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Showing posts from January, 2006

Interview with Shirlee McCoy and book giveaway!

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.31.2006 Shirlee has got to be one of the coolest people I know, plus she has the BEST suspense ideas whizzing out of her brain. I met her face-to-face (versus keyboard-to-keyboard) at the 2005 ACFW Conference in Nashville, and she’s as fun and creative in person as online. Now heeeeeeeeeere’s Shirlee! CT: Who do you write for--moms, singles? What do you want to say to that demographic? SM: I write for anyone who loves a good story. I hope my stories inspire people to seek whatever it is God wants for their lives. CT: Where would you like to see your writing going, in terms of genre and scope, in the next several years? SM: I'd like to continue writing romantic suspense, but am hoping to write a few longer novels. Maybe something more family drama with suspense mixed in. CT: Do your kids influence your writing at all? How? How about hubby? SM: My kids and husband always giving me ideas for new stories. If only I could write as fast as th

Solomon ended badly

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.30.2006 Bible in 90 Days: day 22. It’s sad to see how Solomon was led astray in the latter years of his reign. At the same time, it’s amazing how David’s obedience influenced God’s judgment on his ancestors. He was so gracious even when David’s son and grandson sinned so badly. I’m also struck by how the kings’ disobedience happened over years of time. I’ve only been truly serving God since college. For Israel, it was often an entire generation who sinned or repented. That’s a lot of years compared to my few years of being a Christian. Writing: Finished my chapter last night! I’ll be taking my rest day today since I wrote yesterday. Thanks to Robin for doing a crit this morning so fast! I used my “new to me” Alphasmart 3000 . I blazed through the chapter even though I had changed the scene entirely and started from scratch. I figured out why—by only showing four rather short lines and not having a mouse, the Alphasmart is not conducive to editing, an

Sunday Prayer

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.29.2006 Leave any prayer requests in the comments and I’ll be praying this week. You don’t have to be Christian to leave a prayer request. If you’d rather not advertise to everyone on the blogosphere, just leave an unspoken prayer request or email me. If you don’t see yourself and you want to, email me or leave a comment. Not to be mean or anything, but if you don't email me or comment to update your prayer request, I'm only going to pray 3 Sundays. Thank you, Father, for today. It’s a good day. Lord, please heal Heather from this lingering fever and weakness. Help her to feel strong again and give her energy for all she has to do. Lord, please help Pammer to work through this fear. Give her wisdom about what she should do about the Genesis. Thank you for taking care of everything for her husband’s dental work. Please heal her family from the flu. Father, please be with Jules. I pray that her surgeries go well and that you can heal her comp

Writing complete junk

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.28.2006 My Monday book giveaway (THE TROUBLE WITH TULIP) is here . My Thursday book giveaway (CALIFORNIA) is here . You can still enter both of them. Just post a comment on those blog posts. Next week Monday, I'll draw TULIP’s winner and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Stay tuned. Bible in 90 Days: day 20. The story of David’s children is so sad. David was wrong in not disciplining his sons or his officers, but they made bad choices on their own. David’s relationship with God was so strong. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but he always returned to God and faced the consequences of his sin. Writing: I’m so grateful for my husband and his Chinese American background. I decided to change my first scene dramatically and needed his help on cultural family nuances. Hopefully this new book will open with a colorful bang. I need to add more conflict. In writing this manuscript, I’m trying to abandon my internal editor and see how that work

Odds and ends

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.27.2006 Thanks to Heather , I figured out how to use the cool Citrus Moon background I found a few days go. What do you guys think? My Monday book giveaway (THE TROUBLE WITH TULIP) is here . My Thursday book giveaway (CALIFORNIA) is here . You can still enter both of them. Just post a comment on those blog posts. Next week Monday, I'll draw TULIP’s winner and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Stay tuned. I’m also totally excited to interview romantic suspense author Shirlee McCoy on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. I’m also giving away a copy of her latest novel, EVEN IN THE DARKNESS . Just post on either of the two days that I interview her, and I’ll draw a name the day after the interview (Thursday). Which is also when I draw the winner for CALIFORNIA. Bible in 90 Days: day 19. I am amazed at how the Lord is teaching me about Himself. When He makes a promise, it stands no matter what. And David understood Him in ways I don't,

Hormonal King Saul

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.26.2006 Bible in 90 Days: day 18. Dude, King Saul was weird. Moody. Hormonal, even. And I do not get how these Biblical guys take so many wives. It’s just gross to me with my 21st century mindset. Writing: Thanks to lots of great critiquers, I think I figured out a problem with my Inciting Incident, which of course influences practically everything else in the book. Now I have to rewrite the synopsis. Diet: I had ramen for lunch, but with lots of veggies (650). I’m exhausted today, maybe cuz I’ve been staying up so late working on this proposal. I need more self-control on my food choices and portion sizes. It’s especially hard when I’m hungry, so I shouldn’t let myself get to that point.

Serenity

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.25.2006 I just saw the movie Serenity today with Dineen . WOW the writing is terrific. CGI is good. I think I appreciated the nuances in the movie much better because I’d seen the TV show Firefly . The dialogue was fantastic. Funny without spoiling the mood. Phenomenal subtexting. It’s so neat to hear the unusual dialect Joss Whedon made up for his universe. Characterization for Firefly was diverse. I personally think the conflict between characters is greater in the new Battlestar Galactica series, but Firefly had a good push-pull. The new villain in Serenity is very three-dimensional and rather unique. The writing and the casting made the character larger than life. I also liked how Joss Whedon showed backstory, especially since the series had already set up so much characterization. Whenever backstory showed up onscreen, it was always in response to someone needing to know the information, or to a strong emotional reaction to past information come up t

A few adult stem cell articles

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.24.2006 The Monday book giveaway is here . On Thursday, I'll post the title for another book I'm giving away. Stay tuned. This article talks about a possible new way to multiply adult stem cells. This would open the doors for cord blood stem cells or other adult stem cells to be used for therapy. There's a new biotech company that has supposedly pluripotent stem cells (just like embryonic stem cells) isolated from the placenta rather than removed from a destroyed embryo. If the cells really are pluripotent, there's no reason to kill embryos when scientists could isolate human stem cell lines from placentas instead. Bible in 90 Days: day 16. I finished Judges--nasty! Those Israelites were horrible to their women and bloodier than Freddy K. The whole gang/city raping thing makes me want to puke. But I did notice the Israelites were quick to obey God when they wanted something from Him. And it amazed me that God still helped them even w

Gideon's kookoo son

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.23.2006 Bible in 90 days: day 15. Reading Judges. Gideon just died. Boy, his son made all kinds of trouble. This boy needed serious psychiatric attention. The Israelites must have been completely floored by all the foreign gods in Canaan. It was like an addiction they struggled with. They couldn't stay away no matter how mad they made the Lord. As soon as a judge died--"Ooh! Let's go dance around an Asherah pole. We'll peeve God and He'll send the Something-ites to conquer us, but then we can just whine to Him and He'll send a judge to rescue us." Writing: Um...working on my synopsis right now. I had a bazillion Genesis emails to answer. Diet: Went to PT, then ate leftover gnocchi (700?). Tonight, we'll have hamburger stroganoff over brown rice with steamed broccoli.

Sunday Prayer

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.22.2006 Leave any prayer requests in the comments and I’ll be praying this week. You don’t have to be Christian to leave a prayer request. If you’d rather not advertise to everyone on the blogosphere, just leave an unspoken prayer request or email me. I’m getting paranoid I’m forgetting somebody. If you don’t see yourself and you want to, email me or leave a comment. I never promised I had a better memory than a goldfish. “Oh! I have a castle!” Not to be mean or anything, but if you don't email me or comment to update your prayer request, I'm only going to pray 3 Sundays. I've got a couple fly-by prayer requests and a growing list. Father, thank you for being God, for being holy and forgiving at the same time. Thank you for working powerfully at Wintervision youth retreat last weekend. Be with each of the kids and help them to learn and grown from what you showed them. Help them to stand strong in the face of spiritual warfare and deepen

RubyZine needs writers!

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.21.2006 Do any of you fabulous writers have words of wisdom for teen girls? It doesn't have to be a LOT of words--like maybe 250-750? RubyZine is a Christian online newsletter for teen girls and they're looking for articles. It can be on any topic--silly or serious, spiritual or practical. Most articles range from 250 words to 750, so you don't have to write a book to say something worthwhile to a teen girl. It's not a paying ezine, but RubyZine is a legit writing credit, for any of you wanting to pad your writing resume. RubyZine also loves short fiction! Did you know that Kristin Billerbeck wrote the short story for RubyZine's debut issue? I saved it--it's somewhere in my computer. It's HILARIOUS. You too can write something terrific for RubyZine! Short stories can also be on any topic, and they run 750 to 1000 words. Here is your chance to make a difference and to nab a publishing credit! Writer's guidelines are h

The 2006 ACFW Genesis contest

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.20.2006 Well, if you didn't already know, I am the 2006 ACFW Genesis contest coordinator. The Genesis is the new name for the contest previously known as the Noble Theme. This will be a fabulous contest this year! The rules and entry form are on the ACFW website . Some highlights about the new Genesis contest: Prizes: The top five scoring entries will go to Warner Faith pub board. That means skipping the editorial screening process and all the hoops and heading straight to pub board. The top overall scoring entry receives a cash prize of $500. Category winners will receive $50 off their 2007 ACFW Conference registration fee, and 1st choice for editor/agent appointments at the 2007 ACFW Conference. The contest is open to ACFW members only, but any entrant can apply for ACFW membership with their entry form. We have added two categories this year, Young Adult and Multicultural (under General Fiction). Either category will be judged under General F

Synopsis Thursday

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.19.2006 I have a full day to work on my synopsis today. I need to get my heroine's character. It's worrying me--I need to stop worrying so I can let the ideas flow. It's in God's hands. Bible in 90 days: day 11. I'm now in Deuteronomy. Moses is taking a long time to die. I thought he'd die sometime in Numbers, but he's recapping things for the Israelites right now. I've been falling into an old habit of making decisions based on fear of what will happen to me if I make the wrong choice. It's wrong thinking. I can't prevent bad things from happening just by always doing things right, that's stupid. I need to trust God to tell me if I'm doing something wrong so I can right my relationship with Him, and I need to trust Him to carry me through the tough times. It's that simple. I don't know why I keep thinking I need to do something differently. Writing: Lord, please help me to write what will plea

Narnia

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.18.2006 I saw Narnia tonight with fellow San Jose author Shelley Bates . (Yeah, the RITA award-winning Shelley Bates! Hehe, I love saying that.) The movie was great! I admit, I cried at parts. I thought the acting, writing, and CGI were all well done. I'm looking forward to the other movies from the book series. And I didn't have to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom! That's a first! Bible in 90 days: day 10. Still in Numbers. Moses is about to die, poor guy. Writing: Still working to get a synopsis done. Shelley and I brainstormed a bit tonight. I need to develop my heroine's spiritual arc more. I can't quite get to know her. She's slippery. Like trying to stuff an octopus in a girdle. (That one's for you, D !) Diet: I worked myself really hard at PT today in anticipation of my dietary cheating. Ramen with lots of veggies for lunch (600 calories). Maggiano's restaurant with Shelley for dinner, but we split a s

Interview with Tracey Bateman, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.18.2006 Continuing my interview with author Tracey Bateman: CT: What is your most memorable moment as a writer? TB: The night I received THE CALL from Rebecca Germany that my first Heartsong book was sold. CT: When did you first discover that you were a writer? TB: When my first trade book came out. I think I'd written about 20 books by then. CT: Writing a novel is ... TB: hard work. CT: What's your greatest writing weakness and how do you overcome it? TB: Description. I'm a cut to the chase kind of person in real life, I skip description when I read, so I tend to do that when I write also. But I don't necessarily overcome it. It's part of my voice. I just don't do a lot of description. CT: What's your best writing strength? TB: Characterization. CT: How do you handle deadline stress? Any advice or tips? TB: Nope. I don't handle it well. I eat too much, sleep too little, farm my kids out to whoever

Interview with author Tracey Bateman!

Captain's Log, Supplemental I have the super-cool privilege of interviewing Tracey Bateman this month! CT: You wrote for moms. What do you want to say to that demographic? TB: You're not alone! Honestly, I'm not super mom. I forget about school assignments (and as I write this I just remembered my son has a pyramid due tomorrow that we haven't started on yet. SIGH. we need cardboard, box cutters, paints, all for the outside and we have to make all the inside stuff that went in a pyramid.), I dread awards ceremony day at the end of school because with four kids it takes HOURS. I want to scream when they fight, and often do. Moms on TV are so wise and even the bad ones turn out good by the end of the thirty minute sitcom. But hey, let's be real. Not all of us can multitask well. I've even left two of my kids (at different times) at church. I'm just glad they're all old enough to use the phone now. :) So basically I want to take the pressure of perf

Doctor's appointment today

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.17.2006 My doctor's appointment is at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time, so I'll be leaving soon to drive to Palo Alto. Please pray for me as you feel led. Bible in 90 Days: day 9. I'm in Numbers. This is going so great. God has blessed me so much with this. I've been reading MAKING YOUR HOME A HAVEN by Cyndy Salzmann. The first chapter talks about how to have your quiet time with God despite kids and distractions and busyness. She discovered that spending the time writing her prayers helps her to stay focused. If a kid interrupts, she can answer their question and go straight back to journaling. Yesterday and today, I re-discovered the intimacy I feel with God when I journal. I think about my day before, I more readily confess my sins, I'm more earnest as I pray for help, I'm sincere as I praise God. This is so wonderful. If you have problems focusing as you spend time with God, try this. Writing: Got some terrific plot points last

My ACL might be okay

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.16.2006 I went to the physical therapist for my appointment today and she tested my knee. In fact, she even got the other physical therapist to test my knee, too. They both think the ACL is fine. She says that it's loose, but she can feel the "stop" when she tugs, meaning it's still there. I'm praying she's right. I have an appointment with my surgeon Dr. Warren King tomorrow in Palo Alto. The first time I tore it, his assistant tugged and didn't think it was torn, but he tugged and instantly knew it was torn. I think the assistant had a harder time telling because I had so much swelling. I'm hoping the doctor will be able to tell if it's torn or not. Last night, I couldn't sleep because I was worrying about it. And even before I heard the hopeful news today, I realized that God must have some reason for my suffering. He must have some reason for me to fall and (possibly) tear my ACL. My suffering isn't ev

Sunday Prayer

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.15.2006 Leave any prayer requests in the comments and I’ll be praying this week. You don’t have to be Christian to leave a prayer request. If you’d rather not advertise to everyone on the blogosphere, just leave an unspoken prayer request or email me. I’m getting paranoid I’m forgetting somebody. If you don’t see yourself and you want to, email me or leave a comment. I never promised I had a better memory than a goldfish. “Oh! I have a castle!” Not to be mean or anything, but if you don't email me or comment to update your prayer request, I'm only going to pray 3 Sundays. I've got a couple fly-by prayer requests and a growing list. Father, thank you for your grace on us, and your sovereign will. We trust you in all things. I lift up Wintervision retreat to you. Lay your hand over all the kids, the cabin leaders, the staff. Rain down your power and your glory and your grace. Change lives and reveal yourself powerfully to everyone there.

Slipped and fell today

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.14.2006 I really need prayer. I slipped on the wet bathroom floor today and now my knee is swollen. I bawled like a baby for over an hour because I'm so afraid I tore my ACL again. Yes, you read that right--again. As in, "number three." It was my fault--I knew the floor was damp but I only wanted to put the plunger away and I had my slippers on. I'm having a really hard time with this. I don't want to go in for surgery a third time. This is ridiculous and embarrassing. Why did God let this happen? We can't afford another surgery right now. I was deeply depressed earlier today--I have a tendency to do that--but I'm feeling better now. I'm frightened and upset and in complete dread of what my PT will say on Monday--if she'll tell me she thinks the ACL is torn or not. I just had a doctor's appointment on Monday but I'll have to schedule another one next week. I can't imagine what he'll think if it'

Odds and ends

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.13.2006 I want to start with prayer: Lord God, I lift up Wintervision to you. Be with all the teens preparing to go to the retreat, and let your spirit move in each of them to draw them closer to you. You've planned every cabin and cabin leader. Give them all a great time and a powerful experience with you. eHarlequin.com I am amazed and deliriously happy with Harlequin's customer service. This time, I ordered 7 books from eHarlequin.com but only received 6 books in the box. I called their 888 number and got a busy signal, but then I called again in about 20 minutes and got a live person. After giving her my account number and the missing title, she checked to see if the book was in stock and put in a request to send it to me asap. She also said that if I got an Out of Stock card, to call customer service again. Now is that premium service or what? Bible in 90 Days: day 5. The Israelites are at Mt. Sinai. Writing: Yesterday, I got everyth

Branding questions

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.12.2006 Victoria Lynn Schmidt blogged about branding the other day. She asked a few questions for the writer to ask herself. Let's see if they'll give me a clue as to what genre I'd rather write--chick-lit or suspense. What are your skills? Entertainment? Well, that's what I'd like my skills to be. I like telling a story. I can better see myself making people laugh than scaring them out of their socks, but then again, it isn't common social practice to tell suspense or ghost stories at parties. Which genre is the best for your writing style and interests? That's what I'm trying to figure out. Let's see. When I read, I like the excitement of a chase scene or a fight scene, but I'm more attracted to humorous situations and dialogue. And I've found I'm impatient with the tense set-up required from a suspense. I prefer the humorous set-up in a chick-lit, although sometimes the Too Stupid To Live actions

De-Lurking Week

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.11.2006 Stephanie Elliot ( ManicMommy ) told me about this blogger's De-Lurking Week idea. It's totally fun. So, for any of you guys who read this blog and lurk, just give me a quick shout out! Don't have to say anything brilliant. A simple hello would make my day. Bible in 90 Days: Day 3. I have to say, because I'm reading Genesis so fast this time, all these characters just piss me off. Everyone is extremely selfish and they do really stupid things, then really terrific things. But I guess it shows God's grace, that He raises these people to be the great men and women of faith despite their failings. Writing: did some research in my Honolulu magazines. I'm hoping to do more characterization tonight with 45 MASTER CHARACTERS . I finished THE TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Gladwell. Really interesting. Some is stuff I remember from college psychology and sociology classes, most is completely new information. I'm not certain ex

Raclette

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.10.2006 Last night, my San Jose writers group met and we had a special treat—raclette dinner. Raclette is this odiferous cheese that tastes amazingly mild and creamy. Those to know me can see where this is going—I love cheese in any and every form. Dineen brought her French raclette stove, which includes individual raclette trays for each person. The top portion is for grilling bacon, pickles, onions, tomatoes. We put a slice of cheese in our tray and set it under the grill to melt (and sometimes brown) before pouring it over potatoes and whatever we grilled. Topped with paprika—what’s not to like??? Back to my diet today, though. :( I started the Bible in 90 Days yesterday, informally. I felt prompted to do it, then discovered Mir decided to do it the same day, so I figured I’d join her. I got a new NTL Life Application study Bible a few weeks ago, so I just divided the number of pages by 90. I might take me longer than 90 days, but that’s okay. Let’s se

QsOTD from Audra’s blog

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.09.2006 From Audra’s blog: QOTD from Women @ Home for 12/31/05: If you could enter 2006 with the knowledge that you would NOT fail at something, what would that something be? Please do not include marriage, parenting, or religion here -- this is about your personal goals. We're talking that BIG Something in your heart and mind...And with that one thing, what in "real life" holds you back to begin with? Discipline. I don’t have it in many aspects of my life, including my health and my writing. It’s actually my uber-challenge for 2006, so hopefully I’ll be able to learn more discipline this year. I’m also taking Margie Lawson’s Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors online class. She gives some very good tips, and hopefully they’ll help me be better about my discipline. QOTD from W @ H for 1/3/06: Do you know your Spiritual Gift(s)? Wouldn't it be great if, in 2006, we not only know who we are, but act accordingly? Mine is exhortation—mea

Sunday Prayer

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.08.2006 Anybody have prayer requests? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be praying this week. You don’t have to be Christian to leave a prayer request. If you’d rather not advertise to everyone on the blogosphere, just leave an unspoken prayer request. Now I’m getting paranoid I’m forgetting somebody. If you don’t see yourself and you want to, email me or leave a comment. I never promised I had a better memory than a goldfish. “Oh! I have a castle!” Not to be mean or anything, but if you don't email me or comment to update your prayer request, I'm only going to pray 3 Sundays. I've got a couple fly-by prayer requests and a growing list. Lord God, thank you for this day today and your love that reigns over everything else. Please be with all the teens going to WinterVision retreat next weekend. I pray for your blessing and Holy Spirit power over all of them. I lift up Squirl’s orphans in India and pray you will watch over them and continu

The Robe by Wes King

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.07.2006 I’ve been developing the spiritual theme for this current project for a while, and I think I’ve finally nailed it down. This song has inspired me in my own walk, but then it occurred to me that it communicates the emotional theme for my WIP very well, too. The Robe by Wes King Anyone whose heart is cold and lonely Anyone who can't believe Anyone whose hands are worn and empty Come as you are Anyone whose feet are tired of walking And even lost their will to run There is a place of rest for your aching soul Come as you are For the robe is of God That will clothe your nakedness And the robe is His grace It's all you need Come as you are Anyone who feels that they're unworthy Anyone whose just afraid Come sinner, come and receive His mercy Come as you are For the robe is of God That will clothe your nakedness And the robe is His grace It's all you need Come as you are From the album: The Robe c1993 Emily Boothe, Inc. (BMI)/Care

Story Board

Captain’s Log, supplemental Okay, okay, check this out. My friends Dineen, Robin, Ron and Ronie started a blog called Story Board : We'll write a story, as a group, a "Round Robin" type of thing. It might get silly (I certainly hope so), but will retain some structure and we'll attempt to follow the "rules" of good writing. Right now they’re building characters based on 45 MASTER CHARACTERS by Victoria Lynn Schmidt.

Shirlee’s contest

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.03.2006 My friend Shirlee McCoy held a contest for a free copy of her book EVEN IN THE DARKNESS . I already have one, but it was a fun contest, so I entered. Rules: Write a paragraph with the following words: ants duct tape race scream Camy’s entry: Shirlee traipsed into Jolene's bedroom. "Darling, I'm going to make you the most beautiful prom dress ever. I have pink duct tape right here." "And?" "And what? I don't need nothin' but duct tape. It'll be smashing." "It'll take me a week and a whole new dermal layer to get it off." "No, and do you know why? I have these phenomenal mutated ants that will eat through the gummy stuff and it will simply fall off your beautiful bod." "They don't bite, do they?" "No, I don't think so. Margaret brought them back from her stint on the Amazing Race with her writer girlfriends." "Where