Girls Write Out
Monday, October 31, 2005


WHAT A JOKE

Daylight Saving Time. What a joke. I just don't get it, okay? Who ever came up with such a stupid idea? The time is what it is. Monkeying around it it is the nuttiest idea I've ever heard. And the madness keeps speading. My own state of Indiana is the latest to fall victim to the screwy rationale.

I'm not very political. I love my president, I support the war, I vote in every election, but that's about the extent of it. I'm not one to argue politics unless you cast slurs on my president or our soldiers. But when the governor that I supported began to ram DST down our throats, I took action. I emailed every congressman and state senator. I groused about it to everyone I know. The responses from the state legislature assured me it wouldn't pass because the majority of their constituents were opposed to it.

I relaxed. I was wrong. When the vote came up, the bums PASSED IT! So guess what? I'm going to vote against every single one of the legislature who didn't listen to their districts. Needless to say, I won't be voting for Daniels again either. For one thing, his rationale is just insane. He said it would help our economy. Hello? Did he ever look at the states that still don't change their clocks? Someone should tell Arizona they can't grow if they don't follow the crowd like a bunch of mindless lemmings. Arizona is booming. And now that they're still smart enough not to give in to peer pressure, it's another good reason for us to move there.

So I'm mourning the passing of sanity in my state this morning. This will be the last time the DST change occurs where our clocks remain nice and stable. And I hope enough Hoosiers wake up and vote against a governor who doesn't listen to the people who voted him into office. Next time around I'm going to ask more questions rather then just if the guy is a Republican.

www.colleencoble.com
Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:26 AM  
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Friday, October 28, 2005

"America's Next Top Model" Has anyone watched this show? And if you have, can you possibly believe these girls are going to be the top of their field in anything? I'll admit I watch the show, and just crack up. I don't know if it's supposed to be funny, but it is hilarious! Tyra takes herself so seriously, "Congratulations, you are still in the running to become America's Next Top Model." And then there's the advice, "Some days, you might have to do TWO photo shoots!" Oh I can hardly stand it, two! But wait, I can't count that high! (Okay, that was catty, sorry!)

If the show is supposed to erase stereotypes? They simply MUST give an IQ test beforehand. I'll admit I skim the show on Tivo, so if they're saying something brilliant during the catfight scenes, I'm missing it. The difference between "Desperate Housewives", and "America's Next Top Model": Someone is WRITING the catty, so it's funny and actually makes sense.

My favorite show, that I watch with the whole family is "Bernie Mac". He had a brilliant show on where he just laid out the whole Gospel. Love him! "Jordan", the little boy spaz character is my Jonah, and his antics just crack the whole family up. Now that is entertainment!

Two photo shoots, whew!
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 12:30 PM  
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Thursday, October 27, 2005


Ah, the life of an author! Glamorous, exciting, esteem-building!

Not.

Never was this more to clear to me than recently, when my husband Kevin donated two of my books to a silent auction being held by a local charity. I am fine with this--until he tells me we have to attend. I imagine a blank bid sheet next to my two lonely books and my utter mortification when they announce at the end of the live auction that there were no bidders for Denise Hunter's books, so would the author please pick them up at the desk? It's for a good cause. This is my mantra for the night, and it's going to be okay, because only my husband and one person on the charity board know who I am.

We walk into the lobby and--woohoo!--no name tags. I am so in the clear. Kevin and I peruse the numerous silent auction items. We come to the end, and I can't believe my luck. My books aren't even here. I breathe a sigh of relief. (I'm not a spot-light lurker if you haven't guessed yet.)

When the silent auction closes, we head into the ballroom where the live auction will take place. Kevin has donated a large gift certificate from his home improvement company that will be given away. I am just the wife of a local businessman now. I smile. I am so in my comfort zone. The real-live auctioneer begins the auction.

That's when I see them. My books. On the live auction table. I envision my babies being offered up to these strangers while the auctioneer slowly lowers the starting bid to twenty cents. (Hey, they can sell it on e-bay when they get home.) I grab Kevin's arm, pointing to my books, and I'm pretty sure there is crazed desperation in my eyes. He snickers. I mentally whack him upside the head then whisper that he is so dead if he in any way identifies me as the author. It's for a good cause, it's for a good cause. They will be twenty cents richer because of this.

The bathroom. I can go to the bathroom. I can get suddenly ill--I'm halfway there already.

"Denise Hunter! Stand up!" the auctioneer calls. Did I mention he has a microphone?

I force my trembling legs to support my weight. I stretch my lips across my face and hope it looks like a smile. The auctioneer is saying something about my autographed books. He starts the bidding, and I sink back into my chair. I pretend I'm an ostrich and close my eyes. It doesn't work. Someone bids! Oh, praise the Lord, I will kiss her feet at the end of this torture. Some one else bids. Yes, they are pity-bids. I know this, but at least they won't call me up to retrieve my orphaned books. The auctioneer keeps going. Enough already!

The bidding drags like a woman on sedatives. I begin to envy my similie-woman.

And then, the bidding closes--at thirty dollars! Oh, thank the dear Lord for pity-bids! But wait. The auctioneer realizes the two books are the same. Kevin donated two copies of Saving Grace. The bidder doesn't want two copies of the same book. We must auction the second one off as well. Keeping my lips stretched, I turn slightly toward my husband and alter my eyes so that he will recognize that I have come unhinged. He covers his mouth with his hand. I want to hurt him.

The auctioneer mercifully opens the bidding where the last bidder dropped off. "Do I hear twenty-five (then a bunch of auctioneer mumbo-jumbo)" It's quiet. I want to die. Then a woman raises her paddle. I think she's on the charity board, but I don't care. Sold, to the lady with the big heart.

So there you have it. My glamous life as an author--not. But even though it's not as exiting and --ahem--esteem-building as some think. I am learning a lot. That night I learned to steal all my books from Kevin's office. But even as humiliating as the auction was, I did live to tell about it. And it was for a good cause.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 12:42 PM  
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


THE PASSING OF A FRIEND

Everyone else is blogging about lighthearted things, but today is a very sad day for me and my daughter. Many of you know Samson in the Rock Harbor books. My "grandpup" Harley was the inspiration for the character of Samson. All the lovable traits you adored in Samson are Harley's traits. Har-boy has cancer, and his back legs are paralyzed. We realized today that the time had come for us to say goodbye for now to our boy.

Animals touch us in so many ways, and there is nothing like the connection between a dog and his special person. In Harley's life, that special person was my daughter, Kara. He loved me by extension. His fur received any tears she cried, his joyous bark was the first thing to welcome her home. He loved her unconditionally. I think the love of an animal can show us a bit of God's heart, His acceptance, grace, and love. Harley was a little bit of God with skin on in our lives.

Har-dog was a special dog. He came to Kara in a way that had to be God-ordained. Some sub-human type had abandoned him and his siblings to die in a box by the river on the hottest day of the year in 1994. When Harley was found, all his siblings were dead,and he was barely clinging to life. The man who found him gave him to Kara. It was love at first sight. I went over to her house all prepared to talk her into taking the puppy to the pound: she lived in a small apartment, and she had no room for a dog. But one look at the little furball, and I was a goner too. He brought us all joy and love and changed our lives.

There was no one more loyal than Har-dog. He always had a smile on his doggy face. He loved to play with "burger" (a rubber toy that looked like a hamburger). Taking out a frisbee was cause for celebration. Kara's little white cat, Tigris, loved him too. She would lay by the hour on him and snuggle her face in his fur. He loved people food and would sit there with a pleading expression on his face until you couldn't stand it anymore. Kara took immense care of him. Only food with human grade ingredients, the best vets, special health supplements, the best of everything was offered to him. And in return he gave his whole heart in a way only a special dog can. We only wish God had allowed our friend to stay a little longer.

I'm planning on my brother Randy taking good care of Harley. I'd send his burger with him if I could. Rest well, Har-dog. Go in the peace and love you brought all of us.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 1:17 PM  
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Hide the chocolate or I’m so gonna eat myself into a chocolate coma. Today. Right now. This very minute.

I mean, why did I wait until I was fifty years old to schedule a photo shoot with a twenty-three-year-old drop-dead-gorgeous guy model?

Yes, just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse, it did.

Fortunately, my daughter went with me. Still, it’s her fault I went through it at all. She and her family go to church with this guy. Yes, there really are guys like that out there, so hold steady, girls!

Anyway, this “kid” had such bright lights on my face that if he had flipped on plastic gloves, I’d have been outta there before he could blink. And let me just say he clicked that camera so many times I wanted to growl, “Look, if you haven’t found a good angle by now, it ain’t gonna happen.”

It was painful, long, and in light of what I was seeing, I needed to make a mad dash to the store for cold cream.

Speaking of which, HOT FLASHES & COLD CREAM is NOW available at your nearest bookstore!!!! Whooohooooo!!! So, please, please, tell your friends and family to go out and get a copy or all these wrinkles are for nothing.

Okay, back to last night. The truth is I really did have a fun time. Course that was before I saw the pictures. But I’m choosing to think positive. After all, I managed to find two out of the stack of, say, ninety that I could live with. That should count for something. Not only that, but I’m thinking I might tuck one of them away for my next driver’s license photo. Nothing is ever wasted--well, all except for those other eighty-eight photos, but still.

My web site will be updated by next week, so you’ll have to check out www.diannhunt.com and see which pictures I actually settled on. If you think they’re awful, please don’t tell me. I can only eat so much chocolate.
Diann Hunt  
posted at 11:47 AM  
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Okay, I'm game. My friends are blogging with me, but everybody seems to have a life, so y'all get me again. Colleen took off for AZ, Di is playing with her girlfriends, and Denise is probably in mom mode.

I, on the other hand, am editing "A Girl's Best Friend". I have the best editor (Leslie Peterson) and it's just so exciting to really see things coming together. Morgan, the heroine of this one has sort of "lost it" financially so it's very cathartic writing. Moving to the country, I totally feel for the girl. I mean, my life used to consist of getting into the convertible, driving to my favorite of MANY coffee shops in downtown Mt. View, blasting David Crowder, and coming home to drive the kids to school. Doesn't that sound like a posh life? Writing Morgan helped me remember the bad stuff: the constant demands, the inability to take children anywhere without a dirty look, paying for EVERYTHING because no one had the time to do squat, etc. I don't miss that part so much. Now if I need help for the kids, I just farm them out, and vice versa. It's a real community here, and I do love that.

But back to writing. I am trying to edit amid countless soccer games, and homework battles. (What is with the homework these days? I think my kids did more this year already than I did in my entire high school career). When I see a book coming together though, it just reminds me I have the best job in the whole wide world. : ) Happy Tuesday! Kristin
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 10:29 PM  
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Monday, October 24, 2005
I’m gearing up for a trip in a couple of weeks with three of my sisters-in-law! How fun is that? Suffice it to say that our ages range from 48 to 54, so this should provide plenty of fodder for future lady lit books. J

I’m wondering what four middle-aged (well, they say the 50 is the new 40, after all) women will do for a whole week in the tropics without a thing to do? Any ideas? Please don’t tell me to get my hair done in some fun, exotic way. I’m not into those little corn row braid thingies. There’s only so much you can do with five hairs, you know what I’m saying? And the fact that my hairline has gone north—think arctic—well, some things are better left hidden.

I know there’s always the beach. I mean, people go to the tropical spots to lie beneath a golden sun so they can bake to a beautiful golden brown, right? But I’m afraid instead of a nice little ding announcing the end of my baking time, my crisp self would see red fire trucks coming straight for me with a hose big enough to blow me from Florida to Puerto Rico. I mean, just how dry can leather get?

Besides, I don’t think the world is ready to see this fifty-year-old body in a bathing suit. On the other hand, there is a certain element of freedom that hits at my age. So what if my wrinkled self struttin’ down the beach causes all aquatic life and human kind within a twenty-five mile radius to scatter? I’ve earned these wrinkles. Every doggone one of ‘em, thank you very much.

So I’ll pack my bathing suit, sunscreen, wrinkle creams and maybe throw in a few good books, then I’ll soon be on my way. But I’m thinking somebody should warn the resort that we’re coming. You never know what could happen when four middle-aged women come to town.
Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:27 PM  
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Friday, October 21, 2005
I was in the same room with television greatness! After a harrowing towncar ride from LAX to LA (which took me longer than the plane ride from Sacramento -- just to go to one side of town to the other!! How do people live like that?) But I digress. I went to a television comedy writing course at the Director's Guild put on my Act One Programs on the Sunset Strip. (Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup now.) You youngins don't know what I'm talking about, but I had to do that.

Anyway, I learned so much that is essential to comedy and that it can be taught. Fred Rubin (who wrote for Night Court and has taught at USC, and UCLA on television writing) was there, and he was amazing. So was Bud Wiser, who is legendary in his field (wrote for All in the Family). If any of you writers are considering an ACT ONE course, go! The program was so well-run and you really got to be in the same breathing air as these legends who have written for our culture. Amazing!

I left home at 4:15 a.m. and because Southwest Airlines was late, got home at 1 a.m. I did have dinner at the Grove in LA -- which is like another downtown Disney, with a Nordstrom oh and don't let me forget the dancing water -- to Disco every twenty minutes! The food was terrible (Morels), the service worse, but the company was good. My agent Jeana and I had a great time, and hung out in Barnes & Noble, and rearranged the shelf so that "She's All That" was right at eye level and drank a pumpkin spice latte (YUM!). Has anyone had one of those pumpkin spice muffins? If not, do not start, they are totally addictive, and way fattening.

So I'm home now. IN the boring foothills. I'll probably have nothing to report for a good, long time. Kristin
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 11:39 AM  
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Thursday, October 20, 2005
I whined. I complained. I offered chocolate. But it didn't matter. My three blog-buddies are making me write our first official blog. And why are they making me go first? Because they're busy writing novels while I, poor slouch that I am, have no writing contracts at the moment. If anything, should this not entitle me to a pity party?

But fortunately, I do have something to write about today. It concerns a shocking discovery I had upon wakening this morning. But before I go there, let me tell you a little background to help you understand. I'm not old. I'm thirty-six, and while that's way beyond the giggle-induced slumber-party age, I'm hardly a card-carrying member of the AARP either. So, I'm middle-aged, but I have genes on my side. My parents are both youthful-looking, and I inherited a small frame with a small head and face to match which has always given me a young-kid look. (I realized I had a small head when my oldest son was seven. His hat fit me, and I have worn it ever since.)

But back to my shocking discovery. It occurred when I looked in the mirror (as most shocking discoveries do.) Now, my eyes are a little bleary in the morning, and I don't see well until I use eye drops. So after this routine action, I glance in the mirror on my way out to wake my three boys.

I stop. I stare. This can't be.

My eyebrows have slid down my face. Yes, slid, like a California mud slide. And in their journey south they have pushed the skin of my delicate eye area--this is what all the face creams call it, although I never understood why until today--into a sagging skin-tent over my eyes. I look closer. I press on the skin. I use my index finger to lift up my brows into their rightful position . . . ah, there we go. I release my brows. A tent. Without the stakes. It sags at an angle, hiding my eyelids altogether and distorting the shape of my brown eyes. Lovely.

It's happening. I'm aging--overnight, apparently--and it really bothers me. I might try some creams for my "delicate eye area", but honestly, I'm not holding out much hope. For now, I walk away from the mirror and tell myself to get used to it. My eyes have an awning now, and I have a feeling God's not going to be rolling it up anytime soon.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 11:04 AM  
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Who we are:
Kristin Billerbeck www.FaithfulChick.com
Colleen Coble www.ColleenCoble.com
Diann Hunt www.DiannHunt.com
Denise Hunter www.DeniseHunterBooks.com


We're writers with styles all our own. Kristin Billerbeck writes Chick Lit, usually set in the Silicon Valley (What a Girl Wants, She's All That). Colleen writes romantic suspense (Without a Trace, Distant Echoes), DiAnn writes Lady Lit for the women over 35 set (Hot Flashes and Cold Cream, RV There Yet?), and Denise writes intense romantic dramas that should be on Lifetime TV for their "gasp" effect (Saving Grace and Finding Faith).

So what's our blog about? Well, it's about life as an everyday writer. A person who doesn't get out of the house much, and longs for good coffee and the perpetual cycle of writing/editing/reviews to include some sort of high -- like free chocolate.

I'm heading out to Los Angeles for a day to learn to write comedy because someday, some way, when my kids are grown and gone, I want to work on a sitcom. Why? Because I want my life to BE a sitcom. I want my problems solved, with humor, in a half an hour, and I want to dive into them with good hair. Is that too much to ask? Oh, and if possible, I want to do it all while living in Montecito (where Oprah lives). Granted, Oprah is trying to solve world hunger, and bring child molesters to justice -- and I want all those things too, but I'm not Oprah. Maybe she'll let me live in her gardening shed when I get a job.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:37 PM  
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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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