Girls Write Out
Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day is a break from work, a short reprieve from end-of-school boredom, a chance to catch a great sale, and a picnic waiting to happen.

But, in our excitement to be with family and friends today, let's not forget to remember our military heroes, living and dead, who've served this great nation.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the opportunity to live in a nation that fights for freedom and allows for all the chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I pray for those who mourn a hero lost. May God give them peace, and may we all appreciate the unspeakable sacrifices suffered on our behalves.

Father God, I pray your blessings on all our military, serving locally and abroad. Protect and guide them daily. Remind them of your love. Protect and direct their loved ones, left at home to work and wait. Grant them peace and safety, and may they all know how much we appreciate the high cost of their selfless service.

Amen

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:40 PM  
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Thursday, May 26, 2011
This won't be a long post because I'm on a tight deadline and thanks to a very difficult salesperson, I have an hour less than I'd hoped for today. And Mel's still as angry as a rhino about it.

We have timeshare points with a great company that allows us to travel all over the world if we wish--they don't pay for the travel, so we don't go. This company is usually not pushy when they do their owner updates. Owner updates is sales talk for "making up an excuse to pitch another sale to someone who has already purchased from us."

We had business in Branson tonight, so we decided that since we're on a tight deadline, we'd get away from the crazily ringing home phone and stay in a timeshare a couple of nights. When we checked in, we were sent to the little desk where they sign you up for one of their sales pitches. Since I was interested in what updates had taken place in the company, and since we were assured the pitch would be shorter than it has been in the past, we agreed. Big mistake.

Today we had our sales pitch. It took two hours. I was told thirty to sixty minutes. Mel tried several times to let our salesperson know we were on a tight schedule and just wanted the updates. The person didn't listen. I could not remain seated and had to take a pain pill because we sat so long. We explained that to him. TWO HOURS later, we walked out of the office with barely more information than we had when we'd gone in, and without being absolutely rude and getting up in the middle and stalking out, we couldn't get away from this person. Mel still hasn't calmed completely down, because he knew I was stressed. What we got from the deal? A crummy update book and $75.00 we weren't willing to work for.

What do you do with pushy salespeople who won't stop talking? How do you kindly remove yourself from them? I would love some suggestions, because my deadline just got tighter.

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 10:56 PM  
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

As you all know, I'm big on fashion. I love clothes and shoes, but more importantly, I love the right clothes and shoes for me. I started a new job last week in a professional building where I must dress business-appropriate. It's been twenty years since I've worked in an office, and since then, hosiery has gone out of style. Women wear bare legs with their dresses. But I don't wear bare legs. I'm over 40 and my legs don't look like Halle Berry's. But I've seen a lot of women with bare legs who have no business wearing that "style." Sometimes, you have to just say no.

My current pet peeve is the strapless wedding gowns. Granted, I'm not a fan regardless, but it was miserable to watch really overweight brides in strapless gowns. Or have their tattoos show down their arms in their strapless gowns -- something not very churchy about that. But I guess they're proud of them. I miss that too, I guess.

What I'm trying to say is just because something is in style, doesn't mean it's for you. YOU have to dress your body for your body type and be realistic with what that means. Is there a style you've rejected on the basis that it didn't work for you?
Kristin  
posted at 6:25 PM  
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Dave and I would do about anything for our kids. We're in AZ right now letting Dave recuperate from his surgery. We got to looking at Kara's bedroom. Right now it's standard issue off white but we're about to help her transform it into a tropical oasis. Her husband Mark is working in Mexico right now and when he comes home on Friday night, he's going to be amazed at what he finds!

I used to sew a lot: quilts, clothing, you name it. Since I started writing, there's been little time for that kind of thing, but we bought fabric and I'm going to make her a couple of duvet covers and some pillows from the fabric we found. And we're about to plunge into painting. Mark will NOT believe it when he gets here.

I love surprising people. The worst thing is keeping it quiet. I'm one of those people who has to buy Christmas gifts at the last minute because I can't stand not to give the gift for very long. I can't keep my mouth shut about it. I'm always eager to see what the recipient thinks of the gift. :)

How about you? Can you keep a surprise a secret for very long? Or are you like me and have to make sure not too long of a time elapses before revealing all?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 11:30 AM  
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

When it comes to selling books, no one knows exactly what kind of marketing and publicity works. One thing everyone agrees on , though . . .

Word of mouth sells.

Got a favorite author or book? Readers are the biggest key to keeping him/her published. I love recommending books because I know the joy of finding a great read, and I want to pass that on to my friends. I've recommended "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers more times than I can count.

The last author I recommended? Our own Colleen Coble--to a new acquaintance I met last week who mentioned her love of suspense. She pulled out a pen and pad and wrote Colleen's name down. One honest recommendation can make two people happy--three, really, because who doesn't love to share a good read?

How do you share your most beloved books or authors, and what's the last book or author you recommended?

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:28 PM  
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Saturday, May 21, 2011
Rachel Overton is the winner of the necklace! Congratulations, Rachel!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:59 AM  
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Thursday, May 19, 2011
I haven't mentioned much about Mel's struggle with burnout, but when you're an ER doc and your hours are switched around against your will and you have to battle drug seekers--who go out on the street and sell those drugs for a living--you burn out fast. Mel has been talking to God about that lately, and his bitterness is getting to him.

I commiserate. I worry about him, and pray that God will give him a break, but lately I'm not as gentle with God as I used to be. We're tired, overwhelmed, disgusted quite often.

Have you ever said something to God and then braced yourself for the lightning to blast you dead? Yeah, well, we've both been there a lot lately. So that's why we were doubly touched by God's gentleness and tender dealings with us.

Two days ago, Mel called me as he always does when he got off work and told me about some of his day. Of course, he never betrays patient confidentiality, but he told me about one young woman who recognized his name when he walked into the exam room. "You're Dr. Hodde?" she asked. "You don't remember me, do you? You saved my life when I was nine. You diagnosed my colon cancer." She hugged him and thanked him again for saving her life.

When he told me about it, I cried. I was so touched. "Honey," I said, "you know God sent her to do that, don't you?" He admitted I was right.

I've found God does that often. When we're at our worst, upset, hurting, burning out, and crying out to Him about it--even when we don't speak with the respect He so abundantly deserves--He answers us with gentleness, with encouragement, with a little taste of the impact our suffering is making on the world.

How about you? Have there been any times when you felt God was going to deal with you harshly, and yet His gentleness touched you in a life-changing way? Share if you care to. I so enjoy hearing about how God touches lives.

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 11:45 PM  
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Maybe you can help me . . . .

I'm so excited. We recently rented a storage unit and I've been able to store boxes of my books there, freeing up a room in our house. I'm now turning that room into a prayer room, complete with trickling fountain (small-sits on a desk), Bible, journal and worship music--(okay, and a few candles, but please don't think I'm a New Ager). :-)

This room is wonderful because I can shut out the critters in our house--a dog and a cat. When I try to pray in the living room--when I kneel by my chair, our dog crawls onto my back and lays down!! I have the picture to prove it, but decided not to share it since it gives an unflattering view of my back side. :-) If I lock the dog out, our cat comes into the room and sits on the chair, meowing.

Anyway, here's my question. I'm not familiar with a lot of the new songs. Just haven't been listening much to the radio. So I'm looking for quiet, worshipful songs. Here's what I have so far:

My Life is in Your Hands
The Potter's Hand
The Prayer
Revelation Song
God with Us
Blessings
Adonai
Held

I LOVE those songs. I play them while I write in my journal and they quiet my heart before the Lord. But I've played them over and over and over. So, if you wouldn't mind sharing, could you tell me some of your favorite worship songs so I can add to my list?

Thank you!

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Diann Hunt  
posted at 10:47 AM  
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Recognize this necklace? It's an exact replica of the one that Harrison had made for Olivia in The Lightkeeper's Ball. Thomas Nelson had one made for me to give away! So comment here and I'll draw a lucky winner's name out of the hat. But make sure to check back on Friday when I announce the winner. If you want to leave your email, that will make matters easier. :)

And I'm celebrating today because the book just hit the CBA bestseller list--number 9!!

Ready, set, GO!

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 1:28 PM  
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Not many of us get this dressed up. We girls only do it once a year at the ACFW Conference. But spring is here and it's time to look at summer clothes. Maybe some capris and cut tops.

I've realized that what a person wears tells a lot about who they are. I use this in my books. Do they wear T-shirt with their jeans or a beaded sweater with glitter? Do they wear heels with their jeans or tennis shoes? Or maybe even cowboy boots? (I've found a new favorite jean too. Not Your Daughter's Jeans. Oh my gosh, they fit like a second skin. LOVE them!)

The book that's coming out next, Lonestar Angel, stars Eden who wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of jeans. She associates jeans with the ones she wore as a kid. They were ripped and too short, and she wants to convey an image that's professional and competent.

So help me out here. What do you wear and what do you think it says about you? I'll go first. Hmm, I wear boot cut jeans because it balances the hip. :) And I wear mules on my feet and not tennis shoes because it makes me look thinner. My height isn't cut off by the blocky tennis shoes. My favorite top is a v-neck with 3/4" sleeves. And as I'm typing all this out, I realize that I don't dress for comfort, I dress to look as thin as possible. Sheesh, until I started this blog, I didn't even realize how much I do this. LOL I think I need therapy.

Your turn. Tell me your favorite outfit and why you like it. What do you think it says about you? And I just might use it in a book. :)

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 5:29 AM  
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Monday, May 16, 2011

This is my beautiful built-in writing desk, complete with family photo, a picture of my GWO friends, and the Thomas Nelson team. Note the inspirational plaque. Note the comfy chair and the tidy storage space. Note the nice laptop setup and the excellent lighting. Is this where I work?
Of course not.

Instead, I've taken over this spot on the end of a couch. My notes are sprawled all over, my pencil falls into the cushions, but nonetheless, it's my writing spot. I didn't choose it; it chose me. It's comfy, it's in the middle of the action and I have my fuzzy blanket nearby for when I'm chilled, which is often. I get to kick my feet up and pretend I'm not working, only daydreaming, and hey, that works for me.

So what's your favorite spot in the house, and why it choose you?









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Denise Hunter  
posted at 11:27 AM  
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Life is about to change for me. I'm going back to work. In a real office job, where I have to wear SHOES. What's that going to be like, I wonder?

The truth is, the years have been turbulent, and my creativity is stifled. I do think getting out into the world will help that. I need to remember how to have a decent conversation again and discover the fun person I used to be. This is the way God has chosen to do it. I'll be honest, I'm scared to death. I haven't worked outside the home for 20 years and I'm starting at the bottom.

I'll still be writing, just not so desperately.

But God brought this job to me, and I feel like He meant for me to take it, or it wouldn't have popped up out of nowhere. So anyone gone back to work and have some sage words of advice for me? I'm all ears!
Kristin  
posted at 1:37 PM  
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I'm no designer. Lately I've been pouring over color combinations because I want to redo my living and dining rooms. I am thinking of doing something with gold and punches of red like The Lightkeeper's Ball. The cover of this book is the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen, but I've been really blessed to have a fabulous team at Thomas Nelson work on my covers. ALL of the Lightkeeper books have had terrific covers. In fact, the first two are finalists for best historical cover over at Cover Cafe. I'd love for you to go vote here!

But back to color in general. I have this great book called Can't Fail Color Schemes by Amy Wax. I got it at Lowe's and it's got terrific inspiration in it. But I'm finding it hard to make up my mind! I have a Victorian with gorgeous red oak woodwork but all the old houses I see have painted woodwork. I love the look of saturated color on the walls against wide white woodwork but it would be sacrilege to paint this gorgeous old woodwork. Any advice for me? I have all the rooms wallpapered right now but I'm tired of it. I want to do something with a mission style and great paint colors.

How about you? Do you have a favorite color scheme? And what colors go great with stained oak?

Don't forget to go vote for your favorite cover!

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:09 AM  
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Sunday, May 08, 2011

The past week I've been going through photos while preparing for Justin's graduation open house. Let me just say, there's nothing like making a graduation picture board to stir up all the memories of yesterdays gone by.

Justin at birth. Justin at 3. Justin without his front tooth. Justin riding a zoo turtle with his cuz.

Those early days are a distant haze, and all that's left are a handful of memories and lots of photos. I loved when he was a newborn, tiny, cuddly, and totally helpless in my arms. I loved when he crawled across the floor, turning to flash me a smile. I loved when he was 5 and said the funniest things. I didn't so much love the 3s, not with any of my boys, but that's another blog.

I have to say, though, much to my surprise, that I have enjoyed the teenage years. Now, it's early days--though Justin is 18, I have a 15 yr-old and a 12 year-old, so please leave me room to change my mind next week.

But, so far? The teen years have been pretty awesome. And yes, Girl Moms, I know it's because they're boys. I consider this relatively peaceful time of life my payoff for the toddler years when I didn't sit down for five years straight.

And even now, I'm not saying there aren't those, um, moments. Yes, there are those. Some of them pretty stressful. But in between the tri-annual Battle for Independence, the Because I Said So Treaty we have in place has been largely effective. Best of all, I enjoy our boys' personalities--and they are each so different! They're old enough to reason with, to have interesting conversations with, and they get our jokes. (Okay, so they roll their eyes, but still.)

True, the worries are bigger, the stakes are higher, and the lack of control will drive you to your knees. But every now and then, when your nearly-grown kid does something that makes you stand a little taller, when you see all your hard work, all the prayers, paying off?

Priceless.

If you're a parent, what's your favorite age or stage (so far)? If you're not a parent, what do you think your favorite stage will be?



Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:28 PM  
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Friday, May 06, 2011
I went house hunting today. Wow. We've lived in the same place for so many years, and all of a sudden we want to move. Mel looked at the sales sheets I collected and wants to go check them out tomorrow. Not sure we will, but we want to.

I need a pool. It's pretty much the best therapy for injured spines, and I found one house with a pool in all my hunting. Unfortunately, it's an outdoor pool, so it wouldn't work for me in winter. And now style is in question. I want something besides the ranch style houses I've lived in most of my life. I want something with more open space, lighter, airier atmosphere, something different, near others who are like me and where I'll feel safe when Mel works at nights. That may be hypocritical for someone writing a series about helping the homeless, but one must be protected as well as kind. Sorry, I'm just going to be hard-nosed about that.

And yet who am I to spend my writing time looking for a new--to me--house when so many others have nothing? Here in our community, we have few homeless, and are shocked when we go to the big city and see so many. Last week, Mel and I saw a homeless man with a shopping cart and a husky dog. That was a special gift for him. That man and his dog will be in a book soon in our series entitled Jolly Mill Secrets, romantic suspense with medical characters--our brand.

I hope my efforts to bring the plight of the homeless to light will be helpful for those who need to know.

Remember, it's not a sin to have a home to live in. I do believe the sin comes in when we never help those without the blessings we've been given financially or materially. The extent to which you give is between you and God.

So...what's your favorite house style? Colleen asked recently, what kind of decor? I think I favor many of those houses at Catalina--ocean style, with the feel of sand and scent of salt in the air just because of the pale and calming colors used to paint. I could use all the help I can get, since I'm not a decorator. Any hints?


Herman Melville once said: "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made of the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed and well-fed." Let's not look down our noses at those who don't have our blessings, but be grateful for what God has given us.

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 1:24 AM  
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Thursday, May 05, 2011


With Mother's Day fast approaching, I thought it would be great to post a line or two of thanks to our mothers--or maybe a line or two of thanks for being a mother. I'll start. :-)

I want to thank my mom for her sacrificial love that changed my world. I want to thank the Lord for the privilege of being a mom to two wonderful kids--now adults (both pictures are them)--and pray that I will be the mother God created me to be.

Your turn . . . .

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Diann Hunt  
posted at 11:20 AM  
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Tuesday, May 03, 2011
I'm addicted to HGTV, and it's not just me. Millions tune in and watch people buy houses, fix up houses, get decorating tips. My favorite is Househunters. Is it because we like a peek at other people's lives or is that we like to imagine ourselves in that position? Whichever it is, that's kind of what we do as readers too. We put ourselves in the homeowners shoes and then take those things we learn and apply them to our lives.

Right now, I'm eyeing my dining and living rooms. I want to strip off the wallpaper and go with paint, even though this old Victorian seemed to cry out for wallpaper. My tastes have changed. I even look at the fabulous red oak woodwork and imagine what the decor would look like painted. But I can't bring myself to commit such sacrilege. LOL But I CAN imagine replacing it with boards I could paint without guilt. :) Not sure what I'm doing to do yet but I want to go with something traditional, just not Victorian. I'm tired of the busyness of Victorian. I even would like to see a gray green on the walls when I've always been a blue and yellow sort of girl.

How about you? Have your tastes changed since you decorated your home? If you could change whatever you wanted in your home, what would it be? And is it a surprise to you that you've changed so much?


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Colleen Coble  
posted at 12:55 PM  
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Monday, May 02, 2011

I knew Nantucket was special from the moment I stepped off the ferry and onto the cobblestone streets. I saw dozens of boats dotting the harbor, their masts poking the sky like skinny white fingers. Beyond them, gray-washed cottages lined the piers and stone-stepped up the hillside.

Nantucket is an enchanted island, a place just made for romantic tales of love--so what was a writer to do but set a series there?

Getting the setting right is critical to telling a good story, and you can't go wrong with a beautiful New England island.What about you? What setting do you think is ideal for a love story?

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Thomas Nelson added beautiful new covers to my Nantucket novels, and I've added content to the stories themselves. In celebration of their re-debut, I'm giving away a complete, signed set!

To enter the drawing, answer this question from my new release "A Cowboy's Touch":
Wade's mysterious past leads Abigail to conduct an investigation of her handsome cowboy boss. Name one of the secrets he's hiding.
Send the correct answer to Denise@DeniseHunterBooks.com by May 15 and you'll be entered in the drawing! Please don't leave the answer as a comment on the blog!


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Denise Hunter  
posted at 8:57 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.

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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