Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blog Tour: A Taste of Fame serves up fun, romance, and delectable food!

With a whimsical flair, co-authors Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson have written A Taste of Fame, a story that takes the reader into reality TV and cooking. What could be more fun than that? The six Potluck Catering Club women of Colorado are on their way to New York City to be contestants in The Great Party Showdown. Their adventures and challenges in the big city, as well as their ties to friendship, make for an easy, comical, and tasty read.

With recipes at the back of the novel, readers can cook up sweet potato fries or easy banana cream pie and eat while enjoying the flawed and feisty characters. My favorite one is Lisa Leanne, the president of the catering club, a woman struggling in her marriage and yet, determined to make it work.

The Potluck Club Cookbook

The Potluck Club Cookbook, also by Shepherd and Everson, accompanies A Taste of Fame in a rich way. The cookbook holds some wonderful treats, including one of the best desserts ever created--Grandmother's Coconut Chess Pie. In addition, there are plenty of recipes for appetizers, main dishes, soups, and salads. The stories that are inserted in the pages make this book a legacy of past family cooks.

A Taste of Fame, as well as The Potluck Club Cookbook, are available September 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How Sweet It Is Novel Dessert Decorating Party

The Dessert Decorating Party held at my home on Saturday, the 12th of September, was so much fun. We filled chocolate tarts and mini-fillo shells with whipped cream, walnuts, berry crisp, brownies, custard, chocolate, peaches, kiwi slices, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate pudding, and icing. And then . . . we ate!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Woman to Woman

It is always a treat to find yourself online where you least expect it. Thank you to Woman to Woman website for listing my novel, How Sweet It Is, as your October 2009 pick. Discussion questions are even included from the back of the novel. I'm impressed!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blog Tour for Fools Rush In

In this delightful tale, Fools Rush In, author Janice Thompson has combined the state of Texas with the country of Italy--two cultures that manage to provide humorous entertainment for those eager for a light and fun read.

Taking on the responsibility of the family's wedding-planning business, twenty-nine-year-old Bella Rossi, is determined to make her Italian-residing-in-Texas family proud of her. She jumps at the idea of holding themed weddings, the first one starring cowboy boots. Along comes D. J. to provide the music, and more fun than she ever imagined, as he captures her heart with his charm and good looks.

Yet, D. J. and his Southern family are clearly different from Bella, causing her uncertainty. In steps Aunt Rosa to let Bella know that different isn't bad and following one's heart is important.

Skillfully written, with a playful narrative and a host of quirky family members, Fools Rush In is a romantic comedy that makes reading an adventure. I particularly liked Twila's beauty secrets (I'll never look at a bottle of Pepto-Bismol without being able to wonder how it would feel against my skin).

Fools Rush In
is the first in a three-book Weddings By Bella series.

September Reminds Us

When September rolls around, I look like any other haggled parent standing in the checkout with three kids. The shopping cart is filled with packs of pencils, note paper, crayons, markers, and tissues.

"Why do we need to buy tissues for school?" my kindergartener asked last year.

I pictured a whole class of five-year-olds with runny noses and was tempted to reply, "So kids won't use their sleeves." But I chose the logical, "For when your nose is runny."

My neighbor claimed it would be a busy year when she found out I'd have one in kindergarten, one in first grade and one in middle school. But not busy enough, I thought, and again resisted the urge to let her know that I was wondering what my fifth-grader would be needing for school this year.

My fifth-grader, Daniel, never passed fourth grade. Or third, or even first. He didn't get a school supply list. Instead he got a kit from the hospital with syringes and bandages, all highly sterile.

On Memorial Day Weekend, 1996, Daniel was three and diagnosed with neuroblastoma. After eight months of treatments, surgeries, prayers and hope, this bald-headed kid, who acknowledged he was a “Brave Cookie,” was ready to be a cancer survivor. But a staph infection entered his weakened body and we had to kiss him good-bye.

September—now meaning for me, not only back to school, but Childhood Cancer Awareness Month— has rolled around again and as I stand in line with my kids, I know why the supply lists include tissues.

Just the other day while joining other parents and children in the “shopping for school supplies frenzy,” a woman noticed the gold ribbon pinned to my T-shirt. “What’s gold for?” she asked. “I know that pink is for breast cancer.”

“Children,” I said.

Her puzzled look caused me to further explain. “Gold because our children are golden to us.”

I half expected her to show shock or horror, being one of the thousands who refuses to believe that cancer is the number one illness among children. Another person who has no idea that each year one in every 330 kids will be diagnosed with cancer before age 19.

I was ready for her to walk away from me down the aisle. Why should today be any different? Instead, she mouthed the words, “Did a child of yours . . . ?”

“Yes,” I said, avoiding her look as I grabbed a Curious George notebook. “A son who would be ten now. He died.” He loved Curious George; we'd read it ofen in the hospital.

When I did manage to catch her gaze, her eyes showed tears. They were blue, like my son's.

Then this woman—a stranger—touched my arm. “I am so sorry.” She smiled at my other three children. “They are beautiful. I’m sure your son was, too.”

I nodded, wiped my nose, and thanked her.

If you happen to see a mother wearing a gold ribbon on her shirt—the symbol of childhood cancer awareness—don't be afraid. Ask about the ribbon. The opportunity to talk will help with her healing, and might even give you new wisdom. Most likely, the mother will cry. Feel free to hand her a tissue. Although she has done it before, she probably shouldn't be using her sleeve.

(Borrowed from a piece written by Alice J. Wisler in 2002 and dedicated to all mothers who have to kiss their bald-headed kids "good-bye.")

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jill & Diana's new book!

Home-based businesses are estimated to be a $427 billion-a-year industry. In recent studies it was found that as many as 105 million people in North America alone were working at home. Considering this information, it is obvious that home-based businesses can be successful and authors Jill Hart and Diana Ennen will help you succeed with your own.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom details all the basics of starting a business in a spiritual, motivational, and comprehensive manner. From deciding what type of business to start to keeping your family and faith first, this helpful tool details every aspect of establishing a business. With proven success tips utilized by the authors and others who own work-at-home businesses, this inspiration approach will provide you with the resources you need to start your own home-based business.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom includes:
* Detailed information on types of businesses to start
* Ideas and assistance for setting up, operating, and marketing your business
* Definitions and descriptions of work-at-home terminology and processes
* Help for developing your Website
* Explanations of the business nuts and bolts, including bookkeeping, taxes, and more

About the Authors
JILL HART is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com. Jill is a co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill has published many articles and is a contributing author in Laundry Tales, The Business Mom Guide Book, I'll Be Home for Christmas, and Faith Deployed. She holds a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies. Learn more about working from home at http://www.cwahm.com/work-at-home/ .

DIANA ENNEN has been a leader and mentor in the work-at-home industry since starting her business, Virtual Word Publishing, in 1985. She is the author of many books, including Virtual Assistant the Series; Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and Words from Home: Start, Run, and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business. She resides in Margate, Florida, with her husband and their three children.


Below is an interview with the authors of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom – Jill & Diana.

have questions they are happy to answer your questions anytime. Leave a comment below or email Jill@cwahm.com or Diana@virtualwordpublishing.com

How long have you been working at home?

Jill Hart - I've been working at home since 2000. I had to go back to work full-time for a brief period in 2003 when my husband got out of the Air Force. At that point I got even more serious about making my business work and I've been home full-time since then.

Diana Ennen – I’ve been working at home since 1985, when my son was born. He’s now graduated college and already working towards his own career. I absolutely love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.


What types of businesses do you operate?

Jill Hart – I run Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com, a website full of free resources, job listings and information about home businesses. I also write articles and books (yes, more books to come!) and am a blogger for sites like Time/Warner's Christian Momlogic.com and a member of the Guideposts blogger team

Diana Ennen– I’m the President of Virtual Word Publishing. I’m a virtual assistant and specialize in marketing & publicity. I’ve also written numerous books on how to start a VA business and offer PR and VA Coaching.


Tell us about your book? How do you think it can benefit those who want to start a business?

Jill Hart - The book has been such a "God thing." He orchestrated the entire sequence of events - from putting Diana and I together as co-authors to bringing us to the right publisher. The book is a hands-on practical guide for anyone who wants to build a business from home. We cover topics ranging from how to select the right type of business for you, to how to get started, to how to market and grow your business.

Diana Ennen - I think one of the best features of our book is that it’s not only informative, but motivational as well. You’ll feel like friends are helping you on your journey to success. Also, we discuss numerous types of businesses to start and provide proven methods to achieve success. We also often hear how starting a business can be so overwhelming. That’s why we pay special attention to all the how tos. We feel very confident our book will help, not only those starting a business, but those already in business wanting to expand it.


What types of businesses are featured in your book?

Jill Hart - We have such a great range of contributors - everything from direct sales companies like Southern Living at Home and Avon to unique product-driven businesses like BSM Media and GrillCharms. These woman are amazing and give readers a great insight into how they've grown their businesses in very different ways.

Diana Ennen - We cover everything from direct sales companies to specialized areas such as medical transcription and virtual assisting. Also, Jill shares detailed information on starting a community based membership site. We think you’ll get a lot of helpful tips too from such work-at-home powerhouses as Maria Bailey and Lesley Spencer Pyle.


Do you have any tips for success for Christian entrepreneurs that you’d like to share?

Jill Hart - I think my favorite tip - shared with me by one of our contributors, Tammy Degenhart, almost ten years ago is that working together benefits everyone. She told me, "Jill, what you give to others God brings back tenfold" and I've seen that hold true time and time again. It may not be in financial gains and it may not look like what we expected but God is so faithful in that when we work together there is no competition - it's a win-win situation.

Diana Ennen - Do what you believe in and use your own skills and prior experience to find the business that’s just right for you. Research/Research/Research. The more you research, the better your business. Continue to market and be out there. So many once they find a few clients stop marketing. You need to get out there continually. You then become the go to person when someone needs services or products that you offer.


What are some of the challenges that you see with those starting or operating a business?

Jill Hart – In my experience, I've talked with many women who get frustrated because success doesn't come easily or quickly. Working from home may sound easy, but in reality it can actually be just as hard as working outside the home. There are many unique challenges, especially when working at home while raising children. If women don't prepare themselves, they can become discouraged and disheartened.

Diana Ennen– One of the major challenges I see is losing belief in yourself that you can do it. That’s why I think a faith-based book will be so beneficial. Even when times get tough, you can rely on your faith to forge ahead.


With the economy, do you believe it’s still a good time to start a business? Why?

Jill Hart – I think it's a better time than ever. The internet is so much more widely used than it was even nine years ago when I began my website. If people do their research and find a company that fits them as well as their budget this can be a great time to break into the work-at-home field.

Diana Ennen – Absolutely. In fact, I think there’s never been a better time. You might have to work a little harder, but it absolutely can be done. Plus, there are so many businesses who need us more than ever because of the economy. For example, with virtual assistants because businesses are downsizing they are seeking the help of a VA to help on an as needed basis.


Your book is written from a Christian perspective? Tell us a little about that and how you feel that makes it so unique?

Jill Hart – My faith is central to who I am and therefore central to my business. I began Christian Work at Home Moms because I wanted women to have a safe place where they could discuss not only business things, but also talk about an area that doesn't get talked about a lot in business circles - how our faith affects our businesses. The book is written in a way that doesn't hit anyone over the head with our faith, but it's true to who we are and talks about things from the vantage point that we see life - through the lens of our faith.

Diana Ennen – There are so many books out there today on starting a business. However, few have the Christian mom in mind. We provide a lot of scriptures and examples of how you can use your faith to help you. Our hope is that not only will your business thrive, but it might just give a little boost to your faith as well.

Learn more about the book at Beacon Hill Press or SoYouWantToBeAWAHM.com.