Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Monday, November 28, 2011

Could It Be Alvin?

Monday Musings on This ‘N That

I’d seen him many times. He got around with deft agility. And did he move fast. I thought he was the only one around. I’d watch him move from one safe spot to another and then he’d disappear into a small hole near the deck steps. His name could have been Alvin because he was a chipmunk. (No, that's not my hand.)


Then one day I saw him scampering in my yard and he had a friend with him—another chipmunk. The real Alvin on screen had two buddies. I wondered if my Alvin had more than this one buddy. I’ve only seen two of them together at the same  time. Of course they could be twins—the stripes on their backs are identical. I know they are in the rodent family, but they really are cute.

At my kitchen window one day I saw a sizable cat with a chipmunk in its mouth. I hurried outside screaming at the mean cat and waving my arms. I suppose I was scary enough that the cat froze and his mouth dropped open. The unharmed chipmunk plopped to the ground and dashed away to safety.

We also have squirrels scooting around in our trees. And stray dogs and cats. And sometimes a snake (see my November 7 blog post). I’ve often thought where all these little creatures go when it gets really cold. Another puzzle to me is how birds in trees survive strong winds.

Jesus says He takes care of the birds and flowers and we are much more valuable to Him (Luke 12:22-28 NIV). You know how I feel about worrying. In these Bible verses Jesus admonishes us not to worry because doing so cannot add one hour to our life. Watching the little chipmunks in their hustle and bustle reminds me of these verses and makes me smile to know Jesus takes care of their necessities and also mine.

How do those little bird feet hang onto the tree limb when the winds come?

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! –Luke 12:24 NIV

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Prayer

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

The winner of last Thursday’s book giveaway for a copy of I Called Him Dancer by G. Edward Snipes is Ginger. Thanks for all your comments and for following my blog. More giveaways soon.

Considering that today is Thanksgiving Day in America and staying in line with this blog’s Thursday theme of reading and writing, please allow me to quote from one of my books. Following is an entry from Amen and Good Night, God: A Book of Evening Prayers on the topic of thanksgiving:

I praise you for the miracles of today. I'm thankful for your many blessings. Help me to be positive, not grumbling daily or taking for granted your many good provisions. You can do more for me than I could even imagine! May I never forget to offer you praise and thanksgiving.
Amen and Good Night,God  

The book, Amen and Good Night, God: A Book of Evening Prayers, is available in paperback AND eBook formats here.  

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, November 21, 2011

From Pretty to Ugly

Monday Musings on This 'N That

Last Wednesday as I walked across the parking lot toward my doctor’s office I calmly said to my husband, “This feels like tornado weather.” It was not windy, the sky was blue; but when you’ve been unfortunate to have been near a tornado you can just tell. When leaving the doctor’s office it began to sprinkle rain and began a downpour just as we got into the car. We drove from the parking lot and around the corner when rain hit us in sheets. We pulled off into another parking lot to wait out the rain.

Then’s when I heard the weather sirens that give us warnings of bad weather. Two minutes later our car literally rocked from side to side. So glad we were not driving on the streets. We couldn’t get a radio station on the car, so I started calling family members to find out what was coming our way.

What we found out was we were smack in the middle of a tornado warning. When the rain slowed and the sky lightened, we started our way home. No visible damage anywhere; just autumn leaves everywhere except on the trees.

The closer we got to home, the worse it appeared. It was ugly: trees were down across the street, allowing  only one-way traffic and other trees had fallen across house roofs. Two roofs were completely gone. Most of our street was blocked because of trees and downed wires, but we finally circled around and arrived home safely. The tornado was on the ground for 27 miles and its path came about two blocks from our house.

It appears the only damage we have is on our lower level patio—the glass-top table is no longer and the patio umbrella is turned over. We haven’t checked the roof for missing shingles but we don’t see any fallen trees on us. We have no electrical power—my laptop is running on battery and I can’t get internet service because of the outage.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
How true of all our days. Making plans is another one of those things we so easily take for granted. I’m blessed my family is safe and I’ve heard of no fatalities.

Please cherish each day, whether rain or shine.

Till next time … keeping on smiling.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Many Books

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

Leave a comment on THIS blog post by midnight, Sunday, November 20, to be eligible to win a copy of I Called Him Dancer by G. Edward Snipes. Please remember to give your email address so that I can contact you if you should win.

Is there a difference between the reading habits of readers who don’t write and readers who do write?

Probably most readers who write for publication  (even when reading for pleasure) will have their internal editor turned on whether aware of it or not. They will tend to see grammar errors, punctuation errors, spelling errors, etc. right away. Catching those errors are ingrained in a writer’s mind because they must read their own writing with their editor hat on.

Readers who do not write for publication, probably don’t concern themselves with actually hunting down those errors. I wonder which group is more apt to enjoy reading a book.

Which group do you think would be more likely to read more books? I don’t have any statistics on that topic; it would be interesting to know.

How many books do you read in a year? One a week, one a month, or more or less? Writers who write for publication are often faced with deadlines to get pages to their publisher. That takes a big chunk of their time. There will be intervals between those deadlines and writers do read.

In my e-newsletter I ask readers to share their five favorite books (you can subscribe to the newsletter from my website). My list sometimes changes from year to year.

So, how many books do you read a year? Would you like to share the titles of your five favorite books? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. It would put a smile on my face.

"I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right."  Billy Graham

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Monday Musings On This’N That

The leaves are falling and the trees are almost bare, their naked limbs reaching…  I would suspect they are reaching for a better season for their purpose on this earth. A season of shrubbery budding and bright green leaves to once more adorn them. It’s a long time till spring and these bare trees and not-so-pretty bushes must wait…they have no choice.

Do you ever find yourself in a similar place…waiting? We all wait at times in our lives. What we wait for is important to us. Are you patient, knowing you have no other choice? Or do you lose your patience, your life filled with strife and stress from the waiting?

Impatience will gain us nothing but fretting and worrying. Impatience will not cause whatever you are waiting for to appear sooner than it’s supposed to. Can you recall a time when you were forced to be patient and it was worth the wait when what you desired came to be? If so, share it with us in the comments section below.

Who or what makes your life complicated by causing you to wait? Waiting is not easy. It’s usually downright nerve-racking. Impatience is a close cousin to worry; neither will gain us anything. The secret to being happy while you are patient is to wait with hope.

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words: wait and hope.”
—Alexandre Dumas, French playwright

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Learning to Write

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

NOTE: The winner of the book giveaway last Thursday is JENNIFER. I'll be having some more contests for stay tuned.

When you’re just starting out on your writing career, where do you turn for direction or instruction? Where do you find materials that will get your writing wheels turning?

Well, when I started writing I didn’t look any place for direction. I just wrote…don’t try this at home. I wrote a few short stories and sent them to some women’s magazines where I’d been reading the stories they printed. I think I was just trying to write like what I had read in those magazines. I had no doubt they would be published. Nope, they were all rejected.

After those rejections, which hurt oh so badly, I decided I’d go to a bookstore that sold magazines that might be helpful. I found sections of magazines on most any topic you could imagine. To my pleasant surprise they had two magazines for writers. I bought one of each—Writer's Digest and The Writer--and consumed their contents.

I was overwhelmed to learn what I didn’t know: writers met together at conferences, books were available about how to write, and there were market guides to help writers. I stepped back and wondered about what I was attempting to do. Why didn’t Good Housekeeping use my story in their magazine? Why didn’t  Ladies Home Journal like my writing? I really wanted some answers. I couldn’t ignore a feeling deep inside that maybe, just maybe, sending my stories to those publications was not what I should have done. This nagging feeling wouldn’t stop and I had to seriously confront it. I was finally convinced that God was telling me that’s not where He wanted my writing to be.

The first article I submitted to a Christian publication was accepted! How’s that for God getting my attention? I started going to Christian writers’ conferences, attending all the workshops I could work into the schedule, and meeting other Christian writers. Well, you probably know the rest of the story: I was published in many different magazines and devotionals, wrote an inspirational newspaper column in a secular venue where I was allowed to quote scripture, and had three nonfiction books traditionally published.

So, when you begin your writing career look to resources for help: writers’ magazines, writers’ conferences, books on the writing craft, and other writers. From personal experience, I suggest that you do not venture into anything until you know what God has in mind for you.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Which Is The Good Snake?

Monday Musings on This ‘N That

What’s your favorite snake? What … you don’t have a favorite snake? And so many to pick one from … there’s the copperhead, rattle snake, water moccasin, black snake, chicken snake, and many more, I’m sure.

When my son was young we were at Silver Springs, Florida and he wanted to go into the snake show. AND he wanted to sit on the front row, which we did! The first thing in the show was a person who brought out a huge snake, holding it in his hands, and walking along the front row to allow spectators to feel of the snake. My son did; I did. Not once thinking that the snake could turn his head and BITE someone if it wanted to. It didn’t.

Anyway, that’s the only snake I’ve touched and don’t plan to touch another one. Returning home one day I noticed a very small snake lying just outside the garage doors. I got out of the car, reached for a hoe standing in the corner, and set out to kill that little snake. I raised the hoe above my head and slammed it down near the snake’s head. When the hoe hit the concrete beneath the snake it bounced back up almost as high as I had it when I started my killing spree! Good thing it was a little snake or it would have had time to bite me before I could bring down the hoe to hit it again.

Okay, then, what’s my favorite snake? A good snake; and a good snake is a dead one. Take a look at this one my son found inside our garage a few days ago. I’m glad he found it instead of me; I might still be running.

My son used the same hoe and chopped the snake two or three times. He googled it and determined it was a garter snake; not poisnous. But still the only good snake is a dead snake in my book.

Till next time … keep on smiling (and don’t bring any snakes to my house!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Win This Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by midnight Sunday, November 6, you'll be entered in a drawing for a copy of the book I review below.

Save The Date by Jenny B. Jones

Jenny B. Jones is the two-time Carol award-winning author of Just Between You and Me and the Charmed Live series.

From the back cover of the book:
When the funding for Lucy's non-profit job is pulled she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir to Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy’s non-profit organization.

Both Lucy and Alex have something the other desperately wants.

Alex has it all except…except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancĂ©e in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart—and her future—on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams…and maybe even a date.

From Jo:
Jones includes enough humorous situations to make you smile or maybe even laugh out loud. Her characters are real and memorable She describes her settings so well you'll feel you're right there with Lucy as the plot unfolds. I couldn't find enough time to get back to this book and continue reading.

Leave a comment below by midnight Sunday, November 6, to be eligible to win a copy of Save the Date.
Please be sure to leave your email address with your comment so that I can contact you should you be the winner. For better security from scammers you may leave your email address as (an example): jo(at)gmail(dot)com.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.