Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaNoWriMo Results 2008

final validated word count: 50,297

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

hope springs eternal

Yesterday, I was convinced I would never finish my NaNoWriMo novel. I was ready to throw in the towel again, just as before.

I talked to my friend Valerie and she told me she was also stuck and was not sure she would finish.

Then tonight I got an idea and added more, including a hair color disaster for my main character.

Poor gal, but because of that idea I broke 37,000 tonight.

Hope springs eternal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

have you ever?

Have you ever... (from Stephanie!)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from the beach)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (don't think French class counts, oui oui!)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Mother's Wish

Welcome to the blog tour of the new book My Mother's Wish: An American Christmas Carol by Jerry Camery-Hoggatt.

From the publisher:
A grandfather’s song turns a diner into hallowed ground, like a church. A contrary girl with a gypsy heart feels the tug of home. A mother, far away, confronts impossible expectations. And a truck driver named Jedidah keeps his foot on the gas to sweep you into an unforgettable story of belonging and grace.

Readers looking for a meaningful, powerful read on a winter’s evening or with the family will love the rich 1960s nostalgia captured in the Midwest of Jedidiah’s and Ellee’s story; the peace found when family strife boils over, and the gentle reminders of the influence and effect every life has on another.

My Mother’s Wish is an unforgettable, powerful tale that ends on a memorable Christmastime note, but will be cherished and reread year-round for its bold message of grand hopes, impossible expectations, and the gift of grace that comes in between.

My Mother’s Wish will remind you of the power of grand hopes and effect of impossible expectations. You’ll witness the influence every life has on another, and you’ll find new reasons to believe in the comfort and joy in an everyday, American version of the story of Christmas: being known and loved, just as you are.

Pattie's Review:
What a sweet book! It would make a terrific Christmas gift. It's an easy read, but full of meaning and promise. You will not soon forget it, nor will the happy recipient to whom you gift this lovely little volume.

I am going to be keeping my copy of this book, but you can purchase it here:


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vlog of our Dog

This is our toy poodle, Tiger. Can't tell he's almost 11!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NaNoWriMo update

I hit the 22,000 word mark today, thanks to a retreat I went on with the local National Writing Project affiliate. It was held in the house owned by my friend, where her husband has his office. It's sort of a "guest house" for them too, as well as office space. It's really a neat old house.

I sat in the dining room and wrote. And wrote. And wrote! I wrote 7000 words today, and that does not count the book review that I wrote and the others I started!

It was a fun day, where I got to touch base with the writer and former teacher buried deep inside me. She was actually still there, sort of in a frozen stasis mode.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christian Fiction Advent Challenge

Coming soon...

quotation for today

"Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message." -Malcolm Muggeridge

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book Review: A Cup of Comfort for Military Families

Cross-posted on Wives of Faith

A Cup of Comfort for Military Families: Stories that Celebrate Heroism on the Home Front
is a collection of essays edited by Colleen Sell.

As other "Cup of Comfort" books, this anthology is a collection of inspiring and thought-provoking and heartwarming stories, in this volume focusing on the military.

As a military spouse, some of them were harder to read than others, but all of them warmed my heart and brought me joy and comfort, and yes, even a few tears.

I was impressed by the range of services represented, as well as the range of experiences shared (veterans, current servicemembers, family, and friends of military personnel).

I was also excited to learn that a gal I took an online writing course with (taught by The Writer Mama) was published in this anthology! Her essay "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans" brought tears to my eyes.

I think this book would make a great Christmas gift for a fellow military spouse or parent of a servicemember.

From the publisher's description:

It has been said that military life is “not for the faint of heart.” But neither is it without its benefits and blessings. One thing is certain: It is an experience like no other—for both the soldiers and their families. In this collection, readers will experience the pride that wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends feel when a loved one chooses to put his or her needs aside for the benefit of the country. Featuring stories from the current Iraq war as well as stories of servicemen and -women who have long retired from the armed forces, this timely collection will span generations. This book is sure to inspire every reader, whether a husband whose wife is defending freedom today, or a grandchild who wants to know why her grandfather is called “hero.”

To purchase this book, please click here for and here for Barnes &

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall into Reading Wrap-Up

It is always nice when I can declare a reading challenge completed, especially for me. I tend to make grandiose reading plans and then not finish.

Here is my original post , and here are all my books with the reviews linked:

1. Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt
2. Faking Grace by Tamera Leigh
3. A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell
4. Dangerous Heart by Tracey Bateman

5. Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell
6. Sunset by Karen Kingsbury

7. The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
8. Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America by Stephen G. Bloom

Thanks to Katrina of Callapidder Days for a great challenge idea and a lot of fun reading!

Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds is the second in the Squeaky Clean series by Christy Barritt. You might remember I participated in a blog tour for the book here, but I did not receive my copy until much later (what can I say, media mail is slow!). I finally got around to reading the book this weekend, and what a good one it is!

Gabby St. Claire is a great and spunky heroine. I really like her. She has grown up since Hazardous Duty, and yet she still has her tendency to get into trouble.

It was a good "squeaky clean" mystery. I recommend it.

And with this post, I finish my Fall Reading Challenge.

Title Trakk Blog Tour

Welcome to the 1st ever Blog Tour!

This week we're chatting about:

The Fantastic Fall Giveaway Contest!

Just in time for the holidays, you could win over
$335 worth of books, cds and dvds!

Sponsored by our friends at:

The Grand Prize Winner will receive:


Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark
Rachel's Secret by BJ Hoff
Beach Dreams by Trish Perry
Playing God by Michelle McKinney Hammond
White Soul by Brandt Dodson
The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka
Finding Marie by Susan Paige Davis
The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Omartian
A Man After God's Own Heart by Jim George
Evidence for Faith 101 by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz


Wake Up! Wake Up! by Everyday Sunday
Rock What You Got by Superchick
Sunday by Tree63
Houston We Are Go by Newsboys (Live CD/DVD)
Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney
I Am Free Worship Collection
Salvation Station by Newworldson
Not Without Love by Jimmy Needham
Pages by Shane & Shane
Colors and Sounds by Article One


Love's Unfolding Dream
The Ten Commandments Animated
Between the Walls

But that's not all!
We're giving away even more!

During this blog tour (November 10th - 16th) we'll be drawing 2 winners daily from the contest entries to win an additional free book or cd!

Visit the Contest page today to enter the contest and place yourself in the running to receive the Grand Prize, plus all the daily prizes! Deadline to enter is November 17th.

Founded in 2006 by Tracy & C.J. Darlington, is an interactive website spotlighting Christian books, music & movies. Updated weekly, we feature author and musician interviews, album and book reviews, music videos, movie reviews and interviews, book excerpts, surveys, polls, and fun contests. Learn more:

Friday, November 07, 2008


Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America is a nonfiction book by Stephen Bloom. Bloom is a professor of journalism at the University of Iowa, and he writes the story of Postville, Iowa, where a Lubavitcher (Hasidic) community settled and operated the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant.

I first heard about this book when a woman from our local university told me about it. She was trying to recruit book clubs to read the book, as Dr. Bloom was coming to speak at the university in October. I contacted the head of our book club, and it was our October read.

It was quite thrilling to hear the author speak about his work, and sad to hear how painful it has been since the publication of the book.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a dichotomy of cultures.

Out of Her Hands

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Out Of Her Hands

Tyndale House Publishers (September 22, 2008)


Megan DiMaria


I was born and raised in New York State and have since lived in Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, and now I live in Colorado. My husband and I have three delightful, adult children and an old Jack Russell Terrier named
Belle who seems to find her way into my novels. My resume will tell you I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a degree in Communications, and after graduation I worked as a radio and television reporter, freelance writer, editor and marketing professional.

I'm a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and am assistant director of Words For The Journey, Rocky Mountain Region.

But what's most important to know about me is that I am a follower of Jesus, wife, mother, friend, reader and writer.

Life’s a journey, enjoy the adventures!


In this second novel by Megan DiMaria, Linda Revere is back and continuing to struggle with the turmoil of contemporary life. Linda has been praying for her children's future spouses since they were very small. Confident that her prayers will be answered, Linda is not prepared for the young woman her son brings home. But Linda soon learns that while everything she once controlled is out of her hands, God is still in control. Megan uses her trademark humor while dealing with issues to which her readers will relate.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Out Of Her Hands, go HERE

"No sophomore slump for DiMaria! This novel (Out of Her Hands) is as engaging and meaningful as her first, Searching for Spice. Her realistic portrayal of the characters' lives should endear them to readers and help Christians to feel less alone in their daily trials."
~Romantic Times Magazine, 4 ½ stars TOP PICK!

“Life in Linda's world is messy...but filled with love, laughter, struggle and faith. Megan has created a most real heroine for us to love...and I adore her!”
~Deena Peterson, reviewer: A Peek at my Bookshelf

“Megan DiMaria crafts a novel so compelling, so real, you forget you're reading fiction.”
~Darcie Gudger, reviewer: TitleTrakk

"This is a great read for a quiet afternoon or in those times when you feel your own life spinning out of control and need the reality check of knowing you're not in it alone."
~Amazon reviewer

Pattie's Review:

I have read Searching for Spice and I really liked it. I expected a lot out of Out of Her Hands and while I liked it also, I guess I just didn't get into as much. Maybe it is because it is the second book. Maybe it's just because this one goes where no parent ever wants to go.

Megan DiMaria is an author to pay attention to, that's for sure. And her success in Christian fiction is well-deserved.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

You are loved.

For years, Helzberg Jewelers have given out little red buttons with white letters that say "You are Loved."

Today, I give you a little You Tube from Josh Groban. You are loved.

For my friends who need some encouragement. I love this song!

writing quotation for the day

"I would never write a pessimistic book. I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act."
~Michael Cunningham~

Redeem the time

This morning: 7913

(The NaNoWriMo site doesn't always keep up with these little feeds to the fun little widgets...)

I need to get to 10,003 today, according to No Plot, No Problem's little chart on page 50.

That means 2100 words today.

Good thing I have a 2.5-hour block this afternoon. Of course, my to-do list is pretty long also, so who knows if I'll get it all done. I can also write by hand at the dance studio later, which might not be a bad idea after all...then just transcribe it later when I get stuck. (I don't want to take Sheba my Laptop out in the rain, esp. since I don't have a good laptop case!)

It's been an interesting exercise, writing every day. I had hoped to get ahead so I could take a weekend off in 2 weeks for a family get-together, or even take Thanksgiving off. But the daily discipline of writing has been good for me. Even if my story is all over the board. Which is probably okay, too. It's all about the word count, baby!

UPDATE: I finished this afternoon with 10,360. I might even still try to write tonight, just to get ahead. We shall see.

It's amazing that uninterrupted time can be so stinkin' productive! Now to pick up the house a bit...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Me Myself and I AM

This uniquely designed book is unlike any book Multnomah's ever published! Open this book to any page and take a new look at you, where you’ve been on your spiritual journey, and where you’re going. Out loud, in private, in order, or backwards all the way, this book of questions will have you laughing, praying, thinking, and maybe asking a question or two yourself. It’s a creative and revealing way to get to know God—and you—better than ever. So go ahead. Grab a pen. And get ready to get real.


A new experience of God comes one question at a time in this fun and provocative journal. Made up entirely of insightful, profound, and occasionally ridiculous questions, Me, Myself, and I AM invites you to open to any page, open yourself to God, and be the author of your own story.

Questions range from spiritually intriguing—
You overhear God talking about you. What do hear him saying?

to thought-provoking—
You are on a long car trip with a close friend who is not a Christian and the conversation turns to faith. What is your biggest fear about what your friend will ask or say?

to challenging—
Do you believe that all of Jesus’s followers have a responsibility to tell others about him?

to just plain fun—
If your life before you became a Christian were a movie, its title would be:
Animal House
As Good as It Gets
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It’s a Wonderful Life

Me, Myself, and I AM will entertain, inspire, and get you thinking about your spiritual life from brand new angles. Whether you use it as a reflective tool, a way to start conversations with friends and family, or as a spiritual time capsule to look back on years later, their own words will create a powerful journey of self-discovery.


While I have not yet written in the book, I have read it. I think it's a great little book. It's good for self-examination, self-discovery, spiritual growth, and it has the potential to be a great witnessing tool as well. As you can see from the samples above, some of the questions are fun. Some are serious. But all of them make you think about God, the great I AM. And that's the best part of the book.

Click here to purchase the book from

If you live in the USA and would like to win a copy of this book, it'd be a great Christmas gift! Just leave a comment to be eligible to win.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Free Starbucks Just for Voting

Starbucks has announced that you can get a free cup of brewed coffee on Tuesday JUST FOR VOTING.

Wear your "I VOTED" sticker. Or if you're like me and already voted via absentee ballot (or if you are like some of my other friends and voted early), just go in and tell them so. They will believe you. I have it on good authority it's on the honor system.

But even if you hate coffee, vote anyway. It's one of the "perks" (pun intended) of being an American.

NaNoWriMo 2008

and . . . here we go.

The fifth time's the charm, especially since I have a laptop this year! Plus, I put it out there for the entire world to see, on video, so I can't flake out...