Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goals and Plans

Okay, so I've got a bunch of words to write. And I always do better with clearly defined goals.

October is NovelTrack month. If you haven't heard of this, it's an ACFW sponsored event where the goal is to help writers make great strides toward finishing a manuscript. You set your goal for the month, then you report in how you're doing, and you log your words written on the ACFW website where they accumulate with other writers' logged words. July was the first month for NovelTrack and ACFW writers logged more than ONE MILLION written words in 31 days!

My goal for October and NovelTrack is 50,000 words. This will see one project finished and another one started.

Then comes November. NaNo Time! National Novel Writing Month. The goal is another 50,000 words. This should see the second project completed. A couple of weeks in December to edit, then shoot it off to the crit partners. :)

So, what are your goals for this fall? What do you want to get finished by the end of the year?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back from Conference

Whew! I'm back, and mostly recovered, from Indianapolis and the ACFW Conference. I had a WONDERFUL time!

Some highlights:

  1. Seeing friends like Georgiana, Katie G. Mary Connealy, Wendy Miller, Audra Harders, Julie Lessman, Cara Lynn James, Glynna Kaye...the list goes on and on and on.
  2. Seeing my editors (who are also my friends) JoAnne Simmons, Aaron McCarver, and Becky Germany.
  3. Sitting in on a workshop taught by Allen Arnold from Thomas Nelson publishers. He's such a great communicator, I would've sat there for several more hours just listening.
  4. Selling out of all my books at the bookstore! SQUEE!
  5. Doing a video interview with Christian Retailing. (Thank you, Aaron, for pushing me into it. I was scared, but it went great.)
  6. Praying with Julie Lessman and practicing our interview skills as we waited for our CR interviews.
  7. Hanging out with WordServe Clients and Seekerville folks each night.
  8. Watching Katie G. stalk JSB and get lots of photos with him in the background.
  9. Getting encouragement, rejuvenation, affirmation, and direction in my writing career.
Some pretty cool things are on the horizon that I'll be letting you all know about in the near future.

Until then, there's a little change in the posting schedule here. I'll be posting blogs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We'll still have the Friday Five (Wendy!) But with my schedule getting tight, I need to cut back on blogging.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blogging Hiatus

The blog will be on hiatus for the next 10 days or so. I'll be back to blogging by Sept. 27th.

See you then!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Friday Five

Today's Friday Five is brought to you by the letter G.

Four things I like that start with the letter G.

1. Giraffes. Mostly because my daughter REALLY likes them, and when I see one, or anything with a giraffe print, I think of her. And I Like thinking of her. :)

2. Gum. I love to chew gum. Imagine my relief when the orthodontist told me I could chew sugarless gum even with my braces.

3. Grapes. Green Grapes. Green Seedless Grapes.

4. Grass. Soft, green grass that feels cool on bare feet.

One thing I don't like that starts with G.

5. Grasshoppers. UGH. Nasty armored buzzing hoppers.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thursday Recipe


1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and whole eggs called for on cake mix box

1 cup mashed bananas (2 medium)

3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, eggs and mashed bananas on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into pan.
2. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.
3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave frosting uncovered on High 20 seconds; stir and add an additional 5 to 10 seconds, if necessary. Stir thoroughly or until very soft and smooth; spread evenly over cake. If desired, serve with banana slices, whipped topping, Betty Crocker® rainbow mix decorating decors and a cherry. Store loosely covered.
This just flat-out looked good!
Join me today at where the feature book is The Bartered Bride. Leave a comment, and you must might win a book!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


This last Sunday at our little church was different from most others. As it was a holiday weekend, a lot of our regulars were traveling and our numbers were down. Instead of spreading out throughout the sanctuary, everyone moved to the center section. There were about 40 of us altogether.

Several funny things happened during the service, including Pastor Kevin breaking his communion cracker and the whole thing shattering into dusty bits.

Another things that happened was that after the service, one of the women who sings in the worship team said she looked out at us all bunched together and noticed that my son, James, was taller than everyone else there. His head stuck up a few inches beyond the next tallest man. Which made me laugh and think of that game Whack-a-Mole. (James has grown almost 10 inches in this last year.)

The woman who sat behind us told my husband after church that, "We stood up to sing, and I noticed that James was really tall. Then we sat down, and when we stood to sing again, he got up and it seemed like he was even TALLER!"

That's kind of how I feel from one day to the next with that boy. He's eating everything not nailed down, too.

Are your kids sprouting up?

Join me over at where I'm blogging about the Friday Fives and why I like them. :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Conference is Coming!

I can't believe how quickly this year has flown! Conference is roaring up on us so fast. We're down to single digits for days left.

There are some things I still need to do to get ready for the conference.

1. Decide what I'm going to wear, especially for the banquet. I don't want to buy anything new, since the dress I wore last year...well, I haven't worn it since. I'm wondering if it is kosher to wear the same thing twice in a row. I haven't decided yet. I'll try on a few things from my closet and see.

2. Make lists. I'm a big list person, and I know I'll forget something if I don't make lists.

3. Pack. This usually takes me a couple of days and I trip over the open suitcase while I am filling it.

4. Read Georgiana Daniels's "What I'm Not Wearing To Conference" Post. This is a favorite of mine each year.

5. Daydream and lose some sleep at night as I anticipate the conference, seeing people, learning new things, making memories.

How about you? Do you find it hard to sleep when you're anticipating something wonderful?

Please join me over at where I'm talking about what it's like to hear from readers.

Monday, September 06, 2010

New Cover Art!

Sigh. Can I just say, I LOVE this cover! It's perfect.

Maggie and the Maverick, my sixth book with Heartsong, releases later this winter.

Here's a little bit about the book:

From the back cover.

Just another one of them rotten McConnells. . .

Maggie Davis comes to town determined to find the bad guy, lock him up, and move on—just as she’s done so many times before. No one suspects the diminutive seller of feminine fripperies to be a U.S. Marshal in disguise. But that’s what she is. So when the intriguingly handsome stage driver turns out to be her number one suspect, she’s surprised at the turmoil she feels. Can the sweet, caring man she’s come to know (and maybe even love) be the same scoundrel the sheriff and other townspeople so visiously malign?

But Maggie knows that the web of corruption choking this corner of Idaho Territory must be torn down, no matter who’s in charge. And if the perpetrator is Cal McConnell, then justice will be served. Even if it breaks her heart.

Key Verse:

Psalm 56:11 "In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me."

From the book:

Then Cal stood before her. “May I have the honor?”

She stopped clapping. “You?”

He nodded, the dimple creasing his cheek. “Seb and I were declared the co-winners of the bronc riding. He’s decided to sit this one out with Georgia. What do you say?”

It’s not fair, Lord. You know what I have to do. Why do You make it so hard?

“Maggie?” He held out his hand. A girl could sink deep into those blue eyes and never surface. Her hand went out to his, and she shivered when their fingers touched.

He tugged, and she followed him up onto the platform. Though the others moved around them, they were only vague images on the edge of her vision. Cal’s face drew her complete attention, and he fitted her into his arms with ease.

His strong hand spread-eagled on her back, guiding her, and her fingers rested lightly on his broad shoulder. He winked at her and tilted his head as if summing her up and liking what he saw. She couldn’t look away. The power he had over her frightened her into stiffening.

“Relax.” He leaned in and whispered against her temple, his breath tangling in her hair. “I’m not going to bite you.”

You could do far worse than that, Cal McConnell. You could break my heart.

Also, please join me today at where Lily and the Lawman is the featured title. Leave a comment, and you'll be entered to win a copy of the book!
And Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five is brought to you by the letter F.

Four things I like and one thing I don't that all begin with the letter F.

1. Fiction. :)

2. Family (I have the BEST!)

3. Friends

4. Fridays (It's date night.)

and the one I don't like....


How about you? Chime in with what you do and don't like that starts with the letter F.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thursday Recipe

Today's recipe, in keeping with the zoo theme of yesterday, is:

Monkey Pizza


2 tubes canned biscuit dough

1 jar pizza sauce

1 pkg pepperoni slices

1 8 oz pkg mozzarella cheese


Spray bundt cake pan with non-stick spray. Separate each biscuit into three chunks and roll into balls. Mix together all ingredients and dump into bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Life's a Zoo!

This last weekend we visited the Como Zoo. I was reminded again of the pure joy expressed by little children upon getting their first view of of a tiger or a polar bear or a gorilla.

There was a little guy who almost turned inside out when he caught sight of the tiger pacing in the grass just below the window where the little guy strained against the straps of his stroller. "TIGER! TIGER! TIGER!"

Another pressed his face to the glass and made monkey noises to the primates hanging from the ropes.

A favorite of mine were the organutans. There was a big male with huge cheek pads and a long orange rug-like cape of fur, two females who looked dainty compared to the male though they could each probably rip off your arm and beat you up with it, and an absolutely adorably precocious male baby who was everywhere in the enclosure. He tried everything, touched everything, tackled every adult orangutan in sight, tasted his share of rocks, leaves, ropes, posts, and grass, and through it all wore an insouciant smile and a swaggered around with more charm than should be legal.
Baby tasting a rock.
Baby smiling as he headed up the jungle gym of posts and ropes.

How cute is that baby???

So,  have you been to the zoo in the last year? If so, which one(s)?