Monday, December 31, 2007

MEME MONDAY!

While I was taking a blogging break (interrupted on Friday for Kaye's great news!) I received TWO fabulous MEMEs! So I officially declare today MEME Monday.

The first one came from Pammer, and while it mainly pertained to Christmas, I'm still posting because I still have a wish list! =)

THE RULES:
1. Each player starts with 5 gifts that they would want for Christmas.
2. People who are "CARDED" need to write their own Blog about their 5 things & post these rules.
3. At the end of your Blog, you need to choose 5 people to get "CARDED" and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a COMMENT telling them they're "CARDED", and to read your Blog.

My Materialistic Gift/Wish List:
1. An agent!!
2. A bigger home--talk about bursting at the seams!
3. A minivan would be nice=)
4. More books!! (Like I don't have enough)
5. More clothes in the size I am, not the size I wish I was.

My Spiritual Gift/Wish List:
1. The ability to get up much earlier than my kids in order to pray.
2. More peace in our home.
3. The ability to get back into physical shape, and have more control of my appetite.
4. The same thirst I had for Bible reading as when I was first saved.
5. The wisdom to choose a church home for our family.

That was fun! As my father used to say, if wishes were horses beggars would ride! The second MEME comes from Gina, and requires more brain cells than I have this morning. But I'm still giving it a shot =)

If your life was a book, what Genre would it be and why?
Suspense--and I plead the 5th on why!

Would it be a stand alone or a series?
An unfinished series

What would the title of your life’s book be?
Twisted

What’s the spiritual theme of your book?
Taking the long way home.

What would your goal be?
Hmm, I guess if it's a suspense, my goal is survival =) But really, I suppose in reality it would be to come out on the other side intact.

What’s the motivation for your goal?
Great question, I'll have to get back to y'all on that one. As I mentioned before, it's a little early for the gray matter, and not enough caffeine.

Who’s your hero?
Someone modeled after my dear hubby, who's giving, accepting, and handsome, with a heavy side of cool.

What’s your conflict?
Argh! Still thinking.....

Who’s your antagonist?
Since I've already said suspense, I suppose my conflict should be someone besides myself, unless it's one of those split-personality books! Can I change to women's fiction, you know, since I'm a woman? Then my antagonist could be my deep, inner self. HAHA, I could still keep my title.

Where are you in your life’s book? (The beginning, middle, end, have you reached your black moment, are you into your resolution?)
I'd like to think I'm still at the beginning, but I seem to have had multiple black moments, and am mostly on the other side living in my HEA. I suppose I'm on Book 2 in the series, coming out of a plot twist.

Is there a happy ending?
Though I haven't reached the end of the book, I'm almost positive it's a happy ending =)

Now.....who to tag? I think y'all are pretty good at self-tagging. You know who you are, go for it! And let me know so I can read your answers!

PS. Since it's a MEME Monday, check out my ShoutLife blog to see my daughter singing at her Christmas concert. It's a little fuzzy because I shot it with my regular camera, but still worth a good listen!

Friday, December 28, 2007

LET'S HEAR IT FOR KAYE!!!

I'm coming out of hibernation to with my crit buddy, Kaye, a hearty congratulations on selling her first novel, Happy Endings Inc., to Barbour!

applause

Here's the blurb:

Wedding Bells Are Ringing!

Will the real groom please step forward?

Wedding planner Anne Hawthorne’s professionalism is tested when she thinks she’s falling in love with a client. Englishman George Laurence came to Louisiana to plan his employer’s wedding . . . posing as the groom. If Anne learns the groom’s true identity, George could lose her forever. Can he risk his career to keep the woman he loves? Can Anne face her fears and risk her heart on the handsome Englishman? Can both trust God to give them their own happy ending?

George Laurence learns he cannot compromise his honor nor his Christian values to protect his career when he is asked to pretend to be the groom to conceal his famous employer’s identity.

Anne Hawthorne faces the ultimate test of forgiveness—forgiving God for the death of her parents—before she can begin to tear down the wall of protection around her heart and learn to love again before it’s too late.

Both of them will find that, ultimately, God is the author of all happy endings, if only they will listen for His voice.

Please stop by Kaye's blog to offer congratulations!

Friday, December 21, 2007




I may be a grinch, but I know when it's time to focus on God and family ;) For the next week, instead of blogging, I'll be doing the following:

*Eating. If I failed to include this I'd be deceiving you. I'm going to rack up all the calories I can right now, while the eating is good. That includes nog, though I know I'm in the minority on that one!

*Coloring. I find myself drawn to the floor everytime my girls have out their gigantic coloring books and new crayons. There's something about sharp crayons that says, "use me!"

*Wrapping. It's going to be a frenzy! I haven't started to wrap yet, so when I do the paper will be flying.

*Shopping. I should have listed this before wrapping, as I am not yet finished. See the grinch test below, HAHA! Just kidding. Christmas shopping is fun, as long as I know what I'm looking for.

*Exercising. I'm listing this so I can feel less guilty about the aforementioned eating. We'll see if it really happens. It might! Especially with the shopping, because as you know, that can be turned into a great indoor sport.

*Enjoying the family. This is the most important one of all. Lately, my babies have been asking all kinds of questions about Christmas, and I love retelling the story. And they love asking again, and so forth. Now that my oldest will be out of school, I want to enjoy all my girls together. Sadly, my hubby has to work quite a bit still, but when he's off it'll add to the excitement.

Soooo, sign up to receive auto-notification of the blog postings, if you haven't already done so, by clicking on the orange box thingy in the sidebar. That way we can reconnect the week after Christmas.

May God bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, bless your coming and going, and instill His peace in your heart. Love you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

OH NO! I'M A GRINCH!

It's true. This is one quiz that has me pegged. I love Christmas, don't get me wrong, but I spent far too many years in retail listening to an endless loop of holiday (not even Christmas!) songs. AND, as we all know, I'm a creature of habit (left-brained, Type A) and the season really messes with my routine. But enough about me, how about you?




You're a Total Grinch



Ouch! You make the Grinch seem like Santa Claus. Holidays definitely aren't your thing.

Just relax, and create your own tradition. Even if it's drinking spiked hot chocolate and heckling carolers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007 FAVORITES...

As the year draws to a close, I'm sitting here wondering how many books I read. (Not very deep thinking, I know!) When it comes to reading, I believe in both quality and quantity. We've all seen my TBR pile posts with scads of books waiting to be read, so many that if a book isn't good, I set it aside and move on. (I've done that at least twice this week already.) I estimate that I've read about 2 books per week, which would put me at 104, plus or minus a few. That's a lot of books.

It takes an incredibly special book to stand out in that extensive list. Soooo, what were my favorite books?

Demon, a Memoir, by Tosca Lee is one that I have to mention. I didn't plan to pick up this book, but when I did I actually had a hard time setting it down. It's about an editor at a small press, who is approached by a demon to write his memoir. An unusual premise that wove a fantastic story. When I was done reading Demon, I felt closer to God and it made me want to go back and scrutinize my Bible. The author did a tremendous job using her imagination to fill in the gaps of scripture, and her note to the readers at the end of the book was like a Bible study in itself. Highly recommend!

Abomination, by Colleen Coble is a book that kept me flipping pages long into the night. It's about a woman with amnesia fleeing with her child, and a mysterious killer who considers himself the destroyer of evil. This book combines rich setting, and high-octane suspense to create a read to remember. Most likely, I will reread this one and study it closely.

There are several other books that I absolutely adored, but these two stand out, and I highly recommend them both. They are well worth the money.

What is your favorite book (or two) from 2007?

Friday, December 14, 2007

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRECISION

At the grocery store the other day, I was at the head of a long line when I saw an acquaintance. This gentleman is a longtime friend of the family, and I see him at the athletic club at least once a week. I almost didn't recognize him in a location other than the familiar.

"Hey, I almost didn't recognize you!" I said over the heads of two or three other customers between us.

"Yeah, not used to seeing you dressed." He nodded to me over the crowd.

I smiled politely, though I wanted to die--make that DIE--inside. I know what he meant, since we only see each other in workout clothes (sweats, shorts, ratty tees, etc.) And he'd never in a kabillion lifetimes say anything to embarrass me or insinuate anything...uh...improper. But I don't know if everyone in line between us knew how innocent the comment was.

I read in one of my bazillion craft books that we should make every effort to be precise in our words. I wish I could remember exactly which book it was, so I could give you the direct quote. But the gist was, that every word has nuances that make it imperitive to use the exact word you need for the context of the passage being written.

As I've gone over the last few critiques of my book, I realize that I don't always write exactly what I mean, on both large and small scale. There are some details that need to be not quite so buried, and words that need to be more precise to convey the point I'm trying to make. Sometimes it's so easy to want to be done that precision is the first thing to be sacrificed. Oh, that I'll have the patience to be clear in my words and meaning. And clean up the little potholes =)

On another note, for all my talk about body language, I sure have a ton of people folding their arms across their chests! Happy writing!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

GOALS...

Yesterday, Erica got my wheels spinning. Now that it's the end of 2007, did I accomplish what I set out to at the beginning of the year? I had to stretch my brain cells on that one, because I didn't actually write my goals down anywhere I could find. (Gasp!) So what DID I do with a whole year?

*Submitted Table for One, and had it accepted for publication.

*Finished my 2nd book, entered it in the Genesis contest, and won 2nd in the chick lit category.

*By year end, (hopefully by next week, actually) I will have completed my first thriller, and sent it off.

*Attended my first conference, and met my cyber-chums in person =)

Yep, those are the biggies. And really, I think that's reasonable, given how much time I have available.

Here's the next question: what do I PLAN to accomplish in 2008?

*Successfully launch Table for One

*Complete another thriller, along with the proposal, and send it out.

*Attend the conference

Next year around this time, remind me I wrote down my actual goals =)

What do you plan to accomplish in 2008?

Monday, December 10, 2007

WE SHOULD HAVE WALKED OUT...

...of the movie theater. Since we started having more babies 3 years ago (it sounds like we have a whole housefull, eh?) we stopped going to the movies. Only recently have we even entertained the idea of leaving the house to see a show. For 3 years it was DVD only. A few weeks ago we took the kids to see The Bee Movie. It was adorable and reminded us how much fun it is to go out. Our youngest is still a bit small to sit through a whole show, but that's another story.

Anyway, this weekend, the husband and I went alone to see American Gangster. I'm usually a big Denzel fan, and he was great in this movie too. The problem was that it was trashy, and I walked out of there feeling like I needed to be sanitized. Thank God for the blood of Jesus! But what we really should have done, was leave. Nasty parts don't make a movie better, period. Because, EWW!

Several years ago, my friend and I walked out of Fight Club. I can't remember why; I think the main character was cursing God, or something else offensive. Since then, I rarely go to rated R movies, or even rent them. At least when we rent, we have the FF button!

Have you ever taken a stand and left a movie?

PS. Stop by and visit me at the White Roses blog today!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

WINDING DOWN...

Today I finished the proposal package for my book. I'm sure I'll tinker with it a hundred more times, but it's basically done. True confession: this is probably my least favorite part of writing a novel--and I dare anyone out there to say it's their favorite! As I thought about this today, I tried to decide what IS my favorite part.

Conception: when the idea takes root, and it's time to flesh it out and see where it leads. Is it a viable story? Is it interesting? Does it matter?

Beginning: the fresh start with a clean page, titled CHAPTER ONE. Anything can happen, the possibilities are endless, and this chapter will probably suffer 10 rewrites.

1st Draft: the first draft is nearly complete, and it's time to rejoice because the story did, in fact, work out. It took more plot twists and surprises than you originally planned, but that's the exciting thing. And now you have a whole draft to pretty up, because right now it looks like a newborn: wrinkled and squished.

Subsequent Drafts: It's looking prettier all the time, and there are some wonderful turns of phrase that make you sit back and say, "Wow, I wrote that?" It's fun to manipulate the language, add and delete scenes and characters, and smooth out the plot holes.

Even More Drafts: Some of the chapters have become a wee bit overworked, like an old lady addicted to plastic surgery. It looks decent, but maybe you should have stopped a little sooner.

The Final Product: This is the I-CAN'T-LOOK-AT-IT-ANYMORE stage. It's good, but you begin to get a little tired of working with the same book over and over and over again. It's time to do a final grammar check, and move on to the proposal.

The Proposal: No one can honestly say this is fun--can I get an AMEN? Synopsis writing ranks down there with toilet-bowl cleaning...maybe lower. But it has to be done, and done again. And maybe again. Not to mention the other components of a solid proposal. But once you're finished, YOU'RE FINISHED!

I think my favorite stage is the 2nd draft. The first draft makes me nervous because, even though I plotted very carefully, the unexpected could crop up any time and throw a hair in the pot. So by the 2nd draft, I at least know my story will work, and I can play with the words--kind of like playing dress up.

What's your favorite part, and why?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

CHRISTMAS QUIZ!!!


1. WRAPPING PAPER OR GIFT BAGS? Wrapping paper with invisible tape, creased corners, and puffy bows =)


2. REAL OR FAKE TREE? Our tree is about 3 feet high, so uh...fake.


3. WHEN DO YOU PUT UP THE TREE? After we buy it.


4. WHEN DO YOU TAKE THE TREE DOWN? After Christmas.


5. DO YOU LIKE EGG NOG? I am the Queen of Nog.


6. FAVORITE GIFT RECEIVED AS A CHILD? A dual photo frame with a picture of my dad wearing his football uniform and holding me as a baby, and the other picture is of he and I hugging after one of his games when I was in college.


7. DO YOU HAVE A NATIVITY SCENE? Yes! But please, please don't ask me where it is. Probably with the other 2 foot high trees we never seem to find again.


8. HARDEST PERSON TO BUY FOR? My husband


9. EASIEST PERSON TO BUY FOR? Our kids!


10. WORST CHRISTMAS GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED? I will preface my answer with this: my husband has turned into the best gift giver on the planet. BUT....on our first Christmas as a couple, when I was trying to figure out where I fit into his life and what he thought of me, he gave me a gift certificate to the grocery store. Yep, the grocery store. Little did I know, he has a personally-designed diamond ring on order for me, which arrived a few weeks later.


11. MAIL OR EMAIL CHRISTMAS CARDS? Mail! And this year we might even have a family photo to go with it, IF I can get all 5 of us smiling at the camera with our eyes open.


12. FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE? Hmm, great question. I'll have to say While You Were Sleeping, even though it's not a Christmas movie. But I'm almost positive it has a Christmas scene in it. Pitiful, I know =P


13. WHEN DO YOU START SHOPPING FOR CHRISTMAS? We shop whenever we find something we think a loved one will enjoy. Some years my hubby gets so excited the gift doesn't stay hidden until Christmas.


14. HAVE YOU EVER RECYCLED A CHRISTMAS PRESENT? I don't think so. I will admit, however, that some gifts get more use than others.


15. FAVORITE THINK TO EAT AT CHRISTMAS? Pancakes on Christmas morning. So light and fluffy I have to pile on the butter just to keep them on the plate.


16. CLEAR LIGHTS OR COLORED LIGHTS ON THE TREE? We're supposed to have lights on the tree?


17. FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG? O Come All Ye Faithful. Or Little Drummer Boy. Go Tell it on the Mountain is also in the running.


18. TRAVEL AT CHRISTMAS OR STAY HOME? Go to my parents house about 5 miles away, then to the in-laws the next day.


19. CAN YOU NAME ALL OF SANTA'S REINDEER? Yep


20. ANGEL OR STAR ON THE TREE TOP? Either, this year we have a star.


21. OPEN THE PRESENTS CHRISTMAS EVE OR MORNING? One on Christmas Eve, the rest in the morning.


22. MOST ANNOYING THING THIS TIME OF YEAR? Nothing, now that my days in retail are behind me =) Actually, let me rethink this....I'm annoyed with all the people who try to erase CHRISTmas and make it winter holiday. Dorks.


23. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT CHRISTMAS? Thinking about the real reason for Christmas.


MERRY CHRISTMAS! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Season!


I'm anxious to see your answers too, my friends!

Monday, December 03, 2007

SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

I think most of us are familiar with the term suspension of disbelief, which can be defined as the semi-conscious decision of a reader to put aside their beliefs, and accept the premise of a story as being real/possible. Or engaging in another world, like in a fantasy/sci fi, altogether. For the duration of a book, the reader is willing to believe things that are otherwise unbelieveable. The same can be said for movies.

Recently, I picked up the book Second Glance, by Jodi Picoult. It was written about 5 years ago, and although I'd read and loved her other books, I never wanted to read this one because of the supernatural element. I figured that since I don't believe in ghosts, there's no way I'd buy into this story. The only reason I actually took the time to read it was because I enjoy the way Picoult uses language, and also the way she tackles gray/controversial issues from several angles. So I decided to give it a whirl.

This book drew me in to the point where I was looking over my shoulder and had to read with my back against a wall. I was sucked into the story and became wholly involved with the characters, going so far as to believe their experiences. When I finally sat the book down, I had to ask myself, why? Was it the blending of the real world (Vermont setting, historical facts, etc) with the paranormal that caused me to suspend my disbelief? What, exactly, pulled me through a story I had been reluctant to read?

So I thought and thought about it, and determined that part of what made me "believe" was the skilled use of detail. In Writing for the Soul, Jerry B. Jenkins agrees, saying that reader buy in can be positively or negatively affected by well-researched details. In Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass says that breakout thriller writers master the detailing that creates plausibility--which can really be applied across genres.

This is a skill I need to learn, especially since I'm not a huge detail writer, as I know some of you are =)

My question to you is, as you read a book, what causes you to suspend your disbelief?
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