Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pacts, Compacts, and Agreements


What motivates you? What motivates you to write a novel, to lose weight, reach higher or go farther than you've ever done before?
For me, having someone hold me accountable is always the best motivation. Followed closely by having someone who is trying to accomplish the same thing I am at the same time. (A little competition, or is it that misery loves company?)
This past week I got motivation from two different sources. A friend and I are trying to lose weight. (I've lost 26 lbs so far, celebrate with me!) This friend and I encourage each other to eat smart, exercise more, and get healthier. She's doing great too!
I also entered into an agreement with my DCCP's (Dazzlingly Clever Crit Partners) to write 7K words per week for the month of July, a feat that, if I accomplish it, will bring me to the conclusion of my current WIP. We check in with each other every day, and we will submit for crit every 14 days. Hopefully, this will leave enough time to get the work critiqued and tweaked before September 21st.
So what motivates you? Do you need a support staff, or do you prefer to do it on your own?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Friday Five


Last week my DH took me and the kids to see Kung Fu Panda. We really enjoyed it. So here are my five favorite lines from KFP.
1. You had the noodle dream!
2. We do not wash our pits in the Pool of Sacred Tears.
3. I see you've found the Peach Tree of Wisdom.
4. Turtle "There is no such thing as bad news. There is only news."
Shi Fu "Tai Lung has escaped from jail."
Turtle: "That is bad news."
5. Ski-doosh!
And there are so many more. If you haven't seen this movie, go! It's hilarious.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CFBA



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Calico Canyon
Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)
by
Mary Connealy




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation. Mary has also written Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.




ABOUT THE BOOK: Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process? Running from her abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas. As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormenters who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they? Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.When God throws Grace and Daniel together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning.Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?




If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE




My REVIEW: LOVED IT! Oh, man, this book was terrific. I was so happy to return to Mosqueros, Texas and greet the friends I made in Petticoat Ranch. Mary keeps getting better and better. Daniel is a rugged, very appealing hero, and Grace is a tender and tough heroine. I laughed all the way through the scene with the parson, feeling their frustration, like being caught in an avalanche. You won't find a better historical romantic comedy on bookshelves this year. (At least until Mary's next book comes out.)


Mary graciously agreed to answer some of my questions about Calico Canyon, and I thought I would post her answers here for you to enjoy as well.

A Q&A with Mary:
Q. How on earth did you manage such a large cast of characters so smoothly? Each of the Reeves boys has his own personality, and I never once got confused as to who was who. One of the classes I hope to take at the conference is Rene Gutteridge's managing the ensemble cast, but I think you could teach a course on this yourself.

Erica, this was a serious challenge, especially with those boys. I wondered long and hard about having so many and making them come to life. I’m so glad you think I did it. You know the scene where Grace tells the boys how she tells them apart?
Yes, there were physical differences but then, at the end of that, when she glared, good naturedly at Mark and says, "I know you from the fire in your eyes", well, I tried to give Mark that fire through the whole book. He was the most developed of the five, but all the boys were real to me, and I focused on having every word they said, within this parameter where they all acted so, so much alike, to be faithful to those differences.
I got the idea for Luke the so-tough-he’s-scary youngest from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ if you’ve seen that and remember Gladys Herdman, she was the youngest and the meanest of them all.
And I liked the idea that the oldest would SEEM to be the leader but he was very subtly taking orders from a stronger personality than his own.
Throw in Ike, the animal lover and the ‘good one’ John and I had the whole set.

Q. I love how you balanced the passion and the humor. And I love how you handled Daniel's POV. What do you do to make sure you're "Thinking like a man" when you write the male POV?

I guess with this, just like telling the boys apart, I’m mainly just delighted that you think I managed it. I try to base a lot of my men characters on two things, one is something my husband says a lot. “Men think things through, Women talk things through.”
I think he means that as an insult. LOL
Anyway, so I have Daniel making unilateral decisions, without explaining WHY and without letting anyone else in on the process of making the decisions.
And the other thing is; I don’t think men are very sensitive to ‘vibes’. If a woman glares at them and says, “Fine!” and stalks off—the man goes his own direction thinking things are really fine.
How foolish of him.
Q. Will Hannah appear in further books? She was such an endearing character. I want to read more about her.

Hannah is the heroine of book three, Gingham Mountain, coming next September. I really loved Hannah. She is so quietly strong, but not particularly brave. She is particularly afraid of men. She doesn’t confront of fight, she just endures and has a heart so big she can’t say no to a child in need even when it means she goes without.
When she runs into a man who adopts children—just like her awful father Parrish—she immediately imagines the worst. Grant Cooper's family of orphans has been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children—it’s Grant she can't stand.
Thank you, Mary, for answering my questions. I loved the book, and I know my readers will too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione
(Multnomah Books - June 17, 2008)
by
Chuck Black
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chuck Black first wrote Kingdom’s Edge to inspire his children to read the Bible with renewed zeal. This captivating expanded parable led him to write the Old Testament allegories, Kingdom’s Dawn and Kingdom’s Hope. Chuck added three more titles to the series, Kingdom’s Call, Kingdom’s Quest, and Kingdom’s Reign which were released in May of 2007. Chuck is a former F-16 fighter pilot and currently works as an engineer for a firm designing plastic consumer products. He has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and served eight years in the United States Air Force. Chuck and his wife Andrea have six children and live in North Dakota. It is Chuck’s desire to serve the Lord through his work and to inspire people of all ages to study the scriptures in order to discover the hope and love of a truly majestic King and His Son.
ABOUT THE BOOK A dangerous new order threatens the mission of the Knights of Arrethtrae. Only loyalty to the King can bring victory! As the Knights of the Prince await His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized. Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Vincero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione where Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion. When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of a mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra. Journey to Arrethtrae, where these knights of noble heart live and die in loyal service to the King and the Prince. These knights are mighty, for they serve a mighty King. They are...the Knights of Arrethtrae!
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Brag Time

Have to take a moment to brag on the eldest. This week she passed her Red Cross Lifeguard Training with flying colors.
Kudos to Heather. I'm so proud of you, girl!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five:

Five facts about the MN State Capitol's Quadriga.

1. Sculpted by Daniel Chester Finch and Edward Potter, it was placed on the State Capitol in 1906.

2. It is called "Progress of the State."

3. The Four Horses represent the powers of nature: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water. (though some speculate they actually represent the Minnesota taxpayers, beasts of burden pulling the gilded chariot of government.)

4. The Man represents prosperity. The women represent civilization.

5. The entire statue is gilded. The total amount of gold used would be equal to about a tennis ball's worth.

Does your state have a famous statue? Landmark?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Hunted
(Realms - June 3, 2008)
by
Mike Dellosso

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted. He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity. You can read a great interview with Mike, over here on TitleTrakk.

ABOUT THE BOOK: A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith... After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible. But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence. As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God's hands. Will his young faith be strong ehough to battle the demonic forces of The Hunted?

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

Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti-if you liked The Oath and Monster, you are going to love The Hunted. --C.J. Darlington, Cofounder and book editor, Titletrakk.com
A spine-tingling tale of hidden secrets, buried hopes, and second chances. A story best read with all the lights on and an extra flashlight--just in case! --Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams

Mike Dellosso's pins-and-needles thriller hurtles the reader down a dark and twisted path. I dare you to take this one home! --Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief suspense series

With hints of Frank Peretti and Stephen King, The Hunted is a chilling debut." --Creston Mapes, author of Nobody

A vicious enemy, a family secret, a thirst for revenge, and a need for reconciliation all drive The Hunted from intriguing beginning to thrilling conclusion." --Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished

Read this someplace safe as you experience the incredibly descriptive world of The Hunted. And sleep with the lights on. --Austin Boyd, author of Mars Hill Classified trilogy

How deep is God's love?

This past week has been full of ups and downs. I've learned anew how blessed I am with a wonderful family and very supportive friends.

I've also learned anew the love of God. I was listening to Robin Jones Gunn's Sisterchicks on the Loose, and one character tells the other to drop her bucket down deep into the well of God's love. That resonated with me.

I've been speaking truth to myself all week when I felt panicky and out of control. (Control is an illusion, BTW.)

The verses that I've been quoting are:


Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

and

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God is good, ALL the time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fistful of Mondays



This last week had at least FOUR Mondays in it. Everything from snafus at the pharmacy to being unable to get a raincheck at KMart for the ONE thing my husband asked me to pick up for him.
But this is a whole new week, and even though today is Monday, it's going along pretty well.
This passage from Psalm 107 has brought me comfort of late:
1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
3 And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
5 Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
7 And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Deep In The Heart Of Trouble
(Bethany House June 1, 2008)
by
Deeanna Gist
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deanne Gist has been a busy lady. She had a career in elementary education. She raised four children. In fifteen years she has: run a home accessory/antique business, been a member of the press, penned freelance journalism for a few well-known publications, People, Parents, Family Fun and more. She was the CFO for her husband's engineering company, she did all this in her home. She also founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products which would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility, and provide character building activities. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing. Eight months later, she submitted A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers and they picked it up for their new "edgy inspirational" line of historical fiction. After its release in July 2005, Bride hit eight best seller lists and has sold over 100,000 copies and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2006. The Measure of a Lady was her 2006 summer release. It hit five best seller lists and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2007. Gist is contracted to have a new book come out every summer. Courting Trouble was her 2007 summer release and it hit three best seller lists. Deeanne lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-four years. They have two kids in high school, two in college.
ABOUT THE BOOK A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she’s known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man’s eye. And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer’s oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune--not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn’t know if she’s driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope. That’s how life is ...Deep In The Heart Of Trouble
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE
“Christy Award winner Gist’s historical romances have increasingly gained popularity, combining witty dialog, well-balanced plots, and fully developed characters who seem almost real. Recommended for CF and romance collections.”-- Library Journal
"Gist does it again! Her signature prose is consistent and she delivers a thoroughly delightful and entertaining story that’s worthy of our time and attention. Not only won’t you want to put this book down, you’ll want to enjoy this story again and again."-- JUNE TOP PICK, 4-1/2 STARS, Romantic Times, Jennifer Reyes
"Gist has once again written a delightfully humorous historical romance. After reading the first book in this series of two, I was anxious to get my hands on this one. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed ... It is a spectacular, feel-good story which I highly recommend. You will definitely be glad you read it."-– FIVE STAR RATING, The Romance Studio, Brenda Talley

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five:



Five things I wanted to be when I grew up:







1. A nurse. (Addicted to Cherry Ames books as a kid. Those and Sue Barton.)

2. A vet. I couldn't think of anything better from the time I was five to the time I was about twelve.

3. A teacher. This one I actually managed to pull off. Got a degree in secondary education and taught jr high and high school history. Now I teach my two kidlets at home.

4. A cowboy. Mostly because I wanted my own horse, and this was one occupation where a horse is a necessity.

5. A mom. Got my wish there too.


What about you? What did you wanna be when you grew up?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Specs

Today I got a new pair of specs. :) They're a little smaller and a lot lighter than my other pair.

It sure was easy to pick out my new pair. The eye doctor had a wall full of frames, but since I don't like boxy little plastic square lenses, and I don't like the teensy, dime-sized lenses that are popular today, that narrowed the selection down to two pairs that were round and large enough not to make me go bonkers when I looked up and down while at the computer. And one of those pairs was pink. That's all it took. I now have a pair of bronz-ish wire-framed glasses big enough to see through. :)

CFBA



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing a double pair
House of Dark Shadows and Watcher In The Woods (Books 1 and 2 in the Dreamhouse Kings Series)
Thomas Nelson (May 6, 2008)
by
Robert Liparulo
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly. Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children. Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson. Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct! And his third book Deadfall. debuted to rave reviews!
ABOUT THE BOOKS
House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings Book 1) Dream house...or bad dream? When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land. But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house. They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school. Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.

Watcher In The Woods (Dreamhouse Kings Book 2) It's not just the house that's keeping secrets. Pretending everything's all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They're hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what's going on. But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding--just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body? The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house's secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?
The Dreamhouse Kings Series has three contests that you will not want to miss...Dream the Scene, a weekly "Thanks For Reading" Trivia contest, and the Dreamhouse Kings Street Team contest. There are also free bookplates that you can request, and a chapter of each book that you can download! You can get all those goodies HERE.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All shook up


Sometimes life feels like you're standing in the middle of a snow globe while an earthquake rolls.
Just when you think things are settling down and calm will return, you're jounced around and surrounded by swirling flakes so thick you can't see ahead.
It sure is good to know the Hands that are holding your snowglobe. No matter how tumultuous the storm, He'll never let you fall.

Minnesota Maze


Just yesterday I got the crits back on the last 1/4th of the novel I wrote this winter. So now on my horizon are the massive rewrites needed to strengthen this novel.
For me, it's like a maze, lots of ways to go, but only one really good one. I'm a self admitted sufferer of WADs (Word Attachment Disorder). I don't seem to have any trouble tweaking the minor things, the over-use of words, repetitive sentence structure, places where I was unclear. It's the structural rewrites that give me fits. One of my crit partners pointed out a weakness at the end of this novel that I suspected but hoped they would let slide. (Like THAT Ever Happens) I'm faced with a major rewrite.
In the current WIP, I had to go back to the beginning and change both the hero's motivation and his family associations. It has taken me over a week to comb through the first 70 pages. And I know it will need another going over once the ms is finished.
I wonder if there is an offshoot of WADs that includes a propensity for impatience and a shying away from the hard work? I'd sure like to have a perfect ms the first time out of the box. But that's not how it works. It takes a lot of polishing, reworking, rewriting, critiques. So I'll buckle down and rewrite.
Anyone else got WADs? With the Impatience Gene?

Monday, June 09, 2008

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
I Heart Bloomberg
David C. Cook (April 1, 2008)
by
Melody Carlson
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including three of her latest, These Boots Weren't Made For Walking, A Mile In My Flip-Flops, and Mixed Bags. 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. Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It’s the “whosoever” part that gets me. That’s who I write for – “whosoever” and to me that means everyone and anyone. Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with I Heart Bloomberg that functions mostly to set up future storylines. Three women rent rooms at 86 Bloomberg Place.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Kendall's managed to wrangle her grandmother's house-free and clear-except for the rules. No male roommates. But that's ok, with the right ad she'll pull in some girls, their rent and if she's lucky, she won't have to go to work any time soon.For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can't take another day in her aunt's tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers; and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades. Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths. And they struggle to become the women they want to be, they'll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love, and the true meaning of friendship.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Friday Five



This week the kids and I have been enjoying watching Zoo Diaries, a series of half-hour episodes of life behind the scenes of the Metro Toronto Zoo. The series is well done, and we've really been enjoying it. It's given me an idea for a new book. :)

One of the fun things about this series is getting to know the keepers as well as the animals. So this week's Friday Five is Five Things that would prevent me from being a zoo keeper.

1. The number of zoo animals that eat bugs. I hate bugs. I would hate to have to grab a live cricket and hand it to a marmoset. (Something that occured on the show.)

2. The stubborness of the largest animals. They have a pachyderm that sometimes takes hours to lead into the barn overnight. Unfortunately for them, this elephant is the herd matriarch and if she doesn't want to cooperate, she prevents the other six or seven female elephants from cooperating as well. Makes for some very long nights.

3. Things that slither or have more than four legs. Keepers wrangle pythons and tarntulas. None for me thanks.

4. Broken hearts. I'd get so attached to my charges, then when tragedy strikes (as in the newborn Siberian tiger that had to be euthanized) or when an animal is adopted out to another zoo due to overcrowding, I'd be bawling my little Yoda eyes out.

5. Zoo Poo. Nuff Said.

How about you? Watched any good series lately?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Cool Kids

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Have I mentioned what cool kids I have? Yesterday they had eye appts (like me) and we all got our pupils dilated. They got the cheapy temporary sunshades for the ride home. All the way home they laughed at how funny they looked and hummed and sang "Secret Agent Man." When we got home, they posed for this picture.


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And here is a close-up of one of my iris blossoms. I love the big, showy peach ones, but the purple and white are lovely too. Flowers are late this year. It's been so cool and rainy. My peonies are ready to pop any minute now. I can't wait. I have two new varieties I planted last year.

What's blooming where you are?

The Mom I Want To Be



A woman's experience as a mother is influenced by the mothering she received as a child. If neglect was a part of that upbringing, the woman who holds a newborn and faces the responsibility of parenting needs a healthy vision of motherhood.


T. Suzanne Eller compassionately discusses how a woman can turn from a painful past and embrace a godly example of motherhood. She shares


-how shattered legacies can be put back together
-the path to restoring the broken image of motherhood
-ways to let go and embrace a new story


This is a celebration of God's healing power and how all women can become the mom they want to be.

And here's a review from a friend of mine who read the book. (Well, actually, she's a friend of a friend...a long story.)

On my bookshelf are many books by Christian authors on the subject about being a “mom” but not until reading T. Suzanne Eller’s book, The Mom I Want to Be, have I come across any that are as brutally honest as what she shares. She was conceived during a rape, abandoned by her biological father, and raised by a distant stepfather and an abusive and sometimes suicidal mother. How would you expect something good to come of this situation? Through God’s grace in her teen years, Ms. Eller found hope and the bravery to begin healing her past so she wouldn’t perpetuate the unhealthy parenting legacy. Her personal, faith-filled, loving relationship with her heavenly Father guided her through the mine-filled parenting path left by her parents to a safe and healthy home environment she and her godly husband have created for their family. Ms. Eller shares her story to offer hope for all of us that what happened in the past doesn’t have to dictate our future. This is definitely a book to give to friends and family who are taking steps forward to creating healthier relationships with their families and also for those who may have trouble with staying in their past. ~ Kyra Bell

Wednesday CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
From A Distance
(Bethany House June 1, 2008)
by
Tamera Alexander
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots and poignant prose resonate with readers. Tamera is a finalist for the 2008 Christy Award Remembered, and has been awarded the coveted RITA® from Romance Writers of America Revealed, along with Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006 Rekindled. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in the quaint town of historic Franklin, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious—and precocious—silky terrier named Jack.
A Note from Tamera: Stories are journeys, and each story I write is a journey for me. Rekindled began with a dream—the image of a man returning home on horseback. He came upon a freshly dug grave and when he knelt to read the name carved into the roughhewn wooden cross, he discovered the name was…his own. The inspiration for Revealed grew from two characters in Rekindled whose stories needed to be told. But even more, whose stories I needed to tell. Writing Revealed was a very personal journey for me, and a healing one. For Remembered, I met that story’s heroine (figuratively, of course) while strolling the ancient cobblestoned pathways of a three hundred-year-old cemetery in northern Paris, France. And From A Distance came from a question I was struggling with in my own life at the time, “What happens when the dream you asked God for isn’t what you thought it would be?” For me, the greatest thrill of these writing journeys is when Christ reveals Himself in some new way, and I take a step closer to Him. And my deepest desire is that readers of my books will do that as well—take steps closer to Him as they read. After all, it’s all about Him. In the Potter’s Hand, Tamera.
ABOUT THE BOOK What happens when dreams aren’t what you imagined,And secrets you’ve spent a lifetime guarding are finally laid bare? Determined to become one of the country’s premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life. Daniel Ranslett, a former Confederate sharpshooter, is a man shackled by his past, and he’ll do anything to protect his land and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is called upon to repay a debt. He’s a man of his word, but repaying that debt will bring secrets from his past to light. Forced on a perilous journey together, Daniel and Elizabeth’s lives intertwine in ways neither could have imagined when first they met . . . from a distance.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

“…a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre.”--Library Journal

“…a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people.”--Romantic Times

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Today's excitement

This is how I felt today after I got my pupils dilated at the eye doctor.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Washington's Lady
(Bethany House June 1, 2008)
by
Nancy Moser
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest.
ABOUT THE BOOK It has been said that without George Washington there would be no United States. But without Martha, there would be no George Washington. He called her "my other self."Who was this woman who captured the heart of our country's founder? She dreams of a quiet life with her beloved George, but war looms...
Though still a young woman, Martha Dandridge Custis was a wealthy, attractive widow and the mother of two small children with no desire to remarry. But when a striking war hero steps into her life, she realizes that she is ready to love again. She is courted by, then marries the French and Indian War hero. Yet she wonders whether this man, accustomed to courageous military exploits, can settle down to a simple life of farming and being a father to her children. Even as she longs for domestic bliss, Martha soon realizes she will have to risk everything dear to her and find the courage to get behind a dream much larger than her own. Her new life as Martha Washington took her through blissful times at Mount Vernon, family tragedies, six years of her husband's absence during the Revolutionary War, and her position as a reluctant First Lady. Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen, in Washington's Lady, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the First First Lady of the United States.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE