Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hymns for Memorial Day

During the televised memorial services for those who died in the bombing of the Navy destroyer USS Cole in 2000, the Navy band played a tune that struck me as particularly beautiful. When I mentioned it to my mother, she immediately sprang up and pulled out her old “Song and Service Book for Ship and Field” from her days in the Navy WAVES. She flipped to a page in the book and handed it to me. As soon as the memorial services were over, I went over to our piano and played and sang the song that the Navy band had performed. The words brought me to tears. They are as follows:


1. Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep,
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

2. O Saviour whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

3. O Sacred Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
Who bad’st its angry tumult cease,
And gavest light and life and peace;
O hear us, when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

4. O Trinity of love and power,
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go,
Thus ever let there rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

This song, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” is also known as the “Navy Hymn”. I decided to do an internet search on this hymn this Memorial Day weekend, and discovered that additional verses have been added to this hymn since my mother served in the Navy in the 1940s. Some of these verses recognize other branches of the U.S. Armed Services…and more! I thought you might enjoy reading the words to a few of them on this Memorial Day.

Eternal Father, grant, we pray

To all Marines, both night and day,

The courage, honor, strength, and skill

Their land to serve, thy law fulfill;

Be thou the shield forevermore

From every peril to the Corps.

--J.E. Seim, 1966

Lord God, our power evermore,

Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor,

Dive with our men beneath the sea;

Traverse the depths protectively.

O hear us when we pray, and keep
them safe from peril in the deep.

--David B. Miller, 1965

O God, protect the women who,

in service, faith in thee renew;

O guide devoted hands of skill

And bless their work within thy will;

Inspire their lives that they may be

Examples fair on land and sea.

-- Lines 1-4, Merle E. Strickland, 1972,
and adapted by James D. Shannon, 1973.

Lines 5-6, Beatrice M. Truitt, 1948

Eternal Father, Lord of hosts,

Watch o'er the men who guard our coasts.

Protect them from the raging seas

And give them light and life and peace.

Grant them from thy great throne above

The shield and shelter of thy love.
--Author and date unknown

Eternal Father, King of birth,

Who didst create the heaven and earth,

And bid the planets and the sun

Their own appointed orbits run;

O hear us when we seek thy grace 

For those who soar through outer space.

-- J.E. Volonte, 1961

God, who dost still the restless foam,

Protect the ones we love at home.

Provide that they should always be 

By thine own grace both safe and free.

O Father, hear us when we pray 

For those we love so far away.

-- Hugh Taylor, date unknown

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly

And those who on the ocean ply;

Be with our troops upon the land,

And all who for their country stand:

Be with these guardians day and night 

And may their trust be in thy might.

--author unknown, about 1955

And when at length her course is run,

Her work for home and country done,

Of all the souls that in her sailed

Let not one life in thee have failed;

But hear from heaven our sailor's cry,

And grant eternal life on high!

--Author and date unknown

“Eternal Father was the favorite hymn of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was sung at his funeral at Hyde Park, New York in April 1945. Roosevelt had served as Secretary of the Navy. This hymn was also played as President John F. Kennedy's body was carried up the steps of the capitol to lie in state.” (Source: Naval History and Heritage Command website: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq53-1.htm)

May we each take time to remember on this day those far away on land and sea, past and present, the guardians of our precious freedoms!

(Click here to send a postcard to our troops!)

******************************************************************

Click here for "Summer Treasure Hunt" contest

Thursday, May 21, 2009

School Days Comin' to an End

Today I played the piano for our annual 1st Grade Spring Program. The children sang. The Ants went marching, the Speckled Frogs ate their bugs, the Baby Bumblebee "bit me!", the Little White Duck was "doing what he oughtta", we all loved Arizona, and we Heard It for America. (Hip-Hoo-ray!) All was good.

And on we go to summer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Welcome to Our “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win” Contest!

Some friends and I have put together an exciting contest to kick off your summer! Beginning June 1st, we will be giving away a prize a day. That’s right: 30 days, 30 treasures! There should be something for everyone: romance, mystery, historical, contemporary, and young adult fiction; children’s picture books; a variety of non-fiction; and just to liven things up even more, we’ve included a few exciting non-book prizes: a free 30 page manuscript edit, for you aspiring authors out there; an e-bay gift certificate; and a gift-certificate for a Vinyl Expressions Quote.

How can you win one of these fabulous prizes? Follow the rules below:

SUMMER TREASURE HUNT RULES:

You can send in an entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and mailing address to jdipastena@yahoo.com.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: June Treasure Hunt, Day 1; June Treasure Hunt, Day 2, etc).

(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST

(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.

You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd-July 1st to read the names of the winners.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Joyce DiPastena at jdipastena@yahoo.com.

And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

June 1
SPONSOR: Aubrey Mace
PRIZE: autographed copy of my new YA fiction book, My Fairy Grandmother.
QUESTION: What is the title of my upcoming book to be released Fall 2009?
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.aubreymace.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Terry Fleming of California
ANSWER: Santa Maybe

June 2
SPONSOR: Rachel Rager
PRIZE: By Love or By Sea, romance, autographed copy
QUESTION: What question does the stranger ask Alice? (Hint: Read excerpt of By Love or By Sea on the “Reading Room” page.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.rachelrager.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Phyllis Lamken of Idaho
ANSWER: “D-do you know if the . . . the Newman’s still live around here?”

June 3
SPONSOR: Josi S. Kilpack
PRIZE: An autographed copy of culinary mystery Lemon Tart OR a pre-ordered copy of English Trifle (release date is August 2009)
QUESTION: How many original recipes are included in the culinary mystery, Lemon Tart? (Hint: click on “Lemon Tart” tab on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.josiskilpack.com
USA ENRIES ONLY
WINNER: Debbie Lambson of Utah
ANSWER: Seven

June 4
SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams
PRIZE: Arizona Glyph Award Finalist: Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today Children’s snuggle, giggle picture book. Autographed by the author and the real Chase McKay.
QUESTION: What is the name of the dragon book Cindy is completing?
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.cindyrwilliams.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Gloria Lyons of Michigan
ANSWER: Thundertail's Tale: The Legend


June 5
SPONSOR: Kersten Campbell
PRIZE: Autographed Copy of the Motherhood humor book: Confessions of a Completely (In)Sane Mother
QUESTION: What does the dog beg for when he escapes into the neighbor's house in the book Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother? (hint: if they click on the book they'll find the answer)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.kerstencampbell.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Wendy Steed of Idaho
ANSWER: Chicken

June 6
SPONSOR: Lara Niedemeyer
PRIZE: $20 gift certificate towards merchandise and shipping at my store—8pizza on eBay
QUESTION: What is the lowest priced item and what is the highest priced item listed in 8pizza’s store? (Hint: use the “Sort By” feature).
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://stores.shop.ebay.com/8pizza
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Gayle Oreluk of Illinois
ANSWER: This could have changed by now! :-)

June 7
Sponsor's name: Kathi Oram Peterson
Prize: Autographed copy of The Forgotten Warrior, YA Inspirational Time travel
Question Who is Tarik?
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.kathiorampeterson.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Heather Justesen of Utah
ANSWER: Second-in-command to Chief Captain Helaman

June 8
SPONSOR: Donna Hatch
PRIZE: Autographed copy of paperback of the Regency Romance, The Stranger She Married
QUESTION: What is Cole accused of doing?
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.donnahatch.net (Hint: read the excerpt under “Bookshelf” tab for The Stranger She Married)
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: IN THE CASE OF AN INTERNATIONAL WINNER, AN E-BOOK VERSION OF THE STRANGER SHE MARRIED WILL BE AWARDED
WINNER: Valerie Bongards of Germany!
ANSWER: Killing her twin brother

June 9
SPONSOR: Diony George
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Torn Apart, a fictional novel based on a true story. "If it could happen to Alyson, it could happen to anyone..."
QUESTION: What TV station interviewed Diony about her book? (Hint watch video for the answer)
WEBSITE/BLOG: diony-george.blogspot.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: June Kirk of Arizona
ANSWER: Home Team

June 10
SPONSOR: Tina Scott
PRIZE: autographed copy of Coyote's Grand Adventure - children's picture book
QUESTION: What did Coyote always dream of doing? (Hint: Look under “Library” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://tinascott.net
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Venetia Wilhelmsen of Arizona
ANSWER: Flying

June 11
SPONSOR: Cindy Beck
PRIZE: Winner's choice of one of the following anthologies featuring Cindy's stories (autographed copy): My Dad is My Hero, Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors, or Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers.
QUESTION: What was the name of my horse? (Hint: You can find the answer by going to the website and clicking on the button marked "Books."
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.bythebecks.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Scott Duncan of Pennsylvania
ANSWER: Sugar

June 12
SPONSOR: Valerie Ipson
PRIZE: $15 gift certificate and free shipping for a Vinyl Expressions’ Vinyl Lettering quote (check out http:vinylsignsanddesigns.blogspot.com for examples of prize)
QUESTION: What is Valerie’s personal writing quote? (Hint: see quotes in right sidebar under “OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF WRITERLY PEOPLE: Valerie’s “personal quote” means just that…her very own quote!)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://valerieipson.blogspot.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Krista Darrach of Arizona
ANSWER: "All this writing is really cutting into my reading time."

June 13
SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena
PRIZE: 2007 Whitney Award Finalist: Loyalty’s Web, medieval romance, autographed by author
QUESTION: What is HelĂ©ne’s prayer when Gunthar brushes her cheek with his thumb? (Hint: Click on “Excerpt” tab on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.joyce-dipastena.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: IN THE CASE OF AN INTERNATIONAL WINNER, A $20 AMAZON.COM E-CERTIFICATE WILL BE AWARDED TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF A COPY OF LOYALTY’S WEB
WINNER: Ginny Romney of Arizona
ANSWER: "Oh, please, don't let him read my heart now!"

June 14
SPONSOR: Joan Sowards
PRIZE: LDS Word Puzzles
QUESTION: What is Bednar?
WEBSITE: http://joansowards.com/node/110
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Martha Lawson of Mississippi
ANSWER: A cook

June 15
SPONSOR: Anne Bradshaw
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Please, No Zits! & Other Short Stories for LDS Youth, but non-LDS will enjoy it, too! - YA genre (12 upward)
QUESTION: What does author Jeffrey S. Savage say about Please, No Zits? (Hint: scroll down right sidebar on blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://annebradshaw.blogspot.com
USA ENTRANTS ONLY
WINNER: Stacey Starley of Utah
ANSWER: "From a New Year's Eve party in Elmer, New Jersey to a prison in Devon, England, Anne Bradshaw weaves tales that will leave youth and adults alike laughing, crying, and best of all thinking. Bradshaw's stories are witty, wise, and filled with wonder. I've found the perfect gift for my nieces and nephews."

June 16
SPONSOR: Laurie LC Lewis
PRIZE: an autographed copy of BOOK ONE of her Free Men and Dreamers series, Dark Sky at Dawn.
QUESTION: What current political situation has caused a verse of the Star Spangled Banner to be nearly forgotten? (Hint: click on “news” link on website)
WEBSITE: www.laurielclewis.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: IN THE CASE OF AN INTERNATIONAL WINNER, A $25 AMAZON.COM E-CERTIFICATE WILL BE AWARDED TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF A COPY OF DARK SKY AT DAWN.
WINNER: LuAnn Morgan of Washington
ANSWER: Because the British are now our nation's greatest ally.

June 17
SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant
PRIZE: FREE download of the eBook of your choice (Betrayal, Spellbound, Heartless, or Redemption)
QUESTION: What was the title of the very first Regency romance that Jaimey wrote from beginning to end? (Hint: Check out the post titled: "My Mind : What a Twisted Place to Live")
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://jaimeygrant.blogspot.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Dena Walton of Washington
ANSWER: Lord Fenton's Ward

June 18
SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson
PRIZE: Free 30 page edit of your manuscript ($30 value)
QUESTION: How does Danyelle's business card describe her? (Hint: check right sidebar on blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://queenoftheclan.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: Danyelle says: “If they live in the USA, I will print their 30 pages, hand edit, then mail back. If they live outside the USA, I will edit the .doc file and email back.”
WINNER: Julia Groves
ANSWER: Writer, Book Editor & Reviewer, Mommy Extraordinaire, Queen of the Clan, Daughter of God

June 19
SPONSOR: Walnut Springs Press
PRIZE: I Can't Believe It's Food Storage by Crystal Godfrey (non-fiction)
QUESTION: What is the most recent new release listed on our blog? (Hint: check out post for April 13, 2009)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://walnutspringspress.blogspot.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: John Ferguson of Kansas
ANSWER: I Can't Believe It's Food Storage

June 20
SPONSOR: Caroline Gregory and Shawnette Nielson
PRIZE: Puppy Stew, Children’s Picture book. Finalist for Foreward Book Of The Year award. (NOTE: If you would like an autographed copy, please note that in your entry)
QUESTION: “In order to stay warm, what do you wear underneath your shoes?” (Hint: look under the “Witchisms” tab on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://puppystew.net
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Carrie Lundell of California
ANSWER: Ballet slippers

June 21
SPONSOR: Marion Webb-De Sisto.
PRIZE: An autographed copy of her ground-breaking book, Crystal Skulls.
QUESTION: Does this book explore ancient crystal skulls or contemporary ones? (Hint: Take a look at “Books” in the main menu)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.marionwebb-desisto.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Karen Haas of North Carolina
ANSWER: Contemporary


June 22
SPONSOR: Inglestone Publishing
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Counting the Cost by Liz Adair
QUESTION: What is the name of the main male character in Counting the Cost?
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.inglestonepublishing.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Auriette Lindsey of Florida
ANSWER: Heck Benham

June 23
SPONSOR: Cecily Markland/Inglestone Publishing
PRIZE: Autographed copy of children’s picture book, If I Made a Bug, by Cecily Markland
QUESTION: Who is the illustrator of If I Made a Bug? (Hint: the “bookstore” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.inglestonepublishing.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Shirley Bahlmann of Utah
ANSWER: Becky Lacouture

June 24
SPONSOR'S NAME: . Jacquie Rogers
PRIZE: Faery Special Romances (YA novel)
Autographed in USA, not autographed elsewhere.
QUESTION: Why does our family support Neurofibromatosis research? (Hint: Click on “Neurofibromatosis research” link and read Mercedes Rice’s story)
WEBISTE: http://www.jacquierogers.com/faerysr.html
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: WINNER LIVING IN A COUNTRY NOT DIRECTLY SERVED BY AN ONLINE BOOKSTORE WILL RECEIVE A PDF COPY.
WINNER: Patricia Cochran of Texas
ANSWER: Jacquie Rogers' daughter has the disease


June 25
SPONSOR: Terry Deighton
PRIZE: Cup of Comfort for New Mothers (non-fiction, anthology)
QUESTION: Name any two titles from the Cup of Comfort series. (Hint: Look in the store.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.cupofcomfort.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Torren Wilhelmsen of Arizona
ANSWER: Too many answers to list here :-)


June 26
SPONSOR: Leatherwood Press
PRIZE: Messiah: The Little-known Story of Handel’s Beloved Oratorio, by Tim Slover
QUESTION: Who was the art designer for Messiah: The Little Known Story of Handel’s Beloved Oratorio? (Hint: see post for May 15, 2009)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://jdp-news.blogspot.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Taffy Lovell of Utah
ANSWER: Amy Orton

June 27
SPONSOR: Dawson Publishing
PRIZE: Copy of The No Cussing Club by McKay Hatch
QUESTION: How many members of the No Cussing Club are there to date
WEBSITE: www.nocussing.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Sandi Brown of Idaho
ANSWER: Over 20,000 members worldwide

June 28
SPONSOR: Nicole Zoltack
PRIZE: Woman of Honor (fantasy romance ebook)
QUESTION: What color is Caelan's eyes?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER: Cindy Sampson Fleet of Canada!
ANSWER: Sapphire

June 29

SPONSOR: Sarah M. Eden
PRIZE: An autographed copy of the Sarah M. Eden Regency romance of your choice
QUESTION: "Name all 7 Jonquil brothers." (Hint: check out "The Jonquil Brothers Series" tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.sarahmeden.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Eva Minaskanian of Virginia
ANSWER: Philip, Layton, Corbin, Jason, Stanley, Harold, and Charlie

June 30
SPONSOR: Marsha Ward
PRIZE: LDStorymakers Writing Secrets
QUESTION: Who is Rulon? (Hint: Click on “Man from Shenandoah” under “Novels” link on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://marshaward.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER: Rachel Hanchett of Arizona
ANSWER: Rulon is the oldest Owen boy

Friday, May 15, 2009

Review of “Messiah: The Little-known Story of Handel’s Beloved Oratorio”, by Tim Slover


Book Description:

This account presents the remarkable story of the creation of the world-famous Messiah by George Frideric Handel. Revealing that the work was composed during a tumultuous period of Handel’s life and molded through many unlikely circumstances, this chronicle tells of how this musical masterpiece was crafted and how it became a glorious production that is now performed around the world every Christmas season. Images of significant sites and artifacts of note, including the church where Messiah was first performed, accompany the text to accurately place this rich tale in its historical context. A bonus CD featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s rendition of Messiah is also included.

I’ve just finished reading the most splendid little book! Messiah: The Little-known Story of Handel’s Beloved Oratorio, by Tim Slover.

Messiah is no scholarly version of how Handel’s oratorio came to be. Slover writes in such an intimate style that one feels as if one is actually in the concert hall, anticipating the first London performance of the famous composer’s mysteriously titled work, “”A New Sacred Oratorio”.

Slover presents us at the outset with a number of mysteries. Why the “veiled” title? Why does the librettist, Charles Jennens, look displeased as he waits for the concert to start? Why does the tenor soloist look ill, and the contralto “stricken”? And will the king attend the performance, after snubbing Handel’s music for the last four years?

After drawing so vivid a picture for the reader, Slover deftly backtracks to lay the groundwork for revealing the answers to each of these questions. The story that follows is as riveting as it is entertaining. And, in the end, touching, as well. For Handel’s Messiah is not only a great work of art (okay, that may be a bit of an understatement), but invoked a healing spirit upon many of his age, as it continues to touch and heal many hearts today.

Messiah is replete with drawings and artwork, many from Handel’s lifetime, that bring the age even more fully to life for the reader. The art designer for Messiah, Amy Orton, is to be applauded. (Art designers are too often overlooked in books like this.)

I cannot recommend Messiah: The Little-known Story of Handel’s Beloved Oratorio highly enough. If you are a music lover, do yourself a favor. Read this book! (And if you purchase a copy, remember that it comes with a free CD, as noted in the book description above.)

Messiah: The Little-known Story of Handel's Beloved Oratorio can be purchased on Amazon. (Scroll down my left sidebar and use the Amazon link to order books highlighted on this site.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why Am I Green?

Why is my background green for May? Not because it's spring. Because it's my birthday month, and this is as close as I could get to my birthstone (emerald) and still (hopefully) be readable. Happy birthday to me!

Twittering Away

Yes, you can follow me on Twitter now...if you really want to! Scroll down the left side of my blog to read my Twitters here, or sign up to follow me.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

As the Eyes Go Rolling Along

What’s up with the “rolling of eyes” phenomenon in practically every other work of fiction I read these days?

I first noticed it in a medieval romance. The book started out well enough. A likable heroine I was happy to follow along on her quest to find “true love”. But then, half-way through, she rolled her eyes. No problem. Everyone rolls their eyes sometimes. But then she did it again. And again. And again. Until I found myself groaning with each repeated “roll” and a hair’s breadth away from throwing the book against the wall in frustration. But I hung on tight and kept reading and otherwise enjoyed the story through to the end.

A few fiction and non-fiction books filled my reading interim, and I forgot about this “flaw” in an otherwise well written and enjoyable book.

Then I picked up the first of a young adult vampire series which shall remain nameless in this blog. I enjoyed the first volume without complaint. But to my dismay, in volume two of the series, the eye rolling began again. Only this time it was worse than the medieval heroine’s romance. Instead of the heroine rolling her eyes every dozen pages or so, almost all the characters in this nameless vampire book rolled their eyes on what felt like every other page, until I wanted to scream, “Stop, already! Can’t you think of some other facial expression to use, for variety’s sake?” This book was much too hefty to be tempted to fling against the wall. I was afraid I’d sprain my wrist and have to pay to fill in the inevitable hole so large a volume would undoubtedly leave in its wake. (I hoped the eye rolling might be toned down in the series’ subsequent volumes, but alas, that hope was in vain.)

Another fiction book or two, completely lacking in eye rolling, restored my equilibrium at the end of the vampire series. But then, a few weeks ago, I picked up a Regency romance, and what did I discover? A hero who rolled his eyes again…and again…and again…reviving the barely smothered scream described in the paragraph above. (This time the wall was only saved by the fact that I read it in my sister’s apartment and didn’t want to stick her with the bill for repairs.)

So, what’s up with all the eye rolling in novels these days? Is it a reflection of authors who watch too many smart-alecky kids on TV who constantly roll their eyes at their TV-parents? Is it living with kids of their own who constantly roll their eyes at their author-parent? I don’t have any children of my own, and I don’t currently watch TV shows with smart-alecky kids, so it’s truly a mystery to me.

Regardless of the answer, to me the bottom line is, any action repeated ad infinitum in a novel—eye rolling or any other gesture—is a sign of sloppy, or at least, careless writing. The characters in my books aren’t much for eye rolling, but it’s possible I have my own too-frequently-repeated mannerisms of one sort or another. If any of my critique partners catch me falling into this trap, I pray that they’ll stop me in my tracks and say (nicely, of course), “You’ve used this expression twenty times. Can’t you think of something else?” Trust me, I would count such a critique partner as worth her weight in gold!

But back to my original question. I’m not writing this to throw stones. I wouldn’t be so annoyed or baffled if each of the authors above had chosen a completely different mannerism to repeat (over and over and over). But the fact that all of them chose eye rolling begs the question I began with…what’s going on with the “eye rolling phenomenon” in fiction these days?

Can anyone fill me in?