Running Amuck

This may be the most scattered post I’ve ever written. But my brain is a bit scattered right now. I’ve gotten up at 5 stupid o’clock on a Saturday to drive two hours to watch my son in Cross Country Track. Which really isn’t much of a spectator sport. You watch them start, then you wait and wait and wait, until they finish. I’ve also been to almost Missouri three times for track meets. Track ended last Tuesday and basketball started on Thursday. He plays basketball too.

St. LouisI did actually make it to Missouri to the ACFW Conference. Since I have two cousins who live there, the only way I could spend time with them was to only attend the conference one day. I felt like I missed a lot of the conference and seeing friends, but I had fun with my cousins. I told my roommate that my cousin and I were going to run amuck. My cousin said, as long as we’re in by 8:00. We went to the top of the Arch and ate Italian, but we were in by 8:00. The picture was taken from the top of the Arch.

I struggled with a book all summer and finally when school started, the piece of the puzzle clicked into place and the words flew from my fingertips. I’m finishing my final read through today and turning it in by my deadline tomorrow. Two down, four to go for my current contract.

I lost eighteen pounds, but lately I’ve been to a lot of appreciation dinners and political meet and greets, so I’m stuck on my diet. And I haven’t gotten back in gear with my daily treadmill for at least 15 minutes since I got back from the conference. But I’m going to. Once I get this book turned in, oh the things I’ll do.

That’s been my mantra lately—once I get this book turned in, I’ll. . . The main thing I’m looking forward to is reading.

I met Jennifer Slattery at an ACFW Conference a few years back, so when I heard she got a contract, I wasJennifer Slattery thrilled and couldn’t wait to read her book—Beyond I Do. I love the title, since so many brides don’t think past the extravagant wedding and I love the sweet cover.

Since then, Jennifer’s publisher asked for my endorsement on her second book—When Dawn Breaks. It came during crunch time—I was about to leave for ACFW and I had a deadline. I had one free night at the conference, so I decided I’d start the book. If I liked it, I’d make time to read it. If I didn’t, I’d tell Jennifer’s publisher I had a deadline.

I loved it and finished it after I got home, when my brain was still too travel rattled to do anything but read. I ordered Beyond I Do this week. It will get here Thursday. Perfect timing. Next time I see Jennifer, I’m going to have someone get a new not orange picture of us.

Jennifer Slattery coverWill seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

November is National Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a challenge to writers to write a book in a month. By the time I heard of it, I was already published and it’s never fallen right in my contracts for me to participate. But this time, it does. I’m planning to write my next contracted book in November. It’s not due until March. In December and January, I’m going to write a book I’ve wanted to write for a long time.

In February, I want to read Denise Hunter’s new book. It releases in December and I may not be able to wait. In fact, I’ll probably make time to read The Wishing Season as soon as I get it.

Living side-by-side, a fledgling chef and a big-hearted contractor find a delicious attraction.The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter
Trouble is, their chemistry could spoil their dreams.

Spirited PJ McKinley has the touch when it comes to food. Her dream of opening her own restaurant is just one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springs resident offers her beloved ancestral home to the applicant with the best plan for the house, PJ believes it’s a contest she was meant to win.

Contractor Cole Evans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kid knows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers the contest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found its saving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that an out-of-towner with a not-for-profit enterprise is good for the community.

But when the eccentric philanthropist sees PJ and Cole’s proposals, she makes an unexpected decision: the pair will share the house for a year to show what their ideas are made of. Now, with Cole and the foster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life has turned into out-and-out competition—with some seriously flirtatious hallway encounters on the side. Turns out in this competition, it’s not just the house on the line, it’s their hearts.

Sigh. Can’t wait.

Published by

Shannon Vannatter

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. Her rural Arkansas community boasts a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. She writes inspirational contemporary romance for Heartsong Presents. Learn more at and check out her real life romance blog.

14 thoughts on “Running Amuck”

    1. Cross Country wasn’t bad, except for the getting up early, driving to almost Missouri, and a couple of times–it was really hot. But I’d do anything for my son. If he’s doing it, I’m there watching.
      I have to get back on the exercise routine–especially with holidays coming and more eating.
      I taught my roommate and cousins in St Louis that the colon in a.m. time stands for stupid. As in 5 stupid o’clock or 5 stupid thirty. It stops meaning stupid at noon.

  1. When our kids were in HS, we went straight from Marching Band with the oldest to Soccer with the youngest – a couple of years of doing BOTH! I feel your pain!

    I’m thinking about NaNoWriMo, but haven’t made the commitment yet. Daughter #1 is doing it. Good luck with yours!!

    1. I’ve been glad I only have one child to keep up with, Regina. And I’m very thankful that Grant and I have cushy hours so that we get to keep up with ours. There were so many parents who never made any of the meets.
      I challenge you to NanoWriMo.

  2. My, you are running amuck! Our kids weren’t in sports past their early elementary years–unfortunately, they got their athleticism (or lack thereof) from me. Instead they were in choir and band and theater and scouts. That kept us busy enough. I might try NaNo, just not this November. 🙂 I guess then in wouldn’t officially be NaNo, but this November is crazy enough as it is. Now in February, when we have 10 feet of snow on the ground, then I’ll give it a try.

    1. I’m not very sports oriented, Brenda. I don’t go unless my son is involved. Sometimes, him and Grant go to basketball games when his team isn’t even playing. Not me. And I’ve been known to take a book to read in between races and games he’s not in. But I don’t read while he’s on the court or the track.

  3. My son ran cross-country also. It’s amazing how many people show up (making me part a mile or two away from the meet area, so I have to actually walk that far there AND back to get to my car) too root on these kids. Of course I was so very proud of him, he always came in around the first dozen or so, and for such a little guy that’s quite an accomplishment. He decided this year not to do CC. I didn’t work to encourage him to do it. Track will do just nicely.

    I love how you plan clear into the next year what you’re going to read. Just so you know, Jennifer is in our local ACFW group. I’m so excited for her and her new book! AND it does look really good!

    1. It is amazing how many people show up, Dawn. But all that walking helped me lose weight. I love that picture of him running. Somebody was right behind him and he looks like he has an extra elbow and legs. I’m jealous, I only got to see Jennifer that one time. We’ve kept in touch online and she’s been on my blog a couple of times, including this week.

  4. Shannon, you are such a blessing, and you were such an incredible encouragement to me that conference. As my first national conference, I was so overwhelmed. I still remember your sweet, smiling face that day, right before I entered that immensely crowded dining room. And um… I love orange! It’s my favorite color!

    Are you going to the ACFW conference in Dallas? I’m planning on it and would love to share a meal with you!

    That’s awesome that your son does cross country! But I totally get what your saying about trying to watch him. 🙂

    I hope you enjoy “Beyond I Do”! And thank so very much for the endorsement for “When Dawn Breaks”! That blessed me!

    1. Hey Jennifer, I was crying I was so overwhelmed my first national conference. I try to help others not cry now. And I like orange too, just not on our faces. You’ve been an encouragement too. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve been on your blog. I promised myself a few years ago that I would go to ACFW if it was close to me. Dallas is six hours, so probably. If we both end up there, we’ll definitely have a meal, coffee, and pie together. I love pie and when I was reading When the Dawn Breaks that night in the hotel, your character was eating pie. I wanted pie so bad I couldn’t hardly stand it.

  5. Shannon, I’m so impressed you got the book done with all your “running amuck.” I went to my first cross country meet earlier this fall. Over half our youth group from church are members of the team, so I went to watch them with my daughter (who, like her mom, avoids running at all costs). This particular course allowed for the spectators to see quite a bit, but I was told most of the courses aren’t like that.

    So glad you and Jennifer connected. If you moved to Iowa or Nebraska, you could see her all the time–and Dawn, Rose (SD), and Shari, and ME!!!

  6. Lorna, I’m always jealous about how many writers live in your area. Mary Connealy too. But I really like AR, so I guess I’ll stay here until I die. The first track meet we went to had a course where you could see alot of the course. But none of the others did. I avoid running at all costs too. When I said I need to get back in my treadmill routine – I walk. By the way, I looked up how to spell amuck. It can be amuck or amok. But I thought in the South, it’s amuck.

  7. Our kids weren’t in sports either past elementary, then it turned to 4-H, FFA, FCCLA and some other high school clubs. If I don’t know anybody playing in the games, I don’t get too into them (and sometimes not then.)

    I’m considering NaNoWriMo too, but I don’t think I’ll be official about it. Maybe just write the 50,000 and not send it in. If I get somewhere close to that number, I’ll be doing good.

    1. I went to his basketball game tonight. I left as soon as his game was over, but him and hubby stayed for two more.

      I’m not officially signing up for Nano, Shari. I don’t think I can send in my 50,000 words since they’re contracted. I’m just doing it on my own.

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