Sunday, September 30, 2007

What's Going On . . . Inside You


Amazing. Awe-inspiring. What God has wrought . . . takes my breath away. Take a peek at this film of what's going on inside your body:

http://www.flixxy.com/biology-nano-visualization-cell-life.htm

~~Angie

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Crash Your Car


Okay, this was a little unsettling. But interesting. And if you're in the market for another car, maybe it'd be worth checking out:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/safety-recalls/carcrashtest/crashtestvideo.htm

What a wonderful time we all had at the InScribe Conference in Canada. I've never met a more lovely group of people or experienced a sweeter group spirit. I DID arrive on Friday night, though later than I planned, and I asked for a few minutes to freshen up before I spoke. This was granted, so I ran to my room to change out of my wrinkled clothes and to brush my teeth. My hostess, Susan, had said that I'd be the last speaker of the day, and so I'd joked that I could simply finish and then send everyone off to bed.

So I put on a dress . . . and then the Lord whispered a suggestion in my ear. Crazy, though. But certainly more comfortable. So I changed out of my dress and put on my pajamas . . . and went down to speak.

They were very kind when I walked in--no one wondered why the main speaker was wearing this very gaudy, fuzzy purple outfit . . . but when I confessed that I was speaking in my pajamas, they all roared.

And after my little talk, I sent everyone--including myself--to bed with a heartfelt "nighty-night." :-)

One girl laughed at breakfast this morning. "I've never heard anyone speak in their pajamas," she said, "but I was expecting the unexpected."

Indeed.

~~Angie

Friday, September 28, 2007

A test for you Literary Lions


If this is Friday, I'm flying away again . . . across the continent, as a matter of fact. I'm going to be with pal Susan Plett and other Canadian writers in Edmundton, Alberta, Canada, which is far, far away and bound to be chilly.

Another pal, Kay Day (don't you love her name?) sent me this link. I thought I aced the test, then learned that my first attempt netted only nine out of 13--and I had even read two of the books I missed! Oh, well. I think I've been eating on plates with lead glaze.

We writers have (or should have!) a thing for first lines. They should be memorable. Can you recognize the first lines in this online quiz?

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/departments/education_1/?page=quiz61&Quizid=61

Pop back in and let me know how you did!

~~Angie

URGENT UPDATE FOR INSCRIBE CONFERENCE PEOPLE

My early morning flight was cancelled. I'm frantically typing this because I've been changed all around--am now arriving on an AC flight at 6:32 p.m. MIght come in running, but, Lord willing, I'll come in. Susan, I hope you got my email with more details.

A comedy of oopsies this morning. Almost forgot my coat! Then, apparently, the pilot forgot to show up for work. :-) (Just kidding). fortunately, I knew enough to phone in my flight change rather than waiting in the mile-long line. Barely made the other flight and may not have luggage when I arrive, but I hope to be there!

(And the WIP is up to 104,000 words!)

Oops, they're calling me to board. Off!

Angie

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not for me, thanks.


Why does this man look unhappy? I'll tell you in a minute--and yes, that's a real photo of a real man in Venezuela.

Seems that this man was driving down the highway and became involved in an accident. He was knocked out cold. When he woke up, the medical examiner was conducting his autopsy!

Ay, carumba! When the ME noticed that the man was bleeding, they stitched him up and sent him back to the hospital, quickly removing him from the morgue.

Now . . . my Jennifer Graham has had quite a few adventures in her funeral home, but I think I'll pass this potential plot problem by. Eeek!~

For more information, you may check out the link here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSN149975820070917

I tell you, you can't make this stuff up. :-)

~Angie


P.S. News flash! If you didn't see Deanna Favre's interview with Greta on TV last night, you can see it here: http://gretawire.foxnews.com. Look for the link!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pastor's Wives

My friend Liz Higgs took this lovely picture of a pale pumpkin. Isn't it beautiful? Love those colors!

The WIP is still coming along. Up to 99,000 words and still coming. (I tend to underwrite, adding layers as I go. I understand that some people overwrite and have to cut, but that's never been my problem.)

On to today's topic:
I've been married to a man in ministry for 27 years. (LOL! My computer keyboard has developed this twitch where it skips letters. I typed "married" but it came out "I've been marred . . .")

Anyway--Freudian slip aside--hubby and I have learned how to cope with the pressures of ministry. And I'll be honest--my hubby is youth pastor, so I know I don't have as much pressure as some women who are seen as "Mrs. Pastor." I did think that first year would be the death of us, but after that period of adjustment, we settle into the groove.

I'm writing, though, about an article I pulled from TIME many months ago. It's a piece about pastor's wives and how they are finding fellowship through the Internet. I am all over this, because as a solitary writer, I've been so blessed to have found fellowship with writers over the web. I may not have people knocking on my door for coffee in the middle of a work day, but I have them dinging my inbox for quick hellos. And you know what? I miss them when they're not there.

But I digress. If you're a pastor's wife, check out www.lllministries.org (the three Ls stand for Love, Live, and Living.

For a GREAT blog by the author of the TIME article, go here: http://time-blog.com/work_in_progress/2007/03/think_your_job_is_tough_try_be.html

She also includes a list of links to Internet groups and support for pastors' wives.

Pastors' wives say their number one problem is loneliness. No reason for that, none at all, not anymore. Please make sure your pastor's wife has access to the support she needs.

~~Angie

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last Lecture


Last week I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that really impressed me. It must have impressed a lot of other people, too, because the very next morning I saw the subject of the article on Good Morning America.

The article was about Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch, father of three children ages five, two, and one, was invited to give a lecture in the "Last Lecture Series"--in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. IOW, if you had only one more opportunity to speak to the world, what would you say?

In Pausch's case, however, there's a twist--the forty-six year old father has pancreatic cancer and only a few more months to life. So his "Last Lecture" might well be his last.

He began by showing his CT scans, revealing tumors on his liver. But then he talked about living. And while I don't know anything about his faith or lack of it (and, to be fair, I haven't had a chance to watch all two hours of his lecture, so he may have talked about his faith) his take on life was still refreshingly positive and optimistic. Even funny.

He said he'd had a deathbed conversion--he just bought a Macintosh.

He flashed rejection letters on the screen and said, "Brick walls are there for a reason--they let us prove how badly we want things."

He talked about requiring his students to create videogames without sex and violence. He talked about leaving his legacy, a computer program named Alice.

I'm not intending to diss Alice or Professor Pausch, but at this point I'm reminded of one of my favorite Nicole Nordeman songs, "Legacy." The chorus goes like this:

I want to leave a legacy,
How will they remember me,
Did I choose to love . . .
Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things,
I want to be an offering . . .
A child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically . . .
Leave that kind of legacy.

You can watch a video excerpt of Professor Pausch's lecture here: http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/6227 .

Or watch the entire two-hour lecture here: http://www.metafilter.com/64880/Randy-Pauschs-Last-Lecture

In short, Dr. Pausch's lecture was a sample of all that is good even best about human beings. But when I visited that last web site and looked at some of the comments, I found myself wondering how many of those commenters had considered that death is not the end--that it is merely the bridge between us and eternity. Between us and our encounter with our Creator God. Hmm.

What about you? If you were asked to give a "last lecture," what would you talk about?

~~Angie

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tamara Alexander's Latest Release



I had the most wonderful time yesterday afternoon--I drove over to Tampa and met with a group of book lovers at the First Christian Church to help them and their librarian, Sandra Jakeway, celebrate their library's sixtieth birthday!

What a great group of people! And I can't forget my new dearest friend Ros, who brought a book club from Lakeland. They had just finished reading "The Note," so I was able to tell them about the upcoming Hallmark movie.

But let me move to the topic of the day. See the cute redhead above? That's my friend Tammy Alexander, and she's as sweet as she looks.

Her bestselling three-book series (Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered) features a different historical romance in each novel. In the late 1860s, Colorado Territory is a wild and untamed land. Nestled within its mountains and sustained by one of its major creeks, three couples find adventure and love on the frontier. Each person will be called upon to stand on nothing more than faith, risk what is most dear, and turn away from the past in order to follow God's plan for the future.

Links for Fountain Creek Chronicles:
http://www.amazon.com/Rekindled-Revealed-Remembered-Fountain-Chronicles/dp/0764283464

A quick chat with Tamera:

What makes you feel alive?
A fall day when the air is clean and the leaves so crisp and splashed with color that you just have to stop and try to take it all in, which you can’t, of course. And you realize there’s no “reason” why those leaves had to change those colors in order for the plant or tree to go dormant. God did it to show his glory, his artistry. How magnificent.

You would have a hard time in a Florida summer. Everything's green, green, green. How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or some other way?
Tears and humor. Used together, they’re a powerful tool!

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.
I would time travel, does that still fit? Back to the era in which I write and specifically to some points in European history. Especially those in France. And to biblical times, of course. ;)

Suggestion: carry deodorant, toilet paper, and soap when you're time-traveling. Better carry some penicillin, too. What is your favorite word?
Forgiven.

That's so sweet. :-) My favorite word is brouhaha. What word annoys you more than any other?
Can’t.

Super power you’d love to borrow for awhile?
Ability to read minds—as long as no one else could have that super power around me. ;)

Favorite chore?
Vacuuming. It’s a sickness, I know. But I love things neat.

So do I, but I train my men folk to vacuum. Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.
People who don’t like semi-colons. Semi-colons are wonderful; they serve a real purpose in our language and shouldn’t be ostracized from fiction. ;)

I could not agree more; semicolons deserve their day! Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?
This one:
Your book (Rekindled) helped me to begin loving my husband again. Maybe to start loving him to begin with. I’m trying to get rid of the high expectations I’ve held for the past fifteen years because they’ve only led me to disappointment. We’re seeking counseling and are trying to rebuild our marriage. Your writings gave me the courage to take that step, and helped me to know that God could make that happen. Thank you.

If I never write another word or get another reader note about my books, I’ll die a happy woman. ;)

Thanks for dropping by, Tammy! Have a great week, everybody! ~~Angie

Sunday, September 23, 2007

News Flash: From Variety


Hallmark writes original 'Note'

Holiday TV movie to star Genie Francis

By JOHN DEMPSEY

The Hallmark Channel has commissioned "The Note," a holiday-themed TV movie to star Genie Francis and Ted McGinley and premiere on Dec. 8.

Co-produced by Lightworks Pictures (a Faith & Values company) and WildRice Prods., telepic concerns a lonelyhearts columnist who stumbles on a note written to an unidentified child by a passenger who dies in a plane crash. The columnist's editor tells her to go all out to find the child before Christmas and write about her progress in the column.

Hallmark Channel, one of the most aggressive cable nets in greenlighting original movies, plans to do up to 30 in the next year. Hallmark and Lightworks will own "The Note," said Joel Rice, of WildRice, one of the exec producers. But in most instances, Hallmark will buy just the exclusive basic-cable window to its pictures, allowing producers to retain the ancillary rights.

Rice's co-exec producer is William Spencer Riley. Maura Dunbar is the exec in charge of production for Lightworks. The director is Doug Barr, and Paul W. Cooper has adapted the novel by Angela Hunt.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117972390.html


~~Angie

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The miracle theater


. . . . interesting piece in my newspaper this week. Have you heard of the Miracle Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN? You can check it out at www.miracletheater.com . Anyway, the folks there, all Christians, spent $90,440 on a fill-page advertisement in USA Today that ran this past week proclaiming "enough is enough."

In accepting the Emmy for her Bravo reality show, "My Life on the D-List," comedienne Kathy Griffin said, "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

In response, the ad from Miracle Theater said, "We at the Miracle Theater consider it an honor to stand for Jesus today. We may never win a national award. We may never be household names. We may never been seen in Hollywood. Although others may choose to use their national platform to slander our God, we are honored as professional entertainers to stand for Christ."

Now--I fully support Kathy Griffin's right to not believe in Jesus. That's what free will is all about. But I think someone ought to sit the dear woman down and tell her about common grace . . . about how all of us breathe air, share in goodness, and live on a planet provided for and sustained by God and his son, Jesus the Christ . . .

~~Angie

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bir*th Announ*cement


Had to spell it that way because if I don't, the comments box will be overtaken by people selling stationery online! And while I don't begrudge anyone the right to sell things online, I'd rather they didn't do in my comments box.

Ahem. Guess what arrived today? A box of my latest release, DON'T BET AGAINST ME, Deanna Favre's story of her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. I really enjoyed working with Deanna and Carol Traver, one of my Tyndale editor, on this book. It's a great story for anyone (especially for football fans, since Deanna's hubby is Brett Favre, the QB for the Green Bay Packers), but it's especially encouraging for anyone battling breast cancer. So--the book is out and all royalties to go Deanna's HOPE Foundation, which provides funds for women undergoing chemo.
Also be sure to check out Deanna's web site--lots of information there! http://www.deannafavre4hope.com.

Enjoy!

~~Angie

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How I deducted my summer vacation


I'm not going to have much original blog material between now and October first, I don't think--too busy pushing toward the deadline for THE FACE. However, if I feel moved, I might share a scene or so.

We went to Spain and La Coruna when the hubby and I took our cruise last May. So of course, the port ended up in the book!

Enjoy.



Chapter Twenty-two
Renee


In the last two days I have been pushed, prodded, stepped on and frisked—twice. I have traveled aboard a jet, a shuttle bus, and a ship. I have been addressed in British English, American slang, and Castilian Spanish. I think I’ve been cursed at in French.

Now I am standing on a wharf in La Coruña, Spain, where I have just stepped off a ship filled with what I suspect are Navy SEALs. But they don’t wear uniforms and they don’t talk much—none of them have addressed me with anything more personal than “Yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.”

I have my passport out and ready, but no one is asking to see it and there’s no sign of an immigration office at this port. Not much of anything, really, but shipping containers and a few burly men who are helping secure the ship.

I slide my passport back into my purse and grip the handle of my rolling suitcase as if I’m confident of my next step. I haven’t a clue about what’s supposed to happen next. I have no papers to validate my security clearance, and nothing but my passport and Virginia driver’s license to prove my citizenship and identity. I could be mugged and tossed into the sea by one of these longshoremen, and no one would miss me for months, if ever.

All I know is my contact is supposed to meet me here and deliver me to Sarah.

A small black sedan whizzes down the dock and completes a u-turn at the end of the pier. A moment later it pulls up and the automatic window lowers. A man peers out at me from beneath the wide brim of a black hat. “Señora Carey?”

“Sí. Yo estoy—” Why didn’t I brush up on my Spanish before leaving? Because the ticket I was instructed to purchase took me to London’s Gatwick airport. I had no idea I’d be visiting Spain.

“Welcome to La Coruña,” the man says, switching to English. He steps out of the car, and I am amazed to see that he is wearing the garb of a priest—an old fashioned priest, at least by American standards. The black cassock, wide hat, and white collar render me temporarily speechless.

The CIA sent a clergyman to pick me up?

My contact bends to give me a hand with my luggage. “Only one suitcase?”

“Yes—that’s right.”

“You travel light—a real talent. You must teach me that trick.”

I bend to peer beneath his hat brim. “And who . . . what shall I call you?”

“I’m Father Paul.”

“Oh.” I want to ask if he’s really Father Paul, but paranoia bridles my tongue. If this man is an actual priest, I’ll offend him by the question. If he’s a CIA officer in alias, I’ll offend him with my stupidity.

Before I can ask where we’re going he has tossed my bag into the trunk and is opening the rear door. With one hand, he gallantly offers me the back seat.

“Um . . . thank you.”

In an effort to appear confident and in control, I rummage through my purse as he strides to the driver’s door. I dredge up my cell phone and study the keypad, wondering if I could dial an international version of 911 if this priest turns out to be some sort of renegade, but that idea is as ludicrous as the thought that I might actually have a friend to call in Spain.

Father Paul starts the car and pulls away from the ship, ignoring curious glances from some of the dockhands. I shiver as the cool breeze from his window fills the rear seat. “Do you know—” I hesitate, not wanting to create an international incident with an unintentional security breach. “Can you tell me if we’re going far?”

His gaze catches mine in the rear view mirror, and his eyes crinkle at the corners. “Not far at all, Señora. In fact, we are almost there.”

I glance around, unable to tell that we have left the port. The sea no longer lies behind us, but is located at my left. We are passing a marina filled with small boats, most of which look like pleasure craft or fishing vessels. My driver pulls alongside a curb, kills the engine, and bounds out of the vehicle before I can gasp another question.

I fumble with the door and let myself out, then step to the back of the car, where the priest is placing my suitcase on the pavement. “We’re stopping here? But I am supposed to go to some sort of facility.”

“Sí, Señora. And this man will take you there.”

“What man?” I straighten and shade my eyes from the glaring sun. Another man in a clerical collar is lumbering over the dock, a sheen of perspiration on his wide forehead. No old-fashioned cassock for him, but black pants and a black short-sleeved shirt. He is built like a guy who rips phone books for fun.

“I—I’m supposed to go with him?”

“Sí. Upon his boat, La Reina del Cielo.”

“The queen . . .”

“The Queen of Heaven, of course.”

I take a step back, not certain I want to go anywhere on a boat dedicated to heaven, but the perspiring priest has reached us. He lifts a questioning brow at Father Paul, who nods and points to my luggage.

I turn and gesture toward the comforting solidity of the city behind me. “Um—”

“This way, Dr. Carey.”

The second man’s accent is as American as baseball and he calls me doctor, which I take as a reassuring sign. I give him an uncertain nod and follow, remembering at the last moment to wave and thank Father Paul.

He and his sedan have already vanished.
* * *

~~Angie

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Are you in Central Florida, part 2


I'm posting over on the Charis Connection as well, if you're interested in writing. :-)

Working hard on THE FACE because my deadline is coming up quickly. I even had to tell my hubby that I wasn't cooking for two weeks--oh, how my family suffers!

I'm excited to be helping the First Christian Church celebrate a birthday--of their church library! If you are in the Central Florida area, please mark your calendar for September 23rd. Let's help the church celebrate their ministry through BOOKS!

Click on the letter for more information.

Hope to see you in Tampa on the 23rd!

~~Angie

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Movie Countdowns


http://www.flixxy.com/100-greatest-movies.htm?a=6

This is SOOO clever! Some very patient person went through movie clips and pulled NUMBERS from 100 movies. Settle back for a few minutes and enjoy the countdown!

~~Angie, on deadline and pushing toward it

Monday, September 17, 2007

Book Recommend: A SHADOW OF TREASON



Hi, everybody!

Back from Boston (actually, Westminster), and my head is too full for words. But it was a lovely trip and I'll write more about it later.

On the ride to the airport yesterday, I saw the trees beginning to change color and PUMPKINS in the field and on people's front porches! And the sky--it was a perfect sky blue and filled with perfect scribbles of clouds--it looked like the sort of sky a child would draw. Then I came home to a thunder-filled sky and glowering clouds--LOL! Only in Florida.

Today I wanted to tell you about my friend Trica's new historical novel--read and rejoice, history lovers!

Book 2 in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series

Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

Q and A with Tricia!

Q:
A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?

A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.

I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Important Links!

First Chapter:
http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2007/09/shadow-of-treason.html

Amazon Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Treason-Chronicles-Spanish-Civil/dp/0802467687/

Tricia's Website:
http://www.triciagoyer.com

Tricia's blogs:
http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com
http://genxparents.blogspot.com
http://mywritingmentor.blogspot.com
http://www.myccm.org/triciagoyer
http://www.shoutlife.com/triciagoyer

I don' t know how she finds time to write with all that blogging! :0-

~~Angie

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Finishing up at the Maass Conference


It's our last full day here at the novel writing intensive . . . my head is full of thoughts and my calendar is too short of days, but I'll try my best to make the two match up when I get home.

Don shared a joke this morning that he got from Wikipedia. We were doing an exercise on writing humor, so to put us in the mood, he told this joke: A gardener, an architect, and a lawyer are talking about the distinguished history of their professions. The gardener brags about the Garden of Eden—”We go back to the beginning of time,” he says. The architect says “We go even further than that because God designed and BUILT the world out of primordial chaos.”

The lawyer smiles smugly and says, “And who do you think created the primordial chaos?”

LOL! :-) And big hugs to all my lawyer friends.

Anyway, tonight I think we're having a big time in the big city of Boston. Going to get a Trivial Pursuit game and play until our eyelids droop. (Actually, we're about an hour out of the big city. We're tucked into this charming little inn, and there are two weddings here tonight. Maybe we'll go out and dance on the green.)

Another half day tomorrow, then I catch a shuttle and head to the airport. It's been a good week, a thoughtful one, and I'll be glad to be home! The best thing about going away is always coming home!

~~Angie

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Deb Raney's garden



My friend Deb Raney has come up with the neatest idea for a blog! (Don't you love the picture of her in her bell-bottoms!)

First, you may know her as novelist Deborah Raney, author of novels like A VOW TO CHERISH. But she is also a homemaker extraordinaire, and her love extends to her garden. She has put together a blog at http://novelgarden.blogspot.com , where she features other novelists and their gardens.

I do love gardening, though I don't have much space or time for it these days (though I am looking forward to putting in my winter flowers--they just can't hack the Florida summers, so around October of every year I throw rye grass seed and put in lovely blooms).

In any case, be sure to visit Deb's garden spot in cyberspace--you may find some of your favorite novelists and their gardens!

Me, I'm still in Boston where it's CHILLY and I'm wearing a SWEATER! Can't believe it!

~~Angie

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ninja Text

Ninja!


Okay, so this cute little guy is irresistible. You can use him to say whatever you want to say, presumably with deep feeling. Visit http://www.fodey.com/generators/animated/ninjatext.asp
to have this cute little guy chop out your favorite message!

Still in Boston,

Angie

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Library Journal's Fall Reviews


This just in from Library Journal:

Autumn Harvest This fall brings titles from big names in Christian fiction as well as the first Christmas-themed novels. Best-selling author Karen Kingsbury returns with an inspirational romance (Just Beyond the Clouds), Beverly Lewis launches another Amish series (The Parting), and Angela Hunt takes a light, witty turn with a family story set in a funeral home (Doesn't She Look Natural). Lynn Austin offers another intelligent, fascinating look at women's history (A Proper Pursuit), Brandilyn Collins presents her best suspense thriller so far (Crimson Eve), and chick-lit author Judy Baer returns with a sequel (The Baby Chronicles). And on the holiday front, Lori Copeland (Unwrapping Christmas), Robin Jones Gunn (Finding Father Christmas), and Jerry B. Jenkins and Dallas Jenkins (Midnight Clear) deliver delightful Christmas tales.

.Hunt, Angela. Doesn't She Look Natural. Tyndale House. Oct. 2007. c.368p. ISBN 978-1-4143-1169-2. pap. $13.99. CF

When Jennifer Graham learns she has inherited real estate in Florida, she never imagines it is a funeral home, especially one in need of so much repair. Thomas, Jennifer's husband, recently left her for their nanny, and she is at a crossroads in her life. A newly single parent with two boys, she sets off to settle her uncle's estate and sell the Fairlawn Funeral Home, but things don't go so smoothly, and Jennifer may find that this new life God has thrust upon her may be the answer to her prayers. Award winner Hunt's latest book (after The Elevator) is a topnotch inspirational tale that maintains a lighthearted touch. Anyone who has had to rebuild a life after an unexpected loss will appreciate the honesty of Hunt's characters and uplifting plot. Highly recommended for CF and women's fiction collections.

I love getting a great review, especially when I'm in the company of so many good friends!

And I am so ready for cooler temperatures!

~~Angie

Monday, September 10, 2007

When the Nile Runs Red by DiAnn Mills



I'm heading off to Boston today, but before I go I wanted to tell you about my friend and fellow red-head DiAnn Mills's latest book: When the Nile Runs Red.

Amazon Link - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0802499112

Here's the synopsis: Paul Farid, who once persecuted the southern Sudanese, now loves the weary people whose lives have been destroyed by war.

Colonel Ben Alier has led his battle-hardened soldiers for two decades against the North, yet he pursues a relationship with his son even as his own demons pursue him.

Dr. Larson Kerr Farid works long hours caring for the sick, but fatigue and worry about her husband, are taking their toll. And she’s just learned something that will make everything more complicated.

These three friends face constant danger as tensions escalate between the north and south, and as Paul’s family schemes to kill him and Larson. Will Paul and Larson bridge the gap that seems to grow between them? And will Ben find peace as more than a soldier?

Use this link to view a Promo Video Clip - http://www.diannmills.com/sudan/WTNRRPromoClip.html

Best news of all: When the Nile Runs Red is being used to raise awareness of the atrocities that are taking place in Sudan. Book sale proceeds will be donated to restore the Sudanese community.


I thought you might enjoy hearing about why DiAnn chose this topic for this novel:

A: What inspired you to write this novel?

I had previously written a nonfiction book about the Lost Boys of Sudan – Lost Boy No More. From that research, I wrote the novel When the Lion Roars, but the story would not let me go.
Through numerous interviews and extensive reading, I grew to love and admire the courageous Sudanese people and was burdened by their incredible needs. I had to bring them back in When the Nile Runs Red.

A: Why Sudan in particular?

This country went through nearly two decades of civil war strife. In 1983, the northern government launched a holy war against the south. This grew out of the views of the Islamic north against the mostly Christian black African south. The war had three aspects: religion, politics, and oil. The atrocities committed against the southern people are too many to list, but the war was fought in the south through genocide.

A: How did you conduct your research?

I grabbed my backpack and sun screen and traveled to Juba, Sudan, the southern capital. There I stayed at a Christian compound and met with southern Sudanese from all walks of life: refugees, political leaders, and church leaders. I talked to as many people as I could, snapped pictures, and listened to what was being said.

A: I am so impressed! And I thought I was brave for going to the Amazon jungle! What touched you the most while you were in Sudan?

The incredible faith. I could look into a Sudanese’s eyes and see the pain of persecution and the hope of Jesus. Here, we say we love Jesus while we live in our huge homes, drive our fancy cars, are well-fed, are not hunted down for our faith, or are concerned about medical care. The Sudanese understand that all they have and need is Jesus.

A: I know every writer has his/her own methods, so how do you build your plots?

Always out of character with two simple words: what-if? John Gardner said to create the best possible characters and allow the worst possible things to happen to them. That says it all. It’s easy to coat our darlings with easy trials and struggles, but the hard stuff, the struggles that define the character are what have to happen. I’m a huge fan of Donald Maass and wouldn’t consider writing a paragraph without using techniques found in his books Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook.

A: (And that's why I'm going to Boston! I'm going to another Maass intensive, just like the one we shared together a couple of years ago!) Ahem. Back to the topic. What are you goals for this novel?

To increase awareness about the situation in Sudan and to share my passion for the Sudanese people through a compelling story. The proceeds for this novel go back to aid the Sudanese.

A: What do you hope the readers will gain?

To lose themselves in the novel. That’s every writer’s goal. But I also want the reader to sense a call to action and support the Sudanese cause.

A: What's coming up next for you?

I’m currently writing a romantic suspense series with a working series title of “Behind the Sunglasses”.

A: Sounds like a beach book! How can readers learn more about what you are doing?

Check out my website at www.diannmills.com . I have sections about Sudan, and for readers, and writers. Those signing up for my newsletter get to download a chapter of an upcoming release.

Thanks, DiAnn, for stopping by!

~~Angie

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Medicine or Sex Soap?


I don't watch much network TV--most nights if I have time for entertainment at all, I watch a movie or read. The other night, however, I had the TV on while I was doing some work on the computer and I was frankly stunned at what I heard.

And then a friend and I were talking about how medical shows have changed. Do you remember Ben Casey? Dr. Kildare? Marcus Welby? Those shows were about medicine, about illness, about doctors making people better.

But today, look at most medical shows. HOUSE seems to be a bit of an exception, but I hear that Gray's Anatomy, Scrubs, and even ER are now more about who is sleeping with whom than about the sick people and their recovery. Am I mistaken, or is this a fair assessment?

I have found one new show that I really like. Maybe I like it because I'm on a CIA kick at the moment, but I really like BURN NOTICE, a new summer series on USA. It's about a spy who gets "burned" (fired) from his agency, and he has no idea who burned him. The main character, Michael Westin, is cool, smart, and very dry-witted. And he has a meddling mother and brother who keep his life off-balance and interesting. :-) I like the show because right now, at least, it's more about spying than sleeping around. Let's hope it stays that way.

Anyway, just my little rant for the day. I'll climb off my soapbox now.

~~Angie

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What'd He say?


It is raining here, and thundering, and I have two chicken mastiffs trying to squeeze under my desk. Sheesh.

When I was writing THE ELEVATOR, I mentioned one of our local bridges, the Howard Franklin, several times. It's a three-mile span that links our county with Tampa.

Well, the astute copyeditors at Steeple Hill informed me that the bridge is really called the HOWARD FRANKLAND. You could have knocked me over with a finger. :-) I've called it the "Howard Franklin" for years, and so has everyone I know.

Reminds me of my dear hubby. Remember the old Carly Simon song, "You're so Vain?" There's a line that says, "You walked into the party, like you were walking onto a yacht." and goes on to say the guy was with the "wife of a close friend, wife of a close friend, and (beat), you're so vain."

Anyway, for years my hubby thought Carly was singing, "wife of a clothes pin." LOL! These days, does anyone even know what a clothes pin IS?

Okay, fess up now--what lyrics or term have you always mis-heard?

~~Angie

Friday, September 07, 2007

BOM: Questions and Answers

Questions and answers about Doesn't She Look Natural?

Well, I suppose this will teach me to answer questions as they come up! :-)

I have been HARD at work on "THE FACE"--even to the point of feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, but now that I'm into the third draft, I think it's beginning to shape up. I hope so, anyway, and next week I'll be in Boston, hard at work in a little room with the manuscript. Since the book is due at the end of this month, there's not much time to waste.

If you think of any other questions about "Doesn't She?", be sure to leave them below. Otherwise, we'll go back to our regularly unscheduled programming!

~~Angie

P.S. And here's the trailer for "Doesn't She Look Natural?" (Requires Quick time.)







video

Thursday, September 06, 2007

BOM: Results and Reader Reaction


I've been fortunate in that the results and reader reaction have been kind. The only thing that concerns me is that a lot of emails and comments begin with, "I was hesitant to pick this up, but . . ."

I really hope people will get past the ick factor inherent in a funeral home and trust me. I think most of my regular readers do trust me not to get too graphic or be gratuitously gross, but it's the irregular readers I'm concerned about. I can only hope that reviews and word of mouth will assure people that the book is safe to pick up . . . . even if there is a casket on the cover. :-)

Tomorrow: Your questions and answers, so if you haven't already, please leave them in the comments box!

~~Angie

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

BOM: The Editing


I've just finished reading Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair," and boy, was it different! I think it would appeal more to folks who love fantasy, because this is one weird world, but I found it very clever. It helps that Jane Eyre was one of my favorite novels growing up.

The editing of DSLN was fairly straightforward--I remember one big improvement suggested by Becky Nesbitt. If you're familiar with my plot skeleton, it's important that the ribs "swing," or more from positive to negative, from despair to hope, and I'd forgotten that. She suggested something about Thomas that, once implemented, put the positive back in a complication and made the ending so much more poignant. A very good call.

My editors were pleased with the humor in the book. I didn't set out to write a funny book, but the characters were funny, so the humor just came out. Little boys are funny. Exasperated mothers are funny. And sometimes when the going is rough, you have to laugh lest you cry, so I figured Jen had better do some laughing.

Tomorrow: results and reader reaction

~~Angie

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

BOM: The Writing


Writing Doesn't She (known to me now as DSLN) was a nice break from writing Uncharted. The latter was more speculative and definitely more of a suspense novel, so DLSN was more character driven and reality-based. Both books required in depth character development, and I had to keep in mind that Jen, Gerald, Joella and the boys were going to be around for THREE books, not just one. You may have noticed that I left a few strings hanging, dropped a few hints, that will be brought up in books two and three.

Writing DSLN brought back many home-improvement memories for me . . . . I'm an inveterate home improvement person, and I think I've undertaken a major remodeling of every house we've lived in--except this one (no room to remodel here!). So living "under construction" like Jen does is definitely something I've known from experience.

In any case, the writing wasn't too hard. I did have this book with me when I attended my second Don Maass intensive, and while I was there I was still trying to work out who lives and who dies. I had originally thought that XX would die, but Don suggested that XXX die as well. I said, "Oh, no, that's too many dead bodies," and Don laughingly said that he didn't think you could have too many dead bodies in a book about a funeral home.

Still, I couldn't kill off XX. (Sometimes you have to go with your gut). And I can't say more without ruining the book!

Tomorrow: the editing.

~~Angie

Monday, September 03, 2007

BOM: The Research


What does it take to research a book on living in a funeral home? A lot of reading, as it turns out. Unfortunately, because of the increase in our nation's privacy laws, it's almost impossible to get a tour of the room where they do the actual embalming--if there's a body being embalmed, that is. So I settled for reading, reading, and more reading. I also talked briefly to our local mortician, but there comes a point where you stop researching and just jump into the writing.

Specifically, I not only had to learn how to embalm a body, but the ins and outs of the business, and particularly what sort of education would be necessary to become an embalmer. I was fortunate to discover that Karen Watson, one of the editors at Tyndale, actually grew up in a funeral home, so she was full of good stories about living in a small town mortuary.

Once people began to learn that I was writing about a funeral home, morticians came out of the woodwork! We were on a cruise and it turned out that one of our dining companions was a mortician--he told us funny stories all night long, but they didn't translate so well to the printed page.

Tomorrow: the writing!

BTW, have you noticed that Hurricane Felix is churning around out there in the gulf? Hmmm . . .

~~Angie

Sunday, September 02, 2007

BOM: How the idea Germinated


There are five basic parts to a novel: plot, character, setting, plot, and theme. I usually get one of those parts in a moment of inspiration, then I sit back and wait for the other pieces to link up.

With the Fairlawn Funeral Home series, of which DOESN'T SHE LOOK NATURAL is the first book, it was the setting that occurred to me first. I've been thinking about death lately--not in a macabre sense, but I've lost a few friends and I've also read some really wonderful books about heaven (Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven, is at the top of that list.) So I started thinking that a book set in a funeral home might be a wonderful way to address some of those fears while giving reassurance--after all, of all people we Christians should face death with assurance!

And so the Fairlawn series was born. I sold the proposal to Tyndale House and was delighted to begin writing. I was blogging while I was writing, so if you've been a reader of this space for long, I'm sure you'll remember several of my thinking-out-loud-moments.

For instance, I know I mentioned my decision to make Jennifer a recently-divorced woman. I simply felt--and feel--that Christian fiction needs to acknowledge the reality of our world, and our world is filled with divorced and remarried people.

So Jen is recently divorced, wounded, hurt, angry, and a mother of two small children--just like thousands of other women. And she inherits a funeral home. Story started.

Tomorrow: the research.

~~Angie

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Book of the Month: DOESN'T SHE LOOK NATURAL?


It's that time again--time for book of the month! And this month's release is DOESN'T SHE LOOK NATURAL!

How do you live when God asks you to bury a dream?

Jennifer Graham, the no-nonsense chief of staff for a Virginia senator, quits her job after her divorce—and finds herself an unemployed single mom. Forced to live with her mother until she can find work on Capitol Hill that does not involve her gregarious ex-husband, her efforts are stymied until she learns that she has inherited a funeral home in picturesque Mt. Dora. Jennifer journeys to the small Florida town with her two sons and her mother, never dreaming that within a mortuary she will uncover mysteries of love and life.

Reader Reviews:

"Doesn't She Look Natural? proves the point that Angela Hunt is one of the most versatile authors writing today. Hunt can bring her readers up close and personal to any emotion common to the human heart, and she does just that in her latest release. With her trademark lovable, multifaceted characters and flawless, unpredictable storytelling, she allows us to view life through a lens that ranges from humor to pathos, from dreams to grit, from anger and frustration to courage and hope. I loved these people. I loved this book." ---BJ Hoff, author of the Mountain Song Legacy series, the American Anthem series, and An Emerald Ballad.

When an unexpected twist in life turns Jen upside down and shakes her, she gathers the spilled change from her pockets and begins anew. Hurt by the unwelcome death of her marriage, she nevertheless allows God to begin to heal her and breathe new life into her circumstances. A heroine to cheer for and identify with and an endearing ensemble of well-meaning but meddling mothers, sweetly persistent new friends and a few men who remember how to be honorable round out a light-hearted read that is simply to die for. --Sandra Byrd, author of Let Them Eat Cake and other novels.

Doesn't She Look Natural is a wonderful change of pace for Angela Hunt. While still dealing with timely and serious subject matter, Angie does it with a refreshing breath of humor. Realizing that God is still in control of every situation of life (and death), the reader is shown a lighter side of circumstances that lifts the soul from the pit of despair and gives it hope in what lies ahead.

The little snippets of so-true-to-life Red Hatter escapades are a special added treat, especially for the other-side-of-fifty genre who will be enjoying this book. And I should know, being the real and original Queen Snippy! This is a truly delightful book that you will not be able to easily put down! Can't wait for the next two books in this heart-warming series! --Tanzel Rousey, aka Queen Snippy, Red Hat Society of Heavenly Daze

Tomorrow: how the idea germinated.

P.S. I've just had the most fun making video trailers for my web site. I did them by category, so you'll find them on the historical, contemporary, and children's book pages.

~~Angie