Girls Write Out
Friday, March 30, 2007

It's been a fabulously awful day. I'd explain, but really, just take my word for it. I'm too worn out to even complain in detail, so you know it's bad! I can only take this to mean that my book (which releases today!) is going to rock it and God is trying to humble me in full before it does. Yeah, that has to be it.

For those of you who don't know, "Split Ends" was born out of my fascination with hairstylist Nick Arrojo from "What Not To Wear". I needed Nick to cut my hair. I have awful hair and he takes big, bulky hair and makes it a sleek thing of beauty. I needed Nick. So I did the next best thing beside go to New York and humiliate myself as a bad dresser -- and the truth is, I'm not a great dresser. I know HOW to dress, I just don't bother -- which is probably worse than the clueless. But anyhoo, I found out how good stylists become great and the novel, "Split Ends" about Beverly Hills hairstylist, Sarah Claire Winston was born.

With Easter Break coming up, it's the perfect time-waster into complete relaxation and the next level in hair covetousness. Enjoy!
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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Our guest today is author Tricia Goyer (a former winner of the ACFW award for historical fiction). Her new historical hitting the shelves is A Valley of Betrayal. Here's a little blurb about the book: A Valley of Betrayal, Book One in the Chronicles of The Spanish Civil War series by Tricia Goyer (Moody Publishing). For reasons beyond her control, Sophie finds herself alone in the war torn Spanish countryside and pledges to make the plight of the Spanish people known around the world through the power of art.

And her bio: Tricia Goyer was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. In 2005, her book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion and her novel Night Song won ACFW's Book of the Year for Long Historical Romance. She has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction and non-fiction books.

Now here's Tricia!

Mission NOT Impossible

I've been thinking lately about loving one another. I've been thinking about what it really takes to obey that command. What I've been thinking goes a little like this...

The assignment is confirmed via Holy-Spirit on instant tele-waves communication. The High Chief has given you the command: Love One Another (Matthew 22:39). You close your Bible and check the leather binding to make sure it's not one of those self-igniting editions. It's not. And a good thing too, it's your favorite exhaustive, study-helps imprint.

You snap open your super-secret tool chest. (So secret in fact, you have yet to use some of the apparatus.) Inside the chest, next to the pumping, beating gizmo, are some of your most valuable tools: joy, hope, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, genuine concern and words of encouragement. Which do you use? It's difficult to decide.

You begin to sweat. Not wanting to take any chances, you grab them all. You fasten tight the joy, slide on your smile and straighten your apron. It's Not Mission Impossible--Just "Mission". Shifting slightly in your seat, you decide to try out one of the tools. (Just for practice of course.)

"I'm excited about the big account you received yesterday, dear. I'm proud of you." You reach over and caress your husband's hand. Amazingly, the sour expression he wore just seconds before immediately dissipates.

Interesting. You make a mental note.

"Really?" He sits a little straighter. "Would you like another cup of coffee?" he asks, reaching for your mug. You accept.

Your eyes narrow as you see your second target dragging herself into the room. Hidden behind those pony-tails and knee-socks, you know lies a victim of terrible trepidation. You were informed that today is the all-schooling spelling bee. You pull out the ultimate communications tool, G.C., better know as, Genuine Concern.

Your finger motions the pixie-girl to come closer. You wrap your arms around your daughter's shoulders and pull her close. "Are you worried about the spell-off?"

Her head slowly nods.

"Would you like me to pray for you?"

She lifts her big brown eyes to yours. Your keen observation picks up a new sparkle. Her head nods again, this time in anticipation.

After you pray and provide a quick peck on the check, she skips away to catch her bus. Another instantaneous message breaks through into your gray matter. "Keep up the good work. From Big Boss."

With a new hop in your own step, you set about to fulfill your cover as a mild-mannered housewife--also known as undercover organizer, meticulous manager and cheer-bringer in the home. A sharp ringing of the phone jars you from your important task of chasing dust bunnies from behind your plaid sofa.

You answer the phone, your mind quickly decoding the cryptic message buzzing through the line.

"Hi, it's just me. Watcha doing?" It's your best friend, Misty. Your supersonic sense of hearing picks up a low, slow tone. Something's wrong.

"Oh, just cleaning," you answer.

"Well, if you're busy I can let you go."

You roll up your to-do-list and shove it into the junk drawer. "I'm not busy at all. Come on over."

As you scurry around the room tossing toys into every available corner, you realize you've been equipped with every tool necessary to fulfill your assignment. As you see your friend's gray station wagon pulling into the driveway you send a quick message to the Chief. "Thanks in advance for your provisions. Mission's going well.”

Your heart swells as you pull your best friend into your arms, and you realize that the mission isn't over yet. In fact, it's just beginning.

You also realize that when you follow God’s mission, the rewards are top-notch—somehow the secret agent gets a surprise blessing too. A smile, a hug, it doesn't matter, because more than that, you picture the Bosses' smile too.

Mission Tool Chest

Big Boss (AKA: The Supreme Being, Divine Creator, and The Chief)

Method of Communication:
Non-exploding Agent Guidebook (AKA: Bible)

Process of Confirmation:
Instant Tele-waves Communication (AKA: Holy Spirit)

Available Apparatus:
Bombardment of Bliss (AKA: Joy)
Covering of Calmness (AKA: Peace),
Unexplainable Endurance (AKA: Patience),
Confident Service (AKA: Kindness),
Detectable Decency (AKA: Goodness),
Undeniable Devotion (AKA: Faithfulness)
Inexplicable Restraint (AKA: Temperance)

Method of Communication: Direct Transmission (AKA: Prayer)

Code Words: "God Help."

Access Time: Available to Any Agent, Any Time, Any Where
Colleen Coble  
posted at 12:35 PM  
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My husband has ESP. Okay, maybe not, but let me just say he has this uncanny ability of saying what I’m about to say—seconds before I say it. You know someone like that?

“Honey, will you pass the--”

And he gives me the salad bowl. Never mind that there is spaghetti, garlic bread and parmesan cheese on the table from which he could choose, he knows I want salad, and he serves it with a smile (or is it an evil grin?).

How about the time we’re in the car and just as I’m about to say something completely off subject, he beats me to it. I’m telling you, it’s frightening.

Course, I could chalk it up to thirty-two years of marriage. We hit the mark last week. In fact, I was working at the coffee shop/bookstore I frequent and one of the workers lured me away to talk to me about a new product. When I returned to my table, there was a beautiful vase bursting with a dozen yellow roses (my favorite!), some DeBrand chocolates, and a mocha with whipped cream.

I’m telling you, it doesn’t get any better than that. But like I said, the man reads my mind.

So, is there anyone like that in your life? Husband? Mom? Sister? Friend?

P.S. By the way, the picture is not of us, but, hey, I write fiction. *g*

Diann Hunt  
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I've spent a fair amount of time recently in airports, a great place to people watch. The thing that caught my attention the most was--shoes.

Now understand, I'm not really a big shoe person (though after buying some good shoes from Zappos as a birthday present from Kristin I could be tempted) but these were hard to miss.

I saw SO many women with these big stilettos on. I'm not talking sensible pumps here, people. I mean shoes high enough to give you a nosebleed. Some of them in leopard skin. Some BOOTS with heels pointy enough to stab someone's eye out (hey I write suspense, I can't help thinking those things.)

What are they thinking? First off, they have to take those knee length boots OFF and put them back on after going through security. And do they think it's just a stroll through the house to get to their gate? I saw some women limping. Well yeah, you're going to limp if you wear those killers for more than five minutes.

Then there are the sandals. People with flipflops. Good heavens, they'd better pray they don't get a window seat or they will freeze!

So explain it to me--what do you wear to travel and why? I need someone to help me make logic out of this. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 11:41 AM  
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We all have them. It's the laundry pile that grows larger even when we're steadily doing loads. It's the house that seems dirty two seconds after we cleaned it. It's the dishes that seem to multiply in the sink.

But there's always one, isn't there, that you just . You dread it. You procrastinate it. Even if you're not a procrastinator--which I'm not. Maybe it's cleaning the tub or mowing the grass or paying the bills.

For me, though, the chore I dread is the grocery. I don't have an aversion to shopping or spending money. I like food. I like having something to cook when five o'clock rolls around. But I know why I grocery shopping. It's the ineffeciency of the whole process. Have you ever thought about how many times you handle the food? (You will now.) You pick the food up and put it in the cart. You take it from the cart and place it on the conveyer belt. You put the bags back in your cart. You put the bags in your car. You take the bags from your car and bring them into your house. You put the groceries away. See what I mean? I'm already tired.

But this is a chore I can only put off for so long, because I have an alarm clock that goes off when the cupboards get bare. Three of them actually. They say things like "There's nothing to eat" and "When are you going to the grocery, Mom?" and "Where's the food?" To make it worse, we have a teenager in the house who can empty multiple packages of food on the same day they were purchased.

So what's your dreaded chore?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:30 AM  
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Sunday, March 25, 2007
I'll admit, when I heard John Edwards was going to run for president, despite his wife's recurrence of cancer, I blew a gasket. This is the same woman (Elizabeth Edwards) who lost their sixteen year old son in a car accident. Her memoir recounting the incident, and its aftermath, is heart-wrenching. I dare any mother to read it and not bawl with empathy.

So my question to Mr. John Edwards is, do you really think this country needs you so desperately that we'd take you away from your family right now? I mean, the race is pretty full of capable candidates. I understand Mrs. Edwards saying that she wants her husband to run. It's his lifelong dream, she doesn't want to stand in his way. What loving wife would? But it's YOUR turn to stand up and support HER, Mr. Edwards! This isn't about you anymore. It's your turn to be there for her and your children now!

She's given up enough for your career and I think, you're going to have a hard time convincing the American public (especially its wives) that you have anything to offer, other than a selfish desire for power! Maybe it's because this year, we lost one of my husband's best friends to colon cancer, or just last week, my dear friend Jane Orcutt to leukemia, but dude, you totally need to learn what matters in life. Until you do, you're not fit for any office. Go ahead. Prove me wrong!
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In spite of the pictures of our Hawaii trip, this post isn't about the trip. But notice the clan on the porch of our house. You get a glimpse of the great time we had. The picture of us three Coble girls at the luau says it all too. And the final pic is the view from our house. Awesome, isn't it? For more pictures, go to Poipu Connections website at:;

We were met in Honolulu by Malia Spencer. That's her with me on her dad's boat. She ran me and my girls all over the island and we hit all the best shopping areas. She didn't have to do that. I didn't ask. She just jumped in there and did it. She brought me Hawaiian coffee. Now THAT'S a friend!

When we got to the house, I had a little mishap. People don't call me Grace for no reason, by the way. The yard didn't have lights on, and I fell into a lava rock garden. I screamed as I went down. Kara was calling, "Mama, are you okay?" "No, I'm not," I wailed. She waded through the darkness along with both Daves and Donna to haul me to my feet, minister to the blood, find me sandals to replace the ones I broke in the fall, and find me a shirt to replace the torn one. Great family! But that's not the whole story either. When I told realtor Anne Wachler about the fall, she had someone out there the next day to put in lights. And it wasn't because I asked her to. She genuinely cared. Incidentally, she saw my post about wandering around looking for wireless and asked if I wanted wireless in there for next time! LOL

Ever been on a zodiac raft? If you sit in the front, it's supposed to be an adventure. In the back is for old ladies. Well, I was game. I'm only nineteen in my heart, after all. I could take an adventure. I sat in the front on the edge of the rubber raft, locked my foot under a rope on the floor and held onto the rope for dear life. When we took off, I hollered, "Whooohoo" every time we hit a bump and went airborne. Within half an hour, my whoohooing had turned to a faint wail of pain. Every muscle in my neck, back, shoulders and arms was begging for mercy. During a lull, my sweet Donna stood up and announced she was moving to the old lady seats in the back of the boat and she was taking me with her. LOL Even though I was gamely trying to hang onto the adventure, she was rescuing me without being asked.

Dave Jr, Donna and Kara cooked some so I didn't have to do it all. I'm used to always thinking about what will make the kids happy, and it was a treat to be so well taken care of this past week. Everywhere I turned this past week, strangers and loved ones were looking out for one another.

It might be Kaua'i, but I don't think so. I think when you look for the good in life, you'll find it. So here's your chance to toot someone else's horn. Who has done something sweet and unexpected for you lately? Who is the person who restores your hope in humanity?
Colleen Coble  
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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Today, our guest is fabulous swashbuckling writer (and member of my local writers' group) MaryLu Tyndall. Please welcome her:

Ahoy, all you ladies (and gentlemen) out there, I need opinions—and I know you have them! What is wrong with pirate romance stories? I’ve written a trilogy entitled Legacy of the King’s Pirates, two books of which have already been released, The Redemption and The Reliance, and this is what I’m discovering. Although the books are getting great reviews from both media and readers alike, I have been astonished to find that some people absolutely abhor pirate stories. Being a pirate lover myself and an avid fan of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as well as any pirate romance that comes along (except the really sleazy ones!), I must say I’m in shock! Now, I admit, there are some pirates who need a bath pretty badly, along with some expert dental work, but what about those dashing heroes, who by some miracle of God have all their teeth and have somehow found a bar of soap while scouring the Caribbean for treasure? In my latest book, The Reliance, the heroine takes on the role of pirate captain to rescue her wayward husband. And she actually makes the pirates on her ship bathe. Now who could ask for more than that? Honest opinions, please?

For more information on MaryLu Tyndall and her books, visit
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If I could think up plot twists like God seems to do, my books would be nonstop action. Granted, I'll give you the action isn't that exciting, but sometimes I just feel like my head is in a vice and I'm supposed to come out breathing the other side. Ever have days like that?

Saturday we moved into our new house. It is just lovely here, I am in awe that God has provided such a perfect place for us. Okay, we knew we were buying a fixer-upper, but our first day here? Sewer line issue. We're told it's broken and will probably cost ten thousand to fix (it's on a hill -- apparently, that and the fact that *I* don't want to deal with sewage is enough to get them their money.) Same Day: kids are waveboarding on the front deck -- go right through a piece of it. Dry rot. Seller set up this beautiful laundry room, had it all staged, etc., we get here there is no ventilation system in the room. laundry. Boxes everywhere, a water line to the fridge needs to replaced. Water is brown. Rust problems, you should correct that with a copper meter to match the copper pipes.

It goes on an on. Did I mention my husband went out of town on business this week? Or that my book is due April first and today, I did not get one word down?

Of course this is the week my husband has to go out of town. My book is about a divorced heroine, so I need to tread lightly, especially since I have spent more time lately with the plumber than my husband. LOL So I get to my daughter's school and find out she is off on Friday. Oh I needed that. My son's teacher is bawling him out because he hasn't printed out his paper -- and she is not giving him any grace for the fact that his mother can't find the printer! But there are sweet surprises too. My husband opened the back door in the middle of the night (don't ask why!) and we heard the sweet sound of a creek on our property we didn't know was there -- I asked if he was sure it wasn't sewage and he said no, the kids had been down and seen it.

I love it here! But this is my life. It wouldn't matter if I were in Oprah's Santa Barbara retreat, Diann can testify, she's one too. There are some people that you just think I know I am God's sitcom. : ) Kristin
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


So I'm taking the milk from the fridge today when I notice the text beside the cap: "Reseals for freshness". Wow, a milk container with a cap. What an innovative concept. Have you ever noticed that some of the text on product containers really defy belief.

The flap of cereal boxes, for instance. "To open, lift tab." Uh, thanks. I was wondering how to open this. If you're old enough to read and mentally competent enough to understand the directions, do you really need an explanation? Does Post fear that if they remove the instructions they'll receive a flurry of phone calls? Help! How DOES this box open?

The instructions on a bottle of salad dressing: "Twist to open"

On a flip-top can of carrots: "Lift tab to rim. Peel back carefully. Edges may be sharp."

The edges may be sharp, but clearly corporate America doesn't think we are.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 2:19 PM  
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Why is it we always imagine the worst case scenario? I had to speak for a ladies event on Saturday, and since I don’t do a lot of speaking, I have to say I fretted over it for about, oh, six months. I don’t know what I thought would happen. I’d fall off the platform—or worse, my shoes? I’d say something that would cause three-fourths of the attendees to leave the room? What?

I’m happy to tell you none of that happened. Well, okay, the microphone box did fall off my skirt once and the little earpiece came off more times than I can count, but it wouldn’t have happened if I had stopped waving my hands while I talked. Sigh.

But all in all, it was a great day and things went off without a hitch. (Course, it helped that I gave DeBrand’s truffles to a few lucky participants.) All right, and I had a ton of people praying.

Most of the time things don’t turn out as bad as we imagine them. So why do we imagine the worst? Is it because we’re writers? What?

Care to share what YOU worry about and why?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:09 AM  
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Monday, March 19, 2007

I've been in Hawaii and I'm now back on the mainland. There is good and bad to everything. In this case, I had the beauty of Kauai (a good thing) but no internet access in our house. (bad thing.)

I thought I'd prepared for this. I bought temporary dial-up access. Then when we arrived, I realized my MacBook had only a wireless modem. Catastrophe! Then I realized with all the nice houses around, surely someone had wireless. I fired up by laptop and sure enough several popped up. First I tried stalking the yard for the strongest signal. I found if I put the laptop on the stone fence facing the neighbors, I could get one bar. The only problem with this was it sprinkles a lot in Hawaii and I didn't want to get my computer wet. Not to mention how stupid I looked out there.

So then I walked through the house but couldn't find a strong enough signal. I finally found a corner of our bedroom where I could get one bar if I propped the computer on the lampshade. I looked pretty dorky but no one saw but Dave and he already knows I'm weird.

I might not have bothered except for one thing--my edits were coming, and you all know how I LOVE them. So there I was on Monday stalking the bedroom corner until I got them. I'd promised Erin not to work on them while I was in Hawaii, and I kept my promise, but let me just say now that only Hawaii could have kept me from them. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 1:11 PM  
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

I See the Future!
You know, I am the same person I was at 7. Really. If that doesn't scare you as a parent, it really should. My mother claims that most of the stuff I remember happening in my childhood, never happened. Of course, she remembers all the happy stuff. I remember what I like to call, reality.

One of the traits I had as a child, that I still have is that if there isn't a reason for a rule? It's a stupid rule and I don't have to follow it. Yes, this got me in trouble then, and quite frankly, still does. Rules for rules' sake, are stupid.

In high school, we had a rule that we couldn't wear shorts, shorter than our knees. All well and good except my cheerleading skirt barely covered my behind! So one day to protest the stupid rule, I wore my cheerleading skirt over a pair of shorts that hit about two inches above the knee. Need I mention the principal and I were on a first-name basis? Probably not.

Fast forward: We had to put in an automatic-shut-off-valve for the gas in our new house. Our insurance required it. The bank couldn't fund the loan for the house until the insurance was provided. The insurance couldn't cover us until the work was done. But we couldn't do the work on the gas line until we OWNED the house. See? Stupid rule. The insurance company has no grace period. It has to be done and inspected BEFORE you take ownership. Of course, you'll never get ownership because you will never get funding without insurance.

So I wore my shorts under my skirt. We found an insurance company that would cover us without the work -- and got the grace period we should have had all along. I blame it on them making me read Joseph Heller in high school. (Catch 22) Kristin
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kids. You gotta love 'em. It’s a commandment.

I enjoy journaling when I have the time—which doesn’t happen very often, but recently, I started up again. I love the look of a leather-bound journal, crisp, thick paper, all that. It just seems like a wonderful keepsake that I hope someday my grandchildren will tenderly pick up and wander through.

Yeah, right. They’ll probably rip it from a forgotten corner in the attic and toss it in the garbage without reading a single word.

Still, I’m a writer, and we have great imaginations, so I imagine that one of my descendents will actually browse through these things.

So tonight, I’m watching the grandkids and they’re waiting on their parents to come get them. While waiting, they’re SUPPOSED to be sleeping. As it turns out I have to separate them and one ends up on the couch beside me. I’m at one end writing in my journal and the three-year-old is at the other end, pretending to sleep.

Suddenly, I have to get up and check on the other two girls (who are fighting) and when I come back, I see the three-year-old placing my pen back on the journal.

“I was just fixing this for you,” she promptly offers.

I should have known then something was up, but being a grandmother I thought, “How sweet.”

I shouldn’t have.

When I reopened my journal, I found that said three-year-old had written her two cents worth in scribbles across my crisp, leather-bound journal. The clean paper on which I try so carefully to use my best penmanship was now soiled. Or was it? The more I thought about it, the more I realized her scribbles will mean more to me than a signature by Thomas Kinkade in the years to come as she grows into a woman. So my paper is a little messy? I’ll look at those scribbles one day, glance at the grown woman who had written them long ago and marvel that it seems only yesterday.

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:30 AM  
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


It happened again last night as I was watching one of my favorite shows. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. They go on a date and reach the end where we're all wondering . . . will he kiss her? The romantic in me sighs. Then he kisses her tenderly. Ah, all is right in the world.

Then the shirt comes flying off and they're headed for the bedroom.


I'm weary of TV treating sex as if it's the automatice conclusion to a first kiss. What happened to romance? Anticipation? Morality? The characters on TV aren't waiting for the second date, much less the wedding. I mean, I've been out of the dating scene a long time, but somebody please tell me it's not like this in real life.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:06 AM  
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Saturday, March 10, 2007
No one's around. I'm bored. Lucky you, I'm going to rant for a bit. (May you have something better to do with your day!)

First rant: On weekdays, people who come in for coffee beans during the morning rush should really be shot. Can you not stop in AFTER work people? You screw up the line and your sense of entitlement is pathetic. Everyone knows the people who need their caffeine fix have precedence in the a.m. Um, DUH!!

Taxes: There has got to be a way to slow the flow of taxes based on housing prices in the Bay Area. Yeah, a lot of politicians are going to get on that bandwagon, ha! The mayor of SF is wanting to make all bus rides free. You know what "free" means, people? It means YOU pay for people who can't. That's called communism and I love this, on the radio it said the SF buses would turn into rolling dumpsters on wheels. LOL

Colleen is in Hawaii, but may I just say it's 70 degrees here and GORGEOUS and today my taxes are paying for the Lunar Unity Parade, so I better get out there! : )
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

“Diann, you have to get rid of some books,” my husband says, peering over the stack of novels surrounding his chair in the family room.

Those words strike fear in my heart, causing scenes of “The Shining” to swirl around my mind. For a moment fear flickers in his eyes as he no doubt sees my resemblance to Jack Nicholson.

“I know you love them. They’re hard to part with, but to be honest, I haven’t seen our dog in days,” he says.

“She’s reading.” Without looking up, I turn the page in my current novel.

“She can’t read. She’s 14 years old and blind.” His voice is dark and cold, like a musty basement filled with, um, books. “Maybe you’ve noticed our chimney belches words.”

I shrug. “We’re the envy of the neighborhood.”

He sighs.

I put my book down, gearing up for the same old discussion. “Look, I’ve tried to give some away. I’ve stalked paperboys, grocery clerks and preschoolers. What more do you want from me?”

“When you give some away, don’t buy more,” he says as though he’s created a quote along the status of Ben Franklin.

“Okay, so I have a problem. You’ll need to figure out how to help me get over it.”

“Uh-huh.” There’s not one lick of sympathy in his voice whatsoever.

“Check in the third bedroom, I might have a book on the subject.”

He gives me a deadpan stare. “You’re pathetic.”

So there you have it. The confessions of a book addict. We can’t afford to buy a library. A castle in England is out of the question. So how do you keep your books to a minimum so you don’t lose the family dog?
Diann Hunt  
posted at 10:05 AM  
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One of the things I've learned living around so many different cultures is how obtuse I can be when dealing with others! To my children, it's a natural thing to hear a name like Minaud and Sau Fong and pronounce it correctly the first time, then remember it! I so envy that. Saturday night we had dinner with some friends. His sister was visiting from China and she was speaking to a teenage girl who was there. The teen couldn't understand what the sister was saying, and my six year old "translated". To my daughter, hearing a Mandarin accent is as natural a thing as walking. When I filled out her school admission, there was a box to check what language we spoke at home. There were six different versions of the Chinese/Korean/Taiwanese/Other Asian dialects to choose from. I felt extremely stupid for simply writing English, like I'm totally left out of the club in my small world. I want my kids' world to be so much bigger than that!

On Sunday after church, we ate at a Turkish restaurant. If you know anything about Middle Eastern countries, relationship is vital to the meal. We were eating with friends and six children, so I didn't want to wear out my welcome when everyone else was done eating -- but I didn't want to miss out on my favorite either. I asked for a Turkish coffee to go. Culturally, this was as rude as asking the guy to run over to Starbucks and pick me up a latte. He looked straight at me, with this charming twinkle in his eye, and said, "Why don't you just sit here and drink it?" Unspoken: Like a human!

So here I am, trying to not be rude and return their quiet restaurant to them -- and I'm rude because I'm rushing his fabulous meal!! This is apparently offensive. I pray my kids catch a clue from their mama's faux paus. My friends just sat and laughed while the man walked away to make the coffee. I did enjoy it more sitting there, by the way. The American in me has to give way to the Italian at times.

P.S. Today we are signing the papers on our new house!!! WOOOHOOO!
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I've been thinking about settings lately, and I find that I'm naturally drawn to small town settings. Maybe that's because the thought of living in a city makes me break out in hives. But mostly it's because life in a small town is real. It forces you to have community. You can't step outside your house without seeing someone you know.

Yesterday my mother-in-law was having heart palpitations, and I rushed her to the ER where we discovered she's been having small strokes (I've suspected this since September and have been after her to go in for tests. She's going to be fine, btw.) Anyway, this is the same ER where I took my mom and my father-in-law in September. There were some of the same doctors and nurses there, who all recognized me. I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a while.

There's no anonymity in a small town. Everyone remembers the day you broke your foot in front of the library and the fact your dad is the loudest yeller at the football game. Life moves at a slower pace here. The mailman stops to chat a minute, people you don't know feel free to look you up in the phone book and call (okay, maybe that's not a benefit. LOL).

I think the midwest has a special quality that way too. It could be because I've always lived in Indiana, but I think it's more than that. I think the midwest is real. We don't get influenced by the craziness that hits the coasts. We have our values in bedrock, and we're a little harder to shake up.

So I'm thinking about setting more books in the midwest. Maybe Wisconsin. Some of the best memories of my childhood are the summers we went fishing on Lake Chetek. Like the time my brother Randy and I were going to make sure our brother Rick caught his first fish. I distracted him and Randy put a fish on Ricky's hook, then we screamed and yelled for him to catch it. LOL

But here's the question of the day. What settings appeal to YOU? When you go to a bookstore, is there a setting that makes you think, "Oh I've got to read this?"

And hey, I'm about to leave for my favorite setting of all--Hawaii!! Malia, I'm coming your way!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:47 AM  
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

You know what I'm tired of? Spending money on products that don't deliver. Beauty products are especially notorious for this. Makeup that promises to stay on all day and is gone by mid-afternoon. Shampoo that promises to turn frizzy dry hair sleek and straight. (I know better than to believe this).

But when you find a products that actually delivers, you're almost in disbelief. A product that lives up to its promise--what do you know?

So, it's share time. Here are some of my favorite beauty products, the ones I pack on vacation because I can't live without them for a week.

Estee Lauder Clear Difference Oil Control Hydrator--no more face powder touch-ups. This stuff works!

Carmex Lip Balm. You'll never buy Chap Stick again!
Cover Girl Advanced Radiance is the face powder for me. I've tried more expensive ones and this is the one I always go back to.

Matrix Sleek Look Shampoo, Conditioner, Styling Creme and Lock-Down Spray. This actually goes a long way toward taming the frizz.

Studio Gear eyeshadow--This one was a recommendation from Colleen. I apply it wet as eyeliner and it lasts all day.

Loreal Eye Defense. You'd have to read my first blog on aging eyes to know what this creme fixed, but trust me, it works.

Cover Girl Outlast lip color. A little hard to remove when you DO want it off, but this stuff really lasts and looks nice for hours and hours.

Kendra Thermal Styling Spray. This is used before using a curling iron or flat iron. Makes a big difference.

And finally, my ultimate splurge: the Chi Ceramic Flatiron. My salon used it on my hair for two years before I finally took the plunge and purchased one on ebay. Expensive, but heads above the other flatirons (no pun intended).
What are your favorite beauty products?

Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:52 PM  
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Saturday, March 03, 2007

I feel old today. My son is on a junior high ski trip. I swear, it was just yesterday I was on that same trip! Beth and I made fun of the Irish priest for his sermon on how it rained for "farty days and farty nights". We got lost in the car with him looking for postcards and screamed at by the mean, old Catholic ladies that came along. (Probably my age now! Ahem!)

Our church was like that, it always had fun priests (we played ding dong ditch on the nuns at the rectory from the church one night, threw cans in a wedding reception window). Beth and I sat in the back pew every Sunday, one time putting a gummy bear there to see how long it stayed there (you don't want to know.) Now, it's going to be my kid in trouble. Funny thing, no one ever said to my mother, "I'm sorry Ma'am, she's probably going to be a writer someday." Or to my best friend, "A high school counselor."

I think at that point, they were probably thinking we'd do a little jail time and maybe come out the other side. I worked at my daughter's school yesterday and all the personalities are still there! Carbon copies of us as children. I tried to pick out which "gang" my son would be in next year (heap of boys playing knockout, I decided). But as I looked, I saw the same playground I grew up on. Girly girls on bars doing dead man drop and playing singing games (that was me), the less subtle girls, practicing cheerleading moves on the grass, the sporty girls playing tether ball (UM NO!), the popular girls standing in a circle talking about all the other girls and my daughter, who I am not sure how to classify. She was like a sunny bee yesterday, buzzing from each little group to another passing along hugs and joy. If you were that girl as a child, what did you become? And please, don't write me if you're in jail. LOL Kristin
posted at 12:33 PM  
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

I am in love with my new hero in "The Trophy Wives Club". Sometimes, when you write, you get to this moment where they cease to be characters, where you know how they'll act, what they'll say. And you like it. Oh sure, you dear reader, might think, well of course you like it Kristin, you're putting the words in his mouth. (And yes, this WOULD be very helpful with my husband.) But I don't feel like that. I feel like he's alive and he wants to love my heroine, but dang, if there isn't some serious baggage in his way. I thought of my ending today. I can't wait to get there, but oh how I must drag them through the mire before I can. I'm sorry Haley Adams Cutler, I really am, but he's worth suffering for, dear. What can I say? I'm a writer and I hear voices. And now, I'll leave you with this image. (Colin Firth) Kristin

And yes, my husband of fifteen years knows I am this weird. He finds it endearing actually.
posted at 1:17 AM  
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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