Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wade Webster {Writer Wednesday}

When I first had the idea for {Writer Wednesday} I envisioned it as a place for readers to find new authors and new favorite books, but also as a place to inspire and encourage writers who may not be published yet.  I'm excited to introduce you to Wade Webster, a writer who's not yet published but is active in writing on his blog and with other works in progress. Please give him a friendly welcome!

A little bit about Wade...

As he describes himself:
"I'm a truck driver turned writer for Jesus. I'm obsessed with dark chocolate and getting the word out about Jesus' love."
How to connect with Wade...

His website

Check out his main blog: http://wadewebsterwrites.com
And his humor blog: http://laughoutloudloveourlord.com
Connect with him on his Facebook page

Writer Interview | Wade Webster

You & Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I’m a farm boy-turned Bible college student-turned truck driver-called to write for Jesus. I used several blog posts telling about these phases in my life, so I can’t do it briefly here. God definitely called me to write for Him at the age of 47. That’s when I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up. As long as He gives me assignments I’ll keep writing.

Do you have a favorite work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...This question isn’t fair. It’s like asking who your favorite child is. Each work is my favorite for different reasons. I guess whatever I’m working on at the moment is my favorite work: be that one of my blogs, a magazine article, a book WIP, or this questionnaire.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The only things I have published at this time are some magazine articles in the Dallas Family Magazine. The easiest and hardest part is hitting the send button. That simple click is the last step in the releasing into the world my baby to be used by God. Waiting to hear whether they’ll accept it would be a lot harder if I didn’t work on other writing projects.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...Eek Explains Christmas is the book Work In Progress (WIP) I’m working on. I just learned from an agent that it’s too short for a publisher to accept it as a middle-grade chapter book. So, I’m adding four new early chapters. The story is taking on so much more depth now.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?

...I got the idea for a mouse who is convinced his name is Eek because that’s what people say every time they see him. To show how in touch I was with God’s future for me my first thought was: I wonder when I’ll cross paths with a writer so I can pass this idea by them. He goes from a mouse who hates the fact that God made him a mouse to wishing he could have been at the stable the night Jesus was born, even if it was as a little mouse who never got mentioned in the Bible story. He overcomes a lot in his little life, just like we all do.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?...It’s been my concern that most people know the Christmas story but they miss the full purpose behind it. The true gist of this book is to show everybody the true meaning of Christmas: Jesus was God in a human body born to die for us.

Writing

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I consider all of my writing assignments from God. He has different ways of giving me these assignments. Sometimes it’s 2 o’clock in the morning, and other times it’s while I’m driving in my truck going down an Interstate. I have no idea how non-Christians get their ideas from since this is my modus operandi.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...It depends on what I’m writing. The magazine articles need to be issue oriented since that’s what they’re looking for. My humor blog is obviously used to make people laugh and then to inspire to action. I hope everything I write points people to Jesus.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...In a word: WRITE. Too many people have ideas and desires to see their name in print, but they don’t take the time to do the actual writing. Start there. There may be a long road to getting published or a short walk, but you have to take that first step to get there. If God places this desire in your heart then don’t give it up. Keep working on the craft of writing until it gets out there so God can use it.

You

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
...I enjoy listening to instrumental music with nature sounds in the background—my farm boy roots showing through. If I listen to songs with words, or instrumental music of hymns, my mind can get distracted by the words I’m hearing.

What is your favorite season and why?
...Spring is definitely my favorite season. Winter is often so hard, and summer so hot. The time of harvest is a close second, but spring with its new beginnings and signs of promise always give the desire of a hopeful future to me.

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
...I know a lot of writers read a lot. But, I honestly don’t have the leisure time available to read much at this time in my life. Perhaps that’s why my writing is so diverse. I’ve read many of Louis L’Amour’s books, and some Christian westerns, so by default I’ll say that genre, but I haven’t written anything along those lines, yet.

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Thank so much Wade for sharing with us! It's encouraging to hear how much you rely on the Lord for whatever you are writing - it's the best way, right? And your advice to aspiring authors is great. It's so true that often we let ourselves get wrapped up in the idea of publishing we forget that you have to have something to publish ;) Good luck with your writing!

Friday, April 19, 2013

RE:View | C.J. Darlington

 

First off (nerd alert), I have to admit that I've been watching too much Star Trek: The Next Generation!  I used to watch this growing up and I just found that it's ALL on Hulu+.  Can you imagine my excitement upon that discovery? ;)  

I can't help but reminisce on times spent at my Grandma & Grandpa's home watching all of the key players - Captain Picard, Warf, Data etc. - through their semi-cheesy but always entertaining episodes of danger as they explore space.  

Do you have a favorite show from your childhood??

* * *

Well...onto other things, like my review of C.J. Darlington's short stories, "Out of Time", and her compilation, "Advice for Novelists". 

A little bit about C.J. ...

C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood, which released from Tyndale House in 2010. Her second novel, Bound by Guilt, released from Tyndale House in 2011.

In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site www.TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction ever since. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a Paint horse named Sky. 

Visit her Web site at www.cjdarlington.com.  

Out of Time
This compilation of three short stories is a quick and easy read, but definitely worth the time ;) C.J. explores the idea of choices and time in three very different scenarios.  Whether it be a woman shopping in a rush at the grocery store, a man who's just received bad news that will drastically affect his family, or a young woman who's about to make a terrible decision.  Each must face a decision.  Each decision will have a consequence.

For me, these stories were great illustrations, well written, and honest for each situation. I think they could even be useful to teach a point whether that be within a discussion group or possibly even for youth ministry (which is something I am personally involved in). 

You can purchase this book [here].
 

Advice for Novelists
Have you ever wondered what your favorite author would tell you if you had a moment of their time?  Maybe you've craved advice from published authors in your genre or field and never knew where to turn?

This compilation of 112 pieces of advice by Christian authors and publishing professionals compiled by C.J. Darlington offers all this advice and more! Some advice comes in the form of a short sentence or two, others in a few pages, but it's assured you will find something that speaks to your heart in this book. 

So, if you are an author needing inspiration to keep going or an unpublished writer wondering where to start, you will will definitely want to pick up this book and start reading.  I'd suggest using the highlight function on a kindle for those quotes that stick out and are most inspirational or informational to you. It will become a reference for you, of that I'm sure!

You can purchase this book [here].
_______________________
I received free copies of these books 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, April 17, 2013

Julie Moral {Writer Wednesday}

Today's {Writer Wednesday} guest is extra special to me because she is from a town very near mine and is a personal family friend.  I'd like to introduce you to talented author Julie Moral!

A little bit about Julie...
Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century. That's what my Great Grandma "GG" used to tell me. I would listen to her stories of the "good ol' days" of horses and wagons, beautiful dresses, and proper etiquette. Everything then sounded sweet, innocent, and beautiful... I later became a history and English teacher. No surprise there. I guess you could say I have had a love affair with history and writing all my life.
My genre niche is historical Christian romance (rated PG-13 at the very "worst"). But, don't worry; the passion I have for Pete [her husband] still shines through my clean fiction writing--just in a more subtle way.

As of this time (early 2013) I'm currently working on the sequel to "Where the Road Rises." I'm also writing a science fiction novel about a young woman who travels back in time to Medieval England to escape her abusive husband. My past years living in Europe as a missionary, as well as my personal experience as a survivor of spousal abuse are the inspiration for the latter book.

How to connect with Julie...

To connect with Julie you can Email her
Check out her blog and her second blog
Purchase her book on Amazon
Find her on twitter @JUMOJUMOJUMO
Follow her on Pinterest: morals
Her Facebook is: Julie Warner Morrill

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

You & Writing
 
How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
...Since I was eleven. I saw Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and was so enamored of the history, beautiful dresses, and the Old South, I started writing a diary of a pre-teen girl who lived in Charleston, South Carolina during the Civil War.

Why do you write?
...I write because I have a constant stream of creative ideas coursing through my mind. I feel I have to write them down for my own sanity!

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

...Marketing and self-confidence. I know that authors today have to market their books largely on their own, even when published by a mainstream publishing house, so I decided to self-publish my first book in order to learn to do my own marketing. Telling people I have written a book they’ll probably enjoy has forced me to be more self-confident, as well as more vulnerable with others.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
...I’m most proud that God is using me to help other women and children of domestic violence because of my own escape from an abusive marriage. My children and I are not just surviving, we are thriving. I write about how one can Biblically end an abusive marriage of faith on my blog at www.marriagehealing.blogspot.com . Aspects of abuse sometimes show up in my fiction writing, as well.
...I’m also proud of my international background. I lived in Europe off and on for over five years after I graduated from UCLA. That time and the friendships I made shaped me as an individual. I love people of other cultures and my overseas adventures definitely influence my writing in fun ways.


Your Writing

Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it.
...In Where the Road Rises, an unmarried seventeen-year-old girl with an annulled marriage discovers she is pregnant in 1890s California. Much of the story encompasses her fears, her lack of trust in the Lord, and her manipulative plan to snag a husband before her secret pregnancy is discovered. ...The historical genre of Where the Road Rises and the fact that the story takes place in my home town made the book especially fun to write. I think readers will like it because it’s fast-paced, engaging, and contains a good dose of suspense and humor. Even at over 450 pages in length, most people tell me they read the book in one day.

Your story is set in Etna Mills, California. Is that a real place?
...Yes, Etna Mills is now Etna. It’s located in the Scott Valley, where I live.

When readers finish the last page of Where the Road Rises, what do you want them to come away with?
...Although Where the Road Rises is written from a Christian vantage point, it is primarily a lighthearted historical romance filled with drama and a few laughs. I do want my readers to recognize, however, that praying unceasingly is as easy as thinking.
...I also hope my readers come away with a richer sense of history and a better understanding of the everyday struggles of women in the 19th Century. I want readers to appreciate the enormous freedoms and advantages we have today, but still recognize that much unfair and inequitable treatment of women remains.


Why did you choose to write this book?

...I have always been in love with history and I love learning the history of Etna, Scott Valley, and vicinity. As a history and English teacher, I used to tell my students stories to help them learn. They are the ones who encouraged me to put my stories into a book someday…and now I have.

Writing

Where do all your ideas come from?
...My ideas come from just about anywhere—other books I read, movies I watch, people I meet, museums I visit. I take notes almost daily and compile them into lists and categories on my computer.

Which books on writing have been the most helpful to you and why?
...I think Jeff Gerke’s book, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, has been the most helpful to me so far; he’s very direct in letting the reader know what publishers consider good or bad writing.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
...I’m a chart and list person. I have historical charts listing what was invented or what major events occurred in what year and where, I have temperament charts, charts of various plot ideas, and full descriptions of all my characters so I can keep track of all the aspects of their physical features, personalities, likes and dislikes, etc.


Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
...Despite all my meticulous charting, listing, and planning, I’m more of a “seat of my pants” writer. As I write, creative thoughts usually inspire me to go in unexpected directions. I may know my plot, know how to begin, and know where I want to end up, but I don’t always know what twists and turns I’ll take to get there.

You
 
Do you have a vacation spot you’d love to visit?
...Not just one. I have traveled the European mainland, but have yet to visit the British Isles, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean. I’d also love to visit Israel, the South Pacific, South America, and Japan. I pretty much love to travel.

What's your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...Unsweetened chocolate covered prunes and nuts (kind of my own healthy version of trail mix)

Tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you.
a) I have a Bachelor’s Degree in history and social sciences from UCLA and teaching credentials in English and history from Simpson University.
b) I'm an avid gardener, homesteader, and nutrition nut. I occasionally write about writing, as well as health-related topics on my official author’s blog at www.traditionally.wordpress.com.
c) Mountain biking is one of my favorite hobbies. I don’t do it competitively, but it’s super fun to get out in nature and enjoy a good workout at the same time.


What's next for you?
...I’m currently focusing on work, family, and volunteering. Writing can become an obsession for me and I’ve learned I need to prioritize my life. I now write fiction for relaxation and anti-domestic violence blogs as a ministry. I have also begun speaking to groups of women about what the Bible says about abuse in marriage. What’s next for me? I’m not exactly sure. My life could be taking some interesting turns in the near future.

  _____________________________

Thank you so much for sharing, Julie! It's so great to get to know you a little better through this interview! I love that your novel is set in historical Etna Mills.  With my Dad as the former curator of the County Museum up there, my own work at that museum, and my ancestors being from Etna, I have grown up hearing wonderful stories about the town plus my own visits there.  I look forward to reading your book in the future!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Heartbroken but not hopeless

Just a quick post to say that I'm heart broken over the news of what happened in Boston. 

Sometimes the things of this world just drag a person down. I was at a conference this weekend where our topic was joy (recap post coming soon) and I am reminded from my time at the conference that we can have joy through suffering.  It doesn't come immediately. It's not easy. It's also not a feeling (ie: it doesn't mean you always have a smile on your face). It's an understanding that though terrible things happen, we only see things in part and we are asked to trust the Lord in His plans.  This type of steadfast joy is rooted in the hope of Christ.

This doesn't make things "ok". It's not supposed to.  We are meant to mourn.  But - It does mean that there is a plan in all things. I don't mean to say that there is a plan for disaster, but there is a plan to bring healing out of brokenness.  Redemption is possible through Christ.  He is the author and perfecter of our faith (as well as all things). 

I am praying for comfort for the families who have been affected. I am praying for peace for those who were injured and may be facing fear as a result. I am praying for their neighbors to come along side them and to offer help, support, and most of all love.

May Christ be the HOPE in this situation.

Friday, April 12, 2013

RE:View | Hide and Seek by H. L. Wegley

First off, did you catch my {Writer Wednesday} post?  If not, check it out [here] and find out a little more about H. L. Wegley from his interview for Thinking Thoughts... 

Hide and Seek

All Lee Brandt wants to do is say, "I told you so" when there is a significant computer security breach at the company he works for.  When technologically savvy, not to mention beautiful, Jennifer Akihara steps in to give Lee a hand, they are in for a wild ride through the lush mountains of the Northwest.

For Jennifer, trust is the most important thing. As they fight for their lives, racing against the clock, Jennifer must learn to trust Lee, but Lee places his trust in Someone much more powerful than technology or quick thinking.  His trust is in God and Jennifer comes face to face with true faith in action. The question is - will she see it for what it is?

I really enjoyed this novel! With it's fast paced action and romance intertwined in a believable way, I found it to be a great balance between suspense and emotion filled moments. Wegely also weaves in truth about the gospel in an understandable way.  Lee doesn't force his faith on Jennifer, but rather lives it out and openly answers questions when the time come.  I really appreciate the authors wonderful approach to practical Christianity!

I will say that the tech side of things was a little confusing at points - there is a lot to computers that I will probably never understand - but most times H. L. Wegely delivers the information in an understanding (if not comprehensive) way. 
 
If you are in search of an action packed adventure with a sweet romantic side to it, Hide and Seek by H. L. Wegley is definitely the book for you!

What people are saying about Hide and Seek...
...The author has done a great job of weaving a very exciting, well written story together that I could not put down until I finished it in one reading.
 

...Hide and Seek by H.L. Wegley is a definite keeper if you love suspense with a touch of romance.
...I am NOT a "techie," but even I had no problems understanding the technological stuff.
 

...If you like fast-paced, high-stress books? Then you just might like this action-filled adventure from H. L. Wegley.
 

...I started reading this book because it had something to do with computer security, since I work in this area. However, while that is part of the very exciting story, there is much more to the book than that with a number of different plots, including a great romance story and surprises along the way.

 Head on over to Amazon and pick up your copy of Hide and Seek today!
_______________________
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, April 10, 2013

H. L. Wegley {Writer Wednesday}

Suspense. Intrigue. Action.

I think these things have been playing into my dreams recently because I've been reading H. L. Wegley's novel Hide and Seek!  The good news is that he is the featured author for {Writer Wednesday} and I'm reviewing Hide and Seek on Friday!  Give him your warm regards and enjoy getting to know him a little better.

A little bit about H. L. Wegley....

H. L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who worked as a Research Scientist in Atmospheric Physics at Pacific Northwest Laboratories. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 46 years enjoy small-group ministry, their seven grandchildren, and where he pursues his love of writing. His publisher recently released Book 1 of a contracted 3-book romantic thriller series.

How to connect with H. L. Wegley...

His web site: HLWegley.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HLWegley
His blog: The Weather Scribe
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/H.L.-Wegley/e/B00B1XMR56/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Publisher, Pelican Book Group: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/hide-and-seek-softcover
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4460203.H_L_Wegley



Author Interview | H. L. Wegley 

You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I started writing poetry for extra credit in elementary school. Took all the college-prep writing classes in high school, then creative writing and technical writing in college. As a research scientist, during the ‘70s and ‘80s, I published extensively in the scientific world. But my first work of fiction, Hide and Seek, wasn’t written until 2010. I wrote Hide and Seek in seven days in the sun at Lake Havasu, rewrote it twice that year after studying the craft, and then received a contract for it in 2011. After that first project, I realized I couldn’t not write.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...My third novel, also the third book in my Pure Genius Series, was a blast to write. Moon over Maalaea Bay is set entirely in Maui. The research was as enjoyable as writing the story—ten days of walking beaches, shooting sunsets, snorkeling. This is a short, fast-paced thriller about a honeymoon that gets hijacked by international criminals, human traffickers who want revenge by ending the honeymoon before it can begin. It’s contracted and you can check it out on my blog: Weather Scribe

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...Early in the publishing process, the hardest thing for me to deal with is the editor wanting to make significant cuts to my story. Not only do I have to “kill my darlings,” but sometimes I have to alter the story I wanted to tell. After release day, marketing is by far the hardest thing for me. I like talking to people face-to-face, one-on-one, but peddling my wares using the social media is not something I enjoy.

Your Writing
Tell us a little bit about your book. Why are did you write it?
...My debut, Hide and Seek, is an espionage thriller with romance, released on February 1. Besides telling a suspenseful story, I had a couple of things in mind when I wrote this novel. For those who know our Lord and Savior, I hope they will see that the barriers to faith on others' lives are most often the heart-rending existential questions, not the big intellectual issues. We have the answer to all their questions, the Person of Jesus Christ, and we need to share that answer with them. For those who don't know our Savior, Hide and Seek is my heroine's redemption story. I hope these people will see that a relationship with the one true God is available to them through Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I really like both my hero and heroine. Lee is me with a shorter version of my resume. You’ve got to like yourself. But my favorite is Jennifer Akihara, a stunning, Japanese-Hawaiian beauty who has an IQ that’s off the scale, a temper to match, and she works magic with mathematical algorithms. She’s also the person you want behind the wheel in a car chase. One more thing—the .38 in her purse has one notch on it. She has a good heart, but trouble seems to follow her.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...The biggest take away I hope the readers grasp is the point illustrated by my two main characters. It's a point made many times by apologist Ravi Zacharias. He emphasizes that the barriers to faith are most often the heart-rending existential questions, not intellectual issues. Hide and Seek emphasizes through the heroine, Jennifer, that all of these questions are answered by God in the person and work of Jesus Christ. A follow-up to that take-away is that we shouldn’t fear sharing our faith with anyone, including people we think are much brighter than us. The things that trouble people most in life are common to everyone living under the curse philosophers call the human dilemma, the curse which God calls sin. If we know Jesus, we know the One Who can meet people’s needs.

Writing
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I usually look first in real life for my story. I subscribe to several e-zines that provide news about topics that would make good plots for thrillers. For my fourth novel, I found a real-life person who has some experiences I wanted to share. But in the final analysis, there is always a synthesis of the real and the imaginary to complete a story. That’s where we get to use our creativity—the really fun part of writing.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...For about 12 years I studied Christian apologetics and planned to write a textbook or study guide on that subject, but the experts started publishing far better works than I could’ve written. Now I find that the answers to questions about God and the human dilemma find their way into dialogues in my stories, especially the redemption stories. So far there has been a redemption story embedded in the plot of each of my novels. Aside from the spiritual message in my writing, I want to entertain the reader such that they have something they can legitimately feel good about. I like to make the readers laugh a little, even during some of the danger.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Learn the craft as much as you can before you write that first manuscript. With a story running around in your head, it’s hard not to start writing. But I can tell you from experience that it’s even harder to rewrite your story for the third or fourth time. If you don’t want to lose your story, make a detailed outline of it, then critique the outline for good story structure using books on the craft of fiction. Study how to develop characters, how to write dialogue, and to evoke emotion. Then, when you’re ready, write your story. This approach may cost you a couple of months on the front end, but it will save you six months or more of rewriting, time that you could be using to draft your second story.

You
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
...I sometimes listen to romantic music when writing romantic scenes. If something creates the right emotions in you, it is more likely that your writing will evoke those emotions in your readers. A music video works even better for me. I watch part of the video, write a little, then alternate between watching and writing.

What is your favorite season and why?
...Summer wins, hands down. I live near Seattle and am always sun starved. I have a touch of SAD. When the sun shines, my writing productivity goes up by a factor of ten. Nearly the entire MSS for Hide and Seek was written in 7 days at Lake Havasu, between trail hikes by the lake.

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
...I started reading full-length novels when I was nine. In my early teens, I devoured novels. This probably dates me, but as a kid I read the entire Edgar Rice Burroughs and Zane Grey collections—a lot of action, adventure, and some romance. That became what I enjoy writing, high-action romantic suspense and thrillers with romance.

_________________________

Thank you so much for this fantastic interview. I really appreciate what you desire the overall intention of your novels to be. I love listening to Ravi Zacharias - he always seems to appeal to the logical side of Christianity without displacing the impact that emotions and faith also play in it. 

You also mentioned that you live near Seattle and (for those of you that know me, this is no secret) I love it up there!!  It's my dream to live in that area :) I'll take all those cloudy days over the ridiculous amount of (HOT) sun Southern California gets almost all year round!

Thanks again H. L. Wegley, and for my readers - make sure you check back here on Friday - I will have my review of Hide and Seek up - if an interview with the author didn't convince you to try out his first novel, maybe knowing a little more about the book will ;) See you then!

A terrible, not so terrible Tuesday

It's funny how good days come and go without much notice but when you have a bad day, you know you're having a bad day. 

Everything appeared normal this morning, though I did have a very intense, action-filled dream right before I woke up - but other than that it was business as usual. Then, as I'm driving happily down the road the battery light comes on.

The battery light of doom. 

My faithful, not always so reliable Nissan prince - Sir Derekk
I am happy to say that I did in fact make it to a parking lot - the providence of the Lord - but now am facing the gruesome details of repair.  The irony in it all is that I'm planning on purchasing a car next month! I've been saving for quite some time now and it has come to the place where I am ready to move ahead and then BAM! - car trouble.

In the midst of it all though, I am trying to take a step back and see this for what it is. 

It was a gift.

I know. You're thinking - Emilie, your car breaking down was not a gift.  Of any kind. And I'd tend to agree, but I know that God allows things to happen for a reason. I don't believe in accidents to the point that they are a "surprise" to God - but I do believe in His sovereignty.  I can only hope that by my breakdown, I have furthered His plan in some way. Maybe in my conversations with the auto repair guys or some interaction I had today that was divinely inspired? In that way, it was a gift to play a role in His plan (today and every day).

How was your Tuesday? Experience any car trouble? I sure hope not!

Monday, April 8, 2013

RE:View | Monday? Hidden In the Heart by Catherine West

I'm not sure how this happened... but I was going to post a review of Catherine West's novel Hidden in the Heart on Friday and look at that... no post! Needless to say (because I think it's quite obvious) I've been extremely busy - these will sounds curiously like excuses *cough*becausetheyare*cough* but I had three photo shoots this weekend not to mention I was house sitting and attempting to keep many other commitments as I prepare for this weekends women's conference.

Anyway... I decided rather than wait I'd just post her review today (hence the question mark after Monday in the title).  It's a little out of the ordinary but that's because I have a review of Harry Wegley's thrilling novel Hide and Seek coming up this Friday - this one I promise to post on the actual day :)

Hidden in the Heart

In the middle of many struggles, Claire Ferguson just wants the truth. She's suffered the loss of her mother, a miscarriage, resulting difficulty in her marriage due to her escape into medication and alcohol, and now the haunting possibility she has a genetic disease the caused the miscarriage. The only way to alleviate her fears is to find her mother - that is, her birth mother.

Claire is adopted.

This story is one of struggle and fighting for the truth. Claire's journey to find her birth mother isn't an easy one, coming with a high cost, but in her mind it's a price that must be paid in exchange for answers.

Don't worry though - it's not all depression and sadness, Catherine does a great job of giving the reader only what they can handle in exchange for a story that will draw you into the characters lives and personal stories. The natural intrigue that comes with not having answers is woven throughout this story and will keep you searching for the entire truth - not just one persons version of it.

I really enjoyed this book!  As someone who want's to adopt some day, Claire's perspective is very eye-opening. I'd highly recommend this to anyone interested in adoption, but also to anyone who enjoys reading true-to-life stories that draw you in and allow you to truly connect with the characters. Once you start this novel, you'll soon find yourself identifying with Claire and wanting to know the truth yourself. 

Purchase Hidden in the Heart {here} and connect with Catherine {here}.

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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.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Congratulations are in order...

We have a winner of the anthology Patti Shene's  is featured in: Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters: Real Life Stories of Supernatural Events! If you missed my interview with Patti, check it out [here].




Please give a warm round of applause to...

JoAnn Durgin








JoAnn is an author herself and will now be able to enjoy her own copy of the anthology :)

Congratulations JoAnn and thanks for stopping by the blog! To my readers, make sure you check back tomorrow for my review of Catherine West's novel Hidden in the Heart. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Laura Hilton {Writer Wednesday}

It's been a whirlwind of a week (and yes, I do realize it's only Wednesday). I'm looking forward to the giveaway that Patti Shene is offering here through my blog though! Don't forget that today is the last day to leave a comment on her interview post to be given the chance to win! I'll announce the winner tomorrow so make sure to keep an eye out. 

Now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to {Writer Wednesday} author for today...Laura Hilton! 

A little bit about Laura...

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. And the Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love. Surrendered Love releases April 2013, and the third book will release September 2013. A nonAmish book The Appalachian Ballad Quilt will release November 2014 from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.

How to connect with Laura...
Connect with her on Goodreads
Find her books on Amazon
 
Author Interview | Laura Hilton

You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself:  How did you start writing?  What has kept you writing?  
...I started writing when I was old enough to hold a pencil and make words. Always been fascinated by story. I kept writing because it is my God-called passion. It keeps me sane. Maybe.  :)

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written?  If so, why? 
...My favorite two books of mine so far are A Harvest of Hearts and Surrendered Love.  Those characters reached me on a deep level.  
What was the hardest thing about publishing?  The easiest?  ...My books are published by Whitaker House and I have one contracted by Abingdon.  The hardest thing about writing is when things or people interrupt the flow in some way.

Your Writing
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why did you write it?
...The book I’m promoting is Surrender Love
Janna Kauffman loves grocery shopping for the homebound in her Amish community. When Janna’s sister washes her hands of her rebellious daughter, Meghan, and sends her to live with her Amish relatives, Janna is spending less time shopping and more time explaining Meghan’s actions to police officer Hiram “Troy” Troyer. Formerly Amish, Troy becomes a regular part of Janna and Meghan’s lives as Meghan continues to act out due to her Englisch mother’s rejection. Could God tame a headstrong teenager and help Janna and Troy find love in the midst of it all?
...Surrendered Love releases in April 2013.

Do you have a favorite character in this work?  If so, why? 
...Troy. I fell in love with him.

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

...I am not going to try to venture to guess what God intends to reach readers with. But what He reached me with was “I’m accepted in the Beloved.”

Writing
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing? 
...Not to make anyone mad at me, but: Learn the business.  Do what it takes to get noticed by agents and publishers. Don’t just take the easy way out and self-publish lackluster, poorly edited books. . .

 
You
Do you listen to music when you write?
...No, don’t listen to music when I write.

What is your favorite season and why?  
...Winter. I love snow.  That said, there is very little winter in Arkansas. It’s mostly rainy and muddy here. That isn’t so fun. Here, I like Spring, especially the first jonquils and daffodils of the season. 

What is your favorite genre to read?  Why do you enjoy it?
...I don’t really have a favorite genre.  I have favorite authors . . .  Susan May Warren.  Suzanne Woods Fisher.  Beverly Lewis. Mary Ellis. Colleen Coble. Denise Hunter. Kristin Billerbeck. Melody Carlson. Etc.
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Thank you so much for the interview, Laura! Your latest release, Surrendered Love, sounds like it's going to be a good one! I'm also with you on the favorite season - I love the snow in Winter but, unfortunately, we don't get much (any, really) down here in Southern California! Thanks for sharing your favorite authors as well, we have a few in common

Well, Thinking Thoughts readers - make sure to check back in on Friday for my review of Hidden in the Heart by Catherine West. Until then...have a fantastic rest of the week!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fooled on April Fools?

I have often wondered if any April Fools jokes have turned into some tragic story like The Boy Who Cried Wolf or something? I mean, there are only so many things you can joke about before someone remembers it's April 1st and decides it's a joke.  What if, in a rare and possibly terrible happening, you did fall and break your leg after you had been standing on a chair with one foot while balancing a bowl of water with a fish in it as you were singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow?

No, that example didn't come from real life - though I wouldn't put it past me.
 
You have the typical April Fools jokes like: "I'm pregnant" or "we're dating" or "you won a car".  Then the not-so-typical yet incredibly through ones such as the Gmail Blue or the thought provoking and hilarious Google Nose. Then there's the disturbing American Eagle Skinny Skinny Jeans (I'll spare you the link on this one) - both funny and a little creepy. 

We're you fooled this Aprils Fools?  I'd love to hear about it... leave a comment below and I'll send you $1000.

Yep...


April Fools ;)