Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's New Year's Eve...a time to look back on life.

And a time to read my personal experience story in the online magazine:


This is a story all about looking back on life, and the struggles I went through with cancer five years ago. Yep, FIVE years ago! January is my month for being stamped with the official "You're cured!" seal, so what better way to celebrate than to have a story that shows God's hand in my life during that time. Hope you enjoy reading it, and that it reaches the goal of the magazine to bring "help and hope for life's struggles."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Now What?

So, Christmas is over. The house is finally clean again...sigh... (We have the whole fam over on Christmas day. Chaos=dirty house.) The gifts are all put away. Well, except for my daughter's. Her stuff is pretty much spread all over! And we've all been enjoying the new Wii Santa brought. (Not quite right--everyone else is. Video games don't like me :P.)

So, now what?

I'm hoping for time to write this week. Praying that God brings the right people to see our house SOON. We're supposed to be moving in February, so our house needs to SELL. It's a lousy market right now for sellers, yes, but God can do anything--even bringing us a buyer!

We've come a long way in 2009. Moving, still homeschooling, and my writing has made real progress. Visit my site--just click on the "eye" in the upper, right-hand corner of the blog--and go to "Who's Putting Me in Print" to see all the places I've been published, or will be published over the next year. You can still link to some of the online stories. A couple of the mags don't archive for more than a few weeks, so those links will take you to the mag but not my story.

My latest publication will be in just a few days. It's a personal experience story, and it will appear in "Now What?"--which is an online Christian magazine. I'm really glad they're posting it now. It's quite appropriate as an "end of the year" story because it talks about looking back and seeing the reason for what God has allowed to happen in your life. We often question our circumstances, wondering WHY God would lead us down such a rough road. The key is to follow Him, and once you're through, TURN AROUND and look at all that happened. You'll see God's handiwork all over the place if you just open your eyes. You'll understand what I mean when you read the story. I'll post the link when it comes out on the 31st!

For now, enjoy the last few days of 2009!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More good news!!

Insects all over the world are happy dancing for me...

I got TWO emails today telling me I will have a total of three stories coming out soon. These are personal experience stories. One will be in the online magazine "Now What?" on December 31st. I'll post the link when it comes out. The other two will be in an anthology by HCI Books, The Ultimate Christian Living. The book comes out in March 2010.

I'm super excited about this! I've been feeling kinda dumpy because of lack of interest in my novel, and lack of time to work on my writing lately. It is reaffirming to get acceptances on my previous works. I feel much more motivated to get going again after Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Book reviews

Since I haven't been doing much writing, I haven't had a lot to post about. House-hunting has been an all-consuming physical and mental activity for me lately. But, I always make time to read. It's the only way I can wind myself down at the end of the day. And of course, while we were on the 15-hr train rides to and from NC last week, I had gobs of time to read.

So here's what I've read recently and what I thought:

(I'm putting these in the order in which I read them.)

CURSE OF THE SPIDER KING by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper

Seven teens discover they are royalty in another world called Allyra. As infants, they were cast from Allyra to Earth because of an ancient curse. But now the time has come to find them and bring them home before the Spider King can destroy their Elven race.

If you are a Wayne Thomas Batson fan, you won't be disappointed by this book. I've never read anything by Christopher Hopper, but judging by Spider King, I'd say he and WTB make a good team. I was a little disappointed that this book seemed more of a set-up for the books to come rather than a complete story of its own. But with seven main characters all coming from different places, a lot of space is needed to get their characters developed and learn about their individual pasts. I will say that the characterization was quite good, and the action moved well--it kept my attention to the end. I do intend to read the next book when it comes out, if that tells you anything. I can't say this is my favorite fantasy book ever, but it was a fun ride.

THE MIRROR'S TALE by P. W. Catanese

I heard about this book from one of my loyal blog followers (I follow her blog, too :). Her review was enough to get me to order it from Amazon. I can't say I was as pleased with it as she was, but I did enjoy it. The author does have some serious talent when it comes to description, and what disappointed me about the book is that his writing seemed to slack off from that now and then. Maybe the publisher pushed him to cut things down to lower the word count? I don't know, but that is the feeling I got. I would find myself lost in a vivid, smooth-flowing passage, only to move into another scene that skimmed through the description and action. It felt like the slash of an editor's pen to me. Too bad--probably had Catanese been allowed full-reign this story would have been magnificent.

The idea is definitely most intriguing and original--a boy, who is a descendant of Snow White, discovers the evil step-mother's mirror in a secret chamber of his uncle's castle. I have never liked the story of Snow White, but this focused on back story, and how it all affected the town where it happened! That is cool. The book was a good read, and I would recommend it.


Bryan Davis uses creative images and poetic language in the story of a family that faces the ultimate loss. This is not a light-hearted book by any means, but it is a book about hope, love, and God's saving grace. While the story is fictional, it certainly illuminates the truths of dealing with losing a loved one. It is a story of the comfort we gain from believing in a Lord who does not desert us during the hard times--a Lord who prepares a better place for us and offers a hope of a future beyond this world.

Technically, this is not a YA book, as Bryan's other series are, but it is appropriate for nearly all ages in my opinion. It may have been written for adults, but teens, tweens, and maybe even some mature preteens would benefit from this book. Please visit his blog--Bryan has special offers on this book, and a special mission for it as well. He's not selling I Know Why the Angels Dance for a profit, and he wants to get it into the hands of people who can really use it. Read through some of his recent blog posts for more information on that.

And last but not least...and on a whole different note than all the other books up here...we have FIELD OF BLOOD by Eric Wilson

Vampires and demons combined in a host of evil. This book is not for the faint of heart. If you like Ted Dekker's darkness, Frank Peretti's depth of character, and John Olson's penchant for symbolism, this is the book for you. I was enthralled by this tale, and horrified as well. Seriously, this deals with mature themes, so be warned! But it is a Christian novel to the core. Deep and terrifying, it shows the muck we humans live in, the sin that entangles us. No holds barred.

I won't try to sum up this one's plot--I'll just make a jumble of it. Let's leave it at this: Gina is raised by a fanatically religious mother whose beliefs are more than a bit skewed from the truth. A mark appears on Gina's forehead on her twelfth birthday, drawing the attention of both the good and evil supernatural beings around her. (The evil ones being the vampire/demons of course.) She does find help in a mysterious man, but it doesn't save her from the hardest loss she could ever suffer.

I'm really hoping to be posting more about my writing soon. I love to read! But I miss writing :(. I suppose if it were one major thing at a time, I'd be able to keep it going--but preparing to move, along with Christmas and all the busyness of the holidays, is just too much. My mind is a mess. I am getting some ideas down, and working on editing a bit (mainly short stories I began some time ago), but nothing on the latest book. I've submitted Finding Angel a couple more times recently, too. So, I guess I've kept up some, just not as much as I'd like.

I doubt I'll post again before Christmas--so MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I miss writing...

It's been a while since I've posted. I've been a little scarce on Facebook as well. A LOT going on. Nothing to do with my book or short stories--I won't bore you with the details of me working on our move. BUT, it's kind of the point of the post.

This process of moving has taken up so much of my time and energy...I've had nothing left over to put into writing. I miss it! I find myself picking up a book at the end of the day, and soon I feel a flutter at the back of my brain. Bubbles of thought beginning to rise to the surface. Bubbles I normally let pop, releasing the ideas so I can rush to the computer and record them. But lately, I've been flat-out too tired. And too preoccupied. If I let those little bubbles burst, the ideas get jumbled up with house searches and such, lost amid the clutter, tangled like Christmas lights (it's ok, you can grimace at that one :).

I'm looking forward to when this exhausting period is over. I can't wait to find a new place and get settled in, so I can let the creative juices flow freely again!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Interview at LGG

The Lost Genre Guild is a group for writers whose main genre is speculative fiction that holds a Christian world view. I joined recently, after getting some short stories published. I'm really excited about being a part of the group.

Their blog has been featuring members lately, and guess what? Today, they posted MY interview :).

So check it out at THE LOST GENRE GUILD.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas memory

I've thought many times about writing out a particular Christmas experience of mine and submitting it to an anthology or someplace that takes Christmas stories. But for some reason I just can't bring myself to do so. I've never had any problem writing out personal experience stories--as a matter of fact, I've made almost all of my writing money doing so. And I'm fine with sharing pretty private stuff. Mainly because I've been down some dark paths, and I know how scary it can be. I want people to know they are not alone--to know I've been there and am glad to help them through, too.

In October of 2004, I was diagnosed with cancer. I've mentioned it before on my blog, but I try not to write about it often because it's not a very happy subject. But every now and then I need to say something about it because I hit a milestone (for example, the end of January will be five years cancer-free!), or something in my life brings up memories of that time.

Christmas is one of those things. You're probably thinking that sounds kind of awful--Christmas making me relive my cancer struggle. But really, it's not awful at all. It's quite beautiful.

You see, Christmas has been an up and down time for me. I loved it as a kid (of course). Then, for a while during my teen years I was a bit of a scrooge--probably because my parents divorced while I was in high school and I hated how the holidays had to be split between them. But somewhere in my twenties I caught the Christmas bug again. Since then it has been my favorite holiday. I was very much afraid that would change when I went through my cancer treatment because it happened to fall smack across the month of December.

My cancer treatment was no fun to say the least. The docs were very aggressive because I was young and in an early stage. The chemo didn't make my hair fall out, but it made me sick as a dog. The radiation zapped all my energy. At five-foot-nine I actually felt puny. Weight-loss and exhaustion left me weak and barely able to walk across the house. When the Christmas lights went up around my neighborhood, I knew there was no way I'd be able to make our traditional family walks at night. I couldn't even ride in the car because of the motion sickness.

But my dear husband did not let me get down about it. He remembered his parents still had a wheelchair that had belonged to his grandfather and asked them to bring it over. Night after night, he loaded me into that thing, covered me in thick blankets, and pushed me out the front door. My daughter, who was two at the time, curled up in my lap, snuggled under the blankets with me. My son was bigger and we couldn't all fit, but he held my hand or helped his daddy push. And just like that, wrapped in the love of my husband and two kids, I rode around my neighborhood.

The lights were more amazing than they had every been before--than any lights had ever been before! Despite all I was going through, that was the best Christmas of my life. Nothing has matched that feeling since.

Maybe that is why I haven't been able to write it out as a "story." The feeling is so embedded in that memory, I'm afraid picking it apart and trying to make it into something submittable would break it. So, I'm going to keep it whole, and I offer you a glimpse with this post, but that's all you'll ever have. I hope that is enough.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More on my website

Well, I'm in limbo right now. Cancelled my domain name, to avoid being charged the price hike--I saw no way of just letting it expire without automatically being billed for the next year. The problem is there is now a lag--the name hasn't officially been released, and because I cancelled it before transferring it, I can't access it from either side. Yes, you techno-heads, I did get one notice providing me the access code, but I ignored it because at that time I was just going to scrap things and start over, and now it's out of my reach for good. Live and learn.

The good new is, I should be able to wait a bit and when my domain name becomes available, I can snatch it back up. I would think so, anyway. I'm sure going to try!

For now, you can just access my website by clicking on the "eye" up in the right-hand corner of my blog. The url is gobbledy-gook, but oh well. I just hope I have it changed back soon.

The biggest frustration is that I'm going through all of this for a book that hasn't even found a home yet, much less been published. But I'm acting on faith that it will someday (maybe soon) be worth all this effort. I just submitted Finding Angel to yet another publisher, and I'm still waiting on a few responses by agents and another publisher. My life is in complete upheaval right now--why not add a publishing contract to the mix ;).

Oh, you may be wondering what's up with the picture of Animal (from the Muppets, in case ya don't know). Nothing. Just love him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So, today I got an email that my website domain name is going to expire...but of course I can renew it for 3 1/2 times what I paid the first year! Combine that with the fact that I'm going to lose my webspace when I move because it's tied to my internet service, and it leads to my command decision to scrap having a website. In all honesty, pretty much everything you can find there, you can find here on my blog. I just have to figure out why the link to my first chapter is no longer working. I also need to make a new page somewhere that will contain ALL the links to my short stories and a listing of my print personal essays.

Hopefully, I'll get it all figured out soon.

Ah, technology :P.

Two hours later...

OK, so husband told me I'm over-reacting (again :P) and not to scrap the website. So, we'll see. It doesn't expire for a couple of weeks, so maybe I'll set something new up. The point is, he said if an agent was looking for my site, and saw it was gone, then he/she might think I gave up. Ow--talk about hitting it! I can't have that! So, for now, it's still there, and I'm going to try and see what I can do to get it transferred over to another host.

Again...ah, technology...