Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
1. What’s the one book or writing project you haven’t yet written but still hope to? The book I hope to write is the one I'm working on now. My ideas don't come too far ahead. I'm totally sold on the project I'm currently working on, and as I near the end of that one, another unfolds that needs to be written.
2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?
Last night I couldn't sleep, and I had all sorts of books to choose from. I stared at my bookshelves in both the office and the livingroom. I finally selected Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy. The choice would be different tonight, tomorrow night, etc.
3. What was your first writing “instrument” (besides pen and paper)? Radio Shack Tandy computer with WordStar word processor. We had the old tape cassette backups too. No floppies. And an amber monochrome monitor.
4. What’s your best guess as to how many books you read in a month? I used to read at least a dozen books a month, but I write more than I read these days. I'd say about four to six books a month now.
5. What’s your most favorite writing “machine” you’ve ever owned? My Dell Inspiron E1705 laptop with a 17 inch screen, two batteries, and all my 'stuff' saved on it. I've had it a year now and I absolutely LOVE it! It was a gift from my darling husband.
6. Think historical fiction: what’s your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don’t read historical fiction–shame on you.) I love most anything from medieval times onward. It all depends on the characters and the writing. I've read Biblical fiction, but it isn't a favorite with me.
Arabian Cow Horse by John Richard Young or The Scrapper by Leland Silliman
7. What’s the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?
Friday, July 27, 2007
Today's Friday Five is in honor of Tiffany Roberson and Chad Skaran who are to be wed this evening.
I spent the morning at church preparing fruit for the fruit salad they are serving at the reception.
Did I mention they are expecting upwards of 300 people?
So the Friday Five is:
Fruit we cut up today!
1. Canteloupe (I detest canteloupe, and yet, there I was, scraping out the seeds and gunk, dicing up gallons of the stuff. I don't even like the SMELL of canteloupe.)
2. Strawberries (My daughter and Margarethe [isn't that a beautiful name? It's Danish] cut up 15 quarts of strawberries)
3. Grapes (My son picked about twenty pounds of grapes off the stems today. It was a 'non-knife' job he was very good at.)
4. Watermelon (I cut up six big watermelons today. By the time I was done, my cutting board and the counter looked like a watermelon had exploded! So juicy!)
5. Peaches (I'm so glad they were free-stones. Otherwise we'd still be there pitting a bushel of peaches.)
Best wishes to the bride and groom. The fruit salad is all ready, and it truly was a labor of love. And thanks to Karmyn and Margarethe and Karen who assisted James and Heather and I with the prep.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
TO DANCE IN THE DESERT
(RiverOak, May 1, 2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility for incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturbed children. Mother of two, she lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!
ABOUT THE BOOK: “Not a safe world.” How many times had she heard it over and over again? Well, it is not a safe world and Dara Murphy Brogan knew it better than most, which is exactly why she had tucked herself away on a desert mountaintop. Now it was just her, the voice inside her head and the boxes of hastily packed odds and ends—all that was left of her pathetic excuse of a life. Hadn’t she chosen the desert because it was barren and brown and dead-looking and far, far away from anyone who may have seen the news? So what was this, this trespasser, this interloper, this wacked out earth mother doing dancing outside her window? Celebrating life and the Spirit in a way Dara never could have dreamed. Until she opened her door and met Jane Cameron.
A book that makes me laugh is a joy, a book that makes me cry is a rarity. But a book that moves me to dance is sublime. To Dance in the Desert is a spectacular experience. Beautifully written, deeply moving, and warmly engaging—that this is Kathleen Popa’s first novel astounds me. That she will quickly be counted among the top caliber of Christian novelists delights me. I simply loved this book.
~Kathryn Mackel, Author of The Hidden
Kathleen Popa creates a compelling vision of a small community’s power to coax waning spirits back toward life. This gem of a novel worked on me like a dream. Popa’s evocative prose captured the nuance and complexity of transformation with equal parts mystery and truth. She conjures the deserts of Dara Brogan’s life with intimate clarity, reminding us along the way of the profound strength of what we take far too much for granted—the deep friendship of kindred spirits. This is a journey worth taking.
~Jeff Berryman, Author of Leaving Ruin
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I'd had a great day, writing wise. Got lots done, met my goal, knew where I was heading with the next chapter. The going was tough in that last chapter, but I pressed on and won through.
About the time my husband got home from work, I started feeling flat and listless. (Now, I know what you're thinking, and it isn't true. His coming home had nothing to do with it. I love my DH to death and he's wonderful.) But I couldn't shake this feeling of heaviness in my heart.
I went to my bedroom and had some alone time, pondering, wondering. The longer I lay there staring at the ceiling, the more morose I became.
I decided to take drastic measures. It was time for a long soak in the tub.
It occured to me about halfway through my bath...I was sad because my characters were at odds with one another. In fact, he broke her heart! She stormed out, unable to think or breathe, and though he chased after her, she wouldn't listen to his explanations. Oh, if only she would've listened. If only he hadn't said that. Those poor people, so in love and so miserable!
Are writers silly or what? I can only hope some of my own pathos of the situation is translated into a reader's heart someday.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Today I had thought we were going to the library to work. Got up early. Did the bookwork so I could take in the deposits on the way into downtown. A trip to the library is not taken easily. There's parking to pay for, a parking ramp to maneuver, and a long hike from the parking garage to the entrance to the library due to some really stupid architectural planning. When I go, I plan to stay for awhile to make the trip worth it.
We, the daughter and I, went to the bank, then scooted downtown. What did we find? The whole place was crawling with convention-goers (The Jehovah's Witnesses are in town for FOUR weekends in a row!). The parking ramps for blocks around the library were full to bursting.
Though bummed, we decided we could salvage the day by going to the Coffee Shop on the north side and working there. Anywhere for a change of scene so I could get unstuck on the novel and get back on track. We toddled up to Dunn Bros. Coffee, bought two small diet cokes (neither of us drink coffee) and settled in at a back table. The shop had wi-fi, a dangerous distraction for me, so of course I had to check my email and the ebay auctions where I'm selling my fifth grade curriculum.
The coffee shop turned out to be the O'Hare airport of java joints. There were more people talking on the cell phones and yakking in there than I could deal with. We were there about a half hour, I didn't even open the novel document, and we packed up an left.
Time for plan C. We headed to Grandma's. As I stated on the blog a few weeks ago, my darling MIL has had a recurrance of her cancer, and we stop in to visit her and help her with the housework as often as we can. We dropped in, I staked out the end of her dining room table and I was in business.
The girl and I did chores in between me writing. Gramma's (the MN pronunciation of Grandma) bathroom is sparkly, her laundry's done, and her kitchen floor shines. :)
And I, even with the setback, unscheduled shifts of location, and doing chores, got a whopping 4200 words done today. I wrote right up to the BLACK MOMENT in the novel.
God is good, and flexibility sure comes in handy sometimes.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The Friday Five this week: (Posted a bit early because I'm headed to the Rochester Public Library tomorrow all day to catch up on the WIP. I played hooky today and didn't write a word.)
Favorite Computer Games Old and New:
The Old ones (1980's)
1. Mixed Up Mother Goose
2. Q Basic Gorilla
5. Oregon Trail
1. Big Kahuna Reef
2. Free Cell
3. Zoo Tycoon
Got any favorite computer games that take you away from your life?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
ONE STEP OVER THE BORDER
(Center Street June 12, 2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Bly is a pastor, a mayor, an antique Winchester gun collector and a writer. He's mayor of a town of 308 in the mountains of Idaho, on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. In his spare time, he pursues the three R's of ridin', ropin' and rodeo...and construction of Broken Arrow Crossing, a false-front western village near his home. That keeps him very western. And he collect old Winchester rifles, which reflects his love of historical accuracy. He's also a fan of Jimmy Buffet music. Stephen says about his writing, "I write about the West (historic or modern) from the inside. Born and raised on western ranches, I have both the heart and mind to describe things as they really were...and are. There are those who think the frontier has long passed and with it the ‘code of the west.’ The truth is, both are still around...and it’s fun to show that in a contemporary story. The West is so big, so diverse, so enchanting it’s a thrill to write about it in any era." Stephen is the author of ninety-five books and hundreds of articles.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
This morning (bright and way too early) saw me at the dentist's office. This is never on my list of fun things to do, and I try to stay in complete denial until the very last minute before they say "Open wide". This only marginally works, as I find myself in the waiting room tapping my foot, clenching my fists, and unable to read the glossies on Paris Hilton's latest shocker or Jessica Simpson's new line of designer bikinis. Yeah, no great loss there.
Today I had a new hygenist. (My regular gal, Nicole, had a whole maternity leave thing going on there.) The hygenist took one look in my gaping maw and gasped. "What are those?"
I wanted to gargle out "EEEEFFFF" (What did she think they were?) She pulled the mirror and her digits out of my mouth and said, "Are those stainless steel crowns?" Her face registered shock and horror. I think she might have cast a furtive glance over her shoulder too.
I nodded, suddenly afraid there was a government ban on stainless steel crowns. Were G-men going to storm the cubicle and slap on the cuffs?
She got a rather pinched look on her face. ( I could see this because she wore a Lexan visor instead of the regular paper mask.) "And when did we get those?" (Have you noticed that when a medical professional of any kind wants to act disapproving or wants to cajole you into something, they always speak in terms of 'we'?)
"I got them in 1977."
More shock. Pinchier look. "Those are temporary crowns. They must be replaced and soon."
Now, I've been seeing this dentist for almost 10 years now, and we have this conversation from time to time. Along with the one about flossing more and having my fully impacted wisdom teeth removed even though they aren't bothering me or him. I nodded.
"Why haven't we gotten these replaced?"
Why haven't WE chipped in half of the 1800 bucks? Then WE might think about it. I thought it, but I didn't say it. Proud of me?
Then the most helpful advice yet. "You (she went to the singular here) should've gotten them replaced about ten years ago when crowns were only about a hundred dollars apiece." (In a tone that said if WE had been collaborating ten years ago, WE wouldn't have been so stupid as to have missed such a golden opportunity.)
Still, I got out with shiny, smooth teeth, two stainless steel crowns I've had for thirty years, and new x-rays of my wisdom teeth. (Still not bothering me, but setting the hygenist to twitching.)
How does this relate to writing? My friend and crit partner, Kaye Dacus, blogged about writing a synopsis today. My take? I'd rather go see the dentist.
Friday, July 13, 2007
So how do you stay motivated? I have several ways.
One of the most effective recently is that crazy countdown to the conference. We're under 10 weeks and counting! EEEEK! (Though my new shoes arrived today. :) )
Another is the Zokutou Word Meter. I love seeing that word count slide upwards.
Another way I stay motivated is to have a cheerleader. I have a friend who reads the day's 'take' of writing each night. Not because she's a critic and looking for errors (though she points the obvious ones out from time to time) but because she likes the story and wants to read more. That's a huge motivater for me. I have an audience who wants to read my work.
There's always the chocolate motivater too. But that one has spreading side effects. :)
What motivates you to get on the hamster wheel and run?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
(Bethany House, July 1, 2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist.
In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.Born Michael Robin Parrish on October 13, 1975, Robin's earliest writing efforts took place on a plastic, toy typewriter, and resulted in several "books" (most between 10 and 30 pages long) and even a few magazines.
By the age of thirteen, he had begun winning local writing awards and became a regular in his high school's literary magazine. In college, he garnered acclaim from his English professors and fellow students while maturing and honing his skills.
After college, he entered the writing profession through a "side door" -- the Internet. More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including About.com, CMCentral.com, and his current project Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.
One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.
In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels. A trilogy, to unfold in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.
Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Book Two of the Dominion Trilogy:The world changed after that terrible day when the sky burned, and now every heart is gripped by fear...Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror.
But in the darkness there is hope -- an anonymous but powerful hero whom the public dubs "Guardian." He is Grant Borrows, one of a chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers. But while Grant enjoys this new life, signs of a dangerous ancient prophecy begin coming true, and those closest to Grant worry he may be hiding a terrible secret.A search for answers brings Grant and his friends to London, where an extraordinary discovery awaits that will challenge everything they thought they knew. With a deadly new enemy dogging his steps, Grant realizes that the world's only hope may come from unraveling the truth about himself once and for all. But what he comes face-to-face with leaves even this most powerful of men shaken with fear.Secrets will be revealed.Friends will make the ultimate sacrifice.And destiny will not be denied.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
Wedding Bell Blues
(Avon Inspire 2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda, a native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the author of eighteen historical novels and nine contemporary romances for both the secular and Christian market. A Christy Award finalist, Linda has received numerous awards in both the ABA and CBA, including the Romantic Writers of America's Beacon Award. She lives in Salisbury, Maryland. Learn more!
As the wedding approaches, the Butler family faces a threat to their reputation that will shake this Chesapeake clan to their very core. In the midst of it all, can Alex and Josh resist the many forces that seem to be drawing them together?
Sunday, July 08, 2007
This made me think of my looming goal deadline. Time for a recheck.
Blue remarks are the first checkup in February, Red the checkup in May, and Purple is today's checkup.
1) Finish the first draft of Drums of the North Star (this will mean 1500 words a day, 5 days a week, for six more weeks.)
I've been diligent in working on the manuscript. It now stands at just over 80,000 words, the original projected word count. However, this first draft is going to run closer to 90,000 words before it's all finished. So I've allowed myself a few more days to accomplish this goal. The former deadline was Feb. 14th. The new deadline is Feb. 17th. I'm 'stealing' that Saturday to wrap up the first draft.
First draft done! Woohoo!
Nothing new here. It's still done.
2) Write out plot cards for new book--Pam on Rye--by 3/20/07.
Lots of composting going on with this one. I'm hoping to have all the plot cards done well before this date to give myself a little more time on the deadline for the first draft.
I've got a few cards but have decided I can't finish the cards until I have about 20K words of it done. It's just the way I work. I have tried something new with this one though. I found photos of the characters and locations and did a storyboard. It is stuck on the side of my filing cabinet within easy reach. It's already proven to be a big help.
Have shelved this one for now. Explainations below.
3) Write first draft of Pam on Rye by 6/29/07.
This will be pushing it, but since we will be done with school, and hopefully this addition too, I will be able to focus a lot of concentrated effort on getting this first draft done in the allotted three months.
I've got two chapters written on the first draft. I'm going to have to push this deadline out to the middle to end of July.
Have finished the first four chapters and have sent it through the crit girls. We'll see what they think, but the more I'm away from it, the more I think this isn't what I'm supposed to be working on. I want to write historicals, particularly those based on Minnesota History. That and life issues have drawn me away from this work.
4) Write synopsis/proposal packet for Drums of the North Star, including series ideas.
This one might come up sooner than I'd anticipated, if I do enter the Barclay Sterling contest, as they require a synopsis and query letter with the submission. This will be an August project in preparation for conference.
I did not enter the Barclay Sterling.
Still planning on this being an August project.
5) Write synopsis/proposal packet for Pam on Rye, including series ideas.
Haven't even started this one.
Another August project for me.
I am shelving this for now.
6) Edit and revise Drums of the North Star, particularly the first three chapters and synopsis.
Thanks to some terrific critique partners, this one has already begun. The crit buddies and I are deep into the edits for this book.
Another couple of crit rounds and it will be done! Woohoo!
I'm so thankful. The crits of Drums are done! I'm really pleased with it, though I'm contemplating tweaking the ending just a bit.
7) Edit and revise Pam on Rye, particularly the first three chapters and synopsis.
No action here as all attention has been on Drums of the North Star.
No news here yet.
8) Attend ACFW Conference in September.
This is still the plan. I'm getting excited already!
I've purchased airfare and reserved my hotel room. I have a roommate, and I've chosen my workshops and some editors to meet with. I can't wait for registration to open this Friday!
I've added a countdown widget to the blog. 72 more days! EEK! And today I ordered two pairs of new shoes (I'll break them in when I get them) to wear at the conference. I'll be tweaking my wardrobe choices later in the summer. Now if I can just get all the writing work done in time.
9) Follow up on manuscript request of my first novel, Beauty for Ashes.
The follow-up came. A polite 'no, thank-you.' At least I can cross it off my list of things to do. Silly ms is sitting just where I left it on the bookcase.
10) Pray, pray, pray! (this one should be #1...or #1-10) Still praying. And God is working.
God is still working, though my prayer life has slipped. I need to get back into the swing. Does this happen to anyone else?
God does amazing things. And it is a comfort to me to know that I'm part of an army of people who are bathing the conference in prayer.
11) I'm adding in here join a critique group. (Hee hee hee. I love lists, and I have been known to add things to my list for the day that I've already done, just so I can cross them off. I like to look back on the day/year and see I've gotten at least a FEW things accomplished.)
All I can say is, "Girls, you smell GOOOOOOOOOD!"
This group just keeps getting better and better. We've got inside jokes, honesty, and trust. Trusting your crit partners motives is paramount. If you trust their motives, you can withstand the honesty and laugh at the jokes.
12) Also adding: Enter the Genesis contest for 2007. I'm still waiting on one set of crits before I do a final polish and submit. Rest assured, I'll post when I turn it in.
I entered, first round is over and the winners will be announced in September at the conference. Now I need to get a decent picture of me (is there such a thing?) and send it to the conference coordinator by July 15th.
I got the picture sent in. 13) The Golden Shores First Draft.
This is a new one. It replaces Pam on Rye. I'm almost 1/3 of the way through the first draft and will begin sending it through the crit group soon.
14) The Golden Shores Proposal Packet.
As soon as the writing is done, I'll start on this one.
So, have you checked your goals lately? Are your ducks lining up or are they swimming around on their own somewhere?
Friday, July 06, 2007
Five Things I bought today:
1) Two pairs of new shoes for the First Born.
2) New socks. :)
3) A chocolate chip cookie dough cement mixer from Culvers.
4) Yarn for the First Born to crochet a lap blanket for Gramma (the Minnesota pronunciation of Grandma) and a baby blanket for a friend.
5) The above picture. CJ Kennedy did the artwork. It is a dual Coats of Arms for my family (Bonam) on the right and my husband's family (Vetsch) on the left. I took it to Artistic Framers here in Rochester and had it framed to match two pieces CJ did for me a little over a year ago. Please stop by her website and check out the Illuminated Initials. The White Leaf E and the White Vine P are hanging in my bedroom right now.
Had a fun day with the First Born. The Second Born went to the shop with the husband. The First Born and I went to the library and shopping and out to lunch. I got 2K words on the new novel. And two new characters showed up. :) I love it when that happens.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, andAllah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.
TASK FORCE VALOR
EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE DISPOSAL--THE BOMB SQUADAs the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.A DEADLY EXPLOSIONA new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.AN ADVENTURE ABROADFernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.A RISKY RESCUEWhen Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?