Girls Write Out
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lessons Learned in Yard Duty

1. When a child hands you a package to open, turn it over first, or risk their spit on your hands (hey, they tried to open it).

2. It only takes one catty first-grader to upset an entire crowd of girls.

3. One ball will easily keep 25 boys occupied.

4. Mean girls start young.

5. When something falls on the ground, you can't say, "God made dirt. Dirt don't hurt." in a public school.

6. When you think your kid is strange, you soon find out, so is everyone else's.

7. Foreign-born mothers make their children better lunches. And their kids treat these gorgeous meals, which make me salivate, with as much respect as our pathetic PB&J's.

8. Teachers do NOT get paid enough. One hour per week is enough for me.

9. The supply of bullies and tattletales is infinite.

10. Seeing my daughter skip along the playground is worth every second.
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"The Trophy Wives Club" Avon Inspire -- Fall 2007
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Some of my best memories of childhood are enclosed in a big yellow bus. Any of you ride one? I lived on a farm, so every morning I'd stand out on the side of the road with my brothers waiting for the vehicle to come lumbering down the road.

We went to Cleveland to a migraine clinic last Friday and got behind a school bus. In the back row were two teenage girls who kept waving at us, then they snapped pictures of us from out of the back window.

Wouldn't it have been cool if they'd actually known they were taking pictures of an author? It made me think about how often we come in contact with people and we have no idea who they are. There could be a movie star behind those sun glasses. Or an angel unaware.

I'm a people watcher--I think most writers are. What were those girls doing taking pictures of us? Someone make up a story for me. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:19 AM  
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Here's something no one told me before I started writing: It will nearly destroy my love of reading. Well, maybe that's not true exactly. I still WANT to read. I still love a good book. What writing has done is make me so durn particular that I can hardly find a book that holds my attention.

A recent email from writing buddy Rachel Hauck turned up an author whose writing can get me past page 10--Belva Plain. Other authors have turned me onto Jodi Piccoult. Sure, her insightful writing leaves me feeling like a total hack, but at least I can make it to the end of her books.

Still, my all time favorite book hasn't changed since the first time I read it ten years ago. I've since read it three more times and every time, I can't put it down. Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love is truly an amazing story. I think what captures me with this story is the way I feel so deeply for all the characters. The novel makes me FEEL and there is nothing to me as a reader that's more important.

So, just curious (as a friend and a writer), what's your all-time favorite novel and what is it about that novel that so enthralls you?
Denise Hunter  
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

This may surprise some of you, but I'm a very opinionated person. No, really! I always have been, and I'm not moved by peer pressure. This was good in high school because I never drank, went with my mother to see Barry Manilow with my girlfriends and shouted my spirit as the overly-enthusiastic school mascot (A Cherokee before that was politically incorrect.) I will say, not caring what people think has its advantages. My kids got this gene, and I love it and the only thing I have to worry about is if THEY want to do something stupid!

But...there is a dark side. Have you been around people who aren't willing to let you have your opinion? Who do their very best to undermine it and convince you that's not what you really think? You've made a mistake? I have to say, this type frustrates me most of all, because last time I checked? They weren't me and they try to negate you.

I have an old kitchen. I bought all new appliances and painted the old cabinets white and got cute new pulls. I wanted to get tile counters (because they're cheap). Only they're really not all that cheap, come to find out, because it takes a lot of manpower to put them in, so I thought all right, maybe Corian or granite.

So I have a tile guy come out and he says to me, "You don't want to put granite on these old cabinets. In five years when you do a hundred and twenty thousand dollar remodel and blow these things out..."

My mouth's ajar, but I say, "I'm not doing that. I like this kitchen. It works for me." No mention of the fact that if I have a hundred and twenty thousand, it's SO not going into a kitchen! Can you spell Carrera?

But he still doesn't give me a price on granite. Okay, so I try again, "I just built a house in the country. My dream house. I found out I don't care enough about a house to ever do an overhaul. I like my kitchen." Unsaid, or I wouldn't have bought the house!

I have six people in my family and if this kitchen works for us, it will work for anyone. Even if people do THINK they need HGTV quality. But it gets worse. I had a Viking stove in my last house. I found that really, it worked great, but I didn't need that much stove. I'm a good cook, but I'm not a professional who cares if the temp is exactly right on the oven. If it's not, I can turn the dial and make it a little hotter. I'll figure it out.

So anyway, I bought this great stove on Ebay. It's a DeLonghi in stainless steel with two ovens. This guy looks at my new range and says, "Is this going?"

"Going where? No, it's not going. It's two weeks' old!"

By now, I'm a little annoyed. I wanted this green glass tile. By the time he left, he told me I really wanted white, white, white. So whatever, I found someone new who is going to put in black granite (cheaper for some odd reason) for a very reasonable price and my kitchen will be done. Seth (son) and I cook in there every night together and we love it!! But thank goodness I know what my opinion is and who does this sales pitch work on? Because I need to slap them. I think the guy only took this bid so he could get the 100k remodel that's happening in a few years. NOT!
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"The Trophy Wives Club" Avon Inspire -- Fall 2007
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Yes, I admit I'm a Trekkie. You ever have a weird sense a deja vu? Where you're suddenly transported to another time and place, one you'd almost forgotten?

Sunday I stepped through a time portal and re-entered 1987. Now granted, the eighties were hardly a time to crave returning to (though now that I think of it, I got my first computer in the 80's, a time of rejoicing!) Okay maybe the little Commodore was hardly as sexy as the MacBook I use now, but at the time it seemed the epitomy of all things to be desired. Oh and who can forget PacMan, the Rubix Cube, Strawberry Shortcake, the Care Bears, My Little Pony, OH and Cabbage Patch dolls! Maybe the eighties were better than I remember. . .

Ahem, but I digress. Back to Sunday. Our church celebrated our 25th anniversary. The wonderful Ralph and Jeannie Butler, the pastor and his wife who were there when we first went to New Life Baptist Church made a surprise visit (I'd called the night before when I heard they weren't going to make it and begged and pleaded. It just goes to show you that groveling can sometimes work.) Also our beloved Steve and Paula Parks, who led the church for seventeen years following the Butler's ministry, came bearing smiles. And our terrific new pastor Matt Keller and his sweet family were there serving and rejoicing as we go forward to new heights.

For one brief day, I was in my thirties again with all the energy in the world. My kids were teenagers, I was still young in my faith, and many of the hurts life has dealt hadn't happened yet. The sun shone brighter, the sky was bluer, and my parents weren't even retired (they even looked younger on Sunday. LOL) We had FOUR HUNDRED people come too! It was an amazing day.

But dare I say the next day I was down to earth? Every muscle in my body ached from pushing a broom around the stock barn at the fair grounds. I'm such a GIRL! (Yes we turned the buildings at the fairgrounds into a place of worship--with great results, I might add.)

But that brief day made me think about the things I could change if I could go back twenty years. I'd hold onto every day with my kids a little tighter. I'd take more time to say the things I think my friends and family already know how I feel. I'd pray more and talk less.

Hey, I can STILL do that!

What would you do if you could back twenty years? Would you change anything?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:46 AM  
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

There are times when it's okay to daydream and times when it's, well, not. I learned the lesson the hard way yesterday at 2 pm when an oncoming migraine sent me to the medicine cabinet for an Exederin for Migraine.

Somewhere between the couch and the cabinet, though, my mind wandered. I took two pills then went to practice on my drums. Half an hour later, I was beating away on the snare when I became aware that the room was spinning. Either that or I had turned into a bobble head.

Immediately, my mind flashes back to when I took the pills and, like a bad horror film, I watch the scene unfold and see myself withdrawing a bottle of pills from the cabinet. Unfortunately, it isn't the Exederine bottle I see in the film, but the Tylenol PM.

I did not do that, I think, putting my sticks down and running to the cabinet. I open the cabinet and reach for the bottle I knew I had removed earlier. Yes. I did it. Did I mention I haven't had a bite to eat all day? I read the back of the bottle and realize I shouldn't operate heavy machinery so I call Kevin and ask if he can pick up the kids. My head is floating like I've just, well, taken a sedative on an empty stomach. It's official. I have turned into Diann.

In the meantime, I figure I'd better stay busy if I'm to fight the "sleeping aid". I feel like I'm functioning underwater, but my frenzy to stay awake produces a batch of homemade cookies, a clean kitchen, and a full-blown migraine.

Sometime later I'm awakened by what I'm sure is a tornado striking the house. Turns out it's only my 8 year old with a garden hose. Hello, there's someone in here trying to slip into a coma.

Two looong baseball games later, it's ten o'clock, my migraine is raging, and the sedative is wearing off--just in time for bed. I take my migraine medicine (paying careful attention this time) and head to bed where I lay awake for an hour. Doesn't it just figure?

Denise Hunter  
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Monday, May 21, 2007

I hate gardening.

When spring first arrives, I’m all aglow with the idea of planting annuals to join the beautiful perennials in our courtyard. But when deadline looms and life gets in the way, I’m soon frantic with a trip to the garden store, fighting with Patty Procrastinator for the last sunflower that's lost all but one petal during our struggle.

Since I’m menopausal, I win the plant (Patty Procrastinator finally decides on silk—it’s just better for everyone involved) and I happily set out to do my work. Donning a straw hat, sunglasses, and so much tanning oil I’ll turn to bacon by day’s end, I trim back the perennials, hoe the hard dirt and toss the scraps (oh, my aching back). Amid dirt, sweat and the buzzing of bees, I finally drop to the ground and plant my pathetic little plant. But when it’s time to get up, it ain’t happening. Grunting doesn’t help. Heaving does nothing. Shrugging, pulling, prodding, shifting. Nothing works.

By the time my husband gets home and finds me, the weeds are squeezing through my fingers and ivy surrounds me like an English Tudor. My husband thinks I’m a talking lawn ornament. That’s his excuse for taking pictures, anyway.

Finally, he comes to my rescue. I think it has something to do with that, “Listen here, buster, you’ll fix your own dinner for the next three years” thing.

Let’s face it, my Martha Stewart days are over. Besides, flowers should bloom where they are planted. It goes against the laws of nature for me to do otherwise.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Diann Hunt  
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Friday, May 18, 2007

I'm sort of like a chameleon. My surroundings change me. I need color, vibrance, things I love around me. As we come up our hill to our house each day, we go through a gorgeous canopy of trees and every day I'm totally stunned I get to live here. I say something like, "I live here."
"Can you believe I live here?"
"I love my house."
My kids now just roll their eyes and say, "All right Mom, we get it. Enough already."
Today I asked them, isn't it better than what I used to say when we lived in the country? To which my sons replied in unison, "I hate this stupid town!"

I'm losing weight too because there's an open space preserve behind us. If I walk 1.2 miles up hill, this is my view. It reminds me at the end of the walk, I AM SO IN THE CITY!! WOOHOOO!! Happy Saturday people! I'm finishing the paint job on my very old, but very workable kitchen. : )
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Bet you thought this post would be from Kristin, didn't you? Ha, fooled you! LOL I saw my first episode this week.

Okay, girls, explain to me the draw. At first I was intrigued. Cute guy, and I liked him. Up to a point. Up to the time when he was kissing three girls and raising their hopes. Even then, I was willing to go with it a little way. But holy cow, he SLEPT with all three of them! Tried them on like a pair of shoes, then tossed one away.

And America calls this entertainment???? Our nation is in a sad state if this is considered a perfectly fine way to go about a relationship. And putting these women in this kind of position. It's just inhuman. This guy is a total scumbag. And the producers of this show are even worse.

Now granted I might be in a bad mood from the way I was treated by United employees in Chicago, (I will NEVER fly through there again. Not ever. LOL) But I don't think so. This show literally turned my stomach. It might have been fun to watch up until the three "overnight dates." But wouldn't it have been refreshing to see him take a stand and say I'm not going to hold you in that much disrespect? Or for one of the women to say she was attracted to him but she had enough morals to say we can wait.

My Officer and a Gentleman is still Richard Gere in the movie. At least he only slept with one woman at a time. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:47 AM  
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I don't know how it happened. My parents took me to all the dance classes a little could want: ballet, jazz, tap. I even did gymnastics for a while. In high school, I was athletic and active. I cheered, captained the dance team, twirled a flag . . . grace in motion.

But somewhere along the way, something happened. I'd like to blame it on Kevin, because it seemed to start when we met . I remember how it began. We were at a play on our first date. As the lights flickered, I had only to slip on my glasses and we'd be in business. But I was too busy making eye contact with Kevin and didn't quite get the arm of my glasses to unfold before I set them on my face. He noticed. My face turned a few shades of red. The lights couldn't dim fast enough.

Fast forward a couple dates. We're eating at his house and a big glop of potato falls in my lap. He notices. I'm a little dumbfounded. I'm usually such a neat eater.

Walking across the mall parking lot, I trip over my own feet . . . he notices.

Countless globs of food in my lap later, I still can't convince Kevin I wasn't like this before we met. But by now, I'm accustomed to tripping down that last step, to treating spaghetti stains, to walking out of the restroom with my skirt tucked in my hose. Well, okay, one never gets used to that. Still, when one of my boys spills his drink at the dinner table . . . yeah, we all know where he got that from.

Denise Hunter  
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Monday, May 14, 2007

Remember that I told you I’m married to the Gadget Man? We’ve had everything from clap on lamps, remotes that we talk to, CD players that come on by themselves, to preprogrammed lights?

Well, this time, my husband has gone too far.

He tells me he's going to the store to buy a trash can for the kitchen. I’m thinking, how sweet that he’s getting me a new trash can--pretty pathetic when I think about it, that I’m feeling all schmaltzy over a trash can.

Since we’re expecting our kids and their families, I rush around the kitchen to prepare for their arrival. Soon my husband returns, the kids arrive, hugs and kisses fly, chatter abounds.

In no time, our son-in-law says, “Wow, that’s a cool trash can, Dad.”

I had forgotten about the new purchase. My suspicions immediately kick in. When a thirty-year-old says a trash can is cool, something’s up. I’ll probably have to say “Keep America Beautiful” and clap three times before it will open.

In checking out our newest gadget, I find it is stainless steel, appropriately sized and very classy, but there’s something else. It has a red button. As I step up to it, the mouth of it opens automatically so one can deposit trash without ever touching the can itself. Simply amazing.

Today I drop a piece of watermelon on the floor and I bend over to pick it up--with my back side toward the trash can--when the Jaws theme song rings in my ears. The mouth of the can opens like a crane on a mission, and I’m thinking in a matter of moments, I’ll be landfill clutter.

Fortunately, my husband saves me from the clutches of this monstrous gadget, and he’s about to become my hero when I see him reward the offensive object with a pat on its shiny top.

Just how well do I really know this man?

For a moment, the thought of the Little Shop of Horrors with the man-eating flower gnaws at me--pardon the pun.

If I disappear, please tell me that someone will check our trash can!
Diann Hunt  
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It was the best of was the worst of times. My family and I drove up to our "country house" this weekend. My son is fascinated with all things historical, so I bought a full-length tape of "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. First off, my props to the reader, Frank Muller. He is an artist in his own right.

There is nothing that gets me more excited, or makes me feel worse about myself, than good writing. Hearing quality wordmanship on tape is difficult because you have to turn it off to dwell on words (which ticks off other listeners FYI -- but it was Mother's Day, so ask me if I care. After four kids, I have the right to play with the CD player, am I right?)

So for Mother's Day, I went out this morning to Starbuck's (which gave me a migraine after the quality espresso I normally drink, but I digress into snottidom.) I listened to Dickens all the way and read Koontz's BROTHER ODD in the coffee shop as my gift to myself. I hate scary, but this book is so enthralling I forget all about that. He is a modern master. tale of two cities is the giddiness I feel indwelling in words sewn together in extraordinary ways, and the suckiness I feel knowing I so can't do that. Isn't that how God makes things though? Have you ever noticed how perfectly written life's real conflicts are? THAT is why we need fiction.

So I'm not Dickens. Or Koontz. Not everyone can tell the difference in a Donald Pliner and a Christian Louboutin, between this year's model Lexus and last year's either. Some people can't figure out the Bachelor outcome by the second show. We all have our gifts. Some are just more useless than others. : )
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Friday, May 11, 2007

A Day In The Life

Writers have weird days. Productive, non productive and my personal favorite: faux productive.

Eight hours at the computer. What a great day! But it goes something like this:

10:00 a.m. Need to turn off Glenn Beck and get to work. But this bit about movies is so funny. Another few seconds. Oh, rats, left clothes in washer for two days.

10:01 a.m. Rewashing clothes.

10:03 a.m. Turn off radio. Ahhh, sigh. Okay, that was emotional, but now that I've cut the chord, I can get to work.

10:04 a.m. At computer. Must check all email and blog sites accounts.

11:00 a.m. Wow, it is eleven already? What...? Well, I was answering emails, checking in with a few readers, doing a quick blog pass. (Had to comment of five of them.) But, it's marketing right? Getting my name out there!

Oh, write blog for sWriteOut. Shoot, I forgot. Unexpected company last night. Stayed until 1:45 a.m. Hello, not a teenager anymore. Can't burn the candle at both ends.

11:02 a.m. Writing blog for GWO.

11:30 a.m. Sending blog to Colleen.

11:35 a.m. Double click on WIP (work in progress) and Go To page 351. Hey, almost finished with my edits and rewrites before line. Shoot, am at a place where I need to write a new scene. Okay, think, think, think. Hum... wonder who's emailed me in the last, oh say, thirty seconds.

11:37 a.m. Check all three email accounts and .

11:40 a.m. Okay, stop, get to work. Oh, is the laundry done? Want to get it in the dryer this time.

11:45 a.m. Laundry in dryer. I. Am. Ready. To. Go. But first, launch iTunes. Get some background music going.

Noon! Finally ready to go. Had to pause for a few minutes to download new songs.

12:05 p.m. Staring at page which needs new scene. What I've written so far is good. Like it. But, better check email. Hollywood might have contacted me with emergency request for movie rights.

12:10 p.m. See, this is what's wrong with Hollywood. Cannot recognize a good book-to-movie option. Lost In NashVegas, Georgia On Her Mind, Diva NashVegas... great movie plots.

12:11 p.m. Back to scene. Oh, this is good. e is going to tell hero… wait, I can't write it here! It's a pivotal plot point. Can't use Amy's blog as spoiler.

Wonder if I'll ever write as good as Kristin Billerbeck. Where is her latest release? It’s around here some where. Maybe what I should do is spend a half hour or so reading, then I can write. I don't read enough. Yeah, time out for... Oh, Chris Lynxwiler just IM'd me.

2:00 p.m. Back to work. Chris is so funny. Had fun helping her plot her next book, due in June. Okay, so scene with e and boyfriend.

2:01 p.m. Wow, it's been awhile since I checked email.

2:30 p.m. Rats, still no Hollywood. Or Braodway. Lost In NashVegas IS begging to be made into a Broadway play.

2:31 p.m. Back to WIP. Crud, cat is caterwauling and dog wants out.

2:32 p.m. I need to get to work here. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, dog is scratching to get back in. Hey, don't you know I have a line! I'm pressured here, buddy. Don't waste my time. Writing is so hard. Look, it's 2:33, I've been working for four hours and only written half a page.

3:00 p.m. Okay, scene done. I like it. Solid. These characters are great. Now, back to editing. Need to get twenty pages done to keep on schedule.

3:01 p.m. Well deserved email break.

3:30 p.m. No one emails me. Sigh.

3:31 p.m. Lunch! How could I forget lunch.

4:00 p.m. (Do not need to watch Oprah. Do not need to watch Oprah. Resist, resist. Do you think she got rich watching other people work?)

5:00 p.m. Oprah was sooo good. I needed to watch today's show. It was about a singer and a songwriter. Good research verification. Oh, Spinning. Need to go to Spinning!

Crude, put bike pants in dryer. Gel seat is lumpy.

Dog... forgot to feed dog. Must hurry to feed dog. The good bikes go fast.

5:15 p.m. Driving in convertible to gym, thinking of my WIP and characters. Have great idea for scene I wrote earlier. See the work NEVER ends.

5:35 p.m. On bike Spinning. Feeling very guilty. Should be home writing. Time is running out. How can I work, work, work all day, so hard, and end up with only one scene? No wonder the greats only have a dozen lifetime books.

Genius takes time. Thought. Hard work. Writing over and over.

6:50 p.m. Home from Spinning.

Hum, wonder who's emailed.

7:30 p.m. Am hungry. Should make dinner. Oh, need to take shower. Dried sweat drives me crazy.

8:00 p.m. What night is it? Good TV? American Idol? Gilmore s? King of ?

Hubby asks, "How was your writing day? Did you get your pages done?"

"I sat in front of the computer all day and only got a few pages done. Writing is so hard and draining. Takes all I got, you know. But, I'll make the line. I'll work more after this show is over."

10:00 p.m. Wonder who's emailed.

10:30 p.m. Has it been three days since I blogged. Better blog. Watch King of rerun while blogging.

11:00 p.m. Too tired to work on WIP. Best go to bed and start fresh in the morning.

2:00 a.m. Wake up from sound sleep in panic. I'm behind! I'll never get this done! And what I have... stinks! I just need more time. I'm working so hard. What do these writers do who have children?

"God, please help me. Really, I can't do it without you."

4:00 a.m. Fall into unrestful sleep.

7:00 a.m. Wake up, shower, Bible time, McDonalds run for Diet Coke (Have to get out of the house some times.) Boot up computer so it's ready for me when I sit down to write. Hum, wonder who emailed overnight? Isn't Hollywood three hours behind?

7:05 a.m. No one emails me.

10:00 a.m. Repeat yesterday. Rinse and repeat again.

Okay, so I exaggerate. But it's all about discipline and time management.

If we want to achieve our dreams, to have a flowing heart in God, loving our family and friends, achieving our spiritual and careet goals, we have to employ strict time management. Be agressive. Be flexible, but God has given time to us to manage.

Make the most of it. And don't worry about achieving your dream in clean, dry but very wrinkled clothes. Works for me.

Thanks to Colleen, Kristin, Diann and Denise for having me today!


For the past decade, Aubrey James has ruled the charts as the queen of country soul. She rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parent’s – pioneers in Christian music. While her public life, high profile romances and fights with Music Row writes juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey’s is a media mystery.

When a close friend and former band member betrays Aubrey’s trust and sells an exclusive story to a tabloid, the super star knows she must go public with her own story.

Inside NashVegas sports anchor, Scott Vaughn, is not prepared for the summer assignment of interviewing a country diva. Especially not one he dated. And abandoned. But he has no choice. His career and the future of Inside NashVegas depends on the success of this interview.

Aubrey's private world is rocked when Scott shows up at her home for the first session. Realizing it’s too late to back out of the deal, Aubrey bravely opens her
heart to Scott and discovers a future beyond the lonely orphan . Will she find faith, hope and love?

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Aubrey James, the Queen of Country Soul…”

Rachel Hauck Bio:

Rachel Hauck is a multi-published author living in sunny central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. They have two ornery pets. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and a huge Buckeyes football fan. Rachel serves the writing community as Past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Advisory Board. Visit her blog and web site at

Leave a comment on her blog and be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks or Barns & Noble. Two names will be drawn.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:57 AM  
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

You juggle schedules, dispense medicine, mold character, pack lunches, arbitrate fights, style hair, help with homework, give hugs, manage chaos, enforce rules, give advice, and wash mounds of laundry (only to find a new mound has replaced it).

You're a nurse, a cheerleader, a cook, judge and jury, a housekeeper, a teacher, a chauffeur, and a CEO.

You do it all, give your all, and we love you for it. THANK YOU, MOMS!
Denise Hunter  
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Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Looks can be deceiving.

So I’m shopping with my daughter the other day, and we’re in the lotion aisle. I’m always looking for something to soothe my skin, so I pick up a fancy bottle and examine it.

“Is this one of those tanning product deals?” I ask her.

She looks at the bottle in my hand. “Um, no. It just gives your skin a healthy glow.”

My daughter knows these things. I think she’s tried every product known to mankind. She shops eBay.

Well, I’m all over that healthy glow thing so I decide to buy it. I get the product home and that night when I get ready for bed, I pump a dollop of the white lotion in my hand and rub it over the rough heels of my feet. Oh man, it feels soooo good that I pump another dollop, and another, and another. With the remaining lotion on my hands (which isn’t much) I rub my neck and face. By the time I’ve finished, my feet are so slick, I slide all over the floor, so I opt to go to bed.

The next morning when I look in the bathroom mirror, I notice my face has a slight tan to it. My first thought is I must have gotten some sun the day before. I think little of it. Then while getting dressed, I look down at my feet and notice that my toes are, um, orange. With a gasp, I run to the nearest chair and lift my feet. My heels resemble cracked concrete. The bottoms of my feet are an ugly spotted brown with a tinge of orange. The palms of my hand are a mixture of brown and orange.

In short, I look like an orangutang.

How do I get myself into these messes? For those of you who have read Hot Flashes & Cold Cream, I guess I had a Maggie moment. *g*

Most of it has now worn off, but I know now before I get smear-happy the next time I’ll take a closer look at the product label.

Colleen Coble  
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The one thing I love best, next to wearing new Donald Pliners -- and oh yeah, my kids, the next thing I love best, is being with other writers. Nowhere is there a community that needs to commune like writers. We live a solitary life. We're weird to start with, and we only get weirder. Then, the more published we get, the more solitary it becomes as friends are afraid to talk to us. And we get weirder still!

Yet being writers, and consummate assessors of our fellow man, we only notice their weirdness -- and then, we get together with other writers and it confirms, yep, we're the normal ones.

So I went to the Act One screenwriting program this weekend. I learned two significant facts. One is that I don't want to write screenplays. They use this three act thing, that I'm sorry, is just too stinkin' mathematical for my brain. The second thing I learned is that I didn't have enough respect for what a screenwriter does. To see a script (and thanks to Cheryl McKay, writer of the Ultimate Gift I have), but to see how one page can transmit into so much power with the collaborative effort is thoroughly amazing.

Did you know scripts for entire movies are only 120 pages? Movies move. And a screenplay writer directs the lighting people, the actors, the setting people, etc. from that mere 120 pages? What the heck? That's amazing. They also work together, so I think they must get less weird. That would be an interesting study. Does weirdness multiply working with each other each day -- like strange squared? Or do they normalize one another. I'm guessing the former.

My favorite part of the weekend was hearing what utter snobs the writers were about other movies and television shows. It's exactly how I am about books and it's so funny to see your obnoxious side in someone else. It's like, they get it. They totally get it! Love that.

One thing that was really affirming is when they talked about dialog they brought out a movie from the 40's. I grew up on the old movies and that's why my dialog is so fast. I learned to speak from Cary Grant. Hmmm. With that, the argument could indeed be made my loneliness has done nothing for my sense of normalcy.
"Split Ends" April 2007 Thomas Nelson Publishers
"Trophy Wives Club" Fall 2007 -- Avon Inspire
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Monday, May 07, 2007
There's nothing like a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie. I haven't made them in years because I always get a massive migraine from them. But I THINK that is about to change. I say THINK because it's too soon to tell quite yet, but. . .

You know how I told you I was starting a new natural hormone replacement regimen that's supposed to cure migraines? At first I was only able to try the combo hormones but that's not what the book THE MIGRAINE CURE recommends and starting Tuesday I was finally able to get a prescription for the separate dosing syringes of hormone gels. I had a migraine on Wednesday but I HAVEN'T HAD ONE SINCE!!!!

You might not understand what a big deal this is. It's rare for me to go more than three days without one. Some weeks I have one every single day. I never go anywhere without my Zomig. Migraines have ruled my life for nearly forty years. I believe you've got to take charge of your own health, and I've been on a quest for years to find the cause and eliminate the pain.

I think I'm on the right track. The key is balancing my hormones. I had a complete hysterectomy when I was 23. My body hasn't made progesterone since. Reading about all of this, it was like a light bulb went off. There are four key components to the Migraine Cure:

Natural hormones (Triest, progesteron and testosterone)
Melatonin at bedtime
Gut health

Here's a link that gives an overview:

So this weekend, I'm planning on making chocolate chip cookies and we'll see what happens. If I have no pain, you'll be able to hear me scream clear in California. LOL


Colleen Coble  
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Thursday, May 03, 2007

I hate bugs.

We have a small courtyard area encased just outside our front door. A few years back I decided to make it a nature-type sanctuary where I could sit on a bench and ponder life (yeah, I’m really that old). So I went to work tilling the ground, planting perennials and sprinkling colorful annuals here and there on one side. On the other side, I planted more vines and leafy green things then plunked a glider bench in the middle. I loved this place. Beautiful. Peaceful.

In April and May.

But in June the mosquitoes come. In droves. They target me like a bird on a mission. I’m telling you it’s like somebody yells, “Thanksgiving!” and they all dive straight for me. Maybe it’s all that chocolate I’ve been eating. They’re getting it recycled, but hey, DeBrand’s is DeBrand’s, so they don’t mind. In the midst of my tranquility, tiny little needles poke about me and I’m soon smacking myself silly. I grab my mug of coffee and head back inside.

Not only that but now, five years later, I’m not so excited when I look in the courtyard. Oh, it’s still pretty—until the bugs are in full bloom. Once the bees start buzzing and spiders jump, I’m outta there. Weeds can not only poke through the soil, they can thrive and create a happy little forest. I don’t care. Without a HASMAT suit, I ain’t going out there.

This is sooo not what the magazines tell us. Basically, I’ve created a big job for myself every spring. By the time the work is over, I have about a week to enjoy it before the bugs move in.

Moral of this story? Forget the fancy landscape and run to the park—just don’t forget the bug repellent.

Diann Hunt  
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
So I watched Oprah last week where she had Men's Health magazine on and they conferred that San Jose (Silicon Valley) was the number one place to meet single men over 35 in the country. Okay, I think I need to send them What a Girl Wants. Because yes, it's true the ratios are good here. There are LOTS of single men, but as I said in my book, there's single for a season and single for a reason.

And there are lots of reasons here. Now this is not a rant on engineers. I love engineers, married an engineer. I have friends who are engineers and married to more engineers. They're brainy, which I find incredibly sexy. They're problem solvers and into making our lives easier. But yeah, dating them is sort of like a continuous seventh grade dance, so if you're planning to come to the dating capital of the country, I have a few suggestions.

It's not fair that there are women out there saying, I LIVE IN THE BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN? What? Huh? Girls, I'm here to tell you, it's not you. And I'm going to give you tips. Oprah said go to Home Depot. A man in Home Depot here doesn't make enough to live here. You need to go to FRY's -- and don't hang out in the computer section, get over to the parts and wires place where people have to create their OWN widgets. Better yet? Go to Best Buy at 10 a.m. when a new video game comes out. There are TONS of them. But that begs the question, do I want to meet a man who has the same hobby as your average twelve year old? Hmmm.

Of course, the biggest trouble with meeting a man in Silicon Valley is getting their attention. Engineers are very compartmentalized. When they're working, they're working. I think you might walk past them naked and they might ask if you knew when the new iPhone came out. Right now I'm in Mt. View. Google provides free wireless Internet for the whole city. Here's my pick up lines, if you're in need. Go ahead, they're free for the taking. LOL But don't hold me responsible. "Hey, do you have a Gmail account?" "How much RAM do I need to run this?" (Hold up a video game like Vanna White while asking!) "Are you Mac or PC?" Oh and here's a favorite. "That's a great laptop, what's that thing running?"
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007
We always knew there were cultural differences between the states, right? I've decided that California must be a different country. It has to be. First K thought everyone sent out shirts to be dry cleaned. She thought everyone did it. We all had a good chuckle about it, but that's part of the fun of being friends with her. LOL You never know what you're going to learn about that other country, California.

But this. This is above and beyond anything I ever expected. She told us a few days ago that she and Sethy had made Paula Deen's chicken. It was to die for, she said. I asked what made it different from any other fried chicken. Um, she'd never had it. She'd NEVER made fried chicken. I won't give her age, but it's sacrilege that it was only now she's experiencing an American institution.

Fried chicken is an American as, well apple pie. The rest of us could NOT fathom living in America and never having had homestyle fried chicken. She said she generally cooks healthy. Hello? Fried chicken has raised up strapping farmers and astronauts. LOL

But the good news is that she now understands America's devotion to fried chicken. LOL Paula Deen may have created a monster.

So in Kristin's honor, I'm going to try something different this week. I live in Indiana so I've never even SEEN a place with Indian food. But I'm looking for a recipe to try. Is there anything you've never tried that you're going to be brave and see if you like this week? Do it and let me know how it goes!

And DeBrand truffles count. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:51 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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