Monday, August 31, 2009

The End of Summer Adventures...but the Beginning of Others

Well everyone, tomorrow will be the first day of September, and since I'm no longer in school I count that as the official end of summer. It's been cool here the last couple of weeks (mostly 70s through low 80s) which is unheard of for August and I'm loving it! Now if it would just stay this way throughout September...the time for colorful leaves, bonfires with s'mores, hotdogs, and campfire pies, apples, jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts...and closing windows and turning on the heat so I don't freeze in the morning (hint, hint, Mom! :0P).


So what did I get done on my summer adventures list? Not as much as I would've liked to...but still, some good-sized goals.


*Get married

Well, this one was kind of a high reach anyway...which is OK. Justin and I have learned and grown together this summer, and it's been an amazing journey. I wouldn't have traded this summer for anything, Sweetheart!!! I love you!


*Finish Roliwyn

Yes!!! This was another big goal--and I made it! Roliwyn topped out at 101, 675 words. I'd say I just slightly surpassed my word goal, huh? :0)


*Go storm-chasing again

Didn't have to! June 9th, the storm came to us! Justin came over my house, and set up a mini weather station with his ham radio and computer. We had lots of fun listening to the radio, then checking radar, then running outside to try and see the storm moving in (since our house is surrounded by trees, that makes it slightly difficult). :0) Too much fun!

*Make 10 amazing catches in Frisbee

I made it to 13 yesterday in Frisbee--yes!!! Not too bad for a summer's worth of Frisbee games. I'd say my ability to catch hard throws improved this year.

*Introduce Justin to all of my relatives

He's met half of my mom's family and all but two of my dad's family. So that wasn't too bad either...

*Read 25 new books

This was so close to being accomplished! I read twenty-two, as of yesterday. Here's the books I read--and book reviews are coming up of all but the Agatha Christie's and the Mindy Starns Clark books (promise

I'll reread the Mindy Starns Clark books again soon and review them!)

Double Minds-Terri Blackstock
The Genesis of Shannara: The Gypsy Morph-Terry Brooks (reviewed) 7/13/09)
Death On the Nile; 4:5o From Paddington; Appointment With Death; A Murder Is Announced; At Bertram Hotel; The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side; Pocketful of Rye; The Moving Finger-Agatha Christie
Shadows of Lancaster County; Whispers of the Bayou-Mindy Starns Clark
Exposure; Dark Pursuit-Brandylin Collins
Lunatic-Ted Dekker

City of Ember; People of Sparks-Jean DuPrau
Elisha's Bones-Don Hoesel
For Such A Time; So Shall We Stand-Elyse Larson
The Vanishing Sculptor-Donita K. Paul
Breach of Trust-DiAnn Mills (reviewed 8/10/09)


*Prove to Jake T that I'm not too chicken to go off their rope swing into their pond

When their pond was high enough for swimming, it was way too cold to I guess this will have to wait for a while yet.


Hope y'all had a great summer and accomplished your own goals (and many thanks to Anna from Apricotpie for giving me this idea on her blog True Love Is Hardcore.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Higher Than A Kite

Explanation of title: I'M FINISHED WITH DRAFT ONE OF ROLIWYN!!!!!


You know, I'm sure that the only thing that will ever surpass how I'm feeling right now is being married--well, and Mom says having a baby. :0P


Whohoo!!! Today was my deadline, and I started out with one chapter left to write. Incidentally, I'd already written all the chapters through 30, and the epilogue and chapter 32--so this one was right smack dab in the middle! :0D Chapter 31, the climax! WOW! I feel like I was in that battle myself.


What a writer's high! As my friend Mary said, "I think you'll be able to ride this one a couple of days!" I'm so crazy, my brain feels absolutely shot. Seriously. I will either not be able to sleep at all tonight because I'll be so excited, or I'll conk out about 10 because my mind is so overwhelmed. I haven't been excited like this in a writing sense since the WftS (Writing for the Soul) conference!!


I honestly can't believe that I'm 2o and have 2 books on my hands--all in various stages of editing, but hey! They're still 2 books! And multiple other book ideas, my next two planned out, etc. This is so weird to think about.


All in all, so far this has been an amazing good-news week! Besides finishing Roliwyn on deadline, we found out that Livie has been accepted into the St. Jude's program in Springfield, much closer! (St. Jude's is a good hospital for children and they and a Springfield hospital have gone together to create this program.) And, Justin now has a (temporary) job roofing...he had his first day today and is sooo tired out. We're still waiting to hear about a meteorology job. Whohoo! It's been a good week, compared to some!




OK, next writing goal: have The Second Crown I; The Quest finished by the end of this year and ready to ship out to publishers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Short Writing Update

This is going to be a very short post--just thought that I'd let you know that I've been working like a madwoman on Roliwyn. That book is occupying all of my awake hours whether in a physical sit-in-front-of-the-computer-screen-and-write way, or in a mental where-am-I-going-next way. I passed my goal of 90,000 words with a whoosh and am at 94,000 currently. I have 2 more chapters excluding the epilogue (sorry, Mary, I said including the epilogue at Frisbee on Sunday but I'd forgotten an important plot point).

My deadline is Wednesday, August 26th, 2009. Self-imposed, that is. That will be the 2nd year anniversary of working on the book.

Now, you may ask: why in the world is she writing this blog post when she should be working on Roliwyn?

My answer: I'm wondering the same thing! :0)

Have a great week, y'all!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Thoughts on Social Networking

I've had I-don't-know-how-many people tell me, "You should get Facebook." Now, Twitter seems to be the big thing too.


I don't have a problem with Facebook most of the time, as long as people use their time on it wisely. However, I know families where everyone has a Facebook, and they tend to spend more time on the computer than interacting as a family. And failing finals just because you were on Facebook all night playing Mafia? That's just plain irresponsible.


It's also been lauded as a wonderful promotional tool for authors. On Rachelle Gardner's blog not too long ago, some authors reported seeing their blog traffic jump--even to 75%!!


Personally, though, I don't know that I could get a Facebook. The more I hear of it, the more fun it sounds. I've always had a weakness for playing games with friends. And chatting with them.


It's just that email, regular internet surfing, and my blog are distractions enough for me (like right now, while I'm writing this blog I should really be working on Roliwyn). And I have this awful habit of checking email every five minutes, unless I just leave it open in the tab bar so I get an alert when new messages come in. Not that many messages come in anymore, since everyone's on Facebook instead of email. Hey pals, don't forget about me! :0)


But it also seems kind of impersonal to me. You're posting up stuff that every one of your "friends" can read instead of taking the time to personalize the messages to all of your buddies.


An editor at the Writing for the Soul conference I attended in February told me that if I was seeking publication, I should be a disciplined writer enough to ignore Facebook even if I had it. But even disciplined authors who have multiple books published confess that it's a temptation.


And it would be one more "thing" to do on the computer, tempting me away from the life I'm determined to lead--as an author, yes, because that part of me can never change. But there are other callings I have in life--friend, daughter, sister...before too long, wife....and in the future, mother. God has given me all these callings and I really don't feel like I can truly obey Him unless I follow all of these and also take care of my health.


Which means not staying up until five a.m. on Facebook. :0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Review: Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills

Storyline: Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills is a romantic suspense, with a bit of a different twist.


The protagonist, Paige Rogers, is the librarian in Split Creek, Oklahoma, a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere.


We immediately assume she’s different than most of the folks around her—for one thing, she carries a Beretta pistol in her car. For another, she severely hates the Republican running for governor’s office, Daniel Kreary. And despite some obvious advances from the town’s handsome football coach, Miles, Paige repeatedly speaks of her disinterest. She spends her days working at the library and helping her friend Voleta balance her checkbooks.


Then we discover she’s an ex-CIA operative who was on the same team as Kreary. They went through a horribly botched mission that left Paige in the hospital. She discovered that Kreary had sold out to the enemy. After finding out that she knows his secret, Kreary blackmails her into leaving the CIA, taking on a new identity, and living in this tiny little town.


And now, he’s after her again.


My Take: I’m a fan of anything suspense. This was a bit more romance than I usually enjoy. But it was a decent read. There were just a few things I disliked.


One—I dislike it when couples in books kiss before they’re engaged, especially Christian couples, without extenuating circumstances. A kiss is a sacred thing, not something we should throw around to anyone.

However, I enjoyed watching her relationship develop with Miles. You really gotta love somebody to get on a Harley with them!! :0)


Two—Paige wonders about her role as a CIA operative and a Christian. At one point in the book, she thinks about her former methods of getting information from men with disgust. But a couple chapters later, the author has her in a short, tight dress and flirting with a man for information. To me, this was an unbelievable step for Paige to take—especially since a few pages before, she’s irritated with her friend Voleta because Voleta’s wearing tight, revealing clothing.


So technically, there were (I felt) a few flaws in the storytelling. But I did appreciate that the story made me think about the danger CIA operatives—and others—go through to keep our country safe.


I think this was a pretty good book. I’d definitely recommend it. It has some endearing small-town scenes in it, a pretty good plot, and a

couple of surprising twists. Enjoy your reading!


Rating: Four out of five stars

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update on Olivia

Hey everyone

Thanks for your prayers. Livie's improved some over the last couple of days. However, there are some things she still needs prayer for. She's not vomiting because they have her on a nutrition IV. Her gut and lungs are inflamed from fluid leaking into them because her blood can't retain fluid, and her blood can't clot at all. They have her on medication for all of these problems, but it's better than they were thinking yesterday. They think that these problems were caused by the chemo treatments, and once her counts start going up, she should improve. She's also off the pain IV.

Justin, Hannah, and Jacob are up there with Tammy and Livie right now. Justin said this afternoon that other than being a little swollen from the extra fluid, she's pretty much normal little Miss O. I guess one of her newest things is to grunt and blow raspberries at the nurses to let them know they're not welcome. :0) When they put a sponge inside her mouth to wet it this morning (she's not allowed to drink or eat, and the IV gets her everything she needs) she bit off half of the sponge...still being ornery Olivia!!

Please continue to pray for this goofy little girl!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request for Olivia

Hey everyone,


Olivia went back to KC last Wednesday for chemotherapy. This round was supposed to be a tough one, and they expected flu-like symptoms. The flu-like symptoms are almost constant right now, and she's on an pain meds IV drip because she's in constant, horrible pain. They're also giving her antibiotics because her immunity level is down, and the doctors have ordered CAT scans for her chest and tummy to make sure there aren't any other problems.


Please, please pray. They're very worried about her right now.


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