Friday, December 21, 2007

Crimson Eve Named a Best of 2007

I interrupt this Christmas blogging break to announce that Library Journal has named Crimson Eve one of Christian fiction's best novels in 2007.

LJ also named Crimson Eve the Top CF Suspense Novel of 2007.

The other four top CF novels of 2007 are:

Cleaver, Steven. Saving Erasmus: The Tale of a Reluctant Prophet (Paraclete)
Lliteras. D.S. The Master of Secrets (Hampton Roads)
Smith, Annette. A Bigger Life (NavPress)
Watson, Jan. Willow Springs (Tyndale)

Read the entire list of Best Books.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yo, Merry Christmas

I e-mailed my book, Vain Empires, off to the publisher on Sunday. I've been rather brain dead since then.

I'd been too busy to think about Christmas until I jogged past G.G. and saw him in his Christmas red and green. "Yo!" he shouted, "tell those BGs I said Merry Christmas!"

I'm off to Idaho today for the Christmas season. Will be returning just before New Years. I'll be taking a blogging break during this time. (Unless there's a picture or two I just have to post.) It would be great to be taking a total break from work, but that's not to be. During the next two weeks I have to rewrite one book and plot another. Sheesh.

See you all in 2008!

Friday, December 14, 2007

She Da Bomb

Happy birthday to Mama Ruth, turning 91 on Saturday!

Ever seen a spiffier ninety-onegenarian?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Well-Timed Tidbit

My return trip on Sunday was not to be.

That morning freezing rain was predicted for Chicago the entire day. By 9:00 a.m. flights to O'Hare were already running two hours late. By 5 p.m., when my flight from O'Hare was scheduled to take off for San Francisco--the whole dratted airport would likely be shut down. I could be stuck back in the Red Carpet Room with Mr. I-Am-The-World Cardiologist.

Uh-uh, ain't happenin'.

I called my niece's husband, a US Air pilot. (US Air is the sister airline to United.) "What should I do?"

He told me to try rerouting through the south. "You can try calling, but they'll want to charge you. Best thing is to go to the airport and see what they'll do."

I tried calling United. The very polite girl in Bangalore was no help at all. (She's probably never even seen freezing rain.)

So I packed and trucked to the airport. I did not, however, take the sheets off Mom's guestbed before I left. Call it intuition.

There were no available flights to reroute through the south. I could take my chances with O'Hare that day or change my flights to the following day. Guess what I chose.

Mom was thrilled to have me back so soon.

However, I did have to hole myself in her office and work. At that point I couldn't lose another day from writing. I managed to put in 8 hours. She made me a fine dinner.

Ya just can't beat the service of a great mom.

On Monday I actually made it home. And only forty minutes late. Amazing.

Tuesday here in California I worked from morning til night. My deadline is now three days away. Sweat time. As usual I am convinced this is the book to end my career.

Sigh. When will it ever end?

Opening my e-mail yesterday morning, I found a well-timed tidbit. A very kind author pal sent me an excerpt from one of his fans who'd mentioned me. It read:

"Secular books, of which I have a scad because I love mysteries and such, are inclined to have unacceptable language, though I do purchase authors who don't use that much. Dean Koontz, for instance can terrify a person until they go to sleep with the lights on while using lovely, almost poetic language. Not that the author of Eyes of Elisha didn't do the same."

Got me through the day, I'll tell ya.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lost in Transition

Actually I'm not lost. I managed to make it to Lexington. I didn't even arrive at the infamous hour of 10:30 p.m.

I arrived at 11:15.

Hey, what's a 16 1/2 hour trip to see my mama?

When I arrived my bag was not on the go-round thingy. But it was waiting for me at the American counter.

Thank you, God.

I almost didn't make it due to a few not-so-minor details. After trucking a good five miles from the United terminal to the American terminal, I checked in at the counter for a boarding pass. Gal looks at my ticket. "Well, they gave you a ticket but United never called over here to get you a seat assignment. So I'll give you a seat, but if more American passengers check in, I'll have to take it back."

"What? I've had this reservation for seven hours now."


"I've never heard of a reservation being cancelled just because there was no seat assignment."

A shrug.

"But my bag's even been rerouted to this plane."


Of course the American plane was also late. I had to wait another hour to find out if I even got on the thing. If not, I'd be on my own in Chicago for the night with no bag.

When I finally went to bed in Mom's guestroom I slept like a rock. Funny thing. I dreamed all night about killing a certain arrogant cardiologist while chanting, "I'm smarter than everybody. I'm a suspense novelist."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December Travel

I must be out of my mind, trying to fly through O'Hare Airport in December.

Destination: to visit my mom (Mama Ruth) in Kentucky. Yes it's a mere 10 days before my deadline (chalk up another reason to call me crazy), but there's a strong compelling factor for this trip. Mom is about to turn 91. And if that isn't reason enough to carve out a visit--she's now 90.

Ya gotta enjoy your parents while you can.

Flight from San Francisco was A-okay. Only forty minutes late. Largely empty. I got an aisle seat by the galley with lots of extra leg room. I chose the 6:00 a.m. flight so I wouldn't be connecting through O'Hare onto the last flight of the day that arrives into Lexington at 10:30 p.m. Too late, and if it was cancelled, I'd have to wait overnight. So I got four hours of sleep and arose at 3:30 to make the early flight.

I am now in O'Hare. It is 5:00 local time. I was supposed to leave at 2:30. My flight into Lexington was cancelled due to weather conditions between here and there.

Immediately I got in the line for customer service to rebook my flight. Took an hour to get to the counter. In the meantime I jumped on the ol' cell phone. Called United. The helpful guy in India was happy to book me on the next available flight--8:00 a.m. the next morning. Hey, what's it to him? In Bangalore it's nearly 8:00 a.m. now.

I accepted the reservation and kept working.

Delta wanted to sell me a 4:40 flight for a mere $689. I told the gal I only wanted to fly an hour away from here, not to New Zealand.

American held me a space on an 8:10 p.m. flight. Lands in Lexington at--you guessed it--10:30.

United--yes I called back again--would book me on a 5:40 flight to Cincinnati. Which would go through Detroit or some such nonsense and get me to Cinci after 8:00. Which would be followed by a two-hour drive to Lexington. Arrival time--the bewitching hour of 10:30.

At the counter finally, United agreed to book me on the American flight and pay for it. My bag would even be transferred to arrive with me.

A mere six and a half hours left to wait. No problem. I have a book to write.

I hit the Red Carpet Room, of which I am not a member, but my husband is. Forked over $50 to be his "guest" for the day. I figured on a quiet place to write. Much better than bustling gates.

There's food in here. I've gone through crackers and cheese, strawberries and grapes, tomatoes and carrots dipped in ranch dressing. Coffee. A candy bar. (I hadn't eaten all day.)

But quiet--not.

There are people everywhere on the phone. Talking loud. Why can't they just read the paper or something? The guy across from me right now is discussing "executing the Australian office." I think he means starting the plan but I'm picturing bullet-ridden bodies down under the water cooler.

To the left of me a self-important doc has talked incessantly to a dozen or more people. Reminding each of them how very crucial he is to the turning of this world upon its axis. He actually said at one point, "I don't trust people because I'm smarter than everybody else. I'm a cardiologist."

I stuck my hand on the side of my face so he wouldn't see my snicker.

Straight across is a group of travelers chattering in French. One of the women has a full Abercrombie bag with one of its signature well-pecced young men in a to-die-for loll. Which reminds me of taking my daughter to college last September. We were milling around campus buying things for her room, and this hot guy rings up our tab. She turns to me. "See that guy? He's hanging on my wall."

An Abercrombie model.

Time passes. The arrogant doc has left. Now in his seat is a concerned father on the phone to his wife, perusing a web site of their errant son's bad grades. Beyond him two Indians with heavy accents, talking about seed money. I don't think they're discussing corn. A woman is blathering to her daughter about her late plane. Another guy's ticking through today's Dow like he owns it. All around this place phones are ringing and computers blinging. People trot back and forth to the food, the bar.

How am I supposed to work in all this stimuli?

And let's not forget I'm only scheduled to arrive in Lexington at 10:30. I may spend the night here yet. Without a bag. It's probably been rerouted to Hawaii.

Oh, joy. Someone new just sat beside me. Can't wait to hear his life story.

Time to see what new delicacy awaits at the food bar--

Oops, maybe later. My cell phone's ringing.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Here I am again at countdown. Twelve days until deadline. And five of those days (this Wednesday through Sunday) I'm visiting my mom in Kentucky.


I've edited everything I've written. Now just on to finish the thing. I'd edited the first 200 pages before. Was sure it read fine. Well, it did--then. But it's the most amazing thing to see the veil fall off my eyes. Happens every time regarding all the extra words I load in. Usually I don't see them until the rewrite. This time in editing the 270 pages I'd written so far, I lost a lot of pages. Man, I was wondering if I'd have a book left. Now everything looks trim--until I see it next time, I guess. I did near have a heart attack seeing all those pages go bye-bye. But for heaven's sake, the thing read terribly.

Why can't I just write it right the first time?

December 15 is not an ideal time for a deadline. I'd prefer the first. Actually it was initially set for the December first, but last spring I was looking at my fall schedule and thinking, "Nope, no way." So I asked for two extra weeks--and I've certainly needed them.

If my blogging's meager these days--now you know the reason.

Christmas? Shopping? Who has time for that?