Girls Write Out
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MT HERMON

You’ve probably heard us talk fondly about Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. It’s where I met my darling Ami McConnell. In the early days of our careers, we went every year (and stayed at the Hilton down the street to make sure there were no more towel incidents.) This year I finally made it as faculty! I had a great time rooming with Deborah Raney, and Kristen Heitzmann and I became fast friends. I highly recommend this conference

But, well, someone was missing. Or rather several someones. K picked me up at the airport but my other usual peeps were missing. Then I went to the Career track. I sat beside Kristen Heitzmann and glanced across the room. Wait a minute, I thought. Did Diann sneak over here without telling me she was coming? I’m sure I scared poor Linda Kozar to death, but couldn’t she and my Di be sisters? Or really, almost twins? My eyes flooded with tears when I saw her since I’ve been missing Di like crazy. I could barely pay attention to the class because of staring at Linda. LOL So I had to show you friends the resemblance. Amazing!

It was fun hobnobbing with old friends and making new ones. Rachel Williams, the camp director now, is an absolute doll. I just love her! And it made me so thankful for God’s appointed timing and His open doors. Because of Mount Hermon I’m happily settled at Thomas Nelson, and I’m so grateful for my team there! I was bragging on them every chance I got.

So what do you think? See the resemblance?

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Colleen Coble  
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Every job has tasks that are enjoyable and some that . . . well, just aren't. One thing I love about writing novels is that it's done in stages. Each stage is very different, but all of them are necessary and enjoyable to some extent. Since people often ask what being a writer is like, well, here's what it's like for me.

Stage 1. Writing the first draft. This takes me about 5 months and is a mostly pleasant routine of meeting my daily page goal, using my outline, but also feeling my way through the story in an intuitive way, and making any necessary changes along the way. Colleen reads my chapters as I write them and offers immediate feedback, which helps me see if I'm headed in the wrong direction. At some point during this 1st draft, my previous book hits the shelves, and I begin doing radio interviews set up by Thomas Nelson's publicist, a book signing or two, and book club phone-ins.

Stage 2 is my favorite. I read through the story 4 or 5 times over the course of a month. The first time through I look for plot holes, ferret out character inconsistencies, add symbols, and refine the theme. The other read-throughs I'm cutting excess words, playing with sentences, reordering paragraphs, finding more precise words. This is the fun part. My heart is beating faster just thinking about it. Stage three ends with me sending my manuscript to my editor, a loud WOOHOO, heard across the state of Indiana, and, hopefully, a celebratory massage.

Stage 3. While I wait, with fingers crossed, for my editor's feedback on the manuscript, I start on my next story idea (which is not easy with my fingers crossed.) This takes me at least a month, as I like a detailed outline, and the story has to feel just right before I start writing it. During this stage, I spend many hours thinking, plotting, daydreaming. It may look like I'm staring out a window but, honest, I'm working. The story can change drastically overnight as new ideas crop up. I slowly peck out a 7-9 page synopsis.

Stage 4 starts when I receive my "Revision Letter" from my editor and ends with me slumped on the floor weeping and wailing and wondering why I thought I could write another novel. Just kidding. The floor's hard, so I cry from the comfort of my chair. Next, I eat as much dark chocolate as I have in the cupboard, tell myself repeatedly that the letter wasn't as bad as I think, then re-read it.
More chocolate.
A good night's sleep.
Some ice cream.
Okay, a gallon, but who's counting?
Then I dig into the re-writes, taking a month to incorporate my editor's ideas and rework the story until, hey, what do you know, it's better than it was before.

Stage 5. Line edits. No sooner do I send the revised manuscript back to my editor then the thing boomerangs back. This time the document is filled with little nit-picky corrections that keep me from looking like a complete idiot to the general public. Oh, it's flower petal, not flower pedal. Duh. And about 500 more silly mistakes I need to approve or disapprove.

And then we're back to Stage 1 with then new story idea I developed. At some point during the first draft of my new story, I'll receive the "First Pages"--My previous story typeset and looking all fresh and pretty. It's my last chance to fix any errors before going into print. Sadly, I now have the story memorized and it's about as exciting as reading the white pages.

And there you have it: the entire novel process from the author's standpoint. So it's your turn now. What's your job, and what are the parts you enjoy and the, well, other parts.

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:12 PM  
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

As much as I'd like to think otherwise, I am not a woman of elegance. Oh, yes, I've spent my time imagining I have a long elegant neck without thick ruts. I imagine my slender self (yeah, right) practically waltzing across the floor with ease and grace.

But then I do write fiction.

Here's the thing. I'm losing my eyebrows and eyelashes. Please don't feel sorry for me. I'm okay with that. It's just another of life's challenges. But I am determined not to look "sick." I want to wear wigs and makeup, jewelry, sparkles, all that. But for the life of me, I'm terrified to put on fake eyelashes and eyebrows. And do you know why? Because I'm NOT a woman of elegance. I'm of the I Love Lucy variety.

I can see it now. I'm out to lunch, laughing and having a wonderful time when my eye starts twitching. I'm trying to ignore it, but my friend is noticing. Something blurs my vision and I realize a hair too late (pardon the pun) that it's my eyelashes, which by now have fallen into my water glass. See what I mean?

Then there are the fake eyebrows. I've looked at those online. All I can think of is Tim Allen in "Christmas With the Cranks". Remember his eyebrows after the plastic surgery?

Maybe I'd be better off going all natural--unless, of course, you can come up with a better solution for me??????

Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:20 AM  
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I was scrolling through the photos I have, looking for something that would make me feel peaceful. This was it. All that green. I just want to be sitting under that weeping willow tree--or maybe lying beneath it, soaking up the birdsong and the gentle breeze and the scent of life. That this photo was taken, in the winter time means it is in a totally different climate zone from mine, and that suits me fine. Better than fine.

Life has been so hectic lately--I know it's been wild for all us from GirlsWriteOut--and so I wanted to share something peaceful. This is it.

For me, between finding a place for my mother to have excellent care and socialization ops, rushing to appointments with doctors for my own medical problems, taking Mel to have his wisdom teeth removed, and taking a stray, half-grown kitten to have his masculinity removed--and none too soon!--I am just a jumble of stress and tight muscles. Time for a massage.

But you can help me with one thing that would take a huge load off my shoulders. When I spoke to the vets about this kitten, they asked me his name. Well, hello? He's not my kitten! Someone dumped him! I'm just doing my duty to make sure there aren't more little kittens running around without a home a few months from now. Of course, he IS in the house right now, eating all the food I give him, sleeping in the laundry room, looking scrawny and lost--they also had to pull three broken teeth. But if I'm going to find a good home for him, I need a good name. He's gray with slight tabby stripes and white face. His eyes look sad--probably because he was dumped by someone he trusted. He's extremely affectionate, and eats like a hog.

If anyone has any good ideas about what to name him, I'd appreciate input. Anything to take one more decision off my shoulders for now. Oh, yes, I'd show you a picture of him, but Mel's asleep after his day at the oral surgeon's office, and I'm already late getting this post out. And besides, I still want to crawl under that willow tree and sleep the day away.

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 6:19 PM  
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

REVIEWS
I was just looking at the reviews that came out today from Romantic Times. None of my books were reviewed this time so I have no horse in the race this month but it got me to thinking about how we authors put way too much stock in them. I bet you, our friends, didn't realize we hang on everything you say and our ego is all tied up in how well you like our newest offering. LOL But while I was on the site, I glanced back through the reviews they've done for me. Do you know my best selling books are usually a 3, not a 4 or a 4 1/2? Isn't that funny? The Lightkeeper's Daughter only got a 3 and it is selling like crazy!

So that got me to wondering just what is it that makes a reader tell another reader about a book they read? What will make you grab a friend and say you have to read this book or this author? Any insight to help us hit the mark even better for what you like to read?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 1:08 PM  
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Over the weekend our family went to see "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" at our local cinema grill (The promise of food was the only way to entice our teenagers along.)

Now, I've read some of those books with my 5th grader and figured the movie would be pretty good based on that. Turns out, the movie was even better than the books. If a movie about a bunch of 7th graders can make my 17 year old laugh out loud, that's noteworthy.

It got me thinking about books and movie versions of them. Sometimes the movie version is better than the book, but sometimes the book is better than the movie. The Notebook, for instance. Enjoyed the movie more than the book. Twilight, definitely enjoyed the book more than the movie. (Note to publishers trying to imitate that successful series: Stephenie Meyer's great storytelling made the books hit the bestseller's lists, not the vampires. Just saying.)

When it comes to Jane Austen, I love the movies but don't read the books. I just don't have the patience. Stephen King has tons of movies made from his books, but I'm too big a wimp to partake of either--though I admit to watching most of Misery and liking it. But hey, it's about a novelist, so what do you expect?

John Grisham has had his share of movies also, though I've only read and watched The Firm. I liked both the book and the film. In general, I enjoy Nicholas Sparks movies, but I don't have the patience for his writing, not to mention his sad endings. I can watch a 2 hour movie with a sad ending, but don't make me invest 7 hours of my life and have it end unhappily. But clearly, plenty of readers disagree.

I love movies and books--it's all story, and I'm a big fan of story. Do you tend to like the book or the movie version of the book better? Why do you think that is?

(Why did I post the cover of Driftwood Lane? Because someday I hope it'll be make into a movie. :-)
Denise Hunter  
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Saturday, March 20, 2010
Living Numb...

I am very worried about this health care bill. Not only because I fear the government being in charge of anything (DMV anyone? IRS?), but mostly because of the way it's being done. It's going around the proper steps our forefathers put in place. Right now, congress hasn't passed anything. We may be signing off on a bill that is forced upon us without proper steps.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's why you can't get a fair study on a drug that is making money, but perhaps killing at the same time. It's why, though the autism rate has decreased since the mercury came out of the shots, you will never get the powers that be to admit this. They will never be guilty, and if they are, they will focus on the lives saved by the MMR shot.

So I don't mean to get political, but it's time we paid attention to what our government was up to and voted on THEM versus American Idol. Do I want healthcare for every American? Absolutely. Do I want BAD healthcare for every American? I do not.

Pray for Colleen's Mom this morning, she's having Heart issues!!
Kristin  
posted at 12:36 PM  
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Make them laugh. Make them cry. Make them wait. That was the advice I received when I first got into writing.

Emotions are a huge part of writing, getting our readers to feel right along with our characters. I love to laugh and love happy endings. Give me a warm-hearted story and a chocolate bar and I'm a happy camper.

Some people like to experience other emotions. They want to cry with the character, feel their pain, and experience ultimate victory.

Some readers love working out the puzzle of a mystery or the thrill of a suspense.

There are those who don't mind an unhappy ending because it surprises them. And there are those who love a good romance, knowing it will all turn out all right in the end, but they love the chase.

So which are you? Why do you pick up the books that you do? You want to laugh, cry, get scared out of your mind, or just plain enjoy a good romance or heart-warming story?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:36 AM  
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Warts and all! Mel and I were asked to do a photo shoot for an article in The Netherlands, and they needed it by the end of the week. Our lives have been over-the-top hectic this week, and we had no time to do anything special. So we asked one of our dearest friends, Grant Schmidt--who, incidentally, is the minister who performed our wedding ceremony--to take some casual shots. He asked, "Nose hairs and all?" We said yes.

I had no makeup on and hadn't combed my hair, Mel's beard wasn't trimmed, but we just decided that what they see is what they get. Remember the phrase, "Let it all hang out"? To me, it means just be myself and they can take me or leave me. (Count the cliches in this paragraph.) It felt so good. Usually I find myself changing clothes up to five times before church on Sunday morning. What if I'd spent that extra time studying the Sunday school lesson, instead? I don't go out of the house without my makeup on. Does anyone notice? Only me, I think. Maybe makeup enhances my complexion a little, makes my eyes pop (EEWW!!!), but who am I trying to impress? Other men? Other women?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not throwing away my makeup. I want to look at myself in the mirror every so often and not die of fright, but I think I'm going to stop worrying quite so much about the outside of me, and start working more on the inside. My heart.

What makeup is a must for you when you step out the door? What kind of work do you crave to do on the inside, in your heart?

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 5:07 PM  
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TITLE, TITLE, WHO'S GOT THE TITLE?
People always ask me what is my favorite part of writing or the least favorite. I love everything about the writing process: research, creation, editing. I squeal when I see a new cover. Everything is so exciting! Well, except for one part: titles. I STINK at titles. I am always asking the girls for help and even then it's hard to pick. For one thing, I know the title is huge. In most stores, the spine is all the buyer sees. When I'm browsing for a book, I'm looking for either a title that grabs me or a name I know and love. I pull it out, glance at the cover, then read the back. So to me, the title is the most important thing to pick right.

I'm really proud of myself because I came up with The Lightkeeper's Daughter all by myself. Same with The LIghtkeeper's Bride which is coming out in October. Lonestar Homecoming was titled by my editor and it was sooo appropriate. The 3rd book in the Mercy Falls series has been a real booger to title though. We wanted to keep the word Lightkeeper in it to tie in with the rest of the books in the series. Olivia is from established wealth. She's thrown overboard off shore Mercy Falls and the lightkeeper and his wife take her in. So we came up with The Lightkeeper's Guest. What do you think? Would you pick up that title or should we go back to the drawing board? Incidentally, Denise rocks at titles. This one is hers. LOL

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:37 AM  
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Monday, March 15, 2010

After five months of hard work, I turned in my cowboy story today. Woohooo! Even though I know the editorial process is just beginning, it's always such a relief to turn a story in. A Cowboy's Touch will be the first in a 3-book cowboy series, due out spring, 2011--by Thomas Nelson, of course!

Now it's time to celebrate. Well, and catch up on the laundry, cleaning, and chores I have so neglected. I'm not even kidding.

But back to the celebration . . . Normally I don't do anything other than treat myself to a few Romantic Comedies I've missed out on, but this time, I'm doing something special. Hubby got me a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas, and I am so using that baby. And soon.

What about you? What accomplishments do you celebrate, and how do you treat yourself?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:40 AM  
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Friday, March 12, 2010

If there's anything Di's battle with cancer can teach us (and YAY for her great new numbers and rapid, giggly recovery after her second chemo!) But if there's anything we all can learn, it's to slow down and not miss out on what's important in life. Priorities are different for everyone and one of the things I'm learning with age is never to judge anyone else's priorities. I was born with a love for shoes and handbags. In fact, my first memory of money is actually of the little leather purse my grandfather brought me from Arizona. Today as we passed the Geox shoe store, I longed for those days when I could put my kids into cute shoes. Now I get no say in the matter. But as we passed on the way to spend my son's Lego gift certificate for his birthday, he asked me. "Mom, how come we always had great shoes? I remember that."

"Because I always had sturdy, brown ugly shoes." As Scarlett stood on that hill with the turnip in her hand and wailed, I did much the same thing with my first paycheck at 13 years old. "As God is my witness, I will NEVER have ugly shoes again!"

I can't tell you the kind of motivation several pairs of boots have provided me with the urge to get up and go to work. In College, I had a $200 leather messenger bag by Kenneth Cole. My rent was $210 a month then. I lived with three other roommates. Just so that I COULD not be without cute shoes.

Here's what irritates me. When people say that buying those kind of things are a self-esteem issue. Or that if I felt better about myself, I wouldn't need cute shoes. Listen, I knew at FOUR that something was wrong with my shoes. And I was a spoiled, only granddaughter on both sides. (Though they thought it was spoiling me to give me brown sturdy shoes from Macy's -- go figure.) Listen if Buster Brown is hiding in it? I do NOT want it, all right?

I would wear cute shoes if I were the ONLY one on the planet. I do not do it for YOU. I do it because like a piece of artwork, it makes me happy to see cute feet. Same reason I like pedicures. I live within my means. I am a Christian. So I'm not Mother Theresa. Please, one visit to the streets of Calcutta and I would be vomiting the last five years. I'd like to be sweet-natured and just constantly doing good works. But that's not how God built me.

He built me to take the kids no one else can handle at church. He built me to put crabby babies to sleep, to be the playdate house, to write. He did NOT build me to wear ugly shoes. And if that's your job, more power to you. Just don't judge mine. All I'm saying.
Kristin  
posted at 9:59 PM  
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

HE LEADETH ME, HE LEADETH ME
Praising GOD right now!!! Di called with the most stupendous news. Her CA 125 level was 35 which is the top range of NORMAL! Before surgery it was 1154. The doctor said it usually doesn't drop this low until at least 4 chemo treatments! I just have to thank God he led us to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion. To Dr. Williams and Carm and the rest of the amazing team up there. I'm still bawling off and on since getting the news. this is just further proof that God has led us all the way and will lead us the rest of the way through this journey.

This is Jim and Di at Lake Michigan. Doesn't she look beautiful?

Thank you, our dear friends here on the blog who have been praying for her, and for all of us as we go through this valley together. We're climbing up into the sunshine now and it's because of your prayers. Love you all!

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 4:16 PM  
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We're up in Zion and yesterday was so beautiful--52 degrees--we decided to check out one of the beaches on Lake Michigan (it's only a few blocks from the Treatment Center!). The lake had a lot of fog on it yesterday, but it didn't deter my excitement for being there.

My good friend, Cheryl Pollock, came to visit and we had the best time going to the Infini-tea tea room (check it out, www.infini-tea.net). I'm not a huge tea drinker but their tea was amazing! My favorite was a black tea, Toffee Almond Supreme--it was like a liquid candy bar (would you expect less from me?). :-) Cheryl and I raised our kids together for a season and we shared and encouraged one another in our spiritual journey. Such wonderful memories. I've loved reconnecting with her here!

I also love how God sprinkles joy in my life even in the unexpected places. A visit from someone, a sunny day, a note, a walk on the beach.

So what about you? Have you had unexpected joy arise at a time when you least expected it?

Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:01 AM  
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Family Reunions

There comes a time in most lives when we begin to feel an interest in becoming reacquainted with our relatives. Maybe it's because we're getting older and becoming more aware of our mortality, I don't know, but I've seen a lot of families starting to have reunions yearly. My extended family--which numbers into the hundreds if I include first, second and third cousins--has begun to meet once a year. Though it's overwhelming, I love it. I get to see cousins I grew up with who actually turned out well, to my everlasting relief. And they actually seem happy to see me again, also to my great relief.

I have an uncle and some cousins who love to research family history--and I'm not going to tell you all about mine, because...let's just say it would make for a frightening novel. We share stories at our reunions, and bask in the knowledge that our line will continue--most likely--until the return of Christ. In fact, the way we're going, we may be able to fill a small country in the not-too-distant future.

Most of us have other family members--those who are related to us by faith in Jesus Christ. Many of these relationships come and go in our lives when we move or they take jobs in other places. Losing these beloved friends is hard when we are separated, but we will always have the knowledge that we will spend eternity together.

This weekend, Mel and I will be spending a few days with three of the friends who helped bring us together--one of whom pronounced us husband and wife over fourteen years ago. This will be a great reunion for us, because they left our church several years ago to join a ministry elsewhere. But this weekend we will have a small family reunion, and talk and laugh, maybe cry a little, and share fond memories. How glad I am that we have stayed in touch over the years.

Do you have out-of-state friends who made an impact on your life? Maybe you would want to share memories with us? Maybe you would want to drop them a card or an email, or even call them.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR DIANN HUNT THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK.
Hannah Alexander  
posted at 10:10 AM  
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010


MISSING ANYTHING?
There has been a lot of discussion lately (okay maybe it's always ongoing. LOL) about what Christian fiction is or should be or is lacking. When I started writing, I wanted to write entertaining stories from a Christian worldview. I didn't have grandiose plans about toenailing in Scripture but I wanted to write the kinds of stories I like to read, but ones that touched on the hope we have for eternity. I was tired of reading books that left me feeling hopeless. My main goal has always been entertainment not theology. I'll leave that to people who have that bent because it's not me.

Me, I like the thrill of suspense balanced with romance. I couldn't write one without the other and enjoy the experience. My editor, Ami McConnell (wish her happy birthday-it was yesterday) said we should love our reader. Now I always HAVE loved my readers. I feel they are my friends in every sense of the word. But to truly love you, I have to know WHY you read my books. I think I know many of the reasons: for escape, for excitement, to have your values reinforced. But I'm sure there are some things I'm missing. If you're one of my friends who run to get a new book of mine when it releases, what is it about my books that makes you eager to get the new one? WHY do you read my books? I really want to know! I want to try to deliver the reading experience you crave book after book.

Lonestar Homecoming is shipping to stores! So there's a new one for you to run out and buy. It's another Marriage of Convenience story set in the Big Bend, Texas area. I think it's my favorite yet.

And speaking of favorites. what do you think of the cover for The LIghtkeeper's Bride? I just got it and I LOVE it!!!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:27 AM  
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Monday, March 08, 2010

I am SO excited about my new cover! Driftwood Lane ships June 9, and I just had to give you all a preview. The Thomas Nelson team worked so hard to get the cover just right, and I think they nailed it!

Here's a little blurb of Driftwood Lane:

Meridith can handle anything: guardianship of three distant siblings, a dilapidated Bed-and-Breakfast, even an ever-present handyman who's dismantling more than her fireplace--or can she?

When the death of Meridith's estranged father leaves her with custody of three siblings she's never met, she reluctantly goes to Nantucket to care for them--but only until their uncle returns from his trip. Little does she know, the uncle is already there under the guise of her friendly handyman, with plans of his own.

Will the love that grows between them be strong enough to overcome the secrets that brought them both to Driftwood Lane?


Denise Hunter  
posted at 5:36 PM  
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Friday, March 05, 2010


Me with my rabbit in college. Why it's here, is one more reason I have trouble with the butt in chair concept. NO reason at all, 'cept I found it.

BIC:

Authors have an acronym for what it takes to get a book done. It's BIC, butt in chair. Get it done. Get it written. Unfortunately, this is a foreign concept to me. I can sit in a chair all day and if the brain isn't firing up, the words aren't going to come. I can sit here, find any number of interesting facts on the Internet. I can email until my heart's content and find any number of ways to waste time with my butt in the chair. Let's say I go Internet-free? Then, surely, I can find something to write, right? Wrong.

I'm on the last scene of my second YA (young adult) and I haven't been feeling it. Part of the problem was a broken thumb (on son) that cost me two days of work, doctor's appointments for my daughter, a schedule for four kids that never stops and a million things still yet to be done. The dog needs her shots. She looks like a mutt, there's bills to pay, galleys to time correctly, summer classes to sign the kids up for, correspondence with son's teachers since he won't be able to play on two soccer teams.

When I say my cup runneth over, it's not a good thing. All of the have-tos weigh on me, and the creative thoughts do not flow. I'm going to the movies this afternoon. To see "The Last Station" and escape the thought of BIC and how it works for other people. Yet not for me. Sometimes, the creative brain needs to be nurtured. Sometimes, life just shuts it down altogether. This is when a new handbag always seems to come in handy. Too bad I have no money. LOL What works for you, if not BIC?

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Kristin  
posted at 3:35 PM  
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

I love creature comforts. When going through a struggle, I always think about those things that make me feel better. A cup of chicken noodle soup, a walk on the beach, a rainy night where the family is gathered around the table playing a board game.

Life's moments.

Here one of our granddaughters sits by a warm fire. Wonder what she's thinking? I'll bet whatever it is, this moment is being sketched across her memory. In the other picture our youngest granddaughter is chillin with our dog, Latte. They're buddies. It's a contented moment for them both, can you tell? ;-)

Life is full of these seemingly inconsequential moments that gather in our memories and pull us homeward each year during the holiday seasons. The smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in Mom's oven, the cinnamon-scented candles flickering in the dim-lit room.

I guess I'm rambling, but what I'm trying to say is these are the pieces of life that make up who we are. The moments that matter to us. Those moments may seem like nothing to someone else, but for us, they are etched in our memories forever.

When in elementary school at the end of a particular day, it was pouring down rain. I walked 12 blocks to school and was wondering how soaked I would get going home. When the school bell rang and I looked out the big double door, I spotted my mom in the car waiting for me. She took me home and a big pot of chili waited on the stove. Such a normal kind of day, but it burned in my memory as special because I felt warm, safe, loved.

Do you have a special memory that might not seem like much but for some reason it burned in your memory as something to savor?


Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:30 AM  
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Spring is coming! If Mel weren't in bed, I'd have him help me post a photo of the cats lingering on the sunroom window sill, chattering with aggressive abandon at the singing birds outside. I love the birdsong, and the change on the calendar from February to March. Aside from the fact that March often means stormy weather and wind...and my tax appointment...it also means spring! Hope! New life!

I wish I could play a recording for you of the singing birds outside. They always give me hope that something new is just over the rise, that the darkness of January and February have passed, and even if we do face more cold weather, it won't last long here in the Ozarks.

I can already see some new red buds on the trees outside, and the pollen count was high the other day. Life is already preparing the advance. I love all those signs of renewed life!

What do you love about spring? What brings you hope after a time of darkness?

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 11:31 AM  
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Monday, March 01, 2010

EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER FUN
This past weekend I got to see a real Extreme Home Makeover house! I flew out to Colorado Springs to speak to the ACFW conference there. Sweet Kimberley Woodhouse invited me to stay with her and the family. I was excited to spend some time with her! I'd seen Ty Pennington show her their new house (completed in 4 days) but the reality of it was sooo much better than just seeing it on TV. Her kitchen was to die for! The granite was just fabulous and I loved the island. I nearly screamed when I got to see the dragon in Josh's room. And in the basement where I slept there was a bowling lane, a jukebox, a HUGE projector TV. This TV played a huge role in the fun we had over the weekend because I got to see the Masterpiece Theater production of Jane Eyre on Friday night and Pride and Prejudice on Saturday night. They were both sooo good! We giggled like school girls. LOL I was wishing my girls were with us. I KNOW Kristin especially would have been giving me all the background to the Jane Austen movies. LOL I would be giving her all the background to the Jane Eyre (which she never liked.)

But you know, the true fun of the whole weekend was being with Kim and her family. She has a contagious joy that spills over into everything she does. I got to read some of the story she and Kayla are working on for Broadman & Holman (they get to work with Karen Ball!) and it's GOOD! How can a 12 year old write like that? I knew Kim could write, but I was shocked to see how early Kayla was developing her talent.

I spoke at a writer's conference for Kim, and also got to see my fabulous editor and friend Erin Healy! Her first solo book, Never Let You Go, will be out next month. Rachelle Gardner, agent extraordinaire, was there as well, and we had a grand time together! The weekend made me doubly thankful for the friendships we develop in this business. My life is so much richer for the people God has brought into my life since I started writing.

How about you? Want to praise a friend who has gone the extra mile for you lately? Now's the time to do it!

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:11 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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