Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category
Posted on May 24, 2013 - by Shari Barr
If you’re craving a luscious, juicy steak or hamburger this Memorial weekend, you’re right in style. May is beef month (as is every month/day at our house since we’re beef producers) so fire up that grill and make sure it’s ready to go this summer.
While researching this topic, I learned that hamburger got its name from three main sources. The first was from the tribes of Tartary in Russia during the Middle Ages who developed a taste for raw steak now known as steak Tartar. The second group who influenced the naming of the hamburger was trading partners of the Tartars who lived in Hamburg, Germany who loved raw beef fried with onions called Hamburg steak. The third influencing factor involves German immigrants who brought this steak to America in the 1700′s and 1800′s.
I found lots more interesting tidbits from www.iabeef.org, so in honor of beef month, I thought I’d test your knowledge of the beef industry.
1. The hamburger and ice cream cone debuted at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. In which year did this take place?
2. What was the first hamburger chain restaurant?
b. White Castle
c. Bob’s Burgers
3. How many nutrients does one 3 ounce serving of beef provide?
4. How much protein does one 3 ounce serving of beef provide?
5. How many basketballs can a single cowhide make?
6. How many baseballs can one cowhide produce?
7. What skin is used to make NFL footballs?
b. Beef hide
c. Alligator hide
1:b, 2:b, 3:c, 4:c, 5:a, 6:c, 7:b (Yep, it’s not pigskin.)
How well did you do? I know I learned a few things about the beef industry. Now that I’ve been thinking about it so much I’m definitely hungry for a grilled, juicy cheeseburger for lunch.
Got any takers?
Posted on May 18, 2013 - by Rose Ross Zediker
We have winners!
Veronica Sternberg-Wedding on the Rocks
Ginger-Wedding on the Rocks
Maxie Anderson-Rose of Sharon
Bookworm99-Rose of Sharon
Many thanks to everyone for helping me celebrate my book release!
And don’t forget the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! You start off at LisaBergren.com and visit the sites of 31 authors. At each stop, collect a clue (listed in red), and then click the link for the next stop. There are THREE great prizes including an IpadMini 32G loaded with a book by each of the 31 authors!!!
Also, there are BONUS giveaways at many of the sites like gift cards and more books.
Posted on May 4, 2013 - by Lorna Seilstad
In the last two weeks we’ve been celebrating sisters in honor of my new release When Love Calls. It was wonderful to celebrate with so many of you!
The winner of a copy of When Love Calls for herself and one for her sister (or sister stand in) is
Congratulations, Julie B. Please send your snail mail address to email@example.com and that of your “sister.”
Be sure to join us in the next two weeks as we celebrate Rose Ross Zediker’s new release.
Posted on April 20, 2013 - by Lorna Seilstad
Congratulations to Elizabeth Elliot! She was the winner of When Love Calls and the $10 Gift Card for Starbucks. The winner was chosen by Random.org.
Thanks to everyone who commented. Please come back as we’ll be giving away more books soon. In fact, you’ll be able to win one for you and for your sister in the coming weeks.
Posted on January 3, 2013 - by Shari Barr
Christmas is a time of giving. It’s easy to remember to give to the less fortunate when we see Salvation Army bell ringers at every store, church outreach missions soliciting donations, community service projects in action, and other worthwhile charities requesting our contributions.
Though charities depend on the generosity of people in order to collect dollars for their individual causes, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we took things a bit further.
The definition of charity according to the Random House Dictionary is “generosity towards the poor.” I believe this goes beyond monetary gifts.
I’ll admit that there have been times in my life when I have felt uncomfortable when I’m “out of my league” in social situations. I would bet that the poor often feel the same way. As I thought about this, I came up with a few ideas that would force me to give a little of myself to someone less fortunate, as well as material gifts to my favorite charities. Here are a few ideas I came up with:
- When possible I should offer my assistance to someone in need, such as babysitting occasionally or driving someone to the doctor.
- When I can afford it, I should consider hiring someone looking for work to do odd jobs for me, such as cleaning or yard work. Not only would it help them financially, it would help me keep my own life in perspective as I get to know them.
- The elderly are often on fixed incomes. Gifts of a warm meal and a visit to their homes could make someone’s day. Many elderly persons live alone and find it hard to cook for one. I can think of several older friends, many who are still active, but would enjoy a home-cooked meal delivered to their door.
- Many senior citizens don’t have the means to get out much. The next time I take a drive to my old stomping grounds I should ask one of my older friends who lived in the same area to ride along and reminisce.
- Most importantly, as a Christian I should give the underprivileged the gift of friendship, just as I would want to be treated if the situation were reversed. A simple “hi” or an invitation to my house could mean the world to someone down on their luck.
Now comes the hard part—actually living out my own suggestions. Here’s where I need to go to God in prayer and ask Him to give me that nudge to remind me to treat others like Christ treats us. Especially the poor and down-trodden.
Posted on December 6, 2012 - by Shari Barr
Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit faster than an inspirational story, especially one that can be read in one sitting, or several hours at the very most. I suppose I feel guilty curling up with a long book when I have so many other things I need to accomplish before Christmas, so I love those quick reads that really pack a punch and make me say, “Aah, that was so good.”
Here are a few of my all time favorites—a story picture book, a middle grade reader, and an inspirational adult book.
The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans is a beautifully illustrated tale for children and adults alike, though I wouldn’t recommend it for kids much younger than eight.
Many years ago on a bitter cold Christmas Eve, young Thomas is on his way home to celebrate Christmas with his family when he notices that the candle in his lantern is almost spent. When he stops in a chandler’s shop to purchase a new one, the candle maker sells him a candle unlike any other. As Thomas continues on his way home, he holds up his new candle to illuminate the face of an old woman begging for money, only to see his own mother staring back at him. Confused, Thomas gives her his coat only to have her face return to that of the beggar woman. The candle continues to trick Thomas over and over until he arrives home, cold and penniless, but richer in learning the importance of giving to those in need.
When sixteen-year-old Scott Reid meets an old man stranded in town the day before Christmas Eve, he invites the elderly gentleman to spend the holidays with his family. Upon hearing the tragic story of Scott’s sister, who has been in a coma for over a year after being struck by a drunk driver, the old man convinces the family to perform an act of forgiveness which inevitably shows them the true meaning of Christmas.
The Last Christmas Ride by Edie Hand with Jeffery Addison is based on the true story of five children growing up in Northern Alabama. Every year at Christmastime, the children ride across the family ranch in search of the perfect Christmas tree. When they reach adulthood and go their separate ways, two of Edie’s brothers are killed in separate car wrecks. The three remaining children grow closer and their grandmother reminds Edie that God is using her sorrows to give hope to others. The family tragedy continues when Edie’s one remaining brother, Terry, is diagnosed with a brain tumor. When Christmas nears, he asks Edie to fulfill her promise to him and take him on one last ride.
This touching story shows how one woman, despite her overwhelming heartaches and trials, remained true to her faith and never gave up.
Comment on any post this week and your name will go in the drawing for a copy of Shawna K. Williams’ Christmas novel, A Hand to Hold and a set of snowman earrings. Deadline: Dec. 8th, 11:59 pm central time.
Posted on September 27, 2012 - by Shari Barr
I’ll have to admit I’m not a big fan of superhero shows or movies, so I’m putting a different spin on my blog post today. Instead I’ll tell you about one of my favorite kids’ books about a funny little guy named Stanley who, because of a freak accident, got himself into some pretty interesting predicaments.
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown tells the story of young Stanley who gets smashed flatter than a pancake when a bulletin board falls on him. Unharmed, except for the fact that he’s now half an inch thick, Stanley can do some pretty amazing things. Like the time his parents wanted to send him to California to visit relatives but didn’t have money for a plane ticket, so they stuffed him inside a huge envelope and mailed him cross country.
Or, the time he tied a long string to his belt so his younger brother Arthur could fly him like a kite. I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds like fun. Sailing through the wide, blue yonder, fluttering in the breeze like a soaring eagle. Aah. I’m relaxed just thinking about it.
Of course, Stanley can do some good deeds since he’s super skinny—like slip between the bars of a grate in the sidewalk to retrieve his mother’s ring and hang on a wall inside a picture frame to help police catch sneak thieves at the Museum of Art.
I guess Stanley is a superhero in his own weird sort of way. Maybe he doesn’t have super powers or mechanical legs or anything like that, but he does do some pretty awesome things.
If you’ve never read Flat Stanley and you’re wondering if he’s flat forever, it’s well worth the thirty minutes or so it takes to read and find out for yourself.
Posted on August 16, 2012 - by Shari Barr
Today’s guest author is a woman I met through the ACFW. Her warm personality immediately made me feel like I’d known her forever.
Rose will be giving away a copy of “Job’s Tears” and her newest release “Rose of Sharon” to two lucky winners. To enter your name in the drawing, comment on this post before midnight, central time, on August 17. The winners will be announced on August 19th.
Now, please welcome the lovely and talented Rose Ross Zediker.
Tell us a little about yourself, Rose.
My husband, Mike, and I live on an acreage outside of Elk Point, SD. We have a grown son. He and his wife have blessed us with two beautiful granddaughters. I work full time at the University of South Dakota, as an assistant to the Vice President of Administration and Technology.
When did you begin writing and did you begin with novels? Did someone encourage you to write or did you just always know?
I began writing for publication in 1991, after enrolling in an Institute of Children’s Literature course. I garnered my first acceptance in 1994. It was a short story in a Sunday school take home paper. I began writing inspirational romance novels in 2005.
In high school I wrote short stories for literature class that were published in the school newspaper. I grew up in Westfield, IA and we had our very own Harlequin romance writer in residence there. She always encouraged me to write, even after I was grown and married. I guess she saw my talent before I did. I was always proud to know her, and she was always interested in my work, whether it was romance related or not. She has since passed away, but her son was my classmate, and when Lily of the Field published, he told me how proud she’d be of me. That made my day!
What is a typical writing day for you?
Since I work full time, I write during the evenings and on the weekends. If I’m under contract, I write 1000 words a day during the week, and strive for 3000 on Saturday and Sunday to get the rough draft finished. When the rough draft is finished I will work an hour each evening on revisions, and about three hours each day of the weekend.
When I’m working on a manuscript that’s not contracted, I try for 500 words on weekdays, and more on the weekends.
How did you land your first contract? How long between beginning writing that first novel and publication?
The editors from Barbour Publishing had a blog that I read a couple of times a week. Occasionally, they’d post a need they had to fill in their publishing calendar. One time it was for books about ‘gray haired’ love. I knew I could write romances with older characters, because well, I’m older! So I worked up three ideas, added quilting themes, wrote sample chapters of the first book and submitted. Good thing I kept working on the first book because the editor requested a full, then offered me a contract. From the idea stage to the finished product, it took about a year and half, for the first book in the series. I started Lily of the Field in June of 2009, submitted it in August, a full was requested in December. They offered me a contract in June of 2010 as long as I could complete edits by September 2010 because they had a spot open due to an author not being able to full fill their contract. Of course, I jumped at the chance. My book, Lily of the Field, released the last week of December 2010.
Can you tell us a little about your debut novel?
Here is the blurb from my query letter to the editor:
After her husband’s massive heart attack, Caroline Baker spiraled into a bubble of fear, worry and loss of faith. At fifty, she’s forced to start a new career; a home based quilting business, much to her son’s disapproval. With so many worries love is the last thing on Caroline’s mind.
Interest in Caroline is the reason Rodney Harris wants a quilt repaired. A mild heart attack was Rodney’s wake up call to change his lifestyle. Now he longs for the family life he once considered a waste of time.
As Rodney and Caroline research the history of his quilt, they fall in love. Due to inexperience in family dynamics and relationships Rodney keeps his health problems hidden. When the truth is exposed Caroline breaks up with him intending to slip back into her bubble of worry, but the Lily of the Field message reminds her to stop “toiling and spinning” because God will take care of them.
Did your debut novel lead to the publication of more books and/or contracts?
Yes. When Barbour Publishing owned the Heartsong Presents line, they wanted three books in a series so after the books released individually through the book club, they’d repackage them in a three-in-one book to sell to retail stores. The second and third books of the series are Job’s Tears and Rose of Sharon. I received contracts for those books in the fall of 2011 just before Harlequin purchased the Heartsong Presents line of books.
Here is the back cover blurb of Job’s Tears:
Nothing Can Stop Sarah. Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Sarah Buckley is in denial and determined to prove the pessimists wrong. Her life changes–including a new career and new hobby–cause her mom and best friend to voice concerns that she’s overdoing it. To Sarah, though, overdoing it is goodness sent from God.
As a Sanders man, Mark Sanders is better off not committing…and so are the women he dates. After all, his father abandoned his mother when she was diagnosed with MS, and Mark fears he’ll follow in his father’s footsteps. That is, until Sarah Buckley signs up for a quilt class at Mark’s shop and his fear of commitment turns to fear of losing out on love.
Can Sarah and Mark see past the beliefs that blind them and embrace the true good God has placed in their lives?
Are you working on anything new?
I am. I’m happy to announce that I received a contract from Harlequin for another Heartsong Presents novel. It’s tentatively titled, A Wedding on the Rocks. In addition, to that contemporary, the editor is interested in a historical synopsis that I submitted but requested sample chapters. For the first time in my writing career, I’m trying to work on two projects at once!
Do you ever get discouraged as you write? If so, how do you handle those times?
I don’t necessarily get discouraged with my writing. I know that if I’m stuck, I can go on to the next scene, chapter, etc., and come back to my troubled spot. I do get discouraged with other aspects of writing, the length of time it takes to hear back on a submission, editor/line changes in the industry-things that are beyond a writer’s control but affects their career.
What is your goal as a writer?
I hope I entertain and uplift the reader’s life, and subtly show them God’s love for his children.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer?
That to be a successful writer, you must constantly learn about your craft and strive to make each book better than the last.
Your writing journey is quite impressive, Rose. You’re a true inspiration for other writers–I know you are for me. Congratulations on your writing successes, and I know you’ll have many more to follow. It’s been a joy and blessing getting to know you better. Thank you for sharing your time with us today.
Posted on August 2, 2012 - by Shari Barr
With a to-be-read pile that grows every time I enter a bookstore, it’s hard to narrow it down to the ones I’ll probably read first, but I’ll give it a whirl.
One of my all-time favorite authors is Lynn Austin. Everything I’ve read of hers’ is wonderful, so I’m sure the one I plan to read next won’t disappoint me.
The back cover blurb of Though Waters Roar reads,
“Thank goodness you’re such a plain child. You’ll have to rely on your wits.”
So went the words of Grandma Bebe. And for all of my growing-up years, I scoffed at the beauty of my sister and what I saw as her meaningless existence. But my wits hadn’t served me well in this instance, for here I was, in jail. And while I could have seen it as carrying on the family tradition (for Grandma Bebe landed in jail for her support of Prohibition), the truth is, my reasons for being here would probably break her heart.
So how did I end up becoming a criminal? I’ve been pondering that question all night. Perhaps the best way to search for an answer is to start at the very beginning.
The police say her father’s death was suicide. Kelly Warren says it was murder—and she has new evidence to prove it. Detective Cole Taylor doesn’t put much credence in her claim, and nothing in his case review suggests foul play. But when Kelly ends up in the ER with a life-threatening medical condition, Cole digs deeper—and discovers a startling secret that links her to a long-ago crime. Is history repeating itself? And does someone want Kelly silenced?
With books like these waiting to be read, I almost wish summer wasn’t almost over. Honestly, though, with the heat we’ve had this year I’ll actually be glad to see the crisp days of fall. Of course, that means there’s no better time to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. Maybe then my to-be-read pile will start to dwindle.
Posted on July 19, 2012 - by Shari Barr
Mom taught me many things.
Many years ago when she was a Girl Scout leader, she pried me out of bed at the crack of dawn to help her and the other Scouts place poppies on soldier’s graves on Memorial Day. That simple act taught me the importance of respecting veterans and the freedoms they gave us.
She taught me to love our Lord when she made sure my sister and I were in Sunday school and church beside her every Sunday. It didn’t matter if it was stinkin’ hot and our clothes stuck to the varnished pews because our church had no air conditioning. We learned that it’s Him that really matters.
When an elderly lady in our church needed a temporary daughter to attend the Mother-Daughter Banquet with her, Mom taught me the importance of loving our neighbors, even if it meant sharing her young daughter to make someone else’s day.
One day when I was a little girl, I made pretend biscuits in my tiny toy stove while Mom fixed supper. Since my favorite TV show was on, she told me she would “watch” them for me if I wanted to go in the other room. Halfway through the show, she hollered at me to check on my biscuits. Slightly annoyed because I was in the middle of an episode of “Gilligan’s Island,” (and she knew how much I loved Gilligan) I hurried into the kitchen so I wouldn’t have to miss any more of my show than necessary. Imagine my surprise when I opened the toy oven door and saw a steaming hot perfectly browned biscuit sitting in my little pan. I learned that day that nothing is impossible.
Once when I was older and babysitting my nieces in town, I wanted to study but realized I had forgotten my notebook at home that contained my class notes. I called Mom and asked her to read those notes to me over the phone, but I had forgotten one thing. I had written those notes in shorthand. She proceeded to describe my squiggles and, sure enough, between the two of us, we deciphered my shorthand and I finished my homework. That day I learned about the power of persistence and never giving up.
Mom had a love for the outdoors, but she especially took great pride in her garden. She grew all sorts of fruits and vegetables, canning and freezing them so we’d have homegrown goodies all year long. Though I loved that produce, I absolutely hated working in that garden—pulling weeds, picking beans, shelling peas—basically everything that involved stepping foot in that pesky garden. I would have rather done anything than gardening, but Mom knew what she was doing. I have my own garden now, and I too love the satisfaction of growing and preserving our own food.
As the years pass Mom never fails to open up her home and her life to me. She always has time and never makes me feel like I should come back later. Yes, my mom taught me many things and still does today. She’s taught me the importance of simply “being there.”