Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Lines

Did you see that yesterday's "cell phone" video was a hoax?  I looked it up on, and yes, it is.  LOL!  I got suckered by that one!  

As anyone who's ever sat in one of my classes knows, I place a lot of emphasis on first lines.  I've always worked super hard on mine, and I urge other writers to do the same.  In fact, in my classes I usually collect everyone's first line, then read them aloud, anonymously, and ask everyone else about how effective the line was at "hooking" a reader's attention.  

Kay let me know about this web site, where apparently you can enter your first line in a contest and perhaps win some money.  I have no idea how legit this is, but why not check it out?  

And the next time you're in a bookstore, go to the fiction section and open several random novels.  Read the first line . . . and see which ones make you want to keep reading. 

My favorite first line of all time is from a Jodi Picoult novel:  "Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he tried to kill himself, but not the second or the third."  LOL!  Isn't that great?  


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cell phones fry your brain

If you doubt it, watch this demonstration in which international experiments prove that cell phones can emit powerful waves. 

Trust me, it's more entertaining than you might think.  (It's also a hoax, we now know.)  :-)

What are you doing over the holiday weekend?  Now that my deadline is met, I've been trying to clean off my bookshelves.  Not an easy task . . . 


Friday, August 29, 2008

The News is Out!

HT to Robin Lee Hatcher for this link. And congratulations to John McCain for picking a pro-life woman as his running mate! 


Guardian Angels

News flash:  I AM DONE WITH THE WIP!   Finished polishing yesterday afternoon and sent it off to my editor with a couple of clicks.  

Now . . . time to clean off the desk, file the lawyer stuff away (though it was so interesting I might keep those files for another someday protagonist), and turn a couple of percolating ideas into proposals.  :-) 

Most of you know that I'm a dog nut.  The more I learn about them--the more I watch ANIMAL COPS--the more convinced I am that God gave us dogs as special companions.  That's why I freak when I hear about them being abused . . . 

But that's another topic.  Here's a heart-warming (literally!) story from South America:  

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A newborn baby abandoned outdoors in winter by her 14-year-old mother was found safe in a dog pen with a mother dog and her brood of puppies near the city of La Plata, Argentine media reported on Friday.

Farmer Fabio Anze found the naked baby girl on Thursday, being kept warm among his dog China's puppies, La Nacion newspaper said. Anze called the police and the baby was taken to a hospital.

Egidio Melia, director of the Melchor Romero hospital, told television and newspaper reporters that the baby was just a few hours old when she was found, and was in good health although she had some bruises.

Nighttime temperatures are chilly but not freezing in the Southern Hemisphere winter in the rural area around La Plata, 40 miles south of Buenos Aires.

Police said they had located the 14-year-old girl who gave birth to the baby outdoors during the night.

It was not clear whether the mother left her baby in the dog's pen or whether the dog found the baby outdoors and carried it in to join her puppies.

Angie here again:  I think that dog found that baby and carried it to her den. And maybe she had some angelic assistance . . . 


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Miss Sister 2008

An article in the August 27th newspaper cracked me up.  Dateline: Rome. Headline:  Priest Scraps Nuns' Beauty Contest. 

Apparently the Rev. Antonio Rungi wanted to convince people that not all nuns were old and dour. So he planned a beauty pageant for nuns, wanting to call it "Miss Sister 2008."  The contest was supposed to begin in September on a blog run by the priest, who is a teacher in Naples. 

LOL!  That is unbelievable.  To my way of understanding, nuns take vows of humility and poverty, and they devote their lives to working on the inner beauties of obedience, submission, and piety.  And while there is a certain grace and beauty to a woman at peace with herself and God, asking nuns to compete in a contest designed to compare physical beauty is like--well, it's like asking Mothers Against Drunk Driving to campaign for their favorite vodka. 

There are great ideas, so-so ideas, and bad ideas.  This was one very bad idea . . . but it's good for a giggle. 


P.S.  I just found a web site that is giving away a preview copy of THE FACE (I don't even have one.)  If you're interested, check it out here.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scene from the WIP

As promised, here's a scene from the work-in-progress.  Briley is the defense attorney, Bystrowski the prosecutor, and Erin the defendant in a capital murder case.   I think you can see from this excerpt how careful I've had to be to get all the details right.  (I'll never take Law & Order for granted again!)  

Several weeks ago I posted the first few scenes from this book--this scene is from the middle. 

Chapter Forty-seven

Shirley Walker, Erin and Jeffrey Tomassi’s housekeeper, appears even smaller and older behind the oak railing of the witness box. In comparison, Travis Bystrowski looks like a giant as he reinforces the fact that Erin was an unhappy wife by quizzing the housekeeper about the Tomassi marriage. 

“All that poor girl wanted was a baby,” Shirley says, touching a tissue to the corners of her eyes. “And he didn’t want one.” 

Briley studies the jury. Four of the women visibly soften at this remark, but most of the men sit with blank and unreadable faces. She’s been watching the jury all morning, trying to discern how they’re feeling about her client. What are they thinking about Erin’s scratched and bruised features? Do they see her as victim or some kind of hellcat? 

When Bystrowski concludes his examination, Briley approaches the lectern with a smile. “Mrs. Walker, how many years have you worked for Jeffrey and Erin Tomassi?” 

“I’ve been with them since they first married.” Shirley settles her hands in her lap. “They’ve never had any housekeeper but me.” 

“You worked at their house—what, once week?” 

“That’s right. I cleaned every Tuesday.”

“Did you know them well?” 

“I knew Erin real well,” Shirley says, her eyes bright behind her glasses. “Him, not so well. But she confided in me quite a bit. I got the feeling she didn’t have anyone else to talk to.” 

“Did you like her?” 

“Yes, I still do.” As if to prove her point, Shirley leans forward and sends a smile winging toward the defense table.

“Tell me, Mrs. Walker—in all the time you spent with Erin, did you ever see her do anything intended to hurt someone else?” 

“Heavens, no.” Shirley’s lower lip trembles. “That girl wouldn’t hurt a fly.” 

“How can you be so sure?”

“Well, once we found this kitten in the gutter in front of their brownstone. I brought it inside, thinking I’d take it to the Humane Society as soon as I finished cleaning, but Erin picked it up and started lovin’ on it. Next thing I know, she’s feeding it milk and tuna and calling it Tinkerbell. I thought maybe she’d finally found something to help her feel a little less lonely, but the kitten was gone when I came back the next week. Erin said Jeffrey wouldn’t let her keep it.” The woman frowns. “I only hope he took it to the Humane Society instead of dropping it in a dumpster. I wondered about that, but didn’t have the heart to check.” 

Concerned that Shirley may have given the jury another reason to believe Erin killed her husband, Briley moves on. “That’s an interesting anecdote, but it doesn’t really establish Erin Tomassi’s character. After all, people can love animals and resent other human beings, can’t they?” 

The housekeeper blinks behind her glasses. “I suppose so.” 

“Did Erin ever say anything about resenting her husband? Or anyone else in particular?” 

Shirley hesitates, then shakes her head. “I don’t think so. That girl was more sad than hateful. But I never heard her say a bad word about her husband or anyone else, and generally people who resent other people talk bad about ‘em. But Erin isn’t the gossipy type.” 

“You testified that Erin was unhappy in her marriage and that Jeffrey often raised his voice to his wife. Did you ever hear Erin yell back at him?” 


“Did you ever see her strike out at him, even in jest?” 

“Heavens, no. Erin isn’t the type.” 

“Not a fighter, then? Not a brawler?” 

“No.” Shirley’s forehead crinkles as she glances toward the battered woman at the defense table. “I don’t know what happened to her, but I know she’s not the type to pick fights. Especially not with her husband. He was so much bigger than her.” 

“Thank you.” Briley glances at her notes. “What sorts of things did you do at the Tomassi home?” 

“You mean . . . what did I clean?”

“That’s right.” 

Shirley shrugs. “I vacuumed all the carpets, dusted the entire house, scrubbed the kitchen sink and counters, cleaned the bathrooms, changed the sheets in the master bedroom, and put fresh flowers on the foyer table. Erin loves fresh flowers in the foyer.” 

“Did your duties include cleaning the windows?” 

A smile gathers up the wrinkles by the woman’s mouth. “Sure. I did the windows about once a month.” 

“Did you raise and lower them, or just clean them on the inside?”

“I usually cleaned the inside.” 

“Did you ever have occasion to raise the windows?” 

“Well . . . sometimes when the weather was nice, I raised them up to let in some fresh air.” 

“Did you always lower the windows before leaving the house?” 

“Well . . . no.” 

“Objection.” Bystrowski stands, a look of weariness on his face. “While this is fascinating, it’s also irrelevant.” 

“I have a point, Your Honor,” Briley says. “If I may be allowed to continue, my reasoning will become clear.” 

Judge Trask nods. “Objection overruled. Get to your point, Ms. Lester.” 

Briley turns to the bewildered housekeeper. “Is it possible, Mrs. Walker, that after opening some of the Tomassi’s windows, that you might have left a window unlocked?” 

The housekeeper’s smile dissolves. “Why—I didn’t mean to.” 

“But on the days when you left and some of the windows were still open . . . someone might have closed a window without locking it, correct? And it remained unlocked for an indefinite amount of time?” 

Her face goes pale as uncertainty creeps into her expression. “You mean . . . I might have let the killer in?”

Briley braces for another objection, and Bystrowski does not disappoint. “Objection—unresponsive. The witness did not answer the question.” 

Trask sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. “Objection sustained. The jury will disregard that last remark.” 

Briley tries her best not to smile. Mrs. Walker leapt to the appropriate conclusion, and the jury followed her. She turns toward her witness again. “Emptying the household trash cans—was that another one of your duties?” 


“Did you often see syringes in the trash?” 

“Every once in a while.” 

“Did you find these in the bathroom trash bin? Or did you ever find them in other areas?” 

“The kitchen,” Shirley says. “Sometimes Mr. Tomassi would test his blood in the kitchen and give himself a shot at the sink.” 

“Did he carry that syringe into the bathroom and dispose of it in the special sharps receptacle?”

“Shoot, no, he couldn’t be bothered. He’d drop it into the trash compactor. I learned to be real careful when emptying that machine—I didn’t want to get stuck with a needle. Those syringes come with plastic caps for protection, but Mr. Jeffrey never bothered to put them back on.” 

“May I approach, Your Honor?” 

The judge motions her forward. 

Briley walks to the courtroom clerk and picks up the bag marked state’s exhibit one. “Mrs. Walker—” she holds up the evidence bag— “does this look like one of the syringes you occasionally saw in the trash compactor?” 

Shirley nods with great enthusiasm. “Yes.” 

“And for the record—will you state whether or not the cap is on the needle?” 

“It’s missing.” Shirley directs her gaze toward the jury. “No cap on that one.” 

Briley smiles at the witness. “Thank you, Mrs. Walker.” 

So--if this were a TV show and you had just tuned in, would you keep watching? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Book List

If you watched any of the Olympics, be sure to check out Time Magazine's online photo gallery.  Wonderful photography, great shots. Put on some background music and enjoy. 

With the WIP, I'm at the phase where I'm doing the super-picky editing.  And yesterday it occurred to me that people really don't go through doors, they go through doorWAYS.  (Saves them a lot of splinters).  It's all about precise language, yeah, baby. Either that, or I'm getting positively punchy with this book.  

A bushel of thanks to Melissa, over on her blog, where she posted a book list.  I was not only honored to be included on her list, but I was pleased by her other choices, most of which I've read.  My favorite line?  "Angela Hunt doesn't write girly Christian fiction."  LOL!  I don't suppose I do. 

I also loved THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE.  It's not Christian fiction, but it's very thought-provoking and unusual.  My book club chose it as our selection one month, and we loved it.  Also on that list are selections by Terri Blackstock, Athol Dickson, Bill Myers, Nancy Moser, Ted Dekker, and others. 

Well, the deadline for this legal thriller is drawing ever nearer.  I think I'll share a scene tomorrow, and you'll see what I've been doing for the last few days . . . and why my poor brain is exhausted!  Last night I dreamed I was in law school . . . no wonder! 


Monday, August 25, 2008

Life Lessons Behind the Snack Bar

Sunday morning I had to teach a lesson--no, not the kind where you stand up front and talk. The kind where you stand behind a snack bar.

A couple of things you should know--I've been married to middle school ministry for 28 years and counting. I know middle schoolers. I can read 'em like a book.

My hubby's Sunday school department gives out little rewards called "Baldy Bucks" for when the kids do certain things. Every Sunday, those who remember to bring their Bible to Sunday school can, at a given point in the class, show their Bible and receive a Baldy Buck. It's worth fifty cents, or the price of a candy bar, at the snack bar, which we open after class.

Sunday I am working the snack bar after class when a boy comes up with Bible in hand. "I didn't get a Baldy Buck," he says, brandishing the Bible. "And I want some candy."

"Why didn't you go up in class when they were handing out the baldy bucks?" I ask.

He shrugs.

I point to the Bible. "This isn't really your Bible, is it?"

"It's my sister's. She has two."

"Where's yours?"

He shrugs again. "I lost it."

I smile and suggest that he find it, because I can't give out baldy bucks under false pretenses.

A few minutes later he comes up with the Bible again, but this time he has a baldy buck. "I'm ready for my candy."

I nod toward the buck. "Where'd you get it?"

He names one of our younger workers who probably handed it out without thinking--or questioning.

I shake my head. "That's not right. I think if I gave you a candy bar for this baldy buck, that'd be cheating, don't you think? What do you think about it?"

He looks at me, then nods.

"And we don't want to cheat, do we?"

His sister comes up, snacking on her candy, and asks what's up. I explain that he has used her Bible to get a baldy buck because his is lost. "Why don't you help your brother find his Bible?"

"We looked."

"Maybe it's under his bed," I suggest.


They both walk away and sit in a booth for a while. Then he disappears and she comes over with the baldy buck. "I'd like a candy bar."

I eye the baldy buck. "Did you get this from your brother?"

"It's from my other brother."

"Where's he?"

"He's in third grade."

I sigh, because the third graders are meeting at least a hundred yards away and do not come to our building.

"This baldy buck is void," I say, taking it from her. "And sweetie, I really don't care about giving you candy. But I DO care about encouraging you to cheat. I can't do it. So why don't you help your brother find his Bible so he can bring it next week?"

She walks away and I stand there, frankly feeling like a heel or a grump or a troll (pick your noun). But if I let them get away with cheating, what are they learning? What lessons will they take with them into high school and college and adulthood? Somehow, somewhere along the way, someone has to say that cheating is wrong and will not be rewarded.

I know there are lots of people who might think I'm making a mountain out of a 50 cent candy bar. Frankly, that's what it feels like. But there have been people in my life--pastors and relatives, particularly--who took the time to sit me down and rebuke me when I was in the wrong. They taught me about honor and integrity and responsibility, and I've never forgotten those lessons. They have been, as my friend Patsy says, "pressed into the veneer of my heart."

Just this weekend my Bible reading took me to Luke, and the promise that he who is faithful in little things will also be faithful in large ones--and whoever is dishonest in little things won't be honest with greater responsibilities. (Luke 16:10-11).

So . . . I'll try not to be a grump, but I have to remain firm. Because little things do mean a lot.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another of those silly quizzes . . .

because who can resist 'em? Which font are you?  This blog quiz says I'm courier new, which happens to be one of my least favorite fonts (I'm partial to Garamond).  Unfortunately, one is limited to the fonts one can use in a blog, or I'd show you some of my favorites.  But you can find some really cool fonts here.  


You Are Courier New

You have a deep appreciation for tradition and history.

You don't eschew modernity, but you do have a deep reverence for the past.

You are very literate. It's likely you enjoy writing and reading.

Some people may feel you're a bit cold, but you just have high standards for who you hang out with.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another Book Giveaway from CAW

We had such a great response to our last book giveaway that we've decided to make it a regular event! So we are giving away a ten-pound box of autographed Chapter-a-Week books to one Chapter-a-Week member again.

Simply send an email with "Chapter-a-Week Summer Reading Giveaway" in the subject line to and you'll be entered in the drawing. The deadline for signing up is September 5thand the winner will be announced September 12th. Get your entries in and be sure to tell your friends to sign up for Chapter-a-Week!

 To qualify, the return email address must be on the Chapter-a-Week membership list.  Continental U. S. residents only, please. Industry professionals should refrain from entering, and though we'd love you to share our books with your friends, these books are not for resale.

Thanks and happy reading!

Your friends at Chapter-a-Week

Friday, August 22, 2008

A capella redux

Am I the last person on earth to hear about Naturally 7?  Wow.  That's all I can say.  

If you've never heard of them, check out this video on You tube.  

I found three or four of their albums on iTunes, including a Christmas album that is melt-your-bones lovely.  Right now I'm listening to "Amazing Grace" and boy, does it sound sweet!  

Long live a capella music.  I like instruments, don't get me wrong, but there's something wonderful about the instrument of the human voice . . . 

~~Angie, still hard at work on the WIP.  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Focus Groups?

Some of my writer friends share their WIPs (works in progress) with critique groups or focus groups. That's fine--if they enjoy it, they should keep doing it.  But I've never done that, and I'm not about to start.  Why?  Because humans disagree, and books are part science, part art.  The art part is highly subjective, so I tend to show my WIP to very few people until that puppy is ready to go out into the world. (Talk about a mixed metaphor!) 

I truly believe that passion in the writer evokes passion in the reader--or should, if the writing is well done.  :-)  I think I've told you about the time I told my hubby that I'd decided to write a book about a talking gorilla.  He said (bless him), "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard." 

Which only made me more determined to write it.  :-)

I found this cute video online.  It does a great job of illustrating the inherent danger (and fun!)  of a focus group.  Enjoy! 

Happy birthday to my son today!  He's 24!  


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BIG BIG Booksigning

I suppose it only makes sense that the biggest mall in America would have the biggest book signing in my memory. 

If you live near the Mall of America (outside Minneapolis, MN), you should know that one month from today, on September 20, from 1-3 p.m., more than 100 Christian authors will be signing books near the Best Buy and Sears rotundas, with yours truly among them. Wow.  I hope I don't get lost on my way to the ladies' room! 

Joining in the fun will be: 

Tamera Alexander

Jennifer AlLee

A.K. Arenz

Diane Ashley

Karen Ball

Janet Lee Barton

James Scott Bell

Joseph Bentz

Terri Blackstock

Robin Caroll

Patricia PacJac Carroll

Jeanie Smith Cash

Eleanor Clark

Debra Clopton

Gloria Clover

Brandilyn Collins

Mary Connealy

Lyn Cote

Kathryn Cushman

Margaret Daley

KM Daughters

Susan Page Davis

Mary Davis

Janet Dean

Megan DiMaria

Brandt Dodson

Lena Nelson Dooley

Cecelia Dowdy

Sharon Dunn

Wanda Dyson

Lynette Eason

Meredith Efken

Leanna Ellis

Sharon Ewell Foster

Miralee Ferrell

Tina Ann Forkner

Darlene Franklin

Jonathan Friesen

Rhonda Gibson

Terri Gillespie

Debby Giusti

Beth Goddard

Cathy Gohlke

Rene Gutteridge

Cathy Marie Hake

Kelly Eileen Hake

Karen Harter

Rachel Hauck

Roxanne Henke

Cynthia Hickey

Patti Hill

Sharon Hinck

Joan Hochstetler

Steven Hunt

Angela Hunt

Denise Hunter

Jennifer Johnson

Jenny B. Jones

Golden Keyes Parsons

Deb Kinnard

Julie Klassen

Kathleen Kovach

Harry Kraus

Patti Lacy

Maureen Lang

Jeanne Marie Leach

Tosca Lee

Julie Lessman

Michelle Levigne

Sherri L. Lewis

Elizabeth Ludwig

Christine Lynxwiler

Richard L. Mabry

Sharlene MacLaren

Gail Martin

Debby Mayne

Vickie McDonough

Andrew McGuire

Susan Meissner

Becky Melby

Dana Mentink

Amber Miller

Judith Miller

Sara Mills

Siri Mitchell

Nancy Moser

Janelle Mowery

Elizabeth Musser

Mark Mynheir

Jill Nelson

Mae Nunn

John Olson

Donita K. Paul

Trish Perry

Marta Perry

Allie Pleiter

Cara Putman

Deborah Raney

Sandra Robbins

Paul Robertson

John Robinson

Martha Rogers

Cynthia Ruchti

Gail Sattler

Kim Vogel Sawyer

Shelley Shephard Gray

Virginia Smith

Lynette Sowell

Candice Speare

Kathryn Springer

Denice Stewart

Sarah Anne Sumpolec

Michelle Sutton

Camy Tang

Donn Taylor

Janice Thompson

Cindy Thomson

Missy Tippens

Carrie Turansky

ML Tyndall

Amy Wallace

Susan May Warren

 So if you live in the area, please come to see us!  (I'm hoping the authors don't outnumber the readers! LOL--for sure the women outnumber the men! )


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

In more ways than one!  

Seems like we've gone a while without a new release, right?  I've had my head down, working furiously on the WIP, and while I've been busy, other books have been lining up and preparing for their grand entrances.  There are now four, FOUR new releases available for pre-order on, if you want to receive them hot off the press.  

Small scene from The NoteComing in October! The DVD edition of The Note, starring Genie Francis. Order the DVD here!

From the novel by Angela Hunt, The Note first aired on the Hallmark Channel in December 2007. Now this stirring movie is available for you to own for your own enjoyment. The DVD contains the movie, plus feature interviews with Genie Francis and Angela Hunt. In the interview, Angela explains the meaning behind the novel’s allegorical symbols. You won’t want to miss this one! 

Order the novel here!



The Face by Angela HuntComing in November 2008: The Face. From Mira.

Available for preorder!

Born to parents who died shortly after her birth, twenty-year-old genius Sarah Sims has been hidden in a secure CIA facility where she works to help her handlers achieve their goals. Yet her days of anonymity are limited because her aunt has discovered her existence and is determined to lead Sarah out of exile. But before she can leave the only world she’s ever known, Sarah needs what most people take for granted . . . a functioning face and the skills to use it. Will she remain in her secluded fortress or summon the courage to follow her heart?

The Face is an amazing book. Impeccably researched, tenderly written, it is a fascinating character study wed to a compelling thriller. Angela Hunt always delivers something special, but this book is beyond special. It’s simply wonderful.” --Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished

In The Face, Angela Hunt has crafted an extraordinary tale that’s impossible to put down! The meticulously researched story line could have been lifted from today’s futuristic, high-tech headlines, and the undercurrent of international espionage will keep you turning pages. But long after you’ve finished The Face, you’ll be thinking—not only about the characters Hunt brings to life so skillfully, but the questions the story raises and the truths it underlines. The Face speaks profoundly to our inherent need for love and acceptance, as well as to the value we place on physical beauty. With each succeeding book—thanks to her masterful storytelling and thought-provoking plots-- Angela Hunt’s stock as a contemporary writer of real importance continues to rise. —Cindy Swanson, radio personality and online book reviewer


Dreamers-SH-webComing in December 2008: Dreamers, the first of a trilogy about Joseph in ancient Egypt. From Steeple Hill. Available for preorder! 

Brothers, the second book, will follow in February 2009 and

Journey, the third and final book, will follow in April 2009.

SIABP-webComing in Spring 2009--She’s in a Better Place, the final installment of the Fairlawn series. From Tyndale House.

Pre order this book now!

 In the third book of the Fairlawn series, Jennifer Graham is now running the Fairlawn Funeral Home. Her work takes on a new dimension when Gerald Huffman, her assistant and mentor, reveals that he has a serious illness. When she learns that he and his daughter haven’t spoken in years, Jen decides to help them reconcile . . . but things don’t go exactly as she planned. Once again, the mortuary is a setting for lessons of laughter, love, and life.

That's it for now!  Head back down, nose to the grindstone . . . 


Monday, August 18, 2008

Hurricane Alert

Despite what I wrote in The Elevator, we're pretty ho-hum about hurricanes around here.  That doesn't mean we don't respect them--we do.  But all of them seem to skirt the tiny little peninsula where my family and 924,000 other people live.  (We're the most densely populated county in Florida.)  

Still, when a hurricane approaches from the south, we prick up our ears.  Tropical storm Fay is headed our way, but we're not doing anything until tomorrow morning.  Then we'll get up, check the maps, and either go about our business or start battening down the hatches.  My family won't evacuate--first, we're not in an evac zone; second, our house has hurricane shutters; and third, I'm not leaving my dogs.  

The map you see here is the latest on the storm, and it's supposed to come ashore south of us.  We'll see.  

Now--I've never really thought it made much sense to pray for a hurricane not to strike me--after all, if it doesn't strike me, it'll strike someone else, and how selfish is that?  So I'm praying that the storm gentles as it comes ashore, and that people get smart and do what they're supposed to do to prepare.  

And now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging . . . 


A capella Flight

A friend sent me this video, knowing that I love a capella (without instruments) music.  This is incredible, so enjoy!  Zzzzzzz, Zzzzzzt.  


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Drum roll, please!

We pause from our regularly-scheduled blogging about inane events to tell you about a new reading/writing venture: 

New Indie Publisher Specializes in Christian Fantasy and SF


Colorado SpringsCO – August 2008 – The creative force behind, one of the Web’s premier sources of interviews and content related to Christian fantasy and science fiction, is pleased to announce the creation of a new independent publishing company, Marcher Lord Press.

Marcher Lord Press immediately becomes the leading indie publisher of Christian speculative fiction.

The Marcher Lord Press Web site ( went live onOctober 1, 2007, and the company’s first original novels will release on October 1, 2008.

After more than 13 years working in the Christian publishing industry as a published novelist and professional editor on staff with three Christian publishing companies, Marcher Lord Press founder Jeff Gerke has created his own publishing venture to specialize in the kind of Christian fiction he says is lacking in the current marketplace.

“I’ve always loved Christian speculative fiction,” Gerke says. “Christian fantasy, science fiction, time travel, supernatural thrillers, the works. My own first novels were near-future technothrillers. But I was always frustrated that these novels seemed to get short shrift in the industry. So I decided to do something about it.”

The first lineup of Marcher Lord Press titles includes Hero, Second Class, a comic fantasy in the tradition of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, by first-time novelist Mitchell Bonds; The Personifid Invasion, a futuristic spiritual warfare thriller by R. E. Bartlett; and Summa Elvetica by Theodore Beale, an exploration of what would happen if something very much like the Catholic church existed in a fantasy world and decided to explore whether or not elves have souls.

Going forward, Marcher Lord Press will release six original novels a year in two release cycles: April and October. Marcher Lord Press will then begin augmenting its original releases with the re-release of Christian speculative novels that have gone out of print—all with new covers and bonus content like lost chapters or original short stories by the author.

“I’m shooting for a specific readership,” Gerke says. “I like to call them ‘Christian who love Battlestar Galactica’ or ‘Christians who love Heroes’ or—my favorite—‘Christians who would go to Comic-CON if given the chance.’ I want to give them the kind of fiction that is currently all but absent in today’s publishing climate.” 

Indeed, a trip to Comic-CON 2009 in San Diego is the grand prize in the drawing to be held on Launch Day, October 1.

The name of the company comes from the marcher lords of European history. A marcher lord maintained the boundary with an enemy nation, such as the English lords who held the boundaries with Scotland or Wales. Marcher lords guarded against invasion and looked for opportunity to expand the borders of the home country.

Jeff Gerke has been in the Christian publishing industry since 1994. He has written six Christian novels—under the pen name Jefferson Scott (—and has served on the editorial staffs of three Christian publishing companies: Multnomah Publishers, Strang Communications, and NavPress.

While at Strang, Jeff spearheaded the launch of Realms, the first-ever imprint of speculative fiction in the Christian publishing industry. After leaving Realms, Jeff headed up the fiction line for NavPress. Jeff is now a freelance book doctor, editor, and writer working from his home in Colorado Springs.

Jeff operates, one of the premier Web sites for content, interviews, craftsmanship, and inside information about the Christian publishing industry and Christian speculative fiction in particular. He also operates The Anomaly (, a forums site for original Christian speculative fiction.

Jeff and Marcher Lord Press may be reached at 719/266-8874 or through the contact information found at


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Urban Legend Amalgamation

My friend Lynda from Missouri sent me this clever compilation of all those urban legend emails.  So, with a tip of the hat to her and whoever wrote it, here it is!  

Summary of My Last Year on the Computer

I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the one about
poison in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a
wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing.

Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for
the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick
girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for
the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once
I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are
sending me for participating in their special e-mail

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually
horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I
smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca-Cola because
it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline without taking someone along to
watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl into my back
seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who
make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under
God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it
causes cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup of water
in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face,
disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I
could be nicked with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug
me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they
are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't
support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to
dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls
to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I
now have their recipe.

Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because
a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to
cause me instant death when it bites my bum.

And thanks to your great advice, I can't ever pick up $5.00
in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a
molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in
the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on
your head at 5:00PM this afternoon and the fleas from 12
camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy
hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to
a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's
second husband's cousin's beautician...

Have a wonderful day....

Oh, by the way.....A South American scientist from
Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people
with insufficient brain activity read blogs with their
hand on the mouse.

Don't bother taking it off now; it's too late.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Who Needs a Keyboard? (I do!)

 I'm trying something new this morning. I ordered a copy of MacSpeech dictate, a dictation program that allows you to speak into a headset and watch your words appear on the screen or in the document. I promise, this is exactly how the program responded after about 10 minutes of training. It can't quite seem to figure out how to spell my name, but I think it's doing a pretty good job.

Did you read the story about the little Chinese girl who was not allowed to appear at the opening ceremonies even though she actually sang the song to honor the motherland? Chinese officials thought she wasn't attractive enough, so they had another little girl lips sink and smile for the camera. What sort of message does this send to children? At six, they are not pretty enough? That's so sad.

(MacSpeech needs to learn how to spell lip-synch -- oh my, you got it right this time!)

My husband and I are enjoying connecting with old friends on face book. Amazing, how connected the Internet has made us. My husband doesn't even know how to turn the computer on, but he's enjoying the face spoke experience.

I'm working hard on the work in progress, and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Can't wait.

MacSpeech has done pretty well. I'm impressed.


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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ron Benrey's latest book

Yesterday I discovered a treat in my mailbox: a copy of Ron Benrey's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Christian Mysteries.  No, this is not a book on how to write a Christian mystery, but a book on how to learn about some puzzling Scriptures and ancient beliefs  involved in the Christian faith  . . . like the Trinity.  How can one God be comprised of three distinct persons?  

Other topics Ron covers are the incarnation and the atonement, the virgin birth, Jesus' dual nature, the healings and miracles of Christ, the unforgivable sin, and the existence of pain in the world--how can a good God allow suffering? 

I was honored to serve as a "technical editor" on this project, meaning that I read--and enjoyed--every word.  I found much to ponder and praise within these pages.  Ron has a deliciously wry sense of humor and he writes very simply of complex ideas.  I promise you'll enjoy this book, and it will help you learn how to defend and explain your faith to others. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brilliant Film Clips

Novelist Nancy Moser sent me the results of a gig where film folks took clips from existing movies and made new trailers--but they had to change the genre. Shining was the winner. These things are amazing, so congratulations to the winners!

P.S. Notice how the music changes the mood. That's why it's so important to add verbal "mood music" to a scene!

The Shining Alternate Trailer
West Side Story


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Later Gator

Yes, I was about to kiss a gator.  

We do have gators all over the place down here, but I didn't just scoop this one up.  :-)  He was featured in a booth at the bookseller's convention, so I was able to hold him--and that was a first for me! 

Actually, the gator was both heavier and calmer than I expected.  Very heavy! Harry Kraus tried to hold him right after I handed him off, and the gator became quite agitated.  (Harry thought it was because he was nervous on account of having a close encounter with a croc out in Africa. I have no such memories.) 

Anyway, just wanted to share my gator picture.  :-)  As to what else is going on, I am hard at work on the final draft of my WIP, which has yet another new title:  as of today, it's called THE INTRUDER.  I'm working at a 25 page-per-day clip and still adding new scenes . . . 

I've never had a WIP go through so many titles--first it was GHOST, then THE SHADOW, then LET THE DARK COME, and now, THE INTRUDER.  At some point, one of these has to stick.  My editor and I like the last one because it "matches" THE ELEVATOR and THE FACE.