Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Writing Assignment Extraordinaire!

Where do ideas spring from? Are they slow growing like trees with deep roots
that gather substance, which works its way into words...showing
up like leaves and fruit?

Or do ideas show up more quickly like a summer pot of flowers,
displaying their beauty in so many shades of delight?

Personally, I like divine inspiration! Looking to the Lord for
help when I'm stuck. 

We needed lots of fast growing ideas at our recent 
Pens of Praise meeting. 
Kathy Leist shared a writing teaching and some activities with our writers. 
Here is how this one goes...truly it was an 
extraordinary experience! We were to write down  words that would be
{ a character, time, event, object --  one at a time.}then place them in
a sack, which everyone picked from for their writing leads. Here are my words and 
what developed from this exercise!

Emperor, August 28, 10:30 a.m., handsome gardener, birthday party, pipe wrench

The Emperor wished to ignore his actual August 28th birthday of 10:30 a.m. 
and chose night and darkness instead. Stars shined out from the inky blackness 
over Hong Kong's most famous birthday party event. 
He decided that the eight course dinner should be served in his 
famous garden surrounded by exotic birds and luminous lighting 
of various colors. The handsome gardener was to
serve him his feast, course by course. 
If it had not been for the 
pipe wrench hidden underneath the
gardener's robe the Emperor 
would have enjoyed every morsel! 

Thank you Kathy Leist for a wonderful writing experience! 'Twas fun!
I encourage anyone who loves to write to try this technique with a few
other writers for a fresh supply of ideas! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Next meeting -- Monday 6:30—8:30 p.m.  August 17th

2201 42ND Street, Manitowoc, WI  54220
Faith Church is located next to Festival Foods
Not far from the Manitowoc exit off Interstate 43

Our teaching for August is called "Slow Cooking in the Crockpot of My Mind" 
taught by our very own Kathy Leist and we will explore ideas and where to catch them!

The prompt you are invited to write to is…What is your favorite tension technique? Then write it or bring one you discovered to share! If you need Becky McLafferty’s notes from last month just contact me for them.

Disclaimer: Warning you may end up loving to write!
Visit a local shop and bring your coffee or cappuccino with you.
Let us know if you’re attending so that we can save a seat just for you.

God’s blessings upon you as you write for His glory!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


By DiAnn Mills

This fiction/romance/suspense captured my attention from the first page and was quite difficult to put down. DiAnn weaves the characters’ lives together with the strong threads of tension and secrets. The intrigue and believable characters captured my attention for a wonderful reading experience!

Danika Morales is a Border Patrol agent who is definitely committed to protecting our boarders. She is whisked into events that are all too connected to her husband’s unsolved murder.

The characters in this novel are diverse in personality, believable in their roles, interesting and some will surprise you. Our Pens of Praise readers group enjoyed DiAnn’s novel and we were very excited to schedule an on-line talk with her. Some of the situations that are described in the novel are from real life experiences. DiAnn is a petite woman with the bravest heart I think I’ve ever met! She actually did a three day ride along with Border Patrol agents to do her research in the trenches so to speak!

I really appreciate DiAnn’s respect toward the Border Patrol and their challenges and also those who are desperate enough to risk their lives to cross the Rio Grande. Her first lines were “The Rio Grande was not just murky. It was toxic.” How about that opening to grab your attention!  

I refuse to reveal surprises and carefully placed plot points about this novel because I want you to experience this novel in a fresh way. As I enjoyed it. But, I must say I was completely satisfied with this story, which handled a volatile topic in the most respectful and thought provoking way. I applaud DiAnn, for she is a top notch weaver of story. I’m eager to read the next book in this Call of Duty Series that I own. This is a definite re-read and I have placed DiAnn on my “Suzie’s Favorites List for Authors!”

I'm experiencing technical difficulties on blogger. I apologize for the varying size of font and if you are seeing this the way I am--the white background that looks awful! So sorry. Please do not let this detract from DiAnn's wonderful answers. I will correct this as soon as I can tame blogger into submission! :)

Questions for DiAnn, DiAnn's answers in bold...

      Questions for DiAnn,

  1. During your research for SWORN to PROTECT you actually were allowed to ride along with Border Patrol agents. What was your favorite memory during those three days? I learned so much about procedure, and heard stories that were a combination of sad and amusing. I valued the respect the agents have for those who are illegally in the U.S. My favorite memory was the confession of an agent concerning how most agents keep their careers quiet to protect their families. These brave men and women dress for work at the station and then change before returning home. Young children are not told their parents profession. 
  2. Within these pages you were so respectful even though you expressed both sides of the illegal alien issue. What inspired you to write this story? To show a woman thrust in the middle of the complicated immigration issue who falls in love with a man whose opinion is different. This is not an agenda-driven book, but a character-driven story.
  3. Thank you for how you handled the romantic attraction. I’ve never liked too much emphasis on the ‘attraction’ element of a story, especially when it takes away from a great plot. What fiction do you read? (Especially anyone who writes with the romantic balance that you portrayed in this novel.) Joel Rosenberg, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, Catherine Coulter, Lisa Gardner
  4. Who inspired you to write and how long ago? My husband. :) He dared me to write a book in 1996. I took him up on the challenge, and my first book was released in 1998. He is my nightmare editor and best cheerleader.
  5. What is the most important message that you would like to convey to those who know you? No problem ever surprises God. 
  6. Is there anything else you would like to say about the CALL TO DUTY SERIES or this book in particular? This series helped me show strong women in roles that are traditionally held by women. All my books contain strong women who are ready to face problems with skills and the desire to acquire more skills to get the job done, and yet they are totally feminine.
  7. Which series is your favorite and why? That’s like asking which of my four sons is my favorite! Id say . . . the series and book and Im currently writing. And if you ask me the same question, Id respond with the series and book Id be writing at the time.

Well DiAnn, you can thank your husband for me and for most--if not all--of your readers for challenging you to write that first story! We are the beneficiaries of that challenge! 

 Here is DiAnn Mills contact information. She would love to hear from you!

DiAnn Mills
Expect an Adventure
Christy Award Winner
Firewall – Tyndale – July 2014
Double Cross – Tyndale – April 2015
Deadlock – Tyndale – October 2015


I pulled an oldie, but a goodie ‘favorite book’ off my shelf this morning. Kenneth Price published THE EAGLE CHRISTIAN-—the copy I own—-in 1984. I referred to it a lot back in the day and thought of it more and more throughout the years.

Some books just offer strength because you can visualize the message, making the points memorable and easy to relate to. Mr. Price leads the reader all the way from “The Eagle Through the Ages” until the last chapter entitled “The Majestic Eagle”. There are only 64 pages, but they are filled with interesting facts about the eagle that the author relates to the Lord’s visuals in creation. I appreciate that he adorned each topic with the Amplified Version scriptures.

It is time for me to write on a novel right now, but I’v put this lovely book, which is filled with photos of eagles, off to the side. That way I can easily grab it and read a chapter to refresh my spirit and soar a little too as my day unfolds.

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isiah 40:31