Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Three Cheers for Martin Luther!

Okay, so, it doesn't give you an excuse to dress up like a pirate or go door to door begging for mind-altering substances (or "candy" as many choose to call it), but it's still good to remember and mark the day, at least if you're some stripe of Protestant: Today is the 490th anniversary of the day Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the local church and, unbeknownst to him, altered the course of the Christian church. Celebrate by reading your Bible in your own language (he was the first to translate it to a language the common man could read, assuming, of course, the common man was German) and watching Luthur, the really great movie about Luther's experiences that led him to post the theses (featuring hottie Joseph Feinnes as Luther, who isn't quite as hot as a monk, I'll admit, but an excellent actor for the role).

Weird how I grew up in the church and NEVER ONCE heard this guy's name. Had no clue who Martin Luther King Jr. was named after. Had no idea there had been a time when the Catholic Church was the only game in town. Sad.

Dan's got a link to a great site with lots of cool reformation stuff; check it out!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Honest-to-goodness writing news

Shocker! I actually have something to blog about that is related to writing! Savor it; who knows when another will come along.

So I'm all excited because a great publishing house offered me a three book contract. I'm over the moon--and was a little freaked until I came up with some great second and third books ideas. Chip the Super Agent is starting negotiations today. Woohoo! I'm pumped about my other ideas, too. Haven't pitched them to the house yet because I'm still working on the ideas and want to wait until the contract is a sure deal, but I think they'll be great for this house.

It's nice to be wanted. :) And the best part is that they don't need the manuscript until next autumn! A whole year! Score!

More Abby-isms

I'm trying, really I am, to make this blog more about writing and less about my kid. But what can I do when she's so stinkin' cute?

- Three days in a row, after I finished singing "Silent Night" (one of her bedtime lullabies) she thrust her fist in the air and whispered, "Yesssss!"

- Conversation between her and Dan:
Dan: Do you taste like cookies?

Abby: Noooo.

Dan: Do you taste like chocolate?

Abby: Noooo.

Dan: Well, what do you taste like?

Abby: Toast!

- Conversation between me and Abby:

Me: Can I kiss you forever?

Abby: Nooo.

Me: Can I hug you forever?

Abby: Nooo.

Me: Well what can I do with you forever?

Abby: Watch "Clues"! (AKA Blue's Clues, her favorite tv show ever, and thankfully a really cute one that I don't mind watching eight million times in a row.)

- She turned her first somersault today! Not on purpose, of course--she was staring at me between her legs and moving her feet a bit and suddenly went over. She looked stunned and wasn't clear why I was clapping and all excited.

- She makes up little songs all time time. You can't usually tell what it is she's singing, but often she'll just sing "I like ____" (well, yike) and just list things over and over. This morning it was, "I like Blue. I like Joe. I like paci. I like grapes."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A newcomer to the blogosphere

So Dan has decided to jump into the cyber-fray. Welcome baby! You can find the random contents of his brain here. Go welcome him!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Help Stomp Out XP!

On November 10 I will be participating in Walk by the Light of the
Moon, a fundraiser to help raise money for the fight against XP. XP
(short for Xeroderma Pigmentosum) is a genetic disease. XP sufferers
are born with DNA that cannot repair cell damage that occurs from
everyday exposure to ultraviolet radiation coming from sunlight,
daylight (including shade), and fluorescent and halogen lighting. Even
a few moments of exposure to daylight can cause severe 2nd degree
burns that eventually become skin cancer. Patients with XP rarely live
to adulthood. Currently, there is no cure for XP. The DNA damage is
cumulative and irreversible.

The reason I am participating in this walk is because I recently met a
woman whose beautiful 7-year-old daughter Riley has this disease.
While most children spend their days playing outdoors, splashing in
the pool, and taking trips to the store with their parents, Riley must
stay indoors with the curtains closed. She is not allowed to see the
light of day or even just experience some of the everyday things that
we take for granted—a walk outside during the daylight, recess and
lunch outside with her friends, and trips to the park and pool before

As you can imagine, XP is a very lonely and isolating disease. As
Riley gets older, she is not only made more aware of what she is
missing, but she is faced with the knowledge that she will most likely
not live to do so many of the things little girls dream of--going on
dates, getting married, even just having a job and living her own
life. And for Riley's parents, the anguish of knowing they will lose
their daugher to this disease is a weight that gets heavier every day.

Their one ray of hope is that doctors believe a cure for XP could be
found in the near future if funds were available for research. Very
little money is granted towards research for an XP cure because the
disease is so rare--only 150 people in the country have it. And THAT
is why I am walking on November 10.

Would you be willing to donate to this cause? Our goal is to raise $200,000, all of which will go to research, and your entire donation is tax deductible. If you would like to help, please send your donation in the form of a check made out to XP Family Support Group to:

Alison Strobel
23052-H Alicia Parkway #366
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

This walk will take place in Ladera Ranch, so if you're local and
you'd like to volunteer that night or even join in the walk yourself,
please let me know and I can send you the necessary information.

Whether you are able to donate or not, I would ask that you please
pray that we would be able to reach our goal and that God would lead
researchers to a cure for this disease!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

Hey, I kinda know this guy! He produced the newest album for Plumb, which used to be one of my favorite bands back in college. Their song "Worlds Collide" was part of the inspiration for my first novel, and their leader Tiffany Arbuckle wrote an endorsement for it. I can't remember how this guy and I got connected, but I sent him a signed copy of "Worlds Collide" for her and in return he sent me a signed copy of her new CD. Cool! Anyway, here's the lowdown on him and his book, Illuminated:


Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."
-Aspiring Retail Magazine

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The fire down the street from us (Santiago Canyon/Modjeska Canyon/Silverado Canyon/Foothill Ranch/Portola Hills depending on which section of it they're talking about) is getting worse and worse. You can see flames from the end of our neighborhood--not that the fire is AT the end of our neighborhood, but it's still extremely disconcerting to realize how close it is. Just heard that one of our favorite restaurants is being threatened--in fact, the area it's in is probably my favorite part of the county. There's a road at the end of town that goes down into the canyon, all twisty-turny, and when you get down there it's like being in a storybook--all giant trees growing over the road and horse farms and camp grounds and spooky-looking properties that look like they have at least a couple resident ghosts. There's even a Buddhist monastery. I can't imagine it all burned out. Not to mention, of course, all the people that live down there.

And to think someone started this fire on purpose. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The world is on fire...

The fires out here are unbelievable. Yesterday I was all, "Wow, that sucks, I feel bad for all those people up in LA and down in SD..." only to wake up this morning and learn that arsonists set fires in three places about 10 minutes from our house. Since our windows were open all night and the whole house fan was on, there's ash everywhere and our throats are starting to really feel it. Embers are starting to fly and a house about 5 minutes away just caught; they're evacuating the next town over. I'd like to think we're safe here but I'm sure the folks in Foothill Ranch thought they were, too. Very scary. What ind of sick, sick idiot sets a fire? Especially when all the local engines are trekking up north to help with the fires there. I hope they find whoever did it; that's the second arson fire in our area in the last month.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It boggles the mind.

I've been wanting to blog about the school in Maine giving out the birth control pill to middler schoolers since the story broke, but I just haven't been able to see straight enough to even type about it. Truly, the mind boggles at the very thought. I'm just now reading an article on it where a parent (a PARENT!!!!) is quoted as saying, "I think it's a great idea. Someone is finally advocating for these students to take care of themselves."


Would she be in favor of providing clean needles to the ones who want to shoot up heroin? Because those can be hard to get ahold of, too, you know? And we'd hate for those kids to not be safe while engaging in completely inappropriate behavior.

*boggle boggle boggle*

Wouldn't you say, "Hm, time for some serious abstinence ed" if this happened in your neighborhood? Wouldn't you say, "Hm, time to make sure there's more for these kids to do around here than have sex before they're old enough to even drive"? Wouldn't you say, "Hm, time to reconsider the music and TV and movies I let my kids listen to and watch and start getting a little more involved in their lives"?

Yeah, you know, parents have so much on their plates these days, no one can really expect them to, you know, instill their kids with values and morals. Or teach their daughters that their bodies are sacred and beautiful and their virginity is a precious gift that protects their hearts as well as their health. Or teach their boys that a real man learns to control his impulses and protects the women in his life instead of using them as entertainment or to satisfy his selfish desires.

But yeah, that takes a lot of time and perseverance and all that, you know, being-a-parent-and-not-just-your-kid's-friend stuff. So gosh darn time-consuming. It's way, way easier to just turn your kid over to the state and let the government decide what's appropriate and what's not. And then, when your daughter gets pregnant anyway because no one told her that the pill can actually fail (and since she has a hard time remembering her homework, who can expect her to remember to take that pill every single day at the exact same time?), you can let the state usher her into an abortion without ever telling her about the years of mental anguish she'll experience because of it--or else just let her have the baby and put her on the path to being even MORE dependent on the state since chances of her getting a job and supporting herself out of high school (if she finishes high school) are awfully low. Or if she manages not to get pregnant, you can just blame the state when she lands in the hospital from a stroke or blood clot in her twenties, or blame the state when she's ready to start a family and her fertility is so screwed up she can't conceive, or blame the state when she comes home and tells you she got raped because someone found out she was one of those girls on birth control. Of course it's not your fault, Mom and Dad. You did your job--you let her live her life the way she wanted to and express herself sexually however she wanted to since, at 12, she obviously was old enough to understand the implications. Heaven forbid you squash her self-exploration.

And when you get a phone call from some girl's parents saying your son is responsible for getting his daughter pregnant, you can...well, I don't know what you can do. This whole thing is so freaking insane to me I can't even begin to imagine what your reasoning is like if you think all this is a brilliant idea.

Just another reason why I'm homeschooling my kid. I may not live in Maine, but if it can happen there, there's no reason why people can't be that stupid here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

a couch, a tissue, and Cold Tangerines

Have you ever run into someone from your childhood who you weren't really friends with, but suddenly as adults you find you have a ton in common and totally click and you start thinking, "Gosh, to think I missed out on all those years with this person!"? Well, that sort of happened to me, though I'm going on the assumption that she's as cool in person as she is in her writing, and she's a writer to boot.

So Shauna Niequist and I were pastors' kids together, if by together you mean that we were pastors' kids at the same time and in the same place. We never actually did anything together--connections like that aren't always made when your church is ten thousand people in it. I remember being asked once if we were best friends, and if our families hung out all the time. Um, no. I can count on one hand the conversations she and I had, and I don't think I actually talked to her father until eight years ago when the church did a big send-off for my dad when my parents moved to California. But you know, it's a shame, really, because I think we both experienced a lot of the same trauma from living in a fishbowl and having fathers who were so...not just well-known, but revered. That puts a lot of pressure on a kid.

Anyway, fast-forward to a month or two ago when I get an email from Shauna asking if I'd like to review her new book. Y'all know me, I'll read anything, so of course I said yes and a week later the FedEx guy dropped Cold Tangerines on my front step. I wasn't in the middle of reading anything else, so I plunked myself on the couch when Abby went down for her nap and started in.


Okay, first of all, it's not fiction, and that's a huge step for me. But it IS story--personal story, life story, think a really, really good blog in book form--and the fact that Shauna can write so honestly about the pain she's experienced and the struggles she's had just blows me away. It's like when I read Claudia's blog; I just marvel at her willingness to strip emotionally and spiritually naked for the whole world to see. Shauna's the same way: no pretense, no vague, teasing phrasing to make you wonder if she's talking about what you think she's talking about--just honesty conveyed in beautiful but completely accessible prose that makes it darn near impossible to put down the book.

Oh, and I didn't put it down, by the way. Dan had Abby duty the rest of the day while I turned pages on the sofa and cried my eyes out.

I'm not sure about the whole crying thing, either. I don't know, maybe it was just pregnancy hormones, but I think it may have had something to do with how Shauna said things I've always wanted to say but was afraid to admit. And how I was starting to realize that I had her figured all wrong when we were kids, and it put me in mourning a little bit for the friendship that we might have had if things had been different. And it might have had something to do with how perfectly she captures the emotions of motherhood and marriage and grieving and celebration.

It didn't take long--though it did take half a box of tissues--for me to finish the book and send it off straightaway to a friend I thought could use it. She's emerging from a dark period in her life and needs to see the world through fresh eyes. She needs to celebrate her arrival into a life she never thought she'd have, and at its heart Cold Tangerines is about celebration--about late nights on porches with good wine and good friends and good conversation, about new lives through marriage and new lives of babies, about finding your voice and your passion and your purpose after too much time buried under a job that doesn't fit.

Oh, and you should read the descriptions of the meals this woman cooks. Why oh why does she live in Michigan and not here???

So the next time you need a good read, or know someone else who does (it's hardbound so it makes a really beautiful gift), please pop over to your favorite book-buying joint and pick up Cold Tangerines. And since you're already on the Internet, you might as well pop over to her brand new blog and tell her a quick hello and drool over the photo of her adorable son.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins

This week's CFBA review is for the new Brandilyn Collins thriller, Crimson Eve!

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.

Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.


Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?

Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”
– Library Journal, starred review

“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses

Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.

Do you know someone who’s never read a Brandilyn Collins novel? Surely no such person exists. However, should you scrounge up such a friend—someone who enjoys suspense—here’s a special offer from Brandilyn. Be among the first 50 people between now and October 21, 2007 to e-mail her assistant at with the person’s name, e-mail address and street address. (Due to exorbitant overseas mailing costs, United States residents only, please).

A signed copy of Crimson Eve will be sent to your friend—free—along with an e-mail from Brandilyn announcing the book is on its way, courtesy of you. (Don’t worry. Brandilyn won’t spam these email addresses. She just wants your friend to know who to thank.) No worries that this story is third in the Kanner Lake series. Each book stands alone. Brandilyn is convinced your friend will so love Crimson Eve, he/she will surely reciprocate with expensive chocolate.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh wait--you mean I'm NOT just a mom?

I know this blog has turned into Abby central lately, but that's what happens when I'm not writing. Actually, it's not that I'm not writing, it's that I'm not writing my book. I've been doing some freelance work for the first time, and man is it hard! It's so much more stressful than just writing the story you want to write--instead you have to try to read someone else's mind and get down not only what you want to say but what you think they want you to say. I used to think being a writer for hire would be cool, but now I'm definitely rethinking that. I mean, it would be better than, say, not making any money whatsoever, but if I had to choose between that and battling it out with my own manuscript, I'd take my own over freelance anyday.

I've also been doing a little bit of critique work--nothing at all official, just helping a fellow writer with some character development--and it's making me a little nervous about the whole editing business thing. I mean, I know my stuff when it comes to language and such, but do I really have what it takes to give someone the quality critique they deserve? (I probably shouldn't be voicing my concerns about my abilities where potential clients might see, but hey, honesty is a good thing, right?)

Dan's still battling this killer cycle of cluster headaches. Today was the eighth day in a row that he's had at least one, and today's was the worst so far of this cycle. I just ache for him and how frustrated and discouraged he is. Plus he goes back to school the 24th, which is going to be really difficult if he's still in cycle (especially if it continues to be an every day thing). Please pray that the cycle would end NOW so he has time to recover and prepare for school.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Abbyisms amended

Forgot a couple:

--File this under the Little Dictator: She'll bring her coloring book and crayons or Doodle Pad to you, drop them at your feet, then point and say, "Draw!" And she means you. And when we're in the car and she's watching a DVD ("DD" as she calls them) and a song comes on, she'll say, "Dada!" and Dan has to bob his head along and sing. She'll just keep saying, "Dada! Dada!" until he responds, so it's not like feigning deafness helps.

--She also brings her doll to us and says, "Dance!" (though it's usually accompanied by a little boogie of her own, which is adorable, of course), and she wants you to make the doll dance and then, inevitably, wants it to chase her. Now, that to me is just asking for years of nightmares and therapy, but for some reason she loves it. It freaks me out, I don't even like to do it, but she'll beg and beg and what can you do? I suppose this means she'll be one of those kids that likes haunted houses and scary movies, too. Great.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Some random Abby stuff to post for safekeeping:

-She has a little ditty she chants sometimes, and we have no idea where she picked it up from: "Wow, wow, dit-dit. Wow, wow, dit-dit." Sometimes the "dits" are "doots." Don't ask me why.

-I can't remember if I posted this or if I just meant to, so I'll post it again. The other day she was pointing and grunting for something, and I said, "Abby, I don't know what "uh" means, I need words." So she pulled out her paci, fixed her eyes on me in a no-nonsense way, and enunciated very clearly, "Uh."

-She's really into the things she hears lately. She'll put her finger up to her ear and say, "A sund!" ("A sound.") Then you spend the next five minutes trying to figure out what sound it is she's talking about.

-She's turned into quite the little dictator. When she wants you to move, or go somewhere specific, she'll point very sharply and command, "Go!" This happens more frequently than we'd like, but I'm sure we're not helping in that every time she does it we laugh.

-She's also really big on "helping" these days, which sometimes means helping you with something (like moving the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer) but sometimes it also means just doing something herself that you're trying to do for her, like brushing her teeth.

-Speaking of brushing her teeth, I sing the Alphabet Song while we brush, once for the top and once for the bottom, and she's starting to be able to sing along (when the brush isn't in her mouth, that is). It's really cute--the other day she was playing with these big foam letters we have, and she handed me the N and said M (which in and of itself was impressive since we don't really "work" with her on letters--and yes, I know she wasn't right, but she was close!!), so I said, "No, that's Nnnnnnn. Like L, M, N." To which she replied, "O, P!"

-She and Dan will strap on Guitar Hero guitars (a game for the XBox) and "play" the game together. It's so cute how far down the guitar hangs on her, and she loves to watch Dan play. I'll try to post a photo; I have some on my phone but of course my phone isn't Mac compatible so I have to have Dan get all the pics off for me one of these days.


Not a swell day in the Morrow house.

Abby's had a cold since Tuesday, and while it's certainly not keeping her down, her nose is running like a faucet and last night she started coughing on top of it. Not a horrible hacking cough or anything, but she had three or four coughing spells that of course woke me as well as her. She'd go right back to sleep--me, not so much.

Then this morning I nearly fainted. That was interesting. Vision fuzzy at the edges, arms tingly and heavy, stomach sick, hands shaking--not good when trying to cut an apple since the whole reason you're about to pass out is because your blood sugar's taken a dive. And even though I've been eating on and off ever since, I just feel completely wiped out.

Dan got through the night without a headache, only to get slammed with one when he woke up this morning. So it was back to bed for him for another two hours or so to try to recover. Thankfully he feels pretty decent right now, medicated but no lingering headache like he sometimes gets.

Definitely one of those days that makes you want to crawl back into bed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nobody by Creston Mapes

This week's CFBA book is Nobody.


Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children.

He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.


Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!

They said, “He’s a nobody.”
They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.
His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.

Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?

“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”
- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”
- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”
- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure

Saturday, October 06, 2007

In case you needed a pick-me-up

Dan came across this the other day, and oh my heavens, it's just beyond precious. Bookmark this link for days when you just need to see something sweet. I was all melty until the end of it, when I started crying, because I saw the little girl's name and for some reason that just set off my little hormonal self. :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

So sad

I'm not keen on vaccinations in the first place, but talk about having one more reason to stay the heck away from the new HPV vaccine!! This was printed in a Canadian newspaper:

"In just little over a year, the HPV vaccine has been associated with at
least five deaths, not to mention thousands of reports of adverse effects,
hundreds deemed serious, and many that required hospitalization.

Judicial Watch, a U.S. government watchdog, became concerned while noting
large donations to key politicians originating from Merck. A freedom of
information request from the group in May of this year discovered that
during the period from June 8, 2006 - when the vaccines received approval
from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - to May 2007 there were
1,637 reports of adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine reported to the FDA.

Three deaths were related to the vaccine, including one of a 12-year-old.
One physician's assistant reported that a female patient "died of a blood
clot three hours after getting the Gardasil vaccine." Two other reports, on
girls 12 and 19, reported deaths relating to heart problems and/or blood

As of May 11, 2007, the 1,637 adverse vaccination reactions reported to the
FDA via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) included 371
serious reactions. Of the 42 women who received the vaccine while pregnant,
18 experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to fetal

Yes, this is the vaccination we're being told all our girls should be given, and that many have tried to make mandatory. How about we teach our girls that their bodies are precious and not to be shared around? That sex is a sacred bond between a man and a woman who have pledged their lives to each other? Because, oh yeah, HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, though it's being referred to as a "virus" as though our daughters will catch it at the pool or the drinking fountain. Funny how they don't mention that part much in the vax ads.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck


Avon Inspire (September 4, 2007)
Kristin Billerbeck


Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and majored in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then,
she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing. She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year. Featured in the New York Times and USA Today, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show for her pioneering role in Christian chick lit.
Her last three books were:

Split Ends: Sometimes the End is Really the Beginning (April 17, 2007)

She's Out of Control (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1) (Nov 13, 2007)

Calm, Cool & Adjusted (Spa Girls Series #3) (Oct 1, 2006)

Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.

When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity.

With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisors, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before.

But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.

A great way to support a great cause

Two women I know are waiting to hear if they have breast cancer. Talk about scary. It seems like everywhere you turn right now, everyday objects are being reissued in pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while I was rolling my eyes a little bit at it before, now I am so grateful that so many companies are rallying behind the search for a cure. One of those companies is 1-800-FREE-411. You know how annoying it is to have to pay, like, two bucks or whatever just to get a phone number? Well, FREE 411 gives you that number in exchange for you listening to a short advertisement, and during October they're donating a dollar to breast cancer research for every new person who uses their service. I use this service all the time and love it (though they don't connect you automatically, so make sure you've got a pen when you call). Please remember 1-800-FREE-411 the next time you need a number, and try to use it this month!