Girls Write Out
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Celebrating Dave Coble's successful surgery and healthy future!!! We thank the Lord with you, Dave and Colleen! Whoohoooooo!!!!

Speaking of thankfulness, I've heard some people keep a journal specifically for writing down things for which they're thankful. I like that idea. Richard Paul Evans has a thankful "Tuesday," I think it is. Where his facebook friends write down something for which they're thankful.

Practicing thankfulness. Sounds so easy, but it's not. We get busy and distracted and by the time we plop into bed at night, the day is spent and we fall asleep without a word of thanks on our lips. Thanks for the sunshine, the privilege of being alive, the fact we can walk, and feel the rain on our faces. A family who loves us--and even those who don't. :-)

The truth is we can complain about things--and boy, there always seems to be plenty to complain about, doesn't there? But if we focus on thankfulness, it helps us get through the tough spots.

I'm not talking about denial here. Life is hard. But God is always good. So I choose to focus on Him.

So here's my challenge. Take time to pause and reflect upon one thing you're thankful for today. Then share it with us. :-)

I'll start: I'm thankful for our little "blog cafe" where we can share life together. I'm thankful for YOU.

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Diann Hunt  
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011
First off, praise God Dave's surgery went so well. WOOHOO, and hopefully, he gets to come home today.

Last year when I went to Indiana, my little straightening iron got stolen. It was expensive! Nearly $200 and tiny travel size, which helped my MS hands -- which aren't always working correctly. So having the small straightening iron was helpful.

Well, I've been relegated to curly hair since I didn't replace the expensive iron and I was telling my friend (up and coming writer Bethany Macklin) as she was on her way to Mt. Hermon Writers' Conference my tale of woe and her hubby works for a company that MAKES them. (FHI) So on Easter, she surprised me with a new little straightener and it was such an encouragement. It's been a rough year, and it's amazing how the grace of others helps us along.

I was talking to the pastor's wife on Sunday and I was telling her how much she meant to me for rescuing my son in the third grae from an abusive teacher. (She got him into her private school the next day!) She didn't even remember doing that. Isn't it funny how people can have such a huge impact on your life and it's such a small thing to them, they don't remember it? That always fascinates me. Have you seen it happen?
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011
God's goodness is always overwhelming but sometimes it seems he just opens the windows of blessing and pours it out. This week is one of those times for me. You've all been praying for my Dave, and God chose to answer YES to those prayers. His surgery went better than we even dared hope today. The surgeon said his prostate and lymph glands looked normal to the naked eye, and he was sure the cancer was contained. Dave is resting in the hospital now and should get out tomorrow, so THANK YOU for all your faithful prayers!

Sunday we received a very unexpected blessing. You all know I'd said likely Punky would be the only child born to Dave and Donna. The kids came over on Easter and said they wanted to give me my mother's day present early. Um, she's pregnant! Though they'd decided Punky was enough, God had other plans. So we have a new grandbaby coming in November! I'm still in shock. I was so excited Sunday night I didn't sleep. Then last night we didn't get much sleep in prep for the surgery, so I'm pretty tired tonight, but oh so happy!

But you know, even if the news had not been so great today, God is still good. That's the wonder of our faith. No matter what mountaintop we are on or what valley we walk through, we know that our God is with us through it all. He rejoices when we rejoice and he weeps when we sob.

I gave some books away to nurses at the hospital today and when I was leaving tonight, the night nurse asked me if I minded a question. She wanted to know if I was a Christian. When I said yes, she was thrilled that my books were getting into the hands of nurses who needed the encouragement. What a blessing to me.

How about you? What valley or mountaintop are you on? What have you done lately to share your faith?

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Colleen Coble  
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

What's been on the news nonstop for weeks on end with burning questions such as: Who designed the dress? Who will be invited? Where are they taking their honeymoon? and What did he eat for breakfast this morning? Does anyone NOT know about the upcoming royal nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton?

This morning I heard their relationship described as a Fairytale Romance. Now, I'm not sure of your definition of Fairytale Romance, but mine definitely does not include paparazzi following me 24/7, reporters digging in my trash, or Royal Restrictions galore.

Maybe I'm all wet, but I think a quiet relationship, a private wedding, and the freedom to, say, shop for a necklace in peace, are ever so much more romantic than posed kisses, daily photo ops, and a world-televised wedding. But I'm just a lowly romance writer, so what do I know?

How about you? What's your idea of romance? What's the most romantic thing your significant other has done for you?

PS - Thomas Nelson is giving away 5 signed copies of "A Cowboy's Touch" EVERY FRIDAY through May 2o! It's easy to enter! See details here. There's no prince or royals in my story, but there is a cowboy, a sweet love story, and a happily ever after. :-) NOTE: Leaving a message here on the blog is NOT an entry for the drawing!

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:20 PM  
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Friday, April 22, 2011
I have drawn the book winners! Due to the overwhelming response, I decided to give away 10 copies instead of 5. Congratulations! Email me with your address!

mkdeal (Kim Deal)
Charity Weeks
Lisa Nelson
Valarie McCoy
Colleen Coble  
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Thursday, April 21, 2011
How do you reflect upon Holy Week?

As I ponder our Lord's journey to the cross, I am overwhelmed with emotion. Remembering once again the love that compelled Him, with the weight of the cross upon His back, to stumble up Calvary's hill to endure an excruciating death for me, for you, I am washed anew with a grateful heart and a stronger desire to serve Him with everything in me.

To keep our focus on Holy Week, along with the study of God's Word, Hubby and I plan to watch a few old movies, "Ben Hur," "The Ten Commandments," and Friday night, "The Passion of Christ." True enough, Hollywood isn't a good substitute for His Word--so by all means, study His journey to the cross in the Bible--but the movies are another way to help us remember.

Sometimes we brush aside familiar stories and neglect to take the time to remember what they truly mean to our lives. Life gets busy and distracting. With all the chocolate bunnies and baskets it's easy to gloss over Easter and miss the blessing of it all. I encourage each of you to pause this week and reflect on what God has done for you through the sacrifice of His Son.

Please feel free to share if you have any ideas that might help the rest of us keep our focus on Holy Week.

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Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:58 AM  
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some books are born to be made into movies. Other best-selling books can make terrible movies. For example, I'm not a fan of Danielle Steel's books, but I do love the Lifetime movies made about them. I truly love the books made into Masterpiece Theatre mini-series since I'm such a classic fan.

But there are many books that I didn't care for, but I think they'll work as movies and often am there on opening day. "Eat, Pray, Love" was one of those books. Did not care for the writer's voice, nor did I understand her motives. But I think the screenplay writer did a much better job of making her motives make sense to me. I enjoyed the movie. Okay, not the Indian parts. Too OCD to want to go there for a vacation.

So "Water for Elephants" is coming out as a movie this weekend, and I'm very excited to see this as a movie. I didn't really care for the book (I know, I'm one of the few!) But I did really like the story and I think the movie looks perfectly cast, so I'm anxious to see it on screen.

So is there a book that you don't think worked as a movie? Vice versa?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
You've heard us all talking about the project we're doing together: Smitten. We just got our notes back from Ami, and oh my goodness, such fun! Each of our characters is US. And Ami knows all of us well. But as she read the stories and delved into character, she's given us suggestions on how to make the story better while building on what she knows so well about all of us.

This is just another example of what a gift a born editor brings to the table. Ami is truly gifted by God to see straight to the heart of a matter in character. I'm energized when I get those notes back, and this time, more than ever.

So in honor of Ami's magnificent mind, I'm giving away 5 copies of The Lightkeeper's Ball. But it's not going to be quite that easy. I want you to THINK this morning. Out of your favorite books, who is your favorite character and why. What draws you to that character?

I'll go first. My all time favorite book is The Stand by Steven King. I've read that book well over 30 times. I loved Frannie in that story. I loved her strength and her determination to protect her baby. Now it's your turn!

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Colleen Coble  
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Monday, April 18, 2011

My kids had never been skiing before this past winter. I don't know why we never took them. We thought about it when they were young, but it just seemed like a lot of work to keep 3 little kids on their feet when we weren't so, well, accomplished ourselves.

So in November when Chad called from school and asked if he could stay after for the ski club, my first words were, "Well, don't you have to be an, um, skier for that?"

Apparently not, and he talked Justin into joining the ski club's first trip of the year. It was all downhill after that. Literally.

They wanted to ski after Christmas, they wanted to go skiing with friends, and then we won a trip to a ski resort in Michigan. Trevor also fell in love with skiing and now they can all ski circles around Kevin and me--not that that's saying much. They're already requesting skis for their birthdays this year and asking when we can go skiing next year.

This winter Trevor also took up the electric guitar. Since then, he's spent every waking, non-school, non-skiing hour playing guitar. The kid can play! Who knew?

I guess what I learned this winter is not to be afraid to try new things. You never know what fun you might be missing. What new things have you tried lately? Did it turn out to be a good thing or a disaster?

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 11:35 AM  
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Friday, April 15, 2011
Have you ever experienced a vacation in which nothing went right? The dream you had of a fun-filled week worked for everyone around you except for you?

Since this happens to me most of the time I don't even plan what I'll do on vacation anymore, I just go. Then I won't get my hopes up to get them dashed.

This past week, however, I didn't follow the plan. I wanted to get ahead on my manuscript--due at the end of April!!--so I went with the intention of getting thousands of words written and to walk the paved trails of Big Cedar near Branson. Unfortunately, my hip refused to cooperate. I realized I needed my recliner in order to have a comfortable position to write, since I cannot sit in a regular chair, and there were no recliners in my room. I felt like the person in the cave in the picture, watching everyone else have a good time while I was standing in the dark.

Not only couldn't I write, but when I ventured out on my first walk down the hill, my leg went out on me. I mean, it stopped holding me up for several minutes. A little panicky, I called Mel, who was driving to do some target practice with his brother. So I couldn't talk to him. I finally made it back to my room--in a lodge at the top of the hill. I couldn't get to a doctor nearby, so I called the spa--which I ordinarily would never do, since Big Cedar charges tons more than my regular massage therapist--but I was desperate. They got me right in, and a therapist named Julie had to help me back to the massage room. She spent 90 minutes working on my back, legs and shoulders, and when I walked out of that spa I was a new woman!

I walked up and down those hills at Big Cedar for the rest of my stay. That therapist was a miracle worker. I know what some people think when they hear about massages, and there have been some massage parlors in the past that earned the legitimate ones an unfair reputation. These therapists are trained, they know what they're doing, and the good ones can really help us health-wise.

If you haven't been to a massage therapist, I suggest you try it just once. Ask for a relaxing massage, and if you're uncomfortable, ask for a woman. The most therapeutic massages go more deeply into the muscles and they can sometimes be painful at first, so start small and build up. If you haven't been to one in a while, I suggest you go again, and try to do it more regularly. Consider this an additional bid for health, because that's exactly what it is.

Now, can anyone tell me what a Swedish massage is?
I forgot to ask.

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Hannah Alexander  
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just wanted to remind you, tomorrow is--drum roll--tax day.

I know, I know, I could have gone all day without reminding you of that. We finally got our taxes done a week ago and received good news this year! We actually get something back. Course, I have to put it into savings to pay for taxes throughout next year. There's something very wrong about all that, don't you think? Believe me, if hubby weren't considering retiring, that money would go for something fun--like a year's supply of chocolates or, dare I say it, a year's membership at the local gym. Wait. That's not fun. Come to think of it, we could use new carpet . . . .

So I'm curious. If you are fortunate enough to get money back on your taxes, do you pay off bills, go on vacation, buy new furniture, or stuff the money under your mattress??????

P.S. Please excuse our dog's messy look in the picture. She desperately needs groomed but I've been too sick to take her in. Hopefully, soon! Anyway, I'm sitting in a chair and our dog and cat (my mother's cat that we took in) are both squishing me in. THIS is how I try to write. LOL! Can anyone relate?

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Diann Hunt  
posted at 10:26 AM  
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter is my favorite holiday. I mean, what's not to love. The pastel, the Spring weather, Jesus is risen, family egg hunts, people in hats. It's a beautiful thing, right?

The best part of Easter is family. The great thing about family is that you can laugh at family disasters. If you can't, your family has issues. I know that a lot of people can't look back at awful family times and laugh, but I'm fortunate. I can.

Because my brother had two open heart surgeries, and my aunt was a single mother, my boy cousins and I were raised like brothers and sister. To this day, I look at my cousin's little girl and it's like him with long hair. LOL I am filled with love for their kids because I see the little kids I loved as brothers.

My cousin Kevin was the tough one. He made me look innocent. He was running football betting schemes in grammar school. But he was no match for my grandmother, who might have given Hitler a run for his money. One day, Kevin refused to take a bath after baseball. My grandmother picked him up and dropped him in the tub, tennis shoes and all. Both of us knew the taste of Ivory soap well.

We share so many life experiences and when we get together, we are completely comfortable, and we laugh! Will you get to see family this Easter? What makes your family special?
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
This is my beautiful daughter, Kara. She often appears as a heroine in a book. :) Recently, she had an experience that shows just how mean people can be, and for no good reason. I think this woman is going to appear as a villain in one of my books.

Kara owns See Spot Clean in Goodyear, AZ. She LOVES those dogs. They are like her babies. She would never allow one to be hurt and uses only the gentlest shampoos. One of the little dogs who had come into the shop had an allergic reaction and got red eyes. The owner freaked out and took him to a vet on a holiday which cost more. The vet told her it was an allergic reaction but she filed a lawsuit in small claims court to try to get Kara to pay the vet bill. Now you can't predict allergies. This little dog had had to have his shampoo changed before after 3 visits. This was his 3rd visit on a shampoo his owner requested when he had the reaction. The judge in the small claims court threw out the case, as expected.

But the owner has now embarked on an internet smear campaign, posting up bogus complaints on review sites. It's been weeks yet she still continues to do it. That kind of rage and underlying hatred is often what drives a villain in my stories, but this is the first time I've seen it first hand. It's going to make an interesting case study for me. And by the way, what she's doing is a federal offense. Kara's attorney has told her to contact the FBI which she has done. They will trace the IP address of the computers she has used.

What interesting characters have you seen that I might like to put in a book?

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Colleen Coble  
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

In approximately 128 days, we will be driving our oldest son to college (4 1/2 hours away WAAH!). Since the day he chose his college, I've been going through the process of getting us both ready for that day. But really, we've been preparing for this day for 18 years. And I have to say . . . lately, it doesn't seem like long enough.

We have only 18 years to transform a helpless, 20-inch bundle of soft skin and flailing limbs into a full-grown, responsible adult, capable of making thoughtful decisions and intelligent choices. Not to mention doing laundry, shopping for groceries, and balancing a checkbook. When they're little, we teach them the basics--walking and talking and sharing--and then, just when they're old enough for some serious learning, when time with them is running short--they turn rebellious.

I wondered today, if God feels the same about me. If he sometimes thinks that a lifetime isn't enough to prepare me for an eternity with Him. After all, I stumbled quite a few times as he taught me to walk. I sometimes didn't listen when he said no. And just when you might think I'm mature enough to handle the tough stuff, I turn rebellious.

But He's the perfect parent, the One who knows when to cling tightly and when to let loose a little. I've got a feeling I have a lot to learn about letting loose, even though I've been slowly doing so for 18 years. I'll do my best to step back and let my baby take his first steps into adulthood, but if you've got any sage advice or helpful tips, I'm all ears.

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Denise Hunter  
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Friday, April 08, 2011
Several years ago I purchased a book entitled: "Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Outlawed" and I loved it. All about how shades of brown worked in every situation.

Of course, I was broken-hearted when I saw an NCIS episode a year or so ago with Ziva David singing in a Middle-Eastern nightclub with a backless blue dress and blue eyeshadow.

Since I read the book, I have never worn blue eyeshadow. Or green. Or even purple. All I've worn has been brown that shaded well with my skin and darkened my eyes naturally. My favorite makeup is titanium powder that is brushed on. It's perfect for me because it's simple and fast, and I don't take a lot of time to put on makeup these days.

I think the name of the makeup is Bare Essentials. Maybe that isn't the proper spelling, but it's what I look for in those infrequent times when I do go shopping for makeup. I use the fair Bare Essentials facial powder and then I put on Burt's Bees lip color, preferably fig, and then swipe a little of that over my cheeks. Yes, I know, I'm cheap and simple. Works for me.

I also use Oil of Olay nightcream on my neck. Have you noticed as you get older that your neck betrays you? I try to calm that betrayal with moisture. Especially in the daytime. And at my hair stylist's the other day I noticed that the older women had highlighted hair because, as we age, our hair naturally lightens (It's called GRAY) to ease the harshness of darker colors against our skin. Works for me. I'm going blonder each time I visit my stylist's chair. But of course, in deference to Colleen's insistence that I stick to my winter colors, I have my color specialist do the lightest of blonds. It think we'd call it platinum. Works for me!

What is you hangup about makeup? Do you prefer a certain color for your eyes and hair? What are your secrets for staying young? If I don't retain my young looks, it's fine with me. We all grow old. It's a sign of the times. But if I can, I prefer to look my best, at least when my husband is on his way home at night.

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 12:36 AM  
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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Humphrey on my Lap

Last week when I left to work for the weekend, Elle talked her dad into a hamster. FYI, hamsters are noisy and messy and they are masters of getting out of their cages. They will then find a place to hide out for the day and sleep. I call it "the rodent" but I have to admit, the little guy is a totally great pet! It has a little personality and it's active, and likes to climb on you, and it's smart. I can appreciate that, even in a rodent.

We have a Yorkie-pom, which is essentially a terrier bred to seek and destroy such critters, but other than a little jealously, they get along fine. We put the hamster in her ball and Fiona loves to follow it around. Her tail wags and she's delighted to have a playmate. And the Humphrey the hamster is smart enough to know Fiona is not a plaything without the ball, and he can find a very small dogless place to hide out during the day.

The best part is the hamster got rid of TWO fish tanks for me as a trade bargain. So I only have two left. Four kids, two fish tanks, one hamster and a dog. I'm not really an animal person, but I'm quickly turning into one. I draw the line at a horse though. Did you ever become a pet owner by default? I know I left my parents with Honey Bunny, a giant French lop when I got married.
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Sunday, April 03, 2011

It seems like everyone I know is leaving--for spring break, that is. Even two of my boys are leaving. But me? I'm hanging around the house working on Cowboy Story #3, because, well, deadlines don't stop for spring break. Besides, I really don't want to leave my characters in a lurch for the week. That would be cruel.

I do plan to buy one of my favorite author's (Diane Chamberlain) new releases and carve out some time to read in the evening. Maybe I'll turn on my sun lamp, play some Calypso music, and pretend the skies outside aren't threatening snow.

Are you going somewhere fun for spring break? If you're staying home like me, what are you doing to bring a little spring break into your life? And cleaning your closets doesn't count.

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Denise Hunter  
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Friday, April 01, 2011

Please pray for Diann today as she receives treatment and goes home. Pray that the chemo won't make her sick this time, that she will feel energetic and whole and her typical, lovable, beautiful self.


Hannah Alexander  
posted at 12:48 AM  
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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

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

Denise Hunter

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

Diann Hunt

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

Hannah Alexander

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

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