Monday, December 31, 2007

A Metaphor for the New Year . . .

That meme was really instructive . . . it seems that every ten years, the Lord leads me in a different direction.  Which makes me look at where I am and where I'm going and wonder . . . what's next, Lord?  
Whatever it is, I'm ready. I think. 

Talking about journaling also convinced me to order a new ten-year journal instead of going with the five-year-model on my desk.  Going with the five-year book seemed to imply a lack of faith.  :-)  

And as we close out 2007, I'd like to leave you with a metaphor that startled me the other day. True story. 

A few years ago I went through an "orchid" phase.  I bought about a dozen orchids and planted them on the front porch, the back porch, etc.  I bought special orchid pots, special orchid growth mediums, and special orchid fertilizers.  I found that I did pretty well with the common phalaenopsis orchids, but I had pinned my hopes on this one cattleya orchid.  Cattleya orchids are the big, frilly flowers women used to wear in corsages at Easter. 

Anyway, years passed and my phalaenopsis orchids either thrived or died.  I lost interest in orchids and moved on, happy to let my orchids fend for themselves.  My cattleya, however, just sat in its pot--didn't die, didn't grow, didn't bloom.  Just sat there.  

So about a month ago I moved it to the front step.  It's more exposed there, a location where it would have to thrive or die.  

One day last week, I ran out to get the mail . . . and stopped in my tracks.  The cattleya had bloomed--one pretty yellow flower.  Once it had fully opened, I brought it inside where I could see it more often. 

As pretty as it was, however, I think a few bugs had begun to nibble on it . . . as you can see from the picture.  So I stared at my orchid and immediately realized that an orchid is like a dream. You think it's never going to happen, you wonder if you should even continue to pray, and then, just when you least expect it, voila!  And sometimes that dream may appear a little ragged, and not exactly what you expected . . . 

But still . . . it's there.  It's alive.  And you can enjoy it.  


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reading is Fundamental . . .

One of my resolutions for 2008 is going to be "make more time for reading."  I do read a lot, but I often find myself reading in bits and snatches--things I need to know for the WIP. 

I ran across this in the December 19th Wall Street Journal: 

"The reading of literature has declined so sharply that some sociologists believe it will one day become an arcane hobby. But the really bad news, says writer Caleb Crain, is that as literary reading erodes, so does open-mindedness." 

I'm not sure about that--I mean, there are as many differing viewpoints on TV and the Internet as there are books--but I found this last bit interesting: "According to a National Endowment for the Arts study, readers are more likely to exercise, visit museums and engage in civic activities." 

I think they're also more likely to have a precise vocabulary.  :-) 


Saturday, December 29, 2007

A new meme

Kay, aka "loop de loops"has tagged me with a meme.  And since I've spent the morning going through the "stock" books in my garage (more on that later), I think I'll play. 
Kay says I'm supposed to say what I was doing 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and 30 years ago. Okay--

At the close of December in 1997, I was just finishing up the first year in my ten-year diary.   For December 29th I wrote, "A day of new beginnings. I WILL be obedient to Weigh Down. Expo is one month from today. I will get back to work. I will take a new slant in 'The Velvet Shadow.' Flanna needs to lift her sights."  

So . . . obviously, I was writing "The Velvet Shadow" and trying to get back in the mindset to work.  Just as I'm doing now.  :-)  And, just like now, I was trying to stick to a diet. And now that I've filled that ten-year diary, I'm starting to fill a new five-year model. 

Twenty years ago?  1987 . . . I was just realizing that the Lord was moving me in a different path. My first book was published in 1987, and for the previous five years I had been writing magazine articles.  We had also just moved from Virginia to Florida, so we were settling into our first Florida home and trying to get the children acclimated--they were three and four at the time, and I had just turned thirty. 

Thirty years ago? 1977 . . . LOL.  I remember that time VERY well.  I traveled with the Re'Generation from August 1976-77, and in September '77 I enrolled at Liberty University to sing with the LBC Chorale.  I was living in the old hotel and adjusting to trying to study while spending most of my time on the road (or in a big diesel bus, to be exact.) The Lord was moving me toward a different path again . . . and I had just turned twenty.  

Thanks, Kay, that was fun . . . and I had no idea how significant the seventh year in each decade has proved to be.  Am I supposed to tag someone now?  I'll just say this--if you want to play on your blog, consider yourself tagged!  

The books?  My garage is filled with bins of my books.  I usually give most of them away and sell a few through my web site, so I try to keep copies of the older books on hand so I can have them for people who can't find them through the usual channels.  But at the year's end, I can't remember what remains, so every year I do an inventory, to make sure I have copies of the titles listed on my web page--nothing worse than going through dozens of bins looking for ONE copy of something.  It's a lot of counting and a lot of lifting, and maybe I'm getting too old for this . . . but it's finished for another year! 


P.S.  If you're interested in a ten year journal, the link is here. 

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Heavenly Daze fans . . . cheer up!

Not a week goes by that I don't get three or four emails from people who want more Heavenly Daze books. 

Well . . . you might get your wish. 

First--the Heavenly Daze books are definitely being reissued in a new, smaller format called "mass market."  For six months these books will only be available at Borders bookstores.   

If they do well, and if everything goes as planned, Lori and I have laid some groundwork to continue the Heavenly Daze series.  Everything is in the planning stage at this point, but we'll keep you posted.  

Wishing you heavenly daze, 


The Day After

The tree is coming down.  I feel a little Scrooge-ish for taking down my  Christmas tree on the day after, but I wanted to put it away with organization, and that takes time.  Plus, it's easier to do such things now, while life still isn't quite back to "normal," because next week I'll be needing to work--and work hard. 

BTW, hubby and daughter gave me a lovely surprise for my birthday.  Hubby contacted several friends and relatives and asked them to write me a personal note or card for my "big" birthday.  Daughter then artfully arranged cards and letters into an album.  It was so sweet--I cried as I read through it, so I know I'll have to go through it again when my eyes aren't so blurry!  

I've been reading a lot over this break--ODD THOMAS and BORN STANDING UP and THE DEAN KOONTZ COMPANION and THE SOUTH BEACH DIET ('nuff said) and GOOD DOG. STAY.  All delightful reads . . . well, I don't know that I'd call a diet book "delightful," but at least it's "doable." 

Here's to the real world.  I'm ready to get back to it.  


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Books! I get Books!

For some inexplicable reason, my mailbox was flooded with books on Monday--and they're all books I'm thrilled to tell you about.  

The first is from my pal Ron Benrey, and this book will be a boon to all of you who are interested in writing Christian fiction.  It's one of the "Idiot's" series, and it's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction.  Ron is a practical and intelligent person, so you'll find this book loaded with intelligent points and practical insights.  I'm going to be recommending it a lot.  

The second book I received is from my sweet friend Claire Cloninger.  Claire is a lovely lyricist, writing books and song lyrics with poetic beauty and spiritual insight.  Once Claire and I worked on a church musical together.  After working at my desk, I stayed at the computer to finish up a few things, and Claire cooked dinner for us!  I was stunned (probably because I don't cook much, ever, much less for other people.)  Her new book is called Making 'I Do' Last a Lifetime, and it should be required reading for all newlyweds.  Plus, it's beautiful . . . just like Claire. 

The third book in my mailbox on Monday was Healing Stones by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn. This is one of those collaborations where one gives input and one does the writing, and Nancy is the writer on this one.  I can attest to this because I've been to a workshop with Nancy while she was working on this--I lived through several scenes as she wrote them, and I can tell you that this is a powerful book.  

Boy, is my TBR stack growing!  A sweet little bird sent me a couple of books last week, plus I have my book club book of the month to read, plus I'm well into Koontz's BROTHER ODD--I may take the rest of this week off to sit in my easy chair and work my eyeballs.  :-) 

Here's to good reading in 2008!  I'd post a list of what I plan to read in 2008, but I never know what treasures I'll discover!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Blessed Christmas to you!

May your time with family be simple and significant. 

May you take time to contemplate the mystery of Emmanuel, "God with us." 

God bless you and yours during this Christmas! 


Sunday, December 23, 2007

How Precious . . .

I got the sweetest letter the other day. 
A couple of weeks ago I sent a bookplate to a friend whose co-worker's little girl has my book, "The True Princess."  (Follow that?)
Anyway, no big deal to sign a sticker for her, so I did:  "To Megan, a true princess, Love, Angela Hunt." 
So her daddy sends me a lovely thank you note and says: 

"She's always enjoyed the book, but she loves it even more now. Lately we've been reading it every night at bedtime--her request--and we can't just start at the title page anymore.  Instead she tells me, 'Start with the sticker, Daddy.'" 

Awwww!  Doesn't that just make your heart MELT?  


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

This is brilliant.  Click on this link, then click on the red stoplight to begin the video. 

Merry Tossmas!  

Stickers . . . I can't toss.  But holiday catalogs?  Just watch me!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Not One Less

Thank you for all the birthday wishes.  My day was very relaxed and fun . . . probably too relaxed, because I should have been working!  And I love roses, and received two beautiful bouquets.  Now my house smells like something other than eau de dog. :-)

Not One Less is the name of a movie . . . and it's one of the best I've seen in months.  It's Chinese--and it's authentic, filmed in China by real Chinese people, not professional actors--so you'll have to read subtitles, but you don't even notice them after a while. 

You can watch it with your children, in fact, I'd urge you to.  The children in the movie are adorable and totally child-like, plus it'll give your kids a realistic view of how other children live. 

The plot is simple . . . and you'll recognize it as being similar to a parable Jesus told.  A young girl is hired to be a substitute teacher in a rural Chinese village. The departing teacher warns her not to lose any of the students--a common problem when families are so poor that even children are set to work. So she accepts the job. 

But when she loses a student, she is determined to find him and bring him back. 
That's it, but this movie is so honest and sweet, it had me reaching for the tissues several times.  Completely precious. 

Netflix or rent it when you can.  I hope you like it as much as I did. 


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Have in common . . .

What do Sharon Stone, Madonna, Ellen Degeneres, Prince, Michelle Pfeiffer, and I have in common?  We're all turning fifty! 

In fact, I confess, today is my big day.  No use in hiding your age when it's recorded in the Library of Congress on every bibliographic record.  

Daughter and hubby have been whispering about some big surprise, but I'm still in the dark.  And all I want for my birthday is a trip to the zoo.  :-)  Really.  

So . . . thank you, Mom, for giving birth fifty years ago and putting up with me since.  


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dear Friends and Family

Instead of sharing something cute and funny today, I want to share a sobering truth. I recently received my friend Randy Alcorn's newsletter, in which he talked about the upcoming election and the importance of taking a stand that is pro-life. 

Then I watched the video he recommended. You'll find it here. 

I urge you to watch it, especially at this time of year. We are celebrating the birth of a tiny baby, one who was the incarnation of God in man. 

And yet all human babies bear the image of God. What is the difference between me, an adult woman, and a pre-born baby?  Size, certainly--but that baby only needs time to grow.  We both need food, oxygen, shelter, and nourishment. We both depend upon others to provide our needs. We are both created in the image of God, and we are both precious to Him. 

This is an issue that we must not ignore. We cannot be complacent about the status quo. When I watched the movie "Amazing Grace" and saw those Englishmen and women fighting against slavery, I couldn't help but feel that we who fight for the rights of pre-born children are facing the same kind of struggle. 

But victory is possible . . . and God will be honored when we speak up for those who are innocent. 

The other day I was helping my hubby outline one of his sermons for middle schoolers. He wanted to talk about "Blessed are the merciful," and he said, "How do kids show mercy?" 

"They can show it," I answered, "to animals and younger children. To those who are weaker. Because we are demonstrating God's merciful nature when we look out for those who cannot always fend for themselves." 

Please take a moment to read Randy's article and watch the video. And this Christmas, as we focus on the tiny baby in the manger, let's remember that He was God incarnate from the moment of his conception. 

Life does not "begin" at birth, my friends . . . it began with God. 


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The New Huckabee ad

If you haven't seen Mike Huckabee's latest ad, you can watch it here. 

I've watched it several times, and I have to scratch my head--some people are off their rockers about this simple wish for a meaningful Christmas.  Some accuse Huckabee of "invoking Christ" in a political ad (and what would be wrong with it in this context?) , and Ron Paul has, in referring to the ad, quoted Sinclair Lewis: "when facism comes it will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."

Why mention the cross?  Because of the cross-shaped windowpane behind Huckabee's head. 

Sigh.  Honestly. 


Back by request . . .

Title Trakk has asked 31 authors about their most special Christmas memory.  If you'd like to read them, here's the link

Back from last year, here's the link to elf yourself!  This is me and my hubby . . . too funny!  

You can elf yourself, too--doesn't require any special software.  Enjoy!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Song Quiz

Actually, this is called a "Christmas Carol" quiz, but I think carols are supposed to be religious--indeed, I just looked it up.  So half of these aren't carols, they're Christmas songs. 

In any case--go to this link, take the quiz, and let me know how you do.  I missed two--and one mistake was out of sheer thick-headedness.  :-)  

And why didn't an editor tell the writer that "Noel" is not spelled "Nowell?"  Good grief!  

Someone at the Chicago Tribune doesn't know their Christmas carols!  Where's an editor when you need one?  


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Which Reindeer are you?

You Are Dasher

You're an independent minded reindeer who never plays by the rules.

Why You're Naughty: That little coup you tried to stage against Santa last year

Why You're Nice: You secretly give naughty children presents.
A tip of the hat to Kathy Cassel for this fun meme.  (How do you pronounce "meme," anyway?  mee-mee or meh-meh or what?) 

so--which reindeer are YOU? 


Saturday, December 15, 2007

If you love Golden Retrievers . . .

BJ Hoff loves goldens. So does Dean Koontz--you ought to read his tribute to his Trixie on his web site.  If that doesn't make you weep, nothing will.   

I think goldens are beautiful, though I've never owned one.  Perhaps in the future.  But someone sent me this bit of video footage--a golden and his owner doing "You're the One that I Want" from GREASE.  It's incredible! 


Friday, December 14, 2007


I should be outlining the book-after-the-present-one, but I have to sound off about stickers. They are driving me crazy. 

I'm talking about those free stickers organizations send in the mail.  I can handle the return address stickers--they come from the Humane Society, from Easter Seals, from Cancer Research Funds, etc., and I use them.  Trouble is, I get so many of them that I end up pre-sticking blank envelopes in my drawers because I can't stand to throw a good sticker away. 

Long ago I bought some really cute address stickers--nice font, nice ink, nice design--but I never use them because something in my frugal nature INSISTS that I use up the free stickers first.  So just as I near the end of my free sticker stash, here comes another load in the mail.  

The return address stickers are bad enough, but lately I've been getting OTHER free stickers--stickers with cute Christmassy things on them, and postage stamp-sized stickers of roses and angels and Christmas ornaments.  Because I can't stand to throw them away (wasteful!), I've been sticking them on the back of envelopes, but I always feel like I should be the sort of person who crochets toilet-paper roll covers when I do it.  It looks  . . . more quaint than professional.  Still, heaven forbid that I toss out a perfectly good sheet of stickers. 

I have this tablet of paper on my desk--a big tablet, and I use it to scribble notes on during the week.  Every Monday, I rip off the top sheet and start a new page for the new week. 

Well, preprinted on this tablet is a little square. The other day I noticed that the little square seemed to be tailor-made, indeed, crying out for a sticker. So I murdered the better part of an hour sticking rose stickers on each little square on each page in my tablet.  Now I can't write smoothly on my tablet, because the stickered corners are about half an inch taller than the rest of my writing surface. 

I've taken to slapping those cute "Have a happy new year!" and "Hope You Feel Better" and "Thank You" stickers on my Netflix return envelopes.  And of course, those ALWAYS get a return address sticker.  Can't pass up an opportunity to plant a sticker in a preprinted corner. 

Is it just me, or does anyone else suffer from impulsive sticker-itis?  Recently I signed up for the do-not-send-me-preapproved-credit card applications list. If there's a  "do not send stickers" list, I need my name on it, fast! 


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jesus and the Rockettes

I dragged hubby to the Tampa Performing Arts Center the other night to see the Rockettes.  :-)  (He's a good sport.)  And at the 3/4 quarter point they started doing this song with an encore ending, and I said to him, "This feels like a finale.  Doesn't this feel like a finale?  But it's not over yet." 

And then they brought the curtain down, and then they had a living Nativity, followed by a reading of that "One Solitary Life" piece.  The Nativity was beautiful, complete with two live camels, a donkey, and a couple of sheep. 

Afterwards--no curtain call for the dancers or singers.  Just a quiet, dignified good night from the announcer. 

And on the way home I thought about the producers' commitment to excellence--I mean, I'll bet they've hired two or three people just to travel with and care for those animals who were only on the stage five minutes.  Yet it was important to them.  Details matter. 

And I thought about the Rockettes--there are no "stars" in the kick line, in fact, from a distance the young women are virtually indistinguishable from each other.  Yet thousands of girls work their feet to the bleeding point just for a place in that line.  

And isn't that what we can/should do?  Not worry about having a "starring" role in the Lord's service, but just to be content to work hard for a place in the kick line.  Just to be honored and grateful that we're kicking it up for Jesus. 

Okay, I know I'm venturing near an edge.  :-)  But still, I loved the analogy . . . and the fact that the show ended with Jesus as the star. 


P.S. Don't forget the encore airing of THE NOTE on tonight (Thurs) at 9 p.m. EST. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Press Release

December 11, 2007


December 8 Premiere of “The Note” Scores a 3.4 HH Rating Boosting Network to Rank #7 in Prime Time for the Week of December 3

    Hallmark Channel delivered a rare hat trick this holiday season as the network became home to the #1 Prime Time cable telecast of the day three weeks in a row.  This success was generated by the premieres of its original holiday movies:  “A Grandpa for Christmas,” (11/24/07) “All I Want for Christmas” (12/1/07) and “The Note” (12/8/07).  This latest original holiday movie premiered to a 3.4 HH rating with over 2.8 million homes and over 5.2 million unduplicated viewers (P2+).  This exemplary performance drove Hallmark Channel to become the #1 cable network in Prime Time for the day and #7 in Prime Time for the week of December 3-9.
    “The Note,” starring Genie Francis and Ted McGinley, was the highest rated ad-supported cable telecast of the day, the second highest rated ad-supported cable movie of the week and the won the Saturday, 9-11 p.m. time period among HH, W25-54 (1.8) and P2+ (1.8) ratings as well as HH (2.8 million) and P2+ (3.9 million) deliveries.  The original holiday movie also ranked in the top 10 in key demo ratings - #2 in A25-54 rating (1.3); #3 in W18-49 rating (1.2) and #7 in A18-49 rating (0.8) – as well as among key demo deliveries - #2 in W25-54 (870,000); #5 in A25-54 (1.2 million); W18-49 (606,000) and #9 in A18-49 (838,000).
    “The Note” became the network’s third highest-rated and third most-watched original movie premiere in its history.

Source:  Nielsen Media Research, 11/24-12/9/07

Tim Gunn's Ten Essentials

You may recall that a few weeks ago I wrote about cleaning out my closet--and I'm still doing it.  Someone in the comments asked about the "ten essentials" I mentioned--the "must have" list I picked up from reading Tim Gunn's book. 

Here it is:
  • Basic Black Dress
  • Trench Coat
  • Classic Dress Pants
  • Skirt
  • Blazer
  • Classic White Shirt
  • Day Dress
  • Cashmere Sweater
  • Jeans
  • Sweatsuit Alternative
  • Bonus: One Indulgent Trendy Item Under $20
Supposedly, any woman can have a complete fashionable wardrobe with just these ten things--and I'm at the point in life where I think I'd LOVE to have only ten things--plus a genuine sweatsuit or three for working.  :-)  My problem is that I buy beautiful pieces at 75 percent off sales, but I "save" them for days when I have to leave the house . . . and so many things never get worn because by the time I leave the house, the item is either out of size, out of season, or out of sight.  
And so I shall continue the great closet clean-out, growing gradually more and more ruthless . . . and I will search for the perfect items from the ten essentials list.  Anybody want to join me on the great adventure?  I'd be happy if I could get it down to twenty things . . . and we'd be able to walk in the closet. Might take me twenty years to get to my goal, but I'm up for it. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Radio call-in show

My pal Nancy Rue sent me an email I'd been dreading.  Her beloved chocolate lab, Benjamin, was the apple of Nancy's eye.  A few months ago they discovered a tumor and had it removed, but the cancer spread to Benjamin's lungs. 

On Friday, Nancy had to say farewell to her beloved Benjamin.  My heart aches for her and her husband.  

And the following is appropriate:

Patty G sent me this link and when I heard this boy talking--well, it made me cry even before I heard the sad news about Benjamin.  Wisdom from the lips of a youngster.  

Take a moment to listen.  It'll touch your heart. 


Monday, December 10, 2007

We have a winner!

You may recall that I had a ten pound box of books to award, so I called for photos of pets dressed up as characters from an Angela Hunt novel. 

Well, I know one thing for sure--I had more fun looking at the pictures than these pets did dressing up!  So many cute pictures! 
Our winner is Kathy Cassel (and crew), with their pooch patiently reenacting a scene from THE ELEVATOR.  I love the elevator buttons on the back wall!  LOL! 

Kathy, if you'll email me with your address, I'll get your books in the mail! 


Update to "Parting Thoughts"

I guess I'm not ready to leave THE NOTE behind yet.  

Doni's comment has helped me verbalize something I forgot long ago.  **SPOILER ALERT**

Let me back up.  In the book, not the film, Lila, or "T" tells Peyton that she'd really like her birth mother to know that she's okay. That's all she really wants.  And in the book, Lila loses both parents in the plane crash. 

I can't tell you how many letters I've received from people who urged me to have Peyton let Lila in on her epiphany; to "spill the beans," so to speak. 

And yet, I elected not to, for several reasons. First, Lila had just said that she didn't really want a relationship with her bio mother. She only wanted her bio mother to know that she was okay, and the Lord had already answered that prayer. 

Second, as Doni pointed out,  for Peyton to claim this new relationship would cut into Lila's time of mourning her parents. They deserved to be mourned, and Lila deserved a time to grieve in peace, without additional major life trauma. 

Third--and most important--for Peyton to press her advantage would have been selfish. We often think of our "rights" first and foremost, and it seems natural that a bio mother has the "right" to meet her child.  But isn't it more loving to think of the child first?  By not saying anything, Peyton placed her child's welfare above her own rights.  

I'm sure that in the future, Peyton would have kept in touch . . . and who knows but that she would have eventually explained the full miracle of the note.  But when they first met, the time was not right.  

My thoughts have undoubtedly been colored because I am an adoptive parent. And I believe that parents who make an adoption plan for their children are demonstrating that best, selfless love. 

In the book, Peyton didn't surrender her child willingly--she was mentally incompetent after a nervous breakdown and suicide attempt. But at the end, she did exhibit that same selfless love by not revealing her history. Yet this time, it was her conscious choice. 


Parting Thoughts

As we leave the topic of The Note and return to more mundane ramblings, I thought I'd share a few parting thoughts. 

I've received so many positive comments and emails since the movie aired last night.  I am grateful for each one, not only for your reaching out in support, but because you caught the vision. 

We are surrounded by hurting, needy, confused people who need to see God's love in action, and they need to see it from us.  Forgiveness and reconciliation are part of God's love, and that was the message of The Note. 

I am delighted that the message came through, and I pray that people who pick up the book now will go deeper into the story and explore the analogy further.  Because God has written a note to the world, and just like the fathers in the book, He stands willing and waiting to receive his wayward creations. 

Now--a lot of people, especially writers, are wondering, "What did she do to get that made into a movie?" 

The answer is:  nothing. 

A woman read the novel and gave it to her fiancee, who passed it on to a small film company, which tried for five long years to get it made into a theatrical film and then pretty much left it with an individual who took it to TV people . . . who, once they read the script, rushed the project through to completion.  

So--what did I do?  Nothing but give my permission.  It was a God-thing from the start.  And for me, those are the sweetest "success stories," because they are His. 


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Encore Airings of THE NOTE

I just checked the hallmark web site, and I see that there will be other airings of THE NOTE, if you missed it. 

The Note will also air (on the Hallmark channel) on Dec. 13th, nine p.m. EST

December 18th, 9 p.m. EST

And Dec. 25th, 7 p.m. EST.  

Thank you for your many kind comments!  You all are the best!  I've felt like we've had a premier party--pretty good for a woman who watched the movie in her p.j's! 


So . . . what did you think?

Genie Francis said filming "The Note" changed her perspective . . . read about it here.    (HT to Kelli Standish for the link!)  

I received a very sweet letter from a woman who I'll keep anonymous . . . let me just say that she was instrumental in helping bring the novel to film.  She told me that she was like Peyton, and though she'll never be able to heal the rift between her and her parents, God was able to step in and bring healing to her heart after she read "The Note." 

It's not the novel, of course, that brings the healing . . . it's God's love.   

So . . . what did you think?  


Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's here!

Okay, so I'm a little excited now . . . especially since I've seen the movie.  So tell your neighbors, call your mother, tell the folks at church and the grocery store to watch THE NOTE tonight (Saturday) on the Hallmark channel.  

(Side item of interest:  some enterprising entertainment reporter is selling his/her promo DVD of the film on eBay--last time I checked, it was up to sixty bucks!)   

It's showing at nine p.m. eastern time (I think the time has changed since we first began announcing it), and I'm not sure what times it'll be showing in other time zones.  But check in your local television programming.  

If you have to go out, set your VCR or TiVo or computer or whatever you have on hand.  If you don't have cable or a TV, pop into your neighbor's house (better take a pizza to share).  And don't forget the tissues.  :-)  

Walt Belcher at the Tampa Tribune wrote a nice article about the movie.  Did anyone see Ted McGinley on Live with Regis and Kelly?  I had to go out and miss it--and I forgot to record it!  

And after you see the movie, come back here to tell me what you thought.  Don't expect it to be identical to the book--it's not--but I think you'll find that the spirit of the book has translated very well.   


Friday, December 07, 2007

BOM: Questions and Answers

I confess.  They sent me a copy of THE NOTE, which I have just finished watching.  And once my nose shrinks back down to its normal size and my eyes dry up, I'll tell you how I felt about it.  :-)  I strongly suggest keeping a box of tissues within reach. 

Time for questions and answers.  

Susan asked what "T" in The Note had to be forgiven for.  

I had to go back and read the section myself, but it was the fight she and her father had. The fight stemmed from her desire to search (treading carefully as not to give plot elements away), but you know how fights escalate, especially when you're in adolescence.  Dad thought that she was taking Mom for granted, and the fight grew out of that. She may not have presented her desire very diplomatically.  And Dad knew she'd want to make things right, so he forgave her. 
So it wasn't that he was upset because she wanted to search, but emotions and feelings always arise when that topic comes up.  It wasn't that they couldn't have worked through them eventually, but they didn't have a chance to get to that place. 

Why is the note addressed to "T?"  Because my children's names begin with that initial.  (No one asked that question, but I thought I'd throw out the answer.) 

Someone asked if I'd seen Glenn Beck's speech about Mitt Romney.  No, I hadn't seen that, though I did see him on GMA yesterday defending Romney.  And while I still like Glenn's political views, his quickness, and his intelligence, I don't agree with Mormon theology. I'm voting for Mike Huckabee.  

And I think that's it!  I'll have a blog on Sunday for anyone who wants to tell me what you thought of the movie.  I'm re-reading the book right now, because there's a lot I've forgotten.  The movie is different in many ways, but the basic plot is the same. And they added a couple of elements that I really like--especially at the end.  

Thanks for joining me for another book of the month!  And I hope you're able to watch and enjoy the movie! 


Thursday, December 06, 2007

BOM: Results and reader Reaction

Most of the reviews for The Note have been gracious--obviously, the story touches a strong chord in people who are longing to reconcile with someone, particularly with their fathers.  This Amazon review is typical of what I've heard:

"Angela Hunt has written an excellent book. It will make you really think about what you are reading. To see how Peyton MacGruder grows in her writing, her outlook on life and her relationships with other people is remarkable and very emotional. If this book doesn't draw you closer to Jesus, there isn't much that will. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to other people."

On the other hand, I have also received a couple of letters saying that the book doesn't deserve to be called "Christian fiction."  No, not because it's an allegory, but because the antagonist is a bit of a hussy.  One woman told me she allowed her fourteen-year-old daughter to read it without previewing it; afterward she was horrified by the book. 

I wrote her back and said that she had every right to guard what her daughter read, however, THE NOTE is not a children's book.  (Yet the notion that a Christian novel must be appropriate for a child disturbs me somewhat.  What does that imply about a mature Christian's intellectual level? Are we not allowed to tackle topics beyond a typical ten-year-old's experience? Even more shudder-inducing is the supposition that Christian fiction could not possibly contain subjects designed to challenge the reader.) 

Second, Julie St. Clair is not a Christian character, therefore she doesn't act like one. And in no way does the story glorify Julie's actions.  (I've noticed that Julie's character has morphed into a male in the movie version. This is a good thing, as it eliminates the "tart factor." The author who plays the TV reporter is also cute.  :-) 

I would keep Julie as she is, though, because in the novel she's a foil to Peyton's character and it helps that she's female.

Shortly after the book's release, I was approached by Journey Productions, a small film company that optioned the novel.  Five years later, here we are with a finished film.  I had little to do with the struggle (and wouldn't know how to begin to make a movie), but my hat's off to the folks who made it happen.  I'm grateful  to them and to God, and I pray that the story's message will come through loud and clear. 

Tomorrow:  questions and answers, so be sure to leave your questions in the comments box. 

Update:  The St. Pete Times has published an article on the upcoming movie.  You can read it here!  

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

BOM: The Editing

Karen Ball edited The Note, and she did a wonderful job.  I specifically remember that she had me amp up the emotional wattage at the end--I tend to be practical first, romantic second. :-)  (As if you couldn't tell.)  Karen was right in her nudge for me to make the characters more emotional at the ending.  (I think the movie amps it up even a little more . . .) 

And I just remembered something else about The Note. The novel released in early 2001, and it's about a plane crash.  It also mentions the World Trade Center towers, because I remember having to do a bit of research about the towers--one of the peripheral characters has an office there.  

Anyway, on September 11, 2001, I was at Lori Copeland's house in Missouri.  And after we watched the Trade Center Towers fall, I felt an odd sense of deja vu--I had just written about them, I thought.  It had been over a year before, but still . . . 

Lori and I went to the closest Wal-Mart and I found a copy of The Note in a book rack.  I flipped through the pages, and there it was--the World Trade Center towers. And a plane crash. 

Not exactly prophetic, but enough to send a shiver down my spine. 
Tomorrow: Results and reader reaction  


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

BOM: The Writing

I like to try new techniques when I begin a book, so I thought I'd try something different in The Note.  Some readers have remarked on it, but I kinda like the effect. 

Because I wanted to hide certain things in Peyton's past--I didn't want the reader to have access to her secrets--I thought it would be "cheating" to use first person.  In first person, a reader is supposed to have access to all a character's thoughts, feelings, etc.--or as much as the writer chooses to reveal.  Anyway, I chose to write Peyton in third person. 

But the other characters-- I was going for a theatrical effect. In movies, it's called an "aside"--where the character on film turns and addresses the camera, speaking to the viewer directly. So I wrote several other characters in first person, having them respond with their thoughts and views about Peyton.  I hope it works.  It's different, but surely there's nothing wrong with that . . . 

I've already mentioned how I wrote a first draft that turned out to be way too short . . . and I realized I had completely neglected to write the INNER story, the story of character change. (that's the problem with being a plot-driven novelist. Plot can only do so much.)  So I went back, round two, and really delved into who Peyton is.)  

In the three characters Peyton meets in her attempt to deliver the note--I wanted to show, metaphorically, how people respond to the Gospel.  Some people respond with their heads, not their hearts.  The pastor flatly refused to believe that his dad could have written the note.  No intellectual agreement. 

Taylor Crowe, the songwriter, admitted that her father might have written the note, but she couldn't believe that he would because she couldn't get past her feelings of guilt and abandonment.  Intellectual assent, but no heart willingness to accept the message of forgiveness. 

The third man, Tanner, willingly accepted the note, but his intellectual assent was false, as was his heart agreement.  In a spiritual sense, he "pretended" at being a Christian.  He was only pretending because he sought his own advantage. 

And then . . . the true recipient was revealed. The one who was the true child of the Father, the one who recognized the truth because of the love evident in every line. 

And that's all I can say without spoiling the ending. 

Tomorrow: the editing. 


Monday, December 03, 2007

BOM: The Research

Because I set The Note in Tampa Bay--my home--I didn't have to do too much research into the setting.  I did have to research the job of newspaper columnist, however, as well as panic attacks. 

To learn how to be a newspaper columnist, I emailed a local columnist at the Tampa Tribune. I had admired Judy Hill's work for some time, so I asked her to lunch. Happily, she agreed to meet me and let me pick her brain. 

I'll confess something--I was really nervous.  In some crazy way, I felt that she was a REAL writer, while I was just playing around.  Anyway, we had a nice lunch, she was very kind, and she answered all the "who, what, when, where, how, and how often?" questions that I needed to know.  

As to the panic attacks--something Peyton suffers from--I sent out a call to some email friends, and I was amazed at how many of my friends have suffered from them.  I never have, but I began to understand the condition and what it feels like.  

I did some research on plane crashes, and some geographical research because Peyton travels during the story. But mostly it's a character plot about the changes that take place in the protagonist.  

I know they changed the setting for the movie--since they've set the story at Christmas, they wanted a place that LOOKED like Christmas, and Tampa Bay doesn't really qualify, not even with our decorations on full display.  :-)  Too much sunshine down here. 

Tomorrow: the writing 


Sunday, December 02, 2007

BOM: How the Idea Germinated

As I explain in the back of the book, The Note was born in Sunday School.  :-)  (Another good reason to go to church!) 

As a friend and I were busy checking in our usual horde of active, middle-school students, we were reflecting over our week as the mothers-of-teenagers. The conversation shifted to the recent tragedy of an Alaska Airlines crash, along with the rumor we’d heard about a woman attempting to share Christ with her fellow passengers as the plane went down. Alas, we decided, the rumor probably wasn’t true because the flight attendants would be busy giving emergency instructions.

“I know what I’d do if I were on a crashing plane,” I said, reflecting on the past week with my teens. “I’d write, ‘Dear Kids—I love you. All is forgiven. Mom.’”

We laughed—and what began as a wry bit of humor suddenly struck me as profound truth. What would I write if I had one moment to share my most profound thought with my loved ones?

And then it occurred to me—God has written mankind just such a note. Just like the fathers in this story, He loves, He cares, He mourns when His children leave Him out of their lives. He wants us to know He loves us and has forgiven our neglect of this all-important relationship. 

And so the story was born. I wrote the first draft--the story of the reporter, the note, and the recipients--and sat on the edge of my bed and realized that a first draft of only 28,000 words wasn't going to cut it.  I was missing something.  I was missing a LOT.  So I went back to the drawing board and began to explore Peyton's character.  I delved into her past, into the secrets she had buried away, and realized there was a far more important story waiting to be told.  

And that's how the story came to be. 

Tomorrow:  the research 


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Book of the month: THE NOTE

I am beginning to get excited about seeing THE NOTE on the Hallmark channel on Dec. 8th--one week from today!   My book club chose that book as our book this month, so I need to read it again!  (It's been a while!) 

And Hallmark has done some amazing things with the website.  A few weeks ago I told you about  If you visit that site now, you'll find that it's been absorbed into a larger site--with a photo gallery, video clips, plot synopsis (which sounds a LOT like the novel), and much more!  Click here to visit the site directly. 

Be sure to check out everything, but especially the first and last video clips.  I get all teary-eyed just watching them.  :-) Please help me spread the word about the movie! 

THE NOTE, if you're not familiar with the story, is about a newspaper reporter who finds a note that washes up from a plane crash. The message is simple:  "T--I love you. All is forgiven. Dad."  She decides to make it her goal to deliver the note to the intended recipient. And since her newspaper column isn't doing so well, she decides to write about her quest in the paper. 

Tomorrow: how the idea sparked and germinated.