Thursday, June 28, 2007

Less Than 100 to Go!

Yep, I've got less than 100 pages to go through. My crit partner's got me searching for too many "was" words, too many "ing" words and throwing in logic when mine has taken a hike. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Let's see. What will I do when this baby is done and sent to the editor?

Maybe finish decorating the kitchen, start plotting the next book, read a few books, write an article or two for some extra cash.
First things first. Get this rewrite done!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fiction Wednesday!

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is promoting



Jerome Teel

Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude,

from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports.He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. He is also the author of The Election, another political thriller that we reviewed November of '06.Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children...Brittney, Trey, and Matthew...and they reside in Tennessee where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.


"They aren't hiding just one something, but a bunch of somethings..."Small town southern lawyer, Elijah Faulkner is a dying attorney that actually takes pleasure in fighting injustice by working hard for the little guy. But when he takes on a case to defend a philandering doctor with a pregnant wife in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial, Eli is not so sure he is on the 'right' side.Back in Washington D.C., supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative President Richard Wallace to impact the direction of the highest court in the land. He believes God put him in the presidency for just such a time as make a Divine Appointment. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.A lobbyist with a vendetta, a small-time Mafioso, an investigative reporter with a Watergate complex, and a powerful Washington political machine combine to create a fast-paced suspense novel that explores the anatomy of a murder, and the ripple effect that it creates across the country.

"Jerome Teel has crafted an intriguing political thriller...nice twists and turns to keep you reading. he paints vivid mental pictures that bring characters and locales to life."--Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's 7th District

Buy it at Amazon!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Marathon Writing

We're in the final week of June and I hit a huge roadblock over the past few days. Life got in the way and I did little on the rewrite. This afternoon I finally got three more chapters off to the crit partners. The goal of wrapping this up by the first of the month looms ahead. From now until the weekend it's going to be like a marathon.

Starting tomorrow morning most of each day has got to be spent on getting through the last half of the book and getting groups of chapters off to my crit partners.

Marathoners talk of the proverbial wall that they hit during the last part of the race. Let's hope I plow through that wall and finish well. I'll keep you posted.
P.S. It's now 6 a.m. the morning after I wrote this and I discovered I left an entire word out of a sentence. I'm not going to tell you which one it was LOL, but it goes to show I really do my best in the morning. My priorities remain the same. A walk, time with God, and writing, writing, writing!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Isn't This the Cutest Baby???

I couldn't resist posting this picture of my cousin Kristin's daughter Maisie born in Colorado on May 21st to Kristin and her husband Orion. Maisie is the first grandchild of my cousin Dick and his wife Margy. Sheesh, it seems like yesterday we were the grandchildren in the family.

My family has had a baby explosion the past several months. We've had three, two boys and a girl, all born to the second generation of my first cousins on my mom's side.

No writing talk today, just Maisie.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Manuscript Interrupted or Sushi Anyone?

Wednesday night I visited my Japanese friend, Yoshie, and her family. I'm helping Yoshie learn English through a tutoring program. Her mom and several friends are in the States for a visit and they all want to speak as much English as they can while they're here. Thankfully, she had a couple other Americans there so I wasn't the only non-Japanese speaker. I'm always impressed at how so many people in other countries know English at least enough to get by.

That evening I had my first encounter with sushi. I'll try most anything once so I gave it a shot and now know it's an acquired taste. I tried two different kinds then decided I preferred something else. LOL I always thought sushi came in little circles sliced from something like a jelly roll. Boy was I wrong! I had to build my own on a little square wrapper. I shied away from the wasabi sauce which may just be the ingredient that makes everyone like sushi. But all I kept hearing was hot, hot, hot. Best thing on the serving table??? Grilled steak and ribs. :-)

As for the manuscript rework, I'm making progress! I'm up to about Chapter 12, but just got some great editing back from my crit partner and I'm incorporating her ideas into the chapters her notes cover. I'll finish those up today and send her another three or four chapters. Will I make my goal of July 1st? The jury is still out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's exactly 92 days and counting until the ACFW National Conference in Dallas. If you don’t feel like figuring out what day I’m talking about, mark September 20-23 off on your calendar!

I haven’t missed a single ACFW conference since the organization’s first one in Kansas City back in 2002. ACFW was pretty small by comparison back then, but already we’d built a strong community on the email loop and it was like a family reunion. That first conference had Karen Kingsbury as the key note speaker and each year we’ve had someone equally as challenging and exciting from Francine Rivers to Liz Curtis Higgs who was last year’s keynoter. This year we’ll have James Scott Bell and I can’t wait. Not only is Jim a fantastic novelist, but he’s also written some terrific writing books.

The most unique feature of the ACFW conference is that it is all fiction all the time. For a novelist it’s author heaven. Most writers conferences are multi-genre and that’s fine. But if all you write is fiction you need to come to Dallas in September. We have an outstanding faculty including Colleen Coble, Deb Raney, Randy Ingermanson, just to name a few. We also have an array of published authors who are willing to do paid critiques. And Saturday is the traditional day for the book signing. Attending authors' books are on sale in the conference bookstore and this is conferees' opportunity to get those books signed.

Our annual awards banquet on Saturday night is worth the entire conference. We come all cleaned up and enjoy white-gloved service as we dine on a gourmet meal. The evening is capped off by announcements of the winners of the Genesis writing contest, the ACFW Book of the Year winners, and the Mentor of the Year. The entire ballroom is electrified with anticipation as the names of winners are announced in Academy Award fashion, complete with a Power Point presentation. The picture is of Lena Nelson Dooley, the 2006 Mentor of the Year, with her gang of mentees.

For the second year we will be at the Dallas/Addison Marriott and when we say comfort, we mean comfort with a capital C. Ever sleep on a cloud? You will in one of their beds. They have an espresso bar in the gift shop, a state-of-the art health club, and proximity to nearby restaurants for Friday night supper when we have a chance to get out and see a bit of Big D.

To learn more about the ACFW conference go to the conference website and check it out. You can register there too. The sooner you do, the better chance you have of getting a room at the special block rate. If you’re not a member of ACFW you can join at the same time you register for the conference and enjoy a reduced conference fee.

Joining ACFW was one of the best things I ever did and attending the national conference was the second best thing.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day to My Dad

I wish my dad was here today so I could wish him one more time a Happy Father's Day. Dad passed away in December 1997 at the age of 85. He'd buried two wives and was dealing with health complications related to old age. He was ready. He knew he was going to Jesus when he died and that was all he needed to know.

My dad was one of my first cheerleaders when I got serious about my writing. It was during my coursework in an accelerated adult program at Trinity International University that I was first encouraged by my writing instructor to write professionally. Until then I figured my love of putting words on paper would go no further than my daily journal or a church newsletter. When I told my dad what my instructor said he said, "I've always known you should write." LOL, so far as I could remember he never told me. But from that point forward, he never stopped asking how it was coming, listening to me read my stories and articles and offering advice. I'm certain it is his DNA that gives me my writing skills. He was very creative, both with writing and art ability. An ancestor of ours was also a writer. My local library even has copies of his American history books, written back in the 1800s!

There are two things I'm thankful for. First, that Dad was able to see me finally get my college degree many years later than when I should have , and second, just before he died I was able to show him my first published article in Today's Christian Women Magazine.

I only wish he could be here today to see the other writing I've published and how far I've come with my fiction. During a creative writing class I'd taken a diary his mother kept in 1899 and 1900 when she was courting my grandfather and wrote a short story from it. I had to use a lot of creative license to craft an actual story, but he was thrilled when I read it to him. Today I read that story and realize how very far I've come since then with my writing ability. I have confidence that if God wills it, I will have that book contract. I don't know if once you get to heaven you're so caught up with being in God's presence all earthly concerns fade away, but I sure hope somehow Dad learns about it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Winners of Return to Me and Diva NashVegas are...

,,,stampedwithgrace won Robin Lee Hatcher's Return to Me and Hope Chastain won Diva NashVegas.

I've sent messages to the winners and as soon as they provide me with mailing instructions I'll get the books out to them.

Congrats to both of you.

I'll be holding another contest soon so keep checking back. Right now I'm off to my revisions. I made it as far as Chapter 19, page 128 of 245 (the total pages may change from day to day as I add and take away things). My goal is to make it to the last page before day's end.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Deadlines - Real or Otherwise

Often I hear writer friends say they can't stay on e-mail or they can't talk because they're on deadline. I think to myself, boy would I like to have that problem. It's occurred to me that I do have that problem. I just don't have an editor out there somewhere imposing the deadline, waiting for the edits to come back so her company can print my book that they've already bought.

It's so easy when no one has spelled out the date for a project to be completed to take one's time. If you don't feel like writing and a beautiful day beckons, close the laptop and go. Yesterday a friend suggested I set a self-imposed deadline to complete my ms. revision by July 1st and get it mailed because July is the month of conferences for many editors. That means little office time for them and far less time to read submissions than usual. Yikes, that's only two weeks away.

I just got a critique back from a crit partner with dozens of wonderful suggestions and it took an entire morning to incorporate most of what she suggested into only three chapters! I don't know if I can make that July 1st deadline or not, but I'm sure going to try. My kitchen is a mess, half redecorated and half not. The rest of my condo is buried in a coat of dust, and my TBR (to be read) pile of novels I want to read is not going down. Later, I tell myself as I comb through the story, changing the I's and me's to she's and her's.

As of today I'm at chapter 12, page 79 of 244 pages. In addition, the last several chapters I've worked on need to be gone over again and refined and then they need to go off to the crit partners and their suggestions incorporated as I see fit. Then and only then, when I reach the end, will I be able to say it's good to go. That is after one final read through out loud to catch any lingering typos, etc.

Don't forget! Tomorrow I'm doing two big drawings. One for Robin Lee Hatcher's Return to Me and the other for Rachel Hauck's Diva NashVegas. There's still time to sign up by going to the individual posts about these super books and leaving a comment. Note that my comments page is on moderation so your post won't show up until I okay it. I'll announce the winners sometime tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Diva NashVegas!!! Win a Copy.

As promised, today I'm promoting the CFBA featured book,Diva NashVegas by Rachel Hauck. Rachel has said that when she started writing her chick-lit books she found her voice, and she's right! I was blown away by her first book that was set in Nashville, and this one is equally as good.


Rachel is the author of many books, including several Heartsong Presents of which her most recent release is set in New Hampshire; Georgia on My Mind, a chick-lit set in... where else? Georgia, and her current release, Diva NashVegas is the second in a series which began with Lost in NashVegas. She is also a Blogger and a CFBA member! She lives in Florida with her husband and her cute dog. I think there's also a cat prowling around their home too. She is also a dynamite worship leader which I can attest to having experienced this side of this multifaceted woman in Dallas at the ACFW conference. You can visit her profile and to learn more.


Even if you are not a lover of country music, you can enjoy this fun look at the Nashville entertainment industry.What do you do when the past you’ve been skirting shows up at your door with cameras rolling?Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She’d rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parents’ death-both of them pioneers in Gospel music. But while her public life, high profile romances, and fights with Music Row execs made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery.When a former band member betrays Aubrey’s trust and sells an "exclusive" to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey’s private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past-someone she’d hoped to forget. All the moxie in the world won’t let this Diva run any longer.

"Hauck once again takes us into the country music world, this time through the experiences of mega-star Aubrey James. Aubrey's life journey is filled with flaws, as well as a great deal of joy, and real life locales makes this highly original story authentic. The extra tidbits - from Aubrey's liner notes to quotes from the "media" at the beginning of the chapters - add extra sparkle to the plot."- 4 Stars, Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times Book Club

You can buy the book at Amazon or....

you can leave a comment on this post and have your name put in the hat for a free copy of Diva NashVegas. The drawing will be done on Saturday, June 16.

Note: If you left a comment for Return to Me on my previous post, you will not automatically have your name in this drawing. Please leave a comment on this post for Rachel Hauck's book.

Diva NashVegas is must-read reading. Don't be left out!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Phone Saga Part 2

No one would own up to disconnecting my landline service. A call to my new company informed me that no one from there had contacted the other company and nothing would happen for at least five days. Another call to the other provider told me no one had disconnected me at that end either. Do I hear the theme from Twilight Zone????

After spending forty-three minutes on the cell phone with a technician located in India whom I couldn't understand, the line is back in service with the former company, not the new. Just another day in the wonderful world of technology.

Are You Attached to Your Phone Number???

I must be. For months I've said I was going to drop my landline and use only a cell phone like so many people are doing. But when push came to shove I grabbed at the chance to keep both by combining both phones into one service. I couldn't do it. Couldn't give up the phone number I've had for years. The one that's listed in my church directory, in everyone's address book, next to my name on countless forms I've filled out over the years.

A while back I read a column by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune about phone number attachment. You can read it for yourself by clicking on her name. In summary she details her withdrawal from a phone number she'd had for years brought about by signing up with a new company that for some reason wouldn't let her transfer the number. I laughed at the time, but now I totally understand what she was feeling.

So I called the new company...not really new because they also have my cell phone since they recently became the new old company. I asked them to switch my landline back to what I used to have with their company, You see, I can't sign up for the combo deal until the landline is assigned first. It was supposed to happen seamlessly. They'd contact the company I currently have (had) and switch the number to my new hook up and there wouldn't be any lapse. But, already what is now my former company disconnected me. You don't suppose they were a little put out do ya? And my new (previously former) company has yet to hook me up to their system. So now here I sit with my cell phone being my only phone. Ironic isn't it? This is what I said I would do and couldn't do it, but for now it is what it is.

How about you? Are you attached to that phone number of yours? Has it become part of who you are? Or is it just a bunch of numbers to be used then tossed away like yesterday's garbage?

How much you want to bet I'll be picking up that telephone every few minutes to see if there's a dial tone yet. How much does it really matter? In a world filled with concerns about Iraq, global warming, the 2008 election and a cure for cancer, not much. But I still say
I want my number!

Two Contests This Week!!!

What a pleasant problem I have. Two books to promote and two books to give away. Today I'll feature Robin Lee Hatcher's Return to Me and tomorrow, and tomorrow Rachel Hauck's Diva Nash Vegas. Then on Saturday I'll draw two names one for Robin's book and the other for Rachel's.

Robin Lee Hatcher is a prolific writer. If you've never read any of her books, you are in for a big treat. The first book I ever read of hers was The Forgiving Hour and ever since I've been a big fan of hers.

I read a prequel novella to Return to Me last December called A Carol For Christmas. If you've read that story then you will for sure want to read Return to Me. The story is a modern-day version of the Prodigal Son parable from the Bible only instead of the Prodigal being a son, it is Roxy Burke, Jonathan and Carol Burke's youngest daughter. Here's the back cover copy which I couldn't say better:

A lot has changed since Roxy escaped small town life to become a Nashville star. Her former boyfriend Wyatt has found Christ and plans to become a minister. Her sister Elena, who comforted Wyatt when Roxy ran away, is now his fiancee. Her father Jonathan, a successful businessman, is heartbroken over the estrangement of Roxy from the family.Now Roxy—her inheritance from her grandmother squandered, her hopes of stardom dashed—finds her way home ... not by choice but because it's her only option. Her father's love and forgiveness surprise her, but her very presence throws the contented Burke family into turmoil, filling Roxy with guilt and shame.Elena is shocked to discover doubt and resentment in her heart after her father's easy acceptance of Roxy into the family circle. Wyatt wrestles with doubts about marrying Elena. And Roxy struggles to accept forgiveness. Isn't she more deserving of rejection? As the story of the prodigal plays out, each member of the Burke family must search for and accept God's grace.

From the moment I started reading Return to Me until I finished the last page I couldn't put it down. Robin Lee Hatcher is a master at building conflict and carrying it to the end where it is resolved in a way that gives glory to God and the reader a satisfying ending.

If you want to win a copy of Return to Me, leave a comment to this post. I will draw a name for the book on Saturday, June 16th. I know you'll love this story as much as I did.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Better Late Than Never - CFBA's Book of the Week Is These Boots Weren't Made for Walking


Melody Carlson has published over 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including On This Day, Finding Alice, the Notes from a Spinning Planet series, and Homeward, which won the Rita Award from Romance Writers of America. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.


Willing to make the necessary sacrifices–even skipping the occasional latte–to ensure career success, 31-year-old Cassidy Cantrell "invests" in a chic pair of boots, certain they’ll make a spectacular impression and help seal the deal on a long-anticipated promotion from her Seattle employer.But reality tromps all over her expectations. Cassie’s job is abruptly eliminated–and her love life obliterated, when her longtime boyfriend dumps her for a "friend." Her self-esteem in tatters, Cassie limps home to the resort town she once so eagerly fled–only to find her recently divorced mother transformed into a gorgeous fifty-something babe with a thriving social life. Cassie wrestles with envy and apathy as she considers the dismal shape of her own physique and romantic prospects. What will it take for her to jump back into life and regain her stride?This sassy and hilarious novel leads readers on a romp through the wilds of relationships, romance, career, and spirituality, revealing that, while God’s plans may look drastically different than our own, it’ll always be a perfect fit.

Buy it at Amazon!

The Winner of The Oak Leaves is.....

........... Kathleen Morphy!!!!!!!!!!!

Kathleen, I'll send off your copy of the book as soon as you let me know where you want it sent.

Thanks everyone for signing up for my drawing. Watch this space next week for a review of Robin Lee Hatcher's latest release Return to Me and a chance to win a copy. It's a wonderful story of a modern day prodigal.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Exercising My Learning

This entry will be short because I've got work to do. I've already switched over my chapter one to third person by basically changing all the I's to she's or April (my heroine's name) along with other appropriate pronouns, but it's not done yet. Now I need to go back and deepen the POV.

I've been on an exercise walking plan for the past month or so, heading out to tromp the neighborhood most mornings. I've been passing the time by listening to audio books. The first one was John Grisham's The Innocent Man, a true crime story that shows how an incompetant police investigation can totally mess up a man's life when he's wrongly accused of murder. It's both upsetting and fascinating at the same time. It also causes me to worry about how many people may be sitting in jail right now for this very reason. By the time the man in Grisham's book was exonerated, he was mentally deficient and very sick. He died an early death.

I'm now listening to an ABA book called After This by Alice McDermott. ABA meaning published in the secular market, not the Christian. The author literally paints words and phrases into her story like a master. So much so I ended up purchasing a hard copy so I could read her prose and highlight it. Her POV's are so deep they make my heart sing with the desire to write like she does. I love authors who do this so well. Another one that comes to mind is Mary DeMuth, a fellow ACFW member.

So my exercising is serving two purposes--giving my body much needed strengthening and giving my mind something to camp on to enhance my own writing when it comes to deepening those POV's. For you writers who honor me by reading this blog, if you're not looking for writing in the genre you write in yourself, do it! I've learned so much about the craft by the example set by these masters.

Hopefully someday someone will say they learned from me the same way.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Elvis is on the Web

LOL, or at least he's on a new web site just put up by fellow ACFWer Leanna Ellis. Check out her new website at and learn about her upcoming book, Elvis Takes a Backseat. It looks like a hoot.

The Oak Leaves -- A Must Read From Maureen Lang

I have to admit when Maureen Lang told me the title of her latest release "The Oak Leaves" from Tyndale I couldn't help but wonder at the title. Then she explained it to me and it made all the sense in the world. The story is about a chromosonal condition called Fragile X Syndrome. This condition is passed along through family lines via the females of the family. In days past when family trees were illustrated as though on an actual tree, the females were always written on the leaves while the males were written on the branches. Since most of the females in a family would marry and change their last names they were not the ones through whom the family name carried down. That priviledge belonged to the men in each generation. Thus they were written on the sturdy branches while the women were named on the leaves that eventually fall to the ground.

The story is a reflection of Maureen's and her husband's own struggle with a child who has Fragile X. The unique format of this story is what draws the reader in. First, you meet a contemporary family, Tali and Luke Ingram and their year-old son, Ben. Although Ben is somewhat delayed in his developmental milestones, it's hard for Talie to accept this. It's easy for her to ignore these delays except for when they are at play group and she is able to compare him with other children the same age or even younger.

Early in the story Talie comes across a journal kept by a female ancestor named Cosima. Cosima grew up in Ireland and during the course of the story moves to England. Talie learns quickly from the journal that back then the family had several members who were referred to as "feeble-minded."

Maureen expertly toggles between the events in Talie and Luke's lives as they come to grips with the possibility Ben may have Fragile X and that of Cosima's family and the fears they face, not having the benefit of knowledge about DNA and other such things. Mareen also does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the story and provides that deep POV I spoke about on this blog recently. Her characters seemed so real to me that when Maureen said recently she might not make a prearranged get-together because she had to wait for her husband to come home to watch the kids, I almost suggested she call Dana to babysit. Dana is Talie's sister in Oak Leaves who often comes to babysit for Ben. I honestly had to stop and remind myself that Dana was a fictional character, not Maureen's sister!

Of late I haven't been a huge fan of historical novels, but Maureen Lang made me a convert. A couple months ago I read her novel "Remember Me" about the events of WWI, and now I've read "The Oak Leaves." It was Oak Leaves that kept me occupied on my recent flight to Colorado. It's a good thing I finished it before we landed or I might have asked permission to stay on the plane LOL.

You can own your own copy of The Oak Leaves complete with a signed bookplate inside the front cover! I will be drawing a name for the book on Saturday, June 9, 2007. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog and your name will go into the hat.
Don't forget to leave a comment!

I guarantee you will love this book!