Wednesday, October 26, 2005

CRESTON MAPES presents DARK STAR

At Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, this month we are reviewing Dark Star : Confessions of a Rock Idol.

This is Creston Mapes first novel and I can honestly say I hope he creates subject matter for many more. The story is compelling from the very beginning. I thought I was reading the real confessions of a rock star, his rise to fame, the power, wealth, drugs, and alcohol.

I like how Creston goes back and forth telling the rocker's life story from the Rock Star's point of view. It was easy to distinguish the past from the present because when the Rocker Everet Lester is reliving the past as he commits his life to paper, it's in regular print. You are woven right into the story including the dark side that many stars visit in the form of psychics and the dark side of the spirit world.

Then you come forward to the present, where the type is in bold. Everet Lester, our rocker is on trial for murdering his personal psychic. As he sits in jail the only solace he receives is from a Christian girl from Topeka, Kansas that starts writing to him. She offers his a hope that he's never had before.

This is a must read. Cudos to Creston Mapes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ode' to Wilma's Nor'eastern

Welcome to my world.......We got six inches of snow today!

That's my magnolia tree that's bent down in the top left picture!

The picture on the right is my pond. Ice skating will be soon!


Dashing thru the snow..(to get to the car that flew into the hay field)
In a one-horse open sleigh..(the only thing that can get under the low hanging trees)
O'r the fields we go...(another car skidded off the road and flew into a corn field)
Laughing all the way...(At the SUV upside down in the ditch)
Bells on bobtails ring..(the bells were on the fire truck, directing traffic, but what in God's name is a bobtail)
Making spirits bright.....(fog and white out snow go great together—real bright)
What fun it is.......(yea...great fun..a 15 minute trip home took 40 minutes)
To ride and sing...(gloom, despair and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery)
A sleighing song tonight....(The sleigh better have a plow leading it down the road)

The guy in the SUV was fine. His pride was just hurt!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Alton Gansky - Director's Cut


This is the third book in his Madison Glenn mystery series entitled Director's Cut.

Maddy Glenn, the mayor of Santa Rita, wins the Republican primary and begins her congressional bid in earnest. The last thing she needs is scandal, which shows up in the form of her actress cousin Catherine Anderson, a dead chauffeur floating in the pool, and a shocking revision to the script of Catherine's upcoming movie.

You may also like to visit the first and second books in this exciting series called: The Incumbent and Before Another dies.

You can buy them online at Amazon.com or at Christianbooks.com or at your local Christian bookstore. We have a Parable bookstore in my town and Alton Gansky is always in stock!

I'd also invite you to visit his website www.altongansky.com and sign up for his free newsletter.

New Olympic Sport

In the last week or so, I seem to have created a new Olympic sport...shooting coffee out my nose. Now, I have discovered that this has a somewhat cathartic effect on my sinuses, while my new friend Ric Marion battled with his sinuses, and after extended agony, finally went to the Doctor's for medicine. The sweet man has taken to calling me 'Bonnie-the Crazy Lady'. All I can say is that he must be extra-perceptive; it usually takes normals about a month to come to that conclusion! But I digress....

I stumbled upon my own solution. A cathartic is defined as a medicine for stimulating evacuation of.......augh...you get the idea....same church, different pew (as my mother would say).

Anyhow.....what caused these....Metamucil moments of the mind.....Blogs. Blogs that were just sudden inanely funny points, or in two cases in particular, so over the top, unexpectedly 'in your face' funny, that I've sworn off coffee and Blogging at the same time.....yea right!

Now you have to have the scene set for this moment. I bopped over to Christian author Brenda Coulter's Blog. The post is titled "A few words about underwear". Okay fine.....she acknowledges that the title's going to draw strange traffic and that at the mention of the preceding unmentionables, her mother just fainted. (Sip of coffee here) Then she goes to extol the virtue of 'slack' vs 'pants' in the American vs British vernacular. (Another sip of coffee).

Now since I'm almost to the bottom of the cup and hate to drink it cold, I threw back the last large gulp of hot caffeine laced beverage as I read the words, "I am in a position to know(although I can not reveal where I obtained this information) that many young men, at least the ones who don't have ten inches worth of boxer shorts showing above their low slung jeans, are eschewing underwear these days. They call it 'going commando'. (There went my last gulp of coffee, out the nose, all over the keyboard and the LCD).

They say that as a writer, your goal is to create a word picture in one's mind. Congratulations Brenda...except....I didn't need THAT picture in my mind all day! But I do have to say, every time I think about it I snort!

Then another physical cleansing of the sinuous orifices came on Saturday when I visited another of my favorite authors' Blogs. I must set the author profile for this one..... She is Lisa Samson a special favorite because I met her at our local Christian Writer's Conference this summer. Lisa is a free spirit, laid back, and a genteel soul that puts you at ease, no matter which of her seventeen christian, inspirational fiction books, you are talking about. With that all said....all I can say is "Thank God, I got a plastic shield for my keyboard. You have to go to her Blog and see THIS one for yourself! I have no words...well that's not true...I just don't want to use the one's I'm thinking! ROFL, Lisa!

It isn't always funny, although I have a warped sense of humor, sometimes it is just the unexpected place that elicits the 'projectile approach'. Then again, maybe it's too much coffee.....nah....I usually catch up to me by the third cup. To all my fellow bloggers...Blog On!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Let NaNoWriMo Begin!

This is your opportunity to write a novel! Not that you haven't been able to before, what with jobs, exercising(I'll even use THAT as an excuse not to sit down and pound on the keys)cooking, cleaning, children, and then for you men....reading the newspaper and watching football....sniff, sniff....no Yankees this year!

This is an opportunity to just write. Write with wild abandon, revision and editing to the wind. JUST WRITE...the key is to start on November 1st and finish on November 30th. It can't be a continuation of a WIP (work in progress) It must be a fresh start.

Egads....that means while I am working on revising #1, and in the process of writing #2, now I will be doing #3. The idea is to start fresh. Let the creative juices flow. You can do all the plotting and outlining ahead of time, but don't touch that keyboard to write.

I'm going to use this exercise as an opportunity to use Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method for writing a novel. I've played with the concept, but I already had the substance for both of the novels I'm working on, when I found him. So this will be a learning experience for me also.

Here are some cute little helpers for this exercise. The Zokutou people have developed a new Display Button for your commitment to the rules. They have also created a new Extended WordMeter with cool new features. The original meter is contained on the same page, if you need one.

Go to the NaNoWriMo webpage to sign up today. They also have a neat little icon you can paste to your blogpage to show that you are participating. Any questions can be answered in their Frequently Asked Questions section. Join today....what have you got to loose? You could gain the first draft of a whole novel!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I just visited Charis Connection. If you haven't visited the Blog yet, try it out! It's a group of published Christian writers: Hannah Alexander, James Scott Bell, Jack Cavanaugh, Brandilyn Collins, Athol Dickson, Robin Lee Hatcher, Patricia Hickman, Liz Curtis Higgs, BJ Hoff, Angela Hunt, Randy Ingermanson, Jane Kirkpatrick, Dave Lambert, Deborah Raney and Lisa Samson. I apologize, in advance, if I've missed anyone. If I have let me know and I will add them!

The post today was by James Scott Bell. He gives us newbie writers a crash course in diligence.

His quote: "I did not get these from a burning bush, or even a warm dandelion. They come purely from a fellow traveler."

The list is worth printing out and pasting next to your computer! Go check it out!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Moleskine Notebooks!

I have found a product that I am absolutely hooked on—Moleskine notebooks! A month or so ago, a man that I respect very much, Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers extolled the virtue of Moleskine Notebooks on his Blog. Now, I have to admit, when I read his account, my eyes glazed over and I completely discounted the probability of luxuriously enjoying the process of writing notes because of the medium I was using at the moment. Time passed.

Then, one day when I was perusing the Blogoshere, I was turned on to the nobility of this versatile little notebook, by one of my very favorite Blogging, published authors, Brenda Coulter. I had to use all of those qualifiers, so that I didn't get comments in mass from other writing Bloggers that I visit! She sold me, hook, line and sinker.

She did a whole piece, that mentioned, Moleskine Notebooks and the only picture I had in my head was a little star-nosed mole (like the little buggers that dig up our lawn every spring and drive my husband to distraction. I mean, we live in the country. The lawn was once a ten acre hay field. The moles (I'm now going to call them moleskines....it sounds regal!) don't want to move. They have eminent domain.....but I digress.

I LOVE the feel of the leather. It's soft and supple. It comes in multiple colors. And get this...Moleskine Notebooks, come in twelve styles, plus unruled, ruled, and squared (Now how are you supposed to write on a page that looks like graph paper. I mean really! Give me a break! It's like Hollywood squares for mosquitoes!) They even have a Japanese style,like origami, that I stood there and played with for several minutes. The pages are all accordion-like folds.(Auh, simple things for simple minds).

Anyhow! It comes in different colors but black is my favorite. All of my accessories are in black...purse, briefcase, laptop-case, etc. Try a Moleskine Notebook. You'll love it, and they're trendy too!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Christian vs. Secular Publishing

A portion of my meanderings through the world of publishing have led me ask, what I consider to be a profound question—What is it that creates the difference between Christian fiction and secular fiction?

Is it because...oohh...someone mentioned the 'God word'? Nope! I've read the Almighty's name in many a secular novel, albeit sometimes it was used as a curse word (but I digress). Is it because someone SAYS its Christian fiction? Nah, believe me, I've read quite a few Christian fiction novels, that other than the fact that I bought them in a Christian book store, I would have assumed they were secular.

Is it because the writer is a Christian? No, again! Many Christians write secular fiction, and NEWS flash, many secular people are beginning to write under the Christian fiction label. Another example of that aberration can be seen in the new popularity of Christian music. Christian music is sometimes preformed by bands that are not professing Christians.

Christian fiction may not be popular in other countries, but in the United States, according to industry news published by Crossover Fiction.com, the growth projections for Christian publishing in 2009 will be $2.91 billion. That equates to a 50% increase over 2004.

The cross-over appeal of clean fiction is driving more secular publishers to create or buy Christian imprints. Random House bought WaterBrook, HarperCollins acquired Zondervan, and Harlequin created Steeple Hill, just to name a few. Then you have Doubleday, Penguin, and Oxford University Press, who all want part of the action. BantomDell signed Tim LaHaye, of Left Behind fame, to a $45 million book contract for a new series.

But I've made you guess for long enough. The actual difference between Christian and secular fiction is the CBA vs. the ABA.

To be classified as Christian, Christian Booksellers Association guidelines dictate, no explicit sex, a minimum of sensuality, and unless it is part of the struggle of the protagonist, there should be no premarital sex or graphic violence. The degree of religiousness can vary and they prefer that you not use denominations by name.

ABA...American Booksellers Association guidelines...as far as I can tell, anything goes. If I am mistaken I would appreciate correction.

Those are the only distinguishable differences in the markets. Another draw that seems to be bringing secular people into the Christian publishing world is the fact that you can actually find a publisher without an agent, and that doesn't happen too often in the secular world.

What are your views? I know both secular and Christian writers visit this site? Let's hear from you!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Beware the Bookner Blog

My recent foray into the publishing blogworld has netted some very informative and colorful catches. Let’s look at some of my favorite and not so favorite picks.

Honest Critiques– Torgo is an editor from the United Kingdom, who will give you, for free, an honest critique of a sampling of your work. He recently critiqued a synopsis and an excerpt for me. I think he is fabulous! He was right on, in what he showed me about my work from an editor’s point of view. (Be warned though, if you submit something, it may take a while to get a reply. He’s in great demand!)

Then we have Agent 007. She is an agent and ex-editor who gives a full view of the publishing world from a softer point of view. I’ve learned a lot about the industry from her posts.

Then we have the irascible Miss Snark. I’ve left her until the last of my favorite picks, not because she’s on the bottom (she’s actually my personal favorite), but I must warn you...she’s not for the faint of heart....my more genteel readers might like Agent 007 better.) Miss Snark is an agent, extremely knowledgeable and gives you info from an agents perspective (albeit sometimes very colorfully) the reason I put her down here is because of my last entry.

Bookner – this folks, at this point in time is my least favorite. I make this known because I received an e-mail about this site, long before he showed up on Miss Snark’s site (I’ll get to that in a minute).

To my blogger friends that aspire to be published writers...beware....beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Sometimes we as writers want to be published so bad that the brain gets disconnected from the rest of the body and we fall victim to the first thing that comes along and gives you hope of being published.

I’m not accusing Jason Gonzales aka. Bookner of being a fraud or anything, because I don’t know him...yet. But let’s take a look at some facts:

1)He’s an engineer who wants to start a critique service. (Geez....at least be a writer...being a published writer would give you credibility.)
2)He wants you to send your WHOLE manuscript in for a critique. (Well, I’ll just fire off my blood, sweat, and tears for the last year into cyberspace to someone who has an official looking website...PS...I’m no partial to orange.)
3)The critique system is going to be done by people who will remain anonymous. (Whoopee!! What a crapshoot) It could be an actual writer, editor or agent...or some uninformed person that can’t punctuate a sentence.

Now, let’s look at the man (this is where Miss Snark comes in.)

Miss Snark, as a responsible agent warned her readership in a manner similar to the way I just put it (although she’s way more colorful). This man, Jason comes to her site, to debate her readership, as to his good qualities. Now, since he doesn’t like the comments that he gets from Miss Snark's readers; on his own site, he disables the comments, so that no one can post. But he continues to pop into Miss Snark’s site, like Zorro, leave snide remarks and vanish.

In frustration over his pompous and arrogant stance, one young woman has created an Anti-Bookner site.

Here comes the best part....Me...I...Bonnie Calhoun, after being a commenting party, have been thrust into the foray. Today I received an e-mail from one of Jason’s friends. (I must tell you.....whenever someone tells me not to say something; my first thought is....what are you trying to hide? I was going to give you his e-mail and name and website, but I'm going to say this one time for free....When you tell me to keep it to myself...I'm going to share it with the world. That's your one chance Nate!


I will share with you what I wrote him back:

Dear Nate,

I can sympathize with your plight, especially if it's one of friendship, but Jason has set himself up for this. He comes to Miss Snark's site, zips in and then zips out, leaving his comments but allowing no one the opportunity to debate him.

On his own site, he disable the comments, because as the new guy, he couldn't stand the heat. Hey babe', if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! If he thinks that some new kid, with a new idea is just going to walk into a venerated institution like publishing and not only be readily accepted but revolutionize the industry, he better think twice. It ain't gonna' happen. And with his present attitude he's not winning friend or influencing people.

Go over to Agent007's site: http://agentoo7.blogspot.com/. Read what she has to say about what it takes to excel INSIDE the publishing world. Your friend doesn't even have his foot inside the door and already he's making enemys. But the best and most immature part it: He doesn't even know with whom he's making enemies. Miss Snark is definitely an agent. Which agent? How powerful is she? Who does she know? Obviously she's been part of the industry for a long time, and I wouldn't give a penny for Jason's chance of getting a proposal past anyone she knows. I'm sure Jason has become famous in the publishing world....infamous! One of the EDITORS, I've been talking to, is from England. He reads Miss Snark's site. Congratulations...Jason is infamous in the UK to!

Until he sucks it up, allows honest debate and criticism on his own site with others (the best part is, he also doesn't know how many others that visit Miss Snark's site are agents or editors or even publishers). I'm sure she knows a lot of the people posting there, personally, many have made reference to that fact.

And let's not even talk about his method. I got the head's up on his site, long before I saw it on Miss Snark's. I ash-canned the link after visiting because everything is done in secret. AND he wants me to send him my WHOLE manuscript.....Not in this lifetime! Secret means, some venerated author or editor could be reading it, OR the drunk that I pass on the corner near the jail every morning could be reading it. (I say that because one morning he was trying to sell a laptop for booze). Or Jason could be an acronym for some Filipino theft group, phishing the internet for viable manuscripts. Who knows! Nate, you know, and that's fine, but don't expect a free ticket from the rest of the world.

AND, last but not least: Those of us frequenting Miss Snark's site like her and respect her opinion! I am a born again Christian and sometimes her language turns the air in my library blue (especially because I'd like to say the same thing, but don't dare) But she's teaching me a whole lot and she allows us to pick her brains about the thought process in an industry that is one of the biggest Ol' boy or Ol' girl networks in the world! That's invaluable to me and I will defend her until the cow's come home. Jason is going to HER house dissin' HER, but won't allow anyone to come to HIS house and dis him.

This feud will go on forever, at least past my getting published. I am a new novelist, not a stupid novelist. I'll take my time, my work can speak for itself, and when the Lord wants me to have a publisher or agent....I'll get one...and who knows...it may even be in the secular world, but I know one thing....I won't be giving Jason a chance to be that person. He's not mature or knowledgeable about the industry enough to be of any help to me.

You might learn something if you start visiting Miss Snark on a regular basis. She gives away what she knows readily!

Sincerely your,
Bonnie Calhoun

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sometimes We Make God Wonder



WOW, WHAT A WAKE UP! !

Dear God:

Why didn't you save the school children at?

Moses Lake, Washington 2/2/96
Alaska 2/19/97
Pearl, Mississippi 10/1/97
West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97
Stamps, Arkansas 12/15/97
Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/24/98
Edinboro, Pennsylvania 4/24/98
Fayetteville, Tennessee 5/19/98
Springfield, Oregon 5/21/98
Richmond, Virginia 6/15/98
Littleton, Colorado 4/20/99
Taber, Alberta, Canada 5/28/99
Conyers, Georgia 5/20/99
Deming, New Mexico 11/19/99
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma 12/6/99
Santee, California 3/5/01 and
El Cajon, California 3/22/01?

Sincerely, Concerned Student

Reply:

Dear Concerned Student: I am not allowed in schools.

Sincerely, God

How did this get started? Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained she didn't want any prayer in our schools.

And we said, OK...

Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says "thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbors as yourself,"

And we said, OK...

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehaved because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem.

And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we won't spank them anymore.

Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued.

And we accepted their reasoning...

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents.

And we said, that's a grand idea...

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school.

And we said, that's another great idea...

Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs.

And we said, it doesn't matter what anybody, including the President, does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good...

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet.

And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech....

And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex... And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...

And we said, it's just entertainment and it has no adverse effect and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead...

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.
Undoubtedly, if we thought about it long and hard enough, we could figure it out. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...

"WE REAP WHAT WE SOW,"

Pass this on if you think it has merit! If not then just discard it...but if you discard this thought process, then don't EVER sit back and complain about what bad shape this world is in!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Eye Of God



A man dies and goes to Heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter says to the man, "Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into Heaven. You tell me all the good things that you've done and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in."

"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."

"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, " that's worth 3 points!"

"Three points?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithes and services."

"Terrific!" says St. Peter. "That's certainly worth a point."

"One point!?!!" " I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."

"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," St. Peter says.

"Two points!?!!" Exasperated, the man cries. "At this rate the only way I'll get into Heaven is by the Grace of God."

"BINGO, 100 points! Come on in!"

We often try to fix the problems with WD-40 and duct tape.

God did it with a nail.

The picture taken by NASA with the Hubble telescope is called simply "The Eye of God"