Merry Christmas – I know I didn’t get the greetings out for the first day of Christmas, but the second’s not bad, all things considered.
We had a lovely day yesterday, and I hope you did too, whether or not you celebrated it as a holy day. Though really, most Christians celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas on the 24th. Isn’t that odd? Especially as there’s no biblical basis for the idea that Jesus was born at night. But we like to think of it that way, because of all the carols.
Just like we like to think of the 12 days of Christmas as the ones leading up to the Big Day, when in fact, religiously, the 12 days of Christmas are the 12 days between December 25th and January 6th, commonly known as Epiphany in the liturgical church. But I suppose there aren’t many of those around any more, either.
Epiphany is the representative day when the wise men presented Jesus with their three gifts (again, no indication of how many wise men there were, but we like to think it’s three because there were three gifts), which represent his three roles: gold was a gift for a king; frankincense was used by priests in their religious offerings; and myrrh was more commonly a funeral gift, used for embalming – an indication of his role as sacrifice for the sins of humanity. A precursor of his death. Great gift for a child, eh?
The 12 days of Christmas lead up to the gift-giving, which reveal and represent Christ’s threefold purpose.
Funny how we, as a society, forget things like that, isn’t it? It’s such a fun song, though.
I’d like to extend my thanks to all those who serve and have served in the armed forces. I may not agree with the government on all points, but the individuals who serve our country deserve a great deal more than simple respect. My servicemen, past and present:
- Bernard H. Wright, Sr. – US Navy
- Lyman C. Peck – US Air Force
- Chester Whitt – US Army
- Mark Petitte – US Navy
- John Snider – US Air Force
- Bob Duncan – US Marines
- Daniel Sherman – US Air Force
- Jonathan Sherman – US Air Force
- Michael Ward – US Army
- David Lee – US Marines
- David Whitt – US Army
- Steven Whitt – US Air Force (currently serving in Iraq)
So, for those I know personally and those I don’t: Thank you. We owe you more than we know. You have my appreciation.
I think I’ve successfully switched the LJ feed to draw from this site instead of the old one, but I’m just testing. Please disregard… actual content may appear tonight…
ACK! Sorry for flooding Friends lists… apparently the feed is up and running…
I know I’ve been quiet – been reading most of the weekend away, though I should have been writing. I’m getting things out of the way while I’m at work today, though, so I can write tonight.
I’d like to draw your attention to literary agent Nathan Bransford‘s Stupendously Ultimate First Line Challenge, in which all are welcome to submit the first line from a project in hopes of winning a partial manuscript critique. I’ve entered, though I have to admit I used a line from a short story idea currently about four paragraphs long, and it wasn’t even the first line, but then I realized it ought to be the first line, so I kidnapped it and will rework the rest to fit it as I have time. You know, all four paragraphs. It’ll be torture. And then, who knows? Maybe I’ll actually finish it.
Stranger things have happened.
Not often, but they have.
Did you know that Vicks’ VapoRub has turpentine in it?
Yep, that’s the same kind of turpentine you’d use for paint thinner.
It’s listed as an inactive ingredient, but it was actually used in ancient times, mixed with animal fat, as a primitive chest rub just like VapoRub. So how inactive is it? I’m not willing to make a guess.
Incidentally, the famous Biblical balm of Gilead? You guessed it: probably turpentine oil.
Crazy, the things you learn when you write a book…
Because sometimes it’s nice to see the list:
- Laundry, including the tablecloth
- Cleaned the house
- Two bike rides, and got the bike tuned
- Paid all sorts of bills, both monthly and annual (mmm car insurance)
- Returned a pair of pants that pulled an important seam after 2 wearings
- Bought new clothes for the upcoming new job
- Sold Pampered Chef (woo!)
- Made doctor and dentist appointments
- Finally did all the paperwork for the car accident back in May
- Sent Papa a thank you note
- Verified that our old checking account is, in fact, closed
- Called Alaska about the mukluks we ordered a few months ago
- Finally sorted out the whole cell phone debate (i.e. finally found the company with best coverage and price)
- Wrote (almost) 25 pages of new material for my deadline.
That’s a pretty stinking big list, if I may say so. Of course, in all fairness I should mention that Matt helped with the cleaning and writing the thank you note (which is only fair, since Papa is his grandfather). Some of those have been waiting to get done for weeks or months… I can’t tell you how nice it is to cross them off the list.
And since I’ve done this much, it’s only fair to mention what’s left to do before Monday:
- Write 2 book reviews
- Buy CO2 cartridges for the bike repair kit
- Check with the local bank about which ski pass their promotion involves, so I can:
- Book a lodge for a week in December so we can go skiing
- Attend the annual picnic for church youth leaders and their spouses
- Edit all the material I just wrote, and catch up on all the edits suggested by mentor and crit group last month
- More laundry
- Set up the office as guest room for a one-night stopover from the in-laws on their way back east
- Get ready for the new job… kinda strange, to know I’m going back to “real” work so soon.
I know I’m delinquent in posting about this (for that matter, it’s been a month since I posted about anything – I blame it on moving to the new apartment!) but recent SHU grad Maria V. Snyder (author of Poison Study and Magic Study) has an interactive story blossoming, entitled Assassin Study, right over here. She posts a chapter each month and readers get to vote about where the story goes for the next chapter.
Maria’s fantastic, as are her books. I highly recommend them. For a bit more information about Maria, you can head over to her interview on Heidi’s Pick Six, a series of author interviews hosted by Heidi Ruby Miller over at ambasadora.livejournal.com. It’s worth a look – she’s got a fantastic lineup of authors, both those new on the scene and those in whose venerable footsteps we tread.
When I went to Greensburg in January for my first residency at Seton Hill I was struck by how nice everyone was. I had a chance to talk several times with romantic suspense writer Kim Howe, who graduated while we were there. Not only is she a fantastic person and a darn good storyteller, she’s made it all the way through the Romantic Times ‘Whose Book Will Be The Next American Title’ competition. Readers have been voting via email on various samples of books featured on the Romantic Times website. Kim’s is one of the final two to make it all the way through.
The winner gets a contract with Dorchester books, which is what Kim is aiming for. Don’t go simply on my recommendation – click here to read this round’s excerpt for yourself and consider voting for the piece on its own merits.
You can also vote by sending a blank e-mail to with ONE SHOT, TWO KILLS in the subject line.
K.J. is also running two contests connected with the voting. Here are details in her own words:
The final round showcases the all-important love scene. To celebrate my sniper heroine’s romance, I thought it would be fun to give away two $100 gift certificates from Victoria’s Secret. After all, a girl who wears fatigues all day definitely needs something pretty underneath! Just send an e-mail with Victoria’s Secret in the subject line to me via my website www.kjhowe.com and you’ll automatically be entered in the draw.
I’m also raffling off an autographed, framed photo of hockey star Curtis Joseph (generously donated by Curtis’ personal trainer) to celebrate Jack scoring with Kenya! Just send me an e-mail with Curtis Joseph in the subject line to enter the raffle.
Voting ends on Sunday, so head on over right away to vote!
Kim’s also been interviewed by fellow SHU grad Heidi Ruby Miller for her “Heidi’s Pick Six” series. Follow this link to see which questions she chose to answer!
Welcome to my new blog. Feel free to poke around. Make suggestions about anything you’d like to see posted!