Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mandatory Evacuation

Mandatory evacuation starts tomorrow. Buses will be available for those who have no transportation or need help. Bags are covering gas pumps-not a good sign. People are boarding their windows. There's such an eerie feeling already.

Mayors in Calcasieu Parish--the largest parish in Louisiana--are giving us encouragement and instruction as I type this.

Don't forget to take your pets! There are no public shelters for pets.

Ron LeLeux, poet/mayor of Sulphur, has spoken to Bayou Writers Group about poetry and inspiration.

Mayor Randy Roach, the son of my very good writer friend/critique partner Lena Roach, opened our BWG conference with encouraging words.

Our Calcasieu Parish leaders--our mayors, our police chief, our sheriff--are exceptional. They learned from Katrina and Rita. As efficient and prepared as they were three years ago, I'm glad to see that they seem even more prepared this go-around.

For anyone in the Calcacieu parish area, please sign up with for emergency information from parish officials. There's a place for several phone numbers and text messages.

The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness(GOHSEP) has activated a toll-free number citizens may call to get the latest information regarding Hurricane Gustav. Dial 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information state officials have on the storm. Gustav is expected to impact Louisiana as early as Monday. Those with internet access can also visit this site for the latest information.

Take a tip from me, it's wise to clean out your 'frig before you leave town because if you come back home to a disaster. . . peeeeeeeeeee-U.

We've been told that southernly winds can cause us an 18 feet storm surge. Okay, I'm off to pick up everything I can and put it high. Don't know what that will accomplish, but at least I'll feel like I'm doing something.

Helpless--what a yucky feeling.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Here we go again. Packing up to pull out. Three years ago, when Rita ran us out of town, I vowed to organize my family pictures and genealogy so that all I'd have to do is grab and toss in the car. I started...but never finished. So when we roll out of the drive on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, my mind's eye will be visualizing favorite photos and mementos I'm leaving behind.

But many people lost more--much more than family pictures.


Monday, August 29, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 Storm with winds up to 175 miles an hour, but weakened to a Category 4 before making landfall below New Orleans in Plaquemines and Saint Bernard Parishes. The storm weakened the levee system which broke in several places [one place - the Industrial Canal - was weakened by a barge which rammed into it.] and over 90% of New Orleans was flooded. Katrina also devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast and caused damage on the Alabama Gulf Coast. The official death toll is 1697; however, Columbia geo-physicist and earth scientist John Mutter believes that the number is "well in excess of 2000"

September 17-24, 2005 - Hurricane Rita hit South Florida and the Florida Keys as a Category 2 storm on September 20. As it moved away from Florida, Rita became Category 5. After weakening, Rita came ashore as a Category 3 between Sabine Pass, Texas and Johnson Bayou, Louisiana at 2:30 a.m. CDT.

On September 23, 2005, the outer bands of the storm caused a breach in the Industrial Canal levee in New Orleans in the lower ninth ward causing re-flooding of the area. The largest evacuation in Texas history was undertaken on September 22, 2005. The traffic was backed up for 100 miles on IH-45; and, 24 elderly persons died on the morning of September 23, 2005 ten miles south of Dallas when a bus exploded from oxygen tanks ignited by sparks from the brakes.

Can you believe three years have passed since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans?
Can you believe there are still many people living in FEMA trailers?
Can you believe there are still areas in New Orleans that look like Katrina hit yesterday?
Can you believe today is Katrina's three-year anniversary and Gustav is on his way?

Weather guys say we could have two hurricanes--Gustav and Hanna--in the Gulf of Mexico within seven days. At this point, no one knows where Gustav will hit.

All prayers welcome--for everyone along the Gulf Coast.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Old Dog - New Tricks

You've heard the old saying, "Can't teach an old dog new tricks." I'm beginning to believe that applies to me. I just purchased a new computer and of course, it's cursed with Vista. My sweet old Dell gave up her ghost at the most inopportune time: I've been designing a conference brochure and a poster, as well as reviewing books and working on my own personal writings.

I can't say yet that I hate Vista. To me, it seems a little weird. It does the same things XP does (so far) except in a scrambled up way. I feel as though I'm playing a perpetual game of hide and seek because I have to search and search to find my favorite tasks. And that reminds me: I haven't yet found where I can put my favorites, and I don't know how to delete a word file. Anyone know?

I've been out of town all week--in Corpus Christi, playing with Vista, trying to get used to this different keyboard, and looking at the ocean on the rainy days we've had. All that water, the beautiful sail boats, provided a calming effect while I fumbled around with this flashy HP.

Ask me next week how much I like or dislike Vista. I'll probably have an answer by then. In the meantime, leave a message. If you have Vista tell me what you like about it...what you hate about it... and how to delete a word doc I no longer want.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some Great Kid's Books

I'm out of town for a few days but wanted to share some books with you before I leave. These are children's books. Sweet books.

I love reading kid's books. When I research, I usually start in the children's section of the library. I find kid's books help me build a foundation for when I make my way to the big-people books. I believe the same can be said for those who have questions about God. Here are three books that stir the imagination, answer questions and are perfect gifts for children and adults alike.

When God created My Toes by Dandi Daley Mackall is a sweet rhyming, relational story. My favorite line is: "When God created my nose, did he know I'd sneeze in a wintry breeze? Did we kiss like Eskimos when God created my nose?" Doesn't the idea of rubbing noses with God put a yearning in your heart? What an opportunity to show the intimacy of God and teach a child what Psalm 139:13-16 truly means?

The illustrations by award winning David Hohn are no less than perfect. This is a fun book with beautiful illustrations and a wonderful message.

To read more about When God Created My Toes or to order your own copy, click HERE.

God Loves Me More Than That is also by Dandi Daley Mackall. It shows the depth of God's love with cute rhymes and exceptional illustrations by David Hohn. Both of these books will be treasured and read over and over again.

Meet the Author:

Dandi Daley Mackall has published more than 400 books for children and adults, with more than 3 million combined copies sold. She is the author of WaterBrook’s two other delightful Dandilion Rhymes books, A Gaggle of Geese & A Clutter of Cats and The Blanket Show. A popular keynote speaker at conferences and Young Author events, Mackall lives in rural Ohio with her husband, three children, a menagerie of horses, dogs, and cats.

Meet the Illustrator: David Hohn is an award-winning illustrator who graduated with honors from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has worked as both a staff artist and an art director for a children’s software company in Portland, Oregon, a position which led to his art directing an award-winning project for Fisher-Price. Hohn’s recent projects include Lisa Tawn Bergren’s God Gave Us Christmas.

To read more about God Loves Me More Than That or to order your own copy, click HERE.
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God Gave us Heaven by Lisa Tawn Bergren answers every question a child might ask about heaven. This book is a perfect gift for any kiddo, but an ideal gift for that Grandpa who loves to read to his grandchildren, or needs help answering questions about heaven.

Illustrations are by Laura J. Bryant.

About the Author

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than one million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Heaven is Lisa’s fourth children’s book, following in the tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She makes her home in Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

Meet the illustrator: Laura J. Bryant studied painting, printmaking, and sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She has illustrated numerous award-winning children’s books, including God Gave Us You, Smudge Bunny, and If You Were My Baby. Laura lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

To learn more about God Gave us Heaven or to order your own copy, click HERE.

Friday, August 8, 2008

We Have A Winner!

I've drawn the lucky winner for Meet Daisy. Congratulations Julie Lessman!

Julie is a debut author who has garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.

Visit Julie's website here. She blogs for The Seekers, a group of fifteen unpublished and newly published Christian writers. They're all contest winners and finalists who randomly collided on the road toward publication. This is a great group blog that offers support, encouragement, and information for the writing journey.
Julie is in for a treat when she reads her prize. It's a fun well-written book of stories. And the good news is:

Meet Daisy by Alyssa Paul was listed in the top ten best seller list at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Lafayette, Louisiana for the week ending July 30th.

Once again, congratulations, Julie Lessman, and the rest of you readers can order Alyssa's book by visiting her website here. We wish her continued writing success.
Bloggers note: I won't be posting again until I purchase a new computer.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night - Meet Author Alyssa Paul

Meet nine-year old Alyssa Paul, a Louisiana author. Alyssa has written her first book, Meet Daisy, published by AuthorHouse. For a self-published, first-time author, Meet Daisy is well-done. The illustrations are cute and Daisy is a likeable character. If Alyssa Paul can tell interesting stories at nine what kind of writer will she be at nineteen . . . or twenty nine? Congratulations to Alyssa on her first published book, but especially for having the kind of parental support and encouragement every child needs and deserves. Read to the end to learn how to win your own copy of Meet Daisy.

1. Where did you get the idea for Meet Daisy?
I got the idea of Meet Daisy last summer. We go to the mountains every summer and we go camping alot. I wrote in the past because I like reading the Laura Ingalls books. So, I just pulled everything together.

2. Are your characters based on people you know?
No, they're not.

3. When did you first know that you were a writer, and how did you know? Well, I didn't really know I was a writer until I sat down at the computer and completed the story.

4. What has surprised you most about being a real author?
What really surprised me is that people are saying how good my book is and how many they've bought. I didn't really think my book was a big deal.

5. You've had several book signings. How many? What do you like best about them and what do you absolutely hate about them?
I've had four book signings. What I really like about them is getting to meet new people and other authors. What I hate about them is how long they last and not being able to take a break.

6. Do you have any advice for other young people who want to write a book? All the advice I have is use your imagination and be creative. You can do it!!

7. What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?
The hardest part about writing is thinking up the names for the characters. All the good names that I think of are taken by my family and friends. I don't want to use their names.

8. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing and does it interfere with school? Will you keep writing when school starts?
Well, I don't really have a schedule. Some days I don't feel like writing. But when school starts back, I'll have to write early in the mornings and in the afternoon, after my homework is done.

9. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Read? What do you like to read? Yes, I do love reading. I also like watching TV, playing with my dog, riding my horse, and drawing. I like reading mystery stories and horse stories.

10. What kind of research went into the writing of Meet Daisy? When I first wrote the book I had it in the 1800's. My mom read it and said that they didn't have electricity or automobiles in the 1800's, so I changed it to 1908.

11. What do your friends think about you being a author with a published book? They think it's cool, but we really don't talk about it.

12. What are your goals for the future? Do you have another book in your head? Tell us what's coming up for you? Well, I want to have a horse ranch, and I would like to be an animal trainer at Sea World. But I still want to write, of course. I have another book finished, but it has not been published. The title is "Let Me Tell You About My Horse." It's about a girl named Grace and her horse. I want to get it published alot.

If you'd like to leave a comment for Alyssa, we'll put your name in a hat and draw. One lucky winner will get a copy of Meet Daisy and the bookmark shown above. If you don't win, you can visit Alyssa's website to order your own copy of Meet Daisy.

What I'm Doing Tomorrow

Saturday I speak to the Bayou Writers Group on Blogging: Who should do it, Why and How. We'll see if they throw rotten tomatoes. :)

Also I'll be posting my Louisiana Saturday Night column tomorrow. I'm excited about interviewing this particular author and when you meet her, you'll know why. She donated a book for me to give away. You'll have to leave a comment and be tossed into a hat for the drawing. I only have one book. :) Those of you who know me know I'm a pack rat. I hoard books. I have to force myself to get rid of them. I NEVER loan them. That's a good way to end a friendship. :-( It's taking a lot for me to offer this book as a "blog-prize." I feel queasy just thinking about it.

Final Note: If for some reason there is no Louisiana Saturday Night posted tomorrow, it's not because I absconded with the author's book. It will mean my computer crashed. This sweet little Dell is 7+ years old and she's wheezing a lot lately. She warns me every day to go visit the computer stores. Yesterday I made a special trip to Circuit City but couldn't bring myself to buy anything. Next week, for sure.

Say a prayer that sweet old Dell lasts a few days longer.