Monthly Archives: August 2015

What is Home?

Adam with Scott Paul

My hubby with film director Scott Paul

Last week my family was blessed with an amazing opportunity that seemed to come out of nowhere. The Adult Programs Coordinator at our local library asked me to participate in a meeting with film director Scott Paul regarding his documentary-in-progress, “What Home Means to Me.” I went, not knowing what to expect and answered his questions while he recorded, as did a handful of my fellow small-town neighbors. The next day, Scott called and asked if he could come out to our house and film the entire family in our element, while digging deeper into what home really means. I agreed, though I was extremely nervous to be interviewed (again) by a seven-time regional Emmy Award-winning educational film director and former employee of CNN. What could I possibly bring that was interesting or fresh and new to the subject of home?

My kids with Scott Paul

My kids with Scott Paul

All afternoon I debated what to wear, what to say. As a writer I know my thoughts are best created and organized on paper, so I wrote down everything I could think about when it comes to the home and jotted down my personal answers to those questions. That got the proverbial wheels in my head turning and opened a floodgate of emotions and story ideas, which also lead me to write a series of blog posts on the subject of home (stay tuned!).

It also brought back some great memories.

My childhood home

My childhood home

This is my childhood home. I was raised on the south side of Indianapolis in a quiet and friendly community from birth until age 13. Though I haven’t stepped inside that home for many years, I can close my eyes and still see every thing exactly the way it was from the early 80s to the mid-90s–every Home Interior decoration on the walls, the gaudy pink wallpaper in my bedroom, the table where we did our homework and gathered as a family for dinner. Oh, and the bathroom counter always cluttered with crimping irons and large cans of Aqua Net. The modern brick structure itself fit our needs and personalities during that particular time. As does the farmhouse I live in now with its slightly crooked door frames, stone fireplace, and country-style front porch.

Which leads me to the question, what is home to you? How does the structure and style of your home fit your needs and personality? What would you like to change about your home? What would you NEVER change about your home?

~Candice Sue Patterson is the author of Silver White Winters and Bright Copper Kettles. She writes Modern-Vintage Romance–where the past and present collide with faith. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart will release in 2016. Learn more at her website


Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Candice Sue Patterson



Making Sense of It: Follow Your Nose

MG_5359A rose garden. A new car. Laundered sheets. A litter box.

If you smiled at the first three and cringed at the last, your olfactory senses are working perfectly.

Scents can calm, excite, and protect us. Odors can turn our stomachs and chase us from a room. Certain scents can even trigger memories.

Writers, don’t let these smells go to waste! File them away in your brain. Better yet, write down the effect they have on you.

IMG_2219Want to breathe new life into a tired scene? Bring your readers along with your characters into the kitchen, museum, or cow pasture.

Smells not only pull readers into the setting, smells also foreshadow. The smell of smoke wakes a child in the night…the smell of alcohol carries on a driver’s breath….

The next time your nose gets your attention, show it some respect! A sense of smell is a powerful writing tool.

~ Jericha Kingston


Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Jericha Kingston, Writing


Tags: , , ,

That Dog Won’t Hunt by Brandilyn Collins

TDWH-new-front-coverwebToday I’m featuring the fourth novel in the Women of Heart book bundle, Bestselling author Brandilyn Collins’s That Dog Won’t Hunt. I’ve read a few of Brandilyn’s “Seatbelt Suspense” books before, and I loved them. While this story doesn’t contain the type of suspense you often find in Brandilyn’s books, I found it was just as compelling. The characters were multi-faceted and easily likable, and there’s just enough humor to keep you wanting more. Here’s the blurb:

Meet the Dearings, a crazy, loving, boisterous family in small-town Mississippi. There’s mom and dad, three daughters and their families, and the youngest–twenty-five-year-old Ben. Oh, and the family dog, a Yorkie who thinks she’s royalty.

Ben is just sure everyone will love Christina, his new fiancée, when he brings her home for a family reunion. He always did wear rose-colored glasses. Christina loves Ben but secretly fears their relationship will nver work. She hasn’t told him about her horrific past as an only child.

Christina doesn’t know how to trust or be honest about her feelings. Being thrust into the middle of a tight-knit family like the Dearings is sure to send her over the edge. The Dearings are no perfect family, but they know how to love–if only Christina will accept it.

That Dog Won’t Hunt is just one of the five books in the Women of Heart Book Bundle, which is on sale for only 99 cents for a limited time.women of heart
Hurry and preorder your copy today.

Here’s a sneak peek at That Dog Won’t Hunt.

Chapter 1

Have mercy, a smell like this in the house could cost Ben his new fiancée. And he and Christina were likely to pull up any minute.

It had been hard enough for Ruth Dearing to keep the place straightened with three daughters—two of them with husbands an
d kids—already home for the family summer reunion. Noise and purses and sunglasses and toys everywhere. Ruth lived for her family to come home. But today things had to look just so. Wasn’t every time that Ben, their youngest, brought home a young woman he said he was going to marry. A “quiet” gal, he’d told Ruth and Sy. “Kinda reserved.” In other words, everything the Dearing family was not. To put it mildly.

Ho boy.

Christina could easily be overwhelmed at this gathering, but no one else in the family seemed the least bit worried. Least of all Ben. But Ruth had been young once, and yes—shy. Even though she and Syton had been in love since high school, Ruth remembered all too well that nerve-wracking first meeting with his parents. Sy’s family had a lot more money than her own, and his parents seemed so intimidating. Still, she’d only had to meet the two of them. Imagine being shoved into this family. Ruth had already warned her daughters to be mindful of Christina’s shyness. And she’d flown about the house today, trying to make everything look perfect.Deskcropweb

Now this horrible stench.

Nose wrinkled, Ruth strode to the doorway leading to the house’s west wing, which contained the grandkids’ play room. “Pogey, get in here and put these shoes on! They’re stinkin’ the kitchen to high heaven!”

At Ruth’s feet, Lady Penelope, her and Sy’s finicky Yorkie, whined. Poor Penny lay on the floor with her paws practically over her nose. Ruth picked her up.

“How do y’all stand that smell?” Ruth turned and frowned at her three daughters playing an animated game of cards in the adjoining family room.

Sarah, Pogey’s mother, sighed. “I’m used to it. Kid’s got the smelliest feet this side of the Mississippi.”

“More like in the whole country.” Maddy placed a card on the table.

“Ah! Liverpool Rummy!” Sarah snatched up the card and laid down her hand, face alight.

“Girl, you are a cheat and a half.” Jess’s clear voice sliced across the room.

“I am not. You’re just lousy at this game.”

“I’m not lousy at anything, thank you very much.”

“Oh, yeah?” Sarah smirked at Maddy. “Remember when she tried to take up the hem of her own prom dress?”

Maddy let out her staccato laugh. “Yeah, she quit about the time it was up to her thighs.”

“Oh, can it, y’all.” Jess threw down her cards. “Besides, Sarah, you were long gone from home then, so how would you know?”

“I had Maddy to feed me information, that’s how.”

Ruth shook her head. Sarah was now thirty-nine, Maddy, thirty-four, and Jess, thirty-two. Loved each other like crazy. But they could still argue just like in the old days.

Ruth turned back toward the play room. She could hear her grandson’s video game still going. At age ten that kid had the fastest thumbs of anyone alive. The girls—Lacey, six, and Alex, five—were quiet as church mice. Probably still coloring. Most of the time those two young cousins got along famously—until they didn’t.



Sarah pushed back her chair and sashayed into the kitchen. “I beat know-it-all Jess again,” she sing-songed. “For the fourth time.”

Jess huffed.

Sarah picked up her son’s offending footwear and made a face. “Pogey, get in here!”


“Try makin’ it in this lifetime!”

The video game silenced. Pogey appeared in the hall, heaving a sigh. He was short for his age, round-cheeked and freckle-faced. Somewhat pudgy. Pogey wore every emotion on his sleeve. As he approached, barefoot, Ruth braced herself for further smells. Penny buried her little doggie snout in Ruth’s chest.

Sarah held the shoes out to her son. “How long since you washed those feet?”

“I took a shower last night.” Pogey’s voice rose in his best “Why me?” tone.

“You know you have to wash ’em twice a day in the summer. Go stick ’em in the tub.” Sarah shoved the shoes into his hands. “And take these outside to the hose.”

“Then they’ll be all wet.”

“Not for long. Just leave ’em in the sun.”

The July day in Justus, Mississippi was steaming hot.

Muttering to himself, Pogey took his shoes and trudged through the kitchen toward the bedroom wing of Ruth and Sy’s rambling house.

Stinky feet and hating to bathe were not a good mix.

Ruth looked to Maddy. “Can you girls put up that card table now? Ben and Christina are fixin’ to be here soon.” And where were Sy and his two sons-in-law, Jake and Don? They should’ve been home and cleaned up from their golf game by now. The whole family needed to be here to welcome the new fiancée.

Sarah patted her mother on the shoulder. “Relax. You don’t need to be so worried about this.”

Maddy stood and began gathering the cards on the table. “Yeah, Mama. This family’s hardly perfect. The sooner Christina figures that out, the sooner she’ll start to fit in. Right, Jess?”

“Speak for yourself about the perfect part.”

Ruth pursed her mouth. Why did her family always accuse her of worrying? It was just that Ben had sounded so ecstatic on the phone when he told her about Christina. “I know we haven’t been datin’ long, Mama,” he said, “but this woman is so incredible. I love her like crazy, and I want to be with her forever. I want her to meet the family and fit right in.”

Just a little pressure.

“I am not worried.”

“Uh-huh.” Sarah gestured with her chin toward the Yorkie. “Then why’re you holding Penny so tight?”

The dog was squirming. Ruth put her down. Penny headed for her bed in the piano corner, nose in the air. She turned in circles on the plush yellow fabric, then flopped down, facing the wall. She’d had enough of humans for a while.

Ruth’s gaze cruised the clean kitchen, searching for anything amiss. She spotted a glass on the counter and walked over to put it in the dishwasher.

Maddy and Jess turned the card table on its side.

“I still say Ben’s too young to get married.” Jess folded in the first metal leg with a clack. “Besides that he tends to fall too hard, too fast. He hardly knows this girl. And she’s only twenty-three.”

Sarah leaned against the kitchen counter. “Oh, don’t get started on the too-young thing again.”

“Well, it’s true.”

“Ben’s twenty-seven. And he makes very good money.”

“He has no idea how to take care of a wife. He’s the one who still needs takin’ care of.”

As the baby of the family and the only boy, Ben had certainly been catered to by his three older sisters. Especially Jess, who was five when he was born. From his birth she’d considered herself Ben’s second mother.

Maddy folded in another table leg. “All wives take care of their husbands. Don would never make it without me.”

“But he takes care of you too.” Ruth picked up a sponge to wipe the spotless counter. “That’s how a good marriage works—each puttin’ the other first.”

Jess threw Maddy a look. “That’s why I’m not married. I have no intention of takin’ care of some man.”

“Lord help the man who marries you.” Sarah wagged her head. “You’re as argumentative as a lawyer.”

“I am a lawyer.”

“Not to mention as picky as Lady Penelope.”

Penny’s ears pricked, but she refused to turn around.

“Yeah?” Jess punched in the last table leg. “And the whole family kowtows to that dog just to keep her happy. Sounds good to me.”

Ruth stopped her sponging. “Don’t call Penny a dog—she might hear you.”

Maddy humphed. “Don’t expect me to do any kowtowing in your direction.”

“Me either,” Sarah said.

The front door opened. Ruth froze. “Is that Ben?”

Jess walked over to stick her head out the family room doorway. “It’s Pogey, carryin’ his shoes outside.” The door slammed shut. Jess waved a hand in front of her nose. “Whew. You can tell he’s been through here.”

“You casting aspersions on my son?” Sarah said.

“With those feet, he manages that all on his own.”

“Careful, little sister. You’ll have kids, too, someday.”

Jess rolled her eyes. “In the next millennium, maybe.”

Maddy picked up the card table. “Listen, Jess, don’t you dare be hard on Christina.”

“So now we’re talking about Christina? And why should I be hard on her anyway?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe ’cause the last time Ben brought a girl home you sent her packin’ in less than twenty-four hours.”

“I did not. They had a fight.”

You caused it.”

Ruth went back to wiping the counter—harder. She was staying out of this one.

Jess snorted. “And just what did I do?”

Sarah put a finger to her cheek. “What do you think, Maddy? Was it tellin’ the girl her roots needed done within two minutes of meetin’ her? Or maybe fillin’ her ears with not-so-flattering stories of ‘Baby Ben.’”

Maddy slid the card table behind the couch. “No, no, it was sneakin’ bacon into her omelet.”

Jess raised her arms. “Who doesn’t eat bacon?”

“She was vegetarian, Jess, and you knew it.”

“Well, there ya go.” Jess looked to her mother for support. Ruth kept wiping. “No vegetarian would ever last in this family. What would we do at reunions, grill tofu instead of ribs? That girl wasn’t right for Ben, and y’all know it. I was the only one willin’ to do somethin’ about it.”

“Maybe you should’ve let Ben decide that.” Sarah wagged her head.

The counter sparkled. Ruth moved to the stove.

“He did.” Jess’s voice lightened. “Soon as he had his eyes opened.”

Ruth set down the sponge and faced her youngest daughter. She couldn’t keep quiet any longer. “Jess, your sisters are right. You need to go easy on Christina. Like you said, she’s young. And she’s an only child, so she’s hardly used to all the goin’s in this house.”

“Oh, I’ll be sweet as pie, Mama. You act like I’m some hardhearted thing.”

“No, you’re far from that. But sometimes you talk first and think later.”

“Yeah, Jess.” Maddy plopped down on the couch. “Like puttin’ the cart before the egg.”

Jess squinted. “Huh?” She, Sarah, and Ruth stared at Maddy, trying to figure what she’d said. Then they burst into cackles.

Maddy wrinkled her brow. “What’d I say now?”

“You said …” Sarah held her sides. She stumbled over to the kitchen table and collapsed into a chair.


“C-cart before the …” Giggles bubbled out of Sarah. “Egg.”

“Oh, Maddy.” Jess folded over, hands on her knees. “That’s your best one yet.”

“Mom!” Maddy turned to Ruth, like she used to do as a kid. “They’re makin’ fun of me again.”

Ruth fell into a chair beside Sarah, laughing too hard to answer. For years Maddy had spouted mixed metaphors, never realizing what she’d said. She could come up with some doozies. But Jess was right—this one took the cake.

Oh, goodness, Ruth’s sides hurt.

Sarah wiped her eyes. “Maddy, darling, it’s cart before the horse. Or which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Maddy pulled in her mouth. “Well, mine’s much better.”

Ruth and Maddy’s two sisters started laughing all over again.

“Fine then, y’all just cackle away.” Maddy strode through the kitchen toward the play room. “I’m gonna go sit with the girls.”

Poor Maddy. Ruth worked her mouth, trying to get hold of herself. She almost made it—until she caught Sarah’s eye. They fell into chortles all over again.

Maddy called from down the hall. “I still hear you!”

A faint rumbling sounded in Ruth’s ears—the garage door rolling up. “Oh.” She hiccupped and straightened. It still took time to get herself under control. “The boys are home.” Finally.

A sudden wail exploded from the play room. “That’s my page!” Alex’s high voice.

“It’s not, I saw it first!” Lacey.

“Stop it, you two.” Maddy sounded extra firm, likely still irritated over being laughed at. “There’s plenty coloring books.”

“I had it first!” Alex insisted.

At the end of the long hall, the door leading into the garage opened. Male voices sounded in a friendly argument about the golf game.

Lacey shrieked. The men’s voices cut off.

Ruth hurried toward the play room, meeting her husband, Sy, in the hall. He was solidly built and stood at six-two, a good foot taller than she. Fortunately the girls had gotten his height. Sy was flushed and sweaty, his thick gray-white hair damp at the ends. But that face of his—the face she’d loved since high school—was just as handsome. Sy’s blue eyes met hers. “What’s goin’ on?”

Ruth lifted a shoulder.

He stuck his head into the play room. “Hey!” The word boomed. “Who’s yellin’ in here?”

Ruth came up behind him and peered into the room.

“It’s Lacey.” Alex folded her arms. “She stole my colorin’ page.”

Sy drew to his full height in the doorway, one hand on either side of the threshold. “I got an idea. I can take all your colorin’ books and send you to your rooms. That what you want?”

That was Ruth’s Sy. Loving and compassionate—and a strong disciplinarian.

Alex gave one of her famous pouts, her light eyebrows practically meeting. She swooshed a golden strand of hair off her face. “No.”

“No either.” Lacey glared at the table.

“All right then. Stop fightin’, or I’m back here faster ‘n’ a hot knife through butter.”

The girls eyed each other, then silently picked up crayons. Maddy mouthed Thank you to her dad. She definitely had her problems with making her daughter, Alex, behave at times.

The three men and Ruth headed into the kitchen, Maddy following. She poked her husband in the shoulder. “How’d you do?” At five-ten, Don stood only about an inch taller than his wife. His sandy hair had a buzz cut, and his blaze-blue eyes looked even bluer against a summer tan.

“Great. Won the game, of course.”

Jake, Sarah’s husband, shook his head. “Only because you moved the ball that time.” Jake was an insurance salesman—and looked the part. Tall and lanky, he had jet black hair and wore wire rim glasses.

“I did not move a ball.”

“I saw you. Didn’t he, Sy?”

Sy raised his hands. “Don always moves a ball. That’s how he wins.”

Don shot them both looks. “You guys just can’t stand to lose.”

Jake and Sy answered at the same time, and soon all three men were trying to out-talk each other. Out spilled the story of their long, hot golf game, and who shot what on which hole—no, that was an exaggeration—no, it was not. Soon Sarah and Maddy joined in, and the noise level rose. Ruth could only laugh—then cover her ears. She loved having all the family home, but oh, the hullaballoo! The kitchen filled with the smell of sweaty men on top of the lingering odor of Pogey’s sneakers. In the midst of all that, another shriek came from the play room, followed by a hissed “Be quiet, you want Granddad to take our colors?”

The phone rang. Somehow Ruth managed to hear it. She wound through all the bodies in the kitchen to answer. “Hello?” She put a hand over her other ear to shut out the mayhem.

“Hey, Mama!” It was Ben. “Just lettin’ you know we’re a few miles from the house.”

“Oh.” Oh, no. The family wasn’t ready. The men still sweaty, Lacey and Alex mad at each other, Pogey’s smelliness still lingering, and everyone carrying on …

“Mama? You got a party goin’ on there without me?” Ben’s mock indignation wrapped around an obvious grin. He sounded so excited, happier than Ruth had heard him for a long time. Ruth could picture him in his car, telling Christina how great everything would be. Ben had a way of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses—and could be surprised and hurt when things turned gray.

Oh, Lord, please let this all work out.

“Well, you know how it is.” She nearly had to shout.

“So get ’em all out on the lawn to meet my Christina. The grand moment’s here, and I want to see y’all lined up nice and pretty.”

Nice and pretty? Ho boy.

Hooked yet? Believe me, it gets even better. Order Women of Heart today for just 99 cents, but hurry, because the price will go up soon.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Sure, No Problem!

frustratedphoto“Sure, I can do that. No problem.”

Have you ever said that? Have you ever said that to your agent? Are you laughing at me? Go ahead. I have thick skin. (And I can’t hear you anyway.)

When a certain well-known publishing house requested the full manuscript for the first book in my historical trilogy, I was beyond thrilled. So was my agent. But then she warned me that this publishing house prefers historical novels longer than my word count. She asked me if I could increase the word count to meet their preferences.

That’s when I made the comment above.

That was roughly seven weeks ago. Don’t ask how far I’ve gotten. Please don’t ask.

It’s not that I don’t have a plan. It’s not that I don’t know what I want to add. It’s not that I haven’t done the research (because it’s a historical – there must be research). It’s not that I haven’t written.

So why am I pulling my hair out? Because this is A LOT harder than I realized it would be. Here’s how a typical rewriting session goes:

Start reading where I left off yesterday. Have an “Ah-HA!” brilliant idea to add. Write like mad. Pat myself on the back at how brilliant this idea is. Continue reading. Find almost word for word what I just so brilliantly wrote two pages back. Groan. Growl. Grit my teeth. Back up and erase my brilliant idea that now looks trite. Scroll down to the original. It looks trite too. Fix it.


~ Pegg Thomas

Trooper and Pegg cropped



Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Pegg Thomas, Writing


Tags: , , , , , ,

Deadly Doll

This month’s featured new release is Deadly Doll by ACFW Mystery/Thriller/Suspense author Brooke Cox. 

deadly dollAdventurous twelve-year old Brooksie discovered a hidden room in her grandparent’s attic. She opened up an old hat box and found her mother’s favorite childhood doll wrapped up inside. Brooksie’s great-grandfather sent it from Alaska and it was believed to have burned in the trash pile years ago. After showing it to her father, he takes it from her. A few days later he was murdered and the doll becomes a faded memory until it reappeared six years later after a freak accident. What was it about the doll that people kept hiding it? Could finding the doll have played a part in her dad’s murder? If the doll had remained hidden would he still be alive? Brooksie and her best friend Darlene delve deep into the doll mystery which has them learning about a past that Brooksie never knew existed. Along the way, Brooksie’s thirst for adventure and acceptance has the girls stumbling on the edge of danger. What shocking family secrets might she find and could they change her life? Will she finally understand why God made her so different from the rest of her family and will it draw her closer to Him? Can Brooksie finally accept who she is?

Deadly Doll was just released by Mantle Rock Publishing on August 15, 2015 and is available on Amazon. To get your copy of this hot new release click here!


Kara writes supernatural suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. BlogPhoto Resized

She’ll also keep you updated on upcoming writing contests and some of the best reads in Christian suspense.

To contact Kara, email her at or by clicking the below link:

@KaraHunt2015 on Twitter


Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Kara Hunt, New Releases


Tags: , , , ,


Rejection Letter Reply


1 Comment

Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Humor, Writing


Tags: , , , , ,

Beginning New Chapters

As a writer and voracious reader, I view many things in acts, chapters, plots, and scenes. In 2010, two weeks after I gave birth to our third son, I received notice that my clerk position with the United States Postal Service was being eliminated due to cutbacks. I was devastated. I loved my job and the customers. I was supposed to retire from this position. I uprooted my family and transferred sixty miles so my position would be more secure. Why was this happening? Little did I know God was setting a plan into motion–to give me the desire of my heart.

With a teetering economy and the knowledge our financial status was about to take a nosedive, we agreed the best thing for our family was for me to become a stay-at-home mom. I essentially ended a chapter of my life and began another, one that was both exciting and a little scary. During feedings and eight months of sleepless nights with my newborn, I reacquainted with my first love. Books. And with that re-connection, a dream I’d longed for since early childhood returned–to write my own book. To see it alphabetized on a shelf next to my favorite authors. I no longer had a career holding me back, so why not pursue that dream?

Long story short, I studied everything I could about the craft of writing, joined American Christian Fiction Writers, talked to seasoned authors about their writing struggles and asked for advice, joined a critique group (the Quids are the best partners ever!)…and the list goes on. That chapter started a whole new book of my life I never saw coming. I stand in awe of God’s goodness.

photo (8)Last week, that newborn started his first day of Kindergarten. He was ready to go–to learn, to make friends, to begin his own journey of life. I, however, was NOT ready. This new change that loomed over me all summer was now a reality. I’d have no more children at home. He was the last baby I’d ever nurture through toddlerhood.

A piece of my heart broke as I stood on the front porch and watched that big, yellow bus swallow him up. He waved to me from the bus window with a huge smile on his face, completely unaware that his mother would break down at least twenty times that day. My chapter of raising babies had ended, and it was time to turn the page to a new one.

What will this next chapter of my life bring? I have no idea. But I know God does, and I trust Him.

~Candice Sue Patterson is the author of Bright Copper Kettles and Silver White Winters. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart releases in 2016. Candice writes Modern-Vintage Romance–where the past and present collide with faith. To learn more, visit her website


Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Candice Sue Patterson, devotion