Friday, July 31, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

“We are no longer the knights who say ni! We are now the knights who say ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!”

The week in book news & such...

Book Bloggers! Is your blog listed at YA Book Central? They are asking for great suggestions - YA Books Central

Lillie Ammann has a fantastic 8-part series on character building at her site!! Lillie Ammann

Carol Denbow interviews MaAnna Stephenson - do you need a website? A Book Inside

Marketing Tips For Authors had two great posts this week:
Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author and book marketing expert - Creating Relationships with Potential
Tony discusses blog lengths -
How Long Should Blog Posts Be?

Carolyn Howard-Johnson discusses multiple submissions - Sharing With Writers

And I'm happy to announce that Book III of my series will be available as a giveaway at Goodreads starting August 1st - Book III GoodReads Giveaway


Thanks for all of the wonderful comments this week! Hugs to the new followers as well. I was on the road Wednesday & Thursday, so sorry if I missed any of your wonderful blog posts.


* MOVIE REVIEW *

Still haven't ventured from the house for a movie, but got a great NetFlix title this past week.

BOLT - A-
I'd heard this was a good movie, but we didn't make it to the theatre to see it last year. I was surprised by the genuine heart and the great storyline. Loved Mittens the cat, but I think Rhino the hamster was my favorite. Very funny and very touching!


* CONCERT REVIEW *

Say what?

Yup, I'm reviewing a concert this week, because that's where we were Wednesday night - at a concert!

This was the "Progressive Rock Tour" and the headliner was a band my husband has wanted to see for almost 20 years. So off we went and...

Scale the Summit - they were the opening act and really caught us by surprise. They only do instrumentals, but it was a group of very young men who were talented beyond reason. We were so impressed we purchased their CD!

Big Elf - heavy psychedelic 70's influence. Not sure if I could listen to a whole album, but they were very good, and individually the songs were great. Wouold do really well in Europe!

Zappa on Zappa - they were the last opener before Dream Theater, and I almost fell asleep! Dweezil's band was top notch, but he was doing a tribute to his father, and until I heard the music, I'd never realized how self-indulgent Zappa was as an artist. LONG songs with no purpose other than allowing the musicians to just play. They played 90 minutes, and it should've been 30...

Dream Theater - THE headliner and tour organizer! This is one of the biggest bands never to get airplay and they showed off their incredible talent for over two hours. Very few musicians play at this level. (Prog rock is where the masters go!) My husband had a fantastic time seeing his band and I really enjoyed it as well.

Which leads to the photo of the day - Dream Theater!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - The Frugal Editor Herself!


Today I welcome none other than the Frugal master herself, Carolyn Howard-Johnson!

This excerpt is from a must-own & read repeatedly book for any author!

Outside by B&N Box

(This excerpt is from The Frugal Book Promoter, How To Do What Your Publisher Won't by Carolyn Howard-Johnson)

Chapter 34: Catalog Sales Are Exposure, Too!

Catalogs are show business. They spotlight a product for the sole purpose of selling merchandise but they also create a buzz, project an image, tell a story, leave an impression. They create celebrity for themselves and for each of their products.
CHJ

Experts disagree about how extensive the crossover is between sales and publicity. The primary reason for your book to appear on the pages of a retail catalog is, of course, sales but that exposure is also extraordinary publicity for your book.

It qualifies as publicity because you don’t pay for it. It is paid advertising for the catalog company or store that issues the catalog; for you it is a free ride that will result not only in sales through the catalog itself but will stir up interest in other places.

Other advantages are:
* The catalog company will probably pay the freight for their book shipments.
* Their purchases are outright; unlike most bookstores, they will not return what they buy.
* They will reorder when their stock is depleted.
* They don’t care if your book is current as long as the information is accurate and it sells.
* Most don’t require exclusivity.
*Their orders will be substantial enough to make both you and your publisher smile. That your publisher probably will not attempt to sell your book this way is beyond understanding, but most don’t.

Disadvantages are:
* Learning curve ahead! You’ll need to negotiate sales to catalog buyers expertly.
* Because catalogs buy in quantity they may expect a hefty discount. If you or your publisher cannot give 50 percent or more, there is no point in pursuing this avenue. However, if you only break even on catalog sales, it may be worth pursuing them for the publicity benefits.
* Some authors and publishers fail to print enough books to supply a catalog’s needs.
* Nonfiction books are generally more suitable for catalogs.

Here’s how to find catalogs that might be interested in your book:
* Do an engine search on “retail catalogs.” About 600,000 lists and individual catalogs will appear. Narrow the search to include only catalogs that will find your book irresistible.
* Go to a bookstore or library for CATALOG OF CATALOGS. Find one or more categories that are a fit for your book and Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo! Another way to see your book cover in print and realize sales at the same time.
* The fast but more expensive way to find leads is to purchase John Kremer’s specialty retailer and catalog databases for about $60 from BookMarket
* Watch for catalogs that come to your home. Become familiar with their products. Ask your friends to pass their catalogs on to you. When you find an appropriate one for your book, go for it!
* Read BEYOND THE BOOKSTORE by Brian Jud. Call (800)-43-BRIGHT.

Hint: It is almost a certainty that your publisher won’t pursue this avenue for sales. If you can crack a catalog deal for a gross or more of your title, it is highly unlikely that your publisher won’t see the value in it and work with you. If you approach your publisher first, they most probably won’t be up for it. They may not understand the potential until it is laid in their laps.



Carolyn is an author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for writers, including USA Book News' award winners:

The Frugal Editor Amazon

The Frugal Book Promoter Amazon

The Great First Impression Book Proposal Amazon

Find her at How To Do It Frugally and at Linked In & Twitter and blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick:
Sharing With Writers
The New Book Review
Sizzling Book Fair Booths
The Frugal Editor Blog







Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Authors Joyce Meyer & Deborah Bedford

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Any Minute FaithWords (June 30, 2009)
by
Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, I Dare You, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Deborah Bedford is a career fiction writer who began her professional life as a journalist in a Colorado mountain town.
A Rose By The Door, Deborah's first with Warner Book (name changed to FaithWords in 2006), hit bookstores in November 2001. A Morning Like This was released by Warner Books in 2002. Deborah's short story, “Connor Sapp's Baseball Summer,” is included in Multnomah Publisher's The Storytellers' Collection, Tales From Home, alongside stories by Chuck Colson, Terri Blackstock, Randy Alcorn and Karen Kingsbury.
Deborah and Jack have two children, Jeff and Avery. When she isn't writing, Deborah spends her time fly-fishing, cheering at American Legion baseball games, shopping with her daughter, singing praise songs while she walks along the banks of Flat Creek, and taking her dachshund Annie for hikes in the Tetons where they live.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Sarah Harper is driven to achieve success no matter what the cost. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves--especially children and her husband, Joe--but her desire to succeed in her career too often leaves little time for family.
One cold, autumn afternoon, all of that changes when Sarah's car plunges off a bridge and into a river. She is presumed dead by those on the "outside," but Sarah's spirit is still very much alive. What she discovers on the other side transforms everything about Sarah's view of life--past, present, and future.
When Sarah is revived, she is a changed woman. And the unsuspecting world around her will never be the same again.

If you would like to read the first chapter of
Any Minute, go here!
The book link is:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446582530

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photo Tuesday - Character Growth

Character growth is an essential part of any good story.

As writers, it helps if we view our characters as children. They come to us incomplete and not well versed in the ways of the world. Perhaps they lack in a crucial area, such as people skills or talent. Perhaps they are prisoners of their environment. Quite often they begin with personal challenges, hang-ups and inconsistencies.


As the story progresses, our characters start to change. Their hearts grow and they develop a greater capacity for emotion. Perhaps challenges force them to become stronger or bolder. Maybe the situations in their life cause them to question what they thought they knew. Often they become like gangly teenagers, stumbling and failing and struggling to find their place in life.



By the end of our tale, those characters grow up. Like a caterpillar to a butterfly, they are changed creatures. Hopefully for the best, although sometimes the growth is not considered positive. But regardless of the direction, the characters are different and this growth is unmistakable.


And we hope that by experiencing this transformation through our characters, our readers will come away changed as well!

Okay, maybe not THAT changed!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A New Twist - Interviewing the Book Blogger, Debbie!

Today I decided it was time for a book blogger and reviewer to be interviewed!

So please welcome Debbie! She has an awesome book blog at
Debbie’s World of Books and I appreciate her taking the time to answer some questions.

So all you authors & writers out there, take note!


How many books do you read a month?

It varies depending on what kind of books I am reading and how long they are. For the most part I average about 20 books a month.

Do you have a couple favorite authors? Are you afraid to try someone new?

I definitely have some favorite authors that I pick up their books no matter what. Since I tend to go through a book pretty fast there are many times there is nothing new to read from my favorites so I love finding new authors to read. This is one great thing about the book blogging world. I have found so many great authors including yourself through other people's blogs.

Are there authors who started out strong, but their successive books have grown week? Is it the repetition of ideas or lack of editing? Or something else?

Hmmm...that is a tough one. I will admit that although Julie Garwood is one of my all time favorite authors I have not cared so much for her latest books. I don't think it's so much repetition of ideas or editing but I am not a fan of her contemporary novels.

I noticed under ‘Favorite Authors’ you listed Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child! Which book is your favorite? Which one would make the best movie?

I really love their books! I would probably pick Relic since it was the first book I read by the two of them and was the one that got me hooked. Cemetary Dance comes in a close second. I always have a hard time picking a book to be made into a movie because I am rarely happy with the adaptation. Relic would have been my pick and I was excited when I heard Relic was being made into a movie but I thought the movie was pretty bad.

As a reviewer, I’m sure you are besieged with review requests – what’s the most ‘out-there’ book anyone has ever asked that you review?

LOL. The books usually are not too bad although sometimes the way the book review requests can be a little 'out-there'. The most recent book that I found a little strange was Fiction by Ara 13. The humor was really odd and the story revolves around a priest trying to convert a group of "natives" whose current beliefs are based on the holy book, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

Ever had an author rant about a less than stellar review?

So far I have been really lucky not to have any author rantings. I've seen a lot of news lately about some authors going off about negative reviews and with all the social networks available today it's easy to speak before thinking and then you end up regretting it. I try not to be too negative in my reviews. I'll list the things I did not like but also try to mention the things I did. I think what everyone needs to keep in mind is not everyone is going to like the same book so I can't imagine any book that is going to have 100% positive reviews.

What advice would you give to publishers, publicists, and authors who want to pitch their book to you? What would you suggest to make the experience pleasant for all involved?

My main pet peeve is receiving a request that doesn't address me by name. With my site being called, Debbie's World of Books, it is not that difficult to figure it out. It is also helpful to include a summary of the book and if they want the review posted during a time period to also list that. I have received some requests that just say "I have write a book called xyz would you like to review it." That means I have to go look up the book to see what it's about and for some of the smaller publications sometimes those summaries can be hard to find.

What about your real life might surprise those who follow your blog and book reviews?

Gosh, I live such a hum drum life I don't know what would surprise people. My co-workers and friends are surprised how many young adult books I read even though I just turned 30. What can I say? I love them. The other thing people are surprised at is that I only have one bookshelf in my house. We live in a tiny home so I can't fit any more shelves in. Not that it prevents me from getting more books and having piles around the house.

And the last word, Debbie…

Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog. I love hearing from the authors I read and I think the blogging world is a great opportunity to encourage interaction between readers and authors.

Here is the link to my Twitter profile DebWorldOfBooks

Thanks again for featuring me on your blog!

Debbie

And thank YOU, Debbie! Please be sure to visit her site: Debbie’s World of Books

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Comic Con & Twitter Mosiac

The news from Comic Con has been exciting and I’ve enjoyed reading all the info online and watching some of the television coverage. What about this year’s Comic Con has me stoked? AVATAR – James Cameron! Need I say more? And a few lucky ducks that got to see 25 minutes of this film during Comic Con… Tron: Legacy – Yes, I was a teenager when the first Tron came out – back when the movie rocked and the video game sucked! So, the nostalgic geek in me is really excited about this new movie. District 9 – JoBlo raved about this movie on his website, claiming it’s one of the best movies of the year. After glimpsing the trailer for this movie a couple months ago, I knew this was a must-see and cannot wait for it to come out in just a few weeks!!! Yes, the sci-fi geek in me is showing! Also - thank you to my new Followers!!! For some reason, I've been unable to pull up that feature on Blogger and I can't trace my new followers to their blogs. I do appreciate you, though! Also, I discovered a really cool mosaic program that allows me to display all of my Twitter friends!(And so sorry if this feature is SO big it gacks your Internet.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

Wow! Busy week in the book world...

First, some E-Book news-

Kindle 2 users file class action suit against Amazon - Book Business Magazine

Some E-Books more equal than others? NY Times

Barnes & Noble opens its own E-Book store - Book Soul Mates

Now onto other matters...

Great character tips in Helen's Visual Writing Prompt post - Straight From Hel

Marion Gropen discusses Plagiarism, Piracy and You - Publishing For Profit

Blogger tip! J. Kaye discusses the importance of adding photos to your posts - J. Kaye’s Book Blog

Borders opens new area in stores just for teens. (One last desperate attempt before they go under?) - Wall Street Journal

Don't forget - the Second Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week is September 14-18, 2009 Book Blogger Appreciation Week


Last but not least, news of the weird!

These people qualify for the Darwin Award - stupid things said during real job interviews - CNN

And I forgot to mention last week, but CNN had a story about a teen who fell into a manhole while texting.

I hope he's okay, but - that is really, really funny!!!


PHOTO OF THE DAY

This is Trans Siberian Orchestra, who we see every year!


Just prepping ourselves for some concert excitement, as we will be seeing Dream Theatre in Asheville, NC next Wednesday night! (So I will be offline for a day or two.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - Susan Whitfield


Today's exceprt comes from author and fellow North Carolinian, Susan Whitfield!

She is author of The Logan Hunter Mystery series. Her latest book is Hell Swamp and she's already working on a fourth book, Gator Creek.


HELL SWAMP excerpt:

I could hear myself screaming. I snatched out of the fingers’ grip and fell. Fell a long way. Then the dirt hit my face. I was being buried alive! I scrambled sideways when I realized The hand wrapped around my throat, the long nails on its fingers cut my skin. I screamed. there was nothing to stop me. When I hit the table, I woke up, piled on the floor with the aloe plant from the bedside table and all its dirt on top of me. The nightmare I’d once had was back and more frightening than ever. I sat up on the floor and spit out dirt, flipping the plant unto the floor. I trembled, realizing I had peed in my pants.

I saw tree limbs hanging out over the river but I was past them before I could react. I soon saw more branches and grabbed at them as they broke off in my fingers. I’m not sure how far I went downstream before I saw the tree, bent far enough into the river I might have a chance to grab something on it. I hit hard when the river suddenly hocked me into a thick limb. I managed to hang on to substantial tree growth by shear determination. The current was stalwart. If I didn’t get to the bank fast, I’d be going on another water ride. I reached deep inside for enough strength to throw my leg over in spite of the river pulling on me. Once on the tree, I shimmied to the bank and stretched out until I caught my breath and calmed profuse shivering.

My eyes peered over the edge of the loft floor and I almost fell backwards. I’m certain my eyes flew out of their sockets and then withdrew as far as unbelief would allow them. Bones. Hair. Teeth. What I’d thought was fertilizer was apparently lime, to keep down odor and rodents. I climbed down once my feet let me, and ran to the Hummer to call Sheriff Gunn. As I dialed the number, pain invaded my eye and the world went dark.

Some folks were already setting up yard decorations for Christmas. Even Mr. Grady went all out. Colored lights that ran back and forth on some kind of netting covered his roof. I looked in my rearview and since nothing was behind me, I stopped in the middle of the road and giggled until I broke out in a full-blown howl. In front of the house a partially inflated and extremely jolly Santa waved at me, and he appeared to be humping Rudolph, well inflated and right in front of him. Next to this inflatable, Frosty and his family came to life in a snow globe. At this point in the inflation process, Frosty’s carrot nose seemed firmly wedged in Mrs. Frosty’s large white buttress. He grinned to the brims of his top hat.

I jumped to my feet as everyone started to look up and pray, each prayer very loud and different from the next. The prayers reached a fever pitch when the preacher handed Rose a vial, which she held up and poured down her throat. The service crescendoed as Rose Paul Hill let out a yell louder than anyone in the church. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. All of a sudden her loose false teeth bounced out of her mouth and across the floor, breaking into several pieces. The room became frighteningly quiet.

Rose fell to the floor; nobody tried to catch her. I worked my way to the end of the pew and ran to the front. The preacher at first seemed delighted that the Spirit moved me—until I stopped and knelt beside Rose.

“What did you drink, Rose?”

“Strychnine.”

“That’s poison!”

“I’m anointed, child. It won’t kill me.” Rose Paul’s unconvincing voice grew weak. I glanced over at her broken dentures, wondering if the dental bill would finish her off. I saw movement under the front pew and blinked several times. My eyes were clear and focused, and, more than likely, outside their sockets.

“Holy Shit!” I yelled out, snatching a raggedy old toupee off a man’s head as he let out a yelp. I threw it at the snake, hoping he’d think it was an animal he could overpower.

It didn’t work. The humongous snake, thicker than my upper arm, came straight toward me. I could see his beady eyes under the hairpiece as he moved swiftly across the wood floor. Grabbing the Glock from under my jacket, I aimed and shot the rattlesnake twice.

“She’s got a gun!”

People screamed and stampeded for the doors. The preacher and some of the men jumped me, wrestled the gun from me, and pinned me to the wood floor. Somebody lifted Rose away from the ruckus.

“What are you doing? A snake under that pew. I killed it for you.”

Preacher Hawfield shrieked into my face, “You imbecile! That snake and all the others are for this worship service!”

All the others?

Two hefty men escorted me out of the church and deposited me in the dirt near my Hummer. One man threw my gun down beside me.

I was still on the ground when Preacher Hawfield appeared again. I thought he’d peck my face with his beak of a nose. “You’re not welcome here. Don’t you ever come back!”

You can find Susan here:
Susan Whitfield
Susan Whitfield’s Blog
As well as on Twitter, FaceBook, and many writer's sites!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Author Karen Hancock

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
The Enclave Bethany House (August 1, 2009)
by
Karen Hancock

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels--Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor's degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Lacey McHenry accepts a prestigious research fellowship at the world-renowned Kendell-Jakes Longevity Institute, she sees it as a new start on life. But a disturbing late-night encounter with an intruder leads to an unexpected cover-up by Institute authorities, and she soon realizes there's more going on than she ever imagined.
She finds a supporter in genetics researcher Cameron Reinhardt. However, Reinhardt is a favorite of the Institute's director, and she can't help wondering if he, too, is in on the cover-up. The brilliant but absentminded researcher turns out to have his own secrets, some of them dark and deadly. The Enclave is characterized by adventure, intrigue, spiritual analogy, and romance, all set in an unusual but fully realized world--one that may have its foundations on earth but which, the more one learns of it, doesn't seem much like the earth we know at all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of
The Enclave, go HERE
The book link is:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373442726

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Visual Inspiration

Ever get stuck because you're unsure about a landmark?
Ever reread one of your descriptions and question the authenticity? Ever just draw a total blank and don't know where to begin????
.
This is where the world wide web comes in handy!

You can't remember the layout of Kenilworth Castle or its Keep? Do a search for the official website and you'll find tons of photos!




Or the view from one of the caves at Bandelier National Park has you scratching your head? Do a search!

.
And don't just search the official websites. Look for the images in a Google Image search.
.
.
.
If you are basing your story in a real location or near a real landmark or building, you need to be accurate in your descriptions. (If your story includes such details, of course.) But if your character is in Maine and your lighthouse description sounds like one that resides in Oregon, readers familiar with either location will know!




Not only will actual photos help you with the physical location, but with your lighting & direction. If your character is on the Carolina coast and the sun is setting in the west, that's a problem - UNLESS they are at Atlantic Beach, in which case, you'd be correct!




So do your research on real locations.
And for goodness sakes, be sure to get the size ratio right!

Unless of course, your book is "Calvin vs. Godzilla!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Diana Black Discusses A New Breed of Woman

Please welcome today, Diana Black!

A New Breed of Woman: Diana Black Discusses
WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty

Woof woof woof woof woof?

Wait. Reminder to self: Not everyone speaks WOOF.

At times it seems that way, though, since the launch of WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty. At book clubs, signings and speaking events, there’s never a lack of ladies who share and understand the lingo.

Key topics like night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes and memory…uh, something, I forget…incite a flurry of conversation.

But occasionally I meet a woman and while I’m describing the book, she’ll look at me like, until then, she’d been lost in a desert. Finally an oasis—another woman who understands!

In our information saturated society it’s hard to fathom a middle-aged woman could ever feel alone and isolated. Impossible to log on the Internet, flip on the TV or read a magazine without encountering an explosion of menopausal material. (“Boomers” in every sense of the word!)

But media is, for some, too impersonal. Today, even with personalities like Oprah, Ellen and Diane Sawyer, there’s something about one middle-aged woman standing face-to-face with another 50+ woman that makes it more relatable. Our joys, sorrows and concerns are near to us. We’ve evolved little in that regard since those first grunts between women cooking up a mess of Tyrannosaurus rex. We still seek to communicate person-to-person.

All that said, we’ve also developed into a very private society. We hide behind email and caller ID, setting our boundaries and discouraging genuine personal contact. Would community Internet sites be better named “anti-social” networking? Is that the reason it’s easier for a woman to discuss with me, a perfect stranger, age-related issues?

Or could it be I’m an author who didn’t sign-up for the job until after 50? So it appears I have special powers. That I’m some expert. Or maybe, I’m just not afraid to admit to and talk about my age and all that it entails. Perhaps therein lies the bond.

My co-authors and I wrote WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty for ourselves. Three friends willing to openly share silly, serious and sisterly life experiences.

Naturally we hoped the book would catch on. Still, who honestly knew it would connect women across the world as well as the fence.

But, why shouldn’t a book do that? Why shouldn’t three intuitive, inventive and intriguing women make a difference? Throughout time women have been experts at reading between the lines, interpreting the unspoken word and using language in inventive and inspirational ways.

For example: Will you ever again hear Woof! without thinking of women embracing maturity—Women Only Over Fifty? -- Diana Black

Diana Black co-authored the humor book WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty (Echelon Press) and co-developed the safety program, To School, To School in the Big Yellow Bus. She illustrated The Moose Who Lost Christmas and wrote and illustrated Wendel Wordsworth: No Words for Wendel (BevBruemmerBooks). A graduate of Indiana University, Black lives in Georgia.

WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty (Echelon Press/ISBN: 978-1-59080-606-7)
By Diana Black, Mary Cunningham and Melinda Richarz BaileyNonfiction/Humor; 160 pages

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Favorite Books

What are YOUR favorite books? What books impacted you as a child or continue to draw your interest?

When I was young, The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite books. I probably read the entire series at least a hundred times. When The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first announced, I got chills every time I watched the trailer. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Horse and His Boy I adored the most. I look forward to the release of Dawn Treader the winter of 2010!

I'd definitely list Watership Down as an all-time favorite. Adams used the plight of a group of rabbits to tell a very touching and human story of survival and friendship. Those who've not read this book are really missing out on a classic.

When I was a teen, I discovered Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern. I loved The Dragonriders of Pern series. And while science fiction in nature, her books are relationship-driven. I credit The White Dragon as my inspiration for becoming an author. Considering the state of special effects, I think now would be a good time to turn these books into movies, too.

I've always been a fast reader, but I read Jurassic Park in a record two days. It was the ultimate page-turner, and I think they did a fabulous job with the movie.

Last on my list is a non-fiction book, The Five Love Languages. Chapman's creation is the ultimate relationship book and a must-read. We have several copies on our shelf that we loan out, and this book is always included with wedding gifts.

So what are some of your favorite books and why?

Friday, July 17, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Today - a French lecture on sheep-aircraft!


Some great stuff happening in the virtual world of books this week!

Beth recommends some of her favorite writing books – Beth Groundwater

Here’s a blog that will hold your attention for hours! Thanks to Callista at SMS Book Reviews for the tip! Awful Library Books

Really great tips from Yvonne on using articles to market your book – Writers in the Sky

Have you signed up for the Muse Online Writer’s Conference October 14-18?
Details here- Muse Online Writers Conference
Yahoo Group signup here- Yahoo Muse Conference Group

Alyce talks about Book Blogger Appreciation Week September 14-18- At Home With Books

April found this great quiz – what type of crazy writer are you? (I was Tom Wolfe) – CafĂ© of Dreams

Walt discusses advertising vs. publicity and what it means to an author/publisher - View From the Publishing Trenches

Thanks once again to TexasRed Books for giving me the Humane Award!

And I FINALLY set up The Circle of Friends Group on FaceBook - had fans prodding me for one, and now they have it! The Circle of Friends on FaceBook



* MOVIE REVIEWS *


We plan to tackle the new Harry Potter next week.


In the meantime, here's some recent NetFlix pics-


Eagle Eye - B+ Much better than anticipated! And with a bit of a sci-fi twist. (SkyNet anyone?)


Knowing - B- This one was a solid A until the ending. We love the director and his visual style, and the whole numbers thing was intriguing. But *spoiler alert* Angels are in fact aliens? Just didn't buy the ending!


* PHOTO OF THE DAY *


Even Storm Troopers need a little love!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - The Conductor

Today I welcome an incredibly talented writer who goes by the name of DgenRetEliteRabbit online.

"Rabbit" is one of the best unpublished writers I've discovered. Her style is gritty, tough, and raw, so it's not for the faint of heart. However, she conveys an incredible amount of feeling and description in just a few short sentences.

She has numerous works, but today I feature an excerpt from her novel, The Conductor. Please visit her site DgenRetEliteRabbit for more chapters and other works.

The Conductor

The middle-aged secretary was staring at me from her desk, I could feel it. I took a deep breath and looked at the shining steel toes of my boots, thinking maybe she’d get bored of me and look at her typewriter or the fresh coffee stain on the front of her shirt. But she didn’t stop. I glanced up to cloudy sapphire eyes with red lines in the whites peering at me over pearlescent-rimmed reading glasses on a rainbow-beaded chain. The scrunched expression of dislike on her puffy face was palpable enough the moment I stepped into the offices, but now, she was just being rude.

My head jerked up and I sneered at her disdainfully. Her face twitched in response and her eyes planted themselves on the desktop. Her cheeks flushed red. I snorted and adjusted my position on the short difficult wood bench.

Barely the second Monday of the fiscal school year, and the Powers That Be already had me queued up for the shrink. Set one dumpster on fire your freshman year and they never forget! Geez.

I sat in the tiny waiting room that served the counselors offices in the administration building. These offices were right across the narrow hall from the nurses station and the Office of Administrations, whatever that meant anymore. Seems they just kept packing the kids in without a thought as to where and who and what anymore, accurate file keeping be damned.

This place was always so depressing. Grey and grey-green glossy paint, terrible foe-marbled mold-green tiles from the Fifties I guess, sound-buffering boards with a specific number of pinholes for the ceiling coupled with really old neon lights. Rust on the painted steel and long frosted bulbs flickering every few feet. The school board really went out of their way to make this place a definitive institution. Impressive.

Yeah, institution of learning. What a joke. Reminded me of jail or bedlam.

Building A1-AL, they called this particular structure of double decker cells posing as offices and to a lesser extent classrooms for the French course and the numerous Spanish classes. I still don’t know why the building was called A1-AL. None of the other buildings had such alpha-numeric names. Someone once posed that it was the first building of what used to be known as Abraham Lincoln High School. Except the school had never been called Abraham Lincoln. Just Pacific High. Another mystery of modern day high schooldom. Who cares.

I kicked out the heels of my boots, stretching my legs out straight, and crossed my ankles. Why on earth every single seat in any school had to be hard and uncomfortable–made out of injection-molded plastics that snapped like twigs under the influx of different weights and frames or out of what I could only figure was what happens when you deli-slice wood–why they had to be so cheap and blistering was beyond me.

However, the wooden ones left behind a bit of history; I would give these torture devices that much. Many students before me had left there mark on the bench I was planted on, and I couldn’t help tracing some of them. Kind of like cave paintings in a way. Graffiti dating back to probably the 1970's, if one looked hard enough for the ‘Disco Sucks’ or ‘Bay City Rollers O.K.!’ carved into the worn seat. Funny stuff. Bad jokes. Old prank phone numbers and disses. History unraveling in dead varnished wood.

Looking at the scrolled armrest, I could make out the name of this really nice guy from my freshman English class, carved almost Old English style into the dirty wood. Daniel Sanchez. Kid was a phenomenal comic artist. Could replicate James O’Barr’s stuff effortlessly. Did some amazing gear of his own too. Gave me a really nice copy of an Interview With The Vampire comic once. He was really nice, kinda cute too. Liked my stupid poetry and short stories, even wanted to ink some of my scenes into a book. His mom hated me though, thought I was gonna corrupt her son, full-on bible-beating Christian she was. Called me a heathen of Sodom or some such religious spunk. I only laughed.

I don’t know what happened to Danny, though. It seems he just disappeared one day, middle of sophomore year. I miss him. He understood me, in a way only certain teenagers understand other teenagers. Probably the only one who did in the entire school.

I traced my fingertip over the intricate D of Danny’s name a few times, absently smiling at it, thinking about his face and the ink-stains on his fingertips.

The secretary, Miss Cathy I think her name was, sighed heavily and squirmed in her hard little desk chair. Greying old mare, she was rather bulbous in certain parts of her physique, like all the fat accumulated in only these places and nowhere else. Namely her hips and ass. She could’ve used this bench I sat on better than my bony little butt could’ve. I snickered a little to myself. She didn’t look up but her hands adjusted her bra beneath her arm through the thin K-Mart pink t-shirt that showed too much of her armpit hair. Her hand just manipulating the underwire around like no one was there at all. The look on her face said the bra was pinching her. The look on my face surely said ‘I’m gonna barf.’

Third Period late bell rang and I jumped a little, lifting my eyes to the wall clock, ticking steadily like a bomb up near the ceiling.
Annoying sound, school clock ticking. Like everyone else in the world who ever met the public school system, I swore that second hand would skip backwards and force time to last for an extra five to fifteen minutes of this dreariness every day. Slowly bleeding life and energy from every kid what ever stumbled across the thresholds of a campus.
©2008-2009 *DgenRetEliteRabbit
Original version and remainder of this chapter of The Conductor can be found here:The Conductor

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Author Tom Morrisey

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Pirate Hunter Bethany House (July 1, 2009)
by
Tom Morrisey

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tom Morrisey is a mountaineer, aviator, shipwreck diver, and explorer, who holds a Full Cave certification from the National Speleological Society - Cave Diving Section.
He has launched, edited or contributed to numerous national publications and is an award-winning adventure-travel writer. A popular speaker, he is also active in both evangelism and the arts. Morrisey earned an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University, and his fiction has been featured in numerous anthologies and magazines.
His first novel, Yucatan Deep (Zondervan, 2002) was a finalist for the Christy award, and he is the author of six novels, including
Wind River and In High Places. In addition Tom has also written two nonfiction books: 20 American Peaks & Crags (Contemporary Books, 1978) and Wild by Nature (Baker Books, 2001). He and his family live in Orlando, Florida.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

High Seas Adventure Meets a High-Tech Quest for Pirate Gold West Indies, 18th century Young Ted Bascombe is rescued by notorious pirate Captain Henry Thatch, finding himself caught up in a world of crime, adventure, and a daily fight for freedom.... Key West, 21st century Marine archaeologist Greg Rhode embarks on a treasure-hunting expedition in the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, but he's as beguiled by a beautiful diver with different-colored eyes as by the lure of pirate gold...The Hunt Is On! Interweaving these two stories, pro deep-sea diver Tom Morrisey spins a multilayered tale of two young men's quests to escape their past by losing themselves to adventure on the high seas. Romantic and thrilling, this unique novel explores the timeless truth that "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

If you would like to read the first chapter of
Pirate Hunter, go HERE
The book link is:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764203487

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photo Tuesday - Bugs!






Yes, you read that correctly - BUGS!





Now, what on earth do bugs have to do with writing?







Insects comprise the largest portion of the animal kingdom. They are found in nearly every climate and every region. The closer one gets to the equator, the greater the population of bugs. They invade our ground, our air, and our homes.










If bugs exist everywhere, have you remembered to include them in your story?





Believe me, I am just as guilty! (My Southern-based YA series doesn't even have cockroaches.) But insects are truly everywhere, and while they do not factor into every story, if you are going for realism, you'll need some bugs.










Your character steps outside - flies, bees, wasps, gnats...




He's in the house (even clean ones) - ants, cockroaches, spiders...

She's in the garden - butterflies, caterpillars, beetles...





Your character walks through the woods - ticks, moths, millipedes...






He travels to S. American - dear Lord, more bugs than one can imagine!!

So think about that next time your character visits a crime scene in the middle of the night in Savannah, GA...

You better remember the flying cockroaches, a.k.a. "The Palmetto Bug!"



Monday, July 13, 2009

The Humane Award!!!


TexasRed over at TexasRed Books was sweet enough to bestow upon me the Humane Award!

The Humane Award is to honor certain bloggers that I feel are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a regular basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world.

And now, let me pass on this wonderful award to five of my Blogger Buddies!

The Old Silly - Marvin
Debbie’s World of Books - Debbie
J Kaye’s Book Blog - J. Kaye
Straight From Hel - Helen
Pets And Their Authors - Amigo!

Thanks again so much, TexasRed!

Gems of Wisdom

Today I welcome a very special post from Angela Breidenbach! Those who know Angie realize she is a woman of faith & spirit.

Angie is on the road (or rather in the air) today, but she will pop in to answer questions.

To let you know what Angie is doing right now, here it is in her words:


"I'm competing this week for Mrs. International (currently Mrs. MT International 2009.) People can follow me through the competition on my facebook page and blog. I've also added a Mrs. Montana International Group page on facebook so people can check in for specific pageant/competition chatter and hopefully, photos too.

"Please keep me in prayer as competition is very energetic and stiff. Folks can go to
Mrs. International and see all the contestants.

"I'll be in Chicago July 12-19 with the judges interview on July 16th (5 job interviews in one day!) This is 50% of the score. 25% is fitness and 25% is evening gown/on stage presence.

"The preliminaries are July 17th and the finals are July 18th. I just finished teaching the ACFW course loop on Battle Your Inner Pirates--And Win! this week. What an amazing experience! Totally affirming that what I do helps people and means something. I was overwhelmed with joy on learning how it affected the students. Wonderful adventure!

"And now off to the next, competing to win Mrs. International and the honor to represent Hope's Promise Orphan Ministries, the Jadyn Fred Foundation and the American Heart Association all over the country and world."


An excerpt from Insanity Rules: Gems of Wisdom...

Opalescence

Gemstone: Opal


The most surprising thing about opal, to me, is the water content. I had no comprehension about the significance. At fifteen, I’d been given a precious gift for Christmas. It was a beautiful creamy white opal with flecks of orange, blue, and pink set in a curling gold band. Unaware of the water content and the fragility of opal, I wore my ring everywhere, even in the swimming pool.

One day going from a warm school building into the winter freeze, my most prized possession shattered. Stunned and in tears, I stood on the cement walkway staring at the empty setting.

Years ago it was thought that opal should be oiled to keep it moisturized. Once the stone was replaced, I kept it oiled regularly. But I found out I couldn’t wear my new opal in extreme temperatures. The water inside the gem (usually from 2-6% in gem quality stones) continues to dehydrate, especially when exposed to heat and chemicals regardless of surface oil. The lower the water content of the original stone, the more stability exists. Common white opal is more stable than the more colorful types. Who would consider a rock that feels and looks solid to be full of water and some kind of ancient gel? But it is.

Ponder Point:

I once watched an artist friend of mine build a dream. She shattered precious glass and tiles to rearrange them into a gorgeous bench inlaid with beautiful things. She mixed opal chips into the mortar surrounding the mosaic. The opals had shattered from heat and were not usable in jewelry, but the glisten was unmistakable.

“Why are you breaking all that beautiful stuff?”

“How else would I create the mural on the bench?”

The bench is used for a mundane purpose: to hold up those who need to rest there. But they were drawn to the beauty of the shattered pieces first. The way it held the sun and the opalescent sparkle of something unusual. Those who needed rest were drawn to a beautiful resting place.

I realized that instead of wallowing in the hurt as a daughter of a paranoid schizophrenic, I could help others deal with that same hardship. I could pass on something I’d learned from my pain. I’m offering some of my shattered pieces to help build a resting place for you. What I share in my speaking, writing, and chats when I meet with people one-on-one is now other focused because of what Mom and I had to go through. Maybe something or someone bigger than all of this has some sort of plan for me. I could handle that idea. Then I began to ask the question: How could I make a difference in this world with what I know, from what I’ve survived? I began to see how those bits and pieces of my shattered spirit could be formed into something new and beautiful. How I could glean and translate those helpful lessons from others too. –Angie

Pique Point:

In what way do we offer our hurts as a place for others to rest safely?
Is it possible that the shattered pieces imbedded into our lives might uphold someone else?

Angie

Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009 working with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries, the American Heart Association, the Jadyn Fred Foundation and drawing awareness to Fair Trade practices. She also serves as the American Christian Fiction Writer's Publicity Officer and is a multi-award winning inspirational author, speaker, and life coach. Angela is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and Assisting Minister at her church. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom's brain, but she is also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital. She is married, has a combined family of six grown children, one grandson. Angela believes: Personal growth = Powerful living!

You can interact or learn more about Angela Breidenbach at these sites:

My Gem of Wisdom
Angela Breidenbach
God Uses Broken Vessels
Twitter
FaceBook
Writing by F.A.I.T.H.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back on Track...

After a week of dealing with the tragedy at Ocracoke Island, NC, I believe I am ready to function as an author & speaker once more.

We still have one more memorial service (and I've been asked to speak) but all four funerals are behind us now and everyone has really pulled together to get things done.

Thank you everyone for the kind words and prayers. I appreciate your patience and understanding and apologize again that I have not been online very often this week. But it's time to move forward.

I've several guest posts in August for my virtual tour, so I'm working to complete those articles now. Five done, two to go. I'm also planning stops in October and have a guest post then, too.

I had considered putting together a new seminar to offer - and then a college called requesting one on conquering fear. I said sure, I offer one on overcoming fear! And then went to work creating such a seminar. LOL So I need to complete the outline and put together a handout.

I've got several other projects as well.

In a nutshell, I've got my work cut out for me! But now I feel ready to tackle the challenge...

Friday, July 10, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"She turned me into a newt!"

Some good stuff this week…

There’s an award for bad sex in novels!! Jane’s Ride

Book Marketing Tips For Authors had two good articles this week:
Guest Blogging Topics to Avoid
Running Effective Twitter Contests

Some good advice for mystery authors – and others, too: Make Mine Mystery

Why are Southerners so fat? Time

And happy to report a great review of Book III this week! Missy’s Book Nook

That was good news after a stressful, tragic week. We have a funeral today, so I won’t be back online until Saturday. Thank you everyone for the comforting words!!!

No movie reviews this week either – just wasn’t in the mood and too busy assisting our church and our friends.

However, one LOL Cats made me laugh this week:

“In a final cruel twist of fate, Sparky’s last sight was Aunt Bertha’s incoming spandex-covered butt.”
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - Author Shawn Grady

Today I welcome author Shawn Grady!

And in addition to links to excerpts of his latest release, Through the Fire, Bethany House 2009, Shawn was kind enough to answer a few questions...

Tell us about Through the Fire!

Through the Fire is about a Reno fireman who has a gift for sensing the fire and who is driven to solve the mystery of his father's death.

Your background is firefighter and paramedic and that obviously influenced your first book. Tell us a little about your experiences. Did any real events make it into Through the Fire?

My first fire on the line in Reno involved a single wide trailer fire from which two unconscious children were pulled out. Experiences like that seared into my consciousness and welled up to the point where I couldn't help but let them spill upon the page.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to relate a genuine, palpable experience for the reader of what it is like to be in a firehouse and to hear and see and smell it. The banter at the dinner table, sliding three story poles, sleep deprived nights running multiple calls. But more than just that, I felt compelled to tell a story of loss and redemption, of death and life, and to resonate a bit of the greatest story ever told.

Tell us a little about the soundtrack you have set up for your novel!

I often write while listening to music, and as I developed the first draft I began to make a playlist of songs that seemed very appropriate- songs that, were I making the movie of this book, I would give serious thought to including in the film. Especially the Gipsy Kings cover of Hotel California. That is Aidan's Mexico experience in a song. Interested readers can follow the Itunes link ITunes to download the soundtrack.

Saturday July 11th is your book launch party at Sundance Bookstore. (Book launch events are so much fun!) Tell us a little about the plans for the event.

There will be refreshments, a fire engine, and a bagpiper. I'll be on hand to sign books, and half the proceeds from the first 100 novels sold go to benefit the Reno Firefighters Community Assistance Program charity. The other half supports Reno's oldest independent bookseller, Sundance Bookstore. It's from 11am to 1pm @ Keystone and 4th.

You have a forum on your website – was that your idea?

Yes. I wanted to provide a place where readers could discuss the book and other topics and issues related to reading, writing, or emergency service.

Who are the people in the photos with you on the website?

I am standing next to Dave Talbot at the 2008 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in one photo.

Has Nevada always been home?

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and have lived in Reno for over a decade now.

What’s the next project for Shawn?

I am currently working on my second book due out in the summer of 2010 about a Reno paramedic who feels like he's chasing the Angel of Death.

Give us one random fact not listed on your website!

Hmm... I once worked as a chimney sweep for three days ;)

And the last word…

Thank you, Diane, for having me. It's been a pleasure.


Thanks, Shawn!

Please visit Shawn's site: Shawn Grady
Visitors can read the first two chapters of Through the Fire at this link: Through the Fire

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Photo Tuesday




Today's post is about the fireworks truck tragedy on Ocracoke Island, NC.



Those killed by the explosion were members of our church and it has really rocked our spiritual family. Two individuals were a very active part of our singles ministry and very dear friends.

Terry was the greatest servant! He did anything he could for others, above & beyond...






Lisa had a sweet spirit and a love for children.




They were both very active in the singles ministry and we relied on them for many things. They both loved the Lord and brought so much to the group. I pray for their familes, our singles & church family, and my husband, who is really hurting because he lost one of his best friends...


We will miss them both very, very much. Love ya lots, Terry and Lisa!


And since we are helping the church and our singles group as much as possible, I will probably not be real active online for the remainder of the week. So my apologies if I am not visiting everyone's blog on a daily basis.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Accounting & Bookkeeping for Writers & Authors!

Special guest today - Brigitte A. Thompson, President of Datamaster Accounting Service, LLC!

And she has some valuable tips for writers in the area of bookkeeping...

Writers work in all different genres and write for a variety of media outlets. Some of us are business writers, others create romance novels and many write articles for magazines or copy for web sites. Putting words into print is our profession, but dealing with the financial aspects of our writing business can be challenging.

As an accountant, author and freelance writer, I can help. My newest title, Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers, addresses issues writers face daily such as how to deduct travel expenses, differentiate between personal and business property and claim home office deductions.

Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing, especially identifying and tracking expenses. Business expenses are considered an operating cost. The more legitimate business expenses that we can document, the lower our tax payments will be.

Understanding Expenses

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that our writing expenses be ordinary and necessary in order for them to be acceptable. An ordinary expense is defined as common and accepted in our profession. A necessary expense means we need to spend this money in order to operate the business. The expenses must not be considered extravagant. They must be an essential part of doing business as a writer. It is important to differentiate between personal expenses and business expenses.

Writers are able to realize some unique deductions which may be considered personal for most other taxpayers. For example, a book on the history of California used for researching my fiction manuscript based in that state could be deductible as a writer. Other potentially deductible expenses include tickets to a ballet used to build the character of a ballerina I am writing about and an instructional DVD used to improve my public speaking skills. Most writers will call these expenses research or professional development. We need to be able to justify each expense if audited, so be sure it is legitimate and has the supporting documents to back up the claim.

Recordkeeping Options

To justify expenses, it is important to establish a system of recordkeeping that works for you. Some things need to be recorded daily, while others can be done weekly or monthly. It is imperative that you get into the habit of saving and recording everything related to your writing business. All invoices, receipts, credit card slips and bank statements are essential documentation that should be kept.

Some people find it helpful to create a system for their financial transactions using envelopes and lined paper. Transactions can be recorded on sheets of 8 ½” by 11” paper attached to the front of a large clasp envelope with supporting documentation stored inside. Click here for an example This system works well for many writers because it is simple to set up and only requires the purchase of paper and envelopes. However, one disadvantage of this system is that it’s hard to see at a glance how much you have spent on supplies during the year or how much you have paid for your business phone line.

If you prefer computerized bookkeeping, these transactions could be recorded on a spreadsheet and receipts could still be kept in a clasp envelope. Microsoft Excel® Click here for an example provides an easy-to-use program which can help organize your records. One benefit of tracking this information with a computer spreadsheet is its ability to compute. Once you learn the program, you will be able to format columns to add a range of numbers. This eliminates the chance of addition errors haunting you during an audit. Unfortunately, spreadsheets do not offer much room for detail and are not able to generate financial statements.

If you would like to go a step further, QuickBooks® is a user-friendly accounting program Click here for an example which generates financial statements and budgets using the data you input. Again, entering the data allows for error free calculations and, as a bonus, custom reports compile the information so you can easily determine how much was spent on shipping manuscripts during the year, for example. Trial versions of accounting software can be found online, but the cost to purchase and the time spent learning it could be a disadvantage to some writers. Receipts would still have to be kept to document your deduction.

The choice is yours. Any system that works for you is acceptable to the IRS, as long as the pertinent information is retained. Learning what to record as writing expenses as well as how to properly document each transaction is important to the success of your writing business.

Brigitte A. Thompson is the founder and President of Datamaster Accounting Services, LLC in Vermont. She has been active in the field of accounting since 1986 and is a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the Vermont Tax Practitioners Association.
She is the author of several recordkeeping books for business owners, contributing author and freelance writer whose articles have appeared nationally in print and online publications.
The book is available on Amazon.com if you would like to link to that for affiliate sales. Here's the link:
Amazon
It is also available through my publisher:
Crystal Press
My blog for writers is
Writers in Business

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Joni Lamb

Today I would like to welcome Joni Lamb, co-founder and vice president of Daystar.

Her story fascinated me and I had just one question for Joni:


What were your struggles starting the network, writing the book and how did those experiences change and cause you to grow?

I can honestly say that when posed with the opportunity to write a book that I was a bit hesitant. I didn’t realize the effect my life story would have on me as I relived past events, struggles, victories and heartfelt moments I would rehearse in the book. There have been tremendous struggles throughout our lives as we have endeavored to build that first Christian television station in Montgomery, Alabama to eventually some years later building and founding the Daystar Television Network in Dallas, Texas. Neither Marcus or I realized how difficult this process would be or we might have run the other direction. J I share in the book those early days when we were all alone with a dream from the Lord. A young married couple wanting to be used by the Lord to help others. We worked diligently doing everything from sweeping floors, cleaning toilets, building sets to answering telephones. Whatever needed doing, we did. I think of that scripture that says “despise not small beginnings”… It was indeed a small beginning but it was important for us because it was in those moments that character, faith and perseverance would be built along with an unwavering faith in God. That’s why I titled my book “Surrender All”… because it was only with the help and leading of God that anything was accomplished. What I learned in the process is how to surrender again and again. I learned that every day I must choose to love and forgive. I learned that if I don’t give up, that eventually I will overcome… of course, this is all tied to the One who created me. Without that crimson chord that connects me with my Heavenly Father, I would have been lost. The beautiful part of surrendering to your Creator is understanding that you are connected to the most powerful force in the Universe.. You are not alone and it is my greatest desire to convey that message to those who feel alone and have lost their hope. The most important responsibility I have is as a wife and mother and what changed in me the most while writing this book is realizing how important family is. They are more precious to me today than ever before so as I was writing, I realized the importance of balancing family, work and ministry.

A Larry Ross Communications is a full-service media and public relations agency focusing on bridging the gap between faith and culture. Joni Lamb is co-founder and vice president, along with her husband, President and CEO Marcus Lamb, of Daystar Television Network, the fastest growing Christian network in the world. She is executive producer and host of "JONI," a talk show addressing relevant Godly issues for today's complex problems, and co-hosts "Celebration" with Marcus. She released her debut book, "Surrender All," in late 2008. In addition, she is full-time wife to Marcus and mom to three children, which she considers her foremost and greatest accomplishment.

Friday, July 03, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"Your Lupins or your life!"

Okay, it was a BUSY week in the world of books...

Writing Humor Part I - Sia McKye’s Thoughts

Longest Book Titles- Jane’s Ride

from Babbling About Books, and More-
Bad Author Behavior - Alice Hoffman
Interview with Sourcebooks Publicist Paul Samuelson - Interview

Store’s experience with Expresso Book Machine – Southern Review of Books

Structuring Our Life article – thanks, Lynn! - The Literary Lynnch Pen

From Carolyn Howard-Johnson – a new service! - Sharing with Writers

Advice on Conferences from Helen Ginger's Straight From Hel - How to Choose & More to Schmoozing

Advice for publishers (and authors!) - School Library Journal

Generating more Traffic for Your Blog- By: Penny Sansevieri - Isnare Article
And a free tag generator- EGM Strategy

And is your blog feed on FaceBook? Mine is! - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips on FaceBook


News of the Weird...

This is news of the wild!
This is for all the vanilla 'popular' bands out there -
Europe's prog-rock band, Nightwish, has over 25.6 MILLION hits on their YouTube video for Amaranth:



Yes, that's 25.6 MILLION views!!!!! Gotta be a music industry record...



MOVIE REVIEWS

Watched quite a few in the past week...

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE FALLEN - B
Leave your brain at the door and just enjoy the eye candy!

ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS - B+
"Buck" and the baby T--Rexes steal the show - and the 3D is amazing! (And I am a total junkie for this series...)

HORTON HEARS A WHO - C+
NetFlix rental. Dr. Seuss is weird enough and the movie tries to make it weirder...

RIFF TRACKS: PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE - B+
Officially one of the most awful movies ever made - and the only way to watch it is with Riff Tracks from the guys who gave us Mystery Science Theater 3000!

And the photo of the day:



God Bless America!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - MBryn!

Today I welcome a very talented young writer who goes by MBryn. (Bryn is her middle name.)

MBryn challenged herself to write a short story (she writes novel-length stories and poems) and asked her friend to suggest a picture for inspiration. This photo was sent to her - We Live in the Tide - and she set to work.

Not only did MBryn complete the piece, it also won first place in the Short Story Category in Victor Valley College's Writing Contest in May!

Congratulations, MBryn! Way to stretch those skills!


We Live in the Tide by MBryn

When Mermaids die, their bodies dissolve into sea foam. That’s what they say in The Little Mermaid at least. According to The Last Unicorn sea foam is actually the Unicorns attempting to step on land while fear of the Red Bull drives them away. I’m not sure what other people say about it–aside from the normal scientific explanations, that is.

I’m watching the sea foam run over my bare toes and wonder if I’m touching Unicorns or dead Mermaids or bubbles with an unusually resilient nature. I’m thinking about what you would have told me, and how you’d probably make a joke about the content of whale urine in the ocean. Thinking about how you’d probably tell me that I smelled like whale pee because I’d been splashing in the tide.

In this moment I’m not sure if I miss you or if I’m relieved you’re gone.

I take a seat on a large piece of driftwood and watch the waves crash against the rocks. There are seagulls calling to me, accusing me of hiding bread in my sweatshirt and demanding that I share. I shout at them and kick sand in their direction, but stubbornly they wait for me to surrender some morsel to their care. I pick up a piece of bark from who-knows-where and toss it in their direction, smirking as they squabble over a piece of trash.

I can almost hear you lecturing me about tricking the poor birds that don’t know any better. I mentally argue that they’re probably crapping on my car, so really it’s just a way of leveling the scales. You would argue that two wrongs don’t make a right, and I’d probably tell you that two rights make a left, and we’d stop talking for ten minutes until the argument was forgotten.

I must have sat on that piece of driftwood for hours, until the tide came in and threw more sea foam on my bare toes. I try not to think about Unicorns and Mermaids and whales. I try not to think about your argumentative nature and the way we were toxic to each other. I realize that even if we were wrong for each other, you were still a big part of me.

I stand up and reach into my pocket. Clenched in my fist is a medical bracelet, the kind they give you when you’re checked into the hospital. My name is printed, last name first, in bold capitals, and beneath that is my date of birth in smaller numbers. Also stated are the date that I was admitted and the attending physician.

I stare at the bracelet, trying to discern some meaning from it. I almost wish that it told why I had been in that place, so that when I let this little piece of plastic drift off with the tide, someone will find it and know exactly who I am and what I was. I want them to understand, and this will offer them no understanding.

This bracelet won’t tell them that I was admitted to the psychiatric ward when I was sixteen, or that you lived inside of me like a second person. It won’t tell them of all the sessions with the shrinks, all the medications they adjusted, or the radical treatments the doctors used just to erase the voice in my head. They won’t know that you were the only friend I had growing up, and that the day the doctors took you from me was the worst day of my life.

There is a pen in my pocket and I take it out, flipping the bracelet to its reverse side. I prop it against my palm and write, “I wish they hadn’t cured me” in neat, bold capitals. The pen disappears back into my pocket. I continue to stare at the bracelet in my hand.

The doctors took you away from me, but I never asked them to. I wanted to keep you forever, as my other half and my sometimes savior. You didn’t deserve to be killed, to be turned into something as insubstantial as the foam on the ocean waves. You deserved to live within me, to live as a part of me.

I deserved to keep you.

I close my fist around the bracelet for just a moment, kissing my fingers and muttering something that might be a prayer or might be a curse. Then I fling out my arm and open my hand wide, tossing us both into the ocean to be swallowed up by the tide.

You and me, that’s where we belong. I don’t care if the sea foam is dead Mermaids, or trapped Unicorns, or if I think of whale urine every time I look at it. We belong in the tide, we live in the tide, and that’s where we are now.

On the drive home, I turn on the radio to fill up the silence that used to be yours.

©2009 *MBryn

You can find this piece on her Deviant Art account, along with her other incredible work: We Live in the Tide

Thanks for visiting, MBryn!


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