Friday, April 30, 2010

New Release from Jill Elizabeth Nelson!

Calculated Revenge by Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Steeple Hill Romantic Suspense
(c) 2010
It’s been eighteen years since Laney Thompson’s sister was abducted and killed, but the pain Laney feels has never faded. And now the murderer is back, taunting Laney with mementos of her sister and threatening Laney’s young daughter. School principal Noah Ryder is her best hope for protecting her daughter—if she can convince the former investigator to take the case. As the threats accelerate, a string of clues leads Laney to uncover old secrets. Unless Noah steps in with his expertise, how can she piece together the puzzle before her child—like her sister—is lost to a killer’s revenge?

I just finished your book. I love Christian Suspense books and this one is the best one I have read in a while. I never figured out the solution until it was evident to all. Wonderful suspense weaving throughout the book. Thanks, I will look for more books by you. I could not put it down once I got started.
Excellent, excellent book! It caught my attention from the first page and was so hard to put down! Keep on sharing God's love and gospel thru your writing - it is important to those who need encouragement as well as need to know our precious Savior!


Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an award-winning author of mystery and suspense. She writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith, earning her the tagline: Endless Adventure, Timeless Truth. Jill speaks at conferences, writer’s groups, library associations, and civic and church groups. She and her husband live in rural Minnesota where they raised four children and are currently enjoying their first grandchild.

Visit Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s website at for excerpts, book giveaways, and contests.

You can order this book directly from your local bookstore, retail stores such as Walmart, or online here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unmade Beds? No worries!

Does your child (or a late-sleeping spouse) refuse to make the bed? If you're like me, you can't leave the house if the bed's not made, but this fancy bed might make it easier.

One caveat--notice that the video has been sped up (speeded up?) In other words, this contraption might take all day to make the bed, but at least it'll get done. :-)

Thanks for the clips, Patty!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Techno Marvel Bed

Yes, Patty sent me this video, too. For all you interior designers who can't stand to have a bulky, ugly TV exposed in a room. How cool is this gadget?

(But isn't that screen a little LARGE to be so close to your eyes?)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If you Work at a Desk . . .

While I was in the hospital, my pal Patty Hickman sent me this video . . . and I loved it! For anyone who works at a desk and loves to take a power nap (and I'm thinking of another pal, JSB, who does just that.) How cool is this?


Monday, April 26, 2010

Coolest bookshelves

You may have heard via my face book account that I was in the hospital for a couple of days over the weekend--but I'm home now and mending just fine. Apparently I have fussy innards, and every once in a while they kick up their heels . . .

Anyway, just had to share these bookshelves, described in detail here. A tip of the hat to Brad Whittington for pointing me in this direction. Aren't these cool! Now, if only I could find a place where I could put one . . .


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Cove

I watched this movie tonight. And while I'm not a vegan, I do believe that dolphins are intelligent, beneficient creatures, as are whales, and this movie literally made me sick.

Worst of all, they aren't even good food for the Japanese or anywhere else, as consumption of their meet causes mercury poisoning.

Please, watch this movie. Rent it today from Netflix or where ever. And do something to stop this slaughter.

Now, if only someone would make a movie like this about the slaughter of unborn human babies . . .


Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Brilliant Transportation idea

Okay, this is brilliant--and surely something our transportation officials ought to look into: a bullet train that never stops at stations. :-)

Instead, apparently, passengers hop in and out of pods that automatically attach and detach as the bullet train whizzes through. Cool, huh? The Chinese are thinking outside the box.

Wonder how this would work with airlines . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010


I finally got around to watching Hachi--A Dog's Tale. I had mixed feelings about watching it because I knew it would make me cry--well, maybe that's an understatement. The movie made me SOB, as did the trailer.

But it's a great film, good for the entire family to watch, and it just reminds me of what a gift God gave us when he gave us dogs. So add this to your Netflix queue, but bring out the tissues before you turn it on!

As the Lord would have it, an hour after I finished watching Hachi, I turned to PBS, which was airing a special called "Through a Dog's Eyes," about the Canine Assistants program. (Check it out and watch the show here.) One dog expert in the program said something like, "To a dog, his human is like his sun--the center of his universe." And I kept thinking that the relationship between a man and his dog ought to be like the relationship between man and his God. God is our creator, our master, the one we live to please. Maybe that's why the human-canine relationship is so special! I was particularly interested in the PBS program because a local family was part of the special.

P.S. Thinking as a novelist, Hachi is one of the few movies I've seen where the dog is actually the protagonist--complete with goals and complications! I can't say any more, or I'll start crying again.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

A salute to dogsledding

Now that winter is pretty much over and gone for a while, take a look at these dogs . . . who love to "dog sled"! Or maybe that's body surfing in snow. :-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lord, Save us From Your Followers

Last night hubby and I watched a movie by Dan Merchant--"Lord, Save Us from Your Followers." I didn't quite know what to expect, and was wary of watching a movie that made light of evangelical preachers, etc., but found the film quite touching, enlightening, and convicting. In fact, I think I may have picked up a really good novel idea from watching it!

I didn't agree with everything in it--seeing my former pastor as Frankenstein was painful, and a couple of comments made me cringe--but the main point--that we need to stop arguing with the world and start demonstrating Christ's love--is a good one.

So add the movie to your Netflix queue now-- "Lord, Save Us From your Followers." The following is a clip: (If you don't see a video clip, click on the link and you can watch the clip on the site).


Get Adobe Flash player

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time out for the girls

My cousin Ginger sent me this--and no, she's not a Golden Retriever. :-) You may remember a few days ago we featured a male dog doing this--now it's the girl's turn to enjoy a meal at the table.

In the mean time, I'm hard at work on the WIP, so enjoy the video clip!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Word Cloud

I made another word cloud of my short bio--and it's kinda cool to see your entire life represented in one artsy figure. Here's mine. Have you done yours?


Sunday, April 18, 2010

The WIP Word Cloud

I have entered the final 30 days of my work-in-progress, and though you might think that things get easier in the last month, they get harder. I seem to get up and go to work, quit work and go to bed, for days on end. But being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel makes it worth it.

At, you can create "word clouds" from selected text, so I've copied a section of the WIP and created a word cloud for inspiration. The bigger the word, the more prominent it is in the text. Maybe you can glean a few clues as to the topic of the novel-in-progress! (You can click the image to make it bigger).



P.S. Insert your favorite Bible verse into the "create" box for a really lovely image you could frame for your desk!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reverse Thinking

I have often been struck by the fact that usually the godly thing to do is the complete OPPOSITE of the "natural" or humanistic thing to do.

A friend (thank you, Michael!) sent me a link to this video. The embedding code has been disabled, but you simply have to watch this video through to the end. A very rewarding and enlightening two minutes!

Isn't that grand?


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Test Scene

Okay, friends:

Novels are all about eliciting emotion. So I've written this scene, and I need to know how it makes you feel about Michael, the husband, Ginger, the wife, and Penny, the sister-in-law Michael is talking to. If you could please just leave a brief comment and let me know how you're FEELING about each one after reading this scene, you'd be helping me out. :-) Thanks!

The scene is from Penny's point of view. Michael has just come from talking to his wife, who discovered earlier that he's had an affair.


The kitchen has filled with the aromatic scents of vanilla and coffee beans by the time I hear footsteps on the stairs. I turn, not sure who’ll I find on the landing. A smile tugs at my mouth when I see Michael, but the tortured expression on his face forces me to turn away.

So . . . Miss Perfect Example of a Model Marriage isn’t ready to forgive and forget. Something in me wondered if she would rather sweep the incident under the rug and go into denial rather than face the truth about her perfect husband, but apparently she’s decided to face reality.

I should send her an official invitation to the Betrayed Wives Club.

I catch Michael’s eye as he stops at the foot of the stairs and rubs the back of his neck. “I’d offer you a place on the couch, but I don’t think you’ll want to be here when Ginger gets up tomorrow morning. I did make you some coffee, though.”

He gives me a rueful smile. “Did you make it with rat poison?”

“Shoot, I knew I forgot something. You’re in luck—we cleaned out the kitchen drawers today. Not a spoonful of rat killer to be found in this entire house.”

Michael moves to the bar and perches on a stool as I open a box and pull out a mug. “Do you take cream and sugar?”

“I think I’d better take it black. It’s going to be a long drive home.”

I pour the steaming liquid into the cup, then slide it across the bar. He lifts the mug, then raises a brow. “Why are you still speaking to me?”

I lean against the counter and cross my arms. “I always liked you, Michael. And, believe it or not, I understand that marriages can get stale. I’m not happy about you cheating on my sister, but there’s no sense in pretending that these things never happen.” I shrug. “I might even be a little relieved that now Ginger will have to step off her soapbox and stop preaching to me and Rose. But we’ll take care of her. You don’t have to worry about that.”

A half-hearted smile flits across his face, then he sips from his mug. “This is good. Aren’t you having any?”

“I shouldn’t. I need to sleep tonight. Ginger can be a slave driver, you know.”

“Oh, I know.” He takes another sip and lowers the cup back to the counter. I suspect Michael is stalling because he wants to talk, but I’m not sure he should be talking to me. Even though we’ve been related for twenty-seven years, I’ve always suspected that Michael doesn’t take me seriously because I never finished college and I don’t like to talk about politics and world affairs.

But at the moment, I’m the only person around.

“Did, um—” he turns the handle on his coffee mug— “did Ginger say much to you and Rose?”

“Ginger never shares much with us. But she shared enough for us to understand what happened.”

He grimaces, and his dark eyes brim with threatening tears. “I hate that this is happening. I didn’t mean to hurt her. If you knew how I’ve agonized—”

“You weren’t thinking about her, that’s the point. And you know what they say about a man who takes fire into his hand—he’s gonna get burned.” The quote isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s enough to make him wince.

“I don’t want to lose my wife, Pen. It was a mistake, an infatuation. Theresa kept after me, waiting for me after class, coming to my office for advice, managing to meet me in the parking lot every morning. I was . . . flattered. She was attractive, and very intelligent. She’s brilliant, actually.”

“Your wife isn’t exactly chopped liver.”

“But you know how it is—marriage gets comfortable after a few years. And this woman was so . . . exotic. She listened to me. She said she needed me. And now she’s pregnant.”

This news slams into me with the force of a blow. Michael has been caught in a trap, complete with iron bars and a pick-proof lock. The conniving temptress did her work well.

His face transforms, the handsome and detached veneer peeling back to reveal the agony underneath. “I don’t know what to do.” He folds his arms on the counter and casts me a look of helpless appeal. “Ever since I heard that Theresa might be pregnant, I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve considered the problem from all angles, and the best solution isn’t what I want to do. But it’s the only way I can own up to my mistake, keep my job, and continue providing for my sons. I have to walk away from someone, but if I walk away from Theresa, she’ll destroy me. And then I’ll have nothing to offer anyone.”

“I wonder—” my voice is dry— “what made this woman think you had much to offer in the first place.”

Michael drops his head onto his folded arms, quietly and thoroughly going to pieces. The sound of his contrite sobs strikes me as surreal—I feel like I’m watching a Star Trek rerun, and Spock has just collapsed in a crying jag.

After a few minutes, I lean my elbows on the counter and look my brother-in-law directly in the eye. “Get a hold of yourself and listen to me. Have you seen a genuine pregnancy report? Something from a doctor’s office?”

He lifts his head and blows his nose, then wearily props his chin on his hand. “Yeah. I have. And I hate to admit it, but I found myself hoping that she’d miscarry or choose—you know, not to have the baby. But she’s determined.”

“Of course she is. So don’t you dare think of this woman as innocent, because she’s obviously clever enough to get you where she wants you. Let me guess—she said you wouldn’t need to worry about birth control, right?” When his eyes close, I shake my head. “You’re such a man, Michael. You’re smart, but your brains go right out the window when your hormones get stirred up. Face it, this other woman played you, and now Ginger and the boys are going to pay the price.”

His lips tighten. “Do you think Ginger will—”

“Divorce you? I don’t see any reason for her to stay with you.”

The tension on his face dissolves into a bewildered expression of hurt. “I never thought I’d be asking Ginger for a divorce, but I can’t see any other answer. Theresa could make things miserable for me at the university if I don’t marry her.”

“I thought you couldn’t be fired. That you had immunity or something.”

His mouth twists with bitter humor. “Tenure doesn’t mean I couldn’t be fired for gross misconduct. If I abandon Theresa, she could claim sexual harassment.”

“Would she?”

He considers a moment. “Yeah, she would. I’d lose my job.”

“What about your family? Can you just walk away from them?”

“Would I really be walking away? Ross and Ryan are practically grown, and I’m sure most of their friends have divorced parents. I could stay in touch with them and with Ginger; there’s no reason this has to spell disaster. Ginger’s always been independent and capable, she’ll be fine on her own.”

Overcome by sheer disbelief at his matter-of-fact summation, I can’t speak. Ginger has always said that Michael lives more in his head than in his emotions, and now I see the proof of it. He speaks like a true professor, a man who regularly turns problems into logical solutions. I can’t disagree with his argument; his sensible conclusion sounds like something I might have come up with. Being the man he is, Michael will want to marry the other woman. He can even cloak himself in responsibility, claiming that his unborn child needs a father.

But what about the wife and sons he will abandon? Though I can appreciate the common sense in his proposed solution, I can’t deny the heartbreak he will cause.

“I don’t understand,” I say, the words hurting my throat, “why this other woman can’t see that a man who’d cheat on his wife will also cheat on her, but maybe she only wants you for a couple of years. So drink your coffee, stiffen your spine, and go back to Savannah. Ginger will come home when she’s ready.”

Michael looks at me, his eyes soft with pain. “It’s the best thing, you know. Ginger will want to divorce me. No one will blame her for doing it.”

“You may be right,” I answer, “but that doesn’t mean she’ll be happy afterward.”

Michael stares at the counter for a moment, then he gulps his coffee down. He lowers the mug and runs the back of his hand across his mouth. “I never thought I’d be gratefulthat you were around to talk to Ginger. You’re more experienced in these matters, so I know you’ll give her good advice.”

For some reason, the compliment stings.

“If Ginger wants to talk,” Michael continues, “tell her to call me. I’m not going to bother her any more, but I’ll keep my phone on.”

I nod. “Goodbye, then.”

He moves toward the door, picks up the overnight bag he dropped on his way in, and steps onto the front porch. He casts a look at me, a wordless plea for mercy or sympathy or understanding, but I send him on his way with a curt wave. “Drive safely, Michael. Have a nice life.”

Equal time for Cats

The only bit of that clip I didn't like was when they tied the cat to something and the poor cat was dragging it . . . reminds me too much of when Samson set the foxes afire and sent them into the Philistines' fields. Shudder. But all of the other bits were great!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Potato Salad and OUCH!

My aunt Irene sent me a link to this video . . . and all I can say is that I sing, but there's no way I could do THIS choreography! My muscles ache from even watching this!

And as for standing on the edge of those boxes and planks--when I used to sing with the Re'Generation, I had a tendency to shy away from the front line at the front of the stage. Because if we flung ourselves down in the bow like we were supposed to, I just knew I'd fling myself right off the stage!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Animal Photography

I love animals, and I love good photography (mine is not so good). Anyway, I found this stunning collection of animal photography, and I'd never seen any of these shots before. Enjoy!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Elevator Revisited

Time Magazine recently posted a list of YouTube's top 50 videos, and I was surprised to see this one posted as #50. And then, thinking of my book THE ELEVATOR, I felt really sorry for this young man.

I'd seen most of the 50 videos before, but this one was new to me.

What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator for nearly two full days?


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dog and Deer

This is cute--the dog keeps wanting to play keep away with the ball, and the deer keeps wanting to play . . . well, like deer play. Very sweet!


Friday, April 09, 2010

Calling all Magicians!

I'm a bit interested in feats of "magic" (illusion) because I have been toying with the idea of writing a book about this . . . anyway, I found this video and this guy is truly fascinating. So if you have a free seven minutes or a magician in the house, gather round and take a peek:

P.S. Happy birthday to my daughter!


Thursday, April 08, 2010

We Interrupt the International Apology Tour . . .

. . . to bring you great news of something President Bush did RIGHT!

Watch CBS News Videos Online


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Of course the WIP has a dog in it!

I've decided to write a Jack Russell terrier into the novel-in-progress. Why? Well, I think you'll understand after you watch this video! :-)

I've named the book dog "Justus," in honor of my mastiff who is now in doggie heaven. Man, my heavenly mansion is going to be filled with dogs!


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Real Estate Front

I think I've mentioned on this blog that we have our house on the market. I have decorated and decluttered and painted and painted again. I've watched HGTV until my hubby is sick of hearing those familiar voices. I have tried every trick in the book and am *this* far from calling in Tonya Meme or one of those other TV stagers (as if they would come here to sell my house).

In the mean time, the abandoned house we're trying to buy has been suffering its own trials. We placed a bid on it, the house went up for auction, the sheriff's auction got cancelled, our short sale paperwork got cancelled, we started all over again and counted it as a blessing because now we have more time to sell our house. But in the mean time, the poor house has suffered. I know that roaches are running rampant and breeding like . . . well, roaches--and you can see from the pictures that a glass door has been smashed AND two adorable ducks have taken up residence in the pond . . . er, swimming pool. (Yes, that is black water).

All to say that IF we sell our house and IF we managed to get this house with loads of potential, my Saturdays will be filled for the next couple of years!


Sunday, April 04, 2010

A blessed Easter to you and yours!

12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.

20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. --the apostle Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 15

A blessed Easter to you and yours!


Saturday, April 03, 2010

**A Novel Idea

I am SO excited about this book . . . in part because it was conceived in my car!

Robin Jones Gunn, you see, had come to my house last July, and on our way to have some Five Guys burgers, Robin was sharing her heart and her burden about international Christian writers, many of whom cannot afford to come to writer's conferences--nor do they have access to all the great resources that so many American writers do.

So before we knew it, we were thinking about asking some of our writing pals to contribute an article to a "how-to" book for writers . . . and that's when "A Novel Idea" was born. Tyndale House agreed to publish it, dozens and dozens of writers agreed to participate (in fact, we had so many articles submitted the editor wasn't able to use all of them), and now the book is scheduled to arrive in November. I know that any writer will find this book an invaluable resource, so thanks to all who participated in the project. Best of all, you can order it NOW!

Photos: Robin and me with our heads put together (and we have no idea why we made that face) and the official birth announcement for the new "baby"! (You can click on the ad to enlarge.)


Friday, April 02, 2010

We will Remember in November

Back by popular demand--

If you're like me, you were saddened and shocked to see so many of our elected representatives disregard the will of their constituents and vote to put our country in massive unsustainable debt. We must let them know that they did not do their jobs--to represent us well--and the way we will let them know is at the ballot box next November.

Sorry--but we have sold out of the "we will remember" bumper stickers.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Cuteness Competition--ready, set, rumble!

I do hope that cat's been declawed . . . what do you suppose he's thinking?