Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Nativity Story

As we prepare to move into November and December, I thought I would resurrect a previously-published blog series on THE NATIVITY STORY.  You may remember that this movie opened in 2006, but the movie and my novelization of the film are both still available. (The movie is on DVD, of course.)

You may recall that in May 2006 I got a call last May from Tyndale House--the film was being produced by New Line Cinema, and Tyndale wanted to know if I would take the screen play and write a novel from it. A rush job, but I'd just written MAGDALENE, and all my first-century research was still in my head. So I jumped at the opportunity, I loved the script, and wrote the novelization in a matter of weeks. Not such a tough gig--the story was already plotted. (VBG).

Anyway, enjoy this week of videos. And make plans now to watch THE NATIVITY STORY with your family and friends. What a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas!


Monday, November 28, 2011

You Deserve It . . . . Really?

Lately I've been cringing a lot at TV commercials.  First, at the commercials where the wife is portrayed as a genius while the husband is a bumbling idiot   (AT&T comes to mind, plus that one where the husband and son are trying to create socks that won't fall down), but lately I've been cringing most at the commercials that assure me that I "deserve" something or other. 

I first noticed it in those tacky attorney ads:  "Been in an auto accident?  You deserve to be compensated for your injuries, so call us today."

I deserve compensation?  No wonder our nation has an entitlement culture.  How much compensation do I deserve?  Enough to pay for my medical bills, or should I swallow this line:  "You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering."

Hmmm.  Who's going to pay me what I "deserve" as a result of suffering through those insufferable commercials?

But the "deserve" line has bled over into other commercials, too.  I deserve the best skin care. I deserve the best hair dye.  I deserve the finest foods and best hotels (whether or not I can afford them).  I deserve, I deserve, I deserve.

And this, right after Thanksgiving?  Truth to tell, I'm not grateful for anything I "deserve" because, after all, what I "deserve" is simply my due.

But give me what I don't deserve . . . and then you'll see real gratitude.

I have news for America:  we don't deserve anything.  We don't deserve the many blessings we enjoy, but we enjoy them anyway.  I didn't wire the electrical circuits in my house, I don't purify my water, I don't build the furniture I sit on.  I could do nothing if others had not worked at their professions to make a living, and I'm happy to support them by buying their products.

But do I "deserve" those products?  No.

My mindset has undoubtedly been colored by the fact that the Greatest Giver of all time gave me mercy and a Savior when I was completely and totally undeserving.  My gratitude for that act bleeds over into the other areas of my life.

But listen carefully, and you'll see how we are being told how much we "deserve" in this country. Unless we realize how false that is, we may never dig ourselves out of the ungrateful morass our country finds itself in.

Thanks for letting me sound off.

Stepping off soapbox,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Checking in . . .

The halls are decked. Already. :-) 
I know it's been a while, but I've been caught up in baking (check out the baking blog and the latest macarons!), doing edits for FIVE MILES SOUTH OF PECULIAR, trying to work on my dissertation, and decorating the house for Christmas.

Yes, you read that right.  The inside of my house is now officially decorated with garland and red bows, and the Christmas tree stands guard in the living room. I don't usually decorate this soon, but the days ahead are full and my daughter and the Grand Baby are coming to visit around the first of December.  So I wanted to have Christmas, and if that means decorating on November 21, well, so be it.  :-)

We will wait to do the outside of the house until AFTER Thanksgiving.  :-)

For our family Thanksgiving, hubby and I always jump in the car with a few dishes and drive a couple of hours to this little town called Lake Hamilton--trust me, it's small.  But they have a lovely old woman's club, and my family rents the women's club so all the aunts and cousins and friends can eat a meal together.  We catch up and eat too much, then we play Dirty Santa--a tricky gift exchange, if you've never played it.  Then we take pictures, clean up the dishes, and head home until the next year.  It's a simple tradition, but I'm grateful for it. Without it, I'd hardly ever get a chance to see many in my extended family.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?  Do you travel or stay home?  Do you have a favorite dish that simply must be on the table?  Have you ever had Thanksgiving alone?  I have, and it's not much fun. So if you know someone in that situation, invite 'em over and pull up an extra chair.  You'll be glad you did.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yes, Women Can Talk

It's a scientific fact that women talk more than men. After watching this video, you'll think they come out of the womb talking. :-) Too cute! Thanks to Clyde for passing this one along!

(That poor flummoxed father cracks me up!)


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer

The HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins, was one of the best books I read last year. And now it's coming to the big screen, and it appears to be faithful to the book--what I can see, in any case. And one of my writer friends, Sarah Sumpolec, is an extra in the film, and she says she has seen herself twice in the trailer.

See Sarah? The blonde with hair up, in the ivory dress a little left of center. 

Sarah is in the long dress, a little left of center. 

I haven't been this excited about seeing a movie in a long time. I use a bit of the first chapter of HUNGER GAMES when I teach, and most folks come away wanting to read the book. It's amazing.

Have you read it? What did you think? What do you think of the trailer?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bookworms, rejoice!

A tip of the hat to Robin Lee Hatcher for leading me to this video--apps for bookworms! Sound like they're right up my alley!

And of course, don't forget the Angela Hunt Books app.  You can download it here or with this code:



Monday, November 14, 2011

What if Blessings Come in Disguise?

I'm home from teaching at a workshop in Denver--for the HIS Writers chapter of ACFW. Had a wonderful time, but am glad to be home and settling back into my normal routine.

While in Denver, my friend Kay told me about this song . . . and I love it because it's so profound. Listen . . . and consider.



Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Handel's Messiah . . . in Alaska!

Links to this have been floating around the Internet, but if you haven't taken the time to watch, it's a good one.



Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

Eight Rules for Good Writing

My writer friend Sibella sent me this quote from C.S. Lewis:

  • In 1959, an American schoolgirl appealed to C. S. Lewis for writing advice, and he sent her a list of eight rules for good writing: 

  • 1. Turn off the radio [and television].

  • 2. Read good books and avoid most magazines.

  • 3. Write with the ear, not the eye. Make every sentence sound good.

  • 4. Write only about things that interest you. If you have no interests, you won't ever be a writer.

  • 5. Be clear. Remember that readers can't know your mind. Don't forget to tell them exactly what they need to know to understand you.

  • 6. Save odds and ends of writing attempts, because you may be able to use them later.

  • 7. You need a well-trained sense of word-rhythm, and the noise of a typewriter will interfere.

  • 8. Know the meaning of every word you use.
    Source: C. S. Lewis. Collected Letters. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966, 291-292. Quoted in Kathryn Lindskoog, Creative Writing for People Who 
    Can't Not Write. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1989, 253.

  • ~~Angie

    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    National Novel Writing Month

    It's back! National Novel-Writing Month. So here's a video to help us celebrate!

    Today I'm flying home from Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Christian Writers' Conference. Had a great time with new friends, old friends, and a former student from the single year I taught high school English!  Wonderful to be with so many folks who are enthused about writing, but I'm happy to be heading home now with a new book on my iPad.  :-)


    Saturday, November 05, 2011

    Serious Writers At Work

    If you can stand one more video, here 'tis: Serious Writers At Work. Enjoy!


    Friday, November 04, 2011

    Guest Blogger: My dear friend, Nancy Rue

    Photo:  Nancy sent in this picture--LOL!  

    Blog title: Unexpected Dismounts Blog hop with Nancy Rue, Day 1

    It is with very great pleasure that I'd like to introduce my "kindred spirit" Nancy Rue.  Nancy and I met years ago, and even though I often teach at conferences where she isn't, I always miss her if she's not there.  :-(    So here she is to talk about her latest book (and a few other things--we're both new grandmas!), Nancy Rue! 

    From time to time, Angie Hunt and I teach as “Nangie” (get it? Nancy + Angie = Nangie). Because we approach writing so differently, we complement each other in the classroom and give our students more than one perspective. I am, of course, constantly in awe of Angie’s beauty, wit and wisdom, so when someone gets us confused or just refers to both of us as Nangie, I am highly flattered and want to adopt that person as my new best friend.
                      Yet the bond that exists between Angela Hunt and me goes beyond co-teaching. This is a woman without whom The Reluctant Prophet trilogy would never have been written, at least not in the way it has been. She talked me into attending a Donald Maass weeklong intensive with her that completely changed the way I write a novel – for the better, I hope. She has always encouraged me to follow the nudges God administers to me – just as Allison does in the novels. You want publishers to recognize the need for better children’s literature, Nancy? Hold a conference for children’s writers. You think want to write about a contemporary prophet? What’s stopping you?
                      That would be enough to make me “bow down and call her blessed,” as Angie herself likes to say. But there’s so much more. This woman whose blog you follow because you love her books and her wit and her eye for the quirky has more integrity than any ten people I know. You can always count on her to be honest, yet with tact. If she pays you a compliment, you’ve heard something genuine. She prays every decision through and is one of those rare people who can quote Scripture that applies to a situation without making you feel like you’ve been spiritually mugged. Being with Dr. Angie Hunt makes me want to be far better than I am.
                      So what fun to be a guest here! I think I was supposed to talk about my new book, Unexpected Dismounts, but again, without the influence Angie has had on me and my work, there would be no Allison Chamberlain riding through the streets of St. Augustine on her Harley, ministering to the prostitutes and turning the lives of the wealthy upside down.  My life would be diminished without her.

    Nancy Rue            

    Do you have someone in your life who has nudged you to make a difference or follow a dream? How might you encourage them today?

    Nancy is very kind to say the things she did, but truthfully, I think she's changed me more than I've changed her.  She's taught me to look outside the boxes, to consider things from a different vantage point, and to accept people where they are . . . instead of expecting them to hop to where I'd like them to be. Nancy demonstrates love and grace every day and can find the beauty in a manuscript that I've stabbed with my red ink pen . . . the woman has a gift, and I'm so blessed to call her friend.  

    AND--I've read the first book in the Reluctant Prophet series and I loved it. I think you will, too.    
    In Allison Chamberlain, Nancy Rue has created a fresh and unique protagonist to challenge all who follow Christ.  How will we change the world?  By being willing to leave our comfortable pews and habitual routines to truly listen to the voice of the Spirit…and show the world that Jesus called us to love.  Not to take care of ourselves, but to take risks in loving others.  The Reluctant Prophet Series are wonderful books with the power to change hearts and lives.

    Thanks for joining us on the Unexpected Dismounts Blog hop with Nancy Rue.  

    Nancy’s publisher, David C. Cook is sponsoring the blog hop with an opportunity to win some great prizes, including a $200.00 gift card for American Express.  To register to win & RSVP for the facebook party today. 

    If you are interested in hearing more from Nancy, you can visit her website, subscribe to her blog: The Nudge, join her on Facebook and/or follow her on twitter.

    Thanks for dropping by today! 


    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    Have been blogging . . .

    . . . over at the Lovin' Oven Bakery.  What can I say?  I'm home!  :-)