Saturday, September 29, 2007

More Pictures -- The Final Wrap Up

I hope you've enjoyed a peek at the ACFW conference doings. More than once I've heard people say how they think this is the best conference ACFW has had. Funny. Same thing was said last year.

I attended a wonderful early bird workshop with Margie Lawson on Deepening Character Emotions and I have been busy applying what I learned to my WIP before moving on to sending out writing samples, synops, and proposals to agents and publishers. I'm excited about how the story has moved up another notch with Margie's teaching. She also teaches on line at very reasonable cost. You can check out her website for more details on her classes and schedule for in-person workshops.

Now on to the pictures. Friday night at the ACFW conference is a night to party! Publishers and agents sometimes use the time to entertain their authors while the rest of the crowd heads out to sample the local fare. I joined the gals from the Central Texas ACFW chapter called CenTex at the Blue Mesa Mexican Restaurant. The food was yummy and the company fun.

Here I am with Sherrie on the left and Julia and Dorothy on the right. Julia is a rodeo barrel racer so we had a good time talking rodeo.

Here's more of the ladies. Sorry I don't remember all of their names, but that's Lin Harris in front and Nancy Jo Jenkins in the middle of the three.

And, here I am with my good friend and conference roomie, Michelle Shocklee.

Sunday morning was the final keynote address from James Scott Bell and worship. I had the honor to doing a sign/mime devotional presentation to the song "Moses" recorded by Ken Medema. One of the men took this picture. It was at the part where Moses is saying, "Lord, don't take this rod away from me. Don't you know it's my only security."

So there you have a small view of a huge conference that has left huge impressions and memories in all of our hearts. Next year we're headed to Minneapolis and I can't wait!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Conference Pictures!

More conference pictures from the huge multi-author book signing event and the award banquet.

Here is Maureen Lang who has been featured here a couple times in book reviews and giveaways.

Here I am with a new friend, Marian McNair. Marion lives in Los Angeles and we had a good time during lunch one day chatting about Southern California. I lived out there for about seven years and back in the day.

The Awards Banquet saw many come in beautiful dresses and pressed suits, but none looked better than "Mama Ruth," Brandilyn Collins's mother in an authentic Indian sari. Mama Ruth and her husband were missionaries in India. The dapper gentleman in his Scottish kilt is agent Chip MacGreagor. Yes. The kilt is cut from his clan's actual plaid.

And last, but not least, is a shot taken of me by Jodie Westfall who took the
other shots of me, I have yet to reveal, for my website.
I'll post more pictures, so check back soon!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ACFW Conference Pictures!

Just a few to share for now.

Nothing fancy-- just a few photos to share:
Here I am with Ane Mulligan, ACFW Zone Officer, at the keynote luncheon.

At same luncheon with Keynote, James Scott Bell.

Here I am with Susan May Warren and a picture of her book coming out in January about a bull rider named Rafe. No. We didn't call each other that morning to see what to wear. I didn't even realize we both had on white jackets and black pants until
I looked at the photo later.

More to share later. I'm slowing coming out of my brain-fog and getting some work done today before I can devote full attention to writing again.

CFBA Blog Tour - A Two-Fer This Week Featuring Tamera Alexander's Remembered

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Tammy Alexander last week in Dallas and hosted her workshop on Dissecting a Novel. That's Tammy standing between authors Deb Raney and Brandilyn Collins. Then, this morning I find out that CFBA is featuring two books this week and Tammy's is one of them. Back when I first met Tammy, she was unpublished and living in Colorado. In 2004, she coordinated the ACFW conference that was held in Denver. Coming from a business background, the job seemed tailor-made for her and she did a fantastic job. As you can imagine, coordinating conferences takes a lot of time--time away from writing. So after that conference, Tammy got busy and devoted all her time to writing. The end result was a three-book contract with Bethany. Remembered is the third book in this wildly popular series.
Here's the official blurb on the author:
Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Alexander’s books have won multiple awards, including Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006.

Her books have received acclaim from Library Journal, True West Magazine and Historical Novels Review, and Rekindled debuted on the CBA fiction bestseller list. She has a professional background in business management and conference coordination. A leader of women's ministries for over twelve years, she is currently active in music ministry, facilitating small groups, and mentoring other women. A graduate of Harding University, Tamera currently lives with her husband and their two college-age children in Nashville, TN.

Her other two books in the Fountain Creek Chronicles are Rekindled (Book 1) and Revealed (Book 2)To celebrate the release of Remembered, as well as the 3-volume boxed set of Fountain Creek Chronicles (Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered), Tamera is currently giving away boxed sets in a contest on her website. Check out the contest at .
From a Distance, the first book in Tamera’s next historical series (Timber Ridge Reflections) releases in spring 2008.
Though loss is often marked in a single moment, letting go of someone you love can take a lifetime...The threat of war--and a final request--send Véronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood--her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Véronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans... and his life.

"Alexander again delivers a most amazing story. The characters are more than
words on the page; they become real people. Though there are French words
sprinkled throughout the story, they enhance the emotions rather than distract
the reader." --Romantic Times
"...a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this
subgenre." --Library Journal
"Alexander has done it again with Remembered, third in the FOUNTAIN CREEK
CHRONICLES. She's fashioned characters that are as rich and deep as the
mountains and valleys they explore throughout the pages, coloring the story as
adeptly as the heroine does her canvas. I was drawn immediately into the
ages-old heartaches of both of the main characters, understanding at once
Veronique's reticence to make a place for herself in the unknown wilds of
America and Jack's uncompromising love for this land that he’s cut a swath
through time and again. They both have a series of mountains to overcome in the
search for Veronique’s father, but I enjoyed watching their faith and
appreciation grow with each turn of the page. And woven adeptly through it all
is the encompassing truth of the Lord's sovereignty—that sometimes He takes
away, and sometimes He gives us what we need, not what we're looking for.
Anyone's who's read the other Fountain Creek books won't want to miss this
one, but it easily stands alone. The characters will take you by the hand and
lead you heart-first into their stories, and by the time they release you at the
end, you'll feel as though you've taken up residence just across the Creek from
them, as surely as they have in your heart." --Roseanna White,

"Remembered, the third book in the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES, takes us back to Willow Creek and revisits beloved characters from the previous two books in the series, Rekindled and Revealed. Tamera Alexander has the remarkable ability to create places, and characters who endear themselves to us, even those just
briefly mentioned. If I had lived in the late 1800s, I would love to have met
these people and would surely have been inspired by the way they lived out their
faith. Remembered is a delightful read, well-researched and well-written. I
expect to see great things from this author in the future." --Lindsey

"Remembered is an absolutely wonderful continuation of the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES." --Amanda Schafer,

Buy it at Amazon!

Monday, September 24, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour - Blessed Assurance by Lyn Cote

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Avon Inspire (October 1, 2007)
Lyn Cote


Lyn Cote's journey to becoming a published author was a long one - she started her first book when her daughter was 13 months old and her first novel was published when her daughter was about to enter high school. But Lyn was writing for a market that hadn't taken shape yet - the inspirational fiction market.In 1996, Lyn Cote's first inspirational historical manuscript was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest. This became her first historical novel, Whispers Of Love, in her BLESSED ASSURANCE series.Most recently, Chloe, the first novel in Lyn's "Women of Ivy Manor" historical series was a 2006 RWA Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational, as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National REaders Choice Contest.Lyn also writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She lives in the lovely northwoods of Wisconsin with her husband and three cats. Aside from writing, she also likes to knit, crochet, read, and do lunch with friends.

Now available for the first time in one edition--All three novels from Lyn Cote's beloved Blessed Assurance series.

In Whispers of Love, Civil War widow Jessie Wagstaff must fend for herself and her son. When a stranger, Lee Smith, befriends Jessie's son, even though she recognizes nine-year-old Linc's need for a father figure, she's reluctant to let a new man into their life. When the Great Chicago Fire blazes, every heart is pushed to its limits. In Lost In His Love, Jessie's son Linc, a social activist and reporter, charms his way through the upper class of San Francisco to build much-needed support for his fight against child labor. His main target is Cecilia Jackson, a beautiful heiress who doesn't recognize the crucial part she plays in this dangerous exploitation. As the secrets of her family's dark past are exposed, Cecilia must revive her own wounded spirit and find the strength to lean on the never-failing love of Christ. But when the 1906 earthquake hits, everyone's faith will be put to the test. In Echoes of Mercy, Meg Wagstaff challenges the racial barriers of 1920s New Orleans in order to prove that her childhood friend did not commit murder. The stubborn lawyer prosecuting the case, Gabriel St. Clair, is an authentic Southern gentleman who makes the mistake of underestimating Meg, both her tenacity and her charm. Despite their many differences, sparks begin to fly. But when Meg discovers the truth, will Gabe be able to protect her from those who can't afford to have justice prevail?

"A beautiful tale of love, forgiveness, and acceptance."
~CBA Marketplace
Buy it at Amazon!

And I'm Back from Big D!

Yes, I am back from one of the best conferences ACFW has put on. In fact each year it gets better and better.

My connection to the Internet from my room was not exactly stellar. In fact, it was downright sporadic, bordering on lousy. So I left the blog posting to our wonderful PR officer, Cara Putman, who posted some photos on the official ACFW blog.

More on the conference will be posted here as I get my thoughts collected and pictures downloaded from my camera. I also had some great pictures done by Jodie Westfall who offered her services to attendees. I told her I wanted to take her back to Chicago. She's the first person who seems able to take pictures of me that actually make me look good LOL.

I'm hoping to re-style my website and will be using her photos there and will upload one of the shots to this blog as well.

Check back soon, because I'll be reporting more!

Monday, September 17, 2007

And I'm Off . . .

As you can see by the counter on the right, the ACFW conference kick-off moment is almost here. Tomorrow I head for the airport and board a jet for Dallas. Tomorrow night my friend Ane and I will bum at the Galleria and probably connect with a few others who are already in town. Then Wednesday it's all work. The ACFW Board will be meeting for most of the day, and then we connect up with the Advisory Board for a joint meeting, followed by dinner.

Everything officially starts Thursday and doesn't stop until Sunday noon. Whew.
I made a determination today when a friend sent me an email this morning to wish me a good trip. He said to remember that the conference and what happens there isn't about me but about God. Wow. He is so right. Scripture tells us to not only look out for our own interests, but also the interests of others. I am going into this week seeking ways to bless others and not get all hung up on how my appointments go or don't go, who I talk to about my story, and if I will come home with invites to submit. I am going to go, completely in God's hand and be available to Him.
I'll try to blog from Dallas. I know I said that when I went to Colorado and never did. The key word is "try." LOL

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Attack of the Ants

No that's not a new title for my book, but maybe I could write one. I came home from church a while ago and found that my dear, sweet, kitty cat had tossed her cookies on the rug just inside my front door. All much to the delight of at least a bazillion ants who had blazed a trail between the wallboard and the mess .

I am not kidding. They had formed a line and were trailing to and from, each with a full belly and a crumb to stash somewhere within the innards of my condo building. What a pleasant thought. And I'm about to leave for five days with a neighbor doing cat duty for me.

I'll probably come home and find they've carted off her food dish!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Where've I Been???

Haven't seen me since Tuesday around these parts. Well, I've been here scurrying like mad to get myself ready to leave next Tuesday for the ACFW conference. Being on the ACFW board I have to go down there early for meetings on Wednesday.

The other day I felt like a kid heading off to buy school supplies. I went to Office Max with a list for the Early Bird class I'm taking on Thursday: colored highlighters, red pens, a case to hold them all, a new three-ring portfolio thingy. As I dropped each item in my cart excitement rumbled in my chest, not unlike what I felt as a kid shopping for my new pencil box LOL.

I've been to a fair many writers conferences and I must say that ACFW just about tops them all. Now maybe the Colorado conference has us beat for setting. Who can top the Rockies? But for everything else as far as a fiction writer is concerned ACFW is the best, and it officially begins this coming Thursday!
As for now I'd better get back to the cleaning detail

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Day That Should Never Die in Infamy

I rarely get very political on this blog. After all, it's a blog about my writing journey, the journey God is leading me on with what He's gifted me to do. However, today I feel I need to speak out. Too many people who have a vehicle to speak to the world through media are saying some pretty astounding things about September 11, 2001, and about the U.S.A. in general.

I've heard a lot of hate for this country spewing from some peoples' mouths. People who are American citizens rising up against the U.S. like a pack of Benedict Arnolds. Ironically, the very country they love to hate is the country that gives them the freedom to rant. Don't they realize that they have the freedom to speak no matter how outlandish their beliefs might be. They have the freedom to worship however they choose. They have the freedom to own property and make as much money as they possibly can as long as they do it legally. By our Bill of Rights they have these rights and more. Yet for whatever reason, they choose to hate the very country that gives them the right to speak out.

September 11, 2001, was a watershed day. From that point on life as we knew it would never be the same. I remember when a coworker came to my office and told me a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. I pictured a small Cessna or something like that. Of course, I was wrong. Everyone in our office sat transfixed in front of a TV that was hastily connected, staring in shock at the screen, watching shell-shocked people covered in white dust run from the buildings. We saw the buildings collapse, yet it hadn't sunk in this was really happening. This wasn't any movie. And then we heard about the Pentagon and later Flight 93 going down in PA. As time went by I learned of so many connections between the people who died that day and people who live in my area, including Todd Beamer, the Christian man who went down on Flight 93.

I remember the stone-still silence that pervaded the skies overhead over the next several days. Living in the Chicago area, the only sound that could be heard was the occasional F-16 as it circled overhead, protecting us. I remember the day I heard one of those F-16s scramble right above where I live to intercept a plane carrying what turned out to be a disturbed young man and his dad trying to fly home once the airlines were free to move about again. The young man had made a threat to the pilot and no one was taking any chances.
I was assured that day that our Armed Forces were doing all they could to protect us from further attack. Then later, of course, came Iraq and the fall of Saddam. I am grateful to every person who has voluntarily joined up and gone to war for us and for our freedoms.

Rodeo organizers always make sure the flag is honored (The picture here is from one we went to in Indiana a couple years ago.) and the rodeo we attended over Labor Day was no exception. They not only honored the flag, but also thanked those who have gone to war to protect us. At each performance a different young man from that small farming area was honored. A man who had left his family, job, and personal pleasures to serve his country and had returned home safely. While the announcer described what a soldier encounters each day, the man made a slow walk the length of the arena where he was joined by his family. The entire place erupted with cheers and applause in thanks. There was also thanks for those that didn't make it home at each performance when the parents of a fallen soldier were thanked and their sons' sacrifice acknowledged by a symbolic riderless horse.

This week a fellow ACFW member and blogging pal, Winter, will be welcoming her husband home from Iraq. She's basically been a single mom for a year, raising their four young children on her own and keeping the home fires burning. He's already in the States and by this weekend that family will be reunited.

I can't thank all the soldiers who have served personally, but whenever I see a soldier I go up to him and thank him for what he is doing. It's my way of saying thanks to all the soldiers who have fought to pretect our freedoms.

When you see a soldier, be sure to say thanks. He or she needs to hear it.

I'm proud to be an American and I hope you are too.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Little Cowgirl Grows Up

I've been so busy since I got back from Labor Day weekend trying to upgrade the first three chapters of MFB for the proposal and fulfilling other obligations, I didn't blog much about the rodeo weekend. When I started dating a native Texan a couple years ago I was introduced to the world of rodeo and I love it. We've been to quite a few rodeos, which I never realized existed in the Midwest ,and the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) when they came to Chicago last year. That was a blast!

Ever since I was a kid I've been fascinated by cowboys. Just before the rodeo last week, I came across a snapshot of me when I was about five years old.

Ha! I look more ready for a rodeo back then than I did now. But the years intervened and other than occasionally going horseback riding, my cowboy dreams faded into oblivion. Until now.
The village of Palestine, IL puts on one of the best rodeos in the Midwest. It's been around for over forty years and each year it seems to get better. What makes this rodeo unique is that the townspeople constructed the top class arena themselves and everything there is permanent. The PRCA-sanctioned event draws crowds from all over Illinois and Indiana. A woman from Wyoming won herself a pair of Ariat boots just for leading a cheer. Lucky dog. LOL

It's a family affair including kids in autographed hats

To lil cowpokes ridin' the mechanical bull along with some big guys too.
But not me! I prefer to watch LOL

So how does that little cowgirl look today? There I am on the right. You can't see my boots but they're there. No small thing for a gal who usually wears sandals in 92 degree heat!

The weekend is already a distant memory as I gear up for Dallas when I leave a week from Tuesday! Now I really will be going to cowboy country but with little time to check out the rodeo scene.

We do have free time Friday night. Maybe I can sneak out to Mesquite for a little rodeo action. Yee haw!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour - Sushi for One by Camy Tang

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

Sushi for One?
(Zondervan, September 1, 2007)
I fell asleep at the switch and didn't get this book ordered from CFBA, but it's definately on my shopping list for the conference bookstore in Dallas when I'm there in two weeks. I've known the author, Camy Tang, for several years and have been looking forward to reading her debut novel.
If you are in the Dallas area on September 22nd you can come to the Addison Marriott that afternoon, pick up Camy's book there in the bookstore and meet Camy in person for her autograph at the mega booksigning. See the sidebar and click on the mini picture of the booksigning flier for more details!

Camy Tang is a member of CFBA and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!

To celebrate the launch of her debut novel, she's got a huge contest going on. Camy is giving away baskets of Christian novels and an iPod Nano! Only her newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible to enter, so join today.
For more information about the contest, visit her website.
Contest ends October 31, 2007!


Lex Sakai’s family, big, nosy, and marriage-minded, is ruled by a crafty grandmother. When her cousin Mariko gets married, Lex will become the OLDEST SINGLE COUSIN in the clan, a loathed position by all single female family members.

Lex has not dated for years. Grandma homes in on this fact and demands, bribes, and threatens Lex to bring a boyfriend (not just a date) to her cousin’s wedding. Lex does not want to date ... not since that terrible incident a few years back ... but, Grandma doesn't give her that choice.

Lex's options are slim because she has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the PERFECT man (and the more she dates, the more she adds to the list).
The one man she keeps running into (and is completely attracted to) doesn’t seem to have a single quality on her list. It’s only when the always-in-control Lex loses control and lets God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.
Buy it at Amazon!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Countdown is On

I got back from the rodeo weekend yesterday afternoon and plowed right in, getting myself ready for the ACFW Conference. Wow, I leave exactly two weeks from today and I am so not ready yet.

First up, I'm back at it with the story, revising the beginning. Yep, you read that right. A trusted agent friend looked at the opening chapters and advised me to pace it better, cut to the chase faster, keep the reader engaged. So I've cut the first scene altogether and morphed some of the dialogue from that into the second scene. It was hard to let go of some of my pet actions and phrases, but they had to go.

I'm thoroughly convinced that after a time, an author can have trouble seeing his or her story from a fresh perspective. I've had the basic beginning now for months and I adopted the mindset it can be no other way. But the agent was right. I spent part of my weekend away pounding on my laptop and coming up with a new first chapter. Today I honed it. Now I need to do the same thing with the second chapter, getting to the murder faster.

In addition to getting my story ready for pitching, I have ACFW responsibilities to have done before leaving. Once the plane lands in Dallas, I hit the ground running and never stop until Sunday when I drag myself onto the plane and fall into the seat for my flight home. Two days later, I'll come up for air. LOL.

The rodeo was a blast. So good to get away, but already it seems like a dream.