Sunday, December 29, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Background for ONE SWEET DAY

Thanksgiving and Christmas both slowed me down a bit, but with the first draft of ONE SWEET DAY finally done, I'm able to give a background--and a bit of a disclaimer, too--for this book.

Firstly, I've always had a passionate interest in the study of Christian end-time prophecies, or Christian eschatology. And yet when the Lord first placed it on my heart to write this book, even before I wrote GREETINGS FROM MY SANDY DREAMS, my response to Him in prayer was, Lord, I'm not a scholar. I'm not qualified to write a book about what happens in Revelations!

So I delayed with not one but TWO books before writing this one. I published the beach read but my laptop battery died when I was at the last fourth of the second book, a paranormal called THE VAMPIRE'S MERMAID BRIDE. The following day, at lunchtime, I started writing ONE SWEET DAY by hand, since I couldn't get to the other book, and I figured I would start with an idea that had begun to brew. When I came home that evening I asked my husband if I could borrow his laptop to type out what I'd written. He told me, "Babe, go ahead and use yours--it's working now."

What?? I'd tried for an hour to get the battery to charge. I'd even already started searching for places to buy a replacement battery for a decent price. And Bill just plugs it in and it works, on the same day that I, at last, do what the Lord inspired me to do?

Some may see that as a coincidence, but I took at as a push forward to step out on faith. My campus pastor's wife, only a few weeks later, while speaking about something else at our women's retreat in Myrtle Beach, said the quote, "God doesn't call the qualified--He qualifies the called." That really gave a lot of my beautiful Christian friends at the retreat great encouragement, and that included me.

As it turned out, I had fretted and doubted for nothing. This book is about average believers, spanning about forty years in their lives, their trials, their growth, their sorrow, their joy, as they wait for the Rapture. I never had to worry about which came first--the Antichrist (actually called "The Beast") or the seals being opened or the vials being poured out as documented by the Apostle John during his exile on the island of Patmos. The book only deals with believers watching, praying and waiting for "the blessed hope" while living, growing and learning in this life.

Okay, now you have the background. Here are the disclaimers!

Obviously, I do believe in the Rapture of the Church. Many argue that the word rapture appears nowhere in the word of God. However, you will find the word, harpazo, in the scriptures. It is Greek and it means: to seize, carry off by force; to seize on, claim for oneself eagerly; to snatch out or away.

PLEASE note, too, that ONE SWEET DAY is a work of fiction. I'm not saying it will happen like this, exactly; it's the depiction as I saw it in my imagination. This book is more to encourage and to uplift than to teach about prophecy.

May it bless you right down to your socks! Once again, it will be available January 2014.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Trailer for ONE SWEET DAY

My upcoming Christian novel, ONE SWEET DAY, is on its way now! Accounting for the first draft's progress and time for editing and polishing, I can now announce it as a January 2014 release. There are more things I'd like to share about this book, but for now, here's the exciting teaser!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Word Count Challenge Time

Chugging right along...
4,000 words!

That's been my goal today on this, my day off from my day job. I know that's probably loose change to those authors who write full-time for a living, but for me, who writes 2,000 words (on a good day) and 1,000 (on a bad day), it's double the usual amount.

Considering I broke up the time with bowling, because the hubby and I needed to post-bowl with one of our teammates today, I'm happy to say that I'm only 1,500 words shy of that goal right now. I even filled my meditative fountain, which I haven't used in months. Naturally, what writer can compose without caffeine? (Rhetorical question for all you caffeine-abstainers!) So I had an extra cup of coffee AND broke my soda rule with a Diet Pepsi.

My little office fountain
With a couple of hours to go before dinner, I hope to make that goal and finish out this segment of ONE SWEET DAY. This book has an unusual format, with the story stretching out over nearly 40 years in the lives of the main characters. Did I mention that none of them are acquainted with each other? Characters spread out across the U.S. map, too, with some living in New Jersey...some in North Carolina...some in California...and some in Montana.

Intrigued? I hope so! For now, for me, it's back to work.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pictorial: A Walk in Autumn

"An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." - Henry David Thoreau

The best days, I've found, are those where you can make time for prayer...and a walk.

Temporarily, I've put running on hold. In short, I may have been doing too much too soon, and it would take a couple of days to recover from the cramps in my leg muscles. Maybe that wouldn't scare off a die-hard runner (and I really admire those people!). But I told my husband that if I was headed for injury that could impact my ability to walk and hike, then I was choosing walking and hiking over running.

This year, it seems I've spent less time on the treadmill at the gym and more time on trails, sidewalks, and park walking paths. Yesterday, for the first time, I brought my camera with me, documenting moments captured by my heart. No MP3 player to block out the sounds of the wind and the leaves falling from the trees and the birds. No weights on my ankles or wrists--I never use those, anyway--because my spirit wasn't weighted down, either, and this was more than exercise. No pedometer to keep track of my steps, either.

Just my camera, my beginning-to-get-worn walking shoes, a warm hoodie to shield me from the autumn nip in the air, and the presence of the Lord.

Walking is wonderful at any time of the year, but autumn lends itself even more so. The temperature is perfect; the air has a certain scent. A bed of golden, burnt orange, red, brown and still-green leaves adds a pleasant crunch beneath your walking shoes.

Put all those things together, and it's hard to keep focused on your problems. You find yourself silently saying a prayer of thanks, grateful for the ability to walk, which we all take for granted. For health, for the work of His hands, for the serenity that is brought to you with each step.

Walking has been shown to strengthen the heart, but you don't think about it when you're taking in the sights around you. Yesterday, on a walk that lasted an hour because I went around the lake twice, aspects of my work-in-progress came to me. Writers are notorious for being "creative walkers," and I'm sure we're not the only ones. Many a character will accompany you on the path or trail, as Taylor Aldridge, one of the main characters from ONE SWEET DAY, did with me yesterday.

A picture of the bridge leading from one section of the park to the parking lot, where my car awaited me. Note the leaves that fell so delicately on the planks of wood.

That was more than just plain, old exercise. Apparently, art is not confined to the walls of a musty museum. You can savor it anytime, outdoors, on a serene afternoon created by the Master Artist.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Grandson & Updates

Kicking off November with a personal note: Meet Brody Keenan, our new grandson and little brother to Aubrey & Matthew! He came into the world weighing just a few ounces shy of 9 POUNDS. Amazing, considering his mama, Yesica, is very petite. It doesn't happen very often, I'm sure, but this little guy greeted us RIGHT on his due date. Looking VERY forward to spoiling him!

Another "baby" headed towards its due date is ONE SWEET DAY. Progress, as you can see by the work-in-progress counter to the right, is slow but steady. In these coming days before its release, I have some things to share about this book, which has a distinction that makes it unlike any other book I've ever written. I'll also be explaining what sort of books I'll be working on from here forward, because writing-wise, I've turned a corner, taking me to where I believe my work was meant to be in the first place.

In the meantime, forgive me for my delay in updating this blog more regularly! These last couple of months in the Keenan household traditionally are pretty hectic, with the major holidays coming up, a visit from our son Joey (who lives in New Jersey) and then young Mr. Brody Keenan's arrival. In the midst of all this, I'd like to thank readers for taking the time to post reviews on my books. I read every one and I appreciate you taking the time from YOUR busy schedule to write a review or post a rating!

Until my next post, hope you are feeling happy & blessed! Happy reading!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Christian Mainstream

Here's an early peek at the cover of my new Christian mainstream. Just to give you a hint, it was almost titled THAT DAY AND HOUR. There's an interesting "story behind the story," plus some background on the book that I'll be writing here on my blog in the weeks to come before its release.

I'm very excited to be sharing it with you, hopefully no later than December 2013!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 2013 in Pictures

Besides a trip to Hendersonville's Stepp Hillcrest Orchard for apple-picking and a visit to one of my favorite stores--A Day in the Country--we're getting ready for Halloween and decorating for autumn. October also finds me cooking more, like this dish of stir-fried veggies. A new Bohemian jacket and whimsical 3-flower watch, a shower for our soon-to-be-born new grandson, Brodie, and I went from having long hair to very short. Also, a really cool, old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Hendersonville, where Bill got one of his favorite childhood treats, a vanilla egg cream. Hope your October is as blessed as ours has been!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Change of Plans

This is highly unusual for me, but there's been a change of plans, and I wanted to keep readers posted on what's going on.

THE VAMPIRE'S MERMAID BRIDE will be temporarily delayed. My next release will be a brand-new Christian mainstream novel entitled ONE SWEET DAY.

Right now, the release date is up in the air, but I believe we're looking at a December 2013 release date, possibly January, with THE VAMPIRE'S MERMAID BRIDE to follow sometime after that.

Sorry for the delay. I'll have more info shortly, so drop on by again!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 2013 in Pictures

A beautiful lake we found in South Carolina
A laptop that has been repaired & a new book being written
Early visit to Scarowinds (aka Charlotte's Carowinds)
A happy grandfather sharing his birthday with his terrific grandkids
My new favorite drink, discovered @ Panera's

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Live & Learn

Seems like the lesson of the day here is: Don't assume that just because running shoes are these cute, crazy color thingies that they'll be comfortable and suitable for running...or even walking. For me, at least, that first pair (see my first post on my Adventures in Running) were not a great fit. They were also the first pair of New Balances that I didn't absolutely love.

My allowance is now going to this new pair, which I think happen to be cute in their own right. More importantly, they're comfortable, provide good support, and perfectly cushion my feet, now that I'm headed into my 2nd week of running.

And yes--also New Balance running shoes! Currently reading No Need For Speed by John Bingham and finding it very inspirational and informative.

Again, is it love or still infatuation? Still too early to tell, but I'm alternating days between running days and resting days. On resting days, I'm wishing I was out there, running. On running days, I'm finding pleasure, even though it's more strenuous than walking. Looks like this may turn into a serious relationship!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thank You, Readers!

There have been so many reviews for THE CHRISTMAS WALTZ that I'm super-jazzed! Also, I wanted to post this note of thanks to you readers. Not only for reviews of this book on Amazon but also for my other books, and wherever else you choose to post a review. They're truly appreciated. Naturally, I know reviews are really for other readers like yourselves, but of course we authors read them, too. Thank you for taking the time to do that and I'm really happy when someone finds enjoyment (or maybe even God grants them a blessing) in a story I've written.

Seems like many readers tend to enjoy longer works, so in light of that, I'll be working on longer works in the future. (Although there'll be that occasionally short story or novella. I love those shorter works done in between the longer books, and there are books that don't need as much length. Many readers like those, too, because they're that "quick read" while you're relaxing on your commute or in between reading longer books.) So look for most of my future books to be anywhere from 50,000 words and up.

Speaking of which, THE VAMPIRE'S MERMAID BRIDE is shaping up to be longer than that, due to the number of characters and the development of the plot and the story's "people." Editing takes longer as a result of the longer length, too. Because of that, I can't give you a definitive date in October yet for its release, but check back for the date both here and on Goodreads.

Coming soon: An interview with a mermaid bride. You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

October 2013 Release

Coming next month: THE VAMPIRE'S MERMAID BRIDE, a paranormal romance, my first since DIMENSION. Here's a sneak peek at the cover, with more info on the way!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Healthy Changes, New Beginnings

"The miracle is not that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." - John Bingham, No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running

First off, the healthy changes: For me, this is Day 5 of no diet soda and no chewing gum with aspartame. No artificial sweeteners AT ALL (unless there was some in my yogurt. Please note: Remember to check labels!).

I'm one of those women who switched to diet soda back in my late thirties when I began dieting in earnest. And dieting and dieting and dieting. There has to be some truth to that "diet soda is addictive" business because I wasn't even discriminating about what I drank. ANY brand would do, though Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi were my favorites. I even considered them "writing aids." Like a cup of coffee, a bottle or glass of soda relaxed me while working on a work-in-progress. Keep in mind that I was also having a pack of sugar-free gum (one filled with 15 pieces) that only lasted me 2 days at a time.

Really? Come on--all that aspartame can't be good for you.

This is coming on the heels of my declaring September "Healthy Month" in this household. Bill, my husband, is actually enjoying it. We're eating more fruits and vegetables in this household, and it doesn't matter if they're fresh, frozen or canned, though leaning more toward the fresh. That's not to say my candy dish doesn't offer Hershey fun-sized chocolates. Listen, life is short, and a little chocolate is good for the soul! But it's interesting how, more and more, the grapes and the mangoes are being reached for more than the candy.

Have I given up on gum completely? Not yet. Gum also relaxes me and, hey, one word: mint! But have you ever noticed how much chewing gum is made with that chemical? Your choices without it are pretty limited. Also, if I'm going to have sugar, I'd rather have it in my coffee. Big Red is made with sugar; since I don't like it as much as a minty gum, I have much less of it.

I don't know if I'll be able to get rid of all the aspartame in my daily diet, like in the case with yogurt, but if I can kick the diet soda and chewing gum habit, that'll be a great start. So those are the healthy changes.

Now for the new beginnings!

I've started 53. For years, even as a young person, I'd tell people, "I can't run." I could walk for hours, and over the years developed a love for hiking, as well. Running was too hard, for someone much more athletic, and once I hit a certain age, it was for young people (or older people who, I thought, had been doing it for a long time). Even as a kid, other kids outran me easily. Since I had no speed, I assumed running was just not in the cards for me.

So this being Keenan Healthy Month, I hit the treadmill last week, except instead of interval training with the incline, I put a little more speed on that baby. Miracle of miracles, I did not have a heart attack and I did not fly off the machine! Feeling bad & bold for a middle-aged grandmother, I headed to the greenway, where I took the advice of Jeff Galloway: Run, walk, run. For me, that meant a 10-minute walk first, then intervals of walking for 2 minutes and running for 30 seconds. Yesterday, on my third day, I was running for 1 minute at a time.

I've stopped saying "can't." I'm a runner. Me. After 50 years of saying I can't run.

Is this love? Or infatuation? I'll let you know. What I DO know is that you don't have to be young or athletic (though you should check with your doctor first; mine already knows I'm a walkaholic!) to run.

By the way, what they say is true. This IS fun. It doesn't matter that I take walk breaks. It doesn't matter that I'm not fast, that my run is more of a jog. I'm doing this for me, for fun as well as for my health.

And since my running shoes were frayed from all the walking I've done this year, here is the little gift I gave myself just for trying. Aren't they the cutest? (Wink!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Short & Sweet Writer Advice

Coming from the amazing poet, Robert Frost. These are words that I often hear whispered to my heart sometimes as I work on a new book, a gentle reminder that rings of truth:

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August in Pictures

Vacation in Myrtle Beach was the highlight of this month, plus a visit from our older son Joey and my best friend, Linda, and her daughter, Hailey, plus lots of walks to enjoy the last few winds of summer like the one here with Bill at the park.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway Ends!

Congrats to the winners of my Goodreads Giveaway! As we speak, five autographed paperback copies of my beach read, GREETINGS FROM MY SANDY DREAMS, are on their way to the winners. (Thanks to my son, Joey, and husband, Bill, who dropped them off at the post office for me while I was at work.)

For all who signed up to win, thank you so much. I hope to have another giveaway in the future, since that one was so much fun.

In the meantime, I've been busy at work on my next book, a paranormal romance tentatively titled THE VAMPIRE'S MERMAID. As always, drop by here now & then--there'll be news on that one soon, too!

Until then, happy reading!

Monday, July 29, 2013

July in Pictures!

The month of July was busy! It included writing AND editing on a computer that needed an external keyboard (spilled water on the original--lesson learned, do not do your nails while surfing the Net!)...vacation with family in Florida...visiting our church's main campus in first paperback version in a long time...lunch & fellowship with great friends from church...a new RED car...and a fun but too short trip to Blowing Rock, North Carolina! Hope you're loving your summer, too.