Friday, August 31, 2007




SHARE AND CARE DAY




a.k.a. TBR






Since I'm not a member of Shelfari, I thought we'd have a little share and care here today. There are the books I've somehow picked up over the last two weeks. Some are from CFBA (I love CFBA!), some are books I've purchased during those rare occasions I can haunt a bookstore uninterrupted, and some are from my precious hubby. Naturally, I haven't finished the last TBR pile I showed you, but I didn't include those in the picture.



Right now I'm reading The Elevator, by Angela Hunt. She has an awesome way with words, and I can only hope to write like her someday! Of course I have Critical, by Robin Cook because I enjoy a good medical thriller every now and then. I didn't blog about it, but I read Abomination, by Colleen Coble a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic! A must read. And Sushi for One, by Camy Tang is a great read too--but I won't give too much away since she's up next week for CFBA.



So many books, so little time to read! What have you all been reading lately?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I HAVE TRUST ISSUES....

No, not with those around me--with my book! Last night I got my crits back and you'll never guess how many times I used the word "trust" within 52 pages. I don't know the actual number because I can't count that high. What was I thinking--that my reader wouldn't get that my heroine shouldn't trust anyone? LOL, while I was writing, I never even noticed. YAY for crit buds!

The other thing I kept doing was having my heroine internalize every single thing that happened to her. Talk about TELLING. The action surrounding her, and her reaction to it should have been enough to show the reader how she processes the events--with a little internalization sprinkled in. But no, I didn't TRUST my reader to get it.

Writing suspense has been a huge learning process for me, but oh so much fun. I mean, total fun. I'm having fun. Did I already say that?

What little things keep cropping up in your writing?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO...

...when your internet goes kaput!

5. Finish wading through the piles of laundry strategically hidden in the bedroom.

4. Catch up on your rest.

3. Obsess about whether the tech support person coming to your house in the morning is catching up on his rest, and if he will make it before you go through email withdrawal.

2. Eat. Especially sweets because you deserve it if you can't be online.

1. Read more books!!

And just why did I post this today??? Don't ask. And also don't ask about the printer that busted the day before the modem crashed and burned.

Monday, August 27, 2007

MIDDLE NAME MEME

Last week, my crit bud Erica tagged me. So here are the rules:

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.
4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My middle name is

T: time-obsessed. I try to be efficient, and I hate late.
E: emotional. Sad, but true.
R: reliable. Usually.
E: emotional. Sad, but true.
S: silly.
A: always doing laundry. There's always a load being done. Always.

Now it's your turn! Who hasn't done this yet? Anyone?

Friday, August 24, 2007

THE VOID

The Truth Chasers Book Three

Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.

So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.

But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.

The Void is nothing short of a page-turner. Mynheir is truly hitting his stride as one of our industry's most notable Christian novelists. This latest book has it all: suspense, humor, intrigue, realistic police action, and one thought-provoking story line.
~Creston Mapes, Author of Nobody




Mark Mynheir is a cop writer. He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One) and From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two). During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.







Me here: The premise of this book intrigued me, and the story lived up to the promise. An exciting combination of crime and science, and all the frightening possibilities great stories are made of. If you're looking for a page-turner, click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

TABLE FOR ONE

Just wanted to share my cover and the back cover blurb....



Successful stockbroker Lucy Brocklehurst hasn't had a date in four years. In a town where the ratio of single women to men is 7:1, she's determined to wait on God for the perfect mate—as long as it's the hot new youth pastor at her church.

Lucy will do anything to get his attention, including volunteering for the youth group. Through a series of misadventures on the teen outings, Lucy finds herself falling in love with a kindhearted chaperone named Edgar Flowers. But when their relationship grows serious, Lucy discovers the lengths his recently-widowed mother will go to in order to keep them apart. What starts out as harmless interference turns into an all out tug of war, with Edgar as the prize!

Will Lucy crumble under the scrutiny of her would-be mother-in-law? Or can Lucy and Edgar's budding romance survive the schemes of his meddling mom?




Got my edits on Monday, and things are moving along faster than I'd anticipated. And remember what everyone says about backing up your work? It's true.



Don't ask.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TIME SAVERS Part 2...



We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people accomplish tons while others struggle to stay afloat. I won't tell you which category I fall into ;)



As promised, here are 10 more time-saving tips:



*Photocopy your basic grocery list, post on refrigerator, and circle items as needed. Don't forget to make your original list in the same order as the aisles in the store.



*Do repetitive tasks all at once. Grate the cheese, grind the coffee, pack snacks, etc. at the beginning of the week.



*Learn to say, "No!" OK, don't shout, but learn to politely decline to participate in activities that will spread you too thin. Saying "yes" is good; balance is better.



*Keep up with basic maintenance--it's the whole "stitch in time" thing. How much agony could you save by taking care of your car, appliances, etc. before they break down? But in case you do have to wait at the car garage, doctor's office, or anywhere else there's a line...



*Take a notebook and/or book with you everywhere you go. You never know when you'll have a few minutes to get a few words on paper or immerse yourself in a good read. Please, not in traffic :)



*Don't hover over the printer, hang out while the computer boots up, or stand in front of the microwave. And never EVER waste precious time watching commercials!



*Move faster, just not in the car.



*Take advantage of a long commute. Audio books and teaching tapes are a must if you have a long drive to work.



*Take control of your schedule. After you set your priorities, schedule a time to accomplish them. Without doing so, you risk allowing your goals to get crowded out by less important things. Routine is huge because you don't have to waste minutes thinking about what to do next.



*Rest. Remember the Word: Be still, and know that I am God. Taking time with Him will recharge your batteries in a way nothing else can. Without rest, every task becomes more challenging and time consuming. Taking the Sabbath day is about God, but it's also His blessing to us. Jesus said man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man.



Hope you've found something useful. Now it's your turn. Favorite tips, anyone?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

200 Posts!



Today is my 200th post, but instead of giving you 200 tidbits about myself--mostly because it would bore you to tears--I'm going to give you 200 of my best time saving ideas. OK, not really 200, because I don't have that much time. But since I'm always trying to squeeze more hours out of the day for the things I love, and I'm sure you do too, I thought this might be valuable. Ready?



*Don't work to perfection. This one grates on my nerves but it's true--not everything has to be perfect. My blinds don't have to be completely dust free. My bed can be made nicely, but doesn't need the edges squared off with the floor. Decide what your personal standard is and roll with it.



*Clean and organize. This seems almost the opposite of the first one, but trust me on this. If you keep your desks, closets, and work spaces relatively organized (not perfect) you'll find things much easier. If you spend 5 minutes a day looking for something to wear, that's over 2 hours a month. What else could you be doing with those 2 hours?



*Establish morning routines. I've noticed (at least around here) that mornings tend to be full of chaos in such a way that time swirls down the drain. If you can get yourself into a routine, and if you have a family they need training too, then you'll save tons of time in the long run. Don't spend time wondering what to have for breakfast, figuring out lunch plans, etc. Do it once a week, then don't think about it again.



*Skimp on the unimportant. I've learned that some things just don't matter to me, like my hair and makeup. I'm not advocating taking leave of your hygiene, but how perfect does the outward package really have to be? Yes, I believe in being well-groomed and tidy, but let's face it, I'm not going to a photo shoot. For you, those things might be important, but there are other things that you can let go of.



*Organize your workspace. This is similar to the one above, but more focused. Establish a filing/organizational system that works for you. Some people work well with organized clutter, but if you're not one of those people, you're killing time every day trying to find things you need. A place for everything, everything in its place.



*Cut back on entertaining time wasters. We're blessed, as writer's we can spend scads of time reading and not consider it wasting time. But how about eliminating one television program a night? That's a gift of 30 mins to an hour every day to do something important to you. Vegging out is OK...sometimes.



*Enlist the help of those around you. It's OK to ask for help. Make sure that when someone does help you to show appreciation and not nitpick the particular way something is done. For example, I don't say a word when certain family members put the babies' clothes on backwards.



*Manage communication. This is a biggie for me since I LOVE email and eloops and discussion groups--the list is endless. But is every ones of those things necessary? I think I've pared down to the basics, but here's the secret: don't be at the mercy of the computer. Set a time to check email and do those other internet things, rather than clicking on the refresh button every two minutes. Have a set time to check the mail, the voicemail, and return calls, etc. In other words, establish your "office hours."



*Learn to type faster and speed read :)



*Combine errands. I'm glad I've never catalogued all the time I spend in the car because I'd be incredibly upset with myself. Seems like we live in the car. The best thing we can do is combine all of our errands and eliminate unnecessary trips. That'll save us at least 2 hours a week and a ton of gas.



Tomorrow I'll post the last 10 tips. Stay tuned....

Monday, August 20, 2007

DO OVERS...
Half my life is an act of revision.
~John Irving


Did this guy have it right, or what? E.B. White said, "The best writing is rewriting." And that's where I am right now. I'm in the last 1/3 of my second draft, and it's not been as easy as I'd anticipated. Remember how excited I was that I had scene cards? This book was supposed to go super fast, but alas, it has not been so. Here's how I work:

1st draft: write it to see exactly where the story goes and if it works. Here's where big plot problems are identified. (This is where my first critter gets a hold of my WIP and helps me flesh it out.)


2nd draft: fix the big problems by adding/deleting scenes or characters. Add a subplot, work on layering in some detail. (This is where I am right now.)


3rd draft: (I'm not here yet with my current WIP) take detailed notes from crit buddies and fix punctuation (commas are my nemesis) and other errors. Add in more detail and smooth out wrinkles.


After 3 drafts I'm all cashed out with the story. I don't think I've done more than 3 on my books because I get antsy pantsy to get to the next story. Kaye posted some great thoughts on revision and rewriting, so check those out too!

How are your WIPs coming along?

P.S. If you don't see your link to the side it's not because I don't love you. It's because I'm a dork and my links disappeared. Drop me a comment or a note if you'd like to link up.

Friday, August 17, 2007

OFF THE RECORD

Judge Laural Kincade, a rising political star, is announcing her candidacy for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Her aristocratic Old South family, led by her judge grandfather, beams as she takes the podium. Then her eyes light on a reporter in the crowd--and suddenly her past becomes a threat to her future.

Journalist Cole McGaughan, religion reporter for the New York Daily Journal, has received an intriguing call from an old friend. Private investigator Matt Hogan has come across a tip--that Laurel's impeccable reputation might be a facade. Matt suggests that Cole dig up the dirt on the lovely judge in order to snag his dream job as one of the Journal's elite political reporters.

There's just one problem: Cole's history is entangled with Laurel's, and he must decide if the story that could make his career is worth the price he'd have to pay.

A sensational scoop becomes a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Can Laurel and Cole find forgiveness and turn their hidden past into a hopeful future--while keeping their feelings off the record?



Beth White is the author of Fireworks and Fair Game, as well as the critically acclaimed Texas Gatekeepers serie from Love Inspired Suspense.

In her own words, she appreciate her most valued roles as wife and mom. Beth is also a second-grade Sunday school teacher, church orchestra member (She plays flute), and artist. She loves to read, crochet, sew, go on mission trips and avoid housework.

Beth lives in Mobile with her minister husband, and is currently on staff at First Baptist Church of North Mobile (fondly known as NoMo), in Saraland, Alabama.

There's a lovely Southern flavor woven into this book! To order your copy, click here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'M LIZZY!

I found this most fun quiz at Julie Carobini's blog, so naturally I highjacked it.


I am Elizabeth Bennet!


Take the Quiz here!




Who are you?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

THE TRAP

Usually I post this topic on Thursdays, but to be honest I need the extra motivation today. You see, sitting in front of a laptop for most of the day it's easy to get into a routine of inactivity--and you all know how much I love routines.

When I was in retail management I got plenty of exercise. Though I spent time at the desk, I also slung freight, climbed ladders, moved fixtures, and made rounds of the store at regular intervals. Plenty of activity. In my second adult career, I went from door to door selling investments. (Yep, that's how we started out in order to reach a level high enough to "earn" an office.) There are days I'd walk 2 or more miles.

As soon as I started staying home...BOOM. It was over. And I loved not having to move and shake all day. Well now I regret those years of inactivity, and my body is paying the price. This summer I've worked hard to get back into shape, and made a bit of progress. How much progress, you ask? Here's me today:


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BAD GUYS (AND GIRLS)

I've recently discovered how much I love to write bad guys. (And no, it's not living vicariously!) Complex villains intrigue me--people who are brilliant, quirky, and seemingly blend into the population. Let's face it, there are many criminals in real life we'd never recognize if we saw on them on the street, and that's part of what makes them scary. It's not like they wear a sign that says "STAY AWAY FROM ME, I'M CREEPY" or otherwise advertise how dangerous they are.

I'm reading The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, to get some insight into my antagonist's thoughts and behaviors. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the clinical diagnosis for antisocial personality disorder (a form of sociopathy) should be considered when a person meets 3 of the following criteria:

*failure to conform to social norms
*deceitfulness, manipulativeness
*impulsivity, failure to plan ahead
*irritability, aggressiveness
*reckless disregard for the safety of self or others
*consistent irresponsibility
*lack of remorse after hurting another person

Here's the truly frightening part: as much as 4% of the population has some kind of sociopathy. Even though many sociopaths may never act out criminally, that's a ton of people! Anyway, good research material.

Since today is dedicated to bad guys and girls, I'd like to know your favorite antagonists. Here are a few of mine: Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Gideon (from Abomination by Colleen Coble--excellent read, BTW!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

A NEW LOOK AND OTHER STUFF...

Good morning! Happy Monday! Did you think you made it to the wrong place? As you can see, I fiddled around with my blog over the weekend. I started out only intending to replace "Chronicles of the Unplublished...and Other Sad Stories" but then I hit a button. One that changed things forever--and messed up my template. And took out my links. Soooo, have patience with me, dear friends, as I work out my lil' kinks and get your linkage up again.

On another note (y'all are going to think I'm nuts!) I started a ShoutLife. Yep. One more place to hang out on the web. The day I joined I received an onslaught of friend requests and welcome notes. WOW. One person--I believe it was our friend Gina--asked what took me so long. And you know what? Due to the welcome I received, I didn't have a good answer.

If you haven't joined ShoutLife, why not? It is THE place to be for Christian writers. There's a huge ACFW group, and what's cool about that is I got to match faces with names I've seen on the loop. Getting to know each person by reading their profile was a bonus. It's a fantastic place, not only to network, but to hang out with some great people. I have yet to figure out exactly how I'm going to utilize my ShoutLife in addition to this blog, as this will still be my primary hangout, but I'm challenging you to think about joining.

Come visit my ShoutLife.

Please, chime in when ready. I'd like to hear your thoughts on internet networking sites.

Friday, August 10, 2007

DETAILS...

This week has been a whirlwind of activity (how's that for a bad cliche?) Let me give you the rundown:

Monday afternoon--received offer, via email, with 12 pages of contract/other information. Jumped, danced, screamed, pinned down my oldest daughter and tickled her. Told family (of course it was one of the only days during the month where I couldn't reach my hubby--no cell service where he was driving.)

Tuesday--mailed off paper contract and began to work through the author info, marketing, and manuscript info pages. The back cover blurb was harder than I thought, and the cover art suggestions were fun, but difficult. Did more jumping.

Wednesday--finished all the info sheets and sent them off. Confession time: when I wrote the dedication, I actually cried. Yep, big fat alligator tears. God has been so good to me, and surrounded me with the best of the best.

Thursday--Betsy made the announcement to the ACFW loop. BTW, she's been a key player during the entire process, thanks Bets! Received tons of congratulatory email from some of my favorite people: you guys!

Friday--back to the gym to do more jumping--I mean running.

The book that's contracted is the one I was writing when I first started this blog. Shelley, I can't believe you remembered the post where I was researching the perfect car for my heroine, Lucy! Here's the link to that post. I was writing this book back in June of 2006, so thankfully it's already done and rearing to go. Of course I'll have to fix the mistakes, so we'll see what that involves. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you all for your encouragement! I appreciate you!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Glitter @ HotFreeLayouts.com


It's official: I sold my first book to



The books is tentatively titled Table for One. It's about a successful stockbroker who's determined to wait on God for the perfect mate--as long as it's the hot new youth pastor at her church. Did you guess that it's a chick lit?

Stay tuned for more details.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in the fun!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

NO CAFFEINE=ZERO WORD COUNT

What I adore is supreme professionalism.
I'm bored by writers who can write
only when it is raining.
~Noel Coward, English playwright


Good ol' Noel has a point (or had, as the case may be)--writers should be able to put some words down regardless of the weather. Or without requiring specific inspiration. But if you lean in close, I'll let you in on a secret...


...I'm a creature of habit, and without my little rituals my ability to produce anything coherent is severely inhibited. Here's what I require:

*Babies in bed. I can edit, per my crit buddies recommendations, while the tots are laughing, playing, and generally making chaos. I cannot, however, write anything new unless the wee ones are asleep. Or at least pretending, as is the case during naptime.


*Need background noise, preferrably the news. Sick, I know.


*Gum. For reasons unknown, my mouth needs to be occupied. Amazing, since I'm not a big talker.


*Must. Have. Caffeine. Coffee is the best, especially for night writing. Diet Coke is always a favorite too. Rasberry tea will do in a pinch. I will not even TRY to write without caffeine.


What are your rituals? C'mon--fess up! You know you've got them.

Monday, August 06, 2007

MY QUEST FOR SPEED...

Yes, I'm on a quest. Remember last week when we all discovered I am the slowest typist of the bunch? I decided to remedy that, so I did a little research, which I'm posting here. Of course, since y'all are faster than me, I'm probably doing this for my own benefit. But humor me.

Tips for increasing typing speed:

*Position your body correctly: wrists, elbows, and keyboard should be at a 90 degree angle with your upper arms.

*Tap each key with the minimum force necessary, which will allow your fingers to move faster.

*Use all your fingers when typing. Be able to reposition your fingers blind by learning the home keys.

*Know how to properly type special keys (&*#$!") with the proper fingers, without looking. (BTW, I wasn't swearing at you.)

Do you speedsters have any other tips for me?

Friday, August 03, 2007

ADRENALINE RUSH AND A SIGH OF RELIEF...

This morning, I took the girls to the athletic club, as usual, and left my husband to get ready for work in peace. When we returned, our neighbor from across the street (whom we've never met) called out to us, waving frantically.

I stepped off the porch as she approached. She said, "I know I'd want someone to tell me if this happened..."

Immediately, my nerves went on alert. "Yes?"

"There was a man in a white SUV, who tried to break into your house. He was trying several keys on the keyring...until he saw me see him."

My heart kicked into overdrive. "What did he look like?"

"A thin man, in his sixties--he had grey hair. He looked up at me with--and I've never used this word before--the most sinister expression." (At this point I didn't dare tell her how often I've used this word.)

"I don't know what to do!" I said. My body began to tremble as I thought of all the possibilities. "Why would someone want to break into my place? I have nothing anyone would want."

Of course after I said this it occured to me how often heroines in peril say the same thing. So what did this person want? Did I know more than I should about something? Did I have something of importance that someone else would kill to get?

Then she said, "After he looked at me, he took off, fast! I got in my car to follow him, but he blew through the stop sign! I'm so worried, because now he knows where I live too!"

Fear began to pummel me. This was not looking good. "Thanks for letting me know. I'll come tell you if I find anything out."

I bolted inside and grabbed the phone. I dialed my husband's cell. No answer. I left a message. When he didn't call back, I called again.

"What's up, honey?"

"Someone was trying to break into our house! They were trying several different keys, then when the neighbor saw him, he took off and blew through the stop sign!"

"Oh no! I think we need to get a dead bolt. What else did she say?"

"It was a man with grey hair in a white SUV. She tried to get the license plate, but he got away!"

"Uh, honey.........that was me."

"What?!"

"I saw her see me, but I didn't wave. I guess she didn't recognize me. I had to go back inside to turn off the AC, then when I came out I wasn't sure if I'd locked the door, so I got back out to double check the locks."

"Are you sure it was you?!"

"Honey, you're a writer, not an investigator."

There's a difference?

WHEW!!! Talk about an adrenaline rush! Now I know how my heroine felt! Anyway, as you probably already know, my husband isn't in his sixties. But when he goes to work he slathers sunscreen all over, including on top of his head to cover his part. We always tease him because it looks like has grey hair. And he has lost forty pounds in the last six months.

Mystery solved. Now I can finally settle down to write.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

HERE'S ME...

...sprinting into the end of my workout yesterday. It's the best workout I've had since high school (5 miles, 800 cals burned. Woot woot!) I haven't lost one pound (Not. Even. One.) since April, but I think I'm making some kind of progress.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A QUOTE

The manuscript consisted of letter paper, wrapping paper, programs, envelopes, paper napkins--in short, whatever would take the imprint of a pencil. A great deal of it was written with a child crawling around my neck or being sick in my lap, and I dare say this may account for certain aspects of its style.
~Agnes De Mille

Seriously, I could have said that. I wonder how much my distractions influence my writing. I go back and forth from keyboard to puzzles/cooking/laundry/wrestling/playing referee more than I care to admit. It must have some effect. I'll admit, it keeps the story churning inside me all day long, I never really put it down and walk away. So that's a good thing. At the same time, I long for an uninterrupted session, hours stretched out before me with only an internet connection to give my mind a creative rest. (At least I can admit it.)

Love to hear about your distractions, you know, so I don't feel so alone.

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