Thursday, July 31, 2008

I won a contest!!!

In honor of her upcoming new book, and to celebrate the FIVE HUNDRETH blog post on her blog, my friend Kaye Dacus held a contest on her blog. For the month of July, readers were encouraged to post at least 10 comments during the month, and to send in their favorite funny wedding story.

A panel of judges read and chose their favorite story from those eligible, and I WON! Woohoo!

Kaye is super-generous. She's giving away lots of amazon.com gift cards, several signed copies of her new book (pictured at left and available for pre-order Here) and a CD of the songs mentioned in the book. (The songs are listed on today's post over at Kaye's blog.)

A special thanks goes out to Tiffany and Chad who got married about a year ago. And to Amos and the little flower girl for providing the funny story. You can read the story over at Kaye's blog.

Hop on over and give it a gander, then hurry to amazon.com to pre-order your copy of Stand-In Groom.

And thank you, Kaye!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday weigh in and WIP.


Another week is zipping by. I'm counting the hours until Friday evening when I can go pick up my kids from camp. I miss them terribly!
Yesterday saw some progress on the novel, but I had to stop when I got to a part that needed a little more composting. Today I'm playing the wag from writing. Bookwork in the early morning kept me busy, then a quick trip to check on my ailing MIL, and in an hour or so, I'm heading out on a delivery with my DH. It's been ages since the two of us went on a delivery alone together. We're heading into Amish country to connect with some of our customers.
The picture is another of Dana Delaney from Tombstone, that I think better captures the character of Clara from my novel.
As to the weigh-in, I lost a pound this week. Not a lot, but at least the scale moved in the right direction. Thirty-four pounds over all.
At the time of this posting, the counter is only a couple hours away from going under the 50 day mark until the ACFW conference. Time's flying!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
DragonLight
(WaterBrook Press - June 17, 2008)
by
Donita K. Paul

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donita K. Paul retired early from teaching school, but soon got bored! The result: a determination to start a new career. Now she is an award-winning novelist writing Christian Romance and Fantasy. She says, “I feel blessed to be doing what I like best.” She mentors all ages, teaching teenagers and weekly adult writing workshops.“God must have imprinted 'teacher' on me clear down to the bone. I taught in public school, then home schooled my children, and worked in private schools. Now my writing week isn’t very productive unless I include some time with kids.” Her two grown children make her proud, and her two grandsons make her laugh. Donita is an award-winning author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicle series including DragonFire and DragonKnight.When not writing, she is often engaged in mentoring writers of all ages. Donita lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado where she is learning to paint–walls and furniture! Visit her website at www.dragonkeeper.us.

ABOUT THE BOOK The fantastic land of Amara is recovering from years of war inflicted on its citizens by outside forces–as well as from the spiritual apathy corroding the Amarans’ hearts. With Kale and her father serving as dragon keepers for Paladin, the dragon populace has exploded. It’s a peaceful, exciting time of rebuilding. And yet, an insidious, unseen evil lurks just beneath the surface of the idyllic countryside. Truth has never been more important, nor so difficult to discern. As Kale and her father are busy hatching, bonding, and releasing the younger generation of dragons as helpers throughout the kingdom, the light wizard has little time to develop her skills. Her husband, Sir Bardon–despite physical limitations resulting from his bout with the stakes disease–has become a leader, serving on the governing board under Paladin. When Kale and Bardon set aside their daily responsibilities to join meech dragons Regidor and Gilda on a quest to find a hidden meech colony, they encounter sinister forces. Their world is under attack by a secret enemy… can they overcome the ominous peril they can’t even see? Prepare to experience breathtaking adventure and mind-blowing fantasy as never before in this dazzling, beautifully-crafted conclusion to Donita K. Paul’s popular DragonKeeper Chronicles fantasy series.

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


"DragonLight is a delight, but I wouldn't expect anything less from the marvelous Donita K. Paul. I heartily recommend her books to all ages who love inspirational fantasy and wonderful creatures. Ms Paul not only supplies imagination and talent, she provides heart and soul. Another winner!"~KATHRYN MACKEL, author of Boost


"Donita K. Paul is amazing! DragonLight has the allegorical depth to satisfy the most discerning adult seeking spiritual depth, yet it is fun enough to fascinate a child. This book will enthrall, uplift, and if allowed, change lives--as we are gently drawn to realize that each of us is flawed and must have patience with other flawed believers."~HANNAH ALEXANDER, author of Double Blind

My Review: I haven't read the book, and yet I am still endorsing it with a review. How is that possible? My kids. I opened the package containing this latest Dragon Chronicle, and before I could blink, my son had the book in his hands thumbing toward the first chapter. He read it in two days, and his eyes had barely scanned the last page when his sister took it from him and started it. Both of them, a boy and a girl, loved this book and this series. They talk about the characters and events together, sharing what they liked and what surprised them. My son gives this series pride-of-place on his bookshelf. If you have a reluctant reader at home, try this series. My kids give it four thumbs way up! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

WIP Update


I owe a big thanks to my DH, who sat patiently and listened to the plot of Clara and the Cowboy last night and helped me unsnarl where I'd gone wrong. Today I was able to put more than 2K words on the ms. (After deleting about 700 that were just WRONG!)




The picture of the cowboy is Clay Walker, country music star, but I've used him as the template for Alec McConnell, the hero of my WIP. He's struggling mightily with unforgiveness and anger, and needs Clara to smooth some of his rough edges.





And this is Clara, my heroine. She's come home from exile to find the men in her life wanting to coddle her and insulate her from the realities of existence on the
frontier. But she's adventurous, with a longing to spread her wings and fly.


Clara has given me no end of trouble in this book, being too willing to acquiesce to the desires of her father and the men he employs, backing down from conflict whenever it arises. I will need to go back in on the second draft and give her more pluck and color.


Today saw the word counter tick up above the 75% mark. I'm hoping to finish the first draft this week. I've gotten to the action-packed part, so it should go quickly. I'm thinking I may need to go back in and add the bad guy's POV. He's been fun to write and has really fleshed out as I've progressed through the story, so I will need to go back and amend his personality to reflect just who he is. I think I can do this best by adding the occasional scene from his POV.


Only 51 days until Conference. It is hard to believe how quickly it is racing toward us. School starts for us a week from today. (Hence my desire to finish the first draft of this WIP before then.) I'm kid-free this week while my offspring have fun at camp. It sure is quiet around here.

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Falcon And The Sparrow
(Barbour Publishing, Inc - August 1, 2008)
by
M. L. Tyndall
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: M. L. (MARYLU) TYNDALL grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more. After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart. Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable. One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely. Her current releases in the Legacy of The Kings Pirates series include: The Restitution, The Reliance, and The Redemption
ABOUT THE BOOK When Mademoiselle Dominique Dawson sets foot on the soil of her beloved homeland, England, she feels neither the happiness nor the excitement she expected upon her return to the place of her birth. Alone for the first time in her life, without family, without friends, without protection, she now faces a far more frightening prospect, for she has come to the country she loves as an enemy-a spy for Napoleon. Forced to betray England or never see her only brother alive again, Dominique has accepted a position as governess to the son of Admiral Chase Randal, a harsh man, still bitter over the loss of his wife. Will Dominique find the strength she needs through God to follow through with the plan to rescue her brother? Will Chase find comfort for his bitter heart in God's arms and be able to love again? And what new deceptions will they both find in France when they arrive to carry out their plan?
If you would like to read an excerpt of The Falcon And The Sparrow, go HERE
My Review: Sadly, I am only a few chapters in on this terrific book. The story grips you from the get-go with sympathetic characters who are diametrically opposed in temperment and goals. The conflict seems insurmountable, and I look forward to finding out how Marylu resolves it. Her writing is stellar and it is easy to slip into the story world. I'll be hastening back to Dominique and Chase as soon as I can.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Friday Five


In order to answer Kathie's question on yesterday's post, I'm tailoring this week's Friday Five to fit.

Five things to include on your pitch sheet:

1. The Title of your work.

2. Your contact information. (And your agent's if applicable.)

3. An author bio.

4. Your picture. (It helps the editor/agent to put a face with a name, and it might help them remember you when they get home and look through all their pitch sheets.)

5. A brief synopsis of your work.

Five things NOT to put on your pitch sheet:

1. An endorsement from your mother.

2. Promises that this book will sell 100,000 copies in the first month of release.

3. The phrase "God told me you would buy this book."

4. Any chainmail type threats, i.e. "You will have four thousand years of bad luck if you turn down this manuscript."

5. An obnoxious color or font that is hard to read...like mustard yellow.

The above picture is of a lake steamer that I included in the upper left corner of my pitch sheet last year, as it tied in directly with my story.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Making lists - checking twice



Okay, with less than two months to go until the ACFW Conference in Minneapolis, it is crunch time.
I'm working feverishly to finish a novel. At least enough to be able to pull together a chapter-by-chapter synopsis for a proposal.
I'm also anxiously awaiting a new copy of Microsoft Office (with Publisher) so I can create my pitch sheet for this novel (and series.) Last year I slaved over a pitch sheet. You can find my posts regarding the problems I encountered in the blog archives of August 2007. This year I hope the process is easier.
Beyond that, I need to go shopping for new clothes. Everything I own is too big. (Good problem to have.) I'm on the lookout for a snazzy outfit for the Awards Banquet, as well as some sharp clothes for the classes and workshops. And shoes. Though I love my brand-spanking new red and white athletic shoes, I somehow suspect they wouldn't quite be the thing for the banquet.
How about you? Are you counting down the days? Do you have a lot to accomplish in just a little time?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quick Wed. Weigh In



Quick check in on the weight-loss. I'm down three pounds this week (woohoo!) and thirty-three overall. The scale is into territory I haven't seen for many a moon. WOOHOO!

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Painted Dresses
(WaterBrook Press - July 15, 2008)
by
Patricia Hickman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia Hickman is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, whose work has been praised by critics and readers alike. Patricia Hickman began writing many years ago after an invitation to join a writer's critique group. It was headed up by best-selling author Dr. Gilbert Morris, a pioneer in Christian fiction who has written many best selling titles. The group eventually came to be called the "Nubbing Chits". All four members of the original "Chits" have gone on to become award-winning and best selling novelists (good fruit, Gil!). Patty signed her first multi-book contract with Bethany House Publishers. After she wrote several novels "for the market", she assessed her writer's life and decided she would follow the leanings of her heart. She says, "It had to be God leading me into the next work which wound up being my first break-out book, Katrina's Wings. I had never read a southern mainstream novel, yet I knew that one lived in my head, begging to be brought out and developed." She wanted to create deeper stories that broke away from convention and formula. From her own journey in life, she created a world based upon her hometown in the 70's, including Earthly Vows and Whisper Town from the Millwood Hollow Series.Patty and her husband, Randy, have planted two churches in North Carolina. Her husband pastors Family Christian Center, located in Huntersville. The Hickmans have three children, two on earth and one in heaven. Their daughter, Jessi, was involved in a fatal automobile accident in 2001. Through her writing and speaking, Patty seeks to offer help, hope and encouragement to those who walk the daily road of loss and grief.

ABOUT THE BOOK In this story of sisterhood and unexpected paths, Gaylen Syler-Boatwright flees her unraveling marriage to take refuge in a mountain cottage owned by her deceased aunt. Burdened with looking after her adult sister, Delia, she is shocked to find a trail of family secrets hidden within her aunt’s odd collection of framed, painted dresses. With Delia, who attracts trouble as a daily occupation, Gaylen embarks on a road trip that throws the unlikely pair together on a journey to painful understanding and delightful revelations.Steeped in Hickman’s trademark humor, her spare writing voice, and the bittersweet pathos of the South, Painted Dresses powerfully captures a woman’s desperate longing to uncover a hidden, broken life and discover the liberty of living authentically, even when the things exposed are shrouded in shame.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Remembering Kristy



Today we remember our sister-in-Christ, Kristy Dykes, who went home to be with her Savior last night after a long battle with cancer.

I met Kristy at the Florida Christian Writer's Conference in 2005. She was vibrant, gracious, and encouraging. Kristy had a passion for writing, for edification of believers, and sharing how God's love made everything in her life sweeter.

Please remember to pray for her family in the coming days and weeks. They are rejoicing that Kristy has been healed and now stands before the Lord she loves.

Monday, July 21, 2008

CFBA




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Try Darkness
(Center Street - July 30, 2008)
by
James Scott Bell
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JAMES SCOTT BELL is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He has also been the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles. His first Buchanan thriller, TRY DYING, was released to high critical praise, while sis book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Ty Buchanan is living on the peaceful grounds of St. Monica’s, far away from the glamorous life he led as a rising trial lawyer for a big L.A. firm. Recovering from the death of his fiancĂ©e and a false accusation of murder, Buchanan has found his previous ambitions unrewarding. Now he prefers offering legal services to the poor and the underrepresented from his “office” at local coffee bar The Freudian Sip. With his new friends, the philosophizing Father Bob and basketball-playing Sister Mary Veritas, Buchanan has found a new family of sorts.One of his first clients is a mysterious woman who arrives with her six-year-old daughter. They are being illegally evicted from a downtown transient hotel, an interest that Ty soon discovers is represented by his old law firm and his former best friend, Al Bradshaw. Buchanan won’t back down. He’s going to fight for the woman’s rights. But then she ends up dead, and the case moves from the courtroom to the streets. Determined to find the killer and protect the little girl, who has no last name and no other family, Buchanan finds he must depend on skills he never needed in the employ of a civil law firm.The trail leads Buchanan through the sordid underbelly of the city and to the mansions and yachts of the rich and famous. No one is anxious to talk. But somebody wants Buchanan to shut up. For good.Now he must use every legal and physical edge he knows to keep himself and the girl alive. Once again evoking the neo-noir setting of contemporary Los Angeles, Bell delivers another thriller where darkness falls and the suspense never rests.
If you would like to read chapters 1 & 2, go HERE

“Bell has created in Buchanan an appealing and series-worthy protagonist, and the tale equally balances action and drama, motion and emotion. Readers who pride themselves on figuring out the answers before an author reveals them are in for a surprise, too: Bell is very good at keeping secrets. Fans of thrillers with lawyers as their central characters—Lescroart and Margolin, especially—will welcome this new addition to their must-read lists.”—Booklist


Engaging whodunit series kickoff . . . Readers will enjoy Bell's talent for description and character development.”—Publishers Weekly

“James Scott Bell has written himself into a niche that traditionally has been reserved for the likes of Raymond Chandler.”Los Angeles Times

“A master of suspense.”—Library Journal


“One of the best writers out there, bar none.”—In the Library Review
MY REVIEW: Try Darkness is a very good sequel to Try Dying. The book read very like a John D. McDonald detective noir. (Understandable that the book is dedicated to the late Mr. McDonald.) Ty Buchannan shares many of the same characteristics of Travis McGee, McDonalds iconic hero. James Scott Bell is well on his way to establishing himself among the ranks of McDonald, Fleming, Grafton and others who have mastered the continuing series. Particularly delightful in this series is the unlikely collaboration of Ty and Sister Mary Veritas, with all the conflict, humor, and chemistry an unlikely duo with vastly different methods for arriving at a goal produces. An excellent read and I eagerly await the next in the series.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Friday Five



Today's Friday Five is a spin off of Kaye's current Friday Posts.




Five Favorite Musicals






1. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.




2. The Sound of Music.




3. The King and I.




4. Mary Poppins.




5. My Fair Lady
How about you? Like Musicals? Loathe Musicals? Have a favorite?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

ACFW Book of the Year Finalist lists

I'm pleased to announce the finalists in this year's contest. There are a lot of familiar names, and some books have been featured here at OTWP. The banquet is going to be awesome!




ACFW's 2008 Book of the Year Finalists:



Debut Author
Bayou Justice (Robin Miller writing as Robin Caroll)
In Between (Jenny B. Jones)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
My Soul Cries Out (Sherri Lewis)
Petticoat Ranch (Mary Connealy)

Contemporary Novella (*six finalists due to a tie)
A Cloud Mountain Christmas (Robin Lee Hatcher)
Finally Home (Deb Raney in Missouri Memories anthology)
Mississippi Mud (DiAnn Mills in Sugar And Grits Anthology)
Moonlight & Mistletoe (Carrie Turansky in Big Apple Christmas anthology)
Remaking of Moe McKenna (Gloria Clover in the Race to the Altar anthology)
Sweet Dreams Drive (Robin Lee Hatcher)

Historical Novella
Beyond the Memories (DiAnn Mills in Mississippi Memories anthology)
Finishing Touches (Kelly Hake in Missouri Memories anthology)
Love Notes (Mary Davis in Love Letters anthology)
The Spinster & The Cowboy (Lena Nelson Dooley in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology)
The Spinster & The Tycoon (Vickie McDonough in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology)

Lits (*six finalists due to a tie)
Around the World in 80 Dates (Christa Banister)
One Little Secret (Bottke, Allison)
Renovating Becky Miller (Sharon Hinck)
Splitting Harriet (Tamara Leigh)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
The Book of Jane (Dayton/Vanderbilt)

Long contemporary
Autumn Blue (Karen Harter)
Like Always (Robert Elmer)
Taming Rafe (Susan May Warren)
When the Nile Runs Red (DiAnn Mills)
Within This Circle (Deb Raney)

Long Historical (*seven finalists due to TWO ties)
Courting Trouble (Deeanne Gist)
Fancy Pants (Cathy Hake)
Lady of Milkweed Manor (Julie Klassen)
Remember Me (Maureen Lang)
Then Came Hope (Louise Gouge)
Veil of Fire (Marlo Schalesky)
Where Willows Grow (Kim Vogel Sawyer)

Mystery
Days And Hours (Susan Meissner)
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie (Sharon Dunn)
Gone With The Groom (Janice Thompson)
Sticks And Stones (Susan Meissner)
Your Chariot Awaits (Lorena McCourtney)

Short Contemporary
Heart of the Family (Margaret Daley)
The Heart of Grace (Linda Goodnight)
The Perfect Blend (Allie Pleiter)
Wedded Bliss (Kathleen Y’Barbo)
When Love Comes Home (Arlene James)

Short Contemporary Suspense (*six finalists due to a tie)
Caught Redhanded (Gayle Roper)
Her Christmas Protector (Terri Reed)
Nowhere to Hide (Debby Giusti)
Pursuit of Justice (Pamela Tracy)
See No Evil (Gayle Roper)
Vanished (Margaret Daley)

Short Historical (*six due to a tie)
A Time to Keep (Kelly Hake)
A Wealth Beyond Riches (Vickie McDonough)
Canteen Dreams (Cara Putman)
Corduroy Road to Love (Lynn Coleman)
Golden Days (Mary Connealy)
To Trust An Outlaw (Rhonda Gibson

Speculative
Demon: A Memoir (Tosca Lee)
DragonFire (Donita Paul)
The Restorer (Sharon Hinck)
The Restorer’s Son (Sharon Hinck)
Isle of Swords (Wayne Thomas Batson)

Suspense
Abomination (Colleen Coble)
Black Ice (Linda Hall)
Coral Moon (Brandilyn Collins)
Crimson Eve (Brandilyn Collins)
Ransomed Dreams (Amy Wallace)

Women’s Fiction
A Promise To Remember (Katie Cushman)
Bygones (Kim Sawyer)
Remember to Forget (Deb Raney)
The Oak Leaves (Maureen Lang)
Watercolored Pearls (Stacy Adams)

Young Adult
In Between (Jenny B. Jones)
On The Loose (Jenny B. Jones)
Sara Jane: Liberty’s Torch (Eleanor Clark
Sarah’s Long Ride (Susan P Davis)
Saving Sailor (Renee Riva)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quick Check In

Wednesday Weigh In Time: I lost two pounds this week, which brings the grand total to 30 lbs. lost so far! Woohoo! The next goal is two more pounds so I can reach a 'benchmark' (not that I would tell all of cyberspace what that is!)

Last night I took a stroll through the clothing I have stored in my daughter's closet. (It used to be my closet before we put the addition on the house, and she doesn't need all that space, so I kept a few [okay, a lot] of clothes I couldn't fit into anymore in there.) I tried on a fancy dress I bought in 1994 for a banquet. It was kinda snug when I bought it, but when I tried it on last night, it was loose! Woohoo!

I also got a new bathing suit. I plan to join a water aerobics class this fall at the Y, and I wanted to be all ready. I hate suit shopping usually, but today I was so encouraged to be able to buy a suit that was two sizes smaller than the last one I bought.

I picked up my new lenses today. Bifocals. I was surprised by how quickly my eyes adjusted to the change. I can now see to read without having to ask someone to go hold the newspaper up against the far wall. :)

Pop on over to The Compost Heap and give a shout out to my friend, Ceej, who is on this weight loss journey with me.

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promises, Promises
Barbour - July, 2008
by
Amber Miller

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. Writing had always been a hobby, a way for me to express my innermost thoughts and feelings in a way I sometimes find difficult with the spoken word -- although my friends will tell you 'shy' is not in my vocabulary. Thanks to the gentle nudging of a fellow author -- Tracie Peterson -- in 2002, I took the next step in my writing career and joined the American Christian Fiction Writers. I owe all so many there a hearty hug of appreciation for their constant encouragement and unselfish assistance. I feel a lot more confident thanks to their support and love. For those of you who are also fiction writers looking for a wonderful support group, check them out! I got involved with web design in 1997, when I was asked to take over running the official web site for the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. That eventually led to a series of negotiations where I was offered the job of running world-renowned actress Jane Seymour's official fan site. That has branched into doing web sites for a variety of clients, including: authors J.M. Hochstetler, Trish Perry, Kathy Pride, Louise M. Gouge, Susan Page Davis, and Jill Elizabeth Nelson, actor William Shockley (the voice of AT&T and Sony) and many others. With the help of a handful of other web site "technos," Eagle Designs was born! Feel free to visit and see our other clients. Books are a definite passion. Why else would I be writing and publishing them? I firmly believe that a good book can take you away from all of your problems, into a world you've never seen. My favorite food is Italian; I sing all the time, and I once worked with my church choir to do a professional recording for a music CD of our performances. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, and live in beautiful Colorado, but I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher nestled in the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

ABOUT THE BOOK Raelene Strattford knows God has promised never to leave or forsake her. But after the catastrophic deaths of her parents, she doesn't believe it. What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice? Gustaf Hanssen has admired Raelene from afar for a while, but his poor attempt at courting her in the past has made him unwelcome in her life. When Gustaf promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him? Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?

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

At this time, Promises, Promises can only be purchased through the Heartsong Book Club.


MY REVIEW: This book starts with a bang. Tiff throws you into the action right away. I found Gustaf a very sympathetic hero. He's noble, caring, hard-working, and smarter than Raelene first gives him credit for. Raelene grew on me as she matured through the book. Some of her suitors were hilariously awkward. The final scene was very touching. One little caveat...at one point the heroine is stated as pasting on a saccharine smile. Since the book is set in Colonial America, the use of the word saccharine yanked me out of the story for a moment. It's a good lesson for me to be super careful and vigilant about using modern terms in historical works. I'll be fine-combing my WIP. I look forward to reading more titles from (Tiff) Amber Miller. Run over to Heartsong Book Club and check out their lineup.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Writer's Meme


The Writer’s Meme - I got this off of Kaye's Blog today. Jump over there to read her responses to the questions, and get TWO chances to enter her fabulous Five Hundredth Post Giveaway.

What’s the last thing you wrote?
A furball of a fight between my hero and heroine. :)

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have? I wrote a story when I was 15 called Circus Summer...in pencil, in loopy cursive, in a blue spiral notebook.

Favorite genre of writing? Historical Romance.

Most fun character you ever wrote? Annie Fairfax, in the story I just finished and sent to my agent. She was a lot of fun.

Most annoying character you ever wrote? The Lighthouse Board Inspector, Jasper Dillon, who was henpecked at home and took it out on his employees, sucked air through his teeth and mauled toothpicks, and was an overall vindictive little man.

Best plot you ever wrote? I don't know if anyone else would think it was my best, but I loved the plot of Drums of the North Star. Most of it was taken from historical events, but the epiphany the heroine goes through is something dear to my heart.

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote? In my second novel, Before the Dawn, that the hero realizes how stupid he's been when he discovers his wife is going to have his baby (and she kept it hidden from him for a long time.)

How often do you get writer’s block? Not often. More often I suffer from either writer's doubt where fear keeps me from writing, or writer's laziness. I know what I'm supposed to do, and yet I don't do it.
How do you fix it? Plunk my patoot in my chair and write. I let the story brew, think about it all the time, talk about it to my daughter, hash out the implausible parts, occasionally brainstorm on the phone with a crit partner, or via email. Whatever it takes to break through and get it done.

Write fan fiction? I have. Enjoyed it too for awhile.

Do you type or write by hand? Type. I have horrible penmanship. And I can't keep up with my thoughts when using a pen.

Do you save everything you write? Not everything. Some stuff is tooooo bad to keep.
Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it? I haven't yet, but you never know.
What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written? Recently, it would be the scene in Marriage Masquerade where Annie Fairfax absolutely massacres breakfast, but tries to pretend nothing went wrong. I do have a special fondness for my first novel, Beauty For Ashes.

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will? Fantasy/Allegory/Sci-fi. Blech.
How many writing projects are you working on right now? One. I am a linear writer, one project at a time, write straight through the book, then start the next project. Right after the conference last year I tried working on several things at once. All that did for me was stall my writing on anything at all. Through one thing and another, I lost about 4 months of writing time dithering over too many projects and suffering through some terrific writer's doubt. Not going to let that happen again.
What are your five favorite words? If you ask my crit partners, I have a different one for each book. I've clung to the following words: Leather, Sighed, Swirled, Bale, and the phrase 'bit her lip.'

What character that you’ve written most resembles you? I think many of my characters have some of me in them, but the one that has the most is probably Pam from Pam on Rye, a 'sandwich lit' I started (and that is a finalist in the Genesis contest this year.)

Do you ever write based on your dreams? Maybe. I tend to plot and meditate on my story in that twilight time just before I fall asleep, so...kinda, sorta.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write? Yes, though you wouldn't know it if you saw some of the crits I get back. LOL If there is one thing my crit partner, Kaye, dings me on consistently is slipping into second person POV when my character is talking to himself/herself. Kaye threatened to smack my hands with a ruler when we see each other in September. I caught myself slipping into second person POV this week and actually laughed out loud while I changed it.

Does music help you write? NO! I can't have music on while I write. Too distracting.

How do people react when they find out you write? They want to know when my book is going to be published...their guess is as good as mine.

Quote something you’ve written. Okay, this is a little long, but it is my favorite passage from Drums of the North Star. Abby McRae has been taken captive by the Dakota during the 1862 uprising. Her captor has been wounded in a battle and she must tend to him.
He brushed away her words. “Do not bother me with your religion. Your religion costs the Dakota too much.”
“What do you mean?”
“You say if we believe in your God, if we worship in the white church and sing your songs, we will go to heaven. But this is not all you say. You say we must put on white man’s clothes, we must stop hunting and work in the dirt like women. You say we must live in houses of wood and bricks and stop hunting buffalo or fighting with our sacred enemy, the Chippewa. You say we must do all this if we are to go to heaven.” He pressed his hand to his side and sucked in a breath.
Abby stared, startled by his vehemence. His words hit her so hard, she couldn’t think.
When the pain eased, he continued. “You say God made us all, but He won’t love us unless we are just like you. You say we must starve to death, and be robbed by the traders and the white settlers who take our land unless we do as you say. Yet, you are surprised when we resist. Have I not done this same thing to you? You have been forced to live like us, to dress like us, to eat and work and act like us. Have you not resisted this at every turn? Do you not resent us, hate us for what we are making you do? How is this different from what the whites have done to the Dakota?” He sneered. “So, no thank you, to your God and your ways. I am Dakota, and I am proud of it. I will not stop being Dakota to go to your heaven.”
He lay back, exhausted from his long speech. Abby pondered what he’d said. Though she hated to admit it, he was right. Weren’t she and other missionaries like her guilty of exactly what he had said? They had added to the Gospel until outward works shadowed it into obscurity. They had taught the Dakota that simple belief in the saving work of Christ wasn’t enough for salvation. Salvation lay in looking and acting like a white man.
Don't forget to stop by Kaye's blog and check out her answers and enter to win one of the fabulous prizes she's offering.

CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sisterchicks Go Brit
Multnomah Publishers (May 20, 2008)
by
Robin Jones Gunn
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawaii. Robin’s first novel was published in 1988, and she has continued to write between two to five books a year. Her 63 published books include 47 novels, all of which are still in print. Sales of her popular Christy Miller Series, Glenbrooke Series, and Sisterchicks Series, including Sisterchicks in Gondolas and the new Katie Weldon Series including Peculiar Treasures all of which are approaching four million copies sold, with translations in nine languages. Robin’s passion for storytelling and travel are evident in all her books, especially the Sisterchicks novels, and she has received thousands of letters from readers around the world who have come to know Christ through her writing. She sees this as her dream come true. Her novels are traveling to foreign lands and her characters are doing what she always longed to do; telling people about God’s love. She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown. As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives. Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.
ABOUT THE BOOK SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat. Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to “meet” him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet. Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren’t enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God’s gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts. And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!
To read the first chapter, go HERE

“Robin has done it again! You and your Sisterchicks will love taking this new adventure together!” - Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Between Sundays and Ever After

“My only complaint about Robin’s latest is that now I want to hop a plane to England! But combine a cup of Earl Grey tea and this charming story and you’re halfway there. Another delightful tale about women helping women to live their lives to the fullest.”- Melody Carlson, author of These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking and A Mile in My Flip-Flops

“Sisterchicks in Gondolas is a true delight. The characters shine, and evocative language will make any reader want to visit Venice. Biblical truths are portrayed simply, yet will touch hearts and lives with their realistic application.”- Romantic Times magazine
MY REVIEW: The Sisterchick books are some of my favorite reading material. My daughter practically snatches the new one out of my hands the instant I read the final sentence. Of all the books, Sisterchicks do the Hula is my favorite.
Sisterchicks Go Brit made me laugh in some places, made me want to cry in others, and made me want to go to Britain ASAP. Seeing England through the eyes of Liz and Kellie gave me a longing to experience London.
Strengths in this book:
Setting. You feel like you are there, all the differences in culture pop out at you.
Characters. No one is better than Robin at getting to the issues that women care about the most in friendships.
Language. The imagery and use of words is so skillful it makes me jealous.
Weaknesses of this book:
Pace. The pace starts out a little slow and doesn't ramp up for quite awhile. While the book held my interest, I kept waiting for that signature 'sisterchick misadventure' to get going. When it did happen, it was hilarious though.
Magical Moment. In each of the Sisterchick books, there is at least one moment of self-revelation for the main character, where she at last comes to grips with something in her relationship with the Lord and with her relationship with her sisterchick, that changes how she views her life forever. I couldn't seem to get on the same wavelength as Liz (Point of View character) enough to feel really satisfied when she came face-to-face with her own life-lesson. The lesson she learned was a good one, it just left me wanting a little bit more.
I would recommend Sisterchicks Go Brit, as I do everything Robin writes. If you want to meet a woman whose face shines with the love of Jesus, Robin's your gal.

Monday, July 14, 2008

WWWWWWWAAAAAHHHOOOOO!!



It is my honor and privilege to present to you the debut novel of my critique partner and friend, Georgiana Daniels. Table for One is an hilariously funny, touching, engaging read.

FROM THE BACK COVER: Successful stockbroker Lucy Brocklehurst hasn't had a date in four years. In a town where the ratio of single women to men is 7:1, she's determined to wait on God for the perfect mate--as long as it's the hot new youth pastor at her church.Lucy will do anything to get his attention, including volunteering for the youth group. Through a series of misadventures on the teen outings, Lucy finds herself falling in love with a kindhearted chaperone named Edgar Flowers. But when their relationship grows serious, Lucy discovers the lengths his recently widowed mother will go to in order to keep them apart. What starts out as harmless interference turns into an all out tug of war, with Edgar as the prize!Will Lucy crumble under the scrutiny of her would-be mother-in-law? Or can Lucy and Edgar's budding romance survive the schemes of his meddling mom?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Georgiana Daniels is the wife of a super-generous husband, and the mother of a teen and two tots. After graduating with a degree in public relations, she spent several years in the business world, but now has the privilege of staying home and working on the stories she loves. Table for One is her first book. When not writing, she spends her time burning up miles on the treadmill, blogging, and participating in ACFW and RWA.
MY REVIEW: Georgiana Daniels is absolutely FEARLESS when it comes to getting her heroine into pickles. Lucy is so funny, so sincere, and so like me it was scary. Her tongue gets her in trouble from time to time, and though her heart is in the right place, she often finds herself up to her neck in trouble. The character of Mrs. Flowers, while nearly pathological in her desire to keep her son from Lucy's clutches, evokes sympathy for her plight. I think you'll like this book, and, Georgiana, I'm so proud of you!

You can order your copy of this fun read here or here!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Duh!


Hey, I forgot to mention that I'm guest blogging over at Seekerville today. Stop on by and give a shout.

The Friday Five


The sense of smell is one of the most powerful memory evokers humans possess. Authors are taught to bring that sense of smell into their writing to ground the reader in the setting. If you say your heroine crouched by a bush, the reader forms a picture...but if you say your heroine crouched beside a lilac, that is an altogether different experience. Can't you smell the fragrant, almost too-powerful perfume?


My family jokes that I have a bionic nose. I'm very sensitive to smell. Thankfully, though I have a overactive smeller, I'm not allergic to perfumes, scented candles, or air fresheners.


This week's Friday Five is a two-fer. Five smells I love, and five smells I detest.
1. I love the smell of a wheat field just before harvest. When the sun beats down on the grain, it smells like bread baking.
2. Warm cinnamon. Whether in cinnamon rolls or wassail, I love that fragrance.
3. Old Spice Cologne. Call me old fashioned, but of all the male scents out there, this familiar standby is my favorite.
4. Pipe smoke. This is an odd one, because cigarette smoke makes me gag, but when I was a small child, my father smoked a pipe. He used to let us smell his tobacco pouch, a mix of smoke, cut grass smell, and molassas. I recently got to smell tobacco at Forestville General Store, a site operated by the MN Historical Society. It took me right back to my preschool days and climbing on my dad's lap to smell his tobacco pouch.
5. Sheets fresh from the dryer that have been softened with Downy. I love to climb into a freshly made bed, with clean jammies on, right after a bath. Ah...bliss.
Now, five smells that I can't stand.
1. Mildew. I am SUPER sensitive to the smell of mildew, particularly in fabric.
2. Raw meat, even when it is fresh. Going to the meat counter at the grocery store is a gasp-hold your breath-grab what you need and get out of there-experience.
3. Schoenfelter's. About three miles south of where we live there is a cattle yard. When the wind is from the right direction, well....ew.
4. Boiled Turnips. The smell is indescribable.
5. Fritos Chips. When I was a school teacher, I had a jr. high homeroom one year. The boys all played basketball in the gym before school and would arrive in my classroom as the bell rang, dripping with sweat, panting, and totally unfocused on school. And they smelled...like Fritos. In the dead of a MN winter, I'd be the only teacher with the windows flung open to the bitter--but FRESH--air.
What about you? Any smells you like, any you can't stand? Any ways you can think of to help a writer incorporate the sense of smell into her writing?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A big shout out for Stephanie!!!

Please join me in congratulating my friend, Stephanie Morrill, who just received a contract from Revell for a three-book YA series!

YAHOO!!!!! Steph is an amazing writer, and I can't wait to hold her book in my hot little hands. She's worked so hard, and this past year even harder since her baby girl joined the family.

I'm so happy for you, girl! You're really on your way!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Words, words, words

Today was a great day. I had a dr's appt. that went very well. I went to the library and knocked out 3K on the novel. Woohoo!

Also, since it's Wednesday, it's weigh in day. I lost two pound this week. 28 lbs over all. Yeah!

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wind River
(Bethany House July 1, 2008)
by
Tom Morrisey
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Morrisey is a mountaineer, aviator, shipwreck diver, and explorer, who holds a Full Cave certification from the National Speleological Society - Cave Diving Section. He has launched, edited or contributed to numerous national publications and is an award-winning adventure-travel writer. A popular speaker, he is also active in both evangelism and the arts. Morrisey earned an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University, and his fiction has been featured in numerous anthologies and magazines. His first novel, Yucatan Deep (Zondervan, 2002) was a finalist for the Christy award, and he is the author of four other novels: In High Places (Bethany House Publishers, 2007), Dark Fathom (Zondervan, 2005), Deep Blue, (Zondervan 2004), and Turn Four (Zondervan 2004). In addition Tom has also written two nonfiction books: 20 American Peaks & Crags (Contemporary Books, 1978) and Wild by Nature (Baker Books, 2001). He and his family live in Orlando, Florida.
ABOUT THE BOOK You Can't Outrun the Sins of Your Past
Desperate to forget what happened to him in Iraq, Tyler Perkins flees to the emptiness of Wyoming. He's here to escape and also to fulfill a long-ago promise by accompanying his 86-year-old friend Soren Andeman on a fly-fishing trip--once more for old time's sake. But their trek to an idyllic trout lake soon becomes something more deeply harrowing--a journey that uncovers long-held lies, deadly crimes, and the buried secrets of the past. Ty barely has time to contemplate the question of what constitutes justice when nature unleashes her own revenge. Trapped in a race back to safety, he must face his own guilt-ridden past or risk being consumed. Powerfully imagined by the acclaimed author of In High Places, Wind River is an engaging wilderness adventure that explores the power of confession, the beauty of forgiveness, and the freedom of truth unveiled.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Monday, July 07, 2008

CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Edge Of Recall
(Bethany House July 1, 2008)
by
Kristen Heitzmann

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Of her three main interests, art, music and writing, she chose to study English at the University of Colorado and thrived on Creative Writing and Literature classes. She married her husband Jim, and turned her energy to building a family. They have four children whom they have home schooled for all or most of their education. Kristen is a music minister with the ecumenical covenant community People of Praise. Once she realized the stories in her head were truly a calling from the Lord, she made writing not just a passion, but a ministry. She has written seven historical fiction novels as part of the The Rocky Mountain Legacy series, the Diamond of the Rockies series, and the Christy Award winner Secrets. Most recently, she has written several contemporary fiction novels, including Echoes, Freefall and Unforgotten. Kristen and her husband, Jim, and their family live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she serves as worship leader in their church.

ABOUT THE BOOK Tessa Young, an up-and-coming landscape architect who specializes in the design and creation of labyrinths, has immersed herself in the mythological, spiritual, and healing aspects of the elaborate structures. She also is searching for God and hoping to make sense of the nightmares that have plagued her since childhood. When Smith Chandler, an estranged colleague--with whom she'd half fallen in love a dozen times before catching herself every time--calls to propose a project he claims is the opportunity of a lifetime, she reluctantly agrees to check it out. Smith is reconstructing a pre-Revolutionary War abbey for wealthy clients. Among its remarkable features is an overgrown labyrinth. Unable to resist, Tessa accepts his offer to work with him. Soon she is immersed in the project of a lifetime. But one evening, after weeks of work in the labyrinth, Tessa and Smith are attacked. While protecting Tessa, Smith is stabbed, and the nightmare begins...again.

If You would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Cool Contest by a Cool Chick

Kaye Dacus is having a contest on her blog!
The following is taken from Kaye's blog:

On July 31, 2008, I’ll publish my 500th Blog Post on Write Place, Write Time! That means it’s time to celebrate!


The blessing I’ve received from blogging is the feedback that I get from readers—those of you who are reading and commenting almost every single day, as well as those who might visit only once or twice. So my 500th Blog Post is going to be an announcement of the winners of a very special contest!


In a mere six months, my first book, Stand-In Groom, will hit the shelves. But I’m going to give you the opportunity to receive a signed copy before the book is available to the public. And if that isn’t enough, winners will also receive a CD-mix of the songs mentioned in the book, including Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” “That’s Amore,” and “Return to Me,” along with other American Standards singers like Frank Sinatra and Nat “King” Cole. But wait! That’s not all! Winners will also get an Amazon gift certificate for up to $100!

THE PRIZES
Grand Prize: Signed copy of Stand-In Groom, Mixed CD of music mentioned in the book, and a $100 Amazon.com gift certificate.

2nd Place: Signed copy of Stand-In Groom, Mixed CD of music mentioned in the book, and a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.

3rd Place: Signed copy of Stand-In Groom, Mixed CD of music mentioned in the book, and a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate.

4th Place: Signed copy of Stand-In Groom, Mixed CD of music mentioned in the book, and a $15 Amazon.com gift certificate.

5th Place: Signed copy of Stand-In Groom, Mixed CD of music mentioned in the book, and a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate.

I will mail CDs and e-mail Amazon gift certificates as soon as the contest ends; winners will receive their copies of Stand-In Groom as soon as I receive advance copies in December or early January.

HOW DO I ENTER?
1. To enter the grand prize drawing, you must do both of the following:

(a) Submit an anecdote about the funniest thing you’ve ever seen happen at a wedding (your own or someone else’s) in 500 words or less. I along with a panel of anonymous judges (probably relatives) will choose the winner. Entries should be e-mailed to me at kaye (at) kayedacus (dot) com, with a subject line:WPWT Contest Entry. Entries must be received no later than midnight (U.S. Central Time) Friday, July 25.

(b) Post a comment on at least ten blog posts between Monday, June 30 (today), and Wednesday, July 30. Comments must be relevant to the topic of that day’s post. Only one comment per post will count toward the contest, but each comment over the ten required earns you another name in the “hat”—so the more you visit the blog and comment on posts, the greater your chances of winning.* One comment out of the ten can be a link to an announcement of my contest on your blog (please use this link:
http://kayedacus.com/500th-blog-post-contest-giveaway/).For comments to count toward the contest, they must be on the posts dated between June 30 and July 30—no going back to older posts and commenting on those! Also—it should be more than just “Great topic. Thanks for posting it.” I want thoughtful comments that prove you’ve actually read what I’ve written.
Eligible non-winning entrants for the grand prize will be entered into the drawing for the 2nd through 5th place prizes.


2. To enter the drawing for the 2nd through 5th place prizes (names to be drawn at random):Post a comment on at least ten blog posts between Monday, June 30 (today), and Wednesday, July 30. Comments must be relevant to the topic of that day’s post. Only one comment per post will count toward the contest, but each comment over the ten required earns you another name in the “hat”—so the more you visit the blog and comment on posts, the greater your chances of winning.* One comment out of the ten can be a link to an announcement of and link to my contest on your blog (please use this link:
http://kayedacus.com/500th-blog-post-contest-giveaway/).For comments to count toward the contest, they must be on the posts dated between June 30 and July 30—no going back to older posts and commenting on those! Also—it should be more than just “Great topic. Thanks for posting it.” I want thoughtful comments that prove you’ve actually read what I’ve written.
*Posting a comment on ten posts earns you one entry in the contest; each additional comment (one per post) earns additional entries. For example: if you comment on eleven posts, you’ll have two entries; comment on fifteen posts, earn six entries. The greatest number of entries possible is fourteen (a comment on each of the 23 posts between June 30 and July 30).

HOW WILL I KNOW IF I’VE WON?I will e-mail winners (so be sure your e-mail address is correct when you post your comments) on Thursday evening, July 30, and the winning anecdote and names of winners will be posted as my 500th blog post on Thursday, July 31.

Isn't that cool? Hop on over and get your entries in. Time's ticking away!


The Winner!

All nine names were thrown into the Brand-spanking-new Minnesota Vikings Baseball cap, and my lovely daughter, Heather, pulled out a name.


And the winner is:

Barbarabaker!

Congratulations, Barbara.

Please contact me at ducky1969 at hotmail dot com with your snail-mail addy, and I'll get the book in the mail to you ASAP.

Thank you to everyone who entered. We'll have another drawing soon, so check back.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five:
Five Memories about the 4th.
1. Skyfire. In my hometown of Salina, Kansas, the city put on a fireworks display each year. I remember waiting what seemed FOREVER for 10 pm to finally roll around so the fireworks could start.
2. The birthday of Jamie Piercy, who lived across the street. I used to babysit her.
3. Last year we had the best time at my SIL, Linda's place. We had a barbeque, went to the Stewartville, MN town parade, and then stayed to watch the fireworks. A great day.
4. My dad's burgers on the grill. MMMMMmmmmm. I'm wicked homesick this weekend for some reason.
5. The first year Peter and I lived in Rochester, we went downtown and watched the fireworks. We drove our little gold Escort and watched the pyrotechnics explode over Silver Lake.
How about you? Any favorite memories?
Have a happy and safe Independence Day.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Along Came a Cowboy-Book Giveaway


Leave a comment on this blog post by Midnight on July 4th, to be entered to win a copy of this book!
About the book:
When Rachel Donovan, a strong-willed chiropractor with a past, meets Jack Westwood, a bull-headed cowboy looking for a future, it looks like hate at first fight. But when the dust settles, it may be love. Can the chiropractor and the cowboy bridle their growing attraction, or will love ultimately have free reign?
About the AuthorAward-winning author: CHRISTINE LYNXWILER has written fourteen novels and novellas for Barbour Publishing, including Forever Christmas, Promise Me Always, and the four book McFadden brothers series included in Arkansas. She and her husband, Kevin, and two daughters live with their two dogs and two horses in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in their home state of Arkansas.
My Review: I loved the way Christine wove in the backstory, telling me just enough to tantalize and intrigue me to read more in order to find out what Rachel's hang-up with cowboys was all about. I was also touched by the relationship issues Rachel had with her parents, how not being willing to make the first move in forgiving and opening up meant years of hurt feelings and withheld affection. Jack Westwood is the perfect hero, everything a woman would want in a man. And the way the storyline and Rachel's past gets untangled at the end is so satisfying. I highly recommend this book!

If you'd like to order a copy of Along Came a Cowboy, click HERE.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Halfway!



Yay! Today marked the halfway point in my current WIP. Not only that, but I got to shoot someone. (In the book!)
Thanks to my crit partners, knowing I needed to check in with them tonight as to my word-count, I kept my curvy patoot in the chair at my MIL's and wrote until I reached my goal for the day.
Also, since this is Wednesday, I'm going to report how I'm doing on the weight loss thing. This week, I've lost three pounds. :) Woohoo! This is especially good since I was yo-yoing these past couple weeks, up a few, down a few, up a few, well, you get the idea. I think my body got over the initial shock of changing my diet and doing more exercise and decided to be a little stubborn.
Good news, I feel better than I have in a long time. I can walk 2 miles in 45 minutes and not want to die. My clothes are getting looser, and I can comfortably cross my legs for the first time in a long time. Baby steps. :)

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Starts With Elle
(Thomas Nelson - July 8, 2008)
by
Rachel Hauck

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Hauck is a forty-something, child of the '60's, '70's, '80's, '90's and '00's, who roller skated through the '70's into the '80's with Farrah Fawcet hair and a three-speed orange Camero. She graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism. After graduation, she hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, destermined to see the world. She's traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine. Rachel met Tony, her husband, in '87, at church, of all places. They married in '92. They don't have any children of their own, just lots of kids-in-the-Lord and they love them all. However, they do have two very spoiled dogs, and a very demanding cat. "With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. My current release is Sweet Caroline from Thomas Nelson. Romantic Times Book Club gave both books their highest rank of 4.5 stars, with Love Starts With Elle being honored as Top Pick!"

ABOUT THE BOOK Elle's living the dream-but is it her dream or his? Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good. Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She's never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter. But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she's serious about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter makes things even more complicated. Is love transferrable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?

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

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden
Avon Inspire (May 27, 2008)
by
Shelley Shepard Gray
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hidden is Shelley’s first foray into inspirational fiction. Previously, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio where she writes full time. Shelley is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and is part of the Telecare ministry, which calls homebound members on a regular basis. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.
ABOUT THE BOOK Hidden is a remarkable story about the unlikely love between a modern girl on the run and an Amish boy from the family who shelters her. When Anna decides it's time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn't know where to turn. Rob is a successful and respected person in her community. He has completely won over her parents with his good looks and prestigious position at a top law firm. Only Anna has seen his dark side. But when Rob hurts Anna yet again, she realizes that she must finally help herself. Desperate, she runs to the one place she’s always felt completely safe, the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where years ago she and her mother once stayed, and where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. When Anna shows up years later unexpectedly, the family welcomes her in, with few questions asked, and allows her to stay, dressed as the Amish in Plain clothes, and help around the inn. But Katie’s older brother Henry doesn’t take too kindly to the intrusion. Anna wonders if it’s because he’s already had his heart broken. To Henry’s shame, from the moment he sees Anna, he feels a strong attraction. To cover his infatuation, he tries to ignore her, knowing no good would ever come from keeping an eye on a fancy woman like her. But as he sees that Anna has a good heart and is not the selfish, spoiled woman he imagined her to be, he feels his heart pointing towards her. Anna comes to realize that she’s found a home and true love in the last place she’d expected. How can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man who can’t seem to let her go?
If you would like to read the Prologue, go HERE