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Monday, May 11, 2015

Mouse-sized World

I've been thinking about what Mouse's living quarters must look like in Parson's church.  I picture it similar to the scene in the children's book by Audrey and Don Wood entitled, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear.

As a child, I loved the book series The Littles, by John Peterson.  I read each of those books over and over!  I also had a doll house.  I don't remember actually playing with the doll house, but what I loved to do was make my own furniture and accessories for it.  You know, like take a sticker and "frame" it for the artwork on the wall. Or use a toothpaste lid stuffed with a dab of play dough for a "vase" that a little twig could stick into. Or find a little box and a fabric scrap and fashion them into a bed.  You get the idea.  The illustrations in The Littles books inspired me, and I loved to think of what a miniature world would look like.  Nowadays there is Pinterest.  I browsed for awhile and came up with a few projects to share.  I'm pretty sure Mouse would love a few of these in his living quarters.  Aren't they adorable?  Which project looks fun to you?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

THE HOPE OF HEAVEN by Alan Hallene Jr. with Erin Keeley Marshall

In 2008, Alan Hallene Jr. discovered the lifeless body of his 22-year-old son.  Alex had committed suicide. While Al waited for the authorities to arrive, he had ten minutes alone with his young son.  During that wrenching time, God sent him eight visions of heaven, where the father and he son would someday reunite. Al recounts those life-changing visions in The Hope of Heaven, released on 
March 10, 2015

The Hope of Heaven is a very different kind of "heaven book." Rather than an argument for the existence of heaven or the account of an out-of-body experience, Al gives readers a glimpse of life beyond the tragedies we endure.

"I did not go to heaven.  I was the one left behind and the one who received clear messages from God in the aftermath of my son's death." Al Hallene Jr.

"The story points to Jesus as Savior--and not just a general Savior but one whom we each need to acknowledge our personal need for."  Erin Keeley Marshall

Alan M. Hallene Jr., PhD. is the father of three grown sons, one whom he anticipates reuniting with someday in heaven.  While working on The Hope of Heaven, Al was on leave from his teaching position at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA.  He has also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa, and is President of NorthHill Consulting, LLC.

Erin Keeley Marshall is the author of Navigating Route 20-Something and The Daily God Book.  She spent the early years of her career as an editor for Tyndale House Publishers and has edited and written for several publishing companies throughout the United States.  She lives in Arkansas with her husband, Steve, and their two children.

Hope of Heaven website

Erin Keeley Marshall website

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

An Interview with Author Erin Keeley Marshall

Today's guest author is a personal friend of mine...Erin Keeley Marshall.  We have been friends since college.  I am so amazed at all of her accomplishments in the writing world!  She is the author of several books and hundreds of devotions.  Her latest book is called The Hope of Heaven, and she co-wrote it with Alan Hallene Jr.

Today I did a short interview with her.  My next post will highlight her latest book, The Hope of Heaven.

 Me:  What is the process of co-writing like?

Erin Keeley Marshall: Co-writing, or collaborative writing, requires the art of balance because a collaborative writer often plays many roles, including serving as the link between the story and the publishing process. Whenever I’ve coauthored something, I’ve had to argue tactfully and proactively for my coauthor—who often has the heart of the story and needs me to put it in publishable words—as well as on behalf of the agent, the editorial team, and the marketing team. A professional collaborative writer needs to understand the process of publishing and what is worth pushing and what needs to remain in the hands of the publisher. 
The co-writer leads the way in writing the proposal and sample chapters and sending that document to the agent or editor at a publishing house. Once a publishing offer is extended, accepted, and the contract is signed, the co-writer then continues leading the way through writing the manuscript, scheduling due dates for back and forth revisions between writers, and working through the editing process with the editorial team. 
A collaborative writer needs to play a behind-the-scenes role with a great deal of proactive assertiveness, tact, and professionalism that carries over to the other writer.  

  Me:  What are a few of the highs and lows of your publishing journey?

Erin Keeley Marshall: Contract signing is always a highlight because it points to the future and holds so much potential for something new and exciting that is about to be born. The first offer I received to write my own book—Navigating Route 20-Something—was a thrill. Actually, whenever I get a phone call or email from my agent requesting me to work with someone on a story that touches my heart, I am encouraged to keep going in this challenging field that I’ve loved being part of for twenty-some years.

Me: What aspect of your career do you enjoy the most and why?

Erin Keeley Marshall: I love the freedom to dream and put words to those dreams. Through writing I can organize my thoughts, as well as learn more about myself and what drives me. I can inspire others to think in new ways about life and faith and truths that extend to eternity past and into forever. I also enjoy working from home because of the flexibility. Writing is freeing because I can form thoughts in my head no matter what else is going on during the day. I love the unending wonder of what God will place on my heart next.

On the web: Erin's website
Twitter: @EKMarshall
Facebook: Erin Keeley Marshall, Author
Linked In: Erin Keeley Marshall
Pinterest: Erin Marshall

For Speaking Events and Media Opportunities:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Guest author--Linh Nguyen-Ng--MOMMY'S LITTLE WORDLINGS

Today I am highlighting author Linh Nguyen-Ng.  Her book Mommy's Little Wordlings was released on April 7 by the Adventures Imprint of Anaiah Press.  I am very thrilled for her.  Congratulations, Linh!

Title: Mommy's Little Wordlings
Author: Linh Nguyen-Ng
Imprint: Adventures
Release Date: April 7, 2015

The Little Wordlings are children who use their simple words to express their feelings for loved ones. No one is more adored than the first person who made them smile. No one is more cherished than the person who gave them life. There is no one like Mommy. Join the Little Wordlings as they show Mommy how much she is appreciated and loved.

Author Bio:

I live with my family in Massachusetts where I get to enjoy the four seasons. I love unique and interesting things—things that make a lasting impression. I am constantly looking for inspiration that I can use in my writing. Everything has a story to tell.

Twitter: @linhnguyenng

Looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift?   Amazon link

Quotes from book:  

"How do I love you, Mommy? Let me count the ways…" 

"Mommy, because of you, my life is like a garden that continues to flourish." 

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Story Behind the Last Line

The last line of my book, MOUSE'S CHRISTMAS GIFT, is the sentence "All was well."  This line comes from a very vivid memory that I have of a Christmas Eve Service at our church one year not too long ago. The church was beautifully decorated with trees, glowing star lights, and candles.  All around me were friends and family-- the scene was picture perfect.

But that particular year, all was NOT well.  A close friend of mine had cancer, and almost every other area of my life seemed messy and very uncertain.  My heart was heavy, and the burden of it all seemed more than I could bear.

What I remember the most about that night was the lyrics to one of the songs.   It was entitled, "All Is Well," written by Michael W. Smith.  God used this song to speak a gentle, but powerful reminder into my heart.  Because of Jesus' birth, all that is wrong will one day be made right.  This certainty brings peace and comfort to our present circumstances, and the ability to say--All Is Well.  We can praise him in the midst of our pain because He walks with us through it, and we know he holds our tomorrows.  And our eternal tomorrow will be wonderful--with joy unfathomable.

I pray that you will find the miraculous peace that comes from knowing Jesus as your Savior.  Let his peace flow into your heart as he walks with you through the pain of today, and look forward to the certain joy of heaven's tomorrow.

  1. All Is Well
  2. Lyrics
    All is well all is well
    Angels and men rejoice
    For tonight darkness fell
    Into the dawn of love's light
    Sing A-le
    Sing Alleluia
    All is well all is well
    Let there be peace on earth
    Christ is come go and tell
    That He is in the manger
    Sing A-le
    Sing Alleluia
    All is well all is well
    Lift up your voice and sing
    Born is now Emmanuel
    Born is our Lord and Savior
    Sing Alleluia
    Sing Alleluia
    All is well

    Here is a link if you would like to hear the song:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Which quilt are you? (MOUSE'S CHRISTMAS GIFT personality test)

In my book, MOUSE'S CHRISTMAS GIFT, some of the villagers decorate the tree outside the church with quilt squares, fabric scraps, and hair ribbons.  Which fabric square would you say best reflects your personality?  It is not a trick question, just choose the one you are drawn to, and I have written a little ditty about the personality I think matches that piece of fabric.  You can write and tell me if you agree or disagree.






#1. You are optimistic, cheerful, and happy.  You are systematic and logical.
#2. You are creative, zany, bold, and confident.  You are an energetic people-person.
#3.  You are self-assured and opinionated, but calm and reasonable.  You tend to be contemplative and quiet, but can demonstrate a flair for the dramatic.
#4.  You are creative and imaginative, playful and sweet, you see the best in people.
#5.  You are reflective and analytical, simple, to-the-point, a list-maker, and very organized.
#6.  You are gentle, caring, loving, practical, and polite.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My First Guest Blogger--Donna Martin

Today I am highlighting author Donna Martin.  Her book The Storybook Catcher is being released on January 20 by the Adventures Imprint of Anaiah Press.  I am very thrilled for her.  Congratulations, Donna!

Title: The Story Catcher
Author: Donna L. Martin
Imprint: Adventures
Release Date: January 20, 2015

Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it  will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.

BUY LINKS:Amazon Kindle
                        Amazon Paperback
                        Barnes & Noble

Fan club membership includes: 
Membership Certificate
Bi-monthly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news and other goodies
Reading log for earning Story Catcher Award
Short story starring YOU! 

Link to Story Catcher Fan Club

Would you like to see a trailer?

Who is Donna Martin?

By day, Donna L. Martin is a Fourth Degree TaeKwonDo Black Belt; by night, she is a self-proclaimed “ninja author” of picture books, middle grade chapter books, and young adult novels. Somewhere amidst all this excitement, she also created the Free Author Promotion event that takes place every May during the Children’s Festival of Reading. Donna loves laughter, snuggling with her cat, and reading good books. To get a sneak peak of what it was like growing up among the swamps of southern Louisiana, check out Tales from the Bayou on her blog at

Anaiah Press will give away a $20 iTunes Gift Card to one lucky winner.
Donna L. Martin will give away a beautiful journal.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Widow Barthomew's Bread

Can't you smell it?  Mmm....freshly baked bread!  In MOUSE'S CHRISTMAS GIFT, Widow Barthomew bakes bread to share at the Christmas Eve Service.  I chose bread because it is a simple food that would be eaten in the time period, as well as one that would not be too expensive.  To me it is an image of a cozy, loving scene. It is also an image of a sustaining food.

The irony of it all:  My last name is Baker, but I don't do a lot of baking.  I do have one recipe for a double chocolate banana bread that is delicious.  Here is a link:

Have you ever tried these rolls?  This is what I buy when I want the taste of homemade bread:

Look at these delicious breads below:

Here are my sources:

Which of these breads do you think looks the yummiest?  Which do you think Widow Bartholomew brought to the Christmas Eve Service?  Feel free to share your delicious bread recipes!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Where the Story Begins...My Church Ornaments

I have a little collection of church ornaments that I envision my main character Mouse living in.  Of course in Mouse's Christmas Gift he lives in Parson's church, but Parson's church looks a lot like my ornaments--just bigger--people size. Want to see them?  Which is your favorite?


Who inspires you?

Every teacher wants to make a difference in her students' lives.  I am no exception.  I want to make a difference!  I love "teacher" movies, "teacher" books, and you guessed it--"teacher" picture books!  You know the ones that chronicle how the teacher comes alongside her students and their whole world changes :).

One inspirational storyteller is Patricia Polacco.  I love that she tells real stories from her life experience.

In her story, Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece, Patricia Polacco tells of her own experience as a student overcoming the fear of speaking in front of an audience.

What happens?
Her English teacher Mr. Tranchina recognizes her writing talent and sees her potential.  He also sees her fear of public speaking.  He gently introduces Patricia to the drama teacher, Mr. Wayne, who invites her to help out with the winter play.

As the story unfolds, Mr. Wayne includes Patricia in the workshops and continues to give her more and more opportunities to blossom.  Because of a turn of events, Patricia winds up overcoming her fear, acting as the star role, and discovering her hidden talent.  I love the line "I was on fire," as she described her acting debut.  It shows her self-confidence and the pure joy she felt while acting.

I also love the title.  It is a play on words--they students are acting out a play Mr. Wayne wrote--his masterpiece--but the true masterpiece is Patricia and every other student he trains and coaches to become all they can be.

The teacher
 characters are very inspiring!

A few of their traits I admire are:

--noticing the struggling student and taking the time to help
--utilizing creative teaching techniques
--empowering students to become the masterpiece

Who was your most inspirational teacher?  Name and grade level?
Or, who inspires you and why?
I have too many to list, but one was Mr. Marsh for 7th grade English.  I loved it when He would read our papers aloud and we would try to guess who wrote them.