Makeover Mayhem

Doncha love it?? I am THRILLED with this new look for my blog. And who do I have to thank?? None other than Heather Diane Tipton, friend extraordinaire and partner of Out There Author Services. The poor girl thought this would be an easy makeover. TSK. TSK. Doesn't she know how, particular I am. LOL I did tell her I wanted something "otherworldly." Of course, we won't mention how many things I asked her to change, or how, for hours on end, she would say, Here ya go. Anything else? And I'd say, Now that you mention it....

Then finally...voilĂ ! My madeover blog. Not bad, eh???Actually, it's
SUPERB!! I totally love it (what's that, the UMPTEENTH time I've said that now, Heather?). *grins* So, anyway, check out the OTAS page and get her to jazz up your blog.

Have a FABULOUS New Year's, Everyone! Oh, and leave a comment. It gets lonely in cyberspace sometimes. *grins*

Soup & Ghouls...I mean, GOALS

Wow, Thursdays come fast, don't they? At least they do for me, since I avoid them. LOL Especially this time with me being in AR again for the weekend/Christmas. It was quite odd not having Grandma there for the holidays this time. Christmas morning, one of the twins woke me up with his moaning. I looked across the hotel room and saw him rubbing his belly. I shouted for him to get to the bathroom. He made it just time to hurl. Lovely, right? Merry Christmas, dear. Well, by the time we get home Monday, hubby is ill and stays in bed ALL DAY LONG. Poor guy. hits ME the next morning. GREAT. Just what I don't need. But do you think **I** get to stay in bed all day long? WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?? *grins* Between yesterday and today, I've had a package of saltines. I'm going to get adventurous tonight and attempt the bowl of chicken noodle soup (no, unlike Robin & Shannon, it's NOT homemade--sorry. I'm good, but not THAT good) I made last night and couldn't eat.

So, I have these crit partners and they're really into this goal thing. And I'm sitting here wondering if this is what they're talking about:

Probably not, huh? Sigh. Well, fine. But why do they have to drag me into New Year's Goals/Resolutions?? These blogs are cursed with tags (beware!). The thing is, I am constantly making goals and pinning catch phrases to my computer that keep me focused and on task. Besides, when you have crit partners like Ron, Neen & Robin, you won't be off-track very long, at least not in your writing. After the ACFW conference, Ron sent us all a bumper sticker that I've taped permanently to my monitor. It says, "CRITICISM: it's not for the weak." And trust me, if you've ever had a crit by those realize real quick whether you're weak or strong ! LOL

All right, all right. I'll list some goals...things I hope to achieve. But like Robin said in her blog, there are things that you just can't control. So, with that in mind, I make these goals/hopes known:

General Goals:

1. To finish my BS in Psychology (only two semesters!! Woo-hoo). My new mantra here: D is for Diploma. D is for diploma. :-)

2. To be the mother I want to be and homeschool with enthusiasm (is that really possible? Anyone know?? LOL *just kidding*)

3. To do everything I can to improve and grow in my writing

4. To write EVERY day (I do this already, but I have to stay on top of it, especially when the semester starts--doubt I'll win any more word-count contests with ACFW for a while LOL) .

5. To pray daily for my hubby and his career opportunities

6. To pray daily for my CP's, their families, and their writing

7. To be the best friend that I can possibly be

8. To get a contract by an agent and/or an editor

Date-specific goals for Writing:

1. To finish Midnight Zone by February 30 (I know, I know--there is NO 30th...what's your point?)

2. To clean up my space opera Brand & Bound (which I wrote in 30 days--yes, I'm proud of myself!!) by January 30 and get a proposal ready on it.

On Camy's blog, she mentioned that she has a "word" for next year (hers is perseverance). When I read that, the word that hit me? CHANGE. Oh, geezy peas! Lord, what ARE you doing? Remember...when you can't see what the hand of God is doing, trust His heart.

Blog Humbug??

Okay, so I created my last post as a way to honor Grandma Kendig. Then I realized Christmas is only two days away...and I'm only supposed to blog once a week (this is my vain attempt at being disciplined LOL). But I can't become a Blog Scrooge and not honor the holiday that celebrates our Savior's birth.

There are so many intelligent and insightful blogs about this time of year. In light of Grandma's passing, and the fiesty woman that she was, along with her insatiable humor...I thought I'd post some funnies from the writer's Christmas party I attended earlier this year.

Answers are provided beneath the question and written backwards.

1. If Santa were to drive a motorcycle, what would it be?
nosdivaD ylloH

2. What do you call a cat on a beach at Christmastime?

swalC ydnaS

3. Why do elves get a bit depressed during the holidays?

meetse-fle wol evah yeht esuaceb

4. What kind of cereal does Santa eat?

sioreehC detsorF ro sekalF detsorF

5. What did the Gingerbread man put on his bed?

teehs eikooc a

6. What is Santa's favorite snack?


7. What do elves learn in school?

teba-fle eht

8. What nationality was Santa?

hsi-eloP htroN

9. Why did Santa spell Christmas N-O-E?

.L oN , dias legna het esuaceb

10. What do you call people who are afraid of Santa?


11. What do sheep in New Mexico say at Christmas?
dadivaN eceelF
12. If athlete's get Athlete's foot, what do astronauts get?
13. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
14. What do you get when you cross an archer and a gift wrapper?
dooH nobbiR
15. Which of Santa's reindeers works for Proctor & Gamble?
!sknis snaelc eh--temoC

Merry Christmas, Y'all!


Corny title? Not if you're Marco, a Kynigos--a hunter who has heightened olfactory senses. Did you ever hear the phrase, "he can smell fear"? Well, I took that to task and that's exactly what Marco can do. And that got me wondering...what if he could smell every emotion and through them, determine what danger lurked in masked faces. See, only God can judge the heart, so I tried to stay within biblical boundaries and away from divination. With this, I stay eau-natural. :-D

My point? What kind of scent are you creating? On the 16th of this month, my husband's grandmother died. Clara Robbie Robertson Kendig was probably the most godly woman I've ever encountered. Grandma Kendig showed me the first taste of unconditional love the day she met me for the first time--BEFORE I married her grandson--and embraced me as if I were a long lost relative, then announced, "I shore luv you, honey!" Burying her was NOT easy for the Kendig Family, she was the pillar of the family. Everyone loved Grandma Kendig. If you met her, you'd love her. I mean, consider the fact that even her postman attended her funeral. The environment she lived in was populated by people who GENUINELY cared. It's a world that is rapidly disappearing. And it really got me thinking about my life, my genuineness, my openness toward SCENT in life.

Think about it for a second--Scents reveal so much to us. If you walk into a sewer, the scent that greets you is most likely going to tell you to turn and go back. Ocean air is invigorating, to some poor tortured souls (Sorry, Robin--I do love you!) the smell of bleach is pleasing (which I can understand--cuz it smells CLEAN LOL). Roses stir the romantic in most people.Did you also know that scents can trigger memories? That's according to memory research (I learned this through writing Midnight Zone). For me, every time I smell cinnamons rolls, I am reminded of my mother the day she made homemade cinnamon rolls with my then-two year old daughter.

Scents are a very important part of life and trigger emotions and memories. People are important part of life. Here are a few more of my friends who have left impressions on my life.

Frank Ball - He who would **always** give me a nugget of gold to carry me through, to help me keep writing and not give up. Frank is a very intelligent and kind soul. He taught me the value of tightening words and the resulting beauty therein. If you live in D/FW and are looking for a writer's group, Frank has three!! If I were to say that Frank had a particular scent, I would most likely suggest something strong, like oak or pine.

Patricia Carroll - A dear, sweet woman of God who is one of the most caring and encouraging women I've ever met. Your scent would be like lavender, soothing and relaxing.

Lena Nelson Dooley - Sweet! Sweet! SWEET! That's what Lena is. I grew leaps and bounds when I joined her in-home crit group last January. I would say Lena leaves a rose scent for those around her. (Oh, and Lena, I'm still waiting for the rest of your story with the guy trying to save the veep! I think for Lena, it would be delicate scent of roses.

Pamela Griffin - Beautiful and gentle, loving and sweet, she helped me understand so many tricky aspects of writing. And oh, my! Have you heard this woman's voice? When she reads, her voice is soo soothing--you relax right into her stories, which have the same soothing sensation. For Pamela, I'd definitely suggest something like jasmine.

Al Speegle - Dude! You are so hilarious. This guy writes satire like you wouldn't believe. He truly has a gift. With his humor, he's bound to have a tart scent. *grins*

Steve Miller - God often sends tools to sharpen us, and that's what Steve has been in my life. At times, our personalities collided, but we were both mature enough to work through it. LOL For Steve's scent, I'd suggest something maple-ish--strong and sometimes sweet, but not syrupy. ;-)

Colleen Coble - Wow, what a woman! Kind, encouraging, helpful, brilliant with wonder she keeps winning mentor of the year! For COOL-LEEN (ha ha) I'd suggest something strong and hardy like a magnolia, but she has a bit of spice to her--maybe cinnamon? *grins*

...My crit buddies have their own unique scents too...Neen with gardenia, Robin with chocolate, Ron with...he's a guy, so I gotta say something masculine, right...Old Spice? ROTFL.

Okay--so sound off? If you were a scent, what kind would you be?

Blinded by the Obvious

(photo by & with permission of Donald M. Jones)

Ever feel like you're missing the obvious? When I saw the picture above, I laughed at the hunter staring off into the wilderness, his quarry right over his shoulder...but then it hit me. That's exactly how I've been looking at my journey to publication. So focused and intent on getting a contract, I might have missed what God is doing right here, right now--as a prepubbed author...and the blessings that are happening all around me.

There are so many times lately that I've sat and looked around thinking, God would you PLEASE do something? Or, God can you even hear me with all the satellite interference between me and Thee? LOL Then I realized how STUCK ON STUPID I'd become. So, I've been praying that God would show me His work around me...even if it was the swarm of black birds flocking south and invading our electrical lines (MAJORLY CREEPY!).

A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me that I was praying as if God was just sitting up there sipping latte, bored by my little drama acting out down here on this spinning orb. Then I realized, God is active . Even when I can't see His work, can't feel His presence, or hear Him, I know He's there...ACTIVELY preparing me. Sometimes I get upset, thinking my life/writing isn't going anywhere...feeling like there's no point. Even amid blessings, sometimes it's hard to see the bigger picture. Think about that hunter up there, his rear-end probably frozen to the ground, his legs most likely numb, and he's staring down two very narrow lenses...

Well, this past weekend I won the ACFW Weekend Word count challenge with a tally of 13k. Yes, I was very happy (I'd been wanting Tracey's book--and I had to win 1st place to get it!) . With that count, I'm getting my prize, and I finished with my space opera!! My devoted readers (*waving to Heather & Shannon*) read the last chapters...and oh, my! Were they upset. LOL Long story short: tragic ending that was true to the characters and story. While they were sad for my characters, they both agreed it HAD to happen that way. Poor Marco. :-/ Of course, since the Kynigos story was done, I then suffered the PPD - post-prepubbedending-blues. I was sitting here Monday, wondering why on earth I'm writing? Is there a point? No agent, no contract (yet!!), and I'm still writing? Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?? **SIGH** But then...things started happening. God showed me that this story would help some readers deal with harsh disappointments and cruel twists of "fate" in life...which, ultimately would help them reach out to Him.

And that is exactly what happened. Unpublished, rough, and complete with tragic ending...the story is already touching hearts. For me, that's pure gold! That's what it's all about. Silly me. I thought God had me on HOLD. The whole time, a beautiful melody was playing out across my keyboard. Even under my very nose--on a story that I started writing JUST FOR ME (I know, I'm selfish that way.), God moved in an amazing way. I realized I need to be blinded by the obvious...IT'S NOT ABOUT ME. God didn't give this writing gift to me FOR me. He gave it to me, FOR others (okay, yes...sure, I get blessed as well, there's no doubt about it). And no, I'm not being holier-than-thou...this is my heart's cry: for God to use me to minister His healing love in the lives of others.
Are you missing the obvious?? You might try asking God to show you His ACTIVE presence all around you. You might be surprised what you see sitting just over your shoulder. ;-)

OH...and good news. I'm in the process of contacting SF/F authors to interview them. So far, two have agreed. Kathy Tyers won't be able to...she's going to GRAD school. WOW! She's always been my hero--but double wow! What a woman to tackle that!! You can visit her site:

Tagged & Writing

Well, apparently when you go to the Dark Side, you have to reveal all your inner workings. But really, who doesn't like talking about themselves? So, I got tagged by not one, not two, but three friends to fill this thing out. Enjoy and laugh...

Seven Things to Do Before I Die (Lord willing):
1. Get published
2. Visit Jerusalem
3. Go to Hawaii
4. Adopt
5. Learn archery
6. Do a tactical handgun course with my husband (shh…don’t tell, or he’ll enroll us now!)
7. Raise Godly children & see them start their families

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Deny Christ
2. Stop writing
3. Listen to metal music
4. Read in a vehicle without my Sea Bands
5. Sit for very long (tail-bone issues)
6. Stay quiet when someone is getting picked on or made fun of
7. Nod my head and say “no” at the same time

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Spouse [romantic interest, best friend, whomever](not necessarily in this order!):
1. His integrity & honor
2. His eyes
3. His wit
4. His humor
5. His classic hero elements
6. His muscles!!!
7. He intelligence

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
2. Don’t get stuck on stupid
3. No worries
4. um, yeah...about that
5. Omigosh
6. UGH!
7. oh crap!

Seven Books (or series) I Love:
1. Firebird Trilogy
2. Arena
3. Wuthering Heights
4. Outriders
5. Ashley Stockingdale!
6. Narnia
7. Legend of the Emerald Rose
…only seven????? <<>>

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
1. While You Were Sleeping
2. Tomb Raider
3. How to Steal a Million
4. Love in the Afternoon
5. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
6. Princess Bride
7. Galaxy Quest

Seven People I Want to Join in: (be tagged)
1. Heather
2. Dineen
3. Robin
4. Kathy Mackel
5. Shannon
6. Lisa Tuttle
7. Linda Wichman

So, there it is. Everything you'd want to know about me. Well, almost everything. LOL

Like my awesome crit buds, I'm working on a new story. I started it around the first of November. It's a space opera. I know. I'm still laughing, too. I thought--how corny. Of course, when I hear that sub-genre mentioned, I crinkle up my nose as I imagine large Viking women sailing across an all-too-small stage, its boards creaking when they land and belt out a horrific call of the wild (sorry, I know some people call that music, but well, let's be real).

Anyway, this story has amazed me, riveted me--Marco talking to me as I cook dinner, Stevie sobbing in the corner as I make the bed, and Ypiretis hovering over my shoulder as I write to make sure the spiritual elements are right. SIGH. This is what happens when your characters take over. And still this story is title-less. A first for me. Even at 90k I don't know what to call it.

Oh, and I hate the ending I will have to write so that I can stay true to my characters. Don't get me wrong--it's a great ending, but heart-wrenching and so not "romantic." Tragic. BOO-HOO. The sad thing is that I never meant for this story to go anywhere, and especially never anticipated a book 2. Yet, I know Marco has a war to run, and Stevie...well, maybe I should save this for your reading pleasure. LOL So, once I get this ending written, and as my crit buddies help me find mistakes, LOL, I will be back working on Midnight Zone. Heather and Shannon will probably prod me to begin book 2, but it's tragic too. WAH!

I've decided on a goal for this blog: To start interviewing sf/f authors, to glean from their experience and wisdom. I'll have to start inquiring of the brilliant minds out there. Anyone you want to see, tortured...uh, interviewed? Be bold! Drop a comment in the box.

Okay, that's it for this week.


Gone to the Dark Side?

Well, I battled it for as long as I could. LOL In early September, I went to a local writer's conference where I met Lisa Crayton, a fabulous writer and speaker who had a class on blogging. We talked for a long time about it, but I told her I just wasn't ready to commit to blogging. She said I was wise to realize that because too many writers dive in, build up a fan base, then burn out and leave their fans hanging and disappointed. We talked about the powerful Forensics & Faith of Brandilyn Collins. At the time, I was taking 9 hours of college courses, going through a huge trial in my family--I just knew I wasn't ready. Yet, I also knew God was leading me to blog. Lisa told me, "Start praying now over it." So I did.

One by one, my fabulous crit buddies, Dineen Miller, Robin Miller, and Ron Estrada, started blogging. They kept calling to me from the great chasm that separated us (dare I call it sanity? LOL). I just couldn't join them. Not with college, homeschooling four children, and trying to stay focused on writing every day.

And yet, here I am. *grins*

My compromise is this: One blog a week. I realize that's a slow approach, but I assure you it's a thoughtful, well-planned one for me. This way, I won't feel rushed.

Thanksgiving just came and passed. I didn't get to blog my heart out about how wonderful my friends and loved ones are, so I'm starting this new season in my life with my Bragging Rights.

Brian - Beloved! As Emily Brontë said: I know not what hearts are made of, but his and mine are the same. You are my hero. I draw strength from you, and get giddy at the sight of you, just as I have for the last 17 years. I know you are destined for greatness, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

Dineen - Blessed friend! I've known you for a year now. What a fantastic year it has been. Getting to know you has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. As my clone, you know what I mean. :-D I treasure the comfort of knowing you always understand, no matter what. I love you, chica! Life would not be complete without you!

Robin - What a God-send you are! I have learned so much from you, from those hairline fractures in POV, right down to learning how to voice my heart and not fear rejection. You're an amazing woman, and I'm so glad you're a part of my life.

Ron - Wow! Having a guy offer suggestions really brings a sense of reality to my stories. You are such a vital part of Write of Passage, and I'm so grateful to be on your team! Now...if we can just keep Robin & Neen sane. Possible?

Shannon - Your friendship was unexpected and yet, beautiful. You have such incredible instincts about sf/f. I so appreciate your input on my writing, characters, and stories. Thanks for catching the small stuff. LOL And maybe, just maybe, I'll send Marco the Kynigos your way. *grins*

Heather - SIGH. You came out of nowhere when I needed a shoulder. Since then, we've bonded and enjoyed lengthy chats. You are SUCH a blessing, and I'm so glad to have you in my life.

Lisa Tuttle - Girl! What a treasure you are. Thank you for your hard work on Liberty's Son and your willingness to keep critting with me. You have an amazing voice in sf/f. I look forward to reading/critting more of your writing (HINT! HINT!)

Kristin Billerbeck - THANK YOU! You believed in me and my writing when I felt like few did. Your sage wisdom and advice *grins* always helps me keep it real. I love you! Your friendship is invaluable to me. What a beautiful, intelligent, and amazing writer/woman/friend you are.

Okay, this could go on for days...I have so much to be thankful for, especially when I remember that my life is not my own, that what I have are gifts from above, and that God has blessed me--not for me, but so that I can bless others. That keeps it real.