Monday, August 31, 2009

Julie and Julia

I rarely get to go to the movies. It's even more rare that I go and enjoy a movie from start to finish. I've actually gone to two movies this month... No, wait, I've gone to four!!!! Friday night my best friend Cathy (and her mother) and I went to see Julie and Julia. Wow. No, it did not inspire me to learn to cook. My breakfast specialty is poptart: chocolate. For lunch I pack Mikey a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a cheese stick, Scooby Doo cookies, applesauce, and a drink (plus a Spiderman napkin). Dinner is the big meal of the day. Tonight we had ham and hash brown (who knew I was out of macaroni and cheese!). Tomorrow, for dinner it will be pork chops and scalloped potatoes (from a box).


From the Julie part, I learned a lot about feeling lost and determination.
From the Julia part, I learned about laughing at life, being comfortable with being bigger than life (Okay, so now you know I'm chubby), and that sometimes being a leader means voicing tough decisions.


From the movie theater I learned that one out of every ten people cannot bear to be separated from their cell phones during the course of a movie. It's like little matches flickering through the theater, drawing my attention momentarily off the movie. Arg.


Oh, you want to know about the other three movies. Okay, three weeks ago I went to the new Harry Potter (gasp!). I love, love, loved it. I also went to Ice Age (Mikey liked it), and I went to G-force (Not sure Mikey got it).

The previews for Julia and Julie showed an upcoming romance with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker. It involves the Witness Protection Program. Truly a draw for a suspense writer. Ya wanna go with me?

So, what did you think of Julie and Julia?
So, can you turn off your cell phone during a movie?
And, what upcoming movie sounds good to you?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just Wondering


This is Merrillee, and I'm probably going to wander around a little bit in this blog post. I've been painting baseboards with oil base paint, and I think the paint fumes must be getting to my brain. I decided they needed a new coat of paint because the new carpet made them look so shabby. Now I have a sore shoulder. Is that from holding a little bitty paint brush? Just wondering.

I went to the store this afternoon to buy a loaf of bread. Not just any bread, but my favorite bread--Nature's Own 12 Grain. No other bread tastes quite the same. The store was out. There were dozens of loaves of 100% Whole Wheat and some other odd varieties but no 12 Grain. I wish I could meet the person who delivers the bread. I would tell him to bring more 12 Grain. Half the time the store is out of that variety. And not just one store, but all the grocery stores in town. Telling the store manager doesn't seem to get the right response. I need to see the bread delivery person. Why are they always out of the bread I like? Just wondering.

When I went to the store, I travel a road that has a roundabout. I don't mind roundabouts if everyone using them knows what they are doing. Today on my return trip there was such a wonderful flow of traffic in the roundabout that it was like a well-conducted orchestra. However, more times than not, the traffic flow is more like having someone throw the musical instruments down a flight of stairs. Some people come to the roundabout and panic or freeze. I so wish to have a loud speaker mounted on top of my car so I can give instructions. Do you suppose that is possible? Just wondering.

Are there any things that you wonder about?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My husband did one of those Things!


My husband did one of those things yesterday!

Oh, not one of those things that drive you nuts, like deciding to change the oil in the car a half hour before you have to leave for an important meeting, or dropping his dirty clothes in the middle of the kitchen like it’s one giant laundry hamper. Not one of those things.

One of the OTHER things.

I’d been typing away, shut in my office for several hours and suddenly the door opens. Crash goes my train of thought. What now? I turned to face him with a scowl. He simply walked over to my chair, kissed me and said, “I love you today. Have I told you that? You’re the light of my life.”

Ahh, that was so sweet. I just sort of melted. Smiling softly, he left the room without another word.

Sometimes that old guy still surprises me after 35 years. Not with candy or flowers, but with those tokens of love that won’t wilt or add inches to my hips. That out-of-nowhere kiss will linger forever in my memory. Guess that’s why I married the guy.

Pat Davids.
(still smiling)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Only 120 days of shopping left till Christmas


Okay, you're probably thinking what in the world is she thinking. Christmas? It's hot outside. The trees are green. The flowers are blooming. My kids have gone to the pool to swim. Christmas is months and months away. Well, yeah, but as I was thinking about a post for today, I remembered when I was teaching (I would be in school by now) I usually had most of my Christmas shopping done by this time. I spent the summer months shopping for the holidays because I didn't have much time in November and December--teaching, writing and doing family activities.

The tree above is my flamingo tree. It's in my office, and I keep it up all year round even though it was supposed to be a Christmas tree.

So my question to you is when do you do your Christmas shopping? I shop now in October and November. I do get a few last minute things in December, but I like to avoid crowds if possible. I never go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Decisions


Hello. It's me, Lenora. Do you ever say that to God? Hello, God, It's me again. Lenora. I'm sure He sighs and thinks "Here we go." I'm trying to make a big decision right now. Nothing earth-shattering but big anyway. I've prayed about this decision and asked the Lord to show me the way. One day, I think I've made up my mind. The next, I'm not so sure. I read the Bible, searching for some sort of sign in God's word. Some days, I think this is it! Some days, I'm still searching aimlessly, wondering what to do. Anyway, I'll figure it out. I was just wondering how do you deal with major decisions in your life? I'm sure we all turn to prayer first, right?

But how do you know when it's God's voice you're hearing, or just your own wants and needs edging in there to make you go in the wrong direction? This sounds like a conflict in one of our books! Our characters have to make decisions based on their experience and the word in the Scriptures. They have to use the same reasoning and emotions we all use. And they have to make the right choices, based on their instincts and from listening to God's word in their lives. It's a lot easier to make decisions for my characters than it is for myself, that's for sure.

As far as what I'll decide, I think I know the answer already. And I pray that I heard God's word in my heart when I reached that conclusion. I'll let y'all know after I reach that point. Meantime, I will refer to this verse to see me through:

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.”- Psalm 116:1-2

Monday, August 24, 2009

What a Road Trip!











Hi Everyone, Debra Clopton here.


I have been buried in deadlines and have missed a couple of post and for that I'm really sorry. God has been faithful though and He's helping me get everything done and I'm feeling positive about making this one on time--I usually do but I always worry that I won't! Anyway, I've missed being here. You all know I love road trips...well here is one I'm glad I'm not on but it may show up in one of my books soon! This sweet man and his puppy and horse came by our church last month ( I go to the Cowboy Church of Leon County in Centerville) and so we are all about cowboys still this was unusual. This nice man came to our church in his covered wagon. The amazing thing is that he came from Corpus Christi Texas. That's over six hours away from us by car. It is a road trip I've enjoyed many times. However, by horse driven wagon it had taken this man since MAY to make the trip. Can you imagine. I can't. I talked with him for a long time about his trip since I was fascinated about what would make someone want to do such a thing. He wasn't through by the way, we were just a stop along the way since he was heading to Arkansas! I have no idea how long it would take him to get there. But you know what, he was witnessing as he went. Telling everyone how God had helped him out as he went. And people were so kind to him, inviting him to camp on their places and helping him fix things on the wagon when it would break and just being kind. It made me think about the goodness of people...it is so easy to think only of the bad things since we see so much of it in the news. It made me think that I want to show the kindness of God in all that I do--and you know what that can be hard sometimes since satan has a way of just sneaking up on me sometimes. I've been reading my Bible more and as always God's widom helps me keep my eyes focused on how I want the world to view me and what I can do to help those I meet. Even if its just a smile and a kind word. Sometimes, like I learned from my friend and his wagon its the simple things of life that bring out the best in all of us.
I have to say though that I'm glad I was born to write about the modern day cowboys of Mule Hollow Texas and to drive a T-bird rather than write about cowboys of the wild west and drive a wagon!

Until next time live, laugh, and love God with all your hearts!
Debra Clopton

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: GIFT OF WONDER BY LENORA WORTH

But where was Alice Bryson's fiancĂ©? He was hightailing it out of the Louisiana bayou, with Alice's heart and the townspeople's trust. So how could she believe in another handsome stranger who vows to rebuild their hurricane-battered community? Yet developer Jonah Sheridan promises to do just that. His motive: a secret—about his infamous biological family, folks Jonah never knew. As a reporter, Alice is determined to uncover it. Until Jonah risks everything by opening up…the first of many gifts of wonder in store for Alice, Jonah and their beloved bayou.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

FOUND IT!

Okay, I just found it. I told you I did it, only it says Wed so it follows Mother Teresa.

Repeat after me, Val is a doofus, Val is a doofus....

Val

I really did do it!

Okay, folks, I wrote the post, I edited the post, I pushed the right button to publish the post. Only nothing happened.

I'd apologize except I did everything I could to comply and entertain all of you.

Perhaps it will show up eventually. At any rate, it was about rain and had pictures. I hope you all get to see it.

Blessings,
Val

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quotes that Touch Us


Missy Tippens here.

I recently found a slip of paper that had a wonderful quote on it. I don’t even remember where I got it but wanted to share it with you today. However, the paper I had said it was anonymous. Well, I think most of the time people put that because they just don’t know where quotes come from, so I did some research. (Thank goodness for the Internet!) It’s apparently a quote from Mother Teresa. I’m glad I searched for the real author! It makes it that much more meaningful when I read it. I hope it touches you like it touches me each time I read it.


Love has a hem to her garment that reaches to the very dust. It sweeps the stains from the streets and lanes, and because it can, it must.


Mother Teresa: Contemplative in the Heart of the World, 1986, Angela Devananda, editor


This was especially meaningful for me since my son just returned from a two-week mission trip in Kenya at the Tumaini Children’s Home. They worked in the gardens, helped with the children (AIDS orphans) and held medical clinics. They also travelled to three schools to give de-worming medicine. Although he mainly helped entertain the children who were waiting, he said the doctor and helpers treated a lot of patients, some who had never seen a doctor before.

I think the love of this mission team is the love Mother Teresa was talking about, because it’s so much a part of who she was. God’s love compelling people to help. God’s love reaching out to touch a hurting world.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Building an Ark!

Hello!


I'm almost ready to start collecting gopher wood and building an ark right here in Arkansas.





This is the view from my screened porch. No, I do not have a river next to my house, although I am thankful that we live on a hill.





I was happily typing away on a new book on Tuesday when I heard thunder. In minutes it was pouring - and neighbors less than 3 miles away didn't get a drop of rain.


As soon as it was over I stepped outside the screened portion and took this picture. Wow!
Earlier that day I had planted a hydrangea that I had started from a cutting. Poor little plant. I found it with no potting soil around it, lying in the yard. I did replant but not in the same place where it had been. It turned out that that was in the middle of one of these surprise "rivers."

Makes me wonder how strong Noah's faith had to be to have built that ark when all his neighbors and friends told him he was crazy? (Gen. 6 &7) I have enough trouble staying faithful when I'm acting relatively normal and there was Noah, behaving as if he thought the end of the world was near while everybody else laughed at him. That's something to ponder, isn't it? It sure is for me.

Sometimes, we who write Christian fiction come under attack from those who don't like what we do. It happens. And it is my fervent prayer that as these people look back they will be able to see that we, too, stood firm.

Blessings,
Val

Cultural Exchange

I am fascinated by other cultures which is just one of the reasons my family often hosts a child from an orpahange in Ukraine. It's also a chance to share Jesus with a child who otherwise may never hear his name, to show how loving, Christian families interact, and to share our Okie culture and learn about theirs. We are doing so right now. Our host child is 15 and a living doll, both inside and out. She's also funny and a real gamer, willing to try new foods--and ride the Zipper at the country fair. AWK. Never again.

Tonight we had fried okra, a staple for us in the summer months. She doesn't like our ice tea, wasn't crazy about corn on the cob(poor deluded child) but this girl loved okra. In her thick Russian accent, she kept saying, "What is this? Okra? Mmmm." She had also never had M & Ms. My husband believes M&Ms are a staple of life, so he introduced her. She calls them M M Ms. And yes, she likes those too.

This was our first teenaged host child and I was a little nervous at first, being a little kid person, but she has proven to be so much fun. (And she washes dishes without me asking!)

So tell me, have any of you had experience with another culture?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Time to Laugh; a Time to Mourn


"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;"
Ecclesiastes 3 1-4

All of us know the truth of these verses in Ecclesiastes. We've read them and heard them sung. This week our family is preparing for "a time to mourn." My dh's mother is in an ICU. I won't go into the details but my mother in law is almost 90 and her body is slowly failing.

This is the mourning and weeping part. She is the last of her generation in her family and the last of our parents.

Yet this is sad and happy at the same time. We live a 6 hour drive from most of our family. So we are getting time to see and show love to them.

It has also been good to see our children and nephews show such love for their grandmother. The three grandsons who live in the area have all made the trek into the city to visit their grandma--even though she may not even be aware that they have come.

My own son who lives a state away sent a card. Those of you who have adult sons know what a gesture of love this is. When I saw it on the bulletin board in her hospital room, it touched my heart . He called again last night to find out how Gram was doing.

While my dh and his brother have been driving into the city every morning to be with her and talk to the doctors, my daughter and I have been sorting through all the family "stuff" in the house. We have begun the task of preparing the house to go to another family.

As we go through 1920-1933 high school year books and old scrapbooks and photo albums, it has been a good time of sharing. And telling her family stories and history, most of which she had never been told.

I don't know when Gram will go to be with the Lord, but it is comforting to know:

"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:5-8


Monday, August 17, 2009

Where everyone knows your name

Janet Tronstad here. I've been spending the month with my parents at their farm in Montana and am reconnecting with people I used to know decades ago (for various reasons, several of my old classmates are moving back to the area). I'm also working on a book with a 'belonging' theme. It all reminds me of the old Cheers program with the tagline 'Where everyone knows my name." I believe we all search for a place like that. The community here in Montana is place for me like that. They not only know my name, but the names of all my relatives, too! Sometimes that good, sometimes not so much -- but that's the way it is. What about you? Is there a place where you go and everyone knows your name?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hero Interview from The Hero Next Door by Irene Hannon


Interview with the hero (THE HERO NEXT DOOR by Irene Hannon)

1. J.C., tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I’ve never considered myself that interesting. But people always seem fascinated by my background as a Chicago PD undercover detective.

2. What do you do for fun?
Before I moved to Nantucket, I loved coaching the Titan Tigers, a primary-school softball team at my church. We didn’t win many games, but we sure had a lot of fun. And that’s what counts.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
You know, I’m not the kind of guy who puts things off—even tough things. In fact, some people think I’m a little too in-your-face. Especially my sister, Marci.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
That I’ll never reconnect with my brother, who’s serving time for armed robbery. I took over the responsibility for raising him and Marci when I was eighteen, and it’s really hard to accept that I failed with my kid brother. But I’ve never given up, and I pray for him every day.

5. What do you want out of life?
To take the “dys” out of “dysfunctional” when applied to my family. We’ve all had a tough row to hoe. Marci’s doing great; now if I could only convince Nathan to get with the program. And I’d also like to find a woman who might be interested in a Chicago cop from the wrong side of the tracks who’s a little rough around the edges. The bad news is that since I’ve been on Nantucket I’m starting to fall for Heather Anderson, who owns The Devon Rose tearoom. Talk about a silk purse and a sow’s ear. But hope burns eternal…

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Faith and family. No contest.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I don’t have much time to read. But I try to put in a little time with the Good Book every day.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I could figure out a way to reach Nathan—that I had a better understanding of human nature and deeper insight into what makes him tick so I could help him turn his life around.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets. I’m never home.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
You know, being in law enforcement I’ve always been fascinated with the Wild West. I’d love to meet some of those legendary lawmen who fought for justice, often against great odds.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Will He Know My Voice, ponders from Carol Steward


I'm not sure about you, but I've often worried that when I pray for acquaintances of friends, that I'll get their name wrong, or pray for the "wrong" outcome.Sometimes in my life, I get so busy with family and catching up, that I even question whether God remembers who I am. Sometimes it's so busy I wonder who I am, so I figure with all that God has to keep track of, how can He keep track of me and my prayers?A few months ago my husband and I decided to go out to dinner at the last minute. We were seated in a far back corner, and I heard an infant near the entrance babbling. I was a child care provider for 15 years, so baby sounds are joyful and welcome sounds to me. But this baby's talking got louder and louder. "That sounds like Owen," I told my husband. Owen is our grandson, who was 5-6 months old at that time. My husband nodded, with that "you're imagining things" look.Finally, after a few more minutes I sent my son a text message asking where they were. He was in training and didn't reply. While the baby kept talking, I was more determined that it was my precious little guy. I tried to ignore the noise, ordered my dinner, then got up and started searching for the voice. I'd begun to believe my husband was right, I was imagining things. I'd heard hundreds of babies over the years, so why would one sound any different than all of the others?And then I found him, my Owen. He saw me at about the same time and started squealing with delight. That night, hearing that one voice, and being so certain that it wasn't just "some" baby, it was "my" grandson, convinced me that God indeed knows my voice when I call out to Him. And He, too, will go in search of me in my time of need.No one will ever convince me that my grandson didn't see us walk in the door, passing behind his mom and other grandmother while they were busy taking care of him and his older brother. I'm convinced that Owen was calling us and wasn't going to give up until we found him. So now, when I wonder if God's really listening, I remind myself of that night. I remind myself to have the faith of a child, never-doubting, not about to give up. I am His precious child, He is always listening.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random End-of-summer Stuff

Wow! Can't believe summer is almost over! This summer was a bit more fun-filled for our family simply because I was on crutches and unable to drive all last summer following a car accident.

I was thinking back to that time and laughing about how being on those crutches made everything take ten times as long. Ever tried hopping with a pan of water from the sink to the stove? Yeah, even every day stuff like cooking for the family became a monumental task.

Having been temporarily disabled helped me in a lot of ways though. It made me more aware of what those who are permanantly disabled have to contend with. Ever tried to push a wheelchair through aisles of a department store? Think most of them are made to ease the way of those with disabilities? Nope. Trust me, NOT SHOPPING for three whole months was a chore in an of itself. LOL!

So if you see a disabled person struggling with a door or to get through an aisle, do offer assistance. When your entire life consists of having to depend mostly on others, it becomes REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hard to ask.

I hope we can all be perceptive enough to pick up on the needs of those around us without them having to ask. I'm trying to be better at it too.

I hope you have had a wonderful summer and are gearing up for a great next season. If you've ever been down and out or on crutches, a walker or in a cast or wheelchair, I'd love to hear your story in the comment section. What did you find the most challenging chore when you were differently-abled?

Hugs all!

Cheryl Wyatt

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Lovin'...


If you're a woman (or married to one!) the odds are you have probably seen the movie Grease.

I'm a huge fan. I remember watching it as a child with my older sister and my mom. My dad worked nights a lot when I was in elementary school and he couldn't STAND the songs, so we'd watch the movie until midnight when he got home, and then scurry off to our rooms all innocent, like "we weren't watching anyhing...." It was a huge joke in our family.

Now, looking back, I can't believe my mom let me watch that movie that young!! All those innuendos...haha! But, I didn't understand any of them then - I just loved the pink sweaters, the slick hair dos, the bouncy music, the poodle skirts...

My favorite song from the soundtrack is the duet "Summer Nights". I've memorized it over the years and can sing both the male and female parts, and have even attempted to hit the high notes at the end (privately of course, and usually dogs barked afterward from the shock to their ears!)
Anyway, all that to say, this summer, my sweet hubby and I celebrated 5 years of our own summer lovin'. We were married on August 6th, 2004 at the ages of 19 and 20. Now we're 24 and 25 years old, have been married 5 years, have a beautiful 13 month old daughter, and lovin' each other and our lives more and more every day.

I had to take my post opportunity to brag on him. He planned our anniversary celebration this year and wanted to go all out. Talk about going all out! He did good - surprised me with a stretch Hummer - not just a limo! A fancy dinner out to a nice steakhouse, a stay in one of the cities' finest hotel suites...and even spoiled me with a diamond anniversary ring! What a keeper!

This is my favorite part - we got to the hotel and he said he had one more surprise. He wanted to show me his support of my writing, especially now that I'm a full time stay-at-home, write-at-home mom. I joked "What you'd get me, Nicholas Sparks?"

Even better. A brand new laptop! What a man. I'm the proud owner of a brand new Gateway. When I said we had to name it (Hubby no longer looks at me weird, as I name EVERYTHING. My car is Ella, by the way) he immediately said "Annie."

"Annie? Why?"

He smiled. "For ANNIversary."

That's why our marriage works, right there. =)

Here's some pics of the big event!



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Tribute to Blake Snyder

Last summer at the RWA national conference in San Fransisco, I went to a workshop presented by Blake Snyder, author of Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need and Save The Cat! Goes to the Movies. Blake also wrote many scripts for TV & film and proposals that were made into movies.
At the workshop, I found Blake to be a generous and articulate man with relevant information that I wanted to use for my own writing. I bought both of his books and have just started the first one with highlighter in hand. His easy to read writing style has me turning the pages. I had hoped to one day attend another of Blake's seminars but unfortunately, on August 4th 2009, Blake unexpectedly passed away.
You can learn more about Blake and his screenwriting tips on his website.

http://www.blakesnyder.com/

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Contesting We Will Go...

I've been putting off writing contest thank-yous, but I have to do it today. I received my scores back (three sets) from a published book contest. One I didn't final in. Two sets of scores were pretty standard - easy to write a thank-you. The final set was a bit interesting. See, this is Broken Lullaby, career novel number 15, and actually it's doing pretty well in the contest circuit. But, judge number three didn't really like it. That's okay. I don't like every book I read either. However, judge number three told me why she didn't like it (I do respect that by the way). If she'd (or maybe he'd) stopped there, the thank you would be easy. But he/she didn't. Instead they told me what they'd have done instead and how they'd have done it. Finishing with a "Do you see what I mean?"

I confess, having someone tell me how they would have written certain parts of a published book flummoxed me. It made me think about contest judges. Here are some of the thoughts that meandered through my little brain after I read her suggestions:

1. If I knew these comments were made by Nora Roberts, I'd frame them and put them on the wall next to my computer and look at them every day. Nora knows what she's talking about.

2. If I knew these comments were made by a peer (someone on the same rung of the publishing ladder as me), I'd frame them, put them on the wall across the room and try to think about the suggestions every time I started a new book.

3. If I knew these comments were from a reader, I'd know you can't please every reader.

4. If I knew these comments were from a pre-published writer... Well, this is the scenario I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around. As an author, I don't know how to analyze these comments if they come from a pre-pub. What I do know is... the longer I write, the harder I am to please. I used to like 90% of the books I read. Now it's closer to 40%. Have books changed? No, if anything, they've gotten better - especially in the inspirational world. Have I changed? Yes.

Perhaps I got that prepubbed author who is going through the change! LOL

First, I like this contest, will enter it again, and I'm not bothered by her comments because WOW, she put time into her comments. I'm also impressed that a pubbed contest would send back comments. Most just send back numbers.
Second, I almost stopped judging contests two years ago because I felt bad when I marked somebody down (Hey, I'm an English professor by day - I'm paid to use my little red pen!).


By the way, my novel Fugitive Family hit the shelves just two days ago. Why don't you buy it, read it, and see what you think. I don't care if you're Nora, a peer, a reader, or a pre-pubbed. I just care that you care enough to read it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hero Interview from Home at Last by Anna Schmidt


Interview with the hero:

1. Daniel Armstrong, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I own and manage a popular midtown hotel in New York City.

2. What do you do for fun? You’re joking, right? Besides the hotel I have a rebellious teen-aged daughter just suspended from the expensive boarding school she attends, a flighty ex-wife who just took off for Paris and a gourmet cooking course (though I don’t ever recall her setting foot in the kitchen when we were together), an aging parent who insists on remaining on the family cranberry farm in Nantucket even thought she just broke her hip. Fun is not exactly on my Blackberry these days.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? Confronting those I love when I see that change is coming.

4. What are you afraid of most in life? Ending up alone.

5. What do you want out of life? I thought I want success and $$$ -- now, not so much. A little peace and calm would be riches beyond my wildest imagination.

6. What is the most important thing to you? Family – my daughter, Jazz, and my Mom… and someday the right woman to share my life with.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? Used to be books on running a business and becoming a big success. These days? Looking for a good book on how best to play the ‘sandwich generation’ game! Any suggestions?

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Cloning comes to mind – I seem to be needed in several places at once.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? I live in the hotel – no pets allowed.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? Not so far back – maybe twenty-five years or so and knowing what I know now I would probably make some different choices – like not leaving Nantucket!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: HOME AT LAST BY ANNA SCHMIDT


Ther's no place like Nantucket. It couldn't be home for a man like Daniel Armstrong. After all, he has a luxury hotel to run and a rebellious daughter to rein in. But his mother needs help on her cranberry farm, so he packs up his daughter and returns to his hometown—temporarily. But once there he finds his mother has hired another helper for the harvest. Jo Cooper is capable, smart and irresistible—and she's not about to let Daniel and his overindulged daughter get in her way. Besides, Daniel's not there to fall in love. And he's definitely not looking for a place to call home….

Friday, August 7, 2009

Love of Books

Merrillee here. My mother started me on my love affair with books. She subscribed me to the "Weekly Reader" book club, and she used to read some of the books to my brothers and me at bedtime. Old Bones the Wonder Horse was my favorite.

Books opened a whole new world to me. I grew up in small towns in South Dakota and Montana, but I read books set in all parts of the country. Even though I don't remember the name of the book set in New York City, it introduced me to a place where there was very little grass and a lot of sidewalks. Who knew that people lived in high rise apartments and didn't have front yards. Another book, No Children, No Pets was set in Florida. The book talked about a family who moved to an area where people didn't want children or pets, and they had both. There was also a hurricane in the story. It was a totally different world than the one I knew. Now I understand first hand, since I live in Florida.

Finally, as a part of this blog, I'd like to think I have passed on my love of books. I have one daughter who is a librarian and the other is passing on her love of books to her daughter. Here are a couple of photos of my granddaughter and her books.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer's end

Lenora's post got me thinking about how fast this summer has flown. I always think I'll get so much done during these months. I wanted to take a couple of trips with my grand kids. I wanted to go fishing, I wanted to travel to Washington D.C. and party my head off.

Oh, wait. I did go to Washington D. C. and I did take a trip with my grand kids. To Tulsa. They were more fun on the three hour drive down there than they were on the four hour back. Note to self. Shorter trips with the grand kids.

I didn't get any fishing done, but I got another book written. That's always a good thing.

Summers just used to last longer.

Was that my imagination? I don't think so. Summers used to be long, lazy, hot days with softball games and ice cream social. It was licking sticky popsicles on grandma's front steps. It was the county fair and catching tadpoles.

Now it's hard to find time to water the lawn let alone go to the fair. I miss those days. Don't you? What are some of your summertime memories? New or old. Good or bad.

I hope my grand kids look back on this summer as a special one some day. That is if I don't leave them in the salt mime we are touring next weekend as our last little day trip. Did I argue with my brothers that much? Did we drive our folks crazy in the car?
Okay, yes we did.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Pat

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hot Springs



This year in July my husband and I went to Hot Springs and stayed at a bed and breakfast that was an old Victorian house--about 120 years old. We had a great time enjoying the town and the surroundings lake and mountains. We visited a botanical garden and a tower that overlooked Hot Springs as well as took a National Park tour of the restored bath house (picture below). The place was beautiful. One of the highlights of our trip was having dinner on the Belle and cruising around Lake Hamilton (picture above).

Where have you gone this summer? Want to share any good places to visit?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thanksgiving in August


Hi. It's Lenora. I'm so excited that my book Gift of Wonder is out in the stores this month. Most of the books I've written over the last couple of years have been in the Love Inspired Suspense line (and those were all part of my CHAIM secret agent series.) So it was nice to go back to a straight love story with the only suspense involving the emotions of my characters. This is also a Thanksgiving book. I love holiday stories. After reading Missy's earlier post about back to school, I thought about how much I love summer even if the heat and humidity in Louisiana makes life miserable. But there is something about fall that I love, too. Those crisp mornings where you can talk a long walk, the changing of the leaves from green to vivid reds, oranges and yellows with a little dark burgundy thrown in. I've often wondered how anyone can deny God's handiwork when they're walking through colorful leaves.

With fall comes Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving almost as much as I love Christmas. I enjoy making my famous seafood stuffing (shrimp, crawfish, sausage and lots of buttermilk cornbread and chicken broth along with a few other key ingredients. My husband loves this "dressing" as we call it in the South. It takes all day to make, but it's worth the effort. In my book, this is the dressing my heroine Alice makes on Thanksgiving day--a job that usually belongs to her older sister Lauren. But Lauren has just had a baby. That sense of family is what I love about writing for Steeple Hill. This story is especially close to my heart since it's set in Louisiana and my hero Jonah can't resist the close-knit family that Alice offers him. He's never had that kind of family.

So ... while I'll miss summer with all the flowers and the sun, I will look forward to fall (even though my children are grown and we don't have backpacks and lunch boxes by the front door anymore.) The changing of the seasons is a blessing in itself because we know it only means there is another adventure around the bend. I hope some of you will enjoy the adventure of Gift of Wonder. Because as we all know, God offers us the celebration of Thanksgiving all year long. Even on a hot August night in Louisiana.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just Saying Hello!

Hello everyone! Debra Clopton here poking her head out of deadline, deadline and more deadline crunch to say I hope this is going to be a blessed August for everyone. This has been a hard couple of months for me but I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to write my books, deadlines are hard but wonderful :) This post is basically to say hi since I'm still swamped and just can't take my head out of the Mule Hollow Book I'm creating. God has been good and readers have been wonderful to buy my books. I pray with each one that I meet the expectation for both the readers and for what God is expecting of the books. So I hope you'll forgive me once more for this short blog but I have to get back to it! If any of you haven't read my Mule Hollow series I hope you'll give it a read and I hope they make you smile. Until next time live, laugh and love God with all your hearts.
Debra Clopton

Saturday, August 1, 2009

FEATURED BOOK: THE HERO NEXT DOOR BY IRENE HANNON

He thought the big city was tough.... Then former Chicago cop Justin Clay met his neighbor's rebellious teenage nephew. Just like Justin, the boy had come to Nantucket to put his difficult past behind him. But while love-shy tea shop owner Heather Anderson is doing wonders for Justin's outlook, she's having trouble reaching the teen. Suddenly the man who didn't think he had anything to offer is helping a fractured family, and three fractured hearts, come together. And a world-weary cop is turning into the hero—and husband material—next door.