Pages

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Interview with Leslie Ann Sartor

Exciting news! I will be interviewing Leslie Ann Sartor contracted, award-winning screenwriter on the Seekerville blog on Friday, January 2! You won't want to miss the exciting information Leslie has to share on screenwriting. The Seekers are always gracious hosts with food and fun abounding. Come and kick off the New Year in style : )

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Averting Disaster

Have you ever had one of those days?

My son and I shared one of those days recently. He wanted to play an Internet game with some of his friends, so of course, being the wonderful mom that I am : ), agreed to let him bring his computer up to my office, disconnect the Internet from my computer and power his up.

Piece of cake, Mom. Nothing to worry about.

I believed him. He had a great time that night and in the morning, I reminded him to hook my computer back up. Switching cords back and forth, he pushed his computer away and turned mine on.

Nothing.

Wait Mom, Beeper said this was easy.

Beeper? How in the world can anyone rely on advice from someone named Beeper? Not wanting to jump to conclusions, I turned my mind to laundry and dishes, in hopes that good, honest work would somehow right my world.

Um, Mom? Now before you get mad. . .

Mad? Sick to my stomach was more like it. Three years of stuff lived on the hard drive of that computer. I followed him into my office where he'd reconnected his computer and called up the HP troubleshooting center. He read off the instructions, I watched for the appropriate light to blink. Ooookay, let's try the next fix.

And the next one.

And the next one.

An hour later, we pronounced my old faithful, workhorse of a computer dead.

My son felt sooooo bad about the situation. I, oddly enough, wasn't that upset. You see, about 3 weeks earlier, I had one of those feelings to check the update on my external drive. Hmm, only my files were backed up, not the entire drive. So reset the commands and at precisely noon each day, my entire hard drive was backed up to my external drive.

BTW, I don't write on the computer with the Internet. I write on my little laptop across the room. No Internet, no Mahjong, no Solitaire.

No Disractions. Only books.

This computer melt down was a fluke. My son had pulled the wrong cord at the wrong time. All I lost was my Favorite list on the Internet : )

And, all's well that ends well. I have confiscated his computer until I receive one from a friend of mine who has an extra (God does provide, LOL). My husband is going to route the Internet downstairs so the kids can have that computer to piddle around with all they want.

And I get sole custody of my office.

2009 is looking mighty bright to me : )

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all on the most blessed day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Connealy Crunch Candy

This is a fantastic recipe that's easy to make and requires few ingredients. Fast, fun and tasty, you'll love it!

2 lbs. Almond Bark (melted)

Melt in the microwave 1-1/2 minutes. Stir. Melt 1-1/2 minutes. That should be enough. You might need slightly longer. Almond bark doesn't lose it's shape when it melts so you have to stir it to see if it is enough.

Add:

3 C. Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal
3 C. Miniature Marshmallows
3 C. Rice Krispies
3 C. Mixed nuts

Spread out on waxed paper. Let cool. Break into bite sized pieces.
Enjoy!!

Holiday Eating Tips

A reader on About.com sent these holiday eating tips, and they appear on other various Internet sites. The best guess is that some variation of this was originally written by Craig Wilson, a columnist for USA Today. For more fun from Craig, see his Final Word Archive.

  1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.


  2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!


  3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.


  4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.


  5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?


  6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.


  7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.


  8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?


  9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.


  10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.

Reread tips, then start over. But hurry: January is just around the corner.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Welcome, Carol Steward!

Welcome, Carol, and thanks for telling us all about your current series for Love Inspired Suspense. Carol lives in Colorado, keeps a full time job, and writes terrific romantic suspense. Her latest book, Shield of Refuge is a November 2008 release and available through book stores. If you are unable to find Shield of Refuge, or any of her other books, please check with your favorite online store!!



IN THE LINE OF FIRE is a series about three siblings working in different areas of the justice system who find love while struggling to keep peace in their communities and in their family. Drugs, assault, and corruption are all part of the Matthews family’s daily battles. Someone is terrorizing Northern Colorado communities throughout the series; assaulting, kidnaping, and killing female victims and threatening even the heroes’ and heroines’ safety. Will the forces against the Matthews siblings break through their armor of faith (Ephesians 6: 10-17), or will they overcome the enemy, allowing God’s light to shine?


Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

That's a tough question! Intentionally, I don't write anything of myself, but I do write what I know, so that means a lot more of what I believe and respect filter into my writing. Such as my love of God, family and a few of my hobbies and interests. I guess it's impossible to say I don't write myself into my characters, isn't it? As far as the characters personality, that isn't me. I am not nearly as witty and positive in real life. :0(

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

1. I wish I'd learned to set daily goals earlier in my career.
2. Had more faith in my writing.
3. Found a better way to balance family time and writing time. I always wrote late at night and into the morning when my three children were young. It worked well then, but now that they're grown and gone, I have a tougher time staying up that late.

What should a new writer know about the publishing business.

Publishing and writing has a lot of highs and lows. Just because one story doesn't work doesn't mean you shouldn't work on the next book. I think that's one thing I've seen pay off the most with this group. Perseverance is critical. It's important to not take anything for granted and always keep writing.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I guess that depends on who you ask. My sisters think writing is pretty quirky. My children think I'm pretty quirky all the time, but especially when my husband and I go crazy and have a "trading spaces" weekend and redecorate a room in our house. We love bringing something back to it's original beauty or transforming and bringing new life to an old space.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

When I was writing my first book, I asked God to take away the desire to write. He clearly said, "No, keep writing." I never dreamed that I would sell so quickly when I said "Okay, show me the way, Lord." Suddenly, I found writers groups and critique groups, and conferences. It wasn't easy to let go of my lucrative cake business for something I had not even gone public with yet. Not only am I thankful that God showed me the way in writing, but how to let Him guide me in life and with my family. It gets pretty chaotic at times, and I could not do it alone.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Letting go of the need to revise constantly. With the first book, I was just learning, and I had time to revise, and revise, and revise. Once it sold, and I was selling on partials and trying to finish a book in 6 months or less, that was no longer an option. I had to keep moving through the book and learn to edit differently, after the story is told. It was really tough to do this with my last contract because I was working full time and writing four books, with 5 months per book and no time to regroup in between. I had several hurdles to jump with them, but figuring out where the story had to go and quickly letting go of things that didn't work was all I could do. I know that they could have been better books if I'd had more time, but I also suspect I would have wasted a lot more time second-guessing myself, too. I think the writing process is full of these kind of hurdles – and what's worse, is just when I learn to handle one challenge, another challenge comes up. I've learned how it's not only important to keep trying different techniques and styles, but that my writing can even get better through the challenges. I'm not afraid to let go when something doesn't work. Sometimes I think writers need to just write the full story, then go back and layer in the character development, the red herrings, and analyze how to improve the story. A lot of times, if you stop spinning your wheels on one scene, a scene or two later you will probably figure out what went wrong in the problem scene. But again, don't stop and let the wheels spin again in the new place, take notes and keep moving.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

I loved writing about Amber Scott and Garrett Matthews, and all of the characters in the In the Line of Fire series, actually. Amber had a lot of self-appointed expectations for herself and like Garrett, had a strong determination to succeed, no matter the cost. They're a lot like each of us, we don't know how much we can do until we run into a roadblock. It's then we find out how deep our faith really is.

What themes exist in Shield of Refuge that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I try to work with themes, but it's hard for me to start with one in mind. Even when I do, it often changes. I let that develop as the story does, but for "Shield" I think forgiveness. It's so easy for bitterness and resentment to poison our lives. Both Amber and Garrett wear a shield to keep distractions away. Neither one wants to jeopardize their goals. It was that much more rewarding when they were able to let God take over the job of shielding them and guiding them toward one another.

I've found that each book has taught me something as I wrote it. What did you take away from writing this book?

Like He did Amber & Garrett as life hit them in the gut I was reminded that God can sustain me through everything life throws at me. And like them, I don't learn much about myself, or life, or faith when life is going smoothly. The more I need to rely on God, the more I'm learning, about myself and God's plan for my life.


How do you balance family life with writing?

I don't. I'm compulsive with everything. I work long hours. I developed terrible sleep habits as a teen, and have always worked more than one job, no matter what it might be. It's catching up with me now and I'm trying to learn how to reprioritize to take better care of myself.

I sold this series when my house was empty. My kids were all living out of town. I have a day job that I really love. I was going to fill the quiet evenings with writing again. By the time it sold, one family had moved to from Arizona back to Colorado. Then both of my sons and their families moved back into town. One moved in with us for the remainder of my deadline. My granddaughter was 1 ½ when they moved in with us, and when I finished my last book, she looked at me after dinner and told me to go to the basement (where my office is.) I've found how absolutely inspiring it is to have children around and how much I took that for granted. It was a huge blessing to have them close enough that I could share even the few minutes a day that I had with her. They've moved back to Phoenix because of the economy, and I miss them terribly, and realize how precious the time we had together was. Now I have a little more time to spend with my two grandsons and treasure quality time with them. That is, until the next book series consumes me…

I don't recommend my "balance" with others aspiring to write. Learn to say no to what isn't important in your daily life. Let go of what you can give up, and let God help you focus on what He has planned. I cook huge meals and eat leftovers, multitask too much, and put off the housework until company is coming.

What are a couple of your all-time favorite books?

That's an impossible question to answer! Absolutely impossible.

Do you have a day job, too?

I work at the University of Northern Colorado Graduate School with masters and doctoral students as they finish up their theses and dissertations. I love helping others reach their goals and see that gleam in their eye when they finish it. And I think having someone who struggles with deadlines helps us make a great team to get to the end of their degree.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?

My favorite has to be telling stories that encourage the readers, that may help them forget their problems for a while and take a little while to relax and laugh a little.

My least favorite part is that there's just not enough hours in my day to get it all done. When an idea hits, I'm usually in the middle of something else that I can't put off.


Plot, seat of pants or combination?
I'm mostly a plotter. I do a lot of planning at the beginning, but then the story takes over and it ends up a little different than I planned.

Key advice for other writers?

Be grateful for each day and enjoy it fully. Life is just too short to spend so much time doing something you don't love.


Thank you Carol for your time and insight!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Writing kids into our manuscripts

Take a peek over at Seekerville for Ruth Logan Herne's opinion on writing children into your manuscript. She has a wonderful, earthy way about telling writers that if you don't know kids, don't write them.

And if that's not enough Ruthy for you, visit Hearthside Kennels where you'll see the most adorable puppies in the world. Get a Golden Doodle while they last : )

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Maybe January 31st, 2009

As Martin Luther King once said, "I have a dream. . ."

Or rather in the words of Audra Harders, "I had a dream."

My original goal was to complete the rough draft of my current wip by Dec 31st. Well, progress is going well, just not quickly.

People write in different ways and at different paces. I thought I could whip out a rough draft in a month and then work on the details. The problem is my new approach of getting into my character's head is at strong odds with spit-it-out-and-clean-up-later.

I've been spending quite a bit of time in Diana's and Gabe's heads lately. They're really quite complex people. Each evening as I sit down to write, I think about just getting from point A to point B, but find that all the good stuff inbetween can't be glossed over.

And there you have it. You can send an old dog to school, but you can't make them rough-draft like they'd like to : )

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas 2008


The Twelve Days of Christmas

Prices of items in the Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas," according to PNC Wealth Management:
http://climate.weather.com/articles/slideshows/12xmas2008.html?page=1&scheme=image-horiz-plain.css


On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
1 Partridge = $ 20 ($15 last year)
1 Pear Tree = $ 200 ($150 last year)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
2 Turtle Doves = $ 55 ($40 last year)

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
3 French Hens = $ 30 ($45 last year)

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
4 Calling birds = $ 60 ($60 last year)

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
5 Golden Rings = $ 350 ($395 last year)

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
6 Geese A-Laying = $ 240 ($360 last year)

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
7 Swans A-Swimming = $ 5,600 ($4,200 last year)

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
8 Maids A-Milking = $ 52 ($47 last year)

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
9 Ladies Dancing = $ 4,759 ($4,759 last year)

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
10 Lords A-Leaping = $ 4,414 ($4,285 last year)

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
11 Pipers Piping = $ 2,285 ($2,398 last year)

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
12 Drummers Drumming = $ 2,475 ($2,398 last year)

Total cost of 12 Days of Christmas in 2008 -- $86,609
(Up 10.9% from last year’s cost of -- $78,100)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Holiday Cheer



Happy Holidays, woo-woo. . .





I love the Christmas holidays. All the food, joy, decorations, food, snow (Colorado), family,. . . hey, did I mention food?? Although an avid non-cooker, baker, candy-stick maker myself, I have lots of talented friends that feed my holiday weakness.


Yes, there is Weight Watchers after Christmas sale -- I've put a membership on my list, LOL!

Okay, back to this season of joy specifically. So many families have been touched by the uncertain economics of our day. Our family is right up there with them. It hurts my heart when I can't send my daughter in college more little surprise gift cards for all her favorite haunts, or offer to fill up my son's gas tank when I see the needle is pointing south. A humble heart gives God the best kind of clay to work with.

The only ones not suffering in the household are KD and Hank, that's only because with the colder weather, they have to spend more time inside. If I want the interior of my house to survive before the holidays, there better be lots of chew bones around to keep them happy : )


But this season of less is actually offering my family more. My husband never asks for anything for Christmas which makes him the most difficult to buy for. This year he is cooperating and his list contains things my kids are happy to search for in the Walmart scratch and dent section -- and both will still give dad the obligatory shotgun shells to tide him over goose season.

Both kids have dutifully turned in Christmas lists containing items even the most moth ridden piggy bank and afford.

Me? Did I mention my love for the holiday food?????? Kids can bake and hubby can cook with the skill of a bachelor : )

The holidays will be relaxed for us. Popcorn and movies, apple cider and board games. I'm looking forward to it. Family, friends and food. Can't get any better than that.

May God bless you richly this holiday season. Take time to listen and hear the angels sing.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

From Our Pets' Perspective. . .

I know this has been posted tons of times, but I still think it's a hoot! Sorry I don't know how to give credit where credit is due, I'm certainly not the creator. So, whoever originally thought this up, thanks for the laughs!!





From a Dog's Diary ...






8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!





From a Cat's
Diary...






Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.

Losers.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now.............

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem

This holiday season, may we remember all the blessings in our lives and pray for those who can't spend these precious days with their own family and friends.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest. Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep. In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow. My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight. A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold. Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!" For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night." "It's my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me. My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December," Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers." My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ', And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile. Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue... an American flag. I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.. Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I'll be all right." "But isn't there something I can do, at the least, "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you've done, For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget. To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long. For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled. Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC,
USN 30th Naval Construction Regiment OIC,
Logistics Cell One Al Taqqadum,
Iraq

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Pardoned One


Most people have dogs to protect their homes. And we do have our share of the furry beasts, but nothing beats our guard turkey. He is a beautiful bird, and probably would have tasted great a couple years ago, but he was too nice to eat back then. Now, he's mean and crabby. And probably tough as a boot sole. No one gets past our turkey though. Even the UPS guy knows to keep an eye on him or get spurred. He'll stand for hours looking into our windows, holding still as can be, thinking no one sees him. Drives the Corgi nuts.
Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without Turkey (real original name, LOL). If the President can pardon his turkey, I guess we can do the same for ours : )
Hope you had a wonderful holiday!






Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful holiday in the midst of dreary November. Not only do we have the opportunity to visit with friends and family, we get an eat-your-full, free-pass, no calorie-counting day! Now, I'll have you know, my cooking is passible for my family 364 days a year, but come Thanksgiving, I leave the cooking to the masters. This year, my cousins Gwen and Sig are hosting the meal at their house. Gwen is an awesome cook! Umm, her crab dip appetizer, well, let's just say, her meals start out tremendous and never dip down from there : ) My aunt Ona will also be contributing to the feast in her stellar cooking fashion. Me? I'll bring something people won't be afraid to eat -- probably still in the store wrapping : )

Would Thanksgiving be a day of thanks, if we didn't say what we're thankful for? No way! So I'll start with my list. Please feel free to add your own!
  1. For my loving family. Kara came home from college for the holiday and everyone is healthy, wealthy in love, and wise.
  2. For beautiful Colorado where I'm proud to call home.
  3. For God's blessing on a writing career that teaches me something each time I write a word.
  4. For friends that offer the best kind of support -- their unceasing love.
  5. For my husband. Without him, growing old wouldn't be any fun.
  6. For an utterly enjoyable day job that makes me look forward to going to work everyday.
  7. For a warm house we can afford and bills that don't exceed our income.
  8. For my loving parents who taught me the value of work and blessing of play.
  9. For my grandmother who nurtured and prayed over the seed of faith in my heart.
  10. For Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who loved me enough to die and rise again for me.

I could go on and on about the things I'm thankful for, but for anyone else, this would be boring. You only go around once in life, so live, laugh, and give praise!

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Philippians 4:6

Blessings to you this Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

(Word) Countdown to December 31st

November 23, 2008

I've been dragging my heels, but no more! I plan to complete my rough draft rewrite of Rough and Ready by Dec 31, 2008! Daunting task, you say? Not if I'm faithful. How can I call myself a writer if I don't write?

Okay, this is a rough draft, so I'm aiming for 75,000 words for a projected finished length of 90,000.

Watch my side bar and measure my progress with me : ) I know we're going into the holidays, but hey, what better time to proclaim God's glory?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Check It Out!

Are you thinking for starting a new writing project? Debby Giusti has some great idea for beginning that new book, starting with the first line! Check out Seekerville to read her blog.

Donnell has posted a blog on Five Scribes that takes out a lot of the where-to-go when searching for an agent blog. Don't miss this informative post!

It's Flu Season

My best laid plans of get 'er done have been sidelined by the dread of the winter season -- the flu. Now, what I just survived, is not the real flu where people die and everything. No it's the kind that makes you miserable for 36 hours because really, all I need by my side is the bathroom and a comfy pillow, and yet, I can't function enough to do anything but sleep! No computer, no crocheting, no reading. Even the TV had it's visual moments inducing stomach gurgles and mad sprints.



Some say fight it and hang tough.




I say find a comfy couch, a compassionate Corgi, and non-corrosive Kleenex, turn on soul stirring music and just ride it out : )

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Courting Miss Adelaide

As writers, we all long for the review that showcases our ability. My friend and fellow Seeker, Janet Dean has received a review most worthy of fanning away the faints : ) Her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide is an astounding work worthy of every word of praise given! Keep an eye on Ms. Dean. May the good Lord grant us many more books from her talented fingers : )

Marlena Fortune

If you have a moment, jump over to the Seekerville blog. The most esteemed, Marlena Fortune has graciously dropped in to share her knowledge of the Literary Agent world. Good stuff and very entertaining!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sure it looks easy...

I spent most of the afternoon brawling with Blogger and Photobucket. I am not the most computer literate apple in the bushel, and afternoons like this are frustrating reminders of that fact. It looks easy, doesn't it? Just follow the template prompts and Voila! you should have a blog or website as shown in the marketing brochures.

Yeah, right.

Wailing my woes to the Seeker loop for support from my sisters, I whined enough to make all of us feel good : ) Camy Tang, in her infinite cyber hardware wisdom emailed a few simple steps and finally Voila!, just like in the marketing brochures : )

Anyway, take a look at the right of my blog and witness the fruits of my labor. My slideshow attempts to display my inspiration for Rough and Ready, Book One of my Circle D series. I'm doing a serious revamp of the plot and God has thrown some pretty good wrenches in my former okay plot to give the unexpected twists and turns. Well, they were unexpected to me, LOL.

I like it.

I hope you will soon, too : )

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Check It Out!

Books coming out this month and those already on the shelves:

Countdown to Death by Debby Giusti
A Love Inspired Suspense, Book One of Debby's Magnolia Medical series.

Medical researcher, Allison Stewart has to work against the clock to find out how five people from a small Georgia town contracted a rare, deadly disease. Before she ask one question, someone tries to kill her. Handsome recluse, Luke Garrison is thought to be guilty of a decade-old murder with ties to Allison's case. Can she trust Luke as an ally, or will she be the next victim?

Single Sashimi by Camy Tang
Zondervan Publishers, Book Three of Camy's Sushi Series.


Venus Chau is determined to start her own game development company and launch the next Super Mario-sized phenomenon. However, she needs an investor to back her idea. When Drake Yu, an old nemesis, approaches Venus with a contracting opportunity at his sister's startup, the offer tempts Venus to think the unthinkable.

Venus would rather throw away her PS3 than work for Drake again...but then Grandma bribes Venus to do this favor for Drake's wealthy family. With the encouragement of her three cousins, Lex, Trish, and Jennifer, Venus discovers that even a wounded heart can undergo a beautiful transformation. . .

Where The Heart Leads by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Bethany House Publishers


After his graduation from college, Thomas Ollenburger is filled with big dreams and even bigger questions. What will he do for a job? Should he marry? Where will he call home? Torn between his Mennonite roots on the Kansas prairie and his love for the big city of Boston, as well as his affection for a girl from each location, Thomas doesn't know which path he is meant to take. He has always sought God's help with his decision-making, but now it seems Heaven is staying stubbornly silent. What will Thomas choose?

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman
Revell Publishers, Book 2 of Julie's The Daughters of Boston series.

No man can resist her charms. Or so she thought.
Charity O'Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. Her stunning beauty and fliratious ways have always succeeded with men. Until Mitch Dennehy, that is. Brilliant and dangerously handsome, Mitch is a no-nonsense newspaperman who wants nothing to do with her. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won't play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants--one way or another.

Or does she? Will her best laid schemes win his love? Or will her seductive ways drive him away forever?


Great reads! Go pick up a copy and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scripts

Scriptwriting and novels go hand in hand, or so it seems. A couple of my favorite blogs are hosting posts on writing screenplays. If you want the skinny on Show, Don't Tell, these are the blogs to read!

Sandra Leesmith on Seekerville
Leslie Ann Sartor on Five Scribes

Amazing stuff!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Writers Group

I just returned from a wonderful meeting of the Front Range Christian Fiction Writers (FRCFW). The group discussed becoming an official chapter of ACFW, but decided to wait on the final decision, choosing instead to remain simply a structured group for Christians writing fiction.

Members will be supported in every area of their writing needs:
  • writing tips
  • guest speakers
  • brainstorming sessions
  • booksignings
  • fellowship
  • Anything else that comes up : )

We meet the fourth (4th) Saturday of the month at the Barnes & Noble in Centerra Shopping Center, Loveland, CO 10:00 am - noon.

Saturday, November 22, Carol Steward will be the guest speaker giving us tips on Characterization. She will speak from 10:00am-noon, then at 1:00 pm, Barnes & Noble is hosting a booksigning for her. Please come if your schedule allows!

Check back for more information and schedules!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Interesting Discussions. . .

Hi All!

Have you visited the Five Scribes blog http://fivescribes.blogspot.com/? Take a peek on the current conversation on tattoos. Quite the interesting topic : )

And check out The Seekers blog http://seekerville.blogspot.com/. Susan Sleeman shares her *Call* moment. Had me drooling : )

If you want the current scoop on contests and Asian gourmet [grin], visit Camy's Loft http://camys-loft.blogspot.com/. Camy has her third book in the Sushi series out, Single Sashimi, and it's a winner! A review will be posted here soon!

That's all for now. Visit again soon : )

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Discerning Minds Want to Know

In support of my commitment to return to writing, I glanced through my writing books to spend a couple hours reigniting excitment. Like most writers, I have quite a library of titles.

Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass?
Techniques of the Selling Writer, by Dwight Swain?
GMC by Debra Dixon?

These three books, among many more, are truly inspirational works guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing. No writing reference section is complete without them. Instead, since afterall this is a Sunday afternoon, I turned to a more inspirational source.

Write His Answer, by Marlene Bagnull

Write His Answer gives thought to why we write. In short, concise, informative chapters, Ms Bagnull opens her own writing journey to the world, filled with all the pitfalls and detours we all experience in life. She made herself vulnerable to me, and in return, I completed the exercise sections at the end of each chapter with humiliating honesty. Though I haven't read the book in its entirety, I do see a lot of wisdom in her words effecting my life.

First and foremost, I'm forced to admit, I'm fragmented. I grant the same importance to so many voices, prioritizing is impossible. So often I give up in frustration before I even sit down before the computer screen. How do I know I've been called to write? I know I've been called to write because deep down the desire burns unceasingly.

Well, fine. But how do you know what to write? The answer is in James Chapter 1:

5 If you need wisdom--if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask Him and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.

Silly me, I've always known that! That verse leaves you with warm, fuzzy feelings knowing God will answer prayer. . .it's the next verse that made me sit up and pay attention as I planned on asking God for his guidance.

6 But when you ask Him, be sure that you really expect Him to answer, for a doutful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

Since my childhood, I've known God answers prayer. Maybe not as I'd like, but He answers. I must unceasingly pray that I hear His answer when He gives it. But wait, that's not all. . .

7 People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 They can't make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.

Ouch!! That's me, the flag waving in the wind. Is this what God wants?...no, no, this is what God wants...is this the story You want me to tell?...hmm, how about this one?...wait, this one is so timely...

All around the bush I chase, never stopping to taste the berries God has blessed me with.

There is a silver lining in my story of indecision. Before I stopped my study time, I opened my Bible to a Psalm where I often find comfort. Psalm 32 remains a strong influence in my life, but one verse left a deep groove in my brain:

"The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8

This afternoon, I found peace. I know the road ahead of me is rocky and full of pitfalls, but the Lord is guiding me if I but ask and listen.

Stay tuned, I'll let you know how it goes. . .better yet, how about if you come along? In God's kingdom, there's always room for more.

Blessings in Jesus' name,
-audra

Saturday, October 11, 2008

MIA for a season

Hmm, I have this perfectly great blog space and rarely use it. Now, that's just not right : )

Recently, I've been going through some soul searching. Am I on the right track with my writing? Am I being selfish in demanding time to devote to my passion at the expense of my family? Is my being an author on God's radar?

Tough questions, even tougher to actually face.

So, I set out on a journey of self-discovery, of sorts. A temporary job opportunity plopped itself on my lap offering to let me be a fill-in secretary for our 4-H organization. Now, if you know me at all, I love 4-H and can spend an entire blog itself on just that topic. But that's not my mission today, so you'll have to tune in again : )

The challenges of being in the workplace again were very stimulating. I had tasks to perform under deadline, the public to greet with constant humor, and generally easing back into the working world. I loved my days, but I came home exhausted.

Too exhausted to write.

This concerned me. How was I to do God's bidding, if indeed He intended to make me a published author, if I didn't write? I prayed, but didn't hear an answer.

Four months later, our regular secretary decided to retire, so I was offered the position permanently. Talk about a bizarre mix of excitement and apprehension! Lord, what will You have me do??

Again, silence on the line.

Well, I accepted the position and focused on being the best Administrative Assistant I could be. I learned a lot. I worked a lot. I laughed a lot.

I didn't really try to wedge writing into my already full life -- oh did I mention my husband owns a Painting company for which I continue to also secretary for, and we have two teenagers, one graduated this last May and is in college? My prayer life filled to capacity. I neglected my writing duties. I felt badly, but you know what? I also found out who my friends were.

Take a moment and visit Seekerville http://seekerville.blogspot.com and meet 14 of the most giving ladies to ever create a blog (I'm the 15th, hee). Fine advice and humor abound with the ladies of Seekerville and I find myself most fortunate they love me even when I go MIA.

Then, mosey on over to the Five Scribes home http://fivescribes.blogspot.com and meet the ladies who also love me as they sprinkle words of wisdom across blog pages about the Ups and Downs of the writing world. Leslie Ann, Donnell, Theresa, Kerri-Leigh and MIA-me, do our best to shed light on fiction and screenwriting across genres.

Both blogs are exceptional and vividly illuminate the trials and triumphs of the writer's life.

Anyway, along this journey, God did speak to my heart and He did assure me I had something to write about. Who am I to argue when He graciously provides the story??

So, now I've respoken my marriage vows to God and my writing. I promise Just In Time will no long remain stagnant. I've too many thoughts and book reviews to share. Come back again, and often, and share moral support whenever the good Lord moves you : )

Blessing to you all!!!
-audra

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Only Uni

Book 2 in the Sushi Series
by Camy Tang

Trish Sakai has upset Grandma. Not a bad thing for the average person, but in the Sakai family, no one upsets Grandma. Trish had all the right reasons for putting her life on the so-called line--she’s just not ready to marry yet. Or is she?

Having kissed dating good-bye and asking the Lord’s guidance in leading her to the chosen man, Trish finds herself in humorous peril more often than not. Stalked by a gorgeous ex-boyfriend, supported by loving cousins who complain they’re always there to pick up the pieces of Trish’s life only to have her mess it all up again, and ramrod-ed by a Grandma who has sleuthy ways to persuade her granddaughter to see things in proper fashion, this book is a laugh from page one. To top it all off, her partner on a project at work is a man too good-looking for his own good, yet she must resist this temptation, she promised the Lord. . .right?

Ahh, what’s a flirtatious, senior biologist, California girl to do? Pray hard and meet the world head-on!!

As the second book in the Sushi Series, Only Uni is a wonderful, fast paced book that will make you laugh time and again. Life in the single lane as a Christian lady ain’t easy to begin with; Trish Sakai demonstrates how to overcome expectations with style! I can’t wait for the third book to come out!!