Monday, November 02, 2009

(Dallas, Texas)- There's nothing better than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee--and there's no better book than the Bible. Sandra Glahn continues her series of Coffee Cup Bible Studies, presenting Kona with Jonah and Frappe with Philippians. Using creative teaching resources, including the Internet, art, online study groups and more, Glahn provides a special blend of bold and flavorful experiences that will bring participants back for a second cup of God's Word.

Kona with Jonah begins with a brief history of Jonah and Ninevah. Merging historical event with current modern day practicality, Glahn invites readers to take a walk in Jonah's sandals. Coffee sippers will find it hard to escape the similarities as these two worlds collide. Prayer, mercy, city revival and other strong themes will perk the interest and heart of diligent students.

Frappé with Philippians brews for five weeks of strong, powerful conversation about Paul and the heroes of the Philippian church. With detailed study time spent examining the letters of Paul to the Church, readers will come away feeling like they have met with the man himself. With sections entitled "That God Will Get me Out of Here, and Other Prayer Requests Paul Doesn't Make," Glahn keeps the tone of the study light, without disrespecting the seriousness of the study of God's Word.

A Chat Over Coffee w/ Sandra

Women who typically feel they don't have the time to do Bible Study find your studies relevant and easy to use. What's the secret to making the study inviting?

I don't know if there's one secret. Different things appeal to different people. But I do know that with my own personal Bible study time, I've been able to stay fairly consistent Monday through Friday when my daughter is at school. But on the weekends everything changes in our household. Sometimes we travel. Or we sleep later on Saturday. And we rise and go to church on Sunday. Result: my routine gets disrupted. For this reason I often have a more difficult time doing Bible study on the weekends. So I designed the series for Monday-through-Friday study with only short devotional readings on the weekends. The weekday time can require twenty minutes or more; the weekend readings take less than five minutes.

I think the studies also appeal to the right-brained person. As an artsy type, I sometimes engage more with the Bible if I can write out a prayer, draw, view a related video, compose a story, sing a song... And I wrote this series with that person in mind. The devotionals are also full of stories, which most of us love to hear.

In addition (and this is probably the main reason), when I was working full-time, I wanted a study I could stash in my purse without having to lug a Bible and a commentary. I wanted to use my lunch break for a quiet time without parading my resources in front of people. And I think it helps that the Coffee Cup series books don't look like typical Bible studies; they're all-inclusive (text, commentary, questions included); they're small enough to throw in a briefcase or diaper bag; and they're both spiral and bound--making it easier to use on a treadmill or fold in the lap and write on while sitting. In short they're designed for the multi-tasker. I heard from an ob-gyn who uses them as she's sitting in the doctors' lounge waiting for babies to arrive.

And one more thing--I also include a prayer at the end. I heard from an eighty-something man who told me how much those prayers meant. All his life he had struggled with prayer, and that guidance helped him respond to God. I'm glad that a series directed to women didn't scare him off!

In Jonah with Kona, what do you hope participants will take away and apply to their own lives?

We tend to like our own causes best; we like our own country best; we like our denomination best; we like our own families best; we prefer the schools we attended, the neighborhoods where we grew up, our own political party or cause, our gender--even our brand of peanut butter. And somewhere along the way we cross the line from preference to prejudice. We pray for our loved ones but rarely, if ever, our enemies. Mention atheists, opposing politicians, humanists, materialists, homosexuals, and radical feminists in most churches today, and the response you'll evoke will sound nothing like, "Let's pray right now for God to pour out his love."

Genesis tells us that humans are fellow creations of one maker. The qualities of God that so angered Jonah are the very qualities we most need: grace, compassion, patience, mercy, abundant love, and truth. And not just for those we love--but for those we hate. For those who have wronged us. For those who want us dead. For those with whom we strongly disagree. The only possible way we can demonstrate such remarkable goodness is through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The focus of Frappé with Philippians is the life of Paul and the early church. What kind of historical research did you do and did you learn any surprising facts as you compiled your information?

I think it's enormously important to understand the world in which Paul was writing. Let's take the view of women, for example. The Jews were the most conservative. The Greeks were better, though greatly influenced by Aristotle's low view of women. And the Roman women had the most freedom--even owning property and supervising gymnasiums. Knowing a city's predominant citizenship helps us understand Paul's letters on such issues.
My PhD work relates a lot to the Greek pantheon and Greek and Roman history. The historical backgrounds for the Bible books are essential, and fortunately they interest me.

I also love getting a sense of the geography, if I can. I had the advantage this summer of taking a clipper to follow the journeys of Paul. Some of our stops included Corinth, Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, and Athens.

One sentence out of the mouth of a guide in Corinth really stuck with me, as she provided a key to understanding the cities we visited. She mentioned that while American visitors seem generally uninterested in talk of gods and goddesses, knowing which member of the Greek pantheon a city worshiped is essential to understanding that city's mentality. The more I thought about this, the more sense it made:

ATHENS. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, so citizens of Athens wanted their city to reflect culture, religion, and philosophy. And sure enough, in Acts 17 we find Stoic and Epicurean philosophers hanging out at the Areopagus (Mars Hill). Paul affirms them for being religious, and rather than dissing their many false gods, he zeroes in on their altar to the unknown God and tells them about this Almighty one who was not made with hands--One who is never far from any of us.

CORINTH. Corinth was the home of Aphrodite, goddess of love (and not the agape version). Behind the city ruins stands a towering hill at the top of which sat Aphrodite's temple. One could not walk down the street without being conscious of its prominence. Might that explain why the Corinthians had so many issues with sexual immorality, and why Paul tells them that it's good for a man not to touch a woman (1 Cor. 7:1)? For the sake of the kingdom, he encourages them to consider embracing sexual abstinence rather than marrying. How fitting that in a city that prides itself on being a center of love, Paul pens the beautiful definition of true love--known to us as the love chapter (1 Cor. 13).

EPHESUS. Ephesus was home to the virgin Artemis who loved her virgin status and was immune to Aphrodite's love arrows. Among other things, Artemis was the goddess of the hunt. If you take a close look at the Artemis statues from the first and second centuries, you find her legs covered with numerous animals and flanked by a couple of deer. Now, usually we think of women as gatherers and men as hunters. And the fact that Artemis was a hunter suggests she had a less-than-feminine persona. In Ephesus we find stone work with the Amazon story (these women were way independent!), and guides tell visitors that the city was founded by an Amazon queen. The Book of Ephesians was probably intended for more than one city (like Laodicea), so we don't find much that points to a specific city's mentality in that book. But we do find 1 Timothy directed to Paul's protégé in Ephesus, and in it we find an emphasis on widows, women teaching false doctrines, and the need to marry and have children.

When reading the New Testament, I think it's important to find out something of its geography and certainly what member of the Greek pantheon each book's readers were up against. How its authors approached the cities' demons can provide insight for us into engaging a culture that's in love with worldly wisdom, immorality, and a low view of family.

Sandra Glahn, Th.M., is adjunct professor, Christian Education and Pastoral Ministries, at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), her alma mater. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Aesthetic Studies (Arts and Humanities) at the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition she serves on the board of the Evangelical Press Association, the advisory board of Hannah's Prayer, and the women's executive committee for Sandra is editor in chief of Dallas Seminary's award-winning quarterly magazine, Kindred Spirit.

Her books include The Coffee Cup Bible Study series and the medical suspense thriller, Informed Consent (Cook). Ms. Glahn has also coauthored seven books and she has contributed to several additional works, including Genetic Engineering: A Christian Response (Kregel); and The Making of a Mentor (Authentic). Sandra has appeared on the 700 Club, Ivanhoe Productions' "Smart Woman" television broadcasts, Family Life Today, At Home Live television, Janet Parshall's America, and in other national media. She and her husband, Gary, have been married twenty-nine years and have a daughter who joined their family through adoption.

Creative Ways to Have Girlfriend Bible Studies

· Get ripped with Ruth. Meet at the health club and walk side-by-side on the treadmill with your BFF. The study's spiral binding and modest size lends itself to being stashed in a gym bag. You won't even have to pack your Bible. The text is included.

· Inhale the aroma of java as you enter your favorite coffee shop. Order yourself a cappuccino, and then hang out around the table with friends discussing Colossians.

· For your friend's birthday, give her chocolate-covered coffee beans and a Coffee Cup Bible study. Promise her an hour every week of your time for building your friendship on what lasts.

· Invite the person who does your nails to consider the words of Jesus. Provide a copy of Mocha on the Mount, and every time you're together discuss what you're both learning as you go through it.

· Schedule an extended "Spiritual Spa Day" together by watching and discussing a movie about Esther as you kick off bi-weekly meetings around your kitchen table. Contemplate what the Hadassah spa-Esther's year of beauty treatments-must have been like. Then consider the part of her beauty that was deeper than skin.

 You don't have to sip your cuppa joe in a shop that starts with an "S." Grab some colleagues and organize a small group study. You can nurse your favorite beverage in the company cafeteria, the hospital coffee shop-even your local McDonald's.

· Brew a pot of coffee in your church kitchen and meet one evening per week with members of your congregation. Engage in a lively discussion about Deborah, Jael, and Samson's mother as you go through Java with the Judges.


One fortune blogger from each participating blog will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a coffee themed tote bag, twelve oz of Starbucks Sumatra and signed copies for Kona with Jonah and Frappe' with Philippians.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

About the Book:

(Eugene, Oregon) - An arranged marriage, a runaway bride, and an ugly family heritage of brutal and inhumane slavery operations leave no room for a fairytale story. Grace Winslow, daughter of an English sea captain and African princess, finds herself in a horrific position of betrothal. Doomed to marry an obnoxious white man, whom she does not love, Grace runs away to escape the slavery she's been surrounded by all her life. Instead, her journey from home brings her face-to-face with issues of extreme slavery, abuse and human trafficking. In the end she discovers slavery is more than just chains and finds grace that exceeds a name given to her by her parents.

Written by Kay Marshall Strom, The Call of Zulina links historical slavery issues with the modern-day crisis tainting many countries. On the heels of important legislature regarding human trafficking, Strom tackles the subject boldly as she sheds light on the practices and techniques used by angry slave traders. Seen as an advocate for those who have no voice, Strom finds words to communicate the message of history to today's readers. While this book shines the light on an uncomfortable subject, the message of hope, freedom, and justice prevail and eternal truths discovered.

About the Author:

Author Kay Marshall Strom has two great loves: writing and helping others achieve their own writing potential. Kay has written thirty-six published books, numerous magazine articles, and two screenplays. While mostly a nonfiction writer, the first book of her historical novel trilogy Grace in Africa has met with acclaim. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, writers' conferences, and special events throughout the country and around the world. She is in wide demand as an instructor and keynote speaker at major writing conferences. She also enjoys speaking aboard cruise ships in exchange for exotic cruise destinations.

Blog Tour Interview:

1. How did you come up with the storyline of The Call of Zulina?

While in West Africa working on another project, I toured an old slave fortress and was struck dumb by a set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. The characters of Lingongo and Joseph Winslow, Grace's parents, are modeled after real people who ran a slave business in Africa in the 1700s. I "met" them when I was researching Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, a biography of the slaver turned preacher and abolitionists, author of Amazing Grace. The more I thought about them, the more I wondered, "If they'd had a daughter, who would she be? Where would her loyalties lie?"

2. What inspired you to write a book so entrenched with uncomfortable issues?

I used to think that non-fiction was the meat and potatoes of writing and fiction was the chocolate mousse dessert... fun, but not of much value. But I've come to understand that truths can be revealed through fiction just as powerfully as through non-fiction. Sometimes, more so! The fact is, for so long we have tried to look away and pretend that this horrible chapter in history never happened. But it did, and we still feel the effects today. Moreover, the roots of slavery--hunger for power and money, fear and diminishment of people unlike ourselves, and humanity's endless ability to rationalize evil actions--abound today. The time seemed right.

3. How haveyour travels around the world equipped you for writing such a historical novel?

People ask me where my passion for issues such as modern day slavery come from. To a large degree it is from the things I have seen and heard on my numerous trips to India, African countries, Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, and other places around the world.

4. Tell us a personal story regarding modern day slavery.

A most pervasive type of slavery is what is known as bonded servitude, where entire poor families are bound into virtual slavery--sometimes for generations--because of a small debt. This is especially common in India. I visited a village in central India where the women had been freed from bondage and set up with a micro loan that allowed them to raise a small herd of dairy cows. They worked so hard and saved every rupee. When they had enough saved, they persuaded a young teacher to come and start a school for their children. Then they used further profits to make low interest loans to others in the area so they could start their own businesses, too--a little bank. I sat in a circle with the five women who made up the "board of directors." Only one could read and write. I asked, "How will the next generation be different because of what you have done?" They said, "No more will be like us. When people look us, they see nothing. But when they look at our children, they see real human beings with value."
From invisible slaves to human beings... all in one generation!

5. Grace, the lead character in The Call of Zulina, forsakes all to escape the slavery of her parents and an arranged marriage.How common is this scenerio today in other countries?

Horrifyingly common. Slavery today takes many forms. According to UNICEF's more conservative count, there are about 12 million people living as slaves today--three times as many as in the days of the African slave trade. As for child arranged marriages, I have talked to girls "enslaved" to husbands in many countries. Examples include a girl in Nepal married at 9 to a middle-aged man, one in India married at 11, a 13-year-old in Egypt married to a man older than her father. I've seen it in Africa, Eastern Europe... so many places!

6. What about in America, are there slavery and trafficking issues here?

Unfortunately, there are. The U.S. State Department estimates between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the Untied States each year, although it concedes that the real number is actually far higher. And it's not just states like New York and California that are affected, either. According to the U.S. Justice Department's head of the new human trafficking unit, there is now at least one case of trafficking in every state.

7. You've had 36 books published, and more written and contracted for future release. How has this one impacted your own life?
Some books report, some tell stories. This book has torn my heart.

8. Briefly tell us about the next two books in this Grace in Africa trilogy.

In Book 2, Grace watches her reconstructed life smashed by slavers and revenge, and she is forcibly taken to London. There she faces a new kind of tyranny and another fight for freedom... and for her husband, who is enslaved in America.
Book 3 is set in the new United States of America, in the heart of the slavery. It is a story of slavery at it's worst and redemption at its best.

What Can Concerned Citizens Do to Raise Awareness?

Find out all you can about Modern Day Slavery: then watch for chances to pass on what you have learned.

Write to your elected officials: Petition them to place a high priority on enforcing anti-slavery laws and to put pressure on countries that tolerate forced labor or human trafficking.

Buy Fair Trade products: Fair trade provides a sustainable model of international trade based on economic justice. To find out more, see .

Support organizations that are in a position to make a difference. When you find an one that is doing a good job on the front lines, contribute to their cause so they can continue on.

Be willing to step into the gap. If you suspect someone is being held against his or her will, call the Department of Justice hotline: 1-888-428-7581. Or you can call 911.

Grand Prize Giveaway!!!

Post a comment on this blog and I will pick one winner to enter in Kay's contest on November 2nd!

Kay Marshall Strom is giving the following books to one fortunate commenter from The Call of Zulina blog tour. The prize package includes several of Kay's books:

Seeking Christ: A Christian Woman's Guide to Personal Wholeness & Spiritual Maturity

John Newton:The Angry Sailor

Making Friends with Your Mother

Making Friends with Your Father

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall is in the Air!

Okay, I couldn't resist the plug for 'autumn.'  This is one of my favorite seasons of the year.  I love the leaves changing color, sweater weather and the delicious scent of mums and leaf mold. So, I'm odd - I won't deny it.

  • Decided to just make a list of several things I got done today - so it looks like I actually do something with the day.
  • Answered several emails.
  • Deleted a bunch of emails.
  • Looked at some of my email settings in the hope of learning something new.  I didn't.
  • Went to town for groceries.
  • Stopped to admire an Amish horse and buggy tied to a street light in the grocery store parking lot and watch a lady taking photos with her cell phone. (I'm sure that's a scene in a book somewhere.)
  • Read a mystery.
  • Did four crits.
  • Did school with the boys.
  • Jarrod and I helped a friend store her outdoor furniture.
  • Added the NaNo badge to my blog.
  • Found the rest of the Jenny book I needed.
  • Found the synopsis I needed to copy for the Bloom Award.
  • Looked at the Bloom Award questions I need to answer before sending out my contest entry.
  • Fed cats.
  • Prayed - a LOT!
  • Updated my blog.
  • Tried out a couple of new things on my blog.
And that is probably it! 

Monday, October 05, 2009

This is so cool!  I happened to have a few minutes while chatting with Judy and decided to check out my blog. Figured it was time to blow away a few cobwebs and try to keep this up. Since so many good things are happening in my writing life, I need to take this more seriously. So, I decided to change to the 'new editor' on blogger.  Added an inspirational thought for the day too.

Would have loved to change my blog picture but realized since the great MSN upgrade sweep, I have no pictures on my computer. Have only a couple of favorites so far and all the files in My Documents fit in one window.  My poor computer is practically bare right now.

It will take a little time to add other features. I'd love to rearrange things, change colors, make a clean sweep, but that will take time.  For tonight I'm just happy that I'm able to figure out a thing or two such as the inspirational thought for the day. I'm not a very technically saavy person so I approach any changes with a one-toe-in-the-water hesitancy.

As most of you have figured out, I am not in Malaysia. Thanks to everyone who would have helped, sent money and/or prayed if I had been in a foreign country without aid.  I guess I can laugh about it now but it was a hectic couple of days restoring my email. My friend, Gwen, even used the story as the basis of a newspaper article!  She said she had to use my name in her Clark Bar Devotions.  Hm. . .

Although I wasn't in Malaysia, I did recently come home from a writing conference.  I met an agent who seemed to like my current WIP.  He gave me some great advice and suggestions for revisions.  I know he's right about some things so I'll be working on that in the next couple of weeks. . . . among other projects.

Am I doing NaNo?  I'll let you know. First, I have to make it through October.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm baaaaaaaaack! It's been awhile since I've posted. First vacation - we had a great time by the way - then home to a couple of deadlines, two family reunions and then on top of everything else, I hurt my back. Wasn't able to get into the chiropractor until yesterday! Am very sore today but at least it's a 'healing' soreness - everything is back into place. Apparently, my hips were going in two different directions than normal. Could barely walk or sit for a couple of weeks - everything I did was painful. Hopefully, now I'm on the mend.

We took a LOT of pictures on the trek to California and back. I ended up with over 300 on my camera. Of course, now that I'm home I keep thinking, why didn't I take more pictures?
Top picture is of me and guess who? We went to Hollywood and the kids wanted to go to Universal Studios. They've built it up a lot since my last visit in hmmmmmmmmmm. Since I rarely watch new movies or tv shows, all the references to 'stars' and scenes from newer shows was lost on me. But, I had a good time watching people and seeing the kids have a fun day. It was the only day in California that turned out to be beastly hot. Most of the time it was cold.
Middle picture was taken on Rodeo Drive which seemed like a high priced tourist come on to me. I loved all the flowers though - California is awash in the most gorgeous flowers and trees. One of our tour guides told us that the jackaranda (hope I spelled that right) tree only blooms one week a year. We were there on that week. The flowers were small and purple, like wisteria. Some streets were planted with hundreds of the trees. In one town - am not sure which one now - each street was planted with a different tree - either all oak, all maple, all whatever. Any tree had to match the street's official tree.

The picture on the bottom is of some of us on the rocks in San Francisco Bay. To our right would be the Golden Gate and Alcatraz. This is the first time I'd been across the bay to Sausalito. It's a wonderful little town, very relaxing and quaint is the only word that comes to mind. True there are dozens of touristy shops and boutiques - but they didn't seem to be overly priced and we had a great time looking in them. We were on our way to Muir Woods where we saw some giant redwoods. Not the biggies -- maybe a third as big as the ones in the redwood forest.
Am not sure I'll do a recap of the whole vacation on here. Maybe bits and pieces now and then. I just couldn't let Kitty come here again and find nothing going on in my life. Hi, Kitty!!! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miracle Book? The picture is the best I could manage - my camera batteries were low and I didn't have time to run out to the store. Looking at the picture you'd never know that the book on the right is a miracle. Scuffy and olive green - but neverless a miracle. You see, it appeared out of nowhere.

This is all true but even today (it happened yesterday) I have a hard time believing it myself. The Quest of Mary Selwyn is the sequel to a book I found about ten years ago at a yard sale, Uncle Frank's Mary. I loved the first book but there was a problem. Without spoiling the plot for anyone who might someday read the books - UFM ends with a very annoying, unsatisfactory conclusion. You absolutely HAVE TO HAVE the sequel to know what happens to four main characters. The author leaves the reader with a doozy of a cliffhanger. It's like reading that the Titanic hit an iceberg and was filling with water and . . .read the sequel. So there was NO CHOICE. I had to have that sequel - wherein lies the problem.
This is a very rare book - first published in 1917. My search to find the sequel on any of the used book sites went on and on. A friend did some research at a college library and came to the conclusion that no such book existed. Somewhere inside I knew it had to exist - or I hoped anyway.
Somewhere during my search, I got one of my cousins interested in the books. A whiz at ebay, she found several of the original series (yes, it was a whole series) and was on the lookout for The Quest of Mary Selwyn. She
found a copy before I did - at a ridiculously reasonable price. The book on the left is hers - the blue one. After years of searching, I borrrowed her copy and read the book. The author did NOT disappoint! The conclusion of the story was one of those ones you remember always.
It also left me with a very - um - strange attitude. I coveted that book. I wanted my own copy. Which brought me to problem two. A few copies of The Quest began to appear on used book sites. The lowest priced one I saw was $1395. and yes, that's thousand. Gulp. While I did pay a LOT for one of the author's books - autographed, of course - there was no way I could pay that much for a book. Even my computer didn't cost that much!
So began my own quest for a lower priced book. I haunted yard sales, tag sales, garbage bins of books - hoping for that FIND. Zero. Nada. Nothing. I didn't quite give up ever owning my own copy of Mary Selwyn but it was somewhere up there with winning a lottery and buying a BMW.
Until yesterday. I set a goal to deep clean my bedroom before leaving on vacation. Yesterday I tackled the black hole of calcutta #2 (my closet being #1) - the dreaded built in bookshelves. They are so handy to stick things on that I have books, mugs, dolls, postcards, letters, cards, coins, bobby pins and various other stuff. The dust was so thick I chocked trying to wash it off.
So I'm virtuously cleaning off the shelf with my Mary Selwyn books - the pitiful few that I own - sigh - when I pull out a book I've never seen before and didn't recognize. (And yes, like a mother who knows her children's voices - I know my books! I can spot an empty slot and know what's missing.) I looked at the strange book with an eerie sense of where did this come from?
The Quest of Mary Selwyn - green cover. A book I didn't buy. A book no one gave me. A book I didn't own or steal or otherwise come into the possession of . . . a book I wanted more than any other book in the world was on my shelf. A miracle.
I now own a copy of The Quest of Mary Selwyn. I can return my cousin's - okay, I was going to return it anyway - honest - but I just liked having it for awhile. :) I own a book no one could have put there but God. Kind of gives new meaning to God giving us the desires of our heart. Pretty cool, huh?
There's even more of a mystery with this book. Scratched into the back cover with some kind of pencil are the cursive words, "Get my money in the bank in the morning." And no, I haven't a clue. But if God expects $1395, He's going to have to send it. :)


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

MaYo? So, how is everyone doing with MaYo? Okay, Kathi - that's enough out of you! :) Kathi managed to get over 100K DONE! She's still got two more weeks so I'll expect another two full book manuscripts!

I've heard from several people and they are more or less in the same word length as me. May is just too BUSY to keep up with all that writing. I'm about at 12K which is good. Even if I don't finish my goal of 20K, I'm happy to have a start on all new words for a short manuscript. The whole book - short chapter book - is plotted and coming along well. I'm hoping to take it on vacation and do some tweaking.

Congratulations to one of my crit partners - Diana! Diana finaled not once but TWICE in the Genesis contest. Way to go, Diana!

I'm still waiting for my scoresheets to see where I might have gone "wrong." But, I've come to a realization that no matter what the judges found, it's just someone else's opinion on my work. Even last year when I did final, I didn't find all that much I could or was willing to change in the manuscript. Most of the comments were either something that didn't need changing or reflected someone's personal pet peeve or something they'd just learned in a class. I even found this with the final round judging which surprised me. Judges are just people and they bring their own predjudices, likes and dislikes into the judging arena.

While I think that I try NOT to do this myself - judged in two contests this spring - I find myself having to step aside and say, "okay, I don't exactly agree with this but am I putting too much of me into the judging?" Although sometimes I will inject a little aside to the author but I don't let it count on the scores.

So, I'm looking forward to seeing what the three judges had to say about my venture into historical romance. I know from past experiences that all three will probably have differing opinons on what worked and what didn't. That's the most frustrating thing about contests to me.
Guess my score sheet for the Genesis isn't too bad. I finalded and won second place my first year and didn't show at all in my second attempt. Since this will be my last year to be eligible for entering, I guess it's not too bad.
I am more than ready for the end of school - Leaves - anyway on May 29th. The boys and I will be finishing up our boxed curriculum for a few more weeks - maybe until time to leave for vacation. Time to figure out what books and projects I want to take along.
Hope everyone has a great two weeks as we wrap up MaYo!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Worried about the economy? Welcome to this blog tour for the upcoming book: Learning to Live Financially Free! You'll read a little about the book and the authors - Marybeth and Curt Whalen. (Photo is of the Whalen family.)

So enjoy the tour as I welcome Marybeth and Curt Whalen!

About the Book:

(North Carolina) - The fear and reality of tough economic times, foreclosures, bailouts, bankruptcies and falling stocks strike fear in the hearts of many Americans today. With investors, newscasters and bankers giving advice, who can you trust? Marybeth and Curt Whalen share their financial successes and failures in their new book, Learning to Live Financially Free: Hard-Earned Wisdom for Saving Your Marriage & Your Money. If a family parenting six children can get out of debt and live financially free, anyone can. The Whalens readily admit they made their share of mistakes the first ten years of marriage. Becoming more disciplined and intentional in spending and saving helped them learn valuable lessons for better financial stewardship--lessons you'll want to learn too.

Learning to Live Financially Free not only focuses on building a stronger financial understanding in the home, but also encourages couples to communicate, thus building better, stronger marriages. The Whalens clearly comprehend the need for careful money management and commitment in marriage. Money-strapped families will find peace of mind as they begin the process of becoming financially responsible and debt-free.

Marybeth and Curt Whalen know what it's like to juggle marriage, kids and money. Their new book will encourage readers to manage their money and marriage more effectively.

About the Authors

Marybeth Whalen is a speaker and contributing writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. The author of For the Write Reason, Marybeth has also written for Parent Life, Money Matters newsletter, The Old Schoolhouse, Hearts at Home magazine, and Homeschooling Today. She contributes regularly to the daily online devotions of Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Curt Whalen is a trained financial counselor through Crown Financial Concepts. He has years of experience helping couples establish budgets, solve financial problems, and learn to communicate more effectively. He has written articles for TEACH Magazine and Money Matters Newsletter and has contributed to books by authors Lysa TerKeurst and Melanie Chitwood.

Are You A Financially Focused Couple?

Instructions: Give yourself 1 point for every "yes" answer, 0 points for every "no."1.Do you have regular budget meetings?2.Do you communicate about daily expenses?3.Do you discuss large purchases before they're made?4.Does each spouse have an equal vote about money decisions?5.Have you planned for your future through life insurance and a will?6.Do you agree about tithing and giving?7.Can you both list out your debts, including the amounts and monthly payment for each account?8.Do you have a plan that was written together for paying off debt and saving money?9.Do you encourage each other to save money?10.Have you discussed the spending habits and attitudes about money that you carried into the marriage?
Tally up your score and use the guide to the right to see what category you fall into.
0-2 points: Don't get discouraged. There's nowhere to go from here except up! 3-5 points: You are taking steps towards being a financially focused couple.. Keep working together and you will get there.6-8 points: You are almost 100% financially focused. Keep up the good work and get intentional about those trouble spots.9-10 points: You are a financially focused couple and could show us all a thing or two! Consider sharing your wisdom with other couples who are struggling in today's uncertain times.
Tomorrow we'll look at ten secrets to saving money!


Thursday, May 07, 2009

MaYo Day Seven -- So how is everyone doing so far? This marks the first week of pounding those keyboards. I'm up to 4900 words which is good. Only 16,000 to go to reach my 20K goal - more or less. :) So much has been going on I haven't had a lot of time to work on writing fiction.

Yesterday I took one of my writing days to read and reflect. Sat in the car while the boys were in school and read two books. It was a lovely rainy day so no one bothered to stop and chat. Except for a dash into the library to check email and another dash into a store for something to go with my ham sandwich - I just let the day float by.

Don't know how refreshing it was ---LOL! Didn't get any great revelations of plots or how to fix my current projects, but I had a good time.

Everyone check out a first for me. I'm a GUEST BLOGGER at my friend, Patty's website -- Head on over and se what a "Six Year Old Taught me about Writing."
I'm in the midst of several projects so more later.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Time for MAYO!

Okay, it's been awhile since NANO or JANO or even FEBO. Most of us are either starting a new project, stuck in an old one or floundering as summer approaches. While there's plenty of freedom in summer, there are also new situations that stretch your writing time thin. Kids out of school, pool parties, vacations, and plain old let's enjoy the sun while it shines. So what's a writer to do?


The rules are simple. Let's take May as a last 'blitz' before the busy summer months are upon us. Instead of 50K as in NaNo, let's all aim for only 20K. That's less than 5K a week! It's either a whole book - if you are writing short books for children. (Hand raised here.) Or half a book or pesky editing/revising project.

So is anyone up for the challenge? I challenge you to post a commitment here and then write 20K sometime during May. It can be a new project, an outline for a project, a short story, revise and edit a 20K project or do something - even 20K worth of query letters to push your writing career out of its spring standstill.

Someone recently told me that PUSH stands for -Pray Until Something Happens. While that's a wonderful idea, I'd like to revise it for writers.

PUSH your pen until something happens!!! Keyboards accepted too.

So, who's going to join me??? I know it's short notice but we've got a whole month.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Desk Part 2

Well, as you can see by the picture the desk is now somewhat in place. It's still untidy because I'm slowly going through files, junk, etc. trying to find the best place. You can see the new wallpaper but the picture doesn't really do it justice. It's actually prettier than I expected. The room is also in a state of flux as I still have to:

1. Finish the wallpaper.

2. Paint some of the woodwork and the ceiling.

3. Refinish the floor (summer job.)

4. Bring in the bookcase and put the books on it.
5. Find a decent desk chair. I'm sitting on an old sewing chair which has to be the most uncomfortable one ever made.
6. Get some pictures framed and up on the walls and desk.
Eventually, I'll get everything done but for right now I'm taking my time. The computer is on the desk, all the cords and plugs are woven through the holes in back of the desk and everything but the speakers work. I'm finding I really enjoy having a handy little drawer for pencils, tape, glue and small desk type odds and ends.
Not much happening to write about lately. Easter and Easter break came and went. I managed to get some things done during the break:
1. Cleaned out a lot of email folders and files.
2. Caught up - almost - on crits.
3. Made a list of writing projects I have to do.
4. Wrote a couple of unit studies for the new Gryphon House books. Not as many as I could have but I tried.
5. Read a couple of books.
6. Started some research for the Stepmother book.
7. Worked at getting all of Cattle Rustler into a file. This is turning into quite a project but I'm determined not to give up and quit. I will finish this book.
8. As always my project list outgrew my time span but I did get a few things marked off my list.
We have about eight more weeks or school - or maybe nine - so I need to get a lot of things done before the boys are out for the summer. Am not sure what my writing schedule will look like for the summer ----
Time will tell.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Just in time for another blast of wintry weather, the doll's have their coats! Finished the doll coats for my nieces, Heather and Taylor, about a month ago. Now I'm working on doll p.j.'s. Taylor's coat has a button that reads, Cute as a Button.

Guess it's time to dust off the cobwebs and try to update this blog. I am still working on getting Carol's desk acclimated to the room. Most of the wallpaper is up, the floor is partially varnished and the desk is back against the wall. Have the computer on it and most of the wires woven through the appropriate holes. There's still some work to be done but I'm going to take my time and do it slowly.

Not a whole lot is happening on the writing front. Did finally hear from the editor at History magazine. He bought the Drummer boy article even though he didn't get it in time for the deadline. Something had happened to his email!! Thankfully, he asked me to resend it and the pictures for inclusion in the next issue - which I'm assuming is May.

There was some mixup about the pictures too so I had to resize them in jpeg and send them along. It all came out fine since he bought that article and gave me an assignment for an article on Sybil Ludington for July.

It's nice to have some good writing news as most of it has been rather grim. Didn't win the scholarship to attend ACFW '09 in Denver, then had word today that my entry didn't final in the Sandy Writing Contest. In fact, I haven't even gotten my scoresheets. :(
I did get a rather nice rejection letter from an agent. She didn't feel she could do justice (which was a nice way to put it) to selling my children's book, but asked me to send something else. She did like my writing.
Am not sure I'm not in a writing slump. There seems to be so much to do and not enough time to do it all. Will be glad when school is out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today I’d like to welcome author and speaker, Jill Savage. Jill’s recent book Real Moms…Real Jesus, just released, and I wanted to ask her about her real mom moments..

Jill, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Mark and I have been married 25 years and we have five children. Anne is 24 and married to our wonderful son-in-love, Matt. Evan is 21 and married to our beautiful daughter-in-love, Julie. Erica is 18 and a college student at Heartland Community College. Kolya is 15 and in the 8th grade. We adopted Kolya at the age of 9 from Russia---the God story about his adoption is included in the Real Moms…Real Jesus book. And Austin is 12 and in the 7th grade.

Tell us about your newest book Real Moms...Real Jesus?
Real Moms…Real Jesus is a book designed to help moms understand that when Jesus lived on this earth he was fully God, yet fully man. We don’t often think about the fact that he was a human being and he lived the full human experience: pain, hunger, fatigue, frustration, betrayal, disappointment. He experienced it all!

There’s one verse in the Bible about Jesus that simply says “large crowds followed him everywhere he went.” Well, isn’t that the life of a mom? Large crowds follow her to the bathroom. They follow her to the kitchen. To the grocery store. She’s in high demand! And when Jesus lived on this earth, He was in high demand, too.

Why did you want to write this book?
Most of us long for a friend who understands. Yes, we need girlfriends who understand what our life is like. But we also need to understand that we have a friend who understands in Jesus. Too many of us think of God as being distant and unable to relate to our daily struggles. But nothing could be further from the truth! He understands and he wants us to build our friendship with Him. He wants to not only be our Savior, but also our Friend.

What do you hope your readers will gain from this book?
I hope that readers will gain a new perspective about their relationship with Jesus. I also hope to weave God’s truth into the daily life of a mom.

What unique elements will the reader find in Real Moms…Real Jesus?
Each chapter looks at some character trait in Jesus’ life that can help us in our life as a mom. In between the chapters are interactive vignettes that provide brief, refreshing glimpses into our real, messy, busy lives.

There are also questions at the end of the chapter for further consideration and suggested Bible reading in the book of Matthew. If the reader chooses to pursue the suggested reading, she will have read the book of Matthew completely by the end of the book!

There is also a leader’s guide in the back of the book so it can be used in a group setting.

This is a Hearts at Home book. What is Hearts at Home?
Hearts at Home is an organization that encourages, educates, and equips women in the profession of motherhood. Hearts at Home encourages moms through annual conferences, our extensive website (, a free bi-weekly electronic newsletter, a radio program, and an entire line of books designed to meet the needs of moms all over the world!

Any closing thoughts?
I am very excited about this book! I believe that if a mom can strengthen her relationship with Jesus Christ, she will feel more equipped to be the mom she wants to be. I’m also offering an online book discussion on my blog beginning Tuesday, April 7. If you’d like to join us, you can subscribe to my blog at

I’d love to hear a reader’s thoughts after they read the book, too! You can connect to me through my blog at

Thanks, Jill, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your real mom, real Jesus moments with us.

You can purchase your own copy of Real Moms…Real Jesus by clicking here.

And be sure to check out Hearts at Home, their conferences for moms, and all their online resources

Monday, March 16, 2009

Moving in Carol's desk - Part 1

Well, Carol's desk is now in my dining room/pc room. The brother-in-law and Jarrod moved it in on Sunday. The BIL also took apart the old desk and the dinette bench that has been here forever. My brother built it in years ago. It was wide, deep and a handy storage place for blankets and extra pillows. We put some cushions on it and used it for seating, sleeping (it was big enough and I slept on it for about six months one year) and as a place to sit while using the computer. My grandmother always called it "the coffin" because she said it reminded her of one. :)

Tearing out the bench left a huge area of the hardwood floor unvarnished. It also exposed the places on the wall that were not papered. So it looks like my lovely, beige and ivy paper will have to go. The wallpaper store doesn't have anymore as it was a clearance roll. Sniff, sniff. . .

So today we got the desk together. Can't put anything on it yet since it will take some rearranging of the computer to get everything put in place. Also, the desk still has to be moved to put up the new wallpaper. Rushed up to the wallpaper store today and managed to get three rolls of a nice, gray, blue stripe. Difficult to explain but I'll post pictures later.

The cats are thrilled with the new piece of furniture. It's not in as great shape as I'd hoped, but it's still serviceable and has lots of nooks and crannies for all my stuff. Am looking forward to finally getting things organized and not having to reach over a dozen boxes to reach my computer or printer. I'll have to teach myself to sit a different way but change is good for the brain. I hope.

Part two tomorrow - the wallpaper.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Short Delay . . .

I couldn't decide whether to label this post a 'short delay' or a 'minor setback.' In actuality it was neither - but I thought people probably wouldn't want to read about an almost MAJOR DISASTER. (And nope, it wasn't QUITE that bad either.)

Not long ago, I won a slot to pitch one of my children's books to an online publisher. Okay, so I totally bombed the interview. But, all was not lost. The gracious editors told me to submit the book - the whole thing -- when I felt it was "ready."

So--I got it out and did some revisions. Took it slowly and added some tweaks and perks and a few other minor things. Reread the book once, twice, three times. Thankfully, it was only 25,000 words. Short is good when you have to read it three times.

The third time I noticed something peculiar. Very, very odd. The manuscript for reasons of its own had shifted into a different font than I usually used. How it happened is anyone's guess. Frankly, I wouldn't hazard even an opinion considering my ability to do unspeakable things to electronic things just by looking their way.

So, I left the manuscrift in the weird font until I judged it "ready" to send. I changed the whole manuscript back into Times New Roman and then THINGS HAPPENED.

All of the quotation marks VANISHED. And they didn't just disappear, they changed into giant AAAAAAAA's. EVERY SINGLE QUOTATION mark. As if that wasn't bad enough, all the apostrophe's changed into equal signs. ALL OF THEM. Okay, I'm calm. I can deal with it. Sure, easy to fix.

So--the apostrophe's were easy. I did the find/replace feature and all the equal signs vanished. So then I tried the same thing with the giant A. Do you know what happens when you try to replace a giant A with a quotation mark? All the giant A's vanish. All the small a's vanish. You get quotation marks--lots and lots and lots of quotation marks in the WRONG places - like the middle of words. I never quite realized just how many a's you can have in 25,000 words.

Okay, so it wasn't going to be so easy to send this manuscript off. I worked three hours one day replacing quotes line by line. Didn't finish. On Wednesday, I virtuously took the laptop the the library to FINISH the thing, or else. So what happens? SOMEONE ELSE IS IN MY HIDDEN CUBBY!!! GRRRRRRRRR.....

Happily, I noticed a study desk and a PLUG right underneath. So now I have a second place to plug in - even if it is right out in the middle of the room. I sat down and kept at it for two and a half very long hours. Until I'd read through the manuscript a fourth time and replaced all the giant A's. In reading it that time, I realized just how many sentences I begin with A's. This time through, I changed a lot of 'as,' 'after,' and 'and' with stronger words.

So--it's off. They may like it. They may not. I feel relief for following through on an opportunity.

And now---it's time for the Daphne and the Genesis contest entries. Also time to write more unit studies for Gryphon House's new book titles. This time it's Insect, Animals and Ways to Save the Earth.

Feel like I'm slowly, slowly coming out of the backlog of everything.
Eventually, I will get everything done.

Tonight I'm feeling better for getting the VERY LAST of the Christmas presents done - um, for last year. Had planned to make my niece's Heather and Jenny each a framed scrapbook collage to celebrate a 2008 event. Jenny made the National Honor Society and Heather graduated from high school. My slowness was the result of having lost the program from Heather's graduation. But, tonight I finished assembling and wrapping them. Will have Jenny take them home when she comes on Friday night.

Also managed to put together some copies of my published stories in a scrapbook to take to school tomorrow. Some of the girls in my Fiber Arts class keep asking, "What do you write?" Now, I can show them.

Now if I could just finish those dirty darn doll clothes!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby steps and a crash . . .

When I was growing up, the standard time to begin a new journal was January 1st. In fact, I can remember getting a new journal or diary for Christmas and waiting, breathless with anticipation, to write down everything that happened over the jam packed holidays. Usually, to my absolute disgust, when the 1st came, I was too worried about the fading days of vacation to give much thought to writing anything. School - that dreaded place - loomed in the distance and who wanted to waste precious FREE time with writing?
Now that I've gotten a bit smarter (well, there's still lots of room for improvement, I'm sure) I generally begin a new journal whenever I either a) fill up a notebook, b) get tired of the current notebook and never want to look at it again or c) decided I'm going to turn over a new leaf in my life and the pages of a current journal with disappointments or disasters is holding me back.
For the April issue of "Cookies and Milk," I decided to go with a Make Your Own Journal activity. (See photo above and yup, I made it myself.)
While I don't anticipate starting a new journal anytime soon - having gotten out of the habit since last fall - I did decide to turn over a new leaf. I'm starting with baby steps. Seems like with Carol's illness and passing, then my getting sick among other disasters, so much has piled up for me to do. While there's no way to do everything at once, I'm finding if I just whittle away one or two catch up details every few days, it doesn't seem too bad.
Today was really the first day I've felt like myself in a while. Caught a cold and it seemed to drag on and on. Then last Tuesday, I crash landed on my bedroom floor.
All the electricity in my bedroom (the house is very old and was rewrited a few years back) comes though one section of wall. I have a nice surge protector strip and plug everything in there. Sometimes I need extension cords, but most everything that has to plug is near that wall ---well, except for my lamp.
Since that wall is also home to built in bookcases, I have to pull the lamp about halfway into the room so that it is convenient to my reading chair. Since I'm not about to let Martha Stewart take photos of my bedroom for her magazine, it bothers me not a whit that I often have a lamp, sitting on my old fashioned school desk next to my reading chair and that the cord is like a mini-tightrope across the room. I've gotten well practiced at ducking under it to go into the alcove, or if the lamp is closer, stepping over the cord. Until Tuesday.
I had the laptop and lamp both plugged in. When I stepped OVER the lampcord, my feet got tangled up and the lamp and I both crashed to the floor. Instant darkness and the tinkly sound of glass - this was not good. I was winded, my kneecaps were huge sores and my arms were bruised in a dozen places. My first thought was the laptop! Had my tumble pulled the laptop off the desk????
Don't know if I ever prayed as hard as I did while crawling away from the glass from the broken lightbulb and back to the laptop cord. Ever so slowly, I followed the cord and it led to the laptop ---thankfully, still on the desk! Hopefully, I will learn to be more careful from now on and unplug the laptop instantly after using.
I suppose it would help if I didn't have three desks in my room. Um, yes, three. One is the old desk my parents bought for my first real bedroom in our first forever house. It's still in good shape, proving furniture was better built in them days, by gollee!! I also have a laptop desk - round - and low enough that I don't have to raisse my arms too high to use it. It wasn't too expensive at Wal-Mart, but the screws come loose at odd intervals and writing is often a tipsy event as it wiggles and twists. Then my third desk is a very old fashioned school desk of the wrought iron and wooden seat variety. It came from one of my old schools when they replaced all the desks with the separate tables and chairs. It's painted "Barn Door Green," one of my favorite colors with white accents. I use it as a table for my lamp, my current reading and "get to it now" stuff - as well as a handy beside my reading chair. My laptop can be found on any desk at various times. Suppose this means I need baby steps in better habits . :)
As I'm whittling down my "to do" list, I have the doll coats almost finished and am working on the little fleece pj's. My new sewing machine and I have finally gotten into a flow and it's much easier to use now. Still haven't explored all the 70 stitches - relying on 3 or 4 - but will eventually get there. Baby steps . . .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Since I've spent so much time lately talking about Carol - off the blog mostly - I thought you all might like to see a picture of her in happier days. I'm thinking this is either her high school or college photo. She had long, brown hair that she wore in a ponytail. Her usual style of dress was bright and bold! Lots of psychedelic flowers and prints from the 70's.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I spent some time reflecting on last year. On Friday, I drove past the Loveland Post office and saw all the heart shaped signs posted out front. They do Valentine's Day big in the city of Love - selling sidewalk hearts with special greetings. I read that "Grandma loves Brittany and Chad," "Tom loves Shelia," and "Happy Valentine's Day Sugar from Ben!"
Because of the valentiney name, Loveland gets cards and letters from all over the world to postmark and send off. They have special "Valentine Ladies" who sit at tables in the lobby to postmark with a special Valentine only stamp.
I love Valentine's Day - in fact, I think it's my favorite holiday. Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved making valentines from those heart shaped doilies and glitter. Some years I got creative with other material and cross stitched or sewed a valentine greeting. About ten years ago, I bought some pink and red crepe paper fabric and made a batch of Valentine's for my family and some select friends. To my surprise, my friend, Kitty, made a scrapbook for me one year and sent the Valentine back with a line, "Remember this?" I loved it - a Valentine with a past.
Last year, I made some bookmarks for different friends and some of my nieces and nephews. For the first time, I stood in line at the Loveland post office and got the special postmark. It's free but they are so busy as the holiday nears you have to wait in sometimes long lines. I didn't mind. Even though I seldom get many Valentine's in return, I love sending them and would do it even if I never got another one myself.
So yesterday, I was reflecting that because of the recent stressful events in the family, I hadn't had time to do anything for Valentine's Day. Not even buy some of the little kid meal tickets from one of the local restaurants to give to my nieces and nephews. For the first time in a long time, I was reduced to ecard Valentines. It sure felt like a sad state of affairs - although as the recepient of some wonderful ecards myself - I enjoyed every sentiment!! So maybe the people who got mine didn't mind not having a homemade one this year.
As I was thinking about friends and friendship, counting up the many wonderful people in my life, I feel so blessed to have so many friends and so many close ones at that! Some of my friends I've had for a long, long time, others are more recent friends. During the past year, many of my friendships have become deeper and stronger - old and new friends have grown closer. Then sadly, some friendships have become distant and we aren't as close as we once were. I always dislike when that happens. Maybe I end up cherishing my friendships too much - maybe the fault lies in me for caring so much. But, I guess I should figure that as relationships grow and bloom, there are some that fade away for reasons unknown to me. Makes me sad to think about it --
Not long ago, I found a cute Valentine in my keepsake box. It had a sweet grey kitten poking at a heart and it had a kid type verse. Inside, some little girl had written -- You are my bestest friend, Judy. The only trouble was--I couldn't remember having a friend named, Judy! Yet, the card has my name on it and my teacher - so we were in the same class. And I liked her well enough to keep the card all these years since third grade. Makes me wonder - didn't she move, go to a different fourth grade, did we chose other friends, dislike one another on sight the next year or what??
Guess it proves a point - that friendship is a rare and precious gift. Maybe the true test of a lasting friendship is whether or not you remember the name on the Valentine card twenty years down the road!
Happy Valentine's Day - belated!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Got tagged today on Erica's blog. The tag is to open the fifth folder of pictures on your computer and then open the fifth picture in the folder and post. So, here is mine. This is an old picture of my nephew, Drew, which was taken on Valentine's Day - in 2006, I think. He's playing with a red balloon and that's at my brother's house.

Today is a kind of disconnected day. Still no good news about my cousin, Carol. As most of you know all of January has been taken up (or most of it) with her being in the hospital. Because she told Mom and I that if she were ever unable to speak for herself, we should tell the doctors to do everything possible to keep her alive. We were all in agreement that getting food and water - even through Iv's or a feeding tube are not extra ordinary means to keep someone alive.

Every day has been a constant battle with the hospital. It's just too heartbreaking to go into details. All I can say is - have a good, binding power of attorney or a living will and make your feelings known. Then the best thing you can do is stay well and out of the hospital because most of them don't listen to your wishes anyway.

Carol is now in hospice but is alert. I'm hoping that she is able to speak and say - listen, I'm not ready to go yet.
With all the worry and stress, I haven't been able to get much of anything done this past month. Writing has been done in dibs and drabs - none of it very good. I barely managed to get my assignment done for the History magazine. No word yet.
Then today, I had an online pitch with a publisher. I had seven minutes and they gave me ten but I think I bumbled the whole interview. Didn't have enough time to come up with a decent 100 word pitch - although I wrote and rewrote several over the past week. I had a list of questions and answers ready. Was able to sound clear and knowledgeable on some of them. The pitch bombed I think. The editors had some questions I couldn't answer and some that I answered "wrong." One of the moderators later told me that I'd said a couple of things that showed my mindset was clearly not on the same page as the publisher and what type of manuscript they wanted.
Despite all that--they did tell me to go ahead and send the entire manuscript when I thought it was ready. It's finished but in light of what they said, I'd like to revise it again and add a few other elements to bring it more in line with their guidelines. So, I'm sure it's a good thing. I'm just too tired to think about the work involved right now.
We had another blast of wintery weather on Wednesday and NO SCHOOL. Tomorrow is our first day back in two weeks. I need to take Mom to visit Carol so will probably not make the Fiber Arts class.
Oh--forgot---I'm supposed to tag five people to open the fifth folder on their pc and post the fifth picture - so I tag ---

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For some reason most of my Christmas pictures came out very blurry and fuzzy. I think I have another memory card with other pictures of the tree - sure hope so as tree number two turned out to be lovely.

Because it's midnight and I was too tired to search through more pictures, I thought I'd use this one. It's probably going to be the main character in one of my works in progress. Or maybe not. This is the picture that I found to use on a one sheet for the ACFW conference last fall. Didn't get to pitch that book anyway . . .

Found this picture on a website called something like "Lost Relatives." It's page after page of people who are unknown which is a little sad. When I used to visit antique shops a lot, I loved looking at old photographs. They had such stories to tell! Often wished I'd bought some of the ones I still remember.

Anyway, I put this lady up here to remind me that I do have goals and that I need to get started on them soon.

Actually began January 1st with several good intentions and followed through for several days. On the 1st, I actually skipped a holiday dinner at my brothers to get caught up on crits, to read two research books and get semi-caught up on email. I'm beginning to think email is like laundry - one only has the illusion of being caught up.

By next week, I should have the final draft of the Drummer Boy article. Once I resolve the picture dilemma, I'll send it off to the magazine a whole week early. That has to look good. :)

By next week, I should also have a final, complete, not going over it again version of Cattle Rustler. It's been a long time coming. I've written, rewritten, written again, had good crits, bad crits, right crits, wrong crits and sometimes very frustrating crits. It's been entered in contests, scored an Honorable Mention in one and failed miserably in others who thought the character was a "little young" for a young adult book. Well, duh--as the teens say. But, I think a ten year old is perfect for a children's book.

By next week, I will have whittled down the pile of research books I need for a) the drummer boy article, b) the horse book and c) the historical romance.

By next week, I will have revised my anthology piece for my writing group, finished two full book crits for friends (well, I hope!) and finished sending out the last of my Christmas gifts. (Okay, so they're a little late.) :)

By next week, I should have two doll coats cut out for my niece's new Christmas dolls - if I remember to buy the material while I'm out tomorrow.

By next week, things should look a lot better.