Monday, June 23, 2008

What's going on here right now:

Abby is cleaning the family room. No one asked her to, we weren't talking about how it needed to be tidied--we were just sitting here and she started picking things up and putting them away. And in the right places! Well, most things, anyway--the towel doesn't belong on PJ's playmat, but whatever. Dan and I are biting our tongues trying not to laugh or to catch her eye--she almost always stops doing cute things as soon as she discovers she's being watched.

Anyway...I can't believe she's doing this. Adorable. And very helpful.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vote for Tiffany!

I know Tiffany Hull from my days at Axis, the now-defunct Gen X ministry at Willow Creek. Her husband was my boss when I was the Axis administrator, and Tiffany sang with the band. I just reconnected with them of Facebook, and just found out Tiffany is this up-and-coming awesome singer/songwriter! (Not that I'm surprised.) Anyway, there's this big vote going on right now for bands to play at Lollapalooza, so go here and vote for Tiffany right now--the deadline for voting is tomorrow, June 22. There are four rounds and this is just the first--if she makes it to the next round I'll be sure to post so we can all go vote again. :)

Go Tiffany go!!!

Recording them for posterity...

Abby toppled off her training potty (which gets a lot more use as a stool than a potty), and said, "Whoa--that was scary."

Me: "Oh yeah?"

Abby: "Yeah--my tummy jumped!"

We walk into Dan's office the other morning and Abby points to the print he'd hung on the wall the night before after she was in bed (same picture shown on this t-shirt) and says, "Hey--that's Ron Paul!"

Abby and I had lunch with my mom the other day and Abby tried some of Mom's salad. When Dan asked her later what she had for lunch she said, "I had salad, but I didn't like it."

Dan: “No?”

Abby (leaning in close and whispering): “It was too juicy.”

Priceless. I love it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Book tour: Copper Fire by Suzanne Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s just-released historical novel Copper Fire, is the sequel to the three-time award-winning Copper Star, a World War II love story inspired by true events. That wasn't her first writing gig, however. Fisher was a contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her work has appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, Worldwide Challenge, ParentLife, and Marriage Partnership. She has contributed to ten non-fiction books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs. A wife and mother, Fisher lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. The best thing about being a writer, she feels, is that all of life becomes material for writing. It’s all grit for the oyster.

Suzanne can be found at

During the month of June, Suzanne is running a book-a-day-giveaway contest. To enter, scoot on over to her blog ( to pop her an e-mail:

And now, for some random questions for our visiting author:

Q: Tell us about Copper Fire.

SWF: Copper Fire is the sequel to Copper Star, picking right up at the very end of World War II. On a summer day in 1945, my main character, Louisa, receives a telegram from the International Red Cross Tracing Service. She discovers that her cousin, Elisabeth, has just been released from Dachau. Louisa is determined to go to Germany to get Elisabeth…and that’s where the story begins.

Q: Who was the naughtiest kid in your elementary school and what did he or she

SWF: A boy named Hugo who had hair like Bozo the Clown. He argued with everybody, including teachers. He’s probably a brilliant diplomat by now. All of that experience with conflict resolution.

Q: How do you get yourself out of a funk?

SWF: I try to distract myself so that I can see the situation more objectively. I pray a lot, too, and find that I receive wonderful counseling advice that way. Free, too!

Q: What is your motto?

SWF: “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write (published in 1938), Graywolf Press

Q: Can you tell us what’s on your desk right now? What can readers look forward to?

SWF: In late August, Grit from the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers, will be released from Vintage Spirit. I wrote Grit with three other very talented authors.

And another piece of great news! I just received a contract from Revell/Baker for a non-fiction book called Amish Peace in an English Life. It won’t be out until 2010…but ‘everything Amish’ is filling up my head right now.

Thanks for letting me visit, Alison!

Find Suzanne on-line at

Copper Star (ISBN: 0-9793327-4-5) and Copper Fire (ISBN: 978-0-981-5592-0-9) are available at Amazon or other on-line booksellers, at Suzanne’s website, or can be ordered through your favorite bookstore.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Daddy Day to all the papas out there. Hope you got lots of hugs and breakfast in bed. Or whatever floats your boat. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The newsletter launches tomorrow!

We have articles! We have inspiration! We have contests! Really, what else could you ask for in an author newsletter? Readers and writers alike will find something of interest and benefit in this bi-monthly offering. Sign up here on the blog (check out the right-hand margin) or on my website. You don't want to miss it!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


It's done! I can officially say I have authored three novels. This afternoon I wrote the last words on Reinventing Rachel, a book I started so long ago that I can't remember exactly when. It's the first of at least two books I'll be publishing with David C. Cook, and is set to release sometime next year. Final stats: 192 single-spaced pages in 12-point Lucida Grande font, 89,490 words.

It's been the most difficult book to write so far because of the lack of consistency in my writing schedule and other little things like having a baby. :) I'd sometimes go weeks between writing opportunities, which made it difficult to keep track of what was going on plot-wise and really messed with detail continuity. The major lesson learned from this book is that I must have a writing schedule that allows me to write at least every other day. Given that my next book is due in March and I've not even outlined it yet, I'm going to have to really keep to that schedule to get it done in time.

I'm trying something new with this book as well, in terms of my approach to the craft. I'm going to completely set this book aside, start working on my researching and outlining for the next project, and then come back to it around August to edit. With my last two books the editing was funky: With Worlds Collide I didn't know what I was doing, and I was more concerned with cutting words (they wanted me to slash forty thousand words! I managed twenty thousand and luckily they were okay with that) than with tightening story or working on word crafting. With Violette Between I scrapped the entire manuscript, save for one scene, three months before my deadline, so all I was concerned about was getting the thing written, and again, there was no time to actually work on the crafting. This time I have time to spare, and I want to use it wisely. I'm going to have a few pros read through it and look at specific areas I want to work on so I can get their feedback and suggestions, and then in August I'm going to go through the whole thing myself on paper, rather than on the computer, and make the changes they suggest as well as look for things I want to improve. I'm also going to take some time over the summer go to through Self-Editing for Fiction Writers so I can work on my editing skills. It's so much easier to work on someone else's stuff; I really need to work on looking at my own work with a critical editor's lens.

But for now, this week, I'm taking a break from writing entirely. Well, from writing books, anyway. I'm going to be collaborating with someone on an article that we can hopefully get in some local papers about the loss of choice women in Orange County are facing due to the closing of the only maternity ward in the county that allows midwives to deliver. We're hoping to get at least one local hospital to bring these midwives on, though ideally they'd get privileges at all the area hospitals. I'm also going to work on Penny Jane's journal. I'm keeping a journal for both girls, talking about their development, my thoughts on what it's like to be their mother, etc., and I haven't even started Penny's yet! I need to update Abby's as well. And I'm going to read a lot this week, too. My book club is reading My Antonia this month, and my friend Meg and I are reading through Desiring God by John Piper. I'm reading the introduction right now and it's fascinating. It's about "Christian Hedonism." If the rest of the book is anything like the intro, I'm going to love it. And I'm going to have lots of time to read, too--we're going to Ventura on Thursday and staying through Father's Day, which means Abby will be off frolicking in the garden and den with Greena and Par and I will be free to read to my heart's content! Throw in one last pass through a manuscript we're editing and I've got a pretty full week, but one I'm looking forward to because I'm doing it all without my book hanging over my head.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

What she said

Lately Abby's been having this conversation on the phone, over and over: "Hello? Oh, hi...oh yeah?...*laugh* Great!...okay, buh-bye."
Me: Who are you talking to?
Abby: There's an angel on the phone!
Me: Oh really? What angel?
Abby: Mary's angel.
Me: Oh, what did he say?
Abby: Mary's having a baby.

Can you tell we've been reading her Jesus storybook a lot lately? :)

Other cute things she's said lately:

(upon realizing one of her socks had fallen off) "Lookit, Mommy, I have a sock and a foot! I take off the other one--I want to wear only feet."

Abby, with phone to her ear: Mommy?
Me: Yes?
Abby, holding up a finger: Wait a second, I'm on the phone.

(hugging her sippy cup) "It's okay, I gotcha baby, I gotcha," followed by little soft hums and pat-pats on the cup's "back." She mimics the tone I use with Penny Jane exactly.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Do your part!

This is frightening.

Under proposed Assembly Bill 10942, NY surrenders its control of public health and makes every vaccination recomended by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices mandatory. For the first time, vaccination of infants and toddlers becomes mandatory. Under this proposed law, there will be NO exemptions for any reason. Even if a child has previously had an adverse reaction to, or has a genetic disposition towards heightened sensitivity to, vaccines the child will not be exempted. These are the actions of a police state, and there's no reason why other states won't eventually follow suit.

We need to stick up for those children--AND our own. Regardless of what you think about the safety and necessity of vaccines, you need to realize that the state SHOULD NOT be able to force you to make decisions about your health and the health of your children. Your body and your child do not belong to the state. (Yet.)

Please click here to send a letter to NY legislators. You don't have to be a citizen of New York to tell them what you think. The bigger stink we make, the better--and the less likely other states will be to try to tangle with us.

Remember: just because your freedom isn't being attacked doesn't mean it won't be eventually. Fight for the citizens of New York, and when the time comes, maybe they'll return the favor.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Facebook, how I love thee

Good grief, I'm spending way too much time on Facebook. It is way too addicting. And since all my favorite blogs are starting to go offline (Haiku Mama, please don't leave me!) I have a wee bit of extra time to spend on things like sending pretend plants to my friends and getting my butt kicked at Scrabulous.

Actually, I haven't been spending nearly as much time on Facebook as I could be because I've been writing like the dickens trying to get this blasted book done. And I'm so close! I'm guessing 3-5 chapters left. Then I take a five minute break before jumping into the next book, or rather, into outlining the next book, since at this point I have lots of ideas in my head and absolutely nothing on paper.

I'm putting together the first newsletter--have you signed up yet??? I've gotten some pretty good entries for the "Name the Newsletter" contest, but if I don't have your idea yet, there's still time to submit it! The first issue launches Father's Day, so get your submission in by Saturday the 14th--let's say noon PST so I have time to agonize over which name to choose. Don't forget, winner gets prizes!