Thursday, November 30, 2006


A bit about my "author life:"

Yesterday, I sent out by snail mail a letter, below, to over 70 people, with an accompanying free book (my latest, Kiss the Bride) in a separate package. This is part of marketing when you're an author (or at least one of the many things this author does). Plus, I've already given out over 20 free copies to people face to face. These 90-something people are my family, my extended family, close friends, close minister friends, people who've expressed interest in my writing, people who are praying for me, etc.

It was a time-consuming undertaking. Next time, maybe I can hire a teenage girl to help me. First, I printed the letters, both front and back pages, then folded them, then tucked a bookmark inside, then stuffed envelopes, then printed mailing labels, then labeled the envelopes first with the mailing labels and then with my return labels, then sealed the envelopes with a wet sponge.

Then I put the books in envelopes, ran more mailing labels, then labeled the envelopes first with the mailing labels and then with my return labels, then sealed the flaps with packing tape.

Then, a trip to the post office.


And next Monday night, I'll be giving away over 100 copies to ministers' wives at a ministers and wives Christmas banquet. In 2000, when my first Christian fiction was published, I felt the Lord speaking to me, to give ministers' wives free copies of my books. So that's what I've done, faithfully.

Oh, and I signed all these copies--nearly 200 and put an "Autographed Copy" sticker on the front of each book.

Whew again.

Publishers call this an influencer list. But I've been doing this way before I ever even knew what an influencer list was. The Lord just put it in my heart.


Greetings from sunny Florida!

In a separate envelope, I'm sending you a free copy of my latest book Kiss the (Cook) Bride. It was recently released and has already hit the bestselling list of romance titles at In January, it will be in 1,700 Wal-Mart stores nationwide. I hope you enjoy reading it. Some of my earlier titles are still available at and

Some things to be thankful for in my writing career: 1) I continue to receive letters from readers telling me they're enjoying my books. 2) In September, 2006, my novella in Wedded Bliss? won Third Place in the Book of the Year Contest, contemporary novella category. It was awarded by American Christian Fiction Writers. 3) My contemporary novel, Heart of the Matter, will be published April, 2007.

Please check out my web presence:

I strongly believe in the value and ministry of Christian fiction. Charles Colson said, "Stories change us, because as we read, we identify with characters who demonstrate courage and self-sacrifice, and in the process our own character is shaped." More importantly, Matthew 13:34 says, "Jesus used stories when he spoke to the people. In fact, he did not tell them anything without using stories."

Thank you in advance for your prayers for me. Pray this way: that God will direct my steps so I may please Him. May the blessing of the Lord rest upon you and give you peace and joy.

Kristy Dykes


“Pizzazz! Enthusiasm! High energy! Those are a few of the words that describe Kristy Dykes. From the moment she steps up to the platform, she captivates your attention. As both a writer and a speaker, Kristy is moving and motivating. Without a doubt, she will touch your heart with love and laughter.” --- Florence Littauer

See other side for some reader comments….

(Other side of letter)

Readers are saying…

"Your story touched my life."

"Your novella, 'Reunited,' in Wedded Bliss? is absolutely beautiful! I love your use of Hebrews 12:1,3: run the race, and don't give up—a wonderfully clear message that people can apply to many areas of life. Many will linger over these words for their marriages, as well as other issues in their lives. 'Reunited' is a true-to-life story and shows how couples can drift apart if they do not keep their eyes on Jesus. I like the way Felicia and Jake finally realized they needed help and weren't ashamed to seek it, and how they both realized the mistakes they made and were willing and anxious to amend those actions. Congratulations on this great story!"

"I am sharing your book with some women in my neighborhood. One friend has just renewed her faith in the Lord Jesus after reading your novella in Sweet Liberty."

"Are you black or do you have a special gift of empathy?" – reader of Sweet Liberty
"I just finished reading the first 100 pages of The Tender Heart and stopped only to write you. Kristy, or should I say, Grace Livingston Hill! This book is on par with any of her books."

"I never thought I would compare anyone else's writing to Janette Oke but you are just as good, and I mean it sincerely."

"I love your story. You put so much action—and tension—into it. I believe the Lord has something great in store concerning your fiction! I'm proud to say I know you."

"You have a Stephen King flair—you drink me into your story in the first few pages and hook me." -- reader of American Dream

Dear Kristy,
If I were an author, I would want to know if something I did touched someone's life. So, I wanted to tell you that your novella in Room At the Inn touched my life.

I just broke off a relationship with a man I liked a great deal. I have had a rough week and felt like your lead character, Lois. I'm 27 and single, but living in a small town, well, that makes me a minority. Coupling that with the fact that I go to a small church, the prospects of meeting someone who is a Christian and shares my values and is fun and interesting seems pretty bleak at times.

Your story spoke straight to my heart. Lois's constant faith and yet frank acknowledgement of her fears and frustrations echoed my own heart. I immediately copied Psalm 37:4-6 (the theme of your story) and posted it on my computer.

I don't generally identify so strongly with stories, nor do they usually cause me to change the way I do things or think. Yours did. Your writing, and in turn, you, are a blessing to me, and I wanted you to know that your work did some good.

Thank you for making a difficult time easier for me. May God bless you, your family, and your work. Thanks for brightening up a single, saved, and searching woman's day!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Yesterday as I folded clothes, I noticed a couple of pieces of my husband's underwear looked frayed, and I threw them away. Remember how our mothers taught us not to wear holey underwear because if we were in a wreck, the doc might see them? Haha. My mother would be proud of me!

After I threw away the pieces (underwear and undershirt), I added "Milton-underwear" to my Wal-Mart list. This is just a small thing I do for him. He, in turn, does small things for me. For example, he keeps my gas tank full so I don't have to pump (I hate those germy handles). That is so sweet of him. Just makes me love him all the more.

Tit for tat, is what I'd call it, meaning "you did this so I'll do that." That's a good mentality to have in marriage.

But tit for tat has a negative meaning, actually. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says tit for tat means, "retaliation" or "blow for blow." We sure don't need to live like that in a marriage, though sadly, some couples do.

I kept reading the entry for tit for tat and came across this: "J. Bellenden Ket says this is the Dutch dit vor dat—this for that."

Now that's what I'm meaning! This for that.

The entry also said: "Heywood uses the phrase tit for tat, perhaps the French tant pour tant."

I'm going to try to do more tit for tatting around our house. I'm going to tell Milton my thoughts on this, and maybe he'll do some more too. You know, focused tit for tatting.

And as we do this, I know it'll strengthen our marriage.

Why don't you try it?

Choose your version…

Tit for tatting…

Dit vor datting…


Tant pour tanting.

I think Milton'll like tit for tatting the best.

I can't believe I said that!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I put up my Christmas tree over the weekend, the second one we've put up. We helped our daughter put up her tree on Friday.

I have two trees and alternate them each year. Last year, it was the white one with lots of lights and aqua ornaments with silver touches. This year, it's the tall, tall green one with lots of lights and turquoise beaded balls and turquoise peacock ornaments with real peacock feathers. On top, I created a custom topper with peacock feathers and a spangledly spray-type thing. I love peacock feathers. Found mine in a gift shop and Steinmart, and it doesn't hurt the birds at all. They shed them.

But my tree looked dark. Dark green branches. Dark turquoise balls. Dark turquoise peacock ornaments. Even with hundreds of white lights. So yesterday, I bought purple turquoise beaded balls and some purple spangledly spray-type things, and now it looks perfect. The purple ornaments are bright and eye-catching. Plus, I'm putting a spotlight on the tree.

My decorating colors are…tah dah…turquoise and purple. I promise it's not garish. There's a whole lot of cream going on with these colors as spotters.

Funny, when I was in first grade, my favorite crayons in all the world were turquoise and magenta—borrowed from my best friend Marie's huge box of Crayola crayons. My box only had the basic colors, but hers had a plethora of them, and she was always generous to let me use them. Now I've returned to my favorite colors. Well, nearly. My purple is a true purple vs. the magenta. But they're both in the same color family.

I also made a long arrangement for my dining room table that matches the tree.

Outside, we have a snowman theme going, and have a little more decorating to do.

Christmas is just around the corner.

The parties are about to begin. For a minister (we pastor a church), it's a busy time.

There's the stage blitz this Saturday all day at church with pizza being served at lunchtime. Then there's an adult Sunday school class party Saturday night--barbeque--yum, yum. Sunday is the children's Christmas party, and we attend that one too. Monday night is the ministers' and wives' banquet, and I'm giving away copies of my new book, Kiss the Bride, to all the ministers' wives (over 100).

When my first Christian fiction was published in 2000, the Lord spoke to me to give ministers' wives free copies, and I've done that faithfully.

More parties. The annual church Christmas banquet. The board and staff party in our home (26 people). Other Sunday school parties. Church members' open houses. And our daughters and their kids are coming for a week, and I'm already making a list of children's Christmas activities in our city, like light shows and live nativities and mazes and…

Let the celebrating begin!

Celebrating the birth of our Lord.

Thank You, God, for sending Your son Jesus.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We were with family, eating a fabulous feast, then sitting around talking and catching up with each others' lives, and the afternoon whiled away pleasantly, some continuing to talk, others going to the nearby country club to play some tennis for a short stint, the children jumping on the trampoline or riding Nelly, the pretty blond Shetland pony, still others taking walks and watching the beautiful horses strutting up the lane--we were in Florida's horse country, and there's nothing like sitting in your yard (my sister-in-law's) and seeing grand carriages of yesteryear pulled by magnificent horseflesh--from the nearby carriage museum. Last year, one of the brothers-in-law had his flying machine and flew high above the treetops. We make quite a unique bunch.

Late in the afternoon, Milton popped in our Masterpiece Theatre DVD of Pollyanna. His sisters sprawled in front of the TV with him watching it, and everybody else in the huge great room did too. Pollyanna is a good movie to watch on Thanksgiving. This version is nearly as good as Anne of Green Gables (though not nearly as long), and the theme is being thankful--"glad," Pollyanna called it. Pollyanna's father was a mission pastor, and he'd requested a doll for Pollyanna in the mission barrel. Instead of a doll, the ladies' aid society sent a pair of crutches. She was disappointed, and he taught her a valuable lesson about being thankful (glad) in the bad or unpleasant times of our lives. "What's there to be glad about getting a pair of crutches?" she asked him. He thought a moment and said, "Well, at least you don't have to use them." She transformed a whole town with her glad game, even the preacher when he was upset at the ladies for wanting to have Sunday school on Tuesday. He was tempted to preach a vindictive sermon, and Pollyanna "preached" at him instead. She told him the words "Rejoice and be glad" were in the Bible 800 times, and if God said them that many times, then we should be glad in all things.

It's funny about my husband watching Pollyanna. He's become a romantic soul at last. He actually enjoys watching chick flicks with me. He occasionally rents or checks out from the library light love stories for us to watch together such as Pride and Prejudice and other Jane Austen stories, etc. He selects them--him, this football fanatic! And every time Ever After comes on TV, he watches it all the way through. Jennifer, our daughter, chuckled about that the other day when I was in Puerto Rico with her--how many times Milton's seen Ever After.

So if you're in a mode in your marriage where you wonder if you and your husband will ever have anything in common, take heart. There's a melding and melting of hearts as time passes, and it's refreshing.

Watching chick flicks is just one thing we've come to enjoy together. There are lots of others. We love to visit museums and historic churches, and we enjoy biking and walking together, and we love picnics, especially on the beach which is nearby, and...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you have a blessed day of rejoicing in the Lord for His goodness to you.

See you Monday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Today, I'm leaving sunny San Juan to go home. I've enjoyed a week down here with our daughter and her family as we celebrated her baby's first birthday (this is the first trip in eight years I've made down here without my husband Milton).

All week on my blog, I've talked about the grandchildren and my time here in Puerto Rico. What I haven't talked about is Milton. I've really missed him.

Which leads me to my thoughts for today...

...the title of this post...

"To leave or not to leave? That is the question."

It's a pretty rare thing for Milton and me to spend time apart. Jennifer jokingly says, "Mom, you and Dad are joined at the hip." Except for work, we're together. For the most part. Especially in reference to out-of-town trips. I don't know. It just worked out that way. He expressed his sentiments early in our marriage that he didn't want me to be away from him, and I complied.

I remember one time when we had been married only a couple of years. My parents were coming through our town and asked if I'd like to join them on a trip to see my brother and his wife who'd recently moved to New Orleans. We would only be gone for a weekend. Milton reluctantly agreed to "let me go." Being the industrious, see-to-every-need wife that I am, I bought a steak for him to broil on Saturday night, and he was invited to eat at a parishioner's house on Sunday (he's a pastor).

When I returned, he said he missed me and didn't want me to leave him again. A couple of days later, I took out my cookie sheet to make some cookies. A silver-colored pan, it was charred black on the bottom. Interpretation: ruined. We were both in the kitchen, and I said, "What in the world happened to my cookie sheet?" He took it out of my hands, set it on the gas burner, and said, "I fried my steak." He didn't know enough about cooking to know that you broil a steak in the oven, or fry a steak in a frying pan atop the stove.

We've joked about that through the years.

He likes the cooking I do for him.

And other things too. :))

So I've rarely left him. In the last five years, we've made a few separate trips, such as him on a couple of trips to Cuba and Costa Rica for ministry purposes, and me to writers' conferences (though he goes to lots of those with me).

I think it's a good thing when spouses don't have to travel separately and be apart.

That said, I completely understand when they do have to do this. When the nature of their work demands this, it just has to be done.

But when this happens, when separate travel is required, the spouses had better be careful. Extra precautions have to be taken in several areas. We must guard our hearts, as the Bible talks about.

Maybe the better question is, "When you have to leave your spouse, what are some precautions you take?" Or, "Are you doing things to keep faithful to your vows vs. weakening them?"

I got to thinking the other night...I want to make sure I always convey this...everything I say on this blog in reference to encouragement in marriages is meant in light of the marriage you are now in. There are lots of remarriages.

Monday, November 20, 2006


It promises to be a marvelous Monday in sunny San Juan. The weekend went by in a blur. Jennifer and I cooked for the better part of two days. Birthday parties here aren't like in the States. Children's birthday parties are also adult parties because the adults love to get together for any celebration and have fun and converse in rapid-fire Spanish. There's alway good food--and lots of it. We served party meatballs. Shrimp, dip, and crackers. Pita chips and humus. Finger sandwiches. Cocktail weiners. PB&J finger sandwiches for the kids. Spinach dip and pumpernickel bread. Homemade brownies. And of course, a deelish chocolate cake with strawberry filling and chocolate buttercream frosting.

We transported all the food from Jennifer's 13th floor condo to her's s-i-l's 12th floor condo a few blocks away on the beautiful Caribbean, and we partied from 3 until 8:30 or so, Spanish music videos blaring on the big screen and the kids playing in a room that I declare was a Toys R Us. I say 8:30. That's when Jennifer and I left and some of the women and children. Others stayed until after midnight, partying and watching a boxing match.

Near the end of the birthday party, we all gathered around the deelish cake and sang Happy Birthday to baby Lorenzo. Then they sang some song in Spanish that Jennifer said was a Spanish birthday song. Then he had a go at a miniature cake which was no go at all. He barely touched it, good little boy that he is. :)

Sunday, Jennifer and I and the children went to her church, and we enjoyed a liturgical and meaningful service. We were loading the children into the car when 2-year-old Claudia started fussing, saying she'd left her new pink princess purse in the nursery. So I offered to get it. On my way back to the car via the covered tiled piazza that links all the rooms and buildings of the church, I literally ran into a huge green iguana, and I had to squelch the scream rolling up my throat. But he remained pretty calm. I guess he--and the other iguanas that inhabit the area--are used to people walking up on them. Very interesting.

That afternoon, we went to a two-year-old's birthday party in a $2 million dollar condo on the Caribbean. Some swam in the swimming pool right outside the large marble-floored great room, and some swam in the ocean, and we all ate sumptuously.

It was a great weekend.

My time here is almost over...

I won't think about it right now.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Yesterday, I went with my daughter Jennifer, Baby Lorenzo, and 2-year-old Claudia to the children's museum in Old San Juan, something Nino de Puerto Rico in Spanish. It was the most beautiful drive to get there. The road was parallel to the Caribbean, and the turquoise water, the white surf, and the waving palm fronds were fabulous. I kept saying, "This is so beautiful. Wow, you get to see this every day."Jennifer literally does. Some of the windows of her condo overlook the Caribbean (even if it is off in the distance). Others overlook verdant green mountains (also off in the distance). Directly around her are high-rises sitting in small parking lots, and also some houses interspersed here and there, and even from the 13th floor where she lives, we can hear chickens doing whatever they do at various times throughout the day and night (squawk? cluck? cock-a-doodle-doo?).

On our way to the children's museum, we passed El Morro, an ancient fort situated on the Caribbean, and we passed a gazillion shops selling everything from jewelry to clothing to trinkets to food. Saw lots of cruise ship passengers on the sidewalks, laden shopping bags in their hands.

In Old San Juan, the streets are very narrow, and they're made of brick. Small, flower-bedecked balconies hang out from pastel buildings jammed so close you can't get a finger between them. The other night, I babysat while Jennifer and her husband rode their trail bikes down to El Morro and the big, tiled park nearby.

That's the park where my husband Milton went flying through the air in a bike accident a few years ago. See, Puerto Ricans love tile. Everywhere. And sometimes they use glossy, slick tile, I suppose because it's so pretty with so many different designs. This park has beautiful mosaic tile designs in the ground, blocks of them.

So Milton's riding Jennifer's husband's bike one afternoon, and a gentle rain starts falling. Not being Puerto Rican, not knowing he was coming up on a tile piazza, not knowing the tile was slick, he increased his speed. When he hit the tile, his bike went flying, and so did he! Oh, Lord, I'm dead, he was thinking. After the dust settled, so to speak (no dust this time because it was raining), he realized he was alive. And sore. But he was breathing, thank the Lord. He picked his bruised body up off the piazza, got on his bike, and took off. A few blocks down the road, he remembered his expensive Carrerra sunglasses had flown off during his fall. I can't go back without them, he thought. Jennifer and Julie gave them to me for my birthday.

So he turns around, the rain still falling, and...Milton's very smart. Made a high GPA in college. Really. But...he hits the tile again!

And goes flying for the second time!

He laughs about it now.

But he didn't then.

The silver lining to the story is, he found his sunglasses.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Yesterday, I went with my daughter to her athletic club and attended her kick boxing class with her. There I was, in the midst of those pretty young Puerto Rican women with their svelte bodies, kicking and punching with all my might. The instructor called out instructions over blaring, pumping music, and not knowing Spanish, I just did what she did. Until I gave out. :)

As I jabbed at the floor-to-ceiling mirrors then kicked up then out then up then out, the thought came to me, "Take that, and that, and that, and that..." Then I thought, Who am I punching at? Then I thought of the devil because the Apostle Paul teaches us in the epistles that we are like soldiers in a war, fighting against the forces of evil. So I starting saying internally, "Take that, Satan, and that, and that, and that, you old slewfoot, you master of deceit, you, you wicked one and destroyer of peace and robber and thief, in the name of Jesus, take that, and that, and that."

Then my mind went to marriages, and I thought of the many couples who are at odds with each other and who have wedges between them and how proud Satan must be, because he hates unity, because the Bible says, "Behold, how good, and oh how pleasant, it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity." Unity produces peace, love, and joy.

So if you are the one at odds in some way with your spouse, jab and kick at the Master of Odds with all your might.

I hope this makes sense because it's been a busy day. We've run errands all afternoon through thick Puerto Rican* traffic, including trips to Party City and Costco for Curious George party paraphernelia. My daughter said her baby looks just like Curious George.

I laughed when she said that. But then I decided there's a slight resemblance--the wide smile. Curious George isn't nearly as gorgeous as Baby Lorenzo. Baby Lorenzo has a wide fringe of dark eyelashes where Curious George is eyelashless.

*Puerto Rican traffic - all roads are narrow (or it seems that way, anyway, excluding the superhighways). And clogged with traffic. And cars are parked on both sides, so close you think you're going to scrape your paint if you brave the middle of the road. Sometimes, if you're the one parked, your side mirror gets knocked off (at least this happened to my s-i-l). And they do lots of horn blowing. And you should see them merge, which they have to do a lot. Everybody somehow fits in. Cars pause as others dart, and it all seems to work out, though you're gritting your teeth the whole time. Not me, though. I'm used to it by now. My daughter's been here eight years.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I'm in sunny San Juan visitng my daughter and her family. On previous trips, she's taken us sightseeing to all the beautiful spots. This trip, we're celebrating her baby's first birthday. We're also celebrating just being with them. The sightseeing spots pale in comparison.

Monday, November 13, 2006


On Friday, I featured novelist Robin Lee Hatcher and her 50th release, A Carol for Christmas. In that post, I covered her story of success in Christ. I'm honored to feature her on my blog. Robin is the winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and the Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin has achieved so much in her field of writing and has so many accolades to her name, I couldn't list them all. Click HERE to see her website.

A Carol for Christmas is available in stores, and on and It'll make a great Christmas gift, and buy one for yourself. The cover is so pretty, it'll look nice on your coffee table throughout the Christmas season. Be sure and read a description about this heartwarming Christmas story at the bottom of this post. Melanie Dickerson, thanks for commenting on my blog. Your free copy of A Carol for Christmas is on its way. Please consider posting a favorable online review to support Christian fiction.


Now, the story of Robin Lee Hatcher's story of success in the field of writing.
Robin says…

--- As a young wife and mother, I lived life. I experienced people. I met heartache face-to-face. I developed empathy, one of the most critical tools for a novelist (to have the ability to put oneself, in heart and mind, into someone's shoes and understand what they think and feel). As it turned out for the career I would one day have, that was the best thing that could happen to me.

--- I gobbled up books. Historical sagas and romances for the most part. I was learning a lot about writing during this time, although I didn't think of it as a learning period. I thought I was simply escaping into wonderful stories of love and adventure.

--- I was a stay-at-home mom to two girls under the age of five. I had recently purchased a Sears electric typewriter. Believe me, it was one rickety clackity little machine. I remember snow falling outside my dining room windows as I sat at the table typing on that noisy, clackity, humming machine. I began to write a story about a young mom whose husband was serving in Vietnam. I wrote seven or nine pages then set it aside.

--- I didn't think I want to write a novel or I want to be published. I was just playing at storytelling. I never thought about being a writer. I simply wrote for the fun of it, because I wanted to. Had to, maybe.

--- Over the next 7+ years, my writing remained journals and letters. My sister-in-law used to pass around my letters to neighbors because she thought they were so entertaining. I found that weird. Why would perfect strangers want to read something I wrote? My s-i-l, yes. She was family. But her neighbors? Didn't make sense to me. But I guess they were my trial run.

--- Buying horses got me involved with a small horse association. That involvement led to me volunteering to do the monthly newsletter. After so many issues of "winter is here; give your horse more grain," I grew bored with the non-fiction articles. I started writing more creative filler pieces, like what my filly looked like running through the snow beside her dam. There was something about that regular writing exercise that stirred up a desire in me.

--- I read an article in the newspaper about a local author who had sold her first romance novel. Talk about stirring up a desire in me. For the first time, I thought of writing as something more than a fun thing to do in private, something just for me. It was possible to write a novel and get it published.

--- The desire morphed into a dream.

--- I continued my reading habit, devouring novels. That fateful day, that fateful book. It was A-W-F-U-L!! The characters were wooden. I spoke the infamous words: "If she can get published, I can get published."

--- That statement reveals total ignorance. When we say those words, we have no clue how hard it is to write a "real" book.

--- I spoke them, and I knew I had to put my money where my mouth was. I took a yellow legal pad and wrote the opening line of what would become my first novel: Morning burst upon the fields of Spring Haven with bright sunshine and blue skies.

--- Here's one thing I have learned: We must always write our best if we are serious about a writing career, but we can only write the best book we are capable of at the time.

--- I poured myself into that story. I bought a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. I bought research books and immersed myself in them. I read books on manuscript format and plotting and characterization. And I wrote. I turned my imagination loose in a whole new way.

--- I finished the book eight months later. Now what?

--- Twenty-one submissions went out to New York publishers.

--- Two requested to see the full manuscript. The rest sent form rejection letters.

--- I shipped off two copies of the requested manuscript.

--- Full of hope, I got to work on the sequel. I advise all aspiring writers to do this. Ship off your book and go to work on the next one. Otherwise, the waiting will kill you. And unless all you ever want to write is one book, this is good practice for the future when you may have deadlines, one right after the other.

--- Later, I would learn that over 100,000 novels were written every year and less than 1% of them got published, but at the time, I didn't know the odds were stacked against me. (Side Note: I'm pretty sure there are more than 100k novels written per year nowadays, but I doubt the percentage that gets published has changed much, even with the many self-publishing options readily available.)

--- Wonder of wonders! I received a contract offer from one of the two publishers. I was going to be published!

--- I still didn't have my advance check six weeks later. I'd finished writing the sequel. I called the publisher. They would check into it. I waited then called again. The phone lines had been disconnected.

--- I learned the publisher had gone bankrupt. I also learned I was going to be unemployed as the place where I worked was closing its doors. The next blow was I had to move because our rented house was being sold.

--- This was not a great time in my life!

--- God was good to us, though. We found a better home, and I found new employment without missing any paychecks.

--- But what about the publisher situation? I'd signed a contract. Was it still binding? Was I free to sell that book again or not?

--- I didn't write that fall. I was busy settling into a new home and job. I had two completed manuscripts and didn't know what to do with them. And, of course, it's tough being a single parent to a teenager and a pre-teen. Thankfully, my widowed mom helped.

--- The following February, I received a letter with a postmark nearly a year-and-a-half old that had been forwarded two times.

--- I opened it.

--- I burst into tears. My mom and daughters were asking, "What's wrong? What is it?"

--- It was an offer from the publisher who had acquired the assets of the bankrupt company. They were offering to publish my novel.

--- With a few short strokes of the pen, I agreed to sell it. Via phone call, I asked if the editor might be interested in the sequel. She was.

--- Would wonders never cease?!?

--- Finally, the books were set for release. I counted off the days and the minutes in breathless anticipation. Hey, once they were in print, fame and fortune weren't far behind. Right?

--- Uh huh. (No.)

To read Robin Lee Hatcher's complete story of success in the field of writing, click HERE. However, once you reach this page, scroll all the way to the bottom and start reading the March 11, 2005 post entitled "Life Happened." This will put you at the beginning of her roller-coaster writing journey.


A description of Robin Lee Hatcher's 50th release, A Carol for Christmas…

Never underestimate the true spirit of Christmas …Carol Burke was born to sing. It was the life she had always dreamed of. There was only one thing she loved more, one person for whom she would willingly sacrifice her dreams: Jonathan Burke. Married against their parents’ wishes, both are determined to make a life together despite the hardships. Jonathan works hard at his father’s department store, leaving Carol alone in their tiny apartment. But long hours turn into late nights, thanks to Jonathan’s insatiable desire to prove himself to his father … even at the expense of the one he loves best.

Into the midst of an increasingly empty marriage comes an unexpected chance for Carol to sing again. Is this the opportunity of a lifetime, or a time for her to let go and trust her future to God? Carol knows one thing: she longs most of all to share her first Christmas with Jonathan, creating their own memories and traditions and breathing new life into their marriage.

Then a broken promise leaves her wondering. Can anything, anyone—even God—heal her crumbling hopes? The answer comes when Carol finds herself face-to-face with the true spirit of Christmas …

Friday, November 10, 2006


I'm honored to feature novelist Robin Lee Hatcher and her 50th release, A Carol for Christmas. A Carol for Christmas is available in stores, and on and It'll make a great Christmas gift, and buy one for yourself. The cover is so pretty, it'll look nice on your coffee table throughout the Christmas season.

Be sure and read a description about this heartwarming Christmas story at the bottom of this post.

Melanie Dickerson, you're the winner of a free copy of A Carol for Christmas! If you'll email me, I'll send it to you. Click on "Email Kristy" in my Links column, to your right. Please consider posting a favorable online review to support Christian fiction.

Drum roll, please…Robin Lee Hatcher is the winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and the Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin has achieved so much in her field of writing and has so many accolades to her name, I couldn't list them all. Click HERE to see her website.

As I read about her story of success in the field of writing (my words), I thought, She paid the price! As I read about her story of success in Christ (also my words), I thought, He paid the price! (as He did for all of us).

Today, I'll feature her story of success in Christ, On Monday, I'll feature her story of success in the field of writing. Both are touching, inspiring, grueling, amazing, thrilling…oh, I'm a writer too. I'd better stop, or I'll fill this whole post with adjectives.


Robin says…

I was raised in a mainline Christian church, but I was in my twenties before someone shared with me that being a Christian was more than a religious practice, and church was more than a wholesome place to be on Sunday morning. I don't recall ever hearing at my church that I could know Jesus, that He wanted to be my personal Lord and Savior, that He would come and live in my heart if I only asked Him to. I don't remember anyone telling me as I was growing up that I needed to be born again. I didn't know I was lost until I was found. Thank God for the young couple who entered my life and quietly began to share the person of Jesus Christ with me. Thank God for saving my mother and then allowing her to pray me into the Kingdom.

I suppose it isn't surprising, given my love for books, that God chose the printed word to reveal Himself to me. It began when I was given a copy of the Living Bible. Over the following months, as I read the New Testament, I also read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Woman to Woman by Eugenia Price, and Prison to Praise by Merlin R. Carothers. Finally, on Valentine's Day 1976 at approximately 6 a.m., I gave my heart to Jesus.

If I could rewrite my life, I would script myself a walk of complete obedience to my Lord from start to finish. However, the truth is, I let the cares and concerns of this world creep in during the 'eighties. I allowed the enemy of my soul to strip away my effectiveness for the Kingdom. I faltered and fell on my face plenty. I was a poor witness of the Truth. I compromised when I should have stood strong. I made more mistakes than I care to recall, and those mistakes didn't just hurt me. (They never do.)

Oh, but God is good and He is faithful, even when we're faithless!

He never took His hand off of me. He never stopped wooing me and reminding me that I was His. He sent people and circumstances into my life and drew me back to the place where I belonged, into a walk of obedience and faith. And I am here to tell you that He does turn all things to good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. His promises are true!

Jesus has had much to teach me, one of his more strong-willed children, over the 30 years that I've been a believer, and there is plenty more to be learned before He takes me home. But what an incredible journey of discovery and growth it's been — and is yet to be — since I submitted to His Lordship. It's amazing what He can do with hurting, broken lives that are yielded to Him, how He can turn them into something beautiful. He did it for me. He'll do it for you.

Being a Christian isn't about religion. It's about a relationship with the One who made us. And I'm so thankful to be His.


A description of Robin Lee Hatcher's 50th release, A Carol for Christmas

Never underestimate the true spirit of Christmas …Carol Burke was born to sing. It was the life she had always dreamed of. There was only one thing she loved more, one person for whom she would willingly sacrifice her dreams: Jonathan Burke. Married against their parents’ wishes, both are determined to make a life together despite the hardships. Jonathan works hard at his father’s department store, leaving Carol alone in their tiny apartment. But long hours turn into late nights, thanks to Jonathan’s insatiable desire to prove himself to his father … even at the expense of the one he loves best.

Into the midst of an increasingly empty marriage comes an unexpected chance for Carol to sing again. Is this the opportunity of a lifetime, or a time for her to let go and trust her future to God? Carol knows one thing: she longs most of all to share her first Christmas with Jonathan, creating their own memories and traditions and breathing new life into their marriage.

Then a broken promise leaves her wondering. Can anything, anyone—even God—heal her crumbling hopes?

The answer comes when Carol finds herself face-to-face with the true spirit of Christmas …

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Our friends Larry and Charlotte had this to say about their secrets to a happy marriage:

“We Made a Commitment, and We’ll See This Through”

We always felt like communication was the key, but recently we encountered a situation where we were communicating but seeing it from two totally different angles. At times like that you have to fall back on your commitment--"I said 'I do' and I will"--and then let God work it out.
We’re taught not to let the sun go down on our wrath, but sometimes we don’t do that. We might not go to bed screaming as we pull up the covers, but the screams are inside. However, we say, “We don’t have the answer, but we know Someone who does.” Sometimes couples think, "The grass is greener on the other side," but when they get there, they see the bare spots they couldn’t see before. Most divorced couples look back and wish they’d worked it out with their first partners.
Second, have a sense of humor. Our family laughs a lot. Humor relieves tenseness and anxieties.
Third, keep the flame burning by doing thoughtful things for each other.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Me, in front of my grapefruit tree in my backyard. I have a trio of citrus trees--orange, tangerine, and grapefruit. The day my daughter was snapping this picture, bees were buzzing around me like crazy. They love those luscious-smelling blossoms. As I dodged them, I let out little yelps, my feet dancing beneath me, me hollering, "Hurry! Snap it, quick."


As our family trekked through North Carolina’s Joyce Kilmer National Forest, we stopped at a large plaque dedicated to Kilmer, the widely-acclaimed poet. My hands clasped at chest-level, I read aloud his famous poem: “I think that I shall never see, A poem as lovely as a tree.”

As I stood in the cooling shade of towering oaks and pines that day, I thought of my deep love for trees. I’ve always enjoyed planting and growing trees in our yard. When our daughters were small, I liked to envision them happily splashing in their wading pool as I sat under a sprawling tree, sipping iced tea and reading a magazine. And so my quest became to fill the bare yard of our newly-built home with trees.

First, we hired a professional nurseryman to plant two good-sized oaks. But the yard was huge, and I wanted more. A green-thumbed friend gave me two small dogwoods, and I was delighted. Visions of pink and white spring blossoms danced in my head.

Two weeks later, they were dead. Was it my fault, I wondered? Did I water enough? Too much? Should I have prepared the soil better?

“Oh well,” my husband Milton said. “It’s much easier and quicker to mow the yard without trees. It’s a straight shot. Let’s not plant anymore.”

But I was determined.

“What’s a fast-growing shade tree?” I asked at a nearby nursery.

“Carrotwoods or rosewoods,” the clerk said, and so two tall carrotwoods were the next to grace our yard.

I had high hopes. One week passed. Two. Then three. They were actually living! It was fall, and I just knew by spring that I’d have a little shade. But December brought an unusual cold spell to Florida, and my beautiful carrotwoods died.

The clerk forgot to tell me that carrotwoods and rosewoods were especially sensitive to cold weather.

Then, my mother gave me two more dogwoods, and I wrapped them as gently as a baby, in wet newspaper, and carried them in our trunk for 200 miles.

Sad to say, they met their death by Milton’s misguided weedeater. “Oops,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

Mother’s Day rolled around, and Milton and the girls gave me a beautiful sweet gum and a sugar maple.

I never did know what killed them.

After that, I decided on a camphor. Their trunks would make delightful climbing for the girls, I reasoned, and I did a little joy jig as we planted it. But another cold spell got that one. I think.

Back to the nursery.

“Want these?” the owner asked me, gesturing at two tall, yellow-sprigged trees in 20-gallon pots. “Acacia trees. I’m going out of business.”

“Is the pope Catholic?” I said with a grin. “Is grass green?”

Two hours later, the man kindly helped me load the two giants onto a borrowed truck, and off I sped, happy as could be with my bounty--and free at that!

“Who’s going to plant them?” Milton thundered as he reluctantly helped me lug them off the truck. “Do you realize the work involved? The holes would have to be very deep, and our soil is as hard as concrete. I’d have to have help, and maybe special tools. . .”

“We’ll find a way,” I bubbled.

Sure enough, a friend of ours was a basketball coach, and when he found out about our problem, he brought four of the tallest young men you’ve ever seen to our house. Within two hours, my trees were planted--although the boys were covered in mud.

And the trees actually lived!

As the next few years passed and my plight became known far and wide, we were offered many small trees. We never turned them down.

Those trees met their death in different ways: lack of water, too much water, cold spells, dry spells, weedeater attacks, lawnmower blades. But my quest continued...


Hallelujah! We moved to a neighborhood profuse with towering oak trees.

“Trees!” I shouted, when we first saw the house we ended up buying. It was surrounded by oaks. “My dream’s come true. Beauty. Majesty. Glorious shade! I have my trees!”

Trees, I soon found out, that shed leaves…

Leaves that needed raking.

Leaves that clogged our gutters.

Leaves that dropped all over our circle driveway.

Leaves that fell on our cars and left a sticky sap.

For nine years.

Long ones...


Have you ever heard this statement: "The grass is always greener on the other side"?

In your spouse, do you ever wish for something you don't have? Squelch those feelings because if you ever get it, I can just about guarantee that it won't be what you thought it was.

'Nuff said?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Bible says in Titus 2:3, 4: “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things--that they admonish (or teach) the younger women to love their husbands...” (NKJV).

Hmmm, I wondered, when that verse leapt out at me one day. What are some concrete ways to "love your husband"? Thoughts started pouring into my heart, and I grabbed a pen and jotted them down. They became the basis for my message for women entitled "How to Love Your Husband." They're all based on scriptures, and I believe the Lord birthed these truths in my heart.

I've crisscrossed the nation teaching these truths to women.

I'd like to share a streamlined version of them, below. May they take root in your heart, and may you find new ways to love your husband.

1. RESPECT HIM. "And the wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband--obeying, praising, and honoring him" (Ephesians 5:33, LB). Respect means, “to consider worthy of high regard.”

Quick Tip: Don't "talk down" to him or make fun of him, especially in public.

2. BE HIS CHEERLEADER! "And the Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18, NIV).

Quick Tip: Encourage and compliment him.

3. SUBMIT TO HIM AS YOUR HEAD. "Wives, fit in with your husbands' plans" (I Peter 3:1, LB). True biblical submission, according to the Greek, means, "to graciously cooperate with the headship of your home."

Quick Tip: Learn to be assertive without being threatening.

4. OVERLOOK HIS FAULTS AND CONCENTRATE ON HIS PLUS POINTS. "Love will cover a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8, NKJV).

Quick Tip: Remind yourself of his good points continually and try not to concentrate on his shortcomings.

5. RESPOND TO HIS SEXUAL NEEDS. "Because of the temptation of immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise, the wife to her own husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. Do not refuse one another..." (I Corinthians 7:2-5, RSV).

Quick Tip: Be knowledgeable about sexuality, which God created. Read the two classics, The Act of Marriage by Tim LaHaye and Intended for Pleasure by Dr. Ed Wheat. Above all, ask the Lord to help you in this area.

6. DON'T LOOK TO HIM FOR YOUR HAPPINESS. " thy presence is fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11, KJV). Always remember, lasting happiness comes only from the Lord, not a man.

Quick Tip: Look to the Lord for your joy and encouragement, not your husband.


What are some ways you've done these things for or to your husband: respect him, cheer him, submit to him, overlook his faults and concentrate on his plus points, respond to his sexual needs, and not look to him for your happiness? Any examples?

Monday, November 06, 2006


I'm not letting anybody steal my joy
Won't let the devil, my mind employ
I have informed him that I'm not his toy
I'm not letting anybody steal my joy.

That's an old chorus that packs a punch.

I'm not letting my husband steal my joy.


I'm not letting my wife steal my joy.

I'm not going to let my joy or lack of joy be determined by others' actions or words.

Occasionally, a friend of mine says, "The same pants he got mad in, he can get glad in."

You can also say, "The same pants she got mad in, she can get glad in."

That means, basically, "Jim (or Jane) is upset, but that's not going to upset me. He (or she) will just have to get over it."

The Bible says, "The joy of the Lord is my strength."

The devil knows that. That's why he likes nothing better than to see us upset (and in some cases works against us to see this happen). But we can't allow the way other people act determine how we're going to act.

How is your joy level?

Do you need a fill-up?

The Lord will do it.

Just ask him.

And remember, don't let anybody steal your joy!

Your spouse.

Your friend.

Your relative.

Your neighbor.

Your coworker.

No one.

Friday, November 03, 2006


When I think of the word family, I get a warm feeling in my heart. Seems like yesterday, our daughters were ten and seven, and we were riding bikes after supper through our small town in Florida in the heart of citrus country, pedaling along oak-tree dotted streets in front of stately homes of yesteryear, then coming home at dusk, grabbing quick baths and later eating bowls of ice cream, then having a bedtime story and prayer. My mother used to say, “These are the best years of your life,” and we were so busy with the cares of living that I didn’t fully, completely realize it. But we truly enjoyed family times.

Now our daughters are grown and have children of their own.

I’m thankful for our family’s rich spiritual heritage. There are approximately 30 ministers and wives in our family. Our family has been there for us, offering prayers and encouragement, and vice versa. During holidays and vacations--often in crowded conditions--we’ve shared our lives. A few times, the only place to make the children’s pallets at Grandma's house was under the dining room table. Of course, they loved that!

Jennifer wrote us after she married and said, “Do you realize how unique our family is and how lucky? Sometimes I wish I could go back and relive our times spent together. We’ve had some good times, river rafting, bike rides, festivals, and trips.”

Our parents (married for 60 and 67 years) did a lot of things right that we tried to duplicate when our daughters were small. Milton and I made plenty of mistakes along the way (I think the mark of good parents is their frequent statement, “I wish I had done...”), but maybe we did do some things right. Here are some of those things:

SPEND TIME. From the dinner table to outings to working together on chores or school/church projects, give your children your time. Fifteen hundred school children were asked, “What do you think makes a happy family?” The most frequent answer was, “Doing things together.”

SHOW LOVE. When is the last time you hugged your child and said, “I love you. I thank God for you”? Author Kate Samperi said, “Before becoming a mother, I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved.”

DATE YOUR MATE. Someone said, “The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Let them see you showing affection to each other. They see it on TV between the unmarried and the married-but-not-to-each-other. Show them that mommies and daddies can be romantic.

TRAIN. Teach them godliness by modeling holiness, purity, love, and honesty. Don’t send them to church; take them. My mother said, “When I got saved, God wrote G-O on the bottom of my shoe.” By being involved in ministries, you are telling them, “The things of God are very important,” thus establishing a bedrock faith in them.

ENCOURAGE. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) were my mother’s guideposts in rearing me and became mine also. In high school, she encouraged me to run for lieutenant governor of a club at county-wide level, helped me write and memorize my speech, and I won! When our daughter Jennifer was in tenth grade, she decided to train for competitive swimming. Many Saturdays, we sat in the hot Florida sun at swim meets, cheering her on. By twelfth grade, she won at city, county, and regional levels, and earned a chance to race at the Hall of Fame pool in Ft. Lauderdale. Her relay team was in the top ten of the nation. Our daughter Julie skipped two years of high school and entered college at sixteen.

LAUGH. Laughing 100 times a day is equivalent to ten minutes of exercise on a rowing machine. Called internal jogging, laughter has psychological and physiological benefits. Behavioral scientists have found it’s a stress reducer, a face-saving device, and even helps speed up recovery from illness. Engender in your children a sense of humor. One day when Julie was three and Jennifer was three months, I put Jennifer in the crib; Julie was playing with some toys, and I left their bedroom for a moment or two to get something, then raced back in. The baby’s face and dress were soaking wet, and Julie was standing at the end of the crib with a water pistol behind her back. “What in the world happened?” I asked. “Her tears came out in puddles, Mommy,” she said. “Isn’t there something else you’d like to tell me?” I said. Looking guilty, she said, “A big wave came by.” Through the years, we laughed and laughed about that. My father always kept us laughing by reciting the typewriter keys, and my grandfather used to recite the alphabet backwards. Joke-telling is the norm in our home.

TAKE HEART. If you’re going through turbulent or discouraging times in your family life, remember what the old country preacher said, “Faith’s what ain’t, but what’s going to be.” Be of good cheer, and “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5 NKJV).

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A comment was made on my blog on Monday, and my heart went out to Anonymous, the commenter. In fact, I haven't been able to get her and her situation off of my mind. I asked my husband Milton to write a response, which he did, below. I hope, Anonymous, that it will help you. My prayers are going up for you.

The Comment: I have been married for 4 years now. I have been with my husband for 6 years. The last 3 years he has become addicted to serious drugs..I stuck it out and supported him in hopes that he would be able to get over his addiction...but one drug has led to another and so on. I just filed my divorce papers 3 days ago for the 2nd. time. The 1st time I did not end up going through with it. I sometimes wish I just had got it over with then. Me and my son have been hurt too much and I feel like I could have prevented it. Then I go to church and I hear preaching...about husbands that need to be saved.....I wonder if I am doing the right thing??? ANY ADVICE?????

The Advice By My husband Milton: The safety of you and your son is vital. As a pastor, I would not advise a spouse to remain in an unsafe environment, so your separation was probably in everyone’s best interests. Obviously, your husband needs the Lord, so keep praying and believing, and give God time to work in his life. Divorce is a very hard experience so it should be a last resort.

I suggest you get spiritual counseling and take more time to work through to the best decision. While it is extremely difficult to wait and deal with a husband who is hurting his family and himself, every effort should be made to salvage the marriage and home. When there are small ones involved, I think it requires extra determination to work through the issues. If the marriage can be mended, one day the child will thank you more than you know.

There are no simple solutions to such complex problems, but God is able to help us so that we know we have done everything possible. Look to Him as your strength and wisdom. God will not fail.

If your husband doesn’t respond, once you know you have done all you can to save the marriage, then rest in your decision and be at peace. At this point, I am not sure you are convinced you have done all you can do.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


My heart bled when I read Anonymous's comment on Monday:

I have been married for 4 years now. I have been with my husband for 6 years. The last 3 years he has become addicted to serious drugs..I stuck it out and supported him in hopes that he would be able to get over his addiction...but one drug has led to another and so on. I just filed my divorce papers 3 days ago for the 2nd. time. The 1st time I did not end up going through with it. I sometimes wish I just had got it over with then. Me and my son have been hurt too much and I feel like I could have prevented it. Then I go to church and I hear preaching...about husbands that need to be saved.....I wonder if I am doing the right thing??? ANY ADVICE?????

Kristy, here: My eyes are misting over right now. I am praying for you, Anonymous, and hope to post tomorrow in response to your comment. Perhaps what I say, below, especially the last part, will bring some comfort to you.


Yesterday, I posted about the words joy and happiness in the Bible and how they apply to marriage. Many people erroneously think their mate is supposed to make them happy.

But it's very important to understand that no person, place, or thing can bring lasting happiness.
What, you ask?

That's right.

No person, place, or think can bring lasting happiness.

No man.

No handsome man.

No Christian man.

The scripture says, “In Your presence (the Lord's) is fullness of joy.”

There's an old song that sums up the reality of life, love, marriage, everything:

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul,
And only He can give you strength
And make you whole.

He'll give you peace you never knew,
Sweet love and joy, and heaven too,
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

That's the secret to happiness in marriage. Only Jesus can fill that vacuum deep in our hearts.