Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sometimes you wanna go where everyone knows your name

Some of the longest running and most popular television shows in the last thirty years have revolved around... Friends!

M*A*S*H. Even though this show is about an Army medical hospital during the Korean War, it was about friends. Men and woman bonded together by hardship and war as well as laughter. The show ran 11 years. And we loved the characters.

Cheers. Another 11 year show. Friends gathering at a Boston bar. The same people every day. Same time. Same place. Bonded by life's conflict. Romance. Friendship.

Friends. The show's title says it all. After a ten year run, Friends is still quoted in many conversations I hear. Even the other day Tony was talking to some teens and he said, "Didn't Joey say..." And we all knew what he meant. No one said, "Who's Joey?" LOL. Now, there are a lot of things about Friends I disagree with. They were a tad too casual about sex. Okay, a lot too casual. What we liked about the show is their comraderie. Their devotion. The sense of family. Or how Chandler and Joey could just walk into Monica and Rachel's apartment. Unrealistic that the door wouldn't be locked, but because it wasn't showed us there was free travel between the apartments across the hall.

I had something like this in sorority life. While at Ohio State, I was a member of Phi Mu. There was a deep sense of belonging and acceptance. We shared lives and stuff. Walked into each other's rooms and plopped down for a long conversation. Laughed. A lot. It's an amazing experience, but one that doesn't endure through life.

We grow up. Move on. Get married. Have families. Careers. I have to say for me, I had a strong sense of belonging with my natural family too. Home was always, always a great place to be.

Well, recently I've had some friends Stand By Me and I want to give a shout out to them. This is not by any means an exhaustive list. Just a few who have left a footprint on my heart in the last three months.

Chris Lynxwiler. Have to start with this dear friend. In December we started "writing together." Or was it January. We'd IM, set daily word count goals and cheer each other one and off we'd go. If one got frustrated or stuck, we'd IM the other. There were a few times I don't know what I wouldn't have done if she wasn't on the other end of an Instant Message. We had our writing ups and downs over the past three months, but it's been so fun to "hang out" with her.

Susan Warren. Always a phone call away. Always ready to listen and encourage. Susie became critical when the story just wasn't working and she took time from her own schedule to help me in a tremendous way. More than once. Prayed for me. Suze! Thank you.

Colleen Coble. Mentor and friend. Another one who's a phone call away, ready and willing to answer my questions. Her footprint is all over my writing life. Colleen was here. ;) I'm honored.

My Mom who prays and encourages. My sister, Beka. Everyone who posts a nice comment on my blog, thank you.

Of course, Tony. Who hears all my joys and sorrows. Over and over and over. He is truly my rock beside Jesus.

But there are many others who always encourage me in some way. Kristin, Tracey, Allison, Jeane, Elizabeth, Kasey. Recent friends such as Katie and Deena. Blessings upon you.

I've had opportunity to help new writers lately. I really enjoy it. I'm not as clinical as some, but I can read something and see what it needs at multiple levels. I hope I can be as objective about my own work. Actually, I think I am. That's why I'm so hard on myself. :)

It's a gorgeous day here. I'm off to ride my bike.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Some lesser talked about Global Warming truths

From my hubby's blog:

I was having a discussion with someone about God and whether or not the Bible was reliable, and somehow we ended up talking about global warming and Al Gore's film.

I was a little surprised that an intelligent guy was buying the GW facts without doing his own investigation. My college degree is in Physics, so I have a science background. The facts below are grade school science level - btw.

Al Gore’s argument is that CO2, a greenhouse gas, is responsible for global warming, specifically man made CO2. Here are some inconvenient facts:

1. CO2 makes up less that 1% of our atmosphere. It is a minor greenhouse gas. A major one is water vapor.

2. The greatest producer of CO2 is the oceans. Man's contribution is way down the list.

3. We have records dating way back of the fluctuating global temperature. It happens. They have been going up (about 1 degree total) over the last 30 years. Prior to that we had a 40 year period of global cooling (during the height of carbon emitting industrial growth). Anyone remember the global cooling warnings of the 70's?

RH: I do! We did away with aeresol sprays and Freon because it was killing the ozone, making holes. So here we are, thirty years later and we are in a warming? Did our measures thirty years ago effect the atmosphere so much, we closed the ozone holes and are now experiencing a warming?

And, are the measure we take now going to cause some unanticipated effect in twenty-five years?

4. Al Gore showed a graph of CO2 levels from arctic core samples and compared it to a temperature change graph. What he didn't do is overlay the graphs. If he had, you would have seen that the change in CO2 followed years after the "corresponding" temperature change. A little problem with the order of cause and effect.

5. The size of the polar caps fluctuates regularly. This happens on Mars also, and its polar caps are currently shrinking. Can you guess what might be affecting the temperature on two different planets?

6. All the heat on earth comes from the Sun. Al Gore failed to consider the Sun's impact in his calculations.

7. If you overlay graphs of solar activity (like sun spots, flares, and solar wind) with temperature changes, they correspond almost perfectly.

So the real question is if global warming is not being determined through true and thorough scientific processes, why all the noise? My guess is it's political and way beyond American politics. We're talking global agendas that are way scarier than Al Gore's prognostications.

Below is a link to an online video (a bit over an hour) that gives the science and the politics behind Global Warming.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Romantic Times Review of Diva NashVegas

Here's what a Romantic Times reviewer wrote about Diva NashVegas:

Hauck once again takes us into the country music world, this time through the experiences of mega-star Aubrey James. Aubrey's life journey is filled with flaws as well as a great deal of joy, and real-life locales make this highly original story authentic. The extra tidbits -- from Aubrey's liner notes to quotes from the "media" at the beginning of each chapter -- add extra sparkle to the plot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A little whine

Earlier, I thought of about three things I could blog, but they escaped from the funny farm known as my brain while reading email and other blogs.

In the midst of blog reading, I read my brother's, sister's and sister-in-law's. Also looked at pics from my California cousins and their kids. Now, I'm bluuee.

I WANT A FAMILY REUNION. I miss everyone, especially (no offense adult family people) the kids. Three of my neices and one of my nephews is under 3. They are so funny and cute. I love this age. I might have to borrow Anika, a curly headed three year from church, and take her out to McDonalds or something.

In light of this, the reality of devoting one's life to the Lord becomes a harsh one. Tony and I are not free to move where we want. I suppose we could, and God in His lovingkindness would bless us, but we are called to Here. Where we live now.

I used to be so sure of it too, waiting for God's move in our county. Now, I've lost a little bit of sight, a little bit of faith. (Lord, help my unbelief!)

Since we no longer do youth ministry, it's hard for me to find my purpose in the city. There's the Friday night prayer ministry, Fire Dweller, but I think I'm at a loss here.

Tony is doing well with the downtown ministry to the poor, drug addicts and wounded hearted. He's also moving out and meeting with business people, asking how we can pray for them. It all got started while I was busy writing and it developed a support staff of it's own where little ole me is not required.

Still, I do want to reach out of myself and minister to the community. Find what God has for me here, as well as what He has for me writing wise. (Writing is going v. well, btw!)

So, there I am, transparent. It's a flaw of mine.

Anonymous poster - Yesterday, I read a comment by Anonymous (it's becoming a very popular name these days. I expect to see it in the Baby Name book soon) over on a multi-author blog called Charis Connection.

The poster, admittedly in an off mood, responded to a post about the "other side of writing" after one is published. Being published may seem like the Holy Grail, but no, it's only the beginning. The "concerns" after being published expand to cover multiple fronts.

"Will I get another contract?"
"Can I find an agent?"
"Do I have more than one or two books in me?"
"Will I have sales?"
"How can I handle marketing?"
"If my publisher drops me, will another pick me up?"

Add to that reviews and comments about your work. Disappointment over low sales after having great reviews. Not wanting to disappoint the publisher. It can be stressful and worrisome.

Anonymous found this whole concept appauling and told published authors who found the published life stress at times, to move aside and make way for the talented, unpublished.

After getting past Anonymous' stinging tone, I felt for him/her, understanding how it feels to be on the other side.

I remember wanting published authors to help with ACFW stuff back when I was on the Board and feeling rankled by their no's because of deadline.

At the time, I was working 50 hours a week, writing my first Heartsong, leading worship and other ministries, and coordinating ACFW's 2003 conference.

Hey, who is busier than me, I thought?

But the truth is, writing is more than busy. It's time consuming, emotionally consuming. If the word count isn't made in a day, it has to be made up. There's no end of the day, no end of thinking, planning, rewriting in your head.
Author Susan Meissner wrote in an advice email, "There's no natural plateau."

She is so right!

Never mind the added burden of entering a contests and no even finaling. I was sad not to final in a contest I didn't even enter! I'm pathetic, say it.

BTW, congrats to all the RITA and Golden Heart finalists! Big kudos.

All that to say, I've gone back to my core. Jesus is my reward. His plan for me is perfect. I am so very blessed. I am honored to be published and I'll take the ups and downs of it any day over my corp life. Writing satisifies a very deep core part of me like nothing ever has outside of the covenant of marriage.

If I one day find myself without a contract, I'll cry, but move on. I'l probably create two more blogs so I can keep writing. I'll pray for God's next phase of my life. I won't stop dreaming.

But, I won't get my identity there. My life is hidden in Christ. I no longer live, but Christ in me.

Published or longing to be published, this must be our mainstay. I had to get back to that focus this week, spend some time in His presence.

The words of the old hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus ring true.

Look full in His wonderful face/And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

15 Years

Tony and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last Wednesday. They have all been GREAT years. I seriously cannot think of one bad year. They really do get better and better. He's more my best friend than ever. Home is love. Home is safe.

But growing up home was always safe for me. And love. I'm very, very blessed.

The picture is of us at Outback. Then we went to see Music & Lyrics. Except for the oversexed superstar chick, it was a good movie.

Man, Hollywood HAS no imagination. Sex, sex and more sex. Dang.

AHHHH! I just saw a commercial for a new reality show. Donny Osmond is the host. ACK! '70s teen idol turned talk show, reality host.

No way!

Good day with my RWA meeting with writer freinds there.

Ohio State beat Memphis to advance to Final Four! Woo hoo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Agreeing with lies

I woke up feeling heavy in my spirit. You know how it is when you get in a swirl of negative thoughts and emotions.

For some reason, that was me this morning. I realized lies were lying in wait for me to agree with them. ;)

I got to thinking. Lies are so devastating. Even little white lies. Is there really such a thing?

Tony and I have lost relationships because parents believed the lies of their children. I've lost friends because they've believed the lies and self pity of their own emotions.

Lies cause people to pull away from each other. They cause people to isolate themselves. Lies destroy.

If I believe a lie about myself like, "I can't write." Then I separate myself from my calling, my dream, my desires. Ultimately, I separate myself from God.

If I believe two of my friends are purposefully squeezing me out of a relationship, then I separate myself from them, from myself, the broader fellowship of the church, and ultimately God. Instead, I choose to believe the best of my friends - no matter how casual our friendship.

Yesterday I ran into Publix to buy salad fixings for an evening dinner I was attending. I ran into a woman who used to go to our church. We got to talking and I found out about her dreams and desires. But she hasn't pursued them because she's afraid of failing.

It's the lie of failure. So what if we fail? We will NEVER succeed if we don't confront the fear of failure.

But there are so many other lies we believe. No one likes me. God is mad at me. God hates me. I'm a failure. I can't do this or can't do that. I'm a horrible parent. You guys know. The list goes on and on.

Yet we have to believe the truth. Lies feel so good to our soul, sometimes, don't they? Weird. Self pity can be a fun party - even alone. But we cannot agree with lies.


Jesus said,
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Father of lies means he creates them, spawns them, generates them. If lies are pummeling you, resist the devil, and he will flee. (James 4:7)

Don't let lies separate you from friends, from yourself, from God. Even being honest about your friends and family. Are they lying to you? Don't defend lies. Nothing good will come of it.

Look at our nation. We've believed lies for so long, we cannot pull ourselves out without a revival of Truth.

Believe God. He is true. "Let God be true and every man a liar."

This is what He says about you. You're His favorite one. You ravish His heart with a single glance of your eyes. He so loved you He sent His only begotten Son to die for you.

Today, take stock and bust the lies.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So, no one came...

... to the life skills class. So, Tony, Matt, Jodi and I watched a little basketball, then played Euchre.

The boys won two out of three. Boo. Jodi, grudge match, right? We had fun. I guess all the seventeen to thirty year olds at Church On The Rock have all the life skills they need. Hum.

I'm back writing, rewriting, editing. I reworked the opening, but now I'm not sure which one I like better. Old or new.

I went to a dinner tonight with women I've been dining with once a month for the most part for the past seven years. Three of us talked about books for about an hour. That was fun.

Carolyne Aarsen's book arrived today. "The Only Best Place." Can't wait to read it.

I'm in a weird place. Not sure what's going on with me. I'm good, very good. Yet, touchy lately.

THE CALL NASHVILLE. Check it out. I'll post more about it later.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March Madness

Okay, I confess. I've been watching basketball. Ohio State darn near gave me a heart attack almost losing to Xavier.

It's a beautiful central Florida day. I let Pal take me for a walk. Went to McDonalds and sipped a Diet Coke while reading Donald Maass's "The Breakout Novel."

Went to Publix.

Worked on Sweet Caroline some. Tony finished his read. He likes it a lot. But it's going to be double wonderful on the rewrite. Which will start Monday.

Oh, BIG news. I went back to the gym Friday! I know. Don't faint. It's true.

Tomorrow night Tony and I, along with the youth pastors, Matt and Jodi, are holding our first "Life Skills" class.

The goal is to help 17 - 30 year olds with life stuff. Finances. Relationships. Education and career planning. Handling conflict. Etc. All that fun stuff.

I'm sorry. I've been boring lately. Of course, I could post about five politically focused blogs, but I won't.

I just say this to all Believers. "AWAKE O SLEEPER!!!" (Eph 5:14)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Trish Perry and Too Good To Be True

Hi Everyone! Meet author Trish Perry.

How did you come up with the concept for the story Too Good To Be True?

Ren, the heroine, was the first part of the story to land in my mind. I knew her attitude, personality, and sense of humor. Next to emerge: her relationship with her controlling mother - controlling moms are fun when they belong to other people. Their relationship brought my opening line to mind, and everything built from there. I knew I wanted Ren to start out facing several disappointments at once, so she became a divorcee and she lost her chance to adopt. I used one additional, minor disappointment to tip the scales and cause her to pass out from the stress. She had to be totally vulnerable, in need of a rescue. Once Tru came along and I worked on the details of his and Ren's characters, most of the story fell into place. The story is quite character/relationship driven and very much about family.

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted to do a word play on Tru's name (his name was initially "True"), so my working title was True Love. But I never really liked that title, because it sounded too la-dee-dah, too much like a straight (and maybe trite) romance. I got stuck, though, so started asking for help from friends and family, and my best friend threw Too Good to Be True out there. I liked it.

Do you prefer to write contemporary fiction?

Yes. I wrote a spiritual warfare book, which required my setting half of the story in the 1860s, during the Civil War. The experience was a good one, and I learned quite a lot, but contemporary fiction just flows better for me.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

Number one for me is the big bugaboo most of us face: time management! You know how it is, Rachel. Even if a writer devotes all of her day to writing, there is so much more to the job than simply writing books. I'm not the most self-disciplined gal in the world. I need a manager, armed with an impressive whip; and I need a secretary, upon whom I can crack the whip. But for now, I have to be all of those people, and we're constantly arguing over who gets the computer and the Lindt truffles.
Another challenge I face is marketing. I'm a marketing wimp, and I pray that I'll get better at promoting my books. One of the reasons I didn't do well as a stockbroker was because I can be timid when it comes to selling. So, we need to add a promoter to the list of people I need in my entourage. You see, I'm really just a diva waiting to happen. Where's my stylist?

How long did it take to write Too Good To Be True?

I'm guessing here, but I think I took about six months to complete my first draft, and then another couple of months to refine it for submission to houses.

How much research did the book require?

I used an OB/GYN nursing expert and did online research regarding pregnancy symptoms (after all, it's been almost 15 years for me—if we didn't forget, we'd never have more than one). I also researched single-parent adoptions in Virginia, Virginia divorce laws, details about specific sites in the Washington, D. C. area, and various medical ailments, including endometriosis, fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Sounds like the book is a load of laughs, doesn't it? But I should stress that sometimes a writer has to do plenty of research just to be able to mention something offhand and be sure it rings true.

Who was your favorite character??

Of course, I love my heroines the most. I so want them to succeed and to find love and all those good things in life. But the character who was the most fun to do was Ren's mother, Clarissa. What a piece of work she is. Adversaries, or their reasonable facsimiles, are a blast to do, I think. Especially in chick lit. You never have a really evil person in chick lit (at least not in mine). But the characters who present the hardest challenge to my heroines? They're the best!

Are there new projects on the horizon?

Many! But none of them is contracted yet, so it's a bumpy horizon today. Tomorrow could be another story!
I'm a few chapters into 'Til Depth Do Us Part, a third book in the current series. I've had numerous readers ask about the futures of two specific characters featured in both The Guy I'm Not Dating and Too Good to Be True. But I think I'm going to set that aside for a while to work on some other ideas for Harvest House's consideration. I'm looking at a possible new book (or series), based upon a fictitious book title mentioned in Too Good to Be True. Is that confusing enough for you, or should I rewrite that sentence in Sanskrit? And I'm working up a possible "anticipation series," with titles related to a specific theme. As Sue Grafton did with her Alphabet Mystery Series (A is for Alibi; B is for Burglar; etc.) and Mindy Starns Clark did with her Million Dollar Series (A Penny for Your Thoughts; Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels; etc.), I'm working on a chick lit series spun from a unifying theme or rhyme.

Who is the person who most influenced your writing?

I'll bet writers change their answer to this question over time. I probably will. But for now I'm still crediting Donna Levin, the author of Get That Novel Started (And Keep It Going 'Til You Finish). Obviously, I thought I might be able to write a novel way back when I bought Levin's book. But hers was one of many writing-craft books I read at that time, and she was the author who convinced me that I could actually get an entire novel written. I don't even remember feeling like I might write others after that first one, but I knew I'd write at least one! That particular novel hasn't even been published, but if I hadn't written it, I probably wouldn't have attempted any others novels, either. Levin made me complete that all-important step.

What message would you like your readers to take from Too Good To Be True?

Even though we can't see God’s hand in some of the events in our lives, He's there. He loves us, He has plans for us, and He wants to prosper us, not harm us, and to give us hope and a future. We all struggle in accepting that notion at times, but that's the way it is, whether we accept it or not. And isn't it fun when we get to look back and see what He was doing when we were doubting?

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

I know the joy I feel while writing, even on the tough days, so I'm sure this is what He wants me doing for now. My goal is to obey Him, because I know He uses our gifts to bless others. The most wonderful feedback I've received has been from readers who feel inspired about their own lives in some way after reading my book. And hearing that you've entertained someone isn't bad, either.

What advice do you have for readers?

For readers? Hmm. I'd say, "speak" your mind. If you read a book you enjoy or which blesses you, let the author know it, to assure her she's on the right track. Let other readers know it, so the books you like will gain popularity and spawn others of the same genre or by the same author. Let the publishers know it, so they'll promote the kind of books you like. With the Internet we readers have the capability to communicate on all of these levels.
Years ago a published author friend of mine humbly asked readers to post positive comments (if they were sincere, of course) for his books on and other such sites. Until he made that request, it never occurred to me to bother. Now, as a reader, I often rely on those comments when deciding what I'll buy. Review venues give a bit of power to the reading public.

Of course, if you can't say something nice ...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Reader's Survey!

Hi Everyone,

I created an online survey to see what readers like in the books they read. I'd really appreciate it if you could spend a few minutes to answer the questions.

I think you'll like them!

Thanks so much!

Click here to take our Online Survey

Overcoming Fear & Anxiety - Part 2

My second "attack" of fear/anxiety/panic happened when I was 19ish. I'd gone with my boyfriend to visit his family in Charleston. I woke up in the morning feeling... sick. Panicky. Scared. Like I was going to freak out.

I can't remember the specifics now, but the overwhelming feeling during this battle was fearing I'd freak out and there'd be no one to help me. Hopeless, I guess.

Let me just say, too, while I was a Christian, I was not in a right relationship with my boyfriend. I do believe my sin opened a door to something waiting to get me. I do. I also believe birth control pills were a contributing factor. Very much a contributing factor.

I let myself be transparent here so you can see that part of my issue was sin, the other part physical/hormonal, yet the answer was still the same.

Prayer and the Word. Standing and fighting.

The attacks happened off and on for several months before I finally went to my parents once in the middle of the night asking for prayer. They didn't completely understand what was going on - neither did I - but praise God they did just what I asked, prayed.

This was the early '80s so going to the doctor for panic attacks or anxiety was not the average Joe's answer. Again, I'm so grateful.

They prayed and I felt better, but the fight had just begun. By now, I'd broken off with my boyfriend and repented of my relationship with him. He'd given his life to the Lord in the process, but I'm not sure how well it took in the long run.

Note to others: Dating evangelistically is not recommended. The price can be very high.

Anyway, I gradually got better. Oh, another overwhelming sensation was condemnation. I felt God abandoned me or was mad at me.

I clung to scripture. Quoted it. Believed it.

Romans 8:1.

Philippians 3:12-13.

Philippians 4:8.

Ephesians 3.

I chose to believe God's Word over my feelings. I don't know how or why I knew to do this, I just had no alternative. And, Christ within me gave me hope. (Col 1:27)

By the time I went to Ohio State at 21, the season of fear/panic/anxiety had passed, though there were some tense times.

Sometimes I felt physically sick. Others, just freaked. The moments were not every day, all day, but enough to be annoying.

God had delivered me.

But it was a season I'd forget and have to walk through again...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Going Home

Leaving Poughkeepsi in a few hours. We had a great time, great trip. Very unusual. But God met us in a profound way.

Last night our team lead worship again (the River Church team lead Tuesday night) and we were praying for healing. I left the stage half way through worship and just prayed for people, got prayer for myself.

During the final worship set, Jesus met me. Gave me the coolest of coolest gifts. I physically felt the significance and teared up for a bit. Actually, He gave me two gifts. One I will be able to share and give away... as the Spirit leads. ;)

Don't ask. I won't tell. But be watching and waiting.

It's been really cold. Snow on the ground, but beautiful. We saw snow flurries twice and Wednesday at one a.m. it was 8 degrees. Eight!

Did I tell you all I had a slight case of shingles. Weird. But I'm on meds and it's clearing up. Didn't feel bad, just had a rash on my leg and lower back.

I think I'll start polishing and reworking Sweet Caroline this weekend. Monday at the latest.

Grace and peace.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

All this stuff about good intentions

So, I do intend to continue the overcoming fear post, but life's been crazy busy.

First I was powering towards a March 1st deadline, writing twelve hours a day, then my editor emailed so good news. They changed my release schedule so I could take until May to submit the book. I was happpy to take the time to edit through Sweet Caroline.

It's good story and I'm pleased, but any time I can perfect, I'm glad to do it.

Then Saturday we flew with a team up to Poughkeepsie for a Harp & Bowl conference at the River Church. This was our first day, (Sunday) and we had a blast!

So, I'll post more when I have time.

Grace and peace.