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Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009

I'm trying to determine what direction to take this blog in 2010, but for today, I'm going to reflect on 2009. Alot happened. And don't get me started on the last decade. We'd be here all day. So,...
*My second book came out. Yay!
*We went to Arkansas and threw my parents a surprise 50th Wedding Anniversary party. Yay!
*My husband and I are still working. Yay!
*Someone shot five rounds of a nine-millimeter into our house. Boo!
*My sister-in-law moved in with us. Yay!
*My agent sent out five book proposals. Yay!
*Only one rejection so far. Boo! (Yay that it was only one)
*I had a viral infection in my joints where I couldn't move without pain for two weeks. Boo!
*Only one family member got the swine flu. Yay!

It seemed like a difficult year, but when I look at the list of major points, it wasn't too bad. Here's to a lot more Yays! in 2010.

If you have any thoughts on a theme or subject matter for my blog, leave a comment. I'm open to suggestions.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

BRRRR


What's up with this weather? Last I was told, I live in the desert. It's been cloudy and cold for most of a month. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, the summers last way too long. But, I don't have many winter clothes! Do I need to go shopping? Because if I do, the sun will come back in all its ferocity. That's the way things work for me.

Monday, December 07, 2009

WINTER IS HERE!


Yep, it's here. Not often you hear about blizzards in Arizona, but the Flagstaff area is whirling with snow. Down here in the desert, we're cold and rainy.

It's been a long time since I've written on my blog. It's missed me. I promise to be around more. Just haven't decided the path I'd like to take. For sure, I'll be doing book reviews. An interview or two, and pass on writing tidbits as I learn them. Plus, I'll keep everyone posted on my writing. Right now, nothing. I've several proposals out. A couple historicals and one romantic suspense. God willing, I'll get a contract out of at least one of them.

Merry Christmas. God loves you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SO NOT HAPPENING By Jenny B. Jones


When Bella Kirkwood is transplanted from Manhattan to Truman, Oklahoma, life as she knew it has ended. Not only does she have to deal with side-stepping cow piles and doing without high-price stores, she has an evil step-brother who resents her as much as she does him. And what's up with the handsome editor of the school newspaper? The one who can't seem to stand the sight of Bella? Yet, she stumbles across a diabolical plot to make the high school football team win at all costs. She's determined to do so, or die trying.

SO NOT HAPPENING is one of the most enjoyable YA novels I've read in a long time. Jenny B. Jones has captured the attitude and sass of a high school socialite. Settle into your favorite chair, grab a cold drink, and laugh along with Bella's antics as she learns that home truly is where the heart is.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Arkansas June 2009


Our trip back home was wonderful. I'm praying daily that it is in God's will for us to retire back there in six years. Here's a picture of the whole crowd on top of Mount Nebo.

Monday, June 08, 2009

50th Wedding Anniversary


We just returned from a wonderful visit to Atkins, Arkansas where my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. My youngest sister and I had been planning the celebration since February 2009. My parents were thrilled and touched. Here is a picture of them reenacting a pose from their original wedding photos.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY




Prov. 1:8-9 Listen, my son, to your father's instruction
and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

Here is a picture of my mother, me, my daughter, and my grandaughter.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

MOTHER'S DAY



Proverbs 29:15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

This one ought to be framed on every teenager's wall! Here is a picture of my wonderful mother. I was one of the priviledged. Disciplined when I needed it, loved all the time! My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this August.

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 08, 2009

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY


Proverbs 31: 28-29

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

Monday, May 04, 2009

YOU NEVER KNOW

Sometimes you don't know what your life accomplishments are while you're alive, but they can have lasting effects.

STORY NUMBER ONE

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well.. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some resemblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street . But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still."



STORY NUMBER TWO

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.

He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank.

He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier..

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?


Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son

Friday, May 01, 2009

SILLY FROG JOKE

I heard a silly joke last night while out with friends. Hopefully, I can remember it correctly.

A frog goes into the bank. He spots a teller at the far end. her name plate says Patricia Whack. He approaches her window and says, "Hello, my name is Frog Jagger. My father is Mick Jagger. I'm here to take out a $30,000 loan."

Patricia says, "That's a lot of funny. I'll need some security on the loan."

Frog pulls out a tiny porcelain elephant and hands it to Patricia. "Here is my security. I know the bank manager, he'll vouch for me."

Patricia takes the tiny item. "I'll have to check with him." She takes the elephant to the manager. "Sir, there is a frog requesting a $30,000 loan. He says his father is Mick Jagger and he has this for security. What is it?"

The bank manager studies the elephant, then says, "It's a knick-knack, Patty Whack, give the frog a loan for his father is a Rolling Stone."

Silly, huh? Hopefully it brings a smile to your face.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What to Write?

Goodness! It occurred to me this morning as I'm getting to ready to read through my crit partner's remarks, that if I'd made up my mind which story to focus on a few weeks ago, I might have a book finished by the end of May! Now, I've found the story I'm enjoying writing and I'll have to write 2,000 words a day to finish by then.

I think I was more bummed about the closing of Barbour's mystery line than I'd thought. For a while, I'd kind of lost the desire; instead floating from story idea to story idea. They'll all get finished eventually, but boy do I have my work cut out for me now! Help me, Jesus!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

KATT'S IN THE CRADLE


In KATT'S IN THE CRADLE, we revisit the pastor wives and Lulu's cafe. Challenges have been met, and new ones risen. A young new wife enters the mix, pointing out to Mimi, Lisa, Felicia, and Jennifer how naive they used to be, and putting a crimp in the Pastor Wives' Fellowship. Can the four friends draw everyong together beneath the umbrella of their faith? Can they support each other when disaster and surprise threaten to bury them beneath a heavy weight?

Ginger Kolbaba & Christy Scannell deliver again a fun story of marriage, friendship, faith, and holding it all together. Through this story we learn the value of strong friendships with other women, and how we can rely on our friends when our faith is tested.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

DEADLY CHARM By Claudia Mair Burney


Dr. Amanda Bell Brown is back, and neck deep in trouble. Again! When Evangelist, Ezekiel Thunder's baby is found drowned in the bathtub, Amanda is certain is was no accident and turns her attentions on the little boy's mother. Admidst babies, illness, and trying to repair her own marriage, Amanda goes head-to-head with the woman. When everything Amanda holds dear is threatened, she "steps it up" to solve a murder and save her marriage.

Claudia Mair Burney has done it again! Amanda Bell Brown is back and sassy as ever. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Amanda Bell Brown mysteries and wasn't disappointed in the third. Burney has the reader, laughing, crying, and gasping through one page-turning escapade after another. Bravo!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

BLOOD BAYOU By Karen Young


Camille St. James, advocate for the wrongly accused. When she proves the innocence of a death-row inmate, and a brutal death occurs days after his release, Camille loses her job and finds herself back in Blood Bayou being courted by her ex-husband, and chased by a killer. The last thing she wants is to renew a relationship with her ex-husband, Jack, now a minister with a load of secrets.

I have never read one of Karen Young's books before this one. I'm hooked. Blood Bayou is a page-turning suspense, with a steamy romance between Camille and Jack who struggle with the changes in each other and themselves. Can Jack convince Camille that he really has changed? Can he show her God's character shining through him? Can Camille trust the man who still holds her heart?

A great book! I recommend it to any romantic suspense fan.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

WHAT WAS I THINKING?


Months ago, my eleven-year-old approached me with a deal. If he kept his room clean for three months, we'd buy him a snake. My husband agreed. I said, "Okay." Never thinking he could actually do it. Well, the picture tells the tale. The little bugger did exactly that! Yuck! Here' my youngest, holding Flash, a ball python. Good grief. I held the snake in the pet store. My insides quivered the whole time, but I figured if the thing was going to be living in my house, I had to get over my fear. He's amazingly docile and very inquisitive. As long as he stays away from my face, I'm okay. The worst part is...once my husband found out the price of pinky mice that we needed in order to feed Flash, he decided to breed his own food. We now have mice in the garage. I absolutely refuse to allow them in the house. Good luck critters when summer comes.

Now...how can I use this in a story?

Monday, February 23, 2009

QUIT SMOKING? YEAH, RIGHT!


Well, I have, almost. But here's what's going on in my book world. Frustrating! So, if you can't find the book in a store, give me a holler and we'll deal over the internet!

I am so frustrated! I've spent hundreds of dollars and hours of time marketing my books and am now finding out that people can't even get them! For example...I have fans in Arkansas. Don't laugh, I grew up there. Anyway, they want to buy Fudge. Not that I blame them. It's good. Anyway, they insist on shopping at Hastings. Fine. It's a bookstore. Whatever. But...the book isn't in Hastings system. So, after multiple emails to Barbour, I called Hastings. Nope. Not in their system. No problem they said, they'll call corporate and have it put in. Then........ .....Ingram says it's out of stock. Well, no it's not because I haven't even earned back my advance yet. How can I when people can't buy the book! Ugh! Had to vent. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Now Candy will be released in two weeks, and I'm afraid I'll have the same problem. Have I wasted my time mailing out 500 postcards on each book? Because I sure did if the book can't be gotten. Know what I mean?

Monday, February 16, 2009

LOVE FINDS YOU IN HUMBLE TEXAS By Anita Higman


This was the first Love Finds You book I've read. I throughly enjoyed it. Not only does Anita deliver a beautiful love story, but she takes the reader deep into the emotions of two sisters in love with the same guy and one of them's willingness to "step aside" and let her sister have the desire of her heart. But has the right sister stepped back? Especially when the man seems to have different ideas?

Friday, February 06, 2009

CANDY-COATED SECRETS


Got moved up! The release date is now March 1! Yippee! Run out and buy a copy as soon as possible, okay? Buy Fudge-Laced Felonies while you're at it! :O

Sunday, February 01, 2009

AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE


Woo Hoo! I got awarded an Award for Excellence. Wasn't expecting this. It's nice to know someone has noticed my efforts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BOOK SIGNING AT BARNES AND NOBLE




My book signing at Barnes and Noble on January 24, 2009 was a complete success. I SOLD OUT and the event coordinator ordered more copies of Fudge-Laced Felonies right then. Here are some pictures of the event. One of me by the end cap where the books were displayed. Another of a crowd around my table. And one of me and my dear husband who stayed with me the entire two hours.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MOURNING BARBOUR


Well, due to the economic times, i got an email from my editor at Barbour. They are closing their mystery bookclub line. I mourned yesterday. Today, I'm back to the writing and planning stage. My remaining two books, Candy-Coated Secrets and Chocolate-Covered Crime will still be published because they are under contract. After that, I'll have to move in another direction. Sad, but a fact of life in this industry.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

BOOK SIGNING


I have a booksigning at the Surprise, Arizona, Barnes and Noble bookstore on January 24, 2009 from 11:00 - 1:00 p.m. Would love to see as many friends and soon-to-be fans as possible.

Friday, January 09, 2009

THE CRAZY PUBLISHING WORLD

I've been making up stories since I was kid. It's been my dream for as long as I can remember to see my name on the cover of a book. When I turned forty, I wrote three books and had them pod published. Now, in most places in the publishing world, this doesn't count as published. That doesn't bother me. The books aren't written that well. I don't regret going the pod route. I learned a few things.

1 - I can finish a book
2 - I have more than one book in me
3 - Writing is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Fast forward to 2007. I wrote a romantic suspense, too scary and edgy for the CBA. It's shelved for now. It'll come out again someday. A friend heard of Barbour's new Heartsong Mystery line and told me I should try them. I didn't even know what a cozy was! So I looked it up, wrote the book, entered it into a contest, won first place, obtained an agent and got a contract. All within the space of eight months. Talk about a wild ride. Books two and three in the series are due out this year and I've just completed the first book in a new series. Plus, I'm writing a new romantic suspense.

Yes, the world of publishing is crazy. Sometimes you put your heart and soul into a book that the market is looking for, only to have them no longer looking by the time you're finished writing it. Or, you try your hand at writing a different genre and get absolutely no where.

But, I wouldn't trade the roller-coaster ride for anything! Good luck to all you pre-published. Hang in there!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

ANOTHER REVIEW OF FUDGE-LACED FELONIES

A reader sent me this review. Isn't it wonderful?

Cynthia Hickey weaves an entertaining mystery around her impulsive heroine, Summer Meadows, who runs a candy shop in her small home town. Summer becomes intrigued when diamonds appear under her rosebush and other mysterious items are found. She puts herself, and her aunt and uncle with whom she lives, in harms way as she develops theories and a suspect list for strange occurrences and murders as she blunders into and out of danger. She struggles with a lack of trust in God and with two love interests. As the author weaves biblical quotes into Summer's dilemmas, the reader becomes a sideline cheerleader for this Miss Marple wannabe. The story enlightens as well entertains.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

NEW BOOK RELEASES

Looking for something good to read? Here's a list of January releases by authors belonging to American Christian Fiction Writer's Association. Check out a few!

1. Bayou Betrayal, Book 5 of the Bayou series by Robin Caroll from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When a woman arrives in town to meet her relatives, an arsonist doesn't want her to stay!

2. Be Strong and Curvaceous, All About Us #3 by Shelley Adina from Hachette FaithWords. Carly Aragon's faith is tested when she takes on a crush crasher who comes accessorized with a stalker.

3. Before the Season Ends, Lights of London, Book One by Linore Rose Burkard from Harvest House. A Christian young woman must make her way through the treacherous waters of a Regency Season in London; while her worldly, wealthy aunt tries to marry her off for money.

4. Cursebreaker, Book One of The Order of the Scrolls Series by Nancy Wentz from Whitaker House. Author Nancy Wentz's drama unfolds in both the physical and spiritual realms, treating the reader to a thrilling tale of mystery, passion, and historical intrigue.

5. Fireflies In December by Jennifer Erin Valent from Tyndale House. A young girl comes of age amidst the racial prejudice of Depression-era Virginia.

6. Hannah Grace, The Daughters of Jacob Kane by Sharlene MacLaren from Whitaker House. A new century, a new sheriff, a new love...many things are about to change in the town of Sandy Shores.

7. Kiriath's Quest by Rick Barry from JourneyForth Books (a division of BJU Press). A YA Christian fantasy adventure that reaffirms the value of faith, family, love and loyalty.

8. Milk Money by Cecelia Dowdy from Barbour Publishing (Heartsong Presents). Can Frank find faith in Jesus, while battling alcoholism, as he seeks the love of Emily Cooper?

9. Mommy's Hometown Hero, Dalton Brothers Book 2 by Merrillee Whren from Steeple Hill. Ex-soldier Matt Dalton wants to bring his friend Rachel Charbonneau back to the Lord and win her heart as well.

10. No Place For A Lady, Heart Of The West Book One by Maggie Brendan from Revell. Can a Southern belle tame the heart of a rugged cowboy?

11. Paper Roses, Texas Dreams #1 by Amanda Cabot from Revell. There's only one problem when mail-order bride Sarah Dobbs arrives in Texas to greet her groom: he's been murdered.

12. Sweetwater Gap, (Women of Faith Fiction) by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson. A woman returns home to help save her family's apple orchard and must face the ghosts that chased her away so many years ago.

13. The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove Series by Ann Shorey from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. It's 1838 on the Missouri frontier--how will Molly McGarvie keep her young family together after her husband's sudden death?

14. What Sarah Saw, Book One, Without a Trace Love Inspired Suspense continuity series by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. The tragic conclusion to a kidnapping case broke Sam and Jocelyn apart, but for a child's sake they must join forces to uncover what Sarah saw.