Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Contest - Win a Free CD

This month I'm hosting TWO contests, each running for half of the month of August.

First up is a music CD by the talented Michael Barrett. I've known Mike for a while now, and I'm always in awe of his many musical talents. He was kind enough to invite Angel and I, and our mom, Linda, to sing harmonies on the title track You Alone Are Worthy. In return he arranged and played the accompaniment on my original song, Rain on Me. Mike has a gift for songwriting and piano, and he's combined the two with his ultimate passion - the love of his Savior Jesus. His sophomore album, You Alone Are Worthy, is moving and emotional in a way that evokes worship from the deepest part of you.

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I'm giving away a copy of this fantastic CD to a lucky reader of this blog. Click on the CD image in the sidebar to email me your entry. You have until Weds Aug 15, 2007 at midnight - and don't forget, the contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

To learn more about Mike and his music, and to hear samples, visit http://www.mightytosave.com/.

Good Luck!

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations, Cherie J.!

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Cherie won a free copy of Diva NashVegas by Rachel Hauck.

This month I'm running two contests the first is for a CD and will wrap on the 15th of August, the second is for a book and will run the second half of the month. Watch for details on both contests soon.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just For Fun...

Tuesday Backtrack

I owe you all a post for Tuesday, I got sidetracked and never posted. SO, take a little trip in my time machine and I'll jump back a day.

Phew! Now I'm dizzy. :)

Song Stuck on the Brain: Don't Fall In Love With a Dreamer by Kenny Rogers

Did you all see the article on Yahoo! about the strange symbol found in a 175 year old brick warehouse in Manhattan? They have all kinds of people studying it, but they can't quite figure out what the symbol signifies.

I think I have a pretty good guess, but what do you all think?

Look closely now....

Yep. It's a Go'auld mothership landing.

I think the SG-1 crew used the Ancient's time traveling puddle jumper to go back and leave us clues. You know the stargate wasn't uncovered until the 1920's, but think how things could have been if they'd had a head start on solving the puzzle?

CFBA: To Dance In the Desert by Kathleen Popa

Song Stuck on the Brain: "Yaga Zoozie, Yaga Zoozie, Yaga Zoozie Zim!" cue cow bell and duck call...

I watched an episode of Bewitched the other night and Uncle Arthur, playing a prank on Darrin, 'teaches' him a spell to put Endora in her place. Of course it's bogus and Darrin makes a fool out of himself preforming this little song. It's hysterical, but now the little ditty is stuck in my head.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
(RiverOak, May 1, 2007)


“Not a safe world.” How many times had she heard it over and over again? Well, it is not a safe world and Dara Murphy Brogan knew it better than most, which is exactly why she had tucked herself away on a desert mountaintop. Now it was just her, the voice inside her head and the boxes of hastily packed odds and ends—all that was left of her pathetic excuse of a life. Hadn’t she chosen the desert because it was barren and brown and dead looking and far, far away from anyone who may have seen the news?

So what was this, this trespasser, this interloper, this wacked out earth mother doing dancing outside her window? Celebrating life and the Spirit in a way Dara never could have dreamed. Until she opened her door and met Jane Cameron.

Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility fro incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturved children. Mother of two, sh lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!

A book that makes me laugh is a joy, a book that makes me cry is a rarity. But a book that moves me to dance is sublime. To Dance in the Desert is a spectacular experience. Beautifully written, deeply moving, and warmly engaging—that this is Kathleen Popa’s first novel astounds me. That she will quickly be counted among the top caliber of Christian novelists delights me. I simply loved this book. ~Kathryn Mackel, Author of The Hidden

Kathleen Popa creates a compelling vision of a small community’s power to coax waning spirits back toward life. This gem of a novel worked on me like a dream. Popa’s evocative prose captured the nuance and complexity of transformation with equal parts mystery and truth. She conjures the deserts of Dara Brogan’s life with intimate clarity, reminding us along the way of the profound strength of what we take far too much for granted—the deep friendship of kindred spirits. This is a journey worth taking. ~Jeff Berryman, Author of Leaving Ruin

Happy Reading,

P.S. Time is running out on the Diva NashVegas book giveaway. You have until next Tuesday, July 31, 2007 to email me your entry. Just click on the book cover at the top of the side bar. Good Luck!

Monday, July 23, 2007

CSFF: Fearless by Robin Parrish

Song Stuck on the Brain: One Minute by Kelly Clarkson. It's off of her new album My December. I love this track. The counter melodies and upbeat pulse is so cool.

Today the CSFF presents:



Grant Borrows' life has just taken a drastic left turn. There's another man in the world wearing his face and living his life. What's more, the man he sees in the mirror is a stranger.

Somehow, he's been Shifted -- his whole life fundamentally altered, in the space of a single breath. But the changes don't stop at skin-level. Inexplicably, he's able to affect objects around him by simply thinking about them. And as he soon learns, he's become the central figure in a vast web of intrigue that stretches from an underground global conspiracy to a prophecy dating back over seven thousand years, that tells of his coming. Enemies and allies find him at every turn, but one thing they all learn very quickly is that you don't want to push Grant Borrows too far...

Can destiny be undone?

The players are ready. The game is in motion. And the pace is Relentless.


Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.


Fearless is book two in the Dominion Trilogy, a Suspense/Thriller meets SciFi type series. Fast paced, intense and spiritually oriented, the books are worth your prescious book money and time. I recomend you read the books in order, so check out Relentless too. Once your hooked, you won't have to wait long for more. Book 3 is due for release in July of 2008.

For more information on the incredibly talented Robin Parrish, visit his BLOG as well.


Be sure to visit the other members in the CSFF blog tour

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Harry Weekend

Song Stuck on the Brain: I Swear by Boyz To Men

YAY!!! It's Friday! For the second time this week. I swear I did all this yesterday.

Friday means not only has the weekend arrived, but so has Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So Saturday is going to be a reading marathon. I've got to find out what happens to Harry, before somebody comes along and lets the ending slip.

I'll post a review once I've finished it. In the meantime, here's something to make you go "Awww!" Who knew porcupine babies were this cute?!

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst

Song Stuck on the Brain: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I love fairy tales. I'm addicted to them. So when I found Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm so glad I did, what a fun read.

What's on the Cover:

“Let me put it this way: when your mom cooks, she doesn’t have to close the doors to make sure the Gingerbread Men don’t run outside.”

Junior high is tough enough, even when your family is ordinary. And Julie Marchen’s family is
anything but ordinary: her brother is a talking cat, her grandmother is a bona fide witch, and her mother is Rapunzel.

Yep, that Rapunzel—long hair, tower, prince… Five hundred years ago, Rapunzel escaped the
fairy tale with her fellow storybook characters to live incognito in our world. But now Julie’s
world, our world, is about to change—the fairy tale wants its characters back.

Now Julie must fight wicked witches, avoid glass slippers, fly griffins, and outwit magicians in order to rescue her mom and save her town from becoming a fairy tale kingdom.

About the Author:

Sarah Beth Durst grew up in Northboro, MA, a town in central Massachusetts which (she claims) was temporarily transformed into a fairy tale kingdom for several days in 1986. These events later inspired her novel, Into the Wild, as well as her paralyzing fear of glass footwear.

Sarah has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old. She holds an English degree from Princeton University and currently resides in Stony Brook, NY, with her husband and daughter.

What Others Have Said:
“Into the Wild is VERY cool, with a unique look at the great fairytale characters. I couldn’t put it down until I discovered how this brave, extraordinary girl could face such powerful magic!” --Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author of Terrier (Beka Cooper) and The Will of the Empress

“Sarah Beth Durst’s Into the Wild is fabulous in the oldest, truest, and best sense of the word,
harking back to fables, wonder, and magic unleashed. It’s bold, sassy, and utterly engaging. I can’t wait to see what she does next!”
-- Bruce Coville, author of The Unicorn Chronicles and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
My Take:
How's that for a new twist on the fairy tale? It reminded me a little bit of Michael Buckley's Sister's Grimm series. Fairy tale characters living in the real world under new identities. The creative twist that seperates the two series, is the Wild. A living, intelligent, plant-like magical creature that controls the fairy tale characters. For years it's been living under Julie's bed, but one ill-chosen wish sets it free and it grows at an alarming rate, sucking in fairy tale and non-fairy tale people to fill it's stories. It really was a rather insidious and sinister twist.

The cleverness of both Sarah Beth's story telling and her character Julie's actions, is in their breadth of knowledge about fairy tales. They know them all, and use each one to maximum impact. Julie is a brave kid and the only one capable of entering the Wild to save her family. She knows the Wild's tricks and the stories it employs to trap it's victims. I enjoyed tracking the clues to discover what story Julie was entering.

The book is geared more for a younger audience, 10 years and up, but I found that it didn't really matter to me. It's a book for the young at heart, regardless of the reader's age.

I'm really fortunate, that Sarah Beth made contact with me through our My Space pages. Without that, I might have missed out on this book and that would have been a shame.

Just to prove what a fun and friendly author she is, she allowed me to pick her brain.

Interview With the Author:

A: Into the Wild is such a creative, imaginative story. What was your inspiration for Julie's story?

SBD: I have always loved fairy tales. The dark original Grimm’s tales, the watered-down "for children" illustrated tales, the fractured fairy tales, the retold-in-novel-form tales, the only-vaguely-resembling-the-original tales... I love them all. Just give me a talking cat, a magic mirror, and/or a pair of glass slippers, and I'm happy. So it was really only natural that my debut novel, INTO THE WILD, would involve fairy tales.

The original idea came from wondering what it would be like to meet fairy-tale characters outside of the fairy tale. What would they do if they lived here and now? Obviously, Rapunzel would own a hair salon, Cinderella would drive an orange car, and the Singing Harp from Jack and the Beanstalk would appear every Saturday night at the local bar to sing karaoke. All very nice, but what would happen if the fairy tale wanted its characters back?

A: Do you have a favorite character in the book? If so, who is it and why?

SBD: I love them all. I even love some characters that I cut many drafts ago. But if I had to choose... Maybe Gothel. Gothel is Julie's beloved grandmother. She used to be the wicked witch of fairy tales, a fact which she both enjoys and hates. I love her because she has risen above her fate. She was created to be the wicked witch, but by sheer force of will, she has changed herself. One of the lines that describes her is actually one of my favorite sentences in the book: "She looked like an innocent elderly lady – and in point of fact, she hadn’t boiled a child in years."

A: Who in the story do you most identify with? Who do you least identify with?

SBD: I think I identify the most with Gillian, Julie's best friend. While Julie and her fairy-tale family fear and hate the return of the world of fairy tales (the Wild), Gillian's reaction is, "That's so awesome!!!" I would totally react like Gillian. And then a wolf would eat me or something.

I identify the least with... I really don't know. Of all the characters, I think the seven dwarves would least identify with me. They'd say that I haven't had the benefit of a proper forest education and that I don't keep my house nearly as clean as their beloved Snow would.

A: If you were trapped in the Wild, what story would your story be?

SBD: I hope it would be Beauty and the Beast because that's pretty much the only fairy tale where nothing too awful happens. Imagine being stuck as Cinderella: yes, there's the ten minutes of happy dancing with the Prince but the rest of your life is drudgery. Or Sleeping Beauty: lots and lots of napping. Or worse, what if you were trapped in the role of the witch in Hansel and Gretel and were shoved into an oven? Or the queen in Snow White, forced to dance to death in red-hot iron shoes (or fall off a cliff, if you want to go with the Disney variant)? There really aren't many nice fairy tales out there. At most, you get a few minutes of "happily ever after" at the end, but the bulk of it... You really don't want to be trapped in a fairy tale. Trust me.

A: What are your future writing plans? Any more books in the works?

SBD: I am currently working on the sequel to INTO THE WILD. It's called OUT OF THE WILD, and it will be out from Penguin (under the Razorbill imprint) next summer. After that... I intend to keep writing books for as long as my fingers can type. It's quite simply what I want to do with my life.
Thank you, Sarah Beth for sharing! I look forward to the next book. If you would like to contact Ms. Durst, you can visit her at the following sites:


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CFBA: One Step Over the Border by Stephen Bly

Song Stuck on the Brain: The Advantix Commercial.

There ain't no bugs on me. There ain't no bugs on me. There may be bugs on some of you mugs, but there ain't no bugs on me.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Stephen Bly
(Center Street June 12, 2007)


It’s a romp...

A road adventure...

It’s a buddy story with romantic comedy!!

Some call it CowboyLit. Rodeo cowboy Hap Bowman’s on a search for Juanita, the gal of his dreams, whom he hasn’t seen in 18 years. He seems stuck on 12-years-old and the enchanting girl he met then.

"An idiot obsession," his roping partner, Laramie Majors, chides.

But Laramie agrees to a final summer’s trek along the Rio Grande. If they don’t find Juanita during those months, Hap promises to drop the idea of the hunt for the mystery senorita. But if they find her, will she feel the same as Hap does about their years ago interlude?

In One Step Over The Border the time tested values of cowboys rub up against contemporary mores. It’s a crazy story that becomes more logical as the reader delves deeper into it. It will make you laugh and shed a tear or two.

Getting back to Hap’s pursuit . . . don’t we all have someone in the past, that we knew for only a short while, that we wish we could have known better, longer? Stephen Bly has! So when Hap and Laramie ventured out on a quest for Hap’s Juanita, Stephen decided to invite others to go along too. Folks have been e-mailing Hap and asking for their own “Juanita Search Kits.”

They get a bumper sticker, magnet, bookmark, stickers, flyers, etc. It’s a whole packet of material that will equip anyone to join the fun of finding the Juanita with “the mark of God.” If they send Hap a picture of the places where they stuck their Juanita signs, they’ll receive a free copy of the book. It’s all there on the website at http://www.onestepovertheborder.com/

And there’s a very special feature on http://www.amazon.com/...some more adventures about Hap and Laramie that did NOT appear in the book, can be found on AmazonShorts in the story entitled, Aim Low, Shoot High.


Stephen Bly is a pastor, a mayor, an antique Winchester gun collector and a writer.

He's mayor of a town of 308 in the mountains of Idaho, on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. In his spare time, he pursues the three R's of ridin', ropin' and rodeo...and construction of Broken Arrow Crossing, a false-front western village near his home.

That keeps him very western. And he collect old Winchester rifles, which reflects his love of historical accuracy. He's also a fan of Jimmy Buffet music.

Stephen says about his writing, "I write about the West (historic or modern) from the inside. Born and raised on western ranches, I have both the heart and mind to describe things as they really were...and are. There are those who think the frontier has long passed and with it the ‘code of the west.’ The truth is, both are still around...and it’s fun to show that in a contemporary story. The West is so big, so diverse, so enchanting it’s a thrill to write about it in any era."

Stephen is the author of ninety-five books and hundreds of articles.


WOW! 95 books? Have you ever noticed that writers are seldom ONLY writers? The successful ones are some of the most driven and busy people around. They also tend to have their 'fingers in everything' so to speak, happy to burn the candle at both ends in their desire to experience and participate. Then of course, they just chalk it all up to research. :)

This book has a real western flavor and is funny to boot. A very enjoyable read.


Monday, July 16, 2007

DragonFire by Donita K. Paul

Song Stuck on the Brain: Don't Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke

I'm so excited (Doing my happy dance.) I just finished reading Donita K. Paul's latest, DragonFire. It was sooooo good!

This is the forth book in the Dragon series. I know I've posted about them previously, but if you're new to the series, check out what I've had to say previously.

What's on the Cover:

Three years of strife have passed since Kale and Bardon freed Paladin’s knights. Now, fiery dragons scorch their beautiful countryside as an evil husband-and-wife wizard duo battle one another for supremacy. The people of Amara just want to be left alone, hoping the conflict with disappear. But Paladin is dying, and Bardon and Kale–now married–must accept fateful assignments if their land is to survive. Will their efforts turn the tide against their adversaries?

They face a deadly threat–and a challenging choice.

Kale’s responsibility is to find, hatch, and train an army of dragons, and she tackles the daunting task–until she is shocked by a betrayal. As the Amaran countrymen seek escape, she must search for her husband, family, and friends while organizing an underground movement to weaken the enemy. But when the end draws near, Kale must choose between two dismal destinies.

This series is so addictive. Amara is a world I love to immerse myself in and I can't wait to get back to it. I always attack the latest book as soon as it appears in my mailbox, and despite the fact that I don't want the story to end, I can't help but devour it as soon as possible. With the end of each book, I go through a withdrawl period. I just want more.

How can you not love these characters? Her creativity is just boundless and I want so much to meet a Kimen, a Doneel and an Emerlindian. I want to meet Bug the Ropma and his wife Rain and all their ba's. I want to take all the minor dragons home. Gymn the healing dragon, Dibl the comedian, Pat the chubby bug cruncher. Metta the singer. They just sound adorable!

When I reached the end of DragonFire, I thought it was the series-ender - and I was upset. What about Gilda and Regidor? What about the Dragon eggs? What about Kale and Bardon? The story was great, the plot all wrapped up, but there was just so much more I needed to know. How could Donita end this series? So I put the book down and immediately went to search her website for another book.

Joy of all joys, DragonLight is due out Summer of '08. I actually did the fist pumping YES! Now, I just have to survive the wait - and hope Donita can make this series last a little longer.

If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Drumroll Please...

I work with some of the most creative and talented people. No, not in the batcave, on the internet. (Although some of the cave people are pretty talented too.)

I work with two different online critique groups. The ladies are fantastic and it's nice to have a writer family. Recently, I discovered that several of these talented ladies received some really great writerly news. I think they deserve a great big e-party, so I'm throwing them one.

Donna received an honorable mention in the W.I.N. contest for her MG book Cattle Rustling Catastrophe. This is a great accomplishment and well deserved. Cattle Rustling is a funny and adventerous book about a very real little girl named Jenny. I adore, Jenny. I can't wait for her to find a home with a publisher. Congrats, Donna. Have some chocolate.

Melanie placed second in the inspirational category of the Dixie First Chapter Contest for her story, The Woodcutter's Daughter. This novel is going to be a big hit. I can feel it in my bones as my Grandma would say. The plot is fun and I completely fell for the hero. Congrats, Mel. Have a big bowl of ice cream.

Last but certainly not least, Kelly placed first in the inspirational category of the Dixie First Chapter Contest for Kitty's Fire, a romantic suspense about woman firefighter. PLUS, she's been signed by a really great agent. WhooHoo, Kelly! Have a great big slice of party cake.

I'm so proud of these ladies. They've worked so hard to achieve success. Now, I just have to pray some of it rubs off on me. :)

Party on girls, you deserve it.


Another mystery solved

I got impatient and googled 'wet nuts'. Dangerous, I know.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBelieve it or not, there's actually a website that describes them. Basically, wet nuts are chopped nuts in a sugary syrup. They're most populare in the New York/New Jersey area. You can purchase them from Smuckers online if you can't find them locally.

Interesting that it's only common in a small region. It would be interesting to try them, although the name could use some improving. Wet nuts just doesn't sound very appetizing.

The cartoon is just for fun. It's not often I can identify with Broom Hilda. :)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wet nuts anyone?

While reading Wedding Bell Blues by Linda Windsor, I came across a term I've never heard before.

The Bosom Buddies ordered Sundaes with 'wet nuts'. What in the world are wet nuts? Is it a nut sauce of some kind? Is it nuts soaked in water? I've asked several people, but no one else seems to know what that means either. I'm wondering if it's a local thing.

Anyone have an answer?


CFBA: Fearless by Robin Parrish

Song Stuck on the Brain: I'm So Excited by the Pointer Sisters. I'm not, but the song is there anyway.

Just as an add on to yesterdays post about our 3 day trip... After all the incidents and mishaps, I found one more. Saturday, the last day of our road trip, I wore a brand new pair of jeans. I did laundry the other night and when I pulled that pair of jeans out to wash them, I found that the TAG was still attached. I wore them all day that way and never noticed. I don't know it the tag hung out visibly or if it stayed tucked into the jeans, but either way, I had Minnie Pearl butt all day.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

(Bethany House, July 1, 2007)


Book Two of the Dominion Trilogy:

The world changed after that terrible day when the sky burned, and now every heart is gripped by fear...

Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror.

But in the darkness there is hope -- an anonymous but powerful hero whom the public dubs "Guardian." He is Grant Borrows, one of a chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers. But while Grant enjoys this new life, signs of a dangerous ancient prophecy begin coming true, and those closest to Grant worry he may be hiding a terrible secret.

A search for answers brings Grant and his friends to London, where an extraordinary discovery awaits that will challenge everything they thought they knew. With a deadly new enemy dogging his steps, Grant realizes that the world's only hope may come from unraveling the truth about himself once and for all. But what he comes face-to-face with leaves even this most powerful of men shaken with fear.

Secrets will be revealed.

Friends will make the ultimate sacrifice.

And destiny will not be denied.

The story continues...


Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist.

In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.

Born Michael Robin Parrish on October 13, 1975, Robin's earliest writing efforts took place on a plastic, toy typewriter, and resulted in several "books" (most between 10 and 30 pages long) and even a few magazines.

By the age of thirteen, he had begun winning local writing awards and became a regular in his high school's literary magazine. In college, he garnered acclaim from his English professors and fellow students while maturing and honing his skills.

After college, he entered the writing profession through a "side door" -- the Internet. More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including About.com, CMCentral.com, and his current project Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.

One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.

In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels. A trilogy, to unfold in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.

Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

To Granny's house we go

Song Stuck on the Brain: In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins

I promised a rundown on our visit with Granny Boo, so today I'll fill you in. In retrospect I'm wondering if the forces of Nature weren't trying to tell me to stay home, but I'll leave that for you to decide.

Angel and I decided to spend the last half of our Vacation week visiting family, so Thursday morning we packed up and headed for Springfield, Mo. Unfortunately, I'd been sick the night before and only got about 4 hours of sleep. I napped off and on during the 3 hour drive, but was still filling kind of icky when we got to Granny's.

When we arrived it was 90+ outside and Granny's air conditioner was broken. Not a great start. Lucky for us, Uncle Jim was there to fix it and by the time we'd returned from our lunch at Western Sizzlin' (ugh!) the air was up and running. So was our Canasta marathon. We spent the next 4 hours card slinging. Man, my butt was so tired of sitting. We managed to avoid card playing after dinner and by 10:30 I was ready to crash.

The bed I sleep in when I visit Granny, is what some would call extra firm. It's also known as Rock Hard and Brick Wall. Usually, this isn't too big of a deal, cuz I like a firm mattress, but Thursday night I was still achy from being sick and then sitting for so long. I woke up at 4:30 am with an incoming Migraine and the realization there would be no more sleep for me. Granny woke up at 5 a.m., so she kept me company talking (read shouting, Granny refuses to get a hearing aide.) to me until it was time for breakfast. Angel was especially appreciative of our early morning conversation. It kept waking her up.

By 9 a.m. the Canasta Tournament was off and running again. Usually Angel and I have to cheat in order for Granny to win. To show you how bad things were, Granny was throwing me cards left and right and trying to help ME win. We played six hands of Canasta and I won once - because Granny gave me every pot and card she could. It was humiliating. I felt like I was six again. Sometimes, the cards just aren't your friend.

By lunchtime Friday, we were ready to head off for lunch before packing up to hit the road. Sleep deprived and groggy from two short nights of sleep and a marathon of cards, I missed the step up into Angel's Intrepid. ( I know, I know, it's like six inches off the ground.) Anyway, I ended up jamming my sandal covered foot into the door frame instead. Rather than stubbing my toe, however, I nearly sliced it off due to a rusted hole in the underbelly. Stumbling back I see that the deep gash has nearly sliced the side of my toe off. I throw my hand out to catch myself on the side of the car (the one that had been broiling in the sun all morning...) and I burned the palm of my hand. Granny is flipping out. "Have you had a tetanus shot? Do you need stitches? Should we go to the hospital? You might get Lock Jaw!" Bless her heart, she really was worried, but I was NOT going to do a hospital trip. I bled like a stuck pig, so we figured the rust was gone. After cleaning it and bandaging myself up, we hit the road.

Not 20 min on the road, and I dropped the cap to Angel's tea bottle between the seat and the console. In the process of retrieving it, I managed to smash my index finger on the same hand I burned. Now, I'm so tired I'm ready to pass out, but can't because Angel needs me to read the map. We've never driven to Bonne Terre, Mo and the directions have us winding all over the place. So instead of napping, my big toe is going, th-thump, th-thump, my palm is red and smarting, my finger is throbbing and I'm shaking my head every 30 seconds in an effort to wake up. We even played NSync's No Strings Attached toward the end of the 3 hour drive. I know all the words so it should have been easy to sing along with, instead I was slurring my words.

The hotel was a Super 8. Not bad, but no elevators, so I trudged up the stairs with my lame foot and crashed. We were up early the next morning, so we could be at the prison visitation room by 9 am. We spent 4 and 1/2 hours visiting with my brother. Great visit, but we weren't allowed to get up and walk around, so again, we sat on hard chairs for hours on end.

You know, if you have to live your life with a hiney the size of China, it really should be worth it's weight in padding. It's only fair right? It should be of some value. However, it's NOT. It is of NO use as padding. Your butt hurts just the same as any one else's.

Following our visit, we drove another 4 hours to get home. I've never been so glad to get out of a car.

Despite the sitting marathon (with ill-proportioned butt to chair ratio), and the numerous injuries, and lack of sleep... we actually had a decent trip. We had a good time visiting with our family.

Sunday night ended on a sad note however. My parents dog, Taz, died. He was 10 years old and had suffered a stroke recently that left him blind and weak. My parents don't have a fenced in yard, so he goes out on a rope. No one realized he was outside Sunday evening, we're not even sure who let him out, but about 10:30 Dad went looking for him. He found that Taz had fallen off the retaining wall into the drive way and hung himself. A younger or healthier dog, probably would have been fine. There was room for the rope to stretch if he was standing, but he wasn't. I don't know if he had a stroke and fell, or just got confused and stumbled. I don't know if the fall broke his neck, or if he struggled. But the poor boy was gone. Angel and I got a frantic call to come help. We arrived in time to help them cover him in a black tarp for transportation the next morning.

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Taz with his bone

It was horrifically sad. Taz had been a part of the family for 7 years. He was the most affectionate, sweet, loving dogs around. His favorite toy was a stuffed Lamb that he loved to sleep with. He was good with the kids and loved his treats. It was a very sad ending to our vacation.

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Taz w/Chloe at her birthday party

Now, I'm back in the rat race, with Jack as the only remaining Canine family member. We've lost too many recently. The downside of having elderly pets. In the last few years we've said good bye to Max, Raquel, Bear and now Taz.

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My boy Jack

Jack's getting extra hugs every night from now on.


Monday, July 09, 2007

CFBA: Wedding Bell Blues by Linda Windsor

Song Stuck on the Brain: Houston - a country song by George Strait... I think. I'm not sure when I heard this. Maybe it's a hang over from my visit to Granny Boo's. That's a post for tomorrow.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

(Avon Inspire 2007)


Wedding Bell Blues is the first in a new series, The Piper Cove Chronicles, that follows four women who grew up as best friends in a small community on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They have returned home from their successes and failures at college and life, determined to pursue their dreams in the town they'd once vowed to leave in the dust. True love has eluded the four friends until one by one they encounter their soul mate. Next in the series is FOR PETE'S SAKE, on sale from Avon Inspire in April 2008.

Alex Butler is a successful home decorator who hopes she has finally gotten her life together. But when Josh Turner, the man who ran away and broke her heart sixteen years ago, returns to Piper Cove to be the best man in her sister's wedding, Alex can't escape the butterflies in her stomach. But Alex has no time for distractions. Her family has enlisted her to make this the wedding of the century. To pull the event off, she pools the talents of her three best friends - Jan, who creates desserts to-die-for will help with the cake and catering, tomboy Ellen, who works at a landscaping business will handle the flowers and decorations, and Sue Ann, who can…well, Suzie Q can give Alex a much-needed reality check in the course of the wedding planning chaos.

But fate won't be stopped in this small town as Alex and Josh keep running into each other at every turn. When sparks fly, Alex soon finds herself caught in a paralyzing battle of the heart between her old-fashioned Southern father, who fiercely resents Josh for breaking his little girl's heart, and her feelings for the one man she ever truly loved.

As the wedding approaches, the Butler family faces a threat to their reputation that will shake this Chesapeake clan to their very core. In the midst of it all, can Alex and Josh resist the many forces that seem to be drawing them together?


Linda, a native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the author of eighteen historical novels and nine contemporary romances for both the secular and Christian market. A Christy Award finalist, Linda has received numerous awards in both the ABA and CBA, including the Romantic Writers of America's Beacon Award. She lives in Salisbury, Maryland. Learn more!
What a fun read! Linda's characters are funny, insightful and human. I loved the Bosom Buddies, they are girlfriends at their best... and worst. :) Hero Josh Turner, was one sexy man. It's nice to see a man written with honor and morals and yet still retain that pure maleness that identifies the romantic hero. Plus, the name instantly made me picture real life country singer Josh Turner, who is also Christian, beautiful and has a really sexy voice. I'm not sure if that's who she was picturing while writing Wedding Bell Blues, but it's certainly who I pictured while reading it. Wow. Overall it was a fun lighthearted read with just enough of a life lesson woven in to make you think. I'm looking forward to the sequel, For Pete's Sake.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

FREE CONTEST: Diva NashVegas by Rachel Hauck

Enter to win a free copy of Diva NashVegas by Rachel Hauck!

About the Book:

What do you do when the past you've been skirting shows up at your door with cameras rolling? Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She'd rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parents' death-both of them pioneers in Gospel music. But while her public life, high profile romances, and fights with Music Row execs made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery. When a former band member betrays Aubrey's trust and sells an "exclusive" to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey's private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past-someone she'd hoped to forget. All the moxie in the world won't let this Diva run any longer.

How to Win:

Just click on the book cover at the top of the sidebar and email me your entry. This contest is open to US and Canadian Residents only and will end July 31, 2007 at midnight.

Be sure to let all your friends and family know too!

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations Melanie D.!

You are the winner of Traitors by Andrew Snaden

CFBA: Island Inferno by Chuck Holton

Song Stuck on the Brain: Babe by Styx... "You know it's you, Babe. Giving me the courage and the strength I need, Please believe..." Don't ask where that one came from. I woke up singing it.

That and the number series from Lost was running around in there too. If you're familiar with lost, you know that there is a series of numbers that ties in intricately with the plot. I've just started watching them on DVD, trying to get ready for the return of season 4, so I've plowed through season 1 and I'm about 3 discs in to Season 2. And the darned numbers won't leave me alone. I keep trying to figure out the pattern.
4 8 15 16 23 42.
Only one is a prime number, there isn't any sustaining pattern of ciphering. It's driving me nuts. I even googled the number sequence. There are lots of sites discussing the significance, but only one seemed to deal strictly with the math and they say there isn't a definable pattern either, and yet... It seems like there should be somehow. I blame Karen and Angel for this latest obsession before they rooked me into watching, I was happily oblivious to this new mathematical brain stumper.

Okay, so on to more important things, like what I've been doing on my time off. :) Three days into my vacation and I've only left my house once. I love it. I've worked on my current novel and the rewrite on the previous novel. Watched a whole lot of Charmed and Lost. Oh and completely devoured the new series by Chuck Holton. Which brings me to...

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:




As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.

A new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.

Fernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.

When Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?

"Island Inferno is a boy-meets-girl story. But in Chuck Holton's world, boy meets girl in the middle of a jungle at 25mph. hanging under a parachute with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. You'd better plan on reading this in one sitting. And once you're done, you'd better give yourself time for your pulse to calm down."
----TOM MORRISEY, Author of Deep Blue, and Dark Fathom


Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.

In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.

He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, and
Allah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.

Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.
Wow, Tom Morrisey wasn't kidding. I read Allah's Fire first, because I can't start a series in the middle. Boy am I glad that I had time off work, because once you start reading, you do not want to put these books down. Both Allah's Fire and Island Inferno, were fast paced, heart pounding, action loaded, well crafted stories. And the simple non obtrusive romantic elements were well timed and well done. The stories were BETTER because of them. The spiritual elements were just as thoroughly thought out and well executed. Chuck has created an incredible team in the Task Force Valor series and I can't hardly wait for the next book.
Think we could get an ETA on that Chuck?