Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Surrender Bay - Denise Hunter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.

Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.

When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"

--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)

April here. I have to be honest and admit that I've never been a fan of romance novels. The few that I've read have always seemed sappy, rather cliche, and full of characters that I don't relate to. It could very well be that I am an abnormal female, I don't know, but rather than sympathizing with the main character, I found myself spending most of the book wanting to slap her silly for being so stupid. There were some nice moments in the book, but as a whole, I didn't care much for it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Spray Paint

Note to self: If ever you and the husband should decide to paint four bookshelves, do not use spray paint to paint the shelves. Most especially should those four bookshelves require 14 cans of spray paint to fully cover them and you are going to be doing all the painting. Using 14 cans of spray paint in one afternoon works muscles in places where you did not previously realize there were muscles, and will make doing things such as writing, picking things up, or any other task necessitating the use of your fingers, wrists, or hands, much more difficult.

But the bookshelves do look nice.

On a much more amusing note, said spray paint that I used yesterday was black. There was a slight breeze during most of the spray painting episode and I was mildly paranoid about the mist from the spray paint getting in my mouth and turning my teeth black, because... ew. So, I was really, really, really careful to breathe through my nose and keep my mouth shut. I had a thin layer of black on my face, which thankfully came off fairly easily, but my teeth stayed nicely white. It was all fine and dandy until I sneezed this morning......

I wonder if I could convince my boss that I have some weird black snot disease and go home...?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


It's hard to believe that it's almost that time again... National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words in 30 days.

This will be my fourth year participating, and I'm really looking forward to it this year. And, shockingly enough, instead of just jumping in with no idea what I'm going to write about and spewing out 50,000 words that I hope will never see the light of day, as I've done the last 3 years, I've actually been planning ahead. I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to write, I've been doing some research, and I even have a really (really, really, really) rough outline. That's kind of a new experience. I've always been one who, when I absolutely had to write an outline, would write the outline after the paper was finished. Now that I'm doing one ahead of time, I'm seeing why people think it might be a good idea. Imagine that...

If you're joining in the NaNoWriMo fun and want to add me as a buddy, my user name is athaleyah.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Illuminated - Matt Bronleewe

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)



Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

April here. I enjoyed this book... It was a great premise, although there were places I wish it had been fleshed out a little more. And I have to confess that after finishing it, I immediately jumped online and started googling Gutenberg and secret societies. Crazy stuff, I tell ya...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Fall has come to northeast Kansas. The trees are a blaze of colors. The days are getting shorter, and colder. It's getting harder to get out of bed in the mornings... not just because I'm tired, but because I'm warm and cozy and the room... isn't.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the changing colors, and the cooler weather, and the fact that the air always seems somehow cleaner and fresher. I like digging in the back of my closet for the warmer clothes that I'd forgotten I had (although I don't like the fact that lately, they've been shrinking in the back of closet lately). I love the crisp, clear nights with millions of stars scattered across the sky. I like curling up on a cool, rainy fall day with a good book and a cup of tea, or a bowl of soup and bread. I like tromping through the fallen leaves, kicking them out of the way and hearing them crunch underfoot.

I was thinking the other day about how amazing God is. Take trees for example. The whole idea of trees is kind of strange... I mean, they grow new leaves every year, and then the leaves all fall off. God could have made it so that the leaves were green on the trees one day, then brown and shrively on the ground the next. Or, He could have made them so that they would all turn the same color before they fell off the trees. But instead, we get a brilliant display of reds and yellows and oranges. That's pretty amazing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Adventures of April

How in the world did it get to be the middle of October?!?!?

I've been going to a weekly Bible study with some women from my church for the last couple months, which I would like more if it weren't at 6:15 in the morning. I've never been much of a morning person, although I've gotten a lot better since the husband started working normal hours since I'm not staying up quite so late every night.

Today was Bible study day, so I headed out to my car about 5:50 this morning. We live right on the edge of a small town, and it was really, really dark out this morning. I have a little light on my keychain, and when I got to my car, I clicked on the light to see the lock on the door. Just then, something very large whapped me in the back of my right knee. I gasped rather loudly, possibly even let out a bit of a squeak, and whirled around.

And there was a dog. A fairly big dog who looked to be at least partly golden lab. He had jumped back, probably because I'd scared him with my squeaking gasp, and was cowering a little, but still wagging his tail hopefully. I felt kind of bad for scaring him and petted him for a minute, and he rewarded me by slobbering all over my pants and getting mud all over my shoes and pants (which I, of course, didn't notice until I got to Bible study and it was too late to do anything).

He wanted to come with me, and I had to literally push him out of the way so I could get in my car, then push him back again so he wouldn't climb in and I could shut the door.

It made me miss my dog. I should start working on the husband again about getting one...

Friday, October 12, 2007


I have a confession.

I'm addicted to McDonald's Monopoly.

It's pretty ridiculous, I'll be the first to admit that. Despite all the years that I have faithfully collected the stamps (and played online once they started doing that), I have won... a breakfast sandwich, a couple of drinks, and French fries.

Yet every year, as soon as I realize that it's Monopoly time again, I find myself fighting nearly overwhelming urges to buy copious amounts of stamped food from McDonald. I don't know if it's just that I like collecting the stamps due to the fact that I'm a complete dork (I also have to admit that I usually do little happy dances every time I get a stamp I didn't have before), or that I'm secretly holding on to the hope that maybe someday all this Monopolying will pay off, or what... Whatever it is, I'm hooked.

It's a good thing I don't gamble.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The third and final part of the trip...

Ummm... What happened to September? Who pushed the fast forward button?

I think the trip story has dragged on long enough, so I'll finish it up super quick (just to be able to say that I did).

Thursday, we went back to Colonial Williamsburg and visited a few places we'd missed the first time or wanted to visit again. We spent the afternoon wandering through antique stores.

We were leaving on Friday, but our flight didn't leave until 5:30 that evening, so we went back to Jamestown and visited the glasshouse, which we hadn't gotten to see on the first visit. I've always loved glass blowing, so I really liked it. And, my wonderful husband let me get a really cool glass wine bottle they'd made there.

We were a little nervous about the trip home after the little adventure on the way out. We had a tighter connection in Atlanta this time around, just a little over an hour, and I wasn't feeling terribly confident in our airline...

The woman at the ticket counter assured us that everything was on schedule for our flight. We boarded the flight right on time, and we were all ready to go and...

There was a delay. Because of the weather and the traffic in Atlanta, we were going to have a possible 1 hour and 20 minute delay. They assured as they we might be able to leave sooner, so they were going to keep us all on the plane. *sigh*

We were able to leave about 40 minutes later... then we got rerouted right outside of Atlanta due to the weather, which added another 3o minutes of flying time... then we were put in a holding pattern outside the airport due to the traffic for another 30 minutes.

Our flight was supposed to leave Atlanta a little after 8pm. When we landed, we found that it too had been delayed and was not leaving until 9:40pm. That time, of coure, got pushed back to 10:30... then 11:30... then 12:15.

So... instead of getting into Kansas City about 10pm, we didn't get in until about 2:30am, and didn't get home until almost 4:00.

It was a really great trip and Virginia was a good place to visit... but bext time I travel east, I'm pretty sure I don't want to go through Atlanta.