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In This Issue
What's Brewing?
Chill Out, Mom! Contest!
Scribbles by Susan
You're a Winner!
Contact Info
What's Brewing?
Reclaiming nick
Reclaiming Nick won 2nd place in the ACFW's Book of the Year contest in the Women's Fiction Category!

"Chill Out, Mom!"
Chill out Josey

We all have great moms in our lives...and here's your chance to tell me why!

Being a mom isn't easy. I was pregnant in Russia twice, and well remember the days when I lived in Russia, and every day I went out to the market, my four little "ducklings" behind me, each carrying a backpack to lug home groceries. I love being a mom, but after a while, it can overwhelming.

My newest book, (due out in November!) Chill Out, Josey! is about the anticipation of becoming a mom -- and discovering everything God has for us, regardless of what season we are in. In celebration of finally getting to tell my "pregnant in Russia" stories. Brace yourself. *grin*

In celebration for this book from my heart, I want to give YOU the opportunity to share with me a mom who has impacted you -- inspired you, taught you, challenged you, or made you want to be a mom yourself. It can be anyone -- not necessarily your own mom (although that's okay, too!) Many of us have spiritual moms who impacted us just as much as our moms.

From the entries, I'll chose a winner who will receive a Chill Out, MOM! Spa basket -- a soft cloth basket filled with shower gel, bubble bath, lotion, body splash and a lufa, all from Bath and Body works! PLUS, the winning entry and the person who nominated her will receive Chill Out, Josey and another SMW book of their choice.

5 additional winners will be drawn from the entries to receive their own preview copy of Chill Out! Josey!

To enter the "Chill Out! Mom" Contest, fill out the Contest Entry Form with your answer to the question in the contest question ANSWER box and hit submit.

Question: Who is the MOM who impacted your life, and why does she deserve the Chill Out! Mom spa basket?

I'll be announcing the winners in my next newsletter! So, readers, let's hear it! Thanks for playing!

*(requisite small print: Only one contest entry per household will be eligible for each drawing. When you enter the contest you are giving permission to publicly use your first name, last initial, and city/state on promotional messages about the contest if you're the winner.)

Scribbles from Susie


          I spend a lot of time talking to myself.  I know that doesn't come as a shock to many of you, but I realized how strange this might look to others yesterday as I was sitting at play practice, watching my kids rehearse their Annie parts. 


            You see, I never go anywhere without my laptop (I may have issues) and that's because I'm constantly on deadline, and have to eke out every possible moment to write.  So, you might find me, on any given day, writing in the coffee shop, in the lobby of my hubby's hotel, while sitting in a pew waiting for my husband to get out of a committee meeting, (not during services, I promise!) in the car, in the airport, on a football bleacher, in the hallway of the school, in a restaurant, or, like yesterday, in the darkened auditorium of the playhouse.


            Now, you need to know that writing involves conversation.  With people in my head.  Who sometimes talk with their hands.  And occasionally there are gestures and body language that need to be sorted out. 


            So there I am yesterday, doing what I do (having a conversation in my head), with the accompanying hand gestures, and I notice a woman down on the other end of the row (who had also come to watch the kids), watching -- me.  With a sort of worried look on her face.  I gave a tentative wave.  And tried, really tried, to stop the weirdness. 


            Yeah, right. 


            This may be one of the reasons I'm viewed with some amount of humor in my town.  I'm an oddity.  I know this.  I'm okay with it.  Usually.


            But wow, how great it feels to get around other people who have rousing arguments with fictional people in their heads.  And I'm, of course, talking about OTHER WRITERS. 


            Every year in September, I get together with my pals in the American Christian Fiction Writer's Association for an international conference.  We learn writing craft, and exchange stories, brainstorm, and encourage.  We worship God together.  And we remind each other that WE ARE NOT CRAZY.  This is probably the most important part.  Through the encouragement of others, I find a righted perspective and a renewed purpose.   I find the courage to return to my little town in the woods and talk to myself.


            It's sort of the same way with church every Sunday, isn't it?  We go out into the world, and by the end of the week, we're tired of fighting the battles of faith.  Yes, we have that knowledge of eternal purpose that keeps us on course.  Yes, we have the soul-deep joy of salvation.  But sometimes, it's just nice to be reminded that we're not in this alone.  That although others may look at us like we're crazy, we know we're not just talking to ourselves. 


            I pray that you have a group of fellow followers of Christ that inspire you like my writer pals do me.  Who encourage you, as you encourage me.  Thank you for your letters and prayers over the past month, and for reading my books. 


I'm excited to see the second installment of Josey's adventures hit the shelf next month - Chill Out, Josey!  And I'd be grateful for your prayers as I write Get Cozy, Josey - the story of Josey moving to Siberia! 


I'm blessed by your support and grace.  Have a blessed October!


In His Grip,



Just for fun - here is a goofy snapshot of some of my favorite authors: Tricia Goyer, Robin Jones Gunn, Cara Putnam, Sarah Ann Sumpolec, Meredith Efken, (and me way in the back!)  Look for more great pix on my website!







Winners from September's Tying the Knot Contest!

Congratulations (I guess?) to all of you who had THE WORST CAMPING STORY ever!

And thank you to everyone one who sent in their stories...I may never camp again!

The winners (see that horrible experience has finally paid off!) of the contest are:
Betsy S.
Barbara I.
Char G.
Phyllis D.
Michelle G.
Here's just 2 of the WORST camping stories ever! Enjoy!
Betsy S.:  I might be a fiction writer, but I can assure you every word of this story is true and not exaggerated. My worst camping experience has been my ONLY camping experience.
In the early summer of '05, my husband and parents thought it'd be fun to camp at beautiful Albert's Pike in Arkansas. I tagged along, even though my mother and I are NOT campers. We're the girlie girls who'd rather sit in an air-conditioned log cabin and read books while occasionally glancing through the scenic picture window at our men fishing on the hill below. But, we decided we could brave it without electricity or showers for two or three days, so we tagged along with our men.
We arrived at the mountain site, and that's when the disasters began...We had barely gotten things unpacked when a lone hiker stopped at our site and asked for a ride down the mountain to the public rest room area near the park. Neither my dad nor my hubby wanted to have the other leave with the strange man, so they BOTH went - and left me and Mom alone to set up dinner.
We'd been fighting bugs and random leaping insects for some time already, so we were a little distracted by the fact the men left. Until me, the fiction suspense writer, realized we were two women, totally alone on a mountain, with no sense of direction and no knowledge of who (or what) was at the camp sites around the corner. So, this girlie girl, wearing ripped jeans, a white wife-beater tank, with a red bandanna tied around her hair, picked up a small axe Hubby had left to chop wood, and got ready for...whatever. I'm sure I made quite the picture. The guys came back then and had a great laugh after prying the machete from my stiff fingers.

We ate dinner, and with the exception of the swarming bugs, I thought, hey, this camping thing isn't so bad. We played games and set up the tent and got ready for bed after sundown. The four of us were all in one large tent together, on thick sleeping bags. My mother and I had blow-up swimming pool rafts under our bags for extra comfort.( Hey, I told you we were girlie-girls!)


I wasn't able to sleep well because I kept picturing all the bugs crawling around me. Did I mention I HATE bugs??? I finally dozed off. Until a crack of thunder jolted me from a sound sleep. Rain pelted the outside of the tent. Lighting flashed in the distance. I sat up in the humid, stuffy tent and grabbed my mother's arm. She was already awake, too. I said "Is it fuzzy in here?" Somehow, Mom knew what I meant. She agreed. "There's a mist in the air." INSIDE THE TENT.


We clicked on a flashlight and realized that our rafts were FLOATING in water. The term "leak-proof tent" apparently was quite the lie. Hubby had been awake and realized we were inches in water and kept his mouth shut, knowing as soon as the knowledge became clear, we'd freak out. We gladly obliged. The storm grew worse. We're wet and aggravated and sleepy. Bugs were floating past me to their watery death. The thunder and lighting grew worse until the storm was right on top of us. Limbs from trees actually crashed to the ground on all sides of the tent. I thought "Oh great. I'm going to die right here in the middle of these soggy woods before I'm even published."


We came to the mountain in my dad's Ford Explorer, which had a security alarm. Every time the thunder sounded, the alarm would sound and the headlights would flash on the tent, probably creating some hilarious shadow puppets in the form of two freaking out women and two frustrated husbands.




This went on for an hour until suddenly, a different light flashed. Headlights from a moving vehicle, pulling into our campsite. At 2 a.m. Me and Hubby reached the machete at the same time. Mom grew hysterical. Dad looked confused. We were sitting ducks, and just as wet.


I'm sure we all prayed, though I don't remember exactly what I said to God. Probably something along the lines of "If I get out of this, it'll make great story material. So please get me out of this!" Hey, a writer never quits. Just as suddenly as they came, the truck pulled back out onto the road and the headlights vanished into the storm. BOOM. CRASH. CHIRP. FLASH.


We didn't sleep any more than night, and guess who packed up and headed back down the mountain to civilization a mere five hours later? =)


Barbara I.: July 29, 2001 It was a rainy Sunday morning in the mountains of western North Carolina.  We had just begun our week of camping with our three children and friends.  Camp was all set up and we were sitting under our "porch" tarp enjoying the rain, reading books.


Ruining the peace was what sounded like a lawn mower.  I thought, "Why would they be mowing the grass in the pouring rain?" 


Because our tarp was anchored to the ground at the corner, we couldn?t see what was coming until it was upon us.  Suddenly, we realized that the sound was coming closer, and fast.  A runaway gas powered golf cart came crashing into out campsite, directly at us, bouncing off trees, tearing up our tarp, pushing our 5 chained together bicycles in front of it. 


There were four of us directly in its path: our best friends we were camping with, me, and my 11 year old daughter, Brooke.  The three adults jumped up and scattered, but in my mother's brain, I thought to look back to be sure Brooke was out of the way.  In split seconds I realized, in slow motion, that Brooke was sitting there looking dumbfounded at the racing golf cart. 


I lunged back to push her out of the way and was immediately consumed by the machine!  It ran right over the top of me, trapping me beneath it, and dragged me until it smashed into our picnic table and a huge pine tree.  The motor was still running and the wheels were grinding me into the crushed rock.  People came running from everywhere to help, but no one could get the thing turned off.  There was no key!


One of my rescuers finally tore the wires off the connections and others lifted the golf cart off of me.  My children were crying and badly shaken, so I quickly pulled myself together and assured them that I was ok.  To make a long story shorter, I had a gash in one leg that required stitches, and a bad case of road rash on the other leg.  I had a lump on my head where the back tire had been banging on me, and bruises and scratches all over. 


When everything was quiet again, it was discovered that the bathroom cleaning crew had to rig the cart with a stick on the brake in order to keep the machine running or it wouldn?t start up again.  The cart was running so badly that it vibrated the stick loose, and without the brake on, it ran away at full throttle.


The camp coordinators insisted that I go to the hospital and, of course, they took care of the bill.  When we returned to camp they had already replaced our damaged tarp. Thankfully the cart had just missed the tent and the screen house or our vacation might have been over. Our bikes were knocked over, but not damaged.  I had fun for the next week trying to keep the bugs out of my weeping road rash and trying to get up and down on the air mattress at night without bending my stitched knee, but otherwise the rest of the trip was camping as usual. 


It was rather gratifying to see the golf cart leave the campground forever on a flatbed tow truck.  We return to the same campground, same campsite, a few times every year.  It's our home away from home!  There are new hosts working there all the time, but every time we go, someone says, "Oh, you're the golf cart lady!"


We have had a lot of laughs remembering and retelling the incident.  My children love to share the story titled "Mama got run over by a golf cart." Die hard campers don't let little incidents like this prevent them from enjoying the outdoors though. 

What a hoot!  Thank you for your entries!  See you next month!


Susan May Warren
Soul-Stirring Fiction