Wednesday, January 31, 2007


This week the CFBA is talking about GERM, by Robert Liparulo. If you were here in December, you know I LOVED this book and my husband LOVED this book. It has a very Tom Clancy feel to it. The only word of caution I have is if you're squeamish, skip the first chapter. All you have to know is it's about ebola.

But the concept was fresh, with tons of twists. The characters were complex. And the action never stopped. It was a page-turner that I just couldn't put down.

I loved the way the book kept me guessing and every time I thought I knew where he was taking the book I was wrong. There was really only one subplot that I could anticipate from the introduction of the character and that was because the character was the lone Christian. The book also didn't preach. There is a Christian worldview to the book, but the main characters aren't all. And frankly, I loved that. Characters that fit the story. A story that fit the theme. And a plot that moved so fast my head was spinning.

And here's a little about Robert. Sounds like a fascinating character in his own right!

Robert's novel paints a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly. He has sold or optioned three screenplays.
Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

He is currently working on his third novel.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Tuesday and Wednesday I'll be at the Christian Booksellers Association Advance in Indy. I don't think I could be more excited if I had a ticket to the Grammys. Or Oscars. Or fill in your blank event.

I have wanted to go to a CBA conference since my friend Joanna got to go while her Dad was an exec for CBA. Then the bookstore owner in my hometown would come back with all kinds of stories about the authors he'd met. One time he even brought me an autographed Bodie Thoene book. Man, I wish I knew where that was now. Sigh.

But I get to go to Advance. I'll probably feel a teensy tiny bit like a fraud. :-) But I will be so excited I doubt that will last long.

So if I don't post Tuesday or Wednesday, you know why.

And the Winner is...

Anicz. Congratulations, you've won a copy of Scoop!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Two Great Books

This week I had time to read two great books. The first was Death, Deceit and some Smooth Jazz by Claudia Mair Burney. The second was If the Shoe Fits by Marilyn Griffith. These were the first books I'd read by both these women, but won't be the last.

If the Shoe Fits focuses on the life of Rochelle Gardner, a thirty-five year old who's life is suddenly overrun with men who are interested in her. Her son's father, a church deacon who's ignored her for years, and a fine looking waiter she meets at a Christian gathering for singles. Add the fact that her son just made her a grandmother, and she feels like her life has spiraled out of control.

She's been so busy caring for everyone else, that Rochelle has forgotten how to take care of herself.

There were several places in this book where I cried between the laughter. Rochelle is so used to serving that she doesn't easily let other people serve her, a position I can identify with. People are also so used to relying on her for direction and support, that they're not all sure how to handle a Rochelle in crisis...and neither is she.
Fortunately, she has a network of friends -- new and old -- who step in to help her discover she is ready to embrace love and all the newness God has for her. And that she can do that without turning her back on those who have been dear to her.

One note of caution, if you don't want to know who Rochelle chooses, don't look at the discussion questions until you've read the last word of the book!

The other book I enjoyed was Death, Deceit and some Smooth Jazz. This is the second book in the Amanda Bell Brown mystery series, but I never felt lost because I haven't read the first book.

Amanda Brown is a forty year old psychiatrist who is trying to convince herself that she isn't in love with Jazz Brown, a homicide Lieutenant. Then he shows up at her door. The only problem is her sister calls her away, because Jazz's ex has been found murdered in Jazz's loft.

Everybody tells her to stay out of the investigation, but Amanda can't. Partly because she's not sure Jazz did it, and partly because she doesn't think the police are willing to look at anyone else as a suspect.

The writing was fresh with a sassy twist that I really enjoyed. And the faith element was amazingly fresh and real. Like this: "I had a WWJD moment. What would Jesus do? Not in a rubber bracelet, weird, Christian subculture, Jesus-junk-wearing way, but in a breathing incarnational, God-with-us way."

Amanda struggles with her feelings for Jazz; the sparks between them are hot and alive. It takes everything in her not to succumb to her longings, and to stand for right.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

You Know You're in Nebraska when...

According to Jeff Foxworthy (and experience) you know you're in Nebraska if:

  • If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May live in Nebraska.
  • If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed awrong number .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If "Vacation" means going anywhere south of GRAND ISLAND for the weekend live in Nebraska.
  • If you measure distance in squares of farm land ..... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you know several people who have hit a cow more than once .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you have gone from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again live in Nebraska.
  • If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching ..... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them ... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If the I-80 speed limit is 75 mph -- you're going 90 and everybody is passing you .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and roadconstruction .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you have more hours on your snow blower than miles on your car .... you live in Nebraska.
  • If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly" .... you live in Nebraska.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Anyone want to run for President?

Throw your hat in the ring. Come on. You know you want to. Well at least a quarter of the US Senators want to and the rest are probably thinking about it. If you watched any of the post State of the Union coverage, most of the discussion seemed to focus on whether Republicans can recover and the spin of the Democrats as they jockey for position. One pundit said Hillary Clinton was already polling at 50%!!!! in the democrat field. Yikes!

My theory: we need a Republican woman to run against her. It's the only chance. In Nebraska (I'm pretty sure the year was 1986) , we were the first state to have two women run for governor. Then the fact that a woman was running wasn't the dominant issue. Instead, the focus remained on the ... issues. Fortunately, for Nebraska, Kay Orr ran and was a great governor.

But I think some of the same principal applies here. Regardless of what you think of Hillary Clinton and her politics, to keep the campaign focused on the election, the Republicans should be looking for a qualified, dynamic woman to run.

Okay, I'm hopping off my soapbox.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An Interview with Me

If you're interested in learning more about my writing journey, MaryAnn Diorio posted an interview yesterday on her great blog. Check it out here. It's still surreal to be asked to do interviews!

CFBA Tour: If the Shoe Fits

This week's CFBA book is Marilyn Griffith. I received my copy on Friday, and what I've read so far is filled with interesting characters and conflict. It's a Steeple Hill Cafe book, and one I think you'll enjoy.

Here's more on the book:

Have Glass Slipper, Need Prince...
If the Shoe Fits is the second book in the Sassy Sistahood Novels. The first in the series was Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006).

In all my thirty-five years, I, shoe designer Rochelle Gardner, have never had so many men interested in me! My teen son's dad is back in my life after suffering from amnesia (yes, really). The church deacon has had his eye on me for years (and never said a word). And the young waiter (from the restaurant I've visited for singles' events) is trying to steal my heart. I've been struggling with my faith, trying to figure out which man God has chosen for me and wondering if I have the courage to step forward, on my not-so-pretty feet, to accept love. It's almost too much for the Sassy Sistahood to handle, but my girlfriends always have my back!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You never know what you'll find in the clips...

Every weekday I get a clipping from a legal news service. Somedays, there's nothing interesting in the stack. Other days there are all kinds of stories that grab my attention. Here's a sample from today:

The Washington Post reported today on the high incidence of respiratory illnesses in people who worked at the Ground Zero site.

Many states have minimum wage laws that conflict with the federal law. According to the National Law Journal, these differences are ripe for lawsuits. If you are an Independent Contractor or asked to work off the clock overtime, beware.

Did you know antidepressants might weaken bones in older patients? So says a Canadian study that was highlighted in Forbes online.

Finally, the New York Times reported that it has confirmed big tobacco manipulated nicotine levels. It looks like the verification came from a study completed at Harvard based on data that Massachusetts requires companies to provide the state.

See, you just never know what will make headlines. And then there's the State of the Union.

Lamentations 3:22-26

A friend just emailed this passage to me. I love the way The Message phrases it:

3:22 God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
3:23 They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
3:24 I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.
3:25 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.
3:26 It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.

Isn't that good!

A Life Post

This is one of those life posts, so if you're looking for law or books, you'll have to come back later this week.

I'm a couple steps into a journey that I don't want to be on. It has been an excruciating four days...and it's not over. I'm not sure when it will be over. One of those times when you look up verses like Psalm 56:8, so you can cling to the promise that all the tears aren't in vain because God sees them and collects them. Also the promise from Psalm 126:5 that those who sow in tears will reap in joy.

As I start this journey I don't want to be on, I have made a vow. I will do whatever it takes to make this matter. To be open to God to change me. To trust that He is in control even when I cannot see Him in the situation. There's a line from a song that says we can trust His heart even when we can't see His hand.

That's where I commit to be. Even as I rail my questions at the sky. Scream why? Where are You? I don't understand. God already knows my emotions. I know He can handle my verbalizing them. Look at what He let Abraham, Moses and David say to Him.

So I will ask my questions. Seek His heart. And trust His character and heart even when I can't see Him.

Monday, January 22, 2007

If at first you don't succeed...

I'm going to try again. You'll find I'm not easily deterred. Well most of the time.

I have another great book to give away. This time, I'm giving away Scoop by Rene Gutteridge. You can read my review of the book here.

Now y'all have to help me out here. I have a stack of books looking for good homes. The only catch is you have to ENTER the contest. A small catch, but one none the less. So to be entered in this contest, leave me a comment with a career that you've always thought was a little offbeat but that you thought would be fun, too.

Let the commenting begin!

I'll draw the winner on January 27th -- just so happens to be my anniversary. So a great day in history.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

We're going to the Super Bowl!!!

Watch out, Miami. Peyton and company are going to the Super Bowl. My stoic husband was jumping all over the room.
And what a game! The defense stood when it needed to and the offense clicked through its series. Even Peyton got emotional at the end. It's been a long time coming. And who would have thought at halftime, when we were down 21-6 that we could win. This is the photo from the Indy Star coverpage.


It's not every day my blog gets mentioned in another blog. Today Candice Speare metioned me. Check it out here. In the middle of the serious nature of blogs, she throws mine in. Hehehe.

But her blog did make me wonder. What is it that you like about the blogs you read? What brings you back? What makes you decide to stay away? What don't you see that you'd like to see?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Interactive Dressing Rooms

According to this article in USAToday, interactive dressing rooms could be on the way at your local retailer. I can't quite imagine standing in front of a mirror and camera that shoot the image of me in a possible new outfit to friends around the country, but I suppose I've heard of stranger things.

Dressing rooms certainly need a face lift though. My all time worst experience was trying on maternity clothes at a Macy's in Pentagon City, Virginia. Now what pregnant woman isn't self-conscious about her changing body? I certainly was! Hence I went shopping at a Macy's -- should be a good experience.

Until I got in the dressing room. It was one long room. Yep. Everybody got to try on their clothes together. Ugh! Fortunately, no one else was shopping when I was. Still I got out of there as fast as I could.

Review: Reclaiming Nick

I usually avoid spending three days in a week talking about books. But hey, I love books. And sometimes, you just have to talk about them.

Yesterday, you could read my interview with Susan May Warren. Today I want to tell you a bit about the book Reclaiming Nick. Isn't the cover great! This is not what I would consider typical Susan May Warren. It is pretty straight romance, without the strong suspense element. But I still enjoyed it.

From the back cover copy:"Nick Noble hadn't planned on being the prodigal son. But when his father dies and leaves half the Silver Buckle -- the Noble family ranch -- to Nick's former best friend, he returns home to face his mistakes...and to guarantee that the ranch stays in the Noble family.

"Award-winning journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, and she's determined to find justice. But following Nick to the Silver Buckle and posing as a ranch cook proves more challenging that she thinks. So does resisting his charming smile."

The story focuses on a host of broken and hurting characters who have to work together to save a ranch in Montana. Nick Noble left the ranch ten years earlier after an explosion with his family. He's come home to prevent his former best friend from inheriting half the ranch under Nick's father's will.

Piper Sullivan, an investigative reporter, is chasing Nick to prove that he murdered a woman instead of her brother who was sent to jail for that murder. She's signed on as the cook for the summer...only problem is she's a vegetarian on a cattle ranch who can't cook biscuits let alone Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Throw in Nick's high school love Maggy who is now married to his former best friend Cole, a dozen lies and misunderstandings, and you have a family in need of healing.

I don't usually read straight romance. I find them too predictable and routine. I read to escape and learn something, and I think that's why I like historical fiction and suspense. Here Susan crafted a book filled with characters that I cared about. They were three-dimensional with the kind of struggles that kept me thinking about the book when I wasn't reading.

The setting was also interesting and though there was a legal subplot, Susan did enough research to get it right.

In the end Nick and Piper discover that a prodigal can come home, but the journey to that point is filled with twists and turns that I sometimes thought they wouldn't navigate -- but it's a romance, so there is a happily ever after. At least until the sequel comes out.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Interview with Author Susan May Warren

I am delighted to have Susan May Warren join me today. As you can see from my review of Everything's Coming Up Josie, I have enjoyed her books. I can't think of one that I didn't enjoy.

Susan, how did you get the idea for Reclaiming Nick?

I am a huge cowgirl at heart, and always wanted to write a book set in the modern-day west. (I’m such a sucker for movies like “Flicka!”) And, I love country music (especially Brad Paisely) so I conjured up this idea to write a story that is much like a country song…about a man who lost his roots, who returns to his past to find he’s left deep wounds on those he left behind. The thematic premise of the story, about the giving and receiving of grace, I got from an actual event in a friend’s life, and once I started praying about the story, everything fell into place.

Did you grow up around rodeos and riding horses? Or did you delve into the unknown?

I grew up attending rodeos, and WANTING to ride horses, but I had to do quite a bit of research for this story. I did read a lot of westerns and modern day, non-fiction books about ranching to prepare my voice for this book, as well as to create the ranching world.

Did you do any hands-on research to prepare for this story?

I actually went out west and stayed on a ranch for a week, getting my hands dirty and asking lots and lots of stupid questions. But I loved it, and the beauty of the Montana land is etched in my mind.

That week sounds like hard work but wonderful at the same time. What's your favorite characteristic of each of the main characters in Reclaiming Nick?

Oh, this is a good question!
Nick – I love his inner protector, the fact that he so wants to keep Piper out of trouble and help her, and yet not let her into his life. He’s passionate, and longs to be a good man, and I love the fact he can stay one step ahead of Piper and her craziness.
Piper – I love her guts. She isn’t afraid to tackle something unknown, and to go out on a limb for what she believes in.
Maggy – she is a woman who faithfully works the land and the life God has given her. She is a noble woman in every sense of the word.
Cole – He’s my quiet hero who picks up the pieces, who is dependable, who loves his family so much he’d sacrifice himself for them. He’s the kind of guy every woman wants to have standing behind her.

I really enjoyed Reclaiming Nick -- it was another great installment from you. What is the next book I can look forward to reading?

I just finished book 2 in the Noble Legacy, Taming Rafe. This was SUCH a fun book to write because I took a headstrong, trouble-making bull-rider and paired him with a strong, wise woman who is trying to find out where she belongs – in the world of cowboys, or the New York social scene in which she was raised. And once I put these two together, sparks ignited. So fun to watch Rafe be…”tamed.” (or…not!) The preview chapter is in the back of Reclaiming Nick, and due out in August. I’m now starting Book 3 - Finding Stefanie

Thank you so much for letting me stop by, Cara!

It was great to have you. And to all you readers, run out and by this book for the next snow day. It was wonderful!

Tune in tomorrow for my review of this book. And don't forget to sign up for the book drawing. See Saturday's post for more info.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Review: Arms of Deliverance by Tricia Goyer

I have to tell you up front that over the last year Tricia Goyer has become a dear writing friend. The crazy thing is we've never met, but I feel like we're connected. Amazing what happens when you read each others works as they develop. Fortunately for me, I didn't get to know Tricia until after she wrote Arms of Deliverance. That means I got to enjoy it all at one time. And I LOVED it. INHALED it. COULDN'T put it down.

Arms of Deliverance is a delightful book. Set during World War Two, it focuses on two women newspaper reporters, Mary Kelley and Lee O'Donnelly, who both want to get sent to the European front as war correspondents. They’re rivals who get paired together as roommates on the ship and in England. You really couldn’t pick women from more different backgrounds. Mary grew up in a single parent home, while Lee grew up in privilege with endless benefits as a result of her last name. They are similar in their passion to tell the stories from the war.

Then there's the plotline with Katrine, a Jewess who hides in plain sight in Belguim as the girlfriend of a German officer. When she becomes pregnant he sends her to Lebensborn, one of the homes maintained by the Germans for breeding perfect Aryan children. Another great focus of the book is the crew flying a B-17, Destiny’s Child.

When Mary gets assigned to go with the Destiny’s Child crew on a bombing raid, the multiple plots begin to intersect and weave together into a beautiful plot. I won't tell you more, because I want you to uncover this great story on your own.

Tricia’s meticulous research shows in the details she incorporates into the story. As a lover of World War Two history, I can enjoy Tricia’s books without worrying that she’ll get key details wrong. Instead, the stories aren’t disrupted by the history, but the history adds a richness and detail to the plots.

The characters are far from cardboard cutouts. Instead they stand in relief to each other and make the book more realistic as the sparks fly. Particularly

I thouroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!

You can read chapter one here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

From Skating to Diplomacy

I saw an interesting article in USAToday about Michelle Kwan. She'll be on a diplomatic tour in China for ten days. So from representing the US in the Olympics and other sports arenas to representing us in meetings in China. Another example of you never know where your life experiences will lead...

There's also an interesting trend in federal courts. Judges are selecting more clerks with real law experience. That is experience outside of school. I clerked for a judge on the Court of Federal Claims my first year out of law school. My judge liked selecting night students like myself because we had some real world experience -- though not legal experience.

Being a clerk was phenomenal experience. I didn't get to handle any exotic my court the United States is always the defendant, so trials can be literally anywhere in the world. The judge brings the court to the parties...very different from other courts.

But I learned a lot of research and writing, what a judge wants to see, what works in oral arguments, what to avoid, how to treat court staff, etc. Skills that I use all the time, but especially days like today where I had two big hearings. Talk about making a girl brain-dead!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Secret Santa?

I just saw an article in the USAToday that made me stop -- it details the story of a man from Lee Summit, Missouri, who for more than 25 years handed out money the month of December --- just because. It all started in 1979 when he'd lost a job the week before Christmas and realized the waitress helping him was worse off than he was.

From that simple event, he went on to hand out more than $1.3 million. Yes, that's million. And he did it in a way that didn't require grants. No forms. Just human connection.

I don't know about you, but that challenges me. I try to hold everything I own as a trust. It's all God's anyway. But if God told me to start handing out $100 bills to strangers would I do it? I hope so, but I honestly don't know. I'd probably try to do an awful lot of justifying first.

I don't know about you, but everytime I turn around right now God is challenging me!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Violet Dawn Give Away

All right. I'm going to book give-aways again. I have several fabulous books sitting on my shelves just waiting for a home. Since Brandilyn Collins second installment in the Kanner Lake series releases in March, I'm going to relaunch give-aways with a signed copy of Violet Dawn. This is a fabulous suspense. I called it one of my favorite suspense of 2006, so that means something.

You have until Saturday, January 20, 2007, to enter the contest. To enter, go to the Scenes and Beans blog and tell me your favorite post and character.

A sidenote, Brandilyn has opened up the Scenes and Beans blog -- after you've read Violet Dawn, you can submit blog entries for consideration. Just pick a character and write away.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Faithfulness regardless of the Results

One of the many projects I'm working on this month is a White Paper for a non-profit on Vermont's abortion laws. One of my friends at the law firm and I have split the research and project up, which has helped.

Today I researched like crazy while I wrote the draft. One of the things I was looking at was whether any bills have been introduced or passed that would limit abortion at all in Vermont IF the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade later this year. Now I knew Vermont was liberal... but wow!

But as I researched I found a State Representative who consistently legislative session after legistlative session introduced multiple bills to protect the unborn. There were more than twenty in the ten years I reviewed. Yet this woman each session introduced bills that never made it out of committee. She was faithful even when nothing changed. None of the bills became law. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it won't matter in Vermont.

But this woman will be able to stand before God and know she was faithful.

Made me think about the things in my life that seem hopeless. I pray I'm as faithful -- not counting the cost -- or thinking it's only worthwhile if I see progress.

Sometimes the progress may just be that I was faithful. And that's enough.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ten Things I've Learned

10 Things I've Learned...As A Parent

This is my post this week on Generation NeXt Parenting. What have you learned?

Top Ten Things I’ve Learned as a Parent

1) Love really does multiply. No matter how many children you have, there’s always enough love to go around. It’s not a zero sum game.

2) Boys and girls are wired differently from birth.

3) Pets add a richness to children’s lives that is worth the food, vet bills, never-ending walks.

4) Children really do grow too fast. Hang on for the ride and enjoy every moment – even the hard ones – because before too long, you’ll wish you could have them back again.

5) Kids value time much more than things. Listen to what they really want and you’ll usually find it’s time with you.

6) Kids need time to be children. In our high pressure society, we have to fight to keep from over-scheduling their lives.

7) There is no right or wrong way to space kids. Let God lead, and you’ll have the right family for you.

8) Spoiling kids is great – but only when you don’t have to take them home with you.

9) Spending the time and energy training your children leads to delightful, enjoyable children.

10) My life is infinitely richer because I have children in my life.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CFBA Tour: A Pagan's Nightmare

This week, the tour focuses on A Pagan's Nightmare by Ray Blackston. Don't you just love that cover.

When my copy arrived in the mail, I pulled it out of the envelope and started laughing. My husband calls it the Jaws cover. Abigail calls it the shark cover. I call it plain funny.

You have to like a book where the author note at the end explains why Ray wrote the book:
"For years people have accused Christian novelists of using their characters as mere mouthpieces for doctrine, using them to tell the world what Christianity is.

Last year a friend and I decided that it was high time someone wrote a novel about what Christianity is not....Blessings to all who can laugh at themselves."

I think that last line sums up the book. The best way I can classify it is as a satire that pokes fun at what people think Christians and Christianty are -- and sometimes we become.

It's a story within a story. Larry has this revolutionary idea for a novel that he takes to his agent Ned. Basically, it's a reverse rapture. Suddenly all the pagans are gone except for a handful. McDonalds has McScripture fries and the lyrics to songs have been changd in crazy ways. His manuscript is a far-out look at what happens when pagans become hunted by Christians.

Ned is desperate to sell something so takes it on. Only problem -- his wife is an active Baptist and horrified at the thought of what her friends from church will think if he sells the book.
The book plays out between the manuscript and the efforts of Ned to sell the book and salvage his marriage.

If you can laugh at yourself, you'll enjoy it. If you can't take a satirical look at the church, then don't get it.

As for me, I have greatly enjoyed it.

For more on the book check out my fellow CFBA members and CFBA's blog.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Thank You!

When I started this blog in June, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I just knew I needed one. I've had fun with it over the last few months, and hopefully you've enjoyed it or at least laughed a time or two.

The blog had been viewed more than 3,000 times! Wow! And that doesn't include those of you who get the blog in your email through feedblitz.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and swinging by. And let me know what you'd like to see in the future.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Game Show Justice?

Just when I think I've read it all... I saw this article on According to it, in 2004 a NY judge gave a defendant a choice after trial while the jury was deliberating: 1) wait for the jury's verdict or 2) revoke your right to a jury, plead guilty, and take the judge's sentence. It was 3:30 on a Friday and the jury had said it was deadlocked and couldn't recovene until Tuesday.

Read the article for the rest -- it reads like an episode of Law & Order... or maybe a book plot. :-)

You just never know how the wheel's of justice will turn next.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

90 Days Through the Bible

Well, we're taking the plunge. Our small group is on for reading through the Bible in 90 days-- though it will likely be longer because we meet every other week.

I'm pumped!

I have a feeling there will be nothing like reading through the Bible quickly to get a fresh sense of the cohesiveness of the books. After watching the introductory video, even those who were skeptical are excited to launch into the challenge. I think the accountability of doing this in a group will be a huge help. There's nothing quite like telling someone I didn't get something done to keep me motivated!

So what's one of the challenges you're taking on this year.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Ten Writing Resolutions

Mary DeMuth posted this list to the Master's Artist on January 2nd and graciously gave me permission to post it here. Here's Mary:

Will this be the year of your dreams come true? Or just another ho-hum year where you plug away (or not) and end up in the same place you were when you started? How do writers break in? Or better yet, break through? If you'd like to head toward that slippery nirvana called publication, read on.

10 Resolutions that will help you go further than you've gone before (cue Star Trek music here):
  1. I will sell all my extra clutter around my house in order to attend a writer's conference. I will do this because I am tired of dusting my clutter, and I know that this business is very much about who you know. I can't meet people I've never met if I don't meet them! So, I will sell my wooden owl collection, my thirty-five yankee candles never burned, and my exercise machine, just so I can meet industry professionals.
  2. I will join an online or in-person critique group and smile nicely when criticism is sent my way. I will learn to say, "Thank you for that very mean critique," even without grinding my teeth, because I understand that I will NEVER grow as a writer if I don't learn to accept both the good and the bad from other writers.
  3. I will seek seven new publications this year in order to publish at least seven new articles. I understand that once I'm at a conference (goodbye owl statues), I will be asked the dreaded question, "So what have you published?" In order to have something to say, I will be sure to not despise small beginnings and work hard at getting published in smaller magazines. With this, I will perfect my query writing prowess.
  4. I will place my butt on my writerly chair and write for a set period of time per day. I will set weekly word count goals and not get up until I meet them. I will set artificial deadlines for myself and not only meet them, but meet them early.
  5. I will contact folks who love to pray and ask them to pray for me weekly. I understand that anything of eternal significance in my writing career comes through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit.
  6. I will practice receiving rejection with joy. I understand that rejection comes throughout any writer's career, not merely at the beginning of it.
  7. I will remember and preach the sovereignty of God to myself.
  8. I will write a thank you note to every single person I've met in the industry, not to be a brown-noser, but because I genuinely love people.
  9. I will take risks. If I'm scared out of my gourd about querying Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, I'll do it anyway. If an editor asks for a piece, I will send it to him/her within the week.
  10. I will finish and polish a full length novel (if I'm a novelist) or write the perfect proposal (if I write nonfiction).

So there you go! Ten resolutions to change the direction and success of your writing career this year.

Cara Again: if you're writing what are your resolutions for 2007? If not, tell us yours anyway.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Are you a Material Girl?

If so, you might enjoy or be challenged by an article I saw on Yahoo today. It highlights the triumphs and travails of a group of friends in San Francisco who decided to abstain from consumerism in 2006. Yep, no new purchases in 2006. They learned the joys of thrift stores, yard sales and doing without.

Something about this is appealing to me. In the post Christmas glut, how much more does my family really need? What do you think?

CFBA Tour: Tangerine by Marilyn Griffith

This week CFBA is highlighting Marilyn Griffith (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and mother of *GULP* seven!). I have had the opportunity to get to know Marilyn through ACFW and in the last month as the old board and new board worked together for a month. As the picture shows, Marilyn has a delightful heart.

Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and If the Shoe Fits (Revell, 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children. To book speaking engagements or just say hello, email:

Tangerine is the third book in the Shades of Style Novels.
Fans of Pink and Jade will eat up Tangerine, the third book in the cutting-edge Shades of Style series. Jean Guerra, a designer at Garments of Praise design firm, doesn't like surprises. These days though, the unexpected meets her everywhere. Since Jean's return to the church a year ago, her God-encounters occur with increasing frequency, along with thoughts of her husband-the one she vowed to divorce and gave up on long ago. The one nobody at work knows about, not even her best friend, Lily, or her boss, Chenille. But when the designer assigned to work with Jean on a line of men's suits shows up, her heart flips. It's her husband, Nigel Salvador. Jean is finally rendered speechless. Can her bruised heart become whole enough to love again? Or will she remain in the trenches of loneliness forever?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Benefit of Writing Reviews

I'll admit it. I am so new to reviewing books that I'm still learning the tricks of the trade. But I have to tell you there's a nice benefit. Often when I open my mailbox it feels like Christmas. Somedays, I've waited with anticipation for a book. Others, I had no idea the book was on the way.

Take today. Susan May Warren's new book Reclaiming Nick filled a mailer. Let me tell you, I ripped that envelope to pieces in two seconds flat. Later this month, I'll have an interview with Susan ... and from the first few pages of the book, I can tell I love the book.

Others in my to be read pile:

Every once in awhile, I'll get one from left field like The Harbor Boys, a memoir by Hugo Hamilton. I'm sure it's good, but it's a little outside the fiction I usually read and review. But I'm interested enough to keep it on the TBR pile.

What's in your TBR (to be read) pile? Jonah, I expect you to have some great, classic recommendations for us.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christian Creativity

A friend pointed out this article in Christianity Today online. It's an interview with music duo Ashley Cleveland and Kenny Greenburg. In it the couple share some interesting thoughts on the balance between being creative and living through the mundane. They call it a stewardship issue.

I agree with them. Sometimes we put ourselves in the chair and write regardless of whether we feel like it. We do it because it's the right thing to do. It's what God is telling us to do. And if I do less I am disobeying or squandering the talent (however little or much) He has granted me.

What do you think?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Review: Hazardous Duty

In 2006 I have had the pleasure of reading several books by debut authors that surprised me with how very good they were. They didn’t read like first time books, and Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt, quickly fell into that category.

Here’s a piece from the back cover:
“On her way to completing a degree in forencsic science, Gabby St. Claire drops out of school and starts her own crime scene cleaning business. “Yeah, that’s me,” she says, “a crime scene cleaner. People waiting in line behind me who strike up conversations are always regretting it.”
“When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is a powerful foe…and willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet….”

This story is told in first person from the perspective of Gabby St. Claire, a slightly off-beat, musical lyric spouting free spirit who lives in the Virginia Beach area. Her voice is slightly sarcastic and direct with a clear love for all kinds of lyrics. She lives in an apartment surrounded by equally unique free-spirits who keep her life interesting.

The book opens with Gabby and her assistant Harold at the home of an attorney who is running for senate – it isn’t clear whether it’s for state or US. The reason they are there is that his wife was murdered there and someone needs to clean up the mess. After her assistant leaves for the night, Gabby finishes cleaning up and in the process discovers a gun that she’s convinced is the murder weapon. Before she can get out of the house, someone sets it on fire and she has to fight for her life.

From that point on, her desire to be a Nancy Drew, CSI expert trumps Gabby’s ability to stay out of the way of the police investigation. Her neighbors help her with her investigation when her assistant is arrested for arson and attempted murder – hers.

The book is well written with a plot that moves quickly from mishap to attempted murder to run in with the detective assigned to the case. In the middle of everything else, Gabby finds herself interested in one of her neighbors. Even that can’t go smoothly though.

I really enjoyed this book. It was well written, but there were a couple points where research snafus caused me to stop reading for a minute as I argued with the character. I’m sorry, but as an attorney I know there is no way that a defendant will be put on trial for a crime within three weeks of the crime happening. The wheels of justice simply don’t move that fast. One other detail caused the same type of hiccup.

Other than that I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you are looking for a whodunit told in first person.


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