Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Maid Marian by Elsa Watson - just a review

For as long as I can remember I have always been a fan of Robin Hood legend. Movies and books alike have told various versions that I have soaked up and loved. Earlier this year I found the best ever with the first two installations of Stephen Lawhead's triology Hood and Scarlet. Those two books being from the perspective of, of course, Robin Hood (Bran) and Will Scarlet. This book fits right in!! I know that Elsa Watson is her own author and nothing to do with the former, but really this tale fits well into the mix. Here you have a version of the historic bard tale written in a way never read before. Of course the setting is different, so don't get me wrong, but what I mean is the perspective.

This book is the retelling from Marian's point of view. Through Elsa's words she is as real as can be. Marian is finally real with thoughts, opinions, dreams, and fears. She brings to you through her inner-most thoughts her life from birth to future and you cannot help but feel with her. Anger and love, pain and joy. It is all there and well shared.

Frankly, this book is fabulous and I could barely put it down. I hate that it was a library book, because I don't want to give it back. I guess I will just have to go and buy it myself now. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and will dream of it for nights to come.

Jump in and explore the adventure and tales of a realistic Maid Marian from a juvenile to a young mistress. Learn the power of a woman in charge from both evil and good. It's just wonderful.

Oh, heck, I did a little googling and found the author's website... She has the first chapter posted there for anyone to read... If you're even interested a little go and look it up... Chapter One

And if you don't know the Stephen Lawhead that I mentioned.. you should check him out as well. Well worth the hours of reading!!!

Love to all and to all a good night!!! <3>

Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson

It is November 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

and her book:

Hollywood Nobody

Th1nk Books (August 30, 2007)


Lisa Samson is the author of twenty books, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird. Apples of Gold was her first novel for teens. Visit Lisa at

These days, she's working on Quaker Summer, volunteering at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, raising children and trying to be supportive of a husband in seminary. (Trying . . . some days she's downright awful. It's a good thing he's such a fabulous cook!) She can tell you one thing, it's never dull around there.

Other Novels by Lisa:

Straight Up, , Club Sandwich, Songbird, Tiger Lillie, The Church Ladies, Women's Intuition: A Novel, Songbird, The Living End


Hollywood Nobody: April 1

Happy April Foolís Day! What better day to start a blog about Hollywood than today?

Okay, Iíve been around film sets my whole life. Indie films, yeah, and thatís all Iím saying about it here for anonymityís sake. But trust me, Iíve had my share of embarrassing moments. Like outgrowing Tom Cruise by the age of twelve ó in more ways than one, with the way heís gotten crazier than thong underwear and low-rise jeans. Thankfully that fashion disaster has run for cover.

Underwear showing? Not a good idea.

Fact: I donít know of a single girl who doesnít wish the show-itall boxer-shorts phenomenon would go away as well. Guys, we just donít want to see your underwear. Truthfully, we believe that there is a direct correlation between how much underwear you show and how much youíve got upstairs, if you know what I mean.

Iíve seen the stars at their best and at their worst. And believe me, the worst is really, really bad. Big clue: youíd look just as pretty as they do if you went to such lengths. As you might guess, some of them are really nice and some of them are total jerks, and thereís a lot of blah in-betweeners. Like real life, pretty much, only the extremes are more extreme sometimes. I mean honestly, how many people under twenty do you know who have had more than one plastic surgery?

So youíll have to forgive me if Iím a little hard on these folks. But if it was all sunshine and cheerleading, I doubt youíd read this blog for long, right?

Todayís Rant: Straightening irons. Weíve had enough of them, Little Stars, okay? It was bad on Helen Hunt at the Oscars, worse on Demi, yet worse on Madonna, and itís still ridiculous. Especially on those women who are trying to hold onto their youth like Gollum holds onto that ring. Ladies, thereís a reason for keeping your hair at or above your shoulders once you hit forty, and ever after. Think Annette Bening. Now sheís got it going on. And canít you just see why Warren Beatty settled down for her? Love her! According to The Early Show this morning, curls are back, and Little Me ainít going to tell why Iím so glad about that!

Todayís Kudo: Aretha Franklin. Big, bold, beautiful, and the best. Her image is her excellence. Man, that woman can sing! She has a prayer chain too. Iím not very religious myself, but you got to respect people who back up what they say they believe. Unless itís male Scientologists and "silent birth." Yeah, right. Easy for them to say.

Todayís News: I saw a young actor last summer at a Shakespeare festival in New England. Seth Haas. Seth Hot is more like it. I heard a rumor heís reading scripts for consideration. Yes, heís that hot. Check him out here. Tell all your friends about him. And look here on Hollywood Nobody for the first, the hottest news on this hottie. Girls, heís only nineteen! Fair game for at least a decade-and-a-half span of ages.

I donít know about you, but following the antics of new teen rock star Violette Dillinger is something Iím looking forward to. Her first album, released to much hype, hit Billboardís no. 12 spot its third week out. And donít you love her hit single "Love Comes Knocking on My Door"? This is going to be fun. A new celeb. Uncharted territory. Will Violette, who seems grounded and talented, be like her predecessors and fall into the "great defiling show-business machine" only to be spit out as a half-naked bimbo? Weíll see, wonít we? Keep your fingers crossed that the real artist survives.

Todayís Quote: "Being thought of as ëa beautiful womaní has spared me nothing in life. No heartache, no trouble. Beauty is essentially meaningless." Halle Berry


Friday, April 2

I knew it was coming soon. Weíd been camped out in the middle of a cornfield, mind you, for two weeks. That poke on my shoulder in the middle of the night means only one thing. Time to move on.

"What, Charley?"

"Letís head íem on out, Scotty. Weíve got to be at a shoot in North Carolina tomorrow afternoon. Iíve got food to prepare, so you have to drive."

"Iím still only fifteen."

"Itís okay. Youíre a good driver, baby."

My mom, Charley Dawn, doesnít understand that laws exist for a reason, say, keeping large vehicles out of the hands of children. But as a food stylist, she fakes things all the time.

Her boundaries are blurred. What can I say?

Charley looks like she succumbed to the peer pressure of plastic surgery, but she hasnít. I know this because Iím with her almost all the time. I think itís the bleached-blond fountain of long hair sheís worn ever since I can remember. Or maybe the hand-dyed sarongs and shirts from Africa, India, or Bangladesh add to the overall appearance of youth. I have no idea. But it really makes me mad when anybody mistakes us as sisters.

I mean, come on! She had me when she was forty!

My theory: a lot of people are running around with bad eyesight and just donít know it.

I throw the covers to my left. If I sling them to my right, theyíd land on the dinette in our "home," to use the term in a fashion less meaningful than a Hollywood "I do." I grew up in this old Travco RV I call the Y.

As in Y do I have to live in this mobile home?

Y do I have to have such an oddball food stylist for a mother?

Y must we travel all year long? Y will we never live anyplace long enough for me to go to the real Y and take aerobics, yoga, Pilates or ó shoot ó run around the track for a while, maybe swim laps in the pool?

And Y oh Y must Charley be a vegan?

More on that later.

And Y do I know more about Hollywood than I should, or even want to? Everybodyís an actor in Hollywood, and I mean that literally. Sometimes I wonder if any of them even know who they are deep down in that corner room nobody else is allowed into.

But I wonder the same thing about myself.

"Youíre not asking me to drive while youíre in the kitchen trailer, are you, Charley?"

"No. I can cook in here. And itís a pretty flat drive. Iíll be fine."

Iím not actually worried about her. Iím thinking about how many charges the cops can slap on me.

Driving without a license.

Driving without a seat belt on the passenger.

Speeding, because knowing Charley, weíre late already.

Driving without registration. Charley figured out years ago how to lift current stickers off of license plates. She loves "sticking it to the man." Or so she says.

I kid you not.

Oh, the travails of a teenager with an old hippie for a mother. Charley is oblivious as usual as I continue my recollection of past infractions thankfully undetected by the state troopers:

Driving while someoneís in the trailer. Itís a great trailer, donít get me wrong, a mini industrial kitchen we rigged up a couple of years ago to make her job easier. Six-range burner, A/C, and an exhaust fan that sucks up more air than Joan Rivers schmoozing on the red carpet. But itís illegal for her to go cooking while weíre in motion.

"All right. Can I at least get dressed?"

"Why? Youíre always in your pjís anyway."

"Great, Mom."

"Itís Charley, baby. You know how I feel about social hierarchy."

"But didnít you just give me an order to drive without a license? What if I say no?"

She reaches into the kitchen cupboard without comment and tips down a bottle of cooking oil. Charleyís as tall as a twelve-year-old.

"I mean, letís be real, Charley. You do, in the ultimate end of things, call the shots."

I reach back for my glasses on the small shelf I installed in the side of the loft. It holds whatever book Iím reading and my journal. I love my glasses, horn-rimmed "cat glasses" as Charley calls them. Vintage 1961. Makes me want to do the twist and wear penny loafers.

"Can I at least pull my hair back?"

She huffs. "Oh, all right, Scotty! Why do you have to be so difficult?"

Charley has no clue as to how difficult teenagers can actually be. Here I am, schooling myself on the road, no wild friends. No friends at all, actually, because I hate Internet friendships. I mean, how lame, right? No boyfriend, no drugs. No alcohol either, unless you count cold syrup, because the Y gets so cold during the winter and Charleyís a huge conservationist. (Big surprise there.) I should be thankful, though. At least she stopped wearing leather fringe a couple of years ago.

I slide down from the loft, gather my circus hair into a ponytail, and slip into the driverís seat. Charley reupholstered it last year with rainbow fabric. I asked her where the unicorns were and she just rolled her eyes. "Okay, letís go. How long is it going to take?"

"Oh." She looks down, picks up a red pepper and hides behind it.

I turn on her. "You didnít Google Map it?"

"Youíre the computer person, not me." She peers above the stem. "Iím sorry?" She shrugs. Man, I hate it when sheís so cute. "Really sorry?"

"Charley, weíre in Wilmore, Kentucky. As in Ken-Tuck-EEE . As in the middle of nowhere." I climb out of my seat. "What part of North Carolina are we going to? Itís a wide state."

"Toledo Island. Something like that. Near Ocracoke Island. Does that sound familiar?"

"The Outer Banks?"

"Are they in North Carolina?"

Are you kidding me?

"Let me log on. This is crazy, Charley. I donít know why you do this to me all the time."

"Sorry." She says it so Valley Girl-like. I really thought Iíd be above TME: Teenage Mom Embarrassment. But no. Now, most kids donít have mothers who dress like Stevie Nicks and took a little too much LSD back in the DAY. It doesnít take ESP to realize who the adult in this setup is. And she had me, PDQ, out of the bonds of holy matrimony I might add, when she was forty (yes, I already told you that, but itís still just as true), and thatís

OLD to be caught in such an inconvenient situation, donít you think? The woman had no excuse for such behavior, FYI.

My theory: Charleyís a widow and itís too painful to talk about my father. I mean, itís plausible, right?

The problem is, I can remember back to when I was at least four, and I definitely do not remember a man in the picture. Except for Jeremy. More on him later too.

I flip up my laptop. I have a great satellite Internet setup in the Y. I rigged it myself because Iím a lonely geek with nothing better to do with her time than figure out this kind of stuff. I type in the info and wait for the directions. Satellite is slower than DSL, but itís better than nothing.

"Charley! Itís seventeen hours away!" I scan the list of twists and turns between here and there. "We have to take a ferry to Ocracoke, and then Toledo Islandís off of there."


"Groovy died with platform shoes and midis."

"Whatever, Scotty." Only she says it all sunny. Sheís a morning person.

"That phrase should be dead."

Honestly, Iím not big on lingo. Iíve never been good at it, which is fine by me. Who am I going to impress with cool-speak anyway? Uma Thurman? Yeah, right. "Okay, letís go."

"We can go as long as possible and break camp on the way, you know?" Charley.

I climb back into the rainbow chair, throw the Y into drive, pull the brake, and weíre moving on down the road.


Sample from Hollywood Nobody / ISBN: 1-60006-091-9

Copyright © 2006 NavPress Publishing. All rights reserved. To order copies of this resource, come back to

Disclaimer per say

So I've made a discovery and a decision. When I'm posting reviews I am going to post what I find in it's original color, most commonly black and when I add to it, I'm going to write in purple. This way when I look at it, I know what I wrote versus what I found elsewhere. I don't want to confuse myself or anyone else intentionally as to what are my words or someone else's. Make sense? I hope so!

<3 MJ

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.

Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.

When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"

--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)

Before I read this book, I was looking for other reviews to get a general idea of what I was getting into, since Denise Hunter is a new author to me. On Amazon I found a fabulous review! Here is just part of it:

"Surrender Bay" is an allegory. It is decidedly not for everyone. It is not for the Christian reader who wants to be spoon-fed church-like platitudes and beatitudes. It is not for the extremely conservative or the reader who is looking for a `nice little love story'.

"Surrender Bay" is reality. It can be raw and tender, gritty and romantic, ugly and passionate. In fact, sometimes the passion can be quite ugly. If you have not read the book, you might not want to continue reading this review. If you have read Denise's previous works and have the misconception that this is like "Finding Faith", you might not want to read "Surrender Bay". You might not want to, but you should.

"Surrender Bay" is a story of doomed relationships. It is the story of a woman so wrought with self-loathing and guilt that she can not see the perfect answer to her pain even when he continually stands in front of her. She is hurt, emotionally closed off, and mother to a child who does not appreciate or understand her. It is also a story about a man who loves her unconditionally. And finally it is a story of broken relationships, betrayal, lust, anger, forgiveness, hatred, death, loneliness and, most of all, unconditional love.

I really encourage you to go look at the reviews on Amazon and read the rest of this one, it really is fabulous and convinced me that I couldn't have gotten and read this book fast enough!!! Click on the book title to go to the Amazon page. Seriously, the review will make you thirst for more!


Monday, October 29, 2007

The Return by Austin Boyd: an introduction

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Navpress Publishing Group July 13, 2007)


Austin Boyd


Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.

THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof



Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."

While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

From the Back Cover:

With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity."
--Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)

Matt Bronleewe, you remember the Jars of Clay guy? Yup the same one... He has written this new book Illuminated. At first glance I thought I dunno, there are not many "male" Christian Fiction Writers that I have gotten into, guess I'm a hopeless romantic more than I realized... but just within one chapter of his new book I'm hooked and so excited to keep the pages turning!!!

I dunno why, but whenever I read something new, especially from an author that I'm not used to, I always compare it to other things that I liked or disliked to see if I might continue... in the first chapter I have already thought of the National Treasure movie, all sorts of archaeological twist movies, as well as the good parts of the scary movie the 9th Gate. For all people who enjoy basic religious fiction, but are always craving something more and deep and realistic... This is so it. One day leading a normal bookworm-ish life, and the next you're practically in a movie things are so un-real, but it's real.


August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."
-Aspiring Retail Magazine


If just reading all this description doesn't quite convince you, go to Matt's website and look around for yourself. You'll be hooked, I know I am! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Current quilt

Quick! Tell me what it is?!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beatrix Potter Quilt in the making

Here is my Beatrix Potter Quilt in the making. It is the size of a twin bed. It will not go down the sides and look pretty on one, but it could easily lay on top of one and cover the top, not the sides.

Garden Twist class

On Saturday I had a class on Garden Twist. The class was at Sweet Home Quilt Co. in Conyers and the book was from In The Beginning fabrics. The class was 4 hours long and I accomplished a lot, but when I got home I worked until 9pm that night and then another two hours today. The quilt top is completed finished. All it needs now is backing and binding. I've decided to go with little blue rosebuds for the backing fabric on white, so hopefully they'll still have it when I get there next week. Take a peak, what do you think?

One down, many to GO

Here are a few projects in the works. The baby rag quilt is fully finished. The table runner just needs to be quilted and to add the binding. Other images to come soon!

Current projects, etc

Currently I am working on many different things. I have a baby quilt top - Lambs in the Daisy Patch - that I am going to take to a tie & tack class. There is a Beatrix Potter quilt - not yet named - that I will use for my first machine quilting piece, the top is all finished. There is of course, the wall quilt that I'm working on in and out of my beginner's quilting class. A fall tablerunner that has a finished top and just needs to be quilted. Sally the Scarecrow, a Raggedy-Ann type doll that needs clothing. Three Advent Calendars for Christmas gifts for the nieces and nephews. Many many soft books. A cross stitch for my Daddy's birthday. A cross stitch for my sister, just in general, maybe for Christmas, maybe for her birthday. The Star of Wonder Shepard's Flock Quilt. My first Turning Twenty made with HE LOVES ME fabric. A Northcott pattern quilt also made with HE LOVES ME fabric. A Christmas baby quilt cross stitch. A cross stitch mousepad for my mother for Christmas. Felt ornaments. A tree skirt. An old world map cross stitch for my husband. Oh, and a Garden Twist Quilt made with In the Beginning fabrics. But other than that I'm not really busy at all lately.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Visual Value of color Workshop

Today I had a workshop with my new quilt guild. It was my first time meeting these ladies and it was fabulous! Two of them I already knew! I was shocked and amazed at this. So in this workshop we worked hands on learning about shades of color and their value rather than being all about "matching" and more about coordinating with lights, mediums, and darks. It was great! See my gallery to view a photo of my inspiration for colors now on my wall.

This Saturday I will be taking a Garden Twist class and I'm very excited to see what turns out. I am pretty unhappy with attempting to use my current board and ruler for rotary cutting... so I'll need to get a few coupons together and head out to JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby. My current board is a 12x18 and it just doesn't do it for most projects I'm now seeing. It would have been a good thing to have known before, but I guess some things you just have to learn on your own if you're not told.