Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting Things Done

I recently did a workshop on time management. Some of my Facebook friends wanted to see my notes, so here they are! (Some of them might need explaining, I fear . . . so maybe you'll take my class?)

1. Do the important things that are most likely to slip by first. These are things that won’t cause the sky to cave in if they don’t get done, but they’re still important.

2. The phone is not your master. It serves you, not vice versa.

3. Learn to say no. One thing I learned from Scarlet O’Hara—when proposed to, she said, “Kind sir, I am not unaware of the honor you have bestowed upon me by asking me to be your wife, but I must decline. Learn Scarlett’s speech and use it when asked to do things that are not part of your God-given task. J

4. How do you eat a cow? One bite at a time. Whenever you’re faced with a task that seems impossible, divide and conquer.

5. A little prevention will save you time later. You can’t afford to ignore the house, the car, your health. Instead, divvy up those chores and maintenance tasks and perform a few each day.

6. Realize where your time is going. Dieters keep food journals. You should try keeping a time journal. Every time you begin a new activity, record it on a legal pad, and make a note of how long you did it. At the end of the day, look and see how much time you’ve waste

6a. Keep a Sabbath. Do not work seven days a week.

7. Tame that television! Sit down with the TV guide and decide beforehand what to watch.

8. Capture stolen moments. Always have something with you to read, to write, something you can do when you can’t do anything else.

9. Remember this: your life is time. Time equals life, and you only have a finite amount of it. To waste your time means you are wasting your life. (See Job 14:5).

10. Harness the power of the carrot. While you’re working, give yourself mini-goals you must meet before you can go to the restroom, check your email, or go get a Diet Coke.

11. Develop—and use—a memory palace. (This one works better with a live demonstration. )

12. Abide by the military maxim, “Hurry up and wait.” I can’t tell you how many opportunities have come to me because I was finished and had free time.

13. Finally, multi-tasking is a myth. We can do many things at once, but we can’t focus on many things at once. In order to work most efficiently, our brains need to focus on one thing at a time.

I found the following in an online article by Christine Rosen: ‘In one of the many letters he wrote to his son in the 1740s, Lord Chesterfield offered the following advice: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”

When people say they are “multi-tasking,” they are really switch-tasking—switching from one task to the other. And this is not an effective way to do anything.

Hope these are helpful!


Saturday, May 30, 2009


If you're the parent of a preteen or teenage girl, you may have discovered BRIO magazine, published by Focus on the Family and edited by Susie Shellenberger.

I'm sorry to say that I've just heard that Focus has shut down operations of its youth programs, including BRIO magazine. This makes me sad, because I cut my teeth writing for Brio and other magazines. In fact, I first met my dear friend Nancy Rue at a "Brio Brainstorming Blowout" held in Susie's house. :-) That was so many years ago, I'm not even going to count.

BUT--as sad as that news is, the good news is that Susie has started a new magazine called, aptly enough, "SUSIE!" You can see what it's all about on the webpage right here. So if you have a teenage or preteen daughter, sign her up for a subscription right away. It's a wonderful alternative to the other magazines out there . . . have you skimmed any of them lately?

Last night I read the June issue from cover to cover. It's wonderful.

Congratulations, Susie! May your new work prosper!


Friday, May 29, 2009

My Heavenly Bed

The other day I read a newspaper article about the tenth anniversary of Westin Hotels' "Heavenly Bed." The hotel incorporated (and trademarked) the plush white bed ten years ago, and if you've never slept in one . . . well, it IS heavenly. It's a Beautyrest mattress (the one with the coils that are individually and tenderly wrapped in fabric), and the pristine white bedding is simply plush. The sheets are like satin, and there are so many of them . . .

Well, after reading the article and remembering my heavenly sleeping experience, I developed a hankering to have a heavenly bed of my own. After all, our mattress is so old I can't remember when we bought it, but I know we weren't living in this house when we did, so it's definitely aging.

Anyway, the Heavenly Bed is available for sale from Westin Hotels or from Nordstrom. The price for the complete package starts at $2670, which sounds reasonable for the best bed in the world, until you begin to break it down. Seventy dollars for a pillow case? Ninety dollars for a skinny little decorative pillow?

So I decided to create my own heavenly bed, using the directions at this web site as my guide. I went down to Tuesday Morning, which always has really nice linens for a fraction of the retail price. I bought a plush mattress pad, a down blanket, two sheet sets of Egyptian cotton (had to get that second flat sheet), a throw, a decorative pillow, and a duvet. They weren't cheap, but if I'd bought the exact same items from the heavenly bed store, I'd have spent $1455. At Tuesday Morning, I got the same quality of silky cotton sheets and spent less than a quarter of that amount.

Then I came home and started to assemble the bed according to the directions posted at Nordstrom. The tricky part is putting on the double sheets and figuring out how to make the three layers show, but I came close enough, I think. I went with seafoam and white instead of just white because I have big slobbery dogs, and nothing stays white for long in my house.

Anyway, I now have a happier version of a heavenly bed. It's happier because I didn't spend seventy bucks for a single pillowcase. :-)


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Herding Cats

This is too cute. A commercial for an IT company, but it's still adorable.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Belly Laugh for the Day

I'm excited about some news I just learned--my friends Ron and Janet Benrey were supposed to teach at the Ridgecrest Novelists' Retreat this October, but they had a schedule conflict. So I get to take their place in those gorgeous mountains! That's right, I'll be teaching again at Blue Ridge from October 4th through 8th. You can read all about it here: Blue Ridge Christian Novelists’ Retreat.

This video clip made me laugh out loud, even though I was expecting it. I just wasn't expecting to see it quite like this. :-)



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Linda Hall's Newest Book!

My friend Linda has a new book out!

SHADOWS ON THE RIVER is the story of Ally Roarke. When she was a young teenager she saw her best friend pushed to her death. Here are Ally's own words:

"I was only fourteen when I witnessed a murder on the riverbank. A murder that went unpunished. Unless you count what happened to my family. We were forced out of town by the teenage killer's prominent parents. And the murder was forgotten—by everyone but me. Now, the killer is a respected businessman. I can't let him get away with it. But I'm a single mother with a child to protect, what can I do? The new man in my life, Mark Bishop, warns me to be careful. For there's already been another murder. Close to home."

A bit about Linda:

Award winning and twice Christy-nominated author Linda Hall has written fifteen novels plus many short stories. She has also worked as a freelance writer, news reporter and feature writer for daily newspaper.

She grew up in New Jersey where her love of the ocean was nurtured. Most of her novels have something to do with the sea. When she's not writing, Linda and her husband enjoy sailing the St. John River system and the coast of Maine. In the summer we basically move aboard their 34' sailboat aptly named - Mystery.

Shadows on the River can be ordered from most online bookstores like Amazon,

or can be ordered from her website.

What others are saying:

- "With a voice well suited to mystery and suspense, Hall creates an almost gothic atmosphere and a wonderfully satisfying conclusion in this final installment of her Shadows series." Romantic Times 4 stars



Monday, May 25, 2009

Our Memorial Day

Some friends on my Facebook page have been hankering for details since I posted a summary of our Memorial Day cookout. So here's the entire silly story.

See the photo? That's all there is of our backyard. One little strip of grass (which functions as a pup potty), and the pool. That black, shrouded thing over in the right corner is our grill.

Well, I got up early on Memorial Day and started in with my to-do list. I did laundry, then I went outside and ripped up the plastic drains that run along the edge of the pool pavers--the installers of said pavers had filled the drains with sand when they put the pavers in, and drainage has not been, er, optimal. Especially since Babe has decided that she'd rather pee on the porch than walk ten yards to the strip of grass.

So I ripped, and scraped out dirt, and hauled, and swept. I did touch-up painting. I cleaned windows, scooped poop, and emptied the trash cans. And when every chore on my list had been checked off, I curled up with the book I've been dying to finish.

Hubby comes in and asks if I want to grill burgers. Sure, it's a tradition, and I'm liking the idea of him doing the cooking. He likes his grill. And I'm exhausted.

So he goes to the grocery store, gets hamburgers and all the fixings, and comes home. Goes outside with the dogs while I curl up in an oversized chair and read.

A little while later, he comes in the house, sopping wet. Informs me that the grill isn't behaving properly, and he's fallen in the pool--twice--while attempting to light it. (As you can see, there's not a lot of work space in that corner.) Apparently he misjudged his footing and simply stepped backward into the pool. On the first fall, he drowned our butane lighter. On the second fall, he barely avoided baptizing our box of matches.

I'm not surprised at this turn of events, as he once volunteered to help a man install an air handler in our attic. During the installation, hubby stepped backward in the attic and fell through the ceiling, landing on our front porch. After that, I make sure he's not home whenever installers come to the house. The man is a dear, but he's also accident-prone.

I go outside and try to help him with the grill, but the grill is his baby and I don't know how to do anything with it. Plus, I'm a little afraid he's going to blow us both up, so I step away and go back inside to my book.

Hubby comes in and asks if he should cook the burgers inside the house. I nod; that's fine. He pops in a moment later with a crepe pan in his hand. "Do I use this?"

"No," I tell him, "use the frying pan. It's bigger."

Soon I hear the happy sounds of sizzling from the kitchen. After a decent interval, I put down my book and go to check things out, only to find that he has fried half a dozen burgers . . . in my wok.

Well, I give him an A for effort. Now, if only he will fix the grill . . . We may want to use it on the Fourth of July.


Lest We Forget

When I traveled with the Re'Generation, we sang a song by Derric Johnson called, "Lest We Forget." It was a powerful reminder of all the men and women--brave patriots--who gave their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to build and defend this country where people are free to worship, work, and live.

As I waited in line at the Atlanta airport on Thursday, a soldier in fatigues stood behind me in line. A woman came up and offered him a card from the airline--I'm not sure what it was for, maybe a free meal or something--and he thanked her but said he already had one of those. She then smiled and thanked him for his service.

I see a lot of gratitude for our service people when I travel . . . and I'm grateful that people are grateful. I can remember a time when things were different.

May you have a blessed Memorial Day, but I hope you will also take some time to remember . . . lest we forget.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

I am Second

Have you heard of the "I am Second" movement? You can check it out at Take some time and click around the site--it's well-done and really interesting.

A new approach to reaching your friends and neighbors. I like it!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another Dog Story

I know, another dog story. But after being in New York traffic last week, I have a new appreciation for this story!

Go, baby dog!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

For you Twilight Fans (including me)

The other day I opened my email to find a note from one of my editors--a gal who is also a fan of TWILIGHT. She wrote:

You write impossibly fast
Your manuscripts come in freakishly perfect
You can write a complete book in less time than it takes most authors to come up with a simple outline
It’s almost as if you never eat …. or sleep
Your skin is pale, even though you live in Florida year round
I know what you are .....

LOL! I should have responded, "Say it. Out loud." Instead I just told her she was a crack-up.

Okay, so maybe I'm twisted . . . or maybe I was slap-happy from the warm cupcake I'd just eaten when I first watched this video But I thought it was pretty hilarious, especially in the beginning. Ah, the creativity of the young . . .

Another spoof I think is hilarious is called "Movies in Minutes--Twilight."  It's a hoot!  


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Infinite Photograph

I don't know about you, but I love beautiful nature photography. Which makes me glad I found the infinite photograph.

Click on any photo to zoom in--double click on any picture to read info about the shot. And yes, you can upload your own photos to be included in this collection.

Keep clicking. The further in you go, the further there IS to go. Pretty amazing, huh?

I'm still here at the Blue Ridge Writer's Conference (held near Asheville, NC) but I'll be heading home on Thursday.  Have met some wonderful people and had a great time teaching.  But it's always good to go home . . . 


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Rain Barrel

I'm excited to share this link with you.   It's a telephone conversation with yours truly and Genie Francis about The Note 2:  Taking a Chance on Love. We recorded it just before Mother's Day.  Listen and enjoy! 

This has been an on-going saga on my facebook page, but I don't think I've mentioned it on my blog. Several weeks ago I decided to become water-wise and install a rain barrel. I spent about a week researching them on the Internet--should I make one or buy one? Buy a fancy, pretty one, or buy an old jug? What to do, what to do . . .

And then my husband saw some plain rain barrels advertised at a local nursery. Sixty-five gallons! With a screened cover! I hopped into the car and took off to get it. I installed it myself, using kitchen shears and pliers to cut the downspout to fit.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited. I decided that I'd run outside at the first sign of rain to celebrate the filling of the rain barrel . . .

And finally, almost four weeks later, it rained. Only a little the first day, but a deluge the second day. We had so much rain, in fact, that my rain barrel overflowed. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should get two . . .


Monday, May 18, 2009

New Publicity pictures

My hubby and I recently took a quick trip to New York to celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. While we were there, I thought I'd ask my friend Jeff Calenberg to shoot some new publicity pictures, since it'd been about twenty years since he last took some pictures.

Jeff and his lovely wife, Laura, are professional models. After so many hours in front of the camera, Jeff decided to take his expertise and put it behind the camera. All I know is that he has taken the best pictures I've ever had in my life! (He took the small picture on my blog page a LONG time ago.)

So here's one of my new pics! Jeff and his magical camera know how to shave off years and pounds . . . and I love that!

You can look at some of his work here.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Crush the Castle

If this is Sunday the 17th, I'm on my way to Ridgecrest, North Carolina, to teach at the Blue Ridge Writer's Conference. Hope to see some of you there!

And in the mean time, I discovered a wonderful way to kill time while my brain is pondering a sticky problem--Crush the Castle. It's an online computer game guaranteed to snag your attention.

You can play it here. Enjoy!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Love this!

Several weeks ago, the Liberty Journal--the magazine for my alma mater--sent a reporter and a photographer to our home to interview me and my hubby, since we both graduated from Liberty. We had a nice chat, but when it came time to take some photos, the photographer suggested that we include one of our dogs! Since Charley is skittish, we asked Babe, who was happy to pose on the front porch.

I love these pictures, and hope they bring a smile to your face. :-) You can click if you'd like a larger version.

Photo credit: Jordan Crossingham/Liberty University.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Cake Wrecks

Today I'm sending you to another blog I stumbled over--I think it's fascinating.

I don't know about you, but I go through phases. Since I've been married, I've gone through the rug hooking phase, the cross stitch phase, the crochet/knitting phase, the sewing phase, the quilting phase, and the cake-making phase. For the latter, I signed up for that Wilton home class in which you receive a glorious kit every month, complete with cake pans, decorative dooly doodads, and all kinds of fun things to clutter your kitchen cabinets.

Well, this blog showcases professional cakes--some great, some a disaster. I especially like the gothic cake that turned out . . . not so gothic. :-/ Glad I wasn't the bride at that wedding.

My favorite bizarre wedding cake, however, has to be the armadillo featured in STEEL MAGNOLIAS. That red velvet inside makes me laugh every time!

Enjoy your look around Cakewrecks. And you might notice that she now has a book for sale!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Robin Lee's latest book!

My good friend Robin Lee Hatcher is the best-selling author of over sixty books. Her well-drawn characters and heartwarming stories of faith, courage, and love have earned her both critical acclaim and the devotion of readers. Her numerous awards including the 2000 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the 1999 and 2001 RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards for Americana Romance and for Inspirational Fiction, and the 2001 RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Catching Katie was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin began her writing career in the general market, writing mass market romances for Leisure Books, HarperPaperbacks, Avon Books, and Silhouette. In 1997, after several years of heart preparation, Robin accepted God's call to write stories of faith and hasn't looked back since. She has written both contemporary women's fiction and historical romances for CBA publishers, and in 2009 her 60th book, A Vote of Confidence, was released, launching a new series (The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs) that looks at the question, "Who says a woman can't do a man's job?" The setting is Idaho during the WWI era.

by Robin Lee Hatcher

Who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

Put up or shut up! Complaining about Bethlehem Springs' dissolute mayoral candidate, Gwen Arlington is challenged to take on the role herself. For seven years, she’s carved out an independent life in the bustling mountain town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, teaching piano and writing for the local newspaper. But now she’s a single woman running for mayor — and in 1915 this decision is bound to stir up trouble.

Morgan McKinley is fed up with the delays that hinder the construction of New Hope Health Spa, a place where both rich and poor can come for rest and healing. New to the area, he has determined that serving as mayor would help him push through his agenda for progress.

Gwen and Morgan each want to prove they are the most qualified candidate, not only to voters but to each other, and so sparks fly as the two campaign. Although Morgan has learned to guard his heart as fiercely as Gwen guards her independence, could they learn to be allies instead of adversaries?

This first book in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series provides intriguing insights into how women challenged convention and shaped America in the early twentieth century.


Ideas come to writers in lots of different ways. The idea for The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series came to me back in 2003-2004 and had its genesis in a couple of other books. From Catching Katie had come a fascination with the decade leading up to the passing of the 19th Amendment that gave American women the right to vote. From a secondary character in Speak to Me of Love came a fondness for a woman in an unusual occupation. While those two things were rolling around in my head, up popped the final ingredient. A question: Who says a woman can't do a man's job? And the next thing I knew, I'd met Gwen and Cleo Arlington, the heroines of the first two books in the series. I had to wait to meet my third heroine until the hero of A Vote of Confidence walked into my imagination. Guess what, Morgan McKinley had a younger sister, Daphne. Each of these women have jobs that weren't considered a woman's domain in their time (1915-1918). I hope readers will become as fond of Gwen, Cleo, and Daphne -- and the men with whom they fall in love -- as I am.

I hope you enjoy Robin's latest!


P.S. Happy 29th anniversary to my patient, understanding husband!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For you cat lovers . . .

I hope you haven't seen this already . . .

Seems a family had much higher than usual water bills. They checked for leaks, they checked the meter, and they couldn't figure out why they were using so much water.

Until one day . . .

Isn't that hilarious? I love it.


Monday, May 11, 2009

LOL! Yes, It Feels Like This . . .

Yes, I know that feeling. That's why my favorite book is always the one I just FINALLY got out the door!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!

I may have shown this video before, but it's precious. And dedicated to all you who are mothers, or hope to be . . .


Friday, May 08, 2009

An Exceptional Video

You need to gather your family around and watch this--it'll take only five minutes. It's a powerful reminder of what America is and why it matters.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Nothing But Trouble! (PJ Sugar - Trouble Collection)

Susie Warren has a new book out! Nothing but Trouble.

from Tyndale

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start.

The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town.

Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg , Minnesota , has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.

About Susan:

Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota .

Some Quick Questions for Susie:

Where did the idea for PJ Sugar come from?

Every author dreams of a moment where someone says something, or they see something on the news, or in a newspaper and it springs out at them, nearly shouting – STORY IDEA! This happened to me a number of years ago while talking to friends about their daycare situation, and how one of the parents ended up being a murder suspect! Scary! But an interesting idea. About that time, I was a mom who wore many hats – homeschooling mom, writing teacher, speaker, children’s church leader, -- and it occurred to me that a mother really has to be a sort of PI. Not only taking on different roles, but sleuthing out daily household mysteries like, who ate the last of the peanut butter (and put it back in the cupboard?) and whose socks are laying in the middle of the floor, and finally…(in our house), who let the dog (and her muddy feet!) in the house! PJ is the alter-ego in every mom, that super-hero inside of us that allows us to have esp (I know you’re not really done with your homework!), or have “eyes in the back of our head,” (stop poking your sister!) or even figure out how to whip together an award-winning science project the night before the fair. PJ just applies all those skills to bad guys and figuring out the truth.

PJ Sugar is also a woman who wants to be all things to all people. She wants to be her nephew’s champion and her sister’s best friend, and her mother’s favorite daughter, and Boone’s special girl, and the hero of her hometown. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe…because God wants her to be His girl, and satisfied in who He made her to be. And that is a journey for all of us PJ Sugars.

Sometimes, do you feel like you just don’t fit in? You look around you and if anyone knew how difficult it was just to put yourself together, to smile when you feel completely overwhelmed, to even figure out what you were making for supper, they’d know what a mess you were. Maybe you totally relate to those words in 1 Peter – God’s elect, strangers and aliens in the world. Do you feel like when you look in the rear view mirror, all you see are your mistakes?

Maybe not. But if so, then PJ is your gal. I wanted to write a story about the person in so many of us who just wants to get it right…but can’t seem to stay out of trouble. My friend and I have what we call the “stupid mouth” club…and we report our weekly foibles (usually on Monday, after Sunday church!). PJ is our charter member. She’s the girl that changes her mind, always hopes for the best, is always discovering that she is just a little different than everyone else. PJ is us.

And that’s good news. Because God loves PJ. He loves her messiness, and her impulsiveness, her heart bent toward others, the hope that fuels her actions. And He has a plan for PJ – one that includes her weaknesses as well as her strengths.

Yep, I need to hear that – need to hear that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, use me, sing over me. Need to hear that although I don’t fit in, well, I’m not supposed to…in fact, I’m supposed to be a little…alien.

I wrote PJ for everyone who feels just a little messy, just a little like they can’t quite get it right. And who needs to hear that God loves them. Period. Full stop. Hallelujah.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New TBO post

I wrote a new post for the Tampa Tribune blog. You can read it here.



And now, to answer your questions . . . :

Kathy asked (I think it was a question!):I think this would be a hard book to write. If someone read The Note and then The Note 2 without knowing about the movie I wonder if it would be confusing since they made changes to The Note for the movie and then those changes are reflected in the second book.

Most of the changes were minor--setting, names etc., so they aren't the sort of changes that would affect the plot. Some of the name changes might throw people for a moment, but not long.

Clyde said: I kept waiting for a link between Eve, the artist, and David, the developing artist. Is that a question?

LOL! There wasn't a link, not really. Maybe it was more like a reflected theme of "the arts."

Linda said: I had been trying to remember what was in the first book about Peyton's first husband!"

Yes . . . according to the first book, Peyton and her husband had a happy marriage. In our podcast, Genie mentioned that the change in the second movie threw her, too. I think they added it for conflict, but the conflict wasn't really between Peyton and her hubby, since he was long gone. It was more about her feelings, so I think we could have had her feeling conflicted without the husband's issues. After all, one of Peyton's primary characteristics is fear--she's afraid to risk her heart again. But I went with the script, and I think it worked. Hope so.

Stacey asked: Was it frustrating for you to take the characters to a place you may not have wanted them to go? Did you have trouble adding the spiritual element to a script that was largely secular (even though i know you said it was written with a secular audience in mind)?

It wasn't really hard to work with the characters and the predetermined plot, because I didn't really have a problem with where the characters were "going." As to your second question, however, yes, that was harder. The Note, the first novel, was a parable--a prodigal daughter story, and it was all about reconciliation with God the Father. There was no overarching parable structure in the second story, so I had to add elements that were more overtly spiritual without going overboard--because too much wouldn't have been true to the character or to the story. And, bottom line, life isn't about following your head or your heart. It's about exercising wisdom and using both head and heart to be what God intends for us to be. I really wanted that message to come out at some point.
And the winner of the free book is (drum roll, please): LuAnn! Please drop me a note with your address through the website contact page and I'll get a copy right out to you.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

BOM: Parting Thoughts

The rest of the process for "The Note 2" was fairly straightforward--editing was simple, the movie company approved the text, and the book was off to the printer. Genie Francis and I did a podcast with Maura Dunbar, the producer, and you can listen to it here. (At least I HOPE I have the link here. If I don't, I don't have it yet. )

Do you have any questions about this book? Please leave them in the comments below, and I'll be sure to answer them tomorrow. Also, if you'd like to be entered in a drawing for a free copy, just leave a note to that effect in the comments box, too.

Thanks! Tomorrow: Q&A


Monday, May 04, 2009

BOM: The Writing

Writing "The Note 2" was in some ways easier and in some ways harder than usual.

It was easier because the characters were already in my head and the plot was already laid out for me.

It was harder for the same reasons. :-)

I was able to elaborate some--for purposes of clarification, to deepen characterization, to add a deeper spiritual component--but I didn't think it'd be right or necessary to take the story off on a tangent.

A certain fact about Peyton's previous marriage comes out in the movie script--a development I hadn't considered and probably wouldn't have considered. I could see why the screenwriter added it--to add conflict, the root of all drama--but it wasn't the sort of "unexpected"plot twist I would have added. (LOL--I would have probably given someone a rare and fatal brain disease. Just kidding.)

In any case, the project was enjoyable and I am pleased with the final result. I hope you enjoy the book, too.

Tomorrow: summary thoughts.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

BOM: Research

The research for "The Note 2" mainly required going back through my notes for "The Note" and reviewing everything I'd learned about a newspaper columnist's schedule. In the movie, Peyton pretty much worries about writing ONE column, but in real life, a full-time newspaper columnist would write between three-four columns every week, with a new column due every other day. That's a pretty brisk schedule.

So I had to come up with a way to keep the novel in sync with the movie, so I created a special anniversary column for Peyton to fret over throughout the book, while she was still turning out less significant columns every other day.

Movies are streamlined, of course, so in the novel I also had to "fill in" Peyton's day with the ordinary stuff of newspaper employment--staff meetings, inter-office chatter, and cubicle prairie-dogging. As I mentioned, I'd done all this research back in 1999 when I wrote "The Note," so I had to refresh my memory. Thank heaven I saved all my notes and character cards!

Tomorrow: the writing!


Friday, May 01, 2009

Book of the Month: Taking a Chance on Love

HI, Everybody:

This week we'll be talking about the latest release, "The Note 2: Taking a Chance on Love." It's a short read, so if you pick up a copy now, you'll definitely have it read before the week is out! Enjoy!