I Love You Because

Hello, and welcome to another Thursday morning! It’s officially Autumn. The leaves of our dogwood tree are starting to turn from green to red, triggering a poignant memory…

“Why do the leaves turn color, Mama?”

I looked at my four-year-old son, then back at the dogwood tree in the middle of our yard. The small tree was always the first to display red and orange leaves. Did I know the answer to his question? “The sun shines less this time of year, so the leaves don’t make as much chlorophyll.” I almost ended with a question mark, because I wasn’t quite sure my answer was right. I’d pretty much bombed out in biology.

My little boy frowned and shook his head. “No, Mama, God paints ‘em.”

“Okay. Why did you ask if you already knew the answer?”

He shrugged before bouncing away to join his brothers playing in the court.
My son was certain of his answer, whether scientifically correct, or based on his four-year-old trust mentality.

It made me wonder, why do we ask questions when we already know the answer? Are we hoping the answer will change?

My son had an inquisitive mind. He asked me questions throughout the day for days on end. Sometimes I grew tired of coming up with answers. I may have gotten snippy a time or two.

We taught our children to believe the impossible, that God created the universe by speaking it into existence. His words started a chain of events that centuries later, resulted in the natural beauty around us—the red, orange, and golden leaves in fall. So, maybe He had painted the leaves in the beginning…but why?

Lost in thought, I didn’t hear my son’s approach until he draped his arms around my neck and hugged me.

“I love you, Mama.”

My heart overflowed. “Why do you love me?”

He rested his head against my shoulder. “Just because.”

Notes From My Journal

coffee, cup, laptop, memePen poised over November 1 in my journal, I’m sitting here wondering what happened to summer. It seemed entirely too short. One day it was hot, and the next–I’m wearing woolly socks and sweatshirts.

And I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

Speaking of quick turnarounds, my latest work-in-progress (conveniently set in the summertime), has surprised me twice. The first time, when my antagonist turned out to be not so antagonistic. Honestly, that one set off a chain of events I didn’t know how to tie up. Then today, an unexpected situation changed the entire ending I had planned. And quietly–just like that–everything in my story world fell into place. Don’t you love when that happens?

While we’re on the topic of love, my protagonist (the main character) is battling a huge crush. And no wonder. The guy I set in her way is not only great-looking, but smart, too. And he has a really great smile. 🙂

November is National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo)! Many of my writer buddies are using this time to work on their next novel. I’ve got ten more chapters to complete in mine, so maybe I better get clacking. That’s only about 25,000 words. I can do that. Sure.

November is also a month of thankfulness. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. How about you? What stands out for you? I hope you’ll drop me a note and let me know, so I can rejoice with you.

So, happy fall y’all. I’ll be back next week with another book review. I’m excited about this one, because it’s written by a very good friend of mine. A masterful suspense writer. She kept me on tenterhooks, nose to the page, far too long into the night hours. Ah! Another reason for an extra cup of java!

CLICK TO TWEET: Hello #Thursday Morning! What are you #thankful for? #amwriting

Next week – I will be reviewing Frozen Notes, by Fay Lamb, and there will be a giveaway! So stop back by, and join the conversation.











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!




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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Coffee, Anyone?

It’s everywhere and it’s one HOT topic. Of course, I’m referring to coffee. You’ve no doubt noticed all the coffee memes and jokes and greetings on social media featuring java.

A cup o’ Joe, brew, rocket fuel, dirt (hadn’t heard that one), cuppa, bean juice, brain juice…the list goes on.

And the memes are varied too, humorous or downright serious. Anyone taking a gander at our Facebook and Twitter pages will be convinced of our addiction to the stuff. For some of us, they wouldn’t be far off the mark.

I love my morning coffee! Honestly, though, after that first wonderful sip—well—it kind of goes downhill. Still enjoyable, though. You have to drink it fast before it gets cold. I am not a fan of cold coffee—and microwaved coffee—no, thank you.

Research! I took a short jaunt around the internet and pulled out a few lists of favorite coffee brands. Interesting, especially when I noticed one brand that kept bubbling to the top (like in the old-fashioned percolator). It’s actually one I’ve never tried. I’m being brutally honest here: I have never been to Dunkin’ Donuts. (I heard that gasp! You can’t believe it, can you?) I’ve never had the coffee, unless it was served to me and not identified.

Here’s a “favorite brands” list from 2014:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Folgers
  • Seattle’s Best
  • Maxwell House
  • Caribou
  • McCafe

And then one more recent (2017):

  • Lav Azza
  • Nescafe (really?)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Seattle’s Best
  • Peet’s
  • Keurig Green Mountain
  • Tim Horton’s
  • Folger
  • Maxwell House
  • Caribou

I’m not really sure who they’re asking. Both said “consumers.” Could be anybody. So here’s one that came directly from top sales of inexpensive coffees in southern supermarkets. That’s really narrowing it down.

  • Eight o’clock
  • Chock Full o’ Nuts
  • Folgers
  • Maxwell House
  • Dunkin Donuts

What’s my favorite coffee? We’re coffee snobs at our house. Right now, we’re drinking organic coffee from Paraquay, freshly ground, of course. The aroma is amazing!

Coffee aisles at the neighborhood supermarket have expanded! You can barely see from one end to the other. I think I saw Juan Valdez and his donkey the other day. Or maybe it was just someone pushing a cart. The distance was too great to tell.

I can often be found there, in one of those aisles, sniffing coffee packages. Don’t worry, I don’t touch it to my nose. There’s a trick to it. You lightly squeeze the package and the aroma is released. I’m not really a fan of what men like to call, “cookie coffee, and I don’t like burnt coffee beans. Only the wonderfully aromatic ones that make me say, “Ah, perfection!”

To brew or not to brew? In the past, we’ve used a French press, a pour-through, and single-serving pods. But lately, I just use a regular old coffeemaker.

One of my favorite things: I love to walk into a chic little coffee roaster and inhale. Oh, and then, I really want a caffe latte. Lots of cream, no sugar, please. We have a couple of coffee shops in the Louisville area that I love.  Sunergos, and Heine Brothers. I know, I need to get out more. Coffee shop research is HIGH on my to-do-list this fall.

Now, it’s your turn:

What’s your favorite coffee shop and/or store brand coffee?

What’s the most unique shop you’ve visited? (Mine is pictured below)


CLICK TO TWEET: I love my morning #coffee. Hello! #ThursdayMornings http://wp.me/p65lTH-BM What’s your favorite?

Next week – I will be reviewing The Revisionary, by Kristen Hogrefe, and there will be a giveaway! So stop back by and join the conversation.