Wednesday, June 27, 2007

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Names are huge. That's why we spent countless hours naming our children, and I won't even tell you how many name changes my characters go through before I settle on the perfect name. I've spent my whole life despising my own name, mostly because of the horrific nickname my parents gave me (Hello? Did they think I wanted to go through life being called THAT? Ugh, I have to shake it off. OK.)

So I decided to see what my name really means. Of course, you have to go to an internet quiz site to find out such things. Right?

GGentle
EEdgy
OOrderly
RRounded
GGlorious
IInfluential
AAmorous
NNew
AAstounding



Name / Username:



Name Acronym Generator
From Go-Quiz.com

After seeing the true meaning of my name (LOL!) I guess I can live with it. Except the ROUNDED part--what do you suppose that means? So what's your name acronym?

PS. Stop by Kaye's blog and check out her post on naming characters.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

THE SHALLOW END...

Is anyone else tired of wading in the shallow end of the news pool? If I have to hear about a certain person whose initials are P.H. even one more time, I'LL SCREAM! Even CNN had continuous looping coverage this morning while I was trapped on the treadmill and forced to watch.

Gag.

What is our nation coming to that we think this is the most important story of the day? At least pick an angle that has value, like improvements that need to be made to the legal system on drunk driving cases, or equal time for equal crime, or SOMETHING other than the regurgitated info on her release.

Thanks for the rant. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog....

Monday, June 25, 2007



THE DIVINE APPOINTMENT


I love past-paced stories with tight plots and lots of action. Honestly, as I read this book I felt like I was watching a movie. The spiritual theme was strong without being preachy, and the Christians were allowed a full range of emotions and flaws. For a political junkie like me, this was a perfect read!


Here's the official blurb:


RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES?


New Legal Thriller Mirrors High Court Drama

In The Divine Appointment, Supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative president, Richard Wallace, to impact the direction of the highest court in the land for years to come. The Supreme Court has the power to interpret the Constitution, and in the process, to shape the nation. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.





Jerome Teel received his law degree from the University of Mississippi where he graduated Cum Laude. He now practices full-time as an attorney in Jackson, Tennessee. The Divine Appointment is his second novel.

Interview with the Author:

1. Who is the target audience for The Divine Appointment?

The audience is wide and I believe The Divine Appointment can reach different segments of the Christian community. Specifically, though, I think the target audience is politically active Christians such as members of Christian Alliance organizations, Right to Life Organizations, American Family Association, etc.

2. How do you describe your genre for this book?

Christian fiction political thriller

3. Where/How did you birth the idea for this book? How did it come about?

The idea for this book was two-fold. First I think that Roe v. Wade was a very bad decision and it should be reversed. Secondly, the appointment and confirmation processes for Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were very intriguing and I wondered what it would be like if there was a true conservative, Christian jurist going through that process who would openly say that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. I found that concept very intriguing and turned it into a storyline.

4. What sort of research was involved to make The Divine Appointment sound authentic/realistic?

I researched the Washington D.C. geography to make sure I had names of buildings and streets accurate. Google Earth is an amazing tool. The legal aspects of the book and the courtroom scenes come from my many years of experience as an attorney.

5. What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?

I hope that readers will realize that it is important for Christians to be part of the political process.

6. Is The Divine Appointment part of a series?

It is not designed as a series yet. However, like The Election there could be follow-up books that would track some of the characters.

7. How do you deal with your other obligations (job, family, church, etc.) when it's crunch time near deadlines?

This is one of my most difficult tasks. I'm a partner in a law firm and that is a full-time job. Part of my practice is that I represent the local county government, which at times is very consuming. Currently I am helping coach three separate baseball teams. I am the incoming board president for a local charity. I teach a high school boys' Sunday School. And our family life is extremely busy. As you can see, there are very few unoccupied minutes in my life. When I'm working on a writing project my writing time is very late at night--typically from 10:00 p.m. to about 1:00 a.m. When a deadline is rapidly approaching I have to take time away from the office and stay at home until I'm able to get the project completed.

8. Do you plan character development and then let them run with the story, or do you plot the story in advance?

I don't know how unique my writing style is but I cannot write from an outline. The first thing that happens is that I see the beginning of a story and the end of the story, and then I begin to write. I outline as I go along and I keep a timeline. The characters begin to take on lives of their own and lead me through the story. When I get to about 30,000 words I begin to fully see the story unfold. It is at that point that I make a few notes about the direction of the book and it is all I can do to write fast enough to complete the manuscript.

9. Do you have an organized office and set times to write, or do you find yourself writing at unusual times or places?

I write at unusual times--typically very late at night. But the place is always the same. I have a study in my house and I do all of my writing there.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

RELUCTANT RUNAWAY


Stolen Indian artifacts...A murdered museum guard…

A missing woman…A baby in danger…

Only Desiree can unearth the horrifying secret that links them all.

Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs doesn’t mean to get in danger’s path. Really she doesn’t. But when a friend is in trouble you don’t just walk away. No matter what your overprotective FBI agent boyfriend says! So when Desi and Tony’s date at a presidential ball is interrupted by a frantic Maxine Webb, Desi doesn’t hesitate to jump in.

Soon Desi is neck-deep in a confusing array of villains. Did Max’s niece run away or was she taken? Is she still alive or the victim of a perverse ritual? And who wants her infant son–and why?

Then Tony’s organized crime case collides with Desi’s investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister. Something that craves blood...

From the streets of Desi’s beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces–and save a young woman and her baby from a villain more evil than any of them can imagine.

"A fresh voice, strong heroine, and unique plot make Reluctant Runaway a can't-put-down read. Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an author to watch in the realm of romantic suspense!"
----SUSAN MAY WARREN award-winning author of In Sheep's Clothing



Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a member of the CFBA. Her blog, Artistic Blogger, addresses issues about art, art theft, antiquities preservation, and the art of fiction writing. She takes art seriously - when she's not having fun with it, that is. The To Catch a Thief Series combines her love of the written word with her love of other art forms.

The first in the series was Reluctant Burglar , second is Reluctant Runaway. In January 2008, she will reveal the third book, Reluctant Smuggler. Jill is thrilled if the adventures that spill from her imagination can raise awareness about art theft - deemed "a looming criminal enterprise" by the FBI. Jill and her husband, Doug, have four children and live in Minnesota.

To get your copy of this book, click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

HIDE THE BOOKS!


What do scalpels, document repair tape, Japanese paper, mylar, and micro-spatulas have in common? They are some of the tools used to repair books. Until today, I had absolutely no idea that books could or would ever be repaired (except for ancient treasures, of course.)


Experts can repair covers, binders, reinsert pages, tighten hinges, and repair corners. Call me crazy, but that sounds like a totally fun job! Working with books, alone, making them readable once again.


Anyway, it's just a tidbit I wanted to share with you just in case your husband allows your one year old to rip Chapter 3 out of a hardcover that belongs to the library--or something like that.

On a lighter note, my middle daugher turned three today! Woot woot! We're celebrating on Sunday, but my hubby brought a huge balloon bouquet for her to wake up to. AND (drumroll please.............) he brought this for me:



Isn't life great?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2 GOALS

I started this summer with two goals: finish my romantic suspense and lose a dress size. So far I'm having trouble with both. Somehow "life" keeps happening. (On my next resume I'm listing TRANSPORTATION as my previous position because I'm always in the car!)

Anyway, I ran into a pothole in my story so it's going to take a bit of undoing. Even with the scene cards I couldn't foresee how a certain situation would play out, and several thousand words past the wrong turn I see the big picture.

Then there's the dress size. Forget pounds, I'm talking inches. (Although I'm still obsessed with weighing myself, I confess!) Have you ever noticed how some people look beautiful when they work out? Glistening bodies, cute outfits, and coiffed hair on the ones who are there for the meat-market situation.

NEWSFLASH: I'm not one of those people. In my ratty tee shirt and baggy shorts, I turn bright red (and stay that way for an hour afterward) when I work out. Twenty minutes in, and I'm sopping wet and sound like I'm birthing a cow. Today a lady from church saw me, and I couldn't tell if she was waving and miming that I was doing good, or waving her arms to tell me to slow down. Ugh.

Enough about me, what goals are you pressing toward this summer?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

GREAT RESOURCE

I love creating new characters. And I recently came across a comprehensive website on human behavior that I have bookmarked as a favorite--and I think you might too. Changing Minds is the best resource I've found--other than deep psychology/sociology books which I don't read!--that explains a lot about personalities and motivations.

Here are the sections I've found most valuable:

*Storytelling: it covers tons of info from character archetypes to plot structures (ie Hero's journey)

*Body Language: you all know how much I love body language. And I'm always trying to find creative gestures for my characters--here's a plethora of motions for your characters when you want them to display deception, aggresion, power, submission, etc.

*Personality Models: I love learning about personalities, hence all the quizzes I take, LOL. This section includes different theories, one of which is Sheldon's Body Personality typing which bases a person's characteristics on the way their body is shaped. While it's an outdated theory, some of it could be useful in building physical traits that send subliminal messages.

*Motivation: What motivates people? Needs, emotions, beliefs, values, goals, and memories. The site digs deeper into each of these.

This is one website I don't feel guilty spending time on--you know, research.

P.S. Stop by Kaye's blog where she's having a great discussion on characters.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

DIVA NASHVEGAS

Even if you are not a lover of country music, you can enjoy this fun look at the Nashville entertainment industry.

What do you do when the past you’ve been skirting shows up at your door with cameras rolling?

Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She’d rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parents’ death-both of them pioneers in Gospel music. But while her public life, high profile romances, and fights with Music Row execs made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery.

When a former band member betrays Aubrey’s trust and sells an "exclusive" to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey’s private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past-someone she’d hoped to forget.

All the moxie in the world won’t let this Diva run any longer.



Rachel is the author of many books. Her current release, Diva NashVegas is the second in a series which began with Lost in NashVegas. She is also a Blogger and a CFBA member! She lives in Florida with her husband. Visit her great profile and learn more.


Me here:

Once again, you gotta love Rachel's distinct voice. And as a bonus treat, we get a man's POV in Diva NashVegas. Particularly fun is having a peek inside the life of a country superstar and the record industry. There's even a special appearance by Reba McEntire! Click here to get a copy!

Monday, June 11, 2007

MIND NUMBING ACTIVITY...
a.k.a EXERCISE

I knew when I started trying to lose weight last November it was going to be a lifelong process. Like anything worthwhile, it was going to take a lot of effort. I just didn't realize that IT WAS GOING TO BE A LIFELONG PROCESS AND TAKE A LOT OF EFFORT.

So today I'm on the treadmill, again, and it dawns on me how b-o-r-i-n-g exercise can be. I have to play mind games to keep going and going and going and going. I ran cross country in high school and had to do the same thing, mile after mile. So there I am, looking at the silent TV in the mirrors, trying to read the closed captioning backwards, looking at the others exercising around me (including my teen) and rereading the stats on the screen.

And do you know what the warning says on the treadmill?

Please consult a physician before using this equipment. If you feel faint, dizzy, have a rapid pulse, or shortness of breath, discontinue use.

Are you kidding me? It's like they didn't want me to get on in the first place. I mean really, who wrote that? OK, those may not be the exact words, but almost.

Anyway, my stats for the day:

58 mins., 3.8 miles, 600 cals burned, and 10 mins waiting for the only private shower in the locker room.

Friday, June 08, 2007

THESE BOOTS WEREN'T MADE FOR WALKING

Have I mentioned how impressed I am by Melody Carlson's list of credits? Talk about being a prolific writer! Her latest book touches on relevant topics like adult children who move home, broken relationships, and urban cougers. And the best part? It's light-hearted, and a great book to kick off your shoes with--pun intended. Gotta love it!

Here's the blurb:


Willing to make the necessary sacrifices–even skipping the occasional latte–to ensure career success, 31-year-old Cassidy Cantrell "invests" in a chic pair of boots, certain they’ll make a spectacular impression and help seal the deal on a long-anticipated promotion from her Seattle employer.

But reality tromps all over her expectations. Cassie’s job is abruptly eliminated–and her love life obliterated, when her longtime boyfriend dumps her for a "friend." Her self-esteem in tatters, Cassie limps home to the resort town she once so eagerly fled–only to find her recently divorced mother transformed into a gorgeous fifty-something babe with a thriving social life. Cassie wrestles with envy and apathy as she considers the dismal shape of her own physique and romantic prospects. What will it take for her to jump back into life and regain her stride?

This sassy and hilarious novel leads readers on a romp through the wilds of relationships, romance, career, and spirituality, revealing that, while God’s plans may look drastically different than our own, it’ll always be a perfect fit.

Melody Carlson has published over 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including On This Day, Finding Alice, the Notes from a Spinning Planet series, and Homeward, which won the Rita Award from Romance Writers of America. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.






Grab your copy here--you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Adventures of Emp and LaPu...
a.k.a. My 2 Year Old Prescription for Writer's Block

If only I had the imagination of my 2 year old, I'd never suffer from writer's block again. Lately, she's been telling us endless stories about her new best friend, Emp. No, it isn't a typo. Emp leads an exciting life, along with her sister, LaPu, and several other kids. Oh, and according to our most recent report, there are now two Emps, one boy, and one girl.

Yesterday, my daughter was leafing through a magazine--all words, no pictures--and I asked her what she was reading about. Of course, it was Emp. From the black and white page, she spun a story, complete with subplots, without even taking a breath. And I thought, why can't I do that?

When I get stumped, I stop. My baby got me to thinking, maybe there is something to be said for free writing when I get stalled out. While I don't think it's a good idea to ramble aimlessly, I do think that turning off the analytical side of the brain for a few minutes to get past a hairy spot might work. It can always be fixed--unless the bunny trail is too long and pointless, in which case the problem could end up being hairier than the original one.

All this to say, I ran into a snag two days ago and haven't had a chance to push through. But today I'm taking the lesson I learned from Emp and LaPu, and gluing my bottom to the seat in order to barrel through.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

TAG, YOU'RE IT!

Last week Erica tagged me, and this one is totally fun. You know how much I like peeking into one another's personal libraries. Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment under Monday's post for a chance to win a copy of Gone with the Groom--cute book!

Without further ado:

Five books in your To Be Read pile:
1. Diva NashVegas by Rachel Hauck
2. Reluctant Runaway by Jill E. Nelson
3. Mirror Mirror by Judy Baer
4. Thr3e by Ted Dekker
5. The River Knows by Amanda Quick

The last four books you read:
1. Gone with the Groom by Janice Thompson
2. With No One as Witness by Elizabeth George
3. Midnight Sea by Colleen Coble
4. The Perfect Husband

The last three books you borrowed:
1. Stiff: the Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (don't laugh, it was good!)
2.Triple Your Reading Speed by Wade Cutler
3. A human experimentation book, but I cannot think of the title or author

The last two non-fiction books you read.
1. See above
2. Again, see above

The one book you wish everyone would read:
The book of Romans, especially Chapter 8

Who'd like to go next? Leave a comment so I can have a peek at your TBR pile :)

Monday, June 04, 2007

HEY EVERYONE! Last week was chaotic, at best. Hopefully this week I'll be back to posting and visiting blogs. In fact, tomorrow I'm going to post the tag from Erica. Don't forget to leave a comment below for a chance to wind Gone with the Groom. I just received it so I'm not quite done. So far it's a fun read!



GONE WITH THE GROOM

This is a lighthearted and FUN read. AND YOU CAN WIN A COPY! Just leave a comment at the end of this post, and I'll hold a drawing at the end of the week.

Annie Peterson, mother of the bride-to-be, works to solve the riddle of the missing fiancé in Gone with the Groom, a fun and riveting romantic mystery.

The best laid plans of brides and men go awry when Annie Peterson's future son-in-law Scott disappears. Have pre-wedding jitters caused Brandi's fiancé to take flight, or are more sinister forces at work? Annie puts her super-sleuth powers to work and sets about to solve the riddle. Who could be behind this apparent kidnapping caper? Maybe the drug company Scott works for has hidden motives. Perhaps it's the handiwork of Otis, Scott's sneaky dad. But then again it could be the shady wedding photographer or even have something to do with the political campaign of Scott's mother. Maybe her opponent is somehow involved in this. Will Annie solve the mystery and recover the missing groom in time for the couple to say their wedding vows?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Janice A. Thompson lives in the Houston area. In 2004, her two oldest daughters both received proposals within weeks of each other. The weddings came off without a hitch! Janice has since coordinated weddings for friends and is thrilled to incorporate many of her adventures into her novels.

A CHAT WITH JANICE




1. What book is coming next?There will be three more Annie Peterson mysteries after this one: PUSHING UP DAISIES, THE PERFECT MATCH, and CATERING TO DISASTER. They will all be released as part of the new mystery line at Barbour Publishing (Heartsong Presents Mysteries).

2. What book are you working on now?I just turned in a Heartsong romance titled WHITE AS SNOW - about a young woman who can't stand football. She lives in the Pittsburgh area, and eventually (of course!) falls in love with a professional football player. I had a lot of fun writing this one. Why, you ask? Because I'm not a football fan! Figure skating, yes! Gymnastics, of course! Football. . .are you kidding?

3. What book are you reading now? I just read a really funny book by Ray Blackston call FLABBERGASTED. It was kind of like chick lit for guys. I ear-marked all of the pages that made me laugh out loud. By the time I got to the end, I think I'd ear-marked over forty pages! I also just read a really great non-fiction book by Lee Ezell called FINDING GOD WHEN LIFE'S NOT FAIR. In it, she talks about the death of her husband, and her bout with cancer, ten weeks later. I could relate to so much of what she was going through (refer to question below)

4. How do you deal with your other obligations (family, church, etc.) when it's crunch time near deadlines? This has been a tough year for me. During the writing of GONE WITH THE GROOM, I lost my father to bone marrow cancer. It was an awful time for our family. Then, the week before the book was due, my married daughter (Randi) became very ill during her 33rd week of pregnancy and the baby (Madysen) had to be delivered early. She was only four and a half pounds, but (thank God!) is just fine now. Then, about the time the book went to the edit stage, my sister passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. This week, as I began marketing the book, one of my best friends suddenly passed away. It seems like every time a tragedy strikes, I'm on some sort of deadline. I don't resent that fact, (though at times it's tough to keep going). I find the writing to be a blessing, particularly in light of the fact that I "need" the humor of light-weight stories like GONE WITH THE GROOM to bring a smile to my face. God always helps me with the obligations/deadlines part. I'm totally dependent on Him for those things. Wouldn't have it any other way.

5. What's your favorite worship song, and why? If you had asked me this question one year ago, I would have answered "Amazing Love." It's been my favorite for years. But this year, I'm very drawn to a song called "Praise You in this Storm" (by Casting Crowns). The lyrics are so true of my life right now:I'll praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands for You are who You are no matter where I am and every tear I've cried You hold in your hand You never left my side and though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm (Praise You in This Storm, words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms)Trust me when I say that it is possible for believers to go on praising, even when the storms are blowing out of control around you.

6. What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer's stress? I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. And when I'm really needing a treat, I turn to Earl Grey tea (like Annie Peterson) or even Chai Latte. When all else fails, I reach for a piece of cheesecake.

7. Where did you birth the idea for this book (and the series)? When? How did it come about? Did any of the experiences in the story happen to you personally?I have four daughters in their 20's. Two of them got married in 2004 within four and a half months of each other. It was a stressful time, but I always knew I'd eventually be able to use the information in a story. Just about the time I thought I could rest, my third daughter got engaged. Her wedding just took place six weeks ago. Three down, one to go! As for how I decided to turn these books into mysteries (instead of traditional romances)... I asked myself the question, "What would you do if you had to pay for two weddings and didn't have the money to do so?" Out of that, the first book (THE WEDDING CAPER) was born. After that, I got to thinking, "What would you do if the groom disappeared just before the wedding?) Out of that, GONE WITH THE GROOM was born. And so on, and so forth.

8. If your book was turned into a movie, who would play the main characters?Wow. Never thought about that before. Who would play Annie Peterson? If she were still alive, I might pick someone funny like Madeline Kahn. If she were younger, maybe Carol Burnett? Diane Keaton might work, (though, Annie is really only turning 50, so even Diane might be a bit too old). As for the twin daughters, I think it would be fun to have someone like Jennifer Garner play dual roles. Or, hey...what about the Olsen twins? They could split the workload, and they're about the right age. As for the husband (Warren) I wouldn't want to go for anyone terribly famous, because I wouldn't want him to outshine Annie. For Sheila? Someone quirky like Bette Midler or even Kathy Bates would do - in flamboyant colors, of course.

9. Which one of your characters is most like you, and why do you say that? I'm a lot like Annie Peterson, truth be told. I find myself "in over my head" a lot, and I tend to think I can solve most any problem. She's going through some empty nest issues, and I can certainly relate to that. Like Annie I also find myself turning to God for the real answers. I'd like to say I'm funny like Sheila, but I patterned that character after my best friend Kay, who always keeps me laughing. Kay is always coming up with funny sayings, and all-the-more, now that she knows I need material for Sheila to use.

10. What do you want your readers to know about you?I love God with my whole heart, and no matter what troubles come my way, (no matter what mysteries I need to solve) I will never ever give up on my faith. Never. I will keep on keeping on, no matter what!

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