Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Vannetta Chapman {Writer Wednesday}

First off, I wanted to announce last weeks winner! I had the privileged of having Krista Phillips on the blog and she graciously offered up a copy of her novel, A Side of Faith away. Our winner is:

Robin Mason

Congrats, Robin, we'll get you hooked up with your copy soon :)

A little bit about Vannetta...

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania.

Her novel, Falling to Pieces, is a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman writes Amish fiction for Abingdon Press, Zondervan, and Harvest House. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

How to connect with Vannetta...


Author Interview | Vannetta Chapman  

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I was an English teacher for 15 years (high school and college), and I’ve always been an avid reader. After finishing my MA in English, I began writing articles for Christian magazines—a few years after that I challenged myself to write a novel. It took a few years before I was picked up by an agent, and a publisher, but it’s been a fabulous journey.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why? 
...I love the characters in my Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and I still receive requests to write more of those books.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?
...Hidden is the story of Dana Jacobs—who SEEMS to have it all together, but in fact is held back in her personal and spiritual life by events in her past. Faith is something she stopped having as a small child. Now Ben Marshall is in her life—a steady, calming, faithful presence, and she doesn’t know what to do with him. When they become deeply involved in a case that threatens both their town and their lives, Dana must decide if she’s going to let her past define her. She must decide whether she’s going to live in fear, or live by faith. It’s a fun, suspenseful story that focuses on God’s grace and love for us.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I adore Dana—she’s vulnerable but strong. But I’d have to say my favorite character is Ben. He has a strong faith, enthusiasm for life and a real love for others. He’s a fun guy to be around and someone I would want on my side.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That God’s grace can cover all of our hurts, heal our scars, and give us hope.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...A little of both. Sometimes I’ll read a news article and get an idea for a character or story. Sometimes people I know will inspire me to write about a certain kind of character.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I say that I write “fiction full of grace” and that is my one intention. The book can be in any genre, and it can be in different settings and circumstances. The one guide is that I somehow reveal God’s grace in our lives.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...To keep writing – The 9th book I wrote was the first book published. 


What will you/did you do for Thanksgiving?
...We have a scattered and blended family, so I’m not sure! I try to keep my plans fluid. I don’t want any of our children to feel pressured by the holidays. The main thing is to be grateful we have one another, whether we get together on that particular day or not.

What is your favorite food of the Thanksgiving dinner?
...Cranberry sauce—I adore it.

What are three things you’re thankful for?
...My family, my church, and my work!


Thank you so much for being on the blog today! I love the premise of Hidden, it sounds like a fantastic book :D I also like how you say you want to write about "God's grace in our lives". I think that's something that, as you say, can span any genre or setting. I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving tomorrow and again, thanks for sharing with us today.

Enter to win a copy of Hidden. Leave a comment for Vannetta below and/or share your favorite Thanksgiving tradition! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

NaNoWriMo Inspiration: Caffeine, Sugar & Writing Sprints (part 4)

Week 4.

Yeah...just soak that up right now. We are in WEEK 4 :D

To help you get a little boost I'd like to kindly remind you of 3 very important things for this week. *Cough* Okay--1 important thing, and 2 less important but equally available things.


Take it how you, tea, 5 hour energy ((shudders)) but do yourself a favor and consume some soon because this week it will be one of your best friends!


My dear friend Corrine and I have a bad habit of getting cupcakes whenever we hang out (my cupcake consumption has greatly decreased since I moved away *sad face*). Maybe for you your "sugar" isn't even sugar at all - I know plenty of people who can live without chocolate (though I'm not sure how...?) but if chips are your downfall - give in! Only for this week though, of course.

Writing Sprints

Lastly, the one thing that may actually help you accomplish your word goals this week - Writing Sprints. What that looks like is setting a timer - for either 15, 20, or 30 minutes - and writing your little heart out. Once the time is up, take a 10 minute break and then go back to sprinting again. Track your progress for fun, or grab some friends to join you and challenge each other to see who gets the most words!

So, good luck for week 4 and surviving that PLUS Thanksgiving...I know it wont be easy but I believe in you!

How are you doing? Behind? Ahead? Catching up?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Taking a Well-Deserved Nano Break

We've all been there. Distracted by...everything. Knowing we should be writing but not. Thinking that anything would be better than being so distracted at THIS moment.

As much as I like writing, I am really, really good at getting easily distracted....As part of that distraction, I've compiled a list of things I enjoy being distracted by. I think it's good to take a little time off once in a while. The key here is tracking that time. I recommend setting a timer for anywhere between 15-20 minutes, getting the distraction out of the way, then jumping back into your Nano novel.

The 8 Distractions of Nanoing

1. Pinterest

I know what you're thinking, I could be sucked in for hours! And, while that's true, I have a few recommendations. 1) Set a timer as I said above 2) Select what you will allow yourself to look for (examples: recipes, hairstyles, clothes for you your character, funny memes) 3) Close it out when your timer is up -  no convincing yourself that you have a few more minutes!
Hey, come follow me on Pinterest :D

2. Pretty Pictures

I'm kinda weird when it comes to my desktop backgrounds - it's got to be the photographer in me. I need my backgrounds to reflect my mental state (not sure I know WHAT that really means). For me, the moment it should be fall I'll have leaves and trees up there. Now that it's winter, I've started my search for the perfect winter scenes. I found this fun website called Wall Paper Stop and they are free (here is the page for winter scenes). Since I have a Mac, each desktop I have (I use 4) has a different scene on it :)

3. New Music

Also being a musician, music is important to me. I love Spotify because of its one time monthly fee ensuring I can listen to all my favorite music pretty much everywhere (no, that wasn't a sales pitch haha). With the changing of seasons I'm now into the Christmas music realm! Making a new playlist can be a great distraction.

4. Snacking

During Nano I pretty much survive on tea, pretzels, and air popped popcorn...okay, not totally, but I do gravitate to these things for snacks. When I'm stuck with my novel and feeling hungry, I'll take a break to grab a snack.

5. Facebook 

As dangerous as Pinterest, Facebook is another good AND bad distraction haha. Same rules apply browsing as Pinterest.

Join me on Facebook too!
6. Clean

I know, you're laughing at me. Who wants to clean as a distraction? Well, that's the beauty of distractions! You'll do just about anything to get out of writing for the moment. Use it to your advantage.

7. Be productive

Procrastination and distraction can be great for getting other things done. Try answering emails, writing a blog post, or getting something done you've been putting off.

8. Read

A last, great choice is to read! My TBR (To Be Read) pile is HUGE (not all books are pictured here) but these are some I'm working on right now. When Nano and photo craziness is over I plan on getting through sooo many books...but taking short breaks to knock out a few chapters is definitely helpful!

So.... what about you? What do you do for distraction? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Small Part of the Whole

Ever since I was a little girl I've been fascinated by books, enchanted by happy endings, and consumed with stories. I saw plots in everything (I still do) and found myself daydreaming more than I'd like to admit.

Now, as I'm officially "grown up" (or at least I'm supposed to be) I still find that these same things hold my attention. I'm sucked into "what if" scenarios in my mind all the time. A line from an article or blog or a photograph can cause me to tailspin into another world. One of my own making.

Have you ever had a dream so big you thought you'd explode unless it came true? 

Sometimes I feel that way about writing. I know I don't need to be published to be a writer. Though the validation does sound appealing. To think that someone could find my writing intriguing enough to make a commitment to it. To endorse it. To believe in it like I already do...

And yet that's not what it's about, is it? It's not about validation, though I want that. It's not about credit or notoriety either, though I also seem to want that at times too.

It's about passion. 

I am passionate about writing. Sometimes I doubt whether my writing is any good, but at the end of the day if I'm not writing because I love it, then I'm writing for the wrong reasons. That doesn't mean I don't want to learn and improve my craft, because I do. And I realize that improvement will be painful and almost unbearable at times, but it will be worth it.

The dreamer in me has plans. Oh so many plans and schemes and hopes. Things I think could happen and things that only God could bring about.

But for me...for's enough to dream and see what He makes of it all. Because, in reality, I am only a small part of the whole. A piece in the puzzle.

And that is enough for me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Krista Phillips {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

Welcome Krista to the blog! Make sure you leave a comment for her to enter for a chance to win a copy of A Side Of Faith! 
A little bit about Krista...

Krista Phillips is the author of Sandwich, with a Side of Romance and A Side of Faith. She enjoys life with her husband and their four beautiful daughters in Tennessee. She is an advocate for congenital heart defect and organ donation awareness and blogs at

How to connect with Krista...  
Purchase: A Side of Faith (A Sandwich Novella) (Volume 1) 

Author Interview | Krista Phillips

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I started writing when I was 19. I outlined this dramatic romance filled with tears and emotions... I never got past chapter 3. Marriage and kids and work came, and still... chapter 3 always haunted me.

...In 2007, God tapped on my heart and whispered that it was time to put aside chapter 3 and write something different.

...So I tried my hand at a bit of a romantic comedy, and 3 months later, I'd finished my first novel! Adding a bit of fun to my books was exactly what I'd been missing!

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...Honestly, that first book I wrote will always be my favorite. I'd have to completely rewrite it for it to be publishable, but it was my first baby and I'll always treasure that story.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
Hardest: Waiting.
Easiest: Getting caught up in the story world. It's my favorite part!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about what you're working on right now.
...I'm actually working on two right now. I'm finishing up a novella, A Side of Hope that will be releasing in January.

...But the full length I'm currently editing and polishing is called
The Price of Love. I've always had a not-so-secret guilty pleasure of watching The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. Most times it's like watching a train wreck that you just can't tear your eyes away from. It flows like fiction, but these are real people's lives. I've always been fascinated by the idea of what goes on "after" the show, so wanted to write a story about that. So The Price of Love takes place six months AFTER my characters were contestants on a reality TV dating show that I made up. :-)

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...Oh yes. Hanna is the main character, and I pretty much love her. She's sweet but tough, a petite blond who carries around a hunting rifle in her big ol' truck, and loves Jesus.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That God calls us to love and forgive. To lift each other up instead of tear each other down. That the words, the things we say, even on social media, can have long reaching effects that impact more than we could ever imagine.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...A little bit of both! Most times they start from something real life sparked in my mind, and then they morph into something very unique.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I'm a mom who loves to read. Reading is my recreation, my escape time from the crazy that is my life. That's what I want my books to be. A clean read that allows a woman to relax and escape for just a bit, to laugh a little, maybe cry a little, and at the end, be encouraged in their relationship with Jesus.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Give your writing career to Jesus. His hands are the BEST place for it.


What will you/did you do for Thanksgiving?
...EAT TURKEY! We do a big family Thanksgiving with my side of the family. I'll make cinnamon rolls for breakfast, then go to my sister's house and enjoy dinner with my parents and siblings and their families. The house will be packed with probably 25-30 people. Then we sit around and play Euchre and look at Black Friday ads in the paper!

What is your favorite food of the Thanksgiving dinner?
...My mom's mashed potatoes and selfishly, my rolls. I make GIANT yeast rolls that are pretty much amazing, if I do say so myself.

What are three things you’re thankful for?
1.) Jesus
2.) My family 

3.) The ability to stay home with my girls and do what I love.


Thank you so much for joining us here at Thinking Thoughts! I love the idea of your next book - sounds really interesting. I've often wondered the same things. I also really appreciate your approach to writing and what your intentions are for writing. I think we can all use a little bit of escape now and then :)  And AMEN to handing our writing careers over to Jesus. I'm totally on board with that! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope to see you back on the blog soon!

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment for Krista below to enter to win a copy of her novel, A Side Of Faith.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason | RE:View

Danielle Harding and her son Simon face a serious problem - Kurt, an abusive husband and father. After finally working up the courage to leave, Danielle discovers that her husband has died. Initially, Danielle thinks it's an answer to her prayers for deliverance, but instead she finds the trouble has just started.

In order to protect her son, Danielle turns to Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge for help. Will he be able to find them a safe house while dealing with his own personal issues? Will Danielle and Simon finally be able to breathe easy, knowing they are safe? Or will Kurt's last wishes haunt his family long after he's gone.

I had the chance to read the first book in this series, No One To Trust, and enjoyed this second installment. Eason is great at keeping you guessing all the way to the end! I will say, however, that some parts did feel a little slow in the middle and I found myself wishing there had been a little bit more chemistry between Adam and Danielle.

That said, this was a great, thrilling read that will surprise you over and over again. A definite recommendation to those who like romantic suspense!

Purchase: Nowhere to Turn: A Novel (Hidden Identity) (Volume 2)

Book Description
(from Lynette's website)
The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe–but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to hide for long . . .

From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold readers in its iron grip. Bestselling author Lynette Eason propels readers along at a breakneck pace in a race to discover the truth and a better future.
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.

Monday, November 17, 2014

NaNoWriMo Inspiration: Just Keep Writing (part 3)

First off, I'd like to invite you all to hop on over to the Seekerville blog today and join in on the conversation! We're talking about photography and writing and how that plays out in descriptive writing!

Join the fun:


 We're into crazy Week 3!!! Can you believe it?

As of right now I'm at 26,868 words (yes, behind for today...) but hope to meet my daily goal by tonight! How are you doing?

What's that you say? You're stuck? You're behind? You've never written so many words all in one place before? You don't know where you're stories going? You're almost done with the plot you'd planned to use...and you're only half way through the month?

Well, not to worry - you're not alone if you can say any of the above statements. If fact, you're in great company! I've heard from several friends who are desperately behind, don't know what their next chapter will be, are almost at the end of their plot, or are just plain tired.

Sometimes it helps to know you're in good company.

But, as much as the sentiment is good, that doesn't mean it helps your writing. I've compiled a list of ten things you can do to add to your word count.

10 Ways to "Just Keep Writing"

1. Keep writing. 
Yep, simple as that sounds, it's important that you don't give up! You

2. Do some research.
If you're stuck, sometimes the best way to get "unstuck" is to gain more insight into something you're writing about. Personal example: Researching gunshot not only helped me describe a scene, but add to it as well!

3. Take a break.
Stressed you aren't going to make your personal deadline? Take a break. Go for a walk, make a cup of coffee, take a short nap. Take the time to let your creativity rest and it's almost a guarantee you'll gain some inspiration to get back to it!

4. Talk to someone.
Talk out your plot! I did that a few nights ago at dinner with my roommates and -BAM- got an idea.

5. Add a plot twist. 
Lacking in word count? Add a plot twist.  You may have to go back and set it up in earlier chapters, but if you can think of something to add that will not only add interest but words, do it!

6. Add a character.
Again, you may need to go back and add them into the beginning (something to be done AFTER NaNo) but stick them in there now. I'd recommend adding notes about areas where you think you could add them in earlier, just not doing that during November.

7. Add a subplot.
In line with adding things, if you are close to the end of your novel and you're only half way through NaNo (maybe 25k words or so) you definitely could benefit from adding a subplot. Maybe it doesn't start until half way through, or maybe you'll add in more later, but either way, you'll need something to help you sustain momentum until the end!

8. Extend your scenes. 
You don't want to go around prolonging everything...but maybe some of your scenes are too short? Consider lengthening some here and there but make sure the additions are profitable and not just filler ;)

9. Think it through.
Take a few minutes, sit back, and really think through your plot. This, in combination with #3, can be very helpful. It's like when your mind relaxes at night before bed and you get a great idea. Your brain needs space to work and think in order to create. Give it that space.

10. Draw out feelings and emotions.
These things are SO helpful! Not only for adding words (hehe) but also for really creating a scene that you can feel and include your readers in. Take time to make sure you're adding in thoughts, feelings, and actions.

So, how are you holding up in the excitement of week two?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Linda Wood Rondeau {Writer Wednesday}

Before I introduce this weeks interview, I have a WINNER from last week's giveaway offered by the lovely Janet Sketchley.

Mary Preston

Congrats Mary! Contact me via the contact from to the left and we'll arrange to get you a copy of Secrets and Lies!


A little bit about Linda...

Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes blended contemporary fiction that speaks to the heart and offers hope to those with damaged lives. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida. Another release, A Christmas Prayer, (aka A Father’s Prayer) was a finalist for both the 2014 Selah and Carol Awards.

Other books include: It Really IS a Wonderful Life, Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street, Days of Vines and Roses and her non-fiction book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children, also part of a compilation (Uplifting Devotionals).A sequel Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street, (Snow on Eagle Mountain) is expected to be released soon.

Rondeau’s Jolly Angel, is also part of a compilation, Blue Heaven Romances.

How to contact Linda...

Author Interview| Linda Wood Rondeau 

You and Writing

Who is one of your favorite authors and why?
...There are so many to choose from. Like my taste in music, I enjoy any story that is well written, and can be as content reading a science fiction as a historical epic. As for contemporary writers, I have enjoyed reading Sue Monk Kidd. Her stories speak to the heart and deal with the hurts people carry with them into their present lives. I write, to show hope. That our worst past, with God’s help, becomes our best future.

What is one book or resource you would recommend to other writers? Why?
...I highly recommend Browne and King’s book: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. It is comprehensive on the elements of good fiction writing.

Share a writing-related milestone with us?
...For years, I felt frustrated as a writer. Although I had published many shorter works and had an agent for several years, the constant up and down of hopeful connections leading to ultimate rejection wore me down. Then, eleven years to the date, I felt God’s unquestionable call to give my writing talent over to him, my agent called with my first book length publishing contract: The Other Side of Darkness. The original title was Dawn’s Hope. The publisher wanted to change the title based on a line in the book where Zach is seeking God’s guidance. He hears God’s voice telling him to take His hand and follow. “Where, Lord?” Zach asks. To which God answers, To the other side of darkness.

...The amazing thing is that, unknown to my publisher, this was the very same call I received eleven years before. When God called me to write, I sat down and wrote a poem:


Praise the Lord most when
you cannot sing
Though broken, you are

Praise the Lord when Hope
seems foolish
There is light on the other
side of darkness

Praise the Lord and believe
His goodness

Look at His creations and
give Him praise
for the stars shine
brightest in the night

Though defeat seems imminent
Praise Him still
Praise Him though sorrow
seems endless
The vast Horizon meets the
sky undefined yet limitless

Your Deliverer hears
He will lift you High above
the troublesome sea

This is the Song of Peace

Copyright ©2000 Linda Rondeau

...How great is God to affirm our call beyond any shadow of doubt.

--> Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book.
...I had never pictured myself as a Christmas novelist. It Really IS a Wonderful Life, the story of an Iraq war widow who finds new life and purpose when she joins a theater group in production for the play It’s A Wonderful Life, was originally a women’s fiction set during the Christmas season, and titled Tomorrow Will Find Me. Though it garnered interest, it had difficulty finding a home. I rewrote the book as a romance and I saw the improvement. Then my agent suggested I make it a Christmas story. The title jumped out at me. Both Jamey and Dorie need to learn that sometimes we serve God best in our own backyards. The characters’ in Midville, the setting for the book, parallel those in the movie. I drew from my Community Theater experience and knew when I typed, THE END, it would resonate.

...While writing, A Christmas Prayer, a story about a journalist and a Country singer who have differing agendas for the autistic child they both love, I drew not only from my social work experience, but from being the primary caretaker for my then 12-year-old autistic grandson for a period of six months.

...Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street was birthed when I reconnected with a dear cousin after decades apart. We’d been close, but life got in the way. We reminisced about the fun times we had at her home and at our grandparents’ house. I wondered what other events might separate two women who loved each other as sisters. The story takes place on the eve of Christmas 2000, just before the New Millennium. When a long-lost cousin pays a visit after a forty-year disappearance, old hurts resurface but bring healing.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...As in all my books, I hope the reader will learn that our worst past, with God’s help becomes our best future.


Favorite writing snack: ...Chocolate. Did I mention chocolate? I love chocolate.

Book you’re working on right now:
...I am working on three books at this time. I recently signed a two-book contract with Elk Lake Publishing for Red Sky Promise, a romance set in the Adirondacks, where my hero finds healing from child neglect and sexual molestation; as well as Fiddler’s Fling, also a romance featuring a heroine who had spurned her musical gift in order to please a demanding fiancé. In addition to these two fictional works, I am compiling a Bible Study, based on my newspaper articles, Who Put the Vinegar in the Salt.

If you could go anywhere in the world for one month (for free) where would it be and why? 
...No brainer. The British Isles. I have always been fascinated with English History. 
Thank you so much for joining us on the blog today, Linda! I love that you shared Song of Peace with us! I love how he confirms us in ways that speak to our hearts specifically! And I'm 100% with you on the chocolate ;)

***Readers, make sure to comment for a chance to win a copy of one of these books! Comment about which sounds the most interesting to you or leave a comment for Linda! I'll announce the winner next Tuesday.***

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

FACEme Blog Tour | Who We Are In God

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works;my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

I was asked to participate in this challenge with many other authors and readers. Joining meant that we agreed to post a picture of ourselves without makeup, write a post, and encourage others to join us.

I agreed at once thinking, Of course I want to do this! How amazing to shout from the internet-rooftops that we ARE fearfully and wonderfully made and beautiful because we are His! Yes! 

{Insert fist pump and cheer here}

But then it hit me...wait a second, I look so tired without make up and everyone is going to see this. Oh, it's no big deal. I'm a photographer. I know how to use the light so that it's most flattering, I'll just--

Wait. What was I saying? I'd agreed to do this post in support of showing our natural beauty and I wanted to manipulate it so that I looked better. Ugh. I realized I needed this more than I thought.

Who we are in God

I've written a few posts about this (one titled I Wish was a popular guest post) but that doesn't mean I fully "get" who I am in God all of the time. Sadly, it's entirely too easy to be caught up in what the world says is attractive.

Thin...long hair...short hair...bright

You get the point. There are so many different "standards" that it's amazing we still fall for the lie. The lie that there is a "type of perfection" we need to achieve to be considered beautiful.

God never once says that in the scriptures. In fact, the Bible talks about beauty being vain. And yet we (I'm speaking for women here...sorry fellas can't speak to how you feel about beauty) desire to be called and recognized as beautiful in order to feel beautiful.

I'd say (speaking to the single ladies - can I get a "woot"?) it's especially difficult because we want to hear that we're beautiful from a man. Girlfriends will say we look good and Mom and Day will say we've always been beautiful, but it doesn't feel true because we're thinking, "Hello - if I'm still single I must not be that beautiful." That's another post for another day, but I wanted to validate that we single women (at least some of us) feel this way at times.

BUT, when we dig deeper into what beauty really is, we find that it's more than just our outward appearance. It's more than what others can see on a first meeting. Beauty is a compilation of things. It's who we are, not what we are.

Beauty is...

...fearing the Lord
...a gentle and quiet spirit
...seen from the eyes of those who love us

...made by God
...found in Christ

So, why do we think we can find it elsewhere? Why do we think it's true if someone else says it? There is nothing wrong with putting on makeup up or dressing stylishly, there is something wrong when those things become more important than who we are in Christ.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. To truly be satisfied with who I am right now, in this moment without makeup on, I need to be satisfied in Him. I won't find rest for my discontented heart until I find my true, beautiful identity in Him. The creator of the universe who cares for the sparrows and clothes the lilies of the field.

Me without makeup!

My challenge to you: Post a makeup-less picture of yourself on your Facebook pages....Dare to show your beauty!

Check out these other blog participants in the #FACEme challenge blog tour!

Nick Kording:
Lindsay Harrel:
Joseph Courtemanche:
Gabrielle Meyer:
Jaime Wright:
Carrie Wisehart:
Andrea 'Dia' Nell:
Sarah Baker:
Rachel Britz:
Cara Putman:
Stacy Monson:
Laurie Tomlinson:
Katherine Blackburn Reay:
Katie Ganshert:

Monday, November 10, 2014

NaNoWriMo Motivation: Get Creative (part 2)

We talked about this a little in my NaNoWiMo Prep series (you can find the post here) but I think it should be repeated now, in the thick of Nano-goodness.

Remember why you're writing

You are uniquely gifted to tell your story. You. No one else. We all have life experiences, trials, successes, failures - you name it - but they all shape us. I'm just writing a fictional novel, you may say. Well, that's okay, so am I. That doesn't lesson the fact that God has given me (and you) the ability to voice thoughts and feelings into your characters. We never know who will read our books, but we do know that our responsibility to write is to God and ourselves.

Remember who you're writing with 


I've talked about this numerous times - but you are not alone in this writing world. Sure, you may write alone (I tend to do my best work in a room by myself because, let's be honest, I make some funny faces and talk to myself when I write), but you are not alone. There's a difference. Utilize your friends and writing buddies but at this point in Nano, use them for support not critique. You're not there yet and that's totally okay! Remind them they are your cheerleaders, helping you make it to November 30th alive and 50,000 words richer.

Remember to take breaks

What? Take a break? Yeah right, like I have time for that. do. Maybe not a lot of time, but you definitely can use a 10 minute walk or 15 minutes lying on the ground wondering what just happened in the scene you wrote. Taking a break will actually help you. It will let things settle down in your mind and come into focus. I usually run in the mornings to help relieve stress but also to think through new plot ideas. This time is crucial!

Remember to love

Um, what? Yeah, this kind of comes out of left field but hear me out [and no, this advice does not only apply to those writing romance].

This is an epic labor of love. Writing a novel takes more out of person than most understand. Even if you write and don't anticipate for anyone to see it--ever--it doesn't matter. It still contains a part of you. Therefore, love what you're doing, even when you don't "like" it sometimes.

**Nano update--how are you guys doing? Crushing goals, or getting crushed?**

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Janet Sketchley {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of Secrets and Lies by leaving Janet a comment below or mention your favorite Thanksgiving food!

A little bit about Janet...

Janet Sketchley is a Canadian author with a passion for fiction. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at Christian suspense fans are invited to join her writing journey through her monthly newsletter:

How to connect with Janet...

Amazon Author Central: 

Author Interview | Janet Sketchley

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I started writing fiction as an at-home mom of toddlers, after an idea took root in my mind that I didn't want to daydream. I thought writing would get it out of my head, but instead it became my first published novel, many revisions and many more years later. What's kept me writing? When I quit, I feel miserable. When I write fiction, I feel alive.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...My novels are suspense and romantic suspense, but I think my favourite work might be a short story about a fictional character who comes to life and confronts his author about a plot point. It's fun, there's no emotional stress, and the character is my kind of hero.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The hardest thing so far has been learning how to become my own publisher once my original publisher closed its fiction line. The easiest would be the happiness of holding a print copy of my own novel!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?  

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.
...Secrets and Lies is a book 2 in the Redemption's Edge series. I met Carol through writing her brother Harry's story in Heaven's Prey, and I knew her life had not been easy. I also knew she needed the Lord. Secrets and Lies gives her the chance to find Him—unless her enemies find her first.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...You know what? It might be Joey, the deejay who listens so patiently to Carol's fears, prays for her, and keeps giving support even when she throws hostile words back at him.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...I think the core message in this story is that God’s heart longs to pick up the pieces of our lives and not leave us walking wounded and alone. We can trust Him.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...It's a bit of both. They come from my imagination, but how much of that is really from my subconscious? To give an example, the detective's name was originally Norton—until I realized I'd named him after an Internet security program. Some things I keep, but that one I changed. He's now Detective Garraway.

...More closely based on real life: Carol has a strong controlling streak. That *ahem* may have come from some of my own personal tendencies. Shh...

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I want to give readers a story that lets them escape their own lives for a while and then sends them back into the real world with a sense of hope that God can make a difference in their circumstances.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...If you love writing, keep persevering. Even when it's hard, and even when there's no recognition. Finish what you start, revise it to be the best you can make it, then write the next book. It's a distinct advantage to have multiple books already written before signing your first contract (or self-publishing your first book). The revisions and all that's involved with promotion (you are your best promoter, even if you sign with a huge publishing house) take so much time that you'll be glad not to be trying to create fresh material at the same time.


What will you/did you do for Thanksgiving?
...I'm Canadian, and we celebrated Thanksgiving in October. This was the first year we didn't have the entire family home for the feast, so it was a bittersweet event. We still ate well!

What is your favorite food of the Thanksgiving dinner?
...Now that's a tricky question! It might be cooked carrots and turnips, mashed with real butter. Not very exciting, but it's the one thing I insist on making even if nobody else would miss it.

What are three things you’re thankful for?
...Jesus is my Good Shepherd, I have a loving family, and I get to write fiction. 

Thanks so much for hosting me, Emilie. This has been fun. God bless!

Thanks for being my guest Janet!  I love the line where you say, "God’s heart longs to pick up the pieces of our lives and not leave us walking wounded and alone." because it is SO true! Carol's story sounds very intriguing! Also love your advice to "finish what you start". Amen and amen! Those are great things to be thankful for as well. 

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Secrets and Lies.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's Out! HAWK by Ronie Kendig + GIVEAWAY

First thing first, we've got a winner from my interview with Elizabeth Maddrey from last week (view her interview here). The lucky winner gets a copy of Elizabeth's latest novel Kinsale Kisses!

Erin Unger

Congrats Erin! I'll get in contact with you :)

Now...on to some fun things about HAWK and author Ronie Kendig! 

Mark your calendars now so you can chat with Ronie at 2pm EST!!! Follow this link to sing up.

THEN, as if that wasn't enough, Rel over at Relz Reviewz is hosting a HUGE giveaway by Ronie! Follow this link and enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post. I've read Hawk (you can read my review here) and it's FANTASTIC so...if you're looking for your next book to read, look no further!

Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo Motivation: The 4 Stages of Nanoing (part 1)

Ok--how are we doing? It's only Day 3, but I can guarantee some of you may be freaking out...are freaking out?


I know, much easier said than done, but it's true. You're only in the first week and, though I hate to admit it, things will only get more difficult.

Gee thanks, Emilie. Aren't you supposed to sugar coat this? Tell us how fun Nano is?

Well, it is fun, but it's hard work too. I'm not going to lie to you and say things will go smoothly or will be easy, because they wont. But--they will come in stages. Being mentally prepared for those stages is half the battle.

The 4 Stages of Nanoing

Week 1 | Ignorance
I'll be honest to a fault here. Week 1 is about ignorance. And yes, it really is bliss. You have no idea what you're getting yourself into, but you're hopeful. Keep it that way.

Week 2 | Questioning
It's been a week. Things might have been touch and go there for a few days but you're into Week 2 and you start to wonder...What in the world did I get myself into? You will not be alone. The key to Week 2 is to realize that, once you move on to Week 3, you'll be half way there!

Week 3 | Confusion
Things aren't the way you expected. And I'm not talking about your Nano experience. Your novel has taken a few million drastic turns and you may not recognize it. Where did that space alien come from - wasn't this a western? Or what about that talking cow...does that mean this is speculative? (hehe just kidding). These are the beautiful things that happen when your brain is forced to be creative in a short amount of time with the rules taken away. Write it. Write all of it.

Week 4 | Chaos
Utter chaos breaks loose. You're running around the house yelling at your characters, drinking so much coffee you start to hallucinate (that's good for a least a few scenes) and on the verge of a permanent nervous twitch. But you're doing it. You're almost there, and you CAN hold on until November 30th because you WILL make the deadline.

**So, you're in Week 1. How are you feeling?**