Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Few Days with the Grandkids

School starts here in Anderson County next Tuesday. The parents I've heard talking are groaning about the early start and the teachers are groaning louder. August is sometimes the very best month for summer activities and now schoolwork is going to be on the agenda instead of swimming pools and picnics and vacations at the lake. My grandkids here in Anderson County came out on Tuesday to get one more day in at the farm with Grammy and Pa before the school bells started ringing. Then the WV grandkids and parents came down that night and the older kids and parents went to Kings Island yesterday while we kept the twin boys happy. And spoiled. They'll celebrate their first birthday in about two weeks, but neither has decided to walk yet. At least without holding on.

I'm never in all that much of a hurry for the walking because I think crawling babies are cute. And they say it's good for eye coordination and might be good training for reading later on. (I think I read that somewhere once and didn't just make it up.) Anyway if it is true, I'm all for developing strong readers. All my grandkids enjoy books and being read to. Of course the twins mostly want to chew the pages right now, but that's their way of enjoying the books.

Everybody's gone home now after we had a big breakfast this morning. At least there was food and it disappeared, so I guess people ate it. I was too busy responding to various grandma emergencies with this or that favorite grandchild. I had nine favorites this morning plus one little neighbor friend girl who's certainly sweet enough to add in with the grandkids. But now it's back to normal except I'm dog sitting for a neighbor. A cute little ball of fluff dog that loves to sit in my lap and follows me around and looks mournfully at me while I'm rushing about doing chores.

At least she used to be a cute little ball of fluff. Her owners must have decided she was hot and gave her a haircut that would certainly qualify for hiding under the car like that little dog I told you about a couple of weeks ago that was embarrassed after getting a clip. But Cubster doesn't seem to be bothered. I guess she hasn't looked in a mirror. Sometimes that's the best way. If you haven't seen your hair sticking out in all the wrong directions, then you can imagine it looks great. And the truth is, if you think you look okay, most of the people you meet will think you look okay too. Maybe you can tell by this that I didn't not only not have time to do my blog until everybody went home, I didn't hardly have time to comb my hair either. But that was okay. Grandkids look with their heart instead of their eyes.

I'm drawing for my last winner of my new book, The Believer, on Saturday for the current give away. I'm sure I'll be posting some new giveaways soon. It's not too late to get your name in the pot if you haven't already. Just go to my website, http://www.annhgabhart.com/ and send me an e-mail from the Contact Ann link. If you've already sent an e-mail and haven't won one of the July Sunday drawings, your name is still in the pot. I plan to get the books in the mail tomorrow to Jeneen, Stefanie, Stephanie and Carrie who have already won.

I haven't gotten any comments much from my reading family yet, but several are reading the book. They'll all probably say they enjoyed it whether they did or not, but it's easy to tell if they really mean it. Maybe I'll do like the hair and believe them without looking in my mirror of doubt.

I hope some of you find the book and enjoy Elizabeth and Ethan's story. The reviewer for Romantic Times Book Review Magazine gave it four stars. Last year The Outsider was a "Top Pick" which was a great spirit booster, but a four star review is very good.

Sorry I was late with my entry this week. By the time I got those babies settled last night, I forgot it was Wednesday.

Hope you have a great rest of the week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Launching The Believer at Shaker Village

My book launch for The Believer at Shaker Village went great. We had breakfast in the Wash House. While the building is now used for meetings, etc., I kept thinking about how it had once been a work place for the Shakers as the sisters washed the clothes. The Shakers were very forward thinking and were among the first in the area to have running water. They usually ran pipes downhill from a holding tank or sometimes a pool. They even came up with some of the first washing machines. They worked hard, but they also used every innovation they could come up with to make their work faster and easier. Efficiency was much sought but never at the expense of quality.

For sure I had a quality bunch of people there to help me get my new book off the ground and we had a yummy breakfast before I got to get up and tell them my road to being a published writer. I’ve told it so often that I sometimes get tired of hearing it myself, but most people are interested in how a writer got started. For me, it’s an inborn thing. I have an undeniable urge and even more than that, a need to write. That’s why I didn’t hang up my typewriter when I was a young mother with two babies under two years of age and more than I could get done living out here on a farm. That’s why I didn’t give up when I went five years without anybody showing interest in publishing any of my stories. I couldn’t give it up. I had to keep trying. It seems necessary to string words together to tell a story.

And so each time I launch a book, I celebrate the wonder of seeing another story in book form. It's good to hold the book, to be able to open it up and read my words on the pages telling about the characters who came to life in my imagination. It's a conclusion in one way - the finish of a couple of years of work. In another way it's a beginning as now the book will be out there for people to read the words - my words - and use their imaginations to bring my characters to life in their minds. I do so hope readers like my new characters and their story, and having a book launch is a way to get the book out there into some readers' hands.

After I talked about my writing roots, I talked a little more about the ups and downs of my writing journey. And I finished up talking about my Shaker books and reading a few excerpts from The Believer. At the end we had a Q & A time. That’s always my favorite part whenever I give a talk. Sometimes the questions are about the Shakers. Sometimes the questions are about writing or how I write. I never know where the questions might take us but it’s usually interesting.

If any of you have any questions, we could always have a Q & A time on the blog here. Of course I won’t promise to know the answer to every question. There's plenty I don't know such as what sort of book will be popular two years down the road. A how-to writing article I read once said to do that - to figure out what people are going to want to read two years from now when the book you're writing will be published, but I’m not good with trends. Of course some people probably thought I jumped on what some in the industry call the "bonnet fiction" popularity trend with my Shaker book, The Outsider, but actually I researched and wrote that book twenty years ago. See that time I wasn’t behind the trend. I was way ahead of it.

I do appreciate everyone who came to the book launch and Steve, Bonnie and Mickey from the Corinth Christian Bookstore for hosting the event and making all the arrangements. It’s great to have reading friends who support you by showing up when you're trying to get a new book off the ground. I’ll be doing another book event here in Anderson County next month. I may change the date on that one, so check my website in a few days.

Right now might not be a good time for me to try to get anything changed on my website because I’m in the internet doghouse again. My grandson came to visit and thought he wasn’t downloading anything on my computer, but he must have. I’ve exceeded my daily limit – again, and it doesn’t look as if I’m going to be able to post this until I get out of the doghouse. This new satellite internet service isn't as good as I'd hoped it would be.

I did get some remarkable news last week. Summer of Joy is a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year in the contemporary novel category. How about that! I’ve already shared the news with those of you who visit me on Facebook. Come on over and we’ll be friends there too.

I did draw for my fourth July winner. And it’s Carrie of Kentucky. I’ll be sending her an e-mail to let her know she’s a winner if I can ever get out of the internet doghouse.

Hope all of you stay out of the doghouse this week. I love dogs, but this is getting ridiculous. I’m almost ready to go back to dinosaur dial-up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cookies and Kool Aid

We're still going strong at Bible School. At least the kids are. They can get a lot more mileage out of those cookies and Kool Aid than us older folks can. I usually teach the teenagers, but this year the teens must have had other things going and nobody showed up for my class. So I've been helping with the Beginners. That's ages two to five. Very challenging when a couple of them keep crying for their mamas and daddies. I think those two aren't really ready for Bible School, but the pastor's wife and I are giving it our best try. And without the cookies and popcorn I don't know if we'd make it.

But I really do love Bible School and getting to know the kids better and hearing what they tell you. In one class the teacher was impressing on the children how they could pray and God would always be listening. This little girl pipes up and says, "I prayed I wouldn't have to stay at the babysitter's and I did. I don't think He was listening that day." That makes us smile, but you know a lot of us might have felt something the same at this or that time. But as Br. Fred often says, there are more than one way for the Lord to answer our prayers. There's yes. There's no. There's wait. There's not yet. There's trust Me. The Lord sees the whole picture and we sometimes only see the part right in front of our eyes.

Just take my Shaker book, The Outsider. I came up with the original idea over thirty years ago. Wrote the book. Had it rejected over and over as too religious. Got a really nice letter from Harlequins, but it was still a thanks, but no thanks letter. Then all these years later I dug it out of my closet, rewrote it for the inspirational market and Revell published it. Best of all readers read it. So maybe the answer that I thought was no way back then was really wait. Not yet. This story's time will come.

The Believer didn't have such a wait time. Now I can only hope the time is right for Elizabeth's and Ethan's story. I think you're going to like them as characters and that you will like reading their story. Some of you have already pre-ordered the book and I certainly appreciate that. In fact so many people did that when I called Baker Books to order more copies for myself, they didn't have any. I couldn't complain about that although I did ask the lady I was talking to if they'd printed any copies. She assured me they had and that they would be printing some more. That was good news.

And thank goodness, she did some switching around and found some copies for me. It might not be good to try a book event or signing without books. I'm planning a local book event at the Anderson County Library on Saturday afternoon, August 22. I'll have door prizes and other fun things that day. But first I'll be having the book's coming out party at Shaker Village in Mercer County this coming Saturday morning. I'm looking forward to that. There will be a traditional Shaker breakfast. Well, the food anyway will be traditional. We'll be breaking their traditions by talking. The Shakers didn't allow talking during meals in what they called their "biting rooms." That would be difficult for me this Saturday morning. I plan to do some talking and sharing with my friends. If you can't be there, I'll let you know how things went on Sunday.

Hope you have some fun things planned for this weekend. Summer is zooming past. They're starting school here week after next. Seems way too early. Kids are supposed to go swimming in August. Not go back to school.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Winner!

Hey, everybody! It's a July Sunday - even if it does feel more like a September Sunday. We had record lows here on Friday night. Very pleasant today. I could have probably picked beans without working up too much of a sweat, but the beans had to wait for tomorrow. Anyway it is Sunday and it is July so we have a new winner of an autographed copy of my about to be released book, The Believer. And the winner is another Stephanie. The last winner was Stefanie from Kentucky. I'm not sure where this week's winning Stephanie is from, but I'll be contacting her for a mailing address to send her the book. There's still another Sunday in July and then I'll be drawing for a winner the first weekend of August, so send me a message from my website and I'll add your name to the pot. Who knows? You might win. Nearly everyone who has won a book in my giveaways has said, "I never win anything!" But that time they did.

We started Bible School at my little country church this week. Now that I've got a better hookup to the internet, I'll try to start posting some pictures here on the blog and I thought tonight that a picture of the church might be something you'd like to see. Especially those of you who read some of the Hollyhill books since I based my Mt. Pleasant Church in the books on Goshen's building. Or at least the way it looked back in the sixties. And yes, I do remember those olden days before some of you discovered America. That's what our pastor says happened when you were born. Besides, you missed out. The Sixties were some interesting years. Just think about the music. We went from Elvis to the Beatles and beyond.

Of course my mom has even more to remember and celebrate. She grew up during the Depression, got married right before WW II started, enjoyed the peaceful Fifties and has been on a roller coaster ride ever since. So much has changed in her lifetime. So much has changed in mine. But isn't that what they say is the one thing you can count on? Change. At least about everything but the Lord who is the same today and yesterday and all the tomorrows. The Bible tells us so.

And that's what we're teaching at Bible School this week. The B-i-b-l-e. I'm guessing a lot of you sang that song at Bible School when you were kids. I've certainly sung it a lot since I've taught Bible School at Goshen every year since 1967. I sometimes think I should retire, but I enjoy being around the kids too much. If you want a fresh outlook on life just go find some kids and don't talk. Just listen.

I did get that wireless stuff hooked up finally here in the house. My son figured out why I was pulling my hair out. I had the wrong kind of network cards. As I said on Facebook, I was trying to make a goose be a swan. It wasn't going to work no matter how many times I tried. So I went out to the store. Got the right stuff and had it up and running in half an hour or less. Easy as pie. Only one problem, the satellite company put me in the internet corner for 24 hours because I exceeded my download quota. I'd forgotten I even had a quota. Worse, I didn't know I'd downloaded anything. Updates perhaps for Windows or so their site suggested. But finally they let me out of the corner and I'm trying to behave and not exceed my allowed allotment. That way I won't have to try to break out of internet jail or sit and stew for a day while the internet moves slower than dial-up ever did.

I won't have much time for internetting or facebooking this week with VBS going on. I've plenty of writing publicity odds and ends to take care of. The Believer will be on Chapter-A-Week in August. I'll post the link here on Wednesday. Then it might be good to think about what I'm going to say on Saturday morning at my booklaunch at Shaker Village. (If any of you are local, you can check out details on my website if you think you might like to be there Saturday morning. It will be fun to launch the book at the Shaker Village I based Harmony Hill on.) And I'm beginning to want to be back immersed in a new story. Can't stay away from writing playing with grandkids and painting walls and canning beans too long. Believe me, the playing with the grandkids was the most fun in that list.

Hope you're having a great week. I'll tell you about the grandkids and me trekking down to Panter Rock another time. Smile - everybody will wonder what you're up to.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Breathing that New Book Smell

How do the weeks run by so quickly? I know, I know. That's a sign of getting older. Oh well, I guess that's something all of us are doing everyday no matter what our age is in years. And I want to enjoy every day. Although I do have to admit today has been frustrating. I've been trying to set up a wireless network so we can browse the internet on two different computers here in the house. We got broadband - went satellite. I was all for just hooking it up to Darrell's computer but then the nice young man who came to install it said he couldn't run the wire to that computer unless we moved it to an outside wall and how about putting it on mine. Well, okay, but I can't share my computer. I spend too many hours in here writing or at least trying to write. And Darrell can spend a whole day surfing the net. So that's definitely not a possible sharing option. So okay, we bought a wireless router and LAN cards and cables and... It goes on and on. But buying the stuff obviously isn't enough. Now I have to try to put it all together and make it work. So far it's been a dismal many hour failure. Anybody got a magic wand I can borrow?

I did have some good news yesterday. I got to open up The Believer and get a whiff of that new book smell. I received my first copy finally. The Fed Ex man couldn't find my house for about a week. I mean just because they spelled my name and the name of my lane wrong. Looks like the driver could have figured that out. Yeah, like I'm supposed to be able to figure out this crazy wireless connecting wizard. What I need is a real wizard. Looks like I keep coming back to that magic wand I want to borrow.

Anyway the book looks good. I like the cover and the blurbs and the dedication (mine of course, but I'd almost forgotten what it said). I dedicated the book to my sisters. There are no friends like sister friends. And since the Shakers wanted to be sisters and brothers, I thought a sister dedication would be perfect for a Shaker book.

Of course the best news was that the book may already be going into a second printing. Now I don't know how many they printed to begin with, but that's beside the point. The point is they need more. That's the good point. I think there's going to be a blog tour of the book too. That's always a lot of fun. I'll be interviewing with some of the bloggers. When I find out when and where, I'll be sure to let you guys in on the fun. Some of those bloggers can ask interesting questions - like if you were an animal, what kind would you want to be. Things totally unrelated to writing, but just for fun even if coming up with clever answers can strain the brain. At least it might be less brain strain than connecting wireless routers!! Of course for the answer to what kind of animal, I'd pick dog. Definitely dog. Run and play and sleep all day and night. And bark. I know I'd bark. People would be throwing shoes at me.

I should get my other copies of the book soon so that I can send out the book to the winners of my book giveaway. If you haven't entered the drawing and want to, you still have time. I'll be drawing for three more winners in the next three week. Just go to my website and send me an e-mail. And if you're in the area and want to enjoy "Brunch with Ann" at Shaker Village at 10 a.m. July 25, don't forget to get your tickets from Corinth Christian Bookstore in Frankfort. They're taking orders over the phone (their number is on my website) and still had some tickets the last time I talked to the owner, Steve.

Oh yeah, and if you have a magic computer setup device wand, please let me know where you got it. I need one!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Each Child a Favorite Blessing

I just got home from my babysitting weekend in WV. The babies are so cute, both the twins and their big sisters. The twins turned eleven months old while I was there. Neither of them have started walking yet, but they crawl everywhere super speed. Especially when they see an open door where they think they might escape to the outdoors. Or get something yummy out of the fridge. I'd open the refrigerator door and they both made a bee line for the bottom shelf on the door holding the jars of sauces and dressings. I'd pull one twin back and by the time I reached for the second one, the other one was already back grabbing for the jars. I had to learn to be quick. But they didn't cry except when they were hungry or sleepy and so this grandma isn't complaining. It was fun seeing them crawl everywhere.


And the girls and I had a good time playing all sorts of imagining games and reading books. They had one book about three little bear cubs wondering if their parents loved their siblings better than them. The book was very sweet in pointing out how each bear cub was special in his own right. In a family of five children that's something that's bound to come up at times. That wondering whether this or that sister or brother is more favored. In fact the six year old said she wondered about that sometimes after we finished reading the story. I told her the love of moms and dads is like a candle that can light many little candles and still burn just as bright on each of them, but I'm not sure she knew what the heck I was talking about. So I just told her she was very loved by all. Then the next day she told me that all my grandbabies couldn't be my favorites, but I told her that yes, somehow they are. Each and every one.


But most of us who grew up in a family with brothers or sisters probably thought at one time or other that our parents favored this or that sibling the most. And probably at one time or another they did, but then we no doubt got our moments when we were the favored child as well. For sure I always knew I was loved and treasured by my mother and father. And that's what my grandbabies are too - loved and treasured by their parents and their grandparents, too. What a blessing for a child. One I would wish for every child.


This is week two in my book giveaway and I actually remembered to draw the winner today for an autographed copy of my new book, The Believer. Can you believe that? And the winner is Stefanie from right here in Kentucky. If you haven't entered the giveaway yet, you can still get in on the fun by sending me an e-mail from my website. I'm going to be drawing for three more winners.


I still haven't gotten a copy of the book myself, but I think one is on the way. I had a postcard from Fed Ex that they couldn't find me. Something always happens with those delivery guys. Just because I live back in the sticks on this little obscure lane and then they always write the address down wrong. I mean what's their problem! So maybe next week I'll get to see what the new book looks like.


I'm anxious to get back to full time writing work instead of having to do all this painting. I need to put a second coat on the living room but after that I may throw away my paint rollers. Except the back hall really needs painting too and there's the trim in the kitchen and... Oh well, some of these days I'll maybe get half of what needs doing done. Of course the greenbeans are coming on in the garden and the corn is beginning to make ears. Always something. And it's always been that way all the time I've been writing through the years. And yet I have managed to keep writing and I will now too. Writing is what I do.


Hope you're getting to do what you want to do this week. Talk to you again on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy Wednesday - Dub made bail!

I bailed my big old chocolate Lab out of doggie jail on Monday. Somebody had picked him up on Thursday and turned him into the animal shelter, but I couldn't get any answer at the shelter until Monday because of the holiday weekend. Poor old dog had to sit in that cage all weekend. I have his tags, but had neglected to put them on his collar. You can believe they're on there now. As soon as I drove up to the shelter I could hear Dub barking. He must have recognized the car and was he ever glad to see me. I'm hoping he'll stay down on the farm now. The neighbor bailed his dogs out too though it gets expensive after a few days in doggie jail. So very glad to have the old dog stretched out on the porch again even if he does need a bath.

I have to apologize to all of you who entered my book giveaway. I said I'd announce the first winner of an autographed copy of The Believer last Sunday, but I guess all the fireworks and missing dog addled my brain. However I have now drawn for the first week's winner and that is (drumroll please) Jeneen. I'll be contacting Jeneen to get her address to send the book when I get my copies. I haven't received a copy yet, but I learned last time with The Outsider not to get too anxious. With that book, I saw copies in the store before I had any in hand. Not a bad thing. I like seeing copies in stores and in other people's hands as they read. I'll draw for the next winner Sunday - if my brain isn't too addled from playing with grandbabies this weekend. I'm going to WV to babysit that set of grandkids. We'll have fun and Grandma will be busy.

I'm still doing those yucky housecleaning chores. Painted all day Monday and Tuesday till eleven in the night. Had to take a break on Monday to go bail out the dog and on Tuesday to go to the dentist. I almost looked forward to that since I figured lying back in a dentist chair would give me a few minutes rest. Of course they stand you on your head these days and then try to carry on a conversation with you. There you are practically standing on your head with blood rushing down (or would that be up) into your head along with having two hands poking around in your mouth. It's "aah, ogg, splutter" when you try to answer. Anyway came home and had to pick up the paint roller again. I'm definitely developing muscles in that arm. Sore muscles.

But today, I decided I'd better take a break if I was going to be able to keep up with the grandkids the rest of the week. The hometown grandkids came out to pick zuchinni and peppers out of their part of the garden. They're so cute out there among the rows of veggie plants that I need to take my camera out there and snap some photos to add to the hundred or two I already have on my camera. Do any of the rest of you have that problem? Just adding to your memory card and putting off downloading or printing them? I'll have to take my sleeping bag to Wal-Mart when I decide to get the pictures printed off.

Just a few more weeks until I'll be doing my booklaunch at Shaker Village. Corinth Bookstore in Frankfort is selling the tickets and say they're getting some calls. Hope those of you in the area can come join in the fun. The tickets are for the breakfast. You can check out the details on my webpage in the schedule part on the Home page. Also thanks to any of you who may have befriended me on Facebook and Goodreads. It's good to have new friends and to get reacquainted with some old friends.

Hope you're enjoying lots of great photo ops this summer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dub is Missing

Not a happy Sunday. My big old chocolate lab is missing from the farm. A little neighbor dog came courting and although Dub is supposed to be neutered, he still gets interested in the females when they come calling and he must have gone off with her. I had planned to put him up before that happened, but I was too slow about putting him in the basement. And now he's been gone four days. We've ridden around the road, called all the neighbors, whistled and yelled his name to no avail. Two other dogs in the neighborhood disappeared along with Dub and the female dog. All are still missing. I haven't been able to call the Animal Control because of the holiday weekend. But unless they got picked up I'm afraid my sweet old Dub may have come to a bad end. Poor old dog. I miss him stretched out on the back porch. He has a way of stretching out and sleeping that have had two or three people see him sleeping and call to tell me he's dead. But he just knew how to relax big time.

He was a faithful walking companion even the last few months when he hasn't felt well. He'd get way behind when we were walking and I'd have to figure out a way to casually wait for him so he wouldn't be embarrassed about getting so far behind. Dogs can get embarrassed, you know. One time a neighbor gave his little dog a buzz haircut and the dog wouldn't come out from under the car. I've had bad hair days like that. How about you? Of course I didn't hide under the car, just felt like it. Anyway I'm missing Dub today. Still hoping he'll find his way home, but worried that he can't. I don't know anywhere else to look. Thank goodness my other dog, Oscar didn't go off with them, but he's been lonely.

Enough blues about my dog. I know some of you out there will understand, but others of you might think it's silly to get the blues over a dog. Guess you haven't had a dog look at you with those big eyes as if you're the most important thing in his life. Dogs don't care if you're having a bad hair day. Dogs don't care what you look like. When you belong to them, you're the most beautiful person in the world in their eyes.

That's the way our families are, too. And maybe even our church families. We might see the faults and even point them out (That's where dogs are better than us. They just ignore those faults and love us without reservation.) But our families are the most beautiful people in the world to us and the ones we most want to see. Still, we sometimes take our families for granted and treat strangers we don't even know with more kindness than we do those people we love best.

Hope you had fun with your family this weekend. The neighbor put on a great fireworks show last night right over top our yard. All around us in the distance I could hear the boom of more fireworks shooting off. Oohs and aahhs all around. Celebrating freedom.

Hope you have a good week. And thanks to all who befriended me on Facebook and Goodreads. And for those of you who follow this blog. You're the best.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Something New

Hi, everybody. I jumped feet first into the electronic social pool this week and joined up with Facebook and Goodreads. I'd been talking about doing Facebook for months but had to meet that July 1 deadline first. Once the new book was off, I had to carry through on my resolve to put a presence out there on Facebook. I have a few Facebook friends already. Thanks to you who may have befriended me. I'm amazed at the speed of the network. And I'm still feeling my way and trying to decide the best way for me to do Facebook settings, etc. Appreciate any advice you old hands at Facebook want to offer a newbie.

Then a publicity person at my publisher, Baker Books, got in touch and asked me to join up with Goodreads. That's something similar to Facebook except on there the friends/members just talk about books. They list books they've read and rate them with stars as well as write reviews if they want. A lot of my books are listed on there already and have been rated over a hundred times. Some good ratings and some not as good ratings. One thing that's true about any author is that your book can't be everybody's favorite - even if you want it to be.

Anyway Baker wanted to post a giveaway on Goodreads for my new book, The Believer, and in order to give away a few early copies I had to be a Goodread member. So now I've signed up with them and I'm trying to remember the books I've read so I can add them to my list. There are people on there with hundreds of books listed. I may have read hundreds of books, but I probably - no I won't remember all the titles. Now my sister could do a better job of this. She's been keeping a list of the books she reads for years. I do that now too along with a short personal review about whether I liked the book and why or why not, but I wish I had started years ago the way she did. I'll have to tell her to join up with Goodreads so she can brag on the many books she's read.

I haven't really gone out fishing for friends at either site. I guess I'm hoping friends will just swim on over and jump into my net. And some already have. Isn't that amazing? But if you're a member of Goodreads, you can go to their book giveaway page and sign up to win an early copy of The Believer. A bunch of people already have. There are lots of other books on there to be given away too. Of course, you can still send me an e-mail and get in on my July drawings where the odds are sure to be lower than on Goodreads.

Thanks to all of you who have said you'd like to go to the "Brunch with Ann" at 10 a.m. on July 25 at Shaker Village in Mercer County, KY sponsored by Corinth Christian Bookstore. Of course some of you have said it might be a little too far to drive. I understand, but I do wish you could all be there. And you at least will get the highlights on here or in my newsletter after the event.

I'm looking forward to that traditional Shaker breakfast which is the reason you have to buy tickets. My talk will be on the house, but we'll have fun. I'll leave time for Q & A because that's my favorite part of any talk I do about writing. I never know where the questions might take us or whether I'll be able to come up with an answer. So far I always manage to answer something. I think the Lord has give me a gift for gab after making me so painfully shy when I was a child. In my next blog on Sunday, I plan to write about the different gifts the Lord blesses us with and how sometimes those gifts are surprising.

Again, as always, thanks for dropping by. Hope your week is the best you've ever had and that you are feeling loved and appreciated. And if you're on Facebook or Goodreads, come on over and we can be friends there too.