Saturday, December 27, 2008
We think she's been channeling Belle because she's finding all the sunny spots in the house, regardless how difficult they are to fit into.
I think my new character, Libby, needs to get a new puppy. Maybe a Jack Russell Terrier named Bayle.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I wish you the best of the season. Joy. Hope. Love. Peace.
Reflect on the true meaning of the day--that Jesus came to this world as a babe to save the lost and lonely. He bridged the gap between man and God so that we can have communion with the King of Kings, Lord of the Universe, and Lord of our hearts.
Savor moments with loved ones, smile at a stranger, make a Christmas wish. And please remember that Christmas must be found in your heart, not beneath a tree or wrapped in shiny paper with bows.
Have a merry, blessed Christmas!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
There are four featured workshops: fiction, public speaking, nonfiction, and screenwriting.
Oh, and did I mention it's held in a castle?The whole experience is wonderful. I plan on attending, and I would love to see some of my writer friends join me. The conference fee is $288, plus lodging.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Each year when I read the postcard, 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.
I hope you ponder this beautiful sentiment, and I pray that it draws you closer to the heart of God during this precious Christmas season.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Linda snakt naar een spetterende affaire – met haar man. Hun huwelijk is goed, maar de romantiek is ver te zoeken. Daarom probeert Linda op alle mogelijke manieren het vuurtje aan te wakkeren. Dat verloopt niet volgens plan…
Linda en Jerry zijn 24 jaar getrouwd. Het leven is goed – maar zo saai… Linda besluit dat haar huwelijk meer passie nodig heeft. Helaas is Jerry een no-nonsensetype en begrijpt hij niet wat zij van hem wil. Dat leidt tot hilarische misverstanden. Bovendien claimen haar werk, kinderen en vrienden haar, waardoor elke poging tot romantiek gedwarsboomd wordt. Dan raakt hun dochter op school in de problemen en krijgt Linda een beangstigende pijn in haar borst. Opeens gaat het van kwaad tot erger met haar huwelijk…
What a pleasant surprise to have a box of Recept voor Romantiek show up on my doorstep!
Searching for Spice is now available in the Netherlands. How cool is that?
Saturday, December 06, 2008
So, let me introduce our new puppy, Bayle. Her name's pronounced Baylee, and it means beautiful, just like Belle does.
She's four months old and is a Jack Russell Terrier, like Belle was. Isn't she a sweetie pie?
Here she is with daughter #2.
Actually, I think the entire family is falling in love with her. As are neighbors, co-workers, ect.
This is a short video of Bayle romping in the snow we had this week.
Friday, December 05, 2008
So, daughter #2 and I went out shopping. We found a gorgeous Italian Mosiac table that would look great. When I told my husband that it was only $2,000, he just laughed and walked away. That kinda led me to believe that I would not be encouraged to purchase that beautiful table. Which is really too bad because it's so attractive, it's something that my kids could fight over after I'm gone.
We hit the malls and furniture stores again. If I liked the top of the tables, I found the legs to be too skinny. I kept saying, "If only this table had legs like the one I'm replacing." After a few days of not finding something perfect, I got the bright idea to strip and stain my table, and then it would look like the one I liked in Pottery Barn.Here are my darling daughters' staining it.
Unfortunately, the stain didn't work out. It was blotchy. See it below? Bleck!!
Then I decided, what the hey -- I'll paint it purple!
And that's what I did. I'm happy with the way it turned out. Purple is an accent color in my kitchen and family room (If you click on the image you can see the purple in my wallpaper border by the door to the yard). The table legs are a deep brown as are the new chairs. And a neat thing is that the chair legs are the same color wood that's in the adjacent family room.
And then, I painted the computer table that's behind the table to the left.
So, perhaps you can't always get what you want, but usually you can get what you need. Ahh, contentment -- with what I've got.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
With the man’s first step, the others on the Row began a slow tapping on their cell doors.
The tiny procession reached the end of the pod, and the rest of the way through security and all the way to the death chamber was lined on either side with corrections officers shoulder to shoulder, feet spread, hands clasped behind their backs, heads lowered. As the condemned reached them, each raised his head, snapped to attention, arms at his sides, feet together.
What a tribute, he thought. Who would ever have predicted this for one who had, for so much of his life, been such a bad, bad man?
October, seventeen years earlier
Touhy Trailer Park
Brady Wayne Darby clapped his little brother on the rear. “Petey, time to get up, bud. We got no water pressure, so . . .”
“There’s a trickle, so give yourself a sponge bath.”
“Ma already gone?”
“Yeah. Now come on. Don’t be late.”
At sixteen, Brady was twice Peter’s age and hated being the man of the house—or at least of the trailer. But if no one else was going to keep an eye on his little brother, he had to. It was bad enough Brady’s bus came twenty minutes before Peter’s and the kid had to be home alone. Brady poured the boy a bowl of cereal and called through the bathroom door, “No dressing like a hoodlum today, hear?”
“Why’s it all right for you and not for me?” “Whatever.”
“Straight home after school. I got practice, so I’ll see ya for dinner.”
“Ma gonna be here?”
“She doesn’t report to me. Just keep your distance till I get home.”
Brady rummaged for cigarettes, finally finding five usable butts in one of the ashtrays. He quickly smoked two down to their filters, tearing open the remaining three and dumping the tobacco in his shirt pocket. Desperately trying to quit so he could stay on the football team, Brady couldn’t be seen with the other smokers across the road from the school, so he had resorted to sniffing his pocket throughout the day. If he couldn’t cop a smoke from a friend after last class and find a secluded place to light up, he was so jittery at practice he could hardly stand still.
Brady grabbed his books and slung his black leather jacket over his shoulder as he left the trailer, finding the asphalt already steaming in the sun. Others from the trailer park waiting for the bus made him feel as if he were seeing his own reflection. Guys and girls dressed virtually the same, black from head to toe except for white shirts and blouses. Guys had their hair slicked back, sideburns grown retro, high-collared shirts tucked into skintight pants over pointy-toed shoes. Oversize wallets, most likely as empty as Brady’s, protruded from back pockets and were attached to belt loops by imitation silver or gold chains.
So they were decades behind the times, even for rebels. Brady—an obsessive movie watcher—was a James Dean fan and dressed how he wanted, and the rest copied him. One snob called them rebels without a clue.
Brady scowled and narrowed his eyes, nodding a greeting. The fat girl with the bad face, whom Brady had unceremoniously dumped more than a year ago after he had gotten to know her better than he should have in the backseat of a friend’s car, sneered as she cradled her gigantic purse to her chest. “Still trying to play jock?”
Brady looked away. “Leave it alone, Agatha.”
“More like a preppy,” one of the guys said, reaching to flick Brady’s schoolbooks.
“You definitely don’t want to start with me,” Brady said, glaring and calling him the foulest name he could think of. The kid quickly backed off.
Brady knew he looked strange carrying schoolbooks. But the coach kept track.
The trailer park was the last stop on the route, and the yellow barge soon drifted in, crammed with suburbia’s finest: jocks, preppies, and nerds—every last one younger than Brady. No other self-respecting kid with a driver’s license rode the bus.
In a life of endless days of open-fly humiliation, this boarding ritual was the most painful. Brady took it upon himself to lead the group. They could hide behind him and each other, avoiding the squints and stares and held noses as they slowly made their way down the aisle looking, usually in vain, for someone to slide over far enough to allow one cheek on the seat for the ride to school.
“. . . brewery . . .”
“. . . smokehouse . . .”
“. . . B.O. . . .”
Brady neither looked nor waited. His daily goal was to find the most resolute rich kid and make him move. Today he stared down at the short-cropped blond hair of a boy who had been trying to hide a smile while pretending to study. Brady pressed his knee against him and growled, “Move in, frosh.”
“I’m a sophomore,” the kid huffed as he made room.
On the way home, Brady would ride the activities bus. There he would for sure be the only one of his type, but football earned him his place among the jocks, cheerleaders, thespians, and assorted club members. Wide-eyed at first, they seemed to have grudgingly accepted him, though they still clearly saw the trailer park as a novelty. One evening as he trudged from the bus, Brady had been sure everyone was watching. He turned quickly, only to be proven right, and felt face-slapped. At least the trailer park was the first stop at the end of the day. 11 a.m.
First Community Church
Reverend Thomas Carey knew he would not be getting the job when the head of the pastoral search committee—a youngish man with thick, dark hair—dismissed the others and asked Grace Carey if she wouldn’t mind waiting for her husband in the car.
“Oh, not at all,” she said, but Thomas interrupted.
“Anything you say to me, you can say to her.”
The man put a hand on Thomas’s shoulder and spoke softly. “Of course, you’re free to share anything you wish with your spouse, Reverend, but why don’t you decide after you hear me out?”
Grace assured Thomas it was all right and retreated from the sanctuary.
“You tell her everything?” the man said.
“Of course. She’s my—”
“She knows we saw you at your request, not ours, and that we didn’t feel you warranted a visit to hear you preach?”
Thomas Carey pressed his lips together. Then, “I appreciate your meeting with us today.”
The committee chairman pointed to a pew and leaned against another as Thomas sat. “I need to do you a favor and be frank with you, Reverend. I can tell you right now this is not going to go your way. In fact, we’re not going to bother with a vote.”
“That doesn’t sound fair.”
“Please,” Dark Hair said. “I know these people, and if I may be blunt, you rank last on the list of six we’ve already interviewed.”
“Shouldn’t you poll the others on their—?”
“I’m sorry, but you have a three-year Bible college diploma, no real degree, no seminary training. You’re, what, in your midforties?”
“I’m forty-six, yes.”
“Sir, I’ve got to tell you, I’m not surprised that your résumé consists of eight churches in twenty-two years—the largest fewer than 150 members. Have you ever asked yourself why?”
“Why you’ve never been successful, never advanced, never landed a church like ours . . .”
“Surely you don’t equate success with numbers.”
“Reverend Carey, I’m just trying to help. You and your sweet wife come in here, I assume trying to put your best foot forward, yet you look and dress ten years older than you are, and your hair is styled like a 1940s matinee idol.”
Dark Hair extended his hand. “I want to sincerely thank you for your time today. Please pass along my best wishes to your wife. And be assured I meant no disrespect. If it’s of any help, I’m aware of several small churches looking for pastors.”
Thomas stood slowly and buttoned his sport jacket. “I appreciate your frankness; I really do. Any idea how I might qualify for a bigger work? I don’t want to leave the ministry, but our only child is in her second year of law school at Emory, and—”
“When there are many Christian colleges that would give a minister huge discounts?”
“I’m afraid she would be neither interested in nor qualified for a Christian school just now.”
“I see. Well, I’m sorry. But the fact is, you are what you are. None of your references called you a gifted preacher, despite assuring us you’re a wonderful man of God. If you cannot abide your current station, perhaps the secular marketplace is an option.”
Head Football Coach’s Office
Forest View High School
Brady hadn’t even thoroughly dried after his shower. Now he sat in Coach Roberts’s cramped space with his stuff on his lap, waiting for the beefy man. Every player was listed on a poster on the wall, his place on the depth chart and his grade in every class there for all to see. Brady knew what was coming. He should have just skulked out to the bus and, by ignoring the coach’s summons, announced his quitting before being cut.
But he knew the drill. Never give up. Never say die. Keep your head up. Look eager, willing.
Finally Roberts barreled in, dropping heavily into a squeaky chair. “I gotta ask you, Darby: what’re you doing here?”
“You asked me to come see you—”
“I mean what’re you doing trying to play football? You’re a shop kid, ain’t ya? You didn’t come out as a frosh or a soph. I smell smoke all over you.”
“I quit, Coach! I know the rules.”
“We’re barely a month into the year, and you’re makin’ Ds in every class. You’re fourth-string quarterback, and entertaining as it is for everybody else to watch you racing all over the practice field on every play, we both know you’re never gonna see game time. Now, really, what’re you doing?”
“Just trying to learn, to make it.”
Brady couldn’t tell him he was looking for something, anything, to get him out of the trailer park and closer to the kids he had despised for so long. They seemed to have everything handed to them: clothes, cars, girls, college, futures. No, he wasn’t ready to dress differently; he took enough heat from his friends just for carrying books and playing football.
“Listen, your teachers, even the ones outside of industrial arts, tell me you’re not stupid. You’re a good reader, sometimes have something to say. But you don’t test well, rarely do your homework. What’s the deal?”
Brady shrugged. “It’s just my ma and my brother and me.”
“Hey, we’ve all got problems, Darby.”
Do we? Really? “Like I said, I quit smoking, and I’m trying to get my grades up.”
“Look, I want to see you succeed, but frankly you’re a distraction here. I rarely cut anybody willing to practice and ride the bench—”
“Which I am.”
“Yeah, but this isn’t working, and I don’t want to waste any more of your time.”
“Don’t worry about wasting my—”
“Or mine. Or my coaches’. If you’re determined to get involved in some extracurricular stuff, there’s all kinds of other—”
Coach Roberts looked at his watch. “Well, what do you like to do?”
“Don’t we all? But is it a passion for you?”
“You have no idea.”
“You want to be an actor someday? study theater?”
Brady hesitated. “Never thought of that, but yeah, that would be too good to be true.”
“Now see, with that attitude, you’ll never get anywhere. If you want to try that, try it! Talk to Nabertowitz, the theater guy. See if there’s a club or a play or something.”
“There’s rumors about him.”
“Do yourself a favor and keep your mouth shut about that. Those artsy people can be a little flamboyant, but the guy’s got a wife and kids, so don’t be jumping to conclusions, and you’ll stay out of trouble.”
Brady shrugged. “I’d be as new there as I was here.”
“Oh, I expect you’d be a sight among that crowd, though there’s all kinds of behind-the-scenes stuff I’ll bet you could do. But I need to tell you, football is not your thing.”
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
We reserved a private room so we could make as much noise as necessary to have fun -- and we did! The fun started just as we arrived at the restaurant. The hostess was told that we were the writers, and we reserved a private room. "The writers? The writers?" she asked. Apparently there was a disconnect when the reservations were made. Who ever took the call wrote down our reservations as Riders. They were expecting us to rumble up on our motorcycles. Ha!
We had a gift exchange, played a fun story game (we each wrote a snippet), and were entertained by Robbie Iobst's Christmas Writer's Medley. Treat yourself, and take a look. I particularly like the second song, "Writer Blogs," sung to the tune of "Silver Bells."
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This photo was taken last Saturday when I was at Mardel in Littleton. Thanks to Dana and the great staff who made me feel right at home with a big plate of cookies. It was a great way to get people to stop by and visit the author.
I was interviewed by Roy Hanschke of AM91 The Point of Faith (KPOF). They were on hand to collect shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. It was great to visit with the KPOF folks and speak with Roy on the air.
This Saturday I'll be at Barnes & Noble in Southlands Town Center in Aurora from 1:00 - 3:00 signing Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands. I know it will be great. Have you every been to that mall? It's wonderful, especially during the holidays. It's one of those outdoor malls, and it's built to resemble an old-time town. Very cute. The B&N there is wonderful!
Author Darlene Franklin will also be there signing her books Romanian Rhapsody and Snowbound Colorado Christmas.
In other news:
Thank you very much to those who expressed their condolences and blessed me with prayer as I am getting over the loss of my pet. Each day gets better and a bit less sad.
I can now tell you something that was too difficult to share a few days ago. If you've read Searching for Spice, I had a scene where Belle poked the tip of her tongue out and smacked her lips. We always interpreted that as her way of saying thank you. She did it whenever someone covered her with her blanket and she was all comfy cozy. When she got the initial medication to put her to sleep, my husband was cradling her head to keep it off the hard counter. As she was getting sleepy, she looked at us all and said thank you one last time. How sweet. Later my daughter interpreted it as, "Thank you for loving me and giving me a great life. I love you too." And then she fell asleep.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Our little Belle was a sweet dog. Always gentle and agreeable. She was the only real character in my books, and she was just as sweet as I wrote her.
Can you spot her in the above photo? The kids fell asleep after a movie night, and she curled up with them. (I was upstairs on the landing.)
She loved being with her family. Here she is inside a blanket tent with the girls.
She really loved going for walks.
Her favorite napping spot was on the stairs in the sun... or on winter days, in front of the fire.
She would poke her head out of the rail on the bridge above the family room and play catch with a tennis ball. Sometimes we'd be sitting there, and a tennis ball would drop down at our feet! When we looked up, Belle would be waiting to play.
This was the day daughter # 2 had her braces removed.
When she got older, she got pretty gray.
We knew she couldn't hear or see much lately. This morning she fell down the stairs. She seemed to rally, but late in the afternoon she stumbled a few times, and daughter # 1 and I took her to the vet. She was 15+ years old, and when the vet told us she lived in a quiet, lonely place due to her lack of vision and hearing, we knew we couldn't ask her to stay with us any longer.
She fell asleep in our arms . . .
It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Realms (October 2, 2008)
Alton Gansky is the author of twenty-one published novels and six nonfiction works. He has been a Christie Award finalist (A Ship Possessed) and an Angel Award winner (Terminal Justice). He holds a BA and MA in biblical studies and has served as senior pastor for three Baptist churches in California, with a total of over twenty years in pulpit ministry. He and his wife live in the High Desert area of Southern California.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 307 pages
Publisher: Realms (October 2, 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
It seemed an odd first thought, but there it was. His gaze drifted to a pair of soft-topped shoes, each with a symbol stitched to the side.
"N." He wondered why anyone would stitch a letter on footwear.
He raised a foot, then wiggled it. The shoe felt good. He dug a toe in the sandy dirt, then raised his head. A field surrounded him. No crops, no buildings, no people. Just a wide expanse of rugged scrub that shivered in the cold wind.
A full-circle turn revealed nothing but the same: miles of empty land. He blinked against the wind and the bits of dirt and dust it carried. To the west the sun lowered itself to the horizon. In the opposite direction, darkness crawled up the sky, keeping pace as if the descending orb pulled a curtain of night behind it.
Turning to face the sun again, he saw a break in the expanse of near-barren ground. At its edge ran a thin fence. He moved toward it, amused at the soft crunch the earth made with each step of his N-shoes.
Something scampered to his right. A covey of quail sprinted away and then took to the air, flying a short distance before making contact with the earth again. The sight made him smile.
Henick wrapped his arms around himself to ward off the chilling breeze. The material of his multicolored shirt felt soft against his arms and palms. He kept his gaze down, protecting his eyes from the sun's glare and looking up only long enough to get his bearings and check for holes or rocks that might cause him to stumble.
The fence was a simple series of metal stakes supporting four strands of metal wire punctuated with evenly spaced barbs. He extended a finger, touched one of the points, and frowned. The knife-sharp tip drew a drop of blood. He stuck the offended finger in his mouth. A quick scan of the fence's length revealed no gate.
A short distance from the fence ran a wide, smooth, black surface with a series of white dashes down the middle. He marveled at its unerring straightness.
He returned his attention to the fence. He wanted to be on the other side but preferred to arrive there with skin and clothing intact. Placing a hand on the top strand, he pushed down. The metal wire moved, but not enough to make straddling the thing acceptable. He tried again, this time using both hands. The wire fence gave more but still too little.
Henick decided on a different approach. He stepped to the nearest metal upright and tested it. It looked old, as if it had spent a lifetime stuck in that one spot. Seizing it with both hands and careful to avoid the stinging wire, he shook the thin metal pole. It wiggled. He leaned into it and then pulled back, repeating the motion twenty or thirty times. The metal felt cold against his bare hands, and gritty rust tinted his flesh.
When he had worked the pole loose, he lifted its base from the ground, then moved to the next upright and reenacted the procedure. With two posts loose, Henick could step across the barrier without injury.
Once on the other side, he replaced the posts, stomping the surrounding dirt with his foot until the soil was as compact as he could make it. In time, weather would reseal the posts to their original strength.
The exertion had warmed him enough to raise a film of perspiration on his brow and beneath the black hair that hung to his shoulders. The breeze found each moist area and chilled it. He could expect a cold night.
Stepping to the middle of the black path, he bent and touched the surface. It appeared smooth but felt coarse beneath his fingers. The black material radiated gentle warmth. He straightened and looked up and down the long road. It seemed to have no end in either direction. Deciding that one direction was as good as the other, Henick began to walk, choosing his course so the wind would be at his back and not in his face.
When the last of the sun's disk fell beneath the horizon, Henick had made two or three miles. He passed the time by counting the white dashes in the middle of the strange path or wondering about the letter N on his shoes. He liked the shoes; they made walking easier.
A quarter moon replaced the sun in the sky but offered little light. Soon the final light would follow its source below the distant horizon. If he had remained in the open field, he would have had to stop his journey. Walking over uncertain and irregular terrain with no light would be foolish, but the hard path with its white lines made it possible for him to continue.
Just before the sun said its final good-bye, Henick saw a black and white sign with a puzzling, irregular shape and the words Ranch Road 1232. Sometime later he saw a sign that read Don't Mess with Texas.
The air moved from chilly to cold, but the breeze had settled.
Henick kept moving.
Lights and a rumble approached from behind. The light split the darkness and gave Henick a shadow that stretched impossibly long before him. He stopped and turned, raising a hand to shield his eyes against the glare.
The roar grew louder. The lights neared.
A sudden blaring assaulted his ears, but Henick stood his ground.
"What are you? Nuts?"
The voice came from behind the glare. A large metal device pulled alongside. The words pickup truck entered Henick's mind.
The vehicle stopped. "Have you plumb lost your mind, boy? I coulda run you down and not even known I hit ya. What are you thinking?"
In the dim light, Henick could see two people seated in the truck: a man in his sixties and a woman of the same age.
"Go easy on him, Jake. He looks confused. Maybe he's lost." The woman's voice rode on tones of kindness.
"That it, boy? You lost?"
"I am just walking," Henick said.
"In the dark? Where you headed?"
Henick thought for a moment. "That way." He pointed down the long stretch of road.
"Ain't nuthin' that way but Blink, and there ain't much reason for going there unless that's your home. I'm guessin' it ain't. Pretty small town; I think I'd have seen you before."
"I don't live there."
The man the woman called Jake exited the truck and eyed Henick. "It's a bit cold to be out in nuthin' but blue jeans and a flannel shirt. It's supposed to drop into the forties tonight."
"It is true. I am cold."
"Give him a ride, Jake." The woman had slid closer to the driver side door. "We can't leave him out here. He's liable to step in some pothole and break a leg."
"More likely he'd step on a rattler. They like the warm asphalt."
"Either way, Jake, we can't leave the man out here."
"All right, all right, just keep your shoes on." Jake looked at Henick. "Turn around."
Henick raised an eyebrow.
"Turn around, boy. I jus' wanna make sure you ain't packin'."
"Totin' a gun. You sure you haven't wandered off from some kinda home for the slow?"
"All right, Eleanor, I don't mean no disrespect." He motioned for Henick to turn in place. Henick did. "OK, here's the deal. I'll give you a ride, but that's all. Me and the wife were going into town for a meal. Friday night is our evening out. Been doing that for thirty-five years."
"I would like a ride."
"Yeah, well, don't have no room for you up front, so you'll have to ride in the back. I got some blankets to keep the wind off you. It's the best I can offer."
"Thank you." Henick climbed into the bed of the truck and leaned against the cab.
"Blankets are behind my seat. I'll get 'em."
A few moments later, Henick, snug in two wool blankets, turned his face heavenward, gazed at the stars, and wondered what a "Texas" was.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It’s such a busy time of year, and in many ways that’s too bad. The holidays are rush, rush, rush. I would like to invite you to take a moment to relax and reflect.
Life, in all its magnificence, is swirling and pulsing onward. Are you caught up in the whirlwind or are you enjoying the little moments, small accomplishments, brief conversations, stolen kisses, and joyful grins that come your way?
Take a moment to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, and thank God for the year you've enjoyed.
Next week is Thanksgiving. This year I challenge you to remember it’s the holiday that all you need to bring is your presence, your gratitude, and your love for friends and family. You don't have to trek through stores and shopping malls searching out the latest and greatest gadget to impress anyone, like we do for Christmas.
Don’t let this be the beginning of a hectic holiday season. Let this be the beginning of your best holiday season.
In other news: I had a great time at Mardel today where I signed copies of Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands. I met some book lovers and had the opportunity to be on the air with Radio 910 AM. It was also fun to meet someone who stumbled across my blog and came out to meet me. (Waving at Cyndi!!)
My camera is on the fritz, but some folks who were at Mardel promised to email photos. I'll post when I get them.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
1:00 -3:00 at Mardel, 4887 S. Wadsworth Way in Littleton.
I'm working the day job today but I wanted to let you know that I am a guest blogger on Jen AlLee's blog today, discussing dreams. Actually, I'm her first guest for her Year of Dreams series. What an honor.
She's also doing a book giveaway for Out of Her Hands, so hop on over. Books make great Christmas gifts, you know.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I have a pair of lovely leather shoes. I really like my shoes. They are stylish, look good with many types of clothing, and are comfortable to wear for many hours. I love, love, love my shoes.
A few months ago, I noticed my shoes were beginning to look worn out and were no longer attractive to wear with dress pants. I thought about purchasing another pair of shoes, and then I had the bright idea to bring them to a shoe repairman. The repairman put new heels on my shoes, polished the leather, and blackened the soles. After some effort and work, my leather shoes are spiffed up and look as good as new.
Now, if I offered my shoes to someone and they don’t love them like I do, should I be heartbroken? Does their rejection of my shoes make me less of a person? Does it make my shoes less attractive? Does it make me less worthy?
Think about it, I bet my shoes wouldn’t fit just anyone. They wouldn’t be right for a number of people with different tastes and different needs. But that doesn’t make my shoes less valuable or less worthy.
That’s the way I look at rejection. My manuscript (shoes) is polished and ready to go out into the world. But perhaps the agent/editor (consumer) needs a different size or is looking for a different style. It’s easy to look at the situation from this perspective and see that it’s not always personal when your manuscript (shoes) is rejected!
Rejection is an ugly word, especially to a writer. But we need to keep it in perspective. If we’ve been gifted/called to write, then we should keep writing and polishing our manuscript in obedience to our Lord. Perhaps the work we put into our manuscripts will never yield the results we desire, but if we work in obedience, I believe it will always yield the results the Lord has intended for us. Perhaps our work will lead us in a direction we never expected. I don’t believe the time and effort spent polishing our manuscripts will ever be rendered wasted. We are a work in progress, and only God knows where that will lead.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I love Christmas and all that it means. Our Savior has come! Peace (in hearts) on Earth! Sharing love with those most dear to us!
This year I'm thrilled to be able to participate in a countdown to Christmas on the Christian Bookworm Reviews site. Each day a different author will share a special Christmas memory or a Christmas excerpt from their book.
If you stop by Christian Bookworm Reviews site and leave a comment, you'll be eligible to win free books.
Here's a rundown of participating authors:
Day 1 – Cara Putnam
Sunday, November 09, 2008
My character is beginning to come into focus. Her name is Libby and she was an only child, raised by a single dad in the 1960s. Her father worked for a small town newspaper and smoked Kent cigarettes.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Sorry about being absent from the blogosphere for the past few weeks. I'll get back into the groove. Promise.
He appeared out of the ether, full of life and love. If I could have touched him, I bet he’d be warm.
The sight caught me unaware, and I sat at the breakfast table with my cup of coffee poised before my face while I gazed through the fragrant steam. He stood with his eyes closed, head tilted back, and ticked off the beats to an old Louis Armstrong classic with his big, bony shoulders moving up and down, one at a time.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The pace is brakeneck from the get go as we try to figure out why Kaitlan is framed for murder, how her author grandfather can help to clear her, and why her boyfriend is evil through and through.
This book has all the ingredients necessary and cooks up a deliciously satisfying ending.
It releases December 1st, so put it on your Christmas list!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Have you ever heard of GoodReads? It's a site where you can list what you're reading and rate what you've read. Basically, it's a networking site for readers.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Solomon Summaries is like CliffsNotes for Christian books. They provide 8-10 page summaries to help you gain wisdom from some of the brightest Christian thinkers. And isn't that a clever idea!
Here's some exciting news--right now, everyone is eligible to receive a free subscription through Dec 1st by signing up for it on the Solomon Summaries website. You are eligible to receive a year’s subscription for $100 (regular price: $120, ~15% discount). Please reference my website and the blog tour in the "how did you hear about us" section. You will also be entered into a drawing for a stack of books with your paid subscription.
Want to know more? The Goodmans have responded to a few questions:
What inspired you to begin a business like this? Why did you want to start it?
I (Chris) found a growing chasm between the amount of books I want to absorb and the amount of time available to read them (not so much due to time shrinking, but because there are so many amazing books). In the business world, I had access to executive book summary services for years to glean the latest business wisdom and I dreamed of something similar for Christian books.
I (Heather) am passionate about all things books. I love the idea of raising awareness of what’s out there.
In a culture that has adopted “I’m busy” as a standard response to the question “how are you?”, there seems to be an interesting opportunity to engage people in bite size chunks with the key points from a book on Christian living. Hopefully, this will help readers triage which books they want to look at further. Also, we want to help lay leaders choose good materials and resources for Sunday school classes, small groups, mentoring relationships, and leadership training and help pastors stay in touch with what’s out there and what their congregations are reading.
As you have explained the idea to people, what has been the general reaction?
Reactions have been very positive thus far. For some, the concept is a bit new. But when they finally get it, they get very excited. For others, especially business men and women, they’ve seen the concept before and quickly value the opportunity to glean wisdom from many of the christian nonfiction books they’ve been wanting to read for years like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Many people have heard of the book. Some have even bought it. But few have actually read it and can share the insight of Lewis with their friends or coworkers.
And pastors seem to appreciate the frustration of not being able to keep up with all the great books out there. Whether it’s for their own understanding or being able to answer questions people ask them about various books, they seem to value the ability to stay current with their limited time budget. Solomon Summaries can also help them decide which books to spend their valuable reading time on.
How do you choose the books that are reviewed?
We primarily choose books that are of interest to our audience–books they would like to know more about, books they are considering buying or books they’ve heard in a conversation and want to have an opinion about. We look at new releases, bestsellers, general Christian living books, and we have a poll on our website to find out what books our readers would like us to summarize.
How has it been working together as a husband-wife team?
It’s been a really great way of integrating our various skills and passions. Heather’s passion for reading and working with our team of summary writers to discuss truth balance Chris’ business, technical and missions interests. There are times of frustration to be sure, especially in the fast-paced, high cost start-up phase of a new ministry venture, but overwhelmingly we’ve found the experience to be very positive and something we can do together. It’s been a good lesson in learning to communicate better.
What is your vision for Solomon Summaries?
Well that is an interesting question. As future-thinking people, we have great interest in seeing Solomon Summaries become a platform for engagement and growth. Based on the initial reaction and how passionately people share the idea with their friends (and we’re hoping people will be very excited and share it with lots of friends), we are in discussion on a number of additional pieces of the puzzle (what Chris calls the blueprint) to offer value to book readers and small group book discussions. We’d also like to get the authors of the books more involved in the discussion. We’ll be paying close attention to subscribers and their interests and ultimately it will grow into what people want and need to help them in their lives.
I'm not the only blogger spreading the word about Solomon Summaries. If you're interested in what others are saying, here's where you can visit:
AKA Lewis Theodore
A Peek at My Bookshelf
Aspire 2 Blog
Blame it on the Loud Mouth Gene
Gatorskunkz and Mudcats
Geaux 2 Girl
High Calling Blogs
In the Dailies
Leap of Faith
Morning Cup of Coffee
Portrait of a Writer . . . Interrupted
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Today's topic was Making Time to Write and was presented by Jan Parrish. This is a photo of Jan illustrating portions of time in a day.
The point is, prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!!
I sometimes do a book report for the group. I think it's a great practice for authors to spread the word about other books out there.
Today's book was Keeping His Pants On...Until He Gets Home by Joyce S. Oglesby. Joyce is a sweet, encouraging cheerleader for creating happy, satisfying relationships between husband and wife. She advocates a deliberate, thoughtful approach to the role of being a wife. Obviously not a Shrinking Violet, Joyce empowers women to take control of their sexuality in a biblical sense and abandon inhibitions that may stand in the way of close, enjoyable marital relations. Joyce tells tells it like it is and offers those stuck in a stagnant relationship strategies to change for the better. She's an equal opportunity author--the sequel is called Turning Her On...and Keeping Her Heart.
After the meeting a few of us went out to lunch together at a gas station. Yes, you read that right!!
The hoagie shop in Out of Her Hands is based on a local eatery. The real deal was awarded "The Best Sandwich Shop in a Gas Station Award" by a local newspaper.
And if you're wondering, my cheese steak sandwich (with Cheez Whiz!) was marvelous.
From left to right: Danica, Jan, Darcie, and Bonnie. Don't they look oh, so satisfied? Yeah, that's what Philly food will do to you.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
It was wonderful! Not only did I get to connect with book lovers but I also got to meet the great folks who run the Christian bookstores. Being with writer friends was an added bonus. Before we went to Mardel, I met Donita Paul, Evangeline Denmark, Amber Miller and Stuart Stockton, and Tina Forkner for brunch.
Here I am with Alice, a woman who loves fiction! She was a delight to meet and speak with.
I also love the way her dear husband supported her book habit. LOL
I shared a table with Bob Liparulo and Erin Rainwater at Mardel in the early afternoon. Bob was busy chatting, so I didn't pester him to get in the photo.
I was thrilled to see Cathy Hake and her daughter Kelly Hake. I usually only have the pleasure of seeing those girls at the annual ACFW conference.
During the late afternoon, I went to Connections Bookstore inside Woodmen Valley Chapel. I sat next to Susan and Dale Mathis. They wrote a great (and much needed) non-fiction book, Countdown for Couples, about preparing for the adventure of marriage.
Pat Walter from Connections Bookstore was the mastermind behind The Journey Event. I was thrilled when he told me that this is probably only the first of many Journey Events. I look forward to participating in next year's promotion, which I hear is going to be even better than this year's.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I can't wait to share it with you, but I've got to. I'll post the details on my website's "For Readers" page next Saturday, October 25th.
In other news:
I've updated my blog a bit to reflect the seasonal change. I've also updated my website for autumn. It's fun. Kind of like redecorating your house for a holiday.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Last July I was interviewed for Authors @ Douglas County, a program that runs on our local cable TV station. My interview started being aired last month, and today it finally made it to the county website. I'm surprised at how many people have come up to me to say they saw my interview.
Of course I mentioned how important ACFW and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference were to my education.
I'm proud to be on this well-produced show. Unfortunately, I tend to look up and to the side when I'm collecting my thoughts. Won't be doing that again!!
Check out local television stations in your area for this type of opportunity. I've found another station that I'll be contacting.
In other news:
Is is just me or have you noticed how some of our everyday items are becoming super sized? Last year we had to buy a new garbage can, and this one is about twice the size of what garbage cans used to be "back in the day." Do you remember when all garbage cans were metal cylinders that made lots of noise on garbage day?
I've recently purchased new "everyday" silverware, replacing the 1970 stuff with 2008 stuff, and guess what?? The newer version is bigger, much bigger.
I gave away the old stuff, but I just found a knife and teaspoon. Have we all grown to ogre size? Are our hands and mouths the size of Shrek that we need super-sized silverware? Really?!
I'm honored to be able to get around on the Internet by being hosted on other blogs.
- Mara Kim's Belonging to the Lord (10/14)
- Lena Nelson Dooley's A Christian Writer's World (10/14)
- Trish Perry Books site (10/6)
- Natalie's Married to the Preacher (10/4)
- Annette Irby's Net's Notes (10/2)
- Jill Eileen Smith's Spotlight (10/1)