Wednesday, February 29, 2012
It's funny to me how I'm attracted to certain things without understanding why. My love affair for Bath started with my love of Jane Austen in high school, and I knew I had to go there. My husband was working, so I got to tour the city all by myself. Which was actually better for me because I didn't have to explain things. LOL I didn't have to say, "Oh this is where Captain Wentworth met up with Anne..."
Anyway, I've been fascinated with the Texas Longhorn symbol. I thought maybe my son might go there. He loves Texas and his affinity is for the Alamo (And England, he'd love to live there too.) But he's applying for colleges, and I said he had to apply to be a Longhorn. My friend who is a high school counselor told me, I might as well put him in Stanford. Which means, it's too hard and expensive to get in, so probably not worth our time.
Luckily, I called him from my layover in Texas and told him, "I got my Longhorn shirt. You can go where you want now."
Are there places you are drawn to and you can't explain? I don't think it's a writer thing because my son is no writer.
posted at 9:54 AM
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
First of all, please pray for our Diann! She is in the hospital and has sepsis and probably pneumonia. Her platelets are down too and she's going to have to have a blood transfusion. She's very sick so we would SO covet your prayers for her!
We're in Hawaii so for inspiration I'm posting the cover of the first book in the Aloha Reef series. :) And here is the link to read Black Sands for free! We just spent 2 days on Maui, 6 days on Big Island, but now we've come "home" to Kauai. We so love this island and this house we rented just felt like ours the second we walked in the door. If we had an extra million in our bank account, we'd buy it. LOL http://findinghawaii.com/pics/Kauai/Koloa/Poipu/mls-number/244244. If you're coming to Kauai, I highly recommend it. The rental page is here: http://www.vrbo.com/379263?cid=E_OWNERINQUIRY_DB_O_20111028_propertyurl_text_LPROP#utm_source=O_DB&utm_campaign=E_OWNERINQUIRY_DB_O_20111028_propertyurl_text_LPROP&utm_medium=email&utm_content=propertyurl_text_LPROP&utm_term=
This is the longest time we've spent here, and I decided to come prepared with my Kindle fully loaded with lots of books. So I thought I'd share what's on my Kindle and see if you have some great new books you've read that you'd like to recommend to me.
Here's my favorite. Karen White's The Beach House. Oh my goodness, that girl can write! I was totally immersed in the novel. I devoured it on the trip over from Phoenix.
I'm always reading on health issues and just read Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Body. Super interesting so far but I'm only in a little way. I've started having cinnamon in my coffee.
Pompei by TL Higley.
A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow. Love her mysteries set in Alaska!
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (I so love Downton Abbey and wanted more of the same. So far it's not great, not up to Downton Abbey.)
The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
Alone by Lisa Gardner
A Taste of Heaven: Worship in the Light of Eternity by R.C. Sproul
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Okay I admit I've read this many times but was in the mood to reread it. :)
Fox's Book of Martyrs
So what about you? What's on your Kindle or in your stack beside your chair? What have you read lately that you just love?
Labels: To Be Read
posted at 3:04 AM
Sunday, February 26, 2012
After months of collaboration and writing, this week we're finally turning in Secretly Smitten
, the second in the Smitten series. A long held secret is about to rattle the townsfolk in the most romantic town in America!
To celebrate the completion of Secretly Smitten
, I'm giving away 3 copies of Smitten
, signed by all four of us.
Here's how to enter:
1. Since Smitten features 4 best friends, leave a comment telling us what you love about your best friend, past or present. Be sure and tell them you tooted their horn at GWO!
2. Leave your email address.
Three random winners will be chosen Tuesday (2/28/12).
To learn more about Smitten
, visit our website at www.SmittenVermont.com
You'll find recipes, author interviews, and even a love song written just for the book!
Labels: book giveaway, romance novels, Smitten
posted at 10:33 PM
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Once I went to see a comedian and she talked about returning from the road and how she had to tell herself, Kiss the boyfriend first, kiss the boyfriend first.
Non-dog owners do not understand this, I'm sure. But there is nothing closer to the physical expression of love of God than a dog. When you enter the room, it's like they brighten and the world changes for them. Imagine if you could have this kind of effect on everyone, and if you walked out the door for ten minutes, they treated you like you'd been gone for an eternity? Wouldn't that be lovely?
This morning, Elle and I took Fiona to get groomed. There was an ad on the door for Martha Stewart Brand products now at Petsmart. I don't know if Martha is a dog person, but my guess, by the uncomfortable shot of her and a perfect-looking canine, is no. And with all her millions, I found myself feeling sorry for her. How can you not allow a dog to love you?
My daughter is writing a paper for school on why dogs are better than cats. She has a debate in class.To a dog person, this almost seems a ridiculous concept to debate such a thing. But I suppose cat people feel the same. Although when is the last time a cat nearly knocked you over with their loving zeal?
Do you have a pet? How do they add to your life? Besides the seven years we apparently get according to statistics.
So I'm leaving for Florida and I'm so exhausted, I'm looking forward to the long plane ride and sleep. It's been a long couple of weeks, but as I come back, I will have to recite the mantra, kiss the kids first. Kiss the kids first! It's kind of hard to remember that when they don't look up from video games or their manga as you enter the room.
Labels: A Mother's Love, dogs, pets, zeal
posted at 2:56 PM
Sunday, February 19, 2012
It all started with Colleen. (Oh, if I had a dime for every time I've said that.) She was raving about it. Then a few days later, people on my writer's loop were raving about it. When someone at my publisher started talking about it, I knew I had to give it a try.
"It" is Downton Abbey, a PBS series/drama about a wealthy family and their servants set in turn-of-the-century England. The writing is splendid, the characters engaging, and the cinematography beautiful. I began watching online to catch up--it's on season 3 on TV. One season, and I was hooked.
I should warn you, watching a whole season in one weekend will add an English accent to all your inner dialogue. If you're willing to risk that (and who isn't, given the lovely sound of the English accent?), go ahead and dive into this engaging saga. Just make sure you clear your calendar because you won't want to stop! Check it out here
Labels: Downton Abbey
posted at 9:32 PM
Thursday, February 16, 2012
I must admit, while I love Downton Abbey, I do not get why it is so popular compared to all the other fabulous offerings over the years from the BBC. Today, I am looking for inspiration and where else does one go but the master? Jane Austen. While Di and I disagree on the versions, I personally will never love another Darcy as I do Colin Firth. It took a while. Because I did not consider him dark like DARCY means and the first BBC Darcy (David Rintoul) embodied. But as time wore on, Colin quickly wore me down. He conveys so much in a look and it's true to the book. The depth of character in both Darcy and Miss Eliza Bennet is best conveyed in this complicated first proposal. The subtext is brilliant, no?
So I must share what has inspired me for years. What makes Downton possible and what has to be the quickest eight hours of quality television I've ever enjoyed. Again and again and again.
Labels: BBC, Colin Firth, Darcy, Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice
posted at 4:20 PM
This is my son and his daughter. They are getting ready to leave for a Daddy-Daughter Dance that his community puts on every year. I think this is the third year he has taken her.
My daughter-in-law said Abby (their daughter) was so excited to go out with her daddy. It just melts my heart that they have this special time together.
When our daughter was little and even to this day, my husband would take her out on little "dates." She'd get ready and they'd go out to eat or to one of her favorite shopping spots. He doesn't do it as often now that she's married, of course, but they still have one-on-one time now and then. I'd do the same with our children.
Our daughter and son and their spouses now do that with their kids. They take them for one-on-one time together. A coke, a trip to Burger King, whatever. It doesn't have to be a big thing. The important thing is you're spending face time together.
The moments are fleeting and these memory-makers are such a wonderful part of who we are. In today's world, we are so caught up with technology, it's hard sometimes to make room for the real contacts. And we are the ones who suffer from it.
I never had those one-on-one times with my dad, but I have special memories of times together (Sunday afternoon drives as a family). Sometimes we have good family memories, and sometimes we don't. We can't change the past, but we can make a difference in our own families by remembering how important time together can be.
So go ahead and take your kid out for an ice cream or go to a movie together. It could leave a lasting memory.
Maybe you have a special memory you'd like to share?
Labels: face time, memories, sharing
posted at 9:57 AM
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Today is Valentine's Day and the world is talking about romance, but it's a romance that is all about gifts like flowers, chocolate and jewelry. Now I'm a big fan of all those things (especially chocolate!) but the greatest romance of all is the one between us and God. He loved us so much that he gave everything for us. To me, that is real romance and love. Giving of yourself and all that you have to the ones you love.
Dave and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in October and I've been so fortunate that my Dave knows what real love and romance is. If you look at a description of commitment and love, you'd see Dave's picture. :) He shows his love in a myriad of ways: doing the laundry when I'm on deadline and running out to get dinner, handing me the remote without complaint when Downton Abbey is on, sneaking out to get me a special card when I have no idea he's doing it, fixing my coffee in the morning when he doesn't even drink coffee. It's all the small things he does every day to show me he loves and treasures me.
So how about you? What are some of the ways the person you love most in the world shows you how much they care? It could be your spouse, your mother or father, a sibling, your best friend or anyone else in your life. What are ways YOU can show that person how special they are to you?
Labels: love, romance
posted at 10:32 AM
Sunday, February 12, 2012
My love affair with sprinkles began, like most people, when I was a child. I think it's one of those things you're supposed to outgrow, but it never happened for me. I have no idea what the they're made of, but we all need a little rainbow, crunchy happiness in our lives, don't we?
I still love candy too, but maturity prevents me from indulging in a Kit Kat fest--most of the time. Don't even get me started on the Peeps and Candy Corn.
And then there's Valentines Day. I can hardly forget it since it's tomorrow. I've forbidden Kevin from buying me chocolate, but I did buy it for my sons, and we all know what will happen when the kids go to bed, right? Or maybe it's just me.
What does your Valentine get you for V-Day?
Labels: Valentines Day
posted at 9:34 PM
Thursday, February 09, 2012
I don' have a picture for today. In fact, I was going to write a completely different blog, but I don't know how to download pictures from my iPhone to my computer.
Which brings me to my question. How do you manage all that you do and still find time to learn how to use an iPhone, iPad, make blog pages, website pages, answer facebook and twitter?!! It soooooo overwhelms me to learn all this techno stuff. I just don't even know where to begin most of the time.
My husband is the only reason I'm able to email. Colleen helps me with my website. I must have missed something when the technologically side of my brain was formed.
Please tell me I'm not alone? How do you do it all? Where do you go for help?
Labels: computer; iPhone, iPad, technology, website
posted at 11:10 AM
Monday, February 06, 2012
We're in Phoenix at our daughter's house right now for the winter. January to April was the plan. But I'd also hoped the kids would be able to fly out here to visit us midway through. We found out that isn't going to happen, so guess what? We're flying home for 4 days on Thursday. :) I can't do without those tight little hugs around my neck and those special kisses from my Punky. I always knew I would dearly love my grandchildren, but I had no idea just HOW MUCH.
This has gotten me thinking about my books and character motivation. If I told someone we'd bought two tickets to fly home for four days to see our granddaughter when we'd be back home for the rest of the year by the first of April, they might think I was crazy. The thing with a story is that you have to suspend disbelief. So the trick in a novel is to make the reader understand the motivation behind their decisions. For example, in Blue Moon Promise, Lucy is the guardian of her two siblings. Nate's father tells her he wants her to marry his son by proxy. She's never laid eyes on him. What could possibly motivate a woman to do such a thing? Here are Lucy's reasons: she's lost her job, she's being stalked by an unknown enemy, she has no money to feed her siblings, and her landlord is evicting her and selling the property. I'd say she has pretty substantial motivation to escape the situation. She might land in something even worse so it's a gamble. But she feels she has no choice.
But I'd love to talk about what motivates us to do what we do? I'll go first with this upcoming trip: Alexa misses us and has been crying for her Mimi and Poppy, (that's enough motivation right there) we miss Dave and Donna and they need some help from their father because none of the boys's cars are running, and the kids miss us.
What was the last decision you made that might seem irrational to outsiders and why did you do it? Warning--I just might use it in a book! :)
Labels: goal and motivation
posted at 10:23 PM
Let me just be frank here. I couldn't have cared less about the Super Bowl outcome. I was in it for the commercials. And the Indiana pride.
Our family scooted down to Indy this weekend to enjoy the Super Bowl festivities (minus the Super Bowl). We met Justin there, so it was a win all the way around. Indy did a fabulous job with the Super Bowl Village--though of course, I have no previous experiences to compare it to.
Now on to the commercials. Not as funny as some SBs in the past, in my opinion. There were naked M&Ms, pretty funny, a moonwalking dog, chimpanzees, and polar bears. My favs were the Doritos commercials: "You didn't see nuthin'" (my apologies to cat owners) and baby bungee--because I have remember what it was like to have an obnoxious older brother.
Detroit scored with another poignant commercial. None of the movie trailers targeted females, certainly not me. Wasn't sure what to think about the apocalypse/Twinkie one.
Nostalgia winner, hands down, goes to the Ferris Bueller spoof. Even funnier because my kids didn't get it.
What were your favs?
posted at 9:01 AM
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Just a quick note to let our GWO friends know that "Smitten" is on Nook and Kindle for 3.49 today only! Yes, Super Bowl Sunday.
It's normally $15.99, so that's a huge savings, a big percent off (but don't make me do the math).
"Smitten" on Nook
"Smitten" on Kindle
posted at 2:37 PM
Thursday, February 02, 2012
I want to talk about the spiritual journey of our characters in our stories. I'm not an expert on this, but I want to share with you how I come up with mine.
First of all, let me say that to give your story a faith thread takes more than an occasional Scripture or prayer thrown in. I think of how God is in my life--constant. I speak to Him throughout the day, read His Word for direction, all that.
Some authors may come up with the spiritual theme first. I like for it to arise out of my plot line. Once I see what my characters are dealing with, I can figure out the theme. Many times, my characters go through lessons that I'm learning. In "Hot Flashes & Cold Cream," my character was dealing with hormonal issues (menopause). So aside from the physical issues (hot flashes, weight gain, etc.), she was dealing with attitudes from the devil. LOL! I knew exactly what my character was going through, because I was going through them!
Maggie's (the main character) spiritual journey was to trust God through the difficulties of life. Take them to the Lord. Regardless of how you "feel," He will see you through.
I don't want my characters to just be Sunday-go-to-meeting Christians, but rather, I want them to walk with God daily. Their warts will show and His grace will shine. It's a wonderful journey.
That's just one way. Maybe you have a different way of figuring out the spiritual theme of the story. What's your way?
Labels: characters, plot line, spiritual journey, story
posted at 10:18 AM
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
If you've lived any amount of time, hopefully, you've seen your friends (and yourself) grow in character. As writers, we must always consider what our character's arc will be. How they will grow and become a better person. Character is often forged in tragedy. As I was watching "Hoarders" last night, I thought how incredible it is that some people who are raised so abysmally can go on to do great things and overcome their struggles. And some people can turn all that tragedy inward and self-loathe until their house becomes a garbage dump and everyone who ever loved them, leaves.
It is so tragic when people don't overcome their circumstances -- a waste if you will. I think that's why I'm so attracted to really strong characters who take longer to get the message. I mean, I admire Job, but I get King David easier. David was a stubborn character. I mean, God was there for him. God delivered him, but when faced with the beautiful Bathsheba, God forgot about those times. Isn't that the beauty of grace though? It's why I love the Gospel message because nothing can separate us from the love of God.
In today's economy, people are really struggling and we can have so little grace for one another, but if we're on God's character arc, we get to keep trying. I have friends who are really religious, go to church every week, teach Sunday school, etc, but in 20 years, i can't say I've seen any character growth. (God is their judge, not me, I'm just saying from the outside looking in.) And yet, at the same time, I've watched friends go through alcoholism, divorce, church splits and addiction to become better people. Children of God who get why they need Christ.
What kind of Character arcs do you enjoy? Is David too up and down for you? Is Jonah too depressing? What kind of characters either in the Bible or in a book give you encouragement?
One of my favorites is Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" -- not remotely perfect, but better. Sometimes, that's as good as it gets.
Labels: character arc, growth
posted at 7:30 PM