Friday, May 30, 2008

Free copy of Summer Snow

Wanna win a free copy of Summer Snow? Michelle Sutton over at the Edgy, Inspriational Author Blog is giving away my book. All you have to do is post a comment to be entered in the drawing. Michelle will be picking the winner on Sunday, so you don't have much time... Good luck!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


A few posts ago I blogged about the tornado that swept past our little town. At the time I considered the event almost fun--part of the Midwest experience. I mean, come on, I grew up with the tornado sirens going off! It's a little thrilling, or at the very least, a moment of excitement in an otherwise rather sleepy town.

But I'm afraid I have to repent of my earlier laissez-faire attitude toward these powerful spring storms. The situations in Myanmar, China, and even locally have instilled in me a bit of awe and reverence (albeit late blooming) for the potentially terrifying weather patterns in our world. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the sort to cry: "the sky is falling!" And I definitely don't buy into the typical fear and conjecture that plays into popular end times theology. But I do think the past few weeks have made me aware of the potential in the world around me. I've come to understand that what happened in Parkersville, Iowa, could have just as easily happened in my own sweet corner of creation. Yikes. Words are hopelessly inadequate. Lord, be gracious and compassionate...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Soundtrack for Summer Snow

One of the things that I do early on in the writing process of any novel is make a soundtrack. A few years ago my dad bought me an i-Pod nano for Christmas, and since then I've filled the little device with nearly 1,200 songs. If you scroll through my song list, you'll find everything from Metallica (yup, I went to high school in the 90's) to David Crowder's Passion Hymns. There's even a smattering of country, some folk, and a few songs by Fergie--I can't help liking her husky, smoker's voice.

As I make the soundtrack, I focus on the themes of the book, the characters, and the tone that I hope to convey from the first page through to the very end. Usually I start with just a few songs and add more as I continue to write. It's interesting how the songs affect my writing, and how they affect me... It's been a year since I completed Summer Snow, and yet, to this day I can't hear John Mayer's Wheel without thinking of one of the final scenes in the book. It makes me teary just thinking of the goodbye that Julia has to say. Crazy, eh?

Anyway, someone recently asked me what my Summer Snow soundtrack looks like. Well, here it is! Now you know a sampling of what takes up space on my i-Pod.

Blonde on Blonde (Nada Surf)
Wheel (John Mayer)
The Scientist (Coldplay)
Heal Over (KT Tunstall)
Far Away (Nickelback)
Thief (Our Lady Peace)
4am (Our Lady Peace)
Happiness And Disaster (Stabilo)
Don’t Look In Their Eyes (Stabilo)
Make Up Your Mind (Theory of a Deadman)
Scared (The Tragically Hip)
All Uncovered (The Watchmen)
Brighter Hell (The Watchmen)
Better Man (Pearl Jam)
Gates of the Country (Black Lab)
Brave (Nichole Nordeman)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

5 Things

Yikes, it's been a long time since I've blogged. Sorry. It's been busy around here. So much so that I'm going to give you a quick list of the five most interesting things I've been up to lately. Then it's back to my third novel. I'm so close...

The 5 most interesting things I've been up to:

5. Painting all my doors Rebellion Red. I find it to be a misnomer. Rebellion makes me think blood, but this red is more brick/terra cotta. I love it.

4. Going to the Tulip Festival. Yup, it's exactly what it sounds like: a festival dedicated to tulips. I went for the Dutch bratwurst and the look on my son's face when he tasted cotton candy for the very first time.

3. Yoga. Who wouldn't love to end their day with a few sun salutes and a quick aromatherapy massage? If only Lisa would stop making me giggle in the middle of downward facing dog...

2. Taking my son to the dentist. He's four. It didn't go very well. In a fit of raw fear he punched me in the face and screamed so loud they asked us to leave. Huge sigh. As you can imagine, I'm regretting the cotton candy incident as I'm afraid my little boy may never allow me to even drive by the dentist's office ever again.

1. Writing my third book! I'm almost done! Praise the Lord, it's been a ride. Well, it's still a ride because I'm not quite there yet. But I will be... :) Some highlights have been: researching the Catholic church like a crazy person only to find out that my writing partner grew up Catholic, having a wine tasting for research, and asking a local police officer if I could hold his gun so I could get a feel for it.

That's it for me. I'm going to retreat back into my little writing cave. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I'm so busy right now I just don't have time to blog! Every spare second I can squeeze out of my day is spent working on my third book. My deadline with Tyndale isn't for months, but I've set my own personal due date of June 15. That gives me a few weeks to edit before I turn it in to my agent on July 1. It's so crazy! Don't get me wrong--I love this part. The rush to the end is always exciting... Everything is building to the final climax and the (hopefully) satisfying conclusion. But my mind is so "in it" that I find it hard to focus on anything else. To that end, instead of trying to be interesting, I'm going to direct you to a couple of reviews of Summer Snow. All these wonderful ladies also reviewed Leaves, and I've been honored by the chance to get to know them a bit over the last few months (even if it is via email). I hope you enjoy reading what they had to say about Snow.

Deena at A Peek at My Bookshelf

Anna at Hope Road

Amanda at A Patchwork of Books

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

100th Post!

For a self-professed non-blogger, I have to admit that I am more than a little blown away by the fact that I have reached my 100th post. Who knew I was capable of babbling on so endlessly? You, I suppose. Anyway, in honor of this momentous occasion, I've decided to collect some fun facts from a gauntlet with a gift in it. (You didn't know that was the name of my blog, did you?)

* * *

First post:
A Writing Journal - I (actually an excerpt from my journal)

Funniest post (I think):
Just for fun... (vacation quotes)

Biggest confession in a post:
What is it about Harry? (I love Harry Potter!)

Longest post:
Feeling Pressured (all about our involvement in Liberia)

"Greenest" post:
Global Warming (a tribute to my fledgling tree-hugger tendencies)

Yummiest post:
Apple Recipe (you know you wanna try it)

Raciest post:
Naked in Love (find out for yourself)

* * *

Well, it's been a fun year. 100 posts a year. Does that mean I'll hit the 200 mark next spring? That's a scary thought. Anyway, as a little 100th post present to me, I would love it if you would leave a comment and say "hello." It would be fun to see who (if anyone!) is reading...

Have a lovely week.

*Just for the fun of it, here are some 100 post stats from a gauntlet with a gift in it. As of this morning, there have been 5,883 visitors to my blog and 11,843 page views. That's approximately 22 visits and 46 page views a day. 1,196 people have viewed my complete profile. And (this is my favorite part) friends from Nigeria, Turkey, Australia, and the Netherlands regularly visit the site. Hello to all my Dutch family! Thanks for stopping by.*

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Spring in the Midwest

I absolutely love spring. Always have, always will. And believe it or not, one of my favorite things about this time of year is the wild storms that herald the advent of warmer weather. Don't get me wrong--I'm no masochist. I don't revel in awful storms that destroy property and injure people. But I do love to see what God can do with the heavens. Honestly, I don't think there's anything quite so awe-inspiring... For one small moment you are truly capable of grasping just how small and insignificant you are.

This week we had our first official summer storm. It started off as a sticky, humid day with a warm wind from the south. As I was standing outside late in the afternoon, my hair (which had been blowing one direction) whipped across my face in the opposite direction when a blast of cold wind shot down from the north. Ooohhh, tornado weather. Yup. A few hours later the storm sirens were going off and we were running for the basement. Yeah right, we were running for the backyard where we could get a better view of the impending storm. Dumb, I know, but we rather stupidly believe that we would see it coming and be able to outrun it. Anyway, it was the real deal. A tornado (1/2 a mile wide) touched down just outside our town and continued north through a couple counties before dissipating. We didn't see it, but our friends' neighbor took these shots. In a word: WOW.