in that order.


From December 1 through December 16, the John 3:16Marketing Network is hosting a Christmas Book Launch and Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World is a featured book. As part of the event, the Network is offering a $200 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner. For a chance to win, go to and enter the Rafflecopter (toward the bottom of the page). And be sure and pick up your Kindle version of Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World at 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spiralling Out of Control: Excerpt and $200 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Today's guest author in the John 3:16 Marketing Excerpt Tour is Michelle Dennis Evans, with info and an excerpt about her new book, Spiralling Out of Control. Take it away, Michelle!

Robin, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog.

Make sure you read right to the bottom for your chance to win a $200 Amazon voucher.

Book blurb... Temptation, depression, seduction, betrayal ... Not what Stephanie was expecting at fifteen years of age. Uprooted from her happy, all-girl high school life with a dream filled future and thrown into an unfriendly co-ed school, Stephanie spirals into depression. 

When charismatic high school senior Jason notices her, Stephanie jumps in feet first and willingly puts all her faith and trust in him, a boy she barely knows. 

Every choice she makes and turn she takes leads her towards a dangerous path.

Her best friend is never far away and ready to catch her … but will she push Tabbie too far away when she needs her most? 

This novel contains adult themes.
Recommended reading audiences 17+ 
Excerpt - Chapter 2 part a

The front door of their new home was slightly ajar. 

“Hello? Mum? Dad? You in here somewhere?” 

No one was in sight. Stephanie mounted the first step and paused.

Silence. She inched her way up to the next. The house was still. Were her
parents in there? She bit her lip, hoping they were. At the top of the stairs
she walked down a short hallway, checking the rooms on either side. Through the
last doorway, her parents lay on the floor of what looked like the master

Her father rolled over to face the doorway. “Steph, good morning. How did you sleep?”

She ignored the question. “Why didn’t you tell us you got in?”

“Just as it was getting light, your father decided to check under all the pavers and rocks for a spare key.” Her mother chuckled.

“They left a key?” Stephanie spat the words. 

“It appears that way.” Dad yawned, stretching. 

“Why didn’t you check last night?”

 “Is April awake?” Dad asked.

“That’s crazy. We could’ve been inside.” Stephanie spun the doorknob between her thumb and fingers. “That’s so typical of this family!”

“Stephanie!” Her mother sat up.

“Not much we can do about it now.” Her father climbed to his feet.

April pushed the door away from Stephanie’s grasp. “Can we go to McDonalds for breakfast?”

“Good morning, love. Yes, McDonalds sounds good. I could do with a coffee.” Diane pushed herself up off the floor.

Stephanie looked from one to the other. Is this some weird fairytale I’ve woken up in?


When they returned to the house, Stephanie cheered. Finally something was happening as scheduled. The removal truck doors swung in the breeze and two burly men were ready to unload. 

Stephanie helped unpack box after box. By the end of the day most things were re-homed, so she left the confines of the house. 

Her mind spun with all the changes. Tabbie wasn’t a five-minute drive away. There would be no dance rehearsal this week, she was no longer a student at Hill Top Private College and she no longer lived in Sydney. 

Stephanie took long strides away from the house as dusk approached. Perhaps a walk would clear her mind. The grey sky seemed to hover low, like it was falling on her, choking the voice that wanted to scream. The weight of fear forced her back home and inside. Her heart raced and her head pounded as she darted into her room. 

She found her posters, the ones she’d carefully taken off the walls of her Sydney bedroom. With no order or pattern, she slapped them on the walls—anywhere. Blu-tacking them haphazardly to cover the duck-pond green paint. In her out-of-control state, everything began to spin. 

Stephanie fell onto her bed, smothered her face with her pillow and sobbed. 

Want to read more? The next excerpt from Spiralling Out of Control will be at tomorrow, December 9!

Please pop over to the John 3:16 page and enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a $200 Amazon voucher

Bio ... Michelle Dennis Evans writes picture books, chapter books, young adult contemporary novels and enjoys dabbling in free verse poetry. Her debut novel Spiralling Out of Control and poetry collection Life Inspired both reached #1 in subcategories on Amazon in their first week of release.  
Michelle is passionate about seeing people grow and move forward in their journey. She lives on the Gold Coast with her husband and four super active, super fun and super time consuming children. 
Find Michelle and all of her social media links at

Friday, December 6, 2013

"The Donkey and the King" Excerpt Four: John 3:16 Marketing Tour

Today's post is a part of the John 3:16 Marketing Excerpt Tour for December. It's by Lorilyn Roberts and contains an excerpt and info about her children's book, "The Donkey and The King." Check out these amazing illustrations, folks! And details for entering the raffle for a $200 Amazon card!

From author Lorilyn Roberts:

A donkey longs for an easier life with no heavy burdens and no one to tell him what to do. He runs away and becomes lost, but “good” finds him in the most unlikely of places.

Travel to the Bible lands and meet Baruch, a stubborn donkey, and other lovable animals:  Lowly, the pig; Much-Afraid, a small, lame dog; Worldly Crow, who isn’t as bright as he thinks he is; and a sheep, Little, sent on a special mission by the King. The ending of the story will delight young readers as they discover “good” exists in the world if they look and listen for it. 

When I was young, I hated doing chores. I suppose I was this donkey, rebellious and self-determined, but desperate for a friend—the one friend who would never leave me (or you). 

Here is a short excerpt from “The Donkey and the King.” This is the third stop on the tour. I hope you will visit all the blogs and participate in the John 3:16 Marketing Network Book Launch and win the grand prize. See details below.

“I have to go,” said the donkey. “Someday I’ll come back and we can be together again.”
Baruch slipped away into the darkness.

Several hours passed as Baruch plodded along the unfamiliar road. Night winds blew dust in his face. Bats circled in the moonlit sky. Wild jackals H-O-W-L-E-D.


On every page is the hidden word “good.” Can you find it in the drawings above? If not, you can look below and see where the word is hidden.

The unique quality about Kindle-enhanced books is that the drawings and font size can be enlarged for young readers. And for parents who can’t find the word, a QR code (a free AP is available for smart phones) and link is provided to facilitate the search. Some pages are more challenging than others (for older readers).

If you enjoyed looking for the mouse in “Goodnight Moon” when you were young, your child will delight in looking for “good” in “The Donkey and the King.” The moral:  There is good in the world if you look and listen for the King’s voice.

“The Donkey and the King” (A Story of Redemption)
99 cents December 1 through December 16
24 reviews, 4.8 stars
Ages 2-6

Book Trailer:

From December 1 through December 16, the John 3:16 Marketing Network is hosting a Christmas Book Launch and “The Donkey and the King” is a featured book.

As part of the event, the Network is offering a $200 Amazon gift e-card to one lucky winner. For a chance to win, go to  and enter the Rafflecopter (toward the bottom of the page). And be sure and pick up your Kindle version of “The Donkey and the King” for 99 cents at    

Next stop on Lorilyn Roberts’ Excerpt Tour:  Visit Jill Richardson’s blog on December 7 at:

Lorilyn Roberts is an award-winning author who writes family-friendly books for the young, the young at heart, and all those in between. Visit to learn more.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Bell Ringer's Epiphany

Today's guest blogger is Linda Wood Rondeau. I asked her to help us usher in the Christmas season because I just read her wonderful feel-good novel, A Christmas Prayer, which has just been released. She is sharing her story "The Bell Ringer's Epiphany" with us. Enjoy! And afterward, scroll down and read more about Linda and her new books.

I wondered why I had volunteered. I had too many things to do. And I hate the cold. It gets into my bones until nothing can make me feel warm again. 
I had offered to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army’s Christmas drive. I bundled up and trekked to my station at the local grocery store. I donned the blue apron and picked up the emblem of my assignment, a small golden bell.
Then one by one the people came up to the little red bucket dropping in the change or dollars. Sometimes people felt like talking. Other times, they nodded and left. Still others dropped their gift and scurried off to complete the sundry other tasks the season required of them.
“I brought you here to teach you something,” the Spirit said to my heart.
Not to be so quick to volunteer?
 “No. I want you to study these people. Examine the way they give.”
And, I did. To my amazement, I learned the reasons for giving are as varied as the people who donate. Then I began to see similarities in people’s motivation. And, I wondered where my heart would fit among theirs. 
The first lady gave from her sorrow. This was her first Christmas without her mother. Her father had passed away only a year before. Eyes brimming with tears, she pushed twenty dollars into the bucket. “My mother was a bell ringer,” she said. “Thank you for doing this.” Then she rushed off, uncomfortable with her emotions.  
The Spirit spoke again: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering (Isaiah 52:3).
The next person gave from his abundance. His leather jacket and bulging wallet told all. He plopped a den-dollar bill into the bucket, pleased with his generosity. He straightened his shoulders with pride in his offering and left.
The Spirit spoke again: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded: and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48).
An elderly woman approached. Her threadbare coat and raveled scarf told of her station in life. Her cart also bore testament to her poverty. She stopped before the red canister, pulled out a thin and worn wallet from her purse, and dropped in her last two coins. “Maybe this will bring me good fortune,” she said. She gave from her need, as if investing into generosity would bring better days. 
The Spirit spoke yet again: And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Another elderly woman stopped by the kettle. Her head drooped from her heavy burden. She shrugged her shoulders then reached into her purse for an assortment of change. “I feel guilty if I pass by one of these drums and give nothing.” She trotted off, head slightly higher. Her giving well was a fountain of guilt.
The Spirit spoke anew: For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:3).
Lastly, a young man eagerly approached the drum, much akin to Tiger’s Happy Bounce, and tossed his coins with a whistle. “I love this!” he said as he sailed out the door. “God’s been good to me. This is one way I can say, ‘Thank you.’” The young man gave from a spirit of gratitude.
The Spirit spoke once more than fell silent: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (1 Corinthians 9:7).
Then I knew what the Spirit wanted me to learn. Christmas is a time for giving. I analyzed my own motivations. Do I give begrudgingly because it’s expected? Do I donate from a feeling of loss? Do I thrive on the hope one day my giving will be multiplied? Do I fear what will happen if I do not give? I hope that from this day on my giving will be from a grateful heart to a Savior who came as the atonement for my sins.

Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida. 
Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.  Her next releases were her devotional book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses
Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street and A Christmas Prayer have been released in time for the Christmas Season. Songs in the Valley/ Helping Hands Press will be released in late 2013 or early 2014.  
Readers may visit her web site at or email her at  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Goodreads.