Thursday, January 31, 2013

I think I need to retire...

Retirement is sounding really good right now. 

Ok, ok...I don't mean to say that I don't like my job - because I definitely do!  But, I have been thinking lately how difficult it is to find time to write and edit and read and do photography and work all within the same week.  I know that, being a writer, reading is important to honing my craft.  Editing is also important which means that I should add reading books about editing to my already long reading list.  In addition to that, I'm trying to refine a few full-length manuscripts for contests and publication which takes a long time.  If weeks continue like this one has, I will be busy every night this week leaving me... well, just about no time to work on anything. I sounding whiny?  Because that is never good.

I do have to wonder though, am I the only person that feels this way?  I'd wager a guess and say no.  How often do we find ourselves in positions where we have a desire to do one thing but find other things getting in the way?  I think that could translate to our spiritual walk, our relationships with friends and family, or (like me) our passions

I long for a day when I can wake up and make my way to my little desk and write!!! All day, every day.  Ok, with some photography scattered in there.  Oh yeah, and a cup of coffee or two (or three...).  Then I remember that the Lord leads us where He wants us.  If I were asked, I'd say that I know I'm supposed to be right where I am for now.  He may lead me in a different direction in the future but I know that He will lead me there when it's His time.

For now, I am confident in Him and His plans for me.  I am so absolutely blessed in my current job working for my church and moving into a new office space with an incredible window (pictured to the right).  I desire to live each day thankful and seeking out what I have to be thankful for!

How about you, my dear readers?  Do you face these desires?  Maybe not to be retired so you can do nothing, but to move into a state of freedom to pursue passions?  How are you coping with your current situation?  How do you stay content? 

If you have the time, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Joi Copeland {Writer Wednesday}

Please welcome Joi Copeland to Thinking Thoughts... 
Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Joi loves being a wife and mom and also enjoys spending time with friends over a good cup of coffee or tea. She's been a Christian for over twenty years. She's the author of two books, Hope for Tomorrow and Hope for the Journey, and one novella, Christmas Rayne.
What people are saying...

Holly Magnuson wrote about Hope for the Journey: I think you're an extremely brave author to tackle the topics you are in this story. So far in my reading you've captured these difficult topics tactfully and good emotion. I find myself feeling for the different characters. So far I'm loving it!
How to connect with Joi...
Like her page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter
Check out her blog Cup o' Joy
Pick up a copy of her book Hope for the Journey
Connect with her on Goodreads


Author Interview | Joi Copeland

You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I am a Christ follower, a wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, author, and barista. I started writing at an early age, but really decided to write when my husband, sister, and brother-in-law sat me down and told me it was time to pursue this dream of mine. My many ideas have kept me going. I pray about what I should write, and when.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

...I had a lot of fun writing the third book in my Hope series. It's at the publisher's now. It was neat to see this character, Arthur, come alive. He's old, quirky, and in desperate need of a Savior.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

...The hardest thing about publishing is having to read my manuscript so many times! It makes me nutty. I keep telling myself, “I don't want to read it again! I already know how it ends.” :)
...The easiest thing is picking out a cover and working with Comfort Publishing.

Your Writing
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...Hope for the Journey is about a marriage and some struggles couples may go through. Not every couple, but I know many do. It's also about family. I wrote it because I was walking the track while my boys were playing one day, and I really felt strongly about this topic and the need to write about it.

Do you have a favorite character? If so, why?
...One of my favorite characters is Emily in this book. She's strong, real, and amazing.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...Struggles in this life are going to happen. But it's how we deal with them that matter. Do we forgive those who hurt us? Do we turn our backs on Christ when life takes a turn for the worst? I hope readers will walk away encouraged, uplifted, and at the point where they really want to forgive.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Both for sure. I can take real life situations that have happened to others and turn them into fiction. So, for all of my books, not one situation is completely accurate of one person. Does that make sense?

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...To encourage people and cause them to see themselves in my characters.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

...Keep writing. Don't give up. You will get many no's, but you only need one yes!

What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...Apples! :)

Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? If so, care to share one of yours?

...I am a New Year's baby, so I always try to make some type of change for the next year. I really want to lose weight and be debt free. Two goals I expect to meet! :)

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2013?

...I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in my life and those around me. I see a lot of hope for 2013!


Thank you so much Joi!  I love how you say that you pray about "what you should write, and when".  That is such an important thing - as writers we can easily follow our selfish desires and want to write about what we want but it's a gift from the Lord and we must use it for His glory, not ours.  

If you, my readers, are interested in other books by Joi, check out these titles below and make sure and get your copy! 
Get your copy of Hope for Tomorrow here...
You can purchase Christmas Rayne here or contact Joi at her facebook page here for your copy...

Friday, January 25, 2013

RE:View | Texas Wildflowers by Anita Higman

Set in four exotic locations in Texas and following the lives of the McBride sisters, Texas Wildflowers by Anita Higman will keep you entertained as well as intrigued! 

These four novellas set in Texas take on that "bigger than life" feeling almost everything in Texas has - they may be short, but they are not without rich flavor and sweet romance to boot.  I really enjoyed the pace of the stories.  Knowing that they are novellas, the plot tends to move more quickly than a full-length novel will, which allows you to complete a full story in one sitting if you have the time.  I recommend this compilation to anyone looking for a light read and who would enjoy a smattering of different locations and various characters tied together by family.  Anita does a good job of giving the sisters their own personalities and traits, as well as bringing in the "right" guy at the right time in their lives.
Rosy McBride faces something no woman wants to - being left at the alter by her husband-to-be.  Woven in this story are themes of family and the idea of looking outwardly when sometimes you'd rather not face "real life".  

For Lily McBride, a counselor with her own business, life appeared to be handing her something impossible.  When a potential client not only sparks Lily's astute counselor mind but also her romantic interest she must face the vows she's made as a counselor and make one of the hardest decisions.

Violet McBride is nothing like her online persona.  She is neither romantic nor daring in her lifestyle.  Happy to settle for the idea of companionship rather than love, she faces a shock when Morgan boldly enters the picture.  Will she give in to her less-than-practical side?

Giving up her job due to moral principles, Heather finds herself faced with a new resolve - to tell the truth, no matter what.  Will this help her or get her into more trouble?  Evan Finch also enters the picture with a random request that may just send them into a whole new life together. 

If you missed my interview of Anita on Wednesday, make sure and check it out [here].

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Anita Higman {Writer Wednesday}

My guest for today is author Anita Higman:
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children and has four more books releasing in 2013. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

How to connect with Anita...
Facebook: Anita Higman - Reader Page
And on Twitter

Author Interview | Anita Higman
[Anita had some questions prepared so they will differ slightly from previous interviews.]

You & Writing

Tell us a bit about Texas Wildflowers
...Texas Wildflowers is a 4-in-1 novella collection through Barbour Publishing. Each novella is set in an exotic location in Texas. They are lighthearted romances, and they’re all tied together with the four McBride sisters.

Which of the four novellas was the most fun to write? ...They were each fun to write in their own way, but my favorite character was Lily, the counselor, in Forget Me Not Lily. She was quirky and fun, relatable and loveable. At least that’s what I hope readers will feel.

Was it hard to write four separate stories and keep them fresh?
...That task was very hard, because it is so easy to repeat plot elements and character traits and bits of dialogue. I had to constantly check myself to make sure the stories and characters were as unique as they could be.

All these novellas are set in Texas. Are the towns and parks real?
...Yes, in fact one of the novellas is set in Big Bend National Park, where my husband and I went on vacation. So, when you read about the characters on certain trails, they’re real, and we hiked them!

Did you have a favorite book when you were a child?
...I loved fairytales. Cinderella was my favorite.

Do you have a vacation spot you’d love to visit?
...I’m dreaming of Ireland. My husband and I plan to travel there next summer. Can’t wait! Then I’m going to use the emerald isle as a setting in one of my novels.

How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
...When I was very young (I don’t remember my age) I started working on a novel about a man from Mars who wanted to go to college in New York. I never finished that novel, but it left an impression on me. I knew deep down that telling stories was my dream, even though I didn’t get around to fulfilling it until I was in my thirties.

When readers finish the last page of Texas Wildflowers, what do you want them to come away with?
...I would love for them to be inspired, challenged, and entertained. If I accomplished even one of those things I would feel my writing time wasn’t wasted.


What are 5 things that your readers might not know about you?
...While I was in college I tried working in a pillow factory. I was terrible at it. I got so weary with the repetition I started yakking with the woman next to me. We got reprimanded over and over until I quit. I discovered one thing from that college job—talking is something I excel at.
...I once won a hog-calling contest at a banquet. I was not embarrassed, but I should have been.
...I have a bird phobia, and yet I love birds! (That is, from a distance.) My house is filled with the fake kind—prints on the walls, statues, and general bird doodads. Go figure.
...I keep some interesting treasures near me when I write—a wooden jewelry box my son made me when he was in school, a candle from the 1960s, a hat once owned by a famous mystery writer, the inner parts of a music box, a birthday card that plays The Twilight Zone theme song, and an old family toy helicopter that says, “Going up.”
...Thirty-four years ago I rappelled off a cliff alongside the man I was dating. We kissed in mid-air while dangling off that cliff. I ended up marrying that man, and we've celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary!

Where do all your ideas come from?
...Ideas flood in from everywhere—while I’m running errands, or chatting with a friend, or drifting off to sleep. I have pieces of paper all over the place with scribbles about book ideas and characters and titles. Sometimes I can’t read my notes later. I need a full-time assistant to help me stay organized. Any volunteers?

What's your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...Nuts & popcorn

Do you believe in New Year's resolutions? If so, care to share one of yours?
...Yes, I believe in New Year's resolutions. One resolution this year will be to spend more time studying the Bible.

What is one thing you're looking forward to in 2013?
...Traveling to Ireland for a vacation and for research.

Thank you, Anita!  That was a great interview.  I love the fact that you admit it was hard to write four different novellas and keep them separate and unique! And here I thought it was just me ;)  I'm looking forward to the new books you have coming out this year - I bet they will be just as good as Texas Wildflowers.  I'm also excited for Friday when I'll be posting my own review of Texas Wildflowers - make sure you check back so you don't miss it! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

What I look for in a good book...

As a writer I asked myself recently, "Emilie, what is it that makes you say - 'that was a good book'?". 

Ok, so maybe I didn't say it to myself quite like that but I have asked why I liked some books and not others.  When you take out the obvious factors - well written, solid plot, relevant conflict - there are just some books I have enjoyed more than others.  Seeing as today is a holiday for me, I've decided to briefly tackle this idea.  I've come up with three books and three reasons (one per book) of why I liked these books.  It isn't a scientific study I'm doing here, just something a little more interesting than blogging about the fact that I cleaned my room this morning, did a lot of reading, and am thinking of eating leftover homemade pizza for lunch...

Reason #1{Happy Ending}

I'll admit right here and now that I am a sucker for happy endings. Very few times have I read a book that doesn't end happily and thought - yes, I'd like to read this again.  It doesn't mean the whole book is bad if it doesn't end happily, but to me reading is a journey and I will allow (haha yes... "allow") the author to take me through a lot of heartache and trouble as long as I know that it's "worth it" in the end.  "Worth it" to me means a happy ending.

"Kissing Adrien" by Siri L. Mitchell has been one of my top favorite books for a long time now (almost 8 years!) and, though the cover isn't my favorite (it's a little bright for me) I love how Siri composed this story.  The main character, Claire, isn't perfect but she is honest!  I read this when I was much younger after having read many Christian romance novels where the protagonist always seemed to be so perfect and I thought to myself, this author has captured something about Christianity and being a girl that is real.  All that to say, I love the ending of this book but I wont ruin it for you.  I'd suggest you pick up a copy for yourself! 

Reason #2 {The Right Lesson}

I cheated on this one... I used a series but it makes my point, so I hope you'll forgive me?  When I read, there are several things that go through my mind when both choosing and enjoying the book I'm in.  I often pick Christian romance books because I enjoy them and because that's the genre I typically write in as well.  I have come across many that have treated the gospel like a vegetable - it's not the favorite part but it's good for you so you just need to get past it an on to the better stuff (like dessert or something).  Not all books are this way, but I have found the best weave an accurate and believable story of redemption into the lines of plot and character that is not forced or unnatural.

Francine Rivers has the gift of writing that is real and filled with history without being dull with the details.  The Mark of the Lion Series has long since been a favorite series of mine.  Francine is the type of author that makes the story about Christ in the lives of her characters with believability.  The emotions and story are so real that you not only become attached to the broken slave girl, Hadassah, because of her life of hardship and forbidden love, but because of her unyielding faith.  In a small way, her faith encourages yours - even if she is a fictional character.  To me, this makes putting any of these books down very difficult.

Reason #3 {Outside the Box}

Lastly, there is nothing better than a book that is original.  I know it's said that there are "no original ideas" under the sun (a bad paraphrase, I know) but there are ideas that are better than others.  These are the ones that take your breath away, hold you riveted to the page, and don't release you until you until the last chapter.

"Thr3e" by Ted Dekker was one of those books for me.  I remember getting to the end and is this possible?  Reading for a second, then third time, still didn't lesson the suspense or surprise (even after I knew the ending).  This book was not only well crafted, but it was an idea that isn't typical.  I find those types of ideas, whether for a suspense novel or a romance, to be the best kind. 

So what do you think?  What makes a book "good" to you?  What don't you like when you're reading a book?  I'd love to hear more opinions on this! Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Georgiana Daniels | RE:View & Interview

I'm doing things a little differently this Friday.  Instead of just a RE:View post, I'm also including an interview with the author, Georgiana Daniels.

To start off, here's a little bit about Georgiana from her blogger profile:
Georgiana Daniels resides in the beautiful mountains of Arizona with her super-generous husband and three talented daughters. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in public relations, and now has the privilege of homeschooling by day and wrestling with the keyboard by night. She enjoys sharing God's love through fiction, and is exceedingly thankful for her own happily ever after.
How to connect with Georgiana:
Her blog: Good Times...Good Times
On Google +
At Harlequin Love Inspired
On Goodreads
On Amazon

Author Interview | Georgiana Daniels

You & Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
....First, thanks so much for having me on your blog :) I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write! My first book was called Death on Penthouse Avenue, which I started—and didn’t finish—when I was twelve. But only in the last eight years have I pursued publication. Many times I wanted to throw my hands in the air and let it all go, but I believe this is where God wants me, and that’s what keeps me hooked in.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...My favorite book is always the one I’ve just completed. For some reason I always think it’s the best one yet—and maybe each one really is better than the last. I come to care so much for the characters that they all become favorites.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The hardest thing about getting published is enduring until getting “the call,” probably because there’s no guarantee it will come. That’s when you have to do it simply because you love writing and believe you’re doing what you’re meant to regardless of the outcome. Is there an easy part? LOL! I suppose coming up with the ideas and developing them are the easy bits, but as soon as I sit at the keyboard to start writing chapters it suddenly isn’t nearly as smooth.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...A Daughter’s Redemption is my first Love Inspired book. It’s about a grieving daughter who (unknowingly) falls in love with the cop responsible for her father’s death. I love the conflict this story presented to me, and I kept questioning how much could someone forgive.

Do you have a favorite character? If so, why?
...That’s like asking if I have a favorite child! So hard to pick a character because they all have qualities that are admirable and traits that aren’t, and like all of us they have issues to overcome.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...My hope and prayer is that people see areas where they can show mercy and also see God’s mercy toward us. Also I do hope that if readers have someone in their life they need to make things right with that they prayerfully take that step.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Pure imagination! Occasionally I’ll borrow a name, but the character the name is assigned to is total fiction. I did, however, borrow my parents’ dog for this book ;)

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...Providing clean entertainment that shows God’s love and His ability to take the worst situations and turn them around for our good is my desire. Mostly I just love telling stories!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

...Hunker down and write, write, write! Learn the craft and develop thick skin—you’ll need it.


What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...How did you know I snack? It’s a problem because I really can’t seem to squeeze words out without something to munch on. Lately it’s been cashews. I’m trying to switch to gum only ;)

Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? If so, care to share one of yours?

...Over the years I’ve tried resolutions and come to the conclusion that if I want something badly enough, why wait for the New Year? I’m trying to be more intentional on a daily basis. We’ll see how it works out!

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2013?
...So many wonderful things are happening in our lives right now that it’s hard to pick! Right now I’m praising God for opening the windows of Heaven after a dry season, and I’ll be grateful for His daily bread :)

Thank you so much for this great interview Georgiana! I can see you passion for writing and love how you have shared that with my readers (and with me!).  I can't wait to see what's next for you and your writing.


RE:View | A Daughters Redemption

Set in Pine Hollow, Arizona, this beautiful story of redemption follows Robyn Warner through the trials of an inheritance she never expected.  When her father is killed in an accident in town, everyone wants justice but no one realizes the price that will be paid to extract that justice.

Robyn, a typical California girl, finds herself in the middle of family struggles, the ghosts of her past, and a future that seems impossible to reconcile.  Will her heart grow fond of Pine Hollow and fonder for this curious handy man with a vendetta to fix of the cabins as well as a secret that could keep them apart forever?

I really enjoyed this book by Georgiana!  After reading the back cover I began the book wondering  how she was going to work past the obvious road blocks setup in the story.  I was pleasantly surprised at the end and how it was all worked out.  This is definitely a book you will not want to put down!

To purchase this book you can go to Harlequin Love Inspired or to Amazon

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

H.G. Ferguson {Writer Wednesday}

Today I welcome H.G. (or Harold) Ferguson to the blog!  He is the author of New Blood, a "speculative fiction" novel providing a fresh, original "take" on the vampire mythology from a thoroughly Biblical worldview.  If you're getting tired of the typical vampire story and love to read Christian fiction, this is the book for you!

How to connect with Harold:

Publishers website: Written World Communications
Youtube trailer (also included at the bottom of this post)
Recent interview on Ralene Burke's Character Post

Author Interview | H.G. Ferguson

You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing? ...I’ve always been a storyteller from my earliest memories. Even when “playing” with my small plastic soldiers and figures I was always making up tales and ensuring the bad guys got what was coming to them. Memorably. Even then. It was only natural that as I grew I turned to writing, though it has taken a lonnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime to “break through.” I keep writing because the Lord wants me to, as He wants all of us to use our gifts to the praise of His glory.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

...I don’t think I have a favorite book per se. My favorite authors are HP Lovecraft (my mentor in certain key ways), J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Robert R. McCammon. Lovecraft, the master of atmosphere, suggestion and understatement -- Tolkien’s spiritual depth for which you must dig, like the treasure hidden in a field -- Lewis’ Christian faith permeating everything he wrote -- and McCammon’s riveting, lush you-are-there prose -- all have enriched the way I write. To all of them I am most indebted.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

...There is nothing easy about being published. If there were, it would not be worth anything. The hardest thing was learning to honor the commitment I made to accept editorial direction. When you promise to work with an editor, you check your ego at the door. This does not mean you allow the editor to wrest away your work and obliterate your voice. I was blessed to have two excellent editors, Dale Hansen and Kristine Pratt, whose suggestions improved the story in certain key places, such as the scene where Rebecca nearly burns to death in the sun and the ritual washing scene between Rebecca and her adoptive mother Singing Star. Dale’s suggestion in the former and Kristine’s suggestion in the latter took both these scenes into some pretty cool directions which had not occurred to me. That’s what great editors do. Learning to work with other people’s directions is often a challenge. But it can -- and should, since you promise -- be done. 

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...I wrote New Blood because I wanted to tell the truth about being a vampire. Contemporary vampire stuff presents vampirism as fun, cool and empowering -- they have become godlike beings, and don’t you want to embrace the darkness and be a vampire too? For Rebecca, vampirism is a curse, an infirmity, a thorn in her flesh. Though it is not supernaturally based, my take on vampirism preserves the abandoned notion that being a vampire is not fun. I wanted to show such a person, afflicted with such a nightmarish reality, persevering and sustained by the Grace of God. It’s also a metaphor for sin, something which afflicts us all, whether we like to admit it or not. I wanted to show, above all, as Rebecca might chant, Christus Victor! Christ is the Victor! Victor in that He loves Rebecca, has redeemed Rebecca, and has a purpose and plan for her life IN SPITE OF WHAT SHE IS. More of this plan unfolds in the second book, which I am working on now.

Do you have a favorite character? If so, why?

...Oddly enough, Singing Star was my favorite character in the first tale. A practical Mohawk mom, having been touched by Christianity, who becomes the true and real mother Rebecca never had. She discerns the truth about things with an unnerving bluntness tempered by heartfelt compassion. Her “spiritual battle” with the lies of Angelique at the ritual washing scene is a key point in the presentation of her character. Guess who wins, Heh-ya!

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

...God’s unconditional love for Rebecca, and that the Lord can take the most horrible thing (vampirism) and redeem it to the praise of His glory!


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I would say both. Sometimes ideas shamble into my head all on their own, other times real events ignite the creative spark. I am primarily visual, and often pictures will set things in motion. The challenge in this case is not to copy what’s in the picture, to allow it to be inspiration, not reproduction.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?...To tell the Truth in a way in which it has never been told before, whether that Truth is the death of Jesus on the Cross for our sins or what happens to a human body when a blunderbuss goes off pressed against it. I want my stories to be true -- true to human and salvation history as accurate as I can make it, true in emotions and experiences, true in every sense. For example, when Rebecca “vamps out” at critical times in the tale, the air becomes quite sanguinary. This is not due to my penchant for gratuitous violence. It is due to the truth of what four long fangs as weapons will do to a human body. And when a human body is savaged like that, it will bleed. And bleed. And bleed. Copiously. And with gusto. Why? Because that is what would actually happen. It rings…True. If I were to “tone that down” it would cease to be….True. And if that violence is not depicted as…True…then neither is the Gospel Rebecca presents twice in the story. Like Tolkien, I want my “world” to be True because what I am REALLY aiming for is the Highest Truth of all -- that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins. If my “world” is True, then so will be the Gospel I present. For me, it all hangs together as one. If people cannot accept my “world” as True, they will do the same with the Gospel, i.e., this guy’s religion is as hokey as what he writes.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

...Always be yourself. Do not imitate other writers, even your favorite writer. Do not try to be that person -- you’re not. You are as unique as they are. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t LEARN from other writers, you should. As I said, I admire Lovecraft for atmosphere and suggestion, but imitating his peculiar diction and speech patterns won’t work today. Similarly, I can learn a great deal from McCammon about vivid description, but I will not attempt imitation. Learn from your favorite writers, but do not imitate them. Also, resist to your dying breath today’s dumbed-down destruction of style, supposed “ten rules” for writing and that ilk. The English language is one of the richest and most expressive forms of communication on this planet. Do not impoverish your writing by slavish adherence to forms, rules, ad infinitum et nauseam when these forms and rules ravage what writing is all about -- individual creative expression, not repetition of mindless mantras.


What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...I don’t snack much. And I’m not addicted to an unspecified soft drink, and I resent the implications. I can neither confirm nor deny.

Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? If so, care to share one of yours?
...No, I don’t really believe in such. But I’ve made a commitment to a closer walk with my Lord in 2013 than in 2012.

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2013?
...That Rebecca’s audience will grow in 2013, should the Lord be so kind, and that the powers that be in Christian fiction will realize that horror is just as acceptable in God’s eyes as historical romances and Amish courtships.

Thank you from my heart for the interview. It is an honor to appear on your blog. And as Rebecca herself would exclaim, “Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!"

Well thank you Harold! I think your idea for the book is refreshing!  I'll admit I read all of the Twilight series (no, I'm not comparing them haha) as well as several other vampire novels and I will say that the stories can be very entertaining.  I look forward to getting a chance to read New Blood with this fresh perspective on what it would actually be like to be a vampire and be redeemed!

I thought I'd include the trailer to his book New Blood below.  I'm excited for the idea of this different genre and hope that you make a point to check out this intriguing tale! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Double Identity by K. Dawn Byrd

If you missed it on Wednesday I shared an interview by K. Dawn Byrd (which you can find here).  I received a lot of great info about her newest release Double Identity and, rather than make an extra long post for {Writer Wednesday} I rolled it over to today.  Hope you enjoy and make sure and hop on over to amazon to pick up your own copy!


Seventeen-year old Bree is shocked when she discovers she has a twin sister, even more shocked to find that she's an identical twin. When Bree's sister becomes obsessed with her boyfriend, Luke, Bree must decide who wants who and who's telling the truth.

From the back cover...

Bree has always wanted a sister. She's shocked when she learns that her father is alive and her identical twin sister, Cassie, is coming to live with her. She can't wait for Cassie to arrive. She just knows they'll be best friends.

Bree soon discovers that even though they look alike, they're totally different. Cassie is wild and impulsive. She hates Bree's little town and everything in it, except Bree's boyfriend, Luke. When Cassie becomes obsessed with Luke, she'll go to any length to have him for herself.

Luke has a secret, which Cassie learns and uses against him. She's off her medication and will stop at nothing. She says he's in love with her. He says he loves Bree. Will their secrets destroy them and their relationships?

Interview with the heroine... 

1.Bree, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I'm not sure how interesting it is, but I've had the same boyfriend since middle school. I've always known Luke is the guy for me. We have big plans for the future. He's going to be a veterinarian and we're going to work together. He'll take care of the large animals and I'll be a small animal expert.

2. What do you do for fun?
I love to hang out with Luke. He lives on a farm and raises horses. It's fun to ride through the meadows and to pet the newborn animals.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I put off washing my car. It's such a pain.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
I'm afraid of losing my dad to cancer. Now that he's back in my life, I don't want to lose him.

5. What do you want out of life?
All I want is to graduate from high school and college and marry Luke.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My parents and Luke and my faith. For seventeen years, I thought my father was dead, but he's alive. He's fighting cancer right now and I'm really scared. I don't know what I'd do without my faith in God. I'm having a really hard time right now because my identical twin sister, Cassie, is in love with my boyfriend.

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I don't have much time to read. I'm in high school and I work part-time at the local bowling alley.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd want to look totally different from my twin, Cassie. Having a twin does something to a girl's identity. For example, Luke thinks I'm beautiful. Does he think my sister is beautiful too?

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
No pets, but I love to play with the animal's on Luke's farm.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the day I was born and find a way keep my parents together so I could grow up with my sister. Maybe if we'd grown up together, she would be a nicer person.

Interview with the hero...

1. Luke, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I live on a farm and raise horses. My name is pretty well known in the horse circuit.

2. What do you do for fun?
I love working with my hands on the farm. It doesn't matter if I'm repairing a fence or mucking the stalls. I'm happy with the animals.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I put off dealing with drama. I absolutely hate it. Since Bree's twin sister came to town, we've had nothing but drama.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Losing Bree. She's my life. Her sister, Cassie, says she's in love with me and she's trying to destroy my relationship with Bree.

5. What do you want out of life?
I want it all. A wife. Kids. A little white house with a picket fence. I'm working toward those goals right now by going to college to be a veterinarian.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
My family and Bree.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
I read farming magazines.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about myself, it would be not keeping secrets from Bree. There's something about myself that I hate with a passion and because I kept it from Bree, it might destroy our relationship. Cassie knows and she's using it to blackmail me.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I have lots of animals on the farm.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I'd love to meet Noah and talk to him about how he kept all those animals happy on that little ark.

Excerpt from the novel...

I'd just stepped out of the shower when I heard Cassie giggle. She must have come in while I was indisposed. Almost too tired to wiggle, I dreaded facing her. All she did was complain and her mood swings made me want to scream or break something or both. Some days, I longed for Dad to get well and take her back where she came from.

I breathed in the scent of strawberry shower gel that lingered in the air. Luke had texted, saying he loved me. He'd wanted to get together, but I'd been working. Would we find any time together once school started? When we'd gone to the same school, we'd had lunch together and I'd always ridden home with him. His schedule for the upcoming year was so different than mine, and he had night class. Could our relationship survive?

"Boy, can he kiss," Cassie said. "Even better than Mick. One kiss and I forgot Mick ever existed."

I paused by the door, considering making some kind of noise so she'd know I was in the next room. I pushed the thought away. Why should I? There had been several times recently when I'd had suspicions that she'd been spying on me. I poured my favorite vanilla lotion into my hands and rubbed it on my arms. Why was the bottle so low?

Cassie groaned. "If I could just get him to see that little Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes isn't the one for him. He has to be attracted to me, you know?" She laughed again and paused for several seconds. "Pretty smart of me to fix my hair like hers. Mom can't even tell us apart."

She was talking about me, but who was she talking about kissing? Luke? Had she kissed Luke? Hot, seething anger rumbled through me. Tying my robe so tightly, the belt dug into my stomach, I flung open the door so hard it hit the wall. I hated confrontation, but it was time.

Cassie's look of sheer shock morphed into a look of pure horror. "Maggie, I have to go. I'll call you later."

Hands on hips, I glared at my sister. "Who were you talking about?"

"Just girl talk with my friend, Maggie, back home."

"Who were you talking about kissing?"

A flush colored her cheeks, barely visible through her slowly fading California tan. "Mick. I was talking about Mick."

"You said someone kissed better than him. Who?"

"Jake. Not that it's any of your business."

I wanted to slap the I-know-something-you-don't-know smile off her face. Having a sister wasn't all it was supposed to be. She'd been nothing but a pain since she'd landed on our doorstep.

"Jake." I laughed, relieved that she had a thing for Luke's farm hand. Jerking my clothes from the hangers, I headed back to the solitude of the bathroom. Was I paranoid? Was I losing my mind?


I don't know about you, but I definitely want to pick up my own copy of this!  I can't wait to see what happens.  What do you think?  Will Bree and Luke's relationship survive Cassie and her apparently devious ways?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

K. Dawn Byrd {Writer Wednesday}

For this Writer Wednesday we have the pleasure of hearing from K. Dawn Byrd. She is an author of inspirational novels in several genres, including, historical, suspense, romance, and young adult. Some of her favorite things are chocolate, cars, and her pets. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and riding down country roads in the passenger seat of her husband's Corvette Stingray. When asked why she writes, her response is, "For the simple joy of placing words on the page!"

Author Interview | K. Dawn Byrd

[K had some questions prepared so they will differ slightly from previous interviews.]
What would you like readers to take away from your book?

...Double Identity is a young adult book about two identical twins, one a Christian, one a non-believer. I'd like for the reader to take away that no matter what happens, God is with us. Also, people need to learn to trust their hearts.

Why did you choose to write this book?
...I thought it would be fun to explore what it would be like to have an identical twin. Of course, a young woman's boyfriend would love how she looked. Would the fact that someone else looks just like her make her insecure?

What did you learn while writing this book?

...I learned that being an identical twin can be hard!

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

...Finding time to write. I work a full-time job and also a lot of weekends, which means that I have to be really devoted to my writing time. I set aside at least an hour every night, six days a week if possible. The fact that I start with a well-developed plot makes things move faster.

Which books on writing have been the most helpful to you and why?

...It's not really a book, but I'll tell you about it anyway. Margie Lawson's on-line classes made more impact on me and my writing style that anything else I've ever studied. They're very affordable too!

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
...I'm proud of earning a master degree in professional counseling from Liberty University. I believe this degree helps me to understand my characters better and what makes them tick.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?

...I fill out character sketches in order to get to know my characters better. I ask myself what their goals are, what motivates them, and what's keeping them from reaching their goals. Sometimes, I start by writing a synopsis. This gives me information about the plot as it develops. I usually have a pretty strong plot before I actually begin the story.

What are your favorite writing conferences and why?
...The ACFW conference is my favorite because I absolutely love the worship. It blesses my heart. It's also really nice to chat with like-minded people.

Why do you write?
...I write because I can't stop. It's more than a hobby, it's a passion. It's the most fun I've ever had in my life!

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
...A big time plotter. Because I write all of my books in 30-day marathons, I have to start with a thorough plot. That doesn't mean that sometimes the story doesn't take a life of it's own, surprising me when it takes me down a road I hadn't planned to travel.

What are you working on right now?
...I'm working on a thriller about a serial killer. It's a difficult story because there are several twists and turns and I have to be careful how I write it for everything to fall into place correctly.

What's next for you?
...I have three releases in 2012, all young adult. Something Beautiful in January. The Hot Line Girl in June. Luck of the Draw in November.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?...Probably still riding a Harley. I sold my bike in order to have more time to write. On weekends, I'd rather curl up with my laptop and the story in my head.

Tell us a little more about yourself , with three things not many people know about you.
a) I have a masters degree in professional counseling from Liberty University.
b) I'm an animal lover. I have two hairless Chinese Crested dogs, an African Gray parrot, three ferrets, and several aquariums in my home.
c) I love sour foods. I'd rather have olives, pickles, or dilly beans than something sweet sometimes.

Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what kind of music – or do you find it distracts you?
I must have total peace and quiet when I write. I hate it because it keeps me from writing sometimes when I'd like to.

What do you do for fun when not writing?
When not writing, I love to read. Romantic suspense or young adult novels are favorites.

Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it.
...My latest release, Double Identity, was a lot of fun to write. I think readers will like it because it will keep them on the edge of their seats. When both twins fall for the same guy, who will he choose? How will he tell them apart?

If you were an animal, which one do you think you would be, and why? ...I'm not sure which animal I would be, but my step-daughter was recently joking and said that if she believed in reincarnation, she'd want to come back as one of my ferrets because I take such good care of them. That was the ultimate compliment!

What is your personal definition of success?
...My personal definition of success has nothing to do with money. To me, a successful person is one who is happy and enjoys life.

How can readers get in contact with you?
Twitter: kdawnbyrd
Pinterest: kdawnbyrd
Facebook: kdawnbyrd

Plus, as an extra treat, on Friday I'll be posting a special peek at K's newest novel Double Identity! Make sure and check back then. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Monday Mindset {Thinking Theology}

I've been thinking about how some people dread Mondays.  When I was in school I used to - it meant the end of the weekend and the beginning of a tough week of work and stress.  Some of that was lost when I worked a job in retail - you don't really get weekends and if you do they can sometimes be on a Tuesday or other weekday (so I guess Mondays can really be any day of the week). I did, however, feel that pang of disappointment when my "weekend" time-off ended and I had to go back to work. 

With my current job (Office Manager for my church) I find (thankfully) that I don't have that dread of going into work.  My week is technically Sunday to Thursday, so I guess you could say Sunday is my "Monday" (just to make things confusing), but in all reality I enjoy Mondays.  For us, it's the day we come together as staff to pray for one another and the church, to discuss our upcoming week and its duties, and to spend time encouraging one another.  It's a great way to start off our week, and as I think about it, I know that I'd want to incorporate that habit no matter where I worked. 

My thoughts for you this Monday morning:
  • What are you thankful for today? 
  • What do you have to accomplish and how can you make prayer about that part of your daily routine? 
  • How can you encourage those you work with this week?
To me, Mondays are like little New Years that happen every week.  We get a fresh start (hopefully after a break during the weekend) and have the choice to remember the joy and grace the Lord has bestowed on us as a way to bless others.

What will your Monday look like? 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Guest Post on Lives Out Loud: Wisdom

I had the pleasure of guest-blogging on Lives Out Loud, a blog by Jennifer Slattery as she takes her readers through Proverbs this month.  My focus was on wisdom and my passage was Proverbs 2:1-8. I'd like to invite you to check out the post [here] and leave any comments that you'd have!  I'll be checking back often and would love to hear your thoughts on my post as well as the great questions Jennifer added at the end.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Paula Mowery {Writer Wednesday}

Welcome back, readers, and happy New Year!!  I'm excited to introduce you to Paula Mowery for today's {Writer Wednesday} post. 

Here is a little bit about Paula....

Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife and a homeschool mom. She has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. She began writing in the area of nonfiction creating three Bible studies which were self-published. However, she crafted fiction stories which she shared with friends and family. When one of her readers encouraged her to pursue publication, she joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learning more about the world of fiction. Her debut work of fiction is a novella published by Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group – THE BLESSING SEER.

When God sends Addy a special messenger who challenges her to step from her comfort zone, she isn’t sure she’s up to the job. She feels inadequate to take on the task of encouraging others, and when she starts seeing visions, she worries she’s losing her mind.

Yet, Addy wants only to be used by God, even if that means seeing visions and risking relationships with family and friends. By stepping out on a limb, can Addy really accomplish something significant for God? What affect will her surrender to His will have on those around her? And, what affect will it have on her own life?

Learn more about Paula at her blog:

Read more of her writing in her monthly columns on:

Author Interview | Paula Mowery

You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...My mother worked for a Christian bookstore, and she would bring me books to read and blank journals to write in. Back then I tried my hand at poetry, diary writing, and composing stories. After I married a pastor and became involved in women’s ministry, I wrote and self-published Bible studies. Still I had a love for reading Christian fiction and began to write an historical story which turned into a whole series. When some friends read my stories and enjoyed them, I kept going, chalking up more than fifteen manuscripts before I submitted one for publication. It seemed each time I completed a story, God had inspired another.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?  
...The hardest thing about publishing for me was waiting on God’s perfect timing and place. I tend to be an impatient sort. I literally prayed and laid out my fleece meaning I asked God for a sign that publishing was the way He wanted me to go. He gave me that sign and has worked in miraculous ways since I followed His leading and didn’t jump ahead.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...My debut novella, THE BLESSING SEER, is the result of mulling over the thought of blessings I might be missing by not being obedient or not asking. I, just like the main character, Addy, want more than anything to do something significant for God. I am now working on the contracted sequel in which Addy learns more about being available for God’s use through every circumstance. I am learning this too.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...I hope my readers will feel encouraged and maybe even challenged to follow in the call God has for them, utilizing the gifts and abilities they have been given.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Being a pastor’s wife and a pregnancy crisis center devotion leader, I have witnessed so many inspirational stories. I draw from those real life stories as well as dream up a lot of things. I have a friend who told me once that she wanted to end up in the nursing home with me someday because with all of the characters and stories running around in my head, it would make for an interesting trip.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories? 

...When I write my overall intention is to inspire and encourage people toward a relationship with Jesus Christ. If they already have that relationship, I wish to urge them on into service.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing? 
...The first bit of advice I would give is if you are a Christian writer keep God first. You need to study His Word and have a quiet time with Him – this is priority. Then, connect with other writers through organizations like ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). This online community has provided me courses to hone my skills and mentor authors to encourage me. Keep reading – so much can be learned by reading those authors that do it right. Write and publish small first – write an article even if you don’t get paid. This looks good when you send in a proposal to a publisher. Write. Write. Write. You’ll be amazed how your writing will improve just through practice. Read writing craft books. My new favorite is Rivet Your Readers With Deep POV by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.

What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...I have to have a diet soda of some kind. If I’m in the mood for salty, I like the little cracker Goldfish. If I’m in the mood for sweet, I’ve become addicted to Peanut Butter M&M’s, but I try not to have too many of these around. Bad for the middle.

Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? If so, care to share one of yours?
...I do believe in resolutions, but only the ones that are reasonable. I suppose my New Year’s resolution associated with my writing would be that I would continue to seek God’s direction in this writing ministry He’s begun. Speaking engagement invitations have sprung out of this first book. I know that God has more in store for me to share through writing and speaking. I’m a firm believer in doing what God has called me to do. There might be one person out there that only I can reach.

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2013?
...I’m looking forward to my second book coming out. And, mostly I’m looking forward to seeing where this adventure God has me on will lead. I’m hangin’ on and enjoying the ride until I cross the finish line. See ya there!

Thank you Paula for that great interview!  I love your advice to writers seeking to publish - it is so important to always keep the Lord first in everything.  I hope that we can remember that.

So what about you, my readers?  Do you believe in New Year's resolutions?  If so, care to share them with me?  Comment below and make sure and look out for my New Year's post coming soon :)