Girls Write Out
Friday, March 31, 2006
FAVORITE BOOKS

This is me, engaged in my favorite pastime at my favorite place. Ahhhhh . . . I can almost feel the warm breeze and smell the salty air.

Okay, back to reality, and back to the topic at hand--books. We all read 'em, we all love 'em, but let's face it. We love some more than others.

One book gently beckons you when you have nothing to do and it's a boring TV night, while another book insists you forget your schedule, forget your to-do list, and forget your family. It won't let you go, and you have to know what happens next, even if you've read the book five times.

For me, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is one of those books. No matter how many times I read it, no matter that I already know what's gonna happen and have certain lines committed to memory, I can't put the book down. The tension between the hero and the heroine keeps me riveted. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has the same effect on me.

What about you? What book has kept you glued to your favorite recliner, kept you up way past bedtime, or begged to be read over and over?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 3:38 AM  
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

We’re dog sitting. Odie (of Garfield fame) has moved into our house. Temporarily. She’s a hot dog with a head and tail (dachshund). She belongs to my daughter.

My daughter owes me. Big time. I’m thinking Hawaii--next birthday.

This tornado with paws is around six months old. I haven’t seen her sit still for longer than five seconds. She even twitches in her sleep. I work off calories just watching her sprint through the house. She’s me on a pot of espresso—if I had the energy to make it. Right now I’m too tired to lift the mug to my lips.

Our own dog, Nocchi, is a senior citizen. She’s tired, deaf and almost blind. Still, the breeze Lulu stirs when she zips past has given Nocchi a cold.

Lulu is a character study. I grab my coffee and watch her while she practically flies through the house.

She’s loveable really—though not all that cuddly—can’t stop her long enough to cuddle. She would be good in one of Colleen’s books. There’s no doubt this dog could foil the plans of the most ardent criminal—and do it while wagging her tail.

I’ve just finished my morning coffee and she’s already circled our home 950 times. She’s now chewing on her tail like there’s no tomorrow. And dogs do this, why?

Maybe it’s just me, but I have to think there’s more to life . . . .

Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:24 AM  
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

IT'S OVER WHEN THE FAT LADY SINGS
Okay, I'm not singing, but I'm definitely fatter. LOL I think that means the RV trip is over for now. All those DeBrand truffles have taken a toll. Now it's back to SERIOUS dieting!

We had the best time! I learned that everything is more fun with truffles, that friendship can even withstand being trapped in an RV for ten hours at a stretch while we battle over the heater, and that there are a lot of wonderful Hoosiers out there. Another fun fact is that at every Barnes and Noble store we stopped we were told that the Christian section moves more books than any other. Isn't that cool? We're making headway, folks! Christian fiction is a-changing and we're on the front lines. I'm lifting my sword and shouting, "Charge!"

But what's with my husband expecting me to pick up right where I left off when I get home? There's laundry waiting, no food in the refrigerator and green stuff growing on what's there, dust an inch thick on the tables (okay, I'm exaggerating but not by much). Doesn't he realize I'm used to better treatment than that? I spent the nights in a hotel with a paper slipped under my door and nice little toiletries ready for me. Someone else made my bed. I think I've forgotten how.

I say we go for Mexican tonight! I'm not sure these hands know how to cook any more. And they don't want to relearn it either. Besides, I'm neck deep in edits for Fire Dancer. Something HOT sounds just right.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 2:27 PM  
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Fine...Ashley is alive!
Okay, I give in. I'm going to write a chapter. A chapter, not a book of Ashley Stockingdale in Philadelphia. I have had so many requests, so I give in, you want to see how Ashley's adapting to married life? You've got it. I'll write it, and put it on my next newsletter. So go to my website at http://www.faithfulchick.com/ and sign up to receive it.

In the meantime, "A Girl's Best Friend" should be out April 18th, and I'm so excited about this one because I loved Morgan's wealthy, clueless ways. She was fun to write, and experience. Integrity made a trailer for me on my website under chick lit, but so far, it's not working all that well, so hold steady, I'll email my webmaster.

P.S. Thank you to all who have prayed. We're still in the desert here. Prayers definitely still needed. No house sale. No job. No phone line after a year here. And the house we made an offer on in Colorado has sold to someone else. Keep praying! Blessings to you.
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 6:16 PM  
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Monday, March 27, 2006
CHANNEL SURFING

Kevin and I were watching TV. Or rather, Kevin was surfing the channels while I was watching scenes of shows flicker past. He stops for about five seconds then flips on, as if he's sure he can find something better. I'd comment more on this, but that's a different blog.

During one of those pauses, I watched a woman wheeling a gas grill into a bedroom. A man was lying helplessly on the bed watching her.

Flip. Another program filled the screen.

"Kevin," I said. "How can you possibly turn that? For heaven's sake, a woman is pulling a gas grill into a bedroom. Don't you have to know what happens next?"

He shook his head at me, but turned back to the movie. We sat and watched the rest of it, spellbound. The movie was adapted from a Stephen King book, and it really made me think. Does my writing do that? If a reader were to open my manuscript to a random scene, would she just have to know what happens next? Would she be spellbound from that point on?

If you're a writer, open your WIP to a random scene and put it to the channel surfing test. If it doesn't pass, what can you do to make it more intriguing? If you're writing a romance, you sure won't want something as bizarre as a woman with a grill. But whatever you do, make sure your readers will be asking themselves "What's going to happen next?".
Denise Hunter  
posted at 12:43 PM  
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Friday, March 24, 2006

RV HAVING FUN YET?
DAY FIVE

Okay, our friendship has stood the test of fire (and RVs) and we’ve survived!! We’ve officially crossed over to the “friends-for-life” stage.

Yesterday was another full day of stores in Indianapolis and surrounding areas. I thought I had OD’d on coffee the day before, as in I had to shield my eyes from any Starbucks we passed. By evening I knew why. I had the flu.

Here’s where the friends for life thing comes in.

I hardly ate a thing all day yesterday. The mere thought of food made me queasy (and you all KNOW that ain’t me). With the headache I had, I would have welcomed a guillotine.

Colleen was ever the nurturer (big surprise, huh?). Today I’m better and Colleen is, well, a tad queasy. So please pray for her.

But you know, despite the bumps along the way, we’ve had an absolutely AWESOME time!!! Met wonderful people, laughed and enjoyed the journey. And the most important lesson we’ve learned? The journey is always better with friends--and coffee--and DeBrand’s truffles--and, well, health.

Thanks for taking the journey with us! And thank you, WestBow, for giving us more story material!!

Diann and Colleen

Diann Hunt  
posted at 3:11 PM  
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

RV HAVING FUN YET? DAY FOUR
Poor Dave. He had to endure an RV filled with estrogen yesterday while he drove us around to thirteen stores. He's not singing "On the Road Again" this morning. Instead, I distinctly heard something that sounded like "Away from home, away from home
Cold and tired and all alone. Yes, I’m five hundred miles away from home." He may not survive the second day. I think he felt abandoned when Di and I crawled into the bed in the back to nap after our full day. Only we didn't nap. We giggled and talked like two high school girls talking about boys. Okay, we WERE talking about boys, er husbands. Be afraid, Jim and Dave. Be very afraid.

One thing we found out with Dave driving. The bench seats at the table are about as ccmfortable as stocks. With every turn he made, we were hanging on for dear life and grabbing at stuff to keep it from falling off the table. We clearly didn't learn our lesson that first day.

Five pounds of DeBrand truffles, ten gallons of coffee, and a mountain of whipped cream later, here we are at Thursday. We spent the night in Terre Haute last night so we'd be fresh to hit The Open Door this morning. Okay, Di and I are fresh. Dave might have tipped over into wilt. We're going to try to be kinder to him today. We might even let him have a Pepsi instead of bread and water.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:40 AM  
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

RV HAVING FUN YET?
DAY THREE

You think you know a person.

This is the third day of our trek. We've met wonderful people, eaten chocolate mocha truffles--it's a new diet, thanks for the idea, DeBrand's!--to the point where my body is looking a bit truffle-shaped, and this morning, I bought chocolate chip cookies for us.

Okay, here's where the "you think you know a person" part comes in. I give Colleen her cookie and evidently, she didn't realize I placed it before her. A few seconds later, she threatens to break my fingers if I don't give her one. And well, she does write about murder, so I don't want to encourage her, ya know? I shove the cookie under her face and we're good, but just so you know, if she looks the least bit hungry, I'm keeping my distance.

We're starting to bond with Gerde--oh, that's what we've dubbed our RV. She's doing a great job, though she is beginning to sag in places that scare me.

Our first stop is the Tree of Life bookstore in Marion. By the time we get there, the news reporter, photographer, sales staff and fans (okay, two--both Colleen's, doggone it) are waiting, faces pressed against the glass.

A flurry of activity hits once we enter the store. The photographer and two fans snap pictures. the reporter pumps us with questions (waving to Cathy!) and the manager fills us with espresso. We have an awesome time with everyone, then hurry on to our next stop, Gaither Family Resources.

Much to my disappointment, Gloria and Bill are not waiting when we show up. They're either straightening microphone wires or fighting off Mark Lowery. They have a beautiful store, we meet a couple of the sales staff and now we're on our way to Anderson Family Christian Bookstore.

I'll have to stop for now. I had three truffles for dinner last night (one for three food groups), one truffle for breakfast (to pick up the fourth food group), a chocolate chip cookie for dessert and an Americano so far today. I haven't felt this good since my last slumber party in, say, 1965.

Colleen's husband, Dave, is driving today. He's got the windows rolled down, hair blowin' in the wind, and singing at the top of his lungs, "On the Road Again." Willie Nelson would be proud--though the cows frolicking in the meadows are stopping to stare.

Until next time--keep on truckin'--er, uh, RV'in.

Gerde & The Girls (and Dave too!)
Colleen Coble  
posted at 12:59 PM  
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Tuesday, March 21, 2006



TUESDAY UPDATE
Our day started off with a visit to DeBrand Chocolate (www.debrand.com). Tim and Cathy Beere obviously knew nothing about our addiction to truffles since they gave us each a whole box of them, fueling my obsession. If you've never had a DeBrand truffle, you've never lived. They have to be tasted to be believed. Heavier by ten pounds and sucking on a truffle stashed in each cheek, we lumbered to the RV and hauled ourselves into the seats again.

The battle of the heater continued again today. What is with our hot flash queen? I had reinforcements today with Denise along. Okay, so maybe I glimpsed steam rising from Di's head a time or two, but the moisture was good for my skin. And she deserved a little discomfort after last night.

Our next stop was Anchor Room. High on chocolate, they added to our giddiness with another espresso drink . They had TONS of our books in stock, and we were ready to bow at their feet. I got to meet Gordon who kept trying to get us to write a new story with a bookstore manager as the main character. He said he could give us all kinds of insight into a lone man working with twelve women. Laura hinted we might not want to go there.

We hit all the Ft Wayne stores, then drove to Bluffton where we spoke to the Foltz Literary Group. I met someone new there: Diann Hunt. This was a woman I'd never seen before--confident, relaxed and outspoken--a veritable Erma Bombeck. I know, I know, I couldn't believe it either. She had to be on drugs, or maybe it was all the chocolate. If that's the secret, I'm going to give her a truffle to eat every time before we speak. On second thought, maybe not. She might take my speaking gigs!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:28 PM  
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INSIDER SECRETS FROM THE "RV THERE YET?" TOUR

Since Colleen and Diann were in Fort Wayne this morning, I got to tag along on this zany tour the two of them are on. Now that I've been in on the action, let's set a few things straight from an outsider, unbiased point of view.

First off, all that talk about dumping blackwater and hookups? Ha. Can you say Marriott? Diann and Colleen can, and they can also say, "non-smoking room, please". Never mind that Thomas Nelson set them up in this deluxe apartment on wheels. I don't even think they've looked in the bathroom.

And Colleen's "little timid woman behind the wheel" thing? It's all an act. She whips that baby around those corners so fast I could feel the G-forces tugging on my skin. She did warn us every time she turned so we didn't go flying across the RV, so I guess she does love us.

Then there was the chocolate. Debrand Fine Chocolate was on the scheduled tour this morning. Uh, what's that got to do with books? Well, nothing, but Colleen can't come within 10 miles of Fort Wayne without stopping there. The owners were so nice, and they passed around samples and let us take home a free box of anything we wanted. Debrand is the best chocolate in the world (I'm pretty sure it'll be in heaven) . Next, we went to the Anchor Room (a Parable store) where the fabulous staff treated us to lattes.

Yeah, they're really roughing it. A fancy RV, hotel rooms, chocolate, lattes. Sign me up. But can we put Diann behind the wheel next time?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 12:05 PM  
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DAY ONE
See that manic look on Di's face? She was trying hard to be perky because she wanted me to think I was doing a good job of driving this behemouth so she wouldn't have to. She says the look means, "Starbucks? Where?" Anyway, her perkiness worked, and I gained confidence as the day went on. I EVEN MERGED ONTO 69 IN TRAFFIC! I'm so proud. In spite of Di's ridicule, the only tree I took out was when we got lost and I had to navigate down a narrow country road that had tree branches hanging over the road that were clearly demonic. I taught them not to mess with Colleen and Di in a 25 ft RV though. They'll never try that again.

The bookstores we stopped at yesterday were thrilled at our appearance. Well, if you don't count the cautious look on the face of the one assistant manager who clearly thought we were coming in to demand we be allowed to sign any books in stock. Once he figured out we were simply friends bearing gifts, he warmed up considerably. Especially when he saw the chocolate.

We were exhausted by evening, though still excited. We found a room at the Courtyard Marriott, but the only non smoking room they had available had only a king bed. And we had the battle of the heater all night. I was freezing, and she was hot. I'd turn it up and fall to sleep. An hour later she'd be throwing off the covers and proclaiming she was hot enough to sizzle bacon. If I'm a little wild-eyed in pictures, you'll know it's from lack of sleep. Posted by Picasa
Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:31 AM  
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Monday, March 20, 2006

RV HAVING FUN YET?
DAY ONE

Five minutes after we settle into our home on wheels, we decide we’ve had enough and it’s time to eat. Okay, it was lunchtime. There’s a Bob Evans across the street from the RV place, with only a few cars, so we figure it’s safe. Colleen pulls into the back of the restaurant—I do mean back--as in, trash bin area. We hear a funny sound as she takes up the entire back row of parking slots. “Oh, that doesn’t sound good,” she says. I look back and see a row of pine trees. Now, I could be wrong, but I’m thinking one is missing, Still, I figure why tell her, ya know?

We eat lunch, then afterwards, stop at the store to buy some pretty little bags to put the goodies in that we’re giving to the bookstore people. We stuff the bags with books and such, then settle into our seats.

Armed and ready to go, Colleen takes on a confidence that scares me (picture Jack Nickolson, The Shining). She whips around one corner, then the next. On the fourth turn, all our stuffed bags go flying off tables and chairs, and by the time we reach our destination, our place looks like a hamster cage after a confetti sale.

It’s after two by the time we hit our first store. My feet are hurting and I want to grumble like the wandering Israelites in the wilderness, but well, it hasn’t been 40 years yet, so I keep quiet.

We meet the sales staff of the Family Christian Bookstore in Elkhart, have a great time, snap pictures, then get on our way again. This time we’re headed for Nappanee.

You’d better warn them, there’s a storm coming through—in a 25 foot RV.

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:38 PM  
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DON'T MISS THE RV HAVING FUN YET? UPDATES!
I've been singing all morning: Saddle up your horses, we got a trail to blaze. Into the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace. Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknow. This is life like no other, ooh--ooh, this is the Great Adventure.

We're pulling out to go get the RV. Di arrived singing, "Let me tell all a story 'bout a man named Jed." She looked like a Clampett with her car piled high with stuff, including medicine for stress--chocolate chips! I, on the other hand, have managed to get my belongings down to a single carry on suitcase. Okay, we won't count the bag of giveaways, my computer briefcase, the boxes of books we're taking to the stores, or the bags of food and water. Oh, and my red hat and the bag of 60s music CDS.

Two boomer gals hitting the road! Scary thought, huh? My family is stressing about it. My mother reads our blog. I hadn't mentioned that I was going to be driving this RV because I didn't want to give her a heart attack. When she read about it, she called me screaming, "Are you crazy?" Um, can I say my family knows me well? LOL My youngest brother also called--very concerned--and offered to drive us on Monday and Tuesday. The only thing I back away from is a spider so I'm not about to step away from this challenge, so I told him I wanted to try it ourselves first on Monday and see if we manage not to kill anyone. I'm not taking any bets on it yet!

I've added a new subscription form to the bottom right of the page where you can sign up to receive updates to the blog. If you signed up before and it hasn't been working, this one works better. We'll be posting more than once a day if we can find a free floating wireless signal. WE ARE SOOO EXCITED!!! Just pray we don't kill anyone or ourselves!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:04 AM  
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Saturday, March 18, 2006

This is me and my youngest kids waiting for the David Crowder concert to start. My daughter was darling, she was standing up, raising her arms, singing along and dancing. Sooo cute. Later she told me, "Wow, that was loud Mom!"

Today was my first date with my husband 15 years ago. (It wasn't all that great actually, but obviously, it got better.) It's also the day my third son turns eight -- that's him there. It's been eight years of bliss with that kid -- just a little slice of heaven God sent to make the world a better place.

So...David Crowder, my husband, my darling kids praising Jesus with their hands lifted high, my older two sons won their soccer tournament...yeah, life is good. I hope you have reason for grateful thoughts today. And hey, at least I don't have to drive a RV. : )
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 12:37 PM  
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Friday, March 17, 2006

RV HAVING FUN YET?
My answer might be NO, come Monday morning. Do you see the size of this thing? Diann Hunt and I are going on an RV tour, hitting about 30 bookstores in Indiana. We'll have five days on the road and will blog every day about it, uploading pictures and fun stuff.

Now keep in mind that Diann drives a little compact car, and I am spatially challenged. When we went to Nashville for the ACFW conference I didn't even want to drive a 15 passenger van and poor little Denise had to do it. The smallest of us girls and she was whipping around all over Nashville in that big monster. I can only pray Diann and I have a hidden talent for parallel parking that will erupt when the time is right.

Pray for us, folks. We may never be heard from again with me at the wheel. I have to park my minivan in the same row at Walmrt just to be able to find it. So you can see we have more than one challenge facing us. But we're game for anything. Right? Right?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:29 AM  
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

It seems no matter what I do God tends to push me out of my comfort zone. Okay, he doesn’t push—he SHOVES--while I dig in my heels and create a trench the size of Texas as I go.

Case in point.

Yesterday Colleen and I had to go to a studio and tape a 90 SECOND segment on our Women of Faith books. Have I mentioned I hate speaking in front of people--and the camera thing is even worse! This segment, as I understand it, will be shown at Women of Faith Conferences. No pressure here.

We give an introduction—well, really, Colleen gives an introduction, and I merely have to state my name (which, happily, I remember), then we each give a blurb on our books that takes, oh, about 25 seconds each, then we close with a final sentence. I can do this. I mean it takes me longer than 25 seconds to yawn, right?

So why do I—all during the taping--keep thinking of the Vega-Vitamin episode of I Love Lucy? Remember that one? Where she stumbles over the words (actually, I think she gets, um, intoxicated by the elixir). Well, I wasn’t drunk (only had one cup of coffee), but I did worry about the stumbling over words thing. Fortunately, I had memorized my little piece and got through it somehow. But I won’t even tell you how I looked like a talking marshmallow head (it’s not the studio’s fault I’m a chocoholic).

I say this only so you’ll know there’s more to the writing life than just the writing. Some of it fun and some of it not so fun, but there’s no denying it’s a great adventure. What other jobs/hobbies offer rejections, deadlines, writer’s block, interviews, book signings (to attend or actually sign books), speaking engagements (for the not so faint in heart), and endless opportunities to meet and mingle with other writer types who can totally relate to your weirdness?

There are things we like and dislike about everything, but as crazy as it sounds, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.

So how about you, whether you're published or unpublished, what's your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?




Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:04 AM  
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006


THE DREADED WIP

I think there's a misconception about authors and how we feel about our writing. Most of us are an insecure lot who often approach our work with fear and trepidation (with the notable exception of Colleen). For some reason writing and dread seem to go hand in hand, for me at least. Every morning a part of me dreads the moment when I will open my WIP (Work in Progress for you non-writers) and start writing.

I've analyzed the dread (a futile attempt at eradicating it) and have come to the conclusion that fear is the underlying cause. Fear that today my writing will be drivel. Fear that my next scene will stink. Fear that I'll sit there frozen, my fingers still on the keyboard, with no idea what comes next.

What usually happens bears no resemblence to my dread. In fact, the fear disappears once I start typing, and sometimes I don't even want to stop. Every day I wonder why I dreaded it in the fist place. Hey, I think, this is kinda fun. And I'm getting paid for it.

And yet, the next morning, dread pays a visit like an unwanted relative (not that I have any of those). You'd think after eleven books I'd have convinced myself it's gonna be okay. That it'll all come out in the wash. That, with God's help, the story's gonna happen. I guess not. But I console myself with the notion that I'm not alone. At least, I dont' think I am. I'm not alone, am I?

Denise Hunter  
posted at 3:32 AM  
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

BEWARE: WRITER ON THE LOOSE
This is the first break I've had from writing in 2-1/2 years. My next deadline isn't until October 1st. I'm a free woman!! And that's a problem. Because, I'm also a bored woman who needs better clothes. See, when I sit in my office, I never actually notice that. But now that I'm out and about, I see I'm pretty durn tacky. Here's a costly universal truth: A woman with too much time on her hands must be in want of something new.

So I shopped the other morning online. I have my brands that I know fit me, and are soft (Joe's Jeans, Rebecca Beeson, Kashmere (cashmere sweaters)) and I figure why mess with a good thing when I have my faves? But here's another costly truth. Soft things cost money. So I don't think I'm going to be "free" for long. It costs too much. I think it's time to go back to work. I will add one thing. Lazy begets lazy. You know how they say if you want something done, ask the busy person. Well, I understand why that's true. I'm American Idle. I'm allowing myself to live in my world! Currently, I'm devoting myself to the study of American Idol, People Magazine (can someone please explain to me why Brad Pitt and Angelina are interesting? Because I really don't get it!), books America is talking about and self improvement. As Oprah would say, I'm in the midst of my AHA! moments. In layman's terms, I'm self-medicating for life in the country.
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 10:57 AM  
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Sunday, March 12, 2006

A NEW AGE
How many of you have pets? Did you know it's the fastest growing industry around? People who aren't having children are adopting dogs. My daughter is CRAZY about dogs, and I have a darling new grandpup, Parker, a Golden Retriever. Kara and her friend are opening a doggy wash. It's called SEE SPOT CLEAN and is located at 13340 W Van Buren in Goodyear, Arizona. How's that for a promo? I'm out here helping her lay ceramic tile in the shop, and I've suddenly realized I'm no longer in my twenties. You'd think I would have understood that the day I found my first gray hair, but no, it had to wait until I was crawling on a concrete floor for four days.

The first day was bad. We walked in and looked at the floor, all fifteen hundred square feet of it. I thought "what have I gotten myself into?" But I couldn't let my daughter see I suddenly realized I wasn't her age any more. I mustered a big smile, rubbed my hands together and announced we needed to get to work. By the end of the day I somehow managed to totter to the car and collapse in the seat. The ride to her house was in a nearly unconscious state. I'm sorry to admit I was grouchy and snappy with my poor husband on the phone that night when he didn't want to get off the call so I could go to bed.

The next morning, I dosed up on ibuprofen, pulled on jeans that were spotted with mortar, and went off to the shop again. This time we had some oldies music playing and I was able to pretend it was 1972 and I didn't have muscles that screamed for mercy. By the morning of day five, I was sure I would have tamed those muscles into submission, but instead they were going AWOL and refusing to answer my orders.

That's when reality finally set in. I AM getting older. But I'm not going to go peacefully into that good night. I'm going to be like Maggie in HOT FLASHES AND COLD CREAM. I'm going to throw myself into everything I do, full bore, and go skidding into glory yelling, "Daddy, I'm home." But, don't tell my muscles, okay? They might not be able to take it right now.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 3:27 AM  
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Friday, March 10, 2006

Is there a pill for memory loss? I need one. I need a bottle. Shoot, I need a lifetime supply.

At our book signing on Saturday, a woman comes up to the table and says, “I didn’t know you were a writer.”

“Yeah.”

She says, “I want to buy the three books you have here, and I want you to sign them.”

I’m shooting prayers heavenward for any kind of sign that will help me remember who this person is because I’m thinking I have never seen her before in my entire life.

Frantically, my mind searches for a name but, well, it’s just not coming to me. Finally I say, “I’m so sorry, but I’m having a menopausal moment. Where do I know you from?”

She says, “I go to church with you.”

“Oh.”

Now, before you judge me too harshly, we do run close to 850 people on Sunday, okay? Still, I have to admit she also tells me that for a short time she sang in our choir. I sing in the choir. Our choir runs about 60 people. I can only hope that since I’m a soprano, she was in the alto section.

Unfortunately, my day doesn’t get any better. People come and go who are from my husband’s school corporation, and I don’t know them either. I won’t even talk about the couple I’ve known for 16 years whose names I couldn’t remember. I did recognize my husband when he picked me up, though. So that’s good.

I honestly believe it’s more than age that contributes to this memory loss thing. I’ve heard about the evils of sugar substitutes, and I’m convinced that it’s killed off far more brain cells than I care to admit. As in, I have very few left. Okay, none. So I’ve given up diet pop. Why, I haven’t had a diet pop since—well, I can’t remember.

I also think my mother has something to do with my current state of mind. When I was a kid, she pulled my hair into ponytails so tight that it stopped the blood flow to my brain. Now I could be wrong, but something tells me that ain’t healthy. Saying nothing of the sagging face it’s left me with.

Side note: If you’re considering plastic surgery, save your money. Go to my mom. She’ll fix you up so your face will never move again. I’ll give you her name and number—as soon as I find them.

All that to say please don’t be offended if I don’t know you at conference. Instead, be happy for me that I’ve remembered the conference, my flight ticket, my luggage, my name . . . .

Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:15 AM  
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Thursday, March 09, 2006
BOOK DRAWING WINNERS!

Thanks for all the entries in the contest to win a copy of Finding Faith! The following people won a copy and need to email me their name and address at denise@denisehunterbooks.com

Eileen
Sarah
Robin
Malia
Amy (There were two Amys who posted. The one I drew posted at 5:05 am)

Congratulations, Ladies!
Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:06 AM  
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006


New Arrival

Like all proud mommies, I just had to announce that my new baby, Finding Faith has arrived. It is finally on the store shelves! This is the last book of the New Heights Series. I love the vibrant colors on the cover and the way the main character Paula is depicted.

But I wouldn't waste your time with shameless promotion; you should know me better than that. I'd like to give away 5 free copies to our faithful readers as a thank you for visiting our blog.

So, if you'd like a copy, post a response to this message today (March 8), and I'll draw five winners. On the 9th, I'll announce the winners, who will need to email their addresses to me.

Ready . . . set . . . post!
Denise Hunter  
posted at 3:21 AM  
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This is probably not something to admit, but the movie MEAN GIRLS made me cry. Because it's so dang true! Girls are mean. And you know what? They grow up to be mean women. Keep in mind, I grew up with boys, my best friend in college was a guy (Hi Edwin!), and I really wasn't around girls much growing up. But now that I’ve come through a lot of life’s stages, there’s really no shortage of women who have done cruel things, either out of revenge or jealously, and the older I get the less patience I have for this garbage. We are women, we should support one another! (This is not to be confused with the oblivious friend or someone unwittingly misspeaking with no ill motive or malice.)

As a Christian woman, I am shocked to know how much of this takes place in our churches, and often under the guise of “helping” us – let me explain something, when you “help” someone in the Christian sense, it is done in love. Never with the sidebar of nyah-nyah or with the admonishment of “You’re sick with this because you have unconfessed sin in your life.” Sheesh, thank you my local messiah – so do you, how come you’re healthy?

Now that I’m nearly forty, I’m fighting back. For you youngins, I want you to recognize this, and know who your friends are, and don’t let others undermine your confidence!

Here’s just a few things, mean girls do:
When you're dating a guy others want to date, and you hear, "I thought he was gay." Translation: "What would he possibly see in you? Doesn’t he know I'm available?"

When you get married, there may be a jealous girl who will try to undermine your happiness, "Really? Weren't you just dating so-and-so?" Here's he implication: Wow, aren't you the sleeze. I'm sure you just gave him something the rest of us wouldn't.

Fast forward to motherhood: "Your five year old doesn't read yet? What does his teacher say?" Translation: "Man, you have the stupidest kid alive. Shouldn't you get him some help for that? Oh, and my kid has been reading since he was three."
"Did YOU read slow?" Translation: "Does retardation run in your family?"

A sidenote: I’m the mother of four kids, and I think I’ve seen a lot. One son cannot get along with “my way or the highway” authority types. (I can't imagine where he gets that!) But one year, he had a teacher who labeled him a troublemaker early on. Now, as a mother, I made him follow her rules, we talked a lot about authority and God setting it up, and he had better do as she told him. But he was never going to like it.

So at the teacher conference, she gives me a book, "Parenting is Not For Cowards". The implication is that there's something wrong with my son and me for raising him. As she handed it to me, I nearly laughed. I thought, there's nothing wrong with him, he doesn't like you. FYI, I don’t think the book was to “help” me, but to show me the error of my ways. Luckily, my next son to have this teacher was a lot more compliant, so my parenting skills have since been redeemed.

When I was a young mother, I would really fall victim to a lot of these implications, but now that I'm older, and I see the personalities of my kids – and I know when they were young, they were just themselves and I wasn’t familiar enough with their personalities yet. BTW, They're all reading, they're all functioning, no one's taken a gun to school and they're all excellent students in Christian school -- and even if they weren't, they're my kids, and I love them. And I love my choice of husband, car, wedding ring, house, clothes, books that I write, and anything else you choose to diss. Translation: I am nearly forty, I will not be embarrassed, humiliated or moved by someone’s biased opinion.

(This is different from people who love you telling you you’re blowing it, by the way! We should always have an accountability group to tell us honestly when we’re veering from God’s path.) But if there’s someone who is making you feel like everything you do is wrong, or not as good as them. They’re not your friend, they’re working out some childhood insecurity. Love them, and if that doesn’t work, shake the dust off your sandals and find less toxic people because YOU are beautifully and wonderfully made, and ppphhht to anyone who doesn’t think so.

Oh I feel a disclaimer is necessary, lest you think I’m without sin here: I have my own toxic slip-ups – and since this sounds like I’m pointing fingers, I feel I should share. One time I found out my beau in college used my Ford Mustang convertible GT 5.0 (which I’d worked SO hard for!) to take out another girl – wasn’t he impressive? That night, my friend Marc and I went to his condo, and threw all his gifts, etc., over his condominium front lawn, which was a shared courtyard for about 20 condos. Revenge was definitely my motive – and I’m embarrassed to admit, it still makes me laugh out loud to think about his stuff all strewn there so publicly. So I’m not exactly repentant. But I shouldn’t admit that either.
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 2:49 PM  
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Sunday, March 05, 2006


SMILE OVERLOAD
Denise's husband owns Windows, Doors and More in Ft Wayne. He rented some spaces at the Ft Wayne Home Show this past weekend and had a spot he offered to us to get out there and promote our books. Great idea, passing out bookmarks, greeting people, showing off our books, generating name recognition to the 32,000 or so who were going to flow through the Coliseum. One thing we didn't count on. Sixteen hours of being "on."

Is my smile cracking? What is there about being "ON" that's so exhausting? I'm outgoing. I like people. I love to talk writing and books. But I hadn't realized quite how hard it was going to be to smile for that many hours. By the end of the day on Saturday we all felt like we were in some kind of nightmare where we would be forced to smile for all eternity. I could feel the wrinkles affixing themselves permanently around my mouth--not the kind of thing a woman my age is eager to see happen. I was so tired I felt like I was in some kind of fog.

One thing really surprised us all--SO MANY people were readers of Christian fiction. They told us they didn't want all that smut. I have to admit I wondered if people would walk away when they discovered what kinds of books we wrote, but it just didn't happen. People were thrilled to take our bookmarks, look over our books, talk to us, tell us the other writers they liked. That made up for the pain smiling caused after about eight hours. LOL

The smiling marathon gave me a new appreciation for my friends at Thomas Nelson who go out every day to sell my books. You're my heroes. I bow at your feet. And if my face is cracked and haggard the next time you see me, you'll know the reason. I'm trying to help all I can, even if it means more wrinkles.

Will we do it again? Ask me next week when the pain fades. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:21 PM  
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Last night a friend of mine from church told me she had a computer glitch and couldn’t get into her email. The computer is now in the shop. It reminded me of my own computer nightmare a few months ago.

I have a November 1 deadline, right? It is the first week of October and my laptop screen goes dark while I’m working. I try everything to fix it, nothing works. I take it into the place where I had purchased it, explain the problem. They tell me they have to send it back to the manufacturer. Okie-dokie. I have a spare laptop at home. My work in progress has been saved on my “key.” The company backs up everything too just in case I’ve missed something—of course, they charge me $89.00 to do so, but better safe than sorry.

I start working on the backup laptop. It works a few days, then it has some kind of short circuit, so that no matter what I do, it will only run on battery and I can’t recharge it. All righty then.

By now we’re well into the second week of October, and I’m getting nervous. I call to check on my first computer to see if it’s come back from the factory (since they knew it was a rush), and they tell me it hasn’t even been sent in yet!

Huston, we have a problem.

I take laptop number two into another repair place to get it fixed. In the meantime, I work on my desktop computer at home that is old and has its own set of problems.

Finally, laptop number one is shipped back to me. I open it, try it out, the screen starts up, all systems go—then it darks out—again. Okay, now I want to hurt somebody.

I take it back to the store and by now I know these guys so well, I could invite them to Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been pleasant up to now, and still want to be, but how can I get across to them how desperate I am for a decent machine? Oh, did I mention this laptop that’s in for repair is less than a year old?

I go up to the young man, explain the situation, and he says he has to ship it back to the manufacturer yet again. I’m hoping they’ll give me a backup unit, but nothing doing. I finally lean into the counter and say through clenched teeth, “Look, could you tell the powers that be that I am a writer and I am on a deadline. I’m feeling a little crazy right now, and I’m thinking I could go postal.” The kid looks frightened for just a moment until he sees me laugh, but I see the teensiest bit of doubt in his eyes, and I’m okay with that.

Long story short, I finally get my computer back and it is fixed. I make deadline—barely, but I have the gray hairs to prove it.

Moral to this story? Buy three backup units. It just might keep you out of prison.
Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:43 AM  
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Thursday, March 02, 2006


CRUISE CONTROL

I just got back from a fabulous cruise with Kevin and, while trying to fight through vacation fog, I'm having some, shall we say, regrets. I entitled this blog "Cruise control" but the further I get from San Jaun, the more I realize control was not my companion on our cruise. In fact, my general philosophy for the week was, "Why not?"

Would I like dessert? Oh, why not?Second helping? Why not? An early afternoon snack to tide me over until the late afternoon snack? Why not? It seemed harmless at the time. Hiking from one restaurant to another counts as excercise, right? And turning the pages of a novel while sipping sodas at the beach has to burn some calories.

It turns out the answer to my rhetorical "why not" is found now, much too late. I have found the answer in the tight fit of my jeans, in the scale that shows a gain of 5 1/2 pounds in 7 days (is that a record of some kind?), and in the gargantuan appetite that rivals my teenage son's. In short, I have why notted myself into a problem that will take weeks of determination to overcome. Di and Colleen, come lock up my chocolate, and sign me up for your diet.

PS The photo is of Kevin and me at the scene of the crime. It all looks so innocent, doesn't it?

Denise Hunter  
posted at 3:31 AM  
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Democracy in Television
Now, that we've had a taste of it, I want more! Remember, the slogan, "I want my MTV!" Well, I want my democracy on TV. Where else can I get this kind of satisfaction? Where I can vote for Jerry Rice, greatest receiver of ALL TIME, in a dancing competition?? Can he dance? Well, sort of, but he's JERRY RICE, for crying out loud. Who doesn't remember "the catch"? The 49er glory days are enough for my vote for decades to come. You were robbed, Jerry, that trophy was yours!

Furthermore, I can let my fingers do the walking, and a future porn star and a mediocre Fanilow are eliminated from "American Idol". That is power. And I missed my voting rights last night when Dr. Travis Stork picked the passive-aggressive, kindergarten teacher Sarah, rather than the intellectual California adventure girl of Moana on "The Bachelor". Where was my vote, ABC?? If the "couple" isn't already broken up, I give them three months because Travis, Travis, you need a woman of substance! (Well, I don't know, maybe you don't.)

But a woman of substance doesn't call another woman a BLANK on television, or use the word "perfect" more than 800 times in a paragraph. And she doesn't "warn" you on the evils of her competition, while pretending to be sweetness and light. Can you say passive-aggressive? Your nieces liked Moana better, what does that tell you about your Kindergarten teacher? Did you test her with the labrador?

Moana, if I get a vote, I hope you get yourself a rich, CEO and spend your life surfing and living the great adventure. You're too good for Travis anyway! Go Mandisa!
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 6:27 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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