Wednesday, December 30, 2009

COUNTDOWN....

It's almost the New Year, and I'm doing a few things to get prepared:

*Printing off new calendar sheets, both to keep track of writing goals and for paying bills

*Re-adjusting some homeschool stuff, and printing off memory verse sheets and math sheets, rather than scrambling for them in the morning

*Praying about 2010 goals--more about the goals on Monday!

*Transferring b-days and other important dates to new family calendar

*Cleaning, organizing, sorting, tossing--nothing better to kick off a new year than a clean home! Plus, hubby wanted room for his massage chair, which I originally said we DID NOT HAVE ROOM FOR--but now I must confess I'm enjoying it more than he is. Shhh....don't tell.

What are you doing to get ready for the new year?

Monday, December 28, 2009

I DIDN'T STAND A CHANCE....


Need I say more? All this came in the last few days before Christmas, much of it from very nice customers on my husband's route. I'll admit to gaining a few pounds, because obviously I didn't stand a chance. It's a good thing I got this:





That said, this week it's back to the workout routine since I have a dr's appt in two weeks where they are going to weigh me and check my cholesterol and hypertension numbers. Prayers are appreciated!

We enjoyed many good times this year, especially since all the kids are old enough to discuss and ponder the meaning of Christmas. My favorite Christmas memory is playing hide-n-seek with the family at my parents' house. I laughed so hard I....well....never mind. Let's just say that a rousing game of hide-n-seek provided a much needed belly laugh!

Did you have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our Lord? Any favorite memories or gifts? Were you brave enough to step on the scale yet? Enquiring minds....

Monday, December 21, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I do hope and pray that you, my wonderful cyber friends, have a super fantastic Christmas! I'll be taking the rest of this week off, and will resume posting next week. Have a great time with family and friends, celebrating the birth of our Lord. And for the record, I consider all of you--both those I've met in person and those I'm waiting to meet--a blessing from God!

I'll let you go with this--my daughters' favorite song this Christmas. Who knew this Fred kid was so popular? Caution: this song will get stuck in your head!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

TODAY I SHALL START....

....Christmas shopping!

A little late you say? But no! Just on time, according to this quiz. You take the quiz too, and come back and tell us just how much you love the holidays!




You Like the Holidays



You definitely have a good time during the holidays, but you aren't obsessed with them or anything.

You shop for a few presents and participate in a few traditions... but that's it!



You may be accused of being a grinch, but you're simply not a fanatic about holiday traditions - especially commercial ones.

You get into the spirit of the season by being kind, compassionate, and not clogging up the stores!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DATES

It's official, I'm an old fuddy duddy. The sad thing is, nowadays I can't even remember what it was like to be young and dating.

This is not good for someone who's trying to write romance!

Here's my dilemma--I have heros and heroines meeting at work and at places where they may share a mutual interest, but when it comes to their actual first date, where do I take them? To dinner. {insert snore}

LOL!!! It was all fine and dandy the first few books, but now I'm starting to think I have a hang-up. You see, almost every date I've been on--before I was old and married, mind you--involved a restaurant. The first time I went out with my (now) hubby, he picked me up in a Land Cruiser and we went to a place that serves fish tacos. In fact, we've had way more fun on dates later in the relationship (sporting events and such), and after getting married.

Now that I've recognized this pattern in my stories, I know I need to dig deeper into my characters to see what creative things they'd do--perhaps something that doesn't involve a restaurant?

To start my creative juices flowing, tell me about your favorite first date! But if that favorite first date wasn't with your hubby, tell me about your "friend's" favorite first date. Hee hee, we'll keep it here amongst friends ;-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

YEARS SPENT IN RETAIL...

....kinda ruined my enjoyment of "Christmas" music. I use the quote marks because what they played in the store on the endless looped recording was a compilation of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Jingle Bells, etc. You can only roast your chestnuts on the open fire so many times.

{insert group groan}

But true Christmas songs--those are the ones I love. My favorite this year may not even be classified as Christmas, but I still think it qualifies: Mary Did You Know. This line brings tears to my eyes:

Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?




What is your favorite Christmas song?

Friday, December 11, 2009

YOU KNOW HOW I HATE TO BRAG....

....but baby girl's got pipes! It's a rare occasion that I put any of my children on here, but I had to share my daughter's recital. The first song is in Italian, so I haven't a clue what it's about. The second song is for Christmas, and I love it!



Thanks for sharing the moment with me :-)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

WHIRLWIND

Aw man! Mine hasn't arrived yet. Sorry folks, but you can read about it below.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Whirlwind

Thomas Nelson (December 29, 2009)

by

Robert Liparulo



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first novel, Comes a Horseman, released to critical acclaim. Each of his subsequent thrillers—Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock—secured his place as one of today’s most popular and daring thriller writers.

He is known for investing deep research and chillingly accurate predictions of near-future scenarios into his stories. In fact, his thorough, journalistic approach to research has resulted in his becoming an expert on the various topics he explores in his fiction, and he has appeared on such media outlets as CNN and ABC Radio.

Liparulo’s visual style of writing has caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman. were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers, released in January, and number four, Timescape, in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series, Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

With the next two Dreamhouse books “in the can,” he is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects supernatural elements into his brand of gun-blazing storytelling. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on his acclaimed short story, which appeared in James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.

Visit Robert Liparulo's Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/LiparuloFans


ABOUT THE BOOK

Which door do you go through to save the world?

David, Xander, and Toria King never know where the mysterious portals in their house will take them: past, present, or future. They have battled gladiators and the German army, dodged soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, and jumped from the sinking Titanic. They've also seen the stark future that awaits if they can't do something to change it--a destroyed city filled with mutant creatures.

And they've still got to find a way to bring Mom back and keep Taksidian from getting them out of the house. The dangers are hitting them like a whirlwind . . . but the answers are becoming apparent as well.

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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

IF MY NOVEL WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE...

One of my favorite questions to ask during an author interview is, "If your novel were made into a movie, who would you cast as the hero and heroine?" Because I love to see my characters before I can know and identify with them, I always have someone in mind for the leads in my stories.

Here's the weird part--even if I know what they look like, I don't always settle on a name, so keep that in mind as you scroll through pictures of the characters in my NANO novel.



When I saw Erin Cardillo on The Suite Life on Deck, I said, "HEY! There's my heroine!" While my heroine is a few years older, pushing 40 in fact, the look is exactly right.








My heroine's best friend is fun and quirky, a just a little bit "off." While this picture doesn't precisely capture the look, as the best friend in my book has streaks of magenta hair, this picture is close.





Suspension of disbelief is a powerful force! Jessica Alba looks just like my heroine's 20-year-old daughter, even if Jessica is older. Yes, the light haired parent and dark haired kid is genetically possible! My dad is a redhead, and yet look at me. LOL!






Nothing beats a young Val Kilmer for a love interest!








This picture is a perfect representation of the heroine's other best friend, the history teacher.





Now it's your turn! Who best represents the hero and heroine in your current WIP? Or do you have another way to visualize your characters?

Monday, December 07, 2009

DECEMBER RUSH

This weekend I collapsed on the couch with a sudden rush of December anxiety. In the next two weeks, my oldest has 4 performances, and my littles have 2, and there are rehearsals/practices to go with these (that means I'm chauffeur.) Then there are all the fees associated with said activities. I turned down 2 invitations for events this weekend. Plus I haven't started shopping.

Then the toilet broke.

Visions of plumbers and malls and debit cards pinned me to the couch. Until I had an awesome time of worship Saturday night.

Ahhh..... it's amazing what happens when you have a little bit of alone time with God. The next day my hubby was able to fix the toilet (with a little help from Dad) and then hubby went next door and convinced our neighbor to quit revving the truck for the rest of the afternoon. Absolutely an answer to prayer!

While the worship time didn't solve my organizational dilemmas, as some of our events fall at the same time this week, it did give me a sense of what's important...and what's not. Being in the presence of God opened a new and much needed perspective. After all, some things might fall through the cracks this month, but Jesus still came. His Spirit is still here. It's all good!

How do YOU fight December anxiety?

Friday, December 04, 2009

FOLLOW!

Have you ever heard that old song--I can only guess it's called "Follow Me"--where it says, "Come follow, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow me" ?? (I am well acquainted with this song through my daughter's choir.) Anyhoo, now it's looping through my head because a few minutes ago Eileen suggested I put up the FOLLOW gadget in my sidebar. Great suggestion! Soooo, click on the button :-)

PS. Now I wrote the word follow so many times it looks wrong. Ever done that before?
ESSIE IN PROGRESS

I'm not quite finished with this one, so I will have to update you later :D

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Essie in Progress

Kregel Publications (April 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Marjorie Presten for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Marjorie Presten is a native Georgian who has her own fair share of experience juggling career and motherhood. She lives outside of Atlanta with her husband, Tom, and their three children.


Listen to a radio interview about the book HERE.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (April 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082543565X
ISBN-13: 978-0825435652

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue

1972

In a thirty-second phone call, Hamilton Wells would make a decision that would earn him more money than he could spend in his lifetime. Everything was on the line, but he was not nervous, euphoric, or eager with anticipation. In Hamilton’s mind, the matter was not speculative, debatable, or anything less than a sure thing. Hamilton had the gift, and it had never let him down. Yet even before he made the call, he knew money wouldn’t cure the unrelenting pain of his grief. He sat at his desk with only a single orange banker’s lamp for illumination and cried silently.

Her death had been inevitable, but feelings of helplessness still overwhelmed him. His young son’s dependency on him only multiplied his grief and anger. Six-year-old Jack Wells had insisted his father do something to help Mama, but the only thing Hamilton could do was sit at her bedside and try not to cry. Now it was six weeks after her death, and Hamilton knew his son needed him to be strong, to return life to normal. A neighbor had enrolled Jack in the local church baseball league. They played a game every Wednesday afternoon. It will be good for him, they’d said. Life has to go on.

Hamilton cradled his head in his hands and groaned. The enormity of the risk he was about to take didn’t concern him. It was purely mechanical. He would surrender all he owned for just one more blissful afternoon at the lake he and his wife both loved, but now that was impossible. His wife was dead. Nothing he could do would change that.

He remembered the book of Job. Would a loving and caring God do this to the love of my life? Well, he did, Hamilton thought bitterly. Earline had lingered for months. The doctors said it was miraculous that she had endured as long as she had. Be grateful for these last days to say goodbye, they’d said. But for Hamilton, the prolonged end only added anger to his bottomless sorrow. Standing alongside his son as a helpless witness to her slow deterioration and suffering in the final weeks was more than he could bear. It was the worst time of Hamilton’s life. Nothing really mattered anymore, and it seemed he had nothing left to lose.

Under different circumstances, he might have played it safe and put the proceeds away for his son’s education, bought a new house, or perhaps invested in a bit of lake property. He could have become like the rest of the players and worn monograms on his starched cuffs so everyone could remember whose hand they were shaking. Instead, he had gone it alone. His brokerage business had few clients. He was the only big player left. Now he planned to risk everything on something happening on the other side of the world.

Ham couldn’t remember exactly when he had recognized his innate ability to pick the winner out of a crowd. It had always been there, ever since he was conscious of being alive. The talent had blossomed in the military when the card games occasionally got serious. Now, with every dollar he had to his name, Hamilton approached wheat futures with that same instinct. The Russian harvest had been a disaster, and the United States was coming to the rescue. The price of wheat was going to go through the roof, and then through the floor. He was going to make a fortune on both ends.

He picked up the phone and dialed a number on the Chicago Mercantile exchange. He listened for a few moments as the connection was made. Young Jack tugged at his father’s shirtsleeve. “Pop? Can we go now?” Jack held a baseball in his hand and a glove under his arm. Hamilton swiveled his chair, turning his back to his son.

A familiar voice announced his name. “How can I help you?”

“It’s Ham,” he said. “Short the entire position.”

“What? Everything?” the voice asked.

“Everything.” No emotion colored his voice.

Young Jack crept gingerly around the chair to face his father. “Pop,” he whispered, “come on, the game is about to start.” Hamilton shook his head and looked away.

The voice on the phone was still talking. “Most folks are still enjoying the ride, Ham. You could get hurt.”

“It’s not going a penny higher. Short it all.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Warn me? My wife is dead. What else matters?”

The voice mumbled something about her passing.

“She didn’t pass. She’s dead. Just do what I ask.”

“OK, Ham.” The phone disconnected.

Jack was standing there in front of him, shoulders slumped. The ball hung loose at the end of his fingers, and the glove had fallen on the carpet. “Pop, can we go now?”

“Sorry, Son. Not today.”

“It’s not fair!” Jack erupted. Hot tears sprang up in his eyes. “What am I supposed to do now?”

Ham looked down, silent.

Jack hurled the ball to the floor, wiped his tears angrily, and stormed out of the house.

Ten minutes later on the futures board, wheat ticked down.

It ticked down again.

And so it would continue. Ham would be richer than he’d ever imagined. He’d never experience another financial challenge for the rest of his life. It was not really important, though. Scripture came back to him: “what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

He would trade it all to have his love, his life, back again.

But that was not an option.

Out his window, Ham could see young Jack riding his bicycle furiously down the street. He watched with a passive surrender as his son’s small frame shrank into the distance.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

ANSWERS

If you've been hanging out here for a while, you may remember when I posted about my season of opposites--when every prayer I uttered seemed to be answered with the exact opposite of my request. I don't need to tell you what that kind of season does to a girl's faith, but I will say that Paul's words about "struck down but not destroyed" certainly ring a bell in my soul.

Well, I have good news to report. One of my biggest frustrations has been my weight gain, partially due to back-to-back pregnancies, and partially due to a gigantic lack of self control on my part. I'm the first to admit I love sweets...but am not terribly fond of sweat. For years I prayed about this situation, frustrated that God never helped me curb my appetite or speed up my metabolism or come to enjoy exercise. It was one more item to add to my prayer pending list.

Slowly but slowly the pounds have been melting off since last summer. So painfully slow, I might add, that it feels imperceptible. The other day as I was in weights class stretching with my friend, she made me laugh so hard I snorted and almost fell over, and this is when God nudged my spirit.

He HAS answered this prayer! Did he increase my metabolism or reduce my appetite? NO! Instead, He sent me a new friend. First we were gymnastics moms hanging out for endless hours watching our children, then we started working out together, and now we actually are becoming friend-friends!

God's answer to my prayer was not the easy way...but His way proved to be 10x more fun, and infinitely more satisfying. Sometimes we focus on what we want and how we want it so intensely that we don't see God's loving hand actually at work.

Have you ever done that, been so focused on what you wanted that you almost missed God's answer? I'd love to hear about it, as testimony can be a powerful faith builder :-)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

THE SOUND OF SLEIGH BELLS

It's almost Christmas, which means it's time to curl up with a warm and cozy holiday book! The Sound of Sleigh Bells is not your typical Amish fiction. Part of the reason I enjoy Cindy Woodsmall is that she creates stories that don't necessarily portray the idyllic vision of Amish life. The hero in this story has an unusual trait, which I love in a main character, plus I enjoyed the interesting relationship between the two female leads. Part romance, part family drama, a good read for Christmas!


Here's the blurb:


Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancĂ©. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

Author Bio:

Cindy Woodsmallis the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-SellerWhen the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.


CLICK HERE to get your copy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Saint's Roost

Sundowners (September 20, 2009)

by

Terry Burns



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terry has over 30 books in print, including work in a dozen short story collections and four non-fiction books plus numerous articles and short stories.

His last book Beyond the Smoke is a 2009 winner of the Will Rogers Medallion for best youth fiction and a nominee for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He has a three book Mysterious Ways series out from David C Cook, and Trails of the Dime Novel from Echelon Press.

A graduate of West Texas State he did post graduate work at Southern Methodist University. Terry plans to continue writing inspirational fiction as well as working as an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. Terry is a native Texan Living in Amarillo, Texas with his lovely wife Saundra.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Terry Burns has written a novel rich in Texan drawl and old western authenticity.

Saint’s Roost opens with a determined couple leaving a wagon train to set off on their own, only to be set upon by savages. Patrick, an eager evangelizing preacher, steps out to share the Good Book with the savages and meets an untimely demise, leaving his wife, Janie, alone on a trail to nowhere with no one to help her survive.

She makes her way across the frontier determined to follow her husband’s calling, but she doesn’t know where to begin, or even how to take care of herself. When her travels bring her into the lives of two cowhands, an ex-prostitute, a young boy and his drunken grandfather, and towns filled with cowboys waiting to be saved, she discovers there’s more than one way to spread God’s word.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Saint's Roost, go HERE
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