Friday, December 28, 2007


What some people won't do to get me to blog!

My sweet friend Megan DiMaria carded me from her blog. Okay, Megan, I'm making good on this--I know I'm a couple days and a few dollars short but I'm working on my New Year's Resolutions and trying to put a few into effect before the old year is through. I should have answered before Christmas but those of you who know me can't be surprised I'm a little late with this. I'll just respond as if it's Christmas Eve :-)

And just so's you know, Ronie Kendig altered this CARDED meme to include a Spiritual Wish list so we can know how to pray for each other, both spiritually and physically. Sweet!


1. Each player starts with 5 gifts that they would want for Christmas.
2. People who are "CARDED" need to write their own Blog about their 5 things & post these rules.
3. At the end of your Blog, you need to choose 5 people to get "CARDED" and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a COMMENT telling them they're "CARDED," and to read your Blog.

Since it is after the deadline, I won't be carding anyone this year but don't be surprised to see a reoccurrence for next year.

My Materialistic Gift/Wish List:
1. Diamond earrings (got'm and am wearing them!) Please note it says Materialistic--I can do altruistic also but just following the rules.
2. DVD's of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (I got them for Phil--it was on his list, too)
3. New clothes (got lovely blouses and a sweater from my girls--note to self, remember to give them my sizes for next year)
4. Some shopping cash (thanks Mom, Norman and GrammaDear)
5. Bath/shower fragrance set (got a wonderful set from my eldest that smells so good!)

My Spiritual Gift/Wish List:
1. For us all to be together for Christmas with a focus on the true meaning of the Holiday (didn't work out because some people have to work--let's try this one again next year, please)
2. For all my children (that includes you, Juan) to draw closer to God this year.
3. To spend time again with my 101 year old grandmother and learn more from her example and devotion to God (I did).
4. To bask in the favor that God continues to pour out by spending time with my mom--too many people don't get one good parent, I have four I can say love me and it is all by God's grace that Mom came into my life. Thank You, Lord. I love you, Mom--good to be with you for another Christmas.
5. This one is secret, private but I may be tempted to share sometime in the New Year. Let's just say God is Gracious and Good.

And on that note, I wish you all a lovely, peaceful and joyous New Year full of an awareness of God's Abundant Blessings!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What's Up

Been informed I've been too quiet lately--I'm just glad to have friends who check in on my every once in a while.
Without going into great detail, here's what's been going on (I'll do individual blogs for some of these items in the near future).
1. September went to Dallas and took second place for the Contemporary Romance category in the Genesis Contest at the annual ACFW conference.
2. October my middle daughter married her sweetheart--think purple and pretty and you've got the idea. Lovely wedding and we love the groom almost as much as the bride.

3. Also in October was robbed at gun point in my driveway in the middle of the afternoon. Still dealing with the aftermath but I'm okay--physically at least.
4. November received an author copy of my latest pubbed work--I'm May 15th in Tyndale's One Year Life Verse Devotional.
5. I learned I'm not "highly qualified" anymore because I don't have a Reading Endorsement on my teaching certificate so I get to take classes (2 of them) this spring.

6. My roommate at my classroom has been teaching me about grant writing--learning a lot there. Hope to get a SMARTboard for my classroom.
7. Recently finished two really great books I need to write up for review. Look for those posts in the very near future.
And between all that I continue to teach, test, write and sometimes even critique for my partners.
I'm whupped just reading that over--think I need a Sunday afternoon nap.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thank You, Vets

I know it's been a long time but thought today would be a great day to get back into the swing of things, blog-wise. And, since it is Veterans' Day, I want to take time to say thank you and express my appreciation for those who have stood in harms way for me. This includes my father (above left) and my grandfather (right) as well as my father-in-law (Battle of the Bulge), four of my uncles (two named Bob)and an aunt who were in WWII and one uncle who was stationed in Viet Nam. Of all of them, only my Uncle John of the Viet Nam era survives. That is why I am reprinting, with permission, Tricia Goyer's piece, Don't Let the Memories Die along with the pictures she has of WWII vets. I hope you will take the time to not only read this, but to then find a vet, say thank you and then listen before the stories are gone for good. It is part of our heritage, a part of our legacy, a part of who we are today.

And, to all vets and their families, I say thank you and abundant blessings!

Don't Let the Memories Die by Tricia Goyer

In 2000, I got my idea for what came to be my first historical novel, From Dust and Ashes. Wanting to know more about the 23 men who liberated Mauthausen concentration camp, I contacted the 11th Armored Division who put me in touch with six of the veterans. These men then invited me to attend the 59th reunion of their division. I wasn't expecting that at all. I thought they'd point me to a good research book or allow me to interview them over the phone.

I felt SO unworthy to meet with these men. I knew very little about WWII, and I didn't want my inexperience to show. Not to mention the $1000+ for airfare, hotels, rental car for a book I didn't have a contract to write.

I urged a friend to go with me, and I've been so thankful we went. The men were caring and opened their hearts to me. They shared stories with me that they hadn't shared with anyone before. They laughed. They cried. They took my hands and thanked me for caring about their story. They hugged me and kissed my cheeks.

When it came to writing my novel, I wasn't writing about fictional characters. I was writing pieces of Charlie's story, bits of Arthur's experiences. The memories that made LeRoy cry made it into my book. The snapshots that Tarmo carried around in his mind for 60 years transformed into scenes in my novel (and the novels to follow!).

I get many letters from readers who say that my novels come to life on the pages--that's because the men's experiences came to life to me as I looked into their eyes and saw glimpses of young heroes. Also, the following year I went to Europe and walked the streets of the SS housing with a man who'd been nine-years-old when the camp opened near his home. Again, I "saw" the story in his eyes as he shared--this time from someone on the outside.

There was an added benefit to this diligent research that I didn't expect. After my second novel Night Song came out I received a letter from a veteran. He made a list of twenty minor research points that I'd gotten right, and then he asked, "One thing I didn't understand was the faith element of this story. Can you tell me more about your faith in God?"


Because I had done the research, I'd was able to share about my Jesus with a veteran who has since passed away.

One more fun thing I didn't expect. One of the men I met at the reunion was Pete. Pete was a medic--the one medic I met. Years later I received a letter from a reader who had read From Dust and Ashes. She was a survivor of Mauthausen--actually, she was born there. When she was 3-weeks-old she was close to death. When the gates were open a medic spent a full day lancing and cleaning infected boils on her skin, saving her life. She asked me if I knew any medics. I knew one, and I passed on his phone number. It turns out Pete was the one who saved her life! They have since met on numerous occasions.

If I hadn't gone to that reunion I wouldn't have met Pete, and I wouldn't have been able to connect him with Hana--what a God thing!

Of course, I do have regrets concerning research, too. In my most recent series on the Spanish Civil War I received a letter from a SCW veteran who said he was willing to help me with research. The letter got put into my "very important" pile on my desk and weeks and months passed. I pulled it out again, and I planned on calling him when I heard from someone else that this man had passed away. That has happened more than once with men who offered to be interviewed, and I'm always regretful of the "one more story" I missed. After all, once gone they are gone for good.

If you have a veteran in your life ... today is the perfect day to reach out--to listen to his or her story. Don't let the stories die, when you have a chance to make a difference.

Below are photos of a few of the men I've interviewed.

To read some of their stories, go to:

To see more photos (including real photos from the liberation of Mauthausen) go to:

To watch my NEW video about my WWII Liberators Series, click here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Me

Fellow Misfit, Michelle, jumped onto the Personality Test bandwagon and, not to be outdone, I took the test, too. Here's the results:
Click to view my Personality Profile page
You'll notice I'm considered Extroverted (not a surprise to anyone who knows me) and that I'm an ENFP or an Advocate. Here's more information on that personality according to the Myers Briggs people:

ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.

Okay, so I don't understand what they mean by actively sending out thoughts and ideas. I do pray about things--thoughts and ideas--and discuss them with my Abba so perhaps that counts. The rest sounds nice--I do enjoy hearing nice things about me or rather people like me:-) And apparently there are people like me to varying degrees. ENFPs make up about 5.5% of the population. This is a list of "famous" ENFP-ers.

Famous ENFPs

Real ENFP People

* Alicia Silverstone - actress (Clueless), fashion model
* Andy Kaufman - American entertainer
* Andy Rooney - television writer
* Bill Cosby - actor, comedian, activist
* Bill Moyers - journalist, commentator
* Bob Dylan - singer-songwriter, musician
* Buster Keaton - silent film comic actor
* Carol Burnett - comedian
* Charles Dickens - English novelist
* Dave Thomas - businessman (Wendy's), philanthropist
* Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geise) - writer, cartoonist
* Franz Joseph Haydn - composer
* James Dobson - evangelical psychologist
* Joseph Campbell - writer, orator
* King Jordan - deaf president of Gallaudet University
* Lewis Grizzard - humorist
* Martin Short - Canadian actor, comedian
* Paul Harvey - radio broadcaster
* Paul Robeson - actor, athlete, singer, writer, activist
* Phil Donahue - TV personality
* Regis Philbin - TV personality
* Robin Williams - actor
* Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) - writer
* Sandra Bullock - actress
* Sinbad - actor, comedian
* Upton Sinclair - author, investigative journalist
* Will Rogers - Comedian

Fictional ENFPs (Characters)

* Ariel - The Little Mermaid
* Balki - Perfect Strangers
* Dr. Doug Ross - ER
* Lara Antipova - Doctor Zhivago
* Steve Urkel - Family Matters
* Will - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

And, good news! Among the various possible career matches for ENFPs are the areas I've spent my time and energy--actor, church worker, teacher, and writer. Hmmm.

You'll also notice that under the Multiple Intelligence portion, I scored highest in the verbal area. Not a surprise there, either.

The tests didn't take very long and actually made me think a little more about how I feel about things. If you'd like to try this--and it is free--click here.

And no matter your personality, abundant blessings!

PS Thank Michi!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

An Interview With Allison Bottle

When I heard editor and friend Allison Bottke would be doing a blog tour for her latest novel, One Little Secret, I was happy to join the parade. Back when her first novel, A Stitch in Time came out, one of my book club buddies commented that "Allison could make a phone book exciting to read!" So it's no secret why I was excited to get my hands on One Little Secret.

Her heroine, Ursula, actually first appeared in A Stitch in Time and the star of that book makes a cameo appearance in One Little Secret making it rather like seeing an old friend in a new place. I love the fact that these ladies hold similar memories to me--that we've traveled the same decades. The glam and designer name dropping is still there but if you think this is the same old story, I've got a secret for you--it's not. But before you go rushing off to buy a copy of One Little Secret--and yes, I do recommend you do--first read through this interview with Allison and then go get your copy. You'll be glad you did.

Welcome Allison! Let's get started.
You describe your latest novel, Our Little Secret, and your previous one, A Stitch in Time, as "Boomer-Lit." Would you explain to my readers what you mean by this term and how your novels fit into it?

Typical “chick-lit” is written for a 20-30 year old target market. The protagonist is usually single, and struggling with her faith, career, family, love-life and things young women often struggle with. In my books, I wanted to approach the issues that baby boomers are dealing with, (women born between 1946-1964) things like the empty nest syndrome, aging parents, a change in career, retirement, menopause, and other health issues. I wanted to look at women in the prime of their life who were suddenly stepping out in faith to achieve the dreams of their heart. Women who weren’t afraid to take risks—who had the chutzpah to dare to dream big. That’s how “Boomer-Lit” was born.

What do you do when you aren't writing?
Oh gosh, a ga-zillion things! Currently, I’m doing a lot of packing as we are moving at the end of this month from Minnesota to Texas! However, I love to garden in the warm season (very short here in MN) and reading and going to the movies are BIG favorite pastimes of mine. I could take off for the nearby Cineplex and watch 3 movies, back-to-back with no trouble at all! I’m a movie-holic!

What other creative outlets do you have?
When I have time (make time) I love to scrapbook. I’m also somewhat of a teacher at heart, I love to encourage other writers, and to that end I’ve begun to produce a series of Teleseminars for writers, with bestselling author Randy Ingermanson. Your readers can find out more about these online MP3 workshops here:

When did you realize there was a need for baby boomer fiction?
I read a lot. Especially what is known as “chick-lit.” But the typical “chick-lit” is written for a 20-30 year old target market. The protagonist is usually single, and struggling with her faith, career, family, love-life and things young women often struggle with. In my books, I wanted to approach the issues that baby boomers are dealing with, things like the empty nest syndrome, aging parents, a change in career, retirement, menopause, and other health issues. I wanted to look at women in the prime of their life who were suddenly stepping out in faith to achieve the dreams of their heart. Women who weren’t afraid to take risks—who had the chutzpah to dare to dream big. That’s how “Boomer-Lit” was born.

Are you leaving God Allows U Turns behind to write fiction?
Not at all! I have a passion for sharing the true stories of how God turns people around. In fact, we are currently accepting true short stories for three new volumes in the acclaimed series. Your readers can check out the Writer’s Guidelines here: My co-editor, Cheryll Hutchings, is collecting the stories and our submission deadline is December 30th.

You've written a lot of books and you're so young! When did you start writing? How long does it take you to write a book start to finish?
Young? God bless you! (Where do I send your check? Ha-Ha) I’m 52 years old! I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil—it’s how I best communicate. However, I was 45 years old when my first book was published—volume one in the God Allows U-Turns series. It takes us about 9 months to compile and edit a volume in the compilation series. It takes me about a year to write a novel. Alas, I’m not very fast.

When you look back at your twenties what do you wish you would have known then that you know now?
I’ve heard it before but it rings very true now…I should never have spent so much time sweating the small stuff! I should have chosen my battles better…and not made mountains out of molehills.

What are your favorite three Christian music artists?
Without a doubt I am a huge fan of Bonnie Keen (from the band First Call.) Bonnie helped me to get all the musical info correct in One Little Secret. I also love Sandy Patti – what a vocal range! And Mark Schultz is amazing, his gift for story telling is amazing.

What blog or website do you try and visit every day?
FOX News and Glen Beck.

Allison, is there anything you’d like to share with readers before you go?
I encourage your readers to tell me what they think about One Little Secret. I really do want to hear reader feedback. I’m working on my next novel to release in summer of 2009 and I take to heart reader comments. They can reach me here: and please, I’d love to invite everyone to participate in the Hollywood Casting Call Contest where a lucky winner can win an all expense paid trip to Hollywood! Visit my web site and select the actors and actresses you think would make the best lead characters in One Little Secret! Check it out here:

And …we have a monthly newsletter that we call a “Dream-Zine,” I’d love to invite your readers to subscribe:

And one final thing, we have a co-authored blog with six best selling authors blogging each and every day – BOOMER BABES WITH BRILLIANT DREAMS: I think that’s it – thanks for having me!

My pleasure! And now you can go get your copy of One Little Secret--and feel free to share!
Abundant blessings!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

One More Meme for the Road

Sorry about this, folks but I got tagged again. So here's more info about me that you probably didn't care to know.

My father told me I was named for Jenny Lind because one of his favorite memories was hearing his grandfather tell of meeting her.
Usually—I can do calligraphy
Budding chicken
I think so, usually, most of the time, maybe.
Not even on a dare—and I don’t care how much money you offer.
Hot—Cream of Wheat/Cold—granola
Nah, too tired...
Not hardly
Extreme Moose Tracks—can’t remember the brand name
The smile
Depends on the reason for the roses
Emotionally: I cry when I get angry—can’t help it and it makes me angrier—a vicious cycle
Physically: My weight—I have only myself to blame but I wish it would come off easier now that I’m working at it
My Ian
If they want—no pressure
Blue jeans—I put off doing this until after I got out of my jammies
Half of a turkey sandwich
The hum of my computer
Heliotrope (just because I like the word)
Roses, lilacs and lavender—oh, and fresh fruit
My middle daughter Alyssa
He’s okay for a guy who writes scary stuff
Depends on who’s playing and if I can watch in person or on TV
Dk—it’s hidden by medium ash brown
They’re technically a pale blue-green but can look gray or blue or green or any combination depending on my mood and what I wear—I know, TMI
Used to
Generally Italian or Mexican foods
Happy endings most definitely
A Piece of Eden
Blue—a shirt from the 309th Fighter Squadron stationed at Luke AFB—Go Wild Ducks!
I live in Arizona—Winter, duh!
Hugs are more universal, kisses are reserved
Too many to name
I’ve no idea
Getting ready to start The Mermaid Chair
A picture of a Coyotes hockey game
An interview with Billy Graham and the living presidents he’s counseled
Children’s laughter
Beatles. Of course—none of them would have snorted a parent.
Belfast, Northern Ireland—or Heathrow, England—I’d have to check a map for mileage
I can tie cherry stems into knots with my tongue
I’m tagging Cynthia Hickey and my Phil.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Going to send you all over to the Misfits blog today. My friend and awesome writer Mary DeMuth is our guest blogger for Saturday and I think you will enjoy what she has to say. This is part of her blog tour for her latest non-fiction book Authentic Parenting. You can meet Mary and read her crazy blog here. The book we've been discussing, Authentic Parenting in a Post-Modern Culture, by Mary DeMuth is available now. You can purchase your autographed copy directly from Mary at the link above. I encourage you pick it up today!

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating on the Authentic Parenting Tour this week.
Actual Unretouched Photo
Bluebonnet in the Snow
child of divorce/child of god
Good Word Editing
Ripples and Reflections
So Many Books...So Little Time
The Point
Tiffany Colter
Toni V. Lee

For a complete listing of the blogs participating in the six week tour, visit here.

But, most important, go to the Misfits blog and read what she has there. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

For Moms

Got this in an email and must share. Hope you enjoy as much as I do. Wish I'd had this when my kids were young--but wait, I did--I just hadn't set it to music yet.
Abundant blessings!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

To All the Dogs I've Loved Before

I'm a dog lover. Okay, so I like cats, too, but, for their own safety, I do not own any while I live in the same house with my husband. (Don't boo and hiss--he has to have at least one flaw!)
Anyway, a few years ago I was on the couch, supposedly working on a Bible study, when our pug jumped up on the couch (where he knew he wasn't allowed) and cuddled up in my lap. Our Puglsey was a rescue dog who still bore the scars from someone trying to burn him. But he was the sweetest, cuddliest dog we'd ever owned and it got me to thinking. When I curl up in my Abba's lap and cuddle, does He see my scars? Does He stroke my head like I did Pugsley's that day?
Since then I've looked differently at my canine friends and I've received a few life lessons in the process.
Jack could just tell when I was sad and liked to rest next to me.
K.D. was sure she she was human.
Daisy's curiousity has gotten her (and me) into some fixes.
Mack had to be taught how to play.
Shelby could look at anther dog and see what it needed--usually a fun romp.
Vern E. Lou is sure she's a princess.
Chandler had to learn that the freedom of a walk was better on a leash.
Howie knew when to bury the bones and the best time to dig them up and deal with them.
Chuck knew how to welcome company with a smile.
Molly prefered no pictures but never let a little thing like a missing leg slow her down.
Sonny kept watch over the house on his nightly patrols.
Muncher stood guard over my baby brother's crib.
Brutus only looked scary but was loveable.

I wish I had pictures of them all. Not all belong to my family. All have a place in my heart for their loving presence. Some have passed away and some are still with us. All made an impression. So, since I have so much time on my hands (not) here's a little tribute to one of God's best creations.

Abundant blessings!

MeMe - Because I Promised

Good buddy and fellow Misfit Heather Goodman tagged me (and the rest of the Misfits) with this meme and since I haven't done one in a while, I agreed (since I haven't had much to write about until after I agreed). So, without further anything, here's what the world's been waiting for--the answers to all those age-old meme questions:

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to?

I want to write about my great grandmother. I remember sitting in Aunt Bessie's house and hearing the stories of what it was like growing up and what her parents were like. Much was in hushed tones and I don't think the adults thought I was listening. But that's where I learned what "pondering in your heart" meant. Someday I hope to put those ponderings in a book.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?

There's way too many to choose--I'm a slow reader and want to read too many. Hmmmmmm. I think I would start with To Kill A Mockingbird simply because I'm finally old enough to really appreciate it now (yes, before you gasp, I've already read it once).

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)?
My mother's typewriter--big bulky thing in a black case. Not electric but fun to push the keys down and watch the letters form on the white paper above.

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month?

I'm not fast at this so maybe 3 (depending on whether I'm teaching or on Summer Break).

5. What's your favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned? My PC. I love it and feel comfortable at the keyboard. I can rush the words from my fingers or tap my nails on the keys waiting for my next idea. It is tempermental sometimes but I do love it.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don't read historical fiction--shame on you.)

I have to agree with Heather. I enjoy Jane Austen and I love things from the Colonial Period. Civil War time is good reading and Oh! love to read about the Roaring Twenties. Turn of the 20th Century (give or take 20 years in either direction) is good. Ok, I confess, I just plain ol' love reading historicals.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?
I read all of the Janet Lambert books I could get my hands on. There were several in her series that I loved and I remember the plots even today but one of them hit me hard--she killed off a beloved character and I sat and cried. Her characters were ones I talked about with my friends as if they were a part of our crowd. They were so real (not in a psychotic way--get back with those white jackets). Wish I could remember the title. I collected a few over the years now but haven't found that one.

Not gonna tag anyone--everyone's been tagged!

So, th-th-th-that's all folks!

Abundant blessings!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Catching Up

This will be short though the news is big. Here are 2 links for you to check out.

First, my friend and fellow Misfit, Mike Snyder, has a great announcement on his blog. You can check it out here. I am so excited for him and hope you will check it out--this is big!

Second, a few of my writing friends and I began a rather special critique group a while back. I can honestly say that the story I'm currently working on is probably one of the best things I've ever written and it is because of the encouragement and feedback I've gotten from these friends. Well, now you can meet them and see for yourself. We've started a blog, The Misfits. We began with our Misfit Manifesto on Independence Day and have been posting ever since (I know, I'm slow). Anyway, check out the new blog and the Misfits individual blogs as well. Good stuff.

Have a great weekend full of abundant blessings!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Interview with Trish Perry

I recently had the pleasure of reading a new book, Too Good to Be True. Author Trish Perry is an award winning writer and editor of Ink and the Spirit, a quarterly newsletter of the Capital Christian Writers organization in the Washington DC, area. She has published numerous short stories, essays, devotionals and poetry in Christian and general market media, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Trish has graciously agreed to be interviewed and so without further ado, I want to welcome Trish Perry to Abundant Blessings.

TP: Thanks for featuring me, Jenny!

JC: Trish, let’s get the preliminaries out of the way. First, how long have you been writing? And we all want to know about when it became professional—tell us all about getting The Call.

TP: I’ve been writing seriously for about 12 years. I dabbled here and there before that, but I felt the I-Have-To-Write bug about 12 years ago. I got The Call about my first book contract back in October 2005. My agent was talking with a few houses about Too Good to Be True while I worked on the follow-up, The Guy I’m Not Dating. Harvest House decided they wanted both books, with one condition. They wanted the events of The Guy to happen first, followed by Too Good. Was I willing to switch the books’ sequences and order of release, they wondered? Were they kidding? I would have switched anything about the books—made them about polar bears setting up house in Manhattan—as long as Harvest House was willing to give me a try!

JC: What is a typical writing day like for you? Have you been able to make writing a full-time career?

TP: It’s definitely my full-time career now, although I can’t honestly say I’m self-disciplined enough to keep my boss (and that would be me) totally happy. There’s something to be said for clocking in at an office, with clipboard-toting ogres standing watch over you, allowing you a mere ten-minute coffee break once in awhile.

But when I’m under deadline, I can be very disciplined. I drop everything else and dive so deeply into my fictional world that the people in my real world give up on me. They make their own lunches, do their own laundry, talk amongst themselves as if I’ve passed on. During these periods, my typical writing day gets into full swing as soon as everyone else is out of the house. Then it’s just me, my computer, and all my little imaginary friends. I break for a quick lunch—usually reading something fun, but if pressed, editing instead. And I break for dinner (there exists an exponential relationship between how much time before deadline and how much Chinese carryout we eat). I’ll either call it quits for the day at that point or, if I feel I need to get more writing done that day, I’ll have at it again after dinner.

JC: So Too Good to Be True turned out to be your follow-up to The Guy I’m Not Dating—both being chick lits from Harvest House. What made you try writing chick lit?

TP: I had slowly worked on a more serious, spiritual-warfare novel for a few years before I started the lighter storylines. My SW novel involved creepy stuff and considerable research about Eastern religions and the Civil War. I had such a hankering for comedy by the time I was done. The romance factor just fit within the comedy story the Lord gave me, once I started considering it. Too Good to Be True was actually the first of the two books, as I mentioned above. I didn’t really think of it as chick lit—I simply wanted to write romantic comedy. But my heroine had a chick lit sense of humor, so that’s the direction I went. I’ve always enjoyed a wide variety of novel genres, and I’d like to publish in other genres eventually. But I do love a good laugh.

JC: I noticed when reading Too Good to Be True, you kept it is 3rd person POV rather than the traditional 1st person POV of most chick lit. Was that your call or your publishers? Can you share the reasoning?

TP: Originally, I wrote Too Good to Be True in first person, which, as you say, is traditional for chick lit. Loved writing in first person! But when I wrote The Guy I’m Not Dating, there were some scenes I wanted to include which couldn’t include my heroine. So I wrote The Guy in third person. Harvest House published The Guy first, and it wasn’t until about a month before Too Good was due to the printers that my editor noticed I had written Too Good in first person. Since the books were unofficially a series, and the first one was in third person and already out there, my editor asked me to rewrite Too Good in third person. (There’s a word to the wise, if the wise are writing a series—write all of the books in the same POV!)

So that was quite an interesting little adventure! The funny result from the experience is that some people read the books and remember them as having been told in first person, even though they’re in third. I suppose the flavor of first person remains, to some extent.

JC: What is on the writing horizon for you? Will you be following a new romance with one of the characters in Too Good to Be True?

TP: Actually, I started to write that story—a third in the series, featuring two of the characters my readers have already met in the first two books. I hope to be able to do that soon. But Harvest House asked me to start working on something else first. It’s another chick lit idea, but with an entirely different set of characters and situations. We haven’t discussed whether it will be a stand-alone or a series—we’re very early on in the discussion stage.

And then I’ve been asked to flesh out a five-book series idea, which another house has expressed some interest in. I’m not even beyond a simple paragraph-per-book point with that project yet.

Finally, I’ve been asked by a third publisher to put together some ideas for a novel for the 16-23 year old reading audience.

So there are many possibilities in the future!

JC: What has been the biggest blessing you’ve discovered in writing?

TP: I never expected to get such wonderful reader feedback, especially from readers in the college-aged range. I think that happened because of the subject matter of The Guy I’m Not Dating. Every positive comment is a fantastic blessing, but when a writer learns that her efforts helped a reader feel closer to the Lord, or more at peace about her situation in life, the blessing goes beyond mere kudos. You feel so certain that this is how the Lord wants you to serve Him!

JC: What advice do you have for someone trying to break into the chick lit market?

TP: To begin with, I’d say read as much chick lit as you can. Obviously, writers need to be voracious readers, regardless of what genre they choose. But there’s nothing like immersing yourself in your chosen genre to trigger your best capabilities and ideas. Learn the craft through books, magazines, and courses. Enter reputable contests, mainly to achieve exposure of your work to editors and agents. Attend conferences and writers’ meetings whenever you can. Shrug off rejection, listen to constructive criticism (all writers should have critique partners). And if you want to break into chick lit or any other genre, you need to submit submit submit! Pray like crazy, and listen for God’s guidance. One thing He gave me about a year ago, and which I often repeat, is that He will never use discouragement to lead you away from writing. If He wants you doing something else, He’ll draw you to something else. I would caution writers against deciding God doesn’t want them writing, simply because they haven’t sold yet. If He blesses you with joy when you write, you need to hang in there.

JC: Any special thoughts you’d like to share with the readers?

TP: I mentioned praying, above. I’d like to reiterate the importance of sitting down in total silence for a short time each morning, before starting your day. I must admit I don’t remember to do this every day. Heaven only knows why I ever forget. When I set aside just ten minutes each morning to shut up and simply sit before Him, waiting for anything He might want to tell me, He blesses me in amazing ways. I might not realize it during those ten minutes, but the ideas He gives me and the ways He guides my steps . . . just phenomenal.

JC: Please let our readers know where/how to get a copy of Too Good to Be True.

TP: The book is available at all of the online bookstores, like Amazon and Christianbook and any actual bookstore can order copies, if they don’t already have them on the shelf. Sometimes people get a kick out of signed copies, and that’s possible through SignedByTheAuthor.

JC: Thanks again for stopping by Trish. And to everyone, Abundant Blessings!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Then and Now

I know it’s been a while—a dear friend recently pointed that out (hi, Lori). I’ve had too much to share and too little time or inspiration on how. But I think I’m ready. First, I want to thank my mom for her hard work and sacrifice that allowed me to go to college. Without that, I never would have been a part of a wonderful reunion that was too long in the making. So, Mom, thank you. I love you. And happy Mothers' Day.

Also, this reunion wouldn’t have come together without some very key people—first and foremost, my old friend and self-adopted brother, Rev Curt. Without your stage managing expertise, this just wouldn’t have happened. Old friend Ricky Grove put together an amazing DVD of old times and faces—great job Rick. Robbie and Ed who helped with the logistics end of things, gathering memories from NAU, you made some wonderful finds. And the folks at NAU—Erin in particular—you all did a great job.

I’ve put together a short video to give you a glimpse of the then and now of our reunion. Consider it a slice—I wasn’t able to include everything I wanted (due to lack of resources, time allotted and talent). This is only a sample of the memories in my heart. I love you all so much and really hope we can do this again.

On a side note, was anyone else impacted by the number of guys in our group named Richard? Not that I’m complaining—I have two brothers (long story), a father and a father-in-law with the same name. Plus, both my husband and son have Richard as their middle name. So, maybe it’s just me. Let’s just say I’m fond of Richards (and Phils).

Love to all, enjoy the video, and as always,

Abundant blessings!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Does Your Kissing Rate?

Kissing—a fun activity, to be sure. People talk about it, write about it, sometimes tell-all about it. It’s a great topic. And it’s kind of important. For example, I read a Susie May Warren book a while back where the heroine was dating this movie star-pretty guy, with an accent no less. The romantic tension built and you knew that wonderful moment of first-kissiness was fast approaching and then, he kissed like a fish and slobbered all over her face. Trust me, it did nothing for the romantic mood--hers nor mine.

But did you know that the Bible has something to say about kissing? And no, I’m not talking about that favorite verse of teenage boys everywhere--the instruction to greet one another with a holy kiss. Rather, I’m referring to a section from the Book of Ephesians in chapter four. Now, before you think I’m amazingly insightful, I need to mention I am stealing this (with permission) from my friend, the guy who is filling in as our pastor for the time being, Robin Wood.

I’m learning Robin has a knack for discovering amazing nuggets in Scripture and what he shared today is no exception. The Scripture he used was Ephesians 4:29 – 5:1. That first verse has been important to me, something I’ve tried to live by (notice the “try”—don’t always succeed, but I continue to work on it). However, I’d never thought this was a guide to being a good kisser. Here’s how Robin said God laid it out for him.

ind. This Scripture tells us to be kind. Am I being kind in my thoughts and actions when I kiss my spouse? On the surface that seems easy enough but I really had to ponder that. Do I let my mind wander from my focus on him and his likes and needs?

ntimate. We’re told not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Robin pointed out that how we are with our spouses, how we treat them, can grieve the Holy Spirit—if we shut them out and do not lay ourselves transparently before them, we are not intimate with them.

elf-esteem. This one hit home to me. We’re not who everyone says we are, we’re not who we say we are. We are who God says we are. But truth be told, we glean most of our self esteem from the person who has the most significance to us. We see our reflection in his/her eyes. Do I let my respect and love for my husband show strong enough that he knows it and lives in it? We need to be mirrors for each other that reflect an image of how God sees us, building each other up and removing bitterness and words, said even in jest, that tear down those we love the most.

ecurity. In offering forgiveness, just like God has forgiven each of us, we offer a haven of security. We know that even when we mess up, there is love and forgiveness and not malice and retribution to bind us together in love.

So I ask again, how does your kissing rate? Don’t know about you, but I think I need more practice. Now where did Phil go?

Abundant blessings!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tricia Goyer's Story Behind the Story

I was privileged to read an advance copy of Tricia Goyer’s A Valley of Betrayal. I won’t go into the review here but if you want to see what I think, click here.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share Tricia’s own words about this amazing time in history—yep, you know I love that stuff. There are time periods where I feel pretty comfortable with my knowledge and there are time periods where I don’t know anything. This is one time period where I’ve a lot to learn. Maybe you do, too. So, I’ll let Tricia’s words whet your appetite and perhaps you’ll want to learn more.

Abundant blessings!

The Story Behind the Novel:

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to his skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:
Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.
From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who have volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted of thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side, half of which never returned home.
Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for.
Loyalists—also know as the Republicans were aided by the Soviet Union, the Communist movement, and the International Brigades. If not for the weapons and volunteers from these sources their fight would have ended in weeks rather than years. While many men fought side by side, their political views included that of liberal democracy, communism and socialism. The Catholic Basque Country also sided with the Republic, mainly because it sought independence from the central government and was promised this by Republican leaders in Madrid.
Nationalists—or Francoists were aided mainly by Germany and Italy. The Nationalist opposed an independent Basque state. Their main supporters were those who believed in a monarchist state and fascist interests. The Nationalist wished for Spain to continue on as it had for years, with rich landowners, the military, and the church running the country. Most of the Roman Catholic clergy supported the Nationalists, except those in the Basque region.
During the Spanish Civil war, terror tactics against civilians were common. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light. These are the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.
Tricia Goyer

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Never Can Say Goodbye

It started Sunday morning in the shower. Only a week early but my tears didn’t want to stop when I turned off the faucet. Phil asked if I was practicing. I told him no, just thinking too much.

And I guess that’s what it is, still thinking too much about the last few days with my pastor, Steve Chiles. He has been senior pastor at North Hills Church for over eleven years now. A lot has happened in those eleven years and I’ve got that Clifton Davis song humming in my head over it.

Steve’s done his best to make this transition as smooth as possible but the truth is, it is still change.

And I hate change.

I loathe change.

Change is right up there with vomiting in my book. Upheaval, upchuck—they both have the same prefix. Kind of like living in the same area code of misery.

However, how does one argue with God and still move forward? So I surrender. Uncle. Let’s get this hard part done—that part where I quit fighting and do what He always knew I’d do when I came to my senses. I love my pastor. He has asked that I love the new pastor. I can do that, I can. I can do that because I love my Abba and this is what He asks of me. I can do this because my friend asks this and it will help him to focus on God’s leading if he doesn’t have to worry about how his church takes this new, gulp, change. I can do this.

But don’t ask me to say goodbye. That I cannot do.

Love ya, Steve. This video is for you.

Abundant blessings!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Here's the Answer

I thought I put something up that was too easy but I'm guessing it was the Internet that made it harder to see. No correct answers so I get the chocolate-Ha!

Last fall when Phil and I went to New York, most of the tourist type places were closed--Ticonderoga, Saratoga, Fort William Henry--but one place we could still get into inspite of the season. Fort Crown Point. I've included some of the other pictures from there for you. The "what is it?" picture is actually bedrock there where a couple centuries of water and snow and ice have come and gone leaving that design on the ground. I would have accepted rock or stone and probably should just give Jen the benefit of the doubt here since she came closest. So, Jen, I'll send you some chocolate. Thanks to everyone who left a comment and to my mom (whose birthday is really today and not tomorrow--I lost a day somewhere!) Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!
Abundant blessings!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What Is It Saturday

Taking my cue from Brandilyn Collins, Michelle Pendergast, and Kristy Dykes I am putting up a “What is it?” photo. I’ve got chocolate for the first person to come up with a correct answer. Good luck and have fun!
Abundant blessings!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Love Laughs With Me

I’ve been spoiled by our Sunday school class. Or rather, I’m spoiled by the makers of coffee and bringers of donuts for our Sunday school class. This morning as I went to hug the coffee guardian, feeling oh so blessed. He nearly spilled a cup of the precious brew and he reminded me of the danger.

“Danger,” I scoffed, “I live for danger.”

My friend Linda snickered. “That’s why you’re married to Phil!”

“Yep, I’m headed for sainthood.”

Truth is they have no idea. Like last night. Phil took me to the Valentine SoirĂ©e sponsored by the Men’s and Women’s ministries at our church. This year it was held off campus at a hotel. Very elegant. There was also a silent auction with the proceeds going to help defray costs for the youth ministry trip to Jamaica this summer. Phil hopped up to see what was there. I didn’t think anything about it. However, with his second trip back to the auction table, I suspected he had his eye on something.

Our friend Barb winked. “What are you bidding on, Phil?”

“A new wife.”

Barb gasped.

“You better win.,” I told him. Phil enjoys ornery way too much.

He did win, only not a new wife—a grateful wife, but not a new one. He’d been bidding on a dozen roses and presented them to me at the end of the evening. The man is good. Ornery, but good. And he knows me oh so well.

So I want to take a minute to let him know I love him—and the beauty of it is, he’s really a shy, behind-the-scenes kind of guy who just happens to have a sharp wit and sensitive streak.

He’s not the only ornery one.

My love laughs with me.
Not at me or about me.
My love laughs with me
And we share a moment between just us two.
Rivulets of joy stream from his eyes.
I enjoy him so much I forget what began
this laughter together.
My love laughs with me
Moments over days bound by years into decades
Our laughter warms us, heals us, binds us,
makes us one for one more moment.
My love laughs with me
and I hear the music of our love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Phil. I love you.

Abundant blessings,

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Come See What I'm Doing

I'm taking the easy way out again, sort of, but you'll understand why. Just hope you will forgive me.
I'm filling in for Cindy Thomson over at PASTtimes blog (so really it's not "easy" but just not a lot posted here). If you really miss me, you can find me there this week.
Abundant blessings!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Truth

One of my favorite authors (or actually author duos) has a blog and I just learned of it. At Bodie's suggestion I visited the Thoene's blog to read her latest post on Truth. Her elequence is beyond me and her solid knowledge of Hebrew and the Gospel back up every word. I cannot say it any better so I am offering this link to the post. All I can add is Amen.

Abundant blessings!