Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ahh spring!

I hope we didn't jump the gun by putting out our patio furniture today. I've been looking forward to warm weather with a vengeance this year.

My summer office is my patio, usually from some time in May until October. I. Just. Can't. Wait!!

See the chaise lounge to the right of the door? That spot is shady 100% of the time, and that's where I write, weather permitting. That photo was taken last year. Colorado is not quite that green and blooming--yet.

We did a bit of yard work today. We tore up a big honeysuckle. An aspen tree volunteered to grow next to it, and the honeysuckle was overpowering the tender shoot.

I've been aggravated with that honeysuckle for about five years or so now anyway. It had no fragrance. Can you believe that? Isn't that half the reason for planting honeysuckle? The previous one used to scent the entire yard with it's fragrance, but this one was fragrance free.

I'm starting out this week with a prayer and a praise, how about you?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Author Voice

A lot of time is spent in writing circles discussing author voice. What is it? How do you perfect it?

Let’s look at some passages from books by two authors and “listen” to a few different voices and hear what they say to us. Keep reading -->

In other news: I spoke to a fabulous moms' group this morning about the power of words. Had a blast. I even got to hold a little one. My only regret is that I forgot to bring my camera. Rats.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A star in the making

This was Bayle's second agility training class. Darling daughter # 1 was putting her through the paces.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Purchase Sara Mills' books

I met Sara Mills last September at the ACFW Conference in Minneapolis. We happened to find ourselves sitting next to each other at the annual chocolate party.

Last week, Sara was widowed when her 40-year-old husband died of a heart attack.

Sara was just gearing up to promote her new book, Miss Match, about a female private detective, set in NYC in 1947. The authors of American Christian Fiction Writers are showing their support of Sara by getting out word about her novels.

The following is a previously published interview with Sara about her novels:

Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books...

I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me:

One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

These books are so good, I wish I'd written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?

I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn’t want them to be stark and hopeless.

One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.

Allie is a character I'd love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?

Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie’s relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it’s shaped her.

Another dimension of Allie’s character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it’s a characteristic I’d like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I’ve got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie. LOL.

One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?

If I could go anywhere right now I’d head to Monterey, California (I’m writing a book set there right now) and I’d plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There’s something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don’t know why, it just is.

Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fianci disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.
Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fianci was still alive.

Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.
A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's conference season!

Have you considered attending a writers conference this year? If not, perhaps you should. I’m a proponent of conferences because I believe...

Keep reading-->

In other news . . .  It's official. I'm a bona fide dog nerd. I've enrolled my Jack Russell Terrier, Bayle, in agility training. Our first class is on Friday afternoon. Since I've written Bayle into my wip, do you suppose I can claim this expense as research? 

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Do I really look that dumb?

I was accosted by one of those product snipers that lurk at the kiosks in the mall this past week. She seemed innocent enough, "May I share some hand lotion with you, ma'am?"

The lotion was lovely, but then before I knew it, she was dabbing me with two layers of eye creams. Apparently they must work together for the desired result. A moment after she finished dabbing the second eye, she pulled out a mirror. "Oh, see that? See the difference? All those fine lines have disappeared!"

Really? Hmm. I didn't see anything.

She further explained. "They activate the muscles in your skin immediately."

Really? I didn't have the heart to tell this eager sniper that skin does not have muscles. So, how much do you think this stuff costs?

Hold onto your hat.

A 4 oz. vial is $160! Yes, that's right. To purchase both 4 oz. vials would cost you a whopping $320!!

Now I'm wondering why she chose to snare me and dupe me into shelling out that much money on eye cream. After all, I have many other parts that can use work beside my eyes. If I started there, who knows where this beautification project would end up.

You know, it would be like the lady who decides to purchase new sofa cushions, and then she has to buy new curtains, new carpets, paint the room, and then of course the sofa's got to be replaced because it no longer "goes" with the room.

Friday, April 03, 2009

So, you want to be a writer?

Have you ever dreamed of being a writer? In those quiet moments when daydreams struggle against the confines of reality, have you ever thought, “Yeah, I want to write, and I think I can.”

 Let me tell you, if I had $10 for every person who’s told me that they want to write a book/can write a book/have the perfect story for a book, then I could pay off my mortgage.

Friends, if you want to write a book or  read more . . .

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Denver Christian Fiction Examiner: Novel set in Denver area

The delightful and well-read Kay Day as recently become Denver's newest Examiner on Her title is Denver Christian Fiction Examiner. Yippi.

I'm honored that her first article was about me and Searching for Spice. Thanks, Kay!

Denver Christian Fiction Examiner: Novel set in Denver area

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