Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Finally, some good news!

Thanks to all of you who visited Lisa Harris's interview with me this week. If you're interested in possibly winning two books from Lisa, there might still be time to comment on her blog for those. Also, I'm hoping to reveal a new website soon. I do have a flash site which I think is most beautiful, but it's also most impractical.

On another topic, over the past few years I've become a news fanatic. . it's almost a religion with me. I simply MUST have my coffee and watch "my" news in the morning before I'm good for anything else. And the strange thing is on the day that I miss the news, something horrible happens. For instance I missed the Tsunami in Idonesia. Now I don't honestly believe that my missing that day has anything at all to do with it, but that is just one example of many. . .so you see my point.

But why does news always have to be bad? It doesn't, according to one reporter. Daryn Kagan, a previous CNN reporter recently quit her day job (at CNN) and launched a website featuring Good News!

Here's one such story entitled Secret Santa Revealed:

35 years ago, a hungry and homeless young man walked into a diner in Houston, Mississippi. A single act of kindness changed that young man's life forever. He became a successful businessman and created a second life as a Secret Santa, anonymously giving away more than $1.3 million. Read why this Secret Santa is finally revealing his identity.

To read more of the Santa story or Daryn's good news visit her site at darynkagan.com.
I think it' s a FAB idea!


Friday, November 24, 2006

An interview with me. . .

You can check out an interview with MOI at Lisa Harris's blog today.


A First

This was my first year to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Previous Thanksgivings were spent at my parent's home along with my brother and his family, and one or both of my precious grandmothers.

This is my mother’s obsession. She loves to decorate for the holidays and her table is among the finest with all the tableware, crystal and even golden chargers for the dinner plates. She has three or four different sets of china and makes her choice well ahead of time. The last few years she has suffered with Diabetic Retinopathy. I’m not sure if she has enjoyed her fine display as much as we have.

There is nothing to compare to the meal itself: Turkey, ham, her special home made cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, broccoli and cheese casserole, potato casserole, sweet potato casserole. . .and seven to ten different desserts. I struggle between pumpkin pie and Mississipi mud pie, so I have a bit of both.

None of that for me and my familiy this year. We’re in Oregon now—a long way from Texas. Dan's aunt and uncle invited us along with their children last year. It's always fun to celebrate with many people.

But this year, we were all to ourselves. At first, I was afraid because not only do I have to cook that big meal, I have to make it special—all of the excitement that came so easily before because of being with family had to now emanate from me. I realized then how much of making the holidays special came from my mom. I’ve got big shoes to fill.

I tried hard to make memories for my children of holidays aromas, turkey, ham and pumpkin pies baking in the oven (not all at the same time). That is a problem in itself. My oven isn't nearly large enough so I was limited. Still, it was only the few of us so no need to go crazy with the dishes. For the first time, I used my real silverware. I discovered that some pieces of what little china I had were lost or broken in several moves.

But the joy comes from within us, and I did not want to let my children down. The table turned out beautiful, according to my son, though not as fancy as my mom’s. But my husband and four children still appreciated it. Their smiles made it all worth the while.

My seven-year-old son’s comments will go down into my book of memories, deep inside my heart.

First, I heard him say to the others when I’d gone into another room, "I love it when Mom does this." He was refering to when I pulled out oranges and had them stick cloves in--a first for that to. So, I think he simply referred to a craft.

Then I heard him say, “Mmmm, I LOVE holidays smells." Another good sign.

The finale: "You're the best mom that I've ever had!!!"

Perhaps being on our own this year wasn’t such a bad thing. I needed to venture out, and make some memories for my kids. No matter that we weren't surrounded with family, this year I learned that WE are all we need.

Then we concluded the day by going to see Happy Feet.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Interviews: Lisa Harris and Lena Dooley

I'm celebrating Thanksgiving this week, thankful for many things, including my recent book sale--the first one. I have two wonderful ladies to thank for all of their encouragement and support. They joined me in submitting a proposal for a three book series set in Massachusetts. They are Lisa Harris and Lena Dooley. I've asked them to join me and share about their novels in the series.

BG: Lisa, your story is entitled A Matter of Trust. Can you tell us a bit about the story?

LH: Losing Kayla Marceilo was one of the most foolish things Zachary Lawrence has ever done. He also knows that in order to get her back he’s going to have to win her trust and prove to her that he’s really changed. Kayla is suspicious of her ex-fiancĂ©’s motives, especially when she finds out that he has a dark secret to hide. Will Kayla be able to trust him even when the evidence begins to point against him?

BG: At the time of this interview, have you written this manuscript?

LH: Yes. . and no. This was actually the first romance I ever wrote. While the writing will have to be left to sit in a lonely computer file some where, I’ve always loved the story line. This story will be a brand new version of the original.

BG: How is it different for you writing a contemporary set in Massachusetts, since you just completed a historical series in the state?

LH: I think it’s so much fun to be able to be a part of the contemporary series as well. It will definitely be an entirely different tone and book then the historical and in some ways easier as I won’t have to worry about period dress, customs, and all the research that went in to my historical series.

BG: A Matter of Trust is a suspense rather than a cozy mystery, which you also write. What are the differences as you see them?

LH: While suspense might send your heroine running from the grip of danger, a cozy has her solving a who-dun-it puzzle. Barbour Publishing has a great basic definition of the two genres. “A Mystery is set up as a maze to be navigated by the protagonist or solver. A Suspense is best represented as a coil that tightens in around the protagonist. A simplified generalization would be to say in a mystery, the protagonist is on the offensive-actively searching and solving, while a suspense puts the protagonist on the defensive-running and evading the villain as time runs out.”

Thanks Lisa!

BG: Lena, tell us about your story, Who Am I?

LD: My heroine thought she knew who she was. However, when her mother dies, she finds out that even though she’s an only child, she doesn’t inherit the house. It’s owned by a grandfather she didn’t know she has, and he wants her to come see him in Massachusetts. That is not the only disturbing revelation. When she goes to meet this man, someone there doesn’t want her to live. Who can she trust?

BG: With the publication of this, how many books will you have published?

LD: With all the different editions, when this book comes out I’ll have 17 titles.

BG: You’ve spent a great deal of time writing historicals. Which would you say you prefer, historical or contemporary.

LD: No. I like to write both contemporary and historicals. I’ve written six complete contemporaries. One of them didn’t sell. And in the proposals that are out, there are many other contemporaries. Publishers have bought more of the historicals is all.

BG: You recently won MENTOR OF THE YEAR at the ACFW conference. Congratulations on that. Why do you think you’re so generous with your time to help aspiring writers?

LD: Actually, God gave a mandate to do that. He sent people to help me exactly when I needed them along the way. Giving my time to other authors is loving service to Him, sort of like a tithe or offering of my time and the talent He gave me.

BG: We look forward to hearing more about Who Am I? as we near the release date.

LD: which is October 2007

BG: Your book is to release first, then Lisa's in November, then mine in December 2007!

Since it’s Thanksgiving week, do you have a recipe you’d like to share?

LD: How about some tips for easy Thanksgiving? My family loves tradition, so we always have the turkey dinner with all the trimmings. The trick is that as soon as a girl is old enough to learn, you teach them to do one or more of the tasks. Make it theirs to do each year. That way, the work is divided. Since my daughters are grown and my granddaughters are now old enough to help, the only things I do is cook the turkey, make the gravy and fix the rolls (not homemade). I also buy the cranberry sauce. Here’s a recipe for how to use that left-over turkey. Just substitute left over turkey for the chicken.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (for a crowd)

1 - 4 lb. Chicken, cooked, deboned, and chopped
1 - 3 lb. Carton sour cream
2 - 2 lb. Packages grated cheese
2 - 4 lb. Bottles Pace Thick and Chunky Salsa
3 – dozen (or more) white corn tortillas

In a large bowl, combine chicken, sour cream, and one package grated cheese. (I like to use the feather-grated cheese from Wal-Mart. Sometimes I use all mild Cheddar. Other times, I use the package that is part Cheddar and part Monterrey Jack.) Stir these all together until all the chicken and cheese is covered with sour cream.

Pour one bottle of salsa into a saucepan and heat, but do not boil. (I use the mild salsa, but if you like things hotter, you can use medium or hot. The mild really lets all the flavors come through.)

Dip the tortillas, one at a time, in the salsa until it is warm, but doesn’t start to tear apart. Place on a plate and put a large spoonful of filler, then roll and put in a long, flat baking dish. According to how tight you place the tortillas, you can make probably three pans full. (I like to make these for a crowd, or you can make three and freeze two for later. As a writer, I like to have things on hand that I can just pop into the oven and keep on writing.)

When you are through rolling the enchiladas, divide the hot salsa over the pans. Since it won’t really cover all of the enchiladas, add as much salsa from the other bottle as you need to make sure all enchiladas are really covered with the sauce.

Using the second package of cheese, sprinkle liberally over the enchiladas.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Please visit their blogs as well as Favorite Pastimes for a more indepth interview with Lisa.

Favorite Pastimes
Lisa Harris's Blog
Lena Nelson Dooley's Blog

Let's do this again!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving, OceanSpray and a mini blog tour

Found a great site for your enjoyment. They have Thanksgiving suggestions and you can learn about the whole cranberry process there. I had intended to write about it here, but why do that when there's www.oceanspray.com. BTW, this site was not available when I did research for my novel. Too bad.

This week I'm blogging over at Favorite Pastimes on Wednesday through Friday and my interview with Lisa Harris has turned into sort of a mini blog tour with Lisa, Lena and myself. So be sure to check out each of these blogs this week. Plus, my first interview EVER will be at Lisa's blog on Wednesday.

Favorite Pastimes
Lisa Harris's Blog
Lena Nelson Dooley's Blog


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Truth

Someoone committed a crime in our house. One of our children carved a castle into an expensive executive desk. No one would confess. Finally, my eight-year- old son decided that since, "the truth will set your free" that he would set them all free from the punishment of no playstation, movies, television, computer or phone, by telling the truth.

He did it.

That's a tough one for any parent. I'm not sure we handled it correctly. In the end he was tearully woeful to discover that the truth set his siblings free, but not him. But he's not old enough yet to understand that the truth, in fact, did set him free. There are still consequences to pay, but the truth did set him free. Free from the guilt he carried, knowing that he'd done wrong.

A lesson for all.

This week I'll be blogging at Favorite Pastimes. Please join me there, first, for an interview with Lisa Harris that's tied to an interview with both her and Lena Dooley here. Thursday, I'll have a post over at SpecFaith.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Best Day Ever

We celebrated my middle son's seventh birthday this last Monday. I'm not a big fan of Sponge Bob, but after a Sponge Bob themed birthday party and listening to the song "The best day ever" play over and over, I decided SB isn't so bad. After reading Randy Mortensen's story of how he came up with Landon Snow, it made me wonder what or who was the inspiration for the Sponge Bob character. Anyone know?

It was great fun to see my kiddoes dancing around to the party music as all the presents were ripped into in under three minutes. Come back tomorrow to read about how the truth can sometimes set everyone free but you.

Our next CSFF Blog Tour will feature Kathyn Mackel's Trackers, the second book in her Birthright Project. The book was released in October. Be sure to get your copy.

Next week I'll be posting interviews with two great ladies. Lisa Harris and Lena Dooley are my partners in the upcoming suspense series set in Massachusetts. We'll be posting some recipes as well, cuz it's Turkey week.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

CSFF Blog Tour: Randy Mortensen and Landon Snow

Last day for the CSFF Blog tour featuring Randy Mortenson's Newest release: Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum.

Publicized as a non-sorcerous alternative to the Harry Potter series, the Landon Snow novels use Biblical passages as the vehicle through which the Auctor — God — provides Landon with hints about his next adventure, and it is hope and faith, rather than magic, that the characters rely on for their success. While the Landon Snow novels don't offer the complexity and depth of Potter's world of wizards and Muggles, they are prosocial fantasy adventures that emphasize faith and family and avoid the moral shades of gray that have disturbed some Christians about the Potter novels.
If this sounds familiar that's because I stole it from The Mir's blog and she got it from here.
If you think like me about certain sorcerer books, then the above statement will impact you as it did me. I'm excited to have alternatives for my children to read.

Don't forget the list of participants two posts down. If you haven't visit others on the tour, please do.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

CSFF Blog Tour: Landon Snow

This is the second day of the CSFF Blog Tour featuring R. K. Mortenson's Landon Snow series, specifically the third book: Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum.

I ALWAYS wonder where authors get the ideas for their books. Mr. Mortenson shares the following on the Landon Snow website.

The story behind the book.

How did I begin writing Landon Snow?

I actually started with a poem, which is now the Auctor's Riddle. It was a dark and stormy night in the summer of 1994. I was watching the rain coming down in sheets, when suddenly a poem came to me. I took out my little green notepad and clicked my pen, and I began to write.

Could it be chance, mere circumstance

That man eats cow eats grass eats soil

And then man dies, and when he lies

To soil he does return?

A few months later I was attending seminary-graduate school to become a pastor-and I awoke one night to what I was sure was flute music-coming from outside. I looked out the second-story apartment window across a field to the seminary building. The next day I started writing a story about a boy named Landon...
Mr. Mortensen lists several books as major influences: Alice in Wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia, Watership Down, The Hobbit, the Bible to name a few. Reading this list of his favorites further convinces me that his own venture into fantasy writing with the Landon Snow series isn't to be ignored. But I won't be reading the books until after Christmas when my son opens them.

Don't forget to visit some of the other participants. Just scroll down to yesterday's post to see the list.


Monday, November 13, 2006

CSFF Blog Tour: Randy Mortenson

I admit, I haven't spent much time reading young adult or children's books--even in SFF. And I wasn't sure I wanted to participate in this blog tour. But I'm so glad that I did. First I explored the Landon Snow website and found it intriguing and inviting. The pages enticed me further into the adventure and then something HUGE dawned on me!!! I have an eight-year-old boy who is becoming interested in reading adventuresome tales, and he wants his books to be big and thick just like Mommy's. The Landon Snow adventures would be a GREAT Christmas gift for him. I'm excited and thrilled to have made this discovery. So, I'm going to click on the image right above and go directly to Amazon and buy this baby.

Then I'm going to further explore the Landon Snow website and I'll tell you more tomorrow.
In the meantime, don't forget to visit all the blog tour participants.

Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Gene Curtis
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Karen and at Karen’s myspace
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
John Otte
Cheryl Russel
Hannah Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Chris Walley
Daniel I. Weaver


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Worship

Paul Baloche wants to be your friend!

Image hosting by Photobucket

It's Sunday. Seems like a good day to share this new CD by Paul Baloche. Before we moved to Oregon, we lived in Texas and attended the small country church where Paul is worship leader. Click on the CD Image above and have a listen. I hope it blesses your Sunday.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Standing in the rain?

Okay, it's seriously raining here in the Pacific Northwest. I noticed snow on the little mountains surrounding Grants Pass today, too. Oh, that mountain? That's Mt. McLaughlin. . .not so little.

The rain brings to mind a song.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

From Nanowrimo to Nahoclemo

If you're not familiar with the acronym nanowrimo it means NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth and takes place during the month of November. If you ask me, that's one of the worst months to attempt such a project because the holidays are looming large.

Nevertheless I committed to this task. But because I'm given to a type of rebellion that manifests itself in the form of procastination, that's exactly what I've done. Instead of writing my novel, I've been cleaning like a mad woman.

A friend suggested that I change from nanowrimo to nahoclemo--NAtional HOme CLEaning MOnth.

Perhaps after the holidays we will take on this new concept, nahoclemo, officially.


Monday, November 06, 2006

When Christ and the Saints Slept and James Bond

I've never been good at names. Can you tell?

What a name for a book, huh? But that's how the Anarchy is referred to--a time "when Christ and the Saints Slept." It's also, as you see above, the name of a book--a novel depicting the time period. Why am I posting this? Just to let you know that's why I haven't been keeping up with the blog lately. I'm steeped in research for my medieval novel. I've given myself a deadline for writing, but hey, I can't get out of the research. This book alone is over 700 pages!

I do have some things in the works. I've got an interview coming up with Lisa Harris! Hopefully an interview with Kathleen Morgan over at Favorite Pastimes, and I'm posting the second part of the Trouble with Time Travel over at SpecFaith this Thursday.

Oh one more thing. Did I tell you how disapointed I am that Pierce Brosnan will no longer be playing James Bond? I tell you, even as a long time 007 fan, I'm considering skipping the new stuff, I'm so upset. Nevertheless, you can watch the trailer for the new Bond movie here.
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