Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Way we Learn . . .

Sorry I've been out of the loop . . . I've been up to *here* in real estate issues: trying to keep my house picked up for showings, trying to find a condo for my son, trying to de-clutter and watching hours of HGTV to see how the experts do it.

But enough of that. Had a thought I wanted to share.

When you study theology, a great deal of emphasis is given to one's personal theodicy--how one validates God's inherent goodness in the face of evil and suffering. I've had mine in place for a while now (I see life as a boot camp, and God allows us to go through trials in order to strengthen us for the work ahead), but I think I've just discovered a sort of scientific proof for it.

The other day I read about the results of a study. Researchers took two groups of students and gave them books to study. Then they took the books away from the first group, and tested them on the material. As you might expect, many of the students missed many of the answers.

The second group was allowed to use the books when they took the exam--I suppose it was like an open book test. Failure was not an option, because they could look up the answers they needed.

Then the researchers took the books away from BOTH groups and retested them. Which group did better?

Ah, you know the answer already: the group that had been allowed to fail. They learned from their mistakes, whereas the second group didn't.

This is how we learn, and I'm convinced it's why God allows us to fail (sometimes spectacularly) and to experience the pain of loss. Would David have valued mercy and forgiveness quite as much if he hadn't committed the sins of murder and adultery? Would Peter have been as brave and faithful if he hadn't denied the Lord three times?

Think about this the next time you fail . . . and know that you've learned something you'll not soon forget. And you might want to add this sliver of understanding to your own personal theodicy. :-)


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Charley's Birthday

Today Charley Gansky turns six years old.

Happy Birthday, baby boy!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dave Barry's Year in Review

A tip of the hat to Robin Lee Hatcher for this link--Dave Barry's Year in Review. I giggled all the way through this, and realized that it wouldn't be so funny . . . . if it weren't so true.

Hope your holidays were merry, and I hope you're gearing up for a busy and warm new year.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

A most blessed and joyous Christmas to you and yours!

Rejoice! The Lord came to live among us.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Roosevelt Hotel

My brother- and sister-in-law, who have lived in the New Orleans area for years, came over the lake today and showed us some of the local sights. They took us to the Roosevelt Hotel, a lovely old hotel that is famous for the way they decorate their lobby. Whoa! It was magical!

We especially enjoyed the edible art arranged around the train set set up in a little lobby coffee shop. (The snow is divinity, the houses are gingerbread, and a lot of the decorations are chocolate! ) Such a pretty place for pictures!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

National WW2 Museum

Yesterday hubby and I walked downtown to the National World War 2 museum, a truly wonderful exhibit. I only wish I was writing (or even had plans to write) something set in that era--the place is a treasure trove of facts and actual examples of things.

I have watched SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, of course, and the series BAND OF BROTHERS (truly wonderful, but not for the kiddies), so I identified with a lot of the men in those photographs. The country seemed so much more unified in those days . . . much like we were after 9/11/2001. I'm afraid that feeling has worn off today, and I'm afraid that it's going to take another attack before we stop squabbling with each other and join again in a common effort.

Anyway (didn't mean to digress), enjoy some of these photos. Have a great week!

~~Angie from New Orleans

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday in New Orleans

Hubby and I were sitting around our little vacation apartment last night and we realized something--doing nothing is exhausting. We were both wiped out, and we'd done NOTHING all day!

So today we're going to go out and do something, even if our spoiled Florida flesh freezes to death. :-)

My cousin was looking through old photographs and sent me this one. See? I'm Floridian to the bone!

Have a great day!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hello from New Orleans!

Photos: a high-rise building downtown that is STILL unoccupied/repaired five years after Katrina, one of the new homes going up in the Ninth Ward, the repaired (but not reinforced) levees, and my BIL and SIL in their Saints gear.

What fun to wake up on a birthday morning in New Orleans! I had cake and chai for breakfast. Can't think of anything better.

We did have a strange experience during the night. At 4:45 a.m., someone beat on our door. Hubby got up to look out the peephole and saw a man standing there with a blanket. Since we hadn't called for a blanket, we didn't open the door, but went back to bed. A minute later, the phone rang . . . and when we answered, no one answered us.

I thought maybe someone had asked for a blanket and housekeeping wrote down the wrong room, but now I'm wondering if it was a ruse to get into our room. After all, you could hide anything under a blanket. Don't understand the phone call, though. Very strange.

Yesterday, my brother- and sister-in-law met us for lunch and took us down to the ninth ward, the community most wiped out by the floods of Hurricane Katrina. (The hurricane didn't do the damage, the flood occurred the next day when the man-made levees broke). Brad Pitt and some of his friends have begun a "green" rebuilding program there, and the houses are really cool. Still an awful lot of overgrown concrete slabs, however, where homes used to stand, right beside the levees.

And then my BIL and SIL (in photo) went to the Saints game--the entire CITY was dressed in black and gold and revved up for the game, which the Saints lost. In the spirit of oNew Orleans, however, no one seemed upset. Hope springs eternal in this place. And did you know that polls show New Orleans to be home to the happiest people in the country? (And no, I don't think they were drunk when they took the poll).

I don't know what we'll do today--the possibilities are endless. Last night I dreamed that I had to buy a crown for some pressing reason, and then in my dream I thought: "If there's any place on earth where I could walk into a shop and find a crown, it's New Orleans." Tee hee. Who knows?


Friday, December 18, 2009

Vacation Time . . .

Today, Friday, hubby and I are taking off on a week's vacation. I think I may just curl up in a hotel room with my sore throat and sleep until it doesn't feel sore any more.

We won't be home until Christmas Day, then we'll gather whatever children are around and find someplace that's serving Christmas dinner.

In the mean time . . . New Orleans, here we come!

Not sure if I'll be blogging or not . . . maybe, because I will be taking my computer and camera with me. But if you don't hear from me, know that I'll be praying that you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dogs and Christmas trees

Call the kids, and watch this cute presentation together. Wish my dogs could do that! They seem more content to lie down and watch us do all the work!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don't Bungee Jump Naked

I have never heard this woman in public (or in private), but she's becoming one of my favorite comediennes. This is hilarious!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Homes Tour: Hunt Haven

Welcome to our home at Christmas! I had a hard time tracking the family down, so I hope a few varied photos will do the trick.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! And now . . . Gayle Roper has a greeting for you!

Next link in the chain is Marlo Schalesky!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Homes Tour Begins TOMORROW!

The way it will work is simple: simply come back to this blog, watch the video, and then click the link to the next participating blog. If all works as planned, you'll be taken on a tour of several authors' homes and see several interesting and unique videos.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ouch. The Tonsil Saga

Having my tonsils out has been an interesting experience. First of all, the actual experience wasn't so bad--you get up early, you go to the surgery center, you meet some nice doctors and nurses, and you get to wear a cap. :-) You go to sleep, then you wake up and you're sent home with instructions to stay in bed for a couple of days.

Well, that's easier said than done when you feel perfectly fine. I was out of bed a lot more than I was in it, and because my hubby and I have decided to try and sell our house (long story), I spent a lot of time packing boxes. But I did take four naps--count 'em--and felt pretty good except for one bout of nausea about which I'd been warned (apparently one swallows a lot of indigestible materials during surgery and it's normal for the stomach to want to expel those things--which it did.)

Day two was pretty much the same, and I was enjoying my popsicles and slushies. But by dinner time I was beginning to grow tired of sweet things--and the chocolate slushy just about turned my stomach.

Day three--ouch. The throat is definitely painful, and I forced myself to try to eat some real food, so swallowing was painful indeed. Plus, on Thursday night I was crying over something or other (nothing unusual), and you know that tightening of the throat you feel when you cry? Ouch! Crying only made the pain worse, which made the crying worse, which was not fun.

Day four--I went out for a chicken sandwich and a milkshake, and had the random thought that I don't think I'll lose any weight at all with this tonsil thing. We had our first house showing, so now I'm trying to heal and figure out what to do with my dogs if someone wants to come see my house.

Day five . . . remains to be seen. In the mean time, I'm enjoying going to bed early and taking lots of easily-swallowed pain killers. Liquids, give me liquids. Those I can manage.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

My friend Lyn's newest book!

Christmas is for Families…

And Felicity Gabriel intends to build a family right away! When she
inherits a mansion, she decides to turn it into a home for orphans.
But her first charges test her resolve. One child is a thief,
suspicious of her kindness. The other is the local judge's traumatized
daughter. Broken by war, Judge Tyrone Hawkins is devastated when his
little girl runs from him to Felicity. But Felicity's courage despite
the town's scorn for her orphanage and her caring way with his
daughter restore his lost faith. Now he wonders if they all can find
the family they seek…just in time for Christmas.

In spite of opposition from the rich and influential,
can Felicity Gabriel establish a home for children orphaned by the
Civil War and heal two wounded hearts?

Lyn Cote
Her Inheritance Forever, 8-18-09

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Light Display

Amazing Grace Techno - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

I look at displays like this, then I look at my little string around the doors and roofline . . . and I'll keep my simple string, thank you. :-) This is lovely, but I think it'd drive me batty after a while. What about you?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cutest kitten on the Internet

Now, wasn't that 17 seconds well-spent?


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A new book by Gail Martin

Since my hubby and I spent a few days roaming around Monterey a couple of years ago, I'm happy to tell you about my friend Gail's latest book:

MONTEREY MEMORIES - Three novels by Gail Gaymer Martin set in the beautiful Monterey area in the central coast of California. The Barbour anthology includes the novels And Baby Makes Five, Garlic and Rosesand Butterfly Trees.

Walk the streets and countryside of Monterey, California, with three couples who are surprised by love in the midst of their busy lives. Chad helps Felisa when she goes into labor in his lettuce field. Juli meets Alan while volunteering at a soup kitchen. Ross takes an overdue vacation at Alissa’s bed-and-breakfast. Can busy people slow down enough to realize the love God has brought into their lives?

Reviews from AMAZON

Monterey Memories, an anthology, is a must buy. I truly love this book. In each of the three novels, set in the central coast of California, Gail writes of God's love with such ease and weaves His love throughout each story. We see how faith and growth in the Word affects every aspect of the characters lives. Everyday normal people with trials and decisions, which we too, can identify. From trust, or acceptance to forgiveness, each of the story's characters learn to lean on God through their faith. I'm adding this book to my gift list for friends and family. Who wouldn't want to find this warm, engrossing book in their stocking at Christmas? Or simply a gift to share. Reviewer: Carolyn J. Devaney

Gail's Bio:

Multi-award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin is the author of forty-three novels with three million books in print. Her novels have received seven national awards and was presented the Favorite Heartsong Presents Author Award for 2008. She writes for Steeple Hill, Barbour Publishing, and is the author of Writing the Christian Romance from Writers Digest.

Purchase the novel is bookstores everywhere or click here:

~~Angie, still mending from the tonsillectomy . . .

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Straight No Chaser--a capella music!

I love this group, and their music is a lot of fun. Enjoy the Christmas spirit!

HT to Nick H. for the link. :-)

If this is Tuesday, I'm having my tonsils out. Yes, really. So I'll be eating popsicles and Slushies for the next several days, and trying not to talk . . . :-/


Monday, December 07, 2009

BOM: Questions and Answers

Linda asked:Is there going to be a sequel?! You have us hooked on Briley!

I wouldn't be opposed to writing a sequel . . . as long as I could come up with a plot as satisfying as the first one. That might take a while! But I like Briley, too, and now she's working for the prosecutor, so things would be quite different . . .

Thanks for joining me on another book of the month!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

BOM: Reviews and Reaction

Since LET DARKNESS COME hasn't been out that long, there haven't been too many reviews, but I was thrilled when PW gave it a star. And here are a couple of others I've gleaned from the web:

"This is a super legal thriller with several twists including a terrific look at the DNA chimera issue. The story line is fast-paced and gripping as everyone from the onset believes Erin is guilty, but over time the audience and her attorney begin to wonder if she might be innocent. Angela Hunt provides a winner and sets up what looks like another Briley legal thriller with her apparently on the prosecution side next time." --Harriet Klausner

"As Briley learns more about Erin and her life before meeting her she discovers medical evidence concerning her client that will not only break open the case and change the original direction, but will astound the reader as well. How valid is DNA testing? You will have to read this book to find out just what the author relates. A client who fears for her life and a family who will stop at nothing to see that she pays with her life. What happens will surprise the reader. The twists and turns and the surprise ending will give the reader hope that there are lawyers that will not accept failure as an option. There are people that even though they are set up to lose, will give it everything no matter what. With a well-crafted plot and suspense until the very end, the author leaves us wanting more. Hopefully she will bring Briley back for a sequel to this great novel." --Fran Lewis

"Angela Hunt takes this impossible case and creates some courtroom drama. This is no Perry Mason novel; this is based on potential possibilities. This author always educates.

The writing is first-person narrative and flows. Pages almost turn by themselves. I would enjoy staying in touch with the characters. I do hope to see Briley Lester in another novel. Be sure to grab this one for a good read." --our own Smiling Sally

Several of you have been kind enough to post reviews on and other sites--thank you very much! And my publisher informed me that they have nominated the book for the Edgar Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. I'm certainly not holding my breath in anticipation of winning those tough contests, but it was truly an honor to be nominated.

So thank you for your support, and I hope you enjoy the read! Tomorrow: Your questions and my answers! Leave your question in the comments, and I'll be sure to answer it tomorrow.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

BOM: The Editing

I don't actually remember much about the editing, which probably means that the experience wasn't so bad . . . either that, or I've blocked it all out. :-) I do remember being asked to trim some of Briley's dealings with the jury--explaining voir dire, for example, for fear of putting my reader to sleep, so I was happy to do that. But not too much, because all of those things are important considerations for a lawyer.

I also remember being asked to cut some scenes that were too heavy-handed: for instance, I'd written an early scene were Briley and Timothy were watching Animal Planet, and Briley was crying through a dog rescue story. I wanted to show that this all-business woman was compassionate, but my editor thought it was too obvious, and she was right. So I was happy to cut it. (Most of the time, if I do something obvious like that, it's too much and I usually suspect that it's too much.)

But editing is good for the soul, and for the story.

Tomorrow: reviews and reader reaction.


Friday, December 04, 2009

BOM: The Writing

"And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God."
--T.S. Eliot, East Coker

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is finding the perfect epigraph. I stopped doing dedications years ago, mainly because I ran out of people to dedicate things to. I decided it was more meaningful to the READER if I found an epigraph that would echo the theme of the story, perhaps give a clue to the story's mystery. If I can't find the perfect epigraph, I make one up and sign it with my favorite pseudonym, "Darien Haynes." (Ha! Find that in a book, can you?)

So if you don't read the epigraphs . . . you're missing out. :-) I loved the one above, because it does everything--hints at theme, gives a clue, adds a spiritual note, echoes the title . . . mostly because I took the title from the epigraph. Had no other ideas of what to call the book, except "The Intruder," which didn't seem quite right.

Choosing the POV for this book was tricky, too. I knew I wanted to use present tense because of its immediacy. I knew I couldn't use first person because that would put the reader too much in the minds of Briley, Erin, and the murderer, giving away my secrets. So I chose third person, and through that I was able to "zoom in" when necessary and "zoom out" when appropriate. The first scene, of course, is from the murderer's POV, and the rest of the book alternates between Antonio Tomassi, an antagonist, Briley, Erin, and the murderer.

LET DARKNESS COME was one of those books for which I had no ending until push came to shove and I knew I HAD to come up with something. Often I will write all of a book except the final scenes, then I go back and rewrite again and again, trusting that the final scene will occur to me just in time. It always does, usually after a few desperate prayers. I knew from the beginning who the murderer was, but wasn't sure how to reveal that person, or how to sell it to the jury.

And one night I was watching one of those obscure health shows and learned about the mammalian diving reflex, and how you could drown and stay under really cold water for a long time and still preserve brain function, and I knew I'd found my answer. Just in time. :-)


P.S. Tomorrow: the editing

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

Lately it has come to my attention that there are those who will not only not sign the Manhattan Declaration, but are intent on coming up with reasons why not to sign it (example: see

Not signing, of course, is their choice, but I experienced ennui and a sense of deja vu when I read this list. It reminds me all too much of the hate mail we used to receive when I worked for the Moral Majority back in the 80's. I was merely a secretary, but I opened letters from Christians who were HORRIFIED that we were joining with Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and others who stood for Judeo-Christian values. Shock! Horror! What would Jesus think?

I think Jesus was pleased, frankly, that we stood for the God-honoring values which were woven into the fabric of our nation and our constitution. In this increasingly secular society, where the things of God are openly mocked and man's intellectualism is worshiped in the place of God's sovereignty, I would be honored to stand with anyone who will support the values God ordained. You see, my relationship with God--my citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven--is my primary citizenship, yes. But in God's sovereign wisdom, he has seen fit to place me in the United States of America, so I am a citizen of that country, too. I have been placed in Florida, a state unique among the other fifty, and in a particular county, a particular town, a particular neighborhood.

The Bible encourages me to behave as a testimony to Christ in all of those roles, in my place as a citizen in my neighborhood, city, county, state, country, and yes, in this world. While I live in these places, I am to fellowship and live at peace with sinners and saints, those who agree with me and those who do not. I am to extend the love of Christ to all. (Ironically, the only people I am not to fellowship with are Christians who, among other things, slander others. 1 Corinthians 5:11).

The Manhattan Declaration's clauses are simple:

Human Life
The lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are ever more threatened. While public opinion has moved in a pro-life direction, powerful and determined forces are working to expand abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. Although the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the first obligation of government, the power of government is today often enlisted in the cause of promoting what Pope John Paul II called “the culture of death.” We pledge to work unceasingly for the equal protection of every innocent human being at every stage of development and in every condition. We will refuse to permit ourselves or our institutions to be implicated in the taking of human life and we will support in every possible way those who, in conscience, take the same stand.

The institution of marriage, already wounded by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is at risk of being redefined and thus subverted. Marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all. Where marriage erodes, social pathologies rise. The impulse to redefine marriage is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil law as well as our religious traditions. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life. Marriage is not a “social construction,” but is rather an objective reality—the covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize, honor, and protect.

Religious Liberty
Freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized. The threat to these fundamental principles of justice is evident in efforts to weaken or eliminate conscience protections for healthcare institutions and professionals, and in anti- discrimination statutes that are used as weapons to force religious institutions, charities, businesses, and service providers either to accept (and even facilitate) activities and relationships they judge to be immoral, or go out of business. Attacks on religious liberty are dire threats not only to individuals, but also to the institutions of civil society including families, charities, and religious communities. The health and well-being of such institutions provide an indispensable buffer against the overweening power of government and is essential to the flourishing of every other institution—including government itself—on which society depends.

Unjust Laws
As Christians, we believe in law and we respect the authority of earthly rulers. We count it as a special privilege to live in a democratic society where the moral claims of the law on us are even stronger in virtue of the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process. Yet even in a democratic regime, laws can be unjust. And from the beginning, our faith has taught that civil disobedience is required in the face of gravely unjust laws or laws that purport to require us to do what is unjust or otherwise immoral. Such laws lack the power to bind in conscience because they can claim no authority beyond that of sheer human will. Therefore, let it be known that we will not comply with any edict that compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family. Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality, marriage, and the family. Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

Angie here again: The current brouhaha reminds me of a situation recorded in the gospels: 38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man who was driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn’t belong to our group.” 39 “Do not try to stop him,” Jesus told them, “because no one who performs a miracle in my name will be able soon afterwards to say evil things about me. 40For whoever is not against us is for us."

I may not agree doctrinally with everyone who names the name of Christ, but I'm more than happy to let the Lord judge his own. For for those who are willing to stand with me for life, religious freedom, and Judeo-Christian values, I am deeply grateful.

Dr. Angela Hunt
You can sign in support of the declaration here:

BOM: The Research

To research this book, I had to learn about *a certain medical condition*, but that wasn't too hard, considering that the Discovery Channel had explained the matter thoroughly. I simply did some verification and moved on.

The tricky part was the "lawyer" part. At first I thought, "How hard could it be?" After all, I watch "Law and Order." LOL! After reading a few books on the law, especially McElhaney's Trial Notebook, I realized there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye on TV. I learned that 1) you can't trust the TV and 2) that you really need an expert to walk you through it.

So I did the best I could with the legal matters, and then I sent a second draft (I think) to a lawyer friend who had generously volunteered to read the manuscript. This saintly man then called me and spent FOUR HOURS on the phone going over the ms. line by line, pointing out where a lawyer couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't say or do that. Amazing! I learned that you can't lead on direct examination, but you can lead on cross. Little things like that were invaluable to know. (God bless you, Mr. G!)

I also did a bit of research on Chicago, the setting, querying my agent, the sheriff, and a matron at the jail. Tip: you don't want to end up in Cook County jail.

Also had to research Dissociative Identity Disorder (what we used to call split personalities) and how to murder someone quietly, almost undetectably. And I learned a lot about Ambien and the sleepwalking defense.

Lots of research went into this book, but I enjoyed every minute. Enough to think that if I ever stop writing, I might go to law school . . .


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

BOM: How the idea germinated

As often happens, the idea for LET DARKNESS COME sprang from a couple of sources. First, I was involved in a rather unpleasant legal proceeding, and had to spend a great deal of time dealing with lawyers and reading about depositions and the like. Since I had to go through it, I reasoned, I might as well learn from it and tackle a legal book . . . maybe a thriller?


Second, I stumbled upon a special called "I Am My Own Twin" on the Discovery Health Channel (yes, I got part of the idea from THE FACE from that same channel. It's simply fascinating!) In the special, they interviewed a woman who actually gave birth to three children whose DNA did not match her own--according to genetic specialists, she was NOT related to her own children. They were ready to accuse her of kidnapping someone else's children until they watched her give birth to the third child, they typed the infant, and discovered that the same situation existed with the third baby. Apparently her ovaries came from a fraternal twin she had absorbed in the womb. She was a chimera.

(This makes me wonder about all those IVF cases where they implant three embryos and end up with one baby. Are the other two infants absorbed into the third? Hmmm.)

They interviewed another woman with the same condition--you could examine random hairs on this woman's head and they would appear to have come from two different people.

So--I was fascinated again. And I thought, "What about the souls of these second babies? Did they ever exist? Did they depart when the fetus was absorbed?" I was going to go with the idea of fetus in fetu, but thought the idea was a little too gruesome for my readers. I mean, imagine--ugh.

So the chimera seemed to fit. At that point, it was simply a matter of working out the murder, the accused, and the "detective," who in this case turns out to be the inexperienced defense attorney, Briley Lester.

Briley, BTW, is named after my cousin's cat. :-)

There is not a lot of spiritual content in this book, and I didn't intend to include a lot because I knew the publisher, Mira, is a secular publisher. But still I wanted to address the idea of eternal souls, and I also wanted to emphasize the sort of living-for-others exemplified by Timothy, Briley's boyfriend, and Briley's late father. Briley begins to follow their lead, even though she is reluctant to at first.

And there you have it . . . how the pieces of the idea came together. :-) Tomorrow: the research.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009


What do you think? Be kind, because I put this trailer together myself. (And I hope you can't tell!)

It was fun, picking out characters from the thousands of images in clip art I've purchased over the years.



Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Coming!

And yes, that gorgeous music you hear on the video is the Re'Generation. :-)


P.S. Painted the bathroom yesterday--from cranberry to sea foam. Had some curtains I loved hanging in the windows, but after seven years they were a mite dusty. (They're made of bits of silk from Indian saris--just love them!) So I put them in the dryer with some damp clothes, thinking they'd tumble and get the dust blown off. Opened the dryer . . . . and felt alarm bells ringing when I found bits of silk all over my other clothes. Some of the silk pieces had literally disintegrated. So I'll have to order new curtains. I'll post final before and after pictures when it's all done and spiffy. :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This is one friendly cat . . .

LOL! That is one persistent cat! I hope someone adopts it and takes it to a family where there are lots of kids to entertain him.

P.S. Yesterday, after paying the bills and addressing all the Christmas cards, I decided to paint our bathroom. For a bathroom, it's pretty big, and the ceilings are tall. So hubby came in to help climb the extension ladder, and he was a big help . . . except that now there's paint all over the ceiling, so today I'll be touching up. :-/ Photos to come when the room is put back together.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Trivia

Whew. The Christmas tree is up, the outside of the house is decorated, the lights are hung. Time to sit back and relax . . . until it's time to go back to work!

Okay, so I took this quiz and got ten right, which was "turkeriffic!"

How did you do?


P.S. This lovely Tom Turkey was running around Glen Eyrie one year when we were there . . . he was noisy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Painting and Thanksgiving and Decorating . . . oh, my!

P.S. from yesterday: the chess pie was DELICIOUS. My favorite of the things I baked. :-)

I have been having some STRANGE kind of painting urge, so on Wednesday afternoon I painted my library. It leads into my office, and both rooms had been DARK green, so I painted the first room, the library, a new lighter bird-poop-green color. :-) I like it better . . . at least until I get the urge to paint again.

Thanksgiving was fun and family-centered, and I hope you enjoyed yours, too. I've attached a couple of pictures. My family always eats the traditional big meal, then we play "Dirty Santa" with inexpensive gifts we've brought from home. It's always a blast.

And Friday/Saturday are my big decorating days. I feel fortunate this year--my small neighborhood has decided to do our first ever yard sale on December fifth, so I'm having hubby pull EVERYTHING from the attic (where all the decorations are stored). If I can't find a place to put something this year, it's going into the yard sale pile . . . a pile that is rapidly outgrowing the space I've allotted for it. But I'm finding each year that I was to put less out, because that will mean less to ultimately put away and store.

That's another thing we've missed by not moving in seven years--each move usually results in a major purge of STUFF, and if you don't move, you don't purge. So this yard sale is coming along at exactly the right time.

Don't wear yourself out shopping! Have a great holiday weekend!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since I never get much work done on the day-before-a-holiday, I've been up since dawn cooking for tomorrow. (My family piles into the car and heads out to a wee little town where my extended family commandeers the local Women's Club.)

So I'd like a share a southern recipe with you--I've made this, but I haven't tasted it, so I hope it's good!

Traditional Southern Lemon Chess Pie

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
6 eggs, beaten
the juice of 2 lemons
1 t. lemon zest
6 saltine crackers, crushed
2 uncooked pie shells (regular, not deep dish). Or double recipe if you want deep dish pies.

Preheat oven to 375. Cream together sugar and margarine. Add the beaten eggs, lemon juice, and zest. Mix together. Add saltines, well-crushed. Divide between pie shells. Bake for ten minutes, then turn oven down to 300 degrees and continue baking for 25 minutes or until pies are set.

If your family has never had chess pie, they'll be dying to know what's in this!

Garnish with whipped cream.

Enjoy your holiday! And as we consider our blessings, I'd like to thank YOU for reading my blog and for occasionally chiming in with your comments. I appreciate you more than you know.

Blessings to you!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Painting Again

Photos: new foyer, old foyer, new dining room; old dining room.

On Saturday, I nearly painted myself into an early grave. I was exhausted and dizzy by the time I'd finished.

I got up early and cleaned the house, then decided to tackle the project of painting the dining room. But since it opens up to the foyer, I had to paint the foyer and a hallway, too. (Actually, the hallway became an afterthought, when I noticed how unfinished a certain corner looked without the paint.) I like the final result!

The old paint was a kind of violet, but the new is darker purple and a seafoam green that's light and nearly blue. I'm loving the difference.

On Sunday morning, I was rushing to touch up a little section on the ladder when I jiggled the ladder and spilled my paint tray . . . everywhere! It's a miracle it didn't paint one of my dogs, since they always stay so close to me.

I had to laugh as I cleaned it up--I've always thought spilling paint has to be the worst painting mistake you can make . . . short of a fall that sends you to the hospital. So now I've made it! :-)


Sunday, November 22, 2009

"You've Got Talent" winner from the Ukraine

A blog reader pointed me to this link and it's amazing; I've never seen anything like it.

I wish I knew more about Ukrainian history. Obviously, this girl's painting tells a story, and obviously, it moves her audience to tears.

Simply amazing.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Amazing Animal Story

If you saw March of the Penguins, you know a little something about leopard seals . . . and this is an incredible video. Amazing!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't Mess with the Pigeons!

Cute computer animated film about a rookie secret agent . . . and a pigeon who wants his bagel. :-)


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moving . . . or not

Photo: kitchen before and after the paint-over.

I'm one of those rare women who LIKES to move. There's something about settling into a new place and redecorating that just thrills me. I wouldn't want to do it every year, of course, but I just figured out how many times we've moved since we came to Florida--four times--and how long we stayed in each house. The longest was eight years, so we have moved an average of once every 5.5 years.

But I really LIKE this house, and even though we've been here seven years, I don't want to move. Plus, the market is terrible, and though we've always lost money on the houses we sell (I have a tendency to over-improve), we'd take a real bath if we moved during this market downturn. So I have to stay put and quell my urges to Start Over.

Or maybe not. I have decided that the best way to satisfy my urges and keep the budget intact is simply to redecorate. And I'm not talking about major expenditures. I've been watching that "Sell This House" show that airs on Saturday mornings, and I think I can do a lot to make the house look and feel different by simply investing in . . . paint.

And so I've been formulating grand plans. I'm going to try to repaint/redecorate one room per month, until my urges have died down and the house looks fresh. Seven years ago when we moved in, the trend was toward Mediterranean colors, bold golds and cranberries and oranges. Now I've noticed that colors are more muted, and a model house I recently walked through was painted top to bottom in a lovely light mint green. That seems appropriate for a house near the beach, doesn't it?

In any case, last night I redid my kitchen, in the simplest way. The walls are gold and I LIKE my gold walls, so I kept those. But I had a bay window lined with cranberry, so I painted that over again in a light peach. Also painted over the bold green and gold stripes beneath the island (not pictured--I did those on another whim last month). Not a huge change, but brighter. One small step in the grand scheme.

I'll try to post some pictures as my projects progress. I'm thinking of doing the cranberry bath and master bedroom in light aqua, the violet dining room in mint and purple, moving my office from deep green to a light butterscotch . . . who knows? :-)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Precious trailer

I don't know much about this movie--I have a feeling that it's going to be pretty raw--but the trailer alone made me cry. Listen to Precious as she cries out with the rest of the world "Nobody loves me."

Isn't that what the world wants? As one of my characters said in THE DEBT, the world doesn't want our programs, our churches, our lists or standards. What it needs, what it cries out for, is love.

Did you recognize Mariah Carey as one of the social workers? Looks like a powerful movie.

I blogged the above paragraphs several months ago, and PRECIOUS opens this weekend. I've heard the movie IS raw, and I still cry in the trailer. But I think this is one of those movies I ought to see, so I'm going to see if I can slip out sometime this coming week to see it. I'll probably go alone so I can sit in the corner and sob.

It's not for the kiddies, of course. And if you go, I have a feeling that you'll need a box of tissues. But oh, how powerful this film could be . . .


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

A lesson in perseverance . . .

Photos: One plant, three different years.

In 2002, I bought an orchid. The tag assured me it was an orchid, and not just any orchid--this was one of those big, frilly orchids; the kind your mother used to wear in her Easter corsage.

So I planted it. And waited. And watered. And waited. Years passed--2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. The plant didn't grow and it didn't die (like many of my plants). It just sat there.

And then in 2007, it put forth one bloom. The poor bloom was tattered and half-eaten by some kind of vermin, but I was so thrilled with it I brought it into the house, took a picture, and blogged about it.

In 2008, the plant put forth several bloom--about a half dozen. I was so thrilled I blogged about it again, and cut several blossoms for my kitchen window. (The cut flowers last a LONG time).

And this year . . . that little frilly orchid is outdoing itself. It is loaded with flowers AND buds, so I'm going to enjoy a glorious show for several weeks to come. I moved it to the front door, in a place of honor (especially since the button mums have mostly died without even opening their buttons).

And every time I look at this flower, I think of all the people who wait and water and wait and water . . . for some gift to burst into bloom. And finally, it does.

Here's to the waiting and watering.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Trailer for NEW MOON

And it opens FRIDAY! Yippee!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Good news!

Yesterday I learned that LET DARKNESS COME is available EARLY and is now shipping from Wow!

This week I also learned that my publisher has entered DARKNESS in the Edgar Awards competition (big deal from the Mystery Writers of America) and the Mary Higgins Clark Awards.

Tee hee--I didn't even realize I'd written a mystery until I had finished the book!

And if you've read the book already, would you be so kind as to post your thoughts at or other web sites? Thanks so much!

And one of my pals sent me to this blog to read an essay--it's well worth taking a moment or two to read. Very insightful!

Have a great Friday the 13th! (Great things always happen to me on Friday the 13th. I'm braced for fun.)