Monday, September 29, 2008

She's done it again!

My poor, dumb, old, silly, lovable girl Belle has done it again.

She ate something (lots of somethings) that she shouldn't have.

In the past she's eaten a container of vaseline, a bag of foil-wrapped candy, a half pound of Brie cheese, cheddar cheese, dollar bills, a bar of Dove soap, thyroid medication, a baked ham (off Grandma's dining room table!), buried potatoes (out of Grandpa's garden!), plastic wrap from frozen pizza, yummy-smelling papertowels that were used to wipe up spilled bbq sauce, toothpaste, and I'm sure I'm leaving something out.

It's a miracle this dog still lives. Once my vet had me administer hydrogen peroxide orally to help her empty her stomach. That was not pretty.

This evening I put her food in her bowl and she rolled her eyes and walked away. Upon further inspection, she had something red hanging from her whiskers. It was the hard candy shell from a blow pop. We estimate that she might have eaten around 11 of them. And probably some of the cardboard sticks.

The good news is that she apparently has a tummy of steel. The photo above was taken last October, the night after her last visit to the doggie ER. See where her leg was shaved for her IV?

I'll let you know how she does tomorrow. She's not exhibiting that "Oh, no. Take me to the doctor" behavior, so we're hoping it will be fine. As long as we can restrict her diet to dog food!

***9/30/08--She's fine. She just needed to empty her tummy and sleep it off. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blogging for a cause: NILMDTS

One late winter morning in 2005 a gentleman called the portrait photography studio where I work to arrange for someone to take photos of his newborn son later that day. Unfortunately there was no availability on such short notice. When the receptionist asked what the rush was, the baby’s father told her that his son was going to be removed from life support later that evening.Of course the photographer made time for that family. The resulting images were sweetly beautiful—portraits of a “sleeping” babe in his parents’ arms. Of course the baby had slipped into eternity when most of the portraits were taken, but the family was left with a lasting memento that they could share with family and friends.

Within months, the baby’s mother and that photographer created a non-profit organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS). It had such a humble beginning: one photographer, one imaging artist, and I was honored to be the the volunteer writer.

Since then, the organization has grown and thrived and now has a full-time staff, over 5,000 volunteer photographers, and is active in the USA and 19 other countries.

NILMDTS provides infant bereavement photography services to families suffering the loss of a baby. The volunteer photographers conduct sensitive and private portrait sessions in a hospital or hospice setting and give the parents professionally retouched, archival DVD or CDs from which they can print portraits.

And all of this is done free of charge. What grace!

The month of October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and NILMDTS is holding it's annual Fund Drive for six weeks, ending October 31st.

If you are in a place to make even a small contribution to NILMDTS, please know that doing so will continue to allow the organization to provide improved resources, training, communication, and other tools necessary in support of their amazing contingent of professional photographers who provide the gift of free remembrance portraiture to families in need.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Romantic Times Review

I don't know how well you can see this, but Out of Her Hands received a 4 1/2 star review in Romantic Times Magazine! I'm absolutely thrilled.

BTW, here's their ratings descriptions:

4 1/2 Gold: Phenomenal. In a class by itself.
4 1/2: Fantastic. A keeper.
4: Compelling. A page-turner.
3: Enjoyable. A pleasant read.
2: Problematic. May struggle to finish.
1: Severely Flawed. Pass on this on.

Now I've got to head over to the bookstore to get a copy of the magazine!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy First Day of Autumn

Did you realize that this morning you woke up in summer and now we're going to bed in the season of autumn?
My Maple tree is turning from a restful shade of green to the blaze of autumn from top to bottom.

It was DARK by 7:30 tonight. Sigh.

Just saying. . .

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More ACFW Conference

Home again. Tired and exhilarated from all I learned.

Yesterday was the last day of the 2008 ACFW conference. At breakfast I finally ran into my online friend and influencer Annette Irby.The morning was full of continuing sessions and workshops and then we were off to the Mall of America for the book signing.

That's a photo of the SFS ad that was on the "Big Screen" in the rotunda of the Mall of America.

Last evening was the annual banquet.
Here I am with my agent, Beth Jusino.

My friend, Tiff Stockton (AKA Amber Miller) asked me to take this photo of her and agent Chip MacGregor all gussied up.
If you're interested in some more details of the conference, head over to the Words For The Journey blog where I also posted.

Friday, September 19, 2008

ACFW Conference

I'm currently in Minneapolis at the annual ACFW conference. My brain's about ready to explode from information overload. But that's okay, that's just the way it is when you're at a conference of this caliber.

This is my view from my room.But if you get close to the window and angle your view, you see this:

This year, for the first time, I arrived early to attend an Early Bird session. It was on deep editing and was taught by Margie Lawson. I can't believe the name of the workshop was Deep Editing, it should have had a more spectacular name like, "Power Up Your Writing and Stir Up Your Creativity," because that's the effect it had on me.

I'm attending a continuing session taught by author James Scott Bell called "Taking Your Career to the Next Level." It involves career planning, covering trends, marketing, agents, editors, and the art of "keeping on." Today, during the first part of the session, he hosted Angie Hunt for a Q&A.

Last night I went to the imfamous chocolate party at Michelle Sutton's room.

Doesn't Linda Kozar look like she's really savoring that candy?

This is a photo of a dream come true: my book (Searching for Spice) in the ACFW conference bookstore.
This evening I had dinner with authors Tina Forkner and Nicole Young. Touching base with old friends and making new friends is one of the greatest benefits of attending conferences. I met Tina in 2005 when we were both unpublished authors attending the conference in Nashville.

Tomorrow I look forward to some great sessions and workshops. The afternoon will be spent at the HUGE book signing at the Mall of America, and tomorrow night will be the awards banquet.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book A Latte!

I had a lovely conversation with Takiela Bynum of and last week. She interviewed me and created a podcast that's been put on BooksALatte. Check it out!

Monday, September 15, 2008

More Library Memories

I have to admit, as a child the most memorable thing about the Troy Public Library was the Gulliver's Travels portrait. It's huge, and to a child seemed even larger.

But on the trip I took back to the library last month I was awed by the beauty of the building.

I did a bit of research and the library, which opened in 1897, was designed to loosely resemble an Italian renaissance palace. The principal facades are white marble, with rich carvings. Click on the photo to see the amazing detail in the carvings.

Isn't this lamp by the front door exquisite?

And the library has some amazing Tiffany windows, more than a dozen of them!

This is a skylight in the main reading room. There are also some incredible Hudson River School paintings in that room. Do you remember that term from your college art appreciation class? Unfortunately, those photos didn't quite turn out.

There is a series of these windows in that same room --

And then across from those amazing windows, these windows open to the staircase. I was standing on the stairs when I took this photo. The windows to the outside are across the staircase from these beautiful windows.

The most notable Tiffany window in the library is the House of Aldus Tiffany window which was commissioned for the library and designed by Frederick Wilson to portrait Venetian scholar and master printer Aldus Manutius (1450-1515). It's located behind the circulation desk. Manutius is credited with creating italic typeface style, which because of its narrow and compact letterforms allowed the printing of pocket-sized books. Which in turn was one reason for the growth of public libraries in the world. Thanks, Aldus.

Here's that beautiful window:

The scene depicts Aldus presenting the proof sheets of The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri.

And that, my friends, is our culture and history lesson for the day!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fuzzy Memories

If you've ever read my "about me" page on my website, my Tyndale-made bookmark, or the bios in my books, you've heard mention about the library my mom would drive the kids to weekly.

I was pretty young, probably pre-school, when we would visit the Troy Public Library. It was about a 20 minute drive from where we lived in Wynantskill, NY. I remember sitting in the Children's Room and staring at a scene from the story Gulliver's Travels that was high up on the wall.

In my fuzzy memory, it was a mural. But last month I visited "home." While I was there, I stopped at the Troy Public Library to donate a copy of Searching for Spice. And guess what? The picture isn't a mural, it's a large portrait.

As you can see, it sits on the mantel of a fireplace. It's still much as I remember it.

When I went into the library, I walked into the Children's Room and was very sad not to find the Gulliver's Travels picture that I remembered there. I toured the rest of that beautiful library and then happened to mention my disappointment to a librarian. She stopped what she was doing and led me right to it.

The Children's Room is actually two rooms. That, I didn't remember. There is a fireplace on your left as you walk in, but if you walk to the end of the room there's a door that leads to a room on the other side of that wall. That room has a matching fireplace and the portrait of Gulliver's Travels.

I tell you, I was so happy to see that portrait. Yes, I was.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Come on, girls -- VOTE!

It’s too easy to take our right to vote for granted. Like many privileges, women’s suffrage wasn’t simply given to our grandmothers. The battle for the right to vote was a long, hard road –- one that is too often overlooked.

It was not until 1920 that women were given the right to vote.On November 5th, 1917 a group of suffragettes picketed the White House, carrying signs asking for the right to vote. These women were arrested and jailed, and by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.”

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror,' when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragettes imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

Lucy Burns

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding, and gasping for air.

Dora Lewis 

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting, and kicking the women.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

Alice Paul 

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

Woodrow Wilson and his cronies tried to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. The doctor refused. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

 The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."

I have not seen it, but I've heard HBO made a movie called Iron Jawed Angels. It is a depiction of the battle these women waged so that we could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have our say.

It's so easy to vote today. You can do it from the privacy of your own home by having a ballot sent to you. And even if you haven't made those arrangements, and you must got to the polls, isn't it our duty to vote?

Go ahead. Do it. Vote. It's our right and our responsibility.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Tribute (The Fray)

Please remember to pray those who lost loved ones, our brave protectors: firemen, law enforcement and those in the armed services, our political leaders, and everyone who loves freedom and hates evil.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Words For The Journey day

This morning I attended my weekly WFTJ meeting. Today we discussed being a part of a critique group.

Before the meeting got down to business I did a book report.
I don't know if you can tell, but I'm holding Kim Vogel Sawyer's Where the Heart Leads. It's book # 2 in the Waiting for Summer's Return series. Kim is a strong author. She occasionally stops me in my tracks when I have to pause to admire a particular phrase.

Here's the description for Where the Heart Leads: After his graduation from college, Thomas Ollenburger is filled with big dreams and many questions. What will he do for a career? Should he marry? Where will he call home? Torn between his Mennonite roots on the Kansas prairie and his love for the big city of Boston, as well as his affection for a girl in each location, Thomas is unsure of his place in the world. He has always sought God's leading in his decision-making, but now it seems as if God is silent. Has Thomas's heart led him astray?

I wasn't the only one to do a book report. Chris Richards told us about a new find, The Dimwit's Dictionary. This book gives you alternates to overused words and phrases. Good one, Chris!

Author Dianne Daniels was kind enough to take my photo while I was doing my book report. Bless her heart--she was so kind that she took about 15 photos. I felt like a superstar on the red carpet, LOL.

To pay back the favor, I took about 10 photos of Dianne while she walked back to her seat. It was good for a laugh.Loretta, the girl hiding behind my launch party invitation, apparently didn't find it quite so humorous. You should check out her blog. She's one smart cookie --blogs about religion and science.

Monday, September 08, 2008

New Bookmark!

My new bookmark was delivered from the printer today!

The images are two sides of the same bookmark. I love it because each side represents that book so well.

The design was created by 100 Proof Design.

(If you click on each image, it will enlarge.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

11 Days and Counting!

As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, I'm eagerly awaiting this year's annual conference

In just 11 days I'll be flying to Minneapolis! It's heaven on earth, spending time with writers, agents, and editors. Being with the publishing community is almost as if I'm going to a rendezvous on the mother ship with like minded folks. You know, those other people who live so much in their own heads. 

One of the great events of this year's conference is the huge book signing that is sponsored by Barnes & Noble at the Mall of America in Minneapolis. I'll participate with about 125 other Christian authors. Wow!

If you're in the area or know any book lovers in Minneapolis, I hope you'll stop by Saturday, September 20th from 1:00 till 3:00, and mingle with and meet some of your favorite authors. 

I'll be there, and I would love to meet you.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Proud to be a Coloradan!

We have an opportunity to help create history and make a difference for eternity! 

Life Counts!
The term "Person" or "Persons" shall include any human from the time of fertilization. 

Vote YES on 48!

Colorado for Equal Rights Personhood Amendment from Personhood USA on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

You're Invited!

Mark your calendar now! 

The book launch party for Out of Her Hands will be held October 4th in, Elements, the bookstore located in my home church. Come and mingle with editors, agents, authors, friends and family. We're going to have a great time!

I'll even be giving away one gift certificate to the Gray Pony Inn AKA The Warhorse Inn in downtown Parker.

Sad State of American Journalism

I'm disheartened. As I've followed the current political news, I've discovered that bias in journalism is no longer subtle. It's in your face and it's ugly.

My first "real" job out of college was in journalism. Back in the old days, you were supposed to report the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Now it seems journalists (it makes my stomach heave to call some of those people by that professional term) want to make the news as well as form your opinion for you.

Check out these two Us Magazine covers.

Hmmm. Now which candidate do you suppose Us supports? It sure takes hubris on the part of Us Magazine to create those competing covers.

Makes you sick, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I'm not a wimp!

I'm not a wimp, a little crazy maybe, but not a wimp.

I'm hanging onto summer with all my might. Today in Colorado it was in the mid 50s. But the sun was shining and the sky was bright blue, so I decided to fortify myself and work outside on the patio, as is my habit in the summer.I had on velour sweatpants, a T-shirt, my DH's worn flannel shirt (on the arm of the chaise), a burgundy throw from the living room, and a black knit scarf. It was delightful, but by late morning I had also added my velour hoodie, with the hood up. My chaise is in perpetual shade.

My chair is pulled so close to the house so I can slide open the door for my little dog without having to get up. It's the perfect summer office. I've got my lap desk, laptop computer, telephone, and jug of H2O. What more do you need?

As long as I'm comfy, I can write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write . . .