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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zone 7

It's impossible in a short blog post to write about the Southern garden. The south is a big region with several different growing zones. Plants that do well in my yard in the foothills of South Carolina might not thrive along the coast. So, this post deals with some of the most common plants used in zone 7. These are plants I've seen in southern gardens since I was a child. I've also limited the post to early spring-say February through mid-April. I'll probably leave out someone's favorite plant so I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment telling me about your favorite. It doesn't have to be Zone 7 either. The pictures are from bottom to top thanks to the fact that I put them in backward without meaning to.

Number one is the nandina bush. The leaves of the nandina have a reddish tinge, but what I really like are the red berries. They add a jolt of color to late winter/early spring gardens and will attract birds who eat the berries.

Number 2 is the daffodil. Daffodils wake up and poke their heads out of the ground in late February or early March. I don't think there's a single house in my neighborhood without daffodils. You can get them in pink shades now, but I only have the yellow because the color reminds me of sunshine and balmy weather.

Number 3 is phlox or what older gardeners call thrift. It comes in pretty shades of purple, pink, and white and makes a wonderful ground cover. My grandmother planted thrift on top of a rock retaining wall in her front yard. Every spring the flowers cascaded down the wall in a beautiful fall of color.

Number 4 is the azalea. To my mind nothing says the south more than the azalea. They come in shades of purple, pink, white, and red, and when you see them massed together it can take your breath away. Some people like to plant only one color, but I like the technicolor effect. You can get azaleas in orange, but I don't like them. You can also buy azaleas that bloom in both the spring and fall, but I don't have any of those yet.

Number 5 is the dogwood tree. Dogwoods come in pink, red, or white. My own are white because I like the way they set off my colored azaleas, but the pink ones are just spectacular.

Number 6 is the iris. They're showy and come in various colors. My own are lavender, but I like the yellow ones too. My neighbor has a deep, burgandy-purple with a yellow throat that reminds me of the coloring in a pansy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Writing Space

Are you curious about the place where your favorite author works his/her magic and creates beautiful stories for you to read? It surprised me the first time anyone asked me about my writing space, but lots of people are curious about it. In fact, I found a whole web site devoted to pictures of people’s desks. Truthfully, I enjoyed looking at them very much.

So, what does mine look like? To begin, the room is very small, only about 10x8 or so, and it’s crammed full of furniture. How did that happen? Blame it on my husband. Once I started writing seriously I wanted a private place to get away from distractions, so I moved my computer upstairs into the smallest bedroom we have. I put my computer desk beside a twin sized bed, moved a bookcase in, and I was ready to write. Why did I keep the bed? Simple. If I got tired of writing I could stand up and fall onto the bed for a nap.

Anyway, the family noticed my absence. “What are you doing up there all by yourself?” they asked. I told them, giving my husband a good idea in the process. “I’ll move my computer in there too,” he said. And he did. He moved in his computer and computer desk and also a TV.

Is it tight in that little room? You betcha. Our computers are on opposite walls, so if we aren’t careful we’ll bump each other if we slide our chairs back. We’ve had more than one quarrel because he won’t put his chair back where it belongs after he finishes with his computer.

Is there an upside to this tight situation? You betcha. When we watch TV, I prop my feet in his lap, and he gives me foot massages. If I want a snack I can talk him into getting it for me. And if he’s been really good, I can just swivel my chair around and give him a hug. In fact, he gave me the two frogs on top of my computer desk. Why frogs? Well, that’s an inside joke. He didn’t give me the bear. That was a gift from a friend.

I intended to straighten the desk up before I took a picture, but I decided not to. By the end of the week it always looks this way. So what about you? What does your space look like?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here's Cindy

Hi, Cindy. Welcome to the blog. I know the readers are eager to meet you, so tell me about yourself.

Life has been pretty much a struggle for me. I have multiple health issues, including Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), Fibromyalgia, Diabetes and Liver disease to name a few. Some of these illnesses started in my early twenties. I began writing in bed to keep sane after being too ill to hold a job. I had always enjoyed writing but had never attempted a full novel. After seven years of marriage, my husband and I gave up on the idea of having children. The doctors said I was too ill. Shortly after that, I became pregnant with my first son. I now have two boys diagnosed with co-morbid conditions, which includes autism. Despite the struggles we face daily, I love my life and have found writing over the years to bless my life, provide enjoyment, and an escape. I think one thing I bring to my writing is compassion for my characters.

It sounds to me as if you've met life's challenges with grace and courage. My grandson is autistic, so I know a little about that. How many books do you have published?

I have three published books. Here is a blurb for each of them:
Legacy of Lies – May 2008 – Romantic Suspense
When a strong-minded daughter starts stirring in the past to find out about her estranged father, she digs up a past she didn’t know existed, trouble for the town, and danger for herself.
The Royal Pain – July 2008 – Romantic Suspense
When an abused woman gets stranded on a remote dairy, she accidentally uncovers an old murder and stirs up the whole town.
Household Repairs – April 2009 – Romantic Comedy
A determined daughter escapes the grip of her over-protective father when she buys a 1911 bungalow only to discover the hunky restoration specialist she hired comes with his own protection manual.

Tell me about your current and upcoming releases.

On April 1, 2009, I released my first romantic comedy called, Household Repairs. I am so proud of this book. My previous two titles I began writing years ago and they had to be worked and reworked as times have changed. They were both romantic suspense. Household Repairs, however, I wrote during this last year.
The publisher is Wings ePress, Inc. Their website is:
You can also find out more information on my website at:

What genre do you write? What drew you to write in that genre?

I love romantic suspense and it is typically what I read. Household Repairs is a break from all the seriousness of life, especially during these economic struggles. The characters take things in stride; the bad guys wouldn’t harm a flea, and yet the book has depth and a poignant message.

Tell me about your writing day.

Well, here’s a little sample of what goes on in my world:
My whole family is in the great room. My husband watches the news on the TV in the corner of the kitchen while the meat burns on the grill outside. My oldest son is at the island building his millionth car out of Legos while his younger brother is watching Qubo, the cartoon channel, on the big TV set behind me and building a ramp out of chairs, pillows and blankets to race his Hot Wheels down. I am at the computer with my headphones on, listening to Brooks and Dunn. The volume is turned up, but I can still hear the boys fighting over whose chair my youngest is using for his ramp. The two TV’s compete with each other for attention. The smell of burnt steak drifts in through the sliding door. A pan of potatoes boils over on the stove.
I look up and then back at my writing. Can I leave Dallas stuck in a 3,000 gallon milk tank about to drown to death with no one to save her? “Honey, please turn the heat down on the potatoes and go check on the steaks. Boys, quit fighting or you’ll both go to your rooms. Let me finish helping Dallas and then we’ll have dinner.”
My fingers fly over the keyboard. There. Another scene done.
Most of my writing takes place like this. Does it matter? Not if you are caught up in the moment of your writing. Not if your characters matter to you. You make time for them like you would an old friend.

It's amazing how real our characters become to us! When writing a new book how do you decide on the theme, genre or topic?

So far I haven’t had to come up with any ideas. I don’t sit down and say, “Gee, what should I write about today?” Something I feel strongly about hits me in the head and insists I write about it. Usually I can’t stop thinking about it. The story needs to be told and the characters say, “Write me”. There is such a fine line between reality and fiction; it’s probable that my characters will show up on my genealogy charts one day as real people.

Is there anything that people would be surprised to find out about you?

I used to be a wildlife artist. I still enjoy painting but don’t often get the time. My son’s school is the Heartland Huskies and I did a painting of a husky for their school. I also have paintings in doctor’s offices and a law library.

Wow, a wildlife artist! You have more than one talent. I think I'm jealous. What would be the perfect weekend getaway for you?

Here is a little something I wrote for my local Romance Writers of America chapter about my favorite vacation spot:
Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island─Hawaii is a masterpiece of beauty. Imagine the fresh plumeria floral air as you step off the plane. The dark, viral men of the islands pounding their drums, their rippling muscles and bare-chests arousing you. You soak up the tranquility of the warm radiance of the sun on your cheeks. Sapphire waters engulf your senses as you relax on the beach. Your tension floats away on the waters, romance awaits. You open your eyes to a handsome, dark stranger. He takes your hand and leads you to a beautiful crafted canoe made of koa. You float gently down the river in each other’s arms, taking in the plush emerald-green ancient rainforests and breathtaking waterfalls. He starts to sing gently in your ear, that beautiful charismatic voice. It’s the King. Oh, sorry. I’ve been watching too many Elvis Presley movies.

Elvis. Sigh. As a child, what were your favorite foods?

On our farm we raised our own meat and grew our own vegetables and fruit. Pizza, casseroles, and seafood were unusual dishes around the farm. Pork chops, young fresh peas, mashed potatoes and milk gravy, homemade bread and butter, with cold milk; this was one of my favorites. My mother was an excellent cook. Funny how the doorbell always rang about suppertime and we had company for dinner.

Have you ever started a book and then had it completely turn around and chance course? Tell us about it.

Yes, most definitely. Those darn characters like to write themselves. The Royal Pain is about an abused woman who finds herself stranded on a remote dairy after an accident. When I originally planned the book, she was to solve an old murder case. I had her asking questions. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. One day I was typing along and Dallas was told the information without asking a thing. I soon realized that based on her past she wouldn’t be a Nancy Drew type trying to solve a murder. I began re-writing. Through the whole book, the heroine, Dallas, doesn’t ask one question. With her just showing up at the dairy with her horse, she uncovers the whole truth. It was really a light-bulb moment.

How long does it take you to write a book? How many books do you produce in a year?

As I said, my first two books took me years with lots of rewrites, writing classes, and critique groups. At times, I put them away for several years. After my first book got published, I took the workings of my second book and rewrote it in third-person and added a sub-plot. My first and second books were published within two months of each other. My third book took me about a year to write. (I’m not talking about eight hours a day of writing.) The average writer can produce four books a year. I’m not discouraged though. My love of writing is too great to let that get me down. The point is the thrill of accomplishment I get from being able to do it at all. I know people with CFIDS who aren’t even able to read a book, let alone write one. Although it is a struggle with the cognitive issues I have, I still enjoy the journey very much.

Any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

A number of years ago, I was in a critique group and a young gal was very inexperienced at writing. Recently I met her again. She asked me if I remembered bringing a white board to teach her correct punctuation, grammar, and formatting. I said no. She said I had really helped her, and she thanked me. She is now a multi-published author. My advice is never give up the dream.

How much of yourself are in your books? Your personality and personal experiences?

I absolutely put myself in my books. Experiences, events, emotions, epiphanies…they have all made their way into my books, some more embarrassing than others.

What prompted you to submit your first book?

Laura Hillenbrand who wrote Seabiscuit was a real inspiration for me to get published. My first novel had been filed away for years. I read that she had CFIDS and I decided I could do it too.

Could you tell us about your path to publication, any sprints or stumbles?

I had a difficult time publishing my first book. I kept taking everyone’s advice and changing it and changing it. I even had it professionally edited and changed the ending. They said the book needed to end at the climactic scene so I deleted my ending. I got rejection after rejection. Finally I submitted it to my current publisher and they sent it back for rewrites. They told me I had ended it too soon and I needed a wrap up scene. I simply added my original ending and they offered me a contract. I learned that I needed to listen to my own instincts and write what I wanted to write. You still can learn from others, but stay true to yourself. I’ve been happy with that decision.

Stay true to yourself is wonderful advice. Are you published in print, epublished or both?

I am published in both. They have both been very successful outlets and the writing community is starting to recognize that. There are people out there that turn up their noses when you say you are e-published, but it has worked well for me.

Do you have any hot news or contests?

If readers go to my website over the next week, I will enter them in my contest to win a beautifully beaded dragonfly bookmark. Just drop me an email from my contact page at my website.

Readers, don't forget to enter the contest. Is writing one particular character easier than another?

For some reason, I like writing from the male’s POV. My dad used to bring home a group of men after work, and they would sit around the kitchen and drink coffee, laugh, and share stories. My sister would head for the basement. I would climb right up on someone’s lap and settle in. There is nothing I love more than hearing a group of men “one-up” each other and laugh.

Do you like the element of surprise while you’re writing?

I don’t mind when the characters decide to write themselves as long as they don’t find too many flaws in my plot. What I hate is surprises like when I said the character got hurt snow skiing and it’s summer, or when I said the character’s grandfather died an early death (get it?). Those kinds of surprises I hate.

What’s the number one thing you want your fans to know?

I write outside the box. I like to escape into my books and I hope you will do the same thing when you read them. I have had fans say that they can’t put my books down, that they had to stay up all night reading, and that they wanted my book to go on after they had finished it. There is no greater compliment than knowing readers enjoy your books. I have found it especially exciting that men are enjoying my books. I also want to thank everyone for their support.

Where can we find out about you and your books?

I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. Trying not to give my age away, it was before the internet and video games. I have enjoyed building my own website and hope you check it out and drop me an email. My website is:
My blog is: You can also check out my publisher’s website at: Dealing with Wings has been a wonderful experience.

What is the best part of writing?

Writing is very cathartic for me and I love it. But I would have to say that sharing my life with other writers and fans has been the most amazing experience. When someone reaches out to me and shares their life story, it is so powerful, moving and special to me. I have met the most wonderful, aspiring people through this journey. I would love to have you share your story with me.

Cindy, thank you so much for your interview. Could you share an excerpt with us?

I'd be glad to.

Household Repairs Excerpt
By Cindy A. Christiansen

“Did you want to keep your claw-foot tub?” Ryan questioned. “You keep looking at the jetted tubs.”
Tatum tried to pull herself together with a deep breath. “Oh, I love my tub. These are nice, too.” She'd always dreamed of making love under water. She tried to shake the mental picture of his washboard stomach from her mind. She could have done without seeing that last night.
“Are you sure you're feeling well?” His innocent touch on her upper arm left her trembling.
“No, I'm fine. Let's get to the shower heads, please.”
But as he described each of the hydro-massage settings she knew she was doomed. All she could see was their naked entwined bodies in the shower, using each different massage setting to further each other's pleasure.
“Would you like a dimmer switch in your bathroom?” he innocently asked.
“Okay that’s it. I…I just remembered I…I’m supposed to be… You know what? Get whatever you think I need.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Meet Catherine Anne Collins

Today's guest is award winning author Catherine Anne Collins. Catherine, welcome to the blog, and congratulations on your two new releases. How exciting to have two new books out in one month! And I love your cover for A Witch's Lament.

Thanks, for having me, Elaine.

Just for fun what are some of your pet peeves?

Okay, this might seem like a strange one, but it irks me no end when people don't use their turn signals when driving. The signals are there to let other drivers react accordingly and its a great way to avoid accidents. Not only that, but I can't count the number of times I've sat at an intersection waiting for an oncoming car to pass so I can pull out, only to have them make the turn. Talk about inconsiderate.

People who are late or don't show up at all are high on my list of pet peeves. Yes, the world seems to run at a hectic pace these days, but be considerate enough to realize that other people's time is just as valuable as yours. If you say you'll be there at a certain time, be there. Keep in mind the person you are meeting might have other plans that include other people. By being late, you have no idea how many other people you affect.

Hormones. That's it, just hormones. No more needs to be said.

I hear you! What do you read for fun when you’re not writing?

I have a varied taste in reading material depending on my mood. Fantasy, suspense, romance, action. A few of my favourite authors are Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mary Jo Putney, Terry Goodkind, Jose Litton, Susanna Kearsley, James Rollins, Anne Bishop, Jean Plaidy, Karen Marie Moning. It's a long list with new authors constantly being discovered.

What genre do you write it? What drew you to write in that genre? If you mix genres talk about that too.

Mainly fantasy romance and paranormal romance, though somehow I did end up writing a contemporary with no magic and not one sign of a faerie or pixie anywhere. It's called Solitary Cove and will be released later this year (hopefully). The filming of the movie Welcome to Mooseport, which was filmed in my hometown, gave me the basis for the story.

But I do prefer writing about places that exist only in the mists of time. Atlantis, Avalon, Camelot, the myths and legends surrounding these places provide great material for weaving stories and leave a lot of leeway for personal interpretation.

Oh, that's a good line. 'places that exist only in the mists of time.' What is the weirdest experience you’ve ever had with a fan?

Well, nothing too weird. A couple of instances come to mind, though. I remember this tough, biker-type guy buying a copy of my first book, Sword Across Time. A couple of weeks afterwards, he came to me and said that he'd finished reading the story. I braced myself for him to ask for his money back or something. Instead, he told me that he loved the book and that when he reached the end of the story, he had a tear running down his cheek. A happy tear, not a sad one. I tried to imagine this big guy crying over my book and I have to say, even with my imagination, it was difficult to imagine. By the way, just so you know, all my books have a happy ending.

Another strange happening to do with the same novel. I received an e-mail from a reader who said they'd just finished reading my book and they loved it. They couldn't put it down. Not so unusual except for the fact that the book had sat on their bookshelf for four years before they read it and contacted me. I definitely
was not expecting a fan letter that long after the publication date.

Catherine, both of your fan stories are very nice, especially the biker guy. Who says men can't cry, right? So tell us, what in your life (movies, books, people) has made a real lasting impression on you? Why?

There was a librarian at my school when I was in about grade 4. I think she was thrilled to have a student who visited the library by choice to ask for specific books. Enough so, that she even interrupted the class I was in a couple of times to bring me the books I'd requested. I have to admit, it was a little embarrassing having her tiptoe into the classroom and over to my desk while the teacher was at the front of the class speaking, but her intentions were good and she did feed my thirst for reading material.

The Lord of the Ring movies have also greatly influenced my writing. I walked out of those movies with the creative juices just pumping. I think there is something to be said for the friendship, dedication to moral duty and the supreme loyalty to the death if need be. My favourite line from the movie is near the end of the first one when Aragorn realizes the Frodo has to go on by himself. He kneels down to Frodo' level, looks him in the eye and says, "I would have gone with you to the end, into the very fires of Mordor." That single statement says so much and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

Every book I read leaves me with an impression and some small bit of motivation or flame of creative fire.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

For me, the hardest part is trying to flesh out the story and keep it going. I can come up with a million ideas for great stories and have a rough idea of what I'd like the story to be, that's the easy part. I'm what's called a panster, I don't outline, but prefer to write by the seat of my pants, so to speak. The problem with that is that I have no idea what's going to happen until I write it. I don't know my characters until I see how they react to circumstances. Once in awhile my writing comes to a halt because I come up against a wall and just don't know what comes next. My solution usually comes to me at night when I go to bed and start imagining my characters and their situations as if they were real.

We have something in common there. I'm a panster too. Where can we find out about you and your book (include your publisher’s website and your personal one).

My website is:
My publishers websites are:

Cathy, thanks again for stopping by. I wish you great luck with your two new releases. Readers, you can check out Cathy's web site for buy links.

I hope all of you have a blessed and happy Easter.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Welcome SORMAG

Hi, LaShaunda. Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm thrilled to be a part of SORMAG's blog tour. Can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Elaine, thank you so much for having me and SORMAG here to meet your readers. My name is LaShaunda Hoffman. In the real world I’m a navy veteran who works for the government. I’m happily married with three wonderful children. In my fantasy life, I’m the editor of SORMAG – Shades of Romance Magazine an online magazine.

Let’s talk for a minute about SORMAG. Can you tell the folks what SORMAG is all about?

SORMAG is an online magazine for readers and writers of multi-cultural literature. We feature some of the best writers of multi-cultural literature. We have articles and columns about the craft and business of writing. We also feature reviews and book promotion.

What kind of things do you post on the blog?

We moved to the blog concept in 2005. We wanted to be more interactive. We feature authors on Mondays and Fridays. Tuesdays we feature our columnists. Wednesday and Thursday feature book promotions, contests, reviews and articles. We welcome comments from the readers.

Can you Tell us about your teleseminar series. The topics I’ve seen sound wonderful.

The teleseminars are workshops we host over the phone. We have some of the best writers teaching classes on different subject. Our last workshop was taught by Victoria Chrstopher Murray. She had an excellent class on editing your manuscript into a best seller. She showed the attendees how she edited her books. It was very interactive and those who attended where able to ask questions and learn more about the writing business.

We are always welcome suggestions for telesminars and are looking for workshop presenters. Send your ideas to – For the latest schedule, check the blog under teleseminars.

Are you an author too, LaShaunda?

I was published in anthology, How I Met My Sweetheart. It was my tribute to my own hero. I write Christian fiction and hope one day to be published.

You offer some great promotions for authors. Could you tell us a bit about that? Which promotion is most popular?

We have two promotions that are very popular, E-blasts to our 3000 members. The most popular right now is the WIN THIS BOOK promotion. It gives the readers a chance to win a copy of the book.

Our newsletter Much Ado About Reading is our next popular promotion. We feature books in the newsletter. It includes a picture of the book and a blurb about it.

SORMAG has romance in its name; however, the books don’t have to be romance or multi-cultural books, to be featured in the newsletters or e-blasts. We welcome all books; however we no longer feature erotica.

We offer promotional packages for every budget.

This sounds great, LaShaunda. Does SORMAG pay writers for articles they submit to the magazine?

Yes SORMAG is a paying market; unfortunately at this time we are not accepting articles until June.

Could you give us links to the magazine and blog?

You can find the magazine at –

The site for the magazine is at –

Is there anything else you'd like to share with the readers?

I would like to invite your readers to attend our sixth online conference. It will be: August 23, 2009 - August 29, 2009 – registration will open May 1st.

Tentative schedule :

Elaine, thank you again for inviting me to your blog. I appreciate you letting me introduce SORMAG to your readers. If they have any questions feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will stop by throughout the day to answer questions.

I invite your readers to become a member of our community. I’d also like to offer them a special report, FIVE TIPS TO BUILDING AN ONLINE PRESENCE.

Send an email to with special report in the subject and I’ll send you a copy.

SORMAG - Shades Of Romance Magazine -

An online magazine for readers and writers of multi-cultural literature.

Author/Book Promotion/Book Reviews/Literary News

Online Book Tours/Online Workshops/Online Bookstore

Writing Community

Promoting books and their authors for nine years.


A SORMAG GOODY bag will be sent to one lucky blog winner who leaves a comment on this blog. (10 winners)

If you join SORMAG’s Community this month, you have a chance to win the following:

$25.00 Gift Certificate to (2 winners)


Much Ado About Reading PROMO AD (value 70.00) (2 winners)

Visit the following blogs for a chance to win.


April 6 - Elaine Cantrell -

10 Tips For A Perfect Online Interview

April 7 - Dara Girard –

10 Tips For Promoting OnTwitter

April 8 - Chelle Hicks -

Tip For Writers Who Are Promoting Online

April 9 - Ty Moody –

10 Tips For Promoting On A Blog

April 10 - Wanza Leftwich -

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend An Online Conference

April 13 - APOOO –

Meet LaShaunda Hoffman

April 14 - Vanessa Richardson -

10 Tips For Promoting Online

April 15 - Patricia Woodside -

10 Tips For Promoting With A Podcast

April 16 - Bettye Griffin –http://

5 Low Cost Ways To Promote With An Online Magazine
April 17- Andrea Jackson -


Linked In
Join our community

LaShaunda C. Hoffman -SORMAG's Publisher

SORMAG - Shades Of Romance Magazine is new and improved. We invite you to consider promoting your books on our new sites. We have rates for every budget –

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Tisket A Tasket Put Romance In Your Basket

Spring is in the air! Bees are buzzing. Children anxiously await the big morning where they can graze on candy all day. What about mom? We've got a treat for you! Come join a group of romance authors in celebration of spring. Enter to win a prize a day as well as enter to win the grand prize. If you haven't been participating you can begin at Silver James' blog on April 1st at Silver will host the day's contest and provide the link to the next day's location. Don't forget to enter to win the grand prize! Here's the dirt...

To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (see each day's post for what an author is donating to the grand prize), find the four Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TASKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event.

You will be searching for the above egg. Sorry, it isn't one of the four. Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at Tip #1, subscribe to to learn if you're the winner! And don't worry. If you start in on the blog event late, just head back to Silver James' blog on April 1st at to begin your website search for the Easter eggs. Don't miss the fun!

For the grand prize I'm giving away a print copy of The Best Selling Toy Of The Season, and for today's contest I'll be giving away an electronic copy of Purple Heart. To win the copy of Purple Heart read the following post and leave a comment telling me about your favorite Easter tradition.

Every year at Easter we dye some Easter eggs and set up decorations which probably include little yellow chicks or bunnies and maybe lambs. Some of us buy new clothes to wear on Easter Sunday. Perhaps we serve hot cross buns.

All traditional and lots of fun, but do you know why we do those things? I did a little research on common Easter symbols, and this is what I found out.

Easter eggs and baby chicks symbolize new life or rebirth. In Medieval Europe eggs were forbidden during Lent, so people either pickled or hard boiled them. When Easter Sunday came around they ate the eggs. Going back even further, we believe that the ancient Romans, Persians, and Egyptians also used eggs in spring festivals. Early Christians used red eggs to symbolize the resurrection of Christ and considered the egg a symbol of the rock tomb out of Christ emerged when he rose again. Today, we dye eggs all colors and hide them for children to find. And don’t forget the annual Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn.

Bunnies symbolized abundant new life in ancient times and became symbols of fertility. The inclusion of hares or rabbits into Christian celebrations probably came from Germany. The Germans told stories about Easter Hares who laid eggs for children to find. They also baked cakes for Easter in the shape of hares and probably made chocolate bunnies and cakes.

The white blossoms on Easter Lilies symbolize the purity of Jesus. They also symbolize new life and the resurrection of Christ. Because they are shaped like trumpets they are symbols of immortality. (See 1 Corinthians 15:52.)

The lamb represents Jesus who was called The Lamb of God in the Bible.

The Cross is a symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Crucifixion was a common way to execute criminals during ancient times. The person was bound and nailed to a cross where they died miserably. To Christians the cross symbolizes Jesus’ victory over sin and death. That’s why the cross has become the major symbol of Christianity.

Friday, April 3, 2009

News Alert

Uh oh. Did Elaine forget the new post? It's Friday. No, I didn't forget. I want you to come back tomorrow instead. I'm taking part in a multi-blog contest, and my day to post is tomorrow. There are so many nice prizes up for grabs! Don't miss out on your chance to win.

Also, you'll want to check back with me on Monday too. The publisher of Shades Of Romance Magazine is stopping by to chat with me. Authors, SORMAG is now a paying market, so you might want to check it out. Readers, she has things for you too.

Until tomorrow. And Monday.