Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Nano-Eve!

For some it's a day of costumes and candy, but for me it's all about tightening up my plot and sharpening my pencils. In case you're not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month when the goal is to write an entire book (50,000 words) in one month. To do so requires diligence, grit and typing like your fingers are on fire!

This is the first year I've been able to partake in a while because I'm usually in the middle of another project. While I've considered "shadowing" NANO by doing the word count but not be an official participant, it somehow doesn't work for me. In that situation I'm totally prone to cheating!

Before the midnight kickoff, I have to make sure all my ducks are neatly lined up:

*Plot...check

*Working computer....check, check

*Writing snacks....check and double check!

As you can see, I'm all fired up and ready to keep my nose to the keyboard until this puppy's finished.

Who's with me? If you want to be buddies, my user name is Georgiana D.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spinning Plates and Other Neat Tricks

This post has nothing to do with the fact I haven't scrubbed the toilets in X days. (Or is it XX days? LOL, I'll never tell!)

So maybe that is what's bugging me, knowing that as hard and fast as I try to spin plates, there's bound to be a few that don't stay on the stick. This week it's the "cleaning" plate and some weeks it's the "homeschooling" plate, then there's the "writing" plate that gets dropped when I don't have anything pressing going on, and truly the list of plates is endless. It doesn't help when people keep handing me more plates.

I've done the whole prioritizing thing and organizing my time, and blah-blah-insert-another-time-saving-scheme and still the days seem to shrink.

You're probably thinking I have a great revelation or some profound trick to tell you about to help us all revolutionize our schedules. The truth is, I'd rather sit back and enjoy some peace.

I guess I'm here to say live, love and drop a few plates! The plates might stop spinning but the world won't.

Have a great week!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Death in the House


In the seemingly never ending quest for just the right home, we've stumbled upon an unusual opportunity. There's a home in the exact neighborhood we want, with a great floor plan and if all goes well it'll be just the right price.

The only problem is that someone died there! As far as I know, there are no weird circumstances surrounding the death, and I don't think the...er...body was there for any length of time. (Of course, if it was and there are "issues" there's no way I'd move in.)

What would you do? And if you have an interesting story, do tell!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Know I'm a Meanie.....

First they were doing it at the grocery store and now they're doing it at the fast food joints. While it tugs on my heart and I can appreciate the sentiment behind it, their actions make me think twice before shopping there.

And I must admit it makes me feel like a big ol' meanie!

What is it, you ask?

Asking me to donate to XYZ cause.

It's totally fine when the debit card machine asks me privately and I can respond by clicking the YES or NO button discreetly. But when the cashiers ask--or in the case of the grocery store ANNOUNCE DONATIONS OVER THE LOUD SPEAKER with an accompanying "WOOHOO"--it makes me...uncomfortable.

What if I didn't bring extra cash? What if I'm broke? What if I don't like the attention drawn to me when the cashier announces the amount for the world to hear?

It bothers me that it bothers me, probably because I can't pinpoint why. It might be that I'm a private person or simply that I don't like being put on the spot. Or maybe I prefer knowing something about the organizations I donate to instead of giving to causes I'm unfamiliar with.

In these troubled economic times, it makes sense to be bolder and more assertive for fund raising, but personally I'd love to go back to the jar on the counter method.

What say you?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No Safe Harbor

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
No Safe Harbor
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
by
Elizabeth Ludwig


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year honors. This book was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned Four Stars from the Romantic Times. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool (Barbour Publishing) and Inn Plain Sight (Spyglass Lane), respectively, released in 2011.

Coming in 2012 is Elizabeth’s newest historical series from Bethany House Publishers. No Safe Harbor, the first book in the Edge of Freedom Series, will release in October, with two more books following in 2013 and 2014.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first full year, with more than 17,000 visitors in 2011. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she'd thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother's warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara's desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke's true intentions come to light.

If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Harbor, go HERE.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Move It or Lose It

Or should the saying be, "Move it AND lose it?"

I suppose this is a piggyback post to my Friday ice cream one. Yes, it's true that I eat a tonnage of ice cream and mostly without regret. Add to that the other junk I consume and the fact I've recently settled into a mostly sedentary lifestyle and we've got a problem!

Between homeschooling, writing and shuttling the kids to their activities, my own health is blowing up-- as is my pants size. Despite walking a mile round trip to get the mail and going up and down the stairs a bazillion times a day, the weight I'd shed last year is making its way home.

What to do?

Cut back on bad food (say it isn't so!) and move more--advice that can never be replaced by a pill, powder or promise of an easier way. I guess God equipped us with the seeds of self discipline for a reason!

All that to say....I'm back to making a concerted effort. You with me? Or do you have an active lifestyle already? Or worse, are you one of those people who don't have to think about it? (Lol, stinkers! I know you're out there!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm Chocolate Ice Cream!

In honor of the fact my hubby is amazing when it comes to selling ice cream (and pairing it up with the perfect meal or cake) I decided to find out what kind of ice cream I am. And let's not forget the fact I eat my body weight in ice cream annually, but that's a whole 'nother blog post!



You Are Chocolate Ice Cream
You have a flair for the dramatic and love to party.
Your personality is super strong and unique.
Many people crave you constantly - while you turn a few off.

You are most compatible with coffee ice cream.


Yes--I do so love having a flair and being dramatic!

Take the quiz and come back to tell us what flavor you are :D

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Against the Tide
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
by
Elizabeth Camden


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Elizabeth:

I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.

I married relatively late in life, which turned out to be an odd kind of blessing. I had gotten very good at leading a solo life, and although I was not particularly content being alone, I had become reconciled to it. Most importantly, it taught me never to take my husband for granted. I give daily thanks for the blessing of being able to share a life with my favorite person on the planet.

As for who I am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Love and Lives are Threatened in Camden's Latest Offering

As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Against the Tide, go HERE.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Like I Needed a New Addiction


It took me a long time to succumb, after all, it sounded like just another bandwagon that everyone and their sister was jumping on. But when I finally gave it a chance, Downton Abbey sucked me in like everyone else! It's a show that has all the charm and culture of the early 20th Century but with a modern-day edge.

While there was one scene that caught me off guard, for the most part it's a "watchable" show--meaning it didn't offend my delicate disposition ;) And the best part? Hubby started watching it with me. Bonus points!

What shows are you hooked on? OK...what I'm really asking is, what should I queue in Netflix when I'm done with DA?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll!

My book, A Daughter's Redemption, is now available for pre-order! Can't stop grinning because the Big Event--that moment when I get to hold the hard copy in hand--is coming. Woot!

You can order from AMAZON, BN, CBD. Thanks for your support :D

Thursday, October 11, 2012

All Things New

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
All Things New
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
by
Lynn Austin


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well.

Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival--and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak...but a bitter hatred fuels her.

With skill and emotion, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of the Reconstruction era by interweaving the stories of three women--daughter, mother, and freed slave--in a riveting tale.

If you would like to read the first chapter of All Things New, go HERE.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Me Time--What's That?


I sit here penning this....in the bathroom. You see, it's the only way I can be alone.

As a homeschooling mom of little ones, I've come to the startling realization that I am never alone. Repeat: Never alone. (That's not a complaint, merely an observation. I also realize and appreciate that staying home without the pressure to toss the kids into school and get back to "work" is a luxury!)

Oh, I suppose there are a few blissful hours after the kids go to bed where I can get a few items checked off the ol' master list. But there's a huge difference between working on to-do items until your brain is ready to fall out and doing something just for the fun of it.

This is where the inspiration of my hubby comes in. Though he has time in the morning to go on a hike for exercise, the rest of the day he's devoted to working--working 12-14 hours a day so that I CAN stay home. (On the other hand, much of his time is spent alone in the truck, lol!)

Therefore I fantasize: what WOULD I do if I had regular time alone? Here's my list:

Exercise
Crochet (or something crafty)
Hit the bookstore!!!

Thankfully I understand this is just a season and there's many a mom going through the same thing. I try to savor the flavor of each day for what it's worth, knowing that my kidlets won't always be underfoot and I will have time to do other things. And that's just it....those things are THINGS. I take refuge in the fact I'm helping build little people :)

One day I'll do something easier. Like get a full-time job. LOL!!!

How about you? Do you get regular me time or do you have kids underfoot?

Friday, October 05, 2012

Welcome to the Family!


Last night under the cover of darkness, I smuggled in the newest member of our family. You see, in our neighborhood, it's best not to advertise when you bring home a brand new...well...anything. LOL! The newest addition to our home is a 23" Asus all-in-one computer!


 



From the first moment I laid eyes on an all-in-one, I knew that was my next purchase, and I have to say, an hour into setting this puppy up, I'm in love! The screen is lovely and I can have multiple screens of wonderfulness open at once and see everything that's going on. AND....I just dragged and dropped the picture from one screen to this one. Man, I'm smitten!!!!

Somehow I've got to make this last because going through a new machine every three years seems a bit much to me, even though the dude at the store assured me that's about when the technology is outdated anyway. (Of course, said dude also builds his own computers and therefore obviously move in different technology circles than I do!)

What kind of computer do you have and how often do you get a new one? Do you love gadgets as much as I do?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Justifying the Madness



We never meant to become the proverbial soccer parents, running our kids to every activity under the sun and pushing them to excel, excel, excel. But as I ponder the day ahead--chess club, soccer, baton, gymnastics--we've done just that. People have subtly (or not so subtly) suggested we're living out our dreams through our kids but I'm here to reassure one and all that I've never wanted to take flying leaps on the beam or get mashed on the soccer field.

So why do we have our kids do it? Untold hours and achy muscles, not to mention what feels like gazillions of dollars poured into tuition and uniforms, and now travel expenses. While it might seem random and not altogether well-thought out, there is a purpose to our madness. It's our belief all the extra-curriculars help develop certain traits that would otherwise stay dormant.

Reasons:

*Love. The kids love what they're doing. We absolutely wouldn't dedicate time and resources if we had to drag them out the door.

*Socialization. Not that I buy into the whole homeschooled-kids-aren't-socialized myth (another blog post unto itself)--but it IS important for them to hang out with friends and learn from other adults.

*Confidence. There's something to be said for the kids learning that if they work on an elusive skill long and hard enough, even if it takes months and multiple bruises and sores, they CAN do what once appeared impossible.

*Poise. The ability to get up in front of a crowd, control your nerves and stay composed is huge. HUGE! This is a skill that will help carry them through life. Refer back to THIS POST where I discovered I want to grow up to be just like my daughter.

*Mommy break. HAHA--had to throw that in! Let's face it, if my kids never did anything outside the home, when would I get a chance to accomplish any of my own goals?

It's more than over-scheduling our kids for the sake of bragging rights. Those are the ways I justify the madness, and yes, there are days where it's sheer madness!

Have you fallen into the soccer-mom trap? What kinds of sacrifices do you feel are worth it?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Oh, No--Not Again!


Disappointment. Sadness. A crushing blow to the ego.

Yep--I suffered one of those last week. I'll bet you've dealt with your fair share over the years. Everyone does. But this time was different because I didn't implode or have the usual chocolate-fest meltdown.

For many years I went through a dry spell that appeared an awful lot like unanswered prayers and being forgotten on the backside of the mountain. Before I got a few big breakthroughs, I had to learn how to cope:

1. Have a game plan. If you've got solid, measurable goals then you can jump back in and keep moving forward. Momentum matters.

2. Make sure to have more than one interest. When one area of life isn't going as you've planned, it helps to have other successes and activities to look forward to. If you have a full life and schedule then things are moving too quickly to have a long mope session.

3. Look for the bits of joy. They're there! God never banishes us to a total desert wasteland experience. Learning to savor each moment and appreciate what's right there is huge. For example, despite my disappointment last week, here are three things that happened:


 My baby girl turned 7!!!! This is a picture from last year that I simply love and makes me happy every time I see it.


Hubby and I celebrated our 11th anniversary! He definitely keeps things interesting and fun. You never know what's going to happen next ;)




Got my book cover for my January 2013 release! I just love the tranquil feeling the cover evokes.












There were enough joyful bits of life last week to propel me past the disappointment and get me back on track.

How do you handle life's sour grapes?
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