Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009

Can you believe the year is almost over? Seems like each year, the time goes by just a mite faster. Maybe I should just Christmas shop now for next year and be all set by the time Thanksgiving comes rolling around in just a few weeks : )

Tomorrow is the day for revolutions.

Today is the day to give thanks.

I'm thankful for:
  • family and our health. This year has seen some crazy things happen from kidney infections to hernias to dog-bitten fingers. Through it all, we kept our sense of humor along with countless prayers heavenward.
  • daughter who lives life to the fullest. Her motto: you can rest when you're dead. She has a heart of gold and a 1000-watt smile to go with it.
  • son who lives up to his nickname of Minimum Bud, even though he's the first to lend a hand fixing equipment, moving furniture or chauffeuring his friends where they want to go. Now if we can just come up with enough money to support his food budget...
  • ...good friends to laugh and cry with and who always know just what to say whether it's consolation or a smack up side of the head. Best friends don't let best friends wallow or do stupid things.
  • job that brings me endless enjoyment and the opportunity to give back to the 4-H community for all the support and love they've shown our family. Special thanks to this incredible village of families that helped raise my children and me!
  • Five Scribes buddies for creating a blogging venue so diversified, visitors learn all about romantic suspense, womens' fiction, urban fantasy, screenwriting, along with my contribution of inspirational romance depending on the day they visit. The guest interviews are fantastic and the book reviews enlightening. Thank you my good friends for joining me on this adventure into the next year.
  • Seekerville sisters. I can't say enough about this incredible group of women who bonded together out of our competition against each other in writing contests. No joy, problem or sorrow is too big or too small for the ladies who serve up fun and laughter, along with delicious treats in Seekerville each day. Life in fiction writing land would be so lonely without you guys! Empty the island by 2011!!
  • ...the honor of living in this great nation. More specifically, I love living in Colorado where the sun shines 300 days out of the year and everything you might want to do is but hours away. Our friends and neighbors are quick with a smile or a helping hand and a blessing no matter what time of year. Oh and don't let me forget the cowboys, ranchers and farmers who inspire my stories by simply being who they are.
  • ...a relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, my God who accompanies me on my journey through life, always with me, always protecting me, always loving me. May my life reflect His love through this coming year.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm thankful for so much that if I tried to list them all, I'd spend the next year writing about all the blessings in my life over the last year : )

I'm hoping your year was filled with memorable events. Good, bad, or ugly (had to toss in a little Clint Eastwood), 2009 will live in our hearts forever.

May 2010 fill you with adventure!

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nothing Left But The Smiles

Christmas has come and gone. For some reason, this Christmas season seemed to stretch on way beyond the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each year I vow to start all my shopping, cards, decorating, etc earlier, and each year I shake my head and say, *next year, yada,yada.*

Despite all the Saturdays spent baking and weeknights spent wrapping presents, Christmas this year was fun. Traditionally, we spend Christmas Eve with my aunt and cousins in Boulder. Very festive evening. Good food, good fun, good fellowship. After the presents were opened and the last bite of cake and coffee consumed, we drove back to Longmont in time for the Candlelight Service at church. We sang holiday tradition and listened to the timeless message of the birth of salvation. Beautiful reminder of what this season of joy and giving is all about.

Christmas morning finds the Harders' family preparing for the holiday meal before opening the presents. This year, a lamb and pork roast went in the oven and a turkey breast in the slow cooker. Ahh, the smells that filled the house made our mouths water : )

Presents were appreciated by one and all, but I especially appreciated the presents MADE by my husband. Gary made all the gifts he gave this year. He is a master of creation with scrap wood. Kara and Bud and many of their friends received duck calls handcrafted by Gary. Yes, yes, yes, we listened his *testing for tone* all December long. Along with the duck calls, Kara and number of the female friends received earring presented within handcrafted acorns.

Christmas afternoon found the Harders' side of the family at our house. A buffet for 13 lined the wall of my dining room and kitchen. Everyone ate well and we still had abundant leftovers to send home. The little kids tore into presents and the adults laughed with the excitment.

My presents were the best of all. Gary and the kids know how I love receiving office supplies and gadgets any time of year. The kids fed this hunger with post-its, oversized push-pins and paper clips, and various notepads. Gary crafted a storage box for all the little supplies and a paper clip holder with a magnet set in the lid. I love them!! I love the time he took to make each gift special for the person receiving it : )

Christmas evening wound down with the wrapping paper all thrown away, the table collapsed to its normal size and the kitchen clean. By 7:00, I was ready to turn off the lights and head for bed.

What a wonderful, blessed Christmas. God is so generous, I feel incredibly blessed surrounded by the special people I call family and friends.

I pray your Christmas warmed your hearts and may the joy of the birth of our Savior live on in your hearts all year long.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Joy To The World!!

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains.
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow.
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world, with truth and grace;
And makes the nations prove.
The glories of His righteousness.
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His Love,
And wonders and wonders of His love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Timeless Story

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, becasue there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Merry Christmas!
Glory To Jesus!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The snow is flying here in Longmont! What a beautiful setting to celebrate the upcoming festivities of Christmas!

Most of my shopping is complete. Don't you just hate that nagging suspicion you've forgotten someone important on your list? Well, that's what I'm going through. I just know I'll remember too late to do anything about it.

Presents are all wrapped and under the tree. My family has made a conscious effort this year to shop conservatively, to consider the wants and needs of each other and to search thrift shops and flea markets to get the best deals. I certainly don't mind gently used!! My husband has MADE all his Christmas gifts! He says he's created something very tempting for the writer side of me. It's hard not to go peek...

In case life gets hectic and I don't post again, I want to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas! Keep Christ first in the days ahead and remember without birth of Jesus, we wouldn't have anything to celebrate!!

God's most richest blessing be to all!!

Merrry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Christmas Reading!

As the holidays close in fast, I find I need a sanity break more often than usual. It's been cold here along the Front Range of Colorado, so along with bitter cold temps, fighting holiday crowds and complete apathy for the day job, I have cards waiting to be written, gifts that need wrapping...and the biggest dread of the house.

It times like this I need to make myself take a break. Thankfully, there are some great Christmas stories out right now, books that crept onto the shelves in November and I'm just now getting around to reading them...

I just finished reading Yule Die by Debby Giusti. Packaged with another Love Inspired Suspense, Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley, the pair of stories can be found within the common cover of Christmas Peril.

Both stories are heartwarming, holiday reads. Here's the back cover blurb:

Merry Mayhem

When single mom Annie Coleman unexpectedly arrives in Christmas, Oklahoma, police chief Caleb Jackson suspects she's hiding secrets. He'll be watching her closely. And his protection is just what Annie and her daugher need, as danger has followed them to their new home.

Yule Die

It's hardly a happy holiday for medical researcher Callie Evans...until she discovers her ailing patient is her long-lost brother. And he's being watched by undercover police officer Joe Petrecelli. When the trio is abducted by a cadre of bad guys, Joe and Callie will have to fight to keep her brother--and themselves--alive.

What can be better than Christmas suspense, especially when the HEA comes with a Christmas blessing?

Not that you don't have anything else to do : ) I encourage you to pick up Christmas Peril and indulge in some suspenseful Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Blessings to all!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Caroling Classics

A Holly Jolly Christmas

Have a holly, jolly christmas,
It's the best time of the year.
I don't know if there'll be snow
But have a cup of cheer.

Have a holly, jolly Christmas,
and when you walk down the street,
Say hello to friends you know
And everyone you meet.

Oh, ho, the mistletoe
Hung where you can see.
Somebody waits for you,
Kiss her once for me.

Have a holly, Jolly christmas,
And in case you didn't hear
Oh, be golly have a holly jolly
Christmas, this year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BC or AD...Is there a difference?

December, 2 BC (Give or take a couple years)

Bethlehem: The streets are bustling with activity. All around, merchants and innkeepers are doing a brisk business for a census has been decreed and all must comply to registration, each to his own city.

December, 2002 AD (Give or take a couple years)
Longmont: The streets are bustling with activity. All around, mega-malls and convention centers are packed with travelers and residents alike, each conducting their own business, each off to their appointed city.

2 BC
At the time of Christ’s birth, the angels announced, the shepherds praised and sang, the wise men bore gifts, yet all across the land, the people lived their lives oblivious to the miracle which had come into this world.

2009 AD
At the time of Christ’s birthday, the preachers proclaim, the believers sing praise, congregations worship, yet all across the metropolitan area, people live their lives oblivious to the salvation offered to this world.

Some things just don’t change, do they?

What can we do to bring Christ back into Christmas? An overwhelming task to say the least, but every road is paved one brick at a time. How about this Christmas you choose an "oblivious" friend or relative and make a special effort to show them the joy of Christmas beyond the tinsel and paper. Spread Christ’s salvation by giving a special ornament or book containing the message of salvation. Send cards that speak of the true meaning of Christmas.

Or hey, how about this. . .bring a friend to a Children’s Christmas program!

Be creative in your encouragement, pray the Spirit helps you, and smile with the joy that fills your heart knowing you’re giving Christ the best present of all for His birthday.

And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 RSV.

Blessings to all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Panic? No! How about Fun!

Where has the month gone? Last time I looked it was Thanksgiving and now it's Saturday, December 12th! I know I'm not alone in my holiday panic, but I still have shopping, cards, baking--deep breath--and writing! Why oh why can't I just take the month of December off from my day job to do all the important things in life, LOL!!?

I'm not letting myself go totally crazy though. This weekend, I'm sitting down with books from my keep shelf and revisiting old friends. I'm thumbing through:

Love Bites AND Joe's Girl by Margaret St. George (aka Maggie Osborne)

Sands of Time AND Sheep's Clothing by Susan May Warren

Letters From a Stranger by Connie Rinehold

Flowers on the Storm AND Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale

Take note, these books are not in my writing genre. They are books that captivated me long before I thought to write love stories about cowboys and unsuspecting heroines who needed a touch of God's love to help them find their way : ) The titles above offer characters that dug into my heart and intend to reside for years to come.

If you have a second, share your favorite book(s) with me. I hearing about authors that have left deep, lasting impressions on tender hearts : )

Okay, on to other things...

Have you been to Seekerville lately? You'll not want to miss the great line up of posts this week:

Monday: Love Inspired Historical author Janet Dean is our hostess today and she's giving away a copy of her February release, The Substitute Bride.

Tuesday: Love Inspired author Cheryl Wyatt shares today.

Wednesday: Our guest is multi-published Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense author, Margaret Daley.

Thursday: Love Inspired Suspense Suspense and Zondervan author, Camy Tang leads the fun.

Friday: Love Inspired debut author, Ruth Logan Herne is your blogging and baking hostess.

Enjoy the Christmas cheer and make the most of the holiday spirit!

Happy Hanukkah, too!

Blessings to all : )

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Random Thoughts

A friend sent this list of random thoughts...haven't we all scratched our heads over one or two of these ideas??

  • I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

  • Nothing is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

  • I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

  • There is great need for a sarcasm font.

  • How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

  • Was learning cursive really necessary?

  • Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

  • Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

  • I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

  • Bad decisions make good stories.

  • You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

  • Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

  • I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

  • "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this thing I have-- ever.

  • I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Darn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

  • No one can convince me that lifting a coffee cup isn't exercise.

What do you think? Can you add more??

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Forever Christmas

I just finished reading A Forever Christmas by Missy Tippens and can't keep the smile off my face. Missy's books have a charming, heartwarming flavor to them, but this one is definitely a Christmas keeper! She takes past love, hurting hearts, untimely grief and wraps it all up in a Christmas story filled with hope and happiness.

The woman is a master of her craft!

Here's the back blurb:

Home For The Holidays

Sarah Radcliffe's quiet Christmas back in her hometown will be lost if she agrees to direct the church's Christmas pageant. But when she meets two little boys determined to gain their father's attention, Sarah agrees to help. Then she discovers that the dad in question is Gregory Jones, the man she loved and lost. The single dad is working himself to the bone to give his boys the Christmas of their dreams, when all they want is some family time. Time that includes a new mommy. If Sarah can learn to open her heart, she may receive the most wonderful present of all -- a family of her own.

If there is a Christmas story you read this holiday season, make it A Forever Christmas! You'll be filled with joy and ready to face the Christmas season with cheer.

To learn more about Missy, check out her website and blog. Missy is also part of the founding 15 in Seekerville.

A Forever Christmas
Steeple Hill Books
November 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Brrr! It's cold!

Winter has blown into the Front Range of Colorado with gusto! Last week we had a couple days where the hi temp barely reached freezing! This is the time of year I feel bad for the animals we have that live outdoors. I wish we could climate control the goat shed and rabbit hutch to at least keep the water from freezing solid!

This Christmas season finds me playing pack horse for my dear aunt Ona. Back in October she slipped and pulled muscles in both her shoulders. As we all know, as we grow older, it takes our bodies a bit more time to bounce back. Well, it so happens Ona's *wings* are taking their own sweet time in repairing themselves.


That leaves me to help aunt Ona shop. This is not a hardship in the least. But it does put me in the midst of all the holiday shoppers when I prefer the comfort of my desk chair and online ordering convenience : )

I'm happy to say that after two weekends of non-stop shopping, Ona is happy with all her purchases and can now settle down and wrap presents in the gorgeous style she is most noted for.


I'm praying my Internet orders arrive in time and hubby has a strange urge to fight the crowds and go shopping this season.

Not so bad : ) There's always a nice lunch or dinner involved : )

Happy Shopping!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Marlena Fortune in Seekerville!

Check out the latest in present giving and receiving selections! Marlena Fortune has done her homework for the writers of the world, planting ideas for delicious gifts and gift giving! She's even the footwork for you. Click on her suggestions to be transported right to the site.

Shopping in jammies. Gotta love it : )

Black Friday

Black Friday, the day merchants wait for all year long.

My daughter plans to battle the crowds.

Me? I'm too chicken. I've jabbed elbows with the best of them years ago and have absolutely no desire to wade into the fray. Give me a break. I'm older and wiser.

And the $30 I'll save off the original model of Cricut just isn't worth it. I can scrapbook just fine without mechanical assistance. Besides, my husband thinks I have more than enough scrapbooking stuff already.

Can you really ever have enough??

Instead of biting and kicking my way through crowds and possibly contracting H1N1, I plan to work on the plot of my book, sit out on the deck and drink in all the projected warmth of the day. I'll go shopping TOMORROW!!

Yes, it's a sickness.

Pray for me.

BTW, this whole writing on the beach is a fantasy. You really don't want to see my office : )

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone!

May the peace and blessings of the holiday pour over each and everyone!

Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1 NLT

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Road Trip

My family and I took off to our place in Glasgow, MT last Wednesday. This is a 12 hour drive, mind you. Tucked into a land rolling farm fields surrounding a huge, gorgeous lake, I relax and regroup in the tranquil environment.


This trip, my husband, daughter and son discovered that the wonderland of deer hunting had sold out of the tags/permits they wanted to purchase to make their hunting vacation dreams come true.

We discovered the converter box necessary for analog television conversion since digital has filled our lives, didn't do squat for our reception. Annoying snow graced our screen until the faithful DVDs were popped into the player for entertainment.

As usual, no Internet connection.

Did I mention my kids are teenagers? 19 and 17? Bored teenagers are NOT a pretty sight. A bored husband either.

So, what should have been a relaxing retreat into the northern climes of Montana instead turned into a clash of wills and escalating tempers.

We packed up and drove 12 hours back to Longmont on Sunday.

It's taken me 2 days to get over the road-lag.

I still love the Glasgow area. The people are great and fields filled with cattle postcard perfect.

Next time, we'll go up in July or August when we can boat on the lake...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Don't miss the great line-up in Seekerville:

Monday: Love Inspired Historical author, Janet Dean is your hostess.

Tuesday: Revell author, Dan Walsh, The Unfinished Gift, will be here.

Wednesday: Judy Gann, author and speaker appears in Seekerville.

Thursday: 9 to 5 with Steeple Hill Senior Editor, Tina James.

Friday: NCIS aficionado, Lisa Jordan is our special guest.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Next week in Seekerville

The Seekerville Weekend Edition is posted with information brought you with help from the Cavemen of Geico!! Give the boys (and Tina Russo) a big hand!

Welcome the week in Seekerville:

Monday: Seeker and multi-GH finalist, Pam Hillman is your host today in Seekerville.

Tuesday: Seeker, Sandra Leesmith with Do You Believe You Are An Author?

Wednesday: Love Inspired author, Glynna Kaye is your host and she's giving away a copy of her debut novel, Dreaming of Home.

Thursday:Walt Mussell holds down the blogosphere today and he's giving away a book! Join him for, Of Course God Laughed. I Told Him My Plan.

Friday: 2009 Genesis Winner, Christy LaShea, is here with Last Try Draft.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ready Set Go

All set to spend the weekend locked in my room with the computer as my best friend. : )

Time for specific revisions to my manuscript Rough and Ready. I'm ready to dive in. I've spent this evening sorting through different scenarios and I think I might have something that will give punch to the beginning of the book and tie up ends at the end.

Gotta lose a beloved secondary character, but hey, thems the breaks : )

Now, let's see if we can't whip this book into shape before my alarm rings Monday morning sending me back to the real world : )

All prayers are appreciated!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend movies

You know what I did this weekend?

I watched movies. Not many movies. One movie.


and over...

and over, again!

I watched it until I absorbed every nuance of the hero and heroine. I can recite entire passages and sing complete songs. I remember clothing, drinks and scenery.

THAT's how I begin writing a book, by studying the movies.

What did I learn? I now have a basis, a starting point for my hero. The hero in this movie is not someone I'd ever feature in my books, but I loved his mannerisms, his facial expressions, his movements -- everything that made that made the heroine fall for him.

I want my heroine to fall for my hero, just like that.

I think watching movies is a great way to learn a character. You study them and get a feel for how they would react to situations. Let's face it. We can come up with great story lines, great settings, great GMC, but if we don't understand how a character ticks, we'll mess up the reactions and ruin the whole thing.

Why do you think certain movies just stick in our heads? It's because we identify with it in some miniscule way. For me, watching this romantic movie time on end over our snowy weekend provided the right understanding for a character in need of embodying the proper compassion.

BTW, I wasn't at total sloth. While watching the movie, I did manage to prepare meals, fold laundry, and straighten out my office. My family will keep me.

Amazing how we can multi task when the incentative is right : )


Saturday, October 10, 2009

BIAW - Day Five

Okay, so here it is, Friday!! My brain is fried, but I did finish the program layout for our awards night coming up in a week.

I celebrated the weekend by watching a movie tonight -- The Wedding Date. Loved it! Can't believe I missed it a few years ago in the theater. Oh wait, if it came out the same year as Pride and Prejudice, well, nuf said. I think I spent the entire year watching both the Focus and the A&E versions. Both had their good points and bad, let's just say I enjoyed being able to switch from one to the other and watch the good parts over and over again : )

Okay, after watching my movie, I was in the mood to write to romance!

Word count for Friday: 2749

Please remember I'm rewriting a book, so some parts are cut and paste and lots of parts are new.

Okay, one more day.

Let's go. Let's go. Let's go!!!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

BIAW - Day Four

Work is definitely driving me to drink -- sugar free root beer!

Okay, I still produced words for BIAW:

Thursday's word count : 1102

Just two more days...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

BIAW - Day Three

Seekerville BIAW continues!! If you haven't made it over to the blog, run! Don't walk! Lots of encouragement and suggestions on writing well and writing fast offered!!

Word count for Wednesday: 3064

Today was rather harried at work. We have an achievement dinner coming up next week and I'm in the thick of preparations for it. No pressure, just too many things to do and not enough time to do them all in : )

And today I also took my uncle to have a cataract removed. Trying to keep the dosages of his eye drops straight was an event in itself : ) The surgery went well and Uncle Ed is resting tonight. Tomorrow we go back to the doctor for post op advice.

But, on the bright side, our dog was taken off of house arrest today so we went on a long walk when I got home. Fall is definitely in the air! The walk did both of us a lot of good. I came home with a cleared mind and worked on BIAW. The story is coming along fine.

I like my characters : )

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

BIAW - Day Two

Spent some time during lunch today trying to work out a scene I needed to rewrite. I think I made it work.

My work count for Tuesday: 3589

Like I said, I'm rewriting, so not all those words are new, but expertly massaged : ) It's fun tweaking and taking old friends on a different journey. Since I know these characters so well, it's almost like they're being given a different book. I think I like it : )

Onward to tomorrow!

Monday, October 05, 2009

BIAW - Day One

The Seekerville BIAW is underway!

Since I'm working on a rewrite, I'm finding it's a bit harder to formulate my ideas because the original version is smack in my face. I'm using the original story as a guideline sort of, except with more people, different scenes and different character attitudes.

Hmm. Sounds like a new book to me : )

My word count for Monday: 1632


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Weekend writing time!

I've spent half my day working on household stuff and running errands for my elderly uncle.

Now, it's my time : )

I'm finally sitting in front of the computer and mapping out the details I need to incorporate during this revision of my complete novel, Rough Ride. When I finished it seven years ago, I thought I could never make it better. But now that I've completed the first book in that series (yes, I do tend to do things out of sequence), I find I need to incorporate parents for my hero which he didn't have in the first go round.

Isn't fiction writing fun?

Okay, I'm off to map.

Wish me luck next week during the BIAW in Seekerville. Should be inspiring, LOL!!

Friday, October 02, 2009

BIAW in Seekerville

I’ve just committed to the Book In A Week (BIAW) challenge in Seekerville. I’ve participated in other BIAWs and all of them have reinforced in me the need to concentrate, commit and write.

What is BIAW, you ask? It’s a writing challenge where you lock up your inner editor and just write. No editing, no reconstructing, no looking back. It’s quantity of words. Get the essence of your novel out.

Just write it.

The Seekerville BIAW is open to anyone interested in joining us. Many of the followers have signed up already and there is always room for more.

Push yourself and see how far you can get on your book in one week. An outline? A chapter? A rough draft? Half a book?

A whole book?

You’ll never know unless you try.

C’mon. It’ll be fun.

You can get to Seekerville to sign up by clicking on every Seekerville reference you see in this post. They’ll all take you to Seekerville.

Great practice for NaNoWriMo…

But that’s a topic for another blog post : )

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Titanic discovered in Seekerville!

Good morning, all!

Join me as I blog my way through Seekerville today!

While you're there, remember to sign up for the Seeker BIAW. Great kick in the pants to start a new book, or kickstart a work in progress.

Either way. Join the fun!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seeker Reunion!!

Back at home and tired as can be...but have a tremendous smile on my face.

5 days at the ACFW Conference in Denver, CO spent with fellow writers in an atmosphere of creativity can't be trumped. Unless of course, you couple it with 5 amazing days spent with all my Seeker sisters! 15 of us, once contest rivals, now friends and the ultimate of support groups.

My conference week started out by picking up Ruthy at the airport. Chic author that she is, she found my SUV while I was calling her to say *where are you?* Sporting a new short and sassy hair cut and a bright smile, Ruthy was ready to take Denver by storm.

We arrived at Tina's house for our Seeker reunion party where we spent the kick-off ni
ght of conference laughing, hugging, eating, posing for pictures, eating some more, posing some more, laughing until it hurt. Great times -- the stuff memories are made of : ) Can you believe Camy, Cara, Cheryl, Debby, Glynna, Janet, Julie, Mary, Missy, Myra, Pam Ruthy, Sandra, Tina and me all in the same state, the same city, the same house? Tina's neighborhood will never be the same : )

Thursday found a group of us touring Denver. The state capital, the Molly Brown House, and lunch at Park Meadows Mall gave us non-pre-conference attendees a chance to get out into the beautiful Colorado sunshine. After dropping off part of our group back at the hotel, a ride on the light rail into downtown Denver to visit The Tattered Cover bookstore seemed in order. We rode t
he 16th Street shuttle - what a hoot! After grabbing a cup of coffee at the bookstore, we retraced our steps and headed back to freshen up before an evening of mingling with the conference crowd.

Since Ruthy, Tina and I were just stalking the conference, Friday gave us some time to sleep in, chit chat, and run to the local Chick-Fil-A in our sweats for tak
e out lunch. Heaven. We took just a wee bit of time to primp, then off to the hotel for a conference fun. Ruthy accepted an invitation to dine with other authors from Books and Such, her agent. Tina and I led a brave group of souls to downtown Denver on the light rail for dinner or browsing or whatever anyone had in mind. Dinner at the Montana Grill was amazing. I highly recommend the crab cakes and baked sweet potato!! A few tense moments passed as we discovered our light rail route had made its last run, but with prayers and observation, we managed to piece together a route home. The excitement knew no bounds!

We had to rise and shine early Saturday morning to take Ruthy to the airport. Only four more shifts are her bakery job and her career as cake decorator supreme would be over. Problem was, Saturday night was one of her last shifts. Tina and I saw Ruthy off with hugs and kisses and headed back to prepare for t
he booksigning at the hotel featuring many Seekers!! Arming our sisters with specially made bookmarks proclaiming our unity, the booksigning was a huge success as excited conference attendees purchased books at the conference bookstore and waited in lines for their favorite authors to sign and chat. Later that evening, the conference banquet hosted the awards ceremony for many acclamations including The Genesis contest, and the Book of the Year.

Drum roll please...Julie Lessman won Book of the Year for her debut book, A Passion Most Pure!! Way to go, Julie!!

After the banquet,
we gathered in our now well-known spot and greeted friends of Seekerville and anyone else who wanted to join us. We were especially excited to have Tina James, Senior Editor at Steeple Hill Love Inspired join us for chats and photos.

As all good things do, the conference party came to an end. Good times and great memories. I met many wonderful people and enjoyed the thrill of the festivities. I came home with a sense of peace over my writing journey.

My life is in God's hands, and I'm thankful for every adventure He takes me on.

Now, until the next adventure calls, my fun meter has maxed out. It's back to the working world by day and novel writer by night.

Life is good.

Blessings to all!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Don't Miss The Treasure Hunt!

Can you believe conference is almost here?? And Seekerville will be experiencing a first -- all 15 of us will be in the same physical room at the same time!!! WooHoo! We've congregated in virtual reality for 4 years and finally all of us are clustering in Denver.

Hosted this year in gorgeous Denver, Colorado September 17 - 20, the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference promises to be packed full of advice, workshops and of course, writers!! Don't miss keynote speaker Debbie Macomber as she highlights her writing, offers advice and encourages in the special way that's all Debbie.

A special treat offered as an Early Bird session, special guest Donald Maass promises to educate on a level worthy of Breakout Novels. And don't forget, if you miss any workshop (except Donald Maass), CDs and MP3 are available at a very modest cost.

And to commemorate the occasion we, the lost and found of Unpubbed Island, are offering a
Treasure Hunt . The following enticing advertisement is from Seekerville direct:


1. If you are attending the ACFW conference in Denver you simply print out a Treasure Map and start. Each of the 15 Seekers who will be at the Marriott DTC will have stickers. When you find a Seeker, get a sticker and cover their name. When you have all 15 squares covered or it's time to leave Denver simply mail the map to Seekerville C/O Camy Tang, P.O Box 23143, San Jose, California 95153-3143. A limited number of maps will be available with Seekers, if you forgot to print yours. Maps must have at least one sticker on them to be eligible.

2. For those not attending the conference you can still participate in the fun:

A. You must be a Seekerville Follower.
B. Email a list of Seekerville books you read in 2009 to tina at tinarusso dot com (be sure to put Seekerville Treasure Hunt) in the subject line.

Giveaway starts Wednesday September 16 at 1 am PST and ends at 12 midnight PST, Thursday, October 1st.

Winners will be announced in the Sunday, October 4, Weekend Edition by Captain Jack Sparrow.


All maps will be entered into a drawing for a Grand Prize of a $50 dollar gift card from

All maps and non conference entries (except the grand prize winner) will be entered into a drawing for one of 10 sets of Seekerbooks. That's ten sets of two books each. Book title prizes are randomly picked.

All maps and non conference entries (except the grand prize winner and the book set winners) will be entered into a drawing for one of four copies of the Donald Maass new release, The Fire In Fiction.

If you are attending conference we'll also be giving away 100 Limited Edition Seekerville Bookmarks with a corked vial of sand from Unpubbed Island to remind you of our motto:

"Leave no writer behind."

1. No purchase necessary to enter the any Seekerville Treasure Hunt. The giveaway will end on the date stated in the posting. The opportunity to play may be affected by local ability to access the Internet at any particular time.

2. Open to all readers, 18 years or older who are legally allowed to participate in such a give away as allowed by their local laws.

3. Players must submit the required materials for each giveaway which will allow the entrant for a chance to win. Entrants will be informed if they are a winner on or after the Treasure Hunt end date. Limit one entry per person. Seekerville authors are not responsible for: incomplete, lost, late, damaged, scrambled or misdirected entries or other errors of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic, which may limit a user’s ability to participate in the giveaway.

4. Seekers and their families are not allowed to enter the giveaway. Void where prohibited by law. All Federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

5. Prizes will be assigned to those who have been identified as winners.

6. Entrants will be informed at the close of the give away if they are a winner, and if a player is identified as a winner, what prize has been won. Winners will receive their prizes via mail after the give away has completed and winners have been verified. Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winner. Seekerville assumes no responsibility or liability for any damages, losses, or injury resulting from the acceptance or use of any prize. All prizes are mailed out within 6-8 weeks of announcement of winner.

7. Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

8. Seekerville Treasure Hunt is not in any way affiliated with ACFW or its conference.

Along with the fun of the hunt, Tina Radcliffe and I are playing tour guides for all followers of Seekerville and their friends. Denver will never know what hit her! For a hint of all the activities planned, mozy on over to the Seekerville Weekend Edition.

Come join us for laughs and games as we soak up the wisdom and advice offered by some of the biggest and best names in the Christian publishing world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Booksigning at ACFW

American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference is coming to Denver, CO!
September 17 - 20, 2009
Denver Marriott, Tech Center

The 2009 Keynote Speaker is Debbie Macomber. Here is what the official ACFW site has to say about Debbie!

With more than 100 million copies of her books in print worldwide and her novels translated into twenty-three languages, Debbie Macomber is one of today's leading voices in romance and women's fiction. Readers clamor for her heartwarming books about small-town life, home and family, women who knit, enduring friendship and even stories of humorous angels with earthly missions.

Debbie loves to tell the story of her struggle to get published, and the five-year search to find a publisher who would buy one of her manuscripts. Dyslexic and the mother of four young children, she wrote those early books in her kitchen on a rented typewriter. But her hard work and determination paid off. Her first manuscript, HEARTSONG, acquired by Silhouette Books in 1982, became the first category romance ever to be reviewed by the Publishers Weekly. She was soon featured in Newsweek—and demand for her books quickly exceeded her wildest dreams.

Debbie is best known for her ability to create compelling characters and bring their stories to life in her books. Drawing on her own experiences and those of her family and friends, she demonstrates an almost uncanny ability to see into the souls of women and to express their emotions, values and concerns. In every book her sense of humor enlivens her writing.

In addition to all the outstanding programs offered to writers, ACFW will be hosting a booksigning on Saturday afternoon, September19 from 4 - 5:30. In addition to a world of wonderful fiction, craft books by James Scott Bell, Brandilyn Collins, Gail Martin and others will be available.

A large portion of the profits from each book sold at conference will go to the ACFW Scholarship Foundation. The foundation provides funds for conference scholarships in for attendees in years ahead!

Look for your favorite authors participating on Saturday. My fellow Seekers are bold, italics, and highlighted:

Carolyne Aarsen
Diane Ashley
Ruth Axtell Morren
Rick Barry
Christina Berry
Lauralee Bliss
Diana Brandmeyer
Sandra Bricker
Margaret Brownley
Candace Calvert
Robin Caroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Colleen Coble
Brandilyn Collins
Mary Connealy
Shirley Connolly
Margaret Daley
Susan Page Davis
Mary Davis
Janet Dean
Megan DiMaria
Lena Nelson Dooley
Wanda Dyson
Leanna Ellis
Pamela Ewen
Miralee Ferrell
Linda Ford
Tina Ann Forkner
Judy Gann
Jeff Gerke
Rhonda Gibson
Debby Giusti
Sandra Glahn
Elizabeth Goddard
Winnie Griggs
Cathy Marie Hake
Lisa Harris
Mary Hawkins
Roxanne Henke
Cynthia Hickey
Patti Hill
Denise Hunter
Annette Irby
Myra Johnson
Liz Johnson
Jenny Jones
Eileen Key
LAURIE Kingery
Kathleen Kovach
Harry Kraus
Jeanne Marie Leach
Tosca Lee
Julie Lessman
Loree Lough
Elizabeth Ludwig
Richard Mabry
Debbie Macomber
Joyce Magnin
Gail Gaymer Martin
Judy/Jude Martin-Urban/Urbanski
Debby Mayne
Aaron McCarver
Vickie McDonough
Dana Mentink
Robin Miller writing as Robin Caroll
DiAnn Mills
Stephanie Morrill
Janelle Mowery
Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Kevin Parsons
Golden Keyes Parsons
Donita K. Paul
Tracie Peterson
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Tara Randel
Deborah Raney
Sandra Robbins
Kim Sawyer
Marc Schooley
Michael Sheehan
Shelley Shepard Gray
Ann Shorey
Beth Shriver
Sandra Lee Smith
Virginia Smith
Betsy St. Amant
Therese Stenzel
Stuart Stockton
Alison Strobel
Michelle Sutton
Camy Tang
Donn Taylor
Janice (Hanna) Thompson
Missy Tippens
Pamela Tracy
Carrie Turansky
Deborah Vogts
Jenness Walker
Dan Walsh
Susan May Warren
Michael Webb
Kit Wilkinson
Lisa Wingate
Beth Wiseman
Kimberley Woodhouse
Lenora Worth
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y'Barbo

Believe me, this is an event too good to miss!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tighten Up Your Manuscript!

I'm in the final, final, final phase of editing my manuscript - well, until an editor realizes my brilliance and wants to buy it. THEN, I'll be happy to revise and edit all they want, LOL!

Anyway, as I read through a blog by
Rachelle Gardner, an agent with WordServe Literary, I came across this great editing exercise relevant to my last check through. Rachelle has the most amazing blog for writers, packed with info pertinent to beginners as well as advanced. This particular post occupied her Monday, August 17, 2009 slot.

Go visit her blog, you'll not regret it!

Tighten Up Your Manuscript!

There comes a time in every writer’s life when an editor requires them to reduce their word count. Ack! Not my precious words! Even if an editor hasn't asked you to do this, most writers would benefit from tightening up their manuscripts before submission. (I, for one, would appreciate it. ) But how do you do this?

Never fear. Most writers can significantly shorten their manuscript simply by eliminating extraneous adverbs, adjectives, gerunds, and passive verbs, i.e. things you don't need anyway. If you cut 10 words per page in a 350-page manuscript, you’ve already shortened it by 3,500 (unnecessary) words.

So how do we do this? Here’s a checklist of things to consider cutting:

→ Adverbs, especially those with “ly” endings. Ask yourself if they’re necessary.
→ Adjectives. Often people use two or three when one or none is better.
→ Gerunds. Words that end in “ing.”
→ Passive voice: Over-use of words like “was,” "were" and "that" indicate your writing may be too passive. Reconstruct in active voice.
→ Passages that are overly descriptive.
→ Passages that describe characters' thoughts and feelings in too much detail (i.e. long sections of narrative or interior monologue).
→ Passages that tell the reader what they already know.
→ Unnecessary backstory.

Here’s a list of words to watch for. Carefully consider their necessity and effectiveness:

about, actually, almost, almost, like, appears, approximately, basically, close to, even, eventually, exactly, finally, just, just then, kind of, nearly, practically, really, seems, simply, somehow, somewhat, sort of, suddenly, truly, utterly, were.

(Make use of the “search and replace” function in Word to help with this process if there are specific words you tend to overuse.)

Once you go through this exercise, you'll find your manuscript remarkably cleaner. Try to have fun with it!

And remember, no matter how many words you're able to cut, your editor will always find more.

Didn't I tell you she had great stuff?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Cowboy Rules...

A friend of mine sent this to me via email. Way too good not to share.
(sorry, don't know the original author)

Cowboy rules for:
Arizona, Texas , Colorado , Oklahoma , New Mexico , Wyoming , Montana , Utah , Idaho, Nevada and the rest of the Wild West are as follows:

1. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

2. Turn your cap right, your head ain't crooked.

3. Let's get this straight: it's called a 'gravel road.' I drive a pickup truck 'cause I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you're gonna get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

4. They are cattle. That's why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-10, I-40, I-70 and I-80 go east and west, I-17, I-15, I-25 and I-35 goes north and south. Pick one and go.

5. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have $250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept...

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese/pheasants/ducks/doves are comin' in during the hunts, we WILL shoot it outa your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the corner bait shop.

9. The 'Opener' refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

10. We open doors for women. That's applied to all women, regardless of age.

11. No, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup ! Oh, yeah . . We don't care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat IT AIN'T REAL CHILI!!

13. You bring 'Coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.

14 College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish.

16. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump crap ain't music,anyway. We don't want to hear it anymore than we want to see your boxers! Refer back to #1!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Truth or Not?

Yesterday, I blogged in Seekerville about screen and music personalities and what we could glean from their particular mannerisms. I had some great comments that lead to great conversations.

But there was one comment in that made me stop and think.

The television series, Lie To Me, revolves around Dr. Cal Lightman who is the world's leading deception expert. He assesses truth or lie by studying facial expression and involuntary body movements. He not only detects lies, he can tell you why. In my blog, I concentrated on Cal's mannerisms and what made him unique as a character. I never thought to take my observations a step further.

Edwina commented that she loved the show and especially Cal Lightman because he explained the telltale behavior. You are absolutely correct Edwina! I will now look beyond the man and study his talent.

Imagine that. Watching television as homework!

I can't wait to put my research to use : )

Happy writing!

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I'm blogging in Seekerville today! All about famous characters and what we as writers can glean from the mannerisms we love about them.

Don't know about you, but I'll go check out blogs featuring George Strait, Kix Brooks, and Chris Le Doux! Those are only the cowboys I talk about. Go check out the rest of my scribbles : )

Friday, August 28, 2009

From Here To There - Storycrafting and Coaching for Writers Retreat

Anyone who has visited My Book Therapy Voices knows that Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck make an extraordinary team. Now, let's take that thought a step further. How about experiencing a writing retreat where Susan, Rachel and lots of friends from My Book Therapy gather together for a weekend of brainstorming, plotting and all the other good things in a writer's life?

From Here to There –
Going from raw idea to a drawn-out plot

How do you take your ideas and turn them into a story?
How do you know if your idea will sell?
Where do you start?

This working storytellers retreat, set just outside of Minneapolis during the beautiful fall season is designed for a writer who has an idea…but needs help putting it together into a plot.

Come with your idea, leave with a game plan. We’ll teach you story structure, and then go step by step in the character creation and plotting process, explaining how to determine each step, and then show you how to apply it toyour story.

We’ll brainstorm your ideas with you, share essential secrets of storytelling, and finally, you'll take home a filled-out workbook that will act as a map as you write your novel.

For beginners to advanced writers who just want a guide along the way, the From Here to There Storycrafter's Retreat will jumpstart your novel further down the road to publication.

Storycrafting & Coaching Retreat for Writers
Friday, October 23, 2009 1:00 pm -
Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:00 am (Central Time)

Riverwood Inn & Conference Center
10990 95th St. NE
Otsego, MN 55362

For more information, visit here for more information.

Here's a sample of the questions Suz will tackle:

When sending a query letter or proposal, how do you suggest to the editor that you have a series in mind beyond the book you are pitching?

You tell them this in a marketing paragraph about the series. Here’s the one I used for the DeepHaven Series – (when I pitched Happily Ever After)

Set in the fictional, picturesque tourist town of Deephaven, northern Minnesota, Happily Ever After of Privacy is also the first in a three part collection entitled, "The Deep Haven Series." Each book tells the story of a woman, running from the storms of life and searching for a home, who discovers true love and the inner peace that only a deep relationship with God can bring. The series combines the threads of mystery, suspense and spiritual searching with heartwarming tales of love, and weaves them into satisfying romances set it in a town we'd all love to visit. Attached is a short summary of the series and the titles in the collection.


I just blurt my entire novel out in a rough draft, usually coming in way over word count. I have a difficult time choosing which scenes to keep and which to throw away. Everything seems relevant to me.


what scenes are the least powerful. Can you combine them with other scenes? Does a scene, at any point, slow the story down?

Then it should go.

And, as a general rule, take a hard look at all the “sequel” scenes (or ReAction scenes)

and ask:

do I need them? Are they too long? Can I put this into action? Most of all, when you’re reading along (just for pleasure), when you are able to put the book down and go do laundry…

that’s the scene to delete.


The five senses are essential to making a novel come alive. How do you know if you've used enough sensory description?

Go through each chapter and make sure you use each one at least once, and at least one per page (3-4 paragraphs) as well. You want to keep the reader anchored into the scene, and you do this by winding the senses through the scene without being obvious.

Intrigued? Come to the conference and ask questions of your own!!

If you want to understand novel writing,
From the Inside Out breaks down writing concepts into understandable bites. Susan and Rachel cover all topics necessary to help the writer create a rich, satisfying read. Filled with examples, techniques, examples and exercises, this book earns it's place on the reference keep shelf.

The countdown to the retreat has begun! Visit these sites and keep the excitement alive!

Blog Tour Schedule

August 24 Visit Patricia at Readin N Writin
August 25 Visit Laura at Lighthouse-Acadmey
August 26 Visit Roxanne at The Writing Road
August 27 Visit Julie at The Surrendered Scribe
August 29 Visit Pattie at Fresh-Brewed Writer
August 30 Visit Lisa at Musings