MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

Fine Art Photography Inspired By Natural Creation & Wholesome Reading For Your Family's Entertainment

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TBPHello, everyone! I’m adding another book contest to my current ones, so this means that I now have a total of four (4) contests.  This will give you an even greater opportunity to be a winner!  The title of this one is “Name the Flower Shop.”

In my book THE BREAKING POINT, one of my main characters, Estelle Brickman, owns a flower shop. The first person to correctly answer what the name of her shop is will receive a free, autographed copy of my newest release DESPERATE HEARTS.DH COVER 4_8.25.14

You can e-mail your answers to me at, and don’t forget to include your mailing address so I’ll know where to send your book.

To enter any of the other three (3) contests, please click the links below:

(1) Taylor’s First Dance

(2) Paula’s Weekend Getaway

(3) Name That Child

Thanks for playing, and have an awesome day!

From my heart to yours,

Maxine 🙂



WASH DISHES 7This is my niece Avery.  She was my little helper today, and WASH DISHES 6she got extremely upset with me when I finally got her down from the sink.  Aren’t children so funny and cute?  I remember when my daughter and son were little–they always wanted to help do cleaning around the house.  Then when they got big enough to really help, I practically had to beg them for their assistance :).

Children bring so much extra joy to our lives.  That’s why I often include them in my stories.  Here are the names of some of the youngest ones you’ll meet in five (5) of my books:

Kayla (5 years old)


Janae (5 years old)


Misha (Mee Mee) (1 year old)


Misha (Mee Mee) (3 years old)

Jaydon (Jay) (1 year old)

Camra (Cammie) (1 year old)


Name ? (Age ?)

DH COVER 4_8.25.14WASH DISHESPerhaps you noticed that I omitted the name and age of the child from my book DESPERATE HEARTS.  This is because for a limited time, I am offering free, autographed book giveaways of my first five (5) published novels to the first person who correctly answers this two-part question.

But that’s not all.  The giveaway also includes a mass-market paperback copy (a smaller, less expensive version) of A MEASURE OF FAITH, so that’s six (6) free books in all.

Please submit your answers to me at, and remember to include your mailing address so I’ll know where to ship your books.

And in case you don’t know, I’m still running two (2) book quiz contests on Goodreads.  To participate, please click here to go to my Books page.  Then scroll down until you see CONTESTS (GOODREADS BOOK QUIZZES).

Well, that’s all for now.  HAPPY READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours!

Maxine 🙂

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BREAST CANCER PINK RIBBON 2Hello, everyone!  This is a follow-up to my recent post regarding my DESPERATE HEARTS book contest in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month which is just around the corner in October.  Since I’ll be recuperating from my surgery, I wanted to go ahead and get this post out.

The name of this contest is Paula’s Weekend Getaway which is composed of five questions.  In order to win, all five must be correctly answered.  In the event of simultaneous correct answers, a drawing will be held to determine the winner.  The winner will get to choose five of the breast cancer awareness items pictured at the bottom of this post.  So here we go!

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  • Where does Paula go for her weekend getaway?


  • What annual event does she attend while there?


  • When is the event held each year?


  • What year was the town’s first event of this kind held?


  • What is the name of the major motion movie picture that was filmed in this town?


Now, for a bonus question!  Didn’t see that coming, did you 🙂 ?  Well, here it is.  (Hint:  May require some research–answer not in the book.)  🙂


What is the name of the popular restaurant on location where the movie was filmed?


The same rules apply.  The winner will get to choose three items from below.

HAPPY READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours.


(Photo of Breast Cancer Ribbon-Courtesy of Clip Art)











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PEN WRITINGWhen I started writing my first manuscript in 1999, I did it by hand.  Eventually, I typed it on my daughter’s computer.  Since I am still old-school in a lot of ways, it was extremely hard, in the beginning, for me to give up my composition books and sheets of notebook paper that I thoroughly enjoyed writing my stories down on.  I do still use them from time to time to quickly jot down things when I’m writing that I want to remember.

I love having my own computer now to type my manuscripts, but since I was a secretary for 34 years, I have grown weary of being confined to a desk for an exorbitant amount of time.  Upon retirement ten months ago, one of my long-time goals was to focus more on my writing, but the thought of being stuck at my desk in my home office corner space caused me to procrastinate.  One of my dear friends had often shared with me how much she relished being able to carry her laptop around from room to room in her home.  Well, two months into my retirement, I finally purchased my very first laptop, and I have been in laptop heaven ever since.  🙂

Today, I listened to a recording of LaShaunda Hoffman regarding Ten Ways To Promote On Facebook.  Ms. Hoffman is an online book promoter and publisher of SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine.)  One of the tips that she mentioned was to post pictures of your office so that readers can see where you write.  I thought this was an excellent idea–something that had never crossed my mind to do–thank you very much, Ms. Hoffman!  So I took three pictures of where I write which I have displayed in this post.




This first one is my home office corner space where I used to do all my writing before I got my laptop.




Next is my favorite spot to write:  on my laptop on my living room sofa.









And the third is my next favorite:  on my laptop at my dining room table.



Since I will soon be releasing my ninth fiction inspirational novel, I thought that now would be a great time to share these photos with you.  I am so excited about the release of my newest novel, DESPERATE HEARTS.  DH COVER 4_8.25.14Please stay tuned for more updates regarding its release as I will also be implementing some more of Ms. Hoffman’s tips such as:  (1) offering freebies only to my Facebook friends, (2) hosting monthly contests, (3) posting reader of the month pictures, and (4) posting trivia about my books.

Well, that’s all for now.  HAPPY READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours.


(Hand Writing Photo – Courtesy of Clip Art)

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BREAST CANCER PINK RIBBONAs most of you probably know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In an effort to help promote awareness to the cause, I will be sponsoring an additional contest upon the release of my newest novel, DESPERATE HEARTS, which I am still hoping to release sometime during the month of October of this year.DH COVER 4_8.25.14

The winner of this new contest will receive several items promoting breast cancer awareness.

Below are a couple of pictures of some of the prizes I will be giving away.  Any items left over will be given away at my DESPERATE HEARTS SIP & SIGN book signing event which will be held at KEIGHLEY’S SALON, DAY SPA & BOUTIQUE.






Although my number one goal is to write wholesome stories for your reading entertainment, I still try to focus on real-life issues.  Therefore, some of the subjects that my books cover include:  forgiveness, illness, death, marriage, separation, divorce, alcoholism, infidelity, trust, stepfamilies, and materialism.

LAMLIFE AFTER MOMMA is 15-year-old Kiara Murdock’s story of how she deals with the death of her beloved mother to breast cancer.  So many people have been affected by this terrible disease.  If you, a family member, or a close friend have, what has helped you to cope?  And what are some ways that you have been able to be a source of support and encouragement to the individual(s), their family, and others?  Please feel free to share your experiences–you never know how they might touch another person’s life and give them hope to endure.

Well, good night, and HAPPY READING!  As always, this is from my heart to yours.


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desertRomans 2:15 helps us to appreciate that God gave us the gift of a conscience in order to guide us.  When our conscience is troubled, it can wear us down and torment us.  King David experienced this after taking another man’s wife.  In Psalm 32:1-5, he said that his strength had evaporated from him like water in the dry summer heat.  In other words, his attempted repression of a guilty conscience wore him out and reduced his vigor like a tree that loses life-giving moisture in a drought or in the intense dry heat of summer.  Only when he confessed his sins did he finally gain much-needed relief.

I recently shared a blog that I had finally finished my manuscript to my soon-to-be released novel, DESPERATE HEARTS.  This story will begin nearly two years after where ONE OF A KIND ended.  OOAKI am now in the editing process and also recently made a few minor revisions to the cover which I designed and created myself.  Although in our age of modern technology where many people are now reading books on their electronic devices, I realize that there are still some who really prefer to hold the actual paper copy of a book in their hands–including myself :).  Therefore, I am happy to announce that my current plan is to release DESPERATE HEARTS in both Kindle and paperback edition.  I have included at the bottom of this post a copy of the revised cover so that you can see it as well as read the back cover for a more detailed description of what the story is about.  If you are interested in reading a sneak preview of the first chapter, please click here.

Now, to the title of this blog.  I chose it because I wanted to write about one of the themes that is central to the story in DESPERATE HEARTS which pertains to the conscience.  Since our heart is the center of what motivates us, it only makes sense that the conscience affects it.  When under stress, our heart can become desperate.  As one dictionary defines the word desperate, when in this state, the heart can become reckless or dangerous because of despair or urgency.  Hence, the title of my new novel, DESPERATE HEARTS.  And it is during these moments that we can feel like King David as mentioned above.

Since I am so fascinated by the way that we imperfect humans interact with one another (especially when under stress), I love writing stories about family and relationships dealing with real-life issues.  So as many of you probably already know, my stories contain some drama but also include a little humor and flecks of tasteful romance.

Oh, and by the way, my ONE OF A KIND contest is still ongoing.  The prize is a Walmart gift card valued at $25.00.  For more details, please visit my website BOOKS page.  Plus, upon the release of DESPERATE HEARTS, I will be running another contest.

Well, that’s all for now.  HAPPY  READING!  And as always, this is from my heart to yours.  Good night.


(Moroccan Sand Dunes Photo-Courtesy Clip Art)



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