Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Protect Your Computer

I've read a number of blog posts concerning power outage woes. Several years ago, our new computer was nearly destroyed by a daily loss of power. My late husband went to our local office supply store and picked up a battery back-up.

The brand we purchased is the APC Power Chute. Whenever the power goes off even for a few seconds, the battery kicks in so you can power down the computer in a safe manner. The battery lasts about 3 years, so it's economical.

Monday, July 28, 2008

On My Nightstand - Only Uni

Only Uni, by Camy Tang, is a fast-paced novel. Trish Sakai is torn between her cultural roots, her old lifestyle, and a desire to live for Christ. She suffers many highs and lows as life choices and family members challenge her newfound faith.

Camy Tang had me groaning, laughing, and crying as she knitted together a patchwork of inspiration and the growing pains of a baby Christian. I think every believer could relate to Trish's struggles to walk the walk.

If you like a serious subject handled with humor and finesse, you'll enjoy reading Only Uni. To learn more about Camy and her books, visit her blog by clicking the link on my blogroll.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Writer Goes Home

On July 21, 2008, the Christian writing community bid farewell to one of its own. Author Kristy Dykes (1951-2008) went home to be with the Lord after a long and courageous battle with brain cancer. She will be remembered not only for her writing legacy, but also for the grace and faith she displayed throughout her illness.

Our prayers are with her husband, Milton, and her family.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Round-up - #7

Snoopy is one of my favorite Peanuts characters. My cousin sent me a link to a Snoopy dance animation that is adorable. I don't know what the rest of the website is about, but I recommend this page. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile. Here's another Snoopy link. This one has a history of Snoopy, as well as animations. Both kids and adults will get a kick out of these pages.

Writers' Digest has announced is 101 Best Sites. Check it out for more links.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reading - Part 3

Hopefully, I've saved the best for last. Woohoo! Four posts this week. I've had a blast.

11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you've shared with them?

Unfortunately, this one doesn't apply to yours truly.

12. What are you reading now?

Song of the Silent Harp by B. J. Hoff

Blink of an Eye - Ted Dekker

Land of My Heart - Traci Peterson

13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?

No, but I have a TBR stack of books. Of course, the CBD Fiction catalog just arrived in the mail. I have quite a few titles circled.

14. What's next?

Widows & Orphans by Susan Meissner

The Hunted by Mike Dellosso

Sunset by Karen Kingsbury (when it comes out the end of September)

Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth

15. What books would you like to reread?

I almost never reread books except for the Bible. Once in a great while, nostalgia hits like my desire to reread "The Doll House." Another exception would be a writing craft book.

16. Who are your favorite authors?

Frank Peretti

Karen Kingsbury

Angela Hunt

Kathryn Mackel

Beverly Lewis

Neta Jackson

...and growing by the day. I told you my taste in books is eclectic. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Reading - Part 2

Hi, I'm back with more questions and answers on reading habits. I'm posting an extra day to fit all of them into one week.

6. When do you usually read?

I read my Bible, pray, and journal before I get up in the morning. At night, I try to read for 1 or 2 hours before dozing off.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

Doesn't everyone? Maybe not. In my case, absolutely. I have between 1 and 3 books on my nightstand at any given time. I also keep a book in my desk at work. If I'm working a full day, I'll read during my lunch break.

8. Do you read non-fiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

With a novel, I'm into the story, so the whole reading thing is more relaxed (unless it's a Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, or Kathryn Mackel book - then I'm biting my nails). If I'm going through a non-fiction book, it requires a deeper level of concentration because there's something I'm supposed to learn.

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out at the library?

I purchase about 95% of my books from a variety of sources. Occasionally, I'll borrow a book from a friend. A trip to the library is rare due to time constraints. If I hung out at the library, nothing would get done at home. Even going to the Christian bookstore is dangerous. My mother usually comes along, so she can drag me out after a reasonable period of time. ("Oh look, another row of fiction.")

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?

When I was a child, one of my dreams involved having a room lined with floor-to-ceiling bookcases. While I haven't quite reached that point, I do have a lot of bookcases, and many books. I'll often loan books to friends. I've also donated books to church libraries.

Crystal's blog: You can check out her answers. She also has an awesome site called, "When I Was Just a Kid." There she interviews authors about their childhood and the experiences which led to a writing career.

I'd love to know about the books you enjoy. If you blog about it, let me know, and I'll give you a plug. You can also leave a comment with a short answer to 1 or 2 questions. We'll finish up this series on Wednesday.

Reading - Part 1

My blogging pal, Crystal Laine Miller, has posted some questions on reading habits and favorite books. I thought it might be fun to give them a whirl here.

1. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

I've discussed this at length in a previous post, but here's the short and skinny version. After a rocky start on the road to literacy, I read my first full-length novel called, "The Doll House." The story revolved around an actual doll house with live, miniature people. How cool is that? If I could find it, I'd re-read it. I don't remember the author's name. This was the first book where I was able to see the action in my mind. If anyone knows the author's name or where I could pick up a copy, please leave me a comment.

2. What are some of the books you read as a child?

The Little House on the Prairie series, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins, the Sue Barton series (nurses), Cherry Ames (nurses), and On Your Toes Susie to name a few.

For a time, I thought I wanted to be a ballerina or a nurse. It didn't take me long to figure out I was too tall to be a prima ballerina and too afraid of needles to go into nursing. LOL

3. What is your favorite genre?

While I read many genres, my favorite is suspense. The fast pace and plot twists often keep me reading way past my bedtime.

4. Do you have a favorite novel?

No, but Frank Peretti's, "This Present Darkness," comes close. I'm also a big fan of Kathryn Mackel's work.

5. Where do you usually read?

Snuggling in bed with a good book is how I unwind after a busy day. I'll also read in the Employee Lounge during lunch hour when I'm working a full day. Magazine reading is limited to the Laundromat or doctor's office.

Five more questions to go. We'll pick up on Wednesday. If you want to jump in and post these questions on your blog, feel free. Leave a comment with your blog address, and I'll post a link.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Round-Up - #6

According to the news, gas prices are supposed to take a dip. We already have several stations selling the pricey stuff for a tad below $4.00 a gallon. I never thought I'd get excited at finding gas for $3.98.9. For the moment, I've changed my strategy from topping off when I'm down a quarter of a tank to waiting until it reaches just under a half. Since I'm commuting to the Philly Conference, I hope this reprieve lasts at least until mid-August.

Woohoo! Several writers have linked to my blog. Thank you!

I know all of you enjoy discovering writing sites, as well as reading up on the latest book releases. Mike Dellosso launched his book, "The Hunted." Check out his blog: Mike is not only writing about his books, but about his battle with cancer. It's truly inspirational as he opens his heart and reveals his innermost thoughts.

Tekeme Studios is running a contest for a free business card design and 100 cards. Leave a comment on their blog post to enter the drawing. I'm holding off re-doing my business card until after the contest. While online printers and even my own efforts are adequate, George and Ashley's designs best reflect my personal taste.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference

Since 2005, I've attended the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. The peaceful campus of Philadelphia Biblical University is the setting for this annual event. It's a golden opportunity to connect with other writers and industry professionals.

Marlene Bagnull, the Director, has a stellar line-up of agents, authors, and editors in celebration of the Conference's 25th anniversary, August 7-9, 2008. James Scott Bell, Lisa Samson, and James Watkins are scheduled to speak at the general meetings. Nine Continuing Sessions feature a range of subjects from marketing to writing a novel people cannot put down. In addition, a choice of individual workshops on the writing craft, marketing, blogging, and the publishing industry round out the class offerings. Editor and agent panels cover such topics as magazines and periodicals, books, writing helps, ask the agents, self-publishing, and will they read on.

As a Christian writer, I've not only found a nurturing community for my skills, but lifelong friendships. When my husband became ill, went to be with the Lord, and I suffered physical problems, they rallied around and supported me in prayer. I've seen the Body of Christ not only in word but in deed.

For more detailed information, visit Marlene's website,, and click on the Philadelphia Conference. If you decide to attend, let me know in the comments section. I'd enjoy meeting you in person.

Monday, July 14, 2008


In my travels on the Internet, I've seen repeated references to one-sheets. Unable to locate an example that was not in pdf form (Adobe Reader), I contacted Randy Ingermanson, at Advanced Fiction Writing. He generously agreed to do a blog post on the subject. (Note: My Adobe Reader isn't functional.)

Two main questions nagged at me. What is a one-sheet, and is it optional or required? Randy's post and the comments of other writers gave me the answers I needed. To summarize, a one-sheet contains your name, contact information, a professional-quality photo, some details about your publishing credits, and information about your book. It is not a requirement, but editors and agents occasionally ask if you have one available.

While a one-sheet is not mandatory, there are advantages. This is Conference season, which means editor/agent appointments. Since I get nervous and tend to stumble through a meeting, a one sheet could provide a safety net. In the same way a writing prompt triggers creativity, a one-sheet gets the conversation rolling.

I'm glad the one-sheet isn't a required element, but I can see how it's a useful tool. Last night, I drafted mine. Anything that helps my confidence level is worth the effort.

A big "thank you" to Randy and all those who commented. A link to his blog is located on my blogroll.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Round-up - #5

The answer to Wednesday's Guess Who post is a man, who although famed for his contributions to science, government, and many other areas identified himself as: Benjamin Franklin, printer.

Looking for an unusual name for a character? Take a look at this link:

Stuck on a knotty grammar question? I found this site helpful:

Scratching your head about the meaning of a word or phrase? Check this one out:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Guess Who

I thought we'd do something different today. I'm leaving out the first line of this epitaph because it reveals the author.

Like the cover of an old book,

Its contents torn out,

And stripped of its lettering and gilding

Lies here, food for worms;

Yet the work itself shall not be lost,

For it will appear once more,

In a new,

And more beautiful edition,

Corrected and amended

By the AUTHOR.

Can you guess who wrote this epitaph? No looking it up on the Search Engines. Check in Friday for the answer. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Great Eyeglass Caper

Still drowsy, I glance in the mirror. Make-up applied, hair fluffed, teeth brushed. I'm ready to face a new day.

Dashing around the house before work, a detour for my glasses brings my mad rush to a halt. I search my memory bank. Now, what did I do with them? They're always on the desk. After rummaging through my handbag, I locate my specs. Reading is close to impossible without these babies.

With my glasses perched on the end of my nose, I head upstairs for some information on ordering vitamins. I look up and behold my reflection in the mirror. Horrors, how did that make-up get smudged? I take off the glasses. Magic. No splotches. Put them on again, they're back. With the necessary repairs made, off to work I go.

Later that evening, I pull out my work in progress and begin reading. Oops, there's a typo. Oh my, a little head-hopping between characters 1 and 2. How did I miss that when I wrote it? Hmm, I'll have to use a stronger verb in paragraph 5.

When blasting through my first draft, my "story eyes" are at work. If I stop to edit, I lose my creative flow, and productivity slows to a trickle. On the other hand, when my "editing eyes" are allowed to operate, the flaws leap off the page like an animated smiley face.

Often I labor over these posts, read, and publish them only to discover a mistake or formatting problem. I hit the Edit Post button. Sigh. Guess I was too hasty printing it.

We rarely have the luxury of hitting an edit button after sending our materials off to a publisher or agent. Before releasing that masterpiece into the wide, wide world, it's wisdom to put on "editing glasses" and make sure our submissions are clean and sparkly. Otherwise, our next great project may be entitled, "My Most Embarrassing Moment As A Writer."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

God Bless the U.S.A.

Tomorrow, many of us will be attending cookouts and enjoying the fellowship of family and friends. Firework displays will light up the night sky as we celebrate the birth of our nation.

This year marks a crossroads for our country. Each of us has a say in the direction it will take. Noah Webster, the father of public education in America, had this to say in his History of the United States (1832):<

"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty.;

"If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for the selfish or local purposes;

"Corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded.

"If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.

"Corruption of morals is rapid enough in any country without a bounty from government. And...the Chief Magistrate of the United States should be the last man to accelerate its progress."

Note: The word, "republican," does not refer to the political party. Our nation was founded as a republic.

Make it a priority this year. Vote for those who will uphold our Constitution and protect our nation.

Have a Happy 4th!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

That Ol' Learning Curve

Mom's nimble fingers twirled the fine cotton thread around her crochet hook. She worked for hours creating lacy doilies and potholders. The projects took forever, but I was fascinated watching them go from a single strand to a finished product.

When several friends decided they wanted to crochet scarves, I jumped on the bandwagon. Mom purchased some yarn, and taught me the basics. I fumbled with the hook, and ripped out more stitches than I care to remember. The lure of a soft, colorful scarf kept me motivated. I learned how to read patterns, and soon afghans, baby sweaters, items for the house, whimsical stuffed toys, hats, and a host of other items came from my trusty crochet hook.

When I decided to pursue publication, my initial efforts had that same beginner-basic quality. The backspace and delete keys got a workout. Growth came as I attended writers' conferences, read books on the craft, and surfed the Internet. An amazing thing happened -- my writing improved. Oh, I still have a long way to go. Maybe I'm somewhere in the 3rd or 4th grade.

A recent acceptance letter and check for 2 devotionals refilled my enthusiasm tank. I can't wait to submit more work. My motivation skyrocketed with that letter. The ol' learning curve can be like climbing a mountain, but if I stick with it, I'll soon be taking on greater challenges like I did with the crocheting.

Maybe I'm ready for the next grade level. :)