Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I'm excited about turning the page of my--new :)--datebook and beginning 2010. I have some goals for 2010, goals like lose weight and be better at time management. I have a plan to make those more likely to happen...but my biggest goal is not to lose sight of what really matters in the busyness of life. To take the time to laugh with my kids, to enjoy my husband, and to grow deeper in relationship with my Lord. These are the things that really bring me joy.
Best wishes to all of you for a joy-filled 2010!
Smoke Screen, Stephanie Newton's newest book in the Emerald coast 911 series will be in retail stores January 12. For more information about Stephanie or her other books, check out her website at www.stephanienewtonbooks.com.
I was talking to a friend who said that it’s better to have only one resolution. Apparently, having too many makes our minds unfocused and we end up not keeping any of them, but if we have only one, we can focus and are more likely to keep it. That makes sense to me.
I want to go one step further and make my resolution specific and concrete. All the articles on weight loss I’ve read say to make your goals very specific and doable, and then you’ll be more likely to keep them. So I’m going to apply this to my New Years resolution:
30 minutes of exercise every day. It doesn’t have be strenuous—it’s most likely to be a walk with the dog in the afternoon—but I have to do it. I can also break it up into 15 and 15 minutes twice a day if need be.
What’s your New Years resolution?
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novels Single Sashimi and Deadly Intent are out now. She runs the Story Sensei critique service, is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels and ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for giveaways!
Monday, December 28, 2009
It’s the Monday after Christmas, and I’m trying to figure out where the time went. For weeks I’ve been getting ready for the big day, and all too soon it was over. I have to say, though, that I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed Christmas as much as I did this year.
Christmas morning was hectic with eighteen family members descending on my house for breakfast and exchanging of gifts. The laughter of my loved ones filled my ears, and I was so thankful we could be together.
Of course a big part of Christmas is gift giving, but we always emphasize the true meaning of Christmas before we tear into the packages under the tree. As my family gathered in the living room after breakfast, we followed the tradition that my father started many years ago. We read the story of Jesus birth to remind us all that on that first Christmas God gave us the greatest gift of all—His son.
After a prayer of thanks, it was time to open the brightly colored packages piled underneath the tree. During this time, I like to watch everyone open their gifts, but I couldn’t have guessed how I would react when I opened one of mine.
My oldest daughter gave me a gift this year that I will treasure. This past summer my Yorkshire terrier Belle died. She had been my constant companion for the past fourteen years, and I miss her every day. She followed me everywhere and lay at my feet any time I was writing. To my surprise on Christmas morning my daughter gave me a painting of Belle, and of course I cried. But I’ve decided the only place to hang it is over my desk so that I can glance at her from time to time just as I used to do.
As the day drew to a close, I was filled with a warm glow as I tucked away the events of that day for memories in the future. Now it’s time for a new year and a chance to make new memories. My prayer is that each one of you will have a wonderful 2010.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Hi. It's Lenora. We've opened all the presents (and I got a new purse from my daughter!). We've eaten and eaten and eaten until we all had to take long naps by the fire. It snowed just a bit here last night, something rare for our part of the country.
Everyone is content. Couldn't ask for much more for a lovely peaceful Christmas Day. Now it's all over and we'll tuck away the Christmas decorations until next year. That includes saving some of the boxes and bags we had presents in this year to use again. My friends used to tease me about recycling gift bags. But I grew up on a farm and watched my mother tuck bags and boxes away to use again. That was just a way of life for us. But I tell my friends I do it not because I'm cheap or tacky, but because reusing a gift bag saves trees and helps the environment. Now it's become a tradition amongst my friends to see who winds up with one of the best bags next year. We like to see how far a reused, reissued bag can go before we have to throw it away.
The other day, my good friend Elaine pictured above with her mother Hilda Marie, gave me a gift and she said she had to explain about the cute bag she'd used. It was recycled but it still had a gift tag from her brother and his wife to her sweet mother. (From another Christmas.) I told her I didn't mind seeing her mother's name on the bag. You see, her mother passed away earlier this year and seeing that name tag reminded me of how much I loved her. So now I have something that Hilda One smiled over and enjoyed. What a nice gift.
I think we're like recycled bags sometimes. We're tossed around, tucked away, crushed and forgotten and then someone finds us and bring us out, fluffs us up and makes us pretty and useful again. God does that with us all the time. What better time to remember that than at Christmas? Next year, I'll pull out that Hilda One bag and I will pass it on with pride to another person, knowing that an angel in heaven is smiling down on us and clapping her hands in glee. Merry Christmas, Hilda Marie. I love you still.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Carrie Turansky here wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas. We still have several inches on snow on the ground here in New Jersey from a storm last weekend, so we have a white Christmas for the first time in many years. It's beautiful to look outside and see the sparking blanket covering everything.
Merry Christmas! Ramona (and Rachel, in her Who socks) here, hoping you are blessed by the love, hope, and joy of this most glorious of times. I'm traveling Christmas Eve and Day, so my time will be one of introspection and prayer for all of my LI sisters and our amazing readers. God bless y'all!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Then she'd show up in mom and dad's bedroom about 5 AM. We could put her off until maybe about 6:30, but that was the latest we could get away with.
She's grown now, but in her teen she found a recipe for pumpkin pancakes. This was something we had to have on Christmas morning. (She's big on tradition.) Now that she'd married, she serves pumpkin pancakes on Christmas morning to her husband. This year pumpkin is in short supply. (Have you tried to find canned pumpkin?) But you can bet, she found pumpkin. The can bug was enough for pancakes and a pie.
Here's wishing you the best Christmas.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The days before Christmas are always busy and filled with last minute holiday preparations. In contrast, the week following Christmas is a refreshing pause in the routine of my daily life. I plan to relax in a comfy chair, cup of cappuccino in hand, and read the wonderful Steeple Hill Christmas books out this month.
Margaret Daley and I have a Love Inspired Suspense titled CHRISTMAS PERIL, which features two suspense stories in one book. Margaret’s Merry Mayhem hooked me from the first line. I couldn’t put the book down. Margaret is a delightful writer who has published 66 books, and I know you’ll enjoy her story. Yule Die is the tale I enjoyed telling about two strong-willed characters caught up in a hostage situation that changes their lives forever. Still on sale at your favorite bookstores or wherever you buy books, I hope you’ll consider reading both stories over the holiday.
If you’ve been good, maybe Santa will stuff your stocking with books for your New Year’s reading pleasure!
Wishing you a joyous Christmas!
Book 2 in the Protecting the Witnesses
Love Inspired Suspense Continuity Series
Monday, December 21, 2009
Some of you know this year has been rough. Among other things, my mom passed away after a long illness. I've spent a lot of time going down memory lane while looking at childhood pictures, etc.. I used to spend hours with my books, especially Walter Farley's Black Stallion series. All of this has been coming back at me big time.
To add to the craziness, my husband and I decided to make a big change. With the kids grown up and on their own, we sold our house in northern Virginia and moved to Lexington, Kentucky, "the Thoroughbred Capital of the World." The Lord gave me an wonderful surprise here in Lexington. The house we bought--a tract home in the suburbs--backs to a farm for retired racehorses. Every few days or so, the horses show up at our fence. This morning my husband and I fed them carrots and peppermint.
If someone had told me a year ago I'd be feeding carrots to racehorses in my backyard, I'd have thought they were nuts. You never know what God's going to do! No matter your circumstances, be encouraged! We worship an awesome God. Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!
Okay, so it's dark outside and I'm sitting in front of my computer after a three day Internet absence. Christmas is sooooo fun.
Friday night we loaded up Grandpa, Grandma, hubby, four-year-old, me, and headed for Williams, Arizona, and the Polar Express. It's great fun. They take the Grand Canyon Railroad train, stick a wreath on the nose of the engine, and make magic for kids. We were on car J.
Our train was supposed to leave at 8:00, but for some reason, there was delay. I overheard one of the elves (train employee dressed up) on his walkie talkie: Clean up on car M. The mom in me thought, "Oh, no. Some kid drank too much hot chocolate." The worrier in me thought, "Oh, no. Someone is hurt." The suspense writer in me thought "There's been a murder!"
In real life, the engine broke. Nothing magical like Caribu on the track. After an hour wait (we spent it freezing, getting Mikey's picture taken with Santa, and freezing some more), we got on the train. It's about a fourty minute ride to the North Pole. The waiter and elve serve cookies and hot chocolate, and over the loud speaker they read the book (we brought ours so Mikey had the pictures). Then, it's the North Pole! It's about a block long and Santa is outside on his sleigh waving. The train then heads back to the station and Santa is on board. He gives all the kids a hug and a bell and asks them to believe.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
That wasn't the miracle. The miracle was that our van was totaled but our daughter is suffering only sore limbs--not even a scratch or bruise.
In case you're wondering, my daughter wasn't on illegal drugs or alcohol but in the ER, they couldn't find out what had caused her to pass out. The impact into a slender maple tree which stopped the van didn't even wake her. The First Responders had a time rousing her. And she was disoriented and remembered nothing.
We have an appointment with her primary doctor on Tuesday. She can't drive until we figure out what caused this.
She went off the road on a state highway and fortunately stayed on her own side. Not far down from where she went off the road is a lake on both sides of the road. She would have drowned if she had gone off the road there.
Some kind person called 911 from their phone reporting the accident. God bless them even if they couldn't stop.
So as you might expect, we are praising God for this miracle.
God bless all of you and keep you safe.
On Sale Now! The 2nd in the Gabriel Sisters series-Her Patchwork Family
Last year's December Love Inspired Historical, 1st in the Gabriel Sisters series
To purchase either, drop by http://www.booksbylyncote.com or for a chance to win one http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Christmas has been so busy I can't believe December is halfway over. It seems you get together with friends more at Christmas. Last night I went to our bridge group's Christmas party (picture above--I'm in front second from the right in a black sweatshirt and jeans). The food was delicious and the company even better. Next week I will meet with my critique group for our Christmas party we have every year. I also got together with some teachers I taught with for many years last weekend. It was so nice to see them. What are some special parties you've gone to this month?
In the middle of all this madness, I hope you'll have time to stop by tomorrow, December 16th at eHarlequin for the Steeple Hill open house (all day). Check out the authors who will be participating in it from Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines at:
Have a blessed and safe Christmas and New Year.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Feel free to sing while you read.
Palm trees wave, are you listening'?
In the pool, water's glistenin',
A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight
Livin' in a Phoenix Wonderland.
Gone away is the blizzard,
Here to stay is the lizard,
A warm sunny day; we like it that way,
Livin' in a Phoenix wonderland.
In the desert we will have a picnic,
Cactus, sand, rattlesnakes, and sun.
Christmas dinner is an old tradition,
It's pinto beans and tacos by the ton.
Later on we'll perspire,
Temperatures will rise even higher,
A warm sunny day, we like it that way,
Livin' in a Phoenix Wonderland.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Merry Christmas from Carrie.
I wanted to share a special Christmas memory with you.
My husband never "officially" proposed to me. Our conversations about getting married just evolved and then one day we went shopping, looked at rings and bought one. I knew I loved him, and I was sure he was the one for me, but I always felt a little disappointed that he didn't plan a romantic proposal, especially when other couples shared their proposal stories. So one Christmas morning, with all the family gathered around the Christmas tree, he knelt in front of me, declared his love, and asked me to be his wife for the rest of my life. He also gave me a beautiful diamond ring to replace my wedding ring since I had lost the diamond out of my original ring a few months earlier. I was so touched and surprised I could hardly speak. Of course, I finally found my voice, said yes, and kissed him to the cheering of our kids who were then ages 15 - 21. So now I have a proposal story to share and a beautiful Christmas memory.
I hope you will have a wonderful Christmas with those you love!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Moving into a new house at Christmas can be a challenge. We did it once when our kids were in high school. We bought a tree on Christmas eve for very little because they were trying to get rid of them. Organizing a house after a move is a job in itself, but adding the Christmas decorating along with that can make the job even more difficult. We could have skipped the decorating, but what would Christmas be without a tree and at least a few decorations. So today I went shopping with my son-in-law. We bought a tree. It looked like the perfect tree, but when we got it home, I decided that it wasn't as wonderful as it looked at the store. However, once we get it decorated, it will be wonderful. We bought garland for the bannister on their stairway, and we put up some of the decorations that they already owned. We are hanging pictures and finding places for all of their belongings. When I return home in a few days, hopefully, they will be somewhat settled.
I would have included some photos, but they still don't have internet access. That will be installed on Friday--too late for this post. I'm having to use a borrowed computer. I went to the public library to use the computer the other day. I'm so used to having internet access that I'm having to get used to living without it.
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.
I used to love Christmas shopping. But as I get older and crankier, I have found it's become harder to get excited about driving two hours to get to the nearest mall then schlep around the mall and end up buying something, anything, just so I wouldn't feel like I wasted the four hour round trip. And this year, when I found myself with too much book to write and not enough month to write it my panic over Christmas shopping grew. I caught myself hyperventilating and worrying and stressing. I know Christmas is not about presents, but at the same time I know that I would feel like Scrooge if Christmas came and there was nothing under the tree. Especially with two granddaughters coming up to Nana and Papa's place for Christmas. But how? And when? And then, as I was sending an e-mail to my sister, laying out my dilemma, the dusty cogs in my brain began turning. Hmm....... Laptop. Internet access. PayPal. It all came together in a moment of clarity. I realized I was thinking too small. Why limit myself to shopping in The City, when I had the entire world, literally in my lap.I had choices, I had options and I had credit cards!Google searches became my friends. Shopping carts, easy to load up and pay for. I could browse at my leisure, discover items I would never have found driving around the city. And, even better, I didn't need to dress up. I could shop in my p.j.'s drinking tea and eating cookies. Does it get any better than that? I could work on my book and when I needed a break, go shopping. I got done my shopping in record time and as long as Canada Post does it's part, I'm set! And, even better, I love Christmas shopping again. Carolyne Aarsen.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Greetings from Lenora. It's here. Christmas is coming! It snowed in Louisiana last week. Here it was just a pretty scattering of snowflakes but I'd had a bad week. I didn't have much Christmas Spirit. The minute I looked out the window and saw that silent snow falling to the earth, my attitude changed and I begin decorating for the holidays. Our minister talked about not letting anyone steal your Christmas joy. And that's exactly what I'd been doing--allowing others to steal my joy. But not anymore. I will guard my joy with praise and thanks for the reason for this wonderful season. I won't let the stress of trying to find the perfect tree, or trying to prepare the perfect meal steal my joy. After all, I'm not Martha Stewart. I will try to bake sugar cookies and eat too many of them while watching Christmas movies on Lifetime and the Hallmark channel. I won't let deadlines take away my lifeline. I will try to balance work with my joy and tell myself how blessed I am to have the kind of job that allows me to play make-believe all day long and actually get paid for it! What a marvelous, glorious, wonderful time of year it is!
And I'm just getting started, people. C'mon, tell me what you love about Christmas!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Hi. I’m Renee Ryan. Like most writers of historical romance, I love researching the past. I adore getting lost in former days and learning what life was like “back then.” I am consistently amazed at the unusual tidbits I come across, things I never learned in my high school or college history classes. It’s these small factoids and glimpses into times-gone-by that make the past come alive for me.
Having said that, while in the early plotting stages of HANNAH’S BEAU, the second book in my CHARITY HOUSE series, I knew I wanted to focus on characters with unique backgrounds. In other words, I didn’t want to focus on the typical outlaw or cowboy or even rancher. I wanted something different. Thankfully, I fell across an article on the Golden Age of Theater and the ideas quickly burst forth.
During my research I became fascinated with the premiere acting family of the American Theater: The Barrymores. You’ve probably heard of Drew Barrymore, an accomplished actor in her own right who has garnered a lot of popularity and success, despite a few setbacks in her youth.
Maybe you’ve even heard of Drew’s famous grandfather and his equally talented siblings: Lionel, Ethel and John Barrymore. There is no question that these three Barrymores dominated early American cinema. But, contrary to what I had thought prior to my research, Lionel, Ethel and John weren’t the first to “tread the boards” in their family. They literally grew up in the theater. Their parents, Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew (AKA Georgie Drew Barrymore), were famous stage actors during the Golden Era of American Theater – 1880-1920.
The patriarch of the family, Maurice Barrymore, was born Herbert Arthur Chamberlayne Blythe in India. His father was a surveyor for the British East India Company. Young Herbert was sent back to England for his education. He attended Harrow School and then went on to study law at Oxford University. Much to his father’s chagrin, Herbert fell in with a group of actors and never became a barrister. In order to spare his father the shame of his chosen profession, Herbert changed his name to Maurice Barrymore.
After some success on the British stage, Maurice left for America in 1874. He made his Broadway debut in December 1875 in the play Pique. In the cast was a young actress, Georgiana Drew. After a short courtship the two married and proceeded to have three children, the above mentioned, Lionel, Ethel and John.
Maurice eventually started his own theater company and toured to cities in Arkansas, Louisiana and even Texas. He was a true pioneer of the stage.
So you see. There's nothing quite like discovering new stories behind the story. I will never look at Drew Barrymore the same. And that's a good thing.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Why, you ask, did I want to mess up the house just before Christmas? They seemed like good reasons at the time. I'd just finished a book, so I had a little time. Also, if we didn't start this job on the "To-Do List" before we decorated, then it would be on the list yet another month.
I figured I would paint the walls this buttery tan "Lair de Lune" color, and we would have the decorations up by Sunday night.
A few days and a case of the flu later and here I sit on Tuesday, literally in the middle of the family room where the furniture remains, since the walls still need a second coat. This will teach me for messing with holiday traditions.
How important are Christmas traditions in your family? In my December book, His Christmas Bride, the second title in the Wedding Bell Blessings trilogy, Jenna Scott and Dylan Warren join their families as they attempt to form joint holiday traditions, but they find true Christmas blessings only when they try to make the season brighter for someone else.
Well, it's back to painting. Maybe I'll have that wreath above the mantel by New Year's.