Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Dear Angie:A few months ago I was standing in front of the library bookshelf and felt a surge of excitment when I spied a new spine with the "Hunt" name. How did one appear without me waiting, expecting and even warning the librarians that it would be in print soon? I didn't even fill out the usual little form requesting they buy it for the library (uh..me) asap! Then I looked at the cover ofDoesn't She Look Natural? and thought, "What?" I was put off by the cover...the name...the subject matter. I took a deep breath and repeated in a whisper, "Expect the unexpected" and took it home to read. Well, you know I loved it. In fact, by the last chapter I was calling my best freind and saying, "You know...maybe one day you and I should run a mortuary. I think I'd be good at it..." ha!So when I saw She Always Wore Red on the new-books shelf, I was thrilled. Life has been quite stressful and full the last week or so and I was especially happy to have a good read to get me through. I could easily detatch from reality in the pages of your book: as with all your books, it delivered a good story. About half way through, though, I went from thinking it a "good read" to thinking it an "important read". Wow. I am always so amazed at how skillfully you weave a story around deep thoughts...or, maybe, weave deep thoughts around a story . . .
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
I've gone through some pretty rough stuff lately, especially in the last couple of years. It's not the sort of thing I would talk about on my blog, but a lot of it is in my books, if you read between the lines. The lessons I've been learning are right out there for the world to see. :-)
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Check out this new talent from across the pond--I'm ready to buy their album!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I have become an Animal Cops addict.
Monday, June 23, 2008
My ever-so-often newsletter is scheduled to go out this morning, so if you don't get one in your inbox, you can read it here.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
HT to James Scott Bell for sharing this link. It's a day-brightener, which I need while I rest up from a half-day of flying home.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Know someone who loves to write?
Friday, June 20, 2008
1. Where is your cell phone? here
2. Your significant other? hubby
3. Your hair? thick
4. Your mother? Frankie
5. Your father? Albert
6. Your favorite thing? God
7. Your dream last night? vague
8. Your favorite drink? rootbeer
9. Your dream/goal? finish
10. The room you’re in? office
11. Your ex? huh?
12. Your fear? none
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? older
14. Where were you last night? bed
15. What you’re not? shrinking
16. Muffins? yes!
17. One of your wish list items? Kindle
18. Where you grew up? Florida
19. The last thing you did? work
20. What are you wearing? pajamas
21. Your TV? AnimalCops
22. Your pets? mastiffs
23. Your computer? Crucial
24. Your life? pleasant
25. Your mood? tired
26. Missing someone? Jesus
27. Your car? clean
28. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
29. Favorite store? TJ Maxx
30. Your summer? hot
31. Like(love) someone? hubby
32. Your favorite color? periwinkle
33. Last time you laughed? Yesterday
34. Last time you cried? today
35. Who will re-post this? anyone!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Monday I got up at 5:30 a.m. (groan) to be on my pal Randy Singer's radio gig with Lorri Allen. You can find a link to the program here . . . and even see and listen to other interviews with other novelists like James Scott Bell and Mark Mynheir. So if you have a few extra minutes, check it out and have a listen.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Okay, this is TOO much fun. This website, www.wordle.net, is where you can paste in some text and a minute later receive your artistic "word cloud" with your text! You can even change the colors, and no two designs (even with the same text) are the same.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
DragonLight by Donita K. Paul WaterBrook Press, June, 2008
The fifth book in the Dragon Keeper Chronicles, concluding the drama that has been building since DragonSpell was released in 2004.
When Kale and Bardon set aside their daily responsibilities to join meech dragons Regidor and Gilda on a quest to find a hidden meech colony, they encounter sinister forces. Their world is under attack by a secret enemy. Can they overcome the ominous peril they can't even see?
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Happy Sunday to everybody!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I love the British--even though I don't always understand why they do the things they do. Take a peek at this video of a cheese rolling event--this year's, in fact, because this is an annual event. Someone rolls a cheese down a hill, and everyone goes after it. Why? Who knows?
Friday, June 13, 2008
Okay, this is the last sample. If I do much more, you guys might figure the entire thing out before I'm even finished!
Antonio Tomassi stares at the body of his dead son as a cold wave of grief shivers the skin on his arms and neck. Beside him, Jason keeps murmuring, “How? How could this happen?”, but Antonio cannot think or reason. Shock has engulfed him in its clammy wake, and he can barely maintain an upright posture.
He places his hand on Jeffrey’s lifeless shoulder and feels a shudder move through him.
The young man in the lab coat clasps his hands over his clipboard. “The M.E. will want to do an autopsy. It’s routine in matters like this.”
When a perfectly healthy young man stops breathing for no apparent reason, he means.
“How could this happen?” Jason asks again. “How does a guy like Jeff die in his sleep? He was fit, he worked out—”
The weasel-faced youngster shrugs. “We can’t say until we have the autopsy and toxicology results. It would help us to know, though, if he had any pre-existing medical conditions.”
“He was strong,” Jason insists. “My brother was in perfect health.”
“Diabetes.” Antonio pries the word from his tongue. “Jeffrey had diabetes.”
“But that was under control,” Jason argues. “He hasn’t had any health problems in years. Jeff knew how to manage his condition.”
“If he was getting worse, Erin would have said something.” Antonio focuses on his only surviving son. “Did you see Erin? Is she here?”
Jason jerks his chin toward the door. “She’s curled up in a chair out there. In shock, if you ask me.”
Antonio exhales softly. He can’t blame his daughter-in-law for being stupefied by this unexpected turn of events. No one was more alive, more bursting with energy and potential than Jeffrey Tomassi, Illinois state senator and potential U.S. Congressman. No man in Chicago had a brighter future, and now it was . . . gone. Why?
The intrusive idiot in the white coat clears his throat. “We’ll release the autopsy results as soon as we know something. Toxicology reports, however, can take up to six weeks—”
“I won’t wait that long.” Antonio fixes the youngster in a hot stare. “I want those results as soon as possible.”
“But the reports usually take a couple of months. There’s a backlog at the lab, especially at this time of year.”
“Have someone call me as soon as those reports come in,” Antonio says, buttoning the top button on his overcoat. “I will not rest until I know what killed my son.”
Thursday, June 12, 2008
- introduce the protagonist and reveal her admirable qualities
- reveal the genre. This isn't exactly a mystery--detective chases bad guy--nor is it strictly a thriller (showdown between good protagonist and villain). It's a bit of a hybrid.
- give the protagonist (Briley) an obvious problem
- reveal the protagonist's hidden need
- introduce the other main characters.
In the waiting room outside the morgue at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, Erin Tomassi shivers beneath a thin blanket and rubs her hands over her arms. Her brain buzzes with the faint beginnings of a headache while disjointed memories of the morning jostle in her mind. Impossible to believe that she’s sitting in a public place in her pajamas. Impossible to believe that Jeffrey lies in the room beyond, lifeless and blue.
She stares at her hand and counts off five fingertips, one for each year of their marriage. Jeffrey is thirty-five years old; men of that age do not die in their sleep. But dead is what he is, or so the EMTs insist. They have to be mistaken, because Jeffrey Tomassi is king of whatever hill he’s climbing. When it comes, Death will have to wait for an appointment like everyone else.
An older man in a lab coat steps into the small room and offers a sad smile. “Coffee?” he says, gesturing toward a pot on a counter. “It’s not very good, but it’s hot.”
She shakes her head. “I’m fine.”
He moves toward the counter and takes a foam cup from a slanted stack. As he pours the steaming liquid, he glances in her direction. “Do you need me to call someone to pick you up?”
“The—my father in law is on his way.”
The man pours two sugar packets into his cup, then stirs the brew with a ball point pen from his pocket. “Never a spoon around when you need one,” he says, tossing her a vague smile. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like a cup of coffee?”
“Never learned to like it.” She bites her lip, horrified that the words have sprung so easily to her lips in Jeffrey’s absence. If he were here, he’d tell her to take the coffee, drink it, and be glad for it, because one never offended voters by refusing acts of kindness.
She lowers her eyes, afraid the man might see a trace of the emotions warring in her breast. Jeffrey might be dead . . . and if he is, she is free. Free to refuse cups of coffee, to sleep past seven, to stay in her room and ignore the clamoring world. If she can trust what the EMTs told her, Jeffrey is gone and she will finally be able to put on her nightclothes and go to bed with a sense of relief instead of dread.
But Jeffrey can’t be dead. Because the city is still running, the sun still shining, and the planet still turning. Most telling, she is still breathing . . . and Jeffrey always said she’d die before he did.
He’d make sure of it.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Another sample from the WIP (obviously, I have nothing else to talk about). And this is only second-drafted, so be kind! :-)
Briley Lester steps out from behind her desk and takes a seat in the empty guest chair, an arm’s length away from the client. “Mrs. Busch,” she begins, “I’ve been reviewing your case file.”
“Are you going to be our lawyer?” A faint line appears between the woman’s brows as she pulls an envelope from her purse. “If so, you’ll probably want these photographs. They were taken at the emergency room, right after the accident.”
Briley holds up her hand. “Before I look at those, I want to tell you what I’ve discovered. You seem like a lady who appreciates honesty.”
“I am.” The woman crosses her legs and settles into the curve of the chair. “You’ve got me pegged.”
“Good. What I’ve discovered, Mrs. Busch, is that though I am very concerned about your daughter and your case, I’m afraid my best advice is for you to walk away. Don’t pursue a lawsuit.”
Mrs. Busch blinks, her red-painted mouth falling open.
“I know you were concerned about your daughter’s future as a film star,” Briley continues, keeping her voice smooth and even, “but since your insurance paid for having your daughter’s tooth capped, there are no real damages to recover. Seeking punitive damages against an eleven-year-old boy who happened to toss a frisbee in your daughter’s direction . . . well, ma’am, I’m thinking it’d be better for your family to avoid the stress of a protracted lawsuit. You wouldn’t want your daughter to relive that accident, would you?”
“My Tiffany wouldn’t—”
“The boy told the police that he didn’t intend to hit Tiffany, so he’s going to testify that the injury was accidental. Without malice, we’re going to have a difficult time getting any sort of punitive award.”
Mrs. Busch examines Briley’s face with considerable concentration. “Are you saying we don’t have a case?”
“No, ma’am, in fact, I’d urge you to get a second opinion. I’m not saying you can’t win, I’m saying that I believe a victory will cost your family too much in terms of lawyer’s fees and emotional stress. So I’m not billing you for anything, and I’m advising you to be grateful that your beautiful daughter’s smile has not been permanently ruined.” She softens her voice. “We do not always have to insist upon justice—sometimes we are given the opportunity to exhibit mercy.”
Mrs. Busch looks away, her brows lowering. “Mercy?” She shakes her head. “I want to see that boy punished.”
“I believe you should trust his parents to discipline their son. And remember, the boy did have to talk to the police after you called them. That encounter probably frightened him more than anything the court could do.”
The client stares past Briley’s desk for a moment, then inclines her head in a sharp nod. “Thank you, Ms. Lester.” She extends her hand. “It’s rare to find a lawyer who isn’t out to milk her clients for every penny.”
Briley shakes the woman’s hand, then stands. “I’m always glad when I can help someone. I became a lawyer because I wanted to make a difference.”
After Mrs. Busch has gone, Kate Barnhill, the paralegal assigned to the second floor associates, sticks her head into Briley’s office. “You got rid of the dragon lady?”
Briley holds up a handwritten memo and drops it into the Busch file. “Case dismissed,” she says, grinning. “Now they can get on with their lives.”
Kate steps into the room. “I’ll never forget when she first came in here. She was breathing smoke and swearing that her daughter’s life was ruined forever. Mr. Reaves, of course, told her he’d represent her.”
“Then he tossed her file to the associates.” Briley stares at the stack of files on her credenza. “Just look at all those dog cases. I promised Reaves I’d clear at least five files this week, but it takes time to handle clients properly. And since most of these are civil cases, I’m a little out of my element.”
Kate crosses her arms. “At my last firm, they’d just send the client a letter saying the case wasn’t worth their time.”
“If they treated everyone that way, I can see why you don’t work there any more.” Briley picks up the next file and skims the case report. “This concerns a real estate deal. Don’t we have an associate in real estate law?”
“I’ll take it over.” Kate extends her hand. “The red-haired guy back by the water cooler—he’s handling real estate.”
“I’ve never seen anybody in that office.”
“That’s because he’s always out in the field, or so he says. I think he’s fond of extended client lunches. And dinners, for that matter. He keeps odd hours.”
Briley picks up the next file. “Give me criminal law any day. The defendants may be a little rough, but at least the court operates on a regular schedule.” She skims the next report, then arches a brow. “We’re representing a dognapper?”
The paralegal smiles as she moves toward the door. “Don’t you remember him? You pleaded him down to nine months in Cook County jail.”
“That’s right—the Chihuahua thief.” Briley sighs and drops the file onto her desk. “Now he wants to sue the state over the inmates’ food. He says it’s nutritionally lacking.”
“You going down to the jail to gracefully brush him off?”
“No,” Briley answers, settling into her chair. “Him, I’m writing a letter.”
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I'm working hard on the new book--which may be titled GHOST or THE TWIN or something I haven't even thought of yet--and thought that for today and tomorrow, I'll give you a tiny sample.
First, the first chapter:
The night was made for murder.
She waits until his breaths come deeply and evenly; waits until he snores in a regular rhythm. Then she slips out of bed and moves to the window, raising the blind so a wave of silver moonlight floods the room.
She won’t risk waking him by turning on the lamp. Moonlight suits her purposes; it has always suited her nature.
She creeps into the bathroom and pulls the basket with his sharps and bottles from beneath the sink. These she transfers to the nightstand, then she lifts a syringe and presses the thin needle into the neck of a bottle.
He took his insulin before bedtime, a dose guaranteed to stabilize his variable blood chemistry throughout the night. This second injection will stabilize him forever.
She measures out fifty units of regular insulin and drops the bottle back into its basket. The gentle chink of glass against glass does not rouse him. The man sleeps like a log, particularly on nights when he is so full of himself that he can’t resist berating his wife.
Idiot. White trash. Slut.
Never again will those words pass his lips. Never again will she wear long sleeves on hot summer days.
Never again will his fist slam into her belly.
She lowers herself to the mattress, lifts the syringe in her left hand, and gently tugs on the covers with her right. His snoring halts, then erupts in an explosion of breath. His body has sensed the abrupt change in temperature and his hand fumbles at his pajama top, searching for the comforter.
When he stops moving, she slides the thin needle into the pale flesh of his abdomen and presses the plunger. The instrument of death makes no sound, nor does its bite make him flinch. The needle has nipped his skin many times.
Like a mother tucking in a beloved child, she covers him again and stands as he slumbers on, oblivious to his fate.
She returns the basket of supplies to the bathroom vanity and tosses the syringe into the trash. Then she crawls back into bed and closes her eyes, willing herself to sleep.
That's it for today! :-)
Monday, June 09, 2008
Good news! The Face is now available for preordering here. Place your order now and get it hot off the press when it releases in the fall. And it's selling for just $6.99!
The audience responded with a unique support and enthusiasm as the CAMIEs not only honored the actors, writers, directors and producers of this year's ten winning films but also brought back CAMIE AWARD winners from past years as presenters; among the luminaries giving out this year's awards were Edward Asner and Peter Jason (winners for The Christmas Card who presented the award this year for The Note), as well as Academy Award winner Jon Voight, who made his third appearance at the CAMIEs.
The hosts for the 6th annual event were television personality Leanza Cornett and Entertainment Tonight co-host Mark Steines.
CAMIE AWARDS are presented to entertaining and uplifting theatrical motion pictures and made-for-television films that provided positive role models for building character, overcoming adversity and strengthening families. The CAMIE AWARD winning theatrical films honored were Amazing Grace, Bridge to Terabithia, Miss Potter, Nancy Drew and The Ultimate Gift. The CAMIE recipients in the made-for-television category were Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness (Hallmark Hall of Fame), Love's Unending Legacy (Hallmark Channel), The Note (Hallmark Channel), Pictures of Hollis Woods (Hallmark Hall of Fame) and Saving Sarah Cain (Believe Pictures).
CAMIE AWARDS Productions will be putting the show up for syndication throughout North America this summer. Viewers are urged to check back at www.CAMIE.org for updates. Following its syndication, CAMIE AWARDS Productions' parent company Starfish Television Network will also run the show multiple times in its ongoing effort to promote the CAMIE mission.
Speaking of this year's CAMIE AWARDS, President of CAMIE AWARDS Productions and show co-Executive Producer Joe Lake said, "This could not have been a better year to launch the CAMIEs in Beverly Hills, with so many new participants and longtime attendees enjoying the ceremony at the first class Wilshire Theatre. We are looking forward to having more opportunities to showcase high quality family entertainment in the future."
* * * *
Yea! So glad someone is honoring honorable films.
Some friends and I were talking about films with a faith element, so I thought I'd compile a list of my favorites. Some of the following films are distinctly Christian, others are not Christian but contain an undeniable element of faith.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Jolan wrote: "Is Devorah Cohen mentioned in The Spear of Tyranny? I was so into Devorah and Michael I was suprised to see them both gone so soon! I know Michael was a Christian so he was among those who dissapeared but where did Devorah and Asher go?"
Friday, June 06, 2008
The reaction and reader response to these prophetic novels tended to fall along the lines of people who like prophetic novels and people who don't. :-) There are lots of folks who don't agree with the eschatology presented in these stories, so I suspect these books aren't exactly their cups of tea.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Photo: my friend Harry Krauss studying a gun in a writer's workshop.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Believe it or not, but as I picked up FLEE THE DARKNESS a minute ago and flipped through the pages, I don't remember any of the story. I could read it right now and probably enjoy it as much as any reader--because it'd be a complete surprise! It's been a while since I wrote these books.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I'm going to jump ahead a bit and include the next two books in the series as we move forward in the discussion. The second book, BY DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT, is primarily concerned with the Third Temple, the one that will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. The third and final book in this series, THE SPEAR OF TYRANNY, is about a real spear, aka "the spear of Romulus."
Monday, June 02, 2008
Actually, the idea didn't germinate at all. It was handed to me on a silver platter. :-)