Margaret McSweeney in the Spotlight, Contest & Giveaway

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: Author Spotlights

I wanted to post this earlier, but my connection has been on and off (more off than on) all day. I hope I can get this posted tonight!

About The Book
I am delighted to host Margaret McSweeney on a blog tour for her book, A Mother’s Heart Knows. This beautiful little book has a wonderful message and precious pictures in soft muted colors. A touching gift for a special mother in your life for Mother’s Day or any day.

One thing that impressed me is that all royalty proceeds from this book goes to WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) and to a student missionary scholarship fund. WINGS is a non-profit organization that shelters women and children who are victims of domestic violence as well as offers transitional housing and programs. As a woman who was a victim of domestic abuse in my first marriage, this meant a lot to me.

You can purchase the book here.

About Author Margaret McSweeney
Margaret lives with her husband and two daughters in a Chicago suburb. Her book, A Mother’s Heart Knows was published by Thomas Nelson in 2005. Go Back and Be Happy, a co-authored book will be published by Lion Hudson in July 2008.

Margaret has been featured on Greg Wheatly’s “Prime Time America,” TLN’s “Aspiring Women,” and LeSea’s “The Harvest Show.” Margaret writes freelance articles for The Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. Notable interviews include Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Kinkade, Susan Branch and Dr. John Gottman. Margaret also wrote a feature article for

With a master’s degree in international business, Margaret became a vice president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there from 1986-1993. Supporting charitable causes is important to Margaret. For the past five years, she has served on the board of directors for WINGS, an organization that helps abused women and their children get a new start in life.

You can find out more about Margaret at her website.

A Chance to Win
This book tour, “My Favorite Mom” will feature books to give-away as well a contest for a beautiful Spa Basket. You are invited to share you favorite story about your Mom or about the person who plays a mom-like role in your life, and be entered into the drawing for 1 of 2 scrumptious spa baskets. To submit your story, go here. Margaret will be sharing your stories (with permission) on her blog.

You can also enter to win a signed copy of A Mother’s Heart Knows by leaving a comment here on her blog.

Penning Prose Giveaway
Want a chance to win? All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what you love about your mom or about being a mom. I’ll have to eliminate any comments that don’t meet this requirement. Giveaway ends on Tuesday, April 29th. I’ll announce the winner on April 30th. Please leave an email or blog address so I can contact you. If I don’t hear from you with your mailing information within two days, I’ll have to choose a new winner.

1. Answer my question: What do you love about your mom or about being a mom?
2. Leave a way to contact you. Disguise your email addy like this: myname(at), so you don’t get spammed.
3. Respond with your address within two days or I’ll have to choose another winner.

Now as soon as I have internet connection again, I can post this! The joys of technology.

Heads or Tails # 35 ~ Direction

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: Bit o' Practicality, Heads or Tails

This week’s theme is

♥ Direction ♥

My mind was totally blank on what to do for this week’s theme. I figured something would pop up on YouTube if I did a search. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I learned about a terrific feature of Google Maps. Check it out:

This will come in handy for the next trip I take. For more Heads Or Tails, click on the banner.

Where Have I Been?

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: This 'N' That

We were hit hard by the flu here. Fevers, croup (it sounded like we had some barking seals in the house), sore throats, ear aches, runny noses, stuffed noses, chapped skin, sinus infections, headaches, chills, coughs, throwing up, sleep troubles…it has been loads of fun. I’ve been so tired, I’ve spoken nonsense at times lol.

We had to steam the kids, take them out in the cold air, give prescription meds, put Vicks on feet and chests, drink loads of tea, drink plenty of water, eat an immune boosting soup, take honey and lemon mixture, get lots of rest, pray, spend nights sitting up, spend days snuggling sick little ones – it’s been exhausting.

Are we done yet? Not quite. In fact, I’d love to crawl in bed as my ears and throat hurt right now, but I’ve missed blogging and figured I should let everyone know what’s up. Most of the kids are back to healthy. Hubby and I seem to be bring up the tail end of this fun round of the flu.

I will say this – there was a drastic improvement when I kicked the natural remedies into full gear. I’ll share some of what I did for a works for me Wednesday post soon over on a dash of sassitude. :)

I hope to be back to posting very soon and have some wonderful authors stopping here on their blog tours soon.

Wordfilled Wednesday 2

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: Scripture Chick, Word Filled Wednesdays

Moved over from Six Short of a Dozen…

The purpose of Word filled Wednesday is to share God’s word through photo’s & a verse!

Let love of the brethren continue.
Hebrews 13:1

Click on the banner to join in the fun or to check out what the other participants posted.

Ultimate Blog Party Time

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: This 'N' That
Ultimate Blog Party 2008

I am having a blast with this party. I’ve met new people and found more blogs to stalk because as a homeschooling mom of six and aspiring author, I have a lot of free time on my hands. Ahem. They say busy people get more done, so I’m testing that theory. I have the feeling they meant productive things, but hey, it’s an experiment.

Penning Prose with Audra Silva is my writing blog (I have, um, five blogs). Anything related to slinging ink (or banging on a keyboard) is fair game. Looking for a great read? Want to get to know an author better? How about some author news, writing resources, or posts from a guest blogger? You’ll find it here.

On a more personal note, I share my own writing, meandering thoughts, and scripture chick moments.

I know you have a many party stops to get to, so I’ll wrap this up. You can subscribe over on the sidebar and come back when you have more time. I started this blog a little over a year ago, but I didn’t really have a grasp on what I wanted to do with it until this year. Join me as I get the ball rolling on this blog, and my WIP.

Feeling bossy? You can watch my progress on Midnight Ride, my inspirational romantic suspense novel, over on the sidebar. Nag me if I go too slow.

And if you want to party with me some more, check out my other blogs: a dash of sassitude, Enoikeo, My Meandering Mind, and Six Short of a Dozen all have unique party posts.

Before you go, leave a comment and I’ll come visit you at your place.

The banner at the top of the page will take you to The Ultimate Blog Party. There are lots of people to get to know, blogs to check out and PRIZES to win. You don’t even need a blog to participate.

My top three picks are:

The Rocking Horse from A Rocking Horse to Love
The webcam from Liz at This Full House
A $50 gift certificate to Emily Rose

If those are already taken, I’d love the following (in order):
15, 37, 59, 55, 60, 39, 103, 87, 47, 11, 62, 34, 64, 7, 17, 46, 74, 100, 105, 104, 99, 3, 75, 28, 8, 90, 73, 70 – after that, anything is fine. :)

Now go have fun!


The Ultimate Blog Party!

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: This 'N' That

Ultimate Blog Party

We are partying ALL. WEEK. LONG. This is my first year participating and I’m having way too much fun. I have five blogs and I’ve managed to come up with a unique party post on each which means I am either creative, have waaaay too much time on my hands, or I’m procrastinating like crazy. Pick A, pick A.

My Meandering Mind really is all about my meandering mind and I never know where it’s going to take me any given day. That makes life exciting don’t you think? Ok, it’s downright scary. But not as scary as this flashback to the 80s:

Remember the big hair and scary makeup? And the clothes. Shudder. But I met my hubby in the 80′s and I have many fond memories. Bad memories go away. GO. AWAY.

Here’s a picture of hubby and me from that crazy decade. Weren’t we cute? Check out his braces. I fell head over heels for that boy from the first moment I saw him. Literally. I’ll tell you that story later.

Seriously, I strive for a sense of insanity humor with this blog. God has blessed me with the ability to laugh at myself. Apparently, He gave this gift to others because they frequently laugh at me, too.

Now I know you have other bloggy party posts to attend, so see that subscribe button right above my picture over there on the right? Just stick your email in there and then you can hear all about my FALLING in love and other meandering thoughts.

And if you want to party with me some more, check out my other blogs: a dash of sassitude, Enoikeo, Penning Prose, and Six Short of a Dozen all have unique party posts.

Please leave a fun comment before you leave. I’d love to visit your place.

The banner at the top of the page will take you to The Ultimate Blog Party. There are lots of people to get to know, blogs to check out and PRIZES to win.

My top three picks are:

♥ The Rocking Horse from A Rocking Horse to Love
♥ The webcam from Liz at This Full House
♥ A $50 gift certificate to Emily Rose

If those are already taken, I’d love the following (in order):
15, 37, 59, 55, 60, 39, 103, 87, 47, 11, 62, 34, 64, 7, 17, 46, 74, 100, 105, 104, 99, 3, 75, 28, 8, 90, 73, 70 – after that, anything is fine.

There are so many awesome things that it’s really hard to choose. You don’t even need a blog to participate. Now go have fun!

Frugal Friday: $10 Safeway Coupons

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: Bit o' Practicality

Moved over from Six Short of a Dozen…

Saving money is on a lot of people’s minds right now. Gas prices, food prices – it takes some savvy to find ways to keep money in your bank account rather than watch it drain away.

Thankfully, there is a plethora of ideas out there. Personally, I’m hoping to find some blogs where people are setting a dollar amount to spend on groceries each week and sticking to it. With a family of eight, saving money is a must and I’d like to learn how to shop with a goal amount in mind.

Safeway has a coupon for $10 off when you spend $50. Albertsons takes the Safeway coupons which works out nicely for us. We get three newspapers when we know the coupons are in there. Sometimes you can get day old newspapers from the newspaper office for free. We buy three at $1.50 total, but save $28.50 with those coupons alone so it works for us.

We usually spend about $100 at Albertsons and about $50 at Safeway. My hubby will take about $50 worth of groceries and check out with one coupon while I take the other half and check out with the second coupon. Then we visit Safeway and use the third coupon.

When you add in coupons and sales prices that are real good deals, you save even more. We usually do our big shopping once a month and then supplement. When we move to a weekly plan, I’ll have to modify this idea a little.

Know of any great blogs for learning how to shop with a set weekly amount? Please leave the link in the comments. :)

Also, if you want to read more great frugal tips, click on the banner for Frugal Fridays. There are a lot of tips.

Aloha Friday

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: Aloha Friday

Aloha Friday always makes me think of hot, summer days on the beach. There isn’t a beach here, but it does get hot. I’m looking forward to warmer days spent at the pool. I spent some time pruning plants and weeding out the dead stuff from our flower beds out front today. It felt great getting it cleaned up and thinking about the gorgeous flowers I want to plant this year. Which leads me to…

Today’s question is

What flowers do you like to plant in your garden?

If you want to join in more Aloha Friday fun, click on the banner.

Discipline Yourself

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: For Writers
Haiku Friday

It’s Haiku Friday. I’m new to this meme, but how can I resist a chance to Haiku?

Sitting at my desk

Typing to a steady beat
The End is in sight

Haiku’s are a lot of fun to write, and this one gets my point across. It takes discipline and perseverance to be a writer. What’s that I hear? Cheering? Or would that be jeering?

Writing is hard work. It’s a hurry up so you can wait existence. It takes grit and determination. I struggle with self-discipline, but I’m learning to use my strengths to overcome the weak areas. The fighter in me keeps pressing on battling against the side of me that would rather read writing related emails or chat with other writers.

Networking has it’s place, but not when it takes precedence over your novel or the article bouncing around your head. Blogging is a wonderful way to process thoughts and warm up your muse, but if you don’t move past that into something more productive, it’s a waste of time.

We really need to focus ourselves and build that discipline into our days. Write every day. Schedule your writing. Reward yourself AFTER you’ve worked hard. Not only will you look back and see accomplishment, but your ‘play’ time will mean so much more because you truly earned it.

If you want to read some more Haiku Friday posts, click here.

13 Things I'd Rather Be Doing Today (#4)

Author: Audra Marie  //  Category: My Meandering Mind, Thursday 13

13 Things I’d Rather Be Doing Today

1. Going for a walk on a warm, sunny day with a slight breeze. I have two out of three, but it’s only 45. BRRRR.

2. Playing a brilliant piece of music on my acoustic guitar which would assume I knew how to play. My goal is to learn in 2008.

3. Capturing some amazing photographs with my beautiful camera which would mean I’d have to be out and about living life instead of sitting here on this machine.

4. Writing a blog post so attention getting that I have a couple hundred comments from fans who can’t help but leave their imprint on such an awesome and funny message by its own merits and not because it has a giveaway attached to it. (How’s that for a rambling sentence?)

5. Reading a captivating book where I’m lost in a different world.

6. Spending some time ALONE with my sexy husband.

7. Chatting it up with my friends as we laugh about every day life moments. Oh wait – this happens tomorrow! w00t

8. Writing THE END on my novel Midnight Ride because I’ve been working on it LONG ENOUGH. This will happen in 2008.

9. Heading out on a road trip. I love traveling to new places and seeing new things. Always exciting.

10. Visiting family – my nearest family is about 6 hours a way (depending on how heavy your foot is on the gas pedal). I won’t mention my best time.

11. Going on a ride along with my brother the cop. That would be fun.

12. Visiting Ireland. I love all things Ireland and visited there when I was a child. I want to go back someday.

13. Enjoying some laughs and giggles and hugs and kisses from my six kids. A distinct possibility and partially fulfilled already.

If you want to join in or read more Thursday Thirteen, click on the banner.