Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Every year I look forward to Christmas; the celebrations, music, cool weather, shopping for gifts, opening gifts and making special treats to share fill the days with joy. This time of year has such a feeling of joy that often I pause to just let it soak in. But what is it that brings this joyful atmosphere?

I’ve often thought that it was the anticipation of gathering with family to share gifts and Christmas dinner. My early years were filled with celebrations; at home and at both grandparents’ homes. We were blessed to live close enough to visit both my Mama's and Daddy's parents homes in one day, but that meant getting up early, not a problem for us children who were anxious to see what Santa had left us.

However, recently the thought occurred to me that the real reason for this feeling of overwhelming joy might come from the true reason for the season, Jesus, the Christ. Isn’t it possible that the presence of Christ is more present in our society during this time? Or at least more noticed. Perhaps He is granting us a great gift during the time of celebration of His birth, letting us feel his nearness.

Imagine Him standing with you in line, waiting and smiling at everyone who is intent on bringing gifts to others. Not everyone allows His peace to reign, but to those of us who seek Him this closeness is a blessing we’ve come to expect daily yes, but even more so during Christmas.

I am going to try and remember to celebrate Him more and spend less time stressing over what society expects or demands. Christmas is becoming less about receiving and more about celebrating Him. For that I am truly thankful.

Merry Christmas everyone! May the presence of the Christ child bless your days and fill you with joy to last the whole year through.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What do You do When Life Gets Rough?

Life gets rough sometimes that is just part of living here in this world. Right now, for instance, I have a broken ankle, strep throat and possibly a sinus infection. I’ve been to the doctor four times in two weeks and am about to go again. On top of this my husband is home recovering from surgery on his foot. The good thing is my husband is home. He is recovered enough to drive me and help me out around here. The bad thing is I can’t just hop out of bed in the morning and get busy with all the things that need to be done around here. Sometimes when those rough times come I try to run or hide from them instead of confronting the underlying issues. I know that there are times when God wants to use these hard times to grow me or to set me back on the right track. What do you do when life gets rough? There have been times when I’ve agonized over why life is the way it is. Why do I have to live so far away from my family? I love being with family. Why does my son and his family have to live so far away? Why can’t my grandchildren come and visit me for a week? Why did God give me work in a career that is so hard to break into? Other times I have escaped into a novel or a movie. I love happy endings and the easiest way to enjoy those is through other people’s stories. Running away is an easy quick fix, but when I take the time to seek God, that is when I’ve felt peace fill me until the anxiety is gone and trust and faith, remain. I don’t always choose to immediately seek God. I’m not sure why that is except that I know the devil attacks through thoughts sometimes and he will always try to lead us away from God. Perhaps this was Paul’s thorn. He does lament about doing what he does not want to do and not doing what he wants to do. I too desire to do what I know will please God but I often do not and that grieves me. Mostly because I know it grieves the Father. So, how to do what I know I should, that is the question. I think that trying to make it a habit by seeking Him first daily would help. If I form that habit by doing those things that would draw me close to God and do them on a consistent basis then when life throws those curve balls I would be ready to catch them and toss them back. Or, trust God to catch them and throw them back for me. I yearn for the day when I can do those things that please our Father, and do them consistently.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Eleventh Anniversary of the Attack on America

Psalm 136:1 O give thanks to the Lord for His mercies endure for ever…

When I was a little girl there were times when scripture seemed vague, but I knew, because of my parents and other family members, that I could trust God’s word. As often happens in life, as I grew I began to understand how those words bring peace. It’s the knowing that God is always there and knowing that His word is His promise to us and taking that on faith, holding on to it when we are in the valley and choosing to praise Him because He is.

On this anniversary of 9-11 I pray that His peace has filled the hearts and lives of the survivors. That His peace will continue to lead this nation to do great things for Him and that the evil that is so prevalent in this society will be defeated quickly by our God. May we each see the blessings He has given us and praise Him for it.

Heavenly Father, for your presence in our lives we give you thanks and praise. We praise you for your faithfulness, for your protection, your strength, and for using all for your glory. In Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Director's Cut

The Director’s Cut is an entertaining story about a girl who grew up in Los Angeles, California. Tia is determined to make it in television but behind the cameras. Her vantage point gives her an interesting view of the chaos on the set and behind the scenes. She has an eye for what works and an instinct she’s learning to trust. But how far does one go with instinct when it comes to following God’s will?

Ms. Thompson writes a story filled with comedy, family and chaos with a few questions thrown in for good measure. This story will have you reading quickly to get to the next scene. A delightful story it will have you wondering, about your own life and the scenes that could have gone better if left to The One who knows what should come next.

I’m sure you will enjoy reading Ms. Thompson’s story and eagerly pass it on to friends and family as I have.

The Director’s Cut
By: Janice Thompson
Revell Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3347-6

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Who (or what) influenced you to become a writer? From the time I was a little girl, I always had a creative bent. I loved to sing and dance. I got involved with drama in high school and ended up writing a little play, which we performed. In the late 70s my father moved our family to Los Angeles so that he could get into the movie business, (as a producer). He encouraged me to co-author a screenplay, which I did. In fact, I joined the screenwriter’s guild at age 18. Quite an honor! After I got married and had my children, they showed an interest in theater, too, so I ended up directing and writing musicals for Curtain Call CafĂ© (a Christian theater group). From there, my interests spread to books, and I started publishing fiction for the Christian market. I’ve now published over 80 books, everything from inspirational romance to non-fiction devotionals. I would have to say that my father was a huge influence. He passed away in ’06, but did a lot of writing in his lifetime (both screenplays and lyrics to country songs).

Janice, can you tell us about your latest book project? Yes, I’m so tickled to share the news about my comedic historical, WEDDING BELLES, which is releasing on May 1st. Most of my readers know that I love to write light-hearted tales, and this one is no different! What is the story behind this book? I received a call from editor Susan Downs, who shared an idea she had for a series of books titled “Belles and Whistles.” The books in this series, she explained, must be historical, set in the west, with funny, quirky female characters. Because I write romantic comedy, she thought I would be perfect. I quickly put together a proposal for six books and two were picked up right away: WEDDING BELLES and SLEIGH BELLES. I was commissioned to write WEDDING BELLES first and had a blast doing so! The basic premise for the book was developed before I started writing, but something significant happened along the way to change my plans drastically. I needed a sneaky reason for Lottie Sanders (my heroine) to bring a group of women to Estes Park Colorado as potential brides for the town’s men. About a week after I got the contract for this book I went to a local restaurant that happened to be hosting a melodrama during the dinner hour. As I watched the drama take place, I realized this was my answer! Lottie would write and direct a melodrama to raise funds for Parker Lodge (owned by the young man she secretly loves). Out of that came the rest of this fun, melodramatic tale!

Can you share the “official” synopsis? Lottie Sanders would do just about anything for the man she secretly loves. When Gilbert Parker suggests they put on a play to draw people to his family’s lodge, he begs Lottie to direct it. Lottie agrees to help, but is also worried if they cannot pull this off, Gilbert and his family will lose the lodge — and she will lose him. When the local single men look at this as an opportunity to catch a bride, they secretly hatch their own drama to win the hearts and hands of the actresses.

Why did you choose to write this book under the name Janice Hanna, instead of Janice Thompson? Ooo, great question! I write most of my contemporary novels (like the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series) under Thompson and historicals (like the LOVE FINDS YOU books) under Hanna. My maiden name is Hanna, and I love to write under that name to honor my father, who passed away in ’06. I think he would have been very proud of this particular book.

Is there any connection between the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series and this one? Nope. None whatsoever. Just an interesting coincidence with the titles/names. What’s the deal with the wedding stories? Why do you write so many books with wedding themes? My four daughters (all in their late 20s/early 30s) got married within four years of each other. Talk about wedding chaos! At writer’s conferences I’ve been told to “write what you know” and I certainly know weddings. I worked for a short while as a wedding coordinator and have catered many a wedding and/or bridal shower. It just makes sense to keep my writing wedding-themed, as much as possible!

What are Reviewers saying about WEDDING BELLES? I just found out that Romantic Times gave the book a four-star rating. Woo-hoo! Here’s what the reviewer said: Hanna’s Belles and Whistles series launch is filled with mayhem, drama and, of course, romance. The characters are engaging, witty and willing to do what they need to get what they want. Hanna’s magical touch ensures the book brims with laughter, charm and style. Reviewed By: Patsy Glans What outside interests do you have? People might be surprised to hear this, but I bake cakes. Wedding cakes. Shower cakes. Birthday cakes. You name it, I bake it. In fact, I was once asked by a local restaurant to bake cakes for them.

Cute cover! What’s the story behind it? My heroine, Lottie, is a tomboy. She’s not much for dresses. In fact, she wears pants most of the time. The men in Estes Park make it their mission to get Lottie “gussied up and lookin’ like a lady” as the story progresses. Of course, she’s still pretty attached to her cowgirl boots, so giving those up isn’t an option. I love the cover, because it merges the boots with the wedding dress.

How much research went into this story? I drove to Estes Park while working on this book. Even though I had been many times before, I needed to see the area again so that I could envision it through Lottie’s eyes. The wonderful people at the Estes Park Museum spent a great deal of time with me, talking about the history of the area and pointing me to just the right research books to write. So, I would like to think I’ve got most of the historical elements right. I added the Stanley Hotel, of course, and the Stanley Steamer. But the setting for my story is Parker Lodge (which is completely fictional). Because I’m passionate about photography, I took dozens of pictures of the area. I particularly enjoy my trek up into Rocky Mountain National Park, where I did my best to absorb all I could about the scenery.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story? I learned a lot about the health benefits of living in Colorado! Did you know that Freelan Stanley (the man who designed/built the Stanley Hotel) came to Colorado at his doctor’s recommendation because he had tuberculosis? His health improved dramatically while in Estes Park.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book? I was directly inspired by the team of actors and actresses (here in Texas) who performed the melodrama. That little “spark” of inspiration completely changed the layout of my story and allowed me to tap into one of my strengths: directing. Many people don’t know that I spend part of my time working as a director at a local Christian theater and I love anything and everything about putting on shows.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story? Two things: I hope they see Lottie as the precious girl she is. I also hope they learn that perceptions are just that. . .perceptions. They’re not fact. Sometimes we look at situations and think we’ve got them figured out. When we give them a second look (and a third) we realize we were dead wrong.

What is the next project you’re working on? I’m currently writing a novel titled LET THEM EAT CAKE, which is part of the new WEDDINGS BY DESIGN series from Revell Publishing. Many of my readers know me as the “Bella” author (from the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series). In this new series, readers can catch up with Bella, DJ and the whole gang!

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while? I spend time with my grandbabies. I have six darling grandbabies with number seven on the way. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon? I feel so incredibly blessed at this particular season in my life. I’ve been through several hard things over the past several years, but through it all, God has been right there, walking me through one book project, then another. He has used the writing to bring healing in so many areas, and I’m so grateful for that! I’ve made Ephesians 3:20 – 21 my life verse: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. God IS able to do so much more than I could ask or think, and He keeps proving that to me. In spite of any weakness on my part (and there’s plenty, trust me), He entrusts me with this gift (writing). I will use it to His glory as long as He allows.

Please give us the first page of the book. A Reckoning in the Rockies Estes Park, prepare to be razzle-dazzled! Parker Lodge, located on the beautiful Fall River, continues to offer the best entertainment in town. This month’s event is certainly no exception. Join us this coming Friday evening, April 27, for a rousing performance by local musician Jeb Otis, who will play several well-known ballads and folk tunes on his saw. Otis, who hails from the Estes Valley region, will be appear- ing at the lodge for one night only, performing before a packed house. C’mon out and share in an evening of fine food, rousing entertain- ment, and heartfelt fellowship. Front-row seating for the first ten guests to arrive. —Your friends at Parker Lodge Estes Park, Colorado, 1912 “Jeb Otis says he’s going to jump off Longs Peak and end it all.” “What?” Lottie Sanders looked up from the rippling waters of Fall River into her boss’s worried eyes. “He’s going to end it all? Why-ever would he do that?”
 “Oh, you know how he is.” Gilbert Parker plopped down next to her and sighed. “Melodramatic. Always wanting attention. Just like the other men in this town. He’s frustrated because the Widow Baker won’t give him the time of day, so I guess this is how he plans to remedy the problem.” “He’s going to remedy the problem by taking his life?” Lottie swallowed hard. “Won’t that defeat the purpose?” “Who knows?” Gilbert offered a little shrug, and a hint of a smile turned up the edges of his lips. “But if it’s any consolation, I reminded him that he’s got a concert coming up this Friday evening, so maybe he’ll wait till after then to do himself in.” “One can hope.” Lottie thought about the many times Jeb and the other fellas who frequented the lodge had posed such ludicrous threats. How weary she’d grown of their antics. “What’s it going to take to convince Jeb that he and Althea Baker are as different as night from day, anyway?” she asked. “They would make a terrible match. I’m surprised he can’t see that for himself.” “True.” Gilbert released a sigh. “But I guess it’s true what they say—love is blind.” “Mm-hmm.” It’s blind, all right. How can readers find you on the Internet? My website: Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson Twitter: booksbyjanice My online courses: Where can readers buy this book? They can email me for an autographed copy: They can also purchase online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Review of "Special Delivery" by: Kathi Macias

Special Delivery by: Kathi Macias is a tale of redeeming love through the violence and terror of sexual slavery. Girls and young women who’ve been stolen from their homes or sold by their own families suffer the horrors of back street bordellos. Mara has been rescued from such a situation but is hated by her Uncle who kept her prisoner for years. Now, in prison himself, he would like nothing more than to see his niece suffer.

Jonathan and Leah are working on their schooling. Jonathan attends Bible College and Leah has hopes of attending the same college after graduation. They’ve helped and prayed for Mara, wondering what happened to the beautiful young woman. As their paths cross again none has any idea of the dangers to come.

Ms. Macias weaves a story which could have been torn from the pages of newspapers around the world. Threading the horrors of sexual slavery with the love of a God who seeks those who may choose to trust Him, Ms. Macias does an admirable job with a difficult subject. A book to read, discuss and share I recommend Special Delivery.

Special Delivery
By: Kathi Macias
New Hope Publishing
ISBN # 10: 1-59669- 307-X
ISBN # 13: 978-1-59669-307-4
Reviewed by: Mary Bell-Foster

Monday, February 20, 2012

Relying on God's Peace

Psalm 12:7-8 You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.

Recent events are causing some Christians to fear the future. But Christians are told not to fear. (Phil. 4:6-7)

So, what are we to do? Seek God. Pray. Keep a close relationship to our Father and listen to His quiet voice. Remember the voice that is loud and causes anxiety is not from God. God is quiet and his voice brings peace. You can be sure of what to do when His peace is felt.

When you hear others say; do this or do that, pray. Then listen to God’s voice. Where He leads, His peace will be there with you.
You can trust Him.

May this week, this month, this year, this age bring blessing upon blessing to you and your families.