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Monday, February 28, 2011

Baby Stockton #2 Countdown - Week 34, 6 to Go!

Almost to a single-hand countdown. That comes this Friday, March 4th. I'll be 5 weeks away. Before I get into the update, I started a "guessing game" online for folks to guess the length, weight, and actual birthday of our son. If you'd like to play, click the link below:

 Now, we're at week 34.5, so here is the update:

My amazing baby is on the move! Until now, my wee womb-squatter's been living fairly high up in my poor stretched-out womb - blithely compressing my poor lungs and internal organs. This week the little fella's going to pack his tiny bags and make the "big" move to my pelvis - commonly referred to as the time when my baby "drops". Based on the minor pressure I've been feeling the past couple of days, I'd say he's definitely headed in that direction. He's been head-down for several weeks, but now he gets to squeeze in there and limit his movements even more.

Maybe I'll finally adopt the pregnant-waddle. :)

I've already noticed the weight shift to more focus being lower. And my little kiddo seems to prefer my bladder as a resting place for his head. When it's not there, it's resting on my pubic bone. And because of this shift, I've had some sharp, intermittent pains down low as he's started pressing on my sciatic nerve. This means the discomfort in sleeping and sitting is back. Unfortunately, this will likely remain until my boy decides to make an appearance on the outside. I'll have to do my best to remain limber, get out for walks when I can and loosen up my pelvic muscles as much as possible.

If that doesn't work, I'll get off my feet and do some spine-lengthening stretches to help this little tyke move OFF that poor throbbing nerve.

In developing internal-organ news: although not quite fully formed, my little poop-factory's liver is now capable of processing a certain amount of waste. Because his liver is not quite birth-ready, it's common for newborns to get a case of mild and harmless jaundice (signaled by a slight yellowing of the skin). My daughter had it, but it was gone within 24 hours when we took her home.

For those who aren't familiar with it, jaundice is the result of a baby's body producing more bilirubin (a by-product of blood production) than the liver can currently break down, leading to a subtle yellow tinge that goes away in a few days. Babies born earlier than their due date tend to have moderate to severe jaundice, which - in the hospital, will be treated via light therapy to help their body break down the bilirubin. For home-birthers, jaundice is easily dealt with by increased breastfeeding (to help their body pass the bilirubin) and "naked time" for baby in a warm sunlit area for 10 minute intervals throughout the day until it disappears.

I had it when I was born, so I wasn't surprised to see my daughter have a mild case of it. After all, she was 10 days late. :) Let's pray my son doesn't wait that long. Although, we're praying he waits until after April 2nd, which is our daughter's birthday.

Other than that, I'm hanging in here, trying to keep everything balanced with a pending closure on a new house, a book deadline, and chasing after a toddler. At least I got our taxes done this past Saturday. One less thing on my mind. Somehow I'll get it all done!

And now some words from the hiccuping rib-kicker inside me:

Not much to report here. Yes, I get what Mama calls the hiccups a lot. Seems I can't quite get the hang of this breathing thing just yet. But I'm working on it!

I haven't been able to move as much as I'd like, but I'm rolling around and shifting as much as I can to get comfortable. My poor head seems like it's stuck most of the time. Then, Mama does something to make me feel like I'm floating, and it helps a lot. Otherwise, all this other stuff in here keeps pressing on me.

Of course, that loud hollering and noise out there, along with pounding on Mama's belly (and thereby me too) is still happening. Heard someone say something about my big sister head-butting me early. Not sure what that means, as my head and my bum are in two different places, and they don't touch. But, I do recall feeling a jolt each time. It wasn't pleasant.

The other day, Mama was saying something about a pain in her ribs and how it must be my foot kicking her or something. The next day, she said she couldn't eat anything because I was keeping the food from going anywhere. I felt bad, but there was nothing I could do. I was hungry too, so at least she kept some juice and water and some other sweet stuff coming my way. That night, she settled in such a way that I could move, and we were both all right.

Yes, I've started to swim a little further down. Not sure how long this journey will take, but it seems like the thing to do. All this work is making me tired, so I think I'll take another rest.

It's me again. The mama. :) That's it for now. Tune in each week for the latest. I'll get those new pix as soon as I can. And if you want to receive an email each time I post an update, subscribe using the form over there at the top right.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me...some of you for the second time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Welcome Janice Thompson and What Would God Have Us Do?

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide.


JANICE HANNA THOMPSON is the author of over sixty books for the Christian market. She writes for Revell, Summerside and Barbour. Janice plans to spend as much of 2011 on her knees as she possibly can.


2011: What Would God Have us Do?
By Janice Thompson

Janice Hanna Thompson here. Let me start by saying “Thank you” to Tiff for having me on her blog. What a dear friend you’ve been over the years, sweet girl! (*note from Tiff - You've been an inspiration

I want to spend a few minutes conveying something the Lord has laid on my heart for 2011. I shared this teaching at our local ACFW group five weeks ago and our members gave it a hearty “Amen!” Think about the number “2” in 2011. As I consider that number, I see a picture of a believer on his/her knees, bowed in reverence.

Bowing (physically or emotionally) is an act of reverence: a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration. (We’re not revering those who can help our career along, or even the readers who buy our books. We’re not revering our stories, books ideas, or even our talents. We revere only one…God.)

Psalm 95:6 We’re taught that bowing is a natural posture for the believer: O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before Jehovah our maker.

So, what does it mean to bow the knee?
  • To submit to God’s will, not our own. (Can we do this with our writing in 2011?)
  • It is a sign of respect. (In many countries people kneel before a king.) It’s time to stop talking about God in such a glib way. We’ve got to be careful how we use his name or talk about him.
  • Bowing the knee means we’re humbled, not looking out for our own interests, but for God’s.
  • Bowing is uncomfortable. It doesn’t come naturally. It’s not like sitting on our rears on the sofa, watching TV and eating potato chips. It’s not what we do to relax. It’s what we do – in spite of bad knees and arthritic hip joints.
  • When we’re bowed, we’re not trying to plan anything, manipulate anything or fix anything. (It’s hard to plot a book in a bowed position, isn’t it!)
  • There’s an old worship song: We fall down, we lay our crowns (anything we hope to gain) at the feet of Jesus. The greatness of His mercy and love at the feet of Jesus. Think about the wise men, bowing before the baby Jesus, giving him gold, frankincense and myrrh. That’s the posture we need to assume when we offer our books, stories, articles, and so on. All good gifts are given from God, and we cast them back at his feet, humbled that He was even willing to use us in the first place.

Final Note on bowing in reverence: If your career feels stuck, if you’re disgruntled because you’re not seeing the results you’d hoped for, assume the posture. Don’t cry out, “why me?” Instead, cry out praises.

Think about the number “0” in 2011. When I think of this number, I see a mouth open in awe of the things God has done.

We’re keenly aware that God’s ways are above our ways. . .even with our writing. We’re so limited by our finite thinking but He has plans that FAR exceed anything we could come up with. (Think about that for a moment as it pertains to your writing!) QUESTION: Are we truly awed by the everyday things in our writing life?

When we sit to write and words actually come? When the creative spark burns into flame. We need to stand in complete and total awe that the God of the universe chooses to speak to us, (and through us), in any small way. In 2011 we must begin to acknowledge His holiness, his vastness.

Psalm 65:8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (The only way to understand his holiness is to spend time with him in worship. Writers must first be worshipers. If you’re not a worshiper, don’t write.)

As finite mortals, powered by flesh and imagination alone, we can do NO justice to a holy God through our writing. ONLY when we come to Him, bowed in reverence, handing our pens to Him and allowing Him to write through us can we describe His beauty, can we share what we do not fully understand, can we capture his magnificence and reveal His heart to our readers. It’s the breath of the Holy Spirit, stirring the waters, like in Genesis.

And – just as we would have marveled as we watched the world being spun into existence – we must marvel at the fact that He chooses to use us! If we’re not awed by Him, our readers won’t be, either. And if we’re trying to write in our own strength, we won’t truly represent Him through our mere words, no matter how hard we try, no matter how extensive our vocabulary. How could we possibly write “the divine” if we’ve not tasted of it?

Now think about the “11” in 2011. I see a picture of a person standing with both arms extended. We are called to surrender ourselves to His will.

Psalm 141:2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Writers are worker bees. We’re blogging, marketing, networking, writing, learning, developing characters, plotting and so on. And those are all good things. But there comes a time when you’ve got to acknowledge that your strength, even on the best day, is not good enough. We serve a hands-off God, (meaning, He wants us to know that sometimes we have to let go…and let God).

Think of your toddler, running to you, arms extended. What’s your first instinct? To sweep him into your arms. Same thing with Daddy God. When you’re tired, when the stories won’t come, when you’ve lost your way, put those arms up in the air and watch Him lift you above your circumstances.

NOTE: If our plans aren’t surrendered to him, they’re just plans. If those dreams aren’t fully released into His hands, they’re just unfulfilled dreams.

CORPORATE PRAYER FOR 2011 (Please feel free to share this.)
In 2011 I submit my life and my work to a holy God, bowing before Him in reverence and casting all of my gifts, talents, and abilities at His feet. I’m prepared to be awed by the things He does in and through me (and my writing), but recognize that I must surrender so that He can take control. Lord, show me how to do what you’ve called me to do with heart bowed and hands extended. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got for me in this new year. May every bit of praise, honor and glory go to You, Lord. Amen.

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Thank you, Janice, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What is one way you submit your work to God, whether it be writing, keeping house, tending to your children, being at a place outside the home, or any other work? Feel free to share more than one if you have it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby Stockton #2 Countdown - Week 33, 7 to Go!

Finally! We have our printer back, so I could scan the newest ultrasound pictures from week 30. Unfortunately, the printing function is broken, so we have to get a replacement. Praise God we were still under warranty, so the replacement is free! Phew! Should be here this week. Never know how much you miss a simple thing like printing until you can't do it.

The same goes for missing the movements of a baby inside of you. It's fun feeling the rolls, kicks, and even the hiccups. :)

And now, we're in week 33, so here is the update:

For all the weight and bulk I'm lugging around these days, you’d think my little champ would weigh more than a mere 4-1/2 pounds! But once you add in the placenta, amniotic fluid, and extra blood, I've got at least 10 pounds of baby and their life-support gear smooshed up against my organs! Oh joy!

No wonder why heartburn is increasing, and I find I can't eat more than just a little of the normal portions at meals. I'm snacking most of the day, just like my toddler daughter. :) A little bit here, a little bit there. Drinking lots of water and fluids. And of course, spending more time down the hall emptying my bladder -- the place my son seems to like resting his head more often these days. (sigh)

In terms of appearance, my sweet lil' looker is getting cuter and pudgier every day as he piles on that adorable baby fat. I was at a conference this past weekend and there was a table featuring life-size babies at various stages of development. The one for 32 weeks looked too small to me, but it sure was cute! I actually held the "model" and placed it against my belly.

And when I did, my son gave a hefty kick. LOL! My womb kick-boxer is getting stronger with every passing day. And it’s even possible to observe a well-placed belly-wobbling kick just by watching my belly! He's kicked my daughter too, but she looks at me as if I did it. Her face is precious, wrinkled brow and all.

See those feet over there? Big, just like my daughter was. But since I wear a size 10 and my husband wears a 16, our kids don't stand a chance. :)

Guess it's a good thing he doesn't kick too least not yet. She'll be in for a rude awakening when he can fight back from all the "abuse" she's given him while he's been cooking in my womb. :) There also a fun game for when a baby is especially active: place a small object (baby blocks or a remote control) on your belly and see how far your star-kicker can lob that thing across the room! I haven't done that yet, but I might when this little one gets going.

And there isn't much time left, as despite his obviously increasing strength, my bigger-by-the-day baby will actually start dropping his rate of movement in the last few weeks, no thanks to his restricted womb space. So, if I'm going to test his foot-strength, I better do it soon!

I remember with my daughter, about a week before she came, I had gone several hours without feeling any movement. I drank some cold juice, laid on my side and waited for some added movement. Still nothing. So I called my doctor and had to do an ultrasound at week 40 plus stress tests and a whole host of other things. In the end, she was fine. Just cramped. I have no doubt my son will be the same.

At the ultrasound, the technician couldn't get a picture of my son's face because he had his hands up there, his feet up there, and even the umbilical cord there. It was almost like, "You're not going to see me. I'm hiding." You can see the hand and head below, but just to the left of the hand, you can make out his foot. They were all up there together. Silly boy.

And now some words from the hiccuping kangaroo inside me:

All right, what's all this about me not moving enough? If Mama wants more movements, I can oblige. She just needs to give me a little more room or stop complaining when I shove something out of the way to stretch my legs. It's hard to tell from in here, but I think I have it pretty good. If I get cramped, she usually moves within a few minutes, and I can find a more comfortable position.

When it gets really dark in here, I don't notice as much movement, so it takes me a little longer to get comfortable. But once I am, Mama and I both rest for several hours. At least I do. Sometimes I get the feeling she isn't sleeping as much as I, and there are some days or nights when it feels like she rolls from side to side a lot. A few weeks ago, there was a time when some popping sound echoed across my little home here. Not sure what it was, but Mama said she felt better afterward. And if she feels better, I feel better. So who am I to complain?

Two nights ago, I sensed she was really worn out. But that was probably because that big sister of mine was screaming a lot and wouldn't do something I heard Mama and Daddy call "night-night." The crying and loud noise went on for over an hour. Maybe even two. Poor Mama and Daddy. And this was after I heard them say my sister had only taken something called a "nap" for 45 minutes. She also woke up a lot earlier than normal from what I could tell.

I don't know. I might just have to set her straight when I come out there. Show her who is boss. Good thing these incidents don't happen often, or I think Mama might be really worn out. Guess I have to wait a little while longer before I can see what all the hub-bub is. In the meantime, I'll stay here in my snug little sac to finish cooking, as Mama says a lot. Sounds like it's much safer here.

It's me again. The mama. :) That's it for now. Tune in each week for the latest. I'll get those new pix as soon as I can. And if you want to receive an email each time I post an update, subscribe using the form over there at the top right.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me...some of you for the second time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Welcome Tiffany Colter and Writing Contests

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide.


TIFFANY COLTER is a full-time Writer, Speaker and Writing Career Coach. In addition to judging writing contests she also works as coordinator of the Frasier Writing Contest. The Frasier is in its 2nd year and offers a scholarship to a writing workshop valued at $500 to the winner. Details are available at The Book Therapy Site.


Writing Contests
By Tiffany Colter

I've been a full time writer for more than eight years now and one thing that helped me early on in my writing was entering writing contests. Writing contests are a great way to help advance your writing career, but not all contests are created equal.

* Make sure when you decide to enter a writing contest that the one you enter offers some kind of feedback.

When I started writing I ran after the contests that offered big rewards and no feedback. I thought that the way I was going to become an author was by having my "Big Break". The reality of writing, however, is that getting your big break comes from taking a series of little steps. Getting feedback in writing contests helps you know which steps to take.

* Make sure some of the writing contests have editors and agents as final round judges

Notice I didn't say that every writing contest had to have this. Some contests are great simply for peer input, but as you improve in your craft getting your entries in front of judges can open the opportunity to get your work read by people who can help you to the next level of your writing career.

* Writing contests are highly subjective

This is another great, though highly painful, aspect of writing contests. You will have wildly different opinions from people sometimes. This can be very frustrating for someone who is trying to build a writing career. One person says they can't stand the way the main character snaps at people and another person says they love your saucy heroine. While coordinators try to make sure things are as fair as possible in judging, it won't always be equal.

But you know what? That is exactly how it will be when readers are evaluating you on the shelf. So this is just one more skill to develop as a writer: a thick skin.

* Entering and judging offer learning opportunities

Some of you may be writing contest veterans. You've entered many contests and feel there isn't much you don't know about this topic. That is when you move to the next level and you start entering and judging various writing contests. As an unpublished author some of your best opportunities to judge will be judging published books. My shifting to this other side of the score sheet you learn many things about craft and you become much more understanding when you get your own score sheet back.

* The bottom line is they help a writer

Many writers that I work with as a writing career coach got their foot in the door by doing well in a writing contest. It wasn't always that an editor or agent requested a manuscript, sometimes it was because they were able to use their strong finish in a query letter or editor/agent appointment. That was one thing that happened to me. When I met my agent the fact that I'd won a national writing contest for unpublished authors caused him to take an extra look at my writing.

But for all of this, I don't think I would have made any progress if I hadn't learned when to use the advice from a judge and when to throw it away. Understanding how to adjust a story without losing your voice is an important skill, and one every writer must master.

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Thank you, Tiff, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: How do you use the comments from contests and critique partners to improve your writing? When do you choose not to use the comments?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Welcome Golden Keyes Parsons - Just Making Up Stories

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide.


GOLDEN KEYES PARSONS - In her deep plowing of the heart, moving from tears one moment to laughter the next, Golden will touch your heart with her dynamic Bible teaching, combined with her vivid personal examples, moving from tears one moment, to laughter the next, all the while communicating the message that God is faithful--keep trusting Him. She has a passion to communicate the Word of God in such a manner that will lead to godly living.

Golden, and her husband, Blaine, have just retired as pastors at Faith Mountain Fellowship Church in Red River, NM. They have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. Her testimony and myriad of life experiences lend a touch of authenticity to her teaching. She loves to speak for women's conferences, seminars, luncheons, retreats and Mother/Daughter events.

If deep Bible teaching that brings the Scriptures alive is what you want, Golden is the speaker you need.

WHERE HEARTS ARE FREE (A Darkness to Light Novel)
by Golden Keyes Parsons
Published by Thomas Nelson


Bridget is in love with one man...and promised to another.

Amid the liberty and promise of the New World, Bridget Barrington and Phillipe Clavell fall in love. But nothing about their love seems possible.

To pay for the Clavell family's passage from France, Philippe, a former member of French royalty, worked as an indentured slave to the Barringtons. Bridget is the heiress of the prominent plantation.

When Bridget's parents discover the budding Romance between their daughter and their servant, they quickly orchestrate her engagement to an older, more advantageous match. But Edward Moorehead has a secret. And he's anything but a good match for Bridget.

Separated from her true love and in danger from her betrothed, Bridget must rely on God to deliver her from darkness into light.

Readers, buy your copy of WHERE HEARTS ARE FREE today!



I have a confession to make. When I first started trying to get published, I was writing non-fiction—Bible studies, general inspirational books, a book on marriage. And, frankly, I had a rather snobby attitude toward fiction writers. I would pass them in the halls at writers’ conferences and although I never said it out loud, I would think to myself, “They are just making up stories. I’m writing biblical truth.” Ahem, ahem—as I smiled sweetly.

One fall at the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference while working on staff, I happened to have a few moments, so I slipped into the back of a fiction class. What I heard in that one-hour session rocked my world, and I’ve never looked at fiction the same way since. Dave Lambert was leading the workshop, and he said that a non-believer is probably not going to pick up a Christian non-fiction book. However, they might pick up a novel and read it. He said as Christian fiction writers we can embed the gospel in a novel in perhaps a more palatable way than in a non-fiction book, which sometimes is way too preachy for a non-believer. I walked out of that classroom reeling.

The Holy Spirit had fingered a chord in my heart. I remembered that Jesus was the Master Storyteller and taught biblical truth through stories. Why had I thought that telling stories was an inferior method of spreading the gospel?

About the same time I came across a published genealogy of my Huguenot ancestors. I wanted to tell their story, and I decided I would do so as historical fiction. As I began writing and submitting my chapters to my critique group, they enthusiastically encouraged me. They assured me that fiction was definitely where I needed to be. The rest, as they say, is history. I procured an agent and a four-book contract with a major publisher.

Recently I received word of an atheist picking up my book in France and commenting, “Maybe there is something to this God thing.” I watched an atheist professional safari guide from South Africa sit down in the den of our daughter’s home and read through In The Shadow of the Sun King in one day. He has since ordered the rest of the series for his mother. I receive emails on a regular basis of similar testimonies.

My profession is to tell stories. I am so blessed to write and tell my stories. I pray that they in turn bless the readers and that they bring glory to God.

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Thank you, Golden, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: What stories have touched your life in a profound enough way to inspire you to change your decision or current path in life? What book(s) have challenged your way of thinking?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baby Stockton #2 Countdown - Week 32, 8 to Go!

Another week, and no new pictures again, as our printer/scanner is still at the repair shop. It needed a serious attitude adjustment. :)

Some good news though! My husband's cousin went in yesterday to be induced, as her baby was already over 9 lbs! Of course, this morning, we received a call to update us on the progress. Baby Sturgeon hasn't yet arrived. By midnight last night, contractions were 2 minutes apart, but then mama fell asleep and she woke this morning only dilated to 4cm. So, in came the pitocin, and things are rolling again. Looks like the baby wanted to be a Valentine's Day baby. With an older brother and sister, and a big family, this little one will never suffer from lack of love.

As for me, we're in week 32, and here is the update:

In the latest womb reports, my amazing baby has now developed sensitivity to temperature! This means I'm now getting a swift kick if I put a hot pad or bag of ice, even cold hands, on my gigantic belly. He's already reacted to my husband's hands when they're warm and pressing on my tummy. And yesterday, with the wind blowing, I got a kick immediately following a strong, cool, blast.

In the physical characteristics realm, for the Elton John lovers out there - baby’s got blue eyes. Actually, even if you're too young to know who Elton is, all babies have blue eyes at this point. Their true eye color takes several months after birth to fully develop. Blue could easily change after birth (or even between now and labor), but for the time being, blue it is.

Thanks to their recently matured lungs and a strengthening immune system, over 90% of babies born in their 32nd week survive! So, I can go ahead and throw a mini-party right now because it’s pretty much a done deal - I've got a human-being that's going to make it! That's not to say I actually want my wee womb-squatter to pack his bags and move out now, because he'd still end up in the ICU for a good while, rather than in my arms at home. But at least I know if something were to happen, he'd be fine. No indications of that, though, as this little fella is growing right on schedule with no complications. Praise God!

Besides, babies are best when fully baked! So, I'll keep this bun in my oven for a little while longer....even if his favorite spot these days seems to be directly on my bladder. (sigh)

In other news, we've scheduled our pre-admission time at the hospital and have filled out our preliminary paperwork for labor and delivery preferences. I've also scheduled my prenatal appointments out to week 38, which is the end of March. We'll see just how long this little tyke decides to stay in the womb.

And now some words from the spazz-master inside me:

All right, all this names. A little guy like me can get real confused on who I really am. Makes me wonder just how many different names I'll be called when I'm on the outside. At least they all sound affectionate and not mean. I have a feeling I'll get enough mean from my big sister when I do something to annoy her. So, I can handle all these other names from Mommy and Daddy.

And speaking of that big sister, this morning, Mommy got real cross. She sounded very upset and frustrated. Immediately after that, my sister cried a little. Then, I was put on what felt like a big roller-coaster that went in side to side rhythmic motion with an occasional shift in direction. I hear something about not drawing on the wall and how Mommy had to clean it all up. I don't know what that all means, but it didn't sound good.

Anyway, life is still trodding along day by day. I'm getting more and more cramped, but Mommy usually moves enough to make it bearable. I find a new position, and it works for a while. When that isn't enough, I move, and it's good again. Now, it's time for some sleep.

It's me again. The mama. :) That's it for now. Tune in each week for the latest. I'll get those new pix as soon as I can. And if you want to receive an email each time I post an update, subscribe using the form over there at the top right.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me...some of you for the second time.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Welcome Jordyn Redwood and The Medical Edge

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide.


JORDYN REDWOOD is a nurse by day and suspense novelist by night. Jordyn has specialized in critical care and emergency nursing for the last eighteen years. She blogs at Redwood’s Medical Edge which helps historical and contemporary authors write medically accurate fiction.


I once heard a talk given by Ted Dekker several years ago who described a fiction novel as a “story bubble”. Our job as authors is to maintain that world for the reader and not do anything in the writing that will pull them out of that happy little snow globe of fun. For me as a nurse, one thing that will pull me out of a story is inaccuracy when it comes to medical facts. When I see these, I begin to question what other details the author may have been loose with. Now, I’m out of the story bubble and questioning whether I should put the book down.

Here are the most common inaccuracies I see regarding medical fact in fiction.

  1. Referring to an IV catheter as a needle: When an IV is placed, a needle is used to “cannulate” or place the catheter inside the vein. What is actually left inside the vein is a small plastic tube and not a needle.
  2. That a person on a breathing machine can talk or moan: The process of speaking happens when we pass air through our vocal cords. When a person is on a breathing machine, a large tube called an endotracheal tube is passed through their vocal cords so air can be delivered directly to the lungs. Because this tube is in place, air cannot pass through the cords; therefore the person cannot speak or moan. There are some tracheotomy tubes that will allow a person to speak through a special valve but these are typically employed during the rehab process and the person must have a tracheotomy site where the breathing tube is placed in the front of the neck.
  3. Anatomy Issues: Here is a sentence I read in a published novel. I’ve changed the name of the main character. “John Doe looked at the scar that ran along his right rib line, where a splenectomy incision might be.” Did you catch the problem? Your spleen is on the left side. Your liver actually sits in your lower right rib cage. Anatomy issues are the easiest to research at Google. Just type in, “what side is the spleen on” and you’ll be able to get an answer in a few seconds.

I hope these are helpful. I go into further detail about these issues on my blog. You can find it at

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Thank you, Jordyn, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What medical inaccuracies have you caught in a novel?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Welcome Lisa Harris and Blood Covenant

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide.


LISA HARRIS is an award-winning author who has over twenty novels and novella collections in print. She and her husband, Scott, along with their three children, live near the Indian Ocean in Mozambique as missionaries. As a homeschooling mom, life can get hectic, but she sees her writing as an extension of her ministry which also includes running a non-profit organization. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at or her blog at For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit

BLOOD COVENANT (Mission Hope Series) today!
by Lisa Harris
Published by Zondervan


From the explosive first pages, Lisa Harris weaves a tale of heart-stopping suspense and adventure with her second book in the Mission Hope Series. When fighting erupts between government forces and renegade Ghost Soldiers deep within the Republic of Dhambizao, thousands are forced to leave their homes. Dr. Paige Ryan, who works with Volunteers of Hope International, is sent to lead a team to set up a refugee transit site---where the immediate needs for shelter, water, sanitation, and food are critical. Nick Gilbert, a bush pilot for Compassion Air, joins the team to help fly supplies in and out of the area. With the refugee camp already experiencing overcrowding, raids, and uprisings, a group of American mountain climbers is attacked by the Ghost Soldiers. Paige's medical team responds immediately, rescuing survivors and taking them into the camp. When it's discovered that one of the trekkers is carrying an infectious disease, the harrowing conditions of the camp are forgotten. In desperate need of vaccines and the Ghost Soldiers blocking the only road out until their demands for amnesty are met, it won't be long before the disease is out of control ... and there is nowhere to run.


Blood Covenant Book Trailer from Lisa Harris on Vimeo.

Readers, buy your copy of BLOOD COVENANT (Mission Hope Series) today!


As writers, we have the amazing job of taking pen and paper and creating three-dimensional characters who we hope will entertain, motivate, and inspire the world. But have you ever stopped and really thought about how powerful your words can be?

In the Bible, James talks about how difficult it is to tame the tongue, because from it flow words that both praise and curse. Words can express love and hatred. They can convey frustration, excitement, joy, pain and a multitude of other emotions.

As a writer, I’ve been struck over and over about the very real power of the written word. A couple of years ago, I was sitting in the Joburg airport in South Africa, waiting for a flight back to the States and started talking to the woman next to me. She began sharing with me about a novel that had completely changed her life.

She was a flight attendant for Delta and because of this book’s impact, she had just spent some time in Africa working with an orphan program (one of many trips), speaking to one of Nelson Mandela's representatives, and had even gotten Delta involved in the project. Her husband was flying in and out of Sudan as a pilot and staying extra time to work as a humanitarian there as well. As an author who wants to entertain, but also use words to challenge, inspire, and change lives, I was struck by just how powerful a "fiction" story can be.

As I promote Blood Covenant, a suspense novel set in an African refugee camp, I continue to find people who are not willing to just become "aware" of these issues facing our world, but who are finding ways to get involved in grass roots movements. This in turn will change the world we live in!

* * * * *

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: As a reader, is there a book (fiction or non-fiction) you’ve read lately that has inspired you, motivated you, or perhaps even changed your life?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Baby Stockton #2 Countdown - Week 31, 9 to Go!

Well, we made it. Single digits in the countdown. No new pictures this week, though, as our printer/scanner was acting up and needed to go to the repair shop for an attitude adjustment. :)

But for now, as of week 31, here is the update:

This week, my amazing growing baby is around 4 pounds and 17 inches tall. He's predicted to gain about 1/2 pound each week from here on out. So, that means he has a chance of being an 8-lb. baby. Praise God my OB has said he won't let me go past the baby being 9 lbs. Phew! Glad to hear that.

With each added layer of baby fat, my baby's wrinkly raisin skin starts to look more and more like it will when he's finally here on the outside. His developing immune system has made some serious gains over the past weeks too, getting him in full gear to face our disease-ridden world o’ wonders. And considering how often his big sister gets runny noses or the sniffles, I pray his immune system is as strong or stronger than hers. At least she's only had 1 ear infection.

Even so, a large majority of my son’s immune strength will need to come from my milk in the first year. And if all goes well like his sister, I'll be nursing for the first year or beyond, depending upon when he decides to wean himself. His sister stopped at about 13 months on her own.

Now, in the physical characteristic world, his cute little noggin’ (which could already be covered with luscious locks like his sister has now or just purty peach fuzz), is still soft because the skull bones have not yet fused together. As disturbing as having an infant with a soft cracked skull sounds, it's pretty much a necessity for passage through the birth canal during labor. I can't imagine an inflexible skull during that process. Ouch!

This little guy's sister got hung up a smidgen in the birth canal, and she had a short-term cone head. Her poor skull plates were compressed while in my rather snug birth canal. It's normal, harmless, and her skull evened out in a matter of days to a smooth, round head. Gotta admit, though, seeing those pictures of her during her first bath really threw me at first.

Oh, and FYI: as with almost all babies, my son may have that “soft spot” on his head for up to eighteen months after birth. His big sister lost hers around 15 months. So, we'll see.

I had a prenatal appointment today too, and everything is looking fantastic. Baby boy's heartbeat was 146, I'm measuring at 32 weeks (just 4 days ahead), this fella is head down and pushing all the time on my poor pelvis, and I've only gained 3 pounds overall during this pregnancy. We'll see what the final count is when all is said and done on delivery day. But if I can keep up, I'll leave the hospital weighing less than I did pre-pregnancy. Just like with my daughter. Amazing weight-loss plan God has here. *winks*

And now some words from the squirmy-wormy inside me:

Not as much to say this week. I've been trying to be as comfortable as possible and sleeping a lot. But I do remember to get in some good kicks each day just so Mama knows I'm still here. Of course, I can feel her rubbing her belly where I am several times a day, and she tells people about me pushing on her pelvis--whatever that is--so she's forced to do the pregnancy waddle. That sounds like a fun thing to do. Wonder how it looks.

Something I've been hearing a lot lately is this word, "no." It's usually followed by crying or whimpering and then soothing voices from either Mama or that Daddy fella. My guess is my big sister did something she wasn't supposed to do, and that didn't make Mama happy. Good to know the soft tones and what I think are hugs follow though. At least I can count on those when I do something bad.

I also have been sensing some stress from Mama lately. Something about a house and wanting to get things done before I arrive. Guess I better behave myself in here and let them get everything finished first. (stretching) It's not so bad inside here, and I still have room to wiggle or move a bit. Getting harder and harder though, so I hope this house thing works out soon. From what I hear, there are only a few more weeks to go.

Now it's time for me again. The mama. :) That's it for now. Tune in each week for the latest. I'll get those new pix as soon as I can. And if you want to receive an email each time I post an update, subscribe using the form over there at the top right.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me...some of you for the second time.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Publishers Swoon Over Christian Romance

Well, this is my first attempt at making Fridays all about the writing industry. Wednesdays will be focused on featuring guest blog spots from authors on a variety of topics. Fridays, I'll just be rambling on whatever I happen to find. And I'm great at rambling. :)

Today, here's a link about the rise in demand for inspirational fiction...specifically romance fiction from the inspirational lines. Publishers are buying it more than ever, and the demand is increasing.

It's not the full article, but you can subscribe to Christian Retailing's digital version for free and read the rest.

I have to say this is fantastic news, since I write inspirational romance fiction. And I've recently sold 3 more novels along with a novella collection. All of them are releasing in the next 2 years. So, there's proof positive the article is right.

Bring on the REAL romance!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Welcome JoAnn Durgin and Awakening

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. IF there is a book giveaway, your response and email address will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


JOANN DURGIN is a member of ACFW and its Indiana chapter. Awakening is her debut novel. She was a finalist in the long contemporary romance category of the 2010 RWA/FHL Touched by Love contest, and is a regular blog contributor with Hoosier Ink and Reflections in Hindsight. JoAnn is also an active member of the My Book Therapy Voices and has won or placed in several of their quarterly Flash Fiction contests. She loves to share her passion for the redeeming love of Christ through her stories.

by JoAnn Durgin
Published by Torn Veil Books


Lexa Clarke signs up for a short-term summer mission in San Antonio with TeamWork Missions, hoping to make a difference in the world. TeamWork director Sam Lewis has a job to do and can't afford to be distracted by the petite, feisty blonde. But when she tumbles into his arms from the top of a house they’re rebuilding, Sam suspects his life will never be the same. A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. It’s a combustible combination.

Readers, buy your copy of Awakening today!


How you define a hero in a Christian romance? What makes him irresistible? I don’t know if you’ve ever checked out the Christian Community boards on Amazon, but a particular discussion thread recently caught my eye. One reader complained there weren’t enough strong men in the Christian romances she was reading. We’re talking leadership potential here. Men who are decisive and loving and, if married, the head of their households yet treat their wives as equals.

I started pondering that point and did a quick run-through of recent books I’d read. Don’t get me wrong – there are some wonderful heroes out there, but more often than not, they fall short (and I’m not talking stature). For example, it seems the male “heroes” in Christian books tend to fall into one of the following categories (with varying degrees of a relationship with the Lord):

  • Widower still grieving the loss of his saintly wife, idealized all the more for having died young (and beautiful, but that goes without saying) – with or without a child or two (having one ups the vulnerability factor)
  • Afraid to commit because he’s been burned by love, is still pining for a lost love or hasn’t met “the one”
  • Too focused on his career
  • Scarred physically and/or emotionally
  • Insecure, not confident in either himself or the strength of his love

Let’s be honest and face facts here. Deep down, do we really want a hero in a Christian romance who smells his socks before he throws them on the floor, belches, slaps other guys on the backside and grunts like a cave man, can only cook mac and cheese and microwave hot dogs, leaves the lid up on the… Okay, you get my point.

Oh, no. We want them to be (you can define your own order here):

  • strong in his faith and personal relationship with the Lord
  • handsome
  • intelligent
  • witty
  • charming
  • brave and honorable
  • confident
  • sensitive
  • kind
  • chivalrous
  • heroic
  • romantic as anything
  • tall
  • strong in every way imaginable
  • awesome kisser
  • compassionate to children, seniors and animals
  • treats his parents like the queen and king they are and his brothers and sisters with the utmost respect
  • admired by his co-workers or employees
  • self-supporting and the doer of good (and often selfless and sometimes anonymous) deeds
  • looks equally spectacular in a Stetson, jeans and a T-shirt, a wetsuit, a tuxedo or a hot tub

And last, but definitely not least, he absolutely must look at his heroine as if she’s by far the most beautiful, desirable creature he’s ever met and who ever walked the face of the earth.

I ask you, is it too much to ask for the charm of Cary Grant or Colin Firth, the wry humor of Harrison Ford (as Indiana Jones) or George Clooney, the smooth, deep voice of Gregory Peck, the effortless sex appeal of Robert Redford or Pierce Brosnan, the intelligence of (you fill in the blank – it’s up for grabs), the simply too-cool-for-words macho heroics of Clint Eastwood or Hugh Jackman (or Harrison as the President of the United States when he snarls, “Get off my plane!”), the romanticism of Jeff Bridges (have you heard this man talk about his wife, the great love of his life? It’s positively sigh-inducing, and he thankfully had a great marriage modeled by his parents), and the great faith of (again, you fill in the blank with your own example). Okay, I’m showing my age here, but I’m not sure today’s Young Hollywood offers the same leading men of days gone by. Sigh.

There’s an old Carpenters song with lyrics that go like this, I know I ask perfection of a quite imperfect world, and fool enough to think that’s what I’ll find. My mother often told me that should be my own theme song. I mistakenly believed those lyrics were from, ironically enough, Goodbye to Love. They’re not, but interestingly enough, they’re from I Need to Be in Love. But show me a guy who embodies all those above-named qualities, and you’ve got perfection.

Well, I’m here to say that perfection is highly overrated. It’s downright boring – not to mention totally unrealistic – especially in fiction. Perfection is only embodied in one man in human form, and you know Who that is. My strong male hero in Awakening, Sam Lewis, can get grumpy sometimes. But you know what? I love Sam grumpy. It makes him real and vulnerable. And yes, loveable. But he’s good, he’s faithful, and he’s definitely hero-worthy. At least I think so. I know some of you have such men in your books too, and I’d love for you to tell me about them. Someone said the need to make a hero handsome is a need within the author. Well, call me shallow, people, but I like ‘em handsome!

As I close, here’s something to think about. The following comes from the lyrics of a great song performed by the Christian group 4 Him, and it goes like this:

Oh, I say the measure of a man is not how tall you stand
How wealthy or intelligent you are
‘cause I found out the measure of a man
God knows and understands
For he looks inside to the bottom of your heart
And what’s in the heart defines
The measure of a man

Well, you can doubt your worth
And search for who you are and where you stand
But God made you in His image
When He formed you in His hands
And He looks at you with mercy
And He sees you through His love
You’re His child and that will always be enough

Overall, I believe the Christian reader on Amazon had a point. What do you say? Tell me what you look for in a Christian romantic hero. What makes your heart rate speed up, makes you smile, and most importantly, keeps you turning those pages?

Blessings, everyone!

* * * * *

Thank you, JoAnn, for sharing with us today.

Reader's Question: Tell me what you look for in a Christian romantic hero. What makes your heart rate speed up, makes you smile, and most importantly, keeps you turning those pages?

Welcome Fred Warren and The Muse, Writing a Sequel

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. IF there is a book giveaway, your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


When he's not writing, FRED WARREN works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, providing computer simulation support for Army training. He’s written 26 short stories published in a variety of print and online magazines, and his first novel, The Muse, debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books. It was a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award finalist for book of the year in the speculative genre.

Fred married the girl who should have been his high school sweetheart, and has three kids, three dogs, and a mortgage. You can find him online at

by Fred Warren
Published by Splashdown Books


Stan Marino needs a muse. He's written himself into a corner...again. A shot of inspiration is all he needs to finish his story ...where is he going to find it? What Stan doesn't know: Inspiration has found him. And it's about to take over his life. Ripped from reality, he must lead a band of lost souls in a life-or-death battle with a merciless enemy. Stan has found his muse, but will he survive it?

Readers, buy your copy of The Muse today!


Writing the Sequel, or, You're Probably Going to Want Some Milk With That Cookie

One of my family's favorite books is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff. A mouse comes to visit, and a little girl gives him a cookie, which of course requires a glass of milk to wash it down, which sets off a cascade of other requests that get bigger and bigger until they take over the entire house. It's the story of our life. If my daughter has track practice, they're probably going to want a case of juice boxes to go with it, and so on, ad infinitum.

When I wrote my first novel, my goals were modest. I was a short-story writer. I wanted to challenge myself to write a story longer than 8000 words. When I passed 10,000 words, I was ecstatic, and the writing got easier once I'd broken through that mental wall. After I finished, to my great surprise, I had something in excess of 50,000 words that I thought somebody else might actually want to read, once I'd cleaned it up. To my even greater surprise, one of those somebodies wanted to publish it.

Then I discovered that when somebody publishes your book, chances are, they're going to ask you to write another. Sure, nowadays it's common for people to write with visions of seven-volume epic franchises dancing in their heads, but that never occurred to me. I'd met my goal, written my novel, and now it was time to get back to my beloved short stories, right?

Wrong. It wasn't just my publisher asking. Friends, relatives, strangers who had enjoyed the book--people had expectations. So, okay, I thought. I can write a sequel. I've got an idea that will work, and I've already done one of these, so it won't be very difficult.

It turned out to be a lot harder than I figured. Here are some speed bumps I encountered on the way to finishing the manuscript for my second novel.

You Can't Go Home Again - I knew my characters cold, I thought--their personalities, fashion sense, favorite ice cream flavor, everything. The only problem was that time had passed since the first story, and they'd grown. Everybody was five years older. They were living with the consequences of their choices in the original story. Their problems and ambitions were different. I had to get to know them all over again. This led quickly to the realization that my audience was also different. I couldn't write the second book assuming everybody had read the first. I would have to orient new readers to my universe without boring the loyal folks who were familiar with it. I had to catch up with the original cast and introduce interesting new characters. I had to revisit the old stomping grounds, but I also needed to take my characters, and my readers, to places they'd never been before.

Couples Skate - Writing the first novel was like free-skate time at the roller rink. I could go wherever I wanted, at whatever tempo I enjoyed, getting as crazy as my imagination (and the limits of good form) would allow. The second book was a couples-skate session that joined me with a lovely but demanding partner named Backstory, and we were going to skate at her pace. I had to link the sequel with what had come before. I had to be consistent with the facts and events I'd already established. My universe had rules now, and I had to obey them. What happened in the first story determined, in part, what could and would happen in the second.

Revenge of the Self-Editor - I learned a lot writing my first novel, and it was only natural that I'd want to apply that knowledge to the second. I certainly hope my growth as a writer will be reflected in this new book. Unfortunately, knowing more also made me more inhibited. Writers talk endlessly about the perils of self-editing, and I'm a first-class offender. It's very difficult for me to write more than a few sentences without going back and tweaking them. Part of my success with the first novel was in suppressing this tendency, getting the words onto paper with reckless abandon. Now I found myself with a whole new database of problems to beware and a catalog of weaknesses in the first story to avoid in the sequel. My self-editor re-emerged with a vengeance, and it was harder to beat him down because I was invested in the story. It was more important to me this time to get things exactly right.

Despite all the new challenges I hadn't expected, I pressed on and finished the manuscript a couple of weeks ago. It took me about twice as long as it did the first time around. I've still got a long way to go—editing, critiques, rewriting—but I'm happy with the story and optimistic about its potential. Yes, there will be a third novel. At the end of Ms. Numeroff's story, the mouse wants another cookie. If you write two novels, chances are, somebody will want you to write one more.

* * * * *

Thank you, Fred, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: You can answer as either as a writer or a reader--What do you think is the most difficult challenge for an author to overcome in a sequel?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above PLUS a copy of Fred's next book, The Seer, releasing later this year. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February New Releases in Christian Fiction

1. Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart -- General Fiction from Revell. It is 1936 and Kate Merritt, the middle child of Victor and Nadine Merritt, works hard to keep her family together during the Great Depression. Who could imagine that a dirty, abandoned little girl would be just what the Merritts need?

2. Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman -- General Fiction from Bethany. What would you give for a second chance to make things right? When life gets complicated, Grace Graham runs. But now her sister, Jana, is giving her once last chance.

3. Blood Covenant by Lisa Harris -- A Thriller/Suspense from Zondervan. Paige Ryan and Nick Gilbert must put their own lives in the hands of God as they fight for the safety of the refugees under their protection.

4. Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze -- A Thriller/Suspense from Waterbook-Multnoma. Her enemy will stop at nothing for control. She will risk everything for freedom.

5. Hometown Dad by Merrillee Whren -- A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A pair of rowdy boys would be exhausting for two parents—little wonder single mom Melanie Drake feels overwhelmed. Enter Nathan Keller—respected banker, descendant of the town’s father...and baseball coach.

6. Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin -- A Western Historical from Tyndale. A chance for redemption was something they never expected. A chance for love was something they never dreamed of. Sometimes the journey is only the beginning . . .

7. Lady in the Midst by Laurie Alice Eakes -- A Romance from Revell. By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, what he, a British aristocrat, is doing on American soil working as an indentured servant.

8. Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate -- General Fiction from Bethany House. Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson's mind when she moves to Moses Lake. But when a little girl is seen with the town recluse, Andrea and the new game warden are drawn together in the search for her identity. The little girl offers them both a new chance at redemption and hope--and may bring them closer than either ever planned.

9. Letting Go; Healing Hearts Series, Book 1 by Michelle Sutton -- General Fiction from Sheaf House. From an early age Diane Simmons was trained by her parents in the art of seduction, but she hates that about herself and wants to be loved for who she is, not what she looks like.

10. Raider's Heart by Marcia Gruver -- A Romance from Barbour. Dawsey Wilkes wakes up deep in the Carolina swamps, the prisoner of a rowdy family who support a vigilante intent on bringing justice to the poor. Wooed by the competitive McRae brothers and shunned by their sister Ellie, Dawsey remains intent on getting back home to her ailing father. But has it been God's plan all along to unite these two very different families?

11. Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones -- A Romance from Thomas Nelson. You’re invited to the engagement of the most unlikely couple of the year.

12. The Outlaw's Return by Victoria Bylin -- A Historical Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical. J.T. Quinn would know Mary Larue's beautiful voice anywhere. He just never expected to hear her singing in a Denver church.

13. Turbulance by Dana Mentink -- A Thriller/Suspense from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Romantic Suspense. Someone wants to ensure that the flight bringing Maddie Lambert and a transplant organ to her father never reaches its destination. Someone who's desperate enough to sabotage the plane.

14. When All My Dreams Come True by Janelle Mowery -- General Fiction from Harvest House. An adventurous novel of faith, hope, and love in the Wild West.

15. Words by Ginny Yttrup -- General Fiction from B&H Publishing. Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word-Jesus Christ.