Saturday, December 29, 2007

What a Great Idea!

Have you ever heard of something and thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?” You know, something like Post-Its or super garlic presses or a coffee shop that sells 10 oz. of coffee for $4. Those type of things that everyone should have/need/use.

I was reading US News & World Report yesterday and came across just that thing. First let me give you some backstory—there have been many days recently when I’ve thought that if I weren’t on my deadline, I would be walking on my treadmill instead of sitting on my butt with my laptop. Well, wonder of wonders, some people have invented contraptions to secure your laptop to a treadmill! I’m not kidding.

Some folks have built their own treadmill desk or you can buy the Cadillac of treadmill desks, the Walkstation. (BTW, the Walkstation site has an interesting video to explain their product.)Well, because I’m neither handy enough to build my own desk or affluent enough to buy a Walkstation, I’ve found a good alternative called the Net Runner which has a strap that holds a laptop on a treadmill. Yeah, I’m going to order it. I’ll give you an update in two months or five pounds, whichever comes first.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New pics!




I'm updating my marketing images, and here are two of my new portraits.


For nearly six years, my day job has been in the portrait photography industry. I'm a firm believer that the way you present yourself in your marketing materials helps to establish your professionalism in the eyes of the beholder. Everyone needs a touch of digital artwork to make them look their best--and it's cheaper than plastic surgery. But for the love of all goodness, please, please don't go all glamour shots on us. Hey, I've been around for a few decades, and I've earned my laugh lines. I'm keeping them in my images.

My new images were done by my friend Pauline Fortuna of Fat Tuna Photography.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We Don't Have To Dream


. . . of a white Christmas here in Colorado!

Have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate Emmanuel!


"God is with us!"

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Pammer carded me and I'm responding. Uh, I don’t really know what the term “carded” actually means, but I’m like the geek in high school who isn’t on the “inside,” so I’m not going to ask. I’ll just go along with it.

Ronie Kendig altered this CARDED meme to include a Spiritual Wish list so we can know how to pray for each other, both spiritually and physically. Sweet!

THE RULES:

1. Each player starts with 5 gifts that they would want for Christmas.
2. People who are "CARDED" need to write their own Blog about their 5 things & post these rules.
3. At the end of your Blog, you need to choose 5 people to get "CARDED" and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a COMMENT telling them they're "CARDED," and to read your Blog.

My Materialistic Gift/Wish List:

1. A new kitchen sink and a new bathroom. See I’m not as spoiled as some people may think. Jewels, electronics, vehicle, ets. are not on my list. I’m a really, really happy and satisfied woman.
2. The money to stay home and write. I stole this one from Pammer. I know that day will come, but until then I’m locked into the dreaded day job. (Part-time though, praise God!)
3. Anything from JJill.
4. A new purse. The one I have is beginning to show wear.
5. A weekly housecleaning service. Boy that would be nice.

My Spiritual Gift/Wish List:

1. Discipline to spend more time in Bible study.
2. The ability to look outside of myself more and see the needs of others.
3. The ability to be more organized.
4. Discernment to know what is truly important and what I should just let go.
5. Wisdom for everyday living.

The people I carded are:

Oh, I used that photo of Belle because it makes me laugh. She's really a cute dog and her head is not really two sizes too big for her body.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Fun of My Writing Journey Continues


Several months ago novelist Deb Raney emailed me to invite me to participate in her website, The Plot Thickens. The site is devoted to novelists and their garden spots.

Well, I just checked in and discovered she’s already put me on the site. Believe it or not, I'm between Mary DeMuth and Robin Lee Hatcher. What fun!

I don’t mind telling you I’m a little intimidated to be listed with all the other fine authors there.

That Deb, she's a clever girl to create such a cool site, and she's a dear to maintain it. Have fun checking out the garden world of your favorite authors.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Where Did The Week Go?

I can barely grasp the day before it evaporates. And now it’s Saturday night. The week’s gone. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’ve had a glorious week.

I’ve gotten a lot written on my wip. I actually made myself laugh and cry this week.

I had a great week at work with some wonderful, energetic, creative women. We laugh and work and laugh and plan and laugh and create beautiful marketing pieces. I think, for a writer, I’ve got the coolest job ever.

On Wednesday I had dinner with my peeps. Jan, Tonya, Sharen and Heather. We laughed, cried, ate and prayed. Oh, boy, did we pray. I hope you have wonderful friends to pray with. It can change your world.

That's a photo of Heather and Jan laughing. We met for coffee before dinner.

Then they settled down and let me take a nice photo.

The weekend has also been jam packed with amazing, sweet, uneventful family time.

Oh, and it snowed in Colorado. Beautiful, fluffy, sparkly snow.

I hope you had a blessed week too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Miracle Monday




Please join with the saints and pray for Kristy Dykes at 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Her husband Milton requests, “Please share the word with everyone who will join in prayer this Monday to eradicate through prayer that which cannot be killed by radiation.”

Kristy has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme stage four tumor. According to all reports, except the Word of the Lord, this is terminal, and without a miracle she will not live long even with radiation and chemotherapy.

Please visit Kristy’s blog and read the heartwarming and loving story of this journey as seen through the eyes of Kristy and Milton.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Watch This!

My friend and writing mentor, Angela Hunt, had her book The Note made into a movie by the Hallmark Channel.

It looks like it is a wonderful family movie. Watch it tonight on the Hallmark Channel, and then go to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of the book. While you're there, pick up a copy of Angie's latest book, Doesn't She Look Natural. It's on my Christmas list.

*UPDATE*
I very much enjoyed the movie, and it brought a tear to my eyes more than once.

Good news--there are encore airinngs: The Note will also air (on the Hallmark channel)
Dec. 13th, nine p.m. EST
December 18th, 9 p.m. EST
And Dec. 25th, 7 p.m. EST.

Give yourself a nice Christmas moment and watch the movie.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hanging Out


Good news/bad news. My awful sore throat is gone/now I have bronchitis.


I'm still home, and to tell the truth, I'm sure my co-workers don't want me in the office spreading my cooties.


So, here I sit in my corner of the world, which happens to be the corner of my living room, next to my ginormous Christmas tree. You can see my laptop on the footstool in front of my rocking chair.


My writing buddy (dog Belle) is keeping me company. She's learning to live with the Christmas music. Lucky dog, at least I can't sing along to further torment her.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Working--finally




Yippi--the fog is clearing from my brain and I'm in the writing groove.
God bless you~now get to work yourself!


It looks like someone's not appreciating my Christmas music.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Just one of those days








I’ve been a bit under the weather since Sunday night. I’ve even stayed home from work the past two days. My doctor says I have strep throat, but after a day of medication, I got worse. Who knows? I’ve been hanging out with my head feeling like it’s stuffed with cotton (actually it feels like it’s stuffed with something else, but I’m too much of a lady to say what.)

Late this afternoon, I got into the writing groove for the first time in a few days. My dear daughter borrowed my laptop, so I was using the PC. I finally finished that chapter that’s been bugging me. I wrote it. Deleted it. Rewrote it. Deleted most of it, and then this afternoon, I nailed it. Unfortunately, I was working off a jumpdrive in the PC, and an error occurred.

Aargh! The entire file went poof! I lost the good chapter I had written and the entire file containing my book that was on the jumpdrive disappeared as well.


That's an illustration of my heart breaking when I realized my stupid mistake. Now, it’s not the end of the world. I still have the document on my laptop—minus the new chapter. Funny thing, a few moments before disaster struck, I was recalling that someone on the ACFW loop said that you should never work off a jumpdrive in a computer, and that you should put the document on the desktop.

Lesson learned. The hard way.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Whoops!


Guess what? I’ve done it again. I’ve bought a Christmas tree that some people in my family (read: dear husband and darling son) may think is a little too large. I’m fairly certain when he left for work Friday, Dear Husband said something about a 7’ tree.

Well, my 23 year-old-daughter and I went out to that ginormous home-improvement store with nothing but the best intentions. It turns out the 7’ trees were a little old, but the lot attendant said they had just gotten a shipment in, and would we like to see another tree. Poor innocent dear. Did he really think two women would look at ONE tree and say, “Oh, perfect. We’ll take it.” How naïve could a guy be?

Anyway, after the good hearted fellow unwrapped about four trees, he offered to give us an upgraded tree for the lower price. What woman doesn’t like a bargain? We said yes. (In hindsight, I think he was trying to get rid of us.)

We bought one that was categorized as a 9-10’ tree. Yowsa. The attendants tied it to the roof of my car, and we were on our way. We manhandled it off of my Hyundai and leaned it against the wall of the garage. Believe it or not, the top of the tree touched the garage ceiling (which is high).



My husband and son wrestled it into the living room, both fearful that when it was released from the plastic mesh it would pull a “Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation” thing and thwap everything in site. But this lovely Noble Fir was more of a lady, and she gently relaxed her beautiful boughs.

It took almost all day Saturday to decorate. Oh, did I mention that my son measured it? It’s not a 7’ tree, and it’s not even a 10’ tree as it was marked. No, this baby is a full 12’!
And did I also mention that our tree stand is guaranteed for trees up to 9’ tall?

This afternoon, my beautiful tree took a fall. Yup. C-R-A-S-H. Oh, boy. We were able to stand it up again, but with just the two of us home, couldn’t situate it properly. When someone else comes home we’ll give it another try.

Until then, my elegant tree looks like that drunk girl who crashed the party and just looks a mess. The angel is hanging down the front of the tree and the ribbon is in disarray.

I’ve learned my lesson. Next year I’ll get a 7’tree . . .

(Maybe)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Divine Humanity








For as long as I can remember, my mother put this reproduction antique post card on the table next to our nativity set each Christmas season. The nativity set was passed on to me a few years ago. In the box was the post card with a sentiment written by Phillips Brooks, a man known as the greatest American preacher of the 19th century and writer of the Christmas hymn, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Each year when I read the post card, a thrill of joy bubbles up from my heart. At this beautiful time of year, I wish you a similar thrill of joy. . .

“Lift up your eyes to the great meaning of the day, and dare to think of your humanity as something so divinely precious that it is worthy of being made an offering to God.

Count it as a privilege to make that offering as complete as possible, keeping nothing back; and then go out to the pleasures and duties of your life, having been truly born anew into His divinity, as he was born into our humanity on Christmas Day.”

Since I was a very young woman, I have given myself, heart and soul, to my Lord. I offer each of my days to Him. And in a most humble way, I think of my writing as something so divinely precious that it is worthy of being made an offering to God as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Writer Montage Thoughts


Some of those lines from the previous post were great. Weren’t they?

I liked the one about the unpublished guy who says, “I’m a playwright. I write unproduced plays.” I had a line similar to that for many years.

And then there was the one about the genre that was all over the place: “It’s an action, suspense, romantic melodrama with lots of comedy, of course.” Now that one hit close to home because nobody is 100% sure what my genre is. If you take out the suspense in the above quote, you may very well have a description on my genre. But what would that be called?

And what writer hasn’t heard something like this: “It’s not that it’s bad. It’s just not good enough.”

Monday, November 19, 2007

Can You Relate?

This writer montage is so on the mark. It encompasses the ups and downs of the writing life.

Enjoy the chuckle.

Thanks to my wonderful agent Beth Jusino for sharing it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Never in My Wildest Dreams


I never imagined that I would be the kind of person to go out and buy doggie steps. Oh, to what depths have I fallen? Am I one of those? You know—the people who go ga-ga over their pets and start to accessorize their homes in doggie décor.

Our house has looked like an obstacle course since my dog Belle tore her ACL. As soon as you walk in the door you’re greeted with those round sunblocking thingies blocking the stairs to the second floor. You know what I mean, those things covered with fabric that go on a car’s windshield to keep the car cool while it’s parked in the sun.

If you gaze into the living room, there’s a dining room chair laying on the loveseat. Walk toward the family room, and a chair is turned on its side blocking the entry. We know she can jump up to get on a couch, it’s the jumping down that may do her more damage.

Anyway we’re getting tired of stepping over a chair to get to our family room. So the solution? Doggie steps. Little Belle has her own corner of the couch, complete with a handmade afghan. You wouldn’t believe the variety of doggie steps available on the market.

Of course you know what this mean—now we have to teach our old girl how to use doggie steps.

Oh, the adventure continues! Isn’t life grand?

(I'll let you know how it goes.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Please Pray




Kristy Dykes is a fellow ACFW member and author. About a week ago she received the news that she has a brain tumor. I believe she’s been told she may have one to three years left to live—and boy is she living. I’ve been following her journey on her blog. What a beautiful example of a Jesus lover (and Milton lover!).

Kristy’s blog is Christian Love Stories, and her favorite is the love story between herself and her dear husband Milton. Grab a tissue if you go, and do go, to her blog. The past week she has blogged on her thoughts and the pleasure she’s had spending time with loved ones. What a sweet, sweet story she’s penning.

Bless her, she knows how important love between a husband and wife is, and she doesn’t mind telling you about it. I can only imagine Milton blushing as she is so frank about their private lives.

Today Milton authored the blog and it started out this way:
I held her hand in the night and sang sweet songs of praise to our Lord. I quoted scripture, kissed her forehead and then held her hands. We are strong in the Lord for we are one in Him.

Kristy wanted me to blog last night on my portable mobile phone these words: private room in ICU. Kristy--frisky. But I can't blog that!

So, please pray for Kristy and follow her incredible journey as she walks with the Lord through this trial.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dreams Come True!

Warning: this story requires a tissue nearby.

It’s difficult to nurture a dream year after year. Rejections come. Friends and family may doubt your talent. Oftentimes you doubt your talent and your calling. Boy, I’ve been down that road. It took me 12 years of learning the craft and learning the business before I was invited to the party. You can’t imagine how many times in that 12-year period I gave up.

But the moral of the story is, don’t give up. Hold on to your dreams. Press on. Trust God. Someone once told me writers don’t fail, they quit. And I decided to believe it.

The story of Paul Potts, a man who wouldn’t let go of his dream, is an inspiration. Paul appeared on the British TV show Britain’s Got Talent as a man filled with insecurities but also as a man filled with a dream. And guess who one of the judges on the show was? None other than Simon Cowell. Take a look at this video and be inspired.


To learn more about Paul Potts visit http://www.paulpottsopera.org/index.html.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Language Fun


This post serves no purpose other than to allow people a moment to say, "Hmm." And sometimes that's a good thing.

Enjoy!

'Stewardesses' is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

And 'lollipop' is the longest word typed with your right hand.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.

'Dreamt' is the only English word that ends in the letters 'mt'.

The sentence: 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' uses every letter of the alphabet. (Do you remember typing that in typing class?)

There are only four words in the English language which end in 'dous': tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: 'abstemious' and 'facetious.' (Yes, admit it, you are saying, a e i o u)

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Well, that was fun!




I never thought I would say that about getting my annual mammogram. But this year we formed the Breast Friend’s Club and partied through the experience.

Pictured is myself, Jan and Karen. Jan gave out pink Hershey Kisses to EVERYONE in the suite. Jan also made us beautiful pink scarves, Karen’s modeling hers.
After our exams, we went out to lunch—and sat on the patio. Can you believe that? It was in the low 70s in Denver today.

What a beautiful day with some wonderful friends.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Breast Friends


Yeah, that’s not a typo. I said breast friends, not best friends. My friends Jan and Sharen and I were joking around a few months ago, talking about having to make appointments for our annual mammogram when the idea that we’d be breast friends came up.

Taking care of your health is so important, we vowed to be breast friends and make a day of it every year when we each have to go for our annual mammography. Jan and Sharon went for their exams last month, and tomorrow’s my appointment. The three of us are going to the Sally Jobe Breast Center, and no, I’ll be going into the exam room alone. LOL.

Part of the fun is that we’ll each wear something pink, hand out pink M&Ms to the other women in the office and make the day a celebration of friends and health.

After my appointment we’ll go out to lunch, and then we’ll probably go out for coffee. I’ve cleared my calendar for the afternoon—with these girls, a celebration can last for hours.

FYI--these two friends are the stinkers from my November 6th post.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Stinkers

Aren't your friends supposed to support your writing efforts? Pictured are Sharen and Tonya trying to make me feel guilty for not joining them. They look slightly evil, don't they?

This morning was my weekly Words For The Journey meeting. I wasn’t going to go, and last night I sent an email to Sharen, telling her that I need to stay home and write. Her reply to me was so convincing (read: she’s a master at pouring on the guilt), that I ended up going to this morning’s meeting.

“I’ll go on one condition.” I told her. “That no one will try to force me to go out to lunch or coffee after the meeting.” She promised that she would run interference for me. And she needed to.

Jan tried to guilt me into going to lunch with the girls, but I was strong and came home to write thousands of words.


Oh, and Jan and Danica? Candy? Really? You think you can get me to give up my principles for a little chocolate kiss?

So I’m the big party pooper—again. Everyone else went out to lunch. They’re sending me emails via BlackBerry with photos of themselves having fun and trying to make me feel guilty for blowing them off BECAUSE I NEED TO FINISH WRITING the book that Tyndale’s contracted.

But, being the good writer I am, I’m home pounding the keys. (Except for this little blog post).

My friends are so naughty. But I still love them.

Friday, November 02, 2007

NILMDTS Gala




Tomorrow night’s the big fundraising gala for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a non-profit organization for whom I’ve donated my time by writing some of their documents, press releases and marketing materials. I hope it turns out well and NILMDTS makes a ton of $$$.

As part of the silent auction, I’ve donated an autographed copy of Searching for Spice, two tickets to my book launch party, and naming rights to a character in my October 2008 release. The above image is that of the tickets that will be displayed at the auction. Don’t they look great? My graphic artist friend, Tash, created them.

NILMDTS is an organization of professional photographers who donate their time and talents and travel to hospitals to take portraits of babies who will never go home with their parents. They provide achingly beautiful portraits for the parents who will go home with empty arms. I know, it’s very sad. But the truth is that these parents will have amazing, professional portraits of their precious children. Count your blessings that you have a lifetime to make memories with your children. Some parents only have days or hours.

Unhappy Halloween


I hope yours was better than mine, or at least somewhat saner. See that Jack-o-lantern? That's pretty much the way I looked by the end of the evening.

During my drive home from work my darling husband and I did the “who’s going to make dinner negotiations,” on our cell phones and decided (without her knowledge) the 21-year-old daughter would cook. He won, ahem--I mean lost, the coin toss and ended up having to call her to give her that information.

By the time I got home, she was nearly finished making tacos. I would have loved something a bit more substantial, but hey, I requested a meal, and technically tacos is a meal. Of sorts.

I’ve been in the writing groove, so I was eager to get back to my wip—except nobody wanted to answer the doorbell, which rang repeatedly. So, that fell on me. And boy did that baby ring. From the amount of candy we gave out, we figured we had more than 120 kids come to the door.

Let me tell you, 99% of our trick or treaters were cute, lovely, polite kids. Our neighbors came by with their little boy dressed as a construction worker. Aww, he was so cute. They happened to mention that they left a bowl of candy on their porch with a sign that said, “Take One.” I smiled and thought, how naïve.

I was in the kitchen once when the bell rang. It takes me about 8 seconds to walk to the door. Before I arrived, the kids were pounding on the door and windows, screaming for someone to give them candy. Boy was I steamed. I opened the door fully intending to give them a short lesson in manners. Before I could speak they started screaming the Trick or Treat song at me. The whole thing took my breath away, especially since this was a group of about a half dozen junior high-age girls. Talk about pack mentality. I bet each one of those girls individually is charming, but as a group they were nearly frightening. And then my neighbors walked by again and told me that they were across the street and saw that group of girls take the entire bowl of candy. Nice girls.

Between answering the door and trying to calm the whining dog, I somehow managed to write 900+ words. Yeah!! But as we began to run out of candy, I panicked. My solution—to send my husband to the store for more candy. Good plan. He returned with sushi. That made me laugh. Oh, he also had some candy.

The neighbors rang the bell again. It seems someone took the bowl that had held their candy—their glass bowl—and broke it at the end of my driveway! As a writer, I had an eerie sense of premonition when they told me their candy distribution was on the honor system. Talk about foreshadowing.

Toward the end of the night I answered to the door again. I looked at the person standing on my doorstep and said, “Wow. You’ve got the best costume of the night. Would you like to come in?”

Hearing that, my husband ventured to the foyer out of curiosity. (I’m not the type of girl to invite random people into my home.) It was a police officer. No, a real police officer.

Talk about a crazy night! It seems my husband witness a federal crime, and the officer came to get a statement. Before you start imagining all kinds of crazy things, my husband spotted someone drilling through the keyholes at our community mailboxes.

So, that was my Halloween. Crazy. Busy. Bizarre. How was yours?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, for the good old days


Remember when folks used to rake their leaves? Now it seems like a quaint, outdated practice. Today everyone owns leaf blowers. We even broke down and bought one last year. I have to say, it makes removing leaves from our river rock edging so much easier.

Today’s a gorgeous day in Colorado, and it’s one of my writing days. The sun is peeking between puffy clouds and it’s 73 degrees with a breeze just strong enough to make the leaves dance. If only the chaise lounge wasn’t in the basement, I’d be on the patio right now. That, and if only my neighbors would rake their leaves.

The electronic buzz of the blowers is bending my brain. Is it too much to ask for a little quiet on my writing days? And how politically correct is it to use a blower? After all, Gary blows some of his leaves to our property, we blow them to Ron’s, Ron blows them to Jack, and heaven help the person at the end of the street.

My husband was out over the weekend blowing our leaves. I noticed there were still plenty left on the front lawn. “What could I do?” said my dear husband, “Terry was outside next door and . . .”

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mama told me they’re be days like this, AKA doggie update and more.


Today is one of my writing days, but life always seems to interfere. This morning we noticed a “spot” on our garage ceiling. Yeah, I figured I would deal with that, but first things first. I had an appointment for a recheck at the vet for Belle (torn ACL).

Seems she’s improving but s-l-o-w-l-y. Ideally, surgery would solve the problem, but Belle’s an old girl—14 ½ years old. We decided on a schedule of doggie physical therapy. As if I need another task in my day. But whatever, she’s our canine family member.

Then I had to deal with that water spot on the garage ceiling. Right under the shower. The plumber has come and gone. He’s convinced it’s a tile problem. He says you should seal or replace tile every five years. That’s news to me. We’ve been in our house 13 years and have never done that. Live and learn. But in our defense, previously the longest we ever lived in one house was three years.

Interesting thing. The plumber is a new writer. He just joined a new writing group that meets at a church in town. We ended up talking about writing for about 30 minutes. One would think that would have cancelled out some of his fee, but no.


What can you do? Some days are just like that.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

RIGHT BRAIN/LEFT BRAIN




I always knew I was in my right mind. This test proves it.

http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,22492511-5005375,00.html

Check it out. Is the lady dancing clockwise or counterclockwise for you? Warning: image is silhouette of nude woman.


LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS:

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe

RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS:

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pass the Sunscreen


My home in Colorado had its first snowstorm of the season. What started out as rain turned to snow and accumulated on the roads and grassy areas. For a while the driving was a bit treacherous.

At least that’s what I was told. I was fortunate. I missed this first storm because I spent the weekend in Arizona. Um, hum. Sunny, hot Arizona.

I tagged along on a business trip with my husband. I was promised that I would have time to write. (Word count, word count, word count!) Anyway, it didn’t work out that way. Sure, I probably could have excused myself and spent time writing, but then I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of visiting with folks, listening to exciting ideas and making new friends.

You could consider it wasted time in regards to productivity. But sometimes that’s just what a writer needs. Time to meet and greet, time to listen to different points of view and time to listen in on conversations that are mostly outside my realm of experience.

I often wish my friends a good, productive weekend. Aside from word count (let’s not go there), that’s what I enjoyed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Like -- you know

Taylor Mali is so clever. He discusses uptalking and other annoying speech habits. Check out the video in the post below.

The first time I heard someone excessively uptalk, I thought, "What is wrong with this girl?"

Thanks to Kristin Billerbeck for bringing this to my attention.

Enjoy!

Like_youknow

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Are there coincidences in the kingdom of heaven?


I think not.

I had a very cool God thing happen this week. It involves my daughter’s best friend, I’ll call her M.

We’ve known M. for over eight years. She was on the same cheerleading team (competitive cheers—not for wimps) as my daughter. Throughout M.’s high school years she frequently spent weeks at a time living with us. She’s even had the pleasure of going on two family vacations with us. When she would stay with us, we would drag her to church, drive her to youth group, include her in our prayers every night.

Praise God! She’s surrendered her life to our Savior and is enthusiastically getting in the Word.

I haven't spoken to her much in the past few years, but this afternoon she called to tell me a story. She said she has a little Bible that she's been using for Bible study and wished she had a bigger one like all the other girls have. (Isn't that sooo 22-year-old thinking?). Anyway she was visiting her Mom to look for something she had stored at her house and came across a big, beautiful Bible. She asked if she could take it home, and her mom said yes. Later that night she was reading through the little Bible and had a question. Then she remembered the larger Bible she brought home.

She said she was stunned when she went and opened the bigger Bible. Inside was an inscription: "May, 2002. God bless you, M. Love, the DiMarias." It made her cry. It makes me cry, too. She said the inscription was in my handwriting. I have NO recollection of purchasing or giving her that Bible.

M. says she can trace the insignificant chain of events that led her to go home to search for something in her parent's house, and she believes it was all a God thing to lead her to that Bible. How cool is that! Praise God!

He knew she would be looking for a neat Bible in 2007, and He had me purchase it for her five years ago.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Belle Update


Thank you for the encouraging words and prayers for our little girl. Doesn’t she look like the Princess and the Pea? She loves her pillows and blankets. If someone leaves a throw blanket on the couch, she claims the spot immediately. She’s resting comfortably—most of the time. At night when the family’s home, she’d rather be sitting with us or wandering underfoot while dinner’s being cooked.

The doctor hopes if we force her to stay off the knee with the torn ACL, it will heal without surgery. Belle’s not terribly happy with the situation, but then she’s an active dog who enjoys roaming the house and yard at will.

Don’t think we’re being cruel keeping her confined. She loves her cage and has slept in it since puppyhood. She even puts herself in her cage when she’s overwhelmed or wants some alone time.

Here’s a video of healthy Belle doing one of her tricks. I shot this two years ago when I first got my camera—hence the stupid conversation going throughout the video. (It’s only about 15 seconds long).

video

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm an advocate--who knew?

So I took a quick personality test online. Seems I’m an ENFP: The “Advocate.” Look at my chart, I'm not an introvert. Big surprise--not!

ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Take the test, it only takes a few minutes. Find out what you are.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Read This!


One of the books I purchased last month at the ACFW conference in Dallas is Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee.

As her book’s website says, “Peer into the spiritual realm.” Wow. What a book. Tosca Lee’s debut novel is a doozie.

Pictured is me giving a book report at Words For The Journey last Tuesday. The one picture has my eyes shut, but I decided to include it since I’ve got that Vanna White thing going on. The other is an image of me showing the author's autograph. Tosca is a delight. She signed it Bizarro Megan because I told her that her syle felt similar to mine. Except she writes about demons, and I have fairies in my books.


Also from the website:
One night changes everything.

Recently divorced and mired in a meaningless existence, Clay drifts from his drab apartment to his equally lusterless job as an editor for a small Boston press—until the night Lucian finds him and everything changes with the simple words: “I’m going to tell you my story . . . and you’re going to write it down and publish it.”

What begins as a mystery soon spiral into chaotic obsession as Clay struggles to piece together Lucian’s dark tale of love, ambition, and grace . . . only to discover that the demon’s story has become his own.

And then only one thing matters: learning how the story ends.


Thanks, Tosca. I really enjoyed reading your book.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oh, goodness . . .

She’s done it again.

My darling little Belle, our 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, has done it again—ingested a “foreign object.” She had to spend the night at the vet and wasn’t discharged until late this afternoon. Good news—she’s on the mend, bad news, it wasn’t cheap. The cost was nearly $600. Let me put that in perspective, that’s about ½ week’s worth accommodations at a luxury resort on the Yucatan Peninsula or airfare and the fee for a writer’s conference.

The veterinary technician piled up the supplies, medication, and special dog food on the check-out counter and asked if I wanted her to explain what needs to be done. “After all,” she said, “You should know the drill by now.” Then she laughed. Yeah, it’s an absolute riot to have a dog with an appetite for foreign objects, pound bags of foil-wrapped candy, ¾ pound of (EXPENSIVE) Brie cheese, toothpaste, bars of soap, and prescription medication intended for humans.

Belle’s forearm was shaved to accommodate her meds and IV treatment. To top it off, she was so excited when she got home that she sprinted around the house like an idiot. Not a great thing for a canine senior citizen to do. She must have slid on the tile floor because for the past three hours she’s been walking on three legs. When my husband came home from work I asked him if we should bring her to the vet tomorrow. He just gave me the look.

One interesting thing resulted from this fiasco. I mentioned to the receptionist that Belle and her inappropriate-ingestion problems have been immortalized in my upcoming book. (Yes, marketing is almost always on my mind). Now Belle’s a celebrity at our veterinary clinic, and by association, so am I. I passed out a half a dozen bookmarks and promised to do a book signing the next time Belle was in for treatment after she guzzles down the next foreign object.

**Friday, October 10th, Belle Update:
The poor thing is still gimpy, so back to the vet we go. Sigh

11:00 a.m.: I've returned from the vet, alone. Belle stayed for X-rays. It looks like she might have torn her ACL. Oh, dear. This may be the end for our little canine family member. The vet will call later today.

1:45 Belle update: I just got a call back from the vet. Yes, she’s torn her ACL, which is unusual for her breed. Just a fluke, I guess. I’ll bring her home later this afternoon. We’ve got to restrict her activities for a few months. I can’t tell you what a challenge that will be. She’s a busy little thing. She’ll have to be crated or sitting with someone to keep her still. No jumping, playing, stairs, etc. We have to put throw rugs on the tile which is ½ of our first floor so she can walk without slipping. We even have to put her on a leash to go outside to do her biz because she might want to take off after a bunny or a bird. We have to baby her like this because if she injures her good leg then she’ll be a dog who can’t walk, and that would be disastrous. The doctor wants to see her in a week. If she’s still as lame as she is now, then that will be bad too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Take Good Care of Yourself . . .


I do!

Sometimes my friends tease me about how kindly I treat myself, although they will also admit that I treat my friends and loved ones just as kindly.

I think it’s all about the little things. Like my vintage cotton tablecloths. I’m never without one in my car. You know, if you stop at an outdoor café or coffee shop to enjoy a bite to eat, you don’t want your break ruined by a dirty table. It’s simply delightful to enjoy your repast on a lovely tablecloth. It just feels good. You’re more relaxed and it's more comfortable to rest your arm on a cotton tablecloth rather than a public (ugh!) table.

Pictured is the concrete picnic table outside the office building where I work. There’s something so civilized and luxurious about dining outside with a lovely tablecloth. My friends and co-workers enjoy sitting with me and not having to eat their meals off of a dingy, dirty table. (Of course, depending on how many will join me, I have a larger cloth as well. That one has pretty yellow flowers).

To get back to my lunch—pictured is my lunchbox, Pyrex lunch bowl, a book (of course!), my linen napkin (on the book), and my water bottle. Yes, I’m one of the most well-hydrated women on the planet. In the background is a street, but beyond that is an unobstructed view of God’s Rocky Mountains.

Such little effort goes into making my lunch break a peaceful, restful moment to enjoy my world. Why wouldn’t I do this?

If you want to see a better view of the Rockies, click on the image and it will enlarge.

I know I mentioned in the previous post that summer’s over and the patio furniture is stowed away for the season, but, hey—this is Colorado, and we enjoy unseasonably warm days throughout the autumn and winter. It’s just vastly inconvenient (for my husband) to trot out our patio furniture for those days. But I can still enjoy the golden days of autumn.

How about you? What little luxury do you allow yourself?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Good-Bye Summer


Boo hoo. Summer’s gone. This weekend we put the fountain in the basement and shrouded the patio furniture.

No more sitting in the shade sipping iced tea. No more lunch alfresco. No more hours in the chaise with my laptop and wip. No more morning coffee enjoying the sound of birdsong.

So I’m back indoors. Closed windows, recycled air, the soundtrack of football (Broncos) and hockey (Avalanche). Sigh.

All’s not lost. At least I can look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my anniversary, my birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day and then, before you know it, it will be Memorial Day and the beginning of summer. Sigh (of contentment).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Let the Planning Begin!




My dream of being a published author is coming true!

On March 26th I found out that Tyndale House Publishing was offering me a two-book contract for women’s fiction. My first book, Searching for Spice, will be released in April 2008, and the second book will hit the shelves in October 2008.

Well, since I’ve been waiting practically f-o-r-e-v-e-r for this dream to become reality, we’ve decided to go all out and CELEBRATE in a big way. Today I went to downtown Denver to check out the venue for my book launch party, The Daniels & Fisher Tower! I can’t wait.




Can you see the clock on the top of the tower? The party will be held on the floor above that, and there's an outside observation deck that surrounds the building. The views are to die for.






I’m planning for it to be a gathering of book lovers. In addition to family and friends, I’m inviting local authors, editors, agents, bookstore PR folks, and radio, television and newspaper media. I’m thrilled that my editor from Tyndale, Jan Stob, will try to come as well as my smashing literary agent, Beth Jusino. Goodness, I even introduced myself to the Poet Laureate of Denver and invited him. Since this is my first book launch party, I’m open to suggestions on making it a smashing success. Please leave any ideas in the comment section.




The D&F Tower is a well-known, historic building that sits on the 16th Street Mall in Denver. It is a replication of the famous Campanile in St. Mark’s square in Venice, and was built in 1911, becoming the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The tower originally anchored both sides of a department store that has since been demolished.


And, PS: Yes, the sky really is bluer when you're a mile high.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting it right


I usually try to do the right thing. Really.

I never litter, I wait my turn in lines, and I pay my taxes. It just kills me when I try to follow instructions and still get it wrong.

Like lately—at Starbucks.

Okay, I know some folks have political or environmental objections to Starbucks, but face it, they’re on every other corner and (more importantly) they’re in Barnes & Noble.

Anyway, the other day I went to the Starbucks in town and ordered a frothy latte, and what did they say? “Uh, next time just tell us you want an extra wet cappuccino.” To which I replied, thanks, no problem.

I may be an old dog, but I can learn new tricks.

So the other night I went to Barnes & Noble for my Words For The Journey meeting, and before the meeting started, I scurried over to Starbucks for my tall, extra wet cappuccino. You’ll never guess what the barista said to me: “What you really want ma’am, is a frothy latte.”

For the love of all the bahia beans in Brazil—what’s a girl to do?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Back from Dallas and the ACFW Conference

Hi, friends. What a wonderful time I had this past weekend at the annual ACFW conference. To tell the truth, it’s quite a different experience when you don’t have to go around begging agents and editors to take a peek at your work.

Some of my best conference moments were when I got to connect with my editor from Tyndale House, Jan Stob, and with my agent Beth Jusino from Alive Communications. What a treat. Below is a photo of me and Jan at the awards banquet.


Several months ago Rachel Hauck (conference worship leader) asked me to give Friday morning’s devotional. What an honor to stand before so many people who exemplify the excellence of the industry—and what an intimidating experience. I was told, however, that no one could see my knees knocking, so that’s good.



Part of the pleasure of my conference was spending time with Marion Bullock and Angie Poole my critique partners. We were able to celebrate with Angie because she got 2nd place in the Genesis contest for her genre.

The best part, of course, was in connecting with our Savior. I had some unmistakable God moments, and was humbled to allow Him to use me for His glory among the sweet saints at the conference.