A New Favorite Blogger. …

So I’ve started reading, every day, a new favorite blog of mine: It’s Billy Coffey’s What I Learned Today.

It’s filled with great storytelling, excellent writing, and interesting thoughts and issues to ponder.

And I have to admit, I’m a little jealous. … He just writes so well.

But jealousy – and all other issues of life, for that matter – are the very issues Billy addresses. (Well, … actually, I don’t know that he’s covered jealousy, but he might someday.)

He presents the issues as those we all struggle with – he admits his shortcomings, his own struggles, his own pondering of what God wants for him – and he always brings it around to what he’s learned, through people, lessons, everyday life and everyday trials.

And he’s a master storyteller. Truly. (Sure enough, he has his first book coming out this year, called Snow Day.)

Anyway, I just love his blog. And I think you will, too. Swing by and check it out!

(In the meantime, I’ll work on my own shortcomings. Like that writer’s jealousy. …)

Things That Make Me Feel Old

It doesn’t take much these days, but here are few things that have happened in the last week that are making me feel really old these days:

  • My oldest son got his driver’s license. All right, that was bad enough. But to add additional bizarrity to an already-difficult-to-comprehend scenario, he took his test in (and will be driving) the very car we drove him around in when he was just five years old, and going to his very first soccer games. … How did this happen?
  • I’ve been going around saying, “Health is everything.” Since my episode in the hospital, with panic about breathing, which was possibly (or possibly not) caused by what I thought was a bee sting near my throat, I am just realizing that feeling healthy really is everything. A hospital stay, several blood tests, a few exams, a mammogram, and a couple of prescriptions later, I find myself saying what my parents have been saying for nearly 20 years: “Health is everything.” I guess I’m old enough to say that now.
  • We went to my daughter’s high school orientation. You’d think I’d be used to this part by now, since my son has been in high school for three years, but my daughter, too? Ayeee. Continue reading

Hollywood Ending for the Hollywood Sign

The other day, I posted a photo of the Hollywood sign for Wordless Wednesday — a shot that Superman took when he and our youngest went on their traditional 10-year-old trip.

I mentioned in the Wordless Wednesday post that the Hollywood sign was embroiled in a huge drama of its own: its very existence was on the line, as some developers wanted to buy the land to put a hotel on it, but a conservation group was frantically trying to raise $12.5 million to buy the land themselves and save the sign.

In case you wanted to know how that story ended, the drama continued as the clock began ticking and the conservation group didn’t seem like it was going to meet its goal. It really didn’t look like the sign was going to be saved. … (ah! Black moment!)

But, alas! A Hollywood ending! Hugh Hefner, of all people, stepped in and made up the difference at the end to buy the land.

And things got even more Hollywood-esqe for the Hollywood sign as our actor-and-current-governor, Arnold Swartzenegger, praised the conservation group and said the sign will welcome “dreamers, artists and Austrian bodybuilders for generations to come.”

(I love a happy ending. …)

Here’s the MSN story if you want to read a better rendition than mine. 🙂  — Hefner Seals the Deal for Hollywood sign.

Glad Nate will get to enjoy it beyond his 10-year-old trip:

Who Is Your ‘Auto Buy’ Author?

I think a lot of us have that author who is an “auto buy” for us: We don’t read the reviews; don’t read the book blurb or the jacket copy. We just buy. We know this author will never let us down. …

For me, my most consistent auto-buy is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I like her romantic comedies better than her “movie star books” (I call them), but either way, she never lets me down. She has a great blend of humor and sweetness in all her books, and the writing is always excellent. Her sentences always manage to surprise me with a great turn of phrase or a fun way of expressing something, and her writing is always creative and well-crafted — never cliche or repetitive.

Not only is she an auto-buy for me, but I always know what book she’s working on next (because I eagerly read her web site!) and always know its release date. I’m totally one of those standing in Borders, buying it the day it comes out. …

Who is your favorite “auto-buy” author?

Books All Writers Should Read?

One thing I’ve really loved about throwing myself back into fiction writing is learning about it (again).

I say “again” because I learned some in high school, as we all did, and learned a lot in college, as an English major, but since then, I let the “learning” aspect slide for years and years.

The book club, of course, helped: When I finally moved from scanning Parenting magazine in 15-minute intervals to sitting down and enjoying entire novels again, I started the book club with my friend Barbara and got to jump back into reading/learning again and — JOY! [I say that in my imagination like a chorus of angels. …]

But when I started writing fiction again a few years ago, I upped my learning game. Wow. Continue reading

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