Friday, June 29, 2007

On F.A.I.T.H. Today

I'm reminding us all to praise God and thank Him for "the little things" on the F.A.I.T.H. blog today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Divine Appointment by Jerome Teel

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing


(Howard Books June 5, 2007)

Jerome Teel


Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude, from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports.

He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. He is also the author of The Election, another political thriller that we reviewed November of '06.

Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children...Brittney, Trey, and Matthew...and they reside in Tennessee where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.


"They aren't hiding just one something, but a bunch of somethings..."

Small town southern lawyer, Elijah Faulkner is a dying attorney that actually takes pleasure in fighting injustice by working hard for the little guy. But when he takes on a case to defend a philandering doctor with a pregnant wife in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial, Eli is not so sure he is on the 'right' side.

Back in Washington D.C., supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative President Richard Wallace to impact the direction of the highest court in the land. He believes God put him in the presidency for just such a time as make a Divine Appointment. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.

A lobbyist with a vendetta, a small-time Mafioso, an investigative reporter with a Watergate complex, and a powerful Washington political machine combine to create a fast-paced suspense novel that explores the anatomy of a murder, and the ripple effect that it creates across the country.

"Jerome Teel has crafted an intriguing political thriller...nice twists and turns to keep you reading. He paints vivid mental pictures that bring characters and locales to life."
--Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's 7th District

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm a WINNER!!!

(For any one not living in the southern USA, this is what southern chicks like me say when we're really excited. For instance, I would enter a room and say: Y'all, Guess what?)

Guess what?

I never win anything, but a month ago I entered Tamera Alexander's contest on her website to get a copy of Remembered. All I had to do was enter my favorite scene from Revealed. Gosh, which one would I chose from? I can't even tell you what I put. So I picked out a scene, typed it on the entry form and hit send.

Then I forgot about it.

I bought a copy of Remembered last weekend!

Then I find out ~

I Won! I Won!


I Won a book by one of my favorite authors and a bottle of perfume!


So what I plan to do is do a review of Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered in the near future. By just reading Rekindled and Revealed, I felt encouraged to dig up the historical I started a year or two ago. Maybe historicals are where my heart is. I don't know. To be continued on that one. But I can tell you Tamera Alexander is a gifted author and her work is truly inspiring.

After I post my review, I'll do a book giveaway for her latest release, Remembered. I know I'll love it as much as I have her first two books. And I hope after reading my review you'll pick up a copy for yourself. Or maybe, you'll go ahead and do that!

Check back with me!!

Getting better

I'm talking about writing.

God is showing me a thing or two.

I'm listening, Lord.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bad, Bad, Writing Weekend

Bad, bad, bad,
Very bad,
Uhk! Writing Weekend.
Nothing done.
Very little reading.
NOOOOOO Writing.
Not even bad, passive voice, POV all over the place writing.
Need I say more?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Take My Quiz

Hey there!

Take my quiz on F.A.I.T.H. today!

VBS Week - Conclusion

Tonight all the children who participated in Vacation Bible School, will do a presentation before their parents. They'll receive a certificate of completion. I pray more will come to know Christ.

This week has been special. Although I've blogged, in fun, about how wild my 2-3 year old class has been at times, I've enjoyed it. Each child is special, with their own unique personality. Each has a sparkle in his or her eyes that you don't see in adults.

We all had that sparkle once. I just want to bottle it up for each of them, so they can hold tight to it.

This week has been a privilege. I've enjoyed singing with these kids and to have had a part in teaching these little ones about God. I'm glad to have been able to share it with you.

VBS Week - Part 2

VBS Scripture:

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Winner Wednesday:
Our group gets wilder as the week goes on. They get to play in water, have recreation time on the playground where they push each other down the slide, and they get to plant their very own flower. They are memorizing our theme song and are getting comfortable being a part of the group.

A little girl from one of the older classes accepts Christ into her heart.
That's what makes Wednesday a Winner!

I have decided that working in a day care center is not a career path I want to pursue. My knees hurt and my shoulder has a major pull in it!

But we're talking about VBS week!

Thursday we let them bowl. They did a hand print on a paper plate. They learned to wash dishes. They learned their scripture: Remember Jesus.
They took pompoms into the sanctuary for music time and didn't listen to the music director. They were running into each other and being wild. The end of the week is near.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

(Multnomah, March 2007)


Jill Nelson


Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a member of the CFBA. Her blog, Artistic Blogger, addresses issues about art, art theft, antiquities preservation, and the art of fiction writing. She takes art seriously - when she's not having fun with it, that is. The To Catch a Thief Series combines her love of the written word with her love of other art forms.

The first in the series was Reluctant Burglar, second is Reluctant Runaway. In January 2008, she will reveal the third book, Reluctant Smuggler. Jill is thrilled if the adventures that spill from her imagination can raise awareness about art theft - deemed "a looming criminal enterprise" by the FBI. Jill and her husband, Doug, have four children and live in Minnesota.


Stolen Indian artifacts...A murdered museum guard…

A missing woman…A baby in danger…

Only Desiree can unearth the horrifying secret that links them all.

Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs doesn’t mean to get in danger’s path. Really she doesn’t. But when a friend is in trouble you don’t just walk away. No matter what your overprotective FBI agent boyfriend says! So when Desi and Tony’s date at a presidential ball is interrupted by a frantic Maxine Webb, Desi doesn’t hesitate to jump in.

Soon Desi is neck-deep in a confusing array of villains. Did Max’s niece run away or was she taken? Is she still alive or the victim of a perverse ritual? And who wants her infant son–and why?

Then Tony’s organized crime case collides with Desi’s investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister. Something that craves blood...

From the streets of Desi’s beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces–and save a young woman and her baby from a villain more evil than any of them can imagine.

"A fresh voice, strong heroine, and unique plot make Reluctant Runaway a can't-put-down read. Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an author to watch in the realm of romantic suspense!"

----SUSAN MAY WARREN award-winning author of In Sheep's Clothing

VBS Week

This is the first time I've participated in Vacation Bible School as a volunteer.

Years and YEARS ago, I participated as a child, but barely remember what I learned or did beyond doing crafts and the fact that it was held during the day. That's all I remember.

I'm helping with the 2-3 year old class. This is my comfort zone since I'm used to wild toddlers. (Little Downey can stay busy enough to where you would think there was two or three of her instead of just one!)

Here's a recap of my week at VBS:

Manic Monday: We got started a little late. There was some confusion in the schedule because of the delay, but all in all I think it was a successful evening. We had 58 kids show up and 36 volunteers. That number puts us close to the count of how many we have in church on Sundays. I pray we'll reach some new families, and returning ones, this week.

The 2-3 year olds had fun singing and dancing to the VBS music. They liked putting stickers on their hats in crafts. They enjoyed their bible story and had fun during recreation time. I had a good time cheering them on and acting silly with them. I guess I'm a three year old at heart.

My daughter stole the show during music time. She's an expert hopper and hopped to the music. Wish I had a video camera!

Tired Tuesday:

I was probably the only one tired. The kids seemed to have a great time and they were getting used to us, so they got wilder. Or so it seemed! It was my day to do the Bible Story. Thank goodness I had another teacher to help me. I'm no teacher. I wasn't prepared, which was my fault, but I think I got the point across. Think about Jesus. Learn about Jesus.

I also wanted to share our scripture for VBS Week. The theme is Game Day Central: Hebrews 12:1-2.

And I can't stop singing the VBS song: Game Day Central! The Heros are there! Game Day Central!

I'll be back later in the week with more VBS excitement!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Father's Day

The F.A.I.T.H. girls are celebrating Father's Day and are commenting on their dads. I started to comment, but realized I had a lot to say, so I decided to come to my "home" blog to really tribute the Dads in my life.


My dad, Billy, died when I was 16. I think he was a man who wanted much and didn't know where to start first. For a long time, I know he put himself first. In the last years of his life, he started seeking a relationship with me again. I'll always hold some special memories of those last years.

My stepdad is quiet and funny. Billy and my mom have been married for 17 years. I call him Paw-paw because that's what my daughter calls him. He likes racing and fishing. He's a sweetheart.

My father in-law passed away five years ago. Bill was smart and could fix anything. He always had a joke to tell. He worked hard all his life and I remember he took a day off to come to my college graduation. Education was very important to him. He's known as Pops to my daughter.


I'm 32 and it's taken me that many years to realize that through the trials of life, I'm very blessed. There's much to be said about each of these men, but what I will say here, is that it's my privilege to have known each of them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And so, Draft One begins...

Yep, I started Chapter One of my new MIP.

The MIP's working title is Where He Leads, book one of the Social Circle Chronicles.

BTW, MIP stands for Masterpiece in Progress.

I can say that here, because this is my blog. But this is the only place you'll see me typing that. When on, everything I write is an MIP.

Good or not.

That's my rule.

Anyway, I am declaring this because the writing meter has also changed.

I've got 1000 words written so far in Draft One/Chapter One of WHL.

Although I have a heck of a lot of words written between the snowflake of WHL and my GMC charts (which I plan to blog about soon - because these things are great!), this word count is the one that actually counts!

Never mind I've revised the five/six pages about three times. I do plan to move on. Remember, this is my MIP. Making a masterpiece does take time and patience.

Prayers for perseverance are welcome.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

As I Have Loved You by Nikki Arana

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

As I Have Loved You
(Revell June 1, 2007)
Nikki Arana


Nikki Arana is an award-winning author of highly-acclaimed inspirational women's fiction who weaves today's social, political, and spiritual issues into her novels. She has received numerous awards, including the Excellence in Media 2007 Silver Angel Award for The Winds of Sonoma.
The book was based on the true love story of how Nikki met her future husband Antonio as he was cleaning the stalls of her parents' Arabian horses. Nikki and Antonio have been married for over thirty years, have two grown sons, and live in Idaho.


Contemporary Struggles...
...A Single Mom and College-Ages Son.

Leigh Scott is a widowed, single mother who wants the best for her son Jeff. She would like him to graduate from college, land a secure job, and start a family. However, Jeff, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at a young age, has a God-given compassion for people. And his non-judgemental acceptance of all has unintended consequences.
Jeff starts dating Jessica, a girl with a questionable past and seemingly non-existent future. Soon, Jeff's grades drop as quickly as his sober determination to achieve the goals he's worked toward all his life, and Leigh finds herself caught in a relational tornado.

To complicate matters further, Leigh is an author with a looming book deadline, a father battling cancer, and her former boyfriend and first love, a strong Christian Native American, coming back in her life.

Arana weaves a multi-layered, emotional family saga that brings the peril of judgement, the need for forgiveness and the gift of love to light.

"Nikki Arana wrings the heart and exalts the soul."
---Romantic Times

Monday, June 11, 2007

Diva NashVegas by Rachel Hauck

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

(Thomas Nelson May 8, 2007)
Rachel Hauck

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel is the author of many books. Her current release, Diva NashVegas is the second in a series which began with Lost in NashVegas. She is also a Blogger and a CFBA member! She lives in Florida with her husband. Visit her great profile and learn more.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Even if you are not a lover of country music, you can enjoy this fun look at the Nashville entertainment industry.What do you do when the past you’ve been skirting shows up at your door with cameras rolling?Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She’d rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parents’ death-both of them pioneers in Gospel music. But while her public life, high profile romances, and fights with Music Row execs made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery.When a former band member betrays Aubrey’s trust and sells an "exclusive" to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey’s private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past-someone she’d hoped to forget.All the moxie in the world won’t let this Diva run any longer.

"Hauck once again takes us into the country music world, this time through the experiences of mega-star Aubrey James. Aubrey's life journey is filled with flaws, as well as a great deal of joy, and real life locales makes this highly original story authentic. The extra tidbits - from Aubrey's liner notes to quotes from the "media" at the beginning of the chapters - add extra sparkle to the plot."- 4 Stars, Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times Book Club
My Review:
I'm not quite halfway through the book, but I think this is one I'm going to like. This is the first book I've read by Rachel Hauck, but if you visit her site, you'll see she's published through Steeple Hill, Heartsong, Westbow and Barbour. I can tell you, she's an accomplished writer and an author I'll definitely add to my "To Be Read" list.
Okay - here's what I think:

Diva NashVegas' characters are real life. From the opening chapter, I could feel what it was like being onstage with Aubrey James at the CMA Fest. I can feel her slight dissatisfaction with her fiancee through her subtle actions. The character of Scott, seems to be like the All-American, sports-minded male. Aubrey seems to be the starlet we all wished we were friends with. I imagine a Carrie Underwood type, fast forward a few years.
I'll be finished with Diva NashVegas in a few days. Check back with me then and I'll post my complete review.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Writerly advice - article 3


Last week I started using a calendar to record how much I'd written each day. My critique partner, Christina, suggested this. She used it to reach the goal of finishing her manuscript.

I've never been very good at being organized or planning ahead. For most of my life, I've lived by the seat of my pants. That thought process is okay when you're a teenager or in your twenties. But as I reached thirty, I realized I wasn't doing what I really wanted to do with my life. Thus, I wished I'd done more planning when I was younger.

I do not use this calendar to plan what I'll write the next day. I don't want to set myself up for disappointment. Here's how it works:

Use any calendar you want. I printed one off of Microsoft Outlook for June and July.

Look at the month ahead and cross off any days you know you won't be able to write. For me, I've crossed off the days my husband is off of work. I'm sure you can get very detailed with this and use a calendar that has the time of day listed. You could organize your day in that manner and cross off the hours of the day you can't write. For those of you who work, this may be a better option.

Let's say you prepare your calendar today for the rest of the month. When tomorrow comes, if you write - and I know you will! - write how many chapters you completed, how many words you completed, or if you simply want to record how many hours or minutes you spent writing, that will show you how you used your time. Hopefully, you will look back at your calendar at the end of the week, like I have, and find you were able to find writing time even on the days you marked off. You'll see scribbles in the boxes of the chapters you completed, or in my case, listing the completed steps of the Snowflake Method. Looking back at what you accomplished is a wonderful feeling.

Last week I started Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake method and today I am ready to begin step 6. I am certain that having recorded my accomplishments every day has helped me reach this 6th step out of 10.

I've also used the calendar to record the days I've blogged. As you can tell, I've blogged more this week than usual.

The word count you see on my word meter for Book One - Social Circle Chronicles is what I have for the Snowflake. I figured I'm writing the skeleton of the story, so I'm going to let it count toward a word count. I'll update with the actual word count when I'm finally completing the chapters.

I hope today's advice will give you a good idea of something to do if you are struggling with finding time to write as I have. Remember, don't write down what you plan to do tomorrow. You'll be disappointed if you don't get to do it! Instead, write first and then record it. The following day, you'll look forward to writing even more so you'll have more to record on your calendar!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Our Koi Pond

This is our pond. It is built in to our deck in the back yard. My husband built it a few years ago. He got help in framing the deck from his friend Gaspare. Billy's brother, Charles, helped with the remaining construction.

We have both goldfish and Koi in the pond. Our dog Mack will sneak a drink of water from it on occasion. Our daughter likes to feed the fish and stick her feet in the water.

The fish are so friendly, they will come up to top of the water when we approach. I'm trying to show that in this picture. One of my favorite fish, a large black and white Koi will stick his mouth out of the water and move it like he's talking!

Another of my favorites, a Shubunkin goldfish - will come up to the top and quickly dive back down, splashing water on us with his tail.

These fish really have some sassy personalities!

These fish are like family. Some Billy and I purchased as babies and it's been a joy to watch them grow. They get bigger depending on the size of your pond. Some of these fish are Billy's Dad's. Bill passed away five years ago and Angie, my mother in-law, took care of the pond as long as she could, but the upkeep on the pond and fish can be tough. A few months ago she closed the pond and gave Bill's fish to us. It is also a joy to pick out the ones that belonged to him and see that they are thriving.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Good Grief! - It's Billy's latest toy

It's a 16' x 15' pool, inflated by a motorized blower. The water hose hooks to it and then water squirts out from everywhere! The Banzai Sidewinder slide, or whatever it's called, is TEN and A HALF FEET TALL!!!

Honey Hubby says it's for our two-year old daughter, Downey. But he and I have had more fun on it than she has!

The Blue Willow Inn Banana Split Cake

If you've been looking for a delicious dessert that's cool and sweet, check out the recipe for the Banana Split Cake I've posted on F.A.I.T.H. today.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
These Boots Weren't Made for Walking
(WATERBROOK Press June 19, 2007)
Melody Carlson


As I learned Cassidy Cantrell had never owned anything Valentino in her life, but decided to splurge on a pair of Valentino boots, and open up a credit card, I could see myself in the store beside her! Then, the 31 year old, who's biological clock is ticking and she hopes that any day her boyfriend is going to propose, wears them to work to be walking into a lay off of her department! And then, only like a day or two later, her boyfriend breaks up with her for the chic Cassidy befriended at church!

Somehow, as I sat cross legged on my couch, book in hand, I felt like Cassidy was sitting next to me and we were old girlfriends, her spilling her story of the last few months of torture! As she searched her apartment for a Snickers bar, I was looking in my cupboards for one too, just to break open and share with her!

I don't remember if this is when she learns her Valentino credit card has been stolen and suspects her "friend" across the hall, Monica or not! But soon, Cassidy is lending a helping hand to Monica's ex-boyfriend Will, because Monica walked out on him, too! - and they're sharing sob stories and Chinese food. It's around this time, Will's not looking like such a slouch, or is Cassidy just on the rebound?

But Cassidy is a smart girl and she heads home to lick her wounds and regroup with her Mom, who's totally reformed from the down and out divorcee to a hot, real estate saleslady who's caught the eye of a hot guy Cassidy's age. Good grief! When did Cassidy's Mom do a 360? Who can tell who's the mom and daughter anymore? Is Cassidy ever going to get a break? Is she going to survive the spinning class her Mom talks her into? Is she going to land a better job? Is Cassidy going to find the man of her dreams in an older man or will it be an unlikely ally?

I'm not telling - You need to read this book and enjoy every page of it.

Let Cassidy be your new best friend. But have the junk food ready... as you laugh with Cassidy, you'll be ready to box for her too. That's what girlfriends are for. Have the Snicker's bar ready and happy reading - this one's a keeper!

This link for These Boots Weren't Made for Walking will take you to Amazon to buy the book.

Melody Carlson has published over 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including On This Day, Finding Alice, the Notes from a Spinning Planet series, and Homeward, which won the Rita Award from Romance Writers of America. 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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Writerly Advice - article 2

Join a critique group.

I joined a group last fall. There were four of us then. Nine months later, we're down to three, but that's just fine.

We started out all gung ho. Everyone was submitting a chapter or two over email. We were hurrying to critique each others and couldn't wait to get our own back. Then, one returned to work, the holidays came, and first thing you know the four of us are hanging by a thread. Two of us maintained contact while one stopped writing altogether. The fourth simply didn't have the extra time to write.

Now, it's summer. Our group of three kicked off the season with our second critique group meeting. The first meeting was at a restaurant. We don't count that meeting as productive.

This one we had Saturday, however, was very productive.

After crossing off about four hours of our day, Dianna and I went to Christina's house. We had a light lunch and sat around her dining room table with our laptops open, ready to work. Books on the writing craft were stacked around our work spaces, along with a few dictionaries and thesaurus's in between.

We each took turns giving another a review of their work. Christina's novel is finished. Dianna's is just getting started. I've been swimming in quicksand for a while. I've exhausted The Distance... manuscript and have decided to put it aside for a month. Luckily, an idea for a new story was born out of The Distance... Our afternoon ended with the group brainstorming ideas for my new MIP and thus, I've been working steady to put my ideas on paper, sketch out my synopsis and color in the characters.

This is what having a critique group is about. I think each one of us walked away from Saturday with more useful information than we came in with. We exchanged books and good fellowship.

If your writing, but don't have another writer to bounce your work off of, I suggest you look into it. Writers are looking at other manuscripts for the points you need to be making with your characters and making sure the little things make sense. They're looking deeper into your plot to see the arch, the black moment and that all your facts tie together. You need someone to go through your manuscript with a fine tooth comb before you submit it to an agent or editor and a critique group is a good, basic place to start.

My writing has improved tremendously since I found my critique partners. I value their opinion and look forward to our next meeting.

BTW, my MIP(masterpiece in progress) is typed with a laugh. I don't want anyone to think I'm being haughty or proud. While the finished product, and I will finish it, may be a masterpiece to me, it may not be to everyone.

I picked up the acronym MIP from Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. It is wonderful! I'll be sharing some advice that I learn through studying this highly recommended book on our craft.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Writerly Advice - article 1

My disclaimer on advice:

I am a writer working on my craft. I am not published. My advice in itself is a work in process. If what I blog here doesn't work for you, I can't be held responsible.

With that said, my first article on advice is:

Get a room all your own.

Set up your office in the closet if you must. Whatever works for you - that's the key.

I've been slaving over my laptop for months now, wondering why my story wasn't working. This weekend I had several epiphanies. One is that I spent way too much time on the Internet. Unfortunately, I wasn't researching material for my MIP (masterpiece in progress :-)

Yesterday, I moved my laptop to the bonus room.

My husband's L.A. Dodger memorabilia is all over the walls. His Godfather poster has the gang staring me in the face. On the other side of the window, it's Star Wars. So far, neither is interrupting my creative process.

Never mind the fuse ball table is covered with a piece of plywood and layers of blankets. Don't worry about the fact that I've got the laptop propped up on another box so my posture won't suffer. What counts is I spent TWO HOURS THIS MORNING - working on my character analysis and journal. Then I reviewed my synopsis. I even secured a 16 word one liner...

What's that? You may be wondering?

Why it's step One in the Snowflake Method! See Randy Ingermanson's website for more info. I've heard so many writers rave about this technique. Since my old ways aren't working right now, I'm giving it a shot.

Except, Randy says 15 words is better.

Since I'm long winded, I'm going to keep my 16 for now and feel happy I've accomplished something.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Blogging on FAITH Today - Speedy Gonzalez or Slowpoke Rodriguez

Until recently, I'd forgotten that I can be obsessive-compulsive when it comes to reading. If I am enjoying a novel, I want to be fully absorbed in its world until I turn to the last page. Sometimes, I'm disappointed when that last page comes and I find myself wondering what life would've been like, if I were living in Ireland, if I were Amish, if I lived back in the 1800s and was driving West with a wagon train...

Read more on F.A.I.T.H.