Wednesday Super Sleuth Challenge: What a Turkey!


In Arkansas, a man plotted to kill one of his employees. I don’t know why. If he was that bad of a worker, fire him already. Right? Was he late on more than three occasions? Write him up. Murder? Seems drastic.

However, this turkey’s plan was foiled. You guess how! Choose one of the following choices and post your answer A, B, or C in the comments below. Most wins at the end of the month receives a free book!

A: He told his girlfriend all about it. His girlfriend happened to be having a secret affair with the intended victim and she spilled the beans to the victim and the police.

B: He actually warned the intended victim who went to the authorities and they found incriminating evidence of the employer’s plot inside his home.

C: He butt-dialed the intended victim who heard him share with a friend the entire plan.

So what do you think really happened? Happy Thanksgiving! 


Victory Music For NaNoWriMo – Music Mondays with Michelle Lim

As we head into the last week of NaNoWriMo it is time to surge ahead. Claim victory for this leg of the journey!

Today’s Music is a variety of victory music. Maybe your character is headed to victory over a villain or dark moment this week. Maybe you are headed for the end goal.

You can do this! Here are a few songs to help you as write, read, and conquer.

What are some of your favorite victory songs? Share the youtube link in the comments below so we can all enjoy them this week.

3 American Heroes In Paris – There Be Knights!

Photo by T. Al Nakib

Photo by T. Al Nakib

This week our hearts have gone out to the victims and families of those in Paris. There are no words that could make this sorrow lighten. But sometimes in the midst of sorrow, we see great courage.

Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos were on vacation. Frustrated that their wi-fi wasn’t working, they transferred to another part of the high-speed train which they were riding. As a huge part of France’s transport system, this train carried far more people than an airplane.

Close friends, they read each other’s responses quickly and acted on instinct. Throwing themselves on a gunman attempting to open fire in a passenger train takes no small amount of courage. They saved many lives that day.

Even more amazing, while his thumb was mostly severed, Spencer Stone saw a wounded victim squirting blood from his neck. He plugged the hole with his fingers, applying pressure until the paramedics showed up.

They don’t much see themselves as heroes, just at the right place at the right time. The French President didn’t see it the same way. He recognized their courage by awarding them France’s highest honor.

The ceremony set to take place at Palace Elysee was an absolute must-see for the gentleman’s mothers in the United States. What mom wouldn’t want to see her son knighted? But none of them had passports.

The U.S. state department helped to bridge that hurtle and just in time for the ceremony they arrived at the Palace to see their son’s knighted. I realize I’ve said that a few times, but knights do still exist all of you romance lovers out there.

The three gentlemen and two others were honored as Knights of the Legion of Honor. Their moms were there to honor their sons’ courage and heroism.

In moments like those in the Paris attack, we grieve, but it is the courage of some that gives us hope.


What heartwarming stories or courage from the past few weeks gives you hope that THERE BE KNIGHTS?

*Yesterday’s Super Sleuth Challenge Answer was #1. The phone holder was showing off a new GPS feature.

Super Sleuth Wednesday – Unlucky Cyclist, photo by Phillip Collier, photo by Phillip Collier

Do you all remember Encyclopedia Brown? In the early 1960s Donald J. Sobol began a book series about a 10-year-old detective and his spunky side-kick Sally Kimball. Leroy–as only his mother called him–could solve any crime for 25 cents, no crime too small.

I used to devour these books. Not only did I love the idea of kid detectives, but I always learned something new with the solving of each crime. Encyclopedia’s nemesis was Bugs Meany, who always got caught stealing another kid’s pizza or prize. No criminal was as unlucky as Bugs. Which is why today’s story reminds me of him.

In San Francisco, a thief on his bike peddled up to a woman holding an iPhone. He snatched it out of her hand and took off down the street. But he didn’t get far. He picked the wrong woman to rob. Why?

  1. She was demonstrating the phone’s newest device: GPS tracking. She quickly tracked him and the police easily nabbed the crook and returned her phone.
  2. She was a self-defense instructor with a black belt in karate. And she immediately used her moves on him, sending him flying off his bike. Then she calmly picked up her phone and went on her way.
  3. She was using a live-streaming service when the phone was stolen. The thief looked into the camera, and hundreds of people saw him and identified him to police, who returned the woman’s phone to her.

How do you think the unlucky thief was caught and the woman’s phone returned? Leave your guess below for a chance to be this month’s Super Sleuth!

How To Use Conflicting Values To Up The Stakes With Tips From Blue Bloods

Photo by Felix Atsoram

Photo by Felix Atsoram

Several shows have caught my television junkie attention. To join the ranks of Madam Secretary, Quantico, and many others is this week’s feature craft episode from Blue Bloods.

Let’s take a peek at Season 6, Episode 7:

A few years back I had the privilege of attending the Deep Thinkers Retreat with writing mentor Susan May Warren. (The most intense and amazing retreat I’ve ever attended.) The ideas from this craft lesson come from some of the things I learned that week.

The stakes in your novel are the things your point of view character (usually the hero/heroine) has to lose. Stakes are essential to grab your readers’ attention and keep them reading. Finding many ways to intensify the stakes will add unpredictability and tension to your novel.

How To Use Conflicting Values To Up The Stakes With Tips From Blue Bloods:

*Identify what your hero or heroine values above all else. For example: family, loyalty, money, courage, etc. In this case, Erin is the heroine whose values are pitted against one another to intensify the stakes.

*Pit two of these values against each other. In this episode of Blue Bloods, we see two of Erin’s greatest values competing against each other- family and justice. Notice also that a partner of her younger brother is accused of the crime. This brings two types of family into play- NYPD and blood relatives.

*Intensify it by adding an extra layer. Erin also values loyalty, so she feels disloyal to her family. If you watch the full episode you can find by clicking on the first Blue Bloods link in this post, you will hear Erin and her father talk about those values at the very end.

What examples can you think of in a book, on television, or in a movie that show these kinds of competing values to up the stakes?

Need NaNoWriMo Help? Here is a resource to try:

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Music Monday: Reset

free digital time ID-100296502

Hey everyone! It’s been crazy around my neck of the woods. We just moved last weekend. I have line edits due. I released a new novella, the last in the Seasons of Hope Series. I put together a Patch Patch team to help me spread the word about my books and other promo for my debut novel coming out in January and I have several projects I need to do between now and Christmas. Massive painting projects. Needless to say, I need a reset. I need to refocus and breathe. The adrenaline of buying a house is over. Now the work is going on along with life. I need to start working on a new synopsis as well.

How do I reset? Worship music. Every. Time. And of course the word. But I like to blare anointed worship and simply “press in” to God, until everything else dims and I’m left with nothing but the overflowing joy of the Lord. It overwhelms me, puts my face to the floor and humbles me. Brings new perspective. Makes my heart full.

This is one of my favorite reset songs lately. And so true. What song have you been playing to reset?

If you’d like to check out the Seasons of Hope series, it’s available on AMAZON. photo credit

How To Worship In The Moment – Faith Thoughts With Author Donna Yarborough

photo by Bill Davenport

photo by Bill Davenport

“I’m in the moment.” Warm breath tickled my ear as he whispered into my hair. Strong arms slipped around my waist and my pulse met the cadence of slapping waves against the hull of the ship. Mmm. And when dolphins danced in the waning light, well . . .

You say, what? Puh-lease!

No, seriously. It’s true. And whales blew in the distance, and a sea lion frolicked in the bay, and a salty breeze played with our hair as the hills came alive with the sound of music––

Wait. Okay . . . so maybe the music drifted from my hubby’s iPad. At any rate, as far as our eyes could see, from the banks of Saint Lawrence Seaway to the peak of each mountain, autumn sang with an intense array of color. And I won’t burden you with details of postcard worthy sites or fairy tale sunsets.

But I will say, from the moment we bounded onto the deck of Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas cruise ship in New Jersey, until we drug our suitcases through Quebec’s airport to board a flight home––we were giddy as young newlyweds. The Lord had blessed us with an unexpected thirty-fifth wedding anniversary getaway and we devoured it.

I’m in the moment. I can’t recall how often those words escaped my awesome man’s lips. But the simple phrase became our anthem.

I know, I know, we were on a dream vacation. It should’ve been easy to live in the moment. However, some passengers who shared the same luxurious ship, tasted the same delicious fare, experienced the same royal treatment, wore sour faces and grumbling oozed from their mouths.

It doesn’t matter where we are, our minds could betray us. We could find ourselves consumed with financial pressure, health issues, and worried about our jobs or family. We may even nag God about our future and miss the full measure of something amazing He’s giving us right now.

As a parent, I love when my children enjoy the gifts I’ve given. During this Thanksgiving season, let’s hunt down and cherish the rich moments only a Loving Father brings.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again:  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your Rejoice! . . .minds in Christ Jesus. ” 

~Philippians 4:4&7 (NIV)

Now is your moment. What will you do with it?

In the moment,

Donna Yarborough

Worship in every breath