Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Good grief, I can't follow instructions to save my life! I was supposed to mention the new links on our blog. Did you notice them? For Facebook, Twitter, delicico and digg. If any of us say something so profound or fun that you just have to share it, feel free! :-)
posted at 9:17 AM
This is the new me, friends! I reached my weight goal and just hit maintenance. Now to buy clothes! I'm not exactly sure how to dress this new body. Where is Kristin when I need her? LOL
Anyway, on the subject at hand. I've been trying to decide whether to get an e-reader. Nearly all my friends have one but I've been a hold out which makes no sense because I'm the techie of the bunch. But I do love the feel of a book. Still, when I got my latest royalty statement, fully 10% of the sales came from digital copies. Amazing!
But what to buy? I'd been tempted by the Sony reader. I liked the fact it had a touch screen and it was using the ePub format. The thing that bugs me is that all these readers use different formats. I don't understand why there isn't one standard. But Kindle as the biggest list of available books. Even some of the reference books I would normally get to research a new novel are available on the Kindle. I'm sure Dave would be in favor of getting rid of my "nest" around my recliner. That's my huge stack of research books when I'm in the middle of a project. :-) But the Nook lets you loan books. That's a nice feature.
Mike Hyatt had a comparison on his blog yesterday here
. Very informative! He's a Kindle fan so I actually went to Amazon to order it yesterday and found it out of stock so I reconsidered in order to do some research. What about you? Do you have an e-reader? If so, what do you have? Any recommendations?
On another subject, I'm going to Thomas Nelson this Friday. Can't wait to see Ames and the gang! We'll probably be discussing new projects so if you have a request, now is the time to mention it. . .
Labels: e-reader, Kindle, Nook
posted at 9:04 AM
Sunday, August 29, 2010
It's that time of year again. The school supplies are bought, kids are off to school (ah, blessed peace), and night is falling earlier. Every year this time, it starts. That yearning for fall.
I'm not sure if it's the bouquets of sharpened pencils (Know which movie that line hails from?) or college football previews, but something this time of year starts that hankering.
I'm dreaming of crunchy autumn leaves, the smell of bon fires, and the feel of cozy sweaters--never mind it will hit 90 today. Everyone has their favorite season, and for me, it's always been fall. I start eyeing the right side of my closet in the morning, the side filled with sweaters and jeans and cuddly cardigans. Then I check the weather and know I'm kidding myself. Capris and sleeveless it is.
But someday soon, I'll waken to a crisp in the air, a light mist over our wooded property, a slight yellow tinge on the leaves and I'll know. My favorite season has arrived.
posted at 8:00 PM
Saturday, August 28, 2010
If you've hung around our blog at all, you KNOW how much I adore Erin Healy! She's edited all of my Thomas Nelson books except for one. She's an integral part of the team and I so love and value her opinion. And I love her a friend as well. She's done some books with Ted Dekker, but she's now writing on her own. You're in for a treat when you read Never Let You Go. Here's an interview I recently did with my dear Erin. Enjoy!
We all have a "bent" toward a certain kind of stories. How is Never Let You Go the kind of story you like to write? What elements would you call your "trademark" and how did you settle on them?
I'm über-interested in stories about ways in which our spiritual and physical lives intersect. In NEVER LET YOU GO, a single mother's pain and unforgiveness become a physical threat to her daughter. Thinking about spiritual truths in physical terms is not only intriguing but can be enlightening. Today, our spiritual lives, especially as Christians, are positioned in front of an intellectual firing squad. My stories will always show human beings confronting spiritual elements of our humanity, and there will always be high stakes (great suspense), because I think we live in a world in which the spiritual stakes are truly high! The harder we smart people try to make sense of the world, the less it makes sense. Should we be so surprised that the answers to our most burning questions lie in a supernatural plane?
Lexi's love for her daughter drove everything she does in the story. Tell us about your family. This is your chance to brag on your kids!
I have an incredible, loving family. My husband Tim is a supportive husband and reliable father. Our daughter and son are twelve and two respectively, each in exciting (yes, exciting) phases of life! I love them all beyond words. They keep me humble and are always teaching me how to be a better person. I'm also blessed with parents and in-laws who live nearby, and my sister's family lives in the area too. There is nothing better in this world than an extended family that can function so well together. They're amazing, each of them.
How is Never Let You Go different from the books you've co-written with Ted Dekker?
No one gets drugged, electrocuted, or chased by a murderous villain. I'm partly teasing ... but I hope NLYG (and all my books) dives deeper into the hearts of my characters, so that there's as much suspense arising from their choices as from their circumstances.
Have you ever had a supernatural experience? Seen an angel?
I've never seen an angel (that I recognized), but I was raised in a Pentecostal church, where I saw plenty of things that I can't explain. And I recall an experience that sharpened my awareness of a spiritual dimension in this world: As a student I spent time in England with American classmates. We once passed through a small town where druids have deep roots. The tourist attractions emphasized this. We were there only for lunch, in the middle of the day. After eating, some students went window shopping; others took a hike up a nearby knoll. For no logical reason, I was filled with fear to be in this town. I returned to the bus right away to wait with the driver, eager to leave as soon as possible. My friends came back sooner than expected. All of us were experiencing similar disquiet (especially those who'd gone hiking) and no one wanted to linger.
Children are so quick to forgive and adults so slow to do the same. Any advice to help someone struggling with a lack of forgiveness?
I dedicated NEVER LET YOU GO to my daughter, because she forgives me so readily. I think we grownups have trouble forgiving for many reasons, including that we dwell too long on offenses because we've lost hope of seeing justice. For me, maintaining awareness of my many flaws, errors, and willful sins makes it a lot easier to extend grace to other people. I've been forgiven of so much.
Have you ever been a waitress?
Oh yes! Worked my way through college during the summers at a family restaurant in my hometown.
Where did the idea for Never Let You Go come from?
NLYG is a supernatural thriller about the terrifying effects of a parent’s bitterness on her dearly loved child. The idea came from real-life observations about how families unwittingly pass bitterness through generations. I was curious about why that happens and what it takes to break the cycle. So often we don't think our unforgiveness harms anyone but ourselves.
What's up next for you?
THE PROMISES SHE KEEPS comes out in January 2011. It's the story of two women who are seeking immortality, and the autistic artist who shows them the unexpected way.
Thanks so much, Erin, for hanging out here with us!
Labels: editing, Erin Healy, Never Let You Go
posted at 1:16 PM
Friday, August 27, 2010
When I was a child, my mom had a rule that I couldn't take the People magazine until she'd read it -- because I got the magazine all water-logged and dog-eared in the bathtub. I'm not sure why this is, but when I read a book, it looks like I read the book. The pages are all thick and fluttery and the spine has a crack in it. It kind of looks like Pigpen got a hold of your book. So I don't usually borrow books because the whole time, I have to be thinking about how to keep it nice. Rather than smudge it with chocolate, or spill coffee on it -- or drop the edge in the tub.
So a girlfriend, who is very successful, went to Stanford, etc. is helping me with keeping track of my business records. She lent me four books that she said really helped her. The problem is, I'm afraid to read them. These are favorite books? They look like they've never been touched. And what will they look like when she gets them back?
I lose bookmarks constantly, so I dog ear the pages to save my place, or turn them over and open the spine to keep my page. There has to be some secret to reading books neatly. Do you know it? Or do your books look like mine when you're done?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
What do you notice when you see this picture? Maybe you see the colorful umbrella, the fact I'm wearing a hat or just plain being silly for a photo. But I want you to notice is this:
I have beautiful fingernails.
I can say that because they're not actually mine. Yes, they're fake. It's only the second time in my life that I've had a real manicure. My husband bought a gift certificate at the nail salon for me. Come to think of it, I wonder why he did that.
Anyway, you know how the past six months have been for me. It's hard to be feminine when you're--dare I say it--bald. It might work for the national bird (bald eagle in case you're not up on your history), but I'm just not into it, you know?
So I loved getting my nails gussied up. But for you pros out there who have been around the block, so to speak, with your nails, I just have to know: "Why do those nail techs talk in their native language to each other right in front of us????
I was convinced these two guys were laughing at my nails. I wanted to bop someone with chop sticks or at the very least throw a bag of rice.
Have you ever noticed they do that? Does it bother you? Do you act like you know what they're talking about and join in with English? Do you pretend you don't hear them? Read a book? Stare? Call your mother and tattle? What?
One more thing. The last time I had my nails done, I had to take them off two days later because they hurt like the dickens (throbbed and all that). These haven't bothered me at all. Don't know if they used something different or my calcium is finally kicking in. Have you ever had any problems with the stuff they put on your fingernails?
posted at 9:58 AM
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Ah, the memories! I probably shared with you last year the experience of taking part in a class reunion pajama party (just us girls) only two or three days after my shoulder surgery. And despite my pain and slowness, we still had fun. I hope this wasn't the picture I showed you, because I wanted this one to be different. We're planning our next annual weekend, which is always so much fun, but fills me with frustration.
You see, our class was unusually close, and when some of us get together all our wrinkles and lumps and age marks fall away and we're just the girls again. We catch up and share our lives. What amazes me is that each of us has lived several novels' worth of experiences, and every time we share, my mental block gets to me; each of my friends could be the main character in a novel of such depth and clarity and beauty...and I cannot write those novels myself. I lose something as I'm writing. I've been able to utilize the personalities and quirks of each of my friends in this picture--plus many others from our class--into composite characters, but something fails in the translation.
For instance, I used Doris's personality in a character in one of my books--I even used her name--but had the character doing things the real Doris would never do--such as ruining a perfectly good steak, or stealing old school files. I used Deb's name in a recent novel that really freaked her out. She was thinking of changing her name until she read to the end. I've wanted for years to write a book about us, how we really are and the agonies and triumphs of our lives, but I cannot capture it in a story. Nothing can come close to the depth of spirit and soul of my longtime friends and schoolmates.
But I'll keep trying. We always struggle to improve our craft. Someday, maybe, I'll be able to capture a better word picture of my friends. Until now, I'll just enjoy them.
Have you found this problem to be true in your artistic endeavors, whether it be writing or knitting, photography or painting? Have you been frustrated by the inability to capture the true picture that looms in your mind when you see something of beauty and worth?
Labels: girls having fun, long-time friends, Writing dreams
posted at 11:33 PM
This past weekend I had the chance to go with friends to the Women of Faith conference in Indy. I'd been looking forward to it for months. I had chocolates to take back to the Women of Faith team, but the only one I had a chance to say hello to was Patsy Clairmont because Friday night I got hit with the same virus Denise had this weekend. So I spent Friday night and Saturday in bed at the hotel. Bummer!
But all that to say how much fun it is to be around girlfriends. When girls get together we talk about stuff like hair and makeup. Clothes and shoes. Diet and God. Something Patsy (I think it was Patsy but it might have been Andy Andrews who was also fabulous!) said on Friday really struck me. She said the best friends are those who hold you up to a higher standard. Who make you better than you are. I don't think I've heard a more true statement. We have acquaintances we let our hair down with but sometimes we get home and think I wish I'd never said or done that. A true friend encourages you to reach for something higher. To stretch and grow. And especially to reach for more of God.
So let's be that to one another. I'll go first with my piece of advice to all of you but I want to hear from you too. Here's mine:
If you've been saved a while and and feel as though that first excitement has waned, go find the first Bible you used when you were a new Christian. Smell the leather. Turn the pages that are faintly yellow now. Look at what you've underlined and remember what you were going through at that time. Remind yourself of God's faithfulness. Now see if you can find a women's Bible study to be involved with and use that Bible. I've been doing this for the past two weeks with some ladies I went to church with over twenty years ago. It's been a real encouragement to me.
Now your turn. Give us your best piece of advice on reaching for more of God or for a better relationship of some kind with a spouse.
Labels: Girlfriends, God's faithfulness, women's bible study
posted at 8:54 AM
Sunday, August 22, 2010
So I'm feeling pretty lousy with a sore throat, fever, and chills and decided to get checked out. It's Sunday so my options are limited. Redimed it is.
After the doctor examines me, she offers antibiotics in case I have strep. But--not wanting to take meds needlessly--I ask for a throat swab. My first mistake.
The nurse arrives, and I open my mouth obediently. She comes at me with the tongue depressor and swabs the back of my throat for a full five seconds. I start backing away. I mean 5 seconds, she's bound to have a sample right?
No, she needs to do it again.
I open my mouth. She swabs around for another 5 seconds, and I'm pretty sure she's under the mistaken impression that she's supposed to paint my esophagus. I'm about to lose my breakfast, so I start backing away. Surely, she has enough now.
She looks at the swab and shakes her head.
"Oh. My. Gosh." I seriously say that because, well, can you say incompetent?
"Try and relax your tongue," she says. As if this is MY fault. Isn't that what the wooden stick is for?
Hey lady, this isn't my first date with a throat swab. I don't say it, but I'm this close. I look around for a camera. Surely I'm being Punk'd. But no, she's for real.
She goes back in for a third time and apparently comes away with my appendix. Swell. Put that on the slide, just take your tools of torture and go. I realize belatedly the doc was only trying to spare me from Nurse Hatchet. I mean, I was feeling bad enough when I came in, right?
I walk away realizing, among other things, that it really is our job to be competent at what we do. Whether you're a nurse at Redimed or a writer of novels, don't we owe it to somebody to know what we're doing? I think so. Especially now.
And in case you're wondering, no, I don't have strep.
posted at 9:01 PM
Friday, August 20, 2010
You know what I love about people? They're so different. No two things make the same people happy. Everyone says money would make them happy, but too much money and it's all you worry about, not enough, again, all you worry about. Having enough is just right. Like Goldilocks. In fact, there have even been studies that once your needs are met, you're no happier with more money.
So my "needs" may include a hefty amount of Starbucks, but my ADD doc says Starbucks is just providing his services to the masses. So there you have it. What's funny is when we think we know what will make us happy, only to find out that wasn't it at all. I've learned to equate happiness with a feeling, not a thing. The feeling of being with good friends and giggling. The feeling of having no responsibility other than intimate conversations. The feeling of sitting beside my kids and thoroughly enjoying a TV show. Those are the moments that make up life, aren't they?
I mean, maybe not for you. Maybe you're a hiker and find your peace there. Or maybe like me, you're also a writer, and love to be in the moment and tapping out words. Happiness ultimately comes from within, when we're living the life God meant for us to live. When we're out of His will, we will struggle in vain to get upright.
This is my mommy's house. My husband and I built it. I absolutely ABHORRED living there. My parents LOVE it and I think it shows. I'm happy going there now, but living there was not my dream. What makes you happy? Did you learn the hard way? Or the easy way and always know?
Labels: happiness, money
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Today my man headed off for third grade.
School starts today. My husband teaches third grade now (he was a principal and went back into the classroom). He's been working in his room for a couple of weeks now to get ready for the kids.
I love being married to an educator. Every year I get to feel the excitement of a new year. After the blur of the last six months, it's especially fun THIS year. I went into his classroom this week and loved the smell of chalk, the bright colored posters, the waxed floors.
When I was a kid I loved school. It was a safe place and a happy place. My favorite teacher was Dorothy Burton (just happened to be my THIRD grade teacher). Soft-spoken, gentle, kind--and I later found out, a Christian! She impacted my life. She read a book to our classroom that I cherish to this day--and have it on my shelf. "Lad, a Dog." Now there's a title. Goes to show you it doesn't have to have a snappy title to be good and cherished.
Anyway, I wanted to use my blog today to salute the teachers and administrators in our country for their hard work and diligence with our kids! I know it's not an easy job. I've been on both sides of the fence. Please know that I appreciate you and thank you so much for all you do.
One last thing, to teachers AND others--you never know when a kind word, smile, or listening ear will make all the difference in someone's day. We're all given twenty-four hours a day, and I know it can be a challenge to fit everything in. I hope today and every day I will fit in what's truly important.
So any fun school stories to share? When I think of school I remember that I had a continuing dream that I went to school without shoes (no Hush Puppies in sight). I'm sure I just caused Kristin to shutter.
So how about you, how did you feel about your first day of school? Or maybe you have a school story you want to share?
posted at 9:03 AM
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I'm on a sort of rant right now, so please forgive me, and if there's a lesson to be learned from this rant about the vital need for human compassion, then a recent experience will not have happened in vain.
See the paw print above? I'm almost positive it's the impression of a bear paw. The sight of it when we were out hiking one day gave me a decided chill. It meant danger could be lurking nearby. But seriously? There were only black bears in those woods surrounding Lake Tahoe two years ago, so we were most likely safe.
I received a worse chill in the pit of my stomach two days ago, when Mel and I saw my mother after we'd been gone for a week. Her face was a mass of bruises and scrapes. She had two blackening eyes, and she was limping badly. She had fallen face-first onto the concrete. Since Mom is having major problems with short term memory, she couldn't recall when she'd fallen, only that she'd tripped at a local restaurant, where she'd walked to eat a meal and get out around people. Independent as my mother is, she'd not allowed anyone at the villa where she lives to see her injuries. No one could tell us anything about what happened.
What chilled me was the response I received when I called the restaurant and asked if anyone had seen her fall. The young woman who answered the phone said she'd seen the fall, but couldn't talk to me, I'd have to talk to her boss. I didn't want to talk to her boss, all I wanted was to find out when the accident had happened so we would have a better idea about how bad the fall had been. When the boss came on the phone she said she was busy and couldn't talk, that someone would call me back later. She hung up on me.
Now, I understand that in our litigious society, everyone is afraid of being sued. I get that. I do. But I do NOT get that people are so worried about covering their backsides that they aren't even willing to share information about an accident so the family will know what kind of treatment an 84-year-old is going to need, or how bad the injuries could be. Yes, I probably overreacted because it's my own mother, but God forgive me if I ever behave in such a manner, too busy to help an injured elderly woman. And yes, since Mel is an ER doc, he was able to check her out, but he could have used more information.
We finally did get a call back from a girl who had seen the fall, and since it had happened the night before, we knew Mom was suffering mostly from muscle soreness and not something worse. I could have used that information a little sooner, but I'm glad they at least called back.
My mother has bones of steel, and she's already healing. We kept her overnight and doctored her wounds, and she's doing fine. But in the medical world--and I know Crystal can attest to this--compassion for the patient is the most important quality for a doctor to have to prevent a malpractice lawsuit. When someone feels cared for, they are less likely to feel abused.
So help that lady across the street. Reach out to someone you see who is in need. Don't turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. Remember that, "inasmuch as you've done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me."
Rant over. Never forget the golden rule.
Labels: bear claw--the real thing. Cold hearts. Ranting
posted at 12:57 AM
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
My 40th class reunion was on Saturday night. It was something I'd been looking forward to for months. There is something about seeing all the "kids" you were young and dumb with once upon a time. No reason to even try to put on any masks because we all remembered the nutty stuff we used to do.
It was an emotional night and so fun seeing how we all turned out. There was Ben who was one of the bad boys in high school. Now he owns his own Huey helicopter and flies all over the world doing things like fighting forest fires and all kinds of heroic things. Craig and Monica fell in love at 14 or some crazy young age like that and are still happily married and still look young. LOL My friend Cyndy here in the middle is an attorney. And Bonnie is a school librarian. Marie lives in Connecticut and we had the best time running around on Friday. The years fell away when we saw each other. One of the girls is a travel agent (so fun!) and some of the guys are teachers. One of my friends told me she saw a woman reading one of my books in Oklahoma and told her she went to school with me. The gal didn't believe her until she started telling her things about me. LOL Marie and I were looking at our old yearbook. We saw the group of Future Teachers of America (I was in it. I was going to be a Latin teacher. LOL) and only Kyle actually because a teacher from that group.
It was so fun! But you know, these people shaped the person I became in many ways. I look back though and have regrets. I remember some of the lost and lonely kids in our school that I wish I'd taken more time to get to know and to help. I wish I knew then that sometimes an aloof attitude hid a hurting heart. I was easily rebuffed then but I wouldn't have taken that rebuff if I hadn't been so young and dumb.
What about you? Any regrets from school? What would you have done differently? Or if you're in school, what can you do differently NOW?
Labels: high school reunion
posted at 8:56 AM
Sunday, August 15, 2010
It's hard to remember what life was like before facebook, isn't it? Social networking has completely changed the way we connect to other people. In fact, I'm starting to wish we could carry some facebook features over into real life. If only there was a hand-held device we could carry with buttons we could push to make things happen. Think about it.
Put your foot in your mouth? Remove. Gone, just like that.
Approached by a lotion-squirting mall salesperson? "Would you like to try some--" Ignore.
Friend who only talks about her brilliant toddler? Unfriend.
Talking to a cute guy at a party and afraid to ask his religious beliefs? Religious views.
Having an awkward How do I know you? moment? Friends in Common. Oh yeah, she's from that class I took!
Lonely? Find Friends and there they are.
Running out of small-talk ideas with a new acquaintance? Info. What do we have in common . . .
Need to be alone? Privacy.
Not looking your best today? Change Picture.
Bad memory keeps resurfacing? Next!
Want to inform your boss of your recent accomplishment? Tag.
Get separated from your buddies in a crowd? Find Your Friends.
Suspect a friend blabbed your secret to someone else? Recent Activity.
Tired of making small-talk at an business function? Offline.
Approve of your wife's new hairstyle? Like.
Okay, maybe we need an app with a flashing beacon to alert the husband that his wife got a new hairstyle. But seriously, see how handy it would be? So if you figure out a way to make Facebook Live happen, can you please post the directions? I'll be sure and like it.
Labels: Facebook, social network
posted at 9:00 PM
Friday, August 13, 2010
Parenting is the one job that's public and everyone has an opinion about how you're doing. The thing I've learned over the years is that parenting comes first, people's opinions, second. I want what's best for my child -- what you think of it, doesn't matter.
Which is why this morning, tuning into another interview with Lindsay Lohan's mother, I wanted to slap the woman. Lindsay's parents need to shut up and get that poor girl help. You can't control another human being. Ultimately, they will do what they're going to do, and someone creative like Lindsay or Britney, is a HECK of a lot harder to parent. Don't think it would be different if you were her mother. Kids like that are harder to parent. But you know what you can do? You can side with your daughter, and honor her privacy and her need to get better. You can stop worrying about her as your meal ticket and shelter her from the storm while she takes the time to heal.
We joke in our house about my writing a parenting book. I say, I will do so when none of you end up in jail. Until that day, the royalties depend on you, so play nice!
(quote from Toy Story I use often.) My kids have BIG personalities. (They must get it from their dad!) To me, parenting is all about character. I don't care if you ACT right, so much as you work on BEING a person of character. So while some parents may have perfect-acting children, do they know to do it when Mom isn't around? That's my goal. Do it right, when I'm not here because God is.
This morning, I heard three kids (11, 13, 15) charged their mom's credit card and took a plane flight to Nashville with no parent. Here's the thing, I can see my kids doing that, but I'd also know they'd be bright enough to do it. Oh they'd pay for it (which is why they wouldn't try it!), but I'd also know they could handle the situation. And that makes me proud.
Once I saw a child who had climbed up into a "claw" game, and stuck himself in with the toys. That could easily have been one of my kids. Easily!
I sent one of my children to camp this summer for two weeks. My house has been absolutely PEACEFUL. I had no idea he started all that trouble, or tried to entertain himself at the expense of harmony, but guess what? I know now! And life is never going to be the same for my defiant prophet (Jonah) -- as Maya Angelou says when you know better, you do better. Oh Jonah. Life is about to get rough, dude. LOL But the good news is, it will make a great chapter in my book. Incidentally, my mom had my other three for the week, and said they were perfect angels. So sometimes, they act right too.
The picture is little Diego from San Jose del Cabo (just got home from a trip with my best friend!) Gosh, these parents will say someday, remember when we could just stuff Diego in a bucket during the work day? LOL
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Something has been on my mind forever and I just never bring it up. It's one of those things that you try to ignore, pretend you don't care about, that it doesn't bother you in the least for not knowing, but let's face it, IT DOES MATTER. You can push it to the back corners of your mind, ignore the constant scratching of it against your psyche, and say it doesn't bother you, but you know it does.
This time of the year, it's the hardest to ignore. I mean, the truth of it is there, swarming all around my head, buzzing in my ears, taunting me with fresh determination. So now it's showdown time. I've had enough and I will wait no longer. This problem must be dealt with, I must know the answer or I think I shall go mad. Please, please, if you know the answer, share it with me so that I can once again have peace:
WHERE DO FRUIT FLIES COME FROM???????
Come on. It's something you've all wondered and you know it. These tiny insects seem to pop up out of no where the minute you bring home a piece of fruit. I mean, are they hovering in the air and then just appear when fruit gets in the house, what? I don't get it. There's something very eery about it all, and I think if we don't address it, there could be a takeover . . . .
I know, I know, this is the worst blog post in the history of mankind, but it's a question I've truly pondered from time to time. The fact that I'm high on Benadryl and Hydrocortisone (due to hives) could play a part in this post for which I will probably be completely embarrassed once I read it on a normal day and thus break out in hives once again. Please, bear with me.
In the meantime, about those fruit flies . . . .
posted at 11:13 AM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
See this handsome young man? He's a hero. He has been since at least the age of ten when he pulled me up a cliff in a wild cave we were spelunking after the ladder broke. Yes, he was ten at the time. Now he is an officer in the Coast Guard, works in Homeland Security, and is still rescuing people. I'm so proud of him. I'm proud of his brother, too. I'm not giving their names here, because I don't want to risk his safety in anyway.
This young man's mother is a friend of mine. She's beautiful and vivacious and has never met a stranger. At one time, I attempted to make all three of them part of my family by introducing their mother to a family member. Alas, it didn't work as I'd planned--I'm not a good matchmaker--but these people will be family to me for the rest of my life, despite of a rupture in my marriage to the father of the boys. I did not want the divorce, because I believed it would mean losing them.
But a wonderful thing occurred. The boys and I and their mother stayed in touch during and after the divorce. They came to my and Mel's wedding, and Mel and I went to their weddings and my Coast Guard's graduation from college. Their father and I retained a civil attitude toward one another. The boys, their wives, mother and Mel and I all spent Thanksgiving together a few years ago, and we attended their father's funeral, where I sat beside their mother, behind the boys, and wept for their loss.
Divorce is painful and destructive, but so is the angry end of most relationships. If you find yourself or someone close caught in the clutches of divorce, there are ways to prevent some of the destruction, especially for the sake of the children. Never forget that love transcends all. Since these boys were my stepsons and not my sons, I had no legal rights, but I did continue to include them in my life whenever I could. I'm horrible with holidays and birthdays--I seldom do much even with my own birthday--but I do usually remember theirs and let them know I remember them. I embarrass them every time I see them when a squeal of joy and several hugs. It amazes me every time how happy I am to see them. If they invite me to join them in any kind of celebration, I go. Twice, I've flown halfway across the country when asked. These young men are special to me. I've known them since they were very young little boys.
You may have had a relationship broken for some reason, be it divorce, a ruptured friendship, family disagreement. I urge you to do what you can to heal the rift, and salvage the relationships you can despite the pain of loss. My stepsons will always be my stepsons, even though their father has passed on and the boys have grown into fine men. Should you encounter the opportunity to do the same, seize that chance. Longtime relationships are worth salvaging.
Labels: burning bridges, cutting ties, Saving relationships
posted at 9:40 AM
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I have never been sure about the existence of aliens and alien worlds, but this week has convinced me that aliens exist. It's the only possible explanation for what has been happening to me. I see that lifted brow and your skepticism but hear me out. My mother reads my blog every day and I know she will agree with me when she finds this out.
An alien has taken over my body. Really. I'm not sure when it happened. Or which night it crept in and took over, but the effects are very real. Let me give you some background information. I hate onions. I've hated them all my life. Can't stand the taste and especially the texture. But something changed recently and I have begun to crave onions! Yesterday I actually fixed some chicken fajitas with sauteed onions and peppers. And ate them all. Big pieces of onion.
Quick, someone catch my mother. She just fainted. I told you it had to be aliens. Telling you this is like telling you I just ate a big bowl of maggots. Really. That's how much I've always hated them. I'm not sure what's happened. Is it because of my hcg diet? Has it changed my brain? That just seems too unbelievable. No, it has to be aliens. That's the only logical explanation.
Has anyone else experienced this alien invasion? We must warn the world!
And I posted my cover because the new book is coming soon! Just another five weeks.
Labels: aliens, onions
posted at 9:50 AM
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Do you see a common element in these photos? If you guessed the dog, you'd be right. The one on the left is our dog Daisy (with our youngest son Trevor). She's the sweetest, gentlest, most forbearing animal ever. She's so special, I put her in my book--that's why you see her on the cover.
Animals have personalities, don't they? I've had enough of them to appreciate Daisy's sweet nature. In fact, our previous dog, a cocker spaniel named Logan was Daisy's opposite. I kid my husband that if there's an afterlife for pets, Logan surely went down south. Kevin denies this vehemently, especially since Logan worshipped the ground he walked on, but trust me on this. South.
Don't judge me. You did not know that dog.
Animals have a special place in our lives. It was fun to put Daisy in a book (I changed her name to protect the innocent) and even give her a similar personality. Hey, she can't sue me. And even if she could . . . well, she wouldn't. Because she's Daisy.
Labels: dogs, pets
posted at 7:55 PM
Friday, August 06, 2010
So thanks to YouTube, I taught myself to knit. As you can see by the big HOLES in my little scarf, I'm not very good. As I'm now editing my book, A Billion Reasons Why, it dawned on me how each new skill requires another new skill. Writing requires working with others who see your plot holes, and then it's your job to go in and fill them. To make a pretty, smooth manuscript that a publisher wants to publish.
It's not unlike knitting. Everyone sees the holes. They stand out. The difference is, for a knitting hole, you have to go in and rip out a whole bunch of stitches. Editing can be like this, but I know how to fix it. I know the characters, I know what I'm doing, I only need a pair of fresh eyes and a skilled editor to tell me what isn't working. Everyone can see what isn't working on the scarf, but the difference is, I don't care enough to fix it. It's a scarf. It has a hole in it, get over it.
With the scarf, people will just assume I'm unskilled and learning. With a book, people will assume I'm stupid or worse, don't care enough to fix it so I see it as God's work. Ouch! Maybe that's why I find the strength to fix the plot holes. Which, if you're looking for advice, can always be fixed with motive. If you don't have a motive for why your character acts a certain way, you have a plot hole. So always be thinking motive if something isn't working. People do idiotic things. We don't question that. We question WHY they do idiotic things. Give us the answer, and you have filled your plot hole.
Example: Why did Mel Gibson rant against Jews, when he works with the most Jewish population there is -- Hollywood? Answer: drunken binge, Nazi-raised father, bipolar??? Take your pick. They all work. They fill in the hole.
The other major issue in plot holes? Consequences. There are consequences to our stupid actions. Case in point? Michelle Obama took a glitzy vacation. Now, she is under fire for ignoring a state warning for African-Americans traveling to Spain, but also for the apparent HIGH cost for the trip, which is seen as a Marie Antoinette move when most of our country is struggling to make ends meet (see the article here
So, now, if we were writing, we could create a motive. Michelle is revenge-spending for the country getting her husband on his birthday (making this up, don't get all political on me!) and she's telling him, dude, you better pay attention to me, or I will get the country to pay attention to my actions, and it will cost you. NOW we have the consequences next. Obama has to explain why he can't control the spending in his own house. Obama has to explain to critics why Michelle needed this trip, and if he's smart, Obama will pony up the cost for his wife's gaffe and tell the American public they're not paying for it.
So now, I'm back to fix my own plot holes. The knitting holes will stay.
Labels: consequences, editing, holes, knitting, motive, novels, plot holes
Thursday, August 05, 2010
I try to be a woman of refined grace and culture, I really do. I wear pearls, for crying out loud. So why do I always end up being more like Lucy Ricardo than Audrey Hepburn?
Case in point. Hubby and I go to Barnes & Noble and we're talking to one of the workers at the "Nook" display. She and Hubby get into this conversation about all the attributes of the Nook while I listen halfheartedly (I have a Kindle) and drink my iced tea.
While I'm happily and innocently (and I might add, quite gracefully) enjoying my tea, everything suddenly goes south. The whole episode has played out in my mind in slow motion a thousands times as I try to think of what went wrong.
The woman is still talking about their product and she turns to look at me (no doubt, thinking I'm interested). I feel her gaze on me, so I lift my head to smile. Here's the rub. Evidently, I was more into that drink than I realized, because the suction on my straw took hold. When she looked at me and I lifted my head to look at her, that doggone straw hung on for dear life and dangled off my bottom lip. Pretty hard to look like Audrey Hepburn when that happens.
Hubby was all the while staring into his Nook. Not sure whether that was on purpose or not.
So there it is. I don't suppose you'd be brave enough to share your less than graceful moment with us?????
posted at 8:41 AM
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
I love to talk about writing because it's always fascinated me and I love the whole thought of creating something out of nothing. But do we really do that? Come up with a story, characters, situations, plot, from a vacuum? Only God can do that. We need props.
According to a news item I read yesterday, children who lied a lot when they were growing up have now been judged not to be dirty little sinners, but more creative, more intelligent, than their non-lying counterparts. Although that thought intrigues me, since I was one of those liars with a story for every situation, I still know that I was also a dirty little sinner. I lied to get out of trouble. Yes, I also made up stories, but I used many stories to my own benefit. I did, however, need my props.
For instance, there was the time I brought a friend home from school when my parents were both working. Grandma was there, but I bypassed her. I sneaked my friend out into the pasture to ride my horse--something I was never supposed to do when my parents were gone. Friend fell from horse. Grandma saw us, told my mom after my little friend had gone home. What did I do? I didn't want to be grounded from seeing my friend, so I told Mom it was another friend. Did I conjure my lies out of nothing? Of course not. I used the props at hand--my friend looked a lot like the other girl I blamed. Plus, I didn't like the other girl so much, so it didn't matter whether I saw her again. Grandma didn't buy it because she saw the girl, but even though she cried foul, Mom believed me. Her precious angel wouldn't flat out lie to her. I was a bad seed.
I still need my props. I think most writers on this blog create some kind of collage of characters for inspiration. I still have one of mine up on the wall from two years ago. Can't seem to take it down because I care about those characters and don't want to forget them, even though the unsold manuscript lies in my computer, only half completed.
I've harped on this before, but see the picture of the beautiful woman above? Most of you know that's our own Kris. Now, glance at a photo of a beautiful woman in a magazine or on television, and try to create a multi-dimensional character from that. What do you come up with?
Try it with Kris. You know her better. You read her blog every week, possibly more than one. You know something of her personality, and may know her as a close friend, as I do. How much deeper can you dig when you use a real character as a pattern for a character in your story? I realize that, at some point, your character on the page and the real Kris will have to diverge. Kris is impossible to keep on the page because she has her own mind and she simply refuses to stay there. But she can serve as a pattern for you long enough for you to develop your own character creation.
And then your character takes on life of her own, and she barely resembles Kris. Still, Kris has served as a mold for form and function, and makes your character stronger in the process. For a little while, you have almost seen from Kris Billerbeck's eyes. And of course, who wouldn't want to be as beautiful as she is?
Does this model of character creation work for you, or do you have your own methods of creating believable people in your story world?
Labels: beautiful women, Characterization, writing issues
posted at 9:52 AM
Sunday, August 01, 2010
I was working on the computer the other night and suddenly realized Dave was watching Sleepless in Seattle
. Dave. By himself. He was chuckling and enjoying the romantic comedy he'd seen quite a few times ALL BY HIMSELF. He wasn't watching it because I said, oh stop here as he was flipping through the channels. No, this was of his own accord.
And I realized he is a romantic! My big, strong husband has such a soft side that most people don't see. He loves the romance in my books. He shows love in so many little ways like doing laundry when I'm swamped or taking me out to eat when he can tell I'm tired. He took over sending out my reader mail letters and stays on top of that every day. Sometimes he just likes to take me shopping and buy me something new. In recent years, he has started buying me jewelry. This from the man who bought me a blender for our first Christmas. LOL What's happened? Is it reading my romances? Nah, I don't think so. I think he's learned more and more how to let his soft side come out and has made learning what makes me tick his priority.
So today is appreciation day. What is the nicest thing your significant other has done for you? Or what do you wish he WOULD do? And if you have no significant other, brag on your mom or best friend.
Labels: romance romantic, Sleepless in Seattle
posted at 9:39 PM
Hello GWO Friends! Have you been wanting one of those fancy e-readers? My publisher, Thomas Nelson, is giving away a Kindle and a bunch of my books for a contest that runs all of August! Are you up for the challenge?
Be Denise's Best Publicist and Win a Kindle!
Denise needs your help spreading the word about her new release, Driftwood Lane!
Become her best publicist and win a Kindle E-reader, already loaded with her books!
How Does it Work?
1. Earn points by promoting Denise’s new release, Driftwood Lane, between August 1- August 31.
2. Send an email to BeMyPublicist@gmail.com and show what you did by midnight EST, August 31.
3. Earn the most points and win a Kindle! Plus 4 Runners up will receive Denise’s complete Nantucket series plus Sweetwater Gap, all autographed! Winners will be announced by Sept. 15. (Prizes provided by Thomas Nelson)
- Post a comment about or the cover of Driftwood Lane on facebook/Twitter/etc.
(Copy and paste in email) 5 points for each post.
- Retweet someone else’s promotion of Driftwood Lane (Copy and paste in email)
- Write a review of Driftwood Lane on Amazon, Christianbook.com,
Barnesandnoble.com, etc (Copy and paste review in email) 10 points for each
- Review Driftwood Lane on your blog or website (Send link in email)
- Get Driftwood Lane reviewed in your local paper or magazine, etc. Only needs to
be scheduled in August, not published. (Send paper/mag’s title, media name and
- Post a video to YouTube promoting Driftwood Lane. (Send link in email) Post your
video on FB etc and get 5 extra points for each posting! (Send link in email)
- Have your book club put Driftwood Lane on its schedule--Denise would be happy
to do a call-in on the night it’s discussed. (Send book club schedule in email)
- If you live on Nantucket, add 15 bonus points to your tally! (Send proof of
If you have another publicity idea send an email to BeMyPublicist@gmail.com to inquire about points.
Collect your publicity efforts (be sure and save them as you go!) and send them in one email toBeMyPublicist@gmail.com by midnight EST, August 31.
PLEASE USE THIS FORMAT WHEN YOU EMAIL YOUR PUBLICITY EFFORTS:
Links (or copy and paste):
posted at 8:56 PM