Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yes, Virginia

My last blog/article of the year has been posted and can be read at http://www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com/. It is about one of the best editorials ever written (at least in my opinion).

Have a Very Merry Blessed Christmas and a Great New Year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

So Happy

I know I am staying away from my blog until after the first of the year, but I just had to share. My Inspirational Historical Romance - The Healing Tree, finished in 1st Place in the Inspirational Category of the Space Coast Authors Launching a Star Contest. Woo Hoo.

Okay, back to the holidays. I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful Christmas season and that your house is full of fun, laughter, love and the smell of cookies baking.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Signing off for the Holidays

Now that Thanksgiving has passed we are officially into the Christmas season. Or, at least I am. Though a lot of people will listen to Christmas music and put up decorations before Thanksgiving, I am a firm believer that none of this should take place until the day after.
So, this Friday, the music was dug out and the tree went up.

This season also means an end to my blogging days - temporarily. I will still blog on my days at LadyScribes but I am taking a break from here. December is always crazy busy with family and friends. Plus, I need to have my son at classes four nights until the end of December, Christmas shopping and frankly, enjoying the season. Instead of trying to figure out how I can accomplish the impossible, I have decided to take a break from blogging, thus take the pressure off of trying to be here (which I have failed miserably at in the last couple of weeks).

With the illnesses in my family and extended family, I've been reminded that time with family and friends is precious, especially during the holidays. So, I will be posting no blogs from here on out until after the first of the year. I will try to stop in and visit, read and comment on blogs, but for now, I am going to just enjoy family, friends and this wonderful season and celebrating Christ's birth.

Have a wonderful holiday and a Very Merry Blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Social Networking - Part 5

This is my continuation of looking at Social Networking and the various avenues available to us.

Yahoo Groups. I think they can be considered them Social Networking, depending on their purpose. I belong to about ten but in all honesty, I am a lurker. Rarely do I make a comment, but I try to read all of the messages. There I learn some industry gossip, who has a book coming out, who has finaled and/or won in a contest, what subject someone is blogging about in a particular place, online classes being offered, etc. These are almost as necessary to me as my critique group and blog following.

As far as commenting in a Yahoo Group, this is beyond my comfort level. So many of those who are posting comments seem to know each other and appear close. I sometimes feel like and intruder or stupid when I think about responding. I know, I am probably being silly, but this is another thing I need to work on. Maybe I will tackle it while I am preparing to be brave at the next conference.

How do you feel about Yahoo Groups? Do you belong to any? Do you lurk like me or a regular participant? Which ones do you recommend for an author, romance author, or someone who loves history?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shall I get a Dragon

I am blogging today at LadyScribes about Voice Recognition Software. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Social Networking - Part 4

This is my continuation of looking at Social Networking and the various avenues available to us.

Blogging. This has got to be my most favorite part of Social Networking. I am following so many blogs, and discovering more and more every day, that it is impossible to read them all. This is where I think you really make a connection with others. If you don’t think it is possible, wait until you meet up with them at a conference and see them for the first time, you will realize they are not a stranger. When I was in Orlando this past summer several times I would hear a name, or read it on a badge and think, I know her, well not really, but I read her blog. If I were braver I would have actually introduced myself but I always assume people aren’t going to remember me and how embarrassing would it be for that person to have a blank look on their face and mutter “I am sorry, who are you again?”.

I am trying to get better about this and be more forward. Maybe next year I will be bold.

If you are reading this, I assume you enjoy blogging as well. Though there may be weeks that I don’t visit it at all, there will also be weeks when I am there every day. And, even though I may feel a little guilt of not reading a blog I have been following for a few weeks, I have the comfort of knowing it will still be there (usually) when I have time to return.

Do you enjoy blogging or do you feel it is a necessary evil to keep up with promoting? Do you have a blog schedule of when you post and read, or is it a hit and miss like me?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Social Networking - Part 3

This is my continuation of looking at Social Networking and the various avenues available to us.

How many of you have two Facebook accounts? I do. One is under a different name that my friends know me by. If a non-friend happens to show up there, I don’t friend them. It is as simple as that. I like to keep my writing / promo world separate from other things happening in my life. Besides, with as many people as there are in both groups I would lose track of everything and never be caught up.

That is what has actually happened with the Facebook I set up for promotional purposes. It is so out of hand I don’t know what to do. It has gotten to the point I hardly, if ever, go there. Which means it is doing me no good at all. Why did I friend all of these people, whom I don’t know and haven’t had time to get to know because I can’t find time to spend on Facebook. Sometimes I feel like I just want to clear the decks and start all over. Which I may do.

I am not a late night TV watcher. It happens on those rare occasions (which seems like the past week) when I need to stay awake (usually waiting for a child to return home). Well, Jimmy Kimmel has been on and he has made today FAcebook Unfriend day. I laughed at some of his reasons but it did stick in the back of my mind that maybe this is what I need to do to unclutter. I am going to clean up my Facebook and start over. (Please don’t be offended if we are friends and I unfriend you). I will keep those I have actually formed some type of relationship, whether it be from my critique group to people I have met a conferences. From there I will build, but I will no longer automatically click “accept” when a friend request shows up in my inbox.

Have any of you thought about unfriending or just starting over with Facebook. And how to you feel about all the farming, mafia wars and other things that go on? I don’t have time for those either. Oh, I've treid but my crops died, my ocean became polluted, etc. I wish I had time to play, but I don’t.

Wait, I take that back. I am a Bejeweled addict. There, I admitted it. This is my favorite thing to do to unwind. Hey, we each need our little fun at times, right. But, for the most part, I would rather have social interaction which is what social networking is all about and not spend time growing crops.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Social Networking - Part 2

This is my continuation of looking at Social Networking and the various avenues available to us.

First there is Twitter. I have an account and a few people follow me. I actually figured out how to follow them too. I wonder if they’ve realized I’ve probably posted only 10 Tweets the entire time I’ve had the account. I don’t understand it. People have tried to explain and I just don’t get it. Say someone is basically carrying on a conversation another person, but if you are only following one of those people aren’t you only getting half of the conversation? Writer friends enjoy following agents and publishers to read their words of wisdom. I would too, if I could figure out how to do this. Given I juggle enough in my life I’ve decided that Twitter is going to be at the bottom of my priority list. I may regret it someday, but it is doubtful.

So, do you Tweet? What is your take on it? Can you not live with out it or do you have nothing to do with it?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Social Networking - Part 1

Am I the only one who gets a headache at the mere thought of keeping up with each Facebook contact? Break out in a cold sweat at the thought of trying to figure out Twitter before I try and find the time to utilize it and the benefits? Or, feel guilty when I haven’t been able to keep up with the blogs I love to read? Don’t forget about the groups. There are a few Yahoo groups I belong to, which I found very beneficial as a writer. But, I’ve had to put them on digest because if I were to get individual messages I would never see the end of my e-mail box. And, then there is the critique group I cannot live without. Whew. No wonder I am so tired, confused, and disoriented.

Don’t you feel like it is all too much sometimes? When is a person supposed to read, write, and more importantly, actually spend time with her family? Throw in a full time job outside of the home and the head starts spinning. (I think I may have resembled Linda Blair from the Exorcist at one point).

When I started blogging and using Facebook it was all about being out there in cyber world. I would soon have a book published and this is what one was supposed to do. Sometimes I feel like it has gotten out of hand.

However, even though I am a bit overwhelmed at times, Susan R. Mills has execllent reasons of why we should participate in Social Networking. You can read her blog here.

Over the next few blogs I am going to post my thoughts about the different types of Social Networking. Some work really well for me and others, not so much. Do you think as an author it is necessary to participate in every type of Social Networking? What are your general thoughts?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blogging Interruption

Sometimes there are blog posts that are just too fun to ignore. That is why I am interrupting the regularly scheduled program, er, I mean blog.

When Lydia Dare (the Jodie of Lydia Dare), my critique partner, told me she and Tammy (the other half of Lydia Dare) were going to write a paranormal historical romance I groaned - literally, but not where she could hear me. I did not like paranormal, never had and doubted I ever would. But, she is my critique partner and I love her so I vowed to critique with an open mind.

It turns out, I absolutely adore Jodie and Tammy's witches and wolves. By the way, I still haven't ventured out and read other paranormal historicals but I don't groan at the thought of one anymore.

Anyway, Lydia's five witches are blogging today at http://tinyurl.com/29uxwkg (and why can't I ever get a link to work?). I encourage you to stop by if you want a few laughs. And, if you like historical paranormal romances, these are wonderful books and you have a chance of winning one, or maybe it is the set, I don't remember. I didn't really pay attention since I already have them :).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Contests

Contests are crazy things. Right now I know a number of writers who are polishing for the Golden Heart. I entered that a long time ago and didn't do so well. Looking back at that manuscript now, it probably should have been in the bottom as far as scores go.

Isn't it interesting to look at your writing today compared to five years ago, three, or even one. This is a constant learning process. I know I am always learning more about the craft.

Recently I decided to try my luck again with contests. I do consider it luck because what if you are matched up with a judge who really doesn't like your genre (even though that judge probably chose to judge that genre because they like it). Or, they don't appreciate your voice as well as your critique partners, or tend to be harsher judges marking off 10 points for a missplaced comma (that was an exaggeration). Or worse, you find out you really suck and your critique partners are just too kind to tell you.

I've heard wonderful stories about feedback and scores and I've heard some where I have gone "huh?" because I had read the entry.

I am sure judging is not an easy task, not to mention it is volunteer and all of these judges give up their valuable time to read your entry. For that we should be thankful. I've thought about judging, but it kind of scares me. Am I really qualified? I am all about bolstering someone's confidence, but what if I need to critique, mark things that need fixing, etc. A bad score can be crushing and send that author to the kitchen to grab a glass of wine in one hand and bag of chocolate in the other before she heads back to her computer to e-mail her writing buddies about how horrible and unfair that judge was. I don't want to be that judge. I will admit, none of my critique partners have ever reacted so strongly (at least to my knowledge) when they don't final. There is a round of sympathy chocolate and glass or two of wine, but soon they are back to polish for the next contest or to query an agent.

So, not too long ago, I took a deep breath, filled out my entry form, click the paypal button and sent the entry on its way. Well, I finaled! I think my jaw dropped and I stammered through the phonecall giving me this good news. I honestly could not believe it. I knew this was a contest with great feedback and that is what I was hoping for. I certainly didn't expect to final. In fact, I've never finalled in outher manuscripts I've entered. So, now I sit and wait to find the outcome in December. After reading my scores and notes, I had the judges that are really good at bolstering an ego, not to mention they made great suggestions for the manscript. Valuable feedback indeed.

How do you feel about contests? Have you had good experiences? If you haven't ever entered one, what is holding you back? If have entered a lot, what has been your experience? Are there some you would enter again?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Comfort Food

I am blogging a LadyScribes today. Stop by and let me know what your comfort food, book and movie is at ladyscribes.blogspot.com.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Happy Sunday

It is a beautiful day in my town. The weather is mild and can be considered warm given it is November.

The day started with Sunday School, as most of my Sundays do. The lesson was about when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Being a parent I cannot even begin to comprehend the anguish Abraham must have gone through as he put all his faith and trust in God and made preparations to kill his son. I would like to think that if God spoke to me directly and asked me to do something I would have the same trust and faith as Abraham. But, would I or would I question first?

Regardless of what we may think or be afraid our reaction would be if given a monumental task, we still have faith and trust in the Lord to see us through and answer our prayers.

My family could still use some prayers, inlcuding my mother, husband, and sister-in-laws mother. And, I give thanks that my sister has recovered from pneumonia, quicker than anticipated.

How can I pray for you this week? I welcome your requests.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Back from the Theater

I've had a crazy couple of weeks. Sweeney Todd sold out almost every night and it was so much fun to do. The makeup and hair design was even mentioned in a review as being "appropriately disturbing", which is exactly what I was going for.

In an earlier blog I mentioned that I would next be doing Fiddler on the Roof. I've had to step away from that committement (thank goodness for an understanding director). I will be stopping in at Fiddler on Tech Sunday to help with the look of the show and I will be doing makeup Friday night because the wonderful Rebecca, who took over for me, will be watching.


Now I have some unexpected free time while at home and want to keep occupied with non-television activities. What to do? Do I continue my French Revolution Research? I did come up with a great character while doing Sweeney. One of the actors has the manners and personality of someone who must be in Versailles.

Or, do I continue editing or go back to working on the sequel to To Walk in the Sun?

One thing I know, I won't be doing is cleaning. I learned a few interesting facts about dust bunnies yesterday. You can read all about it at http://www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com/.


So, what do you do when you have unexpected free time on your hands? Does it throw you for a loop and you find yourself standing in the living room wondering what to do? Or, do you not miss a beat and immediately move onto another project?


I am still looking for more French Revolution or Marie Antoinette sites for research purposes. If you know of any, please pass them on. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Day in the Life of . . .

My brain has moved to research mode. Even though I am currently working on two separate WIPs, I would rather step away and research. The bug hit me this weekend and I haven't written a thing since. If I needed to, I could pick back up on either story without hestitation, but I want to delve into the past of real people, not fictional.

What is calling to me? Versailles. I've had a series rumbling around in my brain for well over a year now and it can no longer be ignored. So, I am off to France via books and the internet to find out how Marie Antoinette spent her day, or anyone else living or visiting Versailles, from the time she married to the day she died. Of course, once she leaves Versailles, so will my research and I will move onto Paris, with a side trip toward Austria before being caught.

I also need to figure out a ligitimate reason why an Englishman would be in Versailles. Any suggestions?

Which historical figure would you like to spend the Day in the Life of? And, do you have any great French Revolution research sites they want to pass on?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Midnight Veil

I came across this short story I wrote a long time ago and though I would post if for Halloween. I know, I know, it is a pagan holiday and the customs of today are taken from the celebrations that predate Christianity in the UK. Still, if we keep it in the right spirit, it can be fun.

Midnight Veil

Where did they come from? James looked over the mess of jack-o-lanterns and cornstalk scarecrows crowded in his back yard. In a moment he knew who the culprits were, and they would also be the ones to clean up - his eighth grade history class.

In the week leading up to Halloween he had taught them the origins of the holiday. They were spellbound to learn the pagan beliefs as they related to All Hallows Eve or Samhain, as it is known in Ireland. They were surprised to learn that Trick or Treating came about because the Druids feared the dead playing tricks on them, so they gave treats, usually small cakes, fruit and sometimes coins, to anyone who knocked on their door. That the carved gourds on the front stoop were to frighten spirits away. Costumes were worn by people who walked out of the town, hoping the spirits would follow them. The thing that had frightened his students the most was the belief that at midnight, the veil between the living world and the dead was thin enough for spirits to pass through. He warned them all to be home, safe, before that time.

These decorations in his back yard had come about because of the bonus question on the test. “How do you suppose I decorate for Samhain?” None of the students answered correctly and were stunned to learn he did not decorate at all. He never felt the need, or desire for that matter. There were enough decorations and treats in his classroom on Halloween that he didn’t need anything at home.

“Mr. Allen, you need to at least have a pumpkin,” Morgan had insisted.

“Or a scarecrow,” Shane suggested.

James had just laughed it off and sent them on their way. He should have known they would conspire with one another. However, they could have used their imaginations a little more. Why not a ghost, witch or tombstone? No, he had 17 pumpkins and 13 scarecrows.

He glanced at his watch, eleven fifty-eight. He needed to get to bed so he was alert for his most troubling class first thing tomorrow. The sixth graders.

James reached to switch off the kitchen light when his doorbell rang. Who would trick or treat this late at night. They needed a parent to instill some discipline.

James turned and strode for the door, yanked it open to give the kid a piece of his mind when he was brought up short. Before him stood the most beautiful woman he had seen in a very long time. Black hair fell to her waist, large brown eyes focused on him, high cheekbones and full, red lips. She wore a black, slinky dress as if going out to dinner.

“May I help you?”

“Hi, I am Sylvia. I am here for the party.” The woman held up an invitation.

James took it from her and read. It was an invitation to a party, at his house, in his backyard, beginning at midnight.

“Where did you get this?”

“A young woman insisted I attend.” A blush grew on her cheeks. “I see now she was playing a trick on me.”

“I am sorry, but I am not having a party.”

His grandfather clock struck midnight.

She glanced past his shoulder. “Your yard seems rather well lit if you did not plan on entertaining.”

James glanced over his shoulder into the kitchen. Even from this vantage point he could see the pumpkins were bright, and people appeared to be moving around.

“This is very odd,” he muttered to himself. He turned away from her and walked toward the backyard. Her heels clicked on the hardwood floor behind him. James stopped at the back door and looked out.

“Are those scarecrows dancing?” she asked in a hushed tone.

“It appears so,” James responded, not sure if he could believe his eyes. The scarecrows were now partnered, dancing.

He opened the door and stepped out onto his deck, Sylvia followed. “I was unaware it was a costume party.”

James turned to look at her, bewildered. A waltz could be heard. Where the music came from, he had no idea.

“Shall we dance?” She smiled up at him.

Unable to stop himself, he pulled her close and began twirling her in three quarter time. He hadn’t waltzed since college.

They continued to dance, never tiring, laughing, talking, as if this were a normal party, with normal people.

A gust of wind blew.

The clock struck one.

James turned Sylvia and escorted her to the door to get her out of the wind. As she stepped through, he glanced back. The jack-o-lanterns were dark. The scarecrows were no longer animated. The wind was still.

A chill ran up his spine and he entered his home. Sylvia was not where he left her. He called, searched the house, but she had vanished.

Standing in the middle of his living room James came to the conclusion that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead did indeed disappear at midnight on All Hollows Eve. Next year he would be waiting for Sylvia’s return.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Simpler Time

I am blogging at LadyScribes today. Stop by if you get a chance - www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to the Theater

It is been a few months since I designed hair and makeup for a show, but I am back at it again. In fact, I have two shows in a row that I am working on. The first, Sweeney Todd. Sunday was the first day we ran with all the lights, sounds, bells and whistles in place. Okay, there really weren't any bells and whistles, but we did have lights and sound and I was able to see my other form of creativity come together under the lights. Though there are few faces that need tweeking, it looked awsome, if not a bit on the creepy side. But then again, this is Sweeny Todd. Isn't it supposed to be a bit creepy? At least from the director's perspective it is. I hope to post pictures on a later post because I am really proud of what my crew and I have created.

The next show is for the children's theater. As soon as Sweeney is done I need to get cracking on Fiddler on the Roof. My main thing at the moment is finding enough beards. The oldest can only be 18 and there are a few of the papas that are going need help with the proper beard. I am looking forward to working on this show as much as I looked forward to, and what has developed from Sweeney.

Between the two shows I will not be free to write again until Mid-November. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make. In fact, I find it very helpful. Sometimes I get stuck with the writing, or not happy with what I am producing and need a break. Or better yet, need to step back. It could also simply be that my muse doesn't feel like working and he is out enjoying the fall weather and colors thinking I will wait here patiently for him. Well, that isn't happening.

Working in the theater gives me that opportunity to channel my creativity in a differnt driection. While I focus on something else the WIP is still churning in the back of my mind and I am fresh and ready to return to writing when the last show closes. Actually, the longer I am away from writing the more my muse bothers me with characters, scenes, plots, etc. I think he is a spoiled child in that as soon as my atteniton is off of him, or at least my writing, he does everything in his power to get my focus back the storyline he thinks he is creating for me.

But, when I do come back to writing after a show, I write better and quicker and this usually keeps up until the next show opens, if they are not too far apart. After Fiddler I won't be back in the makeup department until February when I take on the Wizard of Oz. Now here is a show I can make no mistakes. No matter how the director may change things up, nothing really changes. You expect the witch to be green, the tin man to be silver, and so on.

After that, I don't have another show until summer. I am not sure I have gone so long between shows before. However, there is a slight possibility that I will be directing this spring for a youth production. So, we shall see.

I know an author is supposed to write every day, no matter what. And, in part, I agree with this. However, for me, I do much better switching up the creative. As I said before, while I am working on faces and hair, the story is still brewing in the background. When I come back to my computer I am able to write in a way I was not writing before I took my break for the theater. It is as if I am refreshed. Then again, I have no specific deadlines at the moment so maybe I would feel differently if one was hanging over my head.

How about you? If you are a writer does it help to take a break and do something else or does taking a break mess with your muse? If you do take a break, what to you do? If it isn't writing, what do you find yourself taking a break from? What do you do and does it make a difference when you come back to the original thing you were doing?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Storm Chasers

The other evening after dinner I found myself alone in the house. The hubby had to work later, daughter was a rehearsal and son was outside on his bike. There was a lot I could have done, such as clean and/or straighten the house, throw in a load of laundry, write my next chapter, continue editing Pure is the Heart, read blogs or even right one. I did none of those things.

Have you ever just wanted to do nothing? I sat down and turned on the television. I started flipping channels and stopped at the Discovery Channel. I had not really seen Storm Chasers before, but I love a good storm. I always have. Maybe it is the energy. And, I am fascinated by tornadoes. Not that I would ever chase one. That is just too scary. One of my earliest memories is a tornado hitting my neighborhood. Not only did it do damage to the house, but the school down the road as well. Had it hit fifteen minutes earlier, kids would have been getting out of school and walking home. Though I was very young at the time, I remember standing at the end of the hall, my mother and grandmother were pushing on the door trying to keep it closed and my brother and sister were in the living room. Mom was screaming at them (not in a mean way but to be heard over the noise) to get away from the window and into the hall. It is a vivid memory and probably the only one I have from that age. Despite the time the storm hit and the number of houses, including the school where the teachers had gotten a number of the students into the basement, nobody was killed and there were few injuries. With that storm and tornado, timing was everything.

So, even though tornadoes fascinate me and I love a good storm, I also have a healthy dose of respect and the danger they can bring. This past summer we had a strong storm come through with one of many tornadoes this year. I watched the news and listened to the sirens. When a county is under a tornado watch or warning I don’t rush to safety (though I know I should) because our county is rather big, as most are. By knowing where exactly the storm was sighted, I’ll know how dangerous it is to me. Ten miles south of me is usually not a concern. However, one particular storm this year was different. One of the tornados sighted was headed directly for my neighborhood. When your subdivision is actually mentioned on the news as being in the path you take cover. So, I turned the television up loud so I could hear it from safety and grabbed my cellphone, frantically calling the kids. One was in the park with her boyfriend, but they heard the sirens and were headed somewhere safe to determine exactly where the danger is. Another was at a party, no television or radio, had their own music, and not a clue as to what was happening. The husband was at work. So, my son and I hunkered down and waited.

The tornado did not hit us and there was not much damage from the storm. However, the same thing cannot be said of a small town just west of us. They were hit by two tornadoes that night just minutes apart. How often does that happen? Again, thankfully nobody was killed and I am pretty sure there weren’t serious injuries. And, this is not the first time this town has been struck by a tornado. One hit the year before, if I remember correctly. And, there have been others before that. I wonder if they are on some secret tornado path none of know about.

It was not soon before I was drawn in and watching back to back episodes of Storm Chasers. A lot of it is the thrill, but it is also about the science, mainly. Two are wanting to get the best readings so they can better understand a tornado and maybe provide better warnings. The third is gathering footage for a movie. They studied the size, speed and direction and determined where they could intercept it and drove in that direction. But, a few times the tornado turned on them, and one started heading toward them. They had been so sure of what it was going to do but it did something totally different and they had to make sudden decision on what they were going to do.

But, that is life, isn’t it? How often do we know exactly what is going to happen, a path we are going to take and all of a sudden we are headed in a totally different direction and doing things we never even considered. How often do you think the path we see is the path we plan on but the path we end up on is the path God intended? Has your life ever done an about-face that left you scrambling, just like securely watching a tornado move away until it turns back on you and you are suddenly unsure of what to do or wonder how you got there?

As this is Powerful Prayful Sunday, I would like you to continue to keep my mother in your prayers along with my sister-in-law’s mother, who is not doing well. This week I would like to include my husband who will be having some tests and my sister who is ill.

How about you? How can I pray for you this week?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Posting Elsewhere Today

Blogging at http://ladyscribes.blogspot.com. Stop by if you get a chance.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Abram

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the new Sunday School year and the comment I received when I told them were were going to begin with Genesis 1. A student wanted to know if they were gonig to learn about that again. As this entire quarter is completely from Genesis I had a feeling it was going to be a tough quarter and drew on plays as teaching tools.

However, such may not be the case. Today was about being called by God, when He called us and how He rescues us. So, I quoted from the lesson plan to move into the story: "That is what He does for Abram in our Bible study today."


Immediately a child spoke up, "Don't you mean Abraham?"


"No, I mean Abram."


"Who is Abram?"


At that point I put the lesson plan down and asked "You don't remember Abram?" A few of them knew they had heard the name before but couldn't recall the details. Of course, it wasn't long before I confirmed that Abraham was once known as Abram. And, they wanted to know why.


Ah ha, something they forgot. I told them they would learn the when and the why in about three lessons. They don't want to wait. I told them we needed to learn about Abram first. There were a few grumbles and groans so I gave them another option, they could read ahead in their Bible.


I am not thrilled that the students forgot a past lesson but I am glad that I will be sharing something that may actually be new to some of them. Knowing how these lessons cycle, chances are they last learned the lesson back in third grade so I can understand how it was fogotten, or buried with other lessons learned.


I also know the students are not alone in forgetting something that may have been taught before. I've read the Bible and have been in Bible studies, and I am still learning. There are several times I read a passage, story or lesson I know I must have read before but all of a sudden it has meaning when it did not before. The Bible is probably the only book that no matter how old, or how often read, it continues to teach.


Are you still discovering new things in the Bible?


As for prayer, I would like you to continue praying for my family members suffering illness and difficulties. One of my students also asked me to pray for her grandmother today, which I am also passing on to you.


How can I pray for you?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Next Holiday is HALLOWEEN

There is a reason I feel the need to remind everyone of this. Today, while reading through blogs I read two, yes two, that were about Christmas.

Hold up, the trees are just beginning to change in my neck of the woods. I would like to enjoy Halloween, as I do every year, and fatten myself further on Thanksgiving, before I start addressing Christmas and all that is involved.

The first post was by Jerrica, http://ladyscribes.blogspot.com/2010/10/its-octoberdo-you-know-what-that-means.html, her main excitement had to do with the fact that it is now October and her husband is allowing her to listen to Christmas music. No doubt she is singing along with every single one of them given she was a singer/actress before she became an author. There is only one person, I think, that thought this was acceptable, and that was another critique partner's (Samantha Grace) daughter - who I believe is 9.

The second blog was more reasonable - http://onthewritepath.blogspot.com/2010/10/its-beginning-to-look-lot-like.html - because Erica signed a contract to write a Christma novella. If I had done that, perhaps I would be talking about Christmas too.

But, since I have not, and it is OCTOBER 4TH, I think we should talk about Halloween if we are going to discuss any upcoming holiday. In fact, I may just do a number of Haloween posts this month just to combate these Christmas blogs.

So, tell me. Do you have a favorite Halloween tradition, song, costume or movie?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Behind as Usual

How come one day we can be organized and get everything done and a week later we have no clue how we accomplished so much. That is where I am right now. It is Sunday afternoon and the week, and weekend, have just flown by and I didn't accomplish half of the things I had hoped to. Oh well, there is always next weekend I supposed.

In the meantime, I need to prepare for the makeup class of the kids youth theater. I hope the parents are ready for some strange looking children when we are done.

As for prayers, I would still like you to keep my mother, my sister-in-laws mother and sister, and my niece in your prayers.

How can I pray for you this week?

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's All in the Makeup

Blogging over a LadyScribes today. Stop by if you get a chance
http://ladyscribes.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A New Sunday School Year

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but I teach 6th Grade Sunday School every other week. This is my favorite grade to teach, and I have taught from 1st grade into high school. There is just something about 6th graders. They start thinking. I am sure they thought before, but they become more confident in who they are and begin to question a lot of things they accepted automatically as a child.

Another thing with 6th graders is they have learned many of the lessons more than a few times. By this age most of them have been in Sunday School since they were 3. Therefore, the Bible Stories and lessons are not new. They just delve a little deeper. This was brought home the first lesson of the year. We began with Genesis 1. One of the kids asked "Are we going to learn about this again."

What she was saying was she wanted to be fed with new information. Granted, the Bible stories are old, well-loved, and something we should know and learn from and sometimes live by. What this child wanted was something more to challenge her, interest her, give her something to really think about and go beyond the Bible stories that were already familiar to her. Therein lies one of the challenges of teaching 6th graders. They thirst for more and more. If I don't come through and make it interesting, they will probably be bored, tune out, and possible ask their parents if they could skip Sunday School. Which would be very, very bad.

But, how do you teach The Beginning with more depth, interest, flare? Admittedly, I didn't do very well. Oh, we read the Bible. Discussed Creation. But, as it was the first class for these 6th graders as 6th graders with me and we spent time catching up. However, I still have the challenge of keeping them engaged. And, the answer was discovered last year.

One of our lessons involved playacting. I've never seen the kids embrace an activity the way they did acting. After that, I wrote a play for each and every lesson I taught. This is fairly simple since the words are already there. You just type it out in script form. Unfortunately, this happened about 6 weeks before the year ended. I plan on doing this with all the lessons I teach. Unfortunately, my challenge for Sunday is to write a play for 10-16 students to act out, or direct. The story - Cain and Abel. Hmmm, this could be a challenge.

Do you teach Sunday School? If so, what kind of challenges have you faced? Any advice to help the children grow and keep them engaged?

For this week, I would like you to continue to pray for my mother, my sister-in-law's mother and sister, my niece, as well as a young man, who is missing his mother (she passed away four months ago). How can I pray for you this week?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend Commentor?

I've come up with different plans so that I can stay up on blogging - writing, reading and commenting. But it has never worked out as planned. Then again, how often d0 our plans go exactly the way we thought?

I will save the question for another day. Today, I am trying to figure out how I can keep up with everything.

We all know it is not that difficult to write a blog. Some are short and sweet, others can go on and on, and some are inpsired. However, what takes time is keeping up with all of the blogs we love. And believe me, there are a LOT of blogs I love. However, I don't have time to read them during the week and this saddens me. After working all day, family, writing and theater projects I've gotten involved in, I have no time left for blogs, unless I wish to give up sleep. But, I think I may have come up with the answer.

Last Saturday, after I woke and grabbed my coffee I began reading blogs. I was at my computer for a few hours and was able to read and comment on almost a weeks worth of blogs. I loved it and it was a great way to start the weekend. I didn't feel rushed and I was able to enjoy. No pressure to try and keep up (forget ahead of the game).

So, that is my plan (for the moment anyway). I am not going to beat myself up on trying to stay on top of blogs during the week, but get caught up over the weekend when I have more time to enjoy and comment.

Do you think it matters so much if a comment comes in a few days later than the post? I wouldn't mind, but perhaps others track daily traffic. If so, sorry.

What about you? Do you have a sure fire plan that helps you mix blogging in with other things in your life during the week? And, would you prefer someone comment on the same day you post or are you okay with the weekend reader?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reality

I really don't watch that much TV. In fact, I don't think I would need all of my fingers to count them off and list them. Most of the time the shows I like are recorded for viewing at a later date (and so I can fast forward through commercials). But the shows I love most are the reality ones. Not Survivor and such, but the ones I think the competitor needs to have a creative talent and see if they excell.


One of my favorites is Top Chef. However, I cannot watch that show without getting hungry. That tends to be a problem (for the waistline). I used to love to cook. In fact, I used to spend hours in the kitchen creating meals. But with each child the meals became more and more basic. Now that they are older, I am inspired to try my hand at the more elaborate dishes.


Another show, which I am excited about but haven't yet seen is Top Chef: Just Desserts. It is recorded and just waiting for me to push the Play button. I think if this show inspires me I will need to spend more time exercising to even out the damage I may do with calories.


Next up is Project Runway. I love seeing what these designers come up with when given the assignment. A lot of the time there are outfits or dresses I just love. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure the clothing wouldn't look half as good on me as it does the models given there is probably a good 7-8 inch difference in height. Ya, I am a bit short. Hmmm, I wonder if they have ever had to design for a petite woman. That could be interesting, as it always is when the designers are thrown out of the comfort zone and need to design for a body style other than the long-legged models they are used to.


Then there is Top Design. This one is not airing right now, but I try to never miss it. I could not do half the things those designers are able to accomplish, but it is fun to see what they come up with for different rooms. And, I often walk away with a few ideas. I beleive my husband may cringe when this show comes on since it often results in me saying "Honey, I think we should. . ."


Another is Cupcake Wars, which I mentioned in my last post so I won't spend any more time on that show.


I am sure their are a couple of others, but I can't think of them at the moment.


Maybe it is because I like to be creative with writing and makeup when in the theater I enjoy watching shows were talented people are put to the test. Do you watch reality TV? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Prayer - It is Such a Simple Thing

Prayer is simple, yet evolving and life changing. If you are like me, as I child I associated prayer with meals, bedtime and church. I am pretty sure I didn't pray at any other time in the day. And, a child's prayer is usually so simple, wherein they ask God to bless their mother, father, grandparents, pets, etc. For most children, they do not have burdens or concerns that lay heavy on their heart.

As we mature our prays begin to evolve. Teenagers may find themselves praying at different times of the day. Sometimes it is before a big test, or hoping a certain someone notices them and asks them to a movie or dance. But, they are also mature enough to be concerned with more important issues, such as helping a friend understand faith, or another friend who is making poor decisions in their life and seeking God's guidance in how best to help their friends.

Adulthood arrives and we begin to finally grasp the power of prayer. I know I have found myself praying a different parts of the day, whenever a need arising, or a praise needs to be acknowledged. As adults, we understand how prayer can be life changing, especially when you experience that peace that only comes from being in communication with God.

Yet, while it is life changing and evolving, it is still the simplest and easiest thing we can ever do.

My prayer concerns this week include my mother, who has not been feeling well, my sister-in-laws mother and sister need God's healing touch and my niece will soon have surgery. Please remember them in your prayers.

How can I pray for you this week?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cupcakes – Where have I been?

To me, cupcakes were the things I made for my child’s birthday parties, or large family dinners. You can’t beat the convenience of the perfect serving size, wrapped in a paper to keep your fingers from getting sticky, and no need to dirty a plate and fork, and to send your kids on their way (usually encouraging them to go outside). Mine were made of chocolate, vanilla, yellow or frankly, any cake mix that happened to look good on the grocery shelf that day. Throw on some frosting and it is good to go. If I was feeling adventures or more festive sprinkles were added. Cupcakes were, well, cupcakes. And, since I am not much of a cake lover, I figured these were good enough since I received no complaints.

At least that was my attitude until this last spring. I’ve come to learn that cupcakes do not have to be boring. Erin Kelly, one of my critique partners, makes a pina colada cupcake to die for. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying these twice and am ready for more. The two pictured are the Margarita and Pina Colada Erin shared with us last spring. The one pictured below is Vanilla on Vanilla with a Chocolate Wolf, which I assume was inspired by the Paranormal Historical Regency Triology by another critique partner, Lydia Dare. All of the pictures were provided by Erin.

Besides delivering delicious cupcakes when she attends conferences, Erin also posts some of her recipes (not just cupcakes but other wonderful recipes too) on her blog at http://haveyourcakeandreadittoo.blogspot.com/. I have not had the courage to try and bake one of her cupcakes yet because I am fairly sure they won’t be nearly as good. However, I think I will attempt to tackle one of them this holiday season. But, as it is only September, let’s not think of the holidays just yet.

I thought Erin was basically a great baker who liked to share her cupcakes. I had no idea of the cupcake phenomenon out there until my critique group mentioned Cupcake Wars one evening. What? Backup, what are Cupcake Wars? Well, it turns out to be a reality /competition show on the Food Network. The competition begins with 4 bakers and each has an assistant. At the end, it is down to 2 competitors who have to design a display for 1,000 cupcakes, which they have to bake (with the help of 4 additional bakers). As soon as I found out about this show I started watching. I am hooked, as I am with most of these types of shows. But, my reality TV addiction is better left for another blog. Most of these competitors have cupcake shops/stores. Again, I had no idea stores like this existed. We certainly don’t have any where I live, which is probably a good thing since I have recently developed a liking for cupcakes.

But, it doesn’t end with the show. One of my critique partners recently shared a blog she found which only purpose is to seek out cupcake bakeries in New York City and report their findings from where the bakery is located and the cupcakes they ate. http://www.nycupcakeguide.com/ Since I plan on attending the RWA National Conference next year, which is in NY, I may just have to take an extra day to do my own cupcake tour, relying on this blogs recommendations. Though, I may save the tour for after the conference so I don’t have to worry about my clothes not fitting during the conference. I’ll bring something loose to wear on the plane home in anticipating of cupcake consumption.

I guess my main question is, when did cupcakes become such a big deal? Not that I think anything is wrong with it, but I have to wonder where I have been while all this was going on because these ain’t your mama’s cupcakes?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Deciding What to Read and How to Read It

Today I am bloging at LadyScribes.blogspot.com. Stop by and let me know how you pick the books you read and what your preference is in how you read those books.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Powerful Prayful Post 8/29/10

Where has the month gone? Or the summer even?

I was on a blogging roll in July, inspired by the Paris topic, but in August, I never got myself in gear. I think some of it has to do with recovering from RWA in Orlando, following up with a few requests I received and getting ready for the school year to start.

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer while your children were off school and you were able to make some memories that will make you smile in the years to come. For me, it was my son who had the milestones: confirmation, graduation, his trip to the youth gathering, joining the high school football team, and today, he turns 15.

I shouldn't be asking where did the summer go but where did the last 15 years go. It just doesn't seem possible. Though some of it is a blur, I thank God for each and everyone one of those moments I've had with my son, and daughters, as well.

My prayer for him is that he continues to grow into the wonderful young man that he is, and that his high school years are filled with fun, laughter and friends. Most of us have been down that high school road and know there were some tears thrown in there as well. I pray that there are few for him and if negative things do happen, that his faith in God continues to be strong, since that will get him through anything, better than any loving sympathy I could offer.

I do have some prayer requests and ask that you remember my mother who is not feeling well, a friend facing surgery in a few months, a classmate (I also attended my class reunion this month) who is fighting cancer.

Do you have any special concerns or praises you would like to share. I would be happy to pray for you and them this week. If not, do you have a special memory from time with your children this past summer that you would like to share?

Have a Blessed Day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Inspired Again!

I've been mulling over a story in my head. I need to put it on the back burner because there are a few that must come before it. However, it will not leave my brain. Perhaps just writing about it, or how it came to be, will put it to rest for a bit.



You see, a few weeks ago in church, I was paying attention, as I always do, but once again, got side track. A new hero came on the scene, followed by a lovely heroine. The sermon was entitled "Love is a Practical Matter" based on Luke 10:25-37. I am ashamed to show anyone my worship guide because in purple ink, through ever margin available, my notes for this latest story are written. As soon as services are over I stuff it in my purse, hoping nobody read what I really wrote. You would think I could just jot down the thought and move on. That didn't happen. The more the pastor preached, the more the story spoke to me.



Hmmmm, maybe I should just start dedicating my books to my pastors. It is the least I could do until I get a handle on the focus problem I seem to have.



Am I the only one who has issues with stories coming to them when they should be reflecting on the Word and God? I've always wondered if this was God putting an idea into my head or Satan say "ah ha, distracted her again (insert evel laugh)". I really don't like the idea of the second option. If that is the case, he won't like the outcome. Satan never wins in my stories :).



Any ideas on how I can tame this problem I keep having?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grease

Of the three shows I did makeup on this summer, the last was Grease. I always thought this was a fun show. It was a youth production, which meant anyone from 14 - 20 were allowed to be in it. My daughter play Marty, who is a pink lady and writes to the service me. Her song is Freddie My Love. Most of the kids I knew because they had been in shows either my daughter participated in or shows I had done makeup on.

For some reason I never really paid attention to before when I watched and I am not sure how the moral theme of the show slipped by me. You would think this is something that would have stuck out at me from the very first viewing, but it didn't. As you know, I write romances and I love reading them. Often there is that bad boy who wants the good girl, etc. In the end, the goodgirl always reforms the rake. Right? Well, not in Grease.

But what was refreshing were these kids commenting on how wrong it was for Sandy, after finding out Rizzo thinks she is pregnant, to do an about face and turn into the not so sweet and innocent girl to win Danny. I loved how the female members of the cast viewed this is "so wrong".

So, even though they may have enjoyed singning the songs and dancing along, they didn't exactly agree with the ending.

I have a break from theater until October, when I get to do make up for Sweeny Todd. Though the show may be gruesome, I can't wait to get creative with some faces. Until then, I need to start planning a workshop for the kids theater. I am going to show them how to do some halloween makeup. Guess I better have some gruesome ideas up my sleeve because I am sure not all of them will want to be pretty, sparkly princess.

Have any of you ever participated in theater, on or off the stage? I would love to hear what you do, or what you favorite show is.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Getting it Together

I am blogging over at http://www.ladyscribe.blogspot.com/ about setting goals (health, exercise, career). Stop by and let me know how you do with those pesky resolutions and if you know any tricks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Powerful Prayful Post 8/15/10

Wow, I've missed little over a week of blogging and it feels like months. Things just got a little crazy this summer. The first error in planning came when I agreed to do make up for three separate shows. Note to self - check calendar and dates. All three were back to back with my trip to Orland for the RWA conference beginning the morning after one closed and the Tech Sunday was the date of my return for the last show. I think I have been exhausted for the past week.

Oh, and my class reunion was last week. I had a wonderful time and can't remember the last time I stayed out so late. When the banquet hall closed for the night most of us went down the road to a local bar. For hours we sat on the back patio talking and catching up. It was a great time. I even ran into my nephew, who was a bit surprised to see me there. He came around later - surprised I was still there. His friends wanted to go but he insisted he could not leave before his aunt (I am sure old was instered there under this breath - lol).

But today, I went through my RWA notes. Wow, there were some really good workshops and I got back to work on my WIPs and critted some chapters. I feel like I am back and ready to go. Now that I am being organized again (and we will see how long that lasts) I am going to try and stay up on the blogging - especially reading the blogs. I feel so out of touch!

And, since this is the most important day of the week, it is time to offer up those prayers and praises. Please, share with me so I can add you to my prayer list.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Christ and Creativity

For about three years I led a Christ Care Group and our theme was Creativity. We were all created by the most creative of all - God. I loved leading this group because we discussed literature, music, art, books, theater. Well, this list went on and on. We also discussed putting God in our work since he was the one who gave us this talent to begin with.

I remember one of the books I picked to study was Scribbling in the Sand by Michael Card. It begins with this story, though without listing the verse or using Biblical text, with John 8:1-12. The Bible passages are:

1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

What did Jesus write in the sand? While we are on this earth we will probably never know, but I am very curious.

The book is about creativity and the call to create. I highly recommend this book, and the study guide for any inpirational/Christian author. I enjoyed it and it often put things into perspective for me.

The reason I am returning to a book I read at least 2 years ago is because one of the members e-mailed me a devotional she read and thought I would appreciate. I sure did and I am sharing the link with you. http://lists.proverbs31.org/lt/t_go.php?i=579&e=MjkzMDc=&l=-http--proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/2010/07/rediscovering-creativity.html. By the way, this link worked originally and now it doesn't. I am so techno challenged. Even if the link doesn't work, it is worth highlighting and pasting in to a search box.

The reason My Christ Care Group no longer meets is because some went back to school and ended up with night classes, another was continuing his educatin online (with a family and fulltime job) and needed every minute to stude and write papers. A few others work schedules changed and two moved out of state. At least I know it was not my leadership skills- lol. But, I do miss my group. We had some awesome times together and I think I could share anything with this group of individuals and never be judged. We loved each other and we bonded. The whole purpose of a Christ Care Group. I hope you have a similar type of group you belong to.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Golden Hearth and Rita

Today I am posting at http://www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com/ and announcing the winners of the Golden Heart and Rita Awards. I am sure several other blogs will post this information, but these awards are a major achievement. In fact, even being nominated is huge, so they deserve to be mentioned as often as possible. At least I think so.

Hope to see you at Lady Scribes

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Powerful Prayful Post 8/1/10

I am posting this a bit early. Even though it is officially Sunday in Orlando, it has only been Sunday for about 30 minutes. Or course, I will set it to post at like 8:00 a.m. I wanted to get this written because I am not sure if I will have a chance to be back to my blog before tomorrow evening with the travel and all. We fly out in the morning, but my plane lands in the town where my newly married daughter lives so I will visit her and her husband before I begin the short drive home.

I want to thank God for an awesom experience at the RWA Conference. Not only did I take a lot of knowlege but I also was able to spend quality time with my critique partners and a couple of thier husbands, meet up with former acquaintances from other conferences but meet new people. All in all it was a positive experienced and I am fired up and inpsired to embrace new story lines and to complete the many I have started.

Lately, I have had a lot of praises for God, which I absolutly love. But, there are always those concerns that hang back, and sometimes move to the forefront. I am still concerned with the health of a few of my family members. I hope you keep them in your prayers.

How I can I pray for you this week?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Brain is Full

It is now Friday night. The RWA conference began with a luncheon on Thursday. Since, I have been attending workshops and meeting new people. Last night I sat in the lounge until midnight chatting with my critique partners and other writers.

Today, when the workshops were complete I went to dinner with the ladies and two of their husband's and shopped along the Boardwalk while a few of my critique partners were at publisher parties.


I've been able to spend time with old friends, who I see about once a year, meet now friends and put faces with names. In fact, today I found myself in a workshop with Keli Gwyn, whose blog I follow.


Though friends decided to unwind in the lounge, I was too exhausted. In short, my brain is full and I have got to figure out how to cram more in it tomorrow. And, if you are here, is your brain full too?



If any readers out there are at the conference, let me know and I will keep an eye out for you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Paris in July - Final Post

This will be my last post for Paris in July. I thought I could fill the month but my time has been crunched. By the time this is posted I will be in Orland at the RWA Conference. I had hoped to have enough posts saved so they could run the entire time I am gone, but I am out of time for writing them.

That being said, I am going to sum up the rest of the trip. We finished off with a trip to the middle of the Eiffel Tower our last night in Paris. It was a beautiful view. This was my first time up into the Eiffel Tower. I had stayed on the ground previously. This is due to another stupid phobia - fear of heights. But, since dinner was above and I would be the only one left on the ground, I forced myself to go. I am so glad I did. The view was gorgeous and the food delicious.

By the time the night had come to an end, everyone was exhausted. It was a very busy trip, but it was a pleasant exhaustion. We rose early the next day and were taken to the airport, much earlier than we needed to be. Thus, we all had to wait until we could check in for our flight. This was also the first time I was ever pulled aside and my bags gone through and I was frisked. I was a bit embarrassed. I was so tired that my carry-on was a complete mess. I just threw stuff in that didn't fit in my luggage, deciding to deal with it when I got home. I won't make that mistake again.

I don't know why I was singled out. My name could have been random, on a list or something else could have made them question me. At least I wasn't the only one in the group. There were a few of us that got the special treatment.

Did I mind? No. If this is what we have to endure to keep the airlines safe then I am all for it. I would rather those screening were extra diligent than to wake up to the news one day and watch coverage of new horrors.

Hope you enjoyed my trip to Paris. It was fun revisiting it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paris in July - Opera de Paris

Palais Garneir, also known as Opera de Paris, is the one place my daughter had to see. That is all she talked about in the months leading up to the trip. It began when she wrote a paper on the history and it built from there. The picture posted was taken right before we crossed the street to enter the building.

This was my first visit here as well and I was in awe of the inside. It opened in 1875(and I had thought it was much older). It is the opera company that goes back to the 1600's. This building was simply its home from 1875 through 1978.

The theater portion seats around 2,200 people with a giant chandelier in the center. We were able to step inside what would be a private patron's box and look down on the seats, view the chandelier and large stage. I looked up additonal information and learned the stage could accomodate up to 450 artists. That is huge. I've blogged about theater before and the stages I have experience with get croweded at approximatley 75 people so I can't begin to imagine what it would be like standing on such a huge performance platform.

The Grand Foyer rivals the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles and my daughter and I will never come to an agreement on which is more beautiful. Of course, I still favor Versaills.

However, what this building is most famous for is the setting of The Phantom of the Opera. "In 1896, one of the counterweights for the grand chandelier fell, killing one. This, as well as the underground lake, cellars, and other elements of the Opera House, inspired Gaston Leroux in 1909 to write his classic Gothic novel, The Phantom of the Opera." (quoted from Wikipedia). We did not get to go below to see the underground lake but would have loved to.

Following our tour my daughter announced that she plans on being married there. My thoughts were 1) I better sell a lot, I mean really a lot, of books 2) we hit the lottery (guess one of us should start playing) or 3) it will only be her, her husband and the few people who could afford to travel. I really hope she doesn't have her heart set on this. I haven't asked her recently, fearful of her answer.

After our visit we headed down the road and at lunch at the Paris Hard Rock Cafe, where t-shirts were purchased and a delicious meal enjoyed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paris in July - Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre

I am going to continue the Paris tour with the Montmartre. I love this place! Our walk begins with the Moulin Rouge. No, we did not go in, but the kids got lots of pictures of the place. What I found interesting was the building on the corner with the false front. I've been trying to figure out the purpose but can't seem to come up with one. If it was facing the street (not corner) and people could not see behind it, then I probably wouldn't wonder about it. But, as you can see, it faces a corner so from all directions, except front, you can tell this is a false front. Maybe there is a history or a reason. If someone knows, please tell me.

After getting pictures in front of the Moulin Rouge, we begin our trek uphill. We wind through the streets of the town until we come to the base and look up to Sacre Coeur. However, before starting that climb, the students have a ride on the carousel. I don't know if I have mentioned it, but these were a wonderful bunch of kids. Always respectful, on time, didn't complain (much) and fun. When they saw the carousel it was like having a bunch of children anxious to ride. As it should be. We should never be too old for a carousel. Unfortunately, all of my carousel pictures were blurred.

With the ride complete we started up the hill. It was such a gorgeous day, as evidenced by all of the people sitting in front of Sacre Coeur. Musicians played their instruments, people sang. It was a very festive atmosphere. The last time I was here it was colder and a bit rainy. Nobody was sitting outside like this. From the top steps you can look out and over Paris. I love this view.

Nobody opts to go into the cathedral. I think they are too excited to go into Montmartre and have their portrait done. We turn the corner and there are artist filling the square. Some offering portraits, others selling landscapes and other various works of art. I loved rambling through and see the different works.

After looking at all the choices and checking out the artist’s work, the students picked who they wanted to draw their portrait. Once a price was haggled over, they took their place for the sitting. A few of the drawings looked like the student, and others, kinda. There is all level of artist here and it was as much fun to have the portrait done as it was to have a finished project.

I wish I could post a picture of the scene but there were several signs around forbidding photography. I don't blame the artists. They work hard and should be be compensated for their paintings. As an author, I am very sensitive to the whole issue of copywrite and to me, those paintings are no different than a book.

Of all the places I have visited in Paris, this is another I hope will be included in the next trip (though I can't imagine it wouldn't).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I have been going over the list of workshops, spotlights and booksignings available for the RWA Conference and am seriously developing a headache. So much to choose from!


The conference begins Wednesday night with the Literacy Signing. There will be over 200 authors in one big room signing their books. The proceeds from the sale go to Literacy. So, Wednesday night is an easy pick. It is Thursday, after the opening luncheon where I begin to run into problems. The first workshops begin at 2:00 p.m. Thus, my headache begins.


So far, I've only been able to settle on a few that I won't miss:

Beyond Britain: Writing and Selling and Promoting Unusual Historicals - presented by Zoe Archer, Jade Lee, Carrie Lofty, Kevan Lyon and Sherry Thomas

This Little Light of Mine - Marie Bostwick and Debbie Macomber

Writing as: The Trials of Being a Schizophrenic Author - presented by Jennifer Ashley, Nina Bruhns, Pamela Palmer and Eileen Rendhal

Sourcebooks Booksigning (my good friend and critique partner, Lydia Dare will be signing)

Writing the High-Concept Inspirational - presented by Beth Adams and Beth Pattillo

Talking the Talk: Writing Historical Dialogue - presented by Madeline Hunter, Janet Mullany, Miranda Neville and Lauren Willig


I am very happy with my list so far. Now, to figure out what I want to attend for the remaining 7 slots.


Are you going to the RWA Conference and do you suffer from the same problem - trying to decide? If not this conference, have you run into similar situations for other conferences? If you are going, is there a few workshops you won't miss? What are they? And, if you have been in the past, which do you recommend (even though they change every year).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Powerful Prayfule Post - 7/25

The kids and adults who attended the LCMS National Youth Gathering arrived back at the church around midnight on Thursday. That entire day I became more and more excited. This was the longest I had gone without seeing my son. My daughters have taken similar trips and I always felt the same the day they were to return home. This was the first time my son to be gone for so long. He received a huge hug the moment he stepped off the bus.


From the moment he was in the car until somewhere around 2 a.m. he was telling me about the Gathering. He even pulled up the internet so I could listen to the new praise songs he learned. The following day he posted his status on Facebook as the best trip he will probably ever take.



I am so thrilled this was such a rewarding experience for him. And, happy that everyone returned safe and healthy. So, my prayer today is a praise for His Awesomeness and that the youth were able to have such a wonderful experience in His name. And thanks for keeping my son, and the Redeemer family safe.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Conference Time is Approaching

In addition to blogging about Paris in July, my goal was to post a blog each day in July. Well, I missed yesterday. What I have learned from this experience is that it is very hard to blog every day of the week. And, had I not had Paris, I would have run out of topics by the second week. I don't know how other bloggers manage to post so much. Where do they get the ideas? So, once July has ended, I will be blogging much less. It is yet to be determined if it will be once a week or three times a week. We shall see.

On Tuesday, I leave for Orlando and couldn't be more excited. I will be attending the 30th Romance Writers of America's National Conference. This will be my third year. We were originally supposed to be in Nashville. The entire family was going to go because my inlaws live just outside of Nashville. Well, as you know, the city was struck with horrendous flooding this spring and the hotel we were to stay in received a good deal of water. And, knowing they would not be able to be up and running by the end of July, the conference site was moved.

We will now be staying at the Swan and Dove in Orlandon on the Disney properties. I will be arriving a day early, like I always do, so I am not rushed. And, on my only free day I will be spending it with some of my critique partners in Epcot. Unfortunately, the family could not join us. First, my husband has a new job, thus no vacation time and second, swinging the plane tickets and additional hotel rooms were not in the budget. We are saving for another trip and we would have been able to drive to Nashville. I do feel kind of guilty about being at Disney without the family. On the otherhand, after my one free day, I probably won't leave the conference center and they would have been ejoying the parks without me.

Today, I am going to go through a pre-pack. I do this everytime I travel. I need to make sure I have the right clothing for the right event and comfortable shoes. I think the comfortable shoes are the highest on my list of priorities. Not only will there be a day of walking at Epcot, but also days of walking at the conference. This can cover a very larger area and the last thing I want is to be hobbling because my feet are killing me.

Once I get my clothing situation decided upon I check on everything else I need from toilettries to workshop printouts to business cards an promo items for Loving Lydia. However, the workshop printouts may have to wait until I actually know which workshops I will be attending. Oh, I have a preliminary list but that can change. And, there are some time slots that I can't decide which I want to attend. I think I will save that for Monday.

For now, I am off to pre-pack, do laundry and probably head out to shop for the necessities missing. Oh, I am also going to finish out my Paris blogs and schedule them to be posted while I am in Orlando. I will try and check in and read other blogs in the evening, if not too exhausted. From experience, I know my brain will be mush by Saturday morning from taking so much in.

Who else is going to the conference and do you do a pre-pack. If you aren't going to the conference, do you do a pre-pack before you take a trip?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paris in July - 7/22

Our walk continued after we left Musee d'Orsay. We crossed a bridge over the Siene and ended up at Jardin Des Tuileries. A lovely park with fountains. As I said in an earlier post, this was a beautiful day, which is evidenced by the crowd and the number of people sitting around the fountain, relaxing in the sun.

The Tuileries garden was started by Catherine de Medici. It began as a private roayl pleasure garden, with flowers and fruit. From there it exanded as terraces were added and such. At the very end you can look up the Champs Elyees to the Arc de Triomphe. Read more: http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/jardin_des_tuileries#ixzz0uNZwlCn1

The palace was also begun by Catherine de Medici after the death of Henry II. Louis XIV lived her while Versailles was being built and Louis XVI and his family were removed from Versailles and force to live in Tuileries. It is from here they escaped. They only made it as far as Varennes before they were captured and returned to the Royal Palace. When Napoleon was in charge, it was his turn to move in. It was destroyed in 1871 when it was set on fire, destroying everying within and out.

This was my first visit to Tuileries. On the last visit we went to Luxembourgh Gardens. Another delightful gathering place, with a lake, or maybe it is a large pond where people gather and children launch sailboats. I wish I had pictures from that trip.

I am not sure which garden is my favorite. Luxomburg is not as formal, I suppose. I think I could relax better in Luxomburg better and soak up the sun on a beautiful day or just simply relax and read a book. However, I am glad I did visit Tuileries and I think I would like to visit it again. But, if given a choice during the next visit, I think I would like to return to Luxomburg gardens.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paris in July - 7/21

After we emerged back into the sunshine following the Catacombs, we made our way to the Metro and went underground once again. Our destination was Notre Dame once again. Some of the students explored, others took the Metro to find the Paris Claire’s' Boutique because it was supposed to carry something that isn't in the states. I think a dad and others headed for the Paris Harley Davidson. Me, I wandered about with others. I had hoped to tour Sainte Chappelle. Unfortunately, it was Thursday, or better known as Mundey Thursday. The line outside of Sainte Chappell was ridiculous. However, I suspect I could have cut in line because those waiting wanted to go in on Good Friday. Oh, and after realizing that we were there on Thursday, I realize I have posted my days out of order. Oh well.

The reason so many were waiting to get in on Good Friday is because that is when the Crown of Thorns is brought out. Supposedly, Sainte Chappelle is in possession of the Crown of Thorns and pieces of wood from the cross Jesus was crucified on. So, all those people in line didn't really want to be in there on Thursday. But, like I said, the line was huge and I didn't want to walk down and ask the all if they minded if I went now since they didn't. One day I will get into Sainte Chappelle!

When everyone met up again outside of Notre Dame we decided to walk to our next destination - Musee d' Orsay. This is the Impressionist Museum. By looking at the map, the walk didn't seem all the far so we headed off for a stroll along the Seine. This was much more enjoyable than taking the Metro. We passed a number of vendors with prints, books, etc. It was a very nice day and a number of people were out and seemed to just be walking and enjoying themselves.

Once we were at the museum, everyone broke up to see the work of their favorite artist. For me, it was Renoir. He is my favorite and always has been. I love his bold colors and the fact that regardless of the nature print, there will be a person in there somewhere. I have had the opportunity to visit this museum twice. Next time, I would like to visit the Rodin museum. But, I guess I mentioned that before.

It isn't like I have not seen his work. About 20 yrs ago and exhibit came to our local museum. It was wonderful and I fell in love with his work. The detail is amazing. Most people are familiar with "The Thinker" or "The Kiss". I have a few replicas of his work in my house but I think my favorite is the "Hand of God". And speaking of hands, Rodin was amazing in his sculptures, especially when it came to hands.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Paris in July - 7/20

I am amazed it is taking so many posts to talk about my Paris trips. Okay, I have taken a few days off for Prayful Sundays and when I blogged on other sites, but still, I was only in Paris 7 days each time and this is the 20th day of blogging. It also explains why I was so exhausted when I returned.

The following day was basically a free day and we set out on our own. First up, the Catacombs. Creepy, I know. I promise, the Catacombs will be a setting for at least one scene in a book someday. It is hard to explain them except they are far underground and weave for what I would guess is miles. Some alleys are roped off and tourists, or anyone else for that matter, are discouraged from going beyond the marked path because you could get lost and ramble around in there forever. There are stories of people who wandered off, never to be seen again.

I believe the Catacombs came to be when Paris expanded. The expansion disrupted several old cemeteries. In order to have a place for the bones, they were put in the Catacombs. The bones are all neatly stacked with and by each stack of bones is the name of the cemetery they had come from. Other bodies, I believe, are from the Revolution. Robespierre was accidently taken to the Catacombs after his death, but they realized the error and he was put in a proper grave somewhere.

One of the most fascinating things I discovered, and never expected to see, were carvings out of the stone. And not just simple carvings, but detailed. I can't imagine who would want to stay down there for the length of time it took to complete such a work of art.

I have no idea how long we walked but when we got to the end we had to climb another tight spiral staircase. I tell you, before I got to the top my thighs were burning. At one time I stopped, convinced I could not continue on. But the thought of staying with all of the bones kept me moving.

Monday, July 19, 2010

RWA Conference

Today I am not going to blog about France. Instead, I am at http://www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com blogging about the Romance Writers of American Conference. Stop by if you get a chance.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Powerful Prayful Post 7/18/10

I hope everyone had a blessed week full of joys. For the most part, I did. On Friday I did turn my son over to the Youth Leader who is taking the kids, along with supervising adults, to the LCMS Youth Gathering in New Orleans. I know he will be okay, have fun and hopefully become even closer to the Lord. However, the mom in me is not at all comfortable with my "baby" being so far away. God give me strength, eliminate the anxiety and keep them all safe until they return home.

I hope you will pray for all the men, women and teenagers who have decended on New Orleans this week. I think there is going to be between 25 - 30,000.

How can I pray for you?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Paris in July - July 17

I no longer know which day I am into my trip. I know I stepped out of order due to Bastille Day, so I will continue with everything else we did that day.

Once we stood in the spot where the Bastille had once stood, we broke into groups and headed for lunch. The place we chose was about five feet away, with outdoor seating. Today, I had what I was craving - Croque Monsieur. I tried this the first time I was in France. When someone recommended it, I almost didn't get one. I didn't come all the way to Paris to have a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Am I so glad I tried one. This is not at all what I envisioned. Ham, Bread, Gruyere Cheese, and more. Here is the recipe for the sandwich pictured: www.recipezaar.com/recipe/The-Classic-French-Bistro-Sandwich-Croque-Monsieur. I've attempted to make them at home. They were okay, but they taste much better in France. However, I may just have to head to the store after this post because just the idea of the sandwich is making me hungry.

Following lunch we head toward our destination. Luckily we have a walk ahead of us to enjoy more sites. We walk down narrow streets and pass in from of cafes and shops and come to Palace Des Vosges. I square building with a large courtyard inside. The square is made up of houses and apartments with a red bric and stone facade on the outside. And the apartments were used for several years. Some of the more famous residents were Boussuet, Richelieu and Alphonse Daudet. But probably the most well known would be Victor Hugo, who wrote most of Les Miserables while living there. I would love to explore the inside one day.

Long before Victor Hugo however, the land was the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens. Tournelles was the royal residence of Henri II and during a tournament he was wounded by being stabbed in the eye. He did a short time later. His wife, Catherine de Medicis, had the original structure demolished. We strolled from one entrance and crossed the courtyard to exit on the opposite side. The insice is a parklike setting with people sitting about conversing or reading.

We excited out onto another street and continued. Some of the buildings are newer and some, not so much. I had to take a picture of this church. I have no idea of the age, but it looked rather old to me.

Finally, we reach our destination - the Picasso Museum. I will be honest, Picasso is not a favorite of mine. If I were given a choice, I would have picked the museum where the Auguste Rodin statues can be viewed. Ah, but nobody asked me so here we are.

On the outside, right before you reach the entrance is a large distorted mirror. The type you may find in a funhouse. The students had fun watching their shapes adjust. I looked for a spot that would make me look thinner, but one could not be found.

Inside it was a three storey (I think) house. In each room were displays of his art work from various stages. I believe Picasso was a true staring artist because I beleive they told us that everytime he was behind on taxes, or his heirs were behind, they gave France a painting.

All in all it was another fun day in Paris.