Friday, August 31, 2007


I got a letter in the mail yesterday from the State of Kansas. That's not terribly unusual, since I work for the State of Kansas, however, this letter made me a little nervous. Through the little address window, I could see the beginning of the letter. What I could see was something to the effect of "Our records show that you" and on the next line, something about "violations."


I must defend myself here before going on and say that I am not a bad driver. I just like to drive fast. I have decided to blame this on my German heritage. Germans build fast cars and like to drive fast. That's why there's the Autobahn. I'm not sure how my Irish heritage plays into this, but I'm sure it's their fault too. Not mine.

The gist of the letter was that their records showed I had three moving violations, and should I get a fourth within the same 12 month period, my driver's license would be suspended for 30 days. A fifth, and it would be 90 days. A sixth, and let's try a year's suspension. Ouch.

I got a ticket last December. The officer claimed I was going 43mph in a 30. I may have been going a little over 30, but I'm 99.999% sure that it wasn't anywhere near 43. On that particular road at that particular time of day, it's rare for traffic to move above a crawl. I just paid the ticket, thinking I probably deserved it for all the other times I've sped and didn't get caught.

This spring, I got pulled over for not stopping at a stop sign. I had three problems with this. One, I'm pretty positive I did stop. Two, this stop sign was completely pointless at the time because you could only turn right... the road to the left was closed because they had torn out the bridge, and there is no road going straight. Three, the car right in front of me barely slowed down when they went around the corner and they didn't get pulled over. Only me. Actually, I had four problems with that one... Number four being that I didn't have my current proof of insurance (the one I had with me had expired a few weeks earlier and I hadn't put the new one in my car yet), which meant I had to appear in court a few weeks ago and show that I had insurance.

The third ticket was about a month ago, and I must admit, I'm guilty. I was speeding. Speed limits in Lawrence can change drastically from block to block with no apparent reason, and I was in one such place. I was driving down the road, saw a sign and realized that the speed limit was only 30mph and I was going about 40... because the speed limit had been 40 just a couple blocks before. I had just taken my foot off the gas, looked over and saw a police car about to turn onto the road in the same direction I was going... and sure enough, he pulled me over. He was pretty nice. He said I was going 43, but he only gave me a ticket for 40, which meant the fine was about $30 less. I wish he had been nice enough not to give me a ticket at all, but... whatever.

So... now I have to be really, really, really careful not to get another ticket for a long, long time. Or ever.

In happier news, it's finally Friday, we have a three day weekend, and... WE GET OUR REFIGERATOR TOMORROW MORNING! (It's pathetic that I'm so excited about that, isn't it?)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


This week is d.....r.....a.....g......g.....i.....n.....g.......

It's probably not helping much knowing that there is a three day weekend coming up.

And we get our new refrigerator on Saturday.

And I only work three days next week and on Friday, we leave for vacation and I don't go back to work for 10 whole days. I'm really, really, really, really ready for vacation.

Seriously, shouldn't it be Friday already?

The Dead Whisper On - T. L. Hines

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Bethany House July 1, 2007)



Tony is the author of the acclaimed Waking Lazarus. He has been an advertising agency owner/principal, a trade amgazine editor, and now a novelist.

He has been a professional writer for more than 15 years with articles appearing in publications as varied as Log Homes, Conservative Theological Journal, and Travel & Leisure. He is also Creative Director at Montana's largest advertising agency.

His long list of past odd jobs includes trimming Christmas trees, sorting seed potatoes, working the graveyard shift at a convenience store, and cleaning cadaver storage rooms.

As a teen he was undefeated in air guitar competitions in which he performed songs by ZZ Top.

He lives in Montana with his wife and daughter,


Would You Run Into A Burning Building?

Candace "Canada Mac" MacHugh lives a ghost of her former life.

Once a proud Butte, Montana, miner who daily risked her life setting explosives, she's now a garbage collector in her dying hometown.

Her beloves father is dead and she doesn't speak to her mom. More than anything, Candace Mac misses her father. He promised to contact her from the "other side" if he could...but it's been eleven long years. And now even her beloved city of Butte, Montana, seems to be dying off.

Candace Mac is alone. Longing for the past. Dreaming of making a difference.

Until one night when her father's voice speaks to her from the shadows. Bud MacHugh's trademark growl. The dead, it seems, have messages they hunger to share with the world...warnings of impending disasters and grave danger. Of cities doomed to burn.

But they need Canada's help.

T.L. Hines' first novel, Waking Lazarus was named one of the Library Journal's Top 25 Genre novels of 2006. Now he's back with a gripping suspense that brings to light our fears and asks us if we still have the courage to fight for those around us. if we have the guts to be one of those who run into burning buildings.

"Chilling!" Publishers Weekly

"...a well-paced suspense populated by dynamic characters." Kirkus Discoveries

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm kinda not such a great person...

We have been married for almost two years. It will, in fact, be exactly two years on September 12.

We finally finished all of the thank you cards last night.

How horrible is that?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

My husband starts his new job today.

It was really strange having him leave for work before I did this morning. It'll be even stranger to go home tonight and have him already home from work.

I told him I was expecting a really nice dinner tonight, since he gets off an hour before I do.

He said he hoped I like McDonalds.

The Void - Mark Mynheir

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Multnomah Fiction August 21, 2007)



Mark Mynheir is a cop writer. He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One) and From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two).

During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.


The Truth Chasers Book Three

Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.

So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.

But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.

The Void is nothing short of a page-turner. Mynheir is truly hitting his stride as one of our industry's most notable Christian novelists. This latest book has it all: suspense, humor, intrigue, realistic police action, and one thought-provoking story line.

Creston Mapes
Author of Nobody

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I feel so... American.

Well... we did it. We got high speed internet at home yesterday. I got online at home last night and pages would load in a couple seconds instead of a couple minutes. I shan't miss dial-up one bit.

We also got cable yesterday. We had to get the basic cable package to get the internet, and we were only supposed to get 7 channels. We got 70. The guy that installed it said that in some places, the other channels come through and there's no way to shut it off, and we're apparently one of those places... So we get about 70 channels and only have to pay for 7. My brother informed me that it's "about freaking time" that I joined American society. I'm kinda excited about that because it means we get the history channel and I am a dork. Now the trick is not to get sucked into watching it all the time...

What happening to me? My husband starts his new job tomorrow, so we'll both be off evenings, weekends and holidays. We have fast internet on a new, fast computer. We have cable. My husband fixed the dryer yesterday. We'll soon have a new refrigerator that actually keeps things cold.

Yikes.... I'm almost normal.

Monday, August 20, 2007

God is pretty neat-o

On Friday after work, my husband and I headed to Kansas City to what I think may be one of the coolest stores in the world (at least in the Kansas world), Nebraska Furniture Mart, to hunt for a new refrigerator. We had a general idea of what we wanted, and I'd found one online that I really liked... although it was a bit more than I had hoped to spend. I found another one online that was similar, although I didn't like it quite as much... but a couple hundred dollars cheaper, and I had resigned myself to get that one or one similar to it instead of the one I really liked.

We had a blast at the store. They were having all kinds of sales to celebrate their 70th anniversary. They were offering free local delivery for purchases over $300. We walked into the very first aisle and... we found it.

It was bigger than the one I really liked. I liked it even more than the one I had previously really liked. And... it was $50 less than the cheaper one that I didn't like quite so much. (That's it on the side, by the way. Isn't it pretty and shiny? The real one is a bit bigger.) We wandered through all the other refrigerators and couldn't find anything we liked more. (Well, that's not quite true. My husband wouldn't let me get the enourmous double-door monstronsity, just because it would have been about $4,000... some excuse about us not having that much money or not being able to afford the food to put in it or some other pathetic excuse like that.)

So, we got it. (The not-$4,000 one.)

More precisely, we paid for it and arranged for it to be delivered to our home on September 1st. We could have had it delivered next Monday, but one of us would have had to be home to accept the delivery... and since I have no extra time off due to the upcoming vacation, and that will be my husband's third day at his new job, we decided it would probably be best to wait until the next Saturday.

I just hope the old one holds out until then...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Here we go!

After several weeks of trying to find the perfect idea for my book, I think I've finally got it. We'll see what happens.........

The Adventures of April

I went over to my parents' house yesterday after work to see an aunt and because my mom offered me free food. I work in Lawrence and my parents live a little way outside of Topeka, so it's about a 45 minute drive to their house from work.

Everything started out very nicely. I got out of work right at 5:00. I made it to the edge of town surprisingly fast. I jumped on the interstate and rejoiced, because I was driving fast (within the speed limit, of course) past Lawrence with very little traffic rather than creeping through Lawrence and being stuck in traffic.

It started getting cloudy right before I got off work. Just outside of Lawrence, it started sprinkling just a little.

Then it starts raining pretty hard.

Then it starts pouring even harder.

Then it appeared that someone took a very large bucket of water and started pouring it steadily upon my car.

I couldn't see. I was barely creeping along. All the other cars around me were barely creeping along... and this is a road where people always drive really, really, really fast. I kept starting to hydroplane, something I had never done and can now say with confidence is rather scary and not a real good idea. And just when I didn't think it could get any worse...

The sun came out.

"Oh!" you might be thinking, "that's great!"

No. It was actually not great. Because great buckets of water were still being poured upon my car and all the cars surrounding me. The sun hit the water pouring down, the water on the road, and the water being flung into the air by the tires of all the cars creeping along and created a blinding glare. I could barely see anything.

The sun ducked back behind the clouds after about 5 minutes of blinding glare, for which I was very grateful, but the bucket-dumping continued until I got to Topeka.

Then it stopped. Just like that. It was cloudy, but the ground was barely wet and it wasn't raining at all. Kansas is weird.

And there's more.

I got to my parents' house, we ate, sat around and talked for a few hours. It didn't rain the whole time. I left their house about 9:00. No rain. I decided to stop and see my husband, because he was at work and it was on my way home. No rain. I visit my husband, then head home. Still no rain. I get to the highway. It starts to sprinkle.

I should explain something. The highway I was taking home is a country highway. It mostly goes through farmland. There are no streetlights anywhere, few houses, and it is very, very dark. The only light when driving down that highway at night comes from your headlights and the headlights of any cars who may also be driving down that road, which tend to be few and far between.

I am intially amused by the fact that it starts sprinkling as soon as I get to the highway. My amusement doesn't last long, as it quickly begins to rain harder. And harder.

I then discovered what is worse that driving through bucket-pouring with blinding sunlight... Driving through bucket-pouring on a country highway at night. And I'm pretty sure there were two buckets pouring water on my car this time.

It poured nearly the entire way home. And, of course, it stopped raining completely as soon as I pulled onto our street.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Note to self...

...when wearing pants with any sort of drawstring which ensures that the pants will stay in place, it is probably a really bad idea to get said drawstring stuck in a knot.

Off the Record - Elizabeth White

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Zondervan August 15, 2007)



Beth White is the author of Fireworks and Fair Game, as well as the critically acclaimed Texas Gatekeepers serie from Love Inspired Suspense.

In her own words, she appreciate her most valued roles as wife and mom. Beth is also a second-grade Sunday school teacher, church orchestra member (She plays flute), and artist. She loves to read, crochet, sew, go on mission trips and avoid housework.

Beth lives in Mobile with her minister husband, and is currently on staff at First Baptist Church of North Mobile (fondly known as NoMo), in Saraland, Alabama.


Ambition is on a collision course with a secret from the past.

Judge Laurel Kincade, a rising political star, is announcing her candidacy for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Her aristocratic Old South family, led by her judge grandfather, beams as she takes the podium. Then her eyes light on a reporter in the crowd…and suddenly her past becomes a threat to her future.

Journalist Cole McGaughan, religion reporter for the New York Daily Journal, has received an intriguing call from an old friend. Private investigator Matt Hogan has come across a tip…that Laurel's impeccable reputation might be a facade. Matt suggests that Cole dig up the dirt on the lovely judge in order to snag his dream job as one of the Journal's elite political reporters.

There's just one problem: Cole's history is entangles with Laurel's and he must decide if the story that could make his career is worth the price he'd have to pay.

A sensational scoop becomes a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Can Laurel and Cole find forgiveness and turn their hidden past into a hopeful future...while keeping their feelings off the record?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back to the real world...

It was a wonderful weekend. I didn't do much of anything and I loved it. Our bridge opened on Friday, and we had to drive across it a few times that evening, just to make sure that it worked. We were going to go canoeing, but it was waaaay too hot.

Now, it's back to the real world. A few of the schools in our region started yesterday or Monday, and all the rest started today... and they seem pretty determined to start the year off with a bang and we've been swamped. Of course, the vast majority of the reports we get are just ridiculous ("He makes his kid eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and his kid wants McDonalds! That's abuse!"), but we get to take them anyway.

I'm pretty sure I need to find a new line of work.

The refrigerator at our house has some issues. My husband got it used from an uncle... who'd gotten it used from a friend... we're guessing it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-35 years old, so I suppose it's not too surprising that it has some problems. Nothing major, just sometimes not... refrigerating. When it's really hot, it stays cool-ish, but certainly not cold. Sometimes it makes really pathetic noises as it tries to run. We talked getting a new one, but it kept limping along, so we put it off.

On Monday night, we decided to have ice cream. I pull a brand new carton of ice cream out of the freezer, open it up, stick the ice cream scooper in... and it sinks to the bottom of the carton. It wasn't completely melted, but it was close.

I think it's probably time to get a new refrigerator.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Life is good

I'm not working tomorrow.

Or Monday.

That's right. A four day weekend. And you know what I'm doing?

Absolutely nothing.

It makes me ridiculously happy.

Most of the school around here start back up next Wednesday. Which means we'll start getting more reports. And since the number of reports we've been taking didn't drop off much for the summer, there's a pretty great chance that we're going to be swamped. So I'm taking a couple days off in hopes that my few remaining shreds of sanity will stick around a little longer.

And if a four day weekend wasn't wonderful enough on its own, our bridge also opens back up tomorrow. Which means that when my classes start in the near future (I probably ought to check and find out when that is...), it'll only take me 5 minutes to get to class from my house instead of 45 minutes. And if I need something from the grocery store? Five minute drive to the little store across the river instead of a 20-25 minute drive into Topeka or Lawrence. Ah, yes, life is good.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ah, summer...

I was driving home from work last night around 6:15, and I passed a thermometer that said it was 104 degrees. The heat index is supposed to be somewhere around 110 today.

Isn't summer wonderful?

Friday, August 3, 2007

The next step in this crazy journey called life...

I'd apologize that this is such a long post, but I'm really not very sorry. If you don't want to read the whole thing, here's the surprise ending: I'm... no, nevermind. I'm not going to tell you. You can skip to the last couple paragraphs (which are mercifully short) if you don't want all the details. If you like details, are a sucker for punishment, or just want to be a nice friend, keep reading...

When I was in first grade, I remember having to write a short story. I forget exactly how the story went, except that it involved Mrs. Kangaroo (which I was ridiculously proud of spelling correctly) and Little Kangaroo.

What I do remember very clearly is getting that paper back. My classmates had things "Good job!" or "Nice work!" written across the tops of their stories. Mine said, "Wonderful story!" And I was hooked... I wanted to be a writer.

I wrote constantly growing up, silly little stories that I hope will never see the light of day, which almost always featured a girl (who was strangely like me) who did very cool things. During my junior high years, my best friend and I decided we should write a book and proceeded to write a story we called "Adventures in Underland" about a youth group that went on a mission trip to Australia. (We decided on Australia because one, we both really, really, really wanted to go there, and two, we wouldn't have to worry about the language barrier .) I forget exactly how long our book was, but it was several hundred pages, and has mercifully been lost, hopefully for all time.

I wrote all through high school. I had the most wonderful English/creative writing teacher who encouraged me and helped me develop my writing. Most than anything else in the world, I wanted to write books.

I spent a year in an internship program after high school and I had an advisor there who... well, to put it mildly, let's just say we didn't see eye to eye. I remember my advisor lecturing me about deciding what I wanted to do with my life. If I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, said she, it was because I wasn't trying hard enough. I finally sucked up my courage and told her that I wanted to write novels. She laughed. She told me I needed to be "practical." She said there was no way I could make a living with writing. So I came up with a half-heartedly plan for my life, tacking on something at the end about minoring in creative writing when I went to college. She shook her head at that part, telling me I needed to be realistic, I shouldn't get my hopes up, blah, blah, blah.

(I'm sure this woman really is a wonderful person. Most people who dealt with her thought she was great. I don't know why she didn't like me, but I'm pretty sure she didn't. Not that any of that matters, but there you go.)

I tried not to let it get to me, mostly because I was pretty convinced that the woman hated me and I would never be able to do anything right for her, but... what if she was right?

I went to college, planning to be an art major with a minor in creative writing (talk about something I'd never make money at...). My first semester, I had an English class. I had always gotten really good grades in any kind of English or creative writing classes. I worked hard on my first paper... and I barely got a C... a couple points less and it would have been a D. The professor wrote a comment that I'd obviously put no effort into the paper and had just thrown it together at the last minute. I was crushed, but determined to try again. The professor hated my next paper even more. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, the best grade I managed to wring out of that class on a paper was a 79%. Obviously, I was not a writer. So I did what any chicken-hearted person... I ran away and hid. I changed majors, dropped the creative writing minor all together, and floundered through another semester before I gave up and dropped out.

I wrote here and there over the next several years, but I didn't say a word about it to anyone. I discovered National Novel Writing Month in 2004 and decided to take a stab at that. I managed to pound out a 50,000 story over 30 days and was ridiculously proud of myself, but left it at that. Anyone can type out a bunch of drivel, but that doesn't mean anyone would want to read it and it definitely didn't make me a writer.

About a year ago, I went back to school and I found myself wondering if maybe someday, maybe, I could write a book. I started joking about someday being a writer... because if I just joked about it, then obviously I wasn't too serious about it and it wouldn't be a big deal if it never happened.

Over the last few months, God's really done a number on my heart. (I think I might have mentioned once or twice that God was doing something, but I wasn't sure what. I lied. I did know what. I just didn't want to admit it because it was scary... and you're supposed to hide from scary things, right?) I started thinking seriously about writing again. I began to develop this vague idea that some day, when I was finished with all the college madness (10 or 15 years down the road at the rate I'm going...), I would maybe write a book and hopefully it would get published. I actually sat down and did a little writing. But ooooohhhh, it was scary.

The last month has been a crazy ride. I stumbled across the xanga site of Camy Tang, a Christian writer who's first book is being published in September. I discovered that Christian fiction has come a looooooong way in the 10 or so years since I pretty much gave up on it. (I'm not so much into sappy romance books and the few who didn't write sappy romances didn't write books nearly as fast as I wanted to read them.) I discovered a whole little community of Christian writers on the web, writers who have books published and are willing to pass on their hard-earned knowledge. I discovered a wealth of information about writing fictions, do and don't, tips, hints, all kinds of crazy things I never would have dreamed of... yet it still seemed so impossible... and so far away.

Last week, I discovered several "how I got here" stories by a several different now published authors. One in particular that I read last Friday, all 65 parts of the story, hit in me in many different ways, and as I drove home from work that night, I found myself fighting back tears. I finally started getting it through my head (it's a good thing God's patient, because I'm dense) that maybe this desire really is from God... and maybe it's not for 10 or 15 years down the road when I've finally worked my way through college... maybe it's for now.

So... (if you've skipped down from the top, start reading now) this week I've embarked upon a rather bizarre journey called "writing a book and getting it published." I'm excited. I'm scared (okay, terrified out of my mind). I've gotten an armload of books about writing and I'm amazed at how much there is to learn (who knew there was so much to writing good fiction?). And I've started writing.

We'll see what happens.

And if you made it clear to the end of this horrendously long post, you are way cool and I really impressed by you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The winds of change...

The hoped for video job for my husband at the homeless shelter fell through. Kinda disappointing.


He just got a new job! He's still going to be working at the shelter, only as manager of the distribution center there rather than in the actual shelter. He'll work days, have weekends and holidays off, and since it's a manager position, he'll also get a bit of a raise (always nice)... so I'll actually get to see him more than two nights a week! He'll probably be starting in 2-3 weeks. Hooray!