Girls Write Out
Friday, November 30, 2012

It has been brought to my attention in the past few weeks that quite a few employees/coworkers are less than happy about the way they are being treated on the job. Some are sort of calling it a class clash, though to me that's not the proper term, since I've never paid a lot of attention to divisions in class in society. However, those who perform services for others, whether it be cleaning homes, doing clerical work, building a structure, or treating patients in some capacity, feel somewhat less than appreciated by employers-upper management, or colleagues.

I'm not talking about cash flow so much as respect for the job done. For instance, a nurse may bust her buns taking extra special care of her patients, treat THEM with kindness and respect, and then receive a nasty little phone call from her director because she didn't run enough people through quickly enough. A personal assistant may go far beyond her job requirements to complete a months-long task, and someone else may take the credit for a job well done. A person may volunteer a great deal of her time providing a service for someone, and not receive the thanks they need. And speaking as a writer--though not my personal experience--a novelist may feel underpaid, disrespected for the work they do, sneered at by agents or editors.

I have found myself in this situation in the past. It's been awhile, since right now, I'm just happy to be able to keep my head above water and complete my publishing contract. I do know my editors do a lot of things right. Not only do they let me know as soon as they receive my completed manuscript--usually within hours or even minutes--but when they edit, they spend pages of kudos about what I've done right before they reach the nitty-gritty part about what can be improved, then they end the edit with more encouragement. They are a dream team. That hasn't always been the case for me.

If you've ever been mistreated by someone you've worked for, or with, what would you have that person do differently next time? More income is the typical reply, but what about other things? Would you be happy if they sent flowers? Called with thanks? Sent you a card? Publicly recognized you?

Have you ever been treated extremely well? How was that achieved? Sometimes I think it helps if we speak up and let those to whom we provide services know what it is we would like from them in terms of respect. Any thoughts?

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 8:36 AM  
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Thursday, November 29, 2012
I'm not reading a lot these days. Just don't have the concentration level for it. But I CAN read to my five-year-old grandson. This week I read to him, "Llama, Llama, Red Pajama."

Now if you have never read that children's book, I suggest you run out right this minute and get it. And no, I have no connection with the author whatsoever. Don't even know her. But that book is so doggone cute!!

Maybe it's the way my grandson reads it with me. We've read it so many times, he knows practically each page by heart. And I always get a hug and kiss at the end. Sigh. Priceless!

So when is the last time you read a book to a little one? It stimulates their imaginations and opens whole new worlds to them--just the way books do with us!

With Christmas fast approaching, I highly encourage you to grab a book and find a tiny tot to share it with.

While we're on the subject, do you have any special books from your childhood memories that someone read to you? What are they? Or maybe you have favorite children books right now that you read to your children/grandchildren.  I know Colleen has a new children's book coming out next summer! Be sure to check it out!

This is a great time of year for bedtime stories!

Happy Reading!

P.S. Special thanks to The Clik Chick Photography for the adorable picture of my grandson! :-)
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:21 AM  
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
It's that time of year again.  When Diann breaks out the Christmas music and the rest of us head for the stores to shop.  I don't know about your family, but mine really needs nothing.  And even the kids seem to understand this. I think Americans are finding out how shallow "stuff" can be and really yearning for the days when connection and family intimacy was the important part of celebrating Jesus' B-day.

It's so easy in our culture to forget the reason for the season and I wonder what you as a family do to keep Jesus central to your celebrations?

posted at 3:20 PM  
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012


We are in the middle of a major renovation of our bathroom. This means no shower because the other bathroom has only a clawfoot bathtub. But it's going to be really great when it's done. We removed a window so we could position the shower at the end of the room. The shower is cast marble and gorgeous. It's gray and white marble, so very classic since we have a Victorian home. I'll post pics when it's done. 

In honor of this reno, I'm going to give you a tip on how to strip wallpaper, since as you can see, stripping wallpaper is in my immediate future. :) I take a paper tiger and score the wallpaper. Then I spray down the wall with DIF. I mix the solution up in one of those spray tanks you can use for pest spray, etc. The kind with the pump at the top. After I spray it down, I wait 10 minutes, then spray again. Wait another 10 minutes and spray again. After the 3rd spray, I wait about 5 minutes then get my putty knife out and wallpaper practically falls down. Spraying once doesn't do the trick. This really works great!

Now back to the bathroom. I would love some advice on color. It has to go with the gray and white marble. The floors are gray porcelain tile. What color would you paint it? 

Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:20 AM  
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Monday, November 26, 2012
Happy Cyber Monday! If you didn't spend enough on Friday, today's your day to do some damage. Personally, I do as much Christmas shopping online as I can since I:

1. Don't like to shop and
2. Don't like to shop with hordes of angry, selfish, crazy people.

What percentage of your shopping do you do online? It's about 50-50 for me, but I don't necessarily do my online shopping on Cyber Monday. Are there great deals out there I don't know about? I'm open to changing my methods if I'm missing out on something good, so share if you know.

Meanwhile, I'd just like to leave you with one final thought on Christmas gifts: Buy a book, feed an author. :-)
Denise Hunter  
posted at 6:37 AM  
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
As writers, we have our "brand" and we have books that we are simply called to write.  This new ebook is one of those books for me.  It comes out of a love and empathy for women who have gone through the nightmare of divorce and have had to search for their place in the church following the aftermath.

It also takes on the issue of narcissism in the church -- which shouldn't even be a phrase, but narcissism is everywhere and as Christians, we are often too trusting of people who SAY one thing while they don't have the actions to back it up.  If that's of interest to you, here's the link.


Divorce is never a good thing, but we need to have compassion and empathy for our fellow Christians who suffer the results.  No one is without sin.  Sometimes we forget that.

posted at 11:42 AM  
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

SilentNight 195x300

I'm soo excited that Silent Night, a Rock Harbor Christmas Novella, releases today! It's a digital only edition. It was so fun to go back to Rock Harbor, and I know the characters and setting so well it practically wrote itself. The story takes place right after Cry in the Night ends so you'll be able to fill in the pieces between that story and Tidewater Inn. Here are the links to check it out: Kindle Barnes and Noble. Isn't the cover gorgeous?

Some readers have been voicing their disappointment that it's digital only, so I thought I'd see what you all think. Do you have an e-reader or will you need to download it to a Kindle or Nook app on your computer to read it? What do you think of the whole digital revolution? Are you onboard enthusiastically or dragging your feet? LOL 

I dug my heels in for a while. I finally got a Kindle two years ago, then also purchased a Nook about six months ago. I like the screen on the Nook the best, but I like going to the next page with the Kindle best. Not crazy about the tapping on the Nook. With the Kindle, I can rest my thumb on the button and just press when it's time to go to the next page. I'm hoping Nook comes out with a button version at some point, but it's probably a vain hope. Most people like the touchscreen but I'm not a big fan when it comes to the e-reader. I think I'm the minority there though. 

So let me know what you think about digital books. Fun topic!

Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:26 AM  
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SilentNight 195x300

Did you know there's a new Rock Harbor digital novella releasing in a week?!! I'm so excited the time is almost here to see what you think about Silent Night. It was incredibly fun for me to go back to Rock Harbor. In fact, that story almost wrote itself. This has been a year of immersion back in Rock Harbor. Thomas Nelson is bringing out new covers for all the books, I wrote the new novella, and my friend Robin Caroll and I are working on a series for middle grade readers set in Rock Harbor (think Harry Potter as far as age group--so Rock Harbor fans will want to read it for sure too.) It's titled Rock Harbor Search and Rescue, and it features Emily, the girl lost in the woods with her brother in Without a Trace. Of course Bree and Samson are in it too!

Here's the link for Silent Night at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. And even if you don't have an e-reader, you can download a free computer version of the Kindle or Nook to your computer and read it there. Let me know what you think after you read it! 

So that brings me to my question of the day. Is there a particular series you'd really love to see more of? I'm planning a trip to Nashville in 3 weeks to discuss future projects. I've got some new series ideas, but if there's a hue and cry for something from an existing series, I'd love to hear it. :)

One idea I have is to take the young girl from the Mercy Falls series (her mother had tuberculosis, just to jog your memory) and put her into service at one of the Great Camps in the Adirondacks. Like maybe Sagamore. It would be a sort of American version of Downtown Abbey. :) And I thought it might be fun to bridge one series into another. 

And I have some ideas for a new contemporary series too. Do you read both my historical and contemporary series or do you have a preference? Would love to get your feedback!

Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:57 AM  
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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Releasing June 4,  2013
I just had to share the cover of my next release! It's my fav cover ever, and I'm so thankful to Kristen Vasgaard from Thomas Nelson for designing it.

It has all the things I look for when I'm choosing a book to read.

1. A clear indicator of a romantic thread

2. A beautiful image with a focal point and blurry background

3. The hero and heroine, but no faces showing

I'm also a fan of water on the cover, and I love the light bubbles on this one.

What catches your eye when you're looking for a good read? Are there certain images, colors, or designs that call out to you?

What are some of your favorite covers?
Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:24 PM  
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Lately, many of us have been agonizing as we've watched friends, family and fellow Americans suffering from illness, loss of jobs, loss of homes and more. My traditional publisher, the Christian branch of Harlequin, is in New York City, where they've been out of electricity in the home office after Super Storm Sandy hit them. I'm worried about my friends who work there. Thousands in the city are being helped by Samaritan's Purse. Now run by Franklin Graham, Samaritan's Purse has been helping people after storms since the 70s. After our town was wiped out in 2004, Samaritan's Purse was one of the first aid groups to arrive with food, physical aid, counseling. So here's how I'm going to help.

You might have seen an announcement on Facebook about an auction being conducted called Write Now Relief. Spread the word that for those who are looking for someone to critique fifty pages of their work, they can make a bid for me to critique those pages here on this blogsite. Just place your bid in the comments section. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so if the bid goes low, and all I'm earning is ten dollars to help New York City, that won't go far, and neither will I ;-) In fact I'll outbid that to keep from doing the work. A good, substantive critique is hard work; I know this because I've been doing it for nearly thirty years.

The highest bidder for my services will send that bid donation to Samaritan's Purse and an emailed copy of the receipt to me with 50 pages for me to critique. We're beginning this Friday, November 9, and ending the bids on November 16, midnight, Eastern Standard Time. Monitor the comments section on this blog closely through the 16th so that you can re-bid when necessary. If it helps you to know what you're getting, I've always been told by my editors that I typically turn in clean copy--meaning I've already edited myself to death. Though it's hard work, I love editing. If you want an honest appraisal of your work, you'll get that, but tell me what kind of edit you want before you send your pages. And remember, highest bidder wins. The main Facebook page tells us that one blogger last week had a top donation of $1,000 for a 50-page critique.

You may find out more about Samaritan's Purse at

If you simply want to donate to Samaritan's Purse and leave me out of it, feel free to do that, as well! The webpage on Sandy is

I hope you find this worth your while. I know a lot of New Yorkers who will thank you in heaven.

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 8:38 PM  
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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Friends, please continue to pray for Di. She's been admitted to the hospital through Monday when Jim plans to take her to the Cancer Treatment Center. The vomiting and nausea has been unrelenting even with hydration and anti nausea meds. It's been a very rough week, and we so covet your prayers for her. While the lymphoma in her stomach is not life threatening, meaning it's not going to spread, that kind of constant vomiting and it's unbelievably hard to go through. 

Thanks for praying--you're the best!

Colleen Coble  
posted at 12:24 PM  
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Friday, November 02, 2012
Girls, would you please pray for our beloved Diann this weekend? She's not doing well physically, and last I heard she was very ill in the emergency department, asking for prayer. I've seen her struggle, not only with lymphoma, which has returned after several years, but also with this latest ovarian cancer that has been aggressive and ugly beyond belief. Diann has turned everything over to Jesus and she's growing spiritually in a way that not only reveals her faith more dynamically, but also supports my faith and that of many others. If you hadn't already seen it, she began a blog in which she shares passages from the Bible and her own words of wisdom that are powerful and beautiful, just like she is.

So pray for Diann as you've never prayed before. As Jan Karon writes in many of her novels, pray the prayer that God always answers--that His will be done. We want her here with us. She has children and grandchildren, a loving husband and many, many loving friends, and she lifts us up and shares her grace with us. We feel we need her here. But we don't want her suffering like this. Let God reign.

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 6:50 PM  
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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

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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