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Showing posts from April, 2008

Sweet Romance Reads: How do you celebrate accomplishments?

I’m at the Sweet Romance Reads blog and Facebook group talking about finishing my book and posting a poll about how you usually celebrate accomplishments. Check out the blog or Facebook group to weigh in!

Happy accident

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.29.2008 Okay, confession time: I have a black thumb. Don’t believe me? Here’s what’s left of the cyclamen that Captain Caffeine gave me for my birthday. I have come to realize that the only plants I can’t kill are the ones that I don’t even bother to try to keep alive. For example, my lavender is flourishing. Although considering how hard it is to kill lavender, maybe that’s not a good example. After all, lavender can grow from just tossing some cuttings on the ground, because you can plant the stems and they’ll root. Anyway, my gladiolas correction: bearded irises (thanks, Ausjenny!) are flourishing this year. Why? I have no clue. They are my “happy accident” plants. Here is the key to my keeping plants alive—I can’t have been given them, bought them, or planted them. I didn’t plant the gladiolas—they were growing in the yard when we bought the house, and I could tell they weren’t weeds, so I told Captain Caffeine not to mow it down. I watered it when

Girls, God, and the Good Life

Captain's Log, Supplemental I blogged yesterday at Girls, God and the Good Life about being brave . I posed a few questions, too. Go and read it to understand the rest of today's post. I'll wait. It's short. Ironically, the message at church yesterday was about the Holy Spirit, and the pastor started off with the observation that many Christians mistake an experience for God. He talked about how teenagers will love going to the JEMS Mount Hermon retreat every summer because they have a vivid experience of God's power, but that excitement wanes as they get older because they no longer have the same experience every year. They go to Mount Hermon seeking the experience rather than seeking God. It spoke to me because it brought to the forefront that my worship should not be an experience, it should be seeking God. Seeking God does not always involve a powerful experience or feeling like I should raise my hands during the music. Seeking God can be loud, quiet, or someti


Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark What mysteries lie hidden beside the dark waters of the bayou? Swept away from Louisiana bayou country as a child, Miranda Miller is a woman without a past. Now she has a husband and child of her own and a fulfilling job in a Manhattan museum. But she also has questions—about the tragedy that cut her off from family and caused her to be sent away, and about those first five years that were erased from her memory entirely. When she inherits her grandparents' antebellum estate, Miranda goes back to Louisiana for the first time as an adult. There, she soon finds herself plunged into a nightmare of unknown enemies, buried secrets, and priceless treasure. RT Book Club Magazine says: "Top Pick! Intricately plotted and exquisitely detailed, Clark's latest novel is fantastic." On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang Tyndale House Publishers As the commercial manager for Quentin Hollinworth's family estate, Rebec

Fool For You by Nichole Nordeman

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.25.2008 Some of the worship scenes in book 2 of my Sushi series were inspired by this song. Trish is torn between her desire for abandoned worship and the censure (real or perceived) of others around her, something I’ve struggled with myself. Trish is braver than I am, though. It was fun to write these scenes. Fool For You By Nichole Nordeman There are times when faith and common sense do not align, when hardcore evidence of you is hard to find. I am silenced in the face of argumentative debate, And it's a long hill, it's a lonely climb. ’Cause they want proof, They want proof of all these mysteries I claim, ’Cause only fools would want to chant a dead man's name. Maybe it's true. Yeah, but I would be a fool for you all because you asked me to. A simpleton who's seeming naive, I do believe You came and made Yourself a fool for me. I admit that in my darkest hours I've asked what if, What if we created some kind of man-made faith like t


Captain's Log, Supplemental I’m over at Faithchick today talking about my favorite literary heartthrob, Aragorn!

Snuggle with your laptop

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.23.2008 A woman in the Mystery Lace knit-along I’m in sent this link and I just had to share: Body-laptop Interface I like Dani’s comment the best: “Not only is your laptop overheating, but some cheeky bugger has ran off with all your stuff...” I suppose this is something a real hermit would want, especially a hermit who doesn’t care what other people think. Maybe I think it’s funny simply because I spend so much TIME on my own laptop?

Favorite chocolate?

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.22.2008 Lately I’ve been on this chocolate kick. Normally, I’m not a huge chocoholic like Captain Caffeine. I enjoy chocolate, but if given a choice, I’ll usually choose a fruit or custard/creamy dessert over a triple decadence chocolate layer cake or a chocolate-lovers’ downfall brownie. But lately, I’ve been eating dark chocolate squares. I think it started when I went into Joseph Schmidt gourmet chocolate shop in Santana Row. We’d gotten Joseph Schmidt truffles for Christmas, and they’d been fabulous—I can honestly say that they were as good as DeBrand truffles (author Colleen Coble’s favorite). So when I saw the brick and mortar shop in Santana Row, I went in immediately. Inside, this man was buying up stacks—and I kid you not, stacks —of the Joseph Schmidt Belgian Dark Chocolate bars. He raved about them, said they were terrific. A cashier was restocking the display case the man had cleaned out, and I snagged a bar. “I’ve got to try one, after watc

I mowed my first lawn

Captain's Log, Supplemental Captain Caffeine has been on crutches—he tore his Achilles tendon, it’s not bad, but he’s unable to put weight on his foot just yet. The backyard had become the Amazon jungle. The Captain hates it when the grass—or, more accurately, the weeds become too long. I admit, I was not a good wife. I did not want to have to clear away the chairs and buckets from the yard. I didn’t want to unlock that nasty garden tools shed that’s infested with spiders. I didn’t want to maneuver the lawn mower out. The Captain tried valiantly to mow, since the lawn mower is electric and rather sturdy and he can lean on it. However, I finally decided he wasn’t going to give up or come to his senses, so I took over for him. It’s a lot like vacuuming the carpet, except that instead of my seek-and-destroy mission to suck up every stray piece of dog hair, I had to flatten and raze the foxtails that had taken over the yard. It wasn’t hard, but that mower is noisy. And it kicks up all

Book excerpt - CHOSEN by Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker and his book: Chosen (The Lost Books, Book 1) (The Books of History Chronicles) Thomas Nelson (January 1, 2008) Think with your heart and prepare to die for you have been Chosen. The land of the Forest Dwellers has been decimated by the Horde under the watchful eye of the vilest of all creatures, Teeleh. Thomas Hunter, supreme commander of the Forest Guard, is forced to lower the recruitment age of his army from 18 to 16. From among thousands, four new recruits are chosen to lead--and perhaps die--for the greater good. The chosen four are sent on a quest to prove their character, but their mission takes a dramatic turn when they are intercepted, sworn to secrecy, and redirected to a different endgame. Now they must find the seven lost Books of History. Books that have power over the past, present, and future. Books whose words are alive. Books sought by the Dark One that control not only the destiny of their world . . . but that of ours as well. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ted

Sunday Prayer

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.20.2008 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 e-mail me. If I forgot your prayer request, email me. 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 ONE Sunday. I’m trying something new with my Sunday Prayer. I’m really bad about doing it on Sunday , so I’ll be updating it during the week. Dear Lord, thank you for your mercy. I pray for complete healing for Malia, Helen, Kristy, Colleen, and Sharon. I lift up Case and his family to you. Thank you for protecting Cheryl and her family. Please heal her completely and quickly, and ease her pain. I pray she will not need surgery. Please heal Missy quickly, too. I pray she doesn’t need surgery, and that you ease her pain and help her with her

Book excerpt - DEATH OF A SIX-FOOT TEDDY BEAR by Sharon Dunn

Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear Book Two in the Bargain Hunters mysteries By Sharon Dunn "A quirky `who done it,' Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear is the perfect mystery for women who love bargains and surprise endings." -- Melanie Dobson , author of Together for Good and Going for Broke "If you enjoy whimsy, humor, and fun characters with your mystery, Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear is for you! But beware! Under the laughs are buried strong spiritual truths. A delightful, thoughtful read." -- Gayle Roper , award-winning author of Fatal Deduction "The bargain hunter gals are at it again! Dunn's riotous romp seamlessly tucks in truth and light and leaves us in stitches. A must-read for those who think living by faith is boring." -- Lois Richer , author of Healing Tides Summary: Ginger and her bargain hunter friends head down the Wind-Up Hotel in Calamity, Nevada to outlet shop, attend the world's largest garage sale and help G

Book excerpt - A BRIDE SO FAIR by Carol Cox

A Bride So Fair Book Three in A Fair to Remember by Carol Cox A young woman searching for independence and adventure. A handsome Columbian Guard striving to protect and defend. A little boy caught in a web of intrigue and deceit. Emily Ralston is delighted when she lands a job at the Children's Building at the Chicago World's Fair. And the White City seems to be living up to its promise of excitement when she meets Stephen Bridger, a handsome Columbian guardsman. Surely Emily isn't the only one to sense the spark of electricity between them? When Stephen finds a lost boy, he delivers him to the Children's Building to be cared for until his mother is located. But when a dead body believed to be little Adam's mother is found, a mystery begins to unfold. While unraveling the truth, Emily and Stephen are drawn deeper into danger and closer to each other. "Carol Cox has skillfully woven a heart-tugging romance and page-turning intrigue around a

My dog has allergies

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.18.2008 The vet appointment went okay, although they had to muzzle Snickers to take her temperature. And considering where they stick that thermometer, can you really blame her??? They swabbed her ear, which was painful to her (had to muzzle her again) but didn’t find bugs or parasites. Looks like it’s just allergies. The vet also noted from her chart that she might tend to get these ear infection things around April, because the last time she had an ear infection was April last year. Another sign it’s allergies. So now the poor pooch is on Benadryl and this super potent anti-inflammatory ear drop that I have to wear gloves to apply (it has DMSO in it, which would allow the medicine to absorb into my skin without the gloves). Another thing I noticed at the vet is that my dog is a whiner. She whined when the vet tech swabbed her good ear as well as the painful one. She whined when the vet did the ear examination. She whined when the vet was going to take

Snickers’ ear infection

Captain's Log, Supplemental I know this is kind of silly, but can you please pray for my dog Snickers? She has an ear infection that’s making her left ear painful. We think it’s painful, anyway—she does a low yelp when we touch her ear, and it’s a little reddish colored inside. I have been on jury duty this week, but luckily, I haven’t been called in yet. For my county, I have to call a recorded message the day before to see if my juror number is instructed to report to a courthouse. All this week, I haven’t been commanded to appear, although there’s still a chance I’ll get called in on Friday. Anyway, since I didn’t have to report to a courthouse yet, I can take Snickers in to the vet today. Poor girl, she’s skittish about her ear. Can’t tell, though, can you?

Pictures from a Chinese banquet

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.16.2008 In Sushi for One? , the first scene is a “Red Egg and Ginger” Chinese banquet. At the end of the book, the last scene is in a Chinese wedding banquet. Both types of banquets serve similar foods. There are some dishes that absolutely must be served at one or the other—for example, when Captain Caffeine and I got married , my Chinese father-in-law-to-be said we had to have some sort of chicken dish for good luck or good fortune or something like that. The Captain and I went to the wedding of one of his cousins about a month ago, and it was traditional Chinese banquet style food. I thought I’d share the more interesting dishes. WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART OR CHICKEN LOVERS. First off, the fried rice dish. This was totally yummy! The rice was served or steamed in banana leaves, which gave the rice this absolutely fabulous fragrance and flavor. Isn’t it beautiful, too? This banquet happened to be heavy on the seafood. Which was probably good, b


Captain's Log, Stardate 04.15.2008 We filed our taxes. Yay! They’re done! I always tell myself, Next year, I’ll start earlier. But I never do. We use a CPA who charges $500 to do our taxes. Captain Caffeine, being Chinese, grumbles, “Turbotax costs only $80.” I reply, “Turbotax is cold comfort if we ever get audited.” I actually do feel more comfortable using a CPA. Since I got contracted, I want to make sure that the taxes on my writing income and expenses are filed correctly. I was never sure I was filing my deductions correctly with Turbotax. (If there are any writers concerned about that, my friend and writer Danica Favorite-MacDonald works for H&R Block and did a two-hour workshop on taxes at the 2007 ACFW Conference, and you can order the MP3s of the workshop .) And for those of you who still think that once you get a contract, you can afford a second home on a Hawaiian beach in which to write—Captain Caffeine calculated that I make less than minimum wage. I’m not compl

Captain Caffeine's dream

Captain's Log, Supplemental I got this from my friend Christa , who knows how much my husband, Captain Caffeine, loves espresso and is working on his barista skills. These pics are supposedly from three restaurants in Vancouver. Captain Caffeine is not quite good enough for lattes like these, but he's definitely working hard to perfect his technique!

Sunday Prayer

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.13.2008 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 e-mail me. If I forgot your prayer request, email me. 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 ONE Sunday. I’m trying something new with my Sunday Prayer. I’m really bad about doing it on Sunday , so I’ll be updating it during the week. Dear Lord, thank you for your mercy. I pray for complete healing for Malia, Helen, Kristy, Colleen, and Sharon. I lift up Case and his family to you. Thank you for protecting Cheryl and her family. Please heal her completely and quickly. I pray she will not need surgery. I pray for healing for Melissa’s mom. Also help Melissa and her family during this time in all the ways they need you. I pray for co


Chapter-a-Week has a new sister Yahoo! group called Chapter-a-Week Chat. If you'd like to talk to others about the great books featured on Chapter-a-Week or if you'd like the inside scoop on the book from the authors themselves this is an excellent place to start. Each week's featured authors will be on hand to answer questions and give readers an intimate look at the writing life that inspired their works and readers can discuss all the books. Check it out at Chapter-a-Week Chat . --The moderators of Chapter-a-Week Now for this week's featured books... The Voice By Bill Myers "Bill Myers writes a crisp, express train read featuring 3D characters, cinematic settings and action, and, as usual, a premise I wish I'd thought of -- and succeeds splendidly! Two thumbs up!" -- Frank E. Peretti Summary Burned out Special Forces agent Charlie Madison has his reclusive life turned upside down when his thirteen-year-old niece barges into his empty


Captain's Log, Stardate 04.11.2008 I’ve been in such a Jane Austen mood that I finished this book, which was given to me a few weeks (or maybe even months?) ago. I’m glad I had it—it perfectly matched my current Austen frame of mind. A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith By Lori Smith From the back cover: Step into a Life of Grace At thirty-three, dealing with a difficult job and a creeping depression, Lori Smith embarked on a life-changing journey following the life and lore of Jane Austen through England. With humor and spirit, Lori leads readers through landscapes Jane knew and loved–from Bath and Lyme, to London and the Hampshire countryside–and through emotional landscapes in which grace and hope take the place of stagnation and despair. Along the way, Lori explores the small things, both meanness and goodness in relationships, to discover what Austen herself knew: the worth of an ordinary life. Camy here: This is a well-written travelogue/memoir t

Prime Time America radio program

Captain's Log, Supplemental I was on Prime Time America yesterday! Here's the link (I hope it works): April 9, 2008 I'm not sure where I am in the program b/c I haven't had a chance to listen to it. If someone figures it out, please comment to let everyone else know!

Sprucing up a Crate and Barrel gift card

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.09.2008 A few weeks ago, Captain Caffeine and I were invited to his cousin’s wedding down in Los Angeles. Aside from the fact I would be eating excellent Chinese food, I wasn’t looking forward to it because at weddings (especially L.A. weddings), I tend to be surrounded by these stick-thin gorgeous Asian girls who are at least 10 years younger and wearing fabulous dresses that would cost my entire book advance check. But I digress. We did the easy thing and picked out a Crate and Barrel card for their gift because, hey, I’m practical. I’d much rather get a gift card right off the bat than have to pack yet another toaster into the car to return for store credit. Captain Caffeine had a brain fart and bought a wedding card rather than ask ME, who has lots of wedding cards or could MAKE one just as easily with the TONS OF STAMPS sitting in our living room. But I digress yet again. The Crate and Barrel gift card (the size of a credit card) came with this large

2008 ACFW Genesis contest finalists

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.08.2008 Congratulations to all the finalists of the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for unpublished writers ! Chick lit/mom lit/lady lit: Annalisa Daughety Tiffany Kinerson Sara Richardson Lynda Schab Erica Vetsch Contemporary Fiction: Christina Berry Dan Case Lynne Gentry Jennifer L. Griffith Jim Rubart Contemporary Romance: Annalisa Daughety Kathleen Haynes Cara Slaughter Sandra van den Bogerd Linda Yezak Historical Fiction: Yvonne Anderson Lori Benton Mona Hodgson Christina Miller Rachel Moore Historical Romance: Patty Smith Hall Myra Johnson Allison Studer Erica Vetsch Karen Witemeyer Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: Ed J. Horton Melanie L. Jones Janice Olson Donna Alice Patton Jane Thornton Romantic Suspense: Dani Pettrey Kelly Ann Riley Julie Scudder Jane Thornton Jenness Walker Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: (there are six finalists because there was a tie for the 5th finalist spot) Lynda K. Arndt Valerie Comer John W. Otte Jim Rubart

Interview with Allison Bottke

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.07.2008 Today I have an interview with Allison Bottke about her latest book, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing ! Do you have an adult child living with you (or elsewhere) whose life has you tied up in knots? Are their self-destructive choices, addictions and/or life-style breaking your heart and causing you (and perhaps other family members) pain and anguish? If so, help is on the way! Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children – Six Steps to Hope & Healing for Struggling Parents is Allison's next book releasing in February 2008 (Harvest House). Already being hailed as a landmark non-fiction project, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children will help bring S.A.N.I.T.Y. back to your life! And now, here’s Allison! A special opening message from Allison Bottke: The interview that follows has been personalized for every blog I’ll be visiting during the month of April. I want to thank our Blog Hos

Sunday Prayer

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.06.2008 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 e-mail me. If I forgot your prayer request, email me. 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 ONE Sunday. I’m trying something new with my Sunday Prayer. I’m really bad about doing it on Sunday , so I’ll be updating it during the week. Dear Lord, thank you for your power and sovereignty. I pray for complete healing for Malia, Helen, Kristy, Colleen, and Sharon. I lift up Case and his family to you. Please watch over Sandee’s two sons, who are struggling. Please also help her husband’s health and give her strength. I pray for complete healing for Neil. Thank you for the people around him. I pray for a negative test result for Peggy.

Book excerpt - SINCERELY, MAYLA

SINCERELY, MAYLA by Virginia Smith Publisher: Kregel Publications Release Date: February, 2008 ISBN-10: 0825436923 ISBN-13: 978-0825436925 Copyright © 2008 Virginia Smith The purple hair is gone, but Mayla Strong’s spunk and her nostril stud remain. She has set her cap for Pastor Paul—if only he would give in and accept the inevitable. When he stubbornly resists her charms, she goes off to sulk at her grandmother’s. Soon the house fills up with strays: a sullen teenage runaway and an angry ex-friend. As Grandmother serves up huge portions of guilt along with her famous fried chicken, Mayla realizes being a control freak is an inherited trait. She knows God has all the answers—the trick is letting go long enough to let Him prove it. “If Mayla stole your heart in Just As I Am , she’ll own it in Sincerely, Mayla . Juggling unemployment, unrequited love, and shepherding a runaway teen takes hilarious and poignant turns in Mayla’s quirky hands. Throw in a visit to the grandmother she