Friday, August 31, 2007

I Propose A Ban on Bans

Can we stop with the banning craze? When and where will it end? There's a ban on just about everything.

Ban on kids playing tag at school.

Ban on kids taking toy soldiers to school. Zero tolerance on "No Weapons" means not even little plastic ones connected to a two inch plastic soldier.

Ban on perfume.

Ban on having a Bible in your work locker.

I could go on and on. Those are just off the top of my head, things I heard this week.

It hit me hard when presidential candidate John Edwards wants a federal ban on smoking. Is he kidding?

Can we just grow up? Can we let people be people, kids be kids. If I want to eat McDonalds every day, what's it to you?

Anyway, we are banning every thing in this country except what is immoral, indecent (see recent picture of Britney Spears outfit,) dishonest and absurd.

I'm calling for a ban on bans. What are we so afraid of? Really, all this stuff is driven by fear. Fear of death, fear of fear, fear of losing, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of criticism.

Making a kid cut off the tip of a teeny, weeny plasit army gun? What is that about? Fear. Fear of death, war, who knows.

But I fear loss of liberty and freedom. Loss of my culture, my heritage, my security and future.

I'm flabbergasted by stuff I hear in the news. All that to say, I'm banning bans.

Take that, you, you...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Susan Meissner's Days And Hours

Welcome to Susan Meissner

Readers of suspense fiction will once again be enthralled with the latest entry in the compelling series featuring attorney Rachael Flynn and her continuing cast of intriguing characters.

A newborn is found alive in a trash bin and a young, single mother insists her baby was abducted. While St. Paul police are skeptical, attorney Rachael Flynn’s strange dreams lead her to believe the mother is telling the truth. But who would steal a baby only to leave it for dead?

When the baby disappears again, Rachael agonizes over her decision to allow the baby to be returned to his mother. Did she make a terrible mistake? And where is that missing baby? Who would wish the child harm? Rachael races to see past the deception that threatens to send a young mother to prison and a newborn to a terrible fate.

Days & Hours is the third installment of the Rachael Flynn mystery series. My heroine is a 30-year-old defense attorney-turned- prosecutor who works in the Ramsey County Attorneys office in St. Paul , MN . She lives in a loft apartment across the river in Minneapolis (and she used to travel that bridge that collapsed!!) with her artist husband, Trace. Trace has a circle of highly artistic friends, one in particular named Fig, who help her pick apart crime scenes by sketching possible scenarios. With their help and her gift-like insights into the human condition, Rachael assists St Paul homicide detective, Will Pendleton, solve tough cases.

When I was a guardian ad litem for the state of Minnesota , I was introduced to the world of the single mother who lives in poverty, dependent on the state, and often woefully unprepared for motherhood.

I delved into that world in Days & Hours, paying particular attention to the stigma we place on the stuck-on-welfare mom. They are not a one-size fits all demographic. Some cannot find success no matter how hard they try. Some simply don’t try. Most love their children as best they can. Many know it takes more than love to raise a child, but they have no other resources at their disposal. I don’t pretend to offer answers, just raise awareness.

The other titles in this series are Widows & Orphans (2006) and Sticks & Stones (2007). Widows & Orphans is a current finalist for the ACFW Book of the Year.

Reviews for Days and Hours

Days and Hours is tragic, beautiful, awful and realistic. Susan Meissner has done it again. This is the first of her Rachael Flynn series that I've read, and I will be picking up those I've missed. Meissner writes with depth and compassion, honesty, and a poignancy that wraps around the reader, bringing her characters to life in the reader's imagination.

- Kelly Kelpfer, Novel Reviews

“My first Susan Meissner novel, Days and Hours, won’t be my last. This enthralling mystery kept me up way too late and made me look at single moms in a whole new way. Rachael Flynn is a heroine I won’t soon forget. Highly recommended!”

- Colleen Coble

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Does Anyone Read This Blog?


Helllloooooo? Anybody out there? Oh, hey there ManOnTheMoon. Good to hear from you. Thanks for reading my blog. Er, um, yeah, it's okay you don't comment. I understand.

How's the Moon. It looked really pretty the other night. I was driving down the road and looked up to see a low, bright, big, beautiful full moon suspended between evening clouds. The reflective light haloed the clouds.

Yeah, things on earth are going well. Busy. But God is good. (smile) Yes, He is good all the time.

Funny story about my day of silence? Yeah, it was interesting. But I think a more extended time would be more interesting. Like a whole day, not part of one. I know people who do that without a second thought or calling it a Day of Silence.

See you ManOnTheMoon. I'm off to work with Sarah.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Day of Silence

A while ago, I decided to take a day of silence. Not speak. Shut the pie hole. Be still. Be quiet.

Tony agreed to that Friday. Sort of a solem day before Fire Dweller. So, I went to McDonalds that morning and slipped the cashier a note. "Diet Coke."

She nodded, then started signing the alphabet.

What? I shook my head, trying to answer, but was not getting what her fingers asked. I pointed to my throat."Oh, okay," she said.

As I filled my cup, my heart was actually moved. She wanted to communicate with me in my language.

Anyway, as I sat and read, a McDonalds regular showed up. "Hi ya, Rachel."

So intent on reading, I forgot myself. I glanced up, "Hi Henry."

Ooops! Well, it was all over. His wife came around so I said hi to her and next thing I knew I was in deep conversation.

The Lord tapped my heart, "It's okay."

When I got home, Tony was sitting out back, "Well, that didn't work," I said, laughing.

But the Lord is gracious with do-overs, so I started my day of silence over.

I wrote notes to Tony if I had a question. Then, about 2:00 I came out of my office and said, "I think I'll eat something."

Tony asked, "Is the silence over?"

Ooops. I clapped my hand over my mouth, shaking my head.

Man, it was hard not to do something I do every day. Something science says I need to speak 250,000 of to feel normal: words.

I kept quiet until Fire Dweller.

I want to do it again. It was good to be still. Quiet.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Book Therapy!

Susan May Warren invited me to join her newly launched Book Therapy. I'm honored to do so!
Can you make your characters come to life?
How do you fix a saggy plot?
What are your writing strengths, and how can you play to them?
What makes a scene sing with life?
How do you keep a reader hooked?
Want to know how to craft an award-winning book? (er, yes, says Rachel)
Book Therapy will teach you how!

So, you're writing a novel. You might be a little nervous that the plot doesn't hold together, or that maybe an editor won’t love or understand your hero like you do. But underneath these little worries is a thrum of energy that drives you to the computer, or causes you to burst out in fragment sentences, and even wakes you in the middle of the night, groping for the light so you can scribble down your latest dream.

I know, because, I too am a writer. I know the angst and the joy of writing. I know how you pace your room, talking to yourself. I know how many chocolate chips you consume during chapters (they’re really good frozen).

I also know how a book works. How words flow together, or not, for best impact. And how to get your characters to talk as if they are in the room with you.

Inside every book that refuses to come together, or struggles with sluggish pace, or even simply doesn't pack enough plot punch is a deep-seated problem.

Book Therapy will help you root out and solve your problem.

Check it out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Personal Stock

We have personal stock. Like a company. Like the Stock Market. The Dow-Jones, the SNP. Stock is our value as we see ourselves and as others see us.

In a sense, privately verse publicly held stock.

How we view ourselves is paramount to how we will survive this world. Our personal stock must be strong, solid and built on a foundation of values and character.

I've always known this, but recently a live example from college football brought it into light.

Troy Smith, star quaterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, undefeated against Michigan, lost the most critical game of his college career.

The BCS National Championship in Glendale Arizona.

Come NFL draft time, Smith's "stock" was down, the report claimed. He'd be drafted, but when, what round? To whom?

Last month we found out. Fifth round, a hundred and seventy-fourth.

A hundred and seventy-fourth.

The top quarterback in NCAA football, Heisman winner goes a hundred and seventy-fourth because he lost one game.

One very critical game.

His whole character and ability to play, command a team fell to scrutiny. Forget all the games he'd won under huge pressure, including 2006 season closer against Michigan.

His team lost when they were expected to win and Troy Smith paid the price. Not Antonio Pittman, or Anthony Gonzales.

In my teens and twenties, I worked for Publix Supermarkets. The best grocery shopping experience you'll ever have. In those days, Publix was a privately held company. Earnings and profits were shared with the employee.

It was the best gig any blue collar worker could have. Two weeks pay as a Christmas bonus. Paid vacation. Medical. Retirement. Profit sharing. Stock options.

They believed in themselves.

I wonder how Troy Smith endured the loss of a National Championship? How did he feel when all the talking-heads declared, "Smith's stock down after defeat."

Since he didn't off himself, my guess is Troy Smith took a look at his personal stock, believed in his abilities, and said yes to the Ravens when they drafted him a hundred and seventy-fourth in the fifth round. I bet he went to training camp determined to show them they made a great pick.

We have to value ourselves, and those who invest time and energy in us. Don't let "public" opinion knock you off course.

Paul writes to the Ephesians, "I pray you be rooted and grounded in love. The love that surpasses knowledge."

Being rooted and grounded means trivial winds don't uproot you. It means you are confident in His love.

Public stock fluxuates if someone on Wall Street sneezes wrong. It's almost the same with people. You can be a perfectly fine person, have a bad moment, and leave a room of people with the wrong impression.

Are you who they think you are? No. But you have to be confident enough not to let it effect you.

One year in college, I hung out with the wrong guy. Just by association, an entire fraternity formed a very wrong opinion of me. Not to say I didn't contribute a little to the opinion-forming, but I was no where near what they thought.

How sickening to have a whole frat think... well, never mind.

But, I knew they were wrong about me. I modified my behavior, stayed away from the man in question, and within a school year, my entire rep had changed with those men.

My personal stock allowed my public stock to change.

Where are you? Someone doing or saying something about you that's hurting? Then let your light shine. Let your inner character and pesonal stock hold you together until "they" see the real you.

Or, maybe like me, you have to make a half-time adjustment.

At the end of the day, all you have is your belief in yourself, and the confidence that you are indeed His favorite One.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Off the Record by Elizabeth White

Off the Record by Elizabeth White

Ambition on a collision course with a secret from the past...

Judge Laurel Kincade, a rising political star, is announcing her candidacy for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Her aristocratic Old South family, led by her judge grandfather, beam as she takes the podium. Then her eyes light on a reporter in the crowd-and suddenly her past is on a collision course with the present.

Journalist Cole McGaughan, religion reporter for the
New York Daily Journal, has received an intriguing call from an old friend. Private investigator Matt Hogan has come across a tip-that Laurel's impeccable reputation might be a facade. Matt suggests that Cole dig up the dirt on the lovely judge in order to snag his dream job as one of the Journal's elite political reporters.

There's just one problem: Cole's history is entangled with Laurel's, and he must decide if the story that could make his career is worth the price he'd have to pay.

A sensational scoop becomes a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Can Laurel and Cole find forgiveness and turn their hidden past into a hopeful future-while keeping their feelings off the record?


"OFF THE RECORD is a thrilling read that will have readers quickly turning pages and yet hoping the story never ends. Elizabeth White has once again written a keeper shelf story. The characters are fresh and multi-dimensional, with flaws that make them seem all the more realistic. The story is fast paced, engaging, and fun. There are a few secondary characters I hope to see again in their own stories. Fans of wonderful stories with a great message that is woven into a delightful story with ease will need to pick up OFF THE RECORD today. I highly recommend OFF THE RECORD to everyone; you are bound to be as eager for more of Ms. White's writing as I am."
Reviewed by Wendy Keel, The Romance Readers Connection Rating 4 1/2

"Off the Record is a love story. It's a story about forgiveness. It's a story about grace. It's a story about God's redemption. It's a very personal story. The thing that grabbed me about Off the Record was not the action. It was all about the characters for me. I didn't care about the politics. I didn't care about the journalism aspects. I didn't care about any private investigators. I cared about the people--the hero and heroine. I loved, loved, loved Cole McGaughan. And I loved their story. And I loved the writing. Loved it. Here's the opening sentence:
Laurel Kincade, surrounded by reporters in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, suddenly understood her great-great grandmother' s propensity to shoot Yankee invaders on sight and ask questions later. (11). But I also loved this line, 'Most of the world's ills would be cured if all its bottom-feeding scavengers were fried to a crisp and served with hushpuppies. ' (18) Anyway, I really enjoyed this one!
Becky's Christian Reviews

"The theme of this book was letting God control your life and you staying out of it. It's these kind of spiritual threads that have been coming at the right time for me, and for our world in general. If any one individual could learn this lesson, Off the Record is a good book to start."
Winter, RodeoSuspense. blogspot. com

"I just have to say that I LOVED this book! Did I say that I LOVED it? This book combines a interest of mine (law and politics) with a wonderful Christian story. It really made me think about the politics in our country."
Janis, Dandelion Momma,
http://www.janisrod gers.blogspot. com/


http://relzreviewz. blogspot. com/2007/ 08/interview- with-elizabeth- white.html/
http://pammeyerswri tes.blogspot. com/
http://www.kellykle pfer.blogspot. com//
http://www.camys- loft.blogspot. com/

ELIZABETH WHITE is the author of Fireworks and Fair Game as well as the critically acclaimed Texas Gatekeepers series from Love Inspired Suspense. She lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her minister husband. Visit her on the web at www.elizabethwhite. net

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A lovely memory

My sister posted some recent summer memories about our dad. Here are the pictures of her two oldest at the beach with Dad.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Update on Me Life

Okay, boring, but here's an update on my life since the last time I posted. Riveting reading, trust me.

Friday after Fire Dweller, we met a few people at Friday's for David White (my gee-tar player, worship leader in his own right) birthday. It was late. People we're well into their drinking at the bar. Around 11:30, some dude thought "his purse" (girlfriend's purse actually) was stolen.

He went ballistic! We left but stood out front to watch six of Melbourne's finest coming speeding up, emerging from their cars with flashlights that double as weapons.

After that excitement, we went home. Saturday I got up and went to the gym. Thirty minutes on the treadmill, thirty with weights.

Stopped by the library for a couple of books, came home and finished Tracey Bateman's "You Had Me At Goodbye" ARC. Very fun read. Another winner!

Then, I started "Year of the Dog" by Shelby Hearon. A wonderful dog story that made me tear up at the end.

Now, I'm more than half way through Elizabeth Berg's "Dream When You're Feeling Blue." A fabulous WW2 read. I am captivated by the voice of heroine Kitty, the era, the history tidbits, the wonderful supporting cast in Kitty's family.

This is my first Berg read. And I love it. Between my recent reads and the ones from this weekend, I'm learning so much. I hope I can translate it to my story!

I still have books to read I listed before, but I'm going to buy them at the ACFW conference and get them signed!

Hey, I'm not taking any of my books to the conference. If any of y'all were counting on getting some there, please let me know.

Sunday I lead worship, came home to watch "Barefoot In The Park" with Tony, baked cookies and read most of the afternoon/evening.

Now, I'm about getting to my own WIP.

Grace, grace!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Deeper In God

"You don't grow in the deep things of God on the run. It's over time. Waiting and basking."

- Mike Bickle

Thursday, August 16, 2007

God Is Love

We get confused today. We think God is angry, mean, mad, sad, tyrannical, evil, cruel, distant and cold.

If we didn't, we'd beg Him to be a part of our lives, our society. Yet, John, one of his closest friends and disciples, wrote:

"The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."

People believe the sketchy truth behind the DaVinci Code, or the ramblings of guys like Christopher Hitchens who writes "God Is Not Great" in his May '07 release.

I suppose Hitchens has hung out with the Almighty and knows this for sure?

John did hang out with Jesus, God the Son, and I'm going to go with His findings over Hitchens.

We are so limited by our weak knowledge of God. So limited at times by doctrine and theology. I want to NOT be limited.

Romans 5:5 Paul writes,
"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

God the Holy Spirit lives in us! He's given to us by God the Father. In doing so, He poured out His love in our hearts! How incredible when you think of it.

Therefore, the love of God literally dwells within us. My shortcomings in the arena of love are now vastly exposed, and without excuse.

Love is patient, kind, gentle, understanding, keeps no record of wrong, bears and believes all things. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Nor rude, and is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Never fails! (1 Corinthians 13)

This is the God of the universe. He's not mean, hateful, mad, sad, tryannical, et al. He is love.

How do we access this love? Blow ourselves up with suicide bombs? No. Pennance? No. Beat ourselves figuratively and literally? No. Wear certain clothes? No. Avoid movies, cards, makeup and hair cutting? No.

Avoid certain foods? No. Live our own level of humanity and morality? No. Not murder? No.

While those thinigs can be good, minus suicide and self inflicted wounds, there is only one way to truly access the Love of God.

His Son Jesus. Simple. Just believe in Him. "He is the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father by through Him."

And how did He demonstrate His love? The Cross. We are the mean, mad, sad, evil, tryannical, cruel ones.

He is not.

God is love. Are you hungry for love. Seek God.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Diva NashVegas give away and a great new music home page

CCM Magazine has come up with a great new cyber hang out:

They are giving away copies of Diva NashVegas. Stop over there to win! And check out music news from your favorite Christian artists.

Novelreviews, a top review site, says, "Diva NashVegas is a well-written dual first person point of view novel that made me laugh, tear up, and speed read. Hauck writes tight prose and great characters." is THE place to go for the best in Christian music information on the Internet.

Gone Country Magazine!

Also, Jeffrey over at reviewed Lost In NashVegas. If you like country music, too, check them out! Hit refresh if you don't see the review.

Grace, grace, grace!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What I've Been Reading

Here's my personal summer reading update:

Christine Lynxwiler's Promise Me Always.

Wonderful, fun read. Leaves you with a feel good feeling. Chris has some great laugh out loud lines. She's a fun, solid author and story teller. Not to mention, ACFW Book of The Year finalist!

Siri Mitchell's Moon Over Tokyo.

Siri writes honest characters in a great settings. Her writing is lyrical and her stories real and provoking. Siri is a Christy award finalist two years running.

Lolly Winston's Good Grief.

Very interesting premise and nicely told story. I could relate to Winton's style and voice. I learned some things about pacing. Some times there was too much musing over the heroine's situation. I admit, I skimmed some, but really a great read.

Marian Keyes's Anybody Out There.

I love Marian's voice, style and humor. It's the Irish in me. This is a complex, interesting story. Her approach is unique. There's a sub plot told via email I didn't like too much, but over all, great story. Too much interest in psychic stuff - I'm SO glad I know Jesus. I don't wonder about people when they die. I know. Too many sexual details. I've decided to raise the bar in my reading. As much as I love Marian . . .

I heard Mike Bickle teach on purity the other night and it was a realy challenge to me. Anointed challenge. I felt it for several days. This is not a struggle area for me, but is reading secular fiction an area of compromise? What is the fragrance of the story?

Lisa Samson's Straight Up.

While I very much enjoyed this multi-point of view story, I became fascinated with Samson's writing and insight. I learned. I laughed. I read lines out loud to Tony. Lisa has a lot of insight and such a genuine heart toward God and the hurting. She challenges the norms. I appreciate her on a lot of levels, not to mention she's an extraordinary writer. Lisa is also an award winning author and a Christy finalist this year.

Kristin Billerbeck's Split Ends.

Billerbeck just has a way of telling a woman's journey. She's quippy, funny and poignant. I relate to Kristin's style and voice, and the way she paints the page. She's another award winning author.

When I grow up, I want to be a combination of all these authors!

Next up: Susan May Warren's Reclaiming Nick (I helped her brainstorm the plot - shhh.)
Tracey Bateman's You Had Me At Goodbye which I'm reading for endorsement!
Colleen Coble's Abomination
Diann Hunt's Be Sweet

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Behind the Scenes: Lost In NashVegas Take 2

Robin Rae McAfee had a boyfriend, Ricky.

Robin and Ricky. Cute, eh. Didn't do it on purpose, but felt Ricky was a good name for the hometown boyfriend.

Author and friend, Davis Bunn, loved and hated, Ricky. "I know what he's all about," Davis teased. "He's a scoundrel."

I wanted Ricky to be fun, tempting, but not for Robin. He was like so many - out for himself. The idea for a "girl on the side" came out of the scene by the river when Robin goes looking for him after turning down his marriage proposal.

Maryann just came out of the sunlight curtain and onto the page. I liked her. Apparently so did Ricky.

The ending of the river scene is one of my favorites.

One thing I liked about Robin was her dialog and internal thought process.

Graham verses Lee

One day while luncheoning with friend Allison Wilson, we brainstormed about Robin's Nashville love interest. And we both saw this man walking out of her closet and Robin thinking, "wow."

The idea of Lee walking out of Robin's life for a brief time came at the moment I wrote the first Bluebird Cafe scene. It just seemed too neat that Lee would be readily available. Now I realize having an ex-fiance reappear is kind of cliche, but hey, life is full of cliches!

Making the ex-fiance a famous country singer was just a fun idea, and in a way, good tension for Robin. Who wants to date a man who was engaged to a drop-dead gorgeous superstar?

Graham fulfilled an original idea that Robin would have a song stolen. The plan was to have it be her boyfriend, but some how it just never came out like that on the page. Graham was the perfect foil for Robin's dreams.

Always when developing story and scenes, I try to think how I can show case the heroine's inner and outer strength, as well as weakness. Graham was a great way to show her strength in adversity.

Dean not being her birth father

This was another original plot point - for Robin to find out her father was not the one who gave her red hair and green eyes. While writing, I put this fact out of my head so I could write her Dad with sincerity. If Robin didn't know, neither did I, or the reader. I tried really hard not to hint.

Her Mom, Bit

With Bit's own back story, it was easy to show her coolness to Robin about moving to Nashville. She'd tried it and it didn't work. She didn't want Robin to face the same failure and disappointment. But, ah, we fooled her! ;)

I liked how Bit softened toward Robin once part of the story came out. I liked having them write a song together.

For Bit, a daughter of gospel singers and a key member of a family gospel group, it would be really humiliating to run off for the big time, break up the family group and wind up pregnant and alone. I felt her attitude about Robin leaving for Nashville was valid.

The supporting cast

I had great fun coming up with Jeeter, Grip, Dixie Dos, Birdie and Walt. Not to mention Skyler and Blaire. I think my editor suggested Skyler being Robin's cousin. Great idea. We get stuck in a rut sometimes because there are so many facets to keep in mind while writing: story, plot, pacing, characterization, dialog, tension, setting, research, conflict, spiritual thread.

Never mind the writing itself. Avoid too many "I" uses if writing in first person. Watch speaker tags. Show don't tell. But don't over show, you'll exhaust the reader. Use active not passive voice. Watch literary cliches in sentence structure and description. Etc. Shew!

But I do love it. Love it!

Running out of the wedding

Robin spent years running from the stage. While she had fairly quick success in Nashville, I wanted her to stumble and fall back into old patterns at least once. I've been a bridesmaid a few times where I felt like running out. It's weird, cause I don't really wantd to, but what if....

Huge humiliation not to mention ruining the couples most sacred day!

I had Robin hanging in there until she saw Lee's face and Jim Chastain, her birth father. Then she cracked. Ran on impulse.

It's really important in life NOT to give into fears and weakness as much as possible. Once we do, it's easy to do again and again. Over coming becomes a challenge. So it's better to resist from the get-go. But Robin didn't. She gave in. So running, even out of a wedding, was almost second nature to her.

The End

Nashville is a 9-year town, so I'm told. Takes about that long for even a little bit of success. Especially for songwriters. As it turns out for Robin, her father is a Music Row big wig, but I didn't want success for her to be over night.

So, she was getting close, but still had a ways to go.

I also didn't want things to be sewn up neatly with hunky Lee. While we all love an HEA, not everyone falls in love, gets engaged and married like snapping fingers. Besides, talk about a literary cliche.

But, it worked great in Diva because it was not like her.

Anyway, there you have it. A small behind the scene! Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dream Team and Sarah

After being out of youth ministry for a year now, I'm starting to pick up a few extra curricular activities.

One, I'm on a Tuesday night dream team. We set up in a corner of a local coffee shop and interpret dreams. One team member goes around with flyers telling shopees what we are about-sans the Christianese-and asks them if they have dreams they want interpreted.

We usually do 2- 3 a night, though we want to do more. But we end up ministering to the people because God shows up. Gasp. Big surprise. Not.

It's fun because people have some weird, disturbing dreams and we are able to debunk the mystery. The sigh of relief on their faces is cool.

I'm also back working with Sarah two hours a week. My friend Ted works for Sarah and her mom, Helen. It's a very long story, but Sarah checked out of life about forty years ago as a teen.

She's smart and clever, but her mind is just some place else most of the time. When I went over to today to pick her up to take her down to the beach, she did remember me.

At first she kept tell me to go away and calling me a "little sh--" but she got over it. I just talk to her and try to draw her out.

I said, "Sarah, if you were writing a book, what would you write about?"

"The beach." We were driving by the beach at the time.

"Good. What about the beach?"

"I don't know?"

"Is there a girl on the beach?" I asked.

" Yeah. A girl."

"What's she doing?"

"I don't know."

"Is she walking, swimming..."

"Yeah, swimming, playin the in the water."

"Is there a boy on the beach?"

"Yeah, yeah."

And so it went. She's interesting to hang out with, scary at times because she's not overly fond of clothes.

But, you know, I think she was truly happy to see me. She was smiling as we walked on the beach and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Made me think more of my James 2 revelation from yesterday.

I know I promised a "Behind The Scenes" with Lost In NashVegas. I'll do part 2 tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

James 2

James hits us hard in chatper 2 of his book by the same name, James. He's writing to the twelve tribes dispersed "abroad."

He gets on us for favoring the rich and fine while dissing the poor. How many times do I favor the well dressed, the cultured, the lovely, the rich over someone who is down and out, or not as cultured?

Have I dissed a potential friend in favor of someone more "popular."

James says if we show partiality, we are sinning, and reminds us mercy triumps over judgement.

I want to be one who loves. One who exudes the love of Christ. One of compassion. One who hangs out with the lesser.

Truth is, who is the lesser? Who is the downtrodden among my friends and social circle?

Well, maybe it's the attendee at a conference. A new person at church. The woman at McDonalds who eats alone.

Worse than ignorning someone is seeking to find someone who can do for me. Jesus never sought for Himself but for His Father.

I want to be different.

When I stand before God, I'm pretty sure finding someone who can do for me won't gain me very many crowns to throw at His feet.

Oh, to be more like Jesus.

Article On Writing

Hey .....

I wrote an article on writing for Christian Book Distributors. Check it out if you want.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Home From Atlanta

Tony and I drove up to Atlanta yesterday, and back home today. Sixteen hours in the car.

But, I did a taping for Deeper Living this morning. Great fun. Rebeca Seitz was the host and she helped me when I researched for Lost In NashVegas.

We talked about both NashVegas books and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Tammy Alexander came on after me. It was great to see her for a few minutes and hug her Rita winning neck.

So, my first TV. Ta da. Thanks to all who prayed. I do so appreciate you.

I took my camera with the intent of taking pictures, but took one. Yeah, one, in the car as Tony and I were pulling out at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Photography is one of my loves, but I keep forgetting to get back into it. Some love, right?

Check out the Deeper Living web site to see how and when to view the show.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Welcome Gail Martin and In His Dreams

Hi all,

Please take a moment to read about my friend, Gail Martin's new release, "In His Dreams" from Steeple Hill.

Escape to beautiful Beaver Island could be the answer to Marsha Sullivan's need for a fresh start. Since her husband's death four years ago, Marsha had lost her way, but on Beaver Island, she had good memories to help guide her. Running into Jeff, her brother-in-law, in this paradise turned out to be a blessing. Not only did they share grief in losing their spouses, but also a warm bond began to form between them. Did God want her to love again? The only thing she knew for sure was that being with Jeff and his daughter felt like family.

In His Dreams was a Top Pick! (4-1/2 stars) in Romantic Times Book Review. In His Dreams touches on sensitive issues, including the problems of an emotionally handicapped child. But Gail Gaymer Martin outdoes herself with the romance she threads throughout.

Q: Why did you write this story?

A: Michigan is blessed with the Great Lakes and a multitude of islands. I've enjoyed a number of them and I began to think about the thing that intrigues people about islands. As I thought, I realized islands might make an interesting setting for a series. My first book was set on Harsens Island in Lake St. Clair, was based on a real experience of mine, and I used it to spark a story idea. The second book, With Christmas In His Heart, was set on Mackinac Island, a charming and amazing island that's like stepping back in time.

Mackinac has no motorized vehicles, and people who live there walk, ride bikes, horseback, or horse and carriage. This book was inspired by my visit to the historical island which an amazing history. I'd spent a week in a chalet which I used for my heroine Marsha and many of the places mentioned in the book are real. The final book to be released in January 2008 is set on the awesome Les Cheneaux Islands and in northern Michigan. The series was such a joy to write.

Q: How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?

A: How a story comes to me is not consistent. I might hear a Bible verse in church, notice something in a stained glass window that strikes me. I can get a story idea from song lyrics or an article in the newspaper. I might hear a real life event or situation that brings a story to mind. I might meet someone who has an interesting take on life. Sometimes I visit a place and think that I’d like to set in a story there. Whichever comes first, close behind are the other aspects of what I need.

If I have a setting, the plot will be on its tail and then the kind of characters needed to make the story work. My last three book series proposals were based on location. I have completed the Michigan Island series — stories set on four different Michigan Islands as I mentioned. The next book series came to mind while spending time in the Monterey area where my nieces live, and finally, my travels have resulted in a new series idea for Steeple Hill Love Inspired set partially in the U.S. and partially in a foreign country.

Q: What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?

A: I love writing and creating, and I enjoy meeting readers and receiving their letters.. Sharing my faith in stories that entertain is a blessing for me, and touching people’s lives with the message in the story is an honor. I am awed that the Lord has blessed me in this way. What I don’t like are the pressures of deadlines when they overlap. Then my life becomes so very stressed, especially when I find myself working on two or three books at one time. Then it’s not fun.

Q: What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

A: My books all contain romance. I write basically Christian romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction with romance. I was never a reader of romance, but I happened to meet many writers who wrote in that genre, and it just happened. Since I sold my first novel in one year, I believe that’s what the Lord meant me to do. I have always read suspense and romantic suspense—older authors such as Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney, and I love suspense.

Q: What would you want readers to take away from your books?

A: My takeaway message is always one of faith but varies with each book. If I were to give a blanket statement, I would want readers to know that they are not alone, but God is with them and offers them forgiveness, love, mercy, comfort, and eternal life if they believe in God’s son, Jesus Christ, and His sacrificial death for our sins.

Gail Gaymer Martin is an award-winning novelist for Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing with over one million books in print and forty fiction novels or novellas. The second book in the Michigan Island Series, With Christmas In His Heart, was recently honored with the 2007 National Readers Choice Award in Inspirational. Her book, Writing The Christian Romance will be released in December from Writers Digest

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Summer Rain

Tonight Pal and I walked in in a soft summer rain.

It felt so good.