Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Too few days, so many books

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

I've had a few too many doctor's appointments lately and the ailments that precipitated them. When I'm not reading, my family and friends know it's because I'm not feeling well. They're correct. So, no review this week and no book to give away.

However, there are titles on my night stand to read. The first one finished will be on next Thursday's blog book giveaway. Here they are:

The Lady in the Midst by Laurie Alice Eake

The Race Against Time by Christy Barritt

The Chair by James L. Rubart

Nurtured in Purple by Jude Urbanski

So sorry for not having a book giveaway today. Please help me pray that I'll be up and about and reading very soon.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Patriotic, Smiles, Sobering

When I hear the Star Spangled Banner played or sung, I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I was blessed to see a granddaughter wear her high school's band uniform standing in formation playing the Star Spangled Banner. I could locate her because I found the saxophone section. When the band left the field the football team came running out. I found my grandson in jersey number eighty-eight all bulked up in his shoulder pads. During the game I only watched number eighty-eight whether he was in the game or on the sidelines. And I did the same when my granddaughter came on for the band's half time show.

And at graduations! I was again blessed to see those two grandchildren graduate from high school. Here also I had a lump in my throat and a tear or two crawled down my cheeks. At the end of the ceremony, as is the usual custom, all the graduates tossed their caps into the air. They were smiling and free!! Yes, they were free from high school to face the world. If they didn't stay at home they found what the real world wanted from them--work a job or go on the college or both, rent or mortgage payments, car payments, grocery payments, utility bills, and on and on. The big, bad world eventually hits all of us like a brick wall.

When I was in high school I had the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C. One of the sites we went to was the Tomb of the Unknown  Soldier, which stands on a raised area of Arlington Cemetery. Day and night, 24/7, a soldier in dress uniform walks across and back, across and back, beside the tomb. That soldier looks neither right nor left, up or down, but does his duty to guard the tomb. I watched those shiny shoes (and when I was there the military did not wear patent but spit shined their shoes) come closer as I stood there and when he was at the end of his path, he turned, clicked the heels of those shiny shoes and marched the other direction. The large tomb marker standing there was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to recognize the many unidentified soldiers who came home in a body bag, some just pieces of them.

I also had the privilege to stand at the Shiloh National Park in Tennessee where a Civil War battle for control of the railroad took place. In March 1862, the battle of Shiloh was over. Both sides lost a combined total of 23,746 men killed, wounded, or missing The graves of those casualties are each marked with identical small white tombstones. I saw those markers as far as I could look. Those markers that represented death of a soldier.

When my husband and I were in Hawaii we "did" Honolulu by bus. The island of Oahu is 112 miles around, which buses traverse continually. One day we asked the bus driver to let us off at Pearl Harbor. We stood at the water's edge and looked across the harbor. It seemed relatively small but on that December day in 1941 several naval ships were docked there. We rode a shuttle boat out to the pristine white memorial that straddles the sunken USS Arizona. That ship was hit by a 1,760 pound bomb and the following explosion sank the ship in nine minutes, entombing 1,177 men. After reading the names of all those inside the sunken USS Arizona, which was difficult to do, I looked into the water and could see a a rusted gun turret of the ship just above the water. In this photo you can see the partial outline of the Arizona beneath the memorial. 

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Shiloh graves, and Pearl Harbor were sobering experiences I'll never forget. To see those places will help you to prioritize your waking in the morning and your bedtime at night. But also you can include instances with family where you're full of smiles. The space I occupy on this earth is minute and peaceful. Let's be thankful for that and also never forget those who didn't have it so lucky. Remember those who are in the armed forces, those who protect and ensure us of a good day. 

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Working with people in the industry

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

Our guest blogger today is Tiffany Colter, writing career coach. Welcome, Tiffany and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

If you write for any length of time and achieve any level of success in your writing, you'll soon discover that you need to work with a variety of people in publishing in order to become successful. These people will include:




This is not a complete list, but these are some of the first people you will start to get to know outside of your inner circle of writers and freelance editors. It is important when you start to transition from writer to professional writer that you observe a few things. While some of what I say below may seem humorous, it is very serious and it is meant to help you convey at professional image when you get to the place where your writing is ready for prime time.

1. It is a small industry, so watch your mouth!!! It is remarkable to me how many writers feel it is okay to simply spout off at the mouth about this editor of that agent. They seem to have the crazy notion that it is their right to blame their level of success [or lack of success] on a "mean" industry professional. Please, I'm not trying to be harsh, but I'm trying to help you, publishing in a small industry. People know each other. People talk. If you get the reputation of being rude it will be hard to shake. I don't always agree with everything a person thinks about my writing, but I have the good sense to give them the benefit of the doubt and KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT. Remember, these are human beings. Treat them the way you'd want to be treated.

2. No one person will make or break your career--except you. Don't get nervous meeting editors and agents. They're truly eager to find great new talent. That is why they take the time and spend the money to attend writing conferences. They are there to meet you, get to know you and your writing. If they decline your work, ask them if they know another publishing house that may be interested in seeing it.

3. That leads to the third your homework. Don't take a medieval romance to a publisher who specializes in spec. fiction. Don't take a children's book to a romance line. That will immediately show you as unprofessional. Now, if you take that medieval romance to a ROMANCE line and they pass, ask them if they know anyone look for medieval romance. That shows you to be a professional. If they don't, thank them and keep going.

4. Have a one sheet, a variety of projects that you've completed or are working on, something that tells your publishing credits, and a bit about you. You can give these EASY TO READ sheets to the editor or agent during an appointment, but don't expect them to read an entire manuscript or to read everything you give them. They're great props, but be ready to share a bit about you, your writing, and your professional credentials.

5. Don't follow them to their room or into the bathroom. You laugh,  but people do it.

6. Be gracious and thank them for any help they give. Don't be a suck up, but do be polite.

7. Keep thing is perspective. People can smell desperation on you. Make sure that you have confidence that that you recognize this is a PART of being a professional writer. It isn't the event that will determine the trajectory of your entire career.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but keep these things in mind. This is particularly true if you'll be attending a conference in the near future. You want to make a good impression and demonstrating these simple bits of professionalism and keep these few things in mind will give you an edge over the other people you may encounter.
Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don't miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meandering of my Mind

Monday Musings on This 'N That

This blog post is really about this 'n that and some more about impatience. 

Thanks to all who have "followed" my blog with Google Friend Connect. If you don't have a Google account and may not want one,  you can sign up in the left column to receive an email in your inbox notifying you when I post a new blog article. I appreciate all of you who are interested in my blog!

Sometimes I publish my blog in large print and sometimes in a smaller print. Which do you prefer? A sample of the smaller print is this post you're now reading.  A sample of the larger print is here: If you have a preference, please just leave a comment with the word "smaller" or "larger." Thanks.

This is my blog and website combined at this one place. I hope you like the new design and colors of my blog. The site has several tabs at the top of the page that you can click and browse. I'm still working on some of the pages so please be patient for a while until I get it all done.

There's that word again--patience. I blogged recently about impatience. Have you thought much about the topic since my post? The blog article brought it to the forefront of my mind. I've given it a lot of thought.

You know a few years ago the big thing was WWJD: what would Jesus do. I don't recall a Scripture verse that told us Jesus was all that impatient. Oh, I suppose he was when he ran the money changers out of the temple. He probably became impatient with those who hardened their hearts in disbelief.

But for the most part I wouldn't use the word impatient to describe Jesus. The greatest description of Jesus that I hold onto is in Acts where Luke summarizes Jesus' earthly ministry by saying that He "went about doing good." (Our Daily Bread [a daily devotional], August 1, 2011 by Marvin Williams, published by Radio Bible Class Ministries.) And from that same devotional is this:
From the example of Jesus,
Who went about doing good,
We are to honor our Savior
By helping wherever He would. --Hess

Imitate Jesus--go about doing good. 

The winner of last Thursday's blog post drawing for a copy of Organized Grime by Christy Barritt is Nora. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Win a Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

I know, I know, I reviewed this book recently but have discovered I have another coy so I'll have another drawing. When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday May 20, 2012 you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, U.S. mailing addresses only, void where prohibited.

Organized Grime by Christy Barritt

Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker.The second book in the Squeaky Clean Series, Suspicious Minds, won the 2009 Daphne de Maurier award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense. Christy lives in Virginia with her husband and two sons. For more information about Christy's other books and projects, visit here.

From the book's back cover:
Crime scene cleaner and wannabe forensic investigator Gabby St. Claire knows her best friend, Sierra, isn't guilty of killing three people in what appears to be an ecoterrorist attack. But Sierra has disappeared, her only contact a frantic phone call.

Crime scene evidence Gabby discovers while cleaning tie seemingly random murders together--and point to Sierra as the guilty party. Just what has her animal-loving friend gotten herself into?

If that's not disturbing enough, who's the person following Gabby? A federal agent who hopes Gabby will lead him to Sierra? Or someone with more sinister plans. To find Sierra and prove her innocence, Gabby will have to rely on all of her training and abilities, plus the help of a man she loves and the protection of a God she's only recently begun to believe in.

From Jo:
If you enjoy reading mysteries, this book is for you. While trying to prove her friend innocent of all charges, Gabby follows every lead, some good, some dead ends. Well written suspenseful, develops Gabby's personality quite well. You won't have this one figured out till at the very end!

Remember: leave a comment on this post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, May 20, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Organized Grime. You must be eighteen, U.S. mailing addresses only, void where prohibited. (Click the "Disclaimers" tab at the top of the page to see details of my book giveaways.) Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.

Till next time ... keep on smiling. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Conquer Impatience

Monday Musings on This ‘N That

Do you try to conquer impatience? Are you winning the battle?

I’m acquainted with impatience as you probably are. I can remember experiencing impatience as early as elementary school. While taking an arithmetic test one day, I mulled over a problem. As was my comfortable habit, I raised my pencil from the paper and looked at the ceiling, waiting for the correct path to come to mind that would solve the math problem. Later, a classmate said to me, “Do you think the answers are on the ceiling?”

Still in elementary school, I learned the difference between impatience and patience. My family loved to fish and at least once a week we went with another family on a short fishing trip. As Daddy and his friend unloaded the car trunk full of our fishing paraphernalia I would stand impatiently, jumping from one foot to the other. I wanted the fishing to begin.

My daddy was always patient with me as a child. We fished with cane poles and he would bait a hook and let me go over to the water closest to the car. It was a spot that was merely a splash of water from the main fishing area. He dropped the line into the water and told me to hold the pole and wait until everyone was ready to start fishing. Something caught hold of the fishing line, which zigzagged across the calm water. I held on as tight as a child could and began to call for Daddy. When Daddy and I got the fish to land, it was a whopper. I caught the biggest fish of the day. What a reward for my patience to wait for the rest of the group and for holding the pole that day.

What has you in impatience’s grip? Where do you find patience when you need it? When Jesus knew he would ascend into Heaven, he promised he would send the Holy Spirit to those who believed in him. The Bible teaches about the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22, 23). And one fruit is patience. So when you need patience, understand that The Holy Spirit has already given it to you and you only have to reach deep within you to find and practice it.

"There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results." 
—Ken Blanchard, an American author and management expert, 1939-

How committed are you to conquering impatience?

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

FREE eBook - No Contest

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

My review below is of a book I coauthored with Vickie Phelps: How to Write for the Christian Marketplace. The book is available on Amazon as a paperback and a KindleI’m pleased to say that you can download the eBook for Kindle FREE May 11-15, 2012If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free Amazon app for Kindle and download the book to read on your computer. Go here to get the eBook.

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories and teaches at writers’ conferences. Visit with her at

Vickie Phelps has published gift books, articles, devotionals, and contributed to several anthologies. She is the founder of the East Texas Christian Writers Group.

From the back cover:

How to Write for the Christian Marketplace will show you how to write for Christian publications.

Writing for the Christian marketplace means reaching out to others through your written words. You will be able to touch people around the world with your message. Opportunities abound to share personal experiences and encourage others in their daily life.

By studying this book you can learn about many areas of the Christian writing field. Writing is a craft. Sharpen your skills and learn from our experience. Then you, too, may see your writing and your name in print in the Christian marketplace. This is an excellent book of basics for beginner writers.

Remember, beginning tomorrow, May 11-15 the download of this eBook for Kindle is FREE. If you read the book and enjoy it I’d appreciate your writing a short review (two or three sentences) of it on its Amazon page.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Male/Female Friendships

Monday Musings on This ‘N That

Can male/female friendships exist?

Answering quickly you may say, “Of course.” Looking more closely and putting  yourself in that situation, would your answer be the same? Ladies, would you feel comfortable if your boyfriend/husband had a female for his best friend? And, men would you approve of your girlfriend/wife having a male as her best friend?

Some folks say that it is an impossible situation. They feel that a relationship between male and female must be ultimately and only romantic.

Let’s look at an example. Perhaps a little boy and a little girl lived next door and became friends at an early age. That friendship is never broken but becomes stronger as these two mature. What happens when each of them marries? Are they expected to forsake their lifetime, close friendship with the one who lived next door?

I don’t know whether male or female would be more adamant about the other’s friendship. I can image this would be a prickly concern to be worked out in a marriage or relationship. Each of them would love their dear friend and probably be hurt if their partner demanded the friendship be severed.

Also, what would loving a good friend imply? The Bible uses the work love many times. The one new commandment Jesus gave in the New Testament was “love thy neighbor.” I don’t think He was referring to a romantic love for He wants us to love one another.

What is the difference when a male or female says “I love you” or “I’m in love with you”? Does one denote friendship and the other mean romantic? I think so.

Do you have a best friend that is of the opposite sex? Does it work if you’re married or in a relationship? I’d love to read your comments on these questions. And also how do you define “I love you” and “I’m in love with you?

The winner of last Thursday's drawing for a signed copy of A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island by Cara C. Putman is Shanda. I'll email you for your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Win a Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, May 6, 2012
you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited. (You can read further details about my book giveaways here.

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island by Cara C. Putnam

Since the time I could read Nancy Drew, I have wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 I attended a book signing at my local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There I met Colleen Coble. With prompting from my husband, I shared my dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, I've been writing books.

My fourteenth novel releases this month, A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island. I have also written one non-fiction title (the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law).

In addition to writing, I am an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband and my kids. I graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School. You can learn more about me and my books at

From the  book's back cover:
Attorney Alanna Stone vowed long ago to avoid Mackinac Island. Although it may seem like the perfect place to heal, for Alanna it holds too many memories of a painful past.

But an exhausting high-profile case and an urgent plea from her parents have brought Alanna home. Moving into the cabin next to Jonathan Covington doesn't help her. Jonathan may have been her first love, but he was also her first lesson in betrayal. Now Alanna must protect her privacy and her heart. Then secrets and a murder intersect, and she's thrust into controversy again as tragedy turns public opinion against her and potentially her family.

For years, Jonathan has stubbornly resisted the urging of his family and friends to date, believing he's already found the perfect woman. With Alanna's return, he begins to wonder if he's waited too long for someone who isn't the right one after all.

Will Alanna and Jonathan be able to lay aside the past and let God heal their hearts?

From Jo
Cara Putnam's latest book has a well woven plot of suspicions, secrets, murder, attempted murder, and two hearts that almost unite until misunderstandings on one's part and then the other's push them apart. Putman gives us great descriptions of memorable characters and of the local town and its landscapes.

Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, May 6, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island. You must be eighteen, U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.