Posts Tagged ‘writing’

I have not been posting much this year, so I figured it was time for an update!

In writing news…

I have one more event planned for 2018–the Christmas at Wings Arts & Crafts Show in Kalamazoo, MI, on December 1 and 2. Another author, the lovely Sally Mahieu, and I will be sharing Booth 722, and we would love it if you stopped by!

I started a new YouTube channel in July. It currently has a few videos posted on it. If you’d like to see videos about writing-related topics as well as other things I do in my life, check out my channel here: If you enjoy watching it, I would love it if you would subscribe!

In the next few weeks I will be sending out an October/November 2018 e-newsletter. If you haven’t signed up already and would like to, please visit my website here: I only send out e-newsletters a few times per year, so don’t worry–I won’t fill your inbox with tons of emails each week! My e-newsletter is a good way for you to keep up with my author events; find out about special deals like Kindle sales, copyediting coupons, and contests; and become a beta reader for my upcoming projects.

My current writing project is the sequel to Illegally Innocent, and it still needs A TON OF WORK. I do not have a release date for it yet. This month marks SIX YEARS already since Illegally Innocent was released, and I know you have been waiting a long time for the sequel! I hope to bring it to you in 2019.

In personal news…

The store where I worked for over a decade shut down in March, and I am currently working in a job where I dabble in Accounts Payable, HR, and random administrative assistant types of tasks. Since this job spans quite the range of duties, I am still training even though I’ve worked there for over six months. I am enjoying having nights, weekends, and holidays off, since I regularly worked many of those shifts at my previous job.

I am currently booking events for 2016. Here is what I have scheduled so far:

March 26–Flea & Farmers’ Market at the Kalamazoo Expo Center in Kalamazoo, MI from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

May 5–Author Fair at Ransom District Library in Plainwell, MI from 6-8 p.m.

December 3 & 4–Christmas at Wings Art & Craft Show at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, MI from 9-4 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday

If you are looking for a speaker for your school class or other group, please send me an email at I love sharing with others on the topics of writing and self-publishing and have spoken to groups ranging in age from second grade up through adults.




This summer I was part of a community group through my church, and the curriculum we used was called Life As We Know It. I had worked on some long and short versions of my Christian testimony for various purposes in the past, but this curriculum brought up some different questions regarding topics that I hadn’t thought of including in my testimony previously. At first it was kind of overwhelming. I felt as though, upon answering the questions, I had far too much irrelevant information to attempt to include in my testimony. But then, after studying my answers over more and praying and hearing how some other people in my community group tackled their own testimonies, I was able to pull out some information that might be important that I had not previously included in earlier versions of my testimony. Anyway, I still can’t say for sure whether I recommend the curriculum or not; a lot of people in my group seemed to feel overwhelmed the way I did. At the same time, the prompting questions were kind of helpful. Anyway, the following is a version of my testimony:

I grew up in a Christian home and started going to church as a baby with my family. In addition to the spiritual influences of my family and church, my grandparents paid for me to attend a Christian school. One of my school friends, Nola, played a part in my coming to Christ. When the kindergarten teacher asked what we had done over the summer, Nola shared that she had asked Jesus into her heart. The teacher was really excited for her, but I was confused about what Nola meant. A few weeks down the road, I asked my mom about it, and she led me to the Lord in October of 1991 at the age of five.

Besides receiving such godly influence as a child, I also was hugely influenced by books. My mom and grandma would frequently write stories with me from the time I was three. Theirs were “real” stories with both words and pictures, while I would draw pictures and make up a verbal story to go with those pictures–until I was old enough to write words. I first declared that I wanted to be a writer someday at the age of six.

As a child, I had a rash that was spread in patches on much of my body, along with some other health problems. When the pediatrician’s advice did not seem to be helpful, my mom took me to a kinesiologist. He diagnosed me as having multiple food allergies and put me on some supplements, along with weekly chiropractic treatments. After following his directions for several months, my rash was gone. Although this was certainly not the first time my parents had chosen to try alternative medicine, I would say this was an important step in my own life in understanding that alternative medicine works. This experience, along with many other helpful run-ins with alternative medicine over the years, impacted my wanting to write a book with a large theme of alternative medicine—Illegally Innocent.

At the age of twelve, I experienced some doubts about whether I was a Christian or not, due to the fact that I had been so young when I came to Christ. I wondered whether I had actually fully understood the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection and the importance of confessing sin, and I re-committed myself to God at that age. When I was fifteen or sixteen (still at the same Christian school), an alumnus of that school returned to talk to us, and she mentioned that she had specifically asked God for the desire to get to know Him better. She referenced Psalm 42:1 [this is the NASB version]—“As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for you, O God,” and said she had recently started praying for God to give her that desire because she felt like it was lacking. It had worked for her! This concept really appealed to me. Although I knew I was a Christian and tried to live a life pleasing to God, I also felt like other people (pastors, chapel speakers, missionaries, etc.) seemed to have a desire for God that was different from mine. At that point, I began praying for God to increase my desire for a deeper relationship with Him. It worked, just like the girl had said it would. I think this type of prayer is important to keep returning to in one’s life.

Also, when I was sixteen, my dad lost his job of nearly thirty years, and this loss had a large impact on my family’s finances. God can turn bad circumstances into blessings, though (just like my health problems helped to inspire the writing of Illegally Innocent), and one of the blessings that came out of my dad’s job loss was the fact that since our income was lower than it had been for much of my life, I was eligible to receive scholarships for college that I otherwise would not have been able to receive. These scholarships played a large part in my being able to attend the Christian university that was my first choice for college, Cedarville. My dad’s job loss also helped me and my parents grow in our relationships with God.

I was scared of getting baptized (because at the church we attended when I was young, you had to give your testimony in front of the whole congregation when you got baptized), but I knew it was the right thing to do. When I was seventeen, and we had been attending a different church for a few years at that point (one that simply required you to answer some questions with “yes” or “no” before going under the water), I finally got baptized and also became an official member of that church. Over the years, I have had several times when I’ve definitely been closer to God and more obedient than other times, but I am grateful that God has protected me from ever fully walking away from Him.

It has been toooooo long since my last post, and this post today is quite different from my usual topics, but I wanted to share a bit of information that my husband and I have learned in the process of buying our house. I’m hoping this info might help someone out there who is considering a 203k loan!

Mike and I closed on our first house a few weeks ago, and we are loving it! We spent a TON of time house-shopping; I’d say we walked through somewhere between 80 and 100 houses. (Thankfully, my dad is a Realtor, so he was patient with helping us find a house.) The house we are finally living in is actually the fifth house we attempted to buy; shopping for foreclosed houses has the possibility of being a huge disappointment, as you have to pick your bid without knowing how many other people are bidding and what amounts they are bidding. We opted for a 203k loan on our house, as we got a really great deal on the house and wanted to do some repairs. A 203k loan allows the homeowner to add extra money onto the mortgage to cover the cost of repairs. If you are considering a 203k loan, you should know these things:

1. You do not receive the money for your repairs at your closing. It took about a week and a half after our closing for us to receive our check in the mail. We were hoping to receive it sooner, as we had put ourselves and our contractor on somewhat of a tight schedule for moving and completing the repairs. If you’re renting an apartment or house while waiting for your new house’s repairs to be finished, be sure to give yourself some wiggle room if possible (if your landlord is willing to be a little flexible on your move-out date).

2. The first check will only cover half of your estimated costs of repairs. We knew this information before receiving our first check, and our contractor is flexible regarding the fact that he will not get paid for his labor until everything is finished. However, the cost of just the supplies for repairing your house may come out to more than that first check covers. You may also end up with sub-contractors who are unwilling to wait to get paid until your second check arrives. Consequently, you either need to pick a contractor “with deep pockets” who can cover supply and labor costs for a while (as our mortgage company suggested) or you will need to have your own cash or a credit card to cover the extras until you get paid back by the second check from the loan company. You will not receive the second check until after the repairs are completely done and your house has been inspected to make sure you actually did what you said you were going to do with the loan money.

3. If you change what type of repairs you are going to do, you must notify the loan company and provide them with a new estimate. For example, Mike and I initially wanted laminate wood floors in the living room, hallway, and kitchen, but then we closed on the house and found out there was hardwood flooring underneath the carpet in the living room and hallway. We decided to refinish the hardwood and ended up picking a different flooring for the kitchen. The loan company needed to know that we had changed our minds regarding our flooring (it’s their money we’re spending, after all). They try to make sure the house will not decrease in value due to the homeowner’s new decision.

4. The loan company figures an extra 20% into the repair portion of your mortgage to help cover the cost of unforeseen problems. If you end up not using this extra percentage, they just pay that portion off on your mortgage. We had been doing pretty well with our loan money, even staying slightly under-budget on some things, but last Thursday changed all of that. We had water backing up into our basement and had to call out a plumber, who gave us some bad news. Fortunately, it looks as though the extra percentage in our loan will cover the cost of fixing this problem.

There are, of course, MANY rules when it comes to 203k loans, and the rules can change at any time. I just wanted to share what I thought was some important information about this type of loan to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

**WRITING UPDATE: I hate admitting that I have not kept up very well with my five hours of “new” writing each week, but it’s the truth. 😦 I am, however, still trying to publish my second novel by the end of this year.**

Tomorrow I am participating in an author fair at Ransom District Library in Plainwell, Michigan! Come visit me and many other authors–there will be books for sale, and you can ask us any questions you may have about writing and publishing. Local restaurant Nancy’s Kitchen is providing snacks. The fair lasts from 6-8 p.m. See you there! 🙂