Friday, February 27, 2009

Hooray for Book Lovers!

This past Wednesday I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner and conversation with the Newday Christian Book Club.

We had a great discussion about Searching for Spice, and then they let me draw names out of a big seashell to determine the great Christian fiction they would read for the next few months. They've got good tastes, they're next book is The Novelist by Angela Hunt.

In case you're wondering what I'm holding, they overwhelmed me with kindness and (delicious) calories by giving me a beautiful gift basket with chocolate, tea, cookies, and cocoa -- all items mentioned in Searching for Spice.

See the shiny wrapping? That's homemade, fudgy brownies. I saw one of the girls carry that in before dinner and was looking forward to eating it for dessert. You can imagine my surprise when dessert was served, and it wasn't brownies. Now I realize she brought them for the gift basket. :) And see the tin box with the swirly design? Inside there are homemade chocolate chip cookies.

That was two days ago, and I'm still munching my way through those goodies.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Like Mother Like Daughter

I wish I could say that one of my children wants to be a writer and has started going to writing groups and conferences with me, but that's not what this is about.** My oldest daughter is following in my footsteps as far as my water consumption goes.

I am one of the most well hydrated women in America. I drink a mini-jug of water daily, and I put a coral calcium bag (like a tea bag) into my water for my calcium supplement. This way I get the H2O and the calcium needed in one shebang.

Anyway, like mother like daughter. Daughter # 1 recently got her own mini-jug and drinks her daily H2O intake that way too.

Don't our water jugs look cute together?

**Yea, I'm always a bit jealous when I see other writer's with their offspring together at conferences. Oh, well. Maybe my children just haven't discovered their writing passion/talent -- yet! A mother can still hope. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Club Visit

This Tuesday I was honored to be a guest at the Winddrift Book Club. Don't you love that name? (Maybe I should get these ladies to help me title my next book!)
We had a lively discussion and some good laughs. More importantly, I got to spend some time with some bright and fun women who love books: Tina, Jan, Bev, Janet, Susan, and Jennifer. It doesn't get any better than that.

When I left, Tina gave me these lovely tulips. Aren't they beautiful? I've been working all week being able to gaze at their promise that spring will come to Colorado.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Novel's of Hope Contest

There's still time to enter author Tina Forkner's great Novels of Hope contest. It's an interesting contest, and you can choose your own level of participation.

I felt that a sense of hope is permeated throughout the novel Ruby Among Us. It showed us that it's never too late to revisit the past so that you can move through your present and look forward to the future. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, so you're going to have to pick up a copy of RAU to read for yourself.

Here's my review:
Tina Forkner’s debut novel Ruby Among Us is beautifully written and transports you to the lush, rich Sonoma Valley. Ruby’s daughter, Lucy, struggles to put the pieces together to discover the story of her deceased mother. Her efforts bring into focus not only Ruby’s story but that of Kitty, the grandmother who raised her, and the story of Lucy herself.

Ruby Among Us is a tale of generational love and finding redemption from the past by dealing with the present. I loved the story of Ruby, Kitty, and Lucy and fell in love with the beautiful language and moving prose penned by Forkner.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Plot Thickens

Have you ever been to The Plot Thickens site? It's a wonderful blog hosted by author Deb Raney, and it's devoted to novelists and their gardens.

The Plot Thickens is an invitation to join your favorite novelists in their garden spaces. I'm honored to be included in the fun.

This site is like a passport into the secret world of wonderful, creative authors. So, if you've never visited, do yourself a favor and check it out. Some of the writers' gardens and workspaces are incredible: foreign countries, secluded gardens, romantic gazebos, and beautiful, inspirational places.

Those wonderful gardens are enough to give you fantastic ideas for plotting. Ooh, I was just struck with some inspiration--gotta go . . .

In other news: All this talk about gardens is making me antsy to get outside to my summer office. See the chaise to the right of the door? It's got my MacBook open and ready to go. That's where I work from about May until early October. And boy, I can't wait!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Searching for Spice Book Trailer Review

Have you had the good fortune to hear about Linda Lou's Book Trailer Park? It's a site that rates book trailers, based on a one-to-five-mullet rating. Ha!

This week the Searching for Spice trailer was rated and received an impressive 4 1/2 mullets.

Here's Linda's review:
Searching for Spice is a fabulous book accompanied by an effective and entertaining book trailer.

This I liked! The timing was right at just over 30 seconds. Not too much of a good thing, nor too little. The male voice-over presented a slightly off-balance comedic twist that really worked well. It reflects the humor of the book perfectly. On a selfish note however, I would have liked a few more graphics--more glimpses into that spicy world.

You should really check out Linda Lou's Book Trailer Park. Hostess Linda Kozar has done a great job, and it's fun to read through her rating explanations and see the other trailers that have been reviewed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Great Review for OOHH!

It's always exciting to get a book review, and I found out yesterday that Faithful Reader, a wonderful website for book lovers, posted a great review of Out of Her Hands:

Linda Revere is the quintessential controlling, worrying, "Why didn't you call me last night?" mother. She keeps Nick, her 22-year-old son who is living at home while finishing up college, on an incredibly short leash considering his age. Daughter Emma is a bit less of a problem; as a high school senior, she pretty much toes the line out of habit and an understanding that she doesn't have much of a choice. Meanwhile, husband Jerry represents the voice of reason whenever Linda's worrying starts to get out of hand --- which it often does.

Things start to heat up when Nick is spotted around town with a mysterious young woman, a girl named Amber who he's never mentioned to his parents or his sister. Eventually, Nick comes clean with his family. Yes, he has a girlfriend. Yes, that's who he's been with on all those nights when he came home so late --- or didn't come home at all. And no, she's not a Christian. Trouble in the Revere household for sure.

Oh, and Keith, the husband of Linda's best friend, lands a job 2,000 miles away, meaning Linda is about to lose Debbie, her closest confidant.

Add to this all the complications involving Linda's job at Dream Photography at the height of the photo-taking season --- right before Thanksgiving, when all those Christmas card photos need to be taken --- and Linda is fit to be tied. To make matters worse, her recently widowed father-in-law has taken up with a new woman. "Recently widowed," in this case, is 11 months prior; at 75, Ross is having difficulty navigating life without the woman he spent all his adult life with, just as Doris is learning to live without her deceased husband.

Linda, though, must face her first Thanksgiving without her beloved mother-in-law --- and with Doris, her "replacement," and Amber, Nick's totally unacceptable excuse for a girlfriend. (In Linda's defense, Amber's later description of the Revere kitchen as a "culinary Siberia" doesn't do all that much to endear readers to her, and those same readers may even find themselves rooting for Linda at that point.)

Not unexpectedly, and despite Linda's attempts to make the best of a number of awkward and uncomfortable situations, things start to go downhill fast. Anger, hurt and disappointment bubble to the surface and at times erupt into distressing public scenes. Just when Linda thinks things can't get any worse, they do.

What makes OUT OF HER HANDS such a fulfilling read is the way Linda responds to the worst of the many bad situations that plague her life all at once. She rises to the occasion when circumstances are so severe that she simply needs to stop worrying, begin finding solutions to major problems and start turning the reins over to the people who should have held them all along. Also satisfying is the way the story ends --- not in perfection but in the not-so-perfect reality of everyday life.

Fans of DiMaria's previous books will likely find this one to be equally enjoyable, while newcomers to her novels won't be disappointed. Readers of contemporary "Mom Lit" should also find a lot to like here.

Monday, February 02, 2009

New Christian Women's Magazine

Have you heard of Shine? It’s a new Christian women’s magazine published in the Denver area by Word of Life Christian Center in Lone Tree.

I’ve got to tell you, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Being a girl who loves pretty things, my first reaction to seeing Shine was to sit down and investigate inside. That’s when I discovered that this substantial glossy has content as well as style.

The topics covered in the current issue are encouragement, fashion, food/entertainment, health/wellness, home d├ęcor, legal issues, life and abundant living, marriage, parenting, prayer, and the workplace. It also has a devotional calendar and book and media section.

The magazine’s publisher is Gayla Bagwell. She’s the classy lady on the cover of the current issue. Gayla’s the senior pastor’s wife of Word of Life Christian Center, and she’s been ministering alongside her husband for 33 years. She’s also launched a new website in conjunction with Shine that’s another outlet for her women’s ministry.

I have to be careful when it comes to magazines because I love them. If I had the time and money, I’m sure I could be a magazine junkie. But after finding Shine, I think I’ll give into my weakness and subscribe to just one more magazine.