Monday, August 27, 2007

Congratulations and New Theme Announcement!

Congratulations to this week's winners - both will receive an autographed copy of JUSTICE IN THE BURBS by Will and Lisa Samson:

Pam Meyers and Karri Compton

Pam Meyers has written most of her life. She holds a B.A. in communication from Trinity International University . She has published articles in Today’s Christian Woman Magazine, Christian Computing, Ancestry Magazine, and Victory in Grace Magazine. In 2006 she was a contributor to the compilation book, His Forever (Adams Media), with her story Like Son, Like Father. She was a first-round finalist in the ACFW Noble Theme Contest in 2002. You can keep up with Pam’s writing journey by accessing her blog at or her website at .

As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Pam sits on its board as Secretary. Having taken early retirement from her administrative assistant job in an elementary school district last year, she now writes full time. She is a sign language interpreter for her church where she also leads a women’s small group. She resides in Arlington Heights , Illinois.

Karri Compton is a wife, mom of three, and aspiring author who enjoys reading thrilling Christian fiction until the wee hours of the morning. She reviews said fiction for sites such as The Suspense Zone and Infuze Magazine. Visit her website here:

Congratulations, ladies!! Thanks so much for your participation.

Also, a special thanks to Will and Lisa Samson for their participation this week. Send them an encouraging note of thanks, if you can make the time.


This week's theme is SCHOOL, and there are TWO ways to enter. Submit a SHORT STORY, up to 2000 words OR a PHOTO STORY (up to 4 photos per entry please) revolving around the theme SCHOOL.

This contest will last two weeks, so you have until Friday, SEPTEMBER 7th to submit your entry. We'll have a special set of judges this week - I just have to go twist a few arms before I announce them publicly!

The winner of this PHOTO STORY or SHORT STORY contest will receive a copy of The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes, the regular promo perks, and entry into the grand prize drawing in December.

NOTE: The major prize for the Grand Prize drawing will be announced in the September issue of the Pix-N-Pens Newsletter, so be sure to sign up if you aren't already! You'll be glad you did!

Monday, August 20, 2007

We tried...

This weekend, we tried to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

We weren't exactly sure what to do, but we wanted to do SOMETHING. The heat here - as in many parts of the country - has been horrendous lately, and the news just announced that 8 people have died in the past couple of weeks due to high temps.

In our travels about town, we see people walking in the heat and it struck me one day that someone may need a drink of water. (I get thirsty if I'm away from home for 30 minutes - riding in a car!) So we bought some cases of water, and I printed labels to put on them. The labels were a paraphrased version (Tracy-style) of John 3:16, telling people about Jesus, and that all they have to do is call out His name, confess their sins and ask forgiveness, and Jesus will save them. TODAY! I proclaimed on the label. Then I signed it "Jesus Loves YOU!"

But water wasn't enough. We decided to get some individually wrapped treats, too, and added the labels to them as well. (Did you know they make "Scooby Snacks" for dogs (dog biscuits shaped like Scooby and friends) and for people (graham crackers shaped like bones)?)

Then we set out to give away our goodies. We decided to drive around town, and just hand them out to people walking or working. I envisioned guys hanging out on hoods of cars in parking lots or something, or doing manual labor on the side of the road somewhere. My visions were sure off. They're too smart to do that when it's so hot - and it was the WEEKEND. They were all at Walmart!

After about 2 hours of driving around and not finding people, I said, "Let's try the new Walmart parking lot." Yep, sure enough, everyone in town was there. We gave out a whole cooler of water, and bags of goodies in short time. Most people just smiled and thanked us - a few reactions surprised us.

First, there was the man who chased us across the parking lot after we gave some to him. We hadn't seen him coming or we'd have saved him some steps. But when he got to us - out of breath - he puffed out, "What church?" We told him we weren't with a church group, that it was just us, but that we belonged to Catoma Baptist. He asked where it was, then told us that he was a minister himself, and that he'd have to look us up. He was very appreciative and kept shaking our hands.

Then there was an older gentleman hobbling out to his car. We offered him the water and goodies. He looked at us like we were from Mars and said, "No. I don't want anything" and walked away.

A middle-aged red-faced lady was next. She was loading bags and bags into her car, and looked worn out. We pulled up beside her and held out the water and bag of cookies and said, "Here, we'd like to give these to you." She stood up straight, crossed her arms and said, "Why?" It surprised us a bit, and we stumbled over words, but then said, "Well, you looked like you could use it." She MELTED, came at us, and greedily grabbed the goodies. She then poured out her heart and said she'd just spent two hours in Walmart and was totally wiped. Not being a shopper myself, I TOTALLY understood! When we drove off, she was chugging the water, and reading the label we'd stuck on the cookies.

I'm not sure if this is exactly what Jesus would call being the hands and feet for him, but I felt like we were definitely planting seeds, and we plan to do this regularly for awhile as God leads, and be open to whatever else He has for us to do.

We serve an awesome God!!

How about you? Did you try anything this weekend? Share with us!

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Contest and CHALLENGE - August 13-24

This week’s contest is a little deeper, and a bit more serious (but still FUN) than previous contests. I’m hoping we’re all up for the challenge that Pix-N-Pens is issuing this week, detailed below. Please - tell your friends, and get them involved, too.

First, I want to welcome WILL AND LISA SAMSON to Pix-N-Pens. Lisa is a writer buddy of mine, although we’ve not yet met in person, and she has served unknowingly as a mentor to me for the past six months. I follow her blog and her career regularly, and love to see God working through her and her precious family. If you don’t yet know the Samsons, visit both their blogs - IMHO, they’re some of the best out there in blogdom. Visit Lisa at Author Intrusion and Will at Journey through Willzhead.

The Samsons new book, JUSTICE IN THE ‘BURBS should be a “must read” on every Christian’s reading list. Here’s the back cover copy, and you can find some excerpts at Amazon until you can get your own copy:

In the suburban world of nice homes, neat lawns, and new cars, it can be easy to forget about social justice issues. Life keeps us busy, and the poor and disenfranchised of our world are invisible as we go from our garage to our workplace and back again. But suburbanites can be a force for social justice in the world.
In this unique book, readers will take a journey with a young couple from the ‘burbs as they learn to notice and act on the issues of justice that abound no matter where you live. This engaging narrative helps readers kiss apathy and ignorance goodbye in favor of a life of concern and action in order to help our fellow human beings.

This extraordinary book is earning well-deserved rave reviews and is lining up to become THE book of 2007.

"Will and Lisa have joined talents to offer a compelling argument for living justly in an unjust world, and for loving our neighbors in a hands-on, life-changing way." LIZ CURTIS HIGGS, author, Bad Girls of the Bible.

"Whatever happened to the vital social and moral energies of the Christian faith? They are alive and throbbin in this book that shows how the gospel can walk the missing sidewalks and unfriendly cul-de-sacs of the suburbs." LEONARD SWEET, Drew Theological School, George Fox University.

"Will and Lisa are provocateurs of imagination, writing for a desert where folks are thristy for more than the American dream. This is a much-needed invitation for justice to flow throught the suburbs liek mighty waters and bring to life all the parched souls trapped in the ghettos of poverty and wealth." SHANE CLAIBORNE, activist, author, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical.

"Will and Lisa Samson's new book, Justice in the Burbs, is a moving book. I wept with joy, knowing how many people will be moved to join the work for justice God has already begun in the world." CHRISTIAN SCHAREN, author, One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God.

Watch this video to learn more about JUSTICE IN THE BURBS before you read the challenges below:

Now, I know you regular Pix-N-Pen readers are wondering how all this fits in with this blog. Here’s the scoop.

Lisa’s books have moved me this summer. They’ve challenged me in my faith and they’ve encouraged me to reach out and make a difference in my own little world. I’m hoping this book will make a difference in your life THIS WEEK.

The challenge this time will last two weeks. The Samsons and all of us here at Pix-N-Pens challenge you to go out into your communities during the next two weeks with a couple of goals, beginning today (August 13th-24th).

We want you to record what you see, hear, experience in the way of JUSTICE being carried out in your own neighborhoods. Record it through photos, poetry, essays, short stories, a letter to the newspaper editor, or a magazine article. Submit it to tracyruckman @ gmail. com by Friday, August 24th and your entry will be judged by the Samsons. If you’re entry is chosen as the winner, it will be announced online at Pix-N-Pens on Monday, August 27th. The winning entry will receive a personalized, autographed copy of JUSTICE IN THE BURBS, plus all the regular promo perks and entry into the grand prize drawing in December.

But the challenge doesn’t stop there. As the book’s subtitle encourages us, we want you to go out into your neighborhoods and be the hands of Jesus over the next two weeks. Then write and tell us about it at tracyruckman @ gmail. com. If you’re entry is chosen as the winner, it will be announced online at Pix-N-Pens on Monday, August 27th. The winning entry will receive a personalized, autographed copy of JUSTICE IN THE BURBS, plus all the regular promo perks and entry into the grand prize drawing in December.

As you accept this challenge, and make plans to join us on this project, drop a note here in the comment box and share your thoughts with us. We’d love to go along on your journey!

Congratulations to our winners!!

The winners of an autographed copy of MURDER BY MUSHROOM have been chosen:

Winning by default in the submission category: LUCY CAIN with her adorable and silly poem "Murder by Mushroom."

Winning the comment category: Sally Chambers.

We asked Virginia Smith to make the winning announcement of the mushroom naming contest:

"I absolutely love every one of these names! And I'm extremely impressed by the creativity of the entries. You've made me want to go out and buy a whole flock of these little guys, just so I can use each of these inventive names. But I have a confession - my husband does not love the little guys. He says they stare at him from the top of my desk, and he has to turn them to face the wall whenever he's at the computer. He'd probably stage a revolt if I tried to fill the house with them.

So since I have to select a single winner, I choose "Porta, Bella, and Crimini" because not only are they clever, they adhere to the rules of mushroom nomenclature. Plus, if these guys are tempted to act up, their names will serve as reminders that contrary to the mushrooms in Murder by Mushroom, they CAN be sliced, sauteed and enjoyed in a variety of delicious recipes!"

Porta, Bella, and Crimini were submitted by alex et al. Alex, if you'll send me your contact info, we'll send you an autographed copy of MURDER BY MUSHROOM, too!

Woo-hoo! and Congratulations to all of you!!! And thanks for all the great participation - this was fun!

Special thanks to Virginia Smith for her participation and generosity!

We've got another tremendous contest which will be announced later today, so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Murder by Mushroom
(To the tune of “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town”)
by Lucy Cain

You better watch out
You better not try
You better not eat them
I’m telling you why
Ginny Smith is coming to town!

Don’t eat them when you’re sleeping
Or when you’re wide awake
Her books will make you laugh so hard
You’ll get a belly ache!

Oh, You better watch out
You better not try
You better not eat them
I’m telling you why
Ginny Smith is coming to town!

Submitted by
Lucy Cain

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What do you think of these silly mushrooms?

These mushrooms may become Virginia Smith's companions as she tours around the country doing book signings for MURDER BY MUSHROOM - but they're drawing mixed reactions among family members! Tell us what you think of these MUSHROOMS in the comments below, and you'll be in a special drawing to win an autographed copy of MURDER BY MUSHROOM!

We're also looking to name them, so put on your creative hat and come up with some names for these guys. If your names are chosen for the mushrooms, you'll win an autographed copy of MURDER BY MUSHROOM, too. (If more than one person picks the same names, we'll have a drawing.)

Post your comments, and your name ideas in the comment box below!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Special photo, in honor of Murder by Mushroom

Today, I received the following email from my dear friend Amy, with the accompanying photo. Since we're celebrating this week, I'll be posting a variety "mushroom" content so this is a good start. Thanks, Amy!!!

I am not entering the contest because:

1. I am related to the judge.
2. I already have an autographed copy of Murder by Mushroom.

But I would love for this photo to be posted in honor of Ginny's latest book.

I cross-stiched the picture in the frame many years ago on a brown piece of scrap material, from a pattern that I drew on the material. It was in our camper for years and I just retrieved it a few weeks ago.

I love mushrooms and am eager to see and read all the creative things concerning them on Pix-n-Pens!

Amy Barkman

New Theme - Exciting Contest - Get the Details!

This week, we're starting a new series of themes that I'm very excited about. To kick off this series, I've recruited my dear friend Virginia Smith to be this week's guest judge because we're celebrating the release of her new mystery MURDER BY MUSHROOM.

To recognize this great accomplishment, and to promote this fun read, our THEME for this, not murder,'s MUSHROOMS.

Submit any PHOTO, ESSAY, POEM, SHORT STORY, OR RECIPE that features MUSHROOMS. Limit of 1500 words for the written entries, please. Get your entries to me by NOON on Friday, August 10th - the early deadline is to give Ginny enough time to judge them!

The winner of this week's contest will receive a PERSONALIZED, AUTOGRAPHED copy of MURDER BY MUSHROOM, sent directly from the author herself.

To get you in the mood for MUSHROOMS, pick up your own copy of MURDER BY MUSHROOM at Wal-mart, Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, or maybe even your local Christian bookstore (varies by location.) It's a great read and will keep you guessing until the last chapter!

Here's the back cover copy for MURDER BY MUSHROOM:

Murder by Mushroom received a 4-Star review from Romantic Times!
From the back cover:


Serving up murderous munchies at a church potluck social wouldn’t win any popularity contests, as Jackie Hoffner discovered. Someone had laced the casserole she brought with poisonous mushrooms… and the deadly dish had fellow churchgoer and town fussbudget Alice Farmer pushing up daisies. Now the gossip-hungry townsfolk suspected Jackie of foul play. To prove her innocence, she decided to conduct her own murder investigation, and Trooper Dennis Walsh’s helpful efforts and boy-next-door charm were welcome.

Meanwhile, the town’s mysterious poisoner seemed to have more victims in mind...

You can visit Ginny's website to learn about her and her other books - if you haven't read her first book Just As I Am, you need to get a copy NOW. Ginny's giving away an iPOD to one lucky reader, so be sure to check out the details while you're visiting her website.

Submit your entries soon!

Congratulations, Karri Compton!

Karri is this week's winner at Pix-N-Pens, with her photo entry "The Cross Still Stands."

Karri Compton is a wife, mom of three, and aspiring author who enjoys reading thrilling Christian fiction until the wee hours of the morning. She reviews said fiction for sites such as The Suspense Zone and Infuze Magazine.

You can visit Karri on the web.

Stay tuned - later today I'll announce the new exciting theme for this week!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Voting is now OPEN!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Entry: YOUR CHOICE PHOTO July 30-Aug 3

American Pride

Here is my son Cade in his Army uniform. And his little sister Elisabeth is so proud of him.

Submitted by
Jenny Adamus

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Entry: YOUR CHOICE PHOTO July 30-Aug 3

The Cross Still Stands

This is a picture I took while visiting Ground Zero in NYC two summers ago. The crossbeam of a steel girder is standing in the middle of the pit that once was the twin towers. Many of you probably saw something like this shown on the news. It's very powerful in person.

Submitted by

Karri Compton

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Entry: YOUR CHOICE PHOTO July 30-Aug 3

Raindrop Flower on the River

Submitted by
Rachel Winslett

Entry: YOUR CHOICE PHOTO July 30-Aug 3

Beautiful Heron on the River

Submitted by
Rachel Winslett