Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This Week From CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
SURRENDER BAY
(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)
by
Denise Hunter

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too! In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.

ABOUT THE BOOK: When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home. As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. Chris Baty, a fun-loving guy from California, started a group called NaNoWriMo whose goal each November is to pound out 50,000 word novels every November.

The group has grown from a handful of coffeehouse junkies to more than 15,ooo participants last year.

This year, I am going to participate. I'll be working on my new ms "Hope of the North Star". In order to be eligible I will have to start from scratch, which won't be all bad, since my beginning the first time around does not exactly start with a bang.

In order to succeed at the NaNo, you must write an average of 1666.66 words per day for 30 days. Knowing I won't be able to write every day next month, I will have to try to load up early, with at least 2000 words per day as often as I can.

Even more fun, my daughter is planning on participating with me. She will be an unofficial participant, penning her first novel. She's got a hero, a dilemma, a pretty girl, a villain, and a dramatic conclusion. So she's all set.

You can view my progress via the NaNo site under the username ericavetsch.

p://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node

Special thanks to CJ for the Honorary NaNo Participant graphic for Heather. And yay for CJ for becoming an unofficial NaNoWriMo writer herself. November will be a wild ride!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bonus Coverage from CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
THE RETURN(Navpress Publishing Group July 13, 2007)by
Austin Boyd

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer, and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery, and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism. THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof

ABOUT THE BOOK:

IS SEEING BELIEVING? Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race." While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.
Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.
From the Back Cover: With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity."--Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar

Saturday, October 27, 2007

38 questions


1.Name one person who made you laugh last night? CJ. She just slays me.


2. What were you doing at 0800? If it was AM, I was peering at the clock wondering if I could squeeze out five more minutes of sleep before I had to get up...and nope, I couldn't. If it was PM, I was at a reception at church for David Roberson, who is shipping out with the U.S. Marine Corps today.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Just coming in from the Ladies' Fall Luncheon at church.

4. What happened to you in 2006? I got to meet CJ in real life. And her Young One too!
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? OOO, I'll play CJ's blog tag.
6. How many beverages did you have today? Since it is only noon, not that much. Two glasses of water at the luncheon and a diet coke from Burger King.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Gray
8. What was the last thing you paid for? Diet Coke from Burger King.
9. Where were you last night? At the reception, then home.
10. What color is your front door? Green
11. Where do you keep your change? I keep it in my purse, then when I clean out my purse, I usually have about five dollars worth of change which I divide between my kids' piggy banks. (Which aren't piggies at all, but are in fact Dalmatians.)
12. What’s the weather like today? Gorgeous fall weather, crisp, sunny and perfect.
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Strawberry
14. What excites you? Writing a really good chapter.

15. Do you want to cut your hair? Always.
16. Are you over the age of 25? I am 29.95 plus shipping and handling.
17. Do you talk a lot? I don't think I talk too much. But some people think I talk too much. Do you think I talk too much? I've heard it said from time to time I talk too much, but what's too much, right? I mean, really, it's hard to quantify too much...
18. Do you watch the O.C.? Nope, never.
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes, my nephew, Sophomore and football player extrordinaire.
20. Do you make up your own words? Yes.
21. Are you a jealous person? Sometimes

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Ann

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kaye.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Don't have caller ID, so I don't know.
25. What does the last text message you received say? "nite" from CJ.
26. Do you chew on your straw? No, but I've been known to wind one up and pop it.
27. Do you have curly hair? Yup, and lots of it.
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? Church in the morning, I think.
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Gonna plead the fifth amendment here and not incriminate anyone.
30. What was the last thing you ate? Chinese food at the luncheon.
.31. Will you get married in the future? Nope. I've got the pick of the litter now. And I don't want to housebreak another one.
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? The Legend of Zorro, but only because it is the ONLY movie I can remember watching in the last two weeks.

33. Is there anyone you like right now? My Dear Husband.
34. When was the last time you did the dishes? Today at the luncheon, washed up the serving dishes myself.
35. Are you currently depressed? Nope
36. Did you cry today? Nope.
37. Why did you answer and post this? I like to play with CJ and it was on her blog.
38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. Does anyone want to play?

Attention, Jim!


Jim, who replied to the previous blog entry on Amy Grant's MOSAIC. You won one of the books, but you've failed to contact me so I can send it to you. The clock is ticking! Please contact me at ducky1969 at hotmail dot com to redeem your prize. Failure to do so by November first disqualifies you as a winner and your copy will go to another. Hurry!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Friday Five


This week's Friday Five is:
Five things I have considered doing in order to avoid rewrites.
1. Clean my bathroom. Yes, in desperate times such as these, I consider calling in the Scrubbing Bubbles and Tidy Bowl Man. The bathroom could use a sprucing up, but that won't get the rewrites done.
2. Read more of Noah Lukeman's The Plot Thickens. After all, this would be a writing related activity...it just wouldn't get the rewrites done.
3. Fold laundry. I have a few baskets of clean laundry sitting beside me that I could fold. It is our practice here to do all the laundry up in one day, then fold it all and put it away all at once. But I COULD fold some of it now...but that wouldn't get the rewrites done.
4. Research and find major plot points for the new novel. (What I'd really like to be doing now.) But that won't get the rewrites done.
5. Blog the Friday five...Well, now that that is done, I suppose I shall have to get on with the rewrites.
What things have you done to avoid writing, rewriting, etc.?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday or Whinesday?



Okay, I admit it. Wednesday was Whinesday for me. (Tuesday was too.) I was whining with abandon.
You see, something that I thought wasn't my monkey turned out to be my monkey after all. And I whined. I kicked against it. I told God I wanted out!
God said, "Not yet, kiddo."
I wish I could say I quit whining right there and started acting like a mature adult, but...
It took me until today to pull myself together, yank on my big girl pants, and get positive. I accomplished part of what needed to be done, found out I didn't have to do it all by myself as a dear friend stepped up to do the part I am least comfortable with (hospitality and decorating) and I decided not to be discouraged over the lack of participation from others. Those who are involved in this little shindig on Saturday are going to have a rollicking good time, be blessed by some fellowship with other believers, and those who didn't come...well, maybe next time.
And No More Whining (at least not about this.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This Week From CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Illuminated
(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)
by
Matt Bronleewe



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally. To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within. Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
IT'S BEEN 500 YEARS IN THE MAKING...PREPARE TO BE ILLUMINATED...August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful, hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles. It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out. If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure. The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11." -Aspiring Retail Magazine

MY REVIEW: I was very excited about the premise for this novel. After reading it, I felt the book delivered on some of its promises, and fell short on some others. The research is excellent, but sometimes the pace of the story slowed for an information dump on ancient manuscripts. Some plot threads led to nowhere, and the characterization felt light. It felt like, in an effort to be action-packed, setting, emotion, and description were sacrificed. I didn't get a definite spiritual message from this story.

On the upside, the book is entertaining, the action moves swiftly, and the star of the show is a precocious child with the mind of a wizard. There are several visual aids in the text of the illuminations under examination that are very helpful in following the story. I am hoping subsequent books in this series feature these same characters, as I would like to get to know them better than I did in the first book.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Goals for 2007-2008



It's that time of year. Goal Time!
Last winter I set out about a dozen specific goals to be completed by the time the ACFW conference rolled around in September. I'm happy to say I completed nearly all of them. The one notable exception was swapping out writing a "Sandwich Lit" book for writing a short historical romance instead. But most all those goals terminated at the conference, so it is time to make out a new set of goals.
1. Research 1870's southwest Minnesota.
2. Write a first draft of "Hope of the North Star" (tentative title) by February 14th, 2008. {I don't know why I chose this date, but there it is.}
3. Edit and rewrite "Hope of the North Star" by May 15th, 2008.
4. Write proposal packet, synopsis, and pitch for HOTNS before September 2008.
5. Work on Deep Editing Course by Margie Lawton, incorporating what I'm learning.
6. Read 5 books on craft this year.
That will be enough to be going on with. I'm searching around for what to work on after Hope of the North Star is finished. I have a few things in mind, so we'll see where it goes from here.
I'll try to post monthly updates on how I'm doing. I know for myself, having specific goals makes a huge difference in what I accomplish. I challenge you to write down some goals of your own and check back on them from time to time to see how they are coming along.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

And The Winners Are...



The winners of Amy Grant's MOSAIC are:
Lori
Jim
and Georgiana!
Please contact me at ducky1969 @ hotmail dot com with your snail mail address so I can ship the books to you.
Congratulations and thank you for participating! We'll be having another drawing very soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Friday Five - a wee bit early


Five cool writing quotes I have come across.


1. I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

2. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown

3. Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that agreat deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

4. Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. ~Flannery O'Connor

5. A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián

What about you? Got any favorite quotes about writing? Or do any of these touch close to home?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This Week From CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
CRIMSON EVE
(Zondervan October 30, 2007)
by
Brandilyn Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith. Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why? Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”– Library Journal, starred review

“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”–TitleTrakk.com

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses

Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.


MY REVIEW: This review is less about the book (WHICH WAS TOTALLY AMAZING!) and more about the author. It was my great privilege to meet Brandilyn Collins at the ACFW Conference this past year. She was so busy with being the emcee and manning the prayer room and seeing to a bazillion details that I wasn't able to speak to her until the last day. She was sitting in the lobby waiting for her departure, and I was able to pounce on her. Well, not pounce, but at least speak to her. I wanted to tell her how much I enjoyed her book CORAL MOON and how chapter 13 scared the hoo-ha out of me.

What a gracious lady! Brandilyn asked if I had read VIOLET DAWN, the first in the Kanner Lake series. I told her that I had not. She pulled an autographed copy out of her bag and gave it to me right then and there.

The flight from Dallas to Chicago, then from Chicago to Rochester, went by in a minute! I kept finding myself forgetting to blink, I was reading so fast.

Brandilyn has an unbelievable talent for grabbing the reader, strapping them into a wild rollercoaster of a plot, and hitting the GO! button.

In Crimson Tide, she created a character that at first I thought was too snarky to be likable, but within just a couple pages, I was championing Carla Radling's cause.

A beautiful thing about this book is that while there are many twists and turns, I didn't get the feeling, as I have lately from some Christian fiction, that the twists and plot jolts were in there just for the shock value. Each new development felt right, integral to the plot, and very plausible.

I highly recommend CRIMSON EVE and I can't wait until the next Kanner Lake book, AMBER MORN releases!



Don't forget to leave a comment on MOSAIC: by Amy Grant in order to have a chance to win one of the THREE copies of this book On The Write Path is giving away this week.







Monday, October 15, 2007

Special Book Review! Amy Grant's Mosaic

Grammy Award-winning artist Amy Grant has lived in the spotlight since bursting onto the Christian music scene as a teenager thirty years ago. In that time her work, marriage, and spiritual life have been subject to varying degrees of adulation and criticism.

Now in her first autobiographical book, Grant bares her heart and soul, giving readers an intimate glimpse into her everyday life and the lessons she's learning along the way. From lighthearted reminiscences of her Tennessee childhood to painfully honest reflections on the journey of faith, her vivid writing draws readers into her world while simultaneously creating space for them to rethink their own perspectives on life.

With honesty and depth, Grant offers poignant and often startling insights on motherhood, marriage, friendship, faith, loss, forgiveness, and redemption. Never-before-shared stories about her husband, country music star Vince Gill, provide a look into her life as a celebrity, while intimate portraits of her mother and musings on the past reveal the various pieces of a life blessed with jagged edges as well as vivid colors. Readers will find their preconceived notions of this music icon stripped away as they settle in for a warmly satisfying conversation with a gracious and wise friend.

MY REVIEW: The last sentence of the book blurb above is so true. I had preconceived notions about Amy Grant. After all, with my super-strict upbringing, she was on the NO-NO! list when her music first hit Christian circles. Then, when I went to college, I listened to her Christmas music on the college radio station. The man I started dating (and later married) was a huge Amy Grant fan, had all her albums, and had been to at least one of her concerts. I nearly wore out one of her cassettes driving between home and the community college after I was married.

I was sad when I heard Amy and her husband of many years were divorcing. I still loved her music, but I couldn't help but feel saddened that her testimony as a Christian artist was marred by the failure of her marriage.

When I heard about Mosaic and had the chance to review it, my first thought was: "A ha! NOW I will find out what happened in that marriage that made it come apart. Amy Grant will put up some defense, lay out the reasons, and clear her name."

That's not what Mosaic is about at all. Though Amy touches on that difficult time in her life, the book isn't a blow-the-lid-off expose. It's about how God uses all the little bits of our life, some broken, some whole, some flawed, some perfect, to create a mosaic of beautiful colors that glorifies Him. Family, work, nature, the past, the present, our hope for the future, hard stuff, funny stuff, acclaim, shame, treasures, junk, pain, and joy. No two people's mosaic is the same, but they are all beautiful works of God.

When I finished the book, I laid it in my lap and said to my husband, "I feel like I just had a long conversation with a dear friend. This book was less about Amy Grant than about the God she can see moving through every aspect of her life."


Amy was very courageous to pen these stories, giving us an intimate look at her Mosaic-in-Progress. I certainly reflected on my own as a result of reading this book.

I encourage you to read Mosaic. It will change the way you think about a lot of things.






To purchase a copy of Mosaic, CLICK HERE.



As an added bonus, WaterBrook Press is joining with On The Write Path to give away THREE copies of this book. To be eligible to win, just leave a comment on this post by Friday, Oct. 19th 2007. The winners will be posted on Saturday, October 20th.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tagged!

I was tagged by Carla Stewart for this fun little exercise.

It's called the 10-20-30 tag. The idea is to post what you were doing 10, 20, and 30 years ago.

10 years ago, I was a stay at home mom with a two year old and a five year old in Rochester, MN. We lived in a mobile home on the shop lot of the family lumber business, and from time to time a customer would think my home was the business office and just walk in. I learned to lock the door.

20 years ago I was graduating from high school in Salina, Kansas and on my way to college at Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, MO. I met my husband to be the first month of my freshman year.

30 years ago...I was eight. I was in third grade at Hageman School, my teacher was obsessed with all things Little House on the Prairie, and she gave me a D in reading and put me in the remedial reading class. My mother was flabbergasted because I loved reading more than anything and read all the time at home.

I tag:

CJ at The Compost Heap
Donna at Layers of Life
Kaye at Write Place, Write Time
Georgiana at Georgiana D
Jess at JessyFerguson
Rachel The Headhopper
Sally at SallyBradley.com

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five is: Five things I saw yesterday when I went on a lumber delivery with my husband. We went about 300 miles and made seven stops. Fall has come to MN.

Canada Geese. These are unremarkable in MN, particularly in Rochester. There are more Canada geese than people in Rochester which has a population of about 100K. But I still like them.






I saw a flock of eight Great Blue Herons, more than I'd seen all in one place before.







Wild turkeys. These guys are everywhere! Flocks of a dozen to sometimes as many as fifty! I love it when the Gobblers face off and puff up their feathers. The hens around them don't seem to be paying any attention.
Black Scoters on Clear Lake in Waseca. These guys are fast!
In Waterville, MN, we saw a white squirrel darting across a lawn, scattering leaves everywhere. I'd never seen a white squirrel before. HE'd sure be hard to see in the snow!
Have you had a chance to get out and enjoy the fall weather? Have you seen anything interesting?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This Week From CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
NOBODY
(Multnomah Fiction September 11, 2007)
by
Creston Mapes




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children. He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.


ABOUT THE BOOK: Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas! They said, “He’s a nobody.” They were dead wrong. When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop. His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands? With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself. Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?

“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Seen on a bumper sticker today


"Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup."
Sound advice.
Seen any good bumper stickers lately?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Obligatory glass of Whine


Okay, folks, it's time for my obligatory glass of Whine. I'm at the start of a new book. The first fifty pages of a new novel are the WORST for me. I can't think where to start, I can't seem to get a grasp of my characters, and I can't work up enough courage or confidence in myself and my writing ability to get into a rhythm and pour words on the page.
Since this is by far not my first novel, I know the pattern. Whine and fuss and kick, write in fits and starts, compost, plot, whine some more, squeeze out a few more pages, till one day (usually a stolen Saturday) the pieces click and the words tumble out.
Today I got 500 words on paper. Felt more like I wrote a million.
Pass the cheeze. I'm whining.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Writer's Friend




I have read books on craft. I have attended writer's conferences. I have been part of face-to-face crit groups. I have been (and still am in) on-line crit groups. I have purchased writing aids, lecture notes, experts on tape, post it notes, index cards, workbooks, and highlighters.

And what is the most valuable piece of my writing arsenal when it comes to starting a new novel?
My daughter, Heather! (15 and pictured in front of the bookcases in my office.) I plot my novels out loud with her when I first get started, outlining what needs to happen when, and how to get to the conclusion I want.
Today she helped me with the new novel, tentatively entitled Hope of the North Star. The title might change as I get to know the story better. Heather helped me organize my thoughts, find a subplot, and define the scope of the story. I had a theme and she helped me refine it.
I don't want to write a novel without her!

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Friday Five



This week's Friday Five:
Five things you will NEVER hear me say.
1. Go Yankees!
2. Could I have another cup of coffee, please?
3. Let's go to Red Lobster!
4. What? There's a new Will Farrell spoof movie out? I'm SO There!
5. I'd LOVE to play the piano in church!
There are so many more, but I think I'll save those for another week.
What would I never hear YOU say?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Pithy Thought


Most of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn't spend half our time wishing. ~Alexander Woollcott
I came across this quote on Jess Ferguson's Blog. And how true it is.

This Week From CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
THE TROPHY WIVES CLUB
Avon Inspire (September 4, 2007)
by
Kristin Billerbeck

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and majored in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then, she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing. She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year. Featured in the New York Times and USA Today, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show for her pioneering role in Christian chick lit. Her last three books were:

ABOUT THE BOOK: Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon. When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity. With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisors, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before. But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A stolen Saturday



This past Saturday my daughter and I stole out early for another "girl's day out" foray to the library.
We had breakfast at the Old Country Buffet, where, thank the Lord, we were almost finished before the two massive busses pulled up carrying nearly sixty college football players. These were some of the largest men I have ever seen. That buffet didn't stand a chance.
Then it was on to the library. Have I mentioned how much I love the library? I spent a happy five hours searching the card catalog online, wandering the stacks, and best of all, reading The Rochester Post from 1873 to 1877 on microfilm.
I didn't do any writing, as this was a research and fact-finding mission. What surprised me most was the information I couldn't find. I could not find a biography of John Sergeant Pillsbury (of doughboy fame) former governor of Minnesota. I also couldn't run any book to earth that focused specifically on German Immigrants in Minnesota. In particular, I need information on wedding customs, church, cuisine, and dress.
Heather and I did a little shopping after the library. The first stop on our list was Caribou Coffee. We had a funeral on Sunday at our church and the deceased specified he wanted Caribou Coffee served at his funeral.
I am coffee illiterate. I walked in and looked at the bags of coffee. Picked one up. Uh-oh. These are beans, not ground coffee. (Please, remember I'm coffee illiterate.) I walked up to the counter and asked the Barista (I watch TV. I know they are called Baristas. I just hope I'm spelling it right.) if they could grind the beans for me. She smiled, almost patted my hand like 'it's-okay-I'll-walk-you-through-this-step-by-step', and took the two bags. Quicker than you can say 'Shurgar won the Derby' she had them ground up and resealed and in a bag.
A bonus was that for every one pound bag of coffee you purchased, they were offering a free drink. This would've been so amazing if I actually drank coffee. Heather had something called a Snowdrift. Ice and milk and Oreo's all whipped together and topped with lots of frothy cream and more cookie bits. I, the coffee philistine, had a bottle of diet coke from the cooler.
I've been pouring over my research books and preparing for the beginning of another novel. Things are falling into place. I'm excited right now, but be prepared for some whining soon. The first forty pages of a novel are always the hardest for me. The goal is to have a first draft done by Valentine's Day. Time to get a new countdown widget! :)