Monday, June 30, 2008
Happy Monday, friends. I stole this one from my daughter:
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel, so the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.
The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, clicked send.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends.
After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: October 16, 2007
I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is hot down here!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Man, I'm only on chapter 7 since this just arrived the other day. So far, so fun! I think Mary Connealy has an awesome sense of humor, and it shows in her work. I'm excited to see what happens next. Off to read again!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation.
Mary has also written Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process?
Running from her Abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas.
As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormenters who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they?
Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.
When God throws Grace and Danielt together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning.
Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?
If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Yesterday I received my author copies of Table for One. A strange mixture of excitement and fear balled up inside me when I pulled the first book from the box. What if people call my baby ugly? So far the reviews have been good--although more than one reviewer commented that they cried while reading TFO, which came as a total surprise to me. But I'm not naive enough to think that all readers will enjoy the story, or that it will be a cup o' tea suitable for everyone. After all, we've heard many a diverse opinion on chick lit, and Table for One is classic chick lit.
This is one of those times I have to put on my big girl pants and suck it up. I wrote the book that was on my heart, and spent time with characters that I grew to love (even that nasty old Mrs. Flowers!) It's one of those worries that every author butts heads with--at least I assume they do--when a book is released.
Yep, excitement and fear--I wouldn't trade it for anything!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
If only I could knit! Yes, after reading The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society, I'd really love to pick up the needles and start clacking. This book has real conflict at a gentler pace, and is set against a backdrop of knitting and literature. How inventive! This is my first Beth Pattillo book, and I'm so thankful I have two others of hers in my TBR pile (which are now going higher in the stack!)
Here's the blurb:
Beth Pattillo (Heavens to Betsy and Earth to Betsy) knows how to follow a dream—even with a pile of publishing industry rejection slips to her name. She spent seven years on the path to her first publishing contract, and the characters in her newnovel, The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society, embrace Pattillo’s persistence.
Eugenie, Ruth, Esther, Merry, and Camille are not perfect women. They each struggle with love in their own way—unrequited love, forbidden love, overwhelming love, even lost love. Yet they battle on, meeting every month in the Pairs and Spares Sunday school room to knit, discuss that month’s book selection, and puzzle out their lives.
When Eugenie throws neglected and abused teenager Hannah Simmons into their midst, however, walls decades in the making come crashing down. With secrets thrown on the table amid the tangle of yarn, needles and books, one thing becomes certain: The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society will soon discover what’s most important in the complicated lives they lead.
About Beth Pattillo:
Beth Pattillo is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and holds a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She and her family make their home in Tennessee. Her novel, Heavens to Betsy, won the prestigious RITA award from the Romance Writers of America. TheSweetgum Knit Lit Society is her fourth novel. To learn more, visit http://www.bethpattillo.com/
Q&A with Beth Pattillo, author of The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society
Q. What was your inspiration behind The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society?
The book was inspired by the knitting group at my church. I loved the way a group of diverse women, from their teens to retirement age, bonded over knitting and prayer. I think book clubs experience a similar phenomenon. Something about knitting or reading together really helps to create authentic community. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing this book was looking at the world from such different points of view. Each of the women in the novel is unique. And the variety of ages and life experiences kept things interesting.
Q. In the book, troubled teen Hannah Simmons has seen her share of neglect and abuse before meeting the ladies of the Knit Lit Society. Do you see many teens like Hannah in the course of your work as an ordained minister? If so, what is your philosophy in helping them find healing?
Unfortunately, I’ve met a number of teens over the years that were neglected by their parents. I’m a strong believer in youth ministry because I know it can provide guidance and care that’s often missing in a teenager’s home. In the novel, Hannah happens to be poor, but I’ve found that income level, however high or low, doesn’t always correlate to the quality of parenting. The love and attention of a youth minister and/or youth sponsor can often keep a teen from making bad choices with disastrous consequences. Teenagers need to feel competent and valued. A strong youth ministry provides an opportunity for young people to find their spiritual gifts and use them. It also makes God’s love tangible and powerful.
Q. Since not every town has a Knit Lit Society, what would your advice be to anyone who has a "Hannah" in their life or knows of a teen in a similar situation?
Most teens need someone to listen to them without judgment or agenda. Mentoring, serving as a youth sponsor, teaching Sunday school and Bible study – these are all great ways to reach out to teenagers. As a minister, in a particular situation, I have to assess whether a teenager needs the help of social services in addition to the love and care of a church family. All ministers are required by law to report suspected abuse. Neglect, though, can be a bit trickier. Ideally, a minister can reach out to the parents as well as the teen to try and help the family become more functional and caring. I always appreciated my church members letting me know if they thought a particular teenager needed help. I think it’s better to get involved and ultimately find that the situation wasn’t as serious as you thought than to ignore something until a crisis occurs.
Q. Do you knit in your spare time?
I love to knit! I’m into hand-tied yarn right now, taking eight or nine different yarns in a particular color palette and tying 2-3 yard sections end to end. The result is wonderfully shaggy scarves or shawls that have real depth of color and texture. (I was inspired by the owner of The Shaggy Sheep in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas – a terrific yarn store!) I’m afraid I have numerous unfinished projects around the house, but one day, I hope to finish them all.
Q. You spent seven years waiting to publish your first book and now The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is your fourth book. What advice do you have for novice or aspiring writers?
Aspiring writers have to persevere. For that matter, so do published authors. The publishing industry is a rejection-based business. Work hard, acquire a thick skin, be open to good criticism, and revise, revise, revise. As writers, we take our work personally, but the publishing industry doesn’t. Rejection is a business decision, not a critique of our value as human beings! My other piece of advice is to write every day, even if it’s only a small amount. I run an email loop called Club 100 For Writers. The challenge is to write 100 words a day for 100 days. I’ve seen this practice transform people’s lives. Instructions for joining the group are on my website, http://www.bethpattillo.com/.
Here's the info:
Sweetgum Knit Lit Society
Or click HERE to get your copy!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
...at least when I'm writing.
Right now I'm working on a romantic comedy, with both the hero's and the heroine's viewpoints. Funny thing is, writing from my man's point of view is coming easier to me than writing the woman's, and it's more fun! I actually had to spend some brain power to figure out why, and here's what I came up with:
*I've been a woman for so long that it's normal, whereas I've never been a man, and when I write I get to explore.
*When I write my hero, I get to make him the ideal man--how fun is that? Of course he has his flaws (all heros do), but I get to see things from a guy's perspective.
*Guys use words and phrases that are, well, guyish. It's enjoyable to me to write bluntly, and utilize masculine thoughts, analogies, and metaphors that would seem out of place in a girly POV.
What's your take on this? Do you prefer to write from the male point of view, or the female? Or do you have equal fun writing both?
Monday, June 23, 2008
I confess: before this weekend I'd never read a Nora Roberts book. Oh sure, I knew her status as queen of the romance novels, and I knew about everyone wanting to break the "rules" like she does and get away with it, but I'd never picked up one of her books to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. Until this weekend when I borrowed Blue Dahlia.
There were two things that bugged me. One was the sex scenes, since I don't like to see into other people's bedrooms, and the other (of course) was the infamous headhopping. OY! I came this close to setting the book down when Nora started dragging me from head to head, not giving me a chance to get settled.
But then it happened...
The story began to reel me in, and before I knew it I'd finished the whole thing--a little dizzy from the headhopping, but otherwise unscathed.
Here's what I learned from reading a Nora Roberts book:
*A good story trumps broken rules. That said, new writers still aren't likely to break in by chucking "established rules," but a good story will still keep a reader reading.
*In skilled hands, a romance has many, many layers and isn't limited to the relationship journey of the hero and heroine. We've all read books where this is the case, but reading Nora was a good reminder to weave in different elements and make it look natural. (Easier said than done.)
*Nora has written so many books, that she's comfortable at the keyboard. There's a certain rhythm to her writing that shows ease with what she's doing, and that she has great skill in spinning a tale. I believe that kind of comfort can only come from writing--A LOT. More than anything, this encouraged me to plant myself at the computer and keep pounding out words so that I can reach that level of smoothness in storytelling.
And hey, if a book can encourage and motivate me to spend more time writing, then it was worth the reading.
Friday, June 20, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted. He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters.
Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.
You can read a great interview with Mike, over here on TitleTrakk
ABOUT THE BOOK
A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith...
After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible. But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence.
As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God's hands. Will his young faith be strong ehough to battle the demonic forces of The Hunted.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.
Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti-if you liked The Oath and Monster, you are going to love The Hunted.
--C.J. Darlington, Cofounder and book editor, Titletrakk.com
A spine-tingling tale of hidden secrets, buried hopes, and second chances. A story best read with all the lights on and an extra flashlight--just in case!
--Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams
Mike Dellosso's pins-and-needles thriller hurtles the reader down a dark and twisted path. I dare you to take this one home!
--Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief suspense series
With hints of Frank Peretti and Stephen King, The Hunted is a chilling debut."
--Creston Mapes, author of Nobody
A vicious enemy, a family secret, a thirst for revenge, and a need for reconciliation all drive The Hunted from intriguing beginning to thrilling conclusion."
--Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished
Read this someplace safe as you experience the incredibly descriptive world of The Hunted. And sleep with the lights on.
--Austin Boyd, author of Mars Hill Classified trilogy
Thursday, June 19, 2008
What the House Test Says About You
You consider yourself important, but no more important than anyone else. You love attention, but you don't feel like you deserve more of it than anyone else.
You can't stand community oriented people and annoying "buy local" campaigns. You prefer to live the best life possible, and that doesn't really involve many other people.
You are a calm, contemplative, and smart person. You take ideas very seriously.
You take good care of your physical appearance. You dress well, stay in shape, and do your best to look great.
You are moved by the most simple of things. You can find pleasure from a small, perfect moment.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I know this sounds nuts, but I started reading up on ways to save gas after our discussion last week. It seems there's a whole movement out there called "hypermiling" where you squeeze the life out of every drop of gas that goes into the tank. It's all about adjusting the way you drive to maximize the motion of your car. Here are some of the tips that didn't sound too insane:
*Drive the speed limit, or a little slower. Also, stick to the lane with the least traffic.
*Use your brakes as little as possible. If you see a yellow or red light ahead, take your foot off the gas and coast, rather than continuing with your foot on the gas and braking at the last minute. Leave more space between you and the car in front of you, which will reduce the number of times you apply your brakes (which slows the motion you've already used gas to create.)
*Avoid stop lights on your route, if possible. You're gettin 0 miles per gallon when stopped.
*Slowly accelerate after stops. If you drive an automatic, take your foot off the brake for a full second before pressing the gas. This allows the car some forward motion before burning more fuel to create forward motion.
But wait, there's more! In addition to changing your driving habits, unload the junk in your trunk, keep your tires full, and use your AC as little as possible. On the other hand, if you're on the freeway, don't drive with the windows down because you'll create resistance.
There are TONS of websites out there with numerous tricks to help save gas. Not all the suggestions are good. For example, some recommend drafting behind semis--I say, you're asking for a cracked windshield. Another suggestion I saw was to drive barefoot to have more control over the gas pedal, which sounds dorky.
Anyhoo, I just had to share.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
What?! Where did all the whiz kids go? I'll admit, some of these were harder than others, and I didn't know them before I wrote the quiz. Anyhoo, here are the answers:
Probably the one that surprised me the most is Anne Rice's given name being Howard. C'mon all you parents out there, give your kids a fighting chance! My kids have names that would sound great on stage, or on a cover, or wherever their God-given talent might take them. (Although my oldest dislikes her name with a passion and is convinced it's a dud.) On that note, I'll reiterate how much I wish I was born with a cool name, or at least something catchy. Still, I'm going to use my real one, unless a publisher someday has a good reason to ask me to change (like switching genres or something.)
Here's the question of the day: do you like your name? Do you like your name, but still plan to use a pseudonym? I'm interested in the way other writers determine whether or not to use a pen name, and if so, how they go about choosing one.
Monday, June 16, 2008
A topic that comes up frequently on e-loops for writers is whether or not to use a psuedonym. I always assumed I'd use one for two reasons: 1. I'm a private person, and 2. I dislike my name. When it came time to answer that question on my author information sheet for The Wild Rose Press, I surprised myself and went with generic ol' me, and for the life of me I can't figure out why. If only I had a cool name, I wouldn't have thought twice about it.
Anyway, I thought today it'd be fun to match up author's pseudonym's with their real names. I'll throw in a few easy ones to get you started =) Answer as many as you can, and I'll post the results tomorrow.
1. Richard Bachman
2. Agatha Christie
3. Anne Rice
4. Mark Twain
5. Tennessee Williams
6. Lemony Snicket
7. John le Carre
8. Lewis Carroll
9. Barbara Cartland
10. Elizabeth Peters
A. Daniel Handler
B. Barbara Mertz
C. Samuel Longhorne Clemens
D. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
E. Barbara McCorquodale
F. Howard Allen O'Brian
G. Stephen King
H. David John Moore Cornwell
I. Mary Westmacott
J. Thomas Lanier
Let's see how many you know!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Hey everyone, friend and crit bud BETSY ST. AMANT is the newest SH author! Her book, Return to Love, is about a New Orleans penguin keeper and her reformed bad boy childhood best friend, who return to love with a little help from a rowdy youth group and a few homeless penguins.
YAY BETSY! We're happy dancing with you!
This week the CFBA is featuring two books by Robert Liparulo. Let me start by saying I am not the target audience, and yet I found myself really enjoying these books! I'm learning that YA fiction can be every bit as enjoyable as adult. And because the Inspirational YA market is so small (just ask my teen daughter), I say BRING IT ON! We NEED more reading material like this for younger readers. Robert tells a fantastic story, and I highly recommend these books, especially for teen boys.
P.S. While reading, you might want to keep the lights on!
Watcher In The Woods
(Books 1 and 2 in the Dreamhouse Kings Series)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.
Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.
Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.
Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!
And his third book Deadfall. debuted to rave reviews!
ABOUT THE BOOKS
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 1)
Dream house...or bad dream?
When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.
But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.
They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.
Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 2)
It's not just the house that's keeping secrets.
Pretending everything's all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They're hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what's going on.
But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding--just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body?
The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house's secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?
The Dreamhouse Kings Series has three contests that you will not want to miss...Dream the Scene, a weekly "Thanks For Reading Trivia contest, and the Dreamhouse Kings Street Team contest. There are also free bookplates that you can request, and a chapter of each book that you can download!
You can get all those goodies HERE.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I rarely blog on non-fiction, but with a title like this, how could I resist? Please read Joyce's interview, you will be blessed. At the end of the post, leave your email addy, and the winner will be entered into the main drawing for the grand prize!
FOR WOMEN OF ALL AGES IN MARRIAGES OF ALL STAGES
(Corydon, IN) -- Pastor's wife, Joyce S. Oglesby, felt inspired to write a relationship book out of a heavy heart for couples doomed for divorce without some sort of intervention. Her small town of Corydon, IN is buzzing about the controversial cover and title. Written similarly to the 1970s classic, Total Woman, Keeping His Pants On...Until He Gets Home equips women to affair-proof their marriages. Maintaining a passionate love in marriage has become more urgent than ever before. The demands on today's woman can distract her from fulfilling her husband's sexual needs. Losing focus of this vital responsibility has many women facing the maladies of matrimony. Joyce says, "You're either too tired, too stressed, too fat, too flat-chested, too mad, too sad, too depressed, too dirty, too clean, too selfish, or it's just too much trouble. All this can add up to too little too late!" Her warning is that husbands can soon become distracted, leading to some form of an outside physical or emotional affair, pornography, or other avenues of release. The book talks about the dangers of boredom and staleness, and how passionless relationships leave couples unfulfilled, and makes husbands prime targets for temptation.
In Keeping His Pants On...Until He Gets Home, wives learn why and how to preserve intimacy in their marriages, so they don't have to worry about where their husband's pants land when they come off. They'll be at the feet of their adoring wives, not at the bed of "the other woman."
1. Lose your inhibitions
Before you marry, take time to undertake this small task:
Make a list in rank and order of what you love the most about your future husband. Think back to what you were first attracted to and fast forward to today. After the wedding, place this list in a private place for you to refer to often. The list will be a great reminder of his attributes you love the most. This list will be a great motivator and will serve as a sedative at times as well, to spur you on to placin' a lovin' on your man. These are the reasons you chose him as a lifetime mate. You certainly want the world to know you made a wise choice.
We are pleased to announce a special contest created for your blog guests. On July 5, 2008 we will have a grand prize drawing for a special gift basket which will include: Keeping His Pants on Until He Gets Home Book, 12 Pillow Talk Love Notes, 2 Glasses, 1 bottle of sparkling apple-cranberry, 1 Beanpod Candles melter, Beach Walk wax soy beads, Bird of Paradise wax soy beads, and 9 tea lights.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Hot topic lately, especially for those of us with late-model gas guzzlers. Every time I get in the car I reset the odometer, and I'm religious about planning my daily trips. Also, if I feel the unction to fill up the tank, I no longer ignore it in favor of waiting until tomorrow. One day last week the price jumped 9 cents overnight.
Now that my oldest is out of school, we're only driving about 20-25 miles a day as a family, and STILL I get nervous about the mileage. Admittedly, I'm a tightwad--er, frugal. We even made some bigger changes that involved a bus pass (gasp!) In the old days--meaning last summer--we'd take a drive in the afternoon just to get out of the house for a while, and head to the other side of town to browse at Barnes & Noble, or go to the library, or whatever. Nowadays the other side of town feels like the other side of the earth. I won't go all the way over there unless there's no other options. No wonder the Europeans drive those cute lil' cars.
I'm wondering, how many miles per day do you drive? Am I nuts for being a Nervous Nellie at 25 miles? Have you started making any changes in your lifestyle and/or driving habits yet?
This is one of those books that I'd never have picked up on my own, but I'm so glad I read. And why, you ask, would I not have picked this up? Because the cover wouldn't have caught my eye, as shallow as that sounds. Here's the good part: once I started reading, I breezed through this story, engrossed in the lives of four roomies struggling to make a go of it. As a side note for writers, this is a fabulous study for anyone who writes character-driven fiction. This book is all about the characters, and Melody Carlson does a great job pulling the reader into the room and making us care.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including three of her latest, These Boots Weren't Made For Walking, A Mile In My Flip-Flops, and Mixed Bags. 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.
Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It’s the “whosoever” part that gets me. That’s who I write for – “whosoever” and to me that means everyone and anyone.
Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with I Heart Bloomberg that functions mostly to set up future storylines. Three women rent rooms at 86Bloomberg Place:
ABOUT THE BOOK
Kendall's managed to wrangle her grandmother's house-free and clear-except for the rules. No male roommates. But that's ok, with the right ad she'll pull in some girls, their rent and if she's lucky, she won't have to go to work any time soon.
For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can't take another day in her aunt's tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades.
Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths. And they struggle to become the women they want to be, they'll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love and the true meaning of friendship.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Let me piggyback for a moment on yesterday's post. We all seem to love blogging for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest common factors is connecting with others. Honestly, I'm not sure how I'd handle being a stay-home mom/writer without having online interaction, especially since my outside activities are a bit limited.
Think for a minute way back to the day before internet. Go way, way back. (Some of you are young enough that you've always had it, but pretend for the sake of this post!) Before I had online access, I was working full time and doing the mom thing, plus I was busy with tons of church activities. I'd have to say I didn't know what I was missing. But now, if I had to get disconnected, I'd have serious withdrawals.
HERE'S THE SCARY PART: ((insert Psycho music))
The other day I read that companies are considering restructuring the way they charge for internet service. Some are actually going to test run a pay-to-surf type program to generate revenue because the infrastructure is overloaded with all the bigtime downloads. It might be similar to the days when AOL charged by how much time a user spent online (I had that program before I got serious about writing, and spent less than 20 hours a month surfing. I'm not kidding--less than 20 hours!)
Thankfully phone companies are less likely to impose a cap. But I can't help but wonder how life would change with severly limited internet access. Depending on the cost increase, I'd probably have to cut back on blogging, and writer's loops, and basically everything but the essentials. Is that frightening, or what?
Take it one step further: how many smaller online businesses would fold? How many groups for writers (and other hobbies) would simply peter out because people could no longer afford the time? I'm terrible at writing letters longhand, so connecting with family and friends faraway would be cut to nothing, not to mention all the pictures everyone would eventually stop sending. Oy! I dread the thought!
Before I get carried away, go read about it for yourself. Surely it's not as bad as I'm making it out to be. I am, after all, a fiction writer.
CLICK HERE to read this scary story. I recommend reading it with all the lights on.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Who knew I had so much to say? Admittedly, some days are better than others =) A BIG thank you to my friends in the blogging world, who continue to inspire and encourage me along this lil' writing journey!
Just when I think I've run out of things to blog about, someone sends me something funny I want to pass along (waving at friend and crit bud Betsy, who did, in fact, send me the funny chicken email!) or I piggyback off of something one of you blogged on, or sometimes I want to get to know you better with my silly addiction to quizzes. Then there are the book reviews, writing tidbits, and even the occasional personal story. Now that I think about it, blogging has been a fun distraction, but it's also how I met and connected with friends and critters Kaye and Erica. And of course, it provides a way for me to hang out with y-o-u!
So here's today's question: How many posts do you have? And as a follow up, how many times a week do you post, and where do you get your ideas? What benefit has blogging provided for you?
Friday, June 06, 2008
...on book reviews. I've heard lots of different opinions lately on book reviews. Personally, I love it when the reviews include personal thoughts by the blogger, but aren't so extensive that I resort to skimming. If it's a book I especially enjoyed--or even if I had problems with it--I'm interested to see if my thoughts fall in line with others, or if I'm a maverick.
In the spirit of sharing info, I posted a poll which closes in the wee hours of Monday morning. It's completely anonymous, so feel free to vote, or you can also share your thoughts in the comments section.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
I got this in an email and had to share!
BARACK OBAMA:The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!
JOHN MC CAIN:My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.
HILLARY CLINTON:When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......
DR. PHIL:The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do ishelp him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.
OPRAH:Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.
GEORGE W. BUSH:We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
COLIN POWELL:Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...
ANDERSON COOPER - CNN:We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.
JOHN KERRY:Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.
NANCY GRACE:That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.
PAT BUCHANAN:To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
MARTHA STEWART:No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.
DR SEUSS:Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY:To die in the rain. Alone.
GRANDPA:In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
BARBARA WALTERS:Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.
ARISTOTLE:It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
JOHN LENNON:Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.
BILL GATES:I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This newplatform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% ........ reboot.
ALBERT EINSTEIN:Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?
BILL CLINTON:I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?
AL GORE:I invented the chicken!
COLONEL SANDERS:Did I miss one?
DICK CHENEY:Where's my gun?
AL SHARPTON:Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I may not have lost a pound in the last four months, but today I broke my personal (adult) best record and ran 5.5 miles in 1 hours and 13 minutes!!! Naturally, I like to think of myself as Rocky, except less hairy. Though I only ran about 1/8 his speed, I thought I was flying like the wind!
Here's one of the songs I listen to while working out. Oddly enough, it seems appropriate too!
Do you use music for motivation too?
I confess, I haven't finished this book yet, but I've read enough to know that this is a real treat for all you history buffs out there. The neat thing about this book is that even though it's based on a true story, it reads like a well-crafted novel, and has interesting tidbits sprinkled throughout. Also, at the end of the book Nancy Moser included bullet points of fact vs. fiction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest.
ABOUT THE BOOK
It has been said that without George Washington there would be no United States. But without Martha, there would be no George Washington. He called her "my other self."
Who was this woman who captured the heart of our country's founder? She dreams of a quiet life with her beloved George, but war looms...
Though still a young woman, Martha Dandridge Custis was a wealthy, attractive widow and the mother of two small children with no desire to remarry. But when a striking war hero steps into her life, she realizes that she is ready to love again. She is courted by, then marries the French and Indian War hero.
Yet she wonders whether this man, accustomed to courageous military exploits, can settle down to a simple life of farming and being a father to her children. Even as she longs for domestic bliss, Martha soon realizes she will have to risk everything dear to her and find the courage to get behind a dream much larger than her own.
Her new life as Martha Washington took her through blissful times at Mount Vernon, family tragedies, six years of her husband's absence during the Revolutionary War, and her position as a reluctant First Lady.
Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen, in Washington's Lady, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the First First Lady of the United States.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Have you taken the Jung personality test yet? This one was quite revealing, and I have a feeling it's more accurate than the blogthings personality quizzes I usually do. This is actually a fun study, which could be used to develop our characters. Here's my result:
Your Type is ISTJ
Famous people with this personality type: Lance Armstrong, Warren Buffet, Donald Rumsfeld, Greta Garbo. Fictional ISTJ's include Eeyore and Fred Mertz. FRED MERTZ!!!
Sigh, if only I had Warren's checking account and Lance's endurance and athleticism!
It would seem I'm lacking in the sympathy/compassion areas (I blame that on too many years in retail management--not an inherent personality flaw ;) ) I'm also not quite as introverted as the profile indicates, but I can be on occasion. All in all, this brings up some interesting points in my personality. The most interesting thing about this is reading the type descriptions--I really believe this can enhance character development if used properly.
Here's the link. See if you think it has you pegged: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp
Monday, June 02, 2008
Twins, murder, and family secrets--this book has it all! The end of this mystery tied together so perfectly I wanted to conk myself on the head for not solving the puzzle myself. (By the way, if you're a fan of crosswords, this is doubly fun!) But enough from me, here's the blurb:
Libby Burton longs to be close to her twin sister, Tori, but their lives have taken them in different directions. Forced to share Aunt Stella’s old Philadelphia home in order to receive their inheritance, Libby hopes for a change, but it isn’t looking good so far.
First, Tori tries to steal the affection and allegiance of Libby’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Chloe. Then when a crossword puzzle with a hidden warning shows up on their doorstep, Tori refuses to take it seriously—in spite of the dead man who delivers it.
Libby finds comfort in neighbor Drew Canfield, but he hesitates to trust her after his disastrous marriage. As Libby struggles to act faithfully in the midst of these confusing relationships, she must also deal with a stolen diamond and a botched kidnapping. The answer to her problems lies in the riddles of the crosswords, if only she can solve the puzzle before it’s too late.
Author Bio: Gayle Roper has been writing mystery and romantic suspense novels for more than thirty years and is the author of over forty-five books. She is a three-time Christy Award finalist, the winner of three Holt Medallions, and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times magazine. Her novel Autumn Dreams won Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She and her husband, Chuck, divide their time between Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada.
To get this book, click HERE!