Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blog Tour Day 3 - Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum

As R. K. Mortenson's third novel about Landon Snow opens, Landon is now attending Winterwild Middle School and is playing on the school's football team. Unfortunately for Landon--in the midst of an important game--he loses concentration when it seems to him that the various opposing players are wolves, bears, hyenas, gorillas, and zebras. This is a hint for him that soon he will be off on a new adventure, and that it involves animals.

Landon's adventures always start at the library down the street from his grandparents' home in Button Up, Minnesota. In this adventure (with his younger sisters Holly and Bridget), Landon heads up a team to rescue the animals of Wonderwood from the place they have been hidden by the evil Malus Quidam: The Island of Arcanum.

Although this story is the third book of the series and showcases some characters from the earlier books (and alludes to their adventures), you will find Landon Snow and The Island of Arcanum to be an enjoyable stand-alone read.

To get a taste of a short Landon Snow story, check out Christmas Lights, published in the December edition of Clubhouse for Children, a Focus on the Family magazine.

Sunday is your last day to enter my contest for a free copy of Landon Snow and The Island of Arcanum. Just tell me in comments (on one of the three posts this week about this book) what child you would like to give this book to for Christmas, and one lucky commenter will receive it. I'll mail it out Monday (if I can get your address that fast) and only hope it will get where it's going faster than some other books have been traveling. If you're not sure I have your email address, stick it in the comment to save some turn-around-time.

Nano count...??

Well, I cleared the 50K and stalled. I'm an estimated 2 1/2 chapters from the end of the novel, but progress is slow. I am at the stage of the novel (every one is the same in this regard) where I say, "Who calls this an outline? This won't get Krin out of the hole I've dug for her! I need a PLAN!"

Obviously, a NEW plan...

Anyone got a sale on new plans? Store shelves seem rather bare of them.

Okay, I had Salesman-Who-Talks here this morning, so scratch 3 hours off my day right there. After lunch, I started listing characters and where I last left them, where I saw them going (and doing what). What threads my subconscious had thrown out into sub-plot-land that might come in handy already.

I'm still mulling, but at least I have lists to play with while I mull. Lists are my friend. Really.

One Small Child

In case you're not familiar with the words to my favorite carol, here they are (you have to imagine our worship team singing this...awesome!):

One Small Child

One small child in a land of a thousand
One small dream of a Savior tonight
One small hand reaching out to the starlight
One small Savior of life

One king bringing his gold and riches
One king ruling an army of might
One king kneeling with incense and canglelight
One king bringing us life

See Him lying a cradle beneath Him
See Him smiling in the stall
See His mother praising His Father
See His tiny eyelids fall

See the shepherds kneeling before Him
See the kings on bended knee
Oh, See the mother praising the Father
See the Blessed infant sleep.

One small child in a land of a thousand
One small dream of a Savior tonight
One small hand reaching out to the starlight
One small Savior of life

Ooo ... Oh ... Oh ... Oh ...
(Repeat to end twice):
One small child Oh ...
One small child Oh ...

Christmas Favorites

I found this over at Jean's place, and being as I'm killing time with a salesguy in and out of the store, I thought I'd play. If you want to play too, mention it in comments so we can come and read about your Christmas favorites as well!

Your Name: Valerie

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate most of the time!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped...unless he did his shopping before Christmas Eve, in which case he simply can't wait. Or unless the store doesn't offer wrapping. Or...
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Multi-colored on the tree, white on the bushes outside.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Any time after the beginning of December.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Cookies. Gonna be a problem this year.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: Going to my grandmother's house on Boxing Day (Dec 26 to all you non-Canadian types). My mom had 8 sibs (with a total of 33 cousins in my generation) and we all gathered for turkey dinner, games and all the mandarin oranges we wanted. And we made a Christmas program for the grandparents. Every year.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? We weren't ever a Santa family.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? As a child, always, all of them. My family has Germanic roots, so tradition. When we started our own family, we did Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with his, so it balanced out the gifts.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Lots of lights! Very nearly every single ornament on our tree is hand-made. I collect angels, so there are many choirs of angels.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love to look at it, HATE to drive in it.
12. Can you ice skate? Yep. I'm Canadian, after all...
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Books. And I had a cool Spirograph.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family. I'm really excited that the kids and their spouses will be home this year. Hyper, even. And remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Besides baking cookies?
17. What tops your tree? An angel, of course. See #10!
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving. Especially hand-made gifts.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? One Small Child.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I can take them or leave them. They're great crushed...I make chocolate cookies, dipped in melted chocolate, dipped in crushed peppermint. Drat, I hate diets.

Wanna play? Please do!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blog Tour Day 2 - Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum

This week's tour is about Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum, the third novel in an ongoing series by R. K. Mortenson.

The publisher, Barbour Books, has done a beautiful job on the presentation of this series. Cover and interior illustrations were done by Cory Godbey of Portland Studios; the cover was designed by DogEared Design. The cover captures both a child-like imagination and a traditional tooled design. Inside the book, heavier than average paper provides the look of a classic.

Kudos on an excellent cover!

Remember that you can tell me in comments (on one of the three posts this week about this book) what child you would like to give this book to for Christmas, and one lucky commenter will receive it. I'll mail it out early next week and only hope it will get where it's going faster than some other books have been traveling. If you're not sure I have your email address, stick it in the comment to save some turn-around-time. And if you can't leave a comment, email me at valerierco AT yahoo DOT ca.

Talyn by Holly Lisle

This fabulous fantasy book debuts in paperback today, says author Holly Lisle in this post.

If you like complicated, well thought out, well WRITTEN adult fantasy novels, give the world of Korre a try. The second book in the series, Hawkspar, is due out in '07. The continuation of the series will be determined by initial sales of TALYN in paperback.

This is one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels by a master of the genre, Holly Lisle. I bullied my library into purchasing the hardcover, so I've read it, but now that I know the paperback is out I'm off to buy my own copy. This book is a keeper, and I don't want the world of Korre to die out. If you have folks on your Christmas list that enjoy fantasy, consider buying TALYN. Precautionary note: There is adult content.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Blog Tour - Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum

You may remember a couple weeks ago the Christian Science Fiction Fantasy blog tour presented a children's fantasy novel. The original plan was for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance tour to pick up the same novel the same week, so those of us in both tours would have been plugging the novel Monday to Friday. That would have been kind of cool, actually, but the CFBA tour was postponed because copies of Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum were late getting mailed. (What's ironic of course is that most of the other tour books this fall have been late getting to me--and everyone else)!

Being part of both tours netted me an unexpected dividend: TWO copies of this great book for young readers age 8-12 (or for parents to read aloud). My usual habit is to donate the books to my church's library, but there's no point in them having two copies of the same novel by R. K. Mortenson.

So...tell me in comments (on one of the three posts this week about this book) what child you would like to give this book to for Christmas, and one lucky commenter will receive it. I'll mail it out early next week and only hope it will get where it's going faster than some other books have been traveling. If you're not sure I have your email address, stick it in the comment to save some turn-around-time.

NANO complete!!

Just taking a few minutes out of my busy schedule to celebrate the *completion* of Nano. I just validated my word count at 50247. See?

Now on to finish the novel, which should take the rest of the week.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nano: 49048

Sigh. So close, but being in the midst of a snowstorm is sucking my enthusiasm dry for finishing today. Looking at winter through a window is one thing. Driving in BC's version of winter is something entirely different. The roads are slick, slippery, slushy messes, and I'm heading home early so I'll beat the next freeze at dark.

Th-th-that's all for today, folks.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nano: 45258

Today's count: 2593. Everything is so quiet in chat-land today with no word wars, no random links, no abstract discussions. Still, I'm happy with my wordcount and I'm expecting to cross the magical 50K line on Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

That's to all you Americans out there. We Canadians celebrate on the second Monday of October while we can still enjoy some of our fresh garden produce that we are thankful for...and before the roads get horrible with snow. I'm glad my family isn't traveling on the ice-and-snow covered mountain passes around our valley. Of course, we expect them home for Christmas this year regardless of the roads!

At any rate, do remember to be thankful for the many blessings in your life and remember that they came from God's hand.

As the old hymn goes:
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one,
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nano count 42665

Today's 3108 blew me past 40K with a good bit of breeze. At this stage, fun as the writing is--and the arguments--it's hard to share snips without context. So...sorry!

Blog Tour Day 3 - Calm, Cool & Adjusted

I still haven't had a chance to read Calm, Cool & Adjusted by Kristin Billerbeck. One of these days the rest of my books will arrive...and by then we'll be on to the next one. Or the one after that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nano total: 39557

Today's chapter was 3088. And I'm exhausted.

Blog Tour Day 2 - Calm, Cool & Adjusted

I did get a few book packages come in yesterday, but not nearly all that I've been expecting. Unfortunately for the blog tour, some of the ones that did NOT come are last week's tour book Scoop by Rene Gutteridge and this week's tour pick, Calm, Cool & Adjusted by Kristin Billerbeck.

I did go scrounging for some book information for you though. You'll find out a bit about Kristin and some of her previous novels on her website but nothing about her newest book Calm, Cool & Adjusted other than the cover pic and *coming soon*. From this I see that it is chick lit. Well, with a title like that, I'm not surprised. This gal looks like a happenin' person that's down to earth. Why not chick lit? The book description at Amazon's Editorial Reviews says this:

Best friends since Johnny Depp wore scissors for hands, "The Spa Girls" live very separate lives, but stay in touch with routine visits to California's Spa Del Mar. The third novel in the Spa Girls Series focuses on Silicon Valley chiropractor Poppy Clayton, who is as calm, cool and adjusted as they come. Or is she? Known for her bad fashion sense, a love for all things natural and the inability to get a second date, Poppy is beginning to wonder if she might be misaligned herself. Her route to self discovery will be an unnatural one - a plastic surgeon, a house in Santa Cruz and a wedding date from the dark side. It's all enough to send a girl - and her gal pals - running for the spa.

Cruising around the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance tour members, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who hasn't got her book yet, but there is an interview with Kristen here at Camy's Loft. You can also enter there to win a copy of this book. Another book giveaway is at Cara's Musings. Cara asks you to tell her why you need a good laugh today and she'll enter your name in her draw. Tell her you came from here. Then she'll KNOW you needed a laugh.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nano 36469

Friday was 3195 and today, 2283. Still on par for a finish early next week. Here's a teensy snippet:
I decided to take a chance, for it seemed one had been offered me. "Amuran seems...evil."

She nodded slightly. "Perhaps more than you think."

That flicker of hope died as though a cold wave had squelched it.

Ah, the killing of hope. Such a nasty thing, but so necessary with so much book yet to be written.

Blog Tour - Calm, Cool & Adjusted

This sounds like a book I should read, lol. And of course, I would *IF* my books ever got here. I hope I can stop ranting about this problem soon!

Because you all down south of the border are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, the decision was made to slide the CFBA Blog Tour to the beginning of the week. I haven't even looked up the book yet, but I will later. Meanwhile, if YOU need some Calm, Cool & Adjusted in your life, here is the version by author Kristin Billerbeck. I'll scrounge up some goodies for tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blog Tour Day 3 - Scoop

Because my own copy of Scoop by Rene Gutteridge has not yet arrived, I went scrounging for information to share with you about the book. At the CFBA MySpace I found the following:

I give grand kudos to the author for fabricating another realistic and winning tale. Her laid-back style and easy wit draw me into all of her stories.

Hayden Hazard's parents, owners of the Hazard Clowns, are found dead while on vacation, leaving a huge hole in the family. Soon afterwards, the seven Hazard children meet together to discuss the family business' fate. Hayden's oldest brother has sold the company. As a result, sheltered Hayden must look for a new job and find her purpose in life. She receives this sage advice from her sister Mack: "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." Easy for her to say.

Fast-forward five years. Hayden is interim assistant for Channel 7 News' Executive Producer, Hugo Talley. He struggles with anxiety and it's no wonder—he has an aged anchor who doesn't realize how old she looks on TV, a womanizing dolt for a weatherman, a too-nice God-spouting assistant (Hayden), and reporter Ray Duffey, who keeps to himself, but doesn't ever get the good stories. To describe the news team as wild and crazy is an understatement. With each approaching dilemma, Hugo feels as if he may go over the edge. Will Hayden's presence help or hinder the unstable atmosphere in the newsroom?

This wacky ensemble and a wonderful story line made for many out-loud chuckles throughout the book. I love the author's ability to explore serious spiritual issues and couch it with humor.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the novel:

Mack sighed, looking exhausted. "Mr. Stewart, they were not murdered. It was just an unfortunate incident."

"Incident? Accident? What?"

Mack glanced at Hayden. She looked desperate for relief, and Hayden smiled a little, hoping to assure her.

"Well?" Mr. Stewart asked.

"Look, we don't really understand it ourselves," Mack finally said, "but it boils down to an overly ambitious serenading guitar player, a hundred-foot extension cord, and a rack of mood lighting." Mack shook Mr. Stewart's had while his jaw dropped a little. "We'll talk soon."

I assume my own copy will be arriving soon and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nano 30991

I cleared 30K today! **Happy Dance** Today's chapter came in at 2457.

The fairy kittens are recovering from being accidentally drugged:
I picked up Pico and dropped her; her wings fluttered out and she hovered in front of my face, indignant at the mistreatment. Good. She could fly. I repeated the process with Boots and Puff, shushing their squawks.

"It's time to head for home," I whispered to the fairies.

Blog Tour - Scoop

The book tour for the latter part of this week focuses on Scoop. This novel is a kickoff for a new series by Rene Gutteridge called Occupational Hazards.

On Rene's website I found these reviews about her newest novel, Scoop.

From Publishers Weekly
This humorous novel from Gutteridge kicks off her new series, the Occupational Hazards, featuring seven siblings in a clown family that disbands when the parents die in a freak accident. Twenty-five-year-old Hayden Hazard sheds her protected, homeschooled life to strike out on her own as assistant to Channel 7 news producer Hugo Talley. Her innocence, simple faith and good looks attract the attention of reporter Ray Duffey and egomaniacal weatherman Sam Leege. But trouble is brewing: an aging newscaster has overdone the Botox, giving her a permanent happy face while announcing the most terrible tragedies, and Ray is assaulted on the air while doing a story on pig zoning. An explosion at the waste-water treatment plant seems simple, but Ray discovers something stinks more than sewage or the pigs. Hugo pops blue pills for his stress, but even his medicated calm can't quell the looming disaster. As she did in her Boo series, Gutteridge clearly has fun with her story; the pages brim with quirky characters and plenty of laughs. Hayden's crusade against Hugo's antianxiety meds are the only questionable note in the book; readers may see it as a faith versus prescription antidepressants message. Drugs aside, this is a rollicking evangelical ride through the television news world, reminding readers why Gutteridge is such a delightful read. (Oct. 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This is one of those great books that improves with the second reading and deserves being read out loud to a significant other who can laugh and cry along with you. Highly Recommended.

It looks like a book I will enjoy reading, and I'm particularly glad that it is the beginning of a series and not somewhere in the middle. There is a possibility my package(s) of books may arrive tonight... Here's hoping.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Nano 28534

The story streamed well today, but I can't find a snippet that makes any sort of sense at all without context. Today's words came in at 3173. I'm happy.

Blog Tour - Scoop!

Okay, this is one of those crazy weeks where the two blog tours overlap. I don't really have anything to say about Scoop by Rene Gutteridge because, sadly, I haven't received a shipment of books recently. So sad am I without these books that I called my friends in the USA (my postal brokers) to make sure nothing had arrived as I wasn't sure if we just hadn't connected lately. No boxes of books. I'm expecting something like 8-12 books at that address sometime in the last week. Or next week as the case may be. Either way, I'll try to find something more useful to say tomorrow. Like what the book is about, maybe?

Landon Snow Blog Tour Day 3

CSSF Blog Tour

One more plug today for the great kids' fantasy series about a boy named Landon Snow. The third story Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum has recently been released.

I thought this might encourage some of the writers in our midst!

From the website:
Q: Are you a full-time novelist?

R.K.: Yes-I'm often working on a novel in my head from when I wake up until I go to bed.

No-My time spent at my computer writing averages between 1 and 2 hours a day. And for pay purposes? Well, it took me over 10 years to get my first publishing contract, and with the remuneration received from it so far I could almost support my family for one month.

Q: What is your day job?

R.K.: I am an active-duty chaplain in the U. S. Navy. I deployed for six months in 1999 aboard a carrier battle group from San Diego to the Persian Gulf. I was a destroyer squadron chaplain, meaning I visited ships that did not have their own chaplain onboard. I would fly by helicopter (the "Holy Helo" with a chaplain onboard) from the aircraft carrier to other ships and stay a few days conducting worship services, Bible studies and personal counseling.

After 2 years as squadron chaplain I went to Okinawa, Japan for 3 years with the Marines (Navy chaplains serve Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard communities). With the Marines I visited 10 other countries in Southeast Asia. Currently I serve as a staff chaplain at the base chapel in Mayport, Florida.

Q: What one piece of advice do you have for aspiring writers?

R.K.: Keep dreaming and driving toward your publishing goal. Second piece of advice: Attend a writers conference to network and learn about writing and the publishing industry.

UPDATE: Mortenson has recently left his post as a Navy chaplain and taken a ministerial position in a South Dakotan church. Hopefully this will spark his creativity even more (you have to admit there is more SNOW in South Dakota than Florida for him to LAND-ON) (Okay, that was a very sad joke, but I made you smile, didn't I? C'mon....)

Check out the following blogs for more info:
Janey DeMeo
Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Frank Creed
Gene Curtis
Chris Deanne
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Karen and at Karen's myspace
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
John Otte
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Chris Walley
Daniel I. Weaver

Think the books sound like a great Christmas gift for your kids or a family you love? Mirtika Schultz is giving away a set of all THREE Landon Snow books. Go on over and post a comment saying you want to be entered in her contest!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nano count: 25361

Today's count was a little shy of my goal at 2232, but the scenes appear to be complete so I'm not sweating it. And besides, I cleared the halfway point!

Comic Relief

For today's most applicable comic, click here. Many thanks to Erin, lover of links. Krin's day just got worse. Enter: Squid, stage right.

Landon Snow Blog Tour--Day 2

CSSF Blog Tour

Today we are focusing on the third book in the series, the title of which is Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum. From the website:
Landon Snow is back in his third adventure into the realm of Wonderwood. This time, Landon Snow finds himself on a wild adventure at sea. When a huge, ark-like vessel emerges, Landon - and his sisters - join a quest to find the Island of Arcanum, where the animals of Wonderwood are imprisoned. With the help of his old friends-a horse named Melech, elfish valley folk, a girl named Ditty, and the poet/prophet Vates-Landon seeks to unlock the island's dark secrets and escape with the animals. But he must battle storms and the villainous Arcans-pirates who hoard animals as treasure. Will Landon ever make it back to Wonderwood alive?

I enjoy Landon Snow a lot and rumor has it (from those with kids) that the stories hit their intended mark: children--and those who read to them. Landon's adventures happen whenever he visits the Button Up Library across the street from his grandparents' house. Landon's sisters Holly--who counts everything that is countable and some things that really aren't--and Bridget--who falls asleep every time she gets in the car or there's any lull in action--both accompany Landon on this biggest adventure yet. Author R. K. Mortenson (Randy) has a whacky sense of humor that shows up often in this great series for kids.

Check out the website for the series here and buy the book here!

I *think* this is a correctly updated list of links for the blog tour. My connection was so awful yesterday (dialup at home) that I couldn't go back and check it all. Apologies to anyone who tried to click through as there were several errors.

Janey DeMeo
Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Frank Creed
Gene Curtis
Chris Deanne
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Karen and at Karen's myspace
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
John Otte
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Chris Walley
Daniel I. Weaver

Think the books sound like a great Christmas gift for your kids or a family you love? Mirtika Schultz is giving away a set of all THREE Landon Snow books. Go on over and post a comment saying you want to be entered in her contest!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blog Tour - Landon Snow

This week's blog tour features a book--and a series--that I have come to love. About a year ago I was privileged to blog about Landon Snow and the Auctor's Riddle. Unfortunately I missed book 2 of this terrific series for children Landon Snow and the Shadows of Malus Quidam. This week I'm happy to talk about the third book in what is currently projected to be a five-book series, Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum.

The idea for this series started late one night, when flute music woke author R. K. Mortenson from his sleep. As he stood at his window, trying to locate the source of the sound, he spied a library across the lawn. Suddenly he envisioned an eleven-year-old sneaking out of his bed and stealing to the library in the dead of the night. And thus, Landon Snow was born.

Whenever Landon's family visits his grandparents' home in Button Up, Minnesota, Landon loves to visit the historical library across the street. And I can assure you that engaging young hero will help young readers (and older ones) to find a lot of enjoyment in books, as well.

In Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum, I find that R. K. Mortenson's style is a wild conglomeration of Lewis Carroll (think Alice in Wonderland) and C. S. Lewis (think Voyage of the Dawntreader. (As far as I know, there is no *Lewis* in R. K. Mortenson's name!) Does that make these stories a rip-off of the classics? Not in the slightest.

Please consider purchasing Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum if you have a young reader on your Christmas list. Please consider purchasing all three books published to date! And if you don't have a young reader around, just pretend. I'm sure you'll enjoy the series as much as I have!

Check out what other bloggers have to say about this book:
Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Frank Creed
Gene Curtis
Chris Deanne
April Erwin
Kameron M. Franklin
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Karen and at Karen's myspace
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
John Otte
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Chris Walley
Daniel I. Weaver

P.S. I see that a full three-book set will be given away over at Mirathon. Pop on over and comment on Mirtika's post to be entered!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Nano total -- 23129

Friday was unusually busy at work, so I didn't get my scenes finished. Got things wrapped up today (my nano day off) for a two-day total of 3126.

I'm off on a three day weekend in honor of Remembrance Day, so may not have new totals to display until Tuesday. See you later!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bog Tour - The Cubicle Next Door Day 3

I think I mentioned once upon a time that when I received a requested review book from Harvest House Publishers, I got more than I'd bargained for. In addition to The Cubicle Next Door (the blog tour pick) by Siri Mitchell, there were three other books. Talk about Christmas in September!

I'd like readers to know a bit about the other books as well, as a sort of thank you to Harvest House. So here goes:

Blind Dates can be Murder
By Mindy Starns Clark

This is obviously the second book in a series that starts with The Trouble With Tulip.

From the back cover:
She's a sassy single woman full of household hints and handy advice for every situation...except matters of her heart. Her first romantic outing in months is a blind date--okay, the Hall of Fame of Awful Blind Dates--but things go from bad to worse when the date drops dead and Jo finds herself smack in the middle of a murder investigation.

With her neighbor Danny Watkins' help, Jo attempts to solve one complicated mystery while trying to figure out another--what on earth is going on with her love life?

This is labeled a smart chick mystery from Harvest House and is my kind of suspense. Even though there are real dangers involving Jo and her friends, the novel had a lighter feel to it that I thoroughly enjoyed, though I have to admit the ending frustrated me a little.

The Last Ten Percent
by Michelle McKinney Hammond

From the back cover:
Wondering what to do now, Tracy examines her priorities and choices. You'd think an intelligent woman with an impressive career, a coveted urban dwelling, and a closet full of the latest fashions could certainly find the man her dream desires.

But for Tracy and her four friends, there's more to happiness than simply finding Mr. Right. Adrian has always been the perfect Christian wife, yet even she finds that marriage comes with no guarantees. Muriel would just as soon lock her heart away where no man dare tread. Felicia could use a lesson in romantic restraint, and Carla wonders if God is punishing her for past mistakes.

As the future unfolds, these longtime friends discover that love comes in unique and amazing ways.

This is Hammond's first novel, though she has a number of non-fiction titles. I'd been really excited to read it because there has been talk around the internet from time to time about black authors and the uphill battle they face. I was all set to enjoy this glimpse into African American culture (a foreign concept to this rural Canadian girl) and that part did not disappoint me. Each of the major characters had distinct issues and personalities, but the book was really too short to give each one a full arc, so there were times I felt like bits of the middle were missing.

The biggest disappointment to me was the editing. I felt the entire book could have been much stronger if another editing pass had been made. As a writer as well as a reader, I'm sure my eye is much more tuned to those types of errors than many readers. I had to wonder if the editors brushed over it because of Hammond's previous non-fiction sales, treating her as an established author when in fact non-fiction writing is quite different. I was jarred out of the story on a number of occasions, which wasn't really the fault of the story itself.

All in all, I think this is the first novel I've written showcasing a black American culture and I did enjoy that glimpse a lot.

Seventy Times Seven
By Brandt Dodson

From the back cover:
Lester Cheek had everything a man could want...a beautiful home, a thriving business, and money to burn. But he was alone--very alone. Until he met Claudia.

The attractive and effervescent Claudia was everything Lester could hope for--she brought a joy into his life that his riches couldn't buy.

But then Claudia disappears...with no explanation and no trace.

Hired to find the missing Claudia, Colton Parker soon finds himself in a race against time to locate an international hit man and stop a murder for hire. But Colton must also wrestle with his personal demons...those that threaten to drive his young daughter away...and that can only be healed through forgiving past wrongs.

This is Dodson's second Colton Parker mystery. Aspiring Retail Magazine says: "Fans of Robert Parker's 'Spencer' novels will feel right at home. Recommended."

I don't read mysteries, and I enjoyed this.

So that was what was in my Christmas-in-September box. WooHoo!! Thanks, Harvest House.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nano count: 20003

Today's count: 2906

Krin's life has not improved since yesterday. Please (shhhh) don't tell her how much worse it's going to get, okay? She's already got enough problems.

The dauntingness of three nights and days on these abysmal rocks shot through me. I raised my head to the sky and shouted as loud as I could, "Great God, if you're out there, right now would be a good time to start taking care of me. I'm cold and I'm wet and I'm hungry and I think this is a really bad way to treat those who are trying to follow in your way. It isn't fair!"

There was no echo, only laughter.


I had never imagined the Great God's laughter, but if I had, it wouldn't have sounded like my sisters.

And there we have it. Krin about to discover the mermaids. I did tell you there were mermaids, didn't I? Oh well. There are.

Blog Tour - The Cubicle Next Door - Day 2

Today I am flat-out stealing this review of The Cubicle Next Door from the Christian Fiction Blog Tours site. Did I not read the book myself? Why, yes I did. But I'm in the middle of Nano, and besides, I couldn't have put this more eloquently myself!

If you like blogging...which you must if you are reading will think this book is blogarific. After each chapter, there is a blog entry. The book is written in first person and contains some hilarious blog antics.

Imagine that you are an anonymous blogger, one who uses a silly name instead of your own, then imagine blogging about your work. Now imagine blogging about your cubicle mate of the opposite sex and calling him by an anonymous name.

I know some who have done just that.

But now imagine that your cubicle mate has discovered your blog and begins to read it out loud to you. EVERY MORNING.

The Cubicle Next Door is set in a civilian's view of working on a military post. That in itself is funny enough...then add that the main character is a tree hugging, anti-SUV lover, with a thing for Bollywood movies. (Her favorite it Bride & Prejudice.) Suddenly this civilian hippie is thrown into a cubicle next to an Air Force Pilot/Teacher who SUV. Can't you feel the love?

Also, The Cubicle Next Door has some wonderful moments of self discovery.

A delightful is an excerpt for you:

The Cubicle Next Door

by Siri L. Mitchell Released Aug 06

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

“So what do you think, Jackie?”

What do I think? Funny Joe should ask me that. He’s just finished reading my blog. He’s just quoted me to myself. Or is it myself to me? Do I sound surreal, as if I’m living in parallel universes?

I am!

The blog—my blog—is all about Joe. And other topics that make me want to scream. But the clever thing is, I’m anonymous. When I’m blogging.

I’m Jackie, Joe’s cubicle-mate when I’m not.

And that’s the problem.

Joe is asking Jackie (me) what I think about the Mystery Blogger (also me). And since I don’t want Joe to know the blog is all about me and what I think of him, I can’t tell him what I think about me.

My brain is starting to short circuit.

So if I can’t tell him what I think about me, I certainly can’t tell him what I think about him, so I’m going to have to pretend not to be me. Not me myself and not me The Cubicle Next Door Blogger—TCND to my fans.

I have fans!

If I were clever I’d say something like, “Look!” and point behind him and then duck out of the room when he turned around to look.

But there’s so much computer equipment stacked around my desk and so many cables snaking around the floor that I’d break my neck if I tried to run away. So that option is out.

I could try pretending I didn’t hear him. “What?”

“SUVs. So what do you think about them?”

But then we’d basically end up back where we started.

So how did I get myself into this mess?

It was all Joe’s fault.

The style of the novel was enjoyable; I'd be happy to read other books by Siri Mitchell.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nano count 17097

Today's count: 2881

And today's snippet (because I know you can't wait, lol):

Loud voices acclaimed Mythil's words, but he raised his voice above them all. "The sea has taken more of our men and has given nothing in return. We need a sacrifice."

"No," said Pathak. "She will go."

She will go? What she was he talking about? Where was she going? They couldn't be talking about me, could they? Was I to attend my rite of passage? Or be a sacrifice to Mythil's idea of a god?

CFBA Blog Tour - TCND

This week's pick for the blog tour is The Cubicle Next Door by author Siri Mitchell. This is chick lit, pure and simple, and a fun read even so.

Even so? I mean, I can't much relate to the thirty-something never-been-married gal who lives with her grandmother. I was married at 21--and a mommy at 22. I've never had a *real* career; I was a stay-at-home mom who later got a job to help keep family finances functional. To me, these gals (and I'm lumping much chick lit together in this statement!) who are ten years or more beyond that age and still acting like teenagers seem somewhat absurd. Isn't it possible to grow up without getting married? I don't get it. But I do need to remember that I am not precisely the target audience here!

My daughter (25 and married) and I have had some interesting discussions about Christian chick lit. Living in a college town as she does, she believes that many 20-somethings just continue to be older teenagers. Many young adults still live with their parents and continue with a generally less responsible lifestyle than those of previous eras. (Can't get your kids to leave home? Stop cooking with cheese, as the ad on tv goes...) Sheesh. I feel OLD.

Okay, I kind of got off topic. Tomorrow I'll actually talk about *this* book. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Nano count: 14216

Today's count: 2872. Still right on track. And here's a snippet from today. Pathak (Krin's mentor) is trying to teach her rhythm.

"Krin, concentrate," he said. It must have been the fiftieth time he had said that.

was concentrating. I was concentrating so hard my eyes hurt and my head felt like someone was squeezing it all the way around. If I concentrated any more I would explode like a dead and bloated sheep on a hot day. The thought distracted me for a bit, remembering the day... No. I had a job to do. I looked at Pathak.

"I'm trying."

Today I discovered that kitten fairies are not immune to catnip. Er, yeah. It was an interesting writing day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nano total: 11344

2830 today, but there isn't a snippet. I just squeezed the words under the time-wire and I'm not really fond of the chapter. I'm thinking too much telling, not enough showing, but figuring that out is a job for after November.

Hope you are all faring well...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nano count 8514

Today's count: 2831, so I'm pretty happy. I'm right on schedule, which is writing weekdays and leaving my weekends free for farm and home tasks.

Today's snippet takes place when Krin's kittens meet her mentor's hound dogs:

Pathak's other two fairies erupted from the cot, yipping, yowling, and tumbling head over heels in mid-air. The first one launched, and all three shot towards me. I ducked as I heard the kittens hiss and snarl but there was little I could do to stop the ensuing melee.

Pathak bellowed "
Stop!" and one of the hounds dropped to the ground, glancing sheepishly over its shoulder at Pathak. The maven whistled sharply, then clapped his hands twice. Another hound sank out of the fight, and the three kittens attacked the third one ferociously.

"Krin, call them off!" Pathak shouted.

How could I? I hadn't even named them yet! "Kittens?" I called. Of course they ignored me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Christian fantasy writer weighs in

Karen Hancock, author of the popular series Legends of the Guardian King discusses some of the many reasons why fantasy might be a truer representation of reality for believers than the books that tout contemporary settings and themes.

Check it out here!

Nano -- 5683

2574 new words today for a full nano total of 5683. Today's snippet:

Three kittens. What an unimaginable luxury. My heart sank as I realized of course Mama wouldn't let me keep them. I tried to think where I might hide them as I set the black one down on my chest beside the calico, who opened its eyes and licked the black one's face. They needed names. No they didn't. I couldn't keep them. Tiny pinpricks poked my arm and I glanced at the gray one, who yawned and stretched, tail high in the air.

Something didn't look quite right. I reached over to run my fingers through its fur and found something bony attached to its back. I must have startled the kitten, because it jumped in the air. And stayed there. The something strange and bony proved to be wings. I swallowed hard and stared, afraid that if I took my gaze off them for an instant they would disappear. Definitely wings. They fluttered and flapped, then tilted as the kitten returned to my bed. It stalked up my chest, wings sticking straight up in the air.

I should remember to breathe.

(Not promising one every day, by the way...)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nano count- 3109

A successful first day. Here's a little snippet of Krin participating in a Dance of Ritual...or is she?

My hand jerked as Trafford pulled me forward. Already I was out of synchronization with the circle. Concentration was vital, but I knew it would not be enough. It never was. I went forward as everyone else stepped back. I pulled left, Trafford tugged me right. The drums pounded, the cobblestones throbbed, the lengthening shadows shimmered--and my feet would not send me in the direction of the dance.

"Enough!" shouted Mythil.

The music stopped in mid-beat. I looked up to see the aging satrap glaring at me. Hastily I stepped back into line beside Trafford.

"You! Out. Someone else take her place."

DKA Tour Day 3 and EEEEEEK Nano

Okay, if you're NOT doing National Novel Writing Month, you have plenty of time to check out the short stories and poems at Dragons, Knights, and Angels Ezine. And if you ARE doing Nano, maybe you need a short story or two to read to clear your mind at some point today. Check it out.

And now I'm opening that great white document and starting my Nano journey with Krin and the Giant Squid. See you later!