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!