Friday, June 30, 2006

Waking Lazarus

My TBR pile is in a state of flux these days, but IT seems to be winning the war, not me. Faster than I can take a book off of it, more take its place. Waking Lazarus is about three books down at the moment, edging closer to the top. Edging...but not there.

Waking Lazarus

This is T. L. Hines' debut novel, guessed is a psychological thriller! Here's what Tony himself has to say about his story:

Jude Allman became famous as the man who died and came back to life three times. Now he's a recluse, hiding from the world in the deep forests of Montana. But when children around him begin disappearing, his days of hiding are over. Only Jude has the key to stopping the abductions--hidden inside the mysteries of his own deaths. Now he must face the questions that have haunted him. What if his deaths aren't just accidents? What if there's a reason behind it all? What if he's been brought back just for this moment?

Randy Ingermanson says, "Recommended for the reader who thinks he can't be scared." Er...does that mean you're NOT recommending it for those of us who already know we're chicken?

However, Rebecca Miller says, "My guess is, readers whose genre of choice is the thriller will love this book on that level. After all, there’s a serial killer, a kidnapping, child abuse, death—lots of page-turner stuff for a thrill lover to enjoy. I’d have to say, I loved this book in spite of those things and wondered when I finished why it was classified as a thriller at all." She even says it is fantasy-like!

Who to believe? You mean I'm going to have to read it myself and decide? Gulp. (**Eyes TBR pile...) Okay.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Back in October, I posted about Creston Mapes' first novel, Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol. I was excited to hear from Creston a couple days ago:
Just firing this note to a few of you who've been kind enough to
help us get the word out about our books. Wanted you to know: Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol has been selected by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) as a finalist for its 2006 Inspirational Readers Choice awards in the category of long, contemporary novel! Awards will presented this summer in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis hotel.

Meanwhile, Full Tilt is racking up a number of fine reviews, many stating that its story/writing has surpassed the quality of that in Dark Star.

Stay tuned for all the latest, including more about my third novel, a psychological thriller based in Las Vegas, due out in 2007.

Go, Creston!!

In other news, T. L. Hines debut novel is hitting the stands this weekend. I haven't read Waking Lazarus yet (though I have an ARC sitting on my table--thanks, Tony!!) but I'll link to some reviews and mentions tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Vacation photos

Well, we're back after six days of crazy busy vacation. Now we need to recuperate! I've divided my favorite photos from the last week into separate blog entries for your viewing pleasure.


We caught the most glorious sunset over the ocean the first evening we were there (Thursday). I took probably thirty photos and saved a third of them. I'll spare you the rest! Posted by Picasa


Starfish everywhere along the rocks at low tide, and lots of anenomes as well. There are so many things to find on the rocks and in the sand! Posted by Picasa


Jim loves playing with the bull kelp. We learned that it can grow up to three feet a DAY in the right conditions! Posted by Picasa


What's the beach for if you can't lean up against a piece of driftwood and enjoy the sun and sand? Posted by Picasa


I believe that the snails are aliens from outer space, and this is their sand-writing. It was pretty funny seeing all their tracks twine in and around each other's. Who knows where they're going? Posted by Picasa

Jen's vacation


Our daughter-in-law enjoyed the trip to the ocean as well! Although they live in Victoria, they don't often get a chance to see the wide open ocean. Posted by Picasa


The weather was so gorgeous while we were there. Sunny all day every day, but the breeze off the ocean kept things cool enough to enjoy. Posted by Picasa


Here Jen and her daddy-in-law have a look uuuuuup at the giant fir trees in the Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. Posted by Picasa


We found eight (if I remember correctly) sand dollars along the beach in low tide, and we were delighted NOT to pay $3.95 for them in a shop! Posted by Picasa

Joel's vacation


Our son had brought along a skimmer board and spent several hours skimming back and forth along the shallows. It was fun to watch and I took a zillion pictures. I won't bore you with all the details! Posted by Picasa


People say I have a *feet-ish* when I take photos. I dunno. I think this one is pretty cool! Posted by Picasa

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If there is a rock, Joel has to climb it. It's been like that for more than twenty years now, and I'm not expecting things to change any minute soon.


Early morning coffee on the beach. (Lowest tides were around six a.m.) This sunstar felt kinda gooey but firm inside, sort of like those rubber snakes. Very weird! Posted by Picasa

The Wild Pacific Trail

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On Friday afternoon we hiked the Wild Pacific Trail around the headlands of the village of Ucluelet. I let Joel have the camera for most of this hike (2.5 km) as Jim and I had been there a couple years ago and taken lots of photos, so this batch are all taken by our son. Here's the lighthouse at the furthest reach.

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The benefit of having your kid with the camera is that someone can prove that both parents were on the trip!

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This photo is one of my favorites of the ones Joel took. Very artistic, I'm thinking! Maybe my kids and I share an *eye* for laying out this type of photo.

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Like I said, having Joel with the camera allowed Jim's and my trip to be better documented. The trail has a lot of little viewpoint places with benches to sit and enjoy the view. Where the trail starts is on the west side of Vancouver Island, with mostly wide open ocean. You follow the trail south to the lighthouse, then around the headland on the harbor side, and back to the parking lot. This viewpoint appears to look out over a nearby island.

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The trees on the west side have some serious wind issues to deal with! We'd taken a photo of this same tree a couple years ago, and it stood straighter then. AND it had more greenery. It's a hard life being pounded with wind and saltwater all your existence. Or so the trees tell me.


We had a great trip this past weekend, but the highlight had to be our three hour whale watching tour on Saturday afternoon. Here we are all suited up for our excursion on the Zodiac inflateable, which seats twelve tourists (:P)

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We saw one gray whale fairly soon after leaving the Tofino harbor, and a while later we saw two more together. I found it hard to take pictures with my little digital camera as you never know what second will be the perfect shot--or even what direction to be pointing at to capture it! The camera batteries don't hold power forever trying to keep it on *ready* either.

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This grey whale was close enough and cooperated well enough that I could get several shots. These two are the best.

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A bit later we came upon two humpback whales bilge feeding, but I wasn't able to get photos worth sharing. I have a great photo of the back of the guy in front of me, though! I have serious camera envy. He had a digital SLR with like a fifteen inch telephoto and obviously no issues with camera batteries. He could take ten photos to one of mine for speed.

There's our little vacation in a nut shell. Hope you enjoyed the glimpses!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Off on vacation for a week

As mentioned a few days ago, hubby and I are up at the crack of dawn tomorrow (comes mighty early this time of year) for a 4:30 am start to our trip. Gulp. We have cards and gifts from various folks in our church to give our friend Rick in the hospital, and hope to have a good visit with him tomorrow around noon...hopefully to be an encouragement to him.

We'll have a few days camping at Bella Pacifica Campground on Vancouver Island with our son and daughter-in-law. Photos will go up soon after at Flickr, where I created an account today and posted some photos from the past month in case you're interested in some BC scenery. Click here.

Behave yourselves until I get back!

DragonKeepers Chronicles part 2

Yesterday I mentioned that I'd emailed Mrs. Paul and asked her some questions regarding some of her writing choices. First off I'd like to point out that she has invented not one, not two, but FOURTEEN different races of beings for her series, seven of which are *high* and seven *low*.

Q:What went into your decision to create your own races of beings for your series as opposed to the typical elves, goblins, dwarves, etc?

A:Respect for an entire body of literature and cultural traditions that I have only glimpsed. I know people who are avid researchers, or the mythical elements are a part of their doctoral studies in literature. Tolkien was one such person. I didn't want to mock the deep-rooted legacy of these artforms. Since I wanted fantasy elements without disturbing chroniclers of folklore, I chose to create beings of a different ilk.

Q:What is the process you went through in choosing how to portray the concept of magic in your novels?

A:I looked at how others had done it, George MacDonald, Tolkien, and Lewis, in particular. Then I set my own boundaries, what I felt comfortable with. Then as I write, I ask God to give me a check in my spirit if a story element is edging into an unacceptable area. I also have several Biblical scholars including two pastors who read my work before it is published and point out any problems.

Book three of the DragonKeepers Chronicles is officially out today. You may want to pick up all three of them, but definitely give DragonKnight a try!

Becky Miller has the whole blog tour hosted from her blog, including an interview with Donita Paul. Don't miss it!

Monday, June 19, 2006

DragonKeeper Chronicles

Rebecca Miller is hosting another Christian Fantasy blog tour this week. I've known for about a month that June would feature Donita K. Paul's newest book (out this week) DragonKnight. I'd been hearing good things about the DragonKeeper Chronicles of which this is book three, but couldn't seem to be able to Interlibrary loan them in. (Books have to be available in a BC public library and more than one year old, and apparently Paul's books haven't made it into a BC library yet.)

Long story short, because I knew this was coming up AND because I found books one and two in the bookstore when I visited my daughter last month, I bought them. Book three was to have hit my mailbox already, but it hasn't arrived yet. That's okay, I'm mid-way through the second book at the moment and will survive a little longer without the third!

Donita Paul's series is labelled A Fantastic Journey of Discovery for All Ages. The stories revolve around a girl named Kale, once a slave, who finds a dragon's egg. In the land of Amara, this means that she must go for training in The Hall. In DragonSpell, Kale gets waylaid before ever reaching The Hall and discovers that she is needed to locate a meech dragon egg stolen by the evil Wizard Ristro. She travels with her new companions Dar and Leetu and has many adventures in the course of recovering this precious egg.

In the second novel, DragonQuest, Kale, who is now a student at The Hall, is summoned by the Wizard who is to care for the hatched meech dragon. It seems that because the egg quickened while in Kale's care, the dragon has bonded to her. She is needed to tend and help train the young dragon.

While these novels are aimed at a YA market, they aren't childish in any way. Recommended reading for anyone who enjoys fully formed worlds and fantasy quest type reading.

I asked Donita Paul a couple of questions about her worldbuilding choices and will talk about those tomorrow. Meanwhile, the blog tour will be traveling around to many blogs starting Tuesday. I got a bit of a jumpstart because I'll be away later on in the week, and wanted a chance to promote these books before I left.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

This elk calf was curled up right by our fence! Posted by Picasa

Here we go: photos again

Here's the one of the car that I've been trying to post:

Hubby, happy with his two diesel vehicles Posted by Picasa

Last evening we went for a quick trip up the lake and found the scotch brome in full bloom. Beautiful evening. Here's the best pic:

Scotch brome along the lake Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 16, 2006

Random updates

On June 2 I talked about our friend Rick acquiring Guillain-Barre syndrome. He's been in the regional hospital for two weeks now, and his family is on their way to see him for the first time this weekend. He's out of ICU and into Rehab, which is certainly good news. He's discouraged about the slow progress and that he will likely be there for several more weeks at best. He would like to be the exception to the rule and bounce back faster than average, but so far it is just plain WORK on nerves and muscles that don't want to cooperate.

I also mentioned my struggle with weight loss. I've lost another couple pounds and have continued to get some exercise every single day. I've been blessed by the number of people (here, in my Curves gym, at my church, and forums) I've been encourage in their own path. Although my birthday was in May, I just got my gift from hubby a few days ago: a new bike with decent suspension and raised handlebars that allow me to ride without kinking my neck. The bike makes a nice change for me some mornings instead of running, and it allows us to get out together on weekends--when he's home on a weekend, anyway. Drat that four on four off shift he works!

The humungous powerpoint project is done. I got smart and bought myself a flash drive. I've been meaning to do that for awhile and this seemed the perfect excuse. Very impressed with the speed of saving files on it! I took the flash up to the church yesterday and went through the presentation with my youth pastor on the big screen in the sanctuary, where it looks a lot different than on my monitor. He couldn't do much with the presentation there as it consists of over a hundred slides, most made individually in photoshop. So I had a few to re-do, and I emailed them in last night.

That covers some of the random bits I've blogged about that needed updating. If there's anything I've forgotten about, remind me...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


The edits on Marks of Repentance are going well. I'm currently at about 60K (of 95) and still enjoying myself. I'm also about half done the full novel crit I'm doing for Mar.

Blogger has being a nasty baby again lately. Or maybe it's Picasa and Hello that are not my friends. I've had a couple other photos I wanted to upload and it just won't happen.

For instance, I planned to show you all a photo of our *new* car, a 1996 Volkswagen Passat. Hubby is very happy with his new wheels! It has a lot of kilometers on it but we paid a decent price even so. More to the point, it is a diesel and gets about 65 mpg. It has about all the bells and whistles one could want as well, from the sunroof to the heated seats. I've only driven the car a total of about ten minutes yet myself but I'll get lots of opportunity next week when we drive out to Vancouver Island to visit our kids and take them camping in Pacific Rim National Park. We'll be gone six days, but you won't even miss me because I've been such a bad, bad blogger lately. Sigh.

In other news, I have a zillion photos to scan this evening (yay for thunderstorms and power outtages yesterday evening to complicate my life...) for a special Father's Day powerpoint presentation for church on Sunday. I truly hope to get it done tonight because we need time to check it at the church. Sometimes it looks a lot different on the big screen than it does on my monitor and needs adjusting...and being as every page will have a new photo (dozens if not hundreds...if not zillions), the adjusting, if necessary, could take awhile to do. Eeeep. Where do I get these ideas from? Keeping my fingers crossed that I can do it all justice.

As soon as it's off to the church (by cd, as the files will be too huge to send via dial-up email) I need to start gathering the gear for our camping trip. Promise I'll check back in before then!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Choose your own Adventure, part 2

A couple months ago *we* turned south for the morning photo walk. This time I chose north. The ducklings wouldn't cooperate, I'll try again another day. They were so hidden in the grass I could barely make them out at all.

Today's direction for the walk/jog is north. Posted by Picasa