Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What sort of hobby should you choose?

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/leisure/quiz/index.html has a delightful and easy quiz that tells you how to best spend your free time (providing you have some).

Mine was creative--which I suppose is no big surprise. What about you?

(The photo has nothing to do with anything. This is what happens when you randomly pick a picture from a list of numbers.)


Monday, July 30, 2007

In His Dreams, by Gail Martin

Wow. I'm up here in the BEAUTIFUL Oregon forest, after flying (or trying to) nearly all day yesterday. Got to bed at 4:12 AM Oregon time, but slept a few hours and am actually adjusting, I think, to being on the Pacific Coast. We have a great group of conferees out here, lots of friends, and I'm looking forward to sharing a few things the Lord has placed on my heart.

Today, though, I wanted to let you know about my friend Gail's latest release from Steeple Hill. I think you'll enjoy it!

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.

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.

Review: Top Pick! (4-1/2 stars) 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.

1. Why did you write this story?

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 Drummond Island in northern Michigan. The series was such a joy to write.

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

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.

3. What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?

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.

4. What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

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.

5. What would you want readers to take away from your books?

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.

That's it for today. I owe a HUGE thanks to Ernie Wenk, who reads this blog from time to time, for picking me and Robin Parrish up at the airport at 2:30 a.m. Ernie, you're a gem!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

What Color is a Rose?

If it's Sunday, I'm heading out to Oregon for the Oregon Christian writers' conference--actually, it's a coaching conference, and it's my first time, so I'm eager to see how they do things out on the western side of the country. :-) I'll be teaching a couple of classes and wearing an official "keynote speaker" hat at night--ahem, not something I'm used to. :-) But I prepared three actual speeches (my repertoire is expanding!), so I'm rarin' to go. Probably won't be blogging for a couple of days, but I pre-wrote the "Book of the Month" posts, so they're ready--come August first, Lord willing, we'll be talking about THE TRUTH TELLER.

The second Fairlawn book, SHE ALWAYS WORE RED, deals with several major themes, and one of them is racism. Some friends and I have been having a discussion about racism and how it has largely gone underground in this era of political correctness, but it is still alive and well. Now we even see "reverse" racism, where people are almost afraid to acknowledge that we do have some differences--have you noticed that some people are afraid to mention that someone is black? Or white? Or Asian?

I remember one thing from that TV show that aired in the sixties or seventies—the central character was a very attractive black woman who lived in an apartment, but I can’t remember her name to save my life. (Julia? Starring Diane Carol?) Anyway, I remember this scene as clear as day: she met a white neighbor, and asked what kind of music he liked. He said, “Oh, the Temptations, Sammy Davis Jr . . .” etc., and named four or five leading black musicians. Then he asked her, “What do you like?” And she said, “ Frank Sinatra.” (I think.) Anyway, the point was beautifully made—we don’t have to tiptoe around and cater to color . . . though we can’t ignore the obvious, either.

SHE ALWAYS WORE RED contains the following scene, which makes (I think) the same point. We're in Jennifer's POV, and she's trying to prove to McLane that she's not "too white":

I catch McLane’s eye across the table, silently sending her a message. This dinner and Justin’s service certainly ought to convince her that I’m sufficiently integrated.

“My father,” I continue, emboldened by my apparent success, “was a general in the Army. Of course he worked with people from all races. He and Mom raised me to be colorblind, to treat people as individuals, not as members of any certain race.”

“That’s right,” Mother echoes. “If more folks were colorblind, we’d have a lot less trouble in this country.”

I am slicing a section of turkey breast when I realize that silence is sifting over my dinner table like a snowfall. Bugs and Clay are quiet—not too unusual in a roomful of adults—but even Gerald and McLane are holding their tongues.

I look up. Daniel is watching me with an intense but guarded expression while McLane’s mouth has gone tight and grim. The Douyons have become markedly somber, but Mother is focused on her food, apparently unaware of the change in the atmosphere.

Lamont braces his elbows on the table and clasps his hands. “Miss Jennifer—” his face empties of expression—“if you remove the color from a red rose, what remains?”

Sensing a trap behind the words, I glance at Daniel and Gerald, but neither man rises to my aid.

“Well . . . I suppose you’d have a white rose.”

Lamont waggles his finger at me. “Not exactly, because white is a color, isn’t it? So what would you have left?”

This time I look to Mother for help. She has stopped eating, so obviously, she’s wised up to the change in mood, but now she looks like a frightened rabbit.

I sigh and catch McLane’s eye. “If you remove all the color, you’d be left with an invisible flower.”

Lamont gives me the indulgent smile a teacher gives a bright pupil. “So if you refuse to see my color, what are you seeing?”

I glance around the table again, feeling pinned down, but everyone has abandoned me. Gerald is smiling behind his napkin and Daniel has developed an unusual interest in the china. McLane wears a smug smile, proof that she enjoys watching me squirm.

“I’m saying . . . you’re invisible.”

Lamont nods. “I mean no disrespect, Miss Jen, but if you don’t see my color, you don’t see me.”


Ah. I wish I could take credit for that last line, but a friend suggested it to me many years ago.

Have a great day!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Color Quiz

For Saturday fun:


I thought this one was SO accurate, I don't want to post my results publicly--I don't want the world to know me that well. (Making you wonder, aren't I?) Anyway, take the color quiz and let me know what you think--was it accurate for you?


Friday, July 27, 2007

Pondering Potter . . . Harry, that is.

It's a miracle that I've been able to work at all today. Some online friends and I have been discussing Harry Potter, and several raised rational, informed facts about how the Potter books HAVE spurred some children to evidence an interest in the occult. That's not good. Definitely not good.

Someone asked, "As a Christian novelist, could you have your hero use witchcraft in one of your books?" And I had to answer . . . no. Not even if I could sell it. Not even under a pseudonym.

My opinion about Potter has always been that they didn't bother me, but parents need to be the guide for their children. Still, I worry about children who don't have spiritually-aware parents.

Because the issue came up on this blog, I think I need to be as honest about my reservations as I've been with my praise. So all day, as I’ve been working, I’ve had this ping pong match going on in my head. Like this:

Side one: They’re right about the occult and witchcraft. It is an abomination and we should steer clear of it.

Side two: But a STORY about witchcraft isn’t the same as dabbling in witchcraft. In fact, we write stories about murder and lying and adultery all the time; we even touch on some of those issues in children's books. What’s the difference?

Side one: Yes, but are we writing stories in which the murder and lying are portrayed as good?

Side two: Well . . . no. But there are godly themes in Harry Potter, and now everyone knows it! And the HP books are more about good versus evil than witchcraft. They're about self-sacrifice and the power of love.

Side one: There are godly themes in lots of the world’s literature, but that’s simply a reflection of common grace. And good versus evil is the plot of practically all books.

Side two: But so many people read HP without being tempted to use or even think about witchcraft. So isn’t Potter sort of like a glass of wine? Innocent on the surface and for most people, but dangerous for children, alcoholics, and weaker brothers?

Side one: Yes, but Angie, you don’t drink wine for the express reason of not wanting to hurt the kids in your world.

Side two: Well . . . . okay, so you have a point. So . . . Where does that leave us?

Side one: Pondering, that’s where it leaves us. Praying for discernment.

See what I mean? :-) No wonder I talk to myself.

In any case, my friend Marlo Schlansky has written an excellent blog piece on Potter. You can read it here: http://marloschalesky.blogspot.com/.

And now, I need to finish up the day's work.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Movie Recommendation:SweetLand

My friend Athol recommended Sweet Land, which I Netflixed without knowing the least little thing about the plot . . . wow. What a charming movie about the power of friendship and love. Understated and powerful!

I loved it. Made me want to move to Minnesota . . . but I'm sure it's no coincidence that there were no WINTER scenes! :-)

So if you're looking for a sweet movie for the family, you've got to check out SweetLand.


Surfing the web

Can you BELIEVE that photo? Shudder. I've had too many rats in my attic to relate!

While surfing the web yesterday, I found a few new links:

I'm a boomer babe! My fabulous friend Allison Bottke has honored me with a spot on her website

Read the first Chapter of of Doesn't She Look Natural online.

And that's it. I've had a busy week--trying to finish an edit of a book I wrote about ten years ago so it can be republished--cutting out thousands of unnecessary words! Also trying to get a theology paper done and out the door, and I have to write three speeches for the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference . . . whew!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From the Wall Street Journal review of Harry Potter . . .

I read this in Tuesday morning's Wall Street Journal. Meghan Cox Gurdon has written a wonderful review of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" . . . and the word is out! J.K. Rowling is a believer, and Harry is filled with Christian themes. I love it!

Snippets from the WSJ review:

“It has been widely observed that J.K. Rowling owes a creative debt to Christian fantasists JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis (apart from their fondness for initials). It’s odd now to remember that, at the same time, some parents have objected to the magic depicted in the Harry Potter books as glorification of satanic practices. For “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” confirms something else apart from the well-thought-out-ness of Ms. Rowling’s moral universe: It is subtly but unmistakably Christian.”

"The principal Hogwarts holidays have always been Christmas and Easter, but it took five books before Ms. Rowling really began tipping her hand. In Book Six, “Harry Potter and the half-blood prince,” she addressed concepts of free will, the power of love, and the sanctity of the soul. But in the final volume she gently lays it all out. The preciousness of each human life; bodily resurrection after death; mercy, forgiveness and redemption; sacrificial love overcoming the powers of evil—strip away the elves, goblins, broomsticks and magic wands and these are the concepts that underpin the marvelously intricate world of Harry Potter.

(The author goes on to point out a silver cross that appears, and two unattributed New Testament quotations recur in the story . . .)

"He discovers on the Dumbledore family tomb “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” . . . And on the grave of his own parents, he finds this: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” . . .

"Near the end, Harry visits the hereafter, where he sees joy coming to those who in life were merciful and agony meted out to those who were cruel and remorseless.

"Many readers may not even notice these intimations of Christian spirituality. There’s nothing finger-pointingly didactic here; the story is too well-made to insist on anything so obvious as a proselytizing message. . . We have in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” skillfully plotted drama, entertaining characters in a fantastically imagined world, and a moral contest that would not be out of place in Aeschyulus or, for that matter, Philip Pullman. . . ."

Speaking of reviews, there's a really well-done review of THE ELEVATOR here.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

$4925.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.

Okay, so this one is a little macabre. But I have been writing a book about a funeral home . . .

So--do they let you collect the money BEFORE you're finished living? How much is your "temple" worth?


Monday, July 23, 2007

A STATE OF GRACE by Traci DePree

I'd like to introduce you to my friend Traci DePree. If you like mysteries, or if you have enjoyed the Heavenly Daze series, I have a feeling you'll love Traci's books!

A State of Grace

book #2 in Mystery and the Minister's Wife
by Traci DePree

Unveiling her deepest secret could save her daughter's life.

Kate Hanlon is at it again. Minister's wife, stained-glass artist, and sometimes sleuth, Kate Hanlon discovers more than she bargained for when she visits a woman whose daughter is battling leukemia. Before she knows it she's on the road uncovering clues that could be the girl's very survival.

Book #2 in Mystery and the Minister's Wife, A State of Grace picks up where Through the Fire left off as Kate and Paul Hanlon learn about life in small town Tennessee. Follow Kate as she comes to know the town and its inhabitants. Admire her persistence, intelligence, and strength of character as she slowly, but surely, begins to unlock the town's secrets.

About the author: Traci DePree is the author of four novels, including the Lake Emily series by WaterBrook Press. She, her husband, and their five children make their home in a small town in rural Minnesota.

About the series: Each novel in the MYSTERY AND THE MINISTER'S WIFE series is a page-turner, a good old-fashioned "whodunit." They're books that bring truth to light, that reveal dreams, and that show that trust in God always trumps fear and anxiety.
Learn more about Traci DePree and her work at www.tracidepree.com or visit her blogs at http://tracidepree.com/blog/rural-life/ and http://tracidepree.com/blog/christian-fiction/

Readers have two options for ordering this book or the series. They can join the series online from the following page: http://shopguideposts.com/product.asp?0=205&1=222&3=368 or they can call the customer service number, which is 1-800-431-2344. There, they can sign up for the series, in which case they will get every book (a new shipment every six weeks), or they can request specific books in the series (i.e. A State of Grace).


Sunday, July 22, 2007

One more meme

Lisa Samson tagged me with this one, and it looks like fun, so I'm giving it a go. BTW, I understand that "meme" isn't pronounced mee-mee, but rhymes with "gene." If that's true, why didn't they spell it MEEM? That would make more sense.

But I digress. Here are the rules, so if you have a blog and you want to play, consider this another "blanket tag." (Boy, aren't we hard up for material?)

Books, books, books

* Bold the ones you’ve read. (Even IF I disliked it, I presume.)
* Italicize the ones you want to read. (I'm italicizing if it's in my TBR stack.)
* Leave in normal text the ones that don’t interest you.
* Put in ALL CAPS those you haven’t heard of.
* Put a couple of asterisks by the ones you recommend.

I put a ++ by those I started but didn't finish.
I put a :-) by the ones where I saw the movie. :-)

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) :-)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) **

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) (I have sections of this one memorized!)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) ++

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)**

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) **

10. A FINE BALANCE (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)**

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)

13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix** (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) **

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)**

16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)

17. FALL ON YOUR KNEES (Ann-Marie MacDonald)

18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)**

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)**

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)**

31. Dune (Frank Herbert)

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell)**

35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) :-)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

37. THE POWER OF ONE (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) **

43.Confessions of a Shopahaulic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. The Bible **

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) :-)

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)**

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)**

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) ++

50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)**

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) **

53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)**

54. Great Expectations (Dickens) **

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)**

56. THE STONE ANGEL (Margaret Laurence)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)**

59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) **

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

5. FIFTH BUSINESS (Robertson Davies)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)**

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden(Frances Hodgson)**

76. THE SUMMER TREE (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

78. The World According to Garp (John Irving) :-)

79. THE DIVINERS (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)**

81. NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE (Timothy Findley)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)**

83.Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. WIZARD'S FIRST RULE (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

88. THE STONE DIARIES (Carol Shields)

89. BLINDNESS (Jose Saramago)

90. KANE AND ABEL (Jeffrey Archer)

91. IN THE SKIN OF A LION (Michael Ondaatje)

92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)**

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) :-)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) :-)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) :-)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Jay Leno Does Science Tricks


This video made me laugh. It's silly, but funny. The perfect thing for a Saturday.

And yes, I finished my revisions last night! Yea! Now, on to the next deadline . . .

~~Angie, who does NOT envy those ballerinas . . .

Friday, July 20, 2007

I've Been Tagged by Gadget Woman.

B.J. Hoff, a woman after my own heart because she loves gadgets, tagged me with this original meme or whatever you want to call it. I think it's a combination of her love for gadgets AND books. In any case, I'll play:

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to: Since I'm still in the very rough stage of my WIP, I'll be thrilled to get through it!

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with? I'd start with the Bible, too, as I do every day. Then I'd read a chapter in my theology book (Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume 2). Then, I'd finish my book club's BOM, INNOCENT TRAITOR by Allison Weir. Excellent! Then I'd move on to my huge TBR stack . . .

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)? I had an old manual typewriter when I was learning to type in high school. But when I first got serious about writing, I bought an Apple IIe. LOL! I've come full circle!

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month? Novels? Three or four--one for my book club, two or three for endorsement. Nonfiction? Probably eight or nine, mostly for research.

5. What's your favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned? My little white Macbook. And my "Fat Boy" gel pen.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don't read historical fiction--shame on you.) I like realistic biblical fiction . . . and the Roman era. Really, I like all historical fiction.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)? Gone with the Wind and Jane Eyre. Read both of those in sixth grade and simply loved them. Have read both of them many, many times. (Which probably explains why my first novels were historicals and romantic.)

Now, I'm supposed to "tag" someone . . . so if you are reading this and you have a blog, and you've not yet been tagged with BJ's book-n-machine meme, consider yourself "tagged!"


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Freedom from Fear

Years ago, I used to believe that God had a perfect will for me, but I could mess it up. By making some stupid choice or not praying fervently enough, I could “miss the boat” or make mistakes for which I would pay dearly.

As I began to study the Scripture, however, I learned that my concept was wrong. God is sovereign over his creation, and that includes me. If He were not controlling and sustaining my life, I wouldn’t exist. Therefore everything that happens to me, good and bad, is part of his will for my life. If I exercise my free will to sin or make mistakes, God uses even those things for my ultimate good—to discipline me, teach me, and mold me to be the daughter He wants me to be.

Knowing this has freed me from the tyranny of fear. Think of Job: a blameless man, a good man, and yet God allowed Satan to afflict him, grieve him, strike his body with disease. What gives God the right? His sovereignty. His role as Creator. God is not cruel as men count cruelty; His ways are just and some of his reasons may be far above our understanding. But even when we are in the fire of testing, nothing can touch us unless our loving God grants permission.

So when, as a mother, I worry that I am warping my kids for life because I tell them “no,” I’ve learned that I’m not the ultimate shaper of their lives—God is. He created them, and He will mold them. He will use me as an example for good (and bad), and my children will use their free will to accept or reject my example. But through it all, God is sovereign.

I was once speaking about God’s sovereignty in a class of women. Later, one mother came up with tears in her eyes and said, “Our son died when he was ten. You can’t mean his death was God’ will.”

My heart broke as I looked at her suffering-filled eyes. “I know it’s a hard truth,” I told her, “but I’d rather live in a world where God controls everything than in a world where certain things are out of his control. How could we know peace if death and sin and crime were beyond the limits of God’s power?”

That would be a fearful world indeed.

In Genesis 50, Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” God didn’t merely allow or make the best of a bad situation, he intended everything—the prison, the testing, the years of loneliness—to refine Joseph’s character and to save the world from famine.

David wrote, “Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Ps. 139:16).

Knowing that—that God has plotted the days of this novelist’s life—gives me great peace and takes away fear.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Being funny is HARD!

Now that cat's expression is FUNNY!

The reviews are coming in for DOESN'T SHE LOOK NATURAL, and nearly everyone remarks about the humor. It's so noticeable, in fact, that when I handed in the second book of the series, SHE ALWAYS WORE RED, my editor said it wasn't as funny as the first. So all week as I've been doing revisions, I've been sitting here trying to be funny.

It's hard work!

What makes it hard is that we all laugh at different things. What strikes me as hilarious may not even elicit a smile from someone else, and what tickles someone else may not do more than lift my brow. Furthermore, I think my natural humor is sort of wry, which isn't roll-on-the-floor funny at all.

Anyway . . . I'm challenging myself to insert four funny somethings in every day's page quota. I'm suffering over this, believe it or not! Who was it that said, "Dying is easy . . . comedy is hard." I believe it!

I received one email from Marty, a bookstore manager I met several years ago (and a MALE reader, I might point out.) Marty said this:

Doesn't She Look Natural was the first choice to read after ICRS. I loved it! Of course, I had to explain myself when I burst out laughing at lunch at the "you have a customer" line. I could just imagine one of my children saying something like that...

I'm glad Marty enjoyed the "you have a customer" line, but truthfully, I don't even remember writing it! That one must have been accidentally funny.

So pray for me, if you will, during the remainder of this week . . . that my brain would be snapping on all the funny circuits. :-)

Thank you veddy much.


What if the Internet Crashed?


This is too clever . . . and too true! Enjoy, but keep telling yourself: "This isn't real. It isn't real."

And if you liked that one . . . try this one, too!



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How Do Two People Write a Book?

Since Kay is dreaming about this, I figured we'd better address this topic. How do two people write a book?

Every situation is different. And experience has taught me a few things over the years. Plus, fiction is different from nonfiction.

I've written three novels with a non-writing partner. He was a perfect gentleman, and he did provide ideas and research material for the plot. But when you're sitting in your room alone, sweating over each word and pushing to get the third draft in by a deadline, writing with a non-writing partner begins to feel . . . not fun. Because I didn't like the way such projects made me feel, I have decided that if I ever write another novel with someone else, the other person has to actually WRITE half of the book. My personal conviction.

Bill Myers and I wrote a novella called "Then Comes Marriage." It's a look back at a couple's first year together, and the chapters alternate-- the man's POV, then the wife's, etc. Bill wrote all the man chapters, I wrote the woman chapters. A true partnership. And lots of fun to write.

Lori Copeland and I wrote the five books of the Heavenly Daze series together. Since she lives in Missouri and I live in Florida, we knew we needed an organized method that wouldn't require constant "checking-in" with each other. So in each book, each of us took one house and its inhabitants, then wrote one story each. We were careful to tag scenes with dates and times so that our stories could be slotted together. When each of us were finished with our stories, we put them together. Lori would either come to my house or I'd go to hers, and we'd go through the book together one more time, adding funny lines as they came to us. A lot of lovely serendipity going on there. :-) Two heads can be better than one.

Now . . . when it comes to nonfiction, like my books with Heather Whitestone McCallum, Mandisa, or Deanna Favre, what I usually do is write up the "celebrity's" story. Often I have to add materials or write scenes using fiction techniques. Of course, I send what I've written to my partner, asking them to correct details I may have gotten wrong (since I wasn't there), and asking questions like, "Who else was present? What were you thinking? What were you feeling?"

Finally, we put the book together, and when we're both happy with it, we send it in to our editor. How much I have to add depends entirely on the other person, but I often add quite a bit in reference or supporting materials. Anything that's footnoted usually comes from my library. :-)

I usually try to remain "invisible" so I don't detract from the story being told, but sometimes I need to reveal myself. For instance, I thought it was important to talk about unanswered prayers for healing in Deanna's book on breast cancer, but Deanna didn't feel comfortable talking about heavy theological issues. So in those places, I wrote something like, "My co-writer, Angela Hunt, points out that . . . etc." But those situations are the exception, not the rule.

I used to do ghostwriting . . . until I decided that the practice wasn't really ethical. You would probably be amazed to learn how many celebrities don't write their own books. But what does it cost anyone to admit they had help writing a book? If a laborer is worthy of his hire, he's also worthy of a byline. To ignore the writer demeans the hard work so many writers do.

And, as Dr. Mabry said, I'm getting a nosebleed from the height of this soapbox! (Loved that line!)

Hope that answers your questions and eases your nightmares, Kay.

And I have to confess--my gadget lust has induced me to get an iPhone. The little darling is sitting here, all hooked up to my computer . . . it's a Total Toy.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Chapter a Week

Photo: the fire truck that interrupted my dinner with my editors last week. My imagination was running wild as we waited on the sidewalk--was it a hostage situation? A fire? Someone threatening to jump from an upper story?

Turns out the ruckus was instigated by a faulty smoke alarm. Good news for real life; disappointing for a hyperactive imagination.

Change of topic: A few years ago, my gal pal Jane Orcutt had a brilliant idea--why not offer a chapter a week to people who were interested in Christian novels? And so Chapter a Week was born.

If you haven't signed up, just send an email to:ChapteraWeek-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Each Friday you'll get a brief chapter of a new release. Very simple and lots of fun!

I'm jumping into revisions today, going back to Fairlawn for a week-long visit (at least, I think that's how long it'll take me to work through this manuscript again.)

Thanks for stopping in!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday Worship

When I drive in my car (which isn't often), I listen to some of my favorite MP3s on a CD. One of them is Selah's rendition of "O Sacred Head," which is one of my favorite hymns. So as I was driving to T.J. Maxx on Saturday, the song began to play and I began to worship.

Which reminds me of an internet ditty that's been floating around. If you've heard it before, I'm sure the original is funnier than what you're about to read here:

Seems a farmer went to a different church in town, where they advertised that they sang "praise choruses." When he got home, his wife said, "So . . . what are the praise choruses like?"

The farmer scratched his head. "Well," he finally said, "If I were writing a farmer's hymn, I might write something like, 'Oh, the cows are coming home tonight.'"

The wife lifted a brow. "Okay."

"Well, a praise chorus could be about the same thing, but they'd sing it like this: 'Oh, the cows, the cows, the cows, the brown cows . . . are coming, coming, yes coming, they're coming home home home tonight."

LOL! (I told you the original was funnier, but the story still makes me laugh.)

Now I like praise choruses as much as anyone, particularly if they are based in Scripture. Randy Alcorn blogged the other day about how God sings over us, and I simply adore that image. (His blog is worth the read, BTW.)

BUT--there is nothing like the beauty of some of the majestic older hymns. Read carefully and prayerfully through the following lyrics and realize that it's not repetition or music that gives this song power, it's the sheer poetry of the lyrics. The following is James Alexander's version:

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

(From Wikipedia: The hymn is based on a long medieval Latin poem, Salve mundi salutare, with stanzas addressing the various parts of Christ's body hanging on the Cross. The last part of the poem, from which the hymn is taken, is addressed to Christ's head, and begins "Salve caput cruentatum." The poem is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but it first appears in the 14th century.

The last part of the poem was translated into German by the prolific Lutheran hymnist Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676). The German hymn begins, "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden."

The hymn was first translated into English in 1752 by John Gambold (1711-1771), an Anglican vicar in Oxfordshire. His translation begins, "O Head so full of bruises." In 1830 a new translation of the hymn was made by an American Presbyterian minister, James W. Alexander (1804-1859). Alexander's translation, beginning "O sacred head, now wounded," became one of the most widely used in 19th and 20th century hymnals.)


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Why Everyone Needs a Pet

This is priceless. Why every child needs a pet:


Enjoy! It's great Saturday fun!


Friday, July 13, 2007

Microwave Madness

While I'm still getting caught up at home, here's a little fun for Friday the 13th:

Ever wonder what would happen if you decided to microwave your jello? Your chocolate eclair? Your son's football?

Take a peek at this web site--but do not try any of this at home!



Thursday, July 12, 2007

Seven Random Things meme

My friend Kay has tagged me with the seven random things meme. Here are the rules: Each blogger should list 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to then report this on their own blog with their 7 random facts as well as these rules. They then need to tag 7 others and list their names on their blog. They are also asked to leave a comment for each of the tagged, letting them know they have been tagged and to read the blog.

Okay . . . here goes.
1. I took fencing in college.
2. I don't know what my natural hair color is any more.
3. I'm the oldest of three sisters.
4. I once got my tongue caught in the front of my braces (long story!).
5. I like to whistle.
6. My favorite novel is THE NUN'S STORY.
7. My middle name is Elise.

I'm tagging Robin Lee Hatcher, BJ Hoff, Roxy Henke, Lisa Samson, Brandilyn Collins, Al Gansky, and Athol Dickson! (tee hee! This isn't just a female thing, is it? )


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Meeting Mandisa again

Tonight (Tuesday night) was the Tyndale author dinner at ICRS. The highlight of the evening was hearing Mandisa sing three songs--she was great, and I can't wait to get her album, "True Beauty." The last song she sang was all about the sovereignty of God, one of my favorite doctrines. (Kay Day, that song's for you!)

Heading home from the convention tomorrow. It'll be good to get back, but I know I'll have a zillion notes to write and things to put on my to-do list.

Still, coming home is always nice. Photos: me 'n Mandisa, and the "Ladies who Lunched" today--Teresa, Pam, and Martha from my church with Lori Copeland, Robin Lee Hatcher, and me.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Good News of the Week

I'm going to tell my husband that for my health's sake, I need two kisses every morning. The chocolate kind.

It's not every day that you open your newspaper and read news that is honestly, incredibly, terrifically good. But on July 4th, in the Tampa Tribune I read this headline "Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure, Study Shows."

Yippee! As a woman with high blood pressure, I was thrilled to realize that two Hershey's kisses would lower my blood pressure. This, of course, makes me wonder why I am shelling out money every month for fancy pills, when I could just eat kisses . . . maybe it's because it's hard to stop with just two of those foil-wrapped beauties. And have you seen the new dark chocolate kisses? Just what the doctor ordered.

The best news in all this is that it only takes two kisses to work the magic. Those of us who go through life either on a diet or meaning to be on a diet are grateful, because we can't have our high blood pressure treatment resulting in the addition of unwanted pounds, because unwanted pounds only raise the blood pressure.

So--two dark chocolate kisses per day keeps the doctor away. The Elizabethans were right--somewhere on the planet, God did give us a cure for every human ailment. Our job is simply to find it.

I think I'll start my exploration in the pantry.


Monday, July 09, 2007

My friend Lyn's new book!

The final book in Lyn Cote's Harbor Intrigue series ! A free gift for

First, the last novel in Lyn Cote's series, "Harbor Intrigue,"
Dangerous Secrets, will be on sale in stores and online on July 10th.

Here is what Romantic Times Magazine had to say about Dangerous

"4 ½ Stars—Fantastic, A Keeper!

When book store owner Sylvie Patterson's visiting cousin dies under
suspicious circumstances, her life--and lives of those around her--
become fraught with peril. State homicide cop Ridge Matthews is
suddenly in the picture to take his ward, 12-year-old Ben, to
military school. But Ben has wormed his way into the hearts of
Sylvie and her father and may be in danger. Thus in Dangerous
Secrets by Lyn Cote, Ben's future is put on hold while they try to
solve the mystery. Don't miss this intriguing read that will keep
you guessing."

(Dangerous Season and Dangerous Game precede Dangerous Secrets, but
each is a stand alone story, but set in the same community, Bayfield
and Ashland Counties of WI.)

To purchase online, go to: www.booksbylyncote.com/LIS.html


In celebration of Love Inspired's 10th anniversary, Lyn's publisher
has sent her brochures which include two (2) one dollar ($1) off
coupons for any one Love Inspired and one Love Inspired Suspense good
from now until December 31, 2007. She will send one of these
brochures to each of the first 50 people who request one. Just go to
her website (www.LynCote.net) and click Email Lyn and e-mail her your
snail address. She will send you one. (And will never divulge your
email or snail address to anyone else!)

Lyn says: "I feel honored that I was a part of the first 10 years of
Love Inspired Romance. And I'm happy to share this offer with you."


~~Angie, on her way to tea at the Four Seasons. Where's my Audrey Hepburn hat?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

An analogous understanding of God

The other day I read something in my theology book that really caught my attention. It was this: there are only three ways we can ascribe or describe the attributes of God. Univocally, equivocally, and analogically.

Got that? :-) Let me explain. Univocal description means to attribute the characteristic to God in the exact same way we attribute it to creatures. But we can't really compare creatures to God in exactly the same way because he is not like us--he is an infinite being. Every word you use to describe God must be multiplied by infinity, for instance, and that doesn't apply to us at all.

Equivocal description means that we would apply an adjective to God in an entirely different way than we apply it to creatures. But if you tried to apply adjectives to God in an entirely different way than we applied the same word to creatures, we'd be left in the darkness. God would be unknowable. He would be so completely different that we could never understand him.

So we are left with analogical attribution when we talk about God . . . and I love this, because this is what storytellers do. We create analogies. Novels say, "Life is like this . . ." Analogical language means we apply adjectives to God in a similar way.

So when we say God is love, we are saying that his love is like our love, but we realize that his is infinite, immutable, eternal, and holy. It's similar to our love. We can study his creation and see something of his beauty. We can experience the bond between a parent and child and realize that this is similar to how He cares for us.

So when we create stories, in which fictional people grapple with problems that will hopefully resonate with the reader, we are using the same tools we must always use to communicate about God.

I found that simply fascinating.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

BOM: Questions and Answers

Melissa asked: Angie,you've said that when you research for your books,you always have thick notebooks crammed with all the info (background,history and such). what do yu do with the notebooks after you're done?keep them in case yu need to look at the info again or just pitch and recycle all the paper and such?

I keep those notebooks until the book comes out, then I empty them and use them for the next project in the pipeline. I often need to refer back to them during the editing and copy editing process, but after that, what's done is done. My pack rat instinct wants to save them but 1) I don't have room 2) all that paper is a fire hazard and 3) some of the information would be outdated if I ever wanted to use it again. What is discoverable once is discoverable again, so out it all goes.

And I always print on both sides of the paper, so it's usually past in-house recycling by the time I throw it away. :-)

Marla asked: Have you done this with all your books (blogged about the process)? I'll check your archives.How fast does a novel usually go for you from first word to on the shelf?

Yes--I've done a BOM at the beginning of every month for about a year now, I think. And it usually takes me 3-5 months to write a novel, from beginning to end. When I'm traveling, of course, the process takes longer because I lose valuable work time. I need stretches of uninterrupted time to think when I write, so travel days aren't good for writing. I usually use travel time for reading. Once I hand a book in to my publisher, it takes anywhere from several months until a year or so before the book hits the shelf.

Clyde asked "Why the frog?" He's in honor of my gal pal Nancy Rue, who I'm seeing this weekend. She loves little green frogs. Have you discovered her "Lily" books for girls?

Jan asked about when "The Note" will be in theaters . . . actually, it's beginning to look like "The Note" might make it to TV. I'm not sure, though, because these things are out of my hands. We'll see.

And Linda, yes, I'm going to be in Oregon at the end of the month. When I'm at a conference, it's often hard for me to get away, but maybe you could pop in and we could have coffee during one of my breaks? . . . I'd love to see you.

Well, it's early in the morning (really!) and I have a full day of a novelists' retreat ahead of me. Take care, everyone!


Friday, July 06, 2007

BOM: Results and Reader reaction

Actually, I'm still waiting for some results and reader reaction . . . the book is so new! At this moment, there's only one review on Amazon.com.

BTW, Saturday is questions and answers . . . so if you have any questions about The Elevator, Atlanta, or why I have a frog on the blog, leave your question in the comment box. I'll try my best to answer it.

I'll be at the huge International Christian retailers convention Sunday through Wednesday . . . with my camera. I'll try to snap some pictures to share with you.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

BOM: The Editing

The editing of THE ELEVATOR was fairly routine, as I recall. My editors at Steeple Hill had excellent suggestions, and I was happy to take a look and make some tweaks. Since I know backstory and facts about my characters, I have a tendency to assume the reader knows--or intuits--the same things. My editors usually point out those places where I've been expecting my readers to be mind-readers.

I'm always grateful for good editors--they make me look far better than I am.

One thing I remember about The Elevator was that my editors suggested that I enhance Eddie's character by making him more overtly Christian. I had intended him to be a Christ-figure and not overt because this is a parable story, but I realized they were right . . . some readers expect more Christian content on the surface of the story. I made the changes because they fit with Eddie's character . . . wasn't he a great guy? I really liked him.

And I can't neglect to mention the very real and nonfictional Michael Garnier. I think I've mentioned him in the past, but Michael was recommended to me by Randy Singer (a great novelist!). Michael is a lawyer who specializes in elevator cases, and he was invaluable in making sure my elevator was correct and credible in every detail.

I quickly discovered--this is more about the writing than the editing, actually--that every time I've seen people popping out of elevators in movies and on TV--it isn't going to happen in real life. Elevator "escape hatches" are always locked from the outside because the experts don't want people climbing out of elevators. And there are no ladders in elevator shafts--even though I've read other novels where a ladder just happened to be conveniently placed in the shaft. Bzzzzt! Wrong answer. But Michael told me how a man could climb out of a shaft--it ain't easy, but it's possible. Well, for some people it's possible. I couldn't do it. My arms are about as strong as wet noodles.

This week Michael sent me the picture of "rail climbers" (click it to enlarge). Apparently elevator crew members can climb the rails wearing these things, but I'm not sure they could manage to walk down the hall. Needless to say, Eddie isn't wearing them in THE ELEVATOR.

So--with help from my editors Krista and Joan and Michael, the book managed to get written and edited.

Tomorrow: results and reader reaction.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

BOM: The Writing

Happy Independence Day!

On this holiday Wednesday, I am packing to head off to my annual retreat and the Christian Retailers' convention--this year in Atlanta. It's always good to be with friends, though it's a long week away from my family and my dogs.

The writing of The Elevator held a couple of unique challenges. First was how to tell a story where the principal characters are pretty much stuck in an elevator for most of the book. I knew I'd be using flashbacks, but where to put them? How to space out the scenes for greatest impact and tension? Choices that were a bit tricky.

Another challenge was Isabel. She was a native Spanish speaker, so I had to write in a way that implied that English was her second language. I had to bend the rules a little--if I were being 100 percent legit, I'd have written her scenes in Spanish (and butchered the language, no doubt), so I had to write them in English while helping the reader believe that Isabel was thinking in Spanish and searching for the right English words. I can only hope I pulled it off.

The next challenge was, of course, the ending. Endings are always a challenge for me, and often I put them off until the third or fourth draft. I have an idea what's supposed to happen, but there are always so many possibilities . . . I wait until I know the characters better so they can tell me what to do. Or maybe the Lord shows me what to do.

I remember when I was writing THE JUSTICE--I was on the treadmill going through the last draft and told the Lord I needed an ending, and fast. Fortunately, He came through. He always does.

Tomorrow: the editing


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

BOM: The Research

You might not think there'd be much to research for a book about three women stuck in an elevator--after all, we all ride in elevators, right? And the women's lives are pure fiction, which could easily be invented.

Well . . . no. As a writer who got her start in nonfiction, that's the base from which I work. I couldn't create a mythological building, I drove into Tampa and picked a building, then used it as the setting for the story. (I used the Park Tower--in the book, it's the Lark Tower.)

As to the women, I had to research their lives, particularly Isabel's. She was from Mexico, so I not only had to find a native Spanish speaker to check my language, I had to figure out her backstory and root it in something credible. There's a moment when Isabel looks out and sees a billboard--that's based on a series of real buildboards in Mexico; I read about them in the paper.

I had to learn about head hunters for Michelle; and I pretty much imagined Gina's life, since hers is closest to my own.

And the hurricane--it's almost a character in itself. Fortunately, the Tampa region is my home, and we've done all kinds of studies about what would happen here if we were hit by a major hurricane. I was able to find charts that detailed, hour by hour, what would be happening to our roads, our bridges, and our power supply if a major hurricane were headed our way. Lovely materials!

So--lots of research was necessary, lots of street name-checking. When I set a book in a real town, as opposed to a fictional one, I try my best to get it right.

As to the elevator--in the beginning, I happened to run into a pair of elevator repairmen at a hotel where I was staying. They let me peek into the shaft and told me a little about elevator operation. I thought that would be all I needed . . . until I started writing. But more on that later.

My research notebook was bulging with information, but I do most of the research as I go . . . because I never know exactly what I'm going to need until I get there.

Tomorrow: The writing

P.S. Yea! I finished my first draft of THE FACE yesterday. Now it's time for triage, to see where it's bleeding . . .


Monday, July 02, 2007

BOM: How the Idea Germinated

HOW'd the idea for THE ELEVATOR germinate? Easy—from the cover of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. I had picked up that book for my book club to read, and I found myself staring at the cover, which featured the shoes of four different people against a background of sky.

From hearing about Hornby's book, I knew it was about four people who meet on a rooftop on New Year's Eve--they're all planning to commit suicide, but since the roof's a little crowded, they come down and form a sort of club.

Before I ever read Hornby's book, I began to think about people trapped in a crucible . . . like an elevator. I remember standing in middle school Sunday school, surrounded by dozens of screaming kids, and asking some adult friends about who might make up an interesting cast. Decided that four people--four backstories, four histories--would be a little awkward. Three is always a better number.

And though being trapped in an elevator would be tense, what would make the situation worse? Maybe the arrival of a hurricane? Next thing I knew, I pretty much had the plot synopsis in my head. All that remained was working it out . . . and finding a way to keep a reader’s attention (a bit of a challenge when most of the book is set in an elevator!)

And that's how it came about. Sometimes the best plots are the simplest. Three women, all involved with the same man, trapped together and fighting for their lives.

Tomorrow: The research


Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Book of the Month: The Elevator


In the path of a devastating hurricane, three very different women find themselves trapped in the elevator of a high-rise office building. All three conceal shattering secrets —unaware that their secrets center on the same man.

The betrayed wife, eager to confront her faithless husband, with rage in her heart and a gun in her pocket . . .

The determined mistress, finally ready to tell her lover she wants marriage and a family . . .

The fugitive cleaning woman, tormented by the darkest secret of all . . .

As the storm rages ever closer, these three must unite to fight for their lives in the greatest test

of courage — and faith —any woman could ever face.

Reviews of The Elevator:

“Prolific novelist Hunt knows how to hold a reader’s interest, and her latest yarn is no exception . . . Readers may decide to take the stairs after finishing this thriller.” --Publishers Weekly

"...a brilliantly plotted novel...the hurricane approaching the Florida coast is no match for the storm brewing inside the claustrophobic confines of a high-rise elevator. ...Be prepared to lose some sleep until you reach the last page!" Liz Curtis Higgs, best-selling author of Thorn in My Heart

"Hunt traps three women in an elevator during a hurricane, dangling them, and the reader, from a tangled web of interconnected deceit, failure, crime and fear. ...The Elevator...creates the perfect set-up to keep you turning pages long after the rest of the house has fallen asleep. ...Loved it." Lisa Samson, award-winning author of The Church Ladies, Songbird and Straight Up.

Tomorrow: How the idea germinated