Thursday, June 28, 2007

Random thoughts on a happy milestone

So here I am, sitting in my daughter's house checking e-mail when her cat Franklin starts to eat the packing tape. Yes, you read that right. Franklin eats tape. Julia and Mike warned me that he would if I left it out. He's a crazy cat. Sometimes he doesn't like me and hisses at me. When he does that the other cat, Winston, comes to my defense. Yay Winston!

So why am I at Julia's house with packing tape? Because I'm helping her pack. Julia and Mike have bought a house on the other side of town and since they are both working, I'm helping pack. This is very fun, especially since the main reason they have joined the ranks of the mortgage-encumbered is because they are expecting my first grandchild. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) I am VERY EXCITED.

I've had this news for a while (since Mother's Day weekend, in fact) but I didn't want to talk about it too soon. But they've heard the heartbeat now and so I feel there is an official baby to talk about. So I'm talking. It somehow seems fitting that in my 50th year (though by the time the baby comes I'll have passed my birthday) I should be anticipating grandmotherhood. So far, everyone I know who is a grandparent says it's wonderful. I have yet to have anyone tell me that being a grandparent is not all it's cracked up to be. So that's good -- not that I was worried or anything.

I guess I should get back to work before Franklin eats all the tape.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just to whet your appetite a bit ...

for Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows, that is, (you're not going to be seeing recipes here anytime soon) -- here's an article by Alan Jacobs for Books & Culture. I do not spend much time browsing Harry Potter fan sites -- that could be a full-time job in itself -- but I am looking forward to the final book in the series. (Maybe someday I'll write a post about why I like Harry Potter, but not today.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Books, books and more books

I go through seasons of reading. Sometimes I hardly read anything, then I read a lot. I think I'm getting into a "reading a lot" mode right now, which is good because I'm looking forward to some books and I have some at home I want to read.

Last night I finished reading About a Boy, by Nick Hornby. I've been a fan of Hornby's nonfiction, and I love the movie of About a Boy, so I wanted to read the book. I enjoyed it, but it's different than the movie in some significant ways. The movie takes some of the edge off, which is understandable, I guess. Adapting a book for film is always a challenge, especially if you're hoping for mass appeal. Which is not to say I like the movie less after reading the book, or that I like the movie better (or the book better). In some ways, they're almost separate entities that just happen to have some of the same characters and incidents. Hornby is a very good writer -- sometimes even brilliant. The book has wonderfully drawn characters, snappy and witty dialogue, humor, and real insight into the human condition. A lot of people reading might even say it's uplifting in its outlook -- it does have a reasonably happy ending (though the movie did the ending much differently, but still happy). But to me, the book is also a perfect picture of what it means to live without Christ. I'm sure that was not Hornby's intent, but that's what struck me, and as such it's a bit depressing. Near the end, Will thinks he might have to try to talk Fiona out of committing suicide and realizes there's no point to life -- at least none that he can think of. He just goes along from day to day, waiting to see what happens next. For a lot of us, even Christians, I'm afraid that's how we live -- very passively. Anyway, I didn't mean to get all philosophical and deep here. I did enjoy About a Boy and I think I need my own copy (I had checked it out of the library) because Nick Hornby really is a very good writer and I want to reread the brilliant bits.

As implied by the title of this post, I have more books to talk about. Yesterday the mail carrier brought me a lovely book -- To Dance in the Desert, by Kathleen Popa. It really is a lovely book to look at and I'm looking forward to reading it. I read the first chapter quite a while ago and I've been anticipating the rest of it ever since. It's up for a blog tour soon, so I'll be telling more then.

Another book I'm looking forward to, and will be featuring in a blog tour this summer I think, is the new novel from T.L. Hines: The Dead Whisper On. I enjoyed immensely Tony's debut novel, Waking Lazarus, and I don't expect to be disappointed with this one. Here's a link to an excerpt. Tony has also been blogging about his present journey with lymphoma -- my prayers are with you, Tony.

There are a couple more books I'm looking forward to, but I think I'll save them for another day. That way I won't have trouble coming up with a blog topic. :)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday!

The young man standing in the middle of this handsome trio (I could be partial, though) is my fourth child, Sam. Today he is 21. (On the left is Tim, 19, and on the right is Joel, 17. It does not seem possible that they are that old, but if Sam is 21, then they are definitely that old.)

Once upon a time we called these three -- because they were the three youngest and were all boys -- the little boys. The three oldest were "the big kids." Original, I know. But Sam, Tim and Joel ceased to be "little" boys a long time ago. Joel is now the biggest of them all, even. But Sam was always the ringleader. And he still is -- he is better at most video games, he reads the fastest and he still wields the power: the Legos are still in his room and Tim and Joel and all their friends still automatically ask for permission before entering said room. They listen to him and seek his opinion about matters great and small.

We don't know what Sam will end up doing with his life -- he's not sure himself -- but we love him lots. He's smart and funny and cooks a mean chicken and rice casserole. Happy Birthday, Sam!

Operators are standing by ...

Coach's Midnight Diner is now available for pre-sales. Whoo-hoo! It will also be available on Amazon, but it will be cheaper if you order it through Relief, so don't dally. I'm excited about this -- and not only because I have a story in it. I haven't read any of the stories yet (except my own, of course) but I know the writing of some of the authors and I don't think you'll be disappointed in the quality. It's got a great mix of stories and I guarantee you won't find another anthology quite like this one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: The Restorer

I was at a professional conference earlier this week and the week before that I was busy getting ready for it, so I've been rather absent from blogging. As it is, I'm a day late for the CSFF tour, but I wanted to post the links -- Christian science fiction and fantasy needs all the attention it can get.

The featured book this month is The Restorer by Sharon Hinck. This is the first book in a series, The Sword of Lyric, in which a soccer mom finds herself in a parallel world still waiting for its deliverance. I haven't read it, but the story sounds intriguing. You can find out more by visiting Sharon's Web site or some of the blogs listed below.

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
Lisa Cromwell
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Heather R. Hunt
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Passages, part 1

This year I turn 50. I like Jeanne's approach -- she's calling it her Jubilee year. But, anyway, I find myself reflecting on things a lot. So, from time to time, I'll be sharing some of those. Today, I was reminded of my children's teenage years by this article at the New York Times. I haven't joined Facebook, but I understand the dynamic at work.

My kids were saddled with a mom who liked the same music they did -- I don't think that bothered them too much. But in many other ways, my presence was enough to induce lots of eye-rolls and hissed admonitions to avoid calling attention to myself. An example: We were in a mall and one of my daughters was about 13. I said "There's the food court," and indicated this by pointing. My daughter immediately grabbed my arm and said "Don't point!" I think I responded with an equally embarrassing gesture with my head and said something like "How else am I supposed to show you where it is?" I came to realize that the very fact of my existence was an embarrassment so I might as well embrace it. Somehow, my children have survived, though probably not unscathed.

Another reminder of the passage of time: USA Today is celebrating its 25th anniversary with lists. Today's list is about things that have disappeared in the last 25 years. Definitely a trip down memory lane.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sometimes I don't want to be nice

Most of the time I'm a nice person. On personality tests I always come out as the one who wants everyone to get along. I'm the "golden retriever" and my true color is blue. And that's OK.

But I also have a contrarian streak. For example -- about 5th or 6th grade, all the girls in my class got really into cheerleading. They spent every recess practicing cheers and trying to do cartwheels and splits. I failed to see the appeal of this. Deep in my heart, I knew I'd never be a cheerleader, and I didn't want to be, anyway.

Or, when the show "Here Come the Brides" was popular (I'm showing my age here, I know) and every other girl in junior high was swooning over Bobby Sherman, I liked David Soul.

When everyone else was into Motown, I was discovering Led Zeppelin.

In college, I didn't take History of the Pentateuch (a course most sophomores at my small Bible college had to take) because I thought it was pointless to outline the book of Deuteronomy. Since it took me so long to finish my bachelor's degree, I never did have to take it -- they changed the curriculum. I took Hebrew, instead, to fulfill my Old Testament requirement. Lest you think I would have been better off outlining Deuteronomy I will tell you that I like languages and enjoyed Hebrew (though I was a better student of Greek).

Do you see a pattern emerging here? I don't want to make a virtue out of being obstinate -- my point is that this contrarian tendency is part of who I am.

So it makes me wonder if I'll ever come up with a novel idea that will have any appeal to a publisher. I'm just not likely to write a book cleverly tied to a popular hobby, or any other current theme in women's fiction. (Here's an idea: The Rock-n-roll Knitting Circle. No, I don't think so.) I'm not denigrating anybody who successfully pitches such a book. Obviously this appeals to thousands of women.

It just has me wondering if I have anything to say to a large enough group of readers to be worth publishing.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday fun

I'll blame Randall for this: Is this your name?
Here's some tidbits about my name:

1) My first name is ...
Origin: Spanish
Pretty One
(It was also much more popular in the 1940s and '50s -- you hardly ever hear of someone naming a new baby Linda.)

2) Backwards, my name is Adnil Eromlig. Interesting.

3) According to the US Census Bureau°, 1.035% of US residents have the first name 'Linda' and 0.022% have the surname 'Gilmore'. The US has around 300 million residents, so the guesstimate is there are 683 'Linda Gilmore's.

I have come across some of these other women with my name. At least a couple of them are scientists who have published extensively in the fields of educational psychology and biology. (If you Google "Linda Gilmore" you'll find them.) And for some reason, there's a Linda Gilmore on the East Coast who has used an e-mail address similar to my personal one. I've gotten e-mail for her a couple of times by mistake. I made sure the sender realized it had gone to the wrong person and I even got a thank you from the intended Linda Gilmore.

If you're looking for a way to waste some time this Friday afternoon, check out your name.

FIRST Tour: Prints Charming

This month's feature is:

Rebeca Seitz

and her book:


(Thomas Nelson Publishers, March 15, 2007)


Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview. Rebeca has worked with such esteemed authors as Robin Jones Gunn, Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Walter Wangerin, Jr., DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Colleen Coble, Melody Carlson, and numerous others. She has secured coverage for novelists in a variety of media outlets, including The Today Show, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Publishers Weekly, Christian Retailing, Aspiring Retail, Southern Living, Daystar Television, HarvestTV, WAY-FM, K-LOVE, and others. Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.


Chapter One

"Girl, where are you?" Lydia tightened her grip on the cell phone as she wondered anew how any woman could be late to every single thing in her life. She had thought Jane might’ve changed in the two years they’d been apart, but Jane was evidently still living up to her old high school nickname of Late Jane. The woman would get to her own funeral about an hour after they started the music.

"I’m coming, I’m coming." Jane kept one hand on the steering wheel while frantically sifting through the things in the passenger seat of her Blazer. There was a brush somewhere, she just knew it, but finding anything at seven in the morning was difficult at best. Why in the world she’d allowed herself to be talked into attending a sale that started at seven a.m. was beyond her ability to fathom. Finding her shoes had been a reason for cheering. A brush might just be asking too much.

"Do I need to grab anything for you? This stuff is going fast." Lydia watched a woman stretch for the last package of Times-style foam alphabet letters and readjusted her own heavy shopping basket. In the five minutes she’d been in the store, it had already begun biting into the skin on her arm.

"Nope, I don’t think so. I’ll be there in about two minutes," Jane said, still searching for the brush while trying not to drop the cell phone from her shoulder.

"Okay, but hurry. I’ll be over in the baby girl section. I need to find something for Olivia’s first bath pages and get ribbon for Mac."

"Got it. Baby girl. Be there in a flash."


Jane snapped the phone together and slammed to a stop at the red light. Turning her attention to her still searching hand, she finally grasped the elusive hairbrush and quickly raked it through her long black hair. She had been looking forward to this sale all week but, of course, Mr. Wonderful had chosen to make his appearance a mere thirty minutes before she walked out the door. They had fought over Wilson. Again. When would the man get it through his head that Wilson was in her life forever?

She pushed thoughts of her soon-to-be ex-husband out of her mind as the green arrow finally appeared. Squealing her tires, she tore into the parking lot of The Savvy Scrapper. Tossing the hairbrush back into the passenger seat, she threw the car into Park, grabbed her purse, and flung open the door.


Jane looked up just as her door collided with the midsection of one very tall man.

"Ohmigosh. I am so, so sorry. I’m just in a rush. The sale is happening and I’m late and—"

"It’s okay."
Mr. Tall held his hands up as if to ward off any other car doors she might be hiding somewhere and she noticed the coffee cup in one hand and bagel bag in the other. Bagels would be so heavenly right now.

"I’m fine, really." He set the bag down on the ground and brushed the dust off of his olive-green sweater, then looked at her. "I know how women can be when there’s a sale involved." He grinned as he knelt to pick the bag back up.

She tried hard to ignore his sexist statement and not remind him of how many guys camp out at golf stores before a sale or sleep in the parking lot to get tickets to a concert.

"Are you sure you’re okay? I mean, I have insurance and we can call somebody." Jane forcefully tucked her hair behind her ears, willing herself to focus on the problem at hand rather than the sale happening about ten yards away or the way her stomach was now grumbling for coffee and a bagel.

"Really, go ahead. I’m fine."

"Okay, thanks." She turned and made her way around the back of the car. "Really, I appreciate this. It’s just that this only happens once a year and my friend is waiting . . ." She stopped on the far side of the car and looked at him. He could sue if he was really hurt and her luck with men right now meant he would definitely sue and she would surely lose. "You’re absolutely fine?"

"Go." He made a shooing motion with the bag. "Happy shopping."

Her mother always said to never look a gift horse in the mouth and this was one time Jane would be obeying Elizabeth rather than giving in to her own desire to argue. She practically sprinted to the front door of The Savvy Scrapper, yanked it open, and burst inside.


"Jane!" Lydia was in the front corner of the store, surrounded by pink, yellow, blue, lilac, and pale green. She waved a die-cut of a bathtub and bubbles above her head. "I found the perfect stuff for Olivia and Oliver’s First Bath page."

"Great." Jane joined her, looking a bit frazzled but otherwise okay.

"Okay, here’s the deal." Lydia turned toward the back of the store and pointed. "All the Times letters are gone, the vellum is quickly going, and the dog section is getting riffled through as we speak. Where do you want to start?"

"Dog section, definitely." Jane stuffed her keys into her purse. "I took great pictures of the ex this morning picking up Wilson’s poop while stepping in another pile."

"You are so gross. What was he doing there?"

"Trying to get me to give him Wilson again." Jane scanned the rest of the store, making a quick plan to get the most stuff. "He’ll get the picture one day, just not today. He’s insane if he thinks I’m letting my puppy come live with him while he’s spending all hours online with his e-mistress."

"Okay, that still sounds so weird." Lydia’s eyebrows rose as she gave Jane a disbelieving look. "E-mistress? Really? That’s what we’re calling her?"

"E-mistress is the only thing I could think of that’s fit for public consumption." Jane grimaced. "Anyway, forget her and him. I’m here to shop, honey."

"Right. Go on over to the dog section. I’ll come over there when I’m finished here. Can you grab me that new paper with the red stripes and dark-brown bones? I’ve got some pictures of Otis with Olivia and Oliver from last week."

"Dale let that pug get near his precious twins? I thought you said the only thing he cared more about than SportsCenter was those babies."

"Dale hasn’t seen the pictures yet. He never comes in my scrapbook studio. Says it’s my workspace and that I spend too much money on all this junk as it is." Lydia waved her hand to encompass the store. "He’s probably right."

"Oh, please. Men are never right," Jane said and turned toward the dog section. "Dogs, on the other hand, are absolutely wonderful companions who never cheat and can’t even turn a computer on."

Lydia laughed and turned back to the wall of baby-themed paper in front of her, leaving Jane to take care of the dog paper. Stripes or flowers? She didn’t want to make the scrapbook too babyish, but she also didn’t want it to look too grownup. The papers were all on sale, so maybe she would just get both. Dale would never know since he didn’t come into her studio anyway, and she could give some of it to Mac for Kesa’s baby book. She took two sheets of the pink-and-lime-green-striped paper, then two of the blue rosebud ones.

"Men are never right," she muttered under her breath. Maybe Jane had a good point.

Prints CharmingRebeca SeitzCopyright © 2006 by Rebeca Seitz.