Friday, February 5, 2016

Honest Thoughts: Fictional Romance

First off, thank you to everyone who participated in my Flash Giveaway yesterday! Talk about a HUGE success! There were over 300 entries in one day. I was shocked and super excited. Thanks to all who entered and spread the word about my Society6 shop (check it out here).

If you didn't win there's still a chance to take part in my *special* just for you promo code for 20% off on pillows and throw blankets and FREE world wide shipping.

You've got to use this link (below) in order to get the percentage/shipping:


Oh, and did I mention I added new designs??? Cuz I DID :D

All right, now on to the post that should have gone up yesterday but, amid the giveaway craziness, I didn't have a chance to get it up.

Fictional Romance

Ahhh where do I begin?
She looked into his eyes and saw her past and her future collide. All of her hopes and dreams were summed up in this beautiful being in front of her. He took her breath away with his strong jaw and deep-set eyes that always held her gaze. He was perfect for her, and she'd never let him matter how much he licked her face. 

Her dog Fido was the only one for her. 
Hehe. Did I get you? I know, not fair--I played with your emotions. And isn't that what good romance does? The strength of a good story can't be underestimated. We get lost in the lives of the characters and find that no matter how many other things we should be doing we are going to read.

I have a love/hate relationship with the romance genre. *Gasp* I know, shock of all shocks the girl who writes romantic suspense has a non-romantic bone in her body? Well, kind of...

I love a great romantic story and my tolerance for cheese/sappy romance is extremely high (just ask my boyfriend who sat through a bazillion Hallmark Christmas movies over the holiday). But what I don't have a tolerance for is half-hearted, bad romance (I apologize now for all of you that are humming the song--if you don't know what I'm taking about, that is perfectly fine).

This may not be what you were expecting, but I like a little bit of the unbelievable when it comes to romance. No--hear me now, I am NOT saying that it should be an "insta-romance" where she looks across the room and just knows she's going to marry the tall-dark-handsome-etc man. But I think the beauty of the romance genre is it's sparkle. (Um...technical term?)

The fact that anyone finds anyone in this world is just shy of amazing, let alone the fact that a man and a woman could see past each others flaws (because isn't that always what we're needing to do?) to the true character beneath. Many of my favorite romances delve deep into these things. They take a real-life thing and wrap it up in "what if" and send it out into the world in the shape of a book hoping to remind us that there is such a thing as a happy ending. (tweet this)

But isn't that unrealistic?

Yes, in some many ways a great romance can be unrealistic, but I've always thought of it this way: Great romance takes moments of time and expands them, pulling and stretching them apart, to see them for what they truly are (tweet this). A moment of his touch on her arm. Their gazes locked together. Her heart pounding and face flushing with the fact that he sees her--not just her beauty, but all of her.


That to me is what makes romance so beautiful. The feelings of emotion that jump off the page and sink deeply into our hearts. It makes us remember that we can believe in love, no matter how bleak the world is.

This is not to say that reality is as shining or nearly as exciting as the romance contained in the pages of a book. Nor is it to say that we can gain a completely accurate picture of what romance should be, but a good author can spread truth about what love is (tweet this). It's patient, kind, doesn't envy or boast, is not arrogant, isn't rude... (see full list here). So, in that way, I love romance.

What don't I like about the romance genre? Well, the very same things. I know, I know, talk about confusing right? I think the issue comes out when we take what is shown to us and make it an ultimatum in real life. He must love me this way--all the books say so. What a dangerous notion. We must realize that a book is just that--a book (though it pains me to say it). You are reading entire seasons of characters lives at once (sometimes in one sitting if the books good enough) and suddenly we start to think: this is the way life should be.

I read for the sheer pleasure of it. I have a big imagination and love story worlds created by talented writers. I shouldn't read to compare my life to a fictional characters or their fictional romance. I should be more concerned with my own story (and trust me, the Author of my life knows exactly what He's doing). Yes, I will gain insight into my life from books and that's a good thing, but the moment my expectations of real people are based on the actions of characters from books (from the mind of other people not in my situation), I need to ask myself if I'm being fair. And if my pleasure of reading has become a standard rather than an escape.

So there you have it, my honest thoughts about fictional romance.

Now it's your turn to be honest: What do you readers think of the romance genre? Do you like it? Do you prefer sub-genres instead? What's one of your favorite romance novels and why?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

MUG from EA Creative | Flash Giveaway

I can bear-ly contain my excitement for this giveaway!

Eik! Ok so I'm obviously SUPER excited because--first of all--there is a fantastic SALE going on in my Society6 shop until February 7th and I have a special code to share with you all!

Use the link below to receive FREE Worldwide Shipping + 20% Off Throw Blankets and Pillows:

This offer is only valid by clicking through this link ^^^ and lasts until February 7th 12pm PST.

Plus, as if that weren't enough, I'm doing a flash giveaway today only!!! Enter below by 5pm Pacific Standard Time and you could win your choice of mug (travel mugs exempt) from my Society6 shop! (Check out the options here)

The catch? Well, there really isn't one aside from the fact that I will HAVE to hear from the winner by 6pm PST or I'll pick another winner until I get someone who responds. Sorry, but I won't stay up until 2am for this ;) I'll be ordering the mug tonight and will need a valid shipping address in order to complete the giveaway.

What's next? Enter below and, at 5pm PST I will pick the winner and announce who it is on my Author Facebook Page. Then I will shoot off an email to the lucky winner. If I don't hear back by 6pm PST I will pick the next winner and so on. And, if all else fails, I'll just order myself a mug (ha!).

May the #muglife be the life for you...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Laura VanArendonk Baugh {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Laura...

Laura was born at a very early age and never looked back. She overcame her childhood deficiencies of having been born without teeth and unable to walk, and by the time she matured into a recognizable adult she had become a trainer and behavior analyst, an internationally-recognized animal trainer and instructor, a costumer/cosplayer, a chocolate addict, and of course a writer.

How to connect with Laura...

Visit Laura on Amazon: Amazon author page 

Get to know Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Laura VanArendonk Baugh Writer Wednesday Interivew

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...

I’ve always been telling stories. The earliest ones I remember writing down were set on paper when I was in third or fourth grade, maybe. (I still have those somewhere, and I’m terrified to look at them!) Then I wrote some self-insertion fanfic when I was in middle school, though I had no idea that’s what it was called. And then I started writing “real” stories.

Authors are always saying they write because they have to or they write the stories they want to read or they write because they need to answer life’s questions. I may write because I’m more connected to fictional worlds than the real one! When there’s a whole world in your head, it’s easy to get lost in it.  (tweet this)

Emilie here: Love this - there is definitely many worlds in my head haha!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your books...

What’s the theme in your books? How did you come up with it? 
I don’t think you come up with a theme, I think you discover what theme has placed itself in your work. I think a deliberate theme comes out nearer propaganda than truth. I’ve uncovered a couple of interesting themes in my work; in Con Job, it’s that life is what you choose to make it, even if you’ve mucked it up previously and think you can’t recover. In Kitsune-Mochi, it’s that loyalty has nothing to do with social ties and everything to do with action.

Did you get to do any fun research for the book? 
Half the fun of being an author is research! For my Robin Archer stories, set in an Indianapolis neighborhood, I had to eat delicious pizza and ice cream at local eateries. Tough, I know, but I forced myself for the sake of authenticity. And for a story I’m working on now, a mashup of Greek and Norse mythologies, I made special museum trips out of state and visited a number of historical recreation villages and museums in Denmark. Cool!

We're your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book?

I always start with an idea of character and then really get to know them during the writing itself. I can never get into those character interviews many other authors use, but more power to them! I think they save time. Me, I only learn from observing what they do, I guess. (Which is usually surprising to me, as I only roughly plot and my characters frequently diverge from my own ideas….)

Emilie here: I feel like I ride the fence on this. I feel like I know some so well when I start out and others evolve along the way.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Oh, like many writers, I look up a lot of things which would worry my family and neighbors…. I’ve read up on the effects of breastfeeding on ancient population growth, I’ve learned the horrifying ways childbirth can kill (memo, refill birth control), I’ve researched the historical color genetics of domestic goldfish, and one of my favorite guilty searches was trying to learn exactly how high the human body could bounce if it didn’t just splat. (There is no firm consensus, if you’re curious, and funding for experimentation is… sparse.)

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
Chocolate. Dark chocolate. And if I’m really splurging or concentrating, dark chocolate-covered almonds. But I’m having to cut back, because publishing added about 15 pounds. A writer’s life is full of sitting and snacking, and it catches up.

Laura VanArendonk Baugh Writer Wednesday Interivew

Let's talk about your writing life...
I wrote for a long time before I was published – but then, those elementary and middle grade stories really didn’t need to be considered for public consumption. When I was fifteen, an author with whom my mom had done some work looked at one of my stories and told me to submit it, but without mentioning my age. I didn’t get around to it – and looking back, I’m glad I didn’t, because I had a lot of room for improvement.

As an adult, I kept writing, amassing manuscripts, submitting to publishers a couple of times, and I kept meaning to get around to “taking it seriously”. Finally I realized that I was in my thirties and if I was ever going to grow up to be a writer, I’d better get on it. And I sold a story. And that story sat in contract-Carbonite for three years until the contract expired, and I still wasn’t published.

And a year later, I finally decided to self-publish that story – after all, it had been good enough to sell traditionally – and I became a “real” author. Now I have both self- and traditionally-published work.

Ray Bradbury (and many others since, but he was probably the first to quantify) said that one generally needs to write about a million words before really getting good at the craft. When I did the math, that million words was very close to my word count before I began selling. I love self-publishing, but there is a danger to a really simple one-button process. I’m so grateful self-publishing first wasn’t really available and then not really acceptable during my first million words. You get only one chance to make a first impression (especially with a unique name like mine!), and that work wouldn’t have set the stage for what I’m doing now.

I am mostly an exploratory writer, meaning I’ll start with a premise and maybe a rough idea of plot and then see where it goes. It takes longer in revision that way, but it’s a lot more fun and a lot fresher in my mind, and it’s like getting to read my own stories since they surprise me too.

I hate writing endings. They’re the worst. Ugh.

Emilie here: Love these thoughts and revelations Laura! I think that million mark is really important and love what you say about not going before you're ready. It's tough, but like you say...there is only one first impression.

Laura VanArendonk Baugh Writer Wednesday Interivew


All right, let’s keep things real: Flowers or chocolate? …Or books?
CHOCOLATE. Though as I said, I’m trying to be more responsible with my body and dietary choices. Still, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, and the organic stuff is not only healthy for me and for the planet, but is likely to be ethically tended and harvested (no slave labor). So that’s what I like!

What’s your most memorable Valentines date or gift?
My husband Jon and I don’t tend to overtly celebrate Valentine’s Day; we might get each other a card, or go out to eat, but mostly I’m grateful for him every day. He’s pretty awesome, supportive of my writing and generally a great guy.

What are you currently reading?
Right now, research material for a work in progress – I’m such a nerd, and research is fun. It’s a way to justify my nerddom. “But I HAVE to listen to this audio course on a fifteenth century city-state because I want to set a story there!”

Thanks for having me on the blog! I really appreciate it!

Emilie here: Thanks for being my guest Larua. Great interview and I'm excited to have you here. Also, thanks for the awesome giveaway. Readers - don't forget to leave a comment to enter.


Last week (and on Monday) I had Vannetta Chapman on the blog talking about her new release Joshua's Mission. She graciously offered a copy of this and I've got a winner...

Trixi O.

Congratulations :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Books I'm looking forward to in 2016

This will not be a completely list because I don't have a complete list of what's coming out...but these are some of the highlights for me at this early juncture to 2016.

Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
I just...I can't...I... It's safe to say I am SO excited (and terrified) at the thought of this book. It means the end of a series I've really enjoyed!

The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron
Nothing more lovely than Kristy Cambron's writing. I highly anticipate this book!

The Calling (A Seer Novel) by Rachelle Dekker
Must. See. What. Happens!

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg
More from Maple Valley? YES please!

Anchor in the Storm: A Novel (Waves of Freedom)by Sarah Sundin
The second book! The second book! And the cover is just as beautiful as the first!!!

Intrigued. Excited. Expectant. I haven't read anything by Jill yet - though you can BET I downloaded the free book, Darkness Reigns on Amazon!

Siren's Song (The Storm Siren Trilogy) by Mary Weber
Yes, I know what you're thinking. But Emilie, you haven't even read the first two. I know, I know...but I'm still excited for Mary's third book and believe me - Storm Siren and Sirens Fury are ON my TBR pile--um, er virtual list!

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck
Let's be real. Anything that Rachel writes is always on my "looking forward to" list!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I've really enjoyed Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and Heartless sounds pretty fantastic! On the list it goes.

Conspiracy of Silence Ronie Kendig
Um, Ronie Kendig wrote this. need I say more?

Accelerant by Ronie Kendig
See the above statement (and also: Embers was fantastic!)

A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes
I must see how this series ends! Gah!!!

Sara Ella's first book (don't know much more than that!)
I know Sara (I did her headshots *grins*) and I cannot WAIT to see what her book will be about! Soooo looking forward to it.

New Releases for 2016 - Books I'm Looking Forward To | Thinking Thoughts Blog

What books are you looking forward to in 2016? What should be on my list that I'm missing? Share in the comments below.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dani Pettrey, Vannetta Chapman & Celesta Thiessen | New Novel News

Cold Shot
by Dani Pettrey

February 2, 2016
Bethany House
Purchase: Cold Shot

In college, Griffin McCray and his three best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore Police Department, Declan Grey would head to the FBI, and Parker Mitchell would study to become a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.

Now years later, Griffin has left the police and his friendships behind. Still trying to forget a case that went bad when he was a SWAT team sniper, he's living a quiet life as a park ranger at Gettysburg. Quiet until skeletal remains are uncovered near Little Round Top--and they aren't Civil War-era.

Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott discovers evidence pointing to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Grey steps in to take over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of crime, danger, and murder.

Get to know Dani...

Favorite season? Summer. If I could live at the beach year round in flip-flops, shorts and a tank top I’d be thrilled.

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning?
Coffee. Never start a day without it.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to? 
This is a tough one, but I’m going to say a Mediterranean cruise that my family took with my mom before she went to Heaven. It was awesome sharing it with her. We visited Monaco, Barcelona, Rome, Pisa, and Naples. The area is gorgeous. My absolute favorite spot was Positano, Italy. It’s breathtaking

Joshua's Mission
by Vannetta Chapman

February 1, 2016
Harvest House Publishers
Purchase: Joshua's Mission

Joshua Kline travels from his farm in Oklahoma to offer aid to an Englisch town on the gulf coast of Texas after a category 4 hurricane has ravaged the area. What will Joshua find when he arrives in Texas? A budding romance? A call from God? A possible healing of his relationship with his brother? Joshua’s Mission is a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.

Enter to win a copy of Joshua's Mission on Vannetta's interview from last Wednesday! (find it here)
Get to know Vannetta...

Who is your favorite secondary character? 
In Joshua’s Mission, that would have to be Quitz, a loveable black Labrador.

What are you reading right now? 
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows. It is absolutely lovely.

Favorite dessert? 
Chocolate. Anything chocolate. I would give up entire meals in order to have chocolate. :)

The Coder & The Fixer
by Celesta Thiessen

February 1, 2016
Indie Published
Purchase: The Coder & The Fixer

Two 700-year-old spaceships, a Jesus-follower, and a killer all need help to survive.

Nidal is the coder on the Faithful. He’s brilliant, ruthless and faithless. For him, it was join the Brotherhood or watch his mother die. Now, as part of the Brotherhood, he has taken down ship after ship. The flagship, carrying the president, is their last target.

Azalea is the fixer on the flagship, Reliance. Her creative genius and her faith have kept them operational and one step ahead of the Brotherhood. But, when the Brotherhood hijacks the ship, Azalea must bind herself to the foreign coder in order to save all that remains of humankind.
Get to know Celesta...

Would you rather go to the future or go to the past?
I think I’d rather go into the future. The past we already know about, it’s history. But the future is undiscovered. I’m interested to see what new inventions and technology there will be in the future.

Unless I went back into the past when Jesus was here on earth. That would be something else. When he looked at me would he know me? Would he know that I was from the future?

Who is your favorite secondary character?
My favorite secondary character in The Coder & The Fixer is Linx. I think we really get to know him and love him over the course of the story. Linx is brilliant, funny and devoted. He’s always there for the main character, Azalea, especially when she needs him most. Linx is a true hero.

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
I would love to be a super hero with the gift of ‘glimpse of truth’. When I see someone, I would see their deepest need. I would also see what would fulfill that need. When I would touch someone they’d see a glimpse of truth, for just an instant - they could see the course of action that will lead them to fulfillment. Then that person could chose to ignore that glimpse or to act on it. Hmm…Maybe I should write a story about that?


I had Sandra Ardoin on the blog last week and we have a winner for her giveaway!

Congrats to...

Kim Amundsen

Contact me and we'll get you your book :)

Friday, January 29, 2016

A little bit of writer fun

If you're following me on social media (which I hope you are) then you may have seen some of these above items shared recently on my FB pages and Instagram accounts. You may be wondering though...what is all this? 

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my Society6 shop! I've titled it E.A. Creative (kind of similar to my "E.A. Creative Photography" business name) and in it you will find all sorts of things!

My hope for the shop is to combine two things I'm passionate about: reading and exploring.

What that looks like is fun prints about reading and adventuring into nature, prints of my travels, and fun sayings that I hope will resonate with other reader/explorers out there.

I know it's a slightly "strange mixture" because there are a lot of shops out there that focus on one or the other: all things reading or all things nature. I aim to be a hybrid.

I have lots of plans for the future, but for now you can find the products like you see here in this post as well as others.

I'd invite you to take a look

Visit my shop {click here}

And to join my shopstagram (ha, made that up). The Instagram account for my shop:

Create. Explore. Read.

Join the fun by using the hashtag: #createexploreread I can't wait to start sharing more images of items from the shop. I've gotten a few myself and love them!

Readers: What's your favorite thing: reading or exploring? Or both?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Honest Thoughts: What I really think about things

I realize by nature of me saying that these are "honest" posts may but into question what the rest of my posts are. Am I not being honest there?

No. Well, maybe?

Ha! Just kidding. But really, I am not lying in the other posts, but I've decided to dedicate my Thursday slots to a new series this year (tweet this) where I plan to be honest about certain topics. They may be difficult things I've come across, lies I want to dispel, or maybe just things I've thought about and want to share with you all. I guess it's just a way for me to share my opinions about things with you, my dear readers.

I know I don't need a specific "day" to do this, but it's actually challenging me to think about topics related to my themes for the month and delve a little deeper into what I think. A challenge is good--right? I'm excited, and maybe a little terrified, about what may come out...but you all have gotten to know me (if you've spent any time on this blog) and I think you'll be able to handle it.

The best part with these posts is that I'll be able to share more of me with you. Don't get me wrong, I love sharing about my favorite authors and new writers, but I also want you to get to know who I am and what I'm passionate about. Really, it's the whole reason behind this blog! (Oh there's one other way you can do that here!)

So, I invite you to come back next week when I "officially" kick off this new Honest Thoughts thing and share about something near and dear to my heart...romance. Um, you may be surprised at what I say ;-)

Tweet this
Also, if you didn't know, there are LOTS of ways you can connect with me during the week! I am crazy a little enthusiastic about social media *coughs* and love hearing from you all! Here are some ways we can meet up:

My author Facebook page - I share all my posts there (including guests posts), funny things, silly things, giveaways, and more!
(connect with me on Facebook)

My Twitter feed - Twitter is an interesting beast to me...but I do have fun connecting on it. I share random stuff there as well as giveaway reminders etc.
(connect with me on Twitter)

Instagram - Gaaahhhh!!! I LOVE Instagram. Maybe the photographer in me, but it's true. So, I've got 2 accounts (I know...I'm that girl). But one is for pretty much all things and the other is strictly for nature and reading and showing off my Society6 stuff!
(connect with me on Instagram or @eahendryx)
(connect with me about books and exploring on Instagram or @createexploreread)

Pinterest - *Sigh* I spend too much time on here...sometimes. I don't allow myself to go Pinterest-crazy often, but when I out world!
(connect with me on Pinterest)

Goodreads - Probably my second favorite thing next to coffee in the morning is hoping on Goodreads and just looking at lists and lists of books! And, maybe this is weird, but I LOVE updating my "pages read" status...I just feel so accomplished! Plus I've got a fun group there too - you should probably join ;)
(connect with me on Goodreads)
(join my super-fun Goodreads group)

See you around - reach out to me because I WILL say hello ;)