Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fogg had 80 days and so do I

Just took a look at the countdown to the conference. 80 days. Put me in mind of Jules Verne. Fogg had 80 days to get around the world. I have 80 days to finish a ms, get at least the first part through crits, and compile several proposal packets.

Today I kidnapped the daughter and we took off for the library. I typed like a mad woman, laughing outloud at my characters. The hero and the heroine each took a turn at doing something foolish. Tickled me to no end. I completed three thousand words in three hours. That tickled me more.

We got kicked out at 1:30 pm. I know what you're thinking, but that's the closing time on Saturdays during the summer. I was being good...well, for the most part.

Also, an answer to prayer this week. My MIL had an MRI this week. The cancer has shrunk! God is so good! The docs gave her some new medicines, and she's doing much better. Good news has a way of chirking a person up. We're praising God for His blessing. Please join us.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Five

Today's Friday Five:

Five reasons I'm glad my kids are back from camp.

1. My daughter's companionship. I missed talking with her.

2. My son's singing. He sings while he plays, works, pretty much does anything.

3. My cat was mushing on me 24/7 missing the kids and now they're back and can take some of the burden. :)

4. I love to hear my husband talk with his kids.

5. The laughter is back!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fun Name Quiz

Check out the fun quiz on Georgiana's blog. I've tried to post it here several times, but it won't work! Grrrr!

E - Enjoyable

R - Rare

I - Intense

C - Creepy

A - Appealing

It was fun, cept for the Creepy part! lol

This Week From CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Howard Books June 5, 2007)
Jerome Teel
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude, from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports. He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. He is also the author of The Election, another political thriller that we reviewed November of '06. Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children...Brittney, Trey, and Matthew...and they reside in Tennessee where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.

"They aren't hiding just one something, but a bunch of somethings..."Small town southern lawyer, Elijah Faulkner is a dying attorney that actually takes pleasure in fighting injustice by working hard for the little guy. But when he takes on a case to defend a philandering doctor with a pregnant wife in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial, Eli is not so sure he is on the 'right' side.Back in Washington D.C., supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative President Richard Wallace to impact the direction of the highest court in the land. He believes God put him in the presidency for just such a time as make a Divine Appointment. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.A lobbyist with a vendetta, a small-time Mafioso, an investigative reporter with a Watergate complex, and a powerful Washington political machine combine to create a fast-paced suspense novel that explores the anatomy of a murder, and the ripple effect that it creates across the country.
"Jerome Teel has crafted an intriguing political thriller...nice twists and turns to keep you reading. he paints vivid mental pictures that bring characters and locales to life."--Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's 7th District

Monday, June 25, 2007

The story behind Pam on Rye

A few weeks back I started writing a story I'd had an idea for months ago. It jumped into my head almost full blown. I couldn't wait to start it. But after three chapters, I laid it aside. I'm not prone to doing that with writing projects, preferring to gut it out through the hard parts and finish what I start for fear of never getting back to it if I quit on it.

Here's a brief blurb about Pam on Rye:

Pam is a card-carrying member of the Sandwich Generation, caught between her elderly parents and her teenage children. When her mother has a stroke, Pam moves her family into her parents' Bed and Breakfast to help care for her mother and run the family business. All her life, she's longed for her mother's approval, but mama is a hard woman to please. And while running the B&B and caring for an elderly parent take up so much of her time, her own husband and daughters clamor for her attention as well. And what of Pam's own desires? Can she juggle everything thrown at her, and not leave her faith as the 'pickle on the side?'

I love the story, think it would be hilarious, and would read it if I picked it up in the bookstore. It has a sassy, poke a little fun at the elder generation while doing the same to the angst of teen girls flavor. So why did I quit on it?

My first reason, the one I told myself, was that I really love historicals, and a 'lit' book would be hard to write.

The second reason was because of Randy Ingermanson's lessons on branding. What was my brand? Did I want to have a shotgun approach and write anything under the sun, or did I want to stick with my favorite, the one I'm most passionate about, and sharpen up my brand to make myself more marketable?

The third reason was because of some market buzz I'd heard that 'lit' books were going out of style and getting one picked up would be difficult for a new author.

But after some reflection, I realized the truth. Sometimes life imitates art, and sometimes art imitates life. A few weeks ago, my dearly loved MIL , who lives four miles from me, was diagnosed with a recurrance of her cancer, this time in her spine. I've been stopping in at her house to help her do the housework and to visit. She's in quite a bit of pain. She's being so brave about it, but if you think to pray for her, please do. She does not know the Lord as her Savior.

All that to say, sometimes you can have a great idea, and it can be the wrong time to write it. I don't know if I will ever write Pam on Rye. I hope so, someday, but if I don't, that will be okay too. Right now, I have the honor of caring for my MIL, and I'm working on an historical that I feel God gave me to take the place of Pam on Rye. I'm being totally relaxed about it, writing completely Seat-of-the-pants, and having a blast.

Many thanks to CJ for letting me use the picture in today's blog. You can read all about CJ's own adventures with her parents and children at Whine and Cheese and see her amazing artwork at CJ's Electronic Portfolio where "If you can think it, she can ink it." She's a talented writer and terrific artist. Oh, and a great friend too.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Examination or Absorption?

Have you ever discussed something in theory, then had God show you the truth of your discussion in real life?

This happened to me this weekend. It all began on Thursday. My husband, who is a deacon in our church, had a board meeting for the church leadership. When he got home, he 'decompressed' as is often his habit after an intense meeting. While he doesn't share specifics discussed, or violate any confidences, he does trot ideas past me to get my take on them. Part of a healthy marriage, I think.

One point from the board meeting (and I knew this in advance, as the pastor emailed me the meeting itinerary to pass along to the DH) that we discussed at length was "Do you think our church is a healthy church, and if so, what criteria did you use when arriving at your conclusion?"

It seems for the past year, our church has spent a lot of time and burned a lot of emotional energy on this topic. And while I believe in self-examination, (We are told to examine ourselves in 1 Corinthians 11, to see if we are approaching the communion service in a manner that is worthy.) I was left wondering if all our examination of self was leading us to self-absorption. Were we focusing so much energy on checking our own pulse that we were losing focus of the God we serve and the community we are to reach? I couldn't help but think of Narcissus, peering into his mirror, with eyes only for himself. Were we teetering on that line?

That was Thursday. Saturday was our annual Church Cleaning Day. At eight sharp, we climbed out of the van and entered the church. We were met by only two people, Pastor and his wife. This was it? Five people (one was my 11 year old son, James) to deep clean an entire building? Where were the other twenty or so people we'd been able to count on in years past? The pastor had brought three dozen donuts, chocolate milk and orange juice. At least James was happy.

For the first hour, as I chased cobwebs, vacuumed screens and washed windows, I kept wondering, What happened? What did I do wrong? (as the pres. of women's ministries, I had chaired the meeting where the ladies decided what weekend the cleaning day would fall on.) At nine, another couple arrived.

The seven of us scrubbed, cleaned, washed and organized. All morning, I kept wondering, why aren't more people here to help us? Where are the people?

At about ten, another gal showed up and washed windows in the sanctuary. I was grateful, but still chewing on how this wasn't turning out according to my plan. If many hands make light work, well, I was getting flattened under the weight of the checklist of chores still needing to be done.

Then it hit me. I wasn't self-examining. I was self-absorbed. I wasn't offering my service to the Lord. I was wondering where everyone else was and why they weren't serving.

I believe the only effective examination is with yourself. I can't say what the church's spiritual health is. I can't say what anyone else's spiritual health is, save myself. As a church, we can look at the body as a whole, but it is more important to look at ourselves and see if we are growing, spiritually healthy individuals. Otherwise, I believe we turn from self-examination to self-absorption, always gauging everyone else's actions and words against how they affect us. That's when we run the danger of trying to make everyone else fit our ideas of how they should be...everyone needs to be a foot, or a hand, or a left elbow in the Body of Christ, just like we are.

So, I learned that I needed to worry a lot less about what everyone else was doing and a little more about what I was doing. Cuz what everyone else was up to, wasn't my monkey!

And just as we were leaving yesterday, another family came (with eight kids, who are great helpers!) and took over cleaning Sunday School rooms (the last things on the list.) I was so happy to see them, with their cheerful faces and willing hearts. But I was even more happy that I'd gotten my head on straight and had decided to do my best for the Lord, no matter if anyone showed up to help or not.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Friday Five

The Friday Five this week is:

Five things people usually like, but that I don't.

1. Naps. I always feel as if I've been abducted by aliens, and I walk around fuzzyheaded (inside and out) for about an hour after a nap.

2. Sleeping in. Once I'm awake, that's it. I need to get up.

3. Seafood. My motto is NOTHING FROM THE SEA. Even opening a can of tuna makes me want to ralph.

4. Amusement Parks. Not amusing, and not enough grass to be called a park. I'm more of a museum gal than a Disneyland type.

5. S'mores. Ew.

This Week From CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Multnomah, March 2007)
Jill Nelson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a member of the CFBA. Her blog, Artistic Blogger, addresses issues about art, art theft, antiquities preservation, and the art of fiction writing. She takes art seriously - when she's not having fun with it, that is. The To Catch a Thief Series combines her love of the written word with her love of other art forms.The first in the series was Reluctant Burglar , second is Reluctant Runaway. In January 2008, she will reveal the third book, Reluctant Smuggler. Jill is thrilled if the adventures that spill from her imagination can raise awareness about art theft - deemed "a looming criminal enterprise" by the FBI. Jill and her husband, Doug, have four children and live in Minnesota.

Stolen Indian artifacts...A murdered museum guard…
A missing woman…A baby in danger…Only Desiree can unearth the horrifying secret that links them all.Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs doesn’t mean to get in danger’s path. Really she doesn’t. But when a friend is in trouble you don’t just walk away. No matter what your overprotective FBI agent boyfriend says! So when Desi and Tony’s date at a presidential ball is interrupted by a frantic Maxine Webb, Desi doesn’t hesitate to jump in.Soon Desi is neck-deep in a confusing array of villains. Did Max’s niece run away or was she taken? Is she still alive or the victim of a perverse ritual? And who wants her infant son–and why?Then Tony’s organized crime case collides with Desi’s investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister. Something that craves blood...From the streets of Desi’s beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces–and save a young woman and her baby from a villain more evil than any of them can imagine.

"A fresh voice, strong heroine, and unique plot make Reluctant Runaway a can't-put-down read. Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an author to watch in the realm of romantic suspense!"
----SUSAN MAY WARREN award-winning author of In Sheep's Clothing

I had the joy of meeting Jill a few months ago at a booksigning event here in Rochester. She gave a great talk on relationships and introduced her first book, RELUCTANT BURGLER, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

RELUCTANT RUNAWAY races at breakneck speed. Jill is a master at the chapter-ending cliffhanger that compels you to read the next page, even if it is past midnight! I stayed up late to read this one. Tony and Desi are fun characters that strike sparks off each other...romantically and professionally. When chatting with a friend last night on the phone, one whom I had loaned my copy of the first book in this series, she said she and her daughter raced through it, and when would I be done with book two?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Project

Today I am starting a new project. I love new projects. It's like when you were a kid and you got a new box of crayons...not the piddly little 8 count box, but the giant 64 count box with the crayon sharpener in the back. I couldn't wait to use the burnt sienna and spring green.

I wrote three chapters of the new book "Pam on Rye" and while I like Pam, and I enjoy the story, I don't have the passion for it right now that writing an historical brings. I've decided to write a synopsis/proposal packet for it and shop it around before I devote anymore time to it.

The new project is aimed at the Heartsong line and is an historical.

One thing almost ready to cross off my writing goals list is the editing of Drums. I sent the last batch on to the girls, and as soon as it comes back and I tweak the booboos, it will be all edited and ready for the synopsis/proposal packet.

Oh, and I sent my picture off to the Genesis Coordinator. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Friday Five (on Saturday)

Okay, today's five:

Five reasons I'm glad to be home:

1) My own pillows.

2) My office.

3) My backlog of bookwork that was accumluating in my absence (but is now caught up)

4) My laundry (no quarters required)

5) My cat, who has been loving on me non-stop since we got home.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Friday Five (on Saturday)

The Friday Five (on Saturday) this week is:

Five Minnesota State Historical Society sites on the vacation this week:

1: Historic Fort Snelling. 1820's fort, the first outpost in the Minnesota Territory.

2: The Henry Hastings Sibley House. Sibley was the first state governor of MN, as well as the leader of the expedition that removed the Sioux from Minnesota.

3: The Alexander Ramsey House. Ramsey was the first territorial governor of MN and the second state governor.

(We've driven by this several times, and haven't gone in yet. This is the MN state capitol. If we have time today, we'll scoot in there and look up into the dome.)

4: This is the lobby of the Minnesota State Historical Society museum. They've got a great museum upstairs, as well as the state's historical documents reference lilbrary.

5: The Mill City Museum. The Flour Tower exhibit was amazing!

6: You get a bonus to the Friday Five this week. This is the James J. Hill house, home to the founder of the Great Northern Railroad. (this house is 36 Thousand Square feet!)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This Week From CFBA

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

These Boots Weren't Made for Walking

(WATERBROOK Press June 19, 2007)


Melody Carlson


Melody Carlson has published over 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including On This Day, Finding Alice, the Notes from a Spinning Planet series, and Homeward, which won the Rita Award from Romance Writers of America. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.


Willing to make the necessary sacrifices–even skipping the occasional latte–to ensure career success, 31-year-old Cassidy Cantrell "invests" in a chic pair of boots, certain they’ll make a spectacular impression and help seal the deal on a long-anticipated promotion from her Seattle employer.

But reality tromps all over her expectations. Cassie’s job is abruptly eliminated–and her love life obliterated, when her longtime boyfriend dumps her for a "friend." Her self-esteem in tatters, Cassie limps home to the resort town she once so eagerly fled–only to find her recently divorced mother transformed into a gorgeous fifty-something babe with a thriving social life. Cassie wrestles with envy and apathy as she considers the dismal shape of her own physique and romantic prospects. What will it take for her to jump back into life and regain her stride?

This sassy and hilarious novel leads readers on a romp through the wilds of relationships, romance, career, and spirituality, revealing that, while God’s plans may look drastically different than our own, it’ll always be a perfect fit.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Who was that?

One item on my list while we are on vacation is to have the DH take some close-ups of me, maybe along the shore of Lake Superior or with some waterfall as a backdrop.

I need a nice picture of me to send to the ACFW for use in September. Small problem is, I never like pictures taken of me. I always look goofy. I always wish I had the capability to Pho-tox my picture, erase the double chin, lift the cheekbones, straigthen and whiten the smile...a hundred things.

Actually, there are two photos of me that I like. One is my wedding picture, which I won't send them, because that would be...silly.
The other is my school picture from my junior year in high school. I was having, for once, a good hair day, and God had given me a clear complexion for that day at least. I had on a favorite blouse, and the background was blue instead of that institutional, this-is-your-mugshot gray they always seemed to use in every other school picture.

I thought about sending that one in. Then I thought of the comments that would be made.

"Did you see her at the conference?"

"I haven't run into her yet? Wonder where she is?"

"Well, I haven't seen her, but look, there's her mother sitting over there."

Nope, better just see what Peter and Lake Superior can do for me.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Friday Five

Today's Friday Five is:
Five things guaranteed to make me laugh in church:
1) My husband when he leans over and says something funny in my ear. (No one believes me that he's the culprit, but he is!)
2) When a small child gets free of his parents and runs maverick across the platform during the sermon. (It has happened twice.)
3) When an infant, dressed to the teeth in frilly dress, lacy tights, patent leather shoes, hair froo froos, and looking sweeter than a rose, passes gas (like a stevedore!) in the middle of communion.
4) When someone in the choir sings an inadvertant solo.
5) When the guitarist drops his guitar during prayer.
No disrespect is inteneded, just a little lighthearted fun. All these things have happened in our church. It's a really fun place.


Airfare: Check

Hotel: Check

Roommate: Check :) Hi, Steph and Stowaway.

Classes chosen: Check

Registration: CHECK (today)

Shuttle Service Reservation: Check

Finish all the proposals and pitches I need done before September 19th: Not yet, but I'm dancing as fast as I can.

Finish chapter three of Pam on Rye: CHECK.
All in all, I'd say I'm getting there. Now I need to pack for vacation next week. Look out, Duluth, here we come!