Friday, August 31, 2007

I Won!

Yesterday I had the surprise of my life when a woman from the condo office came to my door and exclaimed, "You Won!!

"Won what?"

"A prize in the contest."

"What contest."

"The best decorated balcony or patio contest. The judges liked your flower display."

I cracked up. "They were only simple petunias."

She handed me the card and inside was a $25 gift card to Home Depot. Can't argue with that. I told her it was a good thing they judged before the big storm last week because after that they looked like they went through a war and half of them never made it back.

They were pretty. Much like the ones in this picture. But, September starts tomorrow and soon after that the fall leaves will color the landscape.

I'm off to a rodeo weekend. Yee Haw!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour - The Dead Whisper On

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

(Bethany House July 1, 2007)


Tony is the author of the acclaimed Waking Lazarus. He has been an advertising agency owner/principal, a trade amgazine editor, and now a novelist.He has been a professional writer for more than 15 years with articles appearing in publications as varied as Log Homes, Conservative Theological Journal, and Travel & Leisure. He is also Creative Director at Montana's largest advertising agency.His long list of past odd jobs includes trimming Christmas trees, sorting seed potatoes, working the graveyard shift at a convenience store, and cleaning cadaver storage rooms.As a teen he was undefeated in air guitar competitions in which he performed songs by ZZ Top.He lives in Montana with his wife and daughter.

Would You Run Into A Burning Building?Candace "Canada Mac" MacHugh lives a ghost of her former life.Once a proud Butte, Montana, miner who daily risked her life setting explosives, she's now a garbage collector in her dying hometown.Her beloves father is dead and she doesn't speak to her mom. More than anything, Candace Mac misses her father. He promised to contact her from the "other side" if he could...but it's been eleven long years. And now even her beloved city of Butte, Montana, seems to be dying off.Candace Mac is alone. Longing for the past. Dreaming of making a difference.Until one night when her father's voice speaks to her from the shadows. Bud MacHugh's trademark growl. The dead, it seems, have messages they hunger to share with the world...warnings of impending disasters and grave danger. Of cities doomed to burn.But they need Canada's help.T.L. Hines' first novel, Waking Lazarus was named one of the Library Journal's Top 25 Genre novels of 2006. Now he's back with a gripping suspense that brings to light our fears and asks us if we still have the courage to fight for those around us. if we have the guts to be one of those who run into burning buildings.

"Chilling!" Publishers Weekly

"...a well-paced suspense populated by dynamic
characters." Kirkus Discoveries

Buy it at Amazon

Monday, August 27, 2007

Goodbyes Are Hard

Last Friday night my local ACFW Chapter said goodbye to Sally. Her blog link is listed on the right under my favorites. Sally's husband is a pastor and he's been asked to be senior pastor at a Kansas church, so today they are making the long drive to their new home. Here's a picture of some of us with Sally last Friday night.

That's Allie Pleiter, Maureen Lang and Julie Dearyan in the back row. Sally and I are in the front row.

That's all I have for today. Just a picture to share :-). I'm busy working on my first person version and increasing the word count. I've been trying to take off a few pounds. Wish I could decrease my weight in sync with the increase in my words LOL.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I've Been Tagged :-)

My friend Winnie tagged me earlier today.
Here's the deal:
What's in a name?

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.

4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

In this case I'm fortunate that my middle name is short. Only three letters. I had some fun with the sign alphabet since that's one of the things I do.

S - A number of adjectives went through my mind: Saucy, Sarcastic, Sensational, Sweet. Yes, yes, I know. I'm all those things. NOT! But the one thing I am is Spirit Filled and Spirit Led. Because Jesus is my Lord and Savior I have the Holy Spirit in me. That beats all those other adjectives by far!

U - This is a really difficult letter. There's a ton of "un" words, but they're all negative. I thought of unusual. Na. Urbane. Not really. Uptight. Sometimes. . .aren't we all at times? The word I settled on is upbeat. The synonym finder says it means optimistic, hopeful, looking up. That fits.

E - I could say early, because I'm always early. Or I could say eloquent because, after all, I do write and my degree is in communication. But I'm going to settle on emotional. I am a true wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve kind of gal. My mom always told me it would get me in trouble and it has a few times, but it's who I am.

So there ya go.

So now it's my turn to tag someone else. I tag Ane, Peg, Cara, and Pammer. Have fun :-)
P.S. I'm adding this addendum Monday morning. I posted this late last night and it goes to show why I don't usually write or do things that require much brainpower after nine p.m. I found several typos that blew right past me last night. The kind that spell-check doesn't catch because they still spell a word--just the wrong word. All fixed now :-). I hope.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It Was a Dark & Stormy Night

Afternoon and night to be more specific!

Yesterday, I'd run out in early afternoon to do a couple errands. Although the temperature was creeping toward 90 degrees and the humidity was high, the area was bathed in bright sunshine. Wispy clouds floated above our heads like cotton puffs.

As I approached my first destination, the weather guy came on the radio and said we were under a severe thunderstorm watch. I thought, so what else is new? For the past week and a half it's been a common occurrence because of a stuck frontal boundary roughly running through Iowa then slanting up into southern Wisconsin, and then down into Indiana. Night after night we've been pounded with rain and thunderstorms. I hadn't had a straight night of sound sleep for several days.

I did my shopping and was home in about an hour. As usual, I went to the computer to check for email, eager to get back to my project of increasing word count. It was then I remembered the weather. Like how could I forget with the little temperature icon flashing red in the corner of my screen. The little thingy has been like that for over a week thanks to flood warnings. I checked the radar and about fell off my chair. A dark red blob, the size of New Jersey was marching toward us at a very rapid speed. I looked to the window. The clouds were moving in.

Within an hour darkness had totally replaced the bright sunny day. The red blob was perched just west of me. Out the window the trees were at a right angle. I expected to see Auntie Em float by any second. I grabbed my computer and dashed downstairs to the first floor, behind the staircase away from the windows. And there I sat. Claps of thunder as loud as a bomb, filled the air. I could only imagine the lightning that had come before each one. Was my balcony furniture over in the next county? Had my windows blown in?

Fifteen minutes later it was over. Although my flowers looked like they'd been through a war, the electricity never went out and my windows were intact as were the trees, I blew out a sigh of relief. Others in the area weren't so blessed. Huge trees had toppled onto cars and into buildings. Electric lines were down. Roofs had caved in.

A couple hours later we were hit again. This time the power did go out for about a minute and the lightning was ferocious. Finally, around eight o'clock calm settled in. The good thing is, by tomorrow it will be in the 70s and no rain is expected. The bad thing is, we're expected to get hit again today.

I'll be here writing . . . It was a dark and stormy night seems like a good opening line don't you think?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour - The Void by Mark Mynheir

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

(Multnomah Fiction August 21, 2007)


Mark Mynheir is a cop writer. He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One) and From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two). During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.

The Truth Chasers Book Three
Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.

The Void is nothing short of a page-turner. Mynheir is truly hitting his stride as one of our industry's most notable Christian novelists. This latest book has it all: suspense, humor, intrigue, realistic police action, and one thought-provoking story line. Creston Mapes, Author of Nobody.

Buy it at Amazon

Monday, August 20, 2007

And The Winner of Elizabeth White's Off the Record Is . . .


Heather if you'll let me know where to send your book privately I'll get it off to you. Thanks everyone for entering, and I hope you'll get a copy of Beth's book so you can all enjoy it like I did.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Be Kind to Animals

This isn't a post about writing. The scene I saw yesterday will never make it into a story of mine. I can't stand to see kids and animals abused, nor can I stand to write about it. Maybe as back story told in a way that shows a positive character arc, or perhaps I'll use the angry emotion that exploded within me in a different type of scene.

Chicagoland has had a hot and muggy August thus far, but yesterday proved to be a deviation from the norm. Sun shining, temperature about 80 degrees, nice breeze. I'd just returned from Sam's and was hauling in my "stuff" when I stopped to chat with my neighbor on her patio. As I was heading for the door to get my frozen things into the freezer, I heard a man's voice yelling "Get back here!" I turned. Across the way a large dog was kind of slinking across the grass away from the yelling man. The dog eventually stopped and retreated toward his master, slinking even lower to the ground. The man came up to the the dog and started beating him across his back and yelling in a loud, mean-sounding voice. The dog never whimpered, never barked. I must hasten to add that the dog walks with with a stiffened gait and looks to be elderly. Now I wonder if he isn't crippled thanks to that bully of an owner.

The old adage to think before you speak totally left me and I yelled at the guy to stop beating the dog. He turned toward my voice and I yelled it again. Then he said the dumbest thing. "Go get your own dog and you can beat him." Huh?? I shouted back that I would never beat a dog, that his dog depends on him and to stop hurting him. I shocked myself, realizing it was pretty risky to yell at a person so hot-tempered like that. For all I knew he'd come over and start beating me. Unlikely, though, since we were in bright daylight and my neighbor was sitting right there.

Man, I felt awful for that dog. It still sickens me. I immediately went over to my neighbor's German Shepherd who was sitting on the patio and gave her love. If I couldn't hug that poor beaten up dog, I could love on some dog. Then I came upstairs to my condo and loved on my cat.
That's Chessie on the left. The dog at the top is a stock photo, but doesn't he look like he wants a hug?

I've been praying that somehow my admonishment has planted some seeds in that bully's head that he needs to clean up his act and take some anger-management counseling. One thing I know for sure. If I see that man do that again I'm reporting him.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Elizabeth White's Off the Record - Win a Copy!

This week's CFBA featured book is Off the Record by Elizabeth White. I finished this book last week and enjoyed every minute of it.

Beth was kind enough to answer a few questions of mine about what went on behind the scenes as she developed this story and her characters. I think you'll enjoy this interview.

And, after you have finished reading please be sure to leave a comment by clicking on "comment" . I will draw a name to win your own copy of Off the Record next Monday, August 20th. Don't forget to leave info on how I can reach you.

1. Beth, your characterizations were strong and written in close POV or deep POV as some call it. What is your method for developing your characters? How much did they tell you about themselves after you started writing? Did any change a lot by the end of the book in a way that surprised you? Did you base any of these characters on people you know—not an exact copy LOL—or were they strictly from your imagination.

To know that my characters are vivid and memorable is a high compliment. Thanks! Character development for me often starts with a vivid mental image of the physical person. And that physical image usually springs from their function/place in the story.

For example, in Off the Record I started with Laurel, a highly educated woman with strong enough self-confidence to run for a high state office. So I imagined a strong physical presence as well. Tall, beautiful in an off-beat way, dramatic coloring. But...why would a woman like that not already be married at the age of 32? Because she intimidates most men. She's been raised in a well-to-do family with good connections (which is how she could afford law school and the money it takes to run a statewide campaign). So what would her family be like?...Those are the kinds of questions I ask myself before I begin to write. Some of it I write down as notes in a Word document, paragraph style. Some of it is in my head. But as I develop the character, usually someone I know who may be similar in either appearance or personality will appear in my head. When I get to a situation where the character must make a decision or respond to someone else's dialogue, I picture what that real-life person would do or say. It's like a game of chasing reactions to stimuli--based on the character's background, temperament, emotions--and I have to keep switching my own point of view so that I put myself inside that person's skin. Sometimes I get it wrong, or I exaggerate for dramatic effect, and an editor or critiquer like my husband will reel me in with a challenge. It's a very weird, messy process.

I don't do those character interview charts or biography sheets. They make me freeze.Do the characters change as I write? Yes, because I do learn about them as I go. Some of that is because I'm the puppet-master, and I know what I want to happen. So I tinker with the backstory to make it plausible. I love backstory. Usually before I begin a novel, I will freewrite, as if I were writing a character's diary, about some event that occurred way in the past. Some event that triggers or deeply affects what happens in the present story. That freewriting won't be in the actual novel, except in fragments of dialogue or stream-of-consciousness thought. But it undergirds the narrative like an imbedded stream of water that seeps to the surface occasionally and feeds the growth of the story.Do the characters surprise me? Yes, and that's the coolest thing about this. Often a line of dialogue will pop out naturally from the flow of a scene, and I'll think, "Now where did that come from?" So I track it down to see if it fits the character. Maybe it doesn't exactly, so I have to either delete it (painful) or adjust backstory. Or maybe the story yaws off in a completely different direction than I'd anticipated.

Like the line at the end of Chapter One, which told me that Laurel and Cole had had a physical relationship in the past. That was a pretty powerful surprise. As far as basing characters on people I know, like I said, I start with a character type and refine until they become real individuals. I know people who are just as strong and admirable as my lead characters, but they don't have the same traumas. The secondaries start out as sidekicks as needed, then they develop as I go.

Usually I'm looking for "foils" to the hero and heroine. If you have sisters, like Gilly and Laurel, they're going to share some environmental characteristics--the bossy, self-absorbed mother, for example--but Gilly is sixteen years younger than Laurel, so of course she's going to have a different take on circumstances. Why did I make Gilly 16 years younger? I honestly don't remember, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.A lot of a novelist's job is armchair psychology. Why do people behave the way they do? I study and listen to people constantly. I find myself interviewing if I meet someone interesting. It's a lot of fun.

2. Since my (Pam) family hails from Alabama on my mom’s side, I was caught up in Laurel’s travels as she campaigns about the state. The few places I’ve been that you used obviously came to life for me because I’d been there, but even the places I haven’t been I could feel and experience as though I had been there. Did you actually visit all the sites you used in the story? How did you pick which places she would visit while she was campaigning?

I was looking for interesting sites. I visited the Judicial Building in Montgomery, and I've been to all the places in Mobile that Laurel went to. I haven't been to the Chicken and Egg Festival or the Bollweevil Museum, but there are fascinating web sites with pictures and stuff that were really helpful. I corresponded with a woman who wrote the Bollweevil Museum's history. Even without actually going to those places, I have a really good imagination, and I've been to enough places like them in Alabama and Mississippi that I could pretty well capture the essence of them--I hope! I thought about having her visit Talladega and the Space Center in Huntsville, but just couldn't figure out how to work it in. Story rules.

3. Where did the idea for On the Record come from? In other words, trace it’s first inception to finished manuscript.

Woo. That's a big question. A couple of years ago I read a newspaper article about a female judge announcing her candidacy for Alabama Supreme Court chief justice (in Alabama judges are elected). If she won, she would be the first woman in that position. I thought that would make a cool story premise, so I tried to think of what could keep an otherwise qualified judge from winning. And I was writing a romance, so I tried to figure out a way to involve the hero to block her. Who would be an antagonist to a candidate? A private detective hired by her opponent--if she had some kind of secret in her past--or a reporter. Or maybe both! So Cole became the reporter, working hand-in-hand with Matt Hogan, the detective, who in turn was working for the nasty George Field.Once I had an idea what the story parameters were--who the main characters were--it was a matter of interviewing people who actually work in those professions, and asking what would be the worst and funniest things that could happen. Then you let those things happen in the story. I interviewed a professional campaign manager, a female judge, and a reporter. I hung out on a private detective's website and blog. That was really a lot of fun.

4. Cara Putman on her blog gave you a great review. She stated that as an attorney she’s skeptical of authors writing about attorneys and other legal types if they aren’t attorneys themselves. She came away from On The Record highly impressed that you portrayed Judge Laurel’s working life accurately and that you had done your homework. How much research did you have to do? How important was it to portray that side of Laurel’s life accurately even though the plot basically centered on her personal relationship with Cole and her campaign to be Chief Judge for the state of Alabama?

I really appreciate it when my research is acknowledged. It's very important to me to get things as "right" as I can. I have a very good friend who's a single female attorney, and she did a lot of the initial brainstorming with me. She has connections in the Mobile legal community, and she took me with her to a meeting of the Christian Legal Society. She also introduced me to a Christian female judge, who allowed me to observe her court and sit in her chambers as she negotiated with lawyers (all this with prior consent from the lawyers involved). So Laurel is based on these two brilliant women, with her own personal angst created by my imagination. After I wrote the scenes in the courtroom and Laurel's chambers, I had my friend read them for accuracy. She corrected me on a couple of minor counts, and also tweaked the "lawyer" lingo. Some of it I picked up just listening to her over the years. Also, I have a pretty good ear for terminology, just from doing a lot of reading.

5. What else is on Beth White’s plate for future novels?

Controlling Interest will come out in April from Zondervan. Matt Hogan is the hero, trying to rescue his detective agency after the George Fields Debacle, while negotiating a competition with his unwanted new partner, Natalie Tubberville. Did you ever see the old Bruce Willis-Cybil Shepherd show Moonlighting? That'll give you a flavor of Controlling Interest.In the meantime I'm developing a story based on the further adventures of Gilly Kincade. I don't know enough to tell you much now, but she's a rising New York ballet star. It's a Zondervan release scheduled for next December.Also, I'm in the midst of hacking a bunch of word count out of a Civil War suspense for Love Inspired Historicals. Submarines (yes, there was one way back then). Underground Railroad. Blockade runners. Cool stuff. It will release November 08. And soon I'll be working on its sequel, which will release a year later. That one will feature a runaway daughter of missionaries who wants to attend Tulane Medical College. She falls in love with her arch rival. Picture Grey's Anatomy in 1879 New Orleans, without all the skanky sex scenes.

Thanks for asking such hard questions. Thanks for your interest. May the Lord bless your ministry here.

If you don't win your copy of Off the Record here, you can buy it at Amazon.

Woo hoo. Beth's future books sound wonderful. I can't wait to read them.

Remember to leave a comment to win your own copy of Beth's Off the Record. Drawing is Monday, August 20th.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

My writing life is starting to read like a novel. One of the key components of a good plot is Goals, Motivation and Conflict. My goals are to sell my novel as that is what God seems to be calling me to do and glorifying Him in the process, see my work published, give others pleasure by entertaining them with a good story, and grow in my writing ability through the experience. I'm motivated to do this by many of these goals, not to mention that an additional "pay check" would be nice :-). The conflict is there through the many times I've had to rewrite, accept critiques that aren't as praising as I had hoped, and receiving redirections and rejections from editors.

** SIGH**

The latter is what happened yesterday. With lightning-fast speed, my manuscript was reviewed and returned. I won't go into the reasons that were stated, but without having to say so, it was a very disappointing day for me. Especially after spending the past two months reworking the story from first person POV to third person.

But after a lengthy conversation with my crit partner who knew all the right encouraging words to say :-) as well as with a few other writing friends and non-writing friends who love me, I'm ready to get back in the saddle with this thing.

My crit partner thinks my first-person version is better and I am inclined to agree. But before I can propose it anywhere I need to also rework that. Add at least 20,000 words to meet word count requirements of other publishers, include some plot changes I came up with on the third-person project that work better, and take into consideration the comments made in the rejection letter regarding some pacing issues. Rather easy fixes. I hope this won't take as long as it did for the other rework. It'll be ready to pitch at conference in Dallas in 38 days.

God is teaching me a lot and He doesn't waste a hurt, as stated in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. He has provided me with several scriptures. I keep coming back to a scripture from Hebrews 10:35-36. In the New Living Translation it says:

"So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you. Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that He has promised."

God knew long before I sent that puppy in what would happen. These past two months haven't been in vain, but a time to grow and to endure. Patiently endure. As I said the other day, He is my ultimate editor, agent and publisher.

I feel a song coming on "I'm back in the saddle again. Back where a . . ."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Memories Are a Good Thing

As you can see, I've added a new thingy to my blog. It's a countdown widget to the ACFW Conference to be held in Dallas September 20 - 23. It seems like I just got back from Colorado's conference and now ACFW's is coming up fast. The picture is of Julie Dearyan getting autographs from Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck and Diann Hunt during the book signing at last year's conference.

This week I've been working on a narrative history of ACFW. It's hard to believe the organization is already seven years old. Young by many other standards, but for all the blessings we've enjoyed these seven years it seems like it should be older.

I wasn't in on the ground floor back in 2000, but I joined within a year of its inception and I am so blessed to have been a part of it ever since.

Of course, one of the biggest highlights of ACFW is our conference. The first National Conference was back in 2002 in Kansas City. One hundred excited writers converged on that hotel and I doubt it's been the same since. Writers are a rare breed. We hear voices sometimes in our head. Yep, characters talk to us and to themselves. We are always looking for a fresh idea to add to our books. The other day I was out walking and a landscape guy almost ran me over with his large mower. I can't wait to put that in a story LOL. More than once, mystery writers have had more attention drawn to themselves than intended when discussing in public how to kill off someone. It was at the Kansas City conference that I knew I'd "come home" when Brandilyn Collins advised us that the hotel was full of "normals" and we had to be careful how we spoke in public, because they just didn't understand.

Each year the conference has become better and better. This year we're having it at the same hotel that we did last year in Dallas. Not only will we be listening to CBA author extraordinaire James Scott Bell talk to us about writing in his keynote addresses, but we'll be treated to great writing workshops, inspiring worship times, great fellowship, a full cadre of agents and editors to hear our pitches, not to mention good coffee from the coffee bar LOL. Did I mention the comfy beds? Like sleeping on a cloud.

One of the newer highlights is our Awards Banquet on Saturday night. Most people dress in evening wear and we hear who the winners of our Book of the Year and Genesis contests are. I've had the honor this year and last of presenting the Mentor of the Year award which is kept a surprise until that night. Here's me giving Lena Nelson Dooley her award last year.

Okay enough reminiscing. If you are interested in signing up for this year's event there's still time to get on board by going to and clicking on the conference link. Although our special-rate room block at the Marriott is filled, we have space available at several overflow hotels at rates close to the same rate. These hotels are a short walk away from the Marriott.

I'm ready . . . or am I? Better polish that pitch one more time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour: And If I Die by John Aubrey Anderson

I've been quiet on the blog this week because I'm busy playing catch-up on the kitchen, paperwork, and ACFW stuff. Meanwhile, life goes on. It's already Wednesday and time for the CFBA Book of the Week.
(Faithwords August 2007)

John grew up in Mississippi cotton country. After graduating from Mississippi State, he received an Air Force commission and has recently retired after flying twenty-eight years for a major airline. He lives in Texas with his wife, Nan.

AND IF I DIE is the third book in the Black and White Chronicles. The first was Abiding Darkness (August, 2006), the second was Wedgewood Grey (February, 2007).In 1945, a spirit voice told Mr. A. J. Mason to “Be ready.”In 1960, the spirit drew near and said the same words to the same man. “Be ready.”On both occasions Mason ended up in bloody battles with the forces of evil. On both occasions, he saved the life of a young girl named Missy Parker. And on both occasions good people died.It’s 1968.Missy Parker has been married to Dr. Patrick Patterson for nine years; they live in Denton, Texas. Missy plays tennis and golf; Pat is chairman of the philosophy department at North Texas State University.Mose Washington, a black man Missy refers to as her almost-daddy, is hiding behind a new name—Mose Mann. Mose and the young black man who poses as his grandson have spent eight years successfully evading the FBI, a murderous congresswoman, and creatures from the demonic realm. They now live in Pilot Hill, Texas—fifteen miles from Pat and Missy. Mose is committing the autumn of his life to the pursuit of the knowledge of God and the protection of his “grandson”. His “grandson” is interested in honing his skills as a bull rider.Close friends see portents of danger in events of the early summer and converge on Pilot Hill to warn the two black men that yet another confrontation with malevolent beings may be looming.In the pre-dawn hours, on the second day of the North Texas Rodeo, the voice of an invisible being speaks to Missy Parker Patterson. The voice warns her that it is now she, not A. J. Mason, who has been chosen as the person who needs to “Be ready” . . . and Missy doesn’t want the job.
Buy it at Amazon

Saturday, August 04, 2007

If I Had a Screwdriver or ....Rewriting Manuscripts is Easier Than This!

Since I sent the manuscript off on Wednesday I've finally returned to the project that has been on hold for two months--redecorating my kitchen. Piece of cake, I thought. The major stuff has already been done: the wallpapering and painting.
The first order of business went great. I found these really cool pictures you rub onto a wall, cabinet, or wherever you want them. They're called stencils, but they're not really that. My cabinets are original to the condo which is at least 40 years old. Probably older. If I had a ton of money I'd rip them out in a New York minute, but until I write the great American novel they stay put. So I have resorted to paint and really neat pictures of espresso drinks like cafe mocha, mocha latte, etc. One picture in the center of each cabinet door and wa la! A new look. Finished that up just fine.

Next up was installing the hardware on the cabinets. I was sailing along until I realized I accidentally bought one of the same design but larger. After a momentary groan I realized the larger one could work well on the pantry door. So I took off the smaller pull and learned very quickly that the supplied screw wasn't long enough since the door is thicker than a kitchen cabinet. It took perseverance, but I finally found a screw in my supply that worked. On to the next project.

Next on my list was installing three small halogen lights under the cabinet that hangs over the counter. I saw this done on Designed to Sell on HGTV and they looked nice and functional. This is where I hit the wall. How on earth does anyone expect someone to install lights with screws that are as skinny as toothpicks with a philips head where the notches for the screwdriver are as minuscule as a pin prick??? We're talking hard wood here folks. I made a hole first with my drill. It's all good. Then I started installing the screw. The thing didn't go in. Why? Because it wasn't turning? Why? Because that pin prick of a notch in the head was mashed flat by my screwdriver. Pulverized.

So for now it's all put away until I can get to Home Depot and find screws that skinny with a larger notch. I'm planning on patching drywall next.

What's the title of my next book? I'm ready to write. It's a whole lot easier than turning a screw.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Releases from ACFW Authors

We've started a new feature at ACFW and I'm excited about it. Jill Eileen Smith collects information about new releases from ACFW authors and posts them to our email loop. Now she's gone one step further and produced a list bloggers can publish each month for their readers. So here it is folks. The list for August looks wonderful. I've heard great things about Colleen Coble's Abomination and can't wait to get my hands on it, and I've already ordered Murder by Mushroom. Just the title sounds intriging to me. I'm currently reading Off the Record for a CFBA tour coming up soon. The other titles are ones I'll have to explore myself.

Do you have some good reads to share? Heard of some new releases that you intend to read that aren't on the list? Share them here!

August 2007 Releases

1. Abomination by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. A young woman flees from a serial killer who leaves his victims at geocaching sites.

2. Family for Keeps and Sadie's Hero reissued as one book by Margaret Daley, from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. This Love Inspired Classic captures two touching stories that were favorites of readers.

3. Jacob's List by Stephanie Grace Whitson from Bethany House Publishers. Facing the challenge of their lives, the Nolans learn that their son's list is about a lot more than youthful adventure. Jacob's List: a story of reconciliation. . . against all odds.

4. In His Dreams from the Michigan Island Series by Gail Gaymer Martin from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Two widowed in-laws meet again on Beaver Island after a few years absence and find joy in the sense of family, especially the hero's emotionally impaired pre-teen daughter, but the familiar friendship goes far beyond what they expected.

5. Massachusetts Brides by Lisa Harris from Barbour Publishing. Three old-fashioned romances bloom in the heart of New England.

6. Missionary Daddy Book 4 of A Tiny Blessings Tale by Linda Goodnight from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A single missionary battles to adopt two boys from Africa and discovers the woman of his dreams is not who he thought she was.

7. Murder by Mushroom by Virginia Smith from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. A potluck on the lawn of Heritage Community Church brings out the usual pests: ants and flies, gossips and murderers.

8. Off the Record by Elizabeth White from Zondervan. A hidden past with journalist Cole McGaughan could end Laurel Kincade's judicial career...Or will the truth set them free to love again?

9. The Restitution 3rd book in The Legacy of the King's Pirates series by MaryLu Tyndall from Barbour Publishing. When Lady Isabel Ashton's only son is kidnapped, she is forced to enlist the aid of the boy's father, the pirate who ruined her life and stole her virtue.

10. To Love Anew Book One of Three by Bonnie Leon from Revell. When Hannah Talbot is banished from London and transported to Australia on a prison ship she's certain God has turned his back on her.

11. Trusting Him by Brenda Minton from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A woman learning to trust, a man longing to be trusted, and a love that takes them by surprise...

Happy reading~

Yee Haw!!! It's In the Mail!

Yep, I'm giving a big old cowboy holler!! The manuscript is in the mail. Now, the story really and truly is in God's hands. I'm feeling very cowboy these days because my friend Ed and I went rodeoing last Saturday and saw not one, but two, rodeos! It was a blast and a nice break from the manuscript revisions. I'll post pictures as soon as I have a chance to touch them up.

It's a strange feeling after spending days being totally absorbed in the story to be done with it . . . for now. If it's bought, there will be editing to come. If it's not bought, I'll be pitching it elsewhere and likely to publishers who want a larger word count. I've already been thinking about spots in the story which can be expanded, that wouldn't stand out like "filler" but would still be integral to the story and advance the plot. I sure do hope it doesn't come to that, but I have to be prepared.

Today I'm relaxing, but tomorrow I have work to do of a non-writing variety for a change. Bet, I'll be writing in my head though, plotting the next story, The Secret of Lilac Inn.

CFBA Blog Tour - Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

Several months back I featured this book on A Writer's Journey and held a contest to give the book to one of my blog readers. I'm posting below my review from June 11, 2007.

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.
Buy it at Amazon!