Chirp and Chatter Pages

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Friendship Month: My Mother, My Friend

by Stephanie Smith

As we celebrate National Friendship month, I searched the Bible for scripture related to friendship. I came across a few, but this one stood out among the rest: "Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?" (Proverbs 20:6 NLT)

Growing up, I was always close to my mom, but I didn't think of her as a friend—let alone my best friend—until I was a mom myself and could appreciate her steadfast loyalty and unwavering reliability.

As a kid, I wanted to spend all my spare time with my best friends, having sleepovers and sharing secrets. Our dreams were grand, and life seemed full of possibilities. BFF's 4-ever was our motto and in my youth I never questioned that loyalty. But, as we got older, sleepovers were fewer and further between, replaced by boys or homework. Before long we were out of school, getting married and having babies. The same people I'd promised to be BFF's 4-ever became virtual strangers.

When I was 22, on the road to divorce with a two year old to care for, who do you think I turned to for help? Not my friends, but my mom. Being single herself, she offered to help me raise my daughter until "one of us remarries." Can't get much more loyal or reliable than that! My mom became my anchor and best friend. She allowed me to give my daughter a better life; much better than had I been forced to raise her as a truly single parent.

23 years later, my daughter is grown and on her own. As it happens, my mom and I have never remarried so our pact of living together is still firmly in place. I can't imagine our lives any other way, but if God blesses us with finding love, I pray that no matter what we will never be too far apart. Looking back, I realize she's the one person who's been there all along, patiently waiting for me to see she was and always will be the most reliable friend I'll ever have. I'm proud to call her my best friend. She is a gift from God and I love her with all my heart.

Stephanie Smith lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys listening to Christian rock music while she writes, spending time with her family, watching British television, or reading YA fantasy novels. After September is her first novel. Read more about Stephanie.

Leave a comment on every Chirp 'N Chatter Friendship post in September for a chance to win the fantastic virtual gift basket! (See the 09/01/2016 Gift Basket post.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Writing Tips: Tuning in to Local Dialect (Gail Kittleson)

(A writing tips post)

Gail Kittleson

Lost in the gorgeous musical score of Saving Private Ryan, I sailed into our little town after attending our country church. I stopped for appropriate stop signs, looked both ways, and continued into our alley and then the garage.
Getting out of the car, I glanced up to see our local police deputy had pulled in behind me and stood with arms akimbo. I hadn’t noticed anyone following me at all.
I took a few steps his way. “What did I do?”
“You never slowed down.”
“Never...but I stopped at the stop signs.”
“I’ve had my lights on from the highway, and you never slowed down. That one family has little kids, so I think they’d appreciate it if you took it a little slower next time.”
He’s a friendly man, and kind. His daughter plays with my granddaughter, and we often see him at softball games.
As the week passed, I pondered his words: You never slowed down. About midweek, it dawned on me what he had meant.
I’m pretty sure he meant, “You didn’t slow down at the 45 mph sign just north of town.”
That had to be it because, obviously I did slow down several times as I passed through the intersections leading to our home.
Here’s the catch. For him, never means didn’t.
It’s not an obscure meaning, and most people around here understand both. But in this situation, his rendition of never became confusing. And that’s the way dialect often works. One person calls the breading mix you eat with turkey dressing. Another calls it stuffing. And the list goes on.
It behooves us to delve into the particular nuances of the area about which we’re writing. When my World War II scenes take place in rural Iowa where I spent my childhood, this conundrum can emerge.
For example, I know what farmers mean when they say, “separate hogs.”
But that phrase brought a question from my editor at one point. I explained that most folks in northern Iowa farm country know that separating hogs means to weed out the smaller ones from the larger, usually for the purpose of vaccinating or preparing for market.
But my editor had never heard of this process. It’s one of those phrases I needed to consider a bit closer, since some of my readers might not recognize the wording, either. In the end, we left it in, partly because the story takes place during World War II, so the reader expects dialect to have changed since then.
I’m glad for this morning’s reminder about dialect. I’m even happier that it came without an expensive driving ticket.

Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war. But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father's stroke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God's punishment. When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate's pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits. Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?

Late blooming women's fiction author Gail Kittleson writes mostly WWII stories of overcoming fear and finding one's voice. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa and the Arizona Ponderosa pine forest in winter. Gail taught college expository writing and facilitates memoir writing and fiction workshops.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Friendship Month: The Gift of Friendship

by Dorothy Johnson

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27:9
I’ve been counting my blessings this week—specifically, close friendships.
On Monday, I discovered that one of my writing buddies had talked about our friendship on her blog and directed her readers to my site with the suggestion that they follow me! She was already very special to me, but this endeared her even more.
…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
As the week progressed, I spent time with friends I grew up with. We share so much history that they know the good, the bad, and the ugly about me and still love and accept me just as I am.
I talk with my sister-friend numerous times every week. Neither of us has a sibling, but we’ve shared so many secrets that we’re closer than sisters. It doesn’t mean we always agree, but we love each other and respect our differences. Not long ago when I asked if I had made her angry, she said, “I never get mad at you.” (I bet I try her patience though.)
A true friend is the gift of God, and he only
who made hearts can unite them.
—Robert South
Wednesday at Bible study, I sat beside a woman I’ve come to cherish. Although I haven’t known her as long as those childhood friends, we have a heart connection that transcends time. Over the past ten years, we’ve shared our faith and prayed together more times than I can count. She helped me through a difficult period, and hopefully, I’ve comforted her, too.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32
Another Christian friend and I spent most of an afternoon this week working through a misunderstanding. We knew we could set things right when we made the time to talk honestly about it. Our bond was strengthened in the process.
A friend is what the heart needs all the time. —Henry Van Dyke
One of the things each of these relationships has in common is that while we’ve laughed together and celebrated one another’s victories, we’ve also cried together during difficult times. Nearly always, at some point, we joined in prayer over those tears.
I thank God for the sunshine these folks and a few others bring to my life. I’d love to hear about your treasured friendships, too.

Dorothy Johnson and her husband, Terry, live on a ridge overlooking the Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas. A lover of God, she blogs about life and faith at
Dorothy took up fiction writing after attending a writers’ retreat in 2011. She just finished her first novel and recently joined American Christian Fiction Writers.
Leave a comment on every Chirp 'N Chatter Friendship post in September for a chance to win the fantastic virtual gift basket! (See the 09/01/2016 Gift Basket post.)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Friendship Month: What is a True Friend?

by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Do you have a friend for whom you’d lay down your life?

We all know Jesus is such a friend and He did just that, but what about one in human form? How about one you’ve known for life?

I am blessed to have a few long-time (I’m talking since childhood) friends, some special friends I’ve known for shorter periods of time and even more blessed to have numerous acquaintances that I call ‘friend.”

Like you, Delia! :-) 

There are work relationships, writer friends, Internet friends, etc. But what is a true friend?

My mother and her best friend of 56 years passed away exactly 2 weeks apart. Made us all wonder if their souls had planned it that way. Is it possible they’d been friends before….in heaven or, if you believe in reincarnation, perhaps in another lifetime? Is it probable that, in unspoken agreement, neither cared to navigate life on earth without the other?

I don’t know for sure about any of these possibilities, but it is strange they met while working at the same place, made a connection that lasted a lifetime and left the worldly plane so closely together.

Proverbs 18:24 teaches us … “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

That’s exactly the kind of friendship Craig Harris and Scott Hensley share. Fate had them neighbors, scandal had them brothers, but the two share a friendship many of us long for. Follow these beloved characters throughout the years as love crosses the lines of age and strengthens the bonds of friendship.

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Amazon Author Page * BookBub

Purchase The Tempered Series bundle

Leave a comment on every Chirp 'N Chatter Friendship post in September for a chance to win the fantastic virtual gift basket! (See the 09/01/2016 Gift Basket post.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Friendship Month: What a Friend We Have in Jesus

by Tanya Hanson

When I was a little girl attending Lutheran school, the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus was one of our standard sing-alongs in the classroom and at chapel. Sorry, but I thought the tune was a snore even at six years old. Let me have the rousing Onward Christian Soldiers any way! Even the doleful Go to Dark Gethsemane revved me up more.

But eight elementary-school years drilled the beautiful words into my mind. What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear, and what a privilege, yes, a privilege—to carry everything to Him in prayer.

I picked up on the warning of the peace we forfeit when we don’t bring Him everything in

prayer. And I got a lot of the hymn right. When I was discouraged, when I had trials and temptations, I prayed. I pleaded. Of course I prayed my eyes out during high school and
college and the start of real life. In adulthood, I prayed about big stuff, like my dad’s fatal car accident, and losing my “twin brother” Mike to cancer. I prayed about the little stuff, like a nasty headmaster or picky editor, or a rejection for a manuscript that had been pitched and requested. I got through it all.

But I wasn’t doing the rest of it. The unspoken “everything.” I didn’t thank Him enough, and worse, I didn’t simply praise Him.

Then cancer hit my household. My husband Tim.

Worse, the nightmare, the upheaval, the battle, started just one month after we lost Mike to a sudden, irrevocable cancer. Tim had grown up with Mike, and they met me in high school. Mike and I shared the same birthday and we celebrated 35 of them together. Everybody knows about my “twin brother” being dearer to me than any blood kin. Best man at my wedding. Pallbearer for my father. My son’s godfather. Ski trips at Tahoe, camping in the Sierras, my daughter’s birth, confirmations and graduations… Yes, every hill and valley of life, Mike had been at my side.

Until I needed him most. Until my husband faced surgery, chemotherapy, and complications, complications, and complications some more.

I felt angry. Alone. But I wasn’t. When I scrambled out of the initial darkness, I remembered another best friend. Jesus.

And I remembered the “everything.” On my knees, I promised my Lord and Savior I’d bring Him everything. My heart, my terror for my husband, my plea for a cure. My tears over losing Mike.

As well as the everything else. Each morning during those dreadful months of chemo and recovery, I stepped outside on the patio and prayed. But the first thing was thanksgiving, for my kids and grandkids, for the wise oncologist who gave me his home phone number in case I needed to talk, any time day or night. For neighbors who brought me food, for kind strangers on a cancer loop who got me through dark nights. Then of course, I begged for my husband’s health and life.

Those were the needful things, the expected things. The next thing I did, and sometimes I had to force it out, was simply to praise God.

It worked.

These days, my husband is cancer-cured, and we enjoy the blessings of our life to the fullest. Our three grandchildren including a newborn baby girl fulfill every dream we’ve ever had. Mike’s daughters will always be my beloved nieces. His wife, whom I call my sister-in-law, is coming this very weekend for some girl time even though she lives hours away. My wonderful friend and brother didn’t leave me alone, after all.

Nor did my Lord Jesus.

I still “get” the hymn. I pray, I try. I admit the “help me” and “thank you” prayers often take precedence over the downright praise, but I try. I truly do.

And my Best Friend knows.

California beach girl and country gramma Tanya Hanson lives on the Central Coast with her firefighter-husband. Close enough to their three grandchildren for a lot of spoiling, she also enjoys traveling with her personal hero and volunteering at the local horse rescue. She is multi-published in many genres, but inspirational romance always reminds her of God's great gifts of love and faith.


Website   Petticoats & Pistols (Group Blog)

Leave a comment on every Chirp 'N Chatter Friendship post in September for a chance to win the fantastic virtual gift basket! (See the 09/01/2016 Gift Basket post.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Blog Tour: Barbara M. Britton with Providence: Hannah's Journey

Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Providence!

Today we welcome debut author Barbara M. Britton. Barbara, welcome!

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today. I am happy to share my writing journey with you and the story behind “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.”

Are your characters based on real people?

In my Biblical fiction, my characters are based on people who appear in the Bible briefly, but we don’t know their full story. I also write about stories in the Bible that aren’t well known, and I pop some characters into the conflict. My other novels are based on real life situations that I have learned about, or experienced. I always enjoy hearing stories and wondering ‘what if’?

When did you decide to become an author?

This is tricky. I don’t know if I ever thought about being an author until I prayed for creativity. I had been teaching chapel to elementary students and was suffering from a bit of burnout at the end of the school year. I knew I had to craft new curriculum for the next school year, so I prayed, “Lord, hit me with some creativity.” I wrote my curriculum and then had a prompting to keep writing. So, I sat down with a pad of paper and a pen, and started a story. I knew nothing about the publishing business, or how to write a novel. My overnight success took nine years. I had a lot of learning to do.  Providence was my fourth book, but the first one to be published.

Do you have trouble saying goodbye to characters?

No. By the time I finish one book, I have new characters popping up in my head and talking to me about their story. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but as a writer, I wonder what I would do if I finished a story and no new characters showed up. I am happy to have another adventure to write.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

This is a tough question because I love all the characters in my books. If I had to choose a favorite, I would say it is the second book I wrote. It’s a “Me Before You” story without euthanasia. All my books have to have a happily ever after. My second book also has been the toughest to edit. I have rewritten it about three times because when I was a newbie writer, I made newbie writer mistakes. Providence is at the top of my favorites because it was my first Biblical Romantic Adventure and my first book to be published. Yay, Hannah!

How did you come up with the title?

Hannah goes through several conflicts before she has her happy ending. The theme of her life, and the book, is God is in control even in the chaos of life. God has a plan for Hannah’s life and His providence brings it to completion. Usually, a publisher will change a title. I am fortunate that both my Tribes of Israel titles have held. I hope my next one holds as it is one of my favorites.

What did you edit out of this book?

I had to tone down some scenes in this book (she says blushing). My antagonist, Konath, was a meanie. I had to curtail his meanness a bit. I thought I would have to edit my second book in the series for sensuality, but I sailed through.

When you wrote this book, did you have an idea of how it would end at the beginning?

Absolutely not. I knew it would have a satisfying ending and Hannah and Gil would be together, but my last chapters were a blur. Many of my final scenes come to me when I’m cruising toward the end of the story. Trying to pull all the themes together is a tough task, and I guess the story needs to percolate while I write. I’ve heard at writing conferences that the ending of your first book will sell your second. Get it right, and readers want to read more of your stories. Get it wrong, and a reader will find another author to read. Endings have to rock and give the reader a satisfying conclusion to the story. I strive to do just that.

Want to learn more?

My website




My real name is Barbara M. Britton. The journeys will continue in February with “Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey.”

Thanks to Barbara for stopping by today. Be sure to pick up her debut Biblical fiction, Providence: Hannah's Journey.

Visit all the stops along the tour

Saturday, September 17, 2016

COTT: Olympia Winner 2016

Many deserving competitors
entered the fray. 
One became the victor.

Congratulations, Jennifer Uhlarik, 
2016 Olympia Award Champion
for her entry of
To Prove Her Worth!

We took a few moments to get to know Jennifer a little better, and now here's your chance to do the same:

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

How did you come up with the idea for this book and what made you want to write this particular story?

While working with a few other authors on some novella collection ideas, I came up with the idea of three adult siblings who reunite after being separated by adoption in their youth. This story and the two that follow it are the result of that idea—three strong siblings devoted to law and justice, each in their own way.

What does winning the Olympia Award mean to you?

It is such an honor! I love the Olympia since the first round is judged by readers. That is probably the truest group of judges one can have. And I know the competition is always stiff in contests, so just to final is quite humbling. To win is indescribable (and I’m an author, so that says a lot. I’m speechless. (LOL)

How can people find you online/contact you?

I can be found in the following places:

Website   ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Friendship Month: A Cup of Tea Friendship

by Marilyn Leach

Do you enjoy getting little memento’s from friends?
My dear friends that live in Reading, Berkshire, England gave me a special little trinket. It now hangs by my kitchen window that looks out onto a gracious green space, home to an apple tree and blue spruce. And, I won’t soon forget the day Lillie and Andy presented the gift to me.
Weary from my overnight flight from Denver to England, customs was a blur. But, nearing the gate at Heathrow where people stand with names printed on tag boards and loved ones await, I became energized.
I stepped through the doorway in the waiting area.
“Marilyn,” was called out with devil-may-care delight. “E-E-E Marilyn.” Lillie’s smile was like a neon light. Andy was around the ropes and pulling my roller bag before I could say God Save the Queen. We shared generous hugs.
This wasn’t the first time it happened, and it hasn’t been the last.
In a flash, we were in the car, making way and chatting at the same high speed we hurled down the motorway.
Arriving at Andy and Lillie’s gracious abode felt like home away from home. The Harris Family has always made it so. From the first time I entered their door many years ago, warm hospitality bubbled. And it was no different this day. My heart danced when those special, inevitable words rang out just after I hung my coat on the peg rail. “I’ll put the kettle on.”
The long plane journey faded as laughter and chit-chat of family and events accompanied a most welcomed cup of soothing tea. Sometimes in the back garden, or the breakfast room, often in the sitting room, we drink in the flavorful brew and the joy of being with one another. And so goes the entire time we spend together. Overnight outings, visiting stately homes, riding steam trains, or simple days in, good times are always punctuated with a steaming cuppa. It’s a simple celebration of life and friendship.
This particular visit, as was habit, Lillie had a little gift bag for me. Wrapped up inside was the memento that I’m writing about now. It was a teacup-shaped ceramic tile with a little hanging ribbon. The caption engraved upon it read:

Life is like a cup of tea: to be filled to the brim
and enjoyed with friends.

Truer words were seldom spoken, a sentiment I’ll always treasure.
Now, brewing tea has become a daily occurrence in my home. And every sighting of that memento hanging near my electric kettle reminds me of pleasant memories with special friends. Thank you, Andy and Lillie.

Though Marilyn grew up in the Western United States, she became a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast after exploring the UK and making friends there. She has co-authored plays that have been performed in both secular and church venues. Her many devotionals have appeared in such works as The Quiet Heart, Big Dreams in Small Places, and Guideposts. In her current British mystery series with Pelican Books, Berdie Elliott is the intrepid vicar’s wife who solves crime with a little help from above. Marilyn lives in a lakeside cottage on the front range of the Rocky Mountains.


Website   Amazon Author Page   Pre-order ENIGMA OF FIRE: A BERDIE ELLIOTT PENTECOST MYSTERY(Releases March 1st)
Leave a comment on every Chirp 'N Chatter Friendship post in September for a chance to win the fantastic virtual gift basket! (See the 09/01/2016 Gift Basket post.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Reduce Wordiness: 7 Trouble Spots to Avoid (Angela D. Meyer)

(A Writing Tips post)

by Angela D. Meyer

Wordiness stalls your reader at best and loses them completely at worst.

When you’re editing and you come across a section that sounds wordy or you’re over word count and can’t figure out where to cut, here are 7 trouble spots to avoid to ensure your writing is clear and as concise as your story needs to be. (edited from 46 words to 27 words.)

Redundancy. When you edit, look for these spots where you repeat the same idea with different verbiage, then choose the best way you worded it and delete the others.

Passive construction. Passive construction adds words to your writing and can be cumbersome. It has its place, but use it carefully and with intent.

For example:
Passive: The boy was bitten by a mosquito. The bite made the boys skin itch. (14 words)
Active: A mosquito bit the boy. His skin itched. (8 words)

Since passive construction is where the action is done to the subject, a search-and-find of the word “by” in your manuscript may help you spot passive construction. Decide if the passive construction serves a specific purpose or effect in your story. If not, then make it active.

Repetitiveness: I find at least one word in each story that communicates an idea so well I use it repeatedly. I also have a group of more common words that I tend to overdo and have to catch in the editing stage. Using the same word multiple times indicates I may be getting lazy in my writing and allowing wordiness to creep in.

A quick search-and-find helps locate these pesky terms. I watch especially for clusters which make them stand out. For story specific words, I choose a different word or cut it out entirely. For the common words that I see across all my stories, I may have to change up the construction of the sentence.

A few common overdone words include: that, very, so, can and just. Much of the time deleting these words does the trick. Read the following sentence and see the difference taking out a few words can make.

I heard that he was going to college and I am so very thankful that he is just so willing to lead the way. (24 words vs. 18 words)

Telling your readers what you’re going to do instead of doing it.
I could have gone to the store. Vs. I went to the store.
I am thinking about getting a new maid. VS I will hire a new maid.
I am going to go the store. Vs. I will go to the store.

Overuse of “-ing” words. “-ing” words can be vague about who or what they modify and often indicate weak verbs.
Make sure your subject is clear.
Vague: Mary hurried away from the store leaving her cart full of groceries. (Did the store leave her cart or did Mary?)
Clear: Leaving her cart full of groceries, Mary hurried away from the store.

Make sure you are using strong verbs.
Weak: Working at the store is a great job.
Strong: I enjoy working at the store.

Overuse of -ly words. Instead of “walked lazily” use “shuffled.” The occasional adverb can add color, but when there is an overabundance, it alerts you to possible weak verbs.

Super long sentence: It helps the rhythm of your story to vary the lengths of the sentences, but a too-long sentence can make a reader feel like they can’t catch their breath. It also slows the pace of your story. Unless you’re are using a long sentence for effect, generally, 20-25 words is a good length. In addition to checking the trouble spots already mentioned, check punctuation for run-on sentences. If not a run-on, break it up into more than one sentence. 

This is not an all-inclusive list of trouble spots to avoid on the way to clear and concise writing. Do you have a pitfall you have to watch out for?

Angela D. Meyer, author of The Applewood Hill Series, lives in NE with her husband of 25 years and their high school daughter. Their son serves our country in the Marines. Angela enjoys hanging out with her family, reading, connecting with friends and encouraging women to grow in their faith. One of her dream spots to vacation is next to the ocean and someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon.

Connect with Angela:


Joanna, full of bitterness over the past, can no longer ignore the growing storm inside her and is bent on self-destruction as she seeks to ease her pain. But the refuge she seeks is always out of her reach.

Her brother Blake must choose between what has always been safe and what he has always wanted. One mistake after another leads him down a dangerous path.

The one for all, all for one sibling bond can’t help them now. They are both determined to hang onto their anger, never forgetting. Never forgiving. They see no reason to trust God.

After so many years of turmoil, will the Hannigan siblings find refuge in the God who loves them? Or will they get lost along the way?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Release: Game On by Lillian Duncan

Everyone’s heard the saying: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you! That’s the premise of my new political thriller, GAME ON.

Congressman, Lucas McMann wants to throw his hat into the political arena once again, this time for the U.S. Senate. It’s the next step on his journey to the White House, but he believes he’s the victim of an elaborate stalking game.
The problem is no one believes him.
Instead his friends think he’s experiencing PTSD. He can’t move forward until he stops the game. He can’t stop the game until he discovers who’s behind it. To do that he needs someone who will believe in him enough to help him get the proof he so desperately wants.
And he knows just the person.
If only she’s put their past behind her.
Private Investigator, Nikki Kent makes a living finding out other people’s secrets, but she has one of her own. When Lucas shows up asking for her help, she refuses. She can’t take the chance of her secret coming to light. But her new-found faith won’t let her turn her back on someone who is desperate for her help—even if he was the first man to break her heart!
Game On is filled with enough twists and turns that it should keep any reader turning those pages late into the night. I really had fun writing it and hope readers will have fun reading it. My publisher outdid herself with the book trailer for GAME ON so I hope you’ll check it out at:

To celebrate the release of GAME ON, I’m giving away a virtual basket of goodies at including Amazon gift cards. For all the details go to my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes. Simply leave a comment on the blog post GAME ON at and you’ll be entered.

Politics is no game when a stalker nears and there’s nowhere to hide.
A run for the senate is just a step on the road to the White House for Congressman Lucas McMann. But his public profile has put him in the middle of a crazed gunman’s twisted game of stalking. If he wants to win the election and reclaim his life, he’ll need the help of the one person who’d rather leave their past behind them.
Private Investigator Nikki Kent knows how to dig up secrets and discover those who exist in the shadows. She should. She’s good at hiding secrets of her own. Can she risk her own discovery for someone so desperate for her help? For the first man who broke her heart?
With new-found faith, she’ll help Lucas search for the answers. But with the truth comes a danger they must face together.
Check out the book trailer video for GAME ON at

About the Author: 
Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.
Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in Ohio Amish country with her husband. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense and mystery with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at or She also has a devotional blog at

Monday, September 12, 2016

Friendship Month: Make a Few Friends This Month

by Cherie Burbach

One of my favorite months is September. The turning of the leaves, the colder weather, and the focus on friends. September is friendship month, but it’s also the time I most think about my friends. I remember old pals from school since this was the time you got to see your friends again after a long summer when you did your own thing. I remember the excitement of starting school again and making new friends.
As an adult, we have to work harder to continually have new friends in our lives. Did you know that studies suggest we replace half our friends every seven years? That’s because friendships are fluid and changing. You might drift from some people and get closer to others.
For many of us, we need to actively make friends. It isn’t the same as when we were kids. But the good news is that it’s easy to do this time of year. Here are some ideas for reaching out to meet new people.

Bowling League
Indoor sports like bowling start up in September and go through the winter months. They're fun and an easy way to make new friends. The best part? You don't need to have athletic skill in order to participate.
Bowling is good for a couple looking to make friends or for someone who just wants to add to their social circle. Choose a league that goes for several weeks so you'll have more opportunity to chat with people.

Bible Groups
I think meeting friends in a Bible group setting is one of the best ways to connect. Our local group takes the summer off and then starts up again in October, and when they start up new people always join. This allows you to get to know someone at the heart of who they are, and is a great way to lift someone up and show them the kind of love that Jesus commanded. You’ll be praying for each other and sharing details of your life that help people get to know you on more than just a casual level.

Football Games and Parties
Where I’m from, football is BIG. (Hello Packers!) And the great thing is that the football season brings with it a variety of ways to make new friends. Fans who are really into the sport can join a fantasy football league and compete against others in designing their dream team.
If you're lucky enough to get tickets to a game, even better. You can make new friends by tailgating and chatting with the other folks around you.
But even those who aren't fanatics can benefit from football season. Bars and sports centers often host football parties, where a group of people watch the game on the big screen. The trick, if you're not really into football, is to at catch up on some sports-related small talk so you can carry on a conversation with the people around you.

Take a Class
Taking a class is one of my favorite ways to make new friends. I guess it’s because it makes me think of the old days in going back to school. I like to think about all those things I put on my to-do list that are “one day” items… like, one day I will learn a new language, one day I’m going to try golfing… things like that.
Take that “one day” list and look for opportunities to try something new out. Nearly every community has classes at their library or rec center, Meetup, or book groups looking for new people. Dig through the local college flyer to see if there are non-credited courses you can take, or classes at places like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.
I’ve found that the best way to form friendships from these ideas is to make conversation and get to know people. Be open and figure out what you might have in common. Some of this may feel weird to you (especially if you’re an introvert like me) but you won’t regret taking those first steps out of your comfort zone when you find a friend you cherish.
If you’re looking for even more ideas on making (and keeping friends) please check out my book, 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends.

Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She has penned and contributed to articles for Readers Digest, Family Circle,, NBC/Universal,, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: Art and Faith: Mixed Media Art With a Faith-Filled Message. Visit her website for more info,

Leave a comment on every Chirp 'N Chatter Friendship post in September for a chance to win the fantastic virtual gift basket! (See the 09/01/2016 Gift Basket post.)