Saturday, December 30, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for the Writer in YOU!

10. Admit that deep fried Snickers bars do not inspire creativity.

9. Ignore e-mail messages from mysterious agents with e-mail addys like hotagent@hotmail.hothothot.com

8. Accept all criticism graciously.

7. Understand that all criticism isn't right.

6. If your mother says it's good, be grateful. Every little bit helps.

5. Blog reading/writing does not count as part of your writing time.

4. If it's bad through chapter 5, it's bad. Start over. Or make chapter 6 the first chapter.

3. Pick one or two conferences. After a point, it's just a party.

2. Never let your characters write your novel, unless one of them is John Updike.

And the number 1 New Year's Resolution for the Writer in YOU!

1. Learn a writing rule, then learn how to break it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chapter 28

It means nothing to you, but it happens to be the last chapter of Murder on the Side, the first of my River Bend Mystery Series, and I started the final edit on it this morning. I set a goal of Dec. 31st to have it complete, so I seem to be on track. Of course, my readers will point out a few things to touch up, but nothing major. The joy of novel writing comes when you hit the final turn. For me it was somewhere around chapter 20. Then you just can't type fast enough. It's when you settle into the groove and your best writing comes out. I stumbled at the beginning. With the help of my wife and crit partners, I made a few course corrections and got it on track.

This is my third complete novel. They get better with each attempt. Is this the one that gets me on the board? I think so. I'm confident enough to start book two of the series in early January. I still have to write the proposal, which takes considerable time as well, and send it out to agents. Maybe by the time the ACFW conference comes along I'll be on my way. Will I quit if things don't turn out that way? Absolutely not. We try again. And again. It's what we do.

I am eagerly anticipating 2007, even January. What a wonderful life I have. What an awesome thing it is to have no regrets.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Card

I just can't resist a classic. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

My official blog Christmas Card.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 of my Favorite Things about Christmas...

10. It's acceptable to have glass bowls full of chocolate scattered throughout the house.

9. The unspoken joy of exterior illumination.

8. The TBS 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon.

7. My bright red Grinch jammies (okay, I wear 'em from October through April).

6. It's becoming rebelious and cool to say "Merry Christmas."

5. I get to wear both of my Grinch ties to church (see a theme here?).

4. Laughing at the people on the news who actually stand in a two-day line to buy something they can get at half the price in another month.

3. Knowing that I'm raising my kids with better values than someone who would stand in a two-day line to buy something they can get at half the price in another month.

2. Having my 11 year-old son explain to me the significance of the lion's sacrifice in Narnia.

And my number one favorite thing about Christmas...

1. After 40 years, the single most memorable moment in Christmas television history is that of a six year old cartoon boy quoting King James scripture.

And all of God's children said...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blazy

I just berated critter Robin, now ACFW President, about posting on her blog once a month. Thus the word "blazy," for those who don't tend to their blogs. When that happens, things get musty, weeds pop through the cracks in the sidewalk, and friends find excuses for not posting (I woulda posted but the new "Scrubs" was on...). You know the drill.

So here I sit, about to let a full week pass by without a post. And the new "Scrubs" wasn't all that good. I even neglected the Friday Top 10. My shame runs deep. However, I did write a Haiku on Mark Terry's blog. He's having a contest. Some guys will do anything for attention. Go join in and win a free autographed (I think he said autographed) Mark Terry novel. Twist his arm for both.

I plug Mark's books because A: he knows where I live and B: in SE Michigan, novel writing may be the only source of income soon. So we have to give each other a boost. Again, that's Mark Terry's blog, or call toll free at 1-800-KIDS2FD.

So, I guess this counts as a post. I'll see ya Friday. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Word's that should be in the Dictionary

Today's word:

Putzitating - What 11 year old boys do between the moment you left them tying their shoes and the ten minutes you've been waiting in the car.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ron's Reviews: The Devil's Pitchfork by Mark Terry

As y'all know, I don't do many reviews or author interviews. I figure there's enough of that going around, so I don't need to add to the pile. Occasionally, though, I like to plug a book if it's particulary well-written, the author is a friend of mine, or the author is someone local. In this case, it's all three. Okay, Mark and I aren't exactly close friends, but we did live on the same street for about nine years and never knew there was another person nearby with writing aspirations. Our kids go to the same schools and we often enjoy pointing out the absurtities of small town living on one another's blogs. I now live several miles from Mark, bumping into him at school concerts and such. One thing I love about this guy, he's determined to make it as a full-time writer, despite those who say it can't be done. Well, he seems to be doing it. Not a full-time novelist yet, but judging from his latest release, that day is coming soon.

Which brings me to The Devil's Pitchfork by Mark Terry. If you're a Clancy fan, you'll hate it. I say that because I've always found Clancy's characters to be a bit too perfect for my taste. Hey, I was a sailor and so was my old man. We just didn't always have that perfect sense of mission and duty. Normally, watch standing was a necessesary evil before the next liberty call.


Our hero in Pitchfork, Derek Stillwater, is not perfect. In fact, he's darn near human by outward appearances. He's nervous before a mission and even throws up. Kind of reminds me of my first stage appearance in elementary school (now I'm a ham and make no apologies). Stillwater has talents, though, as is necessary for a proper hero. He's an expert in chemical and biological warfare. See where the plot can take us? And it does.

The book opens with a rogue terrorist group (is that an oxymoron?) stealing a man-made super virus that has a 100% mortality rate and, of course, no known cure. How can it possibly get any worse? It does.

The kiss of death of any suspense novel is when the author plays too nicely with his protag. Terry doesn't have that problem. I felt a little sorry for poor Derek. Jack Bauer should have such a day. Terry does a great job weaving in sub-plots and a conspiracy that runs to the deepest levels of government. As if getting Derek's butt kicked all the way through the novel wasn't bad enough, Terry keeps us on the edge with a secondary character in equally dire straits.

I won't go into the plot any more than that. I will recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good end-of-the-world scenario. Be sure to read it on an airplane, by the way.

When you read this kind of thriller, you know the author's done his job when you come away feeling like this could very well happen. In fact, you wonder why it hasn't happened already. The Devil's Pitchfork is a great ride and a realistic plot.

Devil's Pitchfork is available at Amazon.

Be sure to visit Mark's website and blog as well!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 Money Saving Ideas for Christmas…

10. Inform your extended family that you appreciate the $50 limit for each of your sixteen nieces and nephews, but perhaps you should learn their names first.

9. Tell your kids that Santa got 20 to life for smoking his pipe in an L.A. restaurant.

8. Once the snow starts falling your neighbor won’t see the extension cord for your lights leading to his house.

7. Re-wrap the gifts you bought your kids last year. Since they haven’t played with them in 364 days, they won’t remember.

6. Tell your kids that the terrorism alert level is “Orange,” meaning that every gift in the country must be inspected by government employees, so they won’t see them for several years.

5. Resist the urge to see yet another Christmas movie where washed up actors fight over must have gifts.

4. The Kid Rock Christmas Album…do ya really need it?

3. Tell the music teacher that the cost of her costume selection for the Holiday Concert will directly impact your vote in the next mileage renewal.

2. When the office dimwit comes around for the “Secret Santa” drawing, pull the Menorah and skull cap out of your bottom drawer.

And the number one Money Saving Idea for Christmas…

1. If you just can’t resist another singing and dancing snowmen ornament, stay out of the Hallmark store.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is doing a tour for Never Ceese by Sue Dent. It is notable that Sue is one of our CFBA members!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sue Dent was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi and currently resides in Ridgeland. When not writing, Sue designs websites and works with digital photograpy.Sue loves to hear from her fans through her Website in fact, the push from eager readers has already set the ball rolling, and she's hard at work on Forever Richard, the sequel.
In Never Ceese, Sue sets out to prove that faith and fun can live happily in the same story, and that vampire/werewolf fantasy can have a spiritual message too.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Never Ceese takes religious fantasy to a new level, bringing an entirely new Light to a very dark side of fiction, doing a very admirable job to prove that vampire/werewolf fantasy does not have to be evil to be enjoyed.


The story starts with the classic tale of an English manor owned by Richard, the vampire who righteously is the bain of his neighbor's existence, what with the missing goats and all!

Then enters Cecelia, better known as Ceese, the young werewolf maiden who's arrived via invitation by Richard's aging companion, Penelope.
Ceese and Richard would prefer to tear each other apart, literally, but they are drawn together by their mutual love for Penelope. She is dying and has one request...that the two of them love one another.

This is the overall theme throughout Dent's interesting tale of two who were wronged but learn to work together. Meanwhile they are threatened by an evil stem cell researcher who wants the immortality and power that he thinks their blood will bring him!

Dent's characters do differ from the stock one's we're all accustomed to in a very important way. They are not mindless, brutal killers. Bloodthirsty, yes, but they are constantly resisting the urge to kill, and, thus, curse another human. Feeding on rodents, goats, virtually any warm-blooded animal helps to satiate the never ending thirst for blood, but how long will they be able to resist that most delicious morsel man?
There is a chance that their curses can actually be lifted if they can find the strength within to resist their selfish natures and act selflessly toward another. Will they succeed? That same basic choice lies before us all every day...
A vampire and a werewolf, one determined to, once again, be able to acknowledge what will get her to heaven, the other no so sure he can. A spiritual fantasy designed to spark the imagination, to speak to the heart as well as entertain.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 Clues you may have gone a bit overboard on your Exterior Christmas lighting…

10. Your January electric bill comes with chapter numbers.

9. Your rose bushes bloom in mid-December.

8. A sudden spike in low-flying aircraft.

7. The average temperature for December in your town is up 8 degrees.

6. Vegas Casino owners are complaining about the glare from your home.

5. Your bag of Orville Redenbacher’s pops while in the cupboard.

4. Al Gore uses your home for a speech backdrop.

3. You don’t require reading lights inside the house at night.

2. Your children have the best tans in the school Winter Solstice Celebration.

And the number one clue you may have gone a bit overboard on your Exterior Christmas Lighting…

1. Three guys on camels show up at your door.