Monday, February 28, 2005

Quotable Quote - Mother Teresa

By Mother Teresa
"We are all pencils in the hand of a writing God, who is sending love letters to the world."

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Market Guides Are In

I did receive my standing order of Sally Stuart's Christian Market Guide. I still have two copies unspoken for and will bring ALL the copies to our next meeting, March 14.

If you want a copy and have not paid for one yet, bring $20.00 to the meeting and the copies will be distributed there.

Louise Bergmann DuMont

NO MEETING 2/28/05


I realize that this may be a bit premature but I wanted everyone to know the meeting is cancelled - due to the possibility of an imminent snow storm. Some of you may not be aware, but our group has people who travel from as far away as New York & Pennsylvania. I would hate for someone to get stuck on the road simply because they did not know we cancelled the meeting.

Because we had to cancel the 2/28 meeting, we will move the "review" session of show vs. tell to our March 14 meeting. This will push our workshop to the last meeting in March.
Monday, March 14, 2005
6:15-7:00 Chat Time
7:00-8:00 Teaching
8:00-9:00 critiques

Monday March 28, 2005

6:15-9:00 We begin precisely at 6:15.

If anyone has something that can't wait until our next meeting, please do call me and we can get together beforehand.

Louise Bergmann DuMont
Facilitator of the NJCWG

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Free Novel by Randy Ingermanson

Randy Ingermanson's latest novel, Retribution, is being offered as a free gift to anyone willing to hand out twenty-five brochures describing his book.

Randy Ingermanson is a physicist, novelist, writing teacher and publisher. Yes, by his own admission he's joined the dark side and launched his own publishing company. This year he will be teaching major fiction tracks at five Christian writing conferences.

His heart leads him to share his writing expertise with as many writers as possible. To do this he is launching the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine a FREE email newsletter on the craft and marketing of fiction.

Quote by Randy Ingermanson: "This E-zine is for both published and unpublished writers, both CBA and ABA. In another week or so, I expect to have my 500th subscriber signed up. What's all the excitement about? Come check it out . . . "

I've signed up for this newsletter myself and suggest that anyone interested in fiction writing do the same. You might also want to check out Randy's famous "snowflake" method of writing. He's posted a sample of this method on his website.

God Bless
Louise Bergmann DuMont

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Poetry Reading - May 21

To: NJCWG Poets
I will provide information about the
Inspirational Poetry Reading, to be
held Saturday, May 21, 1 - 3 p.m.,
at Christian Publications Bookstore,
Rte. 23N, Pompton Plains, at our next
writer's group meeting, Monday,
February 28. See you there!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Writers Resource - Inkwell Newswatch

Here is a GREAT new writers ezine - Inkwell Newswatch, News And Views For Working Writers. It has only been in existance since January 2005 and Google already lists it as one of the top ten writing ezines. That is quite an accomplishment! Inkwell has a nice 'edgy' look, facinating interviews, helpful articles and some of the best industry and market info I've seen.

In This Month's Issue: news, education, reviews, writing resources, interviews, genre info (poetry, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, TV/radio, children's lit, comedy, journalism), columns, event listsing and one of my favorities -- the writers life.

Try at least a few of the itmes listed above and I have little doubt that you'll be back again soon.

Monday, February 21, 2005

NO Meeting Tonight

Just a reminder - there is NO meeting tonight.

Our regularly scheduled meeting is
Monday, February 28

6:15-7:00 - Chat Time
7:00-8:00 - Lesson
8:00-9:00 - Critiques

If you have today off because of President's Day or if you are just snuggling down at home because of the weather - today is GREAT day to write! I'm home today so feel free to give me a call if you need help on any particular project.

Stay warm!

Louise Bergmann DuMont

How Long from "Idea" to "Book"

A number of you have asked me how long it takes to get a book from conception to publication. I've been reading posts in regard to this topic on an other writers list. Below is a blend of my own experience and the information I gathered from others.

BOOK TIMELINE - From conception to Publication

1. From idea to proposal
This will depend on your proposal experience. For a person writing their first proposal it may take six months. For someone who has done it before, it will probably take two or three months. Your proposal has to be at least as good as the book itself or a publisher won’t bite.
2. From proposal to acceptance by an agent
Three to six months. This is assuming you don’t already have an agent. If you have an agent you simply pitch blurbs and when she thinks an idea is good, she asks for the proposal. Assuming you don’t have an agent yet and the proposal is fabulous it could take only a few weeks. If the proposal is less than stellar, it could take six years to forever for an agent to bite.
3. From agent to publisher
Three to six months. If you are a new author it could take a little bit longer.
4. From publisher to contract
Another three to six months as it goes through the various committees.
5. From contract to finished manuscript
This depends on a lot of things – do you have a full time job, do you run a number of ministries that take up your time, how fast do write, do you need to hire an editor or do you know an editor close to home who will review the manuscript as you complete it? Most writers ask for 9 to 12 months to write their books. Authors pitching their first manuscript probably already have the manuscript done when then send in their proposal so they may only ask for 3-6 months in order to edit and review the book before submission. If that part is already done they can submit immediately.
6. From finished manuscript to bookstore shelves
12-18 months. This is the time it takes for the publisher to create a title & cover, run your manuscript through numerous edits, formulate a marketing plan and then print, box and ship your books.
7. From store shelves to receiving a royalty check
9-12 months, depending on when your book releases and when the publisher pays royalties.

Getting your book published takes a long time and it is not easy – but well worth the effort.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Screenwriter Classes - Writers Conference

Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference
LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center
North Carolina
April 17-21, 2005
Run by the LifeWay Conference Center

2005 Conference Theme Verse
We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
– 1 John 1:4 Holman CSB

This conference is a mid-sized conference (not as big as Mt Hermon, Glorietta or Florida but bigger than most others) and it is VERY affordable as conferences go. It is one of the few Christian writers conferences that has classes for screenwriters. They will also have the usual classes in fiction, nonfiction articles, greeting cards, devotionals, etc. The Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference hosts a good solid staff of editors, publishers and authors and it isn't as far away as the larger conferences.

This conference would be a good choice for someone who has done some writing but is looking for a higher level of instruction than can be obtained from library books and local classes. It also offers excellent networking possibilities and numerous contacts with editors and publishers.

Check out their website to see the staff and class offerings.

Louise Bergmann DuMont

Author of Faith-Dipped Chocolate and Grace by the Cup

Friday, February 18, 2005

Writing Op - Youth Worker Journal

Here is the latest theme list from Youth Worker Journal.

September/October 2005
"Coming of Age"
In many ways, youth ministry has grown up; how does that change our field? What happens when countries come of age? Or cultural movements (or church movements)? As the adolescent stage grows longer on both ends, how does that affect our understanding of what it means for kids to come of age? How useful are rites of passage in that context? What about a global youth culture? And adults not wanting to grow up?

If you have article ideas on this theme, write "September/October 2005 proposal" in the e-mail subject field, and send an outline and opening paragraph within the email body by April 15 to You'll receive a reply no later than August 1.

To improve the chances of being published, we encourage you to check out our "writer¹s guidelines" at

Writing Op - Group Publishing

Group Publishing, Inc.
1515 Cascade Avenue
Loveland, CO 80538

CHILDREN S MINISTRY is the premiere magazine for adults who serve children in the church. Each bimonthly issue is packed with dozens of ideas and inspirational articles to help leaders encourage children to grow spiritually. Each issue also contains five helpful pages to photocopy and send to parents and teachers to give them new ideas and insights into today s kids.

CHILDREN S MINISTRY needs practical articles such as working with volunteers, disciplining children, and communicating with children about faith, morals, money, friends, grades, and choices. Articles on understanding children are also regularly featured. Each issue features regular Ideas Columns such as Preschool Age, Nursery Notes, Reaching Out, Seasonal Specials, Vital Volunteers, Preteen Pointers, Group Games, Family Ministry, Quick Devotions, Teacher Telegram, and For Parents Only. No fiction, prose, or poetry.

Feature Articles:
500 to 600 words $125, 800 to 1,100 words $150, 1,200 to 1,700 words $175, 50-word Parent tips $40
Programs: 150-word Ideas articles $40, 150-word teacher tips $40, 150-word parenting tips $40
Payment is on acceptance.
We buy all rights.


NJCWG Member Wins Prestigious Award

Our own Chris Sagona recently was awarded the First Amendment Award from the New Jersey Press Association. This award is given to reporters who have uncovered something that citizens would otherwise not have known and something that changed the community after it was revealed. Her story was in competition with numerous other stories throughout New Jersey and this is truly an honor that can be shouted from the roof tops.

On behalf of the NJCWG I wish Chris hearty congratulations. I know this won't be the last writing award offered her .

Title of her investigative series: The Elephant in the Town's Living Rooms
A few of the subtitles in this six part series: Why Homeowners Who Renovate Whisper, The Blueprint For Red Tape, When Too Many Requirements Aren't Enough, and The Secret's Out!
Results of Her Investigative Piece: municipal firings, laws were changed AND her articles were read on the floor of the state senate

Please join me in congratulating Chris and wishing her addtional future success.

Quote From Chris Sagona: "I feel very blessed and very grateful! Thank you for your prayers!"
To God be the glory!

Louise Bergmann DuMont

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Writing Op - NJ Family Magazine

Bob Moran of the NJ Family Magazine sent me the following message.

Hello Louise:

MaryAnn Dirio recommended that I contact you.

I'm helping NJFPC locate writers that can write for their annual NJ Family Magazine. The theme this year is Judicial Activism.

I've attached the Writer's Guidelines. Please reply and/or forward as you think best.


Bob Moran


NJ Family Magazine: Writer’s Guidelines
Magazine Established: 2002
Publisher: New Jersey Family Policy Council
Editor: Linda Langstaff
Writing Coordinator: Bob Moran

Description: NJ Family Magazine is a topical, four-color glossy annual, circulation five thousand, published by the New Jersey Family Policy council since 2002.

Needs: Nonfiction only. Subject matter is organized around the theme of the issue. Editor reserves the right to edit for conformance to magazine needs.

Rights: We usually request first North American serial rights in exchange for publication of original, unpublished material. Thirty days after your article is published, you are free to sell it to another publication. We require a brief credit line with any second uses.

Length: Articles run 600 to 1,200 words. Specific requirements will be assigned by Writing Coordinator.

Deadline: Articles need to be submitted January 24 – February 15, 2005. The earlier your article is submitted, the better.

Payment: The NJ Family Magazine is distributed without charge, so there is no payment, except for the opportunity, especially for beginners, to showcase their work and add a notch to their list of credits. Complimentary copies of the magazine in which their article appears are mailed to authors. Published articles may also be made available on our website.

Publicity: Each article will have contact information about the author at the end of it. With your submission submit a headshot, a 1-3 line bio, phone number, and an e-mail address and/or link to your website.

How to Submit: Only E-mail submissions accepted. MS-Word attachments preferred, but will accept submissions in the body of an e-mail. Send to Always keep a typed hard copy or a backup disk of your work for your files.

Response Time: A few days after we receive it, usually no longer than a week.

Tips for Writers: Please proofread your stories and articles. If accepted, we will publish your submission.

How To Proofread Your Own Work:

Thank you for your interest in the New Jersey Family Magazine.
NJ Family Magazine Writer’s Guidelines


NJ Family Magazine: Letter of Understanding
Letter of Understanding between (You, the Writer) and the New Jersey Family Policy Council.

The Writer agrees to prepare an Article of ( ) words on the subject of ( ) for delivery between January 31 and February 15,2005. The Writer also agrees to provide one revision of the Article, as needed.

Author New Jersey Family Policy Council

(Printed name Printed name)

NJ Family Magazine Letter of Understanding


Need Your Help

Do you know an extraordinary woman of God? Someone who feels she is ordinary but who you feel is an example of extreme faith and servitude? I am looking for SIX very SPECIAL women who are willing to share their lives and experiences with me. No payment is possible for these stories but the women will be blessed to know that God will use their experiences to move others to serve Him. I am looking specifically for women who feel called to the positions mentioned below but who do not necessarily seek or even want positions of honor or authority. They perform their tasks selflessly and for only one reason - because they love Jesus. It may not be easy for them to be what God called them to be - but they do it anyway.

*** If you know of a woman (or women) who fit the following descriptions, please contact me as soon as possible. You can write me at ***

A Teacher
This does not necessarily mean a school teacher, but she could be one. It may be a woman who is a social worker, a housewife or a corporate business woman. She teaches others how to be a Godly wife, mother, business woman or simply how to walk with Jesus.

A Giver
This would be a woman who has the gift of giving -- unselfishly and conditionally. Not simply a woman who helps out at her local soup kitchen but a woman called to give sacrificially.

A Servant
I believe that women have a natural tendency toward a servant's heart. I am looking for a woman who serves despite her human desire to serve herself. Someone who goes beyond running the VBS program every year or baking cookies for shut-ins. I'm looking for a woman to whom God has given a "special" gift.

A Woman of Exhortation
To exhort means to urge strongly or incite by argument or advice. I'm looking for a woman who incites other woman to Godly behavior using strong words and deeds. Someone who may not be a natural leader but who speaks up because God urges her to do so.

A Leader
Different denominations have different opinions on whether woman should preach or 'lead' both men and women in a congregation. I'm looking to get into this sort of discussion. I AM looking for a woman who is a leader among leaders because God placed her in authority - perhaps despite her own desire for anonymity.

A Woman Who Shows Mercy
This woman should exemplify mercy in its purest form. Someone who is able to show mercy when the world could not. A person who has been so touched by God that mercy leaches from heaven to others through their hands.

Book premise:
Every Christian’s life should be a study in enthusiastic anticipation. So why do some women climb out the side window, rather than walk through God's door? I've noticed that there are a few brave souls who strap on their gear and courageously plunge into the adventure that God sets before them. This book is about those women. It is about ordinary women who are called to do something beyond their own strength and outside of their realm of usual experience – a task that requires "radical faith." This book will not only illustrate the lives of six exemplary women; it will encourage the reader to examine her own life. The book will offer the reader innovative thoughts and concrete strategies that foster an ongoing life of service and leadership. Areas covered will include teaching, giving, service, exhortation, leadership, and the showing of mercy (based on Romans 12).

Time is of the essence. Please contact me as soon as possible, even if you just "think" you might have a match for these descriptions.

Thank you and may God bless you for this.

The Lord is My Righteousness
Jeremiah 23:1-6

Louise Bergmann DuMont
January, 2005

Quotable Quote

"It has often been said
there's so much to be read
you never can cram all those thoughts in your head.
So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore for the reader who reads.
That's why my belief is
the briefer the brief is
the greater the sigh of the reader's relief is."
~Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel)


Nelson Algren Awards
The Nelson Algren awards are for short fiction. Submissions must be written by an American and must be unpublished. One $5,000 prize and three runner-up prizes of $1,500 are awarded.
There is no entry fee. Entries must be received by February 28, 2005.

Announcing the Heartland Writers Guild Winter 2004-2005 Poetry Contest
The Heartland Writers Guild is sponsoring the Heartland Writers Guild Winter 2004-05 Poetry Contest. Poems of any style will be accepted and should not exceed two pages in length per poem. Contestants may enter up to three poems. A single $5.00 reading fee must be included with contest entries. Poems must be the original work of the contestant and must be unpublished. The deadline for entries has been extended to Feb. 28, 2005.

Rosebud has the honor to present the successor to the popular Ursula K. Le Guin Contest, namely the Mary Shelley Imaginative Fiction Award. Original unpublished fantasy, horror, mystery and science fiction submissions are welcome, but the editors are open to stories that reach beyond the boundaries of these genres, take a variety of creative and literary risks, and tell a good story. The First Prize is $1000 and publication in ROSEBUD. Deadline: October 1, 2005

RWA-East Texas Chapter *2005 Texas Gold Romance Award For Published Authors. Sponsored by RWA-East Texas Chapter. Fee: $15. Deadline: April 15, 2005. Enter: novels written by RWA Region 5 authors/residents or novels set predominantly in Texas, with an original 2004 copyright.

Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers. Open only to writers whose fiction has not appeared in any publication with a circulation over 5,000. (Entries must be entirely unpublished.) Open to all themes, all subjects. First-place winner receives $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the issue in which it is published. Second- and third-place winners receive $500/$300, respectively, and acknowledgement in that issue. To submit your story, go to our site, , log in, and click on SHORT STORY AWARD FOR NEW WRITERS. Reading fee (payable by visa or mc) is $12 per story. Entries will be accepted through April 5th.

Writer Resources


Attention Historical Writers: Civil War Maps Get New Exposure on the Internet (article) The maps link: boasts "online maps to everywhere." Here ya go:

Need character names? Check out this site for some ideas. Searchable various ways, including popular names by decade starting with 1900. Also provides a link to the Social Security Administration.

WriteSuccess Resources, information and inspiration for writers--You'll find all three at WriteSuccess, the hangout for SUCCESSFUL writers! Come join us today at

New York Times Bestselling Authors Discuss Their Approach to Writing! Read exclusive interviews with several bestselling authors, peruse "how-to" articles on writing, marketing, and publishing. Find recommendations for books on writing, and subscribe to our free monthly e-newsletter. Get all of this and more, always free, at

Fighting Writer's Block? Sign up for our Writing Sparks newsletter to receive free weekly writing prompts, writing contest deadlines, and writing advice by published authors. Our Off The Press newsletter features monthly book reviews of works written only by NEW authors. Visit the website to enter to win free books and writing contests ($1,000 Grand Prize for Fiction; $500 Grand Prize for Poetry) The Source For New & Emerging Authors. URL:

Publishing Industry News

S & S LAUNCHES KIDS RELIGION IMPRINT. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing announced "Little Simon Inspirations," a line of faith-based titles. Five titles release this month including two by Karen Hill, author and Max Lucado's administrative editor/assistant. Lucado endorsed the line and will contribute a special note to readers for each book. Four more titles will release in August.

APOLOGETICS MAY BE HOT TREND. At CBA's Independents Day, Thom Rainer, Billy Graham School of Missions dean and Church Central president, said Christian apologetics is a coming hot book genre. Cultural conflicts between religions, heightened by the war on terrorism, will drive churches to understand other faiths while defending and spreading Christianity. Rainer's recent research found many churches are forming apologetics departments to help Christians to understand what and why they believe.

CBA'S FEBRUARY CHRISTIAN MARKETPLACE LISTS ONLINE. The new February best-seller, category top-seller, and ISBN lists--based on December sales--are now online at

WORD, NELSON PARTNER. Word Distribution's "Women of Their Word" promotion is highlighting Thomas Nelson's new The Word Becomes Flesh audio Bible for women. Consumers who buy featured music by women artists including Point of Grace, Nicole C. Mullen, and Natalie Grant receive a free CD sampler of the Bible and a $10-off coupon to buy it.

BRIO GIRLS" RELAUNCHES. Focus on the Family and Tyndale are relaunching Lissa Halls Johnson's "Brio Girls" series previously published by Focus and Bethany. The repackaged series releases in April; two new titles, "When Stars Fall," and "Bad Girl Days," release in June and will end the series.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Faith-Dipped Chocolate Tour

The Faith-Dipped Chocolate Tour is finally behind me. I hardly know where to start telling the group all that happened. If you read the previous posts you'll see that I was pretty sick during the first week of my trip, but God used even that to teach me some very interesting things. Faith is more than just trusting that God will provide "good" things. It is trusting that ALL things are good when they come from God.

I am still amazed that God would send me three speaking engagements during my bout with laryngitis and that I would get my voice back, not once but three times, just minutes before my speaking engagements. God certainly has a sense of humor.

I ended the tour with a real bang. The last two signings went exceptionally well. I sold dozens of books at each and the stores were so pleased that they asked me to sign a few dozen more to keep on hand. What a blessing. I dated one more speaking engagement in Michigan and met some fascinating people at every turn. One fellow, a botanist and author of three books, shared some coffee facts that I did not know (amazing is - I know). Those coffee tidbits will appear in my next column and on my website in the near future .

I also met a number of great kids and teens who wanted to be writers. What a privilege to be able to encourage them in their writing!

Looking forward to seeing many of you at the next meeting. Lots planned!

God Bless
Louise Bergmann DuMont

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Two Writers Conferences

Colorado Christian Writers Conference
May 11-14, 2005
This conference promises to provide exceptional teaching in the area of fiction. Angela Hunt and Nancy Rue will host fiction clinics -- Angela for adult fiction and Nancy for YA fiction.
I will have the brochure and further information at our next meeting - 2/28/05.
You can also go to for more info.

ASJA 34th Annual Writers Conference
April 16-17
Grand Hyatt Hotel
42nd Street at Grand Central Station
New York, New York
The American Society of Journalists & Authors 34th Annual Writers Conference is being held right in New York City. The keynote speaker is Pulitzer-prize-winning investigaive reporter H.G. (Buzz) Bissinger author of the best-selling Friday Night Lights.
The main conference takes place on Saturday, 5/16/05. Sunday is reserved for one-on-one essay workshops. (10:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m.)
I will have the brochure and further information at our next meeting - 2/28/05.
You can also go to for more info.

Correction - Next Meeting

I made an error when I wrote that our next meeting would be 2/21/05. AS ALWAYS, our meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. That means our meeting will be on Monday, FEBRUARY 28th. Usual time.
6:45 Chat Time
7:00 Lesson/Discussion
8:00 Critiques

God Bless,
Louise Bergmann DuMont
Faith-Dipped Chocolate (Revell) Jan 2005

Sunday, February 13, 2005



Hi, this is Maude trying out blogging for the first time. Hope it works! Just want to let everyone know that I've scheduled a Christian Inspirational Poetry Reading at Christian Publications Bookstore for May 21, 1-3 p.m. Details will follow. Save the date! Please pray that it will be an uplifting and successful event.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Tour Update-Michigan

Hi again. I'm writing this message from Michigan. It is supposed to warm up and rise out of the single digits today so it looks like a good day for a book signing in Petosky. Yesterday's signing in Charlevoix went very well. I only sold two books during the first two hours but sold nearly a dozen during the last half hour. I was already packing up my things when people began pouring into the store and crowding the table . Once again, God taught me a lesson. I could have gotten frustrated and cut the signing short. I could have said, "No one will come into this small store. I can use my valuable time elsewhere." Instead I held fast to the plan that God provided for me and WOW -- I was blessed beyond measure. I met a number of people who gave me ideas for future columns and a fascinating retired botanist who wrote three books I want to look into. I also had a great conversation with the store's manager. She is a believer and has been trying to get more Christian books into this store. She was praying that my signing would do well so the owner would be receptive to this. The "burst" of sales in the end encouraged her tremendously. Because of those sales the owner asked me to sign an additional twelve books (six of Grace by the Cup and six of Faith-Dipped Chocolate) to leave in the store. Most stores only ask you to sign an additional two or three copies. This too lifted the manager's spirits. I would never have known the blessings I missed if my attitude had soured. God is Good.

I know I have not sent any market info or writing tips during the last two weeks. So much of the information I receive and send to you can only be gather from my "home base." I will be sending these to you again when I get back to New Jersey.

Please continue to pray for good weather, safe travel and a positive/right spirit while I tour.

Our next meeting will be on Monday, Feb 21. (Chat 6:15-7:00, Lesson 7:00-8:00, Critique 8:00-9:00) I will continue my Show Vs Tell lesson and review some of the items we already went over. Our next Writers' Workshop will be held on March 14 - from 6:15 to 9:00. I have a wonderful evening planned so you won't want to miss it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Wild Ride

I'm writing this message from beautiful sunny Phoenix AZ. Its been chilly here - all of 65-70 degrees (eat your hearts out).

Please note that I am using an unfamiliar computer system and that I do not have access to spell check as I write this. Offer me a little grace if anything comes through "funky." Thanks.

I am writing to ask for some special prayer. It seems that anything bad that could have happened, did happen and yet, God is moving in some AMAZING ways. I am not a person who sees demons under every rock but I know that spiritual warfare is real. Satan is trying very hard to rob me of the joy that I should be feeling about all that God is accomplishing right now. Pray with me that I can honor Christ in both word an deed.

Here is the low-down

As you know, two day before I left for my tour I came down with a 'bug' (fever, chills, aches, cough, etc.)

I took one day off but had to go to work on Thur to clean up some last minute things. I started to feel a bit better and left for VA on Friday afternoon.

Got to my son's house in VA on Friday and by then my voice was almost non existent. He & my sweet d-i-l pampered me and I went to my booksigning on Saturday with great anticipation. When I got there the bookstore told me that they no longer had any of my books in stock and they wanted to know if I had any copies of my book with me to sign. AHHH. My d-i-l had dropped me off at the store and left to take her car for inspection so I called my son (still at home) and asked him to dig a few copies of my old book out of my suitcase (Grace by the Cup) and bring them to the store. He did that and then called his wife to stop at every Borders and Barnes & Noble in the area. She bought every copy of my new book (Faith-Dipped Chocolate) that she could find and brought them to me as well. They arrived about twenty minutes later with books for me to sign. I was a little upset and had to pray my way through the anger that kept creeping up. How can a store ask an author to come for signing when they have no books to sign?

My voice was little more than a whisper at this point but I managed to smile, listen a lot, and chat a little. Despite it all, God brought three separate area church leaders to me who offered me their business cards and asked me to do future speaking engagements at their churches. All offered substantial compensation as well as offering to pay my expenses (transportation and hotel fees). God has an amazing sense of humor. I could hardly speak five words in a row and He gives me SPEAKING engagements. LOL I also had a wonderful chat with Tom Lacy from CWG and I met with Ivonne (also from CWG) for lunch. What a blessing both of those writers are!

When i flew out of VA to Phoenix I was exhausted but happy. Got to Phoenix and things just kept going down hill for me physically. My voice got a little better and then got worse again. My niece was just coming home from the hospital where she had been struggling with kidney failure. My sister seemed so angry at me. I thanked her a thousand times for offering to drive me around to the signings and for letting me stay at her house but I also told her I would understand if she couldn't do it. I told her I would just take a cab if it was too much right now. I know that she accepted Christ many years ago but she does not always walk the narrow path. The more I offered the madder she got. Finally I just backed off and tried to stay out of her way - that made her angry too. Sigh.

My first signing in AZ was a replay of VA - no books. Am I crazy or does this seem strange?? Fortunately this time I came prepared. I had a half of a case of books in the car because I ordered books shipped from my publisher directly to my sister's house - just in case. God is good. My relationship with my sister continued to slide downward. She wanted me to take some vitamins she bought for me. I took them and proceeded to get a major case of diarrhea. With two more signings and a church speaking engagement still to go, I stopped taking the vitamins. She started screaming at me (along with name calling and obscenities) that I thought I "knew everything" and that a few days of diarrhea was good for me because it was cleansing my system. Sigh. The bottom line was I could NOT afford the dehydration in my less than healthy state and could not run to the bathroom every five minutes while working these events. My sister then told me it wasn't about me not taking the vitamins and that I "knew" what it was really about. Very Big Sigh. I honestly have no clue what she is talking about. On top of all this I was running a low grade fever every night, coughing my brains out, and trying to run interference between my mom and my sister, and my mom and my niece. My mother tries to 'fix' things - which only makes things ten times worse.

Tomorrow I fly to Michigan for the last leg of this tour. My voice is finally back. My sister apologized by saying she was sorry that "I couldn't see she was only trying to help" and that I was not "more open to new ideas" (sigh).

The good news from Phoenix? My neice is home from the hosptial, back at high school and she started her first part-time job. She is SO happy about that. At one of my signings I met Jeannett McDonald, a wonderful Phoenix area writer from CWG, and I was blessed to meet dozens of other sweet generous people. The individuals at my signings blessed me over and over with stories about how my first book touched their lives. God is still a God of miricles. At the First Christian Church of Phoenix, God provided me with a voice just for that evening's speaking engagement , and the women there were so generous with their praises and love. Each woman was extra kind to my sister despite her rather cool response to everyone and a somewhat unfriendly attitude. I was invited back to teach at a future women's retreat and I really look forward to gathering with these dynamic believers again. I also met and became friendly with a fabulous Christian woman who is the Publicity Manager for a number of local Barnes and Nobel stores. The lives that have touched my heart on this trip are so numerous that I can't even begin to share it all.

Satan is trying to rob my joy and I'm ashamed to say that I've allowed him to do it to some extent. But I will not let this settle into my spirit. I am making a deliberate choice to LIFT CHRIST and PRAISE HIS NAME for all the good that is coming out of this -- whether I see that good right now or not is immaterial.

Please continue to pray for me and my tour. Please pray that God's will is done and that God will be honored by my words and my actions. Pray that I will have His strength and not try to do this on my own.

So far this trip seems to be a wild roller coaster ride, but the up's are out weighing the down's a thousand to one.

I am looking forward to the next NJCWG meeting and hope that many of you can be there to hear the "final" story. Please, please, please continue to pray and know that the NJCWG is always in my prayers as well.

God Bless

Louise Bergmann DuMont
Writing from her Faith-Dipped Chocolate Tour