Friday, June 30, 2006

Love Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said. The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean, then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him. "It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park, told AFP. "After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added. "The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added. "The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years," he explained.

I was skeptical about this story—remember the fake story about the tiger and piglets?—but this one is true, says Snopes. So, all together now—AWWWWWWW!


ROFLOL! You want quirky? THIS is quirky!

HT to Randy at ETHOS for this great video! You can watch and learn more about the great Coke and Mentos experiments at


Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Top Secret Project Explained

Well, since I've just seen an explanation of my "top secret" project in a magazine, I think it's safe to explain what I'm working on.

Here's an excerpt from the article in this month's ASPIRING RETAIL magazine:

Two years after Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, a new biblical film by mainstream Hollywood is set to release. New Line Cinema, which grabbed the brass ring with its exceptional "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is filming THE NATIVITY STORY, a retelling of a two-year period in Mary and Joseph's life leading to the birth of Christ and the arrival of the magi. The movie, with a screenplay by Finding Forrester, The Rookie, and Radio screenwriter Mike Rich, is slated to release December 1 . . .

Keisha Castle-Hughes, 16, who received an Oscar nomination for her role in Whale Rider, plays Mary. Oscar Isaacs is Joseph, and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo plays Elizabeth. Catherine Hardwicke, who wrote and directed Thirteen, directs The Nativity Story.

Tyndale House Publishers is partnering to release a correlating novel, The Nativity Story, by best-selling author Angela Hunt, and The Nativity Story Picture Book, a gift book with film images (titles may change). Both books release November 1. Tyndale plans to work closely with New Line on promotional and marketing opportunities.

For the complete story, click here:

So . . . that's it! I'm having a ball (I love historical research), and working very hard because my deadline is July 31st.

So . . . I may be brief on the blog in the next few days. But we are doing another BOM, and by request, we're doing THE IMMORTAL. See you then!


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wow! A fun game and time-killer


Well, I've been hard at work on the WIP top secret project, so I have no time for blogging. I did run across this incredibly fun game, though, and I thought I was smart until I tried playing it. My score on the first try was a whopping 176. What is your score?

What's the game? Easy--the game (which is timed) shows you a collection of images and you have to guess what the search term was to net those images. Sound easy? It's not! (Well, not for me, anyway).

Have fun!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Microsoft Office 2007

A couple of late-breaking first lines from my friend Judy Baer:

A girl could get killed on a job like this. From BE MY NEAT-HEART .


My name is Whitney Blake and not only is today my birthday, but it's also the day I outgrew my fat pants. From THE WHITNEY CHRONICLES.

Aren't those great? I love the fat pants . . . and can completely relate.

The other day I downloaded the Beta 2 version of Microsoft Office, which includes the programs I use most--Excel, Publisher, Outlook, and of course, Word.

I haven't noticed any major differences in Excel, and I haven't had a chance to play around with Publisher, but I really like the changes in Outlook and Word. Word has two things that really rocked my world--the first is a "publish to blog" option that takes your document and zaps it onto your blog with one click. Amazing.

They've also just come out with a Creative Commons license add-in, useful for material that you want to be passed around, with proper attribution, of course. (Perfect for blogs.) One click and the license is applied. Perfecto!

Another feature I discovered when I was working on one of my school papers. Instead of the usual "references" feature (footnotes or endnotes), there's a new "citation" feature which puts your source in the text in the format you choose (APA, Chicago, etc.) Amazing again!

There are some really cool graphic headers in the new Word, too. I'm purely using it as I work--haven't had time to play around for the sake of exploration--but I really like what I'm seeing and have no major complaints. Can't wait for the final versions to come out!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Uncharted and Real Life Story

Uncharted begins and ends with a young girl finding a message from her mother in a bottle. My pal Kathy Mackel (a great writer!), sent me this link to a real-life story that is eerily reminiscent of Uncharted. It seems a mother who recently lost her Marine son found a message he wrote as a ten year old . . . yes, he put it in a bottle and threw it in a lake.

You can read the entire story here:


Sunday, June 25, 2006

First Lines, Part 3

Some more first lines from my writing pals. Which ones really whet your interest?

Someone was going to have to explain about the dead body in the bathtub. From The Pastoral, by Lenora Worth.

Jo Tulip sat across from the detective, trying not to be distracted by his tie. From an untitled “Tulip” mystery by Mindy Clark.

Smile. From "The Only Best Place” by Carolyne Aarsen

"I never asked to be made over." From PERFECTING KATE by Tamara Leigh

I should’ve known I’d lose my job after splurging on my first pair of Prada boots. From: These Boots Aren't Made for Walking by Melody Carlson

Katrine squared her shoulders and instinctively pressed a hand to her stomach as she stepped through the open doors of the café, past the yellow sign that read NO JEWS ALLOWED. --Tricia Goyer, Arms of Deliverance

"You know I hate school." --From an untitled work by Lauraine Snelling

On a warm June night, I stand back stage at the Nashville Titans Coliseum waiting to perform, just like I’d done a thousand times before in coliseums and stadiums all over the world. - From Diva NashVegas, by Rachel Hauck

"Hello, Roger," the dying man said. From a short story in progress (SSIP?) by Jim Denney.

"They died with smiles on their faces," the coroner had told them. from Scoop, by Rene Gutteridge

"Snowflakes—silent and angelic—powdered the prison parking lot as if to soothe the stark landscape with messages of absolution." From "Sticks and Stones," by Susan Meissner

"I was a spy for the United States Government and didn't know I was a spy."
From "WHO?" by Lois G. Leppard

"A surge of energy flowed through the wire, a cocktail of adrenalin greedy for power. "

from The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling, by Neta Jackson

Mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus, a vast uninhabited land -- she was in the Southwest, somewhere between California and Texas. Maybe Mexico. From HOME SWEET TEXAS,by Sharon Gillenwater

Life can turn on a dime. . .or the tap of a brake pedal. --From an untitled WIP by Roxanne Henke

"It was a glorious blaze, the fire we set. A wicked, glorious blaze." From Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol,by Creston Mapes (okay, so that's two lines).

And finally--

With one hand on her hip, Lavinia Dressler inhaled a deep breath and surveyed the spreading chaos. From the TOP SECRET PROJECT by Angela Hunt.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

First Lines, Part 2

My favorite first line of all time comes from Jodi Picoult's book, SECOND GLANCE. Here's the line: "Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he tried to kill himself, but not the second or the third." (Isn't that delicious?)

Again, more first lines from novelists’ work. Which make you really want to read more?

When Cooper saw the deputy creep around the corner of the warehouse, he knew it would end badly.

From the untitled WIP sequel to "Hell in a Briefcase", by Brad Whittington.

My brother was dead and I couldn’t find his body. From "Mozart's Sister" by Nancy Moser.

For pure nastiness, it's tough to beat wolf spit. John Robinson, the Joe Box series

Ever notice how right before some people go off or blow or explode, their eyelids flicker, their lips squeeze together, and then those tendons in the neck turn into rope strands? From GRACE NOTES, by Dandy Daley Mackall

"Sisters, girlfriends and troublemakers (you know who you are) you are fearfully and wonderfully made! In other words, God doesn’t make junk. Thankfully his children do, and that’s why we have been blessed with fleamarkets." (From Sisterhood of the Queen Mamas Annie Jones, Dec 06)

The colored fellow came early in the morning, poling a pirogue through mist so heavy on the river you could not see a stone’s throw out. - From River Rising, by Athol Dickson

The whimper came, no more than a note of longing—or fear—in a child’s throat.—from WAYFARERS (working title) by Kristen Heitzmann

Adam Mackintosh tied his horse's reins to a post and followed his liege lord, Robert the Bruce, into Greyfriars Church. from Circle of Honor, by Carol Umberger

Icy rain pelted Louise Howard Smith, stinging with the northeast wind that blasted against the entrance of Time for Tea as she tugged at the door. From Rosemary for Remembrance by Sunni Jeffers

On New Year's Eve, Lucy Jameson saw her Mama's face in the fire. From Grave Risk. Hannah Alexander

Merit Sullivan pressed the accelerator to the floor and held her breath as her minivan squirted through the tail end of a yellow light.

from Like it Always Was, by Robert Elmer

If I had known what success would cost me, I would have paid my fees for failure and called it a day. From Split Ends, by Kristin Billerbeck

Sometimes, when the wind blows just right over the fields, I can still smell the spice of her perfume. from Veil of Fire by Marlo Schlaseky

Ivy Griffith stood beside her pink-and-silver snowmobile, her breath turning to vapor in the late afternoon chill, her gaze set on the giant cottonwood tree that marked the secret grave like a towering headstone. From EVER PRESENT DANGER by Kathy Herman

"Stealing came easy today." From NIGHT LIGHT, by Terri Blackstock

“Rafe Noble, two-time world champion bull rider and current king of the gold buckle, had never met a bull that he feared.” From TAMING RAFE by Susan Warren

'She was being watched.' From Eden Hall by Veronica Heley

Laurel Kincade, surrounded by reporters in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, suddenly understood the propensity of her great-great grandmother to shoot Yankee invaders on sight and ask questions later. Elizabeth White--Off the Record,

"Reba Pride Cahill keeps losing things--her keys, her contacts, her car--now she can't find her husband." --From Pride of Bitterroot County cozy mystery series, by Stephen and Janet Bly

“I need to get in shape,” I said one early summer day as I sat at my desk in the newsroom. “For the wedding.”

From CAUGHT REDHANDED, by Gayle Roper


Friday, June 23, 2006

First Lines, Part 1

There’s an art to writing the first line of a novel. You have to hook the reader who has, hopefully, already been snagged by the cover and the back cover copy.

I asked some friends to share the first lines of their works in progress. Some of these are from works in print, but who says brilliant people know how to follow directions?

In any case, enjoy. (I have collected so many of these, I may run them all week!) Which ones are your favorites?

Fugitive Casey O'Hare had gone days without food but never without her gun. –From Leather and Lace, by DiAnn Mills.

He didn't remember agreeing to anything like this. –From Everlasting Love, by Linda Ford.

Paige Williams harbored a restless kinship with the living dead. –From Violet Dawn, first in Kanner Lake series by Brandilyn Collins.

A lofty full moon painted a jagged swathe of light across Lafayette Avenue. --From Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney

The letter arrived special delivery, signature required. --From Vanished, by Kathryn Mackel

It was spring and the war seemed very far away. --First and last line, A Dinner of Herbs by DeAnna Dodson

There exists a strange moment between sleep and wakefulness when dreams cease and realism remains at bay. -- From RETURN TO ME by Robin Lee Hatcher

"Unbelievable!" from A Proposal to Die For by Yvonne Lehman

"You want me to do what?" From IN HIS EYES, by Gail Gaymer Martin

LARSON JENNINGS HAD LIVED this moment a thousand times over, and it still sent a chill through him. From Rekindled by Tammy Alexander

Charlie Dunworth knew death was standing behind him, as he unlocked the back door and stumbled into the dark kitchen. From Crime of Justice, by Wanda Dyson

"Like the slow rising of the river after an early snowmelt in the mountains, he seeped into my life, unhurried, almost without notice, until the strength and breadth of him covered everything that had once been familiar, made it different, new over old." From A Sweetness to the Soul, by Jane Kirkpatrick


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nanny McPhee

Netflix assured me I would love Nanny McPhee . . . and they were right! I watched this last night as a mental treat, and though it is a kids' movie, I laughed out loud in several places. Plus, the screenplay was by actress Emma Thompson, who was nearly unrecognizeable in the title role.

What's it about? Well . . . she's the anti-Mary Poppins. Loved it!

Worth the rent; a great family film.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Spelling Bee

Okay, guys and gals--think you can SPELL?

I thought I was a decent speller until I visited this electronic Spelling_Bee.

By the way, if you haven't read BEE SEASON it's a great book. Fascinating!

Good luck!

~~Angie, hard at work. Finished the first draft of the top secret project today.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Feel like drawing?

When I was in college, I took a psychology course where we learned to "interpret" simple drawings that people typically do--of a house, a tree, and a person. I wish I remembered all the little clues that you can discern from a drawing--I do remember that if people drew a tree with roots, that showed evidence of a "well-rooted" personality.

In any case, the above URL is a place where you can draw and have your personality analyzed. (And don't make fun of my pictures if they come up!) Have fun!


Monday, June 19, 2006

World Magazine Interview

According to some intel I've received (I've been watching too much Alias), World Magazine is interviewing a few Christian novelists in the July issue. I received a set of the interview questions, and had fun answering them. If you want to read the opinions of other novelists, please find a copy of World in July.

World: You've written both fiction and non-fiction books. What are you able to do through novels that you can't do through your other writing?

[AH] Create worlds. A novel is a unique art form, a microcosm that says “this is how the world is” or “this is how the world works.” That’s why the author’s worldview is always revealed through the story—because ultimately, we are revealing our deepest beliefs about man’s purpose and reasons for living. Best of all, novelists can do all of the aforementioned things so subtly that the reader is unaware of the “engine” beneath the entertainment.

World: Do you enjoy writing fiction or non-fiction more?

[AH] Fiction is definitely more challenging . . . and therefore more worthwhile. Nonfiction provides a nice change of pace, but I’ve found my calling in fiction. After all, Jesus chose to use stories in order to teach.

World: Do you get different types of reader responses to your fictional characters than you do in regard to the people you write about in your non-fiction work?

[AH] Definitely. People react strongly to fictional personalities, probably because novels are designed so that readers will identify with those characters.

World: Your novels have messages. How do you keep the message from overwhelming the characters - or do you want it to?

[AH] All novels have messages. All novels reveal the novelist’s worldview. Otherwise, why invest so many months of your life in the work? So whether the author is touting his/her faith in love, humanity, or existentialism, you can bet there’s a message present.

But since no one wants to read a sermon-disguised-as-novel, the novelist has to make the reader care about the characters. Writers must make sure that the character’s reasons to choose wrong are as fully viable as those urging the protagonist to choose right. One-sided arguments only result in didacticism.

World: What makes a novel “Christian”? Must you have a scene in which a key character turns to Christ?

[AH] My friend Karen Kingsbury tells this story about two of her children. Kelsey and Tyler had just heard a rip-roaring sermon on heaven and hell, so on the way home from church, Kelsey, age six, was really giving it to Tyler, age three. “What’s it going to be, Tyler,” she asked, “heaven or hell? Where do you want to go?”

Tyler pulled out his pacifier and said, “Disneyland.”

Some of my novels might be considered “Disneyland” books. Others are definitely concerned about eternal choices. Everything depends upon the story. But because I’m a Christian, my world view is reflected in anything I write. I believe humans are created beings whose root problems are caused by sin. Because God loves us, Jesus redeemed those who will accept His gift. That message may not be explicit in all of my novels, but those themes are implicit.

World: What are your favorite novels and movies of the past twenty years (up to five of each)? Is there a common denominator?

[AH] Four of my five top favorites are books as well as movies! I love Les Miserables because it’s a beautiful depiction of redemption and grace. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a brilliant story of man’s two natures—and how there’s no escaping our evil nature through our own efforts. The Count of Monte Cristo is a portrait of grace and forgiveness. The Nun’s Story teaches the difficulty and value of unfailing obedience to God, and Signs is a profound illustration of the sovereignty of God.

*Les Miserables.
*Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
*The Count of Monte Cristo
*The Nun’s Story


Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Sort-of Grandbaby

One of the benefits to being in ministry in one place for a while is that you get to see your "children" grow up. This adorable and utterly fearless angel boy is Noah, six months, with his mother and Charlie Gansky. Noah's mother, Gaynel, was in our middle school department when hubby and I first came to our present church--nineteen years ago! Noah's father also came through our department as a middle schooler and is now my hubby's youth-pastor-assistant. (Aside: Gaynel is the intrepid gal who spent a week with me in the Amazon rain forest.)

So, in a way, Noah is my grandchild in the ministry. In any case, he's fun to play with, snap pictures of, and send back to his mom. Isn't that what grandparenting is all about?


Saturday, June 17, 2006


I spent some time today doing online research about hormonal migraines. And discovered that they've had some success with two therapies--one is a steriod that might lower my voice and cause me to grow a beard; the other is a drug that might addle my brain and just might possibly give me a migraine every single DAY (which is what I've had for the last week, and it ain't no picnic.)

Sigh. The week of migraines I've just come through is the result of me and my doctor trying to regulate hormones through a more common treatment, and I think it backfired, big time. So I might as well just tough it out and be normal. I think.

My daughter is always telling me that she thinks she's going to get brain cancer. When I asked her whatever in the world gave her that idea, she said that because she's been as healthy as a horse all her life, she's overdue.

So maybe migraines are just my thorn in the flesh. And if that's all I have to deal with, I am a blessed woman indeed.

Fortunately, I know I don't get migraines when I stress. When I'm stressed, my eye lashes move in and out. It's hilarious. It's like they line up and say, "All together, now! I'll move left and you move right . . ." (And by now you're thinking I've overdosed on some psychotropic drug, right?) Nah. Just telling it like it is on a Saturday night.


Friday, June 16, 2006

It's in stock! Free offer! Be quick!

Photo? Me with a migraine.

I am not a hypochrondriac. I am not a hypochrondriac. I am not a hypochrondriac. I am not a hypochrondriac.

But I've had a migraine for six days (three days on each side of the brain), and I'm getting a little tired of it--especially because I have a huge rush project to work on.

I ran out of my magic miracle pills, too, and the insurance company only wants to pay for nine pills every 16 days. Fortunately, one of the druggists at my pharmacy used to be one of our middle schoolers . . . and she has a kind heart. She and her kindness enabled me to get out of bed this morning, so it's 11:26 and I'm at my desk.

Hey, good news! Got this email today:

Greetings from!

"The fruit of the Spirit is...patience"--Galatians 5:22

During a recent visit to our site, you expressed an interest in a new or backordered item, and asked us to drop you a note when it arrived in our warehouse.

They say that good things come to those who wait. The good news is that the thing you've been waiting for is now waiting for you at:

What's the "thing" I was waiting for? UNCHARTED! It's in stock, and I've also heard that it's showing up in bookstores. I'm so excited that I'll send a free copy to the FIRST person to leave their address in my comment section today. :-)


Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Mother's Love ?

My cousin, also an animal-lover, sent me the following pictures and story: it seems that in a California zoo, a mother tiger gave birth to triplets, but the babies were premature and they died. So the zoo called other zoos and found some orphaned piglets, who were given to the tiger to raise. Look at the adorable photos and the story seems logical, right?

Ah, but the wary internet user learns to check before believing anything. And if you check here,, you'll discover that the tiger/piglet story isn't actually true.

What a shame. It makes a great urban legend.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You Know You're Addicted to Alias When...

This has been around a while, but I'm running it again for all you new Alias fans! (My comments are in parentheses . . .)

At every fast food joint you go to, you order "the special, no pickles" regardless of the fact that you LIKE pickles.

You believe wearing a colorful wig and tight clothing can help you get away with anything.

You check the sides of old book pages for Russian characters.

Every time you see a black Mercedes, it reminds you of Sark.

You notice every Ford Focus on the road.

You use the phrase "There are just so many problems with this..." at every possible opportunity.

You have suspicions that your spouse may actually be a double.

Your non- Alias obsessed friends (like you have any of those left! Hah!) refuse to talk to you about Italians, prophecies, pickles, wigs, parent/daughter relationships, spies or anything else that might lead to a discussion about Alias. (Angie here: did you know that Rambaldi has his own page in Wikipedia?)

You actually BUY a blue Ford Focus. (With gold rims, of course)

You wonder if Sark actually could be Irina's son.

You develop opinions and theories about this and other unanswered facets of the show, and spend a large amount of time formulating arguments for both sides of the debate... (Angie here: I've even dreamed up answers to some of the conundrums . . .)

The main question you ask yourself shopping is "Would Sydney wear something like this?"

You have seen every episode. Ever. More than 5 times a piece. (I watch them every morning on the treadmill. Keeps me motivated.)

You went to see Daredevil just for Jennifer Garner.

You flip out when you see Michael Vartan in One Hour Photo married to someone else.

The mention of weddings, rings, or two years just gets you incredibly ticked off.

If the topic of TV shows comes up, you automatically ask the person "Do you watch Alias?" and if they say they've never heard of it... you immediately end the conversation.

You hear the songs played in the show.. and you instinctively listen for the lines of the characters.. and know precisely when their lines occurred in the song. (I've actually bought CDs because the song was played during an Alias montage).

Your history teacher mentions something about the KGB.. and you suddenly think "Irina?"

You have a codename that people actually call you by.

You think having no first name is a perfectly acceptable thing. (I tried calling a character "Vaughn," and my editor thinks its strange that I wouldn't use his first name.)

Old Asian men in wheelchairs creep you out.

You will never view epoxy in the same way again. (I have some in my garage! Used it the other day and thought of . . . Marshall).

You find yourself trying to find good, compelling reasons to sway your significant other that your next child/pet should be named "Irina" or "Sydney."

You feel aggravated and insulted when you watch the episode of "Frasier" where Victor Garber plays Dr. Crane's British butler. ("Years of agent training and experience, wasted...")

Whenever you hear a truly interesting song, you immediately think of how that song would fit into a scene from Alias.

You find yourself criticizing the REAL CIA based solely on your knowledge of Alias. (Okay, so a lot of it is over the top. A lot of it isn't. Eschelon, for instance, is Very Real.)

You think Jerry Springer's guests have boring, uncomplicated family/friend relationships and easy, simple-to-fix personal problems. (Any novelist having trouble inserting conflict should take a lesson from Alias!)

You become incredibly irritated when people say, "That girl Sydney, doesn't she really report to someone else?" and can tell them exactly how many episodes behind the times they are.

You begin fantasizing about planting listening devices on your significant other's work clothes, just to see if you can find anything exciting/spy-worthy.

Every time you hear the Nokia ringtone, you get excited even though there's no way it could be Vaughn.

You look for air vents you could crawl into incase of an emergency.

The only people you have on your AIM buddy list are people you've met through Alias.

When you begin to doze off in history class and only snap back to attention when the teacher uses the words "Alliance" or "Covenant."

You record every episode, then go out and buy the DVDs as well.

You dream about Irina Derevko at least once a week.

Sweiss does not sound like a candy bar to you.

You assume that anyone who wears dark eyeliner is evil.

You meet a nice person and immediately become suspicious of their motives.

You constantly try to figure out ways to get Jack and Irina back together.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends who are addicted to Alias.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More Alaska photos

I had some more photos from Alaska developed, and thought I'd share a couple of highlights.

I don't know what order these will come out in, but you're looking at my hubby and a (stuffed) bear, a wild eagle in flight, an injured eagle in rehab, a glacier, and our ship, the Island Princess (hard to get all the boat in one shot!) Enjoy!


The Art Auction

On the cruise, I visited the art auctions--every one of 'em. And found myself walking away with a new appreciation for art.

Let me back up. I am completely untalented when it comes to art. I've managed to perfect the drawing of a horse and a chain, but that's about it. Oh, and I do the plot skeleton, but he only serves to prove my complete inability to draw. So I've always had a sincere appreciation for anyone who can sit down and make a flat page come to three-dimensional life.

I think I am interested in art because it's so analogous to writing. Both writers and artists start with a blank canvas. We both could create worlds of anything. We both have to think about theme, character, setting, and sometimes even plot. We both work in a medium that is fairly subjective--bad is bad, good is good, but beauty can be a matter of taste.

Several years ago Tyndale House hired artist Michael Dudash to paint covers for five of my historical novels (Roanoke, etc.) A couple of years after the series finished, Michael wrote me and said that he was trying to help his church raise money for a new septic system. So if I was interested, he'd sell me those original oils at a good price. I had never in my life bought anything that could even remotely be considered "fine art," but I wanted to help with the septic tank, so I promised Michael that I'd buy a painting for every contract I signed that year. And, as the Lord would have it, I signed enough contracts to buy the entire series.

Fast forward a few years. I DO love fine art--I have a passion for Van Gogh and the impressionists, and I dearly love Klimt. But I was pretty much buying good copies on eBay. :-) Until the cruise and the art auction.

The auctioneer, Andre from Australia, taught us as he moved those paintings. I saw a video clip of Howard Behrens, who paints incredible scenes with a . . . the word escapes me--pallet knife, I think. Anyway, it looks like a little trowel, and he just dabs paint onto the canvas and magic happens. I also fell in love with Pino, who got his start doing romance novel covers, and I learned a lot about Erte, Picasso, and Chagall. (While I can appreciate those latter three, they wouldn't exactly look at home in my house, if you know what I mean.) I also learned about a new artist (new to me, anyway) named Nechita. Oh, and Luongo. They had two Luongo originals on the ship that were positively breath-taking.

Anyway, I came home with a hand-embellished Behrens seriograph and two seriograph still lifes (lives?) of fruit--I have a thing for fruit. And I think I'm going to try to do more to support the art world--in what is an admittedly small way. Because I'm enthralled by the wonder of it all.

BTW, if you're interested in how writers learn to write, BJ Hoff has a fascinating post on her blog. Here's the link: Enjoy!


Monday, June 12, 2006


You may have noticed the little countdown meter at the top of my web page and this blog. Yep, there's a project in the works, and I'm hard at work on it.

I don't want to say what it is after the papers are signed, sealed, and delivered (Lord willing). And I can't give any details about it until it releases.

In any case, I am being unusually silent on my usual writer's loops and may be a little brief in this blog because time is short. Yep, the counter is ticking down to the release date, which means my deadline is only a few short weeks away.

So--I'd better find a grindstone and put my nose to it!


Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Blogroll

Five years ago I didn't know what I blog was. Now I can't imagine beginning my day without popping into a blog or two to check up on some friends.

You see that list of blogs over to the right? Absolutely all of those are blogs I try to read if not daily, then at least weekly. They caught my eye because they were interesting, quirky (imagine that), or they appeal to something in me. Of course, I have other favorites that I pop by from time to time, but there's no way I could list all of them (and still get my schoolwork done today!)

BUT--there are so many worthwhile blogs! So many that I'd never get any work done if I spent all day blogging.

Here are a few other blogs you may enjoy visiting: Gina Holmes does a wonderful job on this blog, often interviewing authors of Christian fiction. Allison Bottke is Wonder Woman. She's written fiction and nonfiction, and her testimony is remarkakble. In fact, the only reason she's not in my blogroll is because I don't have time to keep up with her many ventures. Joyce M is new to the blogosphere, but a familiar face to anyone who's attended the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference. "Accidental Poet" is a joy to read, and has touched my heart more than once. Barbara Nicolosi's blog is wonderful. I'll bet Tim has no idea how many people read his blog and wish they could live in his shoes for a week or two. A lovely blog, a lovely life.

Well, I have an assignment whispering my name, so I'd better get busy reading. BTW, for you readers out there, I read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL in Alaska, and it was AMAZING! It's by Phillipa Gregory, and I wouldn't count on that being the right spelling. (VBG)


Saturday, June 10, 2006


Just got a package from the UPS man (God bless 'im.) The package, from WestBow, contained two new books--the new softcover THE NOVELIST and yep, you guess it, UNCHARTED. It's beautiful, if a proud mama is allowed to say that.

So--no matter what you read, the book does exist and is rattling its way across the nation in UPS vehicles. So start looking for it . . . and (drum roll) expect the unexpected!


The Countries of the World

Yesterday I had ten fingernails. Today I have none. Why? Because I began a new project yesterday.

HT to Randy Elrod ( ) for pointing me to this "countries I've visited" map. Sometimes I feel well-travelled . . . until I look at how huge the world really is, then I realize I've visited only five percent.

Wish they had a map for "Countries I've researched." I could add a few more to the map in that case.

Thanks, Randy!

~~Angie, still longing for Rome and Tuscany

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Our Alaskan Vacation

Hello! I am beginning a special RUSH project this week, so before I get busy I'd like to share a few Alaskan memories in words and pictures. Mostly pictures.

First of all, I highly recommend the Alaska cruise for anyone who's ever been inclined to travel north. Everyone ought to see our northernmost state--it's amazingly beautiful and there's lots to see and do. A real pioneer spirit pervades the cities, and even the sun shines almost all day and all night. (We never once saw a starry sky. We crashed long before the daylight did.)

I'll hope these pictures come out in the right order: we played pingpong and threw pots. (Whenever I get frustrated with writing, I threaten to chuck it all and make pots. Well, I discovered that making pots isn't as easy as it looks, but I do have a slightly-strange looking pot on my desk now. I may take up pottery as a hobby.)

We flew in a float plane over the mountains and had all-you-can-eat crab legs for breakfast (with cheesecake for dessert). We saw glaciers and bald eagles and fished for salmon (didn't catch any, but someone on the boat did.) We rode horses and learned about art (more on that later). At we ate and ate and made friends and ate some more. (Don't even talk to me about healthy eating this week.)

In any case, we sailed from Vancouver BC and stopped in Ketchican, Juneau, Skagway, and Whittier, then drove up to Anchorage before flying home. An amazing adventure. If you ever get the chance to go, take it!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

BOM: Uncharted Q&A

Betsy asked: Is the parable of the four seeds based upon how the Word is received?

Answer: It's based on this passage from Mark 4 (actually, it's a parable of four soils. The seed is the same in every case, it's the soil that differs):

The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4: 1-9)

Again he [Jesus] began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

I think you can tell that John Weston's story is another retelling of this parable. Yes, the parable has to do with how the Word was received, how people respond to the good news about salvation through Jesus Christ. I am convinced there are scores of people who think they're firmly in the kingdom, but they're not. They don't display any of the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness), nor do they have the indwelling Spirit. They can talk the talk of the church, but they will be among those who say at the judgment, "Lord, Lord, haven't we done many wonderful works in your name?" (Matt. 7:20-27).

Salvation isn't primarily concerned with talk. It's concerned with dying to self ("except a seed fall into the ground and die") and bearing fruit. That's one of the ideas I was trying to illustrate in Uncharted.

And Ruth wrote: I just checked the status of UNCHARTED at Nelson's warehouse -- the latest info they have is that it is scheduled to arrive at their warehouse on 6/9. Of course that is subject to change . . .

Yeah! That was my original understanding--that the books would be printed on 6.06.06 and would roll off the presses shortly thereafter . . . and shortly be on their way into bookstores. So keep an eye peeled! You never know when the books will show up! (LOL. Expect the unexpected, indeed!)

Thanks for the questions.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

BOM: Uncharted: John Weston's Parable

Happily Ever After
a parable by John Weston

In a kingdom far away, a mighty king looked over his empty realm and invited his people to live among his lands and plant his fields.
The first to respond were knights who cared more for games and pleasure and fighting than obeying their benevolent master. The king recognized the hardness of their hearts, but because he wanted his people to make their own choices, he gave them a bag of seed and the mountainous lands at the outskirts of his realm.
A second clan approached and begged for the king’s attention. “We have always wanted to be farmers,” they said. “We will work hard for you.”
The king recognized the shallowness of their hearts, but because he wanted his people to make their own choices, he gave them a bag of seed and a stretch of land just inside the towering mountains.
A third group approached the king and begged for territory. “We are tireless entrepreneurs,” they said. “We will labor long and hard for you.”
The king recognized the fickleness of their hearts, but because he wanted his people to make their own choices, he gave them a bag of seed and a patch of land outside his royal palace.
A fourth clan approached the king and bowed themselves low to the ground. “Oh mighty majesty,” they said, “we are not worthy to be called your people. If you have even a scrap of land for us, we will live on it and work it. We know little about serving a king, but if you will teach us, we will learn.”
The king led them to a window and pointed to a muddy field. “This land remains,” he said. “If you want it, it is yours.”
The humble clan accepted a bag of seed and the land in the shadow of the royal castle.
The knights of the first clan promptly tossed the bag of seeds into an old shed and set about planning a grand tournament. While rats and birds ate the king’s seed, the knights partied and practiced their fighting. They wanted nothing more than to joust and frolic and raid neighboring lands. While living under the king’s protection and eating from his storehouses, they were free to do as they pleased.
The farmers of the second clan enthusiastically built barns and bought equipment and planted in the cool of the day. But when the sun rose higher and blazed upon their seedlings, the farming clan grew dizzy from the heat. Ignoring their wilting crops, they retired to their barns to polish their tractors. While living under the king’s protection and eating from his storehouses, they were free to play pinochle in the restful shade of their barns.
The entrepreneurs of the third clan planted and built barns and put up strong fences to contain their cattle. One enterprise led to another and their love for fine things increased day by day. While living under the king’s protection and eating from his storehouses, they were free to grow rich through trade.
The humble folk of the fourth clan drained the mud and plowed the fields, planting and tending their crops. Working tirelessly, they were usually ignored by their fellow tenants. When they were noticed, they were often mocked.
They did not take pleasure in tournaments or warmongering.
They were not skilled pinochle players.
They cared little for earthly treasures.
They asked only to be left in peace so they could wholeheartedly serve the king who had been generous to them.
After a certain time had passed, the royal chamberlain summoned all the king’s subjects to the great hall of the palace. “It is time for the harvest,” the chamberlain announced, looking over the assembly. “Each clan must present their crops to the king and pay the tribute due him.”
The knights looked at each other in consternation when the king looked their way. “But your majesty,” they protested, “we kept busy! We are famous for our tournaments and we have guarded your kingdom with our lives!”
The king shook his head. “Where is the bag of seed?” he asked. “Do you even remember where you put it?”
Alas, they did not.
The second clan sent its finest pinochle players to stand before the throne. “See our fine barns,” they said, pointing out the window. “See those beautiful tractors? We are expert farmers!”
“But where are your crops?” the king asked. “What happened to the bag of seed I gave you?”
Alas, the farmers had no answer, for their neglected seedlings had wilted and died.
The third clan sent its wealthiest entrepreneurs to stand before the king. “We have done many wonderful things,” they announced. “Have you seen our cattle? Our factories? We bake bread and produce clothing and generate much wealth for your kingdom!”
The king shook his head. “But what happened to my bag of seeds?”
For that, the entrepreneurs had no answer, for the crops they planted had been trampled by their cattle.
Finally it was time for the fourth clan to give an account of their efforts. Their leader, a simple man in a plain tunic, stood before the throne with his hat in his hand. “We want to thank you,” he said, “for giving us this opportunity to serve.”
“But where,” the king asked, “are your crops?”
The simple man’s face brightened. “Why, they are in your storehouse. There is enough wheat to feed everyone in your kingdom for years to come!”
“Well done,” the king said, laughing with delight. “You are good and faithful servants. I will now give the entire kingdom to you, because you alone have honored my command. Because you have obeyed, I will adopt your clan and you shall become my heirs.”
Then the king called for the best food in his house. The tables were spread, the musicians summoned, and everyone in the fourth clan sat down to a sumptuous royal dinner.
As for the knights and the farmers and the entrepreneurs, they were exiled to a bleak territory called Haden, where they were to wait until the king decided it was time for all men to give an accounting . . . of what they had done with the simple bag of seed.

Tomorrow: questions and answers. If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments!

Vacation update: I'm typing this in the Anchorage airport (yet another airport with free wireless internet!). Someone asked if UNCHARTED's release has been pushed back, and to my knowledge, it's still scheduled to roll off the presses on June 6 (6-6-06) and be showing up in bookstores shortly thereafter. Sometimes the official release date is up to a month later, and some bookstores will hold a book until the release date, but others sell the book as soon as it comes in. I suggest trying I've noticed that they sell books sooner than on some occasions.
Update: I just checked, and they have the book releasing in July, too--and backordered. So I'm not sure what's up, and I apologize for any confusion.
Sigh. I just wish this baby would hurry up and be born!
~Angie from Alaska


Monday, June 05, 2006

BOM: Uncharted: the Editing

I came away from editing Uncharted with two rules branded into my psyche (yes, even at my age, I still learn new things):

1). No backstory in the first 30 pages

2). One protagonist, please. No more.

When I got my revision letter from my editor, he noted that chapter two seemed "to drag."

I went to the Don Maass intensive, and he told us to highlight everything in our first 30 pages that qualified as backstory. Guess where all mine was? You bet, chapter two. So I cut it all out, and ta da! No more dragging. And I didn't have to lose the cut material, I simply placed it in a later chapter where it did more good. The object up front is to involve the reader, not explain everything.

My editor also pointed out that I had gotten so caught up in my ensemble cast, trying to keep things "even" that I was repeating myself and becoming predictable (heavens! I'm violating my own motto!). I had written five character invitations, five character dreams, five character refusals, etc. I quickly realized that many of those entire scenes needed to be left behind on the cutting room floor--and you'll actually find them on my web page, if anyone cares enough to see what got left behind.

The characters in this story earn their way through college by selling a little book. I had placed the text of the book within "Uncharted," but my editor suggested that I leave it out. So that, too, is on the web page--a little bonus for readers who liked the story, but not so much that it bogs the story down.

By the time the editing was finished (I also remember going through and changing it from present tense to past), Uncharted was a much stronger book. This is why we rise up and call our editors blessed.

Tomorrow: the results/reader reaction (I only hope there is some! The book is scheduled to be rolling off the presses as I type . . . if there is no reader reaction to report, I'll improvise. :-) )

Cruise update: Wow. We are sailing to Whittier, AK, today, and will head to Anchorage and our flight home tomorrow night. I can only say that this has been wonderful and coming back to reality will be . . . different. I love being home, but this has been wonderful. It's as if time has stopped and we've all been turned into princes and princesses for a week. And the food! Groan. It's everything you've heard and more. And there's so much of it . . .

I will need to go on a vegetables-and-water diet for at least a month. Lisa Samson, move over on the vegan bus. :-)

More later . . . along with pictures!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

BOM: Uncharted: the writing

The thing I remember most about the writing of Uncharted was my attempt to make the ensemble cast perfect balanced. I'd read somewhere that you treated the ensemble as one character, so they all went through rising action and epiphany together. After I got my editor's revision letter and talked to Donald Maass, I realized that a novel really isn't effective that way. I had to learn this and brand it on my forehead: a novel is ONE PERSON'S STORY. The other characters may be important and play roles, but they are subordinate to the protagonist.

Which means you have to have one.

It was easy for me to figure out which of the six was the main-est character: Karyn, who left a daughter in New York while she went to the Marshall Islands. Karyn is a soap star, and though she's proud of her mothering, she doesn't realize how often she puts her career ahead of her daughter's welfare.

Uncharted went through my usual system: four or five drafts before I handed it in to my editor.

After that--well, we're into tomorrow's topic.

Tomorrow: the editing

~~Angie, taking lots of pictures she will share when she's back from Alaska!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

BOM: Uncharted: the Research

Research? Sure! One of the characters is a pediatric cardiac surgeon, so I had to learn what kinds of heart surgery are most often necessary, and I had to make sure my surgeon is asking for the proper things in the operating theater. Thank you, Dr. Harry Krauss, for your help!

I also set part of the book in the Marshall Islands, which are pretty fascinating in themselves. So I had to learn how one would travel from the U.S. to the Marshall Islands (note: you can't do it in a day), and what would be involved.

I had to learn about boats, and owe a big thanks to Athol Dickson for his help with waves and storms and steering and such.

I had to make sure my theology was accurate, so I consulted several Bibles and commentaries, particularly about the parables of the four seeds and the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Fascinating reading!

Because this was an ensemble cast of six people, I had to develop backstories, occupations, and a history for each of them. Fortunately, I already know about Florida and alligators, so I didn't have to do too much research on that front. I did have to do a bit of study on serial killers. (ugh).

Finally, this was the book I worked on at the Donald Maass Intensive seminar, so a lot of the depth comes from his constant urging for us to "go deeper." The effort was absolutely worth it.

Tomorrow: the writing


Friday, June 02, 2006

BOM: Uncharted: The Idea

How the Idea Germinated . . .

My friend Karen Kingsbury once told me a story about two of her kids, Kelsey and Tyler. They were on their way home from church, where they'd just heard a rip snorting sermon on heaven and hell, and Kelsey, age six, was really giving it to Tyler, age three, in the back seat. "Heaven or hell," she said, looking her brother in the eye, "you have to decide! Where do you want to go?"

Tyler looked at his sister, then pulled out his pacifier and said, "Disneyland."

I often use that story when I'm speaking about Christian fiction because it beautifully illustrates that not all stories have to be heaven-and-hell kinds of stories. But as I worked on my master's degree last year, I studied basic doctrine and was impressed anew with the importance of the doctrine of hell. It's an awful place, a terrible destiny, and I think we may be doing our readers a disservice by writing so many Disneyland books . . .

Combine those thoughts with my attempt to watch the TV series LOST. I caught it here and there, never really enough to pick up what was going on (and it was before they ever got that strange hatch opened), but the idea of a desert island intrigued me. And I'd been reading about ensemble casts, and had never really written one . . .

So: take one ensemble cast, add the doctrine of hell, and set it on a desert island. Toss in the parable of the four seeds (a parable that continues to impress me today), and you have what I began with as I began to outline the novel that became Uncharted.

I also wanted to try and write something truly frightening. I love scary books and horror movies, but the closest I'd ever come to writing anything "scary" was The Awakening, with its horrific dreams.

And so began Uncharted . . .

Tomorrow: the research


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Book of the Month: Uncharted

A Romantic Times Magazine TOP PICK!

"A deceptively routine adventure with an accelerating sense of menace." --Starred review in Booklist.

“Whenever I read fiction by Angela Hunt, I ‘expect the unexpected.’ Still, there was no way to prepare myself for Uncharted. This novel will surprise and unsettle you—and don’t even try to guess the ending! After you’ve finished reading, the story and characters will linger in your mind for days. Could a novel change your life? Read Uncharted and find out!” —JIM DENNEY, author of the Timebenders series and Answers to Satisfy the Soul

Uncharted is a brilliant retelling of an important parable. An entertaining read for the story alone, the book is enlivened by Angela Hunt’s fine prose, excellent action scenes, and intriguing characters. But the compelling demonstration of an eternal reality makes this a book not to be missed. Uncharted made me thirst for living water, and that is a wondrous thing. --Kathryn Mackel, Outriders (WestBow Press)

The impact of Uncharted remains with me a month after reading it. I find myself examining the motivations for many of my actions and words. Powerful, painful, cleansing. Everyone needs to read this book.--Hannah Alexander, author of Under Suspicion and Fair Warning

Angela Hunt is coming into her own as a creator of amazingly complex and detailed novels. Uncharted is a book that leaves you breathless with twists and turns and races toward a gripping, surprising conclusion Angela serves up a well-paced and absorbing read sure to satisfy readers who seek a bit of the unexpected. --Lori Copeland, author of Brides of the West and Men of the Saddle series

On the cover of Uncharted, author Angela Hunt says, "Expect the unexpected." She isn't kidding! Wow...this is a powerful, possibly life-saving, book. --Roxanne Henke, author of After Anne.

Angela Hunt's Uncharted is a powerful story that delves into the unknown with a unique plot twist that goes beyond the unexpected. A powerful read that we have come to expect from Angie Hunt. --DiAnn Mills, author of When the Lion Roars

Uncharted is like a treasure chest, crusted over and half buried in sand. Dig it out, crack open the lid and behold: the riches… These characters lived with me long after I turned the last page, asking me to pay attention to my present decisions and motivations— reminding me that Christ calls me to act as a believer, not believe as an actor. —Lisa T. Bergren, author of The Begotten

For high-impact fiction, Uncharted is unequalled! It's typical Angie Hunt keep-you-glued-to-the-pages suspense. And yes, you should be expecting the unexpected. But Uncharted does so much more. It will change the way you look at everything. Long after turning the last page, I can't stop thinking about this book. --Randy Singer, author of The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney and The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ.

Uncharted by Angela Hunt will change your life if you let it. The vision in this book is haunting and terrifying--and all too real. Give it to your friends and to your enemies. And never forget it. I know I won't. --Colleen Coble, author of Alaska Twilight

From Publisher's Weekly: "Hunt, the author of more than 70 books, departs from her usual fare with this competent, if spooky, faith-based novel. The plot line is a blend of the movies Castaway and The Big Chill , with a touch of the television series Lost , creatively thrown together with the biblical story of the beggar Lazarus and C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce . . . Hunt excels at reminding Christian readers that God judges petty sins the same as heinous ones, and that being a "good person" outwardly often hides an interior life that is far from pure. Her theology . . . will be a good discussion point for book groups (a guide is included) . . . Copyright © 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tomorrow: how the idea germinated


ALASKA UPDATE: Whee! The BOM posts were pre-written, and I'm typing this on the fifth deck of the beautiful ISLAND PRINCESS at port at Ketchican, AK. Hubby and I spent the morning flying in a wee little float plane to an island where we enjoyed all you can eat crab and cheesecake for breakfast! before flying back to Ketchican. It's beautiful and drizzly, and all I can think of when I look out the window is "the earth is full of thy posessions, Lord"--it's amazingly beautiful. I'd type more, but I'm paying 35 cents a minute for a very slow internet connection!