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Showing posts from November, 2005

The Critique Boutique

My friend Robin Miller is one of the best critique partners I know, and one of the best contest judges. In my critique service, The Story Sensei , I will critique overall story structure, but in her critique business, the Critique Boutique, Robin will do amazing detailed line edits of your work. She will also do complete manuscripts, while I only do partials. Here's some information on the Critique Boutique: Have you got a work in progress you need polished before entering a contest? Do you have a work in progress you’d like some feedback on? Do you have a completed manuscript you need “tweaked” before submitting it to an editor? If you answered YES to any of these questions, Critique Boutique can help you! We specialize in fiction manuscript critique services. Our fees are modestly set, based on word count, NOT page count. Get as much, or as little of your manuscript critiqued, according to YOUR needs. Elements covered in a c

Stem cell news

Captain’s Log, Stardate 11.30.2005 Stem-cell funding still mired in courts I’m sad for the drain on California’s budget, but I’m also glad the judge didn’t just summarily dismiss the lawsuits challenging the stem cell institute. I don’t object to adult stem cells, but these days, most people think embryonic when they hear the term “stem cells.” Embryonic stem cells are made when scientists kill a baby—an embryo—in order to harvest their inner-most cells, called “pluripotent” cells. Business biology This disappoints me. Neaves doesn’t believe that a blastocyst is a human being. As a biologist and a Christian, I know that something amazing happens the second an egg receives a full complement of DNA, even though it’s just a single cell. Whether it’s made in a woman’s womb, in a Petri dish, or “cooked up” with a blanked egg cell and a skin cell, it forms life as soon as that egg cell has two chromosomes. When that cell divides, no matter if there’s

The Story Sensei critique service

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Hi everybody, I've started a fiction critique service called The Story Sensei that differs from a typical freelance editor. When judging contests, I've been able to pick out high-level structural flaws from writers' manuscript synopses. By pointing those out, I enable the writer to make structural changes to their storyline to tighten a sagging story into something strong and solid. I know that most writers are DIRT POOR (I'm one of them). That's why I critique synopses--it's faster and cheaper for busy writers without the money to have their entire manuscript edited by a freelance editor. Especially in this season where writers are finishing their Book-in-a-year, I'm offering to critique both a 2-page single-spaced synopsis AND a chapter-by-chapter synopsis for only $40. I'll critique your storyline for high-level structural flaws like: · Good pacing, strong sense of movement · Setting as a character · Un

Santa, Take Note and ACL surgery girl

Captain’s Log, Stardate 11.29.2005 Got this link from ValMarie , but I also skip over to Romancing the Blog every so often: Santa, Take Note by Shirley Jump Writing: Following Mary Connealy ’s suggestion, I started writing an article “What to expect from your ACL surgery” while the experience is still fresh. I wrote down all the little tips and tricks that made the experience easier. I don’t know if I want to be known as the ACL Girl, but I definitely want to write something that might help somebody else prepare better for their surgery. There’s so much to do, and there are so many little things that can make things go smoothly. I started “advertising” my critique service, The Story Sensei , today. It’s a little scaring jumping into the mysterious world of freelance. I’ll post a more official unveiling. Revisions? What are those?

Knee is looking good

Captain’s Log, Stardate 11.28.2005 Went to the doctor’s today and saw his assistant. My knee looks so much better than it did last year—no blistering, only a little swelling. After they removed the catheter for the pain pump, I started feeling an inner ache, but it’s still tolerable. I’m upping my pain med dosage a little. I’m now off the crutches and hobbling around with a stiff leg brace. Thanks to everyone who prayed! God is so good! I also have a new message box on my sidebar. I’m so proud of myself for doing that all by my lonesome, despite my html-deficiencies. Leave me a message! Writing: Hope to get more revisions done tonight!

Feeling good today

Captain's log, Stardate 11.27.2005 Thanks so much to all my prayer warriors! I'm feeling great today. There's been very little pain and I think there's no blistering. At least, I don't feel the burning pain of blisters like I did last year. Thanks to Robin 's lack of sympathy, I got a lot done the past few days on my revisions. I'm taking a break from writing today to honor the Sabbath. Instead, I'm doing some reading, including a bit of research for my next book. I'm getting some great ideas for characters and conflict. I've noticed that my creativity blooms when I'm writing about something I'm passionate about. Paula wrote about passion yesterday in her blog. My passion may not be quite the same, but I feel it. The ideas fall in showers like cherry blossoms--thick like a fragrant blizzard. My hero has become solidified because I've discovered his inner struggle. He's dealing with an issue I personally care about, so the story is

More news from the ACL battlefront

More news from the ACL battlefront Captain’s Log, Stardate 11.25.2005 Thanks for the well-wishes and prayers! Pammer, I think you did mention that to me, and I think I intended to try that, but I probably forgot. [sheepish grin] “Oh, I have a castle!” I forgot to mention two things yesterday. “Oh! I have a castle!” Sometime in between gassing me into unconsciousness and waking up in the recovery room, I came into contact with an allergen. I’m talking major allergy attack. I haven’t had one of these since I lived in Hawaii and suffered from attacks every season because of the tropical flora and fauna. It’s no fun going through an entire box of tissues while lying prone with my leg in the CPM machine (It’s a machine that moves my leg slowly from 0 degrees (straight legged) to 40 degrees (bent knee). It’s to prevent freezing of the joints, and I’m to increase the degrees gradually over the next few weeks.) I took a Claritin, which has improved things some. A runny nose post-surgery is NOT

First day after surgery

Captain's log, Stardate 11.24.2005 Mucho thanks to the terrific prayer warriors lifting me up. Surgery was supposed to be at 3 p.m., but for some reason I didn't get into the surgery suite until closer to 4. I had minimal nausea coming out of anesthesia, but I felt like I could have slept for a week. The mean recovery room nurses (probably anxious to actually leave work the day before Thanksgiving, the buggers) seemed extraordinarily brutal in the way they sat me up in an attempt to get me mobile and out of their clinic. I slept on the drive home and arrived wide awake a little after 8 p.m. I guess that's not so unusual since I had slept most of that day away under the influence of drugs. You have not known real fear until you have an aching leg suspended before you, two crutches biting into your armpits, a sloping driveway under you, and a sudden realization you are tipping backward. With a blood-curdling scream worthy of Halloween H2O, I alerted half the neighborhood of m

ACL surgery, revisited

Captain's Log, Stardate 11.22.2005 After talking with nurses about my lingering cough, I decided to go through with the surgery tomorrow. It's at 3 p.m. Pacific Time, so please pray if you get a chance. My biggest fears are about the post-op recovery. Last time I had some very distressing complications. Please pray for: 1) Minimal pain. Since I had such a horrific reaction to the Ultram, and since I can't take Vicodin, I'm stuck with ibuprofen, Tylenol, and a local subcutaneous pain pump. I hope it'll be enough. 2) No blistering. Last time, my body didn't shunt the fluid away from the knee so it formed skin blisters. Talk about excruciating pain. This time, I'm going to try massaging the leg around the knee to encourage circulation so my body will get rid of the fluid. 3) No upset stomach. I got sick from the pain meds last time, so without them this round, hopefully this won't be a problem. Did you know fat cells store
Me, the Noble Theme Suspense winner 
Squirl and Pammer (Hey, where's Heather?) 
Shirlee McCoy and Debra Clopton 
Randy Ingermanson, me, and Deb Raney 
Merrillee Whren and Gail Martin 
My supercool roommate Meredith Efken and me 
Margaret Daley and Lenora Worth 
Karen Ball and me 
Gayle Roper and me 
Dineen Miller and me 
Dana Corbit and Cynthia Cooke 
Colleen Coble and me 
Breakfast with friends! (L-R) Cynthia Cooke, Lenora Worth, Heather Tipton, me, Dana Corbit, Pamela James, Cheryl Wyatt, Laurie Alice Eakes 
Brandilyn Collins and me 
Author panel/booksigning in Nashville. (L-R) Irene Brandt, Joan Hochstetler, Gail Martin, Kathryn Mackel, Randy Ingermanson, Terry Burns, Cyndy Salzmann 
Allie Pleiter, me, Mae Nunn 

Burn My Letter! contest

Captain's Log, Stardate 11.20.2005 Thanks so much to all my fabulous prayer warriors. I'm feeling better now. I'm finally able to sleep through the night with only a little coughing. The fact my coughing had made it hard to sleep made it doubly difficult for me to recover. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to have surgery on Wednesday. I'll have to see. Got more revisions done on my suspense last night. It felt great to write after so many days sick as a dog. BURN MY LETTER! Contest on I belong to , an online writing & critiquing community. It's a secular site, but it's a very positive community of writers giving and receiving feedback. They are holding a Burn My Letter! Contest for anyone who has received a rejection from a publisher, agent, or a writing job employer this year (dated anytime from January 1st, 2005 to December 31st, 2005). You mail in a copy of your rejection

A few histrionics

Captain's Log, Stardate 11.15.2005 I am crawling up from the jaws of death... Okay, well, maybe not that melodramatic. But that opening line should warn you I'm about to turn into one of those complaining old women who tell every stranger they meet about every ailment that afflicted them in the past decade. I'm at the computer since I have a rare moment of wellness in the midst of all my trials and tribulations. I got sick last week Wednesday night--no problem, just a cold, right? A sore throat turned into a chest-deep cough that's still around. Add to that an eye infection I got sometime this weekend. Pile on my sensitive stomach, which rebelled against the regular doses of ibuprofen I was downing, by doing a complete shut-down. I have had the most miserable day of my life today. I haven't been able to keep anything down--not even water--and also no medication. Dehydration or maybe withdrawal from my caffeine addiction caused a ma

I Want It That Way video

Captain’s Log, Stardate 11.11.2005 I just got this from my friend Brett, who goes to our church youth group. This is the FUNNIEST THING I’VE SEEN IN MONTHS!

SAHM I AM by Meredith Efken

SAHM I AM by Meredith Efken From the back cover: For the members of a stay-at-home-moms' e-mail loop, lunch with friends is a sandwich in front of the computer. But where else could they discuss things like... Success: Her workaholic husband is driving Dulcie Huckleberry around the bend. It's hard to love someone in sickness and in health when he's never home! Art: Let the children express themselves, opines artistic Zelia Muzuwa, and then her son's head gets stuck inside a kitty scratching post . . . Health: Surely aches and pains are normal in an active little boy, yet those of soccer-mom Jocelyn Millard's son don't seem to be going away. Motherhood: Teen-mom-turned-farmer's-wife Brenna Lindberg can deal with the mud and the chickens, but what about her husband's desire for a child of his own? Indiscretions: However youthful, they can come back to haunt you, learns pastor's wife Phyllis Lorimer.

Playing catch-up

Captain's Log, Stardate 11.10.2005 Lots has happened in the past few days. ACL: I had my doctor's appointment on Monday and it turns out the ACL in my right knee is torn. I'll be having surgery on November 23rd. Hopefully this time, it'll be better. Last time I had surgery, the doctor prescribed a pain medication related to codeine and it made me massively sick to my stomach. That was worse than the pain of the surgery. I also had horrible blistering because my body wasn't draining the excess fluid, so it forced its way through my epithelial layer into skin blisters. This time, the doctor is inserting a small pump under the skin that will dispense local anesthesia to hopefully dull the pain. I'll only be taking ibuprofen and Tylenol as painkillers. I'm also hoping that if I massage my leg and calf, the circulation will drain away the excess fluid instead of forming blisters. So basically, please pray for my surgery and m

Setting up my iPod

Captain's Log, Stardate 11.06.2005 I'm finally getting around to copying my CDs into my iPod. There are a LOT of CDs. The most important ones are the recorded workshops from the ACFW and RWA conferences this year. I'm so glad I bought them. I'm hoping to spend more time walking this week so I can listen to them. Writing: Still revising the suspense. I'm trying to go about this logically, adding all the scenes for one thread first, then doing the same for the other thread. Problem is, my brain is rebelling. I zoomed straight to the ending chapters and added scenes from both threads there. All of my good, practical intentions-- pffftt! Split like a banana. I will continue revisions in a precise, logical manner. I will.


DREAMING IN TECHNICOLOR by Laura Jensen Walker From the back cover: Phoebe's family has money troubles. Her spiritual life is dragging. She really, really misses her long-distance best friend, Lindsey. But all that's bearable because of Alex, the gorgeous man who shares her love of movies and actually likes women with a little meat on their bones. At last-a real boyfriend to kiss on New Year's Eve! But by New Year's Eve, Alex is in London , called home by a family emergency, newly engaged Lindsey has turned into Bridezilla, and the snooze button still sabotages Phoebe's morning quiet times. She needs a break, which is why she jumps at the cheap off-season fare and flies to England . She's not chasing Alex. Really. She just wants to broaden her horizons. What awaits Phoebe in the land of Mrs. Miniver and Notting Hill (and beyond) is nothing short of disaster . . . and nothing less than a miracle. Camy here: I liked this seq