Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Getting the word out about the Christy Awards nominees

Today is Word Out Wednesday, and today I'm pleased to get the word out about the Christy Award nominations. I'm delighted that several of the books I've read and showcased here have been nominated for Christy awards.

According to the Christy Awards website, the awards are designed to:

--Nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of
fiction written from a Christian worldview.
--Bring a new awareness of the
breadth and depth of fiction choices available, helping to broaden the
--Provide opportunity to recognize novelists whose work may not
have reached bestseller status.

The awards are named after Catherine Marshall's classic novel, Christy.

The complete list of nominees is here, but I'm just going to re-visit the nominees I've blogged about. Here we go:

Quaker Summer, by Lisa Samson

Quaker Summer was the first month's pick in Cindy's Book Club last summer (now defunct, the Book Club was a lot of fun!)

I interviewed Lisa Samson about Quaker Summer, and blogged about it here.

(One of the soundclips is no longer working.)

Jane Kirkpatrick tells me that this is her very first Christy Award nomination--a long time in coming, but totally well-deserved!

I apparently didn't blog about A Tendering in the Storm, although I read and enjoyed it very much. However, I reviewed the first book in the series, A Clearing in the Wild, here.

I'm now reading the latest in the series, A Mending at the Edge, and I'm totally engrossed. I'm excited about interviewing Jane for my radio show next week!

After my daughter and I read Sandra Byrd's delightful Let Them Eat Cake, we couldn't say enough about it!

I blogged about my interview with Sandra, complete with soundclips, here.

I thoroughly enjoyed Angela Hunt's Doesn't She Look Natural? Although I only blogged about it in passing. Only a writer as skilled and talented as Angela could set an absorbing and enjoyable story in a funeral parlor!

I'd always liked Deborah Raney's writing, but reading Remember to Forget reaffirmed my respect for her talent. I blogged about my interview with Deborah here, complete with soundclips.

Sharon Hinck's The Restorer was another Cindy's Book Club pick...and all the participants really enjoyed reading and discussing it.

I blogged about the book and my interview with Sharon here. (One of the soundclips is no longer working...sorry!)

I also read and really liked the sequel, The Restorer's Son.

Auralia's Colors, by Jeffrey Overstreet, was such an unusual book that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get into it...but I ended up loving it, and being a little stunned by the sheer beauty of Overstreet's writing.

Here's my post about my interview with Jeffrey, including a soundclip.

The book is actually nominated in two categories for Christys--Visionary and First Novel.


Congratulations to these authors and all who received nominations!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A funny, adventurous fantasy tale

My interview with Andrew Peterson

My first clue that I was going to enjoy talking with Andrew Peterson--well, I guess really my third clue, with reading his book and hearing his children's CD being my first two--was listening to his voice message on his phone.

A clipped, rather formal British accent began:

"You have reached the voice mail of [Andrew with his real voice:] Andrew Peterson. [Back to the British accent] You can leave a message now or press one and let me tell you more things that you already know how to do."

Or, something to that effect. But leave it to this very imaginative and humorous man not to have your standard voice message on his phone.

Andrew Peterson has already gained acclaim as a singer-songwriter. Now he's put his pen to a highly enjoyable fantasy yarn, On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, that should appeal to children of all ages.

--I asked Andrew about how his vivid imagination helped him spin this tale of another world in this soundclip.

--In this soundclip, Andrew talks about a J.R.R. Tolkien essay that impressed on him the wonder of creating music and art.

--You can listen to the entire 20-minute interview here.

Find out more about Andrew Peterson, his music (including one of my favorites--his charming children's CD, Snugs, Bugs and Lullabies)--at his website.

Keep reading for my review of On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness...

My Review:

(Listen to an audio version of my review here.)

Andrew Peterson has spun an entertaining, humorous and enjoyable tale in "On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness." Apparently this book is based on bedtime stories Peterson told his children--and if that's true, then the sheer imaginative scope and detail of his bedtime stories is astounding indeed!

The main character is Janner, the eldest of the three Igiby children. Peterson has created a very real boy in Janner, with his combination of bravado and vulnerability, his happinesses and his fears, and he's easy to indentify with and to care about.

On the other hand, the loathsome, disgusting Fangs of Dang--the scaley, venom-dripping lizard-like creatures who rule the conquered land of Skree--are easy to hate. And yet even they have their humorous moments--as when one Fang commander demands that a servant bring him up a salad, "And make sure the lettuce leaves are brown this time!" (Not to mention the Fangs' love of maggot-loaf.)

In fact, it's the humor and whimsy woven throughout the story that keep it from taking itself too seriously. I must admit I loved the frequent foot-notes, which often made me laugh out loud. Far from being necessary to keep all the places and characters straight, as one reviewer erroneously stated, they're there for sheer enjoyment.

As one reviewer stated, it's no Chronicles of Narnia. But it *is* a terrific read, infused with some solid values and truths.

While the story ends with a revelation, it doesn't have a resolution, so we're left waiting for the next book in the series. And I, for one, look forward to the further adventures of the Igiby children.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Melange

Main Entry: mé·langePronunciation: \mā-ˈläⁿzh, -ˈlänj\Function: nounEtymology: French, from Middle French, from mesler, meler to mix — more at meddleDate: 1653: a mixture often of incongruous elements

Stuff to tell you about today:

--I'm not into video games, but apparently a lot of people are into the one called Grand Theft Auto. Christ and Pop Culture has an interesting article about it the release of the latest edition of the game: Grand Theft Auto IV: Boycott or Buy?

--The deadline is today to comment on a proposed FCC rule change that some say would threaten the licenses of Christian radio stations all across America.

--More than 40 people were injured when the floor collapsed during a concert of the Christian band Starfield in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Reportedly the lead singer of the band tried to warn the teens to stop jumping up and down just before the collapse. From the Canadian Press and Globe and Mail Update:

Some rushed outside as fire sprinklers rained down, while others, including
the band's singer, tried to help the injured.

"The lead singer of the band, as soon as it happened, he actually threw
his microphone to the side and he jumped right into the crowd to start saving
people," said Mr. Neiman [a Christian book store employee attending the

"He jumped right down into the hole, 10 feet down, and he was down
there pulling stuff off people and trying to get people out."

From Starfield's website:

At this moment, we are consumed with concern and compassion for those who were
injured, especially for those who were described to be in serious condition. Our
hearts are with them. We ask that you join us in prayer for them.

--A Washington D.C. choir director is urging people to pray for lower gas prices.

--PorchLight Home Entertainment is launching a new family- and faith-based label. The first DDV release will be the PBS animated series based on William Bennett's The Book of Virtues.

--Churches and seminaries are preparing for next year's 500th anniversary of the birth of Protestant reformer John Calvin. (See also

--What did you think of the return episode of "Lost"? I, for one, think Benjamin Linus is a way more multi-layered character than I ever thought possible. And Michael Emerson, who plays Linus, is one incredible actor. To read comments on the episode, my favorite spot is the USA Today Pop Candy Blog.

Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree.

I finished Andrew Peterson's charming, funny and quirky On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, and I'm looking forward to interviewing him this week.

--I finally watched Enchanted, and even though it's geared in many ways to a young audience, I really liked it. Just as everyone has raved, Amy Adams was adorable in it. I also got a kick out of seeing one of Disney's favorite voices, Jodi Benson of Little Mermaid fame (who happens to be a native of the town where I live), as Patrick Dempsey's secretary--and Wicked's amazing Idina Menzel as Dempsey's girlfriend (I kept hoping she would break out in song!)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

13 60s and 70s TV actresses I wished I looked like

I was not a beautiful junior high school student. Let's just say I went through a severe awkward stage. I can vividly remember watching TV shows in the 60's and 70's and wishing I looked like some of those actresses. Here are 13 of them:

Marlo Thomas--"That Girl"

Barbara Eden--"I Dream of Jeannie"

Tina Cole--My Three Sons

Peggy Lipton--The Mod Squad

Maureen McCormick--The Brady Bunch

Barbara Feldon--Get Smart

Sally Field--Gidget and The Flying Nun

Mary Tyler Moore--The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Elizabeth Montgomery--Bewitched

Meredith McRae--Petticoat Junction

Linda Kaye Henning--Petticoat Junction

Lori Saunders--Petticoat Junction

Donna Douglas--The Beverly Hillbillies

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--my grandson Payton goes strawberry pickin'

Word Out Wednesday

Getting the word out about SinuCleanse

I don't know if it's something about the air we breathe nowadays, or what--but it seems that more people are plagued with sinus problems now than ever before.

One of the most nightmarish things for me (I know that sounds overly-dramatic, but it really is!) is not being able to breath through my nose. I'm prone to sinus infections, so this is not an infrequent occurence for me.

When my son Jonathan told me about SinuCleanse, I was a little skeptical..not to mention just a little grossed out. How could pouring a saline solution in one side of my nose and letting it drain out the other, really help restore my breathing?

Well, all I can say is, it works. I've also recommended it to friends who have become firm believers.

It's all based on the concept of the age-old custom of the "neti pot" (read more about that here.) According to the SinuCleanse website, the product is now available in a squeeze version as well.

SinuCleanse is safe to use on a regular basis to keep your sinuses clear, and some people even claim it helps alleviate snoring.

Anyway, if you suffer from chronic sinus problems, it's worth a try!

Word Out Wednesday originated with The Adventures of Wondermommy. I encourage you to join her too! All you have to do is post about something you want to "get the word out" about--it can be anything. If you participate, be sure and check back here to give your link.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Justin's Visit--and a trip to Chicago

...and more background/feedback on the American Idol "Shout to the Lord" performance

It was so wonderful having my younger son Justin home for a week-long visit. Justin is one of the most easygoing, pleasant people in the world. It was great just getting to spend time with him.

More on that "Shout to the Lord" performance on American Idol...

Josh Harris has a very balanced post about the AI finalists singing "Shout to the Lord" during Idol Gives Back week.

Particularly interesting is a quote from a woman named Beverly who works on a related show:

"I work on one of the 'sister shows' of American picture an office, with all of the producers, crew, etc. gathered in watching the live feed at our CBS offices, then this song comes office filled with a few Christians....atheists and agnostic Jews. You could hear a pin was awesome.....the power that came through....nothing had to be debates....just people being touched more than they realized...producers, writers...crew that had never darkened a church door in their lives, or their only experience with Christians was a negative one.


Hat tip, by the way, goes to Christ and Pop Culture, where this is American Idol Week.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

13 things to tell you about...

As always, bookmark this page if you want to come back later and check out the links!

1. First of all, I can't help it--I have to show off this pic of my adorable grandson, Payton, playing in the Texas bluebonnets. I just wish I was there with him!

2. Paging Sherry of Semicolon! I tried to comment on Semicolon this morning, but the comments section wouldn't allow me to do so...I kept getting a message that I had entered the wrong CAPTCHA, but I had not even been given an opportunity to enter it. And Sherry does not have an e-mail address on her blog, so if anyone knows how to contact her, please e-mail me!

3. One of the reasons I had wanted to comment on Semicolon was because of Sherry's insightful and spot-on (in my opinion) analysis of what's going on right now with the characters on "Lost." A must-read for "Lost" fans.

4. The other reason I wanted to comment is because Sherry reminded me that today is Carry a Poem in Your Pocket Day.

5. Kristy Lee Cook was booted from American Idol last night. Following are a couple of the blogs who recap AI, that I enjoy reading:

6. Robin Lee Hatcher's Write Thinking

7. Linda's 2nd Cup of Coffee

8. Linda also directs us to a site where you can get T-shirts featuring your favorite AI contestants.

9. A woman finally won Biggest Loser!

10. Heinz is introducing gourmet ketchup--but why bother? Their ketchup is already the best, as I blogged about here.

11. A news story about China and recalled hillbilly teeth? Come on, you know you want to read it.

12. Hat tip to Stones Cry Out: a meme about transcendant beauty. I just might have to try doing this one.

13. I never wanted to see the movie "Lars and the Real Girl"--but now I find out that someone I trust loves it.

Happy TT to all!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Great fiction? worth a million!

Getting the word out about author Mindy Starns Clark

This is Word Out Wednesday, and today I'm getting the word out about author Mindy Starns Clark.

Being a Christian radio interviewer and the fiction fanatic that I am, I sometimes get the notion that I'm aware of every terrific Christian novelist out there. Well--I'm wrong about that! One of my most recent favorites, the writing of Mindy Starns Clark was actually introduced to me by our office manager here at the radio station.

Sherry loaned me the first in the Million Dollar Mystery series, and I was well and truly hooked. Now, there is fiction, and there is fiction. There's the kind that keeps you up way past your bedtime because the pages are turning themselves automatically...and there's the kind that you plod through as if you were preparing for a test over it--not really giving two hoots about the story or the characters.

Believe me, the Million Dollar Mysteries are "way past your bedtime" books.

In the main character, private investigator Callie Webber, Clark has created a very real person. I've always liked Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone mysteries because we as the reader know Kinsey so well--right down to the fact that she likes egg sandwiches and junk food, she runs every day, and she only owns one dress.

We get to know Callie that well. We know she's smart,pretty, courageous and cool-headed--but we also know that she's still hurting from the death of her husband, and she's terrified of getting too close to anyone, especially any man. (Except maybe her employer, the mysterious and wealthy Tom, to whom she's powerfully drawn.)

We know that she adores her little dog Sal and gets her exercise and tension relief from paddling her canoe on the scenic Chesapeake near her home.

Mindy's mysteries ring with authenticity, making it seem as if she herself has been a private eye for years. Callie's faith is a part of who she is, and Clark makes no attempt to hide that fact.

The writing is top-notch, with nuanced characterization, beautiful description, and atmospheric detail. And the device of keeping the elusive Tom just out of Callie's reach most of the time (at least in the two books I've read so far)is one that works well--making the reader want to know just what will happen with those two.

But as with any terrific fiction, it's the story that matters the most--and the stories were riveting in both of the books I've read so far: A Penny for Your Thoughts and Don't Take Any Wooden Nickles.

I'm now in the middle of A Dime a Dozen, and I'm also excited about reading Clark's stand alone novel, Whispers of the Bayou. I'm currently trying to work out an interview with Mindy Starns Clark, and of course I'll be blogging about it!

Be a part of Word Out Wednesday...

Blog about anything that you'd like to get the word out about--a product, a book, a blog or website--whatever! Then go to the originator of Word Out Wednesday, Adventures of Wondermommy, and sign the Mr. Linky there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday LinkLoveFest

A plethora of links for you to check out today...

--A longer, but split-up "Lost" finale. That's kind of weird, but at least it's coming back on next week after a five-week hiatus!

--You may want to get that TV out of your child's bedroom after reading this.

--Joel Griffith of The Seventh Sola is taking a dim view of Jimmy Carter's dealings with Hamas.

--I'm telling you, I can't help but love Mrs. Fussypants. Today she's announcing her enemy list.

--A fascinating video about the history of that undeniable piece of Americana, the old-fashioned photobooth. (Right: my husband and sons in a photobooth, circa 1985.)

--Speaking of photos...Cindy of Still His Girl had some fun recently with some special effects. Scary stuff!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Child

Listen to sound clips from my interview with Allison Bottke

Are you struggling with issues with your grown children? Feeling like you're quickly losing a grip on your sanity? Well, there's hope for you.

Recently I was able to talk with Allison Bottke, author Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children--Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents.

Allison's experiences with her own son prompted her to write the book. In our interview, she describes the crisis in which everything came to a head. Listen here.

The book provides practical, concrete steps you can take deal with the problems you're having with your adult children. The six steps are outlined in the acronym "SANITY":

S--STOP the Enabling and STOP the Flow of Money
A--ASSEMBLE a Support Group
N--NIP Excuses in the Bud
I--IMPLEMENT Rules and Boundaries
T--TRUST Your Instincts
Y--YIELD Everything to God

Allison's experience with her own son didn't have a storybook ending--at least, not so far. He is currently in prison, paying the price for his earlier mistakes. But Allison believes God is still working in his life--and she offers hope for parents going through similar situations in this soundclip.

Listen to the entire interview with Allison Bottke here.

SANITY support groups are forming as a result of Allison's book, where parents can get together for much-need support. To locate or to form one in your area--or simple to find out more---go here.

Allison Bottke is also the author of some wonderful fiction books. I blog about Allison's One Little Secret here (includes interview sound clips).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

13 Things to Tell You About

For today's Thursday Thirteen, a potpourri of links-n-stuff:

(As always, if you don't have time to check out links now, bookmark them and come back later!)

1. A remix of the opening theme of "Lost," if J.J. Abrams thought like everyone else in television. (from USA Today Pop Candy)

2. Concerned about a growing problem with anorexia in France, French fashion industry officials say they're going to start promoting healthy body images. Hmm. We'll see. (Pictured left: a typically skinny fashion model, and below: plus-size [in what universe!?!] model Lara Johnson.)

3. I blogged the other day about a Carissa Smith post in which she didn't like what she was hearing about the Prince Caspian movie. Here's a different take on the movie from C. S. Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham.

4. And in a related item, Crossway Books is coming out with a book called A Family Guide to Prince Caspian. From a Crossway news release:

Shimmering just below the surface of Prince Caspian are spiritual treasures and life lessons just waiting to be discovered. Christin Ditchfield, author of more than 50 books, mines the depths of Prince Caspian’s Narnia with skill and creativity. While many readers could discover the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection within The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the spiritual themes in Caspian may be a bit more subtle. Have you seen in Prince Caspian the opportunity to teach your child about faith, perseverance, or courage? These spiritual themes, among others, keep the Chronicles of Narnia relevant for today and make them important for your child.

5. An El Dorado, Texas church is turning the raid on a polygamist sect into a chance to show God's love.

6. I'm going to update my post about interviewing Tullian Tchividjian (young pastor and author who happens to be the grandson of Billy Graham), but you can listen to the entire (about 20-minute) interview here, or to a 5 and a half minute sound clip here.

7. Like hockey? Care about the Stanley Cup play-offs? Apparently some celebrities do too (like Jason Reitman, Lauren Conrad, Kevin Smith) and they're going to be blogging about it here.

8. A Q and A with Ben (Bueller? Bueller?) Stein about why he's taking on Darwinism.

9. Some never-before-seen photos Elvis have been discovered.

10. The blogosphere is buzzing about the American Idol finalists closing "Idol Gives Back" with Christian praise song "Shout to the Lord." Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee sums it up for me. Robin Lee Hatcher has a different, yet balanced view.

11. Speaking of American Idol--New York Entertainment asks: Is David Archuleta the Greatest 'American Idol' Contestant of All Time? (hat tip to the evangelical outpost)

12. In case you missed my mention of it yesterday, here's a fascinating video clip of late Christian singer Keith Green as an 11-year-old on I've Got a Secret. I would never have recognized him!

13. And here's a classy and beautiful book trailer from one of my favorite authors, B. J. Hoff.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Do I know God?

"You and I were created by God to know him, plain and simple. Every single human being was designed--hard-wired--specifically to be in relationship to God...If we were honest, we would admit that deep down we sense something necessary is missing. We sense a homesickness we can't explain. The truth is, only when the distance between us and God is bridged can we experience the fullness, the homecoming--and the certainty--we earnestly seek."--Tullian Tchividjian

Getting the word out about a new book by Tullian Tchividjian

(Updated 4/10/08 to add links to sound clips)

It was my pleasure to interview Tullian Tchividjian today about his book, Do I Know God? Finding Certainty in Life's Most Important Relationship.

Growing up as the grandson of Billy Graham, Tullian was no stranger to Christianity---he saw it modeled genuinely, with plenty of love and grace, in his own home. But he still went through a period of rebellion before really committing to God.

You can hear a 5 and a half minute excerpt here.

And it's also today's edition of Word Out Wednesday:

If you'd like to participate in Word Out Wednesday, simply post on your blog about ANYTHING you want to "get the word out" about. Then head to Adventures of Wondermommy and sign the Mr. Linky there.

Keith Green as an 11-year-old?

Darren Marlar sent me this fascinating video of the late Christian singer Keith Green as an 11-year-old guest on the show, "I've Got a Secret." I would never have recognized him!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tuesday LinkLoveFest

I've been trying to check out all the blogs that are on the various blogrolls on my sidebar. Lately I've been visiting blogs on the Christian Women Bloggers blogroll, and I've found some great stuff! Below, some links to some of those blogs--as well as some other links you might find interesting.

--How fast can you type?--From Becky's Carolina Journal , a link to a fun typing test.

--Pooch of Yarn-Knit-Read-Lit really touched my heart with this post.

--Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Christa lets us know how we can get involved in the first National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 17th.

--Christie of Baby Tea Leaves has started a Spring into Summer Slim Down Challenge!

--Sharon of Keeper of the Home features a different blog every week...and keeps it showcased on her sidebar. What a great idea! This week, her featured blog of the week is Connie's Thoughts from the Heart.

--Ever wondered how to take a screenshot of your computer screen? I have...and now I know, thanks to Amy at Split Decisionz.

And some other stuff:

--Ashley of Chapter Four is apparently like me...she loves anything that smells nice and has to do with bathing. She blogs about Bath Junkie.

--The Smithsonian is looking for everyday Americans to take part in its modern-day portrait competition. The winner gets a 25-thousand dollar cash award--that's a serious chunk of change!

--Trouble in Narnia? Carissa Smith doesn't like what she's hearing about the Prince Caspian movie.

--On my bookshelf: Andrew Peterson's On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. The whimsical fantasy is apparently based on bedtime stories he's told his children. I'm going to read it with an eye to interviewing Andrew on my radio interview show.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Picture Your Life!

I saw this meme on several blogs, including Lazy Daisy's, and thought it looked like fun! Here's how it works:

1. Go to
2. Type in your answer to the question in the search box
3. Use only the first page
4. Insert the picture into your Blog.

(OK, I have to admit I amended this a little, because I couldn't find a good pic of my favorite musical artist on Photobucket. But whatever.)

1. what is your relationship status?

2. what is your current mood?

3. who is your favorite band/artist?

4. what is your favorite movie?

5. what kind of pet do you have?


6. where do you live?

7. where do you work?

8. what do you look like? (or so I've been told by a lot of people...I think she's a lot prettier)

9. what do you drive?

10. what did you do last night?

(Only that's not me, of course! By the way, I made a yummy recipe I got out of Fitness Magazine, called "Italian Pepper Steak."

11. what is your favorite tv show?

12. describe yourself.

13. what are you doing today?

(Does that convey "celebrating the fact that it's Friday?!")

14. what is your name?

15. what is your favorite candy?

Let me know if you do this on your blog, and I'll link you here.

--Kay at Loop de Loops in La La Land

Fit Friday Update

My knee is not 100 per cent, but it's a lot better. I've been to the gym twice this week...both times I bypassed cardio completely and did my weights and crunches. I plan to go either today or tomorrow and will not do cardio...and I'm hoping my Monday I'll be able to start phasing back into cardio.

Never again will I overdo it!

Everyone go out and have a blessed weekend!
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