Fueling to Write…

pootterTwo weeks ago on Tuesday, my husband, our daughter, son-in-law, and I crawled in the car and drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. (The picture is the view from our lodge room.) We were headed for several days of hiking, touring, eating spectacular lodge food. It was going to be a spectacular time of refreshment and refueling. The order of the day were walks around the lake, hiking up and down the mountain slopes, possibly to the Top of the Peak, revisiting old cabins and farms built in the 1800’s, and laughing and sharing with our kids. I was looking forward to every shared moment, and to a few days away from writing to “empty out” and “refuel up” so that I could continue writing on my current novel, From Grace Abounds Grace.From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)

What actually transpired bore no resemblance to my built-up dream of that time.

We arrived at the lodge Tuesday afternoon. We had barely arrived when our son-in-law began one of his coughing fits (comes with his health condition). It was so severe that the man in the room adjacent to our kids asked to be removed to another room in another lodge building.

If the above weren’t enough, right after dinner Tuesday evening, our son-in-law went back to their room, crawled into bed, and never ate again or got up until we left on Thursday. He was sooo sick. Of course, that took all the joy out of the vacation for our daughter, who sort of gave of up and laid down, doing nothing more than watching tv and staying close to her husband.

Daniel and I tried to carry on by taking a couple of walks, but the little fun vacation had lost its zest. No sooner had we driven home when our daughter claimed the same symptoms as her husband and into bed she crawled for a couple of days.

By Friday night, my poor husband was sick as a dog, also crawling into bed, and I followed him the next day. We were in bed for a week. My Honey couldn’t do anything, nor could I. Writing was the furthest thing from my mind. I couldn’t eat, my sleeping was fitful, and we both generally felt wretch. In the week in bed, I lost 5.5 pounds and my husband lost almost 7 pounds. Poor, poor us!

The good news is that we’re finally both up and regaining our vim and vigor. I was thrilled to death with the weight loss, but my husband felt like he’s dropped too low, so he’s trying to gain back most of his loss.

Today I feel like I can return to writing after what seems like eons of time. This novel was supposed to be finished months ago, and I’m still plugging away at it slowly, and not too surely. (I have never had a novel take months and months to complete like this one!)

joyful-joyful-smallAs I continue to write, I want to stop long enough to thank all my sweet readers who have written me such sweet notes and reviews on Joyful, Joyful. Especially to my faithful readers in Nigeria. You have no idea how you encourage my heart, my sweet sisters in Christ. Thank you for your notes. Even though you have been purchasing my novels, I want to thank you in a special way. If you will email me at sheilaholmesauthor@gmail.com let me know where you wrote your last rating and review of ANY of my novels, I’ll gladly gift you the next in the series. And, when you’ve rated and reviewed that one, let me know and I’ll again gift you your next choice. (This offer is good through May 31st, 2017.)

Ok… now that you should feel properly sorry for me… it’s back to writing!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Creative Storage in From Grace Abounds Grace…


Yesterday as I was writing about Grace’s wedding happenings in my current writing endeavor, From Grace Abounds Grace, I included a portion on the bachelorette party the evening before the wedding. It was held at the home of Grace’s closest friend and the one who introduced Grace and her groom.

At the party, while Grace and her bridesmaids were lying on the floor in Joy’s basement family room, with tomato face masks on,  singing and eating snacks and laughing together, Joy’s little three year old girl came bounding down the stairs wearing one of Joy’s lacy bras. She wasn’t supposed to come down with the ladies all evening. Joy’s husband, Grant, was supposed to be keeping her upstairs all night. Yeah, right! That was going to happen!

Anyway, the bra didn’t fit, of course. It was HUGE on her. But, little Margi thought it  made wonderful storage in each cup for things like Lego pieces, a small stuffed animal, and various food snacks for the evening.

What happens when she gets downstairs to where the bride’s attendants are enjoying their activites, is hilarious! And, unexpected for all the bridal attendants, Margi, and Joy’s husband, Grant.

As I was looking online today to try to capture what little Margi would look like in a woman’s bra, the above picture is what I found.

Are you starting to get the picture?!

Who says there’s no riotously funny moments in romance?!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Can’t Take Smut…

smutI can’t take it! I just can’t take it! There is almost nothing that is as offensive to me as SMUT in novels! I can’t even begin to share how many tv shows I’ve had to turn off, conversations I’ve had to walk away from, and how many novels I’ve had to close mid-way, because I just can’t read them, knowing that the Lord is right there with me, having to see it too!

I feel like I need to have available at arm’s length a spray bottle of air freshener to get rid of the fowl “odor” of SMUT when reading a book.

What is SMUT? Well… I suppose if you asked ten different people to define the word, you’d get ten different definitions. But, the truth is… no one needs to define it in words, because we all can identify it when it rears its ugly head. Filthy language, vulgar insinuations, and outright brazen sexual content.

I don’t want that in my life. Not because I’m so pure and innocent. I am simply a sinner who has been redeemed by Christ’s blood sacrifice to pay my sin penalty. And, I am so in awe of Jesus, that I don’t want to defile my eyes, ears, and mind with things that He so hates. And that He sacrificed Himself for to redeem us from.

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)But, I need to confess that just recently as I was writing a portion of my recent novel, From Grace Abounds Grace, I was awakened in the night with the distinct impression that something I had written the day before was just “straddling the fence.” I had written something that was so borderline tacky, and I had done it without even thinking. It just happened. And, I’d done it so cleverly that I am convinced that my readers would know EXACTLY what I was trying to say, and it would drum up a very DISTINCT mental picture within their minds.

Oh, Lord… forgive me! That’s not who I want to be!

So, the next morning, after a very restless night, and asking the Lord to guide me as I re-wrote that portion, I did some pretty major surgery on that section.

It would make, I suppose, a much better story to tell if I said that my re-write of that section was so far superior, funnier, more clever, and well, I’ll just say it, GENIUS STORY-TELLING! In truth, it wasn’t. It was simply a more honest, and God-honoring way to tell that portion.

However, I am so grateful, first, that the Lord forgave me, and that I know He is pleased with my change of direction on that written portion.

And, after all, that is what I seek in my novels more than any- and all else! God’s approval!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Justice, Mercy, or Grace? I Choose…

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)I am currently working on a novel entitled, From Grace Abounds Grace. Well into its plot, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake in not looking up the definition of the word “grace.”  It is something I should have done long before starting the work. Instead, I have been relying on the typical usage of the word I’ve always heard.

In the plot of this story, Grace (the lead character) is just pronounced as “husband and wife” with her beloved. They move on to their reception, then leave for their honeymoon, never suspecting that within the short time it takes to drive out of the reception venue parking lot, an oncoming car would broadside them, instantly escorting Grace’s groom into the presence of Jesus.

While Grace is physically hurt as well, she lives, and in the hospital meets whom she sees as her groom’s murderer. And, from a loosely defined term, he kind of is. It was his error in judgment as driver that caused the crash.

Rather than continuing on with a further synopsis of the story, it’s important at this juncture that three very important terms are defined.

So… I ask you…

justice-scalesIf YOU were responsible for the death of someone, which of the following would you prefer reigned in your trial?

JUSTICE ?  Getting exactly what you deserved as your penalty.

MERCY?  Not receiving the horrible penalty that was actually due you.

GRACE?  Receiving total forgiveness that you didn’t deserve in any way for what you’d done.

I know what MY answer is, and I suspect yours is the same.

As I continue writing, I need to ever keep before me the difference among the three and make sure that the story ends up where it needs to.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

coldWell… sniff, sniff… I’m not exactly sure… sniff, cough… what to even share… cough, nose blow… with the world today. UGH!

Actually, I think the first thing is to tell this to anyone who happens on this page today:

We are a Christian family. We are all born-again believers and followers of Jesus Christ. We believe in an eternal life after our earthly death.

Having said the above, my next comment should just about say EXACTLY what I’m feeling right now:

“I feel like I died and didn’t go anywhere!!!”

I’ve had a cold for exactly one week today. And, while I’m feeling considerably better (3 boxes of Kleenex, 5+ Benadryl tablets, a quart and one-half of orange juice later), I certainly am not ready to do anything yet, but… COMPLAIN!

So, here goes:

My body aches! My nose is so red and swollen and raw, that I am thinking of applying for Rudolph’s job next Christmas! My eyes are droopy, glassy, and saggy! I feel too lousy to put on any makeup, so my appearance is beyond “wretched!’ I can’t taste my food! Of course, trooper that I am, I continue to eat, and somehow I’ve talked myself into believing that because I’m so pitiful, I deserve to eat anything and everything I want, with no consequences calorie-wise! My bathroom scale doesn’t agree, however… the LIAR! I’ve been house-bound for 7 days now, and even looking out windows is starting to scare me (implied agoraphobia)! My adorable husband, who has been waiting on me hand-and-foot, is totally annoying me with his constant cheerfulness! And, it isn’t fair he hasn’t caught this “disease!” If he had any real sympathy, he’d start in with a sore throat and sneezing. But, no… he’s the picture of health! (If he weren’t so cute, I’d smack him!)

Well, let’s get down to the “real deal” here…

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Since I feel so yucky… three guesses how much time I’ve spent writing this last week?


Surely by tomorrow or the next day, my pitifully neglected current writing on From Grace Abounds Grace will be resumed. (I pulled out the manuscript about seven days ago, sat there and stared blankly at its last written page, then promptly closed the document, moaned and groaned my way downstairs and crawled into bed, and that’s where I’ve been until today.)

So, all I can say is I hope no one is holding their breath until my novel’s release. Right now I just feel like it’ll get done when I get it done!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Made It Into My Story…

face-maskOk, come on… like isn’t this cutest little thing you’ve ever seen?! Yeah, well I thought so too. Both of us did, and that’s why we each bought four of them.

When my daughter and I were looking for last minute stocking stuffers and cheapie filler gifts,  we came upon these. Two different brands. (My packets are sooo much cuter than hers!) I guess that last statement gave away that we were buying them for each other. There was going to be no surprise for either of us.

Yes, they’re total nonsense, but come on!!! How could we have possibly resisted them. And, the fact is that at my age (if not hers) we’re always looking for the miracle that will remove all lines, creases, wrinkles, spots, clumps, etc., from our otherwise perfect faces. (Excuse me while I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and dry heave over the toilet!)

The packets were so colorful (as you can see), and were supposed to do things like soothe, clarify, and make our faces supple. “Supple.” Now there’s a cool word, huh?!

I’ve always thought of “supple” as meaning to plump up. And, trust me… there’s NOTHING on my body that needs plumping up!!!

Well, bottom line is that I used one today. It’s already doused in whatever it’s doused in, so that all I had to do was remove it from the packaging and apply it to my face! And, it was glorious! Cooling, relaxing, and it smelled wonderful! When I removed it, I didn’t have to wash or rinse my face. It just dried on its own, leaving my skin… wait for it… “supple!!!”

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Well, that’s interesting, Sheila, but what does it have to do with this blog’s purpose, which is to keep my readers “in the loop” on what’s going on in my novel, the one I’m in the midst of writing now… you remember… From Grace Abounds Grace.

Well, here’s the deal.

While I was examining my face after using the face mask sheet, I got to thinking…”Oh, my gosh! I need to use this in the story, where she’s having her all-night bachelorette party. They can lie on the floor, put on the masks, and then talk about…

Nope! Can’t tell anymore! But, it’s now definitely in the story! Yay!

Gotta get back to writing. I’m so jazzed about this!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After-Christmas Therapy…


My New Adult Coloring Book

Well, it’s over. Christmas was glorious! I just love my family and the way we do things for our celebration of Jesus’ Birthday. It’s a sweet memory that I would like to share just a little bit of with my readers.

Since there are only four of us (my husband, our daughter, her husband and yours truly), we gave each other 30 gifts. That’s a total of 120 gifts to be opened Christmas Eve. But, I will mention before it’s thought that we go TOTALLY overboard… the gifts are not all expensive. For example, my daughter gave my husband a large pack of paper towels, a box of 16 Keurig k-cups, a six-pack of protein bars, etc., in addition to about three really, really, really nice gifts. The same pattern applied to all our gifts to each other. (One of my gifts from my daughter was a small jar of artichoke hearts, which I LOOOOOVE!)

Now, since my daughter and I do almost all the gift-shopping, we know what almost everything is… even our own gifts, most of which we often buy for ourselves from our spouses. So, what we did was make crazy labels, and made it a competitive game for our husbands against each other.

For example: To Carl (our son-in-law), From Tozy Toes Claus. (It was a pair of slippers.) To Dad from Sleepy Time Claus (a pair of pajamas). To Daniel from Gooey Chewy Claus (his favorite candy bar). To Daniel from Lookin’ Buff Claus (a year membership to gym). To Carl from Sneezin’ n’ Sniffin’ Claus (allergy meds). To Carl from Bass and Treble Claus (a keyboard that hooks up to his computer).  Even though my daughter and I didn’t participate in the game, we did the same with our gifts. To DanniLaii from Fat Cat Claus (a picture of a big fat-faced black cat for her bathroom). To Mom from Vast Knowledge Claus (3 feet of cloth green spined books for me to decorate with). To DanniLaii from Fuzzy Wuzzy Claus (a pair of fuzzy knee boots for winter). Well… I think you get the idea.

Even with 30 gifts each, our son-in-law won by a score of only 10 to 9. It was just riotous fun! And, our son-in-law walked off the winner of the wagered twenty dollars. Both of them are incredibly competitive, so if you were to pin them down, they’d probably have to both admit they’d tried to cheat. Carl was just better at it!

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Now that the wonderful celebration is over, and the ridiculous amounts of food consumed, I am preparing to use one of my gifts today for the first time. My husband is downstairs watching…. football, of course! So, I am going to sit by the fireplace next to him and color in my adult coloring book. The picture at the top is not from my coloring book, but it is typical of the pages in my book. Coloring is supposed to be very cathartic, so I’m giving it a shot!

On Tuesday, January 2nd, however, I will be yet again viciously attacking the writing of my newest writing endeavor, From Grace Abounds Grace. And, if the coloring book works, I should be calmed down and ready to focus on it.

Blessings and Happy New Year, My Friends!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No Time for Writing…

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Well, I woke up this morning (it’s 2:58 a.m.) to realize it’s been forever since I’ve shared with my readers my current status on writing. I’ve shared I’m in the middle of spinning a new tale in From Grace Abounds Grace. But, I haven’t given much detail on its current status. So, here goes:


Ok… the good news is that the world didn’t come to an end as I wrote the above declaration. Nor, did the world stop spinning around the sun. Things are continuing in my life as usual. Well, usual in the sense that December is busy, busy, busy.

I have spent almost three days decorating the house, and I’m still not quite finished. I haven’t even begun Christmas baking, which should be quite the project, since my daughter and I have decided to do some pretty extensive “goodie creating” this year, so that we can bless family and friends with sample packets. Shopping isn’t completed, and will probably take another two lunch/shopping days to complete. And, I am embarrassed to admit (but I will!) that I am quite sure that if the Board of Health dropped by and they could see inside our house, it would be immediately condemned, razed, and even the land would be condemned as not being inhabitable for decades to come.

OK, ok! So, I’m being overly dramatic!

Let’s tone it down and set a truth-standard to my current goings on.

True, my house isn’t quite decorated, and it has been three days of work already, but I am loving every minute of it. I have Christmas carols continually playing, and I find myself joyfully singing and even dancing around as I string lights, hang decorative balls on the tree, and remember happenings of bygone Christmases as I handle specific decorating items. Yep, I’m lovin’ decorating!

I have pulled six of our traditional “goodies” recipes and actually made one of them yesterday afternoon… Layer Bars. They turned out beautifully. Today I’ll make another recipe… my family has always called them Poo Poo Caw Caws (for obvious reasons, if you saw them). Slowly, but surely I’ll complete each recipe, and all baking should be accomplished by this coming weekend. I still need to make Finska Kakors, Russian Tea Cakes (Snow Balls), Rosenmunnar, and Spritz cookies. Whew! But as with the decorating… I’m lovin’ every single minute of it! My daughter will join me sometime the first of NEXT week for us to cellophane-bag up, curly-bow up, and label them up for specific people we want to bless with them. What fun!

Christmas-shopping is fun, fun, fun! My daughter is one of those people that almost everything that comes out of her mouth is hilariously funny, so am I dreading the couple of days we will “do” lunch and shop ’til we drop??? Hardly! I can’t wait!

Cleaning the house for Christmas (after the decorating is completed)… Well, if I tried to make anyone think I can hardly wait for the sheer pleasure of dusting, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, scrubbing sinks, my nose would grow so long that our home would no longer contain it, and I’d have to live outside in the wide open spaces that are getting more wintry by the day! So, I won’t even try to convince otherwise. Let’s just say that under any and all circumstances, I’d still have to clean. So, I’ll do it with joy and thanksgiving that the Lord has given us a lovely home in which to live. There are many people in this world that cannot say the same!

Have I been rambling? Maybe, then again… maybe not.

So, I’m not getting any writing done this month on my current writing endeavor. It just is what it is! What I am gaining in pure joy as I commit fully to preparing a Birthday Party for Jesus so far outweighs writing that they cannot be compared. And, perhaps at December’s end, I will be re-charged “literarily speaking,” and have gained new insights that will make my newest novel, From Grace Abounds Grace, so much the better!

So, with total abandon, I continue preparing for this special celebration and proclaim…


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Learning Grace to Write About Grace

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)I am forever amazed at the life lessons I learn as I write. They come about in strange and interesting ways and ALWAYS affect my writings.

Recently I began writing a new novel called, From Grace Abounds Grace. Short of just starting in with the story blurb here, I have something even more important to share this time.

Several days ago I went for lunch and Christmas shopping with my daughter. We were having a glorious time laughing, eating, sampling Christmas goodies, and buying gifts for those we love so dearly.

In one of the stores, we had made the store circuit and were preparing to leave. But, I realized I couldn’t find my sunglasses. So maybe you’re thinking I should just admit they were gone and move on with my day. But, my poor pitiful eyes can’t take the sun. They’re very sensitive to light!

When I couldn’t find them, I decided to remove item by item from my purse, hoping they had just gotten buried deep inside.

My wallet was the first item out, and I simply laid it on the product counter behind my purse. When I then reached my hand back into the deep recesses, I found the sunglasses. Thrilled, I simply zipped up the purse and left.

At least an hour later at another store is when I realized my wallet was gone and that I’d left it at the prior store. So, without even paying for the new items at the new store, we dashed back to the prior store.

My wallet was gone!

As I was dreading the next steps of going home and beginning by phone to notify my credit card companies and the DMV, my daughter walked up to one of the cashiers and asked if anyone had found a lost wallet.

I noticed immediately that the cashier was acting strange, making strange remarks, and not looking at my daughter or me in the eyes.

However, the other cashier turned and said, “Oh, you’re the one that lost it?” When we confirmed, she called the manager, who came up and unlocked the safe and gave me my wallet.

I remember the first thing I said was, “Thank you, Jesus.” As we left, I turned around to again thank the manager and two cashiers, the one cashier still wouldn’t look us in the eyes. Very strange!

After going back to the car to return to the second store, where our selections were still in a stranded cart, having never been purchased, I rummaged through my wallet to find the $70.I was carrying to make the final purchases.

Lo and behold… the $70. was gone! (Sooo grateful everything else was inside.)

My first reaction was frustration and wondering how someone could do that. But, the Holy Spirit immediately reminded me that I was a sinner too, and my only difference perhaps was that I had been saved by God’s Grace. So, I asked the Lord to forgive whoever took the money, and bring something miraculous out of the whole thing. And, I asked Him to do something wonderful with the stolen money that would bring Him Glory.

I was actually learning to show grace, because I’d been shown God’s Grace. I think this will help me understand grace better and portray that grace from God better in my current novel.

Rambling??? Perhaps. But, what I know for a fact is that everything I learn from God’s personal Grace shown to me affects my story in From Grace Abounds Grace.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Departing from My Newest Novel for a While…

christmas-romance-25-daysNo, I haven’t stopped writing anything new. In fact, I’m right in the midst of working on a new romance novel called, From Grace Abounds Grace . But, I’ve kind of taken a turn (a fork? a …?) for a brief period of time.

Christmas is coming up and I plainly admit that once I get going on the holiday preparations, almost everything takes a back seat.


Several years back (about 7 or 8) I decided that I wanted to make very sure my husband wasn’t left behind “in my dust” as I focused on all the things we do at Christmas.

I created a romance plan… yes, I said a romance plan! A laid out plan that allows my husband to feel romanced every single day from December 1st through December 25th, while not impinging on my Christmas preparations.

Truth is… he freaked out! After experiencing one or two days of it, he told me he could hardly wait to wake up each day to see what his “romance surprise” was ( CLUE ONE: looking at the ceiling!).

Once the plan was over, he asked me what I was going to do the next Christmas holiday. Thus, 6 or 7 more plans were born.

But, the truth is… this one has had beta testers galore and every one of them has rated it a 5-star. Even me! And, especially my husband!

It’s a romantic plan that can be done by husbands for wives, or wives for husbands.

And, it’s fool-proof!

Read about it by clicking the book cover above. You won’t be sorry! And, right now it’s FREE on all but one e-reading platform.

And, I’ve created a special page here so that my readers can share with each other about their successes and excitement over this plan!

I just couldn’t help myself. I just have to tell everyone about it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment