Monday, July 30, 2007

Bowling Alley Blues

There’s a small bowling alley in our town. Twelve lanes. Smoking still allowed. Furnishings from that great decade of design, the seventies. Formica with built in stainless steel cup holders and ashtrays. Molded plastic seats. But my kids wanted to go and on Fridays from 6-10 PM you can bowl two games, get a hot dog and a “pop” and shoes for $5. Now that’s a deal I can afford.

My kids then proceeded to kick my butt in bowling. I haven’t bowled since junior high so I scored in the um, 60s. My son’s unusual method of taking the ball in both hands, heaving it down the lane like a shot put, and then walking away still scored him in the 80s and a strike. My daughter won with a score of 113 and three strikes. Oh, and did I mention we were playing with those bumpers they put up so you don’t get gutter balls? Um, yeah. Obviously bowling is not my sport.

However, I rallied in the second game when I switched to bowling left handed. Never got any strikes but I managed a few spares and scored 110. My son lost interest during the second game and wandered around checking out the video games and pinball (yes, pinball) machines. So Sissy and I took turns playing his frames.

Two hours later we walked out reeking of cigarette smoke, not quite filled by our hot dogs and "pop," but still pretty happy. We’ll do it again, so anyone have any bowling tips for me?

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Meme for Writers

Both Sabrina and Heather tagged me with the latest meme of the blogosphere.

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to?

Lately I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a Russo-esque book on life in a small town. I find I’m loving the little quirks about living here and that I have a ton of fodder for stories.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?

Man, I have a huge TBR pile. It’s actually two shelves in a bookcase in my bedroom. I’m on a Russo kick right now so I’d finished Nobody’s Fool and then move to Risk Pool. Like I’d ever have a day to just read.

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)?

I had a manual typewriter that I remember working on even as far back as kindergarten. I loved the smell of metal and ink and ribbon. The feel of the keys and the thunking sound they make. I want to get another one some day. But the first “real” book I wrote in high school was done on my Apple IIe. In the hallway of my house where the swamp cooler blew across me. I had broken my thumb in gymnastics and couldn’t swim or get it wet or any of the normal things you do in inland California in the summer, so I camped out in front of the computer and swamp cooler and wrote my first 100 page historical transporting all of my classmates back in time. I also taught myself to program in BASIC that summer.

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month?

Depends on the book and what all’s going on but I read about 6 and listen to about 2 in the car. I don’t read as much as I used to and I’ve been trying to work it into my schedule more. I have a feeling that when winter comes I’ll have more reading time.

5. What's your most favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned?

My current Mac PowerBook G4. Though if I had it to do over, I’d get a smaller laptop and a big screen to hook it into when I’m using it at the desk.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don't read historical fiction--shame on you.)

Well, the time period I transported my classmates to, the American West, 1880s. It was such an amazing period of change, on the cusp of modernity.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?

Easily the Little House books. I read them over and over and over. That’s probably where my fascination with the 1880s West comes from.

Sabrina tagged one half of my usual tag-ees and Heather got the other half. So if you haven’t been tagged (or even if you have and want another group of people to read your answers) consider yourself tagged and leave a note in the comments when your answers are up. I’m thinking Jeanne here ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life in a Small Town

It’s been interesting moving to a small Midwest town. Here’s a couple of examples. A week or so ago we drove almost an hour to the nearest Krispy Kreme. Lest you think that’s quite a trip for donuts, the nearest chain grocery store is 35 minutes away, WalMart 30 minutes, so really we’re used to driving to get places. Except the library. It’s only a mile away.

So we’re driving to Krispy Kreme after church on Sunday, and I noticed something I hadn’t seen anywhere else I’d lived. Graveyards everywhere. I must have passed a dozen in that hour drive. Just plopped along the side of the road. Now I happen to like graveyards and one of these days want to go exploring and find out who those people are that are buried there. But it’s such a different thing from the large, gated cemeteries in the West, set on the outskirts of town.

Being a writer, I of course pay more attention to language than most people. Some of the differences I expected, like calling soda “pop.” It’s even printed on the grocery store aisles that way.

The other is more unexpected. I’ve had a few people say I wasn’t from around here because of my accent. Um, what accent? I’m from California. We don’t have accents. It’s the rest of y’all that do.

One Sunday at church I told Michelle I’d go get the kids and meet her back in the foyer. A lady turned to me and said, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

I said no, why? She told me it was because I said ‘foy-yay’ not ‘foy-yer’ and she has a friend from California that says it that way too. Obviously, her friend from California says it right.

I think I need to go take some pics in the graveyard. I’m sure my kids and the locals will think I’m nuts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm a Rockin' Girl Blogger!

Both Dineen and Sabrina nominated me for this award, which I think is really cool. Thanks girls! It's hard to find people who haven't been nominated but I'll pass the award on to the Misfit chicks: Michelle, Heather, Angie, and Jenny. Sorry, Chris and Mike.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Next Stage of the Journey

About time I updated my blog, huh?

I’ve been trying to get settled and everything (I know, it’s taken me long enough) so updating my blog hasn’t been my top priority. But one day during church I had an epiphany on my blog name. So of course I wrote it all down on the bulletin. And, also of course, now I can’t find it. Sigh. But I do remember the gist of it.

But before that, here are all the wonderful suggestions I got for my new blog name. Some are serious, some are laugh-out-loud funny.

Hoosier Mama
Hoosier Horizons
Coast to Toast to Wheat
Desert to Deluge
Heat to Humid
Jordan to Jericho
Desert to Dairy
East of Jericho
Camping at Gilgal
Cows and Bees
Cheese and Pollen
Dairy and Apiary
Lait et miel
Beginning of Months
Indiana Initiative
Jen at Work
Côte à griller au blé
Hot to Humid
Chaud a Humide
Out of the frying pan and into the cornfield
Out of the frying pan... into the corn
Out of the frying pan... into the snow
Out of the frying pan... into my thermal underwear

Both Jenny’s Phil and Jeanne Damoff deserve credit for their terrific suggestions.

Back to my epiphany. One of my on-line devotionals was on 2 Samuel 22:20. “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (NIV). This was exactly one week after I’d been in Indiana. Something about the passage was familiar. I was thinking one of my Beth Moore Bible studies had included that verse. But I didn’t think too much about it.

A few days later I was sitting in church and we opened that same passage. So, I know God is trying to tell me something. Then I look at what verse it cross references. Psalm 18:19. Now I know for sure God is telling me something. I studied Chapter 18 in depth the first summer I moved to Arizona. I spent weeks in that one psalm, looking up Hebrew words. It was there that I learned the word ‘rock’—used so often in that psalm—can mean a fortress, a refuge, a place of safety. Or it can mean a sharp edge, like a cliff or a flint used for circumcision.

For about a year before God brought us out of Arizona, I had a feeling our time there was ending. Our desert years had been very real desert years for us, a time of testing and trial, a time of digging our roots down deep and drawing only on Living Water, a time to trust God and God alone. Those lessons were for a purpose I don’t fully understand yet.

So when I read that verse, the one that so eloquently bookended my desert years, I knew I had a title for my blog for the next stage of this journey. Thank you all for joining on it with me.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Yet Another Group Author Blog

Just wanted to let you all know that the Misfits have started their own group blog. We did kind of a spoof on the Declaration of Independence and hope that it becomes a place for some great discussion on the intersection of writing, life, and faith. We argue and disagree among ourselves (nicely, of course) so we're hoping to spark some good discussion on our blog.

Come check us out.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A New Critique Service

Good friend Ronie Kendig has started a critique service. I'm a little behind the ball announcing this, but better late than never I guess. Anyhow, if you're in need of a good critique, check out Ronie. Here's the press release.


Double Crit Editorial Services

~specializes in polishing fiction book proposals~


Double Crit is a unique freelance editing service that offers high-level critiques of fiction book proposals from two experienced editors. Whether a writer is preparing for a conference or getting ready to submit their manuscript to editors and agents, Double Crit can help.

Double Crit is here to help with book proposal formatting, query letters, synopses and story structure as well as the first thirty pages of the manuscript. They can assist with the opening hook, back-cover copy, active and passive voice, showing vs. telling, character development, spiritual threads, and point of view.

Double Crit sharpens proposals to double your edge in the publishing world.

Double Crit Editorial Services is the brain-child of Ronie Kendig and Sara Mills. Ronie and Sara were brought together as friends and critique partners because they are both represented by agent.

Through networking with other writers, Sara & Ronie saw a gaping need for high-level editing services for writers who want to attend writers conferences with proposals that are polished and ready to impress. Thus, Double Crit was born.

A great book proposal can open publishing house doors for a writer, and Double Crit can to help you to tighten your proposal to sharpen your edge in the publishing world.

Contact Double Crit: