Monday, November 30, 2009
Today might be a little dreary for those returning to work after all the holiday fun. But keep in mind, Christmas is only four weeks away and we get to shop and eat all over again! =) Hang in there, guys!
I'm definitely feeling the Christmas spirit now that my house is clean and decorated, and my tree is up and taking command of the living room. Little Miss was confused at first as to why her Toy Corner is now Tree Corner but the fireplace hearth works just as well for a giant tub of toys. Thankfully, she adapts quickly =)
So far, she's still leaving the tree alone except for one ornament I keep catching her snatching from the tree and playing with on the kitchen floor - Hubby's firetruck ornament that lights up. It's pretty sweet so I can't get too upset. She pushes it around the floor and makes vroom-type noises. It's so cute! But, it does have a hook on the top, so it's not a good idea. I took it from her last night and heard myself say sternly "Firetrucks go on trees" which I'm sure was more confusing than anything else....LOL. Oh well.
Oh! Today is also November 30th, which I believe means the last day of the NANO writing goal. NANO'ers, report in. Did you meet your word count goal? Did you get close? Give us the details!
Friday, November 27, 2009
I actually didn't eat that much yesterday, which in present tense was disappointing but today, a relief. We got to my grandma's yeseterday around 10:30 and I sampled one of her new recipes - a cookie made with real candy orange slices! So yummy! I had one good paper-plateful of lunch and a few Rice Krispie treats for dessert, and then was...done. Of course, Little Miss needing attention and help with her lunch and assistance with her past-my-nap-time grumpiness was a distraction from the potential calories as well!
I was really proud of her though. For a busy holiday with her schedule all thrown off and teething, she did great. After lunch I whisked her off to the guest bedroom where we laid down with blankie and Gigi and I sang her to sleep and dozed a little bit with her. Sweet memories! She's a big girl now and goes to bed for her naps and bedtime awake, so I never get to hold her while she sleeps anymore. So that was precious.
Hubby was on call all day, and had to leave twice for the hospital but at least he got to eat with the family and play with Little Miss outside for awhile at my grandma's house.
When we got home late afternoon, I took her for a long walk in her stroller, for my benefit as much as hers, and felt like maybe I'd evened things out. Dinner was two little slices of baked pizza as we didn't take any leftovers home, and a piece of chocolate while Hubby and I watched a movie together. Great holiday!
Hope yours was as nice as mine! Now its time to decorate the house for Christmas and most importantly - turn on the All Christmas Music, All The Time radio channel =)
PS - I tried to exercise this morning, but Little Miss thought something was wrong if I layed on the floor to do crunches, and would cry. lol If I sat up, she wanted to sit in my lap with me. Oh well, a few lingering Rice Krispies and chocolate won't kill me =)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
1. That I'm living my dream of being a stay-at-home mommy and writing "full time".
2. That my husband works his booty off to provide me the above opportunity, yet does so willingly and with a gracious heart, without a hint of bitterness or resentfulness as he could easily choose to slip into. He sees my writing and my time raising Little Miss as an investment, and that is priceless.
3. For polka dot shoes. Can anything bring a faster smile?
4. For white chocolate mochas, WITH whip.
5. For being multi-published/contracted with a top notch publisher and having an agent and editor who encourage me and push me to be better!
6. For my sweet Little Miss, who loves to snuggle with Mommy every morning and watch cartoons and eat cereal bars and enjoy time together.
7. For my family and the Christian heritage in which my parents raised me
8. For the invention of S'mores. Whoever first deducted that chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows would go well together is truly a genius.
9. For an endless "to be read" pile of mostly free books awaiting me!
10. For my friends, near and far. I have the best friends in the entire world, and even though we're literally spread across the entire world, I am blessed beyond blessed!
Monday, November 23, 2009
It's Thanksgiving week! Thursday is the big day - family, food, and fun. Maybe a good nap or two for the lucky ones! We're going to camp out at my grandma's house most of the day, my husband is on call but hopefully won't be so busy that he can't enjoy the inevitable feast. =)
The best part about Thanksgiving for me right now is the lack of responsibility. I know that sounds awful. But my mom and grandma still take care of all the food preparations, so all I gotta do is pack up my little family (which is no easy feat!!) and go enjoy. I can't imagine trying to prepare dinner on my own - I have zero idea how to cook a turkey. I could probably open a can of cranberry sauce easily enough. Come to think of it, I doubt I've ever made greenbean casserole before! Yikes!
Looks like I'll need practice in the years to come!! But for now, I can sleep in, watch the Macy's parade, and travel over the river and through the woods to Grandma's. =)
What are your plans this holiday?
Friday, November 20, 2009
I was given the honor of being interviewed by Mary Lou Cheatham on her Christian Examiner website, featuring authors in her area. This is a really neat website, I know more and more people becoming Examiners for their region.
To read the interview and see more about being an Examiner, click HERE and be sure to leave a comment!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
That's right. My favorite brand of cookies has deceived me!
For a good two years now, I've been buying the reduced fat versions of these cookies. Trying to be good, trying to enjoy a snack without feeling guilty from it. Even Little Miss loves this kind of cookie, so she helps me eat them.
Yesterday I was at Walmart, which was a ridiculous ordeal in its own right (my list was way too long to have tackled alone with a 16 month old, and my buggy was so loaded down, I had to stuff things in the top compartment where Little Miss rode, and she hated that - kept trying to take them back out. Then I literally had strangers picking up my grociers for me as they fell out of the buggy and helping me turn corners because the buggy was heavier than my arm capacity) and in my haste, I grabbed the regular brand of cookies instead of the reduced fat. (same packaging except for a small starburst in top corner) I was a little excited because it was an innocent mistake, and these truly just taste better than than reduced, so I'd get a well-earned break from the monotony of being good.
Well, I just checked the nutrition label on the back, and...there is a 20 calorie difference.
That's right. 3 cookies of reduced is 140 calories, 3 cookies of the regular is 160.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
I shall sacrifice taste no more.
And maybe eat 6 just for the heck of it.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Today is a writing day! Well, afternoon, anyway. I'm heading to my favorite haunt in a bit to soak in the coffee and the atmosphere of beloved books and write, until time to meet my Bible-study girls for mexican food and "therapy"! Can't beat a free vent session!
In fact, I'm convinced most of the world's problems could be solved if discussed with books, coffee, and salsa within easy reach.
But no one in government asks for my opinon, which, truly, is probably for the best. =)
Have a happy Tuesday. And if you went to the midnight showing of New Moon last night, come on, fess up. I gotta tease you just a little =)
Monday, November 16, 2009
I beg you to do three things today.
1. Buy this book.
2. Read this book.
3. Read this book with other people inside your house (NOT ALONE), with every light on inside your house, with your back firmly planted against a wall, with several weapons of choice within easy reach, with a pillow to scream into if you don't want to wake a sleeping baby/child, and with freshly manicured nails, because you're bound to squeeze a pillowcase or your own hand/leg and I'd hate for you to leave claw marks on something important. Oh, and be prepared to possibly lose all desire to ever take a shower again.
I'm not kidding.
Here's the blurb:
Cole Leighton can barely believe his eyes. A woman on his bus has just been abducted—in an exact reflection of a scene from the bestselling novel he's reading. Someone is bringing the book to life…and isn't above forcing an innocent woman to follow the story to its tragic end. Using the novel as his playbook, Cole catches up with the beautiful victim—but rescuing Kenzie Jacobs doesn't keep her safe for long. The killer is writing his own ending, and none of the twists and turns lead to happily ever after.
Sounds good, huh? It IS. And scarier than I had anticipated. I read suspense, but not thrillers or horror novels. I don't love being scared, and avoid scary movies at ALL costs. This isn't a thriller or a horror novel, but it definitely had a higher amp of OH MY GOODNESS than I expected =)
It's my own fault. I saw the book on my desk in my To Be Read Pile last night. My daughter was playing contentedly, my husband was at work, and I thought, hey, I can read a few chaps while Lil Miss is enjoying her cartoons and playing, before I make our dinner. So I did, and was immediately hooked. I kept reading because I wanted to see what would happen next.
Then I kept reading because I had to finish in order to calm down. I knew I wouldn't sleep if I didn't have a happy ending in my head!!! I was literally on the edge of my chair, feet tucked under me, biting my nails, and Lil Miss at one point scared me half to death by popping up beside the ottoman when I wasn't expecting it.
Finally, halfway through the novel, I called Jenness, freaking out. "I AM SO MAD AT YOU". She wasn't very sorry, since my fear was partly her goal in writing the story. As a fellow writer, I understood this, but still had the right to be mad and threaten to call her in the middle of the night if I had a bad dream. =)
Dinner consisted of microwave chicken strips for Lil Miss and cereal for me, which I dripped all over myself because I kept reading in the chair with the bowl in my lap, dribbling milk everywhere with every unfocused bite.
I took a break for a reality check, and talked to a friend on the phone, and played with Lil Miss, and did her bath and bedtime routine. At that point I was okay, having distanced myself from the story enough to function. But I still had to finish that night. So after Lil Miss was down, I checked all the deadbelts and armed myself with a piece of cake, a Diet Coke, and my laptop, cell phone, and house phone. Somehow I felt safer surrounded by technology.
I finished the book, having only one or two minor strokes before reaching the blessed words The End. Now, in the bright light of day, I laugh at my immature behavior last night and realize I was being ridiculous. It's just a story. Right?
Well that's what the heroine in the book thought too...
Here's a little bit about Jenness. She looks so innocent, doesn't she???? Don't let her fool you! =)
Jenness Walker is a romantic suspense author for Steeple Hill. She also co-authors light-hearted stories with Tracy Bowen. Jenness lives in Florida with Jason, her beloved website-designer husband, and Hyacinth, her almost-as-beloved laptop. When she’s not writing from her magic coach, she loves to decorate or plan her next roadtrip with Jason.
Unofficially, let me add that Jenness is one of my dear friends, and as many of you know from her moving, heartfelt devotional at the 2009 ACFW conference, likes to drink water when nervous. (I won't tell you how much she drank during the devotional) =)
Friday, November 13, 2009
Some days, the urge to disappear for a week on a desert island is quite strong.
Today is one of those days.
So, since I can't purposefully strand myself on a island (and really, would I want to without pool-side service and electricity??), I'll stick to what I do best - imagining.
But I need to pack an imaginary suitcase, so help me, will you? What TWO BOOKS (besides your Bible!) would you want to take with you if you knew you were going to be stranded and could only read those two books for the next indefinite period amount of time? (and don't start on the logic of KNOWING you're going to be stranded and packing cell phones and radios and smoke signals. lol)
I know one of mine would be The Shape of Mercy. Still pondering my second...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I've been up since 4:50 a.m.
Yes, it was on purpose.
Today, I had to get up at 4:50, get dressed, get Little Miss up and dressed, and be at my parent's house across town at 6:15 to meet my husband, coming straight from work. From there, we left his truck and got in my car and drove almost two hours to Alexandria, where I dropped Hubby off with his mother in law's fiance, and they then proceeded to drive together to New Orleans, where he'll attend a family meeting for her new therapy center.
Little Miss and I turned right back around and drove back home. Poor Little Miss was in the car without a break from 5:45 - 9:30. Almost four hours! But she did great. Slept about thirty minutes of it, and while Hubby drove there, I sat in the back with her and supervised her breakfast. On the way home, when it was just us, I kept a bag of toys in the front seat and handed her things as she got grumpy. That took up the first 45 minutes. Then nothing kept her occupied, so I started with snacks. Between 5:45 and 9:30 she had half a cereal bar, a ton of goldfish, juice, a fruit snack stick, and is now working on a cookie. lol But we had minimal fussing, which was this caffeiene deprived mother's goal. =) I promise I saw mirages of Starbucks along the dusty, boring, flat, tree-lined highway.
Still sleepy. It's gonna be a long day, having started it before the sun, but that's okay. All for a good cause. Hubby is bringing his mother's SUV back home with him, which he will drive while his truck is in the shop for almost two weeks staring next week.
The rest of our day will consist of caffeine, cartoons, and lots of running around.
Yawn. Maybe if I squint, I can conjur up a Starbucks gift card....
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
There is a situation going on right now in the fiction writing industry that absolutely appalls me. A well known author has taken it upon him/herself to publicly attack a respected, well-known and very successful publishing house in the CBA (Christian market) and question their authors, their morals, their purpose, their effectiveness...
I refuse to name names, or go into the details here. Odds are you know what I'm talking about and if you don't, then even better. I refuse to give this author the satisfaction of receiving any more Google hits on this matter than he/she already is by listing the specifics,
Maybe some think that even "negative fame" or attention is better than none, but I disagree.
I just have to say that this kind of Christian author attack on other Christian authors is disgusting. It's awful to try to gain attention and fame for one's own work by openly dissing the work of others. Maybe that's not his/her goal but it comes across that way, and is heartbreaking.
Don't we all have the same goal? Aren't we ultimately as Christian authors all writing for an audience of One? I find it an honor and a reverent joy to write for the CBA market and to have books published that promote hope and joy in the Christian life, that show characters struggling with issues of faith and dark circumstances and coming out victorious in the end.
It's a sad day indeed when a Christian author stoops to this level, especially without first finding out all the facts and details involved in his/her accusations and comments.
Ignorance is plain ugly.
I want to learn from this, as upset and sad as it makes me, and find good from the situation. It seems lately that God, through various means and avenues, has been showing me the best way to behave under personal attacks (and this one feels personal even though its not), and so far that has meant to not lash back - which is another reason why I'm not naming names here publicly. I just want you all to be aware that whether its in the Christian publishing market or in your own personal daily life, be careful. Get your facts because making accusations. Really know what you're saying, and PLEASE - pray about what you say before you say it!
I don't want to ever be the person on the other side of this issue I'm referring to. I don't want to ever find myself in that kind of dark place. Therefore, I am committing to speak slowly, listen deeply, and pray before ever launching what could be viewed as an attack on a fellow brother or sister in Christ.
I hope this author sees the error of his/her ways. I hope good will come from this in the industry at the end of it and not bad.
I just really, really hate division among God's troops. =(
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
When I volunteered to participate in Erica's blog tour, I knew I'd be in for a good read and quality writing. Erica is a friend and the crit bud of one of MY crit buds (is that clear? lol) and I knew she was talented...
But I was NOT expecting this!! THE BARTERED BRIDE was a surprising, refreshing, intriguing story that I had trouble putting down. I haven't quite finished it yet, because, well this happened --
But I am determined to get it back and finish the last few chapters!! Time to turn on Dora, because I've got to see how this story winds up.
Here's a quick overview...
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Duluth, Minnesota in 1905 boasts more millionaires than any other U.S. city. Tycoon Abraham Kennebrae intends to marry his grandsons off to three of the wealthiest heiresses in town and allow Kennebrae Shipping to gain control of Duluth Harbor.
Tempests rage, in the board room, the ball room, and on treacherous Lake Superior. Will hearts and helms survive? Will God prove Himself sovereign over wind, waves, and weddings?
Jonathan Kennebrae, oldest of the three Kennebrae brothers, finds himself backed into a corner. Marry heiress Melissa Brooke or lose his own considerable inheritance. Can he find a legitimate reason to avoid the wedding and still keep his fortune? But as the wedding day approaches, does he want to escape?
Melissa Brooke, only heir to her father’s empire, is bartered by her parents into a marriage contract to a man she’s never met. Can she trust him with her deepest secret? Can she trust him with her heart?
* * * * *Order your copy of this great story HERE !!!!
* * * * * *
I just immediately fell for these characters and their situation. I don't read a lot of historicals, mostly because I don't have a lot of time anymore to read in general, but I think I've discovered a secret...I think what makes a historical great is when the reader doesn't feel that they are reading one.
I don't mean in regards to word style or setting. Erica did an amazing job in both of those aspects. I'm talking about story quality, where the reader gets sucked in and becomes so involved in that world that it doesn't seem like it was a long time ago. It seems like right now, and you're in petticoats and chemises right there with them! =)
Here's some of the writing you can look forward to, a beautiful phrase that jumped out at me as "wow" -
The morning sun fell through the stained glass of the upper windows, shattering rainbows on the Perisan rug.
I love that!! And that's just one of the pretty descriptions you'll read that will transfer you back in time.
Here's a little bit about Erica, and then keep reading for an interview with her!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ERICA VETSCH is married to Peter and keeps the company books for the family lumber business. A home-school mom to Heather and James, Erica loves history, romance, and storytelling. Her ideal vacation is taking her family to out-of-the-way history museums and chatting to curators about local history. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Calvary Bible College in Secondary Education: Social Studies. You can find her on the web at http://www.onthewritepath.blogspot.com/
1. Tell us a little about the process for writing The Bartered Bride. The idea came to me while I was sitting in church waiting for the service to start. All of a sudden, the names and the "What if?" queston just burst into my head. I wrote The Bartered Bride in about five weeks. I was so 'high' on the story, I couldn't wait to write it and to get that first critique back to see how it read.
2. Do you see yourself putting a little bit of Erica into all your heroines, or are you totally different from each of them? My heroines are usually the way I WISH I was. They always come up with something snappy to say, or have the right words of wisdom for a situation. That being said, they share my values and as much as possible given the historical context, my views on things.
3. What is the takeaway you hope your readers will gain from reading The Bartered Bride? A couple of things. First, that God is sovereign, and that His will WILL be accomplished, no matter how much scurrying and forcing of issues we might try to do. And Second, that quite often we pray that God will change someone else, when we're the one most in need of change.
4. What is your favorite color and why? Red. Because it makes me happy.
5. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Book buying. I buy lots of research books and novels.
6. Imagine - you just pulled open the doors to Barnes & Noble and stepped inside. What's your first thought? I wish I had a zillion dollars. :)
7. If you had your choice between a muffin, a bagel, and a donut, which would you go for? A donut. Bavarian creme filled chocolate slathered donut all the way.
8. If you had to pick only ONE theme or message of God's truth to share with the world in your books, what would it be? The message of John 3:16, That God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, so that we could spend eternity with Him.
9. What is your favorite Thanksgiving holiday tradition? Probably that we put up all our Christmas decorations that weekend. A great family time with music, food, laughter, untangling of lights you promised yourself last year that you'd store more neatly but ended up just wadding up and stuffing into a box.
10. What is a book you recently read that has still "stayed with you" in your mind? Right now it's Montana Rose by Mary Connealy. The heroine was such a departure for Mary and she carried it off beautifully. Humor, love, danger, it's all there.
~ Thanks for reading! Hope you purchase this story for yourself, because you won't regret it!! I'm officially an Erica Vetsch fan. ~
Now to go demand my book back from Little Miss....
Monday, November 09, 2009
It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
I proudly typed those beautiful words last night 9:30 p.m., sitting in my bed, eyes glazed, shoulders hunched, yet somehow basking in the glory of a finished novel, or in this case, novella.
Of course, an author is rarely ever done-done. There's always last minute edits of your own choice, then those by your editor and then line edits and copy edits and...okay, I'm losing my joy.
But for now, The End is typed on the last line of my Christmas Novella, entitled The Gingerbread Season and releasing October, 2010 as part of a Steeple Hill compilation book with author Marta Perry.
What about you? Where are you on your WIPs? Is The End near, or are you at The Beginning? Do you like finishing a novella, or are you sad to see your characters go? Sometimes I'm a little nostalgic to say goodbye to my characters...but this time, I'm eager to see them launched and hopefully appreciated. This was my first novella, and it was hard. It's more difficult than you might think to condense a full story into half the typical word count. There is zero room for fluff, extra words, unnecessary dialogue...you gotta be sharp, and I guess I like to drone on at times =)
This was a great experience, one I really learned from and appreciated. I hope you'll all enjoy The Gingerbread Season next year.
(and if you don't, don't tell me. LOL)
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
For me, I've been busy busy busy. Submissions are sent, friends are emailed, and I find myself still mulling over the lessons I learned there, especially Jim's class on marketing. He really stuck in my mind with his point of "being original, and being first". Did anyone take that class, and if so, are you implementing his ideas into your career yet?
And OH speaking of great information for writers, have you heard about this? Super cool idea by superb author Susan May Warren and respected agent Chip MacGregor, and I wish I had the money to go. If you do, don't miss it. I can guarantee the information will be invaluable...
The Masters Seminars
Marketing your Novel
Sometimes its easy to come home from conference, all fired up and passionate about writing, but let the fire fade as time passes and the real world seeps back in the cracks. Dirty diapers, dirty floors, and dirty dishes tend to steal our passion. Don't let what you learned at ACFW this past September get watered down this fast in the year! Keep the fire burning by keeping the information flowing.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Thanks for all who read my review and signed up! Check back for more drawings.
And the winner is.
Congrats girl! Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and I'll get this to you hopefully this week, next for sure. (Post office trips are hectic with a 15 month old!! lol)
Hope everyone has a blessed Monday. Mine is so far consisting of cartoons, housework, and deadlines.