Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MANIC MONDAY

Yeah, I know it's Tuesday, but I had a manic Monday. Before you relive the 80's classic in your head, let's just say my version has nothing to do with kissing Valentino. In fact, there was very little kissing involved, even though it was our anniversary.

Instead, I went back to do battle with the treadmill for only the 2nd time in almost a month. I never realized the fullness of my boredom until I caught myself repeatedly thinking 3 things:

*MAN, I should not have eaten all those desserts at conference. No sugar rush was worth gaining all the weight back in one swoop. Only three miles to go....

*I want to look like the girl behind me. Wow, she's here every time I am, which probably means she's here a lot more than I am. Unless she's following me....

*Why do men wear Spandex shorts to workout in? They're not doing themselves any favors. MAN, if I had my driver's license on me I 'd make a citizen's arrest because that's indecent on so many levels....

There's another way that working out and writing are alike: if you stop for any length of time it's a buttkicker to start up again, or at least to get back to the same level. But I'm working on it, and finally my energy is returning and I don't feel like I was flattened on the pavement by a semi. 

Speaking of eating a lot, we went out for our anniversary a few nights early and our server told my husband he reminds her of James Denton, who plays Mike on Desperate Housewives. Since I've never seen the show myself, I had to come home and look it up. While I see a tiny resemblance--as Denton is almost as good looking as my hub--I think the server was flirting with my man!

What would you do if someone was flirting with your man?

A. Poke her eyes out
B. Scoot closer to your man to mark your territory
C. Sit back and enjoy the fact that you're with The Man
D. Poke her eyes out



Friday, September 26, 2008

WHEN THE SOUL MENDS

This is one book I've been waiting for, for a very long time! That said, I haven't come close to finishing it. Eek! The Sisters of the Quilt series is one that should be read in order because there are many threads that won't make sense if you try to jump straight into this book. Cindy Woodsmall really has carved her niche in Amish fiction.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

When The Soul Mends

WaterBrook Press (September 16, 2008)

by

Cindy Woodsmall



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel, When The Heart Cries, released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her last book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Cindy’s real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.

Cindy, her husband, their three sons and daughter-in-law reside in Georgia. Her husband is a registered land surveyor and a vice president at an engineering firm. Their oldest son has a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine and works at a local hospital. Their second son and his wife are both students at the University of Georgia. Their teen-aged son keeps the household energized with his love of music, books, and writing.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Returning to the home she fled in disgrace, will Hannah find healing for the wounds of the past?

After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having fled in disgrace more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. She also has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl’s Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancĂ© Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah’s mental health, hidden truths surface about events during Hannah’s absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life–and perhaps to her first love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of When The Soul Mends, go HERE

“A skillfully written story of forgiveness and redemption. Woodsmall’s authentic characters illustrate beautifully how wounded souls can indeed be mended.”
Susan Meissner, author of The Shape of Mercy

“Like the stitches on a well-loved quilt, love and faith hold together Cindy Woodsmall's When the Soul Mends, the brilliantly written third story in the Sisters of the Quilt series. With deft plotting and characters that seem to jump off the page, this novel offers the timeless truth that forgiveness is the balm which heals all wounds and a blanket for the soul.”
Kathleen Y’Barbo, author of Beloved Castaway

“What a vibrant, strong, emotional story! When the Heart Cries will grip you and not let go, I promise. Highly recommended!”
Gayle Roper, author of Allah’s Fire and the Seaside Seasons series

“Reaching deep into the heart of the reader, Cindy Woodsmall pens a beautifully lyrical story in her debut novel When the Heart Cries.”
Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of Rekindled

Thursday, September 25, 2008

GET A LOAD OF THIS!

I saw this on BETSY'S Facebook profile, so naturally I had to copy and share =) And to double your fun today, ERICA is also posting her hair throughout the ages today!! So make sure to click on over to her blog. 

Are you ready for some fun?

Here's me as a pouf blonde.













I actually HAD this haircut for a while--only 30 years out of date.

























Don't you miss big hair???













I saved the best for last.
You're going to totally crack up.
At least I did.
Are you ready?
???
???
???
???


Nope. I don't think you're ready.



???
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???
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It takes a totally secure woman to do this.
???
???
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ME, in 1978.














Now it's your turn. Oh no, you are NOT letting me do this alone. CLICK HERE to yearbook yourself. When it asks to share, click on download to desktop. Then come back here and comment so I can see your pictures!!! And remember to see Erica too!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FAKING GRACE

Totally fun read--so much so that I read it mostly in one sitting, which is saying a lot for someone like me=)  In addition to the dishy British accent of the male lead, the heroine was quirky and delightful even if I wanted to shake her every once in a while. The spiritual arc was funny (with a sublte message), and there were even taped-on bumper stickers and crooked car fish involved! Not that I'm going to tell you how they were involved because you'll have to read it for yourself.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Faking Grace

Multnomah Books (August 19, 2008)

by

Tamara Leigh



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After Tamara Leigh earned a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology, she and her husband decided to start a family, with plans for Tamara to continue in her career once she became a mother.

When the blessing of children proved elusive, Tamara became convicted to find a way to work out of her home in order to raise the children she and her husband longed to have. She turned to writing, at which she had only ever dreamed of being successful, and began attending church. Shortly thereafter, her agent called with news of Bantam Books’ offer of a four-book contract. That same day, Tamara’s pregnancy was confirmed. Within the next year, she gave up her speech pathology career, committed her life to Christ, her first child was born, and her first historical romance novel was released.

As Tamara continued to write for the secular market, publishing three more novels with HarperCollins and Dorchester, she infused her growing Christian beliefs into her writing. But it was not enough, and though her novels earned awards and were national bestsellers, she knew her stories were lacking. After struggling with the certainty that her writing was not honoring God as it should, she made the decision to write books that not only reveal Christianity to non-believers, but serve as an inspiration for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Her inspirational romances are peopled with characters in varying stages of Christian faith, from mature believers to new believers to non-believers on the threshold of awakening.

Tamara Leigh enjoys time with her family, volunteer work, faux painting, and reading. She lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, David, and two sons, Skyler and Maxen.

Two of her latest books are Splitting Harriet and Perfecting Kate.


ABOUT THE BOOK

All she wants is a job. All she needs is religion. How hard can it be?

Maizy Grace Stewart dreams of a career as an investigative journalist, but her last job ended in disaster when her compassion cost her employer a juicy headline. A part-time gig at a Nashville newspaper might be her big break.

A second job at Steeple Side Christian Resources could help pay the bills, but Steeple Side only hires committed Christians. Maizy is sure she can fake it with her Five-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith–a plan of action that includes changing her first name to Grace, buying Jesus-themed accessories, and learning “Christian Speak.” If only Jack Prentiss, Steeple Side’s managing editor and two-day-stubbled, blue-jean-wearing British hottie wasn’t determined to prove her a fraud.

When Maizy’s boss at the newspaper decides that she should investigate–and expose–any skeletons in Steeple Side’s closet, she must decide whether to deliver the dirt and secure her career or lean on her newfound faith, change the direction of her life, and pray that her Steeple Side colleagues–and Jack–will show her grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Faking Grace, go HERE

“Tamara Leigh takes her experienced romance hand and delights readers with Chick-Lit that sparkles and characters who come alive.” - Kristin Billerbeck, author of The Trophy Wives Club

“A delightful, charming book! Faking Grace has romance, truth, and a dollop of insanity, making Tamara Leigh a permanent addition to my list of favorite authors. Enjoy!”
- Ginger Garrett, author of In the Shadow of Lions and Beauty Secrets of the Bible

“Tamara Leigh does a fabulous job looking at the faults, the love, the hypocrisy, and the grace of Christians in a way that’s entertaining and fun. Maizy Grace is a crazy character I couldn’t help but like. I loved this book and highly recommend it!”
- Camy Tang, author of Sushi for One? and Only Uni
CONFERENCE PHOTOS...

I wasn't trying to be a camera hog--really! But almost every picture that I took turned out dark because the flash didn't reach very far in the banquet room. Next year I'll have to sit closer to the stage so that I'm not in almost every pic. Oh, and I have more than one shirt, although you can't tell from the pictures. There's one photo that snuck in here by accident and has nothing to do with the conference--we'll see if you can pick it out! By the way, if you don't see yourself in here, bear in mind that I weeded out all the fuzzy, dark, and closed-eyed shots.


And now for the most cool thing of the conference...........

ERICA VETSCH ACCEPTING HER CONTRACT FROM BARBOUR/HEARTSONG!!!!!

Erica is a crit partner and friend, and this couldn't have happened to a 

kinder and more humble person. It's time for your sweet spirit to shine.

I'm so proud of you, Erica! 

Stop by and say congratulations on her BLOG. Now for the video.

It starts out dark, but that's because I was holding the camcorder in my 

lap so Erica wouldn't figure out what was going on. Secretly, I was hoping she

would cry--for photographic purposes--but alas she kept her composure 

and...wait...you can see for yourself:

Monday, September 22, 2008

5 SYMPTOMS of POST-CONFERENCE FATIGUE SYNDROME

1. The strange sensation of being a mixed bag of nuts. On one hand you're soooo ready to get back to your loved ones and the comfortable routines of life. On the other hand, you're soooo sad that you have to wait 51 more weeks to see your friends again.

2. You have an aching throb behind your eyes that's either caused by all the knowledge crammed into three days of learning, or of having dessert after every meal. 

3. Sudden unexplained weight gain. Although it might have something to do with #2.

4. Droopy eyes--self explanatory.

5. A thousand ideas you're anxious to implement, one-hundred bloggable moments, and not an ounce of energy to carry any of it out.

While I'd planned on showing all the pictures from my fantabulous trip, I'm just too pooped! Will begin tomorrow =)


Friday, September 19, 2008

A SISTER'S HOPE

The third and final installment of The Sisters of Holmes County series, by Wanda E. Brunstetter is a satisfying way to end the story. This is one time where you definitely have to read the first two books in order to follow along. Admittedly, I had great anticipation for this one because I couldn't wait to find out just who was behind the attacks on the Hostettler family. Also, the romance between Martha and Luke had serious obstacles to overcome in order to work out. If you're a fan of Amish fiction, this series is a must-read.

OFFICIAL BLURB:

Hope is a powerful thing. It can enable people to endure many unthinkable things with grace and dignity. Martha Hostettler has little else but hope. Hope that the attacks on her family which they have endured for the past two years will someday stop. Every single member of her family has been impacted on some level--from lost crops and murdered animals to destroyed property and frayed nerves. Martha's brother-in-law, Martin Gingerich, even paid with his very life. Their faith had been tested--repeatedly, but has endured.

Of course, there's little hope that Martha's father, Roman, will ever allow Martha to openly court her true love, Luke Frieson. Roman deeply distrusts Luke and even suspects him as a culprit behind the attacks. Despite the odds, however, Martha and Luke conspire together to investigate the attacks and find whoever is responsible so that her family can return to normal and they can clear Luke's name. Hopefully, in time, Roman will see past his misgivings and allow them to court openly.

But the attacks are far from over. The suspect is still at large and there are still more questions than answers. And Judith Hostettler has had just about as much as she can stand--the new attacks put her very health in danger.

Can Martha and Luke find out who is behind the attacks? Will Luke be able to clear his name and win Roman's approval to court Martha? Can love truly conquer all?

BIO: Fascinated by the Amish people during the years sof visiting her husband's family in Pennsylvania, Wanda E. Brunstetter combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

To purchase this book, CLICK HERE!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

ALVARADO GOLD


Today I'm excited to share a book by a fellow White Rose author with you! Document restorer Addie Brown sets out on a quest for lost treasure, and more importantly a quest to mend broken family connections. One of my favorite aspects of the story is the way passages from the Book of Ecclesiastes are woven throughout the pages in a way that impacts the heroine. Alvarado Gold blends adventure, romance, and an element of danger in this delightful story.

From the back cover:

As the hot, oppressive Texas heat takes the breath from her lungs, Addie Brown stands at her grandfather's grave. Deep within her, she senses her anchor to family is gone. She looks across the freshly dug chasm at three of her four cousins. Nothing more than smiling faces on Christmas cards and vacation photos, she remembers once when they were close but something happened. Snapping her back to reality, the minister reads, To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. She wonders when will be my time? But Addie has bargained with God and lost and she feels she can never share her secret with anyone. But through an unusual turn of evens, she realizes there is a truth and meaning to the passage from Ecclesiastes that begins to drive her life.

BIO:
Victoria first attempted writing twenty years ago when she published a small article in an adoptive parent magazine.  Then her super-mom gene took over and she enjoyed the events surrounding her daughters' lives:  school, sports, music, dance and cheer. 

When her oldest left for college and the empty nest syndrome set in, Victoria began researching her family genealogy.  After several years of investigation, she felt some of the family stories needed to be told. From one of them, her first novel began to take shape.  

Other than writing, Victoria enjoys reading, craft work and collectibles.  She is also an exotic gemstone collector.

To purchase Alvarado Gold, CLICK HERE! And be sure to stop by Victoria's blog HERE.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ISOLATION

On a rainy day during nap time, this book arrived on my doorstep via UPS. Sadly, I did not know this and Isolation got sopping wet. Thanks to my hair drier and a few days laid out on a towel, the book was saved! And it's a good thing too, because immediately the setting hooked me in and I found myself way more concerned for this isolated fictional family than I ought to be. It took me less than 2 days to barrel through the book like a madwoman, and I was scared witless when I read at night. One thing that didn't connect with me was the ending, but on the whole it was a good read. If you're a fraidy cat, best read this with a buddy and a great big dog at your side.



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Isolation

FaithWords (September 12, 2008)

by

Travis Thrasher



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

It was during third grade after a teacher encouraged him in his writing and as he read through The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis that Travis decided he wanted to be a writer. The dream never left him, and allowed him to fulfill that dream of writing fulltime in 2007.

Travis Thrasher is the author of numerous works of fiction, including his most personal and perhaps his deepest work, Sky Blue, that was published in summer of 2007. This year he has to novels published, Out of the Devil’s Mouth, and a supernatural thriller, Isolation.

Travis is married to Sharon and they are the proud parents of Kylie, born in November, 2006, and Hailey, a Shih-Tzu that looks like an Ewok. They live in suburban Chicago.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Trapped

Exhausted

Terrified

. . . Alone

When a missionary family moves into a secluded mansion in the mountains of North Carolina, they think they are escaping their nightmares. But when a snowstorm hits and they are trapped inside their new home, their worst fears become reality. As they fight to stay alive, they will be tested in ways they never imagined. Can their love for one another and their faith in God save them from the dangers lurking here?

A masterfully written story that will grip you from its mysterious beginning to its chilling end.

From Publishers Weekly:

"In this dark chiller, Thrasher (Sky Blue; The Promise Remains) demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre. Like Stephen King, Thrasher pits flawed but likable characters against evil forces that at first seem escapable but gradually take on a terrifying ubiquity.

The Miller family has recently returned to suburban Chicago after a harrowing experience on the mission field. Hoping to get away from the busyness of suburban living, they travel to the mountains of North Carolina for an extended stay in an enormous, remote lodge where husband and father Jim plans to write a book while trying to reconnect with his family.

When a snowstorm isolates them further and spiritual attacks make them feel they are losing their minds, both Jim and his wife, Stephanie, begin to wonder if God can rescue them and their two young children. Aside from sharing too many plot points with The Shining, this novel hits very few false notes and should appeal to fans of Christian fiction, the horror genre and all who enjoy well-crafted and suspenseful stories."

If you would like to read the first chapter of Isolation, go HERE

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ODDS n' ENDS

The quiet of morning is amazing, though not amazing enough for me to continue waking up at 4 a.m. after conference just for the experience. I'm hard-wired to be a nightie, and usually morning people drive me nuts with all their cheer and merriment before the sun comes up. Anyhoo, my internal clock shall only be tormented for the remainder of the week, then it's back to real life. That's the sad thing about conferences (here's my Eeyore coming out!)--knowing that it's going to be over so soon and you'll be waiting another 51 weeks to get there again.

Today I have to finish my final preparations, which include a bit more printing and the purchasing of chocolates for the famous Thursday night chocolate party. And of course, laundry. If I'm smart--which I'm not claiming to be, especially at this hour--I'll remember to pack all those odds and ends that can easily be forgotten, like business cards and extra earrings.

In other news, you have to check out this Richard Simmons video. Why? Because it's funny, plus you never know what you can learn from a man wearing teeny-weeny striped shorts and a sparkly top.





Though I'm leaving tomorrow morning for the ACFW conference, I haven't forgotten about you! I've been saving a few book reviews, and those will be posted for the rest of the week. Then next week will be conference recap, complete with photos and videos!!!

1 DAY AND COUNTING!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A HAPPY THING

Remember last Wednesday I mentioned my 5 least favorite things about writing? Well, let me tell you one of the things that makes all of it worthwhile: GREAT REVIEWS!

Yesterday I got not one, but TWO, great reviews for double the fun.

Michelle Sutton said: "I totally loved the author's voice and I think she did a great job with the first person present tense point of view. That is very difficult, but she pulled it off....I just can't say enough good things about Table for One. I'm thoroughly impressed!" Click HERE to read the rest.

Victoria Pitts-Caine said: "I recommend this book for a wonderfully happy romp through love and romance. I give it my Red Heart Award." Click HERE to read the rest.

Now that's a great way to start the week.

TWO DAYS UNTIL I LEAVE FOR CONFERENCE!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

YESTERDAY I GOT A FRENCH...

....pedicure. It was a spontaneous fun thing that my husband treated me to on his impromptu day off. The super cool part of the whole deal was the calf massage--sheer delight! And I got to read at the same time, which was an extra bonus. 

Have you seen the trendy new fish pedicures? This is one bandwagon I will be happy to stay off since the thought of fish nibbling the dead skin on my feet turns my stomach.



Eww....don't try this at home.

The bad thing about the day was that I got little else accomplished. That one sheet I was determined to tackle just didn't happen, nor did the cleaning, for that matter. Anyhoo, that's what the weekend is for. 

SIX DAYS UNTIL CONFERENCE!!!



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I COULD GO ON FOREVER...

...about all the ways writing brings fulfillment and joy into my life, especially since I'll be in Minneapolis at the ACFW conference one week from today. Spending time in a fictional world has been part of my existence since childhood, and it's part of what keeps me sane. I love, love, love networking and hanging out online with all of you! Writers and readers are the best bunch around. The satisfaction that the occasional acceptance brings far outweighs the struggle to get there. 

But as I sit here in a coffee shop to start the day, the things that I don't love about writing are poking me in the eye.

*Rejections stink. I pretty much don't need to expand on that.

*Writing a synopsis is hard, Hard, HARD!

*Crits of work that I considered NYT Bestseller-worthy are not fun.

*One-sheets are poopy. Especially when you work on it for hours then find there's a glitch in the program and it will only print across FOUR sheets. I don't think editors want poster-sized one-sheets, but maybe I should ask.

*Scary editor meetings. I don't mean the editors are scary, but the meetings most definitely are. I could do without another meeting for the rest of my life and never miss it.

Tell me, what's the least-fun part for you???

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

WOUNDED: A Love Story

For some reason all my CFBA books have been arriving closer and closer to the deadline (or after the deadline) so I haven't been able to read for review. Since we all know I read slow, there's no way I'm going to finish the whole thing before the deadline passes.

Here's my thoughts so far: 

Wounded carries a much different tone than the other books by Claudia Mair Burney I've read. The protagonist, Gina Merritt, is a stigmatic, and since I know nothing about this subject I was instantly fascinated. Wounded is written in (what I consider) a non-traditional way, for example there are 4+ viewpoints and they're all in 1st person. Burney takes a lot of risks and tackles subject matter and situations that used to be strict no-no's in CBA. Very interested to see how the rest of the story  plays out.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Wounded: A Love Story

David C. Cook (September 2008)

by

Claudia Mair Burney


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Claudia is the author of the popular Ragamuffin Diva blog and the David C. Cook novel Zora and Nicky: A novel in Black And White. She is also the author of Death, Deceit, and Some Smooth Jazz, and the Amanda Bell Brown Mysteries and the Exorsistah series for teens. Her work has appeared in Discipleship Journal magazine, The One Year Life Verse Devotional Bible, and Justice in the Burbs.

She lives in Michigan with her husband, five of their seven children, and a quirky dwarf rabbit.


ABOUT THE BOOK

SHE HAD A VISION OF CHRIST PLACING TWO PERFECT RED ROSES IN HER HANDS...AND THEN SHE WAS WOUNDED!

If a miracle happened to you, wouldn't you tell everyone? What if they thought you were crazy?

Gina Merritt, poor in health and rich in faith is the last person to expect a miracle to happen to her. As she sits in a pew on Ash Wednesday with throbbing pain in her knees and a raging migraine, she turns her concentration elsewhere and silently prays, "Share with me, Jesus."

Instantly she has a holy vision of the Son of God kneeling before her. As tears fill her eyes, Christ kisses Gina's hands, leaving two perfect red roses. When the vision fades, Gina's hands are bleeding.

Anthony Priest, the junkie sitting beside her, instinctively touches Gina when she cries out, but she flees in shock and pain. A prizewinning journalist before drugs destroyed his career, Anthony is stunned that he is suddenly overcome with a sense of well-being and he instantly knows that he is cured of his addiction. Wanting an explanation, Anthony follows Gina home.

Is it a miracle, or just a religious delusion? It seems like everyone who knows of the mysterious stigmata has an opinion, and it's not always favorable. Putting aside their difference and their mutual distrust, Gina and Anthony embark on a search for answers. Along the way they encounter an uncertain evangelical pastor, a gentle Catholic priest, a certifiable religious zealot, and a transvestite drug dealer, all of whom lend their voices to the tale. It's a quest for truth, sanity, and grace…and an unexpected love story.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Wounded: A Love Story, go HERE

Monday, September 08, 2008

ME, UNCAFFEINATED 


I grew up with a coach for a parent, which is why I'm not entirely surprised at the cruelty they can occasionally inflict. Take this morning, for example: my daughter has to be to practice at 6 a.m. Now let me ask you, what kind of sick person schedules anything at six in the morning? That's practically nighttime. In any case, it works out well because I'm also trying to acclimate my body to Central time before the ACFW conference. After all, we wouldn't want me falling asleep and drooling on the person next to me during the morning workshop, because let's face it, that person might be you! I also figure that it gives me time to enter Blogdom in peace and tell you all about my adventures with my new camcorder. 

This weekend at my daughter's X-country meet was the first time I used the new camcorder, and let's just say that a mom can learn a lot about herself by running through the brambles to film her kid. 

Because I love lists, here's the 5 things I learned while angling for the perfect shot:

1. I talk to myself. This is not a pleasant discovery to make at this juncture in life. Since I wasn't sure when/how to turn the record function off and on--especially while under pressure to get the aforementioned perfect shot--I found myself mumbling about the race.

2. When necessary, I can still beat feet through the brambles and sunflowers without worrying what everyone else thinks of me and the fact that I look like a dork. Of course, this was when I had time to talk to myself. 

3. My own videos make me seasick. You'd think I have a nerve disorder from the way the camera shook, even when I thought I was perfectly still. I got lovely footage of the ground, sky, and the occasional butt without even noticing until I started editing on the computer. 

4. My husband and I are super-great cheerleaders. The subdued woman next to us told us so. I also confirmed it with the video in which I forgot I was the camerawoman and was jumping up and down. This could be part of the aforementioned seasickness.

5. I have a shrill voice. (Does anyone like their own voice?) After hearing myself I finally figured out why no one listens to me at home. Hmm....



Friday, September 05, 2008

UP POPS THE DEVIL

Man, I wish I would have gotten this one =(


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Up Pops The Devil

Avon A (July 29, 2008)

by

Angela Benson



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angela has published nine novels, one novella, and a nonfiction writing book. Her books have appeared on national, regional and local bestseller lists. She has won several writing awards, including Best Multicultural Romance from Romantic Times magazine and the Best Contemporary Ethnic Romance from Affaire de Coeur magazine. She was also a finalist for the 2000 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award in Multicultural Romance.

Awakening Mercy is the first book in her Genesis House series from Tyndale House Publishers. Awakening Mercy was a finalist for both the RITA Award given by Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction. The second book in the Genesis House series, Abiding Hope, was published in September 2001. Abiding Hope was awarded the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance presented by the Romance Slam Jam. The third book and final book of the series, Enduring Love, is not yet scheduled.

BET Books, now Harlequin's Kimani Press purchased the mass market rights to Awakening Mercy and Abiding Hope in 2000 and released mass market editions of the titles in June 2002 and June 2003, respectively.

Angela's first hardcover title, The Amen Sisters, was released in September 2005 by Walk Worthy Press. The Essence bestselling title won the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance. The trade paperback edition was released in November 2007.

Up Pops the Devil, published by HarperCollins (Avon A) in August 2008, is Angela's tenth novel.

Angela has a diverse education and work history. She majored in mathematics at Spelman College and Industrial Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and worked for fifteen years as an engineer in the telecommunications industry. She holds Masters degrees in operations research and human resources development. Her most recent degree is a doctorate in instructional technology from the University of Georgia. Dr. Benson is now an associate professor of educational technology at The University of Alabama.


ABOUT THE BOOK

This is the story of Wilford "Preacher" Winters and the four women—his fiancee' Tanya, his sister Loretta, his old girlfriend Serena, and his new friend Natalie—who complicate his re-entry into society as a law-abiding Christian man after being incarcerated for two years for drug trafficking. Two hard years in prison have changed Wilford "Preacher" Winters for the better. He did his time, now he's going to "do the right thing." But the women in his life have other ideas.

Tanya, the sleek and sexy mother of his two kids, is much too comfortable with her pearls-and-Porsche lifestyle, and she'll do whatever it takes to maintain it. His sister, Loretta, kept "the business" running smoothly while Preacher was inside, and she can't believe he'd trade Easy Street bling for a nickel-and-dime dead-end job. His one-time girlfriend Serena, now married to his main man Barnard, is hiding a secret—and if past sins come to light, they'll ruin several lives and a very new, very precious friendship between Preacher and Barnard's beautiful-inside-and-out sister, Natalie.

With his world about to explode all around him, Preacher's going to need every ounce of his new-found faith to remain strong. Because it takes a lot to become a new man, sometimes even a miracle.

If you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of Up Pops The Devil, go HERE

Thursday, September 04, 2008

NO MATTER WHAT YOUR POLITICAL PERSUASION...

...this moment between Sarah Palin's children is endearing and entirely precious.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

LOVE REDISCOVERED

I'm not talking about a relationship. I'm not talking about a novel. I'm not even talking about my own WIP, though I wish I was. I'm talking about an online game I rediscovered and have somehow been gravitating to the last few days. The sad thing is that it's soooo easy to get sucked in, and before I know it I've spent an hour playing. In fact, the other night I had a severe case of "mouse hand."

What is this game, you ask? Mahjong.

mahjong

It's a happy little game where you find the matches on the outer rims of the board until you've eliminated all the tiles. If you win a cool little volcano goes off in the background. Talk about an addiction. So it's not good for my writing time, especially when I get into the zone. You gamers know exactly what I mean by the zone, too. It's OK to admit it here =)

So for now, my eyes are dry, my hand is frozen, and my posture is destroyed.

Fess up, friends--what's your game?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

BACK TO LIFE

My copy is still finding its way home =(


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Back To Life

Avon Inspire (September 16, 2008)

by

Kristin Billerbeck



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and gained a bachelor's degree in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then, she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing.

She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year for What A Girl Wants in 2004, and again in 2006 for With this Ring. Featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show. She is credited with jump-starting the inspirational chick-lit phenomenon. Most recently she has been names as a finalist for the Christy Award in the Lits category for The Trophy Wives Club.

Her other recent books include: She's All That.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Lindsey realized when she married Ron, a man 17 years her senior, that the odds were he’d see heaven before her, but she never expected to be a widow at 35. There’s too much of life left for her to just sit around in mourning. But she can’t seem to kick start the rest of her life.

That is until she gets some help from Ron’s first wife, Jane, who shows up unexpectedly at her door one day as the executor of her husband’s estate. Jane is everything Lindsey’s not… independent, stubborn… and a lot older. Plus she has one surprise after another… including a son named Ron Jr. (she insists he’s not “really” Ron’s son). But an unlikely friendship develops as each woman begins to reevaluate what is really important, and owns up to the mistakes they’ve made in the past.

Told in the alternating voices of Jane and Lindsey, and with the return of many of the witty characters of The Trophy Wives Club, this book is a lighthearted, relatable read for when life goes in a direction you never planned. With faith and friends, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

If you would like to read an excerpt of chapter 1 of Back To Life, go HERE

Monday, September 01, 2008

A DIFFERENT TAKE ON CONFERENCE PREP

Originally I'd planned to post on our outing to the county fair, complete with photos. After all, the fair brings out all the county has to offer and there's always something interesting--especially for a germophobe like me. When we got to the first ride (the ponies for the babies, and yes I consider it a ride since I don't trust the rides that the carny workers throw together), my camera battery died. Yes, died. So there went today's post.

Then when we got home last night the babies were sick. Naturally I wanted to blame the creepy fair and all the invisible germs that crawl all over everything there, but alas, I think it came home from school with my oldest. Since conference is only a few weeks away this whole thing reminded me that we have to do our very best to stay healthy over the next few weeks. Here is my list of THINGS TO DO BEFORE CONFERENCE:

*Vitamins. I don't usually take these because...well, I forget. But now I have to remember for ALL of us to take our supplements.

*Eat right. Not only do we need to properly fuel our bodies, but we want to look svelt in our glam dresses and capes for Saturday night of the conference. If you're questioning where the capes are coming from, visit the ACFW forum and you'll find out all you need to know on this point, and soon you'll be bidding for capes on eBay too.

*Sleep. MUST HAVE MORE to stay healthy. Plus I just love long, luxurious naps. Oh, and it's a good time to adjust your body to Central time if you're coming from somewhere else. This means that I have to go to bed super-early and start waking early, lest I get to Minnesota and spend the entire time sleeping late.

*Ban germy people. That's right, it's okay to quarantine yourself for a few weeks to keep the bugs out. Now, this won't exactly work for me since I'd miss my hub and our oldest daughter, plus she tells me interesting stories from the halls of high school when she comes home everyday. Still, drink sharing is d-o-n-e, and so is the lovey-doveyness that might lead to shared invisible critters.

What else can you think of to prepare your bod for conference? Oh, and please say a prayer for my kids to get healthy. AND SAY A PRAYER FOR OUR FRIENDS IN THE SOUTH WHO ARE FACING THE HURRICANE TODAY.
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