Thursday, August 28, 2008

THE TOP 5 THINGS... WON'T see me wearing at the ACFW conference.

It all started when I called for my annual--yes, annual--hair appointment and found out that my stylist of several years left the business. I'm still mourning. Anyhoo, today I picked up a magazine that touted the latest and greatest hair and fashion trends. I need the help.

Unlike a lot of women, I didn't leaf through the pages saying, "Oh, oh, oh--I have to get that!" In fact, I saw very little that I'd actually wear in public, or in private for that matter. Instead what I caught myself saying was, "Yikes! Who thought that was a good idea?! Oy!"

So I compiled The List of things I won't be purchasing, wearing, or using anytime in the near future:

The feather skirt. An interesting concept gone bad. I'm no expert, but c'mon--feathers? I could just see myself molting at the dinner table.

The bandage dress. Despite the fact that this picture came out tiny (and in real life the dress is probably still tiny) you get the idea, which is inspired by the mummy-motif. You'd probably have to be a size 0 to wear this, and I'm most definitely not.

This is battery-powered vibrating mascara. No--really! Let's get to the obvious: this is a lawsuit in the making because someone is going to poke an eye out. Especially if they apply makeup before fully caffeinated.

The cutout bootie. Since I'm not a fashionista I could be totally off, but this is ugly. My advice (probably useless, I know) is to either buy a spiked heel, or a boot with laces--not a combo. This is the footwear version of the El Camino.

And the #1 thing I won't be wearing to conference?

Are you ready for this?

Brace yourself!

THE PADDED BUTT SHAPER.......because I just don't need the help.

Yes, mock me all you will, but I'm sticking to my plain Jane capris and knit tops. I'll wear a woven top if I'm feeling a little daring. And I still haven't spotted a hairstyle that suits me, nor have I found a new stylist. That said, at the conference I'll be the one who dresses like a housewife and has long, frizzy hair. I say this so you'll recognize me right away and come give me a hug =)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


endorphin en·dor·phin (ěn-dôr'fĭn)n. Any of a group of peptide hormones that bind to opiate receptors and are found mainly in the brain. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary

This is precisely what I was missing last week. You see, I made the mistake of thinking that my family and I would benefit more from having extra time freed up during the week than from trudging over to the athletic club to exercise.

Have you ever heard that the more time you have the more you waste? Evidently, it's true. Not only didn't I get more accomplished during the 2 weeks I took a vacation from the treadmill, but I started feeling blah. The things I was accomplishing at home felt futile, and I began to question all the basic goals I'd been working towards for the last several years.

This week my hubby and my babies convinced me to start working out again. Aside from the blister on my baby toe, I feel phenomenal! The endorphins are back, and now that I have a bit more of a time squeeze I'm working harder to complete my to-do lists. (I'm BIG on lists.) I was reminded of something I knew about myself long ago, and had forgotten: I work way better when I have to juggle, and pressure is a fantabulous motivator.

If you're a writer, housewife, homeschool mom, or work at a desk then we have lots in common. We all know the health benefits of exercise, but how many of us incorporate it into our daily lives? I'll be honest, when I first quit working four years ago I really began to enjoy a sedentary lifestyle. But after adjusting to regular workouts, the difference in my attitude was quite noticeable when I let it go.

As the Apostle Paul said, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection..." (1 Cor. 9:27)--and this is the verse that pops up every time I see my sweaty self in the mirror, or see the elderly man on the next treadmill running faster than me, or feel like I'm going to disintegrate.


Are you affording yourself the time to exercise?

Monday, August 25, 2008


Did you hear about the bikini barista who threw scalding hot water on a man who indecently exposed himself? Let me fill you in. Last week a man went to a drive-thru coffee that features baristas in bikinis and exposed himself and did other indecent things. Well, by the 3rd time, the woman got fed up and threw scalding water on him.

Here's the thing that gets me: what do these women think is going to happen? When you put yourself out there in a vulnerable position, weirdos are going to respond. That doesn't at all justify or excuse that man's lewd behavior, but ladies, WISE UP! Why do you think men are coming to places like that? Hint: it's not for the coffee. The key here is to THINK.

Modesty is priceless. There is only one man who has earned the right to see your goods, and that's the man who has pledged his life and undying devotion to you and only you! Don't make the mistake of undervaluing your body--random men don't deserve to have a peek. (Of course, I'm speaking to "women" in the general sense, not directing this at my regular cyber friends, who I'm almost positive aren't bikini-clad baristas!)


Remember how I cried like a baby for the Olympic opening ceremony? Not so for the closing ceremony. Sheesh, it seemed like the thing was dragging on for eternity. Either that or I'm so jaded because of the "enhanced" fireworks, the lip syncing, and the fudging of the ages of the Chinese gymnasts that the emotion just wasn't there the way it was two weeks ago. On a lighter note, I'll get a lot more done now that the whole thing is over.


Stop by Victoria Pitts-Caine's blog where I talk about what sparked Table for One!

Friday, August 22, 2008


This book more than lived up to my expectations with its secret societies, rare books, and life-or-death puzzles to be solved. An amazing blend of truth and fiction! In addition to the action, there's a very human element with a flawed family, and characters who do bad things but with strong, believable motives. Readers put off by the gore in the first book in the series, Illuminated, should be less squeamish this time around. While there is violence, the detailed gore is absent. A very satisfying read, and "page-turner" only begins to describe how fast you'll devour House of Wolves.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

House Of Wolves

Thomas Nelson (August 12, 2008)


Matt Bronleewe

Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. His first book Illuminated began the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


A mysterious book with a dangerous secret.

An evil brotherhood out to conquer the world.

One man stands between them . . . with his family in the balance.

In the twelfth century, Henry the Lion collected the rarest relics in Christendom. And to protect his most precious acquisitions, he encoded the whereabouts in a gorgeous illuminated manuscript called The Gospels of Henry the Lion.

The manuscript has been showing up and disappearing ever since. No one knows where the relic has been hidden . . . or its ultimate power.

Only one man holds the key to the mystery.

He's carrying it in his briefcase at his son's school for show-and-tell, and he thinks it's a fake. But he's about to find out just how real it is.

Because the wolves are rapidly closing in. And if August Adams can't decode the secret in time, the world's balance of power will forever be altered.

If you would like to read anexcerpt of House Of Wolves, it will be HERE

Thursday, August 21, 2008


...but I'm still giving you a driving test.

I used to be known as a crazy driver, but all that changed now that I motor about with 3 kids in the car. Way back in the day I was pulled over more times than I can count. Speeding, running stop signs (although one of those was a phony charge--PHONY, I tell you!), cracked windshields--you name it, I was pulled over for it. As I got older, I still drove fast and was a master at weaving in and out of traffic.

Now that I've matured (no comments, please) I drive the speed limit, and I'm very conscientious of following the rules, not to mention saving gas! That's why I'm happy to present this week's quiz, which almost has me pegged, but not quite. I will say that I am, in fact, high strung and easily worked up, and I believe in the generous use of the horn.

What Your Driving Says About You

You are high strung and easily worked up. You have a heck of a temper, and you're ready to fight anyone who ticks you off!

You are always increasing your awareness of the world around you. You are a life long learner.

You'd like to think you're a fair person, but you occasionally think you deserve a special kind of justice.

You can be a rather tense, grouchy person - but you try to maintain your dignity.

You have the utmost respect for authority figures. You feel that rules - and their enforcement - are important.

You are focused and alert. You make sure that you are doing the right thing at all times.

You don't feel a responsibility to anyone but yourself. You value your freedom more than anything else.

Your ego is a healthy size. You don't think you're more important than anyone else.

Come back and let us know how you fare on this driving test.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I know I'm not the only one staying up late to watch the Olympics, and as late as I'm keeping my eyes propped open (and ignoring the things I should be doing, like writing) we're on Pacific Time. That means that everyone east of us is staying up even later to watch just one more event. I'd love to see a study come out on the correlation between the Olympics and coffee consumption.

Speaking of Olympians...this is the person who helped coach my daughter's gymnastics class yesterday, and is considering staying on here as a permanent coach.

It was cool because the kids didn't have a clue who this guy was, and they didn't care. They cared that he was a fun coach who was nice to them and helped them do stretches and climb the rope.


We're getting a camcorder. Wootwoot. I ordered it yesterday from my husband's prize thingy from work, and it'll be here in 4-6 weeks. Just think, I'm going to plague you all with videos!!! Okay, I'm just mostly kidding, but it would be awesome if it comes before conference.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Can you believe the conference is only 31 days away? As the time gap closes, my drive to finish my book goes into high gear. So last week I was determining whether or not I could at least finish the 2nd draft of my book between now and Minneapolis, and I came up with approximately 2200 words per day to reach my goal. Naturally I shrugged and said, "Well, it's not going to happen this year, but I'll do the best I can." I continued to try pounding out the words, but there was always that niggling voice teasing me that I'd not get to the mark I'd set for myself.

Then on Saturday I took a nap. (At least I think it was Saturday, but it's hard to tell because I nap every day, LOL!) When I woke in that dreamy state I came to a realization: I miscalculated my word count. I'd accidentally divided the total number of words in my WIP by the number of days between now and conference--I'd not taken into account the 30,000 words I'd already written!

Yes, you can mock me for my lack of basic math skills, but I'm still a super-happy camper! I actually have a shot of finishing because I only need around 1600 words per day, every day, in order to finish! Woohoo!

In other news, I got a PrintMaster program when I took my kids to Staples last week. Like I needed another thing to play with, but let's face it, a girl has to have the proper tools to make a one sheet. There's just something so revitalizing about being in an office supply store--it's almost as wonderful as being in the bookstore. I love to touch the notebooks and browse through pens and Post-its. It's unnatural, but there you have it.

That's my getting-ready-for-conference update for the week. How are you coming along? If you're not coming to conference, how are you doing in your other goals?

Friday, August 15, 2008


This book kept me awake into the wee hours. Of the three Drama Queen books, this is my favorite. Laini Sullivan is the woman every girl can relate to at some point in life. Were you ever picked last? Were you ever wondering why everyone else's life was moving forward while you're stuck in the same ol' rut? Ever feel like there's not a good man left on the planet? Read this book! I love that Laini is imperfect and totally relatable. And just when I think I know what's going to happen, the story moves in a different direction. A very satisfying conclusion to the series. While you don't have to read the first two to enjoy the third, I think reading this one last enhanced the enjoyment. Highly recommend!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

That's (Not Exactly) Amore

FaithWords (August 14, 2008)


Tracey Bateman

Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has been busy ever since. There are two other books in the Drama Queen Series, Catch A Rising Star (#1) and You Had Me At Goodbye (#2)

She learned to write by writing, and improved by listening to critique partners and editors. She has sold over 30 books in six years.
She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for a year.

Tracey loves Sci-fi, Lifetime movies, and Days of Our Lives (this is out of a 21 year habit of watching, rather than enjoyment of current storylines.

She has been married to her husband Rusty for 18 years, has four kids, and lives in Lebanon, Missouri.


When Laini Sullivan lands a job designing Nick Pantalone's coffee shop, there are two problems: one, Nick's nephew Joe hates all of her ideas and two, Laini has to admit he's right--she's a disaster at design. Still, she can't risk losing the job. To compromise, Joe brings in help on the project, while Laini continues to bake the goodies that keep his customers lining up.
Their relationship is moving along, so when new guy Officer Mark Hall implies that Joe's family is tied to the mob, Laini doesn't want to believe it. But things spin out of control when she meets the family, including "the uncles," who seem to confirm Mark's suspicions. To make things worse, Nana Pantalone makes it clear Laini isn't the kind of girl she has in mind for her grandson. Laini's not sure if she should give Joe the benefit of the doubt or just set her sites on Mark and fuhgetaboutit.

"Tracey draws us into the world of family and friendship with a few surprising twists along the way Bravo!"
~RACHEL HAUCK, author of Diva NashVegas and Sweet Caroline

If you would like to read the first chapter of That's (Not Exactly) Amore, go HERE

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Have you seen this picture? Not to gross anyone out, but...eww.

I've never been one to believe, but two hunters in Georgia found this body that they claim is Bigfoot. It weighs over 500 pounds, and looks part human, part ape. They've sent the DNA out to be tested, and they're also going to hold a press conference on Friday.

Of course I'm holding my breath.

But wait, now that I take a closer look, I have known a few people who look as much like the missing link as this hairy guy. So maybe it's not such a big leap...

If I were going to believe in a creature, I'd prefer the Loch Ness Monster. She's a much more elegant creature than our furry friend pictured above.

She's had over 50 photos taken of her, but only 6 have passed "the test"--whatever that is. This is one monster I could seriously believe in because she looks so much like creatures we know existed--the dinosaurs.

Of course there was that deathbed confession by Christian Spurling that he helped fake Nessie photos. But I can still believe!!!

In other news (can you tell I'm in the mood to ramble?), have you seen Michael Phelps's diet?! If only I could eat 3 fried egg sandwiches, an omelet, French toast, and pancakes for breakfast without swelling up like a puffer fish. Let's not even talk about his lunch and dinner menu, although I will say that one of those meals involves an entire pizza. Just thinking about it is enough to make me want to work out 5 hours a day in the pool so I can eat that way too--well, except for the fact that I'd have to get wet.

While we're talking about the Olympics, my oldest daughter says she dislikes watching the men's diving because she can't tell which country the divers are from. As she put it, "The Speedo is too small for the team logo, and I don't want to look that closely, anyway! Eww!!"

As a mother, I am thankful.

What's say we band together and outlaw the wearing of Speedos? Can I get a show of hands?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'M GUEST BLOGGING... Write Place, Write Time (Kaye Dacus.) C'mon over!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This is an incredibly inventive book, and full of humorous moments as well as moments that made me shiver and go, "Eww!" I loved the lit tone, combined with mystery and crime scene cleaning. My only regret is not having read the first book in the series, Hazardous Duty. You don't need to read the first one to pick right up with the heroine, Gabby St. Claire, but I'm sure it's a fun read too. If you enjoy light mysteries, you MUST read Suspicious Minds.


In this smart and suspenseful sequel to Hazardous Duty, crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire finds herself stuck doing mold remediation to pay the bills. But her first day on the job, she uncovers a surprise in a crawl space of a dilapidated home: Elvis, dead as a doornail and still wearing his blue suede shoes. How could she possibly keep her nose out of a case like this?

Elvis turns out to be Darnell Evans, a down-on-his-luck impersonator whose luck just got a lot worse. When his widow begs her to help, Gabby takes on the case of who-killed-the-King. In the meantime, her would-be rival, Chad Davis, is turning into one hunka hunka burnin' love and starting to dish out some serious TLC, which is the last thing Gabby needs right now.

Realizing the futility of running from God and from her responsibilities, Gabby decides to reconsider her priorities. But when the ersatz Elvis's killer catches on to her investigation, will she survive long enough to be able to?

Kregel Publications
FICTION / Christian / Suspense
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2540-0
Price: $12.99


"Crime scene cleaning is dirty job, but Christy Barritt has made it hilarious. Amateur sleuth Gabby St. Claire is back, and in trouble again! Suspicious Minds delivers a riveting mystery, but it's Gabby's irrepressible charm as she engages a zany cast of characters that keeps readers turning pages. Put this series on your must read list!"
--Claudia Mair BurneyAuthor of the Amanda Bell Brown Mysteries

"Crime scene cleanup should be a safe enough occupation, right? It comes after the crime is over. Not necessarily! Come enjoy this fun romp through the complications-men, mold, mayhem and murder-in Gabby St. Clair's rollercoaster life."--Lorena McCourtneyAuthor of Your Chariot Awaits (Book #1 in the Andi McConnell Mysteries) and the Ivy Malone Mysteries series

"Elvis has left the building, folks, but Gabby St. Claire has not! She's sweeping in with another mystery to solve, one sure to make you laugh and get you "all shook up." Suspicious Minds is witty, punchy and fast-paced. Kudos to Christy Barritt for an entertaining and intriguing read!"--Janice A. ThompsonAuthor of Gone with the Groom


Monday, August 11, 2008


...during the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I'm not prone to tears or drama--okay, maybe sometimes. But for some reason, during the opening ceremony I turned on the waterworks. Thankfully it was only the tots and I at home at the time. When the rest of the fam returned, I'd finished my crying jag, until...

Yao Ming came out with the little boy who survived the earthquake. In case you missed it, this nine-year-old not only lived through the quake, but he went back inside his school to save his classmates. When asked why he did it, he said it was because he was a hall monitor and a leader in his class, and it was his duty. God bless him, many times over.

My oldest daughter shed a few tears during this part of the ceremony too. When we tried to reason out why we got weepy during the broadcast, one thing stood out in my mind: maybe we were, however briefly, tapping into the heart of God. Though the world wasn't coming together to honor Him, how it must please Him to see his creation gathering in peace. (That's my justification, and I'm sticking to it!)

We've spent the better part of the weekend watching the different events. So far, my favorites are swimming, and of course gymnastics. The babies love, love, love seeing the gymnasts, and have tried to copy the moves. While we watched the women on the beam perform some great feats, my two-year-old said, "Mommy, can I do that on Tuesday?" I assured her we'd work on it, after all, we will be at baby gymnastics that day. So why not?

Have you tuned in? What are your favorite events?

Friday, August 08, 2008

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

All Through The Night

(Bethany House - July 1, 2008)


Davis Bunn


Davis Bunn is an internationally acclaimed author who has sold more than six million books in fifteen languages. His audiences span reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings.

Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include My Soul To Keep, and Full Circle . A sought-after lecturer in the art of writing, Bunn was named Novelist in Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University.

He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write.


A loner, trying to forget. A community--and a woman--who need for him to remember...
Broken relationships and unfulfilled promises scatter themselves across Wayne's past like burned-out craters. His background in military special-ops is something he's trying to forget. But when he gets himself sweet-talked into helping a quirky group of seniors who've been scammed, he discovers it will take a lot more than muscle and nerve. Breach a conman's high-security estate to recover stolen money? No problem. Become part of the community? Love again? Not on your life.

A lawyer with her own painful past is intrigued by Wayne and asks him to take on another unusual case--Tatanya's wealthy employer believes he's been visited angel? Did a messenger from God in a pinstripe suit truly bring a divine warning, or is this merely another cruel hoax? Tatanya is willing to trust Wayne with her boss's life, but she's not sure she's ready to trust him with her own wounded heart.

With a financial analyst's skills and a warrior's tenacity, Wayne races to unmask dangerous forces hiding behind a corporate veil. But he will need all his resources--and then some--against an unseen enemy bent on destroying his fragile bid for a second chance at life...and love.

All he wanted was to put his past behind him. But now it's the only thing that will save them...

If you would like to read the first chapter of All Through The Night, go HERE

Thursday, August 07, 2008


After 15 months, I finally found a reason to go to the athletic club. As I've mentioned a thousand times or so, I can't lose weight no matter how much I do business with the treadmill. Really. But that's OK. Call me perseverant, determined, or just plain nuts, because I've continue to go even though 5 pounds is all I can boast for over a year of trying.

Back to my reason to continue. Yesterday my oldest daughter and I finished punishing ourselves (her 5.5 miles, me 4.5) and went down to pick up the tots from the nursery. One of the workers who doesn't know us well looks at my oldest and says, "Are you two friends?"

Daughter shakes head vigorously, like she can't fathom such a suggestion.


More vigorous shaking from Daughter, roaring laughter from me.

"Well?" Puzzled look on kind--and dare I say brilliant?--nursery worker's face.

I beam with a high-voltage smile. "She's my daughter."

The woman's jaw goes slack. "Are you serious? You don't look old enough to have a daughter her age."

"I'm (fill-in-the-blank)." I gaze lovingly at Daughter, knowing that I have good ammo for future discussions about how absolutely old I am.

"I hope I look as good as you when I'm (fill-in-the-blank)!!!"

There you have it--the whole reason I NOW will continue to go to the athletic club. Hey, if I can't lose poundage, I'll take what I can get....

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


So. Sleepy.

Have you ever just run out of steam? (Look at that bad, bad cliche--there's one way to tell someone's wiping the floor with my brain.) And it's not just fatigue.

I ran out of motivation. Yes, I wrote last night (1000 words, if I remember correctly) but I had to push. Tonight I have to make the decision whether to write or veg out with a book. From that statement alone you can tell which way I'm leaning. Of course if I'm really sluggish I can watch the boob tube.

Usually I can plumb the depths of my self-starter tank and make it happen, but lately the well is dry (LOOK, there's another one!) And I have to admit that even this post isn't terribly creative.

I've heard that having a deadline is great for making word count happen. What do you do when you just don't FEEL like planting yourself in front of the keyboard and pounding out the words? Looking for a little motivation....

Monday, August 04, 2008

Usually I can predict how a story is going to end. Not this time. The twist at the end caught me off guard and added even more depth to the story. I can't say more on that without giving it away, but I think you'll be surprised too!

From Multnomah:

With music of the 1970s playing throughout, Marlo Schalesky has joined forces with Multnomah Books to release Beyond the Night, the first of three books whose endings aren’t what readers expect.

A wet road, the dark of night, and pouring rain become the cruel combination that forces Maddie and her husband’s car off the road. Now Maddie lies in a coma, her faithful and loving mate by her side speaking words of encouragement.

As she rests in the darkness of her hospital room, the life journey Maddie has traveled plays again in her mind. Scenes flash in between whispers of a voice she’s grown to love. “Maddie, remember with me. Remember the day I fell in love.”

A playful kiss igniting romance between friends, an extraordinary love, a universe of fear and darkness, a triumph over blindness in both eyes and soul. Maddie’s walked a hard road and succeeded against the odds.

But then came the night that changed everything.

Marlo Schalesky delivers a powerfully emotional story that is certain to take both Maddie and the reader Beyond the Night.

About Marlo Schalesky

Wind Remembers, Cry Freedom, Freedom’s Shadow, and Empty Womb, Aching Heart. A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo recently earned a Masters of Theology with an emphasis in Biblical Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She also runs her own construction consulting business as well as an engineering firm that she and her husband own. Married nearly twenty years, she lives with her husband, Bryan, and their four daughters in California.

Q&A with Marlo Schalesky, author of Beyond the Night

Q. Marlo, you’re a woman full of surprises! What made you decide to work in the construction industry? Isn’t that a field normally dominated by males?

A. Well, something has to pay for my Starbucks venti white mochas! But seriously, when I met my husband at Stanford years ago (Note: A number of incidents in Paul and Maddie’s love story in Beyond the Night grow out of my story with Bryan . . . I’ll let the reader guess which), he was majoring in Engineering, and I majored in Chemistry. After graduating, he got a job in sales in the construction industry (roofing); I did chemical research. We discovered that there was a lot of chemistry involved in roofing. So, about ten years ago, we decided to open our own engineering firm that specialized in roofing and waterproofing. From the contacts and experience I gained there, in January of 2007 I opened my own construction consulting firm where I can use my left-brained skills (writing novels uses up all the rightbrained energy) to earn a few bucks and pay for those fancy coffees. And I have to admit, I enjoy doing something that’s so different from my writing.

It’s refreshing to deal with numbers and forms, caulking and chemicals, instead of only words and ideas. It makes for a nice balance in my life.

As for construction being male-dominated – it certainly is as far as actual construction workers and facilities managers. But there are plenty of women working in the administrative aspects of the business, which again makes for a nice balance. It’s fun to meet different kinds of people, and a number of them have also become my readers. Others just think I’m crazy – trying to run a business, writing novels, and take care of my four little daughters. But, hey, with God all things are possible . . .

Q. How did you decide to write a series of novels with surprise endings?

A. It was all God’s fault. And it started with a dream. Not one of those “I have a dream” kind of dreams, but a real, honest-to-goodness, it’s-3am-and-I’m-asleep kind of dreams. I dreamt Paul and Maddie’s love story. And when I woke up, I couldn’t get the two of them out of my head. I thought about them in the shower, on the way to seminary classes, in the grocery store. Everywhere! For weeks, I found myself replaying tidbits of their story in my mind, until I finally figured out that maybe God wanted me to write their story.

“But,” said I to God, “there’s not enough here. It’s not compelling enough.”

“Yes,” said God to me, “but Maddie’s going blind.” (Well, maybe it wasn’t so much in those words, but just in the revelation of what was going on with Maddie.)

“Oh,” said I, “That’s very interesting. But it’s still not enough. Not quite.”

Two more days went by, and Paul and Maddie’s story still kept teasing my mind. “It’s not enough,” I kept saying to God. “There’s got to be more.”

And then I saw it – the big twist. The incredible truth that I had no idea about before. It took my breath away. So, after I finished picking my jaw up off the floor, I sat down and starting working on the proposal for Beyond the Night.

As I fleshed out the story, I realized that this is exactly the type of book I’d like to keep writing – something with the poignancy of a Nicolas Sparks love story (without the sap!) matched with the knock-your-socks-off twist of a M. Night Shymalan movie (without the horror!). That kind of story excited me, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. And I figured that there had to be more people like me out there – people who want to be both moved emotionally and surprised and delighted intellectually. People who want to be changed, challenged, and caught with wonder by a story. People who just want something more in their stories, because the typical story is just not quite enough.

Happily, Multnomah agreed. When my agent sent them the proposal for Beyond the Night, they asked for two more ideas in one week. But how could I come up with two more stories like that in such a short time? It usually took months, even years, for me to find the right story. But God was faithful again. Onthe first day of that week, the storyline for Book 2, Faces in the Sand, came to me. And on the last day of the week, I got the idea for Book 3 (with five very nervous days in between). Multnomah contracted all three, and now I’m pressing forward, writing these books that God has given me to write, and prayingevery day that I’ll see the story as He has dreamed it. And I’m hanging on to the belief that He who gave me this mission will be faithful not only at its inception, but in the execution and beyond.

Q. You’ve been in the publishing industry for a while now with four previous novels and a nonfiction book to your credit. How has your publishing experience lined up with expectations? How has it not?

A. You’ll find that most of my books include a theme about life not turning out the way you plan or expect. That’s because God has given me the equivalent of a PhD in “My plans are not your plans, saith the Lord . . .” And my publishing experience has been a significant course in that learning process.

Nothing in my experience with publishing has gone according to expectation. At first, that was just because I was naïve. I thought I just had to write some good stuff, and I’d get a contract for my first books, which, at the time, was an end times series (this was before the Left Behind craze). So, I went to conferences with my proposal and heard from all the editors, “We aren’t interested in this type of futuristic fiction.” What they meant, of course, was they weren’t interested in that type of story from a newbie like me.

So, I tried historical fiction. And got a contract just as expected. Except the contract was canceled . . .that was unexpected. And it hurt.

Eventually, another publisher contracted that book and it became my first published novel. I received a few other contracts, had those books published, and then came another rude awakening in the form of sales figures. I expected to write a good book and have it do well. But that’s not how it worked for my third novel. Because of internal publishing house changes, sales went badly. And there wasn’t anything I could do about it. That was hard because I’d written the story as an act of faithfulness to God’s call, I felt He was pleased with it, I’d done everything I could in promotion and marketing, and still it “failed.” Ouch!

At that time, I was told to expect the numbers for that book to prevent other publishers from wanting to publish future books of mine. “It would have been better for you if that book hadn’t even been published,” they said. But God was about to crush that expectation as well.

A publisher contracted my next historical novel, I wrote it, and then just before it was scheduled for release, the company went through a large restructuring – they cut fiction, most of the members of the PR department left, the fiction editor left, and my book was stranded. I hadn’t expected that either.

But God was up to something in the meantime – a new story idea that I simply had to write. A story that so moved the Multnomah team, even in its synopsis form, that they wanted to publish it despite my previous sales numbers. They wanted that story, plus two more. The story was Beyond the Night. It came as an unexpected gift from God.

And just like everything else in my publishing experience, it has taken me by surprise. Pre-readers are calling me and emailing saying how the story has moved them, impacted them. But it’s not because of my great planning. It’s because God has again done something that I didn’t foresee, didn’t expect. And I thank Him for it.

**To purchase your copy, CLICK HERE!

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Last night my teen daughter talked me into going to Barnes & Noble to stand in line for the release of Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyers. I knew the Twilight series was big, but I had no idea HOW big. A full 3 hours before the books could even be sold, the parking lot was jammed with cars circling like vultures, and when we walked inside I couldn't even see the end of the line. All this in our little town...

The fun part for me was seeing the raw excitement a book series generated. Faithful readers dressed like characters, indulged in trivia, and RAN when it was time to line up for the actual sale. Though not as huge as Harry Potter mania, I'd venture to guess that for teen girls it's even bigger.

While in the store, I exercised reckless self indulgence in a book fest of my own. I read almost the entire book French Women Don't Get Fat, and thanks to a generous hubby I purchased Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble Gets Hitched, Deep Dish, by Mary Kay Andrews, and The Power of Body Language, which I'm sure I'll share tidbits with you as I learn.

Anyhoo, here's hoping that someday our books will generate tons of enthusiasm, stores will stay open late for our releases, and most importantly that people will come dressed as our characters!
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