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Friday, July 29, 2011

Little treasures hiding behind the foliage of our deck

For several days, Mama Robin kept going back and forth with worms, and we stayed away. Early one morning (still dark), Kim and I woke to the loud, angry chirping of birds. Kim rushed out and almost stepped on one of the baby robins. Apparently Mama Robin had decided it was time for her babies to leave the nest. A cat slunk nearby, stalking the babies, and the adult birds were putting up a fuss to keep it away. Kim scared the cat away, and all was at peace. Later that morning the nest was empty.

ScanDrop for Evernote

Your office can go paperless. Here's how. I had an old HP printer with a scanner. I just downloaded ScanDrop, and now anything I scan can go straight to my Evernote account, stay organized, and delegate any paper to the trash. Sweet!

How to Migrate Your Facebook Account and Data to Google+


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Exploring Evernote

Essential PDF survival plans from Red Cross

Not at all a bad idea to have a plan.
cross Essential PDF survival plans from Red CrossFamilies and businesses need to have a plan of action to secure themselves when natural disasters strike. It is a common and dangerous practice to assume catastrophes will not hit a given location, but those unlucky enough to have experienced nature’s force will confirm that being prepared can be the difference between survival or tragedy.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Editing: The use of "there is" and "there are"

I see this problem show up so often in my editing.

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Ask the Editor
There is vs. there are

I understand there's a rule around expletive constructions like there is/there are, etc., that states the subject, which determines the number of the verb, comes after the verb. In that case, shouldn't these following examples all be plural? Can you please explain?

There are a mix of cars in the lot.
Here are a range of choices.
There are a myriad of options available.

Robyn Swanson
Hansard Services British Columbia

Saturday, July 23, 2011

That's funny. An issue of a magazine I once edited shows up for sale at Amazon.

That's funny. An issue of a magazine I once edited shows up for sale at Amazon.

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Integrity of Heart - Revival in Our Midst (Integrity of Heart, Winter 2000-2001, Vol. 5 No. 1)
Integrity of Heart - Revival in Our Midst (Integrity of Heart, Winter 2000-2001, Vol. 5 No. 1) [Paperback]

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Would You Send Your Kids to Cyber School?

Very interesting. I'm wondering if my girls will even be leaving home for college in ten years.

Pet Peeve

Me (landline): "Hey, how are you doin'?" 
Friend (cell phone): "What's that? You're breaking up." 
Me: "It's not me. I'm on a landline." (-;

What is steampunk?

I recently came across this term and had no idea what it was. Maybe you've wondered too.

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Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used—usually the Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.


Obituary: 'Weepy-voiced killer' Paul Stephani, 53, dies in prison

Saw a fascinating Cold Case File episode about this monster.

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Obituary: 'Weepy-voiced killer' Paul Stephani, 53, dies in prison

Paul Stephani, known as the weepy-voiced killer for his mournful anonymous phone confessions to police during the 1980s, died of complications of skin cancer Friday at the Oak Park Heights prison. He was 53.

In his calls, he claimed responsibility for attacking several Twin Cities women. For 15 years, police didn't know the caller's identity, although they suspected Stephani.


Dialogue Writing Hints

Great advice from Jerry B. Jenkins

Nobody Cares What You’re Doing Right Now (and why they still might follow you)

Very interesting article about Twittering at Author Tech Tips.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Casey Anthony trial and author/expert Tim Downs

Listen to internet radio with Allen Media Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Publisher Interested in The Tenth Plague

I have exciting news to share. The editor of a Christian e-book publisher contacted me yesterday via e-mail. "I’m pleased to inform you that our reviewers have very much enjoyed your book!" The editor said the publishing house wants to offer me a publishing deal and a contract—news that totally made my day after waiting so long and wondering if I'd ever find a publishing home for this project. The only problem is, I have a few other publishing leads, and I'm waiting for word on those before I decide. Pray for wisdom. Thanks! 

Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Falls Like Lightning
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
Shawn Grady


Shawn Grady signed with Bethany House Publishers in 2008. He was named “Most Promising New Writer” at the 39th Annual Mount Hermon Writers Conference. He is the author of the novels Through the Fire, Tomorrow We Die & Falls Like Lightning.

Shawn has served for over a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in northern Nevada. From fire engines and ambulances to tillered ladder trucks and helicopters, Shawn’s work environment has always been dynamic. The line of duty has carried him to a variety of locale, from high-rise fires in the city to the burning heavy timber of the eastern Sierras.

After graduating from James Logan High School in Union City, California, Shawn attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego as a Theology undergrad. There he found clarity of direction and proceeded on to acquire an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science Technology as well as Paramedic licensure through Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.

Shawn currently lives in Reno, just outside of Lake Tahoe. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, three children and yellow Labrador.


When hotshot smoke jumper Silas Kent gets his own fire crew, he thinks he's achieved what he's always wanted. But a lightning-sparked fire in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas has his team in a plane before they can even train together.

Pilot Elle Westmore has been called up to drop the crew into the heart of the forest infernos. A single mother of a mysteriously ill six-year-old, she can't imagine her life getting any more complicated.

It doesn't take long for things to go very wrong, very quickly. A suspicious engine explosion forces Elle to make an emergency landing. Silas is able to parachute to safety but soon discovers his crew can't be trusted. They're hiding something, and now Silas is on a race to save himself and Elle from the flames--and from a more dangerous threat: his own team.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Falls Like Lightning, go HERE

Book Review

Unfortunately, this book arrived in my mailbox just last week, hardly enough time to get a read in for this review. However, the book is on my TBR pile, and I look forward to it. Congratulations, Shawn, on another novel!

How much music can I play with Spotify Open?

With Spotify Open, you can listen to all your to your Spotify music purchases, and your own local files that you have imported into Spotify on each computer. Of course, there is no limitation to how much you can listen to your own music files within Spotify.

Spotify is here

I'm enjoying my account. Have you tried it yet?

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The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm has now come to U.S. shores.
Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Call Obama's bluff

Great article!

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Call Obama’s bluff

President Obama is demanding a big long-term budget deal. He won’t sign anything less, he warns, asking, “If not now, when?”

How about last December, when he ignored his own debt commission’s recommendations? How about February, when he presented a budget that increases debt by $10 trillion over the next decade? How about April, when he sought a debt-ceiling increase with zero debt reduction attached?

All of a sudden he’s a born-again budget balancer prepared to bravely take on his own party by making deep cuts in entitlements. Really? Name one. He’s been saying forever that he’s prepared to discuss, engage, converse about entitlement cuts. But never once has he publicly proposed a single structural change to any entitlement.


5 Steps to Building a Platform When You Hate Selling Yourself

Very informative

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5 Steps to Building a Platform When You Hate Selling Yourself


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand

Yet another Christian novel I'm reading. Bertrand is a master at dialogue and characterization (through dialogue). So far, I must confess that the plot isn't grabbing me, but I'm sure things will pick up.

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Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery)
Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery) [Paperback]

Roland March, on the verge of being cut loose from the Houston Police Department after suffering a personal tragedy that has affected his job performance, is given one last chance after he notices evidence of a missing female victim at a gang-related multiple-murder scene. March tries to connect the female victim with Hannah Mayhew, a teenager who performed outreach work for her church and who recently disappeared from a local mall; his superiors are unconvinced, but they agree to transfer March to the Hannah Mayhew task force. He continues to investigate the connection, working under the radar, with the help of a youth pastor, to prove his suspicions. In his personal life, March tries to reconnect with his wife, who is also suffering. Carefully drawn details of police work, well-delineated characters, multiple interesting cases, and a vivid Houston setting add to the strong mystery. --Sue OBrien


The Knight by Steven James

Another novel I'm reading right now. This violence is a bit gruesome at times, but the writing and plotting in this Christian suspense novel are top-notch.

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The Knight (The Patrick Bowers Files, Book 3)

The Knight (The Patrick Bowers Files, Book 3) [Paperback]

The stakes have never been higher. FBI Agent Patrick Bowers is used to tracking the country's most dangerous killers, but now it looks like a killer is tracking him. When he realizes the murderer is using clues from a medieval manuscript as a blueprint for his crimes, Bowers faces a race against time to decipher who the next victim will be and to stop the final shocking murder--which he's beginning to believe might be his own. Gritty, chilling, and intense, this psychological thriller is guaranteed to keep you up all night.
--This text refers to the



Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of the 100 Cupboards

One of the books I'm reading right now. Very enjoyable.

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Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of the 100 Cupboards
Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of the 100 Cupboards [Paperback]

Henry York never dreamed his time in Kansas would open a door to adventure—much less a hundred doors. But a visit to his aunt and uncle’s farm took an amazing turn when cupboard doors, hidden behind Henry’s bedroom wall, revealed themselves to be portals to other worlds. Now, with his time at the farm drawing to a close, Henry makes a bold decision—he must go through the cupboards to find the truth about where he’s from and who his parents are. Following that trail will take him from one world to another, and ultimately into direct conflict with the evil of Endor.

N. D. Wilson and his wife live in Idaho. Also visit

From the Hardcover edition.


How Toy Story 3 Should Have Ended

This is funny!

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How Toy Story 3 Should Have Ended
See more at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

E-Publishing Especially for the Indie Author

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Pattern of Wounds by J. Mark Bertrand

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pattern of Wounds
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
J. Mark Bertrand


J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after one hurricane too many he relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.


It's Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman's brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat -- or did March convict the wrong man?

Alienated from his colleagues and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern of Wounds, go HERE.

My Review

This novel is on my TBR pile. I hope to have a review before too long.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Woman faces 93 days in jail for planting garden in front yard...

Incredible how intrusive government can be sometimes

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Their front yard was torn up after replacing a sewer line, so instead of replacing the dirt with grass, one Oak Park woman put in a vegetable garden and now the city is seeing green.

The list goes on: fresh basil, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cumbers and more all filling five large planter boxes that fill the Bass family’s front yard.

Julie Bass says, “We thought we’re minding our own business, doing something not ostentatious and certainly not obnoxious or nothing that is a blight on the neighborhood, so we didn’t think people would care very much.”

But some cared very much and called the city. The city then sent out code enforcement.

“They warned us at first that we had to move the vegetables from the front, that no vegetables were allowed in the front yard. We didn’t move them because we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong, even according to city code we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. So they ticketed us and charged me with a misdemeanor,” Bass said . . .


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins, part 2

Hey, I finally finished this great suspense novel by Brandilyn Collins and knew I needed to finish my incomplete review form a month or so ago. This novel was terrific, and the story did include a strong spiritual component later in the story. What a fascinating MO—to have a killer knocking off his victims using a tick. Once the plot unraveled, I was impressed with the overall presentation. Completely. Way to go, Brandilyn! I look forward to your new novels from B&H. 


Torn from the front lines of medical debate and the author's own experience with Lyme Disease, Over the Edge is riveting fiction, full of twists and turns—and powerful truths about today's medical field.

Janessa McNeil’s husband, Dr. Brock McNeil, a researcher and professor at Stanford University's Department of Medicine, specializes in tick-borne diseases—especially Lyme. For years he has insisted that Chronic Lyme Disease doesn't exist. Even as patients across the country are getting sicker, the committee Brock chairs is about to announce its latest findings—which will further seal the door shut for Lyme treatment.

One embittered man sets out to prove Dr. McNeil wrong by giving him a close-up view of the very disease he denies. The man infects Janessa with Lyme, then states his demand: convince her husband to publicly reverse his stand on Lyme—or their young daughter will be next.

But Janessa's marriage is already rocky. She's so sick she can hardly move or think. And her husband denies she has Lyme at all.

Welcome to the Lyme wars, Janessa.
“A taut, heartbreaking thriller. Collins is a fine writer who knows how to both horrify readers and keep them turning pages.”
--Publishers Weekly

“Tense and dramatic. Holds its tension while following the protagonist in a withering battle.” –NY Journal of Books

“A frightening and all-too-real scenario. Very timely and meaningful book.” –RT Reviews

“If you know someone who suffers from Lyme, you need to read this compelling novel.” –Lydia Niederwerfer, founder of Lyme-Aware
If you would like to read the Prologue of Over the Edge, go HERE

Watch the book video:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Contemporary Music: The Cultural Medium and the Christian Message

Very interesting
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Contemporary Music: The Cultural Medium and the Christian Message
On a recent Sunday, I found myself visiting a Protestant megachurch. Entering the "worship center" was eerily similar to being ushered down the aisle of a movie theater: floor lighting, padded chairs, visual effects shown on two large screens, and music over the speaker system.
A band appeared on stage to begin the service with live music. It was dark, and I thought I heard the audience singing along, but it was impossible to tell. And although I was seated in the front row, I sensed that the congregation was almost superfluous to the activity on stage. As in most forms of entertainment, the audience functioned as passive onlookers, participating only in an unseen, intensely personal way.
While the band played, song lyrics flashed across the two big screens, with words like great, God, and high figuring prominently. The musical performance was outstanding, even if the vocabulary was extremely limited. If the songs aimed at an emotional response, they were probably successful, but like so much contemporary worship music, they lacked any element of substantive teaching.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lion of Babylon

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lion of Babylon
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
Davis Bunn


Born and raised in North Carolina, Davis left for Europe at age twenty. There he first completed graduate studies in economics and finance, then began a business career that took him to over forty countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Davis came to faith at age 28, while living in Germany and running an international business advisory group. He started writing two weeks later. Since that moment, writing has remained both a passion and a calling.

Davis wrote for nine years and completed seven books before his first was accepted for publication. During that time, he continued to work full-time in his business career, travelling to two and sometimes three countries every week. His first published book, The Presence, was released in 1990 and became a national bestseller.

Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include The Great Divide, Winner Take All, The Meeting Place, The Warning, The Book of Hours, and The Quilt.

A sought-after speaker in the art of writing, Davis serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.


Marc Royce works for the State Department on special assignments, most of them rather routine, until two CIA operatives go missing in Iraq--kidnapped by Taliban forces bent on generating chaos in the region. Two others also drop out of sight--a high-placed Iraqi civilian and an American woman providing humanitarian aid. Are the disappearances linked? Rumors circulate in a whirl of misinformation.

Marc must unravel the truth in a covert operation requiring utmost secrecy--from both the Americans and the insurgents. But even more secret than the undercover operation is the underground dialogue taking place between sworn enemies. Will the ultimate Reconciler between ancient enemies, current foes, and fanatical religious factions be heard?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Lion of Babylon, go HERE.

My Review

I haven't read this one yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Software Can Copy Your Keys From A Photograph Taken 200 Feet Away


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MORE BAD NEWS: Software Can Copy Your Keys From A Photograph Taken 200 Feet Away

A new piece of software cleverly titled Sneakey makes it possible to copy keys using nothing more than a photograph, even if that photograph was taken from far away, according to Peter Murray at Singularity Hub.

In one demonstration, the software helped create working keys using a picture taken with a cell phone camera and a picture taken with a telephoto lens over 200 feet away.

This might have you thinking twice about taking your keys out in public.


Dad in Decline

Please be in prayer.

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The nurse explained to me that the kidneys start failing and the body
does not know what to do with the fluid and it settles in the
lungs and around the heart.  The Dr. increased his pain medication
because his arms and legs are painful when moved. The nurse also told me that this failing of the kidneys could come on
very fast or more slowly.  There is no way yet of knowing
just how long it will take for the Lord to call Larry Home.