Girls Write Out
Monday, April 30, 2007

Years ago we had the youth of our church over to our house. One of the girls looked around our kitchen, scanning the clutter-free countertops.

"Where is everything?" she asked.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"You know, the toaster, the can opener, the . . . stuff."

It was the first time I clued in to the fact that I have an area of compulsivity. There's something about clean countertops. Not only do I want them clean, I want them clear. It bothers me to see clutter on the island and counter tops. I don't know why. The rest of the house can be a raging mess, but as long as my counter tops are clean, I feel good.

Naturally, this means the counters has become a favorite breeding spot for empty cups and stray papers. Why can't my boys understand that this is my sacred spot? My must-be-clean spot? Wreak in the living room or the office, but hands off my kitchen.

Crazy, I know, but we all have at least one area of compulsivity. Don't we?
Denise Hunter  
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Friday, April 27, 2007
Today, at my kids' Christian school, they had Awards Chapel. Sounds like a good thing, right? But what I realized is that as Christians we are always rewarding the outside. The appearance. Remember when that pastor in Colorado fell and was found to be with a gay prostitutde and then six months later comes out, after being in some sort of rehab, saying, "I am not Gay!"

Dude, we don't care if you're gay. We care that you betrayed your family, your church, your ministry, yourself. Being gay is the least of your problems.

What happens is that we can reward those who are better at sniping and complaining privately. Who hide their sins better than others. That's why praise of the human sort doesn't mean much. My favorite Bible verse is, "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord." Proverbs 16:2

My eldest is a discerner. He sees the truth in people, and unfortunately, often sees them get praised for "acting good". That is the way of the world, but it is extra hard for a discerner, I think. Christians need to love. They need to worship. They need to live a life of truth and authenticity.

That's why Beth Moore rocks. She is real. She is open and she tries wholeheartedly to be good, but she knows her truth. May we all know our own truth. : ) Kristin
Kristin  
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Ladies...the final rose.

How many women do you think actually want to strangle the host of the Bachelor? As they wait and he has to stop the show and say...ladies...the final rose. Well, thank you because I really have a hard time counting TO ONE. I actually played Musical Chairs as a child.

And then, "In our most dramatic finale yet!" Gosh, I feel stupid watching that show. But I watch. And the two I called are still in it: Bevin and Tessa. If it's not Bevin, I think the guy's a real jerk and I don't think he's a jerk. But...we'll see.

I hate the catty part of this show. Everyone was sniping about Bevin playing up her ankle for sympathy. I don't think that was it at all. She's a competitor and she's off her game -- as an athlete, that's gotta kill her.

Onto the rest of my TV week. Okay, if I ever get sick, please don't put me in Seattle Grace because the doctors don't stop having sex long enough to actually perform surgery. I'm really getting over Grey's Anatomy. Is there anyone else deeply disturbed by the love connection between O'Malley and Izzie? That chemistry is SO believable. NOT! Christina, Burke, Miranda, you're our only hope. I've never been into McDreamy or Meredith. I still haven't figured out what he sees in her whiny, dysfunctional self. I'm giving it one more week.

I gave up on Desperate Housewives two seasons ago. Hollywood, out here in the real world, we actually have lives outside of the bedroom, or the stockroom, or the kitchen table, or whatever you have in store for us next. Plotlines. Get some!

So lately, in my night-time with the kids, we're watching Paula Deen on the Food Network and trying to make it together now that we got the stove. And we're watching a lot of home renovation shows -- can you tell I haven't started my new book? : )
www.kristinbillerbeck.com
Kristin  
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GOUT ANYONE?

Okay, so I'm in Toronto speaking at a conference for RG Mitchell, the distributor of my books in Canada. I've had a fabulous time (love Canada!) and I get to talking about the Girls with Ellen Graf (darling and beautiful girl, inside and out.)

She tells me she and her friends read our blog. We giggle about the time I physically blocked Di from getting Diet Pepsi when we were on the RV Tour. Ellen agrees that aspartame is evil.

Here's where the contact with Ellen gets serendipitous. Ellen tells me that aspartame aggravates gout because her dad has it and he moans when he gets into aspartame. Aha! A light goes off! Now I know how to get Di off the aspartame for good.

The book I'm reading for her now before she turns it in has a heroine who hates feet. Can't stand to look at them even. Now I'm thinking it's probably a little bit autobiographical. No one can write that well about disdain for feet unless she really feels it. Di's feet are actually cute, but that will come to an awful end if she continues her Diet Pepsi ways.

Di, think of the consequences if you get gout from aspartame! You'll have feet that even Jim won't want to see or have rub up against his feet. I'm thinking if you look at pictures of gouty toes, you'll swear off aspartame for life! Maybe I should send you a new picture every day.

I know it seems like tough love. Someday you'll thank me.
Colleen Coble  
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007




I’m ashamed to admit this. Kristin will disown me as her friend, but it’s time I let the world know.

I’m not a shopper.

Get in and get out, that’s my motto. To just slug around and window shop makes me crazy. I get bored, tired, cranky—pretty much like the Israelites wandering in the desert, that’s me.

So, my daughter introduces me to, ah-hem, on-line shopping. Not good. I can plop myself in my favorite chair, surf for everything from toenail clippers to the latest fashions without ever leaving my house.

Sheer bliss.

It’s painless—well, to me anyway, my husband gets a few pains here and there when he sees the bills—and it’s fun! Not only that, but then you have the added excitement of waiting for the package to arrive! The fun never ends!

Course, by the time the package comes, I’ve moved on to another site and ordered something else.

I wouldn’t call myself addicted—that’s something I reserve for chocolate alone—but I’m pretty doggone into it.

Don’t even talk to me about eBay. If I go there, I may not surface for the next six months.

Time to ‘fess up. Anyone else into online shopping besides me?
Diann Hunt  
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Monday, April 23, 2007
I never used to wonder if I was ADD. I've always been quite organized and almost compulsive about having the house in order. Focus was never a problem for me.

So why is it I can hardly step away from my computer to reheat a cup of coffee without getting distracted by cleaning yesterday's spill from the bottom of the microwave? Why is it I can't step away from my writing to put in a load of laundry without getting pulled into something else? The field trip form I haven't filled out, the baseball scheduled I haven't transferred onto our calendar, the mail still needing stamps and address labels?

I leave my writing to do one simple task and before I know it, forty-five minutes and six chores later, I realize I was supposed to be writing. I did not used to be like this. Is it age? Is it a writer's hazard? Is it just a hazard of working from home where we actually have TWO jobs and can see they both need attention? I'm not sure what the answer is, all I know is I get a lot of housework done during my writing hours. :-/
Denise Hunter  
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Thursday, April 19, 2007
CHOCOLATE CORRUPTS

Di and I knew it all along. Now thanks to our BB (blogging buddy) Allen, we have it confirmed. Women crave chocolate for more than the taste. Here's a little bit of the article Allen gave me:

A passionate kiss is sure to make the heart melt.
But it is no comparison to the sensation of chocolate melting on the tongue, a study has discovered. Young volunteers' hearts and heads were hooked up to electrodes and asked to taste pieces of dark chocolate before kissing their partners. The deflating discovery was that chocolate provides a buzz lasting up to four times as long as embracing the special person in our lives.

And this was for both women AND men! Is it any wonder Di and I put chocolate in our books when we've got romance in there? That's a legal thrill in CBA! LOL But anyway, it got me to thinking about how food is WAY too important to me. Like right now, I'm planning a trip to Canada this weekend to speak at a sales conference in Toronto. So what am I researching last night online? You guessed it--restaurants. I love to try new things and there are all these really cool cultural type restaurants in Toronto. K is always raving about Indian food and I've never even TASTED it. I live in Indiana, after all. LOL

But no matter what I ever eat, chocolate--preferably DeBrand mocha truffles--rate right up there with the best taste ever to cross my tongue. Now I know why. Thanks a lot, Allen. Now I'm going to be checking out my heart rate when Dave kisses me in comparison to chocolate. I still think he rates better though! LOL
Colleen Coble  
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007
PC -- Granted, I live in the land of Political Correctness. No, that's not true. All the different cultures here, acknowledge that being from a different culture brings with it certains ways. Don't believe me? Marry someone from a different culture, you'll find a lot of differences. The problem for me with PC is that it wants you to deny this is true. To paint people all in the same brushstroke and it is ridiculous!!

I have been avoiding the Virginia story. On purpose. I can't handle that kind of evil existing in the world, and if our country did more to call mental illness just that, we might avoid these. But that's not politically correct to say someone is mentally ill, is it? No, he's Korean.

Um, hello? I heard this on the TV yesterday. Obviously, now that we know the killer is Korean, the school will be reaching out to that community. WHA? Is it me or is that like saying because I'm white I identify with Ted Bundy.

Here are ways I'm different from my Mexican friends -- their extended family is over all the time and they cook feasts for no apparent reason. My Chinese friends -- their extended family lives with them, helps out with the children and allows both parents to work. My Indian friends -- they relax each night with tea and toss the kids of of the room to have alone time as a couple. Guess what? Not all Mexican people do that, not all Chinese people do that, not all Indians do that. That's my experience and it doesn't make me a racist for noticing -- hopefully it makes me understand them a little better. But I don't want to understand a mass killer. My experience with the Koreans is that they are a gorgeous people (strong facial features, beautiful!) and they are a people of honor and pride (Tae Kwon Do anyone?)

I think the "reach out" comment came from the media's desire to act like they get what the Amish did after the killings. They don't.

BTW, I don't call them "Chinese friends" except for this occasion, so if you want to make me PC, it ain't gonna work. Kristin
Kristin  
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Monday, April 16, 2007
Ironing.

Okay, so it's not the most fascinating subject, but it managed to spark an interesting, uh, discussion between The Girls yesterday. Here's the score:

One of us irons regularly.
One of us has a husband who irons.
One of us drycleans regularly, irons only when absolutely necessary, and owns a can of starch, but it's covered with a thick layer of dust.
One of us exclusively drycleans and didn't know you could buy starch in the store.


One concept was that our differences are a generation thing. Another idea was that country folk do more ironing than city folk. Income level was another possibility. We never really agreed on anything, but it seems to me that as time goes on and Americans gets busier, regular chores are passed off to someone else for a price. No time to clean? Call Merry Maids. Carpet need cleaning? Call Stanley Steemer. Don't want to cook? Pizza Hut, here we come. It's the American way.

We all do it in one way or another, and believe me, I'm not calling for a return to the farming days when all of life revolved around the homestead and all the chores were done by us or not at all. Me? I'm quite happy to let my can of starch rust in the cupboard until the next school program sends me rummaging through my child's closets looking for that dress shirt that fell off the hanger.



Denise Hunter  
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Stress. There’s no way to get around it. It’s a fact of life.

I’m on deadline. My book is due May 1, and I have a lot of work yet to do on it. Every day counts for me and last Friday the unexpected happened. Our daughter who is seven months pregnant started having severe pains that landed her in the hospital and having contractions. They needed someone to watch their three girls at home, so of course, I went right over.

Long story short, I ended up staying overnight, sleeping on her sofa—with the family weiner dog who stretched out about as long as the sofa—and went home the next morning when the other grandma came to babysit. The good news is my daughter came home on Saturday and is feeling much better. Baby is fine, and things are looking up.

When I came home, though I was tired, I got right to work on my story. I went to bed later that night and partway through the wee morning hours, I developed a migraine that lasted most of yesterday and didn’t get a single word edited on my story. So I lost two working days when I’m down to the wire.

Normally, I finish my books early, but things got in the way on this book, and here I am.
Life happens. There’s nothing we can do about it, but do the best we can and move on.

Today I’m committed to working hard on my manuscript—unless something else comes up. But if it does, it does. All I can do is what I can do—well, that and eat chocolate.

So how’s your stress level these days?
Diann Hunt  
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Saturday, April 14, 2007
So I was incensed when Imus got fired from MSNBC. After all, I'm a journalism major. I believe in the right to say whatever you think. I also pretty much automatically rule out any respect for Rev. Sharpton -- as I think he continues to make the race wars worse! But then, I heard what Imus actually said! And I thought -- fired? Man, they should lynch him!!!

In case you haven't heard he called this young Rutgers' women's basket ball team, "Nappy-headed hos." I can't tell you how that makes every cell in my body vibrate with anger!!! First off, he reduces women to looks! These are young girls, fresh into an EXCELLENT college, who can do anything with their lives! How dare he undermine their confidence! They're obviously smarter than him! And please. Have you SEEN Imus? There's a reason the man's on the radio! (How's it feel, dude?)

These women are role models. They go to a top college, play a college sport -- and then to reduce them to HOS!!! Who the heck does he think he is? So while I still think Sharpton doesn't help matters, to reduce a woman to her looks (hair -- like we can help that!) and call intelligent women, hos, I think Imus has proven he offers nothing of substance. Good riddance. As for you Rutgers' team, you handled yourself with grace and strength. Bravo! Kristin

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Kristin  
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Friday, April 13, 2007

INTRODUCING AMY WALLACE:

We've got a great guest blogger today! Amy Wallace's new book, Ransomed Dreams, is a great romantic suspense. Check out our website below for more details on it. Now here's Amy!

Today is Friday the thirteenth. My husband calls me superstitious because this day gives me the willies, but I think it has less to do with triskaidekaphobia and more to do with bad movies choices in the 80’s.

So in honor of the day and to prove I’m not afraid of (just mildly dislike) the number 13, here are my top thirteen reasons why 13 is a bad number…

1) The triskaidekaphobia composer Arnold Schoenberg, born on the 13th, convinced he would die at age 76 (because 7+6 = 13), did die on Friday the 13th of July at 11:47 PM - 13 minutes to midnight.

2) Many hotels lack a 13th floor or room # 13, and the same is true of rows in airplanes, as well as cabins aboard cruise ships. (See, I’m SO not the only one who doesn’t like the number 13. I’m really not afraid of if though.)

3) Infamous serial killers Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore Bundy all have 13 letters in their names. (I’m a suspense writer, what can I say? This makes me rethink not being afraid of 13.)

4) A British Medical Journal study showed a significant increase in traffic related accidents on Friday the 13ths. (See, science agrees with me.)

5) Microsoft is moving from Office 12 right to Office 14.

6) Corel released the successor to WordPerfect 12 as WordPerfect X3 (Even techies know 13 is not so great.)

7) For all you history buffs…The arrest and murder of the Knights Templar occurred on Friday October 13, 1307. This event is said to be the origin of the supposed unluckiness of Friday the 13th. (It was certainly unlucky for those knights!)

8) Memphis International Airport, Long Island MacArthur Airport, and Birmingham International Airport do not contain any gate 13’s.

9) In Formula 1, there is no car with the number 13.

10) Apollo 13 mission to the moon also shows the number 13 is unlucky. Apollo 13 was launched at 14:13 EST on April 11, 1970 (11/4/70, digits summing to 13) from Complex 39 (three times thirteen). It launched at 13:13 CST- local time in Houston, Texas, the location of mission control. (See, the number 13 is bad even outside of earth’s atmosphere.)

11) In the United States, there has never been an F-13 fighter aircraft. The Grumman F-14 Tomcat directly followed the Lockheed YF-12

12) Even some Christian traditions say that at the Last Supper Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table, and that for this reason 13 is considered bad.

14) In my debut novel, Ransomed Dreams, chapter 13 is chock full of reasons why 13 is bad for my main characters. I promise I did not do that on purpose!

But it all goes to show 13 truly is a bad number.

Of course, with a little internet time and some good chocolate energy coursing through, I imagine most of us could find “proof” for just about anything. Good thing Jesus loves us anyway, even with quirky little number issues.

www.defendersofhope.com
www.amywallace.com
www.shoutlife.com/amywallace
Colleen Coble  
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

So we're on spring break last week and we take a trip to New York. My kids, who've never been there (except our oldest who was technically there in utero), and they're very excited to see the Big Apple. At the top of the "must see" activities is a trip up the Empire State Building. The boys are eager to see the vast views from the top.

Our experience at the skyscraper gives whole new meaning to the phrase Tourist Trap. How were we to know that we'd chosen the only sunny day in what had been a week of clouds and rain? How were we to know that everyone in North America decided to visit the building that day?

Our first inkling was the line that stretched out the door and circled the building on the sidewalk. Still, we were hopelessly optimistic. After all, how long could it take? It only took 45 minutes to make it to the door. We were well on our way.

Uh, huh. Once inside, the line wound back and forth as far as the eye could see. To make matters worse, I needed a ladies room. "It's on the next floor", I'm told. The only way to get there is to wait until we progress in line. I survey the mass of people and wonder if I can make it.

A half hour later, we've arrived to the second floor. I made it!

"Where are the restrooms?" I ask.

"On the other side of that wall," I'm told. P
I follow the line of her long, pointy finger. Past the incredible long line snaking through the huge space. Another half hour later and we reach the other side of the wall. I rush to the ladies room while Kevin buys tickets. Then we're directed to another room full of bored, tired people. And did I mention there is no one in line who speaks English? We can't even commiserate with one another. A half hour passes, and we reach the elevator. Hallelujah!

But this elevator only takes us to the windowless 82nd floor for another half hour line. We're thinking they should have paid US for this experience.

Finally, FINALLY, we get to the top where it's very crowded and hard to find a spot for a view, much less a photograph. We're all hot, tired, aching, and eager to escape the building. Unfortunately, we didn't count on the fact that all those people herding in would have to be herded out. One more line and forty-five minutes later, we were finally outside in the fresh air.

Never, never again. Sometimes fantasy just doesn't live up to reality.
Denise Hunter  
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Tax day brings out our true character in a way nothing else can. It separates:

Procrastinators from the Early Birds
Organized from the Disorganized
Payees from the Payors

No doubt some of you have already received your tax money, gone on vacation, bought your big screen TVs or whatever else it is people buy, and have a pretty good idea what you’re going to do with NEXT year’s money, while we’re still scratching our heads over where we might have put that 1099 that we’re pretty sure we got from our employers . . . .

Okay, so Hubby and I make our annual trip to the tax man’s office tonight. Yes, a moment of silence is in order.

There’s no denying that we’ve waited till the last minute, but last year we owed money. So we figured why pay Uncle Sam before we had to? (Don’t tell him I said that, okay?)

We walk to our guy’s office. Me with my little file of writing information, appropriate papers stapled and clipped as warranted, with a tidy recap sheet of my own on top.

Hubby with his box the size of Texas, complete with files, envelopes, loose papers, and I could be wrong, but I think he has a copy of every check we’ve written in our 32 years of marriage in that box. Still, it works for him.

The good news is that by the time the evening is over, we walk out of that office knowing Uncle Sam is going to give us some money this year! Needless to say, I’ll be taking a trip to DeBrand’s soon.

So give it to me straight. Who are the procrastinators, and yes, the early birds, the organized, disorganized, payees, payors? You know who you are.
Diann Hunt  
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As an add-on for you Bachelor viewers, is it just me or is the guy like a 12 year old in Bond's body? He sorta seems Aspergery to me. Like he's learned all the right things to say, but says whatever he thinks, and it's kinda dorky. He's the male version of the Victoria's Secret model. Looks good. Just don't talk.

Oh, that's so bad. But it's like there's no chemistry with him and any of the women. He's looking for a running buddy who can preen alongside him. I'd like to see some signs he's capable of relationship. Granted, I know where he's looking for relationship, but still. And the producer who thought up the mechanical bull idea needs a new job. Kristin
Kristin  
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007
When my husband and I helped plant our church, years ago, the words our pastor used to define the church were "Truth. Authenticity. Community." Those are three attributes we all crave. We recently bought a house. We bought a fixer-upper. We knew that going in, but the surprises really get you, the little omissions of truth. Our last home, which we custom built, was perfect for us. Except the developer didn't disclose that the phone lines/cable lines/sewer system really ceased to exist. We were just charged for them. We found out we had no phone or cable the day we moved in -- and the costs to build around no electricity/water & a sewer were outrageous! A little truth would have been way better than learning them after we couldn't fix it or back out or not build. The developer said we might have looked for "cheaper alternatives" to cable television than satellite. I'm thinking he must mean puppet shows because what else is there?

Anyhoo, what I've found is most important of these three things is community. Because community is what we did not have in the country. And it's the reason our custom home won't sell and we still own its beautiful self. None of the houses in the area have sold because the developer never built the promised golf club. People don't want to be alone. They're afraid to be alone. I don't think they care about the Golf Club. They care about where they will gather for community. After Easter, I realized this is a HUGE issue in the church. We have to be community for people. We have to go out of our way to make people feel at home and they have a place where they are welcomed. That's why the golf clubs of the world and the bars meet needs we cannot!

I go to the laundromat on Mondays. Honestly, I have a little community there. The same people come, we all use the same tables and have our system. IT's a community. My church runs a coffee shop in the same town. All the same people are there everyday, using the wireless, drinking the same drinks. It's a community. Familiarity is so important to people!! I pray that you will be someone's soft place to fall today. Not just the Christian who does the right thing, but the Christian who extends a hand and lets someone feel they are the missing piece from God's puzzle. : ) We have the truth. We have the authenticity if we're living right. Now, let's get busy on the community and loving people -- not being a clique where they don't feel comfortable because they don't have the right clothes, etc.
Kristin  
posted at 12:04 AM  
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Friday, April 06, 2007
N GOD WE TRUST PLATE
I'm still not happy with our politicians in Indiana for forcing daylight saving time down our throats, but at least they've done something right. This year we had the option of a new IN GOD WE TRUST plate.

Dave and I were way eager to get one. We thought we might have to buy a new plate if we wanted one rather than to get the sticker and keep the ugly old plate, but we were prepared to pony up to the plate and plunk down any our money, but none was required. When Dave went in to renew our plates, he asked if we could get one, and they handed it right over.

Here's the really cool thing. It's popular! Since January they've sold nearly 400,000 of them. At first I wondered if it was just a reflection of our conservative values in Indiana--and I'm sure that's a good part of it--but if you'd seen our old plates, I've got to think some people who aren't Christians grabbed that new plate just to get rid of the old one. LOL

Still, it's a nice feeling to drive around our state and see the plate. At least it makes us not look totally stupid for swallowing the DST lie. LOL
Colleen Coble  
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Thursday, April 05, 2007



Okay, so my husband is on spring break. We decide to take a few days off and travel to Amish country where he can relax and I can finish my book before the May 1 deadline.

We head for the peaceful world of quilts, candles, custom-crafted furniture, and home-style Amish cooking. A place where people go to get away from the hectic life of the “real world.”

Second day here, hubby goes into town and I take a break from my writing to go for a walk. I head outside in time to see white sheets of paper flying everywhere in the wind. A short distance away a woman (NOT Amish) is gathering them, so I start helping her. Partway through my mission, I look over and notice that she’s not picking them up all that fast, and I wonder why she wouldn’t be a bit more frantic about it. I shrug it off as her feeling overwhelmed, because there are so many sheets set free and flying about. It makes me more determined to help.

So by the time I gather a hefty stack, I look up again and search for the woman so I can leave them with her. But I don’t see her. Anywhere. I walk around a while and still can’t find her. Finally, I give up and take the stack into the front desk of the hotel lobby just in case someone comes looking for them.

Later that night, a man approaches me as my husband and I head out for dinner. He explains the lobby personnel told him I had collected all those papers. He wants to know what the lady looked like and did I see her car, etc. Long story short, he was the owner of an RV manufacturing plant and someone had stolen proprietary information and somehow that information ended up scattered all over the hotel lawn for the world to see!

I seem to have a knack for winding up in the middle of “something”—even in the heart of Amishland! Please tell me there are others out there with that same knack!
Diann Hunt  
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Wednesday, April 04, 2007
So I have been asked for my opinion on the new season of the Bachelor? I have a migraine but I'm going to do my best, I finally got though the Tivoed version. Let's see. First off, Lt. McDreamy is by far the best looking, most well-rounded Bachelor they've had. Iron Man -- well I guess! Love that they picked a decent guy who became something (Navy Doctor for those of you not watching, stationed in Hawaii and pure eye candy, he wasn't a spoiled brat born into something.) My friend's husband said he was so perfect HE might start to fall for him. LOL

We also learned that he can commit. Six time Iron Man, Navy, Medical School -- what's a wife after that?

Lessons learned so far from this season of the Bachelor: The Worm is not an attractive party trick in a mini-dress and it won't get you the attention you're looking for. There is good attention, and there is car accident attention.

Announcing that you're a B-- on national television when you get dumped only makes it true -- and finding new dates might present a problem if the guy has a sister who tuned in.

Finally: A room full of women vying for a man's attention is just a recipe for disaster -- add alcohol to the mix and you're asking for trouble.

I'm old here, never really drank, so can someone please tell me, did you ever look for a life partner by getting sloshed and then slurring your words? Just a question. My head hurts. : ) Kristin
Kristin  
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Monday, April 02, 2007
A RED LETTER DAY!
Today is a bit bittersweet. I've loved the sound of WestBow Press rolling off my tongue. I've seen the way Allen Arnold's vision for fiction changed things dramatically. But WestBow is no more.

Today we "go live" on the One Company concept Mike Hyatt envisioned for Nelson Books. I'm so proud to call Nelson my home. Things changed--all for the good--when Mike took over and they continue to improve and get better. The man is a visionary. For more on the changes at Nelson, read his blog today.

It's an exciting time. I wish I could have been yelling my brains out at the flagpole myself!
http://www.michaelhyatt.com/fromwhereisit/2007/04/the_beginning_o_1.html#comment-65194774
Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:41 PM  
  Comments (4)
 
 
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Sunday, April 01, 2007
COFFEE MUSINGS

I admit it. I've turned into a coffee snob. This rather surpriss my family, especially my parents, my brothers and my uncle Ron. They've swilled coffee by the gallons for years while I'm a relative newbie considering my advanced age of 55. I've only been corrupted since 1999. I can date it precisely to the first iced mocha Kristin forced on me at the Glorieta conference. One sip and I was a goner.

The thought of my fresh brewed coffee is what gets me up in the mornings. My mouth waters and my nose twitches at the smell of coffee. I think most people who don't even LIKE coffee think it smells yummy. Well, other than my husband, but we won't go there.

I was looking over some coffee facts today just for fun and found out something shocking. Only 27% of the people in the U.S. use something to sweeten their coffee. That means 73% are drinking it black. Much as I love my coffee, the thought makes me shudder. Is it that the people taking part of the poll thought their creamer isn't a sweetener? Think again and check out your creamer. All creamers, even milk, add some sweetness. Milk adds lactose which is a sugar. But all the artificial creamers like International Delights (my fave since it doesn't have transfats) have sugar, corn syrup or artificial sweetener in them. The only coffee I might be able to stomach black would be 100% Kona coffee. It doesn't have a hint of bitterness in it. But at $25 a pound or so, I can't afford to drink it every day!

Here's how far my snobbery has taken me. It started with an espresso machine at home, a Rancilio Sylvia that I paid $400 for back in 2002 or so I think. The next step was buying freshly roasted coffee. No Folgers for me like the rest of my family drinks! My current favorite is Panamaria from Echo Espresso in Phoenix. And then if I was buying special beans it only made sense to get a coffee grinder so I would extract the full flavor of the bean!

Clearly, this addiction is growing.

Next I tasted coffee brewed in my daughter's Cuisinart. I had to have one! With hazelnut International Delights and the right grind, it's as good as a hazelnut latte. Now Miss Sylvia has been sitting alone and abandoned for months. Poor girl. I've been feeling guilty about her solitude.

Here's the kicker: if someone offered me a box of DeBrands truffles but said I'd have to give up coffee for a day to get it, I'd have to turn down the chocolate. What has my life come to???

Writing Midnight Sea only fueled my obsession. All that coffee research just did me in. Luckily I learned newer research indicates coffee has the same antioxidant qualities as tea. I'll take what little justification I can get!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 5:50 PM  
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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

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

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

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

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

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

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

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

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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