Monday, December 11, 2006

December 11, 2006 Daily-ish Readings

Readings: II Samuel 10-11, Psalm 138, I Corinthians 5
II Samuel 10-11: I hate II Samuel 11. It's one of the most depressing chapters in the Bible. Shakespeare had nothing on tragedies. This is the chapter where the great and powerful King David, a man after God's own heart, sleeps with another man's wife, has the other man killed by commanding Joab to send him to the front lines after she becomes pregnant, and marries the girl. I kept reading the chapter over and over again trying to figure out a way that David might have been innocent, but I can't find anything. The guy is an adulterous murderer.

And David went to heaven. So many times, we think we are righteous--or made righteous--by our works, i.e. the good things we do. That's not how God works, however. Paul, in Hebrews and in Galatians, tells us that we are made righteous by our faith in him. (That's what "justified" means: made righteous.) David the adulterer and murderer was made righteous by his faith in God and was forgiven by God. So tragic as this chapter may seem, it really does have a happy ending.

Out of Seclusion & Writing!

Well, I’ve finally taken myself out of seclusion. I timed the whole thing just right, as I came down with some really bad bronchitis/pneumonia thing and had to take these massive antibiotics. The side effects of these were scary. I think the pharmacy’s instructions said, “If you have bad dreams and wake up in the middle of the night, call you doctor immediately.” As someone who suffers from night terrors where I wake up in the middle of the night screaming anyway…. On top of coughing up chunks of green phlegm, my computer couldn’t access the internet for a week. My husband and I finally got it up and running today.

I see light at the end of this accursed sequel writing tunnel. I’m so excited. Hopefully, I’ll be done with it before the end of the year. Cheers!

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Into Seclusion!

My friend, Sasha, is flying to Switzerland next Friday, and she wants to take my sequel with her to “grade.” (Sasha is one of my readers who reads my second drafts and critiques them for me.) That gives me about a week and a few days to get the stupid thing ironed out—at least the Heaven’s Realm part. If I can finish the sequel by then, I can get it to my readers before Christmas, which would give them time to read and critique Out of the Shadows during their vacation. To accomplish this goal, I’m going to have to put myself back into seclusion until December 8th. Therefore, I won’t be blogging until I come out of seclusion next Friday. See you all then!

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

A Prophecy Forgotten’s Debut Pushed Back to January

I just found out that A Prophecy Forgotten’s publication date has been pushed back from December to January. All though I was disappointed at first, I have to keep reminding myself that God’s timing is perfect and mine is not. Besides, January is supposed to be a great month for new authors to debut. Anyway, I’m sorry you won’t be able to read A Prophecy Forgotten over your holiday break, but you will be able to enjoy it by the fire during the coldest months of the year—unless you’re in Florida like me, in which case you will be enjoying A Prophecy Forgotten by the fireplace with summer candles still lit in it while your air conditioner runs full blast.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Friday, November 17, 2006

November 17, 2006 Daily-ish Readings

Readings: II Samuel 8-9, Psalm 137, I Corinthians 4
II Samuel: The calm before the storm. David is doing so well, and God is giving him victory wherever he goes. I so do not want to read my next reading, which includes chapter 11. Why can't David just be a good king and not go to that nasty place?

I Corinthians 4: Verses 1 & 2: "So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."

One of the kids in my youth group, Michael Campbell, asked me over the summer which character in the Lord of the Rings I wanted to be. I thought for a moment. I wanted, so much, to be Frodo or Aragorn, and I told Michael that. But I also added that I knew that I only wanted to be Aragorn for the power, and therefore should not be Aragorn. I thought some more and said that I guess the person I wish I could emulate (because I often don't) was Samwise Gamgee. Why? Because Sam got it. Sam realized that the story was not about him or his Gaffer. He knew the story was about Frodo and Aragorn. The story was about destroying the ring and restoring the true king to power. Sam never tried to take the ring for himself or become the hero. He did his best to serve his Master Frodo. My favorite line of the movie is when Sam picks Frodo up and says, "I cannot carry the ring for you, but I can carry you!" (I'm getting goose bumps as I write it.)

So often, we tend to look at our lives and view ourselves as the hero of the story. We are our own protagonists--we think. I realize now that we are wrong. God is the protagonist of this story we call life. God is the Hero. Satan is the villain. We are but servants of the Most High, and we should operate as such because this story of life is not about us.

I am Sam. That's what I continue to tell myself. I am Sam, and I will do whatever it takes and go wherever I am asked to go in order to help my master defeat the villain.

I am Sam

I Corinthians 4:1-2: "So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."

One of the kids in my youth group, Michael Campbell, asked me over the summer which character in the Lord of the Rings I wanted to be. I thought for a moment. I wanted, so much, to be Aragorn, and I told Michael that. But I also added that I knew that I only wanted to be Aragorn for the power, and therefore should not be Aragorn. I thought some more and said that I guess the person I wish I could emulate (because I often don't) was Samwise Gamgee. Why? Because Sam got it. Sam realized that the story was not about him or his Gaffer. He knew the story was about Frodo and Aragorn. The story was about destroying the ring and restoring the true king to power. Sam never tried to take the ring for himself or become the hero. He did his best to serve his Master Frodo. My favorite line of the movie is when Sam picks Frodo up and says, "I cannot carry the ring for you, but I can carry you!" (I'm getting goose bumps as I write it.)

So often, we tend to look at our lives and view ourselves as the hero of the story. We are our own protagonists—we think. I realize now that we are wrong. God is the protagonist of our story. God is the Hero. Satan is the villain. We are but servants of the Most High, and we should operate as such because our story is not about us.

I am Sam. That's what I continue to tell myself. I am Sam, and I will do whatever it takes and go wherever I am asked to go in order to help my master defeat the villain.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Launch the Grenades!

I have many methods of solving problems. My favorite method to talk about (but my least favorite to use) is what I call the “grenade solution.” When you’ve got a problem that you simply can’t solve without rebuilding the entire dang thing, throw a grenade at it and start over. That, folks, is about to become my solution to the over forty pages problems in Out of the Shadows that I’ve been dealing with for the past two months. Unfortunately, I don’t need any grenades. I’ve got nice little delete key right here, just waiting to be pressed. Modern technology has so taken the fun out of warfare.

For those of you writers puckering your lips, holding your breath going, “No! No! For the love of God no! Don’t do it!” bear in mind that I won’t actually delete it. I’ll cut it and paste it to a separate word file and save it in my “deleted scenes” folder. You should see how many files are already in that folder. It’s currently bigger than my novel.

And now it is time for me to go on a little rant about outlines and those who use them. Yes, I realize that you outliners out there believe that your way is better than anyone else’s way, and that since outlining has helped you soooooo much, obviously outlining must be the one and only perfect way to do anything and those of us non-outliners (such as Steven King, by the way) are just ignoramuses who don’t really know how to write a novel. Well, “Bovine excrement to you!” I say. Go ahead, write your outlines, but don’t force your writing style on me. I’m joining Steven King and going back to the non-outline, feeling my way through, letting the characters go where they may style, which worked quite fine at my last attempt at novel writing.

And now I’m fishing for a box of grenades. We’re really going to do this one up well. Tune in on Sunday to see if I actually went through with it.

Oh, and I’m on the radio tonight: 89.5 @ 5:00! (For those of you in the Naples/Ft. Myers area.)

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 16, 2006 Daily-ish Readings

Readings: II Samuel 6-7, Psalm 136, I Corinthians 3
II Samuel: Wow! I can only stand in awe of this one. In II Samuel 7, David wants to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant--for the spirit of God. God comes to Nathan the prophet and tells him to deliver this message: He lets David know that one of David's own kin will establish a house for God. This prophecy was fulfilled when Solomon built the temple. But we should read on in verses 11-16:

"'The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you. When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with the floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"

Now on the surface, it looks as though God might have screwed up this prophecy. After all, Solomon never was beaten with a rod or flogged with a whip, and the line of David is no longer sitting on Israel's throne. Or did God screw up? I suggest, along with Peter, Paul, and all major Bible scholars, that this a prophecy about the coming Messiah. Those who have studied Messianic prophecies know that this particular passage is also referring to Jesus, who was of the line of David both through Joseph and Mary. It was Jesus who was flogged and beaten with a rod before His crucifixion--but wait. Jesus didn't do wrong--or did He? Remember when God turned away from Jesus during the crucifixion, and Jesus yelled, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" Jesus had taken on the sins of the world and therefore had, in God's eyes, done wrong. Again, this is a common understanding among those who've studied Messianic prophecy.

But here's the kicker--the thing that just popped out at me today because I read this prophecy within the context in which it was written in. Solomon established a resting place for the spirit of God--God's temple. And it was only after Jesus' death--after Jesus completed the work He came to do--that the Holy Spirit began to permanently reside in men & women. Jesus, one of David's line, established the true temple for God's Spirit--us. Whoa! Doesn't that just hit you with a, "God is sooo awesome!" kind of moment.

Even more amazing is how this relates to A Prophecy Forgotten. I can't tell you any of the details because it would ruin the sequel, Out of the Shadows, and the third book. I will just say this: Davian's ring is important, and the implications of the ring and what it stands for mirror this prophecy, kind of. Those of you who have already read A Prophecy Forgotten are probably thinking, "What ring?" Well, I had to create the ring a month ago because Davian needs something of extreme value to willingly give up to redeem something. I won't say anything else....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Florida Writers Association Conference

I just returned from the Florida Writers Association annual writer’s conference at Disney World where I gave a presentation on The Three Rules of Great Writing: Use Strong Verbs, Eliminate Passive Voice, and Show, Don’t Tell. My audience really responded to my presentation, and I had a great time giving it. I enjoyed being surrounded by so many people who were writers just like me. We’re a strange, group, we writers, and sometimes it so good to meet other people like us. I also played hooky a couple times and met my family at Animal Kingdom. The conference refreshed me, and I’m able to concentrate on the sequel to my novel now.

Click the following link for pictures of the conference:

Also, if you like horror novels—especially YA Horror Novels, check out Dan Strohschein’s blog at

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November 8, 2006 Daily-ish Readings

Readings: II Samuel 2-3, Psalm 134, I Corinthians 1
II Samuel 2: Saul is dead, so David, who was anointed king by Samuel ages earlier, should be king, right? Wrong. It appears that David was only the King of the tribe of Judah after Saul's death and had to wait about seven more years until God finally gave him the promised throne. That's almost 20 years after Samuel anointed David. Sometimes, God's promises take a while to ripen.

Faith without works is dead.

Throughout this entire book production process, worried thoughts have flooded my mind. Will people buy A Prophecy Forgotten once it comes out, or will it become the ultimate failure, keeping any respectable publisher from looking at my other manuscripts? Will my book cover look okay? Will I be able to schedule any book signings? Then I start dealing with the everyday life questions. Will my husband be able to find another job once his boss sells the company? Will we sell our house and become cash positive? Can we get through this month without getting into anymore debt? Should I just quit writing and get a real job so I can help the family become cash positive? The list questions keeps lengthening, and it’s frying my brain. I know that these thoughts are indicative of my lack of faith in God. I know He wants me to publish A Prophecy Forgotten, and I have seen Him do so many things throughout this process, yet I still worry and doubt. I’m like the toy dinosaur in Toy Story who said, “Now I have guilt!” Now my thoughts are full of worry and guilt that I’m not trusting God enough. I don’t think this is how God wants me to live, is it? He doesn’t want me to feel the acid twisting in my stomach or the constant ache in my shoulders and back. His burden is light. I’m the one who’s so darn insistent on making it heavy.

As I was praying today, I asked God to increase my faith, mainly because I can’t live like this much longer. A startling revelation came to me: Faith is not shown by what you feel, but by what you do. James put it better when he said, “Faith without works is dead.” I can believe as hard as I want that God is going to bless this stupid book, but if my actions don’t show that I believe it, what good is my faith? I, of course, am doing the exact opposite. I’m scared about what might happen in the next to months. I worry that every book reviewer in the country will scorn A Prophecy Forgotten in their critiques and that everyone I call and ask for a book signing or a speech will turn me down. But I have decided that despite my fear, I will continue pressing ahead—believing that God will bless my efforts and do something marvelous. Maybe not now, maybe later, but I will do what I believe God has called me to do. Scared though I am, I will show my faith through my deeds.

There. I no longer have guilt for feeling worried. That’s one down. Now if I could just tackle the worry….

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

November 7, 2006 Daily-ish Readings

Readings: I Samuel 31, II Samuel 1, Psalm 133, Romans 16
I Samuel 31: This chapter details Saul's death and the Philistines' victory over Israel. As I read this chapter, I began to wonder how I would have felt if I were an Israelite. Israel's king--jerk, though he was--was dead, and it had just lost a battle. I would probably wonder why God had allowed the Philistines a victory and why he had allowed Saul to die. If I were an Israelite back then, I would have no idea that God was about to raise up David as king--the king who would free Israel from the Philistines--and that everything was going according to His plan. I think sometimes, we all encounter things like this in our own lives. We look up at God and wonder why He has allowed horrible things to happen in our lives. I guess we just have to remember to look at the big picture and to realize that God might have to allow us to lose a little battle so we can win a big one later.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November 2, 2006 Some What Daily Readings

Readings: I Samuel 29-30, Psalm 132, Romans 15
Psalm 132: This psalm talks about the David's desire to build God a temple, and about David's descendents always sitting on the throne. I find it interesting that: 1) ever since Jesus' death, God had no need for a temple since he resides inside the hearts of Christians. Isn't it interesting that the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. It was no longer needed. 2) Jesus, a descendent of David, will sit on the throne again and reign--after the temple has been rebuilt.

November 1, 2006 NO TIME!

I have had absolutely no time this week to even begin working on my sequel. Between fixing up the presentation I'm making next weekend at the FWA writers conference, doing accounting so I can actually make money while I wait for my book to come out, and working on developing contacts with people, etc, writing has been put on the back burner. ARGH! Still, I'm getting closer. I see Friday as my day to start back on my sequel when everything is caught up. I'm very bitter about this.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

10/28/06 The waiting game begins

October 28, 2006

Please excuse me while I yell in excitement. WHOO-HOO! There, that felt good. I just found out that someone in Hollywood is interested in my book. He only had time to read the first chapter, but he said it was "fascinating" and wants me to send him a one page synopsis of the novel. Of course, he could hate the thing, but hey, interest is interest. I'm on air, but I'm also nervous because a synopsis is basically the skeleton of the story with all the fun stuff removed. Now, I just have to wait until he decides if he wants to option the story or not. ARGH! I hate waiting!

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Monday, October 16, 2006

October 16, 2006 Somewhat Daily Readings

Readings: I Samuel 27-28; Psalm 131; Romans 14
Romans 14: Romans 14:1-2 Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith s weak, eats only vegetables. Wow, that says a lot. Although I always knew that the intense legalism that gets so many people angry with Christians was actually a sign of a lack of faith, I did not realize that my judgment of Christian legalists was wrong, too. Looks like I need an attitude adjustment.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thank God for Oranges

I was walking to the community mailbox today, which I rarely do nowadays because mail is evil if I’m not waiting for a publisher’s reply to a manuscript, and I passed my favorite orange tree. I love this particular orange tree because it hangs over the street, and it smells amazing in the spring when the orange blossoms bloom—makes me want to get the mail. Anyway, I was frustrated because I’m waiting until December—probably late December—for my novel’s publication date, waiting for our house to sell so we can actually have money and my stomach acid can stop boring a hold in my intestines, waiting to make any appointments with radio/TV/newspapers/schools, etc. because my novel is not yet published, wishing my novel would be published in time for the conference I’m speaking at in November—which it won’t be, waiting for Greg and his boss to figure out their future business plans so I’ll know whether we’ll have health insurance for a while or whether we need to scout it out come December when Greg starts his own business, and being mad at God because I’m trying to finish my sequel and I can’t ever give it enough time because I have to work, etc., etc., etc. (Going to bed at 4:00 am twice in a row is not good for my psyche.)

So I stared at my favorite orange tree, and I noticed its green oranges that had yet to ripen. One had fallen to the ground and turned yellowish-orange, but I knew it wouldn’t taste good. It hadn’t hung on the tree long enough. I started thinking. The oranges wouldn’t be ready until winter, and if I took them off the tree too soon, they wouldn’t taste as good as they would if I waited until they were ripe. Then I realized that the oranges on that tree had actually been incubating since spring when the orange blossoms appeared. Everything the oranges needed to be oranges was right there in the blossom during the spring, but the oranges still needed time to become ripe, succulent, and sweet. Mess with the timing, and the orange wouldn’t be as sweet. As I looked at those oranges, I realized that God is letting my novel (and the rest of my life) ripen, not because He wants to be mean, but because He wants my novel and my life to be as sweet as possible.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Monday, October 09, 2006

In the Zone

October 9, 2006

I'm finally in the zone. You writer's know what I'm talking about. I'm in my writing zone, a happy little place where I can feel what my characters feel and anticipate their movements--when they act in front of me and take over the scenes. I can see areas to add more conflict and tension, and I am finally beginning to see how everything is going to work together. It's as though I'm looking through a foggy window and the defroster has finally turned on. I’ve been out of the zone for the past four weeks, my words wandering as aimlessly as my mind. I’m back now, and completion of my novel is possible. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go write some more before I find myself locked out of my zone.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

There's Always Next Year

October 7, 2006

Once again, my dear Yankees have taken my writing schedule into consideration and have sacrificed their season for my benefit. Knowing that I would stay up late throughout playoff season, wringing my hands instead of typing, they willingly lost the first round of the playoffs. They know how important it is to get my second novel done by the end of October. What great—sniff—guys. (Now if they can just sign some great pitchers...)

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Non-Writing Part of Being an Author

October 5, 2006

Being an author requires more than just writing. I have to actually sell my book because if it doesn’t sell, no publisher will want to print my second book. Selling books means making phone calls to bookstores, radio stations, book reviewers, libraries—the list is infinite. It means planning book signings, attending trade shows, and giving author talks. Unfortunately no master list of these things exists, which forces us authors to spend our writing time tracking down media resources and book fairs. It’s all part of getting published, and we authors should be glad to do it.

But I’m exhausted. I don’t just write. I’m also a wife. I cook. I’m supposed to clean, but that’s kind of slipped away recently. I wash the clothes, and every time that stupid dryer bell rings, whatever dialogue or prose that’s in my head disappears into nothingness, and I have to recreate it after I fold all the shirts and pants. I’m a friend, which means I meet my friends for coffee on occasion, because that’s what friends do, and I want to do it. I’m a daughter and an aunt, and my family lives in town, which means I spend time with them because that’s what families who love each other do, and I want to do it. I’m actively involved with youth, which I love doing. I also have two part time jobs that help make ends meet.

So not only am I developing a website, gathering names of all the outlets that will help me sell my book, planning future author events that will help me sell my book, trying to keep my friends and family close, and doing accounting work, I’m also trying to finish the second draft to the sequel of my novel by the end of this month. How do other writers do it?

Anyway, I’ve been stressing out about everything that I have to do before A Prophecy Forgotten comes out in December. Today, I sat down with my calendar and planned everything out from now to December. Now, instead of worrying about all 32,000 things that I’ll have to do, I just have to worry about finishing the Elysian mythology section of this website, gathering information on local events across Florida that I can attend to sell my book, and gathering the names of local schools and universities that might want an author to speak. I can do that in a week, and I won’t be flipping out about anything. And I can watch the playoffs while I do accounting.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

October 3, 2005

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the Yankees all swinging, their pitchers strikes bringing, October is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

What can I say? October baseball is here and the Yankees are in the mix. It’s a glorious time to be a baseball fan.

Oh, I’m out of seclusion now, although seclusion didn’t help at all. I’ve still got tons to do. I found my one page with all of the notes. Phew! I was scared for a moment, but now, “Dragons crawled across the distant mountains, reminding Davian of lizards on a small rock.” Sound much better than, the dragons were far away, doesn’t it?

Anyway, it’s on to more editing and tuning into baseball on ESPN and Fox.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September 27, 2006 Daily Readings

Readings: I Samuel 23-24, Psalm 129, Romans 12
I Samuel 23-24: Yesterday, I found it amazing that Saul's hatred and jealousy toward David turned him to evil. Today I read that Saul decided to sneak into a cave to...ahem...relieve himself, giving David the perfect opportunity to kill him. Most people, including David's men and even David for a moment (& me) would think that David was perfectly justified in killing Saul. After all, Saul had been hunting him, trying to kill him, and God had promised David that he would be the future king of Israel. Yet David resorts to cutting off a piece of Saul's robe and chastising him later. Here, we see two hearts laid bare. Until Saul's hatred of David, he never really did anything wrong in the sight of man. (In the sight of God, he did, but that doesn't enter here.) Saul's heart, however, was twisted and evil; it only needed his hatred of David to bring it out and to take him beyond trying to kill David to killing innocent women and children. David's heart, on the other hand, was pure, and when given a chance to kill Saul, David declined. That must be why Paul said that David was, "A man after God's own heart."

Romans 12: Romans has some good stuff today. (It always has good stuff, but I can't write a doctoral thesis every day.) Some of the stuff I never realized was in verse 19. Michelle's Translation: Don't take revenge. Let God do it for you. Sounds kind of mean, but hey, Paul said it, not me. I also like verse 18, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Note that Paul does not say, "Live at peace with everyone." Paul recognizes that sometimes force is necessary. Then there's verse 16 that says, "Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position." That was probably the most convicting verse I've read today. I think I harbor more conceit in my heart than I realized. I'll have to work on that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26, 2006 Daily Readings

Readings: I Samuel 21-22, Psalm 128, Romans 11
I Samuel 21-22: Saul, the king of Israel, is still king, and still responsible for governing God's people. With those responsibilities comes protecting the land and dispensing justice. Saul allows his jealousy and hatred of David to lead him to
Abandon his post as king as he seeks to kill David, thus leaving the land unprotected.
Kill God's priests at Nob, whom he believes helped David in rebellion against him--a true injustice.

Kill the innocent women and children in the town of Nob--again, injustice--and he's causing it!
This is such a great illustration of how harboring hatred for another in our hearts can lead us to do evil in ways we never thought we could.

My Football Seaon is Officially Over (& more)

Time for my weekly sports updates:

Yankees: Great job to my Yankees for officially clinching the AL East. Now if we can just win the World Series. And those of you working for Beelzebub—I mean Bud Selig—please work on the design for the playoff sweatshirts next year. This one is just blah. I’m not buying one—not even that nasty pink one you keep trying to pawn off to us serious chick-fans. (Although I must confess that I do have a pink Yankees hat. It’s muted pink, to go with my muted pink shirts. Hey, my accessories gotta match.)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Well, that’s it for my football season. Sims Jr. is out after spleen surgery. Drat! Unless the new Tampa Bay rookie turns into the next Tom Brady or Ben Rothlesburger (sp?), my Bucs are going to have a great shot at some good draft picks next year. And I hope Mr. Casey of the Carolina Panthers breaks his ankle. GRRR!

Fantasy Football: Great job, Pink Jeep Cherokees! Looks like my little speech last week helped. Everyone performed with excellence, giving me a win. Congrats all around—especially to Tatum Bell and Tom Brady. Feely, you’ve gotta get onto Eli Manning and get him to get you close enough to have more than one or two field goal attempts.

For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Monday, September 18, 2006

All of my sports teams reek!

All right! This is your armchair coach/manager speaking. I’ve been patient with all of you, but that’s worn thinner than my husband’s favorite green shirt that I don’t dare throw away for fear of retribution. Now you’re going to see the ugly side of Coach Weston.

To my boys in Yankee Stadium: You’ve played around with Boston long enough. The playoffs are not in the bag yet, so please don’t become complacent. You can become complacent when your magic number is 0, not 4. Win the next 4 games (so I can buy a playoff sweatshirt), and then take a break. And A-Rod, don’t even think about returning to August form. Jeter, good job on the 25 game hitting-streak. Tell Melky to get on base next time you’ve got to get a hit to keep the streak going. And Jorge, just…. Just don’t let the last part of last night happen until after you guys clinch the division. And will someone in the Red Sox clubhouse please tell Coco Crisp not to play so hard. Geez (sp?), you’d think the guy actually cared about the game or something. (Just teasing. Nice catch. Made me angry, but a really nice catch.)

To my boys in Tampa: Sims, what’s up with the 300 passing yards but three interceptions? You’re better than that. Get out there and silence the media about it. Oh, and please throw every single pass to Galloway. He’s on my fantasy team, and I’m about to yell at them.

To my Pink Jeep Wranglers: All right boys, laps for all of you. You’re all about the biggest bunch of underperforming pro-bowlers I’ve ever managed. My rookie is playing better than most of you are! Lamont Jordan, you’re just going to have to figure out a way to get around everyone despite the fact that your offensive line collapses the moment the quarterback yells “Hike!” Figure it out. The only reason I’m keeping you in is because I think the Raider’s new quarterback might take some pressure off of you. And Colts Defense, I’m ashamed. Your team being up by almost 40 points is absolutely no reason for you to take a nap in the second quarter. We fantasy football people are counting on you to maintain consistency even when you’re offense is up. And Tom Brady, I know that you got away with a big fumble during the playoff game against the raiders a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean the refs are going to give it to you every time. No more fumbling for you.

That's all for now. I'm expecting a much better performance (and a playoff sweatshirt) next week.


For more information on my debut novel, A Prophecy Forgotten, check out my website at

Thursday, September 14, 2006

September 14, 2006 Daily Readings

Readings: I Samuel 17-18, Psalm 127, Romans 10
Today, what stood out the most was the friendship between Jonathan and David. Jonathan, the crown prince of Israel, basically knew that David--not him--would be Israel's future king, yet he loved David as a best friend. Jonathan loved David so much that he was willing to create tension between he and his father to help save David's life. Sometimes I wonder if I have that kind of love toward anyone.

Also, I Sam 18 is about David running away from Saul. I wonder how David felt as he became a fugitive. The prophet Samuel had told David that he would be the future king of Israel, yet we know that David spend around ten years running from Saul. What did he think, then? Did he ever lose faith? Did he ever question whether or not Samuel was really a prophet or just a weak old man with too much olive oil? I must marvel at David's faith, in continuing to trust God, even when the world was going in a way that didn't make sense. I hope that when I begin to endure things that don't make sense, my faith will remain strong.

Psalm 127: 1-2 Unless the Lord builds the house, it's builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. I hope that I seek to labor on the homes that the Lord wants built.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September 13, 2006 Daily Reading

Okay, I just looked over my last journal, and I'm a little freaked out. As I said in my Online Journal, God totally took over my little trip to Annapolis. But look at my entry below. God basically told me he was going to take care of it. Isn't that all amazing. I'm all worried about whether or not I'm going to see what I need to see, and God had already taken care of it. Also, the earth groaned while I was in Annapolis. Naples experienced a little earthquake.

Readings: I Samuel 17-18, Psalm 126, Romans 9
This was the David and Goliath chapter. We all know the story, so I won't bore anyone with the details. I remember doing a Sunday school lesson on this. I took a piece of tape and put it on the wall where Shaq's head would have hit (had he been there). The dude is over seven feet tall! Then I took a piece of tape and put it where Goliath's head would have been at nine feet. Egads! If you picture Goliath as two feet taller than Shaq with just as much mass per foot, you've got one big dude. And Goliath wasn't saying to the Israelites, "Let's fight each other." He was saying, "Send one man to fight me!" Now I don't know about the rest of you, but if I was an Israelite listening to him, I would be scared, mainly because I'd know that no one had a chance against Goliath. Maybe four soldiers who were quick with nice long bows could defeat him, but not one soldier. I for one, would not step foot on that battle field. As I read the story, I began to realize that my faith is sometimes just as weak as the faith of the Israelites, even after such a great weekend. I guess it was the Holy Spirit trying to keep me humble.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Author’s Blog, September 12, 2006

Writing Tip of the Day: Getting your character from one scene to another is like walking along a path. You don't want to focus on the path. You want to describe the journey.

I just went on a trip to Annapolis to do some on site research for my second book, Out of the Shadows. I’d like to thank my good friend Cheryl and her family for letting me tag along with them. It was the most amazing trip. We stayed in a rented house within walking distance of the Naval Academy and downtown Annapolis. I spent the whole weekend walking around the city and the campus trying to glean as much information as I could for the sequel of my novel, and I have the popped blisters on the back of both heels to prove it. This morning when I jogged, my socks ended up bloody. (Kurt Shilling has nothing over me—well, except that he can throw a fastball over 90 mph, a minor detail. But bloody socks aren’t everything, Kurt.)

I went to Annapolis knowing what I needed to find, but not exactly knowing how to find it. Little did I know that God basically had my entire trip planned out for me, and He took care of anything. Unfortunately, He did not pencil in "rest for Michelle" as one of His options. Let me tell you what I needed, and then what I discovered, so you can get a full understanding of how awesome God is:

1. I needed a football ticket to a sold out game so I could see the inside of Navy/Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (so I could write about it).
2. I needed to watch the midshipmen (Naval Academy cadets) do their march over to the football game so I could describe it in my book.
3. I needed to see the inside of Bancroft, the dorm, but no civilians are allowed in.
4. I needed to see plebes (freshmen) chopping (half-run/half-walk) through Bancroft. It's a form of plebe hazing. They have to shuffle down the middle of the hallway and yell, "Go Navy, Sir!" or "Beat Army, Sir!" each time they turn the corner. If they want to enter a room, they have to do a right angle turn on a deck plate. I knew all of this before I went, but I wanted to see it.
5. I needed to see the inside of a plebe's room on the forth floor. I also needed a room number. (My protagonist needs to sleep somewhere.)
6. I needed a coffee shop with: a) a back door, b) an area for a secret room, c) a restaurant right next to it, d) a street behind it that was residential instead of commercial that led to water if possible. An address of such coffee shop, if it existed, would be nice.
7. I needed to see every part of the Naval Academy that was on the water. (Can’t tell you why.)
8. This is the hardest to describe, but it is the most important. Tommy, my midshipman character, begins the story by deciding to look for Gabriella, his guardian angel (I call the cherubians in my novel) who was human for a while and disappeared. (Long story. It’s in my first novel, A Prophecy Forgotten) In APF, Tommy walks in on a few other cherubians who have morphed into humans and are attacking Gabriella. He goes into shock and forgets the incident for ten years until the beginning of my second novel, affectionately known as OOTS, when he dreams about the incident. Tommy notices, in his dream, that all of the guys who attacked Gabriella wore armor similar to the armor worn by Romans with holes in the back of their armor and their shirts (where their wings are when they are cherubians) so that Tommy can see the skin on their backs. The holes intrigue Tommy, and he begins wondering what the holes are for. To make a long story short, I needed a picture of an angel that Tommy could look at that would make him go, "Oh my, the holes are for their wings!" and realize that cherubians really do exist. I originally had something like this happening at his grandmother's house, but I needed it to happen at Annapolis, preferably at the Naval Academy. I wasn't sure what I was looking for.

That's a lot of needs for one trip. Look at how God answered them:
1. When I bought a ticket for the walking tour at the visitor’s center, I asked the lady if there were any tickets left for the game. She said that a friend of hers had given her their season tickets for that game, and that I could have one for twenty dollars. Right after that, the tour began. No wasted time.
2. The tour ended just out side the entrance of Bancroft, where the midshipmen had just lined up to do their march over. I followed them all the way to Memorial Stadium, and was totally inspired to add in stuff to my sequel that I hadn't thought of before. Again, no time wasted.
3. On Sunday, I woke up early to check out more stuff in the city while the Cheryl and her family slept. I returned five minutes before they left for breakfast (coincidentally). I went to breakfast with them, and then their son (a midshipman) took us inside Bancroft--the only day when civilians are allowed in.
4. There, I saw plebes "chopping."
5. Their son (you're not going to believe this) lives on the fourth floor of Bancroft. He showed me a plebe room close to his. I now have Tommy’s room number and a detailed picture of what is outside his window.
6. On Saturday, I took a wrong turn in the morning when I was heading for the Naval Academy. I probably ended up two miles out of my way, and right in front of a coffee shop with a) a back door, b) an area for a secret room, c) next to a restaurant, d) a residential area behind it, e) that led to water. I also have its address: 49 west street. Oh, and it’s on the exact same side of the street that I envisioned when I wrote the original scene, and the restaurant is on the correct side (has to be after the coffee shop if you're walking away from the Naval Academy). It is also laid out the exact same way as I imagined it, with the bar on the right side.
7. After half-time, I left the football game and walked around the perimeter of the Naval Academy that was on the water. I took careful notes.
8. When I toured the Naval Academy chapel, I saw a stained glass window one hundred feet tall—seems like it, anyway. The stained glass window is called “Admiral Farragut Memorial Window,” and it depicts Michael, the archangel, directing the admiral in action. Michael is wearing Romanesque armor—just like my cherubians and just like the armor Tommy would have seen in his dream. It was exactly what I needed. What is so weird is that I had no clue this picture was in the Nave (as they call the chapel) when I began writing this Elysian Chronicles trilogy. I had no clue Tommy was going to go to the Naval Academy, either. Truly a miracle.

Author’s Blog, August 31, 2006

I’ve been agonizing over the same fifty page section of work for the past two weeks, and I know part of my problem is the lack of good conflict. I think that section is languishing because I’m spending so much time trying to get my characters where they need to be for the next section that I forget to carry on the engaging parts of the plot. I suspect that my characters are having conversations like this behind my back:
“Good morning, Seraph Davian. Would you like some tea?”
“Good morning to you, my dear Marcus. Tea would really hit the spot. You know, I just love wandering around in the woods with absolutely nothing to do.”
“Sugar, sir?”
“Two lumps, please. What I like best is hiding from all of my enemies, who are too far away to be a bother right now. They’re so unskilled, and we’re so skilled that they have no chance of even finding us.”
“Please. Makes me wonder why I even carry this heavy sword around.”
“I agree, sir. Your sword does make you look a little too rough. And you should shine that breastplate up a bit. It makes you look like you’ve seen too many battles.”
“Quite right, Marcus. I was thinking of cutting my hair and shaving so Seraph Salla would respect me. I notice you took three baths yesterday.”
“That I did, sir. You know how much I hate smelling like the woods. So what future battle should we talk about today?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Marcus. Those battles won’t happen for such a long time. Maybe we should discuss logistics and weaponry.”
“Would you like a crumpet, sir?”
“Crumpet? Do you have any brambleberry tarts from yesterday?”
“Plum out of those, sir.”
“Plum out? Dear me. Crumpet it is then. You know something, Marcus. I think I like being in this book more that I liked being in the last one.”
“Why is that, sir?”
“Because nothing seems to be happening right now in this one. I’m not tracking down clues to a conspiracy, my life isn’t on the line, I haven’t seen the enemy in ages, and I’m getting along with you and all the other soldiers in my unit just fine.”
“Jam, sir?”
“No thank you, Marcus. I must say, this really is a splendid tea.”
Grab your swords, boys. All hell is about to break loose. (Excuse the cliché. I’m not yet done cutting the crust off my watercress sandwich. Tea anyone?)

P.S. Thank you to Michael Campbell for giving me the idea I needed to bring in some good, old fashioned conflict. And if you don’t know who Marcus and Davian are or why the idea of Marcus taking three baths a day is about as likely as me becoming the Pope, you will just have to read my first book, A Prophecy Forgotten.

Author's Blog, June 23, 2006

Author’s Blog: June 23, 2006

I just finished the pre-draft for my second novel, Out of the Shadows—seven days before my artificial deadline of June 30. It took 2 hours to print—406 pages and probably half a printer cartridge. It’s a heavy sucker, too—not exactly something I look forward to dragging around while I’m trying to edit it. It’s not the first draft—just the pre-draft, basically a rough skeleton of my story without any description or character development. It’s also missing pieces of information—lots of pieces, just like a half-done jigsaw puzzle. Ugh! Two to three years worth of work and it’s still full of holes.

I’ve set the artificial deadline for my first draft at the end of the July. I feel like that is pushing it, but then, I thought setting my pre-draft deadline for June 30 was pushing it, too. I’ll be spending this next month reading the thing, searching for holes, creating timelines so everything will flow, making sure the seasons are described. (With A Prophecy Forgotten, I totally forgot that most of the novel took place in winter. I didn’t realize that I had forgotten to add snow until I watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in the movie theater. While everyone in the theater gasped at Czechoslovakia’s (or whatever country it is now) snow-covered scenery, I was choking because I realized that my own little world had no snow. That’s what living in Florida will do. Gosh, now that I think about it, I forgot to describe the spring flowers at the end of the book. Dag nab it!) I also have to do research on the Naval Academy and surrounding Annapolis so when my heroes are running through the town for their lives, the residents of Annapolis won’t be laughing at me. Does anyone out there have any good military jokes, preferably Army/Navy or Navy/Marines?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

September 9, 2006 Daily Reading

Readings: I Samuel 15-16, Psalm 125, Romans 8

I guess the thing that stood out to me the most in I Sam is the anointing of David. I wonder what was going through his head. If he's anything like me, he was probably worried about how he would become king, if he would have to dethrone Saul, if people would accept him or not as king, and whether he, as a youngest son and shepherd boy, really had what it took to lead the country of Israel. If I were David, I know I would be constantly worried about the path I would take, as I am now. I know God wants me to write for him, but I'm not sure about the path I should take. What's funny is that immediately following David's anointing, God causes an evil spirit to torment Saul. Saul wants a harpist, and one of his advisors just happens to know David. POOF! David ends up in Saul's court as a musician. Just like that. The kid didn't do anything at all. I know that God is telling me that I need to relax and let him take care of the details. (Of course, David probably practiced his harp daily, and his poetry, so he wasn't exactly sitting on his butt waiting for stuff to happen.

Romans 8 is always such an in-depth chapter. I always get something new out of it. This time, what stood out the most is that "the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." I don't really understand what Paul means by this, but I know that I can see the earth groaning, just through earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, etc.
I'll leave you with this:

Romans 8:38 I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor dept, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.