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  • Friday Favorite – Beating the Deadline Dance

    It feels so good to get a new book in the mail. As I’m sure you noted in my previous post about the arrival of final copies of Vanishing Act. It really is an excellent feeling.

    But do you know what else is an amazing feeling?

    Finishing your book a month ahead of schedule. ūüôā Yup. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I finished my manuscript this week, 30 days ahead of my deadline.

    Of course, finishing the story doesn’t exactly mean, I’m done. It’s certainly not ready for me to ship it off to my editor, but there’s something ridiculously wonderful about knowing that everything left to do on the new book–tentatively titled Code of Justice–is tweaking what’s already there. Sure, maybe there’s a scene or two to add. Maybe there’s a whole chapter to rewrite.

    And I have 30 days to get it done!

    I’m taking a week off to clear my mind before I dig back in, so I’m going to enjoy this week without any other writing I have to do. I’m going to celebrate–pedicures with the girls and a night out to see Letters to Juliet again. And then I’ll dive back in, knowing that when I do finish, I’ll have to wait another 8 months before it arrives on my doorstep.

    Deadlines are a dance that seem to never end, but when you meet one, it gives you enough encouragement to just keep going. To keep waiting for the final book. Then seeing it on the store shelves.

    But right now, there’s not much sweeter in this life than watching that deadling approaching closer and closer. And knowing that somehow God gave me enough strength to meet it, and even beat it–even in one of the most chaotic times of my life.

    So just to be clear–I’m elated. I certainly could not have done this on my own, so God gets the glory. And finishing doesn’t mean I’m really done. ūüôā

    Friday Favorite – Watching dreams become reality

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to visit Prince Edward Island. Not familiar with PEI?

    It’s a little island on the Atlantic shore of Canada, which holds some of the most beautiful shores in the world.

    prince-edward-island

    And it’s where one of my favorite books/movies is set. Anne of Green Gables may be the most famous export from the island, and it’s the reason that I’ve always wanted to visit.

    And now I am!!!

    Years ago I promised my mom that I’d take her to Prince Edward Island when I sold my first book. Well, it turns out that I didn’t make much on my first book. So then my promise turned into “after the second book.” Well, guess what’s coming out this August? My second book!

    This spring we both renewed are passports, and this week, I bought us tickets! We’re going to PEI!!!! I even reserved us a suite at a¬†beautiful Victorian bed and breakfast, and we’re going to have a ball! I can’t wait!

    I mean, I have to. We’re not going for several months, but still … I’m so excited! I promise there will be pictures and general joyous celebrations. Watch out, Anne! Here we come!

    Friday Favorite – Stuff Christians Like

    I like funny things. Comedies, comedians, and comic strips. I love them all. And I especially love humor that relates to my life.

    Enter Stuff Christians Like, a tongue-in-cheek blog about … you guessed it … stuff Christians like. Author Jon Acuff shares daily humor about life in the American Christian culture.¬† One of my first and favorite posts is titled: Understanding how metrosexual your worship leader is. (A Handy Guide) The quiz helps you gauge the worship leader at your church based on his hair cut and product, choice of facial hair, and the trendiness of his eyewear.

    And then there are serious Wednesdays, when Jon offers his unique commentary on slightly more serious issues.

    Smart and funny, these blog posts tickle me, I think because this blog takes topics familiar to the churches I’ve attended through the years, and makes them funnier and more outrageous than I first thought.

    Now, I think it should be said, that Jon is a Christian. He’s not hating on Christ or Christians, but rather putting a satirical twist on the culture that has emerged in today’s church. And he’s really very funny!

    Friday Favorite – Old Friends

    Nothing puts the importance of good friends on your mind like having to start over. When I recently moved across the country for a new job, I knew a grand total of 3 people in Nashville. Yup. Just 3. So on top of starting a new job, finding a new church (among the 14,000 located  in the 2 miles between my home and office), and trying to write a book, I have to make new friends.

    Now, before you go thinking that the people here are mean,¬† they’re not. They’re like the opposite of mean. Which is kind and generous and fun and really very cool. Some very nifty folks have invited me out to lunches, joined me for flood clean up days, and welcomed me with open arms to a small group Bible study, even though I hadn’t even been to their church yet. I like the people here, and I’m sure that very shortly, I will become very good friends with many of them.

    But this interim thing is killing me!

    I spend most of my day overanalyzing the littlest thing, to the point that I’m not even sure I’m actually acting like myself most of the time. I worry about saying the right thing. Doing the right thing. Wearing the right thing.

    What if I don’t watch the right tv shows? Or we don’t have anything in common? Will I be lonely forever? Will anyone ever join me for an all-day Jane Austen-a-thon again? Will anyone come visit my desk claiming it’s just to say hi, but really it’s to visit the chocolate-filled moose?

    Heavy questions, that I’m sure I needn’t worry about. I know that to make a friend, you have to be a friend. But the making takes time. Memories build life-long friendships, and I haven’t had time to make many here yet.

    For that reason, I want to give a shout-out to all of my old friends. To my Captain Wentworth-loving, miniature golf-playing, Pioneer Woman queso-eating (and making),¬†killer uno-winning, fool-proof plan-plotting friends, I love you and I miss you!¬†You’ll always be¬†favorites in my book!

    Friday Favorite – Boy Bands

    I like boy bands. I have for a really long time. It started with N’SYNC when I was in high school. Then 98 Degrees and Backstreet Boys. And, of course, who can forget the Christian boy band Plus One? Although I missed out on the New Kids on the Block craze, I made up for it when Justin and the boys hit the stage.

    Really, what’s not to love about a boy band? The harmonies. The only coordinated but not matching outfits. The perfectly choreographed dance moves. The lack of instruments to get in the way of said dance moves.

    It’s just a good time waiting to happen. So you can imagine how sad I’ve been over the last seven years or so since the disappearance of boy bands from pop culture. Hope would spring up when the Backstreet Boys released a new song or the rumor mill would pass information around about a reunion. But let’s be honest. It’s been a dry spell in the boy band departement.

    Until recently.

    You see, not that long ago, Nickelodian premiered a new show: Big Time Rush. And it’s about–you guessed it!–a boy band! Man, I love this show! It’s totally cheesy, just the way I like it. Comprised of 4 high school hockey players from Minnesota who have been transplanted in LA to make an album, Big Time Rush faces all sorts of obstacles on the road to fame.

    TV Big Time Rush

    So what do I like best about Big Time Rush? Could be the snappy songs.


     
    But I think it might be Kendall’s eyebrows. They’re fascinating, and not unlike Peter Gallagher’s. What do you think? Are Kendall and Peter long lost relatives?¬†For your consideration:

    big-time-rush-kendall

    peter-gallagher

    That’s what I thought. ūüôā

    So Big Time Rush may be made up of 4 20-somethings pretending to be 16-year-olds … but I still love ’em! Check them out on your local Nick channel, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

    Friday Favorite – The Volunteer State

    I didn’t know what I was getting when I moved to Tennessee. Certainly I didn’t expect my first weekend here to be filled with pouring rain. Three days worth. But it did.

    If you don’t live in Middle Tennessee, you might not even know what this past weekend was like for so many in and around Nashville this last weekend. National media didn’t spend a lot of time on it, what with the oil spill in the Gulf and the Times Square would-be-bomber.¬†So¬†I hope the video below helps you understand what happened to this city last weekend. Has it really only been a few days?

    If you saw my blog on Monday, you saw the pictures of Meribel. Well, I’m happy to report that nearly all of the water in my backyard has receded back into the creek (never making it into my home, for which I thank God). And the Meribel has come to rest. On top of a little row boat.

    The damage at my house is confined to the area behind my place (and the outrageous odor of whatever the water left behind!). But the damage to many other parts of the city is just unreal. Take a look.

    But the cool thing really is how the people of this city have bonded together, helping friends and neighbors clean up their homes, beginning to prepare for new starts.¬†If you’re moved to help the people of Nashville being the cleaning up and rebuilding process, please do. Might I recommend www.tnfloodfund.com, which will take you to the Cross Point Church website, which is distributing funds to those families devistated by the flood.

    I may be new to this city, but I am convinced it’s filled with people who¬†show how much they¬†care about each other. And that’s a good thing in my book.

    Friday Favorite – I Like Ike

    While my dad and I were tooling along I-70 through Kansas from Colorado to Tennessee, we drove past about 100 crazy billboards. Probably our favorite was: THE 2ND BEST YARN AND BUTTON STORE IN THE UNIVERSE. Seriously, what’s not to love about being the 2nd best.

    And just as we were talking about how we never stop to enjoy any of the interesting stops while traveling, we passed a billboard advertising the Eisenhower Library and Museum in Abilene, KS, at exit 275. We both looked at each other and said, “That sounds pretty cool.” So we pulled off the interstate a couple miles down the road and rolled down the main drag in Abilene. Not a whole lot there, except some historic mansions that looked pretty cool from the outside.

    And just past the railroad tracks sits the welcome center of the Presidential Library and Museum for Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was a Sunday, so the Library wasn’t entirely open, and we didn’t have time to go through the museum, but it was still a really cool experience.

    We walked through Ike’s childhood home.

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    Then through the ornate marble halls of the library, we looked at the quilt display.

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    The 11-foot statue of Ike was one of the coolest things. Around the five sides of the base (signifying his status as a five-star general) were five quotes from him, mostly from his time as the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force during WWII. This one was my favorite.

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    Dad and I both walked away with I Like Ike buttons, and I have to say, after this stop, I like Ike even more than before.

    i-like-ike-button

    Friday Favorite – 1000 Awesome Things

    Thanks to a recent post on one of my other Friday Favorites, CakeWrecks.blogspot.com (Go there. It’s hilarious!), I’ve just found this website called 1000AwesomeThings.com. One Mr. Neil Pasricha started this blog, which counts¬†down the top 1000 awesome things (in his opinion).

    What kind of awesome things?

    I’m glad you asked. Take for example number #575 – When the guy with a full cart of groceries lets you go ahead because you’re only buying one thing. Or take #995 (a personal favorite of mine) – Finding money you didn’t even know you lost.

    Every weekday Neil shares another awesome thing–probably something so small you wouldn’t even think about it, except, when you do, you realize that Neil is right. It really is AWESOME! And a reason to be thankful and grateful for the little things in life. Because if you’re anything like me, you probably spend way too much time focused on the negatives and not nearly enough time enjoying the simple gifts.

    So check out Neil’s book, The Book of Awesome, of course. And swing by the blog. I think you’ll be glad you did.

    Friday Favorite – Nashville or Bust!

    As many of you have heard, this author has packed up her stuff and is moving to¬†the South. Well, I guess Nashville is about as far north as you can get and still be in the South, but it’s the closest I’ve ever lived. I’m a western kinda gal, growing up in Arizona and living in Colorado for the last almost 4 years.

    nashville-map

    Making the decision to move to Nashville wasn’t easy, but God opened every door so wide that I knew it was Him making the path so clear that I couldn’t deny¬†it was what I needed to do. I’ve taken a gig as a marketing specialist with a Christian publisher–cool! And I’ll¬†continue writing, and am looking forward to getting involved in¬†a writing group.

    All in all, it’s going to¬†be some big adventure! ¬†

    But leaving Colorado means leaving some really great friends, an amazing church, a city I’m familiar with, and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. So in order to keep all wayward emotions in check, I’ve decided to focus on

    The Top Ten Things About Living in Nashville

    1o. Lots of history in the area, including several Civil War battlefields within driving distance–I love history, especially the Civil War, and I’m totally going to have to see a reenactment. Hmm … I smell a plot line.

    9. Reasonably priced real estate. I might actually think about owning my own home. Kind of makes me feel like a grown up.

    8. A fantastic writing group in the Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Two of my favorite authors, Kaye Dacus and Tamara Leigh, are part of this group, and I can’t wait to get involved.

    7. Three words: Music City USA.

    6. Kaye says the weatherman on channel 5 looks like Ryan Reynolds. Works for me!

    5. Awesome concerts! I love me some good Christian music, and I might just have to see about being a seat-filler at the Dove Awards or something.

    4. Random celebrity sightings. I’m hoping to spot Kimberly Williams Paisley or Dave Barnes.

    3. My friends back in the Springs still have 6 months* of vacation and now have a good excuse to visit Nashville and a place to stay.

    2. The Bluebird Cafe, which is seriously one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. Picture a tiny room with four songwriters (who write for a few little names like Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, and Leann Rimes) sitting in the middle of the room, playing their guitars, and¬†singing their songs. Wicked awesome!

    1. Brandon Heath. ‘Nuf said. ūüôā

    *exact amount of vacation time may vary, but it’s still more than I’ll have

    Farewell, Colorado Springs. Hello, Nashville!

    Friday Favorite – Craftie Ladies of Suspense

    Fellow Love Inspired Suspense author Pamela Tracy invited me to start blogging with other LIS authors at the Craftie Ladies of Suspense blog. I’ve never written a blog in a group like this, so it’s kind of fun and exciting for me. Check out my first post here, and visit often for fun, stories, and wisdom from some pretty amazing writers (that would be the others, not me). I’ll be sharing my thoughts every three weeks, so if you just can’t get enough of me here (yeah, right!), visit me over there.