Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whether you have a dog or not . . .

You might enjoy this virtual dog who does tricks.  Just type in your command in the box and click enter.  He's one smart little guy! 

Visit him here.  

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve! 

On a more sobering note--yesterday I received a call from my dear friend Nancy Rue, who has two puppy labs, one chocolate and one golden.   Captain and Sully.  Nancy and her husband Jim loved those puppies, and, well, you know how we dog people feel about our dogs. 

While the dogs were out for a walk with Jim on Sunday, a neighbor shot and killed Captain and Sully.   

Nancy and Jim are grieving . . . and experiencing dozens of other emotions as well.  If God cares about sparrows, he certainly cares about our dogs, so please remember this family in your prayers. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading the Bible Through . . .

I do a LOT of reading in my work--some for pleasure, some for research, some to learn, some for personal development. But nothing is as important as the daily reading I do in the Bible.  For one thing, it helps me discern Truth from a platitude. 

I had a professor in my community college who once told our class that "God helps those who help themselves" was in the Bible.  Because we were good friends, I caught him after class and said "Sorry, but that's not Scripture."  He couldn't believe it, but I told him I'd eat my words if he could find it in there.  He couldn't.  

A couple of years ago I challenged my blog readers to read the Bible through with me in 90 days.  Any of you remember that?  It was a lot of reading, but it was a great challenge.  After that, I decided to read the Bible through in TWO years, a slower and more reflective pace.  Now that's done, so for 2009 I want to read the Bible through again. 

So--who wants to join me?  I got a new Bible for Christmas (I like doing it with a fresh copy dedicated just to this project), so I'll be jumping in on January 1.    You can, if you like, get a special "one year" Bible with the sections marked.  One year I read the Bible through in the Chronological Bible, which gives you the texts as they happened on a timeline of history--fascinating!  

My new Bible (The NLT study Bible) has daily passages marked, plus some background reading, so I think it's going to take a couple of years to get through it all.  But that's okay. As long as we're moving forward . . .

But however you choose to do it, if you want to join me, let me know!  It's a great way to begin your day each morning. 


Monday, December 29, 2008

Why I Live in Florida, part 3

May all of you who live in ice and snow have a lovely rest-of-the-winter.  

(And in the summer, feel free to post pictures of us working up a sweat merely by running out to the mailbox.  Or fending off thumb-sized roaches. :-)  )  


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why I Live in Florida, Part 2

I hope that wherever you are, you have some sunshine! 


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why I Live In Florida, Part 1

Need I say more?  How's the weather where you live today? 


Friday, December 26, 2008

Marley and Me--the movie

Yesterday the hubby and I slipped out to watch the movie "Marley and Me."  Our book club had read the book and loved it, so I was anxious to see if the movie lived up to the book. 

I am happy to report that it does.  But warning--bring a box of tissues.  I knew I'd cry, of course--I started weeping at the first shot of all those adorable puppies in a pen--but by the end of the movie everyone in the theater was sniffling.  It's a true story based on the misadventures of Marley, a golden lab owned by newspaper columnist John Grogan.  

In any case, the movie is more about the formation of a family than the dog per se, but if you've ever loved a dog, you'll adore this film.  If you can find some time during this Christmas season, this is worth going to see.  Just don't forget those tissues.  



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Big book bag contest winners

Hi, everyone! 

You certainly left me with a big job on Christmas Eve!  I went through the emails of all those who had entered the big book bag giveaway contest carefully. 

Anyone could enter, of course, and several people just said, "Enter me, please," so I gave them one number. 

Many of you donated something to, and each of you received 20 numbers.  And many others of you said that though you weren't giving to, you were giving to Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, or a similar organization. I gave each of you ten numbers. 

All in all, I had entries for numbers one through 720!  

I then went to and asked the computer for four random numbers--the first would be the book bag winner, and I'd send the other three numbers an advance copy of SHE'S IN A BETTER PLACE.  
SO . . . Congratulations!  Lora B. was our big book bag winner, and as soon as I get her address, I'll send it out. 

Deborah L., Michelle G, and Trish B. each won a copy of the third book in the Fairlawn series. (I haven't used their full names for privacy reasons, but I've e-mailed each winner.) 

Many thanks to all of you who blessed me with your interest and participation.  The real winners were all those who were helped by your giving hearts. 

A blessed Christmas to everyone! 


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Christmas Card To You

"The Light that shines from the humble manger is strong enough to lighten our way to the end of our days." --Vita-Rays.  

I've created a special Christmas card for you, my blog readers.  You can see it here. 

A most blessed Christmas to you and yours.  Thank you for your faithful readership and encouragement.  You bless me every day. 


Photo:  Babe, mesmerized by the Christmas tree. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

LAST CALL for the big bookbag giveaway--I'll hold the drawing on Christmas Eve! 

I want to give away a big bookbag filled with books (all different titles), but I've been trying to come up with a unique way to do it--a way that will benefit as many people as possible. So this is what I've come up with.  :-)  

I'm planning to give away an official bookbag from the Mt. Dora library, home to the Fairlawn Funeral home, of course.  I will fill it with as many Angela Hunt titles as it will hold, including an advance reader's copy of the yet-to-be-released SHE'S IN A BETTER PLACE, aka Fairlawn #3.  

In order to be entered in the drawing, you need to do these things. 

2.  Now go here and look at all the things you could give someone else for Christmas. I know money is tight for nearly everyone this year, but you could help another family for as little as five Starbucks coffees.  :-) 

3. Now--you don't have to give anything in order to be entered in the drawing.  But people who write and tell me that they gave SOMETHING (anything) through will be entered in the drawing TWENTY TIMES.  :-)  If you have given something through another charitable organization (like Samaritan's Purse or World Vision), I'll enter you ten times. 

4.  To be entered in the drawing, go here and leave a note in the  "send an email" box.  Include the word "contest" somewhere in the message so I'll know you're not just dropping a note to say hi.  ;-) If you gave something through, be sure to let me know.  Please, only one entry per person. I'll put in the extra entries for the heifer donations.  

5. The bookbag will contain 2 copies of each title--one for you, and one for you to donate to your church library or public library.  

6.  Finally, I'll hold the drawing on Christmas Eve and announce the winner after Christmas.  The winner will need to send me her mailing address.  

Got it?  Sorry to make this a wee bit complicated, but I wanted to spread the joy as much as possible.   

Best to you!  


P.S.  I've already heard from so many of you who are gathering your pennies, nickels, and dimes to give something from, chicks, goats, rabbits.  I feel like we're outfitting Noah's Ark!  :-)   

Monday, December 22, 2008

Time out for a commercial . . .

Some of you may recall that I was a "community columnist" for the Tampa Tribune a while back. The paper has asked some of us to contribute to their editorial board blog every now and then, so here is my first official TBO blog, if you're interested. 

The Glen Eyrie Writers' Summit brings together passionate writers, expert instructors and awe-inspiring surroundings for four incredible days of writing, learning and fellowship.


Keynote Sessions: Each morning, one of the instructors will speak on an aspect of the theme BRACE YOURSELF! Chock full of knowledge and wisdom that only comes from years in the business, as well as spiritual perspectives on writing. You won't want to miss this!

Workshops: In the first session, you'll choose your primary instructor for the week. You'll spend class time with this instructor every morning, write in the afternoons, and reconvene with your instructor in the late afternoon for a recap on your writing and "assignments."

Evening Discussions: A variety of activities to further improve your writing and build new friendships, including panel discussions, movies, and creativity exercises.


Angela Hunt
Angela HuntWorkshop Emphasis: Process. Angie's gift is conquering the nuts and bolts. She has developed systems that can organize and improve any style of writing.
Nancy Rue 
Nancy Rue
Workshop Emphasis: Relationship. Whether through juvenile or adult fiction, Nancy's gift is developing relationships between characters, and between readers and stories.

Al Gansky
Al Gansky
Workshop Emphasis: Communication. No matter the genre-fiction, nonfiction, or public speaking-Al's gift is presenting a clear, effective, and entertaining message.
Kathy Mackel
Kathy Mackel
Workshop Emphasis: Story. A gifted screenwriter and novelist, Kathy's gift is forming and shaping stories that move hearts and adhere to a sellable format.

This conference is invaluable and irreplaceable. There is nothing else like it in the world of Christian writing. --  2008 Glen Eyrie Writers' Summit Attendee 


For more information, click here or call 877-488-8787

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Critter Carols

I know I get a little carried away with the fun Christmas things on the web, but this one is a hoot.  You can upload pictures of your pets and have them "sing" Christmas carols.  Here's one I did of Babe.  



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Stop that Tow Truck!

Have you ever had a car towed?  I have, but not for a parking violation.  My engine is usually dead or making strange sounds before I call the tow truck. 

Anyway, this woman in China had some nerve.  Take a quick peek at what she did.  :-)


Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Okay, this is too cute.  Here's a cute internet card you can send to friends and loved ones.  Enjoy! 

And here's an aside--I've been listening to Christmas music for most of the month, and I wanted to recommend a couple of unique Christmas albums.  All of these, BTW, are available for download from iTunes, so you can sample them for free and enjoy them in minutes! 

**Mandisa's new Christmas album is lovely.   I love "Christmas Makes Me Cry." 

**Derric Johnson's Vocal Orchestra, Christmas in Velvet, volumes one and two.  Beautiful a capella music! 

**Celtic Woman's Christmas album is lovely. Their version of "O Holy Night" is pure and simple. 

**Naturally Seven's Christmas Album.  Gotta love "I Love a Love Story . . ."   


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chickens Have Talent

Okay, here's a fact you didn't know:  chickens have great talent when it comes to their heads.  Huh?  Watch this video, and you'll see what I mean.  

So . . . I guess I'm not the only one into giving farm animals as gifts!  :-)  


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Men in Flight

And I thought I was brave for rappelling.  Take a look at this. 


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rudolph the Black-Nosed Dalmatian

My sweet friend Cara Putnam interviewed me not too long ago about my upcoming legal thriller, LET DARKNESS COME.  If you want to check out the interview, you can find it here. Cara is both a lawyer and a novelist . . . and a new mommy.  She has her hands full! 

My cousin Belinda sent me a link to the following video--it's a hoot, especially in the spirit of the season. 

We don't have snow in Florida (yet! Who knows with the weird weather we've been having), but I'd love to see this dog in action sometime.  Take two minutes and watch him here--he'll make you smile! 


Monday, December 15, 2008

Progressive Dinner

Last night my husband and I participated in our little neighborhood's annual progressive dinner.  We've done it three or four times now, and every time we do it we have a delightful time. 

The main reason we decided to participate is our conviction that you can't be salt and light in your community unless you get out of the salt shaker.  Years ago, because the event is held on a Sunday night, we would have automatically sent our regrets.  And then we began to realize that there are times when a believer's best place is NOT in the pew--it's with their neighbors. 

So tonight we furnished the appetizers and welcomed our neighbors to our home, then we went on to another house for soup and salad, then we went to another home for desserts.  (One year we also included entrees, but it took no time at all to realize that was just TOO MUCH FOOD.)  

And in every home we socialized with our neighbors, we laughed, we shared concerns, and we got to know them as people.  Neighbors don't do that so much any more--we're all too busy working and going about our daily lives.  We learned that Lisa grew up in Lynchburg, where we lived ten years, and that Judy and Bud were among the first families in our county, and that Becky met John in college, that Barb enjoys tailgating and rooting for the Bucs, and that John and his son are really into texting.  :-)  

We had a wonderful time . . . and though I don't know what your neighborhood is like, I can assure you that this is a wonderful idea.  You might want to give it a try sometime! 


Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Thing About Funerals . . .

When I wrote the Fairlawn books, which are all set in a funeral home, I wish I'd written from a place of greater experience.  I had never lost a parent, a spouse, or a child until this week, and now that I've buried a close family member, I know I would have written things that simply never occurred to me before. 

I experienced some things about funerals, grief, and family this week.  For what it's worth, here are a few of those things. 

Bad things about funeral
1. They never come at a convenient time. 
2. They are a mixture of the ridiculous and the sublime--i.e., you have to worry about the mundane along with matters of eternal significance 
3. They involve tears
4. Emotions are unpredictable and unruly. They crop up when you'd rather they stay hidden, and sometimes they absent themselves when you feel they ought to appear. 
5. Funerals involve loss, even if it is temporary. 

Good things about funerals
1. Humor is not out of place. 
2. Nearly every business and/or school grants time off for funerals. 
3. Family gathers together. 
4. People bring food you didn't have to cook. 
5. For a Christian, a funeral is more like a graduation from boot camp than a permanent farewell. 
6. You hear stories that help you see the departed from other people's perspective. 
7. Not even a high school reunion brings so many people together. 
8. There's no dress code. 
9. Black, if you choose to wear it, is slimming. 

After my father's funeral, which filled a small chapel, most of us went back to my mom's house, which had been kindly invaded by members of Mom's Sunday school class, each of whom brought a dish of something delicious. Those ladies filled the kitchen with fried chicken, potato salad, sweet potato pie, and gallons of sweet tea (yes, this IS the south), and we all trooped through the makeshift buffet line and filled our paper plates until they sagged.  

All afternoon I visited with my dear aunts, cousins, sisters, and friends of the family.  I heard stories about my dad I'd never heard before. I met wonderful cousins I'd never met before. We laughed, we cried, we made promises that we wouldn't wait so long to get together again.  And that night when most of the folks had gone home, I told my mom that I'd smiled so much that my jaws hurt.  :-)   

Tears of sorrow and joy mingle so easily when you're with family, the people you love and who love you best. 

My favorite story from the day:  my sister Dana and I were in a back bedroom fiddling with the computer.  We were with her daughters, Brooke and Lacey.  I was telling Brooke that the room we were in had been Dana's, and the one across the hall had been my other sister's, and the one at the end of the hallway had been mine.  "Who had the computer?" Brooke asked.  Her eyes got huge when I laughed and said that the computer hadn't been invented yet.  

What did we DO before we had the Internet?  Oh, my . . . 


Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Ultimate Bucket List? meme

Thank you for your prayers about my father's funeral. It was a lovely, warm service, a fitting tribute for Daddy, and I know he would have loved it. I sang . . . some of the song. :-/ Most of it came out, and what didn't come out . . . well, everyone understood. But all in all, it was a wonderful tribute for a good and godly man. I so appreciate your notes and prayers. I had a great time being with aunts, sisters, brother-in-laws, and cousins I haven't seen in a long time.

And now, on with the pre-scheduled meme . . . enjoy!

Meme of "what I've done... so far." This one comes to us from Lisa Samson. Directions: Put an asterisk next to the things you have done in your life, and then feel free to pass it on in your blog! (Also feel free to add a couple at the end, if you like.)

*1. Started your own blog
*2. Slept under the stars
*3. Played in a band
*4. Visited Hawaii
*5. Watched a meteor shower
*6. Given more than you can afford to charity
*7. Been to Disneyworld
*8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
*10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
*14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
*15. Adopted a child
*16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
*21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
*30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
*32. Been on a cruise
*33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
*35. Seen an Amish community
*36. Taught yourself a new language
*37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
*41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
*43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
*45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
*47. Had your portrait painted - drawn I think that counts!
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
*51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
*52. Kissed in the rain
*53. Played in the mud
*54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
*57. Started a business
*58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
*61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
*63. Got flowers for no reason
*64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
*67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
*69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (book!)
*70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
*71. Eaten Caviar
*72. Pieced a quilt
*73. Stood in Times Square
*74. Toured the Everglades
*75. Been fired/laid off from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
*78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
*80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
*82. Bought a brand new car
*83. Walked in Jerusalem
*84. Had your picture in the newspaper
*85. Read the entire Bible
*86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
*88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
*90. Sat on a jury
*91. Met someone famous
*92. Joined a book club
*93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
*95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
*97. Been involved in a law suit
*98. Owned a cell phone
*99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
*101. Learned to play an instrument
*102. Kissed the Blarney Stone
*103. Ridden a camel


Friday, December 12, 2008

Presidential Pix

I found this video interesting--mainly because it's apparent that Jimmy Carter gave us presidents with TEETH.  Before him--no teeth in the presidential portraits.  After Carter--teeth galore. 

Was it suddenly more appropriate to smile, or did we see a huge advance in dental technology?  


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A short film worth watching.

First, I'd like to thank you for your kind condolences and your prayers.  I'll be heading over to my parents' house today for the funeral tomorrow, and your prayers are so appreciated.  

Last week I pre-wrote a few blogs to keep them coming. And I can't help feeling that this one is appropriate for today: 

Got 15 minutes?  You need to watch this short film.     I was bawling like a baby by the end, thinking of all the ways you could interpret this--what if we "validated" others in Jesus' name?  

Whenever we gripe and moan about how the world is antagonistic toward God, maybe what they're antagonist about is what they've seen in unsmiling Christians.  A friend of mine says that no one will ever turn down hope or help, and we Christians have plenty of both to share. 

So enjoy the video . . . and let me know what you think! 



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In Memory . . . James Albert Elwell, 1935-2008

My father died yesterday.   He fell and broke his hip about three weeks ago, and things went downhill from there. 

The dancing picture, taken in 1975, is my favorite of the two of us. Pretty radical, considering that we were a couple of non-dancing Baptists.  

The men in my life: son, husband, daddy. (Many years ago!) 

If you feel led, I'd appreciate your prayers for my mom and my two sisters. And for me, especially on Friday, as I sing at the funeral. 


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A lovely little descriptor

Nicole is a lovely young lady who is part of my book club.  At our last meeting, she said her boyfriend nudged her and said, "I know you're book drunk, but . . ." 

I didn't even hear the rest of the sentence, because I fell in love with "book drunk."  Yes!  That's exactly how it is!  

Not every book makes me drunk, of course.  Nonfiction almost never does.  But every once in a while I'll pick up a novel and so lose myself in its characters and setting that when I'm forced to stop reading, I look up, blink, and murmur, "Who am I?"  That's when you know you're book-drunk. 

The most recent books to inebriate me were the Twilight series--and boy, did they ever do it.  I was on a beautiful cruise ship, and I didn't even want to look up, I was so into the books.  Even after I'd finished them, I wanted to go back and read them again.  That craving?  The result of being book-drunk. 

What books have made you book-drunk?  Can you put your finger on the quality that adds to the inebriation and keeps you coming back for more? 


Monday, December 08, 2008

My friend Lyn's Latest Book

My friend Lyn Cote has a new book out--a romantic historical.  I invited her to stop by and tell us about it. 

Every woman has a story. Come and read stories of other women, in real life and in true to life fiction. Share your story and any stories of strong women in your family history.   Love Inspired Historical

Order Her Captain's Heart

Nothing is impossible—as far as idealistic Verity Hardy is concerned. The lovely widow is certain teaching freed slaves in a Virginia town torn apart by the Civil War will help heal bitterness and old wounds. But she's finding that the school's builder, cynical Captain Matt Ritter has little reason to have faith in her—or anything else.

                                  *** First in the "Gabriel Sisters" series for Love Inspired Historical: "In the wake of the Civil War, three Quaker sisters fight injustice and find true love."

"Her Captain's Heart is not just a great love story. It shows how people used their faith and determination to end social ills."  --Romantic Times Magazine

If you'd like to read more or watch a video trailer about the book, visit

Lyn has a new blog found at:  



Sunday, December 07, 2008

BOM: Questions and Answers

Here we go! 

Clyde asked:Ditto the question from Ruth. Having read and loved the series a few years back, I wonder whether the difference is in tightening as opposed to substantive changes in story line?

Loved the photos from your trip. You are an adventurous (adventuresome?) lady and I admire you for that! What fun to have a partner in these adventures. Did the rainforest remind you at all of the setting for The Canopy? Had you traveled to the Amazon before writing that book? Did you find more topics for future books on this trip? Am I asking too many questions? 

LOL.  The "refreshing" involved nothing more than cutting out unnecessary words.  "He stood" instead of "He stood to his feet."  I write a lot tighter these days.  The story wasn't changed at all. 

And did the Central American rain forest remind me of "The Canopy?" Yes, very much.  Did I travel to the Amazon before writing "The Canopy?" Yes, I spent a week in the Peruvian part of the rain forest--fished for pirhana, the whole nine yards. Did I find topics for future books on this trip?  I went with two books in mind, and yes, I learned things that I'll definitely use in those books.  And no, you can never ask too many questions!  :-)  

Jan asked if I will "refresh" the Keepers of the Ring series--yes, but only if and when another publisher wants to buy and publish them again.  

Kathy asked if THE DEBT and THE JUSTICE have been BOMs--yes.  THE DEBT can be found under June 07, and THE JUSTICE can be found under Feb. 07.  

Off to bake a cake.  (Really!) 

Thanks for coming along for another BOM! 


Saturday, December 06, 2008

BOM: Results and Reader Reaction

When it originally released, DREAMERS was a finalist in RWA's Rita awards.  That was a treat, especially since I shared that honor with Lisa Tawn Bergren and Francine Rivers.  

My favorite thing to hear about this book is that people are often forced to think of Joseph in a new way--or see him as human, instead of an illustration of a godly character quality.  :-)  Yes, Joseph was a godly example, but he was also a man with flaws--pride being chief among them. 

I also love hearing that the book sent people scrambling for their Bibles to figure out how much was true and how much fiction.  Of course I "filled in the story," especially with the secondary characters, but I took great pains not to contradict anything in Scripture.  I believe not only in honoring the Word of God, but in remaining true to historical sources.

No one has ever asked me about turning this book into a movie, but I think it'd make a great one.  Who could you see playing Joseph? Tuya? Sagira?  

Hmmm.  Stranger things have happened . . . 

Tomorrow:  your questions and my answers.  Please feel free to leave your question in the comments and I'll answer tomorrow! 

P.S.  And if you haven't yet entered the bookbag giveaway contest, read the details at 12/2/08! 


Friday, December 05, 2008

BOM: The Editing

I laugh when I sort through my memories about the editing of DREAMERS.  Unfortunately, the things I remember best are things that had more to do with writing for the sensitivities of a Christian audience than anything else. 

For instance--the Egyptians were, by contemporary American standards, an immodest lot.  Men typically wore a kilt, and nothing else.  Women wore sheer, tight dresses that were not only see-through, but often began beneath the breasts and fell to the ankle.  

So--I found myself often being very careful as I described clothing, etc.  And then there is that fateful scene where Potiphar's wife demands that Joseph sleep with her.  Depending upon your Bible translation, in the attempt she either grabbed his "robe" or his "garment" or something, but in actuality, she probably grabbed his kilt . . . and kilts were the only garment slaves wore.  So, if the truth be told, Joseph was probably running through the house in his birthday suit, not in his skivvies. Not that it matters much to us, but I'm sure it mattered to Joseph. 

I just remembered something--and now I just forgot it.  Does that happen to you?  :-/  

Oh--it's come back.  One change in the "refreshed" versions is that I went with the Hebrew names, not the English versions.  So Joseph is Yosef, his real name.  Why did I do this?  Two reasons:  1) for historical accuracy and 2) to honor any Jewish readers who might pick the book up.  When I write about Jewish characters, I think it's only right to use Jewish names in order to properly reflect the culture.  

All in all, the editing wasn't a difficult experience.  I think I had to "tone down" a couple of sentences in the seduction scene, but that's about it.  Usually I'm pretty good at keeping my readers' sensibilities in mind, partly because I share those same sensibilities.  :-)  

Tomorrow: The results/reactions. And if you haven't yet entered the bookbag giveaway contest, read the details below! 


Thursday, December 04, 2008

BOM: The Writing

All I remember about the original writing of DREAMERS is that I finished the first draft in ten days.  I didn't know as much then as I do now, so I spent a lot less time agonizing over every detail, every word, every plot point.  I simply let the story spill out of me. 

I think it's a good thing that I was following a pre-determined plot . . . or who knows where I might have ended up. 

I write in layers, then and now.  I first get the story down as fast as possible, then I go back and fill in the missing pieces.  Third draft is for adding "mood music" and sensory details, fourth draft is for polishing and tightening.  Fifth draft is for adding depth.  

As I think I mentioned earlier, last year I took this previously-written manuscript and went back through it with a fresh eye.  I took out THOUSANDS of unnecessary words.  I didn't change any of the plot or much of the prose, but I hacked at things like "stood to her feet."  (Ha!  What else are you going to stand on?)  I ended up with about 9,000 words gone, and I'm pretty sure no one will ever notice the difference.  

Except me.  And maybe some of my writing students. :-)

Anyway, that's the story of the writing.  Tomorrow: the editing.  (And don't forget to enter the bookbag giveaway contest if you haven't entered already!) 


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

BOM: The Research

My first inclination for research was to travel to Egypt . . . but since I often travel alone on research trips, that didn't seem like such an appealing idea.  So I decided to travel to London instead, because the British Museum has an incredible array of ancient Egyptian artifacts.  Plus, I was also working on books set in England/Ireland, so I could do a lot of research in only one trip. 

In writing biblical fiction, it'd be a mistake to read only Bible-based books.  I read those, of course, lots of commentaries and the like, but I also read books by Jewish rabbis and Muslim authors. I didn't agree with everything I read, but seeing Joseph/Yosef through the eyes of these authors helped to sharpen my own way of thinking. 

I devoured all things Egyptian, learning about their clothing, their music, their art, their customs, religion, and philosophy. I visited museums and took lots of pictures.  It was truly a fascinating period in history. 

One tricky problem was the timeline.  At one point Scripture says that the people of Israel were in Egypt for 430 years, and if you take that time literally, it's hard to find a place where Joseph fits AND Moses fits.  Either Joseph falls too early, before the arrival of the Hyksos, or Moses falls too late. 

I found the answer--a delightful one that fits with literal Scripture and with the historical timeline.  And you'll find the answer spelled out in the interview in the back of the book.  :-)  

Whatever research I did, I used the Bible as my "plumb line" for truth whenever the so-called "experts" didn't agree on a matter.  And I came away pleased and satisfied with the result. 

Tomorrow: the writing.  And don't forget to enter the bookbag giveaway contest described below! 


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

BIG Bookbag Giveaway

We interrupt this BOM to bring you an important announcement. 

I want to give away a big bookbag filled with books (all different titles), but I've been trying to come up with a unique way to do it--a way that will benefit as many people as possible. So this is what I've come up with.  :-)  

See the bookbag Charley is guarding?  It's an official bookbag from the Mt. Dora library, home to the Fairlawn Funeral home, of course.  I will fill it with as many Angela Hunt titles as it will hold, including an advance reader's copy of the yet-to-be-released SHE'S IN A BETTER PLACE, aka Fairlawn #3.  

In order to be entered in the drawing, you need to do these things. 

2.  Now go here and look at all the things you could give someone else for Christmas. I know money is tight for nearly everyone this year, but you could help another family for as little as five Starbucks coffees.  :-) 

3. Now--you don't have to give anything in order to be entered in the drawing.  But people who write and tell me that they gave SOMETHING (anything) through will be entered in the drawing TWENTY TIMES.  :-)  

4.  To be entered in the drawing, go here and leave a note in the  "send an email" box.  Include the word "contest" somewhere in the message so I'll know you're not just dropping a note to say hi.  ;-) If you gave something through, be sure to let me know.  Please, only one entry per person. I'll put in the extra entries for the heifer donations.  

5. The bookbag will contain 2 copies of each title--one for you, and one for you to donate to your church library or public library.  

6.  Finally, I'll hold the drawing on Christmas Eve and announce the winner after Christmas.  The winner will need to send me her mailing address.  

Got it?  Sorry to make this a wee bit complicated, but I wanted to spread the joy as much as possible.   

Best to you!  


P.S.  I've already heard from so many of you who are gathering your pennies, nickels, and dimes to give something from, chicks, goats, rabbits.  I feel like we're outfitting Noah's Ark!  :-)   

BOM: How the idea germinated

Biblical fiction (historical fiction set in biblical times) is like the old song:  when it's hot, it's hot, and when it's not, it's not. When I began to think about the story that became DREAMERS, I was praying that I'd strike at a "hot" time.  Otherwise, I'd never sell it. 

In any case, I've always loved the story of Joseph, but I couldn't imagine how to tell it in a way that was fresh and new.  But one day I was sitting in the crowd at youth camp, and the speaker was preaching a sermon about Joseph.  As he read the story from Genesis, a part of a verse struck me--it was as if I'd never read it before. 

After reading that Potiphar was the captain of the guard, the Bible tells us that when Joseph was cast into prison (after Potiphar's wife accused him of attempted rape), he was placed into a prison located in the house of the captain of the guard.  In other words, Joseph was placed into a prison that was only a few feet away from Potiphar's wife . . . the bitter woman who had schemed to possess Joseph and now would never have him. 

Well--that was a delicious tidbit, worthy of savoring.  And so I began to think about Potiphar's Wife--in fact, I originally wanted to call the book "Potiphar's Wife."  I wanted this unnamed woman to be the protagonist, and I wanted to tell Joseph's story through her eyes . . . but then I realized that such an approach would be extremely limiting.  Most people want to like the protagonist, and Potiphar's wife has had such a bad reputation over the years . . . 

So I invented the lovely Tuya, slave and best friend to the woman who would one day become Potiphar's wife. And I began my research into Egyptian customs and practices and religion, and in those facts I found the seeds for my story . . . 

Tomorrow--the research. 


Monday, December 01, 2008

Book of the Month: DREAMERS

DREAMERS releases this month--in fact, it's rolling onto store shelves right now.  It's the first book in a trilogy about Joseph, son of Jacob, and the setting is ancient Egypt. 

If you'd like to order a copy online, you can do so here. This book was originally published by Bethany House, but I've "refreshed" it and it's available now from Steeple Hill. 

Product Description
In the land of Pharaoh, Tuya has always been a slave. As a little girl, she was sold as a playmate to a wealthy child who became her best friend. But as she approaches womanhood, beautiful Tuya is betrayed and cast out. Now she belongs to Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh's guard. Yet her heart is owned by handsome Joseph, sold into slavery by his own brothers. Proud, arrogant Joseph dreams of freedom, of his own household, of Tuya as his queen. Shared dreams will sustain Joseph and Tuya through the deepest of sorrows and most unbearable of separations…but is it God's will to make the dream their destiny? 

Tomorrow: how the idea germinated.  


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why not a few more?

Here are a few more pictures.  

The blue, blue waters of the Caribbean. 

Eric, mi nuevo amigo. He's 17 and wanted to practice his English; yo necessito practicar mi Espanol. :-) 

The adorable children of Guatemala. 

An expert demonstrating the proper way to zip-line.  (As opposed to hanging on with both hands and screaming). 

The waterfalls we hiked to in Guatemala.  :-)  Beautiful! 


More Vacation pics

More pictures . . . 

"Angela Street" in Key West (couldn't resist.) 

An odd elevated house in a Mexican village. 

Part of the Mayan ruins in Mexico. 

And one of my favorite events:  at Santo Tomas in Guatemala, the entire town comes out to bid the boat farewell.  Taxis and buses line up and blow their horns, dancers come, even a group of nuns!  Construction workers join in the fun, merchants who sell their wares--people play music and dance--notice the tiny little girl down front in the line.  Click on the pictures to enlarge and enjoy.  :-) 


Vacation Pics!

We're home!  And here are some vacation pictures. 

In random order--the beginning of US 1, and mile marker zero. 

The very skinny dogs that seem to run wild in Guatemala. 

Ernest Hemingway's house.  (Key West)

Our zip-lining and rappelling group.  We jumped off the equivalent of five story buildings! (Belize). 

Hubby and I in full gear.  :-) 

More to come.