Saturday, December 31, 2005

Made of Honor Blog Tour!

Some Serious Fun! -- Q&A with Mary Griffith and Dana Rose

This is a first here at Slices of Life--a guest. Or, I should say, two guests. Marilynn Griffith's book Made of Honor, released on December 27th. I've also asked Dana Rose, Mary's heroine from Made of Honor, to join us. Welcome, ladies!

MG: Hey Lynette! Dana and I are honored to be here. Hopefully we won’t bump heads too much.

DR: I hope not, girl. You’ve already bumped my head enough telling my story.

MG: Shhh. We’re guests here.

First, a question for Mary. I'd like to hear about your slogan on the cover… "life, faith, and getting it right." When did you discover this would be your focus?

MG: That’s Steeple Hill’s slogan actually. I love life, have faith, but seldom get it right. God does though.

Your book is filled with scents that bring many delightful, delicious moments. Does this come naturally in your writing? Where did the scents come from (besides the obvious fact that Dana is a scent diva)?

MG: I had asthma as a child so I couldn’t really sniff things like I wanted to. (I still can’t really). When I got married and started trying to be crafty and domestic (only the crafty part worked out) I started making soap and bath and body products. I could sniff all I wanted and it was big fun. Though the products were marked, I always had to explain the smell to people, so I guess some of it came from that.

Made of Honor is chock-full of laugh-out-loud moments, like Dana trying to stuff herself into size B nylons and avoid the horror of having naked legs at church. But I also found some Dana-isms in the book, little nuggets of wisdom that jumped out at me. Dana, I'd like to ask you about some of these moments. I hope you can share without telling too much of your story.

DR: (Looking down to check her legs) Well, I’m wearing off black queen hose today so I think I can handle your questions. I can look back now and laugh but those pantyhose were just torture.

"We were all a little crazy. Isn't anyone worth knowing?"
Dana, would you say that you and your sistahs and family put the "fun" in dysfunctional?

DR: We definitely do. Rochelle, Tracey and I all have our own brand of crazy, but we manage to stay friends somehow. I’ve finally accepted that normal only exists in fiction. (Not Marilynn’s of course)

MG: (shaking head) Dane, didn’t I tell you to hush? LOL

Back to you, Mary. Which character was the most fun to write? Who showed up first in this wild 'n crazy family?

MG: Dana came first actually, along with her mooching cousins and aunt. It was just a scene basically. Then came Rochelle and Tracey. Dana’s Messianic Jewish friend Austin and her nephew’s girlfriend Shemika came out of nowhere. Dana’s father and Adrian were both a joy to write as well.

Here's another Dana quote: "I tried not to be offended by his surprise, remembering what a pistol I'd been growing up. Judging from the way I was acting today, I still had a few bullets left in me. "
One of the delightful things about you, Dana, is that you're real. What would you suggest to someone who's wrestling between the urge to pour out grace or fire bullets?

DR: Go for the grace. Bullets mean blood (usually Christ’s to cover the wound) and leave behind a mess. There’ll be all that crying and praying either way, so why not cut to the chase and get the forgiving over with? That’s what I ask myself at any rate. I’m trying to do better about it.

"Maybe when these couples smelled my stuff, they'd catch a whiff of the smell that had filled my imagination growing up when tempers grew hot and patience grew thin. A scent that said to my mind, 'God is here… and He's got flowers.'" Could you comment about this? It's a beautiful thought that expresses Dana's passion.

MG: Dana doesn’t think she wants to be married, but she respects and wants people to be happy. Though her mother is dead, she tries to give to people the gifts she wanted to give her parents. Something sweet, something sacred.

"Today, I realized that no matter how close people are to one another, there's always a place--a secret place--that only God can see."
We have the ability to alternately wound and bless those we love, depending on what's inside us. Dana, how did you discover what was inside you?

DR: I’m still learning what’s inside me. Some of it is amazing and some isn’t so pretty. Often it takes me being wounded to recognize my own hurtful words or actions. Just as I open my mouth to say something, I hear a whisper in my heart saying,”It’s not so nice, is it?”

"I didn't know what to think of Trevor's presence. How could someone act such a fool and traipse up in church the next morning with a Bible and a smile?"
Okay, this is a heavy question for a chick-lit, but Dana, you went there and I'm there too. How do people do this, especially in the church?

DR: Oh, Lynette, now you realllllly read that book, didn’t you? I have no clue how folks live two lives. I guess I’ve lost my phony skills because I can’t pull it off. If I’m not right, I’m likely to let you know. People know better to ask “How are you this morning?” if they really don’t want an answer.

"I'd loved him all my life, but how could I consider being in love with him, devoting my emotion to someone else when I wasn't sure how to love myself? "
I loved Dana's frank honesty with herself. Loving yourself when you're supposed to be selfless. Mary, how does a girl do that?

MG: Whoa, Lynette, you’re pulling out the big guns! LOL It’s a hard thing. Christians are taught to die to self. Some of us take that a little farther and just…DIE. I know I did for a while. There has to be a balance between loving God and allowing God to love us. Love your neighbor as yourself is in the Bible too. Sometimes we forget that and aren’t able to love anybody.

"I'd forgiven Dahlia--again--that day at the shower, but somehow her wrong had grown wings from the altar where I'd left it and dropped disease all over my spirit."
"Getting it right" is a process. Thanks for the reminder!

DR: It’s a process indeed. In the movies, people hug and everything is all right, but in real life, sometimes things go up and down and around as the healing continues, even in the church. All scars itch sometimes.

Mary, thank you for dropping by. I hope this little visit with you and Dana will prompt readers to drop by their local bookstore or favorite shopping web site and order Made of Honor. Buy two. One for you, one for a girlfriend. This book is some serious fun. Check out Marilynn Griffith's web site at

MG: Lynette, thank you so much for having us and for reading Made of Honor. This interview was some serious fun!

DR: I’ll say. You really brought back the memories for me. Those days were something else! Blessings to you and all your girlfriends!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Novella Progress

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,920 / 18,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,920 / 20,000

Either way, so far so good. My heroine Josee is now reluctantly wed to her hero, Edouard. Well, he's not really her hero yet since she wasn't too cracked up on marrying him. But what's an orphan without a dowry to do in 1819 Louisiana? Josee thinks he's dark, mysterious and brooding. The poor guy's been through a lot, so I don't blame him. Here's hoping she'll get him to lighten up a little.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Best Laid Plans

Getting Christmas right? How does someone actually do that? What is right, anyway?

I've been shopping this week for our big "Fezziwig's Bash" on Christmas Eve after the candlelight service, when CJ and I invite about 50 of our closest friends (!) over for an open house filled with goodies. After umpteen years, actually about 7 or 8, we've gotten the menu down to a science. Tonight, I prepared to start baking and saucing and dipping and marinating and meatballing and cupcaking. Riiiight.

I didn't buy cupcake liners. Scratch making the mini cherry cheesecakes tonight. And the cream cheese surprise cupcakes. I just knew we had those little papers, but nope.

I didn't buy stick margarine, either, to make the pecan sandy balls, nor the peanut butter balls. Couldn't do those tonight. I know I stood there in front of the margarine display and looked at the packages of Bluebonnet Light, but I guess they didn't make it into my cart.

Tonight I figured I could at least do some almond bark covered pretzels. The first batch is now hardening on the wax paper. happened to my almond bark on the double boiler. It turned into the consistency of cake frosting, not the gooey liquid that I can dip the pretzels in. I ended up pitching the lump, along with a few pretzels, into the trash.

So...back to the store tomorrow I go. My choice. We were going anyway.

How we celebrate is all about choices. I love traditions. But I don't love the expectations that come with them sometimes. We can expect situations, recipes, and people to behave in certain ways. When they don't, well, at the very least it involves extra trips to crowded stores or at the worst, hurt feelings and disappointment.

I know several things for certain.
I know I'm blessed.
I know my kids will love what we bought them.
I know our family will eat well.
I know what Christmas means.

As far as how the extended family will behave, um, I don't know. But I won't pin my Christmas expectations on people who might not perform how I think they should.

I could hope that:
My sister-in-law won't have her freeloading friend come with five children.
My mother-in-law won't talk all the way through a movie, and then keep asking questions about what's going on.
My estranged brother-in-law and his wife won't try to cause a ruckus or make racial comments about my niece and nephews (part Hispanic).
My father-in-law won't open beer around said estranged alcoholic brother-in-law.
My other prodigal brother-in-law won't bring his ex-girlfriend (who he says he's still in love with even though she ran off with a friend of theirs and cleaned out their apartment).

Oh, I should just say family sometimes puts the "fun" in dysfunctional. All I can do is pray, grace, Lord, grace.

Whatever you do, enjoy it, go with the flow, and don't pin your hopes on doing Christmas right. Just remember why you're doing it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Electric Manger (Part 2)

Here it is...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Electric Manger

You can see the glow from our yard at the end of the block. Clark Griswold has nothing on my honey. This year we bought two of those giant blow-up globes with the fake snow. Two. I keep telling my daughter, "less is more" when it comes to things like makeup. She actually does very well. Yet, now I know where she gets it from. CJ added the globes to the display of four spiral trees, two light-up metal deer (one has a red nose), and various plastic Santas. Plus there's multicolor icicle lights on the house, lights around the windows, and two trees in the front windows.

Last night CJ wrangled the 4-foot high plastic Nativity scene figures from the shed and got them set up in the front yard. Yes, Christ is still in Christmas, even in our front yard.

So where do Jesus, Mary & Joseph end up? On our wooden yard swing. The wise men, shepherd, sheep, donkey, and camel are all clustered on the ground facing the swing.

I asked CJ if he was going to put the spotlight in front of the display.

"No, I'm hanging twinkle snowflake lights all over the top of the swing."

The lights aren't quite as bright as the Vegas strip, but they're twinkling for sure. You can't miss 'em. I went outside and couldn't help but crack up at the sight of the flashing lights over the nativity scene.

"What's so funny? It's supposed to be the starlit night when Jesus was born."

And so The Electric Manger glows in our yard.

Remember to shine, even if it's with twinkling snowflake lights.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Okay, catch me during Christmas season, why don't you? Well, fellow author and pal Chris Lynxwiler tagged me in blog tag. Sheesh, can't run fast enough, can I?

I'm supposed to tell 15 things about myself that are book-related.

1. I had a pre-birth exposure to books. Mom read to me. She also named me after a librarian she worked with at Mount Holyoke College. It figures.

2. When I was in fourth grade, Nancy Drew was my hero. So my original story and movie, The Mystery of the Uranium Cave won first place in the Worcester County Schools Film Festival. Look out, George Lucas!

3. I have never bothered to count how many books I own.

4. The best ending to a book that I've ever read is the final paragraph of The Last Battle of The Chronicles of Narnia. It still brings tears to my eyes. I don't think I've ever read a series ending like it. Simple language; deep emotion.

5. I didn't get in trouble in school for talking. I got in trouble for reading a book propped on the inside edge of my desk.

6. Favorite books growing up: The Narnia books; The Little House books; just about anything by Lucy Maude Montgomery; just about anything by Madeleine L'Engle; The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper; Little Women; Nancy Drew mysteries; Pounding Hooves by Dorothy Grunbock Johnston.

7. Back to my name again. I used to dislike my first name. When I was about nine or ten, I remember lamenting, "Why couldn't you have named me Sandra, Mom?!" You can hardly ever find a "Lynette" personalization. I didn't mind so much when I found out my name came from the Arthurian legend of Sir Garreth and Lynette. Okay, so it's not a book, but it's a story.

8. I read nonfiction either for book research or self-help, which is not often. Oooh, I sound like a selfish reader. :)

9. The more I write, the more I need to make time to read. So many books; so little time!

10. I have an ongoing book swap with my best friend Lisa. My "to be read" pile never goes down. And neither does hers. She also likes getting autographed copies that I buy from my fellow authors.

11. Some husbands groan about how many pairs of shoes their wives bring home. Mine groans about how many books I bring home (and shoes, too).

12. I wish I could write as adventurous as Michael Crichton, as everyday-creepy as Stephen King, as shivery-creepy as Brandilyn Collins, as prolific as Danielle Steele, as humorous as Kristin Billerbeck, as vividly as Colleen Coble, as heartfelt as Terri Blackstock, as imaginative as Angela Hunt; with the simple depth of C.S. Lewis. And still be me, whatever that is.

13. Books are no substitute for people. I must always remember this. I can stick my nose in a book and let the world go by--which is okay sometimes.

14. I have only read one book by Francine Rivers. This is probably much to the dismay of some of my friends who are big fans. Of Francine, that is. :)

15. I have read all The Cat Who... books by Lilian Jackson Braun.

So, if you've made it to the end, thanks for reading. And hey, stop by my friend Camy Tang's blog, Camy's Loft. Because, Camy--tag, you're it! Merry Christmas!