Monday, October 26, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time is an old way to start a story. Trite and tried. Familiar and full of expectations, but depending on who is doing the telling, you can't expect every author's twists and turns. There is a hope with the beginning being "once upon a time."

That is what I look for when I'm reading someone else's story. I look for a different voice, a different perspective, even if it may be the same ol' place or the same ol' time span. How many ways can you tell a love story?

Last night I saw 27 Dresses for the first time. Ok. The format is very familiar to me. I told my husband that it was like reading a Harlequin romance. High concept and somewhat predictable. Still, I loved it, just because I knew no matter how bad things were going to get, it would somehow turn out all right. And I loved all those dresses. What silliness and fun.

Do you have a familiar old story that you go back to over and over? Characters you want to revisit? A favorite genre? Or do you like to mix it up?

Tell me your favorite stories--the ones you go back to when you need comfort.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Linore Rose Burkard

I read Linore's first two books in this series, Before the Season Ends and The House at Grosvenor Square. They are Christian Regency books and capture you to take you away.

Linore is so knowledgeable about the time period and has quite a lot of information on her web site, too. She includes a glossary in each book, which I appreciate. Because she writes so well the meanings are self-explanatory in context,so you aren't flipping back and forth much.

Ready for high tea? But there are also quite a lot of hijinks in her books, too! If you love Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy, well, you will probably like Linore's books, too. Fun!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Walking the Talk in Texas

There's a high school in Texas where they walk the talk. This story deserves to be passed around.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Review of the Book: Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham

Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really, really liked the things he had to say in this book, and I took the free test on his web site. Discovering my strengths, though, was a bit of a journey. I had to take the test a few times in order to realize how I would REALLY react to the situations presented. After reading what he said in the book, I soon found what really represented my true self. That was the first step.

Then, I went back and reread the book with my information/results of the test. My only complaint with the book was that I needed more information on my particular profile and how to implement this knowledge. I still am not sure how to practically find my moments of strength, though I'm quite motivated to do so.

I don't know if by reading some of his other books that I can then find practical ways to come into my strongest life, or not. But I'm anxious to learn more.

View all my reviews >>

The Strong Life Test for Women

I took this test put out by Marcus Buckingham and then bought the book(Thomas Nelson) While reading the book, it became apparent to me that maybe I had not answered the questions according to how I REALLY would act, so I retook the test. I really thought about these questions and just how I would react or choose. This time I came up with a totally different outcome. So, wanting to make sure the test outcome was valid for me, I took it days later (so I wouldn't remember the previous answers.) This time my results were the same as the second time. Going back to read the book again, these results seemed to make me relax. I saw that it was more in line with the moments in my life when I felt strong.

Here are my results. What were your results? (Women only at this time.)



You begin by asking:
'What can she learn from this?'
Your focus is instinctively toward the other person. Not her feelings, necessarily, but her understanding, her performance, her skills.
Your best quality:
Your faith in the others’ potential
Tailor your style to each student
Be careful you:
Don’t come to believe that everyone is capable of everything
Your smartest career move:
Any job where you’re paid to facilitate the success of others.

Supporting Role


You begin by asking:
'What do I understand?'

You aren’t immune to the feelings and perspectives of others, but your starting point is your own insight, your own understanding.

Your best quality:
Your ability to find patterns invisible to others

Find time to be by yourself

Be careful you:
Don’t think so long, you never do anything

Your smartest career move:
Any job where you’re paid to produce new content.

What made me realize this was more accurate was the "Be careful" parts to both. I can think tooooo long. I also think ANYONE can have potential and it sometimes takes me thinking too long to realize that there are a lot of things which must line up in a person for them to learn something.

Now, what were your test results? Do you think it was accurate? If you think it might be off, then try answering the questions again and see what happens. Wait a couple weeks and then retake the test.

And while I really like what this book has to say, I wish that it gave me more practical tips on how to get into my strengths and what I should be doing to make my life strong NOW.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Break 'Em All!

You know that old saying if you don't aim at anything, you won't hit anything? (Something like that.) I really understand this as I used to compete in trapshooting. Making analogies between shooting and writing became so easy for me.

Let me tell you just a little about trapshooting. In trapshooting it is tricky because a clay target is thrown out of a traphouse by this machine that only has so many angles, but you never know which way it will come out. You stand on one of five stations, and each time you change stations, the picture changes. There are things like wind, heat (that gun can get hot!) and distance to contend with your shot.

A shooter looks down the sight of her shotgun, and even the recoil can mess with your shot. (Especially if it hits you in the face and you begin to "flinch" when you shoot. Kind of like getting bad reviews or rejections.)You get someone beside you or even behind you saying or doing something annoying, and that can also play with your shot (and play with your mind.)

So many things. You pull the gun in tight, place your face against the stock, and look into an area above your gun. You call for the target, and expect to see it rise up above your gun. Once it comes into your sight ("touching" the end of your gun in the sight) you pull the trigger. If you are behind the target, it's a miss. ("Loss!") If it has gotten out too far before you pull the trigger, you miss. Sometimes you shoot too quick. Sometimes you shoot too slow. (Just like reading the market!)

Over the years everything I do seems to come down to what I learned in shooting. I found I could apply the lessons I learned from my coach, Kay Ohye (an amazing mens' champion) to most of my life. I could hear his voice in my head as I would shoot. ("Don't get too quick! Patience!"--My biggest problem was shooting too fast.) No matter how I shot on one trap, I had hope when I moved to the next station. The point was to move on. You didn't quit just because you missed every target on the first station. (Five shots, but if you hit the rest of them, you get a 95!)You didn't let down and relax just because you hit 99 straight shots and just had "one more." (There are a 100 shots/targets total--4 traps/25 shots per trap/5 shots per station.)

So over the course of writing this blog, I'll probably refer to trapshooting now. If you just "throw" the end of your gun toward the target, you will not hit your target. Focus. Focus on the target. This is the word I wrote down in my "goals" folder I started.

Think about what kinds of goals you have. Here's a template I use. You might want to try it.

Words for the Year: Crystal: Look/Focus/Act

Spiritual Goals:

* Read the English Standard Version of the Bible
* Continue study with the Messianic Jews on the Torah
* Pray specifically for someone other than my immediate family or self each day.

Personal Goals:
(I've actually met some of these so far this year, so I'm adjusting these.)

Overall Professional Goals:

Professional Goals for the Year:

(This is me in Savannah, GA competing in a Southern regional shoot.)

Those of us in shooting have a saying to encourage our fellow shooters--"Break 'em all!"

Let me know some of your goals and I'd love to hear what your current "word" is that will help you with your goals.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Trying a New Look, A New Voice

I've been working on my own fiction (as soon as I finish two more clients, I'll concentrate even more) and things are starting to come together for me.

I will still post books I'm recommending, author intros/subjects, writing advice, but I'll also focus more on things I'm interested in, as well, maybe as related to my own writing. It's a process.

I have been looking at the kind of fiction I read all the time to see just where I should be writing myself--and it seems to be romance as the overwhelming theme--romantic suspense, sweet romance, historical romance, medical romance and romantic comedy. I'm just a romantic at heart.

If you're looking for books to read, do check the link over to the right for the Fiction Finder on the American Christian Fiction Writers site. Awesome tool for readers.

And I do hope you'll join me as I will determine my post days. Let's meet on Monday and Thursdays and see if that works.

Anything in particular you want to talk about? If you could ask me any question, what would it be?