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Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Strength For Today

Can you believe it's almost December? I love the holidays, but I always struggle this time of year. My heart aches for the Thomas Kinkade paintings, for smiles and laughter and goodwill toward man (especially between siblings in the house!), for snuggling by the fire, kisses under the mistletoe, all that good stuff.

Real life is not a painting. Or an old black-and-white movie. (That's often why we love escaping into our novels.)

Nope. Real life finds too many dust bunnies when it's time to move furniture to make room for the tree. Real life has pouting kids who don't want to help lug in the decoration box or be pulled away from their video games in order to just sit by the fire with mom. Husbands who tolerate, but don't enjoy, watching White Christmas, and who grimace and sweat--and possibly even swear--while wrestling with the Christmas lights.

Add to that the fact that I never got around to shedding that extra five pounds--and now feel it's too late to try--the constant pain in my neck, the myriad bills we aren't sure how to pay, a toddler in the throes of the "terrible two's" (to be fair, he's the sweetest boy in the world, just extremely rambunctious), and homeschool pressures...and each day starts to feel overwhelming. Beyond my ability. Sucking me under. Life does not meet my expectations. I'm failing.

And sometimes "failing" at something as simple and earthly as creating the "right" home atmosphere can lead to a depression that slips into spiritual darkness. Lies. All lies. But too often, I believe them.

Maybe you can relate. Or maybe your set of challenges lies elsewhere. Regardless, we all have seasons, or areas of our life, where we don't feel up to the task. And we grieve that ineptitude.

A dear friend recently gave me a gift--a daily devotional--and the first day's reading hit its mark in my heart. In essence, it reminded me that the measure of God's strength given to me on a daily basis is determined by two things:

The difficulty of my circumstances, and my willingness to depend on Him for help.

WOW.

This concept completely changed my thinking when it came to facing challenges. Demons. I don't need to assess the situation and measure it against my usual ability and strength. I need to depend on Him and believe that He can and will empower me that much more in order to handle the task. And tomorrow, when the challenge is not so great, He will give me just the strength I need for that day.

Today it might be preparing the house, encouraging generousity in my kids, and finding ways to trim the grocery budget so that we can get that tail light replaced.  Tomorrow it could be the death of a loved one, a falling away of a brother or sister, or the loss of a job. But the degree of His power available to me will match whatever circumstance comes my way.

And the same goes for you, too. So if there's any chance that one of you share this struggle of mine at this time of year, I pray this truth shines like a beacon in your heart and gives you hope. It did for me.

If you're interested in the devotional I mentioned, it's called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. The entry I referenced was November 11th. :-) And if you want some great Christian novels to dive into or pick up as gifts, you always know where to find some winners. (There's always a contest going on at COTT, so I hope you'll join us this week for a look at a couple great cover images.)

Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tournament of Champions: Week Four

Week FOUR of COTT's Tournament of Champions saw four more authors compete and three more scavenger hunts played. 

Here's a recap:
Becky R went to Gail Pallotta's Blog on Monday to find out when Love Turns theTide's Cammie sees a different side of Vic. She got the correct answer and walks away with a $10 Starbucks card from Lisa Lickel. Pumpkin Latte, anyone?

Megan D visited Marianne Evans' blog Tuesday to discover which of Marianne's books was a Christian Small Publisher's Book of the Year nominee. She won a $10 Amazon gift card from Amanda Stephan. Awesome!

Theresa M stopped by Margaret Brownley's Blog on Wednesday and found the name of the Christmas anthology which Margaret contributed to. She also received a $10 Amazon gift card donated by Raquel Byrnes.

Congrats ladies! Clash of the Titles has awarded over $125 worth of game prizes, thanks to its generous sponsors. Thanks, COTT--and another round of applause for all those game winners!
This was the last week of reader games, but fear not! There's still a chance to win the Grand Prize! I'll share how in a minute. But first...


Which Books Won the Clashes?
Rosslyn Elliot's "Fairer Than Morning" and Delia Latham's "Destiny's Dream" clashed last Monday. "Fairer Than Morning" came out the winner.

Shellie Neumeier's, Driven and Ann O'Barr's Singing in Babylon struck swords on Wednesday. Driven took the top spot. 

These two victorious titles competed together on Friday to determine which would move on to the finals for a chance to win the Laurel Award. And that finalist is...

Rosslyn Elliot's "Fairer Than Morning"
She joins Marianne Evans' Hearts Crossing, Elaine Cooper's The Road To Deer Run, and Karen Witemeyer's A Tailor-Made Bride. We now have all four finalists vying for the ultimate COTT honor.

Voting for the Big Winner is going on RIGHT NOW, and continues all week long. The big announcement will be made on November 12th. Public vote determines the outcome, and one reader will receive a Grand Prize of 15 books!!!  Want a shot at it? Enter by sharing links, putting up buttons and banners on your blog, becoming a follower of COTT (just make sure you tell them you've done so--they aren't psychics!)

Details on the prize basket and full instructions on how to enter can be found here.

To make it easy to grab n go, here are the banner and button codes.

OR

Clash of The Titles

Here's the button code:




Find me on twitter @MLMassaro, and Facebook.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tournament of Champions: Third Week Recap


Week THREE of COTT's Tournament of Champions saw four more authors compete and three more scavenger hunts played. 

Here's a recap:

On Monday, players were sent to Elaine Cooper's Blog with a mission: Find the full name of the girl Nathaniel Stearns falls in love with in the book trailer video on her home page. Renee C won a $10 Amazon gift card from Marianne Evans, author of Hearts Crossing.

Tuesday, the hunt was on at Shellie Neumeier's Blog. The question: What is the name of the book Shellie co-wrote with Lisa Lickel? Tammy G won a $10 Amazon gift card from April Gardner, author of Wounded Spirits.

Wednesday we were led to Naomi Musch's Blog. The question: In her new release, The Red Fury, Colette's daughter Lainey is seeking solace from tragic loss and two searing rejections by doing what 2 things? B.J. Robinson won a $10 CBD gift card donated by Ann Gaylia O'Barr, author of Singing in Babylon.

Want your own spending spree? Be sure to play in this week's hunts. Check Clash of the Titles for game info.


And what about the competing books? Who won?

Karen Witemeyer's A Tailor-Made Bride and Lena Nelson Dooley's Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico battled on Monday. A Tailor-Made Bride came out the winner.

Christine Lindsay's Shadowed in Silk and Naomi Musch's The Green Veil struck swords on Wednesday. The Green Veil took the top spot.

These two victorious titles competed together on Friday to determine which would move on to the finals for a chance to win the Laurel Award. And that finalist is...

Karen Witemeyer's A Tailor-Made Bride!


There are now three finalists vying for the ultimate COTT honor. In this final week they'll be joined by a fourth book, then all will be thrown into the ring until only ONE remains. Who will it be? It's up to readers to decide, so cast your votes!

The Laurel will be awarded on November 4th, along with the 15-book grand prize that will be given to one lucky reader. Want a shot at it? You can enter by sharing links, putting up buttons and banners on your blog, becoming a follower of COTT, etc. Details on the prize basket and full instructions on how to enter can be found here. To make it easy to grab n go, here are the banner and button codes (just don't forget to let them know if you put them up!)






OR






Clash of The Titles

Here's the button code:







Find me on twitter @MLMassaro, and Facebook.