Saturday, June 29, 2013

ACFW Writers Conference

I am so excited!

I get to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers conference this September! When I first heard of the conference, shortly after joining ACFW, I thought to myself, "It would be great to go, but I probably can't." Now, looking back, I had no idea all that the Lord would do in order to bring me to the point where I am attending!

I will only share bits and pieces here, because it's quite a long story, but I just love seeing the Lord's hand in things! I think that is part of the reason why I write--to share how God can (and does) work though our lives.

You see, I have been blessed to partner up with a fabulous critique partner on my latest novel. Her name is Deb and you should definitely check out her books! I honestly believe the Lord planned for Deb to see my post in search of a critique partner and prompted her to reply because I know she has already helped my writing tremendously in the short time we've been working together! (Seriously, check out her books!)

I received word an editor wanted to see my manuscript [post about this here]. I thought to myself, "Okay, Lord, what does that mean?" It meant I needed to work my tail off! I still am, and am exited to say I'm almost done with my novel! Little did I realize that it was in preparation for more than just a pitch to an editor. In talking with Deb, I realized that if I really wanted to be serious about my writing, I was going to have to consider getting an agent.

Dun, dun, dun....

Suddenly, I was that wide-eyed little girl back in grade school wanting to grow up to be an author but having no idea what that meant. Sure, it is fun to write books, but to sell them to publishing houses and be a part of the elite group of men and women who entertain and delight readers all over the world through the written word...well, that's another story. 

Enter in the ACFW conference. I am blessed to say that God has worked out the details for me to attend and, while I hadn't anticipated attending, I know I am more excited than I would have imagined. I hope to make amazing friends, learn a lot, and hopefully meet with an agent or two in hopes of continuing down the road to publication. Thankfully, I've been motivated to complete my manuscript (which is pretty much a necessity as an unpublished author to attain an agent) and hope to be ready to take the next steps in my writing career.

Through all of this I am reminded of one very important fact.

I write as an outpouring to God. 

I fully believe we are all given gifts and talents by the Creator and we are meant to use them. I desire to use my gift for writing for Him and His glory - not for myself (1 Cor. 10:31). I know it's easy to get wrapped up in myself, but I sit at my keyboard today and pray fervently that everything and anything I do will only act to bring Him more glory.

Thanks to all of you who faithfully read Thinking Thoughts and who encourage me in my writing endeavors. Yes, I may talk in word counts and character motivation, but I hope to someday soon be able to hand you a book and say, "I wrote this for you--to inspire, encourage, and entertain!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Catherine Castle {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Catherine....

Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theater. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

To see pictures of her garden, read her poems and blogs, connect with her, and follow her stop by her blog at http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com or check out her author page on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/author/catherinecastle. She’d love to see you there.

How to connect with Catherine...

Website: http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com
Blog: http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908310-the-nun-and-the-narc
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/catherinecastle

Author Interview | Catherine Castle

You & Writing  
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I’ve been a writer ever since I learned how to string words together. My first writing was poetry, which I still write. I have some of my poems posted on my blog. Then I graduated to short stories in middle school, which have since been lost. I think one was a sci-fi story about a moon landing. That was big back then. I wrote my first romance as a teenager, in longhand, and bound it in a paper notebook. I still have it, buried in the depths of a file drawer. I pull it out occasionally if I want a good laugh. As for what keeps me writing—I think it’s all the ideas that pop into my head, and when I’m actually writing, it’s the characters who take my story to unexpected places. Even though I plot, I love it when they decide to go their own way.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I love The Nun and the Narc. Who doesn’t love their first published book? However, I think my unpublished devotional—Lessons from Nature-A Gardener’s Devotional— might be my favorite work. That book has been described as having a lyrical quality to it, and the stories contained in the devotional book are very personal to me.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...There’s nothing easy, in my opinion, about getting published. Being an author is not a job for the faint of heart. As for easiest thing about getting publishing—I’d have to say it’s the constant smile that’s on my face whenever I say the words, “I’m a published author!”

Your Writing
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...The Nun and the Narc didn’t start out as The Nun and the Narc. Sister Margaret Mary was originally a missionary on a house building trip to Mexico. But somewhere along the way, the story got stuck. One of my critique partners suggested I change her from a missionary to a nun, a novice actually. I loved the idea, partly because I love nun stories like The Sound of Music, the television show The Flying Nun, and the movie A Change of Habit with Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore. I decided to take her suggestion and when I did, the story took off.

...Sister Margaret Mary is a bit stubborn, and perhaps not the best nun material, according to Mother Superior, but she’s determined to follow her commitment to take her final vows. Then while on a house building mission to Mexico, she gets captured by drug lords and imprisoned with undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Sparks fly between the two and destinies are changed.


Here’s a blurb of the story:
Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I absolutely love Sister Margaret. She’s full of spunk and sass, yet holds so firm to her beliefs.

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

...I hope after reading The Nun and the Narc readers will realize there are many ways to serve God, and you don’t have to be the foreign missionary who dedicates his or her entire life in order for your service to be important. Whatever good works we bring to the Lord’s service are important for furthering His kingdom.
Writing
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?

...I think ideas for stories come from everywhere.We just have to be on the lookout for them. Although I interviewed and know some nuns who left the church to marry, Sister Margaret isn’t like any of them. I do admit to having a curiosity about how those women dealt with leaving the convent, and I think part of that curiosity spurred my story. So, I guess I’d have to answer this questions by saying, the real world and my imagination is a source for ideas.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Learn your craft and don’t give up.

You
What is one thing you like to do to relax when you aren’t writing?
...We go to a lot of movies, but in some regards that isn’t totally relaxation as my husband and I critique every movie we see. A hazard of being a writer, I suppose.

What is one thing you are looking forward to for the Summer?
...Getting all the gardening cleanup chores done so I can sit back and enjoy my flowers and get back to working on the next book.

                                                            _______________________

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Catherine! Your book sounds amazing and I'm looking forward to reviewing it soon. I can identify with you when you talk about your first works. My dear friend Steffani and I have many of those notebook bound novels...and I know for certain we laugh at them when we re-read anything we thought was "inspired" in your younger years. The wonderful thing is knowing we grow and change as writers.

Make sure you check out The Nun and the Narc and be on the lookout for my review soon :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Are You Real With God? {Thinking Theology}

Sometimes it's difficult to be real with God. 

We want to hide. To clean ourselves up first. To put our best face forward.

But is that how God want's us to come to Him? I'd say the answer is no. All you have to do is take a look at most of the Psalms to see how real they are. They get to the heart of things. There is no mincing of words, just raw, honest emotion.

The other day I took time to look through just the first verse of various different Psalms. No, I don't recommend this as a technique to reading the Psalms - but I did see some very interesting things...

O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! 
 Psalm 3:1
Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?  
Psalm 10:1
Help Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.  Psalm 12:1
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! 
Psalm 20:1
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance re the words of my groaning. Psalm 22:1
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.
 Psalm 42:1
Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
 Psalm 43:1
Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your power. 
Psalm 54:1
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
 Psalm 55:1
Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; fighting all day long he oppresses me. Psalm 56:1
We give thanks to You, O GOd, we give thanks for Your name is near; men declare Your wondrous works.
 Psalm 75:1 
My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing  praises, even with my soul. 
Psalm 108:1
Praise the Lord!  
Psalm 111, Psalm 112, Psalm 113, Psalm 117
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Psalm 130:1
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
 Psalm 136

I know, it's a lot and they are from all over the Psalms, but take a look at all of them - they range in emotion from anger, to frustration, to pleading, to praise, to understanding as well as any other type of emotion you could think of (and this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak).

A lot of these are said to have been written by King David - you know, that one guy who was called "The man after God's own heart". Yeah, you remember him. He was the guy who killed Goliath and then later in life ended up sleeping with a married woman, getting her pregnant, basically having her husband killed, and then being the cause for the death of that child as well. I don't know about you, but looking at David's life (among many others in the Bible) brings things into perspective.

David was a passionate man. You can see it by the way he pleads with God and the way he blesses Him. In Psalm 51, when he's faced with his sin with Bathsheba, he says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit."

Wow.

He just messed up - big time - and here he is, coming to the Lord and boldly asking Him to fix the problem - his heart. How often do we sin and the first thing we do is turn to ourselves. We mistakenly think we can do better or that we have to atone for what we did. The thing is - we can't fix it. There is no way we can clean ourselves up. It's actually pointless for us to turn to ourselves first (or at all).

Romans 8:1-4 says:

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeliness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who did not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (emphasis mine)

Basically, all our striving and working to be "good enough" isn't worth it. We fake it, hoping we'll make it, but we're just not fooling God. Christ came to die for our sins not so we could keep trying to save ourselves, but so that we could accept His perfect sacrifice and "cease striving" (Psalm 46:10).

Are you hiding from God? 

Are you depending on yourself to "get better" before you come to Him? Or are you just trying to do it all on your own?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lillian Duncan {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Lillian...

Lillian Duncan is a multi-published author who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense and mystery with a touch of romance. Her releases include, The Christmas Stalking, Dark Alleys, Deception, and Pursued.

How to connect with Lillian...

To learn more about Lillian and her books, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or connect with her on a variety of social media sites. Her blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes can be viewed at www.tiarasandtennisshoes.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.


Author Interview | Lillian Duncan


You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself:  How did you start writing?  What has kept you writing?
...I guess you could call it a mid-life crisis. I didn’t start writing until I was 40, but by the end of the first manuscript, I’d caught the writing bug. It took me another 16 years to receive a traditional contract, but I did publish three books before that independently.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written?  If so, why?
...My favorite book is always the one I’m working on at the moment. I always love my characters and their story.

What was the hardest thing about publishing?  The easiest?
...The hardest thing about publishing is NOT KNOWING. Not knowing if you’re talented enough. Not knowing if you’re writing is good enough. Not knowing if you’ll ever get published even if you are talented enough and your writing is good enough. Not knowing when that day will come.
...The easiest thing—there is no easy thing!  Just kidding—for me the easiest thing is the writing itself. I love to sit down and create stories. It’s as much fun for me as I hope it is for my readers to read them.
  
Your Writing
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...SERENITY SPRINGS, OHIO is actually an older book that I’ve revamped and released as an e-book. When it was released in 2005, e-books weren’t around. The interesting thing as I edited it and modernized it was just how much technology has changed our lives in less than a decade.

Do you have a favorite character in this work?  If so, why?
...Aunt Emily is my favorite. She has Lupus, but refuses to give into it. I based the character on my sister who has Lupus. Unfortunately, my younger sister was also diagnosed with Lupus as well.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That doing good for others is not an old-fashioned ideal. There’s a scene where Matthew’s fiancé makes fun of them because Matthew and his sister believe in helping others even when it’s not convenient. If more of us (and I include myself) did that, the world would be a nicer place.

Writing
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?  Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...A mixture of both. Usually, my main characters are pure imagination while my secondary characters are often a composite of interesting characters from my own life. The writing “experts” say it’s not a good thing to base your characters on people you know because you won’t want to put them in difficult situations. But I have no trouble doing that at all! My characters are always having problems—little ones, big ones, and even bigger ones!

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?  
...My first goal in writing is to entertain my readers and the second goal is to make them laugh, cry, and root for the good guys. Of course, I want the stories to touch their hearts in some way, but entertaining is the ultimate goal.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Never, never, never give up!  As long as you keep improving your writing craft and you don’t give up, you will get published sooner or later.  Hopefully sooner!

You
What is one thing you like to do to relax when you aren’t writing?
...I love to play with my animals. We have 2 dogs and 3 birds, and that means it’s never quiet or boring around our house.

What is one thing you are looking forward to for the Summer?
...I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors a year ago in May. I’ve spent this past year dealing with treatments and side effects from the tumors and the treatment. In September, I will start the process over for the second tumor. So what I’m looking forward to is spending time with my wonderful husband and having a good time with him.
...I always knew he was a great husband. He’s the biggest supporter of my writing. But this year has shown me what an amazing man he is.
                                                                      _______________
Thank you so much for sharing with us Lillian! I love how you talking about basing your secondary characters on people you know. I didn't realize that until now, but I think I do the same thing :) For me it's easier to create characters with certain traits that way if I'm thinking of someone I know. I'm sorry to hear about the health issues you're facing but I'm happy to hear you aren't letting that get your writing down!

Readers, make sure you check out Lilian's book Serenity Springs, Ohio. Here's a little blurb to wet your appetite:
An abandoned bird; an ailing aunt; and an unhappy fiancé. What else could happen? Oh, yeah—a murder! Chief of Police, Matthew Travis moved home to avoid the violence of being a big city police officer, but murder shatters the peace and tranquility of his hometown.

It appears to be an open and shut case. A troubled teenager at the scene covered in blood with the murder weapon in his hand is arrested. Unfortunately, as Matthew ties up loose ends, his once open and shut case unravels.

And the danger escalates!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stephanie Landsem {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Stephanie...

Stephanie writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and was a finalist for the ACFW Genesis contest in 2011. She then received a 3-book contract with Howard Books a few months following that.

How to connect with Stephanie...
Check out her Facebook author page
See her style and creativity on Pinterest
Follow her on twitter
Connect with her on Goodreads

Author Interview | Stephanie Landsem


You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?

...The answer to both questions is: my kids. When my youngest daughter went into kindergarten, my oldest girl said, “Mom, what do YOU want to do?” I told her that I’d always wanted to write historical fiction, but I didn’t even know how to begin. She said, “Just figure it out, like you’re always telling us to do.” And she was right. It took many years, and I’m still figuring it out every day. And I’d say the kids keep me writing. They are a great encouragement and my biggest fans.

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’m currently working on the second book in The Living Water Series, titled The Thief. Like The Well, I wanted to write about an encounter with Jesus, told from the viewpoint of a fictional character. The Thief is about a Roman centurion looking for peace and a prickly Jewish woman hiding a dangerous secret. An encounter with Jesus at the pool of Siloam, where Jesus gives a blind man his sight, changes both their lives.
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I’d say my favorite character in The Thief is a Roman centurion named Longinus. We meet him in The Well, and he is pretty unlikeable. It was a challenge to develop his character and turn him into someone we grow to love by the end of this book.

Writing
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?

...I find great inspiration in the Bible, of course. So much is left out that it just begs me to fill in the blanks, and that’s where my imagination comes in. Many of my characters are drawn from people I’ve met in my travels, and some from my friends. I have a huge family, so I enjoy writing about the ups and downs of familial relationships.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...My greatest wish would be for my readers to gain an authentic perspective of what it would have been like to live in Biblical times: to see the places Jesus walked, taste the food he might have eaten, and meet the people of his time. I’d love to help readers look at the familiar Bible stories with new eyes.

You
What is one thing you like to do to relax when you aren’t writing?
...I enjoy cooking, which is a good thing since I have four kids at home and three of them are teenagers! I love to try new recipes and my current favorite is Middle Eastern flavors. Lamb, couscous, feta, hummus, and olives are staples at my house this summer.


Thinking of Fathers Day, is there a story you’d like to share with the readers about your father?
...My dad is pretty awesome. For example, when I was in college, I called him and told him I wanted to change my major from chemistry to history. Dad, a man of few words, didn’t say what I knew he was thinking. What kind of job can a history major get? No, what he said was, “Do you love it?” And I answered, “Yes, I really love it.” After a long silence, in which I’m sure he was wondering if I’d be moving back in with him and Mom in three years, he said. “Then do it. Worry about the rest as it comes.” I’ve always been grateful to him for that.

What is one thing you are looking forward to for the Summer?
...I have one child finishing her first year of college and so I’m looking forward to the whole family being together again for a few months. Teenagers are busy, but we’ll have plenty of family time: going to church together, meals, movies, and plenty of time outside after a long Minnesota winter.

______________________
Thank you so much for this great interview Stephanie and congratulations on your first release - The Well June 4th. I love that your kids were the influence it took to get you (and keep you) writing! How wonderful! I also love what you said about our dad. My dad is the same way - always supportive and encouraged me major in Music and Youth Ministry even though the obvious question was What job will you get? Can't wait to hear more about your future writing and thanks for being my guest!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

RE:View | Talon: Combat Tracking Team by Ronie Kendig

Talon: Combat Tracking Team

I have found a new author-crush! Ronie Kendig has completely rocked my world with her latest novel, Talon: Combat Tracking Team from her A Breed Apart series. Honestly, there aren't enough good things I could say about this novel. Exhilarating action from page one. Characters that you can relate to. A plot you couldn't hope to anticipate. And a loveable dog--what more could you ask for?

Aspen Courtland want's to find her brother. They have pronounced him dead after 8 months MIA but she just knows he's still alive.

Dane Markoski, haunted by his past and a set of rules he's placed on himself, will not work with women. Aspen is out of the question.

Talon, wrought with trauma and PTSD is their only hope at finding Aspen's brother--if indeed he is alive.

Join these amazing characters as well as others from the previous novel, Trinity: Military War Dog, on an action-packed adventure into eastern Africa. You will feel the heat, smell the dirt, and wait in anticipation to discover what is going to happen!

I give this book 5 BIG stars and recommend to anyone who enjoys reading. Especially amazing suspense and heart-racing action with beautiful, believable romance. Ronie's writing is fantastic, descriptive, and so accurate that you will escape easily into this military thriller. The romance is sweet. The punches hard. The story satisfying.

_______________
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, June 5, 2013

Heidi Glick {Writer Wednesday}

I'm excited to introduce you to Heidi Glick for today's {Writer Wednesday} feature. Make sure you stay hello :)

A little bit about Heidi...

Heidi Glick has a B.A. in biology, a minor in Bible from Cedarville University, and a passion for writing Christian fiction. She has over seven years of technical editing experience, a certificate in technical writing from Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, and is working towards her Master of English at Utah State University. Additionally, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has written two articles for Intercom. When not working, Heidi spends time with her husband, son, and two dogs, Cocoa and Sparky. She attends Grace Chapel in Mason, Ohio.

How to connect with Heidi...

Her website:  heidiglickbooks.com
A blog she is an author for: http://sleuthsandsuspects.blogspot.com
Her Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/authorheidiglick
Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/sheglick

Author Interview | Heidi Glick 

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I started writing as a teenager. As a teen, I participated in a church drama, The Bethlehem Marketplace, which is an interactive, walk-through nativity. I communicated to a fellow actor that I was interested in one of the lead roles, but I was too young. The actor suggested I write my own plays, and so I did. As a teen, I started out writing plays and scripts, including a sequel to the Indiana Jones movie series (hey, a girl can dream). I even created a sound recording of a Civil War drama I’d written, complete with a soundtrack (yes, I was one of those geeks).
...The short answer is that God has kept me writing. The long answer is that God has used situations to keep me writing.


Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...My favorite work (still in progress) that I’ve written is Ten Degrees from Normal. It’s my favorite because of the main character, agent Chance McPherson. I’ve had a lot of fun writing about him. He’s funny and can pretty much get away with anything; he steals every scene he’s in.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The hardest thing about publishing is marketing. The easiest thing about publishing is the (very brief) moment of relaxation between the completion of one’s first novel and the start of the next. 

Your Writing
 
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...Dog Tags is a suspense novel. I originally wrote it as a romance and then revamped it as suspense with a touch of romance. I revolved my story around my hero. I suspect there are others than can readily identify with him and his struggles. I’d say more, but I don’t want to give too much away.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...The hero, Mark Graham, is a man of integrity and honor. Society lifts up pro athletes and actors, etc. as heroes, but we often forget many of our “true heroes”—our men and women in the armed forces.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...I hope readers learn that God allows hard times in our lives, but we can still trust Him. Also, we need to forgive generously (sometimes that means forgiving ourselves). 

Writing
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I find inspiration for my story and characters from both real life and pure imagination.
...For example, the hero of Dog Tags is a history major. My husband is a history major, and I based parts of my character on my husband. Also, the dog in Dog Tags is largely based on my own pet, Sparky, a Schipperke.


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

...I have many intentions. Mostly, I write to inspire, but I also write to encourage and to make people laugh and to entertain.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Keep writing and find a professional writing community to join. Read the genre in which you’d like to write but be open to change. As a teen, I started writing scripts. I never would have imagined that I would end up writing suspense. Be open to criticism and learn from it.

You
What is one thing you like to do to relax when you aren’t writing?
...When I’m not writing, I like to work in my garden or spend time with my family.
Thinking of Fathers Day, is there a story you’d like to share with the readers about your father?
...I love my father and miss him very much, but I’m glad that he’s pain free in Heaven with Jesus. My father passed away in September 2011 of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). I’ve based a character in another story on my dad. Also, I’ve dedicated Dog Tags to him. Unfortunately, my dad died before I became a published fiction writer, but I know he’d be proud of me.

What is one thing you are looking forward to for the Summer?
...My son will be 4 months old then. I look forward to taking him outside more.
 ____________________
 Thank you so much Heidi for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit us here at Thinking Thoughts! I'm excited for my chance to review your new release, Dog Tag's. For those of you who are interested in reading it - you won't have to wait much longer! The release date is June 7th!  So make sure this Friday you hop on over to Heidi's website and get your copy!

Here's a little blurb to wet your appetite:
When disabled ex-Marine Mark Graham reconnects with his best friend’s sister, he finds himself falling in love. But Beth Martindale’s presence is a constant reminder of events he’d rather forget. Mark wants to move forward, but the secrets surrounding her brother’s death as well as his own confinement to a wheelchair threaten to tear them apart.When a psychopath who calls himself The Knight fixates on Beth, Mark is determined to give her the protection he failed to give her brother on the battlefield, yet he discovers that a wheelchair isn’t the only impediment he has to keeping Beth safe. Will terror win or can Mark find the strength of mind and body to rescue Beth and find his own redemption?
Make sure and check back to see more reviews coming up soon and next weeks featured author: Stephanie Landsem!