That Special One – a funny thing happened

coffee, cup, laptop, memeby Nike N. Chillemi

A funny thing happened…on the way to releasing my New Adult Christian Romantic Suspense novella, THAT SPECIAL ONE. I got hit by Hurricane Irma. Well actually the entire state of Florida did, and the Caribbean Islands as well. This put a real dent in my ability to release my novella on deadline, so I took it very personally. See what a toughie I am.

I live in Jacksonville, and nearly the entire city lost power for several days. I’ve tried to imagine what that must’ve looked like at night to airplane pilots flying over the city to another destination…blackness where there had been city lights just a few days before. For me, that meant no power, no WiFi, no use of my laptop. Grrr. No ability to download the manuscript to Amazon’s program. No release. Grrr!

THAT SPECIAL ONE opens in September with the beginning of the college year for heroine Ivy Chalmers. I so wanted to release the novella in early to mid-September and praise the Lord, although I had a delay, I was able to.


THAT SPECIAL ONE in a nut shell…

College freshman Ivy Chalmers moved in with her aunt and uncle in Arroyo, Texas. She needed to get away from her alcoholic and weed smoking mother.  Ivy longed for a different life than the revolving-door-men in her mom’s life. Making a one-eighty, she vowed not to make a serious dating commitment unless she knew it would be that really ‘special relationship ‘.

Corey Jones had been the man in his house since age twelve, when his alcoholic dad abandoned him and his mom. Once in a while, his dad showed up trying to extort money from them using threats. Then his blue-haired, self-centered cousin Ava came to live with them and the way she treats his mom enrages him.

Ivy is thrilled when she meets an upper classman from a neighboring college and thinks he might be ‘that guy.’ When she is horribly betrayed, her world is thrown upside-down, and she plunges into a depression.  In a steady and kind of clumsy way, Corey is there for her during her worst moments. But his family is plagued with alcoholism, the life she had with her mom, the life she ran away from. What’s wrong with her that she attracts the wrong guys? As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s an arsonist terrorizing their tiny village.


About Nike Chillemi~

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started at a very young age. Her first major work was a Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned as a little girl (colored might be more accurate) about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista with a humorous side. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMRUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.  http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

One Amazon reviewer says:

Chillemi has nailed the angst and hopelessness many feel. My heart sank at Ivy’s trauma, and I grieved along with her when life delivered the opposite of what she expected.

coffee, cup, laptop, memeFrom Betty Thomason Owens: Thanks for joining us today at Hello! Thursday Mornings. I hope you’ll be encouraged to follow Nike and check into her fiction releases, if you haven’t already. [Click the book photo above for more info at Amazon.com]

I was one of her critiquers on this novella, along with several of her earlier books, including the entire Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes trilogy, so I’m an “established” fan. I love her stories and look forward to more from Nike Chillemi.

And, please say a prayer for those suffering the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes this season. It’s far from over for them. And if you can help in any way, please do so.–Thanks!

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Flying Time

by Sandra Ardoin

As I look at my calendar, I can’t believe 2017 is almost three-quarters gone. Where did the days disappear to? The weeks? The months? Why must I look back at the first half of the year and wonder why I’m not further along in completing the plans I’ve had since January?

At the beginning of each year, for my writing, I create a business plan. I come up with numbers I would like to see by the end of December for website followers, newsletter subscribers, and social media connections. I ponder possible marketing promotions and, most importantly, writing projects I’d like to complete. My plan gives me direction—it provides a guide that keeps me from staring at the computer with “Duh?” running through my brain. It’s something to consult when I’ve finished one project and am ready to start a new one.

Still, it’s odd how I can sit at my desk in the morning to begin work, then get so absorbed in all the non-writing tasks to be done that I suddenly find my day is over. The next thing I know the weekend arrives and I’m lamenting all the word count I didn’t achieve during the past week.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by your to-do list, too, or wishing the day had thirty-six or forty-eight hours? Maybe the week should come with ten days instead of seven?

I suspect, no matter what you do for a living, even if it’s being an all-important, stay-at-home mom, you’ve probably had seasons when you’ve grown impatient to accomplish something and found time slipping away for one reason or another. Little things break into our moments to steal those intentions and wreck our plans. Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours.

Guess what. I have no magical answer to recapturing lost time. Sad, but true.

I only know it’s possible that those distractions, those time stealers, can be a call to slow down and focus on something other than myself and my to-do list. They can be a reminder to pay attention to my surroundings and those who inhabit my little world, like friends and family.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be working hard when someone pops into my office to talk. I want to ask, “Can’t this wait?” I don’t. Instead, I stop what I’m doing. That doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated and grumpy when my work is interrupted. I fight releasing a rude huff. But relationships are important. I never know how much longer I’ll be able to talk to that person. Because, as Proverbs 27:1 says, I don’t know “what a day may bring forth.”

Sometimes, distractions are a way to discover I’m on the wrong track. Maybe what I’m working on is the wrong project at the wrong time and adjustments must be made. That’s okay, as long as I don’t confuse being led to the right project with an inability to focus that carries me down to-do rabbit trails.

There are days when things crop up that I can’t ignore—like a recent emergency dental appointment. Ick! And, sometimes, distractions are just that—intrusions into what I need to accomplish.

I only know the days, the months, and the years rest in God’s control. So, the next time I think I’ve accomplished nothing when it comes to whittling down my to-do list, I need to remember I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and God can take that “nothing” and turn it into something I’d never planned.

Are you the type who can roll with the punches, or are you like me and get clobbered by flying time?

(Click to Tweet) Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours. #FlyingTime .@SandraArdoin


Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. She’s the author of the heartwarming novella, The Yuletide Angel and the award-winning novel, A Reluctant Melody. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out. Visit her at http://www.sandraardoin.comSubscribe to receive updates and specials.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub.

[clickable meme]
Click the meme above for more information about the book (Amazon). You can download it free today and tomorrow only! (September 21 & 22)

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Music for the Soul, Coffee for the Brain

Hello! Thursday Morning!

I am well into my second cup this morning as I worship with one of my favorite bands via YouTube — yes, I also own their music. I like to test out new music before I buy, so this is a good way to do it.

And, this is how I usually start my day.  A short devotional, a chapter or so of the Bible, while filling my heart with praise via music.

I’m not wasting time, it’s the equivalent of mental and spiritual exercise. It gets me ready to face the day and whatever comes.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. — 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

Most mornings, as weather and work permits, I’m out walking early. A great start to anyone’s day, if you can do it. All things, done in a good and proper order.

  1. Feed the spirit
  2. Feed the mind
  3. Feed the body
  4. Tackle the day.

It just feels good. Do you have a morning routine? How do you feel when you accomplish your routine in proper order?

It’s like making your bed as soon as you get up. You’ve finished something. If you can’t finish anything else the rest of the day, you done one good thing.

So who am I listening to this morning? Elevation Worship. Love their music!

What am I studying? Learning to pray simple prayers. Wait, what? Why does anyone actually need to learn how to pray simple prayers?

Well, it’s like this. I’m a writer and I tend to try to create beautiful passages, and outdo others when I compose (yes, I’m competitive).

But know this: when praying, simple is often best. You don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling, or sentence construction. Just speak from your heart. Sometimes it’s as simple as: “Lord, please save my daddy.”

That heartfelt prayer preceded a day when my dad ended a long career of binge-drinking. He finally started on a journey that led him to a better life. Not that I had anything to do with that, but I was hurting so badly for him, I had no words. I just prayed what was in my heart.

We truly saw God move that day. There was no other explanation for the sudden turnaround.

So today, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee, listening to great music, and getting ready to read and study. Looks like the rain has stopped, so I’ll hit the pavement afterward and breathe in the fresh morning air.

Thanks for stopping by. May God bless your day — that’s my heartfelt prayer.

[Click to tweet] Music for the soul, #coffee for the brain. What’s your morning routine? #HelloThursdayMornings

Next week – Author Sandra Ardoin is my guest. So grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage and pop by for a visit.

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This is in progress right now! Write Integrity Press (my publisher) has a fantastic sweepstakes going on. If you’d like a chance to win an 8″ Kindle Fire, along with $100 and many more prizes, you can enter the sweepstakes by clicking this link (or click the picture above): Write Integrity Press.

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Another Movie Review

I don’t really have a schedule yet for Hello! Thursday Mornings – but I think it’s time for another movie review. This one is fun, cute and endearing, and I love the title.

In-Lawfully Yours.

I had no idea what to expect, which is probably a good thing. But I was delighted, and laughed out loud several times.

Actually, I know someone who used to be a lot like Jesse, the main character. Though I didn’t know how to take my friend in the beginning, I soon came to love and appreciate her unique outlook on life. It’s the same with Jesse’s character. One critic found her irritating, but I liked her immediately.The story begins with a totally unexpected scene and provides several more unexpected scenes within the first few minutes of the film.  I believe these scenes reveal Jesse’s character well.

Jesse’s short-lived marriage is at an abrupt end, but the death of her almost-ex’s father sends Jesse to the aid of her mother-in-law (Marilu Henner). Along the way, Jesse meets a different sort of salesman, a pastor with a dwindling congregation, and a cafe-owner who repeatedly sabotages Jesse’s coffee. When all she really wants is a good cup of coffee.

“You know, I could get used to this churching” — is one of my favorite lines in the film, as Jesse settles into a new way of life.

The very sweet and pure love that grows between the two main characters is just my style. The conflict that comes as a result of their attachment is natural and believable, though a few of the extenuating circumstances were a little fantastic. But I was not put off by them–this is comedy.snack, popcorn, movie

Jesse’s antics almost get the pastor ousted from his church. Her ex-husband has an ulterior motive for trying to win her back. And of course, there’s a toxic character in the church who completely disapproves of her.

I liked the characters in this movie, even some of the unlikable ones, because they were real–made so by the talented actors. I loved the fact that these people formed a family who loved and cared for each other through difficult circumstances. And I loved the humor that threaded its way through the story.

What I liked best about this movie is the journey the two make from the beginning to the end. Their roads intersect, then part. But Jesse’s road leads home.

In-Lawfully Yours is a romantic comedy with an inspirational theme. It’s a project of Regent University’s film school. One of the producers is Corbin Bernsen, who makes a cameo appearance in the movie.

I just watched the movie again, and loved it just as much the second time through. I gave it five stars on Netflix.

Have you seen a really good faith-based film lately?

(Click to tweet) Hello! Thursday Morning’s review of In-Lawfully Yours. #FiveStars #romcom


NOTE: If you’re interested, I’m at two different blogs this week. I was interviewed by Hallee Bridgeman. Interview with Author Betty Thomason Owens.

And, I’m featured this week at the ACFW blog! You can find that one here: ACFW

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