Girls Write Out
Thursday, November 29, 2007


Some of you have undoubtedly heard about Amazon's Kindle, the new generation e-book. Basically, it's a hand-held device you can download books on anytime from anyplace. My purpose here isn't to lay out the pros and cons. (If you're interested in reading more about that, here's a great blog about it )

Some people think books will never go the way of vinyl records, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, and VHS tapes because of the way we feel about our beloved books. We readers love the notion of curling up with a good book. Just the thought gives us the warm fuzzies. How will it feel to curl up with a hand-held device? Some people (Ahem, Colleen) think such a device could never replace the book.

I'd like to propose that perhaps it's not the physical book we love so much as the memories they stir in us. Let me give an example. My grandparents lived in an old home that was in very bad shape by the time I came along. Peeling floors and carpet, ancient sinks and appliances. There was nothing aesthetically pleasing about this home. However, I have a host of pleasant memories there. Playing Monopoly on the floor with Grandma, swinging on the swing, snapping green beans on the porch, climbing the trees. My memories of the house make it a special place. The house stirs up pleasant thoughts because I associate it with good times.

Could it be that books do that for us? I'm not saying the Kindle is that device, but I think it's getting closer to what may eventually take the place of books. I can see a day when kids don't carry heavy backpacks but intead have an e-reader from which they can access all their text books and keep their daily planner and maybe even store their homework on it. I can see this young techie generation totally digging such a device--I know this mom would.

Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:09 AM  
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

So Thanksgiving is over and the cakes and pies linger—not only in the
fridge, but on my body. Thereby (do people still use that word?) joining the
mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, sweet potato casserole . . . .

Please don’t get snooty, I did limit myself to, well, two helpings—and a
half—I mean, who counts all those little trips to the buffet table? I was
never good at math, anyway.

As a result of Tom Turkey’s appearance, once again this year I find myself
in need of—and I hate this word—exercise. Sigh. I have to exercise . . .
with a partial lung.

Okay, don’t feel sorry for me. Doc says my lung will do just fine. Be good
as new with time. In the meantime, fat globules are taking over my body.
I’ve tried stretching my toes back and forth, but so far, no real help to my

Any suggestions for staying in shape over the holidays? I know, I know, push
away from the table. Let’s not count that one. Anything else?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:54 AM  
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I just got back last night from Phoenix. I've been fashion conscious lately, as you all know. See these boots? Wouldn't you think that girls who were wearing them would be in maybe Montana or Wyoming? Um, no. Everywhere I went in Phoenix, women were wearing these things. In PHOENIX. Valley of the sun. At the mall, I saw one girl with these things on and she was wearing a camisole top. Can you imagine this picture? LOL What are they thinking? I noticed it last year too.

And the thing is spreading. We spent about two hours at the Dallas airport (don't ask why we were there so long. Sigh) Women were wearing them there too. Don't they realize how ridiculous they look in those things when there is no snow to be seen? And when it's WARM? I don't get it. Anyone know the background of this new rage? I couldn't help but stare. If they only knew how dumb it looks. LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:56 AM  
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Monday, November 26, 2007
Colleen's AWOL today. Probably too much tryptophan with her daughter. So while I have nothing to say, that's never stopped me before. Do you remember when you were in grade school, and someone was "acting big"? Well, that was part of my Thanksgiving weekend. A lot of people "acting big". These actual words uttered, "When the Masai yelled at us, we looked at one another fearfully. Luckily, I spoke a little Swahili."

Oh Lord, I do not belong here.

When we reach a certain age, don't we get past trying to impress one another? Doesn't it get old and really pointless? I mean, you know how at your 5 year reunion everyone is telling you how fabulous they are and at the twentieth, you're just happy to be there?

Incidentally, I am really hard to impress because I just don't care about what people have accomplished. I care about their character. My boy Curtis overcame a mother who abandoned him and many other siblings for drugs. His father was in jail for murder -- he graduated from a top college and made something of himself -- bought his first condo! But more important than any of that, my boy Curtis ROCKS because his character has always been impeccable! He's getting married in April (he sung in our wedding at age 8 -- all by himself when his siblings chickened out! LOL)

I don't know, it's just painful to me how some of us act like students of the world -- when really, we're Americans and we have it so easy! Happy Monday! Hope your Thanksgiving was more fun-filled. : )
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Just wanted to take a moment on behalf of the Girls Write Out team to let you know how thankful we are for each of you! It has been such fun interacting with you through the blog over the past year and we look forward to great days ahead!

I want to especially thank you for your prayers and encouragement during my recent illness. Needless to say, I have much to be thankful for this year. You may never know just how much your emails, notes, cards and prayers have helped me, but they encouraged me on many a gloomy day! Some of you I've never met and yet I feel as though you're great friends! We've shared cyber chocolate together and you've put up with my crazy blogs--I just want you to know that I appreciate you all so much!

Thanks for sharing your time with us. Have an awesome Thanksgiving!!!

Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:25 AM  
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Bachelor -- Country Bumpkin Version

What the heck was that train wreck? Did anyone watch the Bachelor finale this week? Granted, this bachelor was about as interesting as my fish tank -- (at least there, I get the pretty trickling water noise.) But wow, I am so glad Miss Deanna was freed of that commitment-phobe narcissist. If you missed it (and aren't you the smart ones?), our Bachelor didn't pick anyone. He just sat there alone on this stone tablet, a la, Chronicles-of-Narnia gone-very-wrong, holding the engagement ring for product placement, looking forlorn. Like he feels so bad, so he must be a good guy.

I've got no trouble with the guy turning down the women if he's not interested, but not after he says things, like "Deanna is everything I want in a wife." And "She's a bartender. We not only gain a sister-in-law, we gain an employee." That is cruel and sick, and our bachelor is thinking he's a good guy for telling her the truth. It looks like he's going to propose, then he takes a hike on the grass, like a dog surveying a hydrant, loosens his tie and comes back up with this angst. Deanna, our smart Greek heroine, is kind of fearful at this point. Like hey...this guy is not the guy I thought he was. And the fact that he SO doesn't get it is that he wants Deanna to feel sorry for him, "Are you shutting me out now?" he asks when he's just dumped her.

Hint for guys: When you kick a woman to the curb, and she's looking for an engagement ring, chances are not good she's in a loving mood. And just because you feel bad, it doesn't make you a hero.

Brad doesn't know what he wants and that is not attractive. Not in the least bit. A man who won't risk something is not going to fight for your honor or anyone else's. He's certainly not hero material. He's driven by fear and that is ICKY!

On a happier note, Diann is a big fan of Christmas music (at all times of the year, but whatever). So in honor of her recovery, let's share our favorite Christmas song and why. Mine is "O Holy Night" just because you have to have an awesome voice to sing it and I believe it reflects God's majesty. And incidentally, I cannot sing and I like Clay Aikin's version. : )

Kristin Billerbeck
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The librarian conference was really fun! I made sure to tell them they were living my dream, by the way. They were glad to hear it, I think. But let me backtrack you through the day a bit.

My biggest fear about getting myself to Indy is that I'm not a city girl and I was driving there by myself. Could I even find a parking garage? I was so proud when I managed to find it right off. Except for one thing. The parking was WAAAY down in the basement. When I parked, I noticed there weren't many people there even in the middle of the day. The fleeting thought came that it might not be the safest spot for a woman alone, but I quickly shoved that fear aside and hurried over to the convention center. All through my talks and the interaction with the librarians, I was dreading the rush hour drive home. And I occasionally thought about that dark garage. . .

Fast forward to five o'clock. There are lots of people out on the streets. I head for the parking garage but I notice not many are going my way. Correction--NO ONE is going my way. I step into the stairwell and am confronted with a homeless man. He looks VERY scary. Beard and hair to his chest and reeking of urine. And don't email me that I shouldn't be afraid. I know I shouldn't. But I was suddenly very frightened. I was a woman alone rushing down these clanging metal steps to the basement. He shouted after me and I heard the steps clang above my head. Perspiration broke out on my forehead and I ran as fast as I could down the last flight of steps. When I reached that bottom level, it was totally deserted. I was digging out my keys and praying the whole time that I'd make it to the van in time. I had it unlocked and hurtled inside where I locked the doors before I did anything else.

The poor guy never did emerge onto my level and I realize it was probably all in my imagination. But I thought I was about to live one of my stories. It gave me new empathy for my poor characters. LOL

You have any scary stories to share. Beware--they might end up in a book!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:45 AM  
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Monday, November 19, 2007
Computers are a blessing and a curse, aren’t they? When they’re working, they’re a wonderful thing. Something goes wrong . . . they can make a saint want to commit a heinous felony. But let’s face it, they do have some pretty cool capabilities.

I was just thinking about this last night when I overate at our church’s small group. (Hey, if you belonged to our small group, you’d overeat too.) I got to thinking (always dangerous)—wouldn’t it be nice if our bodies had a “system restore”? You eat too much, you just set the body back an hour or so and you’re good to go. There’s my kind of diet, and one that would really come in handy three days from now.

Wouldn’t it be nice on those “fuzzy thinking” days (or maybe I’m the only one who has those) if we could just reboot? At the push of a button, instant clarity. Okay, not really instant, but a lot quicker than a long jog around the neighborhood or—who am I kidding—three cups of caffeine.

Vision getting worse? Increase the pixels. Tired of graphic images and language? Install a filter. Works on the tongue too. Hey, it’s my invention, I can make it anything I want. Memory problems? Push the “save” button. Shoot, create a backup file just to be safe. Bad memories? Click on “remove program”. Say the wrong thing? (Me? NEVER.) Backspace. Can’t express yourself adequately? Click on “send” and all your thoughts will transfer to your husband. Okay, maybe this isn’t a brilliant idea.

All I know is, come Thursday, when I’ve collapsed in a tryptophan-induced coma, that “system restore” thing is gonna sound pretty good. And I have a feeling a few million others might be happy to sign up for the program too.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:07 AM  
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Saturday, November 17th at 2 p.m.
The Door Bookstore, San Carlos, CA
With Brandilyn Collins, Marilu Tyndall and Camy Tang!

There are two things I hate about being a writer. Well, there's probably more, but two is a good number to start with. One, I hate that my brain won't shut down when I want it to so that I can sleep/eat/date my husband/shop/pick my kids up on time or whatever is on the daily agenda.

Two: I cannot abide book signings. Not for the reasons you might think. I don't mind that no one shows up and I look pathetic as I give directions to the loo. Doesn't bother me. I don't even mind that there's more interest in the tile demonstration at Home Depot. What I do mind is that I feel like a zoo animal on display with nothing important to say. If I had something important to say, I'd be a speaker! But I'm a writer. Put me in front of my computer and I'm good to go, I'll say just about anything. Put me in front of people and I forget I have a tongue.

But I AM doing a booksigning on Saturday, and it's going to be a fun one because I will have friends from my local writing group there, and I will get to meet people -- maybe even people I went to school with since it's in my old stomping ground. I'm really excited about this one. I love to meet people! Just don't expect me to say anything intelligent and we're all good.
posted at 10:32 PM  
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I had two dreams when I was growing up: I was either going to be a librarian or a Latin teacher. Geeky, right? LOL What can I say? I love books. My parents have pictures of me sleeping with a book in my hand. And in high school, I took Latin and loved all the history as well as learning the words. Now of course, I can't even figure out a Latin word for a crossword puzzle. But those were my dreams.

So it seems a little surreal that tomorrow I'm going to speak at the Indiana Federation of Librarians annual conference. There will be a thousand librarians there. Heaven! But I feel a little intimidated to be among these folks who are living one of my early dreams. I had a dream last night about my best friend in high school. She IS a librarian now and I got to wondering if she might be there. I haven't seen her in years. Wouldn't that be a hoot if she showed up?

So how about you? What was your dream growing up? Are you living even a tiny bit of it? Instead of being a librarian, I'm supplying those folks with books so I've got a piece of that dream.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:51 AM  
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Have you ever seen something you wish you hadn’t? It happened to me the other day.

I own a large hand-held mirror that I use to make sure the back of my hair isn’t matted, sticking up, or otherwise unsightly. I keep the front side of the mirror clear of fingerprints, but the back still has the price sticker on it and is always smudged up.

But the other day I picked it up and used the wrong side. Oh. My. Goodness. There are some things not meant to be seen, and a 38-year-old face magnified a dozen times is one of these.

Are those my pores? I gasp, staring at the Grand Canyon sized craters on my face. It must be. And I’m pretty sure those gorges on the sides of my eyes could flow the Colorado River. The texture of my skin reminds me of a cracked, parched desert floor. My face is a virtual National Park. Why doesn’t this make me happy?

I shudder and pull my eyes from the mirror, wondering what freak of nature created such a cruel device and why, WHY, would anyone actually use it? As for me, I’m covering that baby with masking tape. Life-sized shows quite enough, thank you very much.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:11 AM  
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Sunday, November 11, 2007
We’re in the hospital room. Colleen. Denise. Me. The fragrance of coffee lifts from their Starbucks’ cups and fills my room while we have a nice little chat. I’m sitting in a chair (my first time up since surgery). My body is starting to feel stiff, sore. Mama Colleen’s antenna snaps to attention.

“You okay?” she asks.

“You mean other than that whole missing lung thing? Yeah. I’m just tired.”

“Call the nurse so they can put you back to bed.”

“I will. They’re awful busy. I hate to bother—”

What happens next still brings chills to my bones.

Colleen’s nurturing side prompts her to action. She leaps from the chair and lunges for the nurse’s call light on my bed. From my peripheral vision I see Denise’s arms and legs flail in slow motion, eyes wide, flashing, a silent scream on her lips.

A frantic “No!” rips through the air just as Colleen’s fingers squeeze the button on the . . . .

Morphine trigger.

“Goodnight Colleen. Goodnight Denise. Goodnight John Boy.”
Well, it could have played out that way. Fortunately, we stopped her in the nick of time before the final push sent me to lunch with the sandman, but we came close. Very close.

You know, I truly can’t help wondering what really lurks behind that “suspenseful” mind of hers.
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:48 PM  
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Praise God, praise God!! Di just got back the pathology report and it's the best possible news. It's a MALT lymphoma, grade 1, they got it all. They'll only keep an eye on her but it's unlikely to come back and she won't have to have further treatment. She and I both cried.

Please pray for Kristy Dykes, my friends. She comments here every day and she's just been told she has a malignant brain tumor. Let's pray her in a miracle too.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 12:50 PM  
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You ever had one of those days where you're braindead? I had one of those in a major way yesterday. It started out good. I was going to meet Denise at the hospital and we'd go see Di. When Denise and I got to the room, she was looking pale and wasted in the chair. We chatted a few minutes and I'm not liking how she's looking. She might faint anytime so I thought she should get back into bed. I'll leave her tell you what I did because she tells it so much funnier, but let's just say I was NOT using my brain matter.

Still the first boo-boo had all of us howling with laughter. We all laughed so much from that point on that Di's endorphins started flowing and she was nearly ready to tap dance down the halls. Incidentally, she was great last night too so my humiliation was worth it.

When I left there, I headed to Salon St Thomas on the south side of Ft Wayne to have Kim cut my hair. I missed my turn so I pulled into a tire place and drove through the parking lot and out the other side to get on the road so I could turn back the way I came. One thing--you can't see one way signs from that direction. Yep, I turned out into four lanes of traffic--ALL COMING AT ME! I try to steer the van into the grass on the other side but the curb is too high. Luckily all the oncoming cars see me and stop about ten feet away. I get turned around with my face burning with embarrassment and go the RIGHT way.

Still stinging from my stupidity, I get to the hairdresser. My cut is good, I'm happy. Maybe the stupid things are over. Um no. I go to my van, and my brain left on vacation. I don't happen to notice one needs to DUCK to get in the vehicle. I whacked my forehead on the top of the window frame. LOL It about knocked me silly and is bruised today. I'm such an idiot.

Got any braindead stories you want to share or am I the only one that stupid?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:43 AM  
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Some things are big, some things are small,
but all these things that make me smile.

A baby’s belly-laugh
A pair of jeans that make you feel skinny
The first warm, sunny spring day
A long, hot bubble bath
Lipstick in the perfect shade
Great friends
An unexpected hug from your child
A twenty-dollar bill in last year’s coat pocket
A phone call from an old friend
A sincere compliment on a rotten day
A beautiful sunset
Free internet while you’re traveling
The first crisp day of autumn
A morning to sleep in
A great babysitter
Sliding under your covers after a long, tiring day
The first day of school
A pen that writes great
A novel you can’t put down
A fire crackling in the fireplace
The smell of pine trees
A photo that makes you look photogenic
Unexpected acts of kindness
A good hair day
The smell of fresh-cut flowers
A shoulder to lean on
The first coffee of the morning

What’s priceless to you?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:39 AM  
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007
She was doing fabulously last night, but she's got some pain today that the epidural isn't handling. It's referring into her shoulder and they've tried readjusting where the epidural is but it didn't help. So please pray for the pain to ease! She's being moved to a regular room today. You can send a card to

Parkview Hospital
Patricia Diann Hunt Rm 345
2200 Randalia Dr
Fort Wayne IN 46805

She'll probably be there at least until the weekend, maybe until next Monday.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 11:38 AM  
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Monday, November 05, 2007
Di is out of surgery! The doctor said it couldn't have gone any better. The lymphoma ball was totally contained. He took a few lymph glands but said he'd be surprised if they had any lymphoma in them. We won't have the full pathology report back for about a week but it's clear he doesn't suspect any serious lymphoma. It's probably the MALT I've suspected all along.

So thank you all for praying! Keep it up and let's make sure she has no breathing problems and minimal pain.
Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:48 AM  
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

I started two books at once. This has never happened before. One is
women's fiction, one is a chick lit. But here's what's different. I
started the chick lit because someone just annoyed the daylights out
of me with her chipper personality. I mean, how wrong is that? But
she was so spritely and happy, I wanted to go home and "school" her,
as my kids would say. So I did. In a book. And she'll never be the
wiser. But happy people shouldn't annoy you. Right? Today our sermon
was on authenticity, and that was it. I had my theme. When you're
too chipper, when in fact, you're living in ignorance, that is not
happy, that is ignorance. And her ignorance annoyed me. I wanted to
say out loud, "Girlfriend, you have NO clue what you're talking
about." But that would be rude. So I kept my mouth shut, even though
everyone in the room was thinking exactly the same thing. But I have
somewhere to go with my frustration. I can write a book!

The picture above is me, my daughter and my muse for Ashley -- though
she's not nearly as spoiled, she is JUST as much fun. And she was always married, so that part as with a lot of the rest was complete fiction. I'm Snow White
just in case you're confused.

Pray for Diann today!! Pray she will be at peace and the surgery will
ALL be over before she realizes it. That is the GOOD kind of
ignorance. : )
posted at 9:04 PM  
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Her bags are packed. Jim has downloaded Christmas music and movies into her Palm Pilot. Weird I know but that's what cheers her up. I'm just surprised she didn't make him put up the Christmas tree even though Thanksgiving isn't even here. LOL Di's still smiing as she prepares to go the hospital on Monday morning. The surgery to remove a lobe of her lung that contains the mass is at 7:30 am. Please remember to hold her up to the Father, to pray for strength and comfort, for her to experience the presence of God through this surgery. And please, please pray that she has NO trouble breathing when she wakes up.

Even though she's a Christmas freak, we still love her. I'll post an update on the blog on Monday as soon as she's out of surgery. She'll probably be in the hospital until Friday or so. And get this--she'll have a epidural so she will be pain free for three days. With you all praying, when she switches to pain pills, she may be skipping down the halls!

Oh and one good thing about it being THIS Monday--we go back to REAL time so getting to the hospital at 5:30 will be like getting there at 6:30. So cheer up about that early morning, Di! LOL
Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:23 PM  
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Thursday, November 01, 2007
The news is out! I'm pretty sure I heard the screams of joy from women everywhere when they released the results of the study. Chocolate is good for us!

Not just any chocolate, but the good stuff: dark chocolate. I was digging through candy dishes of Hershey Miniatures for the Special Darks long before they thought to do a study on the health benefits of chocolate.

Dark chocolate, they say, lowers pressure and contains antioxidants that prevent heart disease and other ailments.

Curious, I read up on the study. I'm always looking for an excuse to eat sweets. My dancing didn't last for long. Turns out, they recommend eating the equivalent of two Hershey Kisses a day. Show me the woman who can stop at one mouthful of chocolate and I'll show you a woman who doesn't need lower pressure or preventatives for heart disease.

Hello, work with me people. If you're going to put the stamp of approval on chocolate, don't tease me with absurd portion control. For now, I'm going with the theory that if a little is good for me, a lot is even better.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:35 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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