Girls Write Out
Sunday, May 31, 2009
After receiving a Kindle for Mother's Day, I promised I'd tell our GWO friends what I think. I've now read two novels on the e-book and I'm happy to report that I LOVE the device. The pros far outweigh the cons, but see for yourself:

Pro
1. You can order a book at any time, any where. I downloaded a book in our Little League parking lot.
2. Free sample chapters! Perhaps my favorite pro. I'm a picky reader and I can download a chapter with the press of a button and see if I want to buy the book. 
3. Portability--at less than 1/2 an inch thick, and 8"x 5", it fits very easily into my purse.
4. One device holds 1500 books. Never again will I have to wonder how many books to take on vacation or utilize valuable suitcase space for them.
5. You control the size of the text. Very handy once a person reaches 40. :-(
6. Ease of use. Press a button to flip a page. Open a book and it opens automatically to the last page you were on. It wasn't necessary to read a manual to figure it out. 
7. Quick downloads. Never took more than 30 seconds to download a book.
9. Kindle books are cheaper. I downloaded a book that's only available in hard cover at the moment for $9.99. A book that released a few years ago was only 4.99. Some of the classics are 99 cents.
8. Long battery life--enough to read an entire book without charging. 
10. Although I haven't used this feature, you can add a bookmark, note, or highlight a section and save it in your files. 
11. Text-to-speech capabilities--another a feature I haven't used, but could be very cool when driving. 
12. You can read select magazines and newspapers on the Kindle.

Con

1. Cost. The Kindle isn't cheap at $359.00, but if you buy a lot of books, it will pay for itself eventually.
2. Screen could be a bit larger. If you need larger text, it will be annoying to have to turn the page so often. Or you could spring for the Kindle DX, but be prepared for the $489.00 price tag.
3. Ease of ordering books (did I mention anytime, anywhere?) could be detrimental to your budget!
4. It's not a book. I thought the hard device would interfere with my reading experience, but it turned out I forget what I'm reading on. However, this might be a con for some readers.
5. On/Off button has to be held for 4 seconds, otherwise it just goes to sleep mode. A very minor annoyance. 

So there you have it, my take on the Kindle. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a book to download. 

Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:39 PM  
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm about to tell you something I've never admitted to anyone ever before in my life. Ready? Lean in so I can whisper. Take the pinkie swear that you will never repeat this. Deep breath here.

I have cracked heels.

There. It's out. I can't tell you how much better I feel. Pass the chocolate.

It's like this. I only wear shoes when forced to and I fear that has brought on my problem. I haven't worried about it much in the past, but with the season of strappy sandals and naked heels upon us, I decided it was time to act.  Okay, that and the fact that my heels snagged a hole in the comforter on my bed last night.

Here's the thing. We live in a world of "instants," fast food, all that. So I want a quick fix. I tried that whole sawing it down with sand paper thing, and let me tell you, I could go straight to the bone without ever seeing smooth skin. Maybe I'm beyond help, I don't know. 

So I'm asking you, my cyber cafe friends, can anything be done to help my feet or should I head for Africa and tromp along the rain forest with the elephants?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:22 AM  
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm obsessed with reality shows where people change their lives. So I love "Biggest Loser", "Clean House", "Intervention" and the newest one, "Obsessed", which is about OCD. It is so great for characterization, because the stories behind how people get fat, hoard, do drugs or become obsessed is totally fascinating. People's pain and not dealing with it, leads to some weird behavior. Which makes for great characters: Monk anyone?

So after watching "Obsessed", I think I'm a little OCD. Which ticks me off, because why can't I have the kind that keeps a perfect house and organizes her kids into greatness? NO. I have to have the kind that sends me to the shopping mall, and buys pretty, sparkly things with no actual use. The kind that gets overwhelmed easily, and turns me into a useless blob, who watches too much reality television. My grandmother expected perfection, and I have some real issues with perfectionism, but you know, watching these shows, I think, well, hey, at least I've got it under control.

Oh my gosh, I'm like one of those people who reads WebMD and thinks they have every disease known to man. I need to start dwelling with normality. It doesn't help that I live in California -- where I am NORMAL. Doesn't that scare you? It should because we're moving East at an alarming rate.

So what should I be watching to bring me closer to the "normal" scale?

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Kristin  
posted at 12:27 PM  
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MOTORCYCLE INSANITIES
I like motorcycles. Really I do. Even though my first experience with one ended up in me knocked unconscious after hitting a fence. So what I'm about to say takes into count the fact that my son, son-in-law, two brothers, a sister-in-law and uncle all own Harley Davidsons. Well one brother owns a Harley. I think Rick and Mary have Hondas. They're very cool as they go parading by. My Dave has even mentioned he might like to have a tricycle type Harley with a side car for me.

But can someone explain to me why they escape the laws the rest of us have to abide by? I live in a small town on one of the main streets. Motorcycles rumble down this street all the time. LOUD enough to shake the windows and drown out the TV at the most crucial part. It's enough to make me stand by the side of the road with a 2 x 4. A car with loud pipes would get cited by the police for noise violation but not the motorcyclists. And we keep getting more and more rules about buckling up in the car yet a cyclist doesn't even have to wear a HELMET! What's up with that? Is there any rational explanation for why the laws are so lenient with the bikes? I don't get it at all.

You realize I'll likely get flack about this post from my family, right? LOL Anyone else annoyed by this inequitable state of affairs?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:44 AM  
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

I've heard it said, the only difference between you now and you five years from now are the books you read and the people you meet.

So I started thinking about in my own life. Who have I met and what books have I read in the last five years that have affected my life enough to change me?  The Bible is a given. I'm talking of new books--books never read before.

Hmm, the people I've met IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS who have influenced my life:  Patsy Clairmont. Colleen and I went to a few of the Women of Faith Conferences while signing our Women of Faith books and Patsy was one of the warmest and friendliest people I've ever met. When she came to our town, I was hoping to introduce my daughter to her. As she was coming into the arena, headed for the stage to give her presentation, she spotted me with my daughter. She walked right over to us (we were not on the way), hugged me, allowed me to introduce my daughter, hugged her, then went up to the stage! I will never forget that as long as I live! Someone like that taking the time for us . . . .

Then there are those who understand the health journey--Beverly (waving wildly at my friend), Crystal, many of my readers, and so many others. Their courage and faith sustains me still.

My friend, Christy, who knitted me socks to go along with my books touched my heart in a real way. Thank you for your kindness, Christy!

The books I've read in the last five years that have made a difference in my life:  Beth Moore Bible Studies, "One Month to Live," "You Can Make a Difference," "Redeeming Love," (does it count if it was a re-read?).

Okay, now it's your turn. What people have you met in the LAST FIVE YEARS and what books have you read in the LAST FIVE YEARS that have influenced your life?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 10:34 AM  
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I'm watching the news and I'm absolutely appalled! A 13-year old boy who has Hodgkins Lymphoma is being told he must have chemo. He quit after one chemo session. His mother has fled with the boy and they are now on the run.

I can't tell you how much this bothers me. This is not a five-year old. This is a teenager, and what rights do we have as patients if doctors can force us to undergo this barbaric treatment? I mean, don't we have choices in life? What if he'd never been diagnosed?

I mean, I get when we go after parents for not getting their children life-saving surgery, but chemo is not a sure-fire cure and you have to submit to the treatment. How do you force someone into that? And why should this child spend his energy fighting the courts instead of his cancer?

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/20/minnesota.forced.chemo/index.html

What's your opinion?

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Kristin  
posted at 11:02 AM  
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Well, it was Glambert vs. Kris in a contest that brought us a snoozer of a finale on "American Idol". Personally, I didn't care enough to spend the time watching it, but I did run through the highlights. Okay, I love "Mad World" by Adam. I think he should release that song.

Kara annoys me to no end, but her music, even more so. Please. Don't make either winner sing that song. How is that winning exactly? That song was dreck.

I think Adam can really sing, and visually, he puts on quite a show, but I think the judges overrate him. When he tones it down and controls it (such as in "Mad World") he translates to listening to, but there are a lot of times, he just screams, and I'm beat by the end of the song. I doubt I'd make it through a song if he were on the radio doing that. I think the judges are too star-struck by him. He has the talent to do what he wants, does he have the restraint?

I love Kris, but I don't see him as being much different from David Cook or others on the path before him. Other than he's more musically talented, and can probably write his own stuff and maybe take a Daughtry road. What did you all think? Did you care this year?

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Kristin  
posted at 10:44 AM  
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BEING A WOMAN
Guys have all the luck. They can wear their hair short, run a comb through it in the morning and they're done. You ever notice that? Here's what I hate the most about being a woman: the dreaded hair drill. The perfect cut, figuring out the right products, the tyranny of doing my hair, day in and day out. I've tried wash and wear hair as you can see in the picture. I look better with it straighter so I have gone back to my normal style with a little curl. If I were as skinny as my daughter, it might be an option, but round curls make round cheeks look fatter. LOL Luckily I don't have to color it yet. But do you ever get tired of the hair drill? Even the makeup doesn't bug me as much as the hair.

So what's the thing YOU hate about being a woman? Or do you relish every moment spent in front of the mirror? The girls and I are doing the Beth Moore study on Esther. Even back then, they had beauty regimes. So much for the good old days!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:25 AM  
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Sunday, May 17, 2009
Remember prom? Shopping for weeks for just the right dress, browsing magazines for the perfect upsweep, planning your makeup, jewelry, undergarments, nail polish and of course . . . the shoes.

That was my prom experience. 

My son's? 10 minutes in the tux shop for measurements, one 2 minute pick-up, and $92.00 later, we're ready for prom. 

It really is a different world for males. 

Easier? Maybe. But I remember the anticipation and excitement from the planning, the dreaming, the choosing. Boys may have it easier, but I don't think we girls would do it any other way. 

PS This is my handsome son on prom night. 

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 2:22 PM  
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Friday, May 15, 2009

If you live in the Indianapolis area, Colleen and I are doing a book signing tomorrow, May 16 from 11:00-1:00 at the Life Way Christian Bookstore (Castleton Crossing). We'd love to see you! 
Denise Hunter  
posted at 1:05 PM  
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Perspectives. Ever notice how you can look at something and see it in a totally different light than someone else? Not just the cup half full or empty thing, but just grasping something from a different perspective.

I want to give you an example but my brain is still adjusting to morning waiting for the caffeine in my first cup of coffee to kick in. 

Our life experiences affect the way we look at things. For those of us who write, it bears remembering when fleshing out our characters. Do they see things through a broad lens? Narrow lens? Happy life? Battered past? For example, someone who was abused, may see relationships different than the person who has had an easy life. Someone who has had much conflict in their lives may shy away from conflict.

So consider perspectives when you have a disagreement with someone, it may help in the resolution. Consider perspectives when developing your characters and understanding how they may look at situations in your story.

Do you agree? 
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:51 AM  
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009


My Kids are Too Soft

This is eerie. I'm reading Chelsea Handler's "Are you there Vodka? It's Me Chelsea". Not for the faint of heart, but I could not resist the Judy Blume-inspired title. What's so weird is having just written my teen lit, "Perfectly Dateless", I am shocked at how similar Chelsea's story is to my character's! Except with a lot more swearing. I did just start it, so I'm sure it won't end the same.

Sunday, we ate on our back porch. We have kind of an outdoor room out there, with a retractable cover. My son Jonah is learning to BBQ, so he wanted to make it a big deal and have Mother's Day outside. Elle sets up the table (oh my kids are way motivated when it's something they want, much less so if it's something their father or I want -- I know, welcome to parenthood.)

Anyway, my son Trey comes out and looks at the chair and decides it's "dirty", and that there are bugs, so he's going back inside. Um, HELLO?? You're a 14 year old boy and this ain't the Ritz, get out here.

After reading Chelsea's book about her bad clothes and her father's embarrassing car, I got to thinking, these kids are so spoiled! They have Quiksilver shirts and Hurley pants. When I was in school, I worked at 13 to afford Dittos and Jordache jeans because if not, I was going in Grandma's homemade polyester miniskirts. With knobby colt legs and clodhopper shoes that "would last". Confession: When I saw "Confessions of a Shopoholic" and our heroine getting the brown shoes next to all the sparkly ones? I cried. And to make matters worse, my mother laughed out loud and goes, "Oh Kris, that was you!"

How is that funny? Bad shoes are never funny, people.

As Trey slipped into his "DC" shoes today, I decided there are going to be some changes around the Billerbeck household. Except Trey couldn't care less if he had DC shoes, that's a mommy thing. My kids wear mismatching clothes just to annoy me. So their toughness test is going to have to come in the form of Legos and video game time. At their age, I took the bus with my girlfriend about 20 miles to get to the mall and spend my paycheck. These kids get picked up from school. Welcome to the real world, kids.

Their dad was raised with everything paid for, and you know what? He has not a lot of coping skills when things go badly. He doesn't bounce back as easily. Failure and hard work helps you bounce back, and I don't want my kids bouncing back to my house, so Boot Camp starts today! Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

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Kristin  
posted at 12:18 PM  
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

THE THINGS GIRLS SAY
I was talking on the phone to Diann the other day and it just struck me how different at the core we girls really are from women. So today I offer up a list of comments men would NEVER say that women are often heard to be gabbing about.

1. Did you get your hair cut? I really like that style. What product did you use to get it to look like that? (My Dave washes his hair with Head and Shoulders, combs it, and that's that.)
2. Are you losing weight? How are you doing it? (I don't think men notice someone's weight loss unless it's REALLY dramatic.)
3. Is that a new shade of lipstick?
4. I love those red shoes! Where did you get them?
5. Is that wall color fawn? (Men might notice a wall color but they'd call it beige.)

We women notice when a friend has a new lift bra or has lost five pounds. Is it because our society is so geared to appearance or because we're just different? I can't decide.

Now it's your turn. What have you heard or said lately that a man would NEVER say?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:06 AM  
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Monday, May 11, 2009

I hope all you mothers had a wonderful Mother's Day. The weather here was beautiful! It was confirmed that my family does indeed know me well.

I woke to two flowering plants. Knowing that anything with chlorophyll will die under my tutelage, my kids bought me perennials to be put in the ground. God stands a better chance at keeping them alive and they know it.

Oldest Son, originally scheduled to work right after church, asked to come in late, so we got to keep our noon reservations and I got to eat with the whole family.

During lunch, Kevin whips out package from under the table. I open it and--voila!--it's a Kindle! Hey, someone is reading my blog posts! He'd already downloaded sample chapters of my own books so I could play with it. I'll keep you posted on what I do/don't like about the Kindle for those of you who were curious. 

As nice as the gifts were, there's nothing nicer than having all my boys here, healthy, and happy. I'm a blessed mother indeed. 
Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:15 AM  
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Thursday, May 07, 2009
Colleen's already mentioned our mothers, but I was thinking today about my mother and for some strange reason my mind went off on a trail of wondering which TV character my mom most reminds me of, and well, as you can see, she reminds me of Lucy. 

That should tell you something right there.

Now, she wasn't as accident prone and she didn't get herself into those weird circumstances, but sometimes my mom can say the darndest things. Let me just say there are books waiting to be written . . . .

Let me take this moment to say I love her dearly and I'm thankful for all she's done for me!

So how about you? What TV character or movie character does your mother most remind you of--and if you want to share this, tell us why. :-)

Happy Mother's Day to every one of you moms out there! Thank you for all you do to make your family--and as a result, the world--a better place!

God bless you all!!!
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:00 AM  
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Yesterday I was listening to a female financial expert say a woman should always have her own money. Many happily married women called and said their systems of joint checking had worked out and they were happy with it. The financial expert said that she liked a $60 creme, but her husband thought $5 moisturizer was fine for everything.

I submit her problem was not about money. If you're struggling to put ground beef on the table and buy $60 moisturizer, you have issues. If you have several bestselling books on money and have to justify that creme, your problem is not money.

Watching "THe Real Housewives of NYC" my favorite character, Jill Zarin's mother came to summer at their Hampton's house. I love this mother. She's a Jewish matriarch full of wisdom and unending love for her family. When she came, the car they picked her up in was a big SUV and it was hard on her fragile body. Jill's husband walked her to the collection of six cars they had. The mother's husband knew none of them would work. So he and his son-in-law went to rent a car.

When Jill's mother sat in the rented Lincoln, she beamed. And the two men were thrilled as if they had slayed a dragon. They were heros and it had nothing to do with money. They didn't tell her she could just ride in one of the cars they had. They expressed their love and respect to her. And it didn't look like they were hurting any financially.

So what is it with the stingy spirit do you think? Why do some people protect their money at the expense of people? I've actually heard people call it a Depression mentality. But what Depression? You're not old enough to remember it, and the guy who can, rented his wife an expensive car for her comfort! So what's the real excuse?

Charity starts at home in my opinion. If your husband tells you that you're only worth the $5 creme, he may get ground beef instead of steak.

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Kristin  
posted at 8:56 AM  
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

MOTHER'S DAY
Mother's Day is this weekend in case it's crept up on you. I'm proud of the kids Dave and I have managed to raise, and now our family has grown to include Donna and Mark as well. And being a Grammy--well you all know how I feel about that! I was lying in bed last night and thinking about MY mom though. If someone were to ask me what my most vivid memories were of my mother, here they are:

1. Sitting on the sofa and painting her toenails. Funny how I know the shape of her feet as well as my own!
2. Rushing home from school to watch Dark Shadows with her in the afternoon. I was in love with Barnabas Collins. :-)
3. Seeing the expression on her face when I stepped in cow patties in my grandma's back field.
4. Feeling proud when she came to school for something. I always thought I had the prettiest mom in the school.
5. Going in the principal's office and seeing her and my Dad there all worried because I sideswiped a car with my bike and kept on going.
6. Her screaming when a rat got in the house. I was maybe 5? It made an impression. LOL

How about you? Want to share some memories of YOUR mom?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:57 AM  
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Sunday, May 03, 2009

"I passed you the other day, but I don't think you saw me," my friend says.

"No, I didn't," I say.

"I honked and waved like a madwoman."

"Yeah," I sigh. "I know." 

It's not the first time I've been told this. Meet Denise Hunter: Queen of Oblivion.

Earlier I was reading in my car, waiting for Middle Son's game to start. I was deep into "The Fire in Fiction" when I noticed a movement outside my window. Apparently Kevin had been there some time, even put his face to the glass, inches from my face. But did I notice? No, I was absorbed in Donald Maass' instruction on writing scene hooks. Apparently Maass had me hooked.

Oldest Son and I were recently discussing our penchant for daydreaming and he asked when I do my best thinking. 

Some of my best scene/plot/dialog ideas come while behind the wheel, so I say, "Definitely when I'm driving."

"What??" he asks.

Okay, not the brightest thing to say to a 16 year old driver-in-the-making.

I'm at Middle Son's game now and when I started writing this blog he was on 3rd base. Now he's nowhere to be found. Did he slide into home for a run? Get picked off on the base? Get tagged out at home? I have no idea. (Note to self: ask later what happened.)

So if  you pass me at a conference waving frantically, I'm not ignoring you. I'm just oblivious.
Denise Hunter  
posted at 1:02 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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